An Indian Scare
From: History of Butler County, Kansas
BY: Vol. P. Mooney
Standard Publishing Company
Lawrence, Kansas 1916


AN INDIAN SCARE.
By Mrs. M. A. Avery.

Thinking perhaps I could contribute a few reminiscences of the early pioneer days in northwest Butler, I will relate a few incidents in connection with the Indian scare:

My husband and myself and our three year old boy, Ulysses Sherman, settled in Clifford township in April, 1868. Unloading our goods in the timber near the creek until four posts were driven into the ground, a few thin boards that we had brought in the bottom of the wagon were laid over the top as a protection from rain. Carpets and quilts were hung around three sides, while the wagon box with bows and cover on filled the fourth side and provided us with a sleeping apartment. Our stove, chairs, table, etc., were put inside and we were "at home" to any who called.

In a month's time we had a garden planted and a little stone cabin erected on the hill where the present dwelling stands. Although the stone building was small and rudely built it was home and we were monarchs of all we surveyed. Our nearest neighbor was Dr. I. V. Davis and his brother, William, (both bachelors), three and one half miles northwest of us. Thomas H. Ferrier and family lived directly west about the same distance. John Wentworth and his father in law, Joseph Adams, lived five miles south; while to the north and east it was eighteen miles to the nearest house.

Imagine what our feelings were when one afternoon in the last of May or the first of June (I have forgotten the exact date) a boy came riding up in great haste, crying out, "Everybody is going to El Dorado to try and protect their families. The Indians are expected every minute to kill settlers and drive off stock." Although feeling that it could not be true we thought "discretion the better part of valor" and hurriedly throwing into the wagon what eatables were handy, some bedding,,, a gun and our saddles in case we should be pressed and have to abandon our wagon and escape on horse back, we drove rapidly down the stream until we joined the familes of T. L. Ferrier, J. Cams, Jacob Green and James Jones, who had all been warned in the same way of the danger. As we formed in a procession with pale faced women and frightened children our thought went back to when, as children, we had read of the Indian raids in eastern states in their early settlements and we imagined that the massacre would soon begin and every eye was busy watching for the approach of the dusky foe. Arriving at El Dorado we were all welcomed to a long, low new building occupied by William Show and family and located somewhere near where the postoffice now stands. All the old guns brought in by the settlers were stacked in the middle of the room and looked very war like as they ranged from the old fashioned squirrel gun to the Springfield rifle.

At night the beds weer spread all over the floor and were occupied by the women and children, while some of the men stood guard and tried to devise ways and means for killing the Indians if they did put in an appearance. As we women learned afterwards there were only about a dozen loads of ammunition in the town, but morning dawned at last and we began to breathe freer, and as the day wore on and we were still unmolested we could begin to see the humorous side of the big scare. One old lady in the hurry of getting ready to leave home had been so solicitious for the comfort and cleanliness of her family that she insisted on loading in a keg of soft soap and after getting several miles from home discovered that she had forgotten her shoes and stockings and was wearing a child's hood upon her head with the summer sunshine pouring down upon her.

My husband and Mr. Cams returned to the homesteads to see if there were any signs of trouble, but the humble homes were unmolested and the few cattle and horses were grazing peacefully on the hills. However, we tarried one more night at El Dorado and then returned to our homes. Later on it was learned that the Cheyenne Indians had passed north of us near Marion, Marion county, going to Council Grove to fight the Kaws who were stationed near there. Although they helped themselves to everything they wanted in the line of eatables, etc., no lives were taken, but many women and children had an experience that will long be remembered.

Many people left the country for good while those few who had the courage and perserverance necessary to battle with the hardships and privations incident to opening fup a new country are now among our most substantial citizens. Although they have since fought grasshoppers, drouths and other pestilences they are still standing up for Kansas.


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