Posts Tagged ‘Missouri’

Editor of “Greenback Standard” Murdered

July 6, 2009


Dr. Perry H. Talbott, editor of the Greenback Standard, published at Maryville, Mo., was assassinated last Saturday evening at nine o’clock, while at home surrounded by his family. We have seen no intelligent opinion expressed as to who did the shooting; Talbott before he died said he thought it must have been a paid assassin of the national banks, “some enemy of the great cause which I represent.” We regard this as ridiculous, and regret that a gentleman of the profession should leave such a foolish statement behind him.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Sep 21, 1880


Capt. Lafe Dawson, attorney for the Talbott boys, visited them at St. Joe yesterday. It is understood that he is working up a confession by which they are to be released. The plan is supposed to be to have Wyatt, the alleged insane participant in the murder of Dr. Talbott, confess that he did the shooting. This si expected to procure the release of the Talbott boys, and then Wyatt is to get off on the old insanity dodge.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Jul 2, 1881


IT was stated in one of the afternoon’s Greenback speeches that the Democrat and Republican parties were now each represented in attempts at assassination, but that the Greenbacks had escaped the odium. The speaker is evidently not familiar with the assassination of old Dr. Talbott, editor of a Greenback paper at Maryville, by his two sons, who were stalwart Greenbackers.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Jul 16, 1881


A more fiendish murder than that of Dr. Talbott was never perpetrated, yet there is increasing indignation — particularly in the office of the St. Joe Gazette — that his murdering sons will probably hang for the crime.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Jul 18, 1881


The Talbott boys have made another confession, which is to the effect that neither one of them had anything to do with the killing of their father, but that Will Mitchell, Mrs. Talbott’s sister’s husband, is probably the real culprit. A few weeks ago one of them confessed that he did the killing while Dr. Talbott was beating his mother, but as that did not satisfy the Governor, another statement had been made. This is the third story of it they have told, and Governor Crittenden will not be blamed for accepting the verdict of the court in preference to either one of them. They will be hanged at Maryvill to-morrow.

The gist of the confession consists of a conversation that Albert heard between Mitchell and Wyatt, and in which Wyatt tells the manner in which they accomplished the shooting, and the events that follow are given in long detail. There is another conversation given before the date of the murder between Wyatt and Mitchell, in which the latter consents to do the killing for a consideration. Mitchell is considered a leading spirit of the murder, partly out of revenge for the death of his wife who caught cold after having been ordered by Dr. Talbott from his home and died; and, second, because the doctor refused to let him marry his oldest daughter.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Jul 21, 1881


ST. LOUIS, July 22. — The [Post-Dispatch’s] Maryville, Mo., special says: Albert, Rand and Chas. E. Talbott, convicted of murdering their father, Dr. Perry H. Talbott, on the  18th of September last, and respited once, were hanged this afternoon in the presence of from 8,000 to 10,000 people. Up to a late hour last night they expected gubernatorial interference, but at midnight went to bed after a lengthy interview with their mother and sisters, and Miss Lewis, to whom Albert was betrothed. Mrs. Talbott was very bitter against the Governor for not commuting the sentence of her boys.

The prisoners received the last sacraments of the Catholic church this morning. It was an exceedingly affecting scene between the prisoners and their relatives.

About noon, Charles, the youngest one, broke down completely and begged that something might be done. This unnerved the women and made a terrible scene. The women were removed. Mrs. Talbott frantically resisted, but the guards led her away crying, “I hope you will be satisfied when you have killed my boys.” The brothers were taken to the gallows in an omnibus, being strongly shackeled. The women and the crowd followed. The scene when the trap fell was very solemn, the whole crowd uttering groans.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Jul 24, 1881


Although it is notorious that the Talbott boys quarreled incessantly with their father, and finally killed him, one of them said a few hours before the execution that “We will soon be seated with our dear father on the Great White Throne.” It is probable that the old man, when he saw his two sons alight on the Great White Throne beside him, knocked them off with a harp, spades and neck yokes not being used in that country, and therefore not available to throw at members of his family, as was his custom here. Old Dr. Talbott was the Elder Mitchell of Missouri, and his last words were that he had undoubtedly been murdered by National bank presidents, although one story of the murder told by his sons is that when they fired the fatal shot, he had their mother on the floor and was jumping upon her. The idea of such fiends roosting lovingly on the Great White Throne is supremely disgusting.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Aug 9, 1881



A worthless whelp named Birch wanted to marry Anna Lanaham, one of the daughters of an old farmer near Rock Rapids, Iowa. The old man objected, and drove Birch from his house. The consequence was that Birch and Anna, assisted by Maggie, another daughter, and Mrs. Lanaham, wife of the farmer, devised a scheme for getting rid of him. One day, after he had returned from a farmers’ meeting, Maggie slipped up behind him and put a bullet through his brain. Her sister Anna then broke out a window pane, so as to make it appear that he had been fired upon and killed from the outside by some unknown party. The murder was planned some time in November, but it could not be carried out until a few days ago. It was a terrible affair, and every one of the fiends who were engaged in it ought to be hung, but we suppose every exertion will be put forth by maudlin sentimentalists to save them even from the penitentiary.

Old man Lanaham may have been a disagreeable old fellow: he may have bored his family to death by eternally talking about the iron heel of monopoly that was crushing the life out of the farmer; he may, to the neglect of his family, have spent his time in talking over public wrongs; but he had a right to live until he worried himself to death.

The telegraph informs us that he was killed just after returning from a farmers’ meeting.

We infer from this that he was a reformer, like Dr. Talbott — that he was one of those men who try to reform the world before they endeavor to reform their families. Talbott was always hurling thunderbolts at the red-handed monopolists who were choking the life out of the farmer and laboring man, but while he was doing this a plan for his murder was being concocted in his own family.

We do not believe there ever was a kind, indulgent and provident father murdered by his own children. The man who thinks of his family first and the public weal later is in no danger of his life at home.

The manner of Mr. Lanaham’s taking off probably furnishes a pretty accurate key to his character. By neglect and abuse he inspired hate into the hearts of his wife and children to such an extent that they desired to get rid of him at all hazards. He was doubtless popular with the world, as all men are who devote the greater part of their time to it, and we are not surprised that the community in which he resided is now crying aloud for vengeance.

Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) > 1882 > February > 17


A private detective named Brighton, who was interested in ferreting out the murderers of Dr. Talbott, the editor of a Greenback paper in Maryville, Mo., has been arrested in Illinois, and brought back to Kansas City to answer a charge of crookedness.

Atchison Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) Dec 22, 1882



A St. Joseph Clerk in the Role of Forger and Lover — A Curious Agreement.

ST. JOSEPH, May 3. — The man who was arrested here Wednesday for attempting to obtain money on a forged draft of Heller & Hoffman, of St. Louis, turns out to be Charles E. Norris, formerly in the employ of Heller & Hoffman, and he is wanted by that firm for forgery.

