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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1874
([1874])

[Indian Territory],   pp. 218-238 PDF (10.2 MB)


Page 227

REPORT     OF  TIlE  COMMISSIONER       OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS.     227 
within half a mile of the Osages. The Osages sent out two of their men to
speak to them; 
they shook hands friendly, then disarmed the Osages and detained them. Other
Osages, two 
together, continued coming up, until eight were treated as the first and
held as prisoners. 
As no more were seen coming, it was thought best to make sure of these, and
the work of 
death commenced. Four were shot on the spot, and four miraculously escaped
the murder- 
ous fire. The white men then charged on those who remained in the camp. They
sprang 
on their ponies, not having time to gather up saddles, clothing, or anything
else, and fled 
for their lives. They were pursued three or four miles under a shower of
bullets, but for- 
tunately no more of them were killed. 
At night two of the party returned to look after the dead and their property.
Three bodies 
were found, two of them scalped and otherwise mutilated after death. Fifty-four
ponies, 
colts, and mules, that they had left behind when escaping, had been driven
off by the ma- 
rauders, and all their other property either carried off or destroyed. 
They made the journey to their reservation in five days, without food. several
of them on 
foot, and most of them nearly naked. I immediately provided them with supplies
of food 
and clothing, and examined them separately in relation to their treatment
and misfortunes, 
and obtained from them the facts here given. They also positively affirmed
that they had 
but four guns (muzzle-loading) and two revolvers 'with them, and the white
men took two 
of the guns and the two revolvers from those who were taken prisonev. 
Without delay I sent a commission, composed of reliable men, to wit: Mahlon
Stubbs, 
former agent of the Kaws, United States Commissioner Kellogg, and Edward
Finney, to 
visit the place of disaster, and ascertain who had committed the outrage,
have them arrested 
if possible, recover the property, and learn all the facts they could in
tie case. 
They visited the town of Medicine Lodge, eighteen miles distant from the
place of mnirder. 
The town was inclosed with a stockade, and a company of about sixty border-men,
armed 
with the latest improved breech-loading carbines and revolvers, were the
principal occupants 
of the place, under the command of Captain Ricker and Lieutenant Mosley.
The killing 
of the Osages was acknowledged with a vicious satisfaction, but much reticence
was Mani- 
fested by them in regard to details of the murder and robbery. They peremptorily
refused 
to give any statement in writing or under oath before the United States commissioner
; also 
refused to deliver up the property which was seen by the commissioners, and
said they were 
accountable to no one but the governor of Kansas, to whom they bad rushed
immediately 
after committing the crime for protection, he mustering them in as State
militia, and dating 
the papers back so as to legalize this cruel massacre. 
One of the commissioners then went to see the governor of Kansas, in company
with 
Superintendent Hoag. He refused to deliver up the property in question. The
commis- 
sioners then returned to the agency and took the testimony of some of the
Indians. Nego- 
tiations are still pending for the recovery of the property and for satisfaction
to the tribe 
for the loss of the four men. 
The Osages are patiently awaiting a just settlement to be made for them by
the officers 
of the Government. 
The people in some sections of Kansas, along the border, instead of assuring
the Osages 
that they had no connection with or sympathy in such an outrage, have either
fled the 
country or organized companies of militia, an iota of the expense of which
would have 
purchased other stock for the Osages, and provided for the children and families
of the mur- 
dered, which would have made a lasting bond of friendship with the tribe.
These so-called State militia are prowling around the borders of the reservation
for the 
purpose of shooting Osages, and precipitating a war which they express a
great desire for, 
as the governor of the State does not propose to keep them in rations unless
the conduct of 
the Osages justifies the defense of the border. 
Myself and others have visited the border counties of Kansas to try and allay
the excite- 
ment, informing the settlers of the peaceful disposition of the Osages ;
that they had neither 
arms nor ammunition to go to war, even if they had the inclinaion; that all
their interests 
were on the side of peace ; that they were now more interested in industrial
pursuits than 
ever before; that scores of white employ6s and some of their families were
scattered over 
the reservation, daily mingling with the Indians, and that none of them earried
weapons 
of defense, nor kept guard at night, but slept in conscious security, and
many of them citi. 
zens of their own State. These statements were not regarded as true. 
We have invited them to appoint representative men and women to visit the
agency and 
villages, and see and hear for themselves, but cowardice or a willful desire
to keep u  the 
fearful excitement on the State line caused them to decline the invitation.
It cannot be denied that the menacing attitude of the border at this time,
when the Osages 
are smarting under their recent wrongs, requires vigilant and constant efforts
to counteract. 
KANSAS INDIANS. 
By direction of the Department I assumed charge of this tribe on the 1st
of Seventhmonth, 
they having, by order of" the President, been attached to this agency.
They speak nearly the 
szmme language and have the same customs and habits as the Osages, and doubtless
were 


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