H. N. Brown, Marshal of Caldwell


The Caldwell Commercial, Thursday, March 22, 1883.

A party of young folks, headed by Prof. Sweet, guarded by City Marshal Brown, and served by old man James, the popular lightning striker of the Santa Fe, started last Sunday for the classic shades of Polecat in order to enjoy a picnic. They had reached the grounds and were about spreading their humble repast, when the blizzard came down upon them. When the party reached home in the afternoon, the boys shirts looked as if they (the shirts) had been picked up in the road or stolen from the Cheyenne Indians. Of course, not one of them will acknowledge to the charge of going picnicking, but we will wager they will all be found in attendance upon the Easter services next Sunday in order to make up for lost time.


The Caldwell Commercial, Thursday, April 12, 1883.

Just as we go to press, Dan Frank, one of the employees of the Kansas City Cattle company, came in and reported that John Neal was murdered and robbed last Saturday at the Cottonwood camp on the range of the above company. No trace of the murderer could be found. Mr. Neal was on the police force here last summer under Marshal Brown. Full particulars will be given next week.


The Caldwell Commercial, Thursday, April 19, 1883.


One Killed, and One Dangerously Wounded.

Last Sunday, J. H. Herrin, of Clay County, Texas, came into town and hunted up Deputy U. S. Marshal Hollister, to whom he stated that he wanted some assistance in capturing a band of horse thieves he had followed from Texas. The thieves had stolen two mules and two horses from Mr. Herrin, besides a lot of other stock from other parties.

Hollister started out with Herrin, and ran foul of the party a few miles southeast of Hunnewell. The party consisted of a man named Ross, his wife, daughter, two sons, daughter-in-law, and her child. There was another party camped close by. The family, while not apparently connected with the Ross outfit, had been their traveling companions.

Hollister, finding he could do nothing alone, returned on Tuesday, and securing the services of Henry Brown and his assistant, Ben. Wheeler, the party left about 11 [?] o=clock a.m. At Hunnewell, the party picked up Jackson, day marshal of that place, and Wes. Hamils [?].

From Hunnewell the party struck out for the camp of the outlaws, and just at the gray dawn surrounded the outfit.

The Ross party, in reply to a demand to surrender, opened fire with their Winchesters. The shooting lasted for about half an hour, when it was found that the oldest Ross boy was killed and the younger one dangerously wounded in two or three places. The latter, after the capture, made a statement regarding the stealing of the stock they had with them, and also stated that two of the original party had left for Wichita on Sunday with some of the stock. From the wounded boy=s statement, it is supposed that the party left Texas with about forty head of horses and mules, among the number a fine stallion, for which a reward of $500 is offered.

The dead Ross was taken to Hunnewell, and the other members of the party to Wellington.

Messrs. Herrin and Wheeler returned to Caldwell about 11 o=clock yesterday morning, and from them we gathered the above particulars. They also gave us some intimate details of the fight, which time and space will not permit publishing at this time.



Telegrams, describing the three men who passed through South Havewn, were sent to Wellington and Wichita, and on Wednesday afternoon the three were taken in at Wichita.

The entire party of men consisted of J. W. Ross, his sons, Sam and James, Sam being killed and the latter wounded, Frank Cornelius, Marion Horton, and Ben Merrill. Mr. Herrin thinks the two latter are brothers. Both are desperate men, and one of them attempted to shoot Marshal Cairns of Wichita, when the latter went to arrest him.

Cornelius had been working for the past year in Herrin=s neighborhood, and when the latter found that Corrnelius had gone as well as Herrin=s stock, Herrin at once came to the conclusion that he was the thief.

As for the Ross tribe, they did not appear to have any local habitation, but drifted around from one camping place to another, doubless making a business of stealing stock.

Mr. Herrin speaks in the highest terms of the commanding officers at Forts Sill and Reno, and says that they gave him every assistance possible.


