|Cowboy Regime and Forerunners of Civilization.
"Your creeds and dogmas of a learned church
May build a fabric, fair with moral beauty;
But it would seem that the strong hand of God
Can, only, 'rase the devil from the heart."-Duo.
THE early pages of frontier history are usually written in blood. There are the harrowing tales of
massacre by prowling and vengeful Indians, or if these are wanting, then desperate encounters with the lawless element incident to life beyond the reach of the arm of law and justice--the confidence man and gambler, preying upon every newcomer; the old time cowboy element, "shooting up" the town or embroiled in desperate feuds with the homesteader; fugitives from justice, lawbreakers of all kinds escaped from the older states "back East." The North Loup Valley settlements were in most respects no exception to this rule. They experienced their share of Indian scares, and can record some thrilling encounters with the red men. The desperado and gambler too appeared on the borders after the first waves of settlement had subsided. But they did not long remain. The atmosphere was not congenial and the field anything but profitable. The character of the pioneer fathers was of too sterling a makeup to long countenance outlawry and all that it begets. So this scum of all new civilizations passed away, no more to show its face. Yes, the settlements did
not escape these experiences, but this was to be expected. They might have fared much worse. Indeed, should we compare our early days, with the pioneer history of say, the Middle Loup settlements, our immediate neighbors on the west we might consider ourselves very fortunate indeed.
In the evolution of the virgin prairie to settled homestead, our valley by its fortunate location escaped such harrowing incidents of border feud and bloodshed between cowboy occupant and pioneer homesteader as fell to the lot of Custer and other counties west of us.
At the time when our narrative opens, the cattle industry on the Great Plains had taken on vast proportions. Great herds of cattle from Texas and the "Pan Handle" were in full possession of "No Man's Land" and western Kansas, and great tracts in southern and western Nebraska were swarming with thousands of "rangers." The cattle kings seized upon all the good herding grounds and built their home ranch on
(71) every available watercourses to the exclusion of actual settlers. Once in possession the cattlemen proposed to hold the range in spite of herd law and homestead law, by force if necessary. To the good fortune of the North Loup country, when the cattle kings first began to invade our state settlers were already in full possession of the Platte valley as far west as Dawson county. This circumstance checked a direct northward movement and forced the oncoming tide to turn to the northwest, thereby sparing our part of the state for a few years, long enough for the first settlers to take possession. So by the time the cattle movement could outflank the Platte settlements and again swing eastward, gradually to spread over the unorganized territory embraced in the South and Middle Loup valleys, the North Loup was absolutely safe against encroachment.
The unorganized territory immediately west of Valley county was, at an early date, attached to that county for judicial purposes. And its history in a way becomes our history. To properly understand all the details surrounding our own development, therefore, it becomes necessary to give some attention in the passing, to the lawlessness and bitter strife and bloodshed which for some years possessed our Custer county border. The natural fertility of the soil in the
unorganized territory early attracted the attention of landseekers. But to actually homestead the land occupied by the cattlemen was a serious matter. The latter considered all such attempts as encroachments upon their personal rights, and the settlers as so many intruders. The first homesteaders accordingly lived precarious lives. Thousands of cattle ranged at will over the country and necessitated a constant watch over the fields by night and by day. To fence one's fields was to invite a raid from cowboys who made short work of all such protections. And to resist force with force meant the loss of house and home and sometimes life to boot. In those days discretion became the better part of valor.
The years 1877 and '78 witnessed a great influx of settlers to Custer county. The fine bottom lands along the water courses became settled and it really began to look as though the great herds of cattle would be entirely excluded from their old watering places. This to them seeming gross injustice angered the cattlemen, especially as it was the general opinion then that only the bottom lands were fit for
agriculture; these occupied by farmers would render practically valueless for grazing the thousands of acres of unwatered
hill country. Custer county, they argued, was a natural grazing country, and should be maintained as such. Another, and the immediate cause of many deeds of violence was the prevalence of
"cattle rustling." It will be borne in mind that the cattlemen allowed their stock to roam at will over the range. This meant that for months at a time perhaps they would be beyond their owner's reach, who saw them usually but once a year at the annual "round up." The straying cattle thus fell an easy prey to unscrupulous characters, who would coolly shoot them down, slaughter them, and haul them by the wagon load to the nearest railroad station for shipment. This traffic took on vast
before the cattlemen could notice their losses. When finally they woke to a realization of what was happening their rage knew no limits, and death by lynching would have been considered almost too good for a culprit caught in the act. The real thieves were and remained unknown. The cowboys, already prejudiced against the settlers, naturally enough charged these crimes to the latter. That the settlers did occasionally shoot and slaughter a beef or two there can be little doubt--nor was it more than fair recompense for ruined
crops--but that they were guilty of this wholesale slaughter and exportation no one believes for a moment. This crime must be laid at the door of cattle thieves from the state at large.
