Tag Archives: litchfield

On the Sioux Trail: Ness Church

U.S. – Dakota War of 1862; Part XI

Ness Church, Litchfield, Minnesota; in 2020

On August 17, 1862, four young Dakota warriors killed five settlers near Acton, Minnesota. The killings would ignite the war between the Dakotas’ and the United States military, but tensions had been brewing long before that August day in 1862. The bodies of those five settlers would be brought, to what is now Litchfield, and buried at Ness Church.

I visited the church and the surrounding cemetery with one of C-to-C’s sponsors, when I was back in Minnesota this past spring.

Ness Monument to the fallen settlers

In the back corner of the cemetery, close to the rows of corn, stands a monument. Buried underneath, in one grave, are the first five victims of the U.S. -Dakota War: Robinson Jones, Viranus Webster, Howard Baker, Ann (Baker) Jones, and Clara Wilson.

The Ness Monument was erected on 13 September 1878, by the State of Minnesota. It is the third oldest monument in the state.

The original Ness Church, circa 1858

In 1970, the church & cemetery were listed officially, as a Minnesota Historical Site.

The church was founded by Ole Halverson Ness and his wife Margit, who arrived in the area in 1856. Ole Ness was a member of the Acton burial party.

Also buried in the cemetery is Andreas Olson, another victim of the U.S. -Dakota War. Olson was killed on 22 September 1862.

Historic Ness Church

The current church was built by settlers in 1874, a dozen years after the start of the U.S. – Dakota War. The church is said to be haunted by both Sioux Indians and the five settlers, in particular the young girl, Annie. The church historical society denies any haunting, although that has not stopped self-proclaimed ghost hunters from breaking into the church.

I witnessed no paranormal activity when I was there, but I did find the cemetery to be a very solemn place.

Camera for B&W photos: Kodak 66; Film: Kodak 120, Tri-X400

Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament

The X, Saint Paul Minnesota:


2016 marks the 72nd annual Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament, one of the largest such events in the country. I was in St Paul on Wednesday, the first day of the tournament, so I ventured over to The X for some first round action.

Litchfield & Germantown during warmups
Litchfield & Hermantown during warm ups

The Litchfield Dragons were taking on the Hermantown Hawks in the third game of the day. The Hawks had been state runners-up the previous six years in a row, and they played like they were on a mission. Cole Koepke would score 4 goals in an 11-3 romp. Kopek’s 4th goal was, to use the high school vernacular, sick. He took the puck at the top of the circles, skated in on the goal, a couple of stick handling moves put the goal tender on his rear end, then Koepke calmly put the puck into the back of the net.

Hermantown would go on to win the Class A Championship with a 5-0 win over Breck, behind a strong performance by their goaltender Luke Olson.

Wayzata celebrates
Wayzata celebrates first title, Photo credit: AARON LAVINSKY – STAR TRIBUNE

The Class AA Championship was between the Wayzata Trojans and the Eden Prairie Eagles on Saturday night. Eden Prairie was the obvious favorite, although Wayzata would take an early 1-0 lead behind some very physical play and sound defense.

Eden Prairie would score the next three and led 3-1 midway through the second period. That is when things took a turn for the interesting. Wayzata was called for a 5 minute major penalty, their second of the night. Trojan coach Pat O’Leary called a time out. Coming out of the time out, Billy Duma scored a short handed goal. Then Wayzata drew a penalty, and the teams were skating 4 on 4 when Matt Nelson scored to tie it up at 3.

Defenseman Logan Lindstrand scored from near the point in the third for what would be the game winning goal. The Trojans would add an empty netter with .8 seconds left for a 5-3 win, and the program’s first state title.

Clyde The Lucky Frog
Wayzata’s MVP: Clyde the Lucky Frog

Attendance for the Class AA session was 19,655. Over 22,000 attended Friday’s session for a new tourney single session record.