Early Settlers | Indian Troubles
Part 2: Organization | Schools | County Buildings
Railroads and Stages | Woman Suffrage | Calamities
Progress | Taxable Property
Part 3: Hebron: Early History | City Roster | Local Institutions
Mills | Educational | Schools | Religion | The Press
Societies | Progress
Part 4: Hebron (cont.): Biographical Sketches
Part 5: Alexandria: Churches | Societies | Biographical Sketches
Hubbell: Hubbell Lodge, No. 94, I. O. O. F.
Hubbell Lodge, A., F. & A. M. | Bank
Part 6: Carleton: Churches | Biographical Sketches
Belvidere: Biographical Sketches
Part 7: Davenport: Biographical Sketches
Chester: Biographical Sketches
Friedensan | Harbine
The Territorial Legislature of 1856 created Thayer County, designating it as Jefferson, at the same time Jefferson County was designated as Jones County. In 1867, Jones and Jefferson were united under the name of the latter. The Legislature of 1879-71 provided for the division of the county. Jones County succeeded in retaining the name of Jefferson so as to hold the old county records. What was at first Jefferson became Thayer.
Thayer County lies just north of that noted Fortieth north parallel; and west of the Sixth Principal Meridian, which, by its citizens, is considered a most favorable location and being very near if not quite the geographical center of the United States. It is about one hundred miles west of the Missouri River, and is bounded on the north by Fillmore, and east by Jefferson County, by the State of Kansas, on the south, and on the west by Nuckolls County. It is twenty-four miles square, and contains 368,640 acres. The general aspect of the south half of the county is that of a level plain, yet the drainage is most perfect and complete. There are but few draws, owing to the fact that it is not too rolling. The northwest portion is similar to the south half, but the northeast is very rolling, and, in a few places, somewhat broken.
The county is thoroughly watered, every township having streams of living water. The Little Blue, one of the most valuable streams in the West, crosses the center of the county from west to east, a distance of forty miles, following its meanderings. It never falls below a certain point, even in the dryest season, and will furnish power throughout the year equal to 1,600 horse, having a current quite as swift as the famous Merrimac.
The Big Sandy, with its north and south branches and numerous tributaries, runs parallel with the Little Blue about eight miles north, watering that portion of the county, and affording several mill privileges. Spring, Dry and Rose Creeks, with their net-work of tributaries, water the south half of the county. The Little Sandy crosses the northeast corner.
Along the banks of the Little Blue and Rose Creeks are extensive quarries of a good quality of magnesian limestone which supply the principal building material in the county, yet there is excellent brick clay in all parts.
The soil and its underlayer or foundation could not be better or more perfectly arranged by a scientific farmer. With the soil and lay of the land one must be pleased or show a poor or uncultivated taste and judgment, a faultfinding and ungrateful spirit. To the hand of industry, when the other necessary elements perform their needful part, it brings a most bountiful and gratifying reward. Under the heading of "Geology of the State" can be found a full description of the soil. But the summary is in these words; It is all that man can desire.
There is not an abundance but a scarcity of timber, yet narrow belts are to be found along the streams, and especially along the Little Blue and Rose Creek.
The climate is dry and somewhat rarified, owing to its altitude. The season of rains could not come at a better time, commencing generally about March or April, and extending to July or August. Like all of the West, when it is dry it is quite liable to remain dry too long, and when it is wet it is quite likely to continue to rain at least a little longer than farmers desire for the most abundant yield of crops.
