Grey Hound Racing Dodge City, Kansas

Yes, the Dick we knew in Hays was one of the boys.  My dad and Rex Reynolds used to pick up stuff from the locker plant to feed their grey hounds.  They had over 100 when mom and dad got married in 1929.  There was a single man, kinda the homeless type, who stayed at the kennels which were west of town on US 50, now Wyatt Earp Blvd., and helped take care of the dogs.  His name was Grover, and I can't remember his last name.  I went to the kennel lots of times with my dad.  

     Charles Cobb, who was also a grey hound enthusiast  and lived north and east of Dodge just south of the Saw Log Creek, built a fenced in course which was probably 300 feet wide by a quarter mile long.  They used real jack rabbits and would hold the dogs until a rabbit was released and see how long it took them to run the quarter of a mile.  There was a way for the rabbit to escape in the fence at the other end before the dogs caught them.  The were captured in a pen and returned to the other end.  We went to the race several times.  Charles Jr. and I were boyhood friends and spent lots of time on the creek.

Boot Hill Cemetary

The following is from my Father Fred Kirkpatrick Jr born in Dodge City Kansas in 1930...

Yep, the original Boot Hill is where the City Hall was at Spruce and Fourth Street. The third ward school was built there and they moved the bodies they could find to q plqce along the west fence of the city cemetery, which was between Avenue B and C about 3-4 blocks north of Military Avenue. My dad went to school at that school and they used to find bones on the play ground, like finger bones, etc.
The reason they buried the outlaw bodies outside the cemetery fence is the people in town did not want them buried in the cemetery. When the old cemetery was moved to Maple Hill Cemetery, they evidently could not or purposely did not move the bodies of the outlaws. The area where they were buried ended up being in an alley after the area was platted, and when the sewer was installed they dug through many of the graves.

Ford County Lake

I spent many a evening out at Ford County Lake with my Grandfather Glenn Hoofnagle. He was my mother's father and was a great fisherman. He could catch fish when no one else did and my love for fishing was fueled by going with him and watching him haul in huge catfish and bass from the lakes we visited.

They ate everything they caught and never wasted a thing. Combined with garden produce we had some good meals around that old dining room table.

The lake itself is in a small draw with some rock bluffs around it making for good hiding places for the fish when it is full. Grandpa told me he would go out there when the lake was low and memorize each rock formation so that later he could fish those areas when the water level came up.

One method he used was to cast a plastic worm out over one of the submerged cliffs and let t settle to the bottom. Then, ever so slowly, he would turn the handle on his fishing reel one revolution about every 30 seconds. This was too slow for an impatient youth to fish like that but he caught some massive channel cats like that.

The lake is a muddy one but he was able to catch fish on lures regardless. I have not been here for some time but would like to know if it even has water in it.

Ford State Fishing Lake




Dodge City, KS
GPS: 37.82573 -99.91644

Contact Information

Manager: Todd Gatton
Phone: (620) 895-6446


The dam was originally built in 1936. In 1990, the area was donated to the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks in order to renovate the lake for fishing. At the same time, Ford County assumed management of the area for public use. In 1991-1992, the lake was renovated and stocked with fish after filling.


Ford State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area is located in Ford County, approximately 3 miles north and 5 miles east of Dodge City. The property consists of 260 acres of uplands, 10 acres of wetlands, and a 45 acre lake. The uplands and wetlands are made up of heavily timbered riparian areas along the creek, native grass on the side slopes, and old crop fields on the flatter upland terrain. An old 4-H campis located on the east side and is presently maintained as a Boy Scout area

Dodge City Flood of 1941

This story has been shared by my father Fred Kirkpatrick Jr. who was born in 1930 in Dodge City and spent his youth there. ...THE PICTURE is of the 1911 flood in Dodge City and was a postcard from my Grandfather Kirkpatrick's collection of photos etc.

1941 Flood at Dodge City, Kansas

     I was 10 years old when the flood came to our home on Park Street in Dodge.  It began with a cloud burst in Colorado, south and west of Lamar.  Unfortunately this was before they built what they called Caddo Dam on the Arkansas River west of Lamar.  Since there was no flood control on any of the towns along the Arkansas River, everything west and east of Dodge City flooded.

     We had a small farm and had cows, and chickens and a black Cocker Spaniel dog, which I got for my 9th birthday, by the name of "Lady".  When the flood arrived it became necessary to move our cows out of the flood, since the area where they were kept was about 5 feet deep.  Of course the barn was flooded and the hay that was stored there at ground level was ruined.  The chicken house was not located on as low a level as the barn, and so the water in the chicken house was only about 4 feet deep.  We raised White Leghorn hens for their eggs and the nests for laying were in the chicken house along with the roosts which were about 3 feet above the floor and so were out of the water.  

