FORD COUNTY, KANSAS

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

 

MIKE SUTTON ROBBED

Special to the Capital.

Dodge City. Kan, Oct. 6.—In the early hours of the morning: of the 4th. inst. burglars entered the residence of Hon. Mike W. Sutton and carried away his trousers and vest, in the pockets of which there were $217, a gold watch and railway transportation. Two persons were arrested at Bucklin by Sheriff Ham Bell and $105 in bills were found on their persons. Identification is not clearly established. News of the robbery was held back in the hope of setting a clue. (Kansas Semi-Weekly Capital, October 8, 1897, submitted by Barbara Ziegenmeyer)

The Bucklin Banner Thursday May 19, 1949

In 1940 The Tri-L Club asked Mrs. Frank Gresham (Molly) to prepare a talk to give at their meeting on "The History of the Community". After she had given the paper (sic), the club felt that there were many who now lived in Bucklin who did not know much about its early history, so they asked if she would consent to their having It printed in the Banner. It was printed In December of 1940 and since we have carefully kept this article in our club scrapbook and are proud of it as part of our personal history, we asked her again if we might have it reprinted and she graciously consented.

The Beginning and Growth Of Bucklin

It makes me feel old to be asked to tell you about the beginning of a town 61 years old; I suppose I am growing old in years, yet I trust not in spirit. I have always tried to be progressive and live up to the times and in that respect I have not made a habit of living In the past or bringing up the good old days as some have but enjoyed the changes that have come as long as they are for the betterment of the world. I consider that is really the aim of every life—to make this a better town, a better community, a better world—so I have not been in the habit of looking backward but forward. The "Book" tells us to forget the things that are behind. Because I have tried to do this, those old pioneer days had almost slipped from memory until I began to write this paper and now I find them rushing back, and In a way I am living them over again. I realize that I have seen many ups and downs of life that you younger women have never seen and will never see as pioneers In a new country, and this was a new country when I came here.

We came to Kansas from Indiana, in 1884. that was three years before there was a town here. I was twenty years old and my husband was twenty-five. This spot here was just like all the country around here, just a wide stretch of prairie without a house, tree. road, or even a fence post—nothing but earth and sky—Just a never ending prairie. We selected and staked our claim four miles west and one mile north of here, built a little house and settled down to "prove-up" on this quarter and build a home of our own as was the ambition of all the ten families that came with us and settled in a radius of four miles.

In the morning of 1886 after we had been here two years with Kinsley for our post-office and grocery store, we began to hear of a railroad coming through from Herrington. Everyone was excited. No one knew where it would be surveyed, so the people that were here started two little towns, each thinking that it would be on the railroad.

Mr. L. Brown and others organized a company and started Colcord southwest of here where the Will Neal place is now and Mr. L. W. Handy with another group started Corbitt northwest near the Kay place. Finally In the spring of 1887 the survey was made and they were both left out and this site was selected for the town. A man by the name of Brown bought the land and started the city. It was named for a railroad official by the name of Bucklin who had been Interested in these two towns. Those who had invested In Colcord and Corbitt were given free lots in Bucklin if they wanted to move their buildings here, also a free lot was given the first baby born in the town. It was named Glenn Bucklin Sparks. All the houses from the other two towns were moved to Bucklin—the first restaurant was Mrs. Tarbox's. It was placed on a lot north of the shoe shop. Nine houses altogether were moved Into the new town of Bucklin. among them was the first post office which was moved in with a grocery store from Corbitt and owned by Mr. Fishback who was the first post-master. This was in 1887 and people began to come in from the east and build new home and business houses. Howell & Trager, a general store and St. Charles Hotel, built and operated by Mr. Bodecker was on the corner where the Bucklin State Bank now stands. This burned in 1904 with all the other buildings up to the Frazier Barber Shop.