Thayer County, with a few others, has a history somewhat different from most of the counties of this State, that may be designated as the Great Trail period. Nearly two and a half decades before it became a county it was the great highway along which those ambitious throngs of emigrants moved to the land beyond the Great Rockies. In 1847, the first trail was located near the line between Towns 3 and 4, north of Range 1, west of the Sixth Principal Meridian, and continued west about seven miles; thence in a southwesterly direction, crossing Big Sandy just east of Belvidere, and thence to the Little Blue near Friedensau. Over this trail passed most of those misguided citizens of Salt Lake, faithful to a fated religion, some of whose principles were beyond the power of the citizens of the Eastern States to countenance. Their fortitude in crossing so early these Indian-inhabited plains must go to their credit, but it is a matter of congratulation among the citizens of Thayer County that they only crossed their territory and did not tarry to plant their principles upon this soil.
Lieut. John Charles Fremont previous to this, in 1846, in exploring this country, designated these fertile lands, now the support of a large, prosperous and happy population, as the Great American Desert. The people of this section now believe he was blind or deplore his judgment.
This soon became a broad and busy highway, The land before known only to the wild beast and the red man was now a swelling river of ambitious white men. It became a mighty river of enlightened humanity flowing into this vast wilderness to fertilize it with civilization, fill it with happy homes, and make it bud and blossom for the good of mankind, even for the good of its aborigines, if they would have it so.
In 1849, after the discovery of that glittering ore that allures a common humanity, the tide of emigration swelled as does the Father of Waters when the snows of the north become animated by the showers and warmth of spring, and move into his channel.
This trail from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains and beyond were white with the sails of the "ship of the desert," and all moving toward the setting sun.
Thayer County was a witness to this and the terrible conflicts that arose between these invaders and the jealous Indian. That these are of the past is a matter of consolation, and for the pleasures of civilization and the peace they enjoy, the citizens hold in grateful remembrance those that at the hazard of their lives bought these pleasures.
The travel on the California Trail changed gradually from the divide between the Big Sandy and Little Blue, crossing the "eighteen mile ridge," and descending into the valley of the Little Blue, which it followed for sixty miles, and then bore away to that harbor of refuge to the early California traveler, old Fort Kearney, where the Government had stationed troops for the protection of emigrants from the assaults of Indians, and "where, after weeks of travel beyond the confines of civilization, the dust-begrimmed and toil-worn wayfarer could again see the stars and stripes floating, above the adobe walls of the old fort."
The Salt Lake Express, established in 1858, carried the first mail across these desolate prairies. The stations were fifty miles apart, and that part of the route running through Thayer County was between Big Sandy on the east to Pawnee Ranch on the west. A "mud wagon" as the stage was then called, six mules, a driver and "whipper-up," constituted an outfit. The "whipper-up" rode on a horse to goad on the mules to make fast time, and if he succeeded in that capacity, he was promoted to the position of a driver, where aspirations and envy ended, for there, was supremacy.
In 1859, the Pike's Peak rush had reached its highest point when this route was an unbroken and uninterrupted caravan of gold seeker and emigrants, "from early morn to dewy eve," the latter seeking a place to establish a home, and the former thirsty with the ambition for gold.
The Salt Lake Express became too slow both for mail purposes and for carrying travelers to the goal of their ambition, Pike's Peak, and so it gave way to the Ben Halladay Overland Stage Line. This was an enterprise that required the outlay of a large amount of money, for, besides the stages, horses, drivers, station-keepers and stations to be built, food and supplies for man and beast had to be carried many hundred miles into this treacherous and boundless wilderness. But it was carried to a successful issue.
Horace Greeley passed over this route in 1859. In 1859, the Pony Express was also established along this line from St. Joe, Mo., to Sacramento. The divisions were 100 miles in length, with stations twenty-five miles apart. The horses were Indian ponies, small but hardy. The riders were light weight men, averaging about one hundred and twenty pounds, and were men of courage and endurance. A division was a rider's "ride." The trip from St. Joe to Sacramento, a distance of about two thousand miles, was made in eight days. These data are interesting in the history of Thayer County from the fact that while they are of National importance, the route traversed Thayer County, then known as part of "the road."