     Our home was a bit higher yet, and the water came up just under the floor joists, but filled the basement.  Park Street ran east and west in front of our house and it was like a roaring river, very swift and could not be waded across.  We took the cows up a block or so north where the water did not reach and some folks looked after them until the flooding was over.  We lost lots of our chickens due to drowning.  A neighbors came and took my mother. and brother and sister, who was crippled from polio, out of the house in a boat.  They lost control about half way across the flooding street, and ended up about  500 feet east of our house, but no one was hurt.  My dad and I went out later after doing some last minute chores.  

     Since we had no place to go we ended up staying at the Trails End Hotel on East Chestnut Street, north and a little east of the Santa Fe Railroad Station and yards.  The hotel was owned by Joe Getche and was run by his sister.  They were Jewish folks, but not practicing Jews.

Joe had some land east of our place where he kept racing greyhounds.  They also had to be moved.  Joe dated my Kindergarten teacher, but as far as I know they never married.  Her name was Miss Andres.

     The flooding continued for about a week, and then we were able to go home.  What a mess it was, with about 6 inches of silt or what we called "flood mud" on everything.  Of course our fishing pond had overflowed and most of the fish had washed away, and the wells which we used for water to irrigate with were never the same.  Our primary irrigation pump, was severely damaged, and what had been a 100 gallon a minute well was reduced to about 60 gpm.  The electric motor which drove the centrifugal pump had to be taken out and repaired since it was full of mud.  It took several years before the damage to the irrigation system, and all it entailed was finally completed.  My dad in an attempt to dislodge the mud from the irrigation well borrowed a high powered rifle and fired several rounds into the well, it didn't seem to help much.

      The cows finally came home and the barn was cleaned out and the hay was thrown away, and they had to live on purchased hay until some new crops could be planted and harvested.  The chicken house was cleaned out and the chickens resumed their egg laying.  We survived, but were always looking over our shoulder for the next flood.


Ham Bell

Ham Bell was a colorful character from the early days of Dodge City serving as a peace officer at times and was contemporary with many of the well known outlaws and lawmen of the day.

My father recalls visiting Ham's store in downtown Dodge as a boy. It was a curio shop of sorts and of course drew in young boys to see the sights and sounds.

His most vivid memory was that Ham had a pet monkey and those kinds of memories tend to stick with us.

Jackrabbit Plagues of the Central Plains

This story comes from my dad and grandfather of early days around Dodge City, Kansas. Due to the farming methods employed and the breaking out of vast tracts of land with the plow, the rabbit populations exploded. Even when I was a youngster I recall seeing hundreds of rabbits in some areas still.

I think the use of summer fallow farming methods may have made a difference too but this is about the hunts and not the cause. In any case there were literally millions of rabbits roaming about and eating all the farm crops.

So area farmers and towns people would announce a Jack Rabbit Roundup on a Saturday and thousands of people would gather at some predetermined spot and surround a large tract of land inhabited by rabbits. Slowly they would walk toward one another in a vast circle closing with each step to a tighter surround. In the center of that effort they would erect a tall fenced enclosure and the rabbits would run toward the center until trapped in the pen.

There the butchering began. It was a horrible sight of mutilation and death as men would club the poor rabbits to death as guns were not safe with so many people in close proximity to one another. The rabbits would scream and squeal with terrible fright and if you have ever heard one in pain you never forget it.

My dad said it was too much for him and he never went again although it was a necessary evil to rid them of the vermin or they would not have a crop.

Changes in farming practices and sprays used on the fields probably ended the rabbit plagues and you consider yourself lucky to see ONE in an entire hunting season in Kansas.

The Cement Pond-Dodge City, Kansas, Park Street

This is a story bout the Cement Pond down on Park Street in Dodge City, Kansas. Another family remembrance for you all. The farm on Park Street had some acreage next to it that my great grandfather helped my grandfather to farm. It wasn't large but due to the close proximity to the Arkansas River and shallow water table, they were able to utilize irrigation at a very early time.

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Fishing on Duck Creek, North of Dodge.

Below, you will find a story my dad sent about fishing on Duck Creek which is North of Dodge City, Kansas. I find it interesting to note that since that time, farming practices have pretty much depleted the water found in those creeks and streams just 50 years ago. With the advent of the tractor, terracing of the land and building of small dams on the draws, there is virtually no runoff to the streams. Enjoy a look to the past.

