Douglas County's War on Terror

Dateline – 9/11/any year

On a warm June day the Terrorists watched the comfortable Douglas County home from a distance, waiting for the father to leave for work. Darkly, they watched the oddly complected family, seeking to drive them and their kind from the neighborhood and make the area ethnicly clean. After the father had left for work and was out of sight, they moved in.

They attacked the wife first.

Ellen Hungate, the mother of two small girls, was raped, stabbed repeatedly and scalped. The Terrorists then turned on the little girls. Toddler Laura V. Hungate, aged 2 and baby Florence V. Hungate, aged 5 months, had their throats slashed so violently that their heads were barely still attached. The Terrorists set fire to the house and waited. The children’s father, Nathan, saw smoke in the distance and hurried back to save his home and family. The terrorists were waiting. Nathan Ward Hungate’s body was later found mutilated and scalped as well, about 100 yards from his home. [2]

The Terrorists cut a boy’s head off and, after slicing his body into pieces, piled the pieces together near the boy’s house. They put his severed head on top of the heap. [5]

The message was clear, all foreigners must leave the neighborhood or die. Elsewhere, a farmer, on returning to his home at sundown, beheld the horrible sight of his wife scalped and nailed by her hands and feet to the side of the house. [3]

Each of these horrific terrorist attacks happened in Colorado with the goal of driving people out of their homes and land. Ethnic Cleansing was the order of the day.

All of this happened In 1864.

After searchers found the Hungate family , they took their tortured bodies to Denver and placed them on display in the shop window of an unused store building, near what is now the Denver Civic Center. This awful display lasted for several hours and many Denver residents came by to see. [2] Everyone was horrified. The Rocky Mountain News wrote story after story about how American citizens were not safe from the marauding Indians. The sitting Territorial Governor, John Evans, organized a Colorado Cavalry to begin the process of stamping out this Indian Terrorist activity. The Indian War had now truly begun.

On August 21, 1864, one of Evans’ Calvary soldiers, Conrad Moschel, was unfortunate enough to be captured by the Terrorists. A few days later, he was found near Franktown, CO with an arrow in his back, a gunshot wound and he too had been scalped. He was buried where he fell and a carving in the rock wall overlooking his grave is a somber memorial to this very day. Moschel was the last Douglas County man to be killed by Indians.

During the Indian uprising, a total of 208 men, women and children, ranchers, emigrants, herders and soldiers were killed by Indians.[1]

In November, 1864, the Colorado Cavalry under Colonel Chivington attacked a Cheyenne and Arapahoe encampment at Sand Creek. 175 Indians were killed there. When the dust cleared, the following was found among the dead Indians:

a.Scalps of men, women and children several of which had not had time to dry and tan since taken.[1]
b. Scalps taken from the belts of dead warriors on the Sand Creek battlefield.[1]
c. An Indian blanket fringed with white-women’s scalps.[1]

Afterward, a Washington committee found the Sand Creek Battle was really a Sand Creek Massacre. Newly installed U.S. President Andrew Johnson quickly relieved John Evans as territorial governor. The Indian tribes were eventually resettled in Oklahoma. Evans and Chivington established and grew the University of Denver. Both were received as heroes in Colorado for the remainder of their lives. [1]

Most recently, Google began its project of electronically scanning in old books and making them searchable on the Internet. Many of these books have been out of circulation for decades. Because of Google’s efforts, you can now read books and magazines from these long ago days. The rather gory descriptions in this article come directly from the old books and magazines. Most of the authors were alive and active participants during the Indian Uprising. This is not revisionist history but eyewtness history as it happened. If you would like to explore this original material, the links are below. The number codes show which publication the Terror anecdote came from. Much of the drama took place here in Douglas County, Colorado.

Right now there is yet another war happening. In the Middle East, Islamic Jihadists are trying to drive out all non-moslems from this region of the world. Countries like Lebanon, Syria and Iraq with sizable numbers of Christian and Jewish communities have been ethnically cleansed by the present day Terrorists, leaving behind property and possessions as they fled for their lives. America too was a casualty on 9/11/02 in the Terrorists’ efforts to force us to leave this vitalregion.

Today, the U.S. Government has established a 2,400 acre National Historic Site where Sand Creek happened. It is all paid for with our tax dollars. The Hungates have a 4 square foot remembrance in Denver’s Fairmount Cemetary, privately financed. Terror victim Conrad Moschel is remembered by some words carved in a rock and a grave stone hidden by scrub oak erected and paid for by his children.

Our U.S. Government has not paid for any memorial to the 208 Americans who died in this earlier War on Terror.

Source Material:

Massacres of the Mountains: a history of the Indian Wars (1886)[1]

Massacre along the Medicine Road[2]

Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science and Arts (1884)[3]

History of Colorado, Vol. 1 (1918)[4]

The Trail: a magazine “for Colorado” – The Personal Memoirs of Capt. Chas. Christy (1908)[5]

Mike Robinson is Senior Partner at Robinson & Henry, P.C., a Castle Rock Law Firm.