The Overland Stage Line and the Pony Express necessitated stations twenty-five miles apart. Big Sandy Crossing, just east of the county line, and Kiowa Ranch, were the ones established here, but between these the Hackney Ranch, on the Little Blue, was afterward built. These places occupy prominent places in the early history of this county.
At Hackney Ranch, in 1863, a Mr. Meyers, then owner of the ranch, was killed by a wagon-master.
Thompson's Ranch was afterward built midway between Big Sandy and Kiowa Ranches, and became one of the twelve-mile stations on the Stage and Express Line. Other ranches were soon established along this line in the county, among which were Widow's Place Ranch, on the Blue near the western terminus of the "eighteen mile ridge," and Daniel Deedland's Ranche, about two miles west of Hackney at the Fox Crossing, on the Little Blue. It was at this ranch that a revolting murder was committed in 1864. It seems that a man left St. Joe, Mo., with a valuable stock of goods, accompanied by his wife and a young man. This ranch was then deserted. The young man killed the husband, and the wife and he continued on the journey. Some United States troops passing along the road discovered at this place signs that a murder had been committed and the body dragged through the grass to the river. Following the path thus made, they found the mutilated body of the man in the water. The soldiers overtook the party about fifty miles west, and, after a military trial, the young man expiated his crime with his life. It is believed, however, that the wife was the instigator of the fearful tragedy, which, if true, is indeed more terrible to contemplate.
Big Tolles' Ranch was situated near what is now Willy's Mill, at the foot of "big hill." Big Tolles was an exceedingly large man, and was prominently known along the road. About 1860, a man by the name of Fox laid out a north and south trail from the Kansas "Fort Riley" road to the Government road, intersecting at Fox Crossing on the Little Blue. This was afterward used by Texas herders and became known as the Texas trail.
The first permanent settlers in Thayer County, it is fair to suppose, were George Weisel, John, Charles and William Nightengale, who located in the vicinity of Alexandria, in 1858, all of whom, except William, are still residents of the county. Part of the lumber for their first house the Nightengales hauled from St. Joe, Mo. This house was located on the divide between the Big Sandy and Little Blue, about two and a half miles south of Alexandria.
Joseph Walker and James Reed came from Fort Kearney in 1859, and located on the little Blue, one mile west of the east line of the county.
In 1859, Isaac Alexander, father of the present Secretary of State, settled on Big Sandy with his family. He brought with him from Kansas a portable grist-mill, which was at first was run by hand. In the winter of 1860-61, the snow blocked the road so as to suspend travel, and the few settlers then living there soon found their stock of provisions almost gone. Reed and Walker, had raised a crop of buckwheat, which they brought to the mill, some others brought corn and by hard work ground out their immediate salvation with that memorable mill.
H. M. Ross made a settlement about this time, near the county line, and J. Blair at Big Sandy Crossing.
It is claimed, also, that a man by the name of Christian Luth, a German, was the first settler. He located near the Government road. He was engaged in farming, and was burlesqued by the pilgrims over the road for attempting to farm on the "Great American Desert." They told him he would not only lose his time in a fruitless endeavor to make this sterile soil yield him a crop, but that he would lose his life by the Indians. The last prediction was correct, as he fell a victim to the treacherous red man. But the former was not correct, for he was made happy while he did live by abundant harvests.
Repaid his honest sweat of toil."
During the civil war, there were settlements made only at the ranches before mentioned or mentioned in Indian troubles. But the settlers were either killed in the great raids of 1864 and 1867, or compelled through fear to seek places more secure. But in 1867, 1868, 1869 and 1870, a large number of settlers came in, as the Government was now better able to look after the safety of the frontier.
About 1866, Joseph Lamb, afterward known as the Just Judge, settled on Rose Creek. He became Probate Judge before the division of the county. In 1867, Charles Chairhart, G. D. Waldo and two Bacon families, and R. C. Overturf located near the Little Blue, in the east portion of the county. In 1868, Samuel Lean built the first mill in the county, in Gilead Precinct--at first a saw-mill, to which was added a buhr soon after. Dr. T. F. Thomas located about the same time near the present site of Alexandria.
