Court House His Monument

      IN AN INTERVIEW WITH IDA ELLEN (Cox) RATH IN JULY, 1937, Sarah Gibson, recalls the hardship of early days when she lived on a pre-emption near Greensburg, and later in the Pennington house on Avenue C. Mrs. T. S. Gibson is 81 years old and lives at 704 Avenue C., where she owns and rents properties. She is a charter member of the Relief Corps, a Rebekah, Gold Star, and Degree of Honor. Her report of early experiences follows:

Gibson's father was at Belle Plaine, Kansas, and we had a letter from him asking Pa to come out there and bring the family. He said there was a big excitement around Greensburg about taking up preemptions, just then.
We had lived on a farm but Pa Gibson had never farmed. He was foreman of an oil lease at the time and earlier he had been an undertaker, but he thought we ought to make the move anyway. So he left our home in Fairview, Butler County, Pennsylvania, first and the children and I came later on the train.
Pa had hired to work on his father's ranch in Hodgeman County but the children and I went to live on a pre-emption near Greensburg. That was in June, 1884. We traveled from his father's place in a moving wagon. I hated to see the horses and wagon leave as that left me and the six children afoot and alone.
I soon learned it was a hard life. It had taken all the money we had to get to Kansas. Pa was to send us supplies from the ranch between Kinsley and Jetmore, but sometimes they were a long time coming. For weeks and weeks, I had nothing to cook but flour and water. I mixed the flour and water together, without any salt, and baked it. I had no lard nor grease to grease the griddle so I sprinkled it with flour. As I baked the cakes, I handed them out to the waiting children, six of them. There was no need to set the table for we had no butter, no sugar, no milk, just pancakes. I sure had a bad time finding something to eat.

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I had told Gibson and his folks when I first came out, "I will go to the pre-emption to live but, if I don't like it, I won't stay."
I sure didn't like it but the joker was, there was no way to get away for I had no money so I stayed. I just stayed on and did the best I could.
We had no team and the only water that was really fit to drink was five miles away. We used water from a buffalo wallow. I used to strain out the skippers and then boil it. At that it was pretty poor water but it was the best I could do. One day I was crying. My head ached and I felt low. Mrs. Waite came up.
"My good woman," she said, "what are you crying about?"
I told her I was disgusted with life. My head ached and I said it was because I had no coffee to drink. It really did ache all the time.
"Oh, sure, lady," she agreed. "But you come with me and I will show you some tea."
It was Indian tea, a plant with yellow flowers. I gathered some of it, strained the skippers from the water, and made the tea. It really did help my head. For fuel, we burned cow chips, rosin weed, and blue stem grass. The blue stem grass grew high. I cut it with the scissors and twisted it like a horse's tail and it made good fuel.
One day a man came along and said we should dig a cave to go into when a blizzard came. "What kind of a wild animal is that?" I asked. When he was through laughing, he explained. When the blizzard came, I found it wild enough if it wasn't an animal.
For one and a half years, we stayed on the pre-emption until we proved it up. Then Gibson's father took it, that had been the agreement. There was a lot of that done. He was to give us a place down in Hodgeman county.
We moved to the ranch where my husband worked and stayed there for five years. Then things were better and we had plenty to eat.
After that we moved to Dodge City and moved "way up on C" as we called it then, into the Pennington house. We lived in the remodeled shingle one and Misten's lived in the stone house to the south that has recently been torn down. There was a hardware store over by Louis Converth's filling

