[A JOURNEY TO THE INDIAN COUNTRY: BY C. M. SCOTT.]
TRAVELER, FEBRUARY 21, 1877 - FRONT PAGE. And TRAVELER, FEBRUARY 28, 1877 - FRONT PAGE.
A JOURNEY TO THE INDIAN COUNTRY.
Fort Sill, Wichita, Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Cheyenne Agencies.
Wednesday, Jan. 24th, in company with Joseph H. Sherburne, we left Arkansas City at about noon and started for Fort Sill, in a light spring wagon; behind the team that so nearly caused the death of Mr. Hawkins, intending to reach Caldwell before sundown. The day was warm and pleasant, and roads in the very best condition. On our way we sped by Guelph, but stopped a few minutes at South Haven to converse with Col. Hunter and other friends. The road from South Haven to Caldwell is changed in many places since we first traveled over it, but is practically the same. On the west bank of Sho Fly creek, J. W. Hamilton has erected a fine stone residence, two stories high, with windows and doors capped with cut stone, and generally improved his farm.
[SCOTT SAID "SHO FLY CREEK"]
Arriving at Caldwell at about 8 p.m., we found the drive longer than we had anticipated, but yet we had scarcely noticed it, as the moon was shining brightly and the setting of the sun made but a slight difference. We were not long in hunting a hotel and our acquaintances, and soon found John Blair and J. H. Sain, with whom we spent most of the evening.
Thursday morning we left Caldwell, crossing Fall Creek one half mile south of the town, then Bluff Creek three-fourths of a mile farther on, then the head of Polecat, which was dry, where old Mr. Chisholm, the first man who ever drove cattle over the present trail, killed a number of skunks, thereby giving its name; then Cottonwood four miles from Polecat, then Bullwhacker, where Laflin's men had "stuck," then Pond Creek, where John Murphy is located at the stage stable.
derives its name from the pond of good water nearby. The stream is well timbered, and affords good shelter for stock. A short distance from Pond Creek, we crossed the Salt Fork, a muddy, brackish stream flowing through the Salt Plains, where a party of freighters encountered difficulty in crossing, and indulged in language more emphatic than polite. One and a half miles from the Salt Fork, we crossed a slough, then the Big Wild Horse, where a number of wild horses were seen by Chisholm when making the trail, and two miles further on the Little Wild Horse, then Sand Creek, Spring Branch, and Skeleton, where we stopped for the night at
a double picket house made of logs buried three feet in the ground, and extending six feet from the surface and plastered up with mud. This ranche is 47 miles from Caldwell and 21 miles from Pond Creek. While stopping here we were well entertained by Burt Giffin, who had charge of the place, while Mr. Gilchrist was absent hunting ponies. It was on this creek that two Mexicans were killed by men from Kansas, for murdering a herder in the State. Three miles from Skeleton Creek is Boggy Springs, and seven miles further, Hackberry Creek, where a man answering the description of Mrs. Beecher's "Uncle Tom," makes his home. On this creek the bones of an Osage Indian lies unburied, the body since having been food for the coyotes. It is on the head of Hackberry Creek, where the road from Arkansas City intercepts the Ft. Sill trail, 90 miles from Arkansas City. Sixteen miles from Skeleton Creek is Buffalo Springs, where there is always water. Then comes Bull Foot's Springs, 22 miles from Skeleton, and six miles further Little Turkey, then Dan Jones' ranche on Red Fork or Cimaron river.
At Buffalo Springs, or what was formerly known as Mosier's ranche,
A SAD REMEMBRANCE
was brought to our recollection. On the left hand side and only a few feet from the road is a single mound with a rude board for a tombstone, with the following inscription cut on it.
E. Cook. Killed by Indians. July 3, 1874.
Underneath the loose earth are the remains of three cherished sons, whose parents are yet in doubt as to their existence, although it is believed they have learned of their terrible and cruel massacre, by the Cheyennes, which occurred on the road not very distant from where they lie, while freighting from Wichita to the Agencies. A mile or more from them, in the center of the road is the grave of Pat Hennessy, whose bones were buried where he fell, after his body had been tied to a wagon wheel and burned. The details of this horrible proceeding is too fresh in the minds of all our readers to recite at this writing, save that they were surprised and all shot except poor Pat Hennessy, who was doomed to meet a greater suffering.
All along the route we saw thousands of prairie dogs and were scarcely out of sight of their towns, of which were several miles in length and covering more than 1,000 acres in extent.
Towards the close of the afternoon, a large gray wolf met us in the road and did not seem disposed to stand aside until we gave him the contents of one barrel of our shot gun at a distance of about 20 yards, knocking him completely over. Soon after another came near and Joe tried a Sharp's rifle on him. He evidently struck him on the belly as the animal jumped fully five feet in the air and ran like a race horse for some distance. A skunk was the next animal to court our acquaintance, and we demolished his perfume factory with a load from our pistol, followed by a dose of shot. With nothing else to call our attention, we drove till we came to the well known and hospitable ranche of our fellow townsman,
situated 1-1/4 miles from the Red Fork river in a beautiful bottom with pleasant surroundings. As we drove up, we could not help noticing the neatness of the premises. Little prairie dogs made their houses a few feet from his door, while near the timber, a half mile distant, a flock of wild turkeys were quietly feeding, and in the jack oaks nearby is the favorite resort of deer and other game. The place is one we have frequently heard described, or dreamed of in our imagination, but never before realized.
