Updated material on Bill Conner: October 22, 2004.
Dear Bill, I told you ages ago that I found some interesting information on Bill Conner in the hard-bound book, “Cowley County Heritage,” but as per usual there were so many other projects to handle that I never did add this item to the Conner File. Here it is: found on Pages 146 and 147.
THE CRAIG FAMILY.
We are descendants of William H. Craig and Henrietta (Tryon) Conner Craig. William was born in Laurieston, Scotland, and immigrated to America with his two sons, Robert and Alexander. His first wife had died. William married Henrietta (Tryon) Conner. She was divorced from William Conner, who was an interpreter for the Osage Indians. She had two children, George and Ella. She and her brothers came from Ohio and settled at Kickapoo Corral. The Craigs then settled on their farm in the Mount Vernon Community northwest of Winfield, Kansas. Henrietta was a descendant of a Lady Mary of England. A distant uncle, William Tryon, was governor of North Carolina during the Revolutionary War and later was governor of New York. He built a mansion at New Bern, North Carolina, which was the fist capitol of North Carolina. Now the mansion is called Tryon Palace and is a tourist attraction.
Ella Conner died as a child and George in later years lived on the family farm and raised his family there. Robert and Alexander Craig moved to Seattle to live and died out there. They had no children.
William and Henrietta had two sons, William Henry (called Henry) and James. James died as a young man and Henry is our ancestor.
Henry married Cora Bilyeu in 1902. Her family came here from Kentucky. Henry and Cora then settled on the farm where Charles Craig, Jr., now lives. Henry raised sheep and cattle and named the farm “Bonnie View Stock Farm.” He and his sons Bill and Charles ran a custom threshing outfit and did custom hay baling. Deep ruts from the old Wichita trail can still be seen in the pasture.
Henry and Cora had three children: Euphemia, William Jr. (always called Bill), and Charles. Euphemia had no children. Bill married Ruth Abbott, a school teacher, and had two daughters, Shirley Pringle and Virginia Hanks. He farmed and worked in the oil fields. Charles married Ima Hall, an employee of The State Bank of Winfield.
I married Charles in 1937. He was always called “Pop,” a nickname he acquired during Winfield High School days. He attended Pittsburgh State Teachers College. During World War Two he ran a Civilian Pilot Training Service at the old city airport located just south of Highland Cemetery. Later he was a flight instructor with the War Training Service at Wichita, Kansas. He later farmed and worked in the oil fields.
We had two children: Charles, Jr., who married Janet House, a nurse, and they have two sons, Kevin and Wesley. Janice married Thaine Morris, an engineer at Conoco at Ponca City, and they have two sons, Chad and Shawn.
I still live in the family home where my husband, Charles, was born and where Henry and Cora started their married life. The farm has been in the family since 1902. Charles, Jr., and family built a new home just north of mine. Euphemia died in 1962, Bill died in 1961, and Charles died in 1971. All the family are buried at Mt. Vernon Cemetery northwest of Winfield. They attended Presbyterian Church, which was across the road from the cemetery. We are not related to any other Craig families.
Article was submitted by the following: Ima Craig.
The above item is the latest one gathered relative to Bill Conner. Prior to this I sent new data and corrections on August 16, 2001. MAW
I goofed in indexing re Volume II, The Indians, by calling Conner an Osage chief. The Winfield Courier listed him as such. I could find no contradictions at that time. Find that I have “goofed again” in data from Commonwealth. Called him “Connor.”
Below is the E. C. Manning story given in “Biographical” section of 1912 Cyclopedia by Standard Publishing Company. Names were listed alphabetically in Part I [along with portraits of some people].
Manning did pose a possible answer to why Kay could not find out anything from State re “Emporia Land Company” members...who started Arkansas City. Manning referred to them as the “Cresswell Land Company.”
[Have added even further to this file with a xeroxed sheet Kay got from somewhere re “COWLEY COUNTY”...page 1589...did not give all info on sheet...very hard to read...skipped City Government, Schools, and Churches, etc. More pages...went to 1607 in whatever book he took this from. Thought the part about NAME most interesting. Sure does not agree with what Manning said. MAW]
Bill Conner, Osage Indian, was mentioned in a number of Cowley County newspapers. C. M. Scott, at one time editor of the Arkansas City Traveler, was a friend of Mr. Conner, and published a number of news items about him. The early issues of the Traveler are extant. They did not get microfilmed. As a result, only from area newspapers did we glean stories of early settlers and persons like Wm. Conner.
In the book entitled “Between the Rivers, Volume 1,” there is mention of Bill Conner serving as translator between Chief Hard Rope and Captain Norton in 1870 at Arkansas City.
[Kay had the following comments...do not know if they were taken from “Bolton” book or not.]
Who Was Bill Conner?
William Conner, probably a white Kansas Trader, married Metier-hon, an Osage woman. Their son, William (Bill) H. Conner, born in January 1846, became a student at the Jesuits’ Osage Mission school; a founding father of the Osage Nation, who co-authored its U. S. style constitution in 1881, and was a rich rancher.
One day in 1872, William Conner sat on a rock atop a barren hill, where the Osage Agency is now situated. He stared down into the valley that would become the town of Pawhuska and said, “It’ll be a long time before white men occupy this land.”
William H. Conner committed the last known scalping associated with a religious rite known as the Osage Mourning Dance. The practice stemmed from the belief that a deceased had to be ransomed into the Happy Hunting Ground with the scalp of an enemy. In 1873, Conner and another Osage scalped the chief of the Wichita, an act that nearly sparked a Plains Indian war against the Osages. The U. S. government intervened, forcing the Osages to compensate the Wichita for the scalping with $1,500 in ponies, cash, blankets, and guns.
Winfield Courier, July 10, 1874. “Bill Conner, a Little Osage Chief, married Miss Angie Pyne (Penn), of Osage Mission last week.”
Antoine Penn (a French Canadian) died in 1853 after a measles epidemic broke out at the Osage Mission, where he was buried on April 19. He was about thirty years of age. He had married an Osage, Pelagie Mongrain, in 1842. A daughter, Angeline Penn, was seventeen months old at the time of her father’s death. Angeline Penn Conner died in 1879 during her daughter’s infancy.
Winfield Courier, October 2, 1874.
We have received a letter from Bill Conner, an Osage, in which he states there need be no fear from Indians entertained at this place, as the Osages and wild tribes are not on good terms, and would war on one another. William only speaks for a portion of the Little Osages, when he makes his assertion.
He also informs us that the 150 ponies seen by our scouts on the Salt Fork belong to the Little Osages, and are being herded there on account of the grass being destroyed on their reserve.
In my original story re Osage Mission, I ended with the following paragraph re Bill Conner, which was found in the March 11, 1875, issue of the Winfield Courier.