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station and Gibson worked with another fellow over there. One day they were rolling a barrel of kerosene; the other fellow fell. and the weight fell on Gibson. They hitched a horse to the spring wagon and brought him home. He was laid up for five weeks.
But that was only a beginning. He next hired to Mr. Bartlett taking up and setting out trees. They had dug a hole for a tree, when Gibson fell in and the tree fell on top of him. Again they brought him home.
Well, I got work in the Park Hotel Rolla's ran it then and washed for a dollar a day and that money had to keep us. We were low on everything.
After that Gibson was not able to work so he hired a man and they hauled ice from the lake south of St. Mary's of the Plains, backwater from the old Soule Ditch. I was still washing During this time, Edgar was born. Then Mr. Pope gave Gibson the job of running the stock yard and when he died Pa took it over. He was never very strong and he died in 1927.
When we first moved to Dodge City, Jessie Martin lived across the street from us. We were ever so hard up and did not have near enough bedding. Many a night we burned co-" chips and corn cobs all night to keep warm, stuffed them into the stove until the stove pipe would be hot to the ceiling. Jessie knew how it was. One day, Jessie says, "Gibson, let's go down to the brick yard hole and get rags and old clothes to make quilts."
Painters and others would throw their clothes away. Someone had thrown away an old cotton mattress and an ingrain carpet. Jessie had a washer and we washed the things up After that we cut up all the pieces and used them for quilt tops We used newspapers for fillers and the mattress for one lining and the ingrain carpet for lining the other. I still have that quilt upstairs.
Again we tried proving up a claim, at Elder, Colorado, in 1921. The children thought it was a hard life but we never had the hardships there that we did on the pre-emption claim. Banqueted and Stenos ran sheep over the prairies. Their Mexican herders brought us mutton and I gave them bread.
I am glad of that experience as it rather helps to blot out the bitter experiences we had on the pre-emption. True we had to haul water but it was always good and pure. But we were old

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so again we came back to Dodge City. I like to be here among my friends and relatives.

Note by author: The brick yard hole referred to in the article can still be seen at the northwest corner of the 1100 block between Avenues D and E, an early day brick yard run by I. H. Sitler.

      Annie Gingrich summed up information about the Zerbe, trickier, and Gingrich families.

"All the sons and a daughter homesteaded about seven miles north of Dodge City. Uncle James Zerbe was postmaster of the rural postoffice, Halewood, the business being in his home. James E. and John A. Zerbe, brothers, had come out from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, about 875, and freighted between Dodge City and Texas, employed by the Reynold's freighting company, often going as far as Houston, Texas. They persuaded other members of the family to come to Kansas. Samuel Reinohl Gingrich, Annie's father, came in 1878. His specialty was making cigars-including name brands, Dodge City Special, Quite Right, Pure Havana, and Speckled Trout. Being a fisherman, he considered Speckled Trout the finest of them all. One clipping reads: "Captain W. F. Strickler has been tendered by Governor Leedy, a commission as brigadier general of the Kansas militia in case of war with Spain."

      Another clipping says Mrs. C. M. Judson, mother of the late Col. Judson (Ned Buntline) the famous author, asked use one of his poems, Mourn Not, in her forthcoming book, Memories of Ned Buntline. Captain Wilson Strickler was Town in the literary world as Julian del Llano, and the following is one of his poems: "Reality Stranger Than Fiction"

Some streams are slow and sluggish,
More like a pool than stream
And, to a close observer,
Appear mid-summer's dream.

Whil'st others, like Niagara
Or some grand, awful flood,
Seem bent on full destruction,
Seem more of harm than good.

Some lives are calm and placid,
Just like the limpid stream.
They seem too calm to worry,
They only seem to dream.

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Whil'st others, like Niagara,
Are full of strange romance;
To some brings tears and sorrow,
To others, song and dance.

      Bessie May McConnell, Dodge City, sent in the following family pioneer story.

