About Us
Museum Membership
Event Schedule
Museum Newsletters
Museum Displays



[Beginning June 6, 1877.]




All Principal Streams Overflow Their Banks.

[From the Oxford Independent.]

Since the time to which the memory of man runneth, there has been no such flood in Southern Kansas as the one with which we have been visited within the past week. After a long time, with no rain to speak of in this valley, copious showers commenced falling on about the 24th of April, since which time nearly every succeeding twenty four hours have been attended with a heavy rain. For a time the people rejoiced and were glad for the timely visitation, until about the 15th of May, when it was generally conceded by the farmers that we were getting too much wet. The prairies were thoroughly soaked, the ravines and small streams well filled with water, but showers came with the same regularity and increased immensity. On Friday and Saturday nights, May 18th and 19th, the clouds apparently gathered in renewed force, the rain descended, and the floods came.

The Arkansas, Ninnescah, and Slate Creek, with all their principal tributaries, were thrown out of bank and the bottoms, to the extent of from one to three miles wide, completely covered with water, corn, and wheat fields submerged, frequently to a depth of from one to three feet, which must inevitably result in great damage to the crops and a loss to the farmers by destruction, damaging and carrying away of loose property. In many cases the farmers living on bottom farms were compelled to vacate their houses and seek a more elevated position, the water having taken possession of the first floor, which, in many instances, happened to be the only one in the house.

The bridge across the Ninnescah, the only one over that stream in the county, having been for days considered unsafe, was finally cut off from dry land by a sheet of water from one to three miles in width, and in many places too deep for fording, and on the morning of May 19th, no longer able to resist the pressure, went down the river.

The bridge over Slate Creek, south of Wellington, the only bridge over that stream, was also on the same day carried away, leaving parties on different sides of the stream most effectually cut off from communication.

The bridge over the Arkansas, at Arkansas City, was the first upon that river to give way, and is reported to have quietly let loose from its moorings on the night of May 15, 1877, and went whirling down that raging stream.

The bridge at El Paso fell early in the contest, and was carried away on the 17th, leaving the residents opposite no chance for escape except to the high land west of the Cow Skin, a distance of from three to five miles across the bottom, then nearly covered with water, and in places to a depth of from three to six feet, which was fortunately accomplished with no fatal results.

The bridge at Oxford was the last to yield to the force of the surging elements; was yet on Saturday night thought to be safe, but in this we were doomed to disappointment. With the bright sun on Sunday morning, the people of Oxford found themselves cut off from communication with the east, and all that was left of the Oxford bridge inaccessible by the space of over 300 feet, over which rolled the surging turbulent, and apparently angry waters of the raging Arkansas, three span of the west end of the bridge with two massive piers of masonry having entirely disappeared during the night.

The loss of the Oxford bridge is a heavy blow upon the business of Oxford, as well as upon the owners of the bridge. It was supposed to have been the best and most substantial bridge on the river; was owned by a private corporation here; built in 1872, at a cost of $14,500, and reflected great credit upon the enterprising owners, who conceived and executed the enterprise at so early a day and under very adverse circumstances. It was noticeable on Sunday morning that none of the owners appeared more discouraged or exhibited more profound regret at the loss of their property in the bridge than was manifested by the people generally. There is no property in Oxford but could have been better spared, or the loss of which could have been so sorely felt, but such is life.

Arrangements have been made by the bridge company by which a ferry boat will be immediately constructed and operated across the river at this point until such time as the bridge can be rebuilt. We have received or sent away no mail from this point since Friday, May 18th, so we are without news from the outside world. Arrangements are completed for transporting the mail across the river for the present by skiff, but up to date no one has been able to reach the stage road on account of high water in the bottom east of the river.

We have had no authentic communication from above this point, but it is rumored, upon what authority we are unable to say, that both bridges over the Arkansas at Wichita have been swept away by the flood. It is still hoped this may prove to be a mistake, but portions of broken bridges passed this point going down the river, hence there are grave fears that the rumor may be well founded.

Parties have now gone down the river in boats looking after bridges and other property that may have stranded or been carried out upon some of the over flowed bottom lands.




The following letter has been received by the Elk county railroad committee.

KANSAS CITY, MO., May 2, 1877.

Messrs. Woodring, Sweet and Vliet.

GENTLEMEN: We are authorized by Mr. Hunnewell, President of the L. L. & G. R. R. Co., to say that the extension of the Southern Kansas Railroad from Independence west will be made as fast as it can be done with the net earnings of the L. L. & G. and Southern Kansas road and individual subscriptions on the part of the bondholders of both roads, provided that aid of $4,000 per mile is secured. While they expect to accomplish more, they are willing to guarantee that the road will be finished to Elk City this year, to Elk Falls next year, and through Cowley county the year before. Yours,

GEO. H. NETTLETON, Gen. Manager.

B. S. HENNING, Receiver.

The Elk county Ledger says the surest indications we have seen that the L. L. & G. railroad is to be extended west is the fact that Independence is terribly scared. The people of that city send delegations out to Elk county to discourage and prevent our people from taking measures to secure the building of the L. L. & G. west from Independence. We cannot blame Independence for taking this course--it is only in self defense.

But if the people of Elk and Cowley counties really want a standard gauge road built through their respective counties, they have only to take hold with a will and pull together, and, in our opinion, they will secure the road within a few months. We are confident that it intends to build the road right away, and if it will give the proper guarantees that it will pass through the center of the county, there will be comparatively little trouble in securing the amount of bonds asked for, i. e., $4,000. Press.




