Battle of Punished Women Fork

Battle Canyon in Scott County, Kansas 

was the site of the Battle of Punished Woman’s Fork, the last encounter between Native Americans and United States Troops in the State of Kansas. The Northern Cheyenne under the leadership of Chief Dull Knife and Little Wolf were trying to return to their former home in the north after escaping from a reservation at Fort Reno, Oklahoma.

There were 92 men, 120 women and 141 children who came through Kansas, crossing the Arkansas River at Cimarron Crossing. On September 27, 1878, US troops under the command of Lt. Colonel William H. Lewis from Fort Dodge located the Northern Cheyenne families at this location.

The women, children and elderly sheltered in and near a cave at the top of the canyon and sentries were hidden in circular pits surrounded by rock barricades which are still visible today. As the troops advanced on the position from the northwest, Colonel Lewis was mortally wounded in the thigh. He died on the way to Fort Wallace, becoming the last Army officer to be killed in Kansas during the Indian wars.

The Cheyenne escaped by night, crossing the Smoky Hill River and going on to Nebraska where the party split into one party under Chief Dull Knife and one under Little Wolf.  The soldiers continued their pursuit until most Cheyenne were killed or captured.

This 30 acre site has been designated a State and National Historic Site. It is maintained by the Scott County Historical Society.

Kendall Kansas

I’ve spoken about Kendall before.  It has a nice little cemetery sitting on a hill above the town.  It is also where highway 50 intersects with the time change – Central time to Mountain Time.

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Way in the back of the cemetery there is a plain white cross to mark the site of the counties first African American to be buried.  I have this on good authority from the person that is the custodian of the cemetery.

Get out of Dodge

Well more like get into Dodge City, KS – the town sells itself on it’s history of the old west – was the town that Gunsmoke was set in.  They have Boot Hill, etc.  I actually didn’t do that today.  Went there for coffee and looked around.  As Vicki and I have been on a a bunch of distillery tours in Kentucky, I continued that by going to the Boot Hill Distillery:

In the spring of 1872 George M. Hoover loaded his wagon with whiskey barrels. He tied a bandanna to his wagon wheel and counted out exactly five miles west from the edge of Fort Dodge, Kansas, where the sale of liquor would be legal.

Hoover erected a tent bar, with only two sod pillars holding up a plank of wood for a bar, and began selling to the soldiers and travelers passing through. From there Dodge City became western Kansas’ largest trading post, leaving an indelible mark on American history, as well as pop culture.

Boot Hill Distillery’s story began in 2014 when western Kansas farmers Roger and Hayes Kelman and Chris Holovach decided to invest in western Kansas’ first-ever craft distillery.

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When considering location, Dodge City’s history – born from a barrel, forged in the dust – made it the obvious choice. Our building’s location on top of the original Boot Hill Cemetery made it seem almost like fate.

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I also wanted to mention that perhaps the best thing to come out of Dodge City was Dennis Hopper!

Back in the Saddle Again

Now that I’m back in Kansas I have some more adventures to share. First full day where I didn’t have to work so I went exploring. Went to Greensburg , Kansas. Prior to 2007 it had one claim to fame – site of the world’s largest hand dug well.  In the 1800’s in order to secure their future they dug and lined with stone this well.

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Then in May, 2007 an EF5 tornado essentially wiped out the town – 95% of it was gone in a day. 12 lives were lost.  Because of early warning there was a savings of lives.  The town had to rebuild and many areas are brand new including the Big Well Museum

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A clarification is in order – 1971 the Fujita came to be but there was a feeling that a more accurate scale was needed and so in 2007 there became the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale and this is why the Greensburg tornado was the first to get an EF 5.  The Xenia Ohio tornado was an F5 in its day.