William Henry Ryus.

The second William Penn; a true account of incidents that happened along the old Santa Fe trail in the sixties online

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Online LibraryWilliam Henry RyusThe second William Penn; a true account of incidents that happened along the old Santa Fe trail in the sixties → online text (page 10 of 11)
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said I had to stay. I liked that first rate, but I
did hate to lose the time.

Daugherty came to Kansas in 1862, drumming
for a house that sold fine linens, laces and silks,
and had never done anything but sell silks, etc.
He was sitting in a kind of a tavern one morning
and chanced to see an advertisement in the paper
that struck his "funny side." A gentleman living
at the corner of Fifth and Shawnee Streets in
Leavenworth, Kansas, had advertised for a con-
tractor to build him a cellar, and the advertise-
ment said that none "but experienced contractors
need apply." The drummer, Bill Daugherty, de-
cided he would call upon the gentleman who
wanted "an experienced contractor." When he
arrived at the place specified in the advertisement
he found it to be a large general merchandise
store. Daugherty introduced himself to the pro-
prietor of the place and told him that he was an
experienced contractor. "And," said Daugherty,
"I see you are in a hurry for the cellar, sure and


I am the laddie that can build that cellar quicker
than a bat can wink its eye. I'm from auld Ire-
land, and conthracting is me pusiness." The
merchant told him that he wanted the cellar built
right away, and showed him the ground he want-
ed it built on which adjoined his business house
on the corner. Daugherty asked the merchant
how much time he would allow him to build the
cellar in, and the merchant told him not longer
than eight or ten days. "Well," said Bill, "I will
do it in less time."

"Now, sir, you furnish me the tools, shovels,
picks, wheelbarrows, and running plank to the
number I want, and I will go to work on your
cellar, Friday, if you will give me $100." The
merchant said he could not afford to give more
than $80 for the job and that he would have to
take $20 in trade. "Alright, py golly," Bill ans-
wered, "I will take the job that way, providing
you put it in writing." The contract was drawn
up and said that the cellar was to be commenced
on at 7 o'clock Saturday morning. The merchant
was to furnish all tools or pay for the tools
Daugherty bought up to a certain given number.
Friday night Daugherty had all his tools on the
"job" and made everything ready to commence
work Saturday morning. Bright and early Sat-
urday morning Bill was there and he had two
wagons from the saloon on the ground also.

Thursday evening when he first made the
agreement to build the cellar, he went to the
saloon and told the "Bys" to come to Fifth and
Shawnee Streets Saturday, that he was going to
give a "B," and it was to be the best time, and the


liveliest time, and the finest "B" they ever saw.
He told the boys at the saloon all about his con-
tract with the merchant, and as they were mostly
Irish, they quickly agreed to help out with the

Bill Daugherty had the saloon man send down
four bartenders, and he had a keg of beer placed
at equal distances apart with mugs and glasses
and the bartenders to draw the beer, and the fun
commenced. Before seven o'clock more than fifty
men were on the job. The alley behind the store
building was five feet under grade and he put run-
ning plank on the ground from the front of the
ground running into the alley, and put four wheel-
barrows on them and a set of men shoveling. The
work progressed nicely with the Irishmen work-
ing and drinking and singing. Bill Daugherty
was in his glory and the old merchant was "feel-
n' blue." Bill kept encouraging his workmen
telling them that some "great big doin's was a-
comin' off along about eaten' time." The restau-
rant man came with a fine dinner and furnished
everything in the eating line but the coffee, and
the saloon man was there with the "drinks."

At one o'clock they all started to work and at
4 o'clock that afternoon they had completed the
cellar, and the engineer had inspeced it, and
passed his judgment that it was a "good job."
Daugherty went in the store to get "paid off,"
he was feeling pretty good.

