The History of the Early Settlement of Norton County, Kansas

Page 125

back

next

table of contents

 
which twelve soldiers were killed and several wounded.  In this engagement the soldiers were surprised while in camp at daybreak in the morning, they not knowing there were any Indians near, and Lieut. Valkmar reports that it was a brilliant victory for the troops as they drove the Indians off and killed many of them, besides capturing two hundred of their ponies.  From the description given we are able to locate this fight on the head of Skull Creek in this county.  It is evident that the dead on neither side was buried as the bones and skulls of a good many men have been found there since the country has been settled and for this reason the name Skull was given that creek by the early settlers.  Tom Morris plowed up a cavalry saber on this old battle ground in 1891 which he now has.  Whistler's band was an off-shot (sic) of the Ogallah Sioux and was considered one of the most treacherous and barbarous chiefs of the native plains.

His name was a terror to the soldiers as well as the trappers and hunters. It is related of him that he murdered a band of emigrants near Julesburg in 1869 while holding a council under a flag of truce.  This is only one of the many incidents that are recorded of his cruelty and treachery.  The rules of modern warfare were entirely disregarded by him.  The stories of rapine and murder committed by him and his band in this country from 1865 to 1872 would if written, fill a book.  He never lost an oppertunity (sic) to kill a white man and would practice any kind of deception to gain their confidence and watch for an oppertunity (sic) to shoot them unawares.

In the winter of 1872 he was camped on the Republican river near the mouth Arickaree.  It was the custom of his band to visit the hunters camps in the vicinity each day and beg food; one morning he and his two principal chiefs, Fat Badger and Black Kettle, went to a hunter's camp on a begging expedition.  There were three hunters in the camp at the time and they resolved not to give them anything to eat, so when the Indians come into the tent and were refused their breakfast Whistler started for the chuck box with the exclamation that "Injun heap hungry."  At a given signal the hunters all fired, killing the three Indians instantly.  They then cut a hole in the ice and taking the bodies of the Indians put them in.  The other Indians hunted for several days for them but were never able to find them.  A short time after this Bill Kress shot and killed young Whistler who had become chief of the band after his father's death.  They suspected Kress as being responsible for the absence of their chiefs and were after him at the time.

This virtually broke up the band; they went back north to their reservation and have never been through this country since.

The three men who killed Whistler and his two chiefs are all well known in this county and two of them are here at this time; but they positively decline to have their names appear in connection with it, saying they are not proud of the part they took in it.

There is an old legend to the effect that the Grand Duke Alexis was camped for a long time in this county in February 1873.  Dick and George Jordon who were with the grand dukes party for a time as guides told J. H. Simmons and W. E. Case about being camped on the Prairie Dog and located the place on the land where Ame Butler now lives.  Simmons and Case had been on a buffalo hunt on the Arkansas and on their return they met Jordan at Buffalo station in March which was only a few days after they left the duke's party.  Their description of the trip convinced Case and Simmons that it was true although there were several settlers in the county at the time who knew nothing about it.

Page 125

back

next

table of contents

 


US GenWeb Home Page


KS GenWeb Home Page



Home Page for Kansas



Search  KS GenWeb Project

KSGenWeb logo were designed and are copyrighted by Tom & Carolyn Ward for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.  Permission is granted for use only on an official KSGenWeb page. 

web design 2003 by Ardie Grimes,
Norton County, Kansas GenWeb coordinator
Text and photos from this 1894 book are within the public domain