Along the Sawlog

      IN THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE, SONG IN HIS HEART, BY HEINIE Schmidt, High Plains Journal, Thursday, July 21, 1949, he tells about the arrival of the John Mueller family.

In the spring of 1873, a few years after his discharge from the Union army, John Mueller, his wife Caroline and his daughter Amelia, arrived in Ellsworth, Kansas, then the capital of the cattle drives. Mueller, a boot and shoemaker by trade, opened a shop on that city's main street.
Two years later, in 1874, the cattle business having drifted farther west, Mueller and his family, with a new son, Henry, came to Dodge City where he again established himself in the boot and shoe business.
With the cattle drives at their peak, his business thrived. It must be remembered that in those days all the male population of the High Plains boasted that he "booted" all the cattle barons, cowboys, gamblers, gunmen and all other ordinary citizens. The boots were made of the finest calf skin, and would take a polish in which you could see your own reflection. The men in those days demanded the best in boots.
Like almost every other business man in Dodge City at that time, Mueller branched out into the cattle business. He had three ranches, one 12 miles northeast of Dodge City on the Sawlog Creek, another on the Crocket Creek southwest of the city, and the third and largest northwest of Healy, Kansas, known as one of the finest in the cattle country.
In the fall of 1878, he began the construction of his beautiful rock house, now the Schmidt home at 112 East Vine Street. The rock was quarried on the Sawlog and the lime was burned in the Zirby brothers' kiln on the same creek. Three stone masons worked two years facing the rock. The house was completed in 1883 and dedicated with a big house party in which the entire population of the city joined.
Some of Mueller's friends used to say that he was born with a song in his heart. He was always composing songs and poetry. He translated our national songs, The Star Spangled


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Banner, America, and, The Red, White, and Blue, as well as many Civil War songs into German. He was much in demand as an entertainer, being a good singer, as well as a composer. He also delighted in writing funny jingles about his friends which always delighted his audience.
Things were going well with Mueller in the fall of 1885. His ranches were well stocked with fine fat cattle. That fall a Kansas City commission company offered him $50,000 for his Healy ranch but he refused the offer, asking $75,000. Then in January 1886, disaster struck him in common with all other cattlemen. The terrible blizzard which swept from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico left him in dire distress. He hung on for two more years hoping to beat back but was finally forced to abandon the ranches.
That year he came to my father and said, `Adam, if you want to buy my stone house, give me so much cash, and it is yours.' My father pondered the offer for several days and finally accepted it. Mueller moved out of the house leaving all his furnishings.
He decided to return to St. Louis but having felt the prairie, he learned to love it and his heart was ever in Kansas. During his last illness he composed a poem entitled, `Homesick for Kansas' in which he laid bare his love of the prairie. In passing it might be of interest to relate two stories, one tragic and the other amusing, that his son, Henry, who lives in Nashville, loves to tell.
Mueller was very proud of a little black and white terrier he owned named Fido. He taught the dog many tricks. One of the tricks was for the pup to take a chicken Mueller had killed and carry it to Mrs. Mueller in the kitchen. "One day he was showing some of his friends how well the dog performed. He cut out an old red rooster and, holding it by the feet, raised the axe over his head and struck it with all his might. To his dismay when he dropped the rooster, it ran away squawking loudly. Looking down he saw to his horror that he had killed the dog instead of the rooster.
The other story concerns elder Mueller, his son, Henry, and Herman Streater. They loaded the buckboard and started for the Healy ranch, taking besides provisions, a case of beer. Henry got a bottle filled with castor oil with which to grease the buggy. The first night out after supper Mueller asked Henry to

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get him a bottle of beer. In the darkness he got the bottle of castor oil instead. Mueller took two large swallows before he tasted the oil. Henry says he was angry at him and Herman all the next day, saying that they planted the bottle for him.
Two years ago, Henry Mueller, Herman Streater, Ed Riney, and I paid a visit to the old Healy ranch. We found the crumbling walls of the old rock house still standing with the big spring at the kitchen door still gushing out its daily flow of life-giving water. On the rocks were engraved the names of the cowboys, as well as those of Mueller and Streater. This is the first time either Mueller or Streater had visited the ranch since they left in 1888.
The ranch still today is one of the finest in the western part of Kansas with spring-fed streams, along which stand many fine old trees, and carpeted with as fine a coat of buffalo grass to be found anywhere in the west.

