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The Ranch at Cimarron Crossing

by Louise Barry

Autumn 1973 (Vol. XXXIX, No. 3), pages 345 to 366
Transcription & HTML composition by Larry E. & Carolyn L. Mix;
digitized with permission of The Kansas Historical Society.
NOTE: The numbers in brackets are links to footnotes for this text.

RATHER predictably the middle and generally-used ford of the Arkansas on the Santa Fe trail's Cimarron desert route came to be known as Cimarron Crossing. However, prior to the 1860's this name was little used! Scattered information, brought together for the first time here, supplies proof, also, that the middle crossing was relocated at least twice between 1827 and the 1860's. In 1827 it was near "The Caches." From an early period (early 1830's?) till 1852, the main ford was west of present Ingalls. In a move instigated by the military, "Cimarron Crossing" then was shifted some eight and a half miles downriver to a site west of present Cimarron. (See map below, "Some Trails to Santa Fe Through Southwest Kansas.")

The map facing page 352.

Some Trails to Santa Fe Through Southwest Kansas
The Arkansas River Route and Several Cutoffs via the Cimarron River

Joseph C. Brown (the trail's surveyor, 1825-1827), in his report, located the middle crossing as follows:

Some turn off at a place known to the Santa Fe travelers by the name of the "Caches," [storage holes dug by traders in 1823, west of present Dodge City] near to which is a rocky point of a hill at some distance from the river, composed of cemented pebbles, and therefore called Gravel Rocks. At about 3 miles southwest from this rock is a place of crossing for those who travel the lower route, or directly to the aforenamed Semaron Spring. . . . [1]

Josiah Gregg (who first went to Santa Fe in 1831), in his Commerce of the Prairies (1844), had this to say of fording the Arkansas:

. . . during the greatest portion of the year, the channel is very shallow. Still the bed of the river being in many places filled with quicksand, it is requisite to examine and mark out the best ford with stakes, before one undertakes to cross. The wagons are then driven over usually by double teams, which should never be permitted to stop, else animals and wagons are apt to founder, and the loading is liable to be damaged. . . . [2]

Dr. Frederick A. Wislizenus, en route to Mexico with Albert Speyer's train (22 large, heavily laden wagons, each drawn by 10 mules; several smaller vehicles; 35 men), in 1846, wrote:

. . . we arrived at the usual fording place of the Arkansas. . . . The river is here several hundred yards wide, very sandy but not deep, and generally easily forded. The road, which continues to run up the river on its northern bank, leads to Bent's Fort . . . but [the] shorter route by crossing here the Arkansas, and striking southwest for the Cimarron, is preferred by the Santa Fe traders. . . . [On June 10] The whole morning was spent in crossing the wagons. To each of the large wagons from 8 to 10 couple of mules were put, and in about six hours all stood safe on the other side. . . . [3]

It is likely that the first change of "middle" fords occurred in the 1830's, but the earliest evidence is in Gregg's Santa Fe trail table of distances, 1844, where "Ford of Arkansas" is listed as 20(?) miles above "The Caches" (instead of near them). Maps by Gregg (1844), Emory (1847), and Wislizenus (1848), also show the middle crossing miles above "The Caches ." [4]

Fort Mann, or Mann's Fort -- a government stockade -- was built on the Arkansas, below, but within sight of "The Caches," in 1847. (It was abandoned for good in the fall of 1848.) Maj. James H. Carleton (in 1848) listed the distance from Fort Mann to "Crossing of Arkansas" as 26 miles. John A. Bingham (in 1848) recorded it as, 30 miles in his table of distances. Bvt. Maj. Henry L. Kendrick (who camped "Near Fort Mann" in 1849) put down the distance to "Crossing of Arkansas" as 22.99 miles. Despite the discrepancies, presumably they all had reference to the same ford -- that is the crossing used in 1844 (which means, not surprisingly, that Gregg's mileages were estimates, and not accurate). Another table (not identified), apparently of about 1849 date (but published in an 1859 guidebook), gave the distance from Fort Mann to Lower [i. e., Middle] Crossing of the Arkansas" as 25.34 miles. This, no doubt, was a reliable statistics. [5]

Between "The Caches" and Fort Mann another landmark -- Fort Atkinson -- was constructed in 1850. This short-lived army post (abandoned 1853; but used as a summer camp, 1854) was located some, three quarters of a mile above Fort Mann. Asst. Surg. Aquila T. Ridgely, stationed at Fort Atkinson in 1851-1852, reported: "It [the fort] is twenty-six miles below the 'crossing of the Arkansas', . . ." 2Lt. William D. Whipple, on his way to the southwest in the summer of 1852, wrote: "twenty-five miles beyond Fort Atkinson is the old and main crossing of the Arkansas River to take the Cimmarron route." From figures supplied by Francis X. Aubry, it was stated in the Missouri Republican of May 18, 1852, that the distance "From Cimarone crossing, to Fort Atkinson" was 25 miles. (Aubry's is the earliest-located mention of the middle ford of the Arkansas as Cimarron Crossing.)" [6]

As for Lieutenant Whipple's reference, above, to "the old and main crossing," there was significance in his use of "old." Other fords, nearer the army post, were being tried, one of which, by 1853, became the new main crossing. William Carr Lane (en rotate to New Mexico to become its territorial governor) left Fort Atkinson in August, 1852, with Maj. James H. Carleton's command (a company of dragoons, a brass cannon, two baggage wagons, and an ambulance). In his diary he wrote:

Crossed the Arkansas about 18[?] miles from the Fort and had some difficulty in the transit. . . . The Arkansas river was a little over a quarter of a mile in width and is just up to the bottom of the carriages, but we escaped any wetting. The banks are low and it don't appear that the river ever rises more than about eight feet, and that it overflows its banks. The waters are as muddy as the Missouri river. The banks are bare of timber and underbrush and do not contain any rock. The east side is sheltered with a range of sand hills some eight or ten miles wide. [7]

G. Harris Heap, westbound in 1853, noted in his "Itinerary" that it was 10[?] miles from Fort Atkinson to "1st Crossing of S. Fe trail"; and from that point to the "2d Crossing" it was five[?] miles. This "2d Crossing," which by Heap's calculation was 15 miles above the army post, must have been the one Line described as "about 18 miles from the Fort." Heap made no reference at all to the "old" crossing 25 or 26 miles above Fort Atkinson. Though his distances must be questioned, Heap's "Itinerary" does confirm that the new middle crossing, nearer Fort Atkinson, had been established by 1853. [8]

W. W. H. Davis, who went to New Mexico with the November, 1853, mail party, gave no mileages, and had only this to say in his book El Gringo: "We encamped . . . at the middle crossing among the sand-hills. We forded the river the next morning opposite our campground, and stopped on the other side for breakfast. There were herds of buffaloes and antelopes grazing near. . . ." [9]

Robert M. Peck, recalling (in 1903?) the year 1857, and his travels then, and subsequently, across Kansas as a cavalryman, wrote as follows:

About fifteen or eighteen miles west of the ruins of old Fort Atkinson was the Santa Fe crossing of the Arkansas. The crossing was opposite -- almost under -- a high bluff, that overlooked the ford and surrounding country for some distance. In recent historical sketches, I have noticed some diversity of opinion between writers as to the relative location of and distance between old Fort Atkinson and the Santa Fe crossing, varying from eight to twenty-six miles. I have traveled the road and camped many times at both places, and we always considered it a short day's march between them, and we usually called the distance fifteen or eighteen miles, but I never knew the exact measurement. [10]

In the fall or winter of 1858, Dr. J. W. Reed traveled the Santa Fe trail (by way of its upper Arkansas, or Bent's Fort branch). From his 1859-published guidebook the following is quoted -- not for his mileages, which are incompatible with those in other published tables of distances -- for his statements on Arkansas crossings: ". . . thence to old Fort Mann or Atkinson [i. e., Fort Atkinson], 15 miles . . . ; thence to the present crossing of the Arkansas, 13 miles. Here the road crosses, leading to Fort Union and Santa Fe; thence to the old crossing, 18 miles; thence to the Pawnee Fort, 14 miles. . . ." [11]

In Randolph Marcy's The Prairie Traveler, published in 1859, is a table of distances "From Westport, Missouri, to the gold diggings . . ., via the Arkansas River," which states: "At 17 miles [beyond Fort Atkinson] pass a ford." No other crossing is mentioned. [12]

Listed here are the ways in which some 1859 guidebooks' tables of distances referred to the middle Arkansas crossing: Tierney: "the Santa Fe crossing of the Arkansas river"; Parsons: "Cross[ing] Santa Fe tr[ail]"; Gunn: "Arkansas Crossing"; Pratt and Hunt: "Cross[ing] Santa Fe trail." Clearly, the middle ford was not generally known as Cimarron Crossing in the 1850's.

