Lincoln Sentinel-Republican, 16 August 1958
Fort Wallace Took Prominent Part
In Early History of Lincoln County
Probably there are few people left in this section of Kansas who [are] more conversant with the early history of this particular part of the state than J.C. Ruppenthal of Russell, and who has done as much to chronicle those early day events. In a recent letter to the Sentinel-Republican, he gives some interesting history, as follows:
The Mirror of the Kansas State Historical Society in its recent issue referred to recently assembled additions to old Fort Wallace history. Since the passing of Adolph Roenigk and Chris Bernhardt, zealous historians of Lincoln county’s earliest decade, I do not know to whom to turn in matters of pioneers doings and happenings of Lincoln county. A live young student of that era is Edward M. Beougher, lawyer of Gove county, Grinnell, Kan.
Offhand perhaps the average citizen of Lincoln county may ask “Why is Fort Wallace of interest to me?” Mr. Beougher has done very much early western Kansas history work that gives some answer to the question.
About 1864 if not earlier, the first few whites began settlement in Lincoln county, giving opportunity for the massacre of the Moffit family by Indians. On May 28, 1869, a small band of Indians came up a deep forked ravine from Salt Creek, a southern tributary of the Saline river to the new Kansas Pacific railroad just west of Russell (then called Fossil Creek Station) and the Indians, then turned northeast and two days later, May 30, surprised and killed several settlers in Lincoln county on Spillman creek.
These outbreaks led to federal activity and soldiers were sent from Fort Wallace. On finding Indians the battle of the Arickaree resulted. The battle ground where the S.S. troops were surrounded and besieged was a few miles from the Kansas border over in Colorado.
Among scouts and pioneers aiding the defense were several men from Lincoln county. One of these, Lewis Farley, was probably the first settler in what later became and is Pleasant township, Lincoln county. Farley was wounded in the leg when the Indians finally retired from the seige. Farley was taken to Fort Wallace, about 75 miles south and east over the state line in Kansas. His leg was amputated but the injury was too severe and he died and was buried at the Fort cemetery.
Lewis settled in one of the finest small groves in the west half of Kansas. “Hutch” Farley, his son, lived in the little log house about 16 x 20 feet on the claim which covered the four central “forties” of Seciton 28, Township 12, Range 10 West of the Sixth P.M. Some years later he turned the claim over to a man named Bunting.
The part taken by settlers in the Colorado township area in Lincoln county should be detailed by some student. One member of the Farley [word missing?] who had a daughter born about the time of the Arickaree fight, was still living in Lincoln county about 1881 or 1882.
The story of the conflict with Indians and especially of Farley’s part took deep hold on the writer’s mind in the early 1880s as my father filed in 1877 on two 80-acre tracts north and east of the Farley homestead. M.W. Hurlbut had filed on the two “eighties” west of the Farley claim.
Research should be made to find out more about each and all Lincoln county residents who took part in the Arickaree fight.
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