KanColl: The Kansas Historical Quarterlies

 

The Ranch at Walnut Creek Crossing

by Louise Barry

Summer, 1971 (Vol. XXXVII, No. 2), pages 121 to 147
Transcription & HTML composition by Larry E. & Carolyn L. Mix;
digitized with permission of The Kansas State Historical Society.
NOTE: The numbers in brackets are links to footnotes for this text.

IN THE summer of 1855 two hardy, experienced plainsmen, William Allison and Francis Boothe, ventured to establish a Santa Fe trail trading post at Walnut Creek Crossing, on the great bend of the Arkansas. The site was in the heart of the buffalo range, and 132 miles beyond the frontier settlement -- Council Grove. [1] Locating in the domain of the nomadic Plains tribes involved some risk but Allison and Boothe, as former conductors of the Santa Fe-route monthly U. S. mail, [2] had become acquainted with the Indians, and were fully aware of the hazards. One objective of these Missourians was to set up trade relations with the Kiowas and Comanches. [3]

     This account was published in a late-July, 1855, issue of the Occidental Messenger, Independence, Mo.:

     Mr. Wm. Allison and Booth, known as famed prairie men, have determined to make a settlement at Walnut Creek on the Santa Fe road. A short time since . . . they started on an expedition to the gold region; their mules and provisions giving out, and not being able to purchase any on the road from any train, they abandoned the idea of going further toward the Wichita diggings, and returned here, determined to settle on Walnut Creek. Booth left a month or two since, and Allison this week, and from last reports of Booth's progress he was busily engaged in building houses and carrals etc. --

     This is the first attempt at building by citizens made West of Council Grove, and we hope it may grow up in a short time a flourishing settlement. -- The men at the head of this enterprise are well known here, and distinguished for their energy and determination, they have no fear about them. . . . This settlement will be another stopping point on the route to New Mexico, and will make, in a little while, the road less dangerous, by lessening the distance between civilized points and affording those in danger or want an opportunity to obtain relief. . . . [4]

     The Occidental Messenger of August 25 reported that the "new fort of Allison and Boothe, on the Santa Fe road at Walnut Creek was pretty well advanced toward completion," and its owners hoped "to open a trade with the surrounding Indians and be prepared to furnish any [travelers] in want with provisions and aid as they journey." Also, a party which recently had left Independence on a gold-hunting expedition had stopped "at Allison and Boothe's ranch" and "made quite a successful game-hunt, and feasted on buffalo to their heart's content." [5]

     The site was "about 100 yards from the crossing of Walnut creek, on the east side, and north side of the [Santa Fe] road" (according to James R. Mead, writing at a later time). Obridge Allen's guide book (published early in 1859) simply stated: " . . . north side of the road Allison's ranch, east side of the creek. . . . [6] Available descriptions do not give a clear picture of the trading post's appearance. William B. Parsons (in June, 1858) wrote: "This ranch is a large building made of logs of equal length, set endwise in the ground. It is large, commodious, and strong enough to resist the attack of hundreds of Indians or white men, unless they have the assistance of artillery." [7] H. B. Möllhausen (in July, 1858) referred to it as "the log cabin on the river bank." [8] David Kellogg (in October, 1858) called it "a stockade." [9] In May, 1859, A. E. Raymond recorded that the ranch was "built of Poles inclosed with Sod. The roof is nearly flat one story high. The Stone Walls and Sods inclose about an Acre of Land. This affords a strong protection against Indians." [10] Santa Fe trader James J. Webb called it "a small mud fort." [11] Theodore Weichselbaum recollected the ranch was "of adobe, a one-story house, long and square." [12]

     In a later-day account, ex-cavalryman Robert M. Peck (who first crossed Walnut creek in 1857) commented on the "frontier 'ranches'" which were "mere trading posts" and gave this generalized description:

     As a necessary precaution against Indian attacks . . . [they] were always enclosed by walls or palisades, the ranch buildings being strung around the inside of the enclosure, leaving an open court or corral in the center of sufficient capacity to contain all the animals belonging to the establishment. For traffic with Indians a long, narrow opening, about waist-high, to be closed when need be by a drop-door on the inside was made in that side of the storeroom that formed a part of the enclosing wall, and through this slit all trade with the redskins was conducted. . . . A watch tower was frequently built on a prominent corner of the wall, and in dangerous times a lookout was maintained day and night. [13]

     Walnut Creek ranch had some sort of lookout in 1860, according to a later-day account. No contemporary description mentioned it.

     The New York Tribune of January 4, 1856, published this item: "On the 21st . . . [of December, 1855] Messrs. L. N. Ross, Daniel Patterson and William Allison returned to Independence, Mo., from the Plains, where they have been for some weeks on a buffalo bunt. The party brought in over 10,000 pounds of dried buffalo meat and tongues. They killed over 50 buffalo and more than 200 wolves." [14]

     Wolf-killing was the principal winter activity at Walnut Creek ranch, according to James J. Webb. Dick Wootton stated: "The gray wolf was an animal which followed the buffalo. . . . Their skins were valuable, and Allison was taking them by the hundred by what he called the strychnine method." As Wootton described it this involved no more than the thorough poisoning of a buffalo carcass. Webb indicated a more sophisticated technique was required. "They would kill a buffalo and cut the meat in small pieces and scatter it about in all directions a half a mile or so from camp, and so bait the wolves for about two days." Then, small chunks of poisoned meat (which all hands meantime had been preparing) were put out. Webb says one morning the ranchers picked up 64 wolves within a mile and a half of camp, and that the "proceeds from that winter's hunt [year not specified] were over four thousand dollars. [15]

     Presumably Francis Boothe (and companions) occupied the ranch in Allison's absence. The winter of 1855-1856 was a severe one on the Plains. Traders reaching Missouri in March, 1856, reportedly said it was "the hardest ever experienced" up to that time. The Arkansas river froze to its bottom. A Santa Fe bound mail party which left Independence February 1 had to return because of the "immense depth of snow on the plains." The February eastbound mail got through (in 25 days) but encountered "severe winter weather and heavy snows." [16] All Santa Fe trail travelers, in this season of blizzards, undoubtedly stopped at the new shelter on Walnut creek.

      In April, 1856, en route from Fort Union, N. M., to Kansas City, Mo., in charge of a wagon train, Richens L. "Dick" Wootton had some trouble with his Mexican teamsters at Ash creek camp. He rode ahead to "'Bill' Allison's Fort" and enlisted the help of this "brave, daring fellow," who "had but one arm, but . . . handled a gun as well as anybody, and wasn't afraid of anything." Recounting the episode, Wootton stated: "When the train came up next morning, we rode out to meet it, with four six-shooters each, stuck in our belts, and our rifles in our hands. As the teamsters came up, we compelled them to step to one side, and lay their guns, pistols and knives in a pile. The Americans [about half the drivers were "Americans"] were also required to give up their arms. All these arms were stored away in Allison's fort, and we went on our way without any arms, except such as were in the hands of myself and a few trusted employees." [17]

     Late in the year -- on December 24 -- a post office was authorized for "Walnut Creek," and William Allison was appointed postmaster. (Less than a year later it was discontinued.) [18]

     The winter of 1856-1857 also was severe on the Plains; and again the Allison & Boothe ranch served as haven for trail travelers. "Mr. Wells" with the January mail got as far west as Walnut creek. Then, despite a heavy snowstorm, he struggled on to Pawnee Fork (28 miles beyond). Meeting there the nearly exhausted mail party from Santa Fe (on pack mules; "Mr. [Preston?] Beck" a "passenger") he turned around and went back to Walnut creek, and to Missouri, in their company. (Wells left Independence again on February 2; and after an extraordinarily difficult trip, reached Fort Union, N. M., with "letter mail" on the 25th.) [19]

     In February, 1857, the Santa Fe Gazette published this notice:

     Walnut Creek Station. Allison & Booth. Respectfully informs their friends, and the public generally, that they have established a trading house and general depot, at Walnut Creek, on the Santa Fe road; where they keep constantly on hand Groceries, and provisions, suitable for travellers. Also for Forage. With Corrals, and enclosures for the security of animals. . . . Prices reasonable. [20]

     Maj. John Sedgwick and four First cavalry companies, on an expedition against the Cheyennes, passed Allison & Boothe's ranch in mid-May, 1857. (A day earlier, while approaching the great bend of the Arkansas, the troops had come close to being overrun by stampeding buffaloes.) The traders at Walnut creek told Sedgwick "that the Cheyennes had taken their families up into the mountains, and with the assistance of some young Sioux warriors were preparing for war." [21]

     Other mid-May arrivals included Joseph Cracklin and 14 Douglas county companions who were looking for a place to settle. But prospects seemed uninviting at Walnut creek. Cracklin (in a June letter) wrote that they had found it "a poor, miserable country," and that "Mr. Booth, at the Indian trading post, informed me that they had tried to raise corn and could not. . . ." Cracklin added: "There were at the post about eighty Rappahoe Indians, several of whom visited our camp and seemed very friendly and anxious to trade. We obtained some very nice robes and moccasins, for a mere trifle compared to what you would have to pay a trader." [22]

     Robert C. Miller, Indian agent, with a wagon train of annuity goods for the Plains tribes, reached Walnut creek on July 3, 1857. Next morning "a band of Kiowas, who had been out in search of the Pawnees . . . came into Allison's and Booth's ranche." They said they were poor and hungry. Miller saw that they were fed, and gave them a few presents. The Kiowas then left "apparently well pleased, to join their people whom they expected to find near [old] Fort Atkinson [in the present Dodge City vicinity]." [23] J. J. Lease, wagonmaster of "Kitchen's train," who passed Walnut Creek ranch in mid-July, reported, on arriving at Westport, Mo., that "Boothe & Allison were endeavoring to bring the Camanches, Kaws and Socks together for a treaty of amity." [24]

     In September, 1857, the Allison & Boothe partnership ended abruptly. This item was in the Santa Fe Gazette of October 31: "The Mexican who brutally murdered Mr. Booth at Walnut Creek, last month, by splitting his head open with an ax, was arrested in San Miguel county last week. . . ." [25]

