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A fatal encounter with Indians

May 11, 2014
Sue Eckhoff - Grundy County Heritage Museum , Reinbeck Courier

In 1865, a wagon train of about 60 wagons, including families from Iowa (Wayne County) was traveling along the Oregon Trail through Nebraska when it was attacked by Indians.

At 4 p.m. on October 28, 1865, the wagon train prepared to stop for the night. Approximately four miles west of Alkali Station, the drivers had commenced to bring the wagons into a circle when a band of Indians dashed down from the hills and cut off 10 wagons. Six drivers managed to escape, but four stood their ground and were killed.

The bodies of the four men were recovered, filled with arrows and one burned to a crisp. The dead were all from Iowa.

In an account of the incident by another traveler, who was with another wagon train, it was stated that one of the men in the advance group of wagons galloped back to tell them what was happening and ordered them to drive on to the corral as fast as possible because the Indians were advancing. After unhitching, several men who could procure horses started out to assist those in danger, but were driven back into the adobe, and waited for them to again advance, but in vain.

It was dark when they camped, thus little assistance could be rendered. The attack had been made about three o'clock p.m. on the wagons behind the main body, composed of eight or ten wagons, all of the drivers escaping except the four who were there dead when the rescuers arrived. The four who died were Hamilton Garton, Elijah Garton and George Selby, all of Wayne County, Iowa. The body of the fourth driver, Albert Gaskell of Decatur County, Iowa was not found until the next afternoon. On nearing the scene of the attack, rescuers found the body of the first man lying on its face, the second and third were a short distance.

The murdered men were taken to Alkali Ranch, and buried a short distance from there. (Taken from the Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Tuesday November 7, 1865.)

 
 

 

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