Everyone has heard of the Wild West. Hays, KS was the “birthplace” of it all, in 1867, shortly after the end of the Civil War. Hays was originally called Fort Fletcher, and the name was then changed to Fort Hays in 1867, after the town was created. It was the end of railway line at that time. There were multiple saloons on every street, and there were multiple gunslingers and gun fights all around. It was the land of both “Wild Bill” Hickok and “Buffalo” Bill Cody, as well as “Calamity” Jane. Between August of 1867 and December of 1873, there were over 30 homicides in and around Hays. Hays City developed the reputation, which was well deserved, as one of the most violent towns on the Kansas Frontier. Hays was the original Boot Hill, not Dodge City, as it is popularly believed. By the time Dodge City was founded, Hays was already a “flourishing” Wild West town. As we were walking back through time, and learning the wild history of Hays, I was thinking how just the other day someone had posted that the “wild west days” filled with saloons, dancing girls and gunslingers were “not really the way things happened or the way things really were”. Oh yes they were, and they happened right in Hays, KS too.
We were in Hays, KS over the weekend, visiting with Larry’s family. https://ajeanneinthekitchen.com/2020/09/08/blueberry-muffins-for-lexi/
Aside from the gunslingers, both famous and those who wanted to be famous, Hays was settled by the Volga Germans who began arriving in Ellis County in the mid-1870’s. These frontier settlers were named so because prior to coming to the United States, they had settled along the Volga River in Russia. Coming from a harsh climate, the Volga Germans were able to adapt and thrive in their new home. Even today, Hays is still the German capital of Kansas. These Volga Germans are Larry’s ancestors. His family are all Volga German.
I hope you all enjoyed this brief history of Hays.
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.