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This text was taken from a small booklet printed by the Herald-Democrat in Beaver. It is written by a reporter for the New York Sun in the late 1880's, a fact that is best kept in mind as it is read.


Forward: The following story was written by a reporter sent by the New York Sun in 1888 and 1889. It was resented by many of the early settlers as being far-fetched and full of prejudicial material. However it is nevertheless interesting and characteristic of the day and time of its appearance. We do not know as to the matter of its reliability, as to all of the incidents contained therein, but he chapters dealing with the purely historical end of the narrative are, so far as we can ascertain, been verified by old-timers of this area.



The Origin of No Manís Land

Time was when No Manís Land was a part of Mexico. Afterward it was a part of the Republic of Texas, but it was never any part of Texas. Let the reader take a good map of the United States, and then while looking at it, call to mind the fact that when, in 1803, the United States purchased what was at the time known as the Louisiana Territory, the boundary line of this Territory followed the Red River west from the 95th to the 100th Meridian and thence it followed the 100th meridian north to the Arkansas River. South and west to the line, as here traced, the land belonged to Mexico, and it remained Mexican Territory until after the War between the United States and that country.

But before coming down as far in United States history as the Mexican war, the reader should recall the fact the Indian Territory was organized between the years 1835 and 1837, and that the western boundary of the Territory was the 100th meridian, for the very good reason, if no other were to be had, that the meridian was then the western boundary of the United States, and so continued until the Mexican war. This fact is important, because it settles the claim of the Cherokee Indians to No Manís Land adversely to the Indians. When the Cherokees were moved from Georgia to the Indian Territory they were given a treaty, "a perpetual outlet west, and a free and unmolested use of all the country lying west of the western boundary of the above described limits, and as far west as sovereignty of the United States and their right of soil extended, the sovereignty of the United States, as already stated, extended only to the 100th meridian, and there is necessarily the western limit of the Indian Territory and the Cherokee outlet. "No subsequent acquisition of the Territory by the United States, says Land Commissioner Wm. A. J. Sparks could extend the rights of the Cherokee Nation beyond this limit," and Secretary Lamar approved. The 100th meridian is the eastern boundary of No Manís Land.

After the Mexican war as the reader will remember, Texas became a part of the United States. In fixing the boundary of the new state the negotiators for the State and for the United States ran against a snag. The snag was Mason and Dixonís line, or the parallel of latitude 36 degrees north of the equator. Texas, as a republic had claimed that land between the 100th and the 103rd meridians north as far as the Arkansas River, and the claim had perforce been allowed by Mexico. But by a compromise of the slave holders and the free soilers in the United States Congress, it had been agreed that no slave state should be created north of the Mason Dixonís line, and here was Texas, a slave state, coming in with slave territory extending north of the Arkansas River. To get rid of the obstacle the Texas Statesmen ceded to the United States so much of her territory as lay north of the dividing line between the slave and free soil. We thus have the parallel of latitude 36-30 north of the equator fixed as the northern boundary of Texas and the southern boundary of what is now No Manís Land. No Manís Land was then an unimportant part of a very wide area or unorganized territory.

Along in 1854 came the Kansas and Nebraska bill, by which Kansas was to be organized. The bill provided that the southern boundary of Kansas should be the parallel of 36-30 north until the Hon. Stephen H. Douglas called the attention of the House of Representatives to the fact that this would deprive the Cherokees a large part of their lands in the Indian Territory as given them by treaty and the bill was therefore amended so that the thirty-seventh parallel was made the southern boundary of Kansas. The northern boundary of a part of No Manís Land was thus fixed.

Subsequently the organization of Colorado with its southern boundary in the 37th parallel completed the northern boundary of No Manís Land, while the organization of New Mexico, with the 103rd meridian as it eastern boundary, left the strip of land between the 100th and 103rd meridians of longitude and the parallels of the latitude as 36 30 and 37 wholly unorganized, and beyond the pale of any Territory or State. It was simply the property of Uncle Sam, a waste bit of pasture that he had overlooked, in laying out the rest of his farm in patches for cultivation.

That it should have been overlooked in the course of legislation is not very surprising, but that it should be a part of the United States and yet be beyond the reach of the United States courts and court officers is a matter needing explanation. The jurisdiction of each United States Court sitting in the States and Territories around No Manís Land is definitely fixed by the bill that created the judicial district in which the court sits. No court takes cognizance of any crime committed beyond it jurisdiction. Because No Manís land was not within the limits of any of the surrounding States and Territories, it was naturally enough overlooked in defining the limits of the judicial districts. Now, it is proposed by the United States Constitution of a speedy and public impartial trial by jury in the State of District wherein the crime was committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law.

Before what court, therefore shall the agent of the post office department, for instance, hale the road agent whom he has arrested for holding up the mail service? Will not the road agent escape on the technical plea that the court no matter which one it may be, has no jurisdiction?

Nevertheless, during the intervals of over two years in which Beaver City has had at least a tri-weekly mail, no road agent has ever tried to hold up the mail carrier. But this immunity from danger which registered letters have enjoyed is simply a flattering tribute to the excellence of American firearms and to the marksmanship of American frontiersmen. As a complement to American legislators it comes in vernacular of the country, left handed.




From the time that the Atchinson, Topeka and Sante Fe railroad was built through western Kansas until the completing of the Forth Worth & Denver City Road across the Panhandle of Texas, there was no trail in the west over which more freight passed that than leading from Dodge City in Ford County Kansas, south and a little west through Meade County, across No Manís Land and down into the Panhandle of Texas to Tascosa, Monita, and other points. It was knows as the Jones and Plummer Trail because of a ranch which a firm of that name had about 160 miles south of Dodge City.

All sorts of goods and merchandise and government stores were carried over this trail in trains of covered wagons -- the prairie Schooners of which everyone has heard. The wagons were hitched together in trains of three or four, and then from ten to twenty mules were hitched to the front end of the train, while drivers with long whips and much profanity kept the mules in motion.

The half way stopping place on this trail was on the Beaver River, in No manís Land. It was a hundred miles from Dodge City and from Tascosa. The valley of the Beaver was a very attractive location. The water of the Beaver is pure and sweet. The grass on the bottom land was long and nutritious. There were hundreds of trees along the stream. Buffalo, deer, antelope, and smaller game were to be had in any quantity. On this account the country had always been a favorite hunting ground of the Indians. The drivers of the mules invariably rested their teams here two days and not infrequently a week.

Early in March, 1880, came James Lane to Beaver. He had often crossed it on the trail, but this time he brought his wife and family. He came come to establish a ranch for the accommodation of the freighters and his own profit. The house that he built is still standing in excellent condition. It is a monument to the skill of the frontiers-man in adapting himself to his surroundings. It was built of prairie sod 14x30 feet large, with an L 18x14 at one end. Itís rafters are made of poles cut from the woods that then stood along the streams; brush served in place of the ordinary sheeting over the rafters, and layers of prairies sod took the place of shingles on the brush sheeting. The walls within were plastered with a mixture of sand and gypsum dug from the hills along the stream. The prairie sod served admirable for a time as the floor, though a wooden one has since been added. Except for a few panes of glass and door and window frame and two doors, Jim, as he was familiarly called depended not at all on the products of civilized communities for his shelter. He might have lived independent of civilized products in the matter of heating his house by building fire places and chimneys of sod, but he preferred smoke. It is not a little singular that in spite of the weight of the stove and a difficulty of transporting it long distances across the frontier, the people of this country are all like Jim in the matter of heating and cooking appliances. They all use stoves. The Sun reporter, during an extended visit among them, did not see a fire place.

Besides his home Jim built a corral which was nothing more than a patch of ground about 75 feet square, with a sod wall four or five feet high around it, and a low shed with a sod roof on one side, beneath which horses, mules and cattle could find shelter in a blizzard. This shed was one of the comforts which he had come here to provide for the freighters. Among the other comforts were whiskey, tobacco and cartridges.