Hiram McConnell, my grandfather, his last wife and his children by both wives, came by ox-drawn covered wagons and settled at Neosho Falls in Woodson County in 1857. Through the Kansas Nebraska Act, he was able to get hold of quite a lot of Woodson County land. He was appointed United States Marshal in 1859. He made a trip to Western Kansas with his son Warren in 1859 or 1860 buffalo hunting. They had a covered vehicle, ox-team and pony. They were at Fort Larned and where Fort Dodge stands. They got some buffalo hides and a calf. They gave papa (Benjamin Serus McConnell) the calf and put a robe before the fireplace of a log house along the Neosho River in Woodson County. Grandfather made papa a pair of shoes with the hair on the outside.
Grandfather used to stop work in the field to talk politics and about John Brown. He walked in his sleep and one time hitched up a team of oxen he couldn't hitch alone, woke up and had to get up off the snow and unhitch them. One time a dog ran after him when he was marshal, so he grabbed the dog, slit him up the front and hung him on the owner's gatepost.
When twenty years old my mother came to Kansas by train to Colony where papa met her and they were married at his mother's, Margaret Ann McConnell, at Neosho Falls, Kansas, May 10, 1882. He bought his sister Sarah McConnell's land of twenty acres with buildings on hers. I was born on this land, January 18th, 1885. That spring the ice flow came up and broke in the Neosho River and flooded the land.
The overflow ran into the house so papa put his little pigs in the garret and took me and mama to Uncle David Linneys in town. Grandma sat on a chair on her bed in her house across the road. They took her to her daughter's, Melvina McConnell Hemmings. All of us rode in the row boats as the water was very high to town.
By the way, Helen Finney was papa's half sister and Finney County was named after Dave Finney, Lieutenant Governor,

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under Governor John St. John. Joe Hemming's wife Melvina was papa's youngest sister and they lived in Garden City when it was founded and Joe worked in a clothing store.
My mother's folks had moved from Iowa to Kansas and settled in Prairie Home school district north of Lamed, close to where the Sunset Home is situated. Papa and mamma brought me up from Neosho Falls to see my grandparents after the flood in the spring of 1885. We went both ways in a covered wagon.
My father used to wear a soft hat, a dark suit, white stiff-bosom shirt, tie, mustache and beard, kid boots to the knees, gold watch chain with silver open face watch, conch shell charm on a watch-chain, black stone with half-moon in cuff-links, spurs on boots, suspenders, belt with revolver and brass knucks. He also had a walnut and steel barrel shotgun with brass shells which he loaded and a game bag made of two badger hides with hair on the outside and inside tanned, with a long strap to go across the shoulder.

      In Memoriam Joe Hulpieu, by Gertie B. (Mrs. Earl) Falkner, the retiring secretary of the Ham Bell Picnic, after ten years of work, written by request of the picnic officers and many friends, Wednesday, August 14, 1963.

Again it has been my sad duty to write this memoriam to a dear, good friend and for all of you, his friends. He has been the faithful treasurer of this Ham Bell picnic for several years, dear Uncle Joe, as lots of us knew him. And now today we come to pay our tribute to him. Joe Hulpieu, 87 years young, left us Friday, April 12, 1963, to join that Band of Travelers from which no traveler has ever returned, to that land of the Sweet Forever.
He will be greatly missed by all of us. But our deep loss is his gain, and we thank you Dear Lord for Uncle Joe Hulpieu's stay among all of the people he loved and served. He and his family were real pioneers of Dodge City.

We have a road to take
That road is the road of life
Each of us has a share of joy
And each of us has a share of strife
But since we all must travel that road
In sunny or stormy weather
We each can lighten the other's load
If we all pull along together.

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So onward together we'll journey,
Old Friend Joe,
To the land where all pilgrims go
And he at the end of the road as we were
In the old days that we used to know.

And so we will gather together for you old friend
And carry through in memory of you
On this our Ham Bell Picnic, Wed., Aug. 14, 1963.

      The following article, The Court House his Monument, by Heinie Schmidt, in the High Plains Journal, July 7, 1949

