LAND CLAIM Near Ulysses Kansas

This is a story about my Grandfather Fred Kirkpatrick, Sr. and his older brother. It happened sometime around the turn of the century and that's 1900 not 2000, hah.,

His brother had filed on a land claim down near Ulysses Kansas. This was free land to anyone who wanted it and you could get 160 acres per person just for living on it for a period of time and making improvements to it over time. After awhile you could then own the land and sell it or keep it. He had a shack on it with one room and so every so often would go down there and repair the shack from the wind damage and stay there a week or so to keep the claim active.

His brother had one of the first automobiles in Ford County so not sure when cars came out. His brother and a friend started for the claim and grand dad went along. The car developed engine problems and granddad had to lay on the running board and hold the cam in to keep the engine running. This meant being down in the tall grass and in those days there were tons of rattlesnakes.

He said at the edge of Dodge City there was a fence. West of that was open range and no roads. So to go to a town west of there, you just pointed in the general direction and hoped for the best, stopping along the way and asking if you found someone.

The claim was near Ulysess, Kansas about 60 miles SW of Dodge. They were late due to the engine trouble and it got dark and they kept driving along. Finally, someone decided to stop and try and see where they were. They had seen the lights of town ahead and were using those for a guide.

The friend with them walked ahead and fell off a 60 foot cliff down into the Cimarron River. He wasn't hurt but saved them from driving the car off the cliff. They stopped and spent the night on the cliff and continued the next day....

More tomorrow on their journey.....