Friday, September 27, 2013


                           TO HARD WAYS."
                                             Louis L'Amour

     Before Buffalo Bill Cody there was Buffalo Bill (William) Mathewson.  Of Scottish descent, he was a friend and contemporary of Kit Carson.  He hunted, trapped,and traded across the plains and in 1853 created the Cow Creek Ranch near the Great Bend of the Arkansas River.  Always a quiet and modest man he became a legend in the eyes of the Indian and white man.
     Chief Satanta of the Kiowa tribe tried to take goods from the store without paying for them.  Satanta was an exceptionally tall Indian for the time and a perfect physical specimen.  Mathewson proceeded to give Satanta a tremendous thrashing and kicked him and his group from the store.  The incident made him famous among the plains Indian tribes and the Kiowa named him 'Sillpah Sinpahor' or ' Long Beard Dangerous Man'.
      The incident made lifelong friends of Satanta and Bill.  When the Kiowa went on the warpath Satanta rode hundreds of miles to warn him.  On June 20,21, & 22 Bill, and five employees held off a superior force of attackers.  As a wagon train approached on the Santa Fe Trail the Indians turned the attack on them.  The column was lightly armed.  The teamsters did not know that their load contained firearms and munitions.
     Bill armed himself to the teeth and in a scene from a John Wayne movie, single handily rode through the Indians and warned the wagon train informing them of their cargo.  Boxes of guns were opened and the group fended off the attacking Kiowas.
     Bill rode scout for General Blunts expedition and did much to bring the tribes together for the Little Arkansas Treaty.  This proceeded the great Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty.  Bill went out to villages which was hazardous work.  He made it a practice of sneaking up on the villages and just appear.
     In his lifetime Mathewson was responsible for returning no less than fifty four women and children captives.  He was involved in an incident from early Wichita that could have turned into a bloodbath had it not been for his clear thinking.  Little Rea Woodman was assumed to be kidnapped by a group of  "Pants" Indians, who were traveling from Wichita south.  Bill, Rea's father, and another man circled the Indian encampment on Cowskin Creek and rode in from the south.  The men were invited to stay and fish with the tribe.
     Feigning ignorance Bill asked if the Indian's had anything to trade.  They had this girl that had crawled into their tents and was found sleeping.  They were willing to trade her quickly.  The deal was struck for fifty cents and Rea's dad kicked in a pocket knife.
     Had the citizens committee not waited for this all to happen it could have been a massacre.  Here demonstrated Bills coolness and clear thinking.  later in life when Rea would misbehave her father would chide her saying "I sure miss that  pocket knife".
    William Mathewson was a very modest man and would not talk about his exploits or to newspaper reporters.  Buffalo Bill Cody acknowledged Mathewson as being the first Buffalo Bill.  Mathewson shot buffalo sending the meat back into Eastern Kansas in the 1860 drought saving many starving people.
     Bill was an early resident of Wichita he had one of the first log cabins built there.  It was put up under the direction of JR Mead who Bill was being supplied by while trading down in the nations.  His fourth and last house is still being lived in in Wichita.
     Mathewson and Cody had a tentative friendship.  Mathewson thought that Cody was a braggart.  There is a picture of them setting on the porch at Cowtown and the Sedgwick County Museums.
     Of all the plainsmen and colorful pioneers of the west Buffalo Bill Mathewson should be famous.  His exploits were worthy of movies and his life more interesting than fiction.  His great, great, great, granddaughter has written a children's book of his life that should now be on the stands.
     Also Mathewson's pasture was the site that many circus's would set up in and it was the first site of Joyland Park.

Friday, September 13, 2013



There is a mistake and my reference that I go to got back to me after I published the article on Rock Springs Ranch deciding to tear down the White House and Water Wheel.

It is not the 4-H Council who made the decision it is the 4-H FOUNDATION.  This is where to direct comments.

