THE BATTLE OF COON CREEK

Historical marker on US-50
East of Kinsley, Edwards County


Indian attacks along the Santa Fe trail were frequent from the 1820's to the 1870's.  Near here, where the trail followed the Arkansas river, the Battle of Coon Creek was fought June 18, 1848, between some 200 Comanches and Osages and 140 soldiers, half of whom were recruits bound for service in the Mexican war.  A startling occurrence after the inconclusive battle, according to the official report, was the appearance of an Indian woman "who seemed to be their queen, mounted on a horse, decorated with silver ornaments on a scarlet dress, who rode about giving directions about the wounded." The identity of this angel of mercy has remained a mystery.

The Chicago Workingmen's Town Company founded nearby Kinsley in 1872, naming it Petersburg for T.J.  Peter, a director of the Santa Fe railroad which was then building westward.  In 1873 the town was renamed in honor of E.W.  Kinsley, a Boston philanthropist.

Kinsley had its "Great Train Robbery" January 27, 1878.  Bandits attempting to loot the Santa Fe station's safe and the westbound Pueblo Express were foiled by a young telegrapher named Andrew Kinkade.  Four of the gang were later captured by Sheriff Bat Masterson of Dodge City.

Erected by Kansas Historical Society and State Highway Commission

Marker text sent by Mike LeMasters, Wichita, KS

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August 17, 2000 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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