Distinguished Sojourners at Fort Dodge and Dodge City
NOW I want to tell you something of the great officers who came to Fort Dodge in the early days.
General Phillip Sheridan first came to Fort Dodge in the summer of 1868. He pitched his camp on the hill north of the fort and next to my house. I saw a good deal of him while fitting out his command against the Indians, and he dined with me several times, together with the officers of the post. On one of these occasions, about noon, on the hills to the southwest, we saw with strong field-glasses what seemed to be a body of horsemen or a bunch of buffalo. But they moved so straight and uniformly that we finally came to the conclusion that they must be Indians. As the apparition came nearer we discovered that it was but one ambulance with a long pole lashed to it, with a wagon-sheet attached to the pole for a flag of truce. It was the largest flag of truce ever used for such purpose. The driver proved to be Little Raven, chief of the Arapahoes, who had come in to have a peace talk with General Sheridan. As a result of the long talk, Little Raven badly out-generaled Sheridan (as has been related in another chapter). He said all the time he wanted was two sleeps to bring in the whole Arapahoe tribe. General Sheridan said to take a week and see that all came in. The old chief insisted that he only wanted two sleeps. He started out the next morning loaded down with bacon, beans, flour, sugar, and coffee.
Little Raven told me afterwards it was a great ruse to avoid the soldiers until they could get the women and children out of danger. When Little Raven set out for Dodge, the women and children had started south, to get into the broken and rough country that they knew
so well, and with which our soldiers were so little acquainted at that day. It was really laughable to hear his description of how he disposed, of his ambulance after getting back to the tribe. He said the soldiers followed the tracks of the ambulance for days, so his rear-guard would report at night. The other Indians were for burning it or abandoning it; but Little Raven said he prized it so highly that he did not want to lose it. So they took off the wheels, and hung them in some very high trees, and concealed the body in a big drift in the river, covering it with driftwood. The last visit General Sheridan made at Dodge was in 1872. He brought his whole staff with him. General Forsyth was his aide-de-camp, I think, and his brother, Mike, was along. I had known Mike for some time before this, when he was captain in the Seventh Cavalry. I was also well acquainted with the other brother, who held a clerkship at Camp Supply-a most excellent gentleman.
During his stay, General Sheridan and his staff, with the officers of the post, were dining at my house. They had all been drinking freely before dinner of whisky, brandy, and punch, except Mike Sheridan. These liquors were all left in the parlor when we went in to dinner, and there was an abundance of light wine on the dinner-table.
When dinner was nearly over an important dispatch came. The General read it and handed it to General Forsyth, requesting him to answer it. With that Captain Sheridan jumped up and said to General Forsyth: "You are not half through your dinner yet, and I am; so let me answer, and submit to you for review." He then requested me to get paper and pen and go with him to the parlor.
As soon as we reached the parlor the Captain grabbed me by the arm, and said, "For God's sake, Wright, get me some of that good brandy, and say not a word about it." I replied, "There it is. Help yourself." He took two generous glasses and then wrote the dispatch.
The last time I had the pleasure of seeing General Sheridan was at Newton. I was on my way to Kansas City, and stopped there to get supper. I was told that General Sheridan was in his private car. I called on him as soon as I got my supper. He knew me in a minute and received me most graciously. Not so with the brother, Captain Mike, whom I had taken care of many times and seen that he was properly put to bed. He pretended not to know me. "Why," said the General,
"You ought to know Mr. Wright. He was the sutler at Fort Dodge, and so often entertained us at his home." I responded to the General that I was surprised that he knew me so quickly. "I knew you as soon as I saw you," he replied, and then began to inquire about all the old scouts and mule drivers, and wanted to know what they were doing and where they had drifted, including many men whom I had forgotten, until he mentioned their names. He said that he had been sent down by President Cleveland to inquire into the Indian leases entered into by the cattlemen. We talked about old times and old faces way into midnight, and even then he did not want me to go.
In the fall of 1868 General Alfred Sully took command of Fort Dodge and fitted out an expedition for a winter campaign against the Plains Indians. He was one of the grand old style of army officers, kind-hearted and true, a lover of justice and fair play. Though an able officer and a thorough gentleman at all times, he was a little too much addicted to the drink habit. When General Sully had gotten the preparations for the expedition well under way, and his army ready to march, General Custer was placed in command by virtue of his brevet rank, and the old man was sent home. This action, as I am told, broke General Sully's heart, and he was never again any good to the service.
General Custer carried out the winter campaign, persistently following the Indians through the cold and snow
into their winter fastnesses, where never white man had trod before, not even the trusted trader, until he surprised them in their winter camp on the Washita, south of the Canadian. There was a deep snow on the ground at the time. The scouts had come in soon after midnight with the report of a big camp. "Boots and saddles" was sounded, and soon all were on the march. The command reached the vicinity of the Indian camp some time before daylight, but waited until the first streak of day, which was the signal for the charge. Then the whole force went into the fight, the regimental band playing, "Gary Owen." They charged through the camp and back, capturing or killing every warrior in sight. But the camp was the first of a series of Indian camps extending down the narrow valley of the Washita for perhaps ten miles, and Custer had only struck the upper end of it.
I have been told by good authority that early in the attack Major Elliott's horse ran away with him, taking him down the creek. Elliott was followed by some twenty of his men, they thinking, of course, that he was charging the Indians. It was but a few moments until he was entirely cut off, and urged on further from General Custer's main force. Custer remained in the Indian camp, destroying the tents and baggage of the Indians, until in the afternoon, and finally, after the Indian women captives had selected the ponies they chose to ride, destroyed the balance of the herd, about eight hundred ponies in all. He then left the camp, following the stream down to the next village, which he found deserted. It was then dusk. When night had fallen he retraced his way with all speed to the first village, and out by the way he had come in the morning, toward Camp Supply.
