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 3 of 6)
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Meigerhoff took out their first citizen papers and they also
show that the two men were from Switzerland and not
from Hanover, as some have it. The names are now cor-
rect on the monument. It will be noticed that they were
in Junction City on May 10th, and it is certain that they
took land while there. When we consider the crowds that

applied "forlland during those days, and the slow mode of
traveling, it is safe to say that the two men bareb^ had
time to return from Junction City to be at home on the
30th day of May.

Raid of May 30, 1869.

On the 30th, day of May, 1869, about two o'clock, p. m.,
a party of Indians consisting of about sixty, came down
Spillman Creek conmiitting all kinds of depredations and
killed Eskild Lauritzen and his wife, and Stine and Otto Pe-
tersen. The Lauritzen boy was saved. He was over at the
Christiansen home, playing with Hans Christiansen. The
place where the killing occurred was on the north side of
the creek, and west of "Little Timber," on the south west
quarter of section twentj^-four, on the north line of the
Peter Christiansen farm, near to the south line of the pre-
sent Morgenson farm. Otto Petersen was killed some dis-
tance from where the Lauritzens were killed, on the same
side of all the creeks, but was not found till some days af-
ter the massacre. It might be well to state here, that Lit-
tle Timber and Trail creek empty into Spillman creek on
this quarter section. Some of the writers, including Eli
Ziegler, who makes the statement very positive, say that
Otto Petersen was killed and buried on the south side of
the creek. Reverend Thomas Strange was one of the
parties that went up on the Spillman and found and buried
the dead body of Petersen. He was rolled in a blanket
and buried where he was found; and Rev. Strange is posi-
tive that it was on the north side of the creek, and from
other sources I have the same statement. So I accept that
as being the true fact.

This thirtieth day of May, 1869, is said to have been
one of those lovely days that only Kansas can produce at
that time of the year; and being on Sunday the Lauritzens
and Petersen turned out to enjoy the Sabbath day; and at
the same time investigate their own, and the Christiansen
prospects for a crop. They had a little breaking done and
a little sod corn put in. The Christiansen breaking was
north of the creek, and about directly north of his house,
and the Lauritzen boy was at the Christiansen house; so
it is easy to understand that his parents were on the way


to visit the Christiansens; but went acros-s the creek to see
the Christiansen crop first, and that was what cost them
their lives. The Indians tried very hard to burn the
Christiansen house after they had finished their fiendish
act on the north side of the creek; but the brothers escaped
injury, and kept the Indians far enough away to prevent
firing the house If Lauritzen, his wife and Otto Peter-
son had gained the house, they would have been saved.
During the night the Christiansen brothers with their
families escaped down the river to the Schermerhorn ranch
on El li horn creek. They took with them the Lauritzen
boy. He was afterwards sent to some relative in Chicago.
If rumors are right, he is now farming in Iowa.

This will prove that they knew at the Schermerhorn
ranch, early the next morning, from two different sources,
that the Indians had done some mischief, and at least three
settlers had been killed. There was a detachment of
soldiers there, but they did not stir to protect the settlers,
nor to punish the Indians. But I will come to that later on.

Mr. and Mrs. Weichell and Meigerhoff at their home
evidently saw the Indians coming, heard the shooting and
their war whoops and ran down the creek to the Saline
river. They were certainly trying to get down to the
Schermerhorn ranch. But the Indians discovered them in
their flight and started in persuit of them, and they had a
running fight all the way. Weichell and Meigerhoff had
as good fire arms as money could buy at that time. But
the ammunition gave out, so they were an easy prey for
the Indians, and they were overtaken on the north line of
the southeast quarter, of the northwest quarter of sec-
tion two, Indiana township. That makes it about one
mile and one-half west of Lincoln Center. Here Meiger-
hoff and Weichell were killed and Mrs. Weichell taken
prisoner. It was also near here that Mrs. Alderdice was
taken prisoner and her two children killed and one wounded.
The latters name is Willis Daily. He was picked up and
carried to Mr. Mart Hendrickson's house, the next day
after the battle, where the arrow that had wounded him
was extracted by Mr. Washington Smith assisted by Phil.
Lantz. One of Mrs. Anderdice's boys that was killed, was


a full brother to the wounded Willis Daily, they being
sons of Mrs. Alderdice by a former husband. This kill-
ing took place some time about six o'clock, on Sunday
evening, May 30th, 1869.

