by Emmett Smith
The following transcription of some replies to a previous posting on the topic of the Indian curse on Mankato, Minnesota, goes a long way to confirm the widely held claim in our part of the country that all of Squawbunion County and the surrounding southern Minnesota countryside is in fact powerfully soiled and jinxed right down to this day by oldtime forms of evil first brought into these parts by the white settlers of the 1850s, especially the Welsh and some of those from certain hellish old New England clans.
2 Responses to Bodwyn Wook posting “December 26th, 1862……”
I) on December 27, 2008 at 5:57 am, by Emmett:
All of southern Minnesota, and not just Mankato, was said by the oldtime Grace Lutheran Church ladies of Mankato, when I was just a squirt in the 1950s, to have been blasted and blighted and ruined for all time by still other kinds of evil brought by in certain more twisted white men, even after the judicial killing of the Indians in 1862. The upshot is that everyone must be careful in traveling hereabouts, especially after dark. As I wrote to a friend, an outgoing city man from Minneapolis who has no conception of our rustic horrors and rottenness, when he wrote for directions to a recent party in “accursed” Garden City, Minnesota:
“…[A]s you go South on US Highway 169 you’ll have watch for a LEFT turn into the berg and then find Main Street. As you are coming South, the turnoff is at a lonely streetlight, just before the plunge down the hill on the left…. I think it’s kind of like Easton, Minnesota, another one of our horrid inbred mosquito sloughs, in that really there is nowhere plausibly safe to ask directions after dark, the garage if it’s open in any case is run by one of the Whatelys and is best avoided. They are an old county family with probably pretty mercifully obscure pioneer beginings here and were in on the 1863 extermination of the Winnebago tribe, in cahoots with the supposedly haunted Mankato Hillyard family. Now the kids all deal crystal meth and bootleg cigarettes, some have taken PTSD from being in the Army in Iraq and so I reckon you’d better call our hostess ahead of time with any questions. This is weird stuff to me, like reading about when Robert Blake tried to make his way to the abandoned church in Providence that first time. At least you won’t be on foot! Whatever you do, don’t unlock your doors until you’re at 523 N Main and then only if the lights are on inside, and do not hang out to buy any Christmas jack-o-lanterns from off of the ‘little boys’ at the roadside stand, out by the main highway. And, do NOT take the Mankato-Garden City bus in case your car isn’t working that night. Your friend,
“PS: Maybe as a precaution you should hustle around on Friday and get some sort of cell phone deal, just because in case of a breakdown especially out in the county you will not want to leave your car until the towtruck actually arrives.
“PPS: Squawbunion County hicks they may be, and some are real yahoos, but some anyway are dangerous ones too, so beware.
“PPPS: You do have in the trunk a winter emergency kit I hope, a supply of cheese and soda crackers, maybe some Hershey bars along with the matches and those little fondue candles, a blanket or two, some ginger ale?”
II) on December 27, 2008 at 6:04 am, by HPL:
That leaning antique lamp on the outskirts of today’s Garden City, Minnesota, and mentioned above by regional folklorist Mr. Emmett Smith, of Lincoln Park in Old Mankato, stands hard by the weather- and decades-effaced sign, whereon the discerning traveller may yet distinguish the ghostly trace of the letters denominating the former name of the little pioneer community of peripatetic New Englanders and fleeing Congregationalists of one hundred and fifty years since:
It is here that the regionally known and generally shunned Christmas jack-o-lanterns with their ambiguous expressions have for so many years been offered for sale after dark, by the oddly wizened children of the community. They were first placed on offer around the Christmas of 1879, with the rumoredly dire visit of one of the New England Whatelys, to his farflung heirs and assigns.
The remote Minnesota cousins of Zebediah Whately were said to have been less than enthusiatic to receive their agnate, he already then well into his ninties, but the old man soon established a reputation for uncommon openhanded affability among the sulky Welsh and Indian-soured Germans of the area. Indeed, the sprightly and, some said, easily enflamed old man soon contracted an understanding with the beautiful nineteen-year-old Eutola Watt, whose New Orleans mother was whispered to have been the queen of the 1860 Octoroon Ball and who consequently married the steamboat captain Boillard “Boiled In Oil” Watt, an aide to General Butler. After the war they made their home in New Innsmouth, as Garden City was then still known before the visit of Zebediah Whately. He made a festive marriage on the 1st of August, 1880, to daughter Eutola, was said to have been instructed in certain darksome arts by her dusky mother and then rode off with his bride in September, in the general direction of the Blue Mounds one hundred miles to the West, in search of gold it was said by the old upland farmer-wives when I was a boy visiting cousins, here myself from Providence many years ago, and whence the newlyweds never returned. Eutola’s quondam lover, Billy Pierce, the village farrier’s son and twenty-three, was killed in a duel with old Whately on the morning of the eve of the wedding and it was said that Eutola never mourned….
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 26 December 2008]