In Lincoln County, Kansas, 1864 and 1869

Story of Those Killed, With a History of the Monument Erected to Their Memory in Lincoln Court House Square, May 30, 1909







Some twelve years ago I began to talk "pioneer monument," especially in the Denmark settlement. My idea was to build a monument for the five who were killed in and from that settlement, and to have it erected in the Lutheran church yard there; but the settlers did not approve of the idea, so I brought the matter up before the Old Settlers' Reunion of Lincoln county, and met with about the same reception there. I could not make any headway, and came nearly giving up in despair. The question however was revived nearly every year until 1907, when Hon. Geo. W. Martin, the Secretary of the State Historical Society at Topeka, came to Lincoln Center to deliver an address at the Old Settlers' Reunion of that year. It so happened that Mr. Martin and I were old acquaintances at Junction City, Kansas. We lived there together from 1869 to 1873, when he moved to Kansas City. I told him of my desire to have a monument here and requested him to help me out. He promised that he would, and he did to some extent. After he was through with his address, I made a few remarks touching on the subject of a pioneer monument as a fitting recognition of the martyred pioneers. When I concluded, Rev. H. C. Bradbury made a few remarks, and made a motion to appoint a, committee of five to ascertain the number killed by Indians in what is now Lincoln county, and the names of each victim. That committee consisted of Rev. H. C. Bradbury, Rev. John S. Strange, Arthur J. Stanley, A. Roenigk, and myself. The committee was instructed to report at the next annual meeting of the Old Settlers. At the meeting in October, 1908 the committee reported fifteen killed by Indians in what is now Lincoln county. Whereupon it was decided to appoint a committee to solicit funds and erect a monument. This committee consisted of G. Bernhardt, chairman, Rev. H. C. Bradbury and Rev. John S. Strange. Later several others were appointed, but none of them served on the committee.

I secured $13.00 the first day that I solicited, (if I had been superstitious I would have quit then, but I am not.) Reverends Bradbury and Strange did not take any part in soliciting funds, so it was all left for me to do, as was also the tracing of all kinds of clues to get the correct names of the victims, and the time and place of the occurrences.


I plodded along daily, and had gathered about $85, and had about $40 more on my list by the 21st, day of December, 1908. On that date the monument was selected and ordered from Henry Sahlmann, the Lincoln marble dealer. Mr. Sahlmann had told me several times that if it was decided to unveil the monument on May 30th, 1909, we would have to order it in December, or we could not get it in time for the anniversary. I notified the committee, and invited the following gentlemen to meet on the said 21st; of December: J. J. Peate as president of the Old Settlers' Reunion, J. W. Meek, vice-president of the Union, and Hon. Wm. Baker, ex-congressman for the district. We six met and selected the monument, which is somewhat the same shape as the monument erected on Beecher's Island, in Colorado. It was to be of dark Quincy Granite, to stand on a concrete foundation to be sunk six feet in the ground, this to be six feet square at the bottom, and five feet square at the top of the ground. The first base of granite was to be four feet square, and the complete monument to stand fourteen feet in height from the concrete foundation to the top of the spire. About five hundred letters were to be engraved on the monument, and an air-tight copper box, 5x5x7 inches* was to be provided by Mr. Sahlmann; all of which he agreed to furnish for $470. We agreed to pay him this amount, and a contract was drawn in duplicate specifying the arrangement in detail. I, as chairman, signed the same, and was now sure of the monument, but not so sure of getting the needed cash. After the order was placed and the concrete foundation put in it was easier to get people to contribute, and the result was gratifying to me.


At the regular January meeting, 1909, of the county commissioners of Lincoln county, Arthur J. Stanley, J. W. Meek and myself appeared before the board and requested permission to place said pioneer monument on the southwest quarter of the Lincoln county court house square. The request was granted, and it was left to the committee to select the spot where the monument was to stand.

The map has been compiled as nearly correct as possible at so late a date. This is the first time in Kansas that an attempt has been made to locate the exact sites where battles between Indians and whites took place. It will be noticed that in our county Lincoln Center is almost in the middle of the troubled zone, therefore we thought that the court house square in Lincoln was the most logical location for the erection of the pioneer monument


The parties to be given credit for the inscription, and who did the dictating, were J. J. Peate, of Beverly; John S. Strange, and myself. Rev. H. C. Bradbury was not present, but he liked to have the word "subscription" changed to * 'free gifts." The change was ordered to be made. He also suggested that the following words be added to the inscription; "Remember the days of old," which was done, and I am inclined to think that it was a very appropriate line.

The inscription on the monument is as follows: On the south side, "Erected by free gifts in memory of those massacred or captured by Indians in what is now Lincoln county. Dedicated May 30th, A. D. 1909. Remember the days of old."

