Chronicles of Oklahoma

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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 13, No. 4
December, 1935
CAPTAIN DAVID L. PAYNE

Page 438

There is in the library of the Oklahoma Historical Society an old book which contains some information concerning Western Indian Territory, that afterwards became Oklahoma Territory, which is not found in other historical publications. It is the first book published under the title "OKLAHOMA." It was printed in 1885 at Kansas City, Missouri. The authors were A. P. Jackson and E. C. Cole of Kingman, Kansas. The title of this book is: "OKLAHOMA! Politically and Topographically Described. History and Guide to the Indian Territory. Biographical Sketches of Capt. David L. Payne, W. L. Couch, Wm. H. Osborn and Others."

The introduction or, as the authors call it, the "Prefatory" of the book reads:

"From time immemorial there has lain a most enchanting country in the midst of a great nation. Still little is known concerning its true vastness by the average American of to-day. Within its boundaries lie the Indian Territory and the Oklahoma country; a country that will contribute to the world's granary, the world's treasury, the world's highway. It is a picture of a fleeting phase in our national life; it makes a new geography for that portion of America. Little is known of it—little of its greatness, richness, and beauty. Its forests and prairies await the laborer and the capitalist; its cataracts, cañons, and crests woo the painter; its mountains, salt beds and stupendous vegetable productions challenge the naturalist. Its climate invites the invalid, healing the systems wounded by ruder climates. Its fields are large.

"If we succeed in bringing to our reader's knowledge a new country, almost at the doors of the capitals of six great States, our object shall have been accomplished.

"Kingman, Kas., March 4, 1885."

While the prefatory may seem somewhat bombastic, yet 50 years have shown that it was not over drawn. Had the writers known of the rich mineral resources; including coal, lead, zinc,

Capt. David L. Payne

Page 439

and the great oil fields only awaiting development, they might have written an introduction which would have been considered an inspiration or a prophetic vision.

The copy of this rare book in the library of the Society is autographed as follows:

"Presented to my friend Ridge Comly, City Editor of the Wichita Beacon. E. C. Cole, Author. June 2d, 1886."

This book was written only a few weeks after the death of Capt. David L. Payne. The first chapter is a biographical sketch of Captain Payne. The fact that this biography was written so soon after his death by a man who was his friend and associate is evidence of the authenticity of data given. Although the Chronicles has in the past years given some space to the opening of Oklahoma and made many references to the work of the leader of the movement, David L. Payne, yet no biography of the man Payne has been published. In the September and the December, 1929, issues, W. H. Osburn of Kahoka, Indiana, at one time secretary of the Payne Oklahoma Colony, had an article paying tribute to Captain Payne and gave a graphic description of the organization of the Colony under his leadership.

The following is in part the biographical story of Payne from the book Oklahoma:

"Of the statesman, the soldier, and the pioneer, David L. Payne's name stands foremost in the history of this country—Oklahoma. His sterling qualities, his faithful friendship, unwavering in devotion and constant as a polar star, have endeared him to those who knew him best. Whoever spent an hour in his friendly company without feeling his life's burdens as a feather? Conscious that you were with one whom you were proud to call your friend—a convivial companion, and a true gentleman in every sense that the word implies. Rudeness and vulgarity were never a portion of your entertainment in his company. His camp was your home; his noble heart your solace. He had the generosity of a prince. His purse was ever open in behalf of those around him who were more in need than himself. When more was needed his industry would procure it. He had friends—indeed, who was not his friend? Of his enemies, they

Page 440

were few; and of them we need not speak. He was brave and true. He had a heart, when touched, full of love and the pity of a woman. He had faults that were his own; they were few and easily forgotten. He had more brains than books, more sense than education, more courage and strength than polish. Hatred can not reach him more. He sleeps in the sanctuary of the tomb, beneath the quiet of the stars. He did not live to see the sunshine of his dearest hope matured, but left the field for his successor to see his great ambition; that noble country—Oklahoma—opened up for settlement by the white man, and the millions of acres of land made into bright and happy homes, occupied—free and unmolested—by the poor and struggling homesteaders.