      Luella Stutzman, sister of Joe Hulpieu, who helped prove up a claim in Kearney County, wrote

Often we hear people say, "Those were the good old times." Truly those are the times one looks back to with pleasure but we had our troubles then even as those around us are having their troubles now. Today our troubles are forgotten but our pleasures, which cost us practically no money, we still remember.
There was charity work in our community those days even as there is now. I recall a widow with nine children who particularly needed help. The mother, the oldest boy, and some of the younger children, were down with typhoid fever. The hail had cut up their crop, and winter was coming. The mother, who had not been long over from England, said she did not see how they were going to get through the winter but bravely contended that in some way the Lord would see them through. I worried a great deal about this for folks had so little even for themselves. At length I decided maybe it was the will of the Lord for me to write my mother. Mother took the letter to their minister and he started a collection with a silver dollar. In a very short time, the money the members had raised and a box arrived. Later there were other boxes and seeds to plant in the spring. We had singing bees and literary, and of course the good old literary paper which meant so much to folks those days. Those

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who wrote the papers had lots of experience in fiction writing. How we did hustle to get scratch paper on which to write them. All envelopes were saved and torn open for use, paper bags and wrapping paper were pressed into use.

      Henry J. Wickersham of Muncie, Indiana, wrote a letter to the Dodge City Daily Globe, in January 1947, telling about his early days in Dodge City. In the spring of 1878, he came west with John Brumfield, who settled at Jetmore, and A. S. Peacock, who located at WaKeeney. Young Wickersham got a job with John Riney who ran a dairy, just at the west end of Dodge City which was considered a rough town of the west.

      He remembers the stock shipping yards were just a little east on the south side of the railroad; also two large feed and livery barns, and the dance halls. He has a fine recollection of the excitement when the stage coach came in; the long wagon trains loaded with goods and pulled by teams of four or six mules and four or five yoke of oxen; the wagon and trailers crossing the toll bridge and going over the old sand hills to the south taking supplies to the Indians and cow camps and the little towns on the Canadian River. He often crossed the Indian Territory and finally became a full fledged cowboy, experiencing a big thrill in having a big herd of longhorn cattle in front of him. He recalls Ham Bell, Bat Masterson, and Captain Payne, the scout. After all this, he returned to Indiana in 1888. In the spring of 1879, people came from the east eager to obtain homes. They came mostly from the older settled states and knew nothing of the hardships of pioneer life. Many became dissatisfied as soon as the novelty of the situation wore off and yearned to go back to their old homes, and some of them did. But mostly pioneer families remained to make their dream a reality, enjoying the close friendship of neighbors for miles around, the closer-knit family relationship, determined to make a home in the land of their choice.

      In 1879 there was a deficiency of rainfall and that winter 1879-1880, no snow fell and the weather was so mild that at no time did the creeks freeze over. There was no early rainfall in 1880 and not until July 15th was there sufficient moisture to start grass.

      Luella Stutzman tells one incident that seemed serious at the time but now quite amusing. A congregational minister, Rev.

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      Ward, was to come to organize a Sunday school in their community. What a flurry the news caused among the women folks! A dirt floor in a dugout was all right for us, we were used to it, but for the minister, never, never. So we women armed ourselves with a hoe and started cutting soft buffalo grass. We hoed until we had enough for a padding on the school house floor. Mrs. John Teagarden, Mrs. James McDonald, and myself, sewed gunnysacks together to make a carpet to cover the padding. All that labor because we were ashamed to have the minister see a dirt floor. But I like to think about it yet today and I am pleased that we did cover the floor. Then there was the frontier sociability. Birthdays were occasions for merry-making. Whoever had two eggs made a custard pie. Others made molasses cookies. We were all as poor as job's turkey but we always had the best times and I like to remember them.