A Chance to Make Money.

The Legislature at last session passed a law, a portion of which reads like this:

That the county commissioners of the several counties within the State shall issue county warrants to the person killing, to the amount of one dollar for every wolf, coyote, wild cat, or fox, and five cents for each rabbit killed in said county. . . .

The person to whom the bounty is awarded shall deliver the scalps of the animal, containing both ears, who shall cause the same to be destroyed. This act does not apply to counties having a total property valuation of less than $5. This act shall not be enforced until the same has been ordered by the board of county commissioners.

It is the intention of the county clerk to range these scalps around the walls of his office, and he thinks thus to be enabled to start quite a respectable museum in course of time. Wolves are quite plenty in the southern part of the county, hence here's an opportunity for the young men having nothing to do to occupy their spare time with profit to themselves and the county.




Mr. Titus, of Cowley county, has recovered $100 damages from Mr. Corking, the latter having bitten off a part of Mr. Titus' ear. This pays better than the old testament rule of "and ear for an ear." Commonwealth.

How are you "an ear for an ear" for an old testament quotation? You will have to read scripture more frequently, Prentiss. Besides, it was Corking that lost the ear.




The Arrival, Yesterday, of the Defaulting

Wichita First National Bank President,

Being Accompanied by a United States Detective,

And Adorned With a Pair of Steel Bracelets.


Mr. Chas. Jones, a United States Deputy Marshal, of Wichita, arrived in the city yesterday at noon, accompanied by the very Rev. J. C. Faker, ex-clergyman and ex-President of the First National Bank, the funds of which, ably assisted by Eldridge, the cashier, and Wright, the teller, he succeeded in getting away with. Eldridge and Wright were indicted at the last session of the United States District Court at Topeka, but when the officers of the law cast their eyes about them in search of the festive and religious Fraker, no trace of him could be found, he having folded up his little tent and his carpet bag and gone off somewhere on a visit for the benefit of his health. But


The ubiquitous United States detective smelled him out and found that the devout defaulter was on his way to the friendly land of Mexico, that paradise of defaulters and criminals generally. Fraker played it sharp. He didn't disguise himself as a tramp, or pass himself off as an Italian count. He changed his name to James Franks, and represented himself as


with $35,000 cash, wanted to buy some of the fertile woodlands and prairies of Texas. He shaved off his whiskers, and except to an intimate acquaintance, he couldn't have been recognized by any photograph in existence. And that's they way the managed it. They sent a intimate acquaintance in the shape and form of the United States Deputy Marshal, Charles Jones, who followed him with steady pertinacity and stealthy persistence until he finally had the pleasure of turning over his man to the tender mercies of the United States Marshal in this city, yesterday. They didn't have the easiest time imaginable in capturing the revered rogue, as he was nervy and


sufficient to shoot his revolver a few times before being taken. The scene of his capture was El Paso county, Texas, near Isletia, about two weeks ago. He is under bonds of $9,000, and it is understood that the U. S. District Attorney Peck will endeavor to have it raised. In the meantime the revered gentleman is occupying his time between meals in playing checkers with his nose, which, although probably a more pleasant recreation, is hardly as profitable as robbing National Banks. Leavenworth Times.





We had the pleasure, Saturday, of a call from Maj. Frank North, of this city. Maj. North has for some time been in command of the Pawnee scouts in the service of the Government, numbering several hundred, and was on his way back to camp at Sidney, Nebraska, from the Indian Territory, to which place had had taken the scouts, they now being discharged of service because the Cheyennes have surrendered and there is no serious trouble anywhere with Indians. Maj. North, though a native of New York, has passed most of his life on the frontier, and is one of the best known and most skillful Indian fighters in the service. He is very well informed in regard to the Indians, and acts as interpreter, as he can speak the language of a number of Indian tribes.

In personal appearance, Maj. North looks just like one would expect an Indian scout and frontiersman to look. Tall, athletic, keen eyed, with his perceptive and observing faculties prominently developed, easy and quick in his movements, and with just such features and expression as we should think an artist would portray were he designing the portrait of a man whose business it was to cope with the wily savage and force him to retire before the advancing wave of civilization, we found Maj. North a man worth listening to.

The Pawnee tribe, which occupies a reservation in the Indian Territory, is always called upon to furnish scouts in case of war with hostile Indians, and in some of the recent battles with the Cheyennes, these scouts have done most of the fighting.

Major North left on Monday for Sidney, and will remain in the service of the Government if the army is not largely reduced in consequence of the failure of Congress to appropriate money for it as usual. Emporia News.




The Commissioners, last Saturday, licensed a ferry on the Arkansas river at Oxford. Messrs. Murphy and Carroll will run it. Their application for license was hotly contested by other parties. Press.




The city of Newton lost one thousand dollars worth of bridges by the late flood.

Many sheep, cattle, and hogs were drowned in the vicinity of Sedgwick City, by the flood.

E. G. Topping lost three cows, and J. N. Hayes fifty lambs, near Sedgwick City, by the flood.

Henry Stansbury was drowned at the mouth of Sand Creek, south of El Paso, on Sunday last.

The dam across the Little Arkansas, at Halstead, was swept away by the late flood, and the mill damaged to the amount of $3,000.

The fine bridge over the Arkansas river at Oxford withstood the fury of the surging waters until 12 o'clock Saturday night, when it too weakened and went out.

Gatling, the inventor of the celebrated Gatling gun, formerly lived at White Cloud, Kansas.