To save the history of Rock Springs Ranch contact the 4-H Foundation and if you want to join a group you can contact me at

Thursday, September 12, 2013


                          HUMAN STUPIDITY; AND I AM NOT SURE
                                    ABOUT THE UNIVERSE
                                                  Albert Einstein

     Normally it is government or some big company that you are expecting the worst from and expect a fight for some common sense.  Now it is the people who run our private groups that have always been the rock of tradition and pillars of doing good.
      My most productive education came from my days in 4-H.  I will regret to my dieing day that I did not stay on through high school instead of being tied up in other things.  And of my 4-H memories is the time I went to camp at Rock Springs Ranch.  The first thing I always think of is the old farm house with the working water wheel.  It is such a part of my experience that it cannot be cut from the memories.
     My folks lived six miles apart growing up but met at Rock Springs Ranch at camp 100 miles away.  Their memories are of the Water Wheel and that little white house that was the office.  But now through some infinite wisdom the Kansas 4-H Council has condemned the house and waterwheel.  Probably the only working water wheel in Kansas.  AGHHHHHH!!!!!!!
     Now I try to write my stories after my first emotions go away because I want the logic to be the centerpiece of my story and not the emotion.  But sometimes the emotion does not go away.
     I am sure that there is probably a lot of solid reasons why the preservation of this part of history is hard to save and maybe just not economical, but really?  I recall no explanation or opinions being sent out statewide to councils and clubs.
     Has the move to bringing more urban kids into the 4-H tradition altered the traditions?  I bet not one city 4-Her has ever seen a real waterwheel unless they go to a theme park.  Has Rock Springs Ranch gotten so sophisticated and glossy that camp is just another place people send their kids to to get rid of them for a while?  It has always been a place kids wanted to go and they were enriched in more ways than you can list.
     And how many parents that went with their kids have memories from going up to help run the place?  How many counselors have their summer experiences that last a lifetime?
     I hope that the 4-Her's of Kansas, their leaders, and those who used to stand next to the water wheel and cool themselves with that mist, get up and say NO!  We will not lose one more part of our history, and some committee should start figuring out how things should be done and not how they want them to be done.
     All the county councils in Kansas need to set their foot down and say no to the tradition that that little white house and water wheel represent.  We might as well go bulldoze our historic sites to build hiways or ugly steel buildings.  Oh Heck, we are already doing that!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013



                                     Mahatma Gandhi

                           AND KNOW THAT I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS;
                                   YES, ALWAYS TO THE END OF TIME
                                                       Jesus Christ

      I was on my way home from a visit to my clinic and my cell phone rang, a voice from out of the past said hello.  Cowboy Dan Boyd.  Now Dan is the last living circuit preacher and is on a mission that would not be an easy thing for many to do.  He is traveling by horse and wagon to every one of the lower forty eight states.  Along the way he is working on just about anything a poor person or family needs that crosses his path.
     He has patched porches, fixed windows, poured cement, fixed fence and any other handy man job he runs into.  All this is funded by donations.  He holds Cowboy Church Services along the way.  This was not what he envisioned for himself early in life but it is a calling he cannot turn away from. 
     My first memory of Cowboy Dan was at the Western Music Association Festival in Wichita.  One of our top artists was going through a round of cancer and had sold everything including his horse to support his family and fight the disease.  We were kicking around Dan's idea for a benefit concert to help.  This was not in the normal way of doing concerts, it would be going where the cowboys were and their environment, livestock auction barns.
     Well our friend beat the cancer and is one of the top artists in Western Music but Dan did not let that idea go to raise money for needy causes.  So with Victoria Ward they created the Auction Barn Concerts and did shows all over Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado.
     I did not know Dan's story of how he lost his wife and son in a car accident and his other son was left with injuries requiring over 80 surgeries.  For many years Dan was mad at God.  A kind lady made this statement that may not have been appreciated at the time but rings so true.  She said, "God will not give you more grief than you can handle".
      For many years he fought with his pain and disappointments but God blessed him with many talents.  Whether you would call it a calling, mission, or dream, Dan made his peace and opened his heart.  Which was also opened by doctors at age 58 for bypass surgery.  He started a Cowboy church not intending to preach but just facilitate.  And yet he was called to preach.
     Cowboy Dan has been on the road now with his team and tools and is determined to spread the love of God to all 48 lower states.  He was in North Carolina today waiting for mail to catch up.  Next stop is South Carolina.  He called wanting me to let people know that he is still on the road and needs support to continue on.
     To find Dan and his ministry go to Facebook and put in THE LAST CIRCUIT RIDING PREACHER.  You can Google for his website also.
e-mail Dan at
          PO BOX 444, BENTON, KS.  67017
HIS MISSION:  Sharing the love of Jesus in all lower 48 states helping country folk along the way.


