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Rocky Mountain News


VOL. I        CHERRY CREEK, K. T. , SATURDAY, JULY 9, 1859        NO. 9


Found written in the page of book of the unfortunate J. B. Kennedy, who fell by the hand of the Utah Indians.

Oh stranger hear my last request,
     The death damps gather on my brow,
There is a feeling in my breast,
     That tells me I am dying now.

I have a wish, the only tie
     That ties my trembling heart to earth,
Oh hear me breath it ere I die,
     and bear it to my mother's hearth.

Go, tell her that her son is dead
     And sleeps far on the desert wild,
You sat beside the dying bed,
    And heard the words of her child.

A spot near by a desert road,
     A boy lay dying in a tent,
In silence near a stranger stood.
     His gaze in silence on him bent.

When slow the sufferer turned his head,
     A heated flush defused his cheek,
He knew he pressed his dying bed.
     And murmuring strove some words to speak.

Trouble with the Indians -- Our Miners Shot and Scalped by the Utah savages without provocation.

MOUNTAIN CITY, Gregory's     
Diggings, K. T., June 29, 1859.     

Messrs. Editors,
     GENTLEMEN: -- I take upon myself to give you a brief statement of a painful tragedy that occurred last Sabbath afternoon and of which I was one of the actors, and, of course, an eye witness.

     A few days since, I started from the mines in company with Dr. J. L. Shank, lately from the vicinity of Running Water, N. T., but formerly from Hagerstown, Md.: and J. B. Kennedy, of Plattsmouth, N. T., on a prospecting tour of the N. E. corner of the South Park. On Sunday afternoon, the 26th inst., we were encamped on the south side of the summit of the snowy range of mountains which divide the waters of Vasquers Fork on the South Platte, and the branches that run from the N. E. corner of the Park into the South Fork of the Platte. Our camps was within five hundred feet of the summit of the highest of the range in this vicinity and entirely above the belt of timber that encircles the base of the mountains. During the afternoon some four or five Utah Indians were around our camp who appeared to be friendly, thus causing no uneasiness in our party. About four o'clock, two hours after we had dined, the Dr. started toward the summit of the ridge to take a look at the country around as well as to keep an eye on camp; while Mr. Kennedy and myself went eastward to prospect in a gorge of the mountain half a mile off. We left the camp a little before the Dr. and when we had gone three hundred yards heard the report of a gun over the hill in the direction the Dr. had taken; but thinking he had shot at some Bison calves seen before in that vicinity, we did not feel uneasy. We had advanced some twenty steps farther and were descending a precipice when we heard another shot in the same direction, we turned to go back, thinking perhaps the Dr. might be in some difficulty with the Indians, when two shots were fired upon us, one hitting Mr. Kennedy in the center of the back, near the waist - and passing through him, felling him quickly; the other striking the ground near my feet. I turned and went to Mr. K's side and he told me he could not live. Seeing no Indians, I ascended the rocks the way we had come, and looked for the Dr. I could not see him, but saw two Indians coming down the hill toward me, I fired at one of them with my revolver, but without apparent effect as they were some eighty yards off. They fled back over the ridge when they saw me. Having seen nothing of the Dr. I returned to Mr. Kennedy, he was still alive and I got his revolver, which he had dropped when he first fell, and gave it to him, telling him if further attacked in my absence to use it if possible. I then went toward camp to look out for the Dr. and saw four Indians ride over the ridge, come down about half way to camp and

and stop where I supposed the Dr. had probably fallen, two of them aligned and commenced, apparently, to strip and scalp him -- the rocks around prevented my seeing his person at all. All things at camp seemed undisturbed -- the horse grazing and the fire uninterrupted. I went back and found Kennedy not yet dead but sinking fast, it being about half an hour since he was shot. I left him to find a place of defense for myself, expecting every moment an attack. I found a nook in the rock, about thirty steps from where Kenndy lay; here I was located until dark. About sundown a shot was fired, close to where I was, as I supposed at Kennedy and I heard a tramping as of persons passing down the rocks toward where he lay -- all was then still. Supposing from these circumstances that he had been killed and scalped as well as robbed, and deeming it unsafe for me to wander among the rocks after dark, in search of him, I left my place of retreat and started across the Snowy Range in the night. I reached the summit about ten o'clock P. M. and continued my descent through a dangerous and difficult gorge, which I completed between twelve and one. I traveled all that night and the next day, intending to reach Jackson's Diggins before dark. At noon I found myself fifteen miles S. E. of Jackson's and five miles from the road leading thereto. Wearied with fatigue and hunger so as almost entirely to prevent any progress, I traveled by small distances until I came to the road, where, meeting a team, I camped for the night. Late in the afternoon of the next day, the 29th, I arrived at Gregory's, where a meeting of the miners was immediately called, a statement of the facts made, and one hundred men enlisted to go in pursuit of the murderers, and revenge the death of our men. Messages were also sent to all the miners. Auraria and Denver, to acquaint acquint the people of the occurrence. The company enlisted is appointed to start on their expedition on the 30th ?? at ten o'clock A. M., proceed to the scene of the attack and bury the bodies if found, and then resume their march.

    I have given you a brief, but, I think, a correct statement of the occurrence as witnessed by me on that ever memorable Sabbath evening, sad though the circumstances were; sorely exciting, I do not think that any matter of importance which passed in view before me went unnoticed.


SOUTH PARK, Rocky Mountains.
Saturday, A. M., July 2d, 1859.

Messrs Editor's:

     We the undersigned found about twenty-five or thirty miles southwest of Gregory's Diggings, the corpse of a man about five feet ten inches high, dark hair and whiskers. He had on a fine check shirt and plaid flannel one over it, black silk cravat, dark brown checked woolen vest, gray checked pants parched with drilling in the front, heavy boot patched on each toe, and a black silk plush cap. We found the body in a ledge of rocks on the north side of a creek running southwest into a plain south of the head of Clear Creek. There was a bullet wound in his right temple and an eight inch Colt revolver laying by his right side with one barrel discharged. He appeared to have been dead some four or five days.

     We also found a pick, shovel, iron pan and butcher knife, about seventy-five feet above him on the cliff; his cap was about sixty feet below -- he had a gold ring on his little finger. We found, in a pocket of his shirt, a memorandum book and a map of Kansas and Nebraska. In the memorandum book is the name of "J. B. Kennedy" with the number of a revolver corresponding with that of the one found by his side.

     We buried him as well as we could where we found him and stuck his shovel at his head.


Abbreviations: K. T. - Kansas Territory     N. T. - Nebraska Territory

Some notes on the J. B. Kennedy Family History

Contributed by Lynn Carroll <>

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© 2002 for NEGenWeb Project by Lynn Carroll, Ted & Carole Miller