While smoke still hung in heavy clouds over the red embers of the disastrous Chicago fire, October 7, 1871, a young couple Nicholas (Nic) and Barbara Mayrath sat near the smoldering embers of their home contemplating their future course in life. After several hours' quiet council they made their decision to go west into the promising state of Kansas. But it was not until eight years after that their financial condition would permit the trip.
They arrived in Dodge City, February 14, 1879, and Mayrath went into Hodgeman County and filed on a quarter of land After a careful survey of Ford County he relinquished his Hodgeman County claim and took a quarter of land several miles southwest of Dodge City in what is now Fairview township. He homesteaded the NW quarter of section 12, township 27, rang 26. This was the first quarter to be proved up in that township
In Chicago he had followed the profession of gardener and brought with him to Kansas a team, wagon, and plow. On his claim he built a half dugout. It was boarded up and down in front, the sides were made of sod, and a rough board roof covered the structure. The strips were held together by nails. The cracks were stopped up with tin cans which had been unsoldered. The house had one door and one window. Then was no water at the home place, and it had to be hauled three miles. The water was so muddy it had to stand an hour before it could be used.
After completing his simple structure, Mayrath plowed an seeded forty acres of wheat. The grain did not come up until March and later was completely destroyed by grasshoppers. Because he was a gardener, after the wheat failure, again: the advice of his neighbors, he planted a garden and set out 2

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acres in fruit trees, including apples, peaches, cherries, and plums. They produced an excellent quality of fruit and proved even to the doubting Thomases that under proper cultivation both gardens and fruit trees could produce even in this semiarid region.
From the garden and orchard the family derived their principal source of income for several years. Every morning at sunrise, during the summer months, Mrs. Mayrath would wend her way into Dodge City with a spring wagon loaded with the vegetables, fruit, and delicious melons which she would dispose of to regular customers who always welcomed her coming.
Many amusing stories are told on Mayrath by his friends. Tom Howard, an auctioneer, used to tell this one. Howard was auctioning off a bankrupt stock of merchandise. When he came to a steel range, the bidding was lively on both sides of the crowd. Finally he sold the stove to Mrs. Barbara Mayrath. From the opposite side of the crowd, the other bidder, Mayrath, shouted, "My goodness, Barbara, was that you bidding?"
Another one which was so good Mayrath could never live it down was when he accompanied the Cowboy Band to the inauguration of President Harrison in Washington, D. C. On their return trip they made several stops and played concerts. At one of these stops, St. Louis, a large crowd was in attendance. The leader, Jack Sinclair, had a large pearl-handled revolver, which he twirled around his finger and at its discharge the band would start playing. A young reporter rushed up to Mayrath and seeing the revolver in Sinclair's hand inquired, "What does he do with the gun?" Mayrath replied, "He shoots the first one that blows a sour note." The reporter fell for it and the evening paper carried a headline: "Shoots the First One That Blows a Sour Note."
During the twister which struck the Mayrath neighborhood in 1904, many tall tales were told of the freakish pranks of the wind. As usual Mayrath topped them all. He had a large shepherd dog which died the day before the storm. Mayrath skinned the dog, intending to have the hide tanned for a rug. Nick took the hide and fastened it high up in a tree, telling the curious that the cyclone turned the dog inside out, skinned him, and hung his hide in the tree. He had many believing this story.
Nick Mayrath held many places of public trust. For many years he was a member of the state board of agriculture. He

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was active in the affairs of the local Lewis Post G.A.R. But his most useful service was that of county commissioner from the southwest district of the county in which office he served for twenty years.
He used to say that the office of county commissioner had many different duties. Among them was that of "county smacker." He said it was his duty to kiss all the brides married by the probate judge. One day a very dark complexioned couple came in to get married and the judge sent for the county smacker. Nick came hurrying in, and seeing the couple, bolted the door, shouting, "I resign my job. I resign my job and turn it over to the high sheriff!" That was the last heard of the "County Smacker" business.
During one campaign for his office, he and all other county candidates were summoned to appear before the WCTU to explain their position on prohibition. When it came Mayrath's time to answer the question, the good lady said, "Mr. Mavrath, do you believe in prohibition?" He replied, "Yaw, I believe in prohibiting everybody but Nick from having any!" His friends admonished him that his statement would defeat him for reelection, but he said, "NO, the boys at Fort Dodge will take care of me." And they did.
It was during his last term as county commissioner that the question of voting bonds for the erection of a new court house was submitted to the voters of the county. It stirred up a big fight, and twice the bonds were defeated. Undaunted, the commissioners again submitted the issue, and the last time Mayrath threw himself into the fight with grim determination. The bonds carried.
When the grounds were being broken for the present county building he was present all that day, but unhappily, the beginning of the project was all he was to witness, for he died during the following night.
Nick Mavrath was the central figure in the long, bitter fight preceding the erection of a beautiful court house, and in a sense it stands as his monument.
After his death, his devoted wife, Barbara Mayrath, erected

