the remains of which are still extant on the premises of Daniel
Kane. Here they gathered from their various pursuits and spent the first winter,
sharing privations and what few comforts they had with each other cheerfully.
Such of those early pioneers as are still living and here, are celebrating the
Centennial today, and also spending their twenty-first Fourth of July in Palo
were frequent visitors to the houses of the early settlers, and
the old chief, Inkpahdutah, and his band made themselves quite at home in the
Early in the following spring, March 3, 1857, one or
more of those same Indians together with a savage band from the northwest,
perpetrated a horrible massacre on the settlers of Spirit Lake, and seriously
threatened the settlements in this county. Those of hte men who could be spared,
arming themselves as best they could, rallied to the support of their brethren
on the northern frontier. The Indians having fled, and been dispersed, they
returned to their homes, but fearing daily for the safety of their
families, for which fear they had many good reasons, they at last became
discouraged, and taking their oxen and wagons gathered up their families, and a
few effects, and abandoned their new-found homes to make their way to Fort
Dodge, then a military post, where they might expect protection.
Arriving at Cylinder Creek about April 1st they found
it impassable by reason of high water, and camped over night. So inclement was
the season that they burned an ox yoke for fuel, and next morning pushed their
wagons across the stream on the ice.
Owing to their desire to secure a foothold in this then
wild but beautiful region, and being reassured by their friends, most of the
poor fugitives returned to their homes in due time, where they remained in
peace, except occasional alarms, till 1862, when an
extensive massacre on the borders spread dismay through the
settlements again, but this time they prepared for battle and did not depart.
The first death in the infant colony occurred in the latter part of June 1856.
It was that of Mrs. Esbrina L. Shigley, who according to some authorities died
from having her hands inoculated with strychnine, while preparing corn to
destroy the blackbirds, that sorely infested their little fields, while others
maintain that she took the draught that caused her death by mistake in medicine,
but that she died of poison in the cabin of Jer. Evans on the farm where James
Johnston now lives, about the last of June, 1856, all agree. The second was that
of Robert McCormick, who, with his brother, got into an altercation with the
Shippy brothers about a piece of timber, when becoming greatly enraged they
exchanged shots, when Gavitt Shippy was wounded, and McCormick killed by
him June 30th, 1858. The shots were fired across the river. Thus, through
the foolish rage of the passions of men, was sacrificed a fine young man, whom
the little colony at that time, and much more, the near and dear ones
could illy spare.
Our present limits of time and space will merely
permit us to touch upon the more prominent events, as a full statement of the
incidents of interest, and various vicissitudes and trials of these days would
require a large volume, hence we must omit many details of privation and
suffering and loss by swollen streams, long journeys, daily dangers and great
difficulties in obtaining even the absolute necessities of life. A few brief
selections will serve to illustrate the difficulty of obtaining even trifles.
Miss Belle McCormick, now Mrs. Ira D. Stone, when writing to a friend in New
Jersey, excused any defect that might appear in her letter, by saying they had
no glass for windows, but she had placed a rude table near a chink in the wall,
which served to admit the light by which she was writing. On another occasion
her brother Thomas excused his long delay in writing in answer