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X>..^ P-VH. 



Mrs. Charles Friesell 

Jesse Brown and A. M. Willarrt 

The Black Hills Trails 

A History of the Struggles of the Pioneers 

in the 

Winning of the Black Hills 


Jesse Brown and A. M. Willard 

Edited by John T. Milek 

Rapid City Journal Company 

Rapid City, South Dakota 


Copyright 1924 


Jesse Brown 


W. B. Willard 


To the fearless shot gun messengers, whose courage 
and steadfast devotion to duty on the frontier, won 
for all future generations the rich heritage of the 
Black Hills, tliis hook is gratefully dedicated. 


The Black Hills of South Dakota comprise the bat- 
tle ground of the last pioneer conquest in America. 
They were the last real frontier border on the conti- 
nent, and while Alaska was later exploited, that ter- 
ritory did not present all of the problems and difficul- 
ties that constituted the elemental struggle of man 
with nature and man that entered into the genuine 
frontier as it existed in the first years of the rush to 
the Hills. 

The complete and true story of the pioneer days 
has never been written and it is proper at this time 
after the passing of almost fifty years, and while a 
few men of that great army of adventurers that flocked 
to the Hills, are still alive, that some of the incidents 
of those days may be recorded in the words of those 
who were either the actors or witnesses. This book 
does not claim to be a history, bu.t is a collection of 
tales by many authors who know whereof they write 
and thus presents a reliable source book to which he, 
who would in the future, write the history of the Hills, 
may resort to find the true and correct story of the 
pioneers. No doubt readers will find many of the ac- 
counts at variance with their accepted versions of the 
several incidents, but this will be found true of every 
event in life, even of this day, where there is more 
than one witness. But most of the tales have been 
checked up through newspaper accounts, private diaries, 
public records and eye witnesses, and are as accurate 
as may be made. And in the years that are now dawn- 
ing, when the last soldier in that mighty army of 
sturdy nation builders shall have answered final roll 
call, the stirring scenes of the past ma^^ arise again 
before the mind of the reader, though the voice of the 
actor may have long been silenced. 

To the territory of the Black Hills, the lure of 
gold led men and women from every walk in life, and 
in the shadows of the pine clad mountains, some of 
the most romantic incidents and great dramas of hu- 

man life Avere enacted. Along the trails and freight 
roads leading into those Hills are many graves, some 
unknoAvn, where ended forever, fond hopes and dreams 
of those who fell by the wayside. The day of the 
road agent and highwayman has passed forever. The 
old freight trains and heavy wagons that slowly rum- 
bled over hill and dale of long ago, are now mere mem- 
ories, but they were advance guards of the great un- 
conquered force that drove the savages from the Hills 
and made there a fit habitation for the men and wo- 
men of today. 

The period of time covered in this book is approxi- 
mately the last quarter of the 19th century, a time 
when the Hills were truly western and still under the 
spell of frontier enchantment. Great changes have 
taken place since those years. Over the trails of the 
pioneers where men toiled and battled with mud and 
storms and drove the long ox teams, today people hurl 
their high powered autos along graded and paved 
highways at the speed of the wind. In the gulches 
that once rang with the war whoop of the red man, 
there now echoes the merry laughter of little children. 
Beneath the shade of a giant oak or lofty pine, whose 
roots perchance entwine the dreamless head of some 
forgotten pioneer, today the tourist joyfully plucks the 
wild flowers, or entranced, looks upon the magnificent 
panorama of the Hills. 

That the story of how this change was wrought, 
tliat the picture of those turbulent years may not en- 
tirely fade away, that the names of the intrepid and 
heroic men who ventured forth into the uncharted 
wilds and fought the good fight, might be preserved, is 
the purpose of this book and the hope of its authors, 
Jesse Brown and A. M. Willard. To their long and 
untiring efforts, overcoming great obstacles, is due 
this work. Especial mention is made of Joseph Gos- 
sage, pioneer newspaper man of the west, to whom is 
due the preservation of many tales from the Sidney 
Telegraph, then owned by him. To Mrs. Alice Gossage, 
his versatile wife, fell the task of superintending the 

printing of this book and at the same time keeping the 
big newspaper office of the Rapid City Journal in full 
swing. The gratitude of the authors is expressed to 
the several writers who have contributed the accounts 
and articles credited to them in the pages of this book. 
The spirit of the pioneer comradeship so abundantly 
displayed by them, has made the assembling of the 
stories for this book, a labor of love. 



The Badlands — Legend of the Rose — Early Explorers — The 
First Prospectors — The Custer Expedition — Gold First 
Discovered — The Collins and Russell Party — The Be- 
ginning of Custer — The Prospector 17 


An Incident in the Story of the Pony Express — Red Cloud 
Opposed the Invasion of the Territory — Jesse Brown 
at Fort Kearney — The Black Hills Distances — Trans- 
portation, etc. — Experiences of Early Day Gold Seek- 
ers, 1875 — A Freighting Outfit — The Freighter — The 
Freighter's Unwelcome Guests — From Cheyenne to 
Custer in June, '76^ — ^When Fate Saved a Party of 
Pioneers — Montana Party — The First Trail Makers — 
The Deadwood Trail 47 


Pioneer Days were Stirring — The First Miner Killed by 
Indians in 18 75 — California Joe — First Death in 
Custer — Wood Choppers Fall to Indian Bullets — The 
tragedy of Pino Springs — The Pony Express Rider — 
Murder of the Metz Family — Battle of the Springs on 
the Hill — The Wagner Family — The Killing of "Jimmy 
Iron" — The Mexican and the Indian Head — Holland 
and Brown — Death of Charles Mason — Rapid City 
Founders Fight Indians — The Killing of Leggett and 
Hay ward — Death of Wilson and Abernathy, 1877 — The 
Indian Trouble Near Rapid City — The Messiah Craze 
— Death of Sitting Bull — The Battle of Wounded Knee 
— The Murder of Few Tails — The Romance of the Big 
Horn — The Song of the Vanished West 83 


The Indian Account of the Battle — The Burial of the Dead 
— The Sole Survivor — News of the Custer Massacre 
Received in the Black Hills — Crook's March from the 
Yellowstone — The Battle of Slim Butte — The Treaty.... 13 2 


The Program of a Holdup of 1876 — The Killing of "Stutter- 
ing Brown" — The Killing of Johnny Slaughter — Rob- 
bery of Union Pacific — Trail and Capture of Robbers — 
The Killing of Frank Towle — The Passing of a Mexi- 


can Robber's Spy — The Web-May Holdup — The Killing 
of Bob Castello — Wall and Blackburn Holdup — The 
Robbers' Roost Holdup — The Canyon Springs Stage 
Robbery — Sidney, Nebraska, the Scene of a Three 
Hundred Thousand Dollar Theft — The Death of Curley 
Grimes, 1879 — Holdup of Homestake Pay Train 240 


Swift Justice — The First Hanging in the Black Hills — The 
Rapid City Necktie Party — Two Butchers who Became 
Prosperous — Lame Johnny — The Capture of Tom Price 
and his Band of Agents — The Hanging of Fly Specked 
Billy — The Stoneville Battle — Tuthill — Fiddler — ^The 
Assassination of Dr. H. P. Lynch — Negro Infantry 
Runs Amuck — The First Legal Hanging — -The Hang- 
ing of Hicks — Chief Two-Sticks Paid the Penalty- 
Hanging of Negro Charles Brown — Brutal Double 
Murder 287 


First Efforts to Establish Law and Order — The Duel of Tom 
Moore and Shannon —The Hinch Murder — A Duel in 
Deadwood — The Killing of Ed Shaunessy by Dick 
Brown — Experiences of a Pioneer Lawyer — The Kill- 
ing of Brodovitch by Sam May (Turkey Sam) and 
Blair (Darby)- — ^Black Hills Organized — Court Business 
on the Frontier — Chinatown in 1877 — The Killing of 
Kitty Leroy — A Fatal Quarrel — Aurora Mine, 1877^ — 
First Political Campaign in Lawrence County — The 
Case of Martin Couck — The "Pagan" Jury — Crow Dog 
and Spotted Tail — The Struggle Between Father De- 
Smet and Homestake Mine — He Carries Nine Buck 
Shots — Buffalo Gap — Stole Borger's Team — Our Horse 
Thieves Return, One of them has a few Wounds in a 
Tender Place, but the other Feels Fine — Attempted 
Jail Delivery — Circuit Court — Everybody Pleads Guilty 
or Gets it in the Neck 341 


Father DeSmet — Preacher Smith — The Old Hunter's Reverie 

— "Wild Bill" — Calamity Jane 390 


Life in Deadwood in '76 and '77 — Celebration of July 4th 
in the Centennial Year — How Pactola was Given that 


Name — The Illicit Still in Early Days — Black Hills 
Salt Springs — ^A Cargo of Cats — A Bear Story — The 
Great Snow Storm — Great Fire in Deadwood in 1879 
— The Hunting Party — The Pierre Trail — The Death 
Dealing Blizzard of 189 6— The Story of Black Hills 
Gold Jewelry — Language of the Roundup 419 


The Story of the Cities — Deadwood — Directory of 1878 of 
Deadwood — Lead City — Towns of the Past — Fort 
Meade — Sturgis — Rapid City — Spearfish — The Live- 
stock Industry — The Black Hills Newspapers — The Tin 
Industry — ^The Story of Gold — The Gold Industry in 
1877 — The Romance of Alfalfa — The Tale of the Hills 458 

Captain Willard — Jesse Brown — Scott Davis — George V. 
Ayres — "W. J. Thornby — C. V. Gardner — Richard B, 
Hughes — W. H. Bonham — Capt. Jack Crawford — Jean 
P. Decker— Major A. J. Simmons — Joseph B. Gossage 
— Lee R. Baxter — Jack Langrishe — Thomas Cooper — 
John Manning — H. O. Alexander — Ellis T. Peirce — ■ 
John D. Hale — Galen E. Hill — Joe E. Cook — Anna 
Donna Tallent— Horatio N. Ross 513 


Men of the Gordon Party 8 

A Black Hills Hunter 12 

Bear Butte 19 

The Badlands 22 

Custer Train : 34 

Gordon Stockade 42 

Treasure Coach at Canyon Springs 49 

The Evans Bull Train 65 

Wounded Knee Battlefield 121 

Custer's Monument 219 

Stage Team Running Away 246 

Gang of Outlaws 253 

Sitting Bull 254 

Capt. Davis Behind a Pine Tree 265 

Harney Peak Above the Clouds 286 

Historic Hangman's Hill 295 

Hanging of Ernest Loveswar 337 

In the Black Hills 389 

Badlands 393 

Rev. H. W. Smith's Monument 399 

Wild Bill's Grave 411 

Deadwood in the Early Days 421 


Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage 459 

Hill City Before Stampede to Deadwood 462 

Deadwood, 1876 464 

Scene on Main Street, Rapid City, 1877 480 

Scene in Rapid City, 1880 480 

Homestake at Lead 502 

Scott Davis, Jesse Brown and A. M. Willard at 

Canyon Springs 512 


John R. Brennan 107 

Sam Scott 108 

W. A. Remer 116 

General Custer and Lieutenant Cook 162 

General G. A. Crook 225 

Chief Red Cloud 236 

Gail Hill 266 

Billy Sample 275 

Archie Riordan " 380 

James Butler Hickock (Wild Bill) 404 

Seth Bullock 507 

Jesse Brown and Scott Davis 523 

George V. Ayres 524 

"V7. J. Thornby 525 

Capt. C. V. Gardner 527 

R. B. Hughes 529 

Jean P. Decker 536 

Joseph B. Gossage 542 

Tom Cooper 548 

John Manning 551 

H. O. Alexander 552 

B. T. Peirce 553 

John D. Hale 555 

Anna Donna Tallent 566 

Horatio N. Ross 572 



High aboA^e the prairies of western South Dakota 
and eastern Wyoming there rises a series of rocky 
crests whose rugged peaks greet the traveler long be- 
fore he stands enchanted at their feet. To the wander- 
er who journeys toward them, they first appear as a 
great black cloud on the distant horizon, and then 
when the long rolling prairies are passed, they stand 
forth in their mighty majesty and grandeur, the high- 
est peaks in America east of the Rocky Mountains. 
They are the Black Hills, the land of the golden fleece 
to whose shores the argonauts of the seventies sailed 
over the vast oceans of the prairies, many to perish on 
the voyage and others to die in the cruel clutch of the 
monster, Avarice, that lay waiting them at the goal. 

In the days when the world was young, a great 
crumpling of the surface took place and the western 
area of South Dakota was thrust upwards until the 
innermost depths of the earth were pushed out to the 
blaze of the sun once more. Broad streams of water 
coursed along and over the newly made mountains, 
carrying away the crushed and broken surface and 
sent the boulders, rocks and earth tumbling towards 
the sea. The waters then sought a new ocean bed and 
left the area high and dry pointing with giant fingers 
towards the skies and thrusting its majestic peaks 
among the clouds. The Black Hills then, present the 
remains of moutains from whose tops and sides have 
been carried away, the debris of their making and we 
see today the fresh and sharp crests and gulches left 
when the titanic struggle of force and mass ended. They 
cover an area of about one hundred miles square in 
which gold and silver, tin and lead, iron and coal, gas 
and oil have been found in paying quantities. 

Within the broad expanse of the Black Hills are 
majestic mountains piercing the clouds seven thous- 
and two hundred feet above the sea, or deep under- 
ground caverns where one may wander for a hundred 


iiiik's ill darkness where no ray of sunshine has ever 
reached and sound is unknown. Beautiful dales 
nestle among the hills, and noisy brooks go tumbling 
down the gulches. Dark green pines, silvery birch, 
and stately oak vie with the roses, lilies and flowers in 
great profusion to paint the landscape with a lavish 
display of color. Numerous and pretty birds flit among 
the trees and shrubs and mingle their cheery songs 
with the babbling of the rippling waters where the 
swift going trout makes his home. Deer and elk once 
held sway within their borders, and bears and cougars 
joined with wohes in their cruel mission. 

This region had long been the favorite hunting 
ground of the Indians where they could always find 
game in plenty. Here they could secure lodge poles 
for their tepees and flints for their arrows. Among 
the plants they obtained medicinal herbs and in the 
hot springs they found healing waters. Naturally the 
Indian mind associated many of the peaks and gulches 
with stories and legends and gave their names to the 
several places. To the northwest part of the Hills 
rises a huge, fluted column of volcanic origin, having 
much the appearance of a tepee and this the Indians 
called Mato Tepee, or Bear Lodge. Its height of 5117 
feet is really imposing. It was also known as Devil's 
Tower, a name given to it by the Indians. To the 
northeast of the Hills, arises another lofty peak loom- 
ing far above the prairies in its height of 4122 feet. 
This was known as Mato Paha, or Bear Butte. To the 
name of this peak is associated the Indian legend to 
the effect that many moons ago, when the red men 
Avere camped near the base of the great hill, and the 
braves were far away on their hunting trip, a hungry 
bear sneaked into the camp. The squaws were busy 
with their labors of tanning skins and preparing for 
their lord's return, and did not notice the stealthy ap- 
proach of the animal who entered a tepee and there 
finding a sleeping papoose grabbed him in his mouth 
and ran from the place with the baby within his jaws. 
The cries of the little one aroused the women who hur- 
ried, terror stricken, to the rescue of the babe, but the 



swift moving bear gained the fastness of tlie lone 
mountain and never again was heard the cry of the 
little one. And over afterwards the hill was known 
as the bear hill and Indian mothers stilled their 
prairie babes with the story of the Mato Paha. 

Bear Bntte 

A detailed description of the various wonders and 
beauties of the Black Hills mil not be given here for 
the reason that there are so many booklets and writ- 
ings setting them forth that the reader may be loath 
to tarry herein to read them if we should presume to 
attempt that task. However, there is a region near 
the Hills of which little is known by the majority of 
readers and which by its forbidding appearance, is not 
commonly explored, and that is the Bad Lands, a 
short description of which may prove of interest. 


In western South Dakota there lies a large area 
of practically useless land that in formation and gen- 
eral topography is not equaled by any other spot on 
the face of the globe. This area has long been known 
by the very appropriate name of the "Bad Lands." It 
is almost impossible to cross it either on foot or horse- 
back and this country in the early years was the 
abode of deer and mountain sheep which grazed up- 


on tlie little valleys interspersed among the buttes 
and ridiivs. " The «>eneial appearance of the Bad Lands 
to one who approaches it from a distance is that of a 
wonderful city composed of great towers, domes, 
niinar(4s and castles and as one gets into the tumbled 
ruins he sees about him a most fantastic and wond- 
rous creation of the Architect of the universe. Long 
sharp ridges of stone, gravel and clay point toward 
the sky while here and there from every tower- 
ing hill the wind and rains of centuries have eroded 
and carried away the lower portion leaving enormous 
rocks projecting over the base and beneath which the 
swallows, by thousands, have built their mud nests 
and made their noisy homes. 

From the standpoint of the geologist the Bad 
Lands present a spot of the greatest interest and date 
Itack to the time when the Continent of America was 
in its infancy. In the beginning of its creation the 
vast prairies of the w^est Avere then great undulating 
plains through which the rivers and creeks quietly 
and peacefully flowed. Along their banks were the 
tropical growths and the luxuriant vegetation of the 
primeval days. Over the prairie scampered the an- 
cestors of the many of the fauna of this day. The deer, 
then the size of the jackrabbit, flitted over the hills 
and perchance played hide and seek with the little 
three toed horse whose spreading hoofs enabled him 
to travel over boggy places. In the trees squirrels 
chattered back and forth or perhaps sought to flee 
from their enemy, the terrible sabertooth cat. Giant 
hogs uprooted the luscious growing plants, tapirs 
browsed beneath the leafy trees, camels and rhinoc- 
eroses wended their way over the parched hillsides. 
Here and there a crocodile bathed in the mud, while 
multitudes of turtles sunned themselves on the boggy 
creek banks. Although some of the forms of animal 
life of that day were much smaller than now, we do 
find that other forms were much larger than their 
descendants at the present. Some of the turtles have 
never been equaled in size by any that are in existence 
today, but master of the animal world of the west, and 


lord over all was the giant broiitotherinm or tlmiidci-- 
Iteast, elephantine in size and appearance. 

The world in those times was in rapid process of 
forniation and great cataclysms took jdace. 'i'lie 
Rocky Monntains were thrnst np throngh the jtlains, 
old Harney Peak pushed through the crevices and the 
lilack Hills were born. Vast numbers of animal life 
were destroyed. Great streams of water rushed through 
the new born mountains and carried with them all 
kinds of animals and deposited them in the lower de- 
pressions toward which the water hurried. Then came 
another mighty upheaval and a change in the western 
hemisphere took place. Extensive deposits of coarse 
gravel are found upon the preceding deep sea mud, 
tiner and finer grows the deposits of gravel to be fol- 
lowed by deep sea mud and the sand and silt. A third 
time the Bad Lands tell us that old Mother l<]arth 
was wrenched and torn and the waters rushing down 
toward the plains carried with them the broken frag- 
ments of the Rocky Mountains and the rent and crush- 
ed peaks of the Black Hills. Again the troubled wat- 
ers became quiet. Fine gravel was piled upon coarse, 
sand and silt upon the smaller gravel and deep sea 
mud and more recent deposits pressed down the coars- 
er layers. Then the continued upthrust of the Black 
Hills raised the former lake bed of the Bad Lands, 
and the streams which forged their way out from the 
canyons and fissures of the mountains as they grew 
old, once again tore through the broad lake deposits 
and marked the course of the White River and Chey- 
enne for the future generations. Through this soft 
sand and gravel mixed with clay which during mil- 
lions of years had been deposited in the former low 
lands, the rushing waters plowed and dug their way 
until today the temples, pyramids, castles and domes 
of the Bad Lands stand forth in their variant forms and 
sizes. Here indeed is the graveyard of the dawn of 
the American Continent. Row upon row, shelf upon 
shelf are deposited the bones of the creatures of long- 
ago. The great and the small, the slow and the <|uick, 
the fierce and the timid alike have lain do\\'n to- 




.iiothor and out from the silent walls of the past tli(Mr 
skulls and "Tinning jaws look down upon the visitor 
whose irreverent feet crush the bones of the dead and 
disturb the deep silence of their tombs. 

A visit to the Bad Lands of today is indeiMl to 
turn back the pages of history and look at the wond- 
ers of life as it existed millions of years ago. It is 
fitting and proper that so wonderful and marvelous 
an area should be at the very door step of the Black 
Hills country about which the tales and stories that 
are set forth in this book have been created and 
made a matter of history. To this region have come 
the geologists and men of science from all parts of the 
world and in all the gTeat museums of America, 
f]ngiand and Europe fossils and skulls from the Black 
Hills of South Dakota look upon the curious visitor 
Avho little dreams and realizes that through the silent 
and bleached masses, once rushed the warm blottd of 
sensient beings whose forms laid down to never ending- 
sleep ages before the soul of man had been breathed 
into the dust of earth. 

The Black Hills country did not alwa^^s belong to 
the Sioux, the tribes, from whom the pioneers wrested 
the golden empire. Their occupancy of the territory 
was about two hundr-ed years, prior to which time it 
belonged to the Crows, who had in their turn driven 
older tribes therefrom. The wars between the Sioux 
and Crows closed about the time the weaker nation 
was driven south and was compelled to forsake for- 
ever, their ancient hunting grounds. It is said their 
last stand was taken on the top of a high flat topped 
butte in western Nebraska south of the Hills where 
they had been driven by the conquering tribes, who 
surrounded them on this peak. The place was im- 
pregnable to the attacking forces, and they began a 
siege knowing that the Crows must soon starve or 
surrender. However, the Crows outwitted their enemies 
and by taking the skins of their ponies and tying 
them together, they low^ered the whole band, except 
one old man, to the bottom of the steep blurf opposite 
the camp of the Sioux. The lone Indian kept the camp 


fires burning until his fellows had made 

escape and then came doAvn to the Sioux to submit 

to his fate. This hill is known today as Crow Peak. 

As the Sioux had driven forth their predecessors 
in title and occupancy, so likewise in the course of 
time, it was decreed that they should go forth and 
forsake the gem of the American Continent. And to 
this sad event with all its woeful consequences, there 
comes a i3retty story, the Legend of the Rose. 


The wild rose grows in great profusion through- 
out the Black Hills. It is found on the banks of ev- 
ery stream, in every grassy part and on every moun- 
tain side, attaining a depth of coloring that is denied 
the rose of the plain. The Legend of the Rose was 
first published in the Deadwood Pioneer in 1878, by 
John M. Whitten, City Auditor, into whose hands the 
manuscript had fallen by accident. It is probable 
that no copy of the paper containing the Legend is 
now in existence as the files of the Pioneer were burn- 
ed in the great fire of 1879, but R. B. Hughes has at- 
tempted to reproduce it from memory and has written 
it as folloAvs : 

Long, long ago, when the oldest man now living 
had not yet been born there came from the land of the 
morning sun a band of white men in search of gold. 
For many moons they had traveled by day through 
dense forests and over wide prairies and by night 
their camp fires shone upon the streams. At last from 
a high place they beheld before them the valley of the 
Beautiful River, while beyond, the peaks of the Paha 
Sapa (Black Hills) glistened in the sun. Then were 
their hearts made glad for this was the land of their 
desire. Descending to the valley they found a village 
of the red men. But no smoke arose from the lodges, 
no children played about the doors of the wigwams. 
From all sides came the sounds of mourning, for the 
people had been stricken by a deadly sickness. Many 
already had died, while of those who yet lived none 
were able to gather fuel to keep the fires burning. 


Faiuiiie. too, was there, for tlioiig-h there were buffalo 
on all sides of the hills no warrior had strength to 
draw the bow strings that his woman and children 
might have food. 

Now were the hearts of the white men melted 
with pity. They gathered and heaped the fnel for the 
tepee fires, and hnnted the bnffalo nntil every want 
for food was supplied. But better than all there was 
among the pale faces a great medicine man. So 
powerful was his medicine to cure, that those who re- 
ceived it at once felt the stagnant blood leap in their 
veins. This man ministered to the sick by night and 
by day, that all who were yet alive at his coming 
stood upon their feet strong and well. Then the 
white men went upon their way to the land of gold 
and the red men gave thanks to the Great Spirit who 
had sent them help in time of need. But there was 
one among the red men whose heart was bad. The 
Medicine man whose medicine was of no avail against 
the sickness was filled with anger because that of the 
white men was more powerful. He whispered into 
the ears of his people that if the pale faces were al- 
lowed to go back to the land of the Morning Sun with 
gold they would return in numbers so great that the 
red men would be driven from their hunting grounds, 
and the buffalo and elk and deer and antelope would 
be destroyed. Thus he wrought upon their fears un- 
til they sought out the camp of the pale faces where 
they delved in the. earth and labored in the streams of 
the mountains. In the early light of the morning 
while the men slept they came upon them with toma- 
hawk and knife until not one was left living. And 
built fires that consumed the bodies of the dead to 
ashes that no trace of them might remain. Then was 
the Great Spirit angry. His voice was heard in thun- 
der tones in the gorges, clouds blacker than the 
darkest night rolled over the mountain tops and from 
them came lightnings, blasting and withering all they 
touched. The winds rose, and catching up the ashes 
of the white men carried them upon their wings far 
and wide. The red men now^ knowing that their work 


liad been evil fled from the wrath of the Great Spirit, 
fled from the mountains to the plains. To them hence- 
forth were forbidden the delights of Paha Sapa. 
Nevermore might the Indian hunter pursue the elk and 
deer in their fastnesses, never again build his camp 
fires in the beautiful parks or trap the beaver along 
the clear rippling waters. To the place of the sinking 
of the waters he might go, but no farther. Thus the 
Paha Sapa became to the red man a land of dread. The 
wrath of the Great Spirit having been appeased he 
caused his rains to fall upon the earth, and wherever 
the ashes of the pale faces had found a resting place 
there sprang up a blossom in beauty, the Wild Rose. 


A region so rich in mineral wealth, so adorned 
with the beauties of nature and so stamped with the 
sublimity of its Maker, as the Black Hills, could not 
escape being early and widely known. We find that 
this country had long been the favorite hunting place 
for Indians, and that white men first saw its shadows 
in the days when this republic had not been even 
dreamed of as a possibility. In the year 1743, on the 
first day of January, Louis-Joseph Verendrye and 
Francis Verendrye, two sons of a great French explor- 
er, came within sight of the Black Hills, Avhile wan- 
dering westward with a band of Indians. Soon after 
this they proceeded into the Hills from the northeast- 
ern corner, probably in the neighborhood of Sturgis 
and on into the park country near the upper hills 
where they found that their enemy whom they sought 
had left camp. The Indians beat a hasty retreat back 
to the camp site in the northeast and the Verendrye 
brothers went with them. They then wandered on 
towards the east and on a hill near the present site of 
Ft. Pierre and overlooking the Missouri river, they 
planted a leaden plate in commemoration of the discov- 
ery of the country and its claim by the King of France. 
This was done on the 30th day of March, 1743, and 
there it remained throughout the years until on the 
16th day of February, 1913, a school girl noticed the 


ancient plate of lead and bronp;ht it to light once 
more, thereby corroborating: a tale that had been the 
source of much discussion among historians. 

From that year, the Black Hills remained a seal- 
ed 1)oolv to the white men and Ave read nothing more 
of them until the coming of Lewis and Clark in 1804. 
Avho crossed the plains in their gTeat journey of ex- 
ploration to the coast. They did not vary from their 
route to visit the Hills but heard of them at the time, 
from the French traders under the name of Black 
Mountains. While in this account they are referred 
to as Black ilountains, we find that in a statement 
made by Prince Maximilian from Germany, who was at 
the mouth of Bad river in June. 1833, he calls them 
Black Hills, evidently using the name common to the 
people to whom he spoke at that place. 

The success of the Lewis and Clark expedition 
put a great impetus to the fur trade and in 1811, we 
find the Astor party pushing for the coast and passing 
to the north of the Hills, in a country now known as 
Harding and Perkins counties. Bonneville, in 1831, 
came nearer to the region, but did not enter the 
rough country, coming up from the southwest and 
when directly west of the city of Edgemont, turning 
west and continuing into Wyoming. In 1848, we find 
the intrepid missionary, Father DeSmet wdth the In- 
dians in the Black Hills, for a few months and for 
several years later his work among the red men car- 
ried him all over the country around the region where 
he from his knowledge of minerals and association 
with the Indians, knew of the presence of gold, but 
the secret of Avhich he carefully guarded until the ex- 
istence of gold became a published fact. 

The traders and trappers who had visited the 
Black Hills country brought back not alone specimens 
of gold, but also petrified bones and teeth of strange 
and unknown animals. A description of these bones 
in 1847. aroused so much interest among scientists, 
that in 1849 Dr. John Evans visited the Bad Lands 
and obtained such specimens and a general knowledge 
of the country as to furnish the material for a most 


valuable book published by Dr. Leidy. Thaddeus A. 
Ciilbertson in 1850 also made a journey to the region 
for the Smithsonian Institution, and F. V. Hayden 
spent much time and labor among the clay hills and 
buttes in 1853, '55 and '57, despite the hardships and 
the great danger from the Indians. In 1855 he even 
reached Bear Butte which he ascended at that time. 
Thus through the enthusiasm of the men of science, 
the Bad Lands part of the Hills were more throughly 
known than the mineral bearing portion, many years 
before the advent of Custer. 

General Harney in 1855 skirted the southern and 
southeastern border of the Hills, passing from Ft. 
Laramie through northern Nebraska and out into Da- 
kota, through the vicinity of present Scenic and Wall. 
To Lieutenant Warren, however, is due the credit of 
a first extended exploration of the Black Hills. In 
1857, he went northward from Ft. Laramie, to the 
west of the Hills, where at a point known as Inyan 
Kara, he was so strenuously opposed by the Indians, 
that he decided to retreat and turned back, but in- 
stead of abandoning his journey, he swung off to the 
east passing through Custer county, and thence 
northward through the heart of the Hills and coming 
out to Bear Butte in the northeast. From this point 
he travelled in a southeasterly direction over the foot 
hills and out in the Pine Ridge country. In 1859 
Cai)tain Reynolds journeyed westward reaching the 
Hills near Bear Butte on the northeast and thence 
passing westward along the foot hills, directed his 
course northward into Montana. 


While the instances set forth were the recorded 
events of the white man's knowledge of the Hills, we 
find that within the valleys and gulches of the Hills 
were left mute proofs of the occupancy by men at a 
time long prior to those noted. Here and there a pick 
and shovel, an abandoned shaft or primitive sluice 
box all buried beneath the accumulated drift of years 
were found by the pioneers of the early seventies, in- 


dicating that other men had preceded them in the 
search for gold many years before. 

In the month of March, 1887, a small gulley near 
the foot of Lookout mountain near the city of Spear- 
fish, gave up the last message from a party of gold 
seekers long forgotten. Louis Thoen was hauling rock 
for the foundation of a building and while prying up 
a large flat rock, noticed that it had beneath it, a 
smaller flat rock with certain markings upon it which 
attracted further attention. He picked up the rock 
and brushed the dirt from it and upon the smooth sur- 
face there stood forth the rough characters inscribed 
by a pen knife. He carried the rock home with him 
and after cleaning it, there appeared inscriptions on 
each side, one of which read, "Came to these Hills in 
1833, seven of us De Lacompt Ezra Kind G. W. Wood 
T Brown R. Kent Wm. King Indian Crow all ded but 
me Ezra Kind killed by Indians beyond the high hill 
got our gold June, 1834." On the reverse side is tlie 
farewell message of this first historian of the Hills 
"Got all the gold we could carry our ponys all got by 
the Indians I have lost my gi^n and nothing to eat and 
Indians hunting me." The draw in which this simple 
record of a tragedy destined to be the first in a long 
series, was penned, was six or eight feet deep at point 
of discovery and well covered with brush woods. R. 
H Evans, who was one of the first settlers in the 
valley, found upon his first coming, camp utensils 
secreted upon Lookout mountain not far from the 
draw, and showing by the rust that they had long been 
resting there. 

The report of the discovery of the inscribed stone 
reached far and wide and attracted much attention in 
the newspapers throughout the nation. John Cash- 
ner, in whose possession the stone was held for some 
years, received letters from several parties inquiring 
about it, and one was from Troy, Missouri, stating 
that an uncle of the writer, T. Brown, left the country 
there in 1832 in company with a man named Kent on 
a trip to the west and was never heard from again. 
Another person, claiming to be a relative of Ezra Kind, 


wrote for further information and claimed that snch 
a person had left with a party of good seekers and en- 
tered the Hills bnt was never seen again. All of the 
circnmstances surrounding the discovery and the testi- 
mony of the letters would seem to sufficiently corrobor- 
ate the words scratched upon the stone, but who the 
men were, from w^hence they came and what the final 
scene of the adventure must forever remain unknown. 
Be that as it may, however, in the swift flight of 
years, this rudely inscribed piece of sandstone must 
stand in mute testimony of the melancholy fate that 
became the lot of many a brave pathfinder in the wilds 
of the West and also a pathetic effort of the human 
mind to reach beyond the grave to loved ones far away. 

That the presence of gold in the Black Hills was 
known to a few of the people of the frontier long be- 
fore the adventures of Custer or his expedition were 
known is clearly evident in history by the finding of 
the rock or stone hereto described, but also by an in- 
stance that is set forth in the Black Hills Telegraphic 
Herald, a newspaper established in May in the year 
1878, and which is set forth as follows: 

"Every few months the miner or the adventurous 
prospector brings to light some fresh evidences of 
early mining operations in the Hills. These operations 
must have been carried on by quite a number of men 
but their names and where they came from are mat- 
ters of conjecture and will probably remain so until 
the end of time. Mining implements have been un- 
earthed, buried many feet below the surface of the old 
mining claim. A chain was found partially imbedded 
in a large tree where it had probably hung for many 
years. The old tools and shack found last winter are 
also another evidence of early visits of miners to this 
country. We have now discovered another link in the 
unwritten history. Last Friday there arrived in Lead 
two hunters Frenchmen. Le Fevre, who will be re- 
membered by old residents of Battle Creek as being 
there in the year '76. ThesQ men had been hunting 
and trapping in the vicinity of Bear Lodge Mountains. 
They report that one day last January while tracking 


the wounded deer they shot, they came across the 
skeletons of two men. They were found on top of 
rather a peculiar knoll and rocks, earth and pieces of 
trees formed a sort of rough breastwork behind which 
their remains were found. Tlie skulls of both men were 
in a fairly good state of preservation and through one 
of the skulls was a large hole evidently made by a bul- 
let and the second victim, scarcely more than ten feet 
away, had the iron head of an arrow firmly imbedded 
in the thigh bone, the wooden part was evidently 
broken off and only a portion could be located which 
was wrapped in rawhide. The wood of the arrow 
was considerably warped and showed signs of being 
exposed to the weather for many years. They also 
found part of an old iron camp kettle, a broken stock 
of an old rifle made of fancy knotted wood, which 
was filled with bullets showing that a fight for life 
must have been long and bitter. No clothing of any kind 
could be found in the vicinity except the heel and 
counter of an old boot. The enemy evidently stripped 
the bodies entirely naked. 

"The hunters in their search for something that 
could lead to the identity of the parties tore down 
part of the breastwork and were rewarded by the dis- 
covery of what was a cover of a leather memorandum 
book. There had been considerable writing on this 
cover but all they could make out were the figures 
'1-2-52' which probably was '1852.' The bones were 
found much scattered out as though wild animals had 
eaten part of them after they had been killed. The 
hunters collected what they could find and buried 
them under the breastwork Avhich they had so gallant- 
ly defended. The inscription on this book and the in- 
scription on the wall of the old tunnel discovered last 
winter are the same. 

"All evidence so far discovered goes to sIioav that 
these early pioneers of the Hills had many fights with 
the Indians, who at that time occupied this country. 
And it may be possible that if these men belonged to 
the party who ran the old tunnel near Rutabaga Gulch, 
that the party escaped from the tunnel and were fight- 


iii<i their way to Montana, or the old overland trail 
throngh that country. One by one the merciless sav- 
ages picked them off, until only two remained, and 
these two seeing escape was impossible, selected the 
spot where the hunters found their bones, and fought 
their savage foes until by starvation, or tlie entire 
consumption of their ammunition, they became an 
easy prey for their unrelenting foes. The theory that 
their surrender was caused by their ammunition giv- 
ing out, seems to be confirmed by the finding of the 
broken gun stock, which had probably been used as a 
last wea])on of defense.'' 


The stoi-ies that were continually coming froiii 
traders and trappers who had dealt with Indians in 
the Black Hills country were published ihronghout 
the United States and people began to become more 
and more excited over the reported presence of gold 
in the mountains. So persistent were the rumors of 
the presence of the valuable mineral and so great was 
the interest shown throughout the region that finally 
the attention of the United States Government was 
directed to the matter and an expedition under the 
command of General George Custer was fitted out in. 
the year 1874 for the purpose of exploring the Black 
Hills region. There were two objects to be attained 
by this expedition. One of them was to ascertain the 
feasibility of the possible location of a military post 
to command the region between Fort Laramie and the 
Montana forts and the other object was to learn 
about the mineral resources and general geological 
nature of the Black Hills country. 

The expedition left Fort Abraham Lincoln July 
2, 1871, and consisted of ten companies of Cavalry, 
two of Infantry, white and Indian scouts, interpre- 
ters, miners, teamsters, geologists and college profes- 
sors, totaling about one thousand men. This large ex- 
pedition with the big, heavy, cumberson army trans- 
port wagons slowly wended its way over hill and 
dale, creeks and rivers and travelled in a southeast- 


erly diiection for- the tlieii little known rej?ion of the 
Black Hills. As the long line of wagons and cavalry 
trailed, it left deej) marks which can yet, after the pass- 
ing of almost half a centnrv. be tcmnd in some places. 
The incidents of the jonrnev are recorded in the diary 
of the officers and the reports made to the War De- 
partment by the several men in charge of the different 
departments represented in the expedition. The trip 
from Fort Lincoln to the Black Hills carried them 
over a dry, barren and desolate region bnt when they 
came to the Black Hills the wonderfnl foliage and 
vegetation with the clear rippling monntain brooks 
was so vastly different to what the men had seen along 
the road that they became very profuse in their praise 
of the new found country. The expedition entered the 
Black Hills country on the northwest corner near the 
pt ak known as Inyan Kara and from there it proceeded 
in a southeasterly direction in an effort to penetrate 
the fastness of the Black Hills. On July -!4 the ex- 
pedition camped in a valley which they called "Floral 
Valley." General Forsythe describing this valley 
says, "The whole valley is carpeted with flowers. I 
have gathered twenty-seven varieties within twenty 
square feet and the view along the valley as it first 
widened, then contracted and then widened again, with 
the sound of the brook murmuring constantly at our 
feet has been exceedingly pleasant and attractive." 
Professor Donaldson describes it in these words, "The 
floral decoration is the very richest. Every order and 
species seem to vie with every other in giving bril- 
liancy to the display. The gaudy sun-flower and the 
delicate hare-bell, the fair lily and the bright blue 
daisy, the coarse eglantine and the modest violet, 
the gay larkspur and the fragrant peppermint, roses 
and pinks, asters and phlox, bell-flower and calliopsis, 
geraniums, goldenrod, purple cone-flower, are part of 
Flora's contribution to these lovely dells." 

The journey to the hills was not without its dark 
side and the first trouble that occurred to mar the 
memory of the expedition was that on the night of 
July 21st, when on their camp in Red Water Valley, 




Custt-r Train 


Private John Cunningliam died from chronic diarrhoea 
combined with pleurisy. On the morning of the next 
day two privates, Joseph Turned and William Roller, 
of the same troop M, engaged in a quarrel about 4 
o'clock with the result that Turner was shot. These 
two men had joined the cavalry four years before at 
the same time and the question arose as to who was 
the best man. At the time they had their first fight, 
Roller, who was whipped, gave up and admitted that 
the other fellow was the winner but Turner appeared 
to be a man of overbearing qualities and took advant- 
age at every opportunity thereafter to annoy and 
harass his weaker comrade. It appears that several 
days before this incident he had tied the two front 
feet of the horse which Roller was riding together 
with a rope with the result that in the morning the 
legs had been so badly burned that the Captain would 
not permit the Private to ride his mount. He was 
compelled throughout the day to walk and lead his 
horse. To a cavalry man this is the highest insult 
possible and this greatly angered the man Roller, and 
the next morning while he was bending over his little 
camp fire cooking his morning meal, his comrade, 
Turner, approached and when opposite the fire. Roller 
denounced him and declared that he who would treat 
a poor dumb beast in such a manner was no better 
than a dog. Whereupon Turner made a grab for his 
pistol with his right hand but unfortunately for him 
he reached to his right hip where the cowboys carry 
their pistols. The cavalry man carries his pistol on 
the left hip. Roller noticing the movement of Turner 
immediately reached for his pistol but on the left 
side and from his crouching position fired a ball 
through the body of Turner who fell mortally wound- 
ed. Turner was placed in the ambulance and rode all 
that day over a journey of 23 miles, but died that 
evening when they entered camp. There were now two 
dead soldiers in the camp and it became necessary to 
halt to prepare for their burial and on this day, the 
23rd day of July, 1874, on the western slope of the 
Black Hills occurred the first militarv funeral and 


the first recorded funeral of a white man in the Black 
Hills, which Professor Donaldson describes as follows: 
'T"^pon a little knoll within the limits of the camp, a 
broad grave was dug. In the evening, at a quarter to 
nine o'clock the whole regiment, by companies, was 
called into line to attend the burial. 

"1st in the procession was the band. 

'2nd, an ambulance bearing the two dead. 

"3rd, the companies of which the deceased were 

"4th, other companies. 

"5th, Regimental and staff officers and civilians. 

"As the solemn cortege marched across the campus 
the band played a mournful dirge. A hollow square 
was formed about the grave. Side by side the two 
bodies were lowered into the vault. By the light of 
a lantern the funeral service was read. A platoon of 
soldiers then stepped to the end of the grave and fired 
three successive volleys The dead heeded not. A 
trumpeter then came up, and blew loud and long. No 
response came. He then blew the call, 'Day is closed, 
light put out !' The grave was then filled. As the placid 
moon and twinkling stars looked down upon the solemn 
scene, slowly and sadly we left the dead alone, 'to sleep 
the sleep that knows no waking.' To hide the grave 
from the desecrating savage, who would soon come 
prowling around, its surface was leveled off and a fire 
was kept burning on it all the next day. 

Private Roller was placed under arrest immediate- 
ly after the shooting and under order of General Cus- 
ter was compelled to walk thenceforth throughout the 
rest of his expedition until the return to Fort Lincoln. 
He was then turned over to the civil authorities on the 
charge of murder, at Yankton, but was eventually 
turned loose and returned to his command where he 
served out his enlistment. 

From this point the expedition proceeded up along 
Floral Valley over the crest of the divide and down 
Castle Creek so named by Custer because of the rug- 
ged and castellated hills that bordered the valley. On 
this creek t^ey camped for one day, on July 27th. where 


the miners were given an opportunity to prospect. 
Colonel Ludlow, who was cjiief engineer, in his re- 
port made in April, 1875, states, "The gold hunters 
were busy all day with shovel and pan exploring the 
streams." But nothing further is said about gold. In 
his report made to General Sheridan on August 15, 
1874, from Bear Butte, referring to July 27, he said, 
"Miners with the party report indications of silver in 
quartz rock, along the banks of the creek." The march 
was again taken up and proceeded out over Elk Horn 
prairie but the command was compelled to retreat 
and camped in the evening of July 2th, on Castle Creek 
at a point four miles below the last camp. 


The botanist of the expedition was Prof. A. B. 
Donaldson, of the University of Minnesota, and in 
his report to the St. Paul Pioneer under date of July 
28th, he states, "^Neither gold nor silver have been 
found, but the miners report the indications more 
promising." On the 29th of July they left the Castle 
Creek country, went over the ridge and down a stream 
that flowed to the southeast which was followed for 
several miles but left on account of the difficulty of 
moving the wagon train over the winding and nar- 
row valley. This brought the expedition out on the 
high rolling prairie and along the old Indian trail, 
and onto a stream where the camp for the night was 
made. At seven o'clock in the morning of July 30th 
the march was resumed, three hours later than usual 
owing to the fact that all of the train had not arrived 
in camp until after four o'clock in the morning. The 
afternoon of July 30 found the expedition along the 
head waters of French Creek where camp was made at 
three o'clock and held all the next day while parties 
were sent out in all directions and Harney Peak was 
climbed by Custer and officers with him. And in this 
camp on July 30, 1874, on the head of Castle Creek 
in the afternoon, gold was first discovered. Prof. N. H. 
Winchell, the official geologist of the expedition, in 
his general report, dated February 22, 1875, referring 


to events of July 30, states, "The gold seekers who ac- 
companY the expedition report the finding of gohi in 
the gravel and sand along this valley." Colonel Lnd- 
low, the engineer, nnder his entry of July 31st, refer- 
ring to this same camp, reports, "The command re- 
mained in camp wliile surveying parties were sent out, 
and the gold hunters redoubled their efforts." 

On August 1st, the camp Avas moved down the 
creek three and a half miles to afford fresh pasture 
for the livestock where they remained until Augi'.st 6. 
Under date of August 2nd, Colonel Ludlow states, 
"There is much talk of gold and industri(tiis search 
for it is being made. I saw in General Custer's tent, 
what the miner said he had obtained during the day. 
Lender a strong reading glass it resembled small pin- 
heads of fine scales and irregular shape, perhaps thirty 
in number." The reports of G(^neral Custer and Prof. 
Dcmaldson, under date of August 2nd, each refer to 
the discovery of gold. In their camp of August 1st to 
5th, where the City of Custer now stands, the first 
deep prospect holes were dug and here the presence 
of gold in paying quantities was demonstrated. 

From the above official reports it will be con- 
cluded that gold under the Custer expedition was not 
discovered at any time prior to the 30th day of July, 
1874, and that the place where the eager eyes of the 
miner as he scanned the bottom of his pan were bright- 
ened by the golden lustre, was at a point three and a 
half miles west of the present city of Custer. With 
the expedition were two practical miners, H. N. Ross 
and William T. McKay, who are the miners referred 
to in the several reports. Both of these men are now 
dead, but Ross, who outlived his companion for many 
years, claimed to be the one who first panned the yel- 
low dust and to him we leave the honor of the dis- 
covery. He also fixed July 27th as the date of dis- 
covery, and the corporate limits of the present city of 
Custer, as the exact location, a large sign to that ef- 
fect being now placed there to mark the spot. It is 
self evident that his memory of dates is in error, for 
he was twenty-eight miles away and a three days' 


march from that point on the 27th day of July. He 
first saw French Creek after the hour of three o'clock 
in the afternoon of July 30th, and no doubt proceed- 
ed to examine the sand and gravel near the camp, in 
which Prof. Winchell says, the miners claimed to have 
found gold, on that afternoon. This location for the 
discovery of gold further up French Creek and with- 
out the corporate limits of Custer City, and at a point 
known as discovery rock, has long been known to 
pioneers as the place where Ross told them he first 
discovered gold. The spot within the city of Custer 
now marked as point of discovery is probably the 
place where the first prospect hold was dug and gold 
was revealed in paying quantities. 

McKay, the companion of Ross in the gold search- 
ing of the expedition asserted that gold was first dis- 
covered upon the tributary of Castle Creek, which he 
called Gold Run Creek. If this statement be true, it 
would fix July 27th as the correct date for discovery 
of gold, for on that day the miners were camped near 
the head waters of Castle Creek and had plenty of 
time in which to find the golden particles for they 
were afterwards found there in abundance. The fail- 
ure of the officers of the expedition to note this place 
and date, may be due to the fact that Prof. Winchell 
had not been called upon to decide the nature of the 
metals supposed by the privates in the command to 
be gold, and felt somewhat piqued. He did not state 
that he saw any gold at any time in the course of the 
trip, but this was due to his refusal to see the gold as 
explained by Custer. The claim of Ross that he first 
discovered gold within the corporate limits of Custer 
City, if in fact he did so claim, would tend to destroy 
his credibility as to the matter of time and place, for 
we know that gold was found before Custer camped 
upon or permitted any of his men to explore the pres- 
ent site of Custer. 

However, in commemoration of the discovery of 
gold and the work of Ross in those early years, the 
pioneers of the Black Hills, on July 27th, 1922, 
caused to be erected within the city of Custer, a beau- 


tifnl moiiiimeiit built from rocks and minerals g-ath- 
ered from far and near in the Black Hills and dedi- 
cated it with appropriate exercises, to the memory of 
the hardy miner. On that day. the people of Custer 
receiyed the thousands of guests Ayith trne ^vestern 
hospitality, and feasted them upon seyeral barhecned 

Pritfessor Winchell, an expert geologist whose 
duty it \yas to examine and ascertain the geological 
formation and mineral deposits in the Black Hills, did 
not have much respect for the opinion of the com- 
mon, uneducated, practical miners with the expedi- 
tion and accordingly did not give any weight to their 
work. He declared that he saw no gold in the Hills 
but General Custer in his report states that if he real- 
ly did not see any gold it was because he refused to 
look at it because there were numerous specimens of 
gold in the possessioin of the soldiers during the trip 
through the Hills. After the discovery of gold on 
French Creek, the presence of valuable minerals was 
found in numerous other places and creeks in vari- 
ous parts of the Hills which were examined. How- 
ever, Custer's time in which to make the exploration 
of the Hills was limited and he hastened on his way, 
circling around from the southern portion of the Hills 
up toward the northeastern corner and skirting the 
hills from Elk Creek north to Bear Butte which he 
ascended and then bade good-bye to the Black Hills 

The dispute that arose between General Custer 
and Professor Winchell over the presence of gold in 
the Hills caused another expedition under the juris- 
diction of the United States geological survey direct- 
ed by Professors Newton and Jenny to be sent into 
the hills with orders to make a more detailed and 
careful examination. This expedition made a definite 
report as to the presence of gold and other valuable 
minerals throughout the Hills. They arrived in June, 
1875, and spent over four months in their work which 
covered the whole rugged portion of the region. There 


were some four hundred men with this command and 
they found miners already in the Hills. 


When General Custer was in his camp at Custer 
Park near Harney Peak in August, 1874, he dispatch- 
ed Charlie Reynolds, the scout who later was killed 
in the battle of the Big Horn, with his preliminary 
report to Fort Laramie. Before preparing for this 
journey, Dan Newell, the blacksmith with the exjjedi- 
tion, shod the horse that Reynolds was to ride by 
placing the shoes on the horse's feet backwards with 
the purpose of deceiving the Indians as to the direc- 
tion the rider was proceeding. After enduring great 
hardships, the scout reached his destination and soon 
the world was apprised of the fact that Custer had 
discovered gold in the Black Hills. So much notor- 
iety had been given to the reports of the miners and 
traders from the hills that when it became definitely 
known that there really was gold in the mountains, 
in every large city men were ready to rush to the new 
gold fields. The intense interest of the people and 
the wide publicity given to their plans caused the 
United States Government to make it very plain that 
any attempt on the part of the gold seekers to tress- 
pass upon the lands of the Indians in the Black Hills 
would be promptly dealt with by the military and 
this had the effect of discouraging and disbanding 
many of the groups who had gathered for the pur- 
pose of making Ihe trip across the prairie. However, 
there was one group of people, who. despite the warn- 
ings of the Government, determined to make the peril- 
ous trip and see for themselves the gold of the moun- 
tains. This group was commonh" known as the Gor- 
don party, but in fact it should be more properly 
known as the Collins and Russell party because Col- 
lins and Russell were the first leaders and instigators 
of the expedition and Gordon was the man who was 
chosen as Captain of the band when they proceeded 
on their way. 

The names of the members of the party were : 




T. H. Russell, Lyman Lamb, Eaf Witcher, Angus 
McDonald, B. B. Logan, Red Dan McDonald, Black 
Dan McDonald, James Dempster, James Powers, J. J. 
Williams, Quiner, John Gordon, J. W. Brockett, New- 
ton Warren. H. Bishop, Chas. Long, Chas. Cordeiro, 
Moses Aron, R. Whitney, Harry Cooper, David Akin, 
John Boyle, Chas. Blackwell, Thomas McClaren, Henry 
Shannon. D. G. Tallent, Robert E. Tallent and Annie D. 
Tallent, there being twenty-eight persons all told. This 
party, after passing through great hardships and escap- 
ing many dangers in the long journey across the wild 
and unknown prairies, reached French Creek on the 
23rd of December, 1874, at a point two and one-half 
miles below the city of Custer. They built a very fine 
stockade and called it the "Gordon Stockade" where 
they remaineed all winter and in March they laid out 
and surveyed the townsite which they called "Harney 
City." Howver, before the work of the organization 
could be completed the United States army came upon 
the scene and the whole party were put under arrest in 
the month of April and taken out of the Hills. Among 
these intrepid pioneers was the first white woman to 
enter the Black Hills, Mrs. Annie D. Tallent, who later 
wrote a very interesting account of her experiences in 
her book known as "The Black Hills, or the Last Hunt- 
ing Grounds of the Dakotahs," and she thus became 
known as one of the early historians of the Black Hills 


Before the coming of the army these first comers 
had likewise succeeded in finding the golden particles 
on French Creek and although they were removed 
from the scenes of their labors, the knowledge of 
their success spread far and near and created intense 
excitement throughout the whole region. From the 
east and west, the north and south little bands of 
gold seekers were plodding their way toward the new 
Eldrado and the spring of 1875 found Custer on 
French Creek, again the scene of a gold digging opera- 
tion, but in the summer of 1875 the Oovei-umcnt 
again sent military details to the Hills to remove all 


gold seekers who had succeeded in escaping the mili- 
tary guards that had been sent out to turn the miners 
back from their journey to the Hills. Accordingly 
this expedition proceeded down the various gulches 
and coming upon miners read the formal order of the 
War Department of the Government and notified the 
men to congregate at Custer and be ready to depart 
by the tenth day of x4.ugust. The miners worked 
with fever heat to recover as much gold as possible 
and when the day for departure approached they 
secreted their mining tools in various places, intending 
in due course of time to return and again take up the 
search for gold. In accordance with the order of the 
military commander, the miners began to gather at 
Custer Park and on the 10th day of August laid out 
the townsite. In order to establish the place the men 
all joined forces and built a log cabin ir dimensions 
16x24. It was proposed by a southerner and an ad- 
mirer of the famous confederate general to call the 
new town or city Stonewall, but there hapj)ened to 
Ity a majority of union sympathizers in the crowd 
and one man proposed that in view of the fact that 
Custer had camped there and was the first regular 
explorer of the country, that it would be proper to 
name the new city Custer and accordingly the men 
at that time decided on that name. In the matter of 
laying out the townsite a miner proposed to have the 
streets fifty feet wide as that distance was amply suf- 
ficient for a mining town but this proposition met 
with active opposition by an enthusiastic miner. In 
the meeting on the 9th. he arose and in a very elo- 
quent speech declared that Custer was destined to be- 
come the metropolis of the Black Hills where the 
thousands of dwellers would need a city with streets 
one hundred feet in width. The spirit of the speaker 
caught the fancy of the crowd and it was unanimous- 
ly decided to have the streets of that width. General 
Crook had informed the miners that if they would 
depart without force, they could have until the fif- 
teenth of the month to go and after a guard of six 
people was left to protect the new townsite, every one 


knowing full well that the Indians must bid farewell 
to the new gold fields, the army marched out with 
most of the prospectors. But all of the prospectors 
did not leave the hills, partly because they were in 
such inaccessible places, that they could not be reach- 
ed, and partly because they secreted themselves until 
the exit of the army. Soon the Hills were again 
resounding with the noise of miner's axes, picks and 
shovels for the spirit of the prospector is unconquer- 
able and knows no end but death. 

The prospector is splendidly pictured in the poem 
by F. J. Read which we herewith submit to the reader. 


He miiiht have had the finest ranch in all this broad 

its long stretches, remain in many places to this day. 
With trees bowed down with golden fruit and fields ot 

waiving grain. 
He might have built a palace grand with walls of 

polished stone 
With marble floors and frescoed walls and called them 

all his own, 
But destiny has cast his lot in strange and far otf 

lands. ' 

His feet have trod the mountain's brown, and pressed 

the desert sands. 
He's wandered where the canons dark uplift their walls 

so high 
That twixt their summits only gleams a silver thread 

of sky. 
He's camped in many a lonely place where men ne'er 

trod before. 
And on the mountain's side he's made deep scars in 

search of ore, 
He's traversed many a winding gulch and washed 

their golden sand 
From the icy waves of the Yellowstone to the sunny 

Rio Grande. 


He's climbed the highest towering peaks in all the 
rocky range 

While clouds have rolled beneath his feet in shadows 
weird and strange, 

He's laid him on the ground at night when hope of 
life was slim, 

While flakes of snow have fallen white and drifted 
ever him. 

He's heard the warwhoop ring where now the farmer 
sows his grain, 

He's heard the murderous arrows whiz where cities dot 
the plain. 

He's seen the deadly avalanche crash down the moun- 
tain side 

And heard the roaring waterspout burst on the great 

He's felt the simoon's scorching heat, the blizzard's icy 

And seen the cyclone strew its path with ruin, wreck 
and death, 

Yet still he climbs the rugged slopes in search of pre- 
cious ore, 

And persevering, he will search the hills for evermore. 
F. J. Read, in Saguache Crescent. 



To the land of the piiie clad hills and the dancing 
waters came the prospectors to snatch from the sands 
the i^olden dnst awaiting them. Over miles of 
prairies, past hostile red men, aronnd awaiting mili- 
tary forces, they streamed, led on by the lure of gold 
and sustained by the fearless courage of the prospector. 
North, south, east and west each sent its quota to the 
fire line on the battle field of the wilderness. In 
course of time there came to be certain main roads 
and trails marked out and which we will describe for 
the reader. 

The first and oldest trail was known as the 
Cheyenne trail. It began in Cheyenne. \Vyoming Ter- 
ritory, and passing in a northeasterly direction held 
the following camp sites or stations on its line : Nine 
Mile, Pole Creek, Horse Creek, Bear Springs, Chug 
Water, Hunton, Chug Springs, Eagles Nest, Six Mile, 
Fort Laramie, Swing Station, Ten Mile, Government 
Farm, Rawhide Buttes, Running Water, Hat Creek, 
Old Woman, Lance Creek, Robbers Roost, Cheyenne 
River, Jenny's Stockade, Beaver Creek, Canyon 
Springs. Cold Springs. Little Meadow, Ten Mile, and 
Dead wood. 

The drivers who piloted the stages along this 
line were Gene Barnett, Tom Cooper, George Drake, 
John Denny, Dave Greath, George Lathrop, Bugler 
John Nunen, John Bingham, George Graves, John 
Monroe, George Chapman, Cy Hawley, and Johnny 
Slaughter. Harry Hynds was the blacksmith for the 
line. Besides the regular run of passenger coaches, 
on this line, the importance of the gold shipments 
called for more careful protection and men who were 
especially brave, determined and reliable. These 
coaches were known as treasure coaches and were 
lined with heavy iron plates inside to protect from 
highwaymen's bullets. The original guards who ac- 
companied these treasure laden coaches, and who 
were armed with pistols and shot guns, were Scott 


Davis, Bill May, Boone May, Jesse Brown, Gale Hill, 
Billy Sample and John Cochran. These men became 
known as shot gun messengers and stood guard over 
hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gold that 
went on the journey from Deadwood to Cheyenne. 
This trail became the scene of many bloody encounters 
and many of the tales set forth in this book were en- 
acted along this route. 

There soon sprung up another trail from the 
south which became known as the Sidney trail, com- 
mencing at Sidney, Nebraska, passing through Dry 
Creek, Greenwood, Clark's Bridge, Red Willow, Run- 
ning Water, Hay Meadows, Deer Creek, White Earth, 
Red Cloud, Wells, Slate Springs, Cheyenne River, 
Lame Johnny Creek, French Creek, Sand Creek, 
Rapid City, Sturgis. Crook City and Deadwood. This 
trail likewise saw many a tragic end to golden dreams 
and became dotted here and there with spots where 
the grass grew taller and more green. 

Those who came to the Hills more directly from 
the east, sought out a route from Ft. Pierre, which 
followed over the prairies directly west to the Hills 
through Willow Creek, Lance Creek, Plum Creek, 
Medicine Creek, Bad River, Box Elder, striking Rapid 
City as the first port of entry and thence following 
northward over the Sidney trail to Deadwood. This 
trail did not see so many fierce encounters with In- 
dians and highway men as the other trails, but be- 
came the scene of tremendous freight transportation 
owing to the nearness of Ft. Pierre to the eastern homes 
of many pioneers who sought the Hills. 

From the northeast, the trail left by Custer, fur- 
nished a known passage and the general direction for 
the Bismarck trail which starting from Bismarck, 
passed through Little Hart, Dog Tooth, Whitney 
Springs, Cannon Ball, Grand River, North Moreau, 
South Moreau, Antelope, Cedar Canyon, Elm Springs, 
Belle Fourche, Spring Creek, Crook City and Dead- 
wood. This became a very important road and the 
deep ruts made by the heavy trains that rumbled over 

From the northwest there also came a stream of 


^old seekers and tlie Montana trail was established, 
lie.iiinning at Ijozeman and angling southeasterly nntil 
Deadwood was reached. This trail was the least im- 
portant of any of the routes to the Hills, but was the 
srene of many tragedies and Indian encounters. 

These were the trails to the Black Hills and they 
eml)raced a territory including Montana, North and 
South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming, a veritable 
empire the conquering of which was indeed the win- 
ning of the West. iNIany thousands of adventurous 
men jiassed over them during the last century and to 
note the events that transpired along these trails 
would fill many volumes. However, it may be of inter- 
est to some readers to set fortli some of the experi- 
ences of a few of the men who endured thetrials of the 


As communication was kept up with those at 
home, the pony express system was inaugurated and 
the importance of this venture and some of the char- 
acters connected with its early conduct and incidents 
can be realized from the following article on the pony 
expr-ess written by J. K. Ellis, of Chicago. 

Mr. Ellis is one of the noted writers from 1857 
and was with General Albert Sydney Johnson's army 
at Fort Bridger. The Pony Express was established 
in the anti-railroad and telegraph days, on the plains 
as a medium of rapid communication between the 
Missouri River and the Pacific Coast. It carried a 
a light mail of important letters and valuable docu- 
ments l)y relays of horses, twelve to fifteen miles each, 
running night and day at a rate of speed that was 
regulated by only the horse himself. It covered the 
distance of 2000 miles between St. Joseph and San 
Francisco on schedule time of eight days. This space 
in a number of instances was badly beaten, for on the 
occasion of Abe Lincoln's second election, the news 
was rushed through to the Coast in seven days, six 
'u»urs and twenty minutes by the marvelous vehicle 
of horse flesh. A picture illustrative of the scene at- 


tending the starting of the first ponj^ out of St. Joe 
would aptly express the importance with which the 
event was hailed. Johnny Frye a noted jockey of the 
town was the first rider. He was taken bodily, horse 
and all, into the postoffice with doors closed. A vast 
crowd gathered along the street forming a long Jane 
of human beings leading from the postoffice doorway 
to a distance of several blocks away. At a special 
time with the rider already mounted, a cannon was 
fired, the doors fiew open and Johnny and his horse 
shot out of the building, and went flying away with 
their precious load amidst the cheer of the waiting 
thousands of humanity. And the first pony express 
like the spirit of empire of which it was an import- 
ant factor westward took its way. It was run semi- 
weekly along with which was also run a weekly 
stage. It was the old Central, Overland, California 
and Pikes Peak Express Company, with old Billie 
Russell of the company of Majors Russell and Wadell 
at its head. This company had three hundred freight 
teams hauling supplies to all parts of the West. The 
terminus of the Pony Express was Salt Lake City. 
Wells Fargo conducted it from there to the Coast. 

Two of the most prominent characters connected 
with the running of the road were J. A. Slade and 
Frank McCarthy. Slade was superintendent of a divi- 
sion extending from Julesburg on the South Platte to 
Sweet Water, McCarthy was in charge of a number 
of freight trains hauling grain to the different sta- 
tions. Both of these men had already won distinc- 
tion by use of their ready revolver. And it was an 
open secret that each one had slain his man. With 
regard, however, to the terrible slaughter by them 
while conducting the affairs of the road let it be said 
to whatever credit it may entitle them, that their 
numerous victims were all men as unscrupulous as 
themselves. Along the lines of the road quite a num- 
ber of Indian traders had established themselves. 
They belonged to the worst type of Canadian French. 
Having Indian women and half breed families, they 
had dominated the old immigrant trail for years, trap- 


pi Hi;' in the winter and trading or robbing immigrants 
in summer. There were legends of dark deeds being 
committed by them that Avere attributed to Indians, 
but nobody ever dared to raise a hand against them. 
It SDon became apparent that the coming of the stage 
did not meet with their approval. In fact, they look- 
ed at it as a trespass on their hitherto domain, and 
in their unmitigated ignorance thought to drive it 
from the road. So they commenced to molest and 
harass it in various ways. Stock were chased away 
from the stations and mules were shot at night. Final- 
ly at Shoshay's ranch, on of the worst of the dens, a 
station keeper by the name of Robinson, was killed. 
This together with other atrocities which had been 
going on for sometime, had Slade and McCarthy 
worked up to a high pitch and caused them to com- 
mit one of the bloodiest deeds ever perpetrated by 
two men alone. Walking deliberately into the house 
they shot Shoshay, and two other men of the same 
stripe and also Shoshay's wife. She put up the worst 
light of any and they were compelled to kill her, 
Shoshay and his Indian wife had two children about 
seven and eight years old, and when the shooting be- 
gan they ran out of the house. This was about eight 
o'clock on a very dark night. The next morning the 
bones of the little girl were found picked clean hy the 
wolves. An Indian found the boy in a most pitiful 
plight and took him into Horseshoe Station fifty 
miles from Ft. Laramie which was Slade's headquar- 
ters. Mrs. Slade who had no children of her own and 
hearing of the lost boy in distress went out and coaxed 
the Indian to let her have him. She knew nothing 
of the tragedy at the time and she worked for hours 
over the forlorn little boy picking the thorns out of 
his flesh. It was a week before she could get him in- 
to anything like a normal mental condition. He ap- 
peared to be frightened at every little noise and would 
hide from strangers. 

Years passed and still Mrs. Slade held to her 
bosom the little black eyed charge. The last time the 
writer saw her was in 1866 when she was on her way 


to the east with him after giving him a good education. 

From here Slade and McCarthy passed on east 
to a place kept by a Frenchman by the name, Tnjnan, 
bnt before arriving tliere tliey met tlie stage and tlie 
driver told them that Tnjnan v^'as swearing vengeance 
against them. However, they paid no attention ri- 
what the driver had told them. They seemed to know 
no fear. Upon reaching this Frenchman's place the\ 
walked right into the honse and there the first man 
they saw was another of the gang named Dnlion, 
whom they shot. Later finding Tnjnan they led him 
ont and pointing to the mountains told him to go and 
never return. He asked permissioin to gather some 
of his effects and it was granted, but Slade stayed 
and saw him depart. McCarthy turned back west 
from here and Slade went on east of Jnlesburg and 
camped on the river where there were several oiiers 
in camp. Among them was a Frenchman named Jule, 
who belonged to the same faction as Shoshay and who 
had heard of the high handed business up the conn- 
try and had determined to kill Slade and McCarthy 
on sight. However, he was afraid to make any more 
while Slade had his gun strapped on him. One morn- 
ing Slade walked around the corral unarmed and 
Jule, who was watching, followed and shot Slade 
three times in the body. Thinking he had killed Slade, 
Jule jumped on his horse and skipped out. Tom 
O'Brien, lately a citizen of Sturgis, South Dakota, 
then a stage driver on the Overland and Si Shury 
heard the shot and ran out and picked Slade ui> and 
carried him to the station. Slade asked them to take 
off his boots so that he might not die with them on 
as had been predicted. A ride to Ft. Laramie 200 
miles away for a military surgeon was accomplished 
in eighteen hours and the surgeon with all possible 
speed was brought to the bedside of Slade where he 
did most excellent work, and finally brought him back 
to a perfect recovery. 

This shooting occurred about the first of April in 
1860, and in July, 1861, fifteen months^ afterwards 
Slade and Jule had not met, and as far as Slade was 


conceruecl he did not knoAV where Jiile was. One day 
Jule rode into Cold Springs Station about fifteen 
miles north of Julesburg. There he was met by three 
young men, Johnny Burnett, Mike Terry and Johnny 
Frye, the same fellow that had made the first ride on 
the Pony Express. These three men were chums of 
Slade, but unkown to Jule. Suddenly they pounced 
onto him and with a rope securely tied him to a post 
in the corral. It is probable that Slade had placed 
these men there for the purpose of capturing Jule, 
Anyhow, a short time afterwards the stage rolled up 
with Slade on board. On being informed that Jule 
was back of the house tied up, Slade walked out to 
where Jule was and drawing his revolver shoved it 
into Jule's face and fired. He aimed to kill Jule then 
and there and thought, as did all present that he had 
done so. The men went into the saloon. Later some- 
one came in and told Slade that Jule was sitting up 
and asked to see him. So Slade went out and found 
Jule in a sad plight, blood running down over his 
chest from the wound in his cheek where the bullet 
had entered and passed back of his ear. Jule said, "I 
will give you a thousand dollars if you will send for 
my wife and let me see her before I die." Slade 
answered, ''I don't want your money, although you 
owe me nearly a thousand dollars, and as to your wife, 
you did not think of mine when you cowardly shot me 
down unarmed. Now you've got to die." Then pull- 
ing his gun while Jule turned his face away Slade shot 
him through the back part of his head and Jule was 
no more. 

About this time Slade became too notorious to 
suit the company and he was asked to resign which he 
did. He then went of Virginia City, Montana, where 
he took up a ranch and resided until his death. He 
became much addicted to drink and was wont to get 
on wild drunks and shoot up saloons, stores and ter- 
rorize people in general. On one of his sprees he en- 
tered a saloon and after loud and boisterous conduct 
he ordered the drinks for the whole crowd. However, 
there happened to be a young boy who remained 


l)ack from tlie bar and did not take anv part in the 
drinking. Slade noticed this and angrily commanded 
the boy to come up with the crowd and join in tlie 
drinking. The young fellow timidly replied that he 
never drank. This reply threw Slade into a raging 
fury and with an oath he pulled out his revolver and 
shot the boy dead. After a while one of the crowd 
sneaked out from the building, spread the report 
about the little town and in a short time about two 
hundred of the law respecting citizens seized upon 
Slade. carried him to the outskirts of the town where 
they had prepared a gallows for him and placed a 
rope around his neck. Slade now realized that his hour 
had come and like Jule begged to see his wife, w^hom he 
knew was the only person who might intercede and 
save his life, but in the midst of his appeals the trap 
svas sprung, and when his wife arrived on the foam- 
ing black stallion she beheld a thing over which the 
ravens flap their wings. 


To keep open the routes of travel in the region of 
fhe Black Hills trails called forth the use of the mili- 
tary as early as 1866. for we find General Carrington 
engaged in the work of establishing posts in the Wyom 
ing and Montana country. That his task was no small 
one can be understood from the following account of 
some incidents of the time : 

In 1866 General Carrington was instructed b> the 
War Department to go out on Ihe Montana road to 
rebuild and garrison Fort Eeno on Powder River. Af- 
ter leaving Fort Laramie on this mission Carrington 
was met by Red Cloud who protested against him in- 
vading this famous hunting grounds of the Red Man. 
Of course Carrington was a soldier and paid no at- 
tention to the protest. Thereupon Red Cloud l)egan 
a campaign of annoyance, and attacks upon the 
soldiers which rendered their mission very hazardous, 
and extremely difficult. After completing the re- 
establishment of Fort Reno and leaving a small garri- 
son there, the main body proceeded on to the foot of 


the Big Horn mountains, where Fort Phil Kearney- 
was built. There throughout the season while the 
soldiers were engaged in building Fort Phil Kearney 
and supplying it with fuel, Red Cloud kept up the most 
tantalizing tactics, and it was soon unsafe for any 
person to venture outside of the barracks unless pro- 
tected by a detachment of military. General Carring- 
ton in his report to headquarters stated that a team 
could not be sent to the woodyard, nor for a load of 
hay to the meadows unless accompanied by a strong 

The first hunters sent out, came back themselves 
being hunted, and though game was abundant in close 
proximity no hunter dared try to obtain it. A reign 
of terror was up among the civilian teamsters so that 
no one of them would leave the stockade for wood or 
other supplies unless furnished with a suflflcient guard. 

Attacks upon the woodyard were of almost daily 
occurrence, and most always to the advantage of the 
Indians. Red Cloud by this time had assembled an 
army of about three thousand warriors, and this vast 
army were fed by their own resources while keeping 
the Fort in a state of siege. 

Finally on the 21st day of December, 1866, a 
considerable force of Indians appeared between the 
Fort and the wood camp five miles away. Captain 
Fetterman with a force of 81 men was ordered out to 
drive them away and protect the wood camp. The 
savages retired without any show of fighting. They 
kept retiring on approach of the troops until they 
craftily led Fetterman into an ambush where he and 
his entire force was destroyed. Not a man escaped to 
tell the story. This left the Fort with a guard weak- 
ened to the limit. Every day and every hour Carring- 
ton expected an attack in force on the Fort, but it 
seems that Red Cloud did not know the condition there. 

Throughout the following year, 1867, the Indians 
pursued the same mode of warfare, killing a soldier 
every time one ventured out, even fishing within three 
hundred yards of the stockade. And by their persist- 


eut (•oiiductiiig' of war they were successful in pre- 
venting- even one wagon from passing over this route, 
and the Montana road was never finished. 


On the first day of August, "07, another severe bat- 
tle was fought between soldiers and civilians at the 
wood camp and Eed Cloud's force, both sides lost 
heavily, but the Indians suffered far the greater loss. 
Porter and Gilmore were the contractors hauling 
wood for the winter's use at the Fort, they built a 
barricade of sod and logs for protection and had a 
guard of twenty-five soldiers. The Indians endeavor- 
ed to capture it by storm. But the fire was so deadly 
and accurate that the enemy were forced to abandon 
the attempt. ^^ 

I arrived there five days after this fight, skulls 
and other parts of dead Indians were lying where they 
fell, except w^here the wolves had carried them away. 
I was given charge of 24 teams belonging to John Y. 
Denny and McMichael and hauled saw logs for lum- 
ber to build dwellings and stables as the troops were 
living in tents and pine pole shacks at this time. We 
were not allowed to go anywhere without a strong 
guard. Red Cloud and his savages were on the look- 
out continually for an opportunity to pick off a man, 
and they could be seen at night dancing and pow-wow- 
ing around their camp fires. 

One day a freight outfit came along from Fort C. 
F. Smith and went into camp not over three hund- 
red yards from the stockade. Three day herders were 
gent a short distance to water their stock. Some of 
the cattle crossed over the creek and one of the men 
went to turn them back but he was shot and three 
scalps taken off his head, which was literally peeled. 

The call to arms was sounded at the Fort and the 
soldiers did not take time to saddle their mounts but 
went on a run bareback buckling on their belts of 
cartridges. They got sight of the red skins but could 
not get close enough to get a shot. 

Naturally in those days of intense interest in the 


new gold fields, there should be sought information 
about the routes to follow, and the newspapers would 
endeavor to supply all data to their readers. We will 
herewith reproduce an account taken from the ''Sidney 
Telegraph" of May 20, 1876. which paper then was un- 
der the control of Joseph B. Gossage of the present 
Rapid City Journal. 


In answer to the hundreds of communications 
we are in receipt of, Ave have compiled the budget of 
information herewith given, for the benefit of those 
who are afflicted with the Black Hills fever. While it 
is not as complete as we desire, we think it will answer 
most of the questions asked. 

The first question jDropounded is whether we 
really believe there is gold in the Black Hills. This 
has been too well proven to admit of doubt. Gold is 
found in paying quantities in nearly all portions of 
the region, the richest discoveries having been of quite 
recent occurrence, on Deadwood and WhitQwood 
creeks, some sixty miles from Custer City, which is 
now a large and flourishing town with reguarly elected 
officers, a full complement of business houses, etc. 

West and north of the Black Hills lie extensive 
mountain ranges of similar formation, which have 
been but little explored, but which are full of gold and 
silver, which latter metal has been discovered in large 
and rich veins, within thirty miles of Custer City. 
Good gold quartz mines have also been found in the 


Following we give the distance from Sidney to 
the Black Hills, the points mentioned being, as it will 
be seen, at convenient distances apart for camping 
and having accommodations for travelers: 

Sidney to Miles 

Water Hole 12 

Water Hole to Greenwood 12 


Greenwood to Court House Rock 10 

Court House Rock to North Platte 

River Crossing 8 

Platte Crossing- to^Red Willow 10 

Red Willow to Snake River 12 

Snake River to Point of Rocks 8 

Point of Rocks to Running Water 18 

Running Water to Antelope Creek 10 

Antelope Creek to Burdue Creek 7 

Burdue Creek to White River 12 

White River to Ten Buttes 8 

Ten Buttes to Beaver Creek 20 

Beaver Creek to Custer City 22 

Total distance 169 

These distances are by the road now travelled be- 
tween the two Agencies. The stage line leaves this 
route at Snake River, and running through Red 
Cloud. The distance by this route is 182 miles. 


At present there is a stage line running between 
Sidney and Red Cloud. The fare to Red Cloud, first 
class is 112.50. The line will be extended on to Custer 
City by the first of April, running through in twenty- 
eight hours' actual travel. 

It will cost less to outfit here than to bring out- 
fits with you. Heavy stocks and hot competition 
cause this. All kinds of provisions and mining tools 
can be had cheap. 

The following are the prices for mining tools, of 
which our merchants carry a large stock. Gold pans, 
|1.15 to |1.50; sluicing forks, |2; shovels, spring points, 
11.40 to 11.50. Quick silver, per pound, |1.75 to |2.00; 
picks, 11.25 to |2.50. By outfitting elsewhere it will 
cost a man at least 25 per cent more than it would if 
purchased in Sidney. 


In 1871 the Black Hills country belonged to the 
Sioux Indians and the white people had no rights in 
it whatever. The United States Government endeav- 


ored to protect the Indians in their hunting grounds 
and assisted them in trying to keep trespassers out of 
the hills, but despite the watchfulness and efforts of 
the United States troops, a gi'eat many people made 
an effort to go to the Black Hills. Very few succeed- 
ed in reaching the coveted region, many never even 
started. Some were intercepted enroute and forced 
to return under oath that they would not return to 
the Hills until a treaty was completed with the Sioux 
Nation. Some hardy travelers, however, evaded the 
troops and Indians and other obstructions and reach- 
ed the Hills. In the following words we wiU'relate the 
experiences of one of the men, John H. Brown, who 
overcame all difficulties and reached the Black Hills 
in his quest of gold. 

"In the month of June, 1875, while engaged in 
the occupation of freighter and encamped at Sidney, 
Nebraska, I was made acquainted with tlie fact that 
a party was organizing for the purpose of starting on 
a prospective trip to the Black Hills, a distance of 
two hundred and fifty miles. I sent my name in re- 
questing to become a member of the party, and was 
duly accepted at their next meeting. I was quietly 
informed that every move, act or word must be on the 
'Q T.' Our party consisted of eleven men, ten on 
horseback and one driver of two mules, hitched to a 
wagon, loaded with oats for the mules, provisions and 
baggage for the men. The names of some of the party 
were : John Williams, driver of the team, John Gofler, 
George Johnson, Thomas Reed and a carpenter called 
Scotty, and Sam Jenkins. Taken altogether, these men 
were a formidable bunch, all old timers, acquainted 
with hardships, of great endurance, and ready for 
anything they might come up against. Before leaving 
Sidney, we all signed an article of agreement that 
would tend to hold the party together svhile enroute 
to their destination and even after arriving there. The 
article was worded that any man of the party get- 
ting cold feet and wanting to turn back at any time 
on the trip, should forfeit his horse, gun and ammu- 
nition and be without provisions or other means of 


sustenance. Every man signed without a whimper 
or objection and obeyed it to the letter. We made our 
preparations for departure, sent the man with the 
team ahead and told him to camp at Chalk Bluff, 
about fifty miles west and north, and to wait for the 
party. AVe left Sidney one at a time and it took four 
days before we were all together at the Bluffs. The 
next morning we broke camp early, turning directly 
north and struck out for the North Platte river, 
across country, through sage brush, prairie dog towns 
and rattlesnakes. On the afternoon of the second 
day, we reached the Platte, but to our great disap- 
pointment, we soon saw that the river was on a ram- 
page and bank full of water caused by the melting 
snow from the mountains. Now the only thing to do 
was to go by way of Fore Laramie where there \".'as a 
ferry owned hj the Government. It was a forlorn 
hope that we could get across the river with soldiers 
right there watching for just such outfits as we were. 
But we pulled up the river within about three miles 
east of Fort Laramie and went into camp. The next 
day three of us rode into Fort Laramie unarmed. The 
soldiers seeing us on horseback with no equipment in 
sight paid little attention to us. The man .Jenkins 
had formerly held the position as blacksmith at this 
place and was well acquainted with many of the sold- 
iers, and especially the ferrymen. We were fortu- 
nate enough to make a deal with him to carry us 
across if we would get there before daylight. 

''I pulled for camp in short order; everyone was in 
bed sound asleep and the rain was pouring in torrents. 
They all got out, mules were hitched to the wagon and 
by three o'clock in the morning we had crossed the 
river and travelled about fifteen miles before we camp- 
ed for breakfast and a little rest, which we all need- 
ed after an all night session in the rain That night 
we camped at Rawhide Buttes, fifty miles from Lara- 
mie. Here one of our men took his gun and thought 
he would go up the creek and possibly find a deer, but 
in a short time he was back in camp out of breath 
and reported a band of Indians just east of the hill 


behind ns and some of them on -tlie hill watching our 
camp. Our stock was picketed right in the direction 
that the Indians were, so we ligured that if we went 
out offer our horses, we would be in close range of 
their guns, and if they came after the stock they 
would be in close range of our guns. We pretended 
that we were unconscious of their presence, got out 
our blankets and spread them down as if "making prep- 
arations to sleep. We waited until dark, then every 
man gathered his gun and went for his horse, hitched 
up and drove nearly all night. We went into camp, 
staked our horses close by and put two men on guard 
in case the Indians had discovered our movements 
and followed, which they did. We had been in camp 
only a .short time until they were on us, shooting and 
yelling and running into our horses in an effort to 
stampede them, but they were taken l)y surprise when 
they were received by two men on guard with repeat- 
ing rifles. The rest of us were up iu a moment as we 
were sleeping with our clothes on, and the Indians 
soon retreated to the hills where they kept up an in- 
termittent firing until morning. We could not do 
much as they were concealed behind rocks and hills. 
As daylight came, the Indians were enabled to get our 
range and we soon realized that the fight would have 
to be brought to a finish, so we mounted and rode 
away in the opposite direction and riding around the 
hill, came upon the Indians in the rear. The Indians 
immediately retreated after losing a few ponies. We 
went back to camp and dug rifle pits and prepared for 
another attack, but they did not come. The next day 
we moved on and in due time reached Jenney's Stock- 
ade, which was located on the western side of the 
Black Hills. Here we had a good long rest and then 
broke camp and entered the hills proper, and travelled 
until well along in the afternoon, but we had no water 
and we were compelled to travel all day without 
water and go into camp that night almost famished 
from thirst. Early the next morning we were on the 
move again and after a short distance we came across 
an Indian trail leading down an incline and felt sure 


it led to water. Here we waited while two followed 
the trail and soon returned with canteens filled with 
good, cold water. I do not believe that if we had 
found a mine of pure gold that we would have been 
more pleased than to find that spring of pure, cold 
water. We rei^ained at this spring that day and in 
the evening, Jenkins and myself started out on a 
hunt for deer. After traveling for about two miles, 
we separated and planned to meet on the opposite 
side of a long ridge. I shot a deer, hung it to a tree 
and went to the other side to meet Jenkins. He was 
not there and I fired my gun but received no answer. 
I returned to camp and was surprised to learn that he 
had not been seen there. The next morning we mount- 
ed our horses and scouted over the country far and 
near but could find no trace of him. After a two 
days' w^ait, we moved on and made our permanent 
camp on French Creek, west of where Custer Cit}" is 
now located. We found bones almost everywhere 
and here in June, 1875, we erected a log cabin. After 
several weeks, we found that we would have to have 
more flour, bacon and coffee, and we sent two men to 
the Red Cloud Agency to buy them. When about 
fifteen miles from our camp, these two men caught 
sight of a man crouching in the bushes and to their 
great surprise, saw that is was Jenkins, as much 
astonished as they were to see him. During the 
three weeks that he had been lost, he had subsisted on 
turtle doves and rabbits, which he would kill with 
rocks, and a few berries, being afraid to fire his gun 
for fear of attracting Indians. He was taken back to 
camp and restored to his party and did not go hunt- 
ing again as long as he remained there. The Indians 
were constantly on the move through the hills and we 
were compelled to keep guard day and night while 
the rest of us panned out the gold. They fired into 
our camp at various times, but did not come within 
close range. We were progressing in fine shape and 
had great hopes of a little fortune when we were sud- 
denly approached by a troop of cavalry who notified 
us that they had come to take us out of the hills. The 


commander in cliarge gave us nntil the fifteenth to 
prepare to move out. The next morning we started 
and came up close to where Bntfalo (xap is located 
and for two days travelled south until we reached the 
forks of the trail. Here the commander gave us our 
choice of going to Spotted Tail and be held there or 
taking an oath to stay out of the Hills until a treaty 
with the Indians was nmde to satisfy them. We chose 
the latter and were liberated and upon arriving at 
Sidney, Nebraska, we disbanded, shook hands and 
separated, and from that day to this, December, 1920, 
I have not met one of that party, and as far as I know, 
I am the only one living at this time. 


It might be interesting to some of our readers 
to have a description of what a pioneer freight train 
or outfit consisted and we accordingly note here the 
words of one of the old time and greatly experienced 
freighters — Jesse Brown. A freight team or bull team 
as they were called in the early days of freighting on 
the plains consisted of seven or eight yoke of oxen 
hitched to an old Murphy or Kern wagon made in St. 
Louis, Mo. The load generally weighed seventy-five 
to eighty hundred pounds. In yoking up or hitching the 
animals to the wagon, the wheelers or the pair that 
were immediately next to the tongue were yoked up 
first and fastened to the tongue of the wagon. The 
next pair to be yoked were the leaders and they were 
fastened to the w^agon to which they belonged. The 
succeeding pairs of oxen were caught up in rotation 
until the entire team was completed. The first pair 
ahead of the wheelers were called first pointers, the 
third pair from the wagon were second pointers. The 
next two or three pairs were the wings, first, second 
and third. There were the right and left wings and 
each wing had a lead driver. -The oxen in the wings 
w^ere changed after every drive, that is, the right wing 
would lead on the morning drive and the left wing 
would lead in the afternoon drive. These lead teams 
would soon learn to turn out of the road and almost 




make a circle to form the corral with very little as- 
sistance from the driver although the wagon master 
or assistant was always there to see that the two half 
circles were formed correctly. The term corral was 
used to describe the circle that was formed by the 
oxen and wagons as they came into camp, this plan 
being useful in the defensive tactics that had to be 
used against the Indians who were in the habit of 
making attacks on the freight trains by circling about 
them and attempting to shoot them from the rear. 

In the regulation outfit there were four messes, 
about eight men to the mess and ordinarily there 
would be regular cooks who had no other duty to per- 
form. They escaped the duty of the work of helping 
to grease the wagons or stand day herd or any extra 
work such as helping shoe the cattle when they be- 
came foot sore. There were no tents gr cook stoves 
carried in the early, days of freighting, so if it hap- 
pened to be raining about meal time the men were 
compelled to fast until the storm was over. There was 
no wood along the line from the Missouri River to 
Fort Laramie, although there were some scattered 
green trees of cottonwood which were uselcvss to the 
freighters. The food consisted of flour, bacon, beans, 
sugar, coffee, blackstrap molasses and dried apples 
but it was seldom that there was time for cooking 
beans unless the cook would stay up in the night to 
cook them. Accordingly, bread, bacon and coffee com- 
prised the principal diet. 

The whips used by the drivers were something 
wonderful. They were made by hand, generally by 
some of the old drivers. No one else ever need to try 
making a bull whip such as were used in those days 
unless they had been on the freight road and knew 
how to commence. Usually a piece of small rope, af- 
ter being well tarred, was used for the foundation, 
at the butt or stock part of the whip. Then there 
would be a layer of buck-skin extending behind one 
another three or four feet until the whip when com- 
pleted would measure some twenty feet or more. 

An experienced and efficient driver would never 


drag his whip after him but wonld carry it rolled up 
in his hand from which position it was quickly unlim- 
bered when needed. Timber for whip stocks was 
very scarce. In fact, there was no material to be had 
only at the starting point on the journey. The stock 
was generally about four feet long but some stocks 
were used that were only two feet long where the 
driver had broken the original length of the stick in 
s(mie manner or had been unable to get a longer piece 
for another one. 

No driver was allowed to cut or draw blood from 
his cattle with his whip and was required to have a 
broad popper on the end which would make a report 
like a ritle shot but would not cut the hide of the oxen. 

Majors Russell and Wadell, who owned the largest 
freighting outfits on the plains, consisting of three 
hundred teams, presented each driver with a Testa- 
ment and requested each of them to read it each day, 
a request which very few complied with. Each uian 
furnished his own bed or bedding and if there \\ as no 
room for him in his wagon to sleep, he could spread 
them under his wagon or any place that suited him. 
Occasionally upon arising in the morning he would 
find that he had accommodated a partner in the shape 
of a rattle snake. The report was common that if a 
hair lariat rope circled around the sleeper at night it 
would prevent the snakes from passing over it but 
actual experience proved the story false. 

Bull teams loaded, would average about one hund- 
red miles per week. The wages of the drivers in the 
summer were around $50.00 per month with board and 
later in the season |T5.00 was the figure. In winter 
camp, that is with the herd during the winter, $25.00 
per month was paid but a man had an opportunity 
to make money on the side if he were experienced in 
trappiug as beavers were plentiful in all of the 
sireams. The men who were handling the teams were 
known commonly as "Bull Whackers.'' The above 
items present merely the ordinary run of the life of 
the freighter but he was not always in peace and 
plenty for many times men became sick and some of 


them died. Like all uumbers of men who are gather- 
ed together, there were quarrels among them and 
they fought among themselves and sometimes died. 
They fought the Indians and were wounded and died 
and along the trail is many an unmarked grave where 
many a mother's son lies sleeping alone and forgotten. 


No man bore a more important part in opening 
up to settlement and occupation of the Black Hills 
than the freighter. Indeed, upon him all others, of 
necessity, depended. What was true of the pioneer- 
ing of this section was equally true of every military 
post, every frontier settlement, arid every isolated min- 
ing camp of the west. All depended upon the freighter 
for the supplies necessary for their sustenance. Should 
he fail them, they too must fail. That he did not fail, 
though often called upon to surmount apparently 
mountainous obstacles, proves that lie was a man of 
great courage, energy and resourcefulness. 

Large amounts of money ^^■ere ventured in pur- 
chasing, equipping and conducting the operation of 
the big freight outfits that travelled the roads between 
the tlills and the Union Pacitic at Sidney and Chey- 
enne, the Northern Pacitic at Bismarck, the steam- 
boat landing at Ft. Pierre, and later, the North west- 
ern's terminus at Pierre. Numerous smaller but by 
no means insignificant trains there were from Yank- 
ton and other points. During the year of 1876 and 
the early part of 1877 all of the roads named were in- 
fested 1)3' hostile Indians, who took advantage of ev- 
ery opportunity to shoot the drivers from ambush, 
and kill or stampede the stock, whether mules or 
ox"^!. Bridges there were none. The streams, some- 
times in flood, were forded, and a sight worth seeing 
and well remembered by the writer was that of three 
full ox teams of seven yoke in each team, twenty-one 
yoke in all, stretched out across the North Platte river 
on the old Sidney trail, attached to a single wagon 
loaded with supplies, hauling it through the stream 
in flood with a bottom of treacherous quicksand. 


tract. Whatever the difficulties encountered, whether 
by reason of high water, bad weather, bottomless 
gumbo or Indian depredations, the freight must be de- 
livered, and even at this day the exhortation to "pull 
your freight" is understood by the old timer as a com- 
mand to be obeyed, not questioned. Nothing short 
of an attack by an overwhelming force of Indians, 
causing a train to be held in "corral," would be accept- 
ed as a sufficient reason for serious delay. The effi- 
ciency of the service is attested by the fact that be- 
fore the big outfits were organized in the spring of 
'76. flour commanded sixty dollars per hundred in 
Deadwood Gulch, while with the coming of summer 
and the freighter, the price dropped, and in the fall 
of that year it was plentiful at nine dollars per hund- 
red, and only once afterwards during the time of de- 
pendance upon the mule and bull trains, and before 
the coming of the railroads, did the price go up to 
thirty-five dollars per hundred. This was for but a 
brief period in the spring of '77, when the roads were 
practically impassable. 

The man in charge of the wagon train was known 
as the "wagon master," or more generally "wagon 
boss." With his outfit loaded and out upon the road 
he was in supreme command. His cargo always 
represented large values, and upon his shoulders rest- 
ed a heavy weight of responsibility. The life of a 
"bull-whacker" or "mule-skinner" was not a picnic. 
He worked hard, often under wretched conditions of 
weather and roads; his pay was not munificient ; his 
fare was of the roughest, often cooked over a fire of 
"chips," while his bed comprised a pair of blankets 
spread upon the ground under his wagon. Called up- 
on to fight, he ever was compelled to fight in the 
open against a hidden enemy, the Indians always hav- 
ing choice of place and conditions. Attacked by In- 
dians, the hunter or prospector or the light equipped 
pony express rider might have some chance of dodg- 
ing, running or exercising some choice of ground on 
whicTi to make a stand. Nothing of the kind was 


possible to the freio;hter. With his slow moving out- 
fit, when attacked there was but one course to pursue. 
Tliat was to "corral" the wagons in a circle with the 
stock inside, and prepare to "stand off" the enemy as 
well as possible from such shelter as the wagons af- 
forded. Considerable time was required to prepare 
even this meagre protection, during which men and 
animals were exposed to the Indian bullets without a 
possibly of returning the fire. 

Such a life, it may well be surmised, had little to 
attract the timid or effeminate. Naturally the men 
who engaged in it were men of courage and endur- 
ance, nor is it wonderful that among them were not 
a few turbulent spirits difficult of control. If their 
work was strenuous, they were inclined to take their 
pleasures no less strenuously, and with their wagons 
unhmded and their wages paid them in Deadwood or 
Lead, they usually made their presence known in the 
many saloons, gambling houses and dance halls open 
for tlie spending of their hard earned money. To 
keep a crew of such men under sufficient discipline 
to make their services reliable and efficient the 
wagon boss was of necessity a man of undoubted 
courage and tact. To him and to the men who with 
him toiled and fought over the various trails between 
"The States" and the Black Hills, that the pioneers 
might be sustained in their work of laying the foun- 
dations for the present prosperity of this region, this 
article is offered as a tribute too long delayed. 


To better realize the task of the freighter and the 
problems that he had to solve, the following incidents 
in the life of Jesse Brown are given as he relates 

In 1873 I was engaged in freighting for the Gov- 
ernment to the different military posts, and the In- 
dian agencies. In September of that year we made a 
trip to Foi't Bandall on the Missouri river. The In- 
dians at that time were supposed to be peaceable as 


they had been gathered in by the U. S. army at Bor- 
deaux Creek, east of where Chadron, Nebraska, is now, 
and called Spotted Tail agency. Notwithstanding 
the fact that while they were being fed and furnish- 
ed everything in the way of provisions and clothing, 
the young bucks had killed their mail carrier and sev- 
eral others when caught alone. Neither the soldiers 
nor civilians were allowed to shoot at an Indian until 
the Indian got in the first shot, and the Indians knew 
this. Therefore they would ride right up to a man 
professing friendship and shoot him in the back. This 
happened frequently, and in passing through their 
reservation we were compelled to take chances in the 
pursuance of our duty. On many occasions I would 
not have given twenty-five cents for my chance. 

One time when the bulls were brought in by the 
night herder, there were some of them missing. We 
were camped on a little stream east of the agency, en- 
route to Randall, so I went up the creek and the herd- 
er down. I had not gone over a mile when I found 
the trail of the cattle. I followed it up over a hill, and 
upon reaching the top of the hill I looked and saw 
the tops of some tepees. I stopped, hesitating and 
considering what best to do. But under the circum- 
stances there was only one thing to do and that was 
to get those bulls. So I rode bravely right down by 
the tepees, the dogs coming out as if they would like 
to devour me on the spot, and the Indians following, 
some of them with their guns in their hands. T could 
talk a few words of their language and I said "Tokila 
tekleska" (meaning have you seen any cattle?) One 
old man pointed on up the creek. He proved to be 
the Chief Wounded Knee and a friend of the white 
man, and he got his pony and went with me and lielp- 
ed me drive the stock to camp. Of course he expected 
to get something for this and I gave him some sugar 
and bacon and he went away happy, but not any- 
more than I was at the result. 

Upon reaching White River, close to where the 
Rosebud Agency is now situated we found the grass 
burned. The Sioux Indians had been down on the 


Pawnee reservation and had a fight with the Pawnees 
and got the worst of tlie battle, and in making their 
get-away had fired the grass to prevent the Paw^nees 
from following. The fire had swept clear to White 
River way ahead of the Sioux, but we did not know 
these circnmstances at that time. So James M. Day 
and myself took saddle horses, after an understand- 
ing with Boone May, who was left in charge of the 
two outfits, that if we did not return that night, for 
him to start the next morning and follow up. If we 
found grass and water adjacent to each other we 
would put up a stake with a notice attached telling 
him which way to find grass. We rode two days 
along the road to Fort Randall and was satisfied 
that we could get through. On the evening of the 
second day having made up our minds to return to 
the wagons, we had stopped in a thick bunch of wil- 
lows on Turtle Creek to make some coffee and broil 
s ;me meat for supper. We had just about finished 
our repast when we heard the snapping of a dry wil- 
low and looking up there peeping at us w^as a big 
buck Indian. He says "How.' May says, "Hell, of 
course he wants something to eat." We gave, him 
bread, bacon and coffee in a tomato can and packed 
up as soon as possible, because we knew that there 
more of his class around not far away. We saddled 
up and rode along as far as we could under the pro- 
tection of a bank. I dismounted and peeped over the 
bank towards the road, and right in front of us was 
(luite a body of red devils returning from the fight 
spoken of. We concluded to remain where we were 
until dark, which was only a short time. The next 
place west where water could be obtained was Rock 
Creek and that they would camp there we knew. So 
we calculated to pass around their camp and left the 
road going to the left or south, but on coming back 
into the road after crossing the creek on the west 
side ran into some of their ponies. The next moment 
we were surrounded by the bloodthirsty howling mob. 
Well, I thought sure our time had come for they were 
mad and craving revenge on account of the whipping 


they had received from the Pawnees. They took us 
into camp, where there were about one thousand war- 
riors, and all the hubbub you ever heard was there. 
I know some of them wanted to shoot us from the 
way they looked and acted. Think of it "two pale 
faces" caught in their herd of horses at night. Heap 
Big Chief steal 'em ponies. But fortune is on the 
side of the brave. There happened to be a squawman 
there and he came up in the crowd, and we quickly 
explained to him who we were and our business; that 
we were trying to get through to Randall and were 
on our way to meet our outfit. That was all right and 
they motioned for us to go. 

After riding some distance on the road towards 
our outfits we slacked up thinking probably that we 
were all right for the present at least, but upon 
listening for a moment we could hear the clatter of 
horses feet, they were following us. We speeded on 
again endeavoring to reach the camp which we ex- 
pected to find at the next watering place about three 
miles ahead of us, and we did. They had just start- 
ed fires for cooking supper, and having made a long 
drive were late in getting into camp. May told the 
cooks to put out their fires, then sent two men with 
our horses to the herd telling them to stay with the 
herd until morning, and every man to get his gun 
and get into his wagon and remain there unless 
called out in case of emergenc3^ By this time the In- 
dians were coming into the corral. They went around 
to every wagon trying to get some one up but that 
was just what we were trying to avoid, for we would 
have had to cook supper for the whole bunch of 
them and then suffer any depredation at their hands 
that they chose to commit. They prodded some of 
the men with their guns, and pulled the blankets off 
others, but not a word of protest was uttered by any- 
one. Finally giving up the idea of getting any of us 
up, they searched the grub wagons (we had two) 
and took all of our sugar, most of the bacon, and 
some coffee but did not disturb the flour, nor the 
beans. So we had bread and beans straight until we 


reached Fort Randall. It was our number that pro- 
tested lis from further damage at the hands of these 
renegades. AVe had thirty-three men and could have 
made a hard fight, but as I have stated before, the 
Government would not allow a white man to shoot an 
Indian until the white man was killed first. I have 
overlooked the fact that they also took Boone May's 
saddle and he swore vengence on the Indians right 
there, and future events have proven that he made good. 
The next morning the same band of Indians on 
their way to the agency came upon a freighter by the 
name of Black Hawk in camp with his outfit. They 
were eating breakfast, when the reds charged upon 
them, dismounted and snatched the plates with the 
contents from the hands of the bull whackers and ate 
everything in sight that was cooked. Then ransack- 
ing their mess wagon, went to the herd, killed one of 
the fatest steers. Thus you can see the conditions 
and what the freighters had to contend with, without 
daring to dispute their rights or to make any resist- 
ance in the depredations of these pests. 


In April, 1876. I loaded up in Cheyenne for Cus- 
ter in the Black Hills. I had twelve teams, Frank 
AYhitney five, Matt Jobson two, Jim Clark two, AI 
Blye and Bill Edwards one each and John Dalzell 
two. Twenty-five all told. We organized and I was 
elected captain of the outfit. We expected to have to 
fight before we got through as the Indians were on 
the war path, and contesting the right of every one 
that sought to enter the hills. But there had been 
little trouble south of Hat Creek. I lost three horses 
at Niobrara but I always laid that to white men hang- 
ers-on at the ranch. The da}^ before we reached Hat 
Creek there was an outfit attacked on Indian Creek 
and several men killed and a few Indians, They made 
a determined stand against the reds but really did 
not understand Tndian mode of warfare The men 
were buried by the side of the road. We camped 
close by this place the next night, as that was the 
last watering place before reaching the Cheyenne 


river. Just before reaching this camp one of my men 
broke a tongue out of his lead wagon. After corral- 
ling I had taken one man, Louis Tadlock, with our 
guns and tools and went back and put in another 
tongue while the man stood guard. The next day we 
reached the Cheyenne river, and there we heard of 
the murder of the Metz family in Red Canyon. There 
was a spring there so we camped over night. I saw 
the tree where this family were sitting enjoying their 
dinner, when they were fired upon by their murder- 
ers. Metz and his wife were soon killed but a colored 
woman ran through the brush about a quarter of a 
mile when she was shot. This deed was blamed on the 
Indians but I am well satisfied that white men killed 
them for their money as it was very well known in 
Custer that Metz had sold his bakery there for a 
goodly sum of gold dust. I went up to the place 
where the persons had concealed themselves behind 
pine bushes that had been cut and planted in the 
ground and foot prints all showing boot or shoe tracks, 
besides their knee prints in the ground showed the 
weave of cloth. 

The next morning when we yoked up there was 
one steer missing and it happened to be mine so rather 
than delay the outfit I told them to go ahead and I 
would look for the lost ox. Matt Jobson says, 
"Brown, if you are going to stay back, I will stay 
with you." AYe looked down the creek quite a ways 
and could see no trace of the animal. We went up 
farther towards the top of the hill. We saw a mule 
outfit passing and they had spied us. We searched 
the brush back and forth for a while and had about 
reache<^l our camping place when we heard someone 
hallowing. We listened and found that they were 
calling first Brown and then Jobson. I called and 
asked what the matter was and Frank Whitney says, 
"Indians, that's what's the matter." The first thing 
that entered my mind was that our outfit had been at- 
tacked by Indians, but upon reaching the road we 
found that the mule train spoken of had overtaken 
our train and inquired if there was any men back in 


the canyon from the train. They were informed 
that there were two. They said that they discovered 
two men on one side of the hill and eleven Indians on 
top of the hill, and they had dismounted and were 
trying to get a shot at the two white men. It was 
Frank Whitney, Jim Clark and John Fleming that 
rode back to notify us of our danger. 

