History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs


Pioneers of Ford County - Page 3

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Charles Rath sitting atop buffalo hides in Dodge City, Kansas 1878 Charles Rath - Merchant, buffalo hunter, and freighter, Rath was one of the original organizers of Ford County County, Kansas. See full article HERE.


Henry Hubert Raymond - A buffalo hunter, Raymond was born in Illinois in 1848. In 1872, he traveled to Kansas to meet his brother Theodore, who was working with Ed and Bat Masterson for the Santa Fe Railroad. That same year, he followed his brother to Dodge City and also went to work for the railroad as a buffalo hunter. For the next three years, he went on a number of buffalo hunting expeditions with the Mastersons, allegedly killing more than 1500 buffalo. Later, he went to Missouri and was elected to the legislature.


Oliver March - Proprietor of Oliver March & Co., a Steam Flouring Mill in Dodge City, March was born in Hamilton County, Ohio on October 21, 1826 where he lived until his family moved to Fort Madison, Iowa when he was 12. At the age of 21, he moved to Kansas and in 1852, he married Clarissa A. Smiley of Urbania, Ohio. The couple would have four children. He and his family settled in Central City in Anderson County, Kansas in 1857, where he built a hotel and opened a general store. In 1859 he became a licensed Indian Trader with J.A. Coffey at Humboldt, Kansas, where he remained until 1864. At that time the family moved again to Kansas City, Missouri and embarked in the wholesale grocery trade for the three years. From there, they went to Chetopa, Kansas, where he engaged in merchandising and the stock business for the next eleven years. He then came to Dodge City and engaged in the mercantile milling business. In the fall of 1879, the Dodge City Steam Flouring Mills were erected, which were three stories tall. Oliver Marsh and son became the proprietors in 1882.


H.L. Sitler - A Dodge City freighter, Sitler was born in Crawford County, Pennsylvania on August 24, 1827, where he lived until 1865. After the Civil War began, he enlisted in Company I, Second Pennsylvania Cavalry in the fall of 1861, during which time he was  made a prisoner at the Battle of St. Mary's Church and was confined at Andersonville, Georgia;  Libby, Virginia and Millen, Georgia for almost six months. He was mustered out March 2, 1865. He then moved to the Solomon Valley in Saline County, Kansas, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1868. He then turned his attention to hunting buffalo and other wild game, making his way to Dodge City the same year. He built the first building in what would become the City of Dodge City, located between the future city hall and railroad. He originally built the sod structure to provide the soldiers at Fort Dodge with alcohol after the Fort became a dry location. He then engaged in freighting for the United States government, under a contract until 1876. During this time, he originally owned the land that was sold to the Dodge City Town Company in 1872 and helped to form the town the same year. He married Emma Harper of Crawford County, Pennsylvania, in 1875.


Francis Marion SteeleFrancis Marion Steel - An early southwest Kansas photographer, Steele was born in Stanton, Illinois, on September 14, 1866, his father disappeared when he was 2 years-old. By the age of 13, he was studying photography in Kansas City, Missouri. He soon launched his career, calling himself a "tourist photo artist." During the years of 1890-1905, he traveled throughout southwest Kansas, Oklahoma Territory, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado photographing cattle drives, railroads, ranching, and farming operations. By January of 1895, Steele had opened a photography studio in Meade, Kansas where he met and married Pink Fletcher on May 26, 1895. The couple would have two daughters. Though he was married with an infant child at home, he continued to travel and shortly after his second daughter was born in 1897, he was divorced.


Taking various assignments from companies, he was employed for a time with the Rock Island Railroad as a special photographer, during which time he met and married his second wife, Sadie Harp, in Greensburg, Kansas. The couple would have one son in 1904. He established a gallery in Dodge City in 1906, but by 1914, relocated in Garden City. In 1925, he moved his business to McCook, Nebraska, where he stayed for the next 10 years. However, he returned to Dodge City in 1935 taking a job with the city of help encourage the tourist trade at the age of 69. There, with his wife Sadie, on January 2, 1936, he died of asphyxiation when a boiling pot of water extinguished the flame on their gas stove. During his lifetime, Steele was instrumental in documenting westward development and expansion.




