From E. C. Manning’s autobiography the following facts emerge.
Early in June 1869 there were only six or eight “squatters” located in the valley and only two of them had families, namely T. B. Ross and James Renfro. Ross and Renfro were about three miles above Winfield.
The special census of Cowley County was held on February 10, 1870, and listed James, Jessie, John, Penn, Phoebe, and William Renfro.
Winfield 1874: Renfro, John Sr., 64; mother?, Cynthia, 85.
Winfield 1874: Renfro, Jas. Jr., 44; spouse, Ruhana, 38.
Winfield 1874: Renfro, Furman M., 23. No spouse listed.
Winfield 1874: James, 48; spouse, Phebe A., age not given.
Winfield 1874: John W., 25. No spouse listed.
Winfield 1874: Wm. Renfro, 50. No spouse listed.
Kansas 1875 Census, Winfield Township, Cowley County, March 1, 1875.
Name age sex color Place/birth Where from
Jas. Renfro 50 m w Tennessee Missouri
Pheobe A. Renfro 44 f w New Jersey Missouri
John W. Renfro 25 m w Illinois Missouri
Ferman M. Renfro 23 m w Illinois Missouri
Pleasant E. Renfro 3 f w Kansas
Wm. Renfro 52 m w Tennessee Missouri
Rock Township 1882: Jno. S. Renfro, 33. No spouse listed.
FROM THE NEWSPAPERS.
Cowley County Censor, Saturday, March 18, 1871.
THE WINFIELD INSTITUTE. Discussion of the Herd Law.
According to appointment the Winfield Institute met at the schoolhouse last Wednesday night for the purpose of hearing the merits and demerits, advantages and disadvantages of the proposed Herd Law discussed. By a vote of the previous meeting this subject had been selected for the evening and Messrs. J. B. Fairbank and E. C. Manning had been chosen leading disputants. Mr. Manning having given Mr. Fairbank the choice of sides in the discussion, the latter gentleman chose the affirmative of the question, and when the time appointed arrived, Mr. Fairbank opened the debate and made a close, good argument in favor of the adoption of the law. The house was crowded and the fullest attention was paid to the remarks of the speaker. Several citizens had come in from the country to hear the debate. Mr. Manning then followed, first prefacing his remarks with the announcement that whatever might be his private opinion on the subject, the negative had fallen to his lot and he should without previous thought or experience in the matter attempt to sustain his side of the question. His arguments demonstrated that herd law was in conflict with the welfare of the county, and especially with the interests of the settlers of small means and owning but few cattle and cultivating but small fields. Rev. Johnson made a few remarks. He said that he was pleased to have been present at the meeting. That he came there in favor of the herd law. That after hearing what had been said, his conclusion was that a herd law was not desirable; that it seemed like an impracticable delusion.
Messrs. James Renfro, W. W. Andrews, and others spoke against the herd law. Mr. Tousey balanced on the fence awhile: could not make up his mind in the case.
Mr. Fairbank then closed the debate with some excellent arguments in favor of the law, provided his premises were correct; they being erroneous, his arguments did not have the desired effect. The following question was then put to the meeting: “Resolved, That it is desirable to adopt the herd law in Cowley County,” which resolve did not obtain a single vote in its favor; but when the negative vote was taken, nearly the entire audience rose to their feet and voted against the resolution.
NOTE: HERD LAW WAS SOON GIVEN IN ANOTHER PART OF PAPER.
COUNTIES INVOLVED: MARSHAL, REPUBLIC, DICKINSON, BUTLER,
COWLEY, SEDGWICK, NEOSHO, WILSON, ALLEN, MITCHELL, AND
ROCK CREEK TOWNSHIP IN COFFEY COUNTY; AND SO MUCH OF
MARION COUNTY AS IS NOT INCLUDED IN DOYLE TOWNSHIP.
THE IDEA BEHIND HERD LAW IN THE COUNTIES NAMED WAS TO KEEP CATTLE, HORSES, MULES, SHEEP, OR STOCK OF ANY KIND FROM RUNNING AT LARGE. IT CALLED FOR FENCES FOR FIVE YEARS FROM THE APPROVAL OF THE ACT.
[THE FAIR—LIST OF PREMIUMS AWARDED.]
Winfield Messenger, October 4, 1872.
Lot Four—Mares and Fillies—Eleven Entries.
