KanColl Books



CHAPTER SIX

Indian Depredation Case

     Information from the following affidavits presents the true picture of the Indian raid on Rath's Ranch, the one Minimic reported as "clean Rath out." Charles Rath first filed a claim for his stolen stock, at Fort Larned, Peketon County, Kansas, May 31, 1864, labelled, "The Cheyenne Tribe of Indians to Charles Rath, Dr.", The date the stock was stolen was May 17, 1864. The Cheyenne must have gone on quite a rampage on that date and enriched themselves considerably by adding a large number of horses and mules to their already large herds. Others beside Charles Rath who made claims at the same time were Jesse H. Crane, J. W. Ladd, and John F. Dodds. The document has an Internal Revenue Stamp, with a 5 in all four corners.

     In this first statement before A. W. Burton, 1st Lieut. 12th Kans. Vols., Post Adjutant, at Larned, Charles Rath listed the following horses and mules

1White mule$150.00
2Large Grown Mules500.00
1Sorrel Mule150.00
1Mouse Col'd Mare Mule150.00
1Light Brown Mare Mule150.00
1Large Bay Horse150.00
1Cream Col'd Horse125.00
$1350.00

The evidence reads,

Charles Rath, of lawful age, and a respectable person, being by me first duly sworn, upon his oath says that he is an Indian Trader and trades with the Confederate tribes, known as Cheyenne, Kiowas, Comanches, Arapahoes, and Apaches. "That his Trading Post is situated on Walnut Creek at the Great Bend of the Arkansas River, at the distance of about one mile from it, in the County of Peketon, and State of Kansas;
affiant says that he was the owner and possessor of the following described mules and horses, viz : One white mule about 14 hands high, 8 or 9 years old, and of the value of One hundred fifty dollars.


1. All records from the General service Administration, National Archives and Records service, Washington 25. D. C. - photostat copies in the author's possession.

46 THE RATH TRAIL

Two large brown mules about 151/2 hands high, 5 or 6 years old and of the value of Five hundred dollars, One Sorrel mule 14 hands high, Seven years old, and of the value of One hundred and fifty dollars, One mouse col'd mule 14 hands high, 5 years old, and of the value of One hundred and fifty dollars, One light brown mare mule 14 hands high 9 years old and of the value of One hundred and fifty dolars, One large bay horse 161/2 hands high 10 years old and of the value of One hundred and twenty-five dollars and One cream colored horse 15 hands high and of the value of One hundred and twenty-five dollars - Affiant further states that on Tuesday the 17th day of May A. D. 1864, at about 9 o'clock A.M. of said day several Cheyenne Indians well known to affiant to belong to that tribe rode up to the corral at the rear or back part of his Trading Post where the aforesaid mules, and horses were tied with larriettes -that the Indians were all mounted, and when they rode up to where the mules and horses were picketed, they cut the lariats and drove them away as fast as they could travel - affiant further says that when he first discovered the Indians, they were engaged in cutting the lariats, and there being but three men at the post at that time it was unsafe for him to follow the Indians, and recover his stock - affiant further says that the account rendered by him is just and correct and that the prices charged are only a fair valuation of the stock stolen - that said account remains due and unpaid, affiant never having received any compensation whatever from the Cheyenne Indians or any other person or persons - affiant further says that neither himself, his representatives, attorney nor agent, has violated any of the provisions of law by seeking or attempting to obtain private satisfaction or revenge, and further affiant sayeth not,
Charles Rath

     He also brought two witnesses along to verify his statement.

Lewis Booth, hunter, a respectable person of lawful age being by me first duly sworn, upon his oath says: That on Tuesday the 17th day of May A.D. 1864, he was at the Trading Post of Charles Rath on Walnut Creek, at the Big Bend, Peketon County, Kansas, that about 9 o'clock A.M. of said day an alarm was given that the Cheyenne Indians were stealing the mules and horses - affiant says that when the alarm was given he went up on top of the house and saw the Indians cut the lariettes and saw the Indians drive away the horses and mules, described by Charles Rath in his affidavit- affiant further Says that he is well acquainted with the Cheyenne Indians, and had good reason to and does verily believe that the Indians who stole the mules and horses heretofore described by Charles Rath in affidavit, belonged to the Cheyenne tribe - affiant says that he was well acquainted with each one of the horse and mules stolen - further the account ren-

INDIAN DEPREDATION CASE 47

dered by Charles Rath amounting to $1350.00 is but a fair valuation of the stock stolen from him by said Cheyenne Indians, and further affiant sayeth not,
Lewis Booth

     The above and the following document were duly stamped with the Internal Revenue stamps of 5 denomination.