Mrs. Alderdice was taken prisoner and her children kill-
ed about a quarter of a mile southeast of where Weichell
and Meigerhoff were killed, on the Nick Whalen farm.
The southwest quar er of section one.

The Indians then crossed the Saline river and went a-
bout due south to Bullfoot creek, where they camped on
the Oppling'er farm at a stone cave before described. Here
the Indians took Mrs. Alderdice's thren months old baby,
choked it to death and then hung it in a tree.

Atone of Mrs. Weichell's visits here, she gave another
version of the killing of Mrs. Alderdice's baby. She was
allowed to have her baby for three days, but it was crying
a good deal, which annoyed the savages so much that they
then wrung its head off and threw the several parts of the
body into the stream. Either version is hard for us to
read about now. What heart rending agonies for the poor
mother, that was so utterly unable to prevent the cruel
act That made three of Mrs. Alderdice's children killed,
and one wounded. The wounded boy is still living in
Blue Rapids, Kansas. The Indian-* left the next day May
31t«t without hindrance from the soldiers.

I have tried to make it as clear as I can what happened to
each one of the victims so as to be understood. We know
how Mrs. Weichell got down to the Saline valley, but how
and why Mrs. Alderdice was there is something of a
mystery. Her husband, Thomas Alderdice, together with
a few other citizens was at Junction City at the U. S. land
office, which was located there at that time, for the pur-
pose of contesting? a piece of land in the Saline valley that
had been filed on by a minor, hence there were not many
men in the neighborhood, and in all probability the Indians
knew that and for that reason they raided through the
valley. The letter here submitted from Eli Zeigler, of
Salem, Oregon, a brother of Mrs. Alderdice, seems to state
for a fact that he got his dinner that day with her, but he
is not able to state whether it was at her own house or at


some other house; but it is supposed that she went with
her children to visit Mrs. Timothy Kine and they went to-
g-ether to Nicholas Whalens house. Mrs Kine was alone
also with a small baby and when the Indians came she es-
caped to the river and the Indians failed to find her. She
was saved but she ^ot so scared at the time that she has
been a mental wreck ever since and is now in an asylum.
She managed, however to cross the river and make her
way to the farm of Ferdinand Erhardt, on Bullfoot dur-
ing the night or early in the next morning. The child in
her arms at that time is now Mrs. John Linker and resides
in Lincoln Center.

It has been told quite often but has never yet been put
on paper that the settlers when they got home and heard
what had happened to Mrs. Alderdice and Mrs. Kine and
the children, they held a council of war and decided to in-
flict capital punishment on Nicholas Whalen and Tom
Noon for deserting the women and children in that way.
Mrs. Kine, however, interfered promptly and said that
there had already been too much trouble and said that Mr.
Whalen and Tom Noon had done the right thing under the
circumstances as they could not have protected them against
so many Indians. It seems that when the men left the
settlement for Junction City, they had requested Mr.
Whalen to take care of the women and children, and he
had promised to do so. The two women and all of the
children were evidently on their way to the Whalen house
as it was getting close to evening when they were over-
taken and the Alderdice children were killed on the Whalen
farm. Naturally Mr. Whalen could not be held respon-
sible for what happened out on the prairie. This is the
only theory that can be advanced why the two women and
the five children were there at that time. They simply
failed to reach the Whalen house before they were over-
taken by the Indians. Mrs. Kine escaped and concealed
herself and the baby in the brush in the river bed.

After the copy for this book was ready for the press 1
visited Mrs. Kine at Leavenworth, and was able to obtain
from her a very clear statement corroborating the above,
except as modified by her story. She says "Mrs. Alder-


dice and I,and Tom Noon and wife were visiting- at Nick
Whalen's house on the day the Indians came into the
valley. When we heard the shooting and shouting, at the
time "Weichell and Meigerhoff were killed, about five p. m.,
Whalen left the house and went off to corral his horses
and take them to a place of safety; while Noon and wife
mounted their horses and fled, leaving Mrs. Alderdice and
myself and our five little children alone in the house. We
women took our children and ran to hide ourselves. I
reached the brush, but Mrs. Alderdice and her four child-
ren were overtaken."