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a drinking fountain in the lobby of the building, above which on a marble slab are inscribed these words:


      Whenever I quench my thirst at this fountain, I imagine I can hear the genial voice of Mayrath saying; "Howdy, neighbor, have a drink on me."
April 1883, when Dodge City received word from Santa Fe railroad officials to clean up the town or they would move the stock yards, round house, and all of their buildings away from Dodge City, the voters elected L. E. (Larry) Deger for mayor. He had charge of the government freight that was shipped into Dodge City. He was a man who weighed about 350 pounds and was as active as a Texas steer. He would take two drunken cowboys, one in each hand, and crack their heads together and he could take a big heavy gambling table and pitch it out into the street and he had been known to do it. At this time, Dodge City had about 3,000 inhabitants, and probably twenty-five saloons and gambling houses, all running full blast, but Larry Deger saw to it that law and order came to Dodge City.

      A camp cook tells about his experiences in early Dodge City and area in the following article, An Awed Tenderfoot, published in the Dodge City Daily Globe. James Springer, bailiff of Reno County court, was known in early day Dodge as Young Jim Springer, a jolly good fellow. He recalls happenings in those early days in Dodge, as told to Ida Ellen (Cox) Rath, in the early thirties.

As I sit here quietly day after day, I often laugh to myself as I recall my experiences in Dodge City during the time when thousands of cattle roamed about on the plains surrounding the town; when cowboys thought it was great sport to scare a tender-foot quite out of his wits. Imagine, if you can, a young man stepping from the candy and soda fountain on the main floor of W. P. Southworth and Company's big establishment in Cleveland, Ohio, which boasted a Bohemian counter, a German

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counter, and an English room, into the raw region of lawless Dodge.
I well remember the day I came to Dodge City. I had come from Ohio to help my father on his farm across the Arkansas River, halfway between the fort and Dodge. My father had been a liveryman in Ohio before he brought my mother and younger brother, Alfred Demorlan Springer, to Dodge. Alfred had come by my father's love for horses and had gone from home to follow them up. Thus it was that I found myself on the train nearing Dodge City in the spring of '85.
Two tall gangling boys from Missouri were also intending to stop off at Dodge. Immediately, upon hearing the three of us were bound for Dodge City, the passengers, one and all, began to regale us with tales of the rough and ready manner with which the Dodge element welcomed new citizens.
One tale I could not forgot as I neared my journey's end was the reckless, no hazardous method, the cowboys had of puncturing all tall hats with bullet holes. I had one of those tall hats, the same being quite the fashion in those days, and I did not care to have it filled with holes nor bullets whizzing so close to my head. The Missouri boys wore also dubious about being welcomed in the style those kind hearted cowboys might give them.
The engineer slowed up for Dodge City and stopped--the three of us stepped cautiously from the train. Certainly the big adventure in life had come for the three of us. We almost ran to the safety of the old wooden depot. We spent the night there, scarcely daring to move, and we stayed there until broad daylight. Even then we wore afraid to go up town. We cut across south to the river and wont into the water to wash our hands and faces. We had very little courage but we sauntered back across the tracks to meet the wild and wooly element in the town. I've often laughed about our misgivings.
There were no laid out roads in those early days, just trails Over from Bucklin way would come people on their way to Dodge. Seeing my father and myself plowing up they sod, the settlers would drive on over to the field to admonish us, in their neighborly fashion, as they had all the other newcomers.
Always their remarks wore the same, "Oh, my God, man don't plow up your land! It will all blow away. Don't go below the grass roots."