Old Mitchell Ranch House, Custer County.
Matters went from bad to worse till the cattlemen in their desperation
resolved to drive the settlers to a man from the country. This initiated
a state of lawlessness very seldom equalled in border feuds. Cold blooded
murder in its most cruel form, was repeatedly committed, and no man's life or property was deemed safe. The climax of all this misery was the
murder and burning of Luther Mitchell and Ami Ketchum--one of the most dastardly crimes ever chronicled in the criminal history of any
nation. So gruesome are the details of this heartrending tragedy that we almost rebel
against repeating them in this narrative. But it is deemed advisable to do
so in order better to impress our readers with the true significance of the
North Loup Valley's escape from cowboy regime:
"One of the most wealthy of the cattle-owners of Nebraska, was I. P. Olive, who owned many thousand head of stock that found pasturage in Custer county. He had, from time to time, lost a great
many animals, (73)
some of them undoubtedly stolen by cattle thieves. For this reason he became the prime mover in the attempt to expel the settlers from Custer
county. His headquarters were in this county, although he resided in Plum Creek, Dawson county.
He had come to Nebraska from Texas on account of
having been concerned in the killing of several men while there, and it is said that he had been guilty of other murders. Fearing both legal and personal vengeance, he fled to Nebraska. He was accompanied by his brother Robert Olive, who
had to prevent all knowledge of his where abouts, assumed the name of Stevens.
"Luther M. Mitchell and Ami Ketchum wore homesteaders, living on Clear Creek, where they had made a settlement some time previous. Mitchell was an old man, sixty three years of age, a farmer, who had removed here from Merrick county. Ketchum had resided in the state for some years and
had worked at his trade, that of a blacksmith, in several towns, but, having decided to go to farming,
he entered a homestead here.
"For some time there had been trouble between the Olives and Ketchum. In the attempt to frighten or drive the settlers from the county, they found Ketchum too courageous to be frightened, and too quick and accurate in the use of firearms to be driven successfully. Between Stevens, or Bob Olive, and Ketchum, there had been a great deal of difficulty. Stevens, as
he was then known, had on several occasions threatened to kill Ketchum and had also accused him of stealing cattle.
"Some days previous to the trouble that resulted in the death of Stevens, one Manley Capel
had been arrested on the charge of stealing cattle in Custer county, and in his
confession, seemed to implicate Ami Ketchum.
"Stevens, or Bob Olive, was well known as a desperado, and it was also known that he and Ketchum were enemies. Yet. Sheriff David Anderson of Buffalo county, made him deputy for the occasion, and gave him a warrant for the arrest of Ketchum. This warrant was sworn out by some members of the Olive gang, and it has been a question whether this warrant was gotten out in good faith, believing Ketchum to be a cattle
thief, or merely as a pretext to get him into the custody of the Olives. It is now generally thought that Ketchum was innocent of any crime, that he was merely a peaceable settler, whom Stevens was anxious to kill on account of the old enmity, and because he could not be driven from the country by threats. It is also generally believed that
had he fallen into Stevens' hands, he would have been killed on some pretext or other; that there are reasons to
believe these opinions to be correct, as the following sketch of the ensuing tragedy will show.
"Stevens engaged three others to accompany him, all rough and desperate men, among whom was Barney Armstrong, and proceeded to the home of Ketchum arriving here on Wednesday morning, November 27, 1878. Mitchell and Ketchum were getting ready on that morning to go to a neighbor's to return a bull they
had been keeping. Mrs. Mitchell was preparing to go with them to visit the family of this
neighbor--one Mr. Dows--during the day. When they were nearly ready to start, a stranger
(74) rode up and asked
Ketchum, who was a blacksmith, to shoe his horse. Ketchum told him that be could not on that day, and asked him to return the next morning, which he promised to
do, and rode off. It has since been supposed that he came there in the interests of the Olives, to see if the intended victims were there. Mitchell and Ketchum
had put their rifles in the wagon, hoping to see some game on their journey. Ketchum also took his pistol, which he always carried, from the fact of Stevens having threatened his life.