We arrived at Custer City, unloaded and got the 
bill of lading signed, went out to May, Ward and Par- 
shall's saw mill and selected the largest, clearest logs 
and had them sawed into boards. They measured 
from eighteen to twenty-four inches in width. T re- 
ceived sixty dollars per thousand in Cheyenne. Sold 
to Butler and Nealen to make wagon boxes. 

While in Custer a government mule outfit 
came in and Calamity Jane was driving one of 
the teams, dressed in a buckskin suit with two Colts 
six shooters on a belt. She was about the roughest 
looking human that I ever saw. The first place that 
attracted her attention was a saloon, where she was 
soon nmde blind as a bat frpm looking through the bot- 
tom of a glass. 


With one other incident significant of the life 
of the trail we will complete the general account of 
the trails. Captain C. V. Gardner had come into 
Custer in March, 1876, and decided that it was a good 
place to locate, and although he went out of the city 
in company with a body of two hundred disgusted 
gold hunters and had seen much of the work of hos- 
tile Indians, he returned soon afterwards, having pur- 
chased some 60,000 pounds of merchandise and sent 
it forward by freight. On this trip he joined a party 
of gold seekers at the Platte and all progressed with- 
out trouble until they reached Hat Creek station, 
where in the morning the Indians made a raid upon 
their herd and tried to stampede the stock. The skir- 
mish ended without damage to either side but prompt- 
ed the outfit to send out a scouting party of six mount- 
ed men. All went well until "Down Indian Creek" 


was reached when the scouts came galloping back 
pursued by six warriors. After passing a knoll, they 
sought to stand otf the savages until re-inforcements 
should c(nne uj), but the red lighters separated and 
part of them went around the knoll while the others 
passed over the top. The ones riding around the hill, 
ran right into the scouts and firing at them killed one 
man before they could get away. The remaining scouts 
fled at once to the corral that had been forming for 
the battle. Captain Gardner was between the scouts 
and the train when he saw the maneuver of the In- 
dians and the death of the scout and became also a 
target but the bullets went wild and by dropping to 
the ground and crawling under cover of a coulee, he 
succeeded in reaching the corralled train just before 
the band of fifty Indians surrounded the camp and 
oi)ened a vicious tire. For two hours they did their best 
to kill the white men, but finally retired without hav- 
ing done any more damage than to kill two horses of 
the train However, they took with them five good 
Indians as their share of the struggle. The besieged 
men did not know when the redmeu would return to 
the fight and they ^\'ere compelled to stand ready for 
battle at any moment. About two o'clock in the night 
volunteers went out to the scene of the tragedy of the 
day and Billy Wawn, picked up the body of the dead 
scout, now stark rigid and placing it upon his back 
carried it into camp like a cord wood stick. 

This little battle cast deep despair over the party 
and after the burial of their unfortunate companion, 
they held a meeting and all voted to return to their 
homes, except Captain Gardner and five others. The 
majority vote prevailed and the train began its re- 
turn journey, but was beset by Indians throughout 
the day. However, they met Hecht's and Street's and 
Thompson's freight outfits accompanied with thirty 
well armed men These men were the ones who were 
hauling the 60,000 pounds of freight into the Hills for 
Gardner and they were strong in favor of proceeding 
on with the journey, but Gardner informed them 
that they did so at their own peril and that he would 


lioUl them i-esponsible for the loss of the goods entrust- 
ed to them, as the force of the Indians was too large 
to be driven off by the train. The next morning dem- 
onstrated the wisdom of Gardner's counsel, for after 
an unsuccessful attempt to stampede the stock, the 
train was surrounded by five hundred yelling and 
whooping savages, who sent a rain of leaden missiles 
over into the barricade of wagon and freight. There 
were one hundred eighty white men in the camp and 
they responded to the attach with such vigor as to 
cause the attacking fordes to withdraw after one 
hour of battle. 

The leaders of the outfit were now convinced that 
with such determined and energetic opposition on the 
part of the Indians, assistance would be necessary 
and accordingly Captain Gardner and Billy Wawn, 
were chosen to ride to Laramie and seek aid from the 
troops at the fort. They mounted on two of the fleet- 
est horses in the train, and set out on their long and 
perilous journey. But when they arrived at Raw Hide 
Buttes at three o'clock in the morning, they came up- 
on the camp of Captain Egan, who when he learned 
that Gardner had been a captain in the civil war, re- 
ceived him quite cordially and promised to come to 
his rescue, stating that he was hunting Indians. Gard- 
ner and Wawn hurried to their companions near 
Hat Creek and led them to Indian Creek where they 
were joined by Captain Egan and his force. Here 
Captain Egan deposed the man who had been chosen 
captain of the train and placed Gardner in command 
stating that when he said ''Go" they were to go and 
when he said "Halt", they were to stop. At this point 
Captain Egan posted his infantry and took his cavalry 
and scouted the country for Indians while the wagon 
train went onward. Fortune was kind to them, for af- 
ter proceeding about eight miles a wagon broke and 
the train went into corral while the repairs were be- 
ing made. The site of the break down being where 
they could go into this formation and at the foot of a 
long steep hill. 

During the stop, Gardner was drafted as baker 


and while busily engaged in kneading dongh; the cry 
of Indians rang out and Gardner, without waiting to 
free his hands from the sticky mass, grabbed his gun 
and calling for volunteers, ran with the six men who 
responded, to the top of the knoll from where they 
could see the warriors in large numbers gathering to 
the attack. The scouts (juickly returned to camp and 
Gardner called for a volunteer to send word to Egan 
for help. A young man stepped to the front and 
mounting a fleet horse, braved death from the red 
marauders and rushed away just as the Indians with 
wild yells and whoops came on to the attack. For 
three hours they sent the bullets whizzing into the bar- 
ricades, but the defenders fought with the determina- 
tion to sell their lives dearly. Suddenly the yells and 
crack of rifles ceased and over the hills came the 
white horse cavalry of Captain Egan with flowiiig 
manes and distended nostrils. The red scouts had 
seen his advance in time to save their hides and were 
soon out of range. Captain Egan had not been able 
to proceed on his trip owing to the miring of his mules 
and had returned to his post just in time to see the 
signal fires of the Indians and get the word from the 
besieged freighters. Thus fate had twice intervened 
to protect the gold seekers, first with breaking the axle 
before the train had entered upon the narrow hill- 
side road where they could not have corralled in posi- 
tion to escape the bullets of the enemy, and second in 
the miring of the mules that held the military within 
easy riding distance. The soldiers escorted the train 
from here on into Custer, near which place they were 
met by a large body of men who had heard of the 
fighting and were coming out to the rescue. That night 
joy reigned supreme in Custer and dancing was the 
order of the day until the early morning hours, when 
Egan and Gardner were given the choicest room and 
couch of the town hotel, a front room parlor, with dirt 
floor and camp bed upon it. Ten o'clock in the fore- 
noon saw the two army officers still calm and peace- 
ful in sleep. 

Thirty-five years later, when the Hills had become 


the home of thousands of prosperous people and the 
war Avhoop a faint memor}^ of the past. Captain 
Gardner in the conrse of bnsiness affairs happened to 
be detained ont in the conntry near BnffaL) Gap and 
was obliged to seek shelter for the night from one of 
the settlers. After the evening meal the genial cap- 
tain and his kindly host were relating experiences of 
the days of long ago, and soon the cknKls of smoke 
that they sent forth from their evening pipes were 
peopled with the ghosts of their younger days. And 
then there came the heroic story of the .yonn.s; lad \/ho 
at the call of the intrepid captain, had rnshed forth in 
view of the attacking force upon his perilous ride to 
save the one hnnderd eighty of his embattled fellows 
from death and torture. And then these two gray 
haired boys grasped each other in joyful surprise, for 
one was Gardner, captain of the day, and the other 
Joe Marty, fearless rider to the rescue. 


The news of the discovery of gold in the Black 
Hills had spread far and near and gold seekers every- 
where were planning to go there and seek their for- 
tune. Accordingly in the territory of Montana in the 
month of March. 1876, the largest party of gold 
seekers that ever entered the Hills at one time was 
mustered together and broke for the south on the 
twentieth day of March. Bill Langston was appointed 
ro act as leader of the expedition and Joseph Cook as 
his assistant. The expedition consisted of two hund- 
red men, one hundred pack animals and a large wagon 
train. Among the men were expert miners, fanners 
and mechanics of all kinds and every man experienced 
on the western frontier. They struck the upper wat- 
ers of the Belle Fourclie river and while in camp on 
a creek west of Devils Tower they were attacked by 
the Indians and one man, named George Miller, was 
killed. The dead man was buried on this creek and to 
this day the stream is known as Miller Creek. 


Thus were the trails of the Black Hills blazed by 


the strnggling pioneers. However, the white men were 
not the original trail makers nor even were the In- 
dian tribes that had fought and lost the Hills among 
themselves in the centuries of their warring. The 
genuine and first pathfinders to the Hills were the 
great herds of bison that w^ere wont to resort to the 
foot hills in the fall when the prairie pastures became 
dry and parched. They sought out the easy grades 
over hills and through valleys, and located the water- 
ing places along their routes. Their tribes had for 
centuries marked out the gulches and gaps in the 
lofty ridges that encircled the hills of plenty and with 
with the coming of man there remained naught for 
him to do but follow the bison trail. The romance 
of the Black Hills Trails is fittingly sung in the poem 
by Richard E. Curran, of Ft. Pierre, South Dakota, 
which is herewith published that it may be more wide- 
ly known and appreciated. 


An old trail, a bold trail, 

The old French trappers knew 
A far trail and a war trail, 

Through the land of the fighting Sioux 
A rough trail, once a tough trail, 

Where oft the war-whoop thrilled 
The gold trail was a bold trail 

As it bore to the far Black Hills. 

So long ago^ that none may know. 

Not even the tribesmen red, 
What time was first, to quench their thirst, 

The bison herd was led. 
O'er hill and vale and wooded swale 

To the mighty river's shore. 
On the ridge's crest, straight east and west, 

The bison's pathway bore. 

At break of day on swift foray 
The red mass troopers sped 
Fierce fighting clan of the Blackface band 


By a wiley cliieftan led. 
P>y the ridge's crest, where the outlook's best, 

In the land of the dreaded Sioux. 
On the bison's trail, hoofs left no tale, 

AVell the raiding- red men knew. 

And all too soon for the red men's boon, 

The pale face trappers came, 
Through summer glow and winter snow 

He followed the drifting game. 
And ever best was the ridge's crest, 

"^Vith the lowlands spread to view 
And there without fail was the bison trail, 

Through the land of the Teton Sioux, 

From far to the west, mid mountain crest 

Came a tale of the glittering gold, 
By word of mouth, both north and south. 

Of Deadwood Gulch men told. 
And soon in view of the wondering Sioux 

Tame the rush of the gold-mad throng. 
And evei' west by the ridge's crest 

Ean the bison's trail along. 

Came a long draw train, through snow and rain 

In the height of the freighter's day. 
And mighty loads o'er rutted roads 

Creaked slowly on their way. 
By the ridge's crest came the stage express 

With keen-eyed shotgun guard 
And the trail they knew through the laud of the Sioux 

Was the trail of the bison herd. 

An old trail, a bold trail. 

Let us mark it deep and well 
And the bold tale of tlie gold trail 

To our wondering children tell. 
'Tis a rough trail — wild enough, trail, 

Yet I love this old trail best. 
For the old trail, ye gold trail, 

You helped us win the west. 



The winning- of the Hills was a conquest pure and 
simple and like all such movements in history, was 
paid for in a great toll of human blood. The white 
men were trespassers upon the most valued lands of 
the red men and the rightful owners vigorously resent- 
ed the encroachment. The complete story of that 
struggle for empire between the white and the red 
men, would require many pages of tragic incidents 
and will not be attempted in this volume. We will re- 
late some of the most important ones that the picture 
of the gory sacrifice of human life laid on the altar of 
gold may go down for the perusal of the coming 
generations, who may wish to know more in detail 
about the final chapters in the struggle that was 
waged for four centuries between the white trespass- 
ers and the red defenders in America. The account 
of the campaign of the Big Horn and the death of 
Custer, whom the Indians marked as the author of 
their troubles and the leader of the invaders, will be 
set forth in the chapter following this one. 


In the early days of the settlement of the Black 
Hills, times were not in the least bit monotonous and 
would furnish ample and sufficient excitement to the 
most adventurous and restless spirits of these days of 
moving picture shows. In order to show the rapid 
sequence of these exciting events, through the kindness 
of George V. Ayres, the first mayor of the town of 
Custer and now a prominent and successful wholesale 
hardware merchant of Deadwood, South Dakota, we 
are permitted to use a few^ extracts from a diary that 
he made in the pioneer days. We quote as follows: 
"I arrived in Custer City, Saturday, March 25th, 1876, 
at three o'clock p. m. in a big snow storm, having 
been on the road from Cheyenne, Wyoming, seven- 
teen days with snow ten days out of the seventeen. 


At tliat time tliere was estimated that Custer City 
had a population from six to ten thousand but few 
buildings had been erected and completed. The peo- 
ple were camped everywhere in and around the town, 
in tents, covered wagons and brush houses to protect 
them from the weather. The principal business was 
general merchandise, saloons and gambling houses, 
hotels and restaurants, there being about one sack of 
flour to two barrels of whiskey. There was no or- 
ganized government except a local organization called 
the 'Minute Men.' Captain Jack Crawford, the poet, 
was the Captain. The purpose of the organization 
was to repel the attacks of the Indians and prevent 
them running off the stock and after my arrival the 
Indians started trouble by massacreing the Metz party 
in Red Canyon.'' April 24th, Another party attacked 
by Indians in Red Canyon, one man killed but the In- 
dians repulsed with a loss of five killed." April 26th. 
"A party attacked by Indians on Indian Creek. Stut- 
tering Brown shot but not fatally. Report also came 
in of the killing of a man named Wood near Buffalo 
Gap." May 1st. "Report that three men had been 
killed ]»y Indians near Mound City, aear Castle Creek." 
May 2nd, "Two men reported killed by Indians on 
Slate Creek. Men sent down to bring in l)odies. A 
party also sent out to bring in the party of men kill- 
ed in Mound City near Castle Creek.'' May 3rd, "A 
party of sixty left for Cheyenne, scared out by the 
Indians." May 4th, "Indians came into town and ran 
off with twelve head of horses. A party came in from 
Cheyenne. They were attacked Ave miles this side of 
Red Canyon, by Indians, one man and two horses 
killed. About two hundred new arrivals today." May 
5th, ''The Indians came to town and ran off with six- 
teen more horses." May 6th, "Report from Hill City 
that the Indians ran off with eighteen head of horses 
from, there.'' May 7th, "Reverend Smith held the first 
church services in the Hills. Congregation composed 
of thirty men and five women. I attended." May 8th, 
"Smoky Jones shot by Indians, just outside the city 
limits but not fatally." May 18th, "A party of six 


nu'ii who started for Cheyeniio wero attacked l)y In- 
dians tliis side of Red Canyon, one killed and one seii- 
onslv Avonnded. The others retreated to a better posi- 
tion and reimlsed the Indians, killing three.'' IMay 
20th. "Metropolitan Hotel and three other bnildinus 
bnrned. ra])tain Egan Avith two companies of caval- 
ry arrived with a large train load of provisions. The 
safe in Stage Office robbed of |3000.00 in gold dnst." 
Jnly 14th, "Report came in that General Cnster and his 
entire company had been defeated and killed by the 
Indians.'' Augnst 7th, "Report came in that the out- 
going stage for Cheyenne had been attacked by In- 
dians on Indian Creek. The driver badly w^onnded and 
horses and mail were taken. Also report that (len- 
eral Crook had sent a dispatch from Fort Laramie 
that 800 Sionx warriors w^ere headed for the Black 
Hills and to look ont for them. A wagon train was 
attacked live miles out from Custer by the Indians 
but w^ere repnlsed without loss to the whites." August 
23rd, "Four men killed about four miles from Custer 
("ity while putting up hay. One of them was a half 
brother to Tom Hooper. Report also came in from 
Deadwood that on Sunday, August 20th, the Indians 
had killed four men near Deadwood and ran off one 
hundred and ninety head of stock.'" This will serve as 
a sort of index to the events more fully described in 
the pages following, and arranged about in the order 
of their occurrence. The first account will give an 
idea of the first incidents in Custer, from an ai-ticle 
written in December, 1875, from the Sidney Telegraph. 


The fifteenth of last month was a gala day with 
the miners now in the Black Hills. Captain Pollock, 
of the 9th U. S. Infantry with much regret to him- 
self, marched out of the hills and left Camp Collins, 
Custer City, with its comfortable quarters to the ten- 
der care of the poor, but honest miners, as he always 
styled them. 

Custer City is looming up, a mere dot of her fu- 
ture greatness. It is a miner's tow^n, in Custer's gulch. 


The town was first laid out about August 10th, 1875, 
and now contains about thirty houses, and others are 
being erected as fast as the weather and other circum- 
stances will permit. There are now three well travel- 
led roads leading through the town, one to the north, 
one to the south, and one to the east. Custer trail, or 
the one leading north, traverses several noted mines. 

On the 30th of November, there was a convention 
held by the miners in Custer City at which there were 
over two hundred and fifty miners present. The ob- 
ject of this convention was to establish a pony express 
from this point to the Spotted Tail Agency, and there 
is now such a conveyance running regularly every two 
weeks between these points. A carrier was appointed 
to carry the mail to and from the Hills at the rate of 
25 cents per letter, and 10 cents per paper. Therefore, 
all mail directed to Spotted Tail Agency will get to 
us without delay. An express office has been estab- 
lished at Custer City with Mr. Dow as agent. It ap- 
pears now that we have started well on the way to for- 
tune, and if we only had a little more grub on hand 
we would be the happiest people on earth. It is 
through your columns that 1 w^ish to inform the 
miners that were here last summer, of the disposi- 
tion of their ''grub" that was left here in care of the 
party, who were left in charge of the property to go 
out. Some two or three of the party were away at 
the time, and did not get back for three or four days 
after the troops had left. When they returned they 
found most of the property had been taken away by 
the wretches. It is thought that one of the pavtj by the 
name of Bob Kennon, could have saved much of the 
property, had he been so disposed, for he was in close 
proximity when the troops hurried out. Miners who 
had property here will not, therefore, depend on it. 

We have had little snow so far this season and 
the weather continues to be fine. If this kind of 
weather will only continue, and we are left alone we 
can work all winter sluicing. The most unfortunate 
thing that has occurred here this winter was a miner 
killed by Indians, named Leroy Keis, which took place 


neai- the foothills, not far from what is known as 
Jenny's Camp, on IJeaver Creek. Keis and a man 
named Jackson, started to Custer Park to see if the 
troops had gone ont when they were ambnshed, Jack- 
son making his escape, but lost his horse. I am in- 
formed that the commanding officer of this garrison 
was told the above fact but declined to punish the 
Indians. We can expect nothing better from a man 
who has not lost any of the red devils, but who don't 
care a farthing for a poor honest man who is striving 
daily to make an honest dollar. Don't let the unfor- 
tunate death of the poor miner daunt any from com- 
ing, for the Indians who perpetrated the vile act 
Avere but a small band of fifteen or sixteen in number. 
It would be best for all who come to keep together as 
much as possible, as it is perfectly safe for a party of 
eight or ten to come through and after they are once 
in the Hills they are as safe as they were in Sidney. 
There are now a great many first class miners from 
Idaho and Montana here, and they are in good spirits 
over the prospects of the country. 

A party returned a few days ago, from a trip to 
the north and west, about one hundred twenty-five 
miles where the finest coarse gold yet discovered in 
the Hills has been found. They found about fifty 
miners on those streams, all of them had from one to 
ten ounces of gold. A¥hile they were there one nugget 
was panned out weighing |22, at the rate of |16 per 
ounce, while nuggets from four to six dollars were 
very common. 

I would advise all w^ho contemplate coming to 
the Hills to lay in their supplies in Sidney. There is 
plenty of room in Ciister City for immigration and com- 
fortable quarters built for at least five hundred min- 
ers, so rush them along Mr. Telegraph for the more 
the merrier. 

The most famous wretch that I know of, is the 
devil in disguise of Captain Pollock of the 9tli U. S. 
Infantry who has repeatedly imposed upon the min- 
ers in every shape and form, has placed a blot on the 
good name of our army, by tying up miners by the 


thumbs for hours, and tantalizing them and then throw 
them in bnll-pens, and leave them there to eke out 
an existence. Andersonville prison was an honor and 
a palace to this Pollock bull-pen, as it is know^n here 
by that name. 

It is now "growing late and as the pony express 
leaves in the morning I will bring this to a close by 
signing myself Old Pick. 


About the 25th of April, 1876, I received a letter 
from California Joe, who had a ranch down on Rapid 
Creek and was trying to induce newcomers to settle 
there, and build a town to be called Rapid City. The 
note was written in lead pencil and ran thus : 

My Dear Jack, if you can be spared for a week 
from Custer, come over and bring eJule and Antelope 
Frank with you. The reds have been raising merry 
old H--1 and after wounding our leader ran off eight 
head of our horses including old Bally. The herder's 
name was Sherwood. There are only ten of us here all 
told and I think if you can come with two or three we 
can lay for them at the Lower Falls and gobble them 
next time. Answer by bearer if you can't come, and 
send me fifty rounds of cartridges for my fifty Sharps. 
Hope this will find your topnot still waving, I remain 
as ever, Joe. 

I immediately went to see Major Wynkoop, com- 
manding the Rangers and he gave me permission to go. 
I arrived at Rapid the next night witli four comrades 
besides myself. After two days and nights watching, 
Jule Seminole, one of my scouts came in and report- 
ed that there were 25 or 30 Indians down Box Elder 
Creek about twenty miles, and that they were com- 
ing from the direction of the big Cheyenne, and would 
probably move up about Rapid that night. Jule 
could tell by watching their movements just about 
what they were going to do, and he was correct in this 
instance. About 3 o'clock in the morning Jule went 
up to his cabin and started a big fire in the fireplace, 
also done the same in two or three other cabins, to at- 


tract the attention of this thieving onttit. These cab- 
ins were over a mile from the place of ambnsh. Just 
as daylight was breaking. Frank Smith discovered 
one wading up the creek. Frank reported to Joe and 
I. Joe said ''Let him alone he will signal to the others 
soon." In a few minutes the shrill bark of a coyote 
was heard proving Joe to be correct. Twenty-three 
well armed Indians rode up along the willow bank in 
Indian style, tliat is single file. We had been rein- 
forced by two miners during this time making seven- 
teen of us. AVe had six men on one side of the creek 
near an open space which we figured they would make 
a break for on receiving our fire from the opposite 
side. We took aim as best we could but it was a little 
dark yet to see the sights on our rifles. We gave 
them two volleys before they fully recovered from the 
surprise. AVe got fifteen ponies and eight scalps. 
Fifteen Indians escaped nearly all on foot. Joe 
killed three himself, the last one a long ways off. Joe 
rested his rifle on Frank Smith's shoulder, and killed 
Mr. Indian dead. There were three of our outfit 
wounded including myself, all slightly. But it had a 
wholesome effect on the Sioux, they did not venture 
back for some time. 


Another incident of early days took place in 
Custer. The first death. 

About eight o'clock in the winter of 1875, I was 
engaged in washing the supper dishes in my cabin. 
Two travelers entered, hungry, tired and footsore. 
After preparing supper for them and giving them a 
seat by the log fire they told me the following story : 

The elder man, John A. Byers, formerly was a cap- 
tain in a Maryland regiment during the Civil War, 
started from Sioux City on foot for the Hills, and 
was joined by the other, a boy about eighteen years 
old. They had travelled round five hundred miles 
carrying blankets and provisions and after escaping 
a hundred dangers, reached Custer in an almost ex- 
hausted condition. They stayed with me nearly a 


week when Byers went on to Deadwood. During this 
time Charley went to work to fix him a shelter. He 
dug into a l3ank about three feet and carried poles to 
raise it two feet above the ground. Covered it first 
with small poles and brush. The dirt, he put on too 
much dirt for the strength of the roof, and it broke in 
and killed him. There were no letters or papers to 
give us any idea who he was or where he belonged, 
and did not see Byers afterwards. Do not know any- 
thing more about him. On that day sitting on the green 
beside his demolished cabin I wrote these lines : 

Poor Charley braved the wintry storms 

And footed it all the way, 
And now he is a bleeding corpse 

He died at dawn today. 
His is the old, old story 

He saw bright prospects here 
He left his home, his friends, and all 

Perhaps a mother dear. 

If so, God pity that mother, 

Perhaps alone and poor. 
When someone breaks the blighting news 

Her heart will break I'm sure; 
To think she never, never more 

Will clasp him to her breast. 
Among the peaks in Custer Park 

Poor Charley now must rest. 

Down in the glade beside the brook 

Our boy shall sleep tomorrow, 
His weary march of life is o'er 

Now freed from care and sorrow. 
And while we think of home and love 

And better days in store, 
We humbly pray to Him above 

And bow to Heaven once more. 

— Jack Crawford, the Poet Scout. 



The town of Custer situated on French Creek in 
the southern part of tlie Black Hills was incubated in 
1875 but did not show much animation until the fol- 
lowing spring. The spirit of adventure was abroad in 
the land and men began pouring in by the hundi-eds 
with no other purpose than to chase the flimsy trail 
of fleeting fortune, far into the Indian country which 
was the forbidden land at that time. It was soon ap- 
parent that the camp was destined to become some- 
thing of a town and that it was urgent on some body 
to go into the building business to provide shelter for 
the incoming hordes of anxious treasure seekers. 
Therefore men were employed by JMayor Farnem to 
list out the timber and cut logs from the ridges and 
snake them in for the construction of suitable cabins 
along French Creeek on which the embryonic city had 
squatted. The men engaged in the cutting of these 
logs were making great headway felling the gigantic 
pines that had never felt the stroke of a white man's 
axe till now. These men had not been on the job a 
fortnight until they were attacked by a band of the 
bloody Sioux Indians, and two of the timber men were 
killed. The survivors got into town and told their 
tale of woe. John Biirroughs of Denver, Colorado, was 
serving as town marshal. He called a meeting that 
night which was held in Young and Gaylord's saloon 
to agree on some means of defense so that the log work 
could proceed. They organized the Custer City guards 
with forty-five expert shooters to stand off the In- 
dians, and protect the town. The next morning, like 
the King's army, they marched out of town under the 
direct command of Captain Jack Crawford, the Poet 
Scout, with his long hair and fangled buskskin tog- 
gery. And this expedition by the way was his initia- 
tion into the mysteries of western craftiueso. The 
scheme of protection worked fairly well and no more 
men were massacred on the job. 

One evening while Crawford was coming alone on 
a good horse, musing to himself over some lines for 


a frontier ditty, such as he was apt to dash off at any 
old time, he was startled to come suddenly upon an 
Indian lying in the grass along the trail. Jack's first 
impulse was to shoot him on the spot but the buck 
made the peace sign and said he was sick and wound- 
ed, and so he was as the captain could see on closer 
observation. Crawford had just come out from Penn- 
sylvania as a newspaper correspondent and his bug 
was to learn something more than James Fenimore 
Cooper ever knew about the inner workings of the 
noble red man. Believing that his hand was his own 
he got down and lifted the sick buck into the saddle 
and held him there as he led the horse to his cabin. 
They arrived after nightfall and to keep the matter 
away from the citizens who would stand for no friend- 
ly quarter to a savage, nothing was said by Crawford 
al)Out his strange guest hidden away in his shack. 
One day when the Indian thought he was going to chip 
in for sure he asked to see Sam Young who he said 
he had known at Fort Laramie. Young went out to 
the cabin, took one look at the emaciated form of 
the invalid and said, "Well if it ain't Jules Seminole 
the meanest half breed in the whole tribe, and the only 
thing to do with this skunk is to put an end to him 
right now.'' Crawford was scared at this turn of af- 
fairs but begged for the buck's miserable life, which 
was not worth saving in any kind of weather. The 
appeal to Young carried and he promised to say noth- 
ing about it to the boys. And Jack Crawford was left 
in undisputed possession of his secret charge. He 
doctored him up and nursed him along through the 
convalescent stage. The readers of this, here in the 
west will know now just about what happened so it is 
scarcely necessary to add that one night when the 
host was absent, Jules Seminole flew the coop, like the 
villain with the smiling cheek. He took with him 
Crawford's good horse, a roll of blankets, some cloth- 
ing and all the grub in the place to pay his benefactor 
for the kindness wasted upon his worthless carcass in 
the hour of great distress. All through his life he was 


worse than tlie serpent that slides along on the grassy 
sod, and stings the luckless foot. 

The account was squared a short time later when 
he was lynched by some cow boys for killing a herder. 


J. S. McClintock, a pioneer of Deadwood, has 
written the following account of the killing of four 
men on the Pierre trail which is herewith submitted : 

"Some time during the month of April, 1876, a 
freight train of horses was put on the road between Ft. 
Pierre and Rapid City by John Dillon, a wealthy 
merchant of Fort Pierre, for the purpose of furnishing 
sup]»lies for the Black Hills trade. While on its first 
trip going west a camp was struck at a point on the 
road known as Pino Springs, and somcrime during the 
night a yaluable mare was crippled but was taken 
along four miles next day and left by the roadside, 
the train proceeding on its way to the Hills, where the 
freight was unloaded and the train started on its re- 
turn trip to Pierre. 

"On reaching the place where the animal was left, 
it was found to haye so far recoyered from its injury 
as to he able to tray el, but for some reason, it was left 
behind and the train taken on to the Springs, where 
an early camp was made. 

"John Harrison, the train master, theii started 
back with two horses attached to a spring wagon, 
taking with him three others, one named Sadler, one 
known as Texas Jack, the name of the other man I 
haye forgotten. 

"It was found that they had caught the animal, 
and while returning to camp, in crossing a narrow yal- 
ley along which ran a dry creek bed, skirted by small 
trees and underbrush, close to and paralleling the 
road for seyeral hundred feet, they were fired on by 
a band of Indians at close range and literally shot to 
pieces. The horses, it appeared, had run in a circle 
and one running faster than the others, brought them 
back close to the starting point, where they stopped. 

^*As I remember it, the men were all found to- 


getlitn- on the Avagon, where they had I>een stripped of 
their apparel and everything else was taken except 
the wagon and a song book, and it was believed that 
the bovs wevo singing in a group when the volley was 

■'A grave of sufficient width was dug and the 
bodies of the four unfortunate victims of red devils 
were shrouded in their blankets and placed side by 
side and covered with soil and left in that lonely spot, 
S!)i!n to be, with a few exceptions, forgotten by the 


In the year 1S7G Charley Nolin was a pony ex- 
l»ress rider carrying the United States mail from 
Sidn(\v. Nebraska, through Rapid City on to Dead- 
wo.mI, Dakota Territory. In those day on account of 
the Indians being on the war patli and hostile to the 
white riders it was necessary for the mail carrier-s to 
do their riding under cover of darkness as far as pos- 
sible and rest in some secluded spot along the way 
during the bright sun light when the Indians would 
be roving about. At Rapid City he fell in on his last 
trip with a number of freighters and people who were 
coming to the Hills and he varied his usual rule of 
travelling by night and proceeded on his way for a 
while in company with the freighters known as the 
''Schofield Freighting Outfit." To the people with 
whom he conversed he stated that this was to be his 
last trip as a pony express rider and that he was anx- 
ious to complete it in order that he might return to 
his home in the' States,. He expressed the desire to 
hurry the journey toward its end that he might go 
home. When he reached the hill that lies southeast 
to the valley whei'e Sturgis is now located and he was 
thus close to the wooded part of the Hills which w^ould 
afford him more or less protection from the Indians 
he mounted his pony and stated to his companions 
that he would make a fast night ride and be able to 
get to Deadwood that night. He bade them goodbye 
and rode away. He had proceeded not much more 


bank of a small creek fired three bullets into his body, 
killing him instantly. The savages stripped the body, 
took the revolver, belt, gun, saddle and pony, ripped 
open the mail bag, scattered the contents on the 
prairie, and cut three scalps from the head. The 
freighters in the Schofield outfit heard the firing and 
hurried toward the place. They found the young 
man lying dead beside the road and they buried him 
in a shallow grave near where he fell. Sometime later. 
E. L. Carl and Fred Dickenson passed by the grave 
and noticed that the coyotes had dug down to the. 
feet of the dead mail carrier. They filled the hole 
with rocks and packed them down closely and there he 
rested until in 1880 when J. C. McMillan, Dan Mc- 
Millan, John G. Wenke and Charles Francis of Stur- 
gis purchased lot number ten in block number two of 
the Bear Butte Cemetery. There they reinterred the 
remains of the youth, high on. the mountain side be- 
neath the sighing pines and overlooking the valley 
whence the boy's spirit had been wafted home. The 
little creek still babbles along over its stony bed but 
thenceforth was known as Dead Man Creek and the 
gulch from Avhence it flows as Dead Man Gulch. 


The leading baker in Custer City in the year 187(> 
was known by the name of Metz. He had conducted a 
very prosperous business, for Custer in those days 
was the first town to be met on the trail from the 
south and the point to which the greatest number of 
gold seekers first directed their journey. When gold 
was discovered in Deadwood Gulch and the surround- 
ing camps, the rush of gold seekers to the mining lo- 
cations was so great that Metz foresaw that the days 
of Custer's prosperity were soon to pass and when he 
had an opportunity to sell his business and property 
at a good price he made the most of it and prepared 
to leave the Hills and return to Laramie City, Wyom- 
ing, from whence he had come. On the day that he 
had planned to leave the town of Custer, Scott Davis 


arrived with his mule outfit from Cheyenne and Metz 
inciuired of him wliether he liad «een any Indians en- 
route. Davis informed him that he had seen none 
north of the Cheyenne river but advised Metz not to 
attempt to go out of the Hills ahnie l)nt wait until the 
next day and go out with his outtit on their return 
trip as it would be much more safe. However, Metz 
decided to move out at once and go as far as Cheyenne 
River Ranch where he was to wait tlie coming of 
Davis. He had with him his wife, another man as 
the driver and a negro woman who had been their 

All went well witli them and they arrived at the 
mouth of the Red Canyon where they camped for din- 
ner. April 24th, 1876. They had prepared their meal 
and were unawai-e of any* trouble or danger as they 
were seated beneath the large tree. It was a beautiful, 
bright summer day in June and peace appeared to be 
hovering over all nature, when suddenly the report of 
rifles rang out. Metz fell dead near the wagon with 
a bullet through his head and several others through 
his body. The driver of the party was found about 
a half mile from the wagon, and that of Mrs. Metz 
still farther away, shot through the heart. She had 
evidently made a wild race for life before the mur- 
derous bullet ended her terror. Robert Flormann was 
in charge of a party passing through the canyon the 
next morning and he found the victims mutilated and 
strewn along the gulch, but did not find the body of 
the negro woman. Mrs. Flormann assisted in the 
preparation of the dead for burial, her part being to 
clothe the body of Mrs. Metz, wash her face and brush 
back the disheveled hair. The three corpses were 
then sent back under escort to Cheyenne station where 
they were buried. 

The wagons of the party had been ransacked, the 
trunks .and boxes broken up and articles scattei-ed all 
about, and much of the valuable things carried away. 
Search for the body of the negro woman failed to lo- 
cate it, but several days later, Captain C. V. Gardner 
came out from Custer on his way to Cheyenne in com- 


panv with several Inindred disgrniitled and dis- 
c()iivai>ed i>old seekers and made noon day camp in the 
caiiYon near the site of tlie mnrder. After camp was 
str-nck and the march began, (lardner took a tow path 
along the rivulet off the road and there he saw the 
body of the woman in a small ravine or draw, leaning 
face forward againsl the bank, in an upright position 
Avith her arms back of her neck, and with a single 
arrow piercing her back, as if she had been shot from 
behind while peeping over the top of the bank. He 
pulled the arrow from her body and sent the deadly 
weai)nn to Stebbin's & Post's Bank in Cheyenne for 
safe keeping. 

In June. 187G, the Odd Fellows lodge of Cheyenne 
of which Metz was a member, called for volunteers to 
carry the body of their comrade back to his home. Six 
men volunteered, among whom was Herman Bischoff. 
now of Deadwood. Accordingly the men went (uit to 
the station and exhumed the bodies of Metz and his 
wife, already in advanced stages of decomposition 
and made the retui-n trip to the Wyoming home. The 
journey was a most trying one and the men had to 
make frequent shifts to relieve each other from the 
terrible and sickening odors. 


In April, 187G, six men under the command of J. 
I). Hunter, left Custer Cit3\ early in the morning with 
several pack animals. They aimed to make their 
cam]> that night at a jxjint in the Red Canyon called 
"The S])ring on the Hill.'' It was about twc^nty miles 
friim Custer City in a southwest direction. Although 
some of thrse men were old and experienced plains- 
men, they were ambushed by about twenty-five Sioux 
Indians, while near the Spring. The Indians tired a 
volley at short range and Hunter was shot while he 
was dismoun ing, and died trying to tell the other 
boys a message for his wife. 

John C. Coyer was wounded about the same time, 
and being in command, ordered tlie party to take to 


by the men, Coyer killed an Indian himself, and 
though mortally wounded, kept command and en- 
couraged the fighting boys. During this time the pack- 
horses were wounded and in their mad stampede, 
rushed about and caused a great deal of confusion. 

The Indians, after looting the packs, set the camp 
on fire to burn up the white men, but Coyer outwitted 
them again by having a back fire started. The fight 
continued until dark, and James Berry, moved by 
the piteous cries of Coyer for water, found a pony 
that had escaped the Indians and quietly went to the 
spring and obtained water for the wounded man, 
then slipped away to Custer, where he found Dr. 
Pierce, and reported the trouble. Three pistol shots 
from the gun of Pierce drew the whole town together 
at once, and twenty men with Mayor Bemis were soon 
OD their way to Red Canyon where they arrived at 
daylight. The Indians, upon their arrival, skipped out. 

The party buried Hunter on the knoll where he 
fell and Coyer, being still alive, was carried on a 
travois and brought back to Custer. An examination 
by Dr. Flick disclosed that his end was near. Coyer 
was given a pencil and paper, and while he was held 
uj) by his comrades, wrote a farewell letter to his 
wife, telling her to be brave, and directing what she 
was to do with the children. Then he laid down and 


Among the people who were gathered into the 
Hills in the 70"s by the lure of gold long held in the 
mountain gulches there were some who could not get 
accustomed to the wild and boisterous times of those 
days and as soon as possible turned their faces to- 
ward their home country. There were streams of 
people coming in and also long trains going out. 
Among some of the people in the year 1877, who 
sought the eastern states from Avhence they had come 
was a family known as the ''Wagner family" consist- 
ing of the two brothers and the wife of one of them. Be- 
coming tired of the vain efforts to become rich in find- 


iniT^ sold in tl^e "ulchos of the mountains, in the month 
of July, 1S77, they packed their honseliold ooods ja 
a freighter's wao'on. liitched np their team and left 
Crook City oyer the Bismarck Trail. This trail ran 
northeast over the Hills from the town of Crook City 
ont east and north of Bear Butte. On the 17th day of 
July this party had passed Spring Creek at about 
noon and were hurrying rapidly to overtake the 
freighter by the name of Pete Oslund who was a 
countryman of theirs and who had preceded them 
along the trail. But when the incoming stage from 
Bismarck had arrived at a point on the school sec- 
tion northwest of Bear Butte they found that the In- 
dians had waylaid the Wagner family. The ox team 
had been shot, one of the animals lying dead and 
the oJier standing by so badly wounded as to soon 
die. Along the road about twenty paces apart were 
f(;und the b:;dies of the two men where they fell from 
the bullets of the savages, and stripped of their cloth- 
ing but not' scalped owing to their short hair. Near 
the wagon was found the woman whose body had been 
mutilated and the ox goad rammed into her abdomen. 
She had long beautiful golden hair and from her head 
was taken a scalp. The contents of the wagon, con- 
sisting of household goods, articles and supplies were 
broken and scattered about over the grass. 

When the stage arrived on the scene the bodies 
were still warm but no Indians were to be se-.^n. W. 
J. Thornby was on the stage that day and when he 
arrived at Crook City, hired a party to go out and 
haul the unfortunate family to that place where the 
two brothers and the wife with her unborn ba ;e were 
buried. For many years there remained at the fatal 
spot a few broken pieces of dishes to mark the point 
where the cruel hand of fate had taken its tribute of 
blood and turned the morning of hope into the night 
oi' despair. 


Not all of the iiioneers who were drawn to the 
Hills by the lure of gold devoted all of their time to 


the digging and washing of gold along the creek beds 
and hill sides of the new country. Some of them rea- 
lized the futility of even trying to wrest the gold from 
the limited gravel beds in the gulches of the Hills and 
proceeded out to the rich and fertile plains where 
they resorted to farming and raising livestock. But 
the efforts of these early pioneer farmers and stock 
men were opposed by roving bands of Indians. It 
was necessary that some one be on guard at all times 
to watch out for Indians lest those who were in the 
valleys be fired upon by a red man from behind a 
small knoll or tree. One of the men who was thus 
employed in keeping guard over the valley while his 
companions were at work was a man known as "Jimmy 
Iron." This man during his life had many narrow 
escapes from death at the hands of Indians. One time 
when near Custer City on turning on a point over- 
looking a rock he met face to face an old Indian. 
They saw each other at the same time and the Indian 
with rare presence of mind advanced smilingly to- 
ward him and extended his hand with the usual greet- 
ing "How Kola How" but while shaking hands he 
fired a six shooter through his blanket. The bullet was 
not fatal and "Jimmy Iron's" enemy soon fell. Feel- 
ing himself wounded he examined the place where he 
felt a ball strike and found that the bullet had lodged 
in the sheets of a Bible which his mother gave him 
and which he carried in his vest pocket, the l)ullet 
having passed nearly through the book. 

Besides the Indian's scalp he had the red nmn's 
pony and outfit to pay him for his escape, but Jimmy 
finally fell at the hands of his dreaded enemies and it 
occurred in the month of August, 1876, while he was 
guarding his fellow farmers who were engaged in the 
making of hay at the False Bottom at a point where 
the present town of St. Onge is situated. He had been 
going up to the top of a hill for several days in succes- 
sion to look out over the valley for sight of Indians. 
One of his companions had advised him to seek a dif- 
ferent route each day he would ascend to the hill for 
fear that the Indians observed his habits and learn- 


ing that he was taking the same route would be en- 
abled to ambush and kill him. Jimmy laughed at this 
advice but sure enough a few days after that when he 
was on his way to his lookout from the hill the In- 
dians were lying in wait for him and fired upon him. 
He fell dead without any chance to defend himself. 
His companions buried him near where he was shot 
and years afterwards one of the men who had known 
and loved him in those days caused a monument to be 
placed over his grave in commemoration of the bravery 
of a pioneer scout and guard. 


The herds of cattle and horses used by the miners 
and freighters to Deadwood in the early days were 
herded during the summer time in the fertile valleys 
of the foothills, owing to the great cost of feed and 
hay in the mining camps. Sometimes the stock would 
wander away from the vicinity of the herders and 
then a search for them would be made. Just such an 
incident in August. 1876. became the starting point 
for a most unusual event. 

V. P. Shoun. the owner of the freighting outfit 
had several men in charge of his herd of cattle and 
horses in the foothills near Crook City and on August 
1, 1876, his men were engaged in trying to recover 
some of the stock that had escaped from their' control. 
AVhile engaged in this work Brick Pomeroy found 
himself pursued by five Indians, but as he quickly 
took refuge in the underbrush, they were unable to 
shoot him but gave him quite a chase. IJowever, be- 
fore the race was ended, Pomeroy was enabled to 
tumble one of his antagonists to the ground by a well 
directed shot. The news of this attack so near to 
Crook City soon spread to the town and a Mexican in 
the camp conceived the idea of possessing himself of 
the scalp. He accordingly hurried out to the scene 
of the fight and finding the remains of the Indian, 
proceeded to try to remove the scalp lock. In this 
work he had never had any experience and failing to 
succeed, he hacked otf the entire head and mounting 


a horse proceeded to Deadwood, which he entered, 
yelling and swinging the bloody head about as he held 
it by the long black hair. The sight of the yelling 
Mexican and the bloody head caused gTeat commo- 
tion in the city and men ran to prepare for an Indian 
attack, thinking that a real battle was coming. At 
this moment, E. T. Peirce was completing his work of 
preparing the remains of Wild Rill for burial in the 
tent among thi pines north of jMain street in the af- 
ternoon of August second. He supposed that the up- 
roar was caused by a band of Bill's friends gathered to 
lynch McCall for the murder of Wild Bill, and he 
hurried to the scene of action. There he saw the 
crowd about the wouldbe hero who claimed that the 
owner of the gory face had robbed him of his horse 
and he killed him and that he took along the head to 
prove his story. To kill an Indian in those riotous 
times was considered a worthy deed and some one 
perched upon a pile of lumber along the street, pulled 
out a pair of balance scales and called for contribu- 
tions. Soon about sixty-six dollars were gathered in 
in the form of gold dust and presented to the Mexican. 

Instead of purchasing another horse with the 
dust so freely l)estowed upon him. the Mexican pro- 
ceeded to gamble it away and in a quarrel that night 
at Crook City, he himself fell a victim to a loaded 
gun and the scant regard for human life. The gam- 
blers of Crook City objected to the presence of the re- 
mains of the dead Mexican and hired Fred Coates of 
the town to place it out of sight, paying him therefor 
the sum of twenty dollars. He accordingly fastened 
a lariat rope about the corpse, and trying the other end 
to his saddle horn, dragged the erstwhile Indian tighter 
to a water worn draw beyond the town and there he 
piled loose rocks from the hillside over him. 

And in the meanwhile, according to the state- 
ment of "Grasshopper Jim,'' the people of Crook City 
who came out to view the headless body of the In- 
dian warrior who fell a victim to his thirst for blood, 
piled up a great (inantity of dry pine branches and 


placing the remains upon it, set the mass afire and ef- 
fectively erased any trace of them. 

When V. P. Shonn arrived in town and heard 
what had happened he proceeded to try to locate the 
Indian head for the reason that his herder was entitled 
to the reward offered for Indian scalps at the time. 
He found that the head was in the possession of a 
saloon keeper and after some insistence, persuaded the 
bar keeper to go into the cellar and bring up the 
head. He then had Dr. Schultz remove the scalp for 
him and left the head with the doctor. The head was 
cut open and the brain weighed and found to be of 
unusual size. 


The gulches and hills about the mining camps in 
the northern hills did not furnish a supply of grass 
sufficient to care for the horses, mules and cattle be- 
longing to the incoming miners and freighters and 
accordingly in order to meet this condition of affairs, 
Joe Burton and Joe Cook established a ranch out on 
Centennial Valley north of Deadwood where they 
built a large inclosure for the protection of the horses 
at night. To this beautiful valley under the care and 
jorotection of these men, the miners and pioneers 
would bring their horses and mules and thus escape 
the exhorbitant price of hay and grain that was charg- 
ed in a mining camp at that time. This herd was 
known as the Montana herd and during the month of 
August, 1876, was composed of about 190 head of 

On the 19th of August, 1876, the herd had been 
placed in the stockade as usual for the night but the 
Indians after watching the action of the guards had 
proceeded to dig out several of the posts and make an 
opening large enough for the horses to escape. How- 
ever, their plan failed and the next morning the herd 
was driven out to pasture. Cook who had gone down 
to Deadwood with the horses to be delivered at that 
time had not returned and Burton had started out 
with the quota to be delivered on that day when a 


rifle shot rang out and Rnrton looked back and saw 
a large band of Indians rnnning and jelling toward 
the horses which fled in all directions. A great nnm- 
ber of the horses rnshed madly toward Dead wood from 
where they had been taken and rushed pell-mell ex- 
cited and frightened into the city streets, thereby 
causing great consternation among the miners and set- 
tlers, resting easy and free from attacks by the In- 
dians. Word of what had occurred out on the prairie 
reached the miners and the thought of the people out 
on the valley surrounded by Indians caused a large 
meeting <»f citizens to be held in Deadwood and vari- 
ous speeches were made urging the pioneers to rush 
out to rescue their comrades out on the plains. How- 
ever, when the time came to assemble and proceed 
out on the prairie, very few of the men responded, it 
being claimed that they had no horses with which 
to make the journey. Nevertheless a small band of 
hardy men armed with various sorts of firearms took 
up the fight and went to the foothills where the In- 
dians had made the attack upon the herd. When they 
arrived there they saw that the Indians had escaped 
with about one hundred head of horses and had pro- 
ceeded on toward the eastern part of Spearfish with 
their booty. Accordingly they took up the trail and 
when riding down Spring Creek they saw near a 
ravine a lone Indian who opened fire upon them but 
without injury to the men. The rescuers held a coun- 
cil and decided not to make an immediate attack on 
the Indian on the theory that he might be a decoy to 
lead them into an ambush. 

The Indian had disappeared behind a small knoll 
and the party cautiously stole up behind the hill as 
n(> further progress was seen on the part of the In- 
dian. One of the leaders of the band, Isaac Brown, 
peeped over the edge of the hill to find out where the 
red men had gone when a crack of a rifle sounded and 
Brown fell dead. Charlie Holland, another one of 
the leaders, more brave than wise, after a short pause 
decided to attempt to learn the position of the enemy 
and thinking that he had located the Indian, fired 


his rifle and at the same time cried out, "Come on 
bojs, I've got him." attempted to go forward but at 
the same moment he likewise fell dead from a bullet 
from the Indian's rifle. 

All efforts on the part of the leaders remaining 
to put the Indian to flight proved unavailing and 
as night came on they realized the danger of trying 
to dislodge the Indian and accordingly retreated to 
Deadwood. The next day a larger and more wise 
crowd arrived at the scene of the tragedy and found 
the two dead men's bodies. An examination of the 
other side of the hill disclosed the fact that one lone 
Indian had taken a stand behind an oak tree and from 
this point had stood off the whole party and killed 
the two uncautious men. John T. Spaulding known as 
" Johnny" was one of the rescue party and 
when aiding in the removal of the two dead men. he 
picked up a blood stained letter that belonged to 
Charlie Holland and read the address, "Sioux City, 
Iowa'' and the last sentence, ''My beloved husband, 
now Charlie for my sake don't expose yourself to the 
Indians, your loving wife, Mrs. Charlie Holland." 


While the stampeding of the Montana herd was 
on and the Indians were scattering through the gulch- 
es in their efforts to drive the horses to the prairies. 
Rev. Smith when at the point known as the "Rest" 
was murdered by one of the pursuers, and his body 
soon discovered by a rancher who lived near by, a 
more detailed account of which incident is set forth 
in a separate chapter. However, one of the red 
marauders did not fare very well for while on the 
trail his approach was heard by Dan Van Luvin and 
his companion who was skinning a deer that they had 
shot. Van Luvin opened fire upon the fellow and then 
galloped away to Deadwood for help, reporting the 
coming of a band of Indians. A small party set out 
and arrived upon the scene of the encounter but 
found the Indian much alive for before they awoke to 
the fact, Charles Mason fell dead from a rifle bullet. 


The crowd responded and riddled the wonnded war- 
rior. It was found that the shot from Van Luvin's 
ritle, had liilled the Indian's horse, and broken both 
legs and one arm of the red man who was compelled to 
rest liis rifle over a log when he tired the fatal shot. 

The bodies of Mason and Smith were both taken 
to Deadwood and buried in a common grave, side by 
side, but each in a rough board box, the body of 
Mason resting to the north of Smith. The bodies of 
Brown and Holland remained out on the prairie un- 
til the twenty-first, when the rescue party went out 
and brought them in. They were buried later in graves 
south of the one holding Smith and Mason, and this 
fact enabled the later location of the body of the 
minister when it was disinterred. Thus the twentieth 
day of August, 1876, went down in the annals of the 
pioneers of Deadwood as one of the most exciting of 
its time, the day being marked by the loss of over a 
hundred head of horses, the death of one Indian, and 
four of its citizens, one of whom was its first preacher. 


John R. Brennan was one of the founders of the 
City of Rapid City and its most loyal son. He wrote 
many years ago an account of several of the bloody 
fights that took place in that vicinity and we here 
reproduce the article as taken from the Pioneer of 
1876, and written in August, 1876. 

I send you a few items from this locality that may 
be of interest to the readers of your very excellent 
paper : 

The red skins have made it hot for the boys in 
this vicinity for the past two weeks. On the 22nd inst. 
two of our citizens were building a cabin on a ranch 
two miles below town, when they were attacked by 
Indians. They made a running fight for a mile or 
more, when the Indians gave up the chase without 
capturing the men or horses. One of our citizens 
mounted a horse and started up the gulch to spread 
the alarm but the Indians were there before him, 
and had succeeded in murdering two men near where 

John R. Brennai 


f^pw. *"■ 



IJisiiiarck saw mill used to stand, and about four 
miles from this city. On the same day. and about 
the same time four men on tlieir way here from Dead- 
wood, were attacked at Limestone springs on the 
Crook and Deadwood road and two of them murder- 
ed. The party consisted of Sam Scott, G. AV. Jones, 
John Er(iuot, and L. S. Livermore. Jones and 
Ercjuot were killed, Scott and Livermore making their 
escape to the woods a half mile distant, where they 
lay until dark, and then started for this place, arriv- 
ing here at about ten o'clock. Livermore received a 
shot in the arm just above the elbow. The next morn- 
ing fifteen or twenty men started out to bring in the 
bodies. We went to the springs first and procured 
the bodies of Jones and Erquot. and then drove over to 
the old mill site after the other two. Arriving there 
we found one lying on his face in the creek, and the 
other on the trail about a hundred yards or so distant. 
They were placed in the wagon with the other two 
victims and taken into Rapid Pity. Four new cof- 
fins wtM-e made, gravels dug and so forth, and the 
bodies laid about in their mother earth by kind and 
gentle hands. At the graves a short and appropriate 
funeral service was read for O. Patterson, George W. 
Jones, John Erquot, and Thos. E. Pendleton. Pat- 
terson was from Allegheny City, Pa., and was cap- 
tain of a party of Pittsburghers who came to the hills 
early in the spring. Jones was from Boulder, Colo- 
rado. Er(iuot came to the hills a short time ago from 
Denver. He was well known in Kansas City, Mo., and 
in Fort Scott, Kansas. He held city offices in both 
places at different times. Pendleton was from New 
England, and was one of the New England Black 
Hills Mining Company, that arrived in the hills dur- 
ing the present summer. The bodies were terribly 
mutilated, shot almost to pieces, their ears cut off, 
etc. Next day, August 23rd. two men arrived from 
Spring Creek and reported finding a man murdered 
on the road seven or eight miles from here. Ten jnon 
went out and found the body as reported. A grave 
was dug, and the corpse buried where found. No 


one recognized the murdered man. He would weigh 
probably one hundred sixty pounds, dark hair, dark 
full whiskers. He wore, when found a pair of snuff 
colored overalls, and a blouse of the same material. He 
is buried eight miles from this place, on the road lead- 
ing from here to Custer City. 

All work for seven or eight miles up this creek 
has been stopped, owners of claims not considering it 
safe to work. I think they have good reason for cau- 
tion, for we see Indians nearly every day on those 
prairies in the Hills and they seem to be drilling. 
Men have left the creek and come down to Rapid. The 
upper town (so-called) is entirely deserted, the few 
inhabitants it possessed having moved to this place. 
One hundred tons of hay which had been stacked 
there has also been moved here, and today they hjive 
commenced moving the houses, so that in a short rime 
scarce a vestige will remain. We have a block house 
in the course of erection here which will be completed 
in two or three days. It is to be a two story struc- 
ture twenty feet square, with two tiers of portholes 
in each story. We flatter ourselves now that we can 
stand off as many Indians as want to come around. 

We have in the neighborhood of three hundred 
tons of hay stacked here, and are putting up more ev- 
ery day. 

Dick Dunn's train left here two days ago for 
Fort Pierre. They saw no Indians on the way here 
from Deadwood. 


Mrs Annie D. Tallent in her history of the Black 
Hills relates the incidents leading up to the death of 
two pioneers in 1S7G. Mrs. Tallent and her family 
returned to the Hills in 1876, although they had been 
taken out by the military the year before. After a 
most discouraging journey over the trail from Chey- 
enne, the party finally arrived in Custer in June, 
1876. They discovered that one of the party was 
missing and upon going back over the trail the body 
of Leggett was found lying dead several miles from 


the town. His body had been stripped of clothing and 
a leather belt was found cnt in two. Examiiiation 
of the belt disclosed some three thousand dollars in 
greenbacks that had been overlooked by the murderers 
who left numerous moccasin tracks about their victim. 
Papers on his body gave the names and addresses of 
his relatives and revealed the fact that he had been a 
man of prominence in his home country. It was 
evident that the band that overcame him had follow- 
ed the train and when he had tarried too far behind, 
shot him down without hindrance. 

In the latter part of the same year, Mrs. Tallent 
also writes about one Hay ward who had become ob- 
sessed with the fear that he was to be killed by In- 
dians. He owned a team and wagon and was finally 
induced by a party of coal prospectors to haul them 
for a tempting compensation to the site of the coal 
beds some forty miles northwest of Deadwood. The 
outward journey was free from any Indian troubles, 
and after making their investigations, the miners be- 
gan to return. But when they were between the camp 
and Spearfish, they discovered that a baud of In- 
dians were after them. A race for life began, but the 
red warriors were rapidly gaining upon the team 
hitched to the wagon and the driver turned off the 
trail to gain the protection of a draw or coulee near- 
by into which he ran the outfit. From below the 
banks of the draw they were enabled to stand off the 
red skins although they greatly exceeded their num- 
ber. However, Hayward was beside himself with 
fear and despite the urgent warnings of his compan- 
ions, persisted in standing up in the open to see 
whether or not the attacking forces had left. Finally 
a bullet found its mark and Hayward's body rolled 
into the ditch true to the fate which he had foretold. 
Towards night the Indians gave up the attack and the 
miners continued their journey home without fur- 
ther annoyance. They carried, with them the body of 
the fated man and buried him in the cemetery at 
Spearfish in a plot reserved for Indian victims. 



111 July, 1877, a party of engineers were engag- 
ed in surveying the line between the Wyoming and 
Dakota Territory. They were escorted by a troop of 
United States Cavalry under the command of Lieu- 
tenant Leniley. While encamped on the banks of 
the Belle Fourche river, they were attacked by a 
party of Sioux Indians. Reports came into Deadwood 
that the soldiers were surrounded and were in danger 
of being annihilated. Deadwood Avent wild with ex- 
citement and speeches were made calling for volunteers 
to go out and rescue the soldiers. Lawyers, mer- 
chants, clerks, laboring men. miners, in fact every 
branch of business was represented in the lineup, 
some without fire arms and none prepared for a long 
trip. However, Captain Willard and Tom Hardwick 
in the absence of Sheriff Bullock and other men from 
the sheriff's office, gathered together a band of seven 
men of experience and struck out in the night for 
Spearfish Valley. When they arrived in the Valley, 
they could see the Indian signal fires way to the north 
and west and the next morning they met the soldiers 
who had managed to get away from the Indians with- 
out any loss of their men. However, they lost all 
their camp equipment consisting of three wagons and 
eighteen mules, also all their clothing and food. They 
proceeded to the place where the wagons were locat- 
ed, where they found one mule badly wounded and 
soon shot him. It was then learned that one of the 
teamsters was missing but a search of the river bot- 
tom found him nearly starved and his feet badly 
swollen from the cactus thorns. He was brought in- 
to camp and turned over to the surgeon and subse- 
quently recovered. An effort was made to follow the 
Indians but they had too much of a start and the idea 
was given up by Willard who proceeded to return to 
Deadwood with three of the men who came out with 

On their way to Deadwood they were passed sev- 
eral times by the Indians and had some narrow 


escapes, but managed to get away Avitliout any injury. 
It was planned to go ont to the outfit known as the 
Pettigrew Camp where a great number of people were 
encamped with several women and children because the 
Indians were so numerous that they had decided to 
entrench themselves waiting for a more favorable op- 
portunity to move. 

While engaged in the work of scouting and try- 
ing to locate the Pettigrew outfit, Captain Willard 
heard a volley of shots up the creek and looking up 
over a knoll saw a large band of Indians chasing three 
white men. As there was no hope of giving assistance 
for there were so many Indians. Willard was com- 
pelled to remain there and see the Indians shoot down 
the fleeing men. After the Indians had left. Willard 
went to the bodies and discovered that one of the men 
was a man known as Billy Wilson and his friend 
Dave Abernelhy who was scalped. It appeared that 
Billy Wilson had sold a wagon to a man who was 
trying to get out of the country without paying for 
the wagon and Wilson had warrants issued for the ar- 
rest of the man and had himself deputized to serve 
them. He had gone to the Pettigrew train and had 
left the train for the Hills when he was attacked by 
the Indians and killed. A man living near Spearfish 
had a yoke of oxen and an old fashioned, two wheel 
cart. He volunteered his services which were accept- 
ed and the bodies were loaded into th^ cart and started 
on the road to Spearfish where he arrived just before 

Among the men who were with Willard was a 
young man named Thoruby who was working for the 
''Deadwood Pioneer'' and he immediately hurried on 
into Deadwood to get his story into the daily paper 
while Captain Willard tarried on behind. It appeared 
that the dead man, Wilson, greatly resembled Captain 
Willard and that some of the cow boys who had seen 
the dead man supposed him to be Captain Willard 
and when Willard later returned to Deadwood, he 
was met by Sheriff Bullock who said to him, "Cap, 
you are supposed to be dead now; why can't you re- 


main (lead? Your friends liave made arrans^ements 
for a very line funeral and here you come in and 
spoil it all. Go out on the street and show yourself!" 
And he did so. L. F. Whitbeck. a newspaper man, soon 
thereafter met Willard and expressed himself very 
much disgusted as he had given him a very fine 
obituary writeup and declared that Willard ought to 
go out now in justice to his friends and be killed for 

On this day two more men were killed on Crow 
Creek a few miles from where Wilson and the others 
were killed and in all there were ten men killed within 
the vicinity within a few days of each other, 


The report of the Indian attack on a freight train 
near Rapid City a few days ago has had a general cir- 
culation all over the country. The Telegraph is 
able to give the full and truthful version of the affair, 
in a letter from one of the men who were attacked. 
This is the first appearance of the hostile Indians on 
the Sidney route, and freighters inform us that the 
same gang of red desperadoes have been encamped on 
Hat Creek between Cheyenne and Deadwood for a long 
time past where they have been committing depreda- 
tions on the stage and freight lines. This, with the 
additional inducement of a shorter route and better 
road, has driven the Cheyenne freighters to abandon 
the Hat Creek portion of the route and cross over to 
the Sidney trail. As a natural consequence, the In- 
dians followed them. 

The following letter from Mr. Streeter gives an 
accurate account of the disturbance : 

^'French Creek Ranch, Jan. 21, 1878. 
"To the Editors of the Telegraph: 

"About noon yesterday on our way coming from 
Deadwood to Sidney, and about seven miles southeast 
of Rapid City, our wagon train, known as the 'Colo- 
rado Boys' Outfit,' was attacked by Indians, seven in 
number. Three of them came out of a ravine and cut 


out all of our loose stock, twenty head in number, 
from behind the rear team and also cnt off Mr. Chas. 
Reed, who was drivin<T the herd. One of them took 
after the herd and the others tried their best to kill 
Mr. Reed, bnt as _2^ood Inek wonld have it. in leaninpf 
over in the saddle to avoid the arrows bein,2: shot at 
him by the red skins the saddle turned with him and 
he fell to the jjround but held on to the stirrup and 
was drao:wed out of the fio^ht. But at that time >></■ 
had, by dint of much labor (in turning over the 
bales of hay and sacks of grain), got our guns out of 
the wagons and went to work on the redskins, who 
'got out of here' in a hurry. Four of the redskins 
had remained inactive watching proceedings and onh 
firing an occasional shot, but when we had beaten off 
the three Indians who made the raid and had retaken 
the herd, they all went over the hill together on a full 
run. and attacked another train known as 'Curly's 
outfit,' and wounded Mr. H. D. Turman. I think mort- 
ally, and killed one mule, and wounded another. Mr. 
Turman was taken to Rapid City, and is now under 
the doctor's care but in a critical condition. 

"Our outfit is composed of five, ten and eight 
mule teams and owned by Messrs. James Pollock, W 
F. Streeter, Fred Luttinj John Luttin, C. K. Reed, 
and J. T. Parrott and we were all engaged in the bat- 
tle. Yours, etc. 

Wm. Streeter." 


The treaty of 1889 had been opposed by some of 
the chiefs of the Indian tribes who had foretold that 
the government would not keep its word and when in 
the year 1890, the Indian department began its policy 
of limiting the aid given to the Indians and to which 
they were entitled under the treaty of 1876, the op- 
ponents of the treaties were able to point to this 
move as proof of their prophecy. In addition to the 
lessened government ration there came the general 
drouth and crop failure of the year 1890 and with it 
much suffering: and discontent among the various Sioux 



tribes. About tliis time there also came the strange 
storv of tlie coinino- of a Messiah to avenge the Avrongs 
of the Indians. Tlie tale was an innocent conception 
arising from the fevered brain of a Pinte Indian 
from Pyramid Lake in Nevada, which appealed to the 
imagination of the savage mind and with its passing 

W. A. Remer 

from month to month became distorted ont of all 
semblance to the tirst dream. 

The original idea was vastly different from the 
story that cansed so much trouble and excitement, and 
we are indebted to W. A. Remer, sheriff of Lawrence 
County at the time, for the use of the following letter 
that came into his possession in Deadwood, through 
the mails. The men addressed were not then prison- 
ers there, and the letter was never delivered. The 
identity of the writer was never learned, but the 
fact remains that it was a message sent to members 
(if the Sioux tribes, and hence is of real historic in- 


terost. It is written in beautiful penmanship and has 
at the head of the fii'st page, a woman's hand hold- 
ing- white birds and pansies, such brightly colored 
cnt out pictures as were common on gift cards at that 
time. The words are as follows: 

"Canton, S. Dak., 13th April, 189o. 

"Buffalo Man. No Flash, Red Hill and Sun 
Flower, Indian Prisoners, Dead wood, S. Dak. 

"My Brothers .--^Twice I have been to Pine Ridge 
Agency, once to Eosebud, twice to Lower Brule and 
twice to Crow Creek, to see and talk with your peo- 
ple, and, with the pansy teach them its lesson of uni- 
A'ersal fellowship, culture and peace. 

"Once I saw Two Strikes and Red Cloud and talk- 
ed with them, telling them that I had been sent to 
them by The Great Spirit, with the flowers to teach 
them that only by following the example and teaching 
of the pansy, could they hope to survive; that ^^'ar 
meant, for the Indians death and the destruction <»f 
their race; that peace and industry and good order 
meant life, prosperity and happiness. 

•^'I was arrested almost at once and sent away for 
fear of creating excitement and more trouble. Again 
I went, when all was (juiet, and again I was arrested 
and sent away, without being permitted to tell your 
people who I was or why I was there. 

'^Only yesterday 1 " returned from Hot Springs 
where I went hoping to see some Indians from the 
reservation, whom I might teach the lesson and mes- 
sage of the pansy, and, through them, to all the tril)es 
and all your people. 

''But none were there or at Buffalo Gap, and I 
had no permission to go on the reservation, so that I 
had to return without seeing any of your race except 
some Indian police. 

"I was sorry to hear, while in Washington, of the 
trouble concerning which you were arrested. 

"I don't know wbo was most to blame for it, but 
I ask you again now, to see how little hope you have 


of helping yourselves by fighting. Your only chance is 
in bein^g peaceable, united and helpful to each other. 

"It is true that many white people are anxious to 
destroy you, but it is quite as true that the best white 
people are anxious to make it harder for them to do 
so, by continued disorder. 

"Let me tell you. now and here, that it is only 
by peace and loving union with other flowers, that the 
wild violets, which you have all seen, grow larger, 
brighter and more beautiful and are called pansies; 
and now these pansies, which are only educated vio- 
lets, lead the whole race of flowers, in their beauty 
and education, as you may, by following their example, 
lead all the races of men. 

'^It may be hard for you to believe that the small- 
est violets, even smaller than these little pictured 
flowers, grow to be the largest and brightest pansies, 
and in just the way that I tell you ; by loving union 
with the other flowers, by which means they copy and 
learn all their brightness and beauty. 

"I promise you and your people, from God, that if 
you will follow the example and teaching of the pansy, 
you shall, in two hundi-ed years, lead the best progress 
of the world and be first in power, in America. This 
surely is worth striving for, and it is as sure, if you 
do your part, as the promise of God. 

"I am, most truly, 

"The Messiah." 

Tribal councils were held, messengers sent from 
tribe to tribe, a new dance known as the ghost dance 
introduced. Religious fervour became intense, and 
the savage mind was stirred to the highest pitch cf 
excitement. It was seen that the ghost dances car- 
ried the performers into ecstacies and efforts were 
made to stop the rites. This only added fuel to the 
fires and bands fled away to carry on the dancing. So 
universal became the disturbed condition of the west- 
ern tribes, that it was finally decided to capture Sit- 
ting Bull in his camp on Grand River, since it was 
learned that he was preparing to join with his band 


the ghost dancers who had tied from the reservations 
to the Badlands, from which point, under his leader- 
ship, the movement would soon develop into a real 
Indian war of oreat extent. 


Accordingly, the Indian police on the Grand 
River were ordered into action and a detachment of 
cavalry under Colonel Drum was sent to join in the 
task. The Indian police, loyal and prompt, after forc- 
ed night rides, assembled to the number of forty-thre;' 
at the home of Sitting Bull. Here they found at day- 
break on the morning of December 15. 1890, that the 
soldiers of Sitting Bull who had been guarding him 
for just such an emergency, had failed in their task 
this one night and were away dancing. The police 
under the command of Lieut. Bull Head were enabled 
to enter the log hut of the chief without opposition 
and found him asleep on the floor. Ui)on being nuti- 
lied that he was under arrest, he agreed to go with the 
police and prepared to dress for the journey, having 
one of his wives go to the second of his cabins for some 
parts of his apparel. While engaged in this task, his 
young son, Little Crow, about seventeen years of age, 
upbraided him for so easily yielding to the commands 
of the police, and Sitting Bull balked at further prog- 
ress. When he was outside of his cabin, he saw some 
one hundred fifty of his band excitedly gathering 
around, and he called upon them to rescue him. 
Thereupon Catch-the-Bear fired and shot Bull Head in 
the side, who from his position beside Sitting Bull, 
turned and shot Sitting Bull through the body, who 
also received a bullet through the head from Red 
Tomahawk, who was behind him. Sergeant Shave 
Head, the police on the opposite side of Sitting Bull 
was shot at the same moment by another supporter of 
Sitting Bull, and the three fell together. Catch-the-Bear, 
then fell a victim to Alone Man and the battle became a 
tierce hand to hand struggle. But the police soon 
drove their assailants into the timber and then carry- 
ing their wounded into the houses, held their position 


until Captain Fetcliet of the military detachment ar- 
rived two hours later. The soldiers had a Hotchkiss 
gun with them and with this they tired two shells in- 
to the police camp before Red Tomahawk succeeded 
in showing them their error. The warriors of Sitting 
Bull were soon dispersed and fled from the camp. 

In the short tight between the police and Bull's 
followers, four policemen weve killed and eight of the 
enemy. The Indian women had joined in the attack, 
but the police simph- disarmed them and thus acted 
quite differently from the manner in which we find 
the fully armed government troops performing a few 
weeks later at Wounded Knee. The body of Sitting 
Bull was taken to Ft. Yates and the two wounded 
police, Bull Head and Shave Head, died at the hos- 
pital later. And thus closed the final chapter in the 
life of the last and most unrelenting Indian foe of the 
West. Sitting Bull was not a warrior, but he was 
a most able strategist and held wonderful control 
over the tribes of the W>st because of his keen mind 
and appeal to their imagination as a medicine man. 
The buffalo head that he worshipped in his religious 
rites is now in the State Historical Society at Pierre. 


The death of Sitting Bull created consternation 
in the minds of the Indians and some of his band 
soon joined the other forces in the Badlands. Wild 
were the rumors among the Avhite settlers. Wild like- 
wise were the stories of the intentions of the white 
soldiers. Peaceable Indians were driven to join the 
bands of hostiles as a means of self protection. Every 
day or two some tale of a fight with Indians would be 
reported. But most of the troubles were the acts of 
renegade and thieving Indians and many of the rum- 
ors of murders at the hands of red men were absolute- 
ly false. Unscrupulous white men took advantage of 
the general unsettled conditions and committed many 
crimes on the peaceful Indians. There was a gen- 
eral distrust and fear on the part of both white and 



*- W 


red men and most of it through misunderstandings and 
false rumors. 

After the fall of Sitting Bull, the next most fear- 
ed chiefs were Hump and Big Foot, but through care- 
ful management and the able work of Captain Ewers. 
Hump was linally induced to surrender and became 
a great aid in quieting the other leaders. Efforts to 
l)ring in Big Foot and his band were begun and final- 
ly this chief consented to surrender, which he did on 
the 21st of December, with 333 Indians. When the 
band arrived near their village, they declined to pro- 
ceed further, stating they wished to remain at their 
homes. But Colonel Sumner informed them that 
they must proceed with him to the agency and sent 
them word that unless they did so, he would bring up 
his whole force and compel them to do so. The move- 
ment of the military frightened the Indians and they 
fled that night towards the Badlands. A general 
closing in of the circle of troops about the disturbed 
area w^as now ordered and the several bands were 
gradually taken under control. On the day of the 
28th of December, 1890, Big Foot and his band were 
caught and they surrendered without trouble. 

The band was met on Wounded Knee Creek and 
on the morning of December 29. 1890, in obedience to 
orders, they were encamped in an open plain near the 
banks of the creek and entirely surrounded by the 
soldiers, who had also posted Hotchkiss guns on the 
hills overlooking the plain. Big Foot, sick with pneu- 
monia was in his tent which was being warmed by 
a camp stove under orders of Colonel Forsyth. Prep- 
arations were being made to disarm the Indians before 
taking them back to their reservation. 

The prisoners had been guarded all night, and at 
eight o'clock in the morning, the soldiers deployed and 
entirely surrounded the Indian camp with a line of sol- 
diers. This procedure caused much uneasiness among 
the Indians who were seen to move about among the te- 
pees in a restless and nervous manner. When the cordon 
of troops was completed, all Indian men were ordered 
to come our from their tepees and gather in a group near 


by. They were commanded to sit down in a semi-cii-elo 
and Major Whiteside proceeded to count them. He 
found that there were only ninety eight braves present 
and ordered some of the scouts to search the tents. Fif- 
teen more were added to the circle. Colonel Forsyth 
then demanded the surrender of their guns and they 
replied that they had none. He told them that he knew 
they did have guns and repeated his demand, whereup- 
on six of the men volunteered to go to the tents and get 
the arms. After some delay, they returned with only 
three guns, only one of which was useful. He then or- 
dered a detail of soldiers to search the tents for arms, 
and they proceeded with the work, causing much dis- 
turbance among the women and children in the tepees 
as they tore up the layouts. This created some excite- 
ment among the braves and Captain Wallace moved 
the foot soldiers within twenty paces of their line. As 
the guns were taken from the tepees by the soldiers 
they were piled near the circle. During this work, an 
Indian dressed in a ghost shirt, was seen to arise and 
reaching his arms towards the skies, speak and gesticu- 
late, and throw dust into the air. The officers did not 
understand him at first but when informed by an inter- 
preter that the fellow was calling upon the earth to open 
up and swallow the soldiers, and telling the braves that 
soldiers' bullets Avould have no effect upon them and 
that they should arise and defend themselves and scai 
ter the soldiers like dust, he was ordered to sit down. 
After the tepees had been searched, the soldiers wei-e 
ordered to search each brave, and after s^x h;id been 
examined the ghost dancer suddenly jumped to his feet 
tired at the soldier who was guarding the guns, and 
the battle was on. From under their blankets the In- 
dians drew their weapons and a most desperate close in 
struggle ensued. Captain Wallace was tomahawked, 
and each man fought for his life. The Hotchkiss guns 
opened fire upon the tepees, and the crazed soldieis 
pursued the fleeing men, women and children as they 
ran screaming for refuge, they knew not where. Maiiy 
of the tepees were fired by the bullets and some of the 
wounded women and children were roasted alive. 


AVhen the carnage was over, thirty one soldiers were 
dead, thirty three wounded, and over two hundred In- 
dians killed, among them Big Foot who was lying sick 
in his tent . The escaping Indians brought word of tlie 
terrible slaughter to the others coming in and soon they 
were on their way to the Badlands. Several light 
fights ensued and it looked like a general outbreak 
would occur, but the middle of winter was on and fin- 
ally the Indians were convinced that their lives were 
not in peril and they returned to their reservations. 

The dead and wounded soldiers were promptly 
taken from the field but no attention was paid to the 
Indian camp and the military forces were directed to 
the work of giving their attention to the red men who 
had not come in and were gathering for further de- 
fense. Three days elapsed before details were sent to 
the task of cleaning up the battle field, and in the 
meantime, a heavy snow storm had come followed by 
the icy blasts of a real Dakota blizzard. Many wound- 
ed Indian men, women and children lying helpless 
and exposed to the terrible sweep of the bitter cold 
wind as it hurled the icy darts of the snow drifts 
against them, perished and when the fury of the 
storm had ended, their stiffened forms told a terrible 
tale of human suffering. But not all had died. Some 
there were who with frozen arms and legs were 
destined to endure the torture only to die soon after. 
Four babies, carefully wrapped, were still found 
alive beside the frozen bodies of their mothers, whose 
shawls had been used in the pathetic effort of the 
mother to shield her babe from winter's cruel and 
deadly grasp. Only one, however, lived, as the three 
days of suffering was too much for them. 

A long trench was dug and from out of the snow 
drifts over a range of several miles, bodies of naked 
Indian men, women and children from whom the 
clothing had been robbed, were hauled like cord wood 
sticks and dumped therein. Torn and mangled bodies 
of little children, with the gory forms of women, 
glistening with the blood stained ice that clung to 
them, wei'e flung into the common pit, and dirt and 


snow heaped upon them. Thus ended the final scene 
in the last Indian battle of the last centni-y. A sad 
climax to a long series of wrongs on the part of boh 
white and red men in their relations with each other. 
A forceful example of the innate savagery of man 
even though white, and the cruel, pitiless power of rea- 
son dethroned in the heat of fierce passion. 


Of the many wrongs perpetrated upon the In- 
dians by the white men in the west, one of the most 
dastardly crimes recorded is the murder of the Indian, 
Few Tails. This man with his squaw and another 
brave and his wife had been on a friendly visit to the 
CrowS' in the north and knew nothing of the troubles 
with the Indians in the Badlands and the Wounded 
Knee battle. He was returning to his reservation in 
the leisurely manner of the red man and had camped 
one night east of the Belle Fourche River in Meade 
County. While there he was visited by Pete Culbert- 
son and another member of the famil}- who could sj)eak 
the Sioux language quite fluently, having associated 
with the Indians for many years. 

Unfortunately for the Indians, They had with 
them some forty head of nice ponies which aroused 
the cupidity of Culbertson and before the end of the 
friendly pow wow with his hosts of the evening, he had 
conceived the plan of killing the whole group the next 
day and possessing himself of the ponies. Accordingly 
Pete Culbertson, Andrew Culbertson, Nelson Culbert- 
son, James Juelfs, John Netland and Alva Martin 
knowing just what route the Indians would take on 
their journey, rode out around and ahead of them 
and secreted themselves at the mouth of the Alkali be- 
hind a deep cut bank. Here they awaited the ap- 
proach of their victims who in due time came rumb- 
ling along in their several wagons and camping out- 
fit, wholly unaware of the presence of the vipers who 
sought to sting them to death. When within about 
five rods of the steep bank, the rifle shots rang out 
and Few Tails dropped dead and one horse to his 


wagon. In the ensuing confusion of frightened 
horses the murderers were unable to inflict mortal 
wounds on the others and the Indian buck turned his 
team and fled up the divide. The white men ran to 
their horses and mounted them and galloped after the 
fleeing Indians, who fortunately escaped being killed 
by their volleys of bullets. He turned the reins of the 
team to his squaw and with a good Winchester rifle 
that he had, responded to the fire of his thieving 
guests with such accuracy as to compel them to re- 
main bej^ond range and thus the fight continued on the 
run for several miles. The cowardly gang gave up 
the race here and hurried away for more help, well 
knowing that dead men tell no tales, and that they 
must wipe out the red man and his wife, or else they 
would lose the ponies and perhaps have to stand trial 
for their unwarranted acts. But by the time they 
had mustered a crowd under the false story of hav- 
ing been attacked by Indians escaped from the reser- 
vation, the lone fighter who had held the wolves at bay 
and saved the life of himself and wife, had reached 
Elk Creek where he abandoned his wagon outfit and 
mounting saddle horses, made a hurried ride to the 
reservation before the reinforced thieves could catch 
him and his squaw. 

There happened to be at the home of Quinn near 
the scene of the fight, several soldiers at the time, and 
they sent a messenger to their comrade on the 
Cheyenne River and when he arrived at the Quinn 
home that evening, he directed one of the young 
Quinn boys to proceed to the scene of the attack and 
haul the wagon home. The young boy accordingly 
went to the wagon but noticed that the canvas had 
been tied to the front w^agon wheels, which unusual 
position aroused his curiosity and he took the pre- 
caution to examine the interior of the wagon before 
moving it. Upon reaching his arm beneath the wagon 
cover, he was startled to feel the warm leg of a hu- 
man being and he hurriedly left the scene of the 
tragedy. However, no further attention was paid to 
the incident until the next morning, but when the in- 


vestigators arrived they found the wagon deserted and 
no one there except the dead Few Tails. A trail was 
found where a person had walked over the rough 
shaly. hillsides towards the south, but it was lost as 
soon as the broad stretches of prairie with the tall 
grass upon them were reached, and the search was 
abandoned. It was the track of the wife of Few Tails 
who had been shot through the hip by one of the rifle 
balls and she had fallen to the bottom of the wagon 
box. She had remained in the wagon during the first 
shock of the battle, but when the hand of the boy had 
grasped her by the leg. she thought that the scoundrels 
were returning to complete their work of the morn- 
ing. Finding herself alone once more and darkness 
coming, she painfully crawled from the wagon, bade 
farewell to the silent form of her brave and buoyed 
up by fear of the coming white men, painfully wand- 
ered on her way over hill and valley, across creek and 
gulch to the reservation, where she finally arrived 
and through the care of government surgeons, sur- 
vived the harrowing experience. 

The inhuman cruelty, the unjustified and treacher- 
ous crime called for investigation and when the wo- 
man had recovered, federal prosecution was institut- 
ed. However, the people had been wrought up to 
great heights of excitement by the wild rumors of In- 
dian outrages, false stories of the Wounded Knee 
battle, and the act of renegade savages who had mur- 
dered four men in Ike Humphrey's cow camp on White 
River. So inflamed was the public mind that the trial 
became a mere travesty and the murderers were ac- 


Although preceding this event in point of time by 
many years, we will close this unhappy chapter by an 
account of an incident of 1877 taken from the files of 
the "Sidney Telegi'aph" then owned by Joe Gossage. 
and which so well portrays one of the many tragedies 
of those days : 

^'After leaving the mountains and striking into 


the foot hills, we had travelled very slowly to let our 
horses ])iek ii]), and in fact we had no object in mov- 
ing- rapidly for we had foi-nied no i)lans regarding our 
future movements. Some wanted to go one way, and 
others another. So. upon the whole, we concluded to 
keep on slowly in the direction we were then travel- 
ling for a few days, thinking we might run across 
the 'Roberts party,' who, we supposed were then in 
the mountains to the west of us. On the evening of 
the 2r)th, two of our party, who had been out hunting, 
came into camp and reported that they had heard tir- 
ing all afternoon, and that they believed that some- 
one was corraled by the liostiles, and also that they 
had struck two different trails leading in the direc- 
tion of the tiring, and that neither of them was ap- 
parently two hours old. Guards were posted and we 
turned in e-^rly fully expecting that our aid would be 
needed in the morning, and as fully determined that 
we would give it, and on the right side. Early morn 
found us in the saddle, moving as rapidly as our blun- 
dering guides permitted. About 9 o'clock we heard a 
number of shots to our right about a half mile distant. 
Putting our animals at their best speed we headed to- 
ward the point of a high bluff, on a dead run. and 
came immediately in view and in contact with about 
thirty-five Indians, some mounted and others on foot. 
We saw each other about the same moment, but the 
savages had a slight advantage, and got in the first 
fire, wounding one of our horses. The fight ended as 
suddenly as it was abruptly commenced — the Indians 
retiring in haste, as they usually do when getting the 
worst of it. Up to this time we had been unable to 
discover what had caused the firing. Moving to where 
we had first seen the redskins, we found five dead 
ponies, and in a little gully still further on, three dead 
Indians. Knowing that this was not our work, as 
the bodies were cold and had evidently been dead for 
hours, we commenced searching for the men. or man 
who had made such a desperate fight. Against the 
face of the bluffs, three hundred yards away, was a 



pile of rock, coveriiij? perhajis fifty or sixty yards in 
space, and as this seemed the most probable place for 
an attacked party to take shelter, we moved in that 
direction. When within twenty or thirty yards of tlie 
rocks we halted, and called to whoever mi<;ht ])e there 
to come ont, bnt receiving- no answer, Mr. Travis and 
myself moved on the rocks in advance of the party. 

Dismonnting and hitching our horses to the 
brnsh we walked into the natnral fortress. The tirst 
thing that attracted onr attention was a dead horse 
with the saddle and bridle still on. Pausing only a 
moment Ave pressed on, looking foi- the rider. Ten or 
a dozen steps further on we found him — found him 
but that was all, for he was beyond all human aid. He 
bore upon every lineament of his countenance the ap- 
pearance of rare intellectuality, and manhood. 

The dead hei-o was about 26 or 27 years of age, 
of splendid physi(]ue, with dark hair and mustache, 
stained with his brain's blood. There he lay resting 
on his right side, with his head resting as though by 
chance upon a stone — as though God himself had laid 
him there in all his glory. There laid this silent hero, 
who for two eventful, desperate days, singlehanded 
had fought a band of desperate savages, and vainly 
scanned ihe plains and canyons for aid. God only 
knows what this silent western sentinel thought. He 
viewed death from the beginning as inevitable, for no 
man could withstand such an atttack and from the 
evidence before us Ave knew that the struggle had 
I'.een as terrible as Custer's last fight on tlie Little 
Horn. Thirteim Avounds proved it beyond all doubt. 
The right hand of this brave stranger held that Avhi(di, 
in all probability, his gaze had rested upon when the 
(lea h rattle sour.ded in his throat — the picture of a 
very handsome young lady, taken by a Cottage Grove 
Avenue, Chicago, photographer. Attached to this 
picture was a lock of light silky hair tied Avith a small 
piece of blue ribbon, and written upon the back Avas 
the following verse: 


For deep in his heart where the shadows fall. 

Is the grave of a love that is past recall. 

And ever a face rose-wreathed and fair, 

Will rise from the shadows to haunt him there. 

Whether this lady was wife, sister or sweetheart, 
we could not tell but it was very evident that his last 
thoughts on earth were of her. Written at the bottom 
of the picture was the name, ^Mamie,' and again in a 
plain gold ring taken from his finger and engraved 
'To Mamie' and opposite the word 'Mizpah.' 

"We buried this stranger at sunrise the follow- 
ing morning, under the shade of a mountain pine, 
close to where he died. The picture and lock of hair 
were buried with him. No head-board marks his rest- 
ing place, but before leaving the grave one of the party 
cut in deep letters on the tree. 

Killed May 26, 1877 

"He rests unwept in an unknown grave, like hun- 
dreds of other brave men who have died in the moun- 
tains, and whose relatives never knew their fate." 


The Indians fought long and fiercely for their 
hunting grounds. The spirit of the struggle and the 
love of their broad prairies is much like the sentiments 
expressed by Charles Badger Clark, the poet of the 
Hills in his little poem to thi^ cow boy of the west, 
which we are privileged to reprint here for our readers. 

'Twas good to live when i 

Without no fence or fuss 

Belonged in partnership to God, 

The Government and us. 

Witli skyline bounds from east to west 

And room to go and come; 

I liked my fellowman the best 

When he was scattered some. 



When my old soul hunts range and rest 

Beyond the last divide, 

Just plant me in some strip of west 

That's sunny, lone and wide. 

Let cattle rub my headboard round 

And coyotes wail their kin; 

Let horses come and paw the mound 

But don't you fence it in. 

Peter Thompson 



The year 1876 is one of the most eventful periods 
in the history of western events, for during this year 
occurred the Battle of the Big Horn, or what is some- 
times called "Custer's Last Battle." There have been 
numerous varying accounts and stories told about 
this disastrous battle. Many of them are mere fairy 
tales and most of them are inaccurate and mislead- 
ing. The present chapter will be devoted to an ac- 
count of this great Indian fight, by one of the men who 
belonged to troops engaged, Peter Thompson, Troop 
C 7th U. S. Cavalry, commanded by Captain Tom 
Custer, a brother of General George A. Custer. 
Thompson was in his place with Troop C when Custer 
charged the Indians, but his horse gave out before 
the troop reached the main body of Indians and 
Thompson, with one other man was left behind From 
his position he could see his comrades in their strug- 
gle with the Indians, but was powerless to help them. 
After a perilous trip, he reached the Reno Command 
and remained with him through the rest of the battle, 
in which he distinguished himself for extraordinary 
bravery. He volunteered to get water for the wound- 
ed to relieve their terrible suffering, and was obliged 
to do this under fire from the Indians. In this dan- 
gerous work he was wounded severely, but despite 
his suffering and pain he made repeated trips to the 
river and brought water to his half-crazed wounded 
comrades. For this he was given a medal of honor 
for conspicuous bravery. Among his comrades he was 
regarded with the highest esteem and to his oflftcers 
he was known as a good spldier. Today he is the 
only man living, who in fact, saw the dying struggles 
of the men of the 7th Cavalry. The account that is 
given here is absolutely true, and just as this man, 
this good soldier, the winner of the medal of honor, 
has related it in his own words. 

"The headquarters of the 7th Cavalry was at Fort 
A. Lincoln. When we arrived at this place. General 


Custer was absent, having been called to Washington, 
D. C, to give testimony in the famous Belknap case, 
and, to my mind, he was honest enough to tell the 

''General Grant was president of the United States 
at this time. After General Custer had given his testi- 
mony in the case, he was sent from Washington un- 
der arrest to report to the department commander of 
the Missouri, General A. Terry. Why this was done, 
none of us soldiers could understand, and neither did 
we believe that the real facts were made pul)lic. When 
the news came to Fort Lincoln that General Custer 
was under arrest it caused a great commotion among 
the soldiers. The various companies discussed the 
matter and all seemed to arrive at the same conclu- 
sion, namely, that it was spite on the part of Presi- 
dent Grant. Two reasons were given for arriving at 
this conclusion, first. Grant's friendship for Belknap; 
second, Grant's desire to retaliate on Custer for his 
conduct to his son while on an expedition some time 
before. From what appeared to the men to be re- 
liable information, Lieutenant Grant was continually 
getting under the iniluence of liquor, making it neces- 
sary for General Custer to place him under arrest, 
thus giving offense to the young man and also to his 
father who might not be fully informed as to the con- 
duct of his son. But I only state the conclusions the 
men came to. 

"During the absence of General Custer, Major 
Reno was in command at Fort Lincoln. While he was 
in command, our company suffered several severe 
reprimands. We were forced to the conclusion that 
his treatment of us was prompted by pure spite. Take 
a regiment of men isolated from civilization as we 
were, and there will always be found a number who 
will always show their animal spirits with singing, 
dancing, and shouting and having what they called a 
"general good time.'' This was the case in our com- 
pany as well as the others. When our men were en- 
joying themselves in this manner, Reno would send 
his orderly to the orderly-sergeant of our company 


ordei-iniJ- liiin to stop the^ noise, whilst other compan- 
ies were permitted to enjoy tlieir hilarious fun. An or- 
der to the same effect was sent to ns so frequently 
that <mr company longed for the return of General 
Custer. Whether it was a dislike to our company or 
to the Custers that made him cranky with us, I do not 
knf>w, but the conclusion that the members of the com- 
pany came to was that for the Custers, Major Reno 
had no love. 

"Near the close of the month of March, our com- 
pany was made ha])py by the return of Custer to his 
command. He had been released from his arrest at 
St. ]*aul, and made the journey from that place to 
Fort Lincoln by sled as the Northern Pacific railroad 
whose terminus at this time was Bismarck was block- 
aded with snow. Custer's first act on his return was 
to .restore Frank Gerard to his old position as inter- 
preter from which, during the commander's absence, he 
had been discharged by Major Reno. 

"After Custer's return, we were not long in doubt 
as to our future plan of action. We were put to work 
and kept busy overhauling stores, sacking grain, etc. 
Wagon trains also began to arrive from other posts to 
be loaded with grain, food, ammunition, tents, pack- 
saddles, and such other articles as are necssary for a 
campaign. The work was heavy, but we performed it 
cheerfully. The object of all this work and hurry was 
a matter of conjecture with us; we knew we were going 
to move, but in what direction was a secret to all but 
those in command. By the end of April everything 
was in order, preparations fully completed and the 
soldiers waiting for marching orders. 

"On the fourth day of May, 1870. we moved out of 
our (luarters and passed in review, marching around 
the post and thence towards our first camping place 
three miles below Fort Lincoln. We marched in the 
following order, cavalry first, artillery next, infantry 
next, the wagon train bringing up the rear. 

"I might say that before we left the barracks, some 
of the members of our company formed in line one be- 
hind the other, and marched around and around in- 


"side the soldiers' quarters to the music of two bugles 
making noise enough to be heard by Major Reno. The 
object of this was to show that they held the former 
orders of the Major in contempt. 

"All the companies of the 7th Cavalry converged 
at this point. While lying in camp here, we learned 
that the expedition formed, was against a large body 
of Indians which had left their different reservations 
stirred up and led by a turbulent warrior chief named 
Sitting r>ull and other dissatisfied chiefs and squaw 

"Our regiment was composed of twelve compan- 
ies, aliout seventy men and officers composing a com- 
pany. There were three majors, each commanding 
four companies. One colonel or general, as he is 
usually called, commanding the whole regiment. We 
were short two majors, several captains and lieuten- 
ants, the majors on sick leave namely. Majors Tilford 
and Merrill, the captains and lieutenants being on staff 
and other duties distant from this field of action. It 
is hardly possible to get the full strength of a regiment 
into the field as there is always some one on the sick 
list and others on detached service, and ours was no 
exception to the rule. 

''On the 15th of May orders were given us to move 
to Hart River where we would meet the paymaster 
and receive our \A'ages and all stragglers not going 
with the expedition would be cut off. But Oh I We 
here again met the blood sucking sutler with his vile 
whiskey, rotten tobacco, and high priced notions. It 
was plain to be seen that he would reap a rich harvest 
on this expedition. 

"General Terry had joined us at Fort Lincoln, 
hence the expedition was under his command. Terry 
was a gentleman in every respect, he exercised very 
little of his authority on the march but let General 
Custer have charge of it. 

"During the earlier part of the expedition, it 
rained quite often making the advance of the wagon 
train slow and tedious. The train was composed of 
about one hundred and sixty wagons, twenty of which 


belonged to citizens and some of their stock became so 
weak that it was all they conld do to haul their empty 
wagons. When we came to a long hill, a muddy place, 
or a ford we had to get ropes and help them out of 
their difficulty. What a nuisance they were! A Gov- 
ernment team consisted of six powerful mules to each 
wagon and they very seldom got into a place out of 
which they could not pull. There were places where 
we had to build bridges and grade approaches before 
w^e could cross, a work which ought to have been done 
by eacii company in turn. But this was not the case. 
The captain of our company, Tom Custer, was on his 
brother's staff. Lieutenant Calhoun was in command 
of Company E and this left Lieutenant Harrison in 
command of our company. He had us at nearly every 
bridge, building or road grading until we began to 
grumlde and in no undertone either. Our dissatisfac- 
tion became so pronounced that one day Major Reno 
overheai-d as. The next time our company was 
brought up by Harrington, Major Reno ordered us to 
the rear. Were we sorry? Not much. 

"As we travelled over the trackless prairie, we 
came across the trail made by Stanley when in con- 
junction with Custer in '73, he drove the Sioux across 
the Yellowstone River. We followed this trail until 
we came to the Little Missouri River where we camp- 
ed some time for the purpose of constructing a cross- 
ing over the river and scouting up the river. 

"Major Reno being the only otiicer of that rank in 
the expedition while on the march was in command 
of the right wing, and Captain Benteen who was 
senior captain was in charge of the left wing. Each 
wing camped in separate but parallel lines. 

"It was a])0ut the 20th of May that we came to 
the Little Missouri River. While here Custer took 
Company C up the river to look for signs of Indians. 
We passed over a very rough country and were com- 
l)elled on that account to cross the river many times, 
making it very hard on our horses. They had to clam- 
ber u]) the slippery banks and on recrossing to slide 
down into the river with their legs braced. The dist- 


ance we travelled was 22 miles, the onh' sign of In- 
dians we saw was a camp some months old. So we 
retraced our weary way and arrived in camp late at 
night with our horses completely tired out. 

"We had along with our expedition two compan- 
ies of Infantry and while crossing streams they would 
climb onto the wagons like bees on a hive. The poor 
fellows had a hard time of it when the days were hot 
or when it rained. General Terry suggested to Cap- 
tain Sangers of one of the Infantry companies that 
when the ground was favorable he should allow his 
men to ride on the wagons. Captain Sangers replied 
that his men could walk thirty miles a day and run an 
antelope at night. But Ave all noticed that he clung 
close to his saddle during the march. It was all nice 
enough for a captain of Infantry on horseback with 
his men following behind him to speak thus. All the 
soldiers would like to have seen him on foot after mak- 
ing such a remark. 

"The first day's march after leaving the river was 
very disagreeable for it rained all day. On the 22nd 
of May, we came in sight of the Badlands which at a 
distance presented a curious and pretty appearance. 
Some parts of them looked fiery red, others dark 
brown and black. What brought about this freak of 
nature. I cannot tell. There has been much specula- 
tion about it by travellers; some think that it was un- 
derlaid by a bed of coal, which in some way caught 
fire, burning, upheaving, and throwing the surface in- 
to all manner of shapes, but others think that it is of 
volcanic formation. Roads there were none and where 
water was found it was very bad on account of the 
alkali it contained. We were two days constructing 
a road for the passage of the wagons. While the rest 
of the regiment were busily engaged constructing the 
road, a company of infantry, for the country was 
almost impassible to horses, was deployed i>n both 
sides of us as skirmishers. We were very glad when 
we reached the open prairie. Timber is seldom seen 
in this country; a Uiw cotton woods along the streams 


and red pine on the blnffs being all there is and some- 
times not even in these places was food to be fonnd. 

"The first campino; place after leaving the Bad- 
lands fonnd ns withont wood, bnt by dint of hard 
rnstling and breaking np extra wagon tongnes and 
snch other odds and ends as we could find we man- 
aged to warm some coffee and cook some salt meni. 

"As we approached the Powder River, the conn- 
try began to be very rongh and broken. When abont 
15 miies from the river. General Custer took half of 
our company and dashed off towards it. His object was 
to find as easy and direct a route as possible. We rode 
in this mad way for nearly an hour when we came to 
a halt. Riding up to one of our corporals named 
French, Custer told him to take a man and ride in a 
certain direction where he would find a spring of wat- 
er and ascertain what condition it was in. Custer 
then wheeled his horse around and dashed away in a 
westerly direction, leaving us standing at our horses' 
heads until his return. Custer's brother, Tom. was 
the only one who went with liim. This action would 
have seemed strange to us had it not been of almost 
daily occurrence. It seemed that the man was so 
full of nervous energy that it was impossible for him 
to move along patiently. Sometimes he was far in ad- 
vance of all others, then back to his command; then 
he would dash off again followed by his orderly 
named Bishop, who tried in vain to keep Custer in 
sight. He would either return to us again or seek an 
elevation where he could catch a glimpse of the gen- 
eral dashing ahead over the country and try to inter- 
cept him on his way back. General Custer had two 
thorough-bred horses, one a sorrel and one a dark 
brown, and no common government plug had any 
show whatever to keep up with them when he was 
riding full speed. He also had a number of grey- 
hounds for hunting purposes and many a chase he and 
his brother had when on this march. But after we 
crossed the Powder River hunting ceased. 

"Corporal French soon returned looking very 
foolish. General Custer rode up to him and said, 'Did 


YOU find the spring?' 'No, sir,' said French 'There is 
no spring there.' 'Yon are a liar,' said Cnster, 'If you 
had gone to where I told you, you would ha Ye found 
it." He spoke in such a positiYe manner that we felt 
sorry for poor Corporal French, for Custer knew the 
country well, even better than the scouts, who were 
hired by the gOYernment to guide the expedition. We 
had two scouts along with us, one named Chas. 
Reynolds,, a quiet and dignified man. He led the 
wagon train, piloting it and aYoiding all bad places; 
a better scout for a white man would be hard to find; 
his mount was invariably a grey mule. The other one 
was a half breed named Mich Burey who was well 
informed regarding the country. He had crossed this 
part of the country before, hiding during the day- 
time and travelling at night for fear of the Sioux 
who were jealous of all strangers. With the expedi- 
tion also were twenty-four Ree scouts, and a dirtier 
set of rascals would be hard to find. Their interpre- 
ter was a half breed named Frank Gerard, and their 
chief guide was Billy Jackson also of Indian extrac- 
tion. But of these we will have more to say by and by. 

"But to come back to the story. While w^e were 
waiting and speculating as to our next move. Lieuten- 
ant Cook, adjutant of the 7th Cavalry and a member 
of Custer's staff, rode up and said that it was General 
Terry's desire that we should go into camp and not 
attempt too long a march. So we went back and 
found the regiment in its camping place for the night. 

"On the following day we continued our march 
and arrived at Powder River early in the forenoon. 
Immediately a scouting party was formed composed 
of the six companies B, C, E, F, G, and L, which was 
all of the right wing. These were commanded by 
Major Reno. Each company was provided with a 
sufficient number of mules to carry the necessary pro- 
visions and ammunition. I do not think that there 
were half a dozen men in the scouting party who knew 
how to pack a mule without having its pack work 
loose. But fortunately there were five citizens along 
with us who knew the business and the boys soon 


learned to lash a pack saddle and load securely. Af- 
ter two days of preparation, this scouting party start- 
ed off in a north^Yesterly direction. The only ^yheeled 
atfair we had was a large Gatling gnn drawn by four 

"On this scout as well as on the expedition prop- 
er, we saw a great deal of game; such as antelope, 
rabbits and a few deer, the last named prefer to graze 
in the night time. The old soldiers remarked upon 
the absence of buflalo; but we arrived xit the con- 
clusion that the Indians, who were in the neighbor- 
hood had driven them into bunches farther west of 
our position. Our progress with mules was compara- 
tively easy, but sometimes they became a little too 
sociable. One day we made "our way through some 
pine c<jvered hills ; the trail was so narrow that the 
horses were jostling and jammiug one another all the 
time. A mule, belonging to Company B, jammed the 
leg of (me of our men between his saddle and a crack- 
er box on its load. This hurt the man severely and in 
order to ease off the pressure he struck the mule on 
the nose, causing it to jump ro one side. Captain 
McDugal of Company B, seeing rhis spurred forward 
and threatened to pull the man from his horse. It 
was well for him that he did nor undertake to carry 
out his threat for there certainly would have been 

"The third day after leaving Powder River, we 
came to Rosebud Creek. The lirst night here our 
company was fortunate enough to secure a good camp- 
ing place. But our good fortune was of short dura- 
tion for Major Reno sent orders for us to exchange 
places with Company F. We knew it was an out- 
rage upon us, but Company F outranking us, their 
captain being with them, we had to comply. If Cap- 
tain Custer had been with us it might have been dif- 
ferent, but Lieutenant Harrington had more sense than 

"But so that I may be clearly understood, let me 
describe how we go into camp. Suppose Company C 
is next to headquarters; the- other companies follow 


by twos. This is much better than by fours, as in 
the latter case the centei' horses are mm-h worried by 
the outside ones. Company C would first be ordered 
to front into line, dismount, and nnsaddle. Then the 
next company would pass by and take its position 
next to Company C and so on until at last the first 
company would finally become last and the last, first. 
When the march commenced again. Company C 
won Id be the last to start and the others following, 
all would regain their former positions. It is a rec- 
ognized rule that when the regiment goes into camp, 
the companies take whatever position falls to them 
whether it be good or bad. When we exchanged places 
with Company F we got a poor camping place and a 
miserable sage brush to graze our horses on. You 
can imagine the feelings of our company Avhen this 
exchange took place. The laws of the United States 
Army recognize in every commissioned officer, a gen- 
tleman ; but all officers are not such. You cannot 
make a gentleman of a hog whether inside or out of 
the United States Army. 