In this early day we had two newspapers, one named the Bucklin Herald, published by E. H. Wilson, and the other the Bucklin Standard, published by Mr. L. Brown, who was also a lawyer. Then Mr. Aulls came from New York State In 1880 and started the Bucklin State Bank In a little building on the west side of the street where the Day Hardware now is. The family lived in the back part of the building—business houses were like that in those old days and homes were two to four rooms, many of them on the farms were one room sod houses.

The country was settled by people from all of the states so it became a very common greeting when we met or were introduced to a stranger to ask or have them ask, "What state are you from?"

There was no water until there was a well dug and It had to be dug by hand as there was no well drilling machine here at that time. The residents hauled water from a farm well until 1887 when they found someone to dig the well with pick and shovel. It was over one hundred feet deep and the dirt had to be hauled up in a bucket over the head of the man who was digging. This well was in the middle of the street in front of where the Tanner Rooming House now stands—It was a town well and everyone got their water here—at first by rope and windlass, the old "Oaken Bucket" style. Later a pump was put in and then the windmill in this country it was a real curiosity to us eastern folks. It wasn't long until everyone that could afford it had a windmill.

The first sidewalks were boards—everyone that built a business house built his own sidewalk. Some were short boards laid side by side an inch or more apart, others were two or more long boards laid side by side, some had two or three steps to go up then across a store front and down on the other side. There were no street lights at that time so if you were out at night you had to watch your step. One night some strangers were waiting at the depot and walked up on one side and down on the other side. One of the women stepped off of these built up sidewalks and broke her leg. She sued the town and after that the city got busy and In 1908 built cement sidewalks in the main part of town. C. E Smith was
the Mayor at that time.

Our first church service was held in a small one room building on the east side of the street about where Dr. McCarty's place now Is. It was a Methodist organization with twenty-six charter members and no resident pastor at first but a Sunday School and occasional preaching service. Mr. J. W. Gosslee was the first Sunday School Superintendent and served In this capacity for ten years. The towns first wedding was at one these preaching services. The couple was Belle Gosslee, sister of Will Gosslee, and Earl Clark who with his father had a livery barn here in town. They had no attendants, they just walked up after the preacher, had finished his sermon, were married and walked out. finally this building changed hands and the church was moved farther up the street on the west side. Here we had services until the first school house was built in 1889 or 1890. Miss Shrugrue and Miss Summersby. both of Dodge city were the only teachers. A few years later the four room house was built just east of the little school house. Ora Melia was the first superintendent. They had only one year of high school at first and later two years. Claude Hays followed Mr. Mella. then F. L. Wright, who was still superintendent when the school moved to the new brick school house.

At this time Bucklin had several hundred population but we had three dry years, 87, 88. and 89. during which time a great number grew discouraged and left, as they said, "To go back to the wife's people". In the end we had 85 people left In Bucklin. Those were discouraging times for all of us. There seemed to be people moving all the time those days, old acquaintances moving out and new ones moving in on the farms as well as In town. The town didn't die however, and with the two good years that followed in 1891 and 92 we had a substantial growth right along.

Our first resident pastor was J. H. Strain, a middle-aged single man who came in March 89. He lived In Bucklin but had two other preaching points, Fonda and Pleasant Valley school houses. This preacher had no automobile or even a horse and buggy to go from place to place but walked unless someone volunteered to take him or come for him in a farm wagon but this did not daunt his spirit and he stayed on for 2 years, and as a result of his work we have this record—18 adults baptized at Bucklin. 27 at Pleasant Valley and 3 at Ford. All honor is due these pioneer preachers who stayed with us through these trying times.

In 1902 the railroad company decided to give Bucklin the Division point and we had a great deal of a boom. The railroad employees had to built their own dwellings as there was none suitable to rent. The built good houses. The round house went up In 1902 and in 1903 about twenty families moved to Bucklin from Pratt ant it began to look like we might have a city in the future.

