Indian Pioneer Papers - Index
Indian Pioneer History
Project for Oklahoma
Date: August 2, 1937
Name: Harriet Harlan
Post Office: Fairland, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: June 13, 1850
Place of Birth: Muscatine,
Father: David Shoe
Place of Birth: Pennsylvania
Information on father:
Mother: Hannah Evans
Place of birth: Pennsylvania
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Nannie Lee Burns
THE LITTLE SOLDIER
I was born twelve miles north of
Muscatine, Iowa, June 13, 1850. My father, David SHOE, was born in
Pennsylvania of Dutch parents. My mother, Hannah EVANS, was also born in
Pennsylvania but she and father were married in Ohio near Cleveland, later
coming to Iowa.
The Little Soldier
We left Iowa the fall I was seven years
old. Father sold all of his stock before leaving and we traveled by boat down
the Mississippi to Saint Louis and then up the Missouri to what is now Kansas
City. We would tie up and camp along the way. One night, my sister, brother
and I were gathering wood for a fire when we found a man's hat; soon we came
upon the coat and then found his body lying under a tree with the flesh gone-
just the bones there.
Life in Kansas
My father stopped in what is now Kansas
City and father, who was a blacksmith, had a shop there for a short time at
the time that the Shawnees and Wyandottes were living nearby. We stayed there
one winter and till May of the next year, when father moved to near Florence
where he began to farm. Mother's youngest brother, Andy, was with us and
helped father in the shop in Kansas City and came on to Florence with us.
Civil War Days
Father was not a strong man and so was not
able to join the army. My oldest brother joined Company C. 11th Kansas
Infantry. My youngest brother, really too young to join, enlisted in the
We had frequent visits from both sides and
when the Gray Coats asked father anything, he would tell them he was a
Democrat. However to join them you had to pass a physical examination which
father could not. The other side took anything, even boys and old men and when
approached by them father would say, "I'm just an old man, not able to do
anything." The first time the Blue Coats stopped at our house they killed
all mother's chickens and then forced her to lend them a kettle in which to
cook the chickens.
My mother's father was Klijah EVANS and
mother had an elder sister named Emily Rhoda. My mother went with her and
Quantrell's father to near Cleveland, Ohio, on a trip, where they were
married. Our mothers being sisters made Robert Evans QUANTRELL and myself own
cousins. They lived in Jackson County, Missouri, and his father died when
quite young, leaving him to care for a widowed mother.
At the beginning of the war, the Blue
Coats came to their home. They threw my aunt, who was sick, together with her
bed out into the sleet and snow. She died from the exposure, leaving a young
son who was very bitter and who decided that he would do everything possible
to get even with them. Quantrell joined the army at Olathe, Kansas. Cousin
Bob, of course, was at our house often. Sometimes he would spend the night
with us, and sometimes stop for a meal. Again, perhaps would slip in and be
there a very short while.
A widow named EDWARDS lived near Florence,
and a Baptist preacher had a mortgage on her home for five hundred dollars. He
(the preacher) came to her home one day in February and demanded the money and
she told him that she could not pay him and asked him to give her time as she
had small children. He refused and told her that he would be there the next
morning at nine o'clock and if she did not have the money, he would put her
out. That night Cousin Bob came to our house to see us as he was passing
through and Mother asked him to stay all night but he said that he could not.
Later she told him what this preacher had done and asked him if he could help
the widow. He studied a while and then smiled and said, "If you will take
care of Ribbon and me, I'll see." I was only a small child then and he
called me Wasp. I spoke up and said, "Cousin Bob, if you will stay, I
[will] take care of Ribbon." That night while he slept I sat in the door
all night and held the reins of the horse.
This horse was trained until she could
scent danger and you could tell from her actions when there was danger. Later
she was shot from under him and he never ceased grieving for her. Late he rode
a Claybank named Bess but he never cared for her as he did for Ribbon. He gave
mother five hundred dollars and told her to take it and give it to the widow
and tell her to pay the man when he came the next morning, and to demand the
return of her mortgage, which she did. Knowing the time that the man was
supposed to call on the lady, he left our house and waited for him. As the
preacher left her home he took the money that the lady had just paid from him.
A week later, he was at the house again and his pocket was so full of
something that it was bulging and I asked him what he had in his pocket, he
replied, "We dived into a store the other night and here are some ribbons
for your dolls, Wasp." There were ribbons of many sizes and all colors.
"That's for holding Ribbon the other night," he said.
The Burning of Lawrence
The women folks of the James, the Youngers
and the Quantrell kinfolks had been placed for safety in a brick house in
Lawrence and they had stationed pickets around the house. In some way, the
other side had found a way to under-mine the house with powder, and when it
exploded some of them were killed and others wounded. The burning of Lawrence
was in retaliation for this.
Cousin Bob, with eighty men, was camped
near our house when the other side with a large force came up and camped for
supper near the house. Father managed to get word to Cousin Bob and he and his
men slipped away without being discovered and went ahead to Lawrence,
gathering more men as they went.
There was a regiment, or eleven hundred
men there, and Pa had thirty acres of corn cut and shocked. They fed all of it
to their horses that night. Later that night, they forced Pa to go with them
and show them the road to Lawrence.
