KanColl: The Kansas
Historical Quarterlies

Diary of Samuel A. Kingman
at Indian Treaty in 1865

by Samuel A. Kingman

November, 1932 (Vol. 1, No. 5), pages 442 to 450
Transcribed by lhn; HTML editing by Name withheld upon request;
digitized with permission of the Kansas State Historical Society


     ON July 27, 1853, the United States negotiated a treaty with the Kiowa and confederate tribes, the Comanche and Apache, to the end that constantly increasing travel and traffic could move with greater safety over the Santa Fe trail. Raiding and marauding did not cease, however, with the making of this treaty, and at the close of the Civil War it became necessary to treat again with these wild plains tribes. The Indians themselves had expressed a desire for peace, and a commission was sent to the mouth of the Little Arkansas in August, 1865, to make preliminary agreements and arrange for a later meeting. Accordingly the commissioners again met the tribes in October, and on the fourteenth day of that month a treaty was made with the Cheyenne and Arapahoe, with the Apache on the seventeenth and with the Kiowa and Comanche on the eighteenth. [1] By the terms of these treaties the Apache were detached from the Kiowa and Comanche and attached to the Cheyenne and Arapahoe, who agreed to removal from their reservation in southeastern Colorado to one in Kansas and the Indian territory. The Kiowa and Comanche agreed to relinquish all claims in Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico and to remove to a reservation in southwestern Indian territory and the region of the Staked Plains in Texas. These two tribes surrendered five white captives. [2] The short diary which follows is a record of the trip from Atchison, Kan., to the mouth of the Little Arkansas for the meeting with the tribes, as it was set down in a small pocket notebook by Samuel A. Kingman [3] who, in 1865, was a partner of John James Ingalls in the

1. A marker commemorating the treaty of October 18, 1805 has been placed on the meeting ground by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The site is seven miles north and one mile west of present Wichita, Kan. -- Topeka Capital, April 15, 1925.

2. Seventeenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1895-'90, Part 1, "Calendar History of the Kiowa Indians," by James Mooney, p. 180.

3. Samuel A. Kingman was born in Worthington, Mass., June 20, 1818. He was educated in his native town; began teaching school m his seventeenth year, and when nineteen went to Kentucky, where he taught school and studied law. For three years he was a member of the legislature from Livingston county in that state. He assisted in forming a new constitution for Kentucky. In 1850 he removed to Marion county, Iowa, and in the spring of the following year to Kansas. He spent six months in Leavenworth and then took up a claim in Brown county, near the site of present Horton. In the summer of 1858 he removed to Hiawatha and resumed the practice of law. He was a delegate from Brown county to the Wyandotte constitutional convention which convened July 5, 1859, and upon the organization of the state was elected associate justice of the supreme court. He was nominated for the same position on the Union Republican ticket in 1864, but was defeated.



practice of law at Atchison. Kingman states in the first entry that he accompanied the party in the employ of Thomas Murphy, one of the commissioners, who was superintendent of Indian affairs for Kansas. The nature of Kingman's duties is not stated. The other commissioners were Gen. John B. Sanborn, Gen. William S. Harney, noted Indian fighter, Kit Carson, frontiersman, William W. Bent, Indian trader, Jesse H. Leavenworth, agent for the Kiowa and Comanche, and James Steele.


     Atchison, Sept. 21, 1865. Left Atchison this morning in the employ of Tom Murphy for the council ground on the Arkansas where he with other com[missione]rs are to treat with the Comanches, Kiowas, Arapahoes, Cheyennes and Apaches. We are to await at Leavenworth the arrival of other coin [missione]rs until Monday, the 25th.

     Monday. Neither money, instructions or com[missione]rs having arrived, Murphy determines to wait.

     Thursday, 28. Col. Leavenworth & Mr. Steele having arrived, we started in 3 ambulances & a baggage wagon. Reached Ozawkie 35 m.

     Friday, 29. Reached St. Mary's mission [4]; made sure that one of the passengers in Steele's ambulance is a woman in men's clothes. Distance made, 40.

     30. At 30 miles passed the Blue, dining at Manhattan. 18 M. with Capt. McClure to Ft. Riley.

     1st Oct. Left the Fort late, reached the Republican & Junction City in 3 miles. Stopped an hour making the last purchases. One mile further reached the Smoky Hill. The baggage wagon which had gone ahead missed the road & detained the train an hour or two.