It now transpires that he combined the business of love making with forgery as he had since his arrival in the city formed the acquaintance of Miss Jennie Talbott, daughter of Mrs. Belle Talbott living at 607 South Eleventh street, in this city, and a sister of the Talbott brothers, who were hanged at Maryville for the murder of their father, Dr. Talbott, who had made a written contract with Norris, which was signed by both, dated April 29, agreeing to live together as man and wife.

The Talbott girl had taken several meals with him at the Pacific House and he took her to Bailey’s dry goods store and she bought goods to the amount of $70 and attempted to pay for them with a forged draft, of Hiller & Hoffman, but Bailey being suspicious, took the draft to Hax’s which had been indorsed by Hax’s clerk, who by this time had become frightened, and it was determined to arrest him then, which was accordingly done.

Norris was arraigned before Recorder Oliver, waived examination and was sent back to jail to await the arrival of Heller with a warrant for his arrest.

Atchison Globe, The (Atchison, Kansas) May 3, 1884


For more information about Perry Talbott and his family, “Our Family Gallery” has genealogical information, more newspaper accounts and other information about this family. [I am not related or connected to the site, just ran across it looking for information about the Greenback Standard newspaper, edited by Mr. Talbott.]

William Waldo Writes about Starvation and Death Among Overland Emigrants

May 18, 2009

From the Osceola Independent, 14th inst.

Emigrant Road, Monday, Sept. 30th, 1850.

Mr. W.P. JOHNSON — Dear sir: Yours of the 4th of July, written at Clinton Mo., was taken out of the office at Sacramento City, and kindly forwarded to my by Mr. A. Blakely, and gave me the latest news I have received from your section of Missouri.

I have now been on the horrible road more than one month, during which time I have witnessed every grade of human suffering & misery. Too often have I seen families, who from all appearances, had been brought up in the enjoyment of every luxury, feasting upon the carcasses of dead oxen. Capt. Duncan, of Michigan, stated to me a few days since, that the best food he ate for sixteen days, was a faithful dog that had followed him from home; that he saved him as long as he could, but finally killed him to prevent starvation, and divided the meat among twenty men. I have seen hundreds so weak that they reeled and staggered as they walked along the road. Saw one man from St. Louis on Humboldt river, a few days since, lying by the side of the road in the last agonies of death, caused by starvation. —

Have just reached this point, after ten days journey up Humboldt river, where I found many persons without one pound of provisions, although four hundred miles from Sacramento City. And what makes their situation worse, they have suffered from starvation until they are so weak that they can scarcely walk. These people have been robbed by the Indians even, to their blankets although the nights are cold and chilly, and it requires two or three blankets to keep a man comfortable, yet many of these people have neither blankets or coats. The hostile Indians are very numerous, becoming very bold, and killing the emigrants daily. They conceal themselves in the thickets and ravines, and fire upon the emigrants as they pass; those on foot being too weak to carry their guns, fall an easy prey to the savages.

The Indians have taken a great deal of stock from the emigrants, and are consequently well mounted; and by picking up the fire-arms thrown away by the weak and exhausted, they are also well armed, which makes them far more dangerous than they have been at any previous period. Many believe these Indians are headed and led on by white men, whose object is to secure the emigrant’s stock. Several families have disappeared, for which no account can be given who have either been killed by the Indians when off the road, or taken prisoners.

I have only mentioned a few of the thousand calamities which have befallen the overland emigration of 1850. Such an amount of suffering never has been experience by the American people since the settlement of the country; and I sincerely hope that it may never be my lot during life again to witness scenes of suffering and misery. —

The snow is now four inches deep upon the mountains, and the rivers rising, and in fifteen days from this time, in all probability, the mountains will be covered with snow from five to ten feet deep, and in many places much deeper. There will not be a trader on this side of the mountains after 5th of October. The greater part of them are now leaving, with their stock, for fear of being in the snow storms of the Sierra Nevada. —

From the best information I can get, there is yet between 100 and 200 families and probably 2,000 men in the most perfect state of destitution, far back on this route, without stock or provisions, and many of them without blankets or comfortable clothing. If the winter sets in early, I cannot see any possible chance for these people to cross the mountains. I have at my command 3,000 lbs of fat beef, and 3,000 lbs of flour, besides 30 mules and horses, which will answer for food; but the horses and mules are needed to transport the feeble women and helpless children over the mountains and across the deserts.

I have fitted out an expedition, and will leave here to-night to relieve the sufferers on the Humboldt, and shall carry back flour and beef sufficient to enable 1,000 persons to cross the Desert. We have relieved emigrants from every State in the Union. — Those from the city of St. Louis have been the greatest sufferers. Then comes those from Ohio, Kentucky Tennessee, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and Missouri. — Probably fifty from New York and Pennsylvania have been relieved, three families from Louisiana, and about twenty men from Georgia, and from every State, more or less.

I have with me Thomas Kinkade, of Benton Co., Mo., and Ewing Story and Washington Pond, of St. Clair Co., Mo., who have pledged their word of honor to remain with me on the east side of the mountains until the last emigrant has passed on, or has been called to a final account.

Observing that the traders were becoming alarmed & leaving for the settlements on account of the approach of winter, and fearing the effect of this course on the men with me, I determined to know who would remain at any hazard, and risk every consequence. I stated to them my resolution was formed, and that I did not intend to cross the mountains as long as there was reason to believe that one emigrant remained behind alive that they all knew the circumstances in which we were placed; liable to be attacked by the numerous tribes of hostile Indians east of the mountains, and should we be so fortunate as to escape the Indians, they were aware of the still greater dangers arising from the almost impossibility of crossing the mountains after the winter set in and when across the mountains, we must pass through the Indian tribes on the west side, by whom so many murders were committed last winter and spring. After full consideration, those I have named from your section of Missouri declared they were willing to risk the consequences and remain, and declared they would never attempt to cross the Sierra Nevada until I crossed with them; so you may rest assured, if you ever hear of our arrival in Sacramento City, that the last of the overland emigrants of 1850 are out of danger from starvation, as we shall go in with those in the rear. My company is small but well armed, each man having a rifle, four pistols, hatchet and bowie knife. —

I have duly considered the risk and reflected upon the consequences, and should I never reach Sacramento again, I shall at least die with the consolation of having attempted to discharge a painful duty to the suffering humanity under difficulties too great to be overcome. My respects to friends.

Yours, truly, WILLIAM WALDO.

Ohio Repository, The (Canton, Ohio) Jan 22, 1851

More about William Waldo, from Wikipedia:

William Waldo (1812 – 1881) was a candidate for Governor of California in 1853. He was born in Virginia, but spent most of his life in Missouri, where he was a merchant and steamboat captain. In 1849 he joined the gold rush to California at the head of a wagon train. In California the next year, reports arrived of impending starvation among numerous immigrants on the Nevada side of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Waldo put great effort into recruiting and delivering supplies for them, and became well known for his relief attempts.

Bound for California Gold

April 5, 2009

See my previous post with the journal from “The California Gold Hunter,” that is mentioned in the first line of this article.

Letters from the Californians.

