For anyone interested in cowboys or the old west cattle drives a trip to the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City, Kansas is a ‘must see’ destination. Housed in a replica of ‘Front Street’, Boot Hill offers a combination of history and entertainment, complete with gunfights and shows at the Long Branch Saloon.
As a genealogist, Boot Hill has proven to be a source of information about my family. As a child, I remember a photograph or postcard that was on display in the building at the top of the hill. This photo was taken of early Dodge City from the Boot Hill area looking toward downtown. My memory says that the house my grandparents lived in was in that photo. Later, while touring the displays housed in the ‘Front Street’ buildings I discovered a minute book for the Ford County Agricultural Society that just happened to be opened to a page mentioning my great great grandfather, Richmond Fisk Hammond.
On a trip to Dodge to visit my grandmother, she encouraged me to visit Boot Hill to see if they had any photographs. Thinking I might find the photo from my childhood memory, I went. Even though I didn’t locate that photo, I did come away with a marvelous find: the only known photo of my great great grandfather, Washington Marion Crawford.
In addition to obtaining his picture, I found a group picture that included my great grandfather, Judson Crawford and another group picture containing Judson’s brother, Nelson Crawford.
If you want to find an unusual source for genealogical information, it would be Boot Hill for me. I never imagined that I would find these photos at Boot Hill. I am thankful that they are preserving the early history of Dodge City.
I recently posted a photo from my grandmother’s collection of an Alfalfa Mill to the Facebook group, Growing Up in Dodge City.
Since my grandparents lived in Dodge City their entire lives, I just assumed that the caption was correct. However, comments on the post questioned whether there was an alfalfa mill in Dodge City.
So, I turned to the newspapers to learn more about an alfalfa mill in Dodge City. I did verify that such a mill existed. Unfortunately, I haven’t located information for the construction of the first mill. Below is a synopsis of what I found.
Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 09 Feb 1911 Thu
The alfalfa mill will be opened again this week. It is a little unusual for the mill to be in operation at this time of year but the farmers held over much of their alfalfa for better prices and are now ready to place it on the market.
The Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 23 May 1912 Thu
Alfalfa Mill Is a Total Loss
Fire Started Early This Morning and Burned Rapidly
(Monday) A fire loss which will probably amount to between $6,000 and $7,000 occurred early this morning when the W. B. Martin alfalfa mill on west Santa Fe trail street was destroyed. The building and its contents including machinery and supplies were burned, and no insurance was carried to relieve the owner of the loss. The fire started between the main building and the shed and many believe it was the work of some incendiary, as there had been no workmen or others about the mill since Saturday evening. The fire was discovered about 3 o’clock this morning and by four the building was in ashes. Besides a considerable amount of expensive machinery it contained several car loads of alfalfa and other food stuff. The fire department was powerless to save the building as it was covered with flames before the fire was discovered, but the work of the department, saved quite a number of residences in the neighborhood The residence of Frank Osburn on the east side of the mill was almost completely destroyed, and the one belonging to Archie T. Keech directly west of the mill was badly burned on one side, but no other buildings were damaged. Sparks from the fire blew over nearly all of the town from the mill ot the stand pipe on the Central Avenue hill, but most of the people of the town had been wakened by the siren whistle at the city power hose and watched their roofs. W. B. Martin, the owner of the mill is spending the day in Garden City and he had not announced before his departure whether the mill would be rebuilt or not.
The Dodge City Daily Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 24 May 1912
New Alfalfa Mill Is in Prospect
New Building May Go Up on the Site of the One Which Was Burned
It Would be Fire Proof
The New Mill Would Be a Cement Block Structure and Would Be Larger than the Old One — Some Are Protesting
Dodge City may soon have another alfalfa mill. It is possible that one will be built this season on the site of the mill which was burned last Monday morning on west Santa Fe Trail street. Manager W. B. Martin was talking about the matter this morning, and he said that contractors had been asked to make estimates on the kind of a building that would be required for the purpose. If a new alfalfa mill is put up it will be a thoroughly fire proof building and will probably be larger than the old mill which was burned. Mr. Martin said today that since most of the debris had been removed it was found that much of the machinery had not been seriously damaged and that with a little overhauling it would easily be put into commission again. It was stated this afternoon that W. P Kilesen of the Farmers’ Elevator company was circulating a petition protesting against the rebuilding o the alfalfa mill but it is not known what objection is made to the enterprise.
The Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 06 Jun 1912, Thu
No Action Taken about Alfalfa Mill
Mayor Bell Favored New Mill While Other Commissioners Opposed It
There is still some difference of opinion abouth whether Dodge City is to have a new alfalfa mill. The matter was presented to the city commissioners again last night and was supported by a petition signed by eighty-one business men of the city asking that the commission rescind its former action denying the company the privelidge of putting up a fire proof mill on the site of the old one which was burned. Mayor Bell was in favor of allowing the mill to be rebuilt. Commissioners Miller and Laughead opposed it, but they took no action last night. They said they would consider the matter again at the meeting next Friday evening. Manager W. B. Martin was there to represent the company and several of those who opposed the proposition for rebuilding the mill were there to speak to the commissioners. In speaking to the intention of the company, Mr. Martin said: “I am unable to tell what we will do. Evidently the city commissioners intend to oppose our putting in a mill here. The quesiton is whether it would be better to go ahead anyhow and be the subject to all kinds of annoying orders, or abandon the field and put up a mill at some other point.”
The Dodge City Daily Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 15 Jun 1912, Sat
Considerable opposition is developing to having the alfafa mill re built on the location where it burned down. It is argued that it is too close to the oil tanks and would be a menace to the city water works. The Commercial Club may take a hand at securing new site for the company.
The Dodge City Daily Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 20 Jul 1912 Sat
Produce Company to Build
Site of Old Alfalfa Mill Has Been Purchased and Fireproof warehouse Is to Be Erected There
The wholesale produce company has purchased the lots where the alfalfa mill stood before it was burned and will erect a fireproof warehouse there. Work has already commenced clearing out the rubbish left after the fire and the building will be completed this summer. C. B. Young of the wholesale company says it has not been decided just the size of the building but that it will be either about 25 by 175 feet or 37 by 75 feet It will be one story of either concrete or brick. The location is an ideal one for a warehouse as it is beside the railroad track and will give a storage house which is needed on account of the growing business of the company
The Dodge City Daily Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 04 Oct 1912, Fri
The warehouse of teh Dodge City Produce company is to be ready for occupancy in two weeks. It is being erected on the Santa Fe tracks on the site of the old alfalfa mill.
The Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 21 Nov 1912
Plan to Build an Alfalfa Mill Here
Ford County Growers May Form Company to Replace the One Burned Last Winter
Ford county growers of alfalfa are planning to build an alfalfa mill here to take the place of the one that burned last winter. A meeting of some of the leading alfalfa men was held last week to discuss plans for rebuilding. Will Martin, who owned the other mil, has been asked to take a part in the formation of a new company. It is estimated that a new mill can be put in operation for form $3,500 to $5,00. Alfalfa growers say the mill tends to keep up the price of the hay by providing a steady market. Some growers say that $8 alfalfa cannot be fed here profitably that the grower makes a greater and more certain profit by selling to the mill. The alfalfa crop in this county this year has been exceptionally good, and the amount of hay produced has resulted in the agitation for a mill.
The Dodge City Daily Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 12 Mar 1913
Build Larger Alfalfa Mill
Contract Let by Dodge Company and Work Is to Start at Once
The alfalfa mill company has let the contract for the new mill and work is to start at once. Morley Bros., of Wichita, get the contract for the machinery and the shed for it. The latter is to be 16 by 24 feet and 24 feet high. A wetterhold grinder is to be installed, and electric power from the Midland company is to be used. Fairbanks A Morse received the contract to supply the motors. A large hay barn is to be erected and a store room. Both buildings will be put up by the farmers who comprise the company. The plant is to be built on the Santa Fe spur near the Chris Behl tract, east of town. It will cost, complete, about $4,30000 and will be considerably larger than the plant which burned down.
