The Arrival of the Railroad
When railroads first built across Kansas in the 1860s, Plains Indians inhabited much of the central and western part of the state. They did not welcome the incursion, sensing a danger to the buffalo herds that provided them with food, shelter, and clothing. In an attempt to defend their lands, Cheyennes, Arapahos, and other tribes frequently attacked railroad workers and tore up tracks.
Two miles west of this marker in May 1869, a mounted party of Indians dashed out of a deep ravine and attacked a railroad crew of seven. The railroad workers raced to their handcar and pumped desperately for home, firing their rifles as they went. Although no Indians are known to have died, two of the railroad workers were killed and four were wounded. A monument to the two who died stands in the Russell cemetery just east of here.
When the railroad reached here in 1867, a construction camp and watering station named Fossil Station was established. The name was changed to Russell in 1871 when a Wisconsin colony established the town.
Erected by Kansas State Historical Society and Kansas Department of Transportation
Location. 38° 53.147′ N, 98° 50.534′ W. Marker is in Russell, Kansas, in Russell County. Marker is on Wichita Avenue (Business U.S. 40) east of Jay Street, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Russell Memorial Park, Russell KS 67665, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Russell County Veterans Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Freedom Tree (about 400 feet away); Alexander McKeefer and John Lynch (approx. 0.3 miles away); Civil War Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); Kansas Street (approx. one mile away); Dream Theater (approx. one mile away); Nicholas Gernon Blacksmith Shop (approx. one mile away); World War II Memorial Barn Quilt (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Russell.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Also see . . .
1. "Railroading Among the Indians," in Pioneer History of Kansas, by Roenigk (1933). (Submitted on July 2, 2016, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Russell County, in Cutler's History of Kansas (1883). (Submitted on July 2, 2016, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Native Americans • Railroads & Streetcars • Settlements & Settlers • Wars, US Indian •
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Credits. This page was last revised on July 2, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 2, 2016, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 182 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 2, 2016, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.