Rodeo - Cowboy and Indian Celebrations In Winfield - 1879 to 1886



TRAVELER, JUNE 18, 1879.


Arkansas City, Cowley County, Ks.

The Citizens of Arkansas City have made arrangements to give the people of Southern Kansas a grand entertainment at a grove on the banks of the Walnut near town, with the following attractions.


The Programme for the day will be opened at 10 o'clock a.m., by music from the

Arkansas City Silver Cornet Band,

To be followed by an Oration and Public Speaking. BISHOP SIMPSON and CHAPLIN McCABE are expected to address the crowd.



The Committee have made an arrangement with a band of PONCA Indians from the Territory to give a War Dance, Scalp Dance, and other Indian amusements.



Lieutenant Cushman, now stationed here, will Drill his Company of U. S. Regulars.


Various amusements will be provided for the pleasure of the crowd, to be used as required, as follows: Croquet, Foot Ball, Base Ball, Skiffs, Blind Fold Wheel Barrow Race, etc.


$5.00 will be placed on the top of a Greasy Pole, for anyone that can take it. A purse of $55.00 for the winner of a Sack Race.



AT 3 O'CLOCK P.M. A purse of $50.00 will be paid for a one-fourth mile Running Race, as follows: 1st horse gets $30.00, 2nd $15.00, and 3rd $5.00. 10 per cent entrance fee will be charged to enter horses at this race. Open to all.


$5.00 purse will be given to the fastest trotting mule one-fourth mile race. Open to all.

$5.00 purse for the slowest mule one-fourth mile race. In charge of strange drivers. Open to all.

$5.00 purse for winners of a foot race of 100 yards, as follows: $3.00 for 1st and $2.00 for 2nd best.

$5.00 for fat man's race 100 yards. Open to all men weighing 200 or over. First man out gets the money.


Steamboat Excursion.

We are expecting the Steamer Cherokee from below, and if the river is in good beating stage, will give Excursions down the river through the day, with accommodations for everybody.



In the evening will be given the grandest display of Fire Works ever attempted in Southern Kansas.

The Celebration will conclude with a Social Dance, where every arrangement for the comfort and pleasure of the public will be made.



Arkansas City Traveler, June 18, 1879.

Special U. S. Indian Agent Hayworth gave us a call on Friday last. He had in charge Chief Joseph's band, on their way to their new reservation at the mouth of the Chikaskia. Mr. Hayworth is an accomplished gentleman, and has done good service for the department. C. M. Scott volunteered as guide to the new reservation. The Nez Perces will be attached to the Ponca Agency, and this will somewhat increase the duties of Agent Whiteman.

The races at this place on Thursday afternoon were very exciting. The east side carried off the purse in an easy manner. The Capron pony ran square and handsome, and led the race. The last heat was run by the Crawford "hoss" against the Rexford Canuck. On the last quarter the Canuck stumbled--owing to corns in his feet, the jockies say--and lost the race. The old Government stallion, with an "I C" on his shoulder, ran like Ridenour's regulator, a leetle too slow. The Farrar pony came out groomed to a gloss, and ran through the track much to the admiration of the ladies.






The Fourth at Arkansas City.

As time rolls his ceaseless course, every twelvemonth brings around to us the "day we celebrate"--symbolic day of American freedom, not alone for American born, but for those from the uttermost parts as well. In the largest cities and smallest cross-roads there has ever existed a spirit of rivalry on these occasions, each trying to out-do its nearest neighbor in the matter of display and attractions for the multitude.

Our nation's birthday was probably more generally celebrated this year than in any year since the Centennial; at least this was the case in Cowley county. Patriotism was boiling and seething in every community to such an extent that a union celebration at the county seat was not to be thought of, and extensive preparations were made in four or five localities to honor the memory of the Revolutionary heroes--"every man to his notion, every woman as she wills, and every child as he has been trained."

Since the organization of this county, Arkansas City has been front and foremost in all public undertakings, and her efforts are always crowned with success. This year proved no exception to the rule. As soon as it was known that Arkansas City would celebrate the Fourth, the people throughout the central and southern portions of the county knew where to come for a good time, and the committee on arrangements went to work, confident that their expectations would be realized. Nor where they disappointed.

On the night of the 3rd, the clouds rolled up from the north and gave us a liberal sprinkling, but our soil soon absorbed all superflous moisture, making the traveling most delightful. (You see, some towns have mud, from which, good Lord, deliver us.) As early as 7 o'clock the gathering of the clams was foreshadowed by the arrival of people from every direction. They came in carriages, in wagons, on horse, and on foot--"some in rags, some in tags, and some in velvet gowns." Long before the hour for the procession to form it became evident that there would hardly be sufficient room on the town site in which to form a procession, so great was the crowd of sight-seers.

About 10 o'clock, however, the Arkansas City cornet band struck up a lively air, and started for the grounds, followed by Lieut. Cushman and detachment of U. S. Regulars; carriage with Judge M. S. Adams, of Wichita, as orator of the day; the Masonic order; then a company of ragamuffins, in wagons and on horseback, dressed in the most outlandish costumes imaginable, and making the air resound with the hideous noise produced upon improvised musical (?) instruments; after which came the citizens and people from all parts of the country, making the longest procession ever witnessed in Cowley county.

When half way to the grounds the immense concourse of people paused to witness the skirmish drill by Lieut. Cushman's detachment. This was the prettiest sight of the day, and many an ex-soldier, as he watched this handful of boys in blue, called to mind the days when the cartridges were not blank, and when such performances thinned the number around the camp fires of both the Blue and the Gray. The drill was perfect in every respect, and spoke louder than words of the admirable discipline of the Lieutenant's company.