For years Lane had almost a monopoly of the trade in freighters comforts at this point, the monopoly being broken only by an occasional traveling dealer in similar supplies for cowboys. In those days cattle were just beginning to crowd the buffalo off the flats, as the table lands between the streams were called. Cowboys as well as freighters came to the ranch, and not a few people enroute over the trail for Texas stopped there to rest.

Although many of these people noticed the fertility of the soil and the favorable lay of the land for farming purposes, very few thought of settling there, because every one supposed that the "Strip", as it was sometimes called, was a part of the Indian Territory, and therefore not subject to entry as homesteads. It remained for some of the restless boomers living in what was then the "Boomingist of Boom Towns." Wichita, Kansas, to discover that the Strip was really No Manís Land, to name it accordingly, and to let the world know the facts. Just how they learned this is not known here, but as long as 1882, Mr. W. A. Starr, then of Oswego, Kansas, got an official statement from the department of the interior confirming this view at which he arrived after a study of the history of the case.

The immense profits made in real estate speculations while the "boom" was on at Wichita stimulated many of her citizens to start booms elsewhere. Out of this stimulation grew the Beaver City Town company, of which N. McClease, was president; C. R. Miller, Treasurer; Wm. Waddle, Local Agent and Ernest A. Reiman, civil engineer. The company was formed to lay out and boom a city of the Beaver River, No Manís Land. On March the 6th, 1886, Agent Wm. Waddle, and Civil Engineer E. A. Reiman, with four assistants, arrived at Jim Laneís ranch and announced that they had come to survey a town site, because it had been definitely determined that the Strip was public land and there was nothing to prevent its settlement. A comprise was necessarily affected with Lane, because as the first settler there he could hold 160 acres of the land they wanted. Lane agreed orally to waive his right in consideration of having two blocks in the coming city reserved for him, and in the map of the city as a part of a history of what must eventually become a part of a rich and populous State of the Southwest, the following certificate of Engineer Reiman, made when his work of surveying was done, is of interest.

I, Ernest A. Reiman, civil engineer hereby certify that I have surveyed and platted the town of Beaver City, Neutral Strip. I. T., and that the same is surveyed on the following described lands:

S 1/2 of the SE 1/4 T. 4, N. of R. 23 E. 80 acres; also the NE 1/4 of sec. 13 and the N 1/2 of the SE 1/4 of sec. 13T, 4, N of R 23 E., 240 acres; also lot 7 and the SE 1/4 of the SW 1/4 of sec 7, T4, N of R 24 E., 70 acres; also lots 12 and 13 of the NW 1/4 and the NE 1/4 of the NW 1/4 and the NE 1/4 of the SW 1/4 sec. 12, T 4 N of R 24 E 224 1/2 acres. Total (more or less) 620 1/4 acres.

Having completed their survey, the Beaver City Town Company went to Washington to get the town site lawfully entered, and at the same time began to let the world know all about the advantages of the new city and of the surrounding country. In the way of advertising they made the success which all such enterprising men make, but in getting titles to the town site they were less fortunate. To advertise the place they filled the Wichita paper with glowing descriptive articles about the town, and scattered handsomely printed circulars broadcast throughout the mails.

Agent Waddle built in Beaver a sod house of two rooms, one as a grocery, and the other as a home for himself and family, and here he remained waiting for the population to come and fill the city he had to sell.

The population came right along. It began to arrive and select lots before M. Waddle got his plat from the civil engineer, but when it came to selling the lots to the new arrivals, one essential transfer of title. He, Mr. Waddle found himself lacking in he hadnít any title.

The Beaver City Town Company had been unable to get a patent for the land for two reasons. The strip had not been fully surveyed, and there was no government land office of United States court that had any control over that territory. The town companyís money had been spent in surveys and improvements, almost for nothing. They could hold as "squatters" only such lots as they built on, and if they continued to hold these lots (two in number) until the survey of this Strip was completed, and a land office and a United States court were established for the territory, then they could get title, and thus perhaps, get enough property to pay for the survey of the town site perhaps, get enough property to pay for the survey of the town site.

The matter of incomplete survey is worth a word of explanation, because on account of a swindle on the people here was subsequently attempted by some professedly pious Kansas statesman, the story of which will be told further on. The land in No Manís Land has been surveyed into townships and sections. The law provides that lands cannot be entered and patents issued for homesteads until it has been further divided into quarter sections; but owners of land scrip can spread their script over it and take title with the present survey just as soon as the land office and a United States court are provided.

The news of the misfortunes of the Town Company was received by the incoming settlers and speculators without a sigh. It enabled them to locate on lots and improve them, and thus obtain the first right to a title whenever the "Strip" came in as they designated the extending of the laws of the country over the territory.

Four new sod houses were completed by the end of four weeks from the date of the completing of the platting of the town, and within four weeks more there were twenty under way or wholly completed. One of the first men to come in was D. R. Healy. He built the first livery stable in the "Strip," and a livery stable is erected about as soon as any building when a town is to be boomed in the West.

The stable was what is termed a dug-out. It was built with a log front, but had an almost perpendicular bank of earth for the sides and back. It was roofed, as is commonly done there with sod.

The next building erected in Beaver was a saloon with sod walls and a wooden roof, and kept by Jim Donnely. This was followed by a number of sod house dwellings, and then, in May, Addison Mundell, who subsequently became the cityís first marshal, built the first wood houses for business purposes, while L. E. Harlan, who now serves as sheriff in the provisional county government that has been established, built the first wooden dwelling. Mundellís building was about 10x14 feet large. It was occupied by Frank Palmer and Rube Chilcott, who had a large stock of dry goods and cowboy furnishings which they had brought there in a prairie schooner as traveling salesmen to meet the cowboys who were in charge of a bunch of cattle not far away. Another building erected about this time, which should be mentioned, was about 24x50 feet large, with an extension 12x24 feet roof, and was owned by O. P. Bennett and Charley and Capt. Tracy. It was the first dance house in the Strip, and Bennett was the second (possibly first) man executed by the first irregular government that was established by the citizens of Beaver City. The story of the killing forms an interesting chapter in the history of No Manís Land which will be told further on. (The Tracyís mentioned in this story were no relation of any person of that name now living in Beaver County -Ed.)




Although during the first summer of its existence Beaver City had no more houses than would in the east, constitute a cross road village, there was enough of what the cowboys called life about it to satisfy the cravings of an Eastern metropolis. The trains of freighters had passed up and down the old trail which formed Douglas Avenue, the main street of the city, in undiminished numbers, while the drivers tarried to rest their teams, but not themselves, longer than before. The news that a new city had been formed brought the cow boys from every ranch and range within 100 miles and thus, while the population numbered not more than twenty-five or thirty souls, there was not infrequently a floating population of 100 or upward, chiefly men. Floating is scarcely the word to describe the population temporarily there, but the English language contains no word fit for the occasion. If they floated it was on a sea of alcohol. If they sailed or flew the breeze that wafted them on was heavy with the fumes of tobacco and the smoke of gun powder. If they drifted they were stranded at the shortest of intervals on bars not built of sand.

The cowboy as he reached the brow of a low hill to the south of the town or crossed the Beaver to the north, spurred his horse into his wildest gallop, drew his six shooter and with screams and yells fired his weapon. Scarce checking the speed of his horse the cowboy rode thru the open door followed by the group of loiterers about the door and not infrequently by larger groups from about other doors and thereupon the new arrival ordered and generally paid for enough liquor to irrigate the crowd. Irrigation in this kind of climate makes a wonderful growth of vegetation on the farm and the hilarity in the saloon. Having no more pleasing method of working off their hilarity, the cowboy generally went out on the street and drove everybody inside to shelter by shooting their revolvers in all directions about the street. Hundreds of bullets were sent flying about the streets every day and night, and the front of all the buildings that were standing in these days are cut and bored through in many places by the deadly missels It is a matter of which, the Beaver City man always boasts, however, that nobody was accidentally shot in the town.

