WOODWARD, Feb. 5- (Special) Joseph A. Innis, 85, for whom funeral services were held today, was the longest time resident of this community, coming here with three brothers in 1886, and had been surveyor of Woodward county since the county was formed with the opening of the Cherokee Strip in 1893, or for 54 years. He knew more section lines and other land descriptions than all the rest of this area's citizens combined. He had lived in this city since the Strip opening, a highly respected civil engineer.
The Innis brothers were born in Bent County, Indiana, and were small lads when their parents took them by covered wagon to then sparsely settled Missouri. Then in '86 they came to this area and for a number of years all were employed at old Fort Supply, which Generals Sheridan and Custer had established in 1888. They remained mostly in the Fort Supply locality until it was abandoned in 1891. Two of the brothers, John and Arch, are still in that vicinity, the third dying several years ago. There are two other brothers in Kansas- Robert of Sabetha and William of Dodge City.
When Joe Innis and his brothers came to this vicinity 61 years ago, their first big job was a sub-contract to cut 700 cords of wood for heating Fort Supply barracks and other buildings. Jim Ferguson, an early day character, took the contract to cut the wood for $9 a cord and sublet the job to the Innis brothers for $7. It was all in 4-foot lengths, the size required by Fort Supply stoves. It was cut in Bent canyon, north of Woodward; on Six Mile Creek, north of Gage, and in the district 15 miles south of Woodward, mostly cottonwood and elm, some oak.
Joe Innis had one of the first dwellings in this locality. It was a combined dugout and log hut on a squatter's claim north of the present town of Gage. It was comparatively recently that Innis, while running lines for an oil company's lease, reached the corner of his old squatter home, established during the late '80's.
The Innis brothers also assisted frequently as meat providers for the soldiers at the fort. Mules were used almost exclusively as the motive power and as a rule there were six mule teams. With such transportation the Innis brothers rode with the fort's officers on hunting trips and at other times the brothers did the hunting on their own. This was done by killing wild game and the valleys of the Cimarron and North Canadian rivers and of Beaver and Wolfe creeks had an abundance of deer, antelope, bear, wild turkey and buffalo to some extent. Often the fort officers took several days' trips to hunt.
Most of the time, when the Innis brothers were at Fort Supply there were about 800 soldiers stationed there, four companies of infantry and two of cavalry, and they have remembered that Cols-Parker and Bryant were the commanding officers for at least a portion of that time.
It was Joe Innis, who three years ago remembered the details of the "Massacre of Wild Horse Lake" , known also as the "Haystack Meadow Massacre in the Oklahoma Panhandle." Attempts were being made to get the details of a picture taken during the late '80's of the massacre, and Innis supplied them. He told of two rival county seat factions north across the line in Kansas. One of several members had come south into No Man's Land to establish squatter rights homesteads. Members of the other faction followed them down and killed all of them with the exception of a small boy who recovered from his wounds and told the story.
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