The Caldwell Commercial, Thursday, April 19, 1883.


A band of horse thieves were surrounded in the Indian Territory, near the Kansas line,

by a posse, and one of the thieves shot.

[NOTE: Suspect this is national way of recapping Ross story.]


The Caldwell Commercial, Thursday, April 19, 1883.

The women of the Ross family, accompanied by another camping outfit, drove into town yesterday afternoon and halted a short time on Main street in front of the Stock Exchange Bank. Mrs. Ross, the wife of J. W. and the mother of the Ross boys, went into the bank and deposited about $1,800 in gold. The party then drove off and went into camp on Bluff Creek, where it is likely they will stay until some disposition is made of the prisoners, who are now confined in the Wellington jail. They will be taken to Texas as soon as a requisition can be received.

The Caldwell Commercial, Thursday, April 19, 1883.

Last Saturday a portion of the stolen stock found with the Ross party was brought here and put into the corral of George Kalbdesch. The animals were considerably used up, showing they had been driven hard and badly treated. The remainder of the stock has been put at pasture, and a list of the brands will be advertised.


The Caldwell Commercial, Thursday, April 26, 1883.

On Tuesday evening we met Mr. S. W. Herrin, of Clay County, Texas, the gentlemen who so vigorously followed and secured the capture of the Ross gang of horse thieves. He gave us an interesting account of his experience, of which we can only give a mere outline.

On the morning of April 1st, Mr. Herrin went to his stable and found that his two horses and two mules had been stolen. He immediately started out on foot, and followed north to Acer=s ranch on the side of the Big Washita, where he secured a pony. At the river he found where a mule dragging a rope had crossed the stream. This threw him off the trail, which he did not find again until after sundown that evening.

The next day Mr. Herrin crossed Red River above the mouth of Cache Creek, and about the middle of the afternoon he again struck the trail, leading to Arbuckle mountains, which he followed until he came to the old Fort Sill road, and found no trouble in tracking the stock to within eight miles of Sill, when he discovered that the trail left the road and turned east. Mr. Herrin then went to Sill for assistance, and secured the services of Jack Mullins and Comanche Jack. Starting out with them the next morning, the track of the thieves was found about twelve miles east of the Fort. This was followed until the old Chisholm trail was reached. Following that trail until he arrived at Mumford Johnson=s ranch on the Canadian, Mr. Herrin there found that the pursued had continued on up the trail. They had made lively time, and it seems that after crossing Red River, they had only stopped once on the road between the stream and Johnson=s ranch.

Leaving Johnson=s, Herrin went to Fort Reno, where he telegraphed to Caldwell, Dodge, and other places, and the next day took the buckboard and came to this place, arriving here on Sunday, the 8th. Here he found that the Ross party had camped near the stockyards, on the Thursday previous, and that some of the men had come into town and got dinner. He also learned that after leaving the stockyards, the outfit started east in the direction of Hunnewell.

On Saturday evening Mr. Herrin and Deputy U. S. Marshal Hollister started for Arkansas City, and on arriving there could not find any trace of the fugitives. Returning the next day, they ascertained at South Haven that three men, having four horses with them, had passed north. A description of the stock satisfied Herrin that one of his horses was among the number. Herrin and Hollister then went to Hunnewell, and ascertaining the location of the Ross camp, assistance was secured, and on Wednesday morning the camp was taken, with the result as stated in the COMMERCIAL.




Spotted Horse is no more. He departed this life last Monday morning, at the hands of the city marshal, H. N. Brown. The manner of his death and the circumstances leading thereto are about as follows.

