“The mutiny, or rebellion, so far as these men were concerned, was over. 1 called a lot of carpenters and asked them to carry the guns and pistols to the quartermaster’s office, which they Quite a quantity of ammunition was disgorged by the disarmed men and a ridiculous part of it was that much of it was not suitable for the arms they had. But a few of the guns were properly loaded. I said but little to the men beyond the plain and emphatic statement that no government property should be molested; no noise or drunken rioting would be permitted; no misbehavior of any kind; and the men who broke one of these rules would do so at his peril, for henceforth the line was drawn and this was to be considered a notice to all bad men. The fallen and bruised leader protested his sorrow, laying it all to whiskey. He was a foreman, a fine workman, came to Mr. Sawyer highly recommended and had a respectable family in Cincinnati. The terrible conditions so demoralized him that, with the heat and whiskey, he became crazed.

“This was the turning point. It happened oddly enough, but was effective. Men of different trades organized themselves into squads to keep good order and to assist each other. Nurses volunteered for the hospital and in the camps. Voluntary help came pouring in, though I found that many men had left the post. There was no way of stopping them, and under the circumstances perhaps it was well that they should go. But where could they go? There was no settlement in the immediate country. There was one family at the bridge across the Little Blue, nineteen miles east, and a Catholic mission and Pottawatomie village of St. Marys, fifty-two miles east.”

The bridge across the Little Blue, referred to here by Mr. Lowe, is mentioned a little farther on in his narrative as Dyer’s bridge. It was undoubtedly the bridge over the Big Blue at the point where the military road crossed that river. Mr. Lowe’s reference to the river as the Little Blue is evidently an error. In the latter part of 1853 a man by the name of Sam­uel D. Dyer was running the government ferry on the Big Blue River at a point on the military road about a mile below Rocky Ford. The government built a bridge over the river there very soon after, costing about $10,000, but during a flood in the year 1855 it was carried away. After the opening of the territory a little town sprung up at this point, on the


east side of the river. It was called Juniata. Most of its inhabitants were in sympathy with the cause of proslavery. In 1855 Juniata was made a post office and was about as well known by the name of Dyers Town as by that of Juniata. In 1856 the name of the post office was changed to Tauromee and was removed to the west side of the Blue. This post office was abolished March 26, 1858. Mr. Dyer was the leading man of the town and he and his wife kept a sort of free hotel and a small store. The town was a preaching place for all the denominations and it was customary to invite everybody to dinner after “preaching.” This pair were a kindly, generous-hearted old couple and their free table and dishonest clerks soon made away with most of their little property. Juniata was about five miles north of Manhattan and after the destruction of the bridge the road was moved down the stream closer to its mouth. This, together with the rivalry of Manhattan, effectively wiped out the town.

St. Mary’s Mission, among the Pottawatomies, was originally established on Sugar Creek, in Miami count¥, in July. 1841, by Father Christian Hoeken. When the tribe was transferred to the reservation in northern Kansas, in the fall of 184 7. the mission was transferred to the Kansas valley and in the spring of 1848 was permanently located at the present site.




Continuing his narrative and referring to St. Marys, Mr. Lowe states: “Here Mrs. Bertram kept the only hotel worth the name between Riley and Leavenworth. Captain Alley’s store at Silver Lake, the Pottawatomie homes and the eating place at Hickory Point, finishes the list of settlements, save here and there at long intervals a squatter’s shanty. I do not say cabin because that indicates a home built of logs, with a fireplace where warmth, comfort and contentment abound in winter and cool restfulness in summer. Such houses did exist at long intervals along the streams but seldom on the high prairie. A shanty, boarded up and down, with a stovepipe through the roof was the rule, and a decent man ought to have died alone rather than intrude himself on one of these poor families, under the circumstances.

“A small steamboat had run up the Law to Manhattan,

twenty miles east of Riley. At the time I write of, I had not seen Manhattan and do not know what settlements were there. A lot of stampeders from Riley took possession of her and ran down the river for a few miles, got aground, and had to leave her.

“Major Armistead’s quarters were the second west of the quartermaster’s office. Mrs. Clarkson and her niece had prepared the body of Mrs. Armistead for burial. but it was not to be coffined until the major’s arrival. Mr. Clarkson informed me that his wife and niece were worn out, but would attend to Mrs. Wood’s quarters, where she and her children were confined, ready for burial in the morning and he asked me to take charge of the Armistead quarters, which I promised to do.

“Counting the time that the ambulance had been gone, I expected the major sometime before midnight. I knew that the faithful driver, K. B. Cecil. Now a wealthy farmer of Platte County, Missouri, would spare no effort to bring him quickly. About ten o’clock I heard an ambulance rattling over the stony road, knew it was the mayor and dreaded meeting him. As the ambulance stopped at the porch, I opened the door and the major sprang out, shook my hand, and inquired: ‘How bout my family?’ I hesitated a little, which he interpreted as a bad omen and continued, ‘Are they all gone-wife, children



and all?’ ‘No, major,’ I said, our children are safe at Mr. Clarkson’s.’ He said no more then. Taking hold of his left arm, we walked into the room. The agony of that minute during which he gazed at his wife was terrible. I led him gently away. When on the porch, he said, ‘I will take my children on the plains with me. I will try to fake them away tomorrow.• I assured him that I would have his quarters cared for and he went to Mr. Clarkson’s, where his children, a boy and a girl. were located. Martin came to me about midnight, said he had gotten quite a nap and would relieve me. I went to the office, put an unhung door on the two iron safes, two robes on that, and tried to sleep. I thought I had seen enough suffering and wickedness in this one day to haunt me a lifetime. In the room overhead was the dead soldier; Hopkins. in a critical condition, was in the adjoining room; Major Ogden, Mrs. Armistead, Mrs. Wood and her two children were dead­ all within a short distance of each other. Others were still unburied and an additional one reported dead from time to time. Several new cases were reported to me while at Major Armistead’s quarters. At the rate of increase, the outlook was alarming.

“I had not slept long·when I was aroused by some loose animals rubbing against the front porch. It was three o’clock by my watch. I was surprised that I slept at all. I looked in on Hopkins and found him sleeping and his nurse thought him better. I then went over to the Armistead quarters. Martin had fastened the door leading from the hall into Mrs. Armi­ stead’s room and he lay asleep in the hall. I mounted my horse, rode to my own tent, where the cavalry stables now stand and got breakfast. I then went over to the hospital. The dead were being coffined and carried out, while others took their places. Heroic efforts were being made to keep the hospital and bedding clean. Mr. Sawyer had made the best arrangements possible, under the circumstances, for nursing, washing, cleaning quarters, etc., and it was a surprise to me how well the attendants did. To change bedding and attend to the necessities of a long room full of men in the agonies of the fatal disease required attentive and intelligent work. Burial parties were under way and I rode over to the cemetery and found the grave-diggers already at work under a foreman. I am writing on the morning of the fourth of August. The doctor and his family had gone; fifteen had died on the third and probably fifty were under treatment.

