THE LAST INDIAN RAID IN THE COUNTY
In 1876 the Sioux Indians ran away from the reservation in Indian Territory and started back to northern Nebraska, their former hunting grounds. They whipped the soldiers, then killed and pillaged everything in their path. The commanding officer at Fort McPherson sent me notice, by a soldier, for everybody to run for their lives, as the soldiers could not protect the settlers. The settlers, generally, went to Cambridge, Furnas County, and built a fort.MURDER
I did not like to leave our little home and lose all we had; so I went over and saw D.C. Ballentine, and we decided to go in a cave on my ranch. This cave is ten by fifteen feet, under a bluff fifty feet high. The Medicine Creek runs within a few feet of the mouth. This we fortified, took in a camp outfit and provisions for a siege. Dave Ballentine took in his wife and child. I assisted my mother, Miss Mamie Timmons, and all went in the cave, from which we stood the bloodthirsty savages off, and they failed to get us out of the cave.
Frontier County stands unrivaled in her noted pioneers, her brave, honest, intelligent men and women that came and built themselves pleasant homes within her borders, who ran the financial affairs in an economical and efficient manner so that no man grew opulent while holding office.
In 1879 one Enos Furgeson was the only candidate for sheriff. He was elected and thought there was big money in the office, besides the honor of being "high sheriff." But he soon found out that Frontier County did not support anyone in idleness; so he gave up the position and left.
The people of the county can boast of the fact that no county in the State has been the abode of fewer desperadoes, and less crime, than Frontier. Twenty-two years have swung out, on the pendulum of time, since the county was organized, and but one murder has been committed within the boundaries, by a settler, to blacken a page of its history that otherwise rebounds to our honor.
The atrocious crime was perpetrated in the winter of 1885. Eugene Sherwood, a young man about twenty years old, lived with his widowed mother on the Medicine Creek, eight miles east of Stockville. Joining them was an old Swede, a bachelor, Jonas Nelson by name, who had been committing some depredations such as burning haystacks, etc. -a man of generally bad repute.
Some trouble arose between Sherwood and Nelson over a boundary line. Nothing serious was thought of the affair by young Sherwood. But Nelson bought a gun and a pistol, then concealed himself behind a tree; and as Sherwood was driving his cows home, he came within a few feet of the tree. Nelson shot him dead. Eugene Sherwood was found soon afterward by a woodchopper who happened to be passing by.
I was sheriff at the time; and being notified, I found Sherwood where he had fallen. There being no coroner in the county, I impaneled a jury and upon investigation the verdict was that "Eugene Sherwood came to his death by a shotgun wound in the hands of Jonas Nelson."
I found him at a cattle ranch a few miles away and took him into custody. He was arraigned before Judge W.H. Allen and bound over to court.
I started to take him to jail in North Platte, as we have had so little use for a jail in this county we