Brick Streets In Dodge City

Just a short story here. My grandfather, Fred Kirkpatrick, Sr. was the City Engineer in Dodge for many years serving as assistant engineer in the early 1900's also. 

I am not sure why concrete was not used on the streets but Dodge, just like the other Kansas towns of the time, began using bricks for paving. These were laid on a sand base over a harder substrate like concrete and took a huge amount of labor to install. The best part about them was repairs could be made to water lines or other buried infrastructure and the street repaired to like new condition. 

I assume that the heavier vehicles today have as much to do with the demise of these streets as anything as their design load probably wasn't intended to support bigger trucks etc. They do last a long time and even though they get rough ,many are still in use today 100 years later. 

My grandfather loved the brick streets of Dodge and was so proud to have been instrumental in the construction of so many. So when you drive down those cobblestone avenues, you will now know who to blame.

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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Moving Boot Hill Cemetary

My grandfather Fred Kirkpatrick Sr. was born in Dodge City in 1889. He saw a lot of history there over the 95 years he lived in the area. He was also the City and County Engineer for probably over 40 years and maybe longer so he was involved with all of the street, water and sewer projects as Dodge grew from a Western Kansas cattle town to a booming stockyard and beef processing and farming community.

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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.

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.

Early Family History- Coming West

Like many people in the USA, my family on both sides, seemed to be in constant transition as they moved from the Eastern United States with the growth of the West. As land became available for settlement, they went west to find their destiny.

I cannot imagine going to Kansas back in the 1800's like they did and looking at that endless sky and saying, "this is home". But to understand the willingness to take the risks involved, one must uderstand the times they lived in.

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