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My father had come from a truck gardening country. He knew truck gardening was one way to make money so we went ahead with the plowing. There was no water for irrigation but by intense cultivation and fertilization he raised many fine vegetables. He also raised corn and milo maize.
When the vegetables were ready for market, we loaded them and drove into Dodge. Usually we stopped on the corner by Bob Wright's store. People would lop over the side of the big Studebaker wagon and gaze incredulously at the vegetables. Always they asked where the big watermelons, cucumbers, etc., were raised. Always we were greeted with the same unbelieving expression calling us the rankest of liars.
Memories of the good things we had to eat in those days eclipse any dainty dessert of today. There were the canned wild sandhill plums, juicy and tart. There was the sweet choke cherry jelly. And there was watermelon rind preserves! Speaking of my father's truck gardening, reminds me of the time Ham Bell's horses got on our place and trampled the garden down. Of course my father was angry and sent word for Mr. Bell to come out.
Ham Bell had a big pasture for his horses. He had a good fence. Those days a good many people let their stock run and of course it was hard for the fellow who wanted to raise crops to keep the stock from eating and otherwise ruining his crop. Some people objected to opening and closing gates if they wished to go through a pasture. They could stoop from their saddles, unfasten the gate, swing it aside, and ride on through. It was too much trouble for them to dismount and put up the gate. Some boys had ridden through and left Ham Bell's gates down.
Mr. Bell came right out. He said to father, "It looks as though my horses have damaged you."
"Yes," my father replied, "they have trampled my garden down."
"I am willing to pay you for what they have destroyed," Mr. Bell told Father.
My father said, "Usually I make people pay but you get up early every morning and ride the fence; you keep your fences up and try to keep your stock in. You don't owe me one cent."
My father's reply was some surprise to Ham Bell for he afterward told me he had expected there would be a big bill to pay. He and father were always the greatest of friends.

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I remember well when the grading was being done for the Soule Ditch. It started up above Ingalls. Everybody seemed to think it was a wonderful thing. Sonic people did raise a few crops with the water from the ditch.
There was much excitement about land at that time. Many people came and stayed until they starved out. Queer outfits were seen leaving those days. Anyway to get out of the country, it seemed, was the proper way. Quite often a cow would be on one side of the tongue and a mule on the other, helping their owner and his family back home. But always the true pioneer stayed.
The role of cook took me many places. During the haying season, I went way up the river to cook for Ham Bell's men. Ham Bell had a big livery barn and he put up hay for his horses.
A cook was a very necessary fellow in those days. I cooked on a gasoline stove. I got so expert at cooking that I baked the light bread the men ate which made me a mighty fine fellow in their eyes.
During the Old Soldiers' Reunion, I would be at the Fort for two days, cooking for the crowds that gathered there. I also cooked on the old Wilden Ranch. That was Ham Bell's old farm. He had 2,000 acres southwest of the Beeson place. I understand part of that land was selling for $350. an acre.
There was no law those days but generally there were two factions that kept things pretty much stirred up. Men pretty much settled their own differences. I was a drifter, couldn't seem to stay long in one place, so I came back to Dodge from Creed Camp, Colorado, where I had gone. With a mule hitched to a buggy, I often drove ten or twelve miles to a spelling bee or a debate. I was often out on those New Year's parties, which were a Dodge City custom. Oftentimes we were caught out in a storm or were otherwise delayed and did not get home for several days. One thing that stands out in my mind is that everybody was a neighbor during those early days in Dodge, and they overlooked the shortcomings of others in a very charitable manner.
It was in Dodge City that I met and married Betty Ayres. I still own the old Springer farm and I expect it is one of the few farms there that has never been mortgaged. Always I will have my memories of those early day happenings-the rough