In February, 1861, travel on the Cimarron route was reduced when the Santa Fe mail stages began using the Upper Arkansas (or, Bent's Fort) road. The change was made to supply mail service to Fort Lyon (established 1860 as Fort Wise; renamed in 1862). Freighting of government supplies increased during the Civil War years, but the amount of traffic using Cimarron Crossing and the old Cimarron route cannot be determined. In 1907, when a project to place Santa Fe trail markers along the route was under way, there was public debate as to the relative importance of the Cimarron route and the Upper Arkansas branch. Robert Wright (western Kansas pioneer of 1859) was quoted as follows: "I will say that the biggest trail and by far the most travel long before 1859, was west of the Cimarron crossing, on the north side of the Arkansas river. After 1863 [i. e., 1864] when the Indians broke out, more than three-fourths of all travel took this route as far as Bent's Fort. . . ." [13]

A stage station known as Adkins's ranch was built on the Arkansas about eight and a half miles below the Fort Atkinson ruins sometime in 1863. Although in existence but briefly (Indians burned it in 1864) the name survived by appearing on two mid-1860's tables of distances. More importantly, Adkins's ranch was the site selected in April, 1865, for a new army post -- Fort Dodge. (On the original land survey plat the fort is shown on Sec. 3, T. 27 S., R. 24 W.) [14]

"Fort Dodge is . . . about 10 miles east of old Fort Atkinson . . ." -- so stated Bvt. Ltc. G. A. Gordon, post commandant, on April 28, 1866. His successor, Bvt. Maj. Andrew Sheridan, wrote, on October 10, 1866: ". . . this post . . . is distant about Nine (9) miles from old Fort Atkinson, in an easterly direction." [15]

The information below is extracted from three Santa Fe trail tables of distances published in the mid-1860's:

(1) Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Journal of Commerce, May 28, 1865 --
Kansas City to "Adkin's Ranch" [Fort Dodge site] 341.99 miles
Kansas City to "Old Fort Mackey" [Atkinson] 350.57 miles
Kansas City to "Cimarron Crossing" 367.56 miles
(Distance from Fort Dodge to old Fort Atkinson: 8.58 miles.)
(Distance from Fort Dodge to Cimarron Crossing: 25.57 miles.)
(Distance from Fort Atkinson to Cimarron Crossing: 16.99 [17] miles.)

(2) Kansas Weekly Tribune, Lawrence, January 25, 1866 --
Lawrence to "Adkin's ranch" [Fort Dodge site] 288 miles
Lawrence to "Cimarron Crossing" 315 miles
(Distance from Fort Dodge to Cimarron Crossing: 27 miles.)

(3) J. West Goodwin's Pacific Railway Business Guide . . . (1867), p. 185 --
Junction City to "Fort Dodge" 206 miles
Junction City to "Cimarron Crossing" 231 miles
(Distance from Fort Dodge to Cimarron Crossing: 25 miles.)

The mileages speak for themselves. Noteworthy is the regular use of "Cimarron Crossing" as the name for the middle Arkansas ford in these tables of the 1860's. [16]

II. The Ranch at Cimarron Crossing (1866-1868)

From New Hampshire, in the fall of 1865, John Francis (Frank) Hartwell, aged 30, and his brother William H. Hartwell, 21, arrived in Kansas to seek their fortune." At Topeka they met a man named Ripley who was en route, with his wife, to Big Turkey Creek stage station (73 miles west of Council Grove). He recommended that they, too, buy a Santa Fe trail ranch. The Hartwells purchased Six-Mile Creek station, 22 miles beyond Council Grove. [18] During the winter business was poor; and the situation did not improve in the spring of 1866. Also, there was news that the stage line's starting point would be moved westwards. [19] For these reasons the Hartwells wanted to sell out. The division superintendent of the stage line told them the company was in need of a ranch at Cimarron Crossing, but warned that it was a dangerous undertaking because of hostile Indians. Quoting William Hartwell's reminiscences of his ranching years:

Cimeron Crossing of the Arkansas River -- twenty six miles west of Ft. Dodge was represented as a no. one place for a good ranch. At this point the two routes to New Mexico separated, the Cimeron route crossing the river, . . . while that known as the Raton followed up the north side, crossing at Bent's old fort in Colorado. The result was, that Frank, Ripley, Dutch Henry and myself enter[ed] into company and accept[ed] the enterprise. The two former, accompanied by four others -- all well armed, started for Cimeron to commence building, I remaining at six mile only long enough to dispose of our ranch . . . [20] I then lost no time in loading up our household stuff, and with a good team, took the risk of being plundered and scalped, by pushing forward, part of the time alone, until I arrived safely, in due time at our destination.

The site of our habitation was indeed primal. We were in the midst of a vast open plain, covered only with cactus on the higher ground and with grass in the river bottoms as high as a man on horseback. Pra[i]rie-dog towns were everywhere. Buffalo could be seen in any direction, and for an hour at a time the river might be heard roaring in the night from the crossing of great herds, plunging through at an unchecked headlong lope. Wolves and pra[i]rie-dogs made doleful plaint from darkness until dawn, so that all about us was open and lonely.

It behooved us to build as rapidly as possible. The material used was turf and we had to go twenty miles for timber upon which to lay the roofing, consisting first of poles, then a layer of buffalo hides and gunny sacks and upon this an eight inch course of dirt or sod. When Cimeron [ranch] was completed she consisted of a kaavl [corral] one hundred steps square, the main building -- forty by sixteen feet -- joining on the South West corner with a two story round tower -- pierced with loop holes from which we could fire our trusty carbines in any direction. In the North East corner of our kaavl was a stage driver's lobby and a similar tower arose out of it, while the remainder of this enclosure furnished stabling capacity for forty heads of mules. The walls were two feet thick, so that every part of the building was not only secure against fire and weather, but also proof against bullets. With a supply of water which we kept in barrels, we could have withstood a siege. [21]

At full force (in 1866) there were 12 well-armed men at Cimarron (Crossing) stage station. In 1866 the Plains tribes still were observing the peace treaties made in October, 1865, and limiting their hostile actions to stock raids. Indians ran off "a few hundred dollars worth" from the ranch, but later some of the stolen animals were recovered. Generally speaking, 1866 seems to have been a satisfactory year for the Hartwells and their partners. [22]

William Hartwell's account of an incident at the ranch in January, 1867, is given here in slightly edited form:

The river was frozen and one day a band of young Arrapahoe bucks, out on a marauding expedition, under John Sullivan -- a blustering warrior -- crossed and came up to the ranch, entering the storeroom as coolly as if come to trade, passing the usual sign of peace -- "how." I went out for some purpose, and coming back presently, I met Ripley, who had just left the room as white as a sheet. Said he, "they are taking everything there is in there." The door opened from behind the counter and stepping in there was John Sullivan, assisted by two bucks passing out the things to the others. "See here," I said, "You thieving rascals puck-a-chee, puck-a-chee, you pap-poose chief." With that lie came toward me, spitting on his fingers and snapping them in my face. I grabbed up a wagon-spoke that happened to be within reach and dealt him a blow over the head with such force as to fell him like an ox, prone upon his face in the dust, the two other bucks fairly tumbling from behind the counter. Sullivan in the meantime staggering to his feet was kicked out before regaining his senses. By this time the others had sprung for their bows, but our navies (Frank was behind the stove) were drawn on them. At a motion they threw their weapons down and pleaded, "no shoot" "bueno chief" "heep goot," at the same time piling their plunder back on the counter.

