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In 1828 McCoy visited one Kansa village and traveled in the
vicinity of three others; at least three of these appear not to have
been recognized heretofore. The purpose of the present paper is
to trace McCoy's route as far as is necessary to establish his posi-
tion on reaching the Kansas river, and to determine at least the
general location of the villages mentioned in the journal. The
journal, which is in the possession of the State Historical Society,

ROSCOE WH.METH is the State Historical Society's archaeologist.

1. G. P. Morehouse, "History of the Kansa or Kaw Indians," Kansas Historical Col-
lections, v. 10 (1907-1908), pp. 327-368; W. R. Wedel, "Inaugurating an Archaeological
Survey in Kansas," Smithsonian Institution, Explorations and Field Work, 1937, Publi-
cation No. 3480 (1938), pp. 103-110; W. R. Wedel, "The Kansa Indians," Transactions
of the Kansas Academy of Science, v. 49 (1946-1947), pp. 1-35. The writer is indebted
to Wedel for reading this article and making many helpful suggestions.



has been edited and published by Mrs. Lela Barnes of the So-
ciety's manuscript division.

In the summer of 1828 McCoy, then Baptist missionary at
Carey, Mich., was commissioned by the War Department to ac-
company a group of Potawatomi on a visit to the area west of
the Mississippi. This was a preliminary stage in the program
of Indian removal to that area. Leaving Carey in July, McCoy
and party traveled to St. Louis, where they were delayed for some
time. In August they were finally permitted to leave for the West,
and at once set out, reaching Harmony Mission in western Mis-
souri on September 2. 2

On the night of September 4 McCoy camped on the Marais des
Cygnes river within the boundaries of the present state of Kansas.
For the next week his route followed the course of this stream
to the west, through present Linn, Miami, Franklin, and Osage
counties. On September 11, early in the morning, McCoy reached
the Santa Fe trail about three miles from camp, and was able to
determine his position : "By my map, the measurement of the Santa
Fe road, made our encampment last night eighty one miles west of
the state of Missouri." The camp of the evening of September
10 must have been a few miles north of Admire, Lyon county, near
the point where the Santa Fe trail crossed the upper Marais des
Cygnes. 3

The expedition proceeded northwest and west on September
11, but on the 12th, "We proceeded Southwest in order to find a
branch of Neosho river," the branch being found at a distance of
about 12 miles. From September 12 to 15, an estimated 58 miles
of travel, they proceeded southwest, crossing a number of branches
of the Neosho river. A large branch was reached on September
15, and McCoy wrote: "My map appears to be incorrect so that
I am not able to decide which branch of Neosho this is. I sup-
posed it to be a middle fork, but Mograin [McCoy's Osage Indian
guide] says it is the main Southern branch." The main southern
branch is the Cottonwood river, while the Neosho itself was the
"large branch" crossed on September 13. 4 Mograin's accuracy is
confirmed both by the distance traveled and by subsequent events.

On September 16 the party went north up a creek on which it
had camped the night before, reached the Santa Fe trail, and
followed it east. On September 17, they continued east, and again

2. Lela Barnes, "Journal of Isaac McCoy for the Exploring Expedition of 1828," The
Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. 5 (August, 1936), pp. 227-244 passim.

3. Ibid., pp. 246-250; W. E. Connelley, History of Kansas (Chicago and New York,
1928), v. 1, p. 113.

4. Barnes, loc. cit., pp. 250-252.



met the trail; here McCoy was able to calculate his position as
122 miles west of Missouri. The trail at this distance from Mis-
souri is a little east of Lost Springs in Marion county. Working
back from this position, it seems likely that the creek McCoy fol-
lowed north on September 16 was Brook creek, which enters the
Cottonwood not far from where McCoy must have reached that


river. He stated, "Left camp quarter after 8. proceeded up the
creek on which we had s[l]ept, north, about 9 crossed & passed
between forks of nearly equal size/' 5 This description fits Brook
creek, which forks about two miles above its mouth.

The remainder of McCoy's description of the events of Septem-
ber 17 is contradictory. From the point where he ascertained
his position, he "steered north, from 12 till five o'clock, when we
encamped as I believed on the waters of Ne[os]ho which we had
descended about two miles." In the same passage he stated that
the day's journey was across land separating the Neosho and Osage
from the Kansas: "We have now left Neosho waters. . . ." 6
Obviously, McCoy did not camp on the Neosho, which he had
left, nor could he descend it going north. From the latter state-
ment quoted it is apparent he was descending a branch of the
Kansas. On the basis of his position as calculated on the Santa
Fe trail, the branch must have been either Lyon or Clarks creek.

