INDIAN RAIDS, AND ADVENTURES ON THE PLAINS..
of the most horrible atrocities committed by the Indians on
the plains were along the overland stage route.
"George Tritch," he relates, "in July of 1864, was expecting nine wagons filled with hardware from the States. The train was under the charge of Simonton & Smith, well known freighters of those days, and represented a value of over $22,000.
"The goods were being conveyed through an Indian country, and Mr. Tritch's anxiety over their safety was augmented by the report current in Denver that the Indians were on the war-path and had heard of this richly laden overland train.
"Colonel Chivington and Mr. Tritch had Bill Comstock and myself do a little scouting to find out the truth of the report. Comstock was a character, the 'Buffalo Bill' of Colorado, from whom 'Buffalo Bill' Cody of Nebraska took his name. Bill Comstock was a half-breed and could go among the Arapahoes with comparative safety. It was these Indians who were creating trouble, and who, Tritch was warned, had started out in the direction the Simonton & Smith wagons were taking. Comstock took down the Republican river, and I went down the Platte. Bill overtook them, 150 braves, near the mouth of White Man's Fork, or Frencbman's creek, about 250 miles from Denver. At Plum Creek, thirty-five miles west of Fort Kearney, Bill reported to me, about August 1, that the Indians were going down the Republican river, but there was nothing unusually suspicious in their appearance. He returned to the Indians. Below Kearney they told him they were going to St. Joseph, Mo., and were giving no trouble. So he came to Kearney and stayed with me.
"It was on August 7 that the outbreak occurred. David Street, pay-master of the stage-coach company, had come past, paying off. He brought the news to Kearney that the Indians had killed all the Eubanks family, in addition to three others and some ten or eleven settlers, who were peacefully farming on the Muddy near the Little Blue. They had also killed Smith and nine of his drivers, and burned up the entire train, after looting it of the cutlery and tinware, and particularly of the lead pipe, which represented more than money to them, as it furnished material for their bullets. They placed this booty in the care of a large party, who took it north to the Cheyenne agency. The braves then started rapidly back up the Republican river with Mrs. Eubanks and her child, a year and a half of age.
"They had saved the woman for a purpose worse than death. She was a blonde, with complexion so fair that the prairie sun had freckled her somewhat, and the hair that waved around her head was the prettiest reddish gold I have ever seen.
"She had seen her husband scalped before her eyes and had almost been killed with him. A warrior roughly picked up her child, and, grasping its heels, was about to dash out the little one's brains against a tree trunk, when, with the strength born of desperation, Mrs. Eubanks seized the Indian and pulled him back. He tripped and fell. Seizing the infant she started to run, when the brave drew his knife and made after her. The frightened woman was on the point of being murdered when chief Two-face interposed. 'What warrior are you?' he asked, 'to be thrown by a squaw. I will take this woman for my own; touch her if you dare!'
"What ensued is too horrible to tell. She was seated on a horse and her
feet tied under her. Clasping her child in her arms, she rode under the burning sun until the Indians pitched camp. Great blisters covered her body. Her tender skin was almost raw. She would have died, she said afterwards, had it not been for her infant. The chief claimed and took possession of her next morning, and covered her unprotected shoulders with a buffalo robe. This kindly action brought the tears to her eyes. Although the robe chafed her it was of the greatest protection to the mother and the child. The Indians headed for Sand creek.
"Comstock and I left immediately for Plum Creek, on receipt of the news, and secured a squad of soldiers to take the trail up the Republican. Several Arapahoes had gone among the whites and spread the report that the Pawnees had committed the murders. The friendly and innocent tribe, taking umbrage at this, went out, found some scattered Arapahoes, and brought back their scalps.
"We came upon the Indians suddently (sic). We saw Mrs. Eubanks and her child riding behind chief Two- face, but our charge was met by a resistance that surprised us. We were outnumbered and whipped, retreating without any dead, but minus five or six horses.
"When the Arapahoes reached Sand creek they began a series of depredations and outrages on the divide that made many faces white with anger when the news was received in Denver. Colonel Chivington raised an army, and the famous battle of Sand creek resulted, on November 20. The scouts of the Indians met Chivington's scouts on the Big Sandy, 120 miles from Denver. The white men were extremely friendly.
