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George Martin correspondence on the 1878 route of the Cheyenne Indians through Kansas

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Law offices of Sutton and Scates
M. W. Sutton
T. A. Scates
Carl Van Riper

DODGE City, KANSAS.  Dec. 30, 1905.
George V, Martin,
Secretary State Historical Society,
Topeka, Kansas.
Dear Sir: -
Your letter with reference to the old Indian trail that the Cheyennes made
in their march north received.  I have marked on the map with a lead pencil as far as we
can learn anything about it here.  The first that the parties knew anything is that they
came into Comanche County near the southeast corner.  They passed through the
southern part of Camanche County going west into Clark County to where I hare made a
circle, and at that place they fortified themselves and remained a day or two and a night,
and the cavalry from Fort Dodge and the cow men as they supposed had the Indians
surrounded at that point, but they got away in the night.  They went in a northwesterly
direction into Meade County, still southwest of Fowler; then north into Gray County and
crossed the Arkansas River about two miles west of the town of Cimarron, and from
there they went north to Hackberry Springs, wherever that is.
We have traced the line to about the middle of old Buffalo County, which
was afterwards Garfield County and is now a township of Finney County.  I have
consulted with men who were in Clark County at the time the Indians fortified
themselves and that they were supposed to be surrounded.  I have also consulted with
people who lived at Cimarron and know that they crossed two miles west of
Cimarron because of the fact that they went there very soon afterward and got ponies
that were left on the trial of the indians.

[Page 2]

From M. W. Sutton, Dodge City

Map XI, 1875-'80

[map of Kansas counties circa 1875-1880 showing a route north]

2 miles east of Solden about 10 miles [of] Hoxie

West of Grinnel

Colonel Lewis killed [XX X XX] Hackenberry Creek

Sand Creek fight

Enclosed with Sutton, M. W., Dec. 30, 1905.

[Page 3]

Law offices of Suttonand Scates

M. W. Sutton
T. A. Scates
Carl Van Riper

If they worn  in Barbar County,  Barbar County people will hare  to testify as there is  no  
one here that  knows  they were in Barbar County,  but do know that they cane through
Camanche County into Clark,  from Clark into Medse, then north  into  Gray and  on into
old  Garfield County, which was then called Buffalo County. Hackherry Springs is a
branch of the Pawnee.     Colonel Lewis (with a detachment of  cavalry was killed in
what was then old Wallace County.
Very respectfully yours,

W. M. Sutton

P.S. What [inserXXXXX] do I send with that gun. May you object to sending it
w/ [with] you which I will have w/ [with] our [arms]

Mike Sutton

[Page 4]

DODGE CITY, KANSAS,   Jan 4 1906

Hon George W. Martin

Topeka Kans

Dear George

Yours of Jan 2 in regard to the 1878 Indian raid on land, I have had a long talk and
consultation with Mike Sutton over it, and I believe he has given you a good account of it,
any how as good as I could give. We don't think they entered Barber County. Certainly I
never head of anyone being killed in that county during this raid. Sorry I cant give you some
thing better and more definite.

Yours very truly
R M  Wright

[Page 5]

Guthrie, Oklahoma, Jan. 4, 1906.

Geo. W. Martin,  Secretary,
Topeka, Kans.
Dear Sir: —
I  have  your  favor  of  January 2nd.    I  have  a very vivid
recollection as to the raid of the  Cheyenne  Indians in 1878, but made no written
memorandum of  the points  over which the  raid took place.    I doubt  seriously
if  the  body  of  the  raiding Cheyenne's touched even  the  Southwest  corner  of
Barber County,  but  they cane very close  to  it.    I  do not  think any resident  of
Barber  County was killed,  but  just  ever  in the  edge  of Comanche County
there were a number killed and  in the  Territory  South of the  Southwest part of
Barber County,  there were   at least  two persons killed,   one   of them was  
named Colcord and was  a Nephew of W. R.  Colcord and a Cousin to C.  F.  
Colcord now a prominent Banker at 'Oklahoma  City,  Okla.    .At one  of the  
camps  of  the Comanche  County    pool two persons were wounded,  but this
ranch was  certainly in Comanche  County.    A young child was  shot across  the
breast,   the ball  buried itself in the flesh ever each breast and came to the  
surface in the center of the breast.    The  other party was  shot across the  back of
the head, but not deep enough to make  the  wound fatal  or dangerous.    Prom
there the Indians pursued almost a due West course and shot and wounded and
killed different  ones.    A call was made for volunteers at Medicine Lodge and
other points in Barber County and I  think at |least thirty persons congregated at  
this camp,  but a great many felt as the  Indians had got far beyond the boundary
lines of our