      Few pioneers have told about pioneer experiences as well as Heinie Schmidt in an article, The Price of the Prairie, High Plains Journal, September 22, 1949, which follows:

The dollar and twenty-five cents per acre that was exacted by Uncle Sam for the frontier plains was not the only price tag on the land when the settler obtained title to a quarter section of fertile soil. At times, as if to raise the price the homesteader paid, it seemed that all the elements of nature had entered into a conspiracy to rob the homesteader of his ability to maintain a heritage in the good earth. In the spring the withering wind, in summer the drought, in autumn the prairie fire, in winter the blizzard, and from time to time-as if to heap the measure full the grasshoppers threatened the homesteader's production, if not his very existence.
Still living in western Kansas are people who remember that in July and August 1874 grasshoppers winged their way out of the northwest in clouds so thick they hid the sun for hours. The first appearance of the hoppers was on July 1 in Ellsworth County. The cloud moved west in August, a storm of doom which scarcely a county in the state escaped.
The farmers' fields of ripened grain heavy with promise of his only manna was blackened with countless numbers of this 11 devouring plague-Egypt's dread. A summer scene in an hour as it were, was transformed to dreary winter. It is possible to realize the picture only by seeing it. The gardens rich in ripening produce, fell victim to the greed of the invaders in a

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few minutes. The grasshoppers' special appetite was for onions. They ate the tops and the bulbs beneath the ground as well, which led some old timers to swear they could smell onion on the breath of the insects as they swept by.
Before the housewife could remove the washing from the line, the grasshoppers had eaten holes in every kind of garment. They roughened the wooden handles of garden and farm tools so that the tools could not be handled with bare hands.
Grasshoppers even stopped railroad trains east and west of Dodge City, piling up on the right of way in a drift a foot deep and a mile long, causing the wheels of the engines to slip on the greasy rails. The train crews had to shovel dirt and sand on the rails before the trains could proceed.
Under certain conditions the hoppers would bite human beings, inflicting a sharp stinging pain that could be felt by full grown men. The smarting pain came from an acid which the grasshoppers secreted and spit out when frightened. It is the same brown, sticky juice known to every child as "Tobacco juice."
The hoppers devoured everything edible and again took to their wings in search of more green oasis on the prairies. The situation following the visit of the grasshoppers was so acute that the suffering people petitioned Governor Osborne for assistance. Acting on their request, he appointed a commission which traveled over the state hearing the plaints of the homesteaders and viewing the destruction wrought by the insects Late in August the commission recommended that the governor call a special session of the legislature to deal with the serious situation.
In their report the commission paid high tribute to the courage of the people-"with emphasis we assert that our suffering people are not wanting in enterprise nor courage, nor in any of the elements of true mankind. The uncomplaining patience with which even the women and children are enduring the misfortune that has befallen them is not short of heroic. Our people have not lost faith in themselves nor in the resources and prospects of the state in which they live, nor in Him without whom not even a sparrow falls to the ground." Acting on the report of the commission, the governor called the legislature into special session September 1. After two

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days of deliberations, they appropriated $73,000 for relief. They sold the relief bonds at seven percent interest.
Only one western county, Ellis, received any of this money$80. But, it must be remembered that all the country in Kansas west of Hays was Ellis County in those days, so we all shared in the fund. In addition to this fund, there was a large amount contributed directly to the county commissioners and to individuals of which we can make no estimate. Besides there was clothing contributed by the United States' government and delivered by the army officers at Fort Larned, Fort Dodge, and Fort Hays: 4,451 woolen blankets, 1,834 greatcoats, 131 sack coats, lined, 131 trousers and 4,467 pair of shoes.

      Kenneth B. Davis of the Manhattan teachers staff says of the grasshoppers:

"Though it cannot be denied that grasshoppers are the enemies of man, their meanness is mitigated by their miner usefulness. They make good fish bait, poultry food, fertilizer, and in many cases, those suffering might take hope from the fact that it is not necessary for human beings to starve who have had their food destroyed by the summer plague, for they can eat them.
"John, the Baptist, did so while wandering in the wilderness with locusts and honey. Moses and his followers did so. Moses himself naming three kinds of grasshoppers which could safely be eaten. American Indians did so, not from necessity, but from choice. Ground hoppers were mixed with acorn meal to make patties, and dried hoppers were deemed a winter delicacy. The Japanese enjoy hoppers today, cooking them in soy bean oil."

