at Lincoln

Lincoln Sentinel, August 1914

The 50th anniversary of the massacre of the first and only settlers in Lincoln County was duly observed by the citizens of Lincoln on Aug. 6, 1914. This was to commemorate Aug. 6, 1864, when the first two settlers – John L. and Thomas Moffitt – and John Houston and James Tyler (visitors of the Moffits) were surrounded by a band of Indians at a rock ledge on Beaver Creek and after a terrible battle with the savages all were killed.

The program began at 10 a.m. with an auto parade from the court house square to the rocks on Beaver Creek where the battle took place. We had with us the Hon. Thomas Anderson from Salina who is one of the 12 men that came from Salina in 1864 to bury the victims. He pointed out where each one was found, told how each was wounded, and where they were buried. After having obtained this information Mr. Anderson took us over to the Saline River and pointed out where the Moffitt house was located at that time and where the Indians camped that night. We then returned to Lincoln for dinner.

We had with us upon this occasion four relatives of the Moffitts from a distance – namely, three nieces, Miss Martha Moffitt of Pitman, N.J., Mrs. Fleming of Toulon, Ill., and Mrs. Hunt of Shenandoah, Iowa, also a nephew, D.W. Moffitt of Coffeyville, Kan. Mr. Moffitt is manager of the Kansas Oil Refining Company. These four are the nearest living relatives of the massacred brothers and they take a great interest in what we have done here in Lincoln in memory of our pioneers and their uncles.

Miss Moffitt has the honor of being the heaviest subscriber to the Pioneer Monument and sent the money without request. She gave us a nice little talk in regard to her family tree. Mr. Moffitt also addressed us and his was the best speech we have listened to in a good many years. If Mr. Moffitt is able to refine oil as clear as he does the English language there will be no more smoked lamp chimneys. His speech was delivered with force and at the same time with tenderness, so much so that we noticed a great struggle on the part of some to control their feelings – tears will sometimes have their way for all of us, more particularly when tenderness and love as so forcefully portrayed to us in a speech about those we love.

These visitors were entertained by citizens free of charge and they left Lincoln well pleased with the reception. We regret very much that the visitors’ time was so limited; we would have liked to have had a large picture taken of the rocks, also of Pioneer Monument with the Moffitts grouped around. This would have been a nice addition to our history and a fine souvenir for the relatives.

From a historical point of view we consider this gathering a great success. The crowd was somewhat of a disappointment but those that braved the dust and heat were amply repaid for their trouble. This is the first commemoration of this kind to be held in central Kansas but there are several places on the Solomon where such celebrations can be held during next four or five years. The question arises will the people living here 50 years from now stop to consider the pioneer hardships. We of the present day have laid a solid foundation for perpetual memorial gatherings.

The afternoon exercises opened with several selections by the band, followed by invocation by Rev. H.C. Bradbury, and address of welcome by Mayor E.A. McFarland, response by Thomas Anderson. Short talks were then given by Rev. Strange, D.W. Moffitt and others, followed by benediction by Rev. Strange.

Thus ended the first semi-centennial in Lincoln County and we trust that the criticisms will be few. Through the cooperation of the Moffitts and the committee from the city council, consisting of John Stover, Newt Davison and Charles Berry, the gathering was made a success. I wish to extend thanks to all who assisted. Sincerely, C. Bernhardt

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