Not very far from our house the road
forked in three directions and not knowing what the soldiers intended to do
with Pa, and being afraid that they would kill him, I went along in my gown
and barefooted. It was a clear frosty night, and they tried to get me to go
back but I wouldn't. After they reached the three forks and Pa told them the
way they told him that he could go back home.
I was called the "Little
Soldier" and no matter where Pa went, I went along. I do not know what I
could have done, but I thought I could help him.
It was but a few hours till we heard the
sound of guns and saw the smoke of burning buildings in Lawrence. Cousin Bob
did not lose a man but many were killed on the other side. In history this is
called, "The Lawrence Raid."
My brother, who joined the army, had first
tried to join the Confederates but to join them you had to pass a physical
examination and be twenty-one years of age. He was minus a kneecap so they
would not take him, then he angrily told them that he would join the Blue
Coats and help them whip the Confederates. This was John Shoe who in later
years was the first man to strike lead at Galena, Kansas.
None of our family were killed in the War
and we did not have much stock to lose as father had sold it when we left Iowa
and had never bought much.
The War was not so bad as pictured by some
as they never killed a man unless they were ordered to do so. Even the pickets
of the two armies were friends and I have known them to exchange chews of
tobacco. The bushwhackers had no principles, for they used the War as an
excuse to take anything that they wanted. Captain Jim LANE was called,
"Feather-bed Thief Lane." I have seen him with several feather beds
strapped on to his saddle at one time.
The Northern soldiers were called
"Federals," Blue-coats," and sometimes the "Union
Men." We were called "Rebels," "Gray-coats" or
We moved from Florence to Columbus,
Kansas, April 1, 1865. I had gone to school at Florence and started to school
at Emporia when the folks moved and mother wanted me to come along. As I was
home from Emporia I did, and after they got down here mother wanted me to
stay. I did and though my clothes and trunk were at Emporia I never even went
back for them.
Father rented a place on Shoal Creek near
where Galena is now and here I met the man I married, David L. HARLAN, a
Cherokee Indian, whose father, David Harlan, Sr., had been Chief when he
brought the Immigrants and Old Settlers here. They had settled on Spring River
at the mouth of Shoal Creek. We were married at Enterprise, now Joplin,
Missouri, June 16, 1866.
Harvest was on and my father-in-law
wanting my help to cook did not want us to leave so we remained there some
weeks. I was anxious to have a home of my own and insisted on it, so my
father-in-law said one day, "All the horses are busy and if you move you
will have to take Paddy and Buck, the two oxen. We loaded in my clothes and
trunk; mother gave me a dozen hens and a rooster and I got my bedding, among
which was a blue and white wool cover that I had woven when I was fourteen.
Here she added, "when I was weaving that I was so proud that I could do
it myself that I told them that some day that would be written in
Our house was of hewed logs and very nice.
One room, 16' x 18', and a shed kitchen. Here our first three children, Della,
Willie and Laura, were born. After we moved to ourselves father gave me a mare
and a cow, and my husband had a mare. I liked my home but as my husband was
away so much I was lonesome and the wolves would howl around so that the first
time I went home I told my sister, younger, that she had to come and stay with
me, and she did.
An Eventful Ride.
In February after we were married, my
husband wanted some iron wedges sharpened to split timber and I offered to
take them to the blacksmith's shop in Baxter Springs. Frank BARNETT, who was
the husband of Samantha HILLEN, now lives here in Fairland, and he owned the
first blacksmith shop in Baxter Springs.
I took the short cut by the old Baxter
Springs and as I rode up the hill my mare began to snort. When I reached the
top of the hill, there hanging to a limb on a big cottonwood at the spring,
were three bodies. I got off my horse and led her up to the tree, and there I
saw the bodies of Jim, George, and Joe MERCER; their coats, hats, shoes, or
rather boots were gone, and lying on the ground was the body of Nick GILLETT,
their cousin. They had been shot. I went on to Baxter and told Frank Barnett
and he gathered some men together and they went and got the bodies. I learned
afterwards they were shot by a supposed Vigilante Committee who claimed that
they were gathering up and branding too many cattle. Afterwards at a dance I
saw a man wearing the boots of Jim. I knew them as they were stitched in an
We remained at our first home five years;
then we bought out Harlan Hors and moved on the old place. When it was found
that the Cherokees could not hold the land in what is now southern Kansas we
sold our place and located south of here towards Hickory Grove. We took our
land south of Chetopa and here I lived after my husband left, and till my
youngest son James Rondal Harlan (called Cuds) began to play professional ball
and could not be at home.
Sometime before this I had gotten a
divorce and later married Pierce MCCLAIN. This was forty-eight years ago. He
only lived a year and eight months, so I went to work six miles south of
Chetopa and worked for many years.
I have owned three restaurants and worked
in them at Galena, Picher, Bluejacket, Vinita, Adair and Big Cabin. I clerked
for five years in a store at Pensacola, and worked in the Osage country five
years. I came here thirteen years ago to be with my daughter, Della, who was
in poor health.
Eleven years ago, my former husband, David
Harlan, broken in health came here to my daughter's and I took care of him the
last four years of his life. He died here seven years ago last February 15th.
Submitted to OKGenWeb by George T.
Tucson AZ, January 2001.