Two Face

After his raid down the Platte, where he burned so many farm houses and hay stacks, when he took Mrs. Morris captive and got so good a price for her ransom, Two Face decided that there was good money in stealing and selling white women; so he took it up as a profession.

He went over on the Blue river and captured Mrs. Ewbanks and Miss Roper. After he had them three or four months, and mistreated and abused them as the Indians usually did their captives, Two Face took them to one of the southern forts, supposed to be Fort Lyons, and traded them for provisions and received a good exchange in the trade.

He immediately started to look for another bargain.

This Indian dealt in women like he did in ponies. He would always look for the finest appearing ones and put up the price according to the beauty and style of his captive.

The next victim of Two Face was a Miss Bennett. He was so sure of an unusually good price for her, that he did not lose much time in getting to a fort. The officers gave him a deal that enabled him to retire from business.

By this time Two Face’s reputation as a “dealer in women” was spread all over the western country, and every scout, officer and soldier was on the lookout to close a final deal with him.

In the spring of 1 866, Two Face took Miss Bennett within a mile of Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and hid her in some willows and placed three Indian guards to watch her, while he went to the fort and made terms for the sale.

Colonel Moonlight, who was in charge of the fort, asked him what he wanted in exchange for his captive. Two Face demanded three thousand pounds of bacon, the same of flour, large quantities of sugar and coffee, and twenty beef steers.

The colonel studied awhile before replying, “I am not sure whether we can spare all that or not, but I will send a sergeant to investigate the commissary and see how much we have. He sent for a sergeant and in the meantime he asked Two Face, “How far is your captive and how long will it take to get her here?”

The Indian said, “One mile, in willows; three guards,” and he unconsciously threw out his arm in the direction. The keen colonel noticed the move. By this time the sergeant came in and Moonlight gave him the note to take to the captain. In a few moments he returned with an answer. The colonel, after reading it, turned to Two Face. “I am very sorry, but we cannot trade for your captive; our supplies are too low.” The Indian was greatly disappointed over this turn of affairs. He had so planned on a good price for Miss Bennett. He had begun to think that the officers would ransom a white woman, no matter what the cost was, and this was a blow to him, for he thought his business was growing more prosperous on every deal, so this failure caused an enraged and revengeful Indian to leave the fort and return to his captive, who would also feel the disappointment of the deal and more than likely suffer more at the hands of the Indian on account of it.

In the meantime the captain was carrying out the orders in the colonel’s note, which were, “Two Face has a woman captive near, about a mile in the southwest; take a few men, go find her and bring the three guards into the fort. If you should meet Two Face on the road, bring him back.”

Shortly after Two Face left the fort, the captain returned with Miss Bennett and the “dealer in women.”

The colonel asked the captain where the three Indian guards were, and the captain said, “I suppose they got away; anyhow, they are goners,” and he said it in such a way that the colonel could easily guess why they were goners.

They attached a chain and ball to Two Face and placed him in the guard house, where he was confined until instructions could be got from Washington. Colonel Moonlight sent the record of Two Face into headquarters at Washington and asked for instructions what to do with him.

All messages were carried over the overland stage coaches, which were owned by Ben Holiday at that time. On account of this slow way of conveyance, it was about three months before the answer got back from Washington.

Colonel Moonlight was noted for his love of liquor, and it so happened that he had a few drinks too many, when the instructions from Washington arrived. The dispatch was:

“Colonel Moonlight, Fort Laramie, Wyoming: You will proceed at once to hang the Indian Chief Two Face, in his chains.”

But the colonel’s eyes were a little crooked from the effects of too much booze, and he read it, “Hang the Indian chief Two Face with his chains.” Upon reading it, the colonel said, “All rite, I do dat rite avay.”

He went back to the guardhouse and told Two Face he was going to set him free. The old chief was greatly pleased and jumped up with his pipe of peace. The colonel said, “You no understand; I send you to happy hunting grounds.” This changed the Indian’s countenance.

Colonel Moonlight ordered three wagons to be brought out in an open lot and the tongues raised up and all fastened together, forming a tripod. He then took Two Face out and threw one end of a log chain over the tongues and hooked the other end around his neck; then kicked the box from under the Indian. They let the body of the Indian hang under the tripod formed by the wagon tongues three days.

This ended Two Face’s dealing in the woman traffic.

Some of the Pioneers of Colorado

Source: True History of some of the Pioneers of Colorado, by Miss Luella Shaw, Press of Carson Harper Co, Denver, Colorado, 1909


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