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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chances with thirty soldiers than more.

We left Fort Larned a little before noon and ar-
rived at Big Coon Creek, twenty-two miles from
Fort Larned, where we stopped for supper at about
four o'clock in the afternoon. A lieutenant of my
escort in charge of the soldiers put out a guard.
While we were eating supper the guards shot off
their guns and came rushing into camp with news
that a thousand or more Indians were hidden along
the banks of Coon Creek. The lieutenant placed
double guard and came out to me and gravely
suggested that we go back to Fort Larned and get
more soldiers before attempting to cross farther
into the Great Divide.


I told the lieutenant to take his soldiers and go
back to Fort Larned and I would go on. He asked
me why I did not go alone in the first place. I told
him that I needed him NOW, and he asked me
how that was, I told him that if he would take his
soldiers and go back to Fort Larned the Indians
would follow him and let me alone. He said he
would go with me. We finished our dinner and I
went to the soldiers' wagons and got two big arm-
fuls of bread, about sixty pounds of bacon and a
large bucket of coffee. I took them down to our
camp, spread a newspaper upon the ground, laid
the bacon, bread and coffee on the spread, placed
a handful of matches near the bread, then went to
our own mess and took several cans of coffee and
bread from it, left them one of our buckets and an
extra coffee pot that I carried with me, and got a
large camp kettle from the soldiers and left it for
the Indians. Then I gathered a few more buffalo
chips and placed on the fire to keep it from going
out, and my plan was complete.

I told the lieutenant to take his soldiers and
drive on over the hill just out of sight and to stop
there. I sent one of my coaches ahead and all of
my passengers got into that coach. I told my
driver to go up to the top of the hill and stop the
mules there, but to keep in sight of me. I had my
coach driven up the road about 100 yards, and on
looking up the creek I saw one Indian in war paint
and feathers looking around the bluff at me. That
was the only one of their band I could see, so I got
up on top of my coach and motioned for him to
come to me.

Two Indians came up to within 100 feet of me,
stopped and looked all around. (Indians are very



"Billy of the Stage Coach," Treating with the Indians.


cautious that they do not get caught in a trap).
They rode up closer, looking intently at me all the
time and talking to each other. I motioned with
both hands while I was standing on top of the
coach to come and I made them understand that
I was friendly. They answered by Indian signs,
then gave a big yell, an Indian whoop that liked
to have froze the blood in the veins of the passen-
gers. They gave this whoop three times, and in
an instant, it seemed to me, five or six hundred
Indians came down and formed in a line about
the coach on top of which I stood. I bowed to
them and pointed to the supper I had prepared for
them. "They came, they saw, and were con-
quered." They bowed to me in their Indian lan-
guage and signs expressing their gratitude for this
hospitality. One old Indian came forward, laid
his bow and arrow and spears upon the ground
(the Indian sign of peace) and motioned for me
to come and eat with them. I motioned to them
that I must go on, so they said good-bye. When
I got to the top of the hill I had my coach brought
to a standstill. I slapped my hands together and
again motioned them good-bye. All at once these
Indians raised their hands and bade me good-bye,
saluting me. These Indians were fierce looking
creatures in their war-paint and with their spears,
which they do not carry unless they expect trouble.
That was the last time I saw those Indians on that

We had no other excitement on our way to Fort
Lyons, unless the encounter with the buffalo herds
could be so called. A large herd of buffalo were
grazing on the plains and was not an unusual sight
for the drivers and me. However, when we came


in sight of them one passenger cried out, "Stop
the coach, stop the coach; see, there are a thousand
buffalo standing belly deep in the lake." "Oh,"
I said, "you do not see any water that isn't a
lake." "What?" one said, "do our eyes really de-
ceive us out here on these infernal plains ? If it is
not water and a lake those buffalo are standing in,
what in the name of sense is it?" I told them that
what they saw was nothing more than merely buf-
falo at a distance on the plain ; that what they saw
that resembled water was simply an optical illu-
sion, called the "mirage." Webster describes the
word as follows : "An optical illusion arising from
an unequal refraction in the lower strata of the at-
mosphere and causing remote objects to be seen
double, as if reflected in a mirror, or to appear as
if suspended in the air. It is frequently seen in the
deserts, presenting the appearance of water. The
Fata Morgana and Looming are species of mirage."
The mirage is one of the most beautiful scenes I
ever beheld and can only be seen on the plains or
in deserts in its complete beauty. It has to be seen
to be appreciated. It makes a buffalo look like it
had two tails. Everything looks double.

