The tribe that probably played the next greatest part in Nebraska Indian history, or at least in the last three
decades of the Indians and white settlers' cohabitation in this territory, was the Sioux.
Prof. H. W. Foght, in his "Trail of the Loup" gives a short historical account of this tribe, which will
serve to introduce them to the reader, before any chronological survey of their Nebraska career is undertaken.
"The Sioux belonged to one of the most widely extended and important Indian families of North America. In
the very earliest days of the advent of the white men they appear to have held sway on the Atlantic seaboard, around
the Virginias and Carolinas. They later abandoned their sedentary and agricultural tendencies and roamed to the
banks of the Ohio. From their own traditions it is accounted that the Sioux parted company with the Winnebagoes
at some point on the Ohio, probably near the mouth of the Wabash, and crossed northeasterly through Illinois, and
took possession of the headwaters of the Mississippi. In the meantime other tribes of that great family reached
the Mississippi until they came to the Missouri, there dividing, some of them going southward to Arkansas. The
portion called the 'Omahas' ascended the Missouri and made their home in eastern Nebraska. The Poncas and Iowas
are also usually classed as belonging to this Sioux family, as well as the Otoes, Peorias, and Missouris, first
mentioned by Father Marquette in 1673. But the Sioux were the most important of the Siouan stock. The Sioux called
themselves Dakotah, Nakotah, or Lakotah, according to their respective dialects, a name signifying 'allies.' But
from the early French designation of `Nadaousioux' a shortening brought it down to the modern 'Sioux.' This warlike
nation early relinquished sedentary habits and became roaming buffalo hunters. For many years the Niobrara River
in Nebraska formed the line of demarkation between the Sioux and Pawnees. In 1837 the Sioux sold to the Government
all their claims to lands east of the Mississippi; in 1851, relinquished the greater part of Minnesota and Dakota.
In 1857, they expressed dissatisfaction with the handling of their treaty relations by the Government by a massacre
of white settlers at Spirit Lake, Iowa, and, in 1862, their chieftain, Little Crow, led a warfare upon the outlying
settlements in Minnesota, and took advantage of the Government's embarrassments consequent upon the Civil war.
This bitter war lasted until 1869, when they were driven out of Minnesota by General Sibley.
While Little Crow and his bands escaped to Canada, Red Cloud and his cohorts came to Nebraska, where they started
a long struggle.
The valley of the Platte was then the thoroughfare to California. Plainsmen dared not cross in small companies
and the pioneers were forced to arm to the teeth. The trail from the Missouri to the Rockies then became marked
with bleaching bones, burnt wagons and rotting harness."
1832. The first great manifestation of the Sioux after white settlement was feebly attempted in Nebraska was in
1832 in what is now Jefferson County. Near the junction of the Big Sandy and the Little Blue 'rivers was fought
one of the most desperate battles ever waged on the American continent. In this encounter the Sioux met defeat
at the hands of the Pawnees, and it proved to be the Waterloo of the Plains for some three decades, and gave the
Pawnees mastery of the Nebraska country at that time. According to best accounts, 16,000 savages participated in
the conflict. The Pawnees were under the command of the chief Tac-po-ha-na, while the Sioux were led by Oco-no-me-woe,
of whom it is claimed the celebrated Sioux chief, Sitting Bull, is a lineal descendant. The struggle for supremacy
lasted three days and the Sioux were completely worsted, losing over 3,000 men. The Pawnees sustained a loss of
2,000 men. The story of this encounter was told to Mr. D. C. Jenkins, who narrated it to the first chronicler who
preserved it for Nebraska historical traditions by Monsieur Mont Crevie, an old French trader, who claimed to have
spent forty years of his life among the Indians of the plains and mountains and had married a squaw in every tribe
where he could find one who would have him. The facts are also further corroborated by an old blind Pawnee warrior
who claimed to have been the only survivor of the terrible conflict. This last claim must have been incorrect for
there were doubtless many other survivors among the Indians met by the first settlers of the various counties.