In August that same year, a new Hotel, which was badly needed, was built north of the Trager Store Building, by A. W Padgett. These two fine buildings were destroyed by fire in October 1911. Since there was no water system at this time the fire was fought by the bucket brigade. The little bank building was north of the hotel and was the only building saved In the block. It was saved by carrying water in buckets and pouring it on blankets that were spread on the roof for protection. In 1912 the water system was installed. If we had had the water system we have now these fine buildings with others might have been saved. We were glad for the water system for protection as well as for the water In our homes. Now we could plant trees and lawns and have water for them, The city water encouraged the town to plant trees for a park and at the present time we have two nice parks.

The first Doctor we remember was Dr. Richardson and this is why we remember him. We had driven into town in the two horse wagon and were In the Fishback store when Mr. Gresham became very sick They stretched him out on the counter and gave Mr. Gresham some medicine to help the hives break out. Dr. Richardson said that's what was wrong with him. We started home and I had to drive a spirited team and hold the baby. Sure, I would remember that.

Now we have a preacher, a doctor, a post office, two grocery stores, two drug stores, two newspapers. Howell & Trager General Store, a bank, and a hotel, a two story frame building on the corner where the Bucklin State Bank now stands. This building was built and operated by G. A. W. Bodecker. The material for this large building was hauled from Spearville by wagon. Several energetic Real Estate men came in about this time and were kept busy changing titles to town lots and farms. Among them were H. P. McCaustland. M. L. Brown, I. N. Barker and others.

In 1904. Mr. Gresham thought it would be helpful to have telephones, though we never had one on our home In Indiana, so he sent to Kellogg for two telephones and put one out at the farm five miles west of town and the other in Mr. Trager store. He ran a line in most the way on the barbed wire fence but it worked all right and others began to want phones so he put in a small switch-board on the second floor of the Trager Building an operated it himself at first. He later hired one operator, Loren Ford, for day work and operated it himself at night. He had to keep adding to the switch board until In 1910 when he built the present home of the telephone company. This was the beginning of the telephone system we enjoy to day. The upper floor of this building was also the town hall. Here th lodges and all other gathering met and here we had our first revival meeting with Brother Strain.

Our second revival meeting, I remember, was held In the four room school house with a student pastor named George Meridith. People drove for six and eight miles every night to at tend this meeting. One of the farmers would hitch his team to the wagon, drive out and gather up his neighbors and drive in to the meeting. It was a wonderful meeting but I have no record of the results.

In 1906, Dr. Pannon, who was our enterprising Doctor at that time, felt the need of a better lighting system and built a small building and installed a light plant for his drug store and home, also a big water tank for these and other business houses. Later he built the town plant and we had street lights and electricity in our homes. Later he sold his plant to the town. He also built Bucklin's first opera house, located where the city hall now stands. It was very fine, well equipped. He never did anything by halves. This was destroyed by fire In 1911, the same year of the big fire on the other corner. Together with his ingenuity, Dr. Fannon was considered the best doctor in western Kansas.

In August 1907 the railroad company decided it was too long a run from Herington to Bucklin and the Division was moved back to Pratt and about twenty-five families moved with It. This was the second set-back we had but that pioneer spirit was undaunted and the good years that followed brought new farmers to take the place of the backsliders and the town took on new life. Now we had electricity and telephones and the school had outgrown its room and a new school house was needed so in 1910 and 1911 the brick school house was built and at Thanksgiving in 1911 the school was moved into it. In 1912 the first brick church, the Methodist Church, was built by the same architect that built the school, a Mr. Stimpson. Before this we had three frame churches, the first being the Methodist Church which was built in 1901 on the same corner where the brick structure now stands. Now we have the three brick churches, Presbyterian, Christian and one frame church the Free Methodist.

One later Improvement, the sewer system, was built. Before this everyone had his own cess-pool which was not satisfactory I think that It was 1932 when the last and best of all improvements, natural gas, came to Bucklin. This was something we greatly appreciated.