     By the spring of 1858 William Allison had neighbors only 42 miles to the east. William Wheeler, and associates, had located at Little Arkansas Crossing, to trade with the Kansa, and build a toll-bridge. [26] Several travelers this year wrote about the ranch at Walnut creek, and the Indians in that vicinity. Augustus Voorhees (traveling west with the "Lawrence party" of gold seekers), in a June 13 diary entry, stated: ". . . drove to the walnutt and Camped at Allisons trading post and stoped for Sunday; had a Call from some Cheyenneys and arapahoes who are Camped up the river; saw seven tame buffaloes." On the 14th he recorded: "the mail met us this morning. Drove to pawne fork 25 miles. passed the indian village of two hundred lodges and 800 warriors, Cheyennes arapohahoes with some Camanches and apaches about 2000 men women and Children they Came out in swarms to beg and trade mockasins and buffalo robes. . . ." [27]

     On July 8, some 30 miles west of Walnut Creek Crossing, H. B. Möllhausen (and other eastbound members of the Ives expedition) met three young men (on "wild horses") from Allison's ranch. They were about to visit the Comanche village where "a few wagons with articles for trade" already had been sent. Möllhausen and companions (one of whom was George H. Peacock), on reaching the trading post, camped near by for the night. Allison was absent, having gone to Missouri to sell furs and buy new goods. Seven "young people" (including the three earlier met) were occupying "the log cabin" to protect his property, which included "a nice herd of cattle." (These, and six young "tamed buffalo" were driven "into an enclosure formed by strong palisades.") Several of the travelers bought "soft Indian moccasins" from Allison's store. Another purchase was "some poor whisky" (which led to the suspicion that liquor was an item traded to the Indians).

     To Möllhausen it seemed the ranch residents had an easy life. Fresh meat "to supplement a supply of flour" was always available. (Buffalo were plentiful in the area, and "when on a fast horse, it took only a little effort to kill one or more of them.") The Plains Indians were "glad to have a trader there," and "molested them but little." However, the ranch occupants did not feel "entirely safe." During the winter months "numerous visits from the natives" could be expected. Indians would come to be fed, and "could not be rejected if the traders did not want to spoil their chances for trade with the whole tribe." [28]

     In the middle of July, 1858, Agent Robert Miller and William Bent (whose train of wagons carried Indian annuity goods) arrived at Walnut creek. On the 19th they reached Pawnee Fork where the Kiowas and some Comanches, in restive mood, were assembled. (The Cheyennes, Arapahoes, and Apaches had left several days earlier, and William Bent went to bring them back.) Miller reported that the Kiowas and Comanches made an attack "in sight of my camp, while [I was] preparing to distribute presents to them, upon two Mexican trains which they robbed of all their provisions." (He blamed Comanche chief Buffalo Hump for these depredations.) [29]

     On a mid-October day in 1858, the "Larimer party" en route to the South Platte, stopped at Walnut Creek ranch. William H. H. Larimer, in reminiscences, wrote: "Mr. Allison in his buckskin suit was a fine specimen of frontiersman. He kept a fine stock of Indian goods and had a good trade with the Indians. All around the ranch buffalo by the hundreds, undisturbed, were grazing like cattle. Mr. Allison tried to leave the impression on our minds that the Indians were not, just now, on the best terms with the whites. . . . He might have done this only to intimidate us, but we took it as good advice and exercised great caution." From Walnut creek to beyond Pawnee Fork, according to Larimer, "the country was black with . . . [buffalo]." [30]

     Sometime in 1858 Hall & Porter, mail contractors on the Santa Fe route, built a mail station at Walnut Creek Crossing. This log cabin was on the "west side of the creek." (Allison's ranch was on the east side.) [31]

     Also this year, in the autumn, Asahel Beach and son settled at Cow creek (only 24 miles east of Walnut creek). Their establishment was known as "Beach Valley." (In February, 1859, a post office was authorized there, with Dr. A. I. Beach as postmaster.) [32]

     Early in December, 1858, Charles C. Spalding and "two old residents of Kansas City," on horseback, with pack mules, passed "Allison's Ranche" on their way to have a look at the "gold mines of Western Kansas." (They had purchased provisions and forage at Council Grove to last them as far as Walnut creek.) In a narrative of the journey Spalding wrote: "We here [at Allison's] found plenty of corn for our mules, and bacon, flour, sugar, coffee, and other prairie entrees for ourselves." (Around December 31 these travelers, eastbound, were again at Walnut Creek ranch, after a quick trip out to the Cherry Creek-Denver area and back.) [33]

     In the spring of 1859 traffic was heavy on the Santa Fe trail. Freighting was on the increase; so was the Mexican wool trade; and gold-seekers were flocking to the "Colorado" diggings. (By early June hundreds of disillusioned "Pike's Peakers" were eastbound on the trail as well.) [34] Trade at Allison's ranch probably was brisk, but the owner was not there in April. He had gone to Missouri. At Independence, on April 19, William Allison "died suddenly of heart failure." The Western Journal of Commerce notice of his death stated that he had "spent the greater portion of his life in the mountains and upon the plains," and that he had "sustained most intimate relations with the various Indian tribes of the interior." It gave no biographical information. [35]

     George H. Peacock, of Independence, Mo., and lately of California -- a ranch visitor in July, 1858, see p. 127 -- was Allison's successor at Walnut Creek trading post. (A later-day account says he "rented" it.) Formerly in the Santa Fe trade, and more recently, in charge of the Ives expedition's mule train, Peacock was an experienced plainsman and adventurer in the West. [36]

     Some gold-seekers westbound in May, 1859, mentioned the ranch, but not its occupants, in their diaries. A. E. Raymond, who crossed Walnut creek on May 5 noted: "Here is a Mail Station, Store, Tavern, Corn & Hay, etc." William W. Salisbury reached Walnut Creek Crossing on the 21st. Of the ranch he wrote: "it is a small trading post one house plenty timber and water The Kioway Indians are here there [are] a great many at our camp at noon." Charles C. Post on May 31 recorded: "This day we passed Allison's ranch (or fort), Walnut Creek, and encamped about two miles from river. No water except slew water, which is so thick we could almost pick it up with our fingers." [37]

     As in 1858, this summer many Kiowas and Comanches were camped near the mouth of Walnut creek, in the vicinity of Peacock's ranch. In July it was reported that the "Camanche, Arapahoe, Kioway, Otoe, Osage and Kaw tribes of Indians' were "having a friendly meeting on Walnut creek." [38] C. G. Parker's wagon train, at Walnut Creek Crossing in late August, met "large numbers of Comanche and Kiowa Indians" who were "perfectly peaceful" and said that they wanted no more fights with Americans ." [39]

     On his way to Missouri in September, Agent William Bent had a talk with Cheyenne and Arapahoe leaders on the 15th, in the Pawnee Fork area. (These tribes, he reported, had "scrupulously maintain[ed] peaceful relations with the whites and other Indian tribes" in 1858 and 1859, despite provocations.) On Walnut creek, next day, he met the Kiowas and Comanches (whose warrior strength he placed at 2,500). They professed to want peace. The Comanches said they intended to winter on the Arkansas. In his report (October 5) Bent summed up the Plains tribes' plight. "A smothered passion for revenge agitates these Indians," he wrote. "[It is] perpetually fomented by the failure of food, the encircling encroachments of the white population, and the exasperating sense of decay and impending extinction with which they are surrounded." He anticipated trouble. [40]

     If William Bent stopped at Walnut Creek ranch on September 16 he found the owner absent. Peacock had gone to Kansas City, leaving "Rickman and Flournoy" in charge. The Western Journal of Commerce of September 11 reported: "Mr. George Peacock successor to Allison, merchant and Indian trader at Walnut Creek . . . came in yesterday morning with three wagons loaded with furs and skins that he obtained from the Kiowa and Comanche Indians. . . . These furs are received in exchange for trinkets, calico, blankets etc. The following is the invoice brought in yesterday and purchased by Messrs. Hubbell, Wheatly & Co.: 300 Buffalo robes, 900 calf robes, 100 skins, 5 bales of furs." [41]

     A military party, eastbound, forded Walnut creek two days after William Bent crossed there. Cpt. William D. DeSaussure and his First cavalry troops had spent three months on the Arkansas (their base of operations near old Fort Atkinson) guarding the Santa Fe trail, and now were returning to Fort Riley. 2Lt. George D. Bayard wrote his sister:

     We arrived at Walnut creek on the eighteenth and there met Satanke, the war chief of the Kiowas, and Buffalo-Hump, the chief of the band of Camanches with which [Bvt. Maj. Earl] Van Dorn has had two fights in Texas. We had a long talk, in which Satanke promised that his tribe would preserve peace with all white men, and Buffalo Hump promised to return to Texas, and make peace. Both these chiefs are remarkably fine-looking men. Buffalo Hump has a pleasant face, with a kind and generous expression. Satanke, on the contrary, has a cruel, severe expression of countenance, though his features are fine. I should not like to have my life dependent on his mercy. [42]

The First cavalry force left Walnut creek on the 19th, moving eastward on the trail, and stopping to hunt buffalo.