“In writing this, I would like to refer less frequently to myself. but I only tell what came under my own observation­ what I saw or knew of. I went to Mr. Sawyer reported the status of affairs as I saw them. He and Martin would at-


tend to the burial of the major, Mrs. Armistead, Mrs. Wood and her two children. Leaving Sawyer, I went to the dispensary in the hospital to get from the steward a bottle each of brandy and port wine to carry with me on my rounds among the camps. The steward introduced me to a young man who had just come in on horseback, Dr. Whitehorn. He came from Dyer’s bridge, nineteen miles east, near which he had a claim. For fear of doubts of his being a doctor, he was showing the steward his diploma and other testimonials, including a letter from Mr. Dyer. He was a light-built, wiry, sunburned youth and carried on his saddle the old-fashioned doctor’s saddle­ bags. I told him that Mr. Sawyer was now at the head of affairs, but that I would introduce him and then show him around, which I did, and he was warmly welcomed. Cholera was a new disease to the doctor and he was very young, but he was cool, quiet, self-reliant, intelligent and possessed good judgment. When he entered the hospital, word passed from one to another, ‘We have a doctor,’ and this had a good effect. He soon impressed them very favorably. A spoonful of brandy or port wine by the doctor’s order would do more good than from me. I spent the forenoon with him and showed him the quarters, camps, etc.

“I then rode to my team’s camp on the Republican during the afternoon and found all well. Towards evening, while riding around, I stopped to talk with a young stone-cutter from St. Louis. I had often talked with him and liked him. Major Armistead had selected a stone to be put up at his wife’s grave, and this young man was cutting the letters and figures on it. He seemed well and said that he felt so, but he was not as cheerful as usual and I tried to encourage him. The next morning this handsome young fellow joined those on the side of the hill beyond the deep ravine. I mention this instance to show how suddenly and unexpectedly the strongest and best were taken away. I do not know just how many died on this day, but about the same number as on August third. Miss Fox, stepdaughter of Forage Master Lowe, was among those who died on the fourth. I am sorry that I do not remember the names of the men who worked day and night to help those who could not help themselves.

“George W. McLain, a newspaper man of Weston, Missouri, was driving thru the country in a buggy and came into Riley from Council Grove. On asking for the commanding officer, he learned that he was dead and of the condition of things generally. He found me and I advised him to drive on and to hold his breath until miles away. He seemed inclined to do that, but could not resist the temptation of getting items enough to write up the conditions. As we passed a small house



“N” .









(From pen drawing made by L. Leduc, 16th Inf. Band. Loaned by John Moore, Junction City)

Fort Riley About 1878


On our way to his buggy we heard a female voice in great distress. On going in, we saw a woman, wife of a corporal who was away with his company, apparently in the agonies of death. On a bed, with hands, feet and limbs cramped and a frenzied expression, she was a terrible picture. She had been ill for a short time. There was no one to help her-a woman could not be found to attend to her. McLain took off his coat and hat, laid them on a chair, rolled up his sleeves and went to the stove where there was a kettle with warm water in it–in short, took an inventory of the surroundings. I went to the hospital for brandy and port wine and when I returned, Mc­ Lain was rubbing the woman vigorously and talking to her in the most cheerful manner; told her he was a doctor and would surely cure her. No woman could have handled her better than he did. He gave her some brandy and, turning to me, said, in a low tone, ‘Lowe, my heart is in this thing. This woman, without a friend within reach, her husband serving his country in the army, must not be left here to die. She is go­ ing to live; I’ll see that she does.’ Turning to her he said, ‘I’ll wait on you all night and all day tomorrow, until you are well.’

“I left him in a few minutes, had his team care for, sent him something to eat, and called early the next morning. The woman was asleep and McLain said her symptoms were good. She got well. If she had not thought of him as a doctor thl'” shock would have been fatal. This man afterwards became very prominent. He was known throughout the country as General George Washington McLain, started various newspapers and was always a correspondent. He was generous when he smiled and patient when poverty stalked abroad and after a life of ups and downs he balanced his accounts, paid off all his earthly debts and passed to his reward a few years ago in Leadville, Colorado. I never knew his lineage, but the blood that coursed through his heart and fed his brain was not of the common sort. Whatever his faults, and he had them, he deserved a better fate than that which overtook him. His virtues covered his faults miles deep.

“Hopkins improved. I firmly believe that much of the sickness was caused by mental trouble-the horrors of the surroundings. There were not so many deaths on the 5th as on the 3rd and 4th. The outlook was better. · We had lost 150 or more men by desertion. All discordant elements were now gone and we were getting used to working together.

“We had a good deal of pine tar in barrels, brought to the post to mix with gravel as a covering for the stable roofs. Someone suggested that it was a good disinfectant and on the evenings of August fourth and fifth, when a gentle south wind


favored, we had fires built where the fumes and smoke would float into the open windows and burned tar at all of them. Whether this did much good or not, it counteracted offensive odors. The doctor thought well of it. The night of the fifth I slept well on the top of the safes. There were not so many new cases reported the morning of the sixth and every good report gave renewed hope. As the sixth wore on I thought it time to hear something from the message sent by Orton. Down the road I saw a four-mule government ambulance a mile and a half away. I knew it must contain a doctor and probably an officer and I galloped down to meet it.

“The ambulance contained Lieutenant Carr, now General Eugene Carr, retired, and Doctor Samuel Phillips, my roommate at Fort Leavenworth, a young contract doctor. I never was more pleased to see a man in my life. Carr I knew as a young officer en route to New Mexico the year before. I was anxious for a commanding officer with authority. The discretionary power of the military commander is very great, no matter what his rank. If not hampered with instructions, he can often do what a man with less power would hesitate to do. I have·always admired a man who would not hesitate to take responsibility. Lieutenant Carr was not sent to replace Major Ogden permanently, but to take charge in this emergency and do whatever a good officer could do under the stress of circumstances. These remarks apply to Phillips. No better man could have been selected for such an emergency. While Carr received from Sawyer an account of the situation, Phillips proceeded at once to the hospiJ:al, met Dr. Whitehorn and went from place to place to examine the sick. The medical department was now under Phillips’ control-it had a head with authority. To show the effects of confidence in. a doctor, good nursing and encouragement, each day brought fewer cases, men settled down to work more cheerfully, until there was no more cholera. I do not know bow many died, in fact, I think I never did know, but the number was not less than 75 nor probably more than 100. Of the men who left in the excitement, a few were known to have died.

“The post, since its establishment, had been supplied with water from the Kaw River, just below the junction of the Smoky Hill and Republican. The Smoky Hill was milky and brackish, the Republican clear. The two mingled where the water was dipped up. On the morning of the second, I went with the water wagon and showed the men where they would get water until further notice. Surely the Republican was clear and pure; but feeling some delicacy about assuming authority in a matter of so much importance as the water supply, I took a jug full from each place, and one from a large spring,


to Doctor Simmons and asked him to examine and see which was best. He seemed in great distress about his family and said that he could give me no advice. Sawyer, Hopkins, Clark­ son and Martin thought it a good move and often afterwards expressed the opinion that, while the water formerly used did not cause the cholera, the Republican water was much safer and probably had something to do with restoring health. For several nights before the cholera broke out and continuing to the night of the third we had violent storms of rain, thunder and lightning, lasting several hours and ending about midnight. One would think that this would purify the air-perhaps it did. I do not suggest that the cholera grew out of it, but merely mention it as a peculiar circumstance. No doubt the germs of the disease were brought originally with the men.

“Near a spring west of where Junction City now is, two men were attending a lime-kiln. On August fifth, I sent a team over after a load of lime. A little German from Herman, Mis­souri, (I cannot remember his full name-Henry, we called him), one of the most faithful men I ever knew, drove the team. As he did not come in as soon as I expected, I rode down to the river about dark and met him coming across. He said that one man was ‘badly sick’ when he got there. He helped the other man care for the sick one until he died. They put the dead man in the wagon and started and the other one was now sick. The teamster had to stop many times to help the sick man who ‘go died’ just before the team reached the river. The poor teamster was greatly distressed and apologized for not bringing the lime. He had volunteered to go because the lime burners were his friends and he wanted to see how they were getting along. He lived thru and conveyed the dying messages of the two to their friends.” .

