THE SECOND WILLIAM PENN
A true account of incidents that happened along the old Santa Fe Trail in the Sixties.
BY W.H. RYUS
By Col. Milton Moore
[Illustration: COL. MILTON MOORE.]
You who take the trouble to read these reminiscences of the Santa Fe Trail may be curious to know how much of them are literally true.
The writer of this preface was intimately acquainted with the author of this book, and knows that he has not yielded to temptation to draw upon his imagination for the incidents related herein, but has adhered strictly to the truth. Truth is, sometimes, "stranger than fiction," and is an indispensable requisite to accurate history, yet it may sometime destroy the charm of fiction.
The author of this book had a real and exceptional knowledge of Indian character and Indian traits, and his genuine tact in trading and treating with them, and the success which he had in sustaining friendly relations with them was one of the wonders of the West, and was a circumstance of much comment by those who had occasion to use the Santa Fe Trail.
It is small wonder, then, that "Little Billy of the Stage Coach" won for himself the title of the "Second William Penn."
In the early Sixties, the region through which the Old Trail passed was an unexplored territory where constant struggles for supremacy between the Wild Red Man and the hardy White man were carried on.
Many and tragical were the hardships endured by those who attempted to open up this famous highway and establish a line of communication between the East and the West. The only method of travel was by odd freight caravans drawn by oxen or the old-fashioned, lumbering uncomfortable Concord Stage Coaches drawn by five mules.
The stage coach carried besides its passengers the United States mail and express.
An escort of United States militia often accompanied the stage coach in order to protect it against attacks of the Indians at that time when the plains were invested with the Arapahoes, Comanches, Cheyennes, Kiowas and other tribes, some of whom were on the warpath, bedecked in war paint and feathers.
The Indians were often in search of something to satisfy their hunger, rather than the scalps of the white men. The author of this book won their confidence and friendship by dividing with them his rations, and showing them that he was willing to compensate them for the privilege of traveling through their country. He had so many friendly conferences and made so many treaties with them while on his trips across the plains that he came to be called the "Second William Penn."
He came into personal contact with the famous chiefs of the Indian tribes, and won their good will to such an extent that their behavior toward him and his passengers was always most excellent.
The author has, in these pages, told of many encounters between the whites and the Indians that were narrated to him by the Indians. He holds the Indians blameless for many of the attacks attributed to them, and calls attention to the Chivington Massacre and the Massacre of the Nine Mile Ridge, related in the following pages.
He begs the readers not to censure too severely the Indian who simply pleaded for food with which to satisfy his hunger, and sought to protect his wigwam from the murderous attacks of unscrupulous white men.
I gladly recommend this tale as sound reading to all who desire to know the truth concerning the incidents which actually occurred along the Old Trail, and the real friendly relations which existed between the Indians and the white men, such as our Author and Kit Carson, who were well acquainted with their motives and characteristics.
"Bathe now in the stream before you, Wash the war-paint from your faces, Wash the blood-stain from your fingers, Bury your war-clubs and your weapons, Break the red stone from this quarry, Mould and make it into Peace Pipes, Take the reeds that grow beside you, Deck them with your brightest feathers, Smoke the calumet together, And as brothers live henceforward."
REMINISCENCE OF THE OLD SANTA FE TRAIL.
BY W. H. RYUS, MAIL AND EXPRESS MESSENGER AND CONDUCTOR.
W. H. Ryus, better known as "the Second William Penn" by passengers and old settlers along the line of the Old Santa Fe Trail because of his rare and exceptional knowledge of Indian traits and characteristics and his ability to trade and treat with them so tactfully, was one of the boy drivers of the stage coach that crossed the plains while the West was still looked upon as "wild and wooly," and in reality was fraught with numerous, and oftentimes, murderous dangers.
At the time this story is being recalled, our author is in his seventy-fourth year, but with a mind as translucent as a sea of glass, he recalls vividly many incidents growing out of his travels over the Santa Fe Trail.
Having the same powers of appreciation we all possess, for confidences reposed in him, he lovingly recalls how his passengers would press him to know whether he would be the driver or conductor to drive the coach on their return. Some of these passengers declare that it was really beautiful to see the adoration many Indians heaped upon the driver, "Little Billy of the Stage Coach," and they understood from the overtures of the Indians toward "Billy" that they were safe in his coach, as long as they remained passive to his instructions, which were that they allow him to deal with whatever red men they chanced to meet.
Sometimes a band of Indians would follow his coach for miles, protecting their favorite, as it were, from dangers that might assail him. They were always peaceable and friendly toward Billy in exchange for his hospitality and kindness. It was a by-word from Kansas City to Santa Fe that "Billy" was one boy driver and conductor who gave the Indians something more than abuse to relate to their squaws around their wigwam campfires.
The dangerous route was the Long Route, from Fort Larned, Kansas, to Fort Lyon, Colorado, the distance was two hundred and forty miles with no stations between. On this route we used two sets of drivers. This gave one driver a chance to rest a week to recuperate from his long trip across the "Long Route." A great many of the drivers had nothing but abuse for the Indians because they were afraid of them. This made the Indians feel, when they met, that the driver considered him a mortal foe. However, our author says that had the drivers taken time and trouble to have made a study of the habits of the Indians, as he had done, that they could have just as easily aroused their confidence and secured this Indian protection which he enjoyed.
It was a hard matter to keep these long route drivers because of the unfriendliness that existed between them and the Indians, yet the Old Stage Company realized a secureness in Billy Ryus, and knew he would linger on in their employ, bravely facing the dangers feared by the other drivers and conductors until such a time as they could employ other men to take his place.
Within the pages of this book W. Ryus Stanton relates many amusing and interesting anecdotes which occurred on his stage among his passengers. From passengers who always wanted to return on his coach he always parted with a lingering hope that he would be the driver (or conductor, as the case might be) who would return them safely to their destination. Passengers were many times "tender-footed," as the Texas Rangers call the Easterners. Billy soothingly replied to all questions of fear, soothingly, with ingenuity and policy.
Within Billy's coach there was carried, what seemed to most passengers, a superfluity of provision. It was his fixed theory that to feed an Indian was better than to fight one. He showed his passengers the need of surplus foods, if he had an idea he would be visited by his Red Friends, who may have been his foes, but for his cunning in devising entertainment and hospitality for them. The menus of these luncheons consisted chiefly of buffalo sausage, bacon, venison, coffee and canned fruits. He carried the sausage in huge ten-gallon camp kettles.
The palace coaches that cross the old trail today pulled by the smoke-choked engines of the A.T. & Santa Fe R.R. carry no provision for yelling Comanches, Cheyennes, Arapahoes, etc. They lose no time treating and trading with the Indians, and are never out of sight of the miraculous changes exhibited by the advanced hand of civilization.
In 1861 He Starts as Mail Driver.
In the spring of 1861 I went home to Burlingame, Kansas, and went to work on the farm of O.J. Niles. I had just turned the corner of twenty-one summers, and I felt that life should have a "turning point" somewhere, so I took down with the ague. This very ague chanced to be the "turning point" I was looking for and is herewith related.
Mr. Veil of the firm of Barnum, Veil & Vickeroy, who had the mail contract from Kansas City, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, stopped over at Burlingame, Kansas, and there met Mr. Niles, the man for whom I was working. Mr. Veil told Mr. Niles that he wanted a farmer boy to drive on the Long Route because the stage drivers he had were cowards and not satisfactory. Niles told him that he had a farm hand, but, he added, "he won't go, because he has the ague." "Oh, well," Mr. Veil replied, "that's no matter, I know how to cure him; I'll tell him how to cure himself." So they sent for me, and Veil told me how to get rid of the ague. He said, "you dig a ditch in the ground a foot deep, and strip off your clothing and bury yourself, leaving only your head uncovered, and sleep all night in the Mother Earth." I did it. I found the earth perfectly dry and warm. I had not much more than engulfed myself when the influences of the dry soil began to draw all the poison out of my body, and I had, as I most firmly believe, the most peaceful and delightful slumber I had ever experienced since infancy. From that day until the present time I have never had another chill. I gained 40 pounds of flesh in the next three months. I have known consumption to be cured with the same "ague cure" on the plains.
The distance from Kansas City to Fort Larned, Kansas, is three hundred miles. The distance from Fort Larned to Fort Lyon, New Mexico, is two hundred and forty miles, and from Fort Lyon to Fort Union it is one hundred and eighty miles, from Fort Union to Santa Fe it is one hundred and eighty miles, making nine hundred miles for the entire trip.
The drive from Fort Larned, Kansas, to Fort Lyon, Colorado, was known as the Long Route, being 240 miles, with no stations between; but across that treacherous plain of the Santa Fe Trail I made the trip sixty-five times in four years, driving one set of mules the entire distance, camping out and sleeping on the ground.
The trips were made with five mules to each coach, and we took two mules with us to supply the place of any mule that happened to get sick. Sometimes, strange to note, going on the down grade from Fort Lyon to Fort Larned we would have a sick mule, but this never occurred on the up-grade to Fort Lyon. When a mule was sick we left it at Little Coon or Big Coon Creek. Little Coon Creek is forty miles from Fort Larned. When Fort Larned was my headquarters I always went after my sick mules, if I had any, the next day and brought them in. Fort Larned was the regular built fort with a thousand soldiers, a settlers' store, and the Stage Company's station with its large corral of mules and horses; it was the headquarters of the Long Route to furnish the whole route to Santa Fe. If the sick mules happened to be at Little Coon Creek, the round trip would be eighty miles, and it would sometimes take me and my little race pony several days to make the trip, owing of course to the condition of the sick mule and its ability to travel. Camping out on these trips, I used my saddle for a pillow while my spread upon the ground served as my bed. I would tie the lariat to the saddle so the pony would graze and not get too far away from our "stomping ground." If the wolves came around, which they often did, the pony would come whinnying to me, stamp on the ground and wake me up. I usually scared them away by shooting over their heads.
When we had several passengers, and wished to make time, we took two coaches with two drivers and one conductor who had charge over the two coaches. There was the baggage of several passengers to carry, bedding for ourselves, provision for the whole crew and feed for the mules. We usually made from fifty to sixty miles a day, owing to the condition of the road and weather.
Sometimes coyotes and mountain wolves would molest us. The mountain wolf is about as large as a young calf, and at times they are very dangerous and blood-thirsty. At one time when my brother, C.W. Ryus, was with me and we were going into Fort Larned with a sick mule, five of those large and vicious mountain wolves suddenly appeared as we were driving along the road. They stood until we got within a hundred feet of them. I cracked my whip and we shot over their heads. They parted, three going on one side of the road and two on the other. They went a short distance and turned around and faced us. We thought we were in for a battle, and again we fired over their heads, and, greatly to our satisfaction and peace of mind, they fled. We were glad to be left alone and were willing to leave them unharmed. Had we used our guns to draw blood it is possible that they would have given chase and devoured us. We would not have been in the least alarmed had we advanced upon five Indians, for we would have invited them to join us and go to the station with us and get something to eat. Not so with the wolves, they might have exacted our bodies before they were satisfied with the repast.
I was never afraid of Indians, so hardly ever took an escort. My greatest fear was that some white man would get frightened at the sight of the reds and kill one of their band, and I knew if that should happen we were in grave danger. I always tried to impress my passengers that to protect ourselves we must guard against the desire to shoot an Indian. Not knowing how to handle an Indian would work chaos among us. The Indians did not like the idea of the white race being afraid of them--the trains amassing themselves together seemed to mean to the Indian that they were preparing for battle against them, and that made them feel like "preparing for war in time of peace."
At one time on my route I remember as we were passing Fort Dodge, Kansas, a fort on the Arkansas River, there was a caravan of wagons having trouble with the Indians. I had an escort of some ten or fifteen soldiers, but we passed through the fray with no trouble or hair-splitting excitement.
The Nine Mile Ridge Massacre.
During the coldest time in winter, in the month of January, 1863, nine freight wagons left Santa Fe, New Mexico, on their way East. A few miles before they reached the Nine Mile Ridge they encountered a band of almost famished Indians, who hailed with delight the freight wagons, thinking they could get some coffee and other provision. In this lonely part of the world, seventy-five miles from Fort Larned, Kansas, and a hundred and sixty-five miles from Fort Lyon, without even a settler between, it was uncomfortable to even an Indian to find himself without rations.
The Nine Mile Ridge was a high elevation above the Arkansas River road running close to the river, on top of the ridge. The Indians followed the wagons several miles, imploring the wagon boss to give them something to eat and drink, which request he steadily refused in no uncertain voice. When it was known by the red men that the wagon boss was refusing their prayers for subsistence they knew of no other method to enforce division other than to take it from the wagons.
The leader of the band went around to the head of the oxen and demanded them to corral, stop and give them some provision. During the corraling of the train one wagon was tipped partly over and the teamster shot an Indian in his fright. Then the Indians picked up their wounded warrior, placed him on a horse and left the camp, determined to return and take an Indian's revenge upon the caravan. The wagon boss went into camp well satisfied--but not long was his satisfaction to last.
After the Indians departed several teamsters who thought they knew what was desired by the Indians reproached their wagon-boss for not having complied with their request to give them food. His action in refusing food resulted in a mutiny on the part of the teamsters, and after the oxen were turned out to graze, the dispute between the teamsters and the wagon-boss became so turbulent that if a few peaceably inclined drivers had not arraigned themselves on the side of the wagon-boss he would have been lynched.
Before daylight the Indians returned and attacked the wagons and killed all the whites but one man who escaped down the bank into the river. He floated down until he was out of hearing of the Indians. When he was almost worn out and half frozen he got out of the river, wrung the water from his clothing and started for Fort Larned, seventy-five miles distant. After leaving the water he noticed a fire, and knew instinctively that the Indians had set fire to their wagons, and wondered how many, if any, of the company had escaped as he had so far done.
Late in the afternoon of the next day a troop of soldiers discovered this man several miles from Fort Larned in an almost exhausted condition, dropping down and getting up again. The commanding officer sent out some soldiers and brought him to the fort. I talked with this man, and he told me that if the wagon-boss had given the Indians something to eat, entertained them a little, or given them the smallest hospitality, he believed they would all have been saved from that massacre.
He said the Indians plead with the wagon-boss for food, and he thought if the teamster had not lost his equanimity and made that first luckless shot the massacre of the Nine Mile Ridge would never have become a thing of history.
This tragedy created a great fright and made traveling across the plains difficult. The Indians were hostile only because they did not know the minds of the white men, and what their attitude toward them would be, if they were not always prepared to defend themselves. Therefore the people traveling on the plains in trains amassed themselves together for protection, and the people at Fort Larned with their soldiers were very much wrought up over the atrocious murders and the destruction of property all along the whole Western frontier. In time of war one false step may cause the death of hundreds. In this case the commanding officer of the fort took the precaution to send out runners to call the Indians together to the fort, in order to learn, if possible, the cause of this fearful massacre and to get their statement concerning their action.
The two Indians who came in verified the statement of the ox-driver, and declared that if the teamster had not killed their inoffensive warrior who only asked for something to eat there would have been no trouble at all from them.
In defense of the Indian I will say that the people in general were all the time seeking to abuse him. In almost all instances where I have read of Indian troubles I have noticed that at all times it grew out of the fact that the whites invariably raised the trouble and were always the aggressors. Nevertheless, newspaper reports and any other report for that matter, laid the blame at the door of the wigwam of the red man of the forest.
It is my opinion that most of the trouble on the frontier was uncalled for. The white man learned to fear the Indians always, when there was no attempt on the part of the Indian to do him harm. Many times while I was crossing the plains have bands of from thirty to forty Indians or more come to us, catching up with us or passing us by. Had I not understood them and their intentions as well as I did we would more than likely have had trouble with them or have suffered severe inconvenience. We never thought of fear when they were going along the road, and many times I would call them when I would camp for meals to come and get a cup of coffee. They would go back with us to camp. We did not care what their number was, we would always divide our provisions with them. If there were a large number of Indians, and our provisions were scarce, I would tell them so, but also tell them that notwithstanding that fact I still had some for them. Then if they only got a few sups of coffee around and a little piece of bread they were always profoundly grateful and satisfied that we had done our best.
In order to let them know we were scarce of bread, etc., I would say, "poka te keta pan;" in the Mexican language that is interpreted "very little bread." Bread, in the Mexican or Indian language, is "pan," and when they understood they would say "si," which is interpreted "yes." They showed us their appreciation for the little they received just as though we had given them a whole loaf of bread apiece.
If we only had a few cups of coffee and had seventy or eighty Indian guests we would give it to one of the Indians and he would divide it equally among his number. He would place the cup so it would contain an equal amount of the coffee. Then one of the Indians would get up from the ground (they always sit on the ground grouped all about us when they ate with us) and take the cups and hand them around to every fifth man, or such a one as would make it average to every cup of coffee they had. The Indians would break the bread and give to each one, according to what his share equally divided would be. When they come to drink their coffee every Indian who had a cup would raise it to their lips at once, take a swallow of the beverage, then pass the cup on to the next one. They did the bread the same way. After finishing their repast they invariably thanked us profusely in their Indian style for what they had been given. There were times when I had plenty of provisions to give them all they needed or required to satisfy their hunger. At no time was my coach surrounded with hostile intent without departing from it in friendliness. At the same time I knew they had some great grievances.
[Illustration: The First William Penn, in 1670, Treating with the Indians.
This picture is placed in the book for the purpose of drawing attention to the methods employed by the First William Penn in connection with the same methods employed by the Second William Penn to successful treaty with the Indians. His friendliness overcame any hostilities which they might have previously had.]
Ryus' Coach Is Surrounded by Indians, Their Animosities are Turned to Friendliness, Through Ryus' Wit and Ingenuity--"Hail the Second William Penn."
At one time in the year of 1864 when I arrived in Fort Larned on my way from Kansas City, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, there was a great scare, and a commanding officer, Colonel Ford, told me that they expected a raid on them most any time from Indians.
In July of that year the Cheyennes, Kiowas, Arapahoes and some Comanche and Hickory Apaches were camped a mile north of Fort Larned. The commanding officer of the fort told me he could only let me have about thirty soldiers for an escort. I told him that if we should have trouble with the Indians thirty soldiers would be just as good as a thousand, and that I had rather take my chances with thirty soldiers than more.
We left Fort Larned a little before noon and arrived at Big Coon Creek, twenty-two miles from Fort Larned, where we stopped for supper at about four o'clock in the afternoon. A lieutenant of my escort in charge of the soldiers put out a guard. While we were eating supper the guards shot off their guns and came rushing into camp with news that a thousand or more Indians were hidden along the banks of Coon Creek. The lieutenant placed double guard and came out to me and gravely suggested that we go back to Fort Larned and get more soldiers before attempting to cross farther into the Great Divide.
I told the lieutenant to take his soldiers and go back to Fort Larned and I would go on. He asked me why I did not go alone in the first place. I told him that I needed him NOW, and he asked me how that was, I told him that if he would take his soldiers and go back to Fort Larned the Indians would follow him and let me alone. He said he would go with me. We finished our dinner and I went to the soldiers' wagons and got two big armfuls of bread, about sixty pounds of bacon and a large bucket of coffee. I took them down to our camp, spread a newspaper upon the ground, laid the bacon, bread and coffee on the spread, placed a handful of matches near the bread, then went to our own mess and took several cans of coffee and bread from it, left them one of our buckets and an extra coffee pot that I carried with me, and got a large camp kettle from the soldiers and left it for the Indians. Then I gathered a few more buffalo chips and placed on the fire to keep it from going out, and my plan was complete.
I told the lieutenant to take his soldiers and drive on over the hill just out of sight and to stop there. I sent one of my coaches ahead and all of my passengers got into that coach. I told my driver to go up to the top of the hill and stop the mules there, but to keep in sight of me. I had my coach driven up the road about 100 yards, and on looking up the creek I saw one Indian in war paint and feathers looking around the bluff at me. That was the only one of their band I could see, so I got up on top of my coach and motioned for him to come to me.
[Illustration: "Billy of the Stage Coach," Treating with the Indians.]
Two Indians came up to within 100 feet of me, stopped and looked all around. (Indians are very cautious that they do not get caught in a trap). They rode up closer, looking intently at me all the time and talking to each other. I motioned with both hands while I was standing on top of the coach to come and I made them understand that I was friendly. They answered by Indian signs, then gave a big yell,--an Indian whoop--that liked to have froze the blood in the veins of the passengers. They gave this whoop three times, and in an instant, it seemed to me, five or six hundred Indians came down and formed in a line about the coach on top of which I stood. I bowed to them and pointed to the supper I had prepared for them. "They came, they saw, and were conquered." They bowed to me in their Indian language and signs expressing their gratitude for this hospitality. One old Indian came forward, laid his bow and arrow and spears upon the ground (the Indian sign of peace) and motioned for me to come and eat with them. I motioned to them that I must go on, so they said good-bye. When I got to the top of the hill I had my coach brought to a standstill. I slapped my hands together and again motioned them good-bye. All at once these Indians raised their hands and bade me good-bye, saluting me. These Indians were fierce looking creatures in their war-paint and with their spears, which they do not carry unless they expect trouble. That was the last time I saw those Indians on that trip.
We had no other excitement on our way to Fort Lyons, unless the encounter with the buffalo herds could be so called. A large herd of buffalo were grazing on the plains and was not an unusual sight for the drivers and me. However, when we came in sight of them one passenger cried out, "Stop the coach, stop the coach; see, there are a thousand buffalo standing belly deep in the lake." "Oh," I said, "you do not see any water--that isn't a lake." "What?" one said, "do our eyes really deceive us out here on these infernal plains? If it is not water and a lake those buffalo are standing in, what in the name of sense is it?" I told them that what they saw was nothing more than merely buffalo at a distance on the plain; that what they saw that resembled water was simply an optical illusion, called the "mirage." Webster describes the word as follows: "An optical illusion arising from an unequal refraction in the lower strata of the atmosphere and causing remote objects to be seen double, as if reflected in a mirror, or to appear as if suspended in the air. It is frequently seen in the deserts, presenting the appearance of water. The Fata Morgana and Looming are species of mirage." The mirage is one of the most beautiful scenes I ever beheld and can only be seen on the plains or in deserts in its complete beauty. It has to be seen to be appreciated. It makes a buffalo look like it had two tails. Everything looks double.
We had not much sooner spied the buffalo than they spied us and they started on the run across the road ahead of us. We were compelled to wait a half an hour until they had crossed the road. We passed ox trains every day or so going to and from New Mexico. In a few days we were in Fort Lyon, where we separated from the passengers, and we drivers would take the incoming coach and its passengers and drive back along the Long Route.
The Chivington Massacre.
There was a station on the Union Pacific Road called Kit Carson; near this station is a place called Sand Creek. It was at the latter named place where Major John L. Chivington made his bloody raid.
In the summer of 1864 the combined Indian tribe went on the warpath. They were camped north of Fort Larned, garrisoned with Kansas troops and a section of a Wisconsin battery in charge of Lieutenant Croker, and Captain Ried was the commanding officer. The Indians first commenced war at Fort Larned and ran off some horses, beef cattle and some milch cows that were the property of James Brice.
At the time Chivington made this raid there was camped at Sand Creek about one hundred and fifty lodges of women, children and a few decrepit Indians. This was one of the most brutal massacres a white man was ever known to have commanded. With some sixty soldiers he said he would go and "clean 'em up." He got there at daybreak and began to fire on the Indians and killed a great many women and children. He burned several lodges, confiscated their provisions, blankets and other supplies. The Indian braves who were able to fight had some poisoned arrows which they used advantageously. Every soldier they hit was either seriously injured or killed. Up in the day the Indians got reinforcements and gave Chivington's raiders quite a chase. These Indians were left entirely destitute, for Chivington had seized all the supplies and either loaded them into his wagons or destroyed them by fire. For that reason the surviving Indians commenced depredations on the stock and other property of settlers at Fort Larned.
It is said, but as to the truthfulness of the assertion I do not vouch, for it did not happen under my personal knowledge--that a man by the name of McGee, who was a teamster on a train loaded with flour for the Government, was captured not far from there and was scalped and left for dead; that the Eastern mail happening to come along shortly after, found the body and placed it upon the boot of the coach; that before arriving at Fort Larned they found that instead of carrying a corpse, as it was at first supposed, they carried a living man. This man was taken to a hospital and got well. He raised a family of children and his sons, some of them live in or around Independence, Missouri. This man, Mr. McGee, is said to be the only scalped man in the United States who lived after being scalped.