John Dodge, a respectable person of lawful age, a resident of Peketon County, Kansas, being by me first duly sworn upon his oath says: That he is in the employment of Mr. Cottrell & Co. who are the Mail company that carry the Mail from Kansas City to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and takes care of the Mail Stock, at the Trading Post of Chas. Rath, which is one of said Mail Company stations, on the Santa Fe Road -That on Tuesday the 17th day of May A.D. 1864, at about 9 o'clock of said day, an alarm was given that the Cheyenne Indians were stealing mules and horses, and in company with Lewis Booth and Charles Rath, I went up, on top of the "ranch" and saw the Indians cut the lariats and drive off the stock; the Mail Mules which affiant feeds, being at the time in the corral - he watched the Indians do the stealing, and being acquainted with the different tribes that are in the habit of stopping at Walnut Creek, to the best of his knowledge believes that they were Cheyennes - affiant further says that he believes the account rendered by Charles Rath against said tribe of Cheyenne Indians for the sum of $1350.00 to be a fair and just valuation of the mules and horses stolen by the said Cheyenne Indians, and further affiant sayeth not,
John Dodge

     Then the post adjutant wrote and signed the following:

Fort Larned, Peketon County, Kansas. I, A. W. Burton, Ist Lieut. 12th Kans. Vols. Post Adt. at Ft. Larned, in county and state aforesaid, do hereby certify that the foregoing named Charles Rath, Lewis Booth, and John Dodge, were by me first duly sworn to testify to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, - That the foregoing affidavits were written by John F. Dodds, and written, and by said affiants respectively subscribed in my presence, this 31st day of May A.D. 1864.
A. W. Burton
1st Lieut. 12th Kan Vols Post Adjutant

     Two further documents are added, the first with the customary revenue stamp.

Fort Larned, Kansas, May 31st, A.D. 1864. I hereby certify that A. W. Burton, 1st Lieut. 12th Kansas Vols. is Post Adjutant.
J. W. Parmetar 12th Ks. Vols. Capt. Commanding

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The other:

Fort Larned, Kansas, Feb. 25th, 1867 - I certify that I believe the within claim of Chas. Rath to be a just one from investigations made by myself in my postion as U. S. Indian Agent.
E. W. Wyncoop
U. S. Indian Agent
Upper Arkansas Agency

     All this time had passed but nothing happened until March 9th, 1886, when Charles Rath may have stopped in Leavenworth and stepped into the office of Pendery and Goddard. Of course this is presuming but on that date, this firm penned a letter to the Hon. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, stating,

We have the honor to respectfully advise you that we have this day, associated with us Mr. Allan Rutherford, of Washington, D. C., in the prosecution of claim of Charles Roth for Indian depredations now pending in your office. "Please have addressed all communications relative to said case, as well as any check, draft, or certificate which may be issued in settlement of it, to Mr. Rutherford, instead of to us.
Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant, Pendery and Goddard"
Signed in the presence of
1 R. Pendery
2 Maude McNulty

     Nothing, however, seems to have come of this request for when the final settlement came the fee money was made out to William T. S. Curtis, as attorney.

     Later the Indian Depredation case No. 1167 became filed under and known as No. 455 and at the beginning of the following document is this note, "See also evidence in Dodds case No. 454." The amplication of Charles Rath's first statements were made March 15th, 1886, brought up at this time because funds had been set up or allowed for Indian claims. But it was much later even than this date when Charles Rath finally received a partial payment for his loss on the Walnut. The document follows

County of Leavenworth, State of Kansas, ss; Before me the undersigned a Notary Public, within and for the state and county aforesaid personally appeared Charles Rath who being by me first duly sworn upon his oath Says: that he has carefully read the affidavit by him subscribed and sworn to before A. W. Burton, 1st Lieut. 12th Kansas Vol. Post Adjutant on the 31st day of May A. D. 1864 at Fort Larned, Kansas, and that the statements therein contained, concerning the loss of his stock the number of same, and their value, are true. That by way of further details he would state that upon the 17th day of May 1864 he was at his trading

