The Beginnings of Dodge City

The greatest excitement ever caused in Dodge was the advent of an Indian, one of the principal chiefs of the Cheyenne. In the winter of 1872, W. D. Lee, of the firm of Lee & Reynolds, doing a large business at Supply as freighters, government contractors, sutlers, and Indian traders combined, brought this Indian to Dodge City to show him the wonders of the railroad and impress upon him how civilization was advancing.

There happened to be several hunters in town at that time, driven in by a heavy storm and snow. No sooner did the Indian make his appearance on the street than the excitement began. Most of the hunters hated an Indian, and not a few of them had suffered more or less from their depredations.

Among the latter was one Kirk Jordan, a very desperate man, whose sister, brother-in-law, and whole family had been wiped out by the savages, and their home and its contents burned and every vestige of stock stolen. This had happened in the northwest part of the state. Jordan had sworn to kill the first Indian he saw, no matter what the consequences might be. He was a leader and a favorite with the hunters, and, together with his companions, being inflated with liquor, had no trouble in getting followers.

We ran the Indian into a drugstore and locked the doors. There was no egress from the rear, but two families occupied houses adjoining the drugstore, and someone quickly tore off one of the upright partition boards that separated the drug tore from the dwellings containing the families, and the Indian squeezed through. The board was quickly and neatly replaced, leaving no trace of its having been removed; so when the crowd of excited hunters burst into the store and could not find the Indian, they were as puzzled a lot as ever lost a trail upon open prairie.

That afternoon I thought things had quieted down, and I saddled one of Lee’s finest horses (Lee had brought up a magnificent team,) and led it around to the back door — of course the Indian had been previously instructed to mount and make for his tribe as fast as the horse would carry him; but before I rapped at the door I looked around, and from the back of the dance hall, a hundred yards distant, there were fifty buffalo guns leveled at me.

I knew those fellows had nothing against me, but I was afraid some of the guns might go off by accident, and wished right there that the ground would sink down deep enough to cover me from the range of their guns. I led the horse back to the stable as quickly and quietly as possible, feeling relieved when inside. I at once dispatched a courier to the commander at the fort, with the request that he send up a company of cavalry, but he wouldn’t do it. As soon as it got dark, Lee and I got in his carriage, loaded with buffalo-robes, had the Indian rushed out, robes piled on top of him, and went out of Dodge on the run. Wernet Captain Tupper’s troop of the Sixth United States cavalry about a mile out, coming after the chief. There were no more Indians seen in Dodge except under big escort.

The following rules were posted in one of the Dodge City hotels for the guidance of guests (some say rules were stolen from Mark Twain’s hotel).


These are the rules and regulations of this hotel.
This house will be considered strictly intemperate.
None but the brave deserve the fare.
Persons owing bills for board will be bored for bills.
Boarders who do not wish to pay in advance are requested to advance the pay.
Borders are requested to wait on the colored cook for meals.
Sheets will be nightly changed once in six months, oftener if necessary.
Boarders are expected to pull off their boots if they can conveniently do so.
Beds with or without bedbugs.
All moneys and other valuables are to be left in charge of the proprietor. This is insisted upon, as he will be held responsible for no losses.

And now follows an early day market report:

Dodge City Markets:

(Corrected weekly by Wright, Beverly & Company)

Dodge City, Kansas, Jan. 5th, 1878.

Flour, per 100 lbs. $ 2.50 @ 4.00
Corn Meal, per 10O lbs. 2.00
Oats, per bu. .45
Corn, per bu. .56
Hides, Buffalo, per lb. .03¾ @ .04¾
Wolf .75 @ 1.25
Coyote .30 @ .5
Skunks .10 @: .50
Chickens, dressed, per lb. .10
Turkeys, per lb. 12½
Potatoes, per bu. .1.40
Apples, dried, per lb. .08 @ .10
Peaches, dried, per lb. 12½ @ 10
Bacon, per lb. 12@
Hams, per lb. .15 @ .17
Lard, per lb. .12 @ .14
Beef, per lb. .08 @ .16
Butter, per lb. .30@ @ .35
Eggs, per doz. .35
Salt, per bbl. 4.50
Coffee, per lb. .25 @ .26
Tea,per lb. .80 @ 1.26
Sugar, per lb. .12 @ .14
Coal Oil, per gal. .50
Coal, per ton 9.00 @ 10.00

I give this market report to show the difference between then, 1878, and now [1913.]

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