In a statement in Volume X of the Kansas Historical Collections, we find that George Montague and his family arrived at Pawnee City from Iowa, July I, 1855. At Fort Riley, Mr. Montague secured a contract for burning lime for the construction of the buildings at Fort Riley. There he met two men named Mott and McCoy, who had already staked out claims on the Republican and directed the Montagues to a suitable location. They started July 7th and crossed the Republican a mile from the fort, then proceeded up the south bank of the river to a patch of timber five miles from the fort and known as Five-Mile Timber. There a large, rocky bluff was visible about two miles away and they kept on to that, then along the bluff for one mile to Mr. Mott’s claim. The next claim was taken by the Montagues.

There they built one lime-kiln after another all summer. The government sent out six-mule teams after the lime. Mr.


Montague states, “Orice during the summer we went to Fort Riley on business and found that nearly every one whom we had known there was dead, including Major Ogden, our best friend, and the one who had given us the lime contract; and many others had run away to escape the cholera, which was the disease that caused all the trouble and reduced the population of the fort fully one-half. Mr. Mott died of cholera.”

Whether this is the lime-kiln referred to by Mr. Lowe or not, the writer could not determine. Several old residents of Junction City knew the Montague place in their younger days and remembered the lime-kilns there. The place is about two miles east of Alida. There is also a big spring about two miles west of Junction City but there is no evidence that there has ever been a lime-kiln there.

Mr. Lowe continues his narrative as follows:

“From day to day there was improvement, work went on in all the departments and more men were sent from Fort Leavenworth to take the places of those who died or deserted. Lieutenant Corley, Sixth Infantry, relieved Lieutenant Carr and by the first of September everything was in full blast and work progressed rapidly. Some building supplies were needed and work would be retarded unless they were brought quickly. I was ordered to take thirty six-mule teams and go after them. I got the order at 3: 00 P. M. The wagons were all dismantled, covers and bows stored away, and the beds arranged for hauling stone, sand, lime, wood, brick, or any sort of building material. By sunset, I had thirty wagons full rigged, thirty of the best mule teams ready to hitch to them and rations and for­ age drawn all ready to start.

“An expressman started about that time with requisition for the supplies that I was to bring and I told him to say to the shipping clerk at Fort Leavenworth that I would not be long behind him and to please have the loading so arranged that there would be no delay. I wrote a note to my friend, Levi Wilson, general superintendent, requesting him to look a little after the requisition because several hundred men might be delayed more or less on the work at Riley and I wanted to make a trip that would beat any record for moving six-mule teams. The expressman laughed at the idea of my reaching our common destination soon after he did. I started at sunrise the next morning and camped in Salt Creek valley, three miles from Fort Leavenworth, the third evening-127 miles in three days-about forty-two miles per day. I rode to the post that evening, only twenty-four hours behind the expressman; and he had started eleven hours ahead of me on a good saddle mule. I spent the evening with friends talking over the exciting events at Riley, of which they had heard many exaggerated accounts.


I·had been reported dead of cholera at one time and killed by a mob at another. I returned to camp at midnight and at seven o’clock the next morning was loading at the warehouses and steamboat landing and by four in the afternoon I was back in Salt Creek valley, heavily loaded. There was much talk that day about the quick trip I had made and everybody expected to see the mules in bad condition and was surprised to see a fine lot of mules and active, wide-awake teamsters-no one hanging back in a tired way, but all pushing and trying to help along. I rolled out of Salt Creek valley the next morning and before sunset of the fourth day parked my train at Fort Riley, having made about thirty-two miles per day. The mules were turned into the herd up the Republican, tired but uninjured. We had been eight days and seven nights traveling 260 miles, including loading.

“Government teams generally make one drive per day. I have seldom met an army man who did not insist upon doing his day’s work, long or short, and then going into camp. I had learned on the Santa Fe Trail how Aubrey, Bent, Max­ well and all the Mexican freighters worked their teams-two and three drives a day. To drive teams with empty wagons forty-two miles a day, or loaded thirty-two miles a day, would soon ruin them, if the drives were continuous. Having made about one-half my day’s drive,

I halted, took off the harness and turned the mules loose with lari­ats on, but without picket-pins. They rolled, drank freely, and grazed for an hour, while the men ate dinner. Arrived in camp for the night. The mules were turned loose again the same way and before dark were caught up, fed corn and picketed for the night. First thing in the morning they were watered, then fed corn and, breakfast over, were hitched up and started, usually by sunrise. No corn was fed at noon, but the grass was fine and much better for them. On the evening of my return, I showed the quartermaster and Mr. Sawyer my memorandum of the contents of each wagon. From this they knew where each wagon should be unloaded.

“From this time there seemed to be no check, deficit, or friction-a sort of steady discipline, rare among large numbers of men of various trades in civil life, prevailed all the way through and all that could be expected was accomplished. Undoubtedly the retained pay had a steadying influence, but I think that after the exodus, during the prevalence of cholera, there was a markedly good set of men left. I have always thought that sending the troops away during the building of the post was a mistake. Taking five hundred men there who were governed only by self-interest, with no law to curb the bad element sure to exist in any body of men, seemed not to be


Diagram constructed from pictures of that date.

1. Hospital

2. Hospital Steward’s Quarters

3. Barracks

4. Officers’ Quarters

5. Chapel

6. Chaplain’s Quarters

7. Sutler’s Quarters

8. Magazine

9. Guard House

10. Commissary Building

11. Quartermaster Building

12. Fire Engine House

13. Stables

14. Ordnance Building

15. Laundresses’ Quarters (14 and 15 are now Soap Suds Row)


16. Non-commissioned Officers’ Quarters

17. The Buchanan House

18. Old Bakery (House of Blazes)

19. House of Blazes

20. Bakery

21. Carpenters’ Shop

22. Saddlers’ Shop

23. Blacksmith Shop

24. Gun Sheds

25. Sutler’s Store

26. Officers’ Club

27. Quartermaster Employees’ Mess

28. Scale House

29. Corral for Hay and Pack Animals

30. Ogden Monument


a wise move, when Armistead and Wood, with their companies, could just as well have remained in the vicinity, changing camp from time to time and being within call if needed.

“I will now refer briefly to the Ogden monument. The original was designed by Mr. Sawyer and was prepared and erected by quarry men, stone-cutters, laborers and teamsters, under the direction of Mr. Sawyer and myself, without other cost to the government than the pay of the men while the work was being done. The stone was of the kind used in the buildings of Fort Riley. In time, neither the government nor any one else heeded it, cattle made of it a rubbing post, vandals chipped pieces from it and scratched their names on it and it became a wreck. It was not expected to be permanent, the hope of the builders being that it would be replaced with something worthy of the man whose memory it was intended to perpetuate–commensurate with his ability and devotion to duty; a monitor to all entrusted with the care and control of others. Another shaft was afterward erected, much better than the original. but not what it ought to have been. I do not know how or where the money was raised, nor under whose direction it was put up. This, too, was neglected-left a rubbing post for cattle after the wooden fence around it rotted down; and vain simpletons who like to ‘see their names and faces in all public places’ defaced the stone.

“In 1887, General James W. Forsyth, then Colonel of the 7th Cavalry, took command of Fort Riley. He had never known Major Ogden and until I. while on a visit to Fort Riley, told him the story of the death of Ogden and the erection of the shaft, he did not know its history. He then knew that it was in memory of a brother officer who died at his post in discharge of duty under the most trying circumstances and he took prompt measures to preserve it. He secured a small allowance from the quartermaster’s department, with which, and some labor within his control. He had it repaired-scratches worked out and a permanent iron fence put around it.

