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Crescent City Man Tells of Great Indian Battle

Crescent City Man Tells of Great Indian Battle

Submitted by: Bob Chada
Transcribed by: Mollie Stehno

The Oklahoma Leader, June 8, 1916
When Pat Hennessey, the freighter out of Wichita in the early days, was killed by Indians near the site of the Oklahoma town that now bears his name, three companions, whose names few now know, also lost their lives. But the death of Hennessey, who was burned at the wagon wheel, is known by nearly every westerner while few even know that three fellow freighters were murdered by Indians at the same time.
Such is the queer tricks history plays on the people. Pat Hennessey was widely known and the fight he put up made of him a hero. The three companions ran for their lives, were overtaken miles from the scene of Hennessey's tragic end and shot down.
M. F. Kelso of Crescent, who was a freighter out of Wichita in Pay Hennessey's time, gave these forgotten bits of the Southwest's history. Kelso with a train was on his way to Fort Reno when news reached him at the Salt Fork crossing east of Round Pond of the massacre of Hennessey and his companions. He says another party of freighters of which he was one, unhitched from their wagons and made for the state line as fast as they could go.
He recalls that Bill Malalley, a cowman of Round Pond, was the first white man to visit the scene of Hennessey's plucky fight for life. The cowman found the charred remains of the fearless freighter. He had been tied to a wagon wheel, sacks and bacon stacked around him and set on fire by the blood thirsty Indians-Cheyenne he thinks.
After the Indians were rounded up by United States troops some of them told the story of the fight. They said that Hennessey's companions were cut off from the wagon, in which the part had their rifles, and were forced to run for it. Hennessy, well armed, shot down Indian after Indian as they tied to come up on him over a bluff. He worked his repeating rifle so fast that a shell stuck and then the redskins closed in. A pile of empty cartridges showed what a fierce fight he put up for his life.
The three companions fled north but was overtaken about ten miles away and shot down. Their three graves was for years landmarks beside the trail where it curved to cross a ravine. Kelso thinks that had they separated one or two of them would have gotten away to tell the story.
Hennessey's grave was a hallowed place for freighters. Kelso says that nearly every time he drove past it he would stop, fill in the mound, and pile rocks on the grave to make a monument and to prevent coyotes from digging into it. The fat bacon, used to burn the freighter, greased the ground and attracted the wolves.
Kelso was also near the fight at Medicine Lodge, which settlers had with Indians. A few miles north of the Lodge is the site of the battle. Tombstones mark it. He also recalls that in a stockade at Medicine the settlers stood off Indians. He and two companions were on Elm Creek near where it empties into the Medicine when told of the Indian raid. They rode to Medicine Lodge for protection. Kelso left the next day with dispatches for Arkansas City. He made the trip in one day.

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