"'Where are you going?' asked the Indians.
"'To Texas, to fight the rangers,' was the response.
"For once the Indians were completely taken in. Some of them even volunteered to go along, but their offers were declined. A terrible blinding dust storm arose, and in the night Chivington's army made a forced march, and when morning broke had the Indians surrounded.
"The night of the battle, three chiefs, Two-face, Doc Billy, and Big Thunder, escaped, taking the white woman with them, and made for Cheyenne agency, where they kept her until the next fall.
"During her fourteen months of captivity she suffered untold horrors. Every squaw at the agency shamed her and abuses were heaped upon her. Several times she tried to end her life, but the cunning Two-face caught her and made the frenzied woman desist.
"They needed arms and ammunition. After a council at the agency, it was decided to take Mrs. Eubanks to Fort Laramie and sell her to her people. Mrs. Eubanks told Colonel Baumer, in command at the post, then boasting of 300 men, of the horrors to which she had been subjected. The three chiefs met the colonel and two orderlies a mile or so below the fort. Twenty bucks were posted in the hills some distance beyond, to receive the goods they expected. As soon as the colonel heard her story he told the orderlies to stroll down the river, throwing pebbles at the dogs, in a manner not to excite suspicion, until they were out of sight. They were then to run to the post and call out all the cavalry, surrounding the Indians. The plan succeeded admirably, and the three chiefs were placed in irons.
"At that time I was scouting at Alkali, and General Connor and General Heath, who was delivering to the former the command of the district of Colorado, were at my place. Colonel Baumer telegraphed them of the arrest of the chiefs, and Mrs. Eubanks was brought in and told her story over the wire.
"General Connor asked: 'Where are those villains now?'
"The answer clicked: 'In chains.'
"General Connor replied: 'If you have them in chains, hang them in chains.'
"Baumer sprang from his table in the telegraph room and placed guard at the door, with orders to let no one pass in or out. The door was locked with the operator inside. The Indians were taken out, tied by chains around the neck, and the wagon driven from under them. They died in horrible convulsions.
"When Colonel Baumer returned, this message was handed to him:
'Colonel, I was a little hasty. Bring them to Julesburg and give the wretches a trial.'
"Then occurred the best thing in the Indian war. The colonel sent the following: 'Dear General--I obeyed your first order before I received the second.'
"Mrs. Eubanks is now a Mrs. Atkinson, living in McCune, Kan."
David Street, paymaster of the stage line, passed over the road immediately after the raid at Liberty Farm. He was the first man to carry the news on the stage to Fort Kearney. He had a narrow escape. "But for a delay on the railroad east of St. Joseph," he said, "I would have been in the midst of it."
An amusing incident of this raid, and the almost miraculous escape of a stage-coach, was related just afterward by Henry Carlyle, so long manager of the stage company's ox and mule wagon-trains, and who at the time was on the box with the driver. Carlyle is a man of ready tact and possessed of remarkable presence of mind, and it was fortunate that he was on the coach:
"The coach was full of mail. As we came near to one of the road ranches in the vicinity of O'Fallon's Bluffs, some distance west of Cottonwood Springs, we found that the Indians had captured it, had rolled out a barrel of whisky and knocked the head in, and were drinking it out of tin cups. The whole band were in the midst of a drunken revelry. The driver was greatly alarmed and suggested that we run by at full speed. But I said: 'No; do nothing unusual to attract their attention. You are in the habit of watering here. Drive right up at the regular gait and water go usual. Above all keep cool; keep your seat and have your team in hold, I will get down with the bucket and water the team.' My last words before getting down from the box were to urge the importance of keeping cool. 'If we are lucky enough to get away from here we will let the team out. These Indians have been lying in the bluffs for days. They have watched
A SERIO-COMIC INCIDENT IN HENRY CARLYLE'S EXPERIENCE. Page 358.
the coaches come and go, and know all the movements along the valley of stages and trains. If nothing unusual is done, we will not, in their present condition, attract their attention immediately.'