     About two P. M. on September 21, 1859, there was trouble at Peacock's ranch. Cpt. William S. Walker gave this account:

     . . . two sub-chiefs of the Kiowas, Pawnee, the reported brother of Tehorsen [To-hau-sen, or Do-ha-san], head chief of the tribe, and Satanke, both under the influence of liquor, the latter slightly, went to the ranche occupied by Messrs. Rickman and Flournoy, and demanded a quantity of goods from them. Upon refusal they became angry, and Satanke went out, filled his mouth with blood and spit in Rickman's face. He then twice endeavored to stab him with his knife. Rickman with difficulty and with the assistance of Flournoy avoided his blows. Rickman then got a revolver to defend himself, upon which both the Indians drew their arrows to the head and aimed at him but were afraid to shoot. Satanke then climbed to the top of the house and commenced tearing off the roof; they finally went outside and endeavored to shoot into the house, and after awhile left, threatening to return and demolish it." [43]

     Shortly after this "outrage" Bvt. Maj. James L. Donaldson (and a small train), New Mexico-bound, arrived at Walnut Creek Crossing. He hurriedly sent an express to Captain DeSaussure, whose command now was camped at Cow creek. In the early morning hours of the 22d, Captain Walker, with Companies G and K, First cavalry, marched to Peacock's ranch. The advance troops reached there at 6:30 A. M. Walker's report details what happened after that:

     Upon my arrival I found Pawnee ["the reported brother of Tehorsen"] near the house, and that Capt. [George H.] Steuart, who with lieutenants [William N. R.] Beall and [Elmer] Otis had arrived in advance of the column, had ordered him to remain. He had mounted his horse on some pretence when I ordered him to dismount and go into the store. It was my intention to visit the Kiowa camp to make a full investigation of the affair, and require such satisfaction as I thought the circumstances justified. No violence was offered or intended to Pawnee, who was then perfectly sober, nor did I put a guard over him till he ran to a room in the rear of the house where there were several loaded shot guns. I immediately followed him, called him back and put a sentinel over him. He afterwards attempted to leap the counter of the store to get his bow and arrows. I thought it necessary to detain Pawnee as one of the perpetrators of the outrage, and also to prevent him from reporting our arrival to the Kiowas. . . . I therefore ordered Lieut. Bayard . . . to take charge of him with a proper guard. The command had been dismounted about a hundred yards from the store, and before the sentinel could return with his horse Pawnee mounted and made his escape. Lieut. Bayard ordered him to stop, and went in pursuit calling out Pawnee! stop! friend! friend! which he understood, as he had been a good deal with the whites as a spy. After a chase of half a mile he overtook him and ran in front of him. The Indian doubled upon him and rode on. Lieut. Bayard then fired his pistol over his bead. Having thus exhausted all peaceful means to stop him, he was obliged to shoot him to prevent his escape. He died within ten minutes after he was shot. . . . [44]

     Since the whole Kiowa tribe "was reported to be assembled within fifteen miles, and a large band of Camanches were encamped in their neighborhood," and because these Indians "were known to be already exasperated at the refusal of the government to supply them with the usual presents," Captain Walker sent an express to DeSaussure for reenforcement; meanwhile his squadron "encamped near the ranche for its defence." Captain DeSaussure (with F and H companies) arrived early on September 23, and a cavalry force went up Walnut creek to the Kiowas' camp, but they had gone. "We were much disappointed," Lieutenant Bayard wrote, "as we expected a fight. We got back in the afternoon at four, having marched thirty miles." [45]

     Late on September 23, while the cavalry troops were camped at Walnut Creek Crossing, a Santa Fe-bound mail stage arrived. Three employees -- Michael Smith, his brother Lawrence, and William Cole -- were aboard. Captain DeSaussure assigned 2Lt. Elmer Otis and a 25-man detail to escort the mail-carriers to Pawnee Fork. Early on the 24th they set out. Subsequently, some four miles beyond Pawnee Fork, 15 or 16 Kiowas waylaid the stagecoach, killed the Smith brothers, and severely wounded William Cole. The day following, only a few miles from that point, the same party of Indians murdered four returning "Pike's Peakers." (Other Kiowa aggressions followed -- mostly in the area between Coon creek and Cimarron Crossing, and farther up the Arkansas.) On November 1 a Denver-bound man wrote: "The Indians have positively killed 9 whites in all, and maybe 13, on this road." [46]

     Meanwhile, on September 24, DeSaussure and his command set out from Walnut creek for Fort Riley. (At Cow creek Lt. Eli Long and 40 men were left to escort the next mail as far as Cimarron Crossing.) [47] No doubt it was also on the 24th that Walnut Creek ranch was abandoned as its occupants departed for Missouri. A Santa Fe mail party which arrived at Kansas City, Mo., September 27, reported that when they passed Peacock's "fort" the "men in charge . . . were about to leave"; and that "They [Rickman and Flournoy] . . . [thought] they could have reconciled the Indians had not the killing [of Pawnee] taken place." [48] East of Council Grove, on October 2, the Hon. Grantley F. Berkeley (heading westward on a buffalo hunt) met Missouri-bound travellers. Among them were "some of Mr. Peacock's men," with "a considerable drove of oxen," and two wagons. "The retreating whites looked as wild as their cattle," Berkeley wrote, "and all seemed to have been pricking in hot haste out of danger's way." [49]

     On October 22, 1859, Cpt. George H. Steuart and Company K, First cavalry, arrived at Pawnee Fork Crossing -- 32 miles west of Walnut Creek ranch -- to establish a military camp for the protecttion of a new mail station at that place, and to serve as base for troops escorting mail stages. (The "Camp on Pawnee Fork" -- its sod quarters, plus stables and corral, fairly well completed by late November -- was renamed "Camp Alert" in February, 1860.) [50]

     The dangers of Santa Fe trail travel this fall were not underestimated by William Bent, who was "taking out a large quantity of Indian goods and hardware" to his trading fort at the Big Timbers. About November 4 eastbound travelers met "Bent's train with 2 pieces of artillery at Big Bend." [51]

     Walnut Creek ranch may have been in operation again when Bent passed there. Later in the month, on November 27, Captain Steuart and some of his Company K men, returning to Fort Riley, camped on the Arkansas, below the trading post. Cavalryman Lambert B. Wolf wrote: "We find the ranch occupied by the parties that the Kiowas ran off early in the fall." [52]

     If Plains Indians were in the Great Bend vicinity during the winter of 1859-1860 they caused no alarm. To the west, at "Camp on Pawnee Fork," the garrison was small -- never more than 55 -- and the troops, in detachments of eight or 10 (traveling in muledrawn wagons), were kept busy escorting the mail stages. (From November 26 till December 22, only Lt. David Bell and 29 men of Company K, First cavalry, were stationed there. Then Lt. John D. O'Connell, with 23 Company B, Second infantry, soldiers arrived as reenforcement.) [53]

     During the winter of 1859-1860 a bridge was constructed at Pawnee Fork Crossing. (Lt. J. E. B. Stuart, on May 23, 1860, wrote in his diary: "Bell's bridge. Substantial structure built by Bell D. [Lt. David Bell] & mail agent [William Butze]. Camp Alert on west bank and above. . . .") [54] Perhaps it was in this season, too, that a man named Thompson built a small trading post at Ash Creek Crossing -- six miles east of Pawnee Fork, and 26 miles west of Walnut Creek ranch. (Lieutenant Stuart noted it in his diary as "Ash creek -- a ranch.") [55]


Allison's Ranch at Walnut Creek Crossing is pointed out by arrow on this map
Allison's Ranch at Walnut Creek Crossing is pointed out (by arrow) on this map reprinted from the November 6, 1858, Western Journal of Commerce, Kansas City, Mo. The flags represent Hall & Porter's U. S. mail station sites selected by surveyor L. J. Berry in March, 1858. Station No. 14 (a log cabin) was erected at Walnut Creek Crossing within the year. But Station No. 15, at Pawnee Fork, because of opposition by Plains Indians, was not built till late in 1859, when Camp Alert (forerunner of Fort Larned) was established at that location.


     At Walnut Creek ranch the residents were occupied in killing wolves and collecting the pelts. Their winter's haul was sizeable. On April 7, 1860, the Kansas City Journal of Commerce reported: "Mr. Peacock, of Peacock's Ranch, better known by the old name of Allison's Ranch, arrived here yesterday with several wagons loaded with furs. Among the rest were 2,000 wolf skins. They were sold to Messrs. W. T. Wheatley & Co. This firm alone has bought over 5,000 wolf pelts this spring, besides a large amount of other furs. There are several other firms that have, probably, received as many. . . ."

     William Butze, the postmaster and mail agent at "Pawnee Fork" (see Footnote 50], also reached Kansas City on April 6. He had news of the Plains Indians:

     Butze says the Kiowas are divided on the question of joining the Comanches in a war with the Whites. Their old chief Tahausen says he never will raise the scalping knife on the white man again under any circumstances, and with this intention he has left Sautuck [Satank] at the head of the Kiowas, except about 60 lodges that followed him, and gone to join the Cheyennes who have sworn eternal peace with the whites.

     Sautuck will join the Comanches with the Kiowas under him in a war on the whites. Both of these tribes are away south of the Santa Fe Road. The Cheyennes are above the Santa Fe road and preparing for a war on the Utes. Whites have not been molested by any of the tribes this season anywhere on the road." [56]

     Again this year, as in 1859, the Santa Fe road was a busy thoroughfare. The Council Grove Kansas Press of April 30 stated that over 150 Pike's Peak-bound wagons had passed through on the 28th; trains of 10 to 40 wagons (mostly wool-laden) were "constantly arriving" from New Mexico; and the "outbound" freighting season was under way. Between April and mid-June, according to trader Seth Hays' records, 1,400 wagons carrying 3,562 tons of freight, passed through Council Grove for the west. These figures did not include the Pike's Peak emigrants' wagons, or the "incidental trade of the road." (Up to September 8, the season's total was recorded as 2,170 wagons, and 8,000 tons of freight.) [57] All this traffic also passed Walnut Creek ranch. Whether it afforded George Peacock profitable trade can only be speculated.