It was not until August than any one was purposely shot. The victimís name was Richard Roberts, though he was called Dick Davis. Roberts drove up from Tascosa, Texas, bringing two young women for the dance house. He was one of the wild west show cowboys, with long hair and no end of fancy trimmings to his clothes and swagger to his gait. He was around town for two or three weeks, and began to think he owned it. However, while standing on the west side of the street opposite the dance house telling how great he was, some of his audience, disgusted with his bragging, said "Shoot the Jaw."

There upon a man literally shot his jaw, there was a flash of a revolver held by Soap Read, also of Tascosa, and a 44 calibre bullet crushed through both sides of Roberts lower jaw. The bone was splintered into nearly a hundred pieces, and every tooth but one on each side was knocked out of his mouth and fell on the ground.

Roberts clasped his hands to his face mumbling, "God, Iím shot", and fell fainting. The by standers caught him and carried him into Jim Donnellyís saloon, where Dr. J. A. Overstreet, the first physician who located in No Manís Land, picked over seventy small splinters of bone out of the wound and bandaged him up as well as possible. Roberts was kept at the expense of citizens for three months and then he was able to leave town. His only reward for those who cared for him was a return to the town where he jumped a claim of Widow Poggenberg. When notified to "let out that job" he stole a couple of horses and escaped the committee that followed. He is now with a gang of horse thieves and said to have their headquarters in Squaw Canyon, near Rabbit Ear Mountain in the west end of No Manís Land.




Such incidents as the jumping of the widow Poggonbergís claim by Dick Roberts occurred on several occasions that summer, the number increasing as the time went on until those people who desired to live in Beaver City and do business there it became necessary to afford some sort of protection to the weak Ďphysicallyí against the strong, for with the growth of population not a few had come without firearms.

At first there were conferences between twoís and threeís of the business men. These were followed by conferences of a half dozen or more in various private houses, the men in all cases being personal friends who could trust each other. Finally they called a public meeting for the evening of October 26, 1886, and at this meeting a set of rules were adopted by oral vote for the governing of Squatters and the settling of disputes over claims. These rules make interesting reading because they were written to cover a neat swindle which one of the early residents worked, according to report subsequently made in Congress on some innocents in Ohio. The rules were as follows:

Article 1. We, the undersigned, do agree to support and assist in carrying out the following regulations and requirements in regards to holding claims in the Neutral Strip of the Indian Territory.

Article 2. That any person of legal age shall be allowed to hold one claim and one claim only, of 160 acres of land until April 1st, 1887, provided that he shall by this time have broken at least five (5) acres or put other improvements thereon equivalent thereto.

Article 3. Any person may be allowed to take and hold claim for each member of his immediate family, to consist of father and mother, brother and sisters, sons and daughters who are of the required age, provided, he will make improvements on each claim as provided for in Article two.

Article 4. That each signer of these rules and Regulations and all others taking land when required shall furnish in writing to _____________________or committee of proper description of his claim, also a proper description of each claim which he may be holding for each member of his family.

Article 5. That all persons who have heretofore or hereafter come in person to take, select, or purchase claims and go away with a bona-fide intention of returning, shall be entitled to all the benefits of these rules and regulations, and all non-residents who have claims surveyed and other bona-fide improvements made shall have four months from this date to come upon their claims, as required by these rules and regulations, otherwise, their claims shall be forfeited.

Article 6. That in case any person shall jump or trespass, or in any way damage a claim or claims of any of the signers of these rules and regulations, or of anybody entitled to the benefits of these rules and regulations said person or persons shall be politely solicited to get off said claim, stop trespassing, and make good any damage done thereon; and if, after twenty-four hours, no attention shall be paid to said notice, measures sufficiently severe shall be resorted to compel such person or persons to comply with said notification.

"Measures sufficiently severe meant shooting to death, as was afterwards demonstrated in practice." It was the third article that proved unsatisfactory to the squatters, however, and furnished the opportunity to swindle outsiders. One George Scrange had marked out a large number of claims for one hundred and sixty acres each by plowing a furrow around it. They were all well located, and will be very valuable when title can be obtained. He had taken them on the plea that they were for various relatives. Then he had gone east and had inserted the following advertisements in the Portsmouth, Ohio, Blade and other papers:

CHEAP HOMES: McAllister & Scrange locators of land in Neutral Strip, Indian Territory, can give you the best situation and figures on land. See Capt. A. J. McAllister, on board steamer Louise. Finest climate, best farm, purest water in the country. Titles clear and terms Easy. McALLISTER & SCRANGE, Portsmouth, Ohio.

In the language of Congressman Payson, when No Manís Land was before Congress for legislation (see Record July 25, 1888, Page 7,546) "every man who published of that kind, or is in any way connected with them, is a thief and a robber. It is an attempt on their part of secure from the honest people of the country under false pretenses their money."

The people of Beaver City say that Scrange is not at all abashed by his exposure. Certainly he has not lost prestege here, for the village paper makes not of his coming and going as respectfully as it does those of other people, while Addison Mundell, the first city marshal, and at present the locator of claims, "told the reporter than Scrange is interested in a number of town sites that had been surveyed in the strip, and added that if the reporter wanted to get in on the ground floor, he would write to Mr. Geo. Scrange, care of J. V. Ellison, Cincinnati, Ohio. Ellison according to Mundell, being a capitalist who is furnishing Scrange (perhaps unwittingly) with money for his operations.

It was not so much on account of a swindle on far away people that the squatters here objected to the rules written by Mr. Scrange, however. They did not like the idea of helping to protect him in gobbling up large breadths of land to which they as actually settlers had a better right. Accordingly half a dozen meetings were held to consider the position of the public and Strip, and as a result a call for a meeting was issued, "to proceed at once and prepare a code of bylaws for our future adoption also to prepare a form of quit-claim deeds for our common use in the transfer of claims from one part to another." This call was signed by thirty-four men and one woman. The meeting was called for and held on November 9th, 1996, and was presided over by Dr. O. G. Chase. It was at this time that first steps were taken which resulted in one of the most unique governments every organized by civilized men.

It is interesting to note that this meeting was "called by the aforesaid subscribers, at 7 oíclock in the school house" according to the minutes now in possession of Dr. Chase. Although there had as yet been no form of government established, the citizens had got together early in September and built a sod walled house in which their children could attend school, the teacher being paid by volunteer subscription.

At this meeting two resolutions historically important, were adopted, they read as follows:

Section 3. To enable us to consolidate our strength, and to know the wants of the whole territory, it is also suggested and hereby agreed upon that the entire population of Cimarron Territory turn out on February 22, 1887, and hold election in their respective neighborhoods as near in conformity to law as possible, electing in each representing district three representatives who shall meet in Beaver City on the 4th day of March, 1887, as a territorial council.

To carry out the objects set forth in preceding section as president, vice president, secretary and treasurer is hereby elected and authorized to act as a local council, constituting a Board to be known as the respective Claim Board.

The phrase in section 3 which reads "It is also suggested and hereby agreed upon" is characteristic of the suggesting and in the same breath come down with a thumping agreement to carry out the suggestion. It will be observed, too, that they have decided on a name for their Territory. It was called Cimarron, from the River of that name that flows across the northeast corner of the Strip, the Territory was divided into districts. To make a government at all good, it was necessary to have the whole territory represented, for settlement had been formed and claims located throughout the whole 167 miles of its length, Beaver being only a much envied metropolis.

At this meeting also the first attempt to levy a tax was made. Few ever paid the taxes provided for but the resolution which referred to the subject is interesting because it defined some of the powers of the respective Claim Board, the first government of the Strip.

Section 5. The Respective Claim Board is authorized to proceed at once to have printed for squatter claimants use blank quit claim deeds and for each parcel of land or town lot the president and secretary shall execute a deed to the original re-claimant when called upon to do so; but if any contest appears to exist; or doubt to the priority of right existing in the claimant, then the matter shall rest and no deed issue until all parties interested shall have a change for hearing, and evidence filed in writing, if demanded, and the decision rendered by the board of three disinterested citizen arbitrators, selected in the usual way by parties interested. Either party feeling themselves aggrieved may appeal to the new Board of five arbitrators, selected as above but must state such appeal within five days, and pay to the secretary of the company the sum of five dollars.