On our first page we publish an interesting  journal of the tour to St. Joseph, Mo., which has been sent to us by a member of the Milan company. Letters have been received at this place from several of the adventurers who left our vicinity, giving, in substance, the same views of the country and the way, as our correspondent.

The emigrants at St. Joseph and Fort Independence, were in fine health and spirits, and eager to press their journey over the plains. A letter from one of the Tiffin company, at Fort Independence, (April 25th,) which we have read, written in a humorous vein, describes the emigrants there as all “well and fat as bears,” but rather “red,” from the effect of Sol. He says, “The Sandusky boys are in quite a scrape. 100 miles from here the Indians stole all their mules and horses.” The passage up the Missouri he describes as slow but enlivened by frequent hunts for game along the banks, where geese, ducks, brants, and pelicans abounded. He says, “We passed a couple of boats coming up loaded with Californians. One of them was at the mouth of the Gaspinade River, with her shaft broken, and the other with boilers bursted. There was quite a number of girls with their fathers and mothers, all bound for California!

There are about 3,000 Californians in and around Independence, St. Joseph, and other places on the River, and about twice that number between here and Cincinnati on their way up. I expected from what I had heard coming up, that there were at least 10,000 here, but it turns out, like all other reports, to be very much exaggerated.” By way of testifying his advance in knowledge, as well as distance, he subscribes himself with the learned title of “M.D.” (Mule Driver.)

Mr. S.C. Wickam, who is a member of the Milan Company, writes from the Encampment opposite St. Joseph, April 28th, to his brother, Judge Wickham of this place, thus:

“Our boys are all in good spirits and anxious to go ahead. I don’t think there will be any back out from among us. You could not hire any of them to go back at any price — how they will feel by and by, is another thing.

“The season here is more backward than with you, I imagine. The trees are not in leaf yet, although the weather is very warm. It is also very dry; we have had no rain since we arrived here. Our mules live on the grass that is in the river bottom; it is quite thin but of a good height; we take them out before sunrise and tie them two and two, watch them till about eleven o’clock A.M., when they seem to be satisfied; we then bring them in, let them stand till about two o’clock P.M., when we take them out and let them stay till sun-down.


“Encamped with us there are about 30 wagons and 150 persons; about one mile ahead of us there is a still larger encampment; and people are arriving daily, from up the river. There are not as many to cross the plains as I expected. How many there are at Independence I do not know; but I think there will not be over 1,000 to 1,500 from here, and this is considered the best point from which to start; I believe on account, principally, of the advantage we have here, in being across the Kansas, which is considered one of the worst on the whole route.

E. Atherton killed a rattlesnake which measured four feet and two inches in length; there are a great many of these snakes about here, one person said he saw six, four of which he killed. It is reported that they have the cholera in St. Joseph, and it is said that six died the other day, when some of our company were over; but you can’t tell any thing about it by what you hear. — When we landed at St. Joseph we could hardly get any one to do our washing for us, for fear of the cholera or small-pox, it being reported in town that we had several cases of those diseases on board our boat.

We are now in the Indian Territory, and if all their country is equal to this they have the best country in the world; it is a splendid country; the soil along the river bottom is very deep, consisting of sandy loam, and looks as if all you would need to do to raise crops, would be to drop the seed on the ground. It is very lightly timbered, probably on account of the Indians burning it over every year for hunting grounds. Directly back of us is a rolling prairie, with hardly a tree in sight, with the exception of now and then on the banks of some small stream.

There are several Indian burying grounds in this vicinity, but there are very few Indians; they have probably gone to some other hunting grounds, as game seems to be very scarce here, at present, although there are deer tracks on the hill side, in abundance.

While watching the mules the other day, Harry Page found a belt, pouch, powder horn, and charger; the belt was partially eaten up by the moles or mice, and in the pouch were a dozen or more balls of a large size; the horn was half full of fine rifle powder. How long they had been there, or who lost them, is a mystery. The charger was made of deer’s horn, the tip of one I should think; it was carved off in fine order, probably the work of some Indian.

We expect to start from this place on Monday the last day of April, and pursue our journey to a mission, about twenty miles from here, where we talk of stopping for a short time — whether we shall or not will be determined on the road there, and by the feed — if we find plenty of grass we shall go right ahead, if not we shall stop for it to grow.”

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) May 22, 1849

*For other California Gold Rush posts, just click on the “Gold Rush” category.

Wabaunsee: Death of a Great War Chief

February 21, 2009

Chief Wabaunsee "Dawn of Day"

Chief Wabaunsee "Dawn of Day"

Correspondence of the Washington Union.

Death of the Great War Chief

Your readers, or many of the good people of the metropolis, at least, will recollect this venerable man. He was the principal war chief of the Pottawatomie nation, and was here on a visit with the delegation who came here from Council Bluffs last fall to see their great father the President of the United States.

Returning home in December, having reached Wheeling, they found that winter had set in in good earnest. All hope of getting to St. Louis by water was abandoned — the river was entirely frozen up. The party therefore took stage, being very anxious to get back to their nation, and recount to them the result of their long journey and important visit to their great father. The road was very icy; and passing along not far from Marietta, in Ohio, one of the stages turned over, and injured several of the Indian chiefs. Amongst the rest, Waw-bon-see received some serious injuries. Being old and infirm, he could not recover; but, with his characteristic firmness and intrepidity, this truly brave man held on, and continued his journey until he reached Booneville, in the State of Missouri, where he died. And thus the scene closes with this extraordinary son of the wilderness, whose life had been signalized for his many acts of daring and bravery. The very name of this “great brave” was conferred upon him in consequence of one of his daring deeds. It was this:

In one of their war expeditions, he and his little party found themselves most unexpectedly in close contact with a superior party of Sioux*, then their deadly enemies. A council was held by the Pottawatomie war party during the night, and it was unanimously decided that some decisive blow must be struck before the approaching morning should expose them to their enemies, who were superior to them in numbers. It was soon decided. This lion-hearted man, who is now the subject of these few lines, came forward, and with the brief but determined tone of a brave warrior, said he would undertake the execution of the plan. It was, that he should steal into the lodge of the unsuspecting Sioux at  the still hour of the night, and, single handed, he was to deal out fatal blows to the whole of them, well knowing that if he failed, or made a misstep, and aroused them out of their slumbers, he and all his comrades must perish. Thus nerved to the fearful and doubtful issue, this brave is seen creeping stealthily into the camp of the Sioux just as the dawn of day, when sleep is most profound. He is successful — every one of his enemies sink under the well-aimed blows of his unerring tomahawk; and thus did he secure to himself this proud name, which, for more that two-thirds of a century, has been a terro to his and other surrounding nations. Waw-bon-see signifies, in the Pottawatomie tongue, the “dawn of day.” It was just at that time that he destroyed the Sioux. Hence his name, which he ever afterwards was known by.

But Waw-bon-see, the great brave of the red men, is no more. He had seen his hundred winters; had been in many wars, both with the white and the red man, and was always foremost in battle. He was highly respected by his nation, not only for his courage, but for his just and wise counsels; he was alike distinguished both in the battle-field and in the cabinet, and his loss will be deeply deplored by his people.