At the door we were met by Dan, whose countenance showed an agreeable surprise, when we inquired if the landlord was in. After a short look about the ranche, which is the neatest on the entire route, we started in pursuit of the turkeys we had seen, and within fifteen minutes saw our companion lower his gun, and in another second one of the noble birds was fluttering on its back. For fear we would not be lucky enough to secure our game, Dan started out in an opposite direction; and before our return, had two killed and one almost ready for the oven. We were so well entertained at the ranche that we stayed half of the next day before going further, and regretted then that we were compelled to go on.
While here we learned the story of the killing of the men by Charley Lyons was not correct, as Mr. Lyons had been at Caldwell all the time the killing was said to have been done. We also learned that the Osages had caught and stripped a twelve-year-old boy, by the name of Miller, during the first snow, and after taking his pony, turned him out in the storm to die. The boy then stole a pony from them, rode to a cattle camp, and thus saved his life.
While the Sac and Fox Indians were hunting on the Red Fork, they killed a monstrous black bear a few miles north of the ranche. The Pawnees had visited the place and left the day before we arrived, having killed a number of deer and wild turkeys. They were on their way west to the buffalo ground, 150 miles distant. A short time before the Indians came, a party had been down from Caldwell, and in five days had killed over 200 turkeys.
The stage station of T. P. Williamson, of Independence, Missouri, who with Vance & Co., have the mail contract from Caldwell to Fort Sill, is located at Jones' ranche. It is a tri-weekly mail, running four horses as far as Cheyenne, and a buckboard from thence to Sill and the Kiowa and Commanche Agency. Jones' ranche is eighty miles from Caldwell, thirty miles from Cheyenne Agency, or Fort Reno. From the Cheyenne Agency to the Wichita Agency is forty-five miles, and from the Wichita to Fort Sill, or the Kiowa and Commanche Agency, thirty miles.
The first creek crossed after leaving the Red Fork or Cimaron, 8-1/2 miles, is Kingfisher, then Caddo Springs, and four miles beyond, the North Fork of Canadian, on which the Cheyenne Agency is located on the north bank, and Fort Reno, or Darlington, a mile beyond, on the south side.
We arrived at
after dark, and did not have an opportunity of visiting the school and public buildings. At the office we met Agent Miles and spent a few minutes in pleasant conversation, after which we expressed a desire to visit the camp of the Cheyennes where the Indians were dancing.
We were furnished a guide and soon found our way to the inside of a lodge where we were introduced to
a prominent chief, and Big Horse, a "soldier chief." A delegation of Northern Cheyennes and Sioux lately visited the camp of Bull Bear to induce him to go North and fight the whites, but the old chief wisely concluded he had enough war after the troubles of 1874, and told them to go back and not to come to him again on such an errand.
After smoking the pipe of peace with them, we were conducted to the lodge where they were dancing. A circle of men and women had formed around the little fire in the center of the lodge, and when the drum began its doleful sound, the squaws sang and all moved around, jumping stiff legged. After a few minutes the din ceased and all were seated. Then at the sound of the drum, which was made of raw hide stretched over a hoop, all jumped up again. This time it was a squaw dance, and as near as we could judge "ladies' choice," as two young girls would look around until they found one of their favored ones, when they would take him by the hand, pull him up, and with one hold of each arm jump up and down, then reverse, and continue jumping.
While we were quietly enjoying the scene, our surprise can better be imagined than described when our companion was taken by the hand and pulled up, being the favored choice of Minnehaha ("Laughing Water,"), as beautiful an Indian squaw as it has been our good fortune to have seen. She is the daughter of a chief, and won some notoriety by carrying away the first premium for horseback riding at the Muscogee Fair last fall. Our companion at first declined, but finally consented, remarking that we had come for fun and he was not to be bluffed. The sight was one we shall not soon forget. In the midst of a group of red faces, the beaming countenance of our weather-beaten friend could be seen, as he hopped up and down like a puppet, enjoying the exercise full as well as any of the nomads. At the conclusion of his freaks, the Indians all laughed loud and applauded, seeming well pleased.
Another set was formed and as the music arose, our guide informed us: "They are going for you this time." We promptly declined, but he informed us they would make us, when we considered discretion the better part of valor and worked our way out of the lodge as quick as possible.
Among the Cheyennes we saw many noted chiefs and warriors. Noticing a number of scars on the left arm of Bull Bear, we inquired how he came by them, and learned that he had cut them himself to tally the number of beings he had killed. There were twenty-eight in all. Some, he informed us through our interpreter, he killed with his bow and arrows; others he ran through with his spear, and some he shot.