After this brutal crime against the Indians, trouble commenced on the Santa Fe Trail, and the sight of a "pale face" brought memories of the assassination of their tribe by Chivington and his raiders.
At this Indian lodge where the Chivington massacre occurred lived the father-in-law of John Powers. He was known the plains over as a peaceable old Indian (Old One Eye), the chief of the Cheyennes, but his "light was put out" during this desperate fight with Chivington.
Right here I will give an account of the marriage of John Powers to the daughter of "Old One Eye."
Mr. Powers had crossed the plains several times as wagon-boss for Colonel Charles Bent, who was the builder of Bent's Fort, also the new fort at Fort Lyons. He was also wagon boss for Mr. Winsor, the settler at Fort Lyon at the time of his marriage to the daughter of the old chief.
Mr. Powers' mother, Mrs. Fogel, and his stepfather received the news of Powers' marriage with many misgivings and rebuked him severely for having made such a choice, finally vowing that they disowned him and never wanted to see him again. With a finality not at all disconsolate John Powers set about to polish his Indian wife for the polite society of his mother, so he sent her to school, chaperoned by Miss Mollie Bent.
At the school at West Port this Indian girl soon excelled and under the careful management of Miss Bent the wife of John Powers soon became an expert in domestic science. But Powers, getting impatient for a meeting between his mother and wife, asked Mollie Bent to arrange it. So accordingly Miss Mollie visited at the home of her friends, the Fogels, and during the gossip Miss Bent casually remarked to Mrs. Fogel that she had a most charming friend, an Indian maid, over at the school whom she would like to introduce to her.
When Mrs. Fogel insisted upon her coming over the following Saturday, bringing with her her friend, Mollie Bent's heart was little less glad than John Powers.
At last the eventful day had arrived. Mollie, accompanied with John's "Indian squaw," went to the home of Mrs. Fogel. The high-spiritedness of the Indian maid soon captivated Mrs. Fogel. After they had eaten supper Mrs. Fogel was ordered to go to the front porch and entertain her other visitor, Miss Mollie Bent, while she (Mrs. John Powers) did up the kitchen work and cleared up the dining room. Mrs. Fogel did so with reluctance, wondering greatly just how a real Indian would do up her greatly "civilized" kitchen work. But she did not wonder long, for very soon, indeed, the daughter of "Old One Eye" came to inquire of her host where to place the dishes and how to arrange the dining room.
Mrs. Fogel was as pleased as she was surprised at the neatness and despatch with which the work had been done and told her daughter-in-law so, little knowing that she was dealing with her own son's wife. Each Saturday after this John Powers' wife visited at the home of her mother-in-law and learned many things from Mrs. Fogel that only endeared her more to the Fogel family. Swiftness and despatch is one of the Indian characteristics.
Early in the spring of 1863 Colonel Bent sold John Powers his train of nine wagons for $10,000. Powers then started to the states in February to load up. He loaded with corn to be taken to Fort Union, New Mexico, for the Government. With his two original wagons his trip netted him $10,000. He immediately returned to the states to make his second trip and to visit his wife and Miss Mollie Bent in Kansas City, Missouri. His mother did not know he was there. When he arrived in Kansas City from his second trip he decided to put his "spurs" on, so to speak, so he bought him a fine carriage, a team of prancing horses, and went like a "Prince of Plenty" to the home of his mother.
It had already been planned that Hiawatha One Eye Powers, that is, Mrs. John Powers, would be ensconced at the home of Mrs. Fogel, his mother. Mollie Bent was there, and girl like, was delighted over the romance being enacted under that roof. The heart of the Indian maid was beating a happy tattoo under her civilian dress.
A cloud of dust up the road announced that John was now near the parental roost. Mrs. Fogel with her motherly solicitude was awaiting him with happy tears dimming her eyes. She took in with all a mother's fondness his high-stepping prancers, his prosperous appearance, last but not least the entire absence of the Indian daughter-in-law.
When the greeting of mother and son was over they went into the house where Mrs. Fogel introduced her Indian friend, remarking as she did so that she was a rare and exquisite wild flower of the plains. Consternation and surprise chased themselves over Mrs. Fogel's features when she, turning, beheld her protege pressed upon her son's breast. With eyes ablaze with happy lights he led her to his mother, saying, "Mother, I now introduce you to my wife."
When Mrs. Fogel had recovered from the surprise which accompanied the shock of this disclosure she seized the girl in her motherly arms, and if ever a girl got a "hugging" Hiawatha got one from an ACTUAL mother-in-law.
Mollie Bent was hysterical, laughing and crying at the same time.
When John Powers had loaded his train he took back with him his wife and her friend, Miss Mollie Bent, as far as Fort Lyon. Fifteen years after this incident I met John Powers in Topeka, Kansas. He looked at me a long time and I returned his stare. Finally he said, "Ho, there, ain't your name Billy, the boy who used to get along with the Indians so well, cuss your soul?" I told him that I was, and he said, "I'm right glad to see you again, Billy." I asked him if he wasn't John Powers, and he told me he was. Then I asked him his business in Topeka, and he told me he had just brought his two daughters to Bethany College at Topeka, Kansas.
Mr. Powers was at that time badly afflicted with cancer of the tongue, and he told me that he hadn't long to live. He also told me that he had bought the Old Arcadia Indian Camp on the Picketwaire River (Picketwaire means River of Lost Souls or Purgatory to the Indians). The camp is between Fort Lyons and Bent's Old Fort on the opposite of the river. Some of the land at that time was rated at $50 per acre and is now, most of it, worth $100 per acre. His rating at the time of death in Dun & Bradstreet's Commercial Report was four million dollars. That was the last time I ever saw him.
Barnum, Veil and Vickeroy Go a Journeying With Barlow and Sanderson.--Vickeroy Is Branded "U.S.M."
In the fall of 1863 I quit the Long Route and went up on what is known as the Denver Branch, driving from Bent's Old Fort, Colorado, to Boonville, Colorado. On my last drive across the Long Route I had a party of "dead heads." They were the "bosses"--owners of the Stage Coach Company Line. That is, Barnum, Veil and Vickeroy were, and Barlow and Sanderson were going over the trip with these fellows with a view of buying out the interest of Vickeroy. There were three more passengers, all on fun intent.
All of these fellows were, we will call it for lack of a better word, "on a toot" and having lots of fun. They had poked so much fun at Vickeroy that they finally got the best of him. Vickeroy enlisted the three passengers on his side and sought an opportunity to "turn the tables," so they made it up to brand Barlow and Sanderson with the branding iron that was used to brand the company's mules. This iron had the letters U.S.M. (United States Mail) on it. When I placed the frying pan on the fire and it commenced to "siz," Vickeroy and two of the passengers stood Barlow on his head and told him they were going to use the branding iron. Barlow thought the branding iron was surely going to be used upon the seat of his pants, but the accommodating Vickeroy had the frying pan used instead. He gave the victim three taps on the seat of his pants with the hot frying pan, one tap for "U," one for "S" and the other for "M," then slapped him soundly and said, "Go, Mr. Mule, when the Indians find you they will take you to the station because your brand shows you to be the 'United States Male.'" Barlow's howls and Vickeroy's laughter made those old plains resound with noises which may have caused the spooks to walk that night. They were having lots of fun about the "branded 'incoming' mule," or the new member of the company that might be. All went smoothly a few days, but Vickeroy would occasionally ask us how long they thought it would take a brand to wear off so people could not know their "mule."
"Every dog has its day," and the day for Barlow's revenge was slowly but surely coming. The second day after the episode described I had the frying pan over the red hot coals fairly sizzling with a white heat ready to place my buffalo steak onto it, but Barlow told me to "wait a minute" and he said he "would attend to that skillet." I saw something was in the air, so I took a back seat and awaited events.
About the time Vickeroy was unraveling some big yarn, all unconscious of the designs Barlow had upon him, Veil and Sanderson grabbed him and had quite a tussle with him to get him in a position to apply the branding iron. The imprint left on the seat of Vickeroy's pants was not U.S.M. this time, it was burned and scorched flesh, for lo, the tussle with his determined tormentors had lasted too long,--the frying pan had gotten too hot for good branding purposes, and for the comfort of the branded one's hams.
When Mr. Barlow saw the condition of Mr. Vickeroy's clothing, he was full of apologies, but the passengers would hear nothing of them, saying that it was always bad for unruly mules when they got to kicking, and Vickeroy would have to swallow his chagrin. The windup was a new "seat" installed and a cushion for the "kicking mule."
Colonel Boone Gets Judge Wright's Enmity. Lincoln Appoints Col. A.G. Boone Indian Agent. Arrangements Are Made With Commissioners For Indian Annuities. Mr. Haynes Sends Troops to Burn Out Colonel Boone.
Driving from Bent's Old Fort to Boonville, Colorado, was usually a pleasant drive for me. After I quit the Long Route and took up the Denver Branch, I made my home with Colonel A.G. Boone, who is a great great grandson of the immortal Daniel Boone.
President Lincoln was inaugurated in March, 1860, he saw Major Filmore of Denver, Colorado, paymaster of the army, who was in Washington during the last of March after the inauguration. He asked him if he knew of a good man, capable of going among the Indians to make treaties with them, so that transportation could cross the plains without escorts. Major Filmore told the President that he knew Colonel A.G. Boone to be a fearless man, that he was not only fearless, competent and capable, but that no other man could do the work as efficiently as Colonel Boone, because the Indians were so friendly disposed toward him. Lincoln said: "Major, I wish you would see this Colonel for me, immediately. Give him funds to come to Washington at once, for I want to have a consultation with him on this 'Indian question.'"
Colonel Boone went to Washington, as arranged, and gave President Lincoln his views on the subject under consideration. Colonel Boone, in company with the President of the United States, went to the Board of the Indian Commissioners. After talking over the various ways of handling Indians, and giving his opinion of the different ways to accomplish a safer journey across the plains without encountering hostilities from Indians--he asked the Commissioners, and President, what it was they particularly desired him to do? They told him that they had sent for him to find out from him what he would do. They told him they wanted him to sketch out how he would first proceed to such a task. "Well," Colonel Boone replied, "do you want to give the Indians any annuities, or what would be called annuities--quarterly annuities of clothing, provisions, etc., and if so, how much, and so on?" The commissioners made a rating. After considerable figuring, submitted their figures to Boone's consideration. Upon looking the figures over, Boone told them to cut those figures half in two. They thought they had figured as closely as Boone would think expedient, and rather feared the amount they had first allowed each one was too small. Colonel Boone said: "If you figure the weight of the product you send them, you will find it will take a good many trains to transport it yearly." Said he: "Not only cut it in two, gentlemen, but cut it into eighths. Then perhaps you can be sure to keep your agreement with them."
As to agreements, Indians are still, and have always been most particular about living up to them. Personally, I would not make an agreement with an Indian, however trivial, that I did not mean to carry out to the letter. They have always been with me most careful to comply with the terms of their contracts.
Colonel Boone was made Indian Agent, but President Lincoln told Colonel Boone that he could not furnish him very many soldiers as escort on account of the war. Mr. Boone told him he did not want an army, but that he did want about three ambulances and the privilege of selecting his own men to go with him.
Arrangements were then made to forward to Fort Lyon blankets, beads, Indian trinkets, flour, sugar, coffee and such other articles of usefulness as is generally found in settlement stores or commissaries. When Colonel Boone told President Lincoln that he did not care for an army of soldiers for escort, the President seemed astonished, and asked him how he dared go down the Arkansas River without a good escort. Boone told him that it was his idea that he would be safer with three men, the ones he selected to go with him, viz.: Tom Boggs, Colonel Saint Vraine, Major Filmore and Colonel Bent than he would be with a thousand soldiers.
The first thing Boone did was to send out runners to have the Indians come in to Big Timbers, on the Arkansas River, where Fort Lyon is now located. There Colonel Boone began his negotiations with the Indians that opened up the Santa Fe Trail to such an extent that traveling was less dangerous and expensive.
In the second place, Colonel Boone and his party proceeded to Fort Lyon and at once began negotiations with the Indians as per his contract with the Indian Commissioners and President Abraham Lincoln.
When they arrived at the place appointed where the agency was to be established, there were camped about thirty thousand Indians with their Indian provisions, buffalo meat, venison, antelope, bear and other wild meats, and John Smith and Dick Curtis, who were the great Indian interpreters for all the tribes. The Comanches, Kiowas, Cheyennes, Sioux, Arapahoes, Acaddas, and other tribes, with Colonel Boone, arrived at a complete understanding, and for about two years the Indians were kindly disposed toward the Whites, or as long as Colonel Boone's administration as Indian Agent existed. Any one then could cross the plains without fear of molestation from the Indians.
Colonel Boone Acquires Squire Wright's Enmity.
In 1861, however, Judge Wright of Indiana, a member of Congress during Boone's administration as Indian Agent, brought his dissipated son to Colonel Boone's. Colonel Boone told the Congressman to leave him with him and he could clerk in the Government store and issue the Indian annuities.
This boy soon became a very efficient clerk, quit his drinking, and under Colonel Boone's persuasion, developed into an honorable and upright citizen of the United States.
When congress adjourned, Congressman Wright came again to the Indian Agency at Fort Lyons where he had left his son with Colonel Boone. Finding this son so changed, so assiduous to business, so positive in manner, so thoroughly free, as it seemed from the follies of his younger days--follies that had warped all his best natures--due, as Judge Wright was compelled to confess, to the timely efforts of Colonel Boone, there sprang into the breast of Judge Wright an unquenchable flame of jealousy. What right had Colonel Boone to hold such an influence over this boy, the pampered and humored dissipate of this Congressman from Indiana, when his own commands, and his mother's prayers had held no such influence?
It was with sadness that Judge Wright remembered the weak lad he had left on Colonel Boone's hands, a victim of a father's lack of training, and found here, instead, the same lad, but with much of the weakness erased, a man now, with an ambition to do and to be.
At sight of this miracle wrought by the cleverness of Colonel Boone, Judge Wright rebelled. There entered his heart, a subtle fiend, a poisoned arrow, inspired by the rescuer of his son, good, brave, Colonel Boone. Had not this stranger entered the heart of his boy and opened up the deep wells of his intellect, buoyed up a hope within his heart that goodness was greatness, and opened his eyes to the pitfalls into which he would eventually fall, if he kept on the way he was going? In fact, Colonel Boone had sounded the message of salvation, and Wright, Jr. had accepted its graces, and before his father stood a righteous transformation, to the honor and glory of Colonel A. G. Boone, the tried and true friend of the Indian.
Again Judge Wright feels the sting of the serpent. He implored his son to return to his parental roof, but this the boy declined to do, so Judge Wright went at once to Colonel Boone and with many unjust and unscrupulous epithets accused him of having alienated the affections of his son. Colonel Boone had but to hear him out and bare his shoulders for such other blows which Judge Wright sought to pelter him, and we will hear with what blow he was driven from his post as Indian Agent.
* * * * *
At the next session of congress, Congressman Wright sought to deal his death blow to Colonel Boone, and to thus avenge the disloyalty of his son to his father, at no matter what cost to his own honor and integrity. This blow he dealt the rescuer of his son, from shame and disgrace, and who but for Colonel Boone might never have succeeded in being sober long enough to sell a pound of bacon. In Congress Judge Wright accused Colonel Boone of disloyalty toward the Government, declared that he was a secessionest, and that he was robbing the Indians, etc., and so succeeded in having him removed. To this act might fitly be applied the old adage: "Save a man from drowning and he will arise to cut off your head."
After Colonel Boone was relieved by the new agent, Mr. Macauley, Majors Waddell and Russell gave Colonel Boone a large ranch on the Arkansas River, about fifteen miles East of Pueblo, Colorado, afterwards known as Boonville. Waddell and Russell were the great government freight contractors across the plains. This ranch consisted of 1,400 acres of good land, fenced and cross fenced, having several fine buildings thereon, and otherwise well improved.
In the fall of 1863, about fifty influential Indians of the various tribes, visited at the home of Colonel Boone and begged him to return and be their agent, stating that an uprising was imminent. Colonel Boone told the Chief that the President of the United States had ejected him and that the President would not let him do the thing they asked him. Then the Indians offered to sell their ponies to raise the money for him to go to Washington to intercede with the "Great Father," to tell him of the "doin's" of their new agent, and to get reinstated himself. When Boone told them that it was impossible, and for them to go back and trust to the agent to do the right thing, they were greatly disappointed.
Soon after Colonel Boone had installed himself in his new home on the Arkansas River, he became the innocent victim of another man's wrath. A certain Mr. Haynes was keeping the Stage Station and was not giving satisfaction to the company, inasmuch as the mules seemed to be lacking the care and attention the company thought due them. The corn sent by the company (government) to feed the mules did not find its way to the mule troughs. So the Stage Company began to negotiate with Colonel Boone to take the station, and he took it.
This arrangement angered Mr. Haynes, and he reported to a Union Soldier that Colonel Boone was a rebel of the deepest dye, and further said that he had a company of Texas Rangers hidden, and intended to "clean out the country." The Lieutenant to whom this deliberate falsehood was told, sent fifteen soldiers to the home of A.G. Boone to confiscate his property and to burn him out if they found indications that the report was true.
Mr. Boone's residence was seven miles from Haynes' and the soldiers reached Boone's place about 1:30 o'clock P.M. and their horses looked, to a casual observer, like they had been ridden fifty miles. They were all covered with dust which the crafty soldiers had thrown upon them and were flecked with sweat. One soldier went forward and asked politely to be given something to eat.
Colonel Boone who was a whole-hearted, "hail fellow well met" sort of a man, invited them to come in and to put their horses in the barn and to give them one really good feed, remarking at the same time that they had better remove their saddles and allow the horses to cool off.
One soldier, without a first thought, began to throw his saddle off, but was quickly prevented by a quicker witted soldier, but the action was not quick enough. Colonel Boone had observed without appearing to do so, the normal condition of the back of the horse, and something had flown to his mind, that "all was not right on the Wabash," and he concluded to keep cool. Something told him that they were agents of Mr. Haynes, and were on mischief bent.
After caring well for the horses, the soldiers were invited to the house where they went to the back porch and refreshed themselves with clean cistern water and fresh towels. While they were getting "slicked up" as some of the soldiers jokingly called their face wash, Colonel Boone called the old negro woman to bring a pitcher of whiskey, glasses, sugar, nutmeg, and eggs, and make them a rich toddy. When this was done, Colonel Boone with a lavish hand distributed it generously among his guests, after which they were escorted through the old-fashioned long hall to the front porch where they rested and awaited the good dinner already in progress for them.
Mrs. Boone was sick in bed, and one or two of the soldiers seeing some one in bed, and more to find out who was there than anything else, sauntered into the room and up to the bed. As soon as he saw he had made a mistake, he quickly apologized and retreated to the front porch, where, to cover his embarrassment, he asked how far it was to Haynes'. Boone told him it was seven miles.
Fearing the soldiers would become restless by their prolonged wait for dinner, Colonel Boone went into the house and told his two daughters, Maggie and Mollie, to help the old negro lady get dinner, and to stay in the dining room during the dinner hour and wait on the soldiers, and be as pleasant as possible with them. He told the girls that he was afraid the soldiers were messengers of mischief, sent there at the suggestion of Mr. Haynes, but that he had not decided just what they intended to do. It was the idea of Colonel Boone to make the whiskey draw the object of this visit to him, from his guests, and some of the more talkative ones had already begun to divulge their business. The Colonel decided to leave them alone so they could consult with themselves, so busied himself about the house making his visitors comfortable wherever he could. He stopped in the living room and listened to the conversation going on between the soldiers out on the porch, which conversation sometimes developed into an argument about Mr. Haynes and the Lieutenant, the full import of which he could not glean. Then he returned to the porch, in a round-about way, brought up the subject of distance, from his place to Haynes. He then said: "Mr. Haynes had an ill-feeling toward me, and I have been told that he is circulating a report that I am a rebel, and that he intends to do me bodily harm." One soldier was in good condition then to talk--the toddy had done its work well--and he said: "I gad, Colonel, you ah jes' about right----;" but he could get no further. One soldier had closed his mouth, with the remark to Colonel Boone, that some soldiers never knew what they were talking about, when they had enjoyed a good glass of whiskey. The Colonel laughed as though the subject was of no importance to him and strolled out in the yard. Just then Mollie Boone appeared at the dining room door with a cheery smile, beguiling as the flower in her hair was fragrant, and with a "welcome, gentlemen, to the Boone home," in her comely face, bade them all go in to dinner. At the dinner table wit and mirth flowed as freely as did the water down the throats of those hungry boys in blue.
When these boys had partaken of this bounty to their full satisfaction, they thanked the pretty waitresses for the excellent dinner. The daughters followed them from the dining room begging them to never pass this way without coming in to see them, and promising to have a feast prepared for them. They departed, the girls returning to the dining room to peep behind curtains to watch the manly soldiers disappear around the house, to the stables where their horses were still munching the hay, caring nothing at all about returning to the station at Haynes'.
The next trip I made to Bent's Fort was made without a conductor on the stage. One of the owners of the Stage Company, Mr. J.T. Barnum, said to me: "Billy, you go through to Denver with the express and mail, and then act as conductor back again to the Fort."
On my return trip, I came in contact with a company of soldiers camped at Pueblo, Colorado. Several of the soldiers were at the Hotel at Pueblo, and during our talk together, I asked one of the soldiers if he knew a Sergeant by the name of Joe Graham. "Oh, yes," one man replied, "he is down there in camp now." This soldier volunteered to bring him to see me.
Mr. Graham's father was a Methodist preacher in Monterey, New York, when Joe and I were small boys, and we greeted each other with warmth and affection, and had a jolly time talking over the "old times" when we were bare-footed school lads. Finally Joe asked me where I "was holding forth and what I was doing?" I told him that I had been living with Colonel Boone, driving the stage coach from there to Bent's Old Fort, but this trip I was on my way from Denver acting as conductor of the mail. Mr. Graham asked me how long I had been with Colonel Boone. I told him I had been with him up to that time, about six months. "I understand," said Mr. Graham, "that Mr. Boone is a rebel." I told him that he was most emphatically mistaken, that Colonel Boone was one of the strongest Union men I had ever known, and that he was as strong a Unionist as ever lived. Then it was that I found out what mischief Haynes had sent the soldiers to the home of Colonel Boone, to do.
Joe Graham told me that he was the Orderly Sergeant of the company that had camped at Mr. Haynes, and Mr. Haynes had told the Lieutenant that Colonel Boone was a rebel, and had a company of Texas Rangers camped close to his premises for the purpose of making a raid on the Union soldiers. Joe Graham stated that the Lieutenant had ordered him to take some soldiers and go to the home of Colonel Boone, and if he found things as Haynes had represented, to confiscate all his property, and to burn all his buildings, but that the Lieutenant had cautioned them to be careful and to ascertain if the story Haynes had told was true before they began depredations.
When Old Joe had finished his recital, my "dander was up." "Joe," said I, "will you give me an affidavit of these facts, with the statement of Mr. Haynes to the Lieutenant?" He told me that he would be pleased to do so. We went to the Stage Company's office where Dan Hayden, a Notary Public in and for Pueblo, Colorado, drew up the statement and Sergeant Graham verified it.
After thanking Mr. Graham for his kindness in this matter, I proceeded to Bent's Fort, with what I considered good evidence of Mr. Haynes' guilt. When I arrived at Bent's Fort, I had time to go from there to Fort Lyons to meet the stage coming from the States, and I took this affidavit with me to Major Anthony, the Commanding Officer of Fort Lyons. Mr. Anthony told me that he had heard of some such talk as this, coming from Mr. Haynes. He immediately sent two soldiers to Mr. Haynes' and had him put under arrest and brought to the Fort. Mr. Haynes was taken to Denver, Colorado, given a trial, convicted, and sentenced to the penitentiary.
Macauley and Lambert Spar; Macauley is Placed in Guard House and the Indian Agency Reverts to Major Anthony.
A few weeks prior to the event last reported, the Indians reported to Colonel Boone that their agent, Mr. Macauley, was doing them an injustice. They declared to Colonel Boone that they had as much right to take something to eat from their wagons and trains as Mr. Macauley had to steal the goods sent there for them, and as long as they were being dealt with fairly they would deal fairly in return. It was to that end that Colonel Boone had perfected the treaty with them, and they were not the aggressors. Satanta, the great chief of the Kiowas, represented the Indians in this instance.
When this fact became known Mr. Macauley was placed in the guard house at Fort Lyons for dishonesty with the Indians.