It is to be regretted that he could not have reached his home and his nation once more, as he was returning after having enjoyed several personal and most agreeable and interesting interviews with the President of the United States, the honorable Secretary of War, and the honorable Commissioner of Indian Affairs, with whom he and all the other chiefs were much pleased. But the good old man has been gathered to his fathers, and it is to be hoped that his spirit has gone to the fine hunting-grounds, which the red men believe to be in wait for all their brave and good warriors beyond the grave.                 E.

N.B.–The other chiefs had recovered from their slight injuries, and were, when last heard of, at Westport, in Jackson county, Missouri, and getting on very well towards their villages at Council Bluffs.

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Feb 23, 1846

*Wikipedia gives a different account of the Sioux incident.

As a young man, Nah-Ke-ses set out to avenge the death of a close friend. He used the cover of a misty morning to sneak into an Osage village where reportedly he single-handedly killed several fierce Osage warriors before they could sound an alarm. Nah-ke-ses was then named “Wabaunsee” or “Little Dawn.” Once when asked why, “Waabaansii” responded, “When I kill an enemy he turns pale [waabaanzo], resembling the first light of the day [waaban].”

Potawatomi Web has tons of information, including maps and pictures. Great site.

The Ledger-Sentinel has this  to say about where Wabaunsee’s village was located:

Waubonsee was the principal war chief of the local Potowatomi and lived at his permanent village near Aurora. In fact, in the Treaty of 1829, Waubonsee was granted five sections of land-3,200 acres-located “…on Fox River of the Illinois, where Shaytees Village now stands.”

It has been said for years that Waubonsee’s village was located at Oswego, but it now seems clear his permanent village was indeed located well north of Oswego in the Big Woods near Aurora. What has confused things was that old settlers reported to the Rev. E.W. Hicks, the county’s first historian, that Waubonsee had a “camping ground” near Oswego. It seems a natural jump from “camping ground” to village, but it’s too far a jump. The Potowatomi, Ottawa, and Chippewa all broke up into small family groups each winter and each family group had a winter camp. Many of these winter family camps were on the Illinois River but some were also on the Fox. One of Waubonsee’s may have been at Oswego. The early settlers probably took for granted that everyone knew the Indians broke into family groups for the winter and so took no further pains to explain the significance of Waubonsee’s “camping ground.”

Newsfinder has “A Potawatomi Story.”

This story is really two stories that come from the Native American peoples of Wisconsin. The first story is a Potawatomi story of the origin of humans, and the second concerns the Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Ottawa peoples.

You can read the story at the link.

The Kansas Collection has other information about the Potawatomi people, including “two great battles with the whites.”

Chaska and Corabelle: Painted Red

February 6, 2009


Miss Cora Fellows and Chaska to be Married Today.

Invitations Are Issued and the Event Will be Celebrated by a Dance at Swift Bird’s Camp — Miss Fellows’ Big Brother Will be Present and it is Hinted Will Lead the War Dance.

PIERRE, Dak., March 23. — To-marrow is the day set for the marriage of Miss Cora Fellows, the pretty, infatuated and determined school teacher at Swift Bird, to Chaska, the big buck Sioux Indian. The postponement of the wedding to March 24th, which Miss Fellows’ friends fondly hoped would evolve some means of breaking off the match, has not served its purpose. Every possible arguement has thus far been used, but without avail. Invitations were issued to friends to attend a ball at Swift Bird’s camp to-morrow night by Miss Fellows. Chaska delivered them to the guests and the nuptial knot will be tied to-morrow by Rev. Handforth. Word comes from Fort Bennett that Miss Fellows’ brother has arrived from Chicago and will stop the marriage. A scene is looked for.

Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota  ) Mar 24, 1888


Sneaking Sam Campbell.
PIERRE, Dak., April 2. — The marriage of Miss Cora Fellows to the Indian, Chaska, is finally accomplished. Around the Indian agency Chaska is known as Sam Campbell, and is a worthless thieving Santee without any white blood in his veins, and not the Indian missionary which recent reports have announced.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Apr 3, 1888


IT NOW TURNS out that Miss Cora Fellows married the Indian, Chaska, simply to advertise herself. She wants to write a novel, and is under the impression that her marriage will create so much talk that people will be crazy to read her book. Perhaps her story deals with border life, and she is trying to get the proper local color. “Painted Red” would be a good title for her novel.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Apr 5, 1888


Mrs. Chaska May Make a Show.
PIERRE. April 10. — Special to the Sioux City Journal: Much has been said pro and con, regarding the marriage of Chaska, the Indian, to Miss Cora Belle Fellows, the late Washington City belle. There no longer exists any doubt about the ceremony being performed at Swift Bird’s camp, on the Missouri, sixty miles above this city. Owing to the heavy run of ice, it has been impossible to get any authentic report until to-day. Last week a telegram from a St. Paul dime museum was sent to this city to be delivered to Mrs. Chaska, nee Fellows, offering her and her husband $5,000 to appear in a ten weeks’ engagement as freaks. The telegram was delivered to a messenger and by him delivered to Mrs. Chaska. Today the messenger returned from Swift Bird’s camp, having accomplished his mission. The messenger states that Mrs. Chaska and her husband received the offer in a friendly manner and wrote the museum for a few days in which to consider the matter.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Apr 11, 1888


THE marriage of Mr. Chaska, the Sioux Indian, and Miss Fellows has attracted more attention than any marriage of a similar kind since Miss Pocahontas became the better-half of John Rolfe. The only drawback about the latter wedding was that it made a possibility of that human wasp — John wasp — John Randolph of Roanoke. However, if Mr. and Mrs. Chaska get along as well together in the nuptial harness as Mr. and Mrs. Rolfe, the friends of the bride can afford to overlook the obliquity of her choice.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Apr 11, 1888


One Indian Civilized.
The Minneapolis Tribune is malicious. It says: “As it becomes generally known that Mrs. Chaska, nee Fellows, was a maiden 45 years of age, and her husband is a young, untutored savage, popular pity will be transferred from the bride to the groom, and his taste, instead of hers, will be criticized.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Apr 25, 1888

Richard F. Outcault, "The Amateur Dime Museum in Hogan's Alley," cartoon, New York World 4 Oct. 1896

Richard F. Outcault, "The Amateur Dime Museum in Hogan's Alley," cartoon, New York World 4 Oct. 1896

The Museum Thronged to See Mrs. Chaska and “Sam-u-el”

ST PAUL, May 7 — The dime museum where Mr. and Mrs. Campbell (Chaska) began to receive the public was thronged this afternoon. Mrs. Campbell don’t like the Indian name. She calls him “Sam-u-el.” Chaska is 6 feet 8 inches tall and as straight as an arrow. He is a rather good looking fellow when he talks but usually he is sullen. He can speak excellent English if he will, having spent two years in the Lincoln institute in Philadelphia. He has rather fine features, but small pox has left its mark upon his face and he has the high cheek bone and straight black hair of the Indian. He is 23 years old. Mrs. Chaska is a mite of humanity being just 5 feet 1 inch in height. She is rather slender, not pretty until she begins to talk and then she is bright and interesting.

Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) May 8, 1888


A Dime Museum Lie.

WASHINGTON, May 10. — The father of Cora Belle Fellows, who recently married Chaska, a Sioux, says that the story sent from St. Paul yesterday that the newly married couple had accepted an offer of $5,000 for ten weeks engagement in a dime museum is an outrageous lie. It is suspected some museum manager proposed exhibiting some bogus Mr. and Mrs. Chaska.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) May 10, 1888



The Curiously-Mated Pair From the Cheyenne Reservation.
From the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.

She is here. Not the character about whom Haggard wrote, but Miss Cora Belle Fellows-Campbell, the young lady who sacrificed home ties to become the wife of Samuel Campbell, better known as Chaska. Mrs. Campbell was attired in a neat black satin dress trimmed with passementerie. She is twenty-eight years old, is not pretty, but fair-looking. One pretty feature about her face is her beautiful, regular-set teeth. She is apparently about five feet four inches in height. Chaska, the sly young Lothario who wooed and won her, lounged on a divan apparently contented with his surroundings. He wore a buckskin shirt and moccasins trimmed with beads. He wore common plebeian pants, which goes to show that he is becoming civilized by the influence of his pale-faced bride. He is six feet two inches in height, has the regulation straight black hair, which has been cut to keep pace with his rapid strides toward civilization. He is 25 years of age. His face shows marks of smallpox, but the prominent cheek bones, characteristic of the Indian, are not so noticeable. He speaks fairly good English, writes plainly, and seems rather bright, but yesterday he was a stranger in a strange land under exceedingly strange circumstances, and he was not in a talkative mood. In fact, a short, gruff “yes” or “no” was about the only answer tht could be gotten from him. But his wife is a brilliant and entertaining conversationalist. Mrs. Campbell chatted pleasantly with all the callers. When asked on what date they were married she replied: “We were married March 16 at St. Stephen’s by the Rev. Dr. Hanford, an Episcopal rector. We have been married on so many different dates by the newspapers that I hardly know myself when we were married.”

Mrs. Campbell has with her their marriage certificate to prove the date, and also to assure doubting ones that they are the much advertised couple. When asked about her parents she said that of course they had been opposed to the marriage. When she left Washington, about three years ago, she was cautioned not to fall in love with an Indian. When she married Chaska her mother wrote telling her that she would not disown her, but that their correspondence must cease. Then, when it became known that efforts were being made to induce her to go on exhibition, her mother wrote that if she took this last step her daughter and herself would be obliged to leave the country. They could not remain in Washington with such a social disgrace hanging over them. Mrs. Campbell, continuing, said:

“I understand father has decided to accept an offer to go to South America. I know just what I am doing. I knew that my parents would not support me now. Influences have been brought to bear, so that I will probably lose my school. My husband has no money, but I love him, and I saw this chance to make enough money to buy a farm and make us independent, so I grasped this opportunity.”

Mrs. Campbell, while not anxious to talk to strangers, answered all questions pleasantly and proved herself an entertaining lady. She has with her a number of letters which she has received since her marriage and some are real curiosities. One gentleman writes, and, after admiring her for her pluck in marrying the man she loved, concludes by asking if she cannot find some pretty little Indian girl for him. Some censure her and others declare themselves in favor of her course.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) May 11, 1888

Dime Museum, Chicago, IL

Dime Museum, Chicago, IL

Chaska and Cora Expected Friday!
Poetic War-whoop.

Chicago Times.

From the northland can the steam cars,
Steam cars from the frigid northland
Bearing Chaska, Indian bridegroom;
Chaska, ???ter than the north wind;
Chaska, bravest of all chieftains.

Braver far than Hiawatha.
Braver far than Mudgekewis.
Braver far than old Nukumis,
Old Nukomis, injun grandma,
For he wooed the pale-faced maiden,
Maiden fair, of –umpty summers.

Fairest of all pale-faced maidens,
Cora Belle, the missionary;
Lived she on the reservation
All among the painted Injuns.

Them she taught to read and cipher;
She instructed in draw poker.
Till they went across the river
And did up the wily trader
Out of all his filthy lucre.

Fairer than the honeysuckle.
Fairer than the prairie daisy;
When she deigned unveil her features
All the birds did cease their singing,
All the rabbits stopped their playing,
And in many a distant city
All the clocks did cease their running.

So the preacher he united
Them in holy matrimony;
Chaska straightway then endowed her
With the sum of his possessions
Which they were a pair of mocc’sins
And a chaw of plug tobacco.

Then they hied them to the east-land
With a contract in his pocket,
Contract fat for him and Cora,
In dime museum to exhibit.
“We will win the filthy lucre,
Filthy lucre of the jays who
Come to see us in the museum,
When we’ve finished, we will toodly.

Toodly back to far Dakota,
And upon the reservation
We will open up a ranch where
Braves can purchase for a dollar
All the whiskey they can swallow!”

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota)  Jun 5, 1888

President Cleveland

President Cleveland

At the president’s reception Thursday, Chaska, the Indian, and his bride, Cora Bell Fellows, daughter of a clerk in the surgeon general’s office, shook hand with Mr. Cleveland.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Jul 14, 1888

Cheyenne River Agency (Big Foot)

Cheyenne River Agency (Big Foot)


St. Paul, Minn., Oct. 5. — The appearance of Chaska, the Indian, and his bride Cora Belle Fellows, the Washington girl who threw herself away upon the redskin, at the dime museum, is still fresh in the memory of Eastern people. Many inquiries have been made about the ill-assorted pair, and this morning Manager McFadden, in reply to an inquiry as to what had become of them, said: “Oh, they are back on their farm in Swift Bird’s camp. You remember we had to buy the farm and then we made them a present of it. But they didn’t stock it as the intended with the salary they got. We paid them $500 a week and expenses, and as they were engaged for 10 weeks they got a tidy little sum. After the second week she bought herself some diamond earrings and paid $600 for them. This contented the bride for a while, but in Chicago she wanted some dresses and they were the best she could buy. She bought an outfit, including a sealskin sacque, although it was midsummer, that cost her $1,200.

Then Mrs. Chaska began to fit out Sammy. She went to a swell tailor and had three suits of clothes made for him, one of which is a full dress suit. Then she bought him a gold watch and chain. The watch was a horse timer. Even then she was not satisfied, and she further adorned her redskin with a hug diamond ring and stud. Then the heart of Cora seemed happy, but her purse was empty. I don’t believe they had $500 when they got back home. What in the world they will do with all their diamonds and finery on the reservation is more than I can imagine.”

The New York Times, Oct 6, 1888


Chaska and Cora Belle are Dad and Mam.