The following day, September 18, McCoy's party descended
to the Kansas river and reached a village of the Kansa Indians.
McCoy found this, the "upper Indian town on the river," to be
125 miles due west of Missouri. The distance places McCoy and
the Kansa in the vicinity of Junction City, near the mouth of
the Smoky Hill or perhaps that of Clarks creek, allowing a few
miles of possible error in his calculation. Two topographic fea-
tures mentioned support McCoy's figure. He viewed the river,
and found that it passed between relatively high hills, and that
the country was broken and hilly near the river. This agrees with
the valley topography near Junction City. Secondly, while descend-
ing the creek early in the day, "on top of a high natural mount
we discovered an artificial mound of stone, apparently constructed
from the same principles on which our earthen mounds are to be
east." 7 Junction City is the center of a pre-Columbian complex
designated the Schultz Focus, typified by rock burial mounds and
related to the Hopewell culture of the eastern United States. 8 It
was unquestionably one of these mounds that McCoy saw.

McCoy traveled down the river on September 19, and going a
little north of east passed between two small villages in the course
of ten miles. The river flows northeast between Junction City and
Manhattan, a distance of 18 miles, and the two villages must have

5. Ibid., p. 253.

6. Ibid., p. 254.

7. Ibid., pp. 254-258.

8. C. E. Eyman, "The Schultz Focus: a Woodland Mound Complex of the Lower
Republican Valley, Kansas," unpublished manuscript, Museum of Natural History, University
of Kansas, Lawrence.


been located in this area. At one o'clock McCoy was in sight of
the principal Kansas village seven miles away. He went southeast
to see the country on a large creek (probably Deep creek) and
here estimated he was still seven or eight miles from the village
mentioned. This "principal" village must have been fairly close
to Manhattan. It is entirely possible that this was the village
near the mouth of the Blue on the north side of the river, visited
by Thomas Say in 1819, which would have been visible from
McCoy's position on the opposite bank. McCoy covered 30 miles
that day and probably camped in the vicinity of McFarland or
Alma in Wabaunsee county. 9

Early the next morning a large creek, probably Mill creek, was
crossed. A total of 20 miles was traveled, bringing the party to a
point about 70 miles west of Missouri and 15 miles south of the
Kansas river. 10 McCoy was now near the head of the Wakarusa
river. The party continued eastward along the divide between
the Kansas and Osage, and on September 24 reached the Missouri

The three villages seen by McCoy, and possibly the fourth, were
on the south side of the river between Junction City and Man-
hattan (shaded area on map, p. 154). None of them is mentioned
in the literature. Either McCoy's journal has been overlooked as a
source on the 19th century Kansa Indians, or the villages he visited
have been confused with others located farther down the river.
Root identified the villages as those of Hard Chief and American
Chief (on Mission creek) in Shawnee county, and stated that
McCoy was informed of Fool Chiefs village north of the river. 11
McCoy did not give personal names of the Indians he met, nor did
he mention any village north of the river. In addition, the distance
from Missouri to Mission creek is only 65 miles. Finally, there is the
statement of Frederick Chouteau, long a trader to the Kansa, that
the Mission creek villages were not established until 1830, two years
after McCoy's journey: "They built their lodges there the same
year I went, 1830. . . . These two bands built their villages
there because I was going there to trade, as I told them." 12

McCoy's brief description of the Indian communities he visited

9. Barnes loc. cit., pp. 256, 257; Edwin James, Account of an Expedition From Pitts-
burgh to the Rocky Mountains, Performed in the Years 1819, 1820, in R. G. Thwaites
(ed.), Early Western Travels, 1748-1846 (Cleveland, 1905), v. 14, pp. 186-198.

10. Barnes, loc. cit., p. 257.

11. George A. Root, "Chronology of Shawnee County," Shawnee County Historical
Society Bulletin, v. 1 (December, 1946), p. 4.

