Medicine Lodge Peace Council: Gov. Paulen's Address, Barber County, Kansas Barber County, Kansas.  

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The Barber County Index, October 20, 1927.


Regarding the Medicine Lodge Peace Council

In war and peace, the distinguished services of General William Tecumseh Sheridan will ever illuminate the pages of our Nation's history. His march from Atlanta to the sea, leading an army sixty thousand strong that was fighting for a Union of States and for free Kansas, is a story that has been woven into a song whose melody has stirred millions.

When peace had come in the Nation Lieutenant General Sherman again led an army of United States troops fifteen hundred strong to these plains to protect the settlers from murderous bands of Indians. In both campaigns he contributed to the glorious history of our state and nation. His direction and leadership of the troops sent to this historic spot as an escort of the Peace Commission appointed by the government at Washington sixty years ago, emphasized as fully his soldier strategy as did his campaigns as a leader of men on the battlefields of the Civil War, and his sweep with a great army from Atlanta to Savannah. Called back by the Government for other duties, General Sherman did not reach Medicine Lodge River, but he named as a member of the Peace Commission and as Commander of the Government troops General C. C. Augur of the Unites States Army. Two years later General Sherman became Commander in Chief of the military forces of the nation.

Under authority of Lieutenant General Cherman, (Sherman), Governor Samuel J. Cawford (Crawford) of Kansas, issued this proclamation on July 1, 1867:

"Whereas, the central and western portions of the State of Kansas are now, and have been for some time, overrun with roving bands of hostile Indians; and whereas, these Indians, though claiming protection from the United States Government and regularly receiving their annuities in due form, have without cause, declared war upon the people of this State; they have indiscriminately murdered, scalped, mutilated and robbed hundreds of our frontier settlers, and other parties in Western Kansas, who were quietly attending to their own legitimate affairs; they have almost entirely cut off all communication between Kansas and other western states and territories; the man employed in the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad, Eastern Division, have been driven back, leaving many of their number butchered and scalped on the ground. General Sherman and other United States officers are doing all in their power to suppress hostilities, but they have not sufficient force of United States troops to execute their design and have called upon me for a Battalion of cavalry to aid in this work. I shall, therefore, as speedily as possible, organize eight companies of Volunteer Cavalry to be mustered into the United States service for six months unless sooner discharged.

"I appeal to all good citizens of the State to favor, facilitate and aid this effort to protect the lives and property of our frontier settlers."

The Battalion as requested by General Sherman was organized by Governor Crawford at Topeka. When ready for the march to aid and protect the settlers the 358 Cavalrymen followed their leader, Governor Samuel J. Crawford, who had resigned as chief executive to come here and protect the terrorized men, women and children from further outrages by these hostile bands of Indians. No other event in the early history of Kansas is so outstanding as this heroic service of a governor and the soldiers who followed him.

As we look out on this great Plains country today, which is central and western Kansas, we can better appreciate and understand the blessings we enjoy, and the marvelous results of the Peace Council of sixty years ago. It is a great step from savagery to civilization. It is a picture of prosperity, of happy homes, of growing cities and towns, of schools and churches adorning the peaceful valleys and crowning the hilltops in every community. In no other region of America has there been such marvelous transformation in everything that makes a country great, or that inspires its people with a larger measure of happiness and hope. We come together today to celebrate this sixtieth anniversary of peace with the Indians and to rejoice in the wonderful progress made in educational and material development.

Only in the imagination may we vision the scene of the Peace Council held here sixty years ago. I have looked upon the reproduction of its session which appeared in Frank Leslie's Weekly at the time. Under some spreading trees were assembled the Commissioners and the score or more Indian Chiefs in a semicircle. A big chief, presumably "Stinking Saddle" of the Kiowas, or "Fat Dog" of the Comanches, is addressing the Commissioners. In the background are the temporary wigwams occupied by the chief's, squaws and papooses. This old picture is a drawing in which a vivid imagination played an important part. I see nothing here in the landscape touch that looks like it. There is no anxiety depicted on the faces of those before me. Instead, I observe only the smile of contentment and happiness on the countenances of a people grateful to their government at Washington, and glad that they are a part of the citizenship of Kansas.

