The Osage Indians
The Osage Indians were the first settlers in this area. As early as 1803, Chief Black Dog and his band of Osage Indians made a trail through Coffeyville.
During the Civil War in the 1860's, many Osage Indians camped in the
Verdigris Valley area west of the Verdigris River. They had to cross the river to trade with the white men. Soon the white man began to settle in this area with many of them settling on the east side of the Verdigris River in a settlement established by James Parker. James A. Coffey traveled from Humboldt specifically to trade with the Osage and set up a trading post - on what is now known as South Walnut - on the west side of the River. The Indians deciding it was easier not to have to cross the River begun trading with Coffey and soon his trading center became a thriving town. Thus, Coffeyville was founded in 1869 and named for James A. Coffey. The area between 13th and 15th Streets on Walnut became a hub of activity because of the Indian trading. There was also some farming done in the area along with cattle grazing and herding.
Black Dog or Zhin-ga'wa-ca (Manka-chonkah) was an Osage Indian born circa 1780 near what later became St. Louis, Missouri. Zhin-ga'wa-ca is a very old Indian name which is not translatable since the last part is archaic and the meaning lost. The Osage Indians are descendants of the Siouan Tribe. They originally came from the Alleghaney and Monogahela River Valleys. When Zhin-ga'wa-ca was young, he lost his left eye in a childhood accident. He grew to be seven (7) feet tall and weighed around 300 pounds.
During a raid upon a Comanche camp, a small, black dog started barking and Zhin-ga'wa-ca shot an arrow in the direction of the dog which killed it. Thereafter, he was known by the name of Black Dog. Later Black Dog was named chief of his tribe which became known as the Black Dog Tribe. Their camp was located in the vicinity of where the city of Coffeyville, Kansas, is now located. The Osages were a migratory tribe which would plant corn in an area, then go hunting for buffalo. Once they had their capacity of buffalo meat and hides, the tribe would return to their camp area where the corn had been planted and harvest it. Their trail in southern Kansas became known as the Black Dog Trail.