Annie D Tallent.

The Black Hills, or, The last hunting ground of the Dakotahs : a complete history of the Black Hills of Dakota, from their first invasion in 1874 to the present time, comprising a comprehensive account of how they lost them : of numerous adventures of the early settlers : their heroic struggles for online

. (page 1 of 54)
Online LibraryAnnie D TallentThe Black Hills, or, The last hunting ground of the Dakotahs : a complete history of the Black Hills of Dakota, from their first invasion in 1874 to the present time, comprising a comprehensive account of how they lost them : of numerous adventures of the early settlers : their heroic struggles for → online text (page 1 of 54)
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O R,



Of the Black Hills of Dakota from their First invasion in

1874 to the Present Time, Comprising a Comprehensive

Account of How They Lost Them; of Niimerous

Adventures of the Early Settlers; Their Heroic

Struggles for Supremacy against the Hostile

Dakotah Tribes, and their Final Victory;

The Opening of the Country to

White Settlement, and its

Subsequent Development./







f o5l

Entered according to Act of Congress, In the year 1899, by

In the offlce of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


To My


This Work

Is Respectfully inscribed.



By some strange influence upon the jjrocesses of the
human mind, trifling occurrences and incidents in the lives
of nations, as well as individuals, frequently assume large
proportions, and grow in interest year by year as they go
by. "As distance lends enchantment to the view," so
time throws the glamour of romance over receding events.
Belief in these bits of proverbial wisdom, and the hope
that the mellowing influence of nearly a quarter of a century
may have likewise invested the unwritten chapters of Black
Hills pioneer history with added interest, together with the
helpful encouragement of many friends throughout the
Hills, first induced the author to undertake the task result-
ing in the production of this little work. It seemed proper,
too, that the part enacted by those who stood in the front
ranks, in the thick of the fray, in the sanguinary battle for
the settlement of the Black Hills, should be placed upon
record before they " shuflied off the mortal coil," or, ere
passing years should leave but a shadowy memory of their
courage and brave endurance, and future generations be
thus compelled to accept the story of their struggles and
heroism as a vague and unsatisfactory tradition.

The original plan and scope of the work did not con-
template a full and comprehensive history in all its broad
significance, but a compilation of all information in relation
to the Black Hills, obtainable without labored research,



Chapter I.


The Dakotahs 1

First Invasion of Black Hills 4

First Movement Looking Toward Colonization of

Black Hills in 1872 5

Adventures on the Border 8

Chapter H.

The Custer Black Hills Expedition 13

Gold E'ound by Indians 17

Organization of First Expedition 18

Chapter III.

Preparations for the Journey 20

Sioux City Gold Hunters 25

The First Defection 27

Chapter IV.

Crossing the Niobrara 32

Bill of Fare on the Plains 36

Sickness in Camp ... 40

Almost a Tragedy within the Fold 42

Chapter V.

Crossing the Bad Lands 45

A Death in Camp 47




An Amusing Incident 49

First Sight of tlie Black Hills 52

Chapter VI.

Crossing the Cheyenne River 53

Indians Discovered 53

Strike Custer's Trail and Journey through the Black

Hills — A Revelation 57

Reach French Creek and find Gold 60

Christmas Day in the Black Hills in 1874 .... 63

Chapter VII.

Building Stockade ^Q

Life in Stockade during Winter of 1874-5 ... 67

Messengers carry out the Glad Tidings .... 75

Two More Leave the Stockade 81

Stockade Party taken out of the Hills by the Gov-
ernment 84

Chapter VIII.

Riding out of the Hills on a Government Mule . . 87

Reach Fort Laramie 94

Terrible Experience of Troops sent after our Expe-
dition 96

AStreet Interview with " Wild Bill '^ 100

Chapter IX.

The Black Hills — Its Mountains, Forests, Climate,

Productions, etc 103

The Black Hills never the Home of the Indians . . Ill

Some Indian Traditions 112

ImmJorration to Black Hills in 1875-76 .... 115


Chapter X.


The First to Enter the Bhick Hills in 1875 ... 118

The First Expedition in 1875 120

Scientific Expedition sent to Black Hills .... 123

Chapter XI.

