Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The story of Buffalo Jones

Meet adventurer Charles Jesse "Buffalo" Jones as he stands in front of the Finney County Courthouse in Garden City, a memorial dedicated in 1979.

Here is a summary of his story taken from the plaques at the base of the statue.

In 1879, John Stevens, W.D., James R. Fulton, and Jones founded Garden City. Jones was the first mayor and became the area's first representative in the Kansas legislature.

Here's where he got his nickname. Aware of the dramatically dwindling numbers of buffalo, he made numerous trips into the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles were he captured 57 buffalo calves, herding them to his ranch in Garden City (imagine shepherding buffalo calves!). The buffalo in the herd on the present day Sandsage Bison Range south of Garden City are descendants of those calves.

In 1893, Jones made a run for land into Oklahoma as part of the Cherokee Strip Land Rush. In 1897-1989 he journeyed to the Arctic Circle in search of musk oxen.

There's more! In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt appointed him the first game warden of Yellowstone National park and in 1906 he developed a ranch and game preserve on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

Zane Grey, western author, was fascinated by Jones and used him as the basis for a hero character in his books.

Jones' made a safari to Africa in 1909 where he captured and photographed all types of wild animals. His activities were of great interest to the public and upon his return he lectured and showed his photographs to large audiences. In 1914 he returned to Africa and contracted malaria from which he never fully recovered.

Buffalo Jones was awarded a medal by Edward VII, King of England, for his work with animals. He was further recognized by admission to the Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1959.

He died in 1919 in Topeka and is buried at the Valley View Cemetery in Garden City beside his wife Martha and his two sons.

I wonder of Martin and Osa Johnson knew Buffalo Jones???

Knowing one of our adventurers is to "Get Kansas!"

KE #2 Marci Penner

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