Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.


William Henry Lord

WILLIAM HENRY LORD. Very few of the real old time range cattle men are left in Kansas. One of them, who can easily measure up to all the distinctions and experiences of that type of westerner is William Henry Lord of Dodge City. His life record is a remarkable one, and he has been identified with Kansas since the territorial period. In fact the history of the family and of himself may be profitably read as a commentary upon the larger history of Kansas as told in the main historical section of this publication.

Mr. Lord is a New Englander by birth, having been born at Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1847. He is of English stock, and the name William belonged to his great-grandfather, his father and himself.

The founder of the family in Kansas was his father, William Lord, who was born at Westfield, Connecticut, on the Connecticut River. He became interested in Kansas through the New England Emigration Company. He bought stock in that company and was member of a colony which arranged to settle in the country around Council City, now the site of Burlingame, Osage County. William Lord brought his family by rail from New York City to Pittsburg, there took a steamboat and floated down the Ohio River and up the Mississippi and Missouri to Kansas City, unloading at Westport Landing. Even at that point on the frontier it was difficult to get any definite information as to the location of the high sounding Town of Council City. He finally hired two freight wagons and started over the old Santa Fe trail. It was represented to him that a hotel existed in Council City, and for that reason he was anxious to find the place, though he was constantly urged to stop at different localities all the way from Westport.

On arriving the Lord family found the Council City Hotel to be just about two logs high. There was almost nothing to mark the site from the domain of the wilderness. It was on the morning of May 4, 1855, that the little family party took their breakfast on the townsite. The family consisted of William Lord, his wife, six daughters and William Henry, who was then seven years of age. Thus William H. Lord was in a position to appreciate all the difficulties and struggles of the family since they came to Kansas. William Lord, Sr., took up a claim, and he endured all the sufferings and tragedies of frontier life. His first log house consisted of one room, with a puncheon roof and with a lean-to shed covered with a "shake" roof. William Lord was one of the rather prosperous early settlers of Kansas, having brought with him between $5,000 and $6,000. That was a modest fortune compared with the resources of most of the Kansas pioneers. He found it impossible to add to this store or utilize it as capital, and it gradually was used up for living expenses. William Lord tried farming, but made little progress until after the big drouth of 1860. The corn that was raised had no market, and it was difficult to convert it into meal. The mills used by the pioneers were mere graters, made by punching holes in the bottom of tin pans. Later an ingenious Yankee made a pair of burrs out of native limestone, and this simple mill ground the meal for an entire neighborhood.

At that time Osage County was filled with Missouri people, who had taken up nearly all the good bottom lands. The Lord family located on Plum Creek. Among other articles which they brought with them from New England were one or two umbrellas. They were objects of admiration to the Missourians living there, who had never seen anything of the kind before. These umbrellas came into good play during the winter months, when they were opened up over the beds for the children under the clapboard roof to keep the snow from falling upon the beds. In 1857 the Lord family moved into the Council House, where all the public meetings were held in earlier days. This move was prompted by the fact that two daughters of the family had died from exposure in the old log house.

One of the chief points of attack from the Missouri border ruffians was this settlement in Osage County. They threatened to burn the Council House many times and while the Lords lived there they kept a brush heap ready to fire as a signal to their friends in case of attack. The people living at Council City had to haul their supplies from Westport or Kansas City and on these trading trips the border ruffians frequently robbed the wagon men and sent them back home empty handed. Council City as a city was never built up. As told elsewhere, the community was the scene of many exciting and tragic incidents during the territorial days. Finally a quantity of Sharps rifles were imported for the use of the colony, and after that the border ruffians kept at a safe distance from the place and peace and order were gradually restored. The first legal hanging performed in Kansas was at Burlingame. The man hanged was Bates, who had killed old Mr. Polly, an officer who had arrested Bates. The hanging was done in the courthouse about 1867.

William Lord sold out his claim before proving up and became a resident of Burlingame. He served as justice of the peace of the township and county commissioner, and was one of the leaders in frontier activities. Frontier exposure was more than his constitution could endure and finally brought him to a premature grave. He died in 1867, at the age of sixty, on his farm on Switzer Creek. Both he and his wife died before the comforts of later years came to the family and after the era of trials and sufferings due to border warfare, drouth and Civil war had just about closed.

William Lord married Miss Harriet C. Judd, a cousin of Norman B. Judd, one of the most distinguished citizens of Illinois during the middle half of the last century and also a factor in American national affairs. Mrs. William Lord died in 1873, when about sixty-one years of age. She is buried beside her husband in Burlingame. They reared the following children: Carrie, who died at Burlingame, married James E. Bush, a Civil way soldier; Harriet spent her life near Burlingame, and her husband, L. R. Adams, was also a soldier; the next in age is William H.; Flora married O. H. Nelson and is a resident of Kansas City, Missouri; Belle, who died at Burlingame, was the wife of J. A. Finch, another Civil war veteran; and Frederick S. died as the result of an accident in 1878, leaving two children.

All the incidents which have been recorded and many more are a part of the personal recollections of Mr. William H. Lord. He grew up at Burlingame and secured his education in the common schools. He saw the first house erected on the site of that town, and the Lord house there was the first one to receive a coat of paint. After the war he and some of his comrades, who should have been in school while they were in the army, hired the Presbyterian Church at Burlingame and secured the services of Professor Hurlbert. About an equal number of young ladies attended the same school, and from that source all of them added much to their knowledge of books, and Mr. Lord concluded his education there.