When Mr. Macauley found that the Indians were becoming hostile because of his dishonesty, he went to the Stage Company's office at Fort Lyons and proposed to Mr. Lambert to put up a large stone building on the Stage Company's ground, for the purpose of storing goods. Mr. Lambert began to sniff the air at once, he thought he had found a mouse, and he said: "Mr. Macauley, I haven't the money to erect a building of that kind now." Mr. Macauley told him that he would not have to furnish a cent of money, that he, himself, would erect the building, but he wanted it put up under Lambert's name. He told Lambert that he could get the Government teamsters to haul the rock and put up the building, and it wouldn't cost him anything to amount to anything, either. Mr. Lambert told Mr. Macauley that he could not see the advisability of such a building. "But," said Macauley, "there's so much condemned goods, such as flour, meat and other groceries--the flour is wormy--and we can buy them for nearly nothing, and could sell them for a big profit." He told Lambert they could get rich enough to go East in a little while, and live like Princes, such as they were, if shortness of means did not tie them to the Western Plains. Soon their coffers would be filled to overflowing, if they but planted the seeds of his cunning mind, they would fructify with a harvest of plenty, and they would reap a rich reward; for the goods that came in for the Indians were rapidly accumulating, and at that time, there was already a heavy excess.
Finally after they had reached the front room of the Lambert home, and the conversation had taken on a still more confidential turn, Mr. Lambert wheeled on his guest, and in tones not meant to inspire the greatest confidence, almost shouted to Macauley, these words: "Do you mean to come here and make a proposition for me to build you a hiding place to put your stolen Indian goods in, over my name and signature? Now, sir, your proposition would place Bob Lambert in the guard house, while you, the man who steals these goods--you have as much as said that they were sent here for the Indians--you would go free." Bob Lambert was a mad animal when he was mad, and on he went, thundering like a bull who had suddenly beheld a red umbrella: "Macauley, you dog! the goods you are withholding from these Indians are causing trouble along the whole frontier, and it will amount to a bloody battle with these ignorant people; but, I say to you, these Indians are not ignorant of the fact that it is you who are stealing their stuff. Nevertheless, the whole white tribe will suffer through your dishonesty. These Indians have a right to protect their rights, but in so doing, they may do depredations in the wrong place." Mr. Macauley tried several times to pacify Mr. Lambert; to tell him that he had misinterpreted his proposition. He wanted to explain himself further and more fully, but Mr. Lambert would have none of it, and told him to get himself out of his house, away from his premises, and to remain away.
While Mr. Macauley was hesitating, Mr. Lambert drew his pistol and with one word, that sounded like a roar from a mighty lion, said, "Go!" Mr. Macauley turned to leave, and Lambert yelled after him: "Run, you thief, get up and hurry, or I will fill your legs full of lead;" and Macauley did run.
At this time Major Anthony was the Commanding Officer of Fort Lyons. Mr. Macauley ran to the Major's office, reaching there greatly excited and in an almost exhausted condition, he demanded Major Anthony to put the chains on Mr. Lambert, and to chain him to the floor. Major Anthony asked him what the matter was. Mr. Macauley began what sounded like a very plausible story of his encounter with Mr. Lambert.
When he stopped to catch his breath, he again ordered Major Anthony to send at once for Lambert, and place him in the guard house for threatening his life.
Major Anthony rang the bell; the sentinel came in. "Mr. Sentinel," ordered Major Anthony, "go at once to Mr. Lambert's and tell him I want to see him, immediately." When the sentinel told Mr. Lambert his mission, he prepared at once to go to the Major. While the sentinel was gone for Mr. Lambert, Mr. Macauley attempted to leave the office of Major Anthony before the return of the sentinel and Lambert, but Major Anthony refused to permit his exit, though he had twice attempted to leave before the arrival of Mr. Lambert. Mr. Macauley asked the Major why he could not accept his given word, as correct. But impartial Major Anthony assured him that to put a man in the guard house without a hearing, would be unfair. He said he would give Mr. Lambert a trial. Mr. Macauley grew furious, and told the Major that if he wanted to take Lambert's word for this occurrence, instead of his, that he would go, and he arose to leave the room, but Major Anthony restrained him. Major Anthony said: "Now, Mr. Macauley, you sit down and cool off, and remain seated, until the completion of this trial between yourself and Mr. Lambert." At this juncture, Mr. Lambert and the sentinel appeared in the doorway. Mr. Lambert advanced, with a salute, said: "At your service, Major Anthony, what can I do for you?" Said Major Anthony: "You can tell the cause of this disturbance between yourself and Mr. Macauley. Mr. Macauley has already made his statement, and I want to hear what you have to say." "Major," said Mr. Lambert, "will you not let Mr. Macauley state the facts to you again, in my presence, regarding this affair?" Mr. Lambert then drew his pistol out of his scabbard, laid it on the table across from Mr. Macauley, and politely requested Major Anthony to permit Macauley to tell him the exact truth of the matter in controversy, beginning from the time he had entered his premises, with his vile proposition, until the time of his hasty departure, from his house.
Mr. Lambert turned to Macauley with a little quick, nervous jesture, saying: "Macauley, you tell Major Anthony the truth, and if you mince words, and do not tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I will kill you."
Mr. Macauley called on Major Anthony for protection, but the Major only replied, that he saw no need for protection, that all he had to do was to tell the truth in the matter, and that he would vouch for Mr. Lambert's peaceableness. "Now," said Major Anthony, "you may proceed with your story. The truth is your best trick, and I must get it off my hands, be quick about it."
Mr. Macauley began the narrative with many a jerk and start, Major Anthony was judge and jury, Mr. Lambert was a quiet spectator, but his wonderful eyes kept the witness on the right track, until he had almost completed his story and attempted to evade part of the conversation. Lambert turned his commanding eyes upon the culprit, demanding that not one iota of that proposition be left out of his recital. Brought to bay, Macauley had nothing to do, but confess his crime and the proposition made Mr. Lambert, but his nerve had broken loose and he was a whining, puny puppy.
"Now, Mr. Lambert," said Major Anthony, "I am much obliged to you and you can go to your quarters." Major Anthony again rang for the sentinel and told him to bring the sergeant of the guard house to him.
When the sergeant came. Major Anthony turned to Macauley and told him that he was dismissed from the post as agent of the Indian Supplies, and he, himself, would have to be the commissioner until the government appointed some one to supercede him. When the Major turned Macauley over to the Sergeant, he told him to take the "thief" to the guard house and to see to it that he did not escape.
A few days after this episode, Major Anthony notified the Indians to come and receive their annuities, as far as possible, from the remains. Then he gave the Indians to understand that it was the intention of the government, that they be fairly dealt with, and follow the terms of the treaty made by Colonel A.G. Boone.
That night the Indians had a big celebration, dancing, singing, yelling and horse-racing, and signified that they now had a better feeling toward the white race--that of brother--now that Major Anthony had settled their grievances by removing Mr. Macauley from the commission.
Major Anthony reported Mr. Macauley's conduct to headquarters at Leavenworth, and the Leavenworth authorities came after him, but through the white-washing of some one, this reprobate went scot free.
After the Chivington Massacre on Sand Creek, the War Department was greatly disturbed over the action of the Indians. Colonel Ford, who was stationed at Fort Larned, was ordered to patrol the country on the western boundary of Kansas and eastern Colorado, about half way between the Arkansas River and the North Platte. He started out with 500 fully equipped soldiers and proceeded about 350 miles to the northwest, and without finding signs of Indians, he went into camp.
In the month of October, in the year of 1863, William Poole of Independence, Missouri, pack master of a mule train, discovered a few smokes circling their camp, and told Colonel Ford of his find. Mr. Ford made light of it, but the First Lieutenant of one of the companies said that he was going to take every precaution possible, to protect his valuable horse, and that he would not let it go out to range with the mules.
Mr. Poole tethered all his mules, that is, tied their forefeet about 18 inches apart, so they could walk around and graze, but not run, and placed double guard over the animals.
At two o'clock in the morning, five Indians with Buffalo robes swinging in the air, gave the war whoop and stampeded the soldiers of Colonel Ford, and took every horse, but that belonging to the fastidious Lieutenant. Every soldier nursed his "sore head" and had no consolation, but to tell how slick those "red devils" relieved them of their horses.
When the horses were gone, the soldiers had no further use of their saddles and blankets. Colonel Ford ordered them burned so the Indians could not profit by them. However, this was an error on the part of the Colonel, as will be seen. All the horses and saddles would have been returned in due time. Three weeks after Ford's experience in the Indian country, an old Indian and his squaw came riding into Fort Larned on two of the horses, which they traded off for nuts, candy, sugar and more candy, and were highly pleased over their exchange. They had no use for the large horses because they could not stand the weather as well as their Indian ponies. They grinningly told the storekeeper they would return in "two moons" with more horses.
The Fort Riley Soldiers Go to Fort Larned to Horse Race With Cheyennes, Comanches and Kiowas.
The Indians are great people for sport and amusement and it would be difficult to imagine a more inveterate gambler. Their greatest ambition is to excel in strength and endurance.
Several times as our coaches meandered across the plains, we came upon the lodges of thousands of Indians, where the male population were trying their skill at horse-racing. Even the small boys, many times as many as fifteen or twenty, would be horse-racing and the chiefs would be betting upon their favorites.
For their race tracks, they dug ditches about four feet apart and threw up the sod and dirt between the ditches. The whole tribe then packed the ground in the tracks hard and smooth by riding their horses up and down those tracks to pack the dirt still more firmly. These tracks were generally one and one-eighth miles long. The Indians would then select a horse which they regarded as especially swift and banter the soldiers for a horse race, which the soldiers were quick to accept, if they were lucky enough to get a furlough. These Fort Riley soldiers always brought their best horses to Fort Larned to race against the Indians' race ponies.
Once during the summer of 1863 when there were only a few white people at Fort Larned, the Indians, about 15,000 strong, commenced preparation for a horse race between themselves and the Fort Riley soldiers. Everything was completed and the Indian ponies were in good trim to beat the soldiers. The Indians had placed their stakes consisting of ponies, buffalo robes, deer skins, trinkets of all kinds and characters, in the hands of their squaws. Then the Fort Riley soldiers came and the betting was exciting in the extreme, the soldiers betting silver dollars against their ponies, etc. The soldiers were victorious and highly pleased over the winnings. The Indians handed the bets over manfully and without a flinch, but one Indian afterward told me that they had certainly expected to have been treated to at least a smoke or a drink of "fire water;" but the soldiers rode away laughing and joking and promised the Indians to return in "two moons," perhaps "three moons," in response to their invitation. I was at this race and joined in the sport. Everything was as pleasant as could be. There was no disturbance of any kind and the soldiers took their "booty" and, as a matter of fact, did not even invite the Indians to smoke a consolation pipe.
During the fall of 1863 a small band of Comanches and Kiowas went to Texas and procured a white faced, white footed, tall, slim black stallion for racing purposes. In elation they notified the Fort Riley soldiers to come again. This time, not only did the Fort Riley soldiers come, but citizens from all over the whole country for a distance of from 300 to 500 miles came to see the fun. There were from twenty to thirty thousand Indians there, and the Indians who invited them prepared to take care of a large crowd in good style, so confident were they that this time "the pot" would be theirs. They had hunted down, killed and dressed some fifty or sixty buffalo, and had them cooking whole, in the ground--barbecuing the meats. This time the putting up of the bets before the races came off was still more exciting than at the previous race, for the Indians had from 500 to 1,000 ponies to put up. The white men matched their money against the ponies of the Indians. The race had begun. As it proceeded, shouts of "Hooray, hooray," the Indians' black stallion is ahead, 100 feet in advance of the soldiers' horse, he goes. The race is won, and the black stallion stands erect and excited, proud and defiant, and has won the laurel for his man, and seems to know that the trophy is theirs. All had placed their bets in the hands of the squaws for the spokesman, Little Ravin, the orator and regular dude of the Arapahoes, gave the white people to understand that everything would be safe in the hands of the squaws he had selected to hold stakes. These squaws proved true to their trust. After the distribution of the winnings, Little Ravin told the soldiers to stay and eat. Everybody grew merry. The soldiers went to the government dining room there at Fort Larned and got all the knives and forks they could rake and scrape together and took them to the barbecue. When the Indians saw that the white people had entered into the banquet with such enthusiasm and zest they went to the settlers' store and bought two or three hundred dollars worth of candies, canned goods of all kinds, crackers, etc., to make their variety larger. They also bought 50 boxes of cigars with which to treat the citizens and soldiers. When everything was in readiness for the feast, the white men all stood up near the feast with a few of the greatest chiefs of the several tribes, while the other Indians who were not acting as waiters, to see that the choicest pieces of buffalo meat were given their guests, stood in a ring back of the white guests, and did not attempt to satisfy their hunger until after the whites had demonstrated that they had feasted to the brim. This was one of the most amusing incidents of my life on the frontier, and the Fort Riley boys felt that in this treatment, they had been dealt a blow to their own generosity, and one of the soldiers acting as spokesman, told the Indians that they were ashamed of their own lack of hospitality when they were the winners of the other race. This pleased the Indians greatly, and they fell an easy victim to the duplicity of the soldiers and made a contract to sell their black stallion racing horse to them for the sum of $2,000, which sale was to be completed 60 days later if the soldiers still wanted the purchase of the horse, at which time they were to notify the Chief, and he was to bring or send him to Fort Riley. This was a great sacrifice, but the ignorant Indian was not aware of it. During the 60 days before the Indian brought the horse in and received their money one soldier went up to St. Joe and sold this horse, so I have been told for the sum of $10,000 in cash, but for the truth of this statement I will not vouch.
It is a picturesque sight to watch the Indians move camp. Their trains often covered several hundred acres of land. The Indians usually move in a large body, or band. Their moving "van" consists of two long slim poles placed on each side of a pony, made fast by means of straps tanned by the squaws from buckskin and buffalo hides. About six or seven feet from the ponies' heels are placed two crossbars about three or four feet apart, connected by weaving willow brush from one crossbar to the other, between these shafts, or poles, hitched to the pony. Upon this woven space or "hold" are placed the household goods, the folded tents or tepees, and lastly, their children and decrepit Indians.
It is not unusual to see several thousand of these strange vans moving together, their trains being sometimes three or four miles in length. Then their politeness might also be spoken of, for while it is true that they have a traditional politeness, it is not a matter of history. Their sledges were never in the public road but at least 10 to 20 rods outside of the road in the sage brush and cactus, leaving the road free for the Stage Company's mail coach.
In all the different books I have ever read, I have never seen one word of praise for any courtesy the Indians gave us during those frontier days, but instead I find nothing but abuse. The Indian is the only natural born American and the only people to inhabit North America before the discovery by Columbus. This land we so greatly love rightfully belonged to the Red Man of the forest, and it is my opinion that they had as much right to protect their own lands as do we in this century. The novelists howl about the depredations committed by the Indian, but their ravings are made more to sell their books and to create animosity than for any good purposes.
The Eastern people eagerly read everything they found that abused the Indians, and the Indians in those days had no presses in which to make known their grievances. The only thing left was to get vengeance wherever he found a white man. "To me belongeth vengeance and recompense." Personally I blame the press for loss of life to both the Indian and the white men, for having schooled the white man erroneously. Travelers crossing the plains were always on the defensive, and ever ready to commence war on any Indian who came within the radius of their firearms. When I was a boy I read in my reader: "Lo, the cowardly Indian." The picture above this sentence was that of an Indian in war paint, holding his bow and arrow, ready to shoot a white man in the back.
The novelists write many things of how Kit Carson shot the Indians. Kit Carson was a personal friend of mine, and when I read snatches to him from books making him a "heap big Indian killer," he always grew furious and said it was a "damn lie," that he never had killed an Indian, and if he had, that he could not have made the treaties with them that he had made, and his scalp would have been the forfeit. At one time Kit Carson went on an Indian raid with Colonel Willis down into Western Indian Territory. He volunteered to go with Colonel Willis to protect him and his soldiers, and at this very time Colonel Henry Inman tells of Kit Carson being on the plains of the Santa Fe Trail, with a large company of soldiers under his command, shooting Indians.
This is a mis-statement of Colonel Inman. Kit Carson never had a company of soldiers, was not a military man, and at no time raided the Indians. As will be seen in another chapter of this book, he was simply a scout and protector for the soldiers. Like Dryden, however, "I have given my opinion against the authority of two great men, but I hope without offense to their memories." Kit Carson said that the Indian, as a people, are just as brave as any people. Their warriors were not expected to go out as soldiers with a commanding officer, but each was to protect himself. That, in their opinion, was the only way to carry on war.
Major Carleton Orders Colonel Willis to Go Into Southwestern Indian Territory and "Clean Out the Indians." Kit Carson Volunteers to Go With Colonel Willis as Scout and Protector.
In June, 1865, two or three settlers coming from the border of the Indian Country along the Texas and Arizona line, into Santa Fe, planned to hunt and kill all the game on the reservation without consulting the Indians. This occasioned trouble and one white man was killed. General Carleton, in command of all the Southwestern country, stationed at Santa Fe, heard about the killing, and without attempting to understand the position the Indians held, or in any way to find out the cause of trouble, sent an order to Colonel Willis, who was stationed at Fort Union, to take his 300 California Volunteers to this reservation and to "Clean out the Indians." His order was imperative. It did not say for him to endeavor to find out the cause of the death of this white man, but to go at once into their camp and to massacre, confiscate anything of value, and have no mercy on the Redskins, who had slaughtered a white man who was "only hunting" on the Indian reservation.
When Colonel Willis got this order he said to me that he knew absolutely nothing about the Indian mode of warfare, and that he was fearful of getting his soldiers all killed, and he wished that Kit Carson would go with him, but that he would not ask him to do so because he knew that Carson would disapprove of the orders he had from Colonel Carleton.
President Polk appointed Kit Carson to a second lieutenancy and his official duty was to conduct the fifty soldiers under his command through the country of the Comanches, but for some reason the Senate refused to confirm the appointment, and he consequently had no connection with the regular army.
When Colonel Willis had his soldiers all in trim and was about to leave Fort Union, Kit Carson, who had been watching him from a nail keg upon which he was sitting, came up to him and slapped Willis' horse on the hip, saying: "Willis, I guess I had better go with you; if you go down there alone, them red devils will never let you return." "Kit," said Colonel Willis, "That is what I want you to do, and we will wait for you." But Kit Carson needed no time to prepare, he threw his saddle on and told Colonel Willis that he was ready without any delay. At about 10 o'clock in the forenoon the company left Fort Union, carrying one cannon and plenty of ammunition. At about daybreak on their second day out, they came upon a village of 100 or more tents camped on about the line of New Mexico and Arizona. There were Kiowas, Comanches, Cheyennes, Utes, Arapahoes and some Apaches in this village. Colonel Willis said to Kit Carson that it was about time to "try their little canon," but Kit Carson told Col. Willis "No." Kit asked Col. Willis to show him his orders, which by the way he had not seen before volunteering to come with Willis. When Carson read the order he was startled. It had never occurred to him that a man of Col. Carleton's reputation would be so unjust. Now said Kit Carson to Col. Willis, "Suppose we send out some runners and bring the chiefs to us and see what occasioned all this trouble that caused Gen. Carleton to give such orders." Col. Willis said he had no such orders as that from Carleton, and the only thing he could do was to "beard the lion in his den" because his orders were strict, they said to go and kill the Indians wherever he found them and he would be compelled to obey orders. The consultation between Col. Willis and Brevet Kit Carson almost amounted to an argument. Kit Carson declared that his orders should have read "in your discretion, etc.," and that it was not advisable to take life in this manner, "but since you must obey orders," Brevet Gen. Kit Carson said, "Fire away, if every mother's son of you lose your scalp."
At daybreak Col. Willis' soldiers fired into the Indian camp, where dwelt something like 1500 Indians, mostly old squaws and papooses with a few able-bodied warriors. Few escaped with their lives and those who did escape were entirely destitute for the soldiers set fire to their tents after loading their wagons to the hilt with whatever they considered might be of value, buffalo robes, moccasins, blankets and other assets, together with all the provisions from the camp. There were several tons of the latter--buffalo meat, antelope, venison, goat, bear and dried jack rabbit. When Kit Carson found that all this provision was confiscated he demanded that it be unloaded and left for the consumption of the few remaining Indians scattered over the plains who were without food or shelter.
After this raid they started for the Indian Territory and over into Texas, hunting for more Indians. Kit Carson kept surveying the landscape with a view to securing suitable places to fortify against the formidable foe whom he knew might at any time steal upon them and ambush them. Col. Willis had been watching him for several days and was totally unable to make out from his deportment what he was looking for. When Kit Carson told him that he was hunting for safe camping places Col. Willis asked him if he thought they might be attacked. Kit Carson told him that he knew that before many "moons" they would be surrounded by Indians, and that they must begin their preparations for defense. Col. Willis was unused to Indian signs, but Kit Carson knew them well. He had already seen the Indian smokes. An Indian's telegraphic means were by smokes placed at intervening points. These smokes denote place, number, etc., known to all Indians and "path-finders." Kit Carson with his field glass inspecting the country had noticed these smokes and knew that a large band was being called together. He informed Col. Willis that they must travel back to a certain place he had selected, a stone ridge with a spring gushing out of the side of a cliff. This was about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. They reached the stone ridge about dusk. "Carson," said Willis, "tell us what to do, I know nothing about fighting these wild devils." Kit Carson told him to put his soldiers to piling stone and make a breastwork to hide behind. He told Willis to send some of the soldiers to the spring and build up a wall several feet all around it and put some of the soldiers in there for protection and at the same time have a place to get water. The soldiers had not a minute to lose. The Indians bore down upon them and sent arrows into their midst, but did no damage. Kit Carson told a soldier to put a hat on a pole and lift it up, that he believed some Indians were hidden in a wild plum thicket close by; if so, they would shoot at the hat. This hat trick was tried several times. Kit Carson had located the Indians pretty well by this time and told Col. Willis to set his cannon so it would shoot very low, to barely miss the ground, and then he thought they would have a chance to snatch a "piece of sleep" before daylight. When the cannon exploded the Indians retreated, taking with them their dead and wounded and did not come back any more that, night. An Indian will risk his life rather than leave a dead member of his band in the white man's possession. It is an old superstition that if a warrior loses his scalp he forfeits his hope of ever reaching the "happy hunting ground." Col. Willis and Kit Carson camped there until two o'clock in the morning when they went down off of the stone ridge out onto the open prairie twenty miles distant, where they again camped. After dark they again started out on the trail. Indians hardly ever attack at night. Nevertheless, the Indians began to congregate until they numbered several thousand and chased Col. Willis and Kit Carson 300 miles. Under the clever management of Kit Carson's Indian tricks Col. Willis and his soldiers all escaped without a loss of a man or getting one injured. Kit Carson told me that he was "mighty thankful that the gol-derned grass was too green to burn."
My Position in Reference to the Treatment of Indians.
It has been my endeavor in writing this book to relate incidents as they actually occurred and of my own personal knowledge and observation. My experience with the Indians and my observations with their natural traits and characteristics convinces me that the white man has not, in most instances, been willing to do him justice and has subjected him to a great deal of unmerited abuse and persecution. The outbreaks by the Indians in all instances that came under my observation were brought about by the ill treatment of the whites. The Indians were always very reluctant to avenge themselves upon the whites for the wrongs done them.
The Indians have been driven from their hunting grounds until many times they were unable to secure food and were upon the verge of starvation. Naturally, then, they would approach the wagons of the white men, go to their settlements or follow the stage coaches and emigrant trains in the hope of securing something to eat. The whites would often become unnecessarily alarmed and attempt to frighten them away by killing one or more of their number. As a result of this the Indians would be aroused and take to the warpath and attempt to avenge the death of their lost warrior by killing a white man wherever he chanced to find one.
I have known such instances as this to occur many times and had I not exercised every care to avoid hostilities and establish peaceful relations between myself and my passengers and the Indians I would no doubt have met with a similar experience in some of my trips along the Santa Fe Trail.
W. H. Ryus Enters Second Contract With Stage Company, Messenger and Conductor of the U. S. Mail and Express.
The spring of 1864 I left the services of the stage company and came to Kansas City, Kansas, where my parents lived.
In June of that year I bought a team, mowing machine and wire hay rake and entered into a contract to furnish hay to the government. I took my hay-making apparatus out on the prairie, about ten miles from Kansas City, and cut several hundred tons of hay which I sold to the government quartermaster at Kansas City.
