Details of the Indian massacres throughout this section during the pioneer days of Kansas are always interesting, hence we publish the following two affidavits made several years ago and preserved by Attorney John J. McCurdy of this city. They go to show a part of the dangers braved by the pioneers who settled Lincoln and adjacent counties. No doubt many of our oldest readers remember incidents similar to those narrated below and some of them will remember that parties mentioned in the affidavits.
Statement of John Cline, Oct. 6, 1912
My name is John Cline. I was born in Franklin county, Ind., on June 1, 1842. My parents were born in Germany. In the month of October, 1858 I came to Linn County, Kan., and I remained there until in April 1860. I went from Linn Co. to Kansas City, Mo., and hired with a freighter who was hauling goods for the government; the name of the company was Bryan and Barnard and they were subcontracting under Major & Russell.
2. We left with an ox train, six yoke to the wagon, Santa Fe Wagons; we left In the month of May and unloaded at Ft. Union, New Mexico, on the 18th of June 1860. We made the trip with five old guns and few revolvers. I made another trip that summer.
3. In June 1861 I made my first trip to Lincoln county on a buffalo hunt. We killed our first buffalo a little west of Lost Creek. We hunted that summer. I worked on a ranch for Meade & Haines whose ranch was east of Tescott, about two miles east of that place.
4. In the month of August 1864, I had returned from a trip to Larned and got to Salina, Kan. I think it was about the 8th or 9th of August, a woman and three children came to Salina accompanied by her brother. She informed us that her husband and some other men had gone on a buffalo hunt and that shortly after they left she heard firing she said that about 150 Indians came to the house where she was living. They peered into the house and remained near the house for some time. The only weapon they had in the house was a short musket. The woman persuaded her brother to load the gun with double ought shot and when the Indians were at the barn a short distance from the house the brother fired at one of them and the Indian fell. The Indians had just taken two horses out of the barn and the Indian that was shot was dancing around.
After the Indian was shot the rest of them scattered and the wounded Indian crawled around the barn and dragged himself through the tall grass but his body was not found.
After we heard the news from the woman we organized a company of men, 13 in number, and started for the scene. The names of some of the men are as follows: Frank Harrington, Sergeant Boyd, Sergeant Jordan, Hiram Mosher, Adam Caldwell, Charley Case and others.
The first night we camped at the Haines & Meade ranch east of Tescott and the next day about 10 o’clock we got to Beaver creek. We scattered out over the prairie hunting for the remains of the boys and we found where the wagon track left the cabin and followed it over the prairie. We saw where the track turned [several words missing] east toward the creek. Frank Harrington was ahead and I saw him stand on a rock and wave his hat. He called to us and we went to where he called to us and we went to where he was and there we found the boys lying between two ledges of rock. I knew the Moffitts before they were killed and on this day. I saw and recognized them. “Jock” Moffitt was crouching on his knees with his head between two rocks and his head was toward the north. His brother was lying a little to the east and Houston and Tyler were lying a little east of the Moffitts, all of them had their heads toward the north. The wagon and team were south of them on a little raise of ground. The wagon was partly burned and the horses dead and the harnesses cut to pieces. The scalps of Houston and Tyler were lying on a rock. Jock was shot full of arrows. It was evident that the Indians were first fighting north of the boys but they sent some of their number around to the south and they came up behind a little hill and were right on to them before they could be seen. We picked them up and buried them a little east of where we found them. We buried them all in one grave.
Statement of Thomas Alderdice, May 23, 1911
My name is Thomas Alderdice. I was born in Philadelphia on March 11, 1841. My father was born in County Armaugh, Ireland, and my mother was in Belfast, Ireland. The came to this country in 1836. I had six sisters, two of them are now living in Springfield, Ill., one is named Maggie Peel and the other Joseph B. Edwards [sic; doesn’t seem like the name of a sister]. At the age of 15 I moved with my parents to Springfield, Ill., at which place I remained with my father three years and engaged to farming. In 1859 I went to St. Louis, Mo., and worked for my uncle three years. In the year 1862 I enlisted in the 2nd U.S. Infantry. This was in the spring of the year. In the summer of that year I was sent to Ft. Riley, Kan., where I remained with my regiment under drill. I was there about two months. We marched from there to Salina, Kan., and staid [sic] at Salina about 10 days. There w ere about four small houses in the place and a Mr. Campbell had a small trading store at that time. We then went from Salina to Ft. Ellsworth and staid [sic] at Ft. Ellsworth about one year and during that time we were engaged in building block houses and corrals. While in Ft. Ellsworth I found three charts that had been made by hunters. I found these in the office of Col. Ford of the 2nd Colorado. I put these, together and made a chart. When Col. Ford found that I had put these charts together he sent for me and asked me if I could read them. I told him yes. He asked me then If I knew what I was worth to him if I could travel the country and I said that I did not and then stated that I was worth $150 per month. From that time on I was engaged in carrying dispatches.
