1878 Cattle Drives

In searching for an advertisement enticing settlers into the Dodge City area, I came across the following article discussing the round-up of cattle and the cattle drives during 1878.

The Kansas and Colorado Cattle Drives

[Dodge City Correspondence New York Times]

The Indiana State Sentinel, Wednesday July 10, 1878

Page 7 column 6

[available on Chronicling America]

                The cattle men of the plains are just getting through with their annual ‘round-ups’. For the Arkansas valley and the divide country West Los Animas was the rendezvous; and the scattered cattle for miles along the river and out on the buffalo ranges were gathered to that point. Camps were established, all the leading cattle men, were on hand and the “cow boys” were in their glory. It was the work of only a few hours to “cut out” and separate the cattle and start the herds back to their ranges again. Every animal is known by its brand, so that ownership is easily determined, and those that have drifted miles away during the winter storms and become a part of other herds are picked out in a few minutes, claimed by the owners and started back to the range. It has been a good winter for stock in this valley; no bad storms and plenty of grass. The cattle are in prime condition, and beeves for the early fall market will sell better than the average. By comparing notes among the herders it was found that the range between Fort Lyon and Bent’s Fort – Kit Carson’s old hunting grounds – an uninviting and barren looking section, contains more cattle than any similar area on the plains. Over 75,000 head are figured up.

               As all the heavy stock men and shippers just now seem to be bound for one place – Dodge City – the point at which the ‘drives’ of Texas cattle come up, your correspondent took a train on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad and a seven hours’ ride landed us at midnight in this noisy cattle mart. No one seemed to be asleep at that hour. The station was thronged with swaggering, swearing cow boys and oily confidence men. With some difficulty we rubbed our way through the crowd and followed the porter to the Great Western hotel. Any of our companions that might be bent on sport could need no special beckoning, for in all the billiard halls, concert saloons and keno dens the lamp still held out to burn.

Seen by daylight Dodge City has a better look, though somehow pretty much all the buildings, which are of frame, lurch to the west as if impatient to move on, the effect of high prairie winds. The population cation not be farm from 1,000, though there is a large floating element, increasing rapidly, and a month later, when the cattle are swarming and prices are at high tide, there will be in the town and outskirts as many as 5,000 people. The cattle shipping season gathers traders, speculators, gamblers and all sorts. Through June and July Dodge City will be the liveliest place in the west. The best trails from the pan-handle of Texas strike the railroad and river at this point, if it is outside the ‘dead line’ prescribed by Kansas laws, and offers every facility for large stock transactions. There are in this vicinity about 120,000 head of Texas ‘beeves’ already arrived and ready to be marketed. There are on the trail between Dodge and Cimarron 50,000 more. The last accounts from the south indicate that there are upward of 225,000 head of cattle moving northward from Red river, fully one half of which will take the trail to Dodge City.

             About the 1st of July the larger shared will have arrived here and the shipping will begin in earnest. There will probably be put on the cars at this station from 30,000 to 40,000 beeves for Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago. The greater share of the cattle that are driven to this point from Texas do not go into eastern markets yet. They will be allowed to feed their way westward and northward, and two months later will appear at stations on the Kansas Pacific and Union Pacific roads further east, some to be shipped to Kansas City and Omaha, but the great bulk remain feeding on the plains until next spring. The cattle “drives” from Texas each year represent a great deal of money, and are in the hands of comparatively few men. The herds of the thirty largest owners will aggregate about 200,000 head.

The several smaller ‘bunches’ will swell the table to between 225,500 and 250,000. Some claim that the number will reach 300,000. About 45,000 are detained for Dodge City, principally for eastern shipment. While a large share of the others enumerated will come by trail to Dodge City, they will be driven up the Arkansas and Purgotoire, or into the pars and over the divide into the Platte valley. A good many will go to the ranges on the Republican. In the past three or four years not all the cattle that have come up from Texas have been marketed, but have been multiplying and increasing in the valleys and along the high ranges. Taking into account the large number of cattle annually driven into the territories and new states of the west and the natural increase of the herds, the cattle trade is, of course, growing into greater magnitude every year. It is a noteworthy fact that the cattle interest of the Rocky mountain region and the plains on the East is receiving large accessions form the west also.

            It was considered somewhat wonderful a few years ago when Texas was credited with 4,000,000 head of cattle. That state was looked upon as our beef supply for years to come, and the great plains at that time counted as absolutely worthless for any purpose, were not even looked upon as even the smallest factor in the matter of supplying the east and Europe with marketable cattle. But a great revolution has taken place even in a short time. The “long horns” still come up every season to be put into market, but the numbers arriving at Kansas City and Chicago from that source are decreasing year by year. The cattle grounds are being transferred to the great buffalo plains and the central portion of the continent with the Pacific states, are becoming the leading producers of beef. An estimate derived from the assessment return gives Colorado 550,000; Wyoming 225,000; Utah, 350,000; Montana 300,000; Washington 2000,000; Oregon 175,000; and California 650,000 cattle. This make a total of nearly 2,750,000 market beeves which will be taken during the next three or four months into the markets east of the Missouri river.





