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fare, the exquisite happiness of simple gatherings, the wild and rugged country, and Ham Bell's Elephant Barn.
Speaking of Ham Bell's Elephant Barn, brings to mind an actual happening, a huge joke on me. Ham Bell was the undertaker as well as the liveryman. The time of which I speak was in the halcyon days of Dodge when practically everybody drank and I got my share. The fact is--it took me years to learn to let drink alone. One time when I was pretty well loaded, I still had sense enough left to know that I should be getting home. I felt pretty well dead for I went to Ham Bell's Elephant Barn and ordered him to get out the hearse to take me home. I was so much in earnest that I was quite angered when he began to hitch the team to a conveyance other than the hearse.
Well, well, those days are done and Dodge is different now, and so are all of us that were there at that time but I still get much pleasure thinking about those times.
Whiskey did flow freely and many was the man who could not hold his liquor. The first jail to hold the drunks was an old dry well into which the marshal unceremoniously dumped them. The sentence was---stay in until you are sober enough to clamber out. Later there was the public watering trough where a drunken man was thrown. With his head well above the water line, he soaked until he was able to drag himself out. A drunk man perhaps was never cured but the public was protected while he sobered up. One cure was effected, however, and reported by Robert M. Wright. A town lawyer's drunken sprees had left his friends disgusted and his family and business neglected. Being noted for its pranks, a following of these pranksters, laid the lawyer out for dead in a coffin, where he remained in plain sight of every passerby. Again the sentence called for the victim doing his own crawling out, which the lawyer eventually did. The tale ended with his reformation.

      January 5, 1934, Charles McQuiston of La Junta, Colorado, a railroader recalls early days, in the following interview written by Ida Ellen (Cox) Rath, and gives a picture of early day Western Kansas. McQuiston was pensioned in July after 34 years with the Santa Fe.

The first time I saw Dodge City was in the early spring of 1886, through a dusty car window, as I was passing through to Hartland, Kansas, on the Santa Fe. I was about thirteen years old and you can bet I had my eyes glued to the pane of

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that window long before the train pulled into the much talked-of Dodge City.
In '85, my father, Robert McQuiston, had gone out from Topeka in a covered wagon to take a claim. He settled twelve miles south of Hartland in Grant County and felt that he had found an ideal spot. Father and my sister lived through that first winter in a tent. It was well banked. Once it collapsed. The others in the family had come out with freighters to join father but I came later with some men who were our neighbors, Cheyenne Cummings and one of the Winter brothers.
It was early morning when we at last arrived in Hartland which was at that time a very thriving distributing point, seven miles up the river from Lakin. Well, we started walking, and we walked the twelve miles to our claim. Of course this was not an unusual thing for folks to do those days although it would be considered quite a feat now. Often I think of that trip in the early morning, through the short buffalo grass and sometimes along the winding trail road. I can see again the dirty, ragged lad that was I. I can feel again my poor blistered feet and sense the last miles growing longer and increasingly harder to travel. But when I had felt I could go no further the sight of our house gave me strength to complete the journey.
Mother was shoulder to shoulder with Father whenever there was any work to be done. All of us children worked too. Those were great days but someway I am glad I lived them.
I shall never forget the country as it looked that year for it was nicer than I have ever seen it since. The severe winter of '85 and '86, with its terrible snow, had just passed and there must have been lots of rain previous to our coming for the buffalo wallows were more or less full, the grass was thick and green, and everywhere wild flowers were in bloom. Along Bear Creek, in dried buffalo wallows and at the edge of the hills, sunflowers abounded. Shortly after our arrival a herd of buffalo went through old Ulysses, but the buffalo were mostly gone when we came to the claim. Large herds of cattle were driven through from the south going north to the grazing lands and I never tired of looking at them.
In the hills south of Hartland the sand was deep, the water alkaline, and the heat intense when it was hot. Horses from the east, not being acclimated, often perished hauling their heavy