“In October, 1855, Major John Sedgwick of the artillery (Major General Sedgwick, who was killed in the Battle of the Wilderness) came to Fort Riley to investigate matters connected with the cholera a!}d especially Dr. Simmons’ conduct. Saw­ yer, Hopkins, Clarkson, Martin and myself were called on for verbal statements. On the information gained by Major Sedg­ wick, the doctor was court-martialed and dismissed from the service. I believe he was reappointed at the foot of the list some years later. About the first of November, Major Ogden’s remains were distinterred and shipped to Unadilla, New York, where they now rest under a beautiful monument erected by his brother officers and friends.


“A part of the Second Dragoons came up from Texas in October, 1855. Colonel Cooke came in from the Harney expedition against the Sioux, with more of the Second Dragoons, to take command of the post. On the fifteenth of November, all of the workmen who were entitled to be paid off and transported back to St. Louis and Cincinnati, loaded their effects into wagons that I had ready for thern-50 six-mule wagons -and in four days I landed them on the levee at Fort Leavenworth where boats were waiting to take them away.

“In September, 1862, I conducted, for the government, from Fort Leavenworth, 120 mule teams and more than 600 horses to New Mexico and made Fort Riley a rendezvous en route. Starting each train as completed-five trains in all and each string of horses, eighteen strings in all–each train or string of horses camped in the vicinity of Riley until the arrival of the last one, when the trains and strings of horses were examined and refitted, wagons loaded with corn and the entire outfit moved on together. Captain D. W. Scott, who afterwards died at Fort Riley, was acting quartermaster and John T. Price was chief clerk. There were no troops at the post at that time. Mr. Robert Wilson was a post trader. I followed the trail used by the Kansas Stage Company of which L. G. Terry of Leavenworth, was superintendent, up the Smoky Hill to Salina, where there was a stage station; thence to another stage station called Ellsworth, near where Fort Harker was afterwards built, three miles east of the present town of Ellsworth, and where ‘Kan­ opolis’ now claims a residence; thence across the Smoky, west to what is now called Cheyenne bottom, across Walnut Creek, corning into the old Santa Fe Trail a little east of Pawnee Rock. I returned the same way and measured the road for the government from Fort Union to Fort Riley with an odometer and for the government I was a guide in chaining the military road from Fort Riley to Fort Leavenworth in 1876.”

This is the end of Mr. Lowe’s statement. It has been quoted almost in its entirety because it furnishes intimate details of the beginning of Fort Riley that exist in no other record. It probably is the most valuable historical source for facts concerning the summer of 185 5 and the cholera epidemic in existence.

The following extract from a letter written by Joseph 0. Sawyer, architect and superintendent of work, to his son Wil­ liam Henry Sawyer, August 10, 1855, is of interest. This letter was furnished to Colonel W. W. Whiteside by E. 0. Sawyer Jr., grandson of J. 0. Sawyer.

“The disease made its appearance about ten days after our arrival, but caused no alarm, as there were but one or two deaths a day. As it increased, the men became alarmed, some of them quit work, and there was considerable panic. When


Major Ogden was taken. I kept it a secret from the men as much as possible, but the morning following when they found out the Major was dying and that there were in the house seven persons dead and dying, they lost all restraint and acted like demons. They broke into the sutler’s store and carried out whiskey and liquor by the bucketful; they broke into the hospital and Commissary’s store and threatened to take the money chest, if they were not paid. There was but a limited number of soldiers there, and they had been moved in wagons the night before, in the midst of all this panic. I was then left alone with five hundred men, panic stricken and mad with whiskey. At this time one of these men stabbed another and cut his bowels open. There was nothing left for me to do but to save the Post and the property of the United States. I took command and did all in my power by promises and threats, to quiet them until I could make arrangements to get arms and ammunition. This I did as quickly as possible, and then let the men know that I would shoot the first man that misbehaved. That night I placed a guard armed with muskets and six shooters, and as they made up their minds I was in earnest, I had no further trouble with them. I kept a guard always mounted. When you remember that during this day eighteen died, and others were taken sick, and that the Post was deserted, you can form some estimate of the awful scene.

“The panic has been so great that it is impossible to find out how many have died-but it is over fifty, that is one out of every ten persons here. If I were to write all night it would be impossible to tell all I have to do. The sick could not be attended to nor the dead buried. There is one fact that I wish to put on record, the Americans all did their duty when asked, and they bad no part in the depredations which were committed. The carpenters were my main dependence, they stood guard, and did all I asked of them.”

It might seem, in casually reading the statements of Mr. Lowe and Mr. Sawyer, that each was striving f0r :he credit of saving the situation, but such is not the case. By August tenth, the date of Mr. Sawyer’s letter, the epidemi: bad abated and his recollections were mainly of relief and thankfulness. Mr. Lowe’s statement was made years after the actual occurrences. All evidence shows that Lowe, Clarkson, Hopkins, Sawyer and others worked together during these trying times with the utmost amiability and that they are all deserving of the thanks of their country. Had Major Ogden lived he could have done no more for the preservation of this little frontier post and it would seem most fitting if the names of Lowe, Sawyer, Hopkins and Clarkson could be honored, as has the name of Ogden.

The history of the original Ogden monument is somewhat

(Photo loaned by Harlan, Fort Riley)

Ogden Monument

(Photo loaned by Geo. Smith Memorial Library, Junction City)

The Old Hospital


clouded in obscurity. There is no record of the date of erection of the second monument which Mr. Lowe states was “afterward erected.” Mr. John Moore, an old gentleman now residing in Junction City, who was a teamster at the Post in the early days and whose life was largely spent there, told the writer that the original monument was replaced in 1865 or 1866. James Tully was the patron stonemason in charge of the erection of the second monument. Other members of the crew were Fred Shepard, Mr. Brannick, and a Mr. Clark. Mr. Moore remembers these facts more clearly because the workmen boarded with his mother at the time. This second monument was the one that was restored in 1887 by direction of Colonel Forsyth.

Other old settlers have stated that they always “understood” the original monument was only a pile of stones and that the monument repaired in ’87 was the original. As these statements are for the most part matters of opinion, it is probable that Mr. Lowe and Mr. Moore are correct and that the second monument was erected in 1865 or 1866.

In 1923, Colonel W. W. Whiteside, then Quartermaster at Fort Riley, and Brigadier General E. L. King, then Commandant of The Cavalry School, decided to move the monument from its original location to a point on the Golden Belt Highway 300 yards south. This was done in order that the monument might be more readily accessible to visitors to the post and with a view to beautifying the location of the monument. The old monument (the one erected in 1865 or 1866) now stands in the’ office of the Quartermaster, sheltered from the weather, a mute testimonial to the memory of Major Ogden. The monument which stands on the site of the old quarry where the stone for the building of the fort in 1855 was prepared, is the one erected in 1923 under direction of Colonel Whiteside. The inscription on the original monument has been reproduced on the present one and is a splendid tribute to Major Ogden.






A disinterested patriot and generous friend, a refined gentleman,

a devoted husband and father and an exemplary Christian.

Few men more respected and loved in their lives or more lamented in their death, as much the victim of duty as of disease, he collectedly closed

a life in the public service, distinguished for integrity and faithfulness.