We had not much sooner spied the buffalo than
they spied us and they started on the run across
the road ahead of us. We were compelled to wait
a half an hour until they had crossed the road.
We passed ox trains every day or so going to and
from New Mexico. In a few days we were in Fort
Lyon, where we separated from the passengers,
and we drivers would take the incoming coach and
its passengers and drive back along the Long

The Chivington Massacre.

There was a station on the Union Pacific Road
called Kit Carson; near this station is a place called
Sand Creek. It was at the latter named place
where Major John L. Chivington made his bloody

In the summer of 1864 the combined Indian tribe
went on the warpath. They were camped north
of Fort Larned, garrisoned with Kansas troops
and a section of a Wisconsin battery in charge of
Lieutenant Croker, and Captain Ried was the com-
manding officer. The Indians first commenced
war at Fort Larned and ran off some horses, beef
cattle and some milch cows that were the property
of James Brice.

At the time Chivington made this raid there was
camped at Sand Creek about one hundred and fifty
lodges of women, children and a few decrepit In-
dians. This was one of the most brutal massacres
a white man was ever known to have commanded.
With some sixty soldiers he said he would go and
"clean 'em up." He got there at daybreak and be-
gan to fire on the Indians and killed a great many
women and children. He burned several lodges,
confiscated their provisions, blankets and other
supplies. The Indian braves who were able to
fight had some poisoned arrows which they used
advantageously. Every soldier they hit was either
seriously injured or killed. Up in the day the In-
dians got reinforcements and gave Chivington's
raiders quite a chase. These Indians were left en-


tirely destitute, for Chivington had seized all the
supplies and either loaded them into his wagons
or destroyed them by fire. For that reason the
surviving Indians commenced depredations on the
stock and other property of settlers at Fort Larned.

It is said, but as to the truthfulness of the asser-
tion I do not vouch, for it did not happen under
my personal knowledge that a man by the name
of McGee, who was a teamster on a train loaded
with flour for the Government, was captured not
far from there and was scalped and left for dead;
that the Eastern mail happening to come along
shortly after, found the body and placed it upon
the boot of the coach; that before arriving at Fort
Larned they found that instead of carrying a
corpse, as it was at first supposed, they carried
a living man. This man was taken to a hospital
and got well. He raised a family of children and
his sons, some of them live in or around Independ-
ence, Missouri. This man, Mr. McGee, is said to
be the only scalped man in the United States who
lived after being scalped.

After this brutal crime against the Indians,
trouble commenced on the Santa Fe Trail, and the
sight of a "pale face" brought memories of the as-
sassination of their tribe by Chivington and his

At this Indian lodge where the Chivington mas-
sacre occurred lived the father-in-law of John
Powers. He was known the plains over as a peace-
able old Indian (Old One Eye), the chief of the
Cheyennes, but his "light was put out" during this
desperate fight with Chivington.

Right here I will give an account of the marriage
of John Powers to the daughter of "Old One Eye."


Mr. Powers had crossed the plains several times
as wagon-boss for Colonel Charles Bent, who was
the builder of Bent's Fort, also the new fort at Fort
Lyons. He was also wagon boss for Mr. Winsor,
the settler at Fort Lyon at the time of his marriage
to the daughter of the old chief.

Mr. Powers' mother, Mrs. Fogel, and his step-
father received the news of Powers' marriage with
many misgivings and rebuked him severely for
having made such a choice, finally vowing that
they disowned him and never wanted to see him
again. With a finality not at all disconsolate John
Powers set about to polish his Indian wife for the
polite society of his mother, so he sent her to
school, chaperoned by Miss Mollie Bent.

At the school at West Port this Indian girl soon
excelled and under the careful management of Miss
Bent the wife of John Powers soon became an ex-
pert in domestic science. But Powers, getting im-
patient for a meeting between his mother and wife,
asked Mollie Bent to arrange it. So accordingly
Miss Mollie visited at the home of her friends, the
Fogels, and during the gossip Miss Bent casually
remarked to Mrs. Fogel that she had a most
charming friend, an Indian maid, over at the
school whom she would like to introduce to her.

