Apache Indians were the earliest Native Americans to live in the High Plains of western Kansas. The Spanish of New Mexico referred to the natives who lived in Western Kansas in the 17th and early 18th century as the Cuartelejo Apache.
The first Euro-American settlers in Scott County reportedly found irrigation ditches in Ladder Creek valley. The earlier Pueblo refugees or the Cuartelejo Apache may have built and used these to water their gardens. The El Cuartelejo pueblo was abandoned in 1706, or by other accounts around 1719. The Spanish, French, and Pueblo Indian each arrived in the Northern region, all having their unique connection with the El Cuartelejo pueblo. These ruins were discovered in 1898 by a pioneer, Herb Steele. El Cuartelejo was built by the Pueblo Indians and is the northernmost pueblo ruin found in the United States. El Cuartelejo means “barracks” in Spanish.