~ November 23, 1890 • Deadwood Daily Pioneer ~
The Indians at Pine Ridge Continue to Dance and Threaten.
The Nebraska Militia Notified to Be Ready to March Against the Reds.
The Situation Uncertain.
Special to the Pioneer:
Pine Ridge Agency, Nov. 22— The situation here is in status quo. No one can tell what the next hour will bring forth. The least trouble between the soldiers or civilians and the Indians will precipitate a conflict. General Brooke has occupied the agency quarters since his arrival, and has been busily engaged in receiving and replying to communications relative to the situation. He is anxiously awaiting the instructions from the department at Washington, which were due before he left Omaha, regarding whether or not he shall interfere with the ghost dance. Two of the best scouts in the government’s employ reported to General Brooke last night at 9 o’clock, that 150 lodges of the Wounded Knee fanatics, including some of the most desperate and treacherous redskins in this part of the country, had moved to White River, twenty miles north of here, and had again begun that horrible and excitable ceremony, the ghost dance, in a wilder manner that had been known so far. The scouts said they talked with several of the leaders, and that the latter used the most threatening language. They reviewed all their wrongs at the hands of the whitemen and asserted that now was the time for the Indians to regain their lost supremacy. They declared that they and their associates had fully determined to shoot any and all government officials or soldiers who attempted to interfere with, or suppress the dance.
All the Indians in these lodges are well armed. Their arms consist of Winchester rifles, navy revolvers and knifes. They have large quantities of ammunition and provisions, and are receiving reinforcements hourly. The present trouble has brought to the surface about 250 of the carbines that were carried by the soldiers at the time of the Custer massacre. When the Indians surrendered, about 1,200 guns were given up also, but it was noticed at the time, that not one of the modern rifles that were taken from the dead bodies of Custer’s soldiers were among the number of guns surrendered. They were secreted for use at just such a time as this.
The total number of soldiers now stationed at this reservation is about 1,000. Should a conflict occur, this force would have to contend with five or six thousand Indians, armed with Winchester rifles, familiar with the country, and desperate with excitement and fanatic zeal. The reservations and the number of Indians affected by this strange Messiah craze, are as follows:
Cheyenne River Agency……………………. 2,846
Crow Creek and Lower Brule Agency.. 2,171
Pine Ridge Agency……………………………. 5,611
Rosebud Agency……………………………….. 7,586
Standing Rock Agency………………………. 4,110
The reservations could put in the field 8,000 warriors fully armed and equipped as completely as the handful of soldiers they would have to oppose. What the result of a conflict would be, can be easily surmised.
General Brooke received a telegram from General Miles last night, giving him power to call as many more troops to this point as he may deem necessary.
Some few scouts and Indian police, who were sent out Thursday to notify the non-dancing faction to move into the agency precincts until the present trouble is settled, returned last night and reported that the Indians to whom they were sent, signified their perfect willingness to do as requested. A number of these immediately put out their tires, folded their tepees and accompanied the scouts and police into the agency. It is expected that these friendly Indians can be gathered in by Sunday night, and if this can be accomplished more dangerous work— that bringing the disturbers to time— will begin Monday morning.
All the available troops from the Department of the Platte are mustered here. A telegraph line has been constructed from the agency to Rushville, Neb., for the purpose of sending and receiving government messages. It is also used by the mass of newspaper correspondents who have flocked hither.
Calling Out the Militia
Special to the Pioneer:
Beatrice, Neb., Nov. 22 — General Calby, commanding the first brigade of the Nebraska Nation Guards, issued orders for the men composing this brigade to prepare for marching orders.
Editor’s note 2016:
Tensions did not ease. The Ghost Dance continued to be seen as a precursor to more violence and the government decided to bring some of the chiefs into custody in order to stop the dancing. As treaties and promises by the government were repeatedly broken, the American Indians on the territory reservations grew more distrusting and desperate for survival. On December, 15, 1890, 40 Indian police officers were sent to arrest Chief Sitting Bull. As Sitting Bull tried to pull away from the officer that held him, a shot rang out and killed the officer. This incited more gunfire from both sides, resulting in the death of Sitting Bull, and 14 others, including tribal members and police officers. Fearing reprisals, numerous bands of Indians then fled the Pine Ridge Agency.
In late December, the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment escorted small bands of Lakota back to the Pine Ridge Reservation where they then made camp near Wounded Knee Creek. The next morning, December 29, 1890, the troops went into the encampment with the intentions of disarming the Lakota. Tension were high and then a much debated scuffle ensued, resulting in the soldiers opening fire on everyone in the camp. Over 200 men, women and children lay dead, with some estimates as high as 300. Twenty-five soldiers also died in the battle now commonly known as Wounded Knee, or as it is called by the survivors’ families, the Chief Big Foot massacre.
~ November 23, 1890 • Deadwood Daily Pioneer ~
The second line of piles for the Elkhorn roadbed on lower Main Street is nearly finished. Only about four piles remained to be driven when the men quit work at dark last night.
J.E. Ainsworth and Dr. Louthan, of Spearfish, are now at Powderville, Mont. Their mission is in connection with the Elkhorn extension north, though it is not known exactly what is intended.
The Deadwood Central Round House will have two stalls for engines besides a machine shop. The walls are now nearly completed and all the timbers in place. Flooring and roofing will be begun in a few days.
The grade of the B. & M. from Gold Run up Whitewood gulch to the railroad crossing is nearly all completed. No bridges have yet been put in, but all the bulkheads and heavy grading have been finished, and only surfacing now remains to be done. Beyond Ten-Mile ranch several heavy cuts and some rock work are uncompleted.
The Elkhorn will ship in a steam engine within the next few days with which to hoist the hammer of the pile driver. Billy Richards, formerly engineer at the Uncle Sam mill, will take charge of it. As soon as the pile driving for the roadbed below the Gem is completed, a line of piles will be driven up the creek to Lee Street, for a bulkhead.
Excavation for a culvert on the B. & M. to drain the flow of water from the White Rocks hill, was completed yesterday. Stone work has been going on for some time and a line of masonry is now built, about fifty feet long. The rocks are placed on each other without any mortar between, as the water would wash out everything of that kind.
The Deadwood Central yesterday threw its track from the old narrow-gauge bed on the flat above Cleveland, onto the new B. & M. grade. The small rails were nailed down to the broad-gauge ties, and last night the Lead City train ran over the new road. Peter O’Neill owns the placer claim on which the change was made, and objects to the B. & M. and D. C. running over his ground. He was too late however, to get an injunction, and will probably begin legal proceedings for ejection.