During the summer of that year Confederate General Price made his famous raid through Westport, going South with his army, followed by the Federal soldiers.
There were upwards of 3000 of the Federal militia, and while on the road from Westport to Kansas City they became frightened and stampeded. They heard that Price's army was coming toward them from Westport. It was an exciting scene to see men acting like wild men.
The militia posted at Kansas City, Kansas, consisted of troops from the counties of Brown, Atchison and Leavenworth and were under a newspaper man's command, an editor from Hiawatha, Kansas, whose name I do not recall. The governor of Kansas ordered this major to take his militia and go to the line and protect Kansas City, Missouri, from Price's raiders. The soldiers refused to go with their major in command. However, they agreed to go to Missouri if their major would resign in favor of Captain James Pope of Schuyler County New York, who was in command of a militia of Kansas soldiers. This was done and Captain Pope was made major and took charge of the several different companies besides his own.
At about ten o'clock in the forenoon in the latter part of July the militia then started to go over into Missouri after Gen. Price. I went along with the militia, and as we were approaching Westport we caught sight of several thousand stampeding soldiers, going as fast as their legs would carry them.
I rode up alongside of Major Pope and said, "There's a stampede, see them coming! I will make my horse jump the fence and run up to them and tell them Price's army is coming the other way." Major Pope' replied, "Go a-flying." He halted his troops and I rode through the fields toward the stampeding soldiers, yelling to them and their officers that Price's army was coming toward them from Kansas City. This checked them and gave them a chance to collect their wits.
The officers of the stampeded troops then called to the soldiers, "The rebels are coming this way, right-about-face." By the time the stampeded troops were brought to a halt they were face to face with Major Pope's regiment. Major Pope being an old soldier, understanding military tactics, went to the south end of the stampeded troops, took charge of them and commanded them to right-about-face and started south for West-port on a double-quick time.
After the militia had gotten under way I put my horse under the dead run and caught up with the Union soldiers who were in pursuit of Price's army at Indian Creek, twenty miles from Westport.
As it was now growing late I thought best to return to Kansas City. On my way back I again came in contact with Major Pope with the militia and told him that it was impossible for them to catch up with Price's raiders or the other Union forces, for they were going on the dead run. I told him that he might just as well go into camp, which he did, greatly to the relief of his almost exhausted troopers.
The next day Major Pope was ordered back to Kansas City to guard the city in case the rebel soldiers should undertake to raid it.
* * * * *
Dear reader, please accept my apologies for having left my original subject and brought you back to the Civil war. Back to the Santa Fe Trail for me.
When I got in home at Wyandotte, Kansas, now Kansas City, Kansas, a messenger from the stage company was awaiting my arrival. He came to get me to enter into a contract to again enter the services of the stage company as conductor and messenger of the United States mail and express from Kansas City across the long route to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I took the position and started out the next morning.
My first noted passenger after I became conductor of this stage coach was the son of old Colonel Leavenworth, for whom Leavenworth was named, and who built the fort about the year of 1827.
After leaving Kansas City and getting settled down to traveling, Col. Leavenworth Jr.'s first words to me were, "Have you been on the plains among the Indians long?" I replied that I had been driving the mail among them for three years. His next question was, "Do you know, or have you ever heard of Satanta, the great chief of the Kiowas?" I told him that I had seen him several times and had given him many a cup of coffee with other provision. Col. Leavenworth Jr. seemed greatly pleased with my answer and told me that he had a great affection for old Satanta and that he was one of the nobles of his race, and also one of the best men he had ever known regardless of race. Young Leavenworth delighted in telling his exploits among the Indians and I was no poor listener, for it always entertained me to hear some one give praise to my Indian friends. Mr. Leavenworth told me that a great many of the different tribes of Indians came to Fort Leavenworth to see his father and that he had never had any trouble with them, however remote. At that time young Leavenworth was a ten-year-old boy and a great favorite of Satanta, the Kiowa chief. Leavenworth Jr. told me that he had gone on several hunting trips with Satanta and be gone as long as two weeks away from his father's fort. He told me that at one time when he had been away from home two years at school in St. Louis that Satanta and his tribe were there to welcome him home. The old chief wanted him to go on the prairie with them to hunt the buffalo and be gone several weeks, so Leavenworth Jr. told him that he would have to talk to his father about it. Accordingly Satanta went to old Colonel Leavenworth and told him that he wanted to take young Leavenworth on an extended hunting trip and might go over into Colorado and other western states. The old colonel was reluctant to let the child go with his strange friends and told Satanta that if his tribe should become involved in trouble with the whites the boy might be killed. Satanta said "no such ting." Santanta told the father that no matter what war they got into they would protect the boy and return him home safe and well. When Satanta's whole tribe came in off the plains at the specified time they all entered into an agreement to protect the boy at any sacrifice if he was permitted to accompany them on the hunt. In their language they took the oath to protect the boy, each one sworn in separately, and it was agreed that Satanta would send two of his warriors to the nearest army post every week to tell his father that the boy was all right. The boy always wrote brilliantly of his travels in the wild western country. His father considered with much pride reserved all these boyish letters which are masterpieces of landscape and scenic description. Copies of these letters are still on file in the war libraries and are set aside as "things of beauty."
Young Leavenworth in talking to me about his travels with Satanta told me that they got into the mountains about thirty days after they left Fort Leavenworth and located in about where Cripple Creek is now located. He said the Indians found and gathered considerable gold. In two places in particular the gold in the sands of the creek bed was very rich. They gathered gold for him and put it in a buckskin sack. What this gift amounted to in dollars and cents I have forgotten, but it amounted to several hundred dollars. He was gone three months. That was the last time he ever saw Satanta. He was sent East after that to a military school. At the time he was crossing the trail with me he had only recently become a colonel in the Union army and was ordered to Fort Union to take charge of some New Mexico troops.
John Flournoy of Independence, Missouri, was one of the drivers on the Long Route. When we were at Fort Larned, Colorado, Leavenworth inquired of John if he knew where Satanta or any of his tribe were. John told him they were on the Arkansas river not far from old Fort Dodge.
We stopped at Big Coon Creek to get our supper, that was twenty-two miles from where the Indians camped. (We only cooked twice a day, supper was about four o'clock, then we drove long after nightfall). After starting on our journey about five o'clock, going over the hills down to the Arkansas river, we came in sight of the Indian camp which was some ten miles distant. At this camp there were perhaps thirty thousand Indians. At about nine o'clock we were within three miles of their camp and could hear distinctly the drums beating and Indians singing. Col. Leavenworth said, "That is a war dance, now we must find out the cause of the excitement." There were no roads into the camp and we couldn't get the mules to venture any further on account of the scent of green hides always around an Indian camp, so Col. Leavenworth Jr. and I got off the coach and walked in as close as we consistently could. Soon we saw an Indian boy and Col. Leavenworth asked him in Indian language what was going on at the big camp. The boy told him that the Kiowas and the Pawnees had been at war with each other and that two of the Kiowas had been killed and one of the Pawnees. They had secured the scalp of the Pawnee and had fastened it to a pole, one end of which was securely planted in the ground, and were mourning around it for their own dead. An Indian thinks he is shamefully disgraced if one of his tribe gets scalped. They will go right to the very mouth of a cannon to save their tribe of such disgrace. Col. Leavenworth says, "I tell you, Billie, I was afraid that some of the whites had been disturbing the Indians, but I knew if I could but get word to Satanta we would be safe." When the boy told us how matters really stood our "hair lowered" and Col. Leavenworth asked the boy to take us to Satanta's tent.
When we reached Satanta's tent the Indian boy went in and told him that a white man wanted to see him. The old chief came out--we were about twenty feet from the tent--he looked at Colonel Leavenworth first, then at me, whom he recognized. He walked up to within a few feet of Colonel Leavenworth, eyeing him sharply. Colonel Leavenworth spoke his name in the Indian language. Satanta looked at him amazedly--he had not seen him since he had developed into a man and could not realize that this was the favored idol of his hunting trip through the Rocky mountains of Colorado so many years ago. After this moment of surprise had subsided Satanta gave one savage yell and leaped toward Leavenworth Jr. His blanket fell off and he patted the cheek of the colonel, kissed him, hugged him, embraced him again and again, then turned and took me by the hand, grasping it firmly. He gave me a thrilling illustration of his joy over the return of his old-time boy friend which impressed me with the sincerity and true instinct of the Indian attachment for his friends. Satanta called Col. Leavenworth "ma chessel."
Billy Ryus and Col. Leavenworth Invade Camp Where There Are 30,000 Hostile Indians.
When Col. Leavenworth introduced Satanta to me he grinningly answered "Si; all my people know this driver, for we have drank coffee with him on the plains before this day." This was spoken in the Indian tongue and interpreted by Col. Leavenworth.
Satanta immediately ordered some of his young warriors to go out and herd our mules for the night--he told them to stake them where they could get plenty of grass and put sufficient guard to protect them. I told Satanta that we would want to start on our journey by daylight.
Leaving Col. Leavenworth with Satanta I returned to my two coaches two and a half miles back, accompanied by about two hundred or more young Indian lads and lassies. The drivers unhitched the mules from the Concord coach and put the harness up on the front boot of the coach. One of the Indian herders asked me if I had some lariats. I told him I did and he got one and tied it to the end of the coach tongue, then put two lariats on the tongues of each coach, leaving a string about sixty feet long--much to the wonderment of the passengers--motioned for me to mount the seat and take up my whip. When I did this all these young Indians, both boys and girls, laughingly took hold of the lariats and started to pull our coach into camp. This occasioned much mirth. This was a great sight for the tender-foot. My passengers declared it excelled any fiction they had ever read. The boys and girls pulling and pushing the coaches went so fast that I had difficulty in keeping the little fellows from being run over. I applied the brakes several times.
When we reached the camp the whole tribe began such screeching that many passengers took the alarm again. Satanta came out, looking very erect and soldierly, commanded the young men to haul our coach to the front of his lodge so we could see all that was going on. Satanta's next order was for the squaws to get supper. He said to the passengers, "We must eat together, lots of buffalo meat and deer." After kindling their fire of buffalo chips they soon had supper "a-going." I ordered my drivers to take bread, coffee and canned goods from our mess box and we dined heartily and substantially.
At eleven o'clock I laid down in the front of my coach and snatched a little sleep. I doubt whether the passengers took any sleep. I know that Col. Leavenworth and Satanta were talking at three o'clock in the morning, at which time Satanta called out his cooks and informed us that we must "eat again." We breakfasted together. Just at daybreak the Indians gave the whoop and the little fellows were on hand to haul our coaches outside the camp. They hitched our mules and Satanta and the chiefs of the other tribes went with us about ten miles and stopped and lunched again.
These chiefs begged Leavenworth to come back to their country and take charge of the tribes, giving him as their belief that if he were in charge there would be peace. Satanta called his attention to the battle on the Nine Mile Ridge as well as to the massacre where they had suffered so unmercifully.
Satanta told Col. Leavenworth during his ride with us that morning that for the inconvenience suffered by the public the Indian was totally blameless. At no time did his people make the first attack on the whites and take their lives, but that in approaching their caravans and asking for food they were shot down as they had been on the Nine Mile Ridge. The American soldiers had burned their wigwams, slaughtered their decrepit men, women and children and carried away their provision. Satanta told Col. Leavenworth that he had heard of the newspapers, the press, and so on. He told him that he knew that they were for the purpose of prejudicing white people against his race. Satanta said that the Indians desired peace as much as did the white man. Leavenworth told the old chief that he regretted the loss of life, but Satanta told him that his regret was no greater than his regret for both the Indians and the whites. This ended the conversation between these two friends. After many adieus they separated, each going his own way.
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On our journey to Fort Lyon I casually mentioned the name of Major Anthony (nephew of Governor George T. Anthony, the sixth governor of Kansas). I told him that Major Anthony was very friendly toward the Indians. This is the same Major Anthony who took charge of the Indian agency when Macaulley was discharged so unceremoniously. I told Col. Leavenworth that Major Anthony had such a rare character that if he had his way about it there would be no war.
Colonel Leavenworth Jr. asked me to introduce him to Major Anthony when we reached Fort Lyon, which I did. Major Anthony asked me if I would wait a couple of hours so he and Colonel Leavenworth could talk over Indian matters a while before we proceeded to Bent's Old Fort, forty miles south of Fort Lyon.
After we started on our route Colonel Leavenworth remarked about the rains which had been falling. I told him I was afraid we would experience some difficulty in crossing the Arkansas river. Sure enough when we reached there the river was a seething mass of turbulent waters, but we succeeded in crossing safely at Bent's Old Fort. Then we had eighty miles to go before we struck the foothills of the Raton mountains, fording the Picketwaire river at the little town of Trinidad, Colorado, over the Raton mountains. In going up the mountain we crossed the creek twenty-six times.
On this route was a place known to the train men as "The Devil's Gate." This was a very large rock extending out over the road running close to the creek with a precipice below. We had to use great care and precaution in handling our mules around this rock to take the road. We saw several broken wagons at this point where several freighters had been doomed to bad luck.
We ascended the mountains to the foot where were the headwaters of the Red river, four miles from the Red river station of the stage company, thence to Fort Union, where I delivered Colonel Leavenworth. That was the last time I ever saw him.
A "Trifling Incident"--Billy Ryus Runs Risks With Government Property.
Six months after my visit to the camp of Satanta a trifling incident comes to my mind. Crossing Red river which was considerably swollen due to the heavy thaws--the river at this point was only about nine feet across and about two and a half feet deep--but it was a treacherous place because it was so mirey. It stuck many freight wagons--I was in a quandary just how I would cross it. After climbing down off of the coach, looking around for an escape (?), a happy idea possessed me. I was carrying four sacks of patent office books which would weigh about 240 pounds a sack, the sacks were eighteen inches square by four and a half feet long, so I concluded to use these books to make an impromptu bridge. I cut the ice open for twenty inches, wide enough to fit the tracks of the coach for the wheels to run on, then placed four of these sacks of books in the water and drove my mules across Red River. I was fully aware that the books were government property, but from past experience I knew they would never be put to use.
People all along the route were mad because the stage company charged $200 for a passage from Kansas City to Santa Fe and knowing that we were compelled to haul the government mail, heavy or light, in the way or out of it, and desiring to "put us to it," kept ordering these books sent them. They never took one of them from the postoffice, hence the accumulation in the postoffice grew until there was room for little else. These books were surveys and agricultural reports. Unreadable to say the least, but heavy in the extreme. The postoffice at Santa Fe was a little bit of a concern, and the postmaster said there was no room for the books there. Earlier in the year I had carried one of these sacks to the postoffice and had attempted to get the postmaster to accept them as mail. I told him that it was mail and that I had no other place to deposit it. Nevertheless he said he would not have them left at the postoffice and told me do anything I wanted to with them, saying at the time that people all around there had a mania for ordering those books, but never intended to take them when they ordered them. I took the books around to the stage station and discovered four wagonloads of the "government stuff."
At the time I placed the books in Red river I knew that the postmaster would not let them be left there and I knew they might serve the government better in a "bridge" than otherwise. Knowing this I felt that I had a remedy at law and grounds for defense.
The four passengers with me "jawed" me quite enough to "extract" the patience of an ancient Job for having treated government property to a watery burial in Red river. Two of the passengers were Mexicans and two other men from New York. However, the two Mexicans soon disgusted the other two passengers, who took sides with me. The Mexicans said they would report me to the government, and I had no doubt they would.
As soon as I got to Santa Fe I went to see General Harney, ex-governor of New Mexico. I told him what I had done and why I did it. General Harney told me he was glad I had notified him right away and said he would explain this transportation of the patent office books to the fourth assistant postmaster. I gave him a detailed account of my conversation regarding the disposition of the books to the postmaster the trip before, which conversation he put in the form of an affidavit and took it to the postmaster to verify. The postmaster refused to sign the document, saying that he was no such a fool as that. General Harney reported to the government who ordered the postmaster to rent a room in which to store the government books now in possession of the stage company. I knew that the postmaster was going to get these orders, so I told Mr. Parker, proprietor of the hotel (called in those days the "Fonda") that he could rent the room to the postmaster for $15 per month. He would draw $45 per quarter and net the stage company $30. We conductors made the drivers haul all the books over to the postoffice, and when we had put all inside that we could get in there, obstructing the light from the one solitary window, we put several thousand up on top of the postoffice. Everybody was looking at us and everybody else was laughing.
* * * * *
In a squealy little old voice the postmaster came out and told us to take them to "Parker's Fonda," that he had rented the room for the storage of such trash. Thus it came that the books were placed back in the same room in which they were formerly stored, but they were now paying the stage company rent for "their berths" and continued three years to net the stage company $10 per month.
This transaction caused the government to quit printing these books. The governor sent directions to the Santa Fe Stage Company at Kansas City that should more such books accumulate they might be delivered by freight. There were no more sent.
Tom Barnum Muses Over the Position the Government Will Take in Regard to the Bed of Red River Being Suitable Resting Place for the U.S. Mail.
After having deposited the patent office reports in their watery grave in Red river I met and had an interview with Tom Barnum, one of the owners of the stage line. "Billie, you devil," were his first words to me, "been puttin' the mail in the river, be ye?" I answered, "Yes, sir." "Well," Barnum said, "didn't you take some pretty risky chances when you did this--are you sure you won't get us into some serious trouble?" I told him that I believed that I had just saved his company not less than $5000 by "dumping" that bulky trash. I told him that the company had made complaints to the government about sending the reports into New Mexico and that the Postmaster General had not given us the consideration we deserved and the postmasters had also refused their acceptance after we had "carted" them to destination. It's my firm belief that in using the books in the manner I did they served the United States better than they could have done any other way. I told Mr. Barnum how ex-Governor Harney had befriended me in the matter and that I felt safe to say that no bad effects could grow out of my conduct.
This pacified Tom Barnum and I told him that I wanted his company to give me credit for half the money I had saved them on this book hauling business on the day of settlement. I also told him that I had promised to "deadhead" ex-Governor Harney and family (consisting at that time of wife and one child, a daughter fifteen years old) to the states and when they arrived in Kansas City, Missouri, he was to see that they got a pass over the road to New York City. Barnum wheezed out a little laugh and an exclamation that sounded like "h--l," but finished good naturedly by telling me that he would do it. As our conversation lengthened he said, "Billy, been thinking over this dead-headin' business of yourn,--Billy," again said Mr. Barnum, "you're an accommodatin' devil. I believe if the whole Santa Fe population would jump you for a 'free ride' to Kansas City you would give it to 'em and our company would put on extra stages for their benefit. It don't seem to make any difference to you what the company's orders are, you do things to suit your own little self, 'y bob!" Barnum went on musing, but I kept feeling of my ground and found I was still on "terra firma." "Well," says I, "don't forget all those little points on the day of settlement, especially what I have saved on the book business in the way of 'cartage' and 'storage.'" I told him that I might want to feather a nest some time for a nice little mate and cunning little birdies. This conversation took place at Bent's Old Fort. My next conversation with him took place in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Tom Barnum Takes Smallpox. I Visit My Home. Dr. Hopkins Gets Broken Window, a Quarter, and the Ill Will of the Stage Company.
During the year of 1863 I took a notion to "lay off" and go home on a visit. Tom Barnum, one of the owners of the road, was at Santa Fe at that time and was to be one of the passengers into Kansas City. I met Mr. Barnum in the "fonda" and he told me he was sick, remarking that he wished he would take the smallpox. I told him he would not want to have it more than once. "Well," said he, "if I took the smallpox it would either cure me of this blamed consumption or kill me." I told him that he wasn't ready to "kick the bucket" yet, for the boys needed him in Kansas City.
Mr. Barnum had been exposed to the smallpox but was not aware of it, so we started to Kansas City. When we arrived in Kansas City we went to the old Gillis hotel, the headquarters for all the stage company's employees. When the doctor came he told him that he had the smallpox, but that he need call no one's attention to it until he had given him leave. The doctor fixed up a bed in the attic, tore a glass out of the window and took every precaution to keep the pestilence from spreading through the house. The doctor took Tom Barnum up in the attic, placed plenty of water within his reach and put a negro to mind him. Then the doctor went to the office and told Dr. Hopkins that Barnum had the smallpox and was up in the attic. He said to the hotelkeeper that there was no need of announcing it to the boarders, but Dr. Hopkins said he would do it anyway, and for him to get Barnum out of the house and to a hospital, that he would ruin him. That night Dr. Hopkins announced to his guests that Barnum was there with the smallpox. Sixteen of his boarders left "post haste," but the house filled up again before night in spite of the smallpox sign. At that time, in the year of 1863, the Gillis house run by Dr. Hopkins was the only large house in Kansas City in use. There was a new building, the "Bravadere," up on the hill from the levee, but it had not been furnished.
When Barnum got over the smallpox he took the bed out the window and burned it, together with everything else in the room, and thoroughly fumigated the premises.
With a face all scarred with smallpox he then went down to the office and told the proprietor of the hotel what he had done with the furniture, bedding, etc., that he had used while he was sick. He told Dr. Hopkins that he wanted to pay him for the damage and asked him what price he should pay for the furniture he had burned. Hopkins told him he supposed $50 would cover it. Then he asked him how much he had damaged his house. Hopkins again replied that he injured him about $50. "All right," said Tom Barnum, "I'll pay it, but let me ask you how many boarders left you when they heard I was sick in the attic with the smallpox." Mr. Hopkins told him they all left. "So I understand, Mr. Hopkins, but will you tell me how many came in before night--how many empty beds did you have while I lay ill with smallpox?" Hopkins was hedging, but he had to answer that all his beds were full; that he had no room for more than came, but he said he felt sure that his house had been injured at least $50. Finally Tom Barnum happened to think of the window pane he had left out of his inventory of materials destroyed and mentioned it. Greatly to Barnum's disgust Hopkins scratched his head and replied that he guessed that a quarter would cover the damage to the window.
When this conversation was over and Barnum had paid for all the "smallpox damage" he said, "Now, Hopkins, figure up what our company owes you; I want to pay it, too." "No," said Hopkins, "I haven't time now, I always make out my bills the first of the month." "Well," said Barnum, "you figure our bill up right now and do not include dinner for any of us, for we are leaving you right now, and will never bring a customer to this house again and never come here to get a passenger nor any one's baggage. In fact, our teams will never come down the hill again to this house, we're quittin'."
The smallpox had left old Barnum pretty weak physically, but had evidently not weakened his will. He left Hopkins in the office figuring up his account and he jumped a-straddle of a bare-backed mule and went up on the hill and rented the new 40-room house, "The Bravadere," and sub-rented enough rooms to pay the expenses of his company. He also got a porter, bus and team and sent to the landing to meet every steam boat to carry passengers and their baggage free of charge to his "new hotel" on the hill. This new hotel got to be all the rage, and the old levee hotel in the bottoms was doomed to be a "thing of the past." The old Gillis hotel on the levee was bought in by the Peet Soap Factory. The old "Bravadere" still stands in Kansas City, but boasts a new brick front.
[Illustration: "UNCLE" DICK WOOTEN.]
Uncle Dick Wooten Erects a Toll Gate. Major Pendelton Carries Cash in Coach to Pay Troops.
In August of 1864 the scenery along the route from Kansas City, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, was grand. Kansas City at that time was a very small place. Its inhabitants may have numbered two or three thousand. Santa Fe with its narrow streets looking like alleys was built mostly of doby (mud bricks). Crowded up against the mountains, at the end of a little valley, through which runs a tributary to the Rio Grande, boasted of healthful climate. Santa Fe had a public square in the center, a house known as "the Palace." There were numerous gambling houses there and these gambling houses were considered as respectable as the merchants' store houses. The business of the place was considerable, many of the merchants being wholesale dealers for the vast territory tributary. In the money market there were no pennies,--nothing less than five-cent pieces. The old palace about which I have called your attention is an old land mark of Santa Fe and is to Santa Fe what "The Alamo" is to Texas. The postoffice at that time was a small building, 14x24, with a partition in the center. It was one-story with a dirt roof, as were all the houses of that old Spanish city at the time my narrative opens.
On my first trip from Santa Fe to Kansas City in 1864 there was little to note except that when I got up on the Raton mountain about thirty miles from Trinidad, Colorado, Uncle Dick Wooten had a large force of Mexicans building a toll road. Originally the road was almost impassable. Saddle horses and pack mules could get over the narrow rock-ribbed pass and around what was known as the "devil's gate," but it was next to impossible for the stages and other caravans to get to Trinidad. This was the natural highway to southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. Uncle Dick was a man of considerable forethought and it occurred to him that he might make some money if he bought a few pounds of dynamite and blasted the rock at "the Devil's Gate" and hewed out a good road, which, barring grades, should be as good as the average turnpike. He expected of course to keep the roads in good repair at his own expense and succeeded in getting the legislatures of Colorado and New Mexico to grant him a charter covering the rights and privileges of his projected toll road or turnpike.