The Cession of the Black Hills 130

Advent of Gen. Crook in Black Hills 134

Miners Leave Hills by Order of Gen. Crook . . . 136

Miners Return to Hills 138

The Cavalry Force Withdrawn 139

Custer City in 1875 140

French Creek the Mecca of Pioneers in 1875 . . . 141

Chapter XII.

Some of the Pioneers of 1875, and how they got to

the Black Hills 143

The Major Part of the Expedition 158

Chapter XIII.

How Some of the Pioneers Fooled Uncle Sam . . 160

Chapter XIV.

Firf^t Discovery of Placer Gold in Northern Hills . 171

First Locations on Deadwood Gulch 176

First to bring Merchandise to the Black Hills . . 181

First Gold Dust taken out of Black Hills .... 187

Chapter XV.

Early Freight and Passenger Transportation to Black

Hills r . . . . .' 189

Early Postal Facilities in the Black Hills .... 193


Chapter XVI.


The Yellowstone Expedition or the Indian Campaign

of 1876 199

The Custer Column 203

Chapter XVII.

News of the Terrible Disaster reaches the Black Hills 222

The Summer Campaign — Gen. Geo. Crook . . . 227

Chapter XVIII.

The Year 1876 in Black Hills 236

Some of the Expeditions of 1876 236

Chapter XIX,

Montana Expeditions 249

The Centennial Party 259

Outward-bound Pilgrims 262

Chapter XX.

Chapter of First Events 264

Second Suit in Equity in the Black Hills .... 266

First Person Killed 268

Chapter XXI,

Custer in 1876 287

Massacre of Metz Family 294

Hostiles Returning: from Little Big Horn . . , , 295

Raids on Custer 296

Scalped a Man Alive 298



Rapid City iu 1876 • . 803

Block House Built 314

Upper Rapid 314

Location of Ranches in Rapid River Valley in 1876 . 314


A Trip from Cheyenne to Deadwood in 1876 . . . 316

A Personal Reminiscence 325

Chapter XXIV.

Placer Mining in Deadwood Gulch in 1876 . . . 332

Placer Mining Processes 336

Hydraulic Placer Mining 339

Early Quartz Mining in the Black Hills 341

Peculiarities of Miners 344

Chapter XXV.

Deadwood in 1876 346

Sunday in Deadwood — Pioneer Days 354

Deadwood by Lamplight 355

How We Celebrated Our Natal Day in 1876 ... 356

Platting of South Deadwood 361

First Mulder in Northern Hills 362

Murder of Wild Bill 366

Chapter XXVI.

Indian Raid on Montana Herd . 370

Wolf Mountain Stampede 373

Telegraph Line Reaches Deadwood 376

Failure of Bill for Territory of Lincoln . . . . 380


Chapter XXVII.


Black Hills opened to Settlement 383

Judges of the Black Hills District and Circuil Courts 384

Highway Robbers and Road Agents 385

How a Deadwood Lady Saved Her Watch .... 389

Deadwood Famous Treasure Coach 390

Chapter XXVIII.

Custer County 395

The Mines of Custer County 398

The Mica Mines of Custer County ...... 403

Custer City 405

Sylvan Lake 406

Custer in 1877 408

Hermosa 415

Chapter XXIX.

Pennington County — Its organization . . . . 416

County Seat 420

Schools and Churches 422

Library Association 425

Secret Orders — Manufacturing 427

Chlorination Works — Water System of Rapid City. 428

School of Mines 432

Rapid City — Incorporated 435

Rapid City Fire Department and Banking Institutions 438

Chapter XXX.

Horse Stealing Around Rapid City in 1877 . . . 443
Mining Stampedes in Rapid City 444


Chapter XXXI.


Hill City 448

Queen Bee — Sberidan . . 455

Rochford 458

Pactola . 462

Harney 465

Hayward 466

Rockerville 467

Castleton, Sitting Bull, Silver City, and Keystone . 472

Chapter XXXH.

Lawrence County . 476

Deadwood 479

The Great Fire 486

Deadwood' s Water System 488

The Great Flood 490

Chapter XXXIII.