The election came on in due course of time and there was a spirited contest in Beaver City, but it is doubtful whether settlers in the west end of the Strip ever heard there was to be an election. If they did they paid no attention to it. Nevertheless, three delegates to represent three districts were declared elected, although they all lived within a few miles of Beaver City. The election returns were made to Dr. J. A. Overstreet, the secretary of the respective Claim Board and in his report the nine delegates who had been elected gathered in the school house on March 4th as the first legislative body in No Manís land. Their names are attached to the following oath to which they subscribed.

We, the undersigned members of the Territorial Council of Cimarron Territory and officers of the same do hereby solemnly swear that we will support the Constitution of the United States, and faithfully execute and enforce the laws of said United States and also laws adopted by Territorial Council for the government of said Cimarron Territory, to the best of our ability. O. G. Chase, President; Merritt Magann, Clerk; Rm M. Overstreet; J. G. Snode; James Lane; Robert A. Allen; Elmer Tompkins; Thomas Waters; W. J. Kline.

R. M. Overstreet was a Presbyterian preacher, and Robt. A. Allen a Methodist preacher. The first business attended to after organizing was passing a resolution at the request of Re. Overstreet, he said that there was a grave defect in the Constitution of the United States, and he hoped that in the documentary organization of the new territory the mistake of the fathers of the American republic would not be repeated. He therefore moved the adoption of the following measure which, as printed is the verbatim copy of the record;

Whereas, the residents of Cimarron Territory are without the protection of law of any state or recognized territorial government, and recognizing the urgent need thereof, and desiring to adopt and establish rule and law for our protection, safety and government, do hereby recognize Allí Mighty God, to be the supreme ruler of the universe, the creator and preserver, and governor of individuals, communities, State Nations, and recognize the laws of the United States as our organic law and adopt the same with the constitution of the United States as the foundation and basis of all laws and rules for our government and so far as may be to execute and enforce the same.

Therefore be it resolved by the representatives of Cimarron Territorial Council Assembled, that we do hereby declare ourselves the Territorial Council of said Cimarron Territory, and do hereby adopt the constitution of the United States and the laws thereof, as the ground work and foundation for all our laws or rules to be adopted for our government.

Another resolution which looked toward the dividing of the Territory into seven representative districts, or counties of four rows of townships each, taken vertically across the territory was passed; also one providing for a general election, to be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, "for the purpose of electing nine senators and fourteen delegates, who shall meet in Beaver on the first Monday in December, A.M., as Territorial Council."

This was the end of their work on the constitution of Cimarron territory. They then turned to making laws under that constitution and here is the first one passed. It was introduced by delegate Elmer Tompkins and was unanimously adopted:

"Be it resolved by the Territorial council of the Cimarron territory "That regularly ordained ministers of the gospel are hereby authorized and empowered to solemnize the rights of matrimony for parties having first procured from the secretary of any auxiliary Council or from the secretary of the Territorial Council a certificate authorizing such ceremony between the parties therein named which certificate with the return of the officiating minister endorsed thereon be returned to the secretary having issued the same within 30 days from the performance of such ceremony.

A fee of $1.00 shall be charged by the secretary issuing such certificate, and he shall keep a true record of all certificates issued and returned to him of marriages solemnized, and local secretary shall make semi-annual returns thereof to the Territorial secretary. Such certificates shall only be issued by the secretary to parties that he is satisfied are of legal age and able to make a civil contract."

The term auxiliary council refers to the governing body which it was hoped would be organized in each county district.




There is no way of learning who was the first man killed in No Manís Land, for no doubt a great many died here by violence at the hands of the Indians before Beaver City was through of. Very likely a number were killed in the Strip by white men, but the first two who were killed as a punishment for crime, and as a warning to evil doers that the people of Beaver city might dwell in peace were O. P. Bennett and Frank Thompson. They were, as the people here say, executed. To one who hears the story from the executioner it seems as though they were murdered and in a brutal and cowardly fashion, whatever their previous crimes may have been, and that some other motive other than the desire to preserve the peace of the community animated the people who were dead.

As has already been told Bennett was on of the proprietors of the first dance house in No Manís Land. The business died out before Christmas, in 1886 Bennett and Charley Tracy put in a stock of dry goods, groceries, etc., in the building which has been used as a dance house. The change of business did not increase the popularity of the proprietors with the young men, who had recently remembered the old business with sorrow, nor did it improve the morals of the proprietors. The first grievance against Bennett grew out of his old business.

The first against Thompson was the stealing of a rifle. Thompson broke into a room occupied by Addison Mundell and took a Winchester. Mundell had Thompsonís house search for it without success, and Thompson swore he would shoot Mundell for making the search. He met Mundell in front of the post office one day and got the drop on him, But Rube Chilcott, a stalwart frontiersman, grabbed Thompsonís six shooter before it was discharged. Rube was anxious only for the lives of innocent bystanders of whom there were a number including two or three ladies.

The next of which Bennett was guilty was an attempt to steal a pair of mules. The mules were brought down the trail from Kansas with the harness on, and stopped at the livery stable for feed. Tracy saw them and concluded they were stolen and determined to "round them up." They let the man ride away with the mules and an hour later got on their horses and with six shooters loaded started after the outfit. They followed the trail to the farm of Thomas Pemberton. The mules were in the corral there. "Is the owner of them mules here?" asked Bennett.

"Yes," said Pemberton, as he was standing in the door of his house. "Well, we want him" "What for," "The mules are supposed to be stolen and we want the man and the mules."

Pemberton disappeared in the house. When he came out again he a Winchester rifle at his shoulder. "You can have the man or anything else you want," said Pemberton.

They didnít want the many or anything else except to bet back to town as soon as possible. The man was a friend of Pemberton and had come down after a wagon he had borrowed.

Some weeks later Bennett and Tracy drove Mr. Hinton off a couple of lots on which he was building a house because Hinton would not be blackmailed.

Bennettís last act of this kind was after Thompson stole Mundellís rifle. He went upon a claim adjoining town of the south side which George Scranage had plowed around. Bennett furnished Thomason with such lumber as necessary to the building of a small dug-out, and in this age had no right to any claim save the one he was living on elsewhere. Thompson had a perfect right to improve and live on this one, but Scranage wanted it for a brother-in-law named W. J. Kline. As a matter of fact, Thompson wanted merely to make Kline pay blackmail for he did not move on the claim until he heard Kline was coming.

Kline and Scranage took the matter before the respective Claim Board, nominally, but really before the business men of the place. The meeting was public, was well attended, and everyone was free to make speeches, a privilege of which many availed themselves. Thompson pleaded his right to take up any unoccupied claim. Scranage argued that Kline was a settler in goof faith, and Thompson a boomer. Thompson said (Truthfully too) that Kline had come merely to get hold of a claim and would never work the land. Bennett and the two Tracys were there to side in with Thompson, but the citizens were almost unanimously against the four and for Kline and Scranage. The previous misdeeds of Thompson and his friends were retold with marked effect.

At the fifth meeting which was held on the night of March the 1st, 1887, it was determined to oust Thompson form the claim the next day and the determinations were carried into effect by those who had rendered the decision against Thompson. About 11 oíclock on the morning of the second Scranage and Kline and a chum of theirs names L. N. McIntosh, who had helped Scranage in taking up claims to which he was not entitled, got a gang together, which include Addison Mundell and a tough of the toughest character named W. P. or Billie Olive. Bill as a matter of fact, himself executed some months later.

Armed with rifles, shot guns and six shooters, the gang started up the trail to go to the dug-out and drive Thompson out. Mundell was the last man to start up the trail and was some two hundred yards behind the rest.

He says when going along the trail he heard his name called, and on looking around he saw Thompson over at the house west of the trail, where he got his meals. Thompson had come down for an early dinner, had put his pony in the stable and was on his way to the house. Mundell said that Thompson said:

"You --------- -------- ---, are you going to that claim? Iíll stop you now," and raised the Winchester.

