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Frightening
Delivery
at Schermerhorn's Ranch


From: Reminiscences of Early Days in Ottawa County
By: Emily Haines Harrison
Kansas Historical Collection, Vol. 8, 1904, page 628 & 629

“About the first of September [1868] a young man by the name of [Ed] Schermerhorn came for me to go to his brother’s wife, Mrs. [Frank] Alonzo Schermerhorn. I had agreed to care for her when called, and so I went along, asking no questions. Within a short distance of Schermerhorn’s ranch, I heard firing, and inquired what was the occasion. The young man said: “The Indians have attacked the blockhouse above here, and we have sent to Fort Harker for the troops.” It was too late to turn back then if I had cared to. Mr. [Frank A.] Schermerhorn met me at the door. When he handed me out he said, “Mrs. Haines, my wife’s life depends upon you; I know you have no fear. I will put the bed in the wagon, and take my wife away, if you say so.” I went in a looked at her, and told him her condition did not admit of her being moved. “Well,” he said, “if the Indians come down upon us and the worst comes, I will kill my wife.” I remonstrated at such talk just then. He replied, “Wouldn’t you rather die than fall into the hands of the Indians?” I said “Yes; but there is no need of talking about that. The troops will likely be here in time.” We went in. He loaded two pistols and placed them with a bowie knife on a chair near the bedside. His wife, a girl of 16 [19], watched these preparations. He told her that there would be no danger so long as I seemed cool. . .Mr. Schermerhorn stood with his loaded gun at a four paned window facing toward the besieged blockhouse, which was about one mile distant. . .when the troops came like the wind from the directions of Fort Harker, the Indians fled. The attentions being over I fainted away. . .”

[Note: The troops were led by Fredrick Benteen, who was with Custer at the last stand in 1876, but survived. Sergeant Myles Keogh was also part of this company. He died at the Little Big Horn].

Contributed by Lincoln County researcher Mike Day


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