Fort Snelling is in Minnesota, but I am researching a time when it was part of the Michigan Territory, just after the Black Hawk War ended in 1832. My interest was piqued by an ancestor of mine who was born at the fort in 1836. Her father was the acting sutler at the fort. Her mother, Samantha Lockwood, was the sister of James Henry Lockwood, a prominent citizen in nearby Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. During the middle 1830’s, Zachary Taylor, future president, was a colonel in the regiment at the fort. Jefferson Davis, future Confederate president, served under him. Taylor’s daughter, Sarah, was the maid of honor at Samantha Lockwood’s marriage. Then Sarah fell in love with Jefferson Davis. Her parents disapproved, so they eloped. Sarah died of malaria three months after her marriage. After Samantha’s daughter was born in 1836, her husband disappeared and she married James Churchman, a circuit lawyer who was friends with Abraham Lincoln. Churchman and Lincoln were both on the circuit at this time in this area.
Talk about a time and space rich with stories! I am in the process of detailed research of the fort and its inhabitants for my next novel. Stay tuned for bits of intrigue, famous names, and lots of drama!