What’s Nancy working on now?

New Ulm, Minnesota

It’s founding, early settlers and attacks on it during U.S. Dakota War of 1862

Growing up in New Ulm, I didn’t learn much about the war on the prairie in 1862.  New Ulm was one of the places attacked by Dakota warriors was really the only fact I knew.  

When a chance comment got my curiosity activated, I began searching for sources to learn more.  There are tons of books and websites with an adult audience in mind, but not much for young readers. 

The more I read, the more I wanted to know about the people who lived at this time. What drew German immigrants from Chicago and Cincinnati to built a new settlement on the Minnesota River? What kind of lives did they live as they faced brutal winters, prairie fires, hot summers, and grasshoppers. How did they get enough food to eat? How did they build houses? How were the Dakota living? What caused them to attack civilian settlers in August and September of 1862?

Research has led me to resources in libraries and historical societies. I’ve also talked with people who have taken this research journey before me. Research is like putting together a puzzle.  You’re not finished until you have all the pieces assembled.


I’m always on the lookout for stories of ordinary people who have done remarkable things, but have never gotten the full recognition they deserve. Because I believe  young learners need to be able to see themselves in history, I search for stories of little-known people and events that need to be included in the telling of American history.

If you know of someone whose story needs to be told, please email me. I welcome all suggestions.

Email: [email protected]