Premiums to W. J. Snodgrass, James Stewart, James Renfro, Daniel Miles, J. A. Kinney, George Knott, E. P. Hickok, W. McClellan.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, August 7, 1873.
W. Rogers vs. J. Renfro, continued.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, September 4, 1873.
MORE ITEMS RE FARMERS’ MASS MEETING & TELEGRAM EDITOR....
ONLY GOING TO GIVE RECAP ON ONE ARTICLE.
On Saturday morning we went to Winfield expecting to meet our brother farmers and spend the day socially with them, comparing notes of crops, profits, losses, experiments, etc. We hoped to take by the hand our friend, Renfro, and inquire after his horses and colts; to ask Mr. Cochran as to his corn crops in the valley and on the uplands; to congratulate Mr. Stewart and Capt. Lowery on their fine improvements and with them much happiness in their new residences; to obtain from Mr. Clingman some valuable information in regard to growing hedge; to inquire of Mr. Andrews of his brick making enterprise, and learn whether brick can be furnished so as to take the place of wood as a building material thus saving money in the county rather than sending it to the lumber men of Wisconsin and Michigan; to ask Mr. Davis and Mr. Holcomb of their fine Swine; to obtain some valuable information from Mr. Foos in regard to the management of the dairy, etc.
We reached the place of meeting through clouds of dust, and found about three hundred people present, but not our friends: Cochran, Renfro, Stewart, Lowery, Clingman, Andrews, Foos, Holcomb, etc. A few farmers were present, but they wore either a dissatisfied look, as though they had been sold, or a hungry look as though they would give their farms for a county office.
The farmers were called to order by J. F. Paul, CIVIL ENGINEER and OFFICE-HOLDER, who was then chosen president of the day, by previous arrangement, as would seem from the set speech he delivered upon assuming the chair. Mr. Allison, EDITOR, was chosen Secretary at the meeting. . . .
The next thing on the programme was the reading by the ENGINEER from the distinguished HOTEL KEEPER, I. S. Kalloch, explaining why neither himself nor his friend, Sidney Clarke, the LIGHTNING ROD PEDDLER, could be present. . . .
We have learned from our neighbors that after dinner the train ran off the track. The public generally blame the engineer and fireman for this catastrophe. They endeavor to lay the blame upon the switchman and brakeman from Arkansas City, who certainly, if report be true, used the switch most mercilessly, and neglected to apply the brake in time to save the concern from total wreck.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, September 25, 1873.
We give this week a cursory report of the 3rd annual fair of the Cowley County Agricultural Society, held last week. Notwithstanding the dust which at times was almost stifling, the fair was quite successful and the managers are entitled to much credit for the energy and good judgment they used. We are informed by the secretary that there were over 400 entries, and more than 1,000 different articles on exhibition. We report some of the premiums as furnished us. The race horse and fast trotter had to take a back place this year, while the horse for service came to the front. The “pure agricultural horse trot” gave way to the tests of strength, and excellence was not measured by the short time required to run 300 yards. We were glad to notice some very good young stock in this department. The premiums were awarded as follows.
Thoroughbred stallion, H. C. Fisher.
Stallions for general purposes, over 4 years old, H. C. Fisher; over 3 years old, R. Richards, under 3 years old, James Renfro.
Brood mares with colts by their side—1st pr. J. Stewart; 2d pr. J. Renfro.
Mares and fillies 2 years old: 1st pr. D. Miles; 2d A. P. Forbes.
Spring colts: 1st pr. J. Stewart, 2d, John Renfro.
[THE DISTRICT COURT: OCTOBER TERM.]
Winfield Courier, Thursday, October 16, 1873.
CIVIL DOCKET. SECOND DAY.
Wm. Rogers vs. James Renfro.
[THE SOLDIERS’ REUNION.]
Winfield Courier, Thursday, October 23, 1873.
Meeting of the Veterans. At half past 2 o’clock the soldiers, to the number of about 150, fell into line at the tap of the drum, and preceded by the Winfield Martial band, marched to the Methodist Church, which had been kindly tendered for their use. The meeting was called to order by T. A. Blanchard. L. J. Webb was chosen Chairman, and James Kelly, Secretary.
The chairman stated the object of the meeting to be to organize a permanent Soldiers’ Union.
ILLINOIS. James Renfro, Co. K, 98th Ill. Inf.
[DISTRICT COURT PROCEEDINGS.]
Winfield Courier, Thursday, October 30, 1873.