FORT BENNETT, Dec. 25 — Mrs Chaska, nee Cora Belle Fellows, the society belle from Washington who created a sensation by marrying the Indian chief Chaska, of Cheyenne agency, is now a mother. On the 23d inst., at 12 o’clock m., a son was born, and mother and child are doing well. Since their return from the east the couple have resided at Swift Bird’s camp, and came to Fort Bennett a week ago to obtain the services of a Caucasian accoucheur. Chaska and his wife have lived beyond their means during the past year, spending hundreds of dollars in traveling, purchasing the finest clothing and squandering thousands in farming implements and horses and carriages. The farming implements are useless, as Chaska has no talents for farming, and prefers to take it easy as long as he possibly can.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Dec 26, 1888


Cora Belle Chaska wants a divorce from her Indian husband, so soon.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Jun 24, 1891


A Yankton dispatch announces the end of a romance as follows: Mrs. Chaska, nee Cora Bell Fellows, who was married at Cheyenne River agency three years ago to a Santee Sioux named Chaska, or Samuel Campbell, found life with her dusky spouse unbearable and is now living apart from him in a small town in southern Nebraska. Several months ago Chaska suddenly disappeared, and it was discovered that he had eloped with a young and buxom squaw. Mrs. Chaska, after waiting for his return for weeks, left the reservation with her half-breed children, vowing she would never live with Chaska again. Two weeks after she left Chaska returned to the agency, and is now living there with the woman who accompanied him in his elopement. He is happy and wants no more to do with his white wife.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Feb 21, 1894

News a Year Old.
YANKTON, S.D., Feb. 22. — The story telegraphed from here about the desertion of his white wife by the Indian Chaska is an old one, the desertion having occurred a year ago.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Feb 22, 1894


A Romance Set Forth in Something Worse Than Blank Verse.

When Cora Belle Fellows was wedded to Chaska and came with her dusky liege? lord to Nebraska the skies seemed bedecked with a constant aurora and the little log hut seemed a palace to Cora. Months passed and a cloud grew above the horizon in the form of a squaw, and those women are “pizen.” Her eyes were as dark as the dismal hereafter and her hair was as straight as a 2×6 rafter.
The stout heart of Chaska succumbed to her graces, for an Indian knows what an elegant face is; and they met when the moon the calm atmosphere mellows, nor cared for the heartache of Cora Belle Fellows.
One night when the storm king? the coal scuttle looted this Chaska put on his red blanket and scooted away to the north with this maiden, nor tarried till he and fair Minnekadinetum were married. And Cora she waited and bore his abuses and hoped he’d return to his wife and papooses, but weeks rolled by till the looks of her cubbard reminded her sorely of Old Mother Hubbard.
Then Cora disheartened, disgusted and gaunted, deserted the home that her Chaska once haunted and mingled once more with her friends, broken hearted and Cora and Chaska forever are parted.
A moral this tale bears to gals who, through folly or strange love of romance, imagine it jolly to cast their sad lot with the sons of the wildwood and seek a divorce from the friends of their childhood. This romance is short as in this case related, for Cora now knows she was sadly mismated, and has, with the rest, the unahappy reflection of duty to half-breeds that need her protection.
The question of Indian civilization involves not the horrors of mixed procreation. An Indian has to be dead to be decent, which fact has been known a long time — is not recent — and history shows, from the best observations, that half-breeds are worse than their tribal relations.
I weep for poor Cora and both her papooses; I shudder to think what a gosling a goose is; I feel indignation that Chaska should leave her and skip with another and basely deceive her. and think that the law should receive a few patches to shut off these semi-barbarian matches.

Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Apr 23, 1894


This “verse” was written in paragraph form, but I reformatted it to make it easier to read.


Such is the Condition in Which a Huron Lady Found Mrs. Chaska and Children.

When Cora Belle Fellows was wedded to Chaska
and came with her dusky liege? lord to Nebraska
the skies seemed bedecked with a constant aurora
and the little log hut seemed a palace to Cora.

Months passed and a cloud grew above the horizon
in the form of a squaw, and those women are “pizen.”
Her eyes were as dark as the dismal hereafter
and her hair was as straight as a 2×6 rafter.

The stout heart of Chaska succumbed to her graces,
for an Indian knows what an elegant face is;
and they met when the moon the calm atmosphere mellows,
nor cared for the heartache of Cora Belle Fellows.

One night when the storm king? the coal scuttle looted
this Chaska put on his red blanket and scooted
away to the north with this maiden, nor tarried
till he and fair Minnekadinetum were married.

And Cora she waited and bore his abuses
and hoped he’d return to his wife and papooses,
but weeks rolled by till the looks of her cupboard
reminded her sorely of Old Mother Hubbard.

Then Cora disheartened, disgusted and gaunted,
deserted the home that her Chaska once haunted
and mingled once more with her friends, broken hearted
and Cora and Chaska forever are parted.

A moral this tale bears to gals who, through folly
or strange love of romance, imagine it jolly
to cast their sad lot with the sons of the wildwood
and seek a divorce from the friends of their childhood.

This romance is short as in this case related,
for Cora now knows she was sadly mismated,
and has, with the rest, the unhappy reflection
of duty to half-breeds that need her protection.

The question of Indian civilization
involves not the horrors of mixed procreation.
An Indian has to be dead to be decent,
which fact has been known a long time — is not recent —
and history shows, from the best observations,
that half-breeds are worse than their tribal relations.

I weep for poor Cora and both her papooses;
I shudder to think what a gosling a goose is;
I feel indignation that Chaska should leave her
and skip with another and basely deceive her.
and think that the law should receive a few patches
to shut off these semi-barbarian matches.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) May 6, 1896


Cora Belle Fellows, whose marriage to Chaska, a Sioux, created a sensation some years ago, has been deserted and left in destitution by her Indian husband. She came of an excellent Washington family, but fell in love with Chaska while teaching on the reservation near Pierre, S. Dak., and married him in spite of the opposition of her family. They acquired a fortune by exhibiting themselves in dime museums throughout the country, but he has squandered all her money and disappeared with a woman of his own race, leaving his wife with four children to support.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Jul 10, 1896


Sioux Indian Who Married a White Woman Takes His Life

NIOBRARA, Neb., May 3. — Samuel Campbell Chaska committed suicide tonight. Chaska was a full-blooded Sioux Indian. Ten years ago he graduated with high honors at Carlisle and shortly became famous by marrying Cora Belle Fellows of Washington, D.C. Neither the beauty nor wealth of his fashionable society wife, nor his learning, acquired by years of study at Carlisle could eradicate the Sioux traits that generations had left in his blood. In a few years he drifted back to the reservation and sunk to the level of a common blanket Indian again. His wife left him some years ago.

Chaska was in jail at the time of his death charged with stealing horses. This is the first instance in which a fullblooded Sioux ever committed suicide. By marriage the man was related to one of the most prominent families in the east.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) May 4, 1898


His White Wife Objected to His Relatives — After Separation Came Conviction for Stealing

Chaska, the half breed Sioux Indian, once the husband of the St. Louis girl, Cora Belle Fellows, was placed behind bars in the penitentiary last evening, where he will serve one year for stealing harness. A deep gash across his neck, made four weeks ago in an attempt to cut his throat, was still plainly seen when Chaska went into the penitentiary. The wound has almost healed and promises to give no more trouble. Neither will Chaska make another attempt upon his life, for he says he is sorry he tried to kill himself and he wants to be a good live Indian for many years. The report that he had committed suicide was published throughout the country and believed.