1832-1844. It will be noticed in the chapter hereafter following giving the order and chronology of the settlements
of the various communities in Nebraska that between 1810, when the first post was established at Bellevue, and
1819, when Fort Atkinson was attempted sixteen miles north of present Omaha, and 1844, there were no really permanent
white settlements made in Nebraska.
The early annals of the river counties in eastern Nebraska attribute many Indian residences to that territory in
that period. Then for the next twenty five years after 1844, when the early permanent settlements began along the
Missouri River side of Nebraska, many encounters with Indians are recorded. Most of these are of too small a scope
for us to take the space to chronicle them, so only the more important ones will be sketched here.
Probably Jefferson, Thayer, Nuckolls, Webster, Kearney, Buffalo, Dawson, Lincoln, Keith, and old Cheyenne counties
suffered from Indians during the early settlement periods more than any other counties, because largely through
these counties the old "Oregon trails" and the western and more unprotected end of the other Overland
1864. The effect upon the settlements then already made in Nebraska of the outbreaks of the Sioux, especially
in Dawson, Buffalo, Adams, Nuckolls and Thayer counties, can be well conveyed by an excerpt from the old Hebron
Journal, by E. M. Corell.
"The attention of the whole nation was occupied by the great war of the Rebellion in 1864, so that the Indian
raid of that year, the most carefully planned and skillfully executed known in the history of the western frontier,
received but little attention and seemed in comparison of so little importance as scarcely to deserve a place in
"Yet the military strategy and precision, and the secrecy and success and the cool butchery and cruelty of
the attack, make it Napoleonic in its design and execution, and should place it on the pages of history alongside
of the other great and bloody butchery by savages. At this time, many ranches dotted the great military road at
intervals of a few miles. These ranches had become in many instances valuable farms, with substantial improvements,
graced by woman's tasteful care. A number of such ranches were in Thayer County upon and contiguous to the Government
road. The Indians had been peaceful and quiet for a long time, and the settlers along the road were prosperous
and happy. Without a single note of warning the crisis came. From Denver City to Big Sandy, a distance of over
six hundred miles, near the middle of the day, at precisely the same time, along the whole distance a simultaneous
attack was made upon the ranches. No time was given for couriers, no time for concentration, no time for the erection
or strengthening of places of defense, but as the eagle swoops down upon his prey, the savage warriors attacked
the defenseless white men. No principle of kingly courtesy actuated the breasts of the painted assailants. It mattered
little to them that they were in vastly superior numbers, and the opponents in part women and children. All alike
were made to feel their cruelty or their lust. No mercy was shown. No captives were taken but women, and death
was preferred to the captivity that awaited them. Could the eastern philanthropists who speak so flatteringly of
the `noble red man of the West' have witnessed the cruel butchery of unoffending children, the disgrace of women,
who were first horribly mutilated and then slain, the cowardly assassination of husbands and fathers, they might,
perhaps (if fools can learn), be impressed with their true character. On the morning of the 7th of August, Indians
must have been secreted in the ravines (of which there are many adjacent to the military road), and, at a given
hour, rushed forth and commenced their work of destruction. At morn, the Government road was a traveled thoroughfare,
dotted with prosperous and happy homes; at night, a wilderness, strewn with mangled bodies and wrecks, and illuminated
with the glare of burning homes."
1862-1867. Since the depredations of the period of the Civil war, and especially the outbreak of 1864, was the
most widespread and universal encounter between the settlers and the Indians, a short synopsis of the experiences
of the various counties, then very well settled, will be given at this point.
The most notable incident of this period was the massacre of a train, eleven in number, near Plum Creek on August
7th. This took place near the telegraph station, and the people there believing it was the outbreak of an extensive
Indian war, immediately dispatched word to the settlers at Wood River Center, Grand Island and points farther east.