“Bill Conner, an Osage Chief, was recently in Arkansas City. Pausing in front of the little meeting house for a moment, he went in and took his seat among the congregation. The preacher was discoursing on the text of the ‘sheep and the wolves,’ and had evidently been drawing a contrast between the two subjects. “We who assemble here from week to week and perform our duty are the sheep, now who are the wolves?’ A pause and our friend Conner rose to his feet. “Wa’al, stranger, rather than see the play stopped, I will be the wolves!’ The preacher was vanquished.”
Arkansas City Traveler, February 21, 1877.
“Wm. Conner, well known in this vicinity and the Territory as the most intelligent Osage Indian in the Territory, made us a call last week to renew acquaintances. ‘Bill’ was on his way west, as a guide to the party of Ponca Indians inspecting the country west of the Arkansas. Since leaving this place some years ago, Wm. Conner has donned citizens’ clothes and has a farm of 107 acres on the Cana (later called the Caney) River, with a number of ponies and hogs.”
[NOTE: About this time, Mr. Miller, of the 101 Ranch, was working with the Ponca Indians on locating them on a new reservation from south of Baxter Springs. They, of course, located near what has become Ponca City, Oklahoma.]
For the year 1878—William Conner, age thirty-two; and Angeline Penn or Hum-pa-to-kah, age twenty-six,—received $3.40 in cash for the first half-year and $3.50 for the second.
Osage government had been a two-party democracy since 1881, set up under a constitution based on the U. S. and Cherokee charters and crafted by the Osages’ last hereditary chief, James Bigheard [?Bigheart?], and his Kansas Jesuit mission school buddy, William Conner. From 1881 on, the Osage primary chief was elected.
William Conner remarried Adeline Newman and had one son, Woodie Conner, who was born in 1882 and died in 1931.
An Osage Agency family register listed William Conner as deceased by 1901, but no date was given. In three pictures he first is a long-haired, wild-looking Indian; then a cowboy with a moustache; and finally fat and swollen.
Winfield Courier, June 5, 1879.
[Letter sent to the editor.]
EDITOR COURIER: The Pawnees held a council last Saturday and declared their intentions to go back to their Reserve in Nebraska if the Government didn’t pay them according to the treaty. No one seems to know why they are not paid, and the delay is shameful and is working a great hardship upon them. The government should hold faith with the Pawnees, if with no other tribe. It can’t be recollected when they were at war with the whites, and I believe them as loyal men as exist today. Go among them and call for recruits today, and every soul that can cling to a horse will come forward and tell you as they did the agent in their council, they were ready to die for the government. This they said with tears in their eyes, while they begged to be told what wrong they had committed that they should be treated so negligently.
As “Sun Chief” said:
“We feel as though we had killed some of the Great Father’s children, yet we know that we have not.”
I like the Pawnees. They are men all over. When they go on the plains, no Indian can cope with them, and when they talk, they are listened to. It is not so with the Osages. With them it is “how” to your face and an arrow to your back. Of course, there are exceptions. My friend, Ah-hun-ke-mi, is one. (I put this in for fear “Bill Conner” will see it, and “Bill,” or “Ah-hun-ke-mi,” is a special friend of mine.)
C. M. SCOTT.
FROM KANSAS, A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, etc.
Supplementary Volume of Personal History and Reminiscence.
PART II - WITH PORTRAITS.
STANDARD PUBLISHING COMPANY, CHICAGO.
[EDWIN C. MANNING - WINFIELD.]
Edwin C. Manning, of Winfield, one of the strong pioneer characters of Kansas, is well known to the public through the part he took in state affairs in an early day, through his loyalty as a soldier and his work as a newspaper man, but most of all for the part he had in the organization of Cowley county and the location of its county seat at Winfield, the town he founded and helped to build. His name is intimately connected with the history of that county and the city’s formative period, and his has been the pleasure of witnessing the transition and development of that unbroken prairie land, uninhabited save by Indians and wild game to one of the richest farming districts of the state. He has seen Winfield grow from one log cabin to a city of 8,000 inhabitants; a city presenting one of the most beautiful panoramic views to be found in the state, with its stately shade trees, its clustered spires, groups of college buildings and accompanying grounds, and fine school buildings—the view being accompanied by the hum of many and varied industries, and the city’s personnel being one of exceptional progressiveness and culture.
Colonel Manning was born amid the hills of the northern Adirondacks, at Redford, New York, November 7, 1838. His father, Louis Frederick Manning, was born on the ocean, January 14, 1814, while his parents, Louis Manning and wife, were making their voyage from France to America. They were French Huguenots and settled in Montreal, Canada, where the father engaged in the lumber business. Louis Frederick Manning was reared and educated in Canada by his uncle, Henry Manning, his father having died when he was two years of age. After leaving his uncle he learned the trade of glass cutting, which trade he followed for fifteen years, ten years of that time having been spent in Burlington, Vermont.
At Redford, New York, he married Mary Patch, born in 1812. She was a daughter of Samuel Patch, born August 24, 1774, in Massachusetts, and who served as a soldier of the war of 1812. His father, Abraham Patch, was a native of Littleton, Massachusetts, born March 1, 1739. The Patch family was an old one in New England, having been established there in the Seventeenth Century by ancestors from England. Louis F. and Mary (Patch) Manning came westward to Dubuque county, Iowa, in 1852, and there engaged in farming until 1856, when they removed to Jackson county, Iowa. There the mother of Colonel Manning died, in 1858. His father survived until February 2, 1889, when he too passed away. He was originally a Whig, but became a Republican upon the organization of that party. In church faith he was a Methodist. He and his wife were the parents of five children: Edwin C., Cyrenus S. (deceased), Gilman L., Edgar F., and Samuel A.
Colonel Manning spent his early youth in Vermont, and the common school education begun there was completed in Iowa. From 1856 to 1859 he alternately engaged in teaching and in attending Maquoketa Academy, where he completed the course in 1858. In 1859 he came to Kansas and located at Marysville, where he became editor of the “Democratic Platform,” having previously learned to set type. Though a Republican in his personal views he remained in charge of that paper until July, 1860, when a storm came and scattered the plant to the four winds. Its owner, Frank J. Marshall, a staunch Democrat, said he was glad of it, as he would rather see it destroyed than to have it print Republican sentiments. Edwin C. Manning was a young man, poor in purse but strong in energy, determination, and the power of accomplishment, and though the struggle for a living was a hard one in that day, his subsequent business career was one of success.
