Graves On Old Boot Hill

My Grandfather Fred Kirkpatrick, Sr. was born in Dodge City in 1889. His father was prominent attorney and sometimes County Attorney from about 1880 on. Fred became the City Engineer after serving in WWI and working with the City for some time and so he had a hand in the early development of the town.

He was so proud of the brick streets that he designed and had installed. But there is another story that I thought you all might enjoy.

The City was expanding North and there was a need for water and sewer lines for the neighborhood being developed and so my grandfather was in charge of those projects.

As they dug the sewers by hand, many graves were found and one of the men was very spooky about ghosts and would panic when bones were struck. The graves were exhumed and taken to Maple Grove and reburied there but regardless, this man was scared to death. Nearly.

One day late in the day he was working down in the trench and my grandfather was inspecting the work. A cat walked by and SOMEONE threw the cat down on this poor mans bare back. The cat lit with claws extended and the man screamed bloody murder and came up out of that ditch in one leap, running back to town.

My grandfather said the man never even came back for his paycheck. I didnt get it til later but the smirk on Grandpas face MAY have implicated him in the crime of tossing the cat.

True story and just a day in the life of Dodge City, Kansas 1940

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.

Indian Reservation Cantonment Oklahoma

My grandmother Eva Kirkpatrick and her twin Reva Badgley, were born in 1900 I believe in Ohio. Their father was a farmer there and got hurt somehow and had to quit farming. It was a far different occupation then with horse drawn and had driven machinery and people got hurt often due to no safely rules.

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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.

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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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.