September 7, 2015
My wife, Silja, dog Brighid, and I were driving back from an undisclosed location after my weekend of inglorious au naturel volleyball, where we ended up in the crying position, 2nd place, when my wife saw a sign for Manannah and instinctive to find the road less traveled I took a left turn.
I have never been through Manannah Minnesota before and as such my slight detour to a little town on the Crow River was a step in Minnesota History
Well Manannah looks to be a town of 50 people, it had one place to spend money at the Hilltop Tavern, where it offered both a full menu AND pull tabs on the sign. The sign on the wall offered quite a full schedule of musical groups
Too bad they are closed on Monday and Tuesday, but at least are more open than the restaurant I reviewed on a blog in nearby Grove City.
The town offered a Catholic Church, the Church of Our Lady, which had a statue of Mary out front wearing Rosary Beads…..why would the blessed St Mary need Rosary beads? Maybe one of my Catholic friends can explain this to me.
On the west side of town there is a large monument to the Manannah Massacre. I was a little over a week late to observe the Anniversary to one of the many events that marked the Dakota Uprising of 1862.
Here Brighid and I are examining the monument. 4 displaced refugees, as the story goes, somewhere short of safety at Ft Abercrombie south of Fargo or Ft Snelling in St Paul, were ambushed by a Sioux war party and they were killed. The whole uprising was a story of greed, encroachment, poor leadership, bad timing, and retribution. The tribe was basically wiped out, 38 executed in a mass hanging in Mankato and 800 settlers killed. That is another story but one of the events occurred here.
Even stranger was the Chiavari Killings of 1886, which caused the death of a bridegroom during a chiavari or shivaree, before the poor guy had even consummated the marriage to the niece of his former wife, leaving the wife of 6 hours and 5 children destitute. Somehow in the melee of kidnapping the bride, the groom got shot. Under an earlier state law banning such practices, 20 people were charged and the perpetrator, a man reportedly named Daniel Danielson, hopefully not a relation, fled the jurisdiction never to be seen again. What is a shivaree?
In the US the shiveree is still prevalent in small, rural communities, especially in the mid west. It is NOT in the most part a negative or judgmental ceremony, but a pagan, joyous, riotous custom of chaos and disruption of wedding ceremonies. Often the bride is kidnapped and the groom “jailed”. Before the honeymoon, friends and family boobytrap the honey moon locale with shorted sheets, blocked toilets and drunken obnoxious clatter. All in fun.
I remember doing something like this when I was a kid in Wisconsin, but I don’t have good stories about them but have heard about them from my relatives.
The deceased is buried at the local cemetery a quarter mile from the Massacre memorial. Somehow this story seems to be part of a novel but relax, I will not base any story I write in Manannah
Well, in the end, I learned a little and I actually found a shortcut home, it saves 4 miles as I by-pass Paynesville…now I will call this the Manannah cutoff, all found and experienced on a whim….now I will be driving through this little bit of history many times.