     On May 4 Bvt. Maj. Henry W. Wessells, with Companies G and H, Second infantry (and accompanied by his family) arrived at Camp Alert (Pawnee Fork) to establish a military post. His command had left Fort Riley on April 24. (In a letter of May 19, "Pawnee" wrote that Wessells' instructions were to "construct a Fort at this point and escort the Mails to and from Cow creek, east, and to and from the lower Cimarron, west, to this place.") The new post was named Fort Larned on May 29. [58]

     Two military expeditions were out hunting the Kiowas and Comanches in the summer of 1860. Maj. John Sedgwick headed the "northern column." He, and four First cavalry companies arrived at Camp Alert on May 23 (from Fort Riley) and were joined there by two Second dragoon companies. Sedgwick's command started June 1 on a 30-day pack-mule scout; forded the Arkansas three miles below Cimarron crossing on June 4; moved southward to the North Fork of the Canadian; scouted a while; marched westward into New Mexico; then moved northward, via the old "Aubrey" trail, to the Arkansas; camped on the north bank (near the Hamilton-Kearny county line of today) from June 29 to July 7; then proceeded upriver to Bent's Fort -- reached on July 8. [59]

     The "southern column" which went out in search of the hostile Plains tribes was headed by Cpt. Samuel D. Sturgis. With six First cavalry companies, aided by 100 "Tonkaways" and 40 southern Comanches (as guides and spies), he left Fort Cobb, I. T., on June 9, and moved northward. Sturgis' command crossed the Arkansas nine miles below old Fort Atkinson on July 1, and remained several days in that general vicinity. [60]

     Albert G. Boone, of Westport, Mo., en route to "Colorado" with his family, and others, wrote this letter from "Walnut Creek, (on Big Arkansas,) Peacock's Ranch, June 28th [1860]":

     Friend Mac. Here we are -- 15 days out -- almost without an effort; found the road good beyond all expectation. . . . Our friend Geo. Peacock, the present occupant of this post, is the prince of good fellows -- has everything a traveler wants, from an ear of corn to the greatest luxury. His store, as well as that of [Seth] Hays & Co., of Council Grove, and M. Conn's [also at Council Grove], are equal to any in Westport. . . .

     Our stock, down to chickens, all look as well, and better even than when we left.

     I met the Kaws on a Buffalo hunt at Owl Creek . . . and they supplied us liberally with buffalo meat. I am told that here we have near us, on our right and left, U. S. troops in one or two miles of us, but have not seen one. The road is clear of hostile Indians.

     I am sorry to inform you that Col. [Ceran] St. Vrain had his mules stolen at Lost Spring, before he overtook us and was compelled to buy others after considerable delay. -- Our party now consists of Bud Evans, Charley Legget and Mr. Stewart of Kansas City, P. H. Smith and son, Tarlton Crutchfield, Mr. Stone, Mr. Carson, Mr. Dibble (a clever Alabama gentleman), myself, wife, daughter, and two servants. We do not travel on Sunday, and were so kindly entertained here by our friend Mr. Peacock, who has been feasting us all day on good things, that we concluded to lay over a while, and our party is now fishing and shooting buffalo. . . . [61]

     Around the end of June, Kiowa Indians showed up in the Great Bend of the Arkansas country. In a July 11 letter from "Pawnee Fork," I. Powell wrote: "Kiowa Indians are seen occasionally near the post by soldiers out cutting timber . . . and are constantly seen near Walnut Creek, in small parties." A mail party reported, in mid-July, that a band of Kiowas had been lurking in the Walnut creek-Cow creek area "for the last two or three weeks past." [62]

     On July 9, at and near Ash Creek Crossing, three Kiowas killed two white men. One was a "poor German" (Christian Krauss?) whose mutilated body was found on the trail just west of Thompson's ranch. The other was John Cunningham (recently a soldier?) who died inside the cabin after receiving mortal wounds while outside it. Orville (or William?) Thompson fended off the Indians (who tried to burn his place), and escaped after nightfall. [63]

     Major Wessells (at Pawnee Fork -- Fort Larned) just prior to, or at the time of these murders, sent an express to the First cavalry troops, requesting that the area between Walnut and Cow creeks be scouted for the Kiowas and Comanches. Captain Sturgis' command arrived at Pawnee Fork on July 10. The next day, as a cavalryman stated: "came to Walnut Creek, crossed over [passing Peacock's ranch], and continued down the stream [two miles?] until we arrived at the mouth; passed a large number of old camping places of the Kiowa tribe. By the appearance of the evacuated camp, I should judge that they numbered upwards of 700." Sturgis' command remained near Walnut creek's mouth four days. Company A, on a scout towards Cow creek, picked up the Kiowa trail on the 14th. The rest of the troops marched eastward the night of July 15, arriving next day at Cow creek. They found "numerous Indian camps of recent evacuation," but no Kiowas. Heading westward again, Sturgis' command returned to Pawnee Fork about July 21. [64]

     At Walnut Creek Crossing, in mid-July, a log cabin (apparently Hall & Porter's mail station) was destroyed. A cavalryman wrote, on July 22: "During our absence from Walnut Creek [July 16-19?], one of the houses upon its banks was broken into, the contents stolen therefrom, and then burnt to the ground. It is supposed . . . done by a party of outlaws which infest the country along the Santa Fe road." [65]

     "Within a short time five dead bodies have been found between Cow Creek and Pawnee Fork," the Council Grove Press, July 30, 1860, stated. The Leavenworth Daily Times of August 3 reported: "We learn . . . that the Kiowas or Comanches murdered and scalped a white man, his wife and two children near Walnut Creek." An account from Salina said the Indians had killed two men, one woman, and two children -- supposed to be Pike's Peak emigrants -- near Pawnee Fork Fort (Fort Larned). These five(?) victims apparently were killed in the latter part of July. [66]

     The list of persons "Registered at S. M. Hays & Co.," Council Grove, for the week ending August 23 included "G. H. Peacock, Walnut Creek." The assumption is that the trader had been to Missouri, and now was returning to the ranch, his wagon (or, wagons) loaded with a new stock of goods. It was his last journey west on the Santa Fe road. [67]

     Events at Walnut Creek ranch on September 9, 1860, were briefly stated by Bvt. Maj. Henry W. Wessells (writing, from "Pawnee Fork" on the 12th): "Mr. Geo. Peacock and two other persons were treacherously murdered at Walnut Creek on Sunday last by a party of ten Indians." (The "other persons" were Peacock's clerk "Myers," and a Mexican herder.) [68] What Wessells failed to say was that the Kiowas' war chief Satank planned the attack and personally killed Peacock -- in revenge for a trick the trader had played on him.

     An account in the Westport Border Star gave some details of the murders:

     Mr. Geo. H. Peacock, formerly of Independence . . . was killed on last Sunday week by a Kiowa chief named Satank. Satank and two or three others of the tribe reconnoitered around Peacock's Ranch until an opportunity offered when they fired on him, one ball entering his left temple, killing him instantly. They then fired upon a man named Myers, a German, also from Independence and wounded him so that he died in a short time. There was another man in the house lying sick, but he was not molested. The Indians then loaded themselves with considerable plunder and left. [69]


Satank Kiowa war chief
Satank, the Kiowa war chief, who killed George Peacock at Walnut Creek ranch in September, 1860.


     Peacock's "indiscretion [that] cost him his life" was explained as follows in the Western Journal of Commerce:

     . . . Sometime last spring Satank applied to Mr. Peacock for a letter of recommendation to any whites that he might meet, as to his character and honorable conduct. Mr. Peacock, knowing the treachery and cunning of the old red skin, instead of commending him to whomsoever he met, gave him a piece of writing warning all who might be called upon to read, to beware of the bearer as he was treacherous and dangerous; presuming that as the old fellow could not read it, he would never know what it contained. . . . Some Mexicans to whom it was shown translated it for him, and told him what it read. He swore vengeance against Peacock; but the latter being on good terms generally with the Kiowas and paying little attention to the bravado of old Satank thought nothing of it. Even a few days before [his death], he had intervened to protect him [Satank] against a sergeant and corps who sought to arrest him while on Peacock's premises and take him to the Fort. [70]

     Two colorful later-day versions of Peacock's murder, written by frontiersmen, contain inaccuracies, but add details that embellish the story and are in general accord. Robert M. Wright (in 1901) stated that Peacock supplied the Indians with whisky, and had to hide his stock of this illicit item when troops came by. Satank knew this, and as a ruse to get Peacock "to the top of his lookout," told the trader that soldiers were coming. Peacock got his field-glasses, climbed to the lookout, and "the instant he appeared," says Wright, "Satank shot him full of holes[!], exclaiming as he did so, 'Good-by, Mr. Peacock; I guess you won't write any more letters.' Then they [the Kiowas] went into the building and killed every man present, except one a sick individual, who was lying in one of the rooms, gored through the leg by a buffalo." James R. Mead (in 1908) stated: "Peacock had a tall lookout built on top of is trading house . Satanta [i. e., Satank], with some of his men, came to the store and told Peacock there was a lot of soldiers coming. Peacock climbed to the top of his lookout to see, when Satanta [Satank] shot him." [71]

     The Santa Fe mail party which reached Independence, Mo., September 23 had "no news from the Plains of importance," but reported that the "Ranche where Peacock was killed" had been abandoned, and the goods not taken by the Indians moved to Council Grove. [72] "We hear of no more Indian difficulties on the Road, since the murder of Peacock," said the Council Grove Press in late September. "They seem to have become frightened at their own acts, and have left the [Santa Fe] road altogether. . . ." [73]


Charles Rath trader at Walnut Creek ranch
Charles Rath, trader, who succeeded Peacock, and ran Walnut Creek ranch until April (?), 1867.