"David L. Payne was born in Grant County, Indiana, on the 30th day of December, 1836, where he received the usual country-school education in the winter, working upon his father's farm in the summer-time. He was bright and forcible in character from his youth, and became more than an average scholar. Being a lover of hunting and adventurous sports, he, in the spring of 1858, with his brother, started West with the intention of engaging in the Mormon war, which was creating great excitement at that time throughout the whole country, and especially in the West. Reaching Doniphan County, Kansas, he found the excitement somewhat abated. Inducements being offered, Payne preempted a body of land and erected a saw-mill thereon. This investment, while flattering at the start, proved an unfortunate enterprise, and young Payne found himself entirely destitute of means. He was placed, so to speak, upon his own mettle. With an active brain that would acknowledge no defeat, he soon found an occupation of a most congenial character.

"At the time of Payne's settlement, Doniphan County—now a fertile and thickly populated section—was the grazing-ground for vast herds of buffalo, deer, antelope, wolves, and other wild animals native to the plains. He became a hunter. There he hunted with much success, as well as profit. He gradually extended his field to the South-west until he had penetrated the Magillion Mountains of New Mexico and explored the course of the Cimarron River through the Indian Territory, and so became familiar and acquainted with the topographical situation of the

Page 441

great South-west. He naturally drifted from hunting to that of scouting. He was soon engaged by private parties on expeditions, and after a time by the Government. He became the comrade of all the distinguished trappers, guides, and hardy characters of that wild country. His intimacy with Kit Carson, Wild Bill, California Joe, Buffalo Bill, General Custer, and many others of national reputation, approached companionship.

"When the Civil War broke out Payne was one of the first to volunteer his services, being placed in the 4th Regiment of Kansas Volunteers, which was subsequently consolidated with the 3d Infantry; shortly afterwards the two were formed into the 10th Regiment. He served three years as private, refusing during the time six different tenders of commissions. At the expiration of his three years term he returned to Doniphan County, Kansas, and in the fall of 1864 he was elected to the Legislature of Kansas, serving in the sessions of 1864 and 1865; during which time, while never courting the part of an orator, his influence was pronounced. At the close of the Legislature he again volunteered as a private, taking the place of a poor neighbor who was drafted. He felt that he was better able to stand the hardships, and leave his friend and neighbor at home with his large and dependent family. Payne, upon re-entering the service, assisted in recruiting a company for General Hancock's corps of volunteers, and succeeded in enlisting one hundred and nine men, all hardy frontiersmen, who were devotedly attached to him. Again Payne refused to accept a commission, preferring to remain a private and with his friends.

"Payne's services in the Volunteer army extended over a period of eight years, first as a private in Company F, 10th Regiment Kansas Infantry, from August, 1861, until August, 1864. His second enlistment was in Company G, 8th Regiment of Western Volunteers, and as a private, from March, 1865, until March, 1866. His third service was as Captain of Company D of the 18th Kansas Calvary, which he served from October, 1867, until November of the same year. And his last service was in the Regular Army as Captain of Company H, of the 19th Kansas Cavalry, in which he served from October, 1868 until October, 1869. In the meantime he performed other services of great value to the State. He

Page 442

was at one time Postmaster at Fort Leavenworth; also appointed Sergeant-at-arms, for two terms, of the Kansas State Senate. And in 1875 and 1879 he was Door-keeper to the House of Representatives in Congress, at Washington, D. C. Besides engaging in political campaigns that gave him social and acknowledged influence as a leader, he was an ardent supporter of Gen. Tom Ewing, who, after serving a term as Chief Justice of Kansas, sought the great honor of United States Senator. It is credited to Capt. D. L. Payne that Gen. Ewing received his nomination through his influence and support; and such were his efforts in behalf of Gen. Ewing that they remained ever afterwards warm and steadfast friends.