Mrs. Alderdice and Mrs. Weichell were carried to the
south fork of the Platte river in Colorado, between Jules-
burg and Sterling. Here they were kept captives by Tall
Bull, the Souix chief, until the eleventh day of July 1869,
when during the battle Captain Cushing under General
Carr, found the two white women in Tall Bull's tent. Mrs.
Alderdice was mortally wounded and breathed her last, as
the soldiers entered the tepee. Mrs. Weichell was also
badly wounded, but was able to sit up. The Indians evi-
dently meant to have killed both of the women, but were
taken by such a sudden surprise that they did not have
time to complete the dastardly deed. Mrs. Alderdice was
buried there, and Mrs. Weichell taken care of and lived
to tell the tale of their hardships during that one month
and twelve days of their captivity. The story can perhaps
be better imagined than described, so I shall not attempt
to describe it. This rescue is known as the battle of Sum-
mit Springs.

Clubbing of John H. Strange and Shooting of
Arthur Schmutz.

The same day, May 30, 1869, two or three stray Indians
came as far east as the north half of the northeast quarter
of section eighteen, Elkhorn township, near the home of
John S. Strange., and found two boys about fourteen
years old. One was John Harrison Strange, a son of
Reverend John S. Strange, and the other Arthur Schmutz.
The Indians professed friendship, but the boys evidently
did not take it that way, as one Indian rode up and raising
to his full height dealt young Strange a terrible blow
with a club He died without a struggle. The Schmutz


boy started to run when he saw what had happened to his
playmate, whereupon he was shot with an arrow. The
arrow shaft was extracted all except part of the arrow
head, and the boy was taken to Fort Harker and placed in
the government hospital where he died, and he was buried
at Fort Harker. He lived and suffered for ten weeks be-
fore death relieved him.

Burial of the Dead.

The Alderdice children were buried on their grand-
father's farm, (M. Zeigler), on the northwest quarter of
section 22, Colorado township, near where the Monroe
school house now stands. The Strange boy was buried on
the Schermerhorn ranch, and afterward removed to the
Lincoln cemetery.

When the funeral of the Strange boy took place every-
body was armed as that was customary in those days. A
buflfalo came from the south and as the settlers were in
need of a little meat they gave chase as soon as they had
the body lowered in the grave. The buffalo was over-
taken at the Saline river and it was killed and divided.
This will show that the settlers were always ready for an
emergency. If it had been a party of Indians they would
more than likely have given battle to them as well as to a

Weichell and Meigerhoff were buried about a mile and
one half west of Lincoln Center just where they fell. The
bodies still rest there, and the exact spot is now uncertain.

From there the funeral party went up to Denmark and
found Mr. and Mrs Lauritzen and buried them. They
were also buried where they were found, and they still
rest there as they were never moved. The civilians that
buried the dead (there were no soldiers), were J J. Peate,
A. Campbell, of Salina; Lon Schermerhorn, Volney Ball,
Ed. Johnson, Isaac DeGraff, D. C. Skinner. R. B. Clark,
William E. Thompson, George Green, Z. Ivy of Tescottand
a few others. Those men came up the valley to perform
the last sad rites. Otto Petersen was not found until some
days later when Rev. T. M. Strange, and others came up
the valley and found his body, and he was buried where
he was found. The three are certainly buried on or close


to the southwest quarter of section 24, one half mile
south of the Lutheran church at Denmark.
Return of the Settlers.

Peter and Lorentz Christiansen and their wives were
saved. Helena, the daughter, was working at Wilson, Ells-
worth county, and Christian, the oldest son, was working at
the Schermerhorn ranch at that time, so there were only the
two brothers and their wives and Hans, the youngest son
of Peter Christiansen and the Lauritzen boy to move down
to the Schermerhorn ranch. They arrived there early in
the morning of May 31st and told what had happened on
Spillman creek the day before. A government wagon
hauled the two families to Fort Harker from the ranch,
but not being able to find any work there the two families
went to Junction City, where the men secured work at
their trade as blacksmiths. There they remained until
December, 1870, when they again moved back to Spillman,
arriving there on the first day of January 1871. There
were quite a number to come on that day, and two or three
families had come a short time before so there was more
security felt among them, but it took them a long time
to get over the Indian scare. When the Christiansen
brothers again returned to their land they found the graves
of Lauritzen and his wife. Her hoop skirt was sticking
out of the ground, which was all that the Indians had left
on her body except her stockings; otherwise she was nude.
I often wondered why she was killed, as the Indians were
seldom known to kill women, and I sometimes think that
she killed herself, or that her husband killed her, rather
than have her go into the hands of the Indians. They
evidently knew what her fate would be if that had
Eli Zeigler's Account of the Spillman Creek Raid