     Charles Rath (aged 24) probably took over Walnut Creek ranch within a matter of weeks after Peacock's murder. [74] Rath was one of 12 men who voted at Beach Valley (Cow Creek Crossing) on November 6, 1860, when 10 Peketon county officials were elected. Most of these voters were connected with the area ranches. When the formalities were over, William Mathewson -- the original "Buffalo Bill" -- was one of the two voters without an office. Charles Rath was elected constables. [75]


Table of distances from Kansas City to the Gold Regions of Pike's Peak


     In April and May, 1861, the Council Grove Press editor described Santa Fe trail traffic, both east and west, as extensive; and reported all quiet on the Arkansas route. However, a little-publicized massacre occurred in late April, near Walnut creek. A Fort Larned correspondent reported that Kiowas had killed and scalped six Mexicans (from a small wagon train) who were hunting buffalo off the road. So far as known, this was the Plains Indians' only depredation of consequence along the route in 1861. [76]

     No firsthand information on Walnut Creek ranch in 1861, or 1862, has been found. Indications are that Charles Rath got along well with all the Plains tribes. Kiowas in large numbers (and Comanches?) were in the ranch vicinity in 1861. They held their sun dance that summer near the Great Bend of the Arkansas. [77] With the Cheyennes, Rath formed a special relationship in the early 1860's. He had a Cheyenne wife -- Making Out Road, or Roadmaker. Their only child, Cheyenne Belle, was born near Bent's Fort either in August, 1861, or August, 1863. [71]

     In 1862 the Plains tribes posed no serious threat on the Santa Fe route despite the fact an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Apaches, Kiowas, and Comanches were in the Fort Larned vicinity in mid-summer. They were there awaiting the delivery of government annuities, and were said to be "on very short rations the game being nearly all killed off." When, in August, the Indians learned the distribution would be made at Fort Lyon, Colo., there was some dissatisfaction, but they moved upriver. In November, 1862, L. G. Terry, Kansas Stage Company superintendent, stated that large bands of Indians frequently were encamped around Fort Larned, but offered no violence and that Ltc. Charles S. Clarke, Ninth Kansas cavalry, commanding the post, had "no fears from them whatever." [79]

     In the winter of 1862-1863 heavy snows fell in central Kansas. The Kiowas, camped on upper Walnut creek, had a difficult time keeping themselves and their animals from starving. (On their calendar it was recorded as the "winter when horses ate ashes. [80]

     Charles Rath, John F. Dodds, James A. Robbins, F. Lederick, and A. D. Robbins, in January, 1863, formed the Walnut Creek Bridge Company "for the purpose of building a toll bridge over Walnut Creek, in Peketon County, State of Kansas, where the Great Santa Fe Road crosses said stream." [81] Probably the structure was completed in time for collection of tolls from the spring-season traffic.

     One of the bridge incorporators -- John F. Dodds, of Council Grove -- on his way to Colorado with a survey party in June, 1863, wrote a letter from "70 miles west of Fort Larned" in which he described the situation then existing on the Arkansas in central Kansas:

     Major Colly [Samuel G. Colley], Indian Agent for the Kiowas, has forbid the Traders to trade with the Indians, and the Indians threaten to retaliate. Maj. Colly became alarmed, and passed Messrs. Wright and Clements' [survey] party on his way to Fort Lyon [Colo.] for security.

     Mr. Charles Rath, Trader at Walnut Creek, sells large quantities of goods to the Kiowas, Arappahoes and Commanches, and takes in exchange furs, robes etc.; and we are reliably informed that he has always persistently refused to sell whisky to Indians. . . .

     Large numbers of Kiowas, Arrappahos and Commanches, are now on Walnut Creek and vicinity, variously estimated from 1000 to 1800 and 2000 Lodges. [82]

     The Council Grove Press of July 6 gave a fuller explanation:

     Charles Rath, a good Union man, has for a number of years, been keeping a Ranch and trading at Walnut Creek. Major Coll[e]y is Indian Agent. . . . [He] has a son and . . . gives his son license to trade among the Indians, and refuses Rath a license! He next takes the position that the country around Walnut is Indian country, and gets a military order to close Rath's Store. This cuts off the Indian supply of flour, sugar, coffee, etc. The Indians became excited, and Maj. Coll[e]y and Son ran to Fort Lyon. The Indians being on the point of starvation robbed a government train. . . .

     Lt. G. C. Manville, Second Colorado cavalry, supplied more information on the results of Agent Colley's order when he arrived at Council Grove July 10 on the "Santa Fe Stage" from Fort Larned. He reported that the Indians had "on several occasions fired upon trains, killing or wounding cattle"; had attacked one government train (ransacking the wagons, and taking the wagonmaster's "saddle and fixtures"); and had "fired into" the cattle "belonging to a Ranch on Walnut [Rath's]," killing and wounding several animals. Col. Jesse H. Leavenworth, head of the Second Colorado regiment, had sent for the Kiowa and Comanche chiefs to come to Fort Larned. When they finally chose to appear at the post, they arrived with about 300 warriors "in regular military order and formed in line of battle." After a talk with the six or seven tribal leaders, Colonel Leavenworth ordered "a large issue of hard bread, bacon etc." to the Indians. [83] This appeased them temporarily. On July 9, at a time when "Arapahoe, Kiowa and Comanche Indians in large numbers" surrounded Fort Larned, a sentinel shot and killed an Indian. He was a Cheyenne, and though his tribesmen made threats of violence, the anticipated crisis did not develop. [84]

     On July 28, 1863, from "Walnut Creek Plains," Charles Rath wrote the Council Grove Press editor that Agent Colley had promised him a trading license, and given him a written permit to trade until it arrived. [85] During the rest of 1863 there was no serious trouble with Plains tribes in the Walnut creek and Fort Larned area. However, Kiowas and Comanches committed numerous depredations in August, in the Cimarron Crossing vicinity. Satank's band of Kiowas did "more damage than all the others." [86]

      At Walnut Creek Crossing a post office named Kiowa was opened in the spring of 1864. The official date of establishment was April 8; and John F. Dodds was appointed postmaster. (When the post office became "Fort Zarah," on April 28, 1865, Reuben Howard replaced Dodds.) [87]

      In a letter of May 10, 1864, from "Kiowa, Peketon County, Kansas," Dodds included information on Charles Rath's activities:

      . . . Chas. Rath is some 130 or 140 miles S.W. trading with the Comanches, [he] left here April 23rd, and will probably be back in 8 or 10 days -- His brother "Chris" [J. Christian Rath] left on the 12th of March with 2 wagons, one white man, and one contraband, to trade with Cheyennes upon Smoky [Hill], about 175 miles distant. He wrote home by an Indian about a month since -- which is the last tiding we received from him. The Indians say he will be here in 4 days. We are getting somewhat anxious about him. . . .

     May 11, 1864. Chas. Rath has just got in from the Comanches and reports all quiet in the Indian country. [88]

     Near Big creek, and the Smoky Hill (in southeastern Ellis county?), on May 16, Lt. George S. Eayre's 100-man command of Colorado troops had a seven-and-a-half hour running battle with some 400 Cheyennes (and Sioux) -- a fight precipitated by the soldiers' unprovoked killing of Chief Lean Bear. (The Indians lost 17? warriors; three Colorado men were killed, and four wounded -- one died soon after.) [89]

     Small parties of Cheyennes launched retaliatory attacks on frontier ranches and stage stations the next day. Rath had been forewarned on the 16th by Indians who came and took his Cheyenne wife away with them. His trading goods, and probably some livestock. were on their way eastward (conducted by a passing wagon train) when a raiding party arrived at Walnut Creek ranch about 9 A. M. on May 17. Rath, Lewis Booth, and John Dodds watched from atop the ranchhouse as 10 or more Cheyennes cut the lariats of the trader's, the stage company's, and Dodd's mules and horses (picketed outside the corral to graze) and made off with them.

     East of Walnut Creek ranch, "at the Big Bend," the raiders got all the stock from Curtis & Cole's ranch. To the northeast of Rath's place, on the other road, near Cow Creek (not far from present Claflin) the Cheyennes not only took the stock but killed Suel D. Walker, Kansas Stage Company employee. From inside the ranchhouse there J. J. and C. L. Prater fired on the Indians, killing two(?) and wounding a third. Other raids were made on both roads, but no one else was killed. Some 16 persons filed claims totaling upwards of $47,000 for the Cheyenne depredations of May 17. [90] For a time, the frontier ranches and stations were abandoned. Some operators (the Prater brothers, in particular) apparently never did return.

     On June 14, 1864, Maj. T. I. McKenny, inspector-general (and party), en route to Fort Larned, and escorting a mail stage, reached Walnut creek (after a 40-mile journey from Smoky Hill crossing, where work on a blockhouse was under way). He "camped at a point where the road intersects the old Santa Fe road, and where the Leavenworth and Kansas City mails are due at the same time"; "found the ranch [Rath's] entirely deserted." (He saw the owner next day at Fort Larned.)

     In his June 15 report, written at Fort Larned, Major McKenny stated that he intended to "build a block-house" at Walnut creek on his return trip. [91] On June 27 Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis, at Fort Leavenworth, reported McKenny had returned, and he outlined the major's accomplishments: "A stockade and 25 men under Lieutenant Clark, Seventh Iowa, holds Salina. At Smoky Fork he erected block-house and left Lieutenant Ellsworth with 40 men. At Walnut Creek, 40 [i. e., 32] miles this side Larned, commenced stone fort, and left Captain [Oscar F.] Dunlap with 45 men, Fifteenth Kansas. At Larned directed a field-work and gave general directions to escort stages." Curtis also stated: "Indians generally quiet, but the Cheyennes preparing for mischief." [92]

     The small defense post at Walnut creek, first called Camp Dunlap, was named Fort Zarah in July, 1864. (Up to July, 1868, it was under Fort Larned's control; from that time till abandoned in December, 1869, it was an independent post.) [93]

     Charles Rath no doubt returned to his trading post as soon as Camp Dunlap was established. He seems to have been there in July, 1864. George Bent (half-Cheyenne son of William Bent), at a later time, stated: ". . . in July [1864] the Kiowas and Comanches attacked a train or two at Walnut creek. They killed several teamsters. Brother Charles was at Charley Rath's place on Walnut creek at the time. He told me about it when he came to the village on Solomon river." (Bent referred to the July 18 attack by Kiowas, Comanches, and Arapahoes on the trains of Jerome E. Crow and Richard F. Barret, in which 10 men were killed, five seriously wounded -- including two who were scalped, and the wagons plundered.) The massacre took place just west of Camp Dunlap, within sight of the small garrison. [94] Rath could have been a spectator.

     From May, 1864, till mid-August, 1865, when the Comanches, Kiowas, Arapahoes, and Apaches made a preliminary agreement to cease hostilities, Charles Rath's Indian trade must have been curtailed. After the Plains tribes signed peace treaties in October, 1865 (the Cheyennes and Arapahoes on the 14th; Comanches and Kiowas on the 18th), presumably he again had a lucrative trade with them -- a trade which, it appears, was unrestricted throughout 1866. After that the situation changed.