Erected by his friend

J. 0. Sawyer.

The above inscription was on the east face of the old (second) monument and is on the east face of the present one. On the west face of both the old and new monuments is the following inscription: “Brevet Major E. A. Ogden, Assistant Quartermaster, U. S. Army. Died at Fort Riley, August 3d, 1855, Aged 44 years. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”

The south face of the present monument bears an inscription reading: “This monument is a duplicate of the OGDEN MONUMENT which until I 923 stood on the crest of hill three hundred yards north of this point and the stone on which this inscription is carved was taken from the original monument.” (Author’s note: By original it means the second monument).

On the north face is another inscription which states: “On the site marked by this monument MAJOR OGDEN, in I 855, opened a quarry from which was obtained stone used in the construction of the first permanent buildings at FORT RILEY.”

Records show that in 1855 buildings were ordered erected around a parallelogram 553×606 feet, including 6 two-story barracks for enlisted men,40’x88′, 6 two-story officers’ quarters, hospital, ordnance building l 8’x 117′, five stables 39’x• 256′, a two-story guard house 20’x45′, and a brick magazine l 6’xl 6′.


An accurate picture of the old post of 1855 may be gained by a study of the illustrations and diagram accompanying this chapter.

The building used as the hospital in 1855 was later remodeled and is now the Administration Building. Within the enclosure around the old hospital and slightly southeast of the main building was the house occupied by the hospital steward. Mr. George Faringhy, whose father was a hospital steward at the post from 1866 to 1873 and again after 1879, is authority for the statement that the ground just north of the Administration Building was formerly the burial ground for arms and legs amputated at the hospital. Quoting Mr. Faringhy, “The limb was simply wrapped in a towel or sheet, a spade made a hole and without ceremony the interment was made.”

Two of the three sets of officers’ quarters shown on the north side of the parade are still in existence. The set at the east end of the line was a double set and was occupied in 1926 by Captain A. B. Ames, Q. M. C., and Captain J.C. Mullenix, Cavalry. The middle set of quarters was located at what is now the junction of Forsyth and Sheridan Avenues. It was a single set and was occupied by the Commanding Officer. In the early days the adjutant had his office in the basement. The third, or western set, was also double. It is now known as the Cavalry Club and has been utilized as the Officers’ Club for manY. years. ‘

The old stone chapel is still in existence and has been used, in recent years, as a kindergarten. It is said to have been the first stone church erected in Kansas.-

The chaplain’s quarters, occupied by Chaplain Clarkson of Mr. Lowe’s narrative, for several years and utilized as the chap­ lain’s quarters until the rebuilding of the post in the eighties, is now Building No. 123 and is occupied as a dwelling by the Chief Clerk of the Quartermaster’s Office. The house just southwest of the old chaplain’s quarters, now designated as Building No. 124, and occupied by a warrant officer of the school staff, was originally occupied by the post trader or sutler. It was built by Bob Wilson, the first sutler. Behind this building are two or three graves and there is a story to the effect that one of them is that of a woman who drowned herself in a deep well because of unrequited love. This house got the name of being haunted from that fact. In regard to this, Mr. Faringhy states: “I told Mrs. Waters (wife of Mose Waters, who was then occupying the quarters) of this and asked her if she ever heard anything to annoy her. She did not know the house as the haunted house until I told her. She answered that when they went to live in it they heard terrible noises at night like a log chain being dragged down the


stairs and had the Catholic priest, Father Carius, come from Junction City to lay the ghost. A servant was ironing late one night in the kitchen when she saw the face of a woman pressed against the window pane, outside. The servant heaved the iron thru the window at the ghost and refused to remain there longer. Carius laid the ghost and it never came again.”

The outbuildings around the old sulter’s house were utilized

as storerooms for his merchandise.

In rear of, and a little southwest of Waters’ Hall, is an old wooden set of quarters now occupied by Sergeant McAleese of the School Detachment. It is made of logs boarded over and probably is one of the original buildings erected when Camp Center was established in 1852 or 1853. It has had a varied career and is known to many of the old residents about the post as the “Buchanan house” for it was occupied by a commissary sergeant named Buchanan, for some years. In the early days it was occupied by the Quartermaster.

The old barracks were in the same relative positions as the present ones but extended farther to the north, as can be seen. The old guard house was on the edge of the parade in the center of the west side. The parade ground at that time was lower on the west and higher in the center than it is at present and much grading and filling-in has been done.

Of the old cavalry stables erected in 1855, one still exists. It is now’ the School Polo Stable, or Stable No. l. Between that stable and the present guard house was the old fire engine house. The Quartermaster and Commissary Buildings were in the vicinity of the present guard house and the barracks occupied by the Saddlers’ School.

The buildings constituting what is now known as Soapsuds Row are carried in the records of the Quartermaster as having been constructed in 1855. That record, however, is believed to be only fifty per cent accurate. The west building undoubtedly was erected in 1855 and was used as the Ordnance building for many years, at least thirty. Two employees of the Quartermaster at present, Jack Daly, the Forage-Master and James Daly, Storekeeper, lived in one end of the old Ordnance building as boys, when their father, Patrick Daly, was Ordnance Sergeant in the early eighties. • The building was originally constructed in such a manner that one end of it was the ordnance storeroom, while the other contained living rooms for the Ordnance Sergeant. The eastern set of non-commissioned officers’ quarters on Soapsuds Row was constructed later. Mr. Henry Johnson, now over ninety years old and living on Mc­ Dowell’s Creek, told the writer that he quarried the rock for a Mr. Tully, contractor, who built that building after the Civil War-in the late sixties.


The term, “Soapsuds Row,” applied to these buildings, had its origin in the fact that when the east building was erected and when the old ordnance building was converted. They were designed for laundresses’ quarters. The laundresses were soldiers’ wives. In the old days, before quartermaster laundries. every army post had a Soapsuds Row.

Quarters for non-commissioned officers were scattered in a haphazard manner. all over the post as late as the eighties. These small buildings were of log or frame construction and some of them may have been built in I 852 and 185 3. while others are known to have been constructed later. The “House of Blazes No. I” was the original bakery. Afterwards. becoming too small. it was replaced by the building in the rear of the Commissary. “House of Blazes No. l” and “House of Blazes No. 2” were nicknames applied to them by soldiers. They were so known in the seventies.

The gun sheds, located where the West Riding Hall and its adjacent sand rings now stand. were put up in the sixties some­ time. probably when the School of Application for Light Artillery was established in 1869.

The sutler’s buildings consisted of one long rectangular stone building used as a Club by officers and a larger story and a half stone building used as a store, post office and saloon. “Johnny” Brooks, who was a bartender in this old sutler’s building. showed the writer the site of these places. Just north of the ravine in the rear of the east sand ring at the West Riding Hall are some large trees. These trees were just at the back door of the store. Mr. Brooks said the soldiers used to take a blanket and go out under those trees and “shoot craps.” A ridge marking the old foundation may be seen. This spot is about twenty yards west of the street extending north from the guard house.

The carpenters, saddlers and blacksmith shops were just south of the sutler’s store in the vicinity of the present sand room.

The quartermaster employee’s mess was in a large frame building just east of the southeast corner of the hay corral. The foundation may still be seen. “Johnny” Moore and his wife lived in this building and also in the “House of Blazes No. 1.” The writer took them out to the site of the old mess building and as we stood there on the site of their one time home. Mrs. Moore pointed out a tree to which their baby was tied to prevent his running away and many personal reminiscences came back to that fine old couple of their early married life. This building may or may not have been one of the original buildings erected in 1855. It was of frame construction and as nearly as the writer could determine it was one of the original buildings.


The old scale house stood where the present one is and the

Old and new hay corrals are the same except that the old one was divided into two parts; one containing hay and the other utilized as a corral for pack animals and quartermaster mules. At that time and for many years afterward, the western road to the post was the road that now leads past the quartermaster laundry and the stone crusher. The ground now occupied by the Artillery Post or Upper Parade, was the rifle range

and drill ground.

