Morehead in Montgomery County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The Bloody Benders
Near here are the Bender Mounds, named for the infamous Bender family ~~ John, his wife, son, and daughter Kate ~~ who settled here in 1871. Kate soon gained notoriety as a self proclaimed healer and spiritualist. Secretly, the four made a living through murder and robbery.
Located on a main road, the Benders sold meals and supplies to travelers. Their murders were carried out by use of a canvas curtain that divided the house into two rooms. When a traveler was seated at the table, his head was outlined against the curtain. The victim was then dispatched from behind with a hammer, and the body was dropped into a basement pit, later to be buried in an orchard.
As more and more travelers disappeared, suspicion began to center on the Benders. They disappeared in the spring of 1873, shortly before inquisitive neighbors discovered the victims' bodies. The Benders are believed to have killed about a dozen people, including one child.
Although stories abound, the ultimate fate of the murderous Bender family is uncertain. Some say they escaped, others that the were executed by a vengeful posse. Their story is unresolved,
Erected by Kansas State Historical Society and Kansas Department of Transportation. (Marker Number 54.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & Religion • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers • Women. In addition, it is included in the Kansas Historical Society series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1871.
Location. 37° 20.932′ N, 95° 31.668′ W. Marker is in Morehead, Kansas, in Montgomery County. Marker is on the grounds of the rest area located northeast of the intersection of US Highways 189 and 400, about three miles south of Morehead. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Cherryvale KS 67335, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Cherryvale War Memorial (approx. 5.3 miles away); Carnegie Free Library (approx. 5.7 miles away); Frank E. Bellamy (approx. 6 miles away); Veterans Memorial (approx. 6 miles away); Actual Site of Norman No. 1 (approx. 9.2 miles away); Norman No. 1 (approx. 9.3 miles away); Sgt Mike Ritter (approx. 9.6 miles away); Brown Hotel (approx. 9.7 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. Kate Bender. Kansapedia website entry (Submitted on February 24, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Bender Knife. Kansapedia website entry (Submitted on February 24, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Additional keywords. Outlaws, spiritualism
Credits. This page was last revised on August 16, 2022. It was originally submitted on February 24, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 2,643 times since then and 85 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on February 24, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.