Home Dalton Gang Hideout Meade County Museum About Us Links

Index of Stories Index of Photos  Schools  Cemeteries Maps


The following story was found in all three Meade County Papers in November, 1979:


Byers was a small town beginning just prior to Nirwana City in the summer of 1885. J.M. Byers started a store and a blacksmith shop on his farm near Nirwana, calling the embryo town in honor of himself, Byers. The town was located in south Meade County about five miles north of the state line.

At that time, the Fowler City Graphic newspaper carried weekly columns written from correspondents in surrounding towns. Byers had such a column and its correspondent was named Rose Bud. The following appeared in the Graphic on July 2, 1885:

Mr. Editor: Thinking a few items from this place would find room in your spicy paper, I will send them in... having found that there is another town in Kansas called Monroe, we have concluded to change the name to Byers City.

We have petitioned headquarters for a post office.

We have already two grocery stores and will soon have a dry goods store.

Byers City is situated five miles southwest of Odee on the Jones and Plummer trail.

We have a settlement of about 300 people formed principally in the last four months.

We still have a few vacant claims and those who are looking for land or town property will do to pay this section a visit before locating. J.M. Byers will take pleasure in showing land seekers the vacant claims. Rose Bud

While Byers never reach substantial growth proportions, it did obtain a post office of which Mrs. Mary Martin was postmistress. It also held the first Democratic primary held in Odee Township in the Byers blacksmith shop and elected delegates to the county convention. J. M Byers ran one of the grocery stores and was kept quite busy as shown in the Graphic on August 6, 1885:

J. M. Byers keeps a four horse team on the road bringing groceries from Dodge City to feed the many settlers of this neck-o-woods.

With food not an easy commodity to obtain, settlers took advantage of any edibles native to the region. The following was recorded in the Fowler City Graphic on August 27, 1885:

Everybody and their sisters and their cousins and their aunts have been plumming. Such a variety of fruit we will all have next winter; it will be plums, plums, plums, but nevertheless, one young man of the Cimarron paid one dollar per gallon for plums to an old lady thinking to win her daughter but the handsome daughter proved to be a married lady; then woe be unto the young man. He says now he paid well for all the love he received. But such is life. Rose Bud

The column on December 3, 1885, declared that Byers was expanding:

Byers is booming! .. The mail carrier concluded very suddenly that he had orders to stop at Byers. Mr. Harrison has his residence about completed which means a social hop, so we are informed. Mr. Pattie Martin has been so unfortunate as to have three of his best horses die -- cause unknown.

Even Southwest Kansas sported touches of the Wild Wooly West as shown in the column written for January 21, 1886:

Will Byers had a case of tomatoes and one of baking powder stolen from his wagon at Mulberry, as he came home from Dodge with a load of freight for Mr. Byers, A common occurrence for freighters to be robbed of part of their load on the road between here and Dodge. Isn't it time for a vigilance committee to put in an appearance?

Another such incident was recorded on July 15, 1886:

Byers City always occupies the highest places. She has the handsomest girls, the ugliest old bachelors, the smartest old women, the laziest men, the most dogs of any other portion of the earth, now she brings forward the meanest man in America He has been arrested twice in seven days for beating his wife and the end is not yet, there is strong talk of giving him a new suit, composed of tar and feathers and a free ride on a cottonwood pole.

In the summer of 1886, the town of Byers was promoted as shown in the June 10, 1886 column to the Graphic:

Yesterday we went to a town meeting at Nirwana, there was a large number of persons present. Some very important business was transacted. As it now stands, a person who desires to become a charter member of the town company must have his house erected or his lot or lots on the first of July. And he must pay all assets which have been wielded.

Although the efforts were made the town didn't survive. After the town of Nirwana was laid out, Mr. Byers moved his store, shop and town over to the "City" and the town of Byers was no more according to Sullivan.

Byers was located about one half mile north of Miles on the north side of the Cimarron river in the SW/4 of Sec 3-T35-R29.  

The following was found in a story about the Jones & Plummer Trail:

(Describing the trail) The land changed out of Odee. The dust picked up by the wagon wheels would be sandy red from the drifted sand hills, which were covered with buck sage and yucca. In places the mounts continued shifting, barren of vegetation. It was fifteen miles of wild hills, dry as a buffalo bone, before the next water was reached at the Cimarron. At least two town builders and possibly a third tried to capitalize on the Cimarron crossing of the Jones and Plummer Trail.

J. M. Byers built a store and a blacksmith shop five miles north of the state line. Rose Bud, the local correspondent to the Fowler City Graphic, claimed a community of three hundred, which brought the following report from a neighboring-community reporter who visited the town and found two stores and three sod houses: "Gewhillikens! what awful families they do raise in that neck 'o woods; twenty-five to each family, and all formed in four months. Golly! what soil, and on sod too; and yet some tenderfoot will tell the innocents that nothing can be raised in southwestern Kansas."

Byers did secure a post office that served the area off and on for twenty years, moving three times during its existence.



Copyright 2018 Prairie Books, all rights reserved