Necessity is certainly the mother of invention, for a strange thought entered my mind. Frank was still behind the stove with his cocked navies. I took down a skillet, wet a rag in whisky, dropped it in, throwing thereon a couple of grabs of powdered brimstone [sulphur]. I motioned Frank to slip out and close the door behind him, which done, I fired the inflamable rag and backed out closing every avenue of breath or escape! The spasmodic coughing, grunting and sneezing of those fumigating bucks can be better imagined than described. How they sued to be let out. After holding them in, as long as we dared, you may be assured they came out better Indians than before fumigation. On their going away we gave them some flour and they left profuse in their thanks.

On the upper Cimarron, about the end of February, Cheyennes took four mules and two horses from "Mr. [Jim] Baker" and his cotrappers. Subsequently the white men came to Cimarron Crossing. In mid-March Maj. Henry Douglass, Fort Dodge commandant, after talking with their leader, reported on the 19th: "Mr. Baker stated to me that after 23 years experience in dealing with Indians his opinion, derived from the present aspect of affairs and condition of the Indians was that they would break out in open hostility in the spring." Later in the month Douglass learned that a retaliatory raid, without regard to tribe, was being planned by the trappers. He sent a letter to "Mr Baker Cimmarone Ranch" warning him to abandon the idea. However, on April 17 Baker and eight cohorts stole 12 horses from Little Raven's Arapahoe band -- then friendly to the whites -- and headed for the Upper Arkansas. [23]

News reached Fort Dodge in mid-April, 1867, that Cheyennes and Sioux would probably attempt to cross the Arkansas at or near Cimarron Crossing. On April 17 Maj. Wickliffe Cooper received orders to proceed to that area with his Seventh U. S. cavalry squadron (Companies B and C); set up camp; and send out patrols to intercept and capture all Indians who crossed. At Cimarron Crossing, on the 19th, a scout discovered a few Indians skulking in the area. Lt. Matthew Berry and a detachment of 20 men went to investigate, were fired on, and returned fire. All six of the Cheyennes and Sioux fought until killed. Among the effects of one warrior was a white woman's scalp which appeared to be quite fresh. Pvt. George Wimard, of Company C, received a bullet in his thigh; and one trooper's horse received an arrow wound probably fatal. [24]

On April 28 Company I, 37th U. S. infantry, reported at Fort Dodge for duty. [25] Some of the men were sent to Cimarron ranch. William Hartwell's reminiscences state: "The stage coaches were now coming in doubled, accompanied with an escort of blue jackets, while eleven soldiers were placed at each station. This increased our force at Cimeron to twenty five men. We strengthened our fortifications, though not an Indian until the 2nd[?] of June." [26]

It was June 7, 1867, when the first Indian attack of the year occurred at Cimarron Crossing. Juan Montoya, of Simitar, Rio Abajo, had 33 head of mules run off by a band of Kiowas on that date. No lives were lost in the raid, which apparently occurred south of the ford. Montoya later complained that he not only got no assistance at Fort Dodge (25 miles downriver), but five of his men were hired to work there, leaving him short of teamsters. According to Major Douglass, the Mexican train was inadequately armed. On June 12, east of Fort Dodge, upwards of 160 Kiowas, headed by Satanta, got away with 71 horses of Company B, Seventh cavalry. Pvt. Joe Spillman, a herder, received arrow wounds from which he died next day. [27]

Major Douglass, in a June 18, 1867, letter reported:

. . . on the 16th inst. a band of Indians numbering 70, attacked the Stage Station at the Cimmaron Crossing, and at the same time attacked the portion of the train of Mr. C[harles] G. Parker, en route for the states, which was crossing the river at that point. The Indians were repulsed at the station by the Guard of 37th Inf. stationed there; the portion of the train attacked was guarded by three Americans, two of them were killed, and one escaped by swimming the river. The wagons were plundered, and eight head of mules and 20 head of Cattle were run off. Immediately on receiving intelligence of this, I despatched Lieut. [Henry M.] Karples 37th Infantry with forty men of the 37th Inf. in wagons to the station, and they covered the crossing of the balance of the train, exchanging a few shots with Indians. . . . The Indians were supposed to be Cheyennes & Sioux. [Later, Kiowas were credited with these raids.] Lieut. Karples lost one man by the accidental discharge of his rifle. [28]

William Hartwell, in his recollections, wrote of the above attack:

A mule train from Santa Fe arrived on the south, or opposite side of the river, but the water being high a partial crossing was made a hundred yards above the regular ford. After six wagons were over, a herd of mules, in care of four men, were left still on the farther side to graze -- the pastures being good. They were some two hundred yards away from their wagons, when in an instant the Indians were upon them, a band of fifty, at least, riding in a circle and fighting as they rushed up. We stood at the ranch, overlooking the bottom, and witnessed the whole affair. Puffs of smoke and crack, crack, crack arose from the tall grass in the circle, the red-skins sheering off at each shot, only to rush on again between fires, and yet the men gained their wagons, where one of them fell shot dead. The second one broke for, and gained the waters of the friendly river, while the third, a Frenchman, hurriedly climbed into a wagon loaded with wool and crawled under the sacks. The Indians gathered around, stripped off the cover, ripped open the packs and pulled the unhappy wretch out by the hair of the head.

We could hear his shrieks, Maria, Dias, mia -- but an Indian is an utter stranger to pity. . . . A pistol shot, and all was over with the unfortunate man. The one that made for the river escaped, and fortunately, for the fourth one, he had crossed and come up to the ranch, just before the attack. From there he saw his companion of fifteen years in the mountains -- whom he loved like a brother, shot and scalped. He dropped upon his knees and we could see his lips move in prayer. The Indians being fired upon from another wagon, in the islands of the river, they mounted and tauntingly shook the two gory scalps as they retreated to the hills. That night, a messenger -- one of the escaped men -- rode in hot haste to Ft. Dodge for troops, returning the next day with a six mule team of blue coats . . . [29]

In addition to the report of Maj. Henry Douglass, Fort Dodge, and the reminiscences of rancher William Hartwell, there is extant another graphic account of the June 16 affair. It is in a letter by Mabillion W. McGee, of Kansas City, Mo., written on June 17, 1867, at Cimarron Crossing, addressed to Adam Hill, Independence, Mo., father of one of the victims:

I arrive[d] here this morning to finde Charley Parker hear with his train. The Indians made an attact on this train [yesterday] when there was eight wagons on this side [of the Arkansas] and some three in the river at the time. There was two Mexicans and one French man left with the wagons on this in company with a young man name[d] Hill [i. e., Curtis Hill]. The Frenchman and Hill was killed and the Mexicans run into the river Hill had a good rifle and revolvers He had nineteen shots and emptied evry one He was kill[ed] rite between the wheels The rest of the men was in and on the other side of the river. The Indians got evry thing he had They took eight mules and cut the bales of wool open and took the cloths and the wagon sheets

Parker is now sitting by me and tell[ing] me all about it Mr. Parker says that this Mr Hill was a very fine man and is from Independence and he does not no his given name He was a man about 22 years old Heavy set well bilt with rather light hair and that he had been in the Southern Army and Parker says that he thinks his father used to be a blacksmith He went out with Romaro to Las Vegas [N. M.] and ride [rode?] in company with him Mr Parker says that he buried him deasently He is buried at the pos rite nt of the ridge one-half mile from the ranch above the crossing Him and the Frenchman together with thare heads to the east and He is on the right Smith[?] owns the ranch and can show you the grave if you want to get his remains Parker says that if you want any assistance from him he is at your servis He is traveling the road all the time frating

There was about 60 Indians made the charge one other white man was on his side and broke in the river and was saved one Mexican boy is lost cant tell what has become of him I am pretty certain that he [Hill] was one of your sons I am on my way out to mexico for my helth and my wife with me I will go to the grave before I go on The Indians are very bad and the troops that is out is no protection to any trains that is passing There was some thirty wagons in the two trains The river is very high it is swimming in some places and is very difficult to cross. . . . [30]

In a July 23, 1867, letter, Maj. Henry Douglass, Fort Dodge, reported:

. . . a train of ten wagons carrying Govt. freight & owned by John Blackman was attacked by Indians, about 15 miles above this post on the Santa Fe road. [No date is given, but it appears to have been July 18 when this incident -- 10 miles below Cimarron Crossing -- occurred.] The number of men on the train was twenty (20), and they had an addition of five convalescent soldiers on their way to Fort Union. They fought with great bravery, and with the exception of one Boy mortally wounded & one ox killed, sustained no loss. I promptly dispatched thirty men in wagons to their assistance under command of Lieut. S[tanley A.] Browne [i. e., Brown, of the U. S. Volunteers -- serving with the] 3rd U. S. [Vol.] Inf. . . .