Sheriff A.W. Crandon of Niobara brought Chaska to Lincoln yesterday. They stopped at the Capital hotel where the tall, slender form of the Indian attracted general attention. Chaska is known in Knox county and on the Indian reservation as Sam Campbell. He is thirty-seven years old. His straight, black hair is worn shingled and while there are traces of beard on his face, very little is noticable except on the upper lip. What moustache he possessed was shaved off the day before he started to the prison. Although he was educated at the Indian school at Carlisle he uses very imperfect English. When about to make a statement to attorneys before being brought to prison, he called for an interpreter.

Chaska told the sheriff yesterday evening tht he needed no guard on the way from the city to the prison, because he would not try to escape for a thousand dollars. He was not handcuffed at any time on the way to Lincoln.

Sheriff Crandon gave his prisoner a little advice before he turned him over to the prison authorities. He told Chaska to obey orders and he would get along all right. Chaska said he certainly would, but he was fearful lest he should unwittingly break the rules or say something that would give offense. He was afraid h would not be able to understand the prison rules and as a result get punished.

For stealing harness from another Indian Chaska was convicted of burglary. Judge Robinson sentenced him to serve one year. Chaska is said to have been a partner with others in such business. At any rate he sold the stolen harness at the town of Niobrara for $20. He pleaded guilty and therefore had no trial. He has one brother, Dave Campbell, who is considered a terror, and another, who is very religious.

Chaska was a downcast Indian when in the Knox county jail. Some of his friends told him there were other counts against him and he was sure to get a sentence of about fourteen years. He thought death preferable to so long a term and in his dispair drew an old, dull jack knife across his throat.

When Sheriff Crandon brought Chaska’s breakfast in to him that morning he saw blood on the bunk.

“What have you done, Sam?” asked the sheriff.

“Cut my throat,” was the Indian’s almost inaudible answer.

“Well, here’s your breakfast. I’ll go and get a doctor,” said the sheriff.

In twenty minutes the sheriff returned with a doctor. They found that Chaska had found his breakfast and eaten half a piece of custard pie. The windpipe was partially severed and the sufferer could breathe only by dropping his chin close to his throat. Otherwise the air escaped through the gash instead of going into the lungs.

Chaska has received a great deal of notoriety over his marriage with a white woman, Cora Belle Fellows, who was a teacher in an Indian school. He has been represented as a finely educated lawyer, but those who know of his marriage say he has never followed any business except the show business. Soon after the marriage he and his wife gave exhibitions at Chicago. Chaska appeared in the gorgeous costume of a Sioux warrior. His wife appeared in a beautiful white satin dress. Chaska’s act was to kneel down and make a proposal of marriage and it was the part of the wife to accept gracefully the noble red man. For four years the couple travelled with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.

There was only one thing that marred the pleasure of their domestic life. Chaska afterwards told about it. Mrs. Chaska got along pretty well with her husband, but she objected to the single file of big red bucks and squaws that seemed to be continually pigeontoeing to their house to visit, each one claiming to be a dear relative of Chaska. She drew the line at his relatives and then the divorce followed. It is reported that Mrs. Chaska is now in Missouri with her three Indian children and is taking in washing for a living. Since her departure from the scene Chaska has been living with a black, cross-eyeed squaw. They now have one child. When Chaska was about to be taken from the county jail to Lincoln the squaw visited him in his cell. She sat in the jail several hours without speaking to anyone, but in the cell she conversed with Chaska in their native tongue.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Jun 1, 1898

Corabelle Fellows Campbell Tillman and Family 1900

Corabelle Fellows Campbell Tillman and Family 1900

Corabelle Fellows married George Tillman about 1896. They had a daughter together, named Corabelle Tillman and were living in Jasper County, Missouri in 1900. Chaska and Corabelle’s children were living with them and are listed as step-children, under the name of Campbell.


Girl Teacher Is Heroine Of Indian Book
Blue Star, By Kunigunde Duncan (told from the life of Corabelle Fellows).
Caldwell, Idaho; The Caxton Printers. pp. 221. $2.50

Out of the crowded Washington drawing rooms of the eighties ventrued a frightened young girl still in her ‘teens to teach the Sioux Indians in the wind-swept Dakotas. Small, delicate, and used to the niceties of life, Corabelle Fellows remained at her post while other women teachers fled from Indian scares, the cold, and privations. The girl had an indomitable spirit, combined with real sympathy for the red people to whom she was offering the first taste of the white man’s knowledge. And the Indians, who valued above all things a brave heart gave her an affectionate title — Blue Star. Personalities like hers are fast disappearing as the frontiers of the west become past history.

In the days when the Dakotas were still a territory, and the far reaches of the prairies practically untouched by the encroaching white man, the Sioux Indians were still a primitive people, close to their age-old superstitions and customs. To Corabelle Fellows were disclosed the ways of Indian life that were kept secret to others — habits and usages that have since been changed by the years of white-man dominance. In her story Blue Star brings alive these early days — a fading picture that only the old-timers can give to our civilized day.

“Blue Star” in itself may not be amazingly significant, but it is one of Caxton’s western books which have proved to be invaluable mines of source material for the sociologish, historian, and novelist. — J.A.T.

Ogden Standard Examiner (Ogden, Utah) Nov 6, 1938


Blind now and in her 70s Corabelle Fellows was a young girl of 18 when she left Washington society to teach the Sioux Indians in the Dakotas. The story of her childhood in the east and her stunning adventures in the west until her marriage have been told by her to Kunigunde Duncan to make the absoribing book. Blue Star (Caxton $2.50). Miss Fellows courage wond the Indians’ trust and customs usually kept secret from the white man were revealed to her. The sense of humor that carried her through hardship sets the tone of the book. Here is a fascinating reading for the teen-age girl (12 -16 year)

It would be well if every home with children could have one. good.

The Zanesville Signal (Zanesville, Ohio) Mar 13, 1939

“Blue Star” by Kunigunde Duncan can be purchased on Amazon.


Biographical note:
Flora (Kunigunde Duncan) Isely, b. 1886, wrote and published a great deal of poetry during the early 1900s and later wrote a number of books. She graduated from Wichita High School in 1904 where she later taught three years. In 1911 she married author Bliss Isely, and during most of their married lived on a farm near El Dorado, Kansas. They had three sons, Malcolm, Kenneth and David, who died in childhood. In 1938 she published the book Blue Star, a book based on the life of Corabelle Fellows Campbell Tillman, and during the 1940s she co-authored a book with D.F. Nichols on Mentor Graham. She wrote a number of articles dealing with the Dust Bowl and Wichita history for local and national newspapers. Her books include a book of poems, The Land of the Little Boys, and Mentor Graham: The Man Who Taught Lincoln (1944).

From the Wichita State University Library

Read an overview of the Cheyenne River Tribe HERE.

