Barber County Kansas

Kiowa, Barber County, Kansas

Franklin High School, Kiowa, Kansas. 

Photo courtesy of Ed Rucker.
Franklin High School, Kiowa, Kansas.
Photo courtesy of Ed Rucker.

Kiowa, Kansas. Freight train pulling out on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad between Wellington, Kansas and Waynoka, Oklahoma.

Photo by Jack Delano, March 1943, Library of Congress collection, public domain.
Kiowa, Kansas. Freight train pulling out on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad
between Wellington, Kansas and Waynoka, Oklahoma.
Call# LC-USW3- 019863-E. Reproduction# LC-USW3-019863-E DLC.
Photo by Jack Delano, March 1943, Library of Congress collection, public domain.

America from the Great Depression to WWII: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945

The Cresset, January 30, 1880

KIOWA 1873

Kiowa, Kansas

Eds. Cresset: As some of the most exciting events in the history of Barber county occurred in this vicinity, I thought a few reminiscences from an old settler’s leaves of memory, might interest your readers. So with out much regard to chronology, I will briefly recount some of the leading incidents connected with this portion of the vineyard.

During the spring months of 1872, Wm. Leonard and family, accompanied by the celebrated frontiersman, Ed. Mosley, started from Allen county, Kansas, to seek a home in the then unbroken wilds of the Medicine country. At Greenwood, Kansas, they fell in company with a family by the name of Lockwood, and persuaded them to accompany them to their new home.

Striking camp in a shady grove on the banks of the silvery Medicine, they at once commenced breaking sod and planting a crop of sod corn, which proved a very profitable proceeding, as the season was a very wet one and the corn averaged about forty bushels per acre.

Of the principal event of that year, viz: The attack by the Osage Indians, every one that has made the acquaintance of Uncle Johnny Leonard, since that time, is acquainted with all of the details, and especially with the fact that Leonard killed all the way from six to twenty Indians, and thus saved the day. The exact casualties of the Indians on that July day, will never be known, but when the smoke of the battle cleared and the war whoop died away, the little community gathered round the stiffening form of one whom they all revered, and prepared to show their last tokens of respect to their companion and leader, Ed. Mosley, who was shot dead within a few feet of the door of their cabin in the early part of the engagement. No other casualties were sustained by this plucky little band of pioneers at this time.

The winter and spring of 1873, opened auspiciously for the lower Medicine. Immigrants came in rapidly. Lee Davis began the erection of the first house in Kiowa. Gus Hegwer built small house on his present claim, east of Kiowa. Eli Smith squatted near the State line, where the Blackstone Ranch is now located. Milton Davis, the man from O-h-I-e-r, located on the east side of the Medicine river, three miles north of Kiowa. The same man who afterwards sold the "buzzard" to Cap. Ayers for five dollars. The Armstrong boys set their stakes some two miles further up on the west side and began breaking prairie vigorously. The town site of Lawranceburg was located and one building partially erected. Dr. Sherrod Dutton and T.P. Calaway seemed to be the head and front of this town company, and made their headquarters at Dad Wolverton’s.

The question of organizing the county began to be agitated at Medicine Lodge, when the good looking fellow, J.C. Kirkpatrick, made his appearance and located one mile north of Kiowa, for what purpose, future events clearly showed. Organization, like most subjects, found many opponents, headed by the old Stevenson town company. Dick Stevenson and Mike Sutton, mounted on two little sore backed bronchoes, made a canvass of this section against organizing the county, and in order to stir up enthusiasm, appointed a mass meeting to be held at Lawranceburg; Mike to orate against W.E. Hutchinson and C.W. Ellis for organization. Impromptu speeches were made by J.C. Kirkpatrick, Doc Jarvis and others. The reply of Jarvis to Kirkpatrick, was interspersed by side remarks of "liar", "bond thief", etc., but no bloodshed.

However, there seemed to be a power behind the throne, that must be obeyed. The Stevenson town company sold out to Medicine Lodge the evening before election, and Medicine Lodge was declared the county seat. The season was dry, nothing raised, and by fall, everybody around here went into the business of hunting buffalo, which were plenty south of Kiowa from twenty to fifty miles.