He was serving as postmaster at Marysville when Lincoln made his call for troops in 1861. He promptly responded to the call by resigning as postmaster and enlisting as a private in Company H, Second Kansas infantry. He was commissioned sergeant, however, and later was made first lieutenant. He served with his regiment in the Army of the Frontier until 1863, when he resigned and returned to Marysville, where he helped to organize and was made colonel of a militia regiment for frontier protection, the same being armed by the Federal government. He also resumed newspaper work as publisher of the “Big Blue Union.” In 1864 he was elected state senator and served one term, representing Marshall, Washington, and Riley counties. In 1866 he removed his publication plant to Manhattan, where he established the “Kansas Radical,” which is still extant as the “Nationalist.” After conducting that publication two years, however, he sold it and, in 1869, removed to the vicinity of what is now Winfield, where he entered into a contract with the Osage Indian tribe for a tract of land. This contract, which Colonel Manning still has in his possession, is as follows:
“Winfield, Cowley county, Kansas, Jan. 18, 1870.
“Received of E. C. Manning six dollars, for which I, Chetopah, a chief of the Osage Indian tribe, guarantee a peaceful and unmolested occupancy of 160 acres of land on the reservation, for one year from date.
“Witness, William Connor. “Chetopah X
[Note: I believe the witness was William Conner. MAW]
This contract secured to Colonel Manning the peaceful occupancy of that tract of land, which later became the original town site of Winfield. The first forty acres platted embraced what is now that portion of the city north of Ninth street and west of the east side of Main street. In the same month, prior to his contract with the Indians, he had organized the Winfield town Company and, having some knowledge of surveying, had located the line of Main street by the North Star at night, determining by mathematical calculations the magnetic variations, as there were no surveying instruments in that region at that time. A later survey by the government disclosed a variation of but fifteen degrees by its established magnetic meridian. In the previous months of October and November Colonel Manning had erected a log cabin near the north end of what is now Manning street, and in this cabin the town company was organized, in January, 1870. The town was named Winfield at the suggestion of Rev. Winfield Scott, a Baptist clergyman at Leavenworth, who had said: “If you are going to start a town there and will give it my name, Winfield, I will go down and build a house of worship for you.” As the town company adopted the name of Winfield, Reverend Scott kept his part of the pledge and, with local aid, erected a church building in Winfield, which is still standing on Millington street, between Seventh and Eighth streets. The first residence to be built on the original town site of Winfield was a balloon framed structure erected by Colonel Manning, in January and February, 1870, and was located at the corner of Manning and Eighth streets, the site now occupied by the Doane lumber yard. To this cottage Colonel Manning removed his family from Manhattan. Other claims now incorporated in the town of Winfield, besides that of Colonel Manning, are those of A. A. Jackson, C. M. Wood, and W. W. Andrews. On Christmas day, 1869, there arrived at Colonel Manning’s cabin the following party of men: Prof. H. B. Norton, G. H. Norton, Judge Brown, T. A. Wilkinson, H. D. Kellogg, and John Brown. They brought with them a letter from Lieut. Gov. C. V. Eskridge, Hon. Jacob Stotter [Stotler], and Preston B. Plumb requesting that Colonel Manning should cooperate with this party in establishing a town at the mouth of the Walnut river, in Cowley county. The present site of Winfield appeared to be at about the junction of the Walnut and Arkansas rivers, the point designated in the letter, according to the map of the state at that time. Colonel Manning accompanied the party, which camped the first night in the low bottom woodland south of Timber creek and near its mouth, the stream being known at that time by the Indian name of “Lagonda.” As colonel Manning had previously explored that section he advised that the junction of the two rivers would be too far south for the proposed metropolis. As a precautionary measure, for fear Colonel Manning’s views were correct, the party spent the second day in staking out claims, covering all the beautiful and fertile valley south of Timber creek and east and north of Walnut river. The third day, December 27, the party moved southward and camped that night at the mouth of the Walnut river. The following day Judge Brown and Colonel Manning started in search of the state line. After weary hours of travel, over bluffs and through briers and brush, they found the surveyor’s marks, which showed that the line crossed the Arkansas river near the mouth of Grouse creek. Colonel Manning swam the river on his horse at this point and recrossed the river about two miles above the mouth of the Walnut river, breaking the ice at each point and arriving at camp about dusk. The party decided on the present site of Arkansas City and named the prospective city Delphi. Later the name was changed to Cresswell and then to Arkansas City. Colonel Manning returned to his claim and, on January 1. 1870, located A. A. Menor and Col. H. C. Loomis upon two of the abandoned claims. The nearest post office and the nearest official who could administer an oath was twenty miles away. Colonel Manning sent for the neighborhood mail several times a week and was taking the “Daily Capital Commonwealth.” Through its columns, in February, 1870, he discovered that a bill had been introduced in the senate to organize Cowley county and to establish the county seat at Cresswell. Lieutenant-Governor Eskridge, president of the senate; Hon. Jacob Stotler, speaker of the house of representatives; and Senator Preston B. Plumb, all residents of Emporia, were members of the Cresswell Town Company. The situation required immediate action to save the day to Winfield. Colonel Manning hastily dispatched J. H. Land, C. M. Wood, and A. A. Jackson to the valley of the Arkansas, Walnut, and Grouse rivers, there to secure the names of all the settlers and to report to him at Douglass, three days later, with an enumeration of at least 600 settlers. They met at Douglass, February 23, as agreed, before ’Squire Lamb, made a sworn statement as to the census taken, and signed a petition requesting Gov. James M. Harvey to issue a proclamation organizing Cowley county and designating Winfield as the county seat. With this petition and enumeration Colonel Manning hastened to Topeka, 200 miles distant. At the time of his arrival the bill was being read for the third time before the senate. He failed to secure its defeat in the senate, but his friend, Hon. John Guthrie, a member from Topeka, by shrewd tactics presented a vote on the bill in the lower house until the legislature adjourned three days later. On February 28 Colonel Manning took his papers to Governor Harvey, who acted favorably on the petition. The settlers at the mouth of Walnut river did not learn of the defeat of their bill until several days after the legislature adjourned, nor that the county was organized with Winfield as the county seat. Colonel Manning helped to establish the first store in Winfield; served as the first postmaster; raised the first wheat in Cowley county; and, in the fall of 1870, served as the first representative from Cowley county. He was reelected to the legislature, in 1878, his legislative service consisting, in all, of two terms as representative and one term as senator from Marshal county. Although Congress had passed an act, July 15, 1870, for the purchase of the Osage reservation, it was not until January, 1871, that the government survey was made. The first tract of land entered was the Winfield town site and the second entry ws the eighty acres owned by Colonel Manning. The town of Winfield began to build up immediately and, in 1876, Colonel Manning erected the square of buildings known as the Manning Block. He was admitted to the bar, in 1872, and practiced some. He also edited a newspaper in Winfield two years. In 1880 he went to New Mexico on account of ill health and remained there two years. He then became a resident of Washington, D. C., where he remained until 1896. He was there engaged in the management and direction of a creosote plant, located at Wilmington, N. C., and in securing railroad franchises at various points throughout the South. In 1896 he returned to Winfield, where he is actively engaged in local affairs and in the management of his considerable holdings in business and residence property. In 1910 he was appointed a member of the municipal commission of Winfield, which has charge of the $250,000 water and light plant, and of this body he was chosen chairman.