UPDATE: Just a quick update due to some questions posed by Claire in the comments. I clipped a few bits of  the intro, plus a picture of Corabelle as a girl, from the preview of Blue Star: The Story of Corabelle Fellows –  By Kunigunde Duncan (Preview link)

This last piece should answer your question about Claude Campbell, the oldest son:

How sad!!!

Claire, you could always check the library for this book if you want to see if Wilbur ever had children, but based on the census records, I kind of doubt he did.

May Colvin: She was Fond of Horses

January 8, 2009
May Colvin, Horse Thief

May Colvin, Horse Thief

This is the first in what will be a series of articles on horse thieves,  featured every Thursday.

May Colvin Does Not Hesitate to Appropriate Her Neighbor’s Nags.
Kansas holds the trumps in the game of horse stealing. She has outdone all other states in the line of phenomenal thieves and still has a few, despite the known fact that her Anti-Horse Thief association is noted for carelessness of life in dealing with thieves. In truth, there is a proverb in the southern boarder counties that a murderer has a much better chance of life than a horse thief; yet Washington Waterman, famous as the octogenarian horse thief, died last year in the Kansas state prison at the age of 92 and in the first year of a 20 year sentence, and now a handsome miss of 18 years is awaiting her second trial for a similar crime.

May Colvin is the name of this heroine of darkness, and her home was with her parents near Thayer, Mo., till her mania for horseflesh made her a fugative. A true mania it is, no doubt, for she steals fine horses and gallops away on them without thought of the consequences. In early womanhood she showed such a passionate desire to fondle and caress fine horses that the neighbors declared she was insane, and her father, evidently not a very wise father, resorted to hard whipping and close confinement. She was then 17 and took to thieving.

Entering a neighbor’s barn in the night, she bridled and saddled the first animal that sped her away from its owner, and she has since been either a refugee or a prisoner. After perpetrating several successful thefts and adroitly eluding the officers of each locality in which she operated, she made her appearance in Fort Scott last summer and was for a short time known as a girl of the town. Suddenly she disappeared, and with her a fine buggy and valuable trotting mare from Louis Albright’s livery stable. She drove all night and the next day and was heard of three days later at Weir City, Kan., where she was captured and the animal recovered.

Here was a queer case, and the prosecuting attorney decided to rate it as one of true mania. She made an attempt to escape by sawing off one of the bars of her cage with a steel saw procurred from a fellow prisoner, but was frustrated at the vital moment. Hon. Eugene F. Ware, known among Kansas writers as “Ironquill,” made an earnest plea for her, and the prosecuting attorney was induced to nolle pros the case against her. Consequently she was released from jail immediately.

In less than 12 hours she was on the dead run behind a span of stolen horses and a buggy taken from a farmer’s barn in Crawford county. With insane daring she drove to Fort Scott, called on some of her fast friends, then drove furiously on to Nevada, Mo., where she put the stolen team in a livery barn as security for another team, with which she continued her journey, she cared not where.

Another day, however, found her in the grasp of the sheriff of Vernon county, Mo., just as she was driving into Irwin, Boston county, and she is now a prisoner in the jail of Crawford county, Kan., where the next to the last theft was committed.

And now the question is, What shall be done with her? It is perhaps worth noting that the women say, “She ought to be hanged,” while about half the men say, “Poor thing.” She is pretty, that’s certain, and aside from her peculiar mania seems to be ordinarily bright and sensible. Nevertheless a year or two of quiet life, honest industry and strict moderation in the use of rich food — just such advantages as she will enjoy in the Kansas penitentiary — will doubtless go far to cure her.

The Anti-Horse Thief association has recently effected several very sudden and radical cures of male patients, and the only wonder is that in such a country Washington Waterman lived so long. That man served five full terms in Missouri and Kansas penitentiaries, yet kept right on stealing horses and died in prison, as aforesaid, at the age of 92. Truly he was “possessed.”

The News (Frederick, Maryland)  Mar 4, 1893


Female Horse Thief Captured
FORT SCOTT Kan. June 19 — May Colvin the female horse thief who escaped from the Carthage (Mo.) jail last Friday, has been captured by the officers and posse of citizens who were in pursuit.

Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) June 20, 1893

May Colvin, who escaped from the jail at Carthage, Mo., where she was confined for horse stealing, was recaptured on the border of Indian Territory.

The Salem Daily News (Salem, Ohio) June 21, 1893


She is May Colvin, an Ozark Girl of 18, and as Pretty as a Picture.
The female department of the penitentiary undoubtedly furnishes the most depraved types of humanity. Primarily the partiality of courts and juries for women characterizes every judical system of civilization, and so it must be a depraved and dangerous woman indeed whom a jury of Americans will sentence to penal servitude.

Decidedly the most unique personality of the female population of the prison is May Colvin. May is only 18 years old and is a rustic beauty. Dress her in the gorgeous paraphernalia of Lillian Russell and she would be a more brilliant beauty than that stage celebrity. She has great blue eyes and a mass of touseled hair of Titian tint. Her form is luscious — well rounded and plump — and her cheeks are red with the vigorous life of the Ozarks, whence she came. Her mouth is one that an impressionable artist would go wild over, with its cherry red lips of sensuous curves, the whole forming the most perfect Cupid’s bow. And, withal, May is a horse thief and doesn’t deny it. Certainly the confinement in the penitentiary has brought out her native beauty, that must have been blurred or obscured by her exposure to all sorts of rough weather while fleeing over the plains and mountains of the southwest from the officers or else no jury could have ever been induced to giver her a term in prison, especially for so common and plebeian an offense as stealing horses.

But May is not only a horse thief, but a jail breaker as well by her own confession. Her feat in breaking from the jail at Girard, Kan., where she was confined about two years ago for horse stealing, her escape to Jasper county, Mo., and her subsequent capture there and prosecution on an old charge will be recalled by the readers of newspapers.

“Well, I have no hard luck story to tell,” was the way May greeted The Republic representative. “They made no mistake in my case. Nearly everybody else in here is innocent, according to their own statement, but I’m not. I’m here for horse stealing.”

“When I heard you were here and wanted to see me, I thought you were an officer from Girard, Kan., and wanted to take me back there for breaking out of jail. I’m glad you are not, but I guess they’ll come for me as soon as my term is out here, which will be in about 14 months if I behave myself. I’ve been a pretty good girl since I’ve been here. The reason for it, I guess, is that I haven’t had a chance to be bad. However, I’ve so managed to break the rules as to be put in the dark room two or three times. But I’m going to behave myself from now on so I can get the benefit of the three-fourths rule.”

“I don’t know why I’ve turned out so bad unless it is that it was just born in me. My mother is a good woman, only 35 years old now, a member of the Methodist church and has been married three times. She raised me right, and my father, who is a dentist, was always kind and indulgent to me. I went to the public schools in Webb City until I was 16, and then the devilment began to crop out in me. I don’t know why either.”

“Nobody ever taught me any wrong. I’m not like other women, either, in blaming my downfall on any man.”
–St. Louis Republic.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) June 14, 1894