The Dodge City Daily Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 26 May 1916, Fri
Each Thursday, I am trying to share some of the family pictures that have been passed down to me by my grandmothers. Today’s set of pictures comes from my Dodge City collection.
According to the description on the back, a couple of these pictures were taken at the ‘Airport Restaurant’. This was one of my grandmother’s favorite restaurants. It was a small cafe with about 5 booths and a small counter. Several of the booths overlooked the runway. Thus, we would sit in a booth, eating traditional American food, as we watched the activity around the hangars and runway.
The pictures are from a celebration of Alma Currey Taylor Grenier’s 75th birthday in 1987. Included in the pictures are Alma’s husband, Nap; Alma’s sister and my grandmother, Winnie Currey Crawford; and Winnie’s sister-in-law, Esther Crawford Noll.
Do you have farmers in your tree? Do you know where the family homestead is (was) located? Since I have a rich Kansas heritage, there are two definitions for homestead:
a house, particularly a farmhouse and outbuildings
an area of public land in the west (i.e. Kansas) usually comprising 160 acres that was granted to any U.S. citizen willing to settle the land and farm it for at least five years.
My great great grandfather, Washington Marion Crawford was a homesteader — and the only ancestor for whom I’ve obtained a homestead record. To put this land on a map, I use the web site First Landowners Project at HistoryGeo ($).
Washington Crawford’s land is in the lower left of the above map. Toward the top of the map is land his brother, James H. Crawford owned. The two pieces of land just south of Dodge City were homesteaded by his nephew and his daughter. The purple dot on the map identifies the location of the land Richmond Hammond homesteaded. Richmond’s daughter, Josie, would later marry Judson, son of Washington Crawford.
Zooming in on the map, the original neighbors of Washington Marion Crawford can be identified.
In March of 1885, Washington M. Crawford paid $2 to register his claim at the Garden City Land Office.
Land Office at Garden City, Kansas Mar 31 1885 Mr. Washington M. Crawford has this day paid Two dollars, the Reiger’s and Receiver’s fees to file a Declaratory Statement, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged. A J Hoisington, Receiver No. 125 Mr. Washington M. Crawford having paid the fees, has this day filed in this Office his Declaratory Statement, No. 125 for SE 1/4 section 31 township 28S of Range 26 W containing 160 acres selected March 31, 1885 being [?] offered.
In July 1889, Washington M. Crawford filed his “Testimony of Claimant’ by answering several questions. Interesting bits of information from these questions includes the following:
had made a previous filing for another tract of land but did not remember the description and never obtained title to it
there is no timber on the land
in March of 1886, he built a house and broke 5 acres of land
Description of buildings: house – frame shingle roof 15 ft x 15 ft with sod addition 10 ft x 12 ft; 3 doors & 4 windows; sod stable 16ft x 32 ft; hen house 8 ft x 8 ft; well 92 ft deep;
planted 2000 mulberry trees
owns a plow and a buggy
owns 1 cow, 1 calf and 2 horses
raised crops for 3 seasons
spent 4 months in 1887 in Dodge City working to earn money to support family
The final certificate for the land was received by the family in May 1890 after Washington M. Crawford’s death in August 1889.
The United States of America To All to Whom These Presents Shall Come, Greeting: Homestead Certificate No. 1180 Application 4505 Whereas there has been deposited in the General Land office of the United States a Certificate of the Register of the Land Office at Garden City, Kansas, whereby it appears that pursuant to the Ace of Congress appeared 20th May, 1862 “To secure Homesteads to actual settlers on the public domain,” and the acts supplemental thereto, the claim of Washington M. Crawford has been established and duly consummated in conformity to law for the South East quarter of Section Thirty one in township Twenty Eight South of Range twenty-six West of the Sixth Principal Meridian in Kansas, containing one hundred and sixty acres. according tot he Official Plat of the Survey of the said land returned to the General Land Office by the Surveyor General. Now know ye, That there is therefore granted by the United States unto the said Washington M. Crawford the tract of land above described to have and to hold the said tract of land with the appurtenances thereof unto the said Washington M. Crawford and his heirs and assigns forever. In testimony whereof I, Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States of America have caused these letters to be made Patent, and the Seal of the General Land Office to be hereunto affixed. Given under my hand, at the City of Washington, the twenty seventh day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and and fourteenth. By the President: Benjamin Harrison By M. McKean Sec’y J. M. Townsend, Recorder of the General Land Office
His widow, Mary Foster Crawford, sold the homesteaded land in 1907. [Ford County Kansas, Deeds, Vol 31, page 570; Mary Crawford, et al to Peter Hinemann, 18 September 1907; Register of Deeds, Dodge City Kansas.]
