Indian Scalping Warned Off Surveyors

Survey crew watches as boy becomes victim of an Indian scalping.

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Indian scalpings were still common when my grandparents were pioneers near Salem, Nebraska. In their neighborhood lived a dependable boy named Eddie Malone. When some surveyors came through headed west they hired Eddie to ride ahead of them on a mule and "set stakes." One day Eddie had gone ahead over a hill in what is now western Kansas. When the surveyors got to the top of the hill, they froze in horror.

A band of Indians in war paint had surrounded Eddie. The frightened boy urged the mule to run and break through the circle, but when the mule tried it, one of the Indians hit it across the nose and grabbed Eddie. They dragged him from the mule and scalped him. Then they placed the scalp on an arrow and waved it at the surveyors to warn them. They could do nothing but leave. Eddie was dead, and they would be dead, too, if they tried to go ahead with their survey.

Flora Rorabaugh
Norcatur, Kansas

   Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.