[An] American train on the other side of the river at Cimarron Crossing was also attacked. The train was in charge of Mr. Jose Guttierrez, and they had in all one hundred and thirty men [20 to 30 of them mounted]. The Indians [numbering about 60] succeeded in demoralizing the train and running off 530 head of Cattle. Killed two men, & wounded three -- the Mexicans dared not emerge from behind their wagons -- the Indians deliberately scalped the two men killed within 200 yards of the wagons -- one California Indian [with the train] was the only one who showed fight and he received three lance wounds while defending himself with the butt of his musket.

The ranche at Cimarron Crossing was also attacked [on the 18th], also a party out cutting hay. Of the latter, two were killed & one wounded. No one was injured at the ranche. Lieut. Browne on learning this went at once to the Crossing, but was unable to effect an engagement with the Indians. . . .

Though not mentioned by Major Douglass, Pvt. James Collins, Company F, Third U. S. infantry, wounded in an engagement with Indians at Cimarron Crossing, was received at the Fort Dodge hospital on July 20. Presumably he was one of Lt. Stanley A. Brown's men. [31]

These are William Hartwell's reminiscences, in edited form, of the attack on the hay cutters at Cimarron Crossing July 18:

The Stage Company was in need of hay and offered us two thousand dollars for the putting up of a hundred tons. We took the contract and went to mowing in the tall grass of the river bottom. On the 17th [i. e., 18th?] of July we grew careless -- not having so far been molested, although a week had passed since beginning work. The warm day, too, made us forgetful. Barney and Sam -- I can't now recall their surnames -- Frank and I went to the grounds that day. Frank and Barney were mowing with a team of four horses, while Sam and I were raking with one horse. We had two wagons, from which six yoke of oxen were unyoked and turned loose to graze. The day, as I before said, was hot, so that we had -- all but Frank -- left our guns and revolvers with our coats at the wagons.

About ten o'clock, I chanced to look up from my work. The first thought that flashed through my mind was that the oxen seemed wonderfully scattered. The next came the truth, Indians! I ordered Sam to the wagons, to get the guns and make for the river, where he could protect me while I ran to warn Frank and Barney, who were then running the machine up a slough. I yelled at the top of my lungs "Indians! Indians!" but doubtless, the noise of the machine drowned my voice. The Indians, seeing that they were discovered, raised up on their ponies and came charging. On I ran, yelling until the savages were nearly on us. Turning I saw that I could not get back to Sam, who was on the bank down the river from me. I took the shortest cut to the water.

Having but little clothing -- a flannel shirt, light pants and moccasins, I must have gone with the speed of the wind, yet they were closing in -- their pistol shots were whistling uncomfortably near. I heard one sing out, in English, vile names, and "you'll never make that river." The clatter of hoofs coming close behind I glanced back and caught sight of the gleam and sweep of a lance, as it circled over the buck's shoulder. The hope of life left me like the drop of a leaden plummet and an insane desire seized me to kill that Indian. Wheeling, I rushed at him so savagely that his pony shied and nearly unhorsed him. He passed me, and the hope of life sprang to my aid and gave wings to my feet, and before he could turn, I plunged, diving into the friendly waters of the river.

The swimming art I learned in boyhood was worth more than millions in gold to me now. I went diagonally with the current, as long as I could hold my breath, as I came up I threw the water from my mouth, inhaled, and went under again, but caught a glimpse of the bullets as they flecked the water and whistled about me. Notwithstanding, I succeeded in reaching a willow island, my objective point. The river being high from the melting of mountain snows was all that kept my enemies from following. However, they saw me and sent bullets over, but they fell short, though some of them came uncomfortably near. I hid in the rushes and willows and knew enough not to take a direct course, as I crawled to the opposite side.

Up to that time, I was ignorant of the fate of my companions. I saw Barney and Frank leave the machine and run, and I also saw Sam at the river bank. Hearing a splashing in the water above, I peered out and saw someone struggling in distress as the full stream brought him down. It was Barney shot through both arms. I instantly slipped out into the current and swam to him, in a few moments pulling him under cover of the island willows. "Where is Frank?" I demanded. He shook [his head] "I don't know." Soon he got astride of my back, holding to my wide shirt collar with his teeth, and as we pushed out into the stream the enemy who saw us, fired a few shots and rode away.

Our objective point was a large Mexican train coming up a half mile below us on the South side. As we drew near to the [the] train, a Mexican came to the river bank and leveled his carbine at us, but we yelled and he quit his aim. Yet, being still suspicious, brought his weapon again on us, and again we yelled "No shoot" "Mexican hombre." When fortunately, a white man came running to the spot and took the gun from his hands. . . . We were helped out of the water, and when we reached the train I looked across the river and saw the Indians who had been after us, riding to the high bluff beyond and there holding one of their infernal jollifications over their victory! They were riding, gesticulating, and going through fifty other devilish antics.

I was in great distress of mind, fearing they had taken my brother and other companion prisoners, and were then torturing them, as was their wont to do with captives. I determined to recross the river and see if I could learn anything of their fate. Taking up the South bank to about opposite the place of our attack I plunged in and swam over, but carried by the current, landed somewhat below. I found a pair of moccasins, showing their owner to have probably taken to the water. When I saw Sam last he was quite a distance below and surely would not have run in this direction. So, I concluded at last that it must have been brother Frank, that they might have killed or wounded him and gone into the water for his scalp. I searched the islands from there downward. I repeatedly called their names, but got only a hollow echo in answer.

However, on the head of a small island below I saw a body lodged, and swimming to it, pulled it out and it was poor Sam, scalped and with a bullet hole in the back of his head. Seeing a horseman come into view, I thought it prudent to seek safety, so taking the body with me, I floated it with the current down to the ranch. The soldiers and stage people came down and bore the body up to the house, and that afternoon buried it. Poor Sam had told me of having a sister in Denver. I wrote the full particulars of his sad fate, but never receiving an answer, concluded that it had miscarried or did not reach the proper destination. The Mexicans brought Barney over and he went for nursing to the hospital at Ft. Dodge, where in time he recovered.

On the night following, one of the oxen of the six yoke came up dragging a Iariat and with several pointless arrows sticking in his neck. They had cut the beast-straps and tugs, and before running the horses and mules off, had attempted to burn the mower with hay not dry enough to take fire. The long grass was trampled and a broken sickle bar at the end of a crooked swath showed that they had quite a time in securing the frightened and refractory team. . . .

I was heartily sick of ranching. I was also haunted with the thought that my brother might still be in the hands of the savages and a victim of their cruel torture, and to make matters worse, cholera had come West, it was bad at Ft. Dodge, and already two had died at Cimeron. Finally, I found a man to whom I sold my share of the ranch, and bid farewell to Cimeron.