     Crossing Smoky Hill we started up Lyons creek southwardly & kept up the creek in same direction till night, making 22 miles in all

3. [continued] In 1866 he was elected chief justice of the supreme court and was returned to the office in 1872. He resigned on account of ill health in 1870. He served for a time as state librarian and was the first president of the Kansas State Historical Society. His death occurred on September 9, 1904. His opinions as supreme court justice are regarded by lawyers of Kansas as models of judicial expression. -- Kansas Historical Collections, v. 9, pp. 40, 47, 60.

4. In 1837 a band of 150 Pottawatomie Indians came from Indiana to Linn county, Kansas, settling near the headwaters of Big Sugar creek four miles northwest of the present site of Centerville. A church was built and a school opened. Other groups of Indians joined the original band and by 1840 a larger church and a separate school for girls became necessary. The whole settlement was given the name of St. Mary's Mission. On June 17, 1840, this reservation was sold to the government and a new reservation was given to the Pottawatomies. This was situated on the Kaw river, 28 miles west of Topeka, where the present town of St. Marys stands. The original village in Linn county disappeared when the tribe went to its new home, and no legend has come down as to its fate. -- Wm. Ansel Mitchell in Linn County History, p. 37.


that day. At 8 miles from Junction met Capt. Lowe with 100 mounted infantry, having gone out as an escort for Gen. Sanborn. Our escort started at daylight & we have traveled so slow we have not seen them since. The creek is settled all the way up as far as we have got with occasional farms. Pat Burns, Jas. Carroll, Martin Cobas are the drivers.

     Oct. 2d. Got breakfast and all ready to start at daylight, still following the creek; at 18 miles crossed the Santa Fe road at Lost Springs, 30 miles west from Council Grove, the Santa Fe road running between the heads of Cottonwood & Lyons creek. Near this crossing are a number of sulfur springs. 5 miles further on struck timber of Cottonwood & still 5 miles further passed Mr. Wise's farm, a well cultivated place with good looking women about. They have been there 5 years. Camped at night at Marion Centre. 36 miles made to-day. Grass three feet high all day as fine as any I ever saw. Marion Centre consists of a cabin covered with puncheons & dirt on which large weeds are growing. Have not yet got up with our escort which is with Col. Leavenworth.

Company roll
Com[missione]r Steele Washington
O. T. Atwood
Thos. Murphy,
Wm. P. Murphy
S. A. K., Atchison
Capt. Gaylord of the escort
3 servts. Alex, Henry and Willis with 4 drivers,
making 14 in all and making quite a sensation through this section little frequented by travelers -- road good but little used.

     This point is 50 miles west of Emporia on Muddy [5] a branch of Cottonwood. The owner of the cabin is Mr. Snow formerly from Brown county near Padonia. Besides the persons enumerated above is the mysterious personage dressed like a man & looking like a __

     Oct. 3, 1865. Traveled 40 miles most of the way through a vast prairie without timber in sight, and away from water. Camped on a small creek with a few willow trees, having 35 miles passed civilization. This morning we were met by Lieut. Fiske & 20 men who accompanied us as an escort. One of the escort saw an elk. This was the only incident of the day, except good weather. The roads are gone, a slight mark only indicating the course we are to take, which is so dim that we twice missed the road in the day. Grass

5. Mud creek, sometimes spelled Mudd, joins Clear creek at Marion, Kan., the latter stream flowing into the Cottonwood a short distance beyond.


lighter. Prickly pear in patches with occasional indications on the last 10 miles of alkali.

     Oct. 4. An early start brought us in 10 miles to the camp on the little Arkansas, 5 miles from its mouth. All the other com [missione] rs are already here & will wait a few days to see if the Indians will not come over here to treat as Gen. Sanborn and Harney both think it would be bad policy to cross the Arkansas at this season as we would be liable to be detained for weeks by high water. So we have a week's loafing in comfortable anticipation.

