Let Them Eat Grass
August 18, 1862 - It had been a tough summer in southwest Minnesota. The Civil War had drained the federal government's resources, and for the Indian tribes who had been promised money and food in return for giving up their lands, the broken treaties were taking a deadly toll.
The Sioux were starving to death on a reservation while life-saving food supplies remained locked up in the general store. The store's owner was an ornery guy named Andrew Myrick. When tribesmen approached Myrick with a plea to purchase food on credit, he famously scoffed:
So far as I am concerned, if they are hungry let them eat grass or their own dung.
Many regard this comment as the spark that ignited the Dakota War of 1862, an incredibly bloody campaign of terror that claimed the lives of up to 800 white settlers. It culminated with a mass execution of 38 Dakota men in Mankato, Minnesota - the largest single-day execution in U.S. history.
Andrew Myrick was one of the first men to die in the wave of violence. His corpse was recovered on August 18th and it was noted that his mouth was stuffed with grass.