[Page 6]

Guthrie, Oklahoma

G. w. M. #2.
County,  their duty did not  call the* farther.    As I now remember it,  there
were  about  twelve persons joined in the pursuit  of  the Indians and followed
them along the  trail through Clark County and over into Mead County where  
we  over took them and had an  all  cay skirmishing battle with them.    This
battle  took place  on a creek called Sand Creek, almost South of Dodge  City.    
There were  about 140 soldiers and about  sixty civilians called  cow boys in the
engagement.      Whether  any fatalities  occured that day  or not is not known.    
None  of  our party were  seriously hurt,  one  or two were touched with Indian
bullets and a horse was wounded,  but not  fatal?. Up to that time we  had
counted seventeen killed,   oonmencing  on tha> Yellowstone  Creek in the  
Indian Territory and along the   trail through Comanche,  ClarJr and Mead
Captain Rendlebrook was in command of the  U. S. Troops.
The  Indians had fortified themselves at the head  of  a canon which had eat  
back in at the  point  of a horse  shoe  bend on Sand Creek, making a deep  
canon with at least an acre  of level ground in the head of  the  canon. There
were three strata of red rock along the sides of the  canon and  on each strata the  
Indians had dug back  in and thrown up breast works of  dirt.    In this canon
they had driven a number of cattle and sheep and their own ponies.    Around a
bluff both above and below the canon numerous holes had been dug and rocks
eighteen to twenty-fives inches high had been piled making it a very strong
location for a fight.    Our boys were better armed than the Indians and we fired
from under cover from about  nine

[Page 7]

Guthrie, Oklahoma
G. W. M.  #3.
o'clock in the morning until four in the afternoon, at which tine
we had driven all  of. the  Indians  in the  main fort.    At this
hour Captain Rendlebrook ordered the   soldiers to retire and the  
cow boys were so disgusted,  that  they no longer maintained the
commanding points  of advantage  they had secured and the  
Indians  that night fled  to  the North,  crossing  the Arkansas
river  somewhere where  Cimarron City is located.    The big
massacre 9on Prairie Dog and [Soppa] Creeks) occured later by
this  same band of Cheyenne  Indians,  but   our party returned to
Barber County thoroughly disgusted with the management   of
this campaign.    We were within fifty miles  of Dodge  City and
had the Indiana where  they could not have  escaped without a  
total loss to them and we  could have  sent for  a cannon and
shelled them out without  loss to us.
I  think I  can remember the  names  of all  the  
Baroer County  citizens who followedup and were engaged in
the  Sand Creek fight and give you the  same  as I  now
remember them.       Chas.  Nelson, C.  T.  Rigg,  D. Vanslyke,  
E. W. Iliff,  Troy Stockstill,  R. T. Lee, John Melrose, Ben
Walker,  Jim Lusk,  Deaf McCartney, L.  C. Ferris and myself.
Trusting this information maybe  of some  
value to you,  I remain,
Yours  very truly,
J Wm Neal

[Page 8]

Guthrie, Oklahoma
Jan. 8, 1906.

Geo. W.  Martin,  
Topeka,  Kans.
Dear  Sir:--
Your letter  of  the  5th received enclosing outline
maps  of Clark and Mead County.    I  regret you did not  also
Comanche   County,  but   comparing these  two outlines with  
the map I
have  of Kansas,   I  assume  that I have  substantially marked
where  the
Cheyenne's entered  the East line   of Clark County.    Where  I
made  the  circle marked one must be  about where Ashland is
It  seems  to me  that this map must  be wrong about  the  
Cimarron river
running up  seven  or eight miles  into Clark County.     If  that  
is true,
I  am hardly far enough away from the  Cimarron river  on  the
line.    The   fi^ht   took place  on a tributary to Crooked
Creek,at  that
sailed Sand Creek.    I estimate  about where  I marked the  
two.    There was a big sheep ranch not very^ar *Torth of this
I ratner  think his name was Williams,   although I  am not  atall
certain.    The  Indians kiHi    at many of  these  sheep  on the
prairie,   and they were laying all  around where  they had been
killed. The  next morning  the trail went through a place  called
Bellraead, which must  have  b^en not far from the place  
marked Mead Center and kept  on almost a northerly  cross to
the  Arkansas river.    There was scounting parties on either  
side  of  the main trail and these scounting parties did most  of  
the killing.    I  am now  sure  that J.  A.  McCarty is  the   same  
person roarked in ray former letter as Deaf McCarfcy.    I
remember C.  k. .Martin who lived near Paintedpost and