Lieutenant Governor Hopewell of Nebraska, as late as November, 1908, narrated to S. C. Bassett, compiler of a History
of Buffalo County, that he was a "bullwhacker" on a Government freight train of twenty five wagons, with
six to eight yoke of oxen each. While the conditions along the trail in early July, 1861, were so peaceful that
men even neglected sometimes to carry arms, and they received almost daily visits from scattered Indians, mostly
Pawnees, friendly in nature and generally begging in purpose, they saw as early as July 6th, near Plum Creek, where
the Indians had committed some depredations. Near O'Fallon's Bluff the train passed through a large camp of Cheyenne
Indians (old men and women) and a day or two journey farther east saw a large body of Indian warriors. The train
was not molested, but when it arrived at Plum Creek found where the train of eleven wagons had been destroyed and
there were a large number of fresh graves along the trail.
BUFFALO AND HALL COUNTIES
The actual massacre incident to this raid, or series of raids, did not penetrate as far east as the scanty settlements
of these counties. But on August 9th, James Oliver and Thomas Morgan, settlers on Wood River, at the eastern edge
of Buffalo County, had gone to Fort Kearney with a load of vegetables, and left their wives and children to keep
company together. While there, the officers at the Fort received word of the massacre in Dawson County, and another
settler named Cook who was also at the Fort was sent to warn the people around Wood River Center (now Shelton).
The homes of the settlers then living in that vicinity were some built of logs and some of sod, and extended from
the Boyd ranch (the home of J. E. Boyd, afterwards governor of the state) about one mile west of present town of
Gibbon, on down the south side of the Platte to the present Grand Island. With very few exceptions all of the settlers
from the Boyd ranch down to Grand Island immediately packed their belongings and fled eastward, most of them never
stopping until they reached the colony at Columbus, and many passing on east and not returning. There were about
eighteen families in the community near the present town of Wood River, in western Hall County, and Wood River
Center, now Shelton, in eastern Buffalo County. In addition to those named, Boyd, Morgan and Oliver, there were
Sol Reese, Storey, Nutter, Sol Richmond, Highler, Richard, Anthony and Patrick Moore, Edmund O'Brien, Dugdale,
Ted, Jack and Bob Oliver, Bill Eldridge, Squire Lamb and Fred Adams. Most of this colony returned after the scare.
HALL COUNTY MASSACRES
Prior to this, on February 5, 1862, Hall County had experienced one incident that was sufficient to place the
fear of the Indians pretty strongly in the hearts of the settlers of that vicinity. Joseph P. Smith and Andreson,
his son in law, farmers on Wood River about twelve miles west of Grand Island, were out after some logs on the
north channel of the Platte River on that date, accompanied by the two sons, William eleven years and Charles nine
years of age. Andreson took home a load of logs and on his return found Mr. Smith and the two boys brutally massacred
by the Sioux Indians. The old man Smith had several arrows in his body and Was lying on the ice with his face down,
holding each of the boys by one hand.
In August, 1864, two boys, Nathaniel and Robert Martin, were helping their father in the hayfield. The two boys
were mounted on a fleet pony and when some Sioux Indians showed up, were making good their escape toward the shelter
of the log house and barns at the ranch when an arrow pinned them together.
Passing on to 1867, Hall County experienced two more sad losses at the hands of these Indians. One was the attack
on the Campbell ranch on July 24, 1867. No men being at home, the house was captured, a woman, Mrs. Thurston Warren,
killed by a gunshot, and her son by an arrow. The two nieces of Mr. Campbell, aged nineteen and seventeen, were
carried away with twin boys four years old, and a German, named Henry Dose, was killed close by. The Indians robbed
the house, killed some stock, and escaped unmolested. Months later the Government bought the two girls from the
Indians for $4,000, and as extra compensation released an Indian squaw who had been captured by Ed. Arnold's Pawnee
scouts, at Elm Creek, that season. Of the children captured, three were living, at least recently. They are Mrs.
J. P. Dunlap of Dwight, Nebraska, Peter Campbell, of Wahoo, Nebraska (in Lincoln, in 1919), and Daniel, who in
1919 was living in Ohio.
A few months later two boys, Chris Geottsch and Henry Frauen, were killed in a raid some thirty miles from Grand
Island, on the Loup River, near the present site of Dannebrog.