On the opposite side of the lodge was a very old woman who had been very sick, but was recovering as she had offered a sacrifice by cutting the end of her little finger off at the first joint.
All through the camp, dogs of almost every description were to be seen from a lap dog to the largest Newfoundland. Many of them were crossed with the wolf, as is generally the case with Indian dogs.
Early in the morning of Sunday, the 28th, we were on our way to
48 miles distant, over the roughest and most sandy road along the entire route. After crossing the North Fork, we came to the main Canadian twelve miles below, then Spring Creek, eight miles further, then Stinking Creek, twenty-three miles from Cheyenne, then another Spring Creek, then Sugar Creek, five miles from Wichita Agency.
The Canadian is a wide, sandy, muddy, and treacherous stream, but was easily crossed as the water was low. In crossing any of the large streams of the west, it is not safe to stop a minute or the vehicle will settle so completely in the quick sand as to make it impossible to withdraw it. Knowing this we kept our team steadily moving, having taken the precaution to water our horses before entering it. Some of the freighters in crossing this stream had to hitch on to the hind end of their wagon and withdraw it, as they stopped for a minute and stuck in the sand. Sugar Creek, near the Wichita Agency, derives its name from the sugar maples that grow near its head.
We arrived at Wichita Agency at four o'clock, p.m., and were met at the Agent's office by J. A. Stafford and Mr. Spray, who showed us into the house, where we met Mrs. Williams and her daughters, Mrs. Stafford, and others, who cordially received us as old acquaintances. We had not long to wait when Mr. Williams came in, whom we were exceedingly glad to meet. Our descent upon them was somewhat surprising and all the more enjoyable.
We were so well treated and entertained at Mr. Williams' that we did not leave until Tuesday following, and even then, with regrets. While there we visited the school under charge of Henry Dolls and brother, and were astonished at the rapid progress made among the Indian children. They repeated the multiplication table from two times one are two, to twelve times twelve are 144, with rapidity, and read, spelled, and sang readily. Mr. Dolls is an Englishman by birth and has the reputation of being one of the best Indian educators in the Territory.
In his school thirteen different tribes are represented, as follows: Wichita, Caddoes, Utes, Comanchees, Creeks, Kechis,
To-wak-o-nies, Delawares, Wacos, Cherokees, Seminoles, Shawnees, and Chickasaws. All learn fast, considering their circumstances and prejudices.
As we entered the school, the teacher was endeavoring to convince the younger ones that the earth was round, which seemed to be received as a preposterous idea, when they could look out the window and see it was flat. There were eighty-three pupils in the room, and the roll showed a list of more than one hundred, but as they are permitted to go to their camps on Sunday, many had not yet come in.
When supper was called, we went to the dining room to see them eat, and observed all had remarkable appetities. Before eating, however, they were told to ask God's blessing, which they did in a brief manner. After supper they repeated the Lord's prayer at the tope of their voices, leading us to think they would all make good Methodists some day. From the matron we learned that for breakfast they were allowed--bread, meat, gravy, rice, beans, and water to drink. For supper--mush and milk, coffee, sugar, and water.
They drink their coffee without milk, and on Sunday are given pie and cake. As a consequence of this, it is a rare case to have any sickness on Sunday, as it is generally postponed until the next day.
Boys are detailed to cut the wood, carry water, and sweep the school house, while the girls wash the dishes, scrub the floor, and make the beds. Af first the boys are inclined to the idea that the girls should do all the work as they have to in camp, but the idea is soon removed.
The children adorn themselves with every variety of jewelry that can be obtained, and frequently make their own earrings, bracelets, and breastplates. On one we could not help noticing were large key checks, as we at first thought, but examination proved it to be some city dog check, as the inscription read "No. 74, Dog Tax Paid." Taking a thorough look at the owner of the metal, we concluded she was properly labeled.
Among the number before us was one of bright countenance and lighter complexion than the rest, which caused us to call the attention of Agent Williams to her, when he informed us she claimed a former Agent as her father. Others whom we supposed were white children, were pointed out as the results of renegade whites among the Indians. The Arrapahoes, Wichitas, Caddoes, and some other tribes are very licentious, and it is seldom a virtuous woman is found among them. But among the Cheyennes, a majority are chaste.
It is a familiar sight on the border to see the letters
"U. S. I. D." prominently displayed, but here we see it everywhere: on the backs of Indians, on wagons, on boxes, bags, letters, and envelopes. The Agent claims it signifies United States Indian Department, but it is generally recognized as "Uncle Sam's Idle Dollar."
Noticing a number of wagons coming from the south on the evening of our arrival, we went to where they were camped and found them to be Arkansas City freighters on their return from Fort Sill, namely: E. D. Bowen, A. A. Davis, R. B. Scott, Gardner Mott, Johnny Mott, Brown, Provose, Thompson, Dilworth, Belknap, and Campbell. The latter three were on their way down. After leaving the last TRAVELER and telling all we could think of, we left them for the night.
