COBWEB CORNERS: Another terrible summer

By Mel McFarland

       In August 1868, a large band of Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians traveled up Fountain Creek and camped about where downtown Colorado Springs is today. The folks in Colorado City were uneasy about the situation, as there had been reports of Plains Indian raids in eastern Colorado and Kansas. A telegraph message from Denver identified the band as a group generally friendly to settlers. The Indians said their purpose was to raid an encampment of Utes in upper Ute Pass, and that's the direction they finally went.
       However, in late August and early September, raids started occurring in areas northeast of Colorado City, including the killing of Henrietta Dieterman and her 5-year-old son and the theft of several dozen horses from the Teachout Ranch.
       On Sept. 3, the violence moved closer. Charley Everhart, 17, was herding cows on the mesa east of the Garden of the Gods. From up over the side of the mesa came several braves. He tried to escape on his pony, but the Indian horses were faster. The young man was shot and scalped. The braves then took his herd and headed south. As they passed where downtown Colorado Springs is today, they happened upon a man known as Judge Baldwin. He was traveling from Fountain to Colorado City. The Indians shot him, but the judge had been scalped before, so they declined to scalp him again and left him for dead (although he would recover). Later, the Indians found the Robbins brothers, ages 8 and 11, herding their father's sheep near Mount Washington, about where Evergreen Cemetery is located today. The Indians shot and killed both of the boys, adding the sheep to their plunder.
       Raids continued in the area until later that month, when a company of local volunteers, tracking the Indians, realized they had finally gone. It was determined that about a dozen people had died and 1,500 sheep, cows and horses had been run off.
       That was the end of the Indian wars in the Pikes Peak region. With Colorado Springs growing and new towns popping up, the Plains Indians moved further north. Later some of the Cheyennes were at the Little Big Horn to meet General Custer!