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Evidence in the Haystack Murder Cases

 Collection — Volume: 1
Call Number: RH MS D27


Evidence in the Haystack Murder Cases in No Man's Land [Indian Territory], resulting from the county seat contest in Stevens County, Kansas. Washington, D. C. Bound with letters from C. M. Horton, Examiner; T. W. Johnson, Foreman of the Grand Jury; S. Taliaferro, U.S. Attorney; Richard Olney, U.S. Attorney; and James M. Hill.


  • Creation: 1911


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Hay Meadow Massacre

The Hay Meadow massacre occurred on July 25, 1888, and was part of the Stevens County War in Kansas.

In July 1888, Sam Robinson, the marshal of Hugoton, and a group of men supporting Hugoton for the county seat went to No Man's Land, part of Indian Territory (later the state of Oklahoma) just south of the county. Ed Short, the marshal of Woodsdale and Woodsdale supporter, and some men of the opposing faction, caught up with Robinson, but he escaped. Short was joined by Sheriff John M. Cross and four others to search for the Hugoton party. Not finding them, they camped for the night on a hay meadow at Wild Horse Lake, just across the border in present-day Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, some of Robinson's friends headed out to rescue him. After meeting up with Robinson they located the Woodsdale camp at the hay meadow and surrounded the sheriff's party, killing four of them and injuring the fifth. The Hugoton party said they had killed the Woodsdale party in a shootout, however, the surviving member and a group of witnesses stated that the Woodsdale party had been captured, disarmed, and then executed.

The case was tried before the United States Court for the Eastern District of Texas, at Paris (United States v. C. E. Cook. Orin Cook, Capt. C.E. Frease, Johnnie Jackson, Ed Boudin, John Colbert, et al.). Samuel Newitt Wood was the lead prosecutor. Seven men were convicted of murder and sentenced to death. However, on appeal, it was determined that the Paris court had no jurisdiction and no sentence was carried out.


1 volume : 326 leaves. Typescript

Language of Materials


Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, William E. Connelley, circa 1927 via Mary Maud Smelser Fund.

Guide to the Samuel Robinson Collection
Evidence in the Haystack Murder Cases
Finding aid prepared by lgg, 24 November 1972. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2004.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Evidence in the Haystack Murder Cases, Kansas Collection, RH MS D27, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States