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loads through the hills. When I think of those hills, I always think of cockle-burrs and sand burrs for there were plenty of them there.
Our place was the changing point for the Overland Stage Company. Father received $50. a month and also received extra money for hauling feed for their horses. It was high grade prairie hay grown along the flood lands of Bear Creek and it sold for $20. a ton. My brother Cyrus, who was two years older than I, was a splendid horseman and got along well with the spirited horses. It took only fifteen to twenty minutes to change teams. It was a very exciting time for me as the passengers got out for exercise. Many of them had belts with revolvers and my eyes would pop out according to the look of them. Things had a way of getting around those days and word was passed along that a man with a price on his head was on the stage, a thousand dollars, but no one made a move to turn him in to get the money.
I don't remember whether this stage line was operating before my father came or not. Chet Reynolds was the driver. Cochran was the boss. It was a four-horse stage and the run was between Hartland and Ulysses.
A man had to be a real driver to manage those spirited horses for some of them were very wild and would have run away in a minute if they got a chance. It was quite a task in winter for the driver to keep his hands warm. They must be warm if he were to handle the lines well but they could never be clumsy. To accomplish this the driver wore silk gloves, then pliable leather gloves.
It could rain, snow and blow, but the stage would start out regardless of the weather. I recall only one time when the stage had started north and was turned back by the fury of a blizzard. At first the conveyance was a stage coach, then a hack or spring wagon. Later my brother Cyrus carried the mail in a two-horse buckboard between Hugoton and old Ulysses.
Colonel Sam Woods was a very good friend of my father's and he was a man that impressed me very much. He often came to our house accompanied by Ed Short, his bodyguard. Quite generally when he stopped he would stay overnight and at such time he and father would sit up and talk until nearly morning. Colonel Woods was a man for justice and also a very shrewd

Court House His Monument 205

man. My eyes would bug out when he laid his guns on the table as he always did before he and father started conversing.
Colonel Sam Woods was probably one of the most suspicious characters in the country at that time. He had founded Woodsdale, a town not in existence now, but then located about seven miles northeast of Hugoton. A rivalry had sprung up between it and Hugoton for the county seat. On account of this rivalry it became necessary for Colonel Woods to have a bodyguard for he was a much sought man. To save trouble and be more sure of getting where he intended to go, he traveled mostly at night.
Once however, he was kidnapped and hurried to the Strip. Unnoticed, he dropped a note as he was being hustled along. A good Samaritan found the note and promptly delivered it to the Woodsdale group and these very good friends soon effected the Colonel's release.
Sometime after that Woods drove up beside a building. He left his wife sitting in the buggy while he hurried away. Court was then in session and the Woodsdale group, who had massacred the men in the Strip, were being prosecuted and he wanted to examine the docket. As he rounded the corner of the building, he was shot down by Sam Brennan.
I have seen tense times in those days. Those were times when practically every man was carrying a gun and many times feelings ran high. Just one pull on the trigger would have surely started things.
Our family left in 1890, going to eastern Kansas, for there had been a drought and we all but starved out. There had been six of us children but two had died of black diphtheria. I was the only one still staying with my parents.
In '92, I went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and secured work on the Allegheny Railroad. For firing a passenger, I received a $1.95 a day. There did not seem to be much in railroad work in the East; then there was so much fog and I couldn't stand that after being in the West, so I came back. In July, 1894, I began firing on the Santa Fe. My run was between Dodge City and Denver, later between Dodge City and Canon City. At first I was an extra, later I was on both freight and passenger trains.
During the first years on the road I did not have a very intimate touch with the country nor pay much attention to farm-

206 Early Ford County

ing and the development of other industries for conditions were hard for railroad men at that time and we needed rest when we were at the end of the line. Later I met the town folks more often.
In Dodge City, I always liked to talk to the old Dr. McCarty and Ham Bell. About fourteen years ago I asked Dr. McCarty, "Did you ever get out of life just what you expected?" His answer was, "Well, I don't know if I ever saved many lives but I've saved lots of suffering."
I often think about early days. The country seemed crude and raw, and so was everything we had to work with, but it was the best people had and as I look back at that period it seemed progressive. Everyone went about his work as if he thought it was the very best way he could do it and really things went just as smoothly and progressively as now.

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Dodge City History