After reaching the grounds the first thing in order was the speaking. Mr. Amos Walton was the first introduced, and spoke feelingly of those who had laid down their lives that this day might be celebrated. He was followed by Judge M. S. Adams, of Wichita, who gave the main oration of the day. He is an eloquent speaker, and his patriotic utterances found echo in the hearts of his hearers. He has many friends in this city who cherish the warmest regard for him and are ever ready to welcome him to the future city of the border.

Next came the war dance by the Ponca Indians, fifteen in number, whose names are: White Eagle (the head chief), Lewis Premo (police), Little Standing Buffalo, Black White Dog, Little Black Crow, Shines White, Buffalo Head, Thick Nail, Treads on Two, Packs the Horse, Big Kansas, Harry King, Little Pole Cat, White Feather, and Makes Noise. It is easier to imagine their grotesque movements than to describe them, and to those who had never seen anything of the kind, it was quite a treat.

In the afternoon the crowd repaired to the race grounds. In the fast running race the first money was won by Patterson's horse, "John Bascom," the second money by "Tom Thumb," and the third by a bay horse whose name we failed to learn. This race was followed by fast and slow mule races, which created considerable fun, and by a fat and lean man's race. The former was won by W. S. Vorris, of Bolton township, and the latter by G. W. Maness, of the same township, we believe.

The pyrotechnic display in the evening was also a success, with the exception of the balloon, which burned in the ascent.

The only failure to mar the complete success of the day was the dance after the fire-works. Our citizens were too tired to feel much interest in tripping the "light fantastic," especially as it was so late before commencing. Hoping the kind folks of Winfield who came down to enjoy the dance will make due allowance for this failure, our citizens extend them a cordial invitation to return in the near future, when Arkansas City's reputation for hospitality and sociability will be redeemed.

All in all, it was a glorious Fourth, and passed off with more order than has been known on any similar day for years. It is impossible to make an accurate estimate of the crowd. Some say as high as 10,000 or 11,000, but our Washingtonian proclivities forbid us to back such an estimate, and we will concluded by saying that at least 7,000 patriotic souls thronged the streets of Arkansas City on this anniversary.



Arkansas City Traveler, August 25, 1886.

From Our Exchanges.

CALDWELL JOURNAL: A war dance was held on the open ground south of the opera house Monday evening, in which 15 or 20 of our citizens, assisted by fifty Cheyenne Indians, joined. Over 300 of our town people were interested spectators of the novel dance. Every-thing passed off pleasantly and the Indians were well pleased with their treatment. They are here for fifty-five wagon loads of flour and coffee.


Arkansas City Traveler, August 25, 1886.

Vinita, Indian Territory, Fair Association.

We have received with the compliments of C. S. Shelton, secretary, an invitation to attend the Fifth Annual Exposition of the Vinita Fair Association, which occurs October 13, 14, and 15, together with a copy of the premium list. Vinita, situated at the crossing of the St. Louis and San Francisco and Missouri Pacific railways, in the Cherokee nation, is the largest town in the Indian Territory. This fair association since its organization has met with marked success and its annual expositions are looked foreward to as the gala occasion of the year throughout that section. The competition for premiums is spirited in all classes while in the speed ring the interest is intense. A copy of the premium list, in published form, will be mailed to any address on application to the secretary, at Vinita.


Arkansas City Traveler, September 22, 1886.

There is much unfavorable comment on the treatment of the visitors to Caldwell to take part in the soldiers reunion. There was a big gathering there, 1,500 some set it at, but no proper arrangements were made for their entertainment, and those who went to enjoy themselves suffered a wearisome time. This was no fault of the citizens for they subscribed $500 to provide for a happy time, but those who had the management of the festivity did not properly exert themselves, and the Indians, who were to go through a war dance, took to pillaging and rifled the tables of their best contents. The entertainment was offered in good faith, but those entrusted with the management came short in their duty.


Arkansas City Traveler, October 6, 1886.

Return of the Show Indians.

A number of Pawnees came in from the east last Wednesday, who have been starring it with Dr. Carver during the summer. They were gorgeously dressed, looked well in flesh, and showed stage training in their graceful movements. They were expected a day or two before their arrival, and their parents and other relatives were on hand to carry them home. On the day mentioned Pawnees were thick on the streets, attracting the attention of the many strangers in town. The show business is evidently enjoyed by the unsophisticated red man, and perhaps it may be regarded as a civilizing agency. Traveling about the country and being made the heroes of the hour must certainly enlarge their ideas, and have a natural tendency to stimulate that lethargy of mind and body which makes our red brother so unprogressive. The returned Pawnees and their friends were quite numerous on the streets the remainder of the day, and the next they were early in their wagons to take in supplies before returning home. Frank Smith was favored with a good share of their trading, and by the time he had got rid of his dusky customers, he had ridded himself of an immense amount of groceries.

It was noticed that every wagon contained a showy and commodious trunk. This is an article of real utility to the Indian, as it forms a receptacle for many a piece of litter which in his limited housekeeping has hitherto been Ahung up on the floor.@ But besides prizing a trunk for its usefulness, the redskins hold it in great regard as an article of adornment. They admire its glitter and brass nails, and to protect it from rain will cover it with every wrap that comes to hand and go unprotected themselves. Toward 10 o=clock on Thursday the Pawnees started homeward, with very little of their money left, but well provided with clothing, provisions, and other necessaries.

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