Proceedings of the Cowley County District Court, to Oct. 29th, 1873. The Following Causes having Been Disposed of.
W. Rogers vs. J. Renfro, settled and continued.
Winfield Courier, April 10, 1874.
Winfield Township Officers. Road Overseers: 1st district, James Renfro; 2nd district, Hiram Silver; 3rd district, Charles Seward; 4th district, C. Cook; 5th district, J. C. Roberts.
CENTENNIAL ISSUE. HISTORY OF COWLEY COUNTY.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, January 6, 1876.
In August, 1868, N. J. Thompson, the first white settler, ventured within its limits. He built a house on the east bank of the Walnut River, about one mile below the line. The fame of its many beautiful streams, groves of heavy timber, rich valleys, and inviting prairies was attracting attention in the State. In the spring of 1869 several young men took claims along the Walnut River and built claim cabins. Judge T. B. Ross and James Renfro came into the county in January of 1869 and commenced work upon claim houses into which they moved with their families in the March following. They reside upon the same claims about two and a half miles above Winfield on the east bank of the Walnut. These with Wm. Quimby and family, and Mr. Sales and family, who settled on the Walnut just below Thompson’s place in December, 1868, were the first settlers with families of whom any evidence can be found. At this time there was no house on Grouse Creek, nor upon the Arkansas River below Wichita.
Sometime in the month of June, 1869, C. M. Wood brought some flour, bacon, and groceries down to sell to Indians and settlers. He left his goods at the house of James Renfro’s and erected on the rise of ground a few rods east of where Bliss & Co.’s grist mill now stands, a small building by setting puncheons in the ground and covering them. He moved his goods into it in July following. The Osage Indians attempted to take some of his goods away from him shortly after and he drove them away, but concluded to return his goods to Renfro’s for safety. Soon after the goods were moved, the Indians burned the house down.
Oct. 8th, a call for a “People’s Convention” was issued, signed by W. Q. Mansfield, T. H. Johnson, T. A. Blanchard, James Renfro, James Land, D. A. Millington, Wm. Craig, F. A. Hunt, A. Menor, J. Mentch, T. B. Ross, and H. Wolf.
Winfield Courier, July 13, 1876.
THROUGH the solicitation of friends we publish on our first page this week our Centennial History of the county. For the facts concerning Cowley’s early history, we are indebted to the “old settlers,” among whom we might mention Col. Manning, C. M. Wood, Jas. Renfro, Judge Ross, Dr. Graham, and others, of this neighborhood; Judge McIntire, H. C. Endicott, and T. A. Wilkinson, of Arkansas City; Capt. Jas. McDermott, of Dexter; S. S. Moore, of Tisdale; and J. W. Tull, through R. C. Story, Esq., of Lazette. For the courtesy of county, township, and city officers in placing at our disposal, books, records, etc., we are particularly grateful.
THE WINFIELD COURIER. CENTENNIAL ISSUE.
WINFIELD COURIER, THURSDAY, JANUARY 6, 1876.
This county was born in the usual way, of “poor but honest parents,” viz: the Kansas Senate and House of Representatives in old Constitution Hall at Topeka, on the 3rd day of March, 1867. Governor J. S. Crawford stood sponsor and named it Cowley, in honor of Lieut. Mathew Cowley, a soldier of the 9th Kansas Regiment. At that time and up to July 12, 1870, the land embraced within its borders belonged to the primitive red men, the Osage and Cherokee Indians. The Osages used it as a neutral strip from which they made many raids into the country south of us, stealing from the Texans and Indians their horses and cattle. These they sold to white border ruffians, who met them here and drove the stock further north into the older portions of the state. From this class of whites the early settlers first gained their knowledge of Cowley’s beautiful prairies, rich bottoms, and swift running streams.
Attracted by these reports a party of persons, consisting of James Renfro and sons, Judge T. B. Ross and sons, Shep Sayers, and Frank Hunt, crossing the sombre, stony hills of old Butler, followed down the Walnut River on the 1st day of January, 1869, and “took claims” in the bottom just above the mouth of Timber Creek. In August, 1868, N. J. Thompson built a log house near the Butler County line. This was the first house in the county. Wm. Quimby and family, and a Mr. Sales settled on the Walnut below Thompson’s place about the same time. They were the first actual settlers in Cowley County.
