We are getting closer to the completion of a project we will call “Before it Was Baca, Persons Stories, Incidents and Letters from the Early Day East Enders: 1886-1889,” We are waiting on a very interesting set of artifacts, but I hope can finish by the end of summer. The following letter excerpt from that project is the only mention I have seen in early letters for the place we know as Gobblers Knob between Lamar and Springfield. Enjoy.
The Unionville Republican (Unionville, Missouri) 10 Mar 1887. — I will give you a brief outline of my observations while recently traveling through Southwestern Kansas and Southeast Colorado as it may be of some interest to many of the readers of your esteemed paper.
I left Unionville, Mo., Feb 5 1887, by railroad for Kinsley Kansas arrived all O. K in due time. Started from there by team for Boston, Colorado the 15th traveled 8 days. Camped out at nights, very comfortably most of the time On the 17, we passed through one of the worst wind storms that ever struck Southwest Kansas. I had the misfortune to have my hat blown away and the good fortune to have my head left on. We passed through Kiowa, Ford and Finney and along Clark, Meade, Seward, Stevens, Hamilton and through Morton counties. In Kiowa county there is a good deal of land. Claims are scarce. Deeded land sells at from $1,200 to $1,500 a quarter (160 acres) Water is good and found in abundance at 35 to 40 feet. Relinquished sells from $800 to $1,000 a quarter. It is very healthy and very productive. Will grow anything you plant. Ford and Finney counties are beautiful, especially the south part, smooth and very uniform. Produces well, but water is from 100 to 227 feet from surface of ground. There are but few pre-emption or homestead claims here and the timber culture claims are about all gone Deeded Land sells from $1000 to $1500 a qr. Relinquished sells from $800 to $1,000 a claim. In north part of Clark county the land lays beautiful but vacant claims are scarce most to Colorado line. Morton the southwest county of Kansas, is very-nice and water is found at 70 feet. Richfield and Frisco are both nice healthy towns and are having a lively fight for the county seat. They shot a man at Frisco a few days ago and started a graveyard. 42 miles west in Colorado is the nice little town Boston, only 3 months old, has 39 houses up and enclosed and 12 or 15 more under way. It is bound to be a county seat. Here it is 60 feet to water. There is a beautiful country all around it and plenty of pre-emption and homestead claims and from 15 to 20 miles northwest is to be found tree culture claims but they are going fast, 100 per day. 20 miles northwest from Boston is the little town Springfield, just started, is situated on a beautiful prairie, fine stream- of running water on west and north It is about 20 miles south of the twin Buttes. (a pyramid about 280 feet above the level of the plain resembling an ant hill of huge dimension.) Butte Creek passes about 1 ½ miles south of this mount and a little to the east of the ford (¼ mile). At the foot of the canyon is an excellent place to camp, plenty of water, wood and shelter. North of the mountain for about 8 miles is level then a set of picturesque scenes appear. Great domes of white rocks are seen on all sides, set 40 and 50 feet above the level prairie while to the west are many canyons whose perpendicular side walls resemble pillars of an ancient Egyptian city. Here are hills fringed with cedars while in these gorges from 50 to 100 feet running back under the huge rocks is shelter for 100 men or beasts from the storms and water in abundance and green grass and in some are groves of large cottonwood or elm trees, whose top-only reach the lever of the rocks above. They are beautiful to behold. About 20 miles north is Lamar Col., the land office. Those wishing to secure claims should go to Lamar or Granada by railroad then go by team to the vacant land. You will find every third man a locater. Some are reliable and many are doubtful. Billon & Morgan of Lamar will stick to their man and will put their papers in all O. K. Timber culture claims are most all taken as far west as Springfield. Mr. Harris runs a private hack from Lamar to Springfield. He is a gentleman and will give correct information to those in search of claims. There are a good many nice tree claims, homesteads and preemptions in Las Animas and Bent Co. Col., some in Ford, Finney, Clark and Morton Co. Kansas. Lamar is building on the south side of the Arkansas River and she is booming. Church and school privileges are as good as one could expect to find in a new country. People are generally moral and refined, seeking homes, or have settled for the future. Respectfully,
DR. W. WILLIAMS