12. F. G. Adams, "Reminiscences of Frederick Chouteau," Kansas Historical Collec-
tions, v. 8 (1903-1904), p. 425.


is important with reference to native settlement patterns in the
early 19th century. The first village visited contained but 15
houses, while the villages McCoy passed between are described as
small, and it seems probable the latter two were no larger than the
first. 13 This is in contrast to the village at the mouth of the Blue,
where Say found 120 lodges in 1819. 14 Wedel pointed out that
it has long been suspected that the large, often fortified, villages
of the early 19th century were frequently the center of a number
of smaller satellite communities, and the McCoy journal helps to
confirm this view. 15 To some extent this pattern was followed
when the Kansa moved downstream in 1830. Chouteau reported
a large village of 700-800 persons at Menoken on the north bank
of the river, with two others of respectively 500-600 and 100 per-
sons south of the river on Mission creek. 16 It may be noted that
at both locations, the smaller villages are on the south side of the
river. The reason for this is undetermined, though it may have
been for greater protection against attack by the Pawnee.

McCoy's journal also confirms that both the circular earthlodge
and the long bark-covered lodge were used by the Kansa in this
period. At the first village encountered he was entertained in
a "large bark hut." 17 Sibley in 1811 also described the bark lodge
at a Kansa village which Wedel believes to be the town at the
mouth of the Blue. 18 On the other hand, Say observed circular
earthlodges at the Blue river village in 1819, and a lodge of this
type has been excavated at this site. 19

Identification of the remains of the villages visited by Isaac Mc-
Coy will raise considerably the total number of Kansa sites spe-
cifically located. It is hoped that excavations can be carried out
at many of these, for several reasons. First of all, it will increase
the knowledge of the economic life of the Kansa in the 18th and
early 19th centuries. Secondly, recovery of aboriginal materials
from Kansa sites of the period of European contact may make
possible the identification of pre-European villages of this people
and aid in placing them in their proper perspective relative to
Plains history in general.

13. Barnes, loc. cit., p. 256.

14. James, loc. cit., p. 188.

15. W. R. Wedel, letter, April 2, 1958.

16. Adams, loc. cit., p. 425.

17. Barnes, loc. cit., p. 254.

18. Wedel, "The Kansa Indians," loc. cit., pp. 13, 21.

19. James, loc. cit., p. 189; W. R. Wedel, letter, March 7, 1957.

Some Notes on Kansas Cowtown Police Officers
and Gun Fighters Continued




SHORTLY after the murder of Caldwell City Marshal George
Brown, on June 22, 1882, the city council appointed B. P. "Bat"
Carr as his replacement with Henry N. Brown as Carr's assistant.
The Caldwell Commercial voiced its approval of the appointments
in this article, July 6, 1882:

The City Council on Monday night appointed Henry Brown, formerly
marshal of Tuscosa, Texas, Assistant City Marshal. Mr. Brown is a young
man who bears an excellent reputation, and although he has acted in similar
capacities for several years, has never acquired any of those habits which
some seem to think are absolutely necessary to make an officer popular with
the "boys." With Mr. Carr for Marshal, and Henry Brown for assistant, we
think the city has at last secured the right kind of a police force. Carr is a
quiet unassuming man, but there is that look about him which at once im-
presses a person with the idea that he will do his whole duty fearlessly and
in the best manner possible. We have not the least doubt but he will give
entire satisfaction, and it is now the duty of every citizen to see that he is
promptly and efficiently sustained in his efforts to preserve the peace of the
city and the safety of its inhabitants.

The Caldwell Post, July 6, 1882, called upon the city to back its
new officers for better law enforcement:

Messrs. B. P. Carr and Henry Brown are on the police force of our city
now as Marshal and Assistant Marshal. These gentlemen will do their utmost
to see that order is kept, and the. peace of the city preserved, if a little bit of
fine shooting has to be indulged in by them. If our citizens will back the
officers, there will be a great deal less trouble with the lawless classes than
there has been heretofore.

We have a new Assistant Marshal on the police force now Mr. Henry
Brown and it is said that he is one of the quickest men on the trigger in
the Southwest.

In August, 1882, Brown assisted Marshal Carr in preventing a fist
fight which had certain religious connotations. The newspaper item
reporting this may be found in the section on B. P. Carr.

NYLE H. MILLER and JOSEPH W. SNELL are members of the staff of the Kansas State
Historical Society.

NOTE: Appearance of the first installment of this series m the Spring, 1960, Kansas
Historical Quarterly, has resulted in numerous requests for additional copies. If interest
continues the entire series will be reprinted and offered for sale under one cover, with ad-
ditional information and perhaps an index.