Sunday, September 8, 2013


                        THOSE WHO ARE PROUD OF IT.
                                               Edith Sitwell

     The state that Detroit Michigan is in is typical of what 50 years of Progressive ideals can wrought with an economy and population.  Once 10th in size in the US it now is down to 750,000 residents.  A huge area of the once thriving city is now like Dresden or Hiroshima.  But a bomb did not do it.  It was warfare but not of a military nature.
     I had neighbors whose folks had left the area behind 30 years ago because of the crime, gangs, and the direction that it was going.  Homes can be bought for $1.00 and there are no takers.  The retirements of workers are in jeopardy because of the drastic drain on the budget it poses.
     Detroit is now in bankruptcy.  It is no longer up to citizens or elected officials to point the direction of the city.  It is now in the hands of a judge and lawyers.  Can we expect anything good from this?  I doubt it. 
     I had heard a plan that was proposed once and have not heard anything about it since.  I thought it was so simple it would work.  That is probably the reason it is not being discussed.
      So how would a writer from Kansas have a solution for the problems up there?  I guess just plain audacity, so I will expand on what I would do with Detroit if given the chance.
     Like all metropolitan areas Detroit went through huge expansion.  Even letting entire neighborhoods crumble there is cost with keeping it in the city limits.  The original idea was to take a half section or 320 acres of the ravaged neighborhoods and clear it all off, pull all utilities and return it to farmland and de-annex it.
     My proposal is to take many of the unemployed that are still willing to work, starting to clean and pallet brick and salvage building materials and put the salvage up for sale for cash money.  Turn as much back to farmland as can be cleaned up.
     The old factory buildings that have not been ravaged, or are salvageable, start indoor growing operations again taking residents willing to work and put t
hem to feeding themselves and the whole region.
     Those who would not work or are able bodied would be cut off of government programs that reward laziness.  Those who need help would get help but again with training of local unemployed people.  Training programs for a whole myriad of jobs from nurses, EMT's, construction, farming and what ever was needed be created.
      The strangle hold of the Unions would be rolled back, not to free up companies to run roughshod over labor but there has to be some common sense brought back.  Workers can be employed if they are affordable and willing to work.  We have heard too many stories of what 'rights' have been negotiated that make no sense at all.
     There will have  to be a building back of the police, fire, and EMS.  Then the gangs will have to be driven out of town.  Judges, prosecutors, and politicians will have to have the will to look the gangs in the eye and not blink.
     If all the programs that the government are turning on law abiding citizens to the criminals there could be a massive shift of law breakers from the city.  This also includes the Federal agencies taking illegal aliens and ship them back to their countries or prisons which ever is appropriate.
      Bring in the innovators who can turn a disaster into an asset.  Profit is not a dirty word bankruptcy is.  If there was an incentive like a labor pool that is affordable and facilities for new production the jobs will start flowing back from overseas.
      BUT then what does a broken down cowboy from the hills know?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


