Bell-Bogardus Indian Massacre and Cemetery

category : Pioneer Life
August 12, 1868 - At the homestead site of David A. Bogardus, 40 rods north of the Solomon River and 3 miles southeast of Willow Springs (present Day Beloit).

It was at the Bogardus cabin that David Bogardus and Braxton Bell, 23, were killed; Braxton's wife, Elizabeth, 21, was mortally wounded; their infant daughter, Ella Bell, about 1 yr. old was seriously wounded. Aaron's daughters, Esther Jane, 8, and Margaret, 6, were kidnapped and later released.

The families had been visited by the Indians before, treating them kindly and giving them food. Matt Bogardus told of a band of Arapahos camping within 80 rods of the cabin in July of that year. Three of them came to the home for supper. They said they were on the way to raid their enemies, the Pawnees. No other Indians appeared until the 12th when the band of about 40 Arapahos and Cheyennes attacked.

The Bell girls, playing outside with their dolls on that warm, clear August day, sighted the Indians approaching from the west about noon and ran to the cabin to tell the others. Matt said the gaudily painted Indians took a horse picketed near the cabin before coming to the cabin. They were led by two chiefs, one recognized by Mrs. Bogardus as an Arapaho. They professed, all but one, to be 'good Indians'. Mrs. Bogardus attempted to convince them the Pawnees were approaching and they started to ride away, but then, David Bogardus, who had been lying down, came to the door.

There's confusion on what happened next. One account says Bogardus and Bell were lured from the cabin by the Indians to view a large band of Indians supposedly riding in from the west. Matt Bogardus said his father was shoved from the cabin by the Indians. Neither man was armed as they left the cabin. Matt says the Indians hit Bogardus with a whip. As he turned to defend himself, he was shot, living only long enough to warn his wife to take the children and escape. Bell, ordered to run, was shot and killed instantly, He was holding his daughter, Ella, almost one year old, in his arms. She was deeply slashed across the head with a saber by one of the braves.

The Indians made several attempts to place Mrs. Bell on a horse but each time she would jump off. In frustration, they finally shot her through the lungs.

The Indians also made an effort to put Mrs. Bogardus, who was holding 9-month-old Will in her arms, on a horse. However, they were defeated by the tenacious resistance of Major, the family dog. The Indians shot at the dog and stuck him with whips.

The massacre victims, Braxton and Elizabeth Bell and David Bogardus, and others are buried in Bell Bogardus Massacre Cemetery on West Asher Creek, about 30 rods north of the section line, section 21-7-6, Asherville Township. It is located on the banks of the creek, hidden among the trees, less than a quarter mile from Old Highway 24. It was the first laid out cemetery in Mitchell County. It is marked with a marble monument with the Bell name etched upon it and several small head stones. The plot is edged with a limestone slab wall and a woven wire fence. In recent years a tall cross has been added.

Come visit us in Beloit, Kansas

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Healing Waters: the Legend of Waconda Springs

Waconda Springs for centuries inspired wonder among its visitors. Both Indians and whites marveled at Kansas' largest saltwater spring. The diameter at the base is 300

Beloit, KS Indian Heritage

Port Library

The Port Library was built as a home of the late Mrs. Emma Port in 1916 and donated to the City of Beloit in 1931

Beloit, KS Historic Homes

Mitchell County Courthouse

Built in 1901 for a total of $38,310. of 8" pitchfaced native limestone, of Richardsonian Romanesque design. The Seth Thomas four-faced clock in the courthouse tower was installed in 1904 and paid for by donations. Originally run by hand, the clock was electrified in 1950. Of the 25 rooms on 3

Beloit, KS Historic Courthouses

Col. William Newton Kinslow

When Col. William Newton Kinslow died in Beloit on Oct. 18, 1948, many attended his funeral, but no one bought him a head stone to mark his final resting place. At 6'7", Kinslow was a member of the National Society of Longfellows and at one time was listed as the second tallest man in Kansas.

Beloit, KS Pioneer Life

St. John's Catholic Church

A structure built of native limestone completed in 1904 in the form of a Latin Cross of Romanesque and Gothic style. It was the first church built in the United States with flying buttresses and an entire stone ceiling. The twin towers are 100' tall, 108' including the crosses adorning each tower.

Beloit, KS Historic Churches

Things to do Pioneer Life near Beloit, KS

Threshing Machine Canyon

In 1867, a party of travelers were transporting three threshing machines belonging to Brigham Young along the Smoky Hill Trai...