"Just as I was through watering the horses and ready to got on the stage, an Indian made a rush for me. He struck me on the neck and came near landing me in the well. Without thinking what I was doing at the time, I jammed the bucket down over the Indian's head and shoulders. It was one of those large, flaring cedar buckets, and it came down so, tight he could not get it off. In trying to get the bucket I pulled the bail out. He presented such a ludicrous sight that the Indians--many of them so drunk they could hardly stand--gathered around him, having lots of fun at his expense, He was down on all fours, and another Indian so pleased jumped across his back and rode him around the premises. I did not wait long to enjoy the sport with them, but, as quick as I could, climbed up on the box by the side of the driver and told him to go at a good rapid stage gait until they got a little ways off, and then put the team into a dead run for the next station. Some of the Indians soon recovered from their surprise, and the most of them realized that the coach, with its load of mail, was getting away. They hurriedly mounted their ponies, and, with their wild yells when on the war-path, gave us a hot chase, but for once they were out-generaled. The coach had some distance the start, and, with the superior horses hitched to it, the Indians were finally obliged to give up the chase.
"The premises surrounding the ranch, with Indians on all sides, presented a graphic scene: the barrel of whisky, with the head knocked in; the savages having supplied themselves with new tin cups from the ranchman's stock of goods--each with a tin cup and drinking the whisky and dancing a wild dance around the barrel. Some of them had become stupid from the effects of the liquor and were lying around on the ground just as they fell, the most of them making hideous noises that might be likened unto a pandemonium. It was a close call for the driver and me, the only ones on the stage-coach."
The whisky and Carlyle's tact and good judgment saved both from being horribly butchered.*
Henry Carlyle, senior of the Carlyle brothers, was manager of the freighting firm of Holladay & Carlyles, consisting of Ben. Holladay and Henry and Alex. Carlyle. The supply trains of the stage line--both mule and ox outfits--were controlled by
*After the disastrous raid along the Platte in the summer and fall of 1864, when so many stations were wiped out by the savages, it became necessary to makes number of changes before the route could be opened for the transportation of the mails and express and the carrying of passengers. One of the prominent stage stations down the South Platte east of Denver, between Bijou creek and Valley Station, after the raid, was Godfrey's Ranch. This station was built of sod or adobe, and for a time, during the unprecedented Indian troubles, the premises were besieged. Godfrey, however, had taken the precaution to build some "fortifications," and his place was christened "Fort Wicked." A band of savages hung around the premises and held Godfrey and his family several days, yet he resisted, alone, the entire party with no help but his own family, and during the siege killed a number of savages.
them. They had the entire contract for the transportation of all supplies for the line. The Carlyle brothers were well-known freighters and had often been employed in the business. Mr. Holladay found on the line a number of supply trains, and soon discovered that they were not always properly handled. He knew, also, that a good stage man was not always a good freighter, and, with that rare good judgment that seemed never to fail him in those days, he selected Henry Carlyle to manage the supply trains, and proposed a partnership, each to put in their trains at their market value. The proposition was accepted, and proved to be very successful and mutually profitable. The partnership, which commenced in 1862, continued until the completion of the Union Pacific railroad, with Henry Carlyle as manager. Everybody along the stage line knew Henry Carlyle. He was born a Kentuckian, with all the hospitable, genial manners of his people, and a hail-fellow-well-met with every man, woman and child on the "Overland." He was endowed with rare good judgment and superior business qualifications. For many years he has lived on a fruit farm in Orange county, California, and is now over seventy years old and almost blind. He has a happy family around him, with some grown-up boys and girls.
The cost of removal of the stage line from the North Platte and Sweetwater or South Pass route to the route through Bridger's Pass, along Laramie Plains and Bitter creek (sometimes called the "Cherokee Trail" or "Bitter Creek" route), and the damages incident to it, was shown by an affidavit of Col. Isaac E. Eaton. Colonel Eaton was superintendent of the line under Holladay in 1862, when the Indian raids, detailed in his evidence, were perpetrated. As shown by this evidence, Holladay was compelled to abandon twenty-six stations, worth $2000 each, and a large amount of forage and other articles of value, necessary to the running of
the line, of the amount of which Colonel Eaton could form true estimate; but Holladay, who had to pay for supplies to replace those lost on the old line and abandoned under enforced removal, states that $25,000 would not cover these losses.
