Manuscripts/Mixed Material [Abram C. Hardin]
Up at Culbertson Nebr. they had a pretty wild town and now tenderfeet had quits a time of it. They used to shoot the heels off their boots to make them dance. These fun loving scout riders would also send them out to catch Buffalo and use them instead of oxen. One fellow did catch a buffalo calf which fell into a deep hole in the creek there and he raised it and did use it in place of an ox on the plow.
A man and his wife and family moved from Kansas to our neighborhood and settled on some land. They sat up as doctors and began to attend the sick. We found out they were the Bender family, who allegedly murdered an unknown number of travelers in Kansas. There they ran a wayside inn and when these emigrants came along they would seat them at the table so that they sat just in front of a curtain stretched across one side of the room. Either the man or woman would come up on the other side of the curtain and hit them on the head with an axe or sledge.
The blow was struck thru the curtain but they were either killed or knocked out and their bodies fell back into the curtain. The bodies were thrown into the cellar and buried. These fiends took their horses and anything else they had. Finally some man arranged to avoid the blow and got away. Officers searched the place and found many skeletons, but I guess no murder charge was proved or else they were released from prison later.
Diptheria was a dreadful disease in those early years. We helped to bury seven children from one family who all died within a few hours of each other.
People thought it was caused by the mildew under the freshly turned sod. They did not know it was contagious and there was no quarantine.