He continued his march until he came up with his packtrain, which, having been under the protection of only eighty men, he had feared would be captured by the Indians, had he allowed it to have come on alone.
Now, I do not want to judge Custer too harshly, for I know him to have been a brave and dashing soldier, and he stood high in my estimation as such, but I have often heard his officers say that it was cowardly deed to have gone off and left Elliott in the way he did. Many officers claim that Custer realized that he was surrounded and outnumbered by t!1e Indians, and this was the reason he left Elliott as he did. The facts are that he should never have attacked the village until he had more thoroughly investigated the situation and knew what he was running into. Some of his own officers have condemned and censured him, talking about him scandalously for thus leaving Elliott. I cannot, however, see how he could have been badly whipped when he brought away with him about fifty-seven prisoners, besides having captured and killed so large a number of ponies.
This is the story of Major Elliott as told to me by Little Raven, chief of the Arapahoes, but who was not present at the time. He was my friend, and I always found him truthful and fair. He said that, when Major Elliott's horse ran away with him, followed by about twenty of his men; Elliott was soon cut off and surrounded by hundreds of Indians, who drove him some three to five miles from Custer's main body at the village, bravely fighting at every step. After getting him well away from Custer, the Indians approached him with a flag of truce, telling him that Custer was surrounded and unable to give him any help, and that, if he and his men would surrender, they would be treated as prisoners of war. Elliott told them he would never give up. He would cut his way back to Custer, or that Custer would send a detachment to his relief sooner or later. As soon as this announcement was made the young men who had gotten closer; without further warning, and before Elliott could properly protect himself, poured in volley after volley, mowing down most of Elliott's horses. He then commanded
his men to take to the rocks afoot, and to keep together as close as possible, until they could find some suitable protection where they could make a stand. They did this and stood the Indians off for nearly two days, without food or water, and almost without sleep or ammunition. They were then again approached with a flag of truce.
This time they told Elliott it was impossible for him to get away, which he fully realized. They said that Custer had been gone for two days in full retreat to Supply, and that he had taken with him fifty of their women and children, whom he would hold as hostages, and that if he and his men would lay down their arms they would be treated fairly, and held as hostages for the good treatment and safety of their women and children. They repeated that Custer would be afraid to be harsh or cruel or unkind to their women and children because he knew that, if he was, Major Elliott and his soldiers would be subject to the same treatment. Elliott explained the whole thing to his men, and reasoned with them that under these circumstances the Indians could not help but be fair.
The consequences was that Elliott and his men accepted the terms and laid down their arms. No sooner had they done so than the Indians rushed in and killed the last one of them. The older Indians claimed that they could not restrain their young men. I have do doubt that this is the true story, and that thus perished one of the bravest officers with a squad of the bravest men in our whole army.
The only other officer killed in the fight was Captain Hamilton, when the first charge was made. He was a bright fellow, full of life and fun. Among the other great men who came to Dodge City was "Uncle Billy Sherman", as he introduced himself. He came with President Hayes and party in September, 1879. The president did not get out of his car, and would not respond to the call of the cowboys, who felt that they deserved some recognition. It was a long time even
before "Old Tecumseh", could be induced to strike the pace and lead off. But the cheerfulness, the hilarity, and the endless jokes of the half-drunken cowboys, who had been holloing for the President until they had become disgusted because of his lack of interest in them, induced the general to appear. Then they called for Sherman in a manner indicating that they considered him their equal and an old comrade. Although half of those cowboys had been soldiers in the Confederate army, this seemed to make no difference in their regard for the old warhorse. They had an intuitive feeling that, no matter how they scandalized him, Sherman would be fair and treat them justly. I was astonished that their surmise was right, for when General Sherman appeared he handed them bouquet for bouquet. No matter on what topic they touched, or what questions they asked, he gave them back as good as they sent, answering them in the same generous humor. Before the close of the General's talk some of the crowd were getting pretty drunk, and I looked to see a display of bad feeling spring up, but nothing of the kind occurred, for the General was equal to the occasion and handled the crowd most beautifully.
Indeed, it was laughable at times, when the General rose way above his surroundings and sat down on their coarse, drunken jokes so fitly and admirably, that one could not help but cheer him. He had the crowd with him all the while and enlisted their better feeling, notwithstanding more than half of them were Southern sympathizers.
President Hayes paid but little attention to the crowd the whole day, nor the crowd to him, but General Sherman kept it in good humor, and the presidential party at last left Dodge City amid strong cheers for "Uncle Billy," a long life and a happy one.
In a previous chapter mention was made of the visits of Senator Ingalls and of the Major-General who was once second in command at Gettysburg. These were fair
representatives of the class of distinguished visitors who came especially for sight-seeing. . One Thursday the citizens of Dodge City were agreeably surprised by the arrival, in their midst, of the once famous political boss of the state, Ex-Governor Thomas Carney, of Leavenworth. He was observed in close communion with one of our leading citizens, Honorable R. W. Evans.
The Governor said he was buying hides and bones for a large firm in St. Louis, of which he was president, but he told some of his old-time friends of Dodge that he was here to hunt up a poker game, in which game he was an expert, and he wanted to teach the gamblers of Dodge a lesson, and give them some pointers for their future benefit. The governor's reputation and dignified bearing soon enabled him to decoy three of our business men into a social game of poker, as the governor remarked, "just to kill time, you know."
The governor's intended victims were Colonel Norton, wholesale dealer, the "Honorable" Bobby Gill, and Charles Ronan, old-time friends of his, formerly from Leavenworth. The game proceeded merrily and festively for a time until, under the bracing influence of exhilerating refreshments, the stakes were greatly increased and the players soon became excitedly interested. At last the governor held what he supposed to be an invincible hand. It consisted of four kings and cuter, which the governor very reasonably supposed to be the ace of spades. He had been warned about the cuter before he began the game. He said he understood the cuter to represent an ace or a flush and was accustomed to playing it that way.