"During the Civil War Capt. Payne was attached to the Army of the Frontier under General Blunt, and was engaged in nearly all of the memorable conflicts that took place in Missouri and Arkansas, distinguished for the desperate fighting and mortality of men. He was a participant in the battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, which occurred on the 7th day of December, 1862; and in this engagement he performed an act of gallantry which entitled him to a place in history. In the hottest of the fight his First Lieutenant, Cyrus Leland, was shot trough the arm and then through the right shoulder. The enemy, having recovered from the charge, and re-inforced, poured a deadly fire into the ranks of Captain Payne's company. The commanding officer ordered his men to fall back. Captain Payne, seeing his brave comrade lying upon the ground, while the maddened enemy was charging and ready to trample him under, stepped out of the ranks and lifted up the almost lifeless lieutenant and bore him upon his shoulders for fully one-half mile to his own tent, where surgical attendance saved the life of his friend. Lieutenant Leland was afterwards appointed Adjutant-General upon General Ewing's staff, and is now a wealthy citizen of Troy, Kansas, a living evidence of Payne's heroism and devotion. During the session of 1864 anal 1865 Payne opposed the Special-Bounty Act purely upon patriotic grounds. However, the act was passed; but he refused to accept it for his own use, but donated it to the county which he represented, thus sustaining his honesty and consistency.

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"After the close of the war Payne again resumed the occupation of plainsman, hunting, scouting, guarding caravan trains. From nature he was congenial; from his comanding figure and ways, he was held in respect by the most daring desperado and the wild Indians of the plains, and earned for himself the name of the Cimarron Scout. The Indian Teritory, the courses of the Cimarron River, and the Great Salt basin were as familiar to him as his childhood play ground. But few men knew as well the Indian character as he, and his numerous conflicts with the Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Kiowas, and Navajoes were numerous and beyond description.

"In the year 1870 Captain Payne removed to Sedgwick County, Kansas, near Wichita, and the following year he was again elected to the Legislature from Sedgwick County; and during that session, through his influence Sedgwick County was divided, and a new county formed from the northern portion and called Harvey County. In the redistricting one of the longest townships was called Payne Township and for many years it was his home, where he owned a large ranch about ten miles east of Wichita.

"In 1879 Captain Payne became interested in a movement for the occupation and settlement of a district in the Indian Territory known as Oklahoma. This Beautiful Land is located in the center of the Indian Territory, and comprises an area of 14,000,000 acres of the finest land on the American continent. Captain Payne claimed the right to settle on this land under the treaty made by the Government with the Indians in 1866, by which this district was ceded to the United States and became a part of the public domain, and was actually surveyed and set apart as such. Through his personal endeavors a large colony was organized for the purpose of entering and settling upon these lands. The colony moved early in December, 1880, and first assembled upon the borders of the Territory near Arkansas City, on the banks of Bitter Creek; and, after organizing upon military basis, moved along the State line to Hunnewell, where they went into camp. The colony was closely followed by the United States cavalry under command of Colonel Copinger, who had previously informed the intending colonists that any attempt to enter the Indian Territory would be forcibly resisted, the President of the United States having issued

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a proclamation to that effect. At Hunnewell the troops occupied one side of the creek and the colonists the other. The latter remained in camp for three days, receiving a great many recruits from Western Kansas. On Sunday, the 12th, the camp was crowded during the day with the inhabitants of the surrounding country, who came some from sympathy and some from curiosity. In the afternoon there was a dress-parade by the colonists, and fully 600 men were in line. The wagons numbered 325, with a goodly number of women and children. During the afternoon of this memorable Sabbath-day the colonists held divine services, conducted by the colony chaplain. The United States troops were invited to attend, which they did, officers and soldiers. The services were opened by that old familiar air, "America;" and the text from Exodus: "The Lord commandeth unto Moses 'to go forth and possess the promised land.' " Appropriate hymns were sung, and the services were closed with the rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner." The feelings and emotions were visibly manifested on all sides, and officers and soldiers affected alike. The stars and stripes were fanning the breezes of a beautiful day from both camps. The wagons were covered by banners with such mottoes as: "Strike for your homes," "No turn back," "On to Oklahoma," and sundry other devices. In the evening council was held as to what course to pursue. It was decided to wait a few days for some modification of the President's orders. Receiving no answer from the petition that had been forwarded to the President, and getting somewhat uneasy, some proposed to enter the land in spite of the military. A meeting was held on the 13th day of December, at which Dr. Robert Wilson, of Texas, was appointed a committee of one to go to Washington, D. C., and see if something could be done at once to relieve the critical situation of the colonists. On the 14th day of December the colony moved on to Caldwell, some thirty-five miles, where they were joined by five more wagons and twenty men. The mayor and a long procession of citizens escorted them through the town, ladies waving handkerchiefs and men and children cheering. The troops moved along with the colonists without interfering with their progress. The day following a mass-meeting was held by the citizens of Caldwell, resolutions were adopted endorsing the movement to settle these lands, and asking the President to order the troops to accompany the colonists to Oklahoma as an

