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8/6/2004

Cowboys & Indians

I’ve been working on the next issue of the Kansas Cowboy which looks like it is going to be a Kansas frontier issue. Our Zerfari trip (which you can read a little about on 7-21 & 7-29) seemed to kick off an air of Kansas in the 1860’s. As I developed articles for the issue the trend continued with an account of a railroad grading crew fighting Indians in 1867 along the first Kansas railroad, the Union Pacific Eastern Division. Another article, chronicles a buffalo hunt that railroad agent (and later Cowboy) William Sternberg experienced with a band of Omaha Indians on the high plains west of Hays City. William’s brother was the famous Charles Sternberg who collected fossils from the chalk beds of western Kansas. His nephew, another Charles was even more famous. The Sternberg Museum at Hays is named for him. He is most noted for finding a fossil of a fish that had just eaten a smaller fish, so it is referred to as the “Fish Within A Fish”.  
Kansas in the 1860’s was a place of opportunity. It had lots of open land filled with wild buffalo and other game. Of course, the Indians were not all that happy with the European invasion of their home lands. They initially had the impression that these strange people would eventually go home. The Indians could tolerate the trespassers as long as they were “passing through” but once it was evident that these folks meant to stay the war was on. They really had no idea of the onslaught of people that were about to spread over the plains.  
In our recent July/August issue of the Kansas Cowboy, “Cattle Jack” John Nathan Hittson does a fair share of Indian fighting. He was living on the edge of the Texas frontier during most of his life. Comanches and others raided their cattle and horse herds constantly. The battles described are better than most movie scripts ever thought of being, yet these men actually experienced the awe of facing the great horsemen of the plains determined to preserve their culture.  
Hittson’s story is probably the most exciting account that we have published in the Kansas Cowboy. If ya like Cowboys & Indians yer gonna want ta read it! Click on Join The C.O.W.B.O.Y. Society in the right column for information on joining the C.O.W.B.O.Y. Society and receiving the July/August issue of the Kansas Cowboy.  
So Long, 
The Cowboy 

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