From Mary Crawford et al To Peter Hinemann Entered in Transfer Record in my office this 18th day of Oct A.D. 1907 S H Cennaway, County Clerk Filed for record on the 18 day of Oct A.D. 1907 at 4 o’clock P.M. Geo A Stumph, Register of Deeds
This Indenture made this 18th day of September A.D. 1907 between Mary Crawford widow, Nelson G. Crawford and Cora Crawford his wife, J. F. Crawford and Josie Crawford his wife, Lida A LIghter and Alvin H LIghter her husband all of Ford County Kansas and Ida K Sherman and A O Sherman her husband of Tacoma Washington sole and only heirs of Washington M Crawford deceased of the first part and Peter Hinemann of Ford County, in the State of Kansas of the second part; Witnesseth, that said parties of the first part, in consideration of the sum of Two Thousand ($2000.00) and no Dollars the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, do by these presents, grant, bargain, sell and convey unto said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns, all the following described Real Estate, situated in the County of Ford, and State of Kansas, to wit: The Southeast quarter of Section Thirty-on (31) in Township Twenty eight (28) South of Range Twenty Six (26) West of the 6th PM containing 160 acres. To have and to hold the same, together with all and singular the tenements, hereditaments and appurtenances thereunto belonging or in anywise appertaining, forever. And said grantors for themselves their heirs, exeuctors or administrators do hereby covenant, promise and agree to and with said party of the second part that at the delivery of these presents they are lawfully seized in their own right of an absolute and indefeasible estate of inheritance, in fee simple, of and in all and singular the above granted and described premises, with the appurtenances; that the same are free, clear, discharged and unincumbered of and from all former and other grants, titles, charges, estates, judgments, taxes, assessments and incumbrances of what nature or kind soever and that they will warrant and forever defend the same unto said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns, against said parties of the first part their heirs, and all and every person or persons whomsoever, lawfully claiming or to claim the same. In witness whereof, the said parties of the first part have hereunto set their hands the day and year first above written. Lida A Lighter Alvin H LIghter Ida K Sherman A. O. Sherman Mrs. Mary Crawford Nelson G Crawford Cora Crawford J F Crawford Josie Crawford
State of Kansas, Ford County, SS Be it remembered, that on this 18th day of October A.D 1907, before me, the undersigned, a notary public in and for the County and State aforesaid, came Mary Crawford, a widow Nelson G Crawford and Cora Crawford his wife, J. F. Crawford and Josie Crawford his wife Lida A Lighter and Alvin Lighter her husband who are personally known to me to be the same persons who executed the within instrument of writing, and such persons duly acknowledged the execution of the same. In Testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my notarial seal, the day and year last above written. C. E. Smith, Notary Public Term Expires Mar 15 1909
Along side of deed: State of Washington, Pierce County, ss Be it remembered that on this 24th day of September A.D. 1907 before me the undersigned a Notary Public in and for the County and State aforesaid came Ida K. Sherman and A. O. Sherman her husband is who are personmally known to me to be the same persons who executed the within instrument of writing and such persons duly acknowledged the execution of the same. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my notarial seal the day and year last above written. Robert W Janes Notary Public Term expire April 10th, 1910
While growing up, 911 Second in Dodge City was my grandparents home. Even though my grandmother would sometimes refer to their former house on Avenue G, I didn’t know much about their life on Avenue G until I started researching the family. Not only did my grandparents live in the 500 block of Avenue G, but my grandfather’s parents also lived in that block.