No one else heart Thompson say that or anything else; and it is not likely that a man of Thompsonís experience would have been so slow with his rifle as he must have been to enable Mundell to get in the first shot. Mundell said he whirled around as he heard the words brought his rifle to his shoulder and fired, shot Thompson through the right knee, all while Thompson was trying to take aim.

"I throwed my gun down and pulled as a man would shot a bow and arrow," said Mundell in telling about it.

Two eye witnesses told the Sun reporter that when Mundell saw Thompson come from the stable door he ran behind a low sod wall at the side of the trail, and thence shot Thompson, who was walking unsuspiciously homeward.

When Thompson was shot he fill to the ground but managed to crawl into his house. The woman who was living with him called Dr. O. G. Chase. The doctor found the knee completely ruined and amputation necessary. He therefore temporarily bandaged the wound, intending to get Dr. J. A. Overstreet to assist in cutting off the limb during the afternoon. He left the wounded man lying on the bed placed on the floor, and went home to dinner.

Meantime, the report of Mundellís rifle had brought Kline, McIntosh and Billie Olive, and the rest back down the trail. They had started out to run one man out of the country; they came back determined to kill three men. The wounding of Thompson, instead of exciting their pity, whetted their thirst for blood. They went down to the store of Bennett and Tracy, but found only O. P. Bennett there. They wanted Charley Tracy very badly, but were too eager to kill somebody to stop and hunt him up. Bennett saw that danger was ahead but he was taken by surprise and could make no defense. He did not even have his six shooter with him.

"Yer partner, Thompson, wants to see you," said Mundell to Bennett. "Heís been hurt, I want you to take care of him"

They escorted Bennett out to the house where Thompson lay on the floor groaning with pain. The door was open and Bennett walked in ahead of the rest. He was smoking a big meershaum pipe, and had just put his right hand to it to take it from his mouth that he might speak to Thompson, where he heart the clicking of the hammers of the guns in the hands of his executioners. Whirling partly around he threw up his left hand as if to ward off the bullet. Thompson stopped groaning and began to beg for mercy. Then the posse fired. One bullet pierced the hand that Bennett had raised and passed through his head. He fell headlong with his pipe in one hand and the other still raised. Thompson was shot full of bullets as he laid there on his bed. The two were killed very much like wolves in a den.

There is but one man of the posse who will talk about the killing. Mundell justified his killing of Thompson even when helpless, on the plea that Thompson had already tried to shoot him at the post office. As for the others, Billie Olive is dead and the rest say nothing.

The posse then went back to the store for Charley Tracy, but Charley had jumped on a pony and fled for his life. Pat Tracy was then told he might close out the business. This he did inside of two weeks. No one here knows where he is now.

An inquest followed: Here is the verdict of the jurymen:

"We the jury appointed to view the remains of O. P. Bennett and Frank Thompson, find that they came to their death from gunshot wounds received at the hands of many law abiding citizens, thereby inflicting as near as possible the extreme penalty of law as it should be in such cases. The deceased were bad citizens - one having run a house of prostitution and the other living in open adultery in our town. Each was accused of stealing and receiving stolen property, some of which was found on their premises after they were killed. They had each been firing into houses, holding a dozen or more claims and driving honest settlers away from the country and their untimely end is but the results of their own many wrong doings. (Signed) J. A. Overstreet, M.D., Laf Wells, James Deveris, Joseph Hunter. H. D. Wright, G. E. Myers, Jury. O. G. Chase, Secretary.

While the charges against the deceased were all doubtless true, it is also true that Beaver City at this minute knew several of its most prominent citizens were doomed, were the death penalty inflicted on all who have guilty of the same crimes.

After the inquest came the funeral. It was the first funeral service in No Manís Land. The R. R. M. Overstreet officiated. His text was taken from the 8th and 23rd verses of the 94th Psalm, as follows: Understand, ye brutish among the people; and ye fools when will ye be wise? And He shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall put them off in their own wickedness: yea, the Lord or God Shall cut them off.

The sermon was very comforting to the posse that had "cut them off." Dr. O. G Chase says that after the ceremony the preacher came to him and said: :We will mould public opinion, and let the young men to the work."

The people here say that there were goods worth five thousand dollars in the store, and that Bennett was a third owner, that Pat Tracy made charges in the book that deprived Bennettís heirs of the amount due. Bennett, however, had other property, such as horses and buildings, which brought at auction $800 cash. The Rev. R. M. Overstreet, W. J. Kline and W. M. Dow took charge of the estate as administrators. They have never made any public report of what they did with the money. It is said that one of the items of the bill for funeral expenses was $210,00 for hauling the corpse to the grave a mile and a half from town. Mr. Dow says that the estate just paid the expenses of settling it.

Bennettís father is a man of wealth in California. He came as far on his way to No Manís Land after the death of his son as Meade Center, in Kansas. He was afraid to come further. Mr. Dow went up there and made a report on the settling of the estate. There nothing left of the eight hundred dollars.




Possibly the killing of Thompson and Bennett raised the standing of the "Territorial Council of Cimarron Territory" in the estimation of the people; it certainly raised the councillers in their own estimation, for at the next meeting of the council which was held on April 15th, 1998, an astonishing number of bills were introduced and passed. This meeting is noteworthy from the fact that a Chaplain, a Rev. R. A. Allen, officiated for the firs time. President of the Council O. G. Chase, read a long message, "On the State of the Territory" thereby taking upon himself somewhat of the character of Chief Executive. The message is preserved in full in the Journal.

A seal for stamping all bills was brought in use at this meeting also. It was bought by the president.

The first two bills were introduced by the Rev. Overstreet. They related to the public highways. A road overseer to be elected annually in each township was provided for, and each claim of 160 acres and each male citizen between the ages of 21 and 45 years who owned no claim was to be taxed three dollars a year for the benefit of the highways. It was provided that "Improved but unoccupied claims may be sold for the tax where the claimant is not known, but a protest notice of such sales shall be given of the time and place of such sale, thereby giving full notice to the public of the sale."

No one ever paid the tax and no road overseer was ever elected, but during the past year the men of Beaver City turned out voluntarily on several occasions and worked the trail through the sand hills north of the river, as well as the main street of the village, and put the roads in excellent condition.

Council Bill No. 4 provided an enacting clause for all subsequent bills thus: Be it enacted by the Territorial Council of Cimarron Territory in Council Assembled.

To show just how this council tried to do the work of a lawful legislature the following bill is given verbatim except the enacting clause:

COUNCIL BILL NO 6 -- An act concerning cattle mortgages.

That all personal property except growing crops is subject to mortgage. Such mortgage is void until delivery to mortgagee or until the mortgage or copy thereof shall have been filed with the clerk on the auxiliary council in the vicinity of where the property is to remain. The mortgage may stipulate the rights of the mortgagee, otherwise the property will be held by the mortgagor. The time and manner of advertising to foreclose shall also be stipulated in the mortgage, otherwise thirty days notice shall be given in writing to the mortgagor giving time and place of sale.

Another bill providing for the division of the territory into several counties of twenty-four townships each; also for the election in November of a new legislative body of nineteen senators and 14 delegates. The Senate district was formed by the meridian line, and the delegates were to represent the county. But it was provided that seven of the delegates and six senators should be elected at large, which meant from Beaver City, Beaver being the center of population. The people who lived beyond the limits of Beaverís influence would have objected to this but for the fact they didnít care a cent about the legislature or its enactments. Although an election was held that provided no one living over forty miles was elected and the vacancies were filled by those who met on the first Monday in December as this bill said they could do.

Meantime the original council of nine held several meetings. They had resolved to meet once a month, but could not get a quorum very often.

The meeting of August 2nd was interesting for two reasons. First in spite of their utter lack of power to do anything lawful, this council passed a bill of ten sections providing for the organization of corporations. Second, President Chase forgot all about a little political deal he had made with the Rev. Overstreet, and a split occurred. Here are the sample sections from the law governing corporations:

Section 4. Such articles of incorporation must state name of incorporation and its place of business. The general nature of said business to be transacted. The amount of its capital stock and the manner in which it is to be paid in. The duration of the corporation. By what persons the affairs of the corporation are to be conducted and the times they will be elected. The highest amount of indebtedness to which corporation is at any time to subject itself. Whether private property is to be except from corporate debts.

