Martyrs Graves

Field review by the editors.

Walhalla, North Dakota

The martyrdom occurred in 1852. Alternately known as "The Martyrs of Walhalla" or "The Martyrs of St. Joe," even though none of them were Catholic. They were, however, here to convert the Indians to Christianity, and the Indians evidently could tolerate that for only so long.

About a dozen people are buried here, each with a different type of headstone. A larger monument in the middle pays homage to all. Most of them were killed in a massacre in 1852, more were added after a smaller massacre in 1854. All martyrs are welcome here.

"Mrs. Cornelia Leonard Spencer," reads one inscription. "Killed by Indians August 30, 1854 at Walhalla, where she and her husband were laboring as missionaries." It seemed to us that the Indians had come back as mosquitoes when we visited, torturing people like us who visited the victims' graves. The bloodletting continues in Walhalla....

The only person in town who could direct us to these graves was an emaciated woman that we found drinking in an otherwise empty bar.

Martyrs Graves

Walhalla Cemetery

Division St., Walhalla, ND
Southwest of town. US 32 north into town, then left on Delano Ave, then another left on Division St. to Walhalla Cemetery. In a little tree-shaded corner of the cemetery, surrounded by a low, crumbling concrete wall.
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