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members of the Pawnee tribe were committing depredationsupon the settlers. The old chief received me very kindly with the usual grunt. He extended his hand and then handed me the pipe of peace, which I took. I knew I would be expected to puff it a little and did so, and then it was passed around among the subordinate chiefs. While remaining in my position there I cast my eyes into an immense iron kettle which was suspended by ropes made of skins from the central opening at the top, in which kettle there seemed to be a dark colored liquid in which there was something resembling beef stewing. It did not look inviting to me, for I had heard of the Indians cutting up dogs and stewing them, and the thought occurred to me that as a part of their hospitality they would invite me to take some of that stew, which was not a pleasing thought, but I had determined that I would draw the line there against that dish; but fortunately they did not offer it to me. The interpreter was then directed by me to state more in detail the object of our visit in language which I dictated to him. I said the knowledge had reached the Great Father that the members of his tribe, the Pawnees, had been committing depredation upon the white settlers, stealing and driving off their cattle, and causing great fear to prevail among them along the Elkhorn river. I had come to say to him and to the subordinate chiefs that these wrongs must not be continued. When he came to reply the chief said to the interpreter that these marauding acts had been committed by their young men, and that they could not control them. I replied to him that they must control their young men, and put an end to the wrongs which these young men were inflicting upon the peaceable settlers. I felt the necessity of replying to him in a strong language, stating that the government had purchased these lands and had paid for, or was paying for the same that the government had opened them up for settlement, and that the settlers were there by right and must be protected in the possession of that property, and that the government would protect them, and adding that if it was not done the government would send
troops out here to punish and suppress the Indians; saying to them that if I had to come here again on account of these outrages committed by their tribe I should come with a force of troops to punish the marauders. The chief then promised that they would do everything in their power to prevent any wrongs being inflicted on the settlers, saying they desired to live in peace with their white brethren. I repeated my message to him in order to make as strong an impression on them as possible. Of course I could not tell what effect it would have on them, but it was all I could then do. After giving me the strongest assurances that they would behave themselves properly and let the whites live in peace, and the other chiefs united with him in the assurances he gave by such a way of approval, the council was concluded. It lasted probably two hours. I informed the chief we should need parties to escort us back across the river to our wagon; the escorts he readily furnished, but not the same ones who had escorted us oyer to the village. At that time the weather was cold and chilly. That was about the 15th of April. [It was May 25. -Ed.] I was beginning to think of the good things we had in our wagon, and the splendid supper we were to have under the tree with a huge fire in front of us. That anticipated supper was in my mind during the whole passage of the river. I had a special reason myself allowing for the fire and the supper, for I was the only one who had been in the river, and still had my wet clothes on and no chance to improve my condition. Visions of cold ham, bread and butter, doughnuts, mince pie, and hot coffee with condensed milk and with all the good things enumerated above ready at our call. Well, on arriving at the wagon our astonishment was overwhelming when we were informed by Allen, the fellow who had stayed at the wagon, that about twenty of the Indians came there as soon as we had reached the council tent, and overpowered him, took by force everything in the wagon, and had taken them across the river again. It was a disappointment for which I never had language to express my indignation. The treachery of the Indians has been fully impressed on my
mind ever since, although I have found some good Indians among them, but the sufferings which I was enduring, cold and wet and hungry, are too much for me to describe at this late day. There we were, just at night, with nothing left to us but our blankets which the Indians kindly left us. My first thought was "what shall we do?" Recalling the fact that we had found one family at the ferry where we crossed the Elkhorn, in a log cabin, we determined to return there and seek what relief we could by way of supper and something to eat. We hitched the team again and drove to that point. Fortunately the ferryman had been out hunting prairie chickens that afternoon while we were in the council and had brought in some half-dozen prairie chickens. His good wife set to work, dressed and cooked those chickens, and having some bread and butter we fared reasonably well, and. determined to stay there for the night, which we did.