drawing

Page 445

escort. Being unable to induce Congress or the President to move in their behalf, the colonists became restive, and shortly afterwards—Captain Payne having been arrested by the United States authorities, charged with trespassing upon Indian lands, and thus deprived of their leader the colonists temporarily disbanded. Captain Payne was taken to Fort Smith, before the United States District Court, Judge Parker presiding, and on the 7th of March, 1881, was tried before the Court. Captain Payne was ably represented by Judge Barker, of St. Louis, Mo., who argued at length the treaty of 1866. The question raised by Captain Payne's arrest involved directly the nature and validity of that treaty, and hence means were offered for testing a point upon which the Secretary of the Interior and the ablest lawyers of the country were at variance, the latter holding that Oklahoma was a part of the public domain and subject to settlement same as other public lands. Captain Payne at this trial was nominally bound over under bonds of $1,000 not to re-enter the Territory, and returned home. Since the above arrest Captain Payne has made four well-organized expeditions into the Territory, each time safely landing upon the Oklahoma lands; and there laid out towns, located farms, ploughed and planted, built houses—and has as often been turned out by the United States military, seen his property destroyed before his eyes, and forced to the Kansas line and there turned loose, he each time demanding a trial before the courts. His last expedition was in the spring and summer of 1884. He had with him 250 wagons and about 500 men, all being again dispersed by United States troops and escorted to the Kansas line. Captain Payne and his officers were arrested and dragged through the Territory to the Texas line, thence back to the interior of the Territory, marched on foot, and often suffering for the want of food and water, the object seeming to be to wear them out. And then taken to Fort Smith and there refused a trial; then taken from there to the United States Court at Topeka, Kansas, where public sentiment finally demanded a trial which he was accorded at the fall term of 1884, and which resulted in a decision that he was guilty of no crime; that the lands which he sought to settle upon were public lands. Elated with this decision, he returned to Wichita, Kansas, and, though shaken in health from exposure and exhaustion, he at once proceeded to gather about him his faithful followers; and found himself with the largest and strongest expedition that he had ever

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yet organized. And in a few days he would have marched at its head to the promised land, when suddenly, on the morning of November 28, 1884, while at breakfast at the Hotel De Barnard, in Wellington, Kansas, he fell dead in the arms of a faithful servant. He died without pain or a struggle. His body is buried in a metallic casket at Wellington, Kansas, and was followed to its present resting place by the largest concourse of people that ever gathered together for a like purpose in Southern Kansas. They numbered many thousands. The time will come, and at no far-distant day, when his body will find a permanent resting place beneath a monument erected to him in the great square of the capital of the State of Oklahoma.

"Personally Captain Payne was one of the most popular men on the Western frontier. He was a natural-born scout, and inured to the hardships of the Western frontier. His mother was a cousin of the celebrated David Crockett, for whom he was named. Captain Payne was never married.

"The mantle falls upon a man, not unlike him, who can safely be trusted to carry out the plans of the dead, so nobly begun and nearly completed

—W. L. Couch."

HON. SIDNEY CLARK'S TRIBUTE TO PAYNE

In a splendid tribute to the memory of David L. Payne, the Hon. Sidney Clark, known to every early settler in Oklahoma, confirms this statement as to the military career of Capt. David L. Payne. Mr. Clark said, "David L. Payne was at once known for his activity and enterprise and for the interest manifest in the territory [Kansas]. He was a Free State Democrat though, as subsequent events in his life demonstrate, he was more a patriot than a partisan. Hence it was, when President Lincoln issued his first call for volunteers in 1861, Payne was among the first to respond. He enlisted as a private in Company "F" 4th Kansas Regiment, afterwards consolidated with the 3d, and served for the full term of three years. His company was attached to the army of the frontier. In the brilliant engagement of the Southwestern campaign, he was conspicuous for his bravery, and was never wanting in his devotion to duty.