In the spring of 1865 Uncle Tom built him a tolerably pretentious home on the top of the mountains--the house on one side of the road and the stables on the other and swung a gate across the road from the house to the stables. I believe some historians say that Uncle Dick Wooten continued to live at this place until the year of 1895, the date of his death. But as to the veracity of this assertion I will not vouch.
The building of this road with great hillsides to cut out, ledges of rock to blast out and to build dozens of bridges across the mountain streams, difficult gradings, etc., was no easy task. Neither was it an easy task to collect toll from all the travelers. People from the states understood that they must pay toll for the privilege of traveling over a road that had been built at the cost of time and money, but there were other people who thought they should be as free to travel over Uncle Dick's, well-graded roadway as they were to follow the "pig paths" through the forest.
He had no trouble to collect tolls from the stage company, the military authorities and American freighters, nor did he experience trouble with the Indians who pass that way. However, the Indians who did not understand the matter of toll generally seemed to see the consistency of reimbursing the man who had made the road, and the chief of a band would usually think it in order to make him a present of a buckskin or buffalo hide or something of that sort. The Mexicans, however, held different views. They were of course pleased with the road and liked to travel over it, but that toll gate was as "a dash of cold water in their faces." They called it Dick Wooten's highway robbery scheme.
After Uncle Dick's road was completed and the stage coaches began to travel over it his house was turned into a stage station and you can guess that Uncle Dick Wooten had many a stage story to relate to the "tenderfoot" who chose his house to order a meal or sleep in his beds.
Kit Carson was one of the lifelong friends of Uncle Dick and two men for whom I have great respect. They were both friends to the Indians and both have told me that they would never kill an Indian. The Arapahoes knew Uncle Dick Wooten as "Cut Hand" from the fact that he had two fingers missing on his left hand. This tribe had a great veneration for the keeper of the tollgate, and he was perfectly safe at any time in their villages and camps. One of the dying chiefs made as a dying request, that although the nation be at war with all the whites in the world, his warriors were never to injure "Cut Hand," but to assist him in whatever way they could if he needed them. Uncle Dick Wooten's Christian name was "Richen Lacy Wooten" and lived at Independence, Missouri, before venturing to the frontier.
Before I leave Uncle Dick to go on to another journey across the Old Santa Fe Trail I will relate the story of the death of Espinosa--Don Espinosa. The Mexican aristocracy are called "Dons," claiming descent from the nobles of Cortez' army. We will see how cleverly Uncle Dick won the reward of $1000 offered by the governor of Colorado for the life of the bandit, dead or alive.
Espinosa living with his beautiful sister in his isolated farm house among his vast herds of cattle, sheep, goats and other animals lived a life of luxury. There was a government contractor living in his vicinity buying beef cattle for the consumption of the soldiers. Espinosa came to believe that he was losing beef steers and thought that the contractor was getting them, and when this contractor was shot and killed by an unknown at Fort Garland it was generally supposed that Espinosa had murdered him.
I have heard there was a very rich American living at the home of Espinosa and that he was enamored by the bewitching beauty of the dark-eyed sister of Espinosa and they were engaged to be married. The American had told Espinosa that he possessed considerable money, etc., and one night after the American had gone to bed he was awakened by a man feeling under his pillow for the purpose of robbery, and shot at the intruder, who was no other than the treacherous Espinosa. When Espinosa found that he was "caught in the act" he killed the American with a dirk. His sister cursed him for having killed her lover, the only child of a rich New Englander. This deed is said to have stimulated in Espanosi a desire to reap in the golden eagles faster and faster, so he determined to become a bandit, a robber. Several Denver men met death along near the home of the famous Espinosa and the governor accordingly offered a reward of $1000 for his body, dead or alive.
After this reward was offered I was passing through Dick Wooten's toll gate on my way to Santa Fe and one of my passengers had a copy of the Denver Times in which he read of the reward out for Espinosa in the presence of Uncle Dick. Uncle Dick fairly groaned with satisfaction and made this reply, "I will get that man before many suns pass over his head."
About two weeks later Wooten was hunting and he heard a shot ring out on the air, and decided he would go in the direction of the shot and see what was up. He got on his stomach with his rifle fixed so he could shoot any hostile intruder and stealth-fully crawled up to within a few yards of where he had discovered a small camp smoke. There he espied Espinosa in company with a small twelve-year-old boy, ripping the hind quarter out of a beef steer he had killed. Wooten kept watching and crawling nearer--Espinosa unsuspicious of the watch of the old trapper, prepared to cook his supper and had beef already over the fire cooking, answering the many questions of the hungry lad near him, when Wooten, getting a sight on him, sent out a shot that ended the life of the fearless and revengeful Mexican bandit, the terror of the Mexican and Colorado border, Espinosa.
The boy hid under a log, but after being assured by Wooten that he would not be harmed came out and answered Uncle Dick Wooten's inquiries. The child said he was a nephew of Espinosa. When asked what the notches on the gun of the bandit denoted, he told him they denoted the number of men killed by his uncle, for whose life he had paid the forfeit by his own at the hands of Dick Wooten, the famous trapper of the Rocky mountains and keeper of the toll-gate of the Santa Fe Trail.
Uncle Dick, a kind-hearted old fogie, in spite of the fact that he had just killed a bandit, gently pacified the little lad and finished cooking the supper. When it was all ready they both ate ravenously of the beef, bread and coffee; then Uncle Dick cut off the head of Espinosa and placed it in a gunny sack, took the rifle of the beheaded robber and placed the little boy on his horse behind him and started for the toll-gate; from there they went to Denver and collected the ransom. Besides the $1000 reward for the potentate of the Rocky mountains which Uncle Dick received, he was also the recipient of a very fine rifle, mounted in gold and silver, and a small diamond. This rifle was said to be worth $250. Uncle Dick showed the "fire-arm" to me and I considered it a very beautiful instrument of its kind. Old Uncle Dick proudly invited inspection of his beautiful "fire-arm," but woe to the man who criticised its wonderful mechanism. I do not know of Espinosa's being on the Santa Fe Trail but twice during my travels.
The drivers used to have lots of fun with the passengers and after we left Trinidad they would solemnly warn the passengers to examine their Winchesters and revolvers, that it was not unlikely that we would be accosted by some of the gang of the Espinosa's robbers, and tell them that the Texas Rangers would often hide in the mountains and extract money and other valuables from the passengers crossing over to the states.
Uncle Dick Wooten's wife was a Mexican and they had a very beautiful daughter who married Brigham Young. However, this Brigham was not the great Brigham of Utah and Salt Lake fame. He was only an employee of the stage company in charge of the stage station at Iron Springs, about half way between Bent's Old Fort and Trinidad. This station was situated in a grove of pinyon trees and other fine timber and infested by mountain bear. Sometimes if we were passing along in the night the mules would smell the bear and become unmanageable.
* * * * *
One time I had a passenger, Joe Cummins, a marshal of New Mexico, en route to Washington to get extradition papers for a man who had run away to Canada, Joe was as full of mischief as a "young mule." I had three other passengers and Joe Cummins kept them laughing all the way into Bent's Old Fort, the junction of the Denver road. There we were met by Major Pendleton and his clerk. Major Pendleton was paymaster of the Union army on their way to Fort Lyon, Fort Larned and Fort Zara to pay off the soldiers. He rode with me to Fort Lyon and from there he either had to go with me by stage or take a Government conveyance, i.e. the militia, which would take him eight or ten days. He decided to go with me if I would agree to wait for him until he paid off the soldiers at Fort Lyon and get an escort of soldiers. He said he had $96,000. He gave me his package containing the $96,000 to put in the company's safe. I was busy with my coach at the time he handed me the package and I laid it down by the front wheel. A few minutes later he discovered the package on the ground by the wheel of the coach and picked it up and told me he would like for me to take care of it. I told him I would attend to it as soon as I got loaded--we were fitting up two coaches with mail and baggage to cross the Long Route and I would soon be loaded, and I laid the package down again. Pretty soon the major came around and picked up the treasured package and quite sternly asked me, "Are you going to take care of this?" The third time he entrusted it to me, at which time I asked him to come to the office of the stage company with me. When I got there I drew an express receipt, signed and handed it to him, stating that it would take $400 to express it. By paying that amount I told him that I would place it in the safe. "Oh!" he said, "the government would not allow me to pay express." I handed it back to him and told him that the government then would have to be responsible for it, not the stage company. Then the major said he would order a strong escort to go with us across the long route. I told him that if he rode with me he would do nothing of the sort, that if an escort went with me I was the man to order it, then they would be under me and travel with the same speed I traveled. I told him if he ordered the escort he would have to stay with them, so the major told me to "fire away." I went to Major Anthony and told him that I thought twenty men would be sufficient, but that the old paymaster wanted thirty-five men, so I yielded to him in this, and with thirty-five soldiers we started. At daylight the next morning I yelled "All aboard," and the lieutenant in charge of the escort, who was a regular army officer, told his cook to get breakfast. I told the lieutenant that we always made a drive of from ten to fifteen miles before we breakfasted. He said he wouldn't do it, that the regulations of the army were to make two drives a day and not over thirty miles without food. The lieutenant said he wouldn't drive the way I wanted him to and they would have breakfast before they started. I told him "All right, stay and have your breakfast, I don't object, but then go back to Fort Lyon." I did not need an escort unless they complied with my orders. I had orders from my headquarters and they were supposed to be at "my service" as escort of the mail and express. Well, Major Pendelton was in a "pickle"--it was a predicament he did not know how to get out of. He wanted to get through as soon as possible and knew that if he went back with the Lieutenant, he would be delayed. He thought he had too much money to be left with me without the escort. He remembered Major Anthony's words to him before we left the fort. Major Anthony had told him, "you are safe in Billy's coach, he never has trouble with Indians." However, while Pendelton pondered, Joe Cummins thought he would fix matters with the Lieutenant and took him to one side and told him that he was under the orders of the conductor of the Government Mail and Express, that I was in the service of the United States Mail and that my orders would supercede any orders about traveling. Mr. Cummings told him that I would make my 50 and 60 miles a day and he would have to make his mules travel that fast, or go back. "If you leave," Joe says, "Major Anthony will report you to headquarters at Leavenworth." The Lieutenant finally decided to go, much to the relief of Major Pendelton. After we had gotten straightened out and on the road' once more, Joe Cummins thought that the fun had tamed down too much, so he winked at me, then asked me, "Billy, where do those Texas rangers hold out along this road, do ye know?" "Yes," I told him, "they generally hold out right across the river in the hills, which afford them such good hiding places where they can ambush without being discovered." At this, Major Pendelton suddenly woke up, "what's that, you fellers are talking about?" Joe, casually remarked that they were discussing that band of robbers that lived on the route across the river from us. He kept on until Major Pendelton was feeling "blue." When we camped for breakfast--dinner as the Lieutenant called it. Cummings told the paymaster many a bloody tale of the lawlessness of that trail, and ended by telling him and his clerk that while I was getting breakfast ready that they had better practice up on their marksmanship. The clerk had a four-barreled little short pistol. The first time he shot at the mark he struck the ground about four feet from it. The four barrels all exploded at once. The paymaster jumped about six feet in the air, thinking that we were surely attacked from the rear. Cummings was tickled to death. He handed the paymaster his revolver, which was a 12-inch Colts, and told him to shoot toward the board. The paymaster fired and missed the mark. "Well," Cummings said, "Billy, it's up to you and me, if we are held up by the Texas rangers on this trip." "But," Cummings said, "the Major here is a first-class shot, but a little weak in the knees." After we again resumed the road, the paymaster began to feel a little easier, and a little like I should think a "donkey" would feel. He knew now that Joe Cummins had been "prodding fun at him" and had no defense. At Ft. Larned the next day, I accommodated the paymaster by waiting four hours for him to pay off the troops. He asked me if we had better take an escort, but I told him I was sure we had no use for an escort since it was only a five hour trip to Ft. Zara, where Larned City now stands. I told him that the last escort we would need would be from Cow Creek and that we could get one from the commanding officer there. When we reached Kansas City the paymaster took the steamboat to Leavenworth and Joe Cummins went to Washington and made application for extradition papers to go to Canada for a man who had done some damage in New Mexico. Cummins told me that Lincoln told him to go on back home and let the man in Canada alone, that the officers in New Mexico had all they could attend to without another man.
Joe Cummings went back to Santa Fe with me and had many a laugh about the old gentleman, meaning Major Pendelton, getting so "riled up" over a possible encounter with Indians, Texas rangers, etc.
The Cold Weather Pinches Passengers Going Across the Plains.
On one of my wintry trips across the plains, I took a passenger by the name of Miller who was going to Santa Fe to buy wool for Mr. Hammerslaugh. That was one of the most extreme cold winters I ever experienced. When we reached the long route, that is from Ft. Larned a distance of 240 miles to Ft. Lyon with no stations between, we took two coaches if we had several passengers; however, this time I only had Mr. Miller. The first night out I told him he had better sleep on the ground, he would sleep warmer and be safer from the elements, but he said he would freeze to death. I told him that by morning he would see who had frozen if he slept in the coach. Well, he had lots of bedding, buffalo robes, buffalo overshoes and blankets. This was in the month of January and the weather was down below zero and still a "zeroin'," it being at this time 20 below. Sixty-five miles from Ft. Lyon I opened the curtains and asked him how he was faring, and he told me he was frozen to the knees. At Pretty Encampment I opened the curtains again and told him we had better put him in cold water and take the frost out of his limbs. I told him I would cut a hole in the ice and put his feet in there and he would get all right, but he would not hear to it, he said he couldn't stand it. I insisted that it was the only plausible thing to do. He said that if I would drive straight to Ft. Lyon as hard as I could go that he would give me $100. I told him no, I could not do that, it would kill the mules before we could get there. At four o'clock, however, we arrived in Ft. Lyon with our frozen patient. We got a doctor as soon as possible who doped his legs with oil and cotton and kept him there.
On my next trip in the month of February, I took a lady passenger, a Miss Withington, daughter of Charles Withington, who lived ten miles east of Council Grove, Kansas. She wanted to go to Pueblo, Colorado. I told her how dangerous it was at that time of the year, but she insisted that she would make it all right, and as luck would have it, she did make it. John McClennahan of Independence, Mo., was our driver. On this trip as on the previous trip, at Pretty Encampment I opened the curtains and asked Miss Withington how she was. She told me her feet were frozen. "Well," I said, "Miss Withington, there is only one thing to do, and it is a little rough." She asked me what it was. I told her that I would cut a hole in the ice and put her feet in the river if she would consent to it. She was a nervy little woman, and laughingly told me to "go at it." I went ahead with blankets and the hatchet and cut a hole in the ice, and the driver carried her and emersed her feet in water 15 inches deep. She pluckily stood it without a flinch. Her feet were frozen quite hard but after 30 minutes they were thawed and we took her back to the coach where she ate a hearty breakfast and proceeded to Ft. Lyon. At four o'clock we reached the fort. Miss Withington put on her shoes but her feet were still too badly swollen to lace her shoes and tie them. She walked into the station alone, and there lay Mr. Miller, the passenger of a month ago, who had lost both his feet above the toe joint. Miss Withington walked up to him and said, "you're a pretty bird, my feet were frozen as badly as yours, but I 'took to the water' and I have no doubt but I will be all right." She never suffered much inconvenience, but Mr. Miller was a life-long cripple.
Miss Withington, whose name is Hayden now, visited in California in the year of 1912, just prior to my visit there. I was indeed sorry not to have met her again. I met her once since that memorable trip when she suffered frozen feet, and they never troubled her afterwards.
I always slept on the ground and never suffered with cold. I had buffalo robes and government blankets. So long as the wind could not get under the covering and "raise them off" I was comfortable. When the wind was high, I usually laid our harness over my bed. In case of snow storms, we would often wake up under a blanket of soft snow, and raise up and poke our arm through the snow to make an air hole, then go back to sleep again.
The wolves would often prowl around our camp and help the mules eat their corn. Several times I would look out from under my covering and behold eight or ten wolves eating corn with the mules, and seldom would ever go to bed without first putting out four or five quarts of corn for the hungry wolves. One passenger whom I had en route to Santa Fe joked me about feeding the wolves. He said that I had gotten so accustomed to feed Indians that I thought to feed the wolves, too.
[Illustration: LUCIEN MAXWELL.]
Lucien Maxwell and Kit Carson Take Sheep to California. A Synopsis of the Life of Mr. Maxwell, a Rich Ranchman.
Lucien B. Maxwell was a thoroughbred Northerner, having first opened his eyes in Illinois. He came to New Mexico just prior to the acquisition of the territory by the United States prior to the granting of the ranch then known as the Beaubien Grant. He was in the employ as hunter and trapper for the American Fur Company.
The ranch, known as the Beaubien Grant, was one of the most interesting and picturesque ranches in all New Mexico and contained nearly two million acres of ground, traversed by the Old Trail.
Lucien Maxwell married a daughter of Carlos Beaubien. Interested in this large ranch with him was a Mr. Miranda. After the death of his father-in-law Mr. Maxwell bought all the interest of Miranda and became the largest land owner in the United States.
The arable acres of this large estate in the broad and fertile valleys were farmed by native Mexicans. The system existing in the territory at that time was the system of peonage. Lucien Maxwell was a good master, however, and employed about five or six hundred men.
Maxwell's house was a veritable palace compared with the usual style and architecture of that time and country. It was built on the old Southern style, large and roomy. It was the hospitable mansion of the traveling public, and I have never known or heard of Mr. Maxwell ever charging a cent for a meal's victuals or a night's lodging under his roof. The grant ran from the line of Colorado on the Raton mountains sixty miles south and took in the little town of Maxwell on the Cimarron river. The place is now known as Springer, New Mexico.
In the yard at the Maxwell Palace, as we will call his house, was an old brass cannon, about which we may speak later on. He had a grist mill, a sutler's store, wagon repair shop and a trading post for the Indians.
Besides his wife, a Mexican woman, Mr. Maxwell had a nice little girl eight years old, whom he sent to St. Louis with some friends to go to school and to learn how to become a "high-bred" lady. In the fall of 1864 on one of my trips to Santa Fe I met Miss Maxwell, then a young lady about sixteen years old, and took her to her father's house in New Mexico. As we were crossing the Long Route I asked her if she spoke the Mexican language. She told me that she had forgotten every word of it. Everything at the Maxwell ranch had on its holiday finery in anticipation of the arrival of this young lady and Mrs. Maxwell came to meet the coach that bore her beloved child. It was one of the most touching incidents that ever came up in my life, before or since. The mother reached the coach first and had the girl in her arms, crying and laughing over her, talking the Mexican language to her, but the girl never understood one word her mother was saying and the mother was at an equal loss to know what the daughter spoke to her. At last Mr. Maxwell greeted his daughter who had grown so much that he could hardly realize that she was his little girl he had sent to the states to receive the benefits of education and became at once interpreter between mother and daughter.
One year later at Fort Union I met Miss Maxwell and talked with her. She told me she had mastered the Mexican language and was a fine horsewoman.
In the year of 1853 Mr. Maxwell and Kit Carson, who was a favorite friend of Mr. Maxwell and not an unfrequent visitor at his place, went to California with a drove of sheep. They took the old Oregon trail by way of Salt Lake, Utah, and arrived in California some four months later, where they sold their sheep to the miners at a very large price. As I remember the sum, I think it was in the neighborhood of $100,000. They met ill luck on their return. They thought they could return together without being approached by robbers. However, they had been closely watched and their intentions were pretty well known to a bold band of robbers then plying between the mines of California and New Mexico. After they had reached the Old Oregon Trail they were held up and robbed of all they carried. However, the robbers accommodated them by giving back their horses, saddles and bridles and enough money for them to make their return home.
During my travels across the plains I do not believe that for a distance of forty-five miles I was ever out of sight of the herds--cattle, horses, goats, sheep, etc.--belonging to Mr. Maxwell.
A few weeks after Maxwell and Kit Carson were robbed on the Old Oregon Trail they got together two other herds of sheep and went again to California, taking every precaution against the attack of robbers. This time Kit Carson went the northern route and Lucien Maxwell took the southern route, arriving in California about seven days apart. They decided to be strangers during their sojourn in the California town. Putting up at different camps they disposed of their sheep and made an appointment to come together again something like a hundred miles distant, going west toward the Pacific ocean. By these means they hoped to elude the vigilant eye of robbers and did get home without trouble.
Mr. Maxwell was one of the most generous men I ever knew. His table was daily set for at least thirty guests. Sometimes his guests were invited, but usually they were those whose presence was forced upon him by reason of his palatial residence, rightfully called the "Manor House," which stood upon the plateau at the foot of the Rocky mountains. Our stage coaches were frequently water bound at Maxwell's, and our passengers were treated like old and valued friends of the host, who, by the way, was fond of cards. Poker and seven-up were his favorite. However, he seldom ever played cards with other than personal friends. He often loaned money to his friends to "stake" with $500 or $1000 if needed. Some of the rooms in Maxwell's house were furnished as lavishly as were the homes of English noblemen, while other rooms were devoid of everything except a table for card playing, chairs and pipe racks.
There was one room in Maxwell's house which might be called his "den," however not very applicable. This room had two fireplaces built diagonally across opposite corners and contained a couple of tables, chairs and an old bureau where Maxwell kept several thousand dollars in an unlocked drawer. The doors of this room were never locked and most every one who came to this house knew that Maxwell kept large sums of money in the "bureau drawer," but no one ever thought of molesting it, or if they did, never did it. A man once asked Mr. Maxwell if he considered his unique depository very secure. His answer was, "God help the man who attempted to rob me and I knew him!" In this room Maxwell received his friends, transacted business, allowed the Indian chiefs to sit by the fire or to sleep wrapped in blankets on the hard wood floor or to interchange ideas in their sign language with his visitors who would sit up all night through, fascinated by the Indian guests. If Kit Carson happened to be at the Maxwell ranch his bed was always on the floor of this very room and invariably had several Indian chiefs in the room with him. The Indians loved Kit Carson and liked to see him victor over the games at the card table.
Although Lucien Maxwell was a northerner, Mrs. Maxwell was a Mexican and with all the Mexican etiquette presided over her house. The dining rooms and kitchen were detached from the main house. One of the latter for the male portion of their retinue and guests of that sex and another for the women members. It was a rare thing to see a woman about the Maxwell premises, though there were many. Occasionally one would hear the quick rustle or get a hurried view of a petticoat (rebosa) as its wearer appeared for an instant before an open door. The kitchen was presided over by dark-faced maidens bossed by experienced old cronies. Women were not allowed in the dining rooms during meal hours.
The dining tables were profuse with solid silver table-service. The table cloths were of the finest woven flosses. At one time when I was there Maxwell took me to the "loom shed" where he had two Indian women at work on a blanket. The floss and silk the women had woven into the blanket cost him $100 and the women had worked on it one year. It was strictly waterproof. Water could not penetrate it in any way, shape, form or fashion.
Maxwell was a great lover of horse-racing and liked to travel over the country, his equipages comprising anything from a two-wheeled buck-board to a fine coach and even down to our rambling Concord stages. He was a reckless horseman and driver.
After the close of the war an English syndicate claiming to own a large tract of land in southeastern New Mexico called the Rebosca redunda. He came to see Mr. Maxwell and instituted a trade with him. Trading him the "Rebosca Redunda" for his "Beaubien Grant," thereby swindling Mr. Maxwell out of his fortune. After Mr. Maxwell moved to this place he found he had bought a bad title and instituted a lawsuit in ejectment, but was unsuccessful and died a poor man.
Once during the month of October in the year of 1864, while en route to Kansas City from the old Mexican capitol, I stopped at Maxwell's ranch for lunch.
Mr. Maxwell came out to where I was busy with the coach and told me he wanted me to carry a little package of money to Kansas City for him and deliver it to the Wells-Fargo Express Company to express to St. Louis.