From Harper's Weekly, October, 1867.
Top: the Indian Lodge on Medicine River where the council was held.
Bottom: the Commissioners seated while listening to an Indian speech.

I find that the great newspapers of the eastern cities sent staff correspondents to the Peace Council. It was many miles to the telegraph offices and the correspondents sent their stories of the proceedings by courier to the railroad. Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and St. Louis newspapers were represented. The most noted of the newspaper correspondents of that day and time was Henry M. Stanley, who later became immortal through his expedition in Africa to find the missionary David Livingstone. Stanley was the representative of Horace Greely's New York Tribune. His was perhaps the most vivid account of the Peace Treaty. He with the other news writers, came to Medicine Lodge with the United States troops under the command of W. T. Sherman. Describing this march to Kansas, Stanley said:

"During the march army reminiscences were vividly remembered. The Cavalry, the clang of sabers, the various bugle signals, reveille, dress parade and tattoo, reminded the correspondents of the various battle scenes they had witnessed during the Civil War. It was a wild country that we passed through, the home of the buffalo, the antelope and the howling coyote. A seemingly illimitable savanna, with a diversity of rolling hills and as we advanced westward the country grew wilder in its aspect, more barren, and the plateaus more immense, unbroken by any undulating hills. The whole of the journey was traveled with a great deal of circumspection, scouts being sent ahead, a rear guard behind watching warily every place that might afford an ambush for the wily foe."

The early history of Kansas teems with accounts of the hardships imposed upon the settlers by the numerous Indian raids that occurred prior to the Treaty proceedings. During the years 1866 and 1867 the country was still disorganized as a result of the great Civil War from which it had just emerged, and taking advantage of the lack of Government restraint, the Indians swept across Colorado and Kansas deluging our Western prairies with the blood of the white settlers. A detailed and graphic account of the conditions at that time ____ in Kansas in the Sixties by Samuel J. Crawford, War Governor of Kansas, this and other historical data tells of the campaign made by General Phil Sheridan and his United States troops as they swept the prairies south from old Fort Hays to Fort Sill, in the Indian Territory, in their battle with these hostile tribes of Plains Indians.

I have spoken of the strategy and far seeing vision of General W. T. Sherman, who directed affairs leading up to the Peace Treaty whose sixtieth anniversary we meet to celebrate. To Illustrate my point permit me to refer to an incident that had much to do in bringing peace to the settlers on these prairies. Hunger is a wonderful stimulus to peace.

During the summer of 1867, a train of supplies enroute to the Indians was seized and taken to Fort Larned by order of General Sherman. This left the Indian women and children of the warring chiefs without food and clothing, and deprived the Indians of the ammunition they needed to continue their raids upon the settlers. The various traders were then rounded up and the Indians' last source of supplies was cut off. The train of supplies that has been taken by General Sherman's order in the summer and held at Fort Larned, was hauled down to the Council grounds, and the boxes of provisions and clothing, and the ammunition, were piled up in full view of the chiefs as a token of some of the material benefits that Peace would bring them. The Indians gradually drifted here, tribe by tribe. Those hands that had been on the war-path during the summer were the least to arrive, and they came in very cautiously, as though fearing a trap. Being assured of safety, however, they came as near as three miles and pitched their teepees. Accounts differ as to the number of Indians encamped near the Council grounds, Governor Crawford states, that there were at least 5,000 while other eyewitnesses place the number at 15,000. Being out of ammunition, due to the sagacity of General Sherman, and closely pursued by the United States troops under the command of General Sheridan, the Indians were met by messengers from the Peace Commission that had been appointed by the Federal Government. They were invited to the general council grounds here at Medicine Lodge sixty years ago this month. Winter was approaching and the Indians were practically destitute of supplies. They welcomed this opportunity to secure a general amnesty; a full pardon for the crimes they had committed, and food and clothing for themselves and their families.

