During the Civil War, militias from both the Union and Confederate sides were stealing the Osages' cattle, harassing their villages, and blaming the Indians for raids actually committed by Americans. Osage leader Charles Mongrain cautioned everyone to leave his people alone: "I most earnestly warn all intruders, trespassers, and others not citizens of the Osage nation to leave the nation immediately."
In May 1863, a few miles east of here, an Osage hunting party confronted about 20 strangers riding through their territory. A shot was fired, and one of the Osage went down. His comrades chased the trespassers about 15 miles and finally overtook them near Drum Creek, killing all but two (who escaped). The strangers turned out to have been Confederate officers, marching west with orders to recruit volunteers and encourage rebellion in New Mexico & Colorado. The Osage has foiled the plot.
Text of Previous Edition of the Marker
In May, 1863, a mounted party of about twenty Confederates, nearly all commissioned officers, set out from Missouri to recruit troops in the West. Several miles east of here they were challenged by loyal Osage Indians. In a running fight two Confederates were killed and the others were surrounded on a gravel bar in the Verdigris river about three miles north of this marker. Ignoring a flag of surrender, the Osages scalped and cut the heads off all but two of the party. These, wounded, hid under the river bank and escaped.
After the war when settlers began staking claims on the Osage reservation, Congress authorized removal of the tribe to present Oklahoma. In 1870 a treaty was signed in a grove on Drum creek, three miles southeast. Ironically, the cheap lands to which the Osages were removed became a great oil field and for a time they were the wealthiest people per capita in the world.