The old gentleman tried to repress his delight and appear unconcerned when Colonel Norton tossed a hundred dollar bill into the pot, but he saw the bet and went a hundred better. Norton did not weaken as the governor feared he would, but, nonchalantly, raised the old gent
what he supposed was a fabulous bluff. Governor Carney's eyes glistened with joy, as he saw the pile of treasure, which would soon be all his own, loom up before his vision, and he hastened to "see" the colonel and added the remainder of his funds, his elegant gold watch and chain. Norton was still in the game, and the governor finally stripped himself of all remaining valuables, when it became necessary for him to show up his hand.
A breathless silence pervaded the room as Governor Carney spread his four kings and cuter on the table with his left hand, and affectionately encircled the glittering heap of gold and silver, greenbacks and precious stones, with his right arm, preparatory to raking in the spoils. But at that moment, a sight met the old governor's gaze which caused his eyes to dilate with terror, a fearful tremor to seize his frame, and his vitals to almost freeze with horror.
Right in front of Colonel Norton was spread four genuine and perfectly formed aces, and the hideous reality that four aces laid over four kings and the cuter gradually forced itself upon the mind of our illustrious hide and bone merchant. Slowly and reluctantly he uncoiled his arm from around the sparkling treasure, the bright, joyous look faded from his eyes leaving them gloomy and cadaverous, and, with a weary almost painful effort, he arose, and dragging his feet over the floor like balls of lead, he left the room sadly muttering, "I forgot about the cuter." Now, the governor's old friends, R. M. Wright and R. W. Evans had warned him and pleaded with him not to try gambling here, and even watched him all the morning to keep him out of mischief; but he stole away from them and got into this game which was awaiting him.
Through his friends he recovered his watch and chain and they saw him safely on the train in possession of a ticket for St. Louis.
As a character figuring conspicuously in the visit of Senator Ingalls to Dodge City, I must mention my horse, Landsmann. Or better, I will let his story be told in its greater part by Miss Carrie DeVoe, who often rode with me behind the old horse, who was the only woman who would ride behind him, and who would ride behind him with no one else but me, because she had so much confidence in my driving. I would often cover seventy-five miles a day, and fifty or sixty miles a day was easy work for him, while I have driven him about a hundred miles a day more than once, and over a hundred miles in twenty-four hours. Miss DeVoe's story follows: "Robert M. Wright, who, in the early days, possessed thousands of acres of land scattered throughout the length and breadth of the short grass region, was the owner of a horse of such strange behavior that it deserves to go on record with the odd characters of the border. "Landsmann (a German word meaning friend or farmer) was originally the property of an officer who served under Maxmillian in Mexico and afterwards wandered north into the United States, becoming, at length, a frontier county official. The horse accompanied his master through many dangers, and was spirited, though gentle and faithful. But, as he advanced in years, Landsmann was supposed to become addicted to the loco weed, for a change was noticeable. It was no easy matter to put him in the harness; he reared and plunged without the slightest provocation, and grew generally unmanageable-'full of all around cussedness,' said Joe, who usually fed and cared for him. However, because of his remarkable endurance, Mr. Wright purchased him for a driving horse.
"Invariably, when the owner essayed to step into the cart, Landsmann sprang forward, and his master was obliged to leap to the seat or measure his length upon the ground, sometimes perilously near to the wheels.
When the horse came to a halt, which was difficult to accomplish, the driver was often taken unawares and hurled forward over the traces for a short bareback exhibition.
"Landsmann's chief peculiarity was his speed. He dashed over the prairie at a surprising rate, down into draws and up the banks, over dry beds of rivers, across pastures and ranches, never seeming to tire, and allowing no obstacle to stop his mad race. John Gilpin's renowned steed was tame in comparison. To be sure, this kind of travel was not without its inconveniences, as Pegasus sometimes fell in the harness; however, he always managed to pick himself up and sped onward as if possessed of the 'Old Nick', which, indeed, many believed him to be.
"When the late Senator John J. Ingalls visited Mr. Wright, he was invited to take a drive. Not being acquainted with Landsmann's reputation, he accepted.
Nothing daunted by the animal's efforts to wrench himself from the man who stood at his head, the senator reached the seat in safety, and his host, with a flying leap, landed at his side. "The visitor began to wish he had not been so hasty; but there was little time for reflection. A spring-a whirl-and they were off across the plains. Spectators caught a passing glimpse of the dignified statesman, wildly clutching the seat and bending his head to the wind.
"It was an exciting experience and one hardly to be desired, but they returned in safety. The vitriolic senator was diplomatic. "Like most of the interesting characters out west, Landsmann is dead, and though he died in the harness, maneuvering as usual, his master insisted-and perhaps with good reason-that his untimely end was caused by poison. At any rate, the old horse ought to go down in
history, as he was one of the landmarks of the short-grass region. Miss DeVoe knew that no horse would attempt to pass Landsmann. The day before he died, after making more than fifty miles and coming into Dodge, he came in contact with a runaway team, and off started the old horse whom you would have thought was completely tired out. But he ran all over Dodge, at a high rate of speed, before I could stop him.
As Miss DeVoe says, I did think, at first, Landsmann was poisoned but he was loose in his stall and, in lying down, got his head under the manger, and died during the night, from the dangerous position he was in.
And here I want to interpolate a little in order to give the gist of the conversation with Senator Ingalls before taking the ride described. There was quite a crowd in front of the hotel, to pay respects to the senator when I invited him to ride to Fort Dodge with me. The crowd followed us to the livery stable, everyone saying to the senator, "My God, Senator! don't ride behind that horse; he will kill you. I would sooner give you my horse." Others said: "Never do it. We will hire you a rig if you won't. "The senator said, "Bob, what is the matter with the horse?" I replied, "Nothing." "Why, then, are they making such a fuss?" asked the senator.