West Lebanon to Dodge City

The newcomers who arrived last Saturday from West Lebanon state of Indiana are E. Brice, wife and three children; J. H. Crawford, wife and six children; W. P. Armour, wife and two children, J. O’Hara, wife and one child, J. M. Fleming and wife; Joseph Briggs, wife and one child; Thompson Rankins wife and six children; U.R. Rogers, wife and two children; Geo. Jones, wife and two children; Chas. Dickerson and wife; David Wilson and son; David Manford and Charles Brown. They brought with them about twenty-five horses and mules, farming implements and household furniture. They go to work at once on their claims about nine miles north-west of Dodge.

Ford County Globe Republican March 5, 1878, Page 3, Column 3 (Ford County, Kansas)

Leon Russell Crawford

Leon Russell Crawford was born in Newton Kansas on the 6th of Feb 1894.

According to Leon’s wife, Winnie Crawford, the family lived in Oklahoma when Leon and his sister Bernice were young. Winnie stated:

Judson Crawford worked on a ranch in Oklahoma because Josie’s sister and husband were there. The family all almost died. Judson was extremely ill. The children, Bernice (over 2) and Leon (1) almost died because of poor diet.

Documentation for this story has not been found. However, Josie’s sister and husband did live in Oklahoma.


The family was living in Dodge City by his 6th birthday. As a child, Leon attended the Third Ward School that was located on Boot Hill.


wwiLeon and his brother, Marion, served in the U.S. Army during World War I. Leon served as a 2nd class gunner in the 25th AA Battery of the first AA. In April and May 1918, his unit was at St. Misner during the 2nd Battle of the Marne. The unit then served as part of the outer defense of Paris. (Pictured: Homer Short & Leon Crawford on back row, Russel Horton (brother-in-law) and Marion Crawford (brother) on front row.)

On March 15, 1919, Leon sent a telegram to his parents stating that he had arrived in Camp Stuart, Virginia and that all was well.


Leon was honorably discharged from the military on 28 March 1919.

redrosesLeon married Winnie Currey on Christmas Eve 1919 at her sister’s house. After their marriage, the couple lived at 504 Avenue G. Ever the romantic, Leon purchased a red rose for Winnie for their 1st anniversary. Each year he added a rose until he was purchasing a dozen roses. Each subsequent year, Winnie would receive a dozen red roses from her husband on Christmas Eve.

1960-Crawford-Leon-Switchman-retires-web2After serving during WWI, Leon returned to work with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad working as a switchman in the railroad yard. Leon did not appear on the payroll for the AT&SF Railroad during Oct. 1923. According to his wife, Winnie Crawford, there was also a time during the depression when he was also laid off. She said that the railroad would call Leon in to work when needed. Thus, the family had to maintain a telephone so they could receive those phone calls. By 1953, Leon had been promoted to foreman for the AT&SF. Leon retired from the railroad in May of 1960. During his employment with the railroad, Leon was a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen and received his 50 year pin in Feb of 1967.

By 1953, Leon and Winnie were living in the Crawford family home at 911 Second. This home was the nucleus of Winnie and Leon’s family. The home boasted a large room for the kitchen that housed a long pine table. Family gatherings took place around this table, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Often times Winnie’s friend, Mary Hoffman, or a lone college student who couldn’t go home would join the table. These celebrations always involved a lot of food – most of it cooked in that kitchen. One of the rules for the children at the table is that we had to try everything. At some point, that rule was relaxed to ‘you have to try everything but the oysters’. The scalloped oysters were a favorite Thanksgiving and Christmas dish of the adults but disliked by the children at the table. By not requiring the children to try the oysters, the adults discovered that it left more for them.

Even though I never witnessed Leon cooking, he was at home in the kitchen. He would often set the table while his wife was preparing the food. One of his favorite sayings in the kitchen was in regards to clean-up when he would say ‘I’ll do the plates’ – referring to the paper plates that had been used for the meal. Ironically, Leon often helped with the dishes – even when paper plates weren’t used.

If one listened closely at that table, Leon would sometime talk about his family. Unfortunately, as a child, I wasn’t always paying attention. I do remember two of his stories.

The first family story involved the land south of the river (Arkansas River) in what was known as South Dodge. Leon would talk about helping his ‘Uncle Jimmy’ farm that land. At the time, I had no idea who ‘Uncle Jimmy’ was. It was only after working on the family history that I realized that the ‘Uncle Jimmy’ from Leon’s youth was his great-uncle, James H. Crawford. James H. Crawford did own a lot of land south of the Arkansas River.