[Page 9]

[Meade and

[Page 10]

G.  W.  M.  #2.
now lives  not  far from Woodward or did a few years ago.    I  think if
you would write  to H.  0. Thompson of Woodward,  Okla.,  and ask him
        to put you in communication with C.   A. Martin,  he could do so.    He
is  an old frontiersman and doubtless has a good  memory of what took
place.     I  do not believe  I  am mistaken in saying that no resident
of Barber County was killed by these  Indians,  unless it would be young Colcord
and his associate. They might have lived in Barber County or over the line in
Comanche County. Their camp I know was South of the Salt Fork on what what at
that time was called Yellowstone.

There was a general attempt made  to get people file
claims for loss of property and while   I think most of us made  of us made out  
some kind  of a claim at the  instance  of  some   Attorneys,  I  do not think any  of  
them unless it was McCarty ever followed it up to  try and secure  the allowance  
of  their claim.
Yours very truly,

J Wm Neal

Write of Colcord of Ok City at about his cousin

[Page 11]


1/12 – 1906



[PAGE 12]

Oklahoma, .

Man by name Frank Dowe in one of our side camp, 5 miles west of our camp. Wiley
Payne had a camp on salt fork, occupied by his two BrothersWalter Payne a single man
& Charlie Payne his wife & one child 1 ½ yrs old 12 Indians come to Payne's camp.
Shot water in the Charlie though the know & babie through the fleshy part of the breast,
at that ime Charlie got hold of an and shot gun & returned thier fire & they run & all of
the Payns recovered. Ou camp was near the mouth of Indian Creek on salt fork & Paynes
near the mouth of muscatungue Creek on Salt fork Comanche co.  Yours insft
C. F. Colcord

[Page 13]

1/15 - 1906

Geo. W. Martin

My self & a man by your name Charlie Martin followed this massecre & buried these
people & it was a n awful job as they has been killed four days & longer it was in sft
1878 & the weather was extremely hot & the bodies were as large as horses & badly
decomposed. Payne family had a wonderful esape, all wounded & none killed. Walter
shot through the neck. Charlie shot through the knee & thomb shot off & the babie shot
through the breast & Mrs Payne a slight flesh wound & all get well. 12 Indians rode up
to Pays Camp friendly shoots found & grobed walters six

[Page 14]

shooter & shot him down, charley was in the tent and got an old shot gun & as he cocked
it they shot his thumb off & the gun went, this was the only shot fired by the pays off &
the Indians run. At the sane time Charlie was shot int eh knee and walter was
unconscious, making both helpers if the Indians had not have been such cowards the
family would have been killed. The Salt Plains were  18 or 20 miles south west of our
camp & the boys were hauling salt to the headquarters camp on Red Fork. The Boys
were going south & the Indians west & meet on top of the high divide between the
Cimerone River & the Salt Fork, your map is marked Red Fork

[Page 15]

which is wrong. Red Fork is the small creek that I have marked Red Fork or jug matt
creek is was always called Red Fork until Father and Dick Walker lost a jug in a Mott of
timber & all the cow Boys in the neighbor hunted for it for a long time & finely found it
& they had a high old time on its coutime & afterward the Creek was known as jug Mott
Creek. Murrah;s camp I think was near the south line of Barbour County, please find
enclosed a map marked up & I think you will find it very nearly correct. Any other
information I can give will be a pleasure.
Yours usft
C. F. Colcord

[Page 16]

Selden Kans

Jan 15 – 1906
Mr. W. d. Street
Sir I got you letter and have answered the question as near as I can remember the
circumstance hoping this will be sadisfactory
I remain as ever a friend