Ado Hunnius Sketch of Fort Zarah area

Two sketches of Fort Zarah (1864-1869) as drawn in 1867 by Ado Hunnius. The following statements, from an April, 1867, military report, help to identify the structures. "There are two public buildings of stone at Zarah." "A trader named Rath claims a stone building near the Round Tower as private property and also a toll bridge over Walnut Creek." "The mail Station occupies a building on the south side opposite the round tower." Abandoned in 1869, Fort Zarah lay in ruins by 1880.


Ado Hunnius Sketch of Fort Zarah area


     A military report of 1867 stated: "A trader named Rath claims a stone building near the Round Tower [blockhouse] as private property and also a toll bridge over Walnut Creek, at this point [Fort Zarah]. . . ." [95] Part of the trading post evidently was constructed of stone, but Ado Hunnius (U. S. soldier) who was at Fort Zarah in 1867 described the trader's place as "Adobe Mud Roof House partly underground." [96]

     Early in 1867 there were complaints by some military men about Rath's trading activities. Maj. Henry Douglass, commanding at Fort Dodge, asserted in a January letter: "Charley Rath, a trader, who lives at Zarah, has armed several bands of Kiowas with Revolvers and has complet[e]ly overstocked them with Powder." [97] And Gen. John W. Davidson (acting inspector general) reported April 5: "Rath, the trader, I learn, sells whiskey to the Indians, in violation of military orders and Act of Congress and should be put off the reservation." [98] Davidson was with Gen. Winfield S. Hancock's expedition then en route to a council with the Plains Indians. So, also, was Henry M. Stanley, newspaper correspondent, who wrote on April 6th:

     One house [at Fort Zarah] is occupied by a fellow called Charley Rath, a notorious desperado[!], who has contributed not a little to the Indian disturbances which have occasionally broken out in this vicinity. He has sold revolvers, knives, and powder to the Kiowas. He has been warned by the Indians not to approach their villages, and yesterday he was warned off the Indian Reserve by Inspector General Davidson for selling whisky to soldiers and Indians. There are five graves not a hundred yards from the fort, where the victims of Indians lie buried. [99]

     Apparently Charles Rath's tenure as Fort Zarah's trader ended at this time. Probably his successor was Joseph W. Douglass, who in 1868, was the post trader. It seems logical that the newcomer would occupy the quarters Rath had used. On May 19, 1868, the trading post of Joseph W. Douglass was burned by a party of some 25 Cheyennes and a few Arapahoes. The victim subsequently filed a claim against the Cheyennes for $5,445 to cover his loss of merchandise." [100]

     On the supposition that it was Rath's former trading post that went up in flames, the story of Walnut Creek ranch would have ended here, except for this 1969 postscript.

An Addendum

     In May, 1969, archeologists of the Kansas State Historical Society working with members of the Kansas Anthropological Association, comprised mostly of amateur archeologists, excavated the remains of a burned stone building (just east of Great Bend) near the historic Walnut Creek Crossing of the Santa Fe trail. It had been a large sandstone structure, 80 x 20 feet, with footings two to three feet wide. The south two-thirds seems to have been a storage area and was virtually devoid of artifacts.

     Most of the recovered pieces were found in the north portion, which was apparently the living area. The archeologists unearthed the remains of a wood-burning stove and pieces of furniture; household and kitchen utensils; coiled springs, such as occur in furniture cushions; scraps of cloth; leather fragments; ironstone dishes; gun parts; and a large section of a sickle bar from a mowing machine. Remnants of a heavy tarpaulin, such as used on covered wagons, suggest that one may have been spread as a rug, to cover the earth floor. [101]

     Larry J. Schmits of the University of Kansas examined the recovered gun parts, which consisted of brass and iron butt plates, ram pipes, patch box covers, barrel pin plates, barrel bands, trigger guards, and one lock plate. His tentative conclusions indicate that these artifacts date as late as the latter 1860's.

     Thus we have an outstanding example of research in the documents of history dovetailing with the findings of archeologists and a gun expert. Together they establish that the structure excavated in 1969 was Rath's building in which Joseph W. Douglass housed his Fort Zarah trading post when raiding Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians burned it to the ground in 1868!


Archeologists of the Kansas State Historical Society working with members of the Kansas Anthropological Association
Unearthing remains of the ranch house at Walnut Creek Crossing of the Santa Fe Trail (near Great Bend) as supervised by State Historical Society archeologists May 31, 1969. The photograph was taken looking north along the west footings.


NOTES


Louise Barry is a member of the staff of the Kansas State Historical Society.

  1. At Council Grove (in the Kansa reserve) a trading post had been established in 1847. -- See Kansas Historical Quarterly (KHQ), v. 30, pp. 501, 502. In mid-1855, as Hartman Lichtenhan (a Second dragoon) later recollected, Council Grove consisted of a blacksmith shop, grocery (the trading post operated by Seth Hays), a post office (of February, 1855, origin), and "perhaps four or five other shanties." -- See Kansas Historical Collections (KHC), v. 9, p. 549. Also at Council Grove was the Kansa or Kaw Methodist Mission building erected in 1850. -- KHQ, v. 32, pp. 96, 97.

  2. William Allison carried mail on the Santa Fe route at least as early as May, 1851, and till late in, or the end of, 1852. Throughout 1853 and in 1854 he conducted mail On the Independence-Fort Laramie line. Francis Boothe ("Booth" in some accounts, and possibly the correct spelling) carried mail on the Santa Fe route at least by July, 1853, and throughout 1854. -- See indexes to KHQ, v. 32 for Allison; and Boothe, ibid., v. 33; and Missouri Republican, St. Louis, October 25, 1854.

  3. Other Plains tribes, the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, were in William Bent's sphere of influence. His stone trading fort, above the Big Timbers on the Upper Arkansas, was 250 miles to the west. Bent's new fort had been completed in 1853, but he had traded in that vicinity (from a log fort) since 1849 (following his destruction of the famed adobe post -- Bent's Fort -- farther up the Arkansas). -- See David Lavender's Bent's Fort (New York, 1854), pp. 315-317, 324, 414, 415.

  4. Reprinted here from the Weekly St. Louis Intelligencer of August 10, 1855. The Kansas Free State, Lawrence, August 6, 1855, also carried it. The Weekly St. Louis Pilot, July 28, 1855, reported that the mail Party from Santa Fe which reached Independence on July 22 brought news a "settlement at Walnut Creek was just being made by a party of Missourians." In James Mooney's Calendar History of the Kiowa Indians (published in the 17th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1898), p. 311, it is stated that Allison "had as partners his half brother, John Adkins, known to the Kiowa as Kabodalte, 'Left-handed,' and another man named Booth." Also, that Allison "had lost his right arm from a bullet received in a fight with his stepfather, whom he killed in the encounter"; and that the Kiowas called Walnut creek Tsodalhente-de P'a (Armless man's creek). Allison was known as Tsodalhente or Man-kenk'ia (No-arm).

    Ray Schulz, Great Bend, in his article "Allison's Ranch," published in the Kansas Anthropological Association Newsletter, Hays, December, 1969, included much of this material.

  5. New York Daily Tribune, September 6, 1855 (from the Occidental Messenger of August 25).

  6. KHC, v. 10, p. 665 (for Mead); Obridge Allen, Guide Book and Map to the Gold Fields of Kansas & Nebraska . . . (Washington, D. C., 1859). [Facsimile reproduction.] Möllhausen stated, in 1858, that the mouth of Walnut creek was two miles from Walnut Creek Crossing. -- KHQ, v. 16, p. 356.

  7. Lawrence Republican, October 28, 1858; or, see L. R. Hafen, ed., Pike's Peak Gold Rush Guidebooks of 1859 (Glendale, Cal., 1941), p. 316. Parsons, in his guidebook, The New Gold Mines of Western Kansas (Cincinnati, 1859), p. 32, wrote that Allison's ranch was "a strong house and corral, built of logs set endways in the ground, forming a safe defense against the Indians."

  8. KHQ, v. 16, pp. 354, 355.

  9. The Trail, Denver, v. 5, no. 7, p. 7.

  10. L. R. and Ann W. Hafen, eds., Relations With the Indians of the Plains, 1857-1861 (Glendale, Cal., 1959), p. 103.

  11. James J. Webb, Adventures in the Santa Fe Trade, 1844-1847 (Glendale, Cal., 1931), p. 173.

  12. KHC, v. 11, p. 570.

  13. Ibid., v. 8, p. 489.

  14. L. N. Ross had been in the Santa Fe trade at least from 1849-1852, and perhaps in other years. -- See KHQ, v. 31, pp. 311, 326m v, 32m pp. 103, 463, 464, 487. Daniel Patterson (later mentioned in connection with Walnut Creek ranch) probably was the Daniel Patterson ("an old Prairie man") who, in 1856, established a trading post (described, in 1857, as "a big store and picket work") at the Big Sandy Crossing (in Pawnee country), in Nebraska territory. -- See KHC, v. 14, pp. 138, 139; Annals of Wyoming, Cheyenne, v. 11 (April, 1939), p. 80; Western Journal of Commerce, Kansas City, Mo., January 30, 1858.

  15. Howard L. Conard, "Uncle Dick" Wootton (Chicago, 1890), pp. 345, 346; Webb, Adventures in the Santa Fe Trade . . . pp. 163, 164. Reporting wolf-hunters' activities in 1860, the Weekly Leavenworth Herald of April 7, 1860, stated: "The skins are worth one dollar apiece."

  16. Kansas City (Mo.) Enterprise, February 9, March 1, 1856; Missouri Republican, St. Louis, March 26, 1856; or, New York Daily Tribune, April 4, 1856.

  17. Conard, "Uncle Dick" Wootton, pp. 324, 341-346. The year apparently was 1856, by Wootton's recollection of events.

  18. From data collected for Robert W. Baughman's Kansas Post Offices (typed notes, in KHi). The post office was discontinued on November 20, 1857.

  19. Santa Fe (N. M.) Weekly Gazette, March 7, 1857 (reported from Wells' memoranda of his journeys).

  20. Ibid., February 21, 1857.

  21. KHC, v. 5, pp. 300, 301, v. 8 pp. 486-494; Samuel J. Bayard's The Life of George Dashiell Bayard . . . (New York, 1874), p. 123. After Sedgwick's command joined Col. E. V. Sumner's command on the South Platte, the cavalry troops moved eastward and routed the Cheyennes in a battle on the South Fork of the Solomon on July 29, 1857.