New Deadwood 496

Deadwood's Reduction Works 496

Deadwood's First Railroad 498

Banking Institutions 501

Chapter XXXIV.

History of Homestake Mines ^ . 508

Lead City 517

Emergency Hospital 524

Hearst Free Library — Newspapers, etc 524

Chapter XXXV.

Central City 528

Churches 530



Terraville 535

Crook City 537

Chapter XXXVI.

Speai-fish 540

Chapter XXXVII.

Horse Thieves and Cattle Rustling on the Northern

Frontier 559

Fight with Exelbee Gang — Sequel to the Fight . . 562

How Spearfish came to be called " The Queen City " 565

Spearfish Normal School 566

Organization 571

Chapter XXXVIII.

Galena Silver Camp 576

Terry 579

Bald Mountain Refractory Ore Deposit 582

Chapter XXXIX.

Our Pioneers 592

Society of Black Hills Pioneers 593

Black Hills Pioneers and Historical Society of 1877 . 605

Chapter XL.

Meade County 607

Sturgis 612

Schools, Churches 617

Banks, Manufactures, and Water System .... 622

Electric Light System 625


Chapter XLI.


Fort Meade 631

Tilford 635

Piedmont 636

Black Hawk 639

Chapter XLU.

Fall Kiver County 640

Thermal Springs 642

Chapter XLIII.

Hot Springs of Minnekahta 655

Public Institutions — Fire Department and Electric

Light Systems 659

Cascade, Wind Cave 670

Edgemont , 672

Chapter XLIV.

Butte County 675

Minnesela 678

Belle Fourche . 679

Cattle Shipping Industry 684

Building Wyoming & Missouri River R. R. ... 684

Cattle Out6ts of Black Hills 685

Chapter XLV.

Organization of Dakota Territory and Subsequent

Struggle for Statehood 687

Sioux Treaties 687

Assessed Valuation of South Dakota 695

South Dakota Permanent School Fund 696



Chafter XLVI.


The Treaty of 1889 for the Great Sioux Reservation

in Dakota . 697

The Messiah Craze, etc 700

The Arrival of a Military Force at Pine Ridge . . 703
The Advent of Gen. Miles and the Disarmament of

the Hostiles 708


-r^ i.- • .... Fiont.

