At left: Greenville Adams, circa 1900.
Photo courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Green Adams is one of the real "old timers" of Barber County. His experiences in the western country could well be woven into a most interesting and thrilling book. In addition to hunting buffalo for a living for a number of years, and selling their hides at Wichita at that time a very small village, Mr. Adams took an active part in all the activities of this part of the country. He is probably the oldest living settler in Barber county, although he says that Mart Updegraff may have come a short time prior to his reaching Barber county. Mr. Adams has lived in or near Sun City all these years. He is known to all the "old timers" of the county and to a great many people who came during the later years. Mr. Adams was in Medicine Lodge last Saturday and was prevailed upon to tell something of how he happened to come to this part of the state. He said:
"I came from Kentucky in the fall of 1872 in a covered wagon. Wintered in Douglas county. This was the winter that Pomeroy was defeated for the U. S. senate by John J. Ingalls, which contest caused considerable excitement. The first of March 1973, (1873) I came to Barber county. A great many people wonder why I came to Barber county when I passed over so much good land further east. The reason was because there was plenty of timber and water in Barber county. As I came from a heavily timbered country I didn't think I could get along without timber. We came from Wichita over what was known as the Griffin Trail. At the head of Elm Creek we camped all night and our teams went on for Sun City and six or eight of us came down Elm Creek. Wild turkey were very numerous. We killed a large turkey and cooked and ate him right south of the Lodge. That was April 2, 1873. There was not but one house in course of erection, and that was known as the Updegraff hotel, made of cottonwood logs. We went the next day, April 3, 1873, to Sun City, and no buildings were in sight at that time. But Griffin had about six dug-outs and we used one of them.
"The Indians were very numerous and when there were some buildings in Sun City it became a trading post for the Indians. The men had quite a time to convince the women that there was no danger of the Indians, but there was a man by the name of Kune, who had a little boy about 14 years old, out herding cattle when the Indians came across him and killed him and scalped him. He was brought to Sun City to be buried and we had quite a stampede with the women, who refused to be pacified.
The Indians in 1874 went on the war-path. That was the time Sitting Bull led the Cheyennes, when they killed a great many people on the trail. I never knew of but one Indian who was killed, who was killed by a man by the name of Gorman on Bluff Creek. Two Indians came to his ranch and started away with about 75 head of saddle horses. There were about six cowboys at Gorman's ranch at that time. Gorman told the boys to get their guns that he wasn't going to see these red-skins drive off his horses. The boys told Mr. Gorman that they hadn't lost any Indians.(horses) He had a good saddle horse and he buckled a couple of six shooters on him and went after the Indians, one of whom was riding a lame horse. Overtaking him quickly, he shot this Indian off his horse and went after the other one, who was coming to a bluff forced his horse down it, When Gorman go to the bluff he looked over and saw the whole tribe camped. Naturally he didn't care to follow him any further. He rode back past the Indian he had shot, who was sitting up sticking leaves in the bullet hole to stop the flow of blood. Gorman gave him another shot, got off his horse and scalped him and went to his ranch and showed the boys what he had done. To my certain knowledge, that was the only Indian who was killed.
"The Indians camped south of Dodge City in what was known as the Red Hills. There were 60 of the cowboys and a company of soldiers. The cowboys were anxious to rout the Indians out, claiming to the soldiers that this was the only water hole in some distance, but the captain was a little too smart to be caught in a trap. I talked to a man by the name of Collins who was with the boys at the time, who said that to satisfy the boys he was going in with them, but there never would have been a man come out alive, as they had only one way to get into them, and as the Indians had sixteen rifle pits the white men would have had been mowed down like flies. The report came in that the Indians had killed a man down at Colcord's camp, and with about sixteen other men I went down there to bury him. When we got to the dugout we saw where he had been killed by the blood spots, but could not find him for quite a while. They had dragged him for about 75 yards and thrown him in a little brook. We dug a grave and wrapped him in two blankets and buried him. His name was Dow. I marked the spot with a stone and am confident I could find his grave today.
Obituary: Greenville "Green" ADAMS
Green Adams: An Early Day Vigilante Committee
Barber County Index, October 13, 1927.
Memoirs of Phoebe (Rogers) Gibson:
The Early Days of Barber County, Kansas
Barber County Index, May 16, 1929.
Lee Wynkoop: "Recalls Narrow Escape From Indians"
(Undated newspaper clippings.)
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!
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