The cemetery of i855 was undoubtedly in the vicinity of the present cemetery. Mr. Lowe, in his narrative, referred to the young stonecutter from St. Louis as “joining those on the side of the hill beyond the deep ravine.”

Mr. Faringhy gives the following information concerning early burials: “During the cholera epidemic in 1855, a young woman whose name was Susan Fox (the Miss Fox referred to by Mr. Lowe in his narrative) was betrothed to an employee of the Quartermaster, named John T. Price. She died of cholera while her trousseau was being prepared and was buried at the foot of a tall tree across the ravine back of the quarter­ master employee’s quarters. A wooden headboard and railing were placed around the grave. The wagon road ran almost over the foot of her grave. This body was exhumed later and put in the post cemetery.” (This grave was a little northeast of the street car station north of the present scale house on the west side of the ravine) .

Concerning the burial place of Mrs. Armistead, Mr. Far­inghy told the writer: “His wife (Major Armistead’s) lies buried about southwest from my parents’ grave. There was a wooden trellis and vines over the grave but they are long since gone. Wooden headboards were used to mark the burial places in the cemetery and the wall around this sacred place was simply rocks piled up without the use of mortar. Soldiers hunting rabbits lodged in this wall, got them out by tearing gaps in it and prairie fires burned many of the head boards and destroyed the trellis and vines over Mrs. Armistead’s grave.”

In the present cemetery are three graves marked with the date of the cholera epidemic. They are: “Mrs. Mary E. E. Rogers, wife of Alexander B. Rogers, July 3I. 1855; Mahlon Bertolett, July 31. 1855, and Mrs. Lucretia D. Gyer, August 8, 1855.”

That no more graves of that early date are found is due to the fact that wooden headstones and markers were used, which have long since disappeared. A portion of the southeast corner of the cemetery is not in use because it was found in

(From map loaned by Kansas State Historical Society)

Map of Reservation Showing Townsite of Pawnee and Original Boundaries


digging there that many bones were exhumed and that portion of the cemetery has been left untouched. The bones were no doubt those of cholera victims. There probably are other scattered graves around the post. That of Susan Fox and those in rear of the old sulter’s house Wl)uld lead one to believe this. In 1902, Captain George H. Cameron, then Post Engineer Officer at Fort Riley, compiled a record of surveys of the Post from official records. Part of this compilation is of interest and will be quoted. It contained no maps and has been sup­ plemented by a plot of the survey with an accompanying letter obtained from the record of the proceedings of the court-martial in the case of Colonel Montgomery and loaned the author by the Kansas State Historical Society thru the kindness of the

Secretary, William E. Connelley.

The initial letter of instructions is as follows:

Headquarters Department of the West, Jefferson Barracks, Mo., March 21. 1854.

Commanding Officer, Fort Riley.


I am directed by the General Commanding the Department to s ay that you will, with the least delay practicable, cause to be surveyed and marked out distinctly, the line of a Military Reserve, containing a tract of land of sufficient extent to afford all the advantages of timber, fuel. hay and other requisites for a Military Post.


In establishing the boundary you will be governed by circumstances and a due consideration of every advantage to be derived from a Military Reserve.

Having made the survey and established the boundary lines distinctly marked, you are authorized to proclaim it at once as the Military Reserve, and will make a detailed report of it to these Headquarters, accompanied with a Map, to be submitted for sanction to higher authority.

Very respectfully,

(Sgd.) Francis N. Page Asst. Adjt. Gen’l.

The direct result of this communication was announced in Orders No. 84 of Fort Riley.

Headquarters Fort Riley, I. T. June 14th, 1854.

Orders No. 84

1. By virtue of instructions from Hd. Qrs. Dept. of the West, of March 21st, 1854, the “Military Reserve” for Fort


Riley, K. T. “to a sufficient extent to afford all the advantages of timber. fuel. hay and other requisites for a Military Post” will embrace a tract of land, bounded by four lines; two drawn East and West, and two North and South-the former at five, and the latter at nine miles distance from the Center of the parade at this post.

2nd. Major E. Johnson, U. S. A. and Captain N. Lyon, 2nd Infantry, are charged with the duty of surveying said re- serve at as early a period as practicable. .

3rd. The A. A. Q. M. Lieut. Sargent, will furnish the requisite facilities.

By order of Bvt. Lt. Col. Montgomery.

(Sgd) John T. Shaaff 2nd Lieut. 6th Inf.

Post Adjutant.

The heading of this order is I. T., or Indian Territory. The first paragraph of the order refers to Fort Riley as being in

K. T., or Kansas Territory. A bill establishing the territories of Kansas and Nebraska was signed by the President May 30, 1854. It is possible that when the order was written the commanding officer was not certain which designation was correct. No other reason for the discrepancy seems apparent. It. may be that commas, form and other appurtenances of, “red tape” were not such fetishes in those days as they are at present.

The compilation reveals the fact that a survey of the area, declared above, was never made on account of “excessive labor and changes in the command.”

February 8, 1855, Orders No. 16, established the boundaries in great detail. This order was issued by Colonel Montgomery and was signed by Brevet Second Lieutenant Robert J. Hunter of the 2nd Infantry as adjutant.

The next report was made in April in the following letter:

Plat of the Military Reserve for Fort Riley, K. T., established in Post Orders No. 84, June 14, 1854, in obedience to instructions from Department Head Quarters and surveyed and marked out with reduced limits by Captain Nathaniel Lyon, 2nd Infantry, between the 25th of December, 1854, and the 10th of January, 1855, and recommended in Post Orders, February 8, 1855.

Fort Riley, K. T. April 6, 1855.

W. R. Montgomery

Major 2nd Inf. and Bt. Lt. Col.

Commanding Post.


This was forwarded through channels as indicated by the following indorsements:

Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War, and it is recommended that the reserve for military purposes be made to include the grounds at and around Fort Riley, according to the plat and specifications submitted by Major Montgomery.

(Sgd) Th. S. Jesup

April 30, ’55 Qr. Mr. Gen’l.


To the President-Submitted with a recommendation that the reservation as described in the enclosed plat be made for the use of the military post of Fort Riley. The extent or boundary lines are distinguished by contiguous dotted lines.

Jefferson Davis

W. D., May 5, ’55. Secretary of War.

The reservation as above recommended by the Secretary of War, is made, for military purposes, and the Secretary of the Interior will cause it to be noted in the land office, to be re­ served as a military site.

May 5, 1855.

(Sgd) Franklin Pierce Official Copy:

Chas. Rucker, A. A.G.

The original boundary as approved by the President, included a part of what is now Junction City, some 4,000 acres of land between the Republican and Smoky Hill Rivers. That portion of the boundary crossed the Republican near the mouth of Four Mile Creek and extended across tae bottoms to the hills south of the river, then southeast across Junction City to the bridge across the Smoky Hill on Sixth Street at what was formerly Fogarty’s Mill. The line then followed the middle of the river to the present line of the reservation at Clark’s Gate, from which point the boundary extended as it does today.

CHAP’!’hit VI.


The old discussion between North and South as to whether new states should be free or slave states, was brought up with renewed vigor when Nebraska applied for admission. Out of this debate the state of Kansas was born. It is not within the scope of this work to undertake a detailed discussion of the politics of those days but a few of the more essential facts will be considered.