"While the men were taking care of the animal, Mrs. Mitchell took her place on the seat to hold the team. While Mitchell and Ketchum were tying the bull to the axle of the wagon and gathering in the long lariat rope by which it was tied, Mrs. Mitchell observed a party of men riding toward them, but it attracted no particular attention, as they were frequently visited by hunters and land seekers. As these men came up, they dashed along, four abreast, and, when they came near, began shooting. Stevens, or Bob Olive, was the first to fire, and as
he did so, he called to Ketchum to throw up his hands. For reply, Ketchum drew his pistol, and, at his first shot, Stevens fell forward in his saddle, mortally wounded. Meanwhile, the other men kept up the shooting, and Ketchum was wounded in the arm. The children came running out of the house, when one of the men began firing at
them but without effect. Mitchell reached into the wagon, secured his rifle and began firing but Stevens now turned and rode off, and he was soon followed by the remaining cowboys. There were from twenty-five to thirty
shots fired, but only with the effect stated. As soon as the cowboys had ridden away, Mitchell and Ketchum packed up a few of their
household goods and started to go to Merrick county, where Mitchell had formerly lived. They did this as they feared violence from the now enraged cowboys. Arriving in Merrick county, they went directly to the residence of Dr. Barnes to attend to Ketchum's wounds. The next morning, acting upon the advice of their friends, the men, Mitchell and Ketchum, having secured a place of safety for Mrs. Mitchell and the children, started for Custer county, to give themselves up and stand a trial for the killing of Stevens. On their way, when they reached Loup City, they visited Judge Wall for legal advice. Judge Wall advised them to go no farther, as the cowboys were waiting for them, prepared to lynch them. They remained here two or three days, and then went to the house of John R. Baker, on Oak Creek, in Howard county, where they were arrested by Sheriff William Letcher, of Merrick
county and Sheriff F. W. Crew, of Howard county, giving themselves readily into custody.
"I. P. Olive had offered a reward of $700 for the arrest of Mitchell and Ketchum, and several
sheriffs, among whom were Crew, of Howard, Gillan of Keith, Anderson, of Buffalo, and Letcher, of Merrick, were
anxious to capture them that they might secure the reward. But after they were captured and in the
hands of Crew and Letcher, these officers were unwilling to incur the responsibility of taking them to Custer county, and turning them over to the blood-thirsty cowboys; therefore, they were
(75) finally taken to the Buffalo county jail, in Kearney, and placed in charge of Capt. David Anderson, the
sheriff of that county, for safe keeping. The prisoners were first, held without any legal authority, as
I. P. Olive had given the warrant for their arrest, issued in Custer county, into the hands of Harney Gillan, Sheriff of Keith county to serve. The prisoners had engaged T. Darnall, of St. Paul, Neb., and E. C. Calkins of Kearney, as their attorneys. The attorneys
endeavored to keep the prisoners in the jail at Kearney, fearing that violence might be done them. The feeling in Kearney at that time was against Mitchell and Ketchum, who were represented as having killed Stevens while he was fulfilling his duty as an officer of the law. A question arose among the sheriffs as to the division of the money offered as a reward for Mitchell and Ketchum, which Olive had declined paying until they were delivered in Custer County. A proposition was finally made to Sheriff Anderson to take them to that place, and $50 was offered him for his services. This he declined to do, however, unless
he was paid enough to enable him to employ a sufficient number of men to guard the prisoners. It was finally arranged that Gillan, since he held the warrant for their arrest, should take the prisoners to Custer county, and he promised to notify their attorneys, Calkins and Darnall, so that they could accompany them. As Gillan was a sheriff, and his desperate character was not then known, even these attorneys did not anticipate any serious difficulty. They,
however, kept close watch lest the prisoners should be stolen away.
