Visit
to an Old
Battle Ground


Lincoln Sentinel, Oct. 24, 1907

At the time of the Old Settlers reunion a party composed of the following persons, Hon. George W. Martin, Ferdinand Erhardt, A. Roenigk, O.N. Greene, Clara Greene, C.W. Stites, Mr. and Mrs. R.W. Greene and Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Stanley visited the scene of an Indian fight on the Opplinger farm three miles southwest of Lincoln. In 1868 Mr. Erhardt was living on his claim on the Bullfoot, and on a fine Sunday when the air was warm and the sun was bright, he thought he would take a stroll and look at the country. Imagine his surprise when his dog came carrying up to him an Indian skull while he was looking around the cliff on what is now the Opplinger farm. This caused him to make careful search and in a great cleft in the rocks he found more than a dozen skeletons of Indians. He thought them to have been placed there by the Indians after their fight with the Moffitt brothers which had occurred a year or two previous, directly north of where Frank Priest now lives on the Dan Day farm. Mr. Erhardt reported his discovery to the commandant at Fort Harker, and the bodies were buried by the soldiers. In 1880 a band of Pottawatomie Indians were returning from an antelope hunt in western Kansas, stopped at the cliffs and told the following story.

In 1863 about 70 of the Pottowatomies were returning from a buffalo hunt in the west to their reservation near St. Mary’s. When near these cliffs and ledges they sighted a band of about 14 Pawnees who were going south from their reservation in Nebraska on a horse stealing expedition, this being their chief business. The Pottowatomies immediately gave chase and drove them into the cliffs where a sanguinary battle was waged with the result that but one Pawnee escaped and two Pottowatomies were killed. They left the bodies of the Pawnees in the cleft where they killed them, took their dead and journeyed on.

Near Salina they stopped and related the story of their fight to Sol Humbarger, who still resides two miles east of Culver. In their trip here in 1880 they wrote the record of their deeds in their sign language on the yielding surface of the ledge, but Mother Time more relenting than the savage heart, has erased it and now a scraggy elm and a few huge rocks remain the only witness of a scene which is pictured only in the history of the times.


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