Geo Li Kious

[Page 17]

Read all before answering,

When did the Indians Cross the W. P. Ry

How far and which way from the nearest station.
Just west of grenell

When did they cross the Saline River
Give section Town and Range if possible
Don't know range & Tow

When did they cross the South Solomon
Section Town Range
Rite north of Grenell

How far west of Old Kenneth did they go
About 10 miles

Or how far from Hoxie

When did they pass from Selden and how far
About – 2 miles east of seldon

Where did they strike the Prairie Dog Creek in Decatur County.
Sep 30 - 1878

When did they make their camps or stop in Sheridan County. Night camp especially.
Sec 11 in sherridan co) town & Range 29

Read back of this sheet before answering Over.

[Page 18]

The Indians usually [Fraseled] in two or three squads. The women and children in the
main party, while the warriors scattered out on the sides to [raide?] the settlers, Another
party of warriors frequently brought up the rear as a kind of rear guard between the main
party and the soldiers so as to notify the Indians of the approach of the soldiers.
Now if you could mark out the Trail of the main party and the camps and also the spread
of the outside scouts on the east side of the main party I would like it very much.
Your truly,
Wm D. Street,

1 mile east of old Sheridan

What is your present post office address

Mr. Sam Morgan Hoxie Kans

Give me the names of any other parties to whom I could write in refference to the Raid.

B G Decker Hoxie. Geo. Evens Hoxie

Please return this sheet with your answers and greatly oblige your old time friend and
Wm D. Street.

I enclose stamped envelope with which to mail this letter if you can not get it ready at

[Page 19]

[Sheridan County map]

x night camp
sept 29 1878

--- uncertain as to the line of march
____ Generally accurate

* camp sept 29th 1878, night camp.

____ spread of scouts or Flankers
also shows the lines within which the white people were killed.

[Page 20]

Decatur County map]

[XXX] camps night
sept 30th 1878
S. side  N W 6
S. side S W 6
T4 R30

Noon stop
N E "4 S. E "4 An Indian was killed by settlers near
2 – T3 – R30 xx skirmish with cow boys. Two [struck out: night] camps
------ uncertain as to line of march
_____ Generally accurate
** two [struck out: night] camps night of sept 30th 1878
o noon stop sept 30
______ spread of scouts or flankers also shows lines within which the whites men killed

[Page 21]

[Gove County map]

----- Uncertain as to the line of march
_____ Generally accurate

[Page 22]

Atwood, Kans Jan. 17 1906

Hon. W. D. Sheet,
Oberlin, K-
Dear Sir-
Mr. Blum, to whom I addressed your request on [XXXXXXX] route of Cheyennes gives
us this as the [XXX] [XXXX] location of the Indians after leaving the [XXXX] they
went in south a direction as to cross the creek about where [XXXXXXX] [XXXXX], but
an the divide southeast in Decatur Co. they attack a Texas cattle camp at which
[XXXXXXX] was working at the time, and after a shot [XXX] [XXXX] the Indians
departed south and camped on the [XXXXX] or [XXXXXX] [XX] [XXXXXX] [XX] .
The next day they started up the draw opposite their camp, and then started in the
direction of Ogalallah-
John  D  Greason –

[Page 23]

.July 25" 1906.
Hon Geo. W.Martin,
Topeka, Kansas.
Dear Sir:-
Replying to yours of the 17" inst. I would, s y that I have seen Mr P. E Frayer
concerning the matter you wrote me about, and he says that Mr Nellis must have misunderstood
him. Mr Frayer did not go to Beaver Creek, as one of the party to yet the body of col Henry  W.
Lewis. He was one of eight men from Rush and Ness Counties who went out there on a
buffalo hunt and they arrived there shortly after the battle with the Cheyennes took place.
The fight  did not occur on Punished Woman's Fork, but on Beaver Creek about three
miles north from the great bend of said creek. They learned from scouts that- Col Lewis was
shot through the hip by three bullets in the fight. Mr Frayer and his party found the camping
place of the Indians where they had evidently prepared for a pow wow, and where from
it seemed they had suddenly decamped. Wagon and horse shoe tracks indicated that soldiers
were in pursuit of them.
The Buffalo hunters followed the trail until they came to the battle ground where they found
many dead horses – mostly Indian ponies. They also found the pants of Col. Lewis which had been
cut off from him by his men, and they had three bullet holes in them indicating that he had been
shot in the hip as the scouts had said. Col. Lewis died  on the road while being taken to Fort
Wallace in a wagon. Accept my sincere thanks for the "Kansas Historical Collection" and
the i-araphlotr! recently sent me.