West side, "Massacred, May 30th, A. D. 1869, between Trail and Beaver creeks, E. Lauritzen, Mrs.Stine Lauritzen, O. Petersen, F. Meigherhoff, G. Weichell, F. Alderdice, 2 years; A. Alderdice, 3 months; J. Daily, 7 years; J. H. Strange, 14 years; A. Schmutz, 14 years."
North side, "Captured, May 30th, A. D 1869, Mrs. Alderdice and Mrs. Weichell. Mrs. Alderdice killed by a Souix chief during battle with U. S. Cavalry, July 11th, 1869, on south fork of Platte river, in Colorado, Territory ; Mrs. Weichell wounded and rescued.''

East side, "Massacred, August, 6th, A. D. 1864. on Beaver creek,, J. L. Moffitt, T. Moffitt, J. W. Houston, J. Tyler."

Masonic stone, northeast corner, "Laid by order of the M. W. Grand Lodge, A. F. & A. M. of Kansas, May 6th, A. D, 1909, A. L. 5909," and Masonic emblem, square and compass.

I have explained before how I obtained the names of some of the victims. Those names have been incorrectly spelled heretofore, but when we were ready to have them inscribed on the monument, I set out to find the correct initials and spelling. I have succeeded in all; the last secured being the given name of Mr. James Tyler. I am in ' hopes that this little book will find its way into the hands of the little girl who was in the Moffitt house at the time that Tyler was killed, and if this should happen, that her memory will prove conclusively that my information was correct in this particular.


On the fifteenth of April 1909, I closed the subscription list, and I had on that day about twenty-five dollars more than the contract price of the monument. I caused to be printed 2000 copies of the subscription list at my own expense, in order to have a copy ready to place in the monument foundation. A copy of the list will be found in this book, showing exactly what I have received and what I have spent it for.

A word about soliciting for a thing of this kind. I will say that it was my first experience in that line, so I may have made some mistakes, but I can think of but one. If I was to do it over again I would have one list for 25 cent subscribers, one for fifty cent subscribers, and one for ?1.00 or above. I would always show the dollar list first. The monument was truly erected by free gifts, and if a party refused to contribute I did not go to him the second time; neither would I accept any more than five dollars from anyone contributor, although several would have given ten dollars; and one expressed his surprise that I did not ask twenty-five of him. I wanted to make it as near popular as possible, and my aim was to have about five hundred subscribers, and I came near getting them. We could easily have gotten $1,000 for that purpose if we had started for it, but I am more than satisfied with the result.


I invited the Masonic lodge of Lincoln Center to lay the foundation stone with Masonic honors, and the invitation was accepted. The Barnard and the Sylvan Masonic Lodges were invited to visit us and to participate in the ceremony, and the date selected was the sixth day of May, 1909. The Barnard and Sylvan Lodges sent good sized delegations, so we had on that day a greater number of representative men and Masons in Lincoln Center, than on any previous occasion of a like nature. There were about one hundred and fifty Masons present and about two thousand spectators. This was one of the greatest historic happenings in Lincoln Center, as it showed the interest in the monument by the great majority of the public as manifested by the crowd that gathered on that day.

Arthur J. Stanley was deputized as Grand Master for that occasion, and performed the ceremony of depositing the historical box in a manner that was a credit to him and to Lincoln Lodge, and a pleasure to the visiting lodges. Gatherings of this kind will tend to make life more pleasant and mankind better. It will also have the tendency to uplift by example the coming generation, and it has since been proven that this gathering produced more good brotherly feeling among all classes of people in Lincoln county than any other gathering that we have had here in the past. The mere fact that the Masonic emblem is on the monument is in itself a lasting historical fact that can be appreciated more as time rolls on, that we at this time took advantage of every opportunity to show the world that we were not only pleased but highly gratified with the success achieved. The copper box deposited in the foundation of the pioneer monument contained a copy of the annual report of the Grand Lodge A F. & A. M. of Kansas, for the year 1909; Roll of officers and standing and special committees of the Lincoln Lodge, No. 154, A. F. & A. M.; a copy of the history of Memorial Monuments and Tablets in Kansas, including the pioneer monument of Lincoln county; a book containing the names of the soliciting committee, and the names of the contributors to the monument; copies of the Lincoln SENTINEL, Lincoln REPUBLICAN and Sylvan Grove NEWS, all published on May 6, 1909; United States coins of all denominations from one cent to one dollar.


May 30th, 1909 was the fortieth anniversary of the last Indian massacre in Lincoln county, so that date was decided upon as an appropriate occasion for the unveiling of the monument. This date falling on Sunday, this year, the actual unveiling was held on Monday, May 31, 1909. This being our National Memorial Day, it was arranged with the local G. A. R. Post to divide the time with them in the afternoon of that day, but after three different agreements with the Post, the Old Settlers' committee was finally allowed thirty minutes for the unveiling ceremonies.

