FORD COUNTY, KANSAS

COUNTY SEAT HISTORY

Dodge City, the county seat of Ford county and one of the important cities of southwestern Kansas, is situated a few miles west of the center of the county on the Arkansas river, and the main line of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe R. R. It is also the terminus of a division of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific that connects with one of the main lines of that system at Bucklin, in the southeastern part of Ford county. The city takes it name from old Fort Dodge (q. v.), which was located about 4 miles below on the same side of the river.

Dodge City - The history of Dodge City begins with the completion of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad to that point in Sept., 1872. About a month before the railroad reached the Arkansas river, the tide of emigration turned toward Dodge City. Buffalo hunters found in the vicinity a profitable field, and in the fall and winter of 1872 thousands of hides were shipped eastward over the new line of road. Other branches of industry were introduced, and the saloon - that apparently inevitable concomitant of a frontier civilization - flourished in all its pristine glory. Among the early comers was a large class of adventurers who had little regard for human life and less for the "majesty of the law." This class was increased in numbers when Dodge City became the objective point of the Texas cattle trade. In fact, within a year or two conditions became so bad that on May 13, 1874, the commissioners of Ford County adopted a resolution to the effect "That any person who is not engaged in any legitimate business, and any person under the influence of intoxicating drinks, and any person who has ever borne arms against the government of the United States, who shall be found within the limits of the town of Dodge City, bearing on his person a pistol, bowie knife, dirk, or other deadly weapon, shall be subject to arrest upon charge of misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined in a sum not exceeding $100 or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding three months or both, at the discretion of the court, and same to take effect from date."

The adoption of this resolution and its enforcement had a tendency to purify the civic atmosphere, but it was several years before Dodge City was entirely purged of its undesirable population. When President Hayes passed through the place in 1879 he declined to leave his coach because of the turbulent crowd on the outside. As late as 1883, a gambler named Short committed some offense againt the public welfare and was threatened with lynching. Matters assumed such a serious aspect that Gov. Glick sent Adjt. - Gen. Moonlight to Dodge City and a company of militia was held in readiness at Great Bend to move on short notice to the scene of the trouble, but the adjutant-general succeeded in securing promises to let Short be tried by the courts.

The Dodge City of the present day is as orderly a city as any in the state. It has 3 banks, 2 weekly newspapers (the Globe-Republican and the Journal-Democrat), electric lights, waterworks, a fire department, a fine sewer system, good public schools, an opera house, and its international money order post office has one rural route that supplies daily mail to the inhabitants in a large section of the adjacent country. Its manufacturing industries include flour mills, machine shops, an ice plant, etc. The city has a telephone exchange, telegraph and express offices, hotels and a number of well appointed mercantile houses. A United States land office was established at Dodge City in Feb., 1894; one of the state forestry stations and the state soldiers home are located in the vicinity, and in 1911 Dodge City was designated by the national government as the site of a postal savings bank. The population in 1910 was 3,214, a gain of 687 during the preceding decade. (Kansas, Frank W. Blackmar, A. M., Ph. D., Volume 1, 1912, pages 523 & 524)


  back to Index Page
  
Copyright © 2013 to Kansas Genealogy Trails' Ford County host & all Contributors
  All rights reserved