In 1869, E. M. Correll, C. B. Coon, A. C. Ring, A. E. Gates, Ed S. Past, C. J. Rhodes, C. A. Elliott, F. J. Hendershot, Dr. C. W. Walker, Fayette Kingsley, Amos Duffield, W. H. Bradt, Jr., and Sr., E. J. Huse, W. B. Campbell, J. H. Williams, E. House, Otis Johnson, Mrs. C. A. Elliott, Mrs. A. E. Gates, Mrs. Hannah Kingsley and Miss E. S. Potter, came about the same time, and, having mutual designs upon the county, formed what was known as the Colony of '69. Some of these came earlier to the State, quite a number making their first halt at Beatrice. Most of this group have remained to see these then desolate plains peopled with prosperous families, and the unbroken sea of prairie grass give way to waving fields of grain and meadow grass, and the uplands, then treeless, decked with growing orchards, and forest trees. A number of them have filled places of trust in the county and State. The danger from the invasion of Indians had not yet passed away. The settlers never thought of leaving their domiciles--which were generally dug-outs--without their companions, viz., rifle and as many good revolvers as it was their fortune to possess. They went prepared, and resolved to take no chances with the Indians' "friendly game."
In June, 1869, Company A, First Nebraska Cavalry, numbering about sixty-five, was organized for the protection of the frontier; Captain, John Brown; First Lieutenant, S. J. Alexander; Second Lieutenant, Dr. Butler. The company built a stockade (called Fort Butler, in honor of the then Governor of the State) on the bank of Spring Creek, about one mile south of the present town site of Hebron, and took up their headquarters therein. This greatly aided the early settlements, as new-comers were very likely to remain close as possible to this source of protection. During 1869, 1870 and 1871, a large number of soldiers and others took claims, principally in the central and southern portions of the county.
In 1870, a company of regulars was stationed at Kiowa, about twelve miles northwest of Hebron. This relieved Company A, most of whom were settlers, and nine of whom are still residents of the county.
Even at that late day, the Indians were still plying their deadly vocation. Five skirmishers of the regulars were attacked a few miles from camp by about fifty red-skins, and only saved themselves by making breastworks of their horses. The Indians, though superior in numbers, would not venture an encounter.
Elk, antelope and buffalo have been seen within the county as late as 1875, in which year the last buffalo in the county was killed.
The events in the early history of this county that will longest be remembered and recalled with sympathy for those who suffered, and with deepest emotions of gratitude for those brave men and women who braved the dangers of frontier life, and prepared these vast prairies for peaceful, prosperous and happy homes.
The attention of the whole nation was occupied by the great war of the rebellion in 1864, so that the Indian raid of that year, the most carefully planned and skillfully executed known in the history of the Western frontier, received but little attention and seemed in comparison of so little importance as scarcely to deserve a place in National history. "Yet the military strategy and precision, and the secrecy and success and the cool butchery and cruelty of the attack, make it as Napoleonic in its design and execution, and should place it on the pages of history alongside of other great and bloody butchery by savages. At this time, many ranches dotted the great military road at intervals of a few miles. These ranches had become in many cases valuable farms, with substantial improvements, graced by woman's presence and ornamented by woman's tasteful care. A number of such ranches were in Thayer County upon and contiguous to the Government road. The Indians had been peaceful and quiet for a long time, and the settlers along the road were prosperous and happy. Without a single note of warning the crisis came. From Denver City to Big Sandy, a distance of over six hundred miles, near the middle of the day, at precisely the same time, along the whole distance a simultaneous attack was made upon the ranches. No time was given for couriers, no time for concentration, no time for the erection or strengthening of places of defense, but, as the eagle swoops down upon his prey, the savage warriors attacked the defenseless white men. No principle of kingly courtesy actuated the breasts of the painted assailants. It mattered little to them that they were in vastly superior number and their opponents in part women and children. All alike were made to feel their cruelty or their lust. No mercy was shown. No captives were taken but women, and death was preferred to the captivity that awaited them. Could the Eastern philanthropists who speak so flatteringly of "the noble red man of the West" have witnessed the cruel butchery of unoffending children, the disgrace of women, who were first horribly mutilated and then slain, the cowardly assassination of husbands and fathers, they might, perhaps (if fools can learn), be impressed with their true character. On the morning of the 7th of August, Indians must have been secreted in the ravines (of which there were many) adjacent to the military road, and, at a given hour, rushed forth and commenced their work of destruction. At morn, the Government road was a traveled thoroughfare, dotted with prosperous and happy homes; at night, a wilderness, strewn with mangled bodies and wrecks, and illuminated with the glare of burning houses." -- E. M. Correll, in Hebron Journal.
