After the Little Bighorn battle in 1876, the U.S. government forced most
Northern Cheyennes from the Northern Plains to a reservation in Indian
Territory, present-day Oklahoma. In September 1878 a group led by Chiefs
Dull Knife and Little Wolf attempted to return to their homeland. Angry
and embittered by their plight, they killed settlers and herders as they
fled through Kansas.
The Cheyennes included 89 men, 112 women, and 134 children. Although some
succeeded in reaching Montana, 149 were captured in northwest Nebraska.
After learning they would be sent back to the reservation, the Cheyennes
tried to escape. More than 60 wer killed. Only a few of the original group
ever returned to Indian Territory.
The Cheyenne's escape from Indian Territory while pursued by troops from
three military jurisdictions was considered a remarkable feat. Sadly, it
resulted in the death of 40 Kansas settlers and herders. Nineteen of them
were killed here in Decatur County, and their graves formed the beginning
of the cemetery located east of this marker. A monument stands there
today, erected by the community in memory of its loss.