Page 447

"On his return home in 1864, he was elected a member or the State Legislature. The War was yet going on. The mighty forces of the Southern Confederacy were yet unchecked. Kansas was largely drained of her men and resources—the session was an important one. Payne acted well in his part in the duties of legislation. He espoused the cause of the soldier in the field, and fought with determination and success a proposition to grant bounty for future volunteers, which he regarded as unjust discrimination against the soldiers who had endured for years, without hope or promise of award, the dangers and hardships of war. He declared in an eloquent speech that he was ready to reenlist without bounty, as soon as the legislature adjourned, and he promptly redeemed his promise. True to the generosity of his nature, he re-enlisted as a private in the place of a drafted man who had a large family to support. He was enrolled in Company "D", 8th United States Veterans Corps and became a member of the celebrated Hancock Corps following the fortunes of the Army of the Potomac till the end of the war.

"It was during this period that I became intimately associated with Payne. I was able to be of some slight service to him and the comrades of his company and he returned to me the noblest service which one man can to another—the service of a pure and unselfish friendship, which lasted till the end of his life. I happened to know that the great war secretary, Edward M. Stanton, offered him a commission in the regular army; but so great was his attachment to his company that he declined the offer. In his letter of declinature he said: 'There are only a few of the Kansas boys here, and I wish to stay with them. All the loyal States will be represented at Richmond and the highest favor you can do our Kansas company is to give us a place in advance as will move on in the last stronghold of the Southern Confederacy.' This request was complied with and it was the privilege of Commander Payne to participate in the battles which ended in the fall of the Confederate capital and the final surrender of Appomattox. With the intuition of a true soldier, he remained in the army until the term of his enlistment expired in 1866.

"In the following winter Davd L. Payne was elected sergeant at arms of the Kansas legislature. In the spring of '67 he was

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made Postmaster at Fort Leavenworth. Some time after this an Indian outbreak occurred in western Kansas, and he raised a company and was commissioned by Governor Crawford, as Captain of Company D, Eighteenth Kansas Cavalry.******

"The year found him again in the field in command of Company D, Nineteenth Kansas Volunteer Cavalry called out to suppress another Indian outbreak. Three days after he received his authority from the governor, his company was full and ready for the field. The regiment was sent to Camp Supply and was attached to the command of General Custer, and participated in the campaign against the hostile Indians in the western part of the then Indian Territory (now in Oklahoma) and in the Panhandle of Texas. Custer pursued the hostile Indians for nearly forty days in the midst of a rigorous winter, rescued white prisoners, captured two of the principal chiefs, and brought the savages back to subjection by the vigor of his campaign against them. Payne was always ready for the most daring service. General Custer admired his bravery and the men of his regiment called him "Old Ox Heart," as they gathered around the camp fire and recalled his generous qualities and heroic deeds. It was in this and other expeditions that he gathered extensive information about the country now included within the boundaries of Oklahoma. He comprehended at once the resources and the possibilities of this great expanse of the public doman, and saw that it was the basis on which to found a new American commonwealth. His keen observation was always at play, whether scouting in the enemy's country, or in the flash of battle, or in the duties of the camp.

"In this campaign as in all others, he served out the full term of his enlistment, and with it ended his military career in the service of the United States. It should be mentioned that in the fall of 1864, Payne commanded a company of Kansas Militia at the battle of Westport and there, as elsewhere, he was heroic and true. It may be said also, that his terms of service as a federal soldier aggregated five years and six months, a longer period than that of any other volunteer. A communication to him from the War Department in regard to his military service concluded as follows: 'It is proper to add that the records of this office show that you served as an enlisted man in Company E, Tenth Kansas

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Volunteers from August 1861 to August 1865; in Company G, Eighth U. S. Volunteers from March 1865 to March 1866; as Captain of Company D, Eighteenth Kansas Cavalry from July 1867 to November 1867, and as Captain of Company H, Nineteenth Kansas Cavalry from October 1867 to October 1870.'