      In September, 1872, Frederick C. Zimmerman and family came west and took up a homestead one mile west of Dodge City, where he lived the rest of his life. This was a family destined to play an important role in the business, social, and political life of the community. He was the first to experiment with alfalfa in Ford county and demonstrated its success. His homestead was the first quarter of land proven up in the county, earning him the ground title of our first homesteader. He was a "Gentleman farmer" and a gunsmith by trade, having a large wooden gun which hung over the sidewalk in front of his store. He was one of the organizers of the first bank, the Merchants State Bank, and also operated the first lumber yard, and was a member of the first school board. Later in life, he

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was elected county treasurer, and county commissioner. He allied himself with the reform movement and was a staunch supporter of Mayor A. B. Webster in his clean-up campaign of Dodge City.

      "Romance Along the Sawlog," Kate Warner Krumey, is a welcome addition to happenings along the Sawlog Creek. She is the daughter of Charlotte and Willis Warner. The article follows:

Charlotte and Willis they met at a Sunday school picnic, along the banks of the Sawlog, in the summer of 1889. Under the shade of huge elm trees, the pioneers had gathered from miles around the Mudgetts, Sheldons, Metcalfs, Kissels, Whitmans, Breakeys, and others from as far away as Spearville. Dinner was placed on huge red and white table cloths, spread upon the grassy ground. Rope swings hung from the overhanging branches of giant trees along the Sawlog's banks. Charlotte Breakey, born along the Kickapoo back in McLean County, Illinois, was twenty-five, of medium height and fair of skin, and Willis Benjamin Warner, twenty-six, born along the Kaaterskill Creek in the Catskills' foothills in Green County, New York, was tall and erect, with coal-black hair.
Charlotte, daughter of James Joseph and Sara Glynn Breakey, was the youngest of their four children. In the spring of 1885, she had graduated from the Bloomington high school. She took a course in dressmaking, but rather than be a dressmaker, she had a yearning to go west. Her brother Jim had gone west a few months earlier, by train as far as Wichita, Kansas, from there on to Dodge City, via the town of Ford, in a covered wagon drawn by oxen. He built a shanty along the ridge side about an eighth of a mile north of Boot Hill. He needed a housekeeper and so she came west, arriving the fall of 1885. The shanty was small and crude but a haven of warmth when the blizzard of 1886 struck in January. Charlotte saw there was a need for teachers in the new country. Her first school, a sod house, "Prairie Home," sometimes called "Flea Home" was just across the line in Meade County. Later, she taught three terms of school in District No. 5, sixteen miles northeast of Dodge City. There were three school houses, each built of native stone in the district, familiarly known as "Kissel school," the most northerly one; Shelton school, the south one; and Weidower school, the east

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one. Charlotte taught in the Kissel school, which stood a half mile north of the Breakey claim house, and among her pupils were the Kissel girls, (Azora, May and Jessie) the Whitman's, Metcalf's, and others. While attending institute, Charlotte made friends with other young men and women who also were preparing to teach-Mary Hale, Flora Swan, Clara Imel, Mary Averill, Addie Braddock, Evelyn Baird, and Frank Hobble, each of whom played a part in pioneering in early day Ford County.
Meanwhile, Charlotte filed on a homestead along Mulberry Creek south of Dodge City. Her brother Jim filed on the northwest quarter of Section 17, northeast of Dodge City, where he erected a four room house of native stone, on the west slope of the ridge between Five Mile and Eight Mile creeks and near two miles south of Sawlog. After proving up her claim on the Mulberry, Charlotte went to live with her brother in his four room stone house.
A few hundred yards east of the Breakey home, along the crest of the ridge ran the old Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Trail. It had been in constant use for several decades up to within a few years of their coming for the trail's ruts were still fresh and deep. A spur or lateral of the Soule Canal, or irrigation ditch, brought water from the Arkansas River, close to the Breakey home. Charlotte would "bucket" the water from the ditch, carry it to the house, let it settle for long periods of time and later use it for wash water. Water was scarce in those days and a well had not yet been dug. Water for drinking and cooking was hauled from a spring, the creek, or a neighbor's well, and you may be sure there was no water wasted.
Willis Warner was the youngest of five children born to Edward Doty and Lydia Chidester Warner, who lived on the Warner Homestead beside the Catskill Turnpike near Leeds, New York. He attended the Dutch Reformed Church and the village school. His teachers, all men, were very strict and taught the three R's with vigor. Willis was timid but industrious. His greatest joy was in roaming the woods back of the big, two-storied farmhouse, with his dog. The big city held no lures for him.
Willis was an avid reader and the "Country Gentleman" came regularly to the Warner home. In the early spring of 1884, he read an advertisement: Mr. Mauldin, Dillon, Mon-