Sometime in the month of June, 1869, C. M. Wood brought some groceries down from Chase County to sell to the Indians and settlers. He kept them at the house of Renfro and erected a small shanty, by setting puncheons in the ground, located a few rods east of where Bliss & Co.’s mill now stands. Into this shanty he moved his goods during the month of July. The Osage Indians made several futile attempts to steal them. Fearing an attack when not prepared, Mr. Wood moved his stock back to the house of Mr. Renfro for safety. Afterward, in the month of August, when all the settlers were ordered out of the valley by the Indians, the goods were taken up to the Butler County line. After the goods were removed, the brave Osage warriors burned the house to the ground.
COMMUNICATION FROM “LITTLE DUTCH”—WINFIELD.]
Arkansas City Traveler, September 5, 1877.
The case of Mrs. Renfro against her father-in-law, James Renfro, came out victorious. Juries have a wonderful leaning to young widows. You had better been more generous, James.
Winfield Courier, November 8, 1877.
James Renfro has sold his farm to T. E. Gilleland and moved to Missouri.
Arkansas City Traveler, April 17, 1878.
District Court. Mr. E. S. Bedilion, District Clerk, furnishes us with the following list of cases which will probably be for trial at the next term of the District Court, commencing on Monday, May 6, 1878.
CIVIL DOCKET. Jas. Renfro v. Margaret Renfro, Administrator.
Arkansas City Traveler, May 15, 1878.
Court Proceedings. [From the Cowley County Telegram.]
The following is a report of the disposal of the cases which have come up so far during this term.
James Renfro vs. Margaret J. Renfro, Admx., dismissed without prejudice.
Winfield Courier, May 23, 1878.
Probate Court. Annual report of M. J. Renfro, Adm’x, allowed time to May 13th.
Winfield Courier, May 30, 1878.
REAL ESTATE TRANSFERS.
James Renfro and wife to W. Gillelen, in se. 18-32-4; 13 acres, $125.
Note: The next item by a correspondent of the Topeka Commonwealth has a version about the arrival of James Renfro and others that does not agree with previous accounts.
[TOPEKA COMMONWEALTH CORRESPONDENT: “W. G. H.”]
Winfield Courier, July 10, 1879.
ED. COMMONWEALTH:—The first settlers came into Cowley County in 1869. I cannot ascertain the exact time. Its growth and development has been marvelous.
Winfield is a city of the second class with a population of two thousand five hundred. It is beautifully situated on the east bank of the Walnut river, and extends back to the mounds on the East. It is the largest, liveliest, best town south of Wichita.
Its first settler was C. M. Wood, who located on the town site, April 20th, 1869. Two gentlemen, Jas. Renfro and U. B. Warner, accompanied him at that time. They were joined in a few days by E. C. Manning, at the present time a member of the Legislature from this county. They were burnt out by Indians on the first of June of the same year, and compelled to leave. No one occupied the site from that time until the 10th of October, when Wood returned, bringing his wife with him. They erected a log house which was fired by the Indians again, but they succeeded in saving it and holding the fort. The last of November, Manning and Baker brought on a stock of goods and used Wood’s house for a storeroom until they could erect a store, which they did of logs. The old log store is still in use in the city. From the beginning it has grown to its present dimensions and is still growing. The dry goods business is represented by some of the best firms in the State. They carry very large stocks and sell an immense amount of goods.
[REPORT FROM “PUD” - ON SPRING CREEK MATTERS.]
Winfield Courier, July 15, 1880.
Hurrah for Maple City! Her first celebration was a grand success. About five hundred persons were present, being the largest crowd ever seen here. The oration by Judge Soward was listened to with marked attention. Judge Gans made us a good speech. This township will go for his re-election to the judgeship. P. G. Smith, of Dexter, presided over the exercises. The young folks took great delight in tripping to the sound of the violins. Blenden and Renfro are experts with the bow, hence we had good music.
Frank Woodruff returned home yesterday from Arkansas, where he went for sheep. While riding along talking to a couple of men one day, he looked up to see two revolvers pointing at his head. Money or life was his choice, and he chose life and forked over the money, $47.
John S. Renfro...
Winfield Courier, March 3, 1881.
Mr. John S. Renfro, who has been administering on the estate of Jane Dinwiddie, made us a call Tuesday. He is making annual settlement of the affairs of the estate.
Mr. (?) Renfro of the Winfield Telegram...
Winfield Courier, August 30, 1883.
Mr. Renfro, of the Winfield Telegram, made us a pleasant call last week. Wichita Eagle.