Henry Sturm - A liquor and soda dealer in Dodge City, he was born in Germany in  1837 but made his way to the United States in 1851. He first came to Kansas, in government employ in 1876, where he settled at Junction City. Later, he made his way to Dodge City and in 1878, he married Ragena Bug of Cincinnati, Ohio. The couple would have two children. In Dodge, he established a wholesale and retail dealership as well as a soda factory, where all kinds of soda, mineral water, and cider were made. Espanding his ventures, he also owned two ice houses that supplied the city and a saloon.


Michael Westernhouse SuttonMichael Westernhouse Sutton - An attorney, he was born in Orange County, New York in 1848 and was raised in Tompkins County, living there until November, 1867. He then moved with his family to Johnson County, Missouri, where he followed agricultural pursuits with parents and attended school. He also began to read the law and was admitted to bar in March, 1872 at Warrensburg, Missouri. After the Civil War broke out, he enlisted in Company B, Sixth Regiment New York Heavy Artillery in February, 1863 and participated in all the battles of his command, beginning at Gettysburg and ending at the surrender of Robert E. Lee. He was mustered out August 24, 1865. He came to Kansas in May, 1872, where he settled in Wellington and practiced law until December. He then went to Medicine Lodge where he practiced private law and served as the Barber County attorney for two years. In June, 1876, when he moved to Dodge City and established the firm of Sutton & Wenie.  In 1879, he married Florence E. Clemons, of Genesee County, New York and the couple would have one child. He served as Ford County Attorney for November 1, 1876 until March 1882. Sutton was an avid prohibitionist and worked against his friend Bat Masterson during the liquor war of 1886. Also, he served in the Kansas House of Representatives in 1893.


Frederick T. M. Wenie - A Dodge City attorney, he was born in Oneida County, New York in 1859 and was raised in his native county. His father, Thomas M. Wenie, was First Lieutenant in the regular army, and employed his son as a clerk for him four of five years. He first came to Dodge City, in 1879, and clerked in the Quartermaster's store at Fort Dodge until April 1, 1880, when he came to Dodge City and entered the law office of M. W. Sutton as a law student. He was admitted to the bar in June, 1882 and soon formed, with Michael Westernhouse, the firm of Sutton & Wenie. The next year he was appointed City Attorney of Dodge City in April, 1883. Over the years, he expanded his business, also engaging in real estate and insurance.


Wright, Beverly & Co. Robert M. Wright (1840-1915)  - Partner in the Wright, Beverly & Co. store he was born in Bladensburg, Maryland on September 2, 1840. When he was just 16 years-old, Wright decided to come west, where he first worked on a farm near St. Louis, Missouri until 1859. That year, he took an overland trip with oxen to Denver. Crossing the plains a number of times, he then worked for Sanderson & Company Stage Line for three years, before working a number of various jobs including cutting hay, wood and hauling grain. In 1867, he was appointed post-trader at Fort Dodge. Somewhere along the line, he made his way to Dodge City, where in 1877, he opened the Wright, Beverly & Co. store in 1877 with H.M. Beverly. He served as Dodge City Mayor and represented Ford County in the legislature four different times. In 1899 he was appointed Commissioner of Forestry, and was reappointed in 1901. He was also a writer and in 1913 published Dodge City, The Cowboy Capital and the Great Southwest. He died in 1915.


F. C. Zimmerman - A Dodge City Merchandise dealer, Zimmerman was born in Prussia, Saxony, Germany in 1883. When he was 26 years old, he was foreman for Gastrine Renett, a gunsmith in Paris, France, and had charge of forty men. He came to New York City in 1863 and worked at his trade of gunsmith in various area of the eastern states. He was married in 1865 to Matilda Messenger, of Wurtemburg, Germany and the couple had four children. Somewhere along the line, he made his way to Dodge City, Kansas, where he opened a hardware store in 1872. One of the first traders in the city, his store carried general line of hardware, guns, ammunition, crockery and glassware, stoves, pumps, lumber and building material, agricultural implements and wagons. He was a member of the County Board when Ford County was organized, served as County Treasurer four years, and as a County Commissioner.



Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of Kansas, updated March, 2017.


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