Dodge City – Newspaper, Letters, and Book Excerpts

December 8, 1877 – Dodge City Times

Dodge City Gathering

Dodge City Gathering, late 1800’s. Click for prints & products.

“There is an evident purpose to malign and create false impressions that a person here is insecure in life, and that the citizens of Dodge City are walking howitzers. This is a bad impression that should by all means be corrected. Having but a short residence in this town, it is our deliberate opinion, from a careful observation, that Dodge City is as quiet and orderly as any town of its size in Kansas. We have been treated with the utmost cordiality. We have observed officers prompt and efficient in the discharge of their duties. There is an ordinance prohibiting the carrying of firearms, which is rigidly enforced. The citizens are cordial, industrious, and display a business alacrity characteristic of the frontier tradesman.

We are surprised to note the difference of character of this town and the impression aimed to be made upon us before coming here. There is a lurking jealousy somewhere, that gives rise to false rumors, and we trust every citizen of Dodge City will correct these false impressions as far as lies in his power.

Time alone would efface bad impressions and false rumors, but forbearance ceases to be a virtue, and we kindly protest.”

December 29, 1877 – Dodge City Times

“Every blackguard that comes to Dodge City, after being filled with cheap whisky, generously and gratuitously given, goes home and writes and talks about the bad character of this town. We observe that these fellows like “to do the city of Dodge by gaslight.” The dance houses, in which they lug and hug the frail creatures, are the special scenes of attraction, and in which they weary away the dull hours until midnight “train time.”

September 29, 1877 – Dodge City Times

Bat Masterson

Bat Masterson, 1879

“A dispatch was received by Sheriff Bassett last Wednesday from Superintendent Morse, stating that the train robbers had started south and would probably cross the A. T. & S. F. near Lakin. Accordingly Bassett, under-sheriff Bat Masterson and John Webb went west on the Thursday morning train: but they heard nothing of the robbers and returned Friday morning, thinking it more likely that the robbers would cross near Dodge. A few hours before they arrived news was brought into town that five men had crossed the railroad going south about thirty miles west of here. As soon as preparations could be made, Bassett, Bat Masterson and Webb started south-west on horseback, intending to try to intercept the robbers if possible. Assistant Marshal Ed Masterson and Deputy Sheriff Miles Mix went west the same day to find out what they could about the men who crossed the road. They could learn nothing of any importance except that the men had been seen on Thursday morning, but no one had taken particular notice of them. Masterson and Mix returned the same evening. Nothing has been heard from Sheriff Bassett and his men since they started from here yesterday morning.”

 1878 – Topeka Times

“We were down there again last week, and were surprised in the change in the city. It has built up wonderfully, has a fine court house, church, good schools, large business blocks, a good hall, first-class hotels, and two live newspapers. Dodge is coming out and is destined’ to be a city of considerable size.”

March 30, 1878 – Dodge City Times

“City Marshal [Edward] Masterson contemplates organizing a tramp brigade for the purpose of clearing the streets and alleys of the filth and rubbish that has been accumulating for a year or so. There are about thirty tramps now sojourning among us, all of whom have no visible means of support and are liable to arrest under the vagrant act.”

April 10, 1878 – Ford County Globe

“At ten o’clock last night. City Marshal Edward Masterson, discovered that a cowboy who was working for Obum of Kansas City, named Jack Wagner, was carrying a six-shooter contrary to the City Ordinance. Wagner was at the time under the influence of liquor, but quietly gave up the pistol. The Marshal gave it to some of Wagner’s friends for safe keeping and stepped out into the street. No sooner had he done so than Wagner ran out after him pulling another pistol, which the Marshal had not observed. The Marshal saw him coming and turned upon Wagner and grabbed hold of him.

Wagner shot Marshal Masterson at once through the abdomen, being so close to him that the discharge set the Marshal’s clothes on fire. Marshal Masterson then shot Wagner.

About this time a man named Walker got mixed up in the fight. He, it appears, was boss herder for Obum, and Wagner was working under him. He also got shot once through the left lung, and his right arm was twice broken.

Marshal Masterson walked across the street to George M. Hoover’s saloon, where after telling that he was shot, he sank to the floor. He was immediately removed to his room, where in half an hour he expired.

Walker and Wagner were nearly all night insensible, and none thought that either of them could live through the night. However, morning has come and neither are dead; both are in a very precarious condition and their chances for recovery very small.

The city is in mourning; every door is draped with crape; business is entirely suspended till after the funeral of Marshal Masterson, which will take place at two o’clock p. m., and will be attended by everybody in the city.

Marshal Masterson will be buried in the Military Cemetery, at Fort Dodge.”

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