Men Who Made the West

      WHO MADE DODGE CITY FAMOUS? AT ONCE, MANY PEOPLE would mention famous gun fighters of the old West but it was the better element, the builders, men with a vision, who made the city what it is today. It was the old timers of yesteryear, many of them buffalo hunters who stayed after the hunt was over; surely not the people who followed after for the fame of Dodge City was already spread around the world by then. Among the mighty buffalo hunters one will find many of these high type men who never catered to the rough element, but tended to their own business and really made, not only Dodge City and Ford County what they are today, but the whole southwest country.

      George W. (Washington) Reighard was one of these hunters. He came to the West in February, 1867, as a government employee, driving a reserve wagon train with supplies for General Custer and the Seventh Cavalry, who had the task of subduing the Indians in the buffalo country. The adventuresome twenty year old Reighard covered the route from Fort Hays, along the Arkansas River to Fort Dodge, the only white habitation in the southwest territory, and on to Fort Elliott and Fort Supply, in Texas, and back again to Fort Hays.

      Even at this time young George Reighard had a certain distinction-he could cut a fly from a mule's ear with a flick of his long whip, not an easy feat, and he took great delight in doing so. His government freighting took him through the very heart of the buffalo country.

      In the early days, buffaloes were not as suspicious of man as they became later. One spring on a trip from Fort Hays southward, they met the grazing herd at Pawnee, fifty miles south of Hays, slowly meandering northward. From there onward, clear to Fort Supply, 175 miles, they traveled through a continuous maps of buffaloes. The buffaloes were too busy feeding to bother the freighters or be frightened by them, intent only, it seemed, on slowly grazing northward in the spring migration. Occasionally, a buffalo would lift a shaggy head, gaze curiously at


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the wagon train a few moments, then go on feeding.

      At one place, however, the herd became frightened at something and stampeded right through the train, consisting of thirty wagons, each drawn by six mules. Often they had been held up by a group of a few hundred, so compact that it blocked the way and the drivers stopped the teams until the group drifting past opened a lane for them. But this time it was different for the buffaloes came with such force that they overturned six of the heavily loaded wagons. From the time a market opened for buffalo hides, George Reighard was hunting buffalo. This was before the immense herd became divided into two great herds, one south of the Union Pacific Railway, known as the Southern herd, ranging in Texas and New Mexico; the other called the Great Northern herd which ranged north of the railway in the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming.

      In 1872, George Reighard took his outfit south of Fort Dodge to hunt buffalo, furnishing the team and wagon and doing the killing. On his government freighting trail he had never been out of sight of the buffalo from one end of the trail to the other, and often had to stop to let herds of buffalo pass. So it was natural in the early '70's for him to take up that business when the buffalo slaughter began for it afforded, if managed rightly, a bountiful living on the prairie. His helpers were Jim Whalen, Tom Rooney, and Zeke Ford, who did the skinning, stretching, and cooking, and furnished the supplies. The hides were divided, half and half. Reighard "still" hunted, carrying two big .50 Sharp's rifles, with telescopic sights. Shells were three and one-half inches long with 110 grains of powder. Reighard could kill a buffalo a long way off if he hit a spot, about twice the size of a man's hand, right behind the back of the foreleg, and then the herd would not stampede.

      Often Indians were a very great menace to the buffalo hunter and as the years passed, committed many outrageous acts against the hunters, often murdering a whole camp's workmen. Reighard leaves one report of an Indian scare, saying a group of Indians approached his camp one day. Fortunately, he saw them coming, and finally made them understand, after much gesturing, that one old Indian could come. He came as close as he thought advisable for Indians feared the white man's gun, his deadly aim, and above all his fearlessness, and began talking

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at once in his sign language. Pointing his finger at Reighard, he then placed his hand under his head to indicate one sleep, after which he held up one finger to emphasize night. After that, he waved his hand to indicate flight. Waiting a moment, he then raised his arms as if he held a gun and would fire if his order was not obeyed, after which, he wheeled and rode away. Reighard and his men stayed on but the Indians had a way of making them move. Waiting until the wind was right, they set fire to the prairie along Bluff Creek; the wind carried it southward and the fire swept the whole country.