Let this rambling account suffice for 1873. Next week I may follow the story another year.

State Liner.

(Contributed by Kim Fowles)

The Cresset, February 6, 1880, Kiowa, Kansas. No. 2.

KIOWA 1874

The beginning of 1874 fully developed the plans of the thieving bond ring that now had control of our county offices.

Two elections to vote bonds for building bridges, court house, etc., were called, but each time the propositions were voted down. During the progress of this election, Kirkpatrick and J.D. Goldy, who at the time lived on the place now known as the Withers place, were kept busy deciding just where they would locate the bridge this part of the county was to get for carrying the bonds, but this was one of the well laid plans that "gang aft aglee."

Immigration was not as large as the previous spring. The most noted immigrants being the far famed horse thieves, Bill Anderson and Tom. Hubbert, who made their headquarters at Kiowa all that summer. It is now known, and but few believe, that they ever stole any horses directly from the residents or settlers of Barbour county.

The biggest raid every made on the horses of this section, was made about the first of June, 1874. In one night two horses were taken from Eli Smith, one from J.D. Goldy, one from Wm. Lowry and one from Brade Armstrong. A posse was raised for pursuit, and Brade Armstrong, Billie Morrison, Joe. McNeal and J.D. Goldy scouted around in the Territory for about two weeks, but without further information than that the horses were trailed into the Black Jacks of the Cimarron.

But troubles in this community, in this case, did not come singly. On the afternoon of the 17th day of June, 1874, a squad of eleven Indians suddenly made their appearance at a "boars nest," as bachelor’s ranches were then called, about a mile and a half down the river from Kiowa, and made an attempt to secure and drive off what horses were about the place, but were prevented by Joe. White, the only member of the ranch at home, who opened a fire upon them with his trusty needle gun, causing the Indians to beat a hasty retreat without any horses. Passing on to Kiowa, they were more successful, although six or eight men were about the hotel. The men were evidently rattled, as they allowed the Indians to ride up within a few feet of the Davis House, shoot into it two or three times and take several horses. The most ludicrous incidents, were Charley Harter’s trying to shoot a gun that had neither cartridge or needle block in it and the run made by Gus. Hegwer and Charley Carl down over the bank to Gus’ shanty as a place of safety.

Thus far, no loss of life had occurred, but the people of Kiowa were to blame for the murder of Martin Kennedy and K. Eims that occurred the succeeding day. They had the whole night to give the alarm to all the settlements in the county, and yet persons were living within four miles of Kiowa that did not know that there was an Indian in the county, until the murder of these men by the same band of Indians. Simoons and grasshoppers, following in short order, to add to the discomfiture of the embryo settlers.

The Indian excitement still continued, and a detachment of State militia, under the command of Lieutenant Eli Smith, was stationed at Kiowa, and most of the settlers took advantage of the opportunity to eat State grub and kill time by hunting buffalo. As usual, Medicine Lodge monopolized the lion’s share of the supplies, and left the boys here to rustle for buffalo hides, which they traded to Gus. Hegwer for provisions and clothing, who, by the way, was the first merchant in Kiowa, although Perry Wilkins had kept a small stock of goods the previous winter in a small house near Leonards. When the militia disbanded, there was a general scatting of the boys to different pursuits, and the majority of them are still scattered.

Further your deponent saith not this time.

State Liner.

(Contributed by Kim Fowles)

The Kansas Gazeteer & Business Directory For 1882-1883

Kiowa . A village in the southeast corner of Barbour county, 18 miles south of Medicine Lodge (ch), and 35 southwest of Harper, on the KCL&SK RR, its nearest shipping point. Live stock, hides and furs constitute the shipments. Population, 75. Mail, twice a week by stage from Medicine Lodge. A.W. Rumsey, postmaster.