Wichita Agency is in township 7, range 10, six miles north of the 35th parallel, and 16 miles west of the 98th meridian, on the Washita river; 69 miles west of Arkansas City and 132 miles south. A. C. Williams, formerly Agent of the Kickapoos and a resident of this place, is the Agent, and has under his charge seven distinct tribes, as follows: Caddos, Wichita, Comanches, Towanakios, Kechia, Wacos, and Delawares.
numbering 500, were formerly residents of Louisiana, and years since treated with the United States to leave this country, never to return. They settled in Mexico, and when Texas was annexed to the United States, they came into the Union with it. They are a very industrious class, and are rapidly embracing the white man's ways. Many of them are farming, and 21 were building houses. Agent Williams, through an unaccountable influence, has induced a mania for house building among them, and during our stay they were constantly clamoring to have them built--offering to trade ponies, robes, or almost anything in their possession.
Wah-loo-pe is chief of the Caddos, and is named after a river in Mexico.
are the next largest band, numbering 200. They are the original owners of the land in which they now live, and have consequently lived here a long time. The Wichita mountains of this vicinity are named after them, as is Wichita, Kansas, where they were camped during the war. They are not as far advanced in civilization as the Caddos, but are gradually improving. Some three years ago the Osages killed their chief, I-sad-a-wa, and whle they do not make war against them, they cannot forget it. A settlement was made by the Osages paying them $1,500, which gained their forgiveness until a good opportunity offers for them to revenge it. Is-o-da-co is their present chief.
The Towanakies, Wacos, and Wichitas speak the same language, while the Cheyennes, Arrapahoes, Kiowas, Comanches, and all the Plains Indians understand one another by signs similar to those used by deaf and dumb persons.
The Wichitas, Towanakies, and Kechis live in houses made from poles covered with dried grass, resembling a large bee hiave or hay stack.
The Comanches live in tents made of buffalo robes.
Most Plains Indians wear robes, while the more civilized wear blankets.
under charge of Agent Williams, number 168. They were formerly from Texas, and the mountains of Mexico. Tush-ha-wa, head chief of the tribe, is a very old man, and has figured in a number of treaties with the United States. His name means "bright handle." At request of the Agent, he built a house of his own, and is living in it as an example for his tribe to follow. The Comanche Indians have been regarded as among the worse, most desperate, and murderous tribes in America, only seconded by the Cheyennes, Apaches, and Kiowas.
In the camp of the tribe under Agent Williams is a Mexican woman, who was taken prisoner in Mexico fifteen years ago, and who is now at the Agent's house awaiting the Government to return her.
The Towanakies number 100 in all. They used to inhabit the Red River country. Ne-as-to is their chief.
The Kechis have but 92 individuals in their tribe, which used to be counted by the thousands. They have always been residents of this section, and have the Kechie hills named from them. To-wah-hum-ta is their chief.
The Wacos, formerly of Texas, number but 70. "Buffalo Good" is their chief. He told us he had been a wild, bad Indian, but was now on the white man's road, and had corn in his crib and stock on the prairies.
There are 83 of the Delaware tribe, and the history of the "big water" is a familiar story with them, as their forefathers at one time inhabited what is now the State of Delaware.
Captain Black Beaver is chief of the Delawares. During the war he figured in a number of important matters. From "A Quaker Among Indians," by Thomas Battey, we quote the following history of this remarkable man. To the author of the above work, we are also indebted for many ideas during our stay at the Kiowa and Comanche Agency.
"Captain Black Beaver was guide to Captain Marcy in his explorations in the West, also to Audubon, the naturalist. He has a large farm under cultivation, and lives in a very comfortable manner, having good, substantial, frame buildings. He commenced life as a wild Indian trapper until, becoming familiar with almost all the unexplored regions of the west, and being a remarkably truthful and reliable man, he was much sought after as a guide, and accompanied several expeditions in that capacity. His life has been one of bold adventure, fraught with many interesting incidents, which, if properly written out, would form an interesting and entertaining volume."
At Wichita Agency thirty head of cattle per week, and 2,205 pounds of flour are issued weekly, being only half rations. Captain Leach and Major Lannigan have the beef contract, and
A. A. Newman is the contractor for flour.
The Wichitas and Caddos smoke cigarettes made of the strongest chewing tobacco, furnished them by the Government, and very seldom use a pipe, as most Indians do. The women wear balmoral skirts for dresses, and never lace, often complaining that the waists of the skirts are made too small.
The Wichita Agency is beautifully located on a high knoll overlooking the beautiful Washita bottom, where Gen. Davidson had the conflict with the Comanches and Kiowas in 1874.
The Agency has been well favored with permanent improvements. Among them the Agent's house and office, school building, saw mill, etc.
Another peculiar feature at this Agency was the number of negroes that could not speak English.
In the afternoon of Monday, Mr. Stafford tendered us a ride behind his sparkling bays to a camp a few miles north. We accepted and were well paid for the visit. Almost every lodge had a squaw in front of it tanning robes. As we walked through the camp the little children ran and screamed at the sight of strange white men, and the dogs showed by their barking that they were not accustomed to white intruders.
Tuesday morning we left Wichita Agency for Fort Sill. After we had traveled about five miles, we met George Shearer, Jerome Hilton, Charles Peters, and E. Worther, and at noon we came to where a number more were camped for dinner, on Killpecker Creek, to wit: Frank Hutchinson, A. W. Patterson, Walt Dolby, H. S.
Adams, Hank Nelson, Ross Merrick, Cass Endecott, Sam Endecott, John Tolles, Buck Wintin, Frank Wintin, Jack Martin, Frank Johnson, Wagstaff, Jim Burrell, and Benj. Harberson. Hank Nelson had met with an accident and had his arm in a sling, having been thrown from his wagon while trying to get ahead of someone. We were the invited guests of Ross Merrick, and partook readily of his "sow belly," biscuit, and what the boys called "bovine" gravy. The rain fell in chunks while we were at dinner, and the meal was stowed away as soon as possible.
After dinner we moved along and before long met M. E. Garner, Poke Stevens, Daniel Hunt, Geo. Christy, Mr. Stevens, Dan Fegans, Ab. Christy, O. J. Palmer, Andrew Meisner, J. Clark,
D. Pendergrass, and Joe Garner, on their way back from Sill.
Not a great distance from the Fort, we met our friend, Capt. Leach, and renewed acquaintances.
about four o'clock, but did not stop until we drove to the Agency, a mile and an eighth below, where we met Agent James M. Haworth, Thomas Battey, Frank Moltby, and others, and were welcome.
We were agreeably disappointed in the Agent, as we expected to find him a down-easter, harsh in manner, and as unsocial as a saw log. Instead, we found him to be a thorough Kansan: affable, agreeable, and very cordial. He hails from Olathe, Kansas, but was formerly from Hamilton county, Ohio. Under his charge are the three wildest tribes in the Indian Territory and the west, and it is gratifying to see what influence and control he has over them.
Within his jurisdiction are 1,000 Kiowas, 1,500 Comanches, and 300 Apatches.
[THROUGHOUT SCOTT SAYS "APATCHES"...NOT APACHES.]
SCOTT GIVES THE INDIAN/WHITE NAME FOR THE FOLLOWING...IF I READ HIM CORRECTLY...THEN ONLY THE WHITE NAME FOR THE OTHERS.
Ash-tie-la: meaning "Feather Head."
Gas-ta-a-ka: meaning "Running Bear."
Que-a-pate: meaning "Trotting Wolf."
Odo-pate: meaning "Red Otter."
Hide seek: meaning "Crow Lance."
While at the Agency we met most of the prominent chiefs, amoung them "Poor Buffalo," "Feather Head, "Running Bear," "Trotting Wolf," "Red Otter," "Crow Lance," and Stumbling Bear, Zebeil, White Man, and Little Robe. The Indian names of the last four we did not get.
UNLESS HE GIVES IT SOMEWHERE ELSE, I DON'T BELIEVE HE GAVE THE INDIAN NAME FOR "POOR BUFFALO" EITHER.
SCOTT THEN DESCRIBES STILL ANOTHER INDIAN.
"Standing Bear" is a very large and powerful man, weighing over 300 pounds, and standing nearly six feet. He came to the Agency on Thursday (issuing day) in a spring wagon. Agent Haworth informed us that there were still larger men in the tribe, and thought there was one that would weigh over 400 pounds.
Most of the Indians came in on issuing day to receive their rations, and afforded us a good opportunity to see them. Five barrels of sugar, with coffee, flour, and crackers in proportion are issued weekly. Then besides their rations they receive annuity goods to the amount of $25,000 during the year.
The amount of rations allowed to each individual per day is as follows; but as they draw it weekly, they receive seven times the quantity mentioned at one time.
Three pounds of beef gross weight.
1/2 pound of flour.
3/4 of an ounce of coffee.
1-1/4 ounces of sugar.
1/6 of an ounce each of salt and soap.
1/12 of an ounce of tobacco.
3/4 of a pound of bacon.
Crackers, or hard bread as it is generally called, is issued in lieu of flour.
The morning of "issue day" was cold and damp, and yet most of the men, women, and children were with nothing on their feet; and one child, old enough to walk, had nothing but a thin calico shirt on, and yet they did not complain of the cold. Many suffer from rheumatism and pneumonia in consequence.
Among the Kiowas and Comanches are men who have taken the lives of many, and until their head chiefs were captured and sent to St. Augustine, Florida, and confined as prisoners in Texas, they openly boasted of their exploits and atrocities.
The Plains Indians all wear their hair long, never cutting it except in mourning for the dead. Many of them pride themselves in keeping it well arranged, but it is generally allowed to hang loosely over their shoulders.
There are many peculiar traditions among them. A few of which we give below, as received from Mr. Battey, who has spent years among them.
