The renowned Doctor W.T. Carver, of glass-ball-shooting fame, came to Wolf's Rest in 1872 and took claim near by. Here it was that Dr. Carver learned and practiced the art that made him the wonder of the world. Later on his mother came, bringing the first fine poultry consisting of pea-fowls, ducks, etc., also a collection of choice flowers, and the first piano.
These were a great curiosity to Indians and frontiersmen. In bringing the piano out from the railroad, with some wild bronco ponies, we got stuck in a swamp and could not get enough of them hitched onto the wagon to pull it out. So it stood there several weeks, covered up with buffalo robes, util the ground became dry; then we brought it down and put it in the log cabin in Medicine Valley.
To be a good shot was considered the highest accomplishment and Dr. W.T. Carver's ambition ran that way; so he did nothing but hunt and shoot until he became the greatest shot in the world. In writing to me from Vienna, Austria, he said: "I have made Medicine Creek famous all over the world -where I am proud to have hailed from."
I helped to plow the first furrow in Red Willow County, in March, 1872. A man by the name of John King had taken a claim below Indianola; he was the only settler in that county then. I went over to get a mule I had bought of him. He had a plow in the wagon, and we hitched on the plow a few furrows to see how it looked.
We called this man Crazy King, as he would take his team and go alone for hundreds of miles, build bridges over streams, pull through deep snows and fetch up at our camp every big snowstorm. Once while King was out on one of his trips, Indians surrounded him in camp. He fought them several hours, but they were too many for him. He was badly wounded, being shot three times; yet he got away, though the redskins took his horses.
In June, 1870, we found a wild man in Frontier County. On several occasions we had seen very large barefoot tracks of a human being, ranging between the Platte River and the Medicine. We thought it strange, as we know there was no one in the county but those in our own little neighborhood. As Clifford, Nelson and myself were crossing the divide on the way to Fort McPherson, one very warm day after the water had dried up on the lagoons and the grass was parched with the intense heat, we saw a man coming toward us. We felt like running when he came near enough for us to inspect his visage. He was fully six and one-half feet tall, without shoes and hatless, his head covered with grizzly gray hair, and long beard of the same color all over his face so matted with dirt that we could scarcely see his eyes.
Nelson cocked his needle-gun ready to shoot him if he offered violence. He was not hostile, but seemed to be crazy from thirst; he took our water jug and drained it, then got on the wagon and we took him to Fort McPherson with us. The soldiers came out to see him, though none could tell by his language to what nationality he belonged, nor where he came from or stayed.
The fellow ate all we gave him. After eating some canned fruit, he departed in the direction of Frontier; he carried a heavy club with which to defend himself and kill his meat. Nothing more was seen of him for several years. A large skeleton was found in a canyon near Moorfield, which we supposed to be the remains of the Wild Man, who must have died unwept and alone.