Camp Pliley in Lincoln County, Kansas

Camp Pliley was one of four military camps in Lincoln County, Kansas, that were established to deal with Indian raids in which several settlers were killed.

Established in 1868, it was located in Grant Township, on the north side of the creek, a little east of where Bacon Creek joins Spillman Creek.

Allison J. Pliley

Allison J. Pliley

Following his service with Colonel George A. Forsyth’s Scouts and participating in the Battle of Beecher’s Island, Colorado, Allison J. Pliley was commissioned a captain by the Kansas Governor Samuel Crawford and was given command of Company A of the 19th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry. He served in this capacity from October 20, 1868, until April 18, 1869, and was consistently chosen to lead scouting and rescue details. He was present when Mrs. Morgan and Mrs. White were rescued from Dull Knife’s band of Cheyenne.

In July 1869, the Second Battalion, Kansas State Militia, was organized.

Also known as the Second Frontier Battalion, this unit was formed to patrol the area from the Republican River to the Smoky Hill River after Indian warriors attacked, murdered, and carried into captivity a number of citizens from the area (primarily the May 30, 1869, Lincoln County Indian attack were ten people were killed). Colonel W. S. Moorhouse, the adjutant general, directed the formation of a legislatively-approved organization of four companies to provide a military presence in the rather remote region. Although the units had no major battles, Indian activity in the area was greatly reduced upon their arrival.

The units occupied four camps originally built by the federal government when the federal troops vacated the camps. The soldiers had to provide their own horses, clothing, and rations, except the state provided the firearms and ammunition. Enlisted soldiers were paid $46.50 a month. Officers were paid $92.50 a month.

Camp Pliley originally consisted of a log house built in a square with portholes in the walls. In mid-July 1869, Captain Allison J. Pliley took command of the camp, along with First Lieutenant C. B. Whitney and Second Lieutenant John Marshall.

Captain Pliley was in command of 82 men and 90 horses.

Camp Philey, Kansas Map

Camp Philey, Kansas Map

Pliley then had a second story built on the 24-foot square blockhouse. The second story was offset 45 degrees so that when viewed from the top, the blockhouse appeared like an octagon. Camp Pliley comprised the blockhouse, a stockade, a kitchen, a mess house, and several “officer’s quarters.”  The building measured 24 x 24 feet square, and in a pinch, it could shelter about 100 people. The stockade could accommodate about 100 horses.

Its location was ideal, with a grove of trees there and a fine spring of pure water. Southwest of the camp, across Spillman Creek, was a high bluff that could be used as a sentinel point. On clear days, the sentinel had a broad view over several miles of the creek in either direction, so Indians could not easily surprise him.

The troop stationed at Camp Pliley was Company A, 2nd Frontier Battalion, and the full quota of soldiers for all four of the camps in the Lincoln County area was a battalion of 300 enlisted men with 11 officers.

The Camp Pliley blockhouse was utilized as a voting station for the western half of Lincoln County in 1872.

Some of the settlers near the blockhouse in 1869 through 1872 included Tom Boyle and his wife, P.D. Reed and his wife, Dick Alley and his wife, Lorentz Christiansen and his wife, and his brother Peter and family. The Christiansen brothers had escaped from the Indian Raids near Denmark, Kansas, on May 30, 1869, and then returned to Lincoln County by 1871. Henry Leaf and Harry Trask were single men living on Spillman Creek at this time as well as Helena Christensen Errebo, widow of Henry Errebo.

Unfortunately, the blockhouse and stockade were burned in a prairie fire in the fall of 1872.

The other four camps included:

Company B – Located at Plum Creek. Under the command of Captain W. A. Winsell, First Lieutenant Joseph Becock, and Second Lieutenant B. C. Lawrence.
Company C – Located around Fisher Creek. Under the command of Captain I. N. Dalrymple and First Lieutenant H. H. Tucker.
Company D – Located near the forks of Beaver Creek and the Republican River. Under the command of Captain Richard Stanfield and First Lieutenant Herod Johnson.

©Kathy Alexander/Legends of Kansas, July 2023.

Also See:

Kansas Forts

Lincoln County, Kansas

Lincoln County, Kansas Indian Raids

Allison J. Pliley – Brave Kansas Scout


Denmark Preservation Foundation Kansas
Kansas Guard Museum
Kansas GenWeb
Lincoln County, Kansas
Lupfer-Nielsen, Kathryn, “Camp Pliley, Pottersburg, and Ash Grove, Lincoln County,” Lost Kansas Communities