In 1860 Colonel Manning married Delphine Pope of Jackson county, Iowa, who bore him three children: Benjamin, deceased; Martha (Goodwin); and Ernest Frederick, who was the first white child to be born in Winfield and is now an expert mechanic at Bridgeport, Connecticut. Mrs. Manning died February 20, 1873, and, in 1874, Colonel Manning married Margaret J. Foster. Of their union were born two daughters. One is Mrs. Margaret Belle Murphy of Kansas City, Missouri, and the other is deceased. The third marriage of Colonel Manning occurred when Miss Linia Hall became his wife. She is the daughter of Lot Hall, a native of Massachusetts, who spent his entire life in his native state. Colonel Manning is a Republican in politics. Fraternally he is a member of Siverd Post, No. 85, Grand Army of the Republic, and of the Kansas branch of the National Loyal Legion. He is a member of the Masonic order and of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He has also achieved distinction as a journalist, his articles having been sought and published by various journals of the state. One of the best articles from his pen was that entitled, “The Passing of Ingalls,” published by the “Winfield Courier,” in 1896. Colonel Manning was made president of the Kansas State Historical Society on December 6, 1910. He has just published a book, under the title of “Autobiography, Historical and Miscellaneous,” which will be found in some of the public libraries of the state and on a shelf in the State Historical Society.
[Boy, did he ever do a good job of perverting the truth! MAW]
With reference to obtaining right to settle on land, Manning stated that he paid $6.00.
It might be noted that the going price for the right to take up land from the Osage Indians at that time was $5.00. It appears that Manning paid more than other early settlers, who all reported $5.00 or less made in payment.
[Gather this was taken from a book that was printed in 1882. MAW]
The first claim on the Winfield town site was taken on June 11, 1869, by E. C. Manning. Shortly afterward, W. W. Andrews, C. M. Wood, and A. A. Jackson took claims adjoining. The corner-stone of all these claims being at a point near the present L. L. & G. depot, and yet marked by a post. Andrews had the northeast claim; Wood the northwest; Manning the southwest, and Jackson the southeast.
On January 13, 1870, the Winfield Town Company was organized with E. C. Manning, President; W. W. Andrews, Vice President; C. M. Wood, Treasurer; W. G. Graham, Secretary; E. C. Manning, J. H. Land, A. A. Jackson, W. G. Graham, and J. C. Monforte, Directors. The forty acres of the land belonging to Manning was laid out as the center of the new town, and Main street, 120 feet wide, laid out north and south of this land. A log house was put up on the main street by the settlers, and given Manning in exchange for his land taken by them. Settlement on the town site was slow, and when on August 15, A. D. Millington, now proprietor of the Courier, and J. C. Fuller, of the Winfield Bank, arrived and purchased Jackson’s claim, the only buildings were the log store of E. C. Manning, which stood where the opera house now does; the log blacksmith shop of Max Shoeb, where Read’s bank is now located; the drug store of W. Q. Mansfield, and the hardware store of Frank Hunt. Millington and Fuller at once took active steps for the advancement of the town. For the various steps which led to their final success, we are indebted to the following account kindly furnished by Mr. Millington, who, as a leading character in the events of that day, deserves special credence:
In January, 1871, the survey of this county was made by the United States Deputy Surveyors, O. F. Short and Angell. This survey furnished a new excitement for the settlers, for the lines of the survey, necessarily, in the nature of things, could not conform with the claim lines. There was a crowd of settlers following each surveying party, with teams and lumber, and whenever a good bottom claim was shown by the survey to have no shanty or other improvements on it, the first one who got to it with lumber or logs took the claim. Some persons found their improvements surveyed on to the claims of older settlers, and thereby lost their claims. All this resulted in many contests at the land office, but it was remarkable that very little violence was resorted to.
The survey showed E. C. Manning’s claim to be the northwest quarter, and J. C. Fuller’s claim the northeast quarter of Section 28, in Township 32, south of Range 4 east. The town company’s forty acres was the northeast quarter of Manning’s claim. Immediately after the Government survey, in January, 1871, E. C. Manning, J. C. Fuller, and D. A. Millington formed themselves into another company, called the Winfield Town Association, and joined the southeast quarter of Manning’s claim with the west half of Fuller’s claim, as the property of the association. This added to the town company’s forty acres made a town site of 160 acres, in square form, and D. A. Millington, who was then the only surveyor and engineer settled in the county, surveyed this town site off into blocks and lots, streets and alleys. Though the three above named persons had then control of most of the stock of the town company, yet there were several other stockholders in the company, so that the addition to the town site being wholly controlled by the three men, made it a different ownership, and created the need of the new corporation, the Town Association.
The plan that had been adopted to secure the erection of buildings in Winfield, was to contract to give a deed of the lot built upon free, and the adjoining lot at value, when the said Manning and Fuller should be able to enter their claims at the United States land office. It was intended and expected, that when the land office should be opened, Manning and Fuller should each enter his entire claim, and then deed the forty acres of town site to the town company, and the 120 acres to the town association, and these corporations should then deed the improved lots to the owners of the improvements, and sell them the adjoining lots at value. Such entries and dispositions had been made in the cases of the town sites of Augusta and Wichita, and it was considered the true way in such cases.
During the spring, new buildings continued to be built on the town site, stores and shops were filled, and dwellings occupied. It took a long time, or until July 10, for the notes, plats, and records of the survey to be made out and recorded in the offices at Washington and Lawrence, and get ready to open the land office at Augusta. During this time, the occupants of the town site began to get restless, and demand that the companies should give them more lots free. Some urged that the companies had no more right to the town site than anyone else, and that all the unimproved lots legally belonged to the owners of the improved lots, to be divided pro rata. These disaffected parties became so numerous as to embrace a great propor-tion of the seventy-two owners of buildings on the town site. They procured the services of a great land lawyer of Columbus, named Sanford, made an assessment, and collected money to carry out their measures, held meetings, in which excited speeches were made against the two corporations, and were prepared, at a moment’s notice, when the land office was open, to rush in and enter the town site, through the Probate Judge, who should distribute the lots to the inhabitants, according to their theory. Thus commenced the famous Winfield town site controversy.
On Sunday evening, July 9, the town association got private information that the plats would arrive at Augusta that evening. They, with T. B. Ross, Probate Judge, were in Augusta at sunrise on the next morning, the 10th, and the Winfield town site was the first land entry in this county. Having made their other entries, they returned. During he next night, the citizens, having heard of the arrival of the plats, went up, in considerable force, to enter the town site, but they did not do it.