Eli Zeigler, the brother of Mrs. Susanna Alderdice, has
written the following account of the Spillman creek raid,
and it is here copied from the Lincoln papers of Novem-
ber, 18, 1909.

"Salem, Oregon, February 24, 1909,
*'J. J. Peate, Beverly, Kansas:

Dear Friend and Comrade — At your present request I


will tell you about the Indian raid on Spillman creek as I
saw it May 30, 1869. IG/GT^GG

"It has been a lont? time and I have seen no one to talk
with about it for years. I have seen John Alverson a few
times but do not remember that we talked about those
days, but will try to tell the tale without exageration.
There were but few settlers on Bacon creek, and hearing
of an abonded claim near Bacons, and that there were
eight or ten acres broken on it, I concluded to take it. I
understood that the man who did this breaking, fearing
an Indian raid, had left the country.

"John Alverson, my brother-in-law, took his team, which
we load^'d with corn and oats to plant, also provisions for
two weeks for ourselves and horses, expecting to be away
that length of time. We started from father's place (near
where Beverly now is) Sunday, May 30, 1869, and got up
to Thomas Alderdice's at noon and ate our dinner there.
Thomas Alderdice, I think was in Sa'ina. I do not re-
member of talking with any man in that settlement. Re-
port said that the Indians had been on the Solomon river
a few days before, but they had been driven off by a com-
pany of soldiers. My sister, Mrs. Alderdice, mentioned
that and told me to keep a sharp lookout. After eating
dinner with my sister, I bade her sood byp — little think-
ing that she would be in the hands of the Indians before
sundown, her children killed or wounded, and that I
would never see her again. After going a short distance I
saw a man on horse-back up toward the head of Lost creek,
riding fast toward the west. John thought he looked like
an Indian spy, but I thought it was some one looking for
cattle. We kept close watch on him to see where he was
going, but he gained so rapidly on us that we could soon
see him only on the highest hills. He was still riding at
full speed the last we saw of him on the hill east of Trail
creek, and the course he was taking he would cross Trail
creek about where the wagon road crossed, or a little
above We kept on going on across Trail creek when Johh
made the remark that he did not like the appearance of
things. After we left this creek going towards Spillman
creek, as we approached the highest ground we could look
up the bottom on the south of Spillman and there we saw
a party of horseman quite a way up the creek, and coming
down the bottom quite rapidly. We stopped a moment
to look at them, and John thought they were Indians, and
that was their spy who went ahead of us, but I thought
that they were soldiers, returning from the Solomon river.
They deceived me tha way they rode, riding like a com-
pany of soldiers in uniform line, and coming at a fast


gallop. The sun glistened on their guns so plain that I
still thought they were soldiers, but John would not have
it that way, but said they were Indians, and I had about
made up my mind that they were. They were getting by
this time about opposite us and we bad tried to count thera
several times. As near as we could make out there were
between 45 and 60 of them. At this time they were still
south of Spillman creek and a little above the Dane settle-

"We had made up our minds that there was no way of
avoiding an attack. Just hen we stopped, and we stopped
a moment; the distance between us being about one-half
mile. Then they all started for us on the run, except ten
or fifteen who went down the creek toward the Dane settle-
ment. There was a knoll just north of us, and I thought
best to get on that and tight them, thinking that we would
have time to unhitch the horses and tie them to the wagon
before they got to us. 8o we drove to the knoll. I jumped
out to unhook the horses, but John thought it would not
do to stop there, there being so many Indians he thought
best for us to get to the creek. I jumped back into the
wagon and we sta ted toward Trail creek, going in a north-
easterly direction to the nearest point. We came to the
creek about half a mile above the crossing. As we were
not very well armed we talked the matter over while go-
ing to the creek. I having a needle gun and about forty
rounds of cartridges and John an old muzzle loader, we
concluded that I would do the shooting and John would
hold the load in his gun as a reserve shot.