  22. Lawrence Republican, June 25, 1857. The Douglas county party made a settlement in Butler county, and named it El Dorado.

  23. Commissioner of Indian affairs, Report, 1857, p. 141.

  24. Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, August 8, 1857 (from Star of Empire, Westport, Mo.)

  25. Santa Fe (N.M.) Weekly Gazette, October 31, 1857. No other information on Francis Boothe has been found. The Jackson county, Missouri, federal census, 1840, lists three families with the surname "Boothe." The 1850 census has two entries under "Boothe" and five under "Booth" (one had been listed as "Boothe" in 1840). Among the latter is a Francis H. Booth (and family), but he is also in the 1860 census, and therefore not the, plainsman of Walnut Creek ranch.

  26. KHQ, v. 16, p. 369, v. 22, p. 328, footnote.

  27. Colorado Magazine, Denver, v. 12 (March, 1935), pp 42-50 (for Voorhees' Diary); or, see Hafen, Pike's Peak Gold Rush Guidebooks . . . pp. 336-346. William B. Parsons (also of the "Lawrence party") wrote of the ranch, and the Indians. -- See Lawrence Republican, October 28, 1858, or, Hafen, Pike's Peak Gold Rush Guidebooks . . . p. 316.

  28. KHQ, v. 16, pp. 353-356.

  29. Commissioner of Indian affairs, Report, 1858, pp. 96-100.

  30. Reminiscences of General William Larimer and of His Son William H. H. Larimer (Lancaster, Pa., 1918), pp. 59, 60.

  31. Allen, Guide Book and Map to the Gold Fields. . . . The Western Journal of Commerce, Kansas City, Mo., July 10, 1858, stated that Jacob Hall had "at last" secured "for himself and company" eight mail stations in Kansas territory, each consisting of 640 acres.

  32. The Kansas News, Emporia, December 4, 1858; Robert W. Baughman, Kansas Post Offices (c1961), pp. 9, 221.

  33. New York Times, March 25, 1859 (reprinted in The Border Star, Westport, Mo., April 8, 1859). Spalding compiled the Annals of the City of Kansas published at Kansas City, Mo., in 1858.

  34. After a visit to Council Grove in June, S. N. Wood stated that Pike's Peak emigrants were "returning by thousands." -- The Kansas Press, Cottonwood Falls, June 13, 1859).

  35. Western Journal of Commerce, Kansas City, Mo., April 30, 1859. Allison's death (reported under date line of Sunday, April 24) was stated as occurring "at Independence on Tuesday last [i. e., April 19]." The Leavenworth Weekly Times, April 30, 1859, noting his death "last week"(?), referred to Allison as "an old and well known mountaineer." James R. Mead, in KHC, v. 10, p. 664, is authority for "died suddenly of heart failure."

  36. George H. Peacock had traveled the Santa Fe trail a number of times. There, is mention of him as a Santa Fe trader in 1845-1847, and 1850. (See KHQ, v. 30, pp. 239, 350, 499 548. and v. 32, p. 51. He may have gone to California as early as 1851. He was there in 1857 when he joined the Ives expedition which explored the Colorado River. (See ibid., v. 16, pp. 238-241, 340-379 passim.)

  37. Hafen & Hafen, Relations With the Indians . . . p. 103 (for Raymond); KHQ, v. 22, p 329 (for Salisbury); Hafen, Pike's Peak Gold Rush Guidebooks . . . p. 40 (for Post).

  38. The Kansas News, Emporia, August 6, 1859.

  39. Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Western Journal of Commerce, September 9, 1859.

  40. Commissioner of Indian affairs, Report, 1859, pp. 505-507. The Border Star, Westport, Mo., June 3, 1859, noted the appointment of William Bent as Indian agent, "in place of Robert Miller, whose commission has expired."

  41. Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Western Journal of Commerce, September 11, 1859.

  42. Bayard, The Life of George Dashiell Bayard . . . p. 151. Van Dorn's attacks on Buffalo Hump's band of Comanches occurred in 1858, and in 1859, and not in Texas. One brief account of the October 1, 1858, battle, near present Rush Springs, Okla., is in KHQ, v. 24, pp. 257, 262. In KHC, v. 12, pp. 312-329, is a story of the May 13, 1859, battle, which took place in present Ford county, Kansas.

  43. Bayard, The Life of George Dashiell Bayard . . . pp 156, 157. The Weekly Border Star, Westport, Mo., October 8, 1859, issue, stated that the squabble at "Rickman's Ranch" on the 20th (?) of September, was over a "horse swap." The source of this information apparently was "Mr. [Daniel?] Patterson, from Walnut Creek." Pawnee and Satank had got drunk on whisky obtained from some Mexicans, the Weekly Leavenworth Herald of October 22, 1859, stated. Refused more whisky at the ranch, by Rickman, Pawnee tried to kill him with a butcher knife, and was "prevented from so doing, by Mr. Jones Flourney" of Independence, Mo.

  44. Bayard, The Life of George Dashiell Bayard pp. 157, 158. Lieutenant Bayard wrote: I . . . shot him as a last resort, the ball entering his back, passing, through the heart and coming out of the breast, and yet he rode on two hundred yards before he fell. I fired another shot at his head but missed. He was dead within half a minute after he fell." -- Ibid., p. 155. Pawnee was "buried just under the break of the bank about 40 or 50 yards above the Santa Fe Trail ford." -- KHQ, v. 1, p. 202. See, ibid., pp. 201 and 202, for Lambert B. Wolf's description of this episode; and see ibid., v. 21, pp. 579, 580, for John S. Kirwan's reminiscences.

  45. Bayard, The Life of George Dashiell Bayard . . . p. 154.

  46. KHQ, v. 1, p. 202, and Bayard, The Life of George Dashiell Bayard . . ., p. 155, are two (of a number of) sources for the mail party depredation. One source for the "Pike's Peakers" is Leavenworth Daily Times, October 13, 1859. For the November 1 statement (by Dr. J. W. Lee) see The Weekly Border Star, Westport, Mo., December 3, 1859; also see KHQ. v. 7, p. 98. Exaggerated totals of Indian victims (estimates of 19 to 21 killed) were given in some October accounts. -- See Weekly Leavenworth Herald, October 29, 1859; and Leavenworth Daily Times, November 5, 11, 1859.

  47. KHQ, v. 1, pp. 202, 203; Fort Riley post return, October, 1859. DeSaussure's command reached Fort Riley October 2; Long, and 30 men, returned to that post October 28.

  48. Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Western Journal of Commerce, September 28, 1859. This mail party had traveled through the danger zone in company with a wagon trail.

  49. Grantley F. Berkeley, The English Sportsman in the Western Prairies (London, 1861), pp. 208, 209. Berkeley, incidentally, stated that "Pawnee was a son-in-law to Satanka, or the Sitting Bear, who is the [Kiowa] war chief. . . ."

  50. KHQ, v. 1, pp 204, 205; Fort Riley post return, October, 1859, Leo E. Oliva, Soldiers on the Santa Fe Trail (Norman, Okla., c1967), pp. 114-119 (for data on the mail station); Weekly Journal of Commerce, Kansas City, Mo., April 12, 1860. Camp on Pawnee Fork" was on the right bank of the stream, some two to three miles north of the Santa Fe road. A post office was authorized for "Pawnee Fork" on November 30, 1859, with William Butze as postmaster. -- Baughman, Kansas Post Offices, pp. 99, 215.

  51. The Weekly Border Star, Westport, Mo., October 22 and November 12, 1859.

  52. KHQ, v. 1, p. 205.

  53. Fort Riley post return, December, 1859; KHQ, v. 1, p. 205; Robert M. Peck's "Rough Riding on the Plains," in National Tribune, Washington, D. C., May 30, 1901.

  54. KHQ, v. 23, p. 391; Western Journal of Commerce, Kansas City, Mo., April 12, 1860.

  55. Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Journal of Commerce, July 18, 1860; KHQ, v. 23, p. 391.

  56. Western Journal of Commerce, Kansas City, Mo., April 12, 1860, the items on Peacock and Butze from the Daily of April 7.

  57. The Kansas Press, Council Grove, April 30, July 23, September 8, 1860.

  58. Western Journal of Commerce, Kansas City, Mo. April 12, May 24, 1860; John Sedgwick, Correspondence . . . (New York, 1903), v. 2, p. 11. Trooper Robert M. Peck wrote: "In passing Pawnee Fork [late fall of 1860] we could see from the road that the infantry companies who relieved us last May are busily at work erecting the dobe buildings of Fort Larned, near our old Camp Alert, about 3 miles north of the road." -- National Tribune, Washington, D. C., August 1, 1901.

  59. KHQ, v. 1, pp. 206-210 (L. B. Wolf's diary); v. 23, pp. 389-400 (Lt. J. E. B. Stuart's diary); Sedgwick, Correspondence . . ., v. 2, pp. 12-14; Bayard, The Life of George Dashiell Bayard . . . pp. 169-172.

  60. KHQ, v. 24, pp. 403-410; The Border Star, Westport, Mo., July 21, 1860.

  61. The Border Star, Westport, Mo., July 14, 1860. Boone and J. G. Hamilton, Westport, Mo., licensed traders with the Kansa Indians in 1847, had established, that year, a trading post at Council Grove, placing Seth Hays (cousin to Boone) in charge. -- See KHQ, v. 30, pp. 501, 502. When William Bent resigned as Indian agent (September 19, 1860), his successor was Albert G. Boone. -- Lavender, Bent's Fort, p. 346.

  62. Daily Kansas City (Mo.) Journal of Commerce, July 18, 1860; The Border Star, Westport, Mo., July 21, 1860. "I. Powell" may have been Lt. James E. Powell of Sturgis' command.

  63. Daily Kansas City (Mo.) Journal of Commerce, July 18, 1860; Leavenworth Daily Times, July 27, 1860; Emporia News, July 21, 1860; Larned Eagle Optic, November 3, 1899.