The Peace Commission appointed to treat with the Plains Indians was authorized by an act of Congress in July, 1867. The title of the act was:

"To Establish Peace with Certain Hostile Indian Tribes."

The Commission was composed of the following gentlemen: -
Hon N. G. Taylor, Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
General W. S. Hainey, United States Army.
General A. H. Terry, United States Army.
General C. C. Augar, United States Army.
General J. B. Sanborn, United States Army.
Colonel S. F. Tappan.
United States Senator, J. B. Henderson, of Missouri.

Lieut. General W. T. Sherman, of Civil War fame, was also a member of this Commission, but as I have said, he was called back to Washington and was unable to participate in the Council. On General Sherman's invitation, Governor Crawford of Kansas, United States Senator, Edmund G. Ross, Dr. J. P. Root and Colonel J. K. Rankin accompanied the Commission and escort of troops to Medicine Lodge, and to some extent participated in the Council proceedings. The guide and chief interpreter of the expedition was Dick Curtis, a plainsman of wide experience, while the Army scouts were Colonel W. F. Cody, better known as "Buffalo Bill" and Geo. Bent, founder of "Bent's Fort."

Five tribes of Plains Indians were represented at the Conference - The Kiowas, Comanches, Apaches, Cheyennes and Araphoe. Their leading chiefs were present, forty seven in all. For the Kiowas I find the names of Sitting Bear, Stumbling Bear, One Bear, Bear Lying Down, Black Eagle. The Crow, Kicking Eagle, Stinking Saddle, White Bear and Woman's Heart. I am not advised whether the last name led any of the raids in which white women and children were scalped and killed.

These alluring names of Indian chiefs represented the Comanches: Ten Bears, Wolfe's Name, Standing Feather, Dog Fat, Silver Brooch, Iron Mountain, Horses Back, Gap in the Woods, Painted Lips and Little Horn.

For the Apaches, there were Wolf's Sleeve, Poor Bear, Bad Back, Brave man, Iron Shirt and White Horn. What specially distinguished "Brave Man" is not a matter of record.

Fourteen "braves" pleaded the cause of the Cheyennes. Their nomenclature includes, Bull Bear, Little Rock, Slim Face, Tall Bull, White Horse, Little Bear, Black Kettle, Gray Head, Little Robe, Whirlwind, Buffalo Chief, Spotted Elk, Curly Hair and Heap of Birds.

The Arapahos, apparently, were not to be out done in the spectacular name of their chiefs, for I find that tribe was represented by Little Raven, Young Colt, Storm, Yellow Bear, Tall Bear, Spotted Wolf, White Rabbit, and Little Big Mouth. It is not recorded that the latter addressed the Council.

When all these representatives chiefs had arrived, the Peace Commissioners and the Indians assembled in a large tent, and after shaking hands all around, and smoking the pipe of peace, the proceedings were opened by Hon. N. G. Taylor, Commissioner of the Indian Affairs, who made a stirring plea for peace. Bull Bear, leading war chief of the Cheyennes, stated the case for the Indians. He admitted that they were on the war-path to prevent Kansas and Colorado from being settled by the pale faces. Bull Bear claimed the Indians owned the country and they did not want railroads built through it to "scare away the buffalo." He was followed by Little Raven, principal chief of the Kiowas and Wolf's Sleeve of the Apaches.

The Council lasted for a week without result. All this time Satanta and Satanta (?), two leading Kiowa chiefs, warlike and always bloodthirsty, sat quietly through the meetings sullen defiant. At the close of the sixth day of the conference, Satanta suddenly rose, and made a vehement speech, boasting of what he had done in the matter of scalping and killing the white settlers. After which he walked out of the tent and was followed by the other chiefs.

The next day many of the chiefs did not return to the Council and as bands of mounted Indians could be seen riding as if in preparation of an attack, the Army officers were decidedly uneasy. There were only 1500 in the escort of the Peace Commission, while the lowest estimate fully 5,000 Indian warriors were on the scene. The soldiers were drawn up in line of battle with the Artillery trained on the Indians, but the latter realized that an attack would involve a terrible slaughter, and they decided not to fight. That determined the success of the Peace Treaty. The Indians surrendered and signed.

