|Death: ||Aug. 20, 1862|
A Murray County pioneer who was killed by Dakota Indians during the US-Dakota War of 1862. His last name is pronounced "cook" and was mistakenly inscribed as "Kock" on the Lake Shetek Monument.
He and his wife Mariah Christina Koch were adventurous, hardworking, young immigrants from Germany. In 1859, they built his cabin and took a claim for the land surrounding it. They did not have any children. While at Lake Shetek, they grew a large vegetable garden and put 13 acres into corn, barley, buckwheat, and potatoes. They also raised cattle, pigs, and chickens.
Neither spoke English very well, although Mariah could speak it best. The local Dakota Indians found Andreas' German and broken English so difficult to understand that he was known as 'I-ya Sica,' meaning "bad talker".
The Kochs did not trade or interact with the Dakota as much as other settlers at Lake Shetek. It is speculated that behavior may have fostered resentment among the Indians and might have been one of the reasons Andreas was quickly singled out and killed by the Indians on Aug. 20, 1862.
Early in the morning, a group of Dakota Indians, who just came from the Hurd cabin to the north, arrived at the Koch cabin. The Indians asked Andreas to bring them some water from his well. While walking with two buckets towards his well, Andreas was shot in the back by the Dakota. He fell on his face and died almost immediately. His wife was sweeping the cabin and came out to see what was happening when the Dakota turned to her and told her to "go home to your mother." They allowed her to leave unharmed. She immediately fled to alert the other settlers of the apporaching danger.
Mariah made her way south to the Smith cabin and finally to the Wright cabin. At the Wright cabin, the settlers were told by the Indians they would be unharmed if they went away peacefully. Out-numbered and thinking they could not withstand a prolonged siege, they decided to accept the offer to leave unharmed. They then hitched their horses to a wagon. Some of the women and most of the children got into the wagon, the men walked alongside, and they headed east.
When the settlers were about two and a half miles east of the Wright cabin, the Dakota caught up to them. Chief Lean Grizzly Bear rode up to the horses pulling one of the wagons and took the reigns. Living descendants of both the settlers and of the Dakota warriors believe today that he just wanted to take the horses and was not going to harm the settlers. But one of the men - either William Duley or John Eastlick - shot and killed him. Suddenly, everything changed. The settlers fled into the slough, which was on lower ground and covered with tall prairie grass. In retaliation for killing their Chief, the Dakota immediately began shooting at the settlers. Some were wounded before they got to the slough. All of the settlers did their best to hide in the tall grass. During the shooting that continued for the next four hours, twelve settlers were killed.
Andreas' wife survived the attack and was taken captive by the Dakota. After 10 days of captivity, she and some of the other survivors were able to escape with the help of a sympathetic Dakota woman. She made her way to safety at Camp Release near present day Montevideo, Minn.
Andreas Koch's remains were found near his cabin by a burial party two months later. His remains were buried with the other dead from the slough in a shallow grave there. One year later, his remains were re-buried with 13 other slough victims in the mass grave at the location of the present site of the Lake Shetek Monument.
Minnesota Historical Society, Lake Shetek interpretive signs at the site of the Lake Shetek Monument, ed. by Cindy Coffin.
"Return to Shetek" documentary on DVD, produced by Barbara Britain,
Lake Shetek State Monument
Created by: Cindy K. Coffin
Record added: May 25, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 37509095