After the entry, Judge Ross appointed W. W. Andrews, H. C. Loomis, and L. M. Kennedy Commissioners, under the law, to set off to the occupants of the Winfield town site, the lots to which they were entitled, according to their respective interests. The time of meeting was advertised, and all parties met September 20. The town companies presented to the Commissioners a list of the lots, showing what lots were improved, and who were entitled to them, and showing that the vacant lots were the property of the two companies respectively. The citizens spoke only through their lawyer, and demanded that the vacant lots should be divided up among the occupants, in proportion to the value of their buildings. After a full hearing, the Commissioners decided according to the schedule of the companies, and Judge Ross immediately executed deeds accordingly. This decision was accepted by a large part of the citizens, who, to prevent further trouble, executed quit-claim deeds of all the vacant lots to the two companies. But Sanford was irrepressible, and a suit was commenced in the District Court, by Enoch Maris, A. A. Jackson, et al., to set aside the deeds from the Probate Judge to the companies as void. The case was thrown out of court on demurrer by Judge Webb, commenced again, tried on demurrer before Judge Campbell, who over-ruled the demurrer, and promptly rendered judgment for the plaintiffs. The case was carried to the Supreme Court on error and reversed in the spring of 1873. Another case was commenced by ten of those who had quit-claimed, ran the course of the courts, and failed in the end.
It seems to have been an understood matter that the point where Winfield stands would some day be occupied by a town. In June, 1869, when C. M. Wood had his stockade on the west bank of the river opposite the town site, he thought of the location of a town, and later, promised Mrs. Wood that it should be named by her. After some deliberation the name of Legonda was selected and the settlement was thus known for some time. W. W. Andrews, who took a claim in 1869, and went back to Leavenworth for his family, used as a strong argument in inducing Mrs. Andrews to come to the frontier the privilege of naming the town in honor of Winfield Scott, a Baptist minister of Leavenworth. Mrs. Andrews’ code at that time was that the town should be so named, $500 raised for the support of a church, and Rev. Mr. Scott should come and be its pastor. On her arrival at the settlement and learning that it already bore the name of Legonda, Mrs. Andrews expressed bitter disappointment and a desire to return, and was with difficulty made to see that no name could be finally adopted until voted upon by the settlers. An election was called and a formal ballot taken, and a dance followed. Formal ballot boxes were not in vogue, and a chest, to which was affixed the lock of Mrs. Andrews’ washstand drawer, was used. There is no evidence that there were two keys to that lock, but Mrs. Andrews remarks with a twinkle in her eye, that while they were dancing Legonda lost the day. A count of the ballots resulted in favor of Winfield, which has ever since been the accepted appellation.
[Everywhere else, the first name used, is that of “Lagonda.”]
A post office was established at Winfield in May, 1870, with E. C. Manning as Postmaster. The office was in an old log store which stood where the opera house is now located. This building was removed in 1878 to the rear of the Telegram building, and served a year later as the starting point of the fire which swept the corner of the block. The post office moved from the log store to T. K. Johnson’s, then back to the first position, whence it was moved again, occupying several places on Ninth avenue and finally reaching its present quarter. Manning held his position but a short time, being followed the same year by A. W. Tousey. T. K. Johnson took the office in 1871, James Kelley in 1875, and D. A. Millington in 1879.
Note: I really got off the topic, Bill Conner, in above notes.
NEW DATA RE BILL CONNER FROM TOPEKA COMMONWEALTH.
[The correspondent in the next article was “N,” believed to be Professor Norton.]
A BLACK WEEK ON THE PLAINS.
A Trip to the Osage Indian Camp on the Arkansas.
A Plains Storm.—A Council and Treaty of Amity.—An Osage Funeral.
The Scalp Dance.—Etc., Etc.
The Commonwealth, April 1, 1874.
ARKANSAS CITY, March 26, 1874.
From Our Regular Correspondent.
The recent delay in the confirmation of the Osage agent, and the discussion in regard to the habits of that tribe, call to mind events which came under my observation upon the plains one year ago.
I started, on the morning of the 26th of January, 1873, from the Apache village on the Cimarron for the Osage camps upon the Salt Fork of the Arkansas. There were two teams, with their drivers, and an Osage guide, Montihe. The morning was clear and pleasant, with an inch or two of snow upon the ground. We crossed the “Eagle-Chief,” a deep-banked, miry stream, and camped that night upon the crest of the divide between the two rivers. The night was mild and starry, but before morning a chill east wind began to blow, and the air became hazy. Fearing a storm, we geared up hastily, and started toward the north.
Before nine o’clock the norther had grown to a screaming hurricane, and the now was falling in blinding sheets. The sun was invisible, the prairie trackless, and Montihe dumb. He lay rolled up in his blanket at the bottom of the wagon, and refused to stir or speak. At 3 P. M. the exhausted animals refused to face the tempest any longer. It was truly horrible; intensely cold, snow falling in clouds, the wind blowing like an Arctic hurricane. And we were out upon the salt-plains, with no semblance of shelter, and no chance for a fire. Montihe gave us but cold comfort. He only said, “I am glad you have stopped; we are all going to die now.”
We tied up our exhausted animals to the lee side of the wagons, strapped all our blankets upon them, rolled up in buffalo robes, and struggled for life during the night. The sun came out by ten the next morning. We had wandered many miles out of the way, and did not reach our destination until sunset. We were badly frozen, and about ready to succumb, having been thirty-six hours without food or fire, in the worst storm of the winter.
We found the Big Hill Osage camp crowded with strangers. A large delegation of Pawnees had just arrived from Nebraska. These Pawnees are the most adroit and successful of horse thieves, but for once had been beaten at their own game. A party of Cheyennes, a few months before, had stolen upon their camp on the plains, and had stampeded about fifteen hundred horses. And, so the devil being sick a monk would be, and these Pawnees had started out upon a grand peace-making expedition, and had come to the Osage camp to hold a council, make a treaty of perpetual friendship, and endeavor to learn the whereabouts of their missing animals.
The council was held on the 28th. Being a white man, and able to write formal documents, I was called in, and produced the following.
“KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, That we, the chiefs and counselors of the Great and Little Osages, and of the Pawnee Nation, have assembled in council at the Big Hill camp on the Salt Plains, upon this twenty-eighth day of January, 1874, for the purpose of making a treaty of peace and friendship.
“We hereby acknowledge that we have, in times past, been guilty of many acts of hostility and violence toward each other; and we heartily repent of having committed such acts, and mutually forgive all past injuries and offences.
“We furthermore agree to abstain from molesting each other by acts of murder, theft, or any sort of unfriendliness or violence; and we pledge ourselves to meet each other with kindness and good will at all times, and to live together as loving brethren henceforth forever.
