Illustration by Henry Worrall from Buffalo Land (1873)


The old Indian love of commemorating events by significant names is well illustrated in Kansas. One example may be given here. Waukarusa once opposed its swollen tide to an exploring band of men. Now, from time beyond ken, the noble savage has been illustrious for the ingenuity with which he lays all disagreeable duties upon the shoulders of the patient squaw. He may ride to their death, in free wild sport, the bison multitudes; but their skins must be converted into marketable robes, and the flesh into jerked meat, by the ugly and overworked partner of his bosom. While she pins the raw hide to earth, and bends patiently over, fleshing it with a horned hatchet for weary hours, the stronger vessel, his abdominal muscles wadded with buffalo meat, toasts his moccasined feet by the fire, fills his lungs with smoke from villainous killikinick, and muses soothingly of white scalps and happy hunting grounds.

Ox-like maiden, happy “big injun!” you both belong to an age and a history well nigh past, and let us rejoice that it is so.

But to return to the band long since gathered into aboriginal dust whom we left pausing on the banks of the Waukarusa. “Deep water, bad bottom!” grunted the braves, and, nothing doubting it, one loving warrior pushed his wife and her pony over the bank to test the matter. From the middle of the tide the squaw called back, “Waukarusa” (thigh deep), and soon had gained the opposite bank in safety. Then and there the creek received its name, “Waukarusa.”

We procured a remarkable sketch, in the well known Indian style of high art, commemorative of this event. It has always struck us that the savage order of drawing resembles very much that of the ancient Egyptian—except in the matter of drawing at sight, with bow or rifle, on the white man.

from Buffalo Land by W.E. Webb, 1873

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