He told the merchant that he wanted a nice vest
for himself, a pair of shoes, and a shirt and hat.
Then, he told the merchant that he wanted to
see a fine paisley shawl, one that "you would like


to see your wife wear." The merchant showed
him an $8 shawl, but it did not please the fancy
of old Bill Daugherty. "Show me a shawl that
you would be pleased to see your wife wear, one
that you would be proud to see her wear to
church, that old shawl is not genteel/' This time
the merchant took down a $16 shawl and after
close examination, and the assurance that it was
the best one he had in the house, Daugherty ac-
cepted the shawl. "Now," said Daugherty, "I
want my cash." The merchant counted out the
balance of the money to him, and said he would
wrap the shawl for the "contractor." The mer-
chant began to wrap the shawl up for Bill and
Bill told him that "that won't do, a lady wouldn't
have a fine shawl wrapped up like that, let me
ahold of the strings and fine papers." Daugherty
called for tissue paper, he wrapped his purchase
up neatly and then called for ribbon with which
to tie it. He wanted green and red ribbons. After
encasing the article in the tissue paper bound
around with ribbons, he put a piece of wrapping
paper about it, and left the store, and its room
full of amused spectators.

Bill went from the store straight to the home
of the old merchant and told the wife of the
merchant that he was "frash from auld Ireland,
and that he had one shawl left, from his large
stock, that he would sell her real cheaply. He
commenced to talk to the lady, and all the time
he was talking he was unwinding the papers
from around the shawl. She looked at him in
amazement, and he told her that he had sold out
a large collection of fine shawls that he had


brought from Paris, and that her husband had
seen this shawl and greatly admired it, and that
he had said to him in the presence of several other
men, that he would like to see his wife wear a
shawl like it." She told him that the shawl must
be very choice.

At last the wrappers were all off the shawl,
and he threw it about her shoulders and told her
to look in the glass. He slapped his hands to-
gether, saying, "beautiful, beautiful real Pari-
sian." On talked the talkative Bill, until at last
he saw he had won the lady to his "view of think-
ing that she was a real Parisian figure with the
shawl gracefully draped about her shoulders, and
she asked him what he would take for it.

He told her that she could have it for just $65,
and before she could catch her breath, he wheeled
her about where she could see her profile in the
glass, and told her to "just look at the reflection,
could anything be handsomer?" He told her that
it was the last one he had, and was cheap at the
price, that her husband had said so, and that he
said he would like to see her wear it.

She paid the money for it and he departed. He
met one of his cronies down the street and told
him about the transaction. "Now," said he, "you
go down and tell him that he had better come
over to the saloon and treat, and I will have the
other boys over there hidden in the back room,
and we will all get a glass and

"All go down to Rowser, to Rowser, to Rowser,

We'll all go down to Rowser and get a drink of


Well, the merchant "fell to" and the treats cost
him in round figures the sum of $11.00. When
Daugherty left to catch his stage out from there
to Fort Zara, he was still treating the crowd, and
getting pretty full, himself.

After the affair at Leavenworth, Bill Daugh-
erty came to Kansas City on the boat, and asked
the stage company if they needed a man to care
for some of their stations. Mr. Barnum employed
Bill and he went to Fort Zara, out among the
Indians, where Bill's tongue helped him to get
along very nicely with them.

When he chanced to allude to Fort Leaven-
worth, he always told the story of his "contract-
ing" at Leavenworth on the corner of Fifth and
Shawnee Streets. Out there at Fort Zara, Bill
enjoyed himself as only Irishmen can, but his
stumbling block was Captain Conkey, who was
the biggest crank on earth, "take it from me/'
for he and I had a little "set-to." Daugherty al-
ways sent his "red, white and blue regards to the
old merchant" by whosoever went to Leaven-

Captain Conkey.

Captain Conkey was a "jackass" to make a long
story short. He had a company of soldiers at
Fort Zara for the purpose of escorting the mail
from one station to another. Once on my way
East with a coach full of passengers, a snow
storm began to rage, at about four o'clock in the
afternoon, soon after I had left Fort Larned. It
snowed so hard that at 8 o'clock we couldn't tell
where the road was, and the passengers took it
time and about with me running along the road
in front of the coach to find the road.