Two families by the name of Roper and Ubanks were murdered, except two daughters who were taken prisoners. Miss Roper was held in that fearful captivity for six months, when Col. Wyncoop, of the United States Army, secured her release for $1,000. The fate of Miss Ubanks we have been unable to learn.
The raids of 1865 and 1866, although of considerable consequence to the settlers, were attended with but little loss of life in any part of the frontier, and no lives, we believe, were taken in Thayer County; but there was considerable loss of property, many of the settlers losing all of their stock.
That the Indians were more merciful during the two preceding years, proves the cowardness of their natures, for they were well aware that preparations were made by the settlers and the Government to better protect the frontier and avenge any loss of life due to their savage lust.
But in 1867, when by their friendliness for two years they had very materially reduced the fear and precaution on the part of the settlers, they again raided down upon the settlements, driving off stock, and carrying away scalps.
"In June, they attacked the old Hackney Ranch, then occupied by Thompson & Halliday, and drove off seven head of horses. Unintentionally, one horse was left in the barn, with which the ranchmen made their escape to the settlement on Big Sandy. About the same time they attacked Kiowa Ranch and took from Mr. James Douglass, the proprietor, sixteen horses. But this is not all; they passed on down the valley of the Little Blue and accomplished the murder of Haney. Mr. Haney with his three daughters had taken all his worldly possessions, consisting of a pair of horses and a few household goods, and had come to the valley of the Little Blue in search of a frontier home. He located on the farm now occupied by J. R.Elliott, about a mile (now) from Hebron. A party of redskins came to this place and entered into a "talk" with Haney. In a short time they started for the house, Mr. Haney following them and entreating them not to take his horses, as they were all he had. They answered his entreaties with a fatal shot from a revolver, which felled him to the ground in plain view of his agonized and terror-stricken daughters, who rushed out to their bleeding father to render him what assistance they could in his dying condition. But vain their efforts; filial love could not stay the crimson tide of ebbing life. With heart-rending grief overmastering their terrors, they sobbingly clung to the lifeless form of their father and only protector until they were beaten away with bows by the Indians whose adamantine hearts were cold to sentiments of pity at even such a touching scene. When even these measures failed to keep them from the beloved remains, the red devils attempted to take them prisoners. Then for a first time a full realization of the horrors of their situation took possession of their minds. Grief fled, and fear came. Visions of the sensual brutality that awaited them as prisoners came with the force of a sickening presentiment.
"By desperate efforts they managed to escape, leaving behind the remains of a beloved parent, whom the redskins could no longer injure--they had performed their uttermost--but whom his loving daughters would have loved to consign with their tears and benedictions to a final resting-place in mother earth."
What must have been the harrowing situation of those three orphan girls, alone on a vast frontier, with neither relations nor protectors--grief, fear, hunger and fatigue in full possession of their fragile forms!
They finally reached a place of safety, and as soon as possible returned to their Eastern home.