I told him I would take it, but I said, "How much do you want me to take?" He told me he wanted me to take $52,000. I told him the company would not like for me to put it in the safe unless it was expressed, but he said he didn't want to express it. "All right," I said, "unless we are held up and robbed I will deliver the money to Wells-Fargo Express Company." "Now," I said, "in what shape is the money?" He pointed to an old black satchel sitting on a chair and said, "There is the wallet." I told him to wait until I went into dinner with the passengers, then for him to go out there and take the satchel and put it in the front boot, then pull a mail sack or two up over it and on top of that throw my blankets and buffalo robes which lay on the seat on top of the mail sacks, then go away and let it alone. Do not let any one see you do this.
Let me say that Maxwell's ranch was headquarters of the Ute agency which was established a long time prior to my traveling through there. A company of cavalry was detailed by the Government to camp there to impress the plains tribes who roamed the Santa Fe Trail east of the Raton range. The Ute tribe was very fond of Maxwell and looked up to him as children look up to their father.
One old Indian watched Maxwell put the money in the boot of the stage, and after he had left to obey my instructions this old Indian who would have gone through the "firy furnace" for Lucien Maxwell, stood guard over the stage. I did not know it at that time, but the Indian afterwards asked me how I made it in? When I came back to the coach I laid the buffalo robes to one side, then I laid the mail bags to one side and put the "wallet" as Mr. Maxwell called the old black satchel, right in the bottom of the boot and laid one mail bag by the side and laid an old blanket over both these, then piled on the balance of the mail bags and lastly my buffalo robes. I usually slept during the day after I took this money. My driver did not even know I had it. At night I slept right there under the driver's seat in the boot of the coach. At night I rode, before we quit driving for our rest, on the seat of the boot with my brace of pistols between me and the driver.
Within about three miles of Willow Springs, Kansas, a stage station, twenty-five miles west of Council Grove, I discovered twenty-five horses hitched to the rack. There was no retreat, so I had to drive right on in. Just as we drove up twenty-five men came out of the settlers' store and saloon and mounted.
One passenger on my coach was acquainted with every man of them. They were, however, true to my suspicions, a band of the notorious Quantrell gang, the very ones who had made the raid on Lawrence and killed so many people after robbing them. My passenger walked up to the gang and said, "Come on, boys, let's all have a drink before you go." They all returned with my passenger and drank, but I told the driver I did not want to leave the coach and for him to grease it and I would fool around about that so as to dispel suspicion that I was guarding my coach. Before we were through with the coach the men came back and in my presence asked the passenger if he believed the coach was worth robbing. "No," he said, "I have not seen a sign of money." I told the boys that it wasn't worth robbing, that there was not more than $10 in the safe and that it was mine. I told him I didn't have much of a haul in the safe, but I said, "Here's the key, you can go through it if you want to and satisfy yourself." I laughed and talked with the balance of the boys as if nothing unusual was taking place. One of the gang took the little old iron safe, which was about eighteen inches square and weighing about 150 to 200 pounds, and put it on the seat of the coach and unlocked it. I had it literally stuffed full of way bills, letters and such other plunder, together with a little wallet of mine containing $10. The robber took out the ten dollars and held it up, saying, "Is this what you referred to, conductor?" I told him that it was. "Well," says he, "I will not take that, it is not tempting enough." I thanked the accommodating robber in my nicest way for having left me money to buy a few dinners with after I got to Kansas City, and they left us. I was fairly bursting with satisfaction. No one on the stage knew that I had saved the $52,000 of Lucien Maxwell's. However, boy like, just before we rolled into Kansas City I told the passengers about the money.
When we at last had gained Kansas City one of the passengers told Mr. Barnum about the escapade with the robbers and my success in maintaining a "bold front" and the "gold dust." Mr. Barnum grunted and said, "Oh, well, Billy is one of our conductors that is so stubborn that he has to have everything his own way." Then, he added, "Did you say he gave his safe keys to the robbers?" "Yes," the passenger said, "he did." Barnum replied, "I'll be dogged." Then he told the passengers about my having deposited the mail in the river to make a bridge so I could cross my coach and eventually to "reach the other side."
When I returned from the express office where I had been to take the money, in fulfilment of my promise to Mr. Maxwell, old Tom Barnum and my passengers were still talking. Barnum approached me, saying, "Been up to some more of your tricks, have you, Billy?" I told him I had been taking "poker chips" to the express office, if that was what he meant. They all had a good laugh; then Barnum requested me to show him the receipt I gave Maxwell for the money. "Now, Billy," said Barnum, "you're a pretty bird, you know we would not charge Maxwell a cent for express, for we never paid him a cent for board or for feeding our mules--but never mind,"--then he laughed, "oh, that receipt!"
Kit Carson, My Friend.
Christopher Carson, known among his friends as simply Kit Carson, was a Kentuckian by birth, having been born in December, 1809. Kentucky was at the time of his birth an almost pathless wilderness, rich with game, and along its river banks the grasses grew so luxuriant that it invited settlers to settle there and build homes out of the trees which grew in such profusion. Small gardens were cultivated where corn, beans, onions and a few other vegetables were raised, but families subsisted, for the most part, on game with which the forests abound, and the lakes and rivers were alive with fish. Wild geese, ducks, turkeys, quail and pigeons swept through the air with perfect freedom. Deer, antelope, moose, beaver, wolves, catamount and even grizzly bear often visited the scene of the settler's home, among whom was our friend, Kit Carson.
Kit Carson had no education. There were no schools to attend other than the school of "trapping," and he became a trapper and Indian guide and interpreter.
When Kit was a small boy his father moved, on foot, so history relates, to Missouri. At the time of the move, however, there was no state or even territory of Missouri. France had ceded to the United States the unexplored regions which were in 1800 called Upper Louisiana.
Kit's father had a few white friends, trappers and hunters, but the Indians were numerous. Mr. Carson, together with the other white families, banded themselves together and built a large log house, so fashioned as to be both a house and a fort if occasion demanded them to fortify against a possible foe. The building was one story high, having port holes through which the muzzles of rifles could be thrust. As additional precaution they built palisades around the house. This house was built in what is now Howard County, Missouri, north of the Missouri river. Christopher Carson at fifteen years of age had never been to school a day, but he was "one of the Four Hundred" equal to any man in his district. He was a fine marksman, excellent horseman, of strong character and sound judgment. His disposition was quiet, amiable and gentle. One of those boys who did things without boasting and did everything the best he could.
At about this stage of his life his father put him out as an apprentice to learn a trade. The trade he was to learn was that of "saddler." However, the boy languished under the confinement and did not take to the business. He was a hunter and trapper by training and nothing else would satisfy his nature.
One night about two years later when Kit was a young man eighteen years old a man who chanced to pass his father's humble home related his adventures. He told how much was to be earned by selling buffalo robes, buckskins, etc., at Santa Fe, New Mexico. He drew beautiful word pictures of wealth that could be attained in the great Spanish capital of New Mexico, more than a thousand miles from Missouri.
At last several able-bodied men decided to equip some pack mules and go to the great bonanza. They intended to live on game which they would shoot on the way. Kit heard of the party and applied to them to let him accompany them. They were not only glad of his offer to go, but considered they had a great need for him because he was so "handy" among the Indians. It turned out that Kit engineered the whole party. He had a military demeanor. When the mules were brought up and their packs fastened upon their backs, which operation required both skill and labor, it was Kit who ordered the march, which was conducted with more than ordinary military precision.
Kit Carson was a beloved friend of several tribes of Indians. He learned from them how to make his clothes, which he considered were of much more artistic taste and style and more becoming than the tightly fitting store suits of a "Broadway dude" he had once "gazed upon." This suit that he was so proud of consisted of a hunting shirt of soft, pliable deer skin, ornamented with long fringes of buckskin dyed a bright vermillion or copperas. The trousers were made of the same material and ornamented with the same kind of fringes and porcupine quills of various colors. His cap was made of fur which could entirely cover his head, with "port holes" for his eyes and nose and mouth. The mouth must be free to hold his clay pipe filled with tobacco. It is needless to say that he wore moccasins upon his feet, beautified with many colored beads.
Prior to the year of 1860 I was not personally acquainted with Kit Carson, but after that year I knew him well. At Fort Union he was the center of attraction from the first of April, 1865, until April 1st, 1866. Every one wanted to hear Kit tell of exploits he had been in, and he could tell a story well. Kit loved to play cards and while he was as honest as the day was long he was usually a winner. He didn't like to put up much money. If he didn't have a good hand he would lay down.
Early in the spring of 1865 Carson went with Captain Willis to the border of the Indian country along the lines of Texas and Arizona in southwestern New Mexico. This massacre is fully explained on another page of this book.
Kit Carson, like Col. A.G. Boone, dealt honestly with the Indians, and Kit Carson had on several occasions told me that had Colonel A. G. Boone remained the Indian agent, if he had not been withdrawn by the government, the great war with the Indians would never have occurred.
Kit Carson was a born leader of men and was known from Missouri to Santa Fe--he was one of the most widely known men on the frontier.
Carson was the father of seven children. He was at the time of his death, his wife having crossed over the river in April, 1868. His disease was aneurism of the aorta. A tumor pressing on the pneumo-gastric nerves and trachea caused such frequent spasms of the bronchial tubes, which were exceedingly distressing. Death took place at 4:25 p. m. May 23, 1868. His last words were addressed to his faithful doctor, H. R. Tilton, assistant surgeon of the United States army, and were "Compadre adois" (dear friend, good bye). In his will he left property to the value of $7,000 to his children. Kit Carson's first wife was an Indian Cheyenne girl of unusual intelligence and beauty. They had one girl child. After her birth the mother only lived a short time. This child was tenderly reared by Kit until she reached eight years, when he took her to St. Louis and liberally provided for all her wants. She received as good an education as St. Louis could afford and was introduced to the refining influences of polished society. She married a Californian and removed with him to his native state.
The Indians of today are possessed with the same ambitions as the whites. There are Indian lawyers, Indian doctors, Indian school teachers and other educators, but in the frontier days when from Leavenworth, Kansas, to Santa Fe the plains were thronged with Indians they were looked upon as uncivilized and were uncivilized, but were so badly abused, run out of their homes and were given no chances to become civilized or to learn any arts.
The Indians around Maxwell's ranch were mostly a lazy crowd because they had nothing to do. Maxwell fed them, gave them some work, gave the squaws considerable work--they wove blankets with a skill that cannot be surpassed by artists of today. Not only were these Indian women fine weavers, but they worked unceasingly on fine buckskin (they tanned their own hides), garments, beading them, embroidering them, working all kinds of profiles such as the profile of an Indian chief or brave, animals of all kinds were beaded or embroidered into the clothes they made for the chiefs of their tribes. These suits were often sold to foreigners to take east as a souvenir and they would sell them for the small sum of $200 to $300. Those Indian women would braid fine bridle reins of white, black and sorrel horse hair for their chiefs and for sale to the white men. The Indian squaws were always busy but liked to see a horse race as well as their superior--their chief. A squaw is an excellent mother. While she cannot be classed as indulgent she certainly desires to train her child to endure hardships if they are called upon to endure them. She trains the little papoose to take to the cold water, not for the cleansing qualities, but for the "hardiness" she thinks it gives him.
General Carleton Received Orders from Mr. Moore to Send Soldiers' Pay Envelopes to Him.
In March of 1865 I made my last trip across the renowned Santa Fe Trail from Kansas City, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Somewhere on the route between Las Vegas, New Mexico, and Fort Union I met a Mr. Moore of the firm of Moore, Mitchel & Co. This firm owned a "sutler's store" at Tecolote, Fort Bliss and Fort Union. The store at Fort Union was the general supply station for the other named stores. The stock carried at the supply store amounted to something like $350,000 to $500,000. This stock consisted of general merchandise. It was to this store one went to buy coffee, sugar, soda, tobacco and bacon, calico, domestic, linsey, jeans, leather and gingham, officers' clothing, tin buckets, wooden tubs, coffee pots, iron "skillets-and leds," iron ovens, crowbars, shovels, plows, and harness. To this store the settlers came to buy molasses, quinine, oil and turpentine, vermillion and indigo blue. Everything used was kept in this one store. During those times there were no drug stores, shoes stores, dry goods stores, etc., but everything was combined in one large store. Calico was sold for $1 per yard, common bleached muslin sold for $2 a yard, domestic was from $1 to $1.50 and $2 per yard. Sugar sold for 75 cents to $1 per pound. Coffee brought about the same. Tobacco and cheap pipes brought stunning prices.
Mr. Moore rode on with us for an hour or two, then he asked me quite suddenly, "Aren't you Billy Ryus?" I told him I usually answered to that name. Then he asked me if I was acquainted with John Flournoy of Independence, Missouri. I answered, "Yes, we drove the stage over the Long Route together for six months." Then Mr. Moore said that he wanted to take me to one side and have a talk with me. Reader, you are well aware that some men are born to rule--Mr. Moore was one of those men. He never knew anything superior to his wishes. "What he said went" with the procession. He even went so far as to order General Carleton, commanding officer of the troops in that portion of the country, to make the payment to the soldiers and mechanics at Fort Union through him and let him pay off the soldiers. These payments would run up to $65,000 or $75,000 per quarter. Up to the time of his meeting with me no one had dared to thwart his wishes.
At his request I walked out a piece from the coach with him, and he said, "Billy Ryus, I have been on the lookout for you for a year!" I was astonished, and asked him what he had been looking for me for. His answer was that he wanted me to stop at Ft. Union on my way back from Santa Fe and go up to their store and clerk for them. I answered, "Mr. Moore, that is practically impossible; I can't do it." Then he said, "you've got to do it, I've spent too much time looking for you already, you've got to clerk for us." I am a little hot headed myself, and I answered him as tartly as he spoke to me. "Mr. Moore," says I, "I've got to do nothing of the sort." Then Mr. Moore cooled down and talked more like a business man and less like a bully.
"Now, Mr. Ryus," (I was young then and quickly noticed the Mr. Ryus) "this is our proposition: We will give you $1000 a year, board, and room and you can have your clothes at cost. And," he said, "I'll make you a check right here." I told him that his proposition did not make a bit of difference to me, for I was working for Mr. Barnum and could not leave his employ without first giving him thirty days' notice to get a man in my place. Mr. Moore was quick to respond, "Ah, let that job be da--ed"--. This side of Mr. Moore's character did not suit me, and I asked him what he would think of Mr. Barnum if he should stop over at his store and take one of his employees off without giving him a chance to get another in his place, and what would he think of the clerk that would do him that way. I told him that I would not do him that way. Mr. Moore said that he saw that I was "squeally" but that he saw my point, and supposed I was right. "Now, Mr. Moore," I said, "when I get into Santa Fe, if Mr. Barnum is there I will tell him about your proposition, and if he can let me off now, and will take the stage back to the States for me, I will take your proposition." He replied, "Well, that's all right, you come back to us, if you don't get here for sixty days, and we will pay your expenses here."
Mr. Moore put the spurs to his horse and galloped out of sight. What my impression was of Mr. Moore could hardly be expressed. I certainly had not the slightest feeling of awe--that one of the passengers said he felt for the man, but I do not know whether or not I felt any great confidence in him. However, when I came to know him, as I did by being in his society every day for a year, I found him to be a man of many sterling qualities.
Mr. Barnum returned with me from Santa Fe to Ft. Union and went up to the store with me. Mr. Barnum told me that he regretted that I wanted to leave his employ, but that if it was to my benefit, he would have to take the coach in for me and get a man in my place, "but," he added, "I do not think I will be able to find a man who can make peace with the Indians, as you have always done." Mr. Barnum told Mr. Moore that he had never lost a life since I had been doing the driving, and that I had not only saved the lives of passengers, but that I had saved him money and time.
When Mr. Barnum prepared to leave the store, he had the coach driven up and my things taken off and put in the store, then he turned to me and held out his hand, saying, "Billy, in making the treaties with the Indians, such as you have, you have not only saved the lives of many passengers and won the title of the second William Penn, but you have endeared yourself to me and to the other boys in this company, and to all the settlers between Kansas City and Santa Fe." I was greatly agitated and impressed by his impressive speech, and I thanked him for his kind words of praise for the services I had given in my small way.
The morning after Mr. Barnum left, I was feeling a little lonely among my new surroundings, and Kit Carson sauntered into the room. As soon as I looked into his kindly eyes I knew I had met a friend, and I also knew in a moment that it was Kit Carson, of whose fame as an Indian fighter I had often read.
I told him that I had heard many tragic tales of his wonderful heroism among the unfriendly Indians, and he told me that I had heard many a "da--er lie," too, he reckoned. He never killed an Indian in cold blood in his life. He told me that if the Indians had not been trespassed upon, that the great Indian wars would not have become a thing of history.
The enormous trade at the "sutler's store" kept us four counter jumpers continually on the jump for a year. There was no five cent picture shows to keep the clerks out with their girls there, and the only amusement we had was to either play cards or billiards, or to sit around and watch Kit Carson and the boss play. Kit was a fine card player and seldom ever lost a game, but he would not put up very much. To see him play billiards was one sport, every time he hit a ball, he would kick his foot up and say, "A boys, ay."
This store of Moore's was built like a fort. The walls a 150-foot square and built of brick. Every thing in New Fort Union was of brick. It was a two story concern with a rotunda or plaza in the center. Here the wagons drove in to unload and reload. The front of the store was near the big gate. It had a safe room, an office and the store room proper.
One trip per year was made to Kansas City with large mule trains to get goods to stock these three stores. These trips were sometimes full of suffering and hardships. Many a freighter left his wife and babies never to return to them more. They were often killed by Indians who had come to their trains to get food, but were repulsed by the poor policy of the wagon bosses who have often ordered the ox drivers to "pull down on the red devils" and so start trouble, which was often disastrous for the whites, in view of the fact that the Indians on those plains were numerous while the white men were few and straggling.
Sometimes the old Indian squaws would come to the store to buy sugar, candy, nuts, tobacco or coffee. She would come riding in on her pony as slowly as her quick footed pony would carry her, greatly interested in all her eyes beheld. She was greatly attracted by the bright colors of the calicos and I have often made treaties with the Indians by offering their squaws some bits of bright ribbon or calico.
The Mexican women were very fond of bright colors. Their dresses did not amount to much. They wore a short skirt and rebosa. Their head-dress covered their hair and came together in front under the chin and hung to the belt. What dress she wore must be very bright and gaudy and I have known a pretty Mexican girl with about $2.50 worth of dress on come in and purchase an $8.00 pair of shoes. If she wanted an extra nice pair of shoes she said she wanted a pair of shoes "made out of Spanish leather." Such a pair as would look nice on the dancing floors at their fandangoes. The serapa takes the place of the American woman's bonnet.
In 1866 when the war was coming to an end, trade began to get dull. I had been wanting to get out of the store and "try my wings" at something else. When I began to cast my eyes about for something different from the routine of store work, I met a certain Mr. Joe Dillon, who offered me the opportunity I was seeking.
Joe Dillon and I Go to Montana With Sheep.
Along about the 15th of March, Joe Dillon, who had been a quartermaster in the Union army, left the army at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the possessor of $60,000 and a mule train of fifteen wagons, which he had obtained some way or other, the Devil knows how. He was a peculiar man and totally unable to keep a man in his employ. He was abusive, bossy and altogether uncongenial.
With his train loaded with goods which he got in Kansas City and Independence, he started with a wagon boss and several men across the Old Trail to New Mexico, early in the spring of '65, but he had so many altercations with his teamsters--some quit him, others would do as they pleased, and altogether he had such a bad time of it that he did not arrive at Maxwell's ranch until after the snow fell the following winter.
Every wagon that passed him brought news of Joe Dillon's troubles to the fort. When Mr. Dillon came to me in the spring of 1866, I knew him pretty well by reputation. He approached me and told me that he had bought 4000 sheep from Lucien Maxwell and wanted to get me to go with him to Montana to take them. I told him I would like to go, but that I did not know whether I could get away or not. I would see Mr. Moore.
"Alright," he said. "I think I will see Mr. Moore, and tell him I want you to go and boss my crew." I replied that he must do nothing of the sort, for if he did, Mr. Moore would not let me off willingly. I explained to him that if I went to Mr. Moore and told him I wanted off, and gave him a plausible reason, he would let me off without hesitation. However, Mr. Dillon thought he had about made a "deal" with me and he went into the office, and told Mr. Moore that he had "hired your clerk" to go to Montana with his sheep. Mr. Moore told him that "he guessed not."
Dillon had agreed with me that he would say nothing to Mr. Moore. So he came to me in the morning of the day after he first spoke to me about the deal and said, "Moore said you couldn't go." I was hot all over in a second. "Mr. Dillon, you agreed not to speak to Mr. Moore about this matter--it was a matter between he and I, and since your word cannot be depended upon, our business relations cease right here." I considered his management bad and his word in honor, worse. Mr. Dillon returned to Maxwell's ranch and I continued in the store.
Finally, Mr. Moore approached me on the subject. "Billy," said he, "thought you were going with Dillon to Montana with his sheep" I then told him how it came about that I had told Dillon I would speak to him about it first. We had made no contract, for without first getting Mr. Moore's consent I would not make any contract with Dillon.
Now I could readily see that trade had fallen off and I knew that some of the boys would have to quit and seek other employment. There was one man there with a large family in the states who received a salary of $1500 a year. I knew that he did not want to be thrown out of a job, and I was eager to "try some new experience." So I told Mr. Moore that I had heard from one of Maxwell's clerks that Dillon did still want me to go with the sheep, and if he was willing to let me off I would make Dillon a proposition. "All right, Billy, you can make a proposition with Dillon and in case you do not carry it out, you need not quit here," said Mr. Moore.
Joe Dillon came up the next Thursday night and began to talk to me there in the store about taking his sheep to Montana. I told him that I would talk to him about the matter as soon as the store closed that night, but that I did not want to hear one word of it until that time.
After the store was closed up I told Mr. Walker to stay with me and hear my proposition with Dillon, and I wanted him to draw up our contract. I told Dillon that I would take charge of his sheep under these stipulations. I would have to have absolute control of the sheep, men, mess wagons, pack horses and everything else. I would employ the men and discharge them. I told him I would furnish $700.00 or $800.00 to properly equip the train, and I would take a bill of sale from him for all the sheep. I also told him that he would have to go on ahead on the stage coach, or do as he chose in the matter, that he must absolutely remain away from our camps and herds while I was in control. After much deliberation, he agreed to my terms, and we signed up.
I filled an ox wagon with bacon, flour, salt, soda, tobacco and saddles. Mr. Dillon watched me put tobacco on the wagon and said I was loading unnecessary stuff on the wagon. I told him that I would need all the bacon and the tobacco, and perhaps several head of sheep to make my treaties with the Indians when I took my sheep through their reservations. Now this little speech brought a sneer to the face of my venerable partner. "No use of making treaties with the Indians; you get a military escort without paying anything out." I told him no military escort would need to travel with me.
About the middle of April I received the 3000 head of sheep from Maxwell's ranch and took my assistant, Mark Shearer to Calhoun's ranch to get the other 1000 head. I had left the camp in good trim there near Maxwell's and everything was progressing nicely with my sheep on the grass with good herders. At Calhoun ranch we were delayed on account of Calhoun having to shear the sheep. However, after four days' delay we started back toward Maxwell's. Joe Dillon met us not far from camp and told me he had discharged four of my men and paid off two in tobacco and the other two men would not take tobacco. He said that he had hired four more in their place. One was a hunter and he had agreed to give him $80 per month to keep the men in provisions. The other was a blacksmith which he thought we might need after we started over the mountains.
"Now, Joe, do you think you can discharge a man without paying him off?" I asked him. "Well," he said, "I didn't have the money on hand to pay him with." I told him that his meddling with these men did not suit me, and that I did not want his four men, moreover, I said, "I will not move a peg from camp with them. I employ my drivers and I discharge them."
When we got into camp the hunter had killed a jack rabbit, all the meat he had provided since he was employed four days before. After reinstating my men and making Mr. Dillon understand that his place was at the other end of the line, where he might as well be enjoying himself until our arrival in Montana, we started on our journey.
Dillon went on the stage to Kansas City and en route to Kansas City he fell in with a sharper at Bent's old fort, and told him that he had a drove of 7000 sheep coming. The sharper had 20 blooded brood mares and a stallion, and bantered Dillon for a trade. They made the trade and Dillon gave the "shark" a bill of sale for the sheep with the provision that I would agree to it.