"While absent in the field, Payne's deputy in the postoffice at Fort Leavenworth became a defaulter, and a new postmaster had been appointed. The bondsmen of Payne were held for the amount, but he sold his property and made good the sum to the last cent. This made him a poor man, but undaunted by adverse fortune, he made his way to Sedgwick County, Kansas, then but sparsely settled and located in the township which now bears his name. For a time he tried living in a dug-out ten miles distant from any human habitation, exposed to extreme hardships, but always hopeful of the future, and with a courage that never faltered nor failed. The early settlers of Sedgwick County knew him well, and there are many now living who honor his memory, as they remember how he divided his last pound of flour or his last side of bacon with them in the winter of 1870-71. The first public religious service in Payne township was held at Payne's ranch, and the first Sunday school established. He gave to the school a handsome library.

"In the fall of 1871, the people of Sedgwick County elected him to the legislature as a democrat, though the country was largely republican. Radical and loyal as he had been in the war, and having shown his mettle to the enemy on many a well fought field, he was liberal and magnanimous in time of peace. Hence it is not strange that he originated a bill providing for the removal of the disabilities of Confederate soldiers. His argument in support of the measure was sound, patriotic and conclusive. Among other things, he said: 'Kansas was the most radical state during the war. She should now take a position of the most liberal and progressive, proving to the South that we cherish no animosities against her people. We of the North fought for principle and conquered. Let the young state of Kansas now extend the offices of good will and friendship to the people of the late Confederate states as the basis of a permanent peace.' The bill was finally passed, but not till after a soldier convention was held at Topeka, and the stay-at-home politicians in the legislature made to feel that generosity was better

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than hatred, and that the arguments of Payne and his fellow soldiers were absolutely conclusive.

"In 1872 Payne was nominated by his party for state senator, but the district was overwhelmingly republican and he was, of course, defeated. But he made a remarkable canvass, running largely ahead of his ticket. One township gave him every vote with the exception of three, and the township in which he lived gave him a solid vote of 366. After this he spent some time in New Mexico and Colorado in the service of the government, and with his parents in Indiana. He was for a considerable period an officer of the United States House of Representatives concluding his duties as assistant doorkeeper in the winter of 1879, soon after which he returned to Kansas.

"As his military and civil experience was largely on the frontier, and his associations among the hardy pioneers of our civilization, it was but natural that he should become an enthusiastic advocate of the homestead principle, and that he should devote his energies to the march of empire into all parts of our public domain. His observations at Washington were valuable. There he obtained facts relating to conditions existing in the Indian Territory he could not otherwise have obtained. He became convinced that Oklahoma was in reality a part of the public domain, and he at once addressed himself to the work of covering it with homestead settlers with all the ardor of his nature. The earnestness of his labor from the time he commenced the Oklahoma movement to the day of his death; the abuse heaped upon him by a subsidized press, arrogant military officials and by dishonest public officials, and the constant misinterpretation of all the points of the controversy, are a part of the history of the time, and would fill a volume to recount.

"A little more than sixteen years old, Oklahoma is about to enter the Union as a component part of our confederated system of government. From a condition of vassalage, with all her interests dependent and neglected, she will soon emerge into an invigorating atmosphere where taxation and representation will go hand in hand, when local rights and local pride will not be emasculated and crushed by the selfishness and greed of federal rule, and when the multiplex institutions of one wonderful civili-

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zation, so essential to the public prosperity, will be established by our own voice and controlled by our own people. As sure as the green grass will spring up in the returning spring, as sure as the waters flow down from the mountains to the sea, so sure the dreams of Payne and Couch and their comrades, will be realized in the full fruition of the state of Oklahoma. And when the temporary prejudices of the hour have passed away, the impartial historian will tell the story of their unselfish deeds—of their fidelity to duty,—and future generations will rise up and call them blessed."

GRANT HARRIS ON PAYNE

Some interesting and historic episodes in the life of Capt. David L. Payne are told in a story by Grant Harris who was his old time friend and fellow boomer. Grant Harris was, for a number of years, editor and publisher of the Wakita-Herald in Grant County, Oklahoma.

These sketches of the life of Captain Payne, and his active work to have Oklahoma opened to white settlers, are of special interest inasmuch as the writer, Grant Harris, was present at the time of Captain Payne's death, November 28, 1884.

The article was given to the Historical Society several years ago by Hon. T. E. Beck of Jefferson, Oklahoma.