When Mrs. Fogel insisted upon her coming over
the following Saturday, bringing with her her
friend, Mollie Bent's heart was little less glad than
John Powers.

At last the eventful day had arrived. Mollie,
accompanied with John's "Indian squaw," went to
the home of Mrs. Fogel. The high-spiritedness of
the Indian maid soon captivated Mrs. Fogel. After
they had eaten supper Mrs. Fogel was ordered to


go to the front porch and entertain her other vis-
itor, Miss Mollie Bent, while she (Mrs. John Pow-
ers) did up the kitchen work and cleared up the
dining room. Mrs. Fogel did so with reluctance,
wondering greatly just how a real Indian would
do up her greatly "civilized" kitchen work. But
she did not wonder long, for very soon, indeed,
the daughter of "Old One Eye" came to inquire
of her host where to place the dishes and how to
arrange the dining room.

Mrs. Fogel was as pleased as she was surprised
at the neatness and despatch with which the work
had been done and told her daughter-in-law so,
little knowing that she was dealing with her own
son's wife. Each Saturday after this John Pow-
ers' wife visited at the home of her mother-in-law
and learned many things from Mrs. Fogel that
only endeared her more to the Fogel family.
Swiftness and despatch is one of the Indian char-

Early in the spring of 1863 Colonel Bent sold
John Powers his train of nine wagons for $10,000.
Powers then started to the states in February to
load up. He loaded with corn to be taken to Fort
Union, New Mexico, for the Government. Witti
his two original wagons his trip netted him $10,000.
He immediately returned to the states to make his
second trip and to visit his wife and Miss Mollie
Bent in Kansas City, Missouri. His mother did
not know he was there. When he arrived in Kan-
sas City from his second trip he decided to put his
"spurs" on, so to speak, so he bought him a fine
carriage, a team of prancing horses, and went like
a "Prince of Plenty" to the home of his mother.

It had already been planned that Hiawatha One


Eye Powers, that is, Mrs. John Powers, would be
ensconced at the home of Mrs. Fogel, his mother.
Mollie Bent was there, and girl like, was delighted
over the romance being enacted under that roof.
The heart of the Indian maid was beating a happy
tattoo under her civilian dress.

A cloud of dust up the road announced that John
was now near the parental roost. Mrs. Fogel with
her motherly solicitude was awaiting him with
happy tears dimming her eyes. She took in with
all a mother's fondness his high-stepping prancers,
his prosperous appearance, last but not least the
entire absence of the Indian daughter-in-law.

When the greeting of mother and son was over
they went into the house where Mrs. Fogel intro-
duced her Indian friend, remarking as she did so
that she was a rare and exquisite wild flower of
the plains. Consternation and surprise chased
themselves over Mrs. Fogel's features when she,
turning, beheld her protege pressed upon her son's
breast. With eyes ablaze with happy lights he
led her to his mother, saying, "Mother, I now in-
troduce you to my wife."

When Mrs. Fogel had recovered from the sur-
prise which accompanied the shock of this disclo-
ure she seized the girl in her motherly arms, and
if ever a girl got a "hugging" Hiawatha got one
from an ACTUAL mother-in-law.

Mollie Bent was hysterical, laughing and crying
at the same time.

When John Powers had loaded his train he took
back with him his wife and her friend, Miss Mollie
Bent, as far as Fort Lyon. Fifteen years after this
incident I met John Powers in Topeka, Kansas.
He looked at me a long time and I returned his


stare. Finally he said, "Ho, there, ain't your name
Billy, the boy who used to get along with the In-
dians so well, cuss your soul?" I told him that I
was, and he said, "I'm right glad to see you again,
Billy." I asked him if he wasn't John Powers, and
he told me he was. Then I asked him his business
in Topeka, and he told me he had just brought his
two daughters to Bethany College at Topeka,

Mr. Powers was at that time badly afflicted with
cancer of the tongue, and he told me that he hadn't
long to live. He also told me that he had bought
the Old Arcadia Indian Camp on the Picketwaire
River (Picketwaire means River of Lost Souls or
Purgatory to the Indians). The camp is between
Fort Lyons and Bent's Old Fort on the opposite
of the river. Some of the land at that time was
rated at $50 per acre and is now, most of it, worth
$100 per acre. His rating at the time of death in
Dun & Bradstreet's Commercial Report was four
million dollars. That was the last time I ever saw


Barnum, Veil and Vickeroy Go a Journeying With

Barlow and Sanderson. Vickeroy Is

Branded "U. S. M."