That there were not more casualties in Hall County during the raid of 1864 was probably due to the fact that the
German settlement, of some thirty or forty families living south of the present city of Grand Island, had built
a fort in 1862. This was a fortified log house, 24x24 in size and with 25 port holes, had a well inside. This "Fort
Independence" and the further fortified O. K. store, so protected this colony that they did not join in the
exodus that was taking place up and down the valley, and escaped the troublesome period without loss of life.
THAYER COUNTY AT HANDS OF RAIDS
Capt. H. E. Palmer, in his "History of the Powder River Expedition of 1865" (Nebraska State Historical
Society, Vol. II), described the carnage in Thayer County resulting from the raids of the Sioux in 1864, as follows:-
"On my way out, near Big Sandy, now Alexandria, I met a party of freighters and stage coach passengers on
horseback, and some few ranchmen, fleeing from the Little Blue Valley. They told me a terrible story, that the
Indians were just in their rear and how they had massacred the people just west of them, none knew how many. After
camping for dinner at this place, and seeing the last citizen disappear toward the States, I pushed on toward the
Little Blue, camping in the valley, and saw two Indians about five miles away on a hill as I went into camp. The
next day passed Ewbanks (Ubanks) ranch, and found there little children from three to seven years old, who had
been taken by the heels and swung around against the cabin beating their heads into a jelly. The hired girl was
found some fifteen rods from the ranch, staked out on the prairie, tied by her hands and feet, naked, and her body
full of arrows and horribly mangled. Not far from this was the body of Ewbanks, whiskers cut off, body most fearfully
mutilated. The buildings had been burned and the ruins still smoking. Nearly the same scene of desolation and murder
was witnessed at Spring ranch."
He narrates further that this raid on the Little Blue was made by the Cheyenne Sioux under the command of Black
Kettle, One Eyed George Bent, Two Faces and others. Mrs. Ewbanks and Miss Laura Boyer were carried away captives,
and were ransomed from the Indians, who brought them to Fort Laramie in January. 1865. This band of Indians, Captain
Palmer says, was attacked by Colorado troops under the command of Col. J. M. Chivington, on November 29, 1864,
in their camp on Sand Creek, about one hundred and ten miles southeast of Denver, and some six hundred men, women
and children killed. It was supposed this Chivington victory would stop this tribe from its course, but the Cheyenne
and Arapahoes seemed determined to go ahead. On the 7th of January, 1865, more than one thousand Indians appeared
suddenly before Fort Julesburg, and in a battle that ensued for several hours, fourteen soldiers and fifty six
Indians were killed. An expedition under command of General Mitchell started from Fort Cottonwood down the Republican
Valley on January 16, 1865, and went through twelve days of terrible suffering in below zero weather in this pursuit.
GENERAL CARR'S BATTLE WITH THE SIOUX
1869. In June. 1869, an expedition commanded by Gen. E. A. Carr, of the Fifth Cavalry, with eight companies
of regular troops and three companies of Pawnee scouts under command of Major Frank North, started down the Republican
Valley to clear it of these marauders. At a point which was called Summit Springs. in the corner of Colorado, the
Indians, comprising Sioux and "Dogsoidiers," renegades from various tribes, were completely routed. Fifty
two of them, including Tall Bull, were killed. Two women, Mrs. Susannah Alderdice and Mrs. Weichel, were in camp,
where Tall Bull had kept them as wives since their capture on the Saline River in Kansas. These he shot rather
than risk their capture, but Mrs. Weichel was saved and a large purse raised in camp for her benefit. Even after
this episode the Buck surveying party was massacred, captured or otherwise disappeared, and a Daugherty party narrowly
escaped such a fate.
However, this appears to have been the last time the Indians resisted the military in this part of Nebraska,
and no serious losses were suffered after that, except the famous Cheyenne raid of 1878.
1878. Without going into the dramatic story of the flight of the Cheyenne from their reservation in Indian Territory,
where they had been placed two years before, to their old haunts in the Black Hills, suffice it to say that three
hundred of that tribe, under the leadership of Dull Knife, Little Wolf, Wild Hog and Old Crow, comprising but eighty
nine warriors, the remainder being women and children, crossed the Nebraska-Kansas boundary line on October 1,
1878. They eluded the detachments of soldiers and posses of civilians for some weeks, and were not brought to bay
until they reached the northwestern corner of the state. There, in a winter campaign, they were practically exterminated.
