Cimarron Branch of the old
Santa Fe Trail, in
Ulysses was born twice. The first time was in 1885 when it was
founded, and then a second time when the entire town was loaded onto
skids and moved three miles across the prairie.
Ulysses was established on
March 20, 1873 about the time that the
Santa Fe Trail
traffic was beginning to slow down due to the coming of the steam
engine to western
But, the steam engine itself led to a number of towns springing up in
Zionville and several other now
At one time, there were some twenty different post offices in
Grant County; however,
all of the post offices with the exception of Ulysses are gone. The
only other remaining towns are the tiny little unincorporated burgs of
The town was named for
General Ulysses S. Grant and the settlement was surveyed by
George Washington Earp, first cousin to
fame, in 1885.
Earp was one of Ulysses’ first promoters, a businessman
and, like his cousins, its first peace officer. Furthermore,
according to legend, he was just as "free with his gun” as
and his bunch.
By 1886, the town boasted nearly 1,500
people, an opera house, a large hotel, a number of other businesses,
Kansas was considered a dry state at the time. Just two
years later, it had added 500 residents, three hotels, six
and also supported twelve restaurants.
Grant County was first established
in 1887, there were two candidates for the county seat
Ulysses and and
Tilden (later called
governor's proclamation was not made until June, 1888, which named
Ulysses as the temporary county seat
and appointed County Officers.
A few months later, an election was held to
determine the permanent location of the county seat on October 16, 1888. Before
and after the election, the two towns were embroiled and a fierce county seat
would later say that the
Company imported several noted gun men "to protect the security of the ballot"
at the elections. Among them were
Ed Dlathe, Jim Drury, Bill Wells,
Ed Short and
others. The men built a lumber barricade across the street from the polling
place, stationing themselves behind it with their Winchesters and six-shooters,
in case of trouble or attempts to steal the ballot box. But, no trouble erupted
and in the end, the election resulted in a win for