W. H. Miner came from Illinois in 1870 and located on the North West
quarter of Section 12, Town 8, Range 1, West, and lived through the
first summer in a tent, which became a well known land mark and
place of call for many of the incoming settlers. That was the time
when this country side was one vast open plain without a house or
tree, the wild animals being glad of any shade afforded them by the
An antelope was so enjoying what shads a large
sunflower could give when Mr. Miner crept up and' shot it, and in
that way he secured a supply of good meat.
He had been over
to Weeping Water for a load of corn and was within three miles of
Cordova on his way home when he got lost in a snow storm; so he dug
his way into the snow bank, and crawled in with his blankets,
staying there till morning, the horses having to make the best of
An Irishman named Pat McMann whom he knew in
Illinois, was passing over the plains to Colorado and called upon
his friend Miner, and when he was going away he left him some nails,
seeing his friend Miner would not accept pay for the hospitality.
These nails were kept in a tub and Mr. Miner needing some one day
put his hand into the tub, as he thought to get some nails, but
instead, caught hold of a rattle snake.
The most trying
experience for Mr. Miner during those pioneer days was his arrest on
a charge of "Riot and Murder," in connection with the well known
Betz and Jones murder trial in Saline county.
Betz and Frank Jones were involved in a dispute through the jumping
of a claim, when, during the fight Jones seized a loaded gun and
shot Betz. The unfortunate man dying soon afterwards not far from
where he received his mortal wound. The particulars are as follows:
Frank Jones and Charlie Hanawalt a bible agent went to
Jones' claim intending to spend the night, but on reaching the shack
they found the Betz's in possession with the door locked, so they
could not get in. They took their bedding and arranged it, sleeping
outside the shack, and on the following morning they set out for
Schulyer Jones' but met him on the way. He asked them where Betz was
and they told him he was in the house, and they could not get him
out, Schulyer Jones called them cowards, and said he could get him
out, so they all went back and Schulyer put his shoulder against the
door and broke it in. Betz then met him with a gun, and he took it
from him handing it to Frank Jones, and then threw Betz out of the
house. This created a fight in which Betz's wife, two boys and two
girls joined with pitchforks, hoe and hatchet, intending as they
said, "to clean them up."
Then Frank Jones shot Betz in self
defense. After that was over Pitt Tones came to tell the sister and
brother-in-law "Karlis" who lived at Miner's house, and Mr. Miner
hitched up his team and took them over to Jones' place. When they
got there, they found a Constable and a Justice of the Peace had
already arrested F. and S. Jones and Charles Hanawalt.
Miner then took them to Pleasant Hill and was there summoned to
appear as witness, the preliminary examination was held that night,
and F. and S. Jones and C. Hanawalt were bound over to the District
Court, Chas. Hildreth and W. H. Miner being witnesses to appear at
A day or two before the Court sat, the Deputy
Sheriff came and arrested T. Karlis, McCormick and W. H. Miner as
prisoners implicated in murder, and they were held at the District
Court for the trial, but the trial would not come off till the next
year, so they were liberated on their own recognizance's of $100 to
appear when called upon.
They appeared several times but the
trial was put off each time, and at last Miner was acquitted, (with
others) but it cost him a great deal of unnecessary expense, to say
nothing of anxiety and suspense.
On April 13, Mr. Miner went
over to Schulyer Jones' place as they had arranged to go over to
Crete for some fruit trees. It commenced to storm, so Mr. Miner
remained there overnight, but the blizzard had set in which lasted
three days. After it was over he had to extricate his wagon which
stood in fifteen feet of snow, this being finally accomplished by
the aid of a team of oxen being hitched to the axle. He returned
home and found that the only loss he had there was one chicken.
Pioneers of Fillmore and Adjoining
Source: Pioneer Stories of the Pioneers of Fillmore and adjoining
Counties, by G. R. McKeith, Press of Fillmore County News, Exeter,
Sites I Like To Visit
Broken Line or Submit
Please let us know if one of our links don't work or you
would like to add your site to our pages!!