They had killed thirty two people in Rawlins and Decatur counties, Kansas, but so far as known only one man lost
his life in Nebraska, George Rowley, who kept a "cowcamp" at Wauneta Falls.
1876. The next determined stand of the Sioux in a military way does not belong to Nebraska history. That was the
campaign of 1876-77, which came upon the heels of the discovery of gold in the Black Hills and the white man's
exodus into that region. The main event of that campaign was the surprise and massacre of the intrepid Gen. George
A. Custer and his entire command of nearly three hundred regular troops in the bluffs of the Little Big Horn country
under the leadership of Sitting Bull. Four days later General Crook arrived upon the battlefield, and in a series
of fights took summary revenge upon the Indians. Of these Sitting Bull with several thousand followers escaped
to Canada where he remained till 1881, when he returned on promise of amnesty.
1890. Another treaty had been made in 1889, by which the Sioux surrendered the richest lands of the "Great
Sioux reservation" embracing all of South Dakota west of the Missouri, for five small distinct reservations
and certain annuities. In 1890 another small outbreak of treachery was attempted at Wounded Knee, on the White
River, by a band which had voluntarily surrendered. When this affray, which had threatened the extermination of
the unsuspecting regulars was over, some three hundred reds were dead. In this war, old Sitting Bull and members
of his family were killed, December 15, 1890, by soldiers sent to arrest him.
The Sioux were typical nomad hunters and warriors. Numerically and physically strong, they made themselves masters
of the buffalo plains, no other tribes being able to make a successful stand against them. The census of 1900 placed
the nation at 24,000, distributed as follows:- Canada (refugees from U. S.) 600; Minnesota, 930; Montana, 1,180;
Nebraska (Santee Agency) 1,310; North Dakota, 4,630; South Dakota (Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, Pine
Ridge and Rosebud Agencies) 15,480.
OTHER TRIBES OF INDIANS
This tribe, a part of the Dakotas, or Dakotah Sioux, formerly resided north of the Missouri River, in Dakota.
But being harassed by other tribes of the Sioux family, it is supposed they moved into Nebraska early in the eighteenth
century. Marquette represents them on his map in 1673.
1766. Cover found them on the St. Peter's, where they formed two tribes - the Hongashonos, and the Ishbanondas,
or Grey Eyes - divided into fourteen clans, one of which preserved a sacred shell in a rude temple.
1780. By this time they were traced to a point on the Missouri, at or near the mouth of the Big Sioux River, and
soon afterwards crossed to the west side of the Missouri and settled on the Niobrara.
1804. Lewis and Clark found them, numbering about six hundred. Being pursued relentlessly by the Sioux and greatly
reduced in numbers by smallpox, they burned their village on the Niobrara and removed to the Blackbird Hills. Blackbird
is the name that was first given to present Thurston County.
1815-1830. Treaties were made with them on July 20, 1815, September 20, 1825, and July 15, 1830, ceding lands at
Council Bluffs (Fort Calhoun as now known) for an annuity, blacksmith shop and agricultural implements.
1830. After the treaty of 1830, they formed their villages at Bellevue, south of present city of Omaha, and near
the trading post of Col. Peter A. Sarpy, and at Saling's Grove, where they remained until June, 1855.
1839. Overtures of peace between the Omaha and their relentless enemies the Sioux failed of accomplishment. A mission
established with them by Presbyterian authorities failed of much success.
1843. The Omahas returned to their villages and made peace with certain bands of the Sioux.
1846. Another mission established with them had but little more success than that of 1839.
1854. March 16th. A treaty was made by which the Omahas ceded their lands adjoining the Missouri, and north of
the Platte and towards the Elkhorn.
1855. In July of this year, their great chief Logan Fontanelle was killed by the Sioux while on a hunting expedition.
In this year, this tribe removed to their reservation of 345,000 acres set forth for them by the Government, in
Blackbird, now Thurston County.
