Christian Bernhardt.

Indian raids in Lincoln County, Kansas, 1864 and 1869; story of those killed, with a history of the monument erected to their memory in Lincoln court house square, May 30, 1909 online

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Online LibraryChristian BernhardtIndian raids in Lincoln County, Kansas, 1864 and 1869; story of those killed, with a history of the monument erected to their memory in Lincoln court house square, May 30, 1909 → online text (page 2 of 6)
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and Thomas Moffitt" to the home cemetery in Illinois, is
found among the probate records of Saline county, and is
addressed to Robt. N. Moffitt, a brother of the deceased:

"Kewanee, [111.], September 12, 1864.
"Rob: — We received your letter on liLst Thursday.
We were glad to hear that you had arrived safe to Sa-
lina. You must do your best to get the boys' bodies, if
you can get enough people to go with you to get them.
I have been talking to several persons here, they say there
will be no difficulty in taking them up if you can get
enough to go with you to protect you from the Indians.
Charles Miner took up his son, Bill, he had been dead
four months, and was buried only six inches underground,
without any coft'n. If you can get enough to go to pro-
tect you from danger, hire men to take them up and ]>ut
them in coffins, if it should cost one hundred dollars
apiece. If you don't get them now they will have to be
got in cold weather, and that would only be double ex-
pense to do that. Mother says they will have to be


brought home, if it takes all they had themselves, and
half of all she has got to do it.

(Signed) "Elizabeth M. Lyle,

for her Mother, E. Moliitt."

"Salina, Saline Co., Kansas, September 23d, 1864.
''I certify that the within is a true copy of a letter re-
ceived by me from Mrs. E. M. Lyle, (my sister), dated
Septembet 12, 1864.

(Signed) "Robt. N. Moffitt."

"Recorded on page 41, on the 26th of September, A. D.
1864. (Signed) "A. A. Morkison, P. J."

In compliance with the above request, Robert secured
the bodies of his brothers, and made the following report
of his progress to his mother:

Salina, (Kansas,) September 30, 1864.

Dear Mother: — I went last Tuesday and got Jack and
Tommy's bodies. They were very much decayed — more
than I expected, but I got them without much trouble. I
had twenty soldiers and four citizens with me. We were
gone three days. The Indians were back and had burned
the house.

I got back yesterday. I have made a box that will hold
both coffins and packed them in sawdust. I will take them
to Leavenworth that way and get the cases there. I will
start from here next Monday. It will take seven days to
go to Leavenworth, so it will be Sunday night before I
get there. If I get the cases, which I have no doubt of, I
will leave either Monday or Tuesday, the 10th or 11th of
October, and will be home the 11th or 12th of October.
I will send a dispatch from St. Joseph or Quincy.

I have got some of Tom's hair, but there was no hair
left on Jack's head.

I was very sick with diarrhoea while I was after the
boys, but I am getting well again. We had to drink salt
water, I think was the cause of it.

I remain your affectionate son,


From this letter we learn that twenty soldiers were
placed at Mr. Moffitt's service to go to Beaver Creek to
get the bodies. They were accompanied by four civilians,
as follows: Thos. Boyle, Fred Rhoads, Adam Caldwell and
Woodfield Tripp. Three of those four helped to bury the

It seems that Mr. Moffitt got somewhat sick on the way


from drinking salt water. I do not like to have the idea
prevail that the water in the Saline valley is salty. It is
only the water in the river that is salty, and at that time
there was not more than one well between Salina and
Beaver Creek, and that accounts for the salt water spoken
of in the letter. The same letter speaks of finding' some
hair on Tom's head, but none on Jack's, so it might have
been that the scalp of Jack Moffitt was the one found on
the rocks after the massacre.

Administration of the Moffitt Estate

I now return to the Moffitt brothers. The following pa-
pers comprise all of the record regarding the property left
by them, and were procured at the Saline county court
house through the courtesy of Judge Supple, now Probate
Judge of Saline county. I am under obligations to Miss
Grace Dawson and to Miss Lillian Lowell, both of Sa-
lina, for their kindness in copying the documents. They
are all official, and the information is therefore reliable.
"12th of August, 1864, Salina, Saline Co., Kansas.