"Oh," I said, "they are a lot of geese and cowards! Come on." He said, "Bob, is it safe?" I said, "Ain't I taking the same risk you are?" He said, "That is so; crack your whip!" and away we went. He said, "Bob, is he so very dangerous?" "You see him, don't you?" I answered.
"Yes, did he ever run away with you?" "Yes." "How many times?" "I don't know." "Many times?"
"Did he ever throw you out?" "Yes." When we returned and were drinking a bottle of "ice-cold" together, the senator said: "Bob, that is the best G- d- horse for his looks I ever saw, and I never
was more deceived in a horse. It is the fastest ten miles I ever drove." General Miles has been frequently mentioned in these pages, as a sojourner at Fort Dodge and Dodge City. I give here a letter from Mrs. Alice V. Brown, a former resident of Dodge City and Fort Dodge and a sergeant's wife, because it reflects my ideas of the gallant General Miles. It is dated, Tongue River, M. T., May, 1867, and says:
"We have been out twelve days on a scout. On our . return, General Miles had gone out on an expedition with six hundred men. We expect them back about the last of May. General Miles had a fight on the sixth of May.
He returned today with four hundred ponies. He had four men of the Second Cavalry killed, and one officer and four men wounded. The fight took place near the Little Big Horn, where General Custer was killed. There were forty-seven Indians found dead on the field. The mounted infantry charged through the Indian camp. The only cavalry he had was four companies of the Second, and they fought well. They say General Miles is the only officer who ever led. them, yet, and speak very highly of him. We told them, before they went out, he would show them how to fight. Everything in the Indian camp was burned. This is the greatest victory yet. Red Horn, a chief of some note, made a treacherous attempt to kill General Miles. He came in, during the fight, with a flag of truce, and, as the General rode up close to him, he fired. He missed the general but killed one of the cavalry dead on the spot. That was Red Horn's last shot; he fell instantly, riddled with bullets. The general has had several close calls, but I believe this was the closest." The writer wishes he had space to pay a much deserved tribute or compliment to General Miles, about his indefatigable trailing up of the Indians. His system is like the wild horse trailers; when he strikes a scent he never
drives up until he has trailed Mr. Indian to earth, and compelled him to fight or surrender. Eddie Foy, one of the greatest comedians of our day, made his debut or about his first appearance at Dodge City. He dressed pretty loud and had a kind of Fifth Avenue swaggering strut, and made some distasteful jokes about the cowboys. This led up to their capturing Foy by roping, fixing him up in picturesque style, ducking him, in a friendly way, in a horse trough, riding him around on horseback, and taking other playful familiariities with him, just to show their friendship for him. This dressing up and ducking of Eddie is positively vouched for by a lady with whom he boarded, and who still lives in Dodge City. The writer does not vouch for the story of the ducking, but he does know they played several pranks on him, which Foy took with such good grace that he thereby captured the cowboys completely. Every night his theater was crowded with them, and nothing he could do or say offended them; but, on the contrary, they made a little god of him. The good people of Dodge have watched his upward career with pride and pleasure, and have always taken a great interest in him, and claim him as one of their boys, because it was here that he first began to achieve greatness. I think he played here the most of one summer, and then went to Leadville, Colorado, when and where he kept going up and up. His educated admirers here predicted a great future for him. This, the writer has heard them do, and, surely, he has not disappointed them. Here is further success and prosperity to you, Eddie, and may you live long and die happy!
In connection with noted individuals who, from time to time, honored Dodge City with their prescence, usually coming from a distance and making a transient stay, it is well to mention a few of the leading residents of Dodge, to whose pluck and perseverance the town owed so much of its early fame and prosperity. No better beginning
could be made, in this line, than by introducing the Masterson brothers.
William Barclay Masterson, more familiarly called "Bat," by his friends, and one of the most notable characters of the West, was one of Dodge City's first citizens, and, for this reason if no other, deserves a space in my book.
He, with a partner, took a contract of grading a few miles of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, near Dodge. He was only eighteen years old at the time; this was in the spring of 1872. He says that he never worked so hard in his life, in filling this contract, which they did, with a nice little profit to their credit, of which he was very proud; but his partner ran off with everything, leaving him flat broke. He said it nearly broke his heart, grieving over his loss and over the perfidy of his partner, as he was only a boy, and the world looked dark and dreary. But this misfortune proved a benefit to him eventually, as he gained a lot of experience from the episode, and had many hearty laughs over it afterwards.
A stranger, hunting Bat one day, said to some persons, standing on a street corner, "Can any of you tell me where I can find Bat Masterson? I never saw him, and would not know him if I met him." A lawyer spoke up, and said: "Look for one of the most perfectly made men you ever saw, as well as a well-dressed, good-looking fellow, and, when you see such a man, call him 'Bat' and you have hit the bull's eye." Notwithstanding they have talked and published Bat as a robber and murderer and everything else that is vile, there was nothing of the kind in his make-up. On the contrary, Bat is a gentleman by instinct. He is a man of pleasant manners, good address, and mild disposition until aroused, and then, for God's sake, look out! He is a leader of men and a natural born general, always accomplishing whatever he undertook. This is the reason he
was sought after by the "gang" and recognized as their general. He has much natural ability and good hard common sense, and, if he had got started right, Bat, today, would have been occupying a seat in the United States Senate, instead of being a reporter for a newspaper. There is nothing low down about him. He is high-toned and broad-minded, cool and brave.
In 1876 he became a candidate for sheriff of Ford county, of which Dodge is the county seat. Here is his announcement, as he wrote it, and as it appeared in the "Dodge City Times:" "At the earnest request of many citizens of Ford county, I have consented to run for the office of sheriff, at the coming election in this county. While earnestly soliciting the sufferages of the people, I have no pledges to make, as pledges are usually considered, before election, to be mere clap-trap. I desire to say to the voting public that I am no politician and shall make no combinations that would be likely to, in anywise, hamper me in the discharge of the duties of the office, and, should I be elected, will put forth my best efforts to so discharge the duties of the office that those voting for me shall have no occasion to regret having done so.
