Once Remmy is able to leave Fort Scott, he goes to Kansas City, Kansas where the stockyards are located. He gets a job at the yards and meets Sam. The two become best friends.
By 1900 the yards expanded to the other side of the Missouri River, but Remmy never entered Missouri or the other KC.
Each cities on either side of the river was created by merging several towns together and naming the conglomeration Kansas City.
Because the meat packing plants, and the stockyards that supported them, were established on the Kansas side, and Santa Fe decided to build their largest rail yards there, KCK held its own in size up to the Civil War. In 1880, KCMO was at 55,000 and KCK was at 40,000. As of 2013, KCMO is at 467,007 and KCK is at 148,483, with the metropolitan statistical area of Kansas City at 2.4 million.
Several of these pictures were taken in the 20th Century, but they show the size.
The meat packing buildings show in this photo.
This is closer to what Remmy would have seen.
This last painting gives a view of the yards as they would have been in 1886. The smoke was mostly from the packing plants.
The Kansas City Cowboys in the 1886 season, their one and only. When I look at the other team photos, I notice that the KC crew is much cleaner shaved. Maybe that’s why they lost.
Once Remmy avoids the killer and the killer blizzard, he makes his way to Walnut and then to Fort Scott where he meets his first of many new friends.
Fort Scott was built in 1842 as one of the farthermost outpost of the army at the time. (Fort Leavenworth in northeast Kansas was the first west of the Mississippi, established in 1827.) The First Dragoons built and occupied Fort Scott, patrolled the area to make sure the Indians were living up to the terms of the treaty, which gave them what is now Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma all the way to the Continental Divide.
In 1854 with the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the dragoons helped escort tribes south to the new smaller Indian Territory. After that, they closed the fort and rode away. In 1855 many of the fort’s buildings were sold to the highest bidder.
With the outbreak of war in 1861, the fort was hastily reopened to prevent Confederate actions in the area. Several battles were fought within a 100 miles of the fort and troops from there saw action. For much of the latter part of the war the fort was a supply depot for the fighting in the western theater of the Civil War as well as actions against Indian tribes.
Wherever the military builds a fort, a city springs up. The city of Fort Scott is one of the oldest in Kansas, but many of the citizens in 1860 were living in the buildings they had purchased from the army. They actually lived on the grounds of the fort which was included in the purchase. The army reclaimed the fort for the duration of the war and the civilians had to build new. Having learned their lesson, after the war, many of the buildings were moved by the owners.
This depot was on the north edge of town, close to the fort. I believe it is the M-K-T or “Katy” Depot, though the source did not label it.
This photo is of the old post office, but was probably taken near the turn of the century.
Remmy would have seen this view on his visit, except that it would have been snow-covered.
Below is the website of the National Park Service at Fort Scott. The page includes a video of what the fort was like in the years before the Civil War.
Neosho County, Kansas, January 6, 1886. A stranger guns down Remmy’s family as he helplessly watches from a distance. The killer searches for Remmy who runs through the snow-covered farmland to a hiding hole. He avoids death the next day when the most deadly blizzard to ever strike the state covers his escape. He then learns from a friend that the sheriff believes he is the killer.
Remmy continues to run, stopping first in Fort Scott, then on to Kansas City. In the spring he joins the crew of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West where he meets more friends who protect him and help him prepare for his return to search for the true killer. Along the way, Remmy wrestles with his sense of guilt for not saving his family, his fear of being the next victim, and the ultimate question: should he kill the killer?
Every two days this January, I will virtually visit the major scenes of the book as a preview of what to expect. Enjoy.
A photo of the 1886 blizzard taken in central Kansas.
Typical bow saw of the period.
The old county courthouse in Erie, KS.
A typical home cook stove, this one probably in the south. The stoves in an eating house of the day would have been much larger. They were normally fired with wood.
The very first silver certificate for $1 was issued in 1886. All certificates were replaced in 1957 with Federal Reserve Notes. The difference was that a certificate could be traded at any bank for $1 in silver coin. Today’s Federal note can be redeemed for non-silver coins. While silver coins are still minted and can be used as currency, they are really intended for collectors, because the value of the silver greatly exceeds the minted face value. You might now pay $25 for a silver dollar, but you could only spend it as one dollar.
This is the Osage Mission Catholic Church in Neosho County, KS.
The Church built a school next door which is today the oldest continuing school in Kansas, though it is now public. There was a virtual war between Osage Mission and the town of Erie for possession of the county seat. Today, Mission is called St. Paul and the church is St. Francis.
The cover of a book about the real murders of the Sell family in Neosho County, Kansas, in 1886. Sixteen year old Willie survived and was accused of and convicted for the murders of his family, and spent 21 years in prison before he was finally given a full pardon based on the evidence. While that evidence points strongly to two unnamed killers, they were never caught.
This real murder was the starting point for my story, Dark Snow.