In the spring of 1865 I was married to Mrs. Susanna Daily, formerly the wife of James Daily of Salina. He had died. At this time she had two boys named John and Willie age of that time about 2 and 5 years. I married her about 10 miles west of Salina, Kan., near the Sol. Humbarger place. I was married by a Justice of the Peace named Morrison of Salina, Kan. She was the daughter of Michael Ziegler. She remained on a farm that I had squatted on about one year after our marriage or until 1866. In the spring of 1866 we moved to the mouth of Beaver Creek where we remained a short time. During the time that I was gone in the service she remained alone on the farm. One day when I was home I met a Mr. Hubbard who came to me and asked me to help him to select a place for a turbine mill. I made a selection of the place where the dam now stands at Rocky Hill. This was early in 1867. The Hendricksons and Haleys were neighbors there on Beaver Creek and there was no danger from Indians. I decided to move from Beaver Creek farther up the valley and I traded off my relinquishment to a man for two yoke of cattle and moved onto what is now the old Nicholas Whalen farm. That was about 1867. At that time I had two children by my marriage and my wife had with her two children by her first marriage. In moving to the Nicholas Whalen farm I moved my family and effects with a yoke of oxen belonging to my father-in-law. We brought a tent and I erected this on the prairie. It was a double tent. I used the tent until I could erect a house. I put up the tent southeast of where the Whalen house now stands. It was then prairie. During the winter of 1887 my family lived in a dugout on the Saline River but I do not remember just where that was. During all this time I continued in the employ of the U.S. Government carrying papers in general work in the quartermasters department. In May 1868, myself, Mart Hendrickson, Wm. Hendrickson started for Salina on a land suit. We left here on Friday or Saturday. Shortly after I had started I thought it best for my wife to go, to the house of her father and I returned to her asked her to go. She said that she had 128 small chickens and was afraid that it she went she would lose them all. She said there were men working there and she was not afraid to stay. When I left she and the children were along. Three neighbors were living near, viz, Tom [Tim] Kyne, Tom Noon and Michael Haley. She told me that there was $120 in the house and for me to take this along and buy three cows from a Mr. Davis who lived at the crossing of the Mulberry. I walked down to Hendricksons and we went in a wagon and team of horses. We let Hendricksons on Saturday orning. We got into Salina late that day and camped on the prairie wet of Salina. We got through with our business on Friday or Saturday and started back on Sunday morning. On the way back about where Culver is we met John Dart and he called to me and said, “Alderdice, your family is all murdered,” and to John Strange, “your boy is killed.” We drove as hard as we could to Schermerhorn’s ranch at the mouth of Elkhorn. I and Wm. Hendrickson. Jumped out of the wagon and we went to his claim. I kept on west on the south side of the river until I got opposite to my home and then forded the river. I went up to the bank and looked to where the tent was when I left and I saw that it was down. I waked north to the tent. I had a garden south of the tent and when I got to the garden I found the flour that I had left in the house was sown and scattered over the garden. I then saw John Dailey lying on the prairie near the tent. He was laying on his back and was dead. He had seven arrows in his body. A little north of where John Daily was lying I found Frank Alderdice, my oldest child, about two years old, with six arrows in him. He was lying on his back. Shortly after I got there several men and and among them were Mart Hendrickson came and found Willis Daily lying in the grass with an arrow through his body. He was alive and they took him to Billy Hendrickson’s. The arrow was below the breast bone and went straight through the body. He is now living at Frankfort, Kan. I placed the children side by side and covered them and the next morning I went back and was preparing to make a coffin for them. Mike Haley came over to where I was and said, “It’s hard Tom for a man to be making a box for his own children.” He helped me to make the coffin. The children were taken down and buried on what is known as the old Mike Ziegler farm sooth of Beverly. After this I went over to Ellsworth and engaged in the government service again. About 20 days after I went to Ellsworth I learned that my wife made been killed in Frenchman’s Gap in the Rocky Mountains. I also learned that my child had been roasted alive before the death of my wife. As soon as possible after my wife had been taken I headed a squad of 100 men under Major Hale and followed the Indians for about 17 days but we had taken the wrong trail. Gen. Carr caught them with 1,100 men with Buffalo Bill as a guide and killed 60 Indians and took 500 horses and mules and destroyed their provisions. The squaw of Little Bear killed my wife by shooting her in the head. This was witnessed by Mrs. Weichel. An Irish Lieutenant rescued Mrs. Weichel during the fight. My wife was at the time of her death was 26 years of age.