Ramsey County History – Spring 2000: “The Two Worlds of Jane Gibbs: The Gibbs Farm and the Santee Dakota”
The Two Worlds of Jane Gibbs: The Gibbs Farm and the Santee Dakota
Author: Julie A. Humann
This article begins with how a young girl, Jane DeBow, and the Santee Dakota people came to know and learn about each other, starting in 1834 when she was living near the village of the Dakota chief, Cloud Man, at Lake Calhoun (now part of Minneapolis). In the 1830s the Dakota were being encouraged to relinquish their traditional lifestyle of hunting and gathering for the uncertain risks and hardships of prairie agriculture. This experiment did not last for the Dakota; soon they and Jane DeBow both moved away to different places. In 1848 Jane married Heman Gibbs in Galena, Ill. and they moved to Minnesota (1849) where they settled on land that is now the Gibbs Farm in Falcon Heights, outside St. Paul. There Jane was reunited with many of her Dakota friends who camped on the Gibbs land during their travels back and forth between the Minnesota River and the wild rice fields to the north. The August 1862 US-Dakota War, which cost the lives of many white settlers and Dakota, drove the Dakota from Minnesota and ended the Dakota visits with the Gibbs family.