Barber County Kansas
(The following taken from the Oklahoma Histora will be of interest to the old timers in Barber county that read the Index. "Cannon Ball" Green was one of the early settlers in Western Kansas and many people now living in Barber county have ridden with him on the old rockaway. - Ed)
At left: Donald R. "Cannon Ball" Green, photo published with his obituary in The Wichita Beacon, 2 Aug 1922.
Image courtesy of Shirley Brier.
A few old timers will recall the subject of this sketch whose stage line from Kingman, Kansas, in an early day brought him both fame and fortune as his was about the only conveyance always "at your service, sir," reaching far westward not only through the untamed short grass regions of Kansas, but also through the likewise untamed red lands of Oklahoma.
He was a large specimen of bone and sinew standing fully six foot in "his socks," and kicked the beam at from 190 to 210. A whole-souled genial westerner who became universally a favorite of the traveling public. The sobriquet on "Cannon Ball" soon attached on account of the extra-ordinary speed he made from point to point and it stuck to him until the final parting of the ways a few years ago.
Speaking of his success especially in a financial way, he attributed it to his liberality toward those who he deemed might be of benefit to him. In his success the country editor came in for a very large shore. "My office in Kingman was furnished nicely," he said during an interview in the early 1900's when he was an applicant for the Lawton receivership to succeed J. D. Matthews of Norman who declined to stand for re-appointment. At that time Green lived on a homestead near Bridgeport, Oklahoma. An editor running a small paper in one of the sun baked regions in a prairie town would come to me stating he had railroad transportation but was unable to reach places where he felt he could secure subscribers, etc. and requested a half-fare rate. Owners of other and small lines would respond to such requests with a flat "No!" that it cost just as much to haul you as it does to haul any one else and no half-fare goes." "I kept a supply of elegantly printed passes and would issue one of these to the editor good at any time over any of my lines on payment of half-rate, and when he desired to take a trip all he need do would be to hop on. As my lines reached hundreds of miles into the west, this would take a person almost any place in the west, barring an occasional gap."
In those days according to Mr. Green, the price of a Concord Coach was $1200.00 and mules as high as $400.00. His coaches covered one hundred miles a day. In addition to the Concords, the lines were provided with many smaller stages or coaches; "but when an editor showed up," he says, "I would always give him a seat in one of the big coaches; and told the driver that as I had a wind-pumper to hit only the high places, and that's just what the driver invariably did. I received thousands of dollars worth of advertising from these editors.
The reputation of my coaches traveled throughout the country and did not confine to high places, either. Often comfortable carriages owned by competitors would be at the train unloading of passengers at depots and scramble for business. My weather-beaten, and dusty coaches would have the words "Cannon Ball Green" painted on them in big box letters. Strangers who had read and otherwise heard of my whirl wind trips would pile into my outfits, while the more comfortable vehicles of would be rivals remained empty."
Cannon Ball Green's business was exceedingly prosperous from about 1870 to 1880 - ten years - when the extension of railroads utterly destroyed it. The old coach recently contributed go to the Oklahoma Historical Society is one of the best as well as one of the best coaches of his line and did ten years service, subsequently falling into the ranks of the Miller Bros. of the 101 Ranch who made it an attraction in their annual blow-outs and wild west performances.
Keno Armstrong was here Monday from Lake City and being in a reminiscent mood he had much to say about Cannon Ball Green and expressed regret that it was impossible for him to attend Green's funeral. Mr. Armstrong was one of the old stage drivers that plied between civilization and the frontier villages and while he never drove for Green was intimately acquainted with him and valued Cannonball's friendship very highly. Mr. Armstrong is now so badly crippled up that he uses a wheeled chair in which to get around, or as he calls it "his roller skates" and he is never so happy as when visiting among the old timers that congregate on the streets of Medicine Lodge.
Donald R. "Cannon Ball Green" for more photographs, history and the obituary for "Cannon Ball" Green.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!