The history of Branerd could not be even started to be written without the mention of those who were here first, the native Americans, our precious Indians. As I find information on them I will post it here.

-CHIPPEWA (Ojibwa):


Chief Bender (1884-1954), American baseball player, credited with inventing the pitch known as the slider. As a right-handed pitching ace for legendary manager Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics, Bender helped lead the team to five AL championships and three World Series titles. He led the American League (AL) in winning percentage three times, produced an earned run average (ERA) well under 2.00 for three consecutive seasons, and hurled one no-hitter.

Born in Brainerd, Minnesota, Charles Albert Bender played baseball and football at Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, the same school that would later produce multisport immortal Jim Thorpe. Like many Native American players of his era, Bender was saddled with the nickname Chief, although he always signed autographs Charles. He joined the Athletics and rose directly to the majors at age 19, never having played a minor league game. In 1905 he shut out the New York Giants for Philadelphia's only victory in that season's World Series. Over the next four years Bender compiled a 57-35 win-loss record, including a 23-5 mark in 1910. On May 12, 1910, he pitched a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians, relying heavily on a new pitch, the hard curveball that became known as the slider. He earned another a World Series victory in 1910 and two victories in both 1911 and 1913, becoming the first pitcher to amass six World Series wins.

Bender jumped to the newly formed Federal League in 1915 before playing the last two years of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League. He retired in 1917, but returned in 1925 for one inning with the Chicago White Sox-giving up one home run and one walk. In 15 seasons Bender compiled a 212-127 win-loss record with a 2.46 ERA. A manager, coach, and scout for many years, he was named to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953.

-LYNCHING: The hanging of two Indians or "half-breeds", likely innocent it was later found, a sad commentary on our early history. I found this reference to their names: "Lynchings of Gegoonce and Tebekokechickwabe, Brainerd, 1872"


Web posted Friday, March 5, 2004

Indians Brought Blueberries As Brainerd Feared Massacre

The Blueberry War was a never-to-be-forgotten incident to early settlers in the Brainerd area.

In the spring of 1872, an entire family, the Cooks, was murdered by Indians in the Leech Lake country. White settlers were "scared stiff." Would there be a recurrence of the Sioux outbreak and massacre of 1862?

News of the Cook family massacre still sizzled in the newspaper when a young crippled daughter of the McArthur's was missing and thought murdered by Indians.

+ There were several routes used by the Indians to reach the Mississippi River from Mille Lacs Lake and thus to north, south and east points.
+ Indians were determined to stop progress -- they stretched a rope of moose skin across the tracks near Deerwood in an effort to stop the first train. They were unsuccessful and were sent tumbling into snowbanks. They made no further efforts to stop trains.

After a public lynching of two-half breeds, the remains of the MacArthur girl were found -- four years later and the guilt' of the two half-breeds was never fully proved.

Whereas the Cook family was slain about 100 miles away, Helen McArthur's disappearance took place uncomfortably nearby. Brainerd had at least 1,000 able-bodied men, but they were unorganized.

Brainerd was afraid. With the lynching of the two half-breeds, there was fear that the Indians would avenge their deaths.

The night after the lynching, two exaggerated rumors spread throughout the town, one from the east and one from the west, colliding in the middle of Brainerd throwing a stiffening scare into the townspeople.

Seventy-five soldiers came to Brainerd, as a result of a wire from Sheriff John Gurreli, based upon the reports that Indians, sullen and threatening, were gathering in large, numbers.

After a survey of the local situation, 50 of them were sent back to St. Paul the day after they arrived.

About this same time, a number of Indians were seen moving into the town -- on foot and canoe. As it turned out, they were coming to Brainerd with blueberries to sell.

Thus ended the "Blueberry War."

Reproduced from the Centennial Edition of the Brainerd Daily Dispatch (1871-1971).


Located on the southwest corner of Front and Fourth Streets. Circa September 1872, two half-breed brothers who allegedly murdered a young girl, Helen McArthur, are lynched in front of this saloon. (St. Paul Pioneer Press, 22 October 1922, H. L. Bridgman, ‘Easterners Found Brainerd Roaring Camp of Vice in Woods 50 Years Ago; Wicked Town with No Future as Rail Center, View Expressed by Visitors, Gambling Open at Dolly Varden Club and Other ‘Joints’; Hanged Suspects.’)

Jack O’Neil, who shoots Faker George in 1877, keeps the bar at the Last Turn Saloon in November 1873. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 June 1922)

-OJIBWA (see Chippewa):