INDIAN DEPREDATION CASE 49

post or ranch on Walnut Creek situated a short distance above where it enters the Arkansas; that upon the previous evening word was brought to the ranch by a Cheyenne Indian, that a number of the tribe were going to steal his stock at Great Bend, at their station or ranch and also at the station above; that in anticipation of the expected attack, effects were made safe by the affiant, Dodge, and Booth to prepare the house against the assault of the Indians and all the stock corralled, but on the morning of the 17th with the Indians not having appeared, affiant took the stock out to water and then larietted them within fifty or one hundred yards of the house and kept watch of them, having a man watch them so as to prevent a surprise by the Indians. That about 9 o'clock A. M. of the same day quite a large party of Cheyenne, some of whom were known to the afflant suddenly appeared at the ranch and before anything could be done they charged upon the stock, cut the lariats, and run it off before their eye, but on account of the superior numbers of the Cheyenne they were helpless to prevent it being taken or in any way to recover the same; that John F. Dodds also had some stock stolen by the same Indians at the same time, he Dodds having gone to Fort Larned for assistance.
Affiant further states that Booth, one of his witnesses who testified heretofore in this case, is dead. At the time claimants testimony heretofore filed was sworn to, there was no civil officer within one hundred miles, and in the absence of such official, and in accordance with the usual custom in such cases, they were sworn to before the Post Adjutant hereinbefore referred to and in order to avoid any questions that might arise as to the authority of the Post Adjutant to administer oaths affiant reswears to his former testimony and to the facts herein contained before a Notary Public duly authorized and commissioned.
Charles Rath
Subscribed and sworn to before me the 15th day of March A.D. 1886.
My commission expires June 28, 1888.
W. E. Thomas Notary Public

     December 29, 1885, Wm. T. S. Curtis, attorney for Charles Rath, Jesse Crane, J. W. Ladd, and John F. Dodds, wrote the secretary of the Interior, in Washington, D. C., asking that

. . . all action be suspended by your office upon such cases and final action be not taken the depredation claims until he may be permitted to file such additional evidence as may be required to establish the claims.

He goes on to state,

I write this in order to protect the claimants from adverse final action in their cases, as their cases have been allowed by the Indian Commissioner in Kansas, and because they are worthy gentlemen.

50 THE RATH TRAIL

     Mr. Curtis gives further references for Jesse Crane and J. W. Ladd, then continuing with this information,

I have written to claimants for any additional evidence they may be able at this late day to obtain. I would respectfully request, that in the meantime, if any additional evidence is required to satisfy the department of the honesty of these claims, that I be so notified.

     Then on January 12, 1886, Mr. Curtis, writing from Washington, D. C., to Hon. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, sent this letter,

I have the honor to make application for permission to inspect as attorney the papers on file in your Dept. relative to the Ind. depredation claims of J. W. Ladd and Chas. Rath. My power of attorney is on file in said cases." He sent receipts for both sets of papers.

     Again November 4, 1886, Mr. Curtis wrote to the Hon. Commissioner of Indian Affairs,

I have the honor to refile the evidence in the Indian depredation case of Charles Rath (No. 455 Doe 125) heretofore withdrawn by me as atty., this evidence consists of affidavits of Rath, Booth, Dodge. I also file additional affidavit of said Rath.
The papers in this case are marked "Barred" as not being filed within three years. I respectfully submit that is an error as it will be seen, it was filed Mch 29, 1867, being two years and ten months after the Depredation was committed. "This is all the evidence that claimant at this late day is able to produce, but which I submit clearly shows it to be a bona fide claim and one worthy of consideration. I also desire to call your attention to confirmatory evidence filed in case of John F. Dodds No. 454.
Respectfully submitted Wm. T. S. Curtis

     Attorney Curtis also sent as further evidence a statement about the depredation from Little Robe, chief of the Cheyenne, as follows:

The State of Texas
County of Wheeler
Personally appeared before the undersigned Little Robe, Chief of the Cheyenne tribe of Indians who being duly sworn according to law says that his name is Little Robe, that he lives with his tribe in the Indian Territory, that he is acquainted with Charles Rath on and before the 17th May, 1864 and some time prior thereto engaged in trading with the Cheyenne and Arapahoes tribes of Indians on Walnut Creek State of Kansas. That he knows of his own knowledge that ten (10) men of his tribe left the camp for the avowed purpose of raiding on or a few days prior to said 17th day of May, 1864 and shortly returned with six (6) mules and two (2) horses known to the afflant at the time to be the property of the said Charles Rath.
And that he knows from the men who raided and returned

INDIAN DEPREDATION CASE 51

with the mules and horses as aforesaid that they had attacked the camp of the said Charles Rath and stole the mules and horses brought back with them for the said Charles Rath.
his Witness Little -I- Robe Stacy Riggs mark
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 19th day of Nov. A.D. 1886
Mark Huselby
Notary Public in and for Wheeler Co. Texas.