1879. Their number had dwindled to a population of 1,050.
The Otoes belonged to the Dakota family and were originally a part of the Missouris. Their home in Nebraska
was originally on the west bank of the Missouri River about thirty miles north of the mouth of the Platte River.
They were of a wandering disposition, frequently moving about from point to point.
1673. The French reported on them under name of Attanka, but they called themselves Wahoohtahta.
1819-20. Major Long in his reports upon them asserted that the Otoes were a hand from a great nation living at
the head of the Mississippi River, from whom they separated in about 1724, coming west to the Missouri River, their
first settlement in Nebraska being near the mouth of the Great Nemaha Ricer. Their next camping ground was on the
Platte, fifteen or twenty miles from the mouth, from which camp some of their chiefs probably visited the Lewis
and Clark Expedition in 1804, at the latter's camp on the bluffs of the Missouri, sixteen miles above Omaha, from
which incident the place derived its name of Council Bluff.
1817-1854. Treaties were made with them on June 24, 1817, and September 26, 1825, and by the treaty of March 25,
1854, the confederated tribes of Otoes and Missouris ceded their rights to the lands lying along the Missouri,
and were removed to a reservation of 16,000 acres on the southeastern border of the state. This site was largely
in what is now the south part of Gage County, and lapped over into the southeast corner of Jones County - now Jefferson
- and took in some land in Marshall and Washington counties, Kansas.
1879. A new treaty was made whereby these Indians were to sell their lands and remove to Indian Territory.
1881. After the foregoing mentioned sale, the Otoes and Missouris moved to Indian Territory.
This tribe is a part of the Dakota family.
1793. Lived then in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
1863. After several treaties had been made with them, they moved to Crow Creek, in Dakota, above Fort Randall.
That place was unsuited to them, and afforded no means of livelihood. Deaths were so numerous from disease, war
and famine, that but 1,222 were left out of 1,985. They left there and came to the Omaha reservation and applied
1866. May. Removed to Winnebago, to commence anew. They are a quiet, peaceable people, generally wearing citizens'
clothing. They lived during the '80s in houses, built for them, and did not maintain a regular village. They played
no active part in Indian annals of Nebraska.
This tribe resided for many years on a reservation near the mouth of the Niobrara River, in Dakota Territory.
They were originally a branch of the Mahas or Omahas, and resided on the Red River of the North. Losing so greatly
from repeated attacks by the Sioux, they removed to the opposite side of the Missouri River and built a fortified
village on the Ponca River. While they united with the Omaha, they generally kept apart.
1804-1832. They were small in number when the visit of Lewis and Clark was made. By treaties of June 28, 1817,
and June 9, 1825, they improved somewhat, and in 1832 numbered 750.
1858. March 12th. They sold their lands to the Government and went on a reservation near the Yanktons, the compensation
to be in installments of $185,000 with the support of their schools and agricultural aid. Prior to this treaty,
the Poncas had not received very good protection under their treaty relations and their lands had been considerably
invaded and seized by squatter settlers. But from the day they signed away what land rights they had left, in 1858,
their real sufferings began. The Government failed to keep full faith with them much of the money appropriated
was stolen by dishonest agents and contractors, and their old enemy, the Sioux, robbed them of whatever the white
1874. The Poncas now numbered 730 and 132 half breeds. They were then assigned to the care of the Protestant Episcopal
1876. It was decided to remove them to a reservation in Indian Territory. By this time, the Poncas had acquired
many of the arts of civilization, and it was hard for them to leave the home they had lived in for so many years.
Forcibly removed from their homes, they were compelled to march on a long weary journey of three months to their
1879. Thirty of this tribe, with Standing Bear as their chief, left their southern reservation and returned to
the Omaha reserve. A detachment of soldiers was ordered to take them back. But this proceeding resulted in some
interesting litigation. Upon their arrival at Omaha, a writ of habeas corpus was sued out, and heard before Judge
Dundy, of the United States Court, wherein Hon. A. J. Poppleton and J L Webster volunteered their services. This
came up on May 2d, and after a careful hearing they were released from custody. Judge Dundy decided that an Indian
is a "person" within the intent and purpose of the constitution and released the prisoners. They were
finally restored to the old Omaha reserve home and allowed to remain there in contentment.