"Application in regard to letters of administration of
the estate of Thomas L. Moffitt and John Moffitt, his bro-
ther, and John W. Houston, partners who were hunting
and were killed by the Indians. Case of John W. Moffitt
& Co. To all whom it may concern:
"State of Kansas )
Saline County j

"Know ye, that whereas John Moffitt & Co, are now
dead, having been killed by the Indians and having left
property which may be lost or destroyed if speedy care
be not taken of the same; to the end that said pioperty
may be collected and taken care of according to law, we
do hereby appoint Chas. Case administrator of all and
singular, the goods of the foregoing firm or deceased part-
ners, to settle and dispose of their effects according to law;
and to collect and dispose of all things in reference to the
firm, and to perfonn all other things which are or here-
after may be required of him by law. In testimony where-
of, I, A. A. Morrison, clerk of the Probate Court, in and
for the county and state aforesaid, have hereunto signed
my name and affixed my private seal, no public seal hav-
ing been provided as yet.

[Seal.] "A. A. Morrison,

Clerk and Judge of Probate Court."
"Salina, Saline Co., Kansas, iTth August, 1864.

"Application for letters in regard to the estate of John


Moffitt tmd Thomas MofEtt, his l^rother, who were lately
killed by the Indians up the Saline, on the Beaver creek,
has been made, and Mr. Charles Case has agreed to attend
to the business."

"Administrator's Oatm, ITtii August, 1864.

"You, Charles Case, do solemnly swear that you will
make a true and perfect inventory of and appraisement of
the estate of John and Thomas Moffitt, deceased, and pay
all the debts as far as the assets will extend, and account
for and pay over all assets which shall come to your
knowledge or possession according to law.

"Chas. Case."

"The within is recorded on page 63, and a partial set-
tlement on page 60.

"Recorded this 31st December, A. D. 1864.

"A. A. Morrison, Probate Judge. ^'

"Salina, Saline Co., Kansas, August, 1864.
"A list of the goods of John and Thomas Moffitt, broth-
ers, who were killed b^'^ the Indians out on Beaver creek,
up the Saline stream. Charles Case, administrator, as
charged with having received the effects of the Moffitts,
deceased, which is reported as follows:

Cash $1,004.00

Other goods according to the appraisement list:

1 Dragoon bridle bit, appraised at 50

1 three gallon keg 50

1 grindstone . 1.25

1 shawl 10.00

3 coats, one vest and other clothing 15.00

1 hammer 50

1 box and a lot traps 1.00

11 bottles strychnine 3.30

6 boxes of G. D. caps 50

2 saddle trees and one pair of stirrups 5.00

1 plane and bit 1.00

1 harness leather 3.00

1 brace and bitts 2.00

1 hand saw 1.50

1 brush 25

1 map of western states 25

9 books appraised at 5.00

4 boxes of caps 1.00

1 trunk and a variety of clothing 27.00

1 pair of pants 7.00

1 grass mower 150.00

3 buffalo robes 1.00


2 pitch forks 2.50

4 two year old heifers, each $14 56.00

5 cows and three calves 100.00

20 yearlings, $10 per head . 200.00

1 cow and calf 25.00

"The whole amount of goods as made known to me,
"A. A. Morrison, Probate Judge."

"P. M. Brown, on his note on page 37, was allowed $10
for crying the public sale of property of the Moffitts on
15th of September, A. D. 1864.

"A. A. Morrison, Probate Judge."

"October 4th, 1864, in open court, settlement

of Moffitt's estate $1082.55

Bills allowed to the amount of 125.51

$ 957.04

"Salina, September 26th, 1864.
"Received of A. A. Morrison, Probate Judge of Saline
county, Kansas, the sum of twent^^-five dollars out of the
estate of John and Thomas Moffitt.


"Estate of John and Thomas MofBtt to Charles Case,
Dr. : For appraisement of property and inspection of pa-
pers of the said estate, by Erwin Farris and Robert Par-
ker, one day each, at ($3) three dollar per day, $6.00.

"Chas. Case,
"By J. B."

"The State of Illinois j
Henry County J ^^

"I, Robert N. Moffitt, of said county and state, do here-
by make out and state the above and foregoing list is a
true copy of the appraisement list of the goods, moneys
and effects of Thomas and John Moffitt, deceased. Re-
ceived by Charles Case as administrator, and for which
he is chargeable as furnished to me by A. A. Morrison,
Probate Judge, Saline County, Kansas.

"Robert N. Moffitt"

"Sworn to and subscribed before me this 19th day of
December, A. D. 1865.

"J. H. Howe, Notary Public."

"Charles Case, Esquire, Administrator of the Estate of
John L. Moffitt and Thomas Moffitt, deceased, Salina,
Saline County, Kansas:

"Pay to Hon. Hugh Osborn the sum of nine hun-
dred dollars $^^900^ assets in your hands rcr.lizod by yuu on


the settlement of the estate of John T>. Moffitt and Thomas
Moffitt, and this shall be your receipt for the same.