     Then December 4th, 1886, Commissioner Atkins sent his report with five enclosures to the Secretary of the Interior.

Sir: I have the honor to submit a report upon the claim of Charles Rath, whose place of residence is unknown to this office.
The claim is for the sum of $1350.00, and was filed in this office on the 29th of March, 1867, and originated, as is charged by claimant on account of a depredation committed by Cheyenne Indians on the 17th day of May, 1864, in the state of Kansas.
The petition in substance states, That he, the claimant, is an Indian trader, and trades with the confederated bands, known as Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche, Arapaho, and Apache.
That his trading post is situated on Walnut Creek, on the great Bend of the Arkansas River, in the County of Peketon and State of Kansas, - Affiant further says, he was the owner of the following described mules and horses, to wit: (account follows of mules and horses, descriptions and values as stated earlier in this chapter).
That on the 17th day of May, 1864, at about 9 o'clock A.M. several Cheyenne Indians well known to the afiiant to belong to that tribe, rode up to the corral at the rear of the trading post aforesaid, where these said mules and horses were tied with lariats -that said Indians were all well mounted, and when they reached said stock, they cut the lariats with which the stock was picketed, and then rapidly drove away said mules and horses -that he first discovered the Indians when they were cutting the lariats, and there being but three men at the Post, at that time, it was unsafe for him to follow the Indians - He further says that this account is correct as stated - that he has never received any compensation for said property, nor recovered any part of it, and that he has in no way sought private satisfaction nor revenge.

     The document goes on with Lewis Booth (P.O. address unknown) deposition, principally as given before, saying again "he ascended to the top of the house." And the deposition of John Dodge whose address is given as a resident of Peketon Kansas, states,

. . . he and Lewis Booth, and claimant, went out upon the top of the house, and saw the Indians cut the lariats and drive off the stock of the claimant-

52 THE RATH TRAIL

     Along with the above report of Mr. Atkins went another affidavit,

Attached to the foregoing affidavits is a report from E. W. Wyncoop, U. S. Indian Agent at Fort Laramie, Kansas, dated February 25" 1867, which is as follows: - I certify that I believe the within claim of Charles Rath to be a just one, from investigations made by myself, in my position as U. S. Ind. Agent.

     Then the Atkins report continues,

On the 15 of March. 1886. the claimant filed his second affidavit, which in substance declares, `that he has carefully read his original petition filed in this case and that all the Statements therein contained are true as stated. That by way of further details, he would state that on the 17" May, 1864, he was at his trading post, on Walnut Creek, where his mules and horses were corralled, in consequence of having the night before been informed by a Cheyenne Indian that a number of Cheyenne intended to steal them-On the morning of the 17," the Indians not having appeared, affiant took the stock out to water, and then lariated them within 50 or 100 yards of the house and kept watch on them by a man to prevent a surprise - That about 9 o'clock of said day, quite a large party of Cheyennes, some of whom were known to the claimant, suddenly appeared at the ranch and before anything could be done they charged upon the stock, cut the lariat, and ran it off before his eyes. On account of their superior force, Claimant was helpless to prevent it - He further states Booth one of his witnesses is dead - that the claimants testimony originally filed was sworn to before the U. S. Post Adjutant, there then being no civil officer within 100 miles of the Post. "The foregoing comprises all action had, and a general abstract of all the testimony in the case, on file in this office. The evidence in this case, as to the commission of the depredation, the property lost, and the tribal relations of the depredations is satisfactory, and the claimant should have a fair compensation for his property lost; There were six (6) mules and two horses, known to have been stolen, the description of each of which is quite fully given. Two large brown mules 151/2 hands high 6 years old, the testimony estimates to be of the value of $500. or $250. per head, and while it is conceded, the description given, shows the mules were of superior character, yet it is submitted by this office that such estimate exceeds their actual cash value, and $200. per head would be a fair compensation for the same-the remaining four mules, claimant estimates to be inferior to the two above named, and from the description given, it is believed $125. per head, would be a fair valuation - the two horses estimated at $125. each should be reduced to $100. each, making the aggregate loss, $1,100
Adopting the foregoing views as correct this office submits the following conclusions on record of the case. 1st That numbers