The program for the unveiling ceremonies on May 31, 1909, was published in the Lincoln REPUBLICAN on May 27th, as a part of the proceedings for Memorial day as arranged by the Grand Army; and is given below:

At 1:30 o'clock p. m., the Post and Corps will re-assemble at Post Hall and march to the Court House square where the ceremonies connected with the unveiling of the monument erected to the memories of those who were murdered by the Indians, in the pioneer days of this county will be held, which ceremonies will be under the direction and management of the Pioneer Monument Committee with Chris Bernhardt presiding.

"Music by Lincoln Military Band.

"Prayer by Rev. H. C. Bradbury.

"Song by the Chorus Society.

"Address by Rev. John S. Strange during the delivery of which the monument will be unveiled by Mrs. Mary Edwards."

The following extracts are made from the local newspapers regarding the unveiling ceremonies:

'The new monument erected on the court house square in memory of those killed by the Indians, was unveiled with simple and appropriate ceremonies at 1:30 p. m. last Monday afternoon. Mrs. Mary Edwards, of Sylvan Grove, Cedron township, Lincoln county, and a niece of Mrs. Alderdice, one of the captives and killed, unveiled it. Rev. John S. Strange, who had a son killed, delivered the address. The monument is of dark Quincy granite, 14 feet high, four feet square at the base. It was built by popular subscription, and cost $470. Henry Sahlmann proprietor of the Lincoln marble works had the contract. Much credit is due to C. Bernhardt for his untiring energy in soliciting, and it was he who started the movement." (Lincoln Sentinel, June 3, 1909.)

Rev. T. M. Strange offered the opening prayer, at the unveiling, as Rev. H. C. Bradbury was unable to reach Lincoln because of a railroad accident. Rev. Sarah Strange closed the services with prayer.

The Salina JOURNAL of June 1, remarks that "there were perhaps more people in Lincoln yesterday in attendance at the memorial exercises than there has ever been in the history of Lincoln. They came from every direction for miles around, and there were probably 5,000 people in town the greater part of the day." The Lincoln REPUBLICAN of June 3 states that Rev. J. S. Strange was the principal speaker at the unveiling ceremonies. His speech dwelt on the early history of Lincoln county, and was filled with reminiscences rich in the rehearsal of events of pioneer days. The address at the Methodist church by Judge T. F. Garver, of Topeka, will long be remembered by those who were fortunate enough to be able to get within hearing distance.


I have in my possession all the printed programs, and the local and foreign newspaper notices in regard to the transactions and progress during the monument period, and shall insert two here just for samples of the work required in securing the data for the inscription.

Extract from the Salina JOURNAL of March 18, 1909:

Christian Bernhardt, of Lincoln, a brother of H. P. Bernhardt and an uncle of Prof. Bernhardt of this city, is in Salina today hunting for information about two men, supposed to be early residents of Salina.

"One of the men's name is Tyler. The others name is either Hughes or Hueston. What Mr. Bernhardt wants is to get the first names or initials of those two men, that they may be inscribed on the monument which is being erected at Lincoln to the fifteen settlers in Lincoln county who were killed by the Indians in the early days.

"Tyler and Hughes, or Hueston were killed, but thus far it has been impossible to ascertain the first names of the two men.

"Mr. Bernhardt is hunting up all the old settlers of Salina today in an effort to trace the identity of the men. Anyone who can give any information on the subject should communicate with the JOURNAL or with Mr. Bernhardt.

"Tyler and Hughes are supposed to have come up from Salina to visit with the Moffitt brothers near Lincoln. The two Moffitts, Tyler and Hughes all went out together on a buffalo hunt. While they were out they were surrounded by Indians and killed. The Indians then attacked the Moffitt cabin, but it was so strongly defended by the father of the Moffitt boys that the Indians gave it up.

"The monument which will be erected in the court house square in Lincoln will be ready for unveiling May 30, the anniversary of the murders. The corner stone of the monument will be laid May 6th by the Lincoln lodge, 154 A. F. and A. M. The Sylvan and Barnard lodges will be there. The monument will cost $800 and the money has been raised mostly by Mr. Bernhardt.


C. Bernhardt who has done most of the rustling of funds and data for the Old Settlers Monument at Lincoln has been in Salina looking for the full names of some of the early settlers killed. The following from the Salina Semi-Weekly Union shows what he accomplished.

"C. Bernhardt is a happy man.

"As mentioned in the Union Thursday he had the names all complete for the Lincoln monument but those of Hueston and Tyler. It certainly looked blue for getting any of those.

"Late Thursday afternoon he succeeded in getting the full name of Hueston. His name was John W. Houston.

"A thought struck me that the records ought to be right here in Salina, right in your own court house." said Mr. Bernhardt to a reporter. "I went down there, and 1 must say you have gentlemanly people at the court house here. They are accommodating.''