Stone Showing Record of Early Black Hills History 10

H. N. Ross ; ' ■ o!

The Pioneers of 1874 f^ces p. 24

The Gordon Stockade, 1876 ^^

Eaf Witcher, March, 1875 J^J^

The Needles near Harney's Peak

Devil's Tower showing Millions of Tons of Fallen


Prof. Walter P. Jenny f'^^^s p. 124

Red Cloud

Spotted Tail ' ' ' ' J ' ' ^7o

Wm. Lardner ^«^« P' ^^

Fred. T.Evans f-<^«« P- f^

H. N. Witcher f^^««« P' ^^^

Transportation from Pierre to Deadwood ' ' ' JZ^

Sitting Bull ; ■ ■ 919

Gen. Custer's Last Charge taces p. 212

Gen. Custer's Last Battle faces p. 220

^ /-, - . faces p. 22b

Gen. Custer 988

Sioux Indians in War Costumes ^6Q

Attack on Wagon Train en route to Black Hills in


Black Hills Treasure Coach

Dr. D.W. Flick tkcesp. 26b

A. W. Merrick • • • ^^^^^ P' ;J^

Porter Warner f^««« P- f„^

Col. James M. Wood f^«^^ P- -'^

Jack Langrishe ^''^'' P- ^^^



Capt. C. V. Gardner faces p. 280

Milton E. Pinney faces p. 282

Judge Thomas Hooper faces p. 288

Custer in 1876 289

S. M. Booth. . faces p. 292

Scene at Red Canyon after the Murder of the Metz

Party 293

Thomas E. Harvey faces p. 300

Ellis T. Peiice, Bhick Hills Humorist . . faces p. 302

John R. Brennan faces p. 306

Block House at Rapid City — 1876 313

Capt. Jack Crawford, the Poet Scout 327

No. 4, above Discovery, on Deadwood 333

Cabin on Claim No. 2, Deadwood Gulch .... 335

White Rocks Overlooking Deadwood . ... 347

Deadwood in 1876 349

Witcher's Freight Train on the Streets of Deadwood

in 1876 353

Gen. A. R. Z. Dawson faces p. 360

James Halley faces j). 378

Judge Granville G. Bennett faces p. 383

Hon. Gideon C. Moody faces p. 385

Custer City faces p. 404

Sylvan Lake 407

Joseph Kubler faces p. 411

The Start for Harney Peak 413

A Distant View of Harney's Peak . . . faces p. 418

Rapid City in 1878 421

Richard B. Hughes faces p. 424

Rapid City Chlorination Plant and School of

Mines faces p. 428

Beecher's Rocks, near Custer 430

Rapid City, Looking North, in 1899 . , . faces p. 436

Judge John W. Nowlin faces p. 442

Hill City in 1876 449

Old U. S. Courthouse, Sheridan .... faces p. 456

Rochford at the Beginning of the Boom, 1878 . . 460


Stage Coach, Main Street, Deadwood 481

Deadwood after the Great Flood of 1883 .... 493
The Deadwood & Delaware Smelter, Deadwood,

South Dakota faces p. 497

Sol. Star . faces p. 502

Frank J. Washabaugh faces p. 504

Deadwood from Forest Hill faces p. 506

The Great Homestake Works at Lead . . faces p. 512
The Homestake Hoisting Works, 2,000 Horse-power

used. Lead City 516

Lead City, Black Hills, South Dakota . . faces p. 522

Central City in 1878 529

Seth Bullock faces p. 534

Terraville Gold Mining Camp 536

Crook City in 1876 538

Speartish in 1876, with Lookout Mountain in the

Background 544

Spearfish Town in 1877 552

Picture Gallery in Spearfish in 1877 556

Terry, Mining Center of the Great Refractory Ore

District of the Black Hills 580

Golden Reward Gold Mine, Deadwood 585

Kildonan Chlorination Mine at Pluma, between Dead-
wood and Lead 589

Spearfish in 1895 faces p. 572

Group of Presidents of Society of Black Hills Pio-
neers faces p. 598

Building Erected at Lead by P. A. Gushurst, faces p. 601

Sturgis in 1899 faces p. 609

Meade County Courthouse 611

Street Scene in Sturgis, 1898 626

Rough Riders Leaving Sturgis for Cuba, May, 1898. 629

Fort Meade, Bear Butte in the Background, faces p. 632

"Comache" 635

Horseshoe Curve on the Fort Pierre R. R, between

Lead and Piedmont 637

'Col. Wm. Thornby faces p. 647

XX 11


Dr. R. D. Jeuniugs faces p. 652

The First House on the Original Town-site of Hot

Springs, built by Dr. R. A. Stewart 656

South Dakota Soldiers Home, Hot Springs . . . 660

Interior of Plunge Bath, Hot Springs . . faces p. 664

Hot Springs faces p. 668

Cowboy Scene in the Black Hills 676

Cattle Shipping Pen at Belle Fourche 680

Grand Council Between Friendl}^ and Hostile Chiefs. 704
Buffalo Bill Holding a Conference with Sitting

Bull faces p. 707




The Last Hunting Ground of the Dakotahs.

C H x\ P T E R I.


As this book is designed to be only a history of the
events and incidents connected with the white settlement
of the Black Hills, as stated in the introduction, it seems
unnecessary to go back to the races that had occupied this
portion of the great American continent long centuries ago,
and of which we have no knowledge save that which is
based upon vague tradition, nor does it seem necessary to
more than briefly refer to the mournful history of the tribes
of the great Sioux Nation, or the Dakotahs, who have
been driven from the East towards the setting sun until
their last and most cherished hunting ground was lost
to them forever.

The Dakotahs, or Nadowessioux — abbreviated by the
French explorers and trappers to Sioux — were doubtless a
valorous people considered from an Indian standpoint, and
are credited with many deeds of wonderful prowess in their
numerous conflicts with the hostile tribes to the eastward,
against whom they maintained their broad possessions for
at least 200 years undisturbed — and we know not how
much longer.