In October, when the river was low, the body of my brother was found, shot through the head and scalped. He was doubtless in the stream when killed, and the Indian who went in after his scalp took off his moccasins -- being those I found on the bank when looking for him and his companion. . . . [32]

A. J. Anthony (36) and Robert M. Wright (26) "bought out the Cimarron ranch, twenty-five miles west of Fort Dodge." It appears the change of ownership took place early in August, 1867. Anthony was "an old 'Overland stage messenger' [who] had seen lots of ups and downs with the Indians on the plains, and rather enjoyed them" -- according to his partner. Wright had built some of the stage stations along the trail, and, with another partner, had operated the ranch at Fort Aubrey for two years.

Indians and cholera were the two chief hazards in the Cimarron Crossing area during the summer of 1867. Wright was cholera-stricken after attending the ranch cook who died of it. The Barlow, Sanderson & Company owners had him taken to Fort Dodge, where he recovered after treatment from army doctors. Wright recollected: "The cholera was perfectly awful . . . ; it killed soldiers, government employees, Santa Fe traders, and emigrants. Many new graves dotted the roadsides and camping places, making fresh landmarks." [33] For one period of several weeks the ranchers had a respite from Indian harassment; and later learned that cholera was the reason.

Haymaking was the imperative summer-and-fall operation at Cimarron Crossing ranch. Anthony and Wright recruited "some of the old-timers and went to making hay." In reminiscences, Wright recalled:

Day after day the Indians would harass us in some manner . . . they repeatedly ran off our stock, fired into and broke up our camp, until even the old-timers . . . began to grow tired. . . . Still we persisted, were hopeful, and continued to hire new men at from $75 to $100 a month for common hands. . . . Well, the Indians finally exhausted us of our horse stock, and we had to resort to ponies; but they were too small and we got along very slowly. We were compelled to purchase a big span of mules of the United States mail company, for which we paid $600. Mr. Anthony was very proud of them, as he had often sat behind them when he was a messenger on the overland routes. They were named Puss and Jennie. The first morning they were sent to the haystack Anthony was in the corral stacking. After a while he came to the house, looking as proud as a peacock, and said to me: "Hear that machine? Ain't Puss and jenny making it hum? " But the, sound did not seem natural to me, so I grabbed a spy-glass and ascended to the lookout on top of the building. Sure enough, just as I expected, I saw two Indians come up, one on each side of the mules, pounding them over the back with their bows, and they were making it hum, while the boys in the camp were shooting as fast as they could load and fire, protecting the poor driver, who was running toward them for his life, with about two dozen of the red devils after him, whooping, yelling and shouting as they charged upon him. The two Indians who attacked the driver . . . had . . . rushed out of the brush on the bank of the river, and were upon him before he had the slightest idea of their presence, and running off with the mules. His two revolvers were strapped upon the machine, and he could do nothing but drop off behind from his seat, leave his weapons, and run for his life. . . .

Near Cimarron Crossing on September 11, 1867, a train westbound with a military escort was ambushed by Indians. Four men were killed and five wounded at first fire; 12 mules were captured. Another train near Fort Lyon, lost 60 mules -- also on the 11th(?); and the same night Cimarron ranch was robbed of 10 mules. Letters from Fort Dodge, received in St. Louis, September 19, reported that the Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Comanches, and Kiowas were "consolidated," and that 2,000 of them were on the war path. [34] On Sunday, September 29, 1867, occupants of Cimarron ranch spent several hours in jeopardy. Three drunken soldiers "running amuck" threatened to kill them. Writing from Fort Dodge two weeks after the affair, an 18th Kansas cavalryman sent this account to a Leavenworth newspaper:

At about 7:30 A. M. on Tuesday, Sept. 27th [i. e., September 29 -- Sunday] Sergeant [William] Gleason, intoxicated, went to Cimarron Ranche and asked Mr. S. J. [i. e., A. J.] Anthony, one of the proprietors, for a drink. It was given him on condition that he would behave himself and ask for no more. This was promised. In about fifteen minutes he returned with private John Smith, of the same company, and demanded more. Mr. A. refused to give him any. He threatened to break in the door; on being still refused, John Smith broke open the door, and threatened to shoot Geo. Woods, a crippled citizen, because he would not furnish them with liquor. Finally, he aimed his piece at Mr. Anthony and Geo. Woods, and threatened to shoot them unless their demands were complied with. Mr. A. gave them some whisky, as it was dangerous to deny them again. About 10 o'clock a train arrived, escorted by fifteen men of Company "I," same [37th infantry] regiment, under command of Sergeant Iveson. Corporal Cortigan, of Iveson's party, excited the wrath of Gleason and Smith. The offence was fancied, and, although Gleason and Smith chased him around, attempting to kill him, he escaped.

The Eastern coaches, two in number, arrived in the afternoon, John Huggins, the driver of one of them, excited the anger of Gleason and Smith and a Corporal, Thomas Gavan. Some revolver shots passed between Gleason and Huggins, neither of whom were injured. Mr. [Andrew] Wright, a stage conductor, got into an altercation with Gleason, when Smith knocked Wright down with the butt of his rifle.

The soldiers became enraged at the citizens, and swore to kill them. Shots were fired into the building. Three passed through one window, nine through a door, and many through an opening in the adobe wall. Sergeant Iveson's men were on the hill some three hundred yards distant, firing on Gleason's party. One of them shot George Woods in mistake for Serg't G., who was in his shirt sleeves. The three drunken soldiers broke crockery and furniture, and carried away $20 in postal currency and some canned fruits, etc. The firing ceased at about 5:30 P. M. Geo. Woods died from the effects of the shot in the side at about 6:30. Frank Harris, ranchman, also died at about the same hour.

Smith was killed because he would not surrender. Gavan is in the [Fort Dodge] guardhouse, and Gleason [also held there -- "charged with murder and riotous conduct"] will doubtless be shot or hung. There were thirty-two armed soldiers in the vicinity, but the sergeants commanding could not get their men to attempt a capture. They essayed to once, but when fired at they broke and ran from the three men. Sergeant Gleason was wounded in the leg. . . . [35]

Charles Raber and several other freighters, homeward-bound from Fort Union (N. M.), forded the Arkansas, and arrived at Cimarron Crossing ranch while the "small riot' was in progress. Raber told about it some years later:

. . . There were no civilians in sight when we arrived. They had taken refuge in the house with the doors and windows barricaded. [Martin] Keck took the trains down the river about a mile and made camp, while [William] Crenshaw, [Louis] Breyfogel, [William] Barr and myself remained.

There was at the station a forage train with an escort, in charge of a sergeant [Iveson]. They were all sober, but another escort in command of Sergeant Gleason was waiting to escort the stage that was due from the east. In the meantime Gleason and some of his men got drunk and quarrelsome. One got into a row with a stage driver and got shot in the leg, and that started the trouble. This was the only shot fired by the civilians, as they immediately retreated into the house and barricaded the doors and windows, but the soldiers commenced shooting into the house and into one of the towers. A stage driver [Frank Harris] who was sleeping there got killed. One of the soldiers, "Smithy" they called him -- acted like a crazy man, running around and shooting "Kill the citizens!" I saw him poke his gun against the breast of the sergeant of the forage train [lveson], who was trying to quell the disturbance, and threaten to shoot him if he didn't go away and let him alone.

In the meantime a man was let out the back way and started for the river. He was fired on immediately, but got across the river and started on the run towards Fort Dodge, twenty-six miles away. About this time, the stage from the east arrived. Among the passengers was a merchant from Taos, N. M., who was returning from the states with his bride. Some of the men were at the well drinking when "Smithy" ran up and knocked the cup out of a man's hand and became very abusive. At this stage I volunteered to take the woman to our camp on my horse while the men went afoot. Strange to say the soldiers never offered to molest any of us. It was a good thing for somebody; we were well armed and worked up to a high pitch and ready to take a hand at the drop of a hat.