A vast amount of damage was done between October, 1864, and December, 1865, by the United States soldiers, who visited stations whenever they felt like it and helped themselves to anything they wanted which happened to be in sight. They indiscriminately took hay, grain, provisions, fuel, etc. At one time they took twenty-nine head of oxen at Fort Kearney, worth $100 a head; and 100 cords of wood at Julesburg, worth fifty dollars a cord. When a receipt was wanted for property taken it was refused. To stop the raids on the stations by the soldiers a military order was procured. Geo. K. Otis, the general superintendent for several years, made a careful estimate of the property taken, which he placed at $30,000. Mr. Carlyle, who for years transported most of the supplies for the stage line, testified that $30,000 was not an overestimate of the damage inflicted by the military on the stage line. David Street also testified that the line was subjected to serious losses in consequence of damage done and property taken by the soldiers. William Reynolds, superintendent of the line from October, 1864, to March, 1866, stated that large quantities of hay, grain and wood were consumed by the military on the stage line, the property of Holladay; also, several houses and stables were used for fuel and other purposes.
The losses sustained by Holladay from Indian depredations from 1862 to 1865 were enormous, and ran up into the hundreds of thousands. The following will give a pretty fair idea of the value of the property stolen and destroyed, as prices ruled on the frontier during the civil war:
*Old Julesburg was destroyed by the Indians on February 2, 1865. The burning of this place was the greatest pecuniary loss of any station on the stage line. Nothing was
The Indians on the route northwest of old Julesburg began their deviltry on the overland stage line in the summer of 1862. The line was damaged and badly broken up. On the recommendation of Colonel Chivington, commanding the district of Colorado, and by the consent of the post-office department, the mail route was changed. Instead of crossing the South Platte at old Julesburg and going via the North Platte and Sweetwater route, it crossed the South Platte at Latham station and went over the route known as the "Cherokee Trail," across the Laramie plains, over Bridger's Pass, and along the Bitter Creek country, intersecting the old road at Fort Bridger. The change from the old route in distance was from 100 to 300 miles, and the cost to the company in moving was over $50,000. In making the change, it was necessary to abandon some 300 miles of road on the old route, twenty-six mail stations, and build twenty-five additional stations on the new route. This was a big undertaking, but it had to be done. Gen. James Craig, of St. Joseph, Mo., who often made trips over the stage line and was thoroughly familiar with the country and the depredations of the Indians, subsequently testified before the congressional committee, at Washington, that it was not possible to protect the line against Indians on the old route, and that it could only be kept up "with the consent of the Indians themselves."
Concerning Indian fighting on the plains in 1867, Maj. W. H. Russell had a lively experience with the Cheyennes, which was told some time ago by him in the Chicago Tribune:
". . . I remember the Cheyennes were raising Cain along the overland stage route, attacking stages, plundering stations and mail-bags, and chopping down telegraph wires. This was in Colorado, between Fort Morgan and Fort Sedgwick. I went out with a company of sixty men to re-establish the route. We had just got beyond a place called Moore's, a sort of station for the stage line, and a stage came up as we laid in camp after a hard day's march. The Indians had been crawling around trying to surprise us; but no Indian fighter is ever surprised, and I was ready for them. The men on the stage were for going on; but I said: "wouldn't if I were you; for there's about sixty of those devils hiding among those sand-hills
spared. The houses, barns, warehouses, telegraph office, blacksmith shop, and sheds--the logs for which had been hauled over 100 miles by oxen--were all burnt by the infuriated demons. The loss on buildings was $35,000; thirty tons of hay, at fifty dollars, $1500; 3500 sacks of corn (392,000 pounds), at twenty cents per pound, $78,400; provisions and stores, $2000; one horse taken, $200; total, $115,100.
¶Of the one item of grain taken, there were 22,000 pounds of oats, 15,000 pounds of barley, and 678,720 pounds of corn.
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