"RoBT. N. MoFrrrT,
"for himself, and as attorney in fact for the other heirs.
"Kewanee, Henry Co., 111., Nov. 9, IbGG.

Kewanee, Illinois, November 10, 1866.
"Hon. Hujrh Osborn,

"Dear Sir: Your favor received informing' me of the
settlement of the estate of my brothers.

"Herewith find order on Case for the money. I wish
you to .:^et the money and send it to me by express or
draft as you think best, deductiu'^ for your trouble. I
think there ouijht to have been at least $1,100, but send it
along-. HopinfT to hear from you soon, I am

"Truly yours,

" Ko B E RT M OFFITT. ' '

Kewanee, Henry Co., Ills., November, 12th, 1866.
"Hon. Hui»-h Os orn,

"Dear Sir: Yours without date was received on the 9th,
requestinjr an order on Case for the balance in his hands. or
rather in Mr. Jones'. On last Saturday I attended to the
matter. Gen. J. M. Howe, a lawyer of Kewanee drew
the order and also wrote a letter in my name instructing
you to forward the money in any way in which you could,
a 'd is practicable, which I >uppo e is all that isnecessar.v,
But as you may perhaps expect me out there, I deem it
just to write this and let you know why I do not come at
present. I am ju t beginning to husk my corn crop, and
have no one to help me as yet. I cannot make arrange-
ment- to go at present. If you r- ceive the money please
forward it if you can, if you can't, lose no time in writ-
in^r to me, and I will come out myself, but if I can avoid
it, it will save me both trouble and expense. It would
cost me about one hundred dollars to go there, -.nd at pre-
sent the loss of time would be no small matter. I intend
to go there this winter anyhow, and have the matter set-
tled, or put in the hands of someone that would. If you
will do the busine s, paying yourself for all necessary
trouble, and forward the balance to me, I will be much
obliged to you, but do not fail to let me know if any-
thing Jturns up to pn vent a settlement at this time. I
think I will wait at present until I hear from you, which I
hope to do in a few weeks. Please write immediately,
and if necessary I will come out there.
"Yours truly,

(Signed) R, N. Moffitt."


State of Kansas | ^
Saline County | ^
To D. R. Wagstaff, Sheriff of Saline County, Greeting:

You are hereby commanded to notify Charles IL Case,
administrator of the estate of Thomas and tTohn Moffitt,
deceased, to appear before me, Charles S. Hussey, Probate
Judge in and for Saline County, at my office in said County,
during the April term of the Probate Court, of Saline
County, Kansas, commencing on the first Monday in
April, 1869, which term will continue during the said
week to exhibit statement in regard to the said estate above
referred to.

You will make due return of this writ as the law directs.
Given under my hand and seal this 8th day of March A.

D. 1869.

(Signed) Charles S. Hussey, Probate Judge.

Received March 8th, A. 1). 1869, at 4 o'clock p. m.,
and after diligent search have been unable to find the
within named Charles H. Case in my county. March
18th, 1869.

Fees 50c. (Signed) D. R, Wagstaff, Sheriff.

It appears from these records that John W. Houston
was a partner of the Moffitt brothers, yet that is the only
mention of Houston. There appears to be nothing in the
records to show that he had either heirs or a share in the
estate. There is an account given of thirty-four head of
cattle, which will fairly well tally with the number of
cattle given in the letter that opens this book. This would
seem to indicate that the Indians did not drive any cattle
away and the inventory shows that nothing v/as taken
from the house. Furthermore, the parties who did the
work of burying the dead found the team killed and the
wagon burned where the dead bodies were.

The records also show that Robert Moffitt got only
twenty -five dollars when he came after the bodies of his
brothers. This is all that the relatives ever got out of all
that the boys left. The inventory of the estate is rather
interesting at this time, for we read that "three buffalo
hides were listed at one dollar." If we had three buffalo
robes now we might buy a farm with them. Right below
we read, "two hay forks two dollars and one-half." The
difference then and now is that buffalo hides grew here,
while hay forks had to be hauled from Leavenworth.


The shawl spoken of in the inventory was not necessa-
rily a woman's shawl, as men in the frontier camps used
them very often for convenience sake, as they were nice
to roll up in and go to sleep on the prairie when they
were out on their hunting trips.

