1901 History of Republic County Kansas

History of Republic County. 21

a few patriotic and well-timed remarks introduced J. C. Price, president of the Pawnee Historical Society, who in the name of the society and in behalf of Mrs. Johnson formally presented to Governor Stanley a deed to the eleven acres of land comprising the site of the Pawnee village. Mr. Price said:

Were it possible by any system of investigation to find out the history of all the peoples who have occupied this country since the beginning of time, men would stand ready for the undertaking.

Were it possible to trace an immigration from the north through British America to our lands of gold and ice across Bering straits, south through Asia to some unknown "Garden of Eden" as the original home of our Indian predecessors, men and means would not be wanting in the enterprise. But the origin of these people is a closed book, and no one is found who can break the seal thereof, and we are defrauded of an heritage to which we are justly entitled.

History, like nature, has its hill-tops, and though our vision may be shaded by a misty past, much remains within the range of our observation and research which we may classify, record and bequeath to those who come after us as a goodly heritage.

This testament should convey not only the full complement of that which we have received, but increased and augmented by the results of our inquiry, our studies and observation.

We meet today upon a natural promontory — the panorama presented is many miles in extent in all directions — and yet the prominence of this place is not its elevation above the surrounding country, but that it occupies a prominent place, and I might say the initial point in our state's history.

We meet on this historic spot, this hall of fame, to place a tablet to the memory of one of our early heroes, and to dedicate these grounds to the cause of freedom, to which he gave his young life. To perpetuate the record of one of the greatest peaceful victories of our history, a victory only possible by the rare judgment, tact and personality of the gallant young officer, Zebulon M. Pike.

History places him on these grounds, over which

22 History of Republic County.

floated the flag of one of the greatest nations of the world, surrounded by hundreds of warriors who recognized the sovereignty of that flag, while he with a little band of travel-stained and weary men demanded the lowering of the flag of Spain and substituting the Stars and Stripes. Incredible as it may seem, this demand was complied with, and on September 29, 1806, Kansas breezes were called upon for the last time to unfurl that flag, which has floated over more of misery, more of oppression, more of treachery, than any emblem ever designed by man.

We meet to transfer to this great commonwealth these grounds where our children and our children's children may gather to learn lessons of loyalty, patriotism and devotion to the principles which have made us the foremost nation on the globe.

These grounds twice hallowed, hallowed by being the home of the Republican Pawnees, a people whose identity is perpetual in the name of this county, the river that flows at the foot of these bluffs, and the name of yonder village, a people who when they had accepted the sovereignty of the United States were always loyal to the "Great White Father" in Washington.


Our sister state, Iowa, has just dedicated a monument to the memory of Sergeant Floyd of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, at the cost of $60,000, of which the general government contributed $5,000. We believe that this sum was wisely and justly expended and leads us to anticipate a substantial appropriation for preserving these grounds.

The organization of the Pawnee Republic Historical Society was the inception of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Johnson, and to their devotion to its objects is due whatever of success may be attained. They have been tireless in consecration of time and means for the necessary investigations to establish the facts in connection with this interesting chapter of state and national history.

May the time soon come when they will be appropriately remembered for the unselfish labor which they have devoted to this cause of preserving whatsoever remains of the history of our predecessor, the Republican Pawnees, for honoring and preserving the spot upon which American dominion was first enforced in the disputed territory of the Louisiana Purchase.

History of Republic County. 23

It has been the purpose of our society to arrive at exact truths in our examination of these historic grounds, and the deeds here enacted which have made them of national as well as local interest. And when we had exhausted our own resources, the results were turned over to the State Historical Society, which with its better facilities has carried on the labors to the successful termination.

We will ever hold in grateful remembrance our late Secretary Judge Adams for the interest and assistance which he rendered our local society.

Our only hope of retaining these grounds in their present position is the fact that Geo. Martin can not have them moved to Topeka, labeled and placed on the shelf in the new historical rooms.

And now I am impowered as the representative of the Pawnee Republic Historical Society, and through the generosity of Elizabeth A. Johnson, to deliver to your excellency, the representative of our great state, this indenture, conveying the title in fee of these grounds.

