The Indian &
The Railroad

        When the Union Pacific first built across Kansas the inhabitants here were wild Plains Indians. The millions of buffalo grazing the prairie were the food of the Indians and buffalo hides made their tepees and clothing. Cheyennes, Arapahoes and other tribes, sensing the danger to their hunting grounds, frequently raided workers and tore up tracks. Two miles west of this marker, in May 1869, a mounted party dashed out of a deep ravine and ambushed a section crew of seven. The men raced to their handcar, and firing as they could, pumped desperately for home. Two were shot off the handcar and killed, and four were wounded. A monument to those who died stands in the city cemetery, one-fourth mile east.

        This point was called Fossil Station when the Union Pacific reached here in 1867. The name was changed to Russell in 1871 when a Wisconsin colony established the town.

Erected by the Kansas Historical Society and State Highway Commission

Highway marker on old US40
near Russell
Russell County


February 2, 1999 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas /

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