1862 – Rumored Indian Attack Panics Citizens

On this evening, Manitowoc settlers were awakened to the cry of “Indians are coming.” Messengers on horseback arrived from the Rapids, Branch, Kellnersville, and other nearby communities, announcing that Indians were burning everything in their path, starting what was known as the Fire and church bells gave warning to frightened residents. Over the next few days, people from the surrounding areas fled to Manitowoc and other city centers. Ox carts were loaded with women and children carrying their most valuable belongings. Men arrived with guns, axes, and pitchforks, anything with which to defend themselves and their community. A company of recruits from the Wisconsin 26th Regiment formed themselves into two scouting units, both of which returned to report that there was no threat of an Indian attack. Even after the excitement had subsided, many frightened farm families could not be persuaded to return home. [Source: ]