CIMARRON - KANSAS

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Population 1600

THE SANTA FE TRAIL

Cimarron, settled in 1878, got its name as the starting point at one time of the shorter Cimarron or dry route to Santa Fe. William Becknell first traveled the dry route with a packtrain via the Cimarron River in 1822, carrying trade goods for Mexico, newly freed from Spain. The Santa Fe Trail, nearly 800 miles long with 500 of it in Kansas, began successively at the Missouri towns of Franklin, Independence, and Westport.

Wagontrains traveled in two parallel lines usually, in four where they could. Emigrant wagons were drawn by eight mules or oxen, but the big Santa Fe trade wagons required ten or twelve. A day's journey was about 15 miles. Camp was made early in the afternoon, and teams put out to graze. At dusk the animals were driven into a corral made by parking the wagons in a circle. A heavy chain joined the tongue of each wagon with the rear axle of the wagon ahead. Thus the wagons served both as corral and fortress. About 50 monotonous, sometimes dangerous, days would pass before the travelers were welcomed at Santa Fe. Travel on the Colorado-New Mexico part of the Trail continued until the railroad was built south of Santa Fe in 1880.

1914
Main Street Cimarron1914

main street cimarron
East Main Street - unknown date

January 12, 1889, was the date of the Cimarron-Ingalls county seat fight, in which a Cimarron man was killed and several from both towns were wounded. The election was held, with accompanying gun play and ballotbox stuffing. When the votes were counted, Cimarron had won, but Ingalls charged fraud. On the morning about eleven-thirty a lumber wagon drove in on the Ingalls road. Concealed behind the wagon's high box were a number of gunmen.They unloaded quickly in front of the courthouse, and four went upstairs to get the records. The rest stayed on the street below with weapons ready. In the meantime, news of the raid swept through town. As the last of the books were being loaded, Cimarron men had arrived and taken cover inside and behind buildings, and bullets began to fly from both sides of the street. J. W. English of Cimarron, was killed instantly, and Jack Bliss and Ed Fairhurst were wounded. On request from the Sheriff, who reported that 200 armed men threatened to invade Ingalls, two companies of state militia entrained that night from Larned for Cimarron where they stayed till January 25. The county seat remained at Ingalls until, in a special election in February 1893, Cimarron received a majority of votes, and it was returned to Cimarron.