Such is fame. Our Democratic brother visited Wichita last week in all the glory of his Oscar Wilde suit and summer mustache, expecting that his fame as the author of those bright, sparkling, and original witticisms known to the world as the “Telegram Primer,” had preceded him, and returns to be recorded only as plain “Mr. Renfro.” This is hard to bear, but we hope he will cheer up and try to remember that in this busy, selfish wold, genius often goes unrecognized.
Winfield Courier, December 13, 1883.
The Probate Court has issued MARRIAGE LICENSES during the past week.
Isaac Renfro to Mary Fitzsimmons.
Note: Wood’s narrative about James Renfro and family varies a great deal from the story first put forth about Renfro in the Centennial Edition. It really varies from the story told in 1879 by a Topeka Commonwealth correspondent.
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.”
C. M. Wood’s Story Continued.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, January 21, 1886.
This part of Wood’s story covers his leaving his claim at the demand of the Osage Indians...
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.
C. M. Wood’s Story Continued.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, January 28, 1886.
Then Mr. Renfro’s boys, John and Firman, put me across the raging Walnut in a boat. I mounted my horse and went directly back to Cottonwood Falls, where I was several days buying goods and arranging to come back. This was about the 22nd to 25th of June, for on the 26th day of June, I was married to Miss Melinda Jones, from Springfield, Ohio, at the residence of Judge W. R. Brown, at Cottonwood Falls.
Mr. Wood narrates returning to his claim...
Mr. Andrews and I held a council of war and concluded to load up and cross the creek out of the track of the returning Indians, so we proceeded back to James Renfro’s, where we found Chetopa with about twenty-five braves. He had ordered Renfro and all other white men to go north beyond their lands; but when I came up, he at once said I should stay. I told him his men had burned my house, but I had built another, and I wished him to go back with me and protect me from a second fire. He said that he would, whereupon Mr. Patterson volunteered to accompany me on horseback. We marched in front of the Indians, and when about halfway back, discovered an immense cloud of smoke ascending up from the location of my new home. I turned in my saddle and remarked to Chetopa, “They have done it, come on and help put it out.” Then Patterson and myself put our horses under full speed until we reached the fire. Having no vessels for water, we at once stripped off our saddles and took the blankets and let them down into a well I had dug in the side of the bank close by, and then slapped the wet blankets on the logs until we got the fire under control, and about that time the Indians came up. They sat on their ponies a few minutes, when Chetopa ordered an old Indian to dismount and help put out the fire. I at once set a muley fork in the shallow well, sat down on the pins, and dipped up water with my hat, which they carried and threw on the fire until it was out. While leaning over the well, the Indian dropped a stone pipe out of his mouth into the well, the water being about three and a half feet deep. I went clean under the water, got his pipe, and he received it from me with the word, “Logany,” mounted his pony, and went away. Anyone desiring to see the charred logs at the southeast corner of the oldest house this side of Judge Ross, can take a walk to Island Park Place Addition and there he can see it for himself.
And now, after the second house had been fired by the Indians, who had ordered James Renfro to pack up and leave their reserve, and who had shown their hostility in other ways (stealing Judge T. B. Ross’ horses and ordering him to leave), a council was held by the squatters in which it was decided to move north to or near the Reserve line and await developments. Renfro moved up near Muddy creek with cattle, horses, and family. W. W. Andrews, Mr. Patterson, and myself formed a company for putting up prairie hay. I went to Cottonwood Falls, bought a mowing machine and other tools, laid in a quantity of provisions, and returned about the 10th of July to Douglass. Mr. Andrews and Mr. Patterson meanwhile had selected hay grounds about four miles southwest of Douglass, on what is known as Eight Mile creek, and between Eight Mile and the Walnut river, where lay a fine piece of bottom land and upon which grew as fine blue stem prairie grass as anyone could wish to see. The land is now owned by a Mr. Osborne and sons. We at once struck camp, made what the boys called a go-devil for dragging hay to the rick, started the machine, and started stacking as fast as the weather would permit, as 1869 was the wettest year that I have ever experienced since coming to this State. We continued work for about three weeks, getting up a large amount of hay, when I went back to Cottonwood Falls, bought a tent, some cooking utensils, and such articles as were necessary for the comfort of Mrs. Wood, who came back with me.
After studying the various stories relative to the Renfro family, it becomes quite apparent that the narrative given by C. M. Wood comes the nearest to being truthful.