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J.M. Kirkpatrick, Attorney Dodge City, Lodge Brother to Wyatt Earp

I am finally at the end of a long journey so it seems. For over ten years I have looked for a picture of my great grandfather, J.M. Kirkpatrick. He was born in 1854 and went to Dodge City about 1873 or before. My grandfather seemed to think he came west at age 19 so that would have been 1873. He and his brother Edward who was a year or two older came to Dodge to work and since J.M. had passed the bar exam, he was an attorney and Edward had a furniture and mortuary store. Those types of stores usually went hand in hand in the western states.

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Race Track Stadium Dodge City Kansas - Great Depression

Along with a lot of other municipal structures built across the USA, the old racetrack stands were constructed by men under the WPA program in the 1930's. This program was in response to the great Depression where millions of people were suddenly out of work and penniless. The Government came up with a NEW DEAL and got the young men into camps where they could work on projects and at least have food and shelter.

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LAND CLAIM 2 Near Ulysses, Kansas

Last story brought us to the point where my grandfather, his brother and a friend had almost driven off a cliff in the darkness out on the prairies of Western Kansas. They did finally spend the night out in the open and the next day drove on into Ulysses Kansas and on to the land claim.

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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.....

Snake Whips - Boys Use Rattlesnakes For Whips

Bill and Bert Gillette were twin brothers born to my great grandfather A.R. Gillette. From the start, they were onery as can be and there are many stories to that affect. Here are two for your enjoyment.

They lived out south of Dodge on the farm and so, there were many rattlesnakes in those days. These boys liked to chase them down and grab them by the tale and whip them snapping their heads off.

One day, I think it was Bert, missed his timing and the snake came back and bit him and he almost died. Grandma Gillette laid down the law and there were no more snake snapping after that. They probably did it without her knowing. I knew them well and spend a lot of time with them in my childhood. They were godly men and kind and gentle as I recall. I knew Bill best of all as he spent time at my Grandmother Mable Hoofnagles house along with Alice Bradley.

Another time, Bill and Bert were going on a date and had their dates with them in the car. Traveling to Dodge to see a movie, they spied 8 skunks running down a well, They stopped the car and proceeded to climb down in the well and kill the skunks getting sprayed in the process.

In those days, a skunk would be worth as much as $1 for the hide and that was huge money. Probably in the depression or right before. They got back in the car, stinking to high heaven and drove on to town. The went in the show and the audience was going WHO EEEE>>>>WHOEEEE...but they sat through the whole thing and then went home.

Can you imagine their dates. We have never had to suffer like those people did and be hungry so its hard to imagine today.

Smoking Out Dodge City

I was at a family gathering about 20 years ago and recall Don Weiss and Harold Bradley telling stories.

They told of having an old Model T and had mounted an oil tank in the engine compartment and filled it with used motor oil. A copper line ran down to the exhaust manifold and they had a valve to control that line.

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Rough Riders Visit Dodge City

Since my cousins have all seemed to find me now, I am writing these blogs for them and also for whomever finds Dodge City history interesting.

My great grandfather J.M. Kirkpatrick was one of the founders of Dodge. He was an attorney and his brother Edward ran the dry goods furniture and mortuary pictured on many of the famous old west photos. So I have lots of stories that my grand father and father have passed on to me and I am recording those and others here.

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Early Family History Dodge City Kansas-Trip East

My great grandfather was a full blooded Indian although we don't know of what tribe. We do know from conversations I had with my Grandmother, that he lived in either Arkansas or Louisiana most likely or maybe Missouri. Her Mother, Mrs. A.R. Gillette went on her honey moon to see him. She only met him that one time and the story here relates that to you.

My great grandfather, A.R. Gillette told his children that being of Indian descent back in those days was not something you wanted to be known for. They had lived in town until one day some marauding Indians came into town and killed everyone but them. From that day on, they were blackballed from living with the whites so always lived in the country. A.R. Gillette, the son, came west to homestead land south of Dodge City, Kansas. Doing so helped him escape many of the prejudices found in the east and also gave him a chance to have his own farm for free.

They went to visit the old man the one time and Grandmother Gillette related that he sat around on the cabin porch a lot in a blanket and never said a word to her. Some Indians came into the yard several times to raid and all he had to do was stand up and look at them and they would leave. He must have been known among the tribes there.

She also said that the mother was nowhere to be found and no mention was ever made of her again. She was probably white or of white descent and I assume that the name Gillette came from her as its not an Indian name. She may have been from Lousianna also but no one seems to have known and back in those days, no one asked either. Too bad.

They settled on a farm south of Dodge City, Kansas and raised a large family. Names associated with that family are Gillette, Bradley, Hoofnagle, Kirkpatrick, Weiss, Burnett, Klack, Thomas and others.

If you would like more info on Dodge City please feel free to ask.