"One of the party asked the chief what the Kiowas thought of the moon. He replied, 'It is the Great White Man;' then, looking for a cluster of stars, which he did not succeed in pointing out to us, he stated to have the outline of a man, and to be the Great Kiowa. He subsequently pointed out to me the Pleiades, with some of the surrounding stars, as this cluster.
"In reply to the question, 'What becomes of us when we die?' he answered that he did not know what became of white people, as they were not made by the same being that made the Indians. But when Kiowas die, the spirit travels a great way toward the sunset, and crossing a high mountain ridge, it comes at length to a wide water, which it has to cross. Upon arriving at the opposite shore, it is met by former loved friends, who have gone before to this happy land, and who now rejoice to meet it again. There the game is always fat and plenty, the grass is always green, the horses large, swift, and beautiful. The inhabitants are never sick, nor feel pain. Parting and tears are unknown--joy fills every heart. A high mountain stands near the boundaries of this land, and watchers are set upon it, who are continually looking along the road leading from this country, watching for the spirits of the dying and newly dead--whether they die naturally, in battle, or by accident; and when they discover any coming along the road, they immediately call to the friends of the coming spirits, who go forth with rejoicings to meet them, and conduct them to the lodges they have prepared for them."
"Dangerous Eagle was again compelled to remain behind on account of his wife's illness, which continued for several days before she expired. Before leaving, I saw this woman engaged in digging her grave. This led me to fear that the patience of her husband was so nearly exhausted by his repeated detentions on her account, that violent means would be resorted to if she did not soon die. I have known instances among these people--though not among Kiowas--of men becoming discouraged, and killing their wives with their own hands, when they have been for some time sick, and their medicine (jugglery) failing to effect a cure. Indeed, I know a Comanche chief who cut the throat of his wife for that reason. She was sick a long time and their medicine did not cure her; so, to avoid the inconvenience of caring for a sick wife, who was not able to care for herself, after making 'medicine or preparation,' to fit her for a happy reception in the unknown land of spirits, he took her life, though mourning her untimely death. Such deeds are rare among them, but are still sometimes practiced, they setting but small value upon human life, and sick or very aged people are a great hindrance to their wild, roving, unsettled way of life."
The Caddos claim their fathers first spring up out of the ground. The Comanches' idea is that they were born in a cave, and that the Indians and buffalo were enemies, with the power in favor of the buffalo, until the Great Spirit sent a messenger informing them that they should conquer. They went forth with the messenger, who killed a deer, took the sinews from it, and strung a bow, and from a piece of flint made a arrow head, and the first time the buffalo attacked them, it was killed.
SON OF GOD.
The Apatches claim their father was the son of God and lived among the clouds with the Almighty. One day as their father was descending to the earth on a spider web, the Great Spirit sent a bolt of lightning and cut him in two; and out of one half of their Father, women grew, and children multiplied. The place of this remarkable occurrence is located across the "big water" in the Northwest, where the Indians crossed on the ice and came to this country.
All the traditions of the Apatches do prove that they came from the Northwest, and some even have a knowledge of Behring's Straight, where they claim their forefathers crossed. It is well established the Apatches have inhabited the mountains for more than a century; and it is the opinion of many that they are a part of the lost tribes of Israel, and the original pilgrims of this hemisphere.
We made it a point to visit the school of this Agency, also, and were well paid for the visit. The building is 1-1/4 miles from the Agent's house, and the school is conducted by Mr. A. J. Standing, a teacher of many years' experience among them. He had 62 pupils in the school, who were boarded, clothed, and cared for under his direction.
Mr. Standing took great interest in showing the advancement they had made while with him, and presented us with a number of specimens of writing and drawing, executed by the boys and girls.
With the older and younger members of the tribe, Agent Haworth seemed to be a favorite, and we were amused with the earnestness with which they examined the gray hairs of his beard to see if he would live long with them. They all know him as "Red Beard," the agent of Washington.
A very valuable article among them is the tooth of an elk. As most elks have no teeth, and never more than two, they are prized very highly, two teeth being worth one mule. We noticed a little girl, the daughter of a chief, who wore a sack on which were sewn 27 teeth, worth about $1,300, and were informed that another had one worth $2,100 according to their estimated value. A herd of thirty elk roam within forty miles of the Agency, but are rarely killed, owing to their remarkable instinct of avoiding their enemies.
On the road from the Cheyenne to the Wichita Agency, we saw 60 miles distant, with the naked eye, the elevated dome of Mount Scott, rising majestically above the horizon, surrounded by Mounts Sheridan and Medicine Bluff.
The first house after crossing the Canadian is that of George Washington's, a full blood Indian of considerable reputation, and formerly chief of the Caddos, of which tribe he is a member. During the war he fought against the Union Indians in the cause of the rebellion.
"In the summer of 1871, Caddo George, having had a field made, raised some corn to sell. He accordingly went to Shirley, the trader, and contracted his corn, and was furnished with a corn-sheller to shell it, and sacks to put it in. In due time the corn was delivered, which, from some cause, weighed unusually heavy. George, however, was paid in goods, at a heavy price, corresponding with the weight of the corn.
