Voices of Minnesota

Oral History Interview with Mary Myrick Hinman La Croix

DATE: February 8-14, 1980

INTERVIEWER: Betty Paukert Derrick

Mary Myrick Hinman LaCroix, born in 1889 in Birch Coulee, Minnesota, was the daughter of Mary Myrick, who was part Dakota Indian, and the Rev. Samuel Dutton Hinman, an Episcopal missionary to the Santee Sioux from 1860 to 1890 and founder of the Bishop Whipple Mission at the Lower Sioux Community near Redwood Falls, Minn. LaCroix grew up at the Santee Reservation in Nebraska, graduated from the Haskell Institute in Kansas, married Oliver LaCroix in 1910 and farmed at the Santee Reservation until 1923, when the couple moved to South Dakota and continued farming.

Subjects discussed include: the Rev. Hinman's experiences with the Dakota Indian community at Lower Sioux Agency during the outbreak of Dakota-white hostilities in 1862; at the Fort Snelling winter encampment afterward; at the Crow Creek (Dakota Territory) Reservation (1863-1866); at the Santee Reservation (Niobrara, Nebraska, 1866-1886); and again at Lower Sioux (1886-1890). The transcript also relates Hinman's relationship with Bishop Henry Whipple and a bitter legal dispute with Bishop William H. Hare, which effectively denied Hinman's priestly status from 1877 to 1887. Other topics include the Hinman family's experiences, LaCroix's childhood and education, her adult life farming in South Dakota and her recollections of various Dakota personages. Most of the transcript consists of historical information provided by Derrick, with LaCroix commenting on it.

LENGTH OF INTERVIEW: 3 hours 24 minutes

TRANSCRIPT: 59 pages