Tag Archives: Ft.Scott

The Bloody Benders of Labette County ~ a TRUE Ghost Story!

 I wrote this years ago for Halloween and I keep recycling it every year. This post also gets more views (from all over the world) than anything else I’ve ever written. I did quite a bit of research for this piece. I wish I had listed my sources at the time. Be assured that this story is as accurate as any you’ll find about the Benders. ~ sekanblogger

The old Bender property is haunted. A mere decade after the gruesome killings, nothing was left of the cabin and outbuildings on the property, the only thing that remained — an empty hole that had once been the cellar, has long been filled in. From these depths come the souls of those murdered on the site, wandering about the property and making moaning sounds that can be heard by any passersby. Of those most often reporting seeing glowing apparitions on the property are those who come to the site in search of some long lost souvenir of the grisly murders. Quickly, the scavengers are frightened away by the dead souls to spread their ghostly tales.

As the legend of the haunting continues, people say that Kate Bender, herself, returns to the property, doomed to roam the land where she had committed so many atrocities. Whether folklore or fact, many believe that the trapped souls of these century-old ghosts continue to lurk at the site today, looking for the cabin, well, and shallow graves they were left in. Of those who were mistaken for the Bender family, and murdered by vigilantes, they continue to roam Southeast Kansas, seeking revenge! The old Bender property is approximately 10 miles west of Parsons Kansas.


 Through the Treaty of 1870, the Federal Government moved the Osage Indian tribe out of the state of Kansas completely and finally. The Osage defense of the best of their territory had become impossible, due to a flood of European immigrants. Prior to 1870, the immigrants were entirely illegal, but the State refused to accept that fact, while the Federal Government simply turned a blind eye. The Osage had been promised the land, literally “As long as the wind blows and the grass grows.” This was the actual wording in one of the treaties. However, the Osage saw the future, and had capitulated long before 1870, in heart and mind, if not in writing. One well used Osage trail led from Ft. Scott Kansas, to Independence Kansas. It was mid-point along this stretch of trail, near a mound that still bears the name “Bender’s Mound”, that our sordid story ensues.

The landmark known as "Bender's Mound"

At about the same time, and just a few miles from the now famous Ingalls family (Little House On The Prarie), a family of Germans, consisting of four persons – a man, his wife, son and daughter – moved into southeast Kansas, at Osage township. The man was known as William or John Bender, the son and daughter as John Jr. and Kate. In reality, none of them were named Bender, and the woman and daughter were the only ones actually related. Continue reading


Filed under AMERICANA, History, Kansas, Labette County, Southeast Kansas

AD ASTRA PER ASPERA a poem by Ironquill



 A motto appears 

On the seal of a State —
     Of a State that was born
     While the terror was brewing;
A motto defying
The edicts of fate;
     A motto of daring,
     A legend of doing.

A perilous past
And a cavernous gloom
     Had enshrouded the State
     In its humble beginning;
But courage of soul,
In repelling the doom,
     Of failure made hope,
     And of losing made winning.

Through scars to the stars,
Through the pall of the past,
     Through the gloom to the gleam
     Rose the State from the peril;
Then gleam became gloom,
And the laurels at last
     Were scattered in ashes
     Repugnant and sterile.

But Kansas shall shine
In the stories and songs
     That are told and are sung
     Of undaunted reliance.
Tile gloom yet will gleam,
And the evils and wrongs
     Will shrivel and crisp
     In the blaze of defiance.

The future shall bury
The now — as the woe
     On the field of a battle
     By verdure is hidden;
And hope will return
Like the harvests that grow
     Where cannon have plowed
     And the cavalry ridden.

ABOUT “IRONQUILL” Continue reading

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Filed under AMERICANA, History, Kansas, Poetry, Southeast Kansas, The Four States

HISTORY by ‘Ironquill’

Over the infinite prairie of level eternity,
          Flying as flies the deer,
Time is pursued by a pitiless, cruel oblivion,
          Following fast and near.

Ever and ever the famishing coyote is following
          Patiently in the rear;
Trifling the interval, yet we are calling it “History” —
          Distance from wolf to deer.


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Filed under AMERICANA, History, Kansas, Poetry


  (this poem and photo are both by famous Fort Scott Kansas residents, from different times and backgrounds)

In a very quiet spot,

Photo by Gordon Parks

Photo by Gordon Parks

In a very humble cot,

     In the suds and in the soap,
     Worked a woman full of hope;
Working, singing, all alone,
In a sort of undertone
     “With the Savior for a friend,
     He will keep me to the end.”

Sometimes happening, along,
I had heard the semi-song,
     And I often used to smile,
     More in sympathy than guile;
But I never said a word
In regard to what I heard,
     As she sang about her friend
     Who would keep her to the end.

Not in sorrow nor in glee
Working all day long was she,
     As her children, three or four,
     Played around her on the floor;
But in monotones the song
She was humming all day long:
     “With the Savior for a friend,
     He will keep me to the end.”

It ‘s a song I do not sing,
For I scarce believe a thing
     Of the stories that are told
     Of the miracles of old;
But I know that her belief
Is the anodyne of grief,
     And will always be a friend
     That will keep her to the end.

Just a trifle lonesome she,
Just as poor as poor could be;
     But her spirits always rose,
     Like the bubbles in the clothes,
And, though widowed and alone,
Cheered me with the monotone,
     Of a Savior and a friend
     Who would keep her to the end.

I have seen her rub and scrub,
On the washboard in the tub,
     While the baby, sopped in suds,
     Rolled and tumbled in the duds;
Or was paddling in the pools,
With old scissors stuck in spools;
     She still humming of her friend
     Who would keep her to the end.

Human hopes and human creeds
Have their root in human needs;
     And I should not wish to strip
     From that washerwoman’s lip
Any song that she can sing,
Any hope that songs can bring;
     For the woman has a friend
     Who will keep her to the end.


Filed under History, Kansas, Poetry