Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wild Tales of Black Hills Pioneers

Donna Sachau presenting "Wild Tales of Black Hills Pioneers"
A substantial crowd of Spearfish Area Historical Society attended Donna Sachau's Feb 3, 2015 presentation on "Wild Tales of Black Hills Pioneers".
Donna covered four stories, two from her own family history and two of the wildest tales of the west.  The first tale was of Mrs. Holloway who journeyed with 37 wagons from the Missouri River toward California in 1857.   On Aug 14 near the Humbolt River they were attacked by Indians and she was shot with an arrow and then scalped.   She also had to witness her own child being killed.   Mrs. Holloway survived and found her own scalp to make a wig.   Sadly, her health quickly failed and then her mind.
Big Nose George
The second tale was of Big Nose George Parrott who was a bull team driver from Indiana and Iowa.   In the fall of 1878, George  joined Jessie and Frank James to rob the train at Four Corners, WY.  George was caught and hung . . . three times.    The first two hangings were botched but he died on the third, hung from a telephone pole.    Stranger yet was the culture of the time:  Dr. John Osborne requested and received Big Nose George's body from which he made a death mask and shoes made of human skin.  Dr. Osborne was later elected Governor of Wyoming and wore the shoes to the Governor's Ball. 
Albert Henderson Daniels was related to Daniel Boone.    Albert Henderson’s son was Albert Aaron Daniels who was born on 9/28/1894 just north of Spearfish, SD on their homestead.  He attended school at the Centennial School through the 8th grade.  He served in WWI and then returned to ranch in Crook County where he met and married Cleo M. Scott in 1931.  They moved to the centennial ranch east of Spearfish in 1939. His wife, Cleo, continued to live on the ranch for 14 more years and then moved to town.  Their daughter, Doris, married Joseph M. Schenk (IV) in 1951 and they ranched together 10 miles west of Spearfish for the next 50 years.  Their children in Lawrence County are Dan (Renee) Schenk, Donna (Randy) Sachau, and Ann (Delmar) Brownell.
Joseph Schenk grew up in Germany in a happy hard-working family but rather poor.  He immigrated to America and in 1858 attended the 5th and most largely attended Lincoln-Douglas debate at Galesburg, IL.   Joseph was impressed that Lincoln as poor as he, should, by ability and character, at so early an age, have acquired such leadership.
Joseph age 25 and his brother John headed westward.  They paid $25 to a Captain Stewart for their keep and joined his emigrant party heading to California on April 20, 1859 and arrived Sept 5.  Along the Mormon trail, half of mankind seemed on the move.  During the day, great lines of white covered wagons, drawn by oxen or horses or mules moved steadily westward.  At night, hundreds of campfires glowed under the stars. 
Once while the caravan was passing through the Rockies, it had a real Indian scare.  Word was brought back that while a preceding party had started through a pass, it was ambushed and a number of its party massacred.   Joseph’s job was to take care of a young Morgan stallion that his boss had paid $1000 for and he could run a mile in 3 minutes.  He would run him ahead of the train and let him feed until the others came up.  One day as Joseph was galloping up over a hill he ran into a party of mounted Indian braves in full war paint who immediately gave chase.  But the little Morgan dashed away from them like the wind. With arrows flying their way, they escaped unharmed. 
In 1860 Joseph Schenk completed his American citizenship and that fall cast his first ballot for Abraham Lincoln for president.  He married at the age of 30, bought a farm near Waterloo, Iowa and raised 9 children.  Their son, Joseph Schenk (II) moved his family to the Spearfish area in 1908 and bought land near Chicken Creek.  Three more generations of Joseph Schenk's (III through V) and their families ranched near Crow Creek and Mirror Lake.