In 1851, the Treaty of Fort Laramie recognized that the Cheyenne and Arapaho held territory encompassing land between the North Platte River and Arkansas River from the Rocky Mountains to western Kansas. By 1859, gold was discovered in the Rockies bringing a gold rush to what was then western Kansas Territory. The Cheyenne and Arapaho urged federal authorities to redefine what their lands were and in the fall of 1860, a new treaty was negotiated.
|The delegation of Kiowa, Cheyenne and
Arapaho chiefs, September 1864. Black
Kettle is 2nd from left, front row.
Photo: Smithsonian Institute.
|Col. John Chivington
|Silas Soule, circa 1864-65.
Photo: Denver Public Library
In July 1859, 20 pro-slavery men crossed into Kansas and ambushed a party led by Dr. John Doy who was escorting 13 former slaves to Iowa. The men from Missouri arrested Doy, tried and convicted him sentencing him to five years in prison. Soule and a group of other men decided to free Doy, overpowered the jailer, freeing Doy and leading him across the border back to Kansas. When they got back to Lawrence, their photo was taken. The photo, called The Immortal Ten, is widely circulated and a Kansas icon. Soule was also tasked with freeing John Brown after he was captured after his raid on Harper's Ferry. Brown allowed himself to be hanged hoping his death would start a war. Soule then tried to free two of Brown's men who refused to come with him.
|The John Doy rescue party "The Immortal Ten." Doy is seated. Soule is 2nd
from the right. Photo: Amon Gilbert DeLee, courtesy Kansas State Historical Society.
The Army investigated what would become the Sand Creek Massacre and Soule testified against Chivington in court in January 1865. Soule was married to Hersa Coberly in March of 1865 and was on duty as a Provost Marshal in Denver on April 23, 1865 when shots rang out. One of the bullets hit Soule in the head, killing him almost instantly. It is believed that someone who was a supporter of Chivington did the killing or ordered it. The murderer was never brought to justice. Soule was buried in Denver's historic Riverside Cemetery and is remembered every year during remembrance ceremonies of the Sand Creek Massacre where the graves of Soule and Cramer are decorated. A plaque commemorating Soule was also placed on a building at 15th and Arapaho in Denver.
|Soule's gravestone in Riverside Cemetery
in Denver, Colorado. Courtesy FindAGrave.