''Near the close of our first day's march up the 
Rosebud, we struck the trail of a large body of In- 
dians, who seemed to be going in the same direction 
as ourselves. The trail was wide and so torn up by 
tepee poles that we f<iund it a difficult matter to se- 
cure a good camping place for the night. This was 
especially so around watering places which were so 
necessary to us. 

"On the 13th of June we commenced following 
the trail. Rosebud Creek undoubtedly derives its 
name from the fact that its banks are covered with 
rose bushes. At this season of the year, the air was 
laden with the odor of the roses and but for the fact 
that we were on business our march in its vicinity 
would have been pleasant. 

"When the day's march was over, and we had 
moved into camp, orders were given that no bugles 
were to be blown, no loud noise was to be made, and 
double pickets v^^ere to be placed around our camp. 
Our scout which was Mich Burey was of the opinion 


that we could overtake the Indians in a day's march. 
We began to speculate as to what Major Reno would 
do. When morning dawned, all doubt regarding the 
Major's action disappeared; for he faced to the rear 
and began to march toward the Yellowstone River. 
When we reached it we found the water high and 
muddy; but we secured a very pretty camping place 
and plenty of grazing for our horses which they so 
badly needed. Our horses had become quite jaded; 
for our grain had all been consumed and the grazing 
had been poor; and the load that a cavalry horse has 
to carry is not light. Besides his rider and saddle, 
he has to carry an overcoat, extra blanket, one-half of 
a dog tent, one hundred rounds of ammunition, gun, 
pistol, and several days' ration. We had left our 
Gatling gun a few miles in the rear on a high, abrupt 
hill. We found it impossible to bring it down with- 
out the aid of ropes. Next day, a party of men were 
sent out with the necessary appliances to bring it in; 
a messenger was also dispatched to the headquarters 
of the Tth Cavalry, which was at this time at the mouth 
on Tongue River. Here also the wagon train was 

"Major Reno wished to receive instructions re- 
garding his future actions. In due time, we received 
orders to remain wh^^e we were and that the head- 
quarters would join us next day. Accordingly on 
June 20th the Tth Cavalry was united again. The 
wagon train was to remain where it was protected by 
two companies of infantry. The companies which had 
joined us brought pack mules. Our transportation 
facilities were very slim. We were to be supplied 
with fifteen days' rations from* a steam boat named 
the 'Far W^est,' which was expected at our camping 
place on the 21st inst. The companies composing the 
left wing which had now joined us were A, D, H, I, 
K, and M. It was understood when the right wing 
left the Powder River for the scout under Reno that 
on its return the left wing was to take its turn on a 
scout providing we failed to discover anything. But 
the scouting trip under Reno had proven somewhat of 


a success. We now begau to brace up for a rough 
trip; for all the men knew that General Custer if left 
to his own devices would soon end the campaign one 
way or another. Custer and some other of the of- 
ficers were anxious to witness the opening of the 
Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia in July, 1876. 
It was reported among us that when General Terry 
and Custer joined us on the banks of the Yellowstone 
and confirmed by those in position to know that when 
Reno made his report concerning the discovery of the 
Indian trail and the supposed direction in which they 
were removing, General Custer upbraided him very bit- 
terly for not finding out the exact number and the 
direction the Indians were taking instead of suppos- 
ing and guessing. There were some sharp questions 
and short answers; but General Terry interposed and 
smoothed the matter over. The plan of action in 
this case seemed to be that General Custer was to 
take the 7th Cavalry and try to intercept the Indians 
and prevent them from going any further, while Gen- 
eral Terry was to go up the YelloAvstone to the place 
where Giilon's Infantry and part of the 2nd Cavalry 
were encamped, move them over to the west bank of 
the river and march to the assistance of Custer. What 
orders Custer received from Terry is merely a mat- 
ter of speculation ; but it seems to me that Custer was 
to use his own judgment as the case might require. 

"On the forenoon of the 21st the 'Far West' ar- 
rived w^th our needed supplies and soon numbers of us 
were helping to unload them. Hut the article most 
anxiously inquired after was plug tobacco and with 
few exceptions all used it. 

"On the afternoon of the 22nd the 7th Cavalry 
was ready to move. There were about 140 mules 
packed with 15 days' rations for the twelve compan- 
ies. The Gatling gam which Major Reno had taken 
with him on the scout was placed on the steamboat. 
This was one of the first blunders of the expedition 
as later events proved. 

''The whistle of the 'Far West' as it left the bank 
of the river brought forth a cheer from the throats 


of tlie 7th Cavalry. Custer rushed along- the bank 
and motioned for the boat to put back to the landing. 
When this was done he leaped aboard and lugged Mich 
Burey ashore amid the cheers of our command. Mich 
was very popular, not only for his quiet demeanor 
but on account of his knowledge of the country. He 
always inspired us with confidence. 

During this exciting episode, many of the sold- 
iers climbed up into the cottonwood trees which lined 
the bank of the river and placed their overcoats in 
convenient forks and crotches making them as secure 
as possible so that they would not be dislodged by the 
wind. The}' gave all manner of excuses for their con- 
duct, namely, that they were going to travel so fast 
that it would take them all their time to keep their 
hats on, etc. But the true reason was to lessen the 
burden their horses had to carry. But I kept mine as 
I had grave doubts of our ever returning that way and 
future events proved my doubts to be correct. 

The steamboat with General Terry on board had 
hardly started up the river again before we were on 
our way to victory or death. A very solemn feeling 
seemed to settle clown upon the men from this time. 
Numbers of us felt that when Custer took active 
charge of the expedition there would be no more fun- 
ny work. He meant business. Some of the men knew 
by previous experience that when General Custer 
turned himself loose, he made things hum. Some of 
our men had served under Custer in his Kansas cam- 
paign against the Indians. 

In Colorado while Ijmg in camp, numbers of 
cavalry men deserted, some in a sneaking way under 
the cover of night, others in broad day light. The lat- 
ter would ride off with the government horses, un- 
til his strength was considerably depleated. Custer 
saw that the only way to stop this wholesale desertion 
was to use some harsh measures. 

"One day it was reported to him that a few more 
men had deserted. He took a body guard, mounted 
on good horses and started in pursuit. The deserters 
were soon overhauled. Without words to the desert- 


ers he ordered his men to fire into them. They did 
so, killing some and wonnding others. This had a 
tendency to stop desertion for some time. 

"There is another story regarding him to the ef- 
fect that when on the Black Hills expedition his 
brother. Tom, overslept himself and consequently fail- 
ed to report his company. Presently Custer walked 
to his brother's tent and set fire to the high dry grass 
which surrounded it. It is needless to say that Cap- 
tain Custer got out of his sleep and his tent in double 
quick time. 

"These seemed harsh measures but we must re- 
member that at that time the country was full of 
hostile Indians ever ready to take advantage of any 
slackness of discipline or to cut off any who had the 
misfortune to stray away from the command. But we 
do not approve of such extreme measures. 

"As we are now approaching the most important 
period of the expedition, I Avill endeavor to give as 
accurate an account of it as possible. 

"In the first place you will notice that we start- 
ed from the Yellowstone River on the afternoon of 
the*22nd of June, General Custer in command of the 
7th Cavalry, General Terry on board the steamer, 
the 'Far West ;' the object of the latter's mission I have 
already stated. 

"We travelled about fifteen miles that afternoon, 
then moved into camp. Orders were given that no 
bugles were to be blown ; no firing of guns and no 
straggling were to be allowed. It may seem rather 
early for such precaution to be taken; we had not 
seen any Indians, and so far no settlers had put in 
their appearance. And all through that hard cam- 
paign the unbroken prairies and hills were as bare of 
human habitation as an iceberg is of grass. 

"The only evidence we had that white men had 
ever been in that country was some pegs driven in the 
ground by Northern Pacific surveyors, which we found 
just before reaching the Yellowstone. 

''On the 23rd of June we moved over a very rough 
piece of country. While moving along the ridge of 


an al)rnpt hill a langhable incident occurred. One of 
our men named Bennett was mounted on a bob-tailed 
horse which had proven to be very tricky. While 
crossing a shelving rock, overhanging a deep and 
rocky gorge, the horse stood stock still and lifting 
up the right hind foot began to scratch his ear. Ben- 
nett looked around helplessly; first down the rocky 
gorge and then at his laughing comrades. As soon 
as he could he induced his horse to stop combing his 
ear and edged away from that locality. 

"Then one of our mules named Barnum, stumbled 
and fell, and went rolling down the hill with two 
boxes of ammunition on his back. As we watched 
him rolling we made some calculations as to how 
much mule would be left in case the ammunition ex- 
ploded. But contrary to all expectations, when he 
reached the bottom of the hill, he scrambled to his 
feet 9 gain with both boxes undisturbed and made his 
way up the hill again and took his place in the line 
us soberly and quietly as if nothing had happened. 

"We camped that night on Beaver Creek where 
we found plenty of bad water, but good grazing for 
our horses. It kept them busy to fill themselves up 
after they were picketed out, for we made very long 
marches. Custer seemed tireless himself and seemed 
to think his men were made of the same stuff. 

''It is a hard sight to see men, who have been 
roused out of their sleep at half past three in the 
morning; not only once but day after day, sleeping in 
their saddles; and lucky indeed was the man who had 
a quiet and steady horse that allowed the luxury of 
a sleep while travelling. I often took a nap in that 
way although my horse was a very restless brute. 

"On June 24th we reached the Rosebud again 
where we moved into camp. There were numerous 
beaver dams in this stream and at this point the coun- 
try was so flat that one of the dams would back the 
water for a considerable distance only to be succeed- 
ed by another of similar construction. 

''We received orders in a quiet Avay to be ready to 
move that night at twelve o'clock, for the purpose of 


crossing the divide which separates the Eosebiid from 
the Little Horn River. 

^'The men began to ask one another if they were 
going to travel all the time. We then made prepara- 
tions for a short nap. No canvas was stretched; no 
mules were unpacked except those which were carry- 
ing the necessary supplies for supper. 

"It was on this same stream (the Rosebud) that 
ten days before, General Crook had a slight skirmish 
with the Indians. It is said that he was driven from 
his camp leaving behind him two raw recruits who 
fell into the hands of the Indians. The poor fellows, 
thinking that mere}' would be shown them, handed 
their arms to the Indians; but what mercy these sav- 
ages have in their breasts has yet to be discovered. 
It is needless to say that the Indians killed them in a 
most shocking manner. This was done in sight of 
General Crook's command. It may seem strange to 
some that the command could see this outrage com- 
mitted without trying to rescue them. But if we take 
General Crook's career as an Indian fighter we will be 
forced to the conclusion that he was a failure. 

When midnight came you may be sure we moved 
promptly. Each company had to lead its own pack 
mules; it was too dark to see to drive; no moon; 
simply the faint starlight to guide us. We kept at a 
lively gait for three hours. 

"As soon as the tirst faint streaks of daylight ap- 
peared we moved into a group where we were ordered 
to unsaddle and rest for several hours. A picket line 
was thrown out and each company detailed some of 
their own men for the purpose of guarding their own 
horses and pack mules. No canvas was stretched for 
shelter as we knew our stay would be comparatively 
short. Each man made a pillow of his saddle, and a 
mattress of his saddle blanket and overcoat, if he had 
an overcoat. As it was warm, covering was unneces- 
sary. We laid as much as possible under trees and 
shrubbery, as a person always feels more secure un- 
der some sort of shelter. This probably arises from 
force of habit rather than from any real security. 


"I will state here that I am too hard-headed to 
believe in dreams, but will here relate one which, in 
spite of my unbelief, disturbed me. I laid down un- 
der a tree and had fallen into a doze when I dreamed 
that the Indians attacked a small detachment of us 
soldiers. We were all dismounted and the Indians 
put us to flight. At this point I awoke expecting to 
find it real, but seeing the outstretched forms of my 
comrades, I composed myself and laid down to sleep 
again. But my dream instead of being cut off by my 
awaking began to run in the same channel, only this 
time I alone was the victim. An Indian with an up- 
lifted axe came after me; there was no skulking but 
a fair and square race, and for the life of me I could 
not tell why I ran from the Indian. Just as the sav- 
age got close enough to me to strike I awoke only to 
find all vanish into thin air. But so profoundly had 
the dream impressed itself upon me that I could get 
no more sleep. Getting up I strolled through the 
camp looking at the horses and noting how poor and 
gaunt they were becoming. This was not to be won- 
dered at when we take into account the long marches 
they had made without any grain to sustain their 
strength; nothing but dead grass or perhaps a little 
green grass which was very short at this season of 
the year. 

I also noted the pickets that were thrown out to 
prevent a surprise. Of all duties picket guard is the 
most important and responsible while camping in an 
enemy's country. He has ever to be on the alert 
whether standing, sitting, or lying down. The latter 
position is the most preferable as he can see an object 
quicker and tell its character quicker than in either of 
the other positions. 

"On this expedition the picket's orders were never 
to challenge anyone appi^oaching from the outside as 
all such were considered enemies unless specially or- 
dered. Picket duty is very lonesome, but as we said 
before, very responsible. He not only has his own 
personal safety to look after, but also the safety of 
hundreds of others. He has his regular beat to look 


after, the number of pickets being regulated by tlie 
distance they are removed from the command. 

"There is also a guard placed over the horses 
whose duty it is to see that none are taken away by 
anyone without an order from the officers of the com- 
pany, or should any break loose from their picket 
ropes, to secure them before guard is relieved, which 
change is made every two hours. 

"This morning the soldiers were lying in every 
conceivable manner, when canvas was not stretched. 

"Early as it was. General Custer and two of his 
staff, namely, Captain Custer and Lieutenant Cook, 
were in earnest conversation. What the subject of 
their conversation was no one will ever know, but it 
must have been of deep interest to them, for the in- 
terview lasted quite a long time. 

"The mules were all unpacked and grazing at 
will. The water was very bad, being full of alkali. 
At half past six, the cook was awakened to prepare 
breakfast for the men, and that meal consisted simply 
of coffee, bacon, and hardtack; a kind of provision all 
old soldiers are well acquainted with. 

It was half past eight o'clock when we moved 
out of camp. This was on the morning of the 25tli of 
June, 1876, a day I will never forget as long as I 
live. Our gait was a lively walk. Having had a few 
hours sleep the men began to be talkative, and specu- 
lation ran high on how soon the campaign would end. 
One old soldier said that it would end just as soon as 
we could reach old Sitting Bull. Another said, 'If that 
is all, the campaign will soon be over, and Custer 
will take us with him to the Centennial' 'Of course.' 
said a wag, 'we will take Sitting Bull with us.' This 
created a roar of laughter among those who heard 
him. The conversation continued; each one telling 
his neighbor what he would take when Sitting Bull's 
camp was captured. 

"While still joking and laughing we came to one 
of the camping places of the Indians. Here we came 
to a halt for the purpose of noting the extent of the 
camp, and by this means to approximate the number of 


Indians in the party. After wandering around we 
found that but a small party had made this their 
camping place, but from all appearances they must 
have had 'a high old time.' 

"They had placed in the ground four upright 
posts upon which they had made a small platform of 
the limbs of trees. On this they had placed the heads 
of several buffaloes and from the appearance of the 
ground they must have had what is called a buffalo 

"A short distance from this place, one of the 
members of Company C found two scalps dangling 
from a short willow which had been stuck in the 
ground. From the appearance of the hair one scalp 
belonged to a man and the other a woman. The hair 
on both scalps was light in color. 

"Our stay here was of short duration, and we 
began to follow what appeared to be a valley stretch- 
ing out between two low lying ranges of hills, this 
dipped toward the Little Horn River. By following 
this valley, we were well protected by the hills on 
either side. Our progress was unhindered and we 
moved rapidly along feeling that there was something 
ahead of us that we must see. 

"We had not travelled a very great distance be- 
fore we came upon a large camping place which the 
Indians had evidently vacated but a few days before. 
While here, they had rounded up a,nd slaughtered 
quite a number of buffalo, and then moved further 
down the valley. 

"Our next resting place was in a deep depression 
of the valley. Custer rode some distance ahead of us 
and then turning to the right ascended to the highest 
point of the hills where he must have been able to 
see a long distance. He was not long in returning; 
and then the bugle was blown for the first time for a 
number of days. It was a call for the officers and 
they soon gathered around their chief. Frank Ger- 
ard so far forgot himself as to go and sit down near 
the place where the consulting officers were gathered. 
General Custer looked at him and said, 'Go where you 

thp: black hills trails ir,i 

belong, and stay there.' He did not wait for a Sfo- 
ond bidding. It was Custer's desire to keep every 
man in liis proper place. Tliis was perfectly right as 
in military life there must be discipline. 

"Our company was resting quite close to the place 
where the officers sat in council. This resting place 
was on a piece of ground slightly elevated above tlie 
officers' position which, for the first time on the expe- 
dition, gave me an opportunity of seeing the officers 
all together and of noting their appearances. The 
most noticeable among them was Captain Benteen. He 
was senior captain of the regiment. There were alsD 
present, Yates, Kehoe. Custer, McDugal. Smith, Ware, 
French, Moline, Lieutenant Cook, adjutant of the 
regiment on Custer's staff; Calhoun, Macintosh, Yar- 
num, Wallace, Harrington, Agerly, Sturgis, and other 
officers whose names I have entirely forgotten. It 
would be difficult to find a finer set of officers in the 
service of any country. From the manner of the con- 
versation it would seem as though Custer had dis- 
covered something that was of great importance. We 
could not hear the conversation, but we could see that 
they were all deeply interested. The younger officers 
did not seem to take any part in the conversation but 
paid great attention while Custer and the more ex- 
perienced officers were seeking to solve some difficult 

''In a short time the council broke up and once 
more we were on the move down the valley. As we 
proceeded the signs of Indians became more and more 
numerous. As these signs increased in numbers. 
Bloody Knife, one of the chiefs of the Ree Indians, 
became greatly excited, and his followers partook of 
his spirit and became excited also. 

"While we were at the Yellowstone, six Crow In- 
dians joined us, Half Yellow Face being their head 
man. The Sioux and Crows were bitter enemies and 
were continually fighting one another as opportunity 
offered. The Crows had held the country between 
the Big Missouri and the Yellowstone, but the restless 
Sioux had driven them slowly but surely back to the 


confines of the Yellowstone where they made their 
last stand and with the aid of the government kept 
the Sioux in check. The Crows, therefore, were ever 
ready to accompany any expedition that would afford 
them an opportunity to strike a blow at their old 
enemies. The government generally placed confidence 
4n their friendship. 

"Water was exceedingly scarce in the valley but 
as we knew that the latter was short we had hopes of 
something better when we got out of it. 

"We found, as we proceeded, that the camping 
places of the Indians were but a short distance apart 
showing that they were travelling in a leisurely man- 
ner for the purpose of giving their ponies an oppor- 
tunity to feed; or it might have been that each tribe 
camped by itself. But be that as it may, the ground 
was eaten quite bare in most places, showing that 
they must have had a great number of animals with 
them. One of their camps must have been broken up 
in confusion for numerous articles were left behind; 
such as coffee pots, tin plates, cups, axes, hatchets, and 
other articles that were good for further use. These 
articles were scattered about from one end of the camp 
to the other, 

"The sight of these things puzzled us greatly. Was 
it for the purpose of lightening their burdens that 
they might travel the quicker, or for transporting the 
butfalo that they had slaughtered, or was it a hasty 
flight? These questions we could not answer. 

"We had just passed through this camping ground 
when we discovered a single tepee standing near a 
large clump of cottonwood trees. The sight of this 
tepee caused a commotion among us. Lieutenant Cook 
rode rnpidly up to Major Reno, giving him orders to 
take thiee companies of the left wing, cross the Little 
Horn River to its left bank and proceed down that 
stream. He then ordered a detail of Company. F 
which was in advance with headquarters to investigate 
and find out the contents of the tepee. This left 
Captain Benteen with three companies of the left wing 
and one of the right, as Captain McDugal's company 


was rear guard and had charge of the pack train. 
General Custer then took Companies C, E, F, G, and L 
intending to go down the right bank of the stream, 
nnder cover if possible. We soon learned that a large 
band of Indians were in camp a short distance down 
the river. The plan marked ont was to attack the In- 
dians in the following manner : Major Reno was to 
cross the river to its left bank and proceed down un- 
til he struck their village and endeavor to keep the 
attention of the Indians until Custer had time to pass 
down the right bank and cross over and attack them 
in the rear. 

"On the left side of the river the country was 
flat, on the right it was very rough and broken ; 
there was a low range of hills cut up by numerous in- 
tersecting ravines. 

"It was Custer's intention to keep out of sight of 
the Indians until he had time to cross over the river, 
three miles below. After Reno left us we commenced 
to travel in parallel lines with the Little Horn River, 
which was thickly screened by cottonwood trees and 

"We now left the valley in which we had been 
travelling and commenced to climb the bluffs over- 
looking the river and surrounding country. At this 
time our horses v»'ere in a trot. At our right, and on 
a slight elevation, sat General Custer and his brother. 
Tom, reviewing the companies as they passed by. This 
was the last review General Custer ever held. Cook, 
the adjutant, w^as giving orders wherever Custer 
deemed it necessary. When we reached the top of the 
hill, we were ordered to form into sets of fours which 
would make us a more solid and compact body. Each 
one was told to remember his number. Let me explain 
the meaning of numbers. 

''In the morning before mounting the companies 
form in single lines. Each man, commencing at the 
head of the company, calls out in Turn his number; one, 
two, three, four, and so these are repeated until the com- 
pany is all numbered into sets of fours. Cavalry men 
dismount and fight on foot except when a charge is 


made, but when a dismount is ordered, number four 
remains on his horse; numbers one, two and three 
dismount and hand their bridle reins to number four 
who holds the horses, while they deploy as skirmishers 
or as otherwise directed. The men composing the four 
with myself were Fitzgerald, Brennan, and Watson, 
and although composing one of the sets of fours that 
entered into action with Custer, not one of us ever 
reached the battlefield which proved so fatal to Custer 
and his men. Both Brennan and Fitzgerald turned 
their horses toward the rear, when they had gone two 
miles beyond the lone tepee. 

"We soon gained the top of the bluffs where a view 
of the surrounding country was obtained. The detail 
of Company F which was sent to investigate the tepee, 
now passed by us on their way to the front with th*^ 
report that it contained a dead Indian and such articles 
as were deemed necessary for him on his journey to the 
'Happy Hunting Grounds.' 

"About a half a mile further on we came in sight 
of the Indian village, and it was a truly imposing sight 
to anyone who had not seen anything like it before. 
For about three miles on the left bank of the river the 
tepees were stretched, the white canvas gleaming in 
the sunlight. Beyond the village was a black mass of 
ponies grazing on the short green grass. 

"When the companies came in sight if the village, 
they gave the regular charging yell and urged their 
horses into a gallop. At this time a detail of five men 
from Company F was sent ahead to reconnoiter and 
from this point I was gradually left behind in spite of 
all I could do to keep up with my company. Ther i 
were others also in the same fix. All urging on my 
part was useless. Getting vexed I dismounted and De- 
gun to fasten on my spurs, when I heard my iiauie 
called and, on looking up, I saw Brennan near me on 
horseback. He asked, 'What is the matter?' I told 
him that I was afraid my horse was entirely played out. 
'Well,' said he, 'Let us keep together.' I straightened 
myself up and said, 'I tell you what I will do I 
will trade horses with you if you will.' He gave me 


a strange look and turned his horse aronnd and rode 
towards the rear, leavino- me to shift for myself. 
'Well,' I thought, *I will get along any way.' I fin- 
ished putting on my spurs, mounted my horse again, 
and rode on after my company, but my progress was 
very slow. 

"My spurs having been poorly fastened came off 
again, and seeing a pair lying on the trail, I got off 
my horse to secure them. Hearing an oath behind me, 
I looked back and saw my comrade Watson, trying 
to get his horse on its feet. The poor brute had fallen 
and was struggling to gain an upright position. Be- 
side him, I saw Sergeant Finkle of our company sit- 
ting calmly on his horse looking on and making no 
effort to help Watson in his difficulty. But finally the 
poor animal gained his feet with a groan, and Finkle 
passed on with a rush to overtake our company. 

"By this time the last of the companies had dis- 
appeared over the crest of the hill I was still tug- 
ging away at the spurs, when W^atson came up and 
asked what the trouble was and then passed on in the 
trail of the soldiers. I mounted my horse again but 
found that a staggering walk was all I could get out 
of him. 

"I then began to look around; everywhere the 
hurry and bustle of life had disappeared; the only 
evidence of life wa 
ually disappearing. 

"I then looked across the river at the Indian vil- 
lage; it was all in commotion. One party of Indians 
were dashing down the river; others were hurrying 
towards their ponies; others were rushing toward the 
upi)er end of the village. The cause of this commotion 
was ]Major Reno with three comijanies of men about a 
mile distant from the upper end of the village, dash- 
ing along in a gallop towards them. The officers were 
riding in order a little in advance of their respective 
companies. It was a grand sight to see those men 
charging dj)wn upon the village of their enemies, who 
outnumbered them many times. The well-trained 
horses were kept well in hand. There was no strag- 


gling; they went together, neck and neck, their tails 
streaming in the wind and the riders' arms gleaming 
in the sunlight. It was no Avonder that the Indians 
were in great commotion when they beheld the bold 
front presented by the cavalry. But alas! how decep- 
tive are appearances. The cavalry dashed into the 
village where one of the non-commissioned officers 
halted and struck up the company's guidon along side 
of a tepee before he was sliot from his horse. The 
halt was but for a moment, for the Indians came rush- 
ing toward them in great numbers. At this juncture 
the dry grass caught on fire threatening the destruction 
of the village, but the squaws, fearless as the braves 
themselves, fought the fire and tore down the tepees 
which were in danger of burning. Major Reno see- 
ing that he was greatly outnumbered ordered an im- 
mediate retreat to a grove of cottonwood trees, which 
stood on the bank of the river about half a mile from 
the upper end of the village, where they found shelter 
for their horses and protection for themselves. 

''Major Reno dismounted his men in the usual 
manner; number four remaining on horseback to hold 
the horses of the others. A skirmish line was formed, 
which advanced to the edge of the timber, to await the 
enemy who soon appeared in great numbers. The 
shots exchanged were few, and here, to my mind, is 
where Major Reno made a blunder. Instead of se- 
creting his men, as he should have done, he ordered 
them to mount their horses, and led a retreat which 
not only proved fatal to a number of his own men, but 
also to Custer. Had he remained where he was he 
would undoubtedly have held a great number of the 
Indians in check. Although his numbers were less his 
advantages were greater. The grove of timber was 
not so large but that his men could have defended all 
of it and by this means engaged a sufficient number 
of Indians to give General Custer an Opportunity to 
cross over the river and come to his assistance by at- 
tacking the Indians in the rear. As I have before 
mentioned. Major Reno led the retreat toward the 
river and across it and up to the top of the bluff. In 


crossing the river, there was great confusion; each 
man seemed to be for himself. Here Lieutenant Mac- 
intosh and numbers of others were shot from their 

"After Major Reno gained the top of the hill, he 
was joined by Captain Benteen with his three compan- 
ies; likewise by Captain McDugal with the pack train 
making seven companies besides twenty men of the 
right wing who had been detailed to attend to pack 
mules of the right; wing, 

"All the above transpired in a very short space 
of time. 

"Meanwhile I was pursuing my way along the 
trail on foot leading my horse, for I w^as afraid he 
would fall down under me, so stumbling and stagger- 
ing was his gait. 

"After the disappearance of Custer and his men, 
I felt that I was in a terrible predicament to be left 
practically alone in an enemy's country, leading a 
horse practically useless. 

"While meditating upon the combination of cir- 
cumstances which had brought me into this unhappy 
condition, I looked ahead and saw Watson but was 
unable to overtake him slow as he was going. He sud- 
dently turned aside from the trail as if he wished to 
avoid some threatening danger. While I was wonder- 
ing what it could be, I saw a small party of Indians, 
about thirty in number, driving a small bunch of 
ponies and mules, coming towards me. I thought my 
time had surely come as it was too late to retreat. 

''While I was making calculations as to leaving 
my horse and trying my luck on foot, I thought I saw 
something familiar in their appearance. On coming 
close, I saw they were our Ree scouts and two Crov^ 
Indians, one of w^hom was Half Yellow Face or Two 
Bloody Hands. He had received this latter name from 
the fact that on the back of his buckskin shirt the 
print of two human hands was visible, either put there 
by red paint or blood. 

"When close enough I gave them to understand 
the condition I was in and asked for an exchange of 


mount. Half Yellow Face only shook his head and 
said, 'Heap Sioux, heap Sioux, heap shoot, heap 
shoot, come,'' and motioned for me to go back with 
them. I shook my head and answered, 'No.' They 
made their way to the rear and I went on ahead The 
animals the scouts liad they had captured from the 

"I had lost sight of Watson and thinking that 1 
could make my horse go faster by mounting him I 
did so. I had not gone far before I became aware of 
the fact that I had company. When I had nearly 
gained the top of the hill, I saw five Sioux Indians. 
We discovered each other about the same time. Three 
of them turned aside and rode toward my rear. The 
other two brought their guns to their shoulders and 
aimed at me. Almost instantly my carbine was at my 
shoulder, aiming at them; but it was empty; while 
in the ranks or on horse back, I made it a practice 
to carry it empty. There we sat aiming at one an- 
other; the Indians did not fire and I couldn't. True, 
my revolver was loaded, but I was not fool enough to 
take my chances, one against five. 

"After aiming at me for a few seconds, they slid 
off their ponies and sneaked after the other three. I 
now looked around to see how I was going to make 
my escape, I knew I could not retreat; with five I 
could not cope, and within the last few moments a 
few more Indians had gained the trail ahead of me; 
and to make my way down the face of the bluff, I 
knew was nearly impossible, as the Indians were 
climbing up to gain the trail. 

"Looking to my right, I saw a ravine and at the 
bottom of it a small clump of wild cherry bushes. 
But beyond and on a higher elevation than on which 
I stood was a pillar of rocks, which I thought might 
afford me a means of defense. I knew I would have 
to act quickly if I was to save my life, so dismounting 
from my horse, which had carried me so many miles, 
I dashed down into the ravine toward the bushes; but 
the sudden flight of a flock of birds from that point 
caused me to turn aside and I made a bee line for the 


pillar of rocks above me. After arriving there I took 
an inventory of my ammunition. My pistol contain- 
ed five cartridges, my belt contained seventeen cart- 
ridges for my carbine, a very slim magazine as a 
means of defense. I had left nearly a hundred rounds 
in my saddle bags, but owing to the incomplete con- 
dition of my prairie belt I was unable to carry more 
with me. 

"Belts for carrying ammunition were, at this 
time, just coming into use, and a great many of us 
had nothing but a small cartridge box as means of 
carrying our ainmunition when away from our horses. 

"I was disappointed with my place of defense, I 
found that the pillar was barely eighteen inches 
through ; it was about seven feet high with a piece of 
rotten Cottonwood on top. It had been built by In- 
dians for some purpose or other. 

•^'After completing my inventory, I sat down and 
began to reflect on my chances for life, if I remained 
where I was. I knew that if the cavalry drove the 
savages from their village, they would scatter in all 
directions, and if any of the straggling devils came 
across such an unfortunate as myself, I would stand 
a poor show. I looked back toward the trail where I 
left my horse; he was still in the same place with an 
Indian riding around him. I thought that if he was 
going to be stripped, it was a pity that the ammuni- 
lion I had left should fall into the hands of an enemy. 

''I thought that my time for action had again ar- 
rived and that I had better seek other quarters, so I 
determined that I would try to reach the trail where 
it made a turn toward the river. I began to make 
tracks once more in a lively manner, and in a short 
time reached the point I had started for. At this 
point the trail was washed very badly on both sides as 
it descenrled towards the river. I looked back and 
saw a mounted Indian coming full speed after me. 

"When my thoughts wander back to that incident, 
I am led to believe that the bold front of an enemy 
sometimes puts a strong man to Hight. Such was the 
case with me, at any rate, at this time. I am ashamed 


to say that I did run several hundred feet and then 
checked myself and began to walk very slowly, for I 
knew I had the advantage of the savage. If ever I 
wanted to kill anybody it was right then, but when 
the savage saw me slow up, he wheeled around and 
galloped back over the trail as fast as he could go, 
leaving me to pursue my way in peace as far as he 
was concerned, but I was badly disappointed for I 
wanted his pony and if necessary would have shed his 
blood to obtain it, but no such luck was for me. 

''The trail I was on led directly to the river and 
thence into the village. The commotion in the village 
had subsided; the signs of life were few; it appeared 
to me that it was deserted, so quiet and deathlike was 
the stillness. But when I looked closer, I could see a 
few Indians sneaking around hei^e and there, and ev- 
ery once and again an Indian would dash out of the 
village, as if anxious to get to some given point in the 
least possible time. 

"While making these observations, I also made a 
pleasant discovery. Down at the foot of the hill 
which I was descending. I saw a white man riding in 
a slow, leisurely way. Suddenly he left the trail and 
made his way up the river. Wishing to have company 
I was about to call for him to stop, but happily for' 
me I did not, for I saw the reason why Watson, for 
such he proved to be, turned aside. He was making 
his way towards a party of Indians who were stand- 
ing close to the river bank near a clump of under- 
brush They were talking and gesticulating in a very 
earnest manner. The day was extremely warm, but 
for all that the Indians had their blankets wrapped 
around them. Some of the blankets were stamped 
with the large letters I. D. meaning Indian Depart- 
ment. I then knew they were some of the hostiles we 
were after. 

Watson had evidently not made this discovery. 
I was anxious to save him and if I did I must act 
quickly. So leaving the trail I ran down the hill at 
full speed and came to a place where there was a deep 
cut with steep sides that I would not have dared to 


face had I been able to check myself in time. But I 
could not; so I gave a leap which landed me many- 
feet below, and, strange to say, I did not lose my 
balance. Fortunately for me the soil was soft and 
loose to light upon. 

''When I got close enough to Watson, I called 
to him in a guarded voice. On hearing me, he check- 
ed up his horse and looked around. I rushed up to 
him and asked him where he was going. He answered, 
'To our scouts, of course.' I then told him when we 
passed our scouts on the trail above. 'Well,' he said, 
'Who are these ahead of us?' I told him that I was un- 
der the impression that they were hostiles and that 
we had better keep clear of them. He came to the 
same conclusion. The problem that now perplexed us 
was what we were to do. We finally concluded to en- 
ter the village by way of the trail. 'And now, Watson,' 
said I, 'I will help myself along by han^ng to your 
horse's tail, as I cannot otherwise keep up with you.' 
So we started in the proposed direction. 

"We had not gone far, before we saw a sight that 
puzzled us very much. Coming uut of the river was 
one of our Crow scouts, mounted on his horse with 
the end <»f a rawhide rope over his shoulder, which 
he held firmly in his right hand. At the other end of 
the rope, straining and tugging to get away, was a 
Sioux squaw. The rope was tied around both her 
hands, but, struggle as she might, she could not l)reak 

''While looking on and wondering where the Crow 
was going we were further astonished by seeing General 
Custer dash out of the fording place and ride rapid- 
up up to the Crow and commence to talk to him. Cus- 
ter was well versed in Indian languages. The con- 
versation with the Indian did not last long, and what 
the nature (if it was I do not know, but the Crow re- 
leased the Sioux woman, and she seeming glad to be 
free came running towards us in a half stooping- 
posture and in her hand was a long bladed knife of 
ugly dimensions. So fierce did she look that my hand 
involuntarily sought the handle of my revolver. She 


Gt'iieral Custer and Lieiiteiiaiit f'ook in the Field in ISJi;! 


must hav(' nntiicd tlie movement for she made a short 
circle around ns. ran over the hank, crossed the 
river, and disapjjeared in the village. 

"The Crow then left Ouster and rode in a jog trot 
towai'ds the river and disappeared. 

"Custer was mounted on his sorrel horse and be- 
ing a very hot day he was in his shirt sleeves ; his 
buckskin pants were tucked into his boots; his buck- 
skin shirt fastened to the rear of his saddle; and a 
broad brimmed, cream colored hat on his head, the 
brim of which was turned up on the right side and 
fastened by a snmll hook and eye to its crown. This 
gave him the op])()]-tunity to sight his rifle while rid- 
ing. His rifle lay horizontally in front of him; when 
riding he leaned slightly forward. This was the ap- 
pearance of Custer on the day that he entered his 
last battle, and just one half hour before the fight 
commenced between him and the Sioux. When the 
Crow scout left him, he wheeled around and made for 
the same point in the river where we had first seen 
him. When he Avas passing us he slightly checked his 
horse and waved his right hand twice for us to follow 
him. He pt-inted down the stream, put spurs to his 
horse and disap])eared at the ford, never uttering a 
word. That was the last I ever saw of Custer alive. 
He must have gime thence directly to his command. 
We wondered why none of his sraff were with him. 
In all probability he had outrun them. His being all 
alone .shows with what fearlessness he travelled about 
even iu an enemy's country with hostiles all around 

"We reached the fording place as soon as pos- 
sible, but all signs of Custer were gone. Whether he 
had gone through the village or waded dow^n the 
stream to reach his command is a question that can- 
not be ansvrered ; Init as Ave had seen -no signs of him 
crossing to the opposite side we naturally thought that 
he had made his way down the stream. 

''When we came lo the fording place, we found 
that the water was rushing very rapidly. Both banks 
were wet with the splashing made by the animals go- 


in^ to and from the village. We stopped a moment 
to consider the best way to proceed and how to act, 
when we looked into the village. We could see the 
guidon fluttering in the breeze. This was the flag 
which had been placed there by the corporal just be- 
fore he was shot. The sight of this increased our 

"Our plan was for Watson to cross the river first 
to show how deep the water was. Being very thirsty 
I forgot every thing else, and stooping down, began to 
dip water from the river in my hands and drink. 
While I was thus engaged and when Watson had ford- 
ed to the middle of the stream. I heard the crack of 
three rifles which caused me to straighten up quickly 
and look around to see what the' trouble was. Stand- 
ing on the opposite bank of the river and at the very 
point we wished to gain were three Indians, with their 
smoking rifles in their hands. Watson, looking around 
at me, said, 'What in thunder is the matter?' I 
answered, 'If you don't get off your horse at once, 
you will get shot.' He did not need a second bidding, 
neither did he dismount in military style, but more 
like a frog landing with feet and hands in the water 
at the same time. This ungainly dismount caused 
the water to fly in every direction. The Indians no 
doubt thought that they had finished him for two of 
them turned around and disappeared in the village. 

'"The one that was left stood facing me, still 
disputing our passage across tJie river. From his 
dec(9rations of paint and feathers, I judged he was a 

"^Vatson began to crawl out of the water. If 
he was as thirsty as I was before he dismounted, I 
will guarantee tliat he was in that condition no longer. 

"I made up my mind to climb to the top of the 
bank and let drive at our painted friend. I called to 
Watson to keep quiet for a few moments, and began 
to walk backwards up the steep bank, keeping my 
eyes fixed on the Indian and watching his every move- 
ment. When he saw my maneuvers he took aim at 
me and shot. But the only result was that the lead 


lay buried in the red clay at my side. The bank be- 
ing very wet my feet slipped from under me several 
times. The Indian without lowering his rifle blazed 
away a second time, with the same result as before. 
I began to get my dander up and climbed to the top 
of the bank in no dignified manner. The red devil 
still kept aiming at me; I was a better target for him 
now than before. When I thought it time for him to 
fire. I dropped on my left side; the bullet whistling 
over my head, buried itself in the bluff behind me. As 
this duel had been one sided so far, I determined to 
try my hand. So loading my carbine which was done 
in a moment, I took aim at liim as he turned to go to 
his pony, which was about thirty feet back of him on 
a slight elevation, winding up his rawhide rope as he 
did so. I fired, but missed him, because Watson who 
was on a line with the Indian made a movement which 
distracted my aim. I threw open the breech lock of 
my carbine to throw the shell out, but it was stuck 
fast. Being afraid that the Indian would escape, I 
worked at it in a desperate manner and finally got it 
out far enough to use my thumb nail, which proved ef- 
fective. The cartridge was very dirty, a nice predica- 
ment for a man to be in at close quarters with an 
enemy. I was careful to put in a clean one next time, 
and calling for Watson to remain quiet for a moment, 
I fired when the Indian was 'within three feet of his 
horse. The ball plowed through his body, and buried 
itself in the ground under the horse, throwing the dirt 
in every direction. The Indian threw up his hands and 
fell with his head between the legs of his pony. It 
may seem hard to take human life, but he had been try- 
ing to take mine, and self preservation is the first law 
of nature. 

''When I fired this shot, Watson jumped to his feet 
and began to lead his horse out of the stream toward 
me. I asked him if his horse was not played out; he 
said it was. In that case I told him that he had bet- 
ter leave it as it would take us all our time to take 
care of ourselves. He studied for a moment and then 


waded out of the stream leaving his horse with every- 
thing- on it as I had done. 

^^After he had joined me, we had a consultation 
as to the best conrse for ns to pursne. It was clear 
that the Indians still held the village, and it would be 
foolish for us to again attempt to enter it. To wade 
down stream was an impossibility. We finally decided 
to go down the right bank of the stream and see if we 
could not get sight of Custer's command, and join our 
ranks where we were much needed. 

''Watson cast a last fond look at his horse and 
then we started on our perilous journey. We saw 
plenty of Indians on our side of the stream ; they 
seemed to get bolder and more numerous, but so far 
they were some distance away. We kept very close to 
the underbrush, which lined the bank of the river. 

Suddenly a small band of Indians came up to- 
wards us on a jog trot, which made us seek the cover. 
When they had passed, we moved on our way. Again 
we were sent to cover by the approach of more In- 
dians. No doubt they were coming this way in or- 
der to enter the village by the ford. We concluded to 
seek some sheltered nook to cover ourselves from the 
extreme heat of the sun, and to wait until the In- 
dians had quieted down for they were beginning to be 
like a swarm of bees. They were coming from every 
direction ; so unlike what they were a half hour prev- 
ious, when they were first surprised by the Seventh 
Cavalr}^, for surprise it must have been to them. But 
now they were beginning to recoxer themselves. After 
they had driven Major Reno across the river we 
noticed that the village was beginning to teem with 
life; the herd of ponies which had been grazing at 
quite a distance were now rounded up close to the 
tepees, so that the Indians had available mounts; 
ponies were dashing here and there with their riders 
urging them on; the dust would rise and mingle with 
the smoke of the burning grass and brush. The squaws 
had got the fire under control and had it confined to 
a comparatively small space. 

"We managed to secrete ourselves in a bend of the 


river, which turned like the letter S, and gave us 
running water on three sides of us. In a clump of red 
berry bushes we found a log Avhich made quite a com- 
fortable seat for us. Peering through the brush I 
thought I recognized the horse which Billy Jackson 
our guide had ridden. One of its hind legs was fear- 
fully gashed by a bullet. I called Watson"s attention 
to it, but he did not think that it was the same horse. 
He had met Jackson when on the trail on the top of 
the hill but a short distance from the place where it 
turns towards the village. He said Jackson was in a 
fearful state of mind. Watson asked him what was 
the matter. He replied, 'Have you seen Custer?' Wat- 
son, surprised answered 'No,' and again asked what 
was up. Then Jackson informed him that Custer had 
shot at him, cutting away the strap that connected 
his stirrup to the saddle, and in order to save his life 
he had ridden away. Jackson said Custer saw that the 
stirrup strap was broken off and cast fearful glances 
around him in a mortal terror. Suddenly he put spurs 
to his horse and rode away, his long hair streaming in 
the Avind and looking right and left as if expecting 
his enemy to appear at any moment. 'And the strang- 
est part of it.' added Watson, 'was that instead of tak- 
ing the back trail, he struck straight from the river 
across the country and as far as he could see him. he 
was urging his pony to its utmost speed. I then 
asked Watson if that did not account for Custer's 
presence away from his command. He shook his head 
and said he did not know. 

"We had scarcely been concealed ten minutes be- 
fore we heard a heavy volley of rifle shots down the 
stream, followed by a scattering fire. I raised to my 
feet and parted the brush with my gun, the stalks 
being covered with long, sharp thorns, which made it 
quite disagi'eeable for a person's clothes and flesh. 
Looking through this opening down the stream. I could 
see Custer's command drawn up in battle line, two 
men deep in a half circle facing the Indians who were 
crossing the river both above and below them. 

"The Indians while fighting remain mounted, the 


cavalry dismounted. The horses were held back be- 
hind and inside of the circle of skirmishers. The odds 
were against the soldiers for they were greatly oiit- 
nnmbered, and fonght at a great disadvantage. Their 
ammnnition was limited. Each man was supposed to 
carry one hundred rounds of cartridges, but a great 
many had wasted them in firing at game along the 
route. It does, not take very long to expend that 
amount of ammunition especially when fighting against 
great odds. 

"Watson took hold of the sleeve of my coat and 
pulled me down urging me to be careful, as the Indians 
might see me and called my attention to the village 
which Avas in a perfect state of turmoil. Indians 
were leaving the village in all speed to assist in the 
fight against the cavalry ; others arrived from the bat- 
tlefield with double burdens of dead and wounded. 
Then commenced a perfect howl from one end of the 
village to the other, made by the squaws and papooses. 
The noise gradually became louder and louder until it 
became indescribable and almost unbearable to the 
ears of civilized persons. Then it would almost die 
out until some more dead or wounded were brought 
in ; this would put fresh vigor into their lungs. I could 
not keep still and so got onto my feet again. The fir- 
ing was continuous. I removed my hat so that I would 
not attract attention, and looked over ihe panorama, 
as it was spread out before me. I could see that the 
fight was well under way ; hordes of savages had gain- 
ed a footing on the right bank of the river and had 
driven the soldiers back a short distance. 

"The Indians were riding around in a circle and 
when those who were nearest to the cavalry had fired 
tlieir guns ( riding at full speed) they would reload 
in turning the circle. The well formed ranks of the 
cavalry did fearful execution, for every time the sold- 
iers fired I could see ponies and riders tumbling in the 
dust, I could also see riderless ponies running away in 
every direction as if anxious to get away from such a 
frightful scene. Cavalry men were also falling and 
the ranks gradually melting away, but they sternly 


and bravely faced their foes; the cavalry men fighting 
for |13 a month, Indians for their families, property, 
and glory. It seemed to ])e the desire of each to utter- 
ly exterminate the other, 

"Round and round rode the savages in a seeming- 
ly tireless circle. When one fell either dead or wound- 
ed he was carried from the field; but still there re- 
mained plent}^ to take his place; but if a soldier fell 
there was no one to take his place, and if wounded 
there was no one to bring him water to quench his 
thirst ; if dying, no one to close his eyes. It was a sad, 
sad. sight. Lucky indeed was that soldier who died 
when he was first shot, for what mercy could be ex- 
pected from a Sioux. If their enemy fell into their 
hands wounded or dying, it was simply to be put to 
the worst torture possible. Being in our present pre- 
dicament we were utterl}^ powerless to help as we 
wished we could. We knew our duty, but to do it was 
beyond our power. Look where we would we saw In- 
dians; we two on foot could not cope with scores of 
them on horseback. 

"During the fight between Custer and the Sioux, 
scores of Indians had stationed themselves on the 
bluffs overlooking the village as far as we could see, 
so that any movement on our part would have led to 
our discovery; but nevertheless we made up our 
minds not to remain long in our present place of con- 
cealment. So we began to map out a course by which 
we could join our command,, where we felt we were so 
much needed. We found that we had made a mistake 
and had taken a wrong trail. The trail we had fol- 
lowed had been made by buffalo, when going to and 
from the river. 

"Both Watson and myself had failed to notice the 
trail made by the cavalry in making their efforts to 
reach the lower end of the village. And thus we were 
brought to the fording place near the center of the 
village. A person could easily be mistaken, for the 
road over which they passed was rocky and sandy and 
hard, consequently, the marks left by the horses' feet 


were very faint. Notwithstanding this mistake left ns 
in a very critical condition. 

"Looking in the direction of the battle, I saw 
that the cavalry was being driven towards the foot 
of a small hill; their number greatly reduced. The 
firing was growing less every minute, but the Indians 
still kept up their seemingly tireless circling, making 
a great cloud of dust. 

'^The Indians who seemed to be detailed to bring 
in the dead and wounded were continually coming 
into the village with double burdens, showing that the 
soldiers though greatly decreased in numbers were 
still doing effective work. The squaws and papooses 
now kept howling without intermission. The noise 
they made resembled the howling of a coyote and the 
squealing of a cat. 

"Watson kept his seat during the time of our con- 
cealment buried in deep thought. He seemed to come 
to one conclusion, and that was that the 7th Cavalry 
was going to be whipped. He said, 'The Indians great- 
ly outnumbered the soldiers; while we have been here, 
we have seen more Indians twice over than the com- 
bined strength of the Seventh.' I told him that I 
could not bring myself to believe such w^ould be the 
case. But Watson persisted in his conviction and said, 
'It's no use talking, they are going to get the worst of 
it.' But I was just as positive in my belief, that the 
Cavalry would win. 

"The plan we had mapped out for ourselves was 
to climb the right bank of the river and gain the trail 
of the cavalry and then if possible join our company. 
It was a foolish undertaking, for, a short distance 
below us, the bluffs came close to the river and the 
water washing at the base for so long a time, had 
caused the bluff to cave in and for the distance of a 
hundred feet up was so steep that even a goat could 
not climb it. On the top of the bluff just where we 
desired to go, there were seated three Indians with 
their ponies but a short distance behind them, . We 
did not feel any way alarmed on their account for we 
felt able to cope with that number. So we left our 


retreat and moved down as far as we could for the cut 
in the bank. I felt exceedingly thirsty and said to 
Watson, that I proposed to have a drink. So jumping 
from the bank I landed at the edge of the water, and 
I must say that the water tasted good. I asked Wat- 
son to hand me his hat and I would fill it with water 
for him and he did so. When I was handing his hat 
back to him I noticed that the three Indians had dis- 
covered us and were watching our every movement. 
But without fear we commenced our march up the 
hill, keeping as near to the cut bank as the nature of 
the ground would permit. When about half way up 
the bluff I noticed something that made me hesitate. 
Watson was a short distance behind me and was keep- 
ing watch on the flat below. What I discovered was 
several more Indians peering at us over the edge of 
the bluff; in all I counted eight and concluded they 
were too many for us, especially with an up hill pull 
on our side. While I looked at them one rose to his 
feet and beckoned for us in the most friendly manner 
to advance. But I knew he was a hostile and we 
stood no show whatever on foot with such a number 
against us. So I turned around and called to Watson 
to run for it, and I went after him full speed, but kept 
my eye on the movements and seeing that they were 
making preparations to fire at us, I called out, 'Stretch 
yourself, Watson.' And he did and gradually left me 
behind. The Indians let fly with their rifles with the 
usual result. 

"One of the Indians mounted his pony and rode 
on the edge of the bluff abreast of us. Jerking off 
his blanket he waved it in a pectiliar manner and 
shouted out some lingo to those in the village and then 
pointed toward us. We felt we were discovered. 

"It was our intention to hide ourselves in our 
former place of concealment, but the Indians were 
watching us; so passing it we came back again to the 
fording place. We looked to see if the horse was still 
there but there was no trace of it; no doubt it had 
passed into the hands of the Indians. Passing the 
ford on the run, we came to some underbrush, when 


we slowed down to a walk, Watson still being some 
distance ahead of me. 

"I now heard the clatter of hoofs behind me. On 
looking around, I saw a white man and what I sup- 
posed to be a Crow Indian. I called for Watson to 
stop and told him that we had friends coming. I turn- 
ed around, intending to wait until they came up. No 
sooner had I faced them then they stopped, turned 
their horses across the trail, dismounted, threw their 
guns across their saddles, and took aim at us. To 
say that we were astonished would faintly express our 
feelings. There was nothing left for us to do but to 
run. The trail we were on ran through a thick clump 
of bushes, and we put our best foot first in order to 
gain its shelter. But before we could reach it, they 
fired at us, but as usual missed; but the twigs and 
leaves were cut by the bullets and we came to the con- 
clusion that we were not to be killed by the Indians. 
But if we were not wounded in our bodies we were in 
our feelings. 

"We determined to ambush them if they attempt- 
ed to pursue us. We followed the trail for several 
hundred feet, then forced our way through the brush 
and with our revolvers cocked, lying at our feet and 
our guns in our hands we waited and watched for 
their appearance. But we waited in vain. They must 
have suspected our intentions. One thing we had 
made up our minds to do. that was to .kill, the white 
man even if the Indian escaped. 

"We had been two hours and a half in our con- 
cealment in the bend of the river watching the fight 
between Custer and the Indians. It had taken us 
one-half hour to reach this place, making three hours 
in all. The firing in the direction of the battlefield 
had just now ceased showing this act of the tragedy 
w^as ended. 

"The question may be asked why w^e attempted 
to join our command after two hours and a half. My 
answer is, a sense of duty, and love for our comrades 
in arms. Then others may ask why we did not go 
sooner. We were repulsed at the ford; we were sur- 


rounded by Indians on the bluffs; we were without 
horses; and when we did make the attempt we did so 
at nearly the cost of our lives. 

"We were now undecided which way to go. We 
knew we were surrounded by Indians and we would 
be fortunate if we escaped at all. The noise in the vil- 
lage was as great as ever, which told us that the In- 
dians still held it. We were ever on the alert, but 
could see very little on account of the underbrush. I 
ventured to raise myself and scanned the top of the 
bluffs to see if there were any Indians in sight. But 
I could not see any, and this puzzled me very much, 
but on looking down to the lower end of the bluffs, I 
could see a body of men on horseback mounting 
slowly up the trail on top of the bluffs. Then I saw 
several guidons fluttering in the breeze, which I knew 
as the ones which our cavalry carried on the march. 
I called Watson's attention to the approaching horse- 
men, but he was firmly convinced that they were In- 
dians. I then drew his attention to the orderly man- 
ner in which they moved, and the guidons they car- 
ried and told him that we had better try to join them 
before they passed us. 'Well' said he, 'Let's move.' So 
we started, following the trail until we were entirely 
clear of the brush and then began to climb the face of 
the bluff" in order to reach the trail on which we saw 
the cavalry were moving. 

"We had scarcely got clear of the underbrush be- 
fore we became aware of the fact that w^e had run in- 
to a hot place. Before we reached the foot of the 
bluff we came upon an opening in the timber and 
brush with several large cottonwood trees lying upon 
the ground, stripped of their bark. They had un- 
doubtedly been cut down by the Indians during some 
severe winter when the snow was very deep, and the 
ponies had to live upon the bark, not being able to get 
to the gTass. 

''Near the water's edge, some distance up the river, 
we saw a large body of Indians holding a council, and 
that we might avoid them we kept as close to the 


cover of the brush as possible and went as rapidly as 
we could toward the face of the bluff. 

"So intent were we in our endeavor to escape the 
attention of the Indians bv the river, that we did not 
perceive another party which was in the road we 
wished to take, until the gutteral language of the sav- 
ages called our attention to them. I jumped behind 
one of the fallen cottonwood trees; where Watson went 
I could not at the time tell. I peeped over the fallen 
tree, and saw a group of mounted Indians, gesticulat- 
ing, grunting out their words, and pointing towards 
the advancing cavalry. Suddenly they broke up and 
advanced toward my place of concealment. I began to 
think tl\ey had seen me and I crouched as close to 
the tree as possible. Drawing my revolver, I made 
ready to defend myself. I made up my mind that all 
but one shot should be fired at the Indians, and that 
one would go into my own head, for I had determined 
never to be taken alive. With open ears and eyes I 
awaited their coming. They passed my hiding place 
without seeing me and made their way toward the 
river. I jumped to my feet and started off once 
more, hardly caring whether the Indians saw me or 
not, for the presence of the cavalry had put fresh 
courage into me. I had not gone far before I heard 
my name called and on looking around I saw Watson 
coming after me at full speed. I was glad to see him 
safe, it gave me renewed courage, and we hoped that 
we would soon be entirely safe. After we began to 
climb the hill, I found my strength was giving out, 
and in spite of the fact that we were in full view of 
the Indians I laid down to rest and all my entreaties 
for Watson to go on and save himself were fruitless. 
He would not budge. But there was something that 
made us move sooner than I wished; a large body of 
Indians had crossed the river and were coming across 
the flat towards the hill w^e were climbing I strug- 
gled to my feet and staggered after Watson. The heat 
at this time seemed to me to be intense, but it might 
have been on account of my exhausted condition. 
Watson made no complaint, for like myself he knew 


it would do no mood. After Ave had climbed nearly 
half wax up the bliitt". the Indians commenced to fire 
at us. but that did not trouble us, because we knew 
that the Indians when excited were very poor shots; 
and in our case the bullets went wide of the mark. 

''We were becoming- so tired that the presence of 
the Indians was no longer a terror to us; The hill we 
were climbing seemed very long; so much so to me that 
I fell down and lav there without any inclination to 
move again, until Watson called my attention to the 
head of the column of cavalry which now came into 
plain view. So with renewed energy we made our way 
up amid showers of lead. The savages seemed loath 
to let us go. 

"When we stepped into the trail at the head of 
the advancing column, it was about five o'clock in the 
afternoon. The first man we recognized was Sergeant 
Knipe of our company. He had been sent back by 
Custer to hurry up the ammunition. He informed 
us that Sergeant Hanley. who had charge of our com- 
pany's pack mules, had taken Rarnum, one of our 
pack mules loaded with ammunition and drove it full 
speed toward the battlefield. He got as far as the pil- 
lar of rocks, which I have already mentioned, when the 
Indians opened fire on him. He quickly made up his 
mind to retreat as the Indians were too numerous to 
be dealt v;ith single handed. So rapidly had they been 
moving that it was with great difficulty that he suc- 
ceeded in turning the obstinate mule, which he finally 
did and drove it to the rear amid a shower of lead. 
The Indians made a desperate effort to cut him off, 
but he succeeded in returning to the pack train with- 
out any mishap. This was the only attempt made to 
take ammunition to Custer's command. There is no 
doubt that they needed it very badly Some one fail- 
ed to do his duty. It may be out of place to criticize, 
but the duty that INIajor Reno owed to General Custer 
is too plain to be misunderstood. According to mili- 
tary rule it was Reno's duty to report to his superior 
officer, whether he had failed or succeeded in his mis- 
sion ; but instead of sending an escort with ammuni- 


tion to Custer he simply allowed one man to take that 
dangerous journey alone. How much better it would 
have been had he with his seven companies gone to the 
assistance of Custer. He would no doubt have been 
successful and the loss of life would not have been so 

'^But here he was. Nearly three hours had elapsed 
since his retreat from the river bottom and during all 
this time Custer had been fighting against fearful 
odds ; his men melting away ; and his ammunition run- 
ning shorter every moment until the last round was 
fired. And then who can conjecture the fate of the few 
that remained of that deserted band, slowly murdered 
at the leisure of the noble savage of the plains. 

"The forces under Major Reno, at the time we 
stepped into the trail, were six companies of the left 
wing and one company of the right, namely. Company 
B under the command of Captain McDugal. Seven 
companies in all; and still Reno hesitated to act. 

''No sooner had Ave made our appearance than the 
command came to a halt. We were questioned closely 
as to what we knew about Custer; as to where he was 
and what he was doing, etc. We answered all the 
questions as well as we could. 

"Sergeant Knipe then told me that my horse had 
been found and Avas in charge of Fitzgerald, the horse 
farrier. Knipe added, 'We all thought you was a gon- 
ner.' This was good news to me. 

"Just then the order was given to retreat and 
Reno's command began to march sloAvly to the rear. 
Of course we all wondered at this but said nothing. 
It was our duty not to question, but to obey. I made 
a dive through the retreating column in quest of my 
horse and found it in the center of the command led 
by Fitzgerald, Avho seemed greatly surprised at see- 
ing me, saying. 'I thought the Indians had your scalp,' 
I told him I was too good a runner for that. On ex- 
amining my saddle, I was glad to find everything as 
I had left it. 

We did not retreat very far, for that was im- 
possible. The Indians were closing in around us. Our 


retreat was covered by Company D commandert by 
Captain Weir. He was the only captain who wished 
to go to the relief of Custer. He had begged in vain 
to have Reno advance to Custer's relief. That being 
denied him he asked permission to take his company 
and ascertain Custer's position; but he was refused 
that privilege. 

Major Reno moved to the left of the trail and 
went into a flat bottomed ravine. By this time the 
Indians were pouring ' a shower of lead into us that 
was galling in the extreme. Our horses and mules 
were cuddled together in one confused mass. The 
poor brutes were tired and hungry. Where we made 
our stand there was nothing but sand, gravel and a 
little sage brush. We were in a very precarious con- 
dition. Our means of defense were very poor. There 
were numerous ravines leading into the one which we 
occupied. This gave the savages a good opportunity 
to close in upon us and they were not long in doing 
so. Some of us unloaded the mules of the hard tack 
they were carrying and used the boxes for a breast- 
work. We knew if we did not do so we would be 
picked off one by one. We formed the cracker boxes in- 
to a half circle and kept them as close together as pos- 

''By the time we had everything arranged the 
sun was going down. We all knew that the Indians 
never fought after night fall. We thought we would 
have time enough to fortify ourselves before the light 
of another day appeared. But in the meantime sev- 
eral accidents happened which helped to make it a 
serious matter for us. We saw that our horses and 
mules were beginning to drop quite fast, for they 
were in a more exposed position. This is very trying 
to a cavalry man, for next to himself, he loves his 
horse, especially on a campaign of this kind. A pe- 
culiar accident happened to a man lying next to me, 
sheltered by a cracker box and talking in a cheerful 
manner about the possibilities of us getting out of 
our present difficulty, when a ball came crashing 
through the box hitting him and killing him instant- 


ly. There was but one gasp and all was still. He had 
made the mistake of placing the box the wrong way 
the edge of the crackers toward the outside. While 
meditating on the uncertainty of life, a bullet struck 
the box behind which I laid, and as I heard the lead 
crashing through its cimtents, I wondered if the time 
had come for me to wear a pair of wings. But no, the 
ball stopped and I gave a sigh of relief, and I noted 
with great satisfaction that the night was closing in 
around us. 

As soon as the fire of the Indians ceased we once 
more mingled with one another. In comparing notes 
we found that a few men had been killed and a num- 
ber wounded but our stock had suffered the most. 
The men were greatly puzzled about the whereabouts 
of Custer and, as all the men loved their general, it 
was but natural that they should sneer at the idea of 
Custer getting the worst of any fight he might enter 
against the Indians. The story we told of Custer's bat- 
tle they did not disbelieve but as to him getting the 
worst of the fight that was all bosh. For my part I 
deemed it best to say nothing further about it as con- 
tradiction was a thing I could noi stand, when I knew 
I was right. There was no possibility for doubt that 
Reno's command heard the firing between Custer's 
men and the Indians. Besides, Custer had sent two 
messengers back, the first one Sergeant Knipe of Com- 
pany C, the second one Bugler Martin from Company 
H to Captain Benteen; commanding him to bring his 
company to his assistance. I have not the least doubt 
but that Captain Benteen would have done so if he pos- 
sibly could. But on his way to the river, he met Major 
Reno on his retreat and the result was that Reno as- 
sumed entire command of the forces, 

"Let us now see what efforts were put forth by 
Reno to assist Custer. As I have said before, to my 
certain knowledge the battle lasted three hours The 
question is, What was he doing during this time? I 
was not with him so I can only tell what I heard from 
the members of the companies who were with him and 
they told me it was nothing but hesitancy what he 


should do. It is evident that he was no man for the 
position he occupied and seemed unable to act ener- 
getically in an emergency. If he had, things wonld 
have been very different. There is no excuse for 
Reno's remaining in ignorance of Cnster's real position. 

"After the firing of the Indians had ceased. I 
went where I had left my horse in charge of a man 
named McGnire. Here I saw something that under 
other conditions would have been laughable. McGuire 
had been given charge of five horses. When I left 
mine with him he was sitting on the ground, his head 
shrunk down between his shoulders, and his eyes 
bulged out to their fullest extent ; and when I returned 
he was in exactly the same position, still holding the 
reins of the five horses in his hand, but three of them 
were lying dead. I asked him if he knew that three 
of the horses were dead; he mournfully shook his 
head, but, as one of the dead horses was mine. I left 
in disgust and began to figure on the possibilities of 
getting another. I was soon forced to the conclusion 
that my chances were very slim. As I strolled around 
I found everybody awake and talking with each other. 
The subjects of conversation were, the probability of 
getting out of our present fix and the whereabcutb of 
Custer. The thought seemed to be that if Custer 
would only turn up our present diflficulties would soon 
vanish. I was wise enough to hold my peace. 

*'I wandered to the edge of the bluff overlooking 
the village. By this time it was quite dark; I could 
plainly see several large fires which the Indians had 
built. There was a noise in the village which increas- 
ed as night advanced. The deep voices of the braves, 
the howling of the squaws, the shrill piping of the 
children and the barking of the dogs made night hid- 
eous. But they appeared to enjoy it amazingly. 

"Suddenly we heard, above all other sounds, the 
call of a bugle. The sound came from the direction 
of the village, and immediately following was the 
sound of two others. The officers hearing those bugle 
sounds ordered our buglers to sound certain calls and 
waited to see if they would be answered. The only 


answei- was a long wailing blast; it was not what 
was expected. I now turned around and made my 
way to the place. where my dead horse lay, and strip- 
ped the saddle of everything, then Avent and made my 
bed behind my cracker box. The last thing I heard as 
I lay down upon the ground was the howling of the 
Indians and the wailing of the bugles. I slept so 
soundh', that I heard and knew nothing until I felt 
some one kicking the soles of my boots. Jumping lo 
my feet I saw Captain Benteen standing by my side 
When he saw that I was fully awake he told me I 
would have to render some assistance at the head of 
the ravine up which the Indians were trying to sneak. 
He added, 'If they do succeed, it will be all day with 

"The Indians had been pouring in volleys upon us 
long before I had been awakened and they were still at 
it. Under the cover of darkness they had gained a 
foothold in some of the numerous ravines that sur- 
sounded us. It seemed as if it would be impossible to 
dislodge them. Some of them Avere so close to us that 
their fire was very effective. The ping of the bullets 
and the groaning and struggling of the wounded horses 
was oppressive. But my duty was plain. The way 
that I had to go to my post was up a short hill to- 
wards the edge of the bluff and the head of the ravine. 
While packing my ammunition in order to carry it 
easily, I glanced up in the direction I had to go, and 
for the life of me^ I could not see how I could pos- 
sibly get there alive for the bullets of the Indians 
were plowing up the sand and gravel in every direc- 
. tion ; but it was my duty to obey. 

"After getting everything in shape, I started on 
the run. The fire of the Indians seemed to come from 
three different directions and all exposed places were 
well riddled. Even as secure a place as where we had 
formed our breastwork was no longer safe. The red 
devils seemed determined to crush us. As I ran up the 
hill, which was but a short distance, I was seized with 
a tendency to shrink up and was under the impression 
that I was going to be struck in the legs or feet. I 


was not the only one to run for the head of the ravine. 
Captain Benteen was bnsilv hunting up all the men 
he could to go to the same point, in order to keep the 
Indians in check and if possible to drive the Indians 
out of the ravine. It did not take me long to reacli 
the top of the bluff, where I got a glimpse of the vil- 
lage, the river and the mouth of the ravine. 

"I had gotten so far without being hit that I 
thought I was going to get through safe, but as I was 
entering the mouth of the ravine, a volley was fired 
by the Indians who occupied it and over I tumbled, 
shot through the right hand and arm. A short dist- 
ance below I saw several cavalry men who were soon 
joined by others, eleven in all^ a slim force indeed to 
clean out the ravine held by so many Indians, but 
they were resolute men. Captain Benteen soon joined 
them and made a short speech. He said, 'This is our 
only weak and unprotected point and should the In- 
dians succeed in passing this in any force they would 
soon end the matter as far as we are concerned. And 
now' he asked, 'Are you ready?' They answered, 'Yes.' 
'Then,' said he, 'charge down there and drive them 
out.' And with a cheer, away they dashed, their re- 
volvers in one hand and their carbines in the other. 
Benteen turned around and walked away to the ex- 
treme left, seemingly tireless and unconscious of the 
hail of lead that was flying around him. 

''Knowing that in my condition I was useless. I 
looked around to see if I could find anyone who could 
direct me to a surgeon. I knew that there were two 
with General Custer, but I was not sure whether we 
had one with us here or not. 

"A short distance from me lay a wounded man, 
groaning and struggling in the agony of death. Just 
as I was thinking of getting up, I heard an order 
given by a Sioux chief A heavy volley of bullets was 
the result. My wounded neighbor gave a scream of 
agony and then was still. After the volley was past 
it was a wonder to me how I had escaped. I now 
struggled to my feet and found that I was weak and 
dizzy from loss of blood. I looked around me and 


saw what remained of those who had gone down the 
ravine against such fearful odds. Few of them re- 
turned but they had accomplished their object. We 
had men with us who seemed utterly fearless in the 
face of danger. One young man had the courage of a 
lion. Wherever duty called him, whatever the dan- 
ger might be he was always found at his post. 

"Going in the direction of the horses, I saw 
wtiat suffering the poor brutes were enduring from 
thirst and hunger. But we ourselves were no better 
off. I found in the. center of our place of defense that 
we had a surgeon busily attfnding to- the wounded and 
dying. I asked him to attend to me when he had time 
to do so. He soon bandaged up my wounds and told 
me the only thing that could be done was to apply 
plenty of water. What mockery! Water was not to 
be had for love or money. Our way to the river was 
cut off excepting by the way of the ravine out of 
which the eleven brave men drove the Indians. But 
to attempt to get water by that route was too risky. 
I looked on while the doctor attended to the wound- 
ed that w^ere brought in. Some of the poor fellows 
would never recover, others would be crippled for life 
and I w^ould carry a broken hand. 

''The sun reflecting on the sand and gravel made 
it very hot. The loss of blood and lack of water made 
me so dizzy that I reeled and fell and lay unheeded. 
But this was getting to be a common sight. I still 
clung to my carbine and revolver. W^hen I fell I man- 
aged to roll over on my face and place my carbine un- 
der me. I knew that if anyone needed such an imple- 
ment they w^ere liable to take it. I do not know how 
long I lay there, but I have a faint recollection of be- 
ing turned and my gun taken from me. This aroused 
me and I managed to struggle to a sitting posture, 
but the man and gun were gone. He had left his own 
in its place, but it was practically useless, the breech 
being broken. 

"While I was meditating on the meanness of hu- 
man nature, I saAv Captain Benteen dash into the 
midst of our horses and drive out several men who 


were hidino- and sknlkins^ among- them. 'Get- out of 
here,' he cried, 'and do jour duty.' 

"It soon became known that the Indians were 
concentrating for an attack upon our lines. They had 
closed in around us on three sides and so close were 
they, that we could hear them talking. Captain Ben- 
teen seemed to be aware of the impending danger, and 
was forming all the men he possibly could into line at 
the point where it was expected that the Indians 
would attack us. 

"The heat of the day was oppressive and guns of 
the Indians w^ere silent and these facts brought a 
feeling of depression over us. We all realized that 
our lives were not worth betting on, but the expression 
on the faces of the men was that of a dogged deter- 
mination to sell them dearly. 

"We only had two spades, the others having been 
either broken or lost, so our means of digging rifle pits 
were limited and natural defenses there were none. 
History hardly records a predicament such as we were 
in. It does mention the hardships of the soldiers of 
the late Civil War, but it was nothing to campaigning 
against Indians. A white man capturing an enemy 
usually spares his life but if captured by hostile In- 
dians his days are numbered and he is known to men 
on earth no more. 

"How w^ere w^e going to transport our wounded? 
We had plenty of them and some of them very badly 
hurt. Look where you would, you could see either 
dead or wounded soldiers and the end not yet. 

"The silence was suddenly -broken by a loud com- 
mand given by a hostile chief, which was followed by 
a terrific volley and a great many of our horses and 
mules passed over the range. Our men never waver- 
ed but hugged the grounds as close as possible and 
fired whenever they found the slightest opportunity to 
do execution. All realized that the less, ammunition 
expended the better. Although the Indians outnum- 
bered us many times, they lacked the courage and de- 
termination of the day previous when they fought 
Custer; they no doubt had been taught a bitter les- 


son. Had it not been for the watchfulness of our men, 
they certainly would have got the best of us. When- 
ever they attracted our men were always ready. While 
the hottest of the fight was going on and the tide of 
battle seemed to be against us, our doctor dropped 
his bandages, and grasping a gun, started toward the 
skirmish line. Some of the men seeing his action beg- 
ged him to stay, telling him that it would be hard 
with the command if anything should go wrong with 
him, and to enforce their arguments a wounded man 
was brought in who needed his immediate attention. 
This for a time seemed to deter him for he laid down 
his gun and commenced work at his former occupation. 
He was kept very busy for some time. 

''I made my way slowly over the small place in 
which we huddled together and was very much pleas- 
ed to see some of the men stretching canvas over the 
wounded and dying. This canvas ' the officers had 
brought along for their own use, but it was given up 
by them for the humane purpose of sheltering the 
helpless. The canvas had to be stretched very close to 
the gTound. The supports that were used were short 
pieces of wood of any kind that we could procure with- 
out risk. 

"We had no use for firewood if we could have 
gotten it, as we had no water to cook with, hence our 
wounded were deprived of the comforts that a sick 
man needs. As I strolled around, I could see some- 
thing of the horrors of our position. It was not a 
question of days but of hours. We could in all prob- 
ability bury our unfortunate comrades who had fal- 
len in battle, but it would be impossible for us to 
dispose of our dead horses and mules. The stench 
would become so great that it would drive us from our 
present position and where were we to go. It was 
utterly impossible to move our wounded, as we had 
no means at hand with which Ave could do so. We 
were quite willing to change our location if we could, 
but we hesitated for several reasons; we were sep- 
arated from our leader and our forces were divided. 
The Indians seemed determined to exterminate us if 


possible. The only hope for us to accomplish our pur- 
pose was to make the effort after night came on. I 
wondered if any of the other members of Company C 
had been as unfortunate as myself. Although that 
company had entered the tight with General Custer, 
there were a few Avho had been detailed on the pack 
train. So I commenced to search around for them. 
I first found a man by the name of Bennett whom to 
know was to respect. I could see that his days were 
numbered. Kneeling down beside him I asked, 'Can 
I do you any service?' He grasped my hand and drew 
me closer to him and whispered. 'Water, Thompson, 
water, for God's sake!' Poor fellow, he was past 
speaking in his usual strong voice. I told him I would 
get him some if I lived. He released my hand and 
seemed satisfied and then I began to realize what 
the promise I had made meant. This was on the 26th 
day of June, a day long to be remembered by all who 
took an active part, in fact, a day never to ho forgot- 
ten. As far as getting water was concerned i( was a 
matter of the greatest difrtculty. All routes to the 
river were cut off by the Indians, I was determined to 
make the effort nevertheless, and looked around for a 
canteen. I thought of the ravine which was cleared 
by the eleven brave men and hoped that I might be 
able to make my way to the river by that route. I 
made some inquiries of some skulkers whom I found in 
among the horses and from what they told me I con- 
cluded that the ravine route was the only safe one to 
take. In a short time I secured two canteens and a 
coffee kettle. I made my way to the head of the ravine 
which ran to the river. I found that very little change 
had taken iDlace since the incident in the morning. 

''The firing on the part of the Indians was rather 
dilatory. A person could make his way around with 
a little more comfort, but how long this would con- 
tinue it was impossible to tell. As I gained the rise 
of ground that commanded a view of the village, riv- 
er, and surrounding country, I saw a small group of 
men examining an object lying on the ground wiiich 
I found to be an Indian bedecked in all his war paint, 


Avhich goes to make up a part of their apparent cour- 
age and fierce appearance. He was found very cJose 
to our position which goes to .sliow how closely we 
were confined. The Indians were able to cccupy ev- 
ery available position afforded by natuie on nccoiint 
of their numbers. If it had not been for the terrible 
position we were in we could have had a panaroma 
view of the snow capped hills of the Big Horn Moun- 
tains, which form the fountain heads of the Little 
and Big Horn Rivers. 

"While wondering as to my next move. I was 
suddenly brought to myself with the question, 'Where 
are you going, and what are you going to do?' The 
questioner belonged to my own company, and I nat- 
urally expected him to sympathize with me in my er- 
rand of mercy. He not only tried to dissuade me, but 
called to Sergeant Knipe and told him of my inten- 
tion of going to the river. The Sargeant told me of 
the hopelessness of the undertaking telling me that if 
I should ever attempt to make the trip I would never 
get back alive. I told him that as I could not carry 
a gun I thought I had better do something to help the 
wounded and the dying. 

"Seeing that I was determined to go, they said 
no more, but one of the men of Company C, named 
Tim Jordan, gave me a large pocket handkerchief to 
make a sling for my wounded hand. I started down 
the ravine but I haltecl for I found I had not my belt 
in which I usually carried my pistol, having given it 
to one of my comrades. But on going back to the man 
and asking him for it he seemed to be confused and 
stated that he had lost it. So there was nothing for 
me to do but to console myself with the reflection that 
I had better have taken care of it myself. I turned 
around and made my way through the midst of sev- 
eral citizen packers who accompanied us on our ex- 
pedition. No doubt they thought the position they 
occupied was the safest one to serve their country in. 
As I went down the ravine, I found it got narrower 
and deeper, and became more lonesome and natural- 
ly more depressing. I noticed numerous hoof prints 


showing that the Indians had made a desperate ef- 
fort to make an opening through our place of defense 
bj this route. But now it was deserted. After I had 
travelled a considerable distance I came to a turn , 
in the ravine. Pausing for a moment I looked cau- 
tiously around the bend, and there before me was run- 
ning water, the Little Horn River. On the opposite 
side was a thick cover of cotton wood timber, the sight 
of which made me hesitate for a moment. It was 
possible that some of the Indians were concealed in 
it to pick anyone off who was bold enough to ap- 
proach the water; but I could see no signs of life and 
concluded to proceed. I made my way as rapidly as 
possible toward the bank of the river. I found the 
ground was very miry, so much so that I was afraid 
that I might get stuck in the mud. I concluded that 
there was nothing like trying. I laid down my can- 
teens and took my kettle in my left hand and made 
several long leaps which landed me close to the wat- 
er's edge. The water at this point ran very shallow 
over a sandbar. With a long sweep of my kettle up 
stream I succeeded in getting plenty of sand and a 
little water. Making my way back towards the mouth 
of the ravine a volley of half a score of rifle balls 
whistled past me and the lead buried itself in the bank 
beyond. I gained the shelter of the ravine without a 
scratch and I was thankful. I wondered whether it 
would be safe to stop long enough to put the water into 
the canteens, as the fire of the Indians seemed to 
come from a bend in the bank, a short distance from 
the mouth of the ravine on this side of the river. 1 
Avas not sure but that the Indians might take a notion 
to follow me. Had I been armed I would have been 
more at my ease. I knew I could travel with greater 
ease if I left the kettle behind, so I placed it between 
my knees and soon transferred the water from it to 
the canteens. I started on looking back once in a 
while to see if the Indians were coming. I soon turn- 
ed the bend of the ravine, but no signs of them did I 
see. Although my thirst was great I did not stop to 
take a drink until I landed amidst my fellow soldiers. 


I offered to divide the water of one canteen with some 
of the men of Company C. They refused my offer 
when I told them that my effort was made in behalf 
of the wounded members of our company. On com- 
ing to Bennett I placed a canteen in his hand, but he 
was too weak to lift it to his lips. He was attended by 
John Mahoney of our company and I had no fear but 
that he would be well cared for. I skirmished around 
and found two more of my company slightly wound- 
ed. I gave them the other canteen and told them 
that if they should not require all the water that I 
would like to pass it around to some other wounded 
ones lying close by, which was so done. A man by the 
name of McVey, to whom I handed the canteen that he 
might drink seemed determined to keep it in his pos- 
session. I jerked it from his grasp and passed it on 
to the next. With a cry of rage he drew his revolver 
from beneath his overcoat and taking aim at me he 
told me to skip or he would put a hole through me. I 
was too much astonished for a moment to even move 
or speak, but when I did regain my speech, I used it 
to the best advantage as that was all the weapon I 
had. Fortunately I was not armed or I would have 
committed an act that I would have been sorry for 
afterwards. My action would have been justified by 
the law, as it would have been an act of self defense. 
The offers of money by the wounded for a drink of 
water were painfuf to hear. 'Ten dollars for a drink/ 
said one. 'Fifteen dollars for a canteen of water.' 
said a second. 'Twenty dollars,' said a third, and so the 
bidding went on as at an auction. 

"This made me determined to make another trip 
and to take a larger number of canteens, so I would 
not have to make so many trips. The firing on the 
part of the Indians was very brisk at intervals. On 
our part we never expended a cartridge unless we 
were very sure that the body of an Indian was in sight. 

"My next trip to the river was taken with more 
courage. But as on the former occasion, when I came 
to the bend in the ravine I halted and looked care- 
fully around the corner. I was astonished at seeing a 


soldier sitting on a bank of earth facing the river, 
with his back towards me. I was cnrions to know who 
he was. I came up to him and saw that he had two 
camp kettles completely riddled with bullets. He had 
his gun in his hand and his eves fixed on the grove of 
timber across the river, watching for the enemy. On 
looking him over,. I conld see the reason for his sit- 
ting and watching as he did. I discovered a pool of 
blood a short distance from him which had come from 
a terrible wound in his leg. It was impossible for him 
to move further Avithout assistance. I asked him 
how he received his Avound. He told me he had gone 
to the river for water and when he was coming up 
from the bed of the river with his two kettles filled 
with water a volley had been fired at him, one of the 
bullets hitting him and breaking his leg below the 
knee, the others riddling his kettles. He had managed 
to make his way under cover of the ravine to the place 
where T found him. I then told him as it was my 
turn now I would proceed to business. He tried to 
dissuade me. but as I would not go back without water 
and it was useless for me to remain where I was, I 
laid down my canteens and grasped the camp kettle 
which I had left on my previous trip. I walked for- 
ward looking into the grove for signs of Indians, but 
not a sign of life could I see. Looking to see where the 
water was the deepest I made a few long leaps which 
landed me in the water with a loud splash. I knew it 
was useless for me to try to avoid being seen so I de- 
pended on my ability to escape the bullets of the In- 
dians. A volley was fired, but I again escaped. Mad- 
den, the wounded man I had just left watched me with 
the greatest interest. When I returned to him I urged 
him to take a drink, but he refused to do so saying he 
was not in need of it. This caused me some surprise, 
as I knew he had lost a great deal of blood which is 
almost invariably followed by great thirst. 

"I made haste to fill the canteens and started on 
my way to camp bidding Mike Madden to be of good 
cheer and he made a cheerful reply. When I reached 
the place of our defense I found that the firing was 


not so brisk. Only a few scattering shots now and 
then. ]>ut our men were still on the alert. There was 
no weak place ungnarded, no ammnnition was being 
wasted. Although we had 24 boxes of ammunition 
which amounted to thousands of rounds, the men only 
fired wliere they thought they were going to do execu- 

"After leaving three canteens for the wounded at 
the hospital. I took the other two and gave them to 
my wounded comrades. After this, I liegan to feel 
very sick and looked around for a sheltered place to 
avoid the heat of the sun. This sickness was caused 
by the loss of blood and the pain in my hand, which at 
this time had swollen to a great size. I did not like 
to get under the canvas where the wounded were as 
that was already crowded, so I crawled under one of 
our horses which was standing in a group with the 
others. I could not but wonder what sort of a fix I 
would be in if the horse under which I was lying hap- 
pened to get shot and fall down on me. But this soon 
passed out of mind, as there was always something 
going on which attracted my attention. 

"I began to watch the actions of the men. A 
short distance from me was a man belonging to Com- 
pany A. He was lying on his face so still that I 
thought he was dead. Two men came towards him 
dragging a piece of canvas with which they were go- 
ing to construct a shelter for the steadily increasing 
numbers of wounded men. Toney, for that was the 
man's name, was lying in the place best suited for the 
shelter and the men called to him to get out of the 
way. But he never moved. One of the men began to 
kick him and yelled for him to get up. He struggled 
to his feet ; his face bore tokens of great fear. He 
said he was sick. A more miserable looking wretch it 
would be difficult to find ; the man was almost frighten- 
ed to death. He walked a few steps and fell to the 
ground heedless of the heat of the sun or anything 
else going on around him. 

"Another young man was going around in a most 
helpful jGQanner. Here, there, and everywhere he 


thought he was needed. I noticed him quite frequent- 
ly and it did my heart good to see in what a cheerful 
manner he performed his duty. He was a trumpeter, 
belonging to either Company I or L, and I am very 
sorry that I have fotgotten his name. 

''With a few exceptions the soldiers performed 
their duty with great bravery and determination. 

"The Indians had in their possession, three guns 
which, time and again our men tried to silence. These 
guns were in the hands of good marksmen. The posi- 
tion they occupied was behind some rocks in our rear. 
All we could see when they fired was a puff of white 
smoke, but the results were very disastrous to our 
horses and mule;S. The shot hardly ever missed its 
mark. The number of dead animals was growing very 
large. While leaning on my left hand and wonder- 
ing what to do, the horse under which I was lying 
backed slightly and planted his hoof on my hand. I 
thought from the pain I felt that it was disabled, but 
after persuading the horse to raise his hoof so that I 
could release my hand, I found that I could still use 
it. This slight incident made me realize that I had no 
business to be loafing. So working my way from 
among the animals I tried to secure a gun, hoping 
that I might be able to use it in case the Indians suc- 
ceeded in breaking through our lines. 

"The left wing of the 7th Cavalry was thrown 
out as skirmishers facing the village. They had to 
take every opportunity the ground afforded to secure 
themselves against the fire of the enemy. In walking 
down the line, I noticed that Company D had made 
good use of their time during the previous night. They 
seemed to be better provided with rifle-pits than the 
rest of the companies. 

"Here I saw an act of a member of Company D 
which showed the utter indifference in which some 
men hold their lives. His name was Pat Golden, a 
young man of striking appearance, dark hair and 
eyes, black mustache, tall, straight as an arrow, and 
nimble as a cat. It seemed that shooting from the 
shelter of a rifle pit was not suitable to him and to 


get a better view of the enemy he sprang out of the 
pit and commenced to fire at anything that appeared 
to him an Indian. He was urged by his comrades to 
come under cn-fr as it was too dangerous to expose 
himself that way. Heedless of the danger he held 
his position amid a shower of lead, both a challenge 
and a target to the fire of the Indians. It was not 
long before he Avas hit by a ball, but he still kept his 
place. Again he was struck but he still kept his feet, 
firing when the opportnnity presented itself apparent- 
ly paying no attention to the entreaties of his com- 
rades to come under shelter. He called out as an- 
other bullet struck him, 'Boys, that is number three, 
but I'm still here. Number four,' he shouted as an- 
other bullet struck him and he still kept his feet and 
loaded and fired his gun. Every man of his company 
admired his pluck, but could not help but see he was 
throwing his life away. Finally a ball went crashing 
through his brain, his lifeless body rolled back into 
the pit which became his grave. 

"Finding I could not get a gun that was fit for 
use, I turned and made my way back towards the 
head of the defense and when I came to where the 
horses were huddled together, I heard a voice feebly 
calling my name. Looking up the direction of the 
sound, I saw a man by the name of Tanner, lying close 
to some sage brush. Some one had thrown the cape 
of an overcoat over him to protect him from the sun. 
Kneeling down by his side I asked him what I could do 
for him. He told me he was done for and asked me to 
get him a drink of water. I saw from the nature of 
the wound that his hours were numbered. I secured 
a blanket on which to place him. Having only one 
hand with which to do the work I found it hard work 
to move him. I then got an overcoat and made a pil- 
low for his head, and used my overcoat to shelter him. 
I now made a hurried search for some more canteens 
and in making my way towards the head of the 
ravine, again my attention was called to the fact that 
Major Reno had at last come out of his hole. He held 
a pair of field glasses to his eyes looking in the direc- 


tion of the villago. Presently he dropped the glasses 
and looking- around saw me. He motioned for me to 
stop, telling me. at the same time, that the Indians 
were concentrating for a united attack and ordered 
me to go back as it was dangerous for me to go down 
to the river. I had been aware of this for sometime. 
Evidence existed on every side which showed what 
they had been trying to do since daylight. As I stood 
looking at him I could not help wondering if he knew 
what his duty was. Here he was with about four 
hundred men surrounded by hordes of savages. If 
ever soldiers needed a good example it was here. Did 
he show such an example? Did he give cheer to his 
men? Did he show how a true soldier should act un- 
der difficulties, and die if needs be in defense of his 
country? No! Instead of this he kept himself in a 
hole Avhere there was no danger of being struck and 
no doubt would have pulled the hole in after him if he 
could and if he even dreamed that by so doing he 
could have increased his security. 

''Turning to the left I walked through the herd 
of horses until I got a sufficient distance from the 
Major not to ])e noticed by him and then made my 
way to the river. I found Madden had been removed 
and it made me feel a little lonesome on this trip. But 
I had become so indifferent to my surroundings that 
I did not care whether the Indians fired at me or not. 
So I walked slowly to the river, filled my camp ket- 
tles and as slowly returned to my task of filling my 
canteens. All this time the Indians did not fire at me. 
It occurred to me that the stillness was almost oppres- 
sive. After filling my canteens, I looked towards the 
timber. There were no signs of life there. When I 
reached the top of the bluff again, I saw Captain 
Benteen hard at work placing a few men here and a 
few there. He was as cool and collected as ever. I 
noticed that blood was making its Avay through the 
leg of his trousers and I concluded that he had re- 
ceived a flesh wound, but with the exception of a slight 
limp he gave no signs of pain. His presence was cheer- 


ing and encouraging to the men. Wherever he went, 
their faces lighted up with hope. 

"Lieutenant Wallace, a tine looking officer, over 
his duty. He had been in command of the Ree scouts 
up until the 25th, when all but three retreated to 
Tongue River where the wagon train was parked. 
Varnum was with Reno when the latter made the 
charge upon the upper end of the village. In the con- 
fusion of the retreat he had lost his hat and his head 
was now decorated with a white handkerchief. 

"Lieutenant Wallace, a fine looking officer, over 
six feet in height, was also doing all he could to keep 
our position as secure as possible. What we needed 
more than anything else was artillery. If we had had 
but one piece, either a Napoleon or a Gatling gun the 
village could have been destroyed in a very short time. 
But Ave had neither. 

"I thought I would go and see how Tanner was 
getting along. When I approached the place where I 
had left him I saw a man tugging away at the over- 
coat which I had placed under his head. Rushing for- 
ward I seized the man by the coat collar and sent 
him sprawling on the ground some distance. He 
sprang to his feet with a loud curse and with ven- 
geance in his eye looked me over from head to foot. 
I said, 'Get out of here, and be quiek about it.' We 
will call him Nelson although that was not bis real 
name, but we will have reason to mention him again, 
so it is well to call him something. He was the most 
profane man I ever heard. After he had gone, I turn- 
ed to Tanner and found that he was dead. He had 
died before his wish for a drink of water could be 
gratified. He was a man of excellent qualities. A 
bond of warmest friendship had bound us together 
which was only severed by death. I drew the cape 
over his face. It was the last thing I could do for him. 
I thought this was a hard way to die, and I did not 
know how soon my turn might come. I now picked 
up my canteens which I had dropped when I grasped 
Nelson I distributed the water among those who need- 
ed it but kept one canteen for Bennett. I told Ma- 


honey, who was attendincj him that I would leave 
more water witli him and that I misjht come aronnd 
for a drink once in a while. I asked him if he thoncjht 
Bennett would pnll thronojh. He shook his head sadly, 
and said, 'I don't think so.' I knew Bennett wonld 
receive the best of attention so I made my way out of 
the basin in which the hospital was situated. 

"I was too nervous to remain inactive and I was 
bound to see what was ooing on. I went to a point be- 
low, where the left wing- was lying. The ground here 
was broken with the river a short distance away. I 
stood looking into the village to see how many In- 
dians were in sight. I only saw one occasionally, 
making his way at full speed either to the upper or 
lower end of the village. A large herd of ponies were 
grazing near the village, guarded by a small number 
of Indian boys. I then looked into the timber where 
Reno had formed a skirmish line before retreating, 
but I could see no one there. I was in doubt as to 
where all the Indians had gone. There were none 
where I expected to see them. But I was suddenly 
made aware of their presence by a command given in 
a loud voice by one of their chiefs. This was follow- 
ed l)y a heavy volley which continued for several 
moments. Our men did not tlinch and very few re- 
plied to the Indian fire. A hissing sound near my 
head caused me to turn and I saw an arrow with its 
barb buried in the ground. I saw I had had a close 
shave. I picked up the arrow and on examination 
found it to be a regular hunting arrow. Whether it 
was poisoned or not, I could not tell. I knew that 
the one who had shot the arrow could not be a great 
distance from me. 

"AVhile thinking whether I should keep it as a 
souvenir or not, I heard a yell mingled with curses. 
Turning around I saw a man lying on the ground 
holding his leg in both hands. 1 went to see what was 
the matter with liim. I recognized him. Nelson of the 
overcoat incident. He stopped his SAvearing long 
enough to tell me he had been struck with a rock 
which had broken a bone in his leg. I did not know 


whetlier to believe him or not, until his limb was un- 
covered. The only thing visible was a red bruise on 
his shin bone, but his leg was broken. The one throw- 
ing the rock must have been very close to us. We had 
been standing on the edge of the broken ground, so it 
was possible that some of the Indians were closer to 
us than we were aware of. But we were unable to 
tell just where to look for them. 

"As two men were taking Nelson away, a loud 
voice from behind the bluff calling me in good Eng- 
lish, 'Come down here you white livered , 

and I will cut your heart out and drink your blood.' 
The loud bleat of a sheep was the only answer I gave 

"The tire on the part of the Indians became con- 
tinuous. If they had any hopes of driving us back 
from our position, they were disappointed. We were 
like rats in a hole; we could go no further. From 
about three o'clock in the afternoon until the day 
wore away the Indians' fire grew less; thus showing 
that they were getting disheartened at the prospect of 
getting our scalps or their ammunition was running 
low ; the latter I think was the real cause for they had 
consumed a tremendous amount of it in their attacks 
on Custer's and Reno's commands. 

"There was a large body of Indians engaged 
against us so they must have had plenty of ammuni- 

''On my way down into the lavine I found the 
five other citizen packers. As packers they were a 
success, but as fighters they were failures. Before 
they had found the shelter of the ravine, the head 
packer had received a wound in the head by a spent 
ball; his bandaged head and blood stained face made 
him look 'tough.' 

"A little farther down I found Sergeant Hanley, 
our quarter-master-sergeant, surrounded by enough 
food to last four companies instead of one. He no 
doubt thought that it was a good opportunity, while 
confusion reigned supreme to make provisions for the 
future. He had made a breastwork out of the cracker 


boxes. There he was, as far as we could see, a perfect- 
ly contented man. 

^'Seeing he had a new tin bucket, I could not re- 
sist the temptation of making another trip to the 
river. So borrowing it from him with the pledge to 
return it when I came back I started on my trip. The 
way to the river was easy enough, but on coming back 
I found I was very tired When nearing the head of 
the ravine and looking ahead, I saw two men sep- 
arating from each other, one of them coming towards 
me. On coming up to the first one, he placed himself 
in my way demanding a drink. I told him he was 
strong enough and well enough to go after water for 
himself. I rushed past him and made my way as rap- 
idly as possible towards where Sergeant Hanley was 
stationed. When the second man came up to me and 
made the same request as the previous one I told him 
that I was carrying water for disabled men and not 
for those who could help , themselves. The man drew 
his revolver telling me he was going to have a drink 
or he would know the reason why. I lowered the 
bucket, placing it partly on my foot. Now I said, 
'Fire away; in neither case will you get any water.' I 
saw Hanley make a sudden motion with his left hand. 
He held his gun in his right hand. When he saw he 
had attracted my attention, he motioned me to step 
aside, at the same time dropping on his knees and 
resting his gun on the upper cracker box and pointed 
his gun in our direction. The man still held his re- 
volver in his hand and was not aware of the latter's 
intention. I knew Hanley was a dead shot, I also 
knew that when he fired it would be at this man. He 
kept shaking his head for me to get out of the way. I 
made a sudden grab for the bucket and jumped aside, 
with my eyes turned earnestly in Hanley's direction. 
This sudden movement of mine caused the man to 
turn around and what he saw caused him suddenly to 
vanish. After coming to Hanley, I asked him what 
he intended doing. He said he had been watching 
the men's actions and had either one of them made a 
bad break, he would have bored davlight through him. 


I was very grateful to Hanley for the interest he had 
taken in me, but I determined to make no more trips 
to the river. I was hecoming exceedingly tired. T 
quickly got rid of the water and returned the bucket 
to its owner. I then went to where some of my com- 
rades were in possession of a rifle pit, and there spent 
the time in conversation and wondering as to the 
outcome of this unequal contest. From where we were 
stationed we could see 'a large portion of the village, 
and observe any movement the Indians might be 
making. As this long to be remembered day was 
drawing to a close we became conscious that the fir- 
ing on the part of the Indians was gradually ceasing, 
and we began to move around with a little more free- 
dom. About seven o'clock in the evening, w^e noticed 
that the Indians were massing their ponies close to 
the village. We also noticed that the tepees were be- 
ing rapidly torn down and the women were packing 
their effects, and strapping them on their pack ani- 
mals. As the evening grew dark, they began to move 
slowly away from the river, in the direction of the 
Big Horn mountains. We tried to estimate the num- 
bers of their fighting men, but it was difficult to do 
owing to the fact that they had their families Avith 
them^ and a large number of ponies. But a conserva- 
tive estimate of the number of warriors was about 
2800. A few of the Indians remained and kept up a 
scattering fire as if loath to give us up. As darkness 
closed around us, the last shots came whistling over 
our heads. Thus closed one of the shortest and blood- 
iest engagements between the government and In- 
dians, which had taken place in recent years. With 
the exception of the sentries and the wounded, whose 
moaning could be heard at any hour of the night, our 
camp was wrapped in slumber. As for myself, I could 
have slept under almost any circumstan,^es. 

"On the morning of the 27th we discovered that 
three men, Lieutenant De Rudio, Private O'Neil and 
Frank Gerard, our interpreter, had come into camp 
during the night. On making inquiries of Gerard, I 
learned that during Reno's retreat, these three had be- 


come separated from their respective companies. De 
Riidio and O'Neil had lost their horses, but Gerard 
still retained his. On getting together, they decided 
to remain concealed, not knowing what else to do. I 
asked Gerard why he had not attempted to join Reno's 
command again, he simply shook his head. I had him 
attend to my wounded hand and as he unwound the 
bandage, he told me that he had seen two men, be- 
longing to Company A, whose horses ran away with 
them, carrying them into a large body of Indians, 
where they disappeared, and undoubtedly were put to 
death. Sometime after this, Gerard told a strange 
story of General Custer and his brothers. Tom and 
Boston, his nephew, Anthony Reed, and Lieutenant 
Cook. He said that they oame across a scaffold sim- 
ilar to others upon which Indians were buried. It 
was simply four poles standing in an upright posi- 
tion with cross poles fastened closely together on the 
top, with the dead on top of this. Then some 
cooking utensils, hunting outfit, usually consisting of 
a knife, bow and arrows, and if fortunate enough a 
gun and a little powder and food, which he could 
hunt with in the country through which he passed on 
his way to the Happy Hunting Grounds. Gerard 
went on to say that those five men despoiled that 
grave and took away such trophies as they fancied, 
and solemnly added that himself and Jackson were 
the only two left of the company that witnessed the 
affair. He intimated that it was the vengeance of 
God that had overtaken them for this deed. Yes, we 
know how Jackson left the field and never stopped un- 
til he reached the Tongue River some thirty miles 
away. We also know that Gerard never fired a shot 
at the enemy but lay secreted for over forty hours, un- 
til all danger Avas over. 

"To us of the 7th Cavalry, it was a well known 
fact that Lieutenant De Rudio was closely associated 
with one important event of history, and I wilt here 
relate it. 

'^On the night of January 14, 1858, all Europe was 
startled by the news that an attempt had been made 


to assassinate Emperor Napoleon and Empress 
Engenie. by the explosion of three bombs charged with 
fulnrinating mercurY, which had been placed nnder 
the wheels of tlieir carriage, as they were driving 
home from the opera, in the Rne Lepelletier. Though 
the Emperor and Empress escaped uninjured, an un- 
known number of persons were killed or wounded. 
The London Times, in its issue of January 18. 1858, 
giyes the following statement of facts : 

'' 'The assassins had provided themselves with hol- 
low projectiles of the most deadly description, and 
contrived to fling them on the ground under the car- 
riage, where they instantly exploded and spread 
destruction among the bystanders. One of the car- 
riage horses was killed on the spot, the other wound- 
ed. The carriage itself was broken to pieces. General 
Rogwet who sat in front was slightly wounded it is 
said, and two footmen who stood behind were danger- 
ously hurt. A fragment of the shell passed through 
the Emperor's hat, but did not touch him. The Em- 
press was also unhurt. Several lancers of the escort 
were seriously wounded; two or three are said to have 
been killed. The number of persons hurt is probably 
not less than sixty. (Fourteen of them afterwards 

" 'Four of the chief conspirators are already in 
custody. They are Piere, Orsini, Soumes and another 
who calls himself Da Selva, but whose real name is De 
Rudio. All are Italians. 

'' 'Soumes was subsequently set at liberty; the 
other three were convicted and condemned to die by 
the guillotine. De Rudio had lived for sometime in the 
town of Xottingham, England, and had married there. 
His wife interested the socialistic elements of that 
city in his behalf, they were then called chartists, and 
also some of the neAVspapers. A petition was prepar- 
ed and funds were raised to enable her to go to Paris 
and present it to the Empress and ask her to inter- 
cede for her husband's life. This was done and a com- 
mutation of sentence followed. 

" 'At 5:30 last evenino the warrant to execute the 


sentence of the court of Assize, upon those convicted 
of the attempt in the Rne Lepelletier was received by 
the procurer General. As I previously announced to 
you, that warrant only included Orsini and Piere. The 
punishment of De Rudio is commuted into penal ser- 
vitude for life. Since their condemnation it was 
deemed proper to employ the straight-waist-coat with 
the three convicts, as a precautionary measure against 
any possible act of violence, either on themselves or 
those placed in contact with them. The reprieve of 
De Rudio rendered that restraint no longer neces- 
sary, and the governor did not delay a moment in serv- 
ing orders to free him from it. When the turnkeys 
who were charged with the duty entered De Rudio's 
cell they found him buried in sleep. They shook him 
once or twice before he awoke. When he opened his 
eyes and sat upon his pallet he stared fearfully at 
them, and for a moment seemed bewildered. He 
thought they came to announce that his last moments 
had arrived, and he recoiled from their touch. 'Don't 
be afraid,' they said, 'We are not going to hurt you, 
far from it. We bring you good news, you are to have 
a commutation of punishment, and we are going to 
take off your straight- waist-coat.' 

"Piere and Orsini were the next day, Saturday, 
March 14, led to the scaffold. Both died with great 

"I am just informed that De Rudio is to be sent 
to London to serve evidence against Bernard. Ber- 
nard or Dr. Bernard was a French chemist, living in 
London, who was arrested and tried at the demand of 
the French government for complicity in the plot. 
He was suspected of being the maker of the bombs. 
He was acquitted after a most exciting trial. De 
Rudio did not appear as a witness against him, yield- 
ing to representations that the entire Orsini plot had 
been hatched in London. 

"Lord Palmerson introduced a bill into parliament 
to restrict the right of an asylum in England, but 
this raised such a storm of indignation that he was 
compelled to resign from office. This feeling, how- 


ever, soon blew over, and next year he resnmed power. 

''De Rudio shortly afterward received a full par- 
don. He returned to Nottingham, and essayed to en- 
ter the lecture field, but the attempt signally failed. 
Notwithstanding what might be expected to be a nat- 
ural curiosity to see a man who had passexl through 
such peril ; there were barely twenty-five persons in 
the hall with a seating capacity for a thousand. Two 
of these were reporters, the rest were scowling car- 
bonaries, who sat in silence. 

'^Thinking that his life was in danger from his 
former associates De Rudio came to the United States. 

