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 • Gardner Family Cemetery
 • Arnolds Park
 • Dickinson County
 • Iowa
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Abigail "Abbie" Gardner Sharp
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Birth: 1843
Death: Jan. 17, 1921
Colfax
Jasper County
Iowa, USA

"ABIGAIL GARDNER SHARP -
ORPHANED AND ENSLAVED BY HOSTILE SIOUX, SHE LIVED TO EMBRACE IN CHRISTIAN BENEVOLENCE THE AMERICAN INDIAN AND ALL MANKIND."

The Gardner family came to Lake Okoboji in July 1856 from New York. Because it was too late in the season to plant and harvest crops, the family brought enough food to last the winter months. They managed to build one cabin by winter, but weather prevented them from finishing a second. At the time of the massacre, Rowland Gardner, his wife, a son, two daughters, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren occupied the Gardner Cabin. A third daughter was in Springfield, Minnesota, at the time of the massacre.

By late winter in 1856, both the settlers and Dakota leader Inkpaduta's people were running out of supplies. Tensions ran high as Inkpaduta's people tried unsuccessfully to get food from the settlers. Finally, on March 8, anger turned into violence. Over several days, Inkpaduta's band killed 33 settlers and abducted four women, including Abbie Gardner. No one recorded the Dakota's losses. After the Okoboji attack, Inkpaduta's band travelled north, unsuccessfully attacked Springfield, Minnesota, settlers, and then fled west to the Dakotas where they killed two of the four captives. Later that spring, Inkpaduta released Abbie and another Okoboji captive after ransom was paid by Indian Agents from Minnesota.

After her release, Abbie Gardner joined her sister in Hampton, Iowa. In August 1857, she married Cassville Sharp. They raised two children before separating sometime in the 1880s.

Returning to Arnolds Park in 1891, Abbie purchased the cabin, operating it as one of Iowa's first tourist attractions until her death in 1921. For a quarter, or ten cents for children, visitors could see the displays in her log cabin museum and listen to her stories of the Spirit Lake Massacre, her captivity, and rescue. In her later years Abbie forgave the Native Americans and even developed a lifelong interest and admiration for Native-American culture. She collected many examples of Native-American artifacts which she displayed in her museum located in the log cabin. She collected pipestone from southwestern Minnesota and brought it back to Arnolds Park where she commissioned her neighbors to carve miniature replicas of the Spirit Lake Monument (dedicated in 1895). She sold these replicas as souvenirs in her museum shop. As part of her tourist business, Abbie Gardner-Sharp sold her book, The Spirit Lake Massacre, postcards, and other souvenirs.

Abbie died in Colfax, Iowa, in 1921.

See Spirit Lake Library's Spirit Lake Massacre Cemetery List 
 
Inscription:
"ABIGAIL GARDNER SHARP -
ORPHANED AND ENSLAVED BY HOSTILE SIOUX, SHE LIVED TO EMBRACE IN CHRISTIAN BENEVOLENCE THE AMERICAN INDIAN AND ALL MANKIND."

 
Burial:
Gardner Family Cemetery
Arnolds Park
Dickinson County
Iowa, USA
Plot: Gardner Family Cemetery
 
Created by: Steven Tynan
Record added: Jun 16, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14621814
Abigail Abbie <i>Gardner</i> Sharp
Added by: Steven Tynan
 
Abigail Abbie <i>Gardner</i> Sharp
Added by: Steven Tynan
 
Abigail Abbie <i>Gardner</i> Sharp
Added by: Steven Tynan
 
 
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Abigail's book can be read in full online on Google Books. googlebooks.com.
- D. Goodboe
 Added: Aug. 4, 2011
I remember visiting your grave many years ago and being enthralled by your story.
-Anonymous
 Added: Jun. 5, 2010
 
 
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