The Indian Scare of 1885, Comanche County, Kansas Hosted by RootsWeb, the oldest & largest FREE genealogical site. Click here to visit RootsWeb.
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The Western Star, July 4, 1885.


Our city was thrown into somewhat of a flurry Tuesday afternoon when it was reported that the Cheyenne Indians had made an outbreak and were within a few miles of us on the south. Most of our citizens treated it as a mere hoax which it proved to be. But farther south they treated the rumor somewhat more seriously and several of the citizens banded themselves together and were specially preparing to make a defense in case of an on-slaught from the red devils. In '78 (1878) was the last time they broke out of their reservations in this territory when they went clear through this state, committing all manner of depredations to property and murdering people promiscuously. These are the same brutes who are pampered by our government on the choicest food, furnished the best clothing and supplied with the very best repeating rifles that are manufactured. Being thus equipped and mounted on fast well trained ponies, and being good shots it might prove disastrous to the citizens of this state should they leave their reservations. At present we do not think there is any danger of the Cheyenne or any other Indians coming through here, but "in time of peace is the time to prepare for war" and it would be for our best interest to have the government ship us a few Winchesters and needle guns and organize ourselves into a company of "minute men" to protect our homes and families in case of any emergency.

Upon this Indian question we wish to be distinctly understood. In the first place we do not recognize but one kind of good Indian and he is a dead one, but we think our Indian policy could be somewhat improved if it were treated heroically. Each of these red barbarians should be given a quarter of land and be compelled to cultivate it or starve. This thing of the government paying out $7,000,000 annually on these lazy, worthless ignoramuses is all useless. They should be civilized, educated and citizenized or exterminated. If any of the tribes should leave their reservations and murder people and destroy property as they did in '78, then every one belonging to that tribe should be speedily annihilated, and it is our opinion that the settlers will take this matter in hand if the government don't watch and guard the future movements of her red pets.

The Western Star, July 4, 1885.

The parties that brought in fence posts from the territory Thursday, reported that they saw Indians on the "war path" coming in this direction, which created some excitement in this vicinity, as the story was magnified the more it was told. The same fence post men met one of their friends as they were leaving town, going after another load of posts, and asked them if they saw any Indians in the territory. They answered "that they had not seen an Indian but they had made up a big story and told here and along the line, so as to keep other men from going into the territory after the posts.: Just such reports have been circulated by other parties without any foundation of truth for the purpose of creating a scare. It is our honest opinion that this county is in more danger of being blown away by a cyclone than it is of being attacked by Indians.

Webmaster's note: The hatred in the above "Indian Scare" editorial is sickening to read, and I would like to believe that it was read with revulsion by most people in Comanche County when it was published, as I'm certain it will be read by people living today. It is republished here as an example of wrong-headed rabble-rousing of the time. The opinions in the above 120-year-old article have absolutely nothing to do with the modern Western Star.

Also see:

The Last Indian Raid In Kansas, September 1878
reprinted in The Western Star, January 23, 1920.

Early Days At Protection by Mrs. Blanche Denney-Towner

C.F. Spicer: Memoirs of Pioneer Days in Comanche County, KS.

James W. Dappert: "Reminiscences of Early Days in Comanche-co."
The Western Star, January 15, 1926.

Coldwater Centennial Notebook by Evelyn Reed.

Mabel Harding: Writes of Early Days Here: The J.W. Harding Family
The Western Star, July 21, 1933.

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

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