Section 5. The corporation may commence business as soon as articles are filed with the territorial secretary, and their doing shall be valid if the publication in newspaper is made.

Publication of what? Of course there was never any corporation that took advantage of this bill.

The political deal what this: The Rev. Mr. Overstreet had agreed to support chase for president of the council on condition that Chase should support him for delegate to Washington, for it had early been determined to send a delegate to work for legislation which should extend over this territory with protection of United States laws. At the August meeting of the council the Rev. Overstreet proposed that provisions for a delegate be made. President Chase forgetting that deal ruled the matter out of order on the grounds for putting men in nomination for election by ballot should be called. The Rev. Overstreet did not attend any more Council meetings.

A convention to choose nominees was called at Rothwell on September 14th. Fourteen delegates representing fourteen out of the 158 towns in the territory were present. The preacher was not mentioned as a candidate. After twenty ballots J. G. Snode of Paladora, had seven votes; J. E. Dale, five with two scattered. So both Snode and Dale went before the people. Then Dr. Chase came out as an independent and on the face of the returns beat the other two out of sight. As the returns were made to the Doctorís son-in-law, who had previously been elected secretary of the council and as the number of votes somewhat outnumbered the voters in some localities, the opposition were suspicious of the returns. Mr. Dale who led Mr. Snode in the returns, decided to go to Washington also. He said Dr. Chase had been counted in "by the ring that wants to run the whole country." Dr. Chase retorted by saying, that Mr. Dale was backed by the thieves and land grabbers who had all along worked against the efforts of honest citizens to establish law and order; and further, unfortunately, by the friends of an honest but disappointed candidate. The stranger who talks to both sides will conclude that both Chase and Dale told the truth.

Here is the copy of the ticket voted by the Chase faction:

Repudiating all other platforms, we ask for Territorial Government United States District Court, and United States Land Office within the borders of the Public Land Strip, as other territories have.

For Congress, O. G. CHASE - For Senatorial Congress Large

W. H. MILLER, Optima; S. S. ---

BAKER, Mineral City: JOSEPH HUNTER, Beaver City; J. R. LINLEY, Beaver City; J. B. MORSE, Clear Creek; J. G. SNODE, Paladora. - For Senator First District, THOS. P. BRAIDWOOD - For Delegates at Large, GEO. REEMER, JAMES LANE, R. R. ALLEN, A. G. BENDER, E. T. BIRMINGHAM, ELMER TOMPKINS, ALEX WRIGHT - For Delegate Seventh District, G. T. PEMBERTON - For Territorial Secretary. W. B. OGDEN - N. B. Immediately after counting the ballot must be returned, with the talley sheet and poll book to W. B. Ogden, territorial secretary at Beaver. Candidates must see that each neighborhood appoints its own election officers, and open the poles November 8, 1998.




Among the thirty-four men who signed the call for the mass meeting at Beaver City at which were made the first crude efforts to establish some sort of law and order in the territory was W. P. Olive. It will be remembered that Mr. Olive was one of the executioners of O. P. Bennett and Frank Thompson, and one of the charged against Thompson; was that he was living with a woman unlawfully. Mr. Olive had been all along one of Beaverís other citizens who were outraging good morals as Thompson had been doing, but Olive had appeared among those who wanted law and order, and thus had escaped the fate of Thompson. He had found safety, as others did in hypocrisy. He had come from Smoky River in Nebraska, where he had just killed a man just show that he was not afraid to kill one and has lived with slight labor in Beaver City since early in the summer of 1886.

His means in getting a living consisted chiefly in stealing cattle on the range and slaughtering them and selling the meat to citizens in Beaver City. This was his occupation during the days when the good citizens were considering the advisability of Killing Frank Thompson and O. P Bennett for stealing a rifle or jumping a claim. There is, or was, a constant warfare prevailing between the settlers and the Nomad cowboys. The cowboys not infrequently drove their herds into settlers fields and destroyed their crops. The theft of a few steers was looked upon as sort of providential retribution for the previous sins of the cowboys.

Occasionally Billie went out with some friends, rounded up a few wild horses that are still found on the plans west of here. Early in September, 1887, Billie went away on such a trip as this and was gone a week. The woman he lived with took advantage of his absence to flee from the country, for Billie, when drunk, abused her shamefully. Billie came back, found her gone, and followed and overtook her at Cimarron, a station on the Santa Fe railroad. The woman, to escape Billieís wrath, told him a lie. She said that William Henderson, the saloon keeper in Beaver City had told her that Billie was not coming back. Billie took her home and spoke to Henderson about the womanís story. Henderson denied it. That night - It was a night of September 14, 19\887 - Billie with John, commonly called "Lengthy" Halford, another friend, went on a spree. They gambled and drank all night and the next morning went to Hendersonís saloon. Here Billie "drew down his six-shooter on Henderson" and said" "Set up the drinks or Iíll kill you."

Henderson set them up without delay. While he did so Billie shot the lamps and glassware to pieces about the saloon, and fired several shots into Hendersonís trunk in one corner of the room. After drinking the crowd went out.

In few minutes Billie appeared through the back door of the saloon, Winchester in hand he ordered Henderson to throw up his hands. With his hands up, Henderson asked what was wanted.

"Go down town," said Billie, and thereupon Henderson marched out the door and down the street, with his hands above his head, while Billie walked behind, striking him in the back with the Winchester.

Pretty soon Lengthy Halford came along and both men pounded the helpless saloon keeper. The business men and their customers gathered at the doors and windows of the stores along the street and looked on but did nothing.

Then Olive got tired of pounding his victim, and aiming the rifle at him pulled the trigger. The cartridge failed to explode and Henderson began to run. Olive pumped a new cartridge into the chamber, and pulled again but neither this one nor the third one exploded. People here regard Hendersonís escape as little, if any short of miraculous. No other such failure of cartridge was ever knows.

Meantime Halford had fired several shots at Henderson from a six-shooter, but he was not a dead shot as Olive was. Henderson fled across the Beaver river to the sand hills.

Several hours later he returned. He was called on by about all of the business men of the town and advised to bushwhack Olive. They determined that Olive and Halford were bad citizens and should die. Henderson got a rifle and with three other citizens started up town behind the buildings that lined the west side of main street. He was told that Olive was prowling down the east side of the street with Halford, pistol in hand looking into every saloon for he had head of Hendersonís return. As Olive stopped to look into the building now occupied by

Frank Palmer, so Henderson, peeking around the back end of a building across the street saw him, and drawing his rifle up behind the wall he was concealed behind, shot Olive through the heart.

It was by this time sun down. Halford fled to Nichols store near by and escaped the men who were with Henderson. He got a girl who was living with him and putting her on the horse, mounted another, and the two fled down the bottom lands of the Beaver river east of town. It was not long until the citizens found his trail and were in hot pursuit. Four hours later they overtook him. Leaping from his horse, he dodge the volley of bullets which were sent after him and escaped by crawling away in the tall prairie grass, although his pursuers rode up and down for hours in the search.

There was no inquest. Oliveís body was sent to his mother, who came from Nebraska, as far as Dodge City, Kansas, to get it. Within a year she had also to bury her husband, who was also shot to death and with much the same reason as Billie.




There had been a little shooting scrape some weeks before Oliveís taking off. Charlie Redmond and John Massey had been roping, that is, lassoing each other. Redmond got the lasso over Masseyís neck and downed him. Massey got up and there was a short fight. Redmond got the worst of it and then friends interfered. Massey left the saloon and went across the street. Redmond followed him and shot him across the small of the back. It was a flesh wound of little consequence.

The shooting of Massey set the people talking about the necessity of some sort of city government with police force attached. The shooting of Olive after his attempt on Hendersonís life make them act. On September 15, 1887, an election was held and the following officers were chosen:

Mayor, J. Thomas; Councilmen, John Garvey, Thomas Braidwood, J. H alley, and M. Mesaur; Clerk, F. B Ogden; Treasurer, J. A. Ovestreet.