"When the sacks were emptied,--which was not done for several days,--a large stone was found in the middle of each sack, fully accounting for the great weight of the corn. George was called to an account by the trader, to whom he acknowledged that he had put the stones in the sacks.
"George stated that, having started on the white man's road, he thought it was a pretty good road, and was anxious to follow it up. He accordingly watched the white men, in order to learn it well. The trader had cheated him a great deal, and he thought it was part of the white man's road, and he would try and cheat him just a little. The logic was good, and George had been paid, the trader could recover nothing, and he had to consider the explanation satisfactory."
Among other good jokes told of George is that of an individual with whom he had traded horses and lost about $7.50, who stopped with him for dinner one day. After partaking of a hearty meal, he asked George what was his bill, when George replied in stuttering tones:
"Una, una, seven dollars una fifty cent."
"My G___d! For dinner?"
"Una, una, yes. You cheat me some day."
It don't do to refuse to pay board bills in that country, so the traveler had to come down with that amount.
The Kiowas are an exceedingly lively class of Indians, and are happy as long as they have plenty to eat. They relish quantity more than quality, and devour almost anything that a hog would eat, with great satisfaction. We witnessed the killing of a cow for beef. After shooting it a half dozen times in the shoulders and sides, the animal fell, and was soon divested of its hide. The meat was then cut from the bones, and part of the entrails saved. An unborn calf was cut open and its liver eaten raw while yet steaming with life.
Mothers picking and eating the insects from their children's heads, and other instances of filth unparalleled could be seen almost any time in the camps, and yet these Indians are far superior in manliness than those adjoining or near the settlements.
The wilder tribes are more honorable in war, and more faithful to promises than many of those nearer civilization. The language of the Kiowas cannot be interpreted; and in order to make their wants known, they talk Comanche, which is regarded as the predominent and standard language of the western portion of the Territory. Many speak Spanish, and all know the answer: "No savey,"--(don't understand), so commonly used in this country by the Chinese. "Wano," is good, and "chuckaway," something to eat. Many of the whites have abbreviated the word, and call it "chuck." All names of individuals have a meaning, and when anyone distinguishes him or herself, they are given a new name. "Ese-tike" is one of very peculiar meaning. "Ese"--wolf, and "tike,"--tail.
They call Sunday the white man's medicine day. To make medicine with them is to worship or call on Deity for assistance. They do not believe in future punishment, but are confident that all Indians go to Heaven, or the happy hunting ground, as they term it. They never speak the name of the dead, and are believers in spiritualism.
Among the Comanches is a man, who they claim performs miracles equal to those of our Saviour.
"The young medicine man makes bold pretensions. He claims that he has raised the dead to life. He is reported to have raised from his stomach nearly a wagonload of cartridges at one time, in the presence of several Comanches. He then swallowed them again, informing the Comanches that they need not fear the expenditure of ammunition in carrying on a war against the whites, as he can supply all their needs in that line. He can make medicine which will render it impossible for a Comanche to be killed, even though he stands just before the muzzles of the white man's guns. He ascends above the clouds far beyond the sun--the home of the Great Spirit, with whom he has often
"He has done these things in open daylight, in the presence of many Comanches, remaining in the sky overnight, and coming back next day; he has been known to do this four times. In short, he has power to control the elements, to send wind, lightning, thunder, rain, and hail upon his enemies, and in no respect is he inferior to the Great Spirit.
"The main body of the Comanches believe all this, and are afraid to disobey him for fear of his medicine if they offend him. Horseback, who has hitherto been friendly, brought in and left his ambulance with the agent, and gone to the great medicine council. Some few are bold enough to brave his medicine, and remain near the Agency. What the result will be it is impossible to forecast; but in all probability, the Comanches will be led by him wheresoever he sees fit. It is seriously to be feared that he will lead them to destruction, in which many others may become involved.
"How this bold pretender succeeds in deluding the minds of this people may be understood from the following: It is given out that at a certain time he will visit the sun, the dwelling place of the Great Spirit. A number of prominent persons are in attendance as witnesses. He withdraws himself a short distance from them, charging them to look directly at the sun until he speaks to them, then to let their eyes slowly fall to the place where he is standing; as they do this, they will see dark bodies descend to receive him, with which he will ascend.
His directions being complied with, the dark objects descend to him, and being blinded by their continued gaze upon the orb of light, he bids them slowly raise their eyes, and the dark objects arise, while he conveys himself away, and keeps concealed until the time appointed for his return. These men, thoroughly deluded, believe and report that they saw him ascend to the sun."
While at the different Agencies, our resident minister, Rev. Fleming, who made a tour similar to our own through the Territory, with Mr. O. P. Houghton, some time since, was highly spoken of and requests made that he should repeat his visit.
Corn at the Wichita Agency retails at 40 cents per bushel. Flour retails at $6 to $8 per 100 pounds. Hay by contracts, $7 per ton. Apples sixty cents per dozen. Ponies from $20 to $40 each.