     Oct. 11. We have been here one week. The monotony of camp life is growing intolerable. The same faces, the same ideas & the same routine of daily sensations and occupations soon become tiresome. Eating, smoking, talking and sleeping make the whole day. Below us a few miles are the villages of several bands of refugee Indians. They have raised small crops of corn, pumpkins, beans & watermelons. They are destitute, dirty, half-clad beggars-fine physique. The men all lazy, the women all lewd. They visit camp in great numbers daily. The Osages also visit us. They are like the others save that they do not beg, are better clad & the men shave the head all but the scalp lock. They are a stalwart brawny set of men and the squaws like all the others. So one day is like another. A great many fish-a few catch them. Some hunt but bring in little game. We change camp, have a storm-pretend we suffer for our country. Evening. The prairie is covered with Indians. Arapahoes & Cheyennes in addition to those previously gathered here. They have come to treat and are considered the best Indians of the plains. Tomorrow the council will begin. The goods that were to have started the day after we did from Ft. Leavenworth have not yet arrived. Some fears are entertained that they have become the spoil of Kansas patriots. Gen. Sanborn has sent out two parties to look for them and all are growing anxious for $50,000 is a great temptation in this country.

     Oct. 12. The council met this morning & lasted 4 hours. Only the Arapahoes & Cheyennes were represented & these tribes only partially. The commission propose to treat with them first. It is apparent that these tribes have always been our friends until driven by the Sand creek massacre [6] into hostilities, and the com[missione]rs will treat them gently & use them liberally. The com[missione]rs

6. See footnote 8.


are Gen. J. B. Sanborn, president, Gen. Harney, James Steele, Thos. Murphy, J. H. Leavenworth, Kit Carson & Col. Win. W. Bent.

     Oct. 14. The treaty with the Arapahoes & Cheyennes was completed & signed today. It is very liberal in its terms to the Indians, probably more so than will be sanctioned by the senate. 31 sections of land outside of the reserve in fee simple, a reserve large enough for their use with presents, back pay, and large annuities for 40 years. $20 per capita now & $40 per capita after they go upon their reserve. [7]

     The consultations were harmonious & friendly, the commissioners being conciliatory and the Indians apparently frank and friendly. They will probably keep the terms if we do. Some of their speeches were eloquent, especially in reference to the massacre of Sand creek. Black Kettle, [8] when he spoke of the desolated wigwams, murdered braves, squaws & children on that occasion, sent a thrill throughout the whole of the Indians present & even in translations touched every heart there. The speeches were all reported in full and all proceedings of council copied into the record. The general manner of conducting proceedings has been often and correctly described. While everything is sober and orderly, the bare legs and bodies of the chiefs & braves destroy all idea of dignity & tend to destroy the romance of the affair.

     October 15, Sunday. This day of rest to the toiling members of

7. The treaty as proclaimed Feb. 2, 1876, provided in article 2 that the following district of country, or such portion of same as might be designated by the President of the United States for that purpose, be set apart for the use and occupation of the tribes who were parties to the treaty, viz., commencing at the mouth of the Red creek or Red Fork of the Arkansas river; thence up said creek or fork to its source; thence westwardly to a point on the Cimarron river opposite the mouth of Buffalo creek; thence due north to the Arkansas river; thence down the same to the beginning. Article 5 allots thirty-one sections of land in fee simple to individuals related by blood to the Cheyenne or Arapahoe. Article 6 makes reparations for outrages perpetrated at Sand creek, Colorado territory, Nov. 29 1864, and article 7 provides for the payment of annuities over a period of 40 years, $20 per capita until such time as the Indians shall be removed to the reservation, $40 per capita thereafter. -- A Compilation of all the Treaties between the United States' and the Indian Tribes, 1873, pp. 122-127.

8. Black Kettle, famous Cheyenne chief, was born near the Black Hills of South Dakota about 1803. When his tribe separated into northern and southern divisions he chose to go with the latter and his name appears as ranking chief on the treaty negotiated with the Cheyenne at Fort Wise, Colo., in 1861. In September of 1864 he visited Governor Evans at Denver at the head of a delegation of Cheyenne and Arapahoe chiefs to ask for peace. The two tribes had warred with the whites during the preceding summer. Evans, who was also superintendent of Indian affairs for Colorado territory, refused the request. Black Kettle and his fellow chiefs then took a large band of their people to Fort Lyon, Colo., where they surrendered to the commander, Maj. E. W. Wynkoop, giving up their horses and arms as a pledge of good faith. Wynkoop was relieved of his command shortly thereafter and his successor returned the horses and arms to the Indians and asked that Black Kettle remove his people to a point on Sand creek. With confidence in the military authorities the Indians acceded. Somewhat later an expedition was organized by Col. John M. Chivington, district commander at Denver, for the purpose of exterminating the surrendered Indians. The attack was made at daybreak on November 29, 1864, and the camp was destroyed; 161 out of 600 were killed, including many women and children. Despite all of this Black Kettle continued to place his trust in the whites, although some of the Cheyenne made war against them. He moved his people to the valley of Washita, Indian territory, in 1868. This unfortunate move resulted in his death on November 27, 1868, in an attack by the Seventh U. S. cavalry under General Custer. -- National Cyclopedia of American Biography, v. 19, pp. 308, 309.