INDIAN DEPREDATION CASE 53

of the Cheyenne tribe of Indians of the Upper Arkansas River, on the 17th day of May, 1864, in `Peketon Co.' Kansas, committed a depredation on claimant, forcibly taking from him six mules and two horses, of the actual aggregate cash value of $1,100. and that in said depredation, the claimant and his employees were not guilty of contributory negligence.
2nd That claimant was at the time of the commission of said depredation, a citizen of the U. S.
3rd That the Cheyenne tribe of the Upper Arkansas River, were in treaty violations of amity, with the U. S., duly proclaimed Dec. 5" 1861. and by article 2 of said treaty, said tribe is chargeable for said injury - vide 12 statue 1163. "4th That this office recommends the allowance of the claim for the sum of $1,100. in full satisfaction of the same.
Respectfully,
I. D. C. Atkins Commissioner

     After this on December 9th, 1886, the Acting Secretary of the Department of the Interior wrote Mr. Atkins, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that

Your report of the 4th instant submit ting the claim of Charles Rath (residence unknown) amounting to $1,350.00 for compensation for depredations alleged to have been committed in 1864 by Cheyenne Indians, has been considered, and your finding, vis ; -that claimant lost property as alleged to the value of $1,100.00 with your recommendation that that amount be allowed in full satisfaction of the claim is concurred in. The claim is hereby returned to be included by you in the list of depredation claims to be submitted to Congress as required by law.
Respectfully,
W. L. Muldoon Acting Secretary

     There were nine enclosures with the above letter as stated at its close. The case was referred to the United States Court of Claims on May 2, 1891. On April 25, 1892 judgment was allowed for the claimant in the sum of $1,100, of which $110 was to be paid to William T. S. Curtis, attorney for the claimant, the balance to Charles Rath.

     Having no definite knowledge that the claim ever was paid, an inquiry was sent to the national Archives and Records Service, Washington, D. C., and the following is their reference Service

Report as of December 13, 1956; - "INQUIRY: Claims of Charles Rath for losses caused by the Indians.
"Report: In Record Group 39; Records of the bureau of accounts (Treasury), there is evidence of a payment to Charles Rath by the Federal Government in 1892. This information is found in the Index to Warrants for that year. This volume shows only

54 THE RATH TRAIL

that Interior Indian Warrant No. 620, dated August 29, 1892. authorized the payment of $990. to C. Rath, Warrant No. 616 of this same Series was issued for the payment of $110. to W. T. S. Curtis.
Since this series is still in the custody of the United States Federal Accounting Office, a telephone request was made in order to verify the existence of these particular documents, and if pos sible to obtain additional information concerning them. The General Accounting Office reported that the Warrants were still extant, that both Warrants had been issued in payment of Indian depredation claims, and that cancelled drafts attached to each warrant furnish further evidence that payment was made.
The information found coincides with an oral report furnished this office by the Justice and Executive Branch of this Division regarding the award of a judgment by the Court of Claims of April 25, 1892, awarding $1,100 to Charles Rath, $110. of which was paid to William T. S. Curtis, attorney.
Donald M. Zahn Fiscal Branch General Records Division

     The time of the settlement had been long and no doubt a trying experience for Charles Rath. In the meantime he had gone from the Ranch on the Walnut to other frontiers, living at different times, after his marriage in Ohio, in Topeka and Osage, Kansas; establishing a home in the new western town of frontier fame, Dodge City. From there he had gone on to Fort Griffin, then Hidetown and Rath City, Texas, back to Camp Supply after the Indians burned him out at Rath City, and then came Sweetwater, which was old Hidetown and was soon changed to Mobeetie, Texas. In fact, Charles Rath had been so many places, even out on the plains of New Mexico, having a contract to help with the railroad grade as he had in Kansas, and so many years had rolled around, twenty-eight of them, that he was listed most of the time as Address Unknown in the legal papers concerning the case in the National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D. C.

     The stock was stolen May 17th and by May 18, 1864 -12 m., from Headquarters at Fort Larned, Kansas, reported to

ASST. ADJT. GEN., District of SOUTH KANSAS, Paola, Kans.:
SIR: I have just received information that the Cheyenne Indians have, within the last day or two, made a descent upon Rath's Ranch, 32 miles east of this post, carrying off the stock belonging to Mr. Rath and the mules belonging to the stage company.
J. W. Parmeter,
Captain, Twelfth Kansas Infantry, Commanding Post." [2]


2. Vol. XXXIV, Part 3 War of Rebellion. page 661.

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