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.
Kiowa was one of the five official Kansas starting points for the Cherokee Strip land rush of 1893. Kiowa was also the place where Carrie Nation began her hatchet-wielding campaign against “demon rum” and the musuem still has her chosen weapon.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,055 people, 467 households, and 292 families residing in the city. The population density was 995.3 people per square mile (384.3/km²). There were 569 housing units at an average density of 536.8/sq mi (207.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.83% White, 0.28% African American, 1.23% Native American, 1.71% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.27% of the population.
There were 467 households out of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.6% were married couples living together, 5.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.3% were non-families. 36.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 24.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.87.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 26.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 84.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,141, and the median income for a family was $41,806. Males had a median income of $31,667 versus $21,083 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,670. About 9.7% of families and 14.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.1% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.