“In testimony whereof we have hereunto appended our signatures at the time and place above mentioned; and we request that copies of this treaty be sent to our respective agents, for permanent preservation in the archives of the Osage and Pawnee Nations.”
To this document the euphonious names of the various dignitaries were duly appended, each touching the pen as his own peculiar polysyllable atrocity was registered. Two clean copies of the treaty were made out for the agents. “Send a copy to Uncle Enoch Hoag,” remarked Bill Conner, the half-breed; “Peace is more’n half a Indian’s living.”
There was a great feast, and then the Pawnees started south toward the Cheyenne camps. Before leaving they told the Osages that one of their number was left up toward the Kansas line; that he was hunting, had strayed from the rest, was probably encamped, and would come in on their trail as soon as the cold abated. They asked that he might be kindly treated, which the Osages promised.
Upon the next day Leotasa died. She was the daughter of the well-known Little Bear, and wife of Conner aforesaid. She was murdered by the aboriginal representatives of Betsy Prig and Mrs. Gamp. Suffering from pneumonia, and in the pangs of child birth, she was carried out upon the ice with the Mercury near zero, and there her baby was born. In less than six hours, both were dead. She was educated at the Mission; spoke English fluently, and was the only lady in the Osage Nation.
The widower was immediately beset by the “young bucks.” Why not send out the war-party at once, and kill that Pawnee?
You must know, gentle reader, that every Osages funeral, properly conducted, included as an integral part a war party, fitted out at the expense of the survivor. The dead cannot rest well unless a fresh scalp is hanging over his grave. This custom is, as far as I know, peculiar to the tribe. Nine tenths of the murders committed upon the whites and upon other tribes may be traced to this source. The party is usually sent out after thirty days of mourning, but in this case the proximity of a lonely Pawnee was enough to overcome usage. Soon after a party of seventy men, fully armed and painted black, rode toward the north. They were not pleasant to look at. The sad, gentle, almost beautiful little woman in whose honor the horrid rite was enacted, was buried in a shallow grave by the Salt Fork.
Upon the following day loud yells and rapid volleys in the distance announced the approach of the victorious (!) Party. They came wildly galloping into camp, brandishing upon a lance the Pawnee scalp, and with the voices and faces of devils incarnate.
Preparations were speedily made for the last act of the war dance. A great oval ring was cleaned of rubbish; two burning log-heaps occupied the face of the ellipse; in the center sat the orchestra, a group of old men beating improvised drums and shaking calabashes of small pebbles. In the midst a pole was planted, decorated with skunk-skins and Pawnee scalps. The oval track was occupied by men and women ranged alternately, adorned with their utmost efforts in the way of paint and finery.
[Article has “Chetopa.” Generally “Chetopah” was used in newspapers.]
The scalp-dance that followed was perhaps the most imposing ever witnessed upon the plains. It was a mad, demoniac orgy, which I have no power to describe. Let the imagination of the reader fill up the picture. The dance was repeated at intervals for many days. A month later, I was in Chetopa’s camp of Little Osages. Che-she-wa-ta-in-ka, the finest flower of Big Hill dandyhood, came into camp with the same Pawnee scalp, which seemed as inexhaustible as the widow’s cruse. The orgy was repeated on a smaller scale. Chetopa is sometimes considered the finest specimen of Osage civilization. He is too old and fat to dance, but he was head drummer in the orchestra that day.
After the dance was over, “Alvin,” or “Eawaska,” Chetopa’s interpreter, asked me what I thought about it.
“It is very bad,” I said.
“I think jes’ so, we’re ‘shame,’ said Eawaska.
I was delighted at this expression of penitence, and began to hope that the good seed sown at Osage Mission by Father Shoemaker [Schoenmakers] was germinating. But Eawaska continued.
“My frin’, we think it mean to dance around scalp the Big Hills git. We’re going to git scalp ourselfs. Soon’s grass starts, we’ll send out war-party, and if we find them Pawnees, we’ll kill it.”
I was disgusted.
The Little Osages were as good as their word. The war party went out, and killed Isadawa, the civilized Wichita, about which I will tell in my next.
My object in writing the above is to illustrate the beauties of the Indian treaty system, and the need of a better policy of the Indian territory. The principal mystery is, that such old offenders as the Pawnees were so easily taken in.
And I wish to illustrate the fact that the Osages need a strong government, stronger than they have had for the last four years. N.
[Note: It is believed that Professor Norton wrote the following article.]
ON THE PLAINS.
The Funeral War Parties of the Osage Indians.
The Commonwealth, Wednesday Morning, April 15, 1874.
From a Regular Correspondent.
ARKANSAS CITY, KAN., April 8, 1874.
During the month of April, 1873, I spent some time at Chetopa’s camp on the Shawkaska river. While there I observed a man in mourning on the outside of the camp. He had long, matted hair, and was fearfully dirty, shabby, and emaciated. He had lost his wife in the fall, and had spent the winter in fasting and mourning, prolonging it much beyond the usual time, which is thirty days. During this period of mourning, no food is taken during the day till sunset, and then barely enough to sustain life; there is no washing, combing, or painting, and the face is smeared with clay and soot. The mourner described above was the son-in-law of White Swan, Chetopa’s chief counselor.
After the dance around the Pawnee scalp described in my last, the mourner announced to his people that he had been in grief long enough. He now wished to send out the war party.
The organization of this was placed in the hands of two men: Wasashe-Watainka, of the Big Hills, and Ah-humkemi, or the Sentinel, of the Little Osages. About forty men enlisted, and the party started toward the southwest.
They traveled nearly ten days before they found any individual or group convenient to kill. The went down to the north fork of the Canadian, crossed the Chisholm trail, struck northwesterly across the Cimarron at the Red Hills, and finally camped in a little ravine near the “Eagle Chief” creek.
Upon the following morning, a scout announced that some person, a strange Indian, was coming toward the camp. The party instantly mounted, and drew up in line in front of the stranger, hidden from his view by a little rise of ground. He rode quietly along, unsuspicious of danger, till fairly within their power. His little boy was riding a quarter of a mile behind him.
At the proper moment the Osage chiefs gave the signal, and the whole party then charged at full speed, yelling and firing. The stranger halted and faced them passively, seeing that he could not escape. When the assailants reached him, the blood was pouring from several wounds, but he still sat straight up on his horse, and gave his name, ISADAWA. He was instantly pulled to the ground, beheaded, and scalped. The boy escaped, though fiercely pursued. Isadawa was one of the most intellectual and well disposed of all the Indians in the territory. He was head chief of the Wichitas, and had done much in behalf of the civilization of his people. There was no cause for war between the two tribes.
The Osages were pursued, but reached their reserve after a terrible journey, in which several horses were ridden to death. A prodigious scalp-dance followed.