C. P. Lynn.

Lt. Col. Wm H: Lewis d. sep. 28, 1878., of wounds rec. S. 27, 1878. in ac with Cheyenne
Ind. In pursuit [XXXXX] Fork, Kan. – Heitman.

Seems to have been in the Dull Knife raid.

[Page 24]

Secretary of state.    
Topeka, Kansas, Aug. 17, 1905.
Hon. Geo. W. Martin,    
Sea. Historical Society,
Topeka, Kansas.
Dear Sir,    
Herewith I return Mr. Oreason's letter of the 14th inst. I know
nothing valuable about the Indian fight on the middle Sappa to which he
refers.  It took plaoo during the summer of 1874.   I was post trader at
Fort Hays at the time, and very little wan said about it.  As I understood
it the least said of the affair, the better for all concerned.  But as I
anber it, Lieut-Austin Henely of the 6th U.S.Cavalry, then stationed at
Fort Wallace, while out on a scout with his troop, struck the trail of a
bunch of Indians, a war party, about thirty in number, which he attacked
and destroyed, killing every one.  That is the story, but it is not well
authenticated, and only Henely's official report, made to Ssux Major Gen.
John Pope, then commanding the department of the Jfestx Missouri, will give
the facts.
Henely had with him as a companion, or as a guide and scout, Mr.Homer Wheeler, post
trader at Fort Wallace.  I think the firm name was wheeler S Clark, Hon. A. L. Clark, still
living at Wallace, being the other member, to whom you might refer.   Wheeler received a
commission a3 2d Lieutenant 5th U. S. Cavalry, shortly afterward, presumably in recognition
of his services ir. the premises.
Henely was not dismissed the service.  The 6th Cavalry was transferred to Arizona in
1875, and Henely accompanied the co        In 1878 this officer( In company with Lieut. Tony
Huoker £John Anthony Rucker], 6th U.   S. Cavalry, son of Maj. Gen. Huoker. then Chief
Quartermaster U.S.A., attempted to cross an arroyo, that was running full as the result of a heavy
rain, and both were drowned.  They were mounted, and the footprints of the horses

[Page 25]

showed where both had ridden into the flood.  One of the two crossed safely, and then
reentered the stream, presumably to assist the other, and perished in the attempt.  And now
follows another part of the story. Mrs.John Prov/er of Las Animas, Colorado, until recently the
wealthy widow of John Prower the pioneer cattle man of the Upper Arkansas, is a full blooded
Cheyenne woman.  when Lieutenant Henely arrived at Port Lyon, before leaving for Arizona,
he had among his effects, some of the paraphernalia of a Medicine man of the Cheyenne tribe,
who had been killed in this fight. Medicine men are held in almost sacred consideration by all
Indians, and when Mrs. Prov/er saw these relics, she "took, on," and went through the mourning
ceremonies of the tribe.  She kept up the orooning and wailing for three days and nights.  Her
mourning ended, she refreshed herself, and made a prediction, that "The man who is
responsible for the death of the Medicine man, villi  die within a year.H  By a strange fatality
her prediction was in part verified.  Henely was &saxn& drowned July 11, 1878. Although
not strictly within the limits of her prophecy , it would be hard to convince this untutored
squaw, that the great Spirit had not intervened ultimately to avenge the death of the
Medicine man.
Hill P. Wilson.

[Page 26]

[Rawlins County map]

------ Uncertain as to line of March

_____ Generally accurate

* Camp night of Oct. 1st 1878

_________ Spread of scouts or flankers.
Also shows the lines within which the white people were killed.

[Page 27]

[Comanche County map]
X W. r. Colcords camp (my father)
Q Willey Paynes"
# camp where Frank Dow was killed
X Bristow & Clark on top of high divide between Salt fork and Cimeron

The creek father's camp was on was called Red Fork & some times Jug Mott Creek

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