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This is a portrait of Sophia Louisa German, who was taken captive with her sisters, Catherine, Julia, and Adelaide, by Cheyenne Indians after their family was killed. Sophia was born on August 1, 1862. On September 11, 1874, the John German family, consisting of his wife and seven children, were attacked by a band of Cheyenne east of Ft. Wallace, Kansas. Only four of the children, Catherine, Sophia, Julia, and Adelaide, were spared and taken captive. The two youngest, Julia and Adelaide (aged 7 and 5), were subsequently abandoned on the prairie in what is now the Texas panhandle. Catherine and Sophia were kept by their Cheyenne captors. Fort Wallace received word of the killings, and began the search to find the girls, and to negotiate their release. They found Julia and Adelaide, who had survived on their own for 6 weeks, and on March 1, 1875, the Cheyennes formally released Sophia and Catherine German at the Darlington Agency in Indian Territory (Oklahoma). The two girls were reunited with their younger sisters, Julia and Adelaide, at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas in June of 1875.


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Kansas Memory Blog

Cowboy Band

Posted by Michael Church (Digital Projects Coordinator) on Sep 10, 2008

Hear the phrase “cowboy band” and you might think of singing cowboys like Gene Autry or maybe a western string band beating out jigs and reels on fiddles and guitars for a country dance. But in Dodge City in the 1880s the cowboy band was a whole different animal. Sporting cornets, tubas and other horns, the Dodge City Cowboy Band brought cow culture to the brass band craze of the late 19th century and drew both praise and criticism for its popularity. In its promotion of Kansas cattle interests, the band spread new myths about cowboys' genteel respectability and perpetuated old myths of cowboys as desperadoes. Selected materials on cowboy bands are now available on Kansas Memory.


This 1889 roster shows the band with twenty-three members and standard brass/wind instrumentation for the period, including many horns we would hardly recognize today.


This 1886 group photo shows the band flanked by its management with two young boys in the foreground. Notice how prominently members display their guns.



This photo shows some members of the Dodge City Cowboy Band on a round-up in Indian Territory, possibly in the 1890s. The photo may have been a publicity stunt meant to prove that band members were "real" cowboys.


Additional materials on cowboy bands are available by searching "cowboy band." See Community Life - Arts and Entertainment - Music - Musicians - Bands for more materials on bands in Kansas. See Business and Industry - Occupations/Professions - Cowboys for more materials on cowboys in Kansas.

For more information on the Dodge City Cowboy Band see Clifford Westermeier's article "The Dodge City Cowboy Band." Kansas Historical Quarterly v19 n1 (February 1951) : 1-11.



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