Salt Creek is a small stream flowing into the Arkansas on its east side. Here are the permanent camps of the Little Osage, Big Hill, and White Hair bands.
Shortly after the scalp-dance, scouts came in with a false alarm—that a large party of Wichitas and Cheyennes had been seen approaching. The result was a wild alarm and a midnight stampede across the reserve and into the Cherokee nation.
When the murder was announced at the Osage agency, a special agent, R. Wetherell, was at once dispatched to the Wichita agency, and speedily returned with a party of forty-five Wichitas. There were United States troops at the Osage agency to preserve order. The Wichitas came in just before the payment, and at once demanded that the murderers be delivered up. This the Osages refused, offering a thousand dollars instead.
But the Wichitas wouldn’t accept the money. They wanted the murderers, and nothing less. “You are fools,” said Ah-humkemi, “We would sell any chief we have for less money than that!” But the Wichitas were obstinate.
The Osages declare, that if once in the hands of the Wichitas, they would have been tortured to death out on the plains.
Finally some hundreds of the Osages armed and gathered around the council. The Wichitas, frightened, compromised, accepted fifteen hundred dollars, and went home unmolested.
“Cheap enough,” said Ah-humkemi, “that’s only two dollars per lodge of us; we’ll give that for a scalp dance any time!”
So the Little Osages and Big Hills were covered with glory. Two war parties had been sent out, and each party had succeeded in murdering a solitary and unsuspecting wayfarer. The heart of the Black Dog Osage was moved with envy.
In June the band of Osages last mentioned sent out a war party. They found three white men in camp, on the new Abilene trail, just west of Sewell’s ranch on Salt For, One of the Indians was sent out to reconnoiter. He approached the camp and shot Chambers, the well-known cattle dealer. The two companions of Chambers returned the fire and killed the Osage. The other Osages then came to the rescue, and the white men fled. Chambers was instantly scalped, beheaded, and otherwise mutilated.
The Osage authorities smoothed over the matter by saying that the murderer had been killed and no one else was to blame. The fact is, that the men who formed the war party, and who scalped and beheaded Chambers, were all murderers. And it would seem that every man of the Osage nation has been, or is expecting soon to be, engaged in some similar tragedy.
Chambers was murdered about the middle of June, 1873, and that month the Black Dogs danced around his scalp.
The agents of the other tribes complain bitterly about this habit of sending out funeral war parties. They say that it is peculiar to the Osages, and that thereby a constant state of warfare is kept up. These people are better armed than any other tribe, and the war spirit seems to be growing among them.
Ah-humkemi speaks good English, and is the best interpreter in the Osage nation. Soon after the murder of Isadawa, he came to my house, very sick. His Osage neighbors had assisted him to ride some fifty miles. He was quite broken down by his ride for life from the Cimarron to the Osage agency.
“Professor,” said he, “I’m a-going to pass in my checks. I’ve brought my horses along for I think you can spend ’em better’n these d d Indians; and I wish you’d take care of me.”
I took care of him, and he did not “pass in his checks.” He went home with his horses in about two weeks, greatly improved in health.
The grass is beginning to start on the plains. It will soon be time to hear of more “funeral war parties” of Osages. N.
[Note: In Volume II, The Indians, from the newspaper accounts given, particularly the Winfield Courier, it appeared that Bill Conner was a full blood Osage. Thanks to Professor Norton, it is now clear that he was a half-breed. Norton used the Indian name of “Ah-humkemi” for Bill Conner. C. M. Scott called him “Ah-hun-ke-mi,” and considered him a close friend during the later events covered by Scott. MAW]
Now we come to the “oral history” given by Cliff Wood in Winfield Courier. Thus far I have only two portions of the story...
Of the Early History of Cowley County and Winfield.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, January 14, 1886.
Thinking it would be an appropriate time in the beginning of the year to review the past, and get the personal experiences of our early settlers, we started out on an interviewing bout and first called on Cliff M. Wood, who answered our questions as follows.
“During the winter of 1868-1869 while counter jumping in the store of H. L. Hunt & Co., at Cottonwood Falls, Chase County, Kansas, I accidentally overheard a conversation between James Renfro and Frank Hunt concerning a beautiful country way down the walnut river in a wild Indian country near the Indian Territory, known on the map as Cowley County. My curiosity was somewhat excited and I at once determined to investigate and explore for myself. I went directly to a friend of mine, U. B. Warren, then a prosperous hardware merchant, doing business in the same town, and told him what I had heard. We both at once resolved to make the trip, and about the first day of April, joined team to a spring wagon and started up the south fork of the Cottonwood river, thence down the Walnut to El Dorado, then a small village, and the county seat of Butler County, where we stopped for the night. The next day we came on down the river as far as Muddy creek, at the north end of Cowley County, where we stayed all night with a cattle man by the name of Turner, the first habitation we came to in the county. Next morning we pulled out to explore the then forbidden ground we found below Turner’s ranch. First came Eli Sayles’, about two miles; next came John Jones’ cattle ranch near the mouth of Rock creek; below him John Watson; after him we found no habitation or sign of civilization except signs of claim taking, until we reached James Renfro’s claim, known now as the Gilleland or Taylor farm, where he had a neat little hewed log house erected with a good roof without doors, windows, or chinking. We stopped for information and something to eat. After dinner Mr. Renfro, Warren, and myself mounted our horses to explore the situation and condition of things at the mouth of Dutch creek (now Timber creek). About three-quarters of a mile below Renfro’s, we came to Judge T. B. Ross’ cabin, where his son John and mother now live. Mr. Ross had only a square pen of logs without a roof, doors, or windows. We then came on to Dutch creek and crossed at the ford just above where the bridge now stands. Upon reaching the top of the bank and coming out on the little prairie, I remarked, full of enthusiasm, “Gentlemen, there is my peach orchard and yonder on that elevated piece of ground is or will be the county seat of the county.” The other men agreed with me after examining the mill site where Bliss & Wood’s mill now stands. I proceeded to take a claim by blazing an oak tree yet standing on the ravine northwest of the depot, writing with lead pencil, “this claim taken by C. M. Wood.” We then went back to Mr. Renfro’s, from where we started back to Cottonwood Falls fully satisfied that we had found what we were looking for. Upon our return to Cottonwood, we told the people of this beautiful country, which to them seemed incredulous. I at once arranged my affairs and came down with goods for trade, such as flour, coffee, sugar, and in fact, quite a stock of general merchandise, with some building material, and commenced at once the erection of a house on the high ground about 25 rods southeast of where Bliss & Wood’s mill now stands. This building was 18 x 26 feet, 10 feet high, made by cutting logs of uniform size about 14 inches in diameter, splitting them in two, hewing the flat sides, and taking off the bark, as it would peel off smooth, then these slabs were set upright in the ground two feet deep, batted on the inside with shaved “stakes,” and made quite an imposing house with open front. When the house was not yet finished and when I was at work on it, a stranger came to me and introduced himself to me as E. C. Manning, from Manhattan, Kansas, who said he was looking up the country, and wanted to know if I wanted any help. “What kind of help?” (Noticing that he was not a laboring man.) He said, “With your town site.” I told him I did, and after some talk he went away very much undecided as to the venture; was doubtful about the land coming into market.