Along the Sawlog 237

tana, wanted a young man to work on his Percheron horse ranch. A week following his twenty-first birthday, he began his long, tiresome trek westward. He became homesick but he continued on to his destination.
He liked the work with the horses and the western scenery. His friend, Steve Clark, a former buddy from New York, who was at Great Bend, Kansas, wrote favorably of Kansas. At the end of six months' work at Mauldin's, Willis asked for his pay and headed for Kansas.
In Great Bend, the two young men pooled their earnings, bought a team of horses and a wagon, and headed west in search of homesteads. It was late afternoon of a mid October day. As they drove west over the level, treeless terrain, the drive became monotonous; then, seemingly, all at once, the trail led over a rocky knoll and there before them to the west lay the valley of the Sawlog.
It was beautiful to see in the warm glow of the late afternoon sun. A few trees were barren of leaves but some of the ash and cottonwoods were flaunting late clouds of gold in a southern breeze. Amber berries were clinging to the chinaberry trees and leaves on the low sumacs in sheltered spots were like hanks of flame. There were fields of green rye, upon which cattle grazed. It was a beautiful picture.
"This is the place where I hope to find a home," Willis thought, then remembered a cabin they had passed a mile or so back.
They turned the team and retraced their way to the cabin. The young farmer living there was Harvey Baird. He knew of Mr. Stannard who lived five miles up the creek, who was eager to get rid of his quarter of land as he was sick and tired of the country and wanted to go back east. This was music to Willis' ears and it set him dreaming.
The two young men camped that night near the crossing west of the Point of Rocks. Early the following morning, they drove to Stannard's where Willis struck a bargain, agreeing to pay Stannard $180. for his relinquishment. The land office was in Garden City, so Willis continued on to that city before completing the deal. Thus Willis Warner began his life along the Sawlog. Young Clark tired of the country and presumably returned east, but Willis had faith in the land and was to stay with it for nigh onto sixty years.

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Willis worked at many tasks in order to earn money to build, to buy cattle, horses, and more land herding sheep, quarrying rock, digging wells for early settlers and at school sites, helping with the up-keep of the newly built Santa Fe railroad, and excavating for the Soule Irrigation Ditch. One summer, he trailed cattle for neighbors, John and Scotter Bangs, all the way out and over the divide to the San Louis Valley. There he sold his horse and headed toward the high mountains to the north. He found work there, helping build the cog-road up Pike's Peak. He loved the mountains but was happy to get back to his homestead on the Sawlog.
Homesteaders like Stannard were leaving, the Murrays, McBrooms, Carrows, Whitmans, all tired of life on the plains. But others were coming - the Kissels, Devoes, Mullendores, Sheldons, and the Breakeys.
The Breakers had moved into their home southwest of the Warner Homestead and Willis had met Charlotte at the Sunday School picnic, along the banks of the Sawlog. Occasionally, Willis called at the Breakey's, always on the pretext of visiting with Jim, but secretly hoping to catch a glimpse of, have a word with, or receive a smile from Charlotte. Willis was very shy, but he gathered courage and called more often. Once he was asked to stay for supper. Charlotte prepared a tomato soup, the like of which he had never before eaten. It was delicious ! The three mile ride between his home and Charlotte's seemed to grow shorter the more he saw and knew of Charlotte. Actually, it wasn't far; just up and away from the immediate valley of the Sawlog, across Eight Mile, up over the ridge and over the brow of its west slope toward the Five Mile.
Now it was early June of 1891. School had closed. Charlotte's brother Jim had returned briefly to visit his mother in Illinois and Charlotte was lonely at the Breakey Homestead. Apparently, Willis was lonesome too, for on a Sunday he called and made so bold as to ask Charlotte if she would share her life with him. She blushingly admitted that she would be willing. In parting, Willis said, "If I can catch Old Charley, I'll come up and get you tomorrow and we'll go to Spearville and get married."
So it hinged on whether Willis could catch Old Charlie for he was a wicked wily horse at times and loved his liberty. But on

