Serial-killing clan called the Bloody Benders terrorized Labette County, Kansas, from 1871-1873
Oh, last Friday the Telegraph tells us that four souls were launched into eternity, guilty of the most brutal and barbarous murders on record. The whole world shudders at the developments of the Bender murderers, and. yet the whole is not known.
It does not seem possible that such human fiends ever lived. A garden planted with human bodies, victims of their bloody hands and murderous hearts, for paltry sums of money.
The proof is beyond all doubt. The murders were committed, the bodies have been disinterred from the garden, each with a fractured skull, and throat cut from ear to ear.
They have been, in most instances, identified by friends or acquaintances. More are still missing, whose journeys have been traced to the neighborhood of the Benders, All that were killed were not buried in the garden.
One, at least, was found in a creek with the same marks, the same fracture by the deadly hammer, the same ghastly incision of the throat.
The whole number of their victims is not yet known. The Benders are still at large, and time is given them to flee to distant and obscure parts of the world.
Book was written about the Benders Pictures and story of the Bloody Benders
Ma, Pa, Mary, and Laura Ingalls
Laura Ingalls: There was the story of the Bender family that belonged in the third volume, Little House on the Prairie.
The Benders lived halfway between it and Independence, Kansas. We stopped there, on our way in to the Little House, while Pa watered the horses and brought us all a drink from the well near the door of the house. I saw Kate Bender standing in the doorway. We did not go in because we could not afford to stop at a tavern.
On his trip to Independence to sell his furs, Pa stopped again for water but did not go in for the same reason as before.
There were Kate Bender and two men, her brothers, in the family and their tavern was the only place for travelers to stop on the road south from Independence. People disappeared on that road.
Leaving Independence and going south they were never heard of again. It was thought they were killed by Indians but no bodies were ever found.
Then it was noticed that the Benders’ garden was always freshly plowed but never planted. People wondered. And then a man came from the east looking for his brother, who was missing.
He made up a party in Independence and they followed the road south, but when they came to the Bender place there was no one there. There were signs of hurried departure and they searched the place.
The front room was divided by a calico curtain against which the dining table stood. On the curtain back of the table were stains about as high as the head of a man when seated. Behind the curtain was a trap door in the floor and beside it lay a heavy hammer.
In the cellar underneath was the body of a man whose head had been crushed by the hammer. It appeared that he had been seated at the table back to the curtain and had been struck from behind it. A grave was partly dug in the garden with a shovel close by. The posse searched the garden and dug up human bones and bodies. One body was that of a little girl who had been buried alive with her murdered parents. The garden was truly a grave-yard kept plowed so it would show no signs. The night of the day the bodies were found a neighbor rode up to our house and talked earnestly with Pa.
Pa took his rifle down from its place over the door and said to Ma, “The vigilantes are called out.” Then he saddled a horse and rode away with the neighbor. It was late the next day when he came back and he never told us where he had been.
For several years there was more or less a hunt for the Benders and reports that they had been seen here or there. At such times
Pa always said in a strange tone of finality, “They will never be found.”
They were never found and later I formed my own conclusions why.