Spotted Horse was a Pawnee Indian, whose custom it was to make periodical visits to Caldwell with one or more of his squaws, bartering their persons to the lusts of two-legged white animals in whom the dog instinct prevailed. Last Friday or Saturday Spotted Horse drove into town in a two-horse wagon, with one of his squaws, and went into camp on a vacant lot between Main and Market streets. About half past six on Monday morning he walked into the Long Branch Restaurant with his squaw and wanted the proprietors to give them breakfast. This they refused to do, when he left and wandered around town, taking in the Moreland House, where he was given a sackful of cold meat and bread. From thence he and the squaw went over to E. H. Beals= house on Market street, north of Fifth. Mr. Beals and his family were just sitting down to breakfast when Spotted Horse and his squaw walked in without the least ceremony and demanded something to eat. Mr. Beals= wife and daughter were considerably alarmed, and the former ordered the Indians to leave. They went out and then Spotted Horse handed to the squaw the bundle of grub he had obtained at the Moreland, and walked back into the house, up to the table, and put his hand on Miss Beals= head. Mr. Beals immediately jumped to his feet and made signs for the Indian to go out, at the same time applying an opprobrious epithet to him. The Indian immediately pulled out his revolver, and Mr. Beals told him to get out and they would settle the trouble there. Spotted Horse put up his pistol and walked out, and Mr. Beals after him. Once outside, the Indian pulled his revolver again, and Mr. Beals seized a spade that was at hand. Just about this time Grant Harris ran up to the Indian and told him to go away, that he ought not to attack an old man. The Indian then opened out with a volley of abuse, directed to Mr. Beals, in good plain English. Young Harris finally induced him to put up his pistol and leave.

The next heard of Spotted Horse and his squaw was that they had walked into the back door of the Long Branch kitchen and helped themselves to breakfast. Louis Heironymous being the only one connected with the restaurant present in the building at the time, made no objections, and the two reds had a good feast.

It appears that after breakfast the squaw went to the wagon, while Spotted Horse strolled into Morris= grocery, one door north of the Long Branch. Meantime a complaint had been made to city marshal Brown in reference to the Indian=s conduct at Beals= house, and the marshal had started out to hunt him up, finally finding him in Morris= grocery. The marshal approached Spotted Horse and requested him to go with him to Mr. Covington, in order that the latter might act as an interpreter. The Indian refused, when the marshal took hold of him. Spotted Horse didn=t like that, and commenced to feel for his revolver. The marshal pulled his out and told the Indian to stop. On the latter refusing to do so, the marshal fired at him. In all, four shots were fired by the marshal, the last one striking the Indian about where the hair came down to his forehead, and came out at the back of his head. Parties who were present state that if the officer=s last shot had failed, the Indian would have had the advantage, because he had just succeeded in drawing his revolver when the shot struck him.

The Indian was shortly after removed to the warehouse two doors north, where every attention was given him, but he died in about two hours without uttering a word, although he seemed to be conscious up to within a few moments before breathing his last.

Coroner Stevenson was telegraphed for and came down late in the afternoon, viewed the body, and held an inquest that night. On Tuesday morning, the jury brought in a verdict that the deceased came to his death by a gun shot wound in the hands of H. N. Brown, and that the shooting was done in the discharge of his duty as an officer of the law, and the verdict of the entire community is the same.

The squaw, we are told, upon hearing the first shot fired, hitched the horses to the wagon and drove off as fast as she could toward the Territory.

[Note: For some reason one of the Indian newspapers spread the word that Marshal Brown had killed Hard Rope, an Osage Indian, instead of the Pawnee Indian.]



A couple of wagons of Pawnee men and women came in Tuesday to obtain the body of Spotted Horse. They went to the cemetery and opened the grave, but finding the body too much decomposed to permit of its removal they went through with their customary rites, replaced the body, and filled up the grave. Mayor Colson gave the Indians all the assistance he could, for which the Indians expressed great satisfaction. They left for home yesterday morning.



Marshal Brown and his assistant, Ben Wheeler, have certainly earned their salaries for the past five months. During that time they have run into the city treasury, for fines for violations of city ordinances, the sum of $1,296, being just $421 more than the salary they have received for that time. A very good showing for a quiet town like Caldwell.