Caldwell [Sumner County]: Kansas Border Cow Town


The history of Caldwell, Kansas, between 1870 and 1885, reflects a piece of American history that has developed into legend. During this period, Caldwell went from one crisis to another, from killings to lynchings, shootouts to search parties, bank openings to bank busts. Seldom was it boring. Caldwell saw more lawmen killed in its short history than any other cow town. Gunfighters and gunfights were common. Charlie Stone made a name for himself in the cattle business before heading west. In 1871, he traveled to the southern border of Kansas. There, Stone and his friends staked out a plot of land overlooking Fall and Bluff Creeks, next to Indian Territory. It stood on the Chisholm Trail. They named the place after a railroad magnate and Kansas politician they admired-Alexander Caldwell. Within a decade Caldwell became a thriving cattle town, fulfilling Stone's dream for it. For one season it shipped more cattle east than Dodge City. Caldwell was within shouting distance of Indian Territory and all its dangers. The town's history is filled with Indian scares and fights; cattle thieves and killers; lawmen chasing outlaws; lynchings; financial schemes; and conflict among cattlemen, trail herders, merchants, farmers, and homesteaders. The railroad played a key role in the town's development and success. Caldwell attracted cowboys over a longer period than any other cow town. Between 1870 and 1885, its reputation as a rip snorting pleasure spot for boisterous trail drivers at the end of the trail beat all the competition. This book is a must for anyone who loves Western lore.


Tom S. Coke


(2005), 2006, 5½x8½, paper, index, 230 pp.

ISBN: 9780788435690