"His military career is set forth as follows, in 
Hammerly's complete regular Army Register: 

''De Rudio, Charles C, born in Italy. Appointed 
from New York, Private Company A. Seventy-ninth 
New York volunteers August 25th, 1864. Discharged 
October 17th, 18G4. Mustered out January 5th, 1866. 
Second Lieutenant, Second Infantry August 21st, 
1867. Appointment cancelled September 20th, 1867. 
Appointment renewed October 25th, 1867. Unassign- 
ed April 17th. 1869. Assigned to Seventh Cavalry 
July 11, 1869. First Lieutenant December 15th, 1875. 

"The cancellation of De Rudio's commission in 
1867, it is understood at the War Department arose 
out of the Orsini affair being called to the attention 
of the officers, who, after inquiry, ordered his re-ap- 

"It was about seven o'clock in the morning that 
a Crow scout came dashing into our midst with the 
news that a body of men were coming up the left bank 
of the river, but whether they were Indians or sold- 
iers he could not tell. Major Reno then called for 
volunteers to go and ascertain whether they were 
friends or foes. The scout who had brought the re- 
port, Half Yellow Face or Two Bloody Hands by 
name, and one of the soldiers volunteered and away 
they went, full speed. I might state here that an- 
other Crow scout came to us with Half Yellow Face, 
early in the morning. He was badly wounded, be- 
ing shot through the wrist and thigh, but he bore his 


suffering nobly. We were all in a great state of ex- 
citement at this time, wondering what the moving 
column conld be. Were the Indians coming back to 
finish their deadly work? In abont half an hour, the 
soldier returned, his horse covered with foam, with 
glad news that General Terry, with some of the 2nd 
Cavalry and Gibbons with his Infantry, were coming. 
We all gave a loud shout of joy, waving our hats in 
the air. Terry soon made his appearance and when 
he had looked around on the scene of desolation, he 
wept. He soon recovered himself, and ordered the 7th 
Cavalry to move across the Little Horn Eiver. and 
camp with the troops which had just arrived and gone 
into camp on the site of the Indian village. It was 
about one mile from our camp to the new one, and it 
took us a long while to remove the wounded soldiers, 
as all had to be carried on rudely constructed stretch- 
ers. When we came to our new camping place, we 
saw the position Custer was in when he made his last 
fight. Dead men and horses were scattered all over 
the ground. It was an awful sight, not on account of 
the dead only, but because of the mutilated condition 
of their bodies. The only one which w^as not strip- 
ped of his clothing, and mutilated, was General Cus^ 
ter. He still had on his blue shirt, buckskin pants, 
with the legs pushed in the tops of his long legged 
boots. The rest of the officers and men were gashed 
w^ith knives all over their bodies and their heads 
crushed in with stone mallets. The bodies were turn- 
ing brown from the heat of the sun and were swollen 
to a gTeat size. As they were not to be buried till 
the next morning, we turned our attention to the 
wounded. The tents which the infantry had brought 
with them were put up for the use of these suffering 
men, and everything was done which could possibly 
be for their comfort. General Terry had brought with 
him some artillerj^, and our strength made it impos- 
sible for any body of Indians to cope with us. 

"The Indians no doubt had received information 
of Terry's coming, which was the cause of their rapid 
retreat. One company of soldiers was sent out to as- 


certain in what direction the Indians had gone. It 
was one of the companies of the 7th Cavalry. There 
was vengeance in every man's heart on account of the 
horrible way in which the Indians had treated our 

"Having a desire to get some trophy, as a me- 
mento of this affair, I commenced to search the site 
of the Indian village, but all I could find that was 
easy to carry was one of our Cavalry Snaps, belonging 
to a canteen. I saw quite a number of saddles, but all 
the leather had been cut away. I also saw a few muz- 
zle loading Spencer carbines and gun shells of every 
kind. The Indians had left two tepees standing, with 
dead Indians iiiside. There were thousands of buf- 
falo robes scattered around, a number of which were 
kept for the use of the wounded. The rest went up in 
flame and smoke, together with the tepees. Quite a 
number of stone mallets covered with hair and blood, 
which had undoubtedly been used by the squaws on 
the heads of the dead and wounded soldiers, were scat- 
tered around. The mallet is a rock made round by 
the action of the water in a running stream. It weighs 
about five or six jjounds. A iiumber of willows, of 
sufficient length to cover the stone and form a handle, 
are laid cross wise. The rock is laid in the center and 
the willows are gathered tightly around it. They are 
then bound from the rock to the end of the willow, 
thus forming a handle. While noting these things, I 
saw a couple of cavalry men running toward me, 
shouting 'Indians,' at the same time pointing to a 
body of men approaching our camp on a trot. I was 
inclined to run myself, but on taking a closer view, I 
discovered that it was the company which had been 
sent out on a scouting trip. Turning to the right, I 
was surprised to see such a number of ponies lying 
down disabled or dead. There must have been hund- 
reds of them lying in the brush. While I was making 
my way to the river, I came across the body of one of 
the greatest scouts on the western plains, Mich Burey. 
He had become separated from Eeno's command, and 

While looking at 


the body I heard a grunt behind me. Turning, I saw- 
Half Yellow Face watching me. I was glad to see 
him as I was deeply interested in him. I asked him 
where he was when the fight took place. He pointed 
to a spot on the opposite side of the riyer. It was a 
small fiat liordered by some underbrush. He told me 
that when the cowardly Ree scouts started for Tongue 
River, the Crows came to the determination to return 
and fight against their bitterest foes. Secreting them- 
selves and their ponies on the right bank of the river, 
they kept up a continuous fire into the village, until 
they were discovered, then they had to retreat. In 
the meantime, his partner had been shot through the 
thigh, and a short time afterwards, while taking aim, 
a ball struck him in the wrist making him useless as 
a fighter. But the hardest work of all was for Half 
Yellow Face to lift his partner onto a pony, for he 
was a very heavy man. He succeeded, but none too 
soon, for some of their enemies had crossed the river 
and were trying to capture them. But with great 
determination he succeeded in keeping them at bay 
while they made their escape. He told this with a 
good deal of pride, that his partner had killed six 
while he, himself, had only killed five of the enemy. 
'But,' said Half Yellow Face, 'Come, I show you him.' 
So we made our way slowly through the underbrush, 
to where his comrade was. He was a fine specimen of 
a warrior, but as I have stated before, badly wounded. 
He was cheerful and seemed glad to see us. 

''An officer and a detachment of men had been 
left at our late place of defense with orders to destroy 
all food and government property that could not be 
removed, and to bury all the dead. The rifle pits 
came into use as graves. Early on the morning of 
the 28th what remained of the 7th Cavalry crossed 
the river to bury their dead. Some of the bodies of 
the officers Avere missing. Lieutenant Harrington's 
body could not be found. What had become of it, it is 
difficult to tell. It is supposed that the bodies of 
Lieutenants Porter, Sturgis and Assistant Surgeon 
Lord were also missing. If found, they could not be 


recognized, owing to the horrible manner in which 
they were mutilated. Major Reno says, concerning 
Harrington, 'I am strongly of the opinion that he is 
not only dead, but that he was burned at the stake, for 
while the great battle was going on, I, and some other 
officers, looking through held glasses, saw the In- 
dians, miles away, engaged in a war dance about 
three captives. They were tied to the stake, and my 
impression was, that Harrington was one of them.' 
But I think Major Reno was mistaken. We never 
found any evidence that Harrington sulfered such a 
death. But we all know that the Indians are capable 
of just such cruelties. Major Reno makes another 
mistake. He says that Custer bore down on the In- 
dians, with his handful of men, for the purpose of 
gaining all the credit for himself. The attack which 
occasioned the massacre was unwarranted, because 
the Indians Avere the rightful possessors of the land 
and were entirely peaceable, and many a brave man 
fell in that fight, simply to gratify Custer's ambition. 
Major Reno forgets thaf General Custer was acting 
under orders. This expedition was undertaken for the 
express purpose of driving the Indians back to their 
respective reservations, which they had no business 
to leave for the purpose of committing lawless acts 
against settlers. Major Reno had ample opportunity 
to get some credit for himself on two occasions. First, 
when sent to attack the Indians on the right, giving 
Custer time to collect his forces and attack the 
enemy's flank, but he retreated and remained inactive 
for nearly three hours, even when urged to go to Cus- 
ter's relief, by two messengers sent by Custer's com- 
mand. One of the messengers was Sergeant Knipe of 
Company C. The command was to hurry up the am- 
munition and reinforcements, but the only effort 
made as far as the ammunition was concerned, was 
by Sergeant Hanley of Company C taking the pack 
mule, Barnum, and alone trying to comply with Cus- 
ter's request. The next one to come, and the last, was 
trumpeter Martin, with orders to bring on reinforce- 
ments, and the^>pack train, undoubtedly meaning the 


ammimitioTi mules, of which we had twelve, carrying: 
twenty-fonr boxes of cartridges. It is useless for 
military men to say that it was impossible for Reno 
to do otherwise than he did. He had seven companies 
under his command, for Captain Benteen had joined 
Reno shortly after his retreat from the village, and so 
had Captain McDngal with pack train, making their 
united strength about four hundred men. I am aware 
of all the movements of Reno's command from the time 
he retreated from the village till we joined his com- 
mand on the bluff: His conduct, to me seems cowardly 
in the extreme. His refusal to allow Captain Weir of 
Company D to go to Custer's relief when he begged 
permission, and his own inaction goes to show his in- 
capability. Major Reno says. 'When we found the 
men dead on the battlefield they laid in such a posi- 
tion as to show that they fled after the first fire and 
the Indians pursued and shot them down, for in al- 
most every instance they were shot in the back.' 

"What a slander! Does he think that anyone will 
believe that the Caj'alry dismounted for the purpose 
of running away from mounted savages? No one will 
believe it. They faced their foes like men and died 
like heroes, unlike their traducer who fled like a cow- 
ard. Again Reno says, 

*' 'When I came to the body of Captain Tom 
Custer and saw his heart was cut out, I knew that 
Rain-In-The-Face had done it for Tom had him arrest- 
ed for the larceny of some cloth.' 

''But it was for murder that Custer had Rain-In- 
The-Face arrested and he should have been hung for 
it, but he had escaped from the guard house at Fort 
Lincoln. Tom Custer's body was mutilated and so 
were all the others w4th the exception of General Cus- 
ter. He remained just as he had been shot, with two 
balls in his body. Again Major Reno says, 

" 'General Custer lacked courage. I have known 
him to flourish his sword about his head and shout, 
'Follow me, men, follow me!' and w^hen the fight be- 
gen he would be found in the rear. During the rebel- 


lion I discovered him hiding behind a tree when the 
battle Avas raging.' 

"This was the kind of talk Major Keno indulged 
in after the fight took place. A very unmanly act on 
his part. Early in the afternoon, when the bodies of 
officers and men had been covered by earth, orders 
were given to move camp five miles down the river 
slowly, for we had nearly fifty wounded men. The 
method of transporting the wounded was very simple. 
The only wheeled concerns we had. were the several 
pieces of artillery, brought up by Terry. Those who 
had been severely wounded were placed on a travel- 
ling travois. A travois is simply two long poles 
fastened to a horse, the same as the shafts of a cart, 
and two ends trailing on the ground, and cross pieces 
fastened at suitable distances behind the horse, to 
keep the poles from spreading. Eawhide is then 
stretched from pole to pole and fastened by rawhide 
thongs. Plenty of buffalo robes were placed on top 
of this. It made a fine bed and if the poles were long 
enough, so as to have plenty of spring, it was far 
superior to a wheeled vehicle. The two horse travois 
was built similarly to the single one. Only gentle 
horses were used for such purposes, and after what 
they had gone through, they were all gentle enough. 
For my part, I preferred to ride on horseback, I 
secured a horse that an earthquake could not excite. I 
experienced very curious sensations on this five mile 
ride. My head would spin round and I felt so sick, 
I feared I would fall off my horse. I placed my head 
on the horse's neck and grasped his mane with my 
sound hand, hanging on for dear life. An officer, see- 
ing my condition, touched my arm and told me I had 
better get on a travois, but I only shook my head. I 
felt too bad to take any notice of anything that was 
going on around me, and glad indeed was I when we 
moved into camp. We remained there for twenty- 
four hours, until the cool of the evening of the twenty- 
ninth. Here I would state that the only surviving 
thing that came from the Custer battlefield, was a 
large buckskin colored horse belonging to Captain 


Keogli. He was wounded in five different places and 
great donbts were expressed whether he would live or 
not. He did live for a great number of years after- 
wards. His name was Comanche. On the twenty-ninth 
we moved down the Little Horn five miles more. Such 
easy stages were very favorable to the wounded, and 
showed great consideration on the part of General 

''Two messengers had been sent with dispatches 
to General Crook's headquarters, commanding him to 
join forces with Terry's command at what was called 
the supply camp, on the east side of the Yellowstone 
River, for the purpose of conducting a most vigorous 
campaign against the Indians. At this time, there 
were no railroads or telegraph lines in the country. 
All dispatches and news of importance had to be car- 
ried by couriers and a risky business it was, for the 
messenger generally had to travel by night, with the 
stars for his guide. All the men who volunteered to 
do this work as far as I have learned succeeded in 
opening communication with the various troops in the 
field. What was most needed in a courier was a cool 
head, plenty of courage and the best horse that 
could be found. They would sometimes make eighty 
miles or more in twelve hours. 

"On the 30th we again moved slowly down the 
river bank and were told that the steamer 'Far West,' 
had succeeded in coming up the Big Horn River, to 
within a short distance of the north of the Little 
Horn. As darkness came on, bonfires were lighted to 
guide us to where the boat lay. It was nearly ten 
o'clock when we reached it. The wounded were car- 
ried on board while the cavalry and infantry camped 
a short distance away. Then we could see why Terry 
had been twenty-four hours too late in coming to our 
relief. The boat had to carry Gillon's command from 
the east side of the Yellowstone to the west. A cav- 
alry horse is a hard animal to manage if he sees 
strange sights and hears strange sounds. On this ac- 
count Terry lost one day in the operation. In travel- 
ing, infantry cannot make so many miles a day as 


cavalry, but on this occasion the infantry begged to be 
allowed to make a forced march, but their request was 
not granted them. The reason that Terry's and Cus- 
ter's forces did not unite at the point agreed upon was 
that Custer gained a day by long forced marches from 
the time he left the Yellowstone on the 21st until he 
struck the Indians on the Little Horn on the 25th. 
Had the two forces united and then brought on an en- 
gagement with the Indians, the object of the expedi- 
tion would have been accomplished. With the num- 
ber of men and heavy guns Terry had with him, 
united with the 7th Cavalry they would have been able 
to subdue the Indians and make them return to their 
reservations. But on account of a blunder, 267 oflSc- 
ers and men lost their lives, and the Indians were al- 
lowed to escape. It took years to remedy the mistake. 

"The campaign of '76 cost over a million of dol- 
lars, and was an utter failure. Had the spirit of unity, 
instead of rivalry prevailed, which was so manifest 
in one of the officers in the field, the outcome would 
have been very different. Where was General Crook 
all this time? Could lie be unaware of the existence 
of the Indians who had attacked him on the Eosebud 
on the 17th of June, only eight days before Custer had 
the fight with them? It Avould take a good deal of 
persuasion to convince the men that he was hunting 
the enemy. 

"We laid over all day, the 30th of June, and placed 
on board the steamer all supplies not needed by the 
troops. It was only two days' march from where we 
were to the supply camps. 

"The wounded horse, Comanche, and one of Gen- 
eral Custer's horses were put on board the steamer. 

"It was on the morning of the 1st of July, that 
the 'Far West,' moved out of the Big Horn, into the 
Yellowstone River, while the Cavalry, Infantry and 
Artillery moved down the west bank to a place oppo- 
site the supply camp. The steamboat was utilized to 
carry the troops across the river. But for the number 
of wounded on board, the crossing of the river would 
have been very pleasant. They all tried to be cheer- 


ful. but it was plain to be seen that some of them were 
not long for this world. It was late in the evening 
when we reached the camp. The wonnded were trans- 
ferred to hospital tents which were large and roomy, 
and were attended b}^ doctors who gave them every 
attention. On July 2nd, the remainder of the com- 
mand arrived on the west bank of the river. These 
were also transferred across the river in the steamer, 
first the horses, mules, guns and supplies arriving 
and lastly the men. We laid in camp all the next 
day, but on July 4th we commenced to steam down 
the Yellowstone River. Captain Marsh, of the steamer, 
endeared himself to all on board, by his fund of humor 
and his kind attentions to the woundf^d. 

''The steamer was well protected in case of an at- 
tack by the Indians. The pilot house v. a** covered 
with strong sheet iron. The first /Jeck v/as piled around 
with cord wood. 

"Our first stopping place w^as at the mouth of 
Tongue River, where w^e laid over for about two hours. 
This gave us time to hunt our blankets. Here a little 
incident occurred, which shows how unpopular a 
man may make himself. When the steamer touched 
the bank, a man named Billy Jackson, jumped on 
board and rushed up to the captain who was stationed 
on the upper deck. As he went past where the wound- 
ed were lying, a growl of savage rage greeted him, 
which made him quicken his pace. One of the men 
drew his revolver with the evident intention of shoot- 
ing him, but Billy was too quick for him. The impres- 
sion seemed to prevail amongst the men, that he was 
in part responsible for the disaster which had over- 
taken Custer. He led the five companies one mile be- 
low the proper fording place Avhich was the one 
where Watson and I attempted to enter the village. 
How Jackson escaped from the boat without detec- 
tion I do not know. I watched very closely for him 
after getting my blankets. I determined to speak to 
him if possible, but my plan failed. As we steamed 
down the river, I learned that when Jackson and the 
Ree scout returned with the information that the In- 


dians were thirty miles away, and later with the news 
of Custer's defeat, the citizen teamsters demanded 
hio-her washes and guns with which to defend them- 
selves. It was a diflficnlt matter to settle, bnt was final- 
ly adjusted satisfactorily. 

"Our next stopping place was Fort Beauford, 
where ice was taken on board, and one of the men 
named King, who had died, was buried. Fort Beau- 
ford is located on the Big Missouri River. The river 
was greatly swollen by the recent rains, so that when 
we started again, we went at great speed. Wood and 
bacon were fed to the hungry furnaces. As we were 
speeding along we saw a large herd of buffalo rush 
over the bank into the river, just ahead of the steamer. 
We went plowing through among them, but it did not 
check their course for the mass behind kept pressing 
those in front. No doubt numbers of them were 

''Captain Marsh told us that they were undoubt- 
edly stampeded by Indians, as he had seen the savages 
through his glasses. 

''I will here relate an incident which has always 
remained a mystery to me. We had in our company a 
man by the name of St. John. Why they called him 
Samt I cannot tell. He appeared to me to be nearer 
related to fallen angels. He had been released from 
the guard house in order that he might serve with his 
company on the campaign. He was a good hunter, 
and while on the expedition, prior to the 12th of May, 
he was allowed to leave his command for the purpose 
of killing such game as he wished. He, of course, 
was not the only one who went on these hunting trips ; 
but he is the one of whom I wish to speak. He did 
not possess a knife and it is almost as bad for a hun- 
ter to be without a knife as for a ship to sail without 
a compass. I overheard him speaking of his need, and 
feeling that I had no use for mine, gave him it. There 
was a name marked on the one side of the handle, 
and the initials of a name on the other. An oblong 
piece was broken from the end of the handle. I knew 
that St. John had the knife when he went into battle 


on the 25th of June. I walked back to the rear of the 
boat and took a seat near Bennett, who seemed ghul 
to have me beside him. 

''While looking around I saw an Indian leaning 
against the wheel-house. He had a bandage on one (tf 
his arms, which showed he had been wounded. I did 
not recognize him as one of our scouts, which made me 
take particular notice of him. He had two rifles in 
his possession and attached to the belt which he wore, 
was a knife scabbard in which I saw the knife I had 
gi^en to St. John. 

"To say I was astonished is putting it mildly. To 
make sure, I moved closer toward him, and the closer 
I got, the more certain I was that it was the same 
knife. The oblong piece broken from the end of the 
handle arid the name marked in plain letters were 
visible. I wondered how he could have gotten pos- 
session of it. I began to study the face of the Indian 
but he soon noticed my attention and seemed to avoid 
my gaze. I determined to obtain possession of the 
knife if possible and I thought of the coming night 
when I might have a chance to get it while he was 
asleep. I forgot that we were nearing a small place 
called Fort Berthold. As we came in sight of the fort 
we saw an Indian woman by the water's edge washing 
some material. There was a little child a few feet 
above her putting out its hands to help her out of 
danger, as our steamer was hugging the bank very 
closely. We were wondering whether the wheel would 
strike the woman or not. I saw two rifles which had 
been thrown from the boat, fall on the bank of the 
river. Looking around to see who had thrown them, 
I saw the Indian 1 have already mentioned, make a 
leap from the boat and reach the bank in safety. I 
noticed the squaw still standing by the water's' edge 
unhurt and also, saw the Indian scramble up the bank, 
take his guns, and go away. Was he a hostile or was 
he friendly? How did he get the knife, and why did 
he leap from the boat when it was going full speed? 
These are questions I cannot answer. 

"Late on the evening of the 5th of July, we ar- 


rived at Bismarck, where we laid over till next morn- 
ing, when we continued our journey to the landing at 
Fort Lincoln. We found that we were the first to 
bring the news of the disaster. When the news was 
broken to the widows of the dead officers and soldiers, 
it was a sight which brought tears to all eyes. 

''The wounded were removed to the hospital and 
the dead were buried, in the grave yard on the hill. 

"Poor Bennett died on the afternoon of the 5th 
of July with my hand clasping his. So died a man who 
always gave me good advice and always tried to fol- 
low the advice he gave." 

"Peter Thompson" 


What the Indians have to say about the battle 
may be interesting to the reader and we will add the 
statement published in North Dakota "Historical Col- 
lections" as given by Father Genin from his talk with 
Sitting -Bull : "We knew the soldiers were coming 
upon us weeks before the fight, yet we did not want to 
fight if we could do otherwise. In our camp on the 
Little Big Horn were the tribes of the Tetons, etc. 
We did not go out there to fight. We took our women 
and children along and went to meet all the tribes of 
the region, to make laws and treaties and to visit each 
other, and to make our young men and maidens ac- 
quainted with each other, so they could marry, as our 
fathers have done for many generations. So, when 
we found the white soldiers were following us, we 
marched back into the hills a long way, still being 
pursued by the army in direct violation of the treaty 
of ISGS, which first article pledges the honor of the 
United States to keep peace. We resolved to camp 
and wait the will of God, at the same time praying to 
God to save us from the hands of our enemies, now 
near, and coming Avithout provocation to complete 
our extermination. 

"For three days our scouts watched Custer 
marching toward our camp. I therefore sent all our 
women and children into places of safe-y through the 


low lands. We expected the soldiei-s would char.i>e 
through the village, as thev did at the battle of 
Washita in 1868, when Chief IBlack Kettle was killed, 
and the women and children trampled to death under 
the hoofs of their war horses. The Teton Indians are 
too brave and love their families too well to let them 
be butchered even by the soldiers of the United States. 
and not fight for them until death. 

"So I sent my young men to light fires inside 
and outside the deserted tepees, placing conveniently 
at the door of each of the front tepees sticks dressed 
like men, and to put stakes in the front streets of the 
village, to w^hich were tied pieces of blankets, so that 
when the fires were burning, and stirring the air, the 
pieces of cloth and old rags waved to and fro in the 
breeze and gave the appearance of a densely populated 
village. Then I marched behind the front row of hills 
with all my braves, and waited the opening of the sol- 
diers' fire upon our camp. Everything worked as I 
had planned. True to their intentions, the United 
States soldiers killed my flag men w^hom I had sent 
to meet them and demand peace, and proceeding fur- 
iously forward, opened fire upon my empty camp of 
old tepees and rag manikins. I then fell upon them 
from the rear, with all my force, before they had time 
to recover from the shock of their furious charge and 
their surprise at finding the village deserted. My men 
destroyed the last of them in a very short time. Now 
they accuse me of slaying them. Yet what could I 
do? Nothing." 

In referring to Reno's .soldiers. Sitting Bull 
said, "These soldiers were not brave. When they saw 
our Avarriors, they ran away as fast as they could and 
hid in the hollows of the hills. I was not in that part 
of the battlefield. I sat on my horse on a hill and sent 
my young men to direct the movements of the head 
warriors. All my warriors were brave and knew no 
fear. The soldiers that were all killed were brave 
men, too, but they had no chance to fight or run away ; 
they were surrounded too closely by our many war- 
riors. As they stood there waiting to be killed, they 


were seen to look far away to the hills in all directions, 
and we knew they Avere looking for the hidden soldiers 
in the hollows of the hills to come and help 
them. But our soldiers tirst killed the soldiers 
who were holding the horses and rode them Avhile 
charging close up and firing at the survivors. Let no 
man call this a massacre. It was a mere piece of war- 
fare. We did not go out of our own country to kill 
them. They came to kill us and got killed themselves. 
God so ordered it.'' 

In answer to a statement by Father Genin that 
it was reported that Sitting Bull killed General Cus- 
ter he said excitedly: "It is a lie. I did not kill the 
Yellow Hair. He was a fool and rode to his death.'' 
He said further that he did not personally see General 
Custer during the battle; that his people searched for 
the body of the long haired white chief after the bat- 
tle, but that no soldier with long hair was found. 

On this point Father Genin himself says: "Our 
friend Colonel Keogh's body and that of another 
Catholic soldier were the only ones treated with re- 
spect by the Indians, who stripped the dead bodies of 
their clothing on the battlefield. Pagans though they 
may be, and used to savage practices, still they have 
learned to respect the cross wherever they find it, and 
finding on Colonel Keogh's neck a chain and cross, 
they did not cut up liis body but covered up his face 
respectfully and left him his cross and went by. A 
scapular found on the body of another man was the 
cause of similar treatment." 

Sitting Bull further said that when all of Gen- 
eral Custer's men had been killed his warriors rush- 
ed to surround the soldiers on the hill Avith Reno, and 
that they would soon have killed them, too, but a false 
alarm was raised that some soldiers had escaped and 
were attacking the women and children, and the whole 
Indian army surged in that direction. That when the 
mistake was found out, and his command surged 
again to the hill where Reno's' men were concealed, 
he gave the order that there should be no more fight- 
ing. "We have killed enough" he said. "Let the rest 


go back and take care of the women and children, and 
tell the people how the Indians can fight." Whereat 
his warriors were sorrowful and wanted to kill Reno's 
men, and then to give battle to the "walking soldiers" 
(Terry's Infantry), when they shonld leave the steam- 
boat, bnt they obeyed his orders, although greatly dis- 

We will also set forth the story of the fight as 
given by Chief Gall, one of the main leaders in the 
battle. It was told on the battlefield during the oc- 
casion of the tenth anniversary of the fight and in the 
presence of Curly, the Crow scout upon whom Gall 
turned his back, with the statement that "He ran away 
too soon in the fight." 

"We saw the soldiers early in the morning crossing 
the divide. When Reno and Custer separated, we 
watched them until they came down into the valley. 
A cry was raised that the white soldiers were coming, 
and orders were given for our village to move immedi- 
ately. Reno swept down so rapidly on the upper end 
that the Indians were forced to fight. Sitting Bull 
and I were on the point where Reno attacked. Sitting 
Bull was a big- medicine man. The women and child- 
ren were hastily moved down stream where the Chey- 
ennes were camped. The Sioux attacked Reno and the 
Cheyennes Custer, and then all became mixed up. 
The women and children caught the horses for the 
bucks to mount. Then the bucks mounted and charg- 
ed back to Reno, checked him and drove him into the 
timber. The soldiers tied their horses to trees, came 
out and fought on foot. As soon as Reno was beaten 
and driven back across the river, the whole force 
turned on Custer and fought him until they destroyed 
him. Custer did not reach the river, but was about a 
half a mile up a ravine, now called Reno Creek. They 
fought the soldiers and drove them back step by step, 
until all were killed. The Indians ran out of ammu- 
nition and then used arrows. They fired from be- 
hind their horses. The soldiers got shells stuck in 
their guns and had to throw them away. They then 
fought with little guns (pistols). The Indians were 


in coulees behind and in front of Custer as he moved 
up the ridge to take position, and were just as many 
on the grass. The first two companies, Keogh's and 
Calhoun's, dismounted, and fought on foot. They 
never broke, but retired, step by step, until forced 
back to the ridge upon which all finally perished. They 
were shot down in the line where they stood. Keogh's 
company rallied by company and were all killed in a 
bunch. The warriors directed a special fire against 
the troopers who held the horses while the others 
fought. As soon as a holder was killed, by waving 
blankets and great shouting, the horses were stam- 
peded, which made it impossible for the soldiers to 
escape afterward. The soldiers fought desperately 
and hard, and never surrendered. They fought stand- 
ing. They fought in line along the ridge. As fast as 
the men fell the horses were herded and driven to- 
wards the squaws and old men, who gathered them 
up. When Reno attempted to find Custer by throw- 
ing out a skirmish line, Custer and all with him were 
dead. When the skirmishers reached a point over- 
looking Custer's field, the Indians were galloping 
around over the wounded, dying and dead, and pop- 
ping bullets and arrows into them. When Reno made 
his attack at the upper end, he killed my two squaws 
and three children, which made my heart bad. I then 
fought with the hatchet (mutilating the soldiers). The 
soldiers ran out of ammunition early in the day. 
Their supplies of cartridges were in the saddle pock- 
ets of their stampeded horses. The Indians then ran 
up to the soldiers and butchered them with hatchets. 
A lot of horses ran away and jumped into the river 
and were caught by the squaws Eleven Indians were 
killed on Reno Creek and several Indians fell over 
and died. Only forty-three Indians were killed al- 
together, but a great many wounded ones came across 
the river and died in the bushes. Some soldiers got 
away and ran down a ravine, crossed the river, came 
back again and were killed. We had Oglalas, Minne- 
conjeaus, Brule, Teton, Uncpapa, Sioux, Arapahoes 
and Gros Ventres. When the big dust came in the 



air down the river (Terry and Gibbon) we struck our 
lodges and went up a creek toward the White Rain 
Mountains. The Big Horn ranges were covered with 
snow. We waited there four days, then went over to 
the Wyoming mountains." 


The battle had occurred in the burning hot days 
of mid summer and the three days of exposure to the 

Custer's Mouuiuent 

intense rays of the sun, together with the mutilation 
of the bodies by the savages, presented a most trying 
task to the comrades to whom it fell the lot to bury 
the fallen soldiers. Heads had been smashed in with 
stone hammers, and in some cases hacked from the 
bodies, legs and arms cut oft" and strewn about and 
desolation reigned supreme over the field. The burial 
squads, with mouths and noses covered were able to 
work but a few minutes at a time, before the nauseat- 


iiig stench would compel their relief. A trench was 
dug or scraped beside each gruesome form, and then 
by the aid of sticks and poles, the festering and swol- 
len mass was rolled over and into the ditch, and hast- 
ily covered with loose dirt. The dry earth was not 
of the same hardness in all spots and in those places 
where the ground proved to be quite hard, only shal- 
low graves were dug. As a result, the coyotes soon 
feasted upon the dead so easily uncovered. At each 
burial plot, a tent stake was driven with a number on 
it and this number marked down in a record for fu- 
ture identification. It is said that Custer's stake num- 
ber was seven. Several years later, the government 
sent a force out to the scene of the disaster to com- 
plete the work of interment, as many of the dead had 
been dug out by wolves. Each man was furnished 
with rubber gloves and thus the work was carried out. 
General Custer's remains were taken back to West 
Point military academy from which he had graduated 
and there they rest today. All of the other officers, 
except one, were likewise taken to other points. The 
one remaining was left there at the request of the 
father who felt that his son should rest among the 
boys who went down with him and in the soil conse- 
crated with his blood. 


The news column of the current issues of the 
daily press carries a story broadcasted from Billings, 
Montana, that "Curly, the Crow scout, sole survivor of 
the Custer massacre of 1876, died yesterday, at the 
Crow Agency and was buried there today. He was 
sixty-eight years old." 

Every year or so, the "sole survivor" of the Cus- 
ter massacre is honorably mentioned in this or that 
locality, and while it makes little difference to casual 
readers, there is one real, true survivor, that deserves 
the distinction, having been buried with military 
honors, and officially declared so. We have counted 
seven in the past decade and it may be considered that 
the wilds are "full of them.'' 


The only authentic sole snrvivor of the tragic 
battle of the Little Horn, connected with Custer's 
compau}^ was "Comanche'' an honored horse that was 
for ten years a guest of distinction at Fort Meade. No 
other living being was left by the contending forces on 
the bloody field. To detract from "Comanche's" distinc- 
tion is unworthy and leaves a chapter in history that 
is misleading. "Comanche" fills a niche in the accounts 
of that disaster that should not be sealed. "Comanche" 
according to the military records, bore the gallant 
Captain Keogh to the fatal battlefield, where Custer 
made his last stand, and two days and nights after 
the battle was found standing in a creek, badly rid- 
dled by Indian bullets, patiently waiting and mutely 
pleading for relief. The condition of the poor creature 
seemed so helpless that the first impulse of his dis- 
coverers was to shoot him and end his terrible suffer- 
ing, but upon second thought, the soldiers determined 
to save his life. He was taken to Fort Lincoln and 
after weeks of tender nursing and skillful treatment 
he recovered. In April, 1878, General Sturgis, com- 
manding, issued the following humane order to head- 
quarters of the Seventh United States Cavalry at Fort 
Lincoln : 

"The horse known as 'Comanche' being the only 
living representative of the bloody tragedy of the 
Little Big Horn, June 25th, 1876, his kind treatment 
and comfort should be a matter of special pride and 
solicitude on the part of every member of the Seventh 
Cavalry, to the end that his life be preserved to the ut- 
most limit. Wounded and scarred as he is, his very 
existence speaks in terms more eloquent than words 
of the desperate struggle against overwhelming num- 
bers, of the hopeless conflict and the heroic manner in 
which all went down on that day. The commanding 
officer of Company I, will see that a special and com- 
fortable stable is fitted up for him, and he will not be 
ridden by any person whomsoever, under any circum- 
stances, nor will he be put to any kind of work. Here- 
after, upon all occasions of ceremony at mounted 
regimental functions, 'Comanche,' saddled and bridled 


and draped. in mourning, and led by a mounted trooper 
of tlie company will be paraded with the regiment." 
By command of Colonel Stnrgis, E. A. Carlington. 
First Lieutenant and Adjutant, Seventh Cavalry. 

In June, 1879. "Comanche'' was taken to Fort 
Meade by the Seventh Regiment, where he was kept 
like a prince until 1888, when he was taken to Fort 
Riley. Kansas, where later he died and was buried 
with military lionors. This is the authentic history 
of tlie sole survivor of the Custer massacre, as re- 
corded by military authority. There may have been 
many who served in 1876 with honor, and with rec- 
ords unofflcially attached to their passing away to the 
bugle call of eternity, but careful search of the records 
of that bloody catastrophy will bear out the statement 
that "Comanche'' was the sole survivor of Custer's last 


The 20th day of July, 1876, was one that will long 
be remembered by the pioneers. It was on that day 
that ncAvs of the massacre by Indians of General Cus- 
ter and his entire force on the Little Big Horn was 
received. The old Seventh was a popular regiment 
with the people of the west and many of the Hills had 
friends and acquaintances in its various troops, while 
the gallant commander was considered by all, the 
ideal cavalry, ofiflcer. Early in the year an important 
military expedition against the Indians had been un- 
dertaken and a considerable force under Generals 
Crook and Terry had been for some time operating in 
the Yellowstone country. It was hoped and believed 
that the campaign by so large a force of soldiers would 
break the spirit of the Indians and give comparative 
safety to the Hills country. Tidings from the north 
were awaited with anxiety, all hoping for an announce- 
ment of a decided victory over Sitting Bull, Rain-In- 
The-Face and their forces recruited from the Chey- 
enne, Oglala and Brule branches of the Sioux nation. 
The news that reached the Hills of the various en- 


gagenients preceding the Custer fight had been meager 
and unsatisfactory. Dispatches from the forces in the 
field had been carried generally by couriers to Fort 
Laramie by way of trails west of the Hills and reports 
were from Laramie brought back to Deadwood and 
other mining camps by wagon train. 

The assembly of the Indian forces in the north 
evidently had drawn off many of the lower reserva- 
tion Indians who had been harassing the settlers, and 
for a brief time comparatively few outrages had been 
committed about the foothills. Just at this time 
when a feeling of security had been general and the 
settlers had begun to move about with little fear of 
danger, came the news from the Little Big Horn that 
Custer with his entire command had been annihilated. 
The story seemed incredible, yet at last nearly a 
month after the battle, here Avere the details so mi- 
nutely set forth that their correctness could not be 
doubted. The Pioneer issued an ^'extra" which was 
circulated in the various camps and eagerly read. In 
this account was given the name of every soldier 
killed, thus forcing conviction of the awful truth. In 
a short time Deadwood was filled with excited men 
who poured in from the surrounding gulches, all eag- 
erly discussing the news. Experienced frontiersmen 
expressed the belief that the danger to the Hills peo- 
ple would be greatly increased by the Indian victory, 
and that even if the government should now push the 
war against the hostiles with greater vigor, as seemed 
probable, the Indians would scatter out in small 
bands, and while the Cheyennes might cross the land 
into the British possessions, the Brules and Oglalas, 
on their way south to their reservations, would cer- 
tainly kill and destroy wherever they found it possible 
on their way. That there was ample grounds for such 
fears was made manifest. During the month of 
August and September stories of murder of exposed 
settlers or travellers, and thefts of horses and cattle 
were received each day. No small party could travel 
with safety. In one day six men were w^aylaid and 
murdered within ten miles of Deadwood. A dav or 


two later fonr men were killed three miles from Rapid 
City, while lone travelers were ambushed on every 
road and trail. Raids were made on horse herds held 
in the valleys of the foothills, and much stock driven 
off. On one occasion, one hnndred head of horses were 
stampeded from the Centennial Valley herd and a 
herder killed. Everybody went armed, and some of 
the more timid even feared an Indian attack on Dead- 
wood and other giilch towns. The citizens offered a 
reward of two hnndred and tifty dollars for every In- 
dian scalp taken and advertisement -to that eft'ect was 
kept standing in the colnmns of the Pioneer. Parties 
frequently were sent out to raise the siege of beleaguer- 
ed wagon trains held in corral by the Indians about the 

Late in the fall, as the main body of the hostiles 
had found safety north of the British line, General 
Crook made a forced march from the Yellowstone to 
relieve the people of the Hills. His command was 
short of provisions and subsisted in part on the flesh 
of mules of the outfit. The march was a very trying 
one. the men reaching the foothills with many prac- 
tically exhausted and their clothing in rags. On the 
way scouts of the command discovered a Sioux village 
in the Slim Buttes of the Hills. This was attacked 
and destroyed, a number of Indians killed and many 
prisoners, mostly women and children, taken. In the 
fight the well known scout "Pony" White lost his life. 
The story of the expedition was written by Bob Stra- 
horn, a newspaper correspondent with Crook, for the 
columns of the Pioneer under the caption of "Crook's 
March from Yellowstone." 

Crook and the officers of his staff visited Dead- 
wood where they were met with an enthusiastic re- 
ception, in the Langrishe theatre. Speeches were 
made, and general good feeling prevailed, the belief 
being indulged that the worst of the Indian troubles 
were over. As winter came on, depredations became 
less frequent. The spring of '77 had only a few isolat- 
ed cases of Indian troubles, and soon after the ratifica- 



tion of the cession treaty 
ceased altogether. 

ill April of that year thev 


''On the night of the 12th inst, our city was 
startled by the unexpected news that General Crook, 
with his entire army was only forty miles to the 
northward, enroute by forced marches to this vicinity. 
Further, that the troops were destitute of any food but 
horse meat, and had placed themselves in such trying 


General G. A. Crook 

circumstances in order to overtake the bands of hos- 
tile Sioux whose trail led in this direction. We have 
since had the pleasure of interviewing different mem- 
bers of the advance guard to the expedition, and 
gathered many interesting points concerning General 
Crook's recent unparalleled march in the northern 
wilds, his wonderful perseverance under a trying or- 
deal, and the late battle near Slim Buttes. 

"Our readers already know how Crook stripped 


his command of very ounce of superfluous equipage 
when he left the northwestern bas.e of the Big Horn 
mountains six weeks ago ; how, in compliance with a 
determined clamor of his country and superior of- 
ficers, he joined Terry near Yellowstone; how Terry's 
lumbering and clumsy movements weighted down and 
retarded our quick-moving division from the south. 
And how both commanders soon agreed to what Crook 
had at all times maintained, that Sitting Bull could 
never be brought to a square fight by the two armies 
combined and never caught by such an unwieldly or- 

''On the 25th of August the heads of the two 
columns agreed to. separate. They were then lying 
near the great Indian trail, not far from the mouth 
of Powder Kiver. A small band of the hostiles had 
fired into one of Terry's boats on the Yellowstone the 
previous evening, and that General determined to take 
his entire command to the scene, leaving General 
Crook to follow the main trail of the savages. The 
trail led eastward toward the Little Missouri. Keep- 
ing it between his own and Terry's forces, Crook 
hastened forward, in hopes to strike the savages on 
the stream just named, if not sooner, on some of its 
western tributaries. Occasionally the trail split on 
one stream but was generally found to concentrate 
again at the next, or at least the smaller trail would 
keep the same general eastward course. Signs grew 
fresher daily. On September 2nd, scouts commenced 
picking up abandoned Indian ponies. That night the 
hostiles interviewed Crook's sentries, and got several 
well directed volleys for their pains, and the next day 
scouts far in advance had a little skirmish, in which 
one Indian pony was killed and the rider believed to be 

"The question of rations now began to agitate 
those in authority. Terry had promised to have fif- 
teen days' supply at the mouth of Glendive, on the 
Yellowstone, and although five days had elapsed since 
the date upon which he should have communicated, 
and General Crook had scouted the country in hopes 


of meeting his couriers, nothing satisfactory could be 
heard of the YelloNvstone army's whereabouts. Not 
wishing to lose a moment of his pursuit, and realizing 
the uncertainty of a dependence upon the Yellowstone 
rendezvous for supplies, General Crook continued' 
eastward, knowing that at the worst he could reach 
Fort Lincoln on the rations then at hand. The Little 
Missouri was reached on the 4th inst. Here every- 
body predicted that Sitting Bull would make a desper- 
ate fight, if anywhere. But the looked-for enemy only 
again divided his trail into dim and badly scattered 
bridle paths, most of them leading east or southeast- 
ward. Still pressing eastward one day, to be certain 
that no considerable body of the enemy had gone north- 
ward, the command halted on the evening of Septem- 
ber 5th, on or near the head of Heart River. During 
the day Colonel Stanton and Major Randall, at the 
head of a d izen scouts suddenly came upon thirty sav- 
ages, temporarily encamped. It was some fifteen 
miles from the column and a brisk fight ensued, the 
Indians finally scattering into the adjacent Badlands, 
leaving a dead warrior, and it is believed suffering the 
loss of several wounded. All trails now seemed to 
lead to the Black Hills, and some of the smaller ones 
were quite fresh. It did not take the brave and far- 
seeing commander long to come to the conclusion 
that the general southward move on the part 
of the enemy meant the devastation of our own 
beautiful frontier and the death of perhaps hundreds 
of our- hard-working citizens. But what could we do? 
Fort Lincoln with her tons of stipplies and sheltering 
barracks lay by an easy trail one hundred twenty 
miles eastward. The nearest settlement in the Black 
Hills, by an unknown route and over a strange coun- 
try was two hundred miles distant. Scant three days' 
supplies remained on the pack mules, and a ten days' 
trij) to Fort Lincoln Avould easily increase the rations 
to a fifteen days' supply. But hours were precious, 
and the ten days thus lost was in effect losing the 
result of the summer's hard work, for the quick-moving 
Sioux could over-run the entire Black Hills and be off 


in their wildest, safest haunts with so much time 
gained to them. To add to Crook's dilemma, he had 
an almost discouraged army. Fate seemed every- 
where on the wrong side. Without an inch of canvas 
for shelter, with inadequate clothes or covering, with 
only the nauseating bacon and the chip-like hard tack 
to sustain overtaxed bodies, these brave two thous- 
and had faced cold, pitiless rain day after day, 
had lain down in mud and water for many nights in 
succession, and were now the very picture of a hope- 
less, cheerless division. A fight to the death, or the 
certain prospect of one only would have thrilled them 
with a new life. But it was only march, march under 
descending storm and through a sea of mud and wat- 
er. The four l^undred weary infantry men especially, 
had cause to lose their patriotism, martial ardor and 
everything else inspiring, although we are informed 
they stuck to their work like heroes. Well, General 
Crook decided as everyone who knows the man would 
guess. Dispatches were sent in to Fort Lincoln, in- 
forming Sheridan of his position and his desperate re- 
solve ; also to the authorities ar Forts Laramie and 
Fetterman to send not only his own train from old 
Fort Reno, but a train with twenty days' supplies 
from the nearest post — these to make all haste to- 
ward the eastern base of the Black Hills. 'South- 
ward!' was now the watch-word. TA\'enty-five to 
thirty-five miles per day were accomplished over the 
wide prairies and occasional bad lands of western 
Dakota. Camps without wood — when bacon raw was 
the main article of diet — and sometimes waterless, 
were made, little matter where night found tlie weary 
column. Rain continued to fall daily. The descent 
from full to half rations, from half to (juarter, and 
then resort to the inevitable horse meat, all came in 
rapid succession. Hunting was frequently permitted, 
but one-tenth of so large a command could not be 
supplied with game. Eye witnesses say that if a 
rabbit, squirrel or prj^airie dog happened to show him- 
self near the column, there would be a general stam- 
pede, and that was about the only time an outburst 


of jollity would occur. There would be a perfect din 
of such yells, as 'nose bag him/ 'hobble him' 'lasso 
him,' etc., and if the animal was not trampled to death 
by the broken ranks, the scare usually finished him. 
Cavalry horses often dropped from sheer exhaustion,' 
and their riders thereafter walked in the rear of the 
infantry battalion. It is estimated that no less than 
one hundred fifty horses were thus abandoned, while 
a few were driven along for the poor meat they could 
afford. Sick and sore footed to the number of about 
fifty were either mounted upon mules, or in extreme 
cases, carried quite comfortably upon mule litters. 
Of these it should be noted that not a man had been 
lost, a fact which speaks volumes for the organiza- 
tion of General Crook's medical corps. For such suf- 
ferers a few canned goods, jellies, beans, tea, etc., had 
been husbanded with great care, and proved a grand 
treat during those dark days. 

"On the 7th inst, when the command had reach- 
ed the south fork of Grand River, one hundred miles 
north of Deadwood, General Crook determined to send 
forward a detachment of one hundred fift}^ picked 
men and horses, under command of Colonel Mills of 
the Third Cavalry, to forage our settlement for pro- 
visions and return to the command as speedily as pos- 
sible. Lieutenant J. W. Bubb, chief commissary of 
the column, accompanied to attend to the purchase 
and deliver} , and Thomas Moore had charge of forty 
pack mules to transport the supplies. Frank Gruard, 
chief scout of the expedition, was entrusted with the 
difficult duty of guiding the detachment across the 
country — a region totally new to all. 

''The detachment pushed away from the main 
body under cover of inky darkness, rode through the 
rain until after midnight, and halted for a few hours' 
rest. Up and off again without breakfast at daylight, 
the gallant riders floundered through rain and mud 
until nearly noon, when a brief halt was ordered for 
the purpose of making coffee and giving the animals 
an hour's graze. But moments were precious, and in 
an hour the little band was again facing the storm, 


determined to get the wherewithal to refresh their 
suffering- comrades. About three in the afternoon 
Frank Gruard suddenly hastened back from his ad- 
vance position and announced the discovery of an In- 
dian village. He said it was quite small, and was 
located some three or four miles ahead in such a po- 
sition that the troops could not possibly reach it by 
daylight without being discovered. Colonel Mills 
was under orders to attack any band of hostiles he 
might meet, providing he was satisfied he could 
thrash them thoroughly — no matter about supplies in 
such an event. There was only one thing to do to 
make a thorough job of it, and that was to secrete 
during the night, and advance before the break of 
day. A deep gash in the bluffs lay near at hand, and 
into this men and animals were huddled during the 
night. Promptly at two o'clock on the morning of 
the 9th %the little column filed out. reaching the village 
of thirty-five tepees just before .the break of day. 

''The attack was quickly made, the inmates totally 
surprised, and the capture of nearly all the In 
dian ponies — some two hundred in number — effected. 
Many of the savages nearly naked rushed out into the 
uncertain light of early dawn perfectly thunder- 
stricken, scattering into the neighboring ravines, or 
making good their escape over into the Badlands. 
Others took time to snatch their guns, and returned 
the fire of the troops with considerable spirit. But 
the brave soldiers stuck to their work, and soon the 
entire village was being destroyed, and its contents 
worth saving transferred to the pack mules. General 
Crook, sent for early in the morning, arrived in time 
to dislodge a nest of the secreted savages, and also 
to repel an attack made later in the day by an increas- 
ed number of the enemy, who had evidently been oc- 
cupying another village not far off". 

"Before the ground was abandoned every inch of 
canvas, with every other atom of value to the Sioux, 
was destroyed, excepting, of course, such articles as 
could be utilized by the troops. Of the latter there 
were over five thousand pounds of dried meat, many 


sacks of dried and green berries, two thousand buf- 
falo robes and other skins, arms, ammunition, cook- 
ing utensils, etc. There was an officer's fine overcoat, 
one of Custer's battle flags, a horse branded Co. D, 
7th Cavalry, a pair of soldier's pantaloons containing 
a letter addressed to a private in Custer's regiment, 
several letters from Indian agents vouching for the 
good character of Indians engaged in the fight, and 
numerous other mementoes, proving exclusively that 
the owners were good agency Indians, and. had also 
directly participated in the Custer massacre. A few 
more of the Indians were killed next morning, swel- 
ling their entire loss to some forty killed, forty 
wounded, and twenty prisoners. The latter were 
marched along ahead of the column, and are compos- 
ed principally of squaws and get the same treatment 
as ordinary prisoners of war. 

"Crook's loss was three killed, and fourteen 
wounded. The wounded are being brought along 
quite comfortably on travois, and all but one are in a 
fair way to be on duty soon. 

^'This is emphatically the event of the campaign 
so far as punishment for the Indians is concerned, 
and the participants under General Crook deserve the 
lasting thanks of our people, for without a doubt the 
den of redskins so thoroughly rooted out has furnished 
shelter for more than one of the plundering savages 
who have annoyed us recently. 

"A detachment of fifty men, mounted on Indian 
ponies came forward immediately after the fight, and 
as stated at the beginning of this article, arrived 
early in the week. Lieutenant Bubb worked night and 
day in his efforts to purchase supplies adequate for 
the temporary needs of his command. We have had 
plenty tend to spare, and th^aisand& of pounds of T>ead- 
wood and Crook City flour, bacon, beef, beans, sugp.r, 
coffee, etc., are now being dealt out to the troops lo- 
cated some twenty miles below on the Belle Fourche. 
Our merchants dealt most liberally. In fact many of 
the supplies were bought at rates never before given 
in the Black Hills. 



"Commencing its forced march towards the Black 
Hills settlement on the 5th inst., the column inaugu- 
rated one of the most wonderful moves known in the 
history of military affairs on the frontier. The in- 
fantry battalion sadly weakened by the continued rain 
storms, insufficient and unwholesome food ; the cav- 
alry horses fatigued, the march of 160 miles on less 
than three days' actual rations was anything but a 
cheerful outlook. The weather had spoiled much of 
the hard tack which accounts for the shortage in this 
amount noted in my last. The first day's course lay 
nearly due south. Eations with the exception of 
coffee were reduced one-half. At night no wood could 
be found. The troops could not even make coffee, and 
the weather grew severely cold. On the 9th, with 
nothing but raw bison and hardtack the columns mov- 
ed 32 miles, and at night had rations reduced. 

"In the afternoon General Crook determined up- 
on sending forward to Deadwood or Crook City for 
supplies tliere to be forwarded to meet the command 
at the earliest possible moment. Quarter rations for 
three days remained, and it was hoped abundant sup- 
plies could thus be furnished the troops on the day 
this scanty allowance was exhausted. Major Anson 
Mills of. Company M 3rd Cavalry, was placed in com- 
mand of 150 men to make the arduous ride. Fifteen 
picked men and horses from each of the companies of 
the Third Cavalry were selected to comprise this 
force. The junior officers were Lieutenant Bubb, com- 
missary of subsistence of the expedition; Lieutenants 
Crawford, Company G, Third Cavalry; Von Lutwitz. 
Company C, and Schwatka, same regiment. Thomas 
Moore had charge of twenty packers and forty mules 
to furnish necessary transportation. The little column 
filed out of camp under cover of darkness. It was as- 
sailed by a drenching rain, and finally halted for a 
few liours' rest at night, having ridden forty-five 
miles since morning. Frank Gruard, General Crook's 
scout, led the band and as usual, displayed wonderful 
skill. At 4 o'clock a. m. on the Sth, Colonel Mills again 


started forward in the face of a heavy rain. The de- 
tachment halted but an hour at noon to make coffee, 
and yet at 3 p. m. had only proceeded some twenty- 
five mih^s on account of the broken country and mis- 
erable footing. At the hour just named Frank Gru- 
ard suddenly motioned a halt from his position a few 
hundred yards in advance. Coming hastily back- 
ward he announced the discovery of an Indian village. 
He said it was four miles distant, that they were not 
discovered, and advised an immediate secretion of 
the troops in a gully adjacent. Having had instruc- 
tions to attack any force he was confident of whipping, 
and being certain from appearances that this one was 
small Colonel Mills determined to strike the enemy. 
The troops were carefully led back half a mile and 
secreted in the bottom of a deep chasm formed by the 
Badlands. The rain still continued to fall, and the 
brave but tired and hungry men spent a most dreary 
night in mud and water, at places nearly a foot deep. 
At 2 o'clock this a. m. a start for the village Avas ef- 
fected. An hour for the floundering through mud and 
water brought the column to the hill overlooking the 
hostile camp. The charge was gallantly made, the 
brave 25th making a complete surprise and sweeping 
nearly 200 ponies safely out of the reach of the thun- 
derstricken owners. The gloom of a misty dawn ren- 
dered the firing on the part of the dismounted men 
rather uncertain even at a distance of 50 yards. Bucks, 
squaws, papooses got up from their beds yelling and 
making for the adjacent wooded ravines. As usual 
the warriors secured some guns and ammunition as 
they ran, in making their exit through holes in the 
tepees on all sides with their knives, not waiting to 
find the regular entrance. A hot fire was poured in on 
the cavalry, and the pack train was immediately 
brought UD and couriers sent back to Crook, inform- 
ing him of the state of affairs and asking for re-in- 
forcements. The latter request was made in the belief 
that more villages mjght be near. The village was oo^ 
cupied at once, though not without some danger, as 
some of the savages lay secreted in a deep, thickly 


wooded gully adjoining the stream on which the vil- 
lage was located. There were thirty-five tepees, most 
of them .very large, and of the nest construction. 
Piled in these were tons of dried and fresh meat, nu- 
merous sacks of green and dried wild grass, about 1500 
buffalo robes and skins, agency blankets, small bolts 
of calico and other fabrics, corn, flour, cooking uten- 
sils of every nature, arms and ammunition, etc. As 
they approached a number of the most gallant charges 
were made at them by Lieutenant Crawford at the 
head of ten or twelve cavalry. Indeed his efficient 
conduct was marked by rare judgment, coolness, and 
bravery. In attempts to dislodge the Indians from 
the gully already noticed, several instances of wonder- 
ful daring upon the part of the soldiers were observed, 
and no less than two men lost their lives near the fatal 
spot. Not until after the arrival of General Crook 
who made a forced march at the head of fifty cavalry, 
at noon, was the nest of desperate savages thoroughly 
cleaned up. Sharpshooters made repeated attempts 
in vain to pick off the Indians, and finally a large 
squad of scouts and officers made a rush into the very 
pit itself. Squaws and papooses were pitched out like 
so many snakes, the former in one or two instances 
being found firing vigorously with revolvers. At the 
same time a steady fire was maintained on the war- 
riors. The last two of these were ordered to sur- 
render about the middle of the afternoon when they 
had only 24 cartridges left. Here Big Hat, the scout, 
settled an old time feud by giving the chief, American 
Horse, his death wound, leaping into the pit itself, 
in his determination to kill the savage, and here also 
Frank White, alias Buffalo Chips, met his doom in 
rashly attempting a similar act. 

"The squaws acknowledged that another village 
was located about one day's march westward, and said 
their friends from there would attempt a rescue. Sure 
enough, about 4 o'clock bands of savages were seen 
riding down from the tops of the bluffs in that 
direction, and making a dash for the far out sentries, 
but instead of the paltry 150 men under Mills, they 


found Crook's force of 1800 on the ground, every man 
eager for the onslaught. The infantry battalion of 
ten companies was quickly pushed forward on the 
left of the force. Company B, and the Second Cavalry 
in the center, and the Third Cavalry on the right line 
of attack. The field could not have been more ad- 
vantageous for foes as it speedily occupied rock-cov- 
ered bluffs commanded aal approaches ;yet the one 
hour's fight that folloAved was little more than a beau- 
tiful and impressive skirmish drill for our troops, and 
a very ungraceful fight from all positions b} the sav- 
ages. Especially fine were the movements of the in- 
fantry. Each height was carried as though weariness 
and hunger were forgotten and each volley w^as de- 
livered with enthusiastic hurrahs. 

''Night is here, and 1000 camp fires light up a 
scene never to be forgotten. The soldiers last night, 
ragged, cold, weak, starved, and well nigh desperate, 
are feasting upon meat and fruits received from a sav- 
age enemy, or warmly clothed by the robes which last 
night wrapped the forms of renegades. Merry songs 
are sung, and everywhere the cry goes up 'Crook is 
right after all.' " 

Colonel Mills and his handful of troops deserve 
much praise for the manner in which the blow was de- 


The disastrous results of the campaign of the Lit- 
tle Big Horn, and the hard fights with Indians 
through the summer, aroused much indignation among 
the people and accordingly Congress in earnest, took 
up the work of treating with the Indians. Finall}^ 
defeated, dismounted and practically disarmed, the 
Indians were prevailed upon to sign a treaty prepared 
for them beforehand by the government. The several 
tribes were approached in their reservations through 
their chiefs and leaders and thus the work was quick- 
ly completed. We will not relate all of the different 
sessions and the arguments had, but reprint here, an 
item from the Pioneer of September, 187G, which will 


illustrate how the Indians felt about the forced sur- 
render of their ancestral lands: 

'^This evening' the Commission consummated the 
treaty with the Sioux, Cheyennes, and Arapahoes at 
this agency. The Indians agreeing to the proposition 
made to them of the 7th inst, without the change of a 
single word, which propositions have already been 
published in full. The following named Indians were 
selected by their people to sign for the Ogalallas, after 
the treaty had been read and interpreted to them be- 
fore signing: Red Cloud, Young-Man-Afraid-of-His- 
Horse, Red Dog, Little Wound, American Horse, 
Afraid-Of-The-Bear, Three Bears, Fire Hunter, Quick 
Bear, Red Leaf, Five Eyes, Man White Cow, Good 
Bull, Sorrel Horse, W^easel Bear, Two Lance, Bad 
Wound, High Bear, He Take the Evening Soldier, 
Slow Bull, High Wolf, and Big Foot. The Cheyennes 
and Arapahoes will not sign until tomorrow after 
which the Commissioners will start at once for Spot- 
ted Tail agency, to consummate the treaty there. To 
the surprise after they had affixed their signature to 
the treaty, the Indians held back and speeches were 
made by many of them before they would touch the 
pen, and make their marks. Red Cloud said, 'I am a 
friend of the President, and you men who have come 
here to see me are chief men and men of influence. 
You have come here with words from the Great 
Father, therefore because I am his friend, I have said 
'Yes' to what he has said to me, and I suppose this 
makes you happy. I don't like it that we have a sold- 
ier here to give us food It makes our children's 
hearts go back and forth. I wish to have Major How- 
ard for my agent, and I want you to send word to 
Washington so that he can come here very soon. If 
my young men come back and say that country is bad 
it will not be possible for me to go there. As for the 
Missouri river country, I think if my people should 
move there to live they would all be destroyed, as 
there is a great many bad men there and bad whiskey, 
therefore I don't want to go there. Great many of 
my white relations have no money, if they are employ- 


1- , 



^. w 


., / I-ri 

l-t^ - :* _^^_ 



eel to go to Indian territory to look at the country, I 
hope they will be paid out of the money the Great 
Father sent with you. In addition to those I men- 
tioned yesterday that I want to go with my young 
men, are Mr. Joot, Charlie Green, Mr. Raymond, 
Antione Ledeau and Sam Deon.' Young-Man-Afraid- 
Of-The-Horse said, 'This is the country where I was 
born. I never made any man's heart bad. I have 
thought that the Great Father intended that I should 
live here and raise my children here. I wished that 
the Great Father would take care of me, and that I 
should live here with my children. These white peo- 
ple who have married among us I give notice that it 
will take me a long time to learn to labor and I expect 
the President will feed me for hundreds of years, per- 
haps a great deal longer. The promises that have 
been made by the Great Father heretofore have not 
been carried out, therefore I have been unwilling to 
go and see him, although I have been often invited. 
Dr. Daniels will remember bringing me back from 
Washington, the word that here was where we was to 
raise our children. I have appointed to live here, 
therefore I have never travelled around to see other 
countries. You have never heard of me behaving bad- 
ly.' With this he took the pen in hand and as he made 
his mark, said, 'That is to signify that the Great 
Father has to feed and clothe me hundreds of years 
and give me wagons and cattle.' 

''Red Dog said, '1 want the Great Father to make 
haste and send me that man (pointing to Major How- 
ard) for agent, and also Bisnet and Daniels to assist 

"Little Wound said, 'I told you before,. I must 
have my annuities within two months, and provisions 
to last me until spring.' 

"American Horse said, 'In regard to this arrange- 
ment about the Black Hills, it is to last as long as we 

"Man-Afraid-Of-The-Bear took hold of the pen 



saying, 'The others have said enough,' signed and re- 
turned to his seat, 

"Three Bears inquired how many years they 
would be furnished with cattle, and said that he 
thought it would be for five generations. 

"Fire Thunder came up holding his blanket over 
his eyes and signed blindfolded and returned to his 
place in silence. 

"Big Foot, who has been engaged in agriculture 
for several years, said, 'I 'am a farmer, I wanted a 
hundred wagons, but have never seen them yet. I am 
the man that is going down to see that country.' 

"Crow-With-A-Good -Voice refused to sign the 
treaty and walked away with quite a show of indigna- 
tion. But all others who had been selected and were 
present affixed their cross to the paper, a copy of which 
was given to them at their request.'' 

Sioux Indians on Dress Parade 



Not only did the pioneers have to meet the bullets 
hurled at them by some red marauder hidden along 
the way, but they also had to resist the murderous at- 
tack of their own race on the part of highwaymen and 
robbers who infested the trails leading to the land of 
golden dreams. So numerous were the various rob- 
beries and crimes of violence committed by the road 
agents, they would require a volume in themselves. 
Only a few of the most noted will be related in this 
chapter, as they are characteristic of the stern realities 
of wild life of the times. 


From the Sidney Telegraph of July, 1877, we 
well reproduce an account of how the ordinary holdup 
was conducted. It is a record of the time and no 
doubt was written by one who had had the experience. 
However it is true to life and will no doubt recall 
familiar scenes to the minds of any pioneer of that 
day who spent much time on the trails. 

This is the Avay the road agents do it on the 
Cheyenne route to the Hills. 

Captain of Gang: "Halt." 

Stage Driver: "All right." 

C. of G. : "How many passengers have you on 

S. D : ''Four." 

C. of G. : "You're a liar, you've but three for you 
dropped the banker at Crook City. Get down off the 
box and throw up your hands and stand with back to 
me. Passengers will alight on opposite side of the 
coach and throw up hands, and keep in line with the 

The captain then issues the following orders: 

No. 1 Attend to the team and see it doesn't break 

No. 2. Cover the passengers and shoot the first one 
who turns his back from you or lets his hands down. 


No. 3. Search the passengers from hats to toe of 

These orders are carried into effect with mathe- 
matical precision, and almost invariable success, the 
captain of the freebooters having a general supervis- 
ion of the raid, acting as sort of a double guard. 

C of G. : ''No. 3, have you searched that big brown 
bearded fellow's shirt? I saw him put away |300 in it 
at Deadwood yesterday. 

No. 3. : ''You told me so this morning, but I can't 
find it. The pocket is there but there's nothing in it." 

No. 2. : ( To impatient victim who attempts to 
turn his head) "Keep that nose to the front or I'll 
blow the top of your head off.'' Victim complies. 

C. of G. : "Where the h--l are those fellows' 
watches? I saw a gold chronometer worth |250 on that 
little cub to the right at Eapid City this very morn- 
ing, and he was more anxious to show it then than 
now. Look in his boots." Boots develop nothing. 

C. of G. : '^Search the stage, and pry off the treas- 
ure box, and don't lose any time. No. 2, see that your 
men are covered." 

The treasure box is wrenched off, the mail rifled, 
passengers relieved of all they could not conceal, when 
the following order .is given by the C. of G. : "Driver, 
take your seat on the box." Driver complies. The C. of 
G. delivers himself something as follows: "Passengers, 
these are hard times and it's every one for himself. 
You're here to make money and so are we. You've 
got valuable claims in the Hills and we've failed. 
Most of us have lost all we had, and there's a few of 
us who are professionals at the business. Worked 
stages in Montana, Idaho, California and even in 
Mexico. It's easy business and light work Only re- 
quires a little nerve and bluster. Now you fellows are 
all armed and have talked this subject of stage rob- 
bing over to the crowd, just how you would serve the 
d— d road agents, jn case they molested you. Pointed 
out the exact spot where you would shoot and even 
contemplated scalping the robbing villains. And now 
here is the result of all that talk You stand there 


trembling in your boots, robbed, with hands above 
your head, while we road agents go through you for 
all that's out, and go back for fresh braves like you. 
When you get to Cheyenne tell an awful story of hov 
you fought and shot and blustered and gMve us a 
piece of your mind, when in fact you didn't have the 
spunk to draw a gun or open your mouths, and when 
you get home to the bosom of your families, tell them 
you're going to stay there, wouldn't scalp a road 
agent if you could and couldn't if you would. You 
will now take jowv places in the coach and proceed 
Hope you will sleep comfortable. Now . let go the 

And that's all there is to it. The robbers return 
to Deadwood. and the victims proceed on their melon- 
choly way. These are about the facts in the case of 
the usual stage robbery on the Cheyenne route, which 
occurs about twice a week in case it is a good week. 


Gilmer and Saulsbury started a stage line in the 
year 1875. known as the Black Hills and Cheyenne 
trail by stocking and equipping it with horses and 
coaches as far as Fort Laramie. They put on six good 
horse teams and fine Concord coaches and in 1876 
they extended their line into the Black Hills. This 
company had years of experience in staging in the 
west and when the excitement created a stampede to 
the Black Hills, they started to run a daily line to the 
scene of the gold excitement. However, they had a 
great deal of trouble with horse thieves and Indians 
who would kill their stock tenders and make away 
with their horses. The company was determined to 
keep their line to the Black Hills and they establish- 
ed the following places after leaving Fort Laramie: 
Raw Hide Buttes, Running Water, Indian Creek, 
Cheyenne River, Red Canyon, Pleasant Valley, Custer 
City, Bull Dog Ranch and Deadwood. 

The loss of their fine horses became so great that 
the company finally sent to Salt Lake for a man known 
as "Stuttering Brown,'' a well known western char- 


acter to whom fear was unknown and who had had 
much experience on western stage lines. Brown took 
full charge of the trail into the Black Hills and made 
strenuous efforts to deal with the outlaws and In- 
dians who continued to steal their stock from the dif- 
ferent stations as fast as Brown could rejDlace them. 
The government finally took a hand in the contro- 
versy and stationed some cavalry at Hat Creek , which 
made conditions better for a while, but even then the 
company would frequently lose a valuable team. 
Brown gradually worked his way toward Custer City 
in trying to keep the stage line open and had started 
back to see how the line was operating. He had left 
at the Hagers Ranch on the Cheyenne River, a very 
valuabje pet team which was to be placed on the run 
north through Red Canyon. On this trip Brown was 
coming down with a four mule team and a driver, also 
an extra man to be stationed further down the line. 
On arriving at the Cheyenne river, Louis Hager in- 
formed him that the fine pet team had been stolen the 
night before. This news caused Brown to become fur- 
ious and in a raging temper he went to the room 
where the Hagers camped, where a bunch of tough 
characters had assembled for that night. Among 
these Brown recognized a well known horse thief 
called Persimmons Bill, whose real name was William 
F. Chambers from South Carolina, who when he first 
came to the Black Hills was a peaceable and law abid- 
ing citizen but soon developed into a thief, robber and 
real outlaw. Brown, in his rage grabbed the gun be- 
longing to Persimmons Bill as it stood in a corner 
and pointing it at Bill's head loudly cursed him and 
accused him of having stolen the stage horses, telling 
him that unless the horses were returned, he would 
blow his head off. Persimmons Bill protested that he 
knew nothing about the horses but Brown insisted 
that he did and the quarrel continued until Hagers 
interfered and succeeded in quieting Brown. Brown 
then angrily ordered Bill to leave the road or he 
would kill him. After his anger had subsided. Brown 
called everyone up to take a drink, but Persimmons 


Bill refused to drink with Brown, saying that Brown 
had accused him of a crime which he was not guilty of 
and that under the circumstances, he would not drink 
with him. However, Brown put his rifle back in a 
corner where he had found it and then went into an- 
other room with his men and had supper. After the 
meal was over he found that Persimmons Bill had 
gone off in the same direction that Brown would have 
to take and was informed that he had sworn that he 
would be revenged. Hagers tried to persuade Brown 
to stay all night, but Brown was in a hurry and 
anxious to go down to Hat Creek station to see how 
the line was, and being without fear of anything, he 
ordered his men to hitch up the four mules to the 
wagon and with them he proceeded on his way. 

When Stuttering Brown with his two men and 
mule teams had arrived at Alkali Springs between the 
Cheyenne River and Indian Creek, Brown took the 
reins from the driver's hanfis to give him a rest and 
a short time afterwards a shot was tired from the side 
of the road and Brown fell back into the bottom of 
the wagon badly wounded. The team being frighten- 
ed, rushed madly away and Brown told the other men 
to save themselves as he was done for. The two men 
jumped out of the wagon, but Charlie Edw^ards, who 
after lighting on the ground was able to grasp the 
lines that were dragging alongside the wagon and 
hanging on to them, after being dragged a short dist- 
ance, was able to stop the team. The men unhitched 
the teams and each of them took a mule and rode into 
Indian Creek, six or seven miles away, to give the 
alarm. Here they met a freight outfit under the com- 
mand of Jim Bradley. Bradley took a strong force 
and started out for the scene of the shooting. About 
two miles from Indian Creek they found Brown lying 
on the prairie exhausted, one of the mules standing 
near him. Brown told them that after his men had 
left, he laid in the wagon a while and feeling some- 
what better, he later concluded to make an attempt 
to reach Indian Creek and managed to get down and 
mount an old mule that was left near the wagon by 


his men that night, bnt as he had proceeded down tlio 
road he became exhausted and fell off, where he was 
found by Bradley and Rose. 

Stuttering Brown was placed in a bed in tlie 
wagon and taken to Hat Creek Station, where a sur- 
geon was sent for from Fort Laramie, but Brown had 
been shot through the stomach after the ball had 
crashed through his cartridge belt and smashed a shell. 
After a heroic struggle he died at Hat Creek. Mrs. 
Brown, his wife, came out from Utah and had the body 
returned to that^ place where it was buried. 


The first attempt to hold up the coach in the 
Black Hills occurred on the Cheyenne Trail March 25, 
1877. The plan to rob the coach was figured out at 
the home of C. Lee which stood on the street in Dead- 
wood which turns up to Ingleside and had been con- 
ceived by Charlie Barber. However, he was not able 
to take part in the actual commission of the crime for 
the reason that some time prior to that date he had 
been wounded by a shot from his revolver when the 
weapon fell from his belt and was discharged. This 
injury confined him to the Lee house but the other 
members of the gang proceeded with the plans as laid 
out. The men were Jim Berry, Joel Collins, Frank 
Towle. Sam Bass and another man named Reddy. It 
was decided to go up the gulch about a half mile 
above the mouth of Gold Run to stop the coach and 
rob it but to do no shooting unless it was absolutely 
necessary for self protection. 

In the absence of Barber, Jim Berry became the 
leader and the gang proceeded on up the Whitewood 
Creek to the point already selected and with them they 
carried several bottles of whiskey which they continu- 
ed to use until some of them were quite drunk. The 
coach was unusually late this day and the robbers were 
about to give up and had started back home when they 
heard the noise of the coming shay. Sam Ross said. 
"Here she comes, we will stop her right here," and 
the men accordingly arranged themselves in their 


positions. The coach came rolling along until the 
shout "Halt" rang out. Johnny Slaughter, the driv(M\ 
attempted to obey the command and bring his team to 
a stop. He had almost succeeded when the leaders l)e- 
came frightened at a man near their heads and sprang 
to one side. The man, Reddy, who was armed with a 
sawed-oi¥ shotgun tired and Slaughter tumbled off the 
stage coach dead and struck a big stump by the road- 
side. The same discharge from the shotgun slightly 
wounded Walter Her who was a passenger and who 
was seated beside the driver. The team rushed mad- 
ly away but they got so badly tangled in the harness 
that they w^ere unable to proceed. Her, however, suc- 
ceeded in getting them under control again and drove 
them on into Deadwood. The robbers were thus un- 
able to succeed in robbing anyone although there 
were several passengers and about |15,000.00 on the 
stage. Although it was 12 o'clock at night a posse 
immediately went out from Deadwood to the scene of 
the murder and they found the dead body of Slaugh- 
ter near the stump and brought it to the city from 
where it was later taken to Cheyenne, Wyoming, in a 
special coach. The funeral that was held for him was 
the largest ever seen in Cheyenne. The whole 
city turned out to pay its last respects to a very 
fine and popular young man. The hearse was drawn 
by six of the finest dappled gray horses that were ever 
harnessed in the west. 

The gang was quite angi'y at Reddy for having 
fired without command and were almost decided to 
kill him because of his hasty action resulting in the 
failure to rob the stage. However, they gave him a 
chance to leave the country which he did without de- 
lay. Later this man Reddy was captured in the state 
of Ohio and sent to the penitentiary there for a crime 
he had committed in that state. 

The next day Sheriff Bullock who had recently 
been appointed to that of&ce by the governor arrested 
Frank Towle on suspicion but as the evidence of his 
guilt was not sufficient he was released. Later he 
met his fate in the hands of Boone May who killed 


Mm while attempting to make another stage holdup 
and his head was cut off and delivered to Cheyenne, 
Wyoming, for a reward as is set forth in another part 
of this book. Joel Collins, Sam Bass and Jim Berry 
likewise continued on their work of outlawry until 
justice overtook them. Their last crime consisted of 
the robbery of the Union Pacific railroad in Septem- 
ber, 1877. With them this time was also associated 
Jack Farrell who was not, however, a regular member 
of the gang. 


An account of the robbery of the Union Pacific 
is taken from the Sidney Telegraph under date of Sep- 
tember 22, 1877, and is as follows: "The first and 
boldest train robbery ever perpetrated on the Union 
Pacific road, took place at Big Springs, in this, Chey- 
enne county, at half past ten o'clock Tuesday evening, 
when Express Train No. 4, eastward bound, was 
boarded by fifteen masked men and passengers and 
express car robbed. At the time mentioned, the train 
which was on time, and which halts at Big Springs 
but three or four minutes, halted as usual, but the 
engineer, George W. Broman, noticed the presence of 
signal lights, and anticipating danger ahead, brought 
his train to an abrupt halt. He had no more than 
slacked his train when the engine was boarded by two 
masked men, who. presenting pistols, ordered all 
''hands up," and to which engineer and fireman 
promptly responded. Other parties then brought wat- 
er and put out the fire in the engine. Meanwhile 
some of the robbers took possession of the telegraph 
office, tore out the instruments, cabbaged the operator 
and took possession of Express Agent Barnhart. The 
latter party they compelled to go to the express car 
and rap at the door, thus calling the attention of 
Messenger Miller. Miller opened the door, was siezed 
and pounded because he could not open the door to 
the safe. One of the Yale time locks manufacture 
which fifty Millers couldn't open under the best of 
circumstances, until the machine reached Omaha. 


Other robbers seized Coiidnctor Patterson as he 
alighted on the platform on his way for orders, and 
then the robbers had fnll sway. They went through 
the first class car. searched the passengers and secur- 
ed |1,300 in money and four watches. The robbers in 
the express car gobbled |65,000 in gold and silver 
coin, and without doing any further injury to pas- 
sengers or train men than mentioned, mounted their 
horses and rode rapidly north. It was not long ere 
the telegraph instruments were replaced, and the dar- 
ing robbery made known to the railroad ofiicials, who 
immediately made the following offer of reward: 

"To All Agents : Teii thousand dollars reward will 
be paid for the capture of the parties who robbed the 
U. P. R. R. Express at Big Springs. Nebraska, on the 
18th inst, and the return of the money which consists 
mostly of gold coin. Pro-rate of the al3ove reward will 
be paid for any portion of the money so returned and 
for the capture of any of the robbers." 


Among the various people who made an effort to 
effect the arrest of the robbers was a man named 
Leach who kept a small store at Oglalla, Nebraska, 
and at which place Berry, who was known to him, had 
purchased a pair of boots prior to the day of the rob- 
bery. The incident was expressly impressed upon the 
mind of Leach by reason of the fact that having 
known Berry in former years he had refused to let 
him have the boots without the cash, whereupon Berry 
went away and soon returned with a man named Col- 
lins who paid over the money to pay for the purchase 
of the boots which Berry then and there put on. At 
the same time the robbers had purchased from the 
store several pieces of calico. Immediately after the 
robbery Leach hurried to the scene and in examining 
the surrounding country, picked up a piece of the 
calico which he had sold and which had been used by 
the robbers as masks. This lead to their undoing as 
Leach was quite certain as to the identity of the men 
whom he had seen a few days before. An account of 


his work is taken from an article in the Mexico, Mis- 
souri, Leader after being reprinted in the Sidney Tele- 
graph October 21, 1877: "During our interview Tues- 
day with Leach the detective who followed the Big 
Springs robbers through 200 miles of wilderness in 
Nebraska, until he obtained the information as to 
their destination, took occasion to say that one 
night, when he was taking a peep at the robbers, he 
heard Collins administer the oath to Berry and the 
rest of the gang, to the effect that no one of them 
should 'peach' on the other; and each one took a 
solemn oath that he would not be taken alive. The 
next night he slipped into the camp and the band were 
all asleep and did not think a human being was with- 
in a hundred miles of them, and stumbled upon the 
money (|60,000) sewed up in a blanket, fixed for 
strapping upon a mule. He tried to pull it out of 
camp but it was so heavy that he could not move it 
and while he was endeavoring to get into it and carry 
it off by piece meal, some one of the gang awoke and 
he (Leach) made himself scarce and only the darkness 
saved him. He says in his scouting he crawled 
miles after them, through grass on his hands and 
knees. He often saw them and knew Berry, Collins 
and some of the others. After the gang separated 
Leach followed after Berry and his 'pard,' to this 
place where Berry stopped. Berry's accomplice, how- 
ever, taking the C. & A. train for the north Leach, at 
the time of Berry's capture, was in Callaway county, 
near Berry's house, endeavoring to effect his arrest." 

The rendezvous of this gang was on the west side 
of the Black Hills from which point it was their habit 
of making expeditions to various parts of the country 
during their exercise of rustling cattle or horses or 
robbing stage coaches. At this time E. T. Peirce was 
serving as deputy sheriff of Custer county when he re- 
ceived the telegram stating that the robbery had been 
committed and offered a reward for the arrest of the 
thieves. He had noticed several men trailing a pack 
pony and proceeding after dark on the road toward 
Buffalo Gap which made him suspicious and he gave 


particular attention to the subsequent events The fol- 
lowing account of the final chapter of the incident is 
taken from the pen of Doc Peirce. "One morning 
while travelling over the plains they saw cavalry 
coming and before the meeting the officers gave an or- 
der, and the troops rode on each side of the bandits. 
'Halt,' was the next command given. 'You men are 
prisoners' 'Not much' rejoined the robbers, 'We have 
sworn not to be taken alive' and started to draw their 
guns. So the soldiers kindly killed them and found 
one-half of the stolen money and other property. I 
think the soldiers were from Fort Hays. Kansas. Jim 
Berry struck out for his home, which was close to 
Fulton, Calloway county. Missouri, where he had a 
wife and six children He stopped one night in Cam- 
eron. Missouri, and spent some money in carousing, 
telling that he had sold a gold mine up in the Black 
Hills and was paid in real money, as it was the only 
kind in circulation up there. When he rode into 
Mexico, the county seat of Audrain county, he thought 
best to go into Ringold's bank and exchange his coin 
for paper before going into the backwoods. He gave 
the cashier some stall about having sold a mine, when 
he seemed surprised at seeing so much gold, but they 
had the notice to look out for him and while the cash- 
ier was waiting on him a man slipped out of the back 
door and went for the sheriff", but Berry had gone be- 
fore he came back. Glascock, the sheriff, knew his 
man so he took a shotgun and followed. When he first 
sighted Berry he was jogging along leading his pack 
horse, perhaps not mistrusting anything until the 
sheriff got close enough to be recognized. When he 
overtook Jim he called to him saying, Mini, I have a 
warrant for you.' 'No use, Glascock, I have taken an 
oath never to be taken alive' said Berry and started to 
draw his gun. But he was too late and fell from his 
horse with a charge of buckshot in his body. One 
more fourth of the money was obtained from the roll 
on his pack animal. ' That left one-fourth still unac- 
counted for. Some years afterward we were talking 
with a man who knew Jack Farrell well and he said he 
deemed the back trail the safest and so as soon as 


they had divided the loot he struck for the Big Horn 
Mountains and went up on the west side of the Black 
Hills on what was then known as the Minneconjo, 
made by Sitting Bull's tribe coming and going from 
the old Red Cloud agency on the Big White Clay river 
in northwestern Nebraska. Of course there have been 
other men who have lost their lives fooling with a 
piece of calico, but not with such a small piece." 


Although Frank Towle escaped from the clutches 
of the law for his participation in the above crime 
because of the lack of evidence, in due course of time 
he paid the penalty for his wrong doing and went the 
way that most bad men of the west followed. The 
final chapter of his life is worded as follows: The 
robberies of the stage coaches became quite a com- 
mon incident and while there were no regular guards 
and messengers provided for the protection of the 
stage coaches, it was the duty of the various shotgun 
messengers, after they had performed their duty in 
guarding the treasure coach to the end of the run, 
which had been assigned to them, and having turned 
over the coach to their successors along the line, to 
return back to their regular station and accompany 
passenger coaches that might be passing at that time. 
According to this rule, in the month of August, 1877, 
it became the duty of Boone May and John Zimmer- 
man to return as guards for one of the passenger 
coaches on the trip to Hat Creek Station. 

Along in the night time the old passenger coach 
went rumbling over its rocky highway toward the Hat 
Creek station with the two passengers or guards fol- 
lowing at some distance behind and when the coach 
had reached the point known as Robbers' Roost, an 
ideal place for holding up stage coaches because of the 
location of the gulch or canyon to the road and the 
protecting timber and vegetation, the old familiar 
command of "Halt" rang out on the night air and in a 
few minutes the passengers were lined up and the 
robbers were proceeding to relieve them of their val- 

Gang: of Outlaws 



uables. The leader of the gang asked the stage driver 
whether or not there were any guards along with the 
coach and being informed that there were two of them 
coming along behind, the chief commanded, "Number 
one and two go back to the rear and kill those two 

' ' " and accordingly Frank Towle and his 

companion proceeded to sneak along under the cover 
of darkness toward the two messengers who had been 
approaching from the rear. But Boone May and his 
companions had heard the command "Half break the 
stillness of the night air and had immediately dis- 
mounted and were likewise creeping up within range 
of the holdup and as the two highwaymen came crouch- 
ing along through the tall grass and brush and were 
within range, Boone May and his companion opened 
fire upon them. Zimmerman had a rifle and in the 
darkness missed his man but Boone May was armed 
with a shotgun and his opponent fell dead. The death 
of the robber and the sudden successful attack by the 
guards caused consternation among the other robbers 
who immediately hurried from the scene leaving the 
frightened and terror stricken -passengers in the hands 
of the two guards who bundled them back into the 
stage and brought them successfully to the end of the 

While talking over the incident in the station, 
Boone May was informed that there was a reward of 
several thousand dollars offered by the commission at 
Cheyenne, Wyoming, for the capture of Frank Towle, 
dead or alive, and accordingly ihe next day Boone 
May returned to the scene of the fight in order to get 
the head of his victim. He found that the body had 
been dragged up the gulch a short distance from the 
scene of the fight and secreted under some plum 
bushes. From the body of his victim, he took two 
gold nugget stick pins and then proceeded to cut off 
his head which he placed in a gunnysack and delivered 
to the commissioners at Cheyenne. Wyoming. How- 
ever, his efforts were in vain for the commissioners 
claimed that the reward had recentlv been withdrawn 


and refused 1o give hiin anything for his work in rid- 
ding tlie country of one of the bad men at that time. 


Some time after the incident of the killing and 
decapitating of Frank Towle in the fall of 1878, Boone 
May in company with another guard, Billy Sample, 
captured a Mexican named Joe Minuse. This Mexi- 
can while not actually taking part in the holding up 
and robbing of j^assengers and travelers, at the same 
time played his part in connection with these crimes 
in the roll of spy. He was engaged around Deadwood 
and informed the robbers out on the road of the going 
out of travelers who had in their possession money 
or other valuables and in this way the robbers would 
4iot get possession of the money and valuables. 

The object that May and Sample had in captur- 
ing this Mexican was to make him reveal to them the 
whereabouts of the robbers to whom he was playing 
spy and they gave him an opportunity to produce this 
information but the Mexican absolutely refused. The 
two men then proceeded to put a rope around his 
neck and use a little persuasive force and drew him up 
to a limb several times until he finally revealed all he 
knew about the movements of his pals. During this 
procedure the guards wore masks so that the Mexi- 
can would not know them if he should meet them af- 
terwards but just as they turned the Mexican loose, 
Sample's mask fell off and the Mexican recognized 
him. Unfortunately for the Mexican in his angered 

condition he said, ''Sample, you damned Missouri s 

of a b , I know you and will get even with you." 

Boone May said, "Hex, you have seen too much," and 
reached for his gun. Sample did the same, and that 
was the end of the Mexican's career. 


In the month of August, 1877, a scheme was made 
up in Deadwood to capture and kill some of the stage 
robbers and in this way place a damper on the pop- 
ularity of this sort of entertainment. Accordingly 


it was decided that Mike Goldman, Jim Lebby, two 
noted gamblers of Deadwood were to go out on the 
stage in company with Boone May who was one of the 
guards on this treasure coach and if a holdup was stag- 
ed there would be some chance of killing the robbers. 
Boone May consented to this scheme with the under- 
standing that there should be no one else on the coach 
but themselves. However, at the last minute a lady 
and her little girl were taken on as passengers much 
to the objection of Boone, who finally gave his consent. 

When the stage reached Robbers' Roost east of 
Hat Creek, three men brought it to a halt and demand- 
ed that the passengers shell out. Boone May tried to 
get out and make a tight but Lebby and Goldman hope- 
lessly terror stricken held him back and the woman 
begged him not to fire lest her little girl might be 
killed. May became so disgusted over the acts of the 
two men that he threw his gun out of the window and 
told the robbers to help themselves. When they 
found that they had captured a celebrated bandit 
hunter, Boone May, they proposed to kill him at once 
but for some reason changed their minds and after 
taking everything of value that they could find, let 
him and the rest of them go. 

Some time after this the same robbers appeared 
in Deadwood and were recognized by May and Lebby. 
May was exceedingly anxious to have them arrested 
but for some reason Sheriff Bullock refused to make 
arrest. One of the men, named Prescot Web, was arm- 
ed with two revolvers. The other two men had no 
fire-arms but one had an old hunting knife in his belt. 
They had left their guns in their camp upon Sherman 
street. May started to follow them on Lee street 
and as he turned the corner into Sherman street, Web 
turned like a flash and fired at Boone hitting him in 
the wrist of his left arm and making a very pain- 
ful wound. Web then ran across the street where a 
man dismounted and tied his horse to go into the 
postofiice. Web cut the horse loose just as May fired, 
hitting him under the right shoulder and nearly kill- 
ing him. Two more shots from May's revolver struck 


the horse as Web nioniited but May's gun balked and 
he was only able to make the cylinder revolve by using 
his broken arm. Web in return fired several more 
shots at ]May and rode np the street firing right 
and left. 

Sheriff Bullock, Deputy John Coekran and Cap- 
tain Willard had just gone to the jail for supper when 
the sounds of the battle reached them. Coekran was 
mounted and Bullock ordered him to ride down Sher- 
man street and Willard to run across the flat near the 
old grave yard so as to cut ofT escape in that direc- 
tion, while the sheriff himself went into a little draw 
to the west. Coekran reached Web, who w^as gallop- 
ing up Sherman street and commanded him to halt, 
but Web fired upon him and then turned up the hill. 
Before he had gone half the way the horse fell dead 
penetrated by two bullets. Just as Web came over the 
hill, Willard arrived on the scene and with drawn re- 
volver ordered him to surrender. Web cried out, 
''Don't shoot, I am killed anyway.'' He was bleeding 
from the mouth and staggering. Willard ran up to 
catch him before he fell, returning his gun to the bol- 
ster, but like a flash the wounded man pulled out his 
own gun and drove it into the pit of Willard's 
stomach and pulled the trigger. The hammer came 
down with a snap but the cartridge failed to explode 
and Willard catching his wrist, tore the gun from his 
hand and was about to strike him when Bullock came 
up and restrained him. Mike Whalen, the night 
deputy, now arrived on the scene and was ordered to 
take Web to the jail. The prisoner was covered with 
blood from head to foot and the blood spurted all over 
those near him. Bullock and Willard then hurried 
after the other two men who were soon under arrest 
and in jail. 

Dv. Babcock was called at once and found Web 
in a bad conditioii and expecting to die He called for 
a priest and gave the men his mother's address in 
Texas but he finally got well and was taken to Chey- 
enne for trial with the other men where they were 


Years afterwards when Willard was sheriff of 
Cnsler county, Web. who had turned over a new leaf 
and became a good, clean, law-abiding citizen with a 
wife and two children and had become a connty of- 
ficial, often spoke with regret to Willard of his cow- 
ardly act of snapping his gun after he had been ar- 
rested. Harry Wisdom, the other member of the gang, 
obtained work afterwards in the freighting outfit be- 
tween Cheyenne and the Hills and Connors, the third 
member of the holdup men became a trusted employe 
of the Gilmer-Saulsbury Stage Company and helped to 
run down the robbers along that line. After their 
acquittal they admitted that they had robbed the coach 
but claimed that it was the only time they had done 
such work. 


In September. 1877, a party of men were leaving 
the Black Hills for Cheyenne, Wyoming, and when 
near a point fifteen miles southwest of Custer City 
they camped for dinner. Three strangers came rid- 
ing down the road on horseback and stopped at the 
wagons, and one rider casually dismounted from his 
horse, between the men and their rifles. He quickly 
picked up a shot gun and yelled ''Throw up your 
hands,-' a command instantly obeyed by almost every- 
one in the party, except a man who fell over back- 
wards in a draw^ and sneaked away, and a boy named 
''Kid Meyers.'' who noticed what was going on and 
sneaked around to where his father had his gold dust 
hidden in a sack, to the value of sixteen thousand dol- 
lars The "kid'' had his shot gun ready and at the 
command "Throw up your hands, ' fired upon Castello, 
who fell dead. The other robbers broke and ran, while 
the boy picked up his rifle and fired at the fleeing 
bandits, wounding one of them in the foot, but leav- 
ing their horses ihey made their escape in the hills. 

The alarm was given to E. T. Peirce, deputy sheriff 
at Custer, who had some difficulty in understanding 
from the excited messenger, just what happened. He 
finally gathered together George Hart,- August Haage, 


and Pony Sharp and proceeded to the scene of the 
holdup. An examination of the dead man disclosed 
the fact that he was Bob Castello. a border outlaw, 
and that there was a ten dollar bill on his person, 
w^hich those who had robbed the body, had failed to 
find. After the inquest they took the shirt off his 
body, placed it over his face, dug a little hole for him, 
piled the dirt over him and tramped it in. 

The expedition then went to the Eighteen Mile 
ranch to wait for another train to strengthen their 
expedition When the second party Came up later, as 
they passed the scene of the holdup, they found that 
wolves had dug up the body of the outlaw and that 
his bones were scattered over the valley. 

It seems that Castello was out on bonds for hav- 
ing shot his OAvn father, in Bismarck. His name had 
been tattooed on his arm, and this identification and 
his final disposition saved his bondsmen the trouble of 
producing him in court. 


The DeadAvood-Cheyenne trail of 1877 was the 
scene of a good many holdups and robberies, and one 
of the most successful gangs that operated on this 
line Avas Wall, Blackburn. Lame Bradley, Lame John- 
ny, Webster and Hartwell. In the summer of 1877 
they held up the stage and at that time one of the 
members of the passengers was Ed Cook, the superin- 
tendent of the line, who Avas on his Avay doAvn the 
road to pay off the men. Before his departure. Cook, 
realizing the danger of travelling across the country 
in those days, had purchased an old out of date, large 
bore shotgun and down the barrel of this he had stuf- 
fed his money. In due time the stage rolled in and 
the old command of "Halt, hands up" rang out and 
the passengers Avere lined up and duly searched. Lame 
Bradley had a grudge against Cook and took a shot 
at him, shooting off a part of his ear and making a 
ver}^ painful Avound. However, before Bradley could 
fire again he Avas stopped by Blackburn AA^ho remem- 
bered that once upon a time in the past Cook had be- 


friended him. One of tlie gang- had also taken Cook's 
watch from him. which Avas a very fine gold time- 
keeper, bnt r>lack1)nrn likewise compelled him to re- 
tnrn it to Cook This almost cansed a light among 
the robbers. When the men searched Cook they found 
very little money on him and looking at his old, prac- 
tically worthless shotgun, and berating any man who 
would be fool enough to venture forth upon the road 
with such a disreputable weapon, with an oath hurl- 
ed it into the bushes. Afterwards when the robbers 
left Cook was only too glad to make his way back to 
the scene and recover his out of date gun which con- 
tained three or four hundred dollar's worth of paper. 
Bradley called himself ''The King of the Road" but 
for once was outwitted and threw money away which 
he actually had in his hands. This same Bradley had 
killed a man named Powell on the Cheyenne river just 
before this robbery. These two men were members of 
the same gang but got into a fight ; Bradley, however, 
proved to be too quick and shot Powell before he 
could draw his gun This gang of robbers made their 
headquarters at Crook City and came into town at 
night whenever they wished. Donahue, the deputy 
sheritf there never attempted to arrest the pair but 
once; that time he went out one day looking for Jim 
Wall and found him, but Wall arrested Donahue, took 
away his weapons and everything he had and sent him 
home afoot. About the time of the holdup, Charlie 
Francis was living on a ranch near Crook City and 
learned of their whereabouts. He made arrangements 
with Sheritf Bullock to watch the movements of the 
gang and notify Bullock when these two men were in 
town. Accordingly on a certain summer night of 1877, 
Francis peeping through a window of one of the most 
notorious dance halls, saw these two men on the floor 
dancing with much abandon and apparently without 
fear of any danger on the part of the officers of the 
law. Francis quietly mounted his horse, rode into 
Deadwood and reported to Mr. Bullock who was 
there alone, what he had discovered. He suggested 
to Mr. Bullock that the men would leave town about 


three o'clock in the morning for their camp and that 
by going- to a certain place, Mr. Bullock and a deputy 
would be able to either capture the men or kill them. 
Accordingly, Bullock and Francis proceeded to the 
spot in order to carry out the plan as made. As they 
were going along they heard someone riding up through 
the brush, whereupon they promptly moved to one 
side to wait the coming of the rider. As he approach- 
ed near them, he proved to be Johnny Cochran who 
was a deputy sheriff under Bullock and this greatly 
surprised Francis who did not know that Bullock 
had arranged for anyone else to be with him. Cochran 
was a brave and efficient officer and it was arranged 
that Bullock should have the first station, Francis 
the next and Cochran the third. Accordingly, soon 
after this two men came into view, walking single file 
along the trail and talking in low voices, but before 
they had arrived opposite to Bullock, he fired and the 
two men made a hurried leap into the brush and dis- 
appeared. Bullock afterwards explained the escape of 
these noted outlaws by saying that his gun was dis- 
chargel accidentally. 

The Wall-Blackburn band of highway men were 
so aggressive and troublesome that a special United 
States marshal was appointed in an effort to capture 
or kill the men. His name was Charles Hayes of 
Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory, and he soon located 
the men near the Coffee and Cuney ranch near Fort 
Laramie. He called upon Mr Cuney Avho was a deiuity 
sheriff, to assist him and they accordingly surprised 
and captured Wall and Black Durn and Webster, a 
young fellow .. known as ''Kid Webster.'' The crim- 
inals were taken to Coffee's ranch and Hayes left 
Cuney to guard Wall and Blackburn while he went to 
search the vicinity. The officers paid no attention to 
''Kid Webster'' who was allowed to go outside but as 
soon as Hayes was out of sight, the "Kid'' secured a 
rifle, re-entered the building from a side door and fired 
upon Cuney, killing him almost instantly. Blackburn 
and Wall now being released, secured arms and went 
out to settle the matter with Hayes. A running fight 


took place and the marshal was obliged to flee and 
save himself, so the gang escaped this time. 


In the fall of 1878 a gang of robbers held up and 
tried to rob the stage coach at a place on the Cheyenne 
trail called "Robbers' Roost." Scott Davis and John- 
ny Denny were on the coach that day besides three 
soldiers who were acting as guards. When the coach 
was stopped the soldiers all jumped out of the coach 
and took to the brush leaving Davis and Denny to 
fight alone. After a few shots were fired Denny 
lost his head and followed the example of the soldiers, 
thereby leaving Scott to fight single handed. Scott 
stood by his post and shot until the Henry, rifle that 
he had, jammed and refused to eject the shells. While 
trying to extract the shell in various ways Scott was 
struck down by a bullet in the hip and left lying there. 
The robbers then went back to the brush, captured the 
soldiers and disarmed them but did not get any treas- 
ure or money in the deal, as they were very much 
afraid themselves and took to the timber as rapidly as 
they could, leaving the soldier's gun and Denny's gun 
at a tree up the gulch at which spot the men sent out 
by Davis the next day got them. Alec Benham, 
superintendent of the stage line, was on the coach that 
night but did not take any part in the fight, mere- 
ly holding on to the lead horses to keep them from 
running aAvay. 

Two of the robbers engaged in this holdup were 
known by the names of Dunk Blackburn and John 
Wall. Later on the}^ ran off a lot of horses owned by 
the stage company near Lance Creek and were the 
same men who had been engaged in the killing of Mar- 
shal Cuney, an account of which we have heretofore 
given. Accordingly when Scott Davis who was the 
chief of the guards of the Treasure Coach had recover- 
ed from his wounds received in his fight with these rob- 
bers, he concluded to put a stop to them. In the month 
of December, 1878, he took up the trail of the outlaw 
band from Lance Creek and followed it like a blood 


hound day and night, through snow and cold. For a 
time he had with him a squad of soldiers but the 
weather was so cold and travel so difficult that they 
turned back and Davis continued on the trail. He fol- 
lowed them across the Sweet Water and on up to the 
South Pass where he sold his horse and took the stage 
to Green River. There he found he had passed the rob- 
bers' trail somewhere. From here he got a stage driv- 
er named Charlie Atkins and returned back to Alakli 
Springs where he located Wall and Blackburn. A red 
hot fight ensued in which Wall was shot three times 
but Blackburn escaped in his bare feet. He took his 
underwear and tearing them to pieces wrapped his 
feet with the torn clothing and walked thirty-five 
miles into Green River. Davis after making secure 
the arrest of Wall proceeded immediately after Black- 
burn and located him in Green River eating a meal. 
His feet were very swollen and black and blue caused 
by the frost and bruises. However, Scott Davis put 
him under arrest and took him and Wall back to 
Cheyenne where they were convicted and sentenced to 
the penitentiary for eight and ten years. The intrepid 
treasure guard had not only captured the notorious 
robbers but had also recovered fifteen head of very 
valuable horses. In carrying out this remarkable 
exploit he had followed the band for three hundred 
miles sometimes on foot and nearly starved, suffering 
from the drifting snow and intense cold, but with un- 
limited nerve and endurance he continued on in the 
struggle and brought his efforts to a successful climax. 
After a rest he again took up his work as guard on the 
Treasure Coach. 


In the earlv days of the stage coach lines in the 
Black Hills, that is, in the years 1877 and 1878, the 
holding up of passenger coaches and the robbing of 
passengers of all the valuables they had, sometimes 
including wearing apparel, became S(0 conimon that 
it did not provoke very much comment or create very 
much interest among the people in the Hills. But 


once in awhile the monotony of the ordinary holdup 
was varied by an attack upon the Treasure Coach, 
which was used to carry the gold bullion from the dif- 
ferent mines operated throughout the Hills, for de- 
livery to the Union Pacific railroad at Cheyenne, 

The frequent holding up of the passenger coaches 
caused the passengers who were going out from the 
Hills, to entrust their gold dust, their watches and val- 
uable jewelry to the Express Companies for shipment 
upon these Treasure coaches, and sometimes the ag- 
gregate value of the treasure contained in these coach- 
es would run up as high as |140,000.00, and an attack 
upon one of these coaches was a matter of passing 
interest. The Treasure coach was a steel lined affair, 
considered to be bullet proof, and so arranged that 
the guards from the inside could shoot out through 
the port holes and stand off an ordinary crew of high- 

On the 28th day of September. 1878, occurred one 
of the most inhuman and bloodthirsty robberies in 
the history of stage coaching in the Black Hills, and 
has come to be known as the "Canyon Springs stage 
robbery.'' Canyon Springs was one of the stations for 
the change of teams in the rapid moving of the Treas- 
ure coach 

About two o'clock in the afternoon of that day, 
two men appeared at the barn and asked John Min- 
er, the stock tender, and another man that happened to 
be there, who were quietly sitting on a bench on the 
outside of the barn, for a drink of water. The visitors 
appeared to be ranchmen without any visible weapons, 
but after quenching their thirst they turned quickly 
and pointed two six shooters at the unsuspecting 
stock tender and his companion, with the order to 
"Throw up your hands." The two men were then 
taken back to the grain room and locked in. The rob- 
bers proce^rled to knock the chinking off between the 
logs to make port holes and be ready for the stage as 
it would come rumbling up the road. 

As the stage driver would come to these change 


stations lie would give a yell, or in some manner give 
a warning of his approach in order to have the stock 
tender ready with his next team. Warning in this 
case was given as nsnal, and in due time the coach 
came np to the door with Gene Barnett as driver, and 
by his side Gail Hill, a slim, thin faced lad from Mis- 
souri, to whom the word "fear" was absolutely un- 
known. But there was no station ^ender to meet 
them, and there was not a sound of any kind. Hill 
jumped down from the box and turned towards his 
team, his back towards the barn, when a volley was 
tired by the robbers, striking him in the back and 
coming out through his right lung. Gail (juickly turn- 
ed, facing the barn, and received another bullet in 
his left arm while he was raising his gun to shoot. 

It was against the rules for passengers to ride on 
the treasure coach, but in this case an exception had 
been made in favor of Hugh Gampbell because of the 
fact that he was a telegi-ai)h operator at Custer and 
was needed there. One of the bullets from the same 
volley that had pierced Hill, struck Campbell in the 
forehead, but he crawled out from the coach and fell 
down a fcAv feet in the rear of it, calling loudly for 
water. His pleas for water were answered with an 
oath and more bullets from the holdup men. 

Bill Smith, who was one of the messengers on the 
coach, was struck by a splinter from the top part of 
the coach, and was so frightened that he believed he 
was shot, and fell down in the bottom of the coach 
and remained there until the fight was over. But 
Scott Davis, the captain of the messengers, realizing 
that unless some heroic effort was made to save the 
treasure, the whole party and treasure were doomed, 
jumped out of the coach 'on the opposite side from the 
robbers, and ran for a pine tree a short distance 
away, and from this point he motioned to Barnett, 
the driver, who was still in his seat, to drive on with 
the coach. Barnett began to obey, when the outlaws 
seemed to realize what his action meant, and ordered 
one of the members to get in trout of the team and 
hold the leaders. This compelled the robber to get out 




in front and Davis opened fire upon him, bringing 
him down with a bnllet through his bowels. 

