HISTORY

MORRIS COUNTY, KANSAS

Alburtis, a small settlement in Morris county, is about 2 miles from the Wabaunsee county line and 7 miles from Council Grove, the county seat, from which place the inhabitants received mail by rural free delivery. (Kansas Cyclopedia of State History, by Frank W. Blackmar, A. M., Ph. D., Volume 1, 1912, page 56)

RAID ON COUNCIL GROVE


Soon after the adjournment of the Legislature, the hostile Indians who had been furnished with supplies (including arms and ammunition) by the U.S. Indian agents and traders during the previous winter, again made their appearance in South-Central Kansas.

The Kiowas and Comanches and a part of the Cheyennes went into camp on Pawnee Creek in the vicinity of Fort Larned; and the Arapahoes, Apaches, and the remainder of the Cheyennes camped in the vicinity of Fort Doge, on the Arkansas River, and all proceeded to draw rations from the Government until the buffalo came north in herds sufficient to supply them with food.

With the coming of grass in the Spring came the buffalo; whereupon the Indians grew independent and restless and showed signs of hostility. They had received arms and ammunition at the Medicine Lodge Council the previous October, when they came there fresh from the warpath and now they demanded more guns, pistols and ammunition.

General Sheridan, who had been assigned to the command of the Department, reached Fort Larned early in March and thence proceeded to Fort Dodge, where he could be in touch with all the Indians in that vicinity. The chiefs, head-men and warriors talked, smoked and powwowed with Sheridan almost every day for a month. They declared that the Peace Commission at Medicine Lodge had promised to issue more guns, pistols and ammunition to them at Fort Larned in the Spring, and that they had come up to get them.

Sheridan, and General Sully who was there on duty, seeing the discontent among the Indians and fearing an outbreak were opposed to giving them the arms and ammunition they were demanding. The Indians and their agents were persistent. One band of Cheyennes made a raid on the Kaws (a civilized tribe near Council Grove) as a beginning of hostilities in the spring, but it so happened that the Kaws were armed and prepared to receive them.

Their agent, Major E. S. Stover (late of the Second Kansas Cavalry), an officer of skill and unflinching courage, was there, and lost no time in forming his line for action. When Major Stover was told that the Cheyennes were coming, he immediately ordered every man to the front with his gun, and the squaws and papooses into the storehouses near the Agency building for protection.

Near the Agency was a dense forest of timber, through which the Cheyennes had to make their way. Stover stationed his warriors behind trees at the outer edge of the forest and when the Cheyennes advanced within range, they received a volley that sent a number of them to the happy hunting grounds. The Cheyennes numbered about four hundred warriors, while the Kaws had less than two hundred with arms. The battle raged in the timber and a part of the time on the open field with great furry, from early in the morning until late in the afternoon, when the Cheyennes hauled off and beat a hasty retreat, robbing the settlers as they went.

When the battle began in the morning, Major Stover started a messenger to me at Topeka, sixty miles distant, with a note staying that the Kaws had been attacked by the Cheyennes and a battle royal was raging; but he would "hold the fort" until I arrived with reinforcements. The messenger (Jo Jim) arrived in Topeka about 7 p.m. and related his bloodcurdling and hair raising story.

The only available troops I had within easy reach, were Thaddeus H. Walker, Geo H. Hoyt and Colonel J. W. Forsyth, of Sheridan's staff. On reading Stover's note, I announced to these gentlemen that I was going to the front, whereupon they each tendered their services and said they would also go. In a few minutes we were off the war behind two dashing teams that made the run of sixty miles by the light of a full moon, and reached the field just as the sun was making its appearance over the eastern hills.

When we arrived the battle was over and the Cheyennes were under full retreat westward on the old Santa Fe Trail. After viewing the battlefield and reviewing the victorious Kaws, we were escorted over to the beautiful little city of Council Grove by Major Stover, where we found the good people slowly recovering from the excitement of the Cheyenne raid.

While this band of Cheyennes under the leadership of Tall Bull was raiding the Kaws and robbing the settlers west of Council Grove, another band of the same tribe was in the vicinity of Fort Wallace committing depredations along the Kansas Pacific Railroad and stage routes to Denver.

Meantime the Kiowas, Comanches, Arapahoes, and the remaining bands of Cheyenees were lingering back at Larned and Dodge, demanding guns, pistols and ammunition as a condition precedent to their remaining at peace. The only reason they did not go out on the war-path when Tall Bull started on his expedition against the Kaws, was that they could not go until they received arms and ammunition from the Government or from their traders. Hence they lingered back at Larned and Dodge and demanded war supplies.

Had it not been for the Council Grove raid, the guns, pistols and fixed ammunition, which had been sent to Larned for them, would have been distributed in May as the Indian office at Washington and the Agents with the Indians were demanding. That, and other outrages, which were being committed daily by roving bands, convinced Sheridan and General Sully, who were on the ground, that they meant war. And yet in the face of what was going on all around them, these Generals yielded against their own better judgment and allowed the guns, pistols and ammunition to be issued to treacherous assassins. (Kansas in the Sixties, by Samuel J. Crawford, War Governor of Kansas, August 1911, Pages 287-290)

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