Alpha is a city in Jackson County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 116 at the 2010 census. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.17 square miles (0.44 km2), all of it land. The winter of 1856-1857 was one of the most severe that Jackson County ever experienced because of its bitter cold, deep snows, and violent storms. Food was scarce as all the white settlers had come too late to raise a crop or plant gardens. Consequently, all provisions had to be hauled from the nearest settlements of Webster City or Mankato.
Several bands of roving Indians visited the white settlers that winter. They were always received kindly, the settlers sharing their supplies. One of these was a gang led by Inkpaduta, a lawless band, who were enemies of all Indians because of their plundering, robberies and outrages. This was the group that in March 1857, after not being extended hospitality at Smithland, Iowa, massacred 40 settlers and took four women hostage in the Okoboji and Spirit Lake area before proceeding to Springfield, Minnesota.