Another one of the robbers then proceeded to go 
back of the barn so as to get a line of cross fire on 
Davis and drive him from his protecting tree. In the 
meantime Gail Hill, who had been one of the first to 










be shot, had staggered along back of the barn and was 
lying down in the edge of the brush, when in his 
half conscious condition he saw the man crouching 
along and endeavoring to get a shot at Davis. Hill 
promptly shot him dead on the spot 

Barnett, who had not yet driven off with the 
coach, was ordered to come to the barn door, and 
Jim Carey, the leader of the gang, using him as a 
shield, ordered him to march towards the tree where 
Scott Davis was putting up his fight. Barnett yelled 
to Davis not to shoot, and Davis, seeing the condition 
of things, and not wishing to endanger the life of 


Barnett made a leap for the brush close by and disap- 

From Jenne}' Stockade, in the southwest part of 
the Hills, to Deadwood, a distance of sixty miles, was 
a day-light run in both directions, and a holdup had 
never occurred in board day light, so there was no 
one on scout duty between these two points. How- 
ever, for some reason, Boone May, John Brown, Wil- 
liam Taylor and Jesse Brown, feeling that something 
might be wrong, mounted their horses and started up 
the line to meet the treasure coach. After a few miles 
they met Scott Davis, and were informed that the 
coach had been robbed and they were too late. 

Davis, May and Jesse Brown pushed on to the 
scene of the holdup, and the other men went back for 
more ammunition, but when the men arrived at the 
coach the safe had been broken open and the contents, 
consisting of gold bullion, gold dust and jewelry, gold 
watches and other valuables, had been taken away. 
This safe had been guaranteed to withstand the rough- 
est treatment that could be made upon it for twenty 
four hours, and the guards had hoped to get there be- 
fore the robbers could open it The names of the men 
who had robbed this stage coach were Jim Carey, the 
leader, Frank McBride, Doug Goodale, Al Speer and 
Big Nose George, 

When the news of the robbery reached Deadwood, 
posses Avere organizecl, and they started to scour the 
country in every direction. William Ward, the super- 
intendent of the stage line, and Uri Gillette, a 
ranch man, were the first two to strike the trail that 
the robbers had taken. They followed on until they 
found where the men had bought a team and harness 
and spring wagon and then taken the wounded man, 
Frank McBride, with them. They also found where 
the man that Hill had shot was buried. The trail led 
out into the open prairie around Rapid City. An- 
other posse from Rapid City was formed and took up 
the trail towards Pierre. The freight line between 
Rapid City and Pierre was lined with teams. From 
some of these freighters it was learned that the rob- 


bers had passed on for some distance towards the east. 
At dark the robbers had not been overtaken, and it 
was conchided that they must have pulled off the 
main road and went into camp. 

After proceeding farther on the road, the posse 
decided to double back, and some distance to the 
north, or to one side of the road, they heard the 
neighing of a horse, and it was decided to surround 
the camp where the horse was heard neighing, and 
watch for the men and catch them as they would be 
ready to move out in the morning. But when morn- 
ing came and a charge at the break of day was made 
on the robbers' camp, they had nothing but the old 
spring Avagon to reward their efforts. 

Further efforts were made to pick up the trail 
again, but after scouring the country in all directions, 
and no trace being found, and the horses being tired, 
the posse turned towards home. 

However, William Ward, the superintendent, rode 
on to Ft. Pierre, where he learned of a young man 
crossing the river with a horse and a pack on his sad- 
dle. Ward continued on the trail of the young man 
and traced him to Atlantic, Iowa, where he remained 
for a day or so. One morning as he was walking along 
the street he saw two gold bricks in a bank window, 
which he at once recognized as being part of the loot 
taken by the robbers. 

He learned that a man by the name of Good- 
ale was president of the bank, and that his son, 
Doug Goodale, had just returned from the Black 
Hills, where he had sold a gold mine, and on account 
of the scarcity of gold coins had been compelled to 
take gold bricks in payment, and that the bricks on 
exhibit were a part of his reward. 

Ward went to the sheriff and sought to have, 
young Goodale arrested, but the sheriff demanded that 
Ward should be identitied and after some telegraph- 
ing to bankers in Deadwood, the sheriff was satisfied 
that Ward was right, and although the father and 
grandfather of young Goodale were the wealthiest 
men in the country and men of good reputation, Ward 


got legal possession of the bullion and had the yonng 
robber arrested and surrendered to his possession. 

Together they set out on their return trip to the 
Hills. ])ut the young man had with him his father and 
an attorney, and a merry good time was had ail along 
the line until they reached the station of Lone Tree, 
Nebraska, where the father and the attorney left the 
train. After the train had proceeded along a short 
distance the prisoner asked permission to go to the 
back of the car. Ward, after waiting a short time. 
went to look for his companion and found him gone. 
The alarm was given, the train reversed and backed 
down to the station. Ward jumped off and the train 
proceeded on its way. An immediate search was be- 
gun in the country in all directions, but no trace of 
Goodale was ever found. 

This was the story that Ward put up when he re- 
turned to Cheyenne, but the stage company relieved 
Ward from any further services Avith them, 


From 1875 to iSSO, I suppose, Sidney, Nebraska, 
had the reputation of being one of the roughest, tough- 
est towns along the Union Pacific line. The haunt of 
the surething gamblers, and the birth place of the 
bogus gold brick. In 1875 came the forerunnings of 
the Black Hills excitement and in '76 the pack of gold 
hunters was in full cry. Sidney jumped to the front 
as the great outfitting point for the Hills. Miners' De- 
light, Fort Robinson, Fort Meade and many large 
ranches that had been established at Greenwood, 
Pumpkin Creek, Platte River, Snake Creek, and White 
River, gave more or less protection to the great rush 
of gold seekers. Sidney supported fifty-three saloons, 
and numerous dance houses of the knock down, drag out 
type, added to the gayety of the wildest town in 

In 1879, Gilmer and Saulsberry inaugurated a 
stage line from Sidney to Deadwood, having changed 
the Cheyenne route to this one as it was shorter and a 


better road. And as gold was floAving from the Hills 
in larger quantities, ''Old Iron Sides'' as it was called, 
was guarded by eight picked men. armed with rifles, 
Colts, six shooters, and sawed off shot guns, with Scott 
Davis as captain. The names of the men were Ross 
Davis, Boone May, Gail Hill, William May, Billy 
Sample, John Cochran, and Jesse Brown. The treas- 
ure coach carried no passengers on the outward trip, 
but coming into the Hills it did. The treasure 
coach did not appear to be much of an inducement to 
the road agents along this line, as it was not molested 
after the guards were increased from four to eight. 
Two of the guards mounted on good swift horses, rode 
in advance of the coach, keeping a lookout for any 
sign of danger. If a bridge had been tampered with, 
or any indication of robbers, the coach could be halt- 
ed and placed on guard. Two of the guards rode be- 
hind the coach on horse back and four inside. The or- 
ders were no sleeping after night, but of course there 
were little naps taken occasionally 

The stage stock were as good for the purpose as 
could be found in the west, but the eastern horse could 
not stand up to the hardships as well as the western. 
There were regular stations established with stock 
tenders at every station. The only robbery that oc- 
curred on this line was at Sidney after we had turned 
over the shipment of |300,000 to the express agent 
of the U. P. R. R. at that point and had the receipts 
for it. And that brings us to the famous Sidney ex- 
press robbery of 1882 which we will let Scott Davis 
tell about. 

''We arrived at Sidney behind our schedule time 
on March 7th, delayed by bad roads, but still in 
time for the agent, Chet Allen, to receive the ship- 
ment and get it aboard the express car. The train 
pulled in just as we wheeled up to the express office. It 
had to stop twenty-five minutes for supper and as there 
was a standing order to give thirty minutes leeway 
when necessary, this would have given fifty-five min- 
utes to make the transfer, which could have been com- 
pleted in half the time. As all the packages were wrap- 


ped and directed to destination, all the agent had to 
do was check them. "You are too late" he replied. 
"You'll have to hold it over until tomorrow." ''Hold 
nothing." says I; then noticing Sheriff McCarthy 
standing there I appealed to him on the matter of 
time. He said it Avas no concern of his. i^llen Avas 
stubborn so we drove back to the stage office, unload- 
ed the treasure and put three of our men to guard it. 
Allen said he would receive it next morning at 11:30 
and we delivered it and got his receipt for |299,500, 
There was one thousand in currency, and two small 
bricks valued at |550.00 each, the rest was in a larger 
sized bricks. We wheeled all this into a room ad- 
joining the office. 'Why don't you put it in your safe?' 
I asked him. 'No,' he says, 'it is only an hour until train 
time and it will be perfectly safe on the truck.' 

"At 12 :40 I came out of the hotel and saw an im- 
mense crowd of people gathered about the express of- 
fice. I heard a man say that the express office was rob- 
bed. I went across into the office and Allen was sit- 
ting in a chair, his face hid in his hands. 'They got it 
all,' he moaned. A square hole in the floor showed 
how the robbers had gained ingress, and how the gold 
had been taken out, through the coal bins underneath. 
Sheriff McCarthy proposed getting a team and he and 
I made a circle for tracks of the robbers. There was a 
slight snow on the ground and as a wagon would have 
been required to carry the gold, and as there was no 
tracks leaving the building I refused to go with him. 
But Boone May and Billy Sample did of their own ac- 
cord procure saddle horses and circled the town but 
found no tracks leading either to or from the town. 
In the meantime, I and two of my men without mak- 
ing any noise broke into the coal cellar. The sides 
were protected by lattice work and the snow had 
drifted over the coal and footprints were plain to be 
seen leading to the coal pile. We found shovels and 
dug into the coal pile where the tracks ended. In a 
short time we struck something heavier than coal. It 
proved to be one of the Homestake gold bricks, then 
another and kept on until we had the whole shipment 


except the currency and the two small bricks spoken 
of before. We figured up and found |297,400 leaving 
|2100 short, which could have been carried away in 
pockets, etc. I examined a hole in the floor, it showed 
that it had been bored through with an auger leaving 
enough of the wood between the holes to support the 
square surrounded. Off on one side there was a jack 
screw which had been adjusted under this square to 
hold it up in case anj^thing heavy should fall on the 
spot, we also found the part of the floor which fitted 
into the hole. I sent for Joe Caliburn, a Union Pacific 
mechanic, and he identified the jack screw as one that 
had been stolen from the shops about a month before, 
and he examined the hole in the floor and thought it 
might have been bored for sometime. It was obvious 
that the robbers had laid the trap and waited for a 
rich haul. 

''Allen had left the ofllice at 11 :30 to go to dinner, 
where McCarthy spent the dinner hour could not be 
learned. Allen returned at 12:30 and upon trying to 
open the door found the keyhole plugged on the in- 
side. He had Joe Caliburn to come and remove the 
plug from the keyhole and entering the office dis- 
covered the robbery. McCarthy appeared on the scene 
while Caliburn and Allen were fussing around the 
room. During this time Robert Oberfelder telegraph- 
ed S. H. Clark at Omaha, general manager of the 
Union Pacific railroad, and he came on a special with 
several sleuths to Sidney. I stated above that Mc- 
Carthy appeared on the scene and as Allen was on the 
verge of a nervous breakdown, McCarthy led him 
away from the ofiflce. We locked the door, and when 
we dug up the treasure from the coal bins, we put it up 
through the hole into the room adjoining the office, 
and then I crawled up and was sitting there guard- 
ing it when Allen and McCarthy returned. The two 
stared at me as if greatly surprised. I says, 'There is 
your gold, Allen, all except two small bars and the 
currency. Do you know where they are?' facing Mc- 
Carthy. He did not answer just stared at me, and 
says, 'Where did you find this?' pointing to the bullion. 



I told him in the coal cellar. 'Better put it in the safe, 
Allen.' And he did. The sweat was pouring from his 
face, but he seemed to be relieved of the nervous 
strain. We kept guard over the treasure until General 
Clark arrived and took charge. Allen was discharged 
and placed under arrest, was tried by a jury and ac- 
quitted, the evidence not being sufficient to warrant a 

Billy Sample 

verdict of guilty. He went to Pueblo, Colorado, and 
secured a position there and died there a few years af- 
terward. McCarthy had been elected sheriff by the 
tough element, and his association of law breakers, 
and shortly after the expiration of his term he was run 
out of Sidney, in a general clean up of the town. 

Clark left a couple of his sleuths in Sidney to try 
and unravel the threads of the robbery. One of them, 
James L. Smith, got into an altercation in the Capitol 
saloon with Patsy Walters, a gambler, both pulled 
guns and fired. Walters was fatally wounded and 


Smith was shot through the arm. He ran to my room 
for protection from Walters' friends. A couple of 
officers came to arrest Smith without a warrant and 
my brother, Ross, and I disarmed them and told them 
that we would deliver Smith at the jail next morning, 
which we did He was tried in justice court and ac- 
quitted as the evidence showed self defense. Smith 
killed another man after that and was acquitted but 
was recalled by Clark 

Several years later I met Billy Feen in Chicago, 
one of the suspected robbers. I asked him how much 
McCarthy realized on the two small gold bricks. Feen 
said that McCarthy had given him and a man named 
Dempsy the bricks to dispose of and they went to Den- 
ver, and after sawing and remelting they sold the gold 
for eleven hundred dollars and divided the money be- 
tween themselves. McCarthy got the one thousand in 
currency. He engineered the job from start to 


In the fall of the year 1879, the United States 
Secret Service sent W. H. Lewilyn from Washington, 
D. C, to search for members of the gang who had 
robbed a postoffice on the Sidney stage line near Ne- 
braska. Lewilyn was a young officer, ambitious and 
anxious to make a name for himself and like a great 
many other men who are given authority was not any 
too scrupulous as to how he might gain a reputation. 
In this work he employed Boone May as his assistant 
and they finally located a man known as Curly Grimes 
whom they suspected as being associated with the 
gang who made the robbery. As a matter of fact, it is 
very doubtful whether there was any evidence at all 
against the man or whether he Avas one of the 
party who had committed the crime. However, the 
secret service officer started on his return trip to Dead- 
wood and in the evening they arrived at a ranch below 
Sturgis known as the Bull Dog ranch where they had 
supper and then proceeded on their way toward Fort 


It was in the dead of winter. The weather was 
cold and the snow was drifting and blowing and after 
proceeding on their way for a distance, the prisoner 
is reported to have complained that the irons on his 
wrists were freezing his hands and requested that 
Lewllvn remove them, which he did, warning him not 
to made any attempt to escape. They reported that all 
went well until they arrived at a point on the military 
reservation. Here there were trees and bushes quite 
near the road. The prisoner made a wild dash for the 
bushes and upon his failure to observe the command 
"Halt" the officer opened fire upon him and he fell 
riddled with bullets. The officers proceeded on their 
way to Fort Meade and reported the incident. After 
the storm had subsided a party went out and recover- 
the body of the dead man where it lay frozen and stiff 
beneath the snow and buried it. 

As the act occurred on the military reservation it 
came within the jurisdiction of the United States 
court. As there was considerable excitement caused 
by the killing of this man and great doubt existed both 
as to the guilt of the deceased and the truthfulness of 
the story of his attempt to escape, the matter was 
finally taken up. When the United States court con- 
vened, an indictment of murder against the ollicers 
was returned and a trial had, but the men w^ere prompt- 
ly acquitted as there was no evidence to contradict 
their story. However, Lewllyn left the country and 
carried on w^ork in secret service and later became 
quite prominent but it is reported that he tried to 
carry out the same kind of unlawful act in the case of 
an outlaw known by the name of Doc. Middleti^n. 
He had planned after he had gotten hold of and suc- 
ceeded in arresting the man to have his assistant fire 
from the roadside upon him and Middleton as he pass- 
ed by and murder the defendant. However, when the 
time to fire came, the man who had been engaged to 
do the w^ork had too much honor left within his breast 
and refused to pull the trigger, for which act he was 
subsequently roundly upbraided by his superior. It 
would appear that Lewllyn figured that if a man was 


accused of crime it was a waste of time to give him a 
court trial and tlie best way to do was to ^ promptly 
destroy him. 


With the coming of the railroads into the Hills, 
the occupation of the road agents was gone, and it 
was propliesied by many that "the gentlemen of the 
road" would turn their attention to trains, but this 
had not been the case. 

The holdup of the treasure coach at Canyon 
Springs was the last one for the coach, and the first 
and only holdup of a railroad train was the holding 
up of the pay train of the Homestake Mining Com- 
pany on the Black Hills & Fort Pierre railroad in 
Reno Gulch on Friday, October 1. 1888. 

When one considers the almost criminal careless- 
ness with which money has been packed about the 
country, it seems strange that similar attempts have 
not been made, and it certainly speaks well for the 
law abiding spirit of the citizens of the Black Hills. 

The Black Hills & Fort Pierre railroad, built 
in 1881 from Lead City to Woodville, was extended in 
1883 to Brownsville on Elk Creek, and its main busi- 
ness was the hauling of the wood and timbers neces- 
sary for the operations of the Belt mines. 

Pay day for the wood and timber choppers and 
haulers was always upon the twelfth of each month, 
when what was known as the Brick Store, now the 
Hearst Mercantile Co., would take out sufiflcient money 
to cash checks and pay the men employed in the 
various wood and timber camps. Alexander McKenzie 
was manager of the Brick store from 1886 to -1904, 
and the custom w^as for him to pack the money from 
Lead City to Brownsville, carrying it in an ordinary 
hand valise. 

This had been done for a number of years with- 
out any guard, and as a result, prior to 1888 there had 
been more or less talk among a gang of rounders 
who infested Brownsville and Deadwood as to the 
chances of holding up McKenzie, making a cleanup 


and getting out of the country. These rounders were 
nearly all tin horn gamblers and all were frequenters 
of the notorious Gem Theatre in Deadwood, and it is 
a fact that the scheme was often discussed there. 

In the end, only four of them took an active part 
in the final holdup, but the others contributed in the 
way of advice, outside help, and later on, in helping 
Jack Doherty get out of the country. The first at- 
tempt was made upon August 12, 1888, at the big 
trestle where the railroad crossed Bear Butte Creek. 
It was planned at a dance hall in Sturgis and at Tel- 
ford's ranch on Alkali creek. It is not known positive- 
ly just who composed the gang that day, but the out- 
side party who was to furnish the guns failed to shoAv 
up and nothing was done. 

The next attempt was on September 12th, one 
month later, at Woodville, or the Lake station as it 
was more generally known, Woodville is on a flat 
divide between Whitewood and Bear Butte creeks. The 
railroad coming from Lead makes a Y there, swings 
around a low ridge and then on down Bear Butte 
creek. The train consisting of one engine and a string 
of empty flat cars, usually with freight on the last one 
would leave Lead at 7:00 a, m. and McKenzie with the 
money in a yellow valise and sawed off shot gun for 
protection would sit on the last car so as to get as far 
away as possible from the smoke and cinders from 
the engine. At Woodville the empties would be set in 
on a side track on the Lead side of the Y, the engine 
would then cut loose and go down Bear Butte for a 
train load of wood and timbers, so with the engine 
crew gone, it would have been an easy job to hold him 
up, together with the few passengers who were on 
this morning train on pay days. The gang consisting 
of Wilson, Doherty, Murphy and possibly one other 
had arrived at Woodville the night before, picketed 
their horses on this low ridge, cut the telephone wires 
on both sides of the station and at daylight secreted 
themselves in some bushes along the side track and 
about thirty feet from where the last empty was 
usually left and waited the coming of the train from 


Lead, and the money. But this morning the machin- 
ists and mechanics of the Homestake company had a 
picnic at Horse Shoe grove, making the train from 
Lead over an hour late. As a result the train crew 
working between Brownsville and Woodville had time 
to make an extra trip and when the pay train reached 
Woodville all it had to do was to cut loose its empties 
carrying McKenzie and the money, which were at 
once picked up by the Brownsville engine and pulled 
out down Bear Butte creek. Among all the plans 
discussed by the gang as to the easiest way to hold up 
the train and get the money, this was the best one 
and would have succeeded if it hadn't been for the 

As it was, they were so angry at losing out on 
what apparently was a cinch, that they broke from 
their cover, ran across the low bridge where their 
horses were and tried to intercept the train of empties 
with the money on its way down Bear Butte creek, 
but they were too late and lost out. 

After this second failure to get the money, the 
gang separated, but later on got together at the ranch 
of John Telford on Alkali creek east of Sturgis, and 
there made up another plan to get the money. Among 
those composing it were John Telford, a gambler, and 
saloon man, originally from Rapid City, and while he 
took no part in the actual holdup he provided the 
necessary horses and guns and together with a woman 
he was living with named May Brown, furnished a lot 
of help. 

Another member was John Wilson who had drift- 
ed into the country as a cowboy, a reckless and des- 
perate character and wanted at the time by the sheriff 
of Lawrence county on a bench warrant, and when a 
posse went after him from Sturgis he stood the whole 
outfit off with a Winchester. 

Another one was Jack or Doc Doherty who had 
been brought into the Hills by John D. Hale, his full 
name being Napoleon Bonaparte Doherty. He was a 
very decent sort when he first came to the Hills but 


■got into bad coinpanY, gambling and all that weiit 
with it, though he was a brave and nervy man. 

The fourth member of the gang was Alfred G. 
Nickerson who was going under the sporting name 
of "Spud Murphy," a foot racer and tin horn gam- 
bler, who had had some trouble in Rapid City short- 
ly before this and was wanted by the authorities there. 

In the afternoon of October 11th. Telford left 
his ranch in a buggy, taking a Winchester, shot gun. 
wrench, axe, bar and lantern with him, and that night 
about 10 o'clock met the gang at the old Lawrenson 
ice house above Thompson's toll gate, or what is now 
Pluma on the C. B. & Q. road. Wilson, Doherty and 
Murphy, with revolvers, left shortly afterwards on 
horseback in the direction of Bear Butte Creek, 
crossed over on to Spring creek, through Whitewood 
and Crook City and reached Deadwood about 10 
o'clock that night and on up to the Lawrenson ice 
house. Telford was already there with the guns, etc., 
which he turned over to them and they went on up to 
Reno gulch. At daylight Wilson and Doherty re- 
moved the fish plates or splices from the rails, spread- 
ing one rail out about four inches and spiking it down, 
cut some bushes and stood them up for about sixty 
feet from the track, and then all sat down around a 
small fire they had built and waited for the pay train. 

Although the picketing of the horses and the cut- 
ting of the telephone wires at Woodville the month be- 
fore had been reported to the Homestake office, and 
there was but one conclusion to be drawn — that it 
was an attempted holdup — still nothing was done 
about it and no extra precautions taken to guard the 
money. Upon October 12th, Mr. McKenzie was laid 
up with rheumatism and unable to take the money to 
Brownsville as usual, so for the first time it was 
placed in charge of Wm. A. Remer, paymaster of the 
Homestake Mining Company. 

The train left Lead City on time with a crew of 
John B. Commiskey, engineer ; Reese Morgan, fireman ; 
Charles H. Crist, conductor and Charles Laviere brake- 


Richard Blackstone, superintendent of the rail- 
road, and H. P. Anderson were seated on some freight 
on the first flat ear back and H. P. Swindler, section 
boss, and some section men were on the last flat car. 
The money, consisting of about |12,000 in currency 
and silver in the old yellow valise as usual, was in the 
tool box on the tender and Remer was in the engine 
cab on the fireman's seat. He had an old double bar- 
reled sawed off shot gun loaded with buck shot and 
three extra shells, and there was an empty gun in the 
cab which was being taken out tc the Brownsville 
store. Reno gulch is about five miles from Lead. Ap- 
proaching it there is about fifteen hundred feet of 
straight track, the longest stretch on the road, with a 
sharp down grade to a trestle forty feet high, crossing 
the gulch and just as the track approaches the curve 
leading to this trestle was where the robbers had 
spread the rails and stationed themselves in the brush 
near the track. The train usually would go down 
this piece of straight track at full speed so as to 
make the grade on the other side of the trestle. If 
that had been done that morning there is no ques- 
tion but that the engine, cars and crew would have 
been piled up in the ditch and the getting of the money 
would have been an easy job. But this morning, when 
the train reached the head of the straight track it 
almost stopped to let off the section crew and was 
not under full headway w^hen it reached the spot 
where the rails were spread. The manner in which 
the money for pay days had been carried about the 
country was almost like hanging up a purse for rob- 
bers to pull down if they could and the wonder is 
that it had not been grabbed before, and about all 
that ever did save it was "Homestake luck,'' for just 
as it was saved the pay day before by a picnic, it was 
saved this day by letting off the section crew. 

The spreading of the rails was so slight that the 
engine was almost over it before the engineer dis- 
covered it, but when Remer saw Commiskey jump and 
reverse the engine he realized the ball was open, 
sprang to his feet and he, Commiskey and Morgan 


were standing close together in the gang^^^ay of the 
engine when the shooting began. As it was, the engine 
ran its length and that of a flat car on the ties before 
it stopped. The moment it did so the robbers raised 
up from behind their brush cover and yelling "Hands 
up, throw up your hands you — " began shooting, and 
this was the first sight the crew had of the robbers. 

The engine had run past them about fifty feet, 
so they were about one hundred feet away and to the 
rear, Wilson and Doherty together behind the bushes 
they had set up, Wilson had a Winchester and Doherty 
had a double barreled shot gun, and Murphy was 
about fifteen feet nearer with only a revolver. The 
shot from Wilson's rifle passed between Morgan and 
Remer, struck the boiler head and splashed, tearing 
out the glass in the fireman's window. At the com- 
mand of '^Hands up," Morgan stepped off the engine 
on the side towards the robbers and with one hand up 
walked coolly around the front of the engine and 
across the trestle. Commiskey and Remer had drop- 
ped down in the gangway and Remer, raising up to 
see what the situation was, discovered Wilson and 
Doherty ready to shoot again, so taking deliberate aim. 
resting across the tool box where the money was he 
fired one shot at them and dropped back behind the 
wings of the tender. Doherty's first shot was at 
Blackstone and Anderson on the first flat car back, 
but the shot was too low as the marks of the shot were 
found later on the car wheels. Blackstone had a 
Sharps rifle, but in the barrel was a wiping rod and 
when he and Anderson jumped olf on the lower side 
of the train he stumbled and drove the rod firmly into 
the barrel and it Avas some time before he could get it 
out. In the meantime, Remer had loaded the extra 
gun and given it to Commiskey, knowing he could be 
depended upon, and told him that he thought he got 
one of the robbers, but was not sure, that they were 
being given no show for their lives and must make a 
fight for it, that the money would be safe anyway, for 
Blackstone in the bush with his Sharps rifle could 


stand them off until help came, not knowing that Black- 
stone was out of it temporarily with a spiked gun. 

John B. Commiskey was a veteran of the Civil 
War, quiet, gentle mannered and as brave a man as 
ever lived, and he never has been given the credit due 
him for his courage and cool headedness in this affair, 
for if he had lost his nerve that day and not reversed 
his engine, several might have been killed in the wreck 
and it is a cinch that the gang would have gotten away 
with the money. Soon after firing the first shot Remer 
discovered a man sneaking through the brush, evident- 
ly trying to get opposite the engine and rake through 
the gangivay at Commiskey and him, so they left the 
engine, taking a position on its lower side. About 
this time Blackstone who had climbed up to the track 
on the opposite side of the gulch called out that he 
had discovered their horses just above the trestle. 
Remer told him to kill them so as to set the gang 
afoot and prevent them getting away, but while this 
was being discussed, Murphy, the man who had been 
sneaking through the brush, slipped into the saddle 
of his horse and rode rapidly up the gulch and out of 

While Commiskey and Remer were on the lower 
side of the engine the water in the boiler was getting 
dangerously low, so Morgan went back into the cab 
and started the pump. It was suggested to blow the 
whistle for help from the other engine which had 
been heard whistling at Woodville, so Remer crawled 
back into the cab and lying on his back in the gang- 
way stuck the brush of the engine broom into the 
handle of the whistle, jiggling out a series of whistles 
which were far from being any known signals. They 
were heard, however, by the crew of the other engine 
who now realized that something was wrong and came 
at once to the rescue. Commiskey and Remer then 
left the engine and got behind a log in the bottom of 
the gulch from where they could cover the engine 
tool box where the money was. 

The other engine soon came and with it sev-' 
eral men and guns and search was at once made 


for the robbers. A black cambric mask with a bul- 
let hole under the right eye and covered with blood 
was found behind the bushes where the robbers had 
stood and two trails leading up the hillside. W. 
W. Sweeney, the fireman on the Woodville engine 
followed one of them and soon came upon a man ly- 
ing on the ground face doAvn. It proved to be Wilson. 
One buck shot had struck him under the left eye and 
another had hit him in the side, passing through the 
spleen, causing him to break down. He was carried 
down to the track and was evidently suffering in- 
tense pain and begged that they kill him and put him 
out of his misery. He was told that unless he told 
the truth as to his companions, etc., that they would 
kill him, and yet there he sat on the track, shaking 
like a leaf with pain, and lied like a horse thief, told 
them his companions were named Jones and Clark 
and a lot of other lies. He did say that Clark 
(Murphy) had made his getaway on horseback and 
that Jones (Doherty) was shot in the face and had 
passed him going up the hillside. Later the bloody 
finger prints of Doherty were found on some quaking 
asps where he had pulled himself up over the quartz- 
ite rim of the gulch. The section men who had been 
let off heard the shooting and one of them, E. J. 
Zeljadt, not waiting for results, ran all the way to 
Lead City and gave the alarm. He reported that 
Commiskey and Remer had been killed and the 
money taken. This report with many exaggerations 
was spread at once along the Belt and to Deadwood, 
causing considerable excitement. Superintendent 
Grier at once organized a posse and soon the woods 
at Reno gulch were full of men on horseback, all in 
plain sight of Doherty who had made his way to the 
top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, laid in the brush there 
that day and got out of the country that night with 
the help of his friends. 

Commiskey soon had his engine back on the 
track and returned to Lead City with Wilson in 
charge of a deputy sherif, and Remer took the money 
and went on to Brownsville to pay off. Reaching 


there the engine was met by about two hundred wood 
choppers, all looking as if they had lost their last 
and best Mend. With them was O. W. Hurlbut in 
charge of the Brownsville store who remarked to 
Remer that he was glad that nobody was killed as 
first reported, but that it was a bad piece of business 
losing the money. At the same time Remer was tak- 
ing the old yellow valise out of the tool box, and 
when the crowd saw him carefully hand it down to 
Hurlbut, they knew it wasn't empty and put up a 
yell which could have been heard on Dead Man's Hill, 
Bill Sweeney joining in with, "You bet your sweet life 
they didn't take the money away from Buck Shot 
Bill, and Remer is known by that name today among 
the old timers in the wood camp. Murphy tried to 
get out of the country but got lost on upper Spear- 
fish creek, came back to Deadwood that afternoon 
and that night was driven to Rapid City by one 
George Young and he and Telford were arrested 
there next day. A vigorous hunt Avas made for 
Doherty, as all kinds of reports of him having been seen 
were floating around. One came into Lead ''that a 
man shot in the face'' had been seen at the Salt Wells 
in Wyoming, near where Cambria now is, so Sheriff 
Knight, with a posse composed of N. W. Gregory, 
Remer, Sam Blackstone, Billy Fawcett and others 
left for there, they did not find Doherty but they did 
round up Buck Handon and Von Rippen, a couple of 
notorious horse thieves. On December 5th, Murphy 
was tried and Telford on the 13th, Wilson testifying 
for the State. Both were convicted and sentenced to 
the penitentiary for fifteen years. 

The Homestake company had offered a reward of 
.fl,000 for Doherty, dead or alive, and about Febru- 
ary 6, 1889, he was arrested at Douglas by John T. 
Williams, the sheriff of Converse county, Wyoming. 
Sam Blackstone left the same day to identify him 
and an attempt was made at Chadron by Doherty's 
friends to take the prisoner away from Williams and 
Blackstone, but they stood them off and delivered 
their man to Sheriff Knight in Deadwood and the 


|1,000 was paid to Williams. The story is that Wil- 
liams split the reward with a gambler in Douglas 
who had given Doherty away to him, invested his 
|500 in sheep and it was the starter of the fortune 
he afterwards made in sheep and cattle. Wilson 
broke jail on the night of February 15th, but was 
captured three days later in Boulder Canyon by 
Deputy Sheriff Wilbur Smith. Doherty Avas arraigned 
for trial upon March 11th, with A. J. Plowman as 
his attorney. It was expected he would go into court 
the next day and plead guilty, but he didn't. The 
night of the 12th he and Wilson and a prisoner nam- 
ed Stewart broke jail, stole two horses from the 
sheriff and one from S. V. Noble and made their get- 
away. It developed later that for several nights 
they had been drilling out the rivets in the lattice 
bars of the steel cage, using the handle of a slop 
bucket and a broken tile as a bi-ace and bit, then 
using one of the heavy iron doors of the cage as a 
battering ram they smashed a hole through. Later it 
was learned that Wilson and Doherty made their way 
to Canada, disposed of the horses and saddles this 
side of the line, believing that if they did not take 
stolen property across they could not be extradited. 

Doherty finally wound up in Rossland, B. C, 
changed his name and went straight and is a respect- 
ed citizen today. Later on when Remer was sheriff 
the mounted police there sent him a report on him 
and he sent back word to Doherty that as long as he 
stayed out of the United States he had nothing to fear. 
About the same time he was advised by the sheriff of 
Whitman county, Washington, that Wilson had been 
killed there while resisting arrest. 

Telford and Murphy remained in the peniten- 
tiary until February of 1891, when they were re- 
leased on a writ of habeas corpus brought by a lawyer 
named Allen of Sheldon, Iowa. The contention was 
that there was no crime unless there was a statutory 
penalty therefor. The statute provided that robbery 
by two or more persons should be punished by im- 
prisonment for life and a crime frustrated or inter- 


ceptod by one-half of the inaxiiiiuiii penalty, con- 
sequently in the case of these men the court was 
called upon to decide what was one-half of the re- 
mainder of their lives, clearly an inipussihility. No 
answer was put in by the authorities of Lawrence 
county and the men were released. 

Telford was in Salt Lake City a few years ago 
and is reported to have made money as a contractor. 
Murphy resumed his right name and is now a respect- 
ed citizen of Nebraska, is married and has several 
children and is superintendent of the Sunday school. 

Harney Peak Above fhe Clouds 



The problems of life that confronted the pion- 
eers of the last century in the Black Hills demanded 
men of qnick action, firm pnrpose and unflinching 
courage. It was a time when the elemental law of the 
survival of the fittest was in full SAvay. Home, loved 
ones, life itself Avere thrown into the balance and of- 
ten lost. The game was fast and furious. Great 
was the wager made and heavy was the loss to many. 
From out the seething caldron of human passions, 
law finally emerged and or-der succeeded chaos. The 
cruel and crushing force of justice as it tread through 
the tangled mazes of the formative years to its right- 
ful throne is seen from the following stories of trage- 
dies where young and old, high and low, ignorant and 
educated paid the supreme sacrifice. 


Down on the south side crossing of the Platte 
river in Nebraska on the Sidney and Red Cloud road, 
in 1875, there was a most cruel murder committed 
by a man who claimed his name was Patterson, but 
went under the name of One Eyed Ed. He was one 
of the best pistol shots in the West, and he was in con- 
stant practice when opportunity presented. Pratt 
and Ferris' big bull train was encamped on the south 
side loaded for the agency with Indian goods. The 
next day a large herd of Texas long horn cattle ar- 
rived at the river, on their way up for de- 
livery to the Indian department. The herd was un- 
der the charge of Robert R. Porter. There were many 
calves in the herd and as they did not count in the de- 
livery, Mr. Porter came over to the bull train and in- 
quired of the boys how they were fixed for fresh meat. 
"We are living on sow belly straight," was the answer. 
"Well, boys, I can help you out, you may shoot all of 
those young calves you want, but don't shoot any- 
thing that will count on the delivery." One Eyed Ed 
stole out of camp, thinking that would be good prac- 


tice for him, but instead of taking calves, he shot a 
conple of two year olds. When Porter was told that 
the bull whackers had been killing the cattle, Por- 
ter rode over to remonstrate. He was riding a splen- 
did black horse and he stopped at the lower end of 
the corral, and asked why they had killed cattle in- 
stead of calves. "Now you have made me short two 
on count, and I will have to account for those to the 
owners.'' One Eyed Ed standing back from the wag- 
on, raised his pistol and fired and Porter fell from 
his horse, and was dead by the time the boys reached 
him, having been shot through the head. There was a 
commotion in camp, not only for the killing of Porter, 
but they felt sure that the cowboys would soon swoop 
down on them to get revenge. The horse would not 
leave his rider but pranced around him whinnying 
and pawing up the dirt as if he sensed what had 
happened. Skinny Bill ran down and caught the 
horse and tied him to a wagon wheel, then rubbed the 
foam from the horse's sides, as he was lathered with 
sweat. That night Skinny and the negro cook stood 
guard over the body, but they sent word to the cow- 
boys and they soon circled the plains and had Ed in 
custody. They waited for the coroner to come from 
Sidney, before they could do anything in camp. When 
the body was viewed by the coroner's jury next morn- 
ing, the verdict was murder in the first degree, so 
the cowboys tied Ed on a horse and went back with 
the body to Sidney. Just north of Sidney where the 
coulies " divide, the boys in charge of the prisoner 
swung down into the middle coulie, and as they near- 
ed the mouth of it there came a group of cowboys un- 
der Jim Reddington. They surrounded the escort- 
ing party, when one of the vigilantes took down his 
rope and riding around Ed several times swinging his 
lariat, finally dropped it and the loop found its mark 
around Ed's neck. During this performance Ed never 
showed one particle of fear, not one word escaped his 
lips, but died like the dog he was. Heroic treatment 
some will say, but reader, what would you have done 
under the same circumstances? In conclusion, let me 


sav that the kid spoken of as Skinny Bill, is now Wil- 
liam Francis Hooker, editor of the Erie Magazine, 
New York City, Those days he was considered a boy 
lunger, and was a bovine agitator. Recovering his 
health, he went back to the east, and took up the 
newspaper work, working on the old Inter Ocean of 
Chicago, and led a useful and busy life since desert- 
ing his first love. 


There were four of us sitting together around a 
cheerful pine fire upon the site of a gi'assy knoll 
among the foot hills about forty miles from Custer. 
One of the party was a mountaineer, the rest were 
members of a large well armed train of Black Hillers, 
then toiling and working its way through a wilder- 
ness of sage brush, endeavering to reach the trail our 
party had discovered a few hours before. We had 
selected a spot for rest where wind or sun or perhaps 
both had melted away the snow from a huge pine 
knot almost petrified by age. The gTass, too, was lux- 
uriant and offered an inducement for us to halt and 
rest until the train came up. The fire lit the north in 
a blaze, we brought forth our pipes to smoke and 
watch the misty curtain raise. 'Twas a glorious 
scene on that crisp, frosty morning and the man who 
died there that day should have felt proud of his mag- 
nificient death chamber. Nature seemed to have 
lavished unlimited wonders and beauties upon the 
Black Hills and fate seems to have lead Dick Bur- 
nett to a most beautiful spot in the Black Hills in 
which to die. While we were calmly smoking around 
the fire watching the canopy rise like a feathery veil 
from the valley beneath us; while we silently ad- 
mired the magnificient back ground of glistening 
snow and bright green pines which in the morning 
sun appeared more beautiful than ever before; while 
we were just quietly admiring the beautiful blood 
red iron tinctured valley below us now plainly visible 
beneath the slowly rising curtain of mist, admiring 
the winding creek in its center which with its be^uti- 


fill fringe of orange kinnikinic willow appeared 
like a huge yellow snake in a basin of blood, a man 
rode suddenly • upon us. He sprang to his feet, rifle 
in hand. The stranger turnd his horse away in alarm 
and rode quickly away. He was a white man and we 
could not and had no reason to halt him. He rode 
out to the side of the road and dismounted. Then he 
proceeded to arrange and write upon some paper 
which he placed in his bosom and after some hesita- 
tion lead his horse to our surprised party and halted 
about thirty paces distant, rifle and pistol in hand. 
"Hello there." "Hello there yourself!" "Is this the 
Custer road?" "Don't know, have been lost all night." 
"Who are you?" "Pilgrims from Sidney. Been lost on 
the trail two days." Then the lonely stranger rode 
up and stood restlessly awaiting interrogation. He 
said he had left Custer two days before, that he was 
drunk when he left and did not know what he had 
done or hoAv he had got lost. He received lots of 
letters from our party and soon after bade us adieu. 
He said he was going to the States and we bade him 
look out for his scalp and said good bye. 

Poor felloAv, unfortunate drunk, it cost him his 
life. It was late in the afternoon when we met him 
again. We were in a dry camp, a camp in which 
snow must be melted for water for man and beast. 
The boys were just at work shoveling snow into camp 
kettles and melting it for the horses. Supper was 
over and the guards were out. A shot awoke rever- 
berating echoes of the hills and in a minute after- 
wards every man of fifty-flve people was prepared 
for duty. A party of vigilantes rude into the camp. 
They had come upon the guards suddenly and had 
been fired upon. They were rough looking men but 
all quite civil. They inquired for a lawyer, we had 
one so he came forward. They asked for a judge, we 
had none so they elected one. They asked for a 
preacher but found none. A clerk was found in a re- 
porter. They had brought back the strange man of 
the morning. He was a prisoner and seemed to rea- 
lize his position. He called the reporter and handed 


him back mail matter and requested him to write a 
few short letters for him. This was done and he 
signed them while court was being held. The judge 
seated upon the pile of harness, the jury upon a wag- 
on tongue. "Dick Burnett" shouted one of those 
strange, cruel men. Dick Burnett turned to the re- 
porter and handed him his papers and said in a trem- 
bling, shaking voice, ''It is all over with me I reckon, 
they all know me and there is no use squealing." He 
walked over to the wagon while two of the party 
went to a barkless old cottonwood tree w^here a lariat 
was thrown over a projecting limb. "Dick Burnett,'' 
said old Colonel Lyon, "you have been caught in the 
act of stealing a horse from the people of these Hills. 
You have also been found guilty of shooting and 
wounding with intent to kill Peter S. Lambert, and 
with stealing his horse. This here party of true and 
good men have this fact and say you must hang. 
What have you to say against it?'' Dick, while old 
Lyon was speaking manifested little or no feeling. 
He looked in the vicinity of us and seemed to expect 
some interference from the members of our party. 
He said, "I shot Peter Lambert but he wanted to get 
the drop on me. I took his horse and I may have 
taken a few others but what I done I done when I 
was drunk. If I have got to swing I will do it like a 
man, only give me time to fix up matters before I go." 
Then the poor fellow sat down and with tears in his 
eyes wrote a letter to his father at Stubbenville, Ohio, 
and one to his brother at Saint Louis, and still an- 
other to a lady in Coshocton, Ohio. Then he arose 
and dashing the tears from his bloodshot e3'es said he 
was ready. He gave his rifle and horse to Colonel 
Lyon to be sent back to the owner, Peter Lambert, 
and folding his arms walked to the horse. For a mo- 
ment he hesitated, life was sweet to him, he was not 
thirty years of age, but he was seized, pushed forward 
to the tree and mounting the horse without hesita- 
tion, the tears gushing from his eyes while his arms 
were belted down to his side. The rope was passed 
over his neck and drawn taut. Suddenly in another 


moment the horse received a blow that sent him dash- 
ing away and Dick Burnett was struggling between 
heaven and earth. It was soon over, the rope was 
untied and he fell to the earth and was left to the 
pilgrims to bury. We rolled him up in a saddle 
blanket^ and buried him in the blood red soil of Red 
Canyon with a pine board at his head "Richard Bur- 
nett of Stubbenville, Ohio, died February 26th, 1876." 
(Deadwood Pioneer 1876.) 


Among some of the outlaws and bad actors of 
1877 that infested the Hills were a couple of fellows 
known as Louis Curry and A. J. Allen. The final 
chapter in the history of the lives of these two men 
was concluded during the month of June, 1877. An- 
other man of ill repute whose life was snuffed out 
also at the same time was a fellow known as "Kid" 
Hall or James Hall. He had become so disreputable 
and his presence in the community so objectionable 
that he was ordered out of Deadwood and Crook City 
and started on his journey south on foot. While 
travelling along the trail he was overtaken between 
Crook City and Rapid City by Louis Curry and A. J. 
Allen or better known as "Red" Curry and "Doc'' Al- 
len, who had with them six horses. In those days the 
western people did not insist upon the formality of 
introduction nor did they inquire as to one's pedigree 
and when the two outlaws came upon "Kid" Hall 
tramping through the dust they invited him to mount 
one of their horses and ride with them. This offer to 
the "Kid'' was gladly accepted and he proceeded on 
the way with his two new companions. 

When Rapid City was being built the people re- 
sorted to the nearby hills to chop the logs of which 
the huts- were constructed. On the afternoon of June 
20, 1877, a small party of house builders consisting 
of Charles Hunt, his father and David Markel were 
out in the hills north of Rapid City preparing build- 
ing logs. Late in the afternoon Dave Markel, on 
horse back, had gone in search of more logs. In his 


travels it took him over the top of the hill north of 
Rapid City. When in the distance he saw several 
head of horses about some bushes in the shade of 
which several men were seen lying, he immediately de- 
cided that they were Indians and rushed pell mell to- 
ward his companions calling out to them that there 
was a party of Indians over the hill and then hurried 
on to Rapid City where he reported to the little band 
of settlers and Sheriff Frank Moulton that there were 
Indians north of town. The men who were gathering 
logs piled them on their wagons and hurried to 
Rapid City. In the meantime Sheriff Moulton and a 
posse of men who promptly assembled at the alarm 
of Indians rode out to the place where the horses 
and men were and surrounded them. The men on the 
ground were easily captured for they were asleep 
and when aroused surrendered without trouble. Off 
in the distance a man who had been placed on guard 
and afterward proved to be Powell was seen gallop- 
ing away down through the draw and out of sight. 
The fellow later met his death at the hands of the 
outlaw, Lame Bradley, in a row. The men captured 
under the bush proved to me "Red" Curry and "Doc" 
Allen and "Kid" Hall and in their possession were the 
six stolen horses. They and the horses were taken in 
charge by the sheriff and the men were placed under 
guard in a log cabin belonging to the stage company. 

About this time Ed Cook, in charge of the North- 
western Stage and Transportation Company, arrived 
from Deadwood and Crook City with the stage and 
coming to the place where the horses were held im- 
mediately recognized four of them as his own prop- 
erty that had been stolen from the stage barn at Crook 
City. The other two horses proved to be those that 
had been taken from a freighter at Crook City. Ed 
Cook in conversation with Mclntyre said, "What are 
we going to do with those fellows? How are we going 
to stop this stealing of horses and stock in this coun- 
try?'' Mclntyre replied, "The only thing that I can 
see is to give a jug of whiskey to the boys and do away 
with them.'' The three horse thieves had been placed 


in the little red log cabin belonging to the stage com- 
pany and several armed men were placed there to 
guard them preparatory to giving them a preliminary 
hearing. While in the granary "Kid'' Hall the youngest 
of the fellows, a fellow about twenty-two or twenty- 
three years of age and weighing some one hundred 
and sixty pounds, put his head out of the window 
and said to the bystanders, "You s — b — , you would 
not have gotten us if we had not been asleep.'' That 
evening the preliminary hearing was given to the 
three men and they were bound over by Bob Burleigh, 
justice of the peace. In the hearing "Doc" Allen and 
"Red'' Curry admitted their crime but said that 
"Kid'' Hall had absolutely nothing to do with the 
theft of the horses and that they had overtaken him 
on the way to Rapid City and finding him on foot in- 
vited him to ride with them. However, the justice of 
the peace bound all three over to appear before the 
circuit court for further investigation, the fellow 
known as "Kid'' Hall having a bad reputation and be- 
ing a worthless rounder. 

About twelve o'clock that night a band of masked 
men assembled around the little log house and de- 
manded that the guards surrender to them the pris- 
oners which of course the guards were compelled to 
do. The guards were also obliged not only to sur- 
render the prisoners but to accompany the visiting 
committee. As they proceeded to march away with the 
three prisoners the midnight jury took the men to the 
hill just west of Rapid City where there stood a lone 
pine tree and where they placed about the necks of 
the two older men a piece of clothes line rope, and 
making them to stand on rocks, tied the rope to an 
overhanging limb and kicked the rocks from beneath 
them. The question then was what was to be done 
with "Kid" Hall and the leader of the committee said, 
"Dead men tell no tales, up with him'' and in a few 
minutes "Kid" Hall was kicking and struggling in 
the air with his other pals. 

The next muruiug the party of log seekers who 
had made the hurried trip from the hills to their 





camps alona: the creek upon lookino; out over the hills 
saw over the horizon the three bodies hanj^no; to the 
limbs of the pine tree. They hurried np to the tree 
but by the time they arrived there they found that 
Justice Bob Bnrleii^h had preceded them there and 
was holdino^ a coroner's inqnest. Hanj2:in<? beneath 
the tree were the three bodies with blackened faces, 
protrndina: tons^nes, and their toes tonchina: the 
i2:ronnd. The men had not been hansjed bnt strangled 
to death. For years afterwards the people of Rapid 
City were known as the "Strani?lers." After the in- 
qnest was concluded several of the bystanders cut 
the rope and removed the bodies to a level place on the 
west side of the hill, where they were buried. 

Afterwards the father of Curry came to Rapid 
City and was quietly investigatino; the hang:inj? of his 
son and endeavorino^ to find out the names of the 
parties involved. When his presence and purpose be- 
came known he was interviewed by a committee of 
men who after warnino; him that they were aware of 
his purpose kindly advised him if he wished to return 
all tos^ether he had better leave town immediately, 
which counsel apparently was followed to the letter 
for no more was heard of him. The hangno; of these 
three unprincipled characters had a very wholesome 
effect on the unruly element and placed a very effective 
damper on cattle rustling and horse stealing. 


The following article is written by J. S. McClin- 
tock of Deadwood, a pioneer who has been quite ac- 
curate in his statement of pioneer incidents and il- 
lustrates the swift justice that often was meted out 
to thieves in those days: 

One of the main industries of Deadwood duiing 
the summer of 1876 was the traffic in horses. Many 
animals changed hands in a brief period of time. The 
better class sold here had been driven in by immigrants 
and freighters from Iowa and Missouri. An inferior 
grade Avere brought in as saddle and pack horses, 
from the surrounding country. Many of this class 


were picked up by "rustlers" on the range around the 
outskirts of the Hills, where they had been turned 
out to graze by their owners. 

One of several parties who were known to be en- 
gaged in this precarious business, and with whom I 
had some acquaintance having purchased a horse from 
him in December of that year, was known as "Bean 
Davis." Most of the time he staj^ed out in the valleys, 
but was seen frequently on the streets here, and at 
Central City where he had a partner named George 
Keating who was at that time owner of, or an interest- 
ed party in a butcher shop business. 

The butchers in these Hills towns would go out 
on the range and purchase cattle and drive them in to 
slaughter pens to prepare them for market. No one 
suspected that Keating was procuring his supply of 
meat in a different manner, but it was developed in 
the summer of 1877 that he, in connection with Davis, 
who had shifted from horse stealing to the more 
profitable business of cattle rustling, were picking up 
their supply on the range without permission or pay- 
ing therefore. These animals were driven, in small 
lots, into the timber where they were prepared for the 
meat market. 

While the owners of these stolen critters were 
missing their cattle they were unable to determine 
whether they were being rustled or had strayed. How- 
ever, their suspicions were aroused and the following 
interesting incident resulted: 

Keating and his partner, Davis, having more 
beef than they needed for their own shop, sold part of 
a load to another butcher. Just after payment was 
made by the purchaser, a stranger stepped in the 
front door. Keating, or Davis glanced at him and 
made hasty exit through the back door. This oc- 
casioned surprise among those who witnessed it and 
aroused suspicion. It inspired the editor of the Cen- 
tral City Enterprise (Bartholomew was his name, I 
think), to report the. affair under the heading "The 
wicked fleeth when no man pursueth.'' It is presum- 


ed that the stranger was recognized as one of the 
ranchers whose cattle had been rustled. 

From that time on the Vigilantes of Spearfish 
valley, under the leadership of "Who was Who," were 
engaged in finding the rendezvous of these two enter- 
prising young business men. It was located and one 
night the Vigilantes descended upon them while at 
their cache, which was located at a spring at the foot 
of Lookout Mountain, about two miles east of Spear- 
fish. They were aroused from slumber, taken under 
pine trees and swung from earth. The bodies were 
left swinging to be found next day, cut down and 

It was only one of the many deadly dramas of 
those stirring days. The suffering of these two young 
men who paid the penalty of frontier justice was of 
short duration. But who can tell of the grief of the 
mothers "back home" over their erring boys. 


One day about the middle of the last century a 
little boy was riding his brother's horse, bareback, 
down the cobble stone paved streets of the city of 
Philadelphia. The horse stumbled over the uneven 
pavement and threw the boy to the ground with such 
force that he became a cripple. And ever afterwards 
he moved about with a limp. This boy was Cornelius 
Donahue. However, the boy continued on his career, 
graduated from the Stephen Girard College of Phil- 
adelphia and wandered on west into Texas. Down in 
the Texas country they were troubled with the steal- 
ing of horses by the Indians and finally Donahue re- 
ciprocated and became an expert horse thief himself 
and succeeded in stealing a great many horses from 
the Indians. After a time he wandered into the Black 
Hills and became one of the pioneers of the early '70's 
where he was known as John A. Hurley and because 
of his crippled walk was commonly known as "Lame 
Johnny.'' In the year 1878 he was a deputy sheriff 
of Custer county and proved to be a very efficient of- 
ficer of the law. For a time he served as a bookkeeper 


in the Homestake Mining Company office. One day 
while working in the office an acquaintance who 
knew him down in Texas came into the building and 
recognizing Johnny addressed him as a horse thief 
from Texas. This caused Lame Johnny to become 
very furious and soon after that he quit his job in 
the Homestake and was not seen for sometime in the 

After awhile there was a rumor that he was back 
at his old trade of running off Indian horses and it 
was also rumored that he sometimes included the 
horses belonging to white men. He went from bad 
to worse and in the fall of 1878 he and his gang, one of 
which was Lame Bradley, engaged in the holdup of a 
coach on the Gilmer and Saulsbury stage line on the 
Lame Johnny Creek in Custer county about which we 
have heretofore written. Ed Cook the superintendent 
of the division was one of the victims and recognized 
Johnny but did not tell him so. However, he cau- 
tioned the messengers on the line to be on the lookout 
for the men. 

From there Johnny went down to the Pine 
Ridge looking for an opportunity to run off a bunch 
of Indian ponies. Captain Smith, a stock detective 
from Cheyenne, was in Pine Ridge when he heard 
that Johnny was around and he succeeded in capturing 
him under a warrant charging him with horse steal- 
ling done previous to this time. He brought him up 
to Red Cloud, a stage station, and here he learned that 
he was wanted for robbing the coach. As Johnny had 
taken the registered mail pouch at the time of the 
holdup Smith decided to bring him to Dead- 
wood to be tried on the charge of robbing the 
U. S. mail. Jesse Brown, one of the guards of the 
Old Iron Sides stage coach, a man of unquestionable 
bravery and absolutely trusted by his employers, was 
in charge of the coach that reached Red Cloud from 
Sidney on the day which Captain Smith brought 
Johnny to that station under arrest, shackled and 
handcuffed. Passage on the coach for Rapid City was 
secured and the marshal proceeded on the way with 


his prisoner. Jesse Brown describes the trip and the 
following incident in his own words : 

"The last holdup had been committed in Pen- 
nington county, and Rapid City was the county seat. 
So Lame Johnny was placed inside the coach in my 
care, and the marshal rode on the driver's seat. Ev- 
erything went along all right up to Buffalo Gap, 
when looking out towards the foothills to the west, 
we could see a horseman riding parallel with us at a 
swift gallop. Johnny became restless and nervous, 
saying that he did not like the appearance of the 
stranger. I asked him what he observed about this 
horseman to make him feel suspicious. His answer 
was, 'I think I recognize this rider as Boone May,' and 
it was Boone May, one of the guards. As yet, I did 
not have the least suspicion that there was any kind of 
job under way to do violence to any person. Teams 
were changed at Buffalo Gap, and there I had to take 
my saddle horse to Battle Creek, so as to have him 
there on the next trip down. We had reached a small 
creek, that now perpetuates the name of "Lame John- 
ny," when sure enough, the old, familiar command of 
'Halt' was heard. I dismounted quickly, tied the 
reins to a sage brush and left the road to the right, 
intending to creep up concealed by the brush, and 
see what was going on. Up to this time I did not 
know whether it was some of Johnny's friends attempt- 
ing to release him, or a holdup to rob the passengers 
and mail. Just as I was reaching the brush a voice 
from within said, 'Go back. Don't come any farther.' 
And at the moment I heard my wife and girls run- 
ning back on the road, thinking that I was still be- 
hind. So I called to them and went to them. They 
were frightened almost into hysterics. I succeeded in 
in getting them quieted somewhat, and then there was 
some shooting on the creek where the coach stood. 
Pretty soon. Smith, the deputy marshal, came back 
where we were standing in the road, and asked if I 
would let him take my saddle horse, as he wanted to 
reconnoitre a little. I granted his request, and with 
my family got aboard the coach. But there was no 


prisoner there and I do not know up to this time just 
what happened. For it was very evident to me that 
whoever it was that had ordered me not to come any 
farther, knew that I was riding behind the coach and 
was watching for me. Or it might have been that 
they (the mob) expected me to protect Johnny, which 
would have been my duty. The marshal left my horse 
at the station and I have not seen him since. I can- 
not understand how anyone could have known that 
Lame Johnny was on the coach on this particular 
day, unless the marshal communicated with some of 
his friends before leaving Pine Ridge agency. Johnny 
was hanged to a limb of an elm tree, just where he 
had robbed the coach, and one of his gang. Lame 
Bradley, shot at Ed Cook, the bullet penetrating his 
left ear. Cook was superintendent of the stage line." 

The next morning Pete Oslund, in charge of his 
bull freight train came by the place and there he 
found Lame Johnny hanging to the limb of an elm 
tree. Oslund and his men dug a grave at the foot of 
the tree and buried Johnny there. Years later 
his body was dug up and probably carried away for 
there was a highheeled boot that once belonged to 
him held by a man in the Hills years afterwards and 
the shackles that were on his body are now to be seen 
in the State Museum in Pierre. Lame Johnny had a 
very large mouth and John B. Furey, a United States 
Post office Inspector, in passing by the grave a few 
days later nailed to the tree above it a board on 
which he wrote the following epitaph: "To Lame 
Johnny : Stranger pass gently o'er this sod, if he opens 
his mouth, you're gone by God." 


This gang was made up of Tom Price, captain, 
Archie McLaughlin, Billy Mansfield and Jack Smith. 
Everyone who came into the Hills over the stage 
line knoAvs or heard more or less about Road Agents 
along in 1877-78. There was scarcely a coach got 
through without some experience with them. This 


particular gang referred to here had been operating 
along the line between Jenney's Stockade and the 
Cheyenne River. They held up several passenger 
coaches at different times and we were on the lookout 
for them. (Jesse Brown, narrator.) 

One Sunday morning in Deadwood, in Wes Travis' 
livery stable, very unexpectedly Archie McLaughlin 
came walking into the back part of the barn. One of 
the messengers happened to catch sight of him as 
he entered the door. He called to his aid one of the 
bystanders and placed Archie under arrest, took 
him to the jail and turned him over to Johnnie Man- 
ning, sheriff. 

I met them as they were coming back. Bill May 
was the messenger, and they told me what he had 
done and that Archie had told him that Mansfield 
was in town. So Bill and myself went on a search 
for him and found him up on Sherman street in a 
house belonging to an actor in Jack Langrish's theatre 
troupe, I have forgotten the name. We got to the 
door before he saw us. He was standing at a table 
drinking a glass of milk. He set the glass down 
quickly and reached for his gun, but he was covered 
before he got it. He threw up his hands as command- 
ed and we put him in a separate cell from Archie. 
In the afternoon we went up to the jail and had an in- 
terview with each one separately. They both told 
about the same story in regard to their companions. 
Smith and Tom Price, and where their, camp was. 

The next morning we got saddle horses for Bill 
and Jim May, Wes Travis, Archie and myself, and 
went to the place where the camp was supposed to be. 
There was some smoked dry bread and a small piece 
of bacon and a few magpies sitting around, nothing 
more. Archie then told us that this camp was only 
temporary and the main camp was 10 miles from 
there, southwest from Lead City. Nothing daunted, 
we struck out for camp. After we had traveled about 
seven miles we were on a ridge. Open timber, not 
much underbrush, but to the west of us there was a 


small valley covered with a very dense o^rowth of 
quakenasp, spruce and willows. 

Archie and I were riding together behind the 
others when he pointed down to this thicket and said, 
"Down there is where onr saddles are cached." I 
called the attention of the others to this and we halt- 
ed for a minute and concluded to go down and see 
if the saddles were still there. So Archie pointed out 
the exact spot as near as he could. We thought that it 
would not be best to take Archie into the brush and I 
was delegated to guard him while the two Mays and 
Travis went to search for the saddles. 

It was only a minute until the whole scene was 
changed from comedy to tragedy. Sure enough, not 
only a camp was found, but it was occupied, and by 
desperate men. The first thing I heard was to "throw 
up your hands,'' but the command was not obeyed — 
two guns went up instead. We might say five, because 
the five of them fired at about the same time. I made 
Archie sit down on the ground and place his arms 
around a tree and I handcuffed his hands on the op- 
posite side of the tree. Then I ran down to where the 
battle was going on. I met the three men coming out 
of the brush and asked if any of them were hurt and 
they said no, but there was one man in the brush that 
was pretty badly hurt so far as they could tell and one 
had got away. 

We surrounded the brush patch as well as we 
could, watching in every direction, but saw no Smith. 
Then we went into the brush and searched back and 
forth but never got a glimpse of him, neither then 
nor since. 

After it was all over the Mays and Travis went 
to Teeters' ranch where Englewood is now, and got a 
team to take Tom Price to town. He was shot 
through the stomach, the ball coming out close to the 
spine. After they got back with the team and fixed 
Price in the wagon on some hay, we let Teeters drive 
back to his place and we went to the main camp about 
three miles farther south expecting that Smith might 


attempt to reach it and get some things that he had 
there before leaving, but he was not there. 

They were well supplied with provisions, blankets, 
ammunition and everything that went to make up an 
outlaws' outfit. 

Tom Price got well. He was attended by Doctor 
Babcock of Deadwood. There were 21 days that ev- 
erything that he ate passed through the bullet hole 
in him. He was taken to Cheyenne, tried and con- 
victed, and sent to Lincoln, Nebraska, to serve five 
years in the penitentiary. 

McLaughlin and Mansfield were also taken to 
Cheyenne for trial, but when we reached there court 
was over for the term and they would have to be held 
there in jail for about six months, so the conclusion 
was to take them back to Deadwood and keep them 
there and perhaps to try them on a charge of grand 
larceny. They stole some cattle in Lawrence county 
some time before this. 

We started back on the coach, stopped at Fort 
Laramie for supper and started out again at about 
eight o'clock. I rode inside with the prisoners. Jim 
May was out with the driver. We had just entered 
the timber approaching the Platte river about a mile 
from the Fort, when that ominous cry was heard. 
"Halt." The driver pulled up his team quickly but 
had scarcely stopped when I struck the ground. I 
jumped right into the arms of a great big fellow who 
caught my gun and yanked it from me. I looked 
ahead and there was May standing disarmed and I 
was ordered to stand along with May. Then one of 
these men went to the coach door and ordered Mc- 
Laughlin and Mansfield to come out, and when they 
did so one man took them and left the road. The 
other fellow told May and myself to follow up. I 
protested and asked them what they wanted us to fol- 
low up for. He says, "Damn you, do as you are 
told." They only went a little ways when they halt- 
ed and one of them picked up a rope. It commenced 
to dawn on me that there was going to be some dast- 
ardly work done, and it was done quickly. The rope 


was placed around Mansfield's neck first and he was 
drawn np. Archie was next and while they were fix- 
ing the rope on him he wanted to say something to 
me, I presume about his folks down in Missouri, but 
he was told to shut up. The rope went up and he was 
hoisted between heaven and earth and left there. 

When it was all over these men went about twenty 
feet away, left our guns and disappeared in the woods. 
Just prior to this they had warned us that if we were 
wise we would keep our mouths shut. I could not 
make out what manner of men they were as their 
faces were masked except their eyes. 


When Abe Barnes, the foreman of a freight out- 
fit was on his way to Custer City, Dakota, in the 
month of February, 1881, he overtook a sore-footed 
and almost starved traveler who introduced himself 
as Jim Fowler. Barnes took pity on Fowler and in- 
vited him to join his outfit and gave him food and as- 
sistance. After they had arrived at Custer City, 
Fowler, who was commonly known as "Fly-Specked 
Billy'' borrowed Barnes' six shooter and soon after 
proceeded to shoot up the town making things very 
unpleasant for people on the street. Finally he came 
to a saloon where Barries was playing billiards and 
asked him to take a drink with him but Barnes polite- 
ly refused, whereupon "Fly-Specked Billy" in his 
drunken fury, blazed away, and killed Barnes al- 
most instantly. The murderer made a rush for the 
door but was struck down by a man called Bed. John 
T. Coad. the sheriff, arrived upon the scene and ar- 
rested "Fly-Specked Billy'' but before he could be 
placed in the jail a crowd gathered, took the prisoner 
away from the sheriff and rushed him over to the 
south side of the creek where he was strung up to a 
convenient tree limb, and thus ended the career of 
"Fly-Specked Billy." 


A few years ago, there was published a so-called 


account of this tight in the "Literary Digest," by a 
man named George Bartlett. He says that he was 
in the battle and led the posse of officers. He was not 
in the fight at all, and did not arrive on the gi'ound 
until forty-eight hours after the battle. His story is 
so unfair that A. M. Willard was persuaded to write 
the facts for the first time, not for the purpose of in- 
juring anyone; but to have the plain history of this 
battle published, which story follows: 

A short time before this event, warrants for the 
arrest of George Axelbee, Campbell, Alex Grady, 
Charlie Brown, (Broncho Charlie), Jesse Pruden, and 
others, all known as ''The Axelbee Gang of Outlaws," 
were placed in the hands of Al Raymond, deputy 
United States marshal for the territory of Dakota. 
One of the gang, Jesse Pruden, was arrested at Miles 
City, Montana, by Jack Johnson, sheriff of Custer 
county, Montana. He wired Raymond at once and 
Joe Ryan, a special deputy marshal of Spearflsh, Da- 
kota Territory, was sent after the prisoner. My 
brother, Fred A. Willard, and myself were deputies, 
and had been trying to locate this gang of outlaws 
after Joe Ryan had left Miles City with his prisoner. 
Fred Willard, who lived at Spearfish, found out that 
Axelbee and his gang were at Box Elder, Montana, 
about eighty miles north of the Black Hills, and they 
were there for the purpose of holding up Joe Ryan 
and releasing the prisoner, Jesse Pruden. 

Fred called me on the 'phone and wanted me to 
go out with him and meet Ryan; but I did not think 
that there was any danger and did not go at the time ; 
but Fred and Jack O'Hara, another deputy, started 
at once. 

That afternoon, Raymond received a dispatch 
from Sheriff Johnson at Miles City, saying that the 
Axelbee gang would be at Box Elder, Montana, and 
would make the attempt to kill Ryan and release the 

I then prepared to go out and overtake Fred and 
Jack, if possible, but my horse was at Spearfish, 
fifteen miles away. So Raymond sent two deputies. 


John Diitfy and Frank Jackson, to take me to Spear- 
fish. We made a quick trip to Spearfish. My horse 
was gone! I took a team ont of my brother's stable, 
and found a man, named McNarboe, who offered to 
go with me; he was a "cow puncher," formerly in the 
employ of the "Hash Knife Cattle Company,'' and he 
was posted on all the trails in the Little Missouri 
river country. 

We left Spearfish that night to overtake Fred 
and Jack, if possible; it was very cold and the snow 
was deep, making it very slow travelling. We drove 
all night although it was twenty-five degrees below 
zero. We reached Wisner's ranch on Hay Creek, 
Wyoming, about four o'clock in the morning of Feb- 
ruary 14, 1884. We rested the team about one hour 
and started out again. Duffy and his man had kept 
up with me so far; but their team was nearly exhaust- 
ed. I gave Duffy strict orders to keep up if he pos- 
sibly could. I knew he would as he was a fine officer 
and I had seen him tried out on several occasions. 

We arrived in sight of Stoneville, about noon. 
McNarboe wanted to drive over to the saloon; but I 
did not like the looks of things around there, as I had 
noticed some pack horses there, also I noticed several 
horses saddled and there were rifles on the saddles. 
I knew^ then that the outlaws were there; how many I 
could not tell, as no one was in sight; it would be well 
at this time to give a description and a brief history 
of Stoneville. 

Stoneville had been a trading post, in the days 
when large herds of buffalo ranged between the Black 
Hills and the Yellowstone River, Montana, and was 
headquarters for the hunters and trappers in that 
part of the country. There was a hotel and post of- 
fice and a house owned and occupied by Lew Stone, 
an old hunter and trapper. The principal place of 
business was the saloon, where all the different ele- 
ments of the country, cow boys, hunters and outlaws 
of all kinds, congregated, and was out of reach of the 
officers of the law. The place was about seventy-five 
miles north of the Black Hills and about one hundred 


twenty miles south of Miles City, Montana. This 
place was a favorite place for the oultaws. George Axel- 
bee and his gang; it was impossible for the officers to 
obtain any information of the outlaws from anyone 
in that part of the country. 

I told Mac to drive over to old Lew Stone's place. 
This house was about two hundred and iifty yards in 
a northeasterly direction from the saloon. A barn 
stood about one hundred feet south of Stone's house 
and nearly east from the saloon. We had just un- 
hitched the team when Axelbee and several of his 
gang came out of the saloon. As soon as Axelbee 
saw us. he yelled at us, asking who we were; as they 
did not know us at first. I told McNarboe to go to 
the house and I would cover him, and see that no one 
would trouble him. 

About this time Axelbee knew me and commenc- 
ed to call me names. After Mac had reached the 
house, I started after him. Axelbee raised his rifle, 
but changed his mind and did not fire. I reached the 
house and went in and was surprised to find Fred and 
Jack there. Up to this time, I did not know where 
the boys were ; they were very glad to see me for 
once in their lives, at any rate. They had been there 
for several hours, at a loss as to what to do, as there 
were six outlaws. Besides, there were several of the 
outlaws' friends there. 

''Boys, you have come a long way, looking for a 
fight and I reckon you will find one before we leave 
here!" said I. 

All this time the gang was calling us vile names 
and daring us to come out and fight. We held a coun- 
cil and decided to make the attempt to capture the 

It was not long before they commenced to pre- 
pare to leave. The bridge across the Little Missouri 
river was the point where they would be obliged to 
cross the river; it was nearer to our position than it 
was to theirs. This bridge was about four hundred 
yards from where we would be lined up. We had 
planned to wait until the gang had started for the 


bridge and then we wonld make a quick move and 
take up a position so as to cut them off from the 
bridge. There was a large crowd of cowboys and 
most of them were drunk and firing their six shooters 
around promiscuously, so that we did not know what 
to expect from them. It was not long before the out- 
laws mounted and yelling at us to come out and fight 
they started for the bridge. 

I had told Fred to call on them to surrender 
and be ready to shoot at the same time, as I had no 
idea that they would comply with the order at all. We 
knew we would be out in the open as there was no 
place that we could get under cover. We ran out 
around Stone's house and took up our position; Fred 
Willard on the left of the line, Jack O'Hara in the 
middle and a little to the rear of me, just as we had 
planned it; this only took a short time. We were 
about one hundred yards from Stone's house. Fred 
called out to them to surrender. Campbell and Fred 
fired at the same time. Campbell fell off his horse 
and then fell over the bank of the river, out of sight. 
The firing was very hot for awhile. Axelbee fell from 
his horse, badly wounded. He went over the river 
bank and his horse followed him over the bank, out 
of sight. Tuthill fell from his mule with a badly shat- 
tered arm. In the mix up, four horses were killed. 

Just then Jack groaned and said, "Cap, I'm 
done for" and fell near me. I spoke to Fred and 
said, "Jack is gone; do not spare one of that crowd." 

Fred turned to look at Jack. He was in the act 
of putting in a cartridge, a ball struck him between 
the shoulders, making a very painful but not a dan- 
gerous wound. Just then a ball struck through my 
coat and I turned as another ball grazed my left 
ear. I saw that those shots came from a group of 
cowboys near the saloon. I told Fred that the "punch- 
ers" were firing on us. We faced the other way; the 
cowboys fell back behind the saloon, there was none 
of the outlaws in sight, so Fred and I went back to 
Stone's house. I stopped at the corner of the house 
so that I could watch the river bank where Axelbee 


had fallen. A shot rang out and a ball struck in the 
logs of the house, about a foot above my head. I 
knew that shot was from Axelbee's gun, but he was 
not in sight. Just then two shots rang out across the 
river from the saloon and Jack Harris and Billy 
Cunningham, two cowboys, fell. We could not under- 
stand that move then. I then discovered that O'Hara 
was still alive, and called old Stone and Billy Thaeh- 
er and had him carried up to the house. He lived only 
a few minutes after he reached the house. 

Up to this time, we had supposed that the cow- 
boys had firfed on us. McKenzie, the proprietor of the 
saloon, came out and raised a white flag. I went 
over and had a talk with him. I was very much sur- 
prised to learn that the shots fired from that direction 
were fired by one of the outlaws, Billy McCarthy, 
(Billy, the Kid). He had taken a position in among 
the cow punchers, and he was the one who had done 
most of the damage. Axelbee, after firing on the 
cowboys, although badly wounded, mounted his 
horse with Grady and Brown, both badly wounded, 
and rode up the river, keeping under the banks of the 
river, out of sight, getting away at the time. They 
stopped at a house up the river and got bandages, 
medicines and grub. Then they made a circle and 
after dark, struck down the river. I soon found out 
that Campbell was not killed. Although wounded in 
the head, he had wandered down the river, out of 
sight. I also learned that Axelbee had a score to set- 
tle with Harris and Cunningham (the two cowboys 
whom Axelbee had shot in such a cowardly manner). 
These boys were working for Driskill, up the Little 
Missouri River, and Cunningham had told Axelbee 
to keep away from the ranch as it was giving the 
ranch a bad name, their coming there, and they did 
not want men of his kind around. Axelbee was very 
angry and swore that he Avould "get even,'' so when 
he (Axelbee) found that he was wounded and would 
be obliged to get out at once, he stepped behind a 
tree and deliberately shot these two boys down in cold 
blood. They were shot in the back. He killed Gun- 


niiigliam instantly and wounded Harris, who died of 
his wounds later. I made up my mind that Campbell 
would go to a certain ranch four or five miles down 
the river. I kept watch that evening and saw a young 
man come up the river. I kept close watch and 
saw him hand a note to Hood, the foreman of the 
''Hash Knife Company." Hood gave me the note. In 
the note was a request from Campbell for Hood to 
send down a horse so that he could escape. I held 
up the young man who had brought the note and 
kept him until after dark. We then took a posse and 
went down to this ranch where Campbell had gone. 
We also took the young man. We tied a horse near 
the house where Campbell could see it. I instructed 
this 3^oung man to go in and tell Campbell that there 
was a horse for him and that he had better go at once. 
Campbell was all ready and went out at once, and he 
was armed with a Marlin rifle and revolver. He was 
called upon to surrender; but he refused and com- 
menced firing. He fell, riddled with balls. Tliat 
ended the Battle of Stoneville. The next day Fred 
Willard concluded to start for Spearfish with O'Hara's 
body, but was delayed. I commenced to organize a 
posse of "cow punchers" to follow two outlaws who 
had escaped. I was kept over another day. That 
night, more than forty-eight hours after the fight, Al 
Raymond, W. O. Frost, Doctor Babcock, George Bart- 
lett. Doctor Louthan, John Bell and others arrived at 

Fred went back with the body of O'Hara. I took 
my posse and struck out after the outlaws that had 
escaped. I met Joe Ryan and his prisoner on Box 
Elder Creek, twenty miles north of Stoneville, sent a 
man with him and went on. The weather was very 
cold, but we scoured the country, but did not capture 
any of the gang at that time. After a long, cold ride, 
we returned to Stoneville, found Tuthill, the wounded 
outlaw, in a very bad shape. I had him sent into 
Spearfish and I followed him the same day and had 
him placed in the hospital at Spearfish, and returned 
to my home at Deadwood, where I was very much 


surprised that the news of this fight had caused con- 
siderable excitement. They were printing "extras" 
every day, also at Fort Meade a troop of the Seventh 
United States Cavalry, were ordered out; but my 
coming in stopped the expedition. Some time after 
this — two weeks, I should judge, Tuthill was taken 
out of the hospital and hung, making six men that 
lost their lives at Stoneville. The names of the out- 
laws engaged in this battle were George Axelbee, 
Campbell, Axel Grady, Charlie Brown (Broncho 
Charlie), Harry Tuthill, and Billy McCarthy, (Billy, 
the Kid), six outlaws. The names of the officers were 
Fred A. Willard, Jack O'Hara and A. M. Willard, 
Duffy and Jackson did not arrive on the ground un- 
til after the fight, their team played out much to their 
disappointment. Duffy rendered some valuable ser- 
vices in various ways. Duffy and John Bell buried 
the dead, and did other things that helped me very 
much, Bartlett, in one of his articles, says that he 
killed Campbell and took the six shooter off of Camp- 
bell's body, and kept it as a relic of that battle. Camp- 
bell was killed and buried forty-eight hours before 
Bartlett arrived at Stoneville. Bartlett never saw 
Campbell, dead or alive. Broncho Charlie died of his 
wounds afterwards. Axelbee and one of his men were 
killed about four months afterwards. 


The short span of the life of Harry Tuthill pre- 
sents a picture of tragic interest. His father was a 
most efficient and brave officer of the United States 
during the civil war and the duty of examining all 
ships entering the port of New Orleans devolved up- 
on him. At last he fell a victim to the yellow fever 
and with him went his wife also, leaving Harry 
Tuthill, the baby boy to be buffed about by the hands 
of fate. His family belonged to wealthy and prom- 
inent people of New York who took him there and 
held him for several years, but they found that the 
boy was too high spirited to grow up in a large city 
and sought a home for him on some western farm. 


After careful inyestioation and search the home of 
a most honorable family on a farm in Iowa was select- 
ed and the voiith of aristocratic lineage and proud 
family was sent to the west for training. 

The good people of the western home came to 
love and admire the honorable, upright and generous 
orphan and sought to adopt him as their own, but the 
boy was an heir to a great fortune from ancestors in 
England and his relatives would not consent to this 
move. However, the child grew up strong and healthy, 
developed a keen intellect and became the big brother 
to the little boy of his foster parents. He was the 
champion and protector of his little playmate and 
was ever his guardian. Then there came the time 
when Tuthill answered the call of the wanderlust, 
left the kindly people and his only chum, and went 
forth to battle the world alone. 

At his majority he voj^aged to England, claimed 
and received |20,000.00 of his inheritance, but on the 
return trip fell in with gamblers and landed in New 
York jDenniless. A wealthy aunt came to his rescue, 
furnished him money and started him out in the drug 
business in a town in Minnesota. He had with him 
a partner, and again unkind fate sent the wheel of for- 
tune spinning against him and the partner soon had 
him seeking for a place to sleep and a means for liveli- 
hood. Tuthill, being an expert horseman and shot, 
went west and made a living for awhile shooting 
buffalo. His love for horses soon called him into the 
business of buying, selling and trading horses out in 
the west. 

In his work of dealing in horses, he no doubt 
met Axelbee's gang and did business with them. But 
there seems to be no evidence of his ever having tak- 
en any part in stealing horses from the settlers. How- 
ever, it is known that he was intimately acquainted 
with the police oflflcers and that in talking with one 
of them he was apprised of the fact that the officers 
were to proceed from Deadwood and prevent the 
Axelbee gang from interfering with the delivery of 
the arrested man, Pruden. Accordingly he left the 


city of Deadwood, ahead of the officers, and arrived 
in Stoneville shortly before the coming of Willard and 
his men. Being loyal to his friends, and knowing the 
danger that was menacing the Axelbee gang, he no 
doubt sought to avert the probable blood shed. Be 
that as it may, he Avas in the saloon on that fatal day 
with many other men, and when he came out of the 
building and started to ride away on his mule, a bul- 
let from the officers went crashing through his elbow 
smashing the arm which flopped about as his mule, 
startled with the smell of blood, went bucking and 
snorting doAvn the creek. However, Tuthill could 
not be unseated and although wounded, conquered 
the frightened animal and sought aid from a farmer 
who took him into his cabin, and bound a fresh deer 
skin thong above the jagged wound. This was so 
tight as to almost stop circulation and the upper arm 
became swollen to such an extent that the wounded 
man could not endure the torture and insisted upon 
the thong being cut. Another man then washed a 
silk neck scarf and drew it back and forth through the 
mangled arm to clean it, the pain caused by this treat- 
ment being almost unendurable. 

Later, men came out from Spearflsh and brought 
the wounded man to the hospital for treatment. In 
the quiet hours of the night, six men, among whom 
were some of the officers of the law, dressed in buf- 
falo overcoats, came to the room of the man. Angered 
by the loss of their companion, and forgetting the 
law, they tore the half dead sufferer from his bed, 
clad only in the single short shirt, dragged the tor- 
tured man through the biting and stinging snow to a 
tree on the edge of town and placing a rope about 
his neck pulled his body up to a branch. In the morn- 
ing the people of the town beheld the frozen form 
blackened and distorted in the agony of strangula- 
tion, swaying beneath the tree in the cold blasts of the 
Avintry wind. 

The body was removed and buried in the town 
grave yard. Above the grave was placed a pine tree 
trunk, painted a bright red, the sign of the outlaw. 


Many sncceediiii? winters came and went and summer 
followed snmmer until the grave of Harry Tuthill be- 
came overgrown with the wild grass of the prairies 
and the red paint of the wooden shaft had almost 
faded away. Then one day, when the people had 
gathered in May time to place upon the graves of 
loyed ones the young flowers of spring, they were as- 
tonished to see a man at the foot of the weather worn 
shaft of red, tearing away the wild grass and weeds 
above the neglected grave of the so-called outlaw. It 
was the playmate of his childhood, the boy whom 
long years before he had shielded from the blows of 
his fellows. He was a minister now, obedient to the 
divine precept, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the 
least of these ye have done it unto me." 


The people of the Black Hills during the period 
of the 70's and 80's were very stern and firm in their 
ideas of justice and preservation of order. Through- 
out all of the Hills towns and mining camps any ser- 
ious infraction of the law received immediate atten- 
tion from the common people as well as the sworn 
officers. They did not stand long upon the theory of 
the law or the letter but were very practical and we 
find that duels took place, all kinds of shooting 
scrapes and fights ensued, often resulting in very seri- 
ous injuries to those engaged. 

The people of Sturgis in those days were not in 
the least backward in their efforts to enforce respect 
and protection for property. The first record we have 
of a lynching taking place in Sturgis was one that 
grew out of the robbery of an immigrant, the sub- 
stance of which is taken from the Sturgis Record of 
June 13th, 1881, as follows: 

A month ago Theodore Schraum, a German of 
pretty good circumstances as the world goes, started 
from Minnesota for the Black Hills to take up a farm 
and settle down. He had with him a team and some 
little money and when near the Dakota and Minne- 
sota lines he bought a mule to add to his outfit and 


started overland. He finally arrived at Fort Meade 
and was dumbfounded when his recent purchase, the 
mule, was taken possession of by the authorities at 
the Post who claimed it had been stolen, and was a 
government mule. Schraum had no recourse and 
tried to buy another mule and in so doing disclosed 
the fact that he had the money with which to do it. 
He was unsuccessful, however, and as he was unable 
to travel further the authorities at the Post hitched 
a government team to his outfit and hauled it off the 
military reserve, leaving him just over the line near 
Downer's brewery. He was about paralized at the 
turn things had taken. This occurred on Monday and 

Wednesday evening three men, two in soldier's 
clothes and one in citizen's clothing, approached him 
and one of the men suddenly bounced upon him with 
a big revolver and striking him over the head several 
times rendered him nearly insensible. While he was 
in this condition the three footpads went through 
him and relieved him of about |335.00, all the money 
that he possessed in the world and then they made 
their escape. Mr. Schraum says that he hardly thinks 
he could identify any of the parties but while his as- 
sailants were battering him on the head the revolver 
went off over the fellow's shoulder but he did not 
know where the shot went. Upon investigation it 
was learned that a soldier had been shot at Fort 
Meade but when search was made for him he was not 
to be found. Later about twelve o'clock at night he 
was discovered and suspicion immediately attached to 
him because he was found in an old cabin about three 
quarters of a mile from the Fort and was absent 
from his quarters without leave. An examination of 
the wound disclosed the fact that the bullet went 
through his arm and into his side. After several 
hours of grilling he confessed and told that a fellow, 
Alex Fiddler, a dissolute character about town, was 
the man who had been the leader in the crime. He 
said that Fiddler pounded the victim with a gun and 
still more got all the money and that the other sold- 


ier was named Brown. Judge Jewett, the local jus- 
tice of the peace, immediately proceeded to have Fid- 
dler arrested and accompanied by Cole and Roy 
carrying shot guns and Scollard and Green with self 
cocking six shooters made the rounds and found Fid- 
dler in a house of easy virtue. When ordered to throw 
up his hands the tough complied with alacrity and was 
escorted to Jewett's office and arrangements made to 
have a preliminary hearing given to him on Friday. 
In the mean time he was confined in the city jail. 
That night about two o'clock in the morning a body 
of masked men filed into the room where Fiddler was 
under guard Avith Dan McMillan as special deputy. 

At the solicitation of several guns McMillan 
weakened and the visitors promptly blindfolded him 
and Fiddler. The procession then started west to 
grow up with the trees. When nearly opposite the 
Catholic church they met a man whom they made 
sit down in the grass in company with one of them. He 
said he was so frightened he was afraid to breathe 
and almost unwilling to wink for fear his eye lid would 
squeak and that gun would go off. McMillan was 
faced about and ordered to go home and home he went. 

When Sheriff Souter went out to hunt for his 
late prisoner he found that personage about two feet 
above the ground, a brown rope was around his neck 
and the other end around a branch of the tree, which 
stands just around the bend in the road on the way 
to Bullis' ranch on the other side of the Catholic 
church. Souter came back, procured a wagon and 
went back after the body but life had flown. Fiddler 
was taken down, the rope disentangled and the body 
brought to town where it was laid in the office of 
Judge Jewett and covered with a Sturgis Record and 
a Police Gazette. As before stated no explanation has 
been offered for his demise. Some claim that he 
feared the disgrace that would follow his arrest and 
it was suicide, others think that he was robbing birds 
nests and falling became entangled in the rope, others 
think that his guard tied him too short." 

Fiddler was a rough and tough. He had mur- 


deied a man in Pierre and blood and hair were found 
on his revolver. In spite of this he escaped the pen- 
alty. All of the witnesses were spirited away so 
when the trial came on no one appeared to give testi- 
mony. An nncle in Colorado gave |GOOO.o6 to clear 
him and the attorney a retainer's fee of |2500.00. W. 
J. (jidley saw Fiddler lying in the judge's office 
stretched out on the long table and said he had 
known the man for five years between here and Pierre 
and that he never saw him look so well as he did that 
day. At the same time, while the coroner's inquest 
was proceeding, Fay Cowden and a tinhorn gambler, 
who were on opposite sides of the corpse got into a 
fight and proceeded to pelt one another across the 
dead body of the robber which rolled back and forth 
between them. This violation of official etiquette, an 
open contempt of court, was speedily stopped by 
Judge Jewett ordering the gambler put in irons, a 
pair of bracelets for which purpose was furnished by 
W. W. Sabin. 

It appears that the man Fiddler had been or- 
dered out of Sturgis last winter but had refused to go. 
After the news of the lynching had been noised about 
and the soldier, Brown, heard of the disastrous end of 
his friend, Fiddler, he sent for Souter and offered to 
give him his money. Souter accordingly took him 
down to his quarters at the Fort and took |100.00 out 
from behind a looking glass and handed it over, |75.00 
was also recovered from Fiddler's solid girl. Hughes 
refused to yield up his share of the game. 


One of the events in the early days of Sturgis 
that caused an unusual amount of excitement at the 
time and later led up to the outrage committed by 
the Twenty-fifth Regiment of the U. S. Cavalry, the 
same regiment that years afterwards repeated a sim- 
ilar crime in Brownsville, Texas, and called forth the 
just wrath of President Roosevelt, was the assassina- 
tion of Doctor H. P. Lynch, during the month of 
August, 1885. 


The following account in the main is taken from 
the Stnrgis Record, August 28th, 1885 : 

Saturday night last, about eleven o'clock, Doctor 
H. P. Lynch was sitting in his drug store reading a 
paper. His right side was toward the door and he 
was leaning against the counter. He was shot down 
from the front of the building through a window. 
The ball entered the right side, passed through the 
spinal column, lodging on the left side and a little 
above the heart. He did not struggle and appeared 
to suffer very little although he groaned and it is 
thought called for help once or twice in an agonized 
voice but when help arrived he was dead. The crack 
of the pistol sounded like a 22 but in reality it w^as a 
44. To get the full facts of this dastardly deed it is 
necessary to go back a little. 

The murderer's name was Ross Hallow but he en- 
listed in the army under the name of Hallon and be- 
came a corporal of Company A, Twenty-fifth Infantry. 
Sometime ago he had a quarrel with his paramour, 
one Mamie Lewis, a colored woman of the town. He 
struck and abused her and finally kicked in two of 
her ribs. Doctor Sanderson attended to her and af- 
terwards Doctor Lynch, who is said to have advised 
the girl to have Hallon arrested for the beating. She 
must have told him about it for it seems at different 
times he made threats against the Doctor for his 
counsel in the matter. On Friday night preceding 
the murder Hallon asked Price Rann for a revolver. 
Rann was going on guard at the time and did noth- 
ing about it but the next morning was again approach- 
ed by Hallon to whom he gave the key to D. I. Green's 
box where the gun was. Hallon took the key, got the 
gun and returned the key to Rann and went on about 
his business. 

That evening Corporal Hallon and Private John 
Bufford came up town together. About ten thirty 
o'clock Hallon asked Buft'ord out back of Abe Hill's 
dance hall and gave him a drink of brandy out of 
the bottle which he carried. Bufford took a small 
drink and Hallon a large one. Subsequently Hallon 


asked his companion to take another which he re- 
fused to do but the owner of the bottle took another 
long pull at it. This put enough courage in him and 
he proceeded to carry out his plans as formed. He 
asked Bufford if he did not want to change blouses 
for awhile but the private refused. Hallon insisted. 
Then it appears that Bufford was a little afraid of 
him and consented. The change was made in the alley 
between the dance hall and the building lately occu- 
pied as a tailor shop on the corner. Hallon then 
told Bufford to go down and wait for him in front 
of Ingall's house on tlie Fort Meade road and he would 
soon be along. Hallon said he would give Bufford ten 
minutes to get there in. He had a dog which he 
wanted Bufford to take with him and even stoned him 
to induce him to leave him. Bufford went down the 
street. It seems that he said he was afraid some- 
thing was going to happen and he did not even know 
but what he had been marked out as a victim. 

When below the Pierson house he met Frank 
Martinus, a soldier called "Mexican Frank," and ask- 
ed him for a revolver but Frank refused to let him 
take one and he passed on down the street. When 
near the bridge at Ingall's he stopped as per agree- 
ment and soon heard a shot fired. At that moment 
Louis C. Eaymond, corporal of the Seventh Cavalry, 
came along from town and Bufford asked him who 
fired the shot. Raymond said he did not know, then 
went on down toward the post. In a few minutes 
Hallon appeared at the lower corner of Ingall's fence 
where they changed coats, Bufford taking his private's 
blouse and Hallon his with corporal chevrons on the 
sleeves. They walked up toward town and when 
about opposite Campbell's Forest Saloon, Bufford ask- 
ed his companion for the pistol which he had taken 
from his blouse and was examining. Hallon very 
readily gave it up. When the two men got up as far 
as the bank corner they could see the group of men 
in front of the drug store. Bufford wanted to go over 
but Hallon kept on up the street. Bufford knew that 
there had been trouble and that Hallon has caused it 


anrl he recalled that he had the weapon with which 
the deed, if any. had been done and his only thought 
was how he could get rid of it. 

He met "Big" Anderson, a soldier, and offered 
him the gun telling him of his suspicion. Anderson 
refused to take it aiid told Bufford he had better make 
a clean breast of the whole affair. However. Bufford 
hid the gun under the sidewalk near Hill's from where 
it was taken by Hallon. 

Through the efforts of Deputy Sheriff Souter, 
Bufford and Hallon were soon placed under arrest 
and from the testimony of the witnesses held before 
the coroner's jury it was clearly evident that Hallon 
had become angered over the fact that Doctor Lynch 
had counseled the negro woman to have Hallon prose- 
cuted for the cruel beating he had administered to 
her and that the negro soldier had murdered Doctor 
Lynch for i evenge and Bufford accordingly was re- 
leased and Hallon was placed in the city jail on Mon- 
day morning to await a preliminary hearing. The 
coroner's examination, although private, had been so 
held that the evidence became known and the verdict 
to the effect that the deceased came to his death from 
a pistol shot at the hands of Corporal Hallon was pub- 
lished abroad and it was feared that an effort might 
be made to effect his rescue. Consequently two 
guards, Norman McAulay and John P. McDonald, 
were armed and placed ' inside the jail as guards. 
About nine thirty o'clock the guards were aroused by 
a knock on the outside of the jail door and in reply to 
the inquiry as to who was there the answer came that 
it was Soiiter. The hook on the inside was lifted up 
and McAulay opened the door about six inches. A 
rush from the outside followed, McAulay was siezed 
and blindfolded and snaked outside. McDonald saw 
several double barrel guns with muzzles as big as 
the top of a barrel pointing at him and under the cir- 
cumstances surrendered. The prisoner, Hallon, was 
thereupon siezed by his rescuers and all were rushed 
west of town to a large tree near where the North- 
western viaduct is now located. Hallon was a strong 


and powerful man and walking a short distance must 
have escaped from his rescuers by a sudden plunge 
and fled away in the darkness. When he was next 
seen he was hanging to the tree where Alex Fiddler 
met his fate. However, before he was swung to the 
tree Hallon confessed to the crime and told how he 
had changed blouses, drank vast amounts of brandy 
to nerve him up, fired the shot, ran away down the al- 
ley and after the shooting, the shock of the crime 
drove every fume of liquor from his head and, now 
that his end was near, did not have anything to con- 
ceal. Just then his feet failed to connect with the 
ground and his rescuers knew he had escaped them. 
They thereupon separated and have never been seen 

As soon as the guards were released by the posse 
of men who had proceeded up the street a short ways 
they were told to go home and further, not to turn 
back or look around or they would be filled full of 
holes like a sieve. McAula}^ had a family and McDon- 
ald hoped to have one, naturally neither one of them 
looked back. They came down town and informed 
Sheriff Souter of what had occurred and that officer 
collected a crowd of men for the purpose of captur- 
ing the escaped prisoner. They searched the country 
but without avail. Meanwhile a detachment from the 
Seventh Cavalry with Lieutenants Scott, Baldwin 
and Wilcox were searching for the prisoner. They 
passed right by the tree wliere shortly afterward Hal- 
lon was found hanging but saw him not. Upon their 
return later, within fifteen minutes, they discovered 
the lifeless body of the murderer. Hallon was hang- 
ing about two feet from the ground and Lieutenant 
Scott seized him around the legs and immediately lifted 
him up so as to release the strain on his windpipe, a 
soldier climbed up and released the rope but when let 
down the body of Hallon was minus a soul. The re- 
mains were brought to town and deposited in Judge 
Jewett's office where an examination was held on 
Tuesday, the next day. The rope was also brought 


that had been l)roken. A number of witnesses were 
examined bnt a very lamentable ignorance was ap- 
parent on all sides. A rigid inquiry was made as to 
who had sold the rope that afternoon or evening bnt 
it was discovered that the rope that had supported 
the man was an old one and had a snap on the end 
like those used by the government, in fact it was 
claimed that it was a quartermaster's rope. The cor- 
oner's jury, consisting of Messrs. Witcher, McMillan, 
and Cole returned a verdict to the effect that the de- 
ceased came to his death by strangulation or some 
other climatic disease at the hands of parties un- 
known. It was said that on the evening the corporal 
failed to touch the ground that a large number of 
men from Troop Twenty-fifth Infantry started for 
Sturgis with arms but were overhauled by the detail 
from the Seventh Cavalry and turned back. It is not 
known what their intentions were but it was sur- 
mised they intended to liberate the prisoner Hallon. 
Many threats had been heard from irresponsible 
colored soldiers and a few white ones. The coroner's 
jury in particular was threatened but it was suppos- 
ed that such talk was merely buncombe and the state- 
ment was made at the time in the columns of the 
Record: ^'But as sure as daylight and dark come each 
in its turn if anyone is detected in any way or act or 
at any attempt to carry out the threats made he or 
they will swing to the 'Fiddler's Tree' inside of fifteen 

How futile was this boast and how serious the 
conditions the affair had created in the frontier 
town will be realized by recital of the event that oc- 
curred the very next month in the shooting up of the 
Abe Hill's dance hall by a mob of colored soldiers, an 
account of which is taken from the Sturgis Record of 
September 25th, 1885, as follows: 


Last Sunday morning at about two o'clock a 
crowd of colored soldiers from Fort Meade, members 
of Company H Twent^^-fifth Infantry, marched up 


the main street of Stnrgis in files of four with their 
arms, the property of the LTnited States and under 
command of one of their members fired up fifty shots 
into various buildings. They killed one man, an inof- 
fensive cowboy who at that time was looking out of 
Abe Hill's club room. 

This crowd of murderous men had escaped the 
sentry guard and patrol which is supposed to keep 
them inside the garrison and taking their guns from 
their barracks with which to commit this crime. 
They marched up the street with military precision 
and at the word of command given by John Taylor, 
who was apparently the commander of the squad, 
came to a halt in front of Hill's place. Some one in 
the back called out and asked if there was any sold- 
iers ill the house and said that they had better get out 
as the place was to be fired on. Again Taylor gave 
the word to make ready and to fire, whereupon a ter- 
rible crash ensued from the army rifles and the place 
was riddled with bullets. A general scatter ensued. 
All the balance in the place at the time ran out the 
back door knowing that they stood little show be- 
hind a thin wall while five hundred grains of lead 
were crashing through. After these defenders of our 
country fired several more volleys and at random, 
Judge Ash experienced a narrow escape as he was 
looking ottt the window of his home. Whenever and 
wherever a citizen showed himself these men fired and 
were it not for the poor marskmanship of the mob 
there would have been more than one death to account 
for. From there the mob went hack down the street and 
shot at various buildings on that side of the street 
and stopped at Dolan's where their leader called a 
halt. A systematic assault was made on that place, 
the soldiers shooting at the lamps and furniture and 
at the retreating forms of parties who were in the 
house. After satisfying in part their brutal desire 
for a fancied revenge, they called in braggadocio 
style for Souter and Cole, making threats against 
them and then went up the street again opposite the 
place of the first assault where the body of their vie- 


tim lay on the floor of the dance hall and then dis- 
patched down the side street. While they were in 
the town everything was at their mercy and they 
knew it. The raid, and such it was. was so unexpect- 
ed that it took the authorities as well as everyone else 
by surprise. However, had the peace officers de- 
sired they could not have arrested one of the 
crowd. One man or two men would have been power- 
less with such brutes armed with heavy guns and just 
crazy enough to shoot at everything in sight. They 
were crazy and cursed Avildly and went on shooting. 
Between every volley they would shout against Stur- 
gis and assert they were getting revenge. As soon 
as word was received at the Post that the mob was 
up here a company was dispatched up but of course 
all was quiet when it arrived. A patrol was left on 
the street. 

Monday morning an inquest was held on the body 
of the victim and a verdict was returned to the effect 
that death resulted from the effects of a gun shot in 
the hands of one of the mob and identified Evans, 
Watson, Greer and Taylor of Company H as four of 
the crowd. The dead man was Robert S. Bell, a young 
man who had just only arrived in town and had been 
employed by Clark Tinley in the 7 D outfit. The bul- 
let passed through one of the four-inch awning posts, 
through the wall of the building and through the 
body of the victim just having sufficient force to per- 
forate the body and drop down inside his clothes. The 
ball had entered the body between the ninth and 
tenth rib and passing up through his body had in- 
jured his heart before it passed through into the low- 
er part of the sternum. He clasped his hands over 
his breast and cried out, "My God I am killed" and 
crawled across the room and fell outside through the 
back door where after about twenty minutes he died. 

Immediately after the inquest Coroner Wright 
filed a criminal complaint against the four men who 
were at the time in the jail at the Post, they having 
been arrested by the military officers with a dozen 
or so other ones none of whom, however, had been 


identified. When brought before Judge Jewett they 
waived examination and were bound over without 
bail for an appearance at the next grand jury. They 
were never tried as the evidence was not sufficient to 


The instances hereinbefore described when men 
paid the penalty with their lives through the medium 
of the twisted rope, were when the regular procedure 
of the courts of justice had not yet been firmly estab- 
lished. However, in due course of time the strong 
arm of the law held sway and was first displayed in 
all its grim reality as the closing chapter in the life 
of James Gilmore and as the results of the following 
incident : 

James Layton Gilmore was the son of a wealthy 
and prominent southern family. He was drawn to the 
west along with many other fortune and adventure 
hunters and had been engaged in the cattle business 
in Montana besides working for a time as a mule- 
skinner or freighter. He was a handsome young man 
and very popular wherever he was acquainted. He 
came to the Hills from Montana with his partner, 
William Thomas, known as "Smoky Tom." He and 
"Smoky Tom" were on the Pierre Trail with a freight 
outfit in June, 1879, and with them was a Mexican by 
the name of Bicente Ortez. When about fifty miles 
west of Fort Pierre, Gilmore quarreled with the Mexi- 
can and became insanely angry. The great fault with 
Gilmore was his quick, violent and unreason- 
ing temper. He walked away from the Mexican who 
was sitting en a yoke. "Smoky Tom," knowing that 
Gilmore was going to get his revolver, admonished 
the Mexican not to sit there and be shot like a dog, 
but his counsel was not heeded. Gilmore went to the 
bunk where he and "Smoky" slept, and not finding 
his gun, took that of his pal and returning to the Mexi- 
can ordered him to stand up and then shot him. The 
Mexican, defenseless, threw his hat at Gilmore who 
then shot him dead with two bullets more. After sup- 


per that evening, Gilmore started away from the 
freight train, but when about three hundred yards 
away, accidentally shot a finger off his hand and return- 
ed. "Smoky Tom" found that the finger was hanging 
by a small piece of skin and accordingly cut it off and 
wrapped up the Injured hand for his friend, who 
under the cover of darkness and with a purse of $17.00 
given him by the boys in the freight train, again took 
up his flight and wandered down to the Niobrara coun- 

In the Niobrara country he started and ran a 
low dive or dance hall for a couple of years. The trouble 
that arose there caused an army lieutenant to pro- 
ceed to the place with a detail of soldiers to arrest 
Gilmore in 1881, as this was on the reservation. 
Lieutenant Burdow did not know that the dive keeper 
was the murderer of the Mexican, and did not expect 
much trouble. He had ordered the place closed up, 
but the moment that he and a private entered the 
room, Gilmore opened fire upon them with a shot gun 
and killed both men. Gilmore and a companion, who 
was a desperate character, skipped out and in dis- 
guise reached Ft. Pierre. The companion of Gilmore 
had a hand shot in the mixup and he sought a druggist 
for treatment. The clerk became suspicious and 
called the marshal over the phone, but when he ar- 
rived the two men had escaped. They were traced to 
Six Mile Timber by the soldiers and Indian police 
who caught them asleep and with drawn guns captured 
them without further bloodshed. 