"Respectfully, "W. B. MASTERSON." The home paper said that, "Mr. W. B. Masterson is on the track for sheriff. Bat is well known as a young man of nerve and coolness in cases of danger. He has served on the police force of this city, and also as undersheriff, and knows just how to gather in the sinners. He is well qualified to fill the office, and, if elected, will never shrink from danger." Owing to the life he had lived, it was urged by his opponents, during the canvass leading up to his election, and owing to the fact that Bat had grown to manhood under the free and easy conditions permeating a frontier
community, that he would be too lenient with law breakers and evil doers; but his metal was tried on this, soon after he was inducted into office.
There was a train robbery committed at Kinsley, Kansas, and one Dave Rudebaugh was the main guy in the robbery. Rudebaugh was a very bold, bad man. This crime was not committed in Bat's jurisdiction, but in another county; still, he gathered a posse, consisting of Dave Morrow (Prairie Dog Dave), Josiah Webb, and Charlie Bassett, and took the trail. He caught on to a scent that led them to Henry Lovell's cattle camp. The posse remained at this camp until the next day after their arrival. A terrible storm was raging, and Bat was certain that the robbers would seek this camp for shelter, which they did, and, by the adoption of strategic measures on the part of Bat and his men, they were captured without a shot being fired, notwithstanding these robbers were desperate men and heavily armed. The pursuit and welldevised and well-executed capture reflects credit, good judgment, and bravery upon all who engaged in it.
The successful efforts of Sheriff W. B. Masterson in this capture, followed by other arrests remarkable in skill and judgment, entitles him to the unanimous accord of praise given him, at the time and since, and in which I join.
Bat was a most loyal man to his friends. If anyone did him a favor, he never forgot it. I believe that if one of his friends was confined in jail and there was the least doubt of his innocence, he would take a crow-bar and "jimmy" and dig him out, at the dead hour of midnight; and, if there were determined men guarding. him, he would take these desperate chances. This was exemplified in his action in saving Billy Thompson. Billy and Ben Thompson, mentioned in a previous chapter, were brothers, high rollers, and desperate men, as well as gamblers. Billy was shot all to pieces in a gun play at
Ogallallah, Nebraska. They wired Ben Thompson, at Dodge, about the shooting, but Ben had outlawed himself at Ogallallah, was well known there, and had many enemies in the town. He did not dare to go. Bat and Ben were friends, and Bat said: "I'll go, but he don't deserve it." But he promised Ben to bring Billy out. Now Bat was a stranger in Ogallallah, and Billy Thompson was at the only hotel there, desperately wounded and shot all to pieces. The citizens were down on him, waiting for him to get well enough to hang him. The chances were desperate, and Bat knew it and had to keep under cover. By chance, Billy's nurse was an old-timer and a great admirer of Bat. By some chance unknown to anyone, Bat got to him, and the nurse was only too glad to help him all he could, secretly, of course, for the nurse knew the chances he was taking in helping Bat. Through this nurse, Bat got word to a lot of his friends as well as friends of Thompson, who wanted to help him if they could. This was their plan, and it succeeded admirably. When the fast, west-bound express was heard to whistle at Ogallallah, at twelve o'clock that night, the friends of Thompson were to commence a sham battle at the big dance hall across the railroad track, some distance from the hotel, by a perfect fusilade of shots. Of course, everyone ran out of the hotel for the scene of action. Then Bat got the nurse to throw Billy Thompson across his shoulders and to follow with his clothes.
Bat landed Billy in a sleeper and locked the door, just as the train pulled out, and no one saw them. Their attention was attracted elsewhere, and they landed next morning at William Cody's (alias Buffalo Bills) ranch, who happened to be at home in North Platte. Bill was kind hearted and was always willing to help the weak and needy, so they got the best of care, and Mr. Cody had several relays of teams stationed overland towards Dodge City. Mr. Cody, I think, accompanied them for
the first few days. It was a long way across country for a badly wounded man, but they made it all right, without accident.
Another man worthy of note, on account of many good qualities, was Edward J. Masterson, a brother of Bat Masterson. He came to Dodge City with his distinguished brother, and, in 1877, was appointed marshal of Dodge City. He was in every way well qualified to fill this position. He was a natural gentleman, a man of good judgment, cool, and considerate. He had another very important qualification, that of bravery. In those days, a man with any streaks of yellow in him could have accomplished nothing as such officer in Dodge.
The mayor and city council, knowing Ed Masterson to possess all of the qualifications demanded by the times: conditions, and the position, gave him the appointment, to the entire satisfaction of all the business men and citizens of the town. He served in such capacity about a year and, during the time, acquitted himself in such a way that his untimely death, in the performance of his duty, was deeply and sincerely deplored by the entire community.
I here relate an attempt to perform time, and the result, as published in the " Dodge City Times," November 10th, 1877.
"Last Monday afternoon, one of those little episodes which serve to vary the monotony of frontier existence occurred at the Lone Star dance hall, during which four men came out some the worse for wear, but none, with one exception, being seriously hurt.
"Bob Shaw, the man who started the amusement, accused Texas Dick, alias Moore, of having robbed him of forty dollars, and, when the two met in the Lone Star, the ball opened. Somebody, foreseeing possible trouble and probable gore, started out in search of City Marshal
Ed. Masterson, and, finding him, hurried him to the scene of the impending conflict.