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this rainy morning, mayhap he sensed the importance of it, leastwise he let himself be caught. He was curried and brushed to spruce him up a bit. Willis rubbed the harness and dusted out the buggy, after which he washed and dressed himself in his best and off he went over the prairies to get his bride to be.
Charlotte was beautiful that day. Her dark hair was drawn tightly back and coiled in a roll or bun at the back but a cluster of bangs at her forehead. She had put on kid curlers the night before. Sometimes she curled her bangs with a curling iron heated in the chimney of the coal oil lamp. She wore a voluminous gown of dark heavy plum colored taffeta with leg-o-mutton sleeves, high neck, a close fitted frequently-stayed bodice and a long, full skirt, lifted at the back over a hidden wire bustle. Her head covering was a lovely, long, creamcolored fascinator all done in scrolls and knots of loosely gathered silken threads. Her skin was soft and white for she was ever particular about wearing a sun bonnet. Her eyes were a lovely blue.
She looked most charming to Willis and he most manly, handsome, and erect to her, as they made their way back of Old Charley over the trail to Spearville on their wedding day. Charley needed urging with a cluck of the voice and a flip of the lines. The prairie over which the trail led was beautiful with green grasses and spring wild flowers. Not until they came to "The Gap" five miles out of Spearville, were there any laid-out lines section line roads. The end of the angling road was "The Gap" which they opened, thereafter following straight roads.
Upon arriving in Spearville, they went immediately to get the justice of the peace, Mr. F. B. Stewart, who directed them to the Planter's Hotel where they were met by Mr. J. M. Leidigh and Mr. L. W. Nichols who served as witnesses. There was no folderol, no family, no rice-throwing, just a simple ceremony performed in Spearville on the fourth day of June, 1891. Following the ceremony, they went to Leidigh's General store where they bought a supply of groceries, piled them in the buggy, untied Charley from the mid-town hitching rack and left town going via the Cheese factory, which was in operation at that time. Their ride home to the valley of the Sawlog was a pleasant one for these young lovers. They looked to the future with high hopes.

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Their home, the newly-wed's home, was a small frame house of two rooms, with a cellar underneath and an attic above. It was home, a haven for these young people who cast their lots together in that early day in western Kansas. Charlotte could sew, mend, and knit. She could teach the three R's and could make delicious tomato soup. Before the summer was over she was baking good bread, churning sweet butter in the dasher churn and making the finest jams, both from a blend of ripe choke cherries and still green wild grapes, and later from the delicious red-ripe wild plums and ripened purple wild grapes, all of which grew in abundance along the Sawlog's banks. She missed the Illinois orchards but made wise use of the Kansas creek fruits. She canned many tomatoes from a garden which both she and Willis were apt at tending. She had a knack for raising posies, zinnias, moss roses, amaranth, moon flowers, and others. She canned the tomatoes in tin cans, sealing with red wax melted and dropped by the application of a hot poker to the stick of wax. The eggs from the Barred Rock hens were served in many ways and the surplus packed carefully in buckets of bran or gathered dry grasses and taken to market in Spearville. Yes, Charlotte could and did do many things. However she never took to riding a horse or milking a cow. She left those activities to other members of the household.
Willis entertained dreams of raising fine Aberdeen Angus cattle and began early at efforts toward accomplishing this dream. By very hard work and their combined efforts of doing and saving, by the turn of the century, he was stocking the large acreage along the Sawlog with several hundred head of black cattle, the first of the kind in the area.
Thus Willis and Charlotte Warner began a long and rewarding life. Four children, Ruth, Kate, Lucy, and John, were born to them. Willis and Charlotte have gone to their reward, both keeping faith to the last in the land of their choice.
Kate, the second daughter, sees fit to write this little story about her parents: the lass from the Kickapoo Creek and the lad from the Kasterskill Creek, who met along the banks of the Sawlog and chose to live a life together along that beloved creek of creeks, the Sawlog.

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Dodge City History