We got to Fort Zara at ten o'clock that night,
the orderly sergeant came after the mail about
500 yards from the soldiers' camp. I told the
sergeant that I wanted an escort at nine o'clock
in the morning. He gave Captain Conkey my
orders and the Captain told him to go back and
arrest me and put me in chains. The First Lieu-
tenant told the Captain that I would be there in
the morning; that they had no place to sleep me,
so the Captain let me alone that night, but the
next morning he sent his orderly after me. When
the orderly came to the station, he said to me,
"that old fool of a captain sent me down here to
arrest you." I asked him what he wanted with
me. The orderly told me that he was to arrest
me for ordering an escort. I told the orderly
to "fire away," I would go over and see the old



Their quarters was a little dugout in the side
of the hill along the river bank. They had a
gunny sack for the door, and I went into the
first room, which was used for a kitchen, and
the cook told me to go to the next room, it had
a gunny sack door, too, the First and Second
Lieutenants were in there. They told me to go
on to the next room that the Captain's headquar-
ters was in the other room. I had my mittens
and overcoat on, and he said, "you pull off your
hat, you insolent puppy, and salute me." I re-
plied to the Captain's kind words of greeting
that, "I will not salute you, but excuse me, I
should have had manners enough to have removed
my hat." He told me that he "would put the
irons" on me. I answered him that I did not
think he would do such an unmanly thing, at
least right then. This exasperated the haughty
Captain, and he hollowed for the First Lieuten-
ant to come and put me in irons. I asked him
what he was there for, and he told me that it was
"none of my business." I then got pretty mid-
dling hot myself, and I told him that if he did
not know his business, that it was "up to me" to
"put you next," or words to that extent. I told
him that he was there for the purpose of furnish-
ing escorts for the United States mail and that
it was I, and not he, in command there, then, by
virtue with the position I held with the Govern-
ment, and I told him that I now ordered him to
be placed under arrest. I called on the Lieuten-
ant to place the irons on him. I told him that I
would take him to Leavenworth, and the Lieuten-


ant, delighted by the change of program, said,

Captain Conkey then told me that he would
furnish the escort, and I told him to do so, then,
and I would leave him here, that I had no room
on the coach for such a "donkey" as he was, but
that I would tell the commanding officer at Fort
Leavenworth that we needed a captain for the
company here, in order to save time and trouble
for the other conductors of the road. I told him
that he had not only taken up time, but that he
had made a perfect "donkey" of himself, and of
the men who had favored him with this position.

Captain Conkey asked me if the Indians were
bad again. I told him that it did not matter
whether they were bad or not, I wanted an escort.
I got my escort of fifteen soldiers at last and
after getting the teams hitched, off we started,
the soldiers in advance to break the roads. That
is, as a matter of fact, all the use we had for
them. We could travel very well when they had
ridden ahead and broke the snow so we could
follow the trail.

Daugherty built him a new station across the
creek from where Conkey was camped, on Walnut
Creek. He put up corralls for the mules and
built a fort-like building for his home. About the
time he had finished his buildings, some white
hunters had killed some Indians, and trouble be-
gan between the white race and the Indian tribes.

One day at about ten o'clock in the forenoon,
Mr. Daugherty went up on the top of his house
with his field glasses to inspect the surrounding
country. He noticed that Indian smokes were


all around, and the Indians seemed to be coming
toward them all the time.

He hastened down from the roof and called
the orderly from Captain Conkey's company to
him and told him that unless the Captain moved
to his fort within an hour and a half that they
would all be killed by the Indians. There had
been bad blood between Conkey and Bill Daugh-
erty for quite a while, and when Daugherty sent
the orderly to Conkey with the warning of the
coming Indians, Captain Conkey got mad and
told the orderly to go over and arrest Daugherty
for disturbing his peace. Just as the soldiers
coming to arrest him stepped on the bridge, Bill
Daugherty halted them. He said, "if you come
another foot, I will fire on you." You go back
and tell Conkey, the fool, that if he don't get you
men to this side inside of half an hour, you will
all be "gonners." If you want the protection of
my fort, come over and you will have the same
protection as I have, otherwise, you will go up
in smoke, holy, or otherwise. Daugherty then
took his gun and went to the Captain, and salut-
ing him, said: "The Indians are coming, 1,000
strong, and unless you get your wagons, etc., out
of here, and at once, you will be scalped." Cap-
tain Conkey then decided that for the benefit of
his health, he had better decamp to the other side
for protection. He just barely escaped when the
Indians swooped down on his camp ground. Then
Daugherty took his gun and went to the bridge
and laid the gun down and walked over it toward
the Indians, motioning to them that he came in
peace, and for them to come and get something to