In the fall of 1863 I quit the Long Route and
went up on what is known as the Denver Branch,
driving from Bent's Old Fort, Colorado, to Boon-
ville, Colorado. On my last drive across the Long
Route I had a party of "dead heads." They were
the "bosses" owners of the Stage Coach Com-
pany Line. That is, Barnum, Veil and Vickeroy
were, and Barlow and Sanderson were going over
the trip with these fellows with a view of buying
out the interest of Vickeroy. There were three
more passengers, all on fun intent.

All of these fellows were, we will call it for lack
of a better word, "on a toot" and having lots of
fun. They had poked so much fun at Vickeroy
that they finally got the best of him. Vickeroy
enlisted the three passengers on his side and
sought an opportunity to "turn the tables," so they
made it up to brand Barlow and Sanderson with
the branding iron that was used to brand the com-
pany's mules. This iron had the letters U. S. M.
(United States Mail) on it. When I placed the
frying pan on the fire and it commenced to "siz,"
Vickeroy and two of the passengers stood Barlow
on his head and told him they were going to use
the branding iron. Barlow thought the branding
iron was surely going to be used upon the seat of
his pants, but the accommodating Vickeroy had


the frying pan used instead. He gave the victim
three taps on the seat of his pants with the hot
frying pan, one tap for "U," one for "S" and the
other for "M," then slapped him soundly and said,
"Go, Mr. Mule, when the Indians find you they
will take you to the station because your brand
shows you to be the "United States Male." Bar-
low's howls and Vickeroy's laughter made those
old plains resound with noises which may have
caused the spooks to walk that night. They were
having lots of fun about the "branded 'incoming'
mule," or the new member of the company that
might be. All went smoothly a few days, but
Vickeroy would occasionally ask us how long they
thought it would take a brand to wear off so peo-
ple could not know their "mule."

"Every dog has its day," and the day for Bar-
low's revenge was slowly but surely coming. The
second day after the episode described I had the
frying pan over the red hot coals fairly sizzling
with a white heat ready to place my buffalo steak
onto it, but Barlow told me to "wait a minute" and
he said he "would attend to that skillet." I saw
something was in the air, so I took a back seat and
awaited events.

About the time Vickeroy was unraveling some
big yarn, all unconscious of the designs Barlow
had upon him, Veil and Sanderson grabbed him
and had quite a tussle with him to get him in a
position to apply the branding iron. The imprint
left on the seat of Vickeroy's pants was not U. S.
M. this time, it was burned and scorched flesh,
for lo, the tussle with his determined tormentors
had lasted too long, the frying pan had gotten


too hot for good branding purposes, and for the
comfort of the branded one's hams.

When Mr. Barlow saw the condition of Mr.
Vickeroy's clothing, he was full of apologies, but
the passengers would hear nothing of them, saying
that it was always bad for unruly mules when they
got to kicking, and Vickeroy would have to swal-
low his chagrin. The windup was a new "seat"
installed and a cushion for the "kicking mule."


Colonel Boone Gets Judge Wright's Enmity.

Lincoln Appoints Col. A. G. Boone Indian

Agent. Arrangements Are Made With

Commissioners For Indian Annuities.

Mr. Haynes Sends Troops to

Burn Out Colonel Boone.

Driving from Bent's Old Fort to Boonville,
Colorado, was usually a pleasant drive for me.
After I quit the Long Route and took up the Den-
ver Branch, I made my home with Colonel A. G.
Boone, who is a great great grandson of the im-
mortal Daniel Boone.