About the middle of the seventeenth century the Dako-
tahs occupied a vast stretch of territory extending from the
48° of north hititude to the Missouri river, and stretching
westward to the main range of the Kocky Mountains.

In 1837 they ceded to the United States all their land
lying east of the Mississippi river, since which time they
have been losing their once wide domain slice by slice until
at the time of the invasion of the Black Hills in 1874, they
were confined to the limit prescribed by the treat}^ of 1868,
which will be referred to farther on.

My readers need not be told in detail how that once pow-
erful people were reduced in numbers, by almost constant
conflicts with other tribes to the eastward of the Great
Lakes, nor of how, by the numerous French and Indian
wars, and their consequent defeats, they were finally forced
to abandon the country, so long occupied by them, around
the small lakes and headwaters of the Mississippi, and
driven down and westward onto the plains of the Missouri,
preceded by the Cheyennes, nor of the various cessions of
their territory made by them to the general government,
nor of how they fought the onward march of civilization,
inch by inch, until all the Western frontiers were marked
by a trail of the blood of innocent women and children ; or,
mayhap, by their capture and torture even worse than
death ; nor of the consequent wars with the United States,
by which they were almost exterminated, and finally
driven to the wall. All this is already a matter of common
histor}^ vfith which most school girls and boys are familiar
at the present day.

It is well known that, up to the year 1877, there had
been almost perpetual hostilities on the part of the Indians,
on the excuse of broken treaties, etc., the suppression of
which cost the government many millions of treasure, as
well as the sacrifice of thousands of human lives, and which
decimated the Indian tribes, till now there is but a pitiful
remnant of them left. While it cannot be claimed that
treaty obligations have not been sometimes violated on the


part of the government — as in the cases of Colorado and
Montana, when vast hordes of adventurers and gold-seekers
crossed and recrossed the Indian domain, despite treaty
stipulations, frightening and killing the game upon which
they almost solely depended as means of sustenance.

The treaty of 1868, guaranteeing to the Indians as a
permanent reservation, all the territory lying between the
Missouri river on the east, and the western boundary of
Dakota on the west, and from the north boundary of the
State of Nebraska on the south', to the forty-sixth parallel
of latitude on the north ; also stipulated that the country
north of the Phitte river in Nebraska, and east of the
summit of the Big Horn mountains in Wyoming, should be
held and considered unceded Indian territory, and that no
white person or persons should be permitted to settle
upon, or occupy any portion of same, nor to pass through
without the consent of the Indians; and also conceded the
right to the Indians to hunt south of the North Platte, as
far as the Republican Fork of the Smoky Hill river, for a
terra of years, or, as long as the buffalo might range in
sufficient numbers to justify the chase, and prohibited
soldiers from entering the unceded territory, north of the
Platte. The treaty of 1868 also stipulated that the govern-
ment should remove all military posts and government
roads within the limits of their reservation, the right to
establish which was granted by the treaty of 1851. In
the following year, 1869, notwithstanding the treaty of
1868, all Indians found oft' their permanent reservation,
were considered hostile, and under the jurisdiction of mili-
tary authority. That the provisions of the above treaty
were sometimes violated by the Indians there can be no
doubt, and that its provisions were disregarded by the
invasion of their reservation in 1874-5-6 is indisputable,
but, ignoring the ethical side of the question, should such
treaties as tend to arrest the advance of civilization, and
retard the development of the rich resources of our country,
ever have been entered into? This is a question which de-


mands much thoughtful consideration. Although haviog^
deep-seated convictions on this troublesome Indian problem,
as it is not within the province of this book to give them
expression, the question may as well be turned over to the
moralist and political economist for discussion.