"On the forenoon of the 10th day of December, Darnall, fearing that the prisoners were about to be
taken away, was keeping close watch
until after the emigrant train came in. This train was late, but Darnall remained at the depot until he thought it was about time for it to leave, when he started away. In the meantime, Gillan had taken the prisoners from the jail, and at just the last moment hustled them on the cars. Darnall, then fearing trouble, telegraphed to Gillan, at Elm Creek, first station west of Kearney, asking him if he would hold the prisoners at Plum Creek until the arrival of the next train from the East. Gillan replied that
he would do so. To still further secure their safety he also telegraphed to Capt. C. W. McNamar an attorney at Plum Creek, asking him to keep close watch, to see what was done with the prisoners on their arrival at that town. Plum Creek was the home of I. P. Olive, and here he was surrounded by many friends and employees. They, with wagons, met the party as they got off the train,
and putting the prisoners into a wagon. started at once for Custer county. This was about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Capt. McNamar being unable to prevail on them to remain, and believing that it was the intention to murder the prisoners, followed them for some distance, when the party separated, some going in one direction and some in another. He followed after the prisoners, however, until after dark, when he lost their trail. The Olive party kept on, all coming together on the Loup
River, about five miles from Olive's ranch, where they went through the process of transferring the prisoners from Gillan to Olive. Among those who took
(76) the prisoners were Bion Brown, Pedro Dominicus and Dennis Gartrell,
Gillan and Dufran walked up the road for a short distance, while the remainder of the party started on for Devil's Canyon, Olive riding ahead and
Gartrell driving the wagon. Olive stopped under a large elm tree. Two ropes were thrown over a
branch and Gartrell tied one around Ketchum's neck and Pedro Dominicus tied the other around Mitchell's neck. The ropes were not prepared with slip nooses, however, but were simply tied that their agony might be prolonged. The prisoners were handcuffed together. Ketchum was first drawn up. Olive caught up a rifle and shot Mitchell. Olive and Gartrell then caught hold of the rope and drew Mitchell up. Fisher and Brown pulled on Ketchum's rope. A fire was then kindled under them. Accounts differ as to whether this was done purposely or not. The party had been indulging freely in whisky, and some of them claim that this fire was started accidentally. However this may be, the bodies were frightfully burned. Then next day, when the bodies were found, about three o'clock in the afternoon, Ketchum was still hanging, with his legs burned nearly to a crumbling condition. Mitchell's rope had either burned off or had broken, and he was lying on the ground, one arm drawn up to Ketchum by the handcuffs, while the other was burned off up to the shoulder.
"As soon as the bodies were found, Capt. McNamar returned to Plum Creek and reported the fact. I. P. Olive lived here and also several of the men who participated in the murder. They were well known as dangerous characters, and
no one cared to attempt to arrest them. Indeed returning at once to Plum
Creek, Olive and his men had threatened to
kill any one who should attempt to molest them.
"After a few days, a conference was held at the office of E. C. Calkins, at Kearney, to see what could be done. Sheriff James of Plum
Creek, Dawson county; Sheriff Anderson, of Buffalo; Judge Gaslin, E. C. Calkins and others were present. The Judge expressd a willingness to issue a warrant, but
the question was who should serve it. Sheriff James refused to do so, fearing that the murderers could not be captured, and even if they could, that he would soon be hunted down by their
confederates. Sheriff Anderson objected to going into another county to make an arrest, attended with so, much danger, but said that if the murderers came into Buffalo county, he would not hesitate to attempt their arrest. Two warrants were then made out for the citizens of Kearney and the law abiding portion of the inhabitants of Plum Creek had resolved that the capture should be made. Atty. Gen. C. J.
Dilworth, who resided on his farm in Phelps county, near Plum Creek, had for some time, with the assistance of others, been working up a plan for the
capture of the gang. On Saturday, January 5, 1879, he telegraphed to Kearney Junction that arrangements had been made to take the murderers, and that the citizens of Plum Creek only awaited assistance. At the former place, a well armed and determined party
had been organized under the leadership of Lawrence Ketchum, a brother of one of the murdered men. This party had been
to attempt the capture of Olive, but had hitherto been held back by the wiser counsels of Dilworth, who sought by the use of a little strategy to surprise the criminals, and thus save the loss of life that would necessarily result from an open attack.
"On receipt of the message above referred to, the Kearney party took the first
train, bound west and arrived at Plum Creek after dark. Here they were met by some of the citizens, who took them to a place of concealment, and, upon reconnoitering, it was decided to wait until the next morning, when there would be
no suspicion and they could be captured one at a time. On Sunday morning, Baldwin was seized at break of day at his hotel while starting a fire. A number of the party were concealed in the postoffice where Olive and a number of others were captured, one at a time, as they came for their mail. Fisher and others were arrested singly on the street. There was
no bloodshed, and but little show of resistance. The prisoners were then taken to Kearney on a special train. On their arrival, Olive, Green and some of the others,
fearing that they were to be lynched, turned pale and showed the most craven fear. They were all confined in the Kearney jail at first, but subsequently were distributed to jails in different parts of the state. On Monday morning, after the capture of
Olive, the Mexican Pedro Dominicus, Barney Gillan, Sheriff of Keith county, and Phil Dufran were captured and brought in to Kearney.