When we got within nine miles of Denver we camped for dinner. While we sat around our "picnic spread" a couple of men drove up in a buggy and asked if Mr. Ryus was there. I told him to "alight" and take a few refreshments with us, that I was Mr. Ryus. He told me to come out to the buggy, he wanted to talk with me. I told him that "this is my office, out with whatever you've got to say." He then asked me if the sheep were Mr. Dillon's. I told him they certainly were not. They were mine. Then he buckled up. "No, Mr. Ryus, they aren't your sheep, they are mine. I bought them at Bent's old fort from Joe Dillon, and I am going to take possession of those sheep and take them to Denver and sell them." I told him that "maybe he would and maybe he wouldn't; we would see about that." I then asked him what he gave for the sheep. He told me he had traded some blooded horses and a stallion for them. I then asked him if he was dealing for himself or for other parties. He told me he was dealing for himself. "For how much are your horses mortgaged?" I asked him. "Oh, something like $4000," he replied. I told the "horse trader" that it wasn't worth while to take up any more time. As for my part, I had rather think of my buffalo steak right then, and if he didn't want to get out of the buggy and come and eat with us, to "drill on" toward Denver, that me, the boys and the sheep were going to Montana. He said, "Alright, Mr. Ryus, we will drill on, as you say, but we will take possession of those sheep before you get into Denver." I told him to "crack his whip," and to go to that warm place from which no "hoss trader" returned if he wanted to, but for him not to interfere with me or the sheep. Away he went. My temper was at its best and thoroughly under control, so I told the boys to not feel the least alarm, no "yaller backed hoss trader" would get those sheep, without getting into a "considerable tarnatious scrap" with Little Billy.
It seemed that we were destined to have several visitors before we arrived in Denver. This time we had camped for supper and a lonely looking half starved individual put in his appearance with a saddle on his back. He asked me if he could get some supper with us and I told him to "lay to," and he then asked me if I knew him. I told him I knew him but it would not be to his disadvantage.
A few days before this I had seen an account in the paper where a Mr. Service had shot and killed a Mexican. I told him that there was already a reward out for $1,000 for him. I told him he needn't say a word about the affair to the boys, and I wouldn't. He told me that he had killed the Mexican because he couldn't avoid it. It seemed that a very rich Mexican with a twenty-wagon train and 100 yoke of oxen had stopped near the little ranch of Service and Miller to cook their meals. He had unyoked his cattle and driven them to the creek for water and instead of returning by the route he had gone, threw down the fence and was driving his oxen through Service's ten-acre corn patch. The corn was up about two feet high and the cattle were literally ruining the corn. Mr. Service attempted to drive the cattle off the corn, but the Mexican hollowed to his peons to drive them on through. Mr. Service told him to either pay the damage that his oxen had done his corn or drive them off. The Mexican told him he would do neither. By this time Mr. Service was thoroughly angry and told the Mexican that he would either take the oxen off the corn or one or the other of them would die. Mr. Service was unarmed at the time and he wheeled his horse around and went to the house and got what money they had there and his rifle and returned and shot the Mexican dead. He then made the peons drive the cattle away, and he started for Maxwell's ranch on his pony. After reaching the foothills of the mountains he dismounted and threw rocks at his horse to make it leave, then he scrambled on a few miles through the young timber until he came to a hanging rock under which there was a kind of cave. He crept into this place to rest and snatch sleep if possible.
In the meantime the Mexicans belonging to the train gathered up all the Mexicans they could find scattered through the country, and without molesting the partner of Service, started out to hunt him. Service said that the Mexicans were so close to where he was lying that he could hear every word of their conversation in that still, isolated place. He knew from their talk they were going on to Maxwell's ranch where they supposed they would find him. About ten o'clock that night he crept out of his hiding place and crawled and slipped until he reached Maxwell's ranch, then he went into the stable where Maxwell kept his favorite race horse and led him out far enough from the house to be safe, then he jumped on him and rode him until the faithful animal laid down and died of exhaustion. He was left on foot some 75 miles east of where I was. Service was so weak and exhausted from worry, lack of sleep and nourishment that his condition was pitiable. We had to watch him for twenty-four hours to keep him from over-eating.
One ox driver who was an Irishman by the name of Johnnie Lynch came to me and told me that the other ox driver had told him he knew who Service was and that he said he was going to "give him up" when they reached Denver and that when we got into Denver, they were going to "give him up" and collect the $1,000 reward for him. Johnnie Lynch said that he did not want to see Service put in irons, and that he thought Service did no more than was right. "Wan more of those devilish Mexicans out uv th' way don't hurt nohow," was his comment. "Now, Johnnie," says I, "you go to my assistant, Mark Shearer, and tell him to tell the wagon driver that if he undertakes to hand Service over to the authorities at Denver, that he will kill him." When we got to within five miles of Denver, Mark Shearer went around to the driver and told him to get back in the wagon, and if he stuck his head outside that wagon sheet, he would use it for a target. The driver was a born coward and quietly obeyed and remained under the wagon sheet until we were forty miles beyond Denver when Mark told him to "come to" now and try to be a man.
The next night after Service came to our camp, he wanted to help stand guard over the sheep at night with Barney Hill, my night herder. He said he couldn't sleep nights. Barney told him to lie down and go to sleep, that he would let no one harm him. He went to sleep and along about eleven o'clock, he began to yell, "There they come, there they come, the Mexicans, etc.," and he fired his revolver and made a general stir. We managed to quiet him down. He was delirious and only half awake. For two months Service got along all right.
When we arrived at the North Platte River the snow had melted so the river was running very fast. We attempted to cross the sheep on the ferry. 125 sheep were placed on the ferry boat and across we started. _Out_ 500 feet from the landing on the east side where we went in, the ferryman got afraid the sheep were too far forward and would tip the boat, so he attempted to push them back, and pushed some of the sheep off in the river. All the sheep then made a rush to follow the unfortunate ones. Barney Hill, who was on the back end of the boat, got knocked off and could not swim and the boys had a good laugh at him climbing over the sheep, looking like a drowned rat trying to get out of a molasses barrel. Dick Stewart was a good swimmer and so he landed back on the boat.
After this load full, the boatman would not ferry any more sheep over and we were compelled to swim them. We would call the goat and tell him to go into the water. The goat would strike for the opening on the opposite side of the river, but goat or no goat, the sheep would not attempt the swim unless the sun was shining. The mountains rose right at the edge of the river, consequently the sun only struck the river from eleven o'clock a.m. to two o'clock p.m. and we could only put over 150 or 200 sheep at a time. This operation took six days to perform. Getting 4000 sheep over a river under these trying conditions were anything but pleasant, even in those days, when we knew no better method.
At this ferry a funny incident occurred. I had a sorrel, blazed face mule, and while we were crossing the sheep an old Irishman on his way to Montana with a white pony and a blazed face mule, the very picture of my mule, crossed the river on the ferry. I saw the Irishman's lay-out, but Johnnie Lynch did not see the mule. The next morning I told Johnnie to go out to the herd and bring my mule in. The old Irishman had camped near us and had picketed his mule out but did not know I had a mule so near like his. Johnnie saw the Irishman's mule picketed out about half way between our camp and our herd, and he pulled up the picket and started on to the camp with the mule. Pretty soon the angry old Irishman came up behind Johnnie and knocked him down for trying to steal his mule. Johnnie ran into camp and got my carbine and started for the Irishman, I ran after him and asked him what he was "up to" and he told me he had my mule coming in with it and the Irishman had accosted him and knocked him down and took the mule away from him. About that time the Irishman had come "along side" me and explained his position. He said Johnnie had stolen his mule and that he was going to get his men and hang him. Mark Shearer then begun an explanation but the two Irishmen were on the "war path" and explanations were out of order. When we finally got them straightened out, they had no very friendly feeling for each other, and inwardly made up their minds to--BLANKETY-BLANK
The day I crossed my two wagons across the River, the Irishman was on the boat with his mule Packed with provisions and clothing. Johnnie Lynch was driving one yoke of oxen. I saw the Irishman raise his gun off of the floor and put It to his shoulder as though he was going to Shoot. I leveled my pistol on him and told him To drop the gun or he was a dead man. He dropped the gun and I made him walk between the wagons. Mark Shearer picked up the gun, took the cap off of it, wet the powder in the tube and handed it back to the old fellow and told him to make no more attempts to kill a man. We took one direction at the forks of the road and he took another.
About 300 miles beyond this ferry we met the white pony returning but we never saw any more of the Irishman. It is very probable that he "met his Waterloo" somewhere in the boundless plains. We encountered a band of the Sioux and Ute Indians, some of the same tribe that had killed General Custer. Something like 150 or 200 came to camp. A few of them could talk English. At the time they came to the camp, they were in a strange mood. It took some courage and diplomacy on my part to keep my men encouraged and to appear at ease with the Red Men.
I went up to the chief and told them I had a large drove of sheep to take to Montana, and that I must necessarily pass through their hunting grounds, but was willing to pay them for the liberty I was taking. This seemed to please the Indians and I told them we would eat before we proceeded to business. We soon had some bacon, bread and coffee ready which we offered to our guests before we began to eat. After they had the first "helping" then we all began to eat our rations, after which we passed the corn cob pipes and tobacco and while we talked we smoked. I gave them two caddies of tobacco, 200 pounds of bacon, a hundredweight of flour, several papers of soda, several pounds of salt, and a large bucket of coffee.
One Indian said that in order to preserve peace and to protect us on our route ten of them would travel with us through the wildest portion of the country.
The strange escort remained with us two days, and when we were almost to Fort Bridger, one of the Indians said that we would have no trouble until after we had passed Fort Bridger and he did not think we would encounter any perils even then.
When they were determined to decamp, I took ten silver dollars out of my pocket, and gave each one of them a silver dollar. This pleased the Indians greatly and they shook hands with me and departed.
When we arrived in Fort Bridger I had my sheep driven on past the fort, and stopped to see the commanding officer. I asked him what their rules were for traveling through the Indian country. He told me that a large caravan of 200 wagons would start out in a few days and I would have to drive the sheep on outside of the fort where I could get good range for the sheep and wait until the other emigrants came up. I thanked him, but I told Mark Shearer that I believed we could make it alright without the caravans. So on we started. The sheep didn't have to be driven; they drove us. By daylight those sheep were always ready to go on toward their goal. They would pick and run ahead seldom ever stopping until about the middle of the day. It was our rule to stop and eat or rest when the sheep started. Truth is stranger than fiction, and it is the truth that we would often make thirty-five or forty miles a day with those sheep. The herdsman would follow the goat and the sheep followed the goat. When the sheep were a little too industrious, the herdsman made the goat lay down, then the sheep would lay down all around him. Sometimes they would lay down about five or six o'clock, then we would eat. But if they got up and started on we went, and they seldom ever stopped to rest until eight or nine o'clock. The four drives averaged from seven to ten miles a drive. In making this trip from Maxwell's ranch in New Mexico to Virginia City, Montana, I crossed seventeen rivers with those sheep and arrived in Virginia City with less than 100 sheep short. I sold a few to the Snake Indians for from $5 to $8 each. Of course, this was in trade, but it pleased them equally as well as if it had been a gift.
The next band of Indians we came into after leaving the Sioux, were the Snake Indians. They were situated on the Snake River one hundred miles from Virginia City. Snake River is one of the most important tributaries of the Columbia. Instead of making a treaty with these Indians, I traded them sheep and a caddy of tobacco for buffalo robes and deer skins, and they seemed as well satisfied as if I had given them the sheep and tobacco gratis.
About one hundred miles from where we met the Snake Indians, we came to a toll bridge. Here I met my worthy partner for the first time since I had sent him on his "way rejoicing." Mr. Dillon had told the keeper of the toll bridge that he had seven thousand sheep on the road and they would have to pass over his toll bridge.
The keeper of the toll bridge was on the lookout for us because the report that Dillon had made would swell his finances $350. Inasmuch as the toll across the bridge was 5c per head. When we arrived at the bridge the keeper told me his charge would be $350. I told him I could not pay the price, but he said Dillon would pay the toll. I asked him what Dillon had to do with the sheep. "Why," he said, "they are Dillon's sheep." I told him they were not Dillon's sheep, they were mine, and I showed him my bill of sale. He said that nevertheless they were Dillon's sheep. I asked him to describe Joe Dillon to me. He did so, and did it to a "tyt." "Now," I said to him, "you go up on the hill and count those sheep." They were laying down up on the hill in a kind of a swag.
There was a Missourian there and he told the keeper he was a sheep man, that his father was a large Missouri stock man, and that he could approximate the number at a glance. The way those sheep lay together, it did not look as if there was more than 1000 sheep. I asked him if he thought there was over a thousand sheep there and he said he did not think there were. The toll keeper said that when those sheep went skipping across the bridge, it "looked goldarned like there mout be a million uv 'em, and they must 'a bin three mile long, be blasted."
"Well," I said, "of course you can count them." "Yes," he said, "I have counted lots of sheep, and will count them." I went up to the station and made arrangements that if he did not succeed in counting the sheep, I would pay him $75 in tobacco or sheep, but that I had no money. The toll keeper said he would neither take sheep nor tobacco, "but," he said, "I will take a draft on the Virginia City Bank for $75.00." I told the driver to drive the sheep across. "First," I said, "you get the goat up and start him off, then keep the sheep just as close together as you can and hop them across in a 'whoop.'" He did this and it was impossible for the "counter" to count them.
About 300 miles from this bridge, Mr. Service quit me. He bought a half interest in a stock of cattle and in a toll road in that section, and I heard no more from him until some 25 years later, when he again leaped into the limelight.
It seems that he had made a wise purchase because so many trains passed over his toll road. He traded his fat cattle to the immigrants for their poor plugs. He bought up all the poor cattle he could and would fatten them and trade them off for three or four poor, jaded animals. The profits were enormous.
On our route from this toll bridge there was no particular incident occurred. Virginia City was a fine little village of about 3500 inhabitants. The estimate of gold taken out of the creeks running through Virginia City was $100,000,000, mostly placer diggings, but it was entirely abandoned at this time.
However, at the time we were there with the sheep, there was about thirty Chinamen prospecting a lot of 200 square feet. The price set to them by the owner was $3000. He took $200 down and $200 per week until the $3000 was paid. The man they bought from agreed to see they had the right to use the water in the creek. The superintendent of the Chinamen had this man go with them to the mayor of the city to ask the city to protect them. The mayor then called on the city marshall and they agreed to see that the Chinamen were not molested from getting the water from the creek. The stream was very small and did not have very much water, so the owners built a little dam and put in a tread wheel for the purpose of raising the water, so as to have a fall of water to wash the dirt in their sluice box.
After they had mined two weeks, twenty-five or thirty white miners concluded that the Chinamen shouldn't work in the territory and they went above the Chinamen on the creek--about 500 yards or so, and built a large dam across the creek with a wide opening, and put in their gate and stopped the Chinamen from getting water.
When the Chinamen were thus shut off, they went to the mayor with their complaint. The mayor promised to investigate the matter, and told them to go on prospecting on their other lots farther down the creek for the purpose of seeing what other property they would want to buy, while he investigated the cause of trouble.
The mayor and the marshall knew what the miners were up to, but said nothing then about it. They were aware that the miners wanted to raise the big gate and let the water all out at once.
There was an old building fairly close to the dam the white miners had built, and the marshall and two other men secreted themselves in the old house to watch the dam. At about one o'clock in the morning, two men went in there with their crow-bars to raise the gate so all the water could waste, and wash out the Chinamen's machinery.
Slipping upon the miners engaged in their work of depredation, the marshall pulled his gun on them, and marched, them to the city lockup. The next morning a few of the miners got together and were going to release the miners in the lockup. Then the mayor ordered the fire bells rung and sent runners out over the city calling the people together. Among the people who came to the "consultation" were many miners. The marshal let the men out of the "cooler," and took their names, then the mayor made a speech to the citizens and got their sentiments. He asked the citizens as a community if it would not be better to let the Chinamen alone and let them work their property, than to drive them out and destroy their dam. He wanted the opinion of the people. He wanted to know how many of the citizens were willing to let the Chinamen alone and let them continue to operate their property.
The citizens who wanted the Chinamen let alone were about ten to one of the miners.
The mayor now called on two or three prominent speakers of the city to make a talk before the people who told why they believed the Chinamen should be left alone, then the mayor called on a representative of the miners to tell the people why they should want to ruin the Chinamen's work. None of the miners would reply.
That night the Council passed an ordinance prohibiting, under severe pains and penalties, the willful destruction of property, and consequently the Chinamen were left to pursue their work. The dam proved an immense benefit to the city and surrounding country, and other people began mining their lots, and using the water that had collected during the night and saving it over, several mines were supplied with water.
I was in a hurry to settle up with Mr. Dillon at this time and get started back to the States, going by the way of Salt Lake City in company with two men who were going through with an ambulance. I remained in Salt Lake City two weeks when the roof on the Great Mormon Temple as about three-fourths finished. At the time I was there, the temple was about four feet above the ground and workmen had been continuously at work for seven years. Up to that time, I was the only Gentile who had ever explored the underground workings of the temple. I went from Salt Lake to Denver.
I had calculated to preempt a hundred and sixty acres of land in or about Denver, and stopped over there for a few days. At that time I could have taken 160 acres where the Union Depot now stands about the center of the city of Denver. However, like many another boy, I took a sudden notion to go home and see Mother first, and before I took possession of this valuable "dirt," I pulled out on the first coach going toward Kansas City. Stage fare cost me nothing because I rode with Barnum-Vickeroy & Veil.
When we got to Booneville, where I used to live with Colonel A.G. Boone, when I drove the stage on the Denver line, the old Colonel insisted that I stay with him. He said he had 2,500 head of sheep, half of which with all the increase, would be mine, if I would stay and take care of them five years. I told him that I had planned to homestead a 160 acres up near Denver and that as soon as I had had my visit with my mother I wanted to go to Denver, and could not take up his proposition.
At that time Colonel Boone talked a great deal about the Indians. He told me they were being shamefully treated; that the soldiers were making war on them, etc., and said that it was his opinion that if the Government would put a guard around the white people and keep them from shooting the Indians, there would be no more Indian troubles.
He told me that the conductors along the Long Route between Fort Lyon and Fort Larned, were having no end of trouble. He told me that several tribes had asked him about me, and said they seemed curious to know whether or not I would ever return.
After we left Colonel Boone's place, going toward Independence, we met several tribes, some of whom knew me just as soon as they "got their eyes on me," but I did not understand their language, and their interpreter told me that they wanted to know if I was coming back on the route. Several spoke about Colonel Leavenworth and Satanta and asked for news concerning the Little White Chief, for that was the way they loved to remember their little boy friend.
There was something like 45 or 50 Indians in this gang, and the driver was anxious to get rid of them, for he was not only afraid of them, because of the trouble they had been having with the Long Route conductors, but they wanted to be "driving on" getting nearer their destination. I told the driver to let me manage the Indians and we would "pull through" all right.
I told the Indians to sit down around us and I would get some coffee for them and a very small lunch. The conductors never had anything hardly, and gave the Indians nothing but abuse. I managed to get together from the conductor's mess, a small lunch, which they ate, and I invited them to go with us to our next stopping place, fifteen miles distant, and eat with us properly.
On our way to the next stopping place, however, these Indians were joined by other small bands which kept collecting. When we camped for lunch and to let our mules go out to eat, the Indians let their ponies graze, also. As provisions were scarce, we had a very slim meal, but were all good humored over it.
When the coach was ready to resume its journey, I shook hands with every one of the Indians and told them I was going to the States and wanted that they come to see us there. There were eight other passengers, besides myself, on the coach, who laughingly said that they had crossed the plains several times and had never witnessed such a scene between white man and Indian, only when they traveled with me.
There were five conductors. Four conductors were on the road all the time and one resting all the time. In other words, while one conductor rested one week, the other four worked until the time came for him to rest and the other work. We usually rested either in Kansas City or Santa Fe.
Before leaving this chapter, I desire to tell my readers what brought Mr. Service into the limelight again. About twenty-five years after he killed the Mexican, he sold out his ranch and cattle and took the money he had on hands, which amounted to something like $43,000.00, and deposited it in the Denver National Bank of Denver, Colorado, and went to Springer, New Mexico, in the locality of where he had killed the Mexican. He went to the sheriff and asked him if he had ever heard of the man, Service, wanted in that country for the murder of the rich Mexican. The sheriff told him that he "guessed" that the murder had occurred before his day, but that he had heard of it, and it must date some thirty years back.
Mr. Service asked the sheriff if the murderer had ever been back there to stand trial, and whether or not the reward that had been offered at the time of the murder was still good? "No," the sheriff said, "I do not think the reward would be any good." The sheriff went on to tell Mr. Service that he had been told by persons who claimed to have knowledge of the matter, that Service had served his country well to have killed the Mexican.
"Mr. Sheriff," said Mr. Service, "I am the man who killed that Mexican." The sheriff looked him over and said, "that can't be, you are too old a man for that." Mr. Service had whiskers 12 inches long and perfectly gray. His features were so transformed that his old partner did not recognize him. Mr. Service told the sheriff that nevertheless, he was the man, and that the reward had been offered for.
Mr. Service told the sheriff that he wanted to "give up" and gave him $200 and asked him to hire a good lawyer for him because he was unacquainted in the section, and I want you to take out a warrant against me. I want to be legally acquitted of crime and be a "free man once more."
After talking to the sheriff, he went to see his old partner, who did not recognize him. He told him that he had more of the worldly goods than the ranch was worth, but would like to have a settlement, and invoice his own belongings, as well as the property his partner had gotten together since their separation, and said they would strike a balance and have a settlement. The old partner, whose name I have forgotten, said, "no, I won't do it," he said, "you took the money from the house when you left, and I had to pay Maxwell for his race horse." "Very true," said Mr. Service, "you have had use of the farm these long years, and would that compensate you for what you have paid out?" But, he added, "the hay on the place has brought you about $2,000 a year, and I think it is best for us to have a settlement." The partner would hear to no settlement being arrived at, saying that he should have what was there. "Well," said Service, "we will pass receipts." Each took a receipt from the other, shook hands and bade the other good-bye. Mr. Service was a broad-minded, liberal fellow, and had fully intended to resume the partnership with his partner and share and share alike in his money earned while he was away from the ranch. "By-the-bye, I will let you look over this small book," said Mr. Service as he handed his bank book showing the balance due him at the National Bank of Denver. "Why," said the partner, "you have $43,000 in this book to your credit." "Yes, sir," said Mr. Service, "had we invoiced our goods together, half this amount would have been yours together with other moneys I have in other banks." That talk completed the settlement and while the partner was completely crestfallen, Service shaved and became a white man and free citizen of the States.
Daugherty, a Silk and Linen Drummer, Contracts to Build a Cellar.
At Fort Zara I met another old friend. Bill Daugherty was there keeping the station. Nothing would do him but I should stay over there a week or so. Daugherty was a natural born Irishman who had "kissed the Blarney stone," full of wit and humor. He went to the coach and took my "grip sack" off and took it to the house, and said I had to stay. I liked that first rate, but I did hate to lose the time.
Daugherty came to Kansas in 1862, drumming for a house that sold fine linens, laces and silks, and had never done anything but sell silks, etc. He was sitting in a kind of a tavern one morning and chanced to see an advertisement in the paper that struck his "funny side." A gentleman living at the corner of Fifth and Shawnee Streets in Leavenworth, Kansas, had advertised for a contractor to build him a cellar, and the advertisement said that none "but experienced contractors need apply." The drummer, Bill Daugherty, decided he would call upon the gentleman who wanted "an experienced contractor." When he arrived at the place specified in the advertisement he found it to be a large general merchandise store. Daugherty introduced himself to the proprietor of the place and told him that he was an experienced contractor. "And," said Daugherty, "I see you are in a hurry for the cellar, sure and I am the laddie that can build that cellar quicker than a bat can wink its eye. I'm from auld Ireland, and conthracting is me pusiness." The merchant told him that he wanted the cellar built right away, and showed him the ground he wanted it built on--which adjoined his business house on the corner. Daugherty asked the merchant how much time he would allow him to build the cellar in, and the merchant told him not longer than eight or ten days. "Well," said Bill, "I will do it in less time."
"Now, sir, you furnish me the tools, shovels, picks, wheelbarrows, and running plank to the number I want, and I will go to work on your cellar, Friday, if you will give me $100." The merchant said he could not afford to give more than $80 for the job and that he would have to take $20 in trade. "Alright, py golly," Bill answered, "I will take the job that way, providing you put it in writing." The contract was drawn up and said that the cellar was to be commenced on at 7 o'clock Saturday morning. The merchant was to furnish all tools or pay for the tools Daugherty bought up to a certain given number. Friday night Daugherty had all his tools on the "job" and made everything ready to commence work Saturday morning. Bright and early Saturday morning Bill was there and he had two wagons from the saloon on the ground also.