Seeing that we could not assist our friends, we withdrew and went a short distance down the river toward camp to await the outcome, but we soon found it advisable to mount and get farther away as a stray shot kicked up the dust too close for comfort. We next saw a man make a break from the house and run for his life towards our camp. He was followed by a shower of bullets, but they went wild and he reached the camp unharmed. He was one of the stage messengers, and his name was King. Next we saw the forage train come out of the corral and pull over the ridge. In a short time the escort returned deployed in skirmish line, carrying a white flag. Before they got near the station Gleason and "Smithy" opened fire on them, which was returned immediately by a volley from the skirmish line -- killing "Smithy" and putting a ball through Gleason's right shoulder. That quelled the riot and the disturbers were placed under guard.

We rode back to learn the details of the trouble. The men in the house were all safe and glad to be rescued. One of them was a friend of ours, Andy Wright from Jackson county, Mo. He was one of the messengers of the Overland Stage Company. The casualties were as follows: A contractor from Fort Dodge by the name of Wood [or Woods], who had come up to spend Sunday with some friends at the station. He was down at the river and was on his way to the station when the trouble started, and was killed before he could get into the house; the state driver who was sleeping in the tower, and "Smithy" the soldier; while Gleason and another soldier were wounded.

The man that was sent out from the station during the trouble reached Fort Dodge and notified the commander. Next day we, met a detail on their way to the station to investigate, and at their request we told them all that took place while we were there. [36]

Company D, 18th Kansas cavalry, which had left Fort Larned September 29, on a five days' scout, arrived at Cimarron Crossing on October 3. Pvt. Edward Treacey, in a letter which included a brief (arid error-filled) account of the September 29 affair, stated: "The ranch presents a bad appearance; the doors and windows are pierced with many bullet-holes, and the general appearance of the place denotes a most determined attack." [37]

Robert Wright, referring to the four-week interval when the Plains tribes had not bothered them (because of cholera), recollected:

We had recruited up considerably, were in high hopes, and had started in fresh, as it were, when one morning . . . [the Indians] swooped down upon us again to the number of 2000, it appeared to me; but there was not that many, of course; still they were thick enough. It looked as if both of the banks of the Arkansas were alive with them, as well as every hill and hollow. There were Indians everywhere. Our men were all in the hay-field, with the exception of two, and my partner, Mr. Anthony, was with them. Anthony was a cool, brave man; knew exactly what to do and when to act. I think that his presence saved the party. I could see the whole affair from the lookout.

As soon as the firing began we could see our watchman, who was stationed on a bluff, and his horse ran away and threw him, but he managed to get to the boys in the field. We were using two wagons with four yoke of cattle to each. The wagons were about half loaded, and the boys had to fly and leave them standing. The Indians set the hay on fire, then opened with a shower of arrows upon the steers, and started them on a run, scared out of their senses. We found them after the thing was over, all dead in a string, chained together as they had been at work. The savages had lots of fun out of their running the poor brutes around the bottoms while the hay on the wagons was burning.

At the first attack the men all got together as quickly as possible and made for the camp, which was on the bank of the river. A hundred or more Indians charged them so close that it appeared they would ride over them, but whenever our boys made a stand and dropped on their knees and began to deliberately shoot they would shy off like a herd of frightened antelope. This, they kept up until they reached the river, over half a mile from where they started in the field, then they made for a big island covered with a dense growth of willows; there they hid, remaining until after dark. We at the ranch formed little parties repeatedly and tried to go to their relief by hugging the river bank, but at every attempt were driven back by an overwhelming number of savages.

The Indians charged upon our men in the willows many times during the day, in their efforts to dislodge them, and so close did some of them come on their ponies that any of the boys by a single spring could have grabbed their bridle reins. . . . About three o'clock that afternoon we heard firing both above and below us. The Indians had attacked the United States paymaster coming up the river, and several companies of soldiers coming down, and gave them a hot fight, too, compelling them to go into corral, and holding them for several hours. . . .

These attacks evidently came on, or about, October first. The Junction City Union of the fifth reported: "We learn from Col. [Jared L.] Sanderson, proprietor of the Southern Overland Mail Line, who returned last evening from [Fort] Harker, that a band of Indians, numbering seventy-five, attacked the escort of U. S. Paymaster Smith (sixty in number), a short distance west of Cimeron crossing, on Nine Mile Ridge. They fought desperately for four hours, when the escort succeeded in driving them off. Nobody killed."

On October 3, at Fort Dodge, Maj. Henry Douglass sent Maj. Horace L. Moore and his command of 18th Kansas cavalry troops on a field mission to "scour the country between Cimarron Crossing & Bluff Ranche" and surrounding areas, for Indians. From Cpt. David L. Payne's Company B, of the 18th Kansas battalion, a sergeant and 11 privates were ordered to the Cimarron mail station, "to protect the hay cutting party" of the Southern Overland Mail Stage Company. [38]

Later in October -- on the 21st and 28th -- the Plains tribes signed peace treaties with the United States. And again, for a time, there was a respite in warfare with the Indians.

In mid-January, 1868, Maj. Henry Douglass, Fort Dodge, reported that a party of Indians who said they were Cheyennes had halted a government train (Frank Origon, wagonmaster) at Cimarron Crossing, pointed revolvers at the freighters and taken most of their rations. The train was bound for Forts Lyon and Reynolds. Also, some Indians who claimed to be Arapahoes had visited the "Cimarron Ranche stage station" of which "Mr. Wright" was the proprietor. [39]

Wright, who had sent for his family (staying in Missouri) to come and live at Cimarron ranch soon after the Indian peace treaties were signed, recalled the Arapahoes' visit: ". . . one Sunday morning, during a terrible snow-storm, and no help at the ranch but two stage-drivers and a Mexican boy, I threw open the large double doors of the storeroom, and, before I could even think, in popped forty Indians, all fully armed, equipped, and hideous with their war paint on. I thought to myself: "Great God, what have I done; murdered my wife and little ones!"

Wright found out, after some anxious minutes, that the Arapahoes were en route to the mountains to steal horses from the Utes, and only wanted to be fed. This, the rancher was glad to do. (". . . we cooked them several camp-kettles full of bacon and beans, many of the same full of coffee, two gallons of black molasses, plenty of sugar, and [gave them] a box of hardtack. . . .")

Reportedly, some time in January, 1868, a party of Arapahoes, Apaches, and Cheyennes had a fight with Kansa Indians and their allies "near Cimarron crossing." Charley Bent and some 20 Cheyennes were said to have been killed in this engagement. [40]

Cimarron ranch probably was abandoned in July, 1868. Maj. Henry Douglass, Fort Dodge, in a June 20, letter stated that the Southern Overland Mail agent had informed him that on "Monday next" mail communication between "this Post" and Hays City would cease. In an August 2 letter Douglass reported he had sent, that day, Lt. D. W. Wallingford and 40 men of the Seventh cavalry to Bluff ranch to bring in "the wagons and other property to this post." (Bluff ranch was the next station above Cimarron Crossing.) It is a fair assumption that Cimarron ranch was closed prior to that date, for there is an August 12 letter by Major Douglass reporting that a band of Cheyennes had robbed the camp of R. M. Wright of two horses and some arms. [41] The Fort Dodge "Post Return" for August, 1868, noting this same August 12 incident, stated that R. M. Wright was the lime contractor for Fort Dodge; that the camp was on the middle branch of the Pawnee; and that four Cheyennes had taken three revolvers and two horses from him.

Robert Wright, in his reminiscences, said only: "The ultimate fate of the old [Cimarron] ranch was, that the Indians burnt it, together with several hundred tons of hay, the day after Mr. Anthony abandoned it, by order of Major Douglass, commanding Fort Dodge. Upon the loss of our ranch, Mr. Anthony and I thought we would take our chances again, and burn lime on the Buckner, or middle branch of the Pawnee, about 30 miles north of Fort Dodge."