The story follows:

"It was either the latter part of May or the first of June, 1884, while I was working on the Caldwell (Kan.) Standard as a printer, on a Sunday morning the idea was suggested that the other printers, Will Cunningham, Harry Felton and myself would ride over to the "boomer" camp located on Rock creek a few miles south of Hunnewell, Kansas. Securing horses at a livery barn the three of us rode over to the camp and on arriving learned that Captain Payne was wanting a printer as a building had been erected and a printing outfit shipped there from Topeka, Kansas, but the outfit had never been unpacked. The heading for the new paper was the 'Oklahoma War Chief.' On the door of the building was posted a proclamation as follows:

"'TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN, any one guilty of publishing a newspaper in the Cherokee Strip would be deemed guilty of

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trespass and punished by imprisonment from one to five years and a fine of from $1,000 to $5,000 or both.

—Henry M. Teller, Secretary of Interior.'

"The proclamation did not look very good to us printers, but when we met Captain Payne he offered to take one of us at a salary of $20 per week. None of us wanted to stay alone so we made him a proposition that he hire all three at $25 each per week payable in advance. We no sooner made the request than Captain Payne ran his hand down in his pocket and paid us the $25 for the first week. Having left our clothing at Caldwell and being necessary to return the horses to the livery barn, Cunningham and Felton went back to Caldwell leaving me to commence unpacking. The other boys did not return for a couple of days and by that time I had some of the type set for the first issue of the paper and, so far as I know, I set the first type ever set in the Cherokee Strip. The other boys did not stay but two weeks as the United States marshal told us that we would get into trouble as we would be held responsible for the publication of the paper. I remained at $25 per week and all I could make out of the paper by selling copies at 10 cents each, and printed better than 300 copies each issue. The press was an old Washington hand press and a boy did the inking for me.

"Seven issues of the paper were gotten out up to the middle of August when the arrest of Captain Payne was made by the soldiers. Captain Cooper was the editor of the Oklahoma Chief which only contained a few columns of local news, but Captain Payne wrote the real editorials. Payne had no business system of conducting the business of the company. The fee to become a member of the company was $10, plus $3 as surveyor's fee for locating claims. Payne received all the money and depended on his memory as to who paid their fees or who had not. At nights I would help book the accounts and many times Payne would have in his pockets several hundred dollars more than the books would show, he would remark, 'H--ll we will find out who paid it in,' and let it go at that. At night the money was put in a big leather bag and kept in Payne's tent.

"We were warned that, if another attempt was made to publish another issue of the paper, all would be arrested, and negro

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soldiers were placed on guard at the printing office. I made the forms ready and placed them on the press but delayed in printing any copies until I received word from Captain Payne, who said, 'Go ahead.' I managed to run off a few copies before the soldiers came in and began to carry out the material and place it in an army wagon. I hid the copies and for a number of years had a copy of the last Oklahoma Chief.

"A detail of negro soldiers went to Captain Payne's tent and demanded that he surrender, as was well known, Captain Payne was an expert shot and he held a gun in each hand. The negro sergeant ordered his men to get ready to fire when Payne told him if he gave the order to fire, he, the negro, would be dead before they could fire. After a short parley the negro soldiers withdrew and reported to their captain who was a white man.

"Lieutenant Day, of Fort Reno, a white officer, came back to the tent and Captain Payne and eight others were placed under arrest and taken to Fort Smith, Arkansas, for trial; the prisoners were all released, in fact Payne was never able to secure a trial for any of the many raids he made into Oklahoma. I also want to say in this connection that the reason the soldiers did not arrest me was because I was small and looked like a boy much younger than twenty years of age. The settlers were allowed to pack their belongings and return to Kansas four miles north. As to what became of the printing plant I do not know, but a negro several years afterwards told me that he was one of the soldiers there at the time of arrest and that the press and type were dumped into the Cimarron River near where Dover is now located, on the trail to Fort Reno.

"This last location of Captain Payne's 'boomer' colony consisted of some 8,000 acres laid out in ten-acre tracts near Rock Falls, with many settlers on claims in the valleys around the colony. The summer was so dry that little plowing could be done, consequently no crops were planted. The chaplain of the colony was Rev. H. R. Walling and services were held under a big tree near the creek. By the way, Rev. Walling settled on a claim near Medford when the Strip was opened for settlement and afterwards was a member of the Third Territorial Legislature.