Now in 1940, we have hard streets, good sidewalks, a very nice community building, and three Brick and one Frame church, two brick school buildings, many business houses, electricity, telephones, natural gas, and modern homes with everything pleasant and convenient. Aren't you glad you didn't live in those hard years?

I wonder sometimes If the younger generation that stepped into all these conveniences really appreciate them as we older Pioneers who blazed the way and made It possible for them. I hope they do.

NOTE:
Mary (Molly) Butler born Nov 4, 1864 in Lanesville Indiana Died Bucklin Kansas December 10, 1950 buried in the Bucklin Cemetery
Married Francis (Frank) Asbury June 8, 1882 Lanesville, Indiana. He was born March 16, 1860 died December 4 1941 buried in the Bucklin cemetery.

3 children born:
Arthur Butler Gresahm born April 7 1883
Edgar Charles Gresham born May 14, 1885
Myrtle Belle Gresham born Dec. 23, 1886
Mary was the daughter of David Butler and Mary Ann Smith
Francis Asbury Gresham was the son of Jesse H. Gresham and Mary C. Ham
Molly lost 6 members of her family in a Typhoid Epidemic in Indiana August through December 1875
Mary Ann Smith Butler, her husband David Butler, their Daughter Nancy and Sons George and Charles and William all died within a period of a few months, August - December 1875 in a Typhoid Epidemic.

Submitted by Barbara Ziegenemeyer

DODGE CITY MAN A SUICIDE

A Bullet Ended the life of Edwin Gettings, a Harvey Restaurant Cashier

Dodge City, Kas, April 6---Edwin Gettings, commonly called, "Major," cashier of the Harvey eating house at this town, committed suicide in one of the bath rooms of the Harvey house Thursday night. He shot himself in the temple. Gettings had been cashier here for about three years. He had been suffering from heart disease and the grippe for several weeks. He was 62 years old and unmarried.
(Kansas City Star ~ April 6, 1901 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)

HIGHWAYMAN SHOT TO DEATH IN PASTURE

Garden City, Kan., Nov. 6 - The highwayman who shot and seriously wounded Chief of Police J. E. Cox at Dodge City Saturday, shot it out with Garden City and Dodge City officers in a lonely pasture twenty miles southwest of here about 6 o'clock Sunday morning. Riddled with bullets and scarely able to talk, the man refused to give his name when brought to a hospital here and begged officers to finish the job. He died about 10:30 o'clock without disclosing his identity.

The man was tracked down after he had stolen a barrel of gasoline from G. A. Cockefair, a farmer living thirteen miles southwest of Garden City. When Cockefair returned home about 11 o'clock Saturday night he missed the gasoline, and seeing a sedan parked in his barnyard, took its number and telephoned officers in Garden City who immediately called Dodge City officers to take part in the manhunt. The sedan was the one taken from Chief Cox at Dodge City.

Cox, in search of a chicken thief had stopped man on a road near Dodge City and when he sought to question him, the man shot him dragged the officer from the car and drove off in it.

One carload of Garden City officers arrived at the Cockefair farmhouse about midnight to find the car still in the barnyard, but while they were following tracks of the gasoline barrel the robber got into the car and headed for the sand hills southwest.

Eight men had joined in the chase early Sunday morning when the highwayman finally was cornered in the pasture. (Dallas Morning News, November 7, 1927, page eleven, page 2)

BORDER RUFFIANISM IN KANSAS

Kansas City, Mo., July 22, 1884 - At Dodge City, Kan., late last night, Deputy Marshal Mathers, notorious as "Mysterious Dave," shot and killed Thomas Nixon, another deputy marshal. The killing was the result of an old feud. Mathers shots inflicted four wounds, any one of which would have proved fatal. A cowboy who was standing near was also struck with a bullet in the knee. Nixon had the reputation of being the best buffalo hunter on the plains. (New York Herald, July 23, 1884, page 10)

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