"When Masterson opened the door, he described Shaw near the bar, with a huge pistol in his hand and a hogshead of blood in his eye, ready to relieve Texas Dick of his existence in this world and send him to those shades where troubles come not and six-shooters are unknown. Not wishing to hurt Shaw, but anxious to quite matters and quell the disturbance, Masterson ordered him to give up his gun. Shaw refused to deliver and told Masterson to keep away from him, and, after saying this, he proceeded to try to kill Texas Dick. Officer Masterson then gently tapped belligerent Shaw upon the head with his shooting iron, merely to convince him of the vanities of this frail world. The aforesaid reminder upon the head, however, failed to have the desired effect, and, instead of dropping, as any man of fine sensibilities would have done, Shaw turned his battery upon the officer and let him have it in the right breast. The ball, striking a rib and passing around, came out under the right shoulder blade, paralyzing' his right arm so that it was useless, so far as handling a gun was concerned.n Masterson fell, but grasping the pistol in his left hand he returned the fire, giving it to Shaw in the left arm and left leg, rendering him hors de combat.
"During the melee, Texas Dick was shot in the right groin, making a painful and dangerous, though not necessarily a fatal wound, while Prank Buskirk, who, impelled by a curiosity he could not control, was looking in at the door upon the matinee, received a reminiscence in the left arm, which had the effect of starting him out to hunt a surgeon. Nobody was killed, but, for a time, it looked as though the undertaker and the coroner would have something to do."
The writer remembers this shooting scrape well. Someone ran by my store at full speed, crying out, "Our
marshal is being murdered in the dance hall!" I, with several others, quickly ran to the dance hall and burst in the door. The house was so dense with smoke from the pistols a person could hardly see, but Ed Masterson had corralled a lot in one corner of the hall, with his sixshooter in his left hand, holding them there until assistance could reach him. I relate this to show the daring and cool bravery of our marshal, in times of greatest danger, and when he was so badly wounded.
April 9th, Ed Masterson was mortally wounded, in an attempt to make an arrest of two desperate men, Jack Wagner and Alf Walker, who had committed some crime and were terrorizing the town. A very short time after being shot he died. A few minutes after Ed was shot, Bat heard of the trouble and hurried to the assistance of his brother. It took but a glance from Bat to determine that his brother was murdered. He was greatly affected by the horrible crime, and, when Ed told him he had his death wound, he gathered the particulars, and, bidding his brother an affectionate farewell, hastily departed to avenge his death; and I have no doubt he made the murderers pay the penalty.
Ed Masterson's death shocked the entire town, and the feeling was intense against his murderers. To show the esteem in which Masterson was held, the city council and civic organizations passed resolutions of respect, and all the business houses closed during the time of his funeral. It was the largest funeral held in Dodge City, up to that time.
I present a photograph of Andy Johnson, one of the heroes of the adobe wall fight. He has gone through all the vicissitudes of life. A blacksmith by trade, but he has never been afraid to tackle anything that has come in his way. Always a busy man, he has made and lost two or three fortunes. It has been up and down, and down and up with him, but he has never been discouraged.
Coming over from Sweden, at an early day, he found his way out to the great plains, when he was not much more than a boy. He was introduced, at once, to all the hardships and privations of a buffalo hunter, and came near freezing to death, when he was caught in several of our terrible snow-storms. He came to Dodge City soon after the town was started, and has rendered good service to it by his thrift and industry. He built the big storehouse for Rath & Wright, at the adobe walls, and collected many trophies from the bodies of dead Indians, immediately after the fight; and I expect he had the largest collection of war bonnets, shields, bows and arrows, spears, white people's scalps, and other Indian curiosities, of anyone in the West. They were considered of great value, but were nearly all destroyed by the big fire in Dodge, in 1885. He worked some time in our hide yard, and says we often had forty thousand or fifty thousand buffalo hides, at a time, in the yard.
The Honorable M. W. Sutton, who deserves and ought to have more space in our book than we can possibly give him, came to Dodge in 1876, and at once, from the very beginning, struck a gait that gave him front rank as an attorney. Indeed, he was, for many years, the leading attorney of southwest Kansas, and always has held his own among the very best lawyers of our state. He was a friend of the "gang", but always stood up for right and justice. He and the writer ran on the same ticket, and were always elected by overwhelming majorities. He was behind me, as adviser, in all my deals and undertaking. He held many responsible positions of honor and trust, and discharged their duties ably and satisfactorily. When Bat Masterson was sheriff, Mike (Sutton) was prosecuting attorney and they made a great team. It was not, "Scare 'em and catch 'em," as the old story goes, but it was, "Catch 'em and convict 'em," which was nearly always sure to be the case. It was his ability, and not chance, that did it, as some of his
enemies would try to make you believe. Unusual success, in any line, seems always attended by enemies, but, in this instance, both Sutton and Masterson were well fitted to follow Cy Leland's example toward those who cherished resentment against them. Leland said that if he were making answer to the resentful ones, he would repeat this printed poem which, for years, he carried in his pocket:
During our campaigns, in very early days, Mr. Sutton and I had some funny things to occur.
I regret I cannot give them for want of space. Some of them would equal, in fun, the electioneering adventures of David Crockett and Daniel Boone. Mike was the making of our beloved, talented, and greatly distinguished congressman, now deceased. Mr. Sutton spared no labor or means in bringing him out and boosting him, all the time and in every way possible; and, on every occasion, he would manage to call the public's attention to the name of Ed Madison.
Mike surely was, for many years, the big political boss of the great Southwest, and held the situation in his vest pocket; and he certainly made one United States senator, and came within two votes of making another, besides figuring conspicuously in making and defeating others. For many years, he was undoubtedly a power in politics.
He is retired now, living on the fruits of his past toil, but still retains much of his former vigor, and retains the respect and esteem of his community.
Of the number of old citizens of the town, whose residence began with the opening of the Santa Fe Railway and which still continues to be Dodge City, we find only seven survivors. These are A. J. Anthony, Dr. T. L. McCarty, Honorable G. M. Hoover, H. S. Sitler, O. A. Bond, Andrew Johnson, and myself, R. M.' Wright. Of these, Andrew Johnson has been mentioned. A. J. Anthony, who is now (1913) eighty-three years of age, is a most wonderfully preserved man, as active and bright as a man of forty. He goes right along with a laugh and a song, and sometimes a dance. Nothing seems to worry him. The reason he is so well preserved is that he never dissipated; always led an even, pure life, and strictly temperate in his habits. He has filled several offices of honor and trust, such as county commissioner, and other county and township offices.
