Indianola NE Historical Society

preserving the history of our town…

Indian Grave

THE MYTH. THE PAWNEE WOMENS NAME WAS OLA SO CAME THE NAME OF THE TOWN INDIANOLA.

Located in the City Park.

Located in the City Park.

The Republican Valley was the center of one of the major buffalo ranges of the Great Plains. It was a favorite hunting ground of several Indian tribes. Pawnee, Sioux, Oto and Cheyenne spent much time here as late as 1874. These tribal hunts, however, created problems, for they brought together tribes traditionally at war. The major encounter in this region was the Battle of Massacre Canyon, fought on August 5, 1873. It took place twenty-five miles west of here near present Trenton. A thousand Sioux warriors surprised and defeated a Pawnee hunting party of 350 men, women and children, killing 69 of them. The Pawnee retreated to this vicinity, where they mourned their dead throughout the night. One survivor was a severely wounded Pawnee woman, whose child had been killed in the battle. A homesteader found her a few miles upstream and brought her here to Indianola, a frontier settlement established in 1872. The woman was cared for by L.B. Korn until she died a few days later. A crude coffin was prepared, and she was buried on the banks of Coon Creek. Her body was reburied here in 1975 by the community during the American Revolution Bicentennial Year. Representative of the Pawnee Indian Tribe took part in the ceremony. The stone and cement marker were moved with her and a fence put around the grave. PICTURE OF THE ORIGINAL 1922 MARKER THAT WAS MOVED TO THE PARK ALONG WITH HER GRAVE.

The Original Marker

The Original Marker

The stone above says “Pawnee Squaw- Wouded by Indian arrows and left for dead in battle between Sioux and Pawnee at Massacre Canyon on August 5, 1873. Was found by a hunter , brought to Indianola and left at the home of L.B. Korn where she died a few days later. Buried by E.S. Hill, L.B. Korn and G.A. Hunter.” By E. S. Hill. “One morning in August, 1873, I was sitting in the open door pulling on my boots when a cavalcade of defeated Indians came along the wagon trail. They rode up to my house and scared my wife and neighbors who was visiting. J.W. Williams, a trail agent rode up and made the Indians go back to the trail. as he seemed to have the authority over the Redman. The Indian fight at Massacre Canyon furnished the starting point for the Indianola cemetery. Casualties among the Pawnees were very heavy, especially among the squaws and papooses. Among the number left on the battlefield for dead was a young squaw whose child had been killed. She herself was wounded but had managed to crawl to the trail and was picked up by a hunter with a team and wagon. The trail let to a house occupied by L.B. Korn living about one half mile west of what is now Indianola. The hunter prevailed on Mr. and Mrs. Korn to take charge of the failing squaw and do what they could for her. The squaw could speak and understand a few words of English. The squaw was unwilling to go into the house and she was provided a shelter under a wagon near the house. Dr. J.S. Shaw, a doctor living on a homestead, was summoned and he attended the squaw faithfully. From the first, it was seen that the squaw could not recover and after several days of intense suffering she passed on to the Indian’s Happy Hunting Grounds among strangers with her sad fate probably never known to her people. A rude coffin was constructed out of rough boards and she was laid away on a high knoll overlooking the Republican valley. The grave was located on land that is now owned by J. P. Reiter of Indianola. The grave was marked with wooden posts and a rock until interested Indianola citizens surrounded it with a nest iron fence.” By E.S. Hill. ” I helped bury the woman and later was asked to verify the story. I dug up the grave and took the skull to town and that convinced the doubters. When I replace the skull I marked the grave with a big stone. In 1922 a permanent cement marker with the facts of the incident was placed over the grave and an iron fence put around it.”

E.S. Hill at the original location on the hill.

E.S. Hill at the original location on the hill.

Later photo on the hill.

Later photo on the hill.

Final resting place in the City Park in 1978.

Final resting place in the City Park in 1975.

FOR SOME REASON I THOUGHT IT WAS IMPORTANT AT THE TIME TO TAKE THE PICTURE ABOVE OF THE CASKET WITH HER BONES IN IT WHEN SHE WAS MOVED FROM THE HILL ABOVE INDIANOLA TO THE PARK IN 1975.. SO I DID.

pawnee-grave1

Winter of 2008

Found on the internet: A monument was recently erected on the John Reiter farm near Indianola. Upon it is this inscription: “Pawnee Squaw, wounded in battle between Sioux and Pawnees August 5, 1873, at Massacre canyon; left for dead; was picked up by a hunter; brought to Indianola and left at the home of L. B. Korn, where she died a few days later. Burial made by E. S. Hill, L. B. Korn and G. A. Hunter.” The grave of this Pawnee woman has been enclosed with a strong fence made from gas pipe and the large stone, set in cement, which stands as a monument ought to protect the grave through all future years. Mr. E.S. Hill, one of those who buried the woman in 1873, is the chief promoter of this monument.

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