Gilmore was brought to Deadwood and tried by 
the United States court for the murder of the ^lexican 
Ortez, upon the government domain. Despite the able 
work of A. J. Plowman, his attorney, he was found 
guilty, "Smoky Tom" proving to be a very vahiable 
witness for the government. When Judge Moody sen- 
tenced the man to hang in accordance with the ver- 
dict, the fellow received the words of death with a 
brazen smile. Judge Moody noticed the sneer and re- 
marked, "Young man you must have a hard heart to 


meet your death sentence with a smile.'' The con- 
demned man replied with a cnrse upon the judge. 

After several reprieves had through the influence 
of powerful friends the day for final action came. The 
prisoner was young and magnetic and made many 
friends, especially among the women, so when the 
time for springing the trap came, the executioner was 
heavily disguised. Gilmore went to his death stolid 
and unrelenting on Friday. December 15, 1882, at 2 :44 
p. m. The first fall broke his neck. The rope was 
preserved in Deadvvood for many years afterwards. 


In the year 1893, there lived in the eastern part 
of Meade county an old man aged about sixty years, 
named John Meyer. He was more or less of a hermit 
and lived alone by himself. He was supposed to be 
fairly well supplied with money and this reputation 
was the cause of his horrible death in the month of 
December, 1893. One of his neighbors in going to 
the cabin home found his body lying upon the bed 
with the bed clothing and other material in the room 
piled on him and nearby a pile of fire wood which 
had been charred. Over the bed clothing and body a 
can of kerosene had been emptied but the fire that 
had been started in the pile of wood had simply burn- 
ed through the wooden floor to the earth and then 
went out. Investigation disclosed the fact that a num- 
ber of young toughs in the neighborhood had been to 
the home of the old hermit and that the old man had 
shipped a car load of steers. It was supposed that 
he had returned from town with the money upon his 
person. He had remarked that the numerous bank 
failures going on throughout the country made it very 
unsafe to leave his money in care of the bank. 

J. Hicks, Bob Hicks and William Walker were 
arrested and placed in confinement. Under the plan 
of Thomas Harvey, the county attorney, William 
Walker was placed in the Custer county jail. This 
plan of separating the men resulted in Walker con- 
fessing the whole deal and his story sent Bob Hicks 


to the penitentiary for life, himself to the penitentiary 
for ten years and J. Hicks to the gallows. Accord- 
ing to the confession made, the men had supposed 
that the old man had lots of money with him but they 
found only |30.00 for their trouble. The check for 
11000.00 arrived a day or two after the old 
man's death. During the time the men were being 
held in the prison they escaped and a great deal of 
excitement was aroused in the effort to recapture 
them. They were promptly apprehended and com- 
pelled to suffer for their wrong doing. This was the 
first legal hanging that occurred in Meade county. 


It will be recalled that in a former chapter we 
mentioned the murder of several cowboys at the 
camp of Humphrey below Rapid City, during the 
time of the excitement of the Messiah craze and 
Wounded Knee troubles. In this story we will set 
forth more of the details of that sad incident and the 
resulting events, as given by W. A. Remer, sheriff of 
Lawrence county at the time. 

In the year 1893, Stenger and Humphrey of 
Rapid City had a beef camp on Battle Creek and near 
the Pine Ridge Agency. This was not far from the 
Nebraska line, and on the night of February 3, 1893, 
two boys, aged thirteen and sixteen years, Charles 
Bacon and William Kelly, had come up from the 
neighboring state to hunt strayed horses, and stopped 
at the Humphrey cabin where there were two cow- 
boys. R. Royce and John Bennett, Not far from this 
cal3in. Chief Cha-Nopa-Uhah, or Two Sticks, a Brule 
Sioux, and a warrior from the Custer fight, was camp- 
ed on Battle Creek with several hundred of his fol- 
lowers. This Indian chief, although over seventy 
years of age, and his braves had been indulging in the 
pastime of ghost dancing and war dancing and in ac- 
cordance with his confession made soon after the mur- 
der of the boys, stated that the Great Spirit had told 
them to kill the cowboys because the white men had 
killed off the buffalo and took their land from them. 


Accordingly, after putting on their paint and 
donning their war bonnets they danced the war dance 
until after dark. Then Chief Two Sticks, with five of 
the band, consisting of his two sons, Fights With and 
First Eagle, his nephew, Kills the Two, and White 
Faced Horse, rode to the camp of the cowboys. It 
was a very cold night and the Indians went into the 
cabin which was part dug out, and joined the white 
men there. The cowboys were seated by the stove and 
the two young boys from Nebraska were on a bench. 
The Indians joined in with the smoking of cigarettes 
and according to their plan, each one selected his 
victim. Then upon Two Sticks coughing and thus 
giving the signal as agreed upon, the Indians fired 
upon the unsuspecting men. three of whom never 
knew what struck them. However, the boy, Bacon, 
was not killed at the first shot, and tried to crawl un- 
der the bed but one of the sons of Two Sticks shot 
him with a revolver at such short range as to set 
his clothes on fire. The murderers ransacked the 
cabin, taking the camp utensils, bedding and horses 
and went to No Water's camp nearby. The young 
braves boasted of their deed and laughed about it 
among their fellows, and the next day Eagle Louse 
went to the cabin where he saw the bodies of the 
dead, frozen stiff, lying in the icy pools of blood that 
held them solid to the floor, in the zero weather. 

The ones guilty of the treacherous crime did not 
make any effort to conceal their identity and Ser- 
geant Joe Bush with a detail of Indian police went to 
the camp of No Water to arrest Two Sticks and his 
party, but their friends urged them to resist and 
they opened fire upon the police, who returned it with 
effect, First Eagle being killed and White Faced 
Horse and Two Sticks being shot. White Faced Horse 
escaped, but Two Sticks was shot through the shoul- 
der and lung. He was very near death and confessed 
how he had planned the cowardly deed. The other 
members of No Water's band were inclined to join 
in the fight and provoke a general battle, but the 


courageous interference of Young-Man- Afraid-Of-His- 
Horse and his band prevented further bloodshed. 

Fights With and Kills the Two were brought to 
Deadwood the following week where they pleaded 
guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to serve a 
term of five years in the penitentiary at Sioux Falls, 
South Dakota, where one or both died. Two Sticks 
recovered from his wounds sufficiently to be brought 
to Deadwood October 11, 1894, and went to trial Octo- 
ber 24th, with William McLaughlin appearing as his 
attorney. However, there were many witnesses against 
the old warrior to prove him as the instigator of the 
crime and when the father of the young boy. Bacon, 
wept on the witness stand as he told how he found 
the child lying in his frozen blood, with body distort- 
ed in the agony of death, the jury did not long hesi- 
tate in returning a verdict of guilty of murder. Hon. 
E. S. Dundy of the United States Court, sentenced the 
defendant to be hanged on Friday, the 28th day of De- 
cember, 1894. 

The gallows was erected on the south side of the 
Deadwood jail, between it and the stable, while on the 
west side was a high shed, and the east side a sixteen 
foot fence, completed the enclosure of about forty by 
sixty feet, to hold the witnesses to the execution. The 
gallows was sixteen feet high, the scaffold eight and 
one-half feet from the ground and the trap three feet 
scjuare. In the jail at this time there was another 
man charged with murder, Cussola. who had killed a 
man in a restaurant fight in Lead. While the jail 
fence was being built and the gallows erected, the in- 
mates of the jail told the chief that the thing was be- 
ing built to hang Cussola, and that the Great Father 
at Washington would not hang a great Indian chief 
like Two Sticks. On the morning of the execution, 
Sheritf W. A. Remer learned of this state of affairs 
and immediately had another Indian, a half breed 
named W^alker who could speak English well, inform 
the chief that this was his last day on earth and that 
the gallows out in the yard was built for him. The 
only sign of emotion on the part of the chief was the 


setting of his jaw and a solitary grunt or "Ugh," mean- 
ing ''Yes." Soon after breakfast. Father Diginan, his 
spiritual adviser and Mr. McLaughlin, his attorney, 
were admitted to the jail and conversed with him for 
some time. He was told that the Great Father had 
refused to interfere with his sentence and that he must 
hang that day. This did not startle or unnerve him, 
though he became more serious and thoughtful. 

At 9:30 in the morning U. S. Marshal Otto 
Peemiller, entered the jail accompanied by Deputies 
Bieglemeir and Bray, Frank Young, interpreter, Sher- 
iff Eikenburg of Nebraska, Sheriff Blakely of Hot 
Springs, and several representatives. Two Sticks was 
seated, but arose and shook hands with all, after 
which the death warrant was read and interpreted to 
him. Upon being asked if he had any reason why the 
sentence should not be carried out, he showed that he 
had been waiting for the chance to make a state- 
ment and in a clear, resonant voice, spoke as follows : 

"My heart is not bad. I did not kill the cow- 
boys, the Indian boys (meaning White Faced Horse, 
Fights With, Kills the Two and First Eagle) killed 
them. I have killed many Indians but never a white 
man. I never pulled a gun on a white man. The 
Great Father and the men under him should talk to 
me and I would show them I was innocent. The 
white men are going to kill me for something I 
haven't done. I am a great chief myself. I have al- 
ways been a friend of the white man. The white men 
will find out sometime that I am innocent and they 
will be sorry they killed me. The Great Father will 
be sorry too. My heart is straight and I like every- 
body. God made all hearts the same. My heart is 
the same as white man's. If I had not been innocent, 
I would not have come up here so good when they 
wanted me. They know I am innocent or they would 
not let me go around here. My heart knows I am not 
guilty and I am happy. I am not afraid to die. I 
was taught that if I raised my hands to God and told 
a lie that God would kill me that day. I never told a 
lie in my life.'' 


The condemned man then raised his hands and 
sang his death song. It was not very musical but 
fervent and impressive. It was a weird chant to 
those not familiar with the language and customs of 
the Indians, and held that his heart was good towards 
God and everybody and that God must take him when 
lie died. He was permitted to sing for several minutes 
but he became more and more excited until it was 
necessary for Father Digman to quiet him. He then 
grasped the hand of the priest and said he was a good 
man. and then took the hands of the marshal and 
attorney and said that they had been good to him and 
had done all they could for him. 

It was not possible to strap his hands behind his 
back owing to the wound in his shoulder that left 
his arm stiff and compelled him to stand bent over to 
one side. A rope had to be procured and Deputy 
Beiglemeir left the jail corridor for that purpose. 
Lying on the chair near the chief, were the straps 
ordinarily used in that work and among them some 
that had been used by Sheriff Remer in assisting at the 
hanging of Jay Hicks at Sturgis a short time before. 
The marshal's attention had been diverted for a few 
moments, whereupon. Two Sticks grabbed up the 
strap, put the end through the buckle and quickly 
passing it over his neck gave it several violent jerks 
to tighten it, but this not proving successful, he 
thrust the end of the strap through the cell bars to 
Eagle Louse. The action was noticed at once and the 
strap taken away from Eagle Louse, but Two Sticks 
still persisted in pulling the straps in an effort to 
strangle himself. The strap was taken away from 
him and Father Digman told him that he had done 
wrong, that God would not like him, that he should 
be resigned to his fate and have a good heart. Two 
Sticks replied that if he had to die he wanted to be 
hanged by his own people and not by white men, 
that his heart got bad just for a minute, but he was 
now sorry. 

His hands were finally fastened behind him and 
the death march to the gallows began. The chief be- 


came very excited and rushed through the jail to the 
gallows at a rate that made it diflftcult for the guards 
to keep near him. In the meantime he shrieked out 
repeatedly, "Wasta, you bet. wasta, you bet." mean- 
ing, ''Good, you bet." He was placed on the trap and 
while the straps were being adjusted, Father Digman 
read a prayer for him, which he listened to with bow- 
ed head and approving understanding. Then he lifted 
his head and in a loud, clear voice once more sang his 
death song. The noose was adjusted about his neck 
while he stood steady and with no indication of emo- 
tion except a slight flushing of the face when the rope 
was drawn up. The black cap was pulled over his 
head, a pause, a grating sound as the bolt was with- 
drawn. The drop of seven feet had dislocated his 
neck and death was instantaneous, although there 
were several muscular contractions that drew up his 
legs and shook his shoulders. The body was allowed 
to hang for fifteen minutes, when Drs. Wedelstaedt, 
Freeman, Howe and Rogers, pronounced him dead, at 
10:30, when the trap fell. The remains were removed 
to the undertaking rooms of S. R. Smith and at 2:30 
the funeral services were had and interment made in 
the Catholic cemetery at Deadwood, where they still 


In the year 1897, Mrs. Emma Frances Stone was 
conducting the popular Syndicate restaurant and 
rooming house in Deadwood. She and her husband, 
Col. L. P. Stone, were highly respected and widely ac- 
quainted people of the city. On the morning of May 14th, 
1897, one of the waitresses in the restaurant in passing 
the room of Mrs. Stone, happened to notice the door 
was partly open and in looking into the room, she was 
horrified to see blood stained sheets on the bed, and 
the room in general disorder. Upon the bed lay the 
dead body of Mrs. Stone, with a wound made by a 
cleaver that split the face and head open from the 
right ear clear to the outer edge of the left eye. A 


little pet dog also lay dead near the bed, and every- 
thing in the room had been ransacked. The report of 
the terrible deed spread like wild fire and soon the 
whole town was aroused to the highest pitch of excite- 
ment, as the woman was a much admired and kindly 

The officers got on the trail at once and caught 
the negro, Charles Brown, in Whitewood and had 
him back in Deadwood by noon. However, they kept 
their counsel and the thousands of people who Avere 
on hand as they passed into town were not sure of 
their ground and also found that the fellow and his 
companion were guarded with a score of deputies 
with drawn revolvers. John R. Wilson was state's at- 
torney and he was assisted by J. P. Laffey. Through 
careful investigation, and the aid of the companion 
of Brown, who was found to know nothing about the 
crime until after its commission, they succeeded in 
having a full confession of the crime, in which it was 
shown that the negro had spent the fore part of the 
night in gambling, losing his money, and that he then 
conceived the plan of robbing the woman. He claim- 
ed that he broke into her room about three o'clock and 
the little dog awoke and he killed it but struck the 
woman accidentally. He then took a gold watch and 
other valuables and went to his hut in Whitewood, 
where he hid the articles. 

A trial was had on the 10th of June, with Tom 
Harvey and W. L. McLaughlin, appearing for him, 
but putting in no defense. The jury soon returned a 
verdict of guilty, and thereafter Judge A. J. Plow- 
man passed sentence, that he be hanged on July 14, 
1897. Before the day for execution the negro profes- 
sed religion and great sorrow for his crime. Finally 
the fatal day arrived, and promply at a few minutes 
after 10 o'clock in the forenoon, the condemned man, 
after a few moments in prayer, was marched under 
charge of Sheriff Plunkett, to the scaffold. There he 
saw two hundred spectators gathered within the 
fence built around the spot and the houses and hill- 
sides thronged with thousands of people who came to 


witness the passing of the wretch. After acknowledg- 
ing his guilt and asking pardon from the people and 
the husband of the dead woman, who stood on the 
platform facing him, the black cap was put over his 
head, his arms and legs strapped down tight by Sher- 
iff Plunkett, assisted by Jesse Brown and Deputy 
Harris. Then Plunkett struck the lever and the negro 
went hurling downwards with a drop of eight feet. A 
mighty cheer arose from thousands of people as they 
saw the murderer pay the penalty for his dastardly 
deed. The fall did not break the neck of the man, and 
it was over twenty-three minutes before death by 
strangulation was pronounced by the attending phy- 
sicians, Drs. Paddock, Marshall, Spaulding, Howell, 
Wade and Naulteus. The body was taken to the 
morgue where many visitors viewed it. The Chinese 
wife of the fellow was much prostrated as she looked 
upon the remains. This was the first hanging in 
Lawrence county under the supervision of the county 


In the year of 1902, a couple of young men from 
Sioux City, Iowa, located on a homestead in eastern 
Meade county, South Dakota, and there they had 
built a cabin, fenced their claims and were making 
great efforts to establish for themselves a home out on 
the broad prairie. They were fine, industrious and 
honorable young fellows and at odd times worked 
among the ranchmen in the neighborhood in order to 
make the money for their several needed improvements. 

In the early days of the west the latch string was 
hung out and everybody that came to the home of the 
man on the prairie was welcome whether the hour of 
coming be day or night. 

On the 4th day of June, 1902, William Horlocker 
came riding into Sturgis upon a foaming horse and 
reported to the sheriff, John Smith, that the day be- 
fore upon going to the cabin occupied by the men, 
George Puck and Henry Ostrander, he noticed that 
the door was ajar and in walking in he found before 



his startled eves the evidence of a foul murder and in 
going to the bed in the room he found it occupied by 
two forms who were strangely still beneath the cov- 
ers. He turned the covering down and beheld 
their faces smeared with blood and crushed in a hor- 
rible manner. As investigation by the authorities 
failed to disclose any immediate clue but on the 6th 
day of June, 1902, a young half breed Indian had at- 
tended a picnic at Whitewood and had passed to one 
of the merchants in that little town a check for 










Hanging of Ernest Loveswar at Stnrgis 

125.00 drawn upon a Rapid City bank, made payable 
to Ernest Loveswar and purporting to have been 
signed by George Puck. The next day the check was 
returned to Whitewood by the Rapid City bank on the 
grounds that it was an absolute forgery. The cash- 
ier of the Whitewood bank thereupon called up Henry 
Perkins, cashier of the Meade County Bank at Stur- 
gis, who immediately reported this information to 
Jesse Brown, acting deputy sheriff. Brown at the 
time was alone in town as both the sheriff and deputy 
were absent on other duties and he immediately pro- 
ceeded to ascertain the whereabouts of the Indian, 
Loveswar, as he realized the check was an important 
clue pointing to the Indian as being implicated 


in the murder. Before he had proceeded very far he 
was met by Mr. Smith, the sheriff, who was returning 
from the inquest and who upon learning of the news 
from Brown decided to rest his horses and proceed 
out into the country in search of the Indian. 
Accordingly Smith and Brown, after a change of 
teams went to the Smith ranch on the Belle Fourche 
river, made another change of teams, and then after 
a night of travelling arrived at the place where they 
expected to find the man, Loveswar. Here, hiding 
their team behind some bushes just about sunup they 
quietly proceeded to the house, each one to take a 
separate door to prevent the escape of the Indian if 
any attempt should be made. There happened to be 
but, one door leading into the kitchen and as they 
came quietly without warning they greatly frighten- 
ed the lady who was preparing breakfast. Paying no 
attention to her screams. Brown (juickly moved to an 
adjoining room where he soon had Mr. Loveswar un- 
der arrest as he had left his guns in the kitchen. A 
close search of the Indian failed to reveal anything 
that would connect him with the crime. However, the 
Indian was taken along Avith the two men and a stop 
was made for a time at the Jewett's road house where 
Sheriff Smith, who had not been asleep for two days 
and nights rested for awhile. While he was resting 
Mr. Brown did not ask the Indian any direct ques- 
tions as to his knowledge of the crime but volunteered 
the information that the party, whoever it was, that 
had committed the deed made a mistake. The Indian 
thereupon became interested and asked in what way 
and Brown replied, "In not burning the cabin.'' This 
had the efPect of causing the Indian to appear to be 
very much occupied in deep study and convinced 
Brown that he had the right man. 

The next day the prisoner was taken to the sher- 
iff's office in Sturgis and very closely examined and 
questioned but he denied any knowledge of the crime 
whatever. He was finally asked where he was on the 
night of the murder and he replied, "At the Pete Cul- 
bertson ranch and that no one had seen him because 


it was late and he had slept in the barn." The officers 
told him that two cowboys slept in the barn that 
same night and that no one else slept there, and in 
this way several other excuses volnnteered by the In- 
dian were rebbntted nntil finally he weakened, broke 
down and cried and admitted killing the two men. 
In his confession he told that he went to the home of 
the boys and asked them to permit him to stay all 
night. They told him to come in and gave him a cot 
to sleep on and he waited until they were in a deep 
sleep then he quietly took Puck's gun from the wall, 
placed it to Puck's head and his own gun to Ostrand- 
er's head and then pulled the triggers of both guns 
at the same time. Then he procured an axe and 
crushed the skull of Ostrander but spared the head 
of Puck. After covering the faces of the dead men 
with the blankets he carried Puck's gun away, but 
on the road near a Cottonwood tree he threw it away. 
The gun was later picked up by Frank Smith and 
Doctor McSloy. In due course of time a charge of 
murder was placed against the Indian to which he 
entered a plea of guilty but Judge Rice refused to ac- 
cept the plea and ordered that a regular trial be held. 
States Attorney McClung introduced the evidence on 
the part of the State and Michael McMahon appeared 
for the defendant. The evidence on the part of the 
State of course was mostly circumstantial and the de- 
fendant on the other hand had no witnesses except 
himself. He took the witness stand and denied ev- 
erything and claimed that the confession had been ob- 
taind by duress and that he had been annoyed and 
bothered so that he did not remember what he had 
confessed to but the fact that he had told where the 
gTin he had taken from Puck might be found and that 
the gun later was found just where he said it would 
be, and despite the fact that he explained the posses- 
sion of the check as being the difference paid to him in 
a horse trade made with Puck whom he claimed 
wrote it out in the field, explaining the difference of 
the check signature and the original signature on file 
at the bank, the jury after retiring brought in a ver- 


diet of ''Guilty" and placed the penalty at death. 
Thereafter on the 6th day of August he was sentenc- 
ed to be hanged on the 19th day of September, 1902. 
The sentence was duly carried out on that day be- 
fore a number of invited officials and within an en- 
closure erected at the side of the court house. This 
was the last legal hanging in Meade county. 

The Indian made out and delivered to Jesse 
Brown the following written confession : "I am go- 
ing to write just what I have done in this matter, 
just the truth so that you all may know. Well, I had 
a quarrel with Ostrander. I come pretty near having 
a fight with him. It was about a girl but I will not 
tell who the girl Avas but he said he would take her 
away from me. I waited to get him alone but they 
were always together so I had to kill both of them. 
I had nothing against Puck. Well, I went to that 
house about dark. They said, 'Stake out your horse 
and come in.' I did just that and went to bed. When 
they were asleep I get up and take Puck's gun off the 
wall, held guns in each hand, placed one to Puck's 
head and one to Ostrander's head and pulled both 
triggers. The thing was done. I ain't got time to 
look things around the house. I looked for money but 
found none, I get blank checks and gun. Now this is 

(Signed) "Ernest Loveswar." 



With the great rush of gold seekers to the Hills 
from all parts of the continent and into a country be- 
yond the protection of the law, there necessarily fol- 
lowed a most chaotic condition of society. It became 
imperative that the peace loving and property owning 
residents should band together for mutual protection 
and -we find that ideas of trial by jury went with the 
crowds wherever they camped. 

In February, 1877, after the signing of the peace 
treaty between the United States and the Sioux 
tribes, three counties were organized in the Black 
Hills and the offtcers appointed by the governor until 
election. In Lawrence county Seth Bullock Avas ap- 
pointed sheriff, F. T. Evans, John Wolzmuth and 
Capt. Lavender, county commissioners; A. J. Flanner, 
prosecuting attorney and Granville G. Bennett, dist- 
rict judge. The first term of court was held early in 
August in the summer of 1877, and ten convictions 
had, which created a very wholesome effect throughout 
the Hills. 

But the struggle up from the crude and rough 
days of the pioneer settlement, through the later times 
to the present century may prove of interest to the 
reader and we herewith submit accounts of several 
controversies wherein the scales of justice were more 
or less crudely balanced, although not perhaps so 
very different from many in our present so-called 
high state of jurisprudence. 


A mass convention of the people living near 
Custer and the southern Hills was held in March, 
1876, in the town of Custer, and a provisional govern- 
ment was established, with Tom Hooper as Supreme 
Judge, Dr. Bemis, mayor and E. P. Keiffer, justice of 
the peace, and also twelve members of a city coun- 
cil. In November, 1876, another election was held in 


which a new set of officers was chosen, among them 
George V. Ayers, as mayor. 

Thomas Hooper alike with Thomas Harvey en- 
joyed the distinction of having been retained in the 
first civil controversy tried before a peace officer in 
the Black Hills, for in February, 1876, these two 
lawyers argued the questions of law and fact arising 
over a dispute between William Coad and one Swart- 
out, relative to the ownership of a town lot in Custer. 
According to the excellent work of Mrs. Annie D. Tal- 
lent, "The Black Hills, or Last Hunting Grounds of 
the Dakotahs" the first criminal trial took place be- 
fore Justice Keiffer, in March. 1876, in Custer. A 
desperado named C. C. Clayton had murdered a half 
breed Indian, known as Boue^'er, and was brought to 
trial before the newly elected officer and a jury. The 
verdict of guilty and sentence of hanging was decid- 
ed upon, but Tom Harvey appeared for the murder- 
er and maintained that the court had no legal author- 
ity to pronounce sentence. In the meantime, a large 
number of friends of the criminal gathered in the 
court room and by their attitude and presence, in- 
fluenced the justice to release the defendant, who was 
quickly escorted to the edge of town and advised to 
decamp, a decree that he was not slow in obeying. 


Crook City was one of the first towns to be es- 
tablished in the northern hills and like all of the 
early frontier camps, it had its quota of saloons, dance 
halls and bad men. Among the most noted of the bad 
actors were two men known as Tom Moore and 
Shannon, who had a reputation of being gamblers. 
With two such characters in a mining camp, it was 
only a question of time when they would come to a 

The pioneers of Crook City in the year 1876, de- 
cided to celebrate the Fourth of July and a big pro- 
gram was arranged; the principal event of which was 
a horse race, upon which a great amount of gold dust 
was wagered. Shannon was backing one of his own 
horses in the race and asked Moore to loan him some 


money on a mere promise to pay, bnt Moore refused 
and Shannon took this refusal as an insult and the 
two men quarreled. Finally Slianncm challenj^ed 
Moore to meet him with rifles and the challenge was 
promptly accepted. It was agreed that they were to 
shoot on sight in the old western style and thev were 
to arm themselves and shoot as soon as they met. 
Shannon went away but was careless and came on the 
street unarmed. However, Moore noticing this fact, 
refused to take advantage of Shannon, although under 
the western code Moore would have been justified in 
shooting Shannon down at once. He politely inform- 
ed Shannon of his mistake and offered to wait until 
Shannon had gone to his cabin and armed himself. 
Shannon soon returned with his rifle, a Sharps Old 
Reliable, while Moore had his old favorite, a large 
bore Needle Gun. When Shannon stepped into Main 
street, both men fired at once. Shannon fell dead with 
a bullet through the heart, but Moore was unhurt. 
He gave himself up to the citizens at once and asked 
for a trial by jury, which was done and Joe Cook was 
chosen as foreman. Dr. R. D. Jennings, afterwards 
of Hot Springs, presided over the trial as judge, and 
when all the evidence was in, ordered the jury to con- 
sider their verdict. Cook, as foreman of the jury 
made a motion, "That as the evidence showed it was a 
fair fight, the defendant, Tom Moore, be and is here- 
by discharged." The other jurors agreed to this and 
Moore was released from arrest. This disposition of 
the matter proved satisfactory to the crowd and they 
proceeded with the celebration. Thus ended the first 
criminal jury trial in the northern Black Hills. 

The funeral of Shannon was not allowed to mar 
the festivities of the holiday and was postponed un- 
til the next day. A grave had been dug for the re- 
mains some distance out of the town, but the people 
were so afraid of Indians, that they refused to pro- 
ceed that distance from the protection of the camp 
and accordingly a new grave between Crook City and 
the present town of Whitewood was dug and the re- 
mains buried there. However, when the city grave 


yard was later started, the friends of the deceased 
objected to the party lying in the same location with 
the gambler and accordingly a regular grave yard was 
laid out on the other side of the creek. 


In the town of Gayville on the night of July 9, 
1S7G, a party of gamblers among whom were John R. 
Carty, Jerry McCarthy and a man named Traynor 
were engaged in a game of chance in a saloon. Jack 
Hinch, who was a friend of Traynor, was standing 
by watching the progress of the game and concluded 
that his friend was being robbed by the other two 
men and persuaded him to abandon the game. This 
caused a row between the men. However, it was 
quieted down at the time and Hinch later retired to 
his quarters in another saloon. Some time later in 
the night, Carty and McCarthy came into the room, 
aroused him from his sleep and asked him to get up 
and drink with them. Hinch, believing that this was 
an offer of peace started to get up when McCarthy 
fired two shots at him. Carty likewise joined in the 
firing. He was armed with a large sheath knife with 
which he inflicted several wounds on Hinch before he 
could get upon his feet. So severely had the man 
been wounded that he died at 10 o'clock on the follow- 
ing morning. Upon the death of their victim the 
two gamblers immediately prepared to get out of the 
country and disposed of their rich mining claim to 
several friends. They made their escape and although 
a large posse of Hinch's friends followed them, they 
did not overtake them. The subsequent events were 
set forth by E. B. Hughes, who was a reporter at the 
time, as follows: 

''On the ninth of the preceding month, in an al- 
tercation arising over a game of cards two men nam- 
ed Carty and McCarthy, partners in a rich hill claim 
overlooking the camp of Gayville, killed a Nevada 
gambler named Jack Hinch. Both Carty and Mc- 
Carthy fled, but the former was apprehended in the 
neighborhood of Fort Laramie and brought back to 


the Hills. Carty was a giant in statne, a man of 
sinister appearance, Avhicli Avas not lessened by the 
fact that he had but one eve. The man who captured 
him was a depnty marshal named Jack Davis. He 
was about five feet six inches in height, and weighed 
not more than 130 or 135 ponnds. 

"When it was known that Carty had been brought 
back, a miners' meeting was called. The response 
was so general that no building in the gulch was large 
enough to accommodate the crowd, and the court was 
organized and held on the main street, as stated. Both 
Carty and Hinch had many friends in the crowd, one 
faction apparently being determined to hang the pris- 
oner without a trial, while the other was as firm In 
the demand that he be given every proper chance for 
acquittal. Cries of 'hang him' were frequently heard 
from the partisans of the dead man. and these were 
responded to by Carty's friends Avith shouts of de- 
fiance. As fully four out of five men in the crowd 
were armed, had a fight been precipitated it must have 
resulted in heavy fatalities. Collisions between in- 
dividuals did occur, and more than once revolvers 
were drawn, but so dense was the crowd and so ef- 
fective the efforts of those determined on order, that 
none were discharged. For fifteen minutes after 
Carty Avas led into the street, it seemed improbable 
that he could escape with his life. Finally Davis, 
Avho had the prisoner in charge, mounted a barrel and 
catching the attention of the crowd, thus harrangued 
it: 'Boys, I have brought this man from Fort Lara- 
mie through a country swarming with hostile Indians, 
in order that you might try him for his life. When I 
took him I gave him his choice, to be taken to Yank- 
ton and tried by the regular courts or to come back to 
the Hills to be tried by the miners. He chose to come 
back here, and when he did I promised him that he 

should have a fair trial and by that he shall have. 

Try him, and if you find him guilty hang him and I 
will pull the rope, but until he has had a fair trial the 
man Avho touches a hair of his head will first walk 
over my dead body.' 


"As may well be imagined this speech struck a 
responsive chord, and \yas cheered to the echo. From 
that moment until a verdict should be reached Carty's 
life was safe, though as an extra precaution ten men 
with rifles were selected to act as guards during the 
trial. The wagon boss of a bull train just in from 
Pierre suggested that a man named O. H. Simonton, 
who had once been a justice of the peace in the stock- 
yards district of Chicago, would be a fit man for 
judge, and he was elected without dissent. Forty 
names were suggested by the crowd and from these a 
jury of twelve were drawn. The twelve jurors were, E. 
B. Parker, Curley, Ed Dunham. John Balf, John 
Kane, G. Schugart, George Mimrich, A. O. Lobdell, 
D. W. Schurle, John W. Gill, S. M. Moon and George 
Atcheson. A. B. Chapline, a young attorney, after- 
wards a member of the law firm of Young and Chap- 
line, was appointed to prosecute and Carty secured 
Miller and Hollis to defend him. All day long and 
well into the night the trial lasted. Until its close the 
notes from which the above is written were taken by 
this historian. Seated beside him for the same pur- 
pose on a pile of house logs, Avas Rev. Smith, the 
minister who was killed by the Indians a few days 
later between Deadwood and Crook City. The jury 
finally rendered a verdict of assault and battery, the 
tendency of the evidence being to show that while 
Carty had held Hinch during the affray which result- 
ed in the latter's death, McCarthy had inflicted the 
death wound. Evident dissatisfaction with the ver- 
dict on the part of Hinch's friends moved the court 
to appoint a guard of ten men to escort Carty out of 
the country, and under protection of this posse Carty 
stayed not upon the order of his going. 

"In closing this account it may not be inappro- 
priate to state that Simonton, who acted as judge, 
became an itinerant preacher, visiting and holding 
services in the smaller camps, but finally became 
mentally unbalanced and died. McCarthy, like the 
slayer of Wild Bill, was apprehended, taken to Yank- 
ton, tried, convicted and hanged. Jack Davis died 


three or four years later on au incoming Sidney coach. 
His body was brought into Rapid City and prepared 
for bnrial. Looking down npon the face quiet in 
death, a pioneer remarked, ^There lies as sandy a lit- 
tle man as ever lived,' to which this writer mentally 


Shortly after this event. Dead wood celebrated its 
first duel on Main street. In this fight two gamblers, 
Charles Stormes and John Yarnes, had a little trouble 
over financial matters and agreed to settle it in a man 
to man fight with revolvers. They separated and soon 
afterwards met again on Main street, promptly open- 
ing fire at each other. Both revolvers were emptied 
without either men having been hit or injured and 
being well satisfied with their maneuvers, they de- 
clared the fight off. However, as it often happens in 
cases of this kind, a bystander, Joe Ludwig, was bad- 
ly wounded and his friends were inclined to take a 
part in the fight but finally dropped the matter. 


In November, 1876, Captain Willard made 
a trip out to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. On the 
stage coach the return trip he had a fellow pas- 
senger, a man named Ed Shaunessy who was a big 
man, about thirty years old and at this time quite 
drunk. As he had no blankets and the weather was 
very cold, Willard shared his blanket with him and 
took care of him until he became sober. Shaunessy 
became friendly and told him of his troubles. He re- 
lated that he had become infatuated with a woman 
named Fanny Garettson, formerly a singer at the Mc- 
Daniels theatre in Cheyenne, Wyoming territory. He 
imparted the information that he was going to the 
Black Hills to look for her and try to persuade her to 
return to him again. 

The woman whom he sought had arrived Jn 
Deadwood in the summer of 1876, and had an engage- 
ment at the Belle Union theatre at Deadwood. Here 


later she met and married a man named "Banjo Dick 
Brown" a performer in the theatre. The marriage 
took place on the stage of the theatre and the cere- 
mony attracted a large crowd as it had been widely 
advertised by the theatre and it was a snbject of con- 
versation of all classes of people for many days after- 

Captain Willard informed Shaunessy of this 
event and advised him to keep away from the actors, 
but his advice was not heeded and the man express- 
ed himself as determined to see the woman at any cost. 
The next night after the arrival of Willard and his 
companion in Deadwood, Willard entered the theatre 
in search of a friend, when Shaunessy apparently 
sober and very quiet, walked into the theatre and 
noticing Willard there came over to him and shook 
hands with him, thanking him for the kindness 
shown him on the trip from Fort Laramie. While 
the two men were there talking, their position being 
near the stage, the curtain went up for the evening 
performance and revealed Dick Brown and Fanny 
Garettson among the performers on the stage. 
Shaunessy shouted out something and threw an article 
on the stage Avhicli appeared like a bundle of letters 
and then moved toward the performers. Brown ran 
back into the wings of the stage and seizing a gun, 
fired upon Shaunessy, who fell to the floor mortally 
wounded. The crowd in the theatre was in an up-roar 
and for a moment a bloody fight was threatened. 
However, the excitement subsided and Shaunessy 
was picked up from the floor and carried to his room 
where he died that night. Shaunessy was unarmed 
and had never been in the habit of carrying fire-arms. 

After the treaty was made with the Sioux Indians 
all such cases of this sort were taken up and investi- 
gated by the courts and Dick Brown was accordingly 
arrested and given a trial. He brought in several 
witnesses to prove threats made by Shaunessy and 
also brought into court an axe which he swore 
Shaunessy had thrown at him, and as the matter had 
taken place so suddenly and Brown had so many of 


his friends as witnesses, he succeeded in being ac- 
quitted and the matter ended. 


"I'll tell you one of my early day experiences in 
Dead wood, when the camp and the country were new, 
before the Indian title to the Hills was extinguished, 
and such whites as had made their way in were here 
under the ban of the government as outlaws." The 
speaker was Tom Harvey, a well known lawyer of Lead 
City, and the place where the story was told was on 
a Gilmer and Saulsbury stage coach enroute to the 
Union Pacific railroad at Sidney, Nebraska. In con- 
versation with the lawyer one of the several tourists 
on the coach learned that he was a pioneer of the 
Hills, and urged him to tell some of his early day ex- 

"You probably realize that in the hurly-burly and 
rush of '76 there was more work for a man of most 
any other calling than mine. Such courts as we had 
were not held in very high esteem, that in Deadwood 
operating under a provisional government established 
by the people who had located the camp and were 
building a town with Mayor Farnum acting as justice, 
ex-ofticio, besides those who became involved in dif- 
ficulties of a character that in a more settled com- 
munity would have given employment to a lawyer, 
had a way of settling them outside of court in a man- 
ner more likely to call for the services of an under- 
taker. Thus the fees that an attorney picked up were 
few and far between. I lived in Custer, where I bare- 
ly pretended to keep an office open and spent a con- 
siderable part of my time prospecting, hunting and 
visiting the various districts of the Hills where dis- 
coveries of mineral were reported. On one of my 
trips to the northern Hills it was my good fortune to 
be called upon to do some legal work for a bank about 
to be opened in Deadwood. In payment for my ser- 
vices I was given the sum of sixty dollars all in bright 
new ten dollar bills. To a fellow Avho hadn't handled 
anything more nearly resembling real money than 


French or Spring Creek dust for months, and mighty 
little of that, yon may believe those nice new crisp 
bills looked pretty good, and I shoved them down in- 
to my jeans, comfortable in the knowledge that my 
transportation home and grnb for some time in the 
fntnre were secnre. Deadwood then consisted of a 
single street, occupied chiefly by saloons, everyone of 
which was also a gambling house. As a good many 
claims had been opened up in Deadwood, Gold Run, 
Bob Tail and Black Tail gulches and were turning 
out large quantities of dust/ everything was on the 
boom. Claim owners Avere paying seven dollars a day 
for shovelers, who received their wages at the end of 
every shift, and a great part of their earnings found 
its way into the gambling resorts. I knocked about town 
until about ten o'clock at night and then went to the 
I X L hotel, that had just been oj^ened by jNIcHugh 
and Van Daniker and went to bed. The hotel was a 
three story building put up hurriedly of rough, green 
timber and so urgent was the demand for sleeping ac- 
commodations that it had been opened to the public 
before the l)edrooms had been provided with doors. 
In one of such rooms on the second floor, I retired, 
and as I had had a long, active day, soon fell asleep 
frcmi which I did not awake until the sun was look- 
ing down into the gulch from over the White Rocks. 
When I was aroused and looked about me I saw my 
clothes, which for want of a wardrobe I had placed 
upon the bed, were scattered about the floor. On 
searching my trousers pockets I found that my prec- 
ious six ten dollar bills were gone. Clearly I had been 
robbed while I slept. You possibly may be able to 
imagine my feelings as I saw in prospect a sixty mile 
walk to Custer, and bade farewell to the flour, bacon, 
canned salmon, the coffee, beans and sugar with which 
my imagination had already stocked my larder. I say 
it is possible you may imagine my feelings, but by no 
stretch of imagination can you do justice to the lan- 
guage I used to express them. I cursed the man who 
had robbed me, I cursed the trap of a room in which 
T had spent the night, but most of all I cursed my own 


stupidity in allowing myself to be robbed. Surely 
anyone but a fool would haye taken more precaution 
in such a place against such a disaster. To complain 
to the proprietors would be worse than useless, it 
would but show me up to them for the imbecile I ad- 
mitted myself to be. I could haye a row with Jim 
Van Daniker, anyone could do that on a yery little 
proyocation, bnt that would ayail nothing toward 
the recoyery of my money. In no enyiable frame of 
mind I dressed ancl went out on the street, where after 
a while I was fortunate enough to strike an old ac- 
(juaintance for enough money to pay my fare to Cus- 
ter. This arranged I was passing the time in watch- 
ing the crowd up on the street until the stage would 
leaye, when I was accosted by C. Stapleton, the city 
marshal with, ''Tom here's a fellow I was taking to 
the lockup, but he says he knows you and wants to see 
you.' The prisoner he had in tow pressed forward 
eagerly, saying, 'You remember me don't you, Tom?' 
'Xo, I don nut remember that I eyer saw you before, and 
the way I am feeling now I don't care if I neyer see 
you again.' 'Sure you know me, I am Jack Rhodes. 
Don't you remember that you defended me in Chey- 
enne last fall?' And then I did remember that I had 
defended him on a burglary charge in Cheyenne the 
year preyious. 'What do you want to see me for now?' 
I asked. 'I"ye got into a little trouble here, and I want 
you to help me out.' 'Not on your life,' I said, 'I'ye 
paid my fare to Custer and I want to get out of the 
d— d camp just as soon as the Lord will let me.' 'No, 
no, Tom you must stay and help me' urged the pris- 
oner. I asked permission of the marshal to step a lit- 
tle to one side, and inquired Ayhat he was charged 
with, what he had done. He said that he was accused 
of a man down at the I X L hotel last night. 
The thought flashed through my mind that I was not 
the only yictini of this so-called hotel. 'Well,' I says 
to him, 'If I stay here and defend you it will cost 
you one hundred dollars.' 'All right,' he says, 'here 
is the money,' and he pulled out a roll of bills large 
enough to choke a cow and commenced peeling off the 


bills and counting out my fee. And the first six that 
he handed me Avere my own bright, new ten dollar 
bills. I stuffed them into my pocket saying, 'You 
blankety, blanked, blank, you stole these out of my 
pants pocket down at the I X L last night. Now go 
ahead and count out the one hundred more of the 
other fellow's money.' To this he did not demur in 
the least. Without batting an eye he counted oat and 
handed me one hundred additional. Then I went with 
him to Judge Farnum's office and cleared hiju of a 
charge of robbery preferred by another guest of the I. 
X L and didn't even miss that day's stage for Custer." 


During the month of April of tiii^ year 1 1870) some 
Slavonians who had just come into the Hills located a 
claim up on the hill near the old grave yard (now with- 
in the city limits of Deadwood. ) A gang led by Sam 
May. known as "Turkey Sam" and Blair, alias 
"Darby," undertook to jump this ground. Brodo- 
vitch was killed and another one of his friends was 
wounded. The sheriff promptly arrested the parties 
engaged in this affair. May and Blair were convict- 
ed and sent to the pen. Chapman was acquitted. This 
was the first case tried in the courts after the county 
was organized. John Burns, a young lawyer from 
Chicago, acted as prosecuting attorney, as Mr. Plan- 
ner, the regular appointee, had not arrived in the 
Hills yet. He was from the south. 

This was a good and wholesome lesson to the 
toughs and it gave them to understand that law and 
order would be enforced. 


(Correspondence to the Sidney Telegraph June 2, 1877) 
The Dakota portion of the Black Hills was dur- 
ing the last session of the Dakota legislature organiza- 
ed into three counties. The northern portion was 
designated Lawrence county, a strip of twenty miles 


n the central portion with the 44th meridian bisect- 
ng it was designated Pennington county and the 
uthern part Cnster county. Instead of allowing the 
several counties to elect their own county commis- 
si(kiers, Governor Pennington induced the Dakota 
legislature to authorize him to nominate them. The 
governor made his nominations over a month ago, but 
they did not seem to have given much satisfaction to 
the people of the Black Hills. One of the commis- 
sionere for each county was sent from Yankton, the 
other two the governor nominated from amongst the 
residents of their respective counties, one from each of 
the two most important towns in the counties. The 
first duty devolving upon the county commissioners 
was the location of the county seat. As every one of 
the resident commissioners thought themselves duty 
bound to vote only for the town they represented, the 
decision rested virtually in each county, with the com- 
missioners imported from Yankton — his vote given 
with either of the resident commissioners deciding the 
matter. Rumors were floating about in Custer (Jitv, 
as well as in this town that the biggest purse would 
secure the location. In the case of Custer county it 
was long doubted whether Custer or Hayward City 
would carry off the honors. Custer City had no cash 
but town lots that would be worth a great deal some 
day. Hayward City was supposed to be "well heal- 
ed" with the yaller stuff. The honors were finally 
carried off by Hayward City. 

In Lawrence county the commissioners decided 
that Crook City would be the most desirable county 
seat; they were induced to review their decision, and 
it finally appeared to their vision that Deadwood City 
would, after all, be the most desirable location. 

A few days ago posters containing the following 
were one morning seen posted up over the town : 


"County Seats Located, Removed and For Sale 
"Apply to Black Hills County Commissioners" 
Thinking a county seat might be 


ment, your correspondent inquired if there were any 
left, but found that all had been sold already. 

There is another question agitating the public 
mind of the ])olitician and that of the expectant of 
favors from the public in shape of bread and 1)T!tter. 
That question is, the formation of a new territory to 
include the entire Black Hills region with a large 
tract of fertile agricultural land. At the present time 
the boundary line between Dakota and Wyoming Ter- 
ritories gffes through the center of the Black Hills, 
but nobod.y knows yet exactly where the line inter- 
sects. Some vague calculations have been made, and 
it is estimated that Custer and Deadwood Cities, as 
well as all the important mining camps so far located 
are east of the 104th degree of longitude, and conse- 
quently in Dakota Territory. A travelling corres- 
pondent of that truly veracious (?) sheet, the Chey- 
enne "Leader,'' invented in his brain, (bran-box) a 
story that Deadwood and Custer Cities were situated 
west of the Meridian — conse(iuently in Wyoming. Tlie 
''Leader" ever since has been harping on the subject, 
giving gratuitous advice to the people of the Black 
Hills as to what steps to take to get themselves an- 
nexed to Wwoming and become good and obedient 
children to the Mother Shy Anne. A few of the local 
residents who came here from Cheyenne and whose in- 
terests are bound up in that town also maintain 
the same theory — the wish in their case giving birth to 
their theory. 

iS'^ot many residents of the Hills bear any warm 
love to Governor Pennington nor to Yankton, but they 
bear a little love to Cheyenne. What they want is the 
formation of a new Territory; they had sooner be an- 
nexed to Nebraska than Cheyenne. 

A convention was called last April to discuss 
matters which appointed a chairman, a secretary and 
some committees and then adjourned subject to call 
by the chairman, Mr. Brearly, a barrister formerly of 
Washington, D. C, but now one of the leading mem- 
bers of the local bar. The convention was recalled 
and held a session vesterdav. As I understand that 


your correspondent, L. F. W., has already given yon 
an account of the proceedings of this convention, it is 
unnecessary for me to do so; suffice it is- to say that 
Dr. Myers and Captain Walker were elected by a 
large majority of the convention to present to congress 
the wishes of the people of this country to be formed 
into a new Territory to be called "Lincoln.'' 

The new territory is to comprise an area of 70,- 
000 to 80.000 S(iuare miles and it is to have the fol- 
lowing boundary: The southeast corner will be lati- 
tude 43 degrees, and longitude 102 degrees — then to 
go along the 43 Meridian Avest to longitude 107 de- 
grees, then north to the Yellowstone River and along 
its banks to the 47th degree north latitude; then east 
along that Meridian to longitude 104 degrees, thence 
south to latitude 40 degrees, then again east to longi- 
tude 102 degrees and south to the point of starting. 

The oppositions were not much pleased with the 
result; if they don't pray and sing psalms, they do 
something else, and vow at the same time that Messrs. 
Myers and Walker will never be able to represent the 
county of Washington. Time will show which is Avhich 
''Lobar/" (Sidney Telegraph, May, 1876.) 


Her maiden name was Jenkins. I had not time 
to examine her pedigree, but I strongly suspect that 
she is a descendent of the old Jenkins about whose, 
ear, once on a time, men made such a fuss and which 
eventually plunged two of Europe's nations into war. 
She is as lovely as a turtle dove, and as graceful as an 
angel (albeit one fallen from grace). She kept a 
dance house and when Drake, one of Hayward City's 
gallants, beheld the fair Annie he was a goner. Her 
well matured charms so fascinated his heart that life 
seemed to him a blank without her; he accordingly 
wooed and won his ducky love. On, or about the 12th 
day of May, 1877. (such avers the petition in re: 
Johnson vs. Drake) 'Squire Vos Burgh was called" in- 
to requisition to put a stop to this game of ducks 


and drakes — which he did by making the twain into a 
brace of Drakes. What would a wedding be without 
a wedding supper? So supper was the word. Now 
the gallant Drake's financial credit did not stand 
very liigh, but that of his ducky love was unimpeach- 
able. So Mrs. Annie Drake, nee Jenkins, calls on her 
next door neighbor, Johnson, a sturdy Norseman, 
and orders the supper which Johnson agreed to sup- 
ply at 75 cents per head. I may not say how many 
guests partook of the wedding supper as the court 
ruled that question out. 

Tlie bride's wedded bliss was of short duration, 
for Drake, the loving swain, deserted his little duck 
before the honeymoon had waned, and Johnson, the 
caterer, sued the gentle Annie for |75, as the price of 
the wedding supper. The case Avas called up to the 
justice's court, but the canny Norseman thought it 
would be too complicated for the judge and demanded 
a jury of his peers. The sheriff arrested every man he 
met in the streets and the judge's court was soon as 
thickly packed with human bodies as the famous 
"Black Hole" of which we read in Marchman's His- 
tory of India. On motion of the learned counsel, 
panting for aid, the court adjourned to a bar room 
close by. Being Imrd up for paper on which to write 
this, I am unable to give a report of this most import- 
ant of trials. I will only observe that it was better 
than a first class show tind the audience had a great 
treat in listening to the trial. 

It vras held in the bar room. On one side stood 
the bar; in another a faro game was in progress and 
the court modestly took up in another corner. The 
trial proceeded in due form whilst the rattling of 
poker dice on the bar was kept up and the gamblers 
of King Faro would "God bless'' (?) everything. Oc- 
casionally the judge, jurymen and learned council 
would adjourn to the bai- to partake of a drop of 
tiger's niiik, and then everything "went merry as a 
marriage bell" till the court would order the sheriff 
to bring the jury back into their places. One of the 
jurymen took out a railroad prospectus whilst the 


learned counsel for the plaintiff was tackling the case 
and perused it most attentively; but he was no 
doubt taking in the lawyer's valuable argument at the 
same time. The trial was great fun, better even than 
seeing John Dillon. (Sidney Telegraph, 1877). 


On an evening in the month of October consider- 
able excitement and mystery was created from "China- 
town," of Deadwood, South Dakota, for even in the 
pioneer days the slant eyed men from China were 
drawn to brave the hardships of pioneer life in their 
anxious search for gold. Being among strange people 
and in a new country they banded together with 
their fellows in considerable numbers so that it be- 
came known as "Chinatown." One day from one of 
the houses in which a Chinese woman had lived a 
bunch of Chinamen were seen to run out and down the 
street and hide among their neighbors. An examina- 
tion of the house soon showed that they had killed a 
young Chinese woman, and she was literally chopped 
to pieces with an axe. The young woman had upon 
her person very valuable jewelry but nothing was 
taken. Several of the Chinamen nearby were arrest- 
ed but it was absolutely impossible to gain any infor- 
mation or find out any cause for the murder of the 
young woman. All efforts, to solve the mystery fail- 
ed and the death of the young Chinese woman re- 
mained one of the early days' unsolved problems. 


Among the great mob of people from every walk 
of life that came to the Hills in 1877, was a beauti- 
ful, tall and graceful girl known as Kitty LeRoy. 
She was a professional dancer and immediately ac- 
cepted a place at the Gem Theatre. Her grace and 
beauty soon won a swarm of admirers but there was 
one whom she seemed to favor more than the others. 
He was a gambler, a desperate character and known 
by the name of Sam Curley and he seemed to be very 
fond of the graceful girl. In due course of time a 


ceremony of marriage was performed by Charles 
Barker, justice of the peace, and this was a great 
event among the class of people to whom the partici- 
jjants belonged. But in a short time trouble arose 
and Sam was very jealous of his good looking bride. 
They had a very violent quarrel over another gambler 
and finally Sam Curley left Deadwood and proceed- 
ed to Cheyenne, Wyoming. But along in the fall of 
1877 he quietly returned to Deadwood, left the stage 
coach above the city and warned the stage driver not 
to let anyone know he had returned. Under cover of 
darkness he came into town and tried to locate the 
man whom he blamed for his domestic trouble but his 
search was fruitless. He then proceeded to the "Lone 
Star House" where Kitty LeRoy roomed and shortly 
afterwards the neighborhood was aroused by several 
pistol shots. When they rushed up the stairs and 
pushed open the door they found Kitty breathing her 
last and Curley dead lying near her. The young 
woman had just finished dressing herself in a very at- 
tractive manner and there she lay in all her young 
beauty while near her was her husband with his brains 
blown out. Thus ended another tragedy of the early 
pioneer days of the Black Hills. 


There are no doubt a number of people yet liv- 
ing in this section who remember the gun battle which 
took place in Central City in the summer of 1877, 
between John Bryant and William Adams, in which 
they were both shot to death. The trouble between 
these men arose from the act of Adams in posting 
notice of claim to a millsite on Placer Claim No. 13 
(I think it was) above Discovery on Deadwood gulch, 
upon which a portion of Central City is located, and 
which was owned at the time by John Bryant. 

The right of Adams to make this location was 
disputed by Bryant. Whether these parties had had 
any quarrel over the matter at the time the notice 
was posted is not known. However, on the following 
morning, Adams, who at the time was in partnership 


with Gus Oberg in the restaurant business, remarked 
after eating his breakfast, that he was going down to 
take possession of his millsite. He was advised by 
his partner and other friends to be careful and not 
get into trouble. He persisted and walked down past 
the Bryant cabin with his belt strapped around him 
and with his revolver in plain sight. 

Bryant, also with belt on and six shooter in plain 
view, was standing near his cabin. A conversation 
was started and hot words ensued. According to two 
witnesses, each man was keeping an eye on the gam 
of his adversary as though he was expecting a quick 
movement. Instead of drawing the gun from his 
belt, Adams, who had evidently planned a ruse, whip- 
ped out another pistol which it is thought he held in 
liand from the first, and shot Bryant through the 
body. He then turned instantly and ran, but had 
made only a rod or two when he was overtaken by a 
bullet from Bryant's pistol, which caught him in the 
hip and felled him as he was crossing a small stream 
of water. In falling he turned his face to Bryant, 
who was following, threw up his liands and his head 
back just as Bryant fired the second bullet which en- 
tered his mouth and up through his head killing him 
instantly. Bryant then walked back into his cabin 
where he lingered in great pain for a day or two and 

Thus suddenly passed two young men of promise, 
who, had they both been disposed to be guided by rea- 
son might have lived to become useful citizens in their 
communities. Bryant was a native of Illinois and was 
a brother of the late Frank Bryant the well known 
and highly respected mining man. Adams was em- 
ployed for a time in a grocery store in Deadwood and 
was I think, considered to be honest and reliable. I 
never knew where he hailed from but presumed that 
he came from Salt Lake. (J. S. McClintock. ) 


Henry Iveets who was the owner of the mine 
known as the '^Keets Mine" sold his interest out to a 


mining company that in order to develop the mine 
had obtained permission from the Aurora Mine to 
run a tnnnel through part of the mining grounds 
owned by the neighboring mine company. The tunnel 
ran through part of the ore streak of the Aurora Mine 
and it was not long before the men of the Keets Mine 
were accused of stealing ore of a high grade from the 
walls of the tunnel owned by the Keets mine. This 
stirred up a real fight and the Keets manager hired 
a bunch of fighting men who built a barricade near 
the tunnel. The Aurora men ordered the Keets men 
out of the works and Tuttle, one of the managers 
gave them a certain time in which to move out as he 
intended to blow up the tunnel. He accordingly pre- 
pared a blast and lowered it into the shaft of the tun- 
nel and when the time was up fired off the charge. 
The ensuing blast had the desired effect but when 
Tuttle went down on the dump he was immediately 
shot and died that night. Johnson, another owner in 
the Aurora mine, was in a shack just above the dump 
and witnessed the shooting. He joined in the fray 
and made it so hot for the men they abandoned the 
barricade and ran for a log cabin nearby, in which 
Johnson continued to make them fight for their lives. 
Johnson escaped Avithout injury although his shack 
was riddled with bullets. Sheriff Bullock and Captain 
Willard arrested the men who had fired upon and 
killed Tuttle but after a long sensational trial the 
men were acquitted. 

The Keets mine was also connected with another 
serious difficulty that occurred in the fall of 1877. A 
man named Connelly, had a large contract in this 
mine but failed to pay his laborers. The miners took 
possession of the occasion, laid in a big supply of 
guns, ammunition and prepared for a siege. War- 
rants were placed in the hands of Sheriff Bullock 
but the men refused to surrender to him and stood 
him and his deputies off. Attempts were made to 
starve them out and smoke them out but they failed 
and the sheriff called upon the U. S. army at Fort 
Meade to come to his assistance. A detachment from 


the U. S. 7th Cavalry under the command of Lieuten- 
ant Edgerly and Lieutenant Sickles responded and a 
line of guards was placed around the mine Some 
of the men were called to the shaft for a parley and 
were informed by Lieutenant -Edgerly that they must 
come out and surrender. After considerable argu- 
ment the miners surrendered but they felt very bit- 
ter toward Sheriff Bullock for calling in the soldiers. 
The miners were placed under a light bond but later 
the matter was dropped. However, the men never 
received their pay as Connelly had gambled away all 
their hard earned money. Harry Goddard, who later 
became the editor of the Edgemont Express, was 
among the unfortunate miners. 


In these days of modern political manipulating, 
it might not be without interest to read how the 
pioneers of 1877 played the game and we herewith 
submit several accounts written by L. F. Whitbeck, 
for the "Sidney Telegraph:" 

"This is a funny country — is the Black Hills ter- 
ritory — if an outsider can wander through the many 
camps and closely note the many peculiarities pre- 
sented without his visibilities being effected, he will 
prove an anomaly among teuderfeet. Such a condi- 
tion of things is after all not to be wondered at con- 
sidering that our population is made up of all classes, 
races and conditions of men — is in fact the most cos- 
mopolitan probably, upon the continent. One of the 
principal peculiarities of Hillers, is their uniform 
good nature. No matter what their embarrassment 
may be, nor how great their sorrow, it does not affect 
the pleasant smile, word and salutation. A chival- 
rous disposition towards an enemy; honest love for a 
friend and a kindly feeling for everybody are the prin- 
cipal ingredients of the average citizen. This trait of 
character was never more clearly manifested than is 
now presented in the political arena. 'Politics in the 
Hills?' Lord bless you. yes. Strange as it may ap- 
pear, this country, which only eight months ago,^ was 


held and largely occupied l)y Reds is now the scene 
of a hot campaign, waged upon one side by straight 
out-and-ont democrats, and upon the other by an 
amalgamated array of all sorts under the title of 
'People's Party.' Doc Meyer is the great Maukhiar 
Pasha of the first named, while the latter 'fights mit' 
Bullock, our present sheriff. It will be remembered 
that the Penningtonian appointments made at the or- 
ganization of the three counties of Lawrence, Penning- 
ton and Custer, were all republicans, commissioned 
until LS7<S. The democrats, and other outs anxious to 
get in office, considered the extension of such tenure 
unconstitutional, and called a convention, at which a 
full ticket was placed in the field. Subsequently a 
per-emptory mandamus was secured compelling the 
county commissioners to call a general election this 
fall. This aroused the republicans to a sense of their 
danger and the necessity of doing something awful 
wise, and of doing it at once. They realized their 
minority, and therefore conceived the idea of getting 
up a 'people's movemen^,' being encouraged therein 
by many democrats opposed to individuals upon 
party tickets. The democratic convention was held 
and resulted in the nomination of John Manning, 
proprietor of the 'Senate' for sheriff; Charles H. Mc- 
Kinnis, local wholesale liquor dealer, for register of 
deeds — the two principal offices. The people held 
their grand conclave yesterday, and for a neutral 
movement (or, in fact, any other) was a gratifying 
success. There were several wires — one pulled by the 
old Yankton ring to secure nomination; another 
in favor of Frank Raborg against A. P. Car- 
ter, proprietor of a large saloon, for register of deeds 
— a very lucrative office. 

"Seth Bullock and Mr. Carter were unanimously 
nominated, while the Yanktonians 'got left.' As a re- 
sult of the last 'disaster,' many sore heads are run- 
ning around today, loudly talking of organizing a 
straight republican party, and of putting a third 
ticket in the field. In the event of a three cornered 
fight, the democracy will carry the day, but so evenly 


balanced are the powers as now disposed, that — 
well I wonldn't advise you to gamble on the result. 

^'The ^Times' is the 'organ' of the people; the 
Tioneer' is on the fence; the 'Herald' is democratic, 
$150 worth, while the 'Miner' removed from Crook 
City to this city, is issued daily as a red hot campaign 
'Muldoon' — (Times' phrase for the democrats) sheet — 
the first number appearing today. 

"Politics being all the rage I have had little op- 
portunity to glean very much other matter of news. 
The bar of this county is being scandalized to a rather 
immoderate extent and interesting developments are an- 
ticipated. Your readers will remember that one 
Cephas Tuttle was killed during a disturbance creat- 
ed at the Keets Aurora mines, and that eight men 
were arrested for the murder, or as accessories. The 
present grand jury failed to indict, and so reported 
to the court, whereupon District Attorney Planner, 
and his associate Col, Parker, made specific charges of 
bribery and corruption against the jurors and certain 
members of the bar. Great consternation was there- 
by created, and Judge Bennett, in the most solemn 
and intensely earnest manner charged the grand jury 
to exclude suspected members, and at once institute 
a thorough investigation, and to report in writing, 
promising that guilty ones should be severely punish- 
ed, and that accusing counsel must make their charges 
good or suffer the court's displeasure. On yesterday 
the jury reported there were 'no gTOunds for accusa- 
tion,' and everybody is on tiptoe of expectancy over 
tomorrow's events. Col. Parker will probably be dis- 

"Mining matters are, as ever, very encouraging. 
The Golden Terra has just been sold for |90,000— yes 
I said ninety thousand dollars, and I know whereof 
I write — to a California company of experts who pro- 
nounce the Hills the richest quartz country in the 
world. They will put up expensive works at once. 

"For real genuine fun of the Donn3'brook fair 
order (whenever you see a head hit it) commend your 
friends to the Black Hills during the prevalence of a 


political campaign. One has just closed, and greater 
excitement never raged, even in national politics when 
the welfare of the entire country was at stake. There 
were no issues other than personal ones between the 
contending parties, but you can bet your boots that 
those were made the most of in the way of discus- 
sion. Talk about mud throwing, why putridity would 
smell sweet compared wath the rakings from the vari- 
ous editorial sanctums. 'You lie' was a tame expres- 
sion, and even to accuse a candidate of being an es- 
caped convict scarcely rose to the dignity of slander. 
Porter Warner of the 'Times' (people's organ) did 
succeed in arousing his opponents (the muldoons) to 
an appreciation of his words by throwing out the de- 
fiant charge that a couple of democratic candidates 
were escaped penitentiary birds. He gave no names, 
and the entire ticket took it upon themselves to resent 
what they considered a personal assault. They ac- 
cordingly mustered under the guidance of 'Doc' Mey- 
ers, ill the Senate saloon, toddled across the street, 
tumbled upstairs,and burst into the 'Times' editorial 
room, twenty-five strong armed cap a pie. The way 
they bulldozed Warner and his trembling local, was 
fearful to behold and is best told by saying that with- 
in an incredible short space of time an 'extra' appear- 
ed on the streets saying that the published accusation 
war — all true, and giving names in full. Rome howled; 
that is the muldoons did, and will never get over it. 
The funniest part of the whole thing is that the ex- 
convict (who has never contradicted the charge) was 
elected by 'a large majority.' Excitement is on the de- 
crease now, and attention is turned to more legitimate 

In the election, Bullock had arranged to have a 
large number of soldiers from Ft. Meade to dress in 
citizen clothing and become repeaters at the polls in 
Sturgis. However, the supporters of Manning dis- 
covered the scheme, and outbidding the healers for Bul- 
lock, won oer the fraudulent soldier vote before Bul- 
lock's agents could get in shape to meet the unexpect- 
ed turn of events. Bullock would no doubt have won 


the election, if his plan had not been revealed by some 
incantions helper or traitor and he was quite con- 
fident of his success. But when the returns came in 
and the little town of Sturgis rolled up a great vote, 
he saw with chagrin that he had l)een beaten at his 
own game and refused to surrender his office, well 
knowing that illegal voting had been done. For a time 
there were two sheriffs in Lawrence county, but af- 
ter the sting of defeat had lessened its pain and wiser 
counsel prevailed, he finally movd out and Manning 
took over the office. 


A woman named Mrs. Callison was known as the 
first school teacher in the Black Hills. In the month 
of August, 1878, her lifeless body was found in her 
home where she had been brutally murdered by some- 
one who had beaten her head to a pulp by the use of a 
blunt instrument. The horrible manner of her death 
created great excitement and the prosecuting officer 
made a special attempt to bring the guilty party to 
trial. It was found that a man known as Martin 
Couck was a lover of hers and it finally developed 
that a quarrel had ensued over another woman and 
in the row he had murdered Mrs. Callison. A long 
and sensational trial took place and the verdict of 
"guilty" was returned by the jury and a sentence of 
death given by Judge G. C. Moody. This sentence 
was later changed to life imprisonment and Couck 
took up his residence at the state penientiary. But 
Couck had many faithful friends and as a conse- 
quence, it was not very long before he was successful 
in securing his pardon and was released from the 
penitentiary. He came back to the Black Hills and 
hunted up Captain Willard, who was deputy sheriff 
and very earnestly requested him to assist him in 
bringing to trial the real murderer in the case and 
asserted that he was absolutely innocent. An effort 
was made to assist the man in this work and consid- 
erable time spent, but to no avail and one day Couck 
came to Willard very much discouraged and inform- 


ed him that he was going to leave the Black Hills, 
but if there was anything that might come up to 
prove his innocence, he would return and try once 

Years afterwards there appeared in the "Denver 
Republican," an account about a fellow w^ho was 
hanged for the murder of a man in New Mexico. His 
name was given as Martin Couck and on the scafford 
he confessed to the murder of Mrs. Callison in Dead- 
wood. All these years he had spent time and money 
in an effort to convince people that he was innocent, 
while as a matter of fact, he was absolutely guilty and 
on the last day was brought to confess his wrong 

"THE pagan" JTTRY 

The years of 1878 and '79 were noted for some 
sensational trials in the courts of the Black Hills dis- 
trict ; the most noted one perhaps was a murder trial 
which was very much in evidence while it lasted. It 
was a case that created a great deal of excitement. A 
young man living at Lead City was the owner of some 
mining ground that the Homestake Mining Company 
wanted for the purpose of building a large mill on 
it. The owner asked what the Homestake Company 
thought was an exhorbitant price for the ground and 
the Homestake representatives tried to intimidate the 
owner. Some Homestake gunmen were stationed near 
by and after some threats they shot him down in a 
cold blooded manner; it was looked upon as a very 
brutal, cold blooded murder and there was consider- 
able excitement over it. John Manning was sheriff 
at this time. The gun men were promptly arrested 
and lodged in jail. I was in the employ of the State, 
Express and Transportation Company at this time as 
treasure guard, running to the Missouri River, but I 
also had an appointment as deputy sheriff in order to 
be able to act in the interest of my company; also to 
assist the sheriff when possible to do so. I had ar- 
rived in Deadwood the night the gunmen were arrest- 
ed and lodged in jail. I had a day to lay over in be- 

THP: black hills TKAILS so- 

fore starting out on my rnn so the next morning- I 
went down and offered my services to the sheriff. While 
talking- with the sheriff a call came from the jail ask- 
ing Sheriff ^Manning to come up there at once. I went 
up with the sheriff. We found the jailer (Black Jack 
Manning, a relative of the sheriff's) walking the floor 
very much excited. When I asked him what the 
trouble was he told a very strange story. It seems 
that a notorious character by the name of John 
Flaherty had come to the jail in the middle of the 
night and, according to Black Jack's story, Flaherty 
offered Jack a large roll of bills said to contain five 
thousand dollars if he Avould open the jail door and 
let the gunmen go. I said, "Well, Jack did you take 
the money?'' He was very indignant to think that I 
would ask such a question. I said, "Jack you have lost 
a very fine chance" and he replied. "Would you have 
taken that money and let those murderers get away?" 
I said, "Not but if you had taken that money and lock- 
ed Flaherty up you could turn in the money to the 
court and thereby made a fine case against tliis gang 
and besides you would have made a very fine name for 
yourself." Jack never thought of that. He was a 
good, square boy but was not up to all the tricks go- 
ing on around at that time. The sheriff had been a 
very interested listener all during this conversation 
and said that he believed he did not know all that was 
going on inside of his of&ce but would look into things 
a little closer from now on and asked me to co-operate 
with him. 

The gun men were held for murder and later 
placed on trial in the district court held in Dead- 
wood, Dakota Territory, Judge G. C. Moody presid- 
ing. After a long and very sensational trial the case 
was submitted to the jury who finally brought in a 
verdict of "not guilty." Everybody was, to say the 
least, astonished, none more so than Judge Moody. 
He scored the jury unmercifully, telling them very 
plainly that the verdict rendered by them was not in 
accordance with the evidence presented and also told 
them that no doubt this jury had been bought by the 


Homestake Company money. He also said, ''I would 
sooner have a jury of Pagan Indians try cases in this 
court than men of your kind, you can always secure 
money now from the Homestake Company as they 
have bought you outright." The judge said more 
along the same line, then turned to the sheriff and said, 
"Mr. Sheriff, if you ever bring any of these men into 
my court again to serve as jurors I will commit you 
for contempt of court. They are a disgrace to the 
country.'' There was no response from the jurors. 
The bailiff having charge of his jury was arrested 
charged with being implicated, also he was said to 
have handled the money that reached the jury but 
nothing could be proven although it was a well known 
fact that several of the jurors had plenty of money af- 
ter the trial was over. This jury was afterwards 
known as the "Pagan Jury.'' (A. M. Willard). 


Spotted Tail was the head of the Brule Siou:x In- 
dians and one of the most influential Indians in the 
Sioux Nation. In the month of August, 1881, he had 
been summoned to Washington and before departing 
on this trip he called together a large number of his 
people to counsel with them as to the purpose of his 
visit. After the meeting had adjourned, Spotted 
Tail at the head of the party of his braves proceeded 
on his way toward the camp, when he met Crow Dog 
or "Kangi Sunka" with his wife, coming toward 
them in a wagon. As Spotted Tail approached Crow 
Dog, who had gotten out of the wa^on and was stoop- 
ing down. Crow Dog was seen to suddenly arise and 
shoot toward the chief, who immediately fell from his 
horse. Spotted Tail arose from the ground, took 
three or four steps toward Crow Dog while endeavor- 
ing to draw his pistol, then reeled and fell backward 

Intense excitement was created among the Brules, 
but no outbreak ensued. Crow Dog put up the excuse 
that Spotted Tail had insulted Crow Dog's wife and 
besides, Spotted Tail had many people in his own 


tribe that were unfriendly toward him and these 
people were not at all displeased at his murder. Under 
the treaty of 1868, Crow Dog was amenable to the 
law for his crime and accordingly was placed under 
arrest by the Indian police and sent to Fort Nio- 
brara for safe keeping until his act could be inquir- 
ed into by the United States government. Investiga- 
tion disclosed the fact that jealousy over women was 
not the cause of the shooting but that Crow Dog wish- 
ed to become the head chief and that Spotted Tail Avas 
not a hereditary chief but had gained his place in 
leadership by his prowess in war and superior intel- 
lectual power. It seems that Black Crow and Crazy 
Dog had entered into a conspiracy with Crow Dog to 
force Spotted Tail to resign as chief but failing in 
that move, had determined on other means; eittier 
fair or foul, to rid themselves of the influence of the 
diplomatic and powerful chief, Spotted Tail, and if 
necessary, they would kill him. 

In due course of time the charge of murder was 
filed against Kangi Sunka and he was brought to trial 
before the United States district court at Deadwood 
at the March term, 1882, Judge G. C. Moody presid- 
ing. The friends of Crow Dog had employed a young 
attorney, A. J. Plowman, to defend them, who, at the 
time of the trial presented a novel defense and one 
that was not without merit. The basis of the defense 
put up by Mr. Plowman was the fact that during the 
time that the United States government was investi- 
gating the killing of Sinta Gleska, the Brules in ac- 
cordance with the tribal customs and laws had ar- 
rested Crow Dog and given him a hearing and found 
that he had wrongfully killed Spotted Tail and as a 
penalty for his misdemeanors, imposed a sentence re- 
quiring Crow Dog to deliver to the relatives of the 
dead chief, a certain number of ponies, robes and 
blankets. This was done and according to the tribal 
laws and customs of the Sioux Nation, Crow Dog was 
free from any further penalty and the crime had been 
expiated. Therefore, it was the contention of the 
attorney, Plowman, that the United States had no 


jurisdiction over the ci-ime since tlie government had 
always considered the Sioux Indians as a separate 
and distinct nation by making a treaty with them 
and in other ways acting toward the Sioux Indian 
tribe as a distinct and foreign nation. However, his 
objections were overruled and the case proceeded to 
trial and the jury brought in a verdict of "guilty or 
murder" and Crow Dog was sentenced to be hanged. 
Plowman secured a stay of proceedings and put up 
such a -vigorous fight that the case dragged along for 
many months. During this time, Crow Dog was kept 
in jail and there became acquainted with James 
Leighton and they became very warm friends. James 
Leighton or James Leighton- Gilmore, had likewise 
been tried and found guilty of the crime of murder, 
his victim being a Mexican named Ortez, whom he 
killed on the Indian reservation. He belonged to a 
very prominent southern family and through their 
influence, reprieves were granted and the execution de- 
layed several times. The time for execution finally 
arrived and the Indian chief received permission to 
see his friend Leighton for the last time. They had a 
long and earnest conversation in the Sioux language 
and when the time came to go they looked each other 
square in the eye and after a firm hand-clasp, Crow 
Dog turned abruptly and walked away. Leighton 
walked calmly between the marshal and sheriff, took 
his place on the scaffold and in a few minutes was 

After the execution of his close friend, Gilmore, 
it was very hard to keep Crow Dog in jail and Mar- 
shal Kaymond decided to allow him the liberty of the 
jail yard during the day time. Crow Dog had been 
chief of police at the agency and had a very fine army 
uniform with shoulder straps denoting the rank of 
major of artillery, and it was his custom from time to 
time to array himself in his military trappings and 
strut around the yard. He finally got to visiting the 
houses near the jail and soon had a large circle of 
friends among the children in the neighborhood. One 
night when the jailer was preparing to close up, Crow 


Dog could not be found. He had struck out for the 
reservation Avhere it was found he had joined his 
family. Crow Dog was the chief in an organization 
among the Indians, known as the Pape Maza Ospaye 
"Iron Hand Band" who were considered to be the 
most warlike and famous as fighters in the Sioux 
Nation. Marshal Raymond sent a special deputy 
known as Bill}" Wilson to the reservation with orders 
to bring Crow Dog back at once. Wilson was a lit- 
tle fellow and without a great deal of tact. When he 
went to the reservation he very nearly started a war 
by ordering Crow Dog to return with him at once and 
attempting to place him under arrest. Crow Dog 
absolutely refused to leave the reservation and or- 
dered Wilson to get out as he had no intention of go- 
ing to the Black Hills again. The influence of the 
Iron Hand Band was very much in evidence and Wil- 
son finally took up the matter with the agent who 
talked with the chief and tried to persuade Crow Dog 
to return to Deadwood with the deputy, but to no 
avail. The agent then appealed to the chief saying 
that the soldiers would come and a bloody war would 
follow and many warriors would be killed, but for a 
long time the Indians remained obstinate and declar- 
ed that they would fight the soldiers as long as there 
was a man left in the Pape Maza Ospaye. At last 
Crow Dog was told that if he would return to Dead- 
wood and surrender to Deputy Marshal Raymond, 
his friends would try to secure a pardon from the 
Great Father at Washington. Crow Dog consented to 
go to the Black Hills but refused to go with Wilson 
as he considered it an insult to have a big chief ar- 
rested by so small a white man. He said, "Tell that 
little man to go home and in two suns, I, Kanga Sun- 
ka, will start for the Black HiUs. Wilson started for 
home at once but on the way became dead drunk and 
Crow Dog arrived in Deadwood ahead of him. The 
chief reported to Attorney Plowman, whom the In- 
dians called Wi-Cas-A-Ci-Qua-La-Ho-Tonka "Little 
Man With A Big Voice." Crow Dog was again given 
the same liberty as before, after he had promised not 


to go away until ^^.ittle Man With A Big Voice" gave 
him permission to go and he kept his word. 

One day a message arrived from Washington 
and the court ordered the chief brought into court. 
Deputy Sheriff Millard went to the jail and inform- 
ed the man that he was wanted in court. The chief 
made the sign of hanging a man, but Willard inform- 
ed him that he did not know what was going to be 
done. However, the Indian was impressed with the 
idea that he was to be sentenced to be hanged and 
dressed himself carefully in his major's uniform and 
placed on his bosom his various medals. When he ar- 
rived in the court room, he appeared to be much sur- 
prised to find so many people there but he walked 
with a very dignified manner. The judge made a very 
long talk with the aid of an interpreter and informed 
the Indian that the Great Father at Washington had 
sent a pardon for the great chief, Kangi Sunka, and 
that he was now a free man and could return to his 
people at any time he wished. It was some time be- 
fore the chief could realize that he was now a free 
man but when he did so, he caught Plowman up in 
his arms and said, "Wi-Cas-A-Ci-Qua-Lo-Ho-Tonka. 
(Little Man With A Big Voice) heap damn good 
man." He hugged the little lawyer like a bear, almost 
breaking his ribs. He then went to the judge, and 
seized his hand, almost crushing it, saying, "You 
heap damn good man too!" This nearly broke up the 
court and they finally managed to lead the Indian 
away. ' 

The chief was thereupon released, but before leav- 
ing for his home he bade his friends good-bye and 
hunted up the little children and bade them farewell. 
He remained on the reservation until the Sitting Bull 
war, which he joined and was one of the most fear- 
less leaders. 


The period of time covered in this history saw 
some of the most important controversies tried out 


before "the courts of la-.v Uo/. liaye ai'ls:tni in this na- 
tion and we are indebted to W. H. Bonham of the 
Deadwood Pioneer-Times for an account of some of 
the interesting legal struggles that took place before 
the bar of Lawrence County. 

''That which made the deepest and most lasting 
impression upon my memory, and as illustrating the 
greatness and spirit of Deadwood and her people, 
were the courts and attorneys, especially those of the 
days of litigation involving titles to mining properties 
and water rights and determining ownership. Com- 
ing from an Illinois farm where my only knowledge 
of the law or lawyers was gained from pettifoggers 
and bullyraggers in a justice of the peace court, my 
admiration for the Deadwood bar knew no bounds. 
I believed they were among the truly great of the 
earth, and I have never been disillusioned, if illusion 
it was, but I don't believe it. The Deadwood bar was 
made up of the best legal talent from the mining 
states and territories of the west and was surpassed 
by none. The great Homestake and Father De Smet 
corporations had grappled in a life and death strug- 
gle for the possession of what each believed to be the 
richest gold prospect in the world. A great array 
of legal talent assembled on each side. The contest 
was waged for weeks, and the bar of Deadwood be- 
came known throughout the country. The dignified 
and able Gideon C. Moody presided, and rendered the 
now famous water-right decision which was approved 
by the federal courts, that is read and quoted every- 
where today as the best law on riparian rights. And 
all of those lawj^ers have distinguished themselves 
here or elsewhere. The Deadwood bar claims a United 
States senator, a congressman, supreme, district and 
circuit judges, United States attorney, numerous law- 
makers, state and county officials, promoters of all 
classes of industry, mine superintendents, active par- 
ticipants in political and civic affairs and all things 
pertaining to the public welfare It was with the 
Deadwood bar that the idea of forming two states 
from the territory and their admission to the union 


originated and was consummated under the leader- 
sliip of Hon. G. C. Moody. Of the many attorneys of 
those early days who stamped the impress of their 
character and spirit upon the people, but few remain. 
Those were the days that tried out the stuff that was 
in men, and that same spirit and character is with 
the bar and the people today. The space I have al- 
ready taken precludes a much desired personal men- 
tion of the members of the Deadwood bar. 

"Among the many incidents of the Lawrence coun- 
ty court, humorous, pathetic and otherwise, I can 
only mention one, of interest because of its barbaric 
character and the spectacular setting of the trial. 
This was the case of Crow Dog, charged with killing 
Chief Spotted Tail. The day for the display of foren- 
sic eloquence arrived. The arguments to the jury 
were to begin, the morning papers had announced and 
assured the people that i)robably there would never be 
another such trial witnessed in any court of law. The 
elite and eliteses of the city were present, arrayed in 
their best and brightest apparel, and the Indian was 
there too, appareled in all the gorgeous colors of his 
tribe, warriors and squaws, displaying all the colors 
and paints, beadwork, plaited through the hair, war 
bonnets of eagle feathers sweeping the floor, buckskin 
suits showing the best bead and needle work that the 
cunning brain could devise or hand could execute, 
and blankets of every hue and all as solemn as the 
most important council meeting. Arguments to the 
jury began and continued to the end under this most 
inspiring audience. It was a scene never to be for- 
gotten. The arguments concluded, the jury instructed 
by the court, retired to deliberate, returned a verdict 
of 'Guilty of murder,' and in due time Crow J-^og 
was sentenced to be hung. Crow Dog was confined 
to the county jail awaiting the result of an appeal to 
the supreme court of the United States, which finally 
reversed the verdict on the ground that the trial court 
had no jurisdiction to try a case where Indians alone 
were involved. While waiting in the county jail. 
Crow Dog was allowed to wander over the hills alone 


during- the day and report at night, with sentence of 
death by hanging over him, the most disgraceful death 
for an Indian. One evening he was missing and a 
search of the city and hills made for him. An officer 
was sent to the agency and there found him seated be- 
fore his tepee holding on his knee a pair of twins 
that were born to him while in jail. The officer made 
known his mission to which the Indian replied that 
he wished to see his children before he died and as 
they were too poor to come to him he had gone to 
them. He assured the officer that his object was ac- 
complished, he would return as he came and not fail. 
His word was accepted, and although the officer re- 
turned by stage and rail, Crow Dog arrived in Dead- 
wood about the same time. 

''The most amusing incident of early Deadwood 
life is known as the "Water Election." Water in the 
early days was more valuable than at present be- 
cause of the more uses for mining and other purposes, 
not for drinking. The Homestake and Father DeSmet 
Mining companies were each acquiring title to all the 
loose water in reach, and each wanted the contract to 
furnish the city of Deadwood with water for fire and 
domestic purposes. The Homestake mines and mills 
were located at Lead City at the head of Gold Run 
gulch, emptying into Whitewood Creek. The Father 
DeSmet was located on Deadwood Creek above Cen- 
tral City, their properties being separated by the 
Deadwood and Golden Terra at Terrayille, all of 
which, including the Father DeSmet is now the prop- 
erty of the Homestake. 

"The fight for water was the beginning of the 
struggle between the companies which resulted in the 
absorption of the weaker by the stronger. Dead- 
wood was the metropolis and mining center of the 
Black Hills and every Black Hiller claimed Deadwood 
as his home and the right to vote there on any ques- 
tion. An election to determine which company should 
supply the city was authorized by the county com- 
missioners. The DeSmet was the most popular, with 
the people and the officials thought they had an easy 


victory. Each company was constructing ditches and 
flumes to convey water to Deadwood, and it was an- 
nounced that the first to reach the city with water 
would be the favorite. Interest in the race grew and 
spread to every camp in the Hills. Opposing forces 
were organized, large sums of money were placed in 
the hands of the more 'influential' citizen, voters 
were jtaid their own price. On election day from 
ten to fifteen thousand voters had assembled to share 
in the glory and profits of determining which company 
should furnish Deadwood with water. Voters were 
housed and corraled in 'blocks' of hundreds while 
the spokesmen or leaders negotiated the sale of their 
franchise. One block of about 300 were housed on 
Sherman street awaiting a deal. Soon it was an- 
nounced that the deal had been made, and then the 
other company got in its work. Instead of raising 
the ante it hired the firemen to turn a stream of water 
into the building. As one of the nozzlemen I expect- 
ed to be mobbed but they came out like wet rats from 
a hole, each one considering the joke was On the other 
and not on him. Along in the middle of the after- 
noon the hired men of the company concluded they 
had a majority of votes in the ballot box and ordered 
the polls to be packed to prevent more voting. This 
was done and hundreds of voters could not get with- 
in fifty feet of the polls. 


Sturgis in the early years of its existence was 
known to all of the pioneers and people throughout 
the Hills as Scooptown. This very appropriate name 
for the existence of that village at that time was well 
earned and well deserved because it was the resting 
place of many of the toughs, gamblers and outlaws as 
they came over the prairie into the Hills. There was 
a constant occurrence of robberies, holdups, shooting 
scrapes and the freighters and travelers of those days 
that were acquainted with the bad character of the 
rough element of Sturgis made it a point to camp 
either outside of Sturgis or move on to some other 


more satisfactory camp site. It was a constant strug- 
gle between the officers who tried to preserve law and 
protect property and the lawless elements. Some- 
time those who showed their disrespect for the law 
paid the penalty with their lives. An instance of this 
kind is recorded in the columns of the Record of June 
6th, 1884, which in substance is as follows : 

"For several weeks there had been three or four 
hard looking citizens loitering around Sturgis. Not 
much attention was paid to them at first as they ap- 
peared to be cowboys or bull whackers, but their stay 
at last aroused suspicion without, it appears, doing 
any good. The first occurrence that reminded people 
of the gentry was the sudden disappearance of two 
saddles, worth |50.00 each, from the Crowdin and 
France's livery stables. Monday it was reported that 
the tollgate had been robbed by two men and a short 
time after two men came in from above town stating 
that several of their horses had been stolen. Cowdin 
and France immediately upon discovery of the theft 
from their premises started the officers in pursuit and 
went out themselves to scour the country. Matters 
progressed quietly enough until about two o'clock 
Tuesday morning when two shots from the bluffs from 
Sages' corral told the story. 

"The saddles were stolen Sunday night. Monday 
morning a fellow named Brigham, a well known char- 
acter on the Pierre road, was arrested but subse- 
quently turned loose. William Lindsey, otherwise 
known as 'Red' was also suspected but he was not to be 
found and it was ascertained he had gone down the 
road toward Rapid City. Monday night another 
phase of the case developed. A deserter from Fort 
Meade named Miller was collared by Souter and said 
he wanted to confess as he was badly scared at the 
way things were going and probably thought the 
the safest way out of the difficulty was to peach on 
the crowd. 

"He stated that Brigham and Lindsey stole the 
saddles and had them cached in the brush north of 
town, that all three had intended to saddle up some 


horses that were picketed near town and leave that 
night for the Little Missouri, but on account of the 
arrest of Brigham and the absence of Red they had 
agreed to defer the trip until the next night. The 
plan was for Lindsey to get a horse from Rapid City, 
to come back to Sturgis, get Brigham, go out to where 
the saddles were cached, saddle two other horses near 
by and then the trio were to strike out for the Little 
Missouri. As this plan had been interfered with 
by the arrest of Brigham and the deserter, Miller, who 
had government carbine and cartridges. On promise of 
immunity he agreed to take the officers to the cache 
and show them where Red was when he came back. 
Dick France and Bill Ray, who worked for Scollard, 
were thereupon deputized by Souter to accompany the 
deserter to where the saddles were hidden and then 
to wait for Lindsey. Souter gave strict orders that if 
anyone came that they were to draw on him, call up- 
on him to throw up his hands and if he failed to do 
so to take no chances but to turn loose. The men 
were warned by the guide to be careful as Lindsey 
had frequently said that he would never be taken 
alive and was a very dangerous character. About 
three o'clock Tuesday morning the watchers heard 
someone coming and Miller gave the signal. Then he 
flattened out on the ground and tremulously told 
France and Roy again to be careful. The coward was 
evidently afraid that Red would kill him if he escap- 
ed. As Lindsey came up the hill he was ordered to 
throw up his hands. Instead of complying he reach- 
ed for his revolver. Two charges from shot guns, 
each with thirteen buck shots in front started for 
him and William Lindsey alias 'Red' went home. It 
was not yet daylight and at close range they did not 
know which one did the work. The body was taken 
to the undertaking rooms and the saddles to the 
stable. Tuesday Coroner Smith came down and an 
inquest was held. The jury returned the verdict to 
the effect that the deceased came to his death from 
the effects of a gun shot wound from the hands of 


France and Roy and that it was jnstified homicide 
under instructions from an officer. 

''The soldier deserted about a year ago and went 
to Brownsville where he was known as 'Big Miller.' 
A short time ago he Avent down again and enlisted, 
deserting Sunday or Monday. He will have the 
pleasure of working and earning his living at Fort 
Leavenworth for the crime of desertion. He later 
took the officers to the place where a lot of tools were 
concealed. He said a scheme was on foot to blow up 
the safes in the banks and capture the currency. 
This 'soldier' must have been a fine partner to have 
either in crime or anything else. 

''Lindsey was about thirt}' years of age with red 
hair, a mustache and a six weeks' growth of red stub- 
bles on his chin. He worked at Rapid City and was 
later in the employ of Mr. Eisner here. It is thought 
his premature transit from this world to the next 
will break up a rather hard gang that has been gather- 
ing here from Pierre and other points." 


The year 1886, saw the town of Buffalo Gap the 
terminal of the F. E. and M. V. railroad. The town 
soon became a typical western town, but of the tough- 
est elements that could be got together. Sure thing 
men, desperadoes, gamblers, dance hall rounders, and 
in fact more bad men than decent men comprised the 
bulk of the population. There were continual rounds 
of holdups, robberies and shooting scrapes until 
finally the business men held a secret meeting to de- 
cide on how to handle this situation. They con- 
cluded to employ a nervy city marshal and for this 
purpose chose a young cowboy, who by his quiet man- 
ners and orderly behavior when he came into town 
with other boys, had marked him as a law abiding 
citizen. After considerable persuasion, the business 
men secured the services of this man whose name was 
Archie Riordan. The tough element accepted the 
challenge and decided to put the marshal out of busi- 
ness immediately. They chose a desperado by the 



name of Charlie Fugit and the plan was to shoot up 
the dance hall and in a general disturbance, kill the 
marshal without giving him a show, the minute he 
would come into the room. However, Riordan was in- 
formed of what was going on and when the fighting 
commenced, Avalked in and as Fugit made a draw for 
his gun, he fell dead from a well placed bullet from 

Archie Riordan 

the marshal. The gang of robbers realized that the 
officers meant business and the decent people were in 
the fight for a finish. They soon decamped for other 
pastures and Buffalo Gap became a place where peo- 
ple could go about their business without fear. 

Riordan afterwards was appointed deputy sher- 
iff of Custer county and proved to be a very efficient 
officer. He later took up his residence in Hot Springs, 
South Dakota, of which city he has been mayor for 
several terms. 



Eoy Sewell is dead and the next county court 
will have one less case to contend with. 

On the 15th of June, Sewell was arrested for al- 
leged cattle stealing. The charge was made that he 
had been selling calves to local butchers. He was held 
to the next term of court and being unable to furnish 
bonds was placed in charge of the sheriff. He has 
been a quiet and tractable prisoner until yesterday. 

About half past six, Jailor Kelly let Sewell out 
in the jail yard for a few moments, as has been cus- 
tomary. When the prisoner returned instead of 
turning into his cell he ran out through the office and 
down the street. Somebody gave the alarm and the 
trouble commenced. Kelly got his shot gun and start- 
ed after the fugitive. Sewell ran down the alley and 
entered the market where F. A. Willard holds forth. 
He knew there was a Winchester rifle hanging on the 
wall, and coming from the rear had the gun before 
anyone was aware of it. There were two customers 
in the market at the time. He "threw her down" on 
the trio and said he would kill anybody who inter- 
fered. As Sewell passed out the front door he met 
Marshal Beaver who had heard of his escape, and 
saw the man running. Beaver had run through the 
vacant lot east of Spark's. When Sewell ran against 
the marshal, he pointed the gun towards the officer 
and backed off into the street. Having no weapons 
Beaver let him go. Sewell went to Martin and Bunt- 
ing's stable, where he ordered a horse saddled and 
then seeing Ivelly coming around with a shot gun, 
walked quickly down to what is known as the Starr 
and Bullock corner. There he took a stand and 
threatened to shoot Kelly if he even dared to move the 
gun that he carried. 

In the meantime Willard began to fret about his 
rifle. It was a good gun and shot pretty close. He 
needed it in his business, it was an old friend and 
cost money. So he went over to Anderson's hardware 
store, picked out a rifle, got a few cartridges and went 


up the street. Sewell was still on the corner "hold- 
ing up'' the deputy sheriff when Willard reached 
Blatt's corner. The men were not 50 feet apart. Wil- 
lard said, "Roy, put down that gun.'' Roy was 
crazy with excitement. He had threatened three men 
in the shop, the marshal, the deputy sheriff and 
Martin in the stable, and was even then saying that 
he would kill all he could and die before going to 
jail again, so he wheeled around, pulled a bead on 
Willard and fired. The two rifles were fired simul- 
taneously. Sewell 's juglar vein w^as severed and he 
died in ten minutes. The shot from his rifle missed 
Willard's head by about two or three inches. It cut 
the mid-rib of Blatt's window, and passed through the 
outer sash into the main casing. 

Sewell' s body was removed to Voorhee's under- 
taking rooms where an inquest was held. The jury 
consisting of Messrs. Jones. Sevey and Gary, return- 
ed a verdict to the effect that the deceased came to 
his death from a gun shot by Willard, the latter be- 
ing in discharge of his duty and the killing entirely 

Yesterday a telegram was sent to the boy's rela- 
tives in Pierre and a reply immediately received or- 
dering the body placed in charge of the undertaker 
until the relatives can arrive, which will be "^omorrow 
or maybe today. 

Nobody can regret the occurrence more than Mr. 
Willard, who was suddenly confronted with the fact 
that he must defend himself against a man who was 
no doubt temporarily demented. 

Roy came of an excellent family and was very 
bright, but wanted to be a little tough. He said to 
Deputy Kelly, after he was shot, "I'm glad it's over.'' 
He had the night before, cut out a hole in the ceiling 
of the jail and also cut at the door with a knife. 
(Record, August, 189G) 


When Jim Merryman went around Wednesday 
morning to feed the team on the Borger dray line, 


he found tliat "Bismarck" and "Mand," the old famil- 
iar bay and sorrel, were gone. The harness was also 
gone as well as the pole straps, and then strange 
wagon tracks were seen. Half a minute's investiga- 
tion showed that Jim O'Neill's liuckboard had been 
drawn by hand up to the barn, the horses harnessed 
and hitched to it, and then driven back by the same 
track. After going as far as where the buckboard 
should have been and not finding it, Merryman for- 
got to follow up the track and see which way it went, 
and by the time the others thought of it, of course 
there was no use. 

Three parties were immediately made up and 
started out. F. A. Willard, and W. E. Cathay went 
north, headed toward the Bismarck trail; Charley 
Stewart and Billy Mance also went north but hit a 
trail further west; Deputy Smith and Borger went 
down the road intending to watch the eastern end of 
the country. 

Up to last night nothing had been heard from the 
absentees. M. M. Baird says that when coming in to 
town Wednesday morning he saw a buggy track on 
the road west of the Butte, that didn't keep in the 
road at all — sometimes on one side and then on the 
other. This dray team wasn't used to the country. 
Mr. Henderson who lives about two miles beyond 
Lynch on Nine Mile, reports that about four o'clock 
that morning a team with two or three men passed 
his place and the rattle woke him up. That would be 
about the time the men should reach there if they 
took that road. No other clue whatever has been re- 

The fellows, whoever they were, showed poor 
judgment in the selection of a team for a long trip. 
This was a dray team, seal fat, and couldn't stretch 
out ten hours at one time if they were killed for it. 

Stewart and Mance came in last night about six 
o'clock and had seen nothing of the gang. Sam Moses 
came in also this afternoon and stated that Willard 
and Cathay had stayed at his ranch on the Moreau- 


80-Miles- night before last. Tliey were watching that 




The two young gentlemen who attempted to get 
away with Borger's dray team and O'Neill's buck- 
board Tuesday night of last week are now enjoying 
the hospitality of Sheriff Smith. Fred Willard brought 
in one of them Tuesday afternoon, suffering from a 
gun shot wound in the inner part of his leg, and 
Wednesday morning the other one appeared with Fred 
Harvey in a buggy. 

The Record last week published a full account of 
the disappearance of the property, of the three dif- 
ferent parties being out on the search, the return of 
two — but like the dime novel, left it all to be con- 

The two men, who will be called Hansen and 
Murrill, for want of better names, as they gave those 
names when questioned, struck out north past Jim 
Hoover's place and all that North Moreau country. 
They drove that old gray team between 125 and 150 
miles in two days, showing that they knew how to 
take care of horses and work them right. 

Willard and Cathay were at Sam Moses' ranch, 
but took a circle west. They went past the Flying V 
Ranch out to the line camp, and there ran upon the 
trail still going north. They rode all that afternoon 
and all night, and finally came upon the two horse 
thieves at Ed Hanks' ranch on Grand River at day- 
light Friday morning. The boys (for such they were 
—22 or 23) were in bed and their heads covered by 
blankets. After being aroused the fellow, Hansen, 
asked if breakfast was ready. The other one, Murrill, 
he calls himself, had evidently been in similar places, 
or had heard of them, for he wanted awfully to get 
hold of a gun that they had stolen the day before at 
the ranch, and which was standing by the side of the 


wagon full of cartridges. By the way, the two thieves 
had stopped at a ranch house on the way up, taken 
coffee, sugar, canned goods, tent, camp outfit and a 
rifle with ammunition. 

After breakfast the two officers started back for 
home, it being the intention to drive as far as the 
Flying V ranch, leave Borger's team there, and then 
come on. Willard was ahead with the tired out 
team and Hansen, Cathay followed with the buggy 
and team, his companion being Murrill, who made no 
resistance. Both teams were jogging along, but be- 
ing further apart, when Cathay stopped to fix a hold- 
back strap. He left everything — gun and all. in the 
buggy. His prisoner hit the team a sudden blow, the 
buggy knocked Cathay down, and once more the fel- 
low was free. There was nothing to do but the three 
pile in one rig and start towards the Hanks ranch, 
which was reached as soon as possible. 

Murrill next turned up at the ranch of a Swede 
named Sanwick, right at the forks of Grand River. 
He got there with his thoroughly jaded team about 
nine o'clock and as he himself says, intended to get a 
fresh horse from the stable as soon as the folks had 
gone to bed. But the woman of the house had seen 
him in the moonlight crossing the yard to the corn- 
crib and reported it to her husband and another man. 
They went to the building, looked through the cracks 
and saw Murrill with his head down as if asleep — he 
had been on the go for three days. The gun that he 
had run away with stood beside him. Sanwick opened 
the door, grabbed the young fellow, after which to 
use his own words, "Sometimes one was on top and 
sometimes the other.-' The Swede finally won and 
Murrill was a prisoner once more. Cathay had g(»ne 
down after the runaway, having procured a fine team 
at Hanks' and come upon the scene Friday iil time 
to start back to Hanks' ranch. Night overtook 
them at a road ranch and Cathay was in charge of 
the prisoner, whose legs had been fastened with chain 
and padlock. Cathay went to sleep, being sick any- 
way and fagged out, and when he awoke his prisoner 


had disappeared. Murrill had wriggled his way out 
of bed^ swung his shackled legs out the window, 
drawn himself through, hopped down to the creek, 
and pounded off his legirons on the rocks thereabouts. 
He now had the north pole as a final resort and start- 
ed for it. Willard and Hanks had started down the 
trail towards the forks, and appeared on the scene 
again. Sunday morning Cathay and a stock inspector 
named Fleming, took one branch of the creek whila 
Willard and Hanks took another, and once more the 
search was instituted for any track that might lead to 
the discovery of the slippery gentleman. A shoe 
track was noticed in the road leading towards the 
Korth Dakota line. It was a pointed shoe and as none 
of the stockmen out that way were addicted to the 
toothpick shoe habit, the trail was immediately taken 
and followed. It kept in the road so was easily fol- 
lowed and about five o'clock Sunday afternoon Wil- 
lard saw some small, dark object disappear over the 
top of the hill at one side of the road. It might have 
been a hawk or a coyote, but he got out of the buggy 
and climbed the hill, because the shoe tracks were 
now very fresh, and he ran right onto the gentleman, 
half concealed by a rock and a hole in the ground. 
Murrill immediately started to shoot. He had a six 
shooter that he had stolen from some of the ranches 
he had passed or had been given to him. Willard was 
not fifty feet away and he took one shot that struck 
the fugitive in the fleshy part of one leg. going through 
it into the other and incidentally doing a painful 
piece of work between times. The unfortunate man 
made a remark or two. about knowing when he had 
had enough and the incident was closed. He was 
helped into the buggy and all started toward the 
ranch which was reached in due time and Monday 
morning the journey home set in. 

Charley Stewart and Fred Harvey had started 
out again Friday night as soon as they had heard of 
the whereabouts of the two men so that they were at 
the ranch when the crowd came in. Ice was procur- 
ed and Willard and Stewart came in with Murrill, 


getting here Tuesday afternoon. Fred Harvey ar- 
rived Wednesday morning with Hansen and Cathay 
brought in the tired dray team yesterday. 

Drs. Smith and Sexton say there is no particular 
danger in the wound unless blood poisoning sets in 
which is not likely. 

Murrill won't talk much. He claims to be 18 
years old, but is 23 if a day. He had a note book in 
his pocket containing a pass to allow one Charles 
Wilcox to cross the Cheyenne Indian reservation, 
dated last April; also various dates and names — two 
being names of Deadwood girls. He also claims to 
have been on the northern ranges and rode roundups, 
so that he is familiar with the names of the various 
ranches down this way. The other one, Hansen, 
claims to have worked at Blackhawk four years ago, 
after which he went to Chicago and then to Lead, 
where he met Murrill, both of them working for some 
weeks as porters in Fannie Hill's house of ill shape; 
that times got dull and they were discharged; came to 
Sturgis and that night Murrill sent him down to the 
fair grounds to wait until the team was properly 
stolen. This latter must be a lie because the China- 
man says he saw two men hitching up the team. 

Too much praise cannot be given all who started 
out so quickly after the horse thieves when notified 
last week and stayed with it so long. Willard rode 
down twenty-two horses on the trip, counting those 
under the saddle and in harness. Ed Hanks, whose 
ranch is 125 or 150 miles from here, hitched up a pair 
of standard bred stallions and pretty nearly killed 
one of them. His ranch was headquarters all the 
time and nothing was too good. Bob Packer and 
Gene Allen, at the Flying V ranch rushed around af- 
ter fresh horses as if the whole Sioux nation was af- 
ter the country. Everybody out that way tried to do 
more tlian the other and each was afraid the two cul- 
prits would escape. 

Wednesday morning a purse of about |150.00 was 
raised here to help defray the expenses of those who 


bad o-one out so quickly and willingly to help capture 
the thieves. 

Preliminary examination will probably occur to- 
day — at least of one of the prisoners. State's Attor- 
ney McCluno- says he don't know whether it is worth 
while to bind them over to circuit court, as there is 
no sure thing they will be convicted. " The average 
Meade county jury is an uncertain quantity. 


There came pretty near being one less on earth and 
one more somewhere else, last Friday night. 

Some few minutes after ten o'clock there was a 
concerted action among the prisoners at the county 
jail to escape. Deputy Sheriff Frank Smith went 
down stairs to lock them up in their cells, Avhen Han- 
sen, one of the horse thieves and a boy who was sup- 
posed to be rather innocent of any real guilt in the 
abduction of Borger's horses, and a very nice young 
fellow, threw a spitoon at Smith's head. Then Mur- 
rill grappled him and a pleasant rough and tumble 
fight ensued between the three. Finally Smith gOt 
away and drew a little six shooter which he had in 
his pocket. With this he shot Murrill about the pit 
of the stomach and the gentleman immediately quit. 
The shooting frightened Hansen who ran for his cell. 
But another prisoner turned out the lights. 