Thursday evening when he first made the agreement to build the cellar, he went to the saloon and told the "Bys" to come to Fifth and Shawnee Streets Saturday, that he was going to give a "B," and it was to be the best time, and the liveliest time, and the finest "B" they ever saw. He told the boys at the saloon all about his contract with the merchant, and as they were mostly Irish, they quickly agreed to help out with the plan.
Bill Daugherty had the saloon man send down four bartenders, and he had a keg of beer placed at equal distances apart with mugs and glasses and the bartenders to draw the beer, and the fun commenced. Before seven o'clock more than fifty men were on the job. The alley behind the store building was five feet under grade and he put running plank on the ground from the front of the ground running into the alley, and put four wheel-barrows on them and a set of men shoveling. The work progressed nicely with the Irishmen working and drinking and singing. Bill Daugherty was in his glory and the old merchant was "feel-n' blue." Bill kept encouraging his workmen telling them that some "great big doin's was a-comin' off along about eaten' time." The restaurant man came with a fine dinner and furnished everything in the eating line but the coffee, and the saloon man was there with the "drinks."
At one o'clock they all started to work and at 4 o'clock that afternoon they had completed the cellar, and the engineer had inspected it, and passed his judgment that it was a "good job." Daugherty went in the store to get "paid off," he was feeling pretty good.
He told the merchant that he wanted a nice vest for himself, a pair of shoes, and a shirt and hat. Then, he told the merchant that he wanted to see a fine paisley shawl, one that "you would like to see your wife wear." The merchant showed him an $8 shawl, but it did not please the fancy of old Bill Daugherty. "Show me a shawl that you would be pleased to see your wife wear, one that you would be proud to see her wear to church, that old shawl is not genteel." This time the merchant took down a $16 shawl and after close examination, and the assurance that it was the best one he had in the house, Daugherty accepted the shawl. "Now," said Daugherty, "I want my cash." The merchant counted out the balance of the money to him, and said he would wrap the shawl for the "contractor." The merchant began to wrap the shawl up for Bill and Bill told him that "that won't do, a lady wouldn't have a fine shawl wrapped up like that, let me ahold of the strings and fine papers." Daugherty called for tissue paper, he wrapped his purchase up neatly and then called for ribbon with which to tie it. He wanted green and red ribbons. After encasing the article in the tissue paper bound around with ribbons, he put a piece of wrapping paper about it, and left the store, and its room full of amused spectators.
Bill went from the store straight to the home of the old merchant and told the wife of the merchant that he was "frash from auld Ireland, and that he had one shawl left, from his large stock, that he would sell her real cheaply. He commenced to talk to the lady, and all the time he was talking he was unwinding the papers from around the shawl. She looked at him in amazement, and he told her that he had sold out a large collection of fine shawls that he had brought from Paris, and that her husband had seen this shawl and greatly admired it, and that he had said to him in the presence of several other men, that he would like to see his wife wear a shawl like it." She told him that the shawl must be very choice.
At last the wrappers were all off the shawl, and he threw it about her shoulders and told her to look in the glass. He slapped his hands together, saying, "beautiful, beautiful--real Parisian." On talked the talkative Bill, until at last he saw he had won the lady to his view of thinking that she was a real Parisian figure with the shawl gracefully draped about her shoulders, and she asked him what he would take for it.
He told her that she could have it for just $65. and before she could catch her breath, he wheeled her about where she could see her profile in the glass, and told her to "just look at the reflection, could anything be handsomer?" He told her that it was the last one he had, and was cheap at the price, that her husband had said so, and that he said he would like to see her wear it.
She paid the money for it and he departed. He met one of his cronies down the street and told him about the transaction. "Now," said he, "you go down and tell him that he had better come over to the saloon and treat, and I will have the other boys over there hidden in the back room, and we will all get a glass and
"All go down to Rowser, to Rowser, to Rowser, We'll all go down to Rowser and get a drink of beer."
Well, the merchant "fell to" and the treats cost him in round figures the sum of $11.00. When Daugherty left to catch his stage out from there to Fort Zara, he was still treating the crowd, and getting pretty full, himself.
After the affair at Leavenworth, Bill Daugherty came to Kansas City on the boat, and asked the stage company if they needed a man to care for some of their stations. Mr. Barnum employed Bill and he went to Fort Zara, out among the Indians, where Bill's tongue helped him to get along very nicely with them.
When he chanced to allude to Fort Leavenworth, he always told the story of his "contracting" at Leavenworth on the corner of Fifth and Shawnee Streets. Out there at Fort Zara, Bill enjoyed himself as only Irishmen can, but his stumbling block was Captain Conkey, who was the biggest crank on earth, "take it from me," for he and I had a little "set-to." Daugherty always sent his "red, white and blue regards to the old merchant" by whosoever went to Leavenworth.
Captain Conkey was a "jackass" to make a long story short. He had a company of soldiers at Fort Zara for the purpose of escorting the mail from one station to another. Once on my way East with a coach full of passengers, a snow storm began to rage, at about four o'clock in the afternoon, soon after I had left Fort Larned. It snowed so hard that at 8 o'clock we couldn't tell where the road was, and the passengers took it time and about with me running along the road in front of the coach to find the road.
We got to Fort Zara at ten o'clock that night, the orderly sergeant came after the mail about 500 yards from the soldiers' camp. I told the sergeant that I wanted an escort at nine o'clock in the morning. He gave Captain Conkey my orders and the Captain told him to go back and arrest me and put me in chains. The First Lieutenant told the Captain that I would be there in the morning; that they had no place to sleep me, so the Captain let me alone that night, but the next morning he sent his orderly after me. When the orderly came to the station, he said to me, "that old fool of a captain sent me down here to arrest you." I asked him what he wanted with me. The orderly told me that he was to arrest me for ordering an escort. I told the orderly to "fire away," I would go over and see the old "mossback."
Their quarters was a little dugout in the side of the hill along the river bank. They had a gunny sack for the door, and I went into the first room, which was used for a kitchen, and the cook told me to go to the next room, it had a gunny sack door, too, the First and Second Lieutenants were in there. They told me to go on to the next room that the Captain's headquarters was in the other room. I had my mittens and overcoat on, and he said, "you pull off your hat, you insolent puppy, and salute me." I replied to the Captain's kind words of greeting that, "I will not salute you, but excuse me, I should have had manners enough to have removed my hat." He told me that he "would put the irons" on me. I answered him that I did not think he would do such an unmanly thing, at least right then. This exasperated the haughty Captain, and he hollowed for the First Lieutenant to come and put me in irons. I asked him what he was there for, and he told me that it was "none of my business." I then got pretty middling hot myself, and I told him that if he did not know his business, that it was "up to me" to "put you next," or words to that extent. I told him that he was there for the purpose of furnishing escorts for the United States mail and that it was I, and not he, in command there, then, by virtue with the position I held with the Government, and I told him that I now ordered him to be placed under arrest. I called on the Lieutenant to place the irons on him. I told him that I would take him to Leavenworth, and the Lieutenant, delighted by the change of program, said, "alright."
Captain Conkey then told me that he would furnish the escort, and I told him to do so, then, and I would leave him here, that I had no room on the coach for such a "donkey" as he was, but that I would tell the commanding officer at Fort Leavenworth that we needed a captain for the company here, in order to save time and trouble for the other conductors of the road. I told him that he had not only taken up time, but that he had made a perfect "donkey" of himself, and of the men who had favored him with this position.
Captain Conkey asked me if the Indians were bad again. I told him that it did not matter whether they were bad or not, I wanted an escort. I got my escort of fifteen soldiers at last and after getting the teams hitched, off we started, the soldiers in advance to break the roads. That is, as a matter of fact, all the use we had for them. We could travel very well when they had ridden ahead and broke the snow so we could follow the trail.
Daugherty built him a new station across the creek from where Conkey was camped, on Walnut Creek. He put up corals for the mules and built a fort-like building for his home. About the time he had finished his buildings, some white hunters had killed some Indians, and trouble began between the white race and the Indian tribes.
One day at about ten o'clock in the forenoon, Mr. Daugherty went up on the top of his house with his field glasses to inspect the surrounding country. He noticed that Indian smokes were all around, and the Indians seemed to be coming toward them all the time.
He hastened down from the roof and called the orderly from Captain Conkey's company to him and told him that unless the Captain moved to his fort within an hour and a half that they would all be killed by the Indians. There had been bad blood between Conkey and Bill Daugherty for quite a while, and when Daugherty sent the orderly to Conkey with the warning of the coming Indians, Captain Conkey got mad and told the orderly to go over and arrest Daugherty for disturbing his peace. Just as the soldiers coming to arrest him stepped on the bridge, Bill Daugherty halted them. He said, "if you come another foot, I will fire on you." You go back and tell Conkey, the fool, that if he don't get you men to this side inside of half an hour, you will all be "gonners." If you want the protection of my fort, come over and you will have the same protection as I have, otherwise, you will go up in smoke, holy, or otherwise. Daugherty then took his gun and went to the Captain, and saluting him, said: "The Indians are coming, 1,000 strong, and unless you get your wagons, etc., out of here, and at once, you will be scalped." Captain Conkey then decided that for the benefit of his health, he had better decamp to the other side for protection. He just barely escaped when the Indians swooped down on his camp ground. Then Daugherty took his gun and went to the bridge and laid the gun down and walked over it toward the Indians, motioning to them that he came in peace, and for them to come and get something to eat. Daugherty took four of the Indians to his fort and gave them some bacon, coffee and other provisions, and took two other men from the fort with him with axes, to chop wood for a fire, and they cooked a meal and with the Indians the four white persons and Bill Daugherty sat down to "meat." Bill Daugherty showed the Indian chiefs over his fort, explained the working of his guns and cannons. He had 40 port holes in the houses and shelves under each one on which to rest a gun. After giving them a large box of smoking tobacco, he told them they could go on back to their camp and that he would keep the soldiers peaceable if he would keep his braves peaceable. Captain Conkey told Daugherty that he believed he would go down and see the chief, and Bill answered him, to "go if you d--ed please, and you want to lose your scalp, for they will surely not put up with your palaver." Conkey concluded that he had better remain in the home of his enemy than risk his precious scalp at the camp of the Indians.
Colonel Moore's Graphic Description of a Fight with Cheyennes.
That Colonel Milton Moore for a quarter of a century has been a prominent practitioner at the Kansas City bar, a member of the election boards, and is now serving as a school commissioner is well known, but that the old commander of the Fifth Missouri infantry was ever a Santa Fe freighter in the days when freighting was fighting, was not generally known until there appeared a month ago in Hal Reid's monthly, Western Life, a paper written by Colonel Moore for the Kansas Historical Society.
The story is that of an engagement between a party of freighters, with whom was young Moore, and a band of Indians, in 1864, not far from Dodge City.
The story as told by Colonel Moore was incomplete in that he admitted he did not know by what Indians his party was attacked. A week ago the sequel appeared in the form of a letter from George Bent, at present residing at Colony, Okla., who has written to Colonel Moore to tell him that the leader of the Indians he fought with forty-four years ago was the notorious "Little Robe," no chief at all but a great warrior. With the Bent letter Colonel Moore's story is complete, and both are here given:
"After the commencement of the Indian war on the upper Arkansas in 1864 caravans were not permitted to proceed westward of Fort Larned on the Pawnee Fork, or the confluence of that stream with the Arkansas, near where the city of Larned now stands, on the river road, in parties of less than 100 men. In August two trains of Stuart, Slemmons & Co., who had the general contract for the transportation of government stores for the posts on the Arkansas and in New Mexico and Arizona that year, reached the mouth of Pawnee fork, and found awaiting them a Mexican train bound for some point below the Santa Fe, also a small train of fourteen wagons under the direction of Andrew Blanchard of Leavenworth. The name of the wagonmaster of the Mexican train is not remembered, but he was either a Frenchman or Castilian. The S. S. trains were under the charge respectively of Charles P. McRea and John Sage, both of whom were men of experience and tried courage. The four trains having a force of men numbering more than 100 were allowed to proceed.
"A full train of the period was twenty-five wagons loaded with freight, and a provision wagon, commonly known as the 'mess wagon,' each drawn by six yokes of oxen; the freight of each wagon was from 6,000 to 7,000 pounds. There was one wagonmaster, one assistant and one extra man, denominated the 'extra hand,' who were mounted, twenty-six teamsters and two night herders. In practice the night herders soon became teamsters, replacing sick men, or those who for some reason had turned, or were turned back, and the slavish duty of night herding cattle fell upon the teamsters.
"Thomas Fields of Jackson County, Missouri, route agent for the S. S. company, was elected captain of the combined trains. He was a man of many years' experience on the plains, and had been in more than one contest with the Indians.
"The rule of travel was: The train having the advance today should go to the rear tomorrow, and so on. Blanchard, having light wagons, which could be moved easily and rapidly, was dissatisfied with the rule, and refused at times to be governed by it, with the result hereinafter stated.
"On Sunday, August 21, the trains, after a hard morning drive, reached the head of the 'dry route,' which left the river some miles below the present Dodge City, ran over the hills by old Fort Larned, not touching the Arkansas valley again until the crossing of Walnut creek. McRea was in front, followed by Sage, the Mexican, and Blanchard, in the order named. The region was known to be dangerous because near the great trail of the Indians in their journeyings from north to south and the reverse.
"McRea went into corral just south of the road about 10 o'clock a.m., and Sage and the Mexican in their order, but well closed up. The three first trains corralled so as to leave room for Blanchard's train with its rear resting on or near a bayou in such way that it would be practically impossible for a band of Indians to sweep around it. Instead of camping at the place designated, Blanchard continued on and went into corral about half a mile beyond McRea. The cattle were placed south of the trains, near the river, and guards put out. The trainmen were armed with Minie rifles, and the order in force required that these be carried in slings on the left sides of the wagons--a rule but little observed. As a matter of fact, the guns were usually in the wagons, and practically inaccessible when needed in an emergency, except as hereafter stated. The teamsters of McRea's train were largely from Missouri; and a number of them had seen military service upon one side or the other in the Civil War. They were a well-controlled and reliable body. The first mess on the right wing were white men, excepting the negro cook, Thomas Fry, who was afterwards a ragpicker in Kansas City, and died there. He was an honorably discharged soldier from the United States volunteer army on account of the loss of the first two fingers of the right hand in battle.
"The second mess was wholly negroes, or 'black men,' as the Missourians of the period termed them. The negroes, possibly from the novelty of having far-shooting guns in their possession, habitually had their arms at hand when in camp, practicing at targets as far as allowed by the rules of the wagonmaster. At about 1 o'clock in the afternoon the camp was quiet, many of the men asleep; one big fellow was lying on his back under his wagon singing 'Sweet Eloise,' and three men from McRea's train were out more than 100 yards towards the ridge, shooting at prairie dogs.
"Suddenly the cry of 'Indians' came from one of these. A glance at the ridge not more than half a mile away showed it to be covered with mounted Indians, and a dozen or more coming down the slope at full run, evidently intending to overtake the three men before they could reach the corral, and were in a fair way to do so, and possibly pass between Sage and McRea. The six negroes of the second mess instead of running inside the corral and firing from behind wagons, as they would have been justified in doing, boldly opened fire on the advancing party and walked out to the road towards them. This turned the Indians and the three men came in safely. Nevertheless five of the Indians, led by a man on a yellow pony, dashed through between the trains of McRea and Blanchard and very near the latter. Probably forty or more passed around the head of Blanchard's train and came in south of it.
"The ridge was still covered with mounted men who had not then descended into the valley. When Blanchard saw the five Indians pass by the mouth of his corral he mounted his pony, drew his revolver, an ordinary 36-caliber, and rode out after them, evidently not noticing those who had passed around the front of his train. By the time he had gotten possibly 200 yards from his camp the Indians, who by that time had concentrated, divided into two parties, and one began to drive off his cattle and the other to circle around him, lying on the sides of their ponies and covering their bodies with shields. By this time the train men in the corrals of McRea and Sage had got their arms and those on the south side opened fire, but at too great a distance to protect Blanchard, or to do the Indians serious injury.
"The Indians closed on Blanchard, and either knocked him off his horse in an effort to get him onto one of their own ponies, to take him out of the fire or he fell from wounds. As he fell his fourteen teamsters and one night herder left their corral, and without a word of command formed a line, and charged the mass of Indians, firing rapidly as they advanced. The Indians hesitated before giving up their victim, but finally retreated. Blanchard was able to get on his feet and run to his men, who brought him to McRea's camp where he died in an hour. He had been shot one or more times, lanced behind one shoulder, and an arrow had entered his back near the spinal column and protruded about eight inches out through the stomach; this he pulled through himself before reaching his rescuers. When his pistol was found, which he had dropped, two chambers were empty, but there was no evidence that he had wounded any of the Indians.
"We buried him by the side of the road, and upon our return in the fall it appeared that his grave had been opened, but whether by savage Indians, wolves or loving hands we never knew. After retreating some distance, driving the cattle of Blanchard's train, four Indians dashed back into McRea's herd and took out about one-third, and a few belonging to Sage. This was done under a heavy rifle fire, but so far as ever known no Indians were hurt. They left two of their ponies down on the river bank, which probably had been disabled. The Mexicans sustained no loss. After the skirmish was ended a few well directed shots dispersed the party that had remained on the hill; and one Indian, not exceeding 800 yards away, who seemed to be acting as a signal man, was directly fired at--the rifleman resting his piece on a wagon tongue; so far as we knew no harm happened to him, but he galloped swiftly from his post, and was not seen again.
"The Indians drove the cattle so captured across the river to a point two or three miles away, then unsaddled their ponies and rested. About 4 o'clock in the afternoon another herd, consisting of horses, mules and cattle, the proceeds of other raids, were driven down on the south side of the river, and added to those taken from Blanchard's train and the S.S. trains. The combined herds were then driven southward over the sand hills. We saw no more of this war party. It was anticipated that some might remain and watch for a messenger that must necessarily be sent back to Fort Larned; if any were left we had no evidence of it.
"As all of Blanchard's herd except two oxen had been taken it was necessary to communicate with Fort Larned, the nearest military post. The distance was estimated to be about sixty-five miles. The night herder of Blanchard's train expressed a willingness to go upon this perilous undertaking. While making his preparations at McRea's camp he was asked if he wanted any money, that a little might be found in the train. He replied that money would not 'help' him 'on a trip like this,' but he would be glad to have a small bottle of whisky and some tobacco, as he might not get anything to eat before the afternoon of the next day. These having been furnished him, and when it was dark, without a word of parting, he mounted the pony, off which Blanchard had been shot, and rode away towards the hills, saying that it was his purpose to keep away from the road and travel under the 'tops of the ridges.' On the second morning after his departure, and just at daylight a body of soldiers arrived, accompanied by the messenger, together with a long train of wagons. The commanding officer took charge of Blanchard's wagons, and within an hour McRea, Sage and the Mexican were moving on to their several destinations under an escort, commanded by Captain Butcher, Eleventh Missouri Volunteer cavalry. The remainder of the journey was made by the three trains without incident--Indians having been seen but once, and that was a short distance below old Fort Lyon; the party disappeared rapidly, and was evidently traveling and not on the warpath.
"Returning to the messenger, his courage and boldness stamped him as a man whose name should be preserved, if possible, in Kansas historical collections, but I never heard of him again, and do not remember his name, possibly never knew it. The plainsman of that period, like his successor, the cowboy, was not inquisitive. He might ask another where he was from, but rarely his name--never his former business. The messenger was then of full middle life, rather stout, with sandy colored hair and beard, and brown eyes. He was simply a night herder, probably had no other occupation, but like the trapper, the hunter and the plainsman, he has probably joined his class.
"In 1877 I was at Dodge City several days taking testimony in a case growing out of the loss of a train of mules near the Cimarron crossing in the year 1864, and one afternoon, in company with a former member of the firm of Stuart, Slemmons & Co., drove down to Fort Dodge and below to identify, if possible, the place where Blanchard was killed, but could not. From the course of a bayou I was led to believe that the guard house at Fort Dodge was located at or near the place where the rear of the Mexican train stood. However, there was no landmark by which the place could be reasonably identified. In years past I have made many inquiries to learn if possible what band of Indians made the attack, but have obtained no satisfaction. It was the opinion of our captain, Thomas Fields, judging from their mode of attack, that the Indians were Comanches or Kiowas, or both."
In 1908 I wrote George Bent, a former school mate, and received the following reply:
"Colony, Okla., Jan. 17, 1908.
"Colonel Milton Moore, Kansas City.
"Sir: I have seen published in a Western periodical your paper now in the archives of the Kansas Historical Society relating to a battle your train had with a war party in August, 1864, near where Fort Dodge was. Cheyennes were camped on the Solomon river. Several war parties started from this village to make raids on trains. Most of these parties went to Platte river. The Sioux joined these war parties that went to Platte river. 'Little Robe,' now dead, was head of this party that your trains had fight with. There were twenty or thirty warriors in this party. The man you speak of riding the yellow horse in the lead was 'Bear Man.' He was no chief; only grand warrior in battles. I was in the Cheyenne village when these war parties started out and I knew this young man well. He died at Darlington agency several years ago from an old wound he got fighting Utes. He was about twenty-five years old when he led that charge through between the trains. The war party did not drive the cattle very far out when they left them. Just before this fight, in July, I think, the Kiowas and Comanches attacked a train or two at Walnut creek. They killed several teamsters. Brother Charles was at Charley Rath's ranch on Walnut creek at the time. He told me about it when he came to the village on Solomon river. The whites started this war in 1864. As I was with the Cheyennes at the time I knew what took place. The Kansas Historical Society ought to get the Indian side of the history of all these wars between the whites and Indians.
[Footnote 1: NOTE.--Colonel Milton Moore, the signer of this Preface, is a man of unusual legal ability. The confidence reposed in the old commander of the Fifth Missouri infantry is clearly set forth by the fact that for more than a quarter of a century he has been a member of the police and election boards and has served for a long time as school commissioner and is one of the most prominent practitioners at the Kansas City Bar, with offices on the third floor, suite 3, Rialto Bldg., Kansas City, Mo.]
I will call attention to the Old Pecos Church which was probably owned by the Roman Catholics at one time, but which was in ruins when I first saw it, as I drove by with my stage coach to Santa Fe. It stood twenty miles east of Santa Fe on the old trail. The walls were built of adobe, the doors were round-topped and built of solid hewed timbers, with wooden hinges, wooden latches. When I first saw the old ruins it had a belfry on the top of it with a rounded topped opening in it the same as the doors below. This church was built on the plan of a fort. When it was originally built it was the storage place for all kinds of ammunition, Roman spears, shields, breast plates, guns, powder, ammunition of every kind and character, used by Roman Catholics for war, and was probably built by the Aztec Indians who were; under the control of the Spaniards. It was said to be 300 years old when I saw it 53 years ago. It was a two-story structure, built of adobe, or sun-dried brick. The floors of the building were built of some kind of concrete and were hard and glossy. The upper floor was built of eight by ten timbers laid solidly together with a crease in the crack of each timber--dovetailed-- the cracks in the timbers fitted so closely together that the creases did not show. The under part of the floor, that part which was exposed as ceiling for the lower room was lavishly hand carved. This carving was said to have been done by the Indians. There was carved in some places, Indian squaws with their papooses on their backs, heads of big braves, mooses, bow and arrows, fish, deer, antelope, horses, lizards and almost everything imagined was carved in this timber. Those parts not exposed directly to the elements were in a good state of preservation, while those pieces exposed to the weather were brittle and would crumble like chalk.
[Illustration: THE PECOS CHURCH.]
In the picture of the Pecos church you will note the pieces of fallen timbers. Kosloski was a Polish ranchman whose ranch was traversed by the Old Trail. This was a very picturesque ranch at the foot of the Glorietta Mountains, half mile from the ruins of the old Pecos Church. He bought the ruins of this once famous temple and built stable, for his horses and cattle. Kosloski's ranch had at one time been a famous eating station, noted for its profusion of fine mountain trout caught from the Rio Pecos River which ran near the cabin. On this famous ranch four miles east of the Pecos River, the Texas Rangers fought their fight with the Union soldiers and were whipped. Gone are those old days, gone are the old people, gone are the bones of the soldiers which have bleached upon the ruins of the Old Trail. Silence reigns supremely over the once famous ranch, broken occasionally by the screams of the locomotives as they whiz by on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, puffing, screeching and rumbling up the steep grades of the Glorietta Mountains.
W. H. RYUS.