During the time they lived in that area of town, my grandmother and great-grandmother were members of the East Side Bible Class. Below is a clipping of a newspaper article about the East Side Bible Class that my grandmother kept.
The following photos were in my grandmother’s things. Based on my grandmother’s activities, these pictures could be the ‘Old Timer’s Club’ or the ‘East Side Bible Study Group’ of Dodge City, Kansas.
The names on the back of the photos appear to be some of the same names in the newspaper article, “Some Things Never Change for Old Timers … Well Some Things,” that was published in the December 8, 1975 issue of the Dodge City Daily Globe (Dodge City, Kansas).
My recent ‘adventure’ in Dodge City newspapers on Newspapers.com allowed me to discover information about another Crawford family.
There are two distinct Crawford lines in Dodge City prior to 1890. My line descends from Washington Marion Crawford who followed his brother, James H. Crawford to Dodge City from Indiana around 1884. The other line, Harvey H. Crawford, descends from James Crawford (1770-1836) of Warren County, Indiana thru his son, William Alan Crawford.
Harvey H. Crawford settled in Wheatland Township northeast of Dodge City about the same time that James H. Crawford settled just south of Dodge City. According to newspaper articles, Harvey H. Crawford moved to Oklahoma for a time before settling in Dodge City before 1900.
In May 1889, H. H. Crawford journeyed to Oklahoma pursuing work as a carpenter.
Steve Leavergood and H. H. Crawford started for Oklahoma on last Sunday morning. Mr. Crawford expects to get some work at his trade, carpentering. Mr. Leavergood has taken a claim, but will follow butchering.
Western Kansas Ensign (Dodge City, Kansas), 10 May 1889, page 3; digital image, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online November 2019).
Later in June, the paper published a letter from H. H. Crawford in Oklahoma.
Mr. H. H. Crawford of this place, who has been dwelling among the Oklahomaites I.T. during the last six weeks doing carpenter work, writes June 16th in which he gives a census taken by the Gazette, of Oklahoma City, which is too lengthy to insert in our columns. It would not require a philosopher to see at a glance that all branches of business are over done, and ahead of the country, not half of them can make a living and in less than a year there must be an exodus which will astonish the natives. The following is the conclusion of Mr. Crawford’s letter viz: You ask how I like this country, I don’t like to live here as well as I do there, there is an oppressive feeling to me; as to the water there is none that is as good as the water there, there is something about it that people generally are complaining of dysentery. The wind blows here as well as there; we had a terrible hail storm June 6th, it went south of the city two and a half miles, the leaves were beaten off the trees and limbs as large as your finger peeled clear around; hailstones as big as hen eggs were found twelve hours after the storm in the drifts in the draws. There is plenty of timber along the streams but the U.S. don’t allow any green timber sold. Groceries are as cheap here as there; we can get fresh fruit of all kinds; irish potatoes are one dollar per bushel, sweet potatoes thirty cents a peck. I am well. H. H. Crawford
Letter, Western Kansas Ensign (Dodge City, Kansas), 28 June 1889, page 3; digital image, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online November 2019).
I recently have been spending a lot of time with Ancestry’s newly released database: Newspapers.com Obituary Index, 1800s – present. In the process, I discovered that a lot of the early newspapers from Dodge City, Kansas are now on Newspapers.com. Thus, I did a search for CRAWFORD between 1885 and 1890. Many of the results allowed me to get a digital copy of articles I had seen when I read the microfilm.
One of those articles described the building of a boarding house by my 2nd great grandfather, Washington Marion Crawford.
Marion Crawford has commenced the foundation for a boarding house, north of his present location, on 2d Avenue. The main building will be 16 x 26 feet, 18 feet high, with a wing 16 x 18 feet. The dining room and kitchen will be in the basement. A. O. Sherman hs the contract to do the work.
Dodge City Times (Dodge City, Kansas), 30 July 1885, page 4; Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online November 2019).
