About 1870, Goddleck Koozer, a quaker from Illinois, and his family
passed through Montague, on their way to establish a colony in Clay
County while the Indians were as hostile as they were. But Koozer
said that it was suicidal to move into Clay County while the Indians
were as hostile as they were. But Koozer said that he had never waged
war against the Indians, never carried arms, and that he was going
to live on peaceful terms with the savages, whom he felt sure would
respond to kind treatment, if they only had a chance. Unfortunately,
Mr. Koozer was totally unaware of the conditions as they existed on
the frontier, for he, like many people in the north and east, at that
time, seemed to be of the opinion that the people along the frontier
were to blame for the prevailing difficulties; and that the Indians
would readily respond in a friendly way to kind treatment.
We can appreciate Mr. Koozer's efforts to introduce
the Word of God among the savages. But we cannot fully appreciate
his mistaken ideas that seemed to be in accord with certain citizens
and historians in remote sections of the United States, who seemed
to attempt to saddle the responsibility of the frontier affairs on
the shoulders of the citizens, and who entertained the idea that practically
all the depredations were being done by renegade ruffians of our own
race. Such ideas were not supported by the facts, and we sincerely
feel that it is not only our liberty, but duty as well, to make this
brief explanation in behalf of those faithful frontiersmen, and patriotic
pioneers, who suffered inconceivable hardships to blaze the pathway
of our present civilization.
But regardless of the appeals of local citizens, Mr.
Koozer moved out into Clay County, and occupied the deserted buildings
of Henrietta. These buildings were abandoned at the outbreak of the
Civil War. Indians and others, from time to time, had passed and entered
the deserted village. But Mr. Koozer and his family occupied this
place as a home, and determined to make friendship with the Indians.
What was the result? After they had been there a short
time, chief Whitehorse, who was wearing a large head-garb, similar
to those worn today by certain bandmasters, and his warriors, came
by Henrietta. When the Indians arrived, Mr.. Koozer came out to meet
them, and extended his hand in token of peace and friendship, but
Whitehorse held Mr. Koozer's hand with his left, pulled his six-shooter,
and killed Mr. Koozer with the gun in his right hand. Mrs. Koozer
and her two grown daughters were made captives and carried away. Ed
Koozer, about eleven years old, was out after the calves at that time,
and hid when he saw the Indians. After being in the hands of the Indians
for several months, the soldiers and citizens at Fort Sill, secured
their release, and escorted Mrs. Koozer and her daughters back to
Montague. When she told her story, Chief Whitehorse was indicted.
W. A. (Bud) Morris and District Clerk of Montague County at the time.
He issued a warrant and sent it to the government authorities in Oklahoma,
but they refused to surrender Chief Whitehorse. Joe Bryant and several
other citizens went from Montague over to Henrietta to bury the body
of Mr. Koozer, who was killed while attempting to make peace with
Note: Author personally interviewed: Joe Bryant, and
W. A. (Bud) Morris, mentioned above.