eat. Daugherty took four of the Indians to his
fort and gave them some bacon, coffee and other
provisions, and took two other men from the fort
with him with axes, to chop wood for a fire, and
they cooked a meal and with the Indians the four
white persons and Bill Daugherty sat down to
"meat." Bill Daugherty showed the Indian chiefs
over his fort, explained the working of his guns
and cannons. He had 40 port holes in the houses
and shelves under each one on which to rest a
gun. After giving them a large box of smoking
tobacco, he told them they could go on back to
their camp and that he would keep the soldiers
peaceable if he would keep his braves peaceable.
Captain Conkey told Daugherty that he believed
he would go down and see the chief, and Bill
answered him, to "go if you d ed please, and you
want to lose your scalp, for they will surely not
put up with your palaver." Conkey concluded
that he had better remain in the home of his
enemy than risk his precious scalp at the camp of
the Indians.


Colonel Moore's Graphic Description of a Fight
with Cheyennes.*

That Colonel Milton Moore for a quarter of a
century has been a prominent practitioner at the
Kansas City bar, a member of the election boards,
and is now serving as a school commissioner is
well known, but that the old commander of the
Fifth Missouri infantry was ever a Santa Fe
freighter in the days when freighting was fight-
ing, was not generally known until there appeared
a month ago in Hal Reid's monthly, Western
Life, a paper written by Colonel Moore for the
Kansas Historical Society.

The story is that of an engagement between a
party of freighters, with whom was young Moore,
and a band of Indians, in 1864, not far from
Dodge City.

The story as told by Colonel Moore was in-
complete in that he admitted he did not know by
what Indians his party was attacked. A week ago
the sequel appeared in the form of a letter from
George Bent, at present residing at Colony, Okla.,
who has written to Colonel Moore to tell him
that the leader of the Indians he fought with
forty-four years ago was the notorious "Little

*NOTE. Colonel Milton Moore, the signer of this Preface, is a
man of unusual legal ability. The confidence reposed in the old
commander of the Fifth Missouri infantry is clearly set forth by
the fact that for more than a quarter of a century he has been a
member of the police and election boards and has served for a
long time as school commissioner and is one of the most promi-
nent practitioners at the Kansas City Bar, with offices on the
third floor, suite 3, Rialto Bldg., Kansas City, Mo.


Robe," no chief at all but a great warrior. With
the Bent letter Colonel Moore's story is complete,
and both are here given:

"After the commencement of the Indian war on the up-
per Arkansas in 1864 caravans were not permitted to pro-
ceed westward of Fort Larned on the Pawnee Fork, or the
confluence of that stream with the Arkansas, near where
the city of Larned now stands, on the river road, in parties
of less than 100 men. In August two trains of Stuart,
Slemmons & Co., who had the general contract for the
transportation of government stores for the posts on the
Arkansas and in New Mexico and Arizona that year,
reached the mouth of Pawnee fork, and found awaiting
them a Mexican train bound for some point below the
Santa Fe, also a small train of fourteen wagons under the
direction of Andrew Blanchard of Leavenworth. The
name of the wagonmaster of the Mexican train is not re-
membered, but he was either a Frenchman or Castilian.
The S. S. trains were under the charge respectively of
Charles P. McRea and John Sage, both of whom were men
of experience and tried courage. The four trains having a
force of men numbering more than 100 were allowed to

"A full train of the period was twenty-five wagons
loaded with freight, and a provision wagon, commonly
known as the 'mess wagon/ each drawn by six yokes of
oxen; the freight of each wagon was from 6,000 to 7,000
pounds. There was one wagonmaster, one assistant and
one extra man, denominated the 'extra hand/ who were
mounted, twenty-six teamsters and two night herders. In
practice the night herders soon became teamsters, replac-
ing sick men, or those who for some reason had turned, or
were turned back, and the slavish duty of night herding
cattle fell upon the teamsters.

"Thomas Fields of Jackson County, Missouri, route agent
for the S. S. company, was elected captain of the com-
bined trains. He was a man of many years* experience on


the plains, and had been in more than one contest with the

"The rule of travel was : The train having the advance
today should go to the rear tomorrow, and so on. Blanch-
ard, having light wagons, which could be moved easily and
rapidly, was dissatisfied with the rule, and refused at times
to be governed by it, with the result hereinafter stated.