The day following the occurrence of the above incidents, June 10, the same Indians, it is believed, made an attack upon Capt. S. J. Alexander, the present Secretary of State, about two miles east of Thompson's Ranch, on the eighteen-mile ridge.
Thompson was obliged to make a sudden flight the night before, leaving behind some very valuable goods. He and his family reached Alexander's late in the morning. Supposing that the Indians had left the country by that time with their horses and cattle and what plunder they could carry, the captain concluded to take his team and get what goods were left. He loaded the wagon and started on his return. The Captain at that time was young and romantic. His gentle bosom was so filled with a passionate love for music, that on finding Mrs. Thompson's guitar, he forgot all about the savage redmen of the West, and commenced picking soul entrancing melody from the vibrating catcords. But, pausing between two melodies for the strains of one to cease before commencing the other, his eye caught the sight of eight Indians riding abreast instead of single file, which means they use to decoy the settler. But the Captain had too long watched the maneuvers to be entrapped by their "friendly game," and especially now when he was only one to eight, far from assistance and poorly armed. He did not at once show the white feather, but used strategy, the principal feature in their warfare. The Indians were riding slowly, but in such a direction that they would meet in a few miles. But no sooner was he hid by an intervening hill, than he cut the harness from his horses, and, springing upon the better one, started across a four mile flat, the nearest way home, and from his pursuers. When they again came in sight, they gave chase. They captured the loose horse; but the Captain turned up a draw, in order to throw them off the trail. This would have proven fatal had part of them gone up to the ridge; but they not doing this enabled him to cross another ridge without being seen, and thus evade them. The Captain never parted with old Ben, the horse that saved his life, but gave him the best of care. He died in 1881, at the ripe old age of thirty.
In August of the same year, they attacked Capt. Hannah and three men, who were taking a herd of sheep to Colorado. The attack was made at the foot of the big hill west of Hackney Ranch. One man, a German, was killed, and afterward buried at that place. They killed the sheep as a pastime. The other two escaped to the settlement on Big Sandy, fighting the Indians all the way over the eighteen mile ridge.
After the attack upon Capt. Hannah, the Indians charged down on Poland Pete, and took two of his children prisoners, one a boy about eight and the other a girl fourteen years of age. Their father, a Polander, lived on the place now occupied by Joseph Ward. Oh! when the helpless and innocent fall into the hands of such monsters, their fate are too terrible for pen to relate. Of what fearful metal are their natures made, how basely turned, and what a multitude of sins their unfeeling bosoms hold! And yet we must admit that among the white men there are natures kindred to these, whose crimes are more revolting when we consider their advantages of civilization--education and nurture in pious home. Insensible as the rock, religion's teaching and the dew distilled by virtuous and happy homes fell and left no imprint. From what an altitude, by comparison, have they fallen, or to what loathsome depths.
They started up the valley of the Little Blue with their youthful prisoners. When they arrived at the bluff on the north side of the river, just east of the farm now occupied by Carl Picard, the little boy, overcome by fatigue and fear, cried bitterly, whereupon, to be relieved of him, they, without mercy or feeling, pierced his breast with an arrow in the presence of his sister, whom they would not permit to remain with the corpse for a moment to kiss and weep over, but bore her away to a demon's captivity. The girl was fortunate in afterward getting exchanged for some Indian prisoners at North Platte. After killing the helpless, innocent little boy, these "gentle redmen of the West" proceeded to the ranch of Bennett & Abernathy, and continued their fatal labors of death and destruction. Bennett & Abernathy lived on the place now owned by the county and occupied as the county poor farm. There was then a cave in a limestone bluff on the place which these men had rendered habitable by enlarging and building a sort of an addition in front, of logs and brush. There was a spring in one corner of the cave. In front of the cave was a bottom covered with trees and underbrush, through which the Indians crept to make their attack. They then laid siege to the two men, who probably fought as long as their ammunition held out, or until they were smothered to death by the flames and smoke of the front part of their residence, which the Indians had ignited. Their bodies were afterward found by Capt. L. P. Luce and a party of his soldiers, in so charred and mutilated condition as to be scarcely recognizable. The bodies could not be removed to be interred elsewhere, and the cave was sealed up; thus their last house became their tomb. Whether these two brave frontiersmen first fell by the deadly bullet of the Indians or were burned alive by the savages, is a secret that only the copper-colored pets of Eastern philanthropists can unlock.