IOWAS, SACS AND FOX
These three tribes, about 1880, occupied a reservation in the southeastern corner of the state, extending over
into Kansas. These tribes never played a very great part in Nebraska Indian annals.
WESTERN NEBRASKA TRIBES
Considerable mention has been made in the foregoing account of the Sioux in Nebraska of the tribes that dwelt
mainly in western and southwestern Nebraska.
The Arapahoes and Cheyennes occupied Nebraska as roaming tribes. They were pressed by the Sioux from the east and
the Shoshones from the west. The southwestern section of the state, including Dundy and Chase counties, together
with the high plains of eastern Colorado, were occupied by the Arapahoe and Cheyennes, who, from a time antedating
the coming of the white men had held the headwaters of the Republican and its largest western tributary, the Frenchman,
against the aggressions of all other tribes.
Before the advent of railroads, settlements were slow in southwestern Nebraska, and that territory was off the
regular trails. The Oregon and California trails to the north and Smoky Hill route to south, kept operations away
from this part of the country until the late '60s.
BATTLE OF AUGUST 6, 1860
For several years, before the beginning of the Civil war, bands of Kiowas and Comanches had been ranging up
in this vicinity, and in rounding them up on the pursuit northward, a detachment of troops, under command of Captain
Sturgis, located them near the Republican fork, north of Beaver Creek. Twenty nine were killed in the long, hard
skirmishes that resulted.
BATTLE OF ASH HALLOW
Several battles had been fought along the North Platte, between 1850 and 1860, in keeping these western Nebraska
Indians rounded up. The most notable in Nebraska annals of these skirmishes was that at Ash Hallow, where General
Harney defeated a large body of Indians, in 1855. It was at this battle that General Harney received the title
of "The Hornet" from the Indians. Little Thunder, afterward a Brute chief, in describing this fight to
W. M. Hinman, then interpreter at Fort McPherson (in Lincoln County) says the Indians called General Harney "The
Hornet" because in this encounter they considered themselves badly stung.
WHITE MAN'S TREATMENT OF THE RED MAN
There are two sides to every question, and while many are the terrible depredations and heartless, relentless
cruelties detailed in the foregoing pages, as suffered by the hardy white pioneers at the hands of the redskins,
there are those among the pioneers, who relate the other side of this question. When the white man came he found
the original American, the Indian, in possession of all the vast acres of fair Nebraska. For centuries this had
been his hunting ground and home, undisturbed.
Then comes in the paleface, who not only takes the acres to live upon, cuts down such timbers as he needs, or clears
such land as he wishes to cultivate, but the whites wasted timber by the thousands of acres in those early decades,
just as they wasted the precious meat of the waning, disappearing bison and buffalo. No less an authority than
Buffalo Bill narrated that he alone had killed over 2,000 buffaloes for a railroad camp in Kansas. As one settler
of Hall County has expressed it for the compiler of these pages:
"Everybody was shooting the Indians' meat supply, and most of it rotted away on the prairie for nothing. This
grieved the Indians' heart beyond expression, and it created a hatred or revenge against the 'palefaces' or Chickestalkers.'
What more did the white man do? He swindled, lied, corrupted, where he had a chance toward the Indian, and some
more villainous of our race even sold the redmen smallpox infected blankets, causing their death in great numbers."
Many pioneers have expressed the wonder that the Indians got mad at last and turned out to be most unmerciful brutes
to the white man. Other students of the time have attributed, in part, the raids of 1864, to the assurances of
the Mormons that retaliation could be taken upon the Government while it was busy with the southern secessionists.
Some settlers, in reflecting upon these things have even wondered that the redskin allowed the paleface to stay
at all. The white man writes the history, and whatever the redskin would say, could he record these pages, his
age in Nebraska is mostly past. Except for the few now living on reservations in the corners of the state, the
present generation of Nebraskans cannot come in touch first hand to form their judgment.
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