About the middle of September, 1882, Henry Brown resigned as
assistant marshal in order to accompany Sheriff J. M. Thralls' posse
into the Indian territory after the killers of Mike Meagher. 1 The
expedition, however, was a failure. The Caldwell Commercial,
October 12, 1882, recorded the posse's adventures:


About the 14th or 15th of last month information was received from below
that the Talbott gang, or part of them, was located in the southwest part of
the Indian Ter., and had with them a lot of stolen horses and cattle. The
information came from a reliable source, and acting upon it, Sheriff Thralls
organized a party to hunt up and if possible capture the gang.

The sheriff and his men left on the 19th of September, returned last
Thursday the 5th inst, having been gone seventeen days. From Henry
Brown, Assistant Marshal of this city, who accompanied the expedition, we
learn that the party went from here to the Cheyenne and Arapahoe agency,
and after consulting with Agent Miles a detachment of troops was secured
to accompany Sheriff Thrall's party, and if need be assist in the capture of
the outlaws.

It was also learned at the agency that Dug. Hill and Bob Munsing were
among the outlaws, the former going by the name of Bob Johnson and the
latter by the name of Slocum; also that Dug Hill had been connected with
and employed in the camp of a man named Kooch, holding cattle on Quarter-
master creek, ever since the 27th of last July.

Thrall's party traveled about one hundred miles southwest of Cantonment,
to Seger's cattle camp, where they halted and Seger went over to Kooch's
camp, about twenty miles distant, to ascertain the exact whereabouts of Hill
and Munsing. Brown says it took Seger two days and one night to travel the
forty miles, and when he returned he stated that from the description given
of Dug Hill, the man at Kooch's camp going by the name of Bob Johnson,
could not be Dug. However, the sheriff's party proceeded to Kooch's camp,
and on arriving there found that "Bob Johnson" was gone, and that "Mr.
Slocum" had cut his foot and gone to Cantonment to get some medicine for it.

The Thrall's party then followed Quartermaster creek to where it empties
in the Washita and not obtaining any trace of the fugitives, came on home.

Mr. Brown also informs us that in addition to the camp of Seger and Kooch,
the Standard Cattle Co., Ben Clark, Henry Street, and others are holding
cattle in that section of the Territory. The country is supposed to be a
part of the Kiowa and Comanche reservation, but whether that is the fact
we are unable to say.

Having returned to Caldwell Brown was reappointed assistant
marshal. The Caldwell Post, October 12, 1882, announced his re-

Henry Brown is again on the police force, after a two-weeks' lay-off.
Henry has been down in the Wichita mountains on the lookout for "rustlers,"
but the birds had been notified of his coming, and had flown. There must be
an underground railway connected with these cattle thieves' camps and the
border towns, or they could he taken in with less trouble.


Shortly after Brown's return, Marshal Carr took a leave of ab-
sence and the assistant marshal assumed the duties of acting city
marshal. The Caldwell Commercial, October 19, 1882, reported:

Henry Brown is acting as City Marshal during the absence of Bat Carr,
with Ben Wheeler as assistant. Henry is all business, yet withal quiet and
obstrusive, and will do his full duty in preserving the peace of the city. Of
this fact he has given ample evidence in his former position as assistant City

On November 2, 1882, the Commercial reported that:

Henry Brown, acting city marshal, received a letter on Tuesday from Ben
Franklin, Will Quinlin's foreman, notifying him that he had the horse and
saddle stolen from Jim Sibbets on Sunday night, October 22. The horse was
taken while Jim was in church. No particulars were given by Mr. Franklin
as to how the horse came into his possession.

Bat Carr returned to his Caldwell position on November 2, 1882, 2
and Brown resumed his job as assistant.

On December 28, 1882, it was announced in both the Post and
the Commercial that Henry Brown had been appointed city mar-
shal. Said the Post:

The City Council appointed Henry Brown as city marshal Thursday eve-
ning last. Henry has been assistant marshal for some time past, and is now
promoted to the chiefship. Mr. B. is a good one, and will have the moral as
well as physical support of our citizens in running the city as it should be.

The Commercial reported Brown's appointment as effective Fri-
day rather than on Thursday as stated by the Post.