In 1844, the Secretary of War recommended the organization of a territorial government for that part of the country lying immediately west of the State of Missouri. On the 17th of December, I 844, Stephen A. Douglas introduced a bill to establish the Territory of Nebraska, which was to include the country between thirty-six thirty and the north line of Ne­braska. No action was ever taken on this bill and the matter rested, more or less quietly, until after the Compromise of 1850.

Missouri, and, in fact the whole country, were greatly interested in the admission of the new state. Interest focused on the question of whether the new territory should be a free or a slave state. Senator Dodge of Iowa introduced a bill for the organization of Nebraska Territory in the 33d Congress, December 14, I 853. Senator Douglas, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Territories, reported Dodge’s bill January 4, 1854, with an amendment as follows:

“And be it further enacted, That in order to avoid all mis­ construction, it is hereby declared to be the true intent and meaning of this act, so far as the question of slavery is concerned, to carry into practical operation the following propositions and principles established by the compromise measures of 1850, to wit:

“First: That all questions pertaining to slavery in the Territories and in the new states to be formed therefrom, are to be left to the decision of the people residing therein, through their appropriate representatives.

“Second: That ‘all cases involving title to slaves,’ and ‘questions of personal freedom,’ are referred to the adjudication of the local tribunals, with the right of appeal to the Supreme

.Court of the United States.

“Third: That provisions of the Constitution and laws of the United States, in respect to fugitives from service are to



be carried into faithful execution in all the ‘organized Territories’ the same as in the States.”

The report of the Committee on Territories also discussed the principles of the Compromise of 1850, in part as follows: “The principles established by the compromise measures

of 1850, so far as they arc applicable to territorial organizations, are proposed to be affirmed and carried into practical operation within the limits of the new territory.

“In the judgment of your Committee, those measures were intended to have a far more comprehensive and enduring effect than the mere adjustment of the difficulties arising out. of the recent acquisitions of Mexican territory. They were designed to establish certain great principles, which would not only furnish adequate remedies for existing evils, but, in all time to come, avoid the perils of a similar agitation, by withdrawing the question of slavery from the halls of Congress and the political arena, and committing it to the arbitrament of those who were immediately interested in, and alone responsible for, its consequences.”

In 1850, the free states had a. preponderance of nearly four million in population over the slave states. The South realized that the old plan of balancing political power in the Senate by admitting two states at a time, one free and one slave, could not go on forever. The time had come, if in fact it had not already passed, for the South to strike for the repeal

· of the Missouri Compromise.

Discussion of the Nebraska bill was to begin January 23d but it became clear to Senator Douglas that the bill was unpopular and consequently he reported a substitute for it in the form of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, which provided for the creation of two territories and repealed the Missouri Compromise in the following words:

“Section 14.-The Constitution and all laws of the United States which are not locally inapplicable, shall have the same force and effect within said Territories, as elsewhere in the United States, except the eighth section of the act preparatory to the admission of Missouri into the Union, approved March 6, 1820, which was superseded by the principles of the legislation of 1850, commonly called the compromise measures, and is declared inoperative.”

The clause declaring that the Missouri Compromise was superseded by the Compromise of 1850 was stricken out and the following inserted in its place:

“Which, being inconsistent with the principle of non-inter­ vention by Congress with slavery in the States and Territories, as recognized by the legislation of 1850, commonly called the compromise measures, is hereby declared inoperative and void,


it being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate slavery into any territory or state, nor to exclude it therefrom; but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States.”

Douglas was not the author of the Kansas-Nebraska bill. It was prepared by David R. Atchison, whose connection with Kansas did not cease with the enactment of the bill. He tried for several years to force slavery into Kansas but was unsuccessful. as we shall see. The bill was passed and was signed by President Pierce, May 30, 1854. The boundaries of the new Territory were as follows:

“Beginning at a point on the western boundary of the State of Missouri, where the thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude crosses the same; thence west on said parallel to the eastern boundary of New Mexico; thence north on said boundary to latitude thirty-eight; thence following said boundary west­ ward to the east boundary of the Territory of Utah, on the summit of the Rocky Mountains; thence northward on said summit to the fortieth parallel of latitude: thence east on said parallel to the western boundary of the State of Missouri; thence south with the western boundary of said State, to the place of beginning.”

After defining the boundary, the bill went on to state: “And the same is hereby created into a temporary government by the name of the Territory of Kansas, and when admitted as a State or States, the said Territory, or any portion of the same, shall· be received into the Union with or without slavery, as their constitution may prescribe at the time of their admission.” Kansas received its name from the Kansas River and Nebraska was named for the Nebraska. or Platte River. No one who has been acquainted with Kansas will deny that the native Kansan is a booster for his state. And the pace of Kansas boastfulness and enthusiasm was set early. In Volume VII of the Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society we find an article by George W. Martin called “The Territorial and Military Combine at Fort Riley” in which he states: “In 1855 the pioneers disputed the location of the garden of Eden on the Euphrates, in Asia, contending that the geography of Kansas agreed with the description by Moses in Genesis ii, 10; ‘And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted and became into four heads.’ ‘ This was further explained as follows: “That river now bears the name of Kansas, and its four branches are known as the Smoky Hill Fork, Grand Saline Fork, Solomon Fork, and Republican Fork. The former, it seemed, was known to the antediluvians by the name of Pison, and composed the whole region now known


as southwestern Kansas, where, according to Moses, there is gold. The late discoveries of gold on the head waters of the Arkansas river are in the immediate vicinity of the head of the Smoky Hill Fork. And those who adopt our views, and place full confidence in the Bible-and who does not?-should seek for gold in the next river north of the Arkansas, near its source in the Rocky Mountains.“

Contrary to the general belief and the sign on the building, the first capital of Kansas was not at Pawnee. By the act which made Kansas a Territory, Congress prescribed, “-that the seat of government shall be temporarily located at Fort Leavenworth, and the executive and legislative assembly are authorized to use the public buildings there which can be spared by the military authorities.” The President appointed Andrew J. Reeder of Pennsylvania, as Governor of the territory. Reeder arrived at Fort Leavenworth October 4, 1854, and established his offices in an old stone building used by the quartermaster. This building stood on the site of Pope Hall and was torn down in 1893 when that building was erected. The governor lived in some rooms in the “Rookery,” said to be the oldest building now standing on the reservation. ,

While Fort Leavenworth was the first capital, it did not have that distinction for long. Accommodations for the executive departments of the government were very limited and on November 21st, the Governor removed his office to the Shawnee Methodist Episcopal Indian Mission. This mission was then about two and one-half miles southwest of the town of West­ port in Missouri and seven miles from Kansas City. (Note: As these lines were written, the author’s attention was called to a clipping from the Kansas City Star of April 18, 1926, which states: “One of the original buildings of historic Shawnee Mission, a structure more than• eighty-five years old, soon will become a sanitarium, as the result of a lease consummated last week. Dr. ——- has obtained cont10l of two acres of the old mission property and the principal building on the tract, sturdy despite its age, will be equipped as a modern sanitarium. The property involved in the lease is the southeast corner of a right angle turn in Santa Fe Trail at what would be Fifty-second Street. The principal building on it originally was a classroom structure for the Indians, erected soon after the frontier mission was established, probably in 1839. The lumber in it is said to have been shipped from Cincinnati and the brick which make up its walls from St. Louis.”)

The early settlers in the new territory, comprising the usual proportion of land speculators, began to look around for town sites. The Kansas River was navigable and the junction of


the Smoky Hill and Republican Rivers were selected as an ideal location for a town. As the desired land was within the military reservation, nothing could be done unless the military authorities consented to exclude it. September 20, 1854, Major Montgomery wrote the town promoters in part as follows:

“I have the pleasure of assuring you that I fully accord with you as to the propriety and necessity for such a mart to supply the present and prospective commercial wants of the citizen community, now rapidly locating in this vicinity, and in view of the fact that the point designated below One Mile Creek is unessential to the requirements of this command and decidedly the most eligible for the purpose specified, I cheerfully consent to exclude it from the reserve about being surveyed and definite!and fixed for the use of this post.”