" W hen we got to the creek the Indians were close be-
hind us. I looked across the creek and thought there was
a little bank on the other side that would protect us some.
So I drove across, but John misunderstood me and jumped
out into the creek and I drove up the bank. John ran
along under the bank on the side I was on; the Indians
were coming across the creek within a few yards of us,
shooting and yelling. John was calling for me to get out
of the wagon, when I got to that little bank, I stopped the
horses, seeing nothing more could be done to save the
team and that we must defend ourselves, I dropped the
lines, grabbed my gun and jumped tmt on the off side of
the wagon. Reaching in the box for my cartridges, I
could get only the box, about 20 rounds. While I was
getting the cartridges the Indians were close all around.
One of them rode up and picked up the lines just as I had
laid them down and he held the horses. I thought sure
I'll put a hole through you, but before I could get my
gun around he jumped off his pony down beside the wagon,


and still held the horses. The Indians were shooting all
this time. John was calling for me to get under the bank.
Just then another Indian darted up right close to the
wagon and I thought I would get him, but before I could
cover him with my gun he jumped his pony on the oppo-
site side of the wagon, so I could not get him.

'"John was still begging me to jump over the bank and
I had about made up my mind to. As I stepped out from
the wagon I looked toward the rear and behind the wagon
and saw three Indians standing about four rods away,
having me covered with their guns. I had no time for a
shot, so made a spring for the creek bank; my foot slipped
and I fell just as they fired. I think they over shot me.
I also think that the slip is what saved me. I kept going
on my hands and feet over the bank. As they were pour-
ing the shots right at us at short range we saw a log lying
up the bank a little below us, we ran to that, thinking that
would protect us on the side. We expected a good, long,
hard fight, but as we ran to the log and jumped over, gett-
ing ourselves into position, the Indians I guess saw that
we were going to try to protect ourselves. They kept
back on the bank out of our sight, and drove the team
away just after we got behind the log, and the Indians
quit shooting at us. Then we could hear shooting down
the creek near the Dane settlement, when John said, "My
God! They are lighting down at the Dane settlement."
This firing did not last long, and we thought it was the
small band that went down that way, and that there would
be enough of the whites there to stand them off and get in
position by the time the band that had attacked us con-
cluded to withdraw and go down and re-enforce their com-

"We kept waiting behind the log for some time, expect-
ing the Indians were going to slip upon us in some way
around the creek banks, and we were prepared for them.
If John had had a good repeating gun when we were under
the creek bank, he had plenty of opportunity to make a
few Good Indians, but did not dare to shoot that one load
out while by himself. We lay there by the log quite a
little time in readiness We did not hear any more of the
Indians, and did not see anything of them. I then crawled
up the creek bank to take a look. Away down on the
east side of Spillman creek I saw two or three horseman,
which I thought were Indians. Concluding that the In-
dians had left us, we decided to try and go down to the
Dane Settlement.

"We expected the Indians to lie in the ambush for us
along the creek, therefore we worked our way slowly and


carefully, every little ways going up the bank to see if
we could see anything of the Indians.

"Seeing no signs of foes, we could keep on going, and
we passed the Dane settlement before sundown. We could
go up the bank watching closely and listen, expecting to
hear somebody or see where the Indians had been. We
knew there were settlers near there, but did not know
where their house was located. Not seeing their house,
we passed on. Continuing our journey along the creek
slowly and cautiously, we thought that the Indians had not
gone farther than the Dane settlement, and that they had
probably gone back, as we could not see or hear anything
of them. It was now growing dark, and we tLought best
to keep on the safe side and keep close to the creek, so in
case they had gone farther down, and were on their way
back, we would meet them in a place where we could have
the advantage.

"We followed Spillman creek down to its mouth, then
down the Saline. I do not know what time of the night
it was, but it was several hours after dark. We had not
seen or heard anything since leaving our log on Trail
creek, and concluded that the Indians had not passed down

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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 3 of 6)