I had reason to believe afterwards that the party of Indians who crossed over and led us back to the village quietly reported to the chief what we had in our wagon over the river, and that they went back with the permission of the Indians, and robbed us of all we had. Thus, while we were holding council and demanding assurances that they would control their men, their own Indians were across the river. and were plundering our wagon of all our supplies-the kind of treachery for which there is no name to designate. I determined at that time if I had ever a chance to get at them and have some satisfaction I would do so. I should have mentioned among the things which they stole from my wagon was a present from a friend of mine who brought it to me as I was about leaving--a bottle of very old choice brandy, saying to me that I might some time need it to head off snakebites when roaming over those prairies of Nebraska. I had not opened the bottle since leaving Boston, but when making preparation for this expedition it occurred to me that it might be very useful to me, but the Indians had taken that. I hope my friend Wolfenbarger will forgive me for taking along the bottle under the circumstances, and enabling the
Indians to have a set-to over the use of that firewater. Some three years afterwards the whole tribe entered upon one general marauding excursion up the Platte river, destroying everything within their reach. The reign of terror prevailed over the whole Elkhorn valley. They destroyed everything in their path, and then I raised the force of 194 men and pursued them. Coming up with them at daylight we captured the whole tribe. Then the chiefs came rushing out of their` tepees, making every sign of surrender, exclaiming to me "Good Indian," and begging me for mercy.
That tribe had given much trouble at different times, but after this capture of the whole tribe they were put on their reservation and the government took immediate charge of them, and after that they never gave the whites any trouble.
Years ago the Pawnee tribe was a great, powerful nation among the Indian tribes. It was a warlike nation, fighting battles with different tribes, but it gradually got upon the downward grading and became greatly diminished in numbers till I believe it is but a remnant of the Pawnees now in the Indian territory.
EARLY DAYS ON THE LITTLE BLUE.
WRITTEN FOR THE NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
BY J. H. LEMMON, PIONEER OF THAYER COUNTY.
Alexander Majors, the founder of the greatest freight company that was ever formed to do a freighting business with teams and wagons, commenced the business with six yoke of cattle and one wagon. His first trip was from Independence, Missouri, to Ft. Union, New Mexico. He kept adding teams to his outfit until he had twenty-six teams and wagons. He then formed a partnership with two men under the firm name of Majors, Russell & Waddell and they kept enlarging their business until the year 1860-61 they had six hundred teams and wagons with six yoke of cattle to the wagon.
I think that the old freight road that used to pass up the Little Blue river was once the greatest thoroughfare that was ever traveled in any country. In the year 1860 there were never less than three hundred and sometimes over five hundred wagons passing over the road every day for over five months, not counting any teams coming from the West, and probably three-fourths of these same teams traveled over the same road going west.
On the open prairie, where there was plenty of room, the road was worn down smooth for one hundred yards wide. I have seen three trains traveling abreast. Just imagine five hundred wagons strung out on the same road, each team taking up at least one hundred feet, making a distance of over nine miles. I have seen over four hundred wagons camped in one bottom, their corrals covering a space one mile long by one-half mile wide.
In regard to the Indians, we lived here on the Little Blue river for four years in perfect peace with them. We did not mind them any more than we did the birds that were flying about us. There would not have been any trouble with the Indians if it had not been for the Rebellion. There were, among the Indians, some of the rebels who put them up to go on the war-path. There were twenty-three persons killed within thirty-five miles on the Little Blue, and seven ranches burned in the first big raid. Among the killed were six of the Eubanks family and six freighters. The rest were killed, one and two at a place, all this being done at the same hour of the day. There was one married woman and her two children by the name of Eubanks and one young lady, Laura Roper, who were taken prisoners in the year 1860.
By the year 1866 nearly all the old ranchmen had gotten back on the Little Blue river and things were going along nicely. I had in 155 acres of corn, the Comstocks had in ninety acres, and all the others had in from forty to sixty acres. It was a fine growing spring. We had all plowed our corn over the first time and had commenced to go over it the second time. I had three hired men, two of whom wanted to