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"Payne in behalf of himself and followers demanded a hearing before Judge Parker of Fort Smith, which was denied, but they were turned loose on a nominal bond. He then made arrangements with Judge Foster of Topeka for a hearing in chamber to determine whether the Cherokee Strip was Indian land or government land. Judge Foster's decision was that the statutes were not clear, so the decision did not amount to any thing.

"By November quite a colony had been gathered together at Arkansas City and Wellington preparatory to making another raid into the Strip. It was decided to leave the Kansas border the first week in December, so on the evening of November 27th, Payne addressed the 'boomers' at a meeting held in the court house at Wellington. After the meeting I assisted the Captain with his books and we did not retire until long after midnight. We were stopping at the Hotel DeBenard and it was about 10 o'clock the next morning when we went to breakfast. Captain Payne sat at the head of the table with Captain Cooper to his right and Mrs. Haines, Payne's prospective wife, to his left, myself and the remainder of the company around the table. Captain Payne gave his order for breakfast, the waiter brought it in and set it down before him. Everybody was tired and very little was said while the meal was being served. Captain Cooper remarked to Payne that he should eat his breakfast as it was getting cold and at the same time reached over and shook Payne when, to the horror of all, it was discovered that Captain Payne had passed away. A lot was bought in the Wellington cemetery where the remains now repose of the man who made it possible for this new state of Oklahoma."

There are in the archives of the Oklahoma Historical Society many interesting and historic manuscripts, documents, letters and pictures, as well as museum exhibits, relating to the life story of Capt. David L. Payne, "The Father of Oklahoma."

About twenty years ago Col. Sam Crocker had an old trunk transferred to the Oklahoma Historical Society. It was the property of "Mother Haines."1 The trunk contained some of the per-



Dr. C.P. Wickmiller

Camp Alice

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sonal belongings of Captain Payne, including some of his clothing and the boots that he wore when he was in camp at "Camp Alice" six miles west of Oklahoma City, in 1883. There were hundreds of letters in this trunk written from all parts of the country, most of them making inquiry about the Oklahoma country and the prospects for its opening to settlement. Some letters had contained money to pay membership dues in "Payne's Oklahoma Colony." Perhaps the most important were from distinguished lawyers who had been asked to give their opinions as to legal status of the unoccupied lands in the Indian Territory. It seemed to be the consensus of opinion of these legal authorities that the Cherokee Outlet and the land constituting original Oklahoma was public domain, and, therefore, subject to settlement under the homestead laws; or at least some of these lawyers would be willing to take a fee to represent the homesteaders.

In addition to business correspondence there were many personal letters including the letters he had written to "Mother Haines" while he was being held as a prisoner at Ft. Smith. There were some large lithographs of Captain Payne taken at the log cabin on the Deep Fork north of Oklahoma City, also tickets to his lectures and some membership blanks in Payne's Oklahoma Colony. Among other documents was a commission given by Gov. Sam Crawford, of Kansas, appointing and commissioning Captain Payne, Major of the Kansas Volunteers, by Brevet, in the services of the UNITED STATES, to rank as such from the 10th day of July, 1865. David L. Payne has always been known as "Captain Payne," but it would seem from this commission that he was, during this Indian campaign, a Major. His appointment as Major was signed by Governor Crawford on the 8th day of October, 1866. This commission is kept in one of the show cases in the museum of the Oklahoma Historical Society.

If some ambitious historian wishes to write the life of Capt. David L. Payne, he will find much valuable material here in the archives of the Historical Society. Oklahoma has never given Cap-

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tain Payne the honor he deserves. It is true that one county was named for him—Payne County, Oklahoma, where the Agricultural and Mechanical college is located. One of Payne's enthusiastic friends and lieutenants, Capt. Joe Works, better known as "Buckskin Joe," sent a large stone to the Historical Society with the words engraved on it "Captain Payne, The Father of Oklahoma." It was sent to the Oklahoma Historical Society more than twenty years ago to be used as a corner stone to the monument to be erected to the memory and honor of Capt. David L. Payne. It is to be hoped that the State of Oklahoma will at some time give proper recognition to the memory of the man who was the leader of the movement that resulted in the opening of Oklahoma to white settlement.

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