Prior to the year 1874, that portion of the Indian Ter-
ritory known as the Black Hills, was a part and parcel of
the happy hunting ground of the red man, and had for
long centuries lain in an isolation almost complete as
" Darkest Africa." Up to that year none of the several
expeditions sent to this Western country for the purpose of
exploration or subduing the hostilities of the Indians, had
succeeded individually or collectively in penetrating the
mountain fastnesses of the Black Hills, with the sole ex-
ception of Gen. Harney, who, with members of his staff,
climbed the rugged peak, which was honored with that
brave officer's name, and on its lofty summit unfurled our
national emblem for the first time to the mountain breeze,
and under its sacred folds pledged to it their allegiance and
undying loyalty in numerous bumpers of sparkling cham-
pagne, as evidenced by the many empty bottles discovered
on the spot by the pioneers about two decades later. And
thereby hangs a romantic tale.

The first military and scientific expedition sent out for
the purpose of exploration, known as the Warren Expe-
dition, failed to consummate the plan of penetrating the
Black Hills, as will be seen by the following extract from
the report of Lieutenant Warren to the government.
He says: " Setting out from Fort Laramie on the 4th of
September, 1856, we proceeded direct for the Black Hills,
via Ravv Hide Butte, Old Woman's Creek, the Southern
Fork of the Cheyenne, and Beaver Creek; up a branch of
this last stream we entered the Hills (the foot-hills). We
continued north to the vicinity of Inyan Karce (or the
peak which makes the mountain), a remarkably high ba-


saltlc peak, one of the highest of the mountains and so far
to the north that we had a full view of the prairie beyond.
Here we were met by a very hirge force of the Dakotahs
who made such earnest remonstrance and threats against
our proceeding into their country that I did not think it
prudent for us as a scientific expedition to venture further
in this direction. Some of them were for attacking us im-
mediately, as their numbers would have insured success,
but the lesson taught them by Gen. Harney, in 1855, made
them fear they would meet with retribution, and this I
endeavored to impress upon them. We were at this time
almost in sight of the place where these Indians had plun-
dered Sir George Gore, in 1856, for endeavoring to pro-
ceed through their country."

The expedition of Capt. Reynolds, sent out in 1859 with
the object of exploring to the north and west of the Black
Hills, around the headwaters of the Yellowstone and Mis-
souri river, its line of march being along the northern
slope, and on its southward march the western slope of the
Black Hills, made no attempt to enter the Hills; so I think
the assertion is justified that no military or scientific expe-
'dition ever penetrated the interior recesses of the Black
Hills until the year 1874.


It is a matter of unwritten history, however, that an
unsuccessful attempt was made to organize a formidable
expedition to colonize the Black Hills in 1872, the project
having its origin in the exceedingly fertile brain of Charlie
Collins, then editor of the Sioux City Times, Iowa. It
may not be out of place here to refer back to an earlier
scheme which, while not pertinent to this history, will
reveal the peculiar mental bent of this adventurous man.

His first dream, beginning in 1869, was of a gigantic
colonization scheme which contemplated the founding,
somewhere on the banks of the Missouri river, a powerful


Irish-American empire, whose guiding star would lead
towards the British dominions on the north. The plan
devised by himself and his co-operator, John P. Hodnett,
then U. S. Assessor for Dakota Territory, was to orsran-
ize, in different parts of the country, colonies of Irish-
Americans to enter homesteads and settle upon that portion
of the Sioux (Brule) reservation lying on the east adjacent
to the river, opposite the mouth of White river, so that —
as in substance stated by himself — when " England's dif-
ficulty," and "Ireland's opportunity" should arise, a
patriotic army of Irish-American colonists could conveni-
ently, and without interference, invade the British domnin
and wipe out, root and branch, their long-time oppressors
from the face of the American continent.

Thus it will be discerned that the scheme, while desio;netl
for the betterment of the condition of native and American
born Irishmen in this country, had the eartnarks of Fenian-
ism plainly impressed upon its face. The plan was submitted
to the Fenian Convention held in St. Louis in the fall of

Online LibraryAnnie D TallentThe Black Hills, or, The last hunting ground of the Dakotahs : a complete history of the Black Hills of Dakota, from their first invasion in 1874 to the present time, comprising a comprehensive account of how they lost them : of numerous adventures of the early settlers : their heroic struggles for → online text (page 1 of 54)