To which the Governor responded as follows:

In the early days of the century that has just closed, at this spot, Lieutenant Pike hauled down the Spanish flag, which up to that time had been the emblem of authority to the savage tribes that peopled these plains, and erected in its stead the stars and stripes. Since that time the flag has had a memorable history, and recently there has been a great discussion of the question whether the constitution followed the flag. Be that as it may, many things have followed the flag since Lieutenant Pike planted it here as a mark of American sovereignty over this territory. Then the United States was composed of eighteen states and twenty-four territories, with a population of six million people. Now it is composed of forty-five states and six territories, counting Alaska and Hawaii and excluding Porto Rico and the Philippines, with a population of seventy-eight millions.

The planting of the American flag here closely followed the Louisiana purchase and marked the commencement of our internal improvements and the beginning of steamboat navigation. Now the great Louisiana purchase embraces the richest part of our domain; our internal improvements have grown to immense proportions, and the

24 History of Republic County.

protection of American commerce is becoming one of the pressing questions of the hour. Then Uncle Sam was a modest youth, unable to command any considerable share of respect or attention from foreign nations. Now he is a mature and very vigorous gentleman and commands the respect of the whole world. Then we were a debtor nation and the ledger balance was always on the wrong side. Now we are a creditor nation and the trade balance is largely in our favor.

About the time that Lieutenant Pike raised the American flag here our imports were $130,000,000, our exports $100,000,000, showing a balance against us of $30,000,000, or 30 per cent of our entire imports. Now our exports are more than one and one-half billion dollars, our imports less than a billion, leaving a balance in our favor of more than $500,000,000, making the great balance on the credit side of the ledger one-half as great as the entire imports.

In a single century we have grown from weakness to strength; from poverty to wealth; from a debtor to a creditor nation. The American flag is upon all seas, American products and the American merchant in all markets, and the United States enters upon the new century as a great world power.

But marvelous as has been the development of the United States, the development of Kansas has been more remarkable. For more than half a century after the flag was planted here the territory which now comprises our state was known by travelers and geographers alike as a great desert. The development of that desert land into fruitful fields; the substitution of an energetic, thrifty people for savage tribes; the displacement of the wild herds that roamed in countless numbers over these prairies by the Shorthorn and the Hereford; the building of homes, school houses and churches where formerly the wigwam stood, has been marvelous, and the history of that wonderful growth reads like a fairy tale.

Forty years ago Kansas was admitted into the Union as a state. It had scarcely more than a hundred thousand people, but these have grown and increased until we have within our borders one and a half million people, as devoted to home and law and order and good government and temperance as any people that were ever brought together.

We have developed along the lines of agriculture until in 1900 and 1901, in two succeeding harvests, Kansas pro-

History of Republic County. 25

duced the astounding and unequaled yield of more than 150,000,000 bushels of wheat. Last year we had in Kansas more than 6,000,000 head of live stock, or more than four head for every unit of our population. We have realized the dreams of the theorists and have a horse for every family and a cow for every individual in the state, with plenty of swine and sheep thrown in for good measure. We have grown from the crude business methods where pelts and robes were used as mediums of exchange to a banking system represented by over five hundred banks, with an aggregate deposit of nearly seventy million dollars, or nearly fifty dollars for every unit of our population. The deposits of our state and private banks have increased in a single year over 30 per cent.

To carry the products of our pastures and fields to the market we have nearly nine thousand miles of railway. If built in parallel lines equi-distant from each other, it would make twenty lines of railroad traversing the state from east to west.

But it is not in our rich harvests, our bursting granaries, our increasing bank deposits or our great system of railways that the state has made its greatest advancement. There was not a school house in Kansas for half a century after Pike raised the flag here. There are now more than nine thousand in the state. There are eleven thousand school teachers and an enrollment in our schools of four hundred thousand pupils. This shows that more than one-fourth of the population are enrolled in the common schools, and that one out of every one hundred and thirty of our population is a school teacher. That our schools are efficient is shown by the fact that Kansas has a smaller per cent of illiteracy than any state in the Union.

One of the strongest influences in this wonderful development has been the public press. There are now published in Kansas eight hundred and thirty-eight papers and other periodicals. These go into our homes and afford the people means of keeping in touch with all the topics of the day. The influence of the schools and homes and newspapers had a forcible illustration during the Spanish-American war, when in four full Kansas regiments, enlisted from all parts of the state, there was not a single soldier who could not write a legible hand. A remarkable thing in all of this wonderful development is that it has taken place within the space of a single life.