The city government was organized the next day without any other formality than the calling of the councilmen to order by the mayor, and thereupon a commission was issued to a city marshal as follows: Beaver City, N.S.I.T., September 16, 1887. -- Know Ye, that at a regular meeting of the Board of City Council of Beaver City, held on the 16th day of September, A. D. ADDISON MUNDELL was commissioned City Marshal to continue in said office during the pleasure of said City Council.---J Thomas, Mayor. Attest: Wm. B. Ogden, Clerk.

The marshal received fifty dollars a month for three months. The saloon keepers contributed three dollars a month each, and all other business men three dollars each. The tax receipts dwindled to thirty dollars a month at the end of three months and after six months to a sum not worth collecting.

It was during the ebb-tide of collections that two deliberate murders in Jim Donnellyís saloon occurred. An account of which will be given further on.

Itís further worthy of note that this city organization is still preserved, and that it is respected by the people. It was through its workings that the main street had been graded and the trail north of town improved.



When the story of two deliberate and cowardly murders has been told and the record of life taking in Beaver City will be complete to date. The murder and result in other parts of the territory which averaged not more than fourteen a year among the seven or eight thousand people, are illustrated by those done here. In all five men have been killed here and two wounded. The first two of these last killings is interesting too, from the fact that the murderer was put on trial before a No Manís Land Court, and although really guilty was acquitted for want of evidence.

About February the 1st, 1888, two strangers drove into town and registered at the hotel and Eugene Brusher and Andrew H. Morris of Beloise, Kansas. It was afterwards (officials) learned that the real name of Morris was John A. Clark. They said they had come to locate stock ranches, and as they had money, there were welcomed by everyone. Part of the welcome was numerous invitations to drink, all of which were accepted. The men stayed in town several days making several trips into the surrounding country, meantime to look up claims, but returning each night to Beaver, where they invariably went on a spree.

On the night of February 3, they were in Jim Donnellyís saloon next to the hotel with a number of others, apparently having a good time. In the crowd was Dr. J. R. Linley. The doctor wore a silk hat. He was the only man in town allowed to wear a hat of this kind, and it was only his reputation as a good fellow that saved the hat from being a target for the six shooters of the cowboy. "Shoot" was a business rather than a slang phrase.

In the course of the horse play before the bar Dr. Linley exchanged hats with Brusher. Without an instance delay Clark drew a revolver and shot Brusher through the head, the bullet entering just below the hat brim. Brusher fell dead in a hap before the bar. Clark called for another drink, and then began to crew up his face in an endeavor to cry.

City Marshal Mundell, who was playing poker in the back room of the saloon and did not realize that any thing had happened until a boy came from the front room and said nonchalantly, in answer to a question about the noise, that a man had been killed.

Clark surrendered his pistol at Mundellís orders, saying that he had intended shooting the hat. Next day Clark was arranged before Mayor J. Thomas and the jury on a charge of murder. The trial lasted for three days and at the end City Attorney E. E. Brown, was obliged to accept the plea of guilty of criminal carelessness, Clark was fined $25 which he paid. Clark was advised privately to leave town, but remained and so lost his life.

A few days after the shooting came William Brusher, a brother of Eugene. He had never seen Clark. After going over the testimony in the case he pretended to be satisfied that the shooting was unintentional, and at once made friends with Clark. On the evening of February the 8th the two were in Jim Donnellyís saloon where Eugene Brusher had been killed. They were shaking dice for the drinks at ten oíclock when Brushere excused himself and stepped outside the front door. There was one unpainted pane of glass in the front window, through which Clark could be plainly seen. Brusher drew a heavy revolved, aimed it carefully, fired and shot Clark through the heart. Then he jumped on a horse, which he had standing there ready all the time and galloped out of town. A posse pursued but never overtook him.

He was afterwards heard from at Rush Center, Kansas, but the civil authorities of No Manís Land made no effort to expidite him and try him for his crime.

Clark had been the owner of a hotel at Beloise, Kansas, which he burned for the insurance money, and Brusher was the sole witness of the crime. Clark had induced Brusher to come to No Manís Land with the intention of getting rid of him and had taken the first opportunity to do him up.

Clark was buried beside Frank Thompson and O. P. Bennett, and his part of the traveling and camping outfit which he and Bennett had brought were sold to pay the expenses of the funeral.




As may be inferred from what has already been told of the history of this country the first ambition of the people was to have the strip organized as a separate territory. It was only a potato patch in size as compared with the states and territories that bounded them, but it was larger than Rhode Island and Delaware, in fact could support a greater population than both of these states put together.

According to the people here the rapid settling of No Manís Land attracted no end of land sharks, who made every effort to grab the land under cover of law. They prepared a bill which Senator Plumb, of Kansas, got through the senate which would have extended the laws of the United States over the territory by attaching the Strip to Kansas for judicial purposes.

"It ordered the completing of the survey of the Strip, but made no appropriations for the expense of the surveyors. So, of course, the survey could not have been completed and Senator Plumb knew it couldnít. It made no provisions whatever for any local government.

Had this bill become a law the owner of the land script of whom the people here say Senator Plumb is the chief, would have gobbled the best of the territory including town sites. The sole protection for life would have been the United States Court at Wichita, some hundreds of miles away. The power of this court is seen in the condition of affairs in Indian Territory, over which it extends and where over three hundred lives were taken unlawfully during the year, and blood would have flowed like water under this bill in No Manís Land, and Plumb knew it. This bill was actually worked through both houses, but when President Clevelandís attention was called to the effect, he vetoed it.

A similar scheme which the people here say that Senator Plumb had on foot was the location of a land office at Vorhees, Kansas, a town site in which they say the Senator is largely interested. This included the attaching of the Strip to Kansas for judicial purposes.

A third bill was the Oklahoma bill, this received the united support of the people in No Manís Land. I creates a new territory, with local government complete, out of that part of the Indian Territory west of the civilized tribes, and including No Manís Land. This bill is, of course, strongly opposed by cattle owners, who occupy the whole part of Indian Territory included in the bill. The people here asserts that Senator Plumb is interested in the cattle, and is the mouth piece of the cow men. One company pays the Cherokee Nation over two hundred thousand dollars a year for a lease of seven million acres. Other companies pay equally absurd prices for other parts of the land. In spite of the depression in the cattle market these men are getting rich hand over fist. This territory is the last foothold of the cattlemen for all other ranges throughout the West have been invaded by the much hated home seeker. Itís a misfortune for the people of No Manís Land who have in equity a right to the claims they occupy, that their demands for law and justice would have to wait on the discussions of the propriety of opening a part of Indian Territory, but there seems no other hopes for them. The area of this territory is too small to permit them to be organized as a separate territory and as already shown the bills to attach them to organize territories have been conceived in the desire to defraud. What with the influences of the cattleman and the opposition also, of the people of western Kansas, who want their vacant land settled before No Manís Land is opened, the people here are likely to start before they get the legislation which alone is needed to create here a remarkably flourishing community.




Very little can be learned here about the making of silver coin and of moonshine whiskey in No Manís Land. There is a distillery, they say, over on Clear Creek, and the product is brought here and taken elsewhere about this Territory and sold. Two men ventured to "bootleg it" into Kansas, and got caught by prohibitionists, and are now in the State prison. None of the saloon keepers here pays a license, although all of them did so until Dr. Chase went to Washington as a delegate and learned that there was no law under which they could be punished if they refused to pay. The counterfeiting was done in a sod house in the northeast corner of No Manís Land not far from Englewood, Kansas. There were two men in the business and they got on very well for a time by dodging back across the line whenever the officers got after them in Kansas. But they ventured over once too often and were caught and are now in prison. Had they come to Beaver and got caught they never would have been sent to prison.




From the Territorial Advocate of December 12:

"Who could wish for a finer climate than ours? Grapes are still hanging on the vines still uninjured by frost. There has been no fire in our office for two weeks except a little each morning. It is unnecessary to go to California to find a perfect climate."