Dr. T. L. McCarty is the oldest and one of the best-known physicians and surgeons in the West. He has lived to see Dodge City grow from a few houses to its present size. He and his son, Claude, have a fine hospital here, and they stand today in the front ranks of the best physicians in the state, and enjoy a large practice. His son and partner, Dr. Claude McCarty, was the first child (with the exception noted in a former chapter) born in Dodge City.
Honorable G. M. Hoover is one of our wealthiest men. He made all his money here. He has held many offices of honor and trust. He represented Ford county in the legislature two terms. He was mayor of Dodge City several times, and county commissioner several times. He owns a big bank.. of which he is president.
Mr. H. L. Sitler is a retired farmer and stockman, and was, for a long time, one of our leading men in the stock business.
O. A. Bond is pointed out, by the younger generation, as the great hunter and nimrod--the man who killed so many buffalo in one day, and stood in the front
ranks of the mighty hunters in early days. He is now the owner of one of our largest drug stores, and is taking life easy in his old days.
Since beginning this book, I learn that my old friend, William Tilghman, Chief of Police of Oklahoma City, and mentioned several times in previous pages, is a candidate for the marshalship of Oklahoma. The president could not appoint a better man, nor one more fitted for the place by all the rules of war. William Tilghman has spent almost a lifetime in this kind of work. He was marshal under me, when I was mayor of Dodge City, and Ben Daniels was his assistant. No braver men ever handied a gun or arrested an outlaw, and Dodge never passed through a tougher time than the year of the big fire, the year I was mayor. It did seem like every bad and desperate character in the whole West gathered here; and when we would drive out one lot, another set would make their appearance. But Tilghman was equal to the occasion. He had many narrow escapes, and many desperate men to deal with; and Ben Daniels was a good second. Ex-President Roosevelt told the writer, when I was walking with him from the roundhouse to the depot, that Daniels was one of the bravest men he ever saw. He said, during the Cuban war, he could send Ben any place and he was sure to go, no matter how great the danger; he never found him wanting, and he paid him many other high compliments, when I told him Ben was an old citizenzen of Dodge and a peace officer. I regret I cannot give Tilghman and Daniels a more extended notice for want of space.
I would not feel satisfied, nor would I think my book complete, unless I made mention, in my feeble way, of my old friend and fellow politician, Honorable Nicholas B. Klaine. Mr. Klaine was not one of our first settlers (came here in 1877), but there is no man who has contributed more in building up and trying to snatch Dodge City from its wickedness, and bring about an era of
Christian feeling and build-up of our churches and other religious and charitable institutions than he. He has labored hard, both day and night, with his able pen and valuable papers, for the welfare of Dodge City. He and I, I am proud to say, have always worked side by side in politics, as well as in many other things, for the common good. He was editor of the "Dodge City Times" for many years, and has filled several offices of honor and trust. He was postmaster of Dodge City for one term, and gave general satisfaction. He was probate judge of our county for several years. He has also helped me not a little with my book.
Now I can't help speaking a great big word for my old friend, Chalk Beeson, God rest his soul! and may God take a liking to him, is my fervent prayer. Had I space, I could write many pages of his good, generous deeds. He never neglected the sick and needy, and, in times of affliction, Chalk would always be on hand to give comfort, and aid, if necessary, to the stricken ones. He was an indefatigable worker at whatever he undertook, and he never went after anything that he did not succeed in getting it. It was greatly through his efforts that our fine Masonic Hall was builded, and it stands, today, as a monument to his labor. He was one of the widest and best-known men in the state, and among the Masons he reached a high mark. He twice represented our county in the legislature, and was sheriff of our county a number of times. He was one of the celebrated scouts that accompanied the Grand Duke Alexis, of Russia, on his great buffalo hunt; he was also the originater, leader, and proprietor of our famous cowboy band, of which I shall presently say more; in fact, he was the "whole thing." Mr. Beeson came to this country from Colorado, after spending several years there. At one time, he drove stage between Colorado Springs and Denver. He was compelled to reside in Dodge for a short time, owing to loan-
ing money on property here to a friend, and not being able to get it back as soon as he expected; but he liked Dodge, took over the property instead of the money, and located here permanently. He had acquired a very good musical training in Colorado, playing always with the best musicians wherever he went; and at one time he played a steady engagement in Pueblo. When Dodge became the big cattle market of the central west, he invested money in a herd, and the first range he herded over was on the Saw Log. He afterwards took W. H. Harris in partnership with him, and they moved this herd to Sand Creek, about fifty-five miles south of Dodge City. During the severe winter of 1885-1886, they lost almost everything, and it somewhat discouraged him in the cattle business. He traded property on the southwest corner of Second avenue and Spruce street for eighty acres of land a mile and a half southwest of Dodge, where he resided until his death, due to a bucking horse he was riding.
This trade was unusual in the fact that Mr. Beeson and Mr. D. T. Owens, who owned the town property, traded evenly and complete, just as the properties stood, each family taking only their personal effects with them.
And the peculiar fact still presents itself to us, that, after twenty-five years, the two properties still remain of equal value, as real estate.
Mr. Beeson was greatly admired by the Santa Fe Railway people. At the time of his death he had acquired considerable land and town property. He was one of the heavy tax payers, and gave the right of way, through his valuable farm lands, for the building of the new railroad.