      George Reighard said, "As nearly as I can estimate, I have killed about 5,000 buffaloes. I shot and killed buffalo on the site of Dodge City before the town was founded. Other hunters and I have killed them for years around the Dodge City site. Once I came upon a herd of 69 and killed them all in one day. In fact, I've killed more than a hundred in one day."

      After buffalo hunting was no more, Reighard, along with many a settler and former buffalo hunter, began gathering the bones of the buffalo herds the hunters had annihilated. It is said many a settler could not have weathered the first hard years on his claim if it had not been for the harvest of buffalo bones. They were tossed into ricks extending a long way beside the railroad track near a. station, to be shipped east where they were ground into fertilizer and sold for seven to ten dollars a ton.

      When "shooting the buffalo" days were over and his bones were gathered from the Kansas prairie, along with others, George Reighard had a wagon train left on his hands for the railroads were hauling freight by this time cheaper than it could be freighted by mules and oxen. Never one not to try to better himself, Reighard loaded his wagons with food supplies and started for Deadwood, hoping to sell not only the supplies but the wagons and teams as well. However, on arrival, he found there was a famine there and his flour and sugar brought fabulous prices. While the business flourished, he stayed there and freighted in supplies.

      In the late '70's, he returned to Dodge City and he and his brother-in-law, William States, opened a road ranch south of the Arkansas River. The site was purchased for $1,000 and was headquarters for those who did not wish to pay the toll to cross the bridge into Dodge City proper for supplies. Mr. States set up a meat market, stocking buffalo, antelope, and other wild

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game, as well as beef. Later the ranch was traded for the Great Western Hotel, which in turn was sold to Dr. Galland.

      Reighard was never a man to boast and, although he could tell hair-raising stories, he preferred to state things matter-offactly, as they really happened. Unless he was asked a specific question, he seldom talked about his buffalo hunting days. He seemed to have an idea people would not believe him if he spoke about the great number of buffaloes that dotted the plains. Almost any early day buffalo hunter knew he would have doubted himself, if he had not seen the great herd with his own eyes. His daughter-in-law, Daisy Reighard, who lives at 705, 4th Avenue, Dodge City, Kansas, says George stood at her kitchen door and looked westward, saying, "I have seen all the plains covered with buffalo as far as the eye could see in the early days." She reported that he was a quiet, unassuming man, loyal to the Union Army and never missed a G.A.R. encampment as long as he was able to attend. He was the last surviving member of the Lewis G.A.R. Post. George W. Reighard died on a Saturday, August 22, 1936, being the oldest resident of the city to have been here when it was founded. He had married Anna Gyles, a daughter of an early day settler, January 13, 1881. February 1, he had celebrated his 89th birthday with a little family gathering in the home. Honorary pall bearers were: H. B. Bell, S. P. Reynolds, M. M. Gwinner, Victor Carson, J. H. Ripple, and P. H. Sughrue, all pioneers with Mr. Reighard. Pall bearers were veterans of the Spanish-American and World Wars: Ed Riney, Paul Madden, Harry Dewar, Fred Waite, Leslie Balderson, and Noland Bond. One might say, almost every phase of the Southwest development cycle was represented at the funeral when they gathered to pay their respects to a Southwest Kansas man, a true pioneer character of Ford County and Dodge City, George W. Reighard.

      William States married a sister of George Reighard and the couple followed him to Western Kansas, April 24, 1878, bringing their four year old son, Charlie (C. M.) along. After four years in business south of the river, Mr. States opened a meat market on Front Street, the second door west of Second Avenue. His slaughter house was on his ranch south of the bridge and he still sold horses and cattle. Later he had a grocery store where the Mosher, Cochran Drug Store is, at Second Avenue and

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West Wyatt Earp until he again moved to the telephone company corner on First Avenue and Gunsmoke. He was past eighty-six years old when he died, having lived more than fifty seven years in the Dodge City community.