  64. The Border Star, Westport, Mo., July 21, 1860; KHQ, v. 24, pp. 406, 407. Notably, Chief Satank was not with these Kiowas who, in July, were eluding Sturgis' troops in central Kansas. He was in "western Kansas" (Colorado). Sedgwick's command, reaching Bent's Fort, learned on July 8 that Satank, his family, and a few warriors had been there and left, just ahead of the troops. On July 11, a detachment of Sedgwick's command had a skirmish with some Kiowas, killing two, and capturing Satank's family -- 15 persons. (In this encounter 2Lt. George D. Bayard -- who had killed Kiowa sub-chief Pawnee in 1859 -- was wounded A steal-headed arrow lodged under his cheek-bone. Its removal, later, nearly cost him his life.) When Sedgwick and troops departed, about July 26, the prisoners were left in William Bents care. Soon afterwards (on the 28th?) Kiowa Indians forced Bent to release the captives. -- KHQ, v. 1, pp 207-209; Bayard, The Life of George Dashiell Bayard . . ., pp. 171ff. Sturgis' command left Pawnee Fork July 28 and headed northward. This expedition's activities culminated August 6 when the First cavalry troops engaged a large band of Kiowas and Comanches in a 15-mile running fight on the Republican, just north of the Kansas Border, in Furnas (?) county, Nebraska Territory. Sturgis' report stated 29 Indians were killed. His losses: two Indian scouts killed; three soldiers wounded; one missing -- KHQ, v. 24, p. 407.

  65. Ibid., p. 407.

  66. State Record, Topeka, August 25, 1860 (for the Salina item).

  67. Council Grove Press, August 25, 1860.

  68. Daily Kansas City (Mo.) Journal of Commerce, September 21, 1860, for Wessells' letter originally printed in the Council Grove Press "Extra" of September 15. (The Kansas State Historical Society's file of the Press lacks all issues from September 15 through November 3, 1860.) James R. Mead, in KHC, v. 10, p. 664, says the victims were "Peacock . . . also his clerk and Mexican herder."

  69. The Border Star, Westport, Mo., September 22, 1860. No mention of the Mexican herder, also killed, is in this account!

  70. Daily Kansas City (Mo.) Western Journal of Commerce, September 19, 1860. A "Couple of gentlemen . . . from Santa Fe" supplied this story to the newspaper.

  71. KHC, v. 7, pp. 48, 49 (for Wright), v. 10, pp. 664, 665 (for Mead). George H. Peacock was a son of William Peacock (who served in the War of 1812; and was the father of nine children). It appears the Peacock family moved to Jackson county, Missouri, in the 1840's. William Peacock, Sr., is not listed in a Jackson county federal census. But Charles (20), James (24), and William Peacock (30), presumably brothers of George H., are in the 1850 Jackson county census. A biographical sketch of Mrs. Sallie Schermerhorn, a sister, published in the E. F. Heisler and D. M. Smith Atlas Map of Johnson County, Kansas . . . (Wyandott, 1874), p. 78, stated that all of William Peacock, Sr.'s children, except the son killed by Indians in 1860, then (1874) were alive.

  72. Daily Kansas City (Mo.) Western Journal of Commerce, September 19, 21, 1860.

  73. Topeka Tribune, October 13, 1860 (from Council Grove Press).

  74. Ida Ellen Rath's The Rath Trail (Wichita, c1961) is the chief source of information on Charles Rath. Most of the statements about him in this article are based on material in her book. Although there is no specific contemporary evidence, from a deposition Rath made a few years later it appears that he started trading at least as early as 1859 at the Great Bend of the Arkansas -- a location about six miles east of Walnut Creek Crossing." (On Santa Fe trail tables of distances of 1859 this is called "Big Bend of the, Arkansas -- the point on the trail where westbound travelers first struck the Arkansas, near present-day Ellinwood.) See Rath, The Rath Trail, pp. 1 and 14. Two Rath associates of these years she identifies as Daniel H. Jones and W. H. (Harvey) West.

  75. Election return, November 6, 1860, Peketon county, K. T., in Kansas State Historical Society, archives division. S. N. Wood, voted on for 23d district representative, presumably cast his ballot at Council Grove, where he lived. See KHC, v. 8, p. 452, and v. 12, p. 463, for some information on Peketon county.

  76. Leavenworth Daily Times, May 8, 1861.

  77. Mooney, Calendar History of the Kiowa Indians, p. 311; or, see Mildred P. Mayhall, The Kiowas (Norman, Okla., c1962), p. 161.

  78. Rath, The Rath Trail, pp. 8-11.

  79. KHQ, v. 20, p 132; Smoky Hill and Republican Union, Junction City, August 2. 1862; Leavenworth Daily Conservative, November 16, 1862. The Kansas Stage Company had begun weekly mail coach runs from Leavenworth to Santa Fe by way of Junction City, Salina, Smoky Hill Crossing, Walnut creek, and Fort Larned, in August, 1862. -- Smoky Hill and Republican Union, Junction City, August 9, 16, 1862.

  80. Mooney, Calendar History of the Kiowa Indians, p. 311; or, Mayhall, The Kiowas, p. 162.

  81. Rath, The Rath Trail, p. 3; "Corporation Charters (official copybooks from office of secretary of state, now in archives division, Kansas State Historical Society)", v. 1, p. 1.

  82. Council Grove Press, June 29, 1863.

  83. Council Grove Press, July 13, 1863. Leavenworth, in a letter of June 27, 1863, from Fort Larned, said the wagonmaster of the ransacked train -- a man of 18 years' experience on the trail -- stated he had never known the Indians so "impudent and insulting" as now. -- War of the Rebellion . . ., Series I, v. 22, pt. 2, p. 339.

  84. Ibid., pp. 361, 400, 401; George B. Grinnell, The Fighting Cheyennes (New York, 1915), p. 126.

  85. "S. N. Wood Collection," in KHi ms. division; or, see, Rath, The Rath Trail, p. 20.

  86. War of the Rebellion, Series I, v. 22, pt. 2, pp. 507, 508, 532, 533, 571, 572.

  87. Baughman, Kansas Post Offices, pp. 68, 160. The Baughman Kansas post office data file (in KHi) lists Fort Zarah's postmasters. William "Buffalo Bill" Mathewson succeeded Howard, September 3, 1866. And see Footnote 100.

  88. "S. N. Wood Collection"; or KHC, v. 8, pp. 453, 456.

  89. War of the Rebellion, Series I, v. 34, pt. 1, pp. 934, 935, pt. 4, pp, 38, 39, 101, 207, 403; Council Grove Press, June 4, 1864; Leavenworth Daily Conservative, May 26, 1864; D. J. Berthrong, The Southern Cheyennes (Norman, Okla., c1963), pp. 185, 186. Eayre and troops were hunting Northern Cheyennes accused of taking cattle from Irwin, Jackman & Co., in Colorado, earlier in the year.

  90. War of the Rebellion, Series I v. 34, pt. 4, pp. 149, 150; Council Grove Press, May 21, 1864; Rath, The Rath Trail, pp. 44-54. In May, 1864, Rath put in a claim for $1,375 for his two horses and six mules taken in the raid. In 1892 he was award a court of claims judgment of $1,100. Rath stated he lost only part of his stock. -- See War of the Rebellion, Series 1, v. 34, pt. 4, pp. 402-404. John J. Prater's $25,120 claim was by far the largest filed. Curtis & Cole's claim was for $3,555. -- See 43d Cong., 2nd Sess., H. Ex. Doc. No. 65 (Serial 1645). John F. Dodd's claim was for $250. -- Ibid.

  91. War of the Rebellion, Series I, v. 34, pt. 4, pp. 402-404.

  92. Ibid., p. 575. Little work was done on the "stone fort" (blockhouse) at Walnut creek in 1864. In February, 1865, newly arrived Second Colorado cavalry troops were put to work "building an octagonal fortification [blockhouse] of stone." -- Ibid., v. 48, pt. 1, p. 1012. Their own quarters were "holes dug in the ground and covered with brush and dirt." -- Mrs. Ella Williams, Three Years and a Half in the Army (New York, c1885), p. 142.

  93. War of the Rebellion, Series 1, v. 21, pt. 2, p. 491; Leavenworth Daily Conservative, July 30, 1864, Smoky Hill and Republican Union, Junction City, August 13, 1864; Fort Zarah records (microfilm, KHi).

  94. KHC, v. 10, p. 417 (for Bent item); 42d Cong., 3d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. No. 62 (Serial 1565).

  95. War of the Rebellion, Series I, v. 48, pt. 1, pp. 923, 1012; Fort Larned records (microfilm in KHi), for the 1867 military report.

  96. Ado Hunnius' sketch of Fort Zarah as it appeared in September, 1867 (in "Hunnius Collection," KHi ms. division).

  97. Fort Dodge "Letters Sent, 1866-1882" (microfilm in KHi).

  98. Fort Larned records (microfilm in KHi), or see in Rath, The Rath Trail, and Schulz, "Allison's Ranch."

  99. Henry M. Stanley, My Early Travels and Adventures in America and Asia (London, 1895), v. 1, pp. 12, 13. Rath was not a "desperado" in any sense of the word. But it is evident he and some of the military officers were then at odds.

  100. On May 29, 1867, according to post office records, Charles Rath was appointed postmaster at Fort Zarah (succeeding William Mathewson -- see Footnote 87). Apparently he held the office until January 28, 1868, when Fort Zarah post office was discontinued (for about six months, being reestablished July 17, 1868). Rath thus may have been at the stage station (post office headquarters) near Fort Zarah after being forced out as trader. For the trading post fire see Leavenworth Daily Conservative, May 24, 1868; and for Douglass' claim, see 43d Cong., 2d Sess., H. Ex. Doc. No. 65 (Serial 1645), p. 16. Was post trader Joseph Douglass related to Maj. Henry Douglass who commanded Fort Dodge?

  101. The Kansas Anthropological Association's Newsletter, Hays, May, 1969 pp. 1-3.


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