Bush, J.B. - carpenter
Chatham, Mrs. A.M. - hotel propr.
Hegmer, A. - brickmaker
Henderson, Hirman - blacksmith
Hopkins, A. - lawyer
Kerchner, E.J. - hotel propr.
Long, L.G.- physician
Mole, George - justice of peace
Rumsey, A.W. - General Store
Vautier, Charles H. - livery stable.

(Contributed by Kim Fowles)

The Kansas Gazeteer & Business Directory For 1888-1889

Kiowa . Formerly known as new Kiowa, is an enterprising incorporated city locatedin the southeastern portion of Barber county, 21 miles southeast of Medicine Lodge, the seat of justice, and 24 southwest of Harper. It is on the SK Ry and on the Ft. S, W & W Ry, nad is only a short distance from the boundary of the Indian Territory. The city is steadily increasing, and now contains Christian and Methodist churches, a school house, 2 banks, 2 brick yards, 2 hotels, large stock yards, etc. Two live weekly newspapers, the Herald and the Journal, are published. The assessed valuation of real and personal property is $400,00; bonded indebtedness, $24,000. Grain and live stock are the principal shipments. Tel., W.U. Exp, Pacific and W.F & Co. Population 1,500. Mail, daily. John Poston, postmaster.

(Contributed by Kim Fowles)

Kiowa -
Second Largest Town in Barber County;
Distributing Point for the South Part of County
and Woods County, Oklahoma

Kiowa, the second town in Barber county in size, is located on the line dividing Kansas and Oklahoma territory. The men who located the town in the early 80s certainly had an eye to its future commercial importance, though but few of the original promoters stayed through the swaddling-clothes period to reap the fruits of the seed sown.

Kiowa has had the experience of all Kansas towns. It boomed like a green bay tree for a while and then went into decline and displayed a sign which indicated that it had "that tired feeling." However, a few doses of push, well shaken by enterprising business citizens before taking, gave it renewed life, and the past half dozen years has seen Kiowa grown, fatten and become one of the first towns of commercial importance on the border.

Kiowa is peculiarly well favored as to location. Situated in one of the richest and most fertile townships in the county, with miles and miles of Oklahoma plain on the south, the view presented is one as fair as the eye ever beheld. The territory contiguous to the town is still in an infant state of development, yet the storehouse of wealth it has already yielded has astonished even itself by its greatness.

Six years ago Kiowa's trade was confined to a rather circumscribed territory. The vast country on the south known as the Cherokee Strip contained only a few cow camps. In a day the whole scene was changed. Uncle Sam declared the Strip open to settlement, and the thousands of boomers who had congregated at Kiowa because it was the gate city to the fairest land on earth, in their eyes, rushed across the line in a mad race for a home. Before the sun set every quarter section of land in that Strip was occupied, and instead of a small township Kiowa had a territory as large as a New England state to draw trade from. The settlers have prospered, and Kiowa has reaped their prosperity. The small stores were inadequate to the demand. Additions were built, warehouses erected, and now Kiowa has mercantile establishments which will measure in size and trade with the larger stores of Wichita.

She has department stores which employ from ten to twenty clerks and keeps them busy.

All lines of trade are represented in Kiowa, and if there is a single one which does not pay dividends on the investment we failed to find it.

Another thing - Kiowa business men are not content with the trade that just happens in, but are continually going after new customers. They are not afraid to let the public know where they are and what they are there for.

She has lately organized a Commercial Club for the purpose of promoting her trade. In this sense, every man in the town is an ardent expansionist.

The business men of Kiowa stand together in solid phalanx when the interests of the town are concerned, with just enough rivalry between them individually to lend jest to their efforts.

At the present time Kiowa has a population of 700 - 1000. The town is located on the main line of the Santa Fe and the terminus of the Missouri Pacific railroads.

She is on the proposed line of two other railroads, one of which is now being graded a few miles south of town. So it appears almost certain that in the near future Kiowa will have considerable importance as a railroad town.

There are two strong banks in the city - The Bank of Kiowa and the Commercial Bank. Each of them has large deposits.

Each year an agricultural fair and ______ meeting is held in the city. The _____ last year brought horses from Kansas City and St. Louis.

