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Vol. 3 - No.06 June, 2021 Nooseletter Home SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
 
Chronicle of the Old West
Dakota Livesay | Old West Historian
County seats are normally determined by a vote. At least that's the way it was for Gray County, Kansas. But there were those who were not happy with the outcome, and they did something about it.

Continued.... (see below)
County Seat War
In October of 1887 a vote was held in Gray County, Kansas to determine the county seat. The winner was Cimarron. But the citizens of Ingalls weren’t happy with the outcome. And they took their case to the courts. For over a year the courts did nothing.

Aso SouleFinally, Asa Soule from Ingalls, decided to take the situation into his own hands. He figured that as the crown or miter was the authority of a king, the records of a county were the authority of a county seat. So, on January 11, 1889 he deputized a group of men to steal the county records. These lawmen weren’t novices. They included Bill Tilghman, Neal Brown and two of Bat Masterson’s brothers, Jim and Tom.

Early Sunday morning the group rode quietly into Cimarron. Neal Brown and the two Mastersons started carrying out the records as the others stood guard. Then an alarm was sounded, and guns started firing. The three record carriers were caught inside the courthouse. The rest got away with the records. More than two hundred men started shooting at the courthouse. In the process, one citizen was killed.

For more than 24 hours the men were trapped inside. Then mysteriously a truce was called and the three men were allowed to leave town unscathed. What happened? Well, Bat Masterson heard about his brothers' plight, and he telegraphed Cimarron stating, if either of his brothers were hurt he would “hire a train and come in with enough men to blow Cimarron off the face of Kansas.”

Oh yes, four years later another election was held and Cimarron again won.
Here Lies the State of Things
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