      Robert M. Wright was on the western plains as early as 1856, operating as a freighter, stockman, trader, government contractor, and merchant. He made his first overland trip in 1859, with oxen, reaching Denver in May. Three times after that he crossed the plains by wagon and twice by coach. The second trip was made in war times in the spring of 1863, when guerrilla warfare was at its worst in Kansas. In 1866, he came to Fort Dodge and he and A. J. Anthony bought the Cimarron ranch, twenty-five miles west of Fort Dodge. He operated the Sutler's store in Fort Dodge. From this time on, he was closely associated with people throughout the state and especially Dodge City, being president of the townsite when it was laid out.

      He held many positions of trust-mayor of Dodge City, four terms as state representative, postmaster at Fort Dodge, and commissioner of forestry. In fact, he passed through all the changing scenes of pioneer life, sharing the ups and downs of other men in those pioneer days. He had many dear friends who were partners with him in business, among them A. J. Anthony who was a stockman, rancher, and a help with government contracts for putting up hay, and Charles Rath, associated with him since Fort Dodge Days in the merchantile business, later, along with A. J. Anthony, in the Charles Rath Merchantile Company, which included stores in Oklahoma and Texas, as well as Dodge City.

      The first winter the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway reached Dodge City, Robert Wright said over two hundred thousand buffalo hides were shipped from their store alone, as well as 200 cars of hind quarters and two cars of buffalo tongues. The business continued to increase for a number of years. Speaking of buffalo, Robert Wright said, "In the early days we usually hunted them on horseback; that is, we would single out one animal in a herd, ride along by the side of it, and shoot it with a six-shooter. Sometimes we would shoot several buffalo on a single run, but very few white men killed them wantonly at that time. Often I have shot them from the walls of my corral for my hogs to feed upon. Several times I have seen wagon trains stop to let the immense herds pass. And time and

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time again, along in August or September, when putting up hay in the Arkansas bottom, we would put out men both day and night to keep them out of our herd of work cattle."

      Robert Wright had a long and varied life and, when his working days were over, he wrote of his experiences on the plains, all told in "Dodge City, the Cowboy Capital." Wright Park in Dodge City is a memorial to him. He was born in Blackenburg, Maryland, September 2, 1840, and came west at sixteen years to grow up with the country. At his death, January, 1915, all the business houses closed in the city and throngs of people attended the funeral.

      Another buffalo hunter, Dave Morrow, had the distinction of bringing in the famous white buffalo hide which he sold to the Charles Rath Merchantile Company store for $1,000. As many another early day man had, Dave Morrow had several nick names, Prairie Dog Dave, acquired by selling prairie dogs on the eastern market labelled as squirrels, and Mysterious Dave.

      Nelson (Nels) Cary, Union soldier, buffalo hunter, freighter, and peace officer, whose last home in Ford County was at Fort Dodge, lived to be ninety. He was born in Buffalo, New York, August 1, 1844. He enlisted for Civil War service March 14, 1864, at Racine, Wisconsin, and became a private in Company H of the Fourth Wisconsin cavalry. He served until May 18, 1866, when he was mustered out at Brownsville, Texas. In 1868, he was hunting buffalo and doing freighting from a location near old Fort Wallace in northwest Kansas. He followed the buffalo herds when there were millions of buffalo on the Kansas prairie and he was one of the hunters who sought the mythical "lost herd" unable to believe that the hunters had in so few years exterminated the shaggy herds that covered the Kansas plains. In addition to his work as a freighter in the northwest, he became a locomotive engineer and was the pilot on one of the locomotives when the East met the West upon completion of the east and west ends of the old Kansas Pacific which joined the coasts by rail. At the time the last gap in the transcontinental railroad was closed, Nels Cary was pulling one of the two trains that met when the gap was closed. He saw the ceremony when the two crews came together and the link was forged with a golden spike through a mahagony tie.