There are three newspapers in Kiowa and they stand up for her interests most loyally. They are the Journal, Review and News, the latter having been established less than a year ago. The Review, edited by Milt A. Hull, brother of Congressman Hull, of Iowa, is a somewhat unique paper, reflecting the characteristics of its editor and publisher. It enjoys the distinction of being the only democratic paper in Barber county. The Journal, edited by Harry E. Glenn, is the oldest paper in town. It is republican in its politics and is a good paper for local news. These papers not only champion the interests of Kiowa but any enterprise tending to promote the welfare of the county receives their hearty support. The Cresset feels under especial obligations to them for assistance in getting up this edition and for the kind words said of it.

[In Kiowa:]

The law business is looked after by A.L. Herr and Chas. Rumsey; Kiowa streets are lighted at night with new gasoline lamps; H.G. Waltner has one of the nicest arranged stores in the southwest; D.R. Streeter, one of the oldest citizens of the town, is cattle inspector; J.T. Rickman, the cattle broker, has done a good business since he opened his office; Webb Parker is a new real estate man; Dennis Flynn, one of the founders of Kiowa, is now delegate to Congress from Oklahoma; W.D. Mackey is one of the oldest and most popular business men in Kiowa. He handles lumber and coal; G.F. Haskins, the real estate man, handles just about as much Kansas and Oklahoma dirt as the next one; R.D. Herold's department store occupies six rooms on Main street and we don't know how many warehouses; The York-Kay Mercantile Company is building another store; The meat trade of Kiowa is handled by A. Garland; The popular restaurant and bakery in Kiowa is conducted by G.F. Long; The hotels in Kiowa are the Hardwick Commercial, W.G. Bristow, proprietor of the Hardwick, is a former Medicine Lodge man; H.D. Records, the druggist used to do business in Medicine [Lodge] The town could hardly get along without Abner and T.P. Wilson. Tommie Wilson represented the county in the legislature one term and was mayor of Kiowa until he just wouldn't have it any longer.

-- "Barber County Townships", Medicine Lodge Cresset, March 2, 1900. Contributed by Ellen (Knowles) Bisson.

"James Dobson was sheriff of Barber County and his brother kept a saloon in Kiowa, the first saloon I ever smashed." -- Carry A. Nation, from her book, The Use and Need of the Life of Carry A. Nation, Revised edition, 1905.

The Kiowa, Kansas, Newspaper:

Kiowa News, 614 Main Street, Kiowa, KS 67070.

Phone: (620) 825-4229

Kiowa Chamber of Commerce, 533 Main, Kiowa, KS 67070.
Meetings: 7:30 p.m. on the 2nd Monday of each month
Place: Plum Thicket Inn, 1215 Main, Kiowa, KS 67070.
Phone: (620) 825-4613 or (620) 825-4727.

Kiowa City Hall, 618 Main, Kiowa, KS 67070.
Phone: (620) 825-4127

Kiowa Historical Museum, 107 N. 7th, Kiowa, KS 67070.
Open: 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Phone: (620) 825-4727.

Kiowa Public Library, 123 N. Seventh, Kiowa, KS 67070. Phone: (620) 825-4630.

Kiowa School Museum, 5th and Miller, Kiowa, KS 67070. Open by appointment.

Kiowa Senior Citizens Center, 732 Main, Kiowa, KS 67070.
Open: 12:30 to 4:30 pm. Monday through Friday
Phone: (620) 825-4898.


Also see:

Deputy Warden of Kansas State Penitentiary; former Sheriff of Barber County; former Mayor of Kiowa, Kansas.

Dr. Charles H. DOWNTAIN
Former Police Judge, died while Justice of the Peace.

A Good Capture: Joseph and William Huff Arrested Near Kiowa For Murder
Hazelton Express, April 23, 1885.

The following off-site pages will open in a new browser window:

Hometown Locator: Kiowa, Kansas

Wikipedia: Kiowa, Kansas

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Penny Postcard from Kiowa, Kansas     First Christian Church Medicine Lodge, Kansas

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