The treaty was concluded with the Kiowas, Comanches and Apaches on October 21, and with the Cheyennes and Arapahos on October 28th. The Indian chiefs signed in their customary manner, by touching a pen as a clerk wrote their name, and as many of them insisted on remaining mounted during the proceedings, and galloped furiously around, several of the signatures were secured with difficulty.

The Treaties provided that both parties pledged themselves to keep the peace and that they would not commit any unlawful acts against the person or property of the other. The Kiowas, Comanches, and Apaches received a large reservation north of the Red River, on lands that formerly belonged to the Choctaws and Chickasaws, and the Cheyennes and Arapahos received a reservation of about three million acres in the Cherokee outlet in what is now our progressive neighbor state of Oklahoma. In consideration of these grants the Indians waived all claim to lands in Kansas and Colorado; agreed not to molest the settlers or the construction gangs of the railroads, and to deliver to the offices of the United States any member of their tribe who violated the provisions of the Treaties. In addition to the grants of land, the United States undertook the work of providing suitable instructors for the Indians, both in education and the various arts; to furnish annually a large quantity of supplies in food and clothing, and to erect on the reservations the necessary agency, school and other buildings named in the Treaties.

There were a few minor out-breaks among the Indians in subsequent years, but they were isolated attacks by small bands, due to failure of Congress to immediately provide the necessary funds for carrying out the provisions of the Treaties. The raids were promptly suppressed, however, and the Indians driven back into their reservations.

These Treaties brought into central and western Kansas, and Colorado and to the new state of Oklahoma, the dawn of a new era, which has been followed by a growth and development in agriculture prosperity unmatched by any other section of America. This is strikingly shown in the history of my own State as written into its records by the State Board of Agriculture. In 1926 the value of all farm products was $316,088,275.57. The total value of live stock is shown to be $176,389,283.52. Other products - animals slaughtered and sold for slaughter, poultry and eggs sold, wool clip, cheese, condensed milk, ice cream manufactured, milk sold, horticultural products, wood marketed and honey and beeswax total value in a single year $152,800,582.10. The grand total of farm products and live stock values in this empire state in a single year therefore is $645,878,783.52.

Freed from constant dread of Indian warfare, with all its horrors, the settlers of the States constituting this wonderfully rich domain which spreads its bounty today over hundred thousand square miles of territory, the most productive which the sun in its journey lights and warms, visioned its future greatness and glory.

Born in the throes of a deadly struggle, cradled in its childhood by Indian battles and the raids and counter raids of the Civil War, Peace came at last to Kansas with the signing of the Indian Treaties - a peace that has remained and that will endure.

Also see:

Ten Bears, Comanche Chief, Made an Eloquent Address At The Medicine Lodge Peace Council
Barber County Index, September 29, 1927.

The Medicine Lodge Peace Council Location:
Sworn Statement of I-See-O

Barber County Index, September 29, 1927.

"The Medicine Lodge Peace Council" by George Bent
Barber County Index, September 29, 1927.

"The Medicine Lodge Peace Council": A Graphic Description of Famous Peace Council By An Eye Witness, Gov. A. A. Taylor of Tenn.
Barber County Index, September 29, 1927.

"The Medicine Lodge Peace Council": Some More Interesting Articles Telling About Famous Medicine Lodge Indian Peace Council
Barber County Index, September 29, 1927.

The West That Was - Cody
Barber County Index, September 29, 1927.

The Treaty of Medicine Lodge Creek   The text of the treaty, from

Indian Naming   "Even when translated correctly an Indian name often conveys an impression to a white man quite the reverse of the Indian connotation. Thus 'Stinking Saddle Blanket' (Takaibodal) might be considered an opprobious epithet, whereas it is an honorary designation, meaning that the bearer of it, a Kiowa, was on the warpath so continuously that he did not have time to take off his saddle blanket."

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!

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