      In 1874, he came to Dodge City, which was then in its hey-

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day, as the shipping point for Texas cattle. He became deputy sheriff of Ford County and served under three sheriffs, H. B. Bell, Chalkley Beeson, and P. F. Sughrue. He was deputy to Pat Sughrue and was one of the officials at the famous bull fight with which Dodge City celebrated the Fourth of July that year, 1884. "Ham" Bell spoke highly of Nels Cary as his deputy, saying has was quiet and tactful. He said they made many trips into No Man's Land, Indian Territory, during a man hunt and there never was a better man to have along on the trail. He recalls once when they drove a spring wagon over a swollen stream in the south and nearly drowned. It was doubtful all the time if they would get across as the horses were either up or down but Nels Cary sat by his side without uttering a word. On another trip they drove into a sod shack in the dark and went to bed, using burlap sacks for covering. In the middle of the night they discovered, in locating the cause of their discomfort, that the shack had been used for a chicken house and they were being eaten up alive with chicken mites. Mr. Bell said he grew violent about it but Nels Cary simply sat and scratched without making one comment.

      Later Nels Cary engaged in the freighting business with the Combs brothers and ran wagon trains throughout the southwest. Still later he was in business in Dodge City and in his last years divided his time between Dodge City and Fort Dodge where he had been admitted to membership. His wife was the former Etta Bickel, a daughter of George Bickel, who was one of the seven Bickel brothers who had come to Western Kansas from Germany.

      O. A. (Brick) Bond was born in New York, March 21, 1849, and came to Kansas from Minnesota in 1871; to Dodge City early in the spring of 1872. One of his first business ventures was to contract with the Santa Fe railroad for supplying steel gangs then building the line through from Newton to La junta, with beef and buffalo meat. He was on hand to help with the Dodge City townsite, and he was known as the champion buffalo hunter of the plains.

      A record of his last three buffalo hunting trips, on the back of a check, found in an old wallet, is listed. Time: November 1, 1874 to January 1, 1875.

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Horseshoe Lake2970 head
Worlie Lake1913
Good Creek1300
Total6183 head

      While freighting and buffalo hunting, Brick Bond endured every experience the West had to offer. On a buffalo hunt, in a storm, he thought his men were going to perish, so he piled buffalo hides from the wagon down on the ground and told the men to lie down. He covered them with the rest of the hides, then after looking after the teams, he crawled in beside them. The following morning he chopped up the mess box and started a fire, then called the men, but it was so windy they could not cook. Sighting a dugout, they made for it, where Mr. Bond prepared breakfast. In her character sketch of O. A. Bond, Margaret States wrote, "I can see Mr. Bond standing there, looking those men straight in the eye and saying, `I like all you fellows but you haven't got a bit of sand and when I get back to Dodge I am going to fire you all for you would be a nice lot to have with a person if the Indians attacked.' " And again, when his wagon load of hides was stuck in the sand in the river, he unhooked the team and rode his horse back to Adobe Walls, getting there the first night of that terrible seige. Later he learned the Indians had watched him all the way and allowed him to escape, saying-Indian no want to kill you. He had at one time befriended them and, strangely, his brick-red hair could have had something to do with their letting him go. In every case, he gave a good account of himself.

      O. A. Bond, with A. B. Webster, established the Palace Drug store in 1883 and he later was a partner with C. M. States. In later years he spent much time hunting and fishing and owned a fine farm on Buckner Creek in Hodgeman County, where he took much pride in maintaining a well-stocked fishing ground. A fashion of the early day man appealed to him for he never wore a white collar nor a necktie. The Dodge City Daily Globe reported the death of O. A. Bond, Monday, May 9, 1927. "The sudden death of the aged freighter, buffalo hunter, peace officer, cowman, and druggist this morning brought sorrow to a community in which he was universally loved for his positive but unobtrusive personality."