Abernathy was known to have a large amount of gold coin in his possession, and grave charges have at different times been made against some of the early settlers in regard to the disposition of the property as the cave was afterward thoroughly ransacked, and it is believed that the Indians knew nothing of the gold, which was most likely carefully secreted in some portion of the habitation. Be this as it may, no legal steps were ever taken. In fact, in those early days, the settlement of estates was a difficult matter. This sad occurrence will always vest the poor farm with a tragic interest.
Like Centaurs, on their ponies fleet,
Carry with them death and pain."
Still unwilling to desist from their hellish pastime of murder and destruction, this band of savages, after killing the gallant Abernathy and the brave Bennett, charged with the speed of wind up the Little Blue, where they continued their work of death by killing Polish Albert and Polish Joe, refugees from that unfortunate country, Poland. Their mangled remains were found in the road below Oak Grove Ranch, in Nuckolls County. The Indians took away their teams and other effects.
Thus ended one of the most murderous raids of modern times, considering the small number of Indians engaged, the extent of territory raided, and the rapidity of their movements.
The few settlers left after performing the last mournful ceremonies of interment to the mangled corpses of their neighbors, tremblingly trusted that the savages had now glutted themselves with murder, torture and rapine and would not return again. Vain hope and misplaced trust. In two weeks they again came. Death and destruction again followed in their wake as fallen trees mark the path of the tornado through the forest. Their stealthy approach allowed no defense; their overpowering numbers forbade successful resistance. Compassion and mercy were qualities unknown, or if known, never shown by those savages. The knightly principles of chivalry found no lodging place in their bosoms. It has been no unusual occurrence in Indian warfare for a large number of them to attack one unarmed man, and, riding around him at a safe distance, continue to fire at him until he fell from loss of blood, too cowardly to meet him in a fair combat. And yet Eastern philanthropists talk of the "wrongs done to the noble red man of the West," but their lips are silent about the cold-blooded cruelties and assassinations of these fiends in human form.
A fortnight after killing Polish Albert and Polish Joe, the cowardly and cruel Indians again appeared in the settlement on the Little Blue, in the eastern part of what is now Thayer County. There was a Polander who bore among his neighbors the name of Polish Jack, living below (now) Mr. J. S. Wand's place, who was the first victim of their malignity. After killing him, they went down the river about four miles, to the place owned by Joseph Walker, where there was a man by the name of Hunt reaping. Hunt had said that "one white man ought to whip a dozen Indians;" but when they appeared, he illustrated the saying that "braggarts are cowards," and never stayed to put his theory into execution. They were satisfied with his horses. They then went to William Nightengale's place and killed a man by the name of Ignatz Tenish.
The early history of the Great West can be largely contained in the words, "Indian massacres." Scarcely had the hardy pioneer recovered from the disastrous effects of one murderous visitation, until another followed. It was rarely, however, that a settlement was exterminated.
Indomitable Saxon energy and bravery eventually triumphed. So it was in the early history of Thayer County. The brave survivors after performing the last sad rites to their murdered neighbors, would cling to their homes, hopefully waiting for the time to come when the onward tide of emigration should have borne the dangerous frontier father to the west. and left in its wake happy and peaceful homes.
It has come! Thanks and all honor to those who by their hardships and by their lives have brought the day. Most of these facts and a greater portion of the language were taken from the Hebron Journal, written by Mr. E. M. Correll, the editor, in an early day.