In the same issue of December 28, the Commercial noticed that
"Henry Brown was the recipient of two very useful presents that
is they may be in the near future, if things turn out satisfactorily
to all parties concerned given him by some unknown friend on
the Methodist Christmas tree, being a rattle box and a tin horn."

On New Year's Day the citizens of Caldwell presented Brown
with a fine rifle. The Caldwell Post recorded the event on January
4, 1883:


A few of the citizens of this city, appreciating the valuable services of
Mr. Henry Brown, city marshal, concluded to present him with a suitable
token of their esteem, and so settled upon an elegant gold-mounted and
handsomely-engraved Winchester rifle, as an article especially useful to him
and expressive of services rendered in the lawful execution of his duties. The
gun was presented to him Monday, Mr. Frank Johnes making the presentation
speech, and a handsome one it was, too (we mean the speech this time[)]. On
the stock of the gun is a handsome silver plate bearing the inscription "Pre-
sented to City Marshal H. N. Brown for valuable services rendered the citizens
of Caldwell, Kansas, A. M. Colson, Mayor, Dec., 1882." Henry is as proud
of his gun as a boy of a new top. He appreciates the present very highly, but


not half so much as he does the good will shown and approval of his services
by the citizens of this city, as implied by the present.

The Commercial, in its edition of January 4, differed with the
Post's version of the inscription:


On Monday afternoon our efficient City Marshal, Henry Brown, was
quietly tolled into York-Parker-Draper M. Co.'s store, and in the presence of
a few friends presented with a new Winchester rifle. The presentation speech
was made by Frank Jones, to which Henry responded as well as he could
under his astonishment and embarrassment at the unexpected demonstration.
The rifle is of superior workmanship, the barrell being octagon, the butt end
beautifully engraved and plated with gold. The stock is made of a fine piece
of black walnut, with a pistol grip, and one side of it has a silver plate in-
scribed, "Presented to H. N. Brown by his many friends, as a reward for the
efficient services rendered the citizens of Caldwell. A. M. Colson Mayor,
Jan 1, A. D. 1883."

The present is one worthy of the donors and testifies in a substantial manner
their appreciation of a most efficient officer and worthy gentleman.

At the end of January, 1883, Brown obtained leave to visit his
home in Missouri. The Commercial, in announcing his absence,
commended his performance of duty:

Henry Brown, our city marshal, having obtained a leave of absence from
the mayor and council, left yesterday on a visit to his old home at Rolla,
Missouri, after an absence of ten years. Mr. Brown during the past eight
months has given his entire time and attention to his duties first as assistant
marshal, and then as marshal, has proven himself a most efficient officer and
fairly earned the holiday. It is no flattery to say that few men could have
filled the position he has so acceptably occupied. Cool, courageous and
gentlemanly, and free from the vices supposed to be proper adjuncts to a man
occupying his position; he has earned the confidence of our best citizens and
the respect of those disposed to consider themselves especially delegated to
run border towns. One other thing may be said in his favor: he has never
been the recipent of self-presented testimonials, nor hounded the newspaper
offices of the surrounding villages for personal puffs, and it gives us supreme
satisfaction to state these facts. For one the COMMERCIAL hopes Mr. Brown
will heartily enjoy his trip, the visit to scenes of his childhood, and return
with renewed energy for the duties of his position. 3

Brown returned to Caldwell about a month later. The Com-
mercial on March 8, 1883, reported that "H. N. Brown, city marshal,
returned on Saturday from a visit to his old home in Missouri, and
has resumed the duties of his office. Since his return, the boys are
not quite so numerous on the streets at night."

Apparently Brown entered into the social life of Caldwell for on
March 22, 1883, the Commercial reported that "A party of young
folks, headed by Prof. Sweet, guarded by City Marshal Brown



. . . started last Sunday for the classic shades of Polecat in
order to enjoy a picnic. . . ."

In April, after the annual city election, the new city council of
Caldwell met and reappointed both Brown and his assistant
Wheeler. 4 A few days later Brown and Wheeler accompanied
Deputy United States Marshal Charles M. Hollister after some
horse thieves. In making the arrest the officers killed a man. The
article reporting this battle may be found in the section on

City Marshal Henry Brown killed an Indian in a Caldwell grocery
store on May 14. Here is the story from the Journal, May 17, 1883:

Online LibraryKansas State Historical SocietyThe Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 26) → online text (page 18 of 59)