He was past fifteen years of age when he enlisted in Company I of the Eleventh Kansas Cavalry, under Captain Joy and Col. Thomas Moonlight. The record of this regiment is given on other pages. It served in Missouri and Arkansas, striking Price's army at Lexington and fighting it at the Big and Little Blue, Westport, Newtonia, Mine Creek, and followed it out of Missouri and across the Arkansas River at Webber Falls. When the regiment reached Fort Scott on its return North only eleven horses were left in Company I. Mr. Lord had walked all the way from Fort Smith, leading his horse, which was lame. On returning from the Price expedition the Eleventh Kansas was ordered for remount to Fort Riley. On February 14, 1865, it was ordered west. They went up the North Platte River to Port Casper, on west to Fort Laramie, and fought Indians the entire spring and summer. They participated in the Indian battle of July 25, 26, 27, when 2,000 or 3,000 Indians at North Platte Bridge attacked the soldiers. On the second day thirty-three men of the command were killed. Mr. Lord pulled arrows out of two of his comrades and shot the Indian that sent one of them. He still has in his possession one of these arrows, and the other he turned over to his comrade's widow in Connecticut. He also helped bury twenty-two of his comrades in one grave before leaving the battlefield. The regiment was relieved a few days afterward by another regiment from New York, and those new men came upon a sickly and grewsome sight.

After his army service Mr. Lord went back to his father's farm and remained there until 1869. In 1870 he engaged in the cattle business, which has been his chief industry ever since. In 1871, with A. B. Hogue, he drove overland to Texas from Burlingame and bought 1,000 cattle near Waco. These cattle were wintered on Grouse River pust[sic] south of Arkansas City, near Dexter, Kansas. Subsequently the company of Finch, Lord & Nelson was formed, and they ranged and ranched on the Red River in Texas as far out as the great plains of the Panhandle. This firm shipped the first car of live hogs ever sent over the Sante Fe Railway and at one period was the heaviest shipper of live stock over that road. The firm had extensive commercial and other interests at Burlingame, Kansas, from 1881 to 1889, and suffered great financial losses as a result of hard times and the populist uprising. Mr. Lord's operations in Texas continued through a period of many years.

From 1870 to the present time there has not been a year in which Mr. Lord has not been at the Kansas City market with stock. The Finch, Lord & Nelson Company acquired a large amount of Texas lands. They also inaugurated the business of shipping grade and blooded bulls, partly imported and partly bought in the East, into Texas, and they carried on this business on an extensive scale from 1881 to 1885. The firm shipped more animals of that description into Texas during those years than any other parties. As high as $90.000 worth of bulls were unloaded at Dodge City and driven into Texas at one time.

The company continued operations until the bottom fell out of the cattle market in 1887. As a result of that crash the firm lost most of its land and cattle, and Mr. Lord then spent a year as assistant live stock agent with the Santa Fe Railway Company.

In 1901 Mr. Lord bought a part of the old Finch, Lord & Nelson Ranch near Dodge City and has since had his family home there. Here he engaged in ranching and alfalfa raising. This property he sold in 1906 and bought other land adjoining it, which he still owns and operates. He has an alfalfa and wheat farm, and the ranch has proved profitable along both lines. As a wheat grower Mr. Lord has secured a yield of as high as thirty-five bushels to the acre from a single field. He has sold wheat all the way from 70 cents to $2.50 a bushel. The Lord family live in Dodge City, where he built a home on Central Avenue in 1906. As a cattle man Mr. Lord has ridden horseback almost all the way from the British line to the Gulf of Mexico, and made several cattle drives from the Brazos River in Texas to the Little Missouri River in Montana.

Politically his affiliations have been naturally with the republican party, his father having been an ardent free state man and a pioneer republican. His first presidential vote was given to Mr. Lincoln in 1864, and he has never missed voting at a presidential election. The only public office he ever filled was that of mayor of Burlingame. Mr. Lord has for forty-seven years been identified with the Masonic Order, and is a member of the Lodge, Chapter, Knight Templar Commandery and Mystic Shrine. He still retains his membership in the Grand Army Post at Burlingame.

At Burlingame, Kansas, February 29, 1876, Mr. Lord married Miss Anna B. King. Her father was Rev. Victor M. King, a native of Ohio and a Presbyterian minister. Mrs. Lord's mother was a Miss Thompson. Mrs. Lord was born at Ripley, Ohio, March 7, 1855, and came with her parents to Kansas soon after the war. Her father preached at Baldwin, was pastor at Burlingame, and retired from the ministry at Emporia, where his wife died. His death occurred at Geneva, Illinois. In the King family were the following children: Alice, who married F. M. Nelson, of Burlingame; Mrs. Lord; Charles V., of Burlingame; Jessie, wife of H. B. Alexander, of Geneva, Illinois.

Mr. and Mrs. Lord have four children. Charles was drowned at Burlingame June 7, 1897, when a young man. Earl K. is connected with the Emporia National Bank at Emporia, and by his marriage to Bertha Dunlap has a daughter, Emily. Fred is now the active man on the Lord Ranch at Dodge City. Carroll J. is a graduate of the Kansas University and of Yale College and was a successful lawyer at Chicago until he entered the officers' training school at Fort Sheridan, Chicago, where he was commissioned a first lieutenant and was assigned to troop training in the field artillery. He was recently commissioned a captain.


Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Volume 4 - Table of Contents

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