From the Territorial Advocate of September 21st:

"The Advocate failed to make its appearance last week. This due to a cyclone which carried the roof of our office away and covered the type and presses with mud.

We have worked hard to get things in order for this issue, and hope our friends will excuse us."




Let the man about town who has seen it all and is weary of life come to No Manís Land and attend a ball. He can attend a hop on almost any evening by giving an hours notice, but the balls which begin early and last all night are an event of such occasions as the Fourth of July; Decoration Day, and other holidays, and no holiday passes without one.

There was one on Christmas even. It had been looked forward to and prepared for ever since the ball on Thanksgiving night. In each issue of the Territorial Advocate the editor had written paragraphs about it. There was one sentence in each paragraph, which, though not likely to attract the attention of stranger at first, would nevertheless be remembered by him when he reached the dance hall. The sentence was this: "Gentlemen will attend at the clock room and deposit their hats, etc., etc." meaning six shooters. The only gentlemen allowed to carry six shooters beneath the roof of the hall was the one in charge of the cloak room. He kept one handy to insure that no one else carried one into the dancing room.

Evening dress in No Manís Land is different from what it is in New York. All wore high heeled boots, and a few of the more dudish among them had their boots blackened. As a rule the lower end of their trousers were tucked into their boot tops.

The music was furnished gratuitously, of course. There were three violins and an organ. The organ was brought from the Methodist church. Mr. George Blake, the city recorder, was (the) leading violinists, and Dr. J. R. Linley and Rube Chilcott, played second. Mrs. George Blake and Miss Birdie Easter presided alternately at the organ. Both are very graceful dancers. It was therefore a matter of regret among the gentlemen that no one else could play. All things considered however, Mr. Olive McClung came to be the most popular woman on the floor and it is quite certain that her figure and bearing as well as her features, would attract favorable comment anywhere.

As the gentlemen passed the cloak room each received a number. This was to prevent trouble on the ball room floor. In announcing a square dance, the floor manager, Oliver McClung invariably said something like this: "Partners for a quadrille Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12."

There was room for three sets on the floor, and the numbers were called in regular succession, so that no one of the fifth-nine gentlemen present could dance more frequently than any one else. There was no restriction on the ladies, of course, and they danced in proportion to their popularity. In justice to No Manís Land gallantry it should be said that there was seldom any wall flowers.

When a dance was called the gentlemen "russled" for their partners, and took their places on the floor in the order in which their numbers were announced. Then each stood about in his place and rested his weight first on one foot and then the other, and looked frequently toward the music stand as if impatient to begin. The ladies settled their skirts and touched up frizes and back hair, while the fiddlers gave a few preliminary saws on their strings to make sure that their instruments were in tune.

At last the preliminary thump of his foot and a nod, Mr. Blake would play the opening note while the stage driver, Jack Farley or some other "would shout" honors to your "partners".

There was that about the movements of the dancers especially of the gentlemen in shirtsleeves and with trousers tucked into the tops of their high heeled boots, which the word sprightliness scarcely described. Even the sod wall two feet thick trembled particularly when Farley shouted "shake them feet", meaning thereby "balance all."

If the dances were different from what New Yorkers were accustomed to, it was in every way modest and pious. If a few of the ladies were married no one would have suspicioned anything, for no one saw nor heard anything, and only thought of the business in hand until ex-Marshall Mundell took McClung to one side and exhibiting a copy of the National Detective Review called attention to this notice which appeared below the portrait of the McClungs:

$50 Dollards Reward: For the location of McClung and wife. Were at Medicine Lodge, Kansas, on July 24, 2888. Noted Dead Beats.

It is interesting to note that a part of the Christmas eve entertainment was the childrenís festival at the Presbyterian church. The program was short. I contained ten numbers, and included the usual carol, recitations, and giving of presents to the little ones. Superintendent Breckenridge told the Sun reporter that the program was made short so that everybody who wished to do so could go early to the dance. Apparently everyone wished to go.

The popularity of the dances in Beaver may be inferred from this fact that young and old drive and ride all the way from forty to fifty miles away in Kansas.

"We have to keep the women contented" said Dr. Chase, in telling why dances were held so often. But he was speaking for the men as well as the women, for waiting for the Strip to come in its weary work.




The Rev. R. M. Overstreet organized a Presbyterian church in Beaver City on June 12, 1887, with ten members, including himself and four other members of his family. A new church building 24x40 feet large was erected at the cost of nearly $1,000, but a large part of the money came from the Home Missionary Board, of the church in New York City. More members have moved away than have been added by new arrivals, while there have been no converts.



Up to the meeting of Congress in December, 1887, the whole territory boomed along in a what that delights a western heart. Even the completion of the Ft. Worth & Denver railroad through the Panhandle of Texas which then stopped the freighters train over the Jones & Plummer trail did not check the prosperity of Beaver City let along the influx of settlers who were looking for homesteads. Claims changed hands at prices that farms with good titles would not have brought across the line in Kansas. But when the fiftieth Session of Congress had grown old and nothing had been done for the relief of No Manís Land its people began to get discouraged. Their capital had been sunk in improvements and currant expenses. They had nothing left o live on. Not only were the influx of the settlers topped but many of the residents began to "haul their freight" which in the vernacular here means to leave the country. The Majority of these people, however, left such improvements on their claims as will enable them to return and hold them whenever the strip comes in. There was probably at one time a population of 12,000 people in No Manís Land. Now there may be 8,000

Nevertheless, many of those who remained are full of hope and no less than forty new houses were added during the past six weeks. To the three hundred to which Beaver contains. They are as a rule sod houses of cheap box frames, but they will serve to hold the town lot as the boom arrived.

To trace the history of other parts of No Manís Land than this, the metropolis, is out of the question. There are dozens of small settlements and a half dozen villages to twenty or more houses in every one of which there have been fights, murders, lynching, and the usual lawlessness to be found on the frontier. To give in detail half the tales of the sort which the Sun reporter took note would fill many pages of this paper not to mention the common place killings of which no note was taken. But the record of events at Beaver is tolerably complete, and that will give an idea of what occurred elsewhere.

To the man who comes from a land where trees grow the scenery about Beaver seems at first sight utterly desolate. The Barren sand hills which are found all along the north bank of every stream in this country fairly seems to dance in the glare of the sun even on a winter day. The lowlands were once covered with trees but these all have long since been cut away. The table lands between the streams are only a little less dreary than the sand hills. But in a day or two, or at most a week, this feeling wears off. There is something about the sweep of the uplands that excites the imagination and fascinates the eye. The hills may be a picture of desolation but one is found confessing that in the sense of grandeur exceed the depression which their desolation at first creates. The whitish buffalo grass which by reflecting the sun light, had at first made the eye ache is seen at last to be of a delicate shade of green that is delightful to look upon.

The one difficulty in the way of farming is the south winds. The trade winds from over the sea sweeping across the Gulf of Mexico are over the land until deflected to the north by the Rocky Mountains. They drive along the broken prairies for hundreds of miles. Heated above by the direct rays of the sun and heated below by those rays reflected back from the white buffalo grass sod. They come like the breath from the furnace in which Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, fell down and they destroyed the face of the land.

Crops that mature before the first of July flourish luxuriantly every season. Other crops flourish about two years out of five for wet seasons are had that often. When crops can be irrigated as in the bottom lands there is a growth almost beyond belief.

Two crops of ordinary garden vegetables are raised every season and each crop is in itself a wonder. As the country is settled up and the buffalo grass turned under the climate will change and this land will be as good as it is in Kansas -- no better and no worse. Central Kansas used to get burned up as this country now.

But in spite of this obvious drawback, there will be a tremendous influx of population here as soon as the laws of the land reach the country. Two railroads, one near each end of the Strip are built to the line and have stopped there only temporarily. The country has been so much talked about everywhere throughout the west that thousands will hasten hither as much from curiosity as for any other reason as soon as property is secure. There will be a mushroom growth of partial wilting down again and then No Manís Land will become a humdrum country of farms with only a curious early history to make it talked about.







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