I disposed of the most of my goods to the Osage Indians, who were on the way to their annual spring hunt and were water bound, the streams all being full of water from the numerous heavy storms that spring. The Indians were in camp on the ground where now stands the cemetery, northeast of town; some 2,000 strong, where they remained for some days, giving no great amount of trouble to the few squatters, but with a threatening, gloomy look, would point with finger to the north and say: “You, pucachee.”
[We propose to give more of Mr. Wood’s remarks and follow them by the results of interviews with other early settlers.]
[Note: See the Centennial Edition of Winfield Courier, January 6, 1876. According to that account C. M. Wood first came in June 1869. After he moved his goods to Renfro’s for safety, the Indians burned the house down. Wood returned in November 1869 with his family, and settled on his claim. What is important to realize is that the above oral account by C. M. Wood to a reporter refers to the area as “Cowley County,” which is incorrect, as the county did not exist at that time: all this land was owned by the Osage Indians in 1869. Wood refers to “Eli Sayles.” The 1876 Centennial issue called him “Mr. Sales.” I have no idea which is correct—Sayles or Sales. MAW]
[Note: The “C. M. Wood” story must be viewed in the light that he was recalling events from memory. I find it hard to believe that there were railroad surveyors in this area at the time he states they were. However, they might have been able to sneak by the Osage Indians and do a railroad survey. The Emporia group had a map indicating “Delphi” on it: hence their interest in calling the town by that name once they got to that location in Cowley County. I goofed with index in Volume II, The Indians, in listing Wm. or Bill Conner as an Osage Indian chief. It was the Winfield Courier that designated him as a chief. MAW]
PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY DAY SETTLERS.
C. M. Wood’s Story Continued.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, January 21, 1886.
Yes, it was about sixteen and a half years ago that I was trading with the Osage Indians in the house spoken of, from the 16th to 22nd of June, 1869. The first two days they seemed quite civil, but asked many questions. They wanted to know what we were going to do here; (there being with me at that time a Mr. Patterson and son, a lad of 12 or 14 years, William Stansbury, and two other young men, claim hunters—I do not recollect their names.)
Will or Bill Conner, a half breed French and Indian, and interpreter for the Indians came to me and said, “The Indians have held a council in camp and have decided to make you leave and will soon send you such orders.” I sent word to their chiefs, amongst which were White Hair, head chief; Hard Rope, war chief; Strike Ax, 2nd war chief; and Chetopa, chief counselor of the whole nation—that I wished to talk to them. They sent word back by Conner that they would come the next day and they would see me at two o’clock p.m. So I arranged my house for their reception by piling my goods in one corner and covering them up with a wagon sheet. The appointed time came and so did the Indians, with all the usual pomp and display of an Indian council. The four chiefs, with interpreter and about twelve or fifteen other braves and head men, arranged themselves in a circle in my house, placing me in the ring directly opposite White Hair, who spoke first, asking me what I wanted with them? A perfect silence ensued for some moments—then sitting down, I told them that on the eastern end of their lands were many white men and that there was quite a number above me on the river; that many more were coming, and that there were below me twenty-five or thirty men surveying a railroad which would, no doubt, be built in a short time; that the Great Father was going to buy this land for his children and that I desired to be friendly with them and keep such goods in store as they would need, etc.
White Hair rose to his feet with much solemnity—he was a very old man with white hair, full face and form, in fact, a perfect type of the best class of Indians. He said that he was friendly to the pale faces and had been for many years; that this land belonged to the Osages; that he was very much surprised to see such a man trying to take their land from them, and with much flattery asked me to go away. He said if I stayed their country would all be taken from them; that they had not yet sold it; that it would be time enough for me after they had sold. He was followed by the other chief, who spoke in much the same way until it came Chetopa’s turn. He being a spare, sharp featured, consumptive looking man, with a very penetrating, determined look, informed me that at 4 o’clock the next day, I must go or my house would be burned over my head, and asked me if I would go. I bluntly refused to go. They filed out of my house and went back to their wigwams followed by about 400 of their braves.
Bill Conner came to me next morning and told me that the Indians had a private council and in that they disagreed. Chetopa and the Little Osages wanted me to stay, but the Big Hills said I must go. Upon this I sent him back with some presents, such as tobacco, etc., telling him to report conditions soon to me; so about 3 o’clock came a message from Conner with written instructions from Chetopa, to leave, go up the river, and when they were gone to come back. This letter was signed “your friend, Chetopa.” So we put what remaining goods we had into a wagon, locked the house, drove down to the ford on Timber Creek and found the water too high to cross. I got on my horse, went up to the Indian camp and found White Hair. He would not listen, but sent me to Hard Rope, who listened to me but seemed very determined. I asked him to keep his people away from my camp until I could cross the creek. He said I should be protected; to go back and remain until I could cross the water with safety. I went back and in a few minutes an Indian came to me, who could talk English, and said he was one of Hard Rope’s warriors, that he had been sent to stay with me and protect me. While I was arranging for his comfort, as it was now about dusk, I heard a hoop and yell, and looking up I saw eight or ten Indians coming mounted, and on full run, evidently meaning mischief. My protector went out, met them, talked to them a few minutes, when they leisurely turned their ponies and went back. We had no more disturbance that night and the water having run down to some extent, I concluded to venture in the next morning. But when the team got nearly through, they mired down, and could not pull the wagon out. By the time the team was gotten out, there were some ten or twelve Indians, who stripped off what few clothes they had on, and with the white men and myself commenced carrying the goods to the top of the bank. When the wagon was unloaded, we all took hold and pulled it to the top of the bank, reloaded, gave the Indians a plug of tobacco apiece, then moved on up to my friend Renfro’s ranch, where we stayed all day and that night. The next morning the Indians were all on the move by daylight. Chetopa, with some of his warriors, came by Renfro’s, where I had a long talk with Chetopa, through Bill Conner. He told me that I should go back, get much goods, and be ready to trade with them when they returned from the hunt; said he was council chief and would protect me. I told him that his people had said that they would burn my house, but he said no, that they would not do it if I would promise to bring some goods, so I gave him some tobacco and medicine, he being sick.
(To Be Continued.)
October 22, 2004: I quit items about Conner as noted above. The rest of the C. M. Wood file is found in “Wood files.” Do not believe Conner was mentioned in them.