Smith stood at a place where he could cover both 
exits with his six shooter, and sent for help. Phil 
Smoot came down on a double quick march and told 
what had happened. In less than no time there were 
dozens of people hurrying to the court house, but 
there was no need for an alarm, as the rest of the pris- 
oners were as peaceable as could be imagined. 

Dr. McSloy was sent for but he did not dare 
probe for the ball in Murrill's interior department, so 
he dressed the wound to allay inflammation and yester- 
day afternoon the patient hardly knew he had been 
shot. His wound that Willard gave him on the oc- 
casion of his arrest had hardly healed and now he 
has another, but he said to the physician, something to 



the effect that he wanted a good job made as he would 
try the same thing again. 

Much credit is given Deputy Smith for the way 
he '^held the fort" and the only regret is that he didn't 
shoot a little lower. (Sturgis Record, Sept. 7, 1900.) 


Yesterday morning circuit court convened in or- 
der to give the prisoners who had been in jail a show 
for freedom or something else. 

Edward Murrill and Harry F. Hansen, the two 
young men who stole Borger's team, were brought up 
for trial. They waived time, plead guilty and were 
sentenced to two years each in the Sioux Falls peni- 
tentiary. Murrill's true name came out as Edward 
Ditmon. ( Sturgis Record, Sept. 21, 1900.) 

In the Black Hills 



In all ages and in every clime, the story of the 
development and lives of a people reveal certain out- 
standing characters and individuals who by the good 
or evil that they have done, have stamped their names 
upon the times. The tale of the Hills is no exception 
to this rule of social science and out from the thous- 
ands of men and women who gathered in the shadows 
of the mountains, lured thither by the longings of the 
human heart, we find four names that stand forth, 
distinct and pre-eminent, the result of the paths they 
marked on the fleeting sands of their day. 

History tells us that in the discovery of the New 
World, both by the sturdy Norsemen and the perse- 
vering Columbus, the cross led the way. So likewise, 
in the early history of the West we find that the devout 
missionaries braved the hardships and dangers of the 
wilderness to bring the story of the Eedeemer to the 
heathens. It is especially true that in the long years 
yet to come, future generations shall come to honor 
above all others, the memories of two pioneer soldiers 
of the cross in the early history of the Hills, who 
came here not for the fading glory of gold, but for 
the noble and ever resplendent task of leading their 
fellows in the footsteps of their Redeemer, Father De- 
Smet and Rev. Smith. 


First in order of time, first in duration of the 
task, and first in magnitude of his work, we will con- 
sider Peter John DeSmet, S. J. He was born in Bel- 
gium on the 31st day of January, 1801, and came to 
America in his early youth. After completing his 
education, he joined the Jesuit Society and was sent 
as a missionary to the tribes along the Missouri River, 
He established the first church in western Iowa at 
Council Bluffs in 1838, and from this point as head- 
quarters spent the most of his life preaching among 
the Indian tribes of the Northwest. He was in Green 


Eiver, Wyomiug, o^i July 5th, 1840, and there he cele- 
brated the first Mass ever heard in that territory, his 
congregation being a motley crowd of Indians, trad- 
ers and trappers, the altar being made from materials 
at hand and decorated with wild flowers of the prairie. 
He is said to have been the first white man to dis- 
cover gold in Wyoming. 

From time to time, he reported to his superiors 
in the east and from his letters we have a glimpse of 
the life he led and the scenes that he saw in the days 
of the later forties. We quote from Father Rosen's 
"Black Hills/' wherein a report of a trip in 1848. 
across the prairies to the Black Hills is made. "We 
met not a single Indian, and no vestige of human 
habitation gi'eeted the eye. But ever and anon we 
distinguished small artificial mounds erected by the 
hand of man; irregular heaps of stones and tombs 
containing the mortal remains of Indians, carefully 
wrapped up in buffalo robes. At times a solitary 
post marked the spot where some brave had fallen in 
the field of battle — where reposed some ancient Nes- 
tor of the desert. These monuments, though with no 
epitaph to attest lofty deeds or transmit names to 
posterity, are a tribute of a feeling heart, a mute testi- 
mony of the respect the Indian bears to the memory 
of a father or of a friend, and of the value he attaches 
to the glory of the ancestors. Some herds of bison and 
dense flocks of deer, of several species, that fled at 
our approach, alone beguiled the tedium of the march. 

"In so long a march, through regions so singu- 
larly various, two great inconveniences are sometimes 
experienced — want of water and of wood. More than 
once we had no other fuel than dried buffalo-dung, 
and three times at our camping ground, water failed 
us. This is a hard trial for men and horses, especially 
after travelling all day under the burning sun of the 
month of August. 

"Another kind of torment, still less supportable 
when the heat is intense, is the appearance of fantas- 
tical rivers and lakes on the verge of the horizon, 
seeming to invite the weary traveler to advance and 


refresh his wasted strength upon their banks. Fatigue 
and thirst picture in the distant verdure, shade and 
coolness awaiting him. The illusion increases the de- 
sire to quench your burning thirst. You hasten on- 
ward to reach the goal. Hour succeeds hour; the de- 
lightful mirage heightens in brilliancy, and the pant- 
ing, exhausted traveler presses on without a suspicion 
that the phantom flies . before him. In an open, ele- 
vated region, where the atmosphere is in continual 
agitation, this effect may be easily produced by the 
reverberation of the sun's rays from the surface of 
these vast prairies, throwing the various tints of the 
verdure upon the deep blue of the firmament." 

Father DeSmet was a close observer of nature in 
his travels and after describing the annoyance caused 
by gadflys, gnats, mosquitoes, and swarming winged 
ants on the hot August days, he mentions the prairie 
dogs of the plains as follows : 

"They pile up the earth around their dwellings 
about two feet above the surface of the soil, thus pro- 
tecting themselves against the inundations which, in 
the rainy seasons or at the melting of the snows, 
would ingulf them and their little homes. Guided by 
instinctive foresight they carefully gather all the 
straws which are scattered over the plain, and carry 
them into their subterraneous asylums, to protect 
them against the rigors of the winter. At the ap- 
proach of a horseman, alarm is rapidly communicat- 
ed to all the citizens of the singular republic. All quit 
their habitations, and with head erect, the ears prick- 
ed up with anxiety, and a troubled stare, remain 
standing at the entrance of their abodes, or at the 
openings of their conical hills. After a momentary 
silence, they break forth into one, loud and repeated 
chorus of shrill barking. For some minutes life, mo- 
tion, and restless agitation reign throughout the ex- 
tensive field they occupy; but at the first gun shot, all 
is tranquil, every animal disappearing like a flash.'' 

He recounts his experiences in the Badlands and 
how he had to use the water therein although thick 
with the white mud so fine as to defy separation from 



the water. He pictures the country in these words: 
"The actions of the rains, snoAvs and winds upon the 
argillaceous soil is scarcely credible; and the combin- 
ed influence of these elements renders it the theatre 
of most singular scenery. Viewed at a distance, these 
lands exhibit the appearance of extensive villages and 
ancient castles, but under forms so extraordinary, and 
so capricious a style of architecture, that we might 

consider them as appertaining to some new world, or 
ages far remote. Here a majestic tower, surrounded 
with turrets, rises in noble grandeur, and there en- 
ormous and lofty columns seem reared to support the 
vault of heaven. Further on, you may decry a fort 
beaten by the tempest, and surrounded by mantellat- 
ed walls; its hoary parapets appear to have endured, 
during many successive ages, the assault of tempest, 
earthquake and thunder. Cupolas of colossal propor- 
tions, and pyramids which recall the gigantic labors 
of Egj^pt, rise around.'' 

He made note of flowers and grasses of the prai- 
ries and mountains as he travelled over them and 


found many nn-named specimens, but his opinion of 
the Indians of his time may prove of most interest to 
the reader and we quote as follows from his report 
of 1848: 

"I have several times observed that the Indians 
inhabiting the valley of the Upper Missouri, are gen- 
erally more cruel than those sojourning Avest of the 
Rocky Mountains. Probably this arises from their 
almost incessant wars, which inflame them with a 
love of pliin.ltr and a thirst for vengeance. 

'^\t the epoch of my visit to the Sioux, a troop of 
these barbarians were return iag from a \v?ii- against 
the Mahas, with thirty-two hmnjin h;cal])s torn from de- 
fenseless old men, and from women and children whose 
husbands and fathers were off hunting. When they 
re-enter their villages, afte? tin oomljar it is (heir cus- 
tom to attach these horrible trophies of their shame- 
ful victory to the points of"* tlieii' lances or To the bits 
of their horses. At the sight of these spoils the whole 
tribe shouts with joy, and every one considers it the 
highest gratification to assist at the scalp dance and 
feast, which is celebrated amid the most discordant 
yells and fearful gestures. 

"They plant a post daubed with vermillion in the 
midst of the camp; the warriors surround it, flourish- 
ing in their hands the bloody scalps which they brought 
back from the battle, each one howls his war song to 
the lugubrious tone of a large drum; then giving in 
turn his stroke to the tomahawk on the post, he pro- 
claims the victims that his hatchet has immolated, and 
exhibits ostentatiously ihe scnrs of the wounds Avhich 
he has received. 

"Such is, even at the prci^ent day, th(; degraded 
condition of the unfortunate Indian. They never 
take the field without endeavoring to draw down the 
favor of the Great Spirit, either by diabolical rites or 
by rigorous fasts, macrations, and other corporal 
austerities. They even go so far as to cut off joints 
of their fingers and toes. Add to the thick shade of 
heathen darkness a shocking depravity of manners 
and you will have a faint idea of the lamentable po- 


sition of these wretched tribes. Yet these same men 
welcomed me with open arms, as a messenger of the 
Great Spirit. A vivid ouoiioii depicted on every coun- 
tenance, accompanied their respectful attention to my 
discourse, while I instructed them in the great truths 
of religion." 

Father DeSmet has made several trips into the 
Hills and spent many years among the tribes near the 
Hills and knew of the mineral contained in the 
mountains. His knowledge of geology enabled him 
to realize that the territory would some day be the 
mecca for thousands of adventurers and that their 
coming would bring disaster to the Indians. He there- 
fore kept his discovery to himself and while admit- 
ting that there was gold within the gulches, he refused 
to give any details or accounts to arouse the cupidity 
of the would be trespassers. 

His work, however, was not that of an explorer, 
but he labored as a missionary. For many years he 
travelled from tribe to tribe throughout the North- 
west, enduring all kinds of privations and dangers 
among the red men, in his great task of telling the 
story of Christ to the savages. In his untiring efforts, 
he made twenty-four voyages across the sea, collected 
some two hundred thousand dollars for missionary 
work, and travelled 260,929 miles, thus gaining for 
himself the name of "The Great Missionary,'' and "The 
Apostle of the Rockies." That his worlv' was not in 
vain is evidenced by the fact that when treaties were 
later made with the several tribes, one of the demands 
made by the chiefs, was that "blackrobes" be sent 
among them that they might have the helping influence 
of their teachings. 

As old age came upon the intrepid, pioneer mis- 
sionary, the rigors and privations of his ardous labors, 
compelled him to cease his efforts among the Indians, 
and he became a professor in St. Louis University, 
where he spent the closing years of his life. There on 
the 23rd day of May, 1873, death drew the curtain of 
eternity over his spirit. His remains were placed at 
rest in Florissant, Missouri, among his brethren, 


where a simple grave marker gave forth his name and 


While the Avork of Father DeSmet among the In- 
dians of the West came to a close a few years before 
the gold rush to the Hills and he passed on to other 
fields, we find the story of the Nazarene was not to be 
forgotten and that with the pioneers of seventy-six 
there came a soldier of the Master whose life blood 
was destined ta flow upon the pine clad hills and 
whose life was to be snuffed out by a hidden foe. Rev. 
Henry Weston Smith. 

In the diary of George V. Ayres of Deadwood, 
under date of Sunday, May 7th, we find this entry: 
"Weather cold and stormy. Went to the first church 
held in Custer City this morning. The Rev. Smith of 
the Methodist 'persuasion preached. He took his text 
from Psalm 34:7 and preached a very interesting ser- 
mon. The congregation consisted of about thirty 
gentlemen and five ladies who all paid strict attention 
to the sermon except when there was a dog fight out- 

This is the first record that we find of the Rev. 
Smith of the Methodist church. He was known among 
the pioneers as Preacher Smith and this first sermon 
was delivered in a log house with sawdust floor. On 
the 16th day of May, 1876, Captain C. V. Gardner, in 
charge of a freight train hauling some eighty-two 
thousand pounds of merchandise to the Hills arrived 
in Custer. After inspecting the new town, he decided 
to proceed to Deadwood with a part of his load, and 
loading up some two thousand pounds upon a light 
wagon, hitched to mules, he started for the new camp. 
Just as he was leaving the town, a man came to him 
and asked him for permission to go with him. Gardner 
informed him that if he Avould Avalk he would haul his 
baggage and the proposition was accepted. 

The train and travelers proceeded on the way until 
they went into camp near Hill City. By the time thai: 
the team was unhitched and the men prepared for 


tbeir meal, they were agreeably surprised to find that; 
their new companion had a fire started and water 
ready for the cook Avith which to prepare their sup- 
per. However, when supper Avas ready, Gardner found 
his passenger absent, and in searching for him dis- 
covered him sitting on a lug a few rods away intently 
reading and upon going up to him was more than sur- 
prised to find the book he was so deeply interested in 
was a Bible. The man then informed Captain Gardner 
that he was a Methodist minister to which informa- 
tion it was volunteered that he was up against a rath- 
er hard proposition. "Possibly so but I will do the 
best I can," was the reply. The outfit was more than 
three da^s reaching Deadwood and at the end of the 
trip he offered to pay Captain Gardner |5.00 but this 
was refused. 

Here in Deadwood among the hurly, burly, noisy 
and boisterous crowds of those days the work of Rev. 
Smith began in earnest. It is said that while he 
would be preaching in one part of the street and the 
throng would be gathered about him, above the voice 
of the minister could be heard the shouts of the gam- 
blers and sports crying their trade and caling upon 
the crowds to come to them and spend their time and 
money on their games and not to waste it on the min- 
ister. However, Rev. Smith did not enter the saloons 
and gambling houses and point out to them another 
and better way of life but contented himself in calling 
the people's attention to their God in the streets of 
Deadwood in front of the store buildings. He was 
never without an audience for in those days the streets 
were crowded with an ever changing throng of people 
from all parts of the continent. 

Smith made his living at manual labor and work- 
ed at various occupations in the Hills, such as cutting 
timber, chopping wood, and doing carpenter work. 
He was a quiet and earnest man and labored consist- 
ently in his efforts to lead his fellows to a higher and 
nobler life. He decided to extend his field of labor 
and on Sunday, AugiTst 20, 1876, after preaching on 
the main street of Deadwood he informed his friends 


that he was going to go to Crook City as he had done 
for several times, in the afternoon. 

These were the days when the Indians were ex- 
ceptionally vicious and warlike and the roving bands 
on their way south from their successful slaughter of 
Custer and his men, waylayed and murdered the small 
parties of men that they might meet around the foot- 
hills. The friends of Preacher Smith warned him of 
the gTeat danger but the minister showing a Bible re- 
plied. "This is my protection." However, the land- 
lord with whom he had roomed replied, "I would 
rather have a cap and ball revolver for protection 
against the Indians.'' But Smith replied, "It has nev- 
er failed me yet and I am not afraid to put my trust 
in it." And the landlord with the parting injunction 
said, "It is very good in its place but it don't shoot 
quick enough in an argument with Indians." He pro- 
ceeded on his way alone and on foot and when about 
five miles out from Deadwood. at a point known as 
"The Rest'' he was fired upon and killed by Indians. 
Charles Pfrunder, who had a milk ranch nearby was 
on his way to Crook City when he saw the body near 
the road and gave the report. A party of men went 
out from the city, among whom were Richard Clark 
and Louis Wolfe, and arrived at the scene of the mur- 
der at the time that Joe Armstrong came up with a 
partly loaded hay wagon. The body of the minister 
was placed on the hay and hauled to Deadwood, where 
it was given into the hands of friends for interment. 
C. E. Hawley conducted the funeral services. 

This was the day of the great Montana horse herd 
stampede and one of the most eventful days of north 
Hills history as heretofore noted. On this day Charles 
Mason, who had been out in the valley was shot by an 
Indian and his friends brought his body in for burial. 
A double grave was made and the remains of the 
minister and Mason were interred side by side in the 
same grave, in a place now occupied by residences in 
the fourth ward of Deadwood. And this fact, together 
with the fact that two other victims of Indian bullets 
of that day, Holland and Brown, were later buried 


in the same row, enabled the identification of the 
minister's remains, Avhen they were removed and re- 
interred in Mt. Moriah cemetery, and a statne placed 
over it by the pioneers and friends. 

On this same da.y, J. S. McClintock, who has a dis- 
tinct memory of the incident in essential details, 
states that a man rode into Deadwood with an Indian 
head tied by the hair to his saddle. And after an- 
nonncing that he had killed the fellow, let it be put up 
at auction to the highest bidder. It was auctioned off 
for twenty-five dollars and fell to the lot of Dan 
Dority, a keeper of a low order of play house. It was 
kept in a saloon for a time until its condition became 
repulsive and then found a resting place tinder the 
floor, from where it was taken several years later and 
cleaned up by Louis Schoenfield who finally sent it 
to a friend in Kentucky. 

As the years rolled away and men took time to 
look back over the stirring events of the frontier days, 

Rev. H. W. Smith's 3Iouunieiit 


they began to realize the greatness of the quiet and 
noble follower of the lowly Nazarene, as he labored at 
manual toil during the week and spent his entire Sun- 
day in trying to call his fellowmen to the path of 
righteousness. Then they erected to the memory of 
the murdered minister, a dignified and simple monu- 
ment, that stands on an eminence above the lonely 
gulch where his labors ended, and looking out over 
the panorama of hills and valleys from whence count- 
less thousands shall come to do homage to his memory. 
No one seems to have known much about the past 
life of the man and in those days it was not well for 
one to be too inquisitive about his fellow, but we have 
found a poem written by Rev. Smith that was dated 
June 1. 1876, and from it one may get a glimpse of the 
high ideals and the aspirations of the first man to 
preach to the gold seekers of '76. 


I am sitting by the camp fire now 

On wild Dakota's Hills, 
And memories of long ago 

Steal o'er me like the rills, 
Adown yon canyon deep and dark 

Steal through the leafy glades; 
A glimpse, a murmur here and there, 

Then vanish in the shades. 

This evening is the first of June, 

And the snow is falling fast. 
The tall pines sigh, howl, and moan, 

Responsive to the blast; 
The shades of night are gathering round. 

The fire is burning low, 
I sit and watch the dying coals, 

And think of long ago. 

I see a black eyed, dark haired boy. 

(That was forty years ago) 
He draws a hand sled to the woods 

Amid the falling snow. 


I see him slip, and toil and tug, 
With steps that often tire, 

He brings a load of wood to feed 
A widowed mother's fire. 

They tell him at the village school 

That he has talents rare,' 
And. if he does not play the fool 

He may fill a statesman's chair. 
I am a toil worn laborer now. 

My hands are hard and dry, 
And looking at that bright faced boy, 

I wonder — was it I? 

I see a throng of worshippers 

Within a shady grove; 
They listen to the oft told tale 

Of Jesus and his love. 
And he who spoke the word that day 

Had surely felt his power, 
And many a suppliant knelt to pray 

And blessed the gracious hour. 

Says one. "He seems to have the power/ 

Another says, "No doubt 
He'd make his mark upon the world 

But for one gracious fault.'' 
I tread the forest paths alone; 

Alone I raise my cry 
To Him who notes the sparrows fall 

And wonder — was it I? 

I see a lovely cottage home, 

With humble comfort blest, 
I see at eve' the workman come 

In loving arms to rest. 
I am a lonely wanderer now, 

No friends or kindred nigh, 
And gazing on yon love-lit home, 

I wonder — was it I? 


And when I sijt on Zion's hill, 

No more in need of gold, 
And sing with those who love me still 

The songs that ne'er grow old, 
Perhaps I'll look on this sad eve, 

Beneath this stormy sky, 
And think that this was long ago. 

And wonder — was it I? 

— Henry Weston Smith. 

Deadwood City, D. T. June 1, 1876 
As the names of Father DeSmet and Rev. Smith 
stand out prominently in the fight for righteousness 
among the pioneers of the border, we have on the 
other hand, directly contrasted to these great and 
noble characters, the names of two others whose deeds 
and lives were spent and whose reputation and names 
go down in history in an entirely different color and 
phase of human character. First of these, we will 
treat of the noted gun man, scout and gambler of the 
West whose name likewise stands far above all com- 
petitors in his field and that is ''Wild Bill" or James 
B. Hickock. A sketch of his life with the closing 
scenes in the Black Hills is set forth as follows : 

'^^wiLD bill" 

One of the characters of the early pioneer days 
whose name is more widely known and about whose 
reputation there has been woven many wild tales of 
romance was a fellow known as ''Wild Bill" whose 
name was James Butler Hickock. This name is for- 
ever linked with the pioneer days of the Black Hills 
and especially with the city of Deadwood. James 
Butler Hickock was born in 1837, near Mahomet, 
Champaign county, Illinois, and spent his early days 
working on a farm. From there he went to Spring- 
field, Missouri, where he remained until the latter part 
of the war. During the Civil War he became a very 
daring scout. While living at Springfield he became 
engaged in a quarrel with a gambler whom he killed 
as a result of the fight. After the war Bill came to 


Kansas where he settled on a homestead in Montecello 
township of that county where he was appointed con- 
stable. Later he hired out to a company hauling 
freight over the Santa Fe trail but took no part in 
the territorial troubles. While engaged in this work 
he was attacked by a bear in the Rocky Mountains 
and was sent to the Rock Creek station on the Ore- 
gon trail to recuperate from his wounds. This station 
was located in what is now Jefferson county, Ne- 
braska, near the present town of Fairbury. D. C. 
McCanles had been in charge of this station but had 
become more or less of an outlaw and a leader of a 
wild gang of horse thieves. He had with him a young 
woman known as Kate Shell whom he had induced to 
follow him from North Carolina. While located here 
the young girl had become enamored of Wild Bill 
and had deserted her former companion, McCanles. 
As a result of this relation McCanles and his gang 
came to the Rock Creek station on July 11th, 1861, a 
place seven miles southeast of the present city of 
Fairbury, Nebraska. McCanles was met at the door 
by Wild Bill who handed him a drink of water but 
both realized there would be a fight to the finish. After 
Bill stepped back from giving McCanles a drink Mc- 
Canles reached for his revolver but immediately fell 
dead with a bullet from Bill's gun that pierced Ms 
heart. The fall of the leader demoralized the rest of 
the gang who immediately fled but Bill succeeded in 
bringing down two of them mortally wounded. The 
others escaped on their mounts. The woman, Kate 
Shell, who was present in the house at the time, seized 
a grub hoe and with it killed the wounded robber 
named Woods. There was also with Wild Bill at the 
time in the house a friend of the McCanles gang who 
when he beheld the sudden turn of fortune proclaim- 
ed his loyalty to Wild Bill who thereupon put him to 
the test and ordered him to shoot the other wounded 
man. Accordingly the fellow took a shot gun and 
killed the other wounded man by the name of Gordon. 
The remains of the leader, McCanles, were buried 
near the spot where he was killed but in 1879 the body 



was removed to tlie cemetery in Fairbury and the man 
who was killed with him was buried there also. The 
third man, Gordon, lies buried on a knoll a short way 
from where the shooting took place. The three part- 
ies were charged with manslaughter and the trial was 
lield at Beatrice, Nebraska, but all were released be- 

Janies Butler Hickoek 
(AVilil Bill) 

cause there was not sufficient evidence to substanti- 
ate the charge of manslaughter against them. The 
woman in the case, Kate Shell, who was known to be 
a very beautiful girl, was placed on the first stage go- 
ing west and disappeared. After this fight and release 
of Hickoek whose action met wdth the approval of 
the community, he went to Julesburg, Colorado, where 
it is reported he killed a man over cards. From there 
he drifted back to Abilene, Kansas, a city at the time 
that was infested with all kinds of toughs and out- 
laws. The better element of the city hired Wild 
Bill to accept the job of city marshal at a salary of 


flOOO.OO a month. In a short time he had killed a 
number of desperate charaeteus and so terrorized the 
other scoundrels that they moved for newer and safer 
stamping grounds. From Kansas Wild Bill wandered 
through various western towns and we find him in 
Cheyenne, Wyoming, in June, 1876, where he joined 
a party of gold seekers on their way to Dakota. 

He was a tall, well built man with steel blue eyes, 
long dark brown hair and long flowing mustache, a 
lighter brown in color than his hair. Despite the 
rough and harsh character which has been ascribed to 
him we find that after all he had his pleasant side 
and that he had staunch friends who knew him and 
loved him well. A few years before his death he be- 
came acquainted with Agnes Lake, who was an eques- 
trienne in a circus in Wyoming. To this woman .he 
was married and from a letter to her we get a 
glimpse of the nobler side of his character. The last 
letter he wrote to his wife has this statement in it, 
according to his old friend, Captain Jack Crawford: 
''Agnes darling, if it should be that we never meet 
again, while firing my last shot I ' will gently pro- 
nounce the name of my wife, my Agnes, and with a 
kind word even for my enemies I will make the plunge 
and try to swim for the other shore." 

He was not wild and boisterous but quiet man- 
nered and always in control of himself. He was not 
quarrelsome but was absolutely fearless and known 
as one of the quickest and most accurate pistol shots 
that ever pulled a trigger. He killed many men in 
his, time, but always in such manner as to be within 
the law and justified, usually being a fraction of a 
second too quick for the other fellow. He seldom be- 
came intoxicated, but was a man of quick temper and 
one whom the miners and gamblers knew it was 
not wise to arouse. He occupied his time when not 
engaged as a scout or officer of the law, in gambling. 

Wild Bill came to his end in Deadwood, and very 
many misleading and false accounts of his death have 
been published, but the following account is from the 
lips of an eye witness, A. C. Tippie, who states that on 


the second day of August, 1876, he had come into the 
saloon on lower Main street in Deadwood, known as 
Number 10. Here he saw Captain Massie, Wild Bill, 
Jack McCall and several others playing poker. A pot 
was made up with Wild Bill and Jack McCall in it. 
McCall made a bet and threw in his sack of gold dust. 
Wild Bill called him and won the pot and when Mc- 
Call's cash was paid in it was found to be |3.00 short. 
In those days gold dust was the medium of exchange 
and was measured out by small balance scales. Wild 
Bill said to McCall somewhat angTily, "Don't you 
ever do that to me again" and then ordered the bar- 
tender to weigh out |3.00 to McCall saying, "This will 
buy you your supper and do you for the next fore- 
noon." After the game Captain Massie said to Tip- 
pie, "I will not play in that game any more for I am 
afraid of Wild Bill" but in the afternoon Massie and 
Bill with several others were again playing poker in 
the same place. After awhile McCall crossed into the 
room very leisurely and proceeded to the back part 
of the house, where he took up a position behind Wild 
Bill. Shortly afterwards a harsh voice spoke out 
loudly and was followed by a piercing and loud re- 
port, and McCall came rushing out with his six 
shooter in his hand and snapping it several times 
cried out to the crowd, "Get out of my way.'' He ran 
to his pony standing in front of the saloon and tried 
to mount it but his saddle turned under him and he 
left the horse and ran up the street, where later he was 

Over at the table wliere the game had been going 
on, Wild Bill w^as lying dead on the floor with a bullet 
wound in his head, the missile having entered the 
back of his head and coming out the right cheek. The 
ball whizzing through the head of is victim, crossed 
the table and hit Massie on the wrist. Terror strick- 
en, he rushed out of the saloon yelling "Wild Bill 
has shot me." After the excitement had passed, 
friends of the dead scout and gambler, among them 
"Colorado Charley" carried the body over to Bill's 
camp across the creek at a clump of trees near where 


the Burlington depot now stands, and there K. T. 
Peirce prepared the remains for burial. 

This event took place soon after the establishing 
of the Deadwood camp and no legally constituted of- 
ficers had as yet been named. But the people did not 
allow such a deed to pass unheeded and much atten- 
tion was given to the matter of investigating. The ac- 
count of the proceedings was published in the Pioneet* 
of August 5, 1876, and we herewith reproduce it as 

The first account of the murder of Wild Bill was 
that which appeared in the Deadwood Pioneer under 
date of August 5, 1876, as follows : 

"Assassination of Wild Bill. He was shot through 
the head by John McCall while unaware of danger. 
Arrest, trial and discharge of the assassin who claims 
to have avenged a brother's death in killing Wild Bill. 

"On Wednesday about three o'clock the report 
was started that J. B. Hickock, 'Wild Bill,' was killed. 
On repairing to the hall of Nuttall and Mann, it was 
ascertained that the report Avas too true. We found 
the remains of Wild Bill lying on the floor. The mur- 
derer, Jack McCall, was captured after a lively chase 
by many of the citizens, and taken to a building at the 
lower end of the city, and a guard placed over him. 
As soon as this was accomplished, a coroner's jury 
was summoned, with C. M. Sheldon as foreman, who, 
after hearing all the evidence, which was to the effect 
that, while Wild Bill and others were sitting at a 
table playing cards, Jack McCall walked in and 
around directly back of his victim within three feet 
of him, raised his revolver exclaiming, 'Damn you, 
take that,' and fired, the ball entered the back of his 
head and came out the center of his right cheek, caus- 
ing instant death, rendered a verdict in accordance 
with the above facts. 

"Preparations w^ere then made by calling a meet- 
ing of the citizens at the theatre building. Immediate- 
ly after the theatre was over, the meeting was called 
to order by W. Y. Kuykendall, presiding. After a 
statement of the object of the meeting, the gentlemen, 


numbering one hundred, elected Judge Kuykendall to 
preside at the meeting as judge of the trial of McCall. 
Isaac Brown was elected sheriff, and one deputy and 
twelve guards were appointed. It was then decided to 
adjourn to meet at nine o'clock, Thursday, August 3, 
in order tliat the gentlemen might have time to an- 
nounce the meeting and its object to the miners of 
Whitewood and Deadwood mining districts. 

"At nine o'clock Thursday, the meeting was called 
pursuant to adjournment, when the action of the pre- 
vious meeting was presented for adoption or rejection, 
and after some remarks, was adopted. Colonel May 
was chosen prosecuting attorney and then A. B. (;::hap- 
line was selected by the prisoner, but owing to sick- 
ness, Mr. Chapline was unable to attend, and Judge 
Miller Avas chosen in ^^is place. A committee of three 
was appointed by the chairman, one from each dis- 
trict, whose duty it was to select the names of thirty- 
three residents from each of their respective districts, 
and from the persons so chosen, the jury was after- 
w^ards obtained. Mr. Reed of Gayville, James Har- 
rington of this city and Mr. Coin of Montana City, 
were elected for this purpose. At this time the meet- 
ing adjourned. 

"At two o'clock the trial was commenced and 
lasted until six that evening. The evidence in the case 
was the same as that before the coroner's jury, so far 
as the prosecution was concerned. The defense was 
that the deceased, at some place in Kansas, killed the 
prisoner's brother, for which he killed the deceased. 
The jury, after being out for one hour and thirty min- 
utes, returned the following verdict: 'Deadwood City, 
August 3rd, 1876. We, the jury, find Mr. John Mc- 
Call not guilty.' Signed, Charles Whitehead, foreman, 
J. J. Bump, J. H. Thompson, J. F. Cooper, K F. 
Towle, L. A. Judd, L. D. Bookaw, S. S. Hopkins, 
Alexander Thayre, J E. Thompson, Ed Burke and 
John Mann. 

"Thus ended the scenes of the day that settled 
the matter of life and death with one living whose 
life was in the hands of twelve men, whose duty it was 


to decide the guilt or innocence of the accused charged 
with the murder of Wild Bill, who while the trial was 
in progress, was being laid in the cold, cold ground in 
the valley of the Whitewood by kind hands who were 
ever ready to do his wishes while living and ready to 
perform the painful duty of laying him in his last 
resting place.'' 

After the verdict of the miners' jury was re- 
turned, Jack IMcCall was released, but he was such a 
disreputable sort of fellow, and Wild Bill hpd had 
several staunch friends, who gave little credence to 
the story put up by McCall, that he was not long in 
deciding that Deadwood gulch was not the most de- 
sirable place in which to establish a residence. He 
soon disappeared and was next heard of in Cheyenne, 
where he posed as the man who had killed Wild Bill. 
He became more bold as the days went by and once, 
while drunk, he stated that his story about Wild Bill 
shooting his brother in Kansas was without founda- 
tion. This confession was reported to the Federal 
officers and when the federal courts were established 
in the former Indian reservation, the United States 
marshal placed McCall under arrest and took him to 
Yankton, to stand trial before the United States Dis- 
trict Court. 

When Jack McCall was arrested and brought 
back to Yankton his defense to the charge of murder 
when he was first interviewed by the officers was 
quite different from that which he set out before the 
Miners' jury in Deadwood. In his cowardly natuie he 
attempted to turn state's evidence and thus avoid the 
consequences of his dastardly deed. He claimed that 
he had been hired by John Varnes to kill Wild Bill 
and set forth as the reason why Varnes desired the 
death of Bill, that Varnes and another party had been 
engaged in a poker game when they got into a dispute 
and in the middle of the fierce quarrel. Wild Bill in- 
tervened as peace maker and compelled Varnes to 
back down at the point of a pistol. No shooting oc- 
curred in the fight because friends had interfered and 
prevented further trouble but Varnes had never for- 


given Wild Bill for the manner in which he settled the 
dispute. However, investigators of the story were 
unable to find Varnes and as McCall had given so 
many conflicting statements, the trial proceeded 
against him and he was accordingly convicted and 
duly hanged. 

At the time of the firirg of the fatal shot from 
the gun of the assassin, it is said that Wild Bill held 
a hand of aces and eight spots and henceforth among 
the gamblers of the Hills, such a combination of cards 
was known as the "Deadman's hand.'' The undertak- 
ing work on the part of "Doc" Peirce over in the wag- 
on canvas tent among the pines, was rudely inter- 
rupted that evening when the Mexican came yelling 
up the street swinging the gory Indian head by its long 
black hair as hereinbefore mentioned. 

The remains of the famous winner of so many 
duels, were at first buried on the hill where Ingleside 
is now located, and as indicated in the photo, taken 
some time later. Over the grave his friend "Colorado 
Charley" placed a board with the inscription: "Wild 
Bill, J. B. Hickock, killed by the assassin Jack McCall, 
Deadwood, Black Hills, August 2nd, 1876. Pard we 
will meet again in the happy hunting ground to part 
no more. Good bye. Colorado Charlie, C. H. Utter." 
In the summer of 1878, Utter and other friends had 
the remains of their companion disinterred and buried 
in Mount Moriah cemetery where it now rests over- 
looking the city of Deadwood. In this work J. S. 
McClintock of Deadwood assisted and when the body 
was exhumed it was found to be in a remarkable 
state of preservation, even the folds of the pleated 
shirt that he wore being plainly visible. The body, 
although firm, was not petrified or turned to stone as" 
has so often been claimed. His rifle that was buried 
with him was quite rusty though intact. 

Over his grave there have been several stone 
monuments, but curiosity seekers had so mutilated the 
stones that they had to be replaced and finally a high 
fence was placed about the lot to prevent the desecra- 


tion of the grave itself. And to this spot high on the 
mountain, thousands of visitors from all parts of the 
continent have toiled up the steep and rugged path, 
to view with emotions ranging from mere idle curiosity 

Wild Bill's Grave 

to admiration and sorrow, the grassy turf whose root- 
lets pierce the mould of the famous scout of the Hills 
and West. Many detractors there may be, many false 
stories are told, many faults he may have had, but 
the fact remains that Wild Bill was always found on 
the side of law and order and that those who fell at his 
hands were of the class that had to pass before the 
coming of a better day. 


The fourth name that we have chosen as one of 
the most widely known characters of the pioneer days 
and whose reputation and personality was known on 


all the Black Hills trails far and near, is that of 
''Calamity Jane." Around this name like that of 
"Wild Bill" have been woven some of the most fan- 
tastic yarns and most varied accounts of a woman's 
life. We will, however, set forth a few of the real 
facts as to her life and picture her in her true light. 

Martha Jane Canary was born near Burlington, 
Iowa, about the year 1851. It is said that her father 
was a Baptist minister and that Jane in her younger 
days was well cared for and trained, but self willed 
and full of the joy of life. We first find her running 
away from home as the mistress of an army lieuten- 
ant on one of the expeditions to Wyoming. She later 
gave birth to a young son, at Sidney, whom the officer 
took and sent back east to his parents to raise as a 
foundling orphan from the plains. The boy was given 
a good education and no doubt never knew the truth 
as to his parentage. 

We again find her in company with her mother 
and her step-father, named Hart, a retired regular 
army soldier, crossing the plains to Salt Lake, Utah, 
where they lived for a time. From Salt Lake, Jane 
ran away to Rawlins, Wyoming. Her step-father fol- 
lowed her to this place and found that she was at a 
hotel there, but was informed that she was attending 
school regularly. This appeared strange to him as he 
was unable to get her to attend school in Utah. How- 
ever, being assured that the girl was going straight, 
he returned to his home. Soon after this, Jane skip- 
ped out to Ft. Steele and became an inmate of a bawdy 
house and quite a pal with soldiers and teamsters. 
She became expert in tying the diamond hitch and 
handling teams, and when an expedition was made 
out to the north, she donned men's attire and with the 
aid of her fellow packers, obtained a p'j.siHou iis a 
packer with the government pack train. In this work 
she prospered for several months, but when at Hat 
Creek station, she and her fellows took an over dose 
of whiskey and went on a wild spree. As a result, 
the pack train master discovered her sex and prompt- 
ly discharged her and signified his intentions of dis- 


charging an}' of the men who were responsible for get- 
ting her into the train, bnt thev all kept their secret. 

For a time she was an inmate of a resort in Green 
River, Wyoming, from which place her brother ran 
her off at the point of a gun. taking several shots at 
her by Ava}' of good measure. The brother later passed 
out of notice when the gold rush to the Hills took 
place. Her mother wandered from Salt Lake to Black- 
foot, Montana, where she presided over a notorious 
dive known as "Madame Canary's.'' Jane was mar- 
ried a number of times, her first husband being named 
Hunt and her second White. White sold out his prop- 
erty and became quite wealthy. He decided to quit 
the wilderness and rigged his wife out in the finest 
clothing to be had and repaired to Denver. A few 
days of the fancy apparel and classy hotels was 
enough for the wild, untamed spirit of Martha Jane, 
and she made her escape. Her husband made search 
for her and waited some days for her return, but know- 
ing the spirit of the woman, gave up the search and 
went his way alone. 

From then on. Calamity Jane became a free lance, 
roving from town to town and dive to dive, with sold- 
iers, packers, muleskinners and freighters, as the oc- 
casion offered, and making her headquarters at Chey- 
enne, Wyoming. AVhenever there was to>be a trip 
across the plains, an expedition against the Indians, 
or anything to vary the monotony of the small town 
life of the west, Jane was on hand and usually con- 
trived to get away, by dressing in male attire and 
being smuggled away by her pals. On the occasion of 
General Crook's expedition, she was many miles away 
from the starting point but upon hearing of the trip, 
she hired a team and buggy frum W. Ward, a livery 
man of Cheyenne, for a ride, and then, when out of 
sight, drove rapidly away, smuggled herself in among 
the soldiers, and decamped, leaving the liveryman, 
Ward, to recover his outfit sometime later upon find- 
ing that she had placed it in care of a man in Ft. 
Laramie from whence the expedition had set forth. 
At another time she had joined a military expedition 


and was liaviug the time of her life, but when the com- 
mand had halted along the banks of a stream and the 
members were enjoying the delights of a cool dip in 
the waters of the creek, an officer passing by spied the 
form of Jane splashing about with her fellow troopers, 
and the remainder of the journey found her under 

Calamity Jane's first introduction to the Black 
Hills was in the year 1875, for there we find her 
dressed as a soldier in the military expedition under 
General Crook, who in August, 1875, ordered the 
miners to leave the Hills until treaties could be made 
with the Indians. Again she came to the Hills in 1876, 
with the band in which Wild Bill and Charlie Utter 
were members. However, she was not the consort of 
"Wild Bill" as has been claimed, for he was not the 
kind of a man that was attracted to a woman of 
Jane's class. "Colorado Charley" was perhaps her 
champion for it is said that he furnished her with a 
splendid suit of men's buckskin clothing, in which 
she often appeared. 

No doubt by this time the reader will have con- 
cluded that Jane was nothing more than a common 
prostitute, drunken, disorderly and wholly devoid of 
any element or conception of morality. And the ques- 
tion will arise as to how it comes that out of the hund- 
reds, yes, thousands of her fellow women of the un- 
derworld, who threw youth, beauty and life itself in- 
to the fiery altar of the Moloch of passion and immoral- 
ity, the name of Calamity Jane alone should endure 
in the annals of time. The answer will be had from 
the other view of her double sided life. 

In 1878, there came a terrible scourge of small 
pox among the miners and people of Deadwood. 
Hundreds were prostrated upon their rude beds and 
most people were afraid to go near them. Women 
were few to be had and they too were in terror of their 
lives. In the hour of terror and death, there came to 
the front, a willing volunteer, the mule-skinning, bull- 
whacking, and rough, roving woman from the depths, 
Calamitv Jane. Dav and night she went among the 


their wants or smoothed the pillow for the dying 
youth whose mother or sweetheart perhaps, was watch- 
ing and waiting for the one never to return. It made 
no difference to her, that she knew them not, or that 
no gold would there be to repay her for the labor, the 
sacrifice, the danger. They were fellow beings in dis- 
tress and needed help. 

Another time, while waiting table in Pierre, she 
heard of a family in destitute circumstances, and sick 
with black diphtheria. Neighbors would not go to 
their aid. Jane had saved up twenty dollars in gold 
and proceeding to a grocery store, she purchased fif- 
teen dollars' worth of food and medicines and nursed 
the family until the sickness was over. In 1878, the 
young sister of C. H. Robinson, now sexton of Mt. 
Moriah cemetery, was sick with typhoid fever. Calam- 
ity Jane had known the family for years in Kansas 
and promptly came to their aid and for two weeks 
nursed the child until death claimed her as his own. 

Calamity Jane never hesitated to spend her last 
dollar to aid an unfortunate and never hesitated to 
ask for money from others to help some one in need. 
Her idea of helping others caused her arrest in Dead- 
wood in the early days. It seems that a fellow had 
had what was then known as a "hell of a time'' in 
one of the resorts of the town in which Jane was an 
inmate. When he awoke from his drunken slumbers 
the next day, he found that he was minus some thirty 
dollars, and at once made complaint to the justice 
of the peace that he had been "rolled," that is, his 
pockets rifled and his money taken. Recalling that 
Jane was there, he charged her with being the cul- 
prit and she was brought to the bar of the court. When 
informed of the charge, she stared tha she found the 
fool drunk under one of the tables and searching his 
pockets found the money therein, and knowing that 
if she did not do it, the other girls would, she took 
the money. The judge then asked her what she had 
done with the money and she replied that she had 
given it to the hospital to pay the hospital charges 


for a young girl who was lying sick there without 
funds, or friends. The justice, Hall, promptly turned 
her free and scored the sporty gentleman who was so 
unwise as to carry money with him to a dive and ex- 
pect to take it away with him 

Many other tales of how she had helped the needy 
and unfortunate might be added here, but we will 
pass to another phase of the life of this unusual wo- 
man. Calamity Jane was an expert packer, an able 
teamster and a crack rifle shot. She loved the great 
outdoors and the excitement of the trail. She was the 
pal of the men of the fighting line. It is said by E. 
H. Warren of Spearfish. that once while speaking to 
a pioneer, a woman came up to the pair, looked them 
over and linally demanded a dollar from the man, 
who without question, handed it over to her, and. she 
walked away! After she was gone, the pioneer said : 
''That was Calamity Jane and as long as I have two 
dollars in my pocket, she can have one, for she saved 
my life once. We were on a trip, when the Indians 
opened fire upon us and shot my horse from under 
me. Jane stopped her horse, grabbed me by the arm 
and swung me on behind her and we escaped." An- 
other time, slie and "Antelope Frank" were out riding 
as scouts for a party, when the Indians appeared and 
opened fire upon them. They turned their horses 
and fled in the direction of the party, but the scout's 
horse fell in a hole and broke its neck, leaving him 
afoot. "Antelope Frank" also known as "Buckskin" 
told her to ride on into safety and that he would take 
care of himself, but she said : "Damned if I will. Buck 
I will stay right with you and we will see how many 

of those red we can drop." And she did, the 

pair getling into a buffalo wallow and opening fire 
upon the band with their rifles, sent them away in re- 
treat, with the loss of five of their number, Jane hav- 
ing done her share of the execution. 

As time went by and the wild days of the frontier 
gave way to the more sedate times of later develop- 
ment, Jane wandered about from town to town mak- 
ing a living by selling books, photos and receiving 


charity from the pioneers. She had a daughter whom 
she placed for a time when she Avas fourteen years of 
ag-e in the Sisters' convent school at Sturgis, South 
Dakota. Once, a kind hearted woman of wealth 
sought to lift her out of the slough and took her back 
to Buffalo, New York, but the lure of the Hills was 
too strong and Jane soon bade farewell to the stiff 
and conventional life of the east, and hastened back to 
the big hearted westerners. 

In physical appearance, Calamity Jane was a 
medium sized woman with dark brown hair and eyes. 
In her youth she was of splendid form, clear com- 
plexion and uncommonly good looking. In older age, 
the rough life of the plains and trails coarsened her 
appearance. She could swear like a trooper, drink 
like a sailor and rough it with the roughest. Yet 
when sober, she could do the part of a real lady, and 
at all times was very fond of children in whose pres- 
ence she was watchful of her conduct. She was seen 
in every town, camp and fort in the west and had wan- 
dered over all the trails. So variant w^ere her moods, 
so many the different incidenis of her life, that ac- 
cordingly there are numerous impressions and ideas 
of her character. She was a strange mixture of the 
wild, untamed character of the plains and mountain 
trails, and generous, kindly hearted womanhood. But 
under the rough exterior there beat a heart so big and 
friendly as to be Avithout measure. Brave, energetic, 
unfetteied, kind, always on the line of action, with 
helping hand ever turned to the poor and unfortunate, 
the personality of Calamity Jane became indelibly 
stamped upon the minds of the pioneers. 

The close of the last century found the rover near 
to the end of the trail and in the summer of 1903. she 
came back to her haunts among the Hills and told her 
friends that she was sick and going to soon ''cash in." 
One day she came to a hotel in Terry and being sick 
asked for lodging, but the manager turned her away, 
thinking her a mere drunk. Upon soon after learning 
her identity, he took her in, bur dissipation had done 


its work and pneumonia made her an easy victim on 
August 2, 1903. 

The friends of the deceased toolv her to the under- 
taking rooms of C. H. Robinson at Deadwood. There 
while lying on the cooling board, numbers of curious 
women came to look upon her, and many clipped locks 
of hair from her head, to the extent of defacing the 
remains. "Smoky Tom" one of her early consorts, 
upon coming to the room and noticing the work of the 
vandal hands of women, who would have scorned the 
deceased on the street, protested against the mutila- 
tion and a wire screen was placed over the head. 

The pioneers gathered for the funeral and Rev. 
C. B. Clark of the Methodist church conducted the 
funeral services, assisted by other prominent people 
of the city. Interment was made in Mt. Moriah ceme- 
tery across the aisle from Wild Bill. And fate decreed 
that C. H. Robinson, whose little sister. Calamity 
Jane had so long ago faithfully watched over in the 
futile struggle with death, should now lay her form in 
the couch of dreamless sleep. 



The foregoing chapters of this book have been de- 
voted in the main to that phase in the story of the 
pioneers wherein life and liberty were the pawns in 
the great game of winning the West, and consequent- 
ly tragedy has stalked throughout the pages in all its 
grim and soul stirring power. In the present chapter, 
we turn to present another view of the life of the early 
days that the picture may be the more complete. The 
stories that Ave shall here offer are from pioneers and 
are set forth, not as accounts of deeds of great mo- 
ment, but tales of the smaller things that have their 
place in the fashioning of the life of a people. 


As stated in a previous chapter, the year of '76 
witnessed the great stampede to the Northern Hills. 
Deadwood Gulch had become a name familiar through- 
out the entire country, and all pilgrims turned their 
steps in that direction. The town of Df;adA\ ood grew 
rapidly, and before the beginning of summer tlie main 
street presented a scene of great activity. Sunday 
was the busiest day of the week, and as the r.>iners 
and prospectors from the tributary gulches and the 
outlying districts usually visited the to\\ ti on that day 
to procure supplies and in hopes of getting mail frojii 
the states, every Sabbath saw Main street crowd- 
ed with men. Among them could be found represen- 
tatives of every prominent mining district of the west, 
as well as "tenderfeet" from everj state of the Union. 
In the throng the buckskin clad hunter jostled the 
dandified gambler and the pilgrim from New Eng- 
land. On every side was heard the sound of the ham- 
mer and saw, in the construction of new buildings 
which could not be erected fast enough to house the 
incoming multitude. On one hand could be heard 
the impassioned call of an itinerant minister of the 


Gospel for the people to pause from their labors or 
pleasures and consider matters of their spiritual wel- 
fare. In close proximity would be a loud-voiced 
gambler crying his game. 

As the placers of Deadwood, Whitewood, Gold 
Run, Blacktail and Bobtail gulches began to yield 
heavily, gold dust became the well nigh universal 
medium of exchange, and gold scales were an indis- 
pensible part of the outfit of everyone who had any- 
thing to sell. Provisions, which during the spring and 
early summer had been very high in price, became 
more plentiful with the coming of large freight out- 
fits, and by the early fall many stores had been estab- 
lished and carried large stocks of everything neces- 
sary at prices that could not be deemed unreasonable 
when the distance from sources of supply was con- 

With the coming of a freight train chief interest 
centered about the place where the mail was unload- 
ed, for the trains gathered up all mail for the Hills, 
at such terminal points as Fort Laramie, Sidney, 
Fort Pierre or Bismarck, and brought it through. 
Often this, niail, sometimes tons in weight, would be 
nmny weeks on the road, on several occasions even 
held up by Indians for days at a time. But to the 
prospector who forsook his cabin in some distant 
gulch to visit the town it meant news from home, and 
even though belated, it was joyfully received, even 
at the established price of fifty cents per letter and 
half the amount for a newspaper, in gold dust weigh- 
ed in at the place of distribution. L^jdou the arrival 
of the mail, usually unloaded at the store to which 
the freight was consigned, it would be alphabetically 
arranged, and a man would stand on a box on the 
street and call off the names of those to whom it was 
addressed, while his assistants would be busy weigh- 
ing the gold received for it. In the meantime lists of 
names in alphabetical order would be prepared and 
tacked up on the outside of the building w^here they 
could be examined at leisure. This method was fol- 


lowed until late in August of '76, when a pony ex- 
press line was established by Dick Seymour and 
Charley Utter between Deadwood and Fort Laramie. 
While the risk of the express riders was great in 
traveling a country infested by the hostile Sioux, the 
mails thenceforth arrived frequently and with reason- 
able regularity. Of course, with the ratification of 
the treaty with the Sioux ceding the Hills to the gov- 
ernment, and the establishment of regular government 
mail routes, the pony express was discontinued. 

The Deadwood Pioneer issued its first number on 
June 8th of 1876, and copies were in gi'eat demand 
each week at twenty-five cents per copy. Frequently 
Al Merrick, one of the proprietors, would spend the 
day of publication and half the night weighing in the 
dust as the papers were handed out to customers. 

A casual visitor from a staid community of the east 
would perhaps have been shocked by the prevalence of 
drinking and gambling, and certainly both were prev- 
alent. They were, however, conducted so openly and 
were made so conspicuous that the false impression 
might be made that they were the chief pursuits. The 
truth is that the population comprised people not 
only from all quarters but also of every kind. There 
certainly was a large percentage of the umlesirable 
class, Avho invariably rush to a place of excitement, 
but there were as well many men of fine character, 
some of them having brought their families with them, 
and many more being joined by their families later. 
As the more boisterous and undersirable individuals 
were most conspicuous, they gave to Deadwood a bad 
reputation not wholly deserved. If it was heralded 
abroad that a minister had held services in a noted 
gambling resort, such was imagined by some people 
to be the usual custom, while in fact it occurred but 
once, and while no doubt in attendance were many 
who "came to scoff," this writer, who was present on 
the occasion, believes that at least a number "remain- 
ed to pray." The minister was a man named Rum- 
ney, who had been colonel of a Georgia regiment dur- 


ing the war, tall and of military erectness. He ar- 
rived in Deadwood in April of '77, and was tendered 
the use of "The Melodeon," a notorious gambling 
house, in which to hold a service. Whether this offer 
was made in good faith by Billy Nuttall, the proprie- 
tor, or whether it was a "bluff,'' it was accepted by 
the minister, who, after praying for a time, delivered 
a very acceptable sermon. During the service no ir- 
reverence was manifested. To provide an auditorium 
the chairs, tables and other gambling paraphernalia 
had been pushed back to the walls and the audience 
behaved with perfect decorum. With the close of the 
service, after a collection had been taken and present- 
ed to the minister, the activities of gambling were re- 
sumed, the stentorian voice of "Nutshell Bill," a well 
known gambler, calling out : "Come on ! Come on ! 
The old gentleman has been telling you how to save 
your souls now I'm going to show you how to win 
some money." 

As stated above, this was the only instance of the 
holding of a religious service in a Deadwood gamb- 
ling house, though the story of the occurrence was 
greatly magnified in its circulation throughout the 
country. Rumney, the minister who conducted the 
service described, died in Rochford district a year or 
so later, and his remains are interred in the little 
cemetery in the deserted camp known one time as 

In September of '76 a provisional government for 
Deadwood was established by the election of E. B. 
Farnum as mayor and ex-officio justice of the peace, 
and A. P. Carter, Keller Kurtz, Sol Star and H. C. 
Philbrooke as councilmen. Con. Stapleton, a well 
known Montanian, was made marshal, and John 
Swift clerk and- treasurer. Under this government 
the community remained until the ratification of the 
cession treaty and the holding of a regularly author- 
ized election. It is interesting to note that in the 
election for a provisional government 1139 votes were 



Though the pioneers did not have the sanction or 
consent of the government in their occupation of the 
Hills, and though they felt much dissatisfaction over 
delay in extinguishing the Indian title and putting an 
end to the Indian atrocities, they still considered 
themselves patriotic sons and daughters of Uncle 
Sam. Therefore they decided they could not allow the 
centennial anniversary of the nation's birth to pass 
without proper observance and celebration. More- 
over, this seemed a fitting occasion to call the atten- 
tion of congress and the nation to their claims for 
recognition. In Deadwood and Whitewood gulches 
three more or less distinct celebrations occurred, one 
in Deadwood. another in Elizabethtown and a third 
in Montana City, then a busy mining camp on White- 
wood Creek, a mile below the mouth of Deadwood. All 
were participated in by goodly numbers, and all were 
eminently successful. At Deadwood Judge Kuyken- 
dall, formerly of Wyoming, presided as chairman, 
with Judge Miller as orator of the day. General A. 
R. Z. Dawson read the iminortal declaration, and fol- 
lowed this by reading a memorial to congress, which is 
here reproduced : 

''To the Honorable Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives in Congress Assembled: Your memorialists, 
citizens of that portion of the Territory of Dakota 
known as the Black Hills, most respectfully petition 
your honorable body for speedy and prompt action in 
extinguishing the Indian title to and the opening for 
settlement the country we are now occupying, de- 
veloping and improving. We have now in the Hills 
a population of at least seven thousand honest and 
loyal citizens who have come here with the expectation 
of remaining and making this their homes. Our 
country is rich, not alone in mineral resources, but 
is abundantly supplied with timber and with a soil 
rich enough to produce all that will be necessary to 
sustain a large population. Your memoralists would 


therefore, earnestly request that we be not deprived 
of the fruits of our labor and driven from the coun- 
try we now occupy, but that the government for which 
we have offered our lives at once extend a protecting 
arm and take us under its care. And as in duty bound 
your memorialists will ever pray." 

As may well be imagined, the above memorial met 
the hearty approval of all, and steps were taken at 
once to send a special envoy to Washington to present 
it in person to congress. That this petition, together 
with the energetic work of the ambassador and the 
co-operation of western members of congress general- 
ly, had much influence in hastening the work of se- 
curing the relinquishment of the title by the Indians 
there can be no doubt. A commission was appointed 
consisting of senate and house members to visit the 
various Sioux agencies and secure the necessary signa- 
tures to the session agreement. So rapidly was this 
matter pushed, that the winter of '76 saw the neces- 
sary signatures secured, and the following April the 
treaty was ratified by the United States Senate. 

But to rettirn to the story of the celebration of 
the Fourth of July: 

At Elizabethtown Dr. McKinney presided, Dr. 
Overman read the declaration and A. B. Chapline de- 
livered the oration. At Montana City, Judge H. N. 
Magiiire, one of the most gifted orators of the west, 
spoke to the assemblage. While the Hills has since 
had many men of fine ability as public speakers, it 
may be doubted if an oration delivered in this section 
since that memorial fourth in the Centennial year has 
had the power to thrill its hearers as Judge Maguire's 
audience was thrilled on that occasion. 

It is narrated in American history that once dur- 
ing the revolution in order to supply a national flag 
to a frontier fort a patriotic woman sacrificed a por- 
tion of her wearing apparel. This occurrence actual- 
ly was repeated in the celebration in Whitewood 
Gulch. National flags were not to be had ready made. 
Such as were displayed were, with one or two ex- 


ceptions, hastily improvised from such materials as 
were at hand, and in order to supply the necessary 
colors in one instance a patriotic lady made a contri- 
bution of a part of her wardrobe, described by the 
poet as: 

"A garment of a mystical sublimity, 
No matter whether russet, silk or dimity." 
Many years have passed since the centennial, but 
anyone who participated in the celebration of the 
Fourth of July of that year in the Northern Hills will 
remember it above all others of his experience. 


The forest service is collecting data concerning 
the Black Hills and more particularly the National 
Forest. The following narative of how Pactola re- 
ceived its name was related by J. C. Sherman of Pac- 
tola, S. D., one of the first white men who ever saw 
the present location of the town, and who was present 
when the place was named. When General Crook 
was returning from his Yellowstone expedition in 
1876 he camped for a short time where the town of 
Pactola now stands. From this camp ground the lo- 
cal miners came to call the place Camp Crook, and it 
was so called up to '78. All mail was addressed to 
Camp Crook, S. D., and was brought in by pony ex- 
press riders and various ways from Sidney, Cheyenne 
and Bismarck. At last the miners decided that they 
wanted a postofftce, and accordingly petitioned the 
postoffice department for one, proposing the name of 
Camp Crook. At this time, however, the town of 
Crook City, below Deadwood was a thriving burg, 
and the postal authorities refused the name of Camp 
Crook as it was too near Crook City. The miners 
then called a mass meeting to decide on a name for 
the town. About two hundred men were present 
from the various camps along the creek. There were 
many different names suggested for the town, but 
for reasons given, none appeared to be satisfactory. 
At last a local celebrity by the name of Judge Ma- 


giiire, suggested Pactola. He was formerly a news- 
paper man and lawyer who had given up the more 
l^eaceful professions of editor and the law to try his 
luck with the pick and gold pan. When he mentioned 
Pactola it meant nothing to that crowd of miners, 
except the first syllable of the word sounded strangely 
familiar to them and Avas not altogether agreeable, 
after they had packed everything they owned two 
hundred to three hundred miles. They did not want a 
name that even remotely suggested pack. Magiiire 
managed to hold their attention long enough to tell of 
the Greek myth of King Hildas and the golden touch 
and how it was in the Pactolus river that the old king 
was supposed to have bathed in order to rid himself 
of the gift of the fairy. When he explained that the 
literal translation of Pactola is the river of golden 
sands every miner present seemed to want to be the 
first to vote for the name regardless of the fact that 
the name suggested something that was distasteful to 
them. Judge Maguire was the same man who gave 
the eloquent Fourth of July oration at Montana City. 


The conversation about the camp fires had turn- 
ed upon the high prices paid for gi'ub of all kinds and 
other supplies, for this was before the railroads had 
penetrated into the Hills and all freight was hauled 
by bull or mule teams three or four hundred miles. 
Among articles specially mentioned as high in price 
was the whiskey and beer dispensed in the camps, 
yarious ranches and road houses. For a drink of this 
beverage tw^o bits or a quarter pennyweight in gold 
dust was the price exacted. "And why shouldn't it 
be high in price," asked Dan Hanley, a prospector on 
his way to the southern Hills, "when the machinery 
for making it and all the ingredients, except water 
have to be carried so far?" "You don't mean to say 
do you, that there is whiskey made here in the Hills," 
queried one of the stage passengers. The place was 
the Ten Mile Ranch, that is ten miles south of Dead- 


wood, first station out of Deadwood on the Cheyenne 
ronte, where a crowd of men comprising a coach load 
of travelers from the east, and a number of hunters 
and prospectors had taken refuge from a winter's 
storm. ^'I don't know where or how the whiskey is 
made but I do know that whiskey has been made here 
that never salted a ganger, and as we probably will 
have some time to spend here I will tell you about it. 
In the fall of '76 I was prospecting with Dan Sullivan 
over on the west side of Green Mountain. We are 
just beginning to understand that the ores in those 
flat formations over there may carry good values with- 
out showing up anything in the pan. At that time, 
however, we were green in the district, and didn't 
know this, neither did any of the other fellows. If 
our samples crushed in a mortar and panned, didn't 
show color, we simply considered them no good and 
started another hole. When a fellow named Clark 
came nosing around talking about the difference be- 
tween silicious and free milling ores, we dubbed him 
'Professor' and gave him the laugh. I've begun to 
think that maybe we did not exactly have correct 
ideas as to who the laugh was on. We had become 
pretty well discouraged and were thinking of strik- 
ing out for the Queen Bee district, where it was re- 
ported that Cap Griffin and Billy Hall had struck 
some rich rock. While sitting by our camp fire one 
evening, discussing the question of whether to stick a 
little longer or pull out, a stranger with a pack burro 
came up and accosted us sajang that he would like to 
spread his blankets in our shack for the night. Of 
course we made him welcome, and my partner and I 
put some bacon and coffee on the fire for his supper. 
He ate like a man who had earned an appetite by a 
stiff tramp, as indeed he had for he had come from 
Deadwood, and some of you know that the trail up 
over old Baldy and to the west side of Green Moun- 
tain is enough to make a fellow wish for some more 
of the flap jacks and bacon he had for breakfast. Our 
guest was a little sawed off Irishman, who after hav- 


ing inquired and learned our names, gave his own as 
Kelly. He had little to say, lying back on his blank- 
ets after he had finished his supper and taking evi- 
dent enjoyment in his pipe. The pack which he had 
taken from his burro contained, besides his blanket, 
a pick much heavier than that generally carried by 
prospectors. A square or railroad shovel instead of 
the spring point in general use in the mines, and, 
strangest of all a stone mason's hammer instead of the 
light striking hammer or poll pick usually seen. The 
gold pan which is considered . indispensable in a 
prospector's outfit was conspicuous by its absence. 
Such an outfit naturally aroused our curiosity but 
Ave put him down for a tenderfoot, upon whose inno- 
cence 'Cheap John' or some dealer in second hand 
goods had imposed. In the morning after breakfast, 
Kelly evidently was satisfied with our names, at least 
they sounded about right, and who was pleased to 
note in our speech a trace of brogue that has persisted 
through many generations of Sullivans and Hanleys 
in America. He thanked us for our hospitality and 
suggested that if it would not inconvenience us he 
\N ould like to camp with us for a while. We willingly 
consented and leaving his burro and the greater part 
of his pack, and taking a lunch with him he shoulder- 
ed his tools and struck into the brush. At nightfall 
he returned minus his tools, tired and hungry and 
showed evidence of having been hard at work. This 
continued for sometime, our departure for the south- 
ern hills having been delayed on one account and 
another. Every morning Kelly would leave camp with 
his lunch, every night he would come in tired and 
hungry. He became more talkative on longer ac- 
quaintance, but never spoke of his work, or prospects 
and noticing the care with which he avoided this sub- 
ject we never questioned him on them. When finally 
we determined to break camp and pull out, Kelly ex- 
pressed much regret, asking us to postpone our de- 
parture for a few days beyond the time we had fixed 
to leave. He refused to give a reason for his request. 


but urged it so strongly that we consented. On the 
evening of the third day on coming into camp he 
carried a small leather hand bag, from which he pro- 
duced a veritable surprise package, no less than a full 
quart of good whiskey. We joined him in drinking a 
toast which he proposed, 'Here's luck to all travelers,' 
to which he added, 'I don't know how long I'll be on 
the road myself.' Where he had obtained the liquor 
was a mystery to us for as far as we knew he had not 
been to town. Now that we were about to part from 
him he took us into his confidence. While we natural- 
ly supposed him to be working on some mineral claim, 
he had in reality been engaged in installing a still in 
a place difficult of access, in or near Annie Gulch not 
far from where it joins Spearflsh Creek. The bottle 
he had wished to share with us contained a sample of 
his first run. How or when the still head and worm 
had been transported there or who furnished him with 
the supplies necessary to make the stuff we never 
knew, further than that a certain dispensary in Dead- 
wood handled his product. We never saw Kelly again 
after we bade him good-bye the next morning, but for 
six months ensuing when we visited Deadwood once 
each month, for supplies we never failed to find at a 
designated place a package containing a quart of 
'Oh be Joyful,' and enclosed with it a piece of paper 
on which was scrawled in pencil 'From Kelly to his 
friends, the two Dans.' " As the prospector ceased 
speaking one of the stage passengers asked, 'Do you 
know what became of Kelly?' 'I don't know for cer- 
tain, I presume he pulled his freight. I can only tell 
you that with the last package we received from him 
there was added to the usually brief message 'Luck to 
all travelers, I don't know where I am going, but I'm 
on my way.' Hanley added, "When one of these com- 
panies that are opening mines on the west side of 
Terry's Peak some day comes across an old excavation 
and unearths a buried still head and worm, with the 
scent of something or other than roses still clinging 


to them, you will know that this story of Kelly is not 
all fiction.'' 

R. B. Hughes. 


The fact that the Avestern portion of the Black 
Hills contained deposits of salt was first ascertained 
by a party made up of Bart Henderson, G. D. Still- 
man, Charles Calderbaugh and J. A. D. Graves on the 
8th day of July, 1877. They were prospecting through 
the western hills, and found a small tributary of 
Beaver Creek which put into the main creek below 
Jenny's stockade, which was quite salt to the taste. 
Following the stream up they found a narrow point 
between the two streams, about half an acre covered 
with salt springs. These springs proved to be about 
seventy in number, and according to an analysis made 
afterwards would yield three fourths of a pound to 
the gallon of water. The party soon made a rough 
estimate by boiling some of the water in a camp ket- 
tle, and the result was so encouraging that they 
moved their camp there in September following. Mr. 
Henderson was something of a veteran in the moun- 
tains and had with others discovered salt springs in 
Idaho in 1861, knew that they were valuable, and un- 
der his counsel and directions the party during the 
following year erected two furnaces for the evapora- 
tion of the water. These furnaces were supplied with 
two pans each four by ten feet and had a capacity of 
one thousand pounds. These salt works were quite 
crude and were put up cheaply and simply for the 
purpose of prospecting the discovery, and to ascer- 
tain if a salt industry would pay in the Hills country. 
The product of the first large test was taken to Dead- 
wood and introduced in the market and among the 
people that its quality might be tested by the consum- 
ers. The excellent quality of this home made article 
was found to be above criticism, therefore arrange- 
ments were made to supply the market of the Hills. 
In fact they were called to furnish salt for a much 


larger field. In order to do this their facilities were 
greatly enlarged, and they produced a coarser prep- 
aration for stockmen. Then the silver mines at 
Galena called for salt, and teams were put on the road 
that gave constant employment for a long time. For 
some reason the making of salt has ceased. 


By Avay of changing needles and omitting the 
r;^agedy stuff, let us consider the true story of how 
Phatty Thompson, the Cheyenne freighter, made a 
stake in a shipment of cats. Phatty was a large, 
whole-souled man, good natured, like the most of 
large j^eople are. He v/as running a shot gun freight 
outfit between Cheyenne and Dead wood in the year of 
1876. A shot gun freighter was one who purchased 
his own freight, which generally consisted of butter, 
eggs, sluice forks or anything that was needed in a 
mining camp where the supply was short. We have 
seen one of these men offered and receive twenty dol- 
lars for a common sluice fork, which is used to throw 
rocks out of a sluice box. 

On one of his trips that summer Phatty was im- 
portuned to bring in some cats for pets. The dance 
house girls told him they would pay almost any price 
to have a pet, so as Phatty drove back to the rail- 
road that idea worked in his brain pan and by the 
time he reached his destination he was ready to load 
his wagon with a consignment of felines. He passed 
the word around to the Cheyenne kids that he would 
pay twenty-five cents each for cats, irrespective of 
pedigree, color or education, and that his headquarters 
would be at the Elephant corral, Cheyenne. 

Did the kids rustle the cats? Listen. They ar- 
rived in singles, doubles and finally by the sack, until 
the crib where he stored them was filled. One kid 
crawled into a brewer's kitchen and stole an excep- 
tionally large maltese Thomas cat, which he sold to 
Phatty for two bits and which came near causing a 
tragedy. The woman who missed her pet went in 


search of it and was told to look in the corral, so she 
sent her husband, who was a large German brewer 
and had some original ideas of property rights. 

Phatty was loading his wagon when the German 
arrived and discovered his Maltese. Then there was 
blood on the moon. Both the men were large and 
had voices that would have served for fog horns. They 
were holding an animated conversation, Phatty on 
his side saying that he had bought the cat from a 
boy and the German accusing him of stealing it. Out- 
siders interfered and a compromise was made where- 
by the German got his wife's pet and Phatty was out 
the purchase price. 

Phatty had a long crate built in which he loaded 
his live freight and started for the Black Hills, ev- 
erything passing oif smoothly until he reached Light- 
ning Hill, where you go down into first water on 
Spring Creek, this side of Hill City. There his 
wagon upset and distributed his load in the gulch. 
Phatty called them to feed and after repairing the 
crate succeeded in getting them all except one that 
ran up a tree and refused to return to quarters. 

When some prospectors came along Phatty was 
throwing stones at the. cat and using strange and fear- 
ful language. The miners, true to their traditions, 
threw their packs and went to the relief of a brother 
in distress, soon having the kitten tucked in its crib. 
When Phatty reached Deadwood he stopped at the 
lower end of Main street. You may have sometime 
noticed a fish peddler in the spring when the shad 
made their first run. Well, that would be a dead 
calm to Phatty's experience. Nothing sold at less than 
ten dollars and fine Maltese brought twenty-five each. 
Some industry, we would tell a man, and some origin- 

There was a story on the street that day that 
Phatty had a sextette of Tom cats that yodeled, some 
actor having explained to Phatty how he could train 
them if he gave them nothing to eat but Swiss cheese 
with plenty of holes in it. We have always thought 


that yarn originated in the brain of one George W. 
Stokes, a former newspaper man of Denver, who was 
then living in Deadwood. Outside of this allegation, 
this is a true story. Re qui es scat! 

E. T. Peirce. 


"Bears are as different in disposition as people,'' 
remarked an old market hunter as he sat by the camp- 
fire taking his after supper smoke. "I've known 
them to run like a whipped hound when hurt, I've 
known others to attack whatever came into their way, 
either man or beast without the least provocation 
whatever. I've thought sometimes that it all depend- 
ed maybe on the humor that the bear happened to be 
in, at the time. Maybe if he was hungry or got up in 
the morning with a headache, he would be more dan- 
gerous than at other times. Maybe if the world look- 
ed pleasant to him and he had no trouble on his mind 
he would rather avoid a row than look for one, just 
like some men. As I said at the beginning whether 
they will run or fight is uncertain.'' That the hunter 
had some incidents in mind tending to fortify his 
opinion was apparent, and the others about the camp- 
fire insisting that he tell something of the bears he had 
known, he willingly complied. 

Well, you know some of those fellows who 
claim to know all about wild animals say no bear 
will jump on a man unless provoked. They're clear- 
ly wrong about that as many people in this district 
remember how Fritz Wolfkin was killed up near 
Green Mountain. Well now Fritz was the biggest and 
strongest man in the Homestake wood camp. A per- 
fect giant in size and strength. When out hunting 
one day, with two others they came across a bear 
track of unusual size and followed it. Fritz was 
ahead of the others a little ways carrying his gun in 
his right hand and his body in a stooping position 
when the bear which evidently had discovered that it 
was followed and had doubled back on his track, 


jumped on him from the side. Wolfkin's gun was 
knocked from his hand as the bear struck him. Even 
thus, bare handed the man proved no mean antagonist 
and his giant strength enabled him to throw the bear, 
but the brute outwinded him and finally fastened his 
teeth on Fritz's lower jaw and crushed every vestige 
of it, and tore it away. 

The other two men finally killed the bear, but 
too late to save Fritz because in the scuffle there was 
no opportunity to shoot for fear of hitting him. The 
bear was a silver tip and weighed 700 pounds when 
taken to Deadwood. 

In the summer of '77 three Austrians were mak- 
ing hay on middle Box Elder two miles west of Moun- 
tain Meadow ranch. They were camping in a log 
shack, in which an opening had been cut for a door 
but no door had been hung. One day one of them 
had killed an elk. A portion of the meat had been 
hung up on a pole, and the remainder had been salted 
in a barrel inside. That night they were awakened 
by a noise outside, and discovered that three bears 
were devouring the meat, which they had torn down 
from the pole. Gus, one of the three got his gun 
and fired point blank at the largest bear at a distance 
not greater than a few yards. The bears made a rush 
for the brush and escaped. Gus thought he had 
dealt one of them a mortal wound. In that he was 
certainly mistaken, for the next night they awaken- 
ed to find the three inside. They had upset the bar- 
rel and were having a feast. This time Gus deter- 
mined to make sure and quietly taking his gun and 
laying the muzzle close to the side of one, fired. Tell- 
ing about it afterwards, he said the bear gave a _grunt, 
tumbled over, kicked a log out of the side of the 
house, got up and decamped with the others, and they 
never found any trace of the wounded bear. 

In that same district bears were plentiful. One 
day a well known prospector named Kinlock, was 
run into camp by three of them. They did not act 
as if they really wanted to hurt him but just enjoyed 


seeing him run, though Kinlock thought every jump 
would be his last. Fortunately Gilbert Tower, Kin- 
lock's partner, was in camp and saw the end of the 
chase. He grabbed his gun and killed the three bears 
with as many shots. 

Another man who made quite a killing of bear 
one day was Gene Aiken. Gene was out over in the 
neighborhood of Tepee. He was armed with a Win- 
chester and knew how to use it. He had with him a 
little dog which ran ahead hunting through the brush. 
Suddenly the dog ran whimpering to Gene and close- 
ly following him were four bears. As I said before 
Gene knew how to use his gun, whether for bear or 
any other animal. And he killed the four bears with- 
out moving from his tracks. 

There was the bear that mauled Shorty Landis. 
Shorty was a prospector in the Queen Bee district. 
In following a wounded deer one day he stumbled 
onto an old she bear with two cubs. Just what did 
happen in the mixup is a matter of some doubt, as 
Shorty, when he was able to tell about it seemed 
somewhat confused as to particulars. After a while 
he did evolve something of a coherent story, but in 
some particulars it varied so widely from his first 
statements that his friends did not encourage its 
repetition. Shorty said the way he made it let go, 
was he gouged its eyes out with his thumbs. The 
probability was, that the bear was as much surprised 
as Shorty, and jumped him in order to protect her 
cubs and allow them to get away. She knocked him 
down, probably stunning him and bit him through 
one knee She fastened her jaws on his face tearing 
one cheek and his nose nearly off. 

R. B. Hughes. 


The 7th day of March, 1878, was one of the days 
never to be forgotten by the early pioneers of ihe Hills 
for on that day one of the greatest snowfalls in the 
history of western South Dakota took place. The day 


opened up a beautiful, warm day. As the oxen of the 
freight trains slowly trod along the winding trails 
leading to the Hills great clouds of dust were thrown 
into the air, and the bullwhaekers as they trod along be- 
side their trains and cracked' their whips o'er their 
backs, became so warm they removed their coats and 
traveled in their shirt sleeves. It was almost the 
same as a nice summer day in June. In the after- 
noon a rain began to fall and soon turned into snow 
which increased in intensity toward night. One of the 
freighting outfits, about which we will speak of in 
this item, was under the command of Jesse Brown 
and at the close of this day it went into camp in the 
Hills near Whitewood. In the morning the whole 
country was covered with a deep blanket of snow 
with still more rapidly falling. The herders who had 
been in charge of the oxen were unable to hold them 
against the drifting snow and the animals drifted 
aw^ay into the canyons. For three days the snow con- 
tinued to fall and the prairie was covered with seven 
feet of snow which the strong wind had piled in drifts 
to the depth of twenty feet. The men in this camp 
were obliged to procure boards from a nearby saw 
mill with which to make snow shoes before they could 
get out to hunt for the oxen they had turned loose 
several days before. Finally they found where the 
oxen had drifted into gulches and fifty-four head of 
the one hundred and fifty oxen were found dead, hav- 
ing been crowded over precipices by those who were 
behind them driven by the swift blowing snow. 

In Deadwood many roofs were broken down and 
business was at a standstill. Snow shoveling was 
the order of the day and on the sides of the street 
the mass of snow was piled to the windows on sec- 
ond story buildings. Horses were led up the gulch 
so as to break the way for travelers. The quantity 
of snow falling on a hay scale weighed 3165 pounds. 
The weather turned out fine and warm and the great 
snow soon went down the ravines in rivers in a mad 
rush to the plains. The mud became almost as much 


of an obstacle as the snow had been and ten yoke of 
oxen were required to one load while hay was |60.00 
per ton. 


The most destructive fire that had ever occurred 
in the Territory of Dakota destroyed the gi'eater and 
all the most valuable portion of the new city of Dead- 
wood, the commercial capital of the Black Hills rain- 
ing region on the morning of September 26th. 

The fire started at twenty minutes past two 
o'clock in the morning in the Star Bakery on Sher- 
man street, one of the principal business streets. The 
building was situated in the midst of a block of com- 
bustible buildings all constructed of wood. The fire 
started from a baker upsetting a coal oil lamp. All 
efforts to extinguish the flames were unavailing and 
soon spread to either side. When the fire reached 
Jensen and Bliss' Hardware store three doors south 
and on the opposite side of the street, eight kegs of 
blasting powder exploded with a terrific force that 
seemed to shake the mountains. The blast threw 
sparks and firearms in all directions, starting fires in 
many new places. The fire department was promptly 
on the gTOund but the building where its apparatus 
was stored was in flames and was soon destroyed, 
with hook and ladder, hose and hose carriage all con- 
sumed. This situation left the city perfectly help- 
less to fight the destroyer, fanned as it was by a 
strong breeze from the south. Scores of tenants were 
in the upper stories of the business houses and barely 
escaped with their lives. In the brief time the fire 
crossed Lee street which runs east and west and was 
licking up the business houses Avith their contents. 
The people seemed to be paralyzed, or half crazed, 
and hundreds of them climbed the hills on either side 
of the gulch with a few valuables carried on their 
backs and watching their dwellings go up in smoke. 
The fire passed down Main street to Gold and 
Wall streets and back on the hill for three blocks 


leveling everything. In the other directions it ex- 
tended along Sherman street until it was checked by 
blowing up small buildings, saving some residences of 
excellent design and finish on Ingleside, and on 
Cleverland. The area covered by this awful scourge 
was about twenty-five acres, consuming a total of 
one hundred business houses, and seventy-five dwell- 
ings and entailing a loss on first estimate of three 
million dollars. The total insurance all told was one 
hundred thousand dollars. The granaries in the city 
were filled with wheat and oats, the harvest having 
been unusually abundant, and the merchants had 
about all received their winter's supply of goods. All 
newspaper offices. Masonic, Odd Fellows and Knights 
of Pythias halls were destroyed. The government 
signal office and the U. S. military telegraph station 
lost nearly all of their metorological instruments. 
The fire consumed everything, but within twenty-four 
hours the ashes had been raked away in places and 
tents, borrowed from Fort Meade, were set upon the 
lots and dispensing liquid refreshments obtained 
from the fireproof cellars began. Lead City restau- 
rants were supplying the hungry with meals served on 
pine boards for tables and Deadwood had, like the 
fabled Phoenix, risen from the ashes. The Deadwood 
Times managed to issue a small paper on the 28th, 
two days after the fire, which contained the follow- 
ing: "The old saying that it is an ill wind that blows 
nobody good, can with reason be applied with much 
force to our case. Probably in the history of the 
country there has been no such destruction of prop- 
erty, comprising so many business houses, and the 
dwellings of so many families, throwing so many peo- 
ple out of business and families out of a habitation, 
where there is so little suffering and destruction, as 
there has been or will be to our people from the fire. 
Of course many have lost their all, their last dollar, 
and with nothing but the clothing on their persons, 
saw the accumulations of years wiped out and vanish 
in smoke, and found themselves without a mouthful 


to eat nor anything bnt a pine tree to protect them 
from the elements. Their character and credit is all 
they have left, and the only remaining capital upon 
which to commence anew.'' 

There were many amusing incidents that occur- 
red while the fire was raging, such as throwing look- 
ing glasses out of windows and carrying old rugs and 
scraps out carefully. A printer in the News office 
put down a hundred dollar's worth of type and grab- 
bed two bottles of Hosteter's Bitters which he carried 
to safety. After the fire was subdued, women were 
seen wearing men's coats and hats, and men protect- 
ed themselves with shawls wrapped around their 

The total loss of the property Avas estimated at 
one million, three hundred ninety thousand, nine hun- 
dred dollars and no call was made for outside help. 
While some lost everything, they had strong arms 
left and went to work at good wages preparing the 
new buildings. 

Here are some of the advertisements that ap- 
peared on the 30th, four days after the fire : "J. Harry 
Damon, the boss rustler of Elizabethtown, has on 
hand a large stock of goods, also a fine collection of 
liquors and cigars, a large bakery in connection 
where can be obtained, bread, cake and pies at the 
same old prices. E. D. Kelly is selling flour and 
bacon at the same old prices. Buggies, of the Oyster 
Bay, opened up this morning and is prepared to 
serve all who call. Joe Gandolfo has opened up his 
fruit store at the old stand and has a selection of 
fruits, etc. The well known Wentworth has opened 
up in the Anthony block where meals and lodging 
will be furnished at the same old prices. At Chase's 
where they sell cheap, will be found a large stock of 
clothing, caps and men's furnishings at the same old 

This is what the News had to say of the condi- 
tions after the fire: "After the derangement of the 
general run of business, we have settled down to the 


regular course of business. In all branches of trade, 
our merchants, artisans, and laboring men are all as 
busy as a bee in a tar barrel. There has been no ten- 
dency to take advantage of the general necessity 
and tenders of credit have been extended to all of 
our principal business men. Some do not need it. The 
business outlook was never better and this episode is 
a mere transient loss in the course of trade. While 
the town was burning, many sad hearts were made 
glad through the kindness of friends and neighbors, 
by sharing their home with those less fortunate in 
losing theirs, and as we stand now, the great heart 
suffers but survives. The bright star of the west still 
shines. It was remarkable that no merchant or 
business man made any effort to try to raise prices on 
any commodity, although there was a shortage of 
some necessities. Other towns in the Hills that had a 
supply of articles needed on hand, graciously respond- 
ed to all requests and shared with them. Western 
spirit never showed up in clearer light than now in 
the time of distress.'' 


Some of the pioneers of the early days varied 
their experiences of washing gold and fighting In- 
dians with a hunt for buffalo and the trapping of 
beavers out on the vast plains of the Black Hills. One 
such party as this was organized in the fall of 1880 
consisting of Boone May, Frank Howard, Fred Wil- 
lard, H. O. Alexander and later Captain Willard. 
Boone May was the leader of this party as he had 
been brought up on the frontier and had hunted 
buffalo before. The party left Deadwood, in Novem- 
ber, 1880, crossing the Belle Fourche River about 
where the city of Belle Fourche now stands and while 
there Alexander succeeded in purchasing a fine shep- 
herd dog from a man whom he met there, for the sum 
of |2.00. This purchase proved to be a very valuable 

The party finally established a camp at Chalk- 


butte, now in Carter county, Montana, as the winter 
was very severe and long. Game was very plentiful 
^s will be realized from the fact that Boone May 
killed twenty-three buffalo, Alexander and Fred Wil- 
lard killed fifteen deer in one day. Howard went back 
to the Hills in December and Captain Willard went 
out to the camp in eTanuary, 1881. The winter was 
spent in hunting and trapping and going back and 
forth to the trading stations to obtain supplies. While 
at the Stoneville station Captain Willard received 
word that a large party of Indians were leaving the 
Pine Ridge Agency and going north for the purpose 
of arresting all hunters and trappers found between 
the Little Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers. Fred 
Willard set out to warn all the men in the prescribed 
area, of the coming of the Indians, for to go upon 
the Indian reservation was in those days considered 
as an unfriendly act and the agents upon the reserva- 
tion supported the Indians in their efforts to prevent 
the trespassing on the part of the white men. A large 
body of hunters and trappers had gathered and they 
set out hunting for the Indians whom they located on 
Box Elder Creek in Carter County, Montana. The 
Indians rode after the white men and after a while 
when a parley had b6en given a half breed Indian 
interpreter rode up and was informed that there was 
a large body of hunters and trappers who were very 
active for a fight and that the Indians had better 
strike out for a new territory in order to avoid 
trouble. This advice was followed by the Indians 
but in passing to the north of this party they met 
with a hunters' camp known as the Berry Wilson 
hunting party and the only one who escaped was 
Berry Wilson, the other men being killed by the In- 
dians. After the Indians had passed on from the 
territory the men set to work to hunt game. Captain 
Willard went back to the Black Hills while the rest 
of the men still remained in the party. Boone May 
and Fred Willard went out to hunt _and trap con- 
trary to their promises and they went on into the In- 


dian reservation where they proceeded to hunt near 
their camp in what is now Perkins county, South Da- 
kota, near the present postoffice of Meadow. They 
met with great success in their hunting and trapping 
and were just about to decide to turn back to the 
Black Hills before they might be overtaken by In- 
dians and were lying about their camp fire planning 
a homeward march when, the little shepherd dog be- 
gan to bark and yell, and sure enough sneaking 
down upon them, was a large party of Indians not 
more than three hundred yards away. The Indians 
immediately charged, Boone May yelled, "Cover boys'' 
and in the fraction of a short minute the camp was 
in an uproar. One Indian charged up to where Boone 
was standing with a shell jammed in his rifle and he 
dropped his rifle, pulled his six shooter and the In- 
dian fell dead near the fire. Fred Willard fired a 
few rounds and then ran out and caught a couple of 
ponies that had been used for packing and hurried 
them over a bank out of the firing line and returned 
to the fight. By this time the Indians had killed all 
the white men's horses excepting the two rescued by 
Willard and the little dog, but none of the hunters 
were injured. The Indians decided to quit the fight 
and withdrew carrying with them their wounded 
men. They left behind them six dead and one wound- 
ed Indian close up to the fire whom Boone May soon 
put out of his misery with a knife. There were also 
twenty-two dead Indian ponies on the field. May 
was a fatalist and after the fight was over commented 
on his favorite subject stating that "A man will not 
die until his time comes,'' and in order to prove his 
argument said to Fred Willard, "Now that Indian 
shot at me twice when my gun was jammed. Now 
what would you call that?" Fred Willard replied, "I 
would call that damn poor shooting," and that ended 
the argument. 

The hunters now immediately packed their goods 
and hides and struck out for the Hills on foot, arriv- 
ing at Crook City in good order. Needless to say 


their friends who had heard of the fight and the roam- 
ing band of Indians out on the reservation were de- 
lighted to see the hunters return safe and sound. 


The writer well remembers Judge Church's ad- 
iTent into the Hills. It happened to be my run the 
morning he embarked for Deadwood. I had two 
coaches that morning, a regular and extra. William 
Sample, one of the shot gun messengers rode on the 
extra. The passengers aboard my coach were Judge 
Church and his family and the wife of the bookkeep- 
er of the Homestake mine at that time. The stage 
and freight outfits used to cross the river to Fort 
Pierre on a ferry boat. The weather was stormy and 
the roads bad. About a mile from Fort Pierre we 
had to pass through a canyon and came near upset- 
ting. The soil was a sticky clay called gumbo. The 
old settlers about Pierre know what gumbo is. It 
1;pok us seven hours to get to Willow Creek. It was 
pouring rain and the creeks were all high and hard 
to ford. Mr. Sample and I were obliged to carry the 
passengers across the creeks, the drivers doubled up, 
making an eight horse team, and forded all the creeks. 
Mr. Sample and I had to ride the leaders. We were 
eighteen hours going from Plum Creek to Mitchell 
Creek. We all took a spade along for we knew what 
we had to contend with. Both of the drivers tied 
their lines to the break staff, took a paddle and got 
down on one side of the coach and Mr. Sample and 
I got down on the other side of our respective coaches. 
The wheels would clog with gumbo with every revo- 
lution, and we would have to clean it before we could 
make another roll. 

We were four days getting to the Cheyenne 
River. The river was still high, although it had stop- 
ped raining and the roads had dried up. We loaded 
the express, mail and passengers on to a scow, and . 
landed them on the other side. The drivers doubled 
up their teams and forded the stream with the lead- 


ers. The water came into the coaches and wet the 
seats. When we arrived on the other side we reload- 
ed the coaches, satisfied the wants of the inner man 
and started out again. 

When we got to the top of Cheyenne hill the 
roads w^ere good. The country lying between Pierre 
and Cheyenne river was an Indian reservation in 
those days. No liquor could be obtained on the other- 
side of the Cheyenne river, from which source the 
drivers would occasionally fall off the "water wagon.'' 

The messengers had no control over the drivers 
except to keep their time and report them at Dead- 
wood or Pierre. On this occasion one of the drivers 
got hold of a bottle of liquor. We were riding along 
at a twelve mile gait, and frequently one of the driv- 
ers would drive up alongside and both would take a 
swig out of the bottle. The drivers' • names were 
George Dean and Kid Ellis. We were going down a 
gully about 12 o'clock at night and a mule train had 
been through the day before and cut up the road. The 
wheels on one side dropped into a deep chuck hole 
and upset the coach. Fortunately nobody was in- 
jured. It took about half an hour to right up the 
coach. We then resumed our journey to Lone Tree 
station. We finally arrived at Rapid City when it 
commenced to snow and on the way from Rapid City 
to Sturgis Mr. Sample and I became snow blind. 
This rig was drawn by four horse teams. The meal 
stations were Lance Creek, Medicine Creek, Cheyenne 
River, Rapid City. Sturgis City and Deadwood. The 
rest were way stations professional bullwhackers and 
mule skinners. The run could be made in 36 hours on 
good roads. 

The drivers would know within five minutes 
when the coaches would arrive on good roads. They 
would have their teams harnessed and ready to lead 
ort ■ .iiediately on the arrival of the coach. The 
hor»es were trained like fire horses and knew their 
respective places. A change could be made in three 
minutes. Horse was the chief topic of conversation 


among the drivers. Their off leader and night wheel- 
er were topics of general interest. Their ambition 
was to swap horses and match up their teams better. 
When the superintendent, "Old Gid" as he was called, 
came around on a tour of inspection they would use 
their power of persuasion for him to make a change. 
Sometimes he would and then a row would ensue. 
The names of some the drivers that operated along 
the route were, Hank Williams, Red Raymond, Ben 
Gee, Geo. Dean, Jack Matlock, James Callahan, Kid 
Ellis, Stuttering Dick and W. L. Bronson, who was af- 
terwards agent at Rapid City. 

A messenger accompanied every regular coach. A 
messenger's duty was to time the drivers between sta- 
tion — they having an allotted time to make a station — 
and to delivei all mail and collect all moneys at meal 
stations. The messengers had charge of all mail and 
express and were expected to make themselves gener- 
ally useful along the route. The names of some of the 
regular messengers were Nerm Seebold, Joe Slattery, 
Johnny Hunter and Joe Goss. The writer of this 
article was also a messenger over this route. 

The company had a treasure coach that used to 
leave Deadwood the first and fifteenth of every month, 
taking ovit the bullion from the Homestake. 

The bravest men and the best shots the country 
could produce accompanied this coach. They were 
heavily armed with Colt revolvers attached to patent 
leather belts and filled with cartridges, also a shot 
gun loaded with buckshot. They were called "shot 
gun messengers.'' The names of some of them were 
Scott Davis, William Sample, Johnny Cochran, Wil- 
liam Brewer, ]^]ugene Decker and Jesse Brown. 

There were many distinguished men that used to 
ride over the line. Among them were Judge Gaffy, 
Judge Moody, first United States senator from South 
Dakota, Judge Church, afterwards governor of Da- 
kota and Alaska territories, and the sheriff of Lawrence 
county to carry prisoners over the route on their way 
to Detroit, Michigan. W^henever they made a turn to 


the left they would pull the line, to the right when 
they would jerk it. Short turns were made by the 
wheelers. The mule skinners used shorter whips than 
the bull whackers. Experts claim they could sever a 
fly from the leader's ear. Twelve of these teams made 
up a mule train. Pierre, now the capital of South Da- 
kota, was a wild and woolly town in the early days, 
and the officer of the law was an unknown quantity. 
People were not safe to travel at night unless they 
were heavily armed, and lanterns were used to guide 
the pedestrians before the days of street improve- 
ments. It was a common occurrence for a bull whack- 
er to step out from a low dive and shoot out the lights 
of a belated pedestrian and then rob and murder liim 
A desperado by the name of Arkansas lived at Fort 
Pierre. Arkansas had murdered several men and was 
a frequent visitor to Pierre. The people feared him 
for he was a dead shot. He and his companion.-! were 
notorious in their outlawry. The citizens organized 
a vigilance committee, and ordered Arkansas and his 
companions to leave Pierre. They became frightened 
and complied with the request of the committee, but 
shortly after Arkansas got on a protracted spree and re- 
turned to Pierre and started to shoot up the town. 
The vigilance committee commenced camping on Ar- 
kansas' trail. Arkansas ran down the banks and 
hid in the brush. The vigilance committ'ee followed 
him and called him by name. Arkansas fired at them. 
The vigilancers responded with a volley and they 
riddled him with bullets. 

Many of the early settlers met their death over 
the Pierre route by Indians. The spring following the 
ice on the river gorged below Pierre. Pierre is located 
on low bottom lands rising to a higher plateau in the 
back ground. The business men used boats to trans- 
fer goods to the highlands. Many of the bull whack- 
ers were hard up that spring. They commenced thiev- 
ing and the vigilantes rounded them up. loaded them 
in boats and sent them across the river. 

Pat Comfort, the first sheriff of Pierre, protested 


but it was of no avail. The Northwestern Stage Ex- 
press and Transportation Company owned the finest 
stock and coaches west of the Mississippi river. The 
stage stations commencing at Pierre were Willow 
Creek, Lance Creek, Phim Creek, Mitchell Creek, 
Medicine Creek, Bad River, Box Elder, Rapid City, 
Spring Valley Ranch, Sturgis City and Deadwood. 
Two hundred miles over a mostly prairie country. The 
stations were twelve relays of horses between Dead- 
wood and Pierre. The old time Concord coach, hung 
on thoroughbraces. with front and hind booth, for 
mail and heavy luggage was the rig used. 

The early settlers of Pierre experienced a typical 
frontier life. Pierre is situated on the east bank of 
the Missouri River. The Chicago and Northwestern 
Railway established a terminal at Pierre -in the eight- 
ies. The Northwestern Express Stage and Transpor- 
tation company previously operating at Bismarck 
moved to Pierre and started a stage and transporta- 
tion line from Pierre to the Black Hills. Fort Pierre 
is on the opposite side of the river from the t'own of 
Pierre. The freight was shipped via Sioux City 
and transported up the river to Fort Pierre prior to 
that time. Yankton was the capital of Dakota 
Territory at that time. The pioneer freighter control- 
ling freight from Fort Pierre to the Black Hills was 
Fred T. Evans. The freight was shipped to the Hills 
by means of bull and mule outfits. The transportation 
wagons were of the prairie type with square box and 
canvass top manufactured by Studebaker Brothers 
of South Bend, Indiana. A large lead and two shorter 
train wagons were hauled by twelve yoke of Texas 
cattle constitnting a bull team. The trails had. short 
tongues and all three were coupled together. Twelve 
teams made up a bull outfit under the supervision of 
a wagon master. The names of some of the wagon 
masters were Lonis Hartzell, Dick Mathieson, Jesse 
Brown, Mr. Silverthorn and Mr. Schofield, and a man 
known by the nickname of Tex Hemphill. The team- 
sters were called bull whackers. They were a rugged 


class of men and were heavily armed with revolvers 
attached to patent leather belts. They wore wide 
brimmed cowboy hats. They used a whip thirty feet 
long with a buckskin cracker on the end. The stock 
was three and one-half to four feet long. The crack 
of the whip was like a shot in battle, and the bull 
whackers perverted language making a bull team 
haul through a bad mud hole created discordant bars 
of music, and the bulls knew they had to go some. A 
bull team traveled ten miles a day on good roads. 
They would travel through the cool of day, and when 
they stopped to satisfy the wants of man and beast 
they would form a corral, driving one-half of their 
wagons on one side of the road making an aperature 
large enough to yoke up the oxen. When they yoked 
up chains were placed across the gap at each end so 
as to keep the cattle together. A camp was used to 
cook meals. The bull whackers' sleeping apartments 
were their wagons. A herder had charge of the stock 
at night. In case of an Indian attack they would form 
a corral by driving the wagons together in a circle. 
They would drive the cattle inside the enclosure and 
throw up breast works against the wheels. Texas cat- 
tle could do quite a running stunt coming back from 
the hills empty. The bull whackers and mule skin- 
ners on arriving at Dead wood or Pierre would don 
their war paint and go out on the war path. They 
put themselves in fighting trim by fire water of an 
alcoholic nature. 

A mule team consisted of eight or ten mule teams 
driven double. There was a saddle on the nigh team 
mule for the skinner to ride. A check-line extended 
from the nigh team mule to the nigh leader and at- 
tached by a jockey stick to the off leader and was 
used to guide the team. 

Deadwood was the next station after leaving 
Sturgis, the end of the route. The roads were bad and 
the passengers had to walk up all the hills. Mr. 
Sample and I had to carry the children. 

On another occasion while crossing Box Elder 


Creek when the water was high the driver got the 
coach stuck in the creek and we had to get down and 
cut the horses loose. The driver went on to Box 
Elder station with his horses but I had to remain on 
the coach all night wet and shivering and watch the 
mail. The driver returned in the morning with two 
four-horse teams and pulled the coach out onto dry 
land. We then resumed our journey to Box Elder 

Calamity Jane and Wild Bill were picturesque 
characters. They were Black Hills pioneers. Calam- 
ity usually traveled in male attire. Her costume when 
on dress parade was a buckskin suit nicely decorated, 
broad brimmed cowboy hat, patent leather belt filled 
with cartridges and two Colt navy revolvers attached. 
She was an expert with the whip and a dead shot 
with a revolver or rifle. She had a warm heart and a 
strong love tor her friends, which was characteristic 
of the early settlers of the Hills. 

Harry Ashford. 


In the month of May, 1883, there was a lot of 
snow in the hills surrounding the city of Deadwood. 
The weather had turned out very warm and the deep 
blanket of snow began to melt and soon became very 
slushy. About eleven o'clock in the forenoon of a 
bright day of May a rain began to fall and within a 
few hours the melting snow began to rush down the 
hillsides in torrents of Avater. The creek began to 
fill with water from the melting snow, and falling 
rain, and continued to rise as the hours passed on. In 
the upper part of Deadwood there was a man by the 
name of Chandler and his wife who kept the toll gate 
and lived in a house nearby. This house had been 
built by H. A. McDonald who was a near neighbor of 
the family. In erecting the building he had placed 
it upon piling about which the dirt later had been 
thrown and realized that the foundation of the build- 
ing was therefore very weak and unsafe. He advised 


Mr. Chandler and his wife to get out of the building 
and go to higher ground. However, they insisted that 
there was no danger and retired on the night of the 
day of the rain with full confidence in the stability of 
their home. In the house at the same time was a man 
known by the name of Gus Holthusen. The night 
was passed without any unusual incident, although 
the water continued on in its torrential course, but 
about daylight the flood waters had finally succeeded 
in undermining the foundation of the house and it 
suddenly tumbled over into the raging water, carry- 
ing with it the three human beings. The body of Mrs. 
Chandler was found a few days later, after the water 
had subsided, in the sand along the bank of the lower 
town with every stitch of clothing except a waist, 
torn from her body and her hair so matted and filled 
with sand that it was impossible to do more than 
simply brush the outer strands. The body of Chandler 
was found some distance from where the house went 
in, by a little boy w^ho about a w^eek or more after- 
wards in going along the side of the creek noticed a 
human hand sticking out from the drift sand. The 
body of Holthusen was not discovered until long af- 
terwards when people engaged in removing the drift 
wood and debris that had collected in the lower part 
of the gulch found it with the feet sticking up and 
the head down and jammed among the trash. He had 
been clothed with brand new boots and his other 
clothing, but so terrible had been the force of the 
raging water with the timbers and rocks rushing by 
that there was nothing on his body when found ex- 
cept one boot and a leather belt. 

Great property loss also ensued as the torrential 
waters went rushing down the mountain gulches. 
Houses and small buildings were carried away and 
strewn along the banks, bridges were torn out and 
general havoc done to the city in the sum of |250,000. 


On the 26th day of November, Thanksgiving Day, 


the morning of the day was rather mild, only a few 
flying clouds were to be seen, and the sky had a hazy 
appearance, but was as calm as a midsummer day. 
Joe Le Fors, a stock detective from Wyoming, A. P. 
Long, a stock detective for South Dakota, and myself 
had planned to start on a trip of about one hundred 
miles to the lower Cheyenne River. I did not like the 
appearance of the weather, neither did any of us for 
that matter, and was rather reluctant about starting. 
Finally we agreed to wait for dinner and if it did not 
grow any worse w^e would go. So I went to the stable, 
hitched up my team. Joe LeFors was in the buggy 
with me and Long on horse back. We had proceeded 
only a few minutes until the storm broke loose in all 
its fury. We concluded that as long as the storm was 
on our l)acks we could reach Farwell's place, about 
twenty miles east, which was a favorite stopping 

The wind increased in velocity, the snow in 
quantity, and the atmosphere colder and full of 
electricity. In crossing a gulch only nine miles out 
the horses in floundering through a drift broke a 
single tree. We hunted for some wire along a fence 
near liy and fortunately found enough to fix up the 
break and while doing this became pretty cold from 
exposure to wind and snow. Continuing we came to 
a ranch house, and thought to stop there but found 
that a family had just reached there and was unload- 
ing their furniture, so concluded to go on to Roscoe 
Keene's ranch two miles further. Before reaching 
there, darkness had settled down, and was so intense- 
ly black that we could not see our hands before our 
eyes. The wind was blowing with hurricane strength 
and the worst blizzard in the history of the Black 
Hills was on. Our horses were blinded by the snow 
packing inside of the blinds, covering their eyes com- 
pletely, and turn which way we would, it seemed as 
if the Avind was in our faces. We did not succeed in 
reaching Keene's. After wandering around for some 
time we gave it up. I believe now that we were going 


in a circle. At this time we thought to find a school 
house that should be close so we hunted up and down, 
back and forth as we supposed, but found no school 
house. Things began to look serious if not desperate. 
Our horses were really refusing to move, so we thought 
the only thing to do was to turn them loose, Avhich we 
did and started on foot to try and make it back to the 
farm house which we had passed, the one where the 
family were just moving into. Fortunately Provi- 
dence appeared to be on our side, for we had not pro- 
ceeded far until we ran against the school house 
fence. We were soon on the inside, but the snow 
had drifted in at the windows and under the door so 
as to cover almost the entire floor. There was no 
wood in the house, but floundering around outside 
we found a pile of wood under the snow. It was dry 
and in about an hour the room began to feel a little 
warm. Then it seemed as if we were getting cold- 
er, and did really feel the cold more than previously. 
After a while we began to take stock of ourselves, and 
found A. P. Long was pretty badly frozen about his 
face and neck. My face and nose was frosted con- 
siderably but by rubbing with snow it did not give 
me any serious trouble. The storm kept up all night 
and until about eight o'clock in the morning, but by 
noon the sun was shining. The wind ceased and 
there was not a cloud in the sky. We looked out and 
there was our buggy about three hundred yards to the 
east. The snow was drifted in places higher than the 
wire fences. 