26 History of Republic County.

Many of the men who moulded and shaped public sentiment in Kansas in the early days are moulding and shaping public sentiment still. Of the strong coterie of newspaper men who directed the current and trend of popular sentiment in the great struggle to make Kansas a free state, some still wield a ready pen in defense of the institutions which the early Kansas press made possible. Of these men, John A. Martin, of the Atchison Champion; Sol Miller, of the Troy Chief; S. S. Prouty, of Freedom's Champion; T. Dwight Thatcher, of the Lawrence Journal; F. G. Adams, of the Atchison Free Press, have gone, but D. R. Anthony, of the Leavenworth Times; M. M. Murdock, of the Wichita Eagle, and George W. Martin, formerly of the Junction City Union, now of the Kansas City Gazette, are still in the editorial harness. I think many fail to realize the great and successful fight that the early free state press of Kansas made for freedom's cause and the influence it exerted to give breadth and purpose to Kansas civilization.

By every golden harvest, by every lowing herd, by every bursting granary, by every successful business enterprise, by every overflowing bank, by all of her increasing streams of business, already bank full, Kansas has reason to congratulate itself upon these evidences of material prosperity that have followed the planting of the flag upon her soil long before Kansas was born. But better than all these — in its many happy and contented homes, from the dugout to the mansion; in all of its public schools, universities, colleges and academies; in its many churches, of whatever name, denomination or creed; and in the product of all these, its noble type of manhood and womanhood, Kansas finds its real cause for rejoicing.

And this suggests two questions: If the hauling down of the Spanish flag and the planting of the American flag in its stead at that place in the early days of the last century has been productive of so much good, can the hauling down of the Spanish flag and the planting of the American flag in its stead in any other place, at the closing days of the same century, be productive of harm? If the hauling down of the Spanish flag and the planting of the American flag in its place brought so much liberty and blessing to millions of people and displaced a rude savagery by a high Christian civilization, is there any danger that the hauling down of the Spanish flag and the planting of the

History of Republic County.


History of Republic County. 27

American flag in its place a hundred years afterward will bring hardship, tyranny or oppression?

And now, in the name of Kansas; in the name of its one and a half million strong, brave and law-abiding citizens; in the name of its public schools, the pride and glory of our state; in the name of its homes, its churches, its public press; in the name of its early pioneers, living and dead; in the name of the boys and girls who are soon to come forth out of our homes and churches and schools — the product of our civilization — to take upon their shoulders the responsibilities and cares of state; in the name of all that is good and inspiring in the history of Kansas, I hereby accept, in the name and behalf of all of these, the deed to this historic spot.

At 2 o'clock in the afternoon the program was resumed and Henry F. Mason, of Garden City, delivered an address on "From Quivira to Kansas," which abounded in stories of the exploits and conquests of Coronado, Cortez and other early adventurers. His speech was of an historical nature and elicited close attention.

Mrs. Margaret Hill McCarter, of Topeka the noted woman orator, delivered a patriotic address "Lest we Forget," showing the educational advantages of such gatherings. The address was warmly received.

The speaking closed with an able address on "Fraternalism and Patriotism" by Hon. John W. Haughey, grand master of the Odd Fellows of Kansas.

The unveiling of the monument with appropriate ceremonies will take place September 29, just ninety-five years from the day that the American flag first floated to the breeze in Kansas.


A paper read by Mrs. Elizabeth A. Johnson before the Daughters of the American Revolution, at Lawrence, Kan., October 11, 1900.

What of the Pawnee republic? Where was it? And

28 History of Republic County.

why do we, a people of modern ideas and fancies, busy with the trials and cares of a new era, seek to return to a people nearly a hundred years gone? Can we only say "because?"

To begin with, what of the Pawnee republic? Was it only a place high on a hill overlooking the Republican river, which bears its name, and flows continually on, unmindful that above it dwelt the first uncivilized people who gave themselves a republican form of government such as we now enjoy? Ah, no; nor was it the plains, vast and wide, which stretched away to the southward as far as the eye could reach. One would never have dreamed that some day the iron horse would leave a dense cloud of smoke behind, or that cities would spring up like magic. The Pawnee Indians, like their white brothers, were not always at peace with their neighbors; in fact, they were rightly named the Ishmaels of the plains.