The second family story was told at a Sunday dinner. It was girl scout Sunday and I had attended church with my girl scout club instead of going with the family. That Sunday, we attended the First Presbyterian church in Dodge City. During dinner, we were talking about my experience and I remember Leon saying that his family was Presbyterians. This little tidbit has not been verified – but many of the Crawford families in early Kentucky were Presbyterian.

crawford-leon-b1894-1969-winnie2Leon and Winnie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1969. For their anniversary, Winnie gave Leon a wedding ring. Leon wore this ring until his death in October 1976.

My Military Heroes

In honor of Veterans’ Day this Friday, I would like to honor my ancestor Veterans.

crawford-eugene-b1927-1945-us-navyWhile still in high school, my father, Eugene David Crawford, enlisted in the US. Navy and attended training at the Naval Training Center (EE & RW) in Gulfport, Mississippi and at the Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Ill. He was assigned to the U.S.S. Oneida (APA-221) from May 1946 to July 1946. The U.S.S. Oneida was part of Operation Magic Carpet to bring troops home from the Pacific Theater. Eugene received an honorable discharge from the service in August 1946.

crawford-leon-b1894-1917-wwi-portraitEugene’s father, Leon Russel Crawford, began his military service on 26 Apr 1917 in Dodge City, Kansas and was appointed wagoner 2nd class gunner in the 25th A. A. Battery 1st A.A. Sector. Leon’s unit was at the St. Misner 2nd Battle of the Marne from 31 Mar 1918 to 31 May 1918 in France. Later in 1918, his unit was assigned to the outer defense of Paris. On 28 Mar 1919, Leon received an honorable discharge from the service and returned to Dodge City.

None of my great-grandfathers served in the military. However, most of my great-great grandfathers and one great-great-great grandfather served during the War Between the States.

  • Washington Marion Crawford — Sergt in Co. H of the 2nd Regiment New York Calvary Volunteer — better known as the “Harris Light Horse”. Washington Marion was captured on 22 Sep 1863 in Liberty Mills, Virginia and imprisoned at Andersonville and Belle Isle.
  • Richmond Fisk Hammond – began his military service as a private in Company E 17th Illinois Volunteers later joining the 1st Illinois Cavalry Volunteers and Company D in the 14th Regiment Illinois Cavalry. Richmond was captured near Atlanta and taken as a prisoner to Andersonville on 5 Aug 1864.
  • Hiram M. Currey — served in Company B of the 12th Cavalry Regiment of the Kansas State Militia under Captain Samuel Hollister
  • Albert Hutchinson — served as a private in Company D of the 1st Regiment of the Iowa Cavalry Volunteers commanded by Captain Jinks and re-enlisted as a private in Iowa First Calvary Company D
  • Noah Washington Briles — served as a private in Company I, 1st Regiment Iowa Volunteers
  • Alexander Briles (Noah’s father) — served under Captain John Douglas in Company I of the Kansas State Militia
  • James Marshall Ricketts — served in Company K of the 7th Indiana Cavalry
  • George Mentzer — served in Company C of the Twenty-Foruth Massachusetts Infantry

According to my great-grandmother’s (Josie Hammond Crawford) DAR application, her ancestor, Jason Hammond, served as a private in Captain Coon’s Company of Col. J. Well’s Regiment in the Connecticut line. There is some question as to whether this military record is for my ancestor or another Jason Hammond. Thus, my DAR membership is thru his father, Nathaniel Hammond, for giving service to the cause.

Since almost all of my ancestors were in the colonies prior to the revolutionary war, it is likely that many of them served during the revolutionary war. It is even possible that at least one line traces back to loyalists.

It is thru this type of military service that our country was built. May we all pause to honor our military this week.

The Mighty Mo – Then and Now

Saga of the Elwood Cemetery – Part 3

As pointed out in an earlier post (Elwood, Kansas and the Mighty Mo), the Kansas State Historical Society has made several historical maps of Elwood available as part of the Kansas Memory site. The 1870-1890 map of Elwood is particularly beneficial in that it shows the street layout and can easily be compared to a current map of Elwood. Vermont Street is common to both maps. The 1870-1890 historical map has 12 blocks between Vermont and the river’s edge. In addition, the 1882 and 1904 plat books of Doniphan County, have the Missouri River on the north edge of Elwood and actually making a right hand turn at the northeast corner of Elwood.

Taking the Find a Grave map showing the Elwood Cemetery, I’ve added a rectangle to illustrate where the Missouri River would have been in 1896. (1896 is when the burial would have occurred.)


If the river was at the North edge of Elwood as indicated by the historical maps, then the GPS coordinates of the proposed cemetery would place the cemetery in Missouri (or the bottom of the river).

My next step was to look at the Google Earth view of Elwood and the river. Using that image, I added arrows showing where I think the image reveals the old river bed.


For more information regarding the Elwood Cemetery, see my previous posts: