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
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
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.