"The time appointed for the trial was the next spring. The
place selected by the presiding judge, William Gaslin, was at Hastings. An indictment was found against
I. P. Olive, John Baldwin. William H. Green, Fred Fisher, Barney Gillan, Pedro Dominicus, Bion Brown, Phil Dufran, Dennis Gartrell, Barney Armstrong, Peter Bielec and a man called McInduffer, for the murder of Mitchell and Ketchum.
"The trial of I. P. Olive and Fred Fisher began at once and lasted for
some time. Brown and Dufran turned State's evidence, and the evidence showed the murder to have been committed in the manner above stated.
But Olive and his relatives were wealthy, and no expense was spared in conducting the case in their behalf. During the trial, which attracted
the attention of the entire state, hundreds of indignant citizens of various
parts of the state went to Hastings, hoping to see justice done. Judge Gaslin was scrupulously honorable, and the murderers had a fair trial. It
was known, however, that money was spent freely in behalf of the prisoners
and at one time it became so apparent that the end of justice would be thwarted that the people talked of lynching the prisoners, but as a company
of soldiers guarded them this was not attempted. Although the evidence
was strong against the prisoners, showing that they had deliberately planned and executed a most foul and cowardly murder, the jury went out
and returned with a verdict of guilty of murder in the second degree. Judge Gaslin then sentenced I. P. Olive an Fred Fisher to imprisonment
for life in the state penitentiary to which place they were taken.
"Immediately after the sentence of Olive and Fisher, their friends
(78) began to try to devise plans to secure their release, and the trial of their associates in crime was postponed. The following year, these efforts were successful, and the convicts were released from the peniteniary upon a decision of the Supreme Court of the state ordering them to be set free or, account of technical irregularities in the proceeding of their trial. Let it here be stated that Custer county had recently been formed from territory that had before the county organization been in two judicial districts but now was understood to be attached to the western district. The Supreme Court held that the prisoners must be tried within the limits of Custer
county and at the same time held that this county
'was in no judicial district,' and hence, that the murderers could be tried before no district judge in the state. This was the decision of two of the judges of the Supreme Court, but Judge Samuel Maxwell, all honor to him, dissented in one of the ablest legal documents ever prepared in that court.
"The decision of the court of course practically released the convicts and put an end to the prosecution of their associates, nearly all of whom, however, had been allowed to escape from the county jails in which they were confined.
The closing scene in this terrible drama of blood was enacted in Colorado whither
I. P. Olive had sought refuge with his son William. For four years, so the story goes, had the released murderer been shadowed by some vengeful enemy, who had gone so far as to bring his son up to share this
hatred. The two, father and son, never let the Olives get a moment's respite, but pursued
them with the bitterness of death. Finally in 1884 the stroke falls. The son of the unknown avenger shoots young Olive dead in a billiard room; the next day, at a cattle round-up, the crime hardened father falls before the unerring shot of the avenger in person.
It is now time to return to the North Loup, grateful that Providence has shielded the Valley from all such horrible tragedies as the one just narrated, proud in the knowledge that lynchings, and violence of a similar nature against man and law, have never tarnised our fair coat of arms.
But more, turn back in time--back to the years 1868, and for the last time see the Valley preparing for the settler. The surveyor was then busy running township lines and preparing the way for the homesteaders. Nicholas J. Paul, well known as one of the founders of St. Paul in Howard county, had charge of this work. Records show that he completed his task in September, 1868. One William Hardin ran all subdivisions between 1868 and '70. The lands were now ready for filing.
We have already learned that the first white custodians of the Loup were trappers and scouts. Several of these strange dwellers on the outskirts of civilization played important roles in the making of the Valley and should be introduced without further delay.
When the first settlers reached the "Big Bond" in 1872 they encountered there an odd character, living in a habitation, half dug-out, half log
hut, perched on the side of a prominent bluff. Standing seventy inches in his moccasined feet, erect, muscular, with keen blue eyes, blonde hair,
(79) failing in waves over his broad shoulders and massive chest--such was Jack Swearengen, popularly known for miles around as "Happy Jack." A more upright frontiersman can not be imagined. Always cheerful, willing and ready to tramp for days to guide strangers in the Valley. Giving was almost a weakness with him. Many a time is he known to have gone hungry that some poor fellowman in want might be fed. "Happy Jack" has with justice been termed the "Pathfinder of the Loup." When the first settlers arrived he became their guide and adviser. Later, when the first settlement was assured, he again took up the trail and became their outpost on the Calamus. It
was while here that Sioux Indians almost put an end to his eventful career. They took him captive and proceeded to kindle the fire for a slow roasting alive, when wiser council prevailed and he escaped with his life, on promise never again to be seen in the "Indian country." In 1872 he filed upon a claim almost opposite from the site of the future Fort Hartsuff. Here he lived for years in a dug-out on the edge of the picturesque canyon which to this day goes by the name of "Jack's Gulch," or ''Happy Jack's Canyon." As a government scout Jack won an enviable reputation. He alone should
be given the credit for running to earth the notorious horsethief
"Doc" Middleton, a feat which many had attempted but failed.
