Gun Found at Sand Creek Was Displayed with Bowens’ Sand Creek Artifacts

From our archives…

Starr Revolver Displayed with Bowens’ Sand Creek Artifacts 

The Starr revolver, found by William H. “Buster” Albright on Sand Creek, was on display with Chuck Bowen’s Sand Creek artifacts 10 years ago. It was placed by Bill Huffman, Albright’s grandson. The revolver was passed down from Albright to Huffman. 

Bill Huffman, Chuck Bowen and Curt Neeley

In 1891, Buster was only 15 and a cowboy working for the SS Cattle Ranch when he found the Starr army revolver, Patent Jan. 1856, while riding his horse along Sand Creek.

Gillette Fluke, a cowboy friend of Buster’s, documented the location of the find when he wrote that it was found 10 miles north of Chivington, which would be up the creek from the traditional site. The Chuck and Sheri Bowen Sand Creek discovery of 1997, 106 years later, is also located 10 miles north of Chivington, matching Gillette’s documentation, which was two miles up the creek from the Sand Creek monument. Both finds indicate the Indian village and following battle were up the creek from the monument on the bluff. The monument read, “Sand Creek Battle Ground.” 

Irving Howbert, a soldier, stated in his book, Memories of a Lifetime in the Pike’s Peak Region (1925) “…we reached the top of a ridge, and away off down in the valley to the northwest, we saw a great number of Indian tents…” The monument was located on this ridge. 

Irving Howbert had a remarkable career. He was a founding father of Colorado Springs—he helped bring in railroads and was involved with mining. The massacre story, below the bluff, as shown in the 1936 painting by Lindneux, does not appear to have the artifacts to support that theory.

The Albright family was from Kentucky and arrived in Sheridan Lake in 1887 when Buster was 11 years old. Buster’s younger brother Kiowa (Ki) was said to be the first white child born in the newly formed Kiowa County. Kiowa County was created on April 11th, 1889, and Ki was born four months later on Aug. 4th, 1889.

Gillette Fluke lived north of Chivington, (the short lived Water Valley) and in his later years, he lived in Lamar. He lived to be 95. His family was from Iowa and came to Kiowa County when he was nine, the same year the Albrights came. Gillette was two years younger than Buster and remembered as a young boy that he stood on a hill west of Sand Creek and watched a stagecoach rolling southward.

The display of the revolver was facilitated by Curt Neeley of Colorado Springs. Curt, now in his 80s, has been interested in and an active researcher of the Sand Creek story most of his life.

The full account of Albright and Fluke is in our book.

Learn about our Sand Creek book here: Click the Buy the Book tab in the top right of the page or you can also get our book here: WeFoundTheLostSandCreekSite

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