                       WRITE IT.           Sir Winston Churchill

     Kansas has always enjoyed a very efficient and active historical society.  The museum in Topeka is a great place to go and learn the history of the state.  But something happened and I don't know what it is.  Have historians given way to bureaucracy or political correctness?  Or has poor judgement taken the place of serious management of the history?
     There is a glaring error that was caused by our KANSAS STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY and it has my dander up. According to the KANSAS COWBOY Mr. Gary Kraisinger from Halstead showed a 2013 official Kansas Highway map to a gathering of the Kansas Chapter of the Great Western Trail and the International Chisholm Trail Associations joint meeting in Dodge City
     The new Kansas map eliminated the route of the Chisholm and Great Western Trails which has been included in the past.  The Santa Fe Trail was left in place.  Contacting the KDOT PR Manager for the Southwest Region this is the reply to the inquiry "historic sites and trails are placed on the map in consultation with the state historical society and any other appropriate entities".
     In essence the Kansas State Historical Society has decided that only recognized national historic trails should be put on the map and a major part of Kansas History was eliminated.  REALLY!  The major part of the history of Kansas and a foundation of a tourism industry is not deemed sufficient for the Historical Society to place it on our road maps?
     What has happened to the mission of the KANSAS STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY?  I have had contact with those running the society in the past and found them to be good historians.  Not withstanding the cuts in budget they seem to have done a good job in the past. 
      I am very concerned about what would cause a major shift in the goals of the society.  I am also concerned that Tourism is not a part of the process.  I have had major concerns in years past that the promotion for our state has been directed to our own residents rather than to other states.  But, I thought the focus has been changing and we are inviting the world to visit one of the most interesting, diverse, and yes, scenic states in the country.
     Why did we just go to the largest equine gathering in Europe jointly with Oklahoma to promote our state and history?  We had one of our shining lights JUDY CODER singing and yodeling her heart out to potential tourists over there.  And we cannot keep the cattle trails on our highway map?
     It is time for everyone from the Governors office to the tourism associations to get on the same page and put some common sense back into the presentation of our state.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


                    IS A COUNTRY OF MADMEN
                                                  George Santayana

     I have often wondered what makes bureaucrats think.  When so much of history has been lost over time, you cherish what you do have and protect it fiercely.  But the case of the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), who seems to live in a rarefied world, when given a task at hand it quite literally bulldozes its way without regard for people, property, or history.
     Kansas has been ranked as having the second best highways in the country and yet many travelers would never guess that.  We have had almost desperate need for highways in the western part of Kansas and there have been grand highway plans that should have been completed thirty years ago when the cost was half.
     Yet the highway fund has been the cash cow for several of the last governors including this one who campaigned that the fund would not be raided.  Given high hopes that the new director of KDOT, coming from the construction world, would put some logic and humanity back into an agency with a long history of just running through everything.
     Well the Topeka/KC mindset, that there is no Kansas west of US 81 highway, is still alive and well.  But a bright spot is that a section of US 50 Highway west of Dodge City is being widened into a four lane.  This is only fifty years over due.
    ACCEPT, there is one problem.  This is a stretch of the historic Santa Fe Trail and there is a rock formation called Point of Rocks.  It is an outcropping that was a landmark used by travelers.  This set of rocks is one of several carrying the name along the trail but the only one that may be bulldozed for the four lane highway project.
     Thank goodness there are people who care, and a man from Bucklin decided that running over a land mark that was there for the likes of Jed Smith, Josiah Gregg, or Robert Wright is not acceptable.  Or hundreds of mule skinners, ox carts, and freighting caravans.  And quoting The Cowboy "some unknown cowboy on his way to Ogahlala or Dakota Territory?  Or maybe just some brave that first saw the dust from Coronado's column off to the east".
     An archaeological report prepared in October 2012 found that the Point of Rocks was not eligible under Federal guidelines to be put on the Historic Register.  But you have to be conscious of the feel of history to appreciate the importance of this spot. 
     Those who have been charged with looking out for the interests of the citizens of the state, and those who travel through, need to held to a higher standard.  The one that can change it right now is the Office of the Governor. The legislature can change definitions but we have seen plenty of nothing from there.  The Director of the DOT can order policy changes.  But the fight must be by the people who feel that things like this need to be protected.  If  KDOT can build a highway through a swamp they can avoid destroying a part of our geological history that has been a landmark as long as the country has been inhabited.
     Those of us whom history is a living vital thing, place value on the ability to protect what would be lost by those who just don't care.  In a federal park or property and even may states it is illegal to pick up a rock and carry it away, let alone bulldoze it.  The rules of building a wind farm make any possible archaeological site protected and so does any other project.
       The value of history goes beyond a monetary mark.  It is the way that we base our future decisions.  I know that this is getting old but it is my favorite quote and one that I live by.  THOSE WHO IGNORE HISTORY ARE CONDEMNED TO RELIVE IT.  Our history is the foundation that we base our lives, country, and future on.