Jack was by nature a recluse, and in time melancholia began to cloud his old time "happy" countenance. He became distrustful of his fellowmen, and immured himself in the old dug-out, where no one cared to
approach him save his old friends and neighbors, the Goodenows. In 1879
he was removed by a brother to the old family home in Ohio; here, we are told, his malady, pronounced by physicians as "tobaccco tremens," yielded to expert treatment, and Jack soon regained much of his old vigor and cheerfulness. Soon after this his father died, leaving an estate worth fully, $40,000. Thus was the old trapper and scout at a stroke placed in easy circumstances for the rest of his days. And there on the old homestead he now dwells, no doubt living over again the many stirring events of his life on the plains.
It is deemed advisable to close this chapter on
beginnings with the life story of another great pathfinder in the
Valley, that of Conrad Wentworth. The very graphic sketch herewith given was prepared at the author's request by one who knew "Little Buckshot" as intimately as a
brother--George McAnulty of Scotia, himself no mean Indian fighter and soldier, and honored as one of our most substantial pioneers. He writes:--
"Among the many scouts, trappers, hunters, and all around plainsmen who have figured in the early history of the North Loup Valley, the most
picturesque personality was Conrad Wentworth, known at that time from the Missouri river to the Rockies as "Little Buckshot," government scout
and Indian trailer and fighter. His splendid courage and daring and
countless deeds of heroism and self sacrifice have long been celebrated in
romance and song. To this great scout's tireless energy and constant watchfulness the early settlers on the Loup no doubt often owed their
(80) safety from attack by the savage Sioux. Wentworth
came from a fine old southern family, but a natural love of adventure early led him to seek life in the West.
"While yet a mere boy he was employed to carry the United States mail
from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Here he saw his first Indian, fighting and developed the natural instincts of the scout and
Conrad Wentworth, or "Little Buckshot," Government Scout, Indian Hunter and
Friend of the Pioneers.
guide, always watching,
guarding. Later he went to Salt Lake City and took part in Gen. Johnson's campaign against the Mormons. At this period
he performed some excellent work as a scout and gained the lifelong friendship and gratitude of the officers with whom he served. During the
Civil War Wentworth acted as scout for Generals Sheridan, Hancock and Merritt, his work was ever of the most perilous nature and full of the
greatest service to the government. After the war "Buckshot" returned (81)
to the plains to renew his acquaintance with the Indian and the buffalo, and for the twelve years next following he was employed as government scout and in that capacity came to the Loup Valley in 1871, as chief of scouts for the troops sent to guard the first settlers' homes. He was at
Alec Draver and Jim Barr
that time an ideal trailer. He was well at home in all the western Indian tongues and dialects and his knowledge of the different tribes and their customs was simply wonderful. In stature he was rather below medium height. As he appeared in those early clays dressed in his handsome suit
(82) of buckskin, with long curly hair with braided scalp-lock or riding the prairie mounted on his famous pony, "Billy," he presented a picture never to be forgotten.
"The settlers had, one and all, the utmost confidence in his judgment in all affairs pertaining to Indian craft, and felt perfectly secure when he was known to be in the vicinity. Reticent and modest, he seldom referred in anyway to the adventures which
had made his name a household word. A man of great natural refinement,
he led a life above all reproach. His domestic life was particularly happy, and his devotion to his charming young wife and children was touching to behold. Mrs. Wentworth was born and reared in Washington D. C. but the brave little woman that she was, she soon adapted herself to her husband's life and spent many happy years with him on the frontier. After passing through scenes of adventure such as falls to the lot of but few, the Wentworths settled in beautiful San Antonio, Texas, surrounded by their children and grandchildren. "Little Buckshot" has lived to see the trackless prairie over which he helped guide the vanguard of civilization transformed to a great and prosperous section of our common country--the great American Republic."