Our Western Heritage

Our Western Heritage
Front Street, Dodge City, circa 1879

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dodge City Police Docket Book

After over two and a half years since being found on the web, the Dodge City Police Docket Book, 1878-1882, has been completely scanned and put on-line by the digital library division of Fort Hays State University Forsyth Library. Thanks for massive work by Andrew Weiss, Digital Collections Librarian, and John Ross, Director.

Thanks to FHSU, every page of this rare document is viewable, and protected. The work of Ford County Attorney Terry Malone, the Ford County Sheriff's Office, and the FBI, along with the Ford County Historical Society which started the process of getting back the docket book, is rewarded.

This is in addition to the bonus public relations of having coverage in over 68 newspapers when we first found the police docket book was up for auction -- thanks to an AP article from the Hutchinson News (Kansas) -- the nation has been put on notice that we will make it harder to sell artifacts that belong to Dodge City.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dodge City Police Docket Book, 1878 - 1882, Public Viewing Dec. 7, 2009

On December 7, 2009, the City of Dodge City, Kansas will accept the return of the Dodge City Police Docket Book, 1878-1882, a book which contains the escapades of some of the most famous lawmen in the American West. Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and Ed Masterson and many other historical lawmen are chronicled in this court docket.

A public viewing of the docket book will be from 3:00-6:30 pm, Monday, Dec. 7, in Boot Hill Museum's Old House Saloon. A few selected pages of the book carefully scanned by the Southwest Kansas Library System will be enlarged and displayed next to the protected book. Immediately afterward, the book will be presented to the Dodge City Commission at 7:00 pm in City Hall and signed over from the Ford County Sheriff to the City of Dodge City.

The City of Dodge City and the Ford County Historical Society are making arrangements for all the pages of this fragile and important book to be scanned into computer files so that western history researchers all over the world can access the information it contains.

Again, thanks to: Roger Myers, FCHS member, who first saw the auction information on the docket book in 2007 and brought it to my attention; Ford County Attorney and Dodge City Prosecutor Terry Malone; Ford County Sheriff Dean Bush, and investigators; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the United States Attorney’s office, District of Kansas.

Best, George Laughead
President, Ford County Historical Society
Dodge City, KS

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dodge City Police Docket Book: Federal Judge rules: "belongs to Dodge City"

Just in -- in federal court, Wichita, Kansas, today, a judge has ruled that the City of Dodge City, Kansas is the sole owner of the Dodge City Police Docket Book, 1878-1882.

It could be returned to the City as soon as next week.

Now the Dodge City Commission has to decide whether to scan the docket book, or just put it in a bank safety box. There is no other way to protect it.

Thankfully, a few of the Dodge City Commissioners have already indicated that scanning the Dodge City Police Docket Book is the way to go.

Photograph from Bob Boze Bell's Blog, Oct. 5, 2007

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Video on tourist venues in Dodge City -- well done, actually.

And does show Ford County, KS, unique Mueller-Schmidt House Museum (1881) QT virtual tour as part of it -- the oldest house in Dodge City -- maybe the nicest house museum of the Old West, built by John Mueller, boot maker on Front Street, and cattleman.

For more on John and his family, see: John Mueller, Dodge City pioneer boot maker & cattleman

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thanks to Great History blog and Tom Goodrich

Tom Goodrich on Bat . . . Bat Masterson

Bat Masterson, one of Dodge City's better known lawmen (and actual citizen, home and land owner, elected official) is the first subject of historian Tom Goodrich's new blog -- the blog also includes a follow-up on the return of the Dodge City Police Docket Book.

Dodge City continues to benefit from our positive actions to protect our unique history -- news coverage on the return of the Dodge City Police Docket Book has been in at least 60 newspapers (including many in other countries), and on over 15 television news shows. Can't beat that for great public relations.

I should point out that there are many history blogs at Great History Blogs, covering every historical age. Take a look.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dodge City Police Docket Book Found

Hutchinson News coverage, Dodge City Police Docket Book Found

Thanks to Ford County Historical Society member, Roger Myers, seeing the photograph of the docket book on Bob "Boze" Bell's True West magazine editor's blog, I learned about it being up for auction. Roger made me aware.

I was convinced it was authentic due to Boze Bell thinking so ...Bell is an expert, as is the innocent auction house owner, Brian Lebel, an Arizona resident. They clearly thought it was real.

The photograph also matched anther docket book currently in the Dodge City Engineering offices which we, the Historical Preservation Committee of Dodge City, studied and compared to a print or the blog photograph..

After letting the auction know I wanted to know their source of the docket book, I also then contacted Terry Malone. He was the starting point of the legal process. This was before his was elected Ford county attorney -- he was City of Dodge City prosecutor at the time. After that, the Ford County Sheriff's office, and then the FBI became involved.

The importance for Dodge City and Ford County is that for the first time since the 1950s, history oriented tourists and Old West historians can see pages covering the actual work of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Ed Masterson, and all the Old West lawmen from about 1878 to 1882.

One suggestion I've made to the city manager is that CFAB funds pay for a state of the art multi-thousand dollar archive exhibit case for the docket book and let it be displayed at Boot Hill Museum. Tourism would benefit greatly. Anyone that studies the Old West would have to come and see it. But the safety and security of the police docket book would be the first issue.

The main point is that I value real history, and when I found out that someone had taken the first hand accounts of Old West Dodge City, it made me mad. It is owned by the citizens of Dodge City and Ford County. I just wanted it back. I also don't want people making easy money from artifacts that belong to the public

Thanks to all involved:

In addition to Ford County Attorney Terry Malone, Ford County Sheriff officials, including Sheriff Dean Bush, and Investigator Mike Albert, and FBI agent Robin Smith were clearly fully involved and successful. I truly appreciate all their efforts. Also to Arlyn Leaming, former Ford County Sheriff Investigations Captain, for early work on the case.

Also, due to coverage in over 68 newspapers when we first found the police docket book was up for auction -- thanks to an AP article from the Hutchinson News -- the nation has been put on notice that we will make it harder to sell artifacts that belong to Dodge City. Big thanks to Hutchnews reporter, Jon Ruhlen, for running with the information I gave him.

Also see:
Dodge City Police Docket Book Coverage

Friday, May 8, 2009

Don Steele's blog: Expert tourism leader reviews Dodge City Master Tourism Plan

There is no one more expert in tourism for Dodge City than Don Steele. His years of building the Depot Theater company (nee, Boot Hill Repertory Company), and the massive amount of work he planned and pushed over a decade to get the millions of dollars for the renovation of the Santa Fe Depot has no equal in our area -- perhaps the state.

His view of the new Dodge City/Ford County Master Tourism Plan, from Herberling Associates Inc., has to be taken very seriously -- or at least by those that know what has worked. Here's his May 6th blog on the Master Tourism Study:

A shaky plan

So the Tourism Master Plan has been released, and National Tourism Week is coming up soon. Time to step back and look at the state of the tourism industry in Dodge City.
The world in financial crisis, gas prices on the rise again, and now a potential pandemic that has health officials threatening to close the borders and outlaw travel — not the best time to hope for better business at local attractions.
The Master Plan was an idea that had been bandied about for years but nobody could agree on what agency should write it or what it should contain.
In my view, the plan should address everything from redesigning the traffic flow around town to creating a "war chest" and going out in aggressive search of new television, movie and book projects that are set in Dodge City. Disappointingly, the current plan is much more limited in scope...

Please read the rest -- and hope that Don keeps helping us solve our tourism problems. He is the best.