Osakis Voices: A look back at Battle Point's history
As I sit down to write this article today, it's Valentine's Day, or as I call it a day of love. Please share it.
January went fast and we now have all union contracts signed for the next three years. We will start our financial committee meetings for the 2019 budget for Todd County next month.
I sit on a lot of committees and one that I have a lot of passion for is the Todd County Parks and Trails Board. Todd County has only one County Park, Battle Point Park located in Gordon Township on beautiful Lake Osakis. I have lived a little over a mile from this park all my life and will share a little history on it.
Todd County was established in 1855 but was not organized with officers until 1867. In 1866, Oliver H. Curtis became owner of the McKenzie claim in Section 6 of Gordon (I believe owned by the Mielkes today). In 1866, the year of his arrival in Gordon, he saw a war party of Sioux cross the lake near his father's place attack a band of Chippewa in the timber back of Battle Point. He could not see the fight because of the woods; but could hear the yells and hear the shooting. The Sioux were repulsed, and Curtis did not hear how much injury was done to either side.
This was not the battle which gave the name to the point. Curtis heard of that battle after he came; it had taken place some years before, and in that, the Sioux suffered a sanguinary defeat. At that time, a band of Sioux were trapped on the point by a large war party of Chippewa. There was no avenue of escape other than cutting a way through the attackers or swimming across the lake to the opposite shore. The full extent of the loss suffered by the Sioux is not known; but few escaped being killed on the point or being killed in the water while swimming to the west shore. The spot known as Battle Point is situated almost on the town line between Leslie and Gordon on the east shore of Lake Osakis.
All evidence goes to show that many battles have taken place in the past along the east shore of the lake. War axes, stone hammers, tomahawks, flint spears and arrowheads were constantly found in the soil along the shore.
But the Sioux and Chippewa were not the only ones fighting over Battle Point. There was a lawsuit by a landowner claiming he owned the point but he lost in a Todd County Court.
The people of the area have used Battle Point since Todd County was established. They got there by canoe, rowboat or steamboat to cars and trucks of today. They enjoy the beauty of the area to camp, picnic, swim, fish and hunt ducks. Someone a few years ago sent me a picture of Battle Point from 1905 and the beautiful white sandy beach it had on the north side. My first memory in the 1960s of Battle Point was camping. Every weekend in the summer it was full of campers. A lot of these people had local ties to the area; they were from Osakis and Long Prairie. Some had moved to the Twin Cities to work and would bring their family on weekends to camp. Others would just drive out and camp. Battle Point was always full even with the 26 resorts at the time on Lake Osakis. The garbage was picked up by an older gentleman from the Gutches Grove Community club and hauled away.
(More on Battle Point Park in April's column.)
Osakis Voices is a rotating column written by community leaders who share their thoughts in their field of expertise.