On the 15th of July, 1806, there sailed away from the landing at Belle Fontaine, near St. Louis, two small boats with a party consisting of two lieutenants, one surgeon, one sergeant, two corporals, sixteen privates, and one interpreter. They had in charge a number of Osages and Pawnees who had been to Washington, and whom Lieutenant Pike was to escort to their own peeple.[sic] He was also to investigate our new possessions, a part of which is now Kansas. Yet no sooner had he started than the news was carried across by Spanish spies, and Lieutenant Malgares hurried up with an army of 300 men from Santa Fe, with the hope of bringing Pike back a prisoner. But luckily on the broad Kansas plains they missed each other, and after many trials and hardships Lieutenant Pike arrived safely at the Pawnee republic, having crossed the Spanish trail wondering what it meant. He was soon to find out. Our little handful of men crossed the Republican river, opposite the village, and rested a few days.

On the 29th of September they held their grand coun-

History of Republic County. 29

cil, at which were collected hundreds of warriors who had been taught hostility to the American cause. Imagine a place high on a lonely prairie, wigwams here and there, a river dark and somber, hundreds of dusky warriors made hideous with war paint, each solemn and stern, and a man determined and cool, but the same as alone with this vast throng, each ready to slay him. Why? you ask. There on a staff in front of a chief's tent floats a flag foreign to our country. Would Lieutenant Pike hold council under another flag, and in his own country? No, a thousand times no! He demanded that the Spanish flag be hauled down, and our stars and stripes be hoisted in its place. Receiving no response, he repeated his request, adding that it was impossible for a nation to have two fathers; either they must be children of the Spanish sovereign or acknowledge their American father. Slowly an old man arose, took down the Spanish colors, and sadly laid them at Pike's feet.

Pike's end was gained. Our flag floated proudly over his head for the first time in a new and disputed territory. We are almost tempted to shout "America!" but we must pause and think of what he suffered after his departure from this place. He was beset on on all sides by these savages, only overcoming danger by his fearlessness, but he was captured at last and remained a prisoner for six months. His notes of observation and his letters were taken from him. He merely saw the glorious peak which bears his name. Honor to Colorado for her step in the matter. Does he deserve honor? Shall we, a patriotic people, allow this one and only place to pass into obscurity? Does Kansas lag behind her sister state in recognizing bravery and devotion to a proud flag and a glorious cause? A more fitting tribute we cannot give than to mark this spot, which it would seem even nature had designed to do honor to a brave and noble man, Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike.

30 History of Republic County.

Read by A. B. Warner, before the Pawnee Republic Historical
Society, at the Pawnee village.

Tread lightly to-day, for the dust of your feet
  Is the tomb where a nation lies sleeping;
The cold blast of winter and summer's soft breeze
  Together their vigils are keeping.

No monument o'er them to crumble to dust,
  Unmarked as the realms of the fairy;
These children of nature, how sweetly they rest,
  Embalmed in the green of the prairie.

A blast from the tempest swept over the scene;
  The nymphs of the vale have a story;
They stand at the portal of nations and plead
  For a people entitled to glory.

The fierce battle-ax and the torch of the foe
  Were the doors to this climax of horror;
The sun in its glory set peaceful and calm,
  But rose sullen and black on the morrow.

The voice of the infant was cruelly hushed,
  It perished beside its dead mother;
The maiden arrayed in her bridal costume
  Died in the cold arms of her lover.

You ask of the warrior and where could he be,
  'Mid the flame and the carnage and rattle;
Surprised and outnumbered, a hero was he,
  As he fell in the front of the battle.

Old Father Time with his sickle so keen
  Sweeps down the tall oak and the heather;
And nations unborn with the nations that be
  Shall mingle their ashes together.

The voice of each mortal shall cease to be heard,
  And, palsied the arm of the giant;
And kings with their kingdoms shall lie in the dust,
  And the tongue be no longer defiant.

These toilings for gain and for honor we see,
  Ambitions loud claim for preferment;

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From A history of Republic County, Kansas : embracing a full and complete account of all the leading events in its history, from its first settlement down to June 1, '01 ... Also the topography of the County ... and other valuable information never before published. by I. O. Savage.; Illustrated. Published by Jones & Chubbic, Beloit, KS : 1901. 321 p. ill., plates, ports., fold. map ; 23 cm. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, July 2006.

Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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