It further appears that Charles Case was appointed ad-
ministrator of the estate, and from what the records
show, and from information that I have from the Moffitt
relatives, it would appear that said Mr. Case administered
the whole business into his own pocket. Anyway the
relatives did not get anything. The records also show
that the Sheriff of Saline county was sent out on the 18th
day of March, 1869, to bring in the said Charles Case
for a settlement, but the papers were returned, as Case
could not be found. He was said to be in Kentucky then,
money and all. And it is reported that he afterwards ap-
peared in Illinois and told the relatives of the Moffitt boys
a very hard luck story, and no prosecution followed.
Early Probate Records of Saline County.

The entire settlement of the Moffitts' estate seems to
have been handled in a very careless manner, not only by
the clerk who acted as probate judge, but also by the
regular Judge after Saline county became organized. The
administrator was permitted to get away with the entire
proceeds of the estate, and the records show that more
than five years had elapsed after the administrator was
api)ointed before an effort was made to get him to settle
according to law. It will be noticed that there was no
bond given for faithful performance of duty. This copy
of administration is a very good criterion to go on in re-
gard to the early days. It is worthy of a very close study,
and even then we may have some difficulty in understand-
ing what is meant by some of the documents on file in the
Salina records. But there is nothing omitted here that is
recorded, as I have had every item copied in full. I have
done this as a matter of history, as a curiosity to the pres-
ent and future generations.

It is something very interesting to search the old rec-
ords, as it throws light on how public business was done
in those early days. In the first place I had trouble to

find what I wanted in the Saline county court house, ow-
ing to the fact that book "A" could not be found in the
office of the Probate Judge. This book was what was
wanted in order to get the necessary information. The
clerk could not find it, and when Judge Supple came he
could not find it. He then 'phoned to some parties in Sa-
lina, and the said party 'phoned back that the book was
there, in the court house, and that he would be over in a
few minutes to find it. The judge then started for another
hunt and found a very small book that did not look like a
book of record. This book was marked "A," and every-
thing in it is written with pen and ink, and it was neither
ruled nor lettered.

The copy of the administration herein submitted shows
that there was no Probate Judge in Saline county at that
time. The county was organized but not fully officered.
What is now Lincoln and Saline counties was at that time
attached to Ottawa county for judicial purposes, and a
clerk from Ottawa county was stationed at Salina and had
charge of the probate work. The office at Salina had no
seal, and the clerk had to use his own private seal. All of
this goes to show that Salina in the pear 1864 was a very
small frontier town. But there were men in it to push it
ahead to a very high state of civilization.

The book "A" referred to is about twelve by fifteen
inches and about an inch thick. The record of the Moffitt
adminstration is recorded on page 60 and when the Judge
discovered the records in the book, he took from the vault
all of the papers pertaining to the Moffitt estate.

Character of the Moffitts, — Tfie Battlefield.

Before I leave the subject of the Moffitts, I desire to
call attention to a few facts. The foregoing letters and
documents seem to indicate that the Moffitt brothers were
well fixed in life and came here with the bona fide inten-
tion of working up the wilderness so that it would resem-
ble a g-arden spot, and not a wild state. Second, the let-
ter seemed to indicate that they were quite tender hearted,
and not like the hard hearted and in some cases fugitives
from justice who went to the front or a little beyond the
line of civilization. The third thing that I would call atten-


tion to, is the battlefield. On the northeast quarter of sec-
tion nine, township twelve, range seven, in Elkhorn
township, Lincoln county, Kansas, is the only known bat-
tlefield in Lincoln county, where whites and Indians
foug-ht a real hard battle. The place is about three miles
from Lincoln Center, and for this reason it ought to be
purchased: Say five or ten acres, fenced in and made into
a public park, and the rock ledge preserved as much as
possible. It must be remembered that Houston and Tyler
are still buried there. This would be a fitting finish to
our pioneer monument and a great help to preserve our
history for future generations. And further, Tom An-
derson of Salina, one of the men who helped to bury the
MofBtts, informs me that there were so many arrows left
at the rock ledge that they could be gathered up by the
armful, which seems to indicate that this was a very hard
fought battle and therefore the spot ought to be taken
care of for the future. There are a number of other his-
toric spots in Lincoln county from that early period that
ought not to be forgotten, notably the cave on the Op-
plinger farm on Bullfoot creek, that is large enough to
accommodate about twenty persons.




The Coming of Settlers to Denmark.

