Lee Wynkoop: "Visit Recalls Narrow Escape From Indians", Barber County, Kansas Barber County, Kansas.  

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Newspaper clipping in the Wynkoop Family Bible
in possession of Anna Lynch Shackelton, Philomath OR; no date.


Contributed by Laura (Genter) Lynch Dunwald

During a recent visit of Mr. and Mrs. Lee Wynkoop of this city to Manitou (Colorado), they met Jack Stutsman, a former famous buffalo hunter and frontiersman, who for a number of years has made his home at that place. The meeting between Mr. Wynkoop and Mr. Stutsman was a very interesting one and recalled the fact that it was due to the latter that Mr. Wynkoop escaped an Indian massacre in the pioneer days of western Kansas.

Referring to the affair Mr. Wynkoop says:

"In 1873 I was living with my parents near Medicine Lodge, Kansas, in what is now Barber county. In the summer of that year the Comanche Indians which occupied that section of the country, went on the war path and murdered a number of the white settlers; a number of them being neighbors of ours. Everybody was in a state of terror as it was impossible to say when the red devils would raid the settlements destroy property and kill the inhabitants. There was no military protection near and people had to defend themselves from their foes as best they could.

"One day the Indians raided our neighborhood and butchered in cold blood several people. My mother and I were at home at the time and would have been murdered and scalped but for the timely arrival of Jack Stutsman, who informed us of our danger and hurried us away to a place of safety. He took us across the Medicine River about twenty minutes before a war party of hostile Indians appeared on the scene and secreted us until the danger was over. It was a narrow escape from death and the memory of that terrible time will never be forgotten. But for the skill of Jack Stutsman as a frontiersman and his understanding of the methods of Indian warfare we would have been killed. Stutsman was one of the best known hunters and Indian fighters on the Kansas border forty years ago. He is now living quietly in Manitou but it was not until lately I knew of his presence there."

Newspaper clipping from THE RECORD in Wynkoop Family Bible
in possession of Anna Lynch Shackelton, Philomath OR.
Title missing, ending in "Ground"

"Medicine Lodge had the pleasure of entertaining one of her real pioneers the first half of this week. Lee Wynkoop, wife and daughter stopped in the town and vicinity from Sunday evening until today, on a motor trip from Canon City, Colorado, to Welch, Oklahoma, where Mrs. Wynkoop's parents reside. Mr. Wynkoop is superintendent of the municipal water plant of Canon City, which position he has filled for the past twenty-three years. When he left Medicine Lodge he was a lad of thirteen years but he can tell the early history of Barber county as fluently and in as minute detail as though he had been a man of mature years. His father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. G.S. Wynkoop, pre-empted what is now known as the J.F. Clark quarter in Mingona township in 1872 and the family lived there until 1878 when they gave up the struggle and sought other climes. He recalls such old timers as W.G. Osborn, T.L. Lindley, Lute Axline, Mart Updegraff (sic - probably Martha Updegraff), Luke Chapin, Frank Chapin, Mrs. C.E. Thompson and the late Capt. Ayers, all of whom excepting Capt. Ayers, are still living here, most of whom he had the pleasure of meeting during his short stay.

"His days in Barber county were the thrilling days, the days when men's souls were sorely tried in combatting the forces of frontier danger and adversity. He recalls vividly the terrific Indian raid of 1874 when in inhabitants of the sparsely settled county took refuge in the old Medicine Lodge stockade. At the time of the uprising, he and his mother were alone in the dugout on the claim, his father having gone on a freighting trip to Missouri. He was a small boy of only seven summers but he remembers that a man driving a team at top speed, hitched to a buckboard, stopped and picked them up. The river was quite high at the time and every leap seemed their last as they tossed around through the foamy raging waters but the old "bronks" got safe across and they "made" the stockade none too soon. But for the coming of the "good Samaritan" he and his mother would surely have been the victims of the savages and would have fallen a prey to them as many others of that day did.

"He attended his first term of school at what was known as the old Doles school house. His first teachers were Mrs. W.G. Osborn and T.L. Lindley and Mrs. C.E. Thompson is the only schoolmate still residing here whom he now recalls. His visit brought back a lot of tender memories of his childhood and early boyhood days. When he visited the old claim and looked down the old somewhat dilapidated well, viewed the underbrush that now entwines the depression where the old dugout once sheltered him, recalling the innumerable times when his sainted mother, long since gone to her eternal reward, played with him on the shady side of the old sod house, he instinctively felt a rising in his throat, swallowing was difficult and his eyes moistened involuntarily and a new vision came to him of the privations our progenitors suffered in those dark and cheerless days. His father died in the Soldiers Home at Leavenworth several years after leaving Barber county but his mother was spared until 1896. He was the only child.

"It was Mr. Wynkoop's first visit since the family left, and while to many it may seem common-place, it was a real tragedy in his life, filled with so much alternating happiness and pathos that it has awakened marvelous reminiscences which doubtless would have slumbered on throughout his busy life but for this short visit."

Dear Jerry,

I was very interested in seeing information on Barber Co. Below is a quote from Alva Lee Wynkoop, my daughter's great grandfather who, for many years, tended the water works for Canon City, Colorado. I have had little luck in tracing Lee's (as he was known) ancestry. He was an only child as far as I can tell. His only child was Lurah Wynkoop who married Dr. Elwood Best Lynch. Dr. Lynch was born in Silverton, Colorado, later moving to Canon City where he was a family physician and doctor for the (was it?) Sante Fe RR that ran through Canon City, as well as being county physician. Lurah and Elwood had only one child, Elwood Best, Jr. known as "Bud" to whom I was married for 20 years.

If there is any possibility of your shedding some light on this family for me, I would be most grateful.


Laura (Genter) Lynch Dunwald

(Email to Jerry Ferrin, dated 11 January 2006)

Also see:

William George OSBORN, husband of Jennie Osborn.

Dr. Leon L. OSBORN, son of Jennie Osborn.

Mrs. Jennie Osborn Writes Most Interesting Article Concerning Experiences In Barber County

Barber County Index, September 29, 1927.

Indians Killed Her Father Here In 1874
Barber County Index, September 18, 1930. (Article mentions Jennie Osborn's book.)

Memoirs of Phoebe (Rogers) Gibson:
The Early Days of Barber County, Kansas

Barber County Index, May 16, 1929.

Barney O'Conner Tells of Indian Scraps Here:
Early Day Character Relates Incidents From Fund of Pioneer Knowledge

Barber County Index, March 27, 1930.

Green Adams Describe Things As He Saw Them In Barber County In The Early 1870's
Barber County Index, October 6, 1927.

Green Adams: An Early Day Vigilante Committee
Barber County Index, October 13, 1927.

Barber County History
from William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas, published by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, Illinois, 1883.

Early History and Settlers of Barber County, Kansas
From the Kansas State Library.

Thanks to Laura (Genter) Lynch Dunwald for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news articles to this web site!

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