Knowing that the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps are available on the the Library of Congress web site, I did a search to locate the Dodge City Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. The 1887 map shows the boarding house at the corner of 2nd and Elm.
This Boarding House likely allowed Mary Foster Crawford to care for her family after the death of her husband in 1889. Mention of the boarding house is found in the 7 Dec 1894 issue of the Dodge City Globe.
In 1947, my grandparents, Leon and Winnie Crawford, purchased the ‘boarding house’ from his uncle, Nelson G. Crawford, son of Mary Foster Crawford and Washington Marion Crawford.
Since my grandparents opened the second floor of the house to guys attending college across the street, it was again a ‘boarding house.’
When my grandfather became ill, the house was sold and my grandmother moved into an apartment. Eventually, the boarding house was torn down to ‘build a parking lot’ for the public library that was built across the street from it.
Do you ever re-look at a document and discover a new clue? That was my experience when a 4th cousin sent me a copy of a letter – a letter that I think I’ve seen before.
Dodge City, Kansas, March 29, 1907 Dear nephew (William Clay Crawford) Your ????? to hand. I am glad to hear from you. Your Grandfather Crawford lived to be 56. Died with colic. Your Grandmother died about the same age with typhoid. From your Great Grandfather Crawford lived until the age of 72 and died with sunstroke. our Great Grandmother Crawford lived 78-don’t remember what caused here death. Your Grandparents were born in Ohio and died in Warren County, Indiana (W. Lebanon?). Your Great Grandparents moved from Kentucky and died in southern Ohio. Your Great Great grandparents came from Scotland and are buried in Kentucky not far from Lexington. You are of strong hearty people and ought to live to be an old man with proper care of your health. I am in only tolerable health myself. I am muscular paralysis. Will stop off and see you and family and next time I am through if possible. Kindly regards to your family From you affectionate uncle. J.. H. Crawford (James H. Crawford)
Names in parentheses suggest this is a transcription and not a typed letter
nephew, William Clay Crawford, son of a brother of James H. Crawford
Grandfather – Nelson G. Crawford – died at age 56 of colic
Born Oct 1808, died March 1864 – age 55 / cause of death unknown
Grandmother – Martha Smith Crawford – died of typhoid
Cause of death unknown
Great Grandfather – James Crawford – lived until 72 and died of sunstroke
According to tombstone, James Crawford was born April 1772 and died July 1854 at age 82
Cause of death unknown
Great Grandmother – Sally Smith Duggins Crawford – lived until 78
According to tombstone, Sally Crawford was born Feb 1770 and died May 1856 at age 86
Cause of death unknown
Grandparents – Nelson G. Crawford and Martha Smith Crawford – born in Ohio
According to 1850 census – Nelson G. Crawford born in Ohio
According to 1850 census – Martha Crawford born in Indiana
Grandparents – Nelson G. Crawford and Martha Smith Crawford – died in Warren County, Indiana (W. Lebanon)
Both Nelson G. Crawford and Martha Crawford are buried in the West Lebanon (Warren County) Indiana cemetery
Great grandparents – James Crawford and Sally Smith Duggins Crawford – moved from Kentucky and died in southern Ohio
James Crawford and Sally Duggins were married in 1799 in Garrard County, Kentucky
James Crawford and Sally Crawford are buried in the cemetery in Eaton (Preble County), Ohio
Great Great Grandparents – ? unknown – came from Scotland
yDNA evidence supports tie to Crawford family in Scotland
Great Great Grandparents – ? unknown – buried near Lexington
Parents of James Crawford have not been identified
This statement could be about either SMITH family (Martha’s line or Sally’s line)
Current records for James Crawford are from Garrard County, Kentucky
No evidence of a relationship between Rev. James Crawford of Lexington, Kentucky and James Crawford who married Sally Duggins
DAR records from this time period (1907) have records for two different James Crawfords mixed up. Thus, it is possible that this statement is a result of similar confusion about several different James Crawford families.
This letter supports a lot of my current findings. It also reminded me that my research isn’t done – that I need to continue seeking records. In reviewing this letter, I discovered that I need to review my documentation and bring it up to today’s standards.