In the month of February, 1869, the following settlers
came to what is now called Denmark, Lincoln county,
Kansas, on Spillman creek: Lorentz Christiansen and
wife, Peter Christiansen and wife and their three children,
Helena, Christian and Hans. The Christiansens were
brothers. Eskild Lauritzen and wife and one boy, Otto
Petersen a single man, were the first settlers around the
Denmark neighborhood. Fred Meigerhoff, and George
Weichell and his wife came two months later. Lorentz
Christiansen filed on the southeast quarter of section
twenty-three, now owned and occupied by Martin Ras-
mussen. His brother Peter Christiansen filed on the south-
west quarter of section twenty-four, now owned and oc-
cupied by H. P. Jensen. Eskild Lauritzen filed on the
north-east quarter of section twenty-five now owned and
occupied by Peter Larsen. Otto Petersen filed on the
east- half of the south-east quarter of section twenty-five,
(All of this land is in what is now Grant township), and
the west half of the south-west quarter of section thirty,
now owned and occupied by |Mrs. C. Andersen. George
Weichell and Fred Meigerhoff filed on the north half of
section thirty-one in Marion township. I am unable to
find out which quarter was filed on by Weichell and
which by Meigerhoff but they filed on those two quarters
just before they were killed.

As stated before, these settlers came here in February
1869, and started to build log houses, or partly "dugouts".
The Christiansen brothers had their log house dug in a


bank in a bend of Spillman creek. Their house was on
the south side of the creek. A bend in the creek runs so
much to the north there that the house was very near the
center of the quarter section. This house was on Peter
Christiansen's land and it is certainly the first dwelling
erected in that neighborhood. Lorentz and his wife
lived with them. Eskild Lauritzen had a log house on his
land in the bend on the south side of Spillman, not far
from where the present dwelling of Peter Larsen is now
located. Otto Petersen lived with the Lauritzens.
Weichell and wife and Meigerhoff, when they arrived,
also lived with Lauritzen. This made a crowd of six adults
in this one house. We might presume that this was a very
small log house, and this was one of the hardships that
the pioneer had to contend with, — no place to seek shelter
until some rude and cramped affair could be erected.
When new arrivals came to the settlement the latch string
was always found hanging out and they were given as
good as the settlers had for themselves.
The First Accident.
The first accident that might have ended fatally, hap-
pened when they were cutting logs for the log house of
Peter Christiansen. Lorentz had the misfortune to miss
the log with his ax and cut a terrible gash in his foot. It
bled profusely and there was danger of his bleeding to
death and no doctor within thirty or more miles, and no
house to place him in. It looked bad for the small band sur-
rounding him. What to do was a puzzle, as none of them
could speak fair English. Lorentz himself was the best
in that respect, and he was out of commisssion, they there-
fore decided to send out Christian Christiansen the oldest
son of Peter Christiansen. He could speak good English,
so he was dispatched down to the Saline river where a few
Irish had settled. Arriving there he failed to get the de-
sired help so he returned that evening. The next day he
was dispatched down the river again for help, and kept
going until he reached the house of John S. Strange not
far from the present site of Lincoln Center. When Mr.
Strange heard what had happened to one of his fellowmen
he yoked up his ox team and drove up to Denmark and


loading Mr. Christiansen in the wagon, proceded to take
him home, and nursed him for six weeks or until he was
well again. This incident may perhaps in a measure ac-
count for the lack of a house on the Lorentz Christiansen
land. When spring opened each one got busy to get a
little breaking done so as to grow as least a little to help

The above has been written to introduce each of the
characters in this drama, in order to better understand what
did follow.

Additions to the Settlement

Along- in ]\ arch or the first part of April, Mr. and Mrs.
George Weichell and Fred Meigerhoff , a single man, came
to Spillman creek. They had staid some two or three
weeks on Bullfoot creek, making their home with Ferdi-
nand Erhardt. These people have been very hard for me to
trace. But enough is known about them to convey the
idea that they were highly educated, and well fixed in a
financial way. It is said that they had an instrument some-
thing like a butter or cheese tester. They would run this
instrument from three to five feet in the ground, and cut
and pull out a plug of the subsoil for examination. They
did not buy the cat in the sack, for they picked out two
as good pieces of land as you will find anywhere.

At the beginning of my work the names of Meigerhoff
and Weichell were not complete. No one seemed to
know their initials, and I desired to have their names cor-
rect on the pioneer monument, so I set about to find their
full names, and reasoned that if they had taken land they
would have been obliged to have had citizen's papers, and
to file on the land they would have had to go to Junction
City. I made a trip to this place and examined the re-
cords from January 1st to June 1st, 1869 and I found
there that on May 10th, 1869, George Weichell and Fred

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Online LibraryChristian BernhardtIndian raids in Lincoln County, Kansas, 1864 and 1869; story of those killed, with a history of the monument erected to their memory in Lincoln court house square, May 30, 1909 → online text (page 2 of 6)