The Missouri in the Civil War Message Board

Re: John Allen Mathews and the Osage

JJR,

Thanks very much. While Mathews undoubtedly had varied motives in the raids he conducted, I was wondering to what extent Mathews actions were driven by his desire to protect the Osage reservation from white encroachment. The article you cited has this tidbit: “After ordering the settlers to leave the eight mile strip within ten days, under penalty of being hung, they informed the Osages that they had treated for their lands, and that if they would come over to them, they could have an Agent and Superintendent…

The eight mile strip referred to above is apparently the Cherokee Neutral Lands. As noted in the excerpt from Blackmar’s history below, this strip was at least orginally intended to provide such protection. My understanding is that Allen County was on the northern border of the Osage reservation, so driving out illegal settlers may have been a primary objective of some of Mathews’ raiding, that apparently would not have been the primary objective of the Humboldt raid.

The tract known as the Cherokee Neutral Lands—originally the Osage Neutral Lands—is situated in the southeast corner of Kansas, comprising all the present county of Cherokee, nearly all of Crawford, and a strip about 6 miles wide across the southern part of Bourbon county. In extent, this tract is 50 miles long from north to south and 25 miles in width, the eastern boundary being the line which separates Kansas from Missouri. It was first described in the treaty with the Osages in 1825, when it was intended to serve as a barrier between the Osage tribe and the whites, neither the Indians nor the white men to settle thereon, from which fact it took the name of neutral land.

Article 2 of the treaty made with the Cherokees at New Echota, Ga., in 1835, expressed apprehension that not enough land had been set apart for the accommodation of the whole Cherokee nation, and provided for the conveyance to the Cherokees of "the tract of land situated between the west line of the State of Missouri and the Osage reservation, beginning at the southeast corner of the same and runs north along the east line of the Osage lands 50 miles, to the northeast corner thereof; and thence to the west line of the State of Missouri; thence with said line south 50 miles; thence west to the place of beginning—estimated to contain 800,000 acres of land."

From the time this treaty was concluded the tract was called the Cherokee Neutral Land. Notwithstanding it was Cherokee land, white settlers went upon it about the time Kansas was organized as a territory, and in Aug., 1861, the tract was invaded by a Confederate band commanded by John Mathews and some sixty families were driven out. The following month the Sixth Kansas dispersed the gang and Mathews was killed. On July 19, 1866, a treaty was concluded between the Cherokees and the United States, article 17 of which provided that "The Cherokee nation hereby cedes, in trust, to the United States the tract of land in the State of Kansas which was sold to the Cherokees by the United States under the provisions of the second article of the treaty of 1835, and also that strip of land ceded to the nation by the fourth article of said treaty, which is included in the State of Kansas; and the Cherokees consent that said lands may be included in the limits and jurisdiction of the said state.

Messages In This Thread

John Allen Mathews and the Osage
Re: John Allen Mathews and the Osage
Re: John Allen Mathews and the Osage
Clarification on "The Strip"
Re: Clarification on "The Strip"
Re: Clarification on "The Strip"
Re: Clarification on "The Strip"
Holy Cow, John
Re: John Allen Mathews and the Osage
Re: John Allen Mathews and the Osage