President Lincoln was inaugurated in March,
1860, he saw Major Filmore of Denver, Colorado,
paymaster of the army, who was in Washington
during the last of March after the inauguration.
He asked him if he knew of a good man, capable
of going among the Indians to make treaties with
them, so that transportation could cross the plains
without escorts. Major Filmore told the Presi-
dent that he knew Colonel A. G. Boone to be a
fearless man, that he was not only fearless, com-
petent and capable, but that no other man could
do the work as efficiently as Colonel Boone, be-
cause the Indians were so friendly disposed to-
ward him. Lincoln said: "Major, I wish you would
see this Colonel for me, immediately. Give him
funds to come to Washington at once, for I want
to have a consultation with him on this "Indian


Colonel Boone went to Washington, as ar-
ranged, and gave President Lincoln his views on
the subject under consideration. Colonel Boone,
in company with the President of the United
States, went to the Board of the Indian Commis-
sioners. After talking over the various ways of
handling Indians, and giving his opinion of the
different ways to accomplish a safer journey
across the plains without encountering hostilities
from Indians he asked the Commissioners, and
President, what it was they particularly desired
him to do? They told him that they had sent
for him to find out from him what he would do.
They told him they wanted Rim to sketch out how
he would first proceed to such a task. "Well,"
Colonel Boone replied, "do you want to give the
Indians any annuities, or what would be called
annuities quarterly annuities of clothing, pro-
visions, etc., and if so, how much, and so on?"
The commissioners made a rating. After consid-
erable figuring, submitted their figures to Boone's
consideration. Upon looking the figures over,
Boone told them to cut those figures half in two.
They thought they had figured as closely as
Boone would think expedient, and rather feared
the amount they had first allowed each one was
too small. Colonel Boone said: "If you figure
the weight of the product you send them, you will
find it will take a good many trains to transport
it yearly." Said he: "Not only cut it in two,
gentlemen, but cut it into eighths. Then perhaps
you can be sure to keep your agreement with

As to agreements, Indians are still, and have


always been most particular about living up to
them. Personally, I would not make an agree-
ment with an Indian, however trivial, that I did
not mean to carry out to the letter. They have
always been with me most careful to comply with
the terms of their contracts.

Colonel Boone was made Indian Agent, but
President Lincoln told Colonel Boone that he
could not furnish him very many soldiers as escort
on account of the war. Mr. Boone told him he
did not want an army, but that he did want about
three ambulances and the privilege of selecting
his own men to go with him.

Arrangements were then made to forward to
Fort Lyon blankets, beads, Indian trinkets, flour,
sugar, coffee and such other articles of usefulness
as is generally found in settlement stores or com-
missaries. When Colonel Boone told President
Lincoln that he did not care for an army of
soldiers for escort, the President seemed aston-
ished, and asked him how he dared go down the
Arkansas River without a good escort. Boone
told him that it was his idea that he would be
safer with three men, the ones he selected to go
with him, viz. : Tom Boggs, Colonel Saint Vraine,
Major Pilmore and Colonel Bent than he would
be with a thousand soldiers.

The first thing Boone did was to send out run-
ners to have the Indians come in to Big Timbers,
on the Arkansas River, where Fort Lyon is now
located. There Colonel Boone began his nego-
tiations with the Indians that opened up the
Santa Fe Trail to such an extent that traveling
was less dangerous and expensive.


In the second place, Colonel Boone and his
party proceeded to Fort Lyon and at once began
negotiations with the Indians as per his contract
with the Indian Commissioners and President
Abraham Lincoln.

When they arrived at the place appointed where
the agency was to be established, there were
camped about thirty thousand Indians with their
Indian provisions, buffalo meat, venison, antelope
bear and other wild meats, and John Smith and
Dick Curtis, who were the great Indian interpret-
ers for all the tribes. The Comanches, Kiowas,
Cheyennes, Sioux, Arapahoes, Acaddas, and other
tribes, with Colonel Boone, arrived at a complete
understanding, and for about two years the Indi-
ans were kindly disposed toward the Whites, or o&
long as Colonel Boone's administration as Indian
Agent existed. Any one then could cross the
plains without fear of molestation from the

Colonel Boone Acquires Squire Wright's Enmity.

In 1861, however, Judge Wright of Indiana, a
member of Congress during Boone's administra-
tion as Indian Agent, brought his dissipated son
to Colonel Boone's. Colonel Boone told the Con-
gressman to leave him with him and he could clerk
in the Government store and issue the Indian

This boy soon became a very efficient clerk, quit
his drinking, and under Colonel Boone's persua-
sion, developed into an honorable and upright
citizen of the United States.

When congress adjourned, Congressman
Wright came again to the Indian Agency at Fort
Lyons where he had left his son with Colonel
Boone. Finding this son so changed, so assidi-
ous to business, so positive in manner, so thor-

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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 2 of 11)