a civilized community presents no feature of distinction in a place where indolence is the prevailing characteristic. Listless & lazy, tame and monotonous alike are the people, the scenery and the weather and so the day. Soldiers & civilians Indians & animals all alike harmonize and such a life has its charms soothing and quieting the whole man. The nervous men are condemning it as false life, making the common error of constituting themselves as the test by which the problem of life for others is to be solved.

     A black man from Texas comes in today & reports that he has redeemed his wife & two children from the Comanches, giving therefor 7 ponies. That in the trade a Mrs. Fitzpatrick, about 40 yrs. old, and her granddaughter, were to have also been delivered up, but on getting the ponies the Indians refused to give up the others. Mrs. F. he represented as the widow of a Union man who was hung because he would not join the rebels. The child is about 4 years old. I hope no treaty will be made till all prisoners are delivered up.

     October 16. The council met today. The President addressed the council in conciliatory manner being extremely liberal in his promises which will probably never be realized. It is estimated that the Cheyennes & Arapahoes number over 4,300. If they remain the same in number & do not go upon their reserve for 5 years, the am't of the annuities is $6,450,000. This with back annuities, presents and compensation making over $100,000 more is a large price to pay for peace. Besides 19,840 acres of land are granted in fee simple to half breeds and over 5,000 to the survivors of the Sand creek massacre. Comanches estimated at 10,000. Kiowas 2,500. Apaches 200. Cheyennes & Arapahoes 4,300, of which the Cheyennes are somewhat the more numerous.

     October 17, 1865. The council met again & the terms will probably be agreed on & the treaty prepared by the next meeting.

     It is a singular fact that no person not born in the tribe ever yet learned the Kiowa language. It is very harsh and guttural in its sound & barren in its words. Even conversation among each other is mostly conducted by signs. This fact of the inability to learn the dialect is attested by Cols. Bent & Carson, and all the interpreters on the ground, & Gen. Harney speaks of it as a fact long & well understood upon the plains. The weather is cold & windy and the awning under which the councils meet being on the open prairie, the bare backed and bare legged orators are compelled to be short in their discourses. As to prolixity they seem much like the whites, given to much repetition.


     Oct. 18. The water froze in the bucket last night one-half inch thick. This is the first frost that has fallen here & the boys complain of sleeping cold. The soldiers have very comfortable quarters in the bank showing a great variety of designs as well as ingenuity in their construction. The cold weather scares me & I am tired of the whole thing. Hope something will be concluded today. Believe I could have closed the job in one day. Treaty with 4 bands of the Comanches concluded & signed. The other 5 bands are not represented in the council and it is said have not been engaged in hostilities. Quien Sabe?

     Two councils were held with the Osages today with a view to obtain a relinquishment of that part of their reservation west of the Arkansas river. They declined alleging that they had twice before sold parts of their land but had not yet seen any of their money. "Heap talk no money." They concluded to wait & see if they got any money for what they had sold & then have another talk when the grass is green.

     It was determined not to sign a treaty with the Kiowas until they had delivered up their prisoners. The terms are agreed on & the treaty drawn up ready to sign. The prisoners are in the hands of those who do not wish peace and it is doubted whether they can be got. Not for some days yet. A runner from the Wichitas came in saying that 4 members of that tribe had died from starvation in the last 4 days. They won't work & their food is light and does not give them strength enough to stand a chill. These 7 refugee bands are in a bad condition. This winter will likely finish them up. If it does not then they propose returning to their old homes in & about the Wichita mts. next spring.

