It was interesting that I got the library loan from a private university in Alabama which made me research what other libraries had it -- Ive League college libraries, and whole bunch of libraries -- I'll leave the rest of that discovery to my work blog for my library.
This is basically a diary printed into a book. Well written, crisp details, first-hand account about the frontier West.
So here are some interesting things I found from reading this book:
- Sugar Loaf Mound
Sugar Loaf Mound near the Rooks - Phillips county line was often used as a landmark for buffalo hunters. This leads me to believe that buffalo once roamed around that area then. In fact in his memoir, Mr. Street goes from Hill City towards Sugar Loaf Mound trying to find a buffalo herd.
To those who don't know, Sugar Loaf Mound was within 8 miles, or less, from where I grew up.
- Bow Creek
Back in those days, Bow Creek was not called Bow Creek. It was called Middle Solomon. So there was a North Solomon, a South Solomon, and a Middle Solomon. I found that interesting as Bow Creek was within a mile of Sugar Loaf Mound, and I grew up calling the stream as Bow Creek.
Hays was a bad, bad village. Mr. Street had served in the army, scouted among the plains, fought in battles, but his day of survival in Hays was an unforgettable experience. By the time he made his only visit to Hays, the railroad was already 125 miles west of Hays in Sheridan. But Hays was inhabited by people tired of following railroad west and decided to stay put, or as Mr. Street described, the worst of society. His morning started with two men shot in his presence and others shot or carved up with a knife. Outside on a sidewalk, he was caught in a crossfire of bullets. In the afternoon, it was quiet as no one was killed, but as the evening came, two soldiers were killed, one with his throat carved and thrown into an empty rail car, and of course other shootings and quarreling were going on. As Mr. Street aptly wrote, "for the one day's experience in Hays, I have never known equal."
- Smith Center
Mr. Street and a wealthy friend pushed for Gaylord to be the county seat of Smith Center. The temporary seat was in Cedar. As the votes were being counted between Gaylord or Smith Center, the next to last box was opened and counted which placed Smith Center in a slight lead. Mr. Street felt very confident as the last box was from Gaylord until he started seeing smirking going on. The box from Gaylord was opened up revealing absolutely no ballots in the box to be counted. Mr. Street and friend angrily left knowing that the election had been thwarted.
- May-October 1869
The Cheyennes and the Sioux had raided the White Rock Creek and Republican River area of Republic County killing 7 and capturing two; and then killed a few more down along the Solomon River, and on May 30, killed 13 on the Saline River. [To add context, there was a prominent Indian trail connecting the three rivers in that area in almost a straight line.] Mr. Street answered the call of the militia. Interesting stories including getting trapped in a flash flood at the confluence of White Rock Creek and the Republican; the discovery of the ruins of a Fort Kirwin near the confluence of the Middle and North forks of the Solomon with the stockade burnt to the ground by the Indians; and despite their efforts, the militia never found any marauding groups of Indians. Mr. Street commented, supposed Cheyennes and Sioux, indicating his doubts to the officials reports that there were any.
- Great Spirit Spring (Waconda)
From the book: "the battalion camped in a large horseshoe bend of the Solomon about one mile west of Waconda. Inside the spring, the water of which was rather brackish, carrying in it considerable salt, the water rises and slowly runs over an oval stone formation, the stone being gradually formed from the salt in the water." Mr. Street observed that the stone formation was about 20 feet high with the spring pool about 30 feet in diameter. The Indians brought gifts to Waconda believing the waters were of medical value. Mr. Street wisely wrote that the Indians were not going to give up their Waconda without a fight.