Cimarron ranch might have been untenable in the summer of 1868 in any case. Plains Indians -- Kiowas? -- were in the vicinity in force. The latter part of August they captured a 10-wagon Mexican train at, or near Cimarron Crossing; killed and scalped 15 men; and burned the bodies along with the wagons. Another Mexican train of 35 wagons and 50 men, also traveling the Cimarron route, after four days of fighting Indians, corralled on the south bank of the Arkansas near the Crossing, unable to proceed farther. (Two men had been killed; two horses, and 75 head of cattle run off.) A Mexican from the train reached Fort Dodge about 2 A. M. on September 1, to seek help. Lt. D. W. Wallingford, and 24 men of Troop B, Seventh cavalry went to Cimarron Crossing on that mission. [42]

Surveyors in late October, 1871, marking out the line of the proposed Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad, were at work in present Gray county. On, or about October 25 they were at the site of "Cimmarron Crossing" and "Old Stage Ranch" and noted the location of both on their manuscript map. See a section of their map reproduced facing p. 353. [43]

Section of their map reproduced facing page 353.

Between October 25 and November 4, 1871, the line of the proposed Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad, along the north side of the Arkansas river, was surveyed from the eastern boundary of present Gray county to the Kansas-Colorado border. The eastern half of the surveyors' original manuscript map (the Gray and Finney county section of today) is reproduced here. Notably, it shows the location of Cimarron Crossing and the short lived (1866-1868) "OLD STAGE RANCH," in Sec. 3, T. 26, R. 28 W -- about a mile west of present Cimarron.


Louise Barry is a member of the staff of the Kansas Historical Society. She is author of many articles on Kansas and Western history and of the widely acclaimed 1300 page The Beginning of the West (Topeka, Kansas Historical Society, 1972).

1. Eighteenth Biennial Report . . . of the Kansas Historical Society (Topeka, 1913), p. 120. The "lower" ford, as Brown had noted, was near the mouth of Mulberry creek.
2. Josiah Gregg, Commerce of the Prairies (1844), v. 1, p. 65.
3. Frederick A. Wislizenus, Memoir of a Tour to Northern Mexico, reprint of 1848 ed. (Albuquerque, N. M. [c1969] ), p. 11. Possibly there were other crossings available. Pvt. W. H. Richardson, of Price's regiment wrote in his Journal on September 14, 1846: ". . . we found ourselves at a place called the crossing of the Arkansas. At this place are steep bluffs difficult to descend. There are multitudes of fish in the river, many of them were killed by the horses' feet in crossing. . . ." The "steep bluffs" would seem to indicate this was not the regularly used ford. -- Richardson's Journal, published in Baltimore, 1848, see p. 15.
4. For Gregg's table of distances, see Louise Barry, The Beginning of the West (1972), p. 814. For maps by Gregg, Emory, and Wislizenus, see ibid., pp. 606, 810-811.
5. For Carleton, Bingham, and Kendrick, see ibid., pp. 814-815. The unidentified table of distances is in R. B. Marcy, The Prairie Traveler . . . (New York, 1859), pp. 260-263.
6. Until June, 1851, Fort Atkinson was "New Post on the Arkansas." For Ridgely, see Barry, Beginning of the West, p. 966. Though unsigned (as published in the newspaper) Whipple almost certainly wrote the letter quoted above, which is in the New York Daily Tribune, February 4, 1853, issue. For Aubry, see Barry, Beginning of the West, p. 1090.
7. William Carr Lane's diary is in Historical Society of New Mexico Publications No. 20 (Santa Fe, N. M., 1917). See p. 38, for above quote.
8. For G. Harris Heap, see Barry, Beginning of the West, p. 1018.
9. W. W. H. Davis, El Gringo . . . (New York, 1857), p. 33.
10. Robert Morris Peck's "Recollections of Early Times in Kansas Territory," in KHC, v. 8, pp. 484-507. See p. 490.
11. J. W. Reed, Map of and Guide to the Kansas Gold Region (New York, 1859), p. 21. Facsimile edition. The original is exceedingly rare.
12. Marcy, The Prairie Traveler, pp. 295-301.
13. For the mail-service change, see James Brice, Reminiscences . . . (Kansas City, Mo., 1906). Wright was quoted in the Topeka Daily Capital, October 24, 1907, or, see "Trails Clippings," v. 1, pt. 2, p. 157 (in KHi library).
14. Leo E. Oliva, Soldiers on the Santa Fe Trail (Norman, Okla., c1967), p. 163, is the source for the statement that Adkins's ranch was elected in 1863; and burned by Indians in 1864. He cites: Roe to Pierce, March 30, 31, 1865, District of the Upper Arkansas, 'Letters Sent," MSS, AGO, AACB, National Archives. Little is known about Adkins's ranch. Indications are that its owner was John Adkins. -- See Kansas Historical Quarterly (KHQ), v. 37 (Summer, 1971), p. 122, where it is stated that William Allison, of Walnut Creek ranch, 'had as partners [in the mid-1850's] his half brother, John Adkins, known to the Kiowa as Kabodalte, 'Left-handed,' and another man named Booth." Referring to Cpt. L. D. Rouell (whose Company F, Second Colorado cavalry had come from Fort Larned to search out rebels), the Council Grove Press of May 25, 1863, stated: "He says he learned on the road, from nearly all the Ranches, that John Atkins [Adkins], John Cleveland, Fred Jones & Frank Walker, head a guerrilla party to operate on the Santa Fe road, and run their property to Texas. Atkins and Cleveland have probably been arrested ere this and sent to Fort Larned." Listing stage arrivals from Santa Fe, the Kansas City (Mo.) Daily Journal of Commerce, February 28, 1864, mentioned "H. Bachman and M. Brunswick, Atkins' Ranch" as passengers as far as Fort Larned. In a list of the First Colorado cavalry's "Battles and Losses," there is mention of a "battle" (in 1864?; with Indians?) at "Atkins' Ranch," involving (with no losses) Companies L and M. -- See Official Army Register of the Volunteer Force of the United States Army for the Years 1861, '62, '63, '64, '65 (1867), pt. 8, pp. 22, 23. "Spy" wrote from Fort Larned, on April 3, 1865: "Gen. Ford is about establishing a new post between old Fort Atkinson and Atkins's Ranch, 65 miles west of Larned, and 10 miles west of the head of the dry route." -- See Daily Rocky Mountain News, Denver, April 21, 1865. (But the final choice of sites was Adkins's ranch itself.) At Fort Dodge, in a March 11, 1867, letter Maj. Henry Douglass mentioned the report of "John Adkins, interpreter & guide," whom Douglass had sent south of the Arkansas to obtain information on the Kiowas and Cheyennes. (On March 2 Douglass had addressed a letter to "Mr. John H. Atkins Interpreter & Guide.") Douglass, on March 11, also referred to "Mr. Jones," the interpreter at Fort Dodge. An earlier mention identified him as "F. F. Jones." It seems likely he was the "Fred Jones" of the 1863 guerrilla party, noted above.
15. Fort Dodge, "Letters Sent" (microfilm in KHi, from National Archives).
16. See War of the Rebellion, Ser. I, v. 48, pt. 2, pp. 74, 75, for proof that Fort Dodge was established on the Adkins ranch site, in April, 1865. There is, in ibid., v. 48, pt. 1, p. 636, a letter of January 24, 1865, date by Brig. Gen. James H. Carleton (commanding Dept. of New Mexico) suggesting that troops be placed at old Fort Atkinson "26 miles below the Cimarron Crossing of the Arkansas" for the summer. Carleton must have relied on his own 1847 table of distances, and must not have been aware that the crossing had been moved downstream in 1852. At any rate, in 1865, old Fort Atkinson was only 17 miles below the Cimarron Crossing then in use.
17. William H. Hartwell's reminiscences of Santa Fe trail experiences (a typed copy of which is in the Society's manuscript division) have been published in Corral Dust (Potomac Corral of The Westerners), v. 9, no. 2 (Spring, 1964), pp. 4-8.
18. Six-Mile Creek station "consisted of a low stone structure with three rooms, and a log building used as a grocery, all under a dirt roof." Also, there was "stabling capacity for ten horses," and a good stone corral. A table of distances in the Kansas Weekly Tribune, Lawrence, January 25, 1866, gives the 22 miles figure. (Hartwell has it 25 miles.)
19. The Junction City Union of June 23, 1866, reported the Santa Fe Stage Company would run from Junction City to Santa Fe after July 1; and that stock would be brought over from Council Grove about July 1.
20. They sold the ranch for $500. Nine months earlier they had paid $2,000 for it.
21. The recollections of Charles Raber, a freighter in the mid-1860's, published in Kansas Historical Collections (KHC), v. 16, include these comments, on p. 336: "At this point [Cimarron Crossing] there was a well-equipped stage station, consisting of adobe houses and a large corral in which stage coaches or trains could find shelter in case of an attack by Indians. At the northeast and southwest corners were large towers provided with portholes. They were also used for sleeping rooms." Raber's recollections (including material not published in KHC, v. 15) have been edited by William A. Goff, and published in The Westport Historical Quarterly, Kansas City, Mo., v. 7, nos. 3 and 4 (December, 1971, and March, 1972).
22. Hartwell tells of "a strange little incident" at the ranch in 1866. He looked up from work one day to see a lone woman. "Save her worn clothes, she was neat and tidy. She carried an old quilt and an umbrella and, of course, was 'loony,' " Hartwell's account says. When asked where she came from, "she named some town, but could not call the state." "She ate supper with us, with a relish, after which she gathered up the leavings and tied them in her bundle, departing as silently as she came while we were doing the chores. . . . Who she was, where she went and what became of her is still a mystery."
23. Fort Dodge, "Letters Sent," 1866-1882 (microfilm in KHi). See letters of March 11, 19, 30, April 17, 1867.
24. Ibid., April 17, 19, 1867.
25. Fort Dodge, "Post Returns" (microfilm from National Archives, in KHi).
26. Fort Dodge, "Letters Sent" (microfilm in KHi) -- see Maj. Henry Douglass's letter of June 8, 1867; Leavenworth Daily Times, June 25, 1867. On June 5 Indians had attacked Mexican wagon trains at the lower Arkansas crossing, near the mouth of Mulberry creek, killing four men, wounding five, and running off much stock -- cattle, particularly. -- Ibid. In a June 18, 1867, letter, Douglass said each stage station had a guard of 11 men of the 37th infantry.
27. Fort Dodge, "Letters Sent" -- see Douglass's June 14, 1867, letter; "Fort Dodge Post Returns," June, 1867.
28. Fort Dodge, "Letters Sent" -- see Douglass's June 18, 1867, letter; the Leavenworth Daily Times, July 20, 1867, reported Parker's losses, etc.
29. Hartwell's reminiscences have been slightly edited. It Should be noted that he made no mention of a simultaneous attack on the ranch.
30. Nancy M. (Mrs. Donald B.) Ehrlich, of Independence, Mo., great grand-niece of Curtis Hill, gathered together material about him, including the above, and other letters, for an article in the Jackson County Historical Society Journal, Independence, Mo., v. 13 no. 2 (Summer, 1970) issue. -- See p. 6. The Kansas City (Mo.) Journal of Commerce July 10, 1867, reported: "The Advertiser says that Mr. Curtis Hill, son of Adam Hill (old citizen living near Independence) has been killed at the crossing of the Cimarone river [i. e., the Cimarron Crossing of the Arkansas river], on the Santa Fe road."
31. Fort Dodge, "Letters Sent"; "Fort Dodge Post Returns." In a July 22, 1867, letter, Major Douglass says the attack on the Mexican train occurred "Three days ago. . . ." Indications are that all the above attacks took place on the 18th of July, 1867.