     The work being done I start for home tomorrow with Cols. Bent & Carson. The com[missione]rs wait a few days to hear from the Kiowas.

     Oct. 19. Shook hands & left camp without regret. The Cheyennes, Arapahoes & Apaches had all left yesterday, the Osages & Comanches this morning. Our German friends Van Horn & Holstein also leave so that the life of the camp will grow still more wearisome. I have had my curiosity gratified & leave as willingly as I did the prairie dog village a few days ago.

     A very late start only enabled us to make about 30 miles & reach camp about dark. This makes 20 nights I have slept out of a house & I don't like the prospect for tonight. Have my weak longings for home, house and a feather bed.


     Oct. 20. Started at daylight and traveled 20 miles to breakfast. Bless the widow Strawhecker for she gave us a good breakfast. The first approach to civilization. The house had no floor. The roof was puncheons covered with earth on which was a good crop of weeds showing a rich soil and careful culture. Here I left Kit Carson's ambulance & took Col. Bent's having a whole one to myself with a good mattress in it. The warm day after a cold night holds out fine inducements for ague. The land on Cottonwood lies well & the grass looks fine. The widow's farm however shows her state. Her husband died in 6 weeks after she arrived here from Indiana, so her sister Hoops informed me, & left her with an only son and small hopes of consolation. After a short drive we camped for night near a dry creek. After the others had done supper Mrs. W. & myself sat sipping our coffee in the twilight and in the confidence which such an hour begets she told the story of her life -- 'Twas fine; 'tis pitiful. Daughter of John Prince, [? -- illegible] widow of Fitzpatrick & Wilmarth, the creature of many loves, the subject of many sorrows. After supper while the drivers cared for their stock, we took our pipes & the chat ran on, interweaving itself with the wreaths of smoke taking on many forms and being nearly as unsubstantial. But there was a bed in the ambulance which I alone was to occupy. After three weeks of the ground the anticipation was delightful. No broken slumbers, no aching bones, weary of their contact with the solid earth. So I early mounted the ambulance to bed. Delightful luxury. I stretched myself, turned over, spread out. Ah, this is grand; all it needs for perfect happiness is the company of one to say "how nice."

     So I felt as I lay for an hour listening to the chat of the rest of the company. At 9 o'clock all was quiet in camp & I slept, little dreaming how short my enjoyment would be. Shortly after 10 Lieutenant Tanhause came into camp and said that he must up and away. That Bent's train had passed Lost Springs that day & he wanted the ambulance to go on with it. So hitching up both teams we started and about 1 o'c[lock] reached Lost Springs, the ambulance to go west and I east. I stuck to the bed till 5 but had to divide with the Lieut. whose breath was redolent of whisky and onions, so different from the breath I had sighed for the night before.

     Oct. 21. Starting at daylight we drove 10 miles to Six Mile creek for breakfast. There again overtook Carson & Bent. Do not find a heavy wagon as comfortable as an ambulance nor is the widow as interesting as by twilight. We have today the advantage of an old road to travel on. Six miles farther on we passed Dia-


mond Springs. [9] The remains of 3 buildings of stone 2 stories high tell their own story of violence. A good monument for the builder. A small room used as dramshop is all left fit for use save a large stone corral surrounding 5 or 6 acres with a small supply of hay. 6 miles further on stopped for dinner on Elm creek, thence 8 miles brings us to Council Grove and within the range of stage travel and severs me from those with whom I have been more or less associated for the last month.

     Their characters are severally written on their faces and impressed on my mind. Their fate as com[missione]rs will be that they died of too large views.

9. Diamond Springs, Morris county, Kansas, was a well-known stage and relief station during the years of the great movement along the Santa Fe trail. The settlement, composed of several large two-story stone buildings and a stone corral, was built upon the site of a spring that had been known by the Indians and plains animals long before its discovery by the white man. Santa Fe traders camped upon the spot as early as 1804. The buildings, corral and sheds were the most pretentious of the kind between Council Grove and Santa Fe. The place was the scene of several encounters between Indians and whites and in May, 1863, was raided by Dick Yeager, one of Quantrill's officers, and a band of Missourians. The raiders murdered inhabitants, burned and destroyed property and left a scene of desolation and destruction. -- Kansas Historical Collections, v. 14, pp. 794-800.

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