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Julia A. Chase to George W. Martin

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Hiawatha, Ks. Mch. 13-1902

 

Mr. Geo. W. Martin.

Secy, State Hist. So.

Topeka, Ks.

 

[Put with Mrs. Chase Mss or Mother Bickerdyke]

 

My dear Sir:


I am in receipt of letter from Prof. J. R. Bickerdyke, enclosing one of Feb 26 from his brother Hiram for me to read, copy if I choose, and return.  It is quite long with many interesting details, but is summarized on one sheet and this I copy and enclose copy to you.  Prof Bickerdyke writes me as follows.

 

“Enclosed find important letter just at hand from my brother Hiram; also important clippings.  I am preparing my reply for the press as soon as I get some more facts and data.  I am going to Ellsworth and interview some of the oldest settlers who used to work in old Ft Harker, - There are some four living in Ellsworth now.  Hiram’s letters are to the point and state the facts correctly.”

 

In view of these investigations and statements is it not wise to delay publishing until all evidence is in?

 

At risk of seeming conceited, I send under separate cover a booklet which partly explains itself.  In addition I will say

 

(over)

 

[Page 2]

 

I was, for years, the W.C.T.U State Supt. of Soldier work & during the time organized temperance unions at Nat. Sold-Home, Leavenworth – at Ft Riley, at Ft. Leavenworth, Garrison, & in the A.S. Mil. Prison, Ft. L.  The writer of the booklet, when discharged from the U. S. Army Prison became a member of our family being otherwise homeless, and in failing health.  He was an ex-editor before enlisting – and was the Prison printer.  To let him have something to do to occupy his time and mind I consented to his writing up the prison work.  This fellow died, of consumption later, in San Antonio, Texas.  The story is authentic – I know this as far as it goes, but is a very small part of the whole, which was simply wonderful.

 

Chaplain [McCleery] once said to me, “I would sooner have expected the prison walls to fall flat than that you should have been able to get these things done.”

 

My head and my heart hold many very interesting life stories of wayward boys many souvenirs of this U. S. Mil. Prison.  Pardon this long scrawl, I am garrulous.

 

Yours kindly – Julia A. Chase.

 

[Page 3]

 

Correct Copy of Hiram Bickerdyke’s letter of Feb. 26-1902, to Prof. J. R. Bickerdyke.

 

To summarize this matter and briefly state it is This:

 

Mrs. J. A. Chase has written a truthful and authentic record of Mother’s life work, and some people have taken exceptions to certain parts of it as stated in this letter because of a part, or portion, of these statements having been read in an Historical paper by Mrs. Chase, before the State Historical Society.  These people say such things did not transpire, when, so far as I am able to say, not one of them were any way near when they did take place and their knowledge is so fragmentary that it is not reliable so far as this matter is concerned.

 

That she did make the trip to Soldier Cap there is evidence in the correspondence to her sons at that time and the only error there is in the whole matter is the date which was 1867 instead of 1868, as averred by those who take exceptions.

 

Referring to the Whiskey Traders, their arrest was made before the Indian Raids of

 

[Page 4]

 

1868 and in ’68, and at the time of their arrest the matter was not the subject of any comment.  But after the raid it was stated on all sides by the citizens generally that this Indian Outbreak was caused by these Traders.  As to the Indian dash I have given the facts as they were, although I was averse to credit them at the time; the preponderence was against me in such opinion especially coming from Col. Thompson and Dr. Stone, both of whom held high positions in the Confederate service for four years during the war and were men use to Indian raids of those days in their own state.  And I accepted their statements as final in the case as both of these gentlemen insisted that it was the truth, and so far as I now know those who take exceptions were at least 75 miles away with Crawford’s relief party at Asher Creek Block House.

 

Referring back to the Whiskey Traders; There was some half doz. Spencer rifles and 47 Colts pistols taken or held from them and were still at the Hotel when the Posse was called out and most of these arms were given out to members of the Posse

 

[Page 5]

 

and were used by them on the trip with Wagstaff and Crawford.  That all these statements are Facts, I affirm, and the only thing wrong is the statement of them in regular order as they occurred.  I am satisfied that when Mother O.Ked the notes she did not notice the irregularity of her narrative as she stated it, for she was stating facts and nothing else.

When I was not personally present and seen and heard the facts I heard them verified by others long before they were ever expected to be published.  I may add that in a record of ones life written so truthfully, accurately as Mrs. Chase did Mother’s I would be the last to undertake to set any of the statements aside without the best of evidence.  I have given you the facts in this as in the former letter on occurrences of that time.

 

Your aff. Bro. Hiram.

 

Note, by Mrs. Chase

 

I copy on next page from body of letter referred to.

 

[Page 6]

 

Copy from letter of Hiram Bickerdyke.

 

The arrest mentioned was a fact and was first brought to my attention by Brunswick at the time, he asking me if these men had paid their Bills, to which I replied they had not, but had Baggage or equivalent.  He, Brunswick, told me to hold it as they were wanted, to which I refused in event they paid their Bill.  Mother came in at this moment and hearing the conversation said she would attend to it.  The arrest was made by U. S. Officer Marshal or Depty, said to be Jack Bridges from Ft. Harker, with the assistance of one or two men including Brunswick – upon information that these men were wanted for Whiskey Trading.  They were put aboard the train and taken to Topeka and what became of them I never heard.  But the arrest was a fact and some of the arms taken from these men were used by the Posse under Wagstaff, on the trip with Crawford.  As to the Indian dash Page 113, the firing from the 3rd story of the House, The facts are these, which I think that Wagstaff and Sampson can verify partly.  They will remember that Brunswick was a member of Wagstaff’s Posse and also that he left the Party, or Posse at or near Yonker’s Block House and returned to

 

[Page 7]

 

Salina, believing that the entire Cheyenne Tribe was at his heels.  He, Brunswick, reaching Salina and the Hotel, late in the night firing – as I then believed, at an imaginary foe, arrousing the people about the house and Depot, some of whom returned the fire from the Third story windows on the west side of the House.  Col. Thompson and Dr. Stone, then guests at the House, believed that Brunswick was pursued or chased, by Indians and on my return from Gov. Crawford’s and Wagstaff’s party a few nights later, Col Thompson and Dr. Stone came down into the dining room while I was eating and stated to me these facts.  I gave them no credit as I did not believe Brunswick had seen any one, but all the people around the Hotel and Depot did believe it and I could not gain say it.  That everyone was worked up to a high pitch and rumors were rife no one need deny.  But Wagstaff, Sampson and myself were far from there when that event happened, and also the Hotel and Depot were a long distance from the town of Salina and this could occur without the knowledge of the citizens.  So firmly did the Depot people believe in this that they were one and all quartered in the Hotel and I found them there upon my return, fully armed and expecting trouble, stating that the place had been fired on the night of Brunswick’s return and that the fire was returned

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