RAYMOND E. STOTTS has been a citizen of Finney County since May 2, 1881, when his parents came to this section of Kansas he being then a boy of four years. He grew up in the live stock business, has always had more or less active connection with that industry, is an attorney by training and profession, though other interests have interferred with his steady practice, and he is now postmaster of Garden City.
He is a son of the late Benjamin L. Stotts, one of the picturesque and widely known figures not only in Western Kansas but in Colorado. He was always known as Colonel Stotts. Colonel Stotts was born in Adair County, Kentucky, February 14, 1840. He was of southern ancestry and his people were Confederates in sentiment. While his own sympathy was with the South he determined not to take part in the conflict, and instead he went to the West and for many years enjoyed a life of excitement and adventure in Colorado. The first years he spent in that western territory he gave practically all his time to hunting buffaloes. He secured his start in the cattle business as a buffalo hunter. He freighted all his pelts and beef into Denver when it had less than 3,000 people. Colonel Stotts located in the vicinity of Bijou Basin, Colorado, in the early '60s. He not only hunted buffalo but also fought the Indians and became a friend and associate of all the conspicuous frontier characters of that time. Among his friends he numbered General Custer, Kit Carson and was personally acquainted with perhaps the greatest Indian scout of them all, Captain Baker, of whom little has been told in history though his achievements exceeded any of his contemporaries. Captain Baker was a recluse, lived with an Indian wife, and enriched Colorado history with deeds of daring and bravery.
On coming to Kansas in 1881 Colonel Stotts bought a ranch along the Arkansas River and later acquired some other extensive ranch properties. At that time little land was required by legal deed and title, since all the country lay open as a range. Colonel Stotts was chiefly interested in the sheep department of stock raising. He continued that business the rest of his life. A number of years ago when the tariff was taken off wool and the sheepmen suffered their most disastrous blow, Colonel Stotts chose the prudent course of going just the opposite of what everyone else was doing. So far as his capital and credit could be stretched he bought out the sheep interests of practically everyone else in his section of the country. It is said he bought thousands of sheep at $1 a head. That was one of the best investments he ever made.
Colonel Stotts died October 5, 1902. Among other enterprises he bought and for some years owned the Garden City Tribune. However, he had no connection with its management. Its manager was his son. E. B. Stotts, who had free rein to combat political rings in each of the old parties, and he made the paper count in the fight for eradication of bossism. In politics Colonel Stotts was always a democrat, but his only entrance into the field of practical politics was as candidate for county commissioner in Bent County, Colorado, an office to which he was elected. He was a member of the Blue Lodge of Masonry and Masonry was his religion. Colonel Stotts was a picturesque personality. He had the appearance of the Southern colonel that he was, always wore a carefully tended goatee and the most familiar portion of his attire was a white slouch hat. He was quick of step, fearless, an excellent shot with the pistol and he trained his sons to use that firearm. He permitted no man to challenge his honesty or dispute his word without a reckoning on the spot.
Colonel Stotts married Margaret E. Gunn, daughter of Dr. J. D. Gunn, of Statesville, North Carolina. Colonel Stotts and wife were married in Polk County, Missouri. His widow is now living in Garden City at the age of sixty-seven. Their children were Eugene B., Ethel D., Raymond E., Inez M. and Walter L., all residents of Garden City except Eugene B. Eugene B. Stotts was for many years connected with the Topeka Journal, was at one time city commissioner of that city, and is now steward of the State Insane Hospital at Topeka. The daughter Ethel is the wife of E. W. Wait, of Garden City, and Inez married E. L. Bucklew, of Garden City. Raymond E. Stotts was born in Bijou Basin, Colorado, June 22, 1876. All his early memories center around Garden City, where he secured his education. From early boyhood he was with his father on the ranch and range, and for several years after his father's death he had large financial interests in the sheep industry of this section. For seven years he was clerk in the Court House at Garden City and during that time he sat up at night studying law and in 1902 was admitted to the bar. The first case in which he was employed was for a National Guardsman of Garden City who resisted the collection of a poll tax. Before the case came up for a hearing the attorney general issued an opinion that the tax was illegal. Mr. Stotts during his brief period of active practice was a partner with the firm of Hoskinson & Hoskinson.
With politics he became identified as a boy before reaching his majority. Since he came of age he has been a delegate to democratic conventions, and in state conventions he voted for the nomination of Governor Hodges and in congressional conventions helped nominate George W. Neeley and also Jouett Shouse, present representative from the Big Seventh District. He did a great deal of valuable work for William H. Thompson during the latter's candidacy for the judgeship of the Thirty-second District and continued his efforts until Mr. Thompson was elected. He then continued to follow the judge's political fortunes through the campaign for United States senator and saw him win that. Soon after the present democratic administration was installed Senator Thompson recommended the appointment of Mr. Stotts as postmaster of Garden City. He had no opposition and was endorsed by all of the business men of his home town. Mr. Stotts' appointment dates from December 23, 1913, and he began his duties in January, 1914, as successor of Charles Schneider. Since entering that office Mr. Stotts has, in addition to the routine duties, superintended the construction of a new postoffice building in Garden City. This structure, which cost $66,000, is one of the best government buildings to be found in the smaller towns of Kansas.
For nineteen years, Mr. Stotts was identified with the National Guard of Kansas. He served during the Spanish-American war in Company B of the Twenty-First Regiment, under Captain Smith and Colonel Fitch, the latter of Wichita. During the brief term this regiment was in the Federal service in the Spanish-American war the regiment was camped at Chickamauga Park and at Lexington, Kentucky. It was mustered out in December, 1898. Mr. Stotts was for years a member of the Kansas National Guard Rifle Team, and in the annual practices on the range he demonstrated great prowess as a marksman, an ability which he inherited and in which he was trained by his father.
At Washington, Iowa, December 10, 1913, Mr. Stotts married Miss Leanna Galloway. Her father, William Galloway, is a prominent farmer of Washington County. Mr. and Mrs. Stotts have two children, Benjamin L. and Ramona D.
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.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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