32. William Hartwell, further stated: "In a quiet little grave yard in Drewsville, N. H. you may read inscribed upon a marble slab: John Francis Hartwell/ Killed by the Indians/ at Cimaron Crossing/ of the Arkansas River, Kansas/ July 17th 1867." But his recollections were slightly inaccurate. This writer, with two friends, visited the Drewsville, N. H., graveyard in 1969, photographed the tombstone, and copied the inscription on it. It reads: John Francis/ son of Derick/ & Mary Ann Hartwell/ killed by Indians at/ Cimmaron crossing, Kansas,/ July 18, 1867,/ ae. 32 yrs." L. W. Densmore's Hand-Book of Hartwell Genealogy, 1636-1887 (Boston, 1887), p. 114, lists the family of Derrick B. and Mary Ann (Rice) Hartwell. For "John F[rancis]," born June 12, 1835, it states: "killed by Indians at Cimarron crossing of Arkansas River in Kansas, 18 July 1867"; for "William H.," born August 28, 1844, it states: "Was only one of four, escaped at Cimarron crossing when brother killed. . . ." (Other data are given for William H. Hartwell.)
33. Robert M. Wright's "Personal Reminiscences of Frontier Life in Southwest Kansas," are in Kansas Historical Collections, v. 7, pp. 47-83; or, see Robert M. Wright's Dodge City . . . [1913]. Cholera victims at Fort Dodge included the conmandant, Maj. Henry Douglass and his wife. He recovered, but Mrs. Douglass did not. She was buried August 1.
34. New York Daily Tribune, September 20, 1867 (St. Louis, September 19 dateline); Kansas City (Mo.) Weekly Journal of Commerce, October 5, 1867, p. 3, col. 4.
35. "Sabreur" (of the 18th Kansas cavalry) in a letter written at Fort Dodge, October 12, 1867, published in the Leavenworth Daily Conservative, October 18, 1867. "Sabreur" was in error as to the date. Both the Fort Dodge "Post Returns," and "Letters Sent" (microfilm records from National Archives) report it as September 29. The 29th fell on Sunday in 1867; and Charles Raber says of Woods (one of the victims) that he had "come up to spend Sunday . . . at the station." Bvt. Ltc. William Thompson, writing October 12, 1867, from Fort Dodge, mentioned the trouble at the ranch on September 29, in which Private Smith of Company I, 37th infantry, and two employees ("Huggins and Woods" he says) of the stage company were killed. Thompson was not writing a formal account, and he apparently erred in stating that Huggins was a victim. "Sabreur's" probable source of information was Lt. Philip Reade, Third U. S. infantry, who, he said, had "worked this case up with dispatch." "Sabreur" also reported that "Gleason" of Company I, 37th infantry, was in reality John McGovern, who "ten years ago" had been a private -- "a good soldier, honest and trustworthy" -- in Company F, Second U. S. infantry. Maj. Henry Douglass, commanding at Fort Dodge, in a November 5, 1867, letter, written to accompany the investigative report of the September 29 affair, stated that he then had in the "Guard House," Sgt. William Gleason and Cpl. Thomas Gavan, "charged with killing two men on said date." But, of the three men killed, as above recounted, only the ranchman Frank Harris was killed by the rioters. Bvt. Ltc. William Thompson later reported the escape and desertion of "Gleeson." See Fort Dodge "Letters Sent," November 28, 1867.
36. Charles Raber's "Personal Recollections . . .," in KHC, v. 16, see pp. 335-337; also published (William A. Goff, editor) in The Westport Historical Quarterly, v. 7, no. 4 (March, 1972).
37. The Weekly Free Press, Atchison, November 2, 1867, published "E. T.'s" October 19, 1867, letter from "Dodge."
38. Junction City Weekly Union, October 5, 1867.
39. Fort Dodge, "Letters Sent."
40. Kansas City (Mo.) Weekly Journal of Commerce, February 8, 1868 (from the Leavenworth Commercial). George B. Grinnell, in KHC, v. 15, p. 47, said "Charles [son of William Bent] died among the Indians on the Kansas border in 1868." David Lavender in his Bent's Fort, pp. 363, 364, says "In 1868 Charles was severely wounded in a fight with Pawnees, caught malaria, and died in an Indian camp."
41. Fort Dodge, "Letters Sent."
42. Secretary of War's Report, 1868, pp. 14, 15; Fort Dodge "Letters Sent"; Leavenworth Daily Commercial, September 5, 1868; Leavenworth Daily Conservative, September 10, 1868.


43. The AT & SF manuscript map showing the proposed line of the railroad from Gray county westward to the State Line is in the Historical Society's archives.