Another old friend and early comer to Dodge City I must mention is Mr. H. B. Bell. Mr. Bell, who was born in Maryland, lost his parents when very young, and when a mere boy, came west to try his luck. From Lawrence, Kansas, his first stop, he went to Abilene, Ellsworth, and finally Great Bend, where he landed in July,
1872. There he hunted buffalo awhile, then got a position with a Santa Fe agent whose office was a box-car, and worked there till appointed assistant marshal under James Gainsford. In September, 1874, Mr. Bell came to Dodge City, served several terms as city alderman, was appointed United States deputy marshal after the assassination of United States Deputy Marshal McCarty, and served in that capacity for twelve years. He also served as deputy sheriff under Charles Bassett and several other sheriffs, was elected to the office of county commissioner, served one year, and then ran and was elected sheriff, in which office he served for twelve years. Mr. Bell has been in office for about thirty years. He made many trips alone into No Man's Land, and brought out his man. When our Ford Bank was robbed, Mr. Bell was one of the important factors, in bringing four of the robbers to trial, three of whom are now (1913) serving sentence. In all his official capacity, while very dangerous work in the old days, Mr. Bell has never shot a man, and never hit a man with a gun to affect an arrest, though I think he has arrested more people, for the warrants handled, than any sheriff in our western country. Mr. Bell is our present mayor, and is putting in his entire time to give satisfaction to our people. Just to show that, in his energy and ability, time has not changed him, I clip, in part, the following, from the "Globe" of 1877:
"Mr. Ham Bell is the pioneer livery man of western Kansas. In addition to his large establishment in this city, he is also the proprietor of a branch establishment at Burrton. He cuts his own hay, grows his own corn, puts up ice, hunts buffaloes and wolves, and keeps up several other businesses in town. But he has never anything to do, and will give you a trade for a horse, jackknife, meeting house, or cast-iron jail, just to please you. Ham is a genuine, live western man, and keeps things moving."
Our fellow-townsman, and friend I am proud to call him, Governor W. J. Fitzgerald, has contributed largely to the building up of our town. He came here a poor boy, without money, and, what was worse, in very poor health.
Indeed, it is a wonder he ever pulled through his long and severe sickness. But he is a rich man today, and has earned it all by his indefatigable industry and enterprise.
He is the owner of one of the finest farms and stock ranches in Kansas, with large and commodious barns and stables, and fine farm house. He has represented us twice in the legislature, and was lieutenant-governor of Kansas two terms. He is a gifted orator, and ranks high among the foremost and brightest young men in our state. He is a fine business man and a shrewd politician and, mark by prediction, his voice will be heard in the halls of congress, one of these days.
Like Mr. Fitzgerald, there are others of our citizens who, though not the first settlers, have contributed largely to Dodge City's prosperity, advancement, and wealth, and Dr. C. A. Milton was at the head of this class. He is next to the oldest physician in Dodge today, enjoyed a large practice up to the time of his retirement, and now is much sought professionally, though acting only as a consulting physician. He can afford to avoid active practice, as he has made a small fortune from his profession as well as from his success as a wheat and alfalfa grower.
A. Gluck was for a long time the leading jeweler of western Kansas, and was many times mayor of Dodge City. His persistent and deep-rooted faith in Dodge has made him a fortune. He has the distinction of being the only mayor ever impeached under the prohibition act, and his conduct was vindicated immediately afterwards by his being unanimously reelected by the people. He was not one of the first settlers, but has contributed largely to the building up of our city. Of the many notable men that Dodge City has turned out, it is a pleasure to mention the names of Dr. Simpson
and Dr. Crumbine. In early days, the "Romance of the West" was "Pipes 0' Pan" to the restless youth, and among others who came west, in response to the "Pipes" was Dr. O. H. Simpson, whose mission was dentistry, and religion to save teeth. In his frontier isolation from the profession, he developed an individuality or style of dentistry that the dental profession has recognized by adopting much of it in their teachings and practice. Dr. Simpson was thrice appointed a member of the Kansas State Board of Dental Examiners, serving as president of that body for a period of twelve years; and, in his early efforts to enforce the new dental law, he came so near doing it that the "outlaw" dentists dubbed him the "Cowboy Dentist." The doctor always appreciated the fact that the greatest asset of life is youth; and it was through the open minds of the young men that made it possible for him to teach his methods of practice, while their added genius have developed modern dentistry. Doctor Simpson tells many funny stories of himself, when he was a tenderfoot and first came to Dodge, and they are mostly at his own expense. Simpson and Ballou are the sole owners of the Willow Meadows Dairy, the largest and finest in western Kansas. It contains three hundred and twenty-five acres of rich meadow and is surrounded on all sides by large alfalfa fields. They have gone to great pains and expense to make it perfect. It enjoys all the modern improvements, such as gasoline engines, pumping clear, cool water from deep wells, ice plant, electric light plant, cooling rooms; and with screens and other modern improvements, it is impervious to dirt and flies. The milk is cooled in a systematic manner. They have a large herd of thoroughbred Holstein cows, and milk over half a hundred. Dr. S. Jay Crumbine, who came to Dodge City in the early eighties and practiced medicine for a number of years with marked success, is especially entitled to fa-
vorable mention as one of the Dodge City men who have done things. As secretary of our State Board of Health, he conceived the idea of the individual drinking cup, clean towels, inspection of hotels and restaurants, swat the fly, and many other things of a sanitary nature, that have received a world-wide recognition and adoption.
He not only thought these things out, but he carried them into effect by his indefatigable zeal and energy, and his writings along these lines, tuberculosis, and many other vital questions pertaining to health, should be read by everyone. Recognizing his ability, the Kansas State University elected him dean of their medical school, and he is filling this position now (1913), as well as acting as secretary of our State Board of Health, with, not only great credit to himself, but a widespread benefit to the public at large.
In concluding this list of Dodge citizens, I present a few words on the Honorable Ed. Madison, our gifted, greatly beloved, and much lamented townsman and congressman. His political career was short, but he cut a big figure and made a great reputation as a statesman and debater, for one so young and opportunities so limited. He gave promise of big things in the future, had he lived. We were all proud of him; and his funeral was the largest ever seen in Dodge City, up to that time.
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