There were several lives lost in this storm. Jerry 
Millin, Scotty and Kobert Carson were moving a 
band of sheep out to the J. D. Hale ranch, camped on 
a creek where there was plenty of wood, but could not 
keep up their fire on account of the fierceness of the 
wind and drifting snow. Scotty froze in bed. Millin 
and Carson started to reach a ranch house. Millin 
fell and perished Avithin sight of relief. Carson man- 
aged to reach the door and fell exhausted, but had 
been heard and was taken in and cared for. He lost 


his toes on both feet. Five others in different parts 
of the country perished in this storm. 

A Dakota blizzard is something that I cannot ac- 
curately describe, and no person that has not exper- 
ienced such storms can reallj^ know and understand 
the immensity and the bewildering effect of a real 
blizzard. In one home northeast of Sturgis, the son, 
a young man, went to the barn to care for the stock, 
and not returning in the expected time his father 
went to look for the boy. He found him in the hay- 
mow snugly covered in the hay. The boy had con- 
cluded not to try to make the trip back to the house, 
but the father thought they had better make an effort 
to do so rather than take chances in the hay. They 
made the attempt but never reached the house, for 
both were found frozen after the storm. 


Black Hills gold jewelry is always admired by 
people coming to the Hills and many times questions 
are asked about the origin of the design. The pattern 
consists of grape leaves and grapes, and the leaves 
are always in two colors, red and green, which are 
obtained by using two alloys. Gold alloyed with cop- 
per produces red, and with silver for green color. The 
same general design is carried out in nearly all 
articles, such as stick pins, brooches, hair pins, brace- 
lets and rings. Black Hills jewelry is now sent practi- 
cally to every state in the Union, and even to Europe. 
A matter of fact story is to the effect that, away back 
in the early days, when the Indians were still on the 
war path, at times, a couple of young men were mak- 
ing their way to the famous Eldorado, the Black Hills. 
They had started from Pierre with a freight outfit, 
but went out hunting one day, and not being acquaint- 
ed with the lay of the country, took the wrong direc- 
tion for camp. They finally managed to get back to 
the wagon road only to find the outfit gone. At one 
point they found some bacon and braed, which one of 
the thoughtful, kind hearted freighters had left for 


them provided they should happen to come that way. 
This appeased their appetites for a day, and they 
forged ahead. But there was nothing else for them 
to eat. They came to a small stream, and drank 
their fill, but that was the last of either water or food 
for nearly two days. They crept on, the awful fear 
of starving staring them in the face. Finally they saw 
ahead of them what they hoped might be trees, and if 
so. water. After hours of painful tramping they 
realized that they had not been deceived. Trees were 
ahead of them. They were so weak through lack of 
food and drink that they could scarcely drag themselves 
along; and then they feared that Indians might be 
lurking in the shade of the trees, which, however, seem- 
ed to be their onl}' salvation. At last reaching the friend- 
ly trees there was shade but no water. When about to 
give up and resign themselves to their fate, one of 
them upon looking around espied a low hanging grape 
vine, and several bunches of lucious ripe grapes. 
Their lives were saved, for the grapes were both food 
and drink. After eating enough to partly appease 
their hunger, they crept by the side of a fallen tree 
covered with weeds and vines, where they would be 
hidden from Indians, should they happen to be there- 
abouts and went to sleep. When they awakened 
they found more of the grapes, and, much refreshed, 
started on their way. They learned later that the 
place of their salvation was the Cheyenne river close 
to Frank Cottle's ranch. Much to their delight an- 
other freight outfit came along, who, upon hearing 
their story, gave them a square meal and let them 
work their Avay into Deadwood, where one of the 
young men, who was a jeweler, a short time later 
found work in a jewelry shop. Being something of a 
genius and original at that, he experimented at times, 
when not otherwise engaged, and one day showed his 
employer the result of his work, saying, "The original 
of that saved my life on my way to the Hills." The 
jeweler was delighted with the design placed in 
his hands. It was a gold ring embellished with grapes 


and grape leaves, in colors as are to be seen now on the 
beautiful jewelry, the pride of the Hills, and the 
prized souvenirs of visitors to this section. So popu- 
lar did the conceit of the young man's brain become 
that all his time was given to making the articles that 
have since become known the world over. 

Alice Gossage 


The range land is rich in idioms, corruptions, ab- 
breviations and adaptations. The cow puncher's vocab- 
ulary is replete with short but expressive terms which 
should be of interest to all patrons of the roundup. 
In the early days of the panhandle Joe and Jim 
Maverick were such constant and persistent rustlers, 
that any slick ear found on the range and about which 
there was any dispute would be turned over to the 
Mavericks and hence the term Maverick. 

''Slick ear," a yearling that has escaped the brand- 
ing iron or being ear marked. 

"Roundup," the spring and fall gathering of cat- 
tle on the ranges in order to brand the calves and 
make shipments of beef. 

"Remuda," a Mexican word meaning the herd of 
saddle horses used by the cowboys when on a roundup. 

'"Chuck wagon," the moving commissary of the 

"Chaperajos," the leather or hairy leggins worn 
by the cowboys as protection against chapparral or 
or mesquite brush, or the weather, which in accord- 
ance to the cow punchers disinclination for long words 
has been shortened to "chaps." 

"Cayuse," an Indian pony. 

"Broncho,'' or "bronk,'' Mexican names meaning, 
rough, wild or mean, being apfdied to the native or 
unbroken horses. Wild horses distinguished from the 
bucking horses. These are horses native to the range 
which have never been handled. 

"The Outlaws," a term applied to a horse whose 
spirit is unconquerable. 


"The Sunfisher," a movement some horses have of 
twisting in the air, and sunning their sides. A sun- 
fisher is generally very difficult to ride. 

"Pulling leahter," a term applied to a bronk rider 
in grabbing any part of the saddle in riding a buck- 
ing horse, in order to steady himself. "Choking the 
Horn," "[Squeezing Lizzie," "Grabbing the Post," 
"Reaching for the Appl'e/' "Holding the Jug Handle,'' 
"Safety First," "Shaking Hands with Grandma," are 
all synonyms of pulling leather. 

"Riding straight up,'' consists of rider sitting 
straight up in saddle holding the halter in one hand 
and the other in the air. 

"Riding safe," sitting close to the saddle, legs 
tightly clinched against the horses sides, and spurs set 
firmly in the cinch. 

"Sloppy riding," sitting loosely in the saddle al- 
lowing the body to flop about in response to the pitch- 
ing of the animal; not considered good form by com- 
petent judges. 

"Close seat,'' steady and firm seat in the saddle, 
otherwise called "sitting close to the plaster.'' 

"Bucking straight away," consists of long jumps 
straight ahead without any twists, w^hirling or rear- 
ing, an easy horse to ride. 

"Swapping ends,'' a movement peculiar to a bronk 
where he quickly reverses his position, making a com- 
plete half circle in the air. 

"A fall back," a bronk which deliberately falls 
backward with his rider. A very dangerous animal 
and usually barred out of contests. 

"Seeing daylight," a term applied when a rider 
leaves his seat with each jump of the horse, so that 
spectators can see between rider and saddle. 


The history of the Black Hills Trails is not 
wholly that of the struggle between right and wrong, 
nor of the sacrificing of human life upon the altar of 
gold. True it is that in the numerous gulches of the 
Hills where men assembled for a time, the star of hope 
sank for many, never to rise again. Could the rugged 
peaks but speak and reveal the secrets that they hold, 
of deeds of man done within their shade, there would 
be such a tale of wrong, suffering, sorrow and tragedy, 
as has never been penned by human hand. But sad as 
was the fate of some, cruel as was the fell clutch of 
circumstance, yet the conquering force of progress 
went on and victory was perched upon its banners. 
While some were falling by the wayside, others were 
valiantly going forward and accomplishing those 
things which made for the establishing of the com- 
monwealth. In this chapter, we gladly turn from the 
pictures of strife, to the more pleasing scenes of the 
growth of the industrial welfare of the Hills. 


The great rush of fortune hunters to the Black 
Hills in the early days, soon rolled up a population 
that made the subject of food supplies and materials 
an important one. The problem of supplying the peo- 
ple with the articles necessary to enable them to main- 
tain themselves in the mountains, soon grew to be of 
great concern, and men of wealth soon saw an oppor- 
tunity for them in the field of freight and passenger 

The first group of men to prepare for this lucra- 
tive field of endeavor, was composed of Sioux City 
capitalists, Fred T. Evans, Judge Hubbard, John H. 
Clark, and John Hornick, who organized the Sioux 
City and Black Hills Transportation Company. Their 
first train left Sioux City in April, 1875, but when 
near Gordon, Nebraska, the government troops met 
them and destroyed the entire outfit and left the peo- 


pie afoot. But the company was not to be defeated 
and as soon as possible took up the work again and 
became one of the largest transportation companies 
to the Hills, the main road being from Pierre to the 
Hills. It employed from 1000 to 1500 men and wagons, 
2,000 to 3,000 oxen and 1,500 mules. About the same 
time, the Witcher Company was organized and pros- 
pered for a time, but did not reach the volume of 
business handled by its competitor. Other freight 
companies of lesser importance maintained trains and 
an enormous amount of merchandise was hauled over 
the various routes to the several mining camps of the 

To handle the passenger traffic and express ar- 
ticles, a more rapid system of transportation than 
that of the ox teams and heavy wagons, was required 
and the Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage Line was 
projected by Gilmer, Saulsbury and Patrick, in 1876. 
The first attempt to open this stage line was made in 
the spring time, but the Indians were too hostile and 
the effort failed after the loss of several head of horses 
and the station houses. In July, 1876, they got 
through their first four-horse stage coach, but on the 
return trip from Custer, the Indians made a. success- 
ful attack upon the coach, killed the driver, and took 
the horses from the coach, leaving the passengers to 
shift for themselves. In September, 1876, all obstacles 
were overcome and the line established to Deadwood. 

Over this line was carried the gold bullion from 
the mines and in order to lessen the chances for rob- 
bery. Superintendent Voorhees built the famous 
"Treasure Coach," lined with heavy iron plates to re- 
sist the attack of robbers and protect the guards with- 
in. Many of the robberies and holdups related in this 
l?ook, took place on this line and were made against 
this company's coaches, on their long journey from 
Sidney to Deadwood. 

From Bismarck, another company, the North- 
western Express, Stage and Transportation Company, 
of Minnesota, with R. Blakely as president, opened a 


daily run of coaches to Deadwood in May, 1877. In 
1880, they changed the line to start from Pierre to 
Deadwood, and carried some five thousand passen- 
gers yearly for several years. When the railroad 
reached Chadron, Nebraska, in 188G, they also con- 
nected up that city with the Hills. 

For a few months in 1876, Seymour and Utter 
maintained a pony express mail service from Ft. 
Laramie, Wyoming, to Deadwood, the rate being 
twenty-five cents per letter. Although the number of 
letters reached several thousand per trip the project 
was not long continued and more satisfactory service 
was established. 

The year 1886 saw the decline of the freight and 
Ijransportation business by small companies. On the 
5th day of July, 1886, the first railroad train to reach 
the Black Hills came rolling into Rapid City amid the 
tooting of whistles and the joyous shouts of the people 
gathered to witness this most important event. In 
due course of time, the railroad was extended to the 
north towns, and then the southern towns were reach- 
ed by the B. & M. railway. With the two companies, 
the Elkhorn road on the east and the Burlington in 
the central, the day of the pioneer transportation 
companies closed. 


The early history of the several cities in the 
Hills is interesting and a short account will be given 
here. The founding of Custer it will be recalled was 
narrated in former chapters of this book and will not 
be repeated here. The first attempt to lay out and 
name a town was in the spring of 1875, when the Tal- 
lent party surveyed a townsite and called it "Harney.'' 
The entire party was removed by the soldiers, and the 
next attempt to lay out a town was in 1875 during the 
month of August when General Crook was taking out 
the second band of gold seekers. This time the name 
first proposed was "Stonewall" but the second propos- 
ed name of "Custer'' won out and Custer then became 



Hill City Before the Stampede to Deadwood 

The story of the starting and the decline of many 
mining camps in the early days of the Black Hill's is an in- 
teresting one, and that of Hill City lacks nothing in the 
telling. It is the second oldest mining camp in the Black 
Hills and the first to have its rise and fall. 


the first established and continuous town in the Hills. 

In the month of February, 1876, Tom Harvey and 
John Miller wandered over to the gulches near Hill 
City and finding promising deposits there organized 
and laid out a town which they named Hill City. The 
incoming prospectors finding Custer filled to over- 
flowing and no further opportunity for them there, 
migrated on to Hill City and soon this new town was 
a worthy rival to the first city. 

However, the roving miners scurried over the 
hills far and near and soon came the stories of the 
wealth of a new place in the gulch of the White- 
wood, and Hill City became a deserted camp over 
night. The new town became the most famous city 
of the west and we will devote more space to it for 
the reason that the name "Deadwood" stands pre- 
eminently as the historic pioneer city of the Hills. 


The first attempt to lay out a town along White- 
wood Creek was in April, 1876. A party of newcom- 
ers arrived in the gulch in the fore part of the month, 
and camped near where the Northwestern freight de- 
pot is now located. Here they set their stakes and 
laid out a town which they named "Elizabeth Town'' 
in honor of Elizabeth Carl, a young girl of the party 
about sixteen years of age. Craven Lee and Ike 
Brown did not quite agree with the restrictions laid 
down in the organizing of the new town and moving 
up the creek a little farther, proceeded to lay out a 
townsite according to their own ideas and named it 
"Deadwood." The second camp soon outstripped its 
rival and eventually absorbed it and the whole be- 
came known as Deadwood. From the files of the 
Pioneer of October, 1876, we have been able to repro- 
duce a splendid picture of the town in its infancy. 

Early in October, 1875, a few adventuresome 
spirits, discouraged with the results of their labor in 
the southern portion of the Hills made their way 
north, prospecting the various creeks on their route. 



until they struck Deadwood Creek — so named from 
the vast bodies of dead timber which cover the moun- 
tain sides adjacent to the stream. Here they found 
good prospects, but had hardly commenced work be- 
fore winter came on so that little was done in the 


way of mining. Enough, however, was accomplished 
to warrant these hardy men to decide to remain here 
and endure the rigors of a severe winter in an un- 
known country, exposed to the dangers of starvation 
and the merciless bullet of the savage. Conflicting 
rumors of the gold deposits of this section of the 


Hills kept floating tliroiigh the air, and with the 
softening rays of the March sun the tide of emigra- 
tion set in toward the north. 

About the middle of April mining operations 
commenced, but Avere much retarded by the want of 
lumber to construct the sluice boxes. As there were 
no mills in the country, the only way of manufactur- 
ing lumber was with the whip-saw. But compara- 
tively few claims were fully worked until about the 
tenth of June, by which time we had three saw mills 
turning out on an average of about twenty-five thou- 
sand feet of lumber per day. Even with this large 
amount of lumber manufactured daily, the demand 
exceeded the supply for building and mining pur- 
poses. During all this time a steady stream of im- 
migrants kept pouring in. 

A headquarters for miners, where they could get 
supplies was a necessity. About the 20th of April 
a town company was organized, and on the 25th of 
the same month a town was laid out at the junction 
of Whitewood and Deadwood creeks named Deadwood 

The first house built of pine logs was laid by 
Lee and Brown, and occupied by them April 30th 
and by a singular coincidence the first frame house 
was erected on the adjoining lot by Gardner and Co. 
Neither of them are remarkable for their fine finish 
or beauty of architecture, but in those early days of 
our history was looked upon as a marvel of beauty 
and stability and as a marked epoch in the growth of 
of our city. 

From the time the first log was cut out for the 
first house, the growth of Deadwood has been almost 
marvelous. Only five months ago the town site was 
a perfect wilderness of pine trees. Today our city 
contains over three thousand people, stretching along 
Deadwood and Whitewood Creeks more than a mile. 
We have nearly two hundred business houses, a muni- 
cipal government, mayor, board of aldermen, police, 


and all the other oflScers necessary for the administra- 
tion of justice. 

Our mining operations have been prosecuted 
with a vigor and a degree of success unknown in any- 
other mining country, during the first year of its 
discovery. Experienced miners and practical busi- 
ness men estimate that the amount of gold taken out 
within twenty-five miles of Deadwood this season will 
reach nearly or quite |2,000,000. 

Such is a brief resume of what has been done by 
our citizens in the short space of five months. This, 
too, in the face of murderous Indian war, without 
the aid or sanction of the government, and without 
law, except such as we have improvised for our own 

There is much room for encouragement. We have 
it from the highest officials in the land, that ere long 
we shall have law, government and protection. Give 
us those, and within one year Deadwood City wiU 
contain ten thousand people, and our mines — placer 
and quartz — instead of yielding |2,000,000 will add to 
the wealth of the world, at a low estimate |25,000,000. 
We think we know it to be true, absolutely, that the 
Black Hills is the richest country in all the natural 
elements of wealth on the globe, yet discovered. 
I We may expect a dull, hard winter, but let us 
work together faithfully and earnestly, helping each 
other, upholding each other, knowing that the good 
time will surely come. 


Nearly half a century has elapsed since the fame 
of Deadwood as a wild, western mining camp spread 
around the world. In the late '70's the little county 
seat of Lawrence county had some very distinguished 
men engaged in business, men who in later years be- 
came a power not only in the community but in the 
State and Nation. With the passing of the years 
great changes took place in Deadwood, and one by 
one the old time business men either died or moved 


av.'.ay uutil today less than half a dozen of the mer- 
chants of the early day period are still there. A form 
er resident of Deadwood has run across a directory of 
the Deadwood business men of 1887 that will make 
interesting reading over the state today. In the list 
there are about four names of men who are therp 
today. Henry Frawley, Jacob Goldberg, Charles» 
Zoellner, and Thomas Whittaker. Although the firm 
names of a couple of others are still preserved under 
different management. 

The list follows : 

Forwarding Agents, Cuthbertson & Young; assay- 
ers, C. C. Davis, George H. Hewitt, J. F. Sanders, J. 
Dosenthal & Co., Sander & Engelskirchen, Ed Sieber, 
and S. A. Wheeler; Attorneys, A. Allen, Atwood & 
Frank, Chas. E. Barker, Bennett & Wilson, E. C. 
Bearley, J. H. Burns, Caulfleld & Carey, W .H. Clag- 
gett, Gaffey & Frazier, Henry Frawley, F. Gantt, 
Gooding & Graham, R. W. Hamilton, Harney & Wat- 
son, Hayden & Bennett, F. W. Knight, W. C. Kings- 
ley, W. L. Kuykendall, Mose Liverman, J. H. McCutch- 
eon, Miller & Hastie, Morgan Corsen, D. T. Potter, 
Parker & Story, Ed A. Wetmore, B. C. Wheeler, Wil- 
liams & Simonton, J. M. Young; Auctioneers, W. S. 
Travis, Leimer & Co., M. N. Levy, Sam Soyster; 
Bakeries, Charles Eisner, George Eggert, R. M. John- 
son, J. A. Wilson, J. M. Stephens; Banks, Brown & 
Thum, Miller & McPherson, First National Bank; 
Barbers, A. Bauman, Girard Bros., Thomas Smith, 
E. R. Simms, and John Worth; Bath, Frank Welch, 
Billards, Taylor & Riddle; Blacksmiths, Samuel Ickes, 
Joseph M. Rickel, T. B. Tarpy, E. C. Taul, F. C. 
Thulen, Walsh & Langdon; Boots and Shoes, D. P. 
Burnham, Hamilton & Co., Charles Karcher, J. Lose- 
kamp, J. D. Sears, Fred Zipp; Hotels and Boarding, 
Idaho Boarding House, Wentworth House, Merchants 
Hotel, Wagner Hotel; Breweries, Black Hills Brew- 
ery, A. Schuchardt, Mrs. E. A. A. Brown, Fred Heim, 
Rosenbaum & Decker, Parkhurst & Conk, Downer & 
Co.; Builders, M. H. Brown; Carpenters, Kidd & 


Benn, John Foster, W. Shaw, Stewart & Martin, Joel 
Seward, S. P. Wyman; Butchers, Biitterfield Bros., 
N. Frank Sherman, R. H. Geary, Steve Geis, Rosen- 
baum & Co., William Saner, Jake Shoudy, Smith 
Goad & Farber; Candy Manufacturers, Geo. Eggert, 
Clothing & Furnishings, Sol Bloom, I. H. Chase, 
Chambers & Cohen, Dan Holzman, I. M. Monash & 
Co., Munter «& Lilienthall, Sol Rosenthall, Straus & 
Whitehead, M. J. Wertheimer; U. C. Commissioner, 
A. R. Z. Dawson; Commission Merchants, Daugherty 
Kelly & Co., Lemar & Co., Mattheissen & Goldberg, 
William McHugh, Sam Soyster, Waiten & Castner; 
Confectioners, Cella & Hall, H. Gilman & Co., Hillary 
& Co. ; Corrals, Buffalo Corral, R. L. McGuigan, J. 
Simpson, D. H. Spear; Dentists, J. J. Clark, R R. 
Buchanan; Dress Making, Mrs. R. A. Clark, Mrs. E. 
H. Slassen; Drugs, Bent & Deetkin, F. P. Hogue, 
Hurlburt Bros, Spooner & Co., H. Seim; Dry Goods, 
F. Poznansky, Straus & Whitehead, Sol Rosenthall, 
M. Wartheimer, Welf & jMcDonald; Firearms, McAul- 
land Bros, Gaston & Shankland; Fruits, Cella & Hall, 
Mike Curcio; Furniture, Graves & Curtis, F. A. Krie- 
gar, Star & Bullock; Rooms, J. L. Bowman, A. O. 
Kiml)all, Mrs. L. E. Lynch; Grocers, Hildebrand & 
Harding, Mathiessen & Goldberg, T. S. Martin & Co., 
Defieenbach & Hollenbach, Miller & McPherson, Ward- 
ner & Bittinger, Adams Bros., W. A. Beard, Brown- 
ing & Wringrose, Chew & Co., T. T. Cornforth, Ben 
Holstein. R. D. Kelly, C. H. Lewis, Vaughn & Decker, 
J. M. Robinson, W. L. Zink. 

The files of the Sidney Telegraph of May 22, 1877, 
complete the picture of future town of W^ild Bill and 
Calamity Jane, as follows: 

It is a peculiarity of this mountain region that 
hundreds of hills in the same are covered with the 
trunks of decaying trees. The tall sons of the forest 
seem generally to have been killed by forest fires for 
in many places the dead trees are still standing with 
their trunks and branches charred, while others that 
have been prostrated by storms are gradually rotting 


away. The large number of dead trees on some of the 
hills enclosing the Deadwood Creek gave to it that 
appellation, and the creek gave the name to the city. 
The name might with equal propriety be applied to 
scores of other valleys whose mountain sides are cov- 
ered with the decaying logs of dead trees. 

A year ago there was on the site of this town an 
impenetrable jungle; now it is the center of life and 
civilization — of a kind. The narrow valley has with- 
in the space of twelve months been covered with a 
thousand homes. I may here repeat that the defini- 
tion of the word "house" includes in the Black Hills 
Tog houses, cabins, shanties, huts, etc. — the majority 
of the structures being indeed of the most primitive 
style of architecture. 

Deadwood is now the center of business opera- 
tions in the Black Hills, the market from which all 
outlying mining camps are supplied with groceries, 
provisions, miners' supplies, wet groceries, etc. Bank- 
ers, brokers, lawyers, doctors, "et hoc genus omne" 
are as numerous as the stars of the heavens in the 
tropics; it is also where the miners within the radius 
of ten miles resort on Sundays to do their trading, to 
spend their surplus gold dust in a glorious spree, or to 
deposit it in faro or other banks — in one word Dead- 
wood is the metropolis of the Black Hills, and she 
knows it, too, and assumes metropolitan airs with 
becoming modesty. The streets are daily crowded 
with busy people quite as much as with loafers and 
idlers. But talking of streets, I might perhaps rather 
use the word swamps, for their condition is that of 
first class bogs, and they are a disgrace to the chief 
town of the Territory. The mud on Main street is 
knee-deep and to cross over anywhere else but on the 
two or three plank crossings is almost a matter of life 
and death. The condition of the streets of Dead- 
wood recalls to my mind a saying of LordPalmerton's. 
During the great stench from the Thames river, some 
thirteen or fourteen years ago, the great premier 
once received a deputation from "the city;'' after 


listening to the petition read out to him, his Lordship 
observed, that it seemed to him, that a conservancy 
nuisance was, "valuable matter in the wrong place." 
Now it appears to your correspondent, that there is in 
Deadwood a great deal of valuable matter in wrong 
places. The mud of the streets would be of great 
value for brick making purposes, and the huge piles 
of gravel thrown up by the miners on the back streets 
(and where they are a nuisance) would make splendid 
material for Main street, and greatly improve it. 

The condition of the streets of Deadwood is, in- 
deed, a matter that deserves the serious consideration 
not only of the county commissioners, but of all citi- 
zens interested in the welfare of their town. 

It is difficult to make an exact estimate of the 
population of Deadwood. If one were to form an 
estimate from the number of persons one sees on the 
streets, one would be likely to place it much higher 
than it really is. There is only one street which in a 
curve goes over into South Deadwood, and all the 
traffic of the town is confined to that street. Hund- 
reds in front of the hotels, restaurants and saloons, 
and in passing up and down the streets one always 
meets the same faces again. These idlers help to fill 
the streets and lend to the appearance of containing 
a large population. Besides a large number of the 
people one does see are miners from the outlying 
camps, w^ho don't live in Deadwood. Looking to the 
number of houses in the town I do not think that Dead- 
wood, together with South Deadwood and Elizabeth- 
town contains over 3,500 souls. 

There are many large two story structures, but 
the majority of the houses are small one story cabins, 
made either of logs, or of green sawed lumber. The 
log cabins are by far the most solid, while the latter 
kind are extremely frail structures. Made of green 
wood, they soon shrink, and one can always see 
through the partitions from one room into the other. 
They are. moreover, so loosely put together, that a per- 
son leaning with his back against the wall is very 


likely to knock a plank out. The fact is, Deadwood is 
simply a mining camp — people put up their abodes 
in the quickest possible way, they are built for the 
present moment only. Nobody thinks it worth while 
to spend much on buildings they are liable to desert 
at any time. Should valuable discoveries be made in 
any other portion of the Hills, a stampede would 
take place to that region, and Deadwood might, like 
Custer City, become a town of many houses, but 
with a few residents. As long as the mines around 
Deadwood continue to be the best paying, so long 
will Deadwood remain the metropolis of the Hills. 
But even if no exodus to any other camp should take 
place, it is doubtful whether Deadwood will perma- 
nently remain the chief town in the Black Hills. It 
has a most inconvenient and too confined site for a 
large town; the locality is too unhealthy and the val- 
ley affords no room for a central railroad station. 
The last defect is a serious one, for the future capital 
of the Hills must also be a railroad center. 

Besides the gold mines in and around Deadwood 
must give out in the course of a few years and no 
quartz leads of any value have, so far, been discov- 
ered in the immediate neighborhood of the town. 
The most valuable quartz is further up the gulch be- 
tween Troy and the Golden Gate, or near Lead City. 
Large towns are building up in those places, and 
there is every probability that Deadwood will walk 
over to Troy, Lead City and Galena. The business 
men of Deadwood are aware of this fact; some may 
not be willing to admit it, while' others say, we 
will move with the town. This uncertainty as to the 
future of Deadwood accounts for the unwillingness 
of many of the merchants to invest in property, they 
mostly prefer to pay high rent for stores which they 
could buy for what they pay out in rents in eight or 
ten months. Whatever the future prospects of Dead- 
wood may be, business at the present time is good 
in most branches. Grocers especially do a rushing 
business and can't get up their goods as they sell 


them. There was not a sack of flour left in Deadwood 
last week and the price went up to |32. It is still at 
|16.00 per sack of fifty pounds. Kerosene oil is worth 
|3.00 per gallon only, with none in the market. 

The hotels are all doing a big business and each 
of the three principal hotels is a genuine gold mine 
to their jDroprietors. The "I. X. L." is kept by- 
Messrs, Vandaniker & McHugh of Omaha, the Custer 
house by Suiter & Ammernan and the Grand Central 
by Carl Wagner from Salt Lake City. The hotels are 
crowded nightly, and it is diflflcult to secure lodgings 
in any of them — and still more difficult to do so any- 
where else. During meal times the dining rooms in 
each of the hotels afford a lively scene, and in each of 
the first two places from five hundred to six hundred 
meals are served daily. The charges are $3.50 at the 
Grand Central and |3.00 per day at the other two 

Of saloons there is an unlimited number; ditto 
of gambling houses where all the various games are 
played night and day. The little joker, a species of 
three card monte or rather three nutshell monte al- 
ways draws crowds around the table but in spite of 
all cappers employed there are but few entrapped in- 
to betting. 

The two saw mills can barely supply the demand 
for lumber, that of Boughton & Berry in South Dead- 
wood is the oldest in the Hills, barring the little Red 
Cloud Agency concern, which arrived a few days 
sooner. It started first in Custer City, but was moved 
to Deadwood when the exodus took place last year. 
The mill turns out 10,000 feet of lumber a day, and 
about 2,000,000 per annum. 

Three breweries cannot supply the worshippers of 
Gambrinus sufficiently and lager beer is sold only in 
a few places, one brewery manufacturing twenty bar- 
rels each week which is disposed of in their own 

There are several banks, but that of Stebbins & 
Post monopolizes the bulk of the financial business of 


the town; they buy and sell gold dust at |18.00 per 

The groceries all do a big business, General Cun- 
ningham, of Plattsmouth, Nebraska, is now running 
one in the same store with W. McHugh. Chambers 
& Cohen are also located in Deadwood and engaged 
in the clothing and gents' furnishing goods business 
with a stock of liquors and cigars at wholesale as 
well as retail. 

I am very sorry to report the death of Mr. Feather- 
stun, the popular and efficient division superinten- 
dent of the stage line. It seems that he was enroute 
from Deadwood to Custer City when the horses took 
fright at something and in running over the stump of 
a tree was thrown out of the vehicle and broke his neck. 


In February, 1876, Thomas E. Carey, while pros-* 
pecting for placer gold in Gold Run Gulch found 
enough of the particles to convince him that he was 
in the right place for gold and he accordingly built 
the first cabin in that gulch. Later, "Smoky Jones'' 
came into the same gulch, and decided that there 
was a fitting location to build up a town and accord- 
ingh' he proceeded to use his pocket compass and with 
the aid of other prospectors, laid out a townsite in 
the lower part of the gulch which was named "Wash- 
ington.'' Among the first business men to come to 
this new camp was P. A. Gushurst, who laboriously 
carried his small stock of merchandise on his back up 
the steep canyon to his little store. But he stuck to 
his job and in time became one of the most prosperous 
and influential men of the Hills country. He was 
one time mayor of the city that once boasted of the 
second largest city in the state, and he in due time 
became president of the largest bank in the western 
part of Dakota. 

In the spring of 1877, a new survey was made by 
J, D. Mclntyre further up the gulch toward the head 
and the name was changed to Lead. We herewith ap- 


pend a newspaper description of the early mining 
town which is interesting from the historical stand- 

This smart mining town, situated about four 
miles southwesterly from Deadwood City, on the 
Golden Run, a tributary to the Whitewood Creek, 
was named Lead City on account of the large num- 
ber of quartz leads discovered in this neighborhood 
as early as February and March, 1876. The first 
mine located in this neighborhood was the Golden 
Terry, discovered by some French boys on the 21st of 
February, 1876. It is situated on the Bobtail gulch, 
between Deadwood gulch and the gulch of the north 
fork of the Golden Run. The Father DeSmet mine is 
a continuation of this lead on the Deadwood Gulch 
slope of the hill. Immediately after many other 
"leads'' were discovered and claims located in the 
neighborhood, all within a belt of about two miles, 
extending northeasterly from Lead City and about 
two miles broad. The miners called it the "golden 
belt" and believed that no good gold bearing quartz 
could be found outside of the same. A large number 
of claims were located last summer within the belt, 
but the majority of the claims were staked out with- 
in the last five or six months, some of the best leads 
having been discovered only within the last thirty 
days. Now every foot of ground is taken up in the 
original belt, but the area of this belt is much more 
extensive than what the pioneers thought, and quartz 
of a good quality has been discovered in the hills as 
far as five or six miles south of Lead City, and pros- 
pectors have still a chance of locating good quartz 

Old timers all declare that the characteristics of 
the gold bearing quartz in the Black Hills are very 
different from what they are in other mining regions. 
In California, Colorado and Montana, the richest gold 
is found in a hard, white, flinty quartz. There is lit- 
tle of that kind of rock found here; and when met 
with, it rarely contains any traces of gold. The 


auriferous quartz here is of a reddish color; either 
found mixed up in a slate formation, or, as is more 
common, mixed up in small lumps with a mass of soft 
dark-colored matter. From the appearance of the 
formation one would conclude that the stone had at 
one time been subjected to a great heat, which had 
vitrified portions of the same, but have since become 
partially disintegrated. The deposit is comparatively - 
soft and easily crushed in the mills. 

Another characteristic of the formation here is 
that the quartz is not found in "leads" (such the 
miners style it) as in other mining regions, but is 
found in "blow-ups." The difference between a "lead" 
(in the sense used by miners elsewhere) and a "blow- 
up" is, that a lead is a well defined vein of quartz, of 
variable thickness between two walls, generally of 
granite. The quartz in the Black Hills is generally 
found on the surface. It would seem as if it had dur- 
ing some volcanic eruption been thrown out from the 
bowels of the earth and settled on the tops and sides 
of the hills. Old miners express with grave faces 
doubts as to whether any good could come from such 
a departure from the rules of other mining regions. 
They don't deny the gold bearing quality of the de- 
posit, but hint, that because there is no regular "lead'' 
the deposits will and must soon give out. Now your 
correspondent does not pretend to be an old miner, 
but he can not comprehend why the deposits here 
should give out sooner than in leads such as I have 
seen at the Centennial mine near Laramie City, and 
in other places. A "lead" may extend further in one 
direction, but the cubic contents of the gold bearing 
deposits in this country seem to be much greater. A 
good many tunnels and shafts have been carried 
through these "blow-outs," and some of them to great 
depths, without reaching the limits of the deposits. 
Indeed in some places the entire mountains seem to be 
a mass of gold bearing mineral, thus realizing the 
stories of Father DeSmet's gold mountains. 

Sidney Telegraph. 


The city grew and prospered and as the Home- 
stake mine forged to the front, Lead became known 
far and near as the headquarters of the great gold 
mine and the city a mile above the sea, this being the 
height of certain points in the streets. The thousands 
of homes as they rise tier upon tier above each other, 
present a novel and interesting sight to the many 
visitors that throng the steep and narrow streets. 


While "Harney" was the name of the first town- 
site laid out in the Hills nothing more than merely 
doing the platting and choosing the name was ever 
done towards this embryo town, for the Tallent party, 
who proposed the town, were removed bag and bag- 
gage by the soldiers. The second attempt to lay out 
a town was that in which Custer was finally brought 
into existence in August, 1875. While the prospec- 
tors along French Creek in 1875 had fixed upon the 
park as the location for a town, however, other miners 
had passed into another pretty park and found it to 
be a promising place for a city. The miners had been 
in the main taken out by General Crook in August, 
1875, but in October, most of them had returned, and 
finding prospects good in their valley, laid out a town 
and called it "Golden'' in harmony with their hopes 
for the valley. This name was later changed to "Sheri- 
dan'' in honor of the dashing cavalry leader of the 
Civil war. In course of time Sheridan became the 
most promising city in the new mining country and 
was the scene of the first meeting of the commissioners 
of Pennington County, and also of the first United 
States Land Oflftce and the First Black Hills District 
Court, Judge Bennett presiding. Soon, however, 
Deadwood came to the front and took the land ofiice. 
Rapid City became the county seat and the district 
cpurt also convened at Deadwood, and Sheridan 
gradually disappeared from the map. 

Sheridan was not the only town of the Hills that 
in its youth gave great promise of importance, only 


to eventually become nothing more than a memory. 
In 1875, General Crook in his trip through the Hills 
had camped in a splendid park to the northeast of 
the hills and later when prospectors in their search 
for gold along the Whitewood creek, camped there, 
they decided to lay out a townsite which they named 
"Crook City.'' In this town was established the sec- 
ond newspaper to be published in the Black Hills. 
"The Tribune," which came out a few days later than 
the "Pioneer" of Deadwood. So rapidly did the new 
city grow in size and importance since its creation in 
the spring of 1876. that when the subject of a county 
seat for LaAvrence County arose upon the appoint- 
ment of county commissioners by the governor of the 
state, Crook City was the scene of the first session of 
the newly appointed Board. But Deadwood exerted 
the greater pull and it became the county seat, afiei a 
very warm contest. From that day, the fate of C^rook 
City was sealed, and the once populous mining town, 
is now the scene of peaceful farm life, with scarcely a 
mark to indicate the glory of by gone days. 


The continual attacks by roving bands of Indians 
in the summer of 187G, caused ^^he settlers to appeal 
for the protection of the United States army, and ac- 
cordingly General Sheridan ordered a military force to 
be stationed in the north Hills. The camp wan located 
at the west foot of Bear Butte on Spring Creek, in 
August, 187G. and was named "Camp Sturgis" in hon- 
or of Lieutenant Sturgis who was killed in the Battle 
of the Big Horn. General Sheridan then came out to 
the Hills and leaving Crook CHy, in the fall of 1877, 
rode out over the country north and east of the Black 
Hills to decide upon a permanent location for a mili- 
tary post. He finally selected a site south of Bear 
Butte and along Bear Butte Creek at the foot of the 
Hills, and there as he rode about on a gallop, he in- 
dicated where the oificers' houses and soldiers' quar- 
ters should be placed. Lieutenant Scott, later with the 


aid of a compass surveyed and fixed the general plan 
for the several buildings and quarters that comprise 
Ft. Meade. In the month of August, 1878, the work 
was completed, and by order of the War Department, 
the post was named Ft. Meade in honor of the hero of 

To this military post have come many distinguish- 
ed men and many famous soldiers and the vale at the 
foot of the rugged hills covered with its purplish 
green woods has been the scene of many memorable 
and historic events. For a time ''Comanche,'' sole 
survivor of the disaster of the Little Big Horn, was 
held there to recover from his wounds. In course of 
time there has been built up one of the finest mili- 
tary establishments in the nation and many hundreds 
of thousands of dollars have been spent to maintain 
the fort. 


While the soldiers were encamped near Bear 
Butte in Camp Sturgis, the usual crowd of camp fol- 
lowers and grafters that always followed the move- 
ments of the military in the days of the frontier, 
flocked to the new camp and established themselves a 
few miles distant from the soldiers and beyond the 
immediate jurisdiction of the army. They chose a site 
near the abundant springs and water supply on land 
claimed by John Fredrick, widely known as "Grass- 
hopper Jim.'' In this camp there were gathered the 
most lawless and immoral elements of the Hills, all 
bent on relieving the soldiers of their money on pay 
day and in the most expeditious manner. One thief was 
as good as another and naturally there existed a gang 
who sought to prey upon those who became possessed 
of the army cash and there being no semblance of law 
or order, this camp soon became the embodiment of -all 
that was beyond the pale of law and earned the very 
appropriate name of ''Scooptown." Calamity Jane and 
women of her class were much in evidence as well as 
expert gamblers. But when the military was remov- 


ed to Ft. ^leade, tlie permanent post, the army of para- 
sites followed their hosts, and took up their pursuit 
in the new town of Sturgis which soon assumed all of 
the unsavory reputation accorded to "Scooptown" and 
was more widely known by that name for many years, 
than any other. 

The first settler in the valley now occupied by 
Sturgis, was George Bosworth, iw^ho built the first log 
cabin in the valley on a forty acre tract, in the summer 
of 1877. William McMillan, also was one of the first 
settlers in the valley, but he took up his land in the 
eastern part of the vale and along the creek, where he 
became possessed of several large springs, later sold 
to the government for use at the Post. While pros- 
pecting along the stream one day, the Indians sneak- 
ed into his camp and stole everything worth carrying 
away, among which was a compass. However, the 
activity of the magnetic needle was an unexplainable 
phenomenon to the red men, and they carefully de- 
posited the instrument on a large rock some distance 
away, rather than chance any further association 
with the nervous needle. 

After the establishment of Ft. Meade, a party of 
men bent on availing themselves of the prospective 
town boom wealth, proceeded to lay out a townsite, 
which they named ^'Sturgis'' in honor of Colonel S. D. 
Sturgis. The party consisted of Major J. C. Wilcox. 
J. W. Kodebank, B. G. Caulfield^ Judge Dudley, 
Arthur Buckbee, J. W. Caldwell, and Major H. M. 
Lazelle An original plot of eighty acres was covered 
by Barney G. Caulfield, under Valentine script on 
October 25, 1878. Other additions were later made 
and for a time lots in Sturgis were regarded with 
great value, but the expected land boom never became 
a reality and the town became the ordinary frontier 
place, until the coming of the new century when it 
grew into an important trade center. 


In February, 1876, John R. Brennan and a party 



of miners became disgusted with the job of shoveling 
sand in a vain search for gold and struck out for 

Soene on Main Street of Uai»i<l City in IS" 

Scene in Rapid City in ISSO 

Rapid (^-i-eek with the design of haying out a town- 
site. After some days of wandering they finally stop- 
ped upon the present site of Rapid City, and here 


with the aid of a compass owned by Sam Scott, who 
later Joined the party, a plat one mile square was laid 
out and this constituted the original town of Rapid 
City, a name proposed by W. P. Martin, owing to the 
name of the creek. The party was composed of the 
following named persons: John R. Brennan, Wm. P. 
^Martin, Al Brown, Mart Pensinger, Wm. Marston, 
Tom Ferguson, Dick King, Sam Scott, John W. Allen, 
James Carney, Wm. Kuttal, Major Hutchinson. 

After many fights with Indians and numerous 
depressing incidents. Rapid City began to grow and 
today has become the metropolis of Avestern South 
Dakota, and by reason of its growing manufacturing 
interests and the advantageous location, bids fair to 
become the leading city of the state. 


In the month of May, 1876, the party of disap- 
pointed gold seekers known as the Montana Party, 
upon their arrival in the north Hills, scattered over a 
beautiful valley along the banks of the Spearfish 
Creek, and many of them took up the task of winning 
their fortunes from the tilling of the soil. H. R. Evans 
took up the first ranch and Joseph Ramsdell squatted 
upon a site near the proposed town, his land now be- 
ing a part of the city. On May 29, 1876, the town 
was surveyed and Spearfish began its existence in the 
most beautiful valley and location for a city in the 
Hills. Here in course of time was established a State 
Normal school that has developed into one of the best 
institutions of its kind in the state. 

We will not devote further space to the story of ' 
the cities in the Hills, for there are many of them, 
and each has its quota of interesting stories of the 
past, but to dwell upon them all and give justice to 
the story would prolong this volume beyond the scope 
desired. A list of some of the leading towns in their 
chronological order may be of interest and is as fol- 
lows : Custer, August 11, 1875 ; Sheridan, October, 
1875; Hill City, February, 1876; Rapid City, February 


25, 1876; Deadwood, April 25, 1876; Lead City, spring 
of 1876; Crook City, spring of 1876; Spearfisli, May 
29, 1876; Central, January 20, 1877; Sturgis, October, 
1878; Piedmont, 1887; Tilford, January, 1888; Hot 
Springs, December, 1882; Belle Fourche and Edge- 
mont, 1891. 


The abundant and luxuriant grasses that grew up- 
on the foot hills and valleys of the Black Hills coun- 
try, together with the creeks and numerous springs, 
soon attracted the attention of those pioneers who 
saw in them an ideal territory for livestock. Accord- 
ingly many of them forsook the pan and shovel and 
followed the more certain trail of wealth through the 
medium of stock raising. 

M. V. Boughton is said to have been the first man 
to drive a herd of cattle into the Hills. He located 
on the False Bottom and Red River creek valleys in 
the northeastern part of the county. However, he 
was not permitted to carry out his work unmolested, 
and in one of the attacks by Indians, a herder was 
killed. Before the summer of 1876 was over, the red 
thieves succeeded in running off bis entire herd and he 
never recovered any of them. Another herd of some 
four hundred belonging to Captain Dodson near 
Crook City fell a prey to the marauding Indians who 
swooped down upon them and before assistance could 
be had, the entire herd was slaughtered and the parts 
desired by the Indians, carried away. Shortly after 
this, the herd of "Skew Johnson'' was driven off by 
the Indians, and help was sent to his ranch, under 
the command of Lieutenant Cummings, who had been 
detailed with a body of cavalry to help guard the set- 
tlers of the north hills. He followed the trail of the 
Indians out to their rendezvous northeast, but when 
near enough to their camp to hear the lowing of the 
cattle, he decided that he had better not follow fur- 
ther because of the danger of ambush and left the band 
with their booty. 


The first band of sheep was taken in by a man 
named Ames, but it was not long before the red 
thieves had taken possession of the entire herd and 
proceeded to trail it to their camp. However, sheep do 
not travel as rapidly as cattle, and fortunately, Lieu- 
tenant Cummings in returning from a scouting trip, 
came upon tliem as they were being urged onward by 
the robbers, and the Indians beat a hasty retreat. 
Ames had given his flock up as lost and was greatly 
surprised to find the troops returning with the stolen 

The miners who rode into the Hills were general- 
ly supplied with horses, and from the first days of the 
new gold fields, we find horses in varying numbers 
brought into the Hills. An animal so valuable to the 
pioneers, and to the Indians as well, proved to be a 
fruitful source of trouble for the owners. It will be 
recalled that in 1876, so great had been the number 
of horses, that the price of feed was almost prohibitive 
in the mining camps, and accordingly herds were es- 
tablished out on the prairies. Such a one was first at- 
tempted by Joe Cook and Mike Burton at the head of 
Centennial Prairie, but soon ended in failure in the 
big Montana stampede on the 20th day of August, 
1876, when Preacher Smith and three other men fell 
victims to the bullets of the red men. However, John 
and Basse Deffebach, were more fortunate in their 
efforts with stock raising in the seventies. They 
brought in a herd of cattle and horses from Colorado 
in 1876, and moved the stock over to the Spearfish 
valley. They made a business of supplying beef for 
the miners in the north hills.. Later they established 
a ranch on the Belle Fourche river which became 
known as the YW ranch, which they sold to Clark and 
Plum. The brothers decided to locate on Sweet Water, 
Wyoming. John Deffebach, started out with the herd 
of some three hundred head of horses and cattle, but 
when he had arrived near a point west of the Bear 
Lodge Mountains, the Indians were lying in wait for 
them and the whole herd of horses and cattle was 


captured and run off by the savages. John Deffebach 
was shot and killed in the fight, and his body thrown 
in a washout by the warriors. Rasse Deffebach was in 
the hospital in Dead wood, suffering from a broken 
leg, but he arranged for a rescue party, who in charge 
of Dan Deffebach rode after the robbers, and engaged 
them in a battle further west of the Bear Lodge 
Mountains. In the fight, a man named Rhodes was 
killed and a number of Indians, but few of the horses 
\\ei\' recovered. 

In 1878, John D. Hale, on his second trip to the 
Hills, brought with him a large herd of hogs, which 
he readily disposed of to the miners. He was then em- 
ployed to help move the Indians to Spotted Tail 
agency, but returned to the Hills in 1879 with a herd 
of two hundred and fifty hogs. In 1880, he drove in a 
third herd of some four hundred hogs and also a band 
of slicep, from which time he continued successfully 
to coiuluct sheep and cattle ranches. 

Despite the troubles with Indians and cattle 
rustlers, the livestock industry thrived, until near the 
close of the last century, there were over three hund- 
red thousand head of cattle feeding upon the prairies 
about the foot hills, and Belle Fourche became a great 
shi])ping point for the thousands of cattle sent to 
market each year. 

And tly)se fertile prairies that called forth such 
glowing words of praise from General Custer as he 
rode over them in 1874 for which he had foretold their 
future value to the livestock industry, were destined 
not alone to feed hundreds of thousands of beef stock, 
but also to place the Black Hills country in the lead 
as a dairy country. For in the Belle Fourche coun- 
try not far from the line of Custer's march, was de- 
veloped the wonderful dairy cow, Hester Aaltje Korn- 
dyke. owned by M. J. Smiley. This cow in her time 
held the world's record over all breeds of cattle, at the 
then unheard of figure of 4G.78G pounds of butter in 
seven davs. 



It is an old saying that "The pen is mightier than 
the sword.'' The trnth of this adage is proved by the 
story of the knights of the pen in the pioneer days of 
the Hills. With the first adventurers there came the 
pencil pushers who sent out accounts of the life in 
the mountains and kept the world informed as to the 
wonders of the new territory. Their glowing pictures 
kept a steady and gTowing stream of volunteers for 
the front ranks until the conquest was completed. The 
dawn of the newspaper industry in the Black Hills 
may present items of interest to some of our readers. 

In the winter of 1876 W. A. Laughlin and A. W. 
Merrick, purchased a complete printing outfit in Den- 
ver, Colorado, and had it transported to the Black 
Hills, a distance of over four hundred miles. Part of 
the outfit arrived in Custer in May, 1876, just as the 
glory of that camp was fading and the fame of Dead- 
wood was sending its splendors far out beyond the 
hills. However, through the medium of the press and 
the type on hand, the energetic owners got out a small 
half sheet, which they called the Black Hills Weekly 
Pioneer, and then decided to join the throng that was 
turning their steps to Deadwood. But they were out 
of funds and stranded. 

When the hour of despair seemed to be the dark- 
est, there came to their rescue, a fellow printer and 
leader of men, who opened to them the door of oppor- 
tunity that had seemingly closed. Captain C. V. 
Gardner, who arrived in Custer for the second time 
on May 14, 1876, and had been in the newspaper game 
in Iowa, learned of the presence of the embryo journal 
and sought out the owners. He found Merrick and 
Laughlin and was informed that they were stranded 
and anxious to go with the crowd to the new gold 
fields. Laughlin was suffering from tuberculosis and 
was lying on a blanket spread over pine boughs. 
Gardner was informed that they needed two hundred 
and five dollars to reach the new camp. He said to 


them, "Will you go to Deadwood, if I will guarantee 
the payment of that amount on the arrival of the out- 
fit?" the afflicted man, raising up from his pine bough 
couch, said between coughs, "We surely will." 

Captain Gardner went on his way, and true to 
his promise, when he arrived in Deadwood, prepared 
and circulated a petition asking for funds to bring the 
newspaper to camp, heading the list himself with 
twenty-five dollars. Then there followed Curtis & 
Graves, Lee & Brown, Judge Kuykendall, Bent & Deet- 
kin. Judge Miller, Wagner of the Grand Central, and Al 
Swaringen, each twenty-five dollars. The balance of 
the money necessary to get the plant into camp was paid 
by Gardner himself when it arrived in Deadwood. Mr. 
Laughlin was quite sick and asked Captain Gardner to 
purchase his interest in the paper, which he did and 
wrote some of the items that went into the first issue 
of the paper, which was run off on June 8th, 1876. Joe 
Kubler presided at the press in this first issue as he 
had also aided in the first half sheet that was sent 
out in Custer, the month before. The work was done 
in an unfinished log cabin, but the advent of a real 
newspaper was hailed with delight and proved a suc- 
cess from the beginning. 

The second number was written entirely by Cap- 
tain Gardner, and at the third issue he became half 
owner and publisher. His partner, Mr. Merrick, was 
an able mechanic, but did not attempt to do any writ- 
ing while Gardner was connected with the paper. He 
also found that he had a real task on his hands as may 
be understood from the Captain's account of one of his 
experiences, which he states as follows: "One hot 
evening in August, 1876, I was busy turning off copy 
for the Pioneer. One of my two compositors was off 
on a ^jamboree' and my partner was out bucking the 
only weakness ho had, 'Faro.' I was wondering how I 
ever could get the paper out on time, when in came a 
young man dressed in overalls, and introduced him- 
self by saying : 'My name is Dick Hughes. Do you 
want a compositor?' I said, 'Yes, if you know your 


business.' He said, 'Try me.' From that day to this, 
I have considered Dick Hughes as a friend. This same 
Dick Hughes is Richard B. Hughes, for years editor 
of the Rapid City Journal, and the most finished 
writer that ever wrote a paragraph for a Black Hills 

Gardner continued with the newspaper for six 
m.onths and then sold out his interest to Merrick who 
handled it alone. On May 15, 1877, the Pioneer came 
out as a daily newspaper, and on December 1st, 1887, 
the name was changed to the Deadwood Pioneer. 

The first daily newspaper published in the Black 
Hills was established in Deadwood by Porter Warner, 
who shipped a complete outfit from Denver, in March, 
1877. On the 7th day of April, 1877, the first issue of 
the first daily appeared on the streets of the western 
mining town and the enterprise continued under the 
able management of Mr. Warner until in 1897, when 
it was sold to the Pioneer and the Deadwood Daily 
Pioneer-Times was published, under the management 
of W. H. Bonham and Porter Warner. 

During the pioneer days, although not printing in 
the Hills, a young newspaper man from Sidney, Ne- 
braska, Joseph Gossage, kept the world informed of the 
progress in the gold camps, through able correspond- 
ents that he secured from time to time for publica- 
tion in his paper, "The Sidney Telegraph.'' But the 
a^ppeal of the Hills that touched him in 1876 on his 
first visit, impelled him to make them his home and 
in 1877 he opened up a print shop in the new town of 
Rapid City, a mere camp at the time, and on January 
5th, 1878, issued the first copy of the Black Hills 
Journal. Success crowned his efforts and in 1886 he 
established the Rapid City Daily Journal, which has 
grown to be the largest and best newspaper west of 
the Missouri River in South Dakota. Its great per- 
fecting press that rolls its thousands of copies out per 
hour for the newsboys to supply their customers, is 
a monument to his successful management. In later 
years, the bulk of the work has fallen to the shoulders 


of his most efficient help meet. Mrs. Alice Gossage, 
whose unlimited energy and commanding ability as a 
journalist, has kept the daily in the lead of all com- 

The other daily newspapers now published in the 
Hills, the Lead Daily Call and the Deadwood Telegram 
do not belong to the pioneer class, although they have 
for many years held forth under the varying fortunes 
of, the lives of daily newspapers. Throughout the Hills 
there are numerous weekly newspapers that enjoy 
good patronage and supply the readers of their neigh- 
borhood with excellent service. But the rich country 
of the famous region has not been found to be a land 
of milk and honey for the man who would wrest a 
fortune from the residents through the medium of the 
pencil. Ninety-six newspapers have come and gone 
in the brief period of the development of the Black 
Hills and we here submit a list of the names and lo- 
cations of the several defunct publications that have 
passed to the happy hunting ground of all good news- 

Belle Fourche— The Times. Buffalo Gap— Repub- 
lican, News, Globe. Conata — Herald. Custer City — 
Black Hills Herald, Cluster City Mail. Central City— 
The Daily Herald, Black Hills Champion, Mining 
Record, The Index, The Register, The Enterprise. 
Crook City — The Tribune. Cascade Springs — The 
Geyser, State Advance. Deadwood — Black Hills ]Miner, 
Western Enterprise, Deadwood Press, Evening Ne^s, 
Mining Journal, Deadwood Post, Deadwood Journal, 
Black^Hills Champion, by Chas. Collins, The Weekly 
Herald, Mining Review, Independent, The Equality, 
The Evening News. Edgemont — The Kicker, 'Enter- 
prise. Farming-dale — The Clarion. Galena — The Star. 
Hei-mosa— The Pilot, The Hustler. Hill City— Tin 
Miner, The Mining Review. Hot Springs — The Hat- 
chet, The Hesperian, The Signet. Hat Creek— The 
Frontier. Keystone — Tin Miner, The Keystone Nug- 
get. Lead City— The Telegraph. Belt Herald, Lead 
City Herald, The World, The Daily Tribune, The Daily 


Eegister, The Fairplay, Enterprise, Black Hills Demo- 
crat. Minnelusa — Biitte County Star, The Boomer. 
Nemo — Inter Mountain Globe. ,Oelrichs — The Times, 
The Advocate. Rockerville — Black H^lls Miner. Roch- 
ford — Black Hills Central, Rochford Miner, Rochford 
Homesteader. Rapid City — The Black Hills Index, 
Black Hills World, Black Hills Democrat, Black Hills 
Stockman, Northwestern Stockman, The Republican, 
The Daily and Weekly Union, Evening Herald, Daily 
News, Stock Review, Flaming SwoA'd. The Daily 
Guide, The Black Hills Booster. Spearfish — Evening 
Bulletin, Enterprise, Spearfish Register. Scenic — Ob- 
server. Smith wick — Sentinel. Sturgis — Champion, 
Advertiser, Standard. Sulphur — Match. Terry — ^Bald 
Mountain News. Til ford — Meade County News, The 
Reformer. Vale — Register. Yiewfield — Meade County 
Review. Whitewood — The Sentinel, The Plaindealer. 


While making his geological survey of the Hills 
in 1875, Professor Jenny reported that indications 
of tin were found in the country abo^^t Harney Peak, 
but the miners were so absorbed in their search for 
gold that no attention was paid to the possible exist- 
ence of this mineral, which had hitherto been im- 
ported from Europe. However, in March, 1883, Dr. 
S. H. Ferguson, was working his "Etta" mine for mica 
six miles east of the Harney Peak, when he noticed a 
strange mineral in the ore. A piece of it was placed 
in a common forge and when melted it looked like 
silver. A later chemical test of the material disclosed 
the fact that it was tin and in June, 1883, Major A. J. 
Simmons wrote an article that was published in the 
"Rapid City Journal" in which he indicated that an 
extensive deposit of the mineral would be found. 

Further development was made and interest in 
the new mineral became intense and much prospecting 
took place. In the fall of 1883 English capitalists 
had the deposits examined and received a glowing re- 
port from their geologists. The Harney Peak Con- 


solidated Tin Company was then organized and pro- 
ceeded to buy up every claim of value, and plants were 
erected and several millions of dollars spent in the de- 
velopment of the concern. When the whole control 
of the tin bearing area in the Hills Avas had and signs 
pointed to that country becoming a serious competi- 
tor to the big foreign interests, trouble arose between 
the American and English stockholders, the mines 
were shut down, and today, the tin industry in the 
Black Hills is strangled. However, it is safe to state 
that untold millions of dollars worth of tin are safely 
locked within the granite hills of the Harney coun- 
try, until such time as the stockholders see fit to turn 
the keys in the doors and let the white metal glisten 
in the kitchens of the world. It is now some thirty 
years since the engines were stilled but the property 
and buildings are not allowed to decay or fall to ruin. 


The Great Plains of the Northwest extend for 
hundreds of miles in the vast oceans of rolling prairies 
But in their broad expanses there rises the emerald 
island of the Black Hills whose rugged peaks would 
pierce the azure vaults of the skies. In this land of 
enchantment there reigned for untold centuries, the 
siren whose voice held enthralled the hardy voyagers 
who had sailed thither from homes afar. For the lure 
of gold in all times has moved men to deeds of daring, 
adventure and achievement. 

The stories related in this book, were the result 
of the power of this golden charmer, as it called men 
from their firesides to its domain, and although many 
left their bones to bleach upon the shores, yet there 
were those who survived and became masters of the 
situation. That the reader may have some conception 
of the magnitude of the golden stream and the bewitch- 
ing sway it held over the pioneers, we herewith set 
forth a sketch of the development of the gold industry. 

The first gold in the Black Hills was found by the 
Indians who noticed the yellow nuggets from time to 


time, appearing along the banks of the streams, as they 
sought out the sprightly trout that disported along the 
stony brooks, rushing down the gulches. Traders and 
trappers in turn became the owners of the golden peb- 
bles, and from time to time curious and daring trap- 
pers ventured into the silent depths of the far away 
hills. In due course reports were made to the United 
States government at Washington, as to the existence 
of gold in the Hills, but the land belonged to the In- 
dians, and the government officials filed the reports 
and made no further mention of the story. 

As years went by, greater numbers of nuggets and 
stories of gold, trickled past the barriers, out into the 
general public knowledge and grew in the imagina- 
tion of the people. So persistent became the rumors, 
and so great became the pressure upon the officials at 
Washington, that it was decided to send an expedi- 
tion of exploration to the region - and gain definite in- 
formation as to the extent of the deposits. According- 
ly, General Custer' was ordered to carry out this task, 
as has been heretofore described in the first chapter 
of this book. The glowing account of the wonderland 
with its golden streams, so fired the imagination of the 
people, that there was no restraining the miners, and 
the gates were loosed. 

Then there first came the brave and noble Annie 
D, Tallent with her little band of companions who 
landed in Custer valley on the 23rd day of December, 
1874, and there at once they found gol.d in the pros- 
pect holes of Ross and McKay on French Creek. Af- 
ter building a stockade for protection against the In- 
dians, they did a little prospecting and sent two of 
their number, Gordon and Witcher, with specimens of 
the gold taken from French Creek, back to Sioux City, 
where they arrived after a long, cold journey, beset 
with great hardships and privations. 

The arrival of the two men with precious metal 
created a furore among the townspeople and the news 
spread far and wide. Men everywhere were planning 
on rushing to the new gold fields, but the opposition of 


the government kept a restraining hand upon most of 
them. In the meantime, detachments of the army 
were sent out to fetch the trespassers back from the 
Hills. One of the expeditions from Red Cloud very 
nearly perished in a blizzard that overtook them on 
their return from a point thirty miles from where the 
miners were encamped. Hands, feet and faces were 
frozen and some men permanently crippled from the 
biting blasts of the howling wind that hurled the icy 
darts against them at a temperature forty degrees be- 
low zero. A third force under the command of Cap- 
tain Mix, with the aid of several deserters from the 
new camp, found the unlucky band in their camp, near 
where they had laid out a new town and called it 
"Harney.'' They were given twenty-four hours to 
prepare to leave and at the end of that time, after 
secreting their tools and gathering what little of their 
personal stuff they could carry, the whole band was 
taken out under escort, and brought to Fort Laramie, 
from whence they were given transportation to Chey- 
enne. They learned that they had been fortunate in- 
deed, for the Indians were preparing in force to come 
upon them in their mountain camp and destroy them 
utterly. The forced march of the army saved them. 
But the miners from all parts of the country 
turned their steps towards the new gold fields, and 
despite the watchfulness of the militai*y, flocked to the 
Hills. Professor Jenny was later sent to the moun- 
tains and made a second exploration of the mountains 
and found the yellow metal widely diffused along the 
streams. He found miners already along the streams 
and more still coming into the country. General 
Crook had taken out a great number of the trespass- 
ing prospectors, and later Captain Pollock annoyed, 
hunted and harassed the gold seekers, but finally, the 
government withdrew the military opposition and soon 
the country was dotted with the tents of fortune 
hunters. The winter of '75 to '76 saw Custer grow 
into a city of 1400 houses and a constant stream of 
new comers arriving each day. French Creek and all 


its tributaries were shoveled and washed from end to 
end and gulch after gulch was prospected for the yel- 
low particles. It was impossible for all of the throng 
of gold seekers to find streams and places for pros- 
pect in the country about Custer, and as all prospect- 
ing at that time was for placer mines, the later comers 
were compelled to seek new creeks and gulches. Hence 
the canyons of the northern hills were soon echoing 
with the tramp of eager searchers and revealing the 
hidden wealth. 

Frank Bryant and a party Avith him washed out 
the first gold in Whitewood and lower Deadwood 
gulches in August, 1875, but found nothing to satisfy 
them. However, William Lardner and a party of men 
with him while camping on Little Rapid Creek, 
heard that prospects for gold were promising in Dead- 
wood gulch and soon were on their way. In Novem- 
ber, 1875, he staked out his discovery claim at the 
mouth of Blacktail in Deadwood gulch and the great 
Bonanza gulch was soon to be known. Soon the creek 
was dotted with locations and below "Discovery" at 
a point where the family of industrious beavers had 
dammed the stream and made it difficult to prospect, 
later miners located their claims that proved to be 
fabulously rich, yielding |27,000.00 in three months. 
Here also came the Wheeler brothers, experienced 
miners, and by the fall of 1876 had washed out in their 
two claims, about one hundred fifty thousand dollars 
in glittering dust. They sold out their claims together 
and prepared to turn their backs upon the Hills of 
fortune. Accordingly, they picked a body of brave 
men at a salary of twenty-five dollars per day each, 
and heavily armed, sent them forth to guard their for- 
tunes. Other lucky miners sent along their piles and 
when they arrived in Cheyenne, the gold on a pair of 
wagon scales tipped the beam at 1961 pounds, the 
largest shipment of gold dust to be made from the 

The rumors of the rich gold diggings found in the 
Deadwood gulch created a. stampede to the new field 


and in an incredibly short time, every available foot 
of the gravel along the creeks was occupied by pros- 
pectors who diligently shoveled and washed the sands. 
Naturally there was not enough ground to accommo- 
date each gold seeker, and trouble over the claims 
arose. The most serious controversy that arose and 
one fraught with potential ruin and death for many, oc- 
curred in April, 1876, under the leadership of three 
men, McNabb, Smith and O'Leary, who gathered a 
force of one hundred men and advanced the proposi- 
tion of reducing the size of a placer claim from three 
hundred feet up and down the stream to half that 
distance in order to accommodate the later arrivals 
and give more men a chance. With this body of 
desperate and disappointed men, the three intriguers, 
came to the busy toilers in the gulch and served their 
ultimatum upon them. It was like stirring up a 
hornet's nest, for it meant taking from the first com- 
ers, thousands of dollars, and rights that had been 
heretofore recognized as inviolate. A miners' meet- 
ing was promptly called, which was attended by five 
hundred excited and determined men. They unani- 
mously voted to each hold fast to the original amount 
claimed and to fight at the word of command of either 
of three leaders chosen at the time, among whom was 
V. P. Shoun. Accordingly the locaters repaired to 
their several diggings along the stream, armed and 
ready for the fray, while the leaders stood ready for 
any overt act on the part of the would-be claim jump- 
ers. And when McNabb and his covetous followers 
came down the gulches and looked into the angry and 
grim faces of the indignant miners, they decided that 
discretion was the better part of valor, and reluctant- 
ly sought other scenes of operation. But for a few 
hours Deadwood gulch saw the most tense and nerve 
racking time of its history. One rash move on the 
part of those who sought to overturn the law of the 
miners, and there would have been five hundred mad- 
dened men hurling leaden missiles into the ranks of 


the robbers, and not a one of the hundred trespassers 
would have remained to tell the story. 

The original gold hunting in the Hills was what 
is known as placer mining. In this process, a trough 
is made of boards through which the water is allowed 
to run from the streams. In the bottom of the trough 
or long sluice box, are placed cleats and into this new- 
ly made channel are dumped the shovels full of gravel 
and sand taken from the creek bed. The water rush- 
ing down through the wooden trough, washes the dirt 
and gravel away, but the gold being heavy, falls to the 
bottom and rests along the cleats in the trough, where 
later the miner taking it up with the sand and fine 
stuff, places it in his gold pan, a large round bowl-like 
tool about eighteen inches in diameter and two and 
one-half inches deep, and by careful rocking and wash- 
ing, removes the sand and leaves the gold dust to be 
placed away in the buckskin bags, cloth bags being 
too porous. This later part is called "Panning" and 
requires great skill to get the proper motion and re- 
move the sand and dirt and at the same time not wash 
away the small particles of gold. 

One other method of mining the gold was used in 
the early days and that was hydraulic mining, where 
a stream of water was taken by flume from a source 
far above the claim and ran through pipes and noz- 
zles directed against the gold bearing gravel and sand 
and carried the material over the large sluice boxes, 
where the gold later was removed as in placer mining 
with the shovel. This process requires capital to start 
with and was not used by the small prospectors. How- 
ever, there was a large hydraulic mining industry at 
Eockerville, commenced in 1878 that ran the water of 
Spring Creek to the dry placer locations in Eocker- 
ville, a distance of seventeen miles, along mountain 
sides and across gulches, which cost about |300,000.00. 
The cleanup, however, proved the effort well spent 
for in five years, there was over a half million dollars 
in gold taken from the gravels. 

With the thousands of gold seekers rushing into 


the Hills from all directions, it was not long until all 
of the gulches and creek beds had been prospected and 
all desirable claims located. But the old miners well 
knew that the gold that was found so plentiful in the 
creek beds, had been washed down from a higher point 
in the mountains and soon the hill sides were being 
scratched and dug into by the quartz seeking pros- 
pector. The most fortunate of these quartz miners 
were the Manuel brothers, who on April 9, 1876, locat- 
ed the large vein that was the starter of the great mine, 
which they named the Homestake. They dug and 
found a piece of quartz weighing two hundred pounds, 
which was the richest ever found in that mine. They 
continued to develop their claim and removed |5000.00 
worth of ore the next winter. Senator Hearst of Cali- 
fornia became interested in the property and upon 
receiving a favorable report from his mining expert 
purchased it for the sum of |70,000.00. The Old Abe 
was also sold for |45,000.00 and the Terra for |35,- 
000.00. And the foundation of the Great Homestake 
Mining Company was laid. 

The turning of the mining industry to the gather- 
ing of ore, necessitated a more complicated process 
than that of the placer method. More capital was re- 
quired and we find mining companies were soon or- 
ganized. The first mining company was the "Black 
Hills Gold Mining Company" organized by Captain 
C. V. Gardner and other men in Cheyenne. They then 
went to Denver, where Gardner purchased a ball pul- 
verizer and had it shipped to Deadwood, where it was 
erected on August 15, 1876, under the charge of 
Jabez Chase. This was the first quartz crushing mill 
to be erected in the Hills, but did not prove to be very 
satisfactory and was soon abandoned. Milton E. 
Penny, in November, 1876, brought in and had erect- 
ed, the first stamp mill in the Hills. The stamp mill 
process of working gold bearing rocks proved much 
more satisfactory and is used in all the mills. 



With the thousands of miners in the Hills in the 
early seventies, it was a time when the air teemed 
with stories of gold production and discoveries. And 
due to the courtesy of Joseph Gossage, we are enabled 
herewith to submit an interesting page from the long 
ago, that brings one back to the days of the gold, pan 
and high topped boots. Let one not think that those 
were listless times. 

September 20, 1877. 

Over five thousand dollars' worth of retort from 
Lead City, was yesterday received at the assay office 
of Chambers C. Davis. This is the result of one week's 
work by fifty stamps. 

It is the intention of the Father DeSmet Company 
to erect a sixty-stamp mill a short distance from their 
arastra before winter. Messrs. Elliott and Parker 
have ordered the machinery for the addition of ten 
stamps, which will be run on ore from the Father De- 
Smet mine. 

At a meeting held on Saturday, September 15, a 
town was laid out one-half mile above South Bend, 
named Lancaster City, after Mr. Lancaster, one of 
the owners of the Gustin mine. There are about 200 
lots, 25x100 with sixty days allowed after date of lo- 
cation for building thereon. The future of the town 
is bright at present. There are two ten-stamp mills 
running on the Gustin and Laura ore; the firm of 
Spring, Lancaster and Frost are putting up fifteen 
stamps more, which will make twenty-five in all, and 
more mills will soon be erected at this place. Black 
Tail Gulch is well suited for milling purposes, being 
plentifully supplied with water all the year round, 
sufficient to run from 400 to 500 stamps. A road is 
extended from the Laura, Fairview, Keets and Aurora 
mines. The road will be a good one, 60,000 pounds of 
ore can be easily hauled over it by a single team. On 
the Gustin extension mine. Jack Parrot has twenty 
men getting out ore and having it crushed in the Cud- 


ningham mill. There are two boarding houses owned 
by Mrs. Parrot and Mrs. Springer, which have be- 
tween forty and sixty boarders. Phillips Bros, are do- 
ing a good mercantile business, and a new saloon is 
in course of erection. The quartz on Black Tail is un- 
surpassed in quantity and quality, therefore it is 
o]ily a (luestion of time for this place to rise in import- 

The Keets mine has a daily yield of fifty tons, 
furnishing constant employment to thirty-five men. 

A recent run made from ore from the Homestake 
No. 1, at Lead City, averaged flG.OO per ton. 

Messrs. S. Edwards and company of Central City, 
have their mill up, and are rapidly pushing the work 
to completion. 

A. P. Moore & Co.'s five stamp mill at Central 
City, will be ready for operation in about two weeks. 
It is likely they will commence work on the Keets ore. 

Professor Cherry was looking round Gayville, 
Central City and Golden Gate yesterday for a site for 
his new sixty-stamp mill. Twenty stamps are now on 
the road, which, with the accompanying machinery, 
weigh about 110,000. The stamps for this mammoth 
mill weigh 850 pounds each. This equals anything 
outside of the famous Comstock, Nevada. 

The Patten mine is located near Keets in Hidden 
Treasure Gulch. The tunnel is being driven into the 
hill a distance of 150 feet. The company is working 
three eight-hour shifts, consisting of six men each. 
Ten stamps of their new thirty stamp mill are ready 
for work. When the remaining twenty stamps are in 
order, they can extract and crush sixty tons of ore per 

The Father DeSmet Company made a clean-up 
yesterday from one hundred tons or ore, crushed in the 
Elliott & Parker's ten-stamp mill. The work was ac- 
complished in eight days, and gave a return of |3,500. 
The new tramway is a great addition to the works on 
this mine, as ore can be transported from the lode to 
the mill at the small cost of twenty-five cents per ton 


A cleau-up was also made from the Arastra owned by 
this company, but we have not learned the amount 

There are more people in Deadwood today, than 
there were three weeks ago, and from appearances, we 
should judge that the immigration to the Hills will be 
heavy. Of course, there is a large number leaving the 
Hills every day who are either afraid to winter here 
or else have not the means, or have reached that stage 
of homesickness v^hich calls imperatively on them to 
return to their native heath. In our judgiueut, we shall 
never feel the loss Of such men as these from our 
midst. They are only obstacles to the development of 
a new country, and ought not leave the country they 
were born in. 

The Girdler Ore and Milling Company, at Poor- 
man's Gulch, made a clean-up a few days since on 
Eureka ore yielded |900. The retort was at |19 per 

Cunningham & Dorriugton who up to last week 
have been crushing the Keets ore at their mill in Cen- 
tral City, are running this week ten stamps on the 
Eureka ore, and ten on the Gustin Extension. A clean- 
up on the latter has been made which yielded |12 to 
the ton. 

Pricket t, Hayes & Philpott's new mill in Hidden 
Treasure Gulch is rapidly nearing completion. 

Considerable excitement has been caused within 
the past few days by the discovery of a rich deposit of 
gold bearing quartz in the Rhoderick Dhu mine in 
Sawpit Gulch, which has, until the past few days, 
been considered but of little value. The ore in appear- 
ance resembles very much that taken from the Father 

Edward Florada estimates the yield of the prin- 
cipal placer claims in the Hills up the first instant, 
as follows: 

No. 1, above, Allen Florada & Co., |65,000. 

No. 2, above, Johnson & Co., $70,000. 

No. 3. above. Pierce & Co.. .fSO.OOO. 


No. 4, above, Scott & Co., |30,000. 

No. 5, above, Thompson & Co., |40,000. 

No. 6, above, Mclleer & Pierce, |75,000. 

The other claims above will average about |30,000 

No. 1, below, Hilderbrandt & Co., |50,000. 

No. 2, below, Simpson & Co.. |75,000. 

No. 3, below, Neal & Co., |25,000. 

Nos. 4 and 5, below, Neal & Co., |30,000. 

No. 6, below, Spencer & Morton, |25,000. 

Nos. 7 and 8, below, John Kane, |30,000. 

No. 9, below, Jack McAleer, |30,000. 

No. 10, above, George Stokes, $20,000. 

Nos. 11, 12 and 13, above, Gilmer, Saulsbury & Co., 

The last clean-up at the Hidden Treasure mill 
from 225 tons of ore realized $10,500. As a clean-up 
from the batteries had not been made for a month, it 
increased the amount to this figure, making an aver- 
age of nearly |50 per ton. 

The twenty-stamp mill of Pinney Bros., is crush- 
ing ore from the Alpha mine. 

McLaughlin & Company's mill at Central City, is 
running ten stamps on ore from the Keets mine, and 
ten stamps on ore from the Pecachor. 

A very large quantity of first quality ore is on the 
dump at the Hoodlebug lode, Poorman Gulch. This is 
one of the most valuable discoveries in the Hills. 

Gold Run presents a very animated appearance. 
The Golden Star and Homestake numbers one and 
two, each employs a large number of men who are con- 
stantly employed getting out ore for the mills at Lead 

The Cinnabar mine which was discovered some 
time ago near Elizabethtown is said to be panning 
out big. 

The owners of the plumbago mine on Whitewood, 
a half mile from the postoflftce, are taking out a quan- 
tity and shipping it east in order to have it thorough- 
ly tested. 


Messrs. Mclntyre & Clapp, mining engineers, have 
just completed the work of the survey of the Golden 
Star, Old Abe, Homestake, Prince Oscar and Home- 
stake No. two, the Bonanza mines of Lead City and 
are now making the map for the same. 


The first year of gold operations saw over two 
millions in gold removed from the hills. Since that 
time hundreds of mining companies have come and 
gone and many millions in gold have been extracted. 
The total figure will run over two hundred thirty mil- 
lions of dollars since the first prospector on French 
Creek saw the golden gleam in his pan. And today 
there is being produced each year, out of low grade 
ore, about six millions in gold by the Homestake Min- 
ing Company alone. This mine is one of the greatest 
gold mines in the world. The main shaft in Lead, the 
city a mile above the sea, sinks to about twenty two 
hundred feet below the surface and passes eighteen 
working levels, ranging from one hundred to one 
hundred fifty feet apart. The tunnels that radiate out 
from the mine shafts extend over a distance of sixty 
miles equipped with a narrow gauge railroad over 
which are shunted the ore cars by compressed air en- 
gines, whose tanks have been charged with the power- 
ful air compresser. Electric lights glisten in the dis- 
mal depths with the power sent through them from 
the generators miles away on the Spearfish hydro- 
plant. Huge and powerful pumps throb and rumble 
as they lift great streams of water from the under- 
gi'ound brooks and send it up to the surface to rush 
down the mountain gulches, from whence perhaps it 
had seeped ages ago. Ponderous fans from above 
drive the bracing mountain air from the hillsides, 
down to the hithermost burrows of the men. Mam- 
moth steam hoists snatch the ore broken from its 
rocky caverns unlocked for millions of years in the 
eternal darkness an-: rush it to the suriace where it is 
hauled to the stamp mills. Here the broken rocks are 



crushed and hurled to their fate beneath nine hund- 
red twenty stamps, which with the roar of an unend- 
ing thunder storm, i3ound and crush the mass into 
tiny fragments that are washed out over large plates 
covered with quick silver, which quickly seize upon 
the particles of gold and hold them fast as they would 
hurry away to seek the bed from whence its fellows 
years ago had been taken by the eager miner as he 
rocked his gold pan to and fro. Some particles do 
escape and are not entirely removed from the grasp 



•1 ln«^)t£^liMnM|£jH 




iloiiieKtiike iit Lieail 

of the sand and rock that has so long claimed them as 
their own. These escaping bits of sand and gold are 
called tailings, and after settling in huge dams, are 
placed in immense tanks containing solutions of cyan- 
ide, and here after being treated with this process, 
twenty-two per cent more are saved to man. Seventy- 
two per cent was gathered in by the amalgamation 
plates as the precious metal began its journey under 
the light of day, and twenty per cent more was res- 
cued by the cyanide process. But six per cent of the 
beautiful metal outwits the hands of men and goes 
skipping do^\n the mountain rills to thenceforth rest 
untroubled by human touch. Thirtv thousand dollars 


is the ransom that would be gained every month by 
the delivery of these millions of particles from their 
captors, but engineering and chemical skill has not as 
yet learned the word that when spoken, shall unloose 
the doors that hold the golden treasure locked within. 

Nevertheless, there has been taken out by the 
Homestake Mining Company in the forty- four years 
•of its existence, the enormous sum of over one hund- 
red eighty-one million dollars in gold. They have 
paid out for labor in this task over forty-four millions 
of dollars. The output in gold each year will ap- 
proximate six millions of dollars at this time. And 
in the sixty miles of underground railway there is 
enough gold ore in sight to keep the huge machinery 
of the company running full blast for the next twenty 
years to handle alone. And yet the end of the great 
vein of gold is not found. The mountain upon ^which 
the city of Lead is built is honeycombed like a huge 
ant hill, and at all times, there is about one-fourth of 
the population digging, blasting and burrowing away 
beneath the hills, while above, their comrades, enjoy 
the splendid recreation rooms, baths, hospitals and 
libraries furnished to them for their sole benefit by 
the great corporation. 

Some idea of the magnitude of the operations 
carried on by this powerful company, with its two 
thousand employees, can be gained when we learn 
that each year, 1,750,000 tons of ore are hammered 
into gold, 1,554,117 pounds of dynamite are used, 
which were each stick laid end for end, would reach 
almost three hundred twenty-nine and a half miles, 
that enough caps to explode the dynamite are used, if 
l^id end to end would reach almost thirty-two miles, 
and fuse needed, would extend almost seven hundred 
twenty-three miles. To furnish the cable used on the 
"Old Abe" hoist where the ore is lifted, there, is re- 
quired two hundred thirty-two miles of number 15 
wire, weighing about seventeen thousand, two hundred 
eleven pounds. To furnish coal for the huge opera- 
tions, most of which comes from the coal mines own- 


ed by the company iu Wyoming, one hundred thousand 
tons of coal are used. To supply the electric current 
necessary, two hydro-electric plants are maintained, 
of five thousand horse power each. For miles the water 
of the river is carried through underground flumes so 
large that the caretakers from time to time, row along 
in their boats over the stream. A steam plant of 
four thousand horse power also is in operation. 

To erect the enormous buildings, to prop up and 
sustain the gigantic mass of rock above the tunnels, 
demands a stupendous supply of lumber and we find 
that the company owns twenty-seven thousand acres 
of fine timber and there are several saw mills in con- 
stant operation, with several hundred men engaged in 
the lumbering department. A general merchandise 
and department store is maintained by the company 
where all supplies for the citizens of the city may be 
had. A recreation building for the free use of its em- 
ployees is furnished, a hospital to care for the em- 
ployees and their families and supply them with the 
best of medical care and attention without charge, an 
old age pension system, insurance against accident 
and death, and many other aids to charity come with- 
in the attention of the company. At the head of this 
broadminded organization is Bruce Yates, superin- 
tendent, who by his masterful executive ability has 
held the company in the forefront as the model in- 
dustrial organization in the world, where the welfare 
and living conditions of its employees are not excelled 

To tell the complete story of the Homestake Mine 
would require a volume in itself and is beyond the 
scope of this book. There were days when great dis- 
asters threatened the company, and the future looked 
dark. Two fierce mine fires put the management to a 
severe test, but the efficiency of the organization rose 
to the occasion, and great mountain streams were di- 
verted into the mines until the fires were drowned out 
in the oceans of water that came roaring upon them. 


Then came the arduous task of unwatering the mines 
and placing them in working order again. 

However, enough has been shown to reveal the 
thrilling story of gold and the latent power that was 
hidden beneath the pine clad hills. Great as has been 
the wealth and prosperity of the Homestake, yet un- 
touched billions of mineral wealth still remain hid- 
den in the rock ribbed gulches and fortresses of Na- 
ture awaiting the conquering hand of men. Other 
mines there are in the Hills, many other mines there 
shall come in the fulness of time. 


Throughout the far reaching territory over which 
the Black Hills Trails were blazed, there are now 
thousands of fertile fields that for a time in the sum- 
mer, wave like vast oceans of green to be soon follow- 
ed by the beautiful purple of the blooming plant as it 
fills the balmy air with the fragrance of its perfume. 
There live the oldest pioneers of the Hills, the ever- 
lasting alfalfa, one of the most valuable forage crops 
grown in the west. The story of this world-wide 
wanderer, is quite unique and may prove of interest. 

Through the long research work of Charles C. 
Haas, of Whitewood, South. Dakota, who has become 
an expert and specialist in the cultivation of this 
thrifty plant, he was successful in determining who 
was the first men to introduce alfalfa growing into 
the Black Hills and from whence the seeds came to 
America. He learned that his friend, William Quig- 
ley, trapper, miner and scout of the west in the late 
sixties, had, in 1881, fed alfalfa hay to his horse on the 
Bullock ranch near Belle Fourche. From Seth Bul- 
lock, he found that the seed for this hay had been ob- 
tained by him from Captain Tom Russell from the 
Cache Valley in Utah, where he had seen the plant 
grow so luxuriantly. He planted it in the spring of 
1881, and it grew and prospered. Bullock, finding it 
a success, gave seed from the crop to his neighbors in 
the north hills and in this manner the acreage grew 


rapidly. Several years later, Samuel Moore from the 
Piedmont valley secured seed from the same source in 
Utah, and from his farm, the plant spread over the 
southeastern part of the Hills. To Seth Bullock, 
then belongs the honor of having first introduced the 
alfalfa plant to the Black Hills, and therel)y establish- 
ed one of the most historical grasses to be found on 
the continent today, by reason of the romantic story 
of the little plant in its long and steady march. 

Over two thousand five hundred years ago, there 
romped upon the great valleys and mountains of the 
Himalayas in Asia, a pretty girl who grew to be a 
princess renowned for her beauty. Far to the west of 
her country, there reigned a n)ost powerful king of a 
great nation, who upon hearing the story of the beauty 
of the eastern princess, demanded her as tjis queen. 
His wish was the law of the world in those days and 
the princess became Queen Amuhia of the Babylonian 
king, Nebuchadnezzar. But the mountain princess 
from the wilds of the Himilayas, was not content 
among the teeming millions of the great city on the 
plains and her loving husband sought to please her by 
building wonderful gardens for her like unto those of 
her childhood, wherein were placed trees, flu\vei-s and 
grasses from her homeland. The hardy, purple flow- 
ered alfalfa plant was among them, and in time ijrov- 
ed to be of value to the king himself who ate of this 
wonderful grass to cure his digestive troubles. 

Then by a turn of the wheel of fortune, we find the 
haughty dynasty of Babylonian kings crumbling into 
dust and the Persian armies ravaging the country, 
and marching forward, feeding their vast herds of live- 
stock upon the enduring alfalfa grass until they came 
to the Grecian Republics. Here, for seven long years, 
Xerxes wages the war, and upon the conquered plains, 
grows alfalfa as forage for liis thousands of cattle and 
horses. And then, through the defile in the moun- 
tains at Thermopolae, he drives his millions of slaves 
whipped to the battle front, until Leonidas and his 
band of Spartans fall, to be trampled under foot by the 



Persian hordes as they flow out over the fertile fields 
of Greece. 

Centuries roll on and Alexander the Great rises 
from the western front to be master of the known 
world. In the fiery time of restless youth he ravages 
the nations, and carries the war across the desert, 
against the Phoenicians, and in Egypt, still bouyed up 
with the produce of the wonderful forage grass, alfal- 
fa. Then he cries for more worlds to conquer and 
dies. But the humble plant that sustained the steeds 

Seth Bullock 

of his victorious legions as they galloped across the 
deserts, knew no halt and found new worlds to win. 

In its onward march, alfalfa fell into alliance 
with the Phoenicians, who carried their sturdv ally 
across the Mediterranean Sea to the City of Carthage 
and the north coast of Africa, about the dawn of the 
Christian era. Here it gTew and prospered, until its 
tillers, in the height of their glory and power seven 
hundred years after the coming of Christ, conquered 


the land of Spain, and there, in the shade of the beau- 
tiful Alhambra, famed for its magnificent splendors, 
the wanderer from Asia came to feed the Moorish cav- 

Time with his great levelling sc^^he humbled the 
conqueror, exalted the vanquished, and we find the 
Spanish ships, proud masters of the oceans, sailing the 
seas to a new world. Pizarro in 1526 lands upon the 
domain of the Incas, and with him, the conquering 
ally of his cavalry, alfalfa. Soon in the Peruvian 
mountains, the purple blossoms perfume the air, as 
their ancestors did in their far eastern home of Asia, 
centuries before. 

Pizarro and De Soto in their turn play their lit- 
tle part and having played, pass on from the stage 
of human effort, but the humble grass went marching 
on through the centuries. U^p along the western coast 
of the continent went the restless throng of treasure 
seekers and adventurers, and to the land of flowers, 
California. Here the Franciscans, bent not upon the 
quest of gold, but the winning of the souls of men, 
founded their missions and taught the natives the arts 
of civilization. Here they planted the fruits and 
grasses of the old world, and here they grew the ever 
present ally of the conquerors of the past, alfalfa. 

From the good fathers of the Pacific missions 
were sent afar the seeds of the wonderful plant and 
tQ the land of the Mormons in Utah came the fame of 
the enduring grass that made the desert bloom. Here 
the pioneers found the ally that assured the winning 
of the plains and its march went steadily forward un- 
til the year 1881. saw it form the battle line for its 
last victory, the Black Hills frontier. 

Thus, today, upon the slopes of the Black Hills, 
there thrive the descendants of the plants that grew 
in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and saw the Per- 
sian hordes as they razed the most magnificent city of 
its time; that saw Alexander the Great in the prime of 
his ravaging and world destroying youth; that heard 
the agonized cries of the Inca, tortured at the hands 


of the treacherous Pizarro; that perfumed the incense 
of the Spanish padres before their western altars, with 
the fragrance of their purple blossoms. 


With this picture of peace reigning over the hills 
and dales, clothed in the royal purple of the sturdy 
alfalfa plant and the dark green of the noble pines, 
kind reader, we will close the story of the Black Hills 
Trails. The memory of the sacrifices, struggles and 
privations of the men who wended the weary miles of 
their way, must in the years to come, kindle anew the 
fires of patriotism and lead men to give full honor to 
the winners of the west. To know the story of the 
pioneers is to feel the power of the Hills and the en- 
chantment of the mighty canyons. With the kind per- 
mission of Charles Badger Clark, poet laureate of the 
Black Hills, eloquent singer of mountain and plain, 
we are pleased to give to our readers, his splendid 
poem first read at the dedication of the monument 
commemorating the discovery of gold in Custer valley, 
had on the 27th day of July, 1922. 


God made our Black Hills country toward the last. 
The plains were spread like mighty tapestries, 
Green, brown or white, as changing seasons passed, 
Shadeless and flat and endless as the seas. 
Fair was the prairie; fair it still appears. 
But, tiring of those endless, flat domains, 
God built this island in the sea of plains 
And kept it for himself ten thousand years. 

He built the sculptured peaks and canyon walls 
And painted them in red and brown and gray; 
And sent the clear creeks glistening on their way. 
He planned a thousand creeks and waterfalls 
He sowed the red-barked pine trees everywhere. 
With aspen, birch and spruce along the streams, 
And flower-flecked mountain meadows here and there 
Such as an old saint pictured in his dreams. 


God made this island in the sea of plains 

And kept it for liiniself ten thousand years. 

Free of man's labor scars and battle stains. 

And clean of human blood and human tears. 

The lazy eagle circled in the blue; 

The rough bear dozed in peace before his den; 

The dainty deer stepped through the morning dew, 

But never was tliere sight or sound of men. 

The prairie red men watched the far blue peaks / 
Where often storm clouds gathered fold on fold 
And lightning laced the gloom in darting streaks 
And down the echoing canyons thunder rolled. 
"The Thunder Hawk lives there !" the red men cried, 
And fled away across the prairie sod. 
So through the ages on the mountain side. 
The pine trees sang their S(mg alone to (jod. 

Then from the eastern land the white man came, 

Driven by high desire and restless blood. 

He to the prairie laid his lordly claim 

And fought the red man there to make it good. 

Far on the plains the dust cloud and the fire 

Marked long trails the conquering white men made, 

But still no iron hoof or wagon tire 

Rang on the rocks within the canyon's shade. 

Yet in the end the chosen time came round 
And then up Castle Creek, one summer day, 
An eager line of blue clad troopers wound, 
While gallant, fated Custer led the way. 
And soon upon the site of Custer town 
The gray past of the lonely mountain land 
Changed to a shining future of renown 
Bright as the golden grains in Ross's hand. 


Gold! our great blessing, curse, or what you will, 
But, curse or blessing, ever most desired. 
Gold ! the word seemed to leap from hill to hill 
And down the plains, like signal cannon fired. 
God built our mountain land in love and pride, 
And kept it to himself ten thousand years, 
Then with that word He flung His bars aside 
And inward stormed the Black Hills pioneers. 

Ihey were a breed that feared no thunder bird, 

Ncr ghost; nor imp, nor thing of mortal breath. 

Wiid with the music of that magic word, 

Thej laughed at Sioux and soldier, storm and death. 

Gold', and the timber wolf at close of day 

Sniffed the new camp smoke with uneasy whines; 

Gold! and the mountain lion dropped his prey 

To hear the axes ring among the pines. 

And so its ancient ways were changed for new — 
This mountain island under prairie skies, 
The dread throne of the Indian's Manitou, 
The daring white man's last and dearest prize. 
Then from the Hills a new stream took its course; 
In waves of golden wealth it richly ran, 

Millions of gold from that first tiny source 

The doubtful yellow gleam in Ross's pan. 

For more than forty years that stream has rolled — 

Strange flood tha tstarted hei-e in Ross's pan ! 

Feeding our country's wealth with yellow gold, 

Swelling at last the world-wide wealth of man. 

And here in Custer's city we are met 

To dedicate these stones that tell the tale, 

Lest coming generation should forget 

Ross and the men that followed on his trail. 



Hail to our pioneers, who played the game 

In sweat and blood until they won the stake — 

A laud worth winning for its golden fame, 

A home worth holding for its own sweet sake. 

Yes, to the true Black Hiller of today 

The gleam of Black Hills sunlight through the pines 

Or on the towering rim rock will assay 

As high as any metal from the mines! 

Hail to these stately Hills we now possess, 
Their towns and ranches stored with worldly goods, 
Their gulches full of holy quietness / 

Where God still walks among the piney woods! / 
Proudly we call them South Dakota's crown, / 
But when we leave their blessed shades to roam,/ 
And homesick longing dogs us up and down. 
We name them in our hearts — the Hills of Home! 

^.' i*i / 

Soott Davis, Jesse Brown and A. 3] 
at Canyon Springs 




Some readers may wish to know a little more of 
the life history of some of the actors mentioned in the 
preceding pages, and accordingly we herewith present 
intimate sketches of a few of the pioneers, trusting 
that they may prove of interest. A biography of the 
many pioneers who have nobly done their part in the 
history of the Black Hills would require too much 
labor to prepare and would be beyond the purpose of 
this volume. 


A. M. Willard was born in the Territory of Wis- 
consin on December 14th, 1847, where his parents had 
settled in the year 1839 after moving from the State of 
New York. His early playmates were Indians and 
the few white boys who were in the neighborhood. As 
a small boy he hunted and trapped to earn the money 
with which to buy the school books to be used in the 
school house that was built in the woods nearby. The 
chief occupation in those days was the clearing of 
land and everybody from young and old was busy 
chopping trees and grubbing out the stumps. His life 
was spent this way with a few months of school in the 
winter time of each year until the breaking out of the 
Civil War in 1861, when his father, older brother and. 
uncle enlisted in tlie new army. Willard at the time 
was too young but in 1864 he enlisted in Company A 
43rd Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers in which organi- 
zation he served as a private until the end of the war. 
After his discharge from the army the monotony of 
the old home backwoods life was too great for him 
and after a short visit he obtained employment in the 
Green Bay Lumber Country where he worked in the 
winter and sailed on the Great Lakes in the summer 
time. After nine years of this kind of life he obtained 
his Master's License and then proceeded for the west. 


In the year 1875 he drifted into Cheyenne, Wyo- 
ming, and in 1876 he joined some of the parties who 
were rushing to the Black Hills in search of gold. 
On this trip out from Fort Laramie the party came 
across the bodies of two men who had been killed by 
Indians. Near the hand of one of the dead men was a 
piece of board covered with writing but they were un- 
able to read it. He arrived in the southern Hills in 
Jul}^ and spent most of the summer prospecting along 
different streams. After making several trips to Dead- 
wood he finally, in the month of September, decided 
to remain there and became interested in several 
claims on Bear Butte Creek near Galena. He built a 
little cabin in Deadwood where he made his home. 
In those days most of his time was spent mining and 
prospecting but when the people of the Hills organized 
for enforcement of the law and preservation of order 
and Seth Bullock was appointed sheriff he appointed 
Willard as one of his deputies and from theucef(H'th 
Willard became a persistent u])li()lder of the law and 
his life from then on became a. constant occurrence of 
fights with desperate characters and struggle to pre- 
serve law and order. Many of the instances which are 
related in this book are ones in which he was one of 
the men whose arm was lifted in behalf of the law. 
He also served a term as Deputy United States Mar- 
shal and his work carried him through the western 
part of the then Dakota Territory. After serving as 
an officer of the law in the northern hills, he moved to 
Custci' county, where his ability was soon, recognized 
and he was elected to the office of sheriff of the coun- 
ty. He continued to uphold his past reputation and 
proved to be a most efficient officer. 

After tiring of the work of supporting various 
sheriffs in their work, he homesteaded land in the Slim 
Buttes country where he acquired large land holdings 
and conducted the live stock business. His son, Boone 
Willard, was associated with him in the business and 
as old age began to press upon the father, Captain 
Willard took up a residence in Belle Fourche, where 


he resided while engaged in the task of collecting 
material for the writing of this history. His wide 
acquaintance and active participation in many of 
the stirring events of the pioneer days, enabled him 
to ferret out the truth in many of the stories and ga^e 
him a broad view of the field to be covered. He soon 
associated with himself, Jesse Brown, who likewise 
had long planned upon preserving the story of the 

After the material was all assembled and given 
over to the editor for preparation for publishing and 
the long sought day for the realization of his dream 
seemed about to dawn, on Friday, July 22. 1921, the 
palsied hand of Death pi'essed down upon him, and 
Captain Willard crossed the Great Divide. He had 
been sick but a very short time and his death came as 
a surprise to his many friends who could scarcely, 
realize that the genial and big hearted pioneer had 
obeyed the final summons. On Sunday afternoon 
funeral services were held in the Masonic Temple, at- 
tended by friends and pioneers who gathered from far 
and near. Interment was had in Mount Moriah 
Cemetery beneath the pines and overlooking the streets 
of Deadwood, where he had spent the prime of his 
life in the cause of preserving law and order. 

The sole ambition of Captain Willard in his later 
years Avas to see "The Black Hills Trails" in print and 
he often said to the editor, "John, hurry the work 
along. I want to see it printed before I cash in.'' He 
vseemed to feel the approach of the messenger whose 
withering touch ends all. However, his son, Boone 
Willard, agreed that the work should not stop and 
permitted Jesse Brown to carry out the plans as agreed 
upon before the passing of the fellow pioneer and 


LTpon request I will endeavor to write a brief 
outline of a few experiences of my life, although upon 
glancing back over the path that I have traveled 


things appear so insignificant that I am almost per- 
suaded to stop right here. Nevertheless, I will make 
an effort and let it go for what it is worth. 

I was born in Washington County, Tennessee, 
August 2Ith, 1844; moved to Clark County, Missouri, 
in 1848 ; lived there until the outbreak of the war. My 
parents were poor, and my brother, older than I, hav- 
ing died in 1860, it was necessary for me to remain at 
home as one of the mainstays of the family. I was 
not old enough to be drafted, and my mother did not 
want me to volunteer. I left home and went to Ot- 
tumwa, Iowa, little thinking I would never see those 
familiar scenes again. A gentleman for whom I work- 
ed in Ottumwa had a nephew visiting him from Dela- 
ware, a brilliant young lawyer who was anxious to see 
the West, and with him I went to Nebraska City in 
1865. Here we had an offer to drive teams, "whack- 
ing bulls'' is what they called it, which we accepted. 
Our employer was a splendid fellow named Theodore 
Comstock, who had been a lieutenant in the volunteer 
army, and stationed at Plum Creek, Nebraska. When 
Ills term of service expired he bought a small freight 
outfit, and loaded for Fort Kearney. He told us so 
many frightful tales of bloodthirsty savages that we 
two tenderfeet were nearly frightened to death. Hav- 
ing a small outfit, the drivers were compelled to take 
turn al)aut in the night herding the stock. I cannot 
describe my feelings the night I stood guard on Plum 
Creek, which was said to be the worst place on the 
road for Indians. I never expected to see another 
day. I walked the entire night through, carrying an 
old muzzle loading shotgun, and if anything in hu- 
man shape had shown up I know I would have dropped 
that old gun, and struck for camp. 

Next trip we made was to Fort Laramie, where 
we were pressed into service to haul wood for the 
post. I worked for the government one hundred days, 
and then took a four mule team with supplies and 
twenty-two men, and started for Nebraska City, 
reaching there the last day of December, '65, with 


more money than I had ever possessed before in my life. 
Next year I drove team and hauled freight west 
of Omaha. In '67 we loaded at North Platte for Fort 
Phil Kearney. I was promoted to assistant wagon- 
master that year. We were attacked five times during 
the summer by Indians. The first time was on the 
Cheyenne River. Just as we corraled for the night a 
band of Sioux charged on us. I was working at the 
lead wagon on the right wing, and saw them coming 
within three hundred yards of us. I yelled "Indians," 
and grabbed my gun. In an instant every man was 
shooting. The Indians checked up and circled away, 
and we ran out of the corral and poured lead into them 
so fast that they did not return. The wagonmaster 
gave us great praise, and we felt so jubilant over the 
easy victory that we thought we could whip the whole 
Sioux nation; but wait! A few days after that we 
crossed Powder River, and camped on Crazy Woman 
Creek. The day was fine, and we were still talking 
and laughing about the way we chased the Indians 
down on the Cheyenne, and were foolish enough to 
imagine that they were afraid to tackle us again. Af- 
ter Ibreaking camp we had proceeded about two miles 
to where the road entered a canyon. We had twenty- 
six teams and seventy-five men, including forty sold- 
iers, and had not heard a sound or caught a glimpse 
of anything unusual, but just as the seventeenth team 
was passing into the canyon suddenly the reds were 
on all sides of us, shooting, yelling and screeching like 
so many devils turned loose. Surprised ! Well, that 
was no name for it. We were stampeded, paralyzed, 
demoralized for an instant, until we drew our second 
breath. The Indians charged on the rear of the train 
and cut off nine teams. The other seventeen were in 
the canyon where the wagonmaster had bunched them 
for defense the best he could considering the room he 
had. The Indians drove the nine drivers from the 
rear teams and they ran to the front. We got them 
together and went to the rear to save the teams that 
had been cut off from the main outfit. There was a 


squad of soldiers in the rear guard, but they were 
not strong- enough to hold the Indians at bay, so they 
left the wagons and had taken shelter in ditches and 
behind rocks. I went with twenty-fiYe men from the 
front to help get these rear teams. We found three 
soldiers down, wounded, and several of the steers shot 
dead in the joke. We got the wounded men into the 
wagons, and then had to get right into the open and 
take the yoke from the dead cattle, and roll them out 
of the way before we could move. While part of the 
men were doing this, the rest of us were behind the 
wagons shooting at everything in the shape of an In- 
dian, and they were keeping up a constant rain of 
bullets and arrows on us. We killed several of them, 
and wounded others, and (luite a number of ponies 
were killed. Finally they fell back a little, and took 
shelter behind rocks, and behind a hill on the north 
side of the road. That gave us a chance to move the 
teams up to the front, which we did without any fur- 
ther mishaps. A sergeant by the name of Day and 
myself were standing a little ways from the wagons 
when one of their big medicine fakirs left the main 
body, and came charging right at us. We both fired 
and killed him and his horse. I wanted to go out and 
scalp him, but I knew the risk, and the sergeant ad- 
vised me not to try it. After everything was bunched 
up in the canyon to protect the stock to the best ad- 
vantage, the Indians divided their forces, and part of 
them went almost to the creek, and got into and fol- 
lowed a big washout that brought them within about 
one hundred yards of the corral, giving them a clear 
view to shoot under the wagons. We laid flat on the 
ground and watched for their heads when they would 
peep above the bank, and thus we forced them to qnit 
that game. Their next move was to fire the grass. 
Although it was June the grass was dry and burned 
fiercely. Major Freeman, in command of our escort, 
ordered a charge on the ditch, while we fought the fire. 
It was necessary that this should be extinguished as 
some of our wagons were loaded with powder, which 


made a somewhat desperate situation. Besides, if the 
fire had reached the cattle there would have been a 
stampede. The Indians kept us there until eight 
o'clock that night, and perhaps some of us would have 
been there yet if it had not happened