"On Sunday, August 21, the trains, after a hard morning
drive, reached the head of the 'dry route/ which left the
river some miles below the present Dodge City, ran over
the hills by old Fort Larned, not touching the Arkansas
valley again until the crossing of Walnut creek. McRea
was in front, followed by Sage, the Mexican, and Blanch-
ard, in the order named. The region was known to be
dangerous because near the great trail of the Indians in
their journeyings from north to south and the reverse.

"McRea went into corral just south of the road about 10
o'clock a. m., and Sage and the Mexican in their order, but
well closed up. The three first trains corralled so as to
leave room for Blanchard's train with its rear resting on
or near a bayou in such way that it would be practically
impossible for a band of Indians to sweep around it. In-
stead of camping at the place designated, Blanchard con-
tinued on and went into corral about half a mile beyond
McRea. The cattle were placed south of the trains, near
the river, and guards put out. The trainmen were armed
with Minie rifles, and the order in force required that these
be carried in slings on the left sides of the wagons a rule
but little observed. As a matter of fact, the guns were
usually in the wagons, and practically inaccessible when
needed in an emergency, except as hereafter stated. The
teamsters of McRea's train were largely from Missouri;
and a number of them had seen military service upon one
side or the other in the Civil War. They were a well-
controlled and reliable body. The first mess on the right
wing were white men, excepting the negro cook, Thomas
Fry, who was afterwards a ragpicker in Kansas City, and
died there. He was an honorably discharged soldier from


the United States volunteer army on account of the loss
of the first two fingers of the right hand in battle.

"The second mess was wholly negroes, or 'black men/
as the Missourians of the period termed them. The ne-
groes, possibly from the novelty of having far-shooting
guns in their possession, habitually had their arms at hand
when in camp, practicing at targets as far as allowed by
the rules of the wagonmaster. At about 1 o'clock in the
afternoon the camp was quiet, many of the men asleep;
one big fellow was lying on his back under his wagon
singing 'Sweet Eloise/ and three men from McRea's train
were out more than 100 yards towards the ridge, shooting
at prairie dogs.

"Suddenly the cry of 'Indians' came from one of these.
A glance at the ridge not more than half a mile away
showed it to be covered with mounted Indians, and a dozen
or more coming down the slope at full run, evidently in-
tending to overtake the three men before they could reach
the corral, and were in a fair way to do so, and possibly
pass between Sage and McRea. The six negroes of the
second mess instead of running inside the corral and firing
from behind wagons, as they would have been justified in
doing, boldly opened fire on the advancing party and
walked out to the road towards them. This turned the
Indians and the three men came in safely. Nevertheless
five of the Indians, led by a man on a yellow pony, dashed
through between the trains of McRea and Blanchard and
very near the latter. Probably forty or more passed around
the head of Blanchard's train and came in south of it.

"The ridge was still covered with mounted men who had
not then descended into the valley. When Blanchard saw
the five Indians pass by the mouth of his corral he mounted
his pony, drew his revolver, an ordinary 36-caliber, and
rode out after them, evidently not noticing those who had
passed around the front of his train. By the time he had
gotten possibly 200 yards from his camp the Indians, who
by that time had concentrated, divided into two parties, and
one began to drive off his cattle and the other to circle


around him, lying on the sides of their ponies and covering
their bodies with shields. By this time the train men in
the corrals of McRea and Sage had got their arms and
those on the south side opened fire, but at too great a dis-
tance to protect Blanchard, or to do the Indians serious

"The Indians closed on Blanchard, and either knocked
him off his horse in an effort to get him onto one of their
own ponies, to take him out of the fire or he fell from
wounds. As he fell his fourteen teamsters and one night
herder left their corral, and without a word of command
formed a line, and charged the mass of Indians, firing rap-
idly as they advanced. The Indians hesitated before giv-
ing up their victim, but finally retreated. Blanchard was
able to get on his feet and run to his men, who brought
him to McRea's camp where he died in an hour. He had
been shot one or more times, lanced behind one shoulder,
and an arrow had entered his back near the spinal column
and protruded about eight inches out through the stomach ;
this he pulled through himself before reaching his rescuers.

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Online LibraryWilliam Henry RyusThe second William Penn; a true account of incidents that happened along the old Santa Fe trail in the sixties → online text (page 10 of 11)