September 27, 1854, the Pawnee Town Site Association was organized, consisting of Major Montgomery, Second Infantry, Commanding Officer at Fort Riley; W. A. Hammond, afterward Surgeon-General of the Army; C. S. Lovall; Ed Johnson; Nathaniel Lyon; M. T. Polk; R. F. Hunter; E. A. Ogden•; M. Mills; G. McR. Hudson; James Simons; D. H. Vinton; Alden Sargent; J. T. Shaaff; H. Rich; W. S. Murphy; Robert Wilson; J. N. Dyer; R. C. Miller; A. H. Reeder; A. J. Isaacks; J.B. Donalson; Rush Elmore, and L. W. Johnson.

Mr. George W. Martin in his article, “The Territorial and Military Combine at Fort Riley,” states that fourteen of the above were officers of the army and five were territorial officials. The Historical Register of the U. S. Army contains no reference to Lovall. It does, however, contain the name of Charles Swain Lovell, who was a captain of the 6th Infantry in 18,5, and who was undoubtedly the man referred to. Ed­ ward Johnson, a graduate bf the U. S. M. A. in 1833 was also a captain of the 6th Infantry in 1855. Lyon, a captain in the 2d Infantry, was afterward quite intimately connected with the history of Fort Riley and Kansas and was known as the “hero of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek” where he was killed August I 0, 1861. Marshall Tate Polk graduated from the

U. S. M. A. in 1848 and was a second lieutenant of the 2d Infantry in 1855. He resigned in 1856 and was a lieutenant colonel of artillery in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Robert Finley Hunter graduated from the U. S. M. A. in 1849 and was a second lieutenant in the 2d Infantry in 1855. Madison Mills was a major surgeon in 1855 and was evidently the M. Mills referred to. There is no record that G. McR. Hudson was ever an officer in the army. Edward Mc Keever Hudson graduated from the Military Academy in 1845 and was a lieutenant of artillery. April 30, 1855 he


was promoted to first lieutenant but the record does not show in what branch of the service. In 1861 he was a captain in the 14th Infantry. It is probable that he is the Hudson who belonged to the Pawnee Association. James Simons was the Dr. “Simmons’ ‘ referred to previously by Mr. Lowe was a surgeon at the time of the cholera epidemic in 1855. He was then an assistant surgeon and was dismissed January 15, 1856 for his failure during that epidemic but was reinstated October 24th of the same year and was breveted a colonel March 13, 1865 for faithful and meritorious service during the Civil War. David Hammond Vinton was evidently the Quartermaster at Fort Riley at that time as he was then a major in that department. Alden Sargent was a second lieutenant in the 6th Infantry and Second Lieutenant John T. Shaaff, 6th Infantry was Post Adjutant at Fort Riley. These, with Major Montgomery, Major Ogden and Hammond, the surgeon, were the fourteen army officers.

Andrew Jackson Isaacks was a lieutenant of infantry in the Mexican War and was honorably mustered out July 25, 1848. Robert Wilson was a military storekeeper in the army from 18 I 4 to 1821. In 1844 he established a trading post in Salt Creek valley near Salt Creek bridge. This he sold out in 1852 to Major M. P. Rively and became sutler at Fort Riley. Johnson, Rush Elmore, Donalson, Isaacks and Reeder were territorial officers.

A volume might be written about the Pawnee Association and the potentialities of that town. ·It is not improbable that had the site of this township been selected in the vicinity of Fort Riley, but off the original reservation, it might have become the permanent capital of Kansas. Or had the Secre­tary of War been a freestate man instead of a pro-slavery man, the town might have continued to exist and Fort Riley would have been wiped out. However, we are not so much concerned with what might have been as with what actually happened.

The original boundaries of the reservation, as established by Orders No. 84 of June, 1854, were four lines; two drawn east and west and two north and south at such a distance from the center of the parade as to include about one hundred and eighty square miles. The Pawnee Town Site Association was organized in September 1854, before the first survey was completed. The presence or absence of graft in the plans and transactions of this company were the subject of discussion for many years.

Arguments on one side are to the effect that Major Montgomery and the officers associated with him deliberately changed the lines of the reservation and operated to their own profit, while the opposite side of the argument is, that the original one hundred and eighty square miles was merely a temporary area to be held until such portions as were most desirable for the reservation could be selected.


Whether guilty of criminal intent or not, there is little doubt that Major Montgomery exceeded his authority somewhat in granting the land to the Pawnee Association. On the other hand, there is also little doubt, that had the Pawnee Association and the legislature that met at Pawnee, been com­ posed of pro-slavery men instead of free state men, the town would have survived, for a time at least. Leavenworth, also located on a government reservation, but a pro-slavery town, was not molested, (In 1854 or 1855 a survey was made of the town site of Leavenworth at the same time that a re-survey of the military reservation was made) .

An account written by Captain James R. McClure and published in Volume VIII of the Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society also implicates Montgomery in the Dixon affair. “Governor Reeder had visited Fort Riley and indicated to the town company his intention to make Pawnee the capital. As one of the conditions, he insisted upon the company securing for him one hundred and sixty acres of land adjoining the town site on the east side, which had been selected as a preemption claim by Thomas Dixon. This was on Three Mile Creek. Repeated efforts were made to purchase the land, but Mr. Dixon persistently refused to sell or surrender his right to the claim. When Pawnee was selected for a town site and as the future capital of Kansas it was necessary, in order to secure title to the land, to make a re-survey of the eastern boundary of the reservation so that the site would be outside the reservation. When it was found impossible to induce Mr. Dixon to sell or surrender his right to the one hundred and sixty acres, it was determined to force him off the claim and for that purpose another survey was made, so as to embrace this tract in the military reservation.”

Captain McClure’s statement is a little misleading as it might cause one to believe that a special survey was made to exclude the Dixons. This is not the case, however. The Dixon claim was along Three Mile Creek on land not included in the Pawnee township and apparently Major Montgomery acted within his rights in ordering them off. Captain Lyon was ordered to go and pull down Dixon’s houses and put them and their families off the reservation. This he did and Lyon has been credited with preparing and preferring the charges under which Major Montgomery was tried. The trial took place at Fort Leavenworth. General Mansfield was president and Rob­ ert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston were members. Major Montgomery was dismissed from the service December 8, 1855.


In 1861 he was made a colonel in the 1st New Jersey Infantry and was later a brigadier general of volunteers. He resigned April 4, 1864. •

The following extracts from the pen of a correspondent of the New York Times under the date of January 9. I 856 and re­ printed in Volume VII of the Kansas Historical Collections, are of interest:

Referring to the survey of Captain Lyon the writer states: “In due time the survey was made and all the ground included in the reserve which was needed for sawmill, timber, pasture, hay, etc., for the post, while Pawnee was excluded, according to the promise of Colonel Montgomery, made in September. This survey was made in December, 1854, and returned to the department in February, 1855.

“In the meantime the pro-slavery party, fearing that Gover­nor Reeder would convene the legislature at that place, and seeing it becoming the nucleus of a Pennsylvania settlement, became very hostile to it, using violent denunciation, and bring­ ing all their influence to bear, Fourth and Pine Streets, a tablet was erected to his memory in the church, under the lecture-room of which building he was buried.

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