Fort Sill is a military post of some importance, and frequently numbers 1,000 inhabitants. The buildings are built of stone in a very substantial manner, and would afford strong defense against an attack. There is a store, one hotel, one photograph gallery, one saloon and billiard hall, a barber shop, several laundries, besides a number of officers' residences and soldiers' quarters. A telegraph line extends to Jackborro, Texas, and while they are a long ways from civilization, they enjoy many advantages. Every two or three weeks, the soldiers give an entertainment of a theatrical nature, and dull time is driven away by the sports of horse racing and hunting game. The location is good, healthy, and very pleasant. They have a tri-weekly mail from Caddo, on the M. K. & T. Railway, and a tri-weekly from Wichita, Kansas. A new contract has been agreed upon by which the time required from Wichita to Sill is but forty-eight hours. The fare by stage between Caldwell and Sill is $20. From Caldwell to Cheyenne Agency $15. To Wichita Agency $18.
After remaining eight days at the Kiowa and Comanche Agency, we turned our faces homeward and drove about five miles, when we met a pack mule heavily loaded, with a white canvass over his load, making it appear as large as a small-sized elephant. Before we could give our horses an introduction to the harmless beast, they reared, plunged, and finally whirled round and started to run. As they wheeled, the pole of the wagon snapped off and the vehicle almost upset. We held on like grim death to a dying nigger, and by the timely assistance of our companion, were prevented from being dragged over the dashboard. The animals at last subsided and we crawled out to take an invoice of damages.
Finding we could not proceed, we straddled one horse, and leading the other, returned to the Agency after a wagon to draw ours in with. Agent Haworth, as usual, tendered his assistance, and before night Wm. Wikes, the carpenter, and David McBride, the blacksmith, had our vehicle ready to proceed with. The next morning we started again, avoiding everything in the shape of pack mules, and made a pleasant drive back to the Wichita Agency, where we met Theodore Moore, Howard, and Simms, going to Sill, and Jack Seaman, McCoy, and Hank Reed, just starting.
At ten o'clock the next day, we were on our road again and drove to George Washington's and stopped for the night. Bright and early the morning of the next day, we were again in our wagon, and reached Cheyenne Agency before noon, where we were entertained by Agent Miles for dinner.
Mr. Miles was in the height of enjoyment, as he had but recently been the recipient of a ten pound boy. (Babies weight two pounds more in the Territory than in this vicinity.) Before leaving we visited the school building, but did not have the opportunity of seeing the school in session as it was Saturday, and the children had gone home. They have 114 pupils enrolled. The school house is a very clean, and in a commodious building, well heated and ventilated. Mr. Miles is a thorough businessman and good financier. He has recommended to the Department that the Indians be awarded the contract for transporting their own goods, and has a bill before Congress to that effect.
Lee & Reynolds, at this Agency, will buy 10,000 buffalo hides of the white hunters this winter and hire the Indians to tan them, paying $3 for the tanning of each robe. A squaw can tan four a week.
The plan is a good one and meets the hearty approval of the Agent, as it will net them $30,000.
We drove from Cheyenne Agency to Jones' ranche during the remainder of the day, overtaking L. C. Norton, R. B. Scott,
B. Hyde, and Coffey at the Cimarron. After supper we took a turkey hunt by star light, but after wandering a distance of twelve miles and seeing but one bird, we returned to the ranche at 1 o'clock pretty well fatigued.
The next morning by daylight we were on our way again, and drove to Uncle Tom's cabin by twelve, and prepared to take dinner, when to our sorrow, our bread and cake had all molded during our long stay at Sill, and as we had managed to reach a ranch each meal time, we had not noticed it. What was to be done? Ninety miles from nowhere, no chuck, nothing to make any; and no friends. With a face as long as an ordinary bootjack, we implored Uncle Tom to bake us two loaves of bread, promising good pay. He did it in just an hour, and we were not long in starting again. Uncle Tom lives on Long Branch--so called from the fact it takes so long to find it.
We had proceeded but a few miles from our dining place when a fearful storm arose, accompanied by rain. Being anxious to get home, we kept on until our overcoats were soaked with water. A cold north wind with hail and snow then set in, and our faces were beaten blue with hail stones, and coats frozen on our backs, before we reached timber and a good camping place.
In camp we soon had a good fire, dried our clothes, and made our bed in the wagon, and were soon warm and fast asleep, notwithstanding we had been told that the Endicott boys had been murdered and scalped by Indians a few days before, near the same place. We were then in the treacherous Osage country, and used discretion accordingly, although we had no apprehensions of trouble.
The next day was equally cold, but the snow was not falling so fast. After a tedious drive of only 35 miles over a muddy road, we arrived home in time for supper, having eaten the last of our supplies early in the morning.
All in all, the trip was an enjoyable one, as well as profitable in the way of experience; and one that we shall be glad to repeat at no distant day. To parties who have never made a trip through a wild, unbroken prairie country, it would be relished beyond comparison. Early in the spring, after the grass is well started, or in the fall before cold weather, would be the best time to go.