      Proclamation by Mayor Thompson:

Dodge City has lost one

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of its earliest and most valued citizens in the death of O. A. Bond who, through a long and useful life has distinguished himself as plainsman, buffalo hunter, merchant, community builder, and public spirited citizen. Mr. Bond witnessed the progress of Dodge City from its earliest beginnings to the present time. He was a man of character and influence, and for 55 years has been an active agency of progress in this community to which he was so thoroughly and sincerely devoted. It is fitting that all who live in this thriving community should join in paying to this distinguished pioneer a final tribute of love and respect at the funeral service to be conducted at the Hoover Memorial Pavilion in Wright Park Friday afternoon, May 13, at 2 o'clock. In order that all may be free to do so, I urgently request that all business places within the city be closed Friday afternoon from 2 until 4 o'clock out of respect for the memory of O. A. Bond.
W. O. Thompson, Mayor.

      Excerpt from letter to Margaret States, from Dr. O. H. Simpson, March 29, 1927, on learning she was writing a character sketch of O. A. Bond:

"He was courageous, venturesome, self-reliant, and a red blooded man's man at all times. But with it all he was unassuming, kind and gentle as a woman, and the personification of `Power in Repose.' He was unlike so many of the pioneer compatriots that strutted the stage of life in this plains country during the seventies and early eighties.
"He came in contact with as much wild life as any one but never found it necessary to take human life. His kindly poise and attitude toward his fellow man seemed to have a hypnotic effect on every one with whom he came in contact, even to the wandering band of Indians....
"The automobile has so shuffled this human `deck' that there is no West and no frontier. No other set of men will ever live the life those hardy pioneers did as they passed through the golden gun age of the West. The absence of law affected the various temperaments differently. To the well balanced, substantial type, such as Mr. Bond, it made little or no difference but the flighty and erratic developed into the swaggering, piratic, guntoting free-booters. Others seemed to explode and let their inclinations and appetites run riot and were often guilty of the most extravagant excesses."

      Around 1878, A. B. Webster came to Dodge City from Hays, Kansas, and went into the cattle business. In 1883, he and O. A.

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Bond established the Palace Drug store under the name of Webster and Bond, which faced Front Street. Elected mayor of the city that spring, one of his first acts was to enforce the city ordinance against carrying firearms, for it had never been taken seriously before. He was a man of action. He did much to bring law and order to Dodge City. Heinie Schmidt classifies him as "Dodge City's Fighting Mayor Webster." Heinie Schmidt goes on to say: "The incident that proved his mettle more than any other, however, was his reply to the governor of the state of Kansas who ordered him to stop the bull fight scheduled for Dodge City, saying it was against the law of the state.

"Webster summoned the committee who had charge of the bull fight and showed them the governor's message. Then he read his reply, `Dodge City isn't in Kansas. The fight goes on.' Turning to the members of the committee, he said, `Gentlemen, will you back me in this answer?' They answered in unison, `You bet we will.' "The bull fight was the only one ever held in the United States, and came off as scheduled, July 3 and 4, 1884.
"In appreciation of his efforts to bring law and order to Dodge City and for many other public services rendered, grateful citizens presented Webster with a gold inlaid shotgun. The trimmings of the gun were in gold, and the trigger was gold. At his death, this gun was given to one of Webster's nephews. His famous sawed-off shotgun was given to C. M. States of Dodge City."

      At his death, the funeral service was held in the McCarty rink and the funeral procession was headed by the Cowboy band and the four hose carts used by the fire-fighters-the Webster, the Arment, the Wright, and the Hoover, draped in black, followed the band. Burial was in Prairie Grove Cemetery on Avenue C.

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Dodge City History