"I was shown records of the early days and allowed to go through them. I was given a mighty pleasant surprise when I found the record of John W. Houston, killed by the Indians August 6, 1864.

"I have the history and records of all now but Tyler. It looks impossible to get anything of him for no trace at all can be found and there is no clue. But I still have hopes."


"C. Bernhardt of Lincoln, Kansas, is in Salina today on his way home from Junction City, where he succeeded in securing the correct names of two more of the settlers killed by the Indians in 1869 to whom the people of Lincoln are going to erect a monument.

The two men whose names Mr. Bernhardt finally secured are F. Meigherhoff and George Weichell.

"There are still two names of which the initials cannot be located. They are Hughes and Tyler.

"I have made every effort to locate Hughes and Tyler? said Mr. Bernhardt today. I can't get track of them. The men were killed but they left wives and children. Some of those children must be alive, but it is impossible to find out where they are."

"Mr. Bernhardt exercised much ingenuity to locate the names of Meigherhoff and Weichell.

"I learned," he says, ''that these two men had just come over to this country from Switzerland. They had come direct to Kansas without stopping enroute, and so I figured that either at Junction or Salina I would find the first naturalization papers of these men. By going through the clerk of court's records at Junction, I located the two men, They were entered on the book right together, and there is no doubt that they were the men who came to Salina together and went to Lincoln county. They were entered on the book on May 10, 1869, and were killed on May 30, 1869.
"On May 6, we are planning to have a celebration there in Lincoln in honor of the laying of the corner stone of the monument. The stones for the monument are nearly all cut and we will have the monument ready to unveil on May 30, Memorial Day, and the 40th anniversary of the killing of the settlers. On May 6, the Barnard and Sylvan Grove Masonic lodges will come to Lincoln and assist in the laying of the corner stone. There will not be an elaborate program on that day, but at the time the monument is unveiled on May 31, we expect to have some fine speeches. T. F. Graver will be one of the speakers."

Mr. Bernhardt is the man who first conceived the idea of building the monument, and further than that, he went ahead and by his personal efforts raised the money to pay for it.

"It will be a whole lot of monument for the amount of money which we have had to spend," he said today. The monument will cost about $500.


The monument is not so large as to look boastful, nor too small to show off well, and is composed of the best granite that money can buy. It will always be our pride. Strangers will look at our inhabitants with a great deal more respect, and the purpose for which it stands will live when we are all gone. .

To the good people who so willingly and generously contributed to the monument and made it a success, I extend my sincere thanks. To those who did not contribute, I extend my thanks, as this class made me work so much harder to accomplish results.

To Henry Sahlmann, now deceased, belongs the greatest honor, as builder of the monument. This was next to his last piece of work on earth. He erected that monument for practically pure love, as he did not make anything on the job, and seemingly was greatly disturbed at times when the work was criticised. He came to me once and suggested that he would like to throw up the job on that account but I persuaded him to stay with it. Mr. Sahlmann would have had me for a friend forever as I never did business with any man who was so kind, gentle and obliging". He did more than he had contracted for, and charged nothing extra. Men of this class will live forever in the memories of those who knew them.


As stated before the cost of the monument was $470; of the stone walk around the monument, $32.00, of the three settees, $25.00. Other small expenses connected with the unveiling, for lumber, nails, hauling and hired labor, for monument pictures for the newspapers and the State Historical Society, were $14.50; making the total cost of the monument and all pretaining to its erection $541.50. The total collections to date are $531.55; leaving a balance due me of $9.95. Every item was paid for promptly when delivered, so there is nothing against the monument. It is now ready to turn over to the people as a permanent property of the county.


Since the foregoing was written I have learned of the death of James R. Mead, of Wichita, at the age of seventy five years. He made a speech here on October 1st, 1908, at the Old Settlers Reunion. To him belongs the honor of placing the first five dollar note in my hand for the pioneer monument fund. He gave me that money a few hours before the monument committee was appointed, showing his good faith that the citizens of Lincoln county would furnish the remainder to complete the work. Mr. Mead was an active life member of the Kansas State Historical Society and has been instrumental in preserving a great deal of the early history of this and surrounding counties.


The following is to be corrected in the inclosed list:

A. Zeigler should read $1.00 instead of 50 cents.

Wm. Mueller should read Wilbur Miller.

H. A. C. Anderson should read $1.00 in place of $10.00.

In addition to the inclosed subscription list add the following amounts which have been contributed since the list was printed:



C. H. Berry


Daniel Vonada


John Ryan


H. E. Edwards


Ed M. Harris


Elkvale School District


Charles Kilmer


School District No. 14


W. R. C. Beverly


W. M. Davis


W. W. McCanles


H. Morton, Tescott


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