"fixin's" such as currants, sugar, etc.; last but not least, a keg of whiskey, of which Indians and all indulged freely. The Indians had a war dance which came very near to a "killing off," but we had a good time all the same.
The Indians said they would celebrate Christmas too, by killing and eating all the dogs in the village. I had a fine dog and told them to spare him; but the first thing I saw Christmas morning was poor Dodge roasting on the fire. There were ten dogs eaten at the first Christmas celebration in Frontier County.
Mr. John Bratt, the cattle king of Nebraska, came over from the Platte and proposed to organize a county. We favored the proposition, but our population was so numerically small we hadn't enough to fill the offices. There being four of us, I was the only one but what belonged to the Sioux Indians in the territory of the proposed county. Mr. Bratt, being a man of indomitable will, did not intend that the want of a few men should hinder the organization at that time.
It scarcely seems twenty-two years ago when a few of us got together and determined to organize the county of Frontier, at that time the home and paradise of the buffalo and the Indian. I had already consulted with Montie and Hank Clifford, who were at that time living in teepees with their squaws, papooses and Indian relations , near Coon Creek; also with that nature's nobleman, the whole-souled generous-hearted Sam Watts, W.H. Miles and a few others, as to the boundary of the county, location and name of the county seat, Stockville, and who the county officials should be. These matters decided, we went to work with a will, and considerable expense; succeeded in getting an act passed by the legislature, which was approved January 17, 1872, by Wm. H. James, then acting governor and Secretary of State, bounding the county of Frontier, whose organization was entrusted and commissions issued to Levi Carter, my partner; as county treasurer; John Kirby, clerk; Hank Clifford, sheriff; E.G. Nesbitt, superintendent of public instruction; Samuel F. Watts, judge; A.S. Shelly, coroner; James Kerr, assessor; John Y. Nelson, surveyor; W.H. Miles, Montie Clifford and your humble scribe, commissioners.
Well do I remember starting out from Ft. McPherson at between eleven and twelve o'clock on a bitter cold night in January, 1872, the day prior to our organization set by law, in company with John Kirby, whom I had to take before a justice of the peace, E.E. Erickson, to have sworn into the office of clerk, before starting.
We were both mounted on two slippery shod horses; the ground being partially covered with ice and snow made the trip from Ft. McPherson to our ranch, at the head of Fox Creek, anything but pleasant, especially to a man of Mr. Kirby's size, an inexperienced rider as he was. His horse, though I had given him the best one, persisted in falling down on the ice, and it was only by coaxing that I got him to finish the journey to Fox Creek Ranch, where we arrived shortly before daybreak and where I had sent, the day previous, a team with the county books, blanks, commissions, etc., in care of Jones and Kerr, two of our men, who were appointed to fill two of the offices.
After partaking of a hasty breakfast consisting of biscuits, buffalo meat and coffee, Kirby and I started in a light rig with the box of books, etc., followed by Kerr and Jones on horseback, en route for Hank Clifford's teepee on Coon Creek. At this time there was not much of a road between Fox Creek and the Medicine, east of Curtis Creek, and it usually required the skill of a careful driver, even with a gentle team, to go through the breaks of Fox and Curtis creeks without upsetting.
Before leaving Fox Creek Ranch, I had put in the tam a green Texas horse that had scarcely ever seen a rig, say nothing about pulling one. It took four of us to hitch him up; but once started, after