Civic Propriety in Coffeyville - 1871
by William G. Cutler (1883)

For some time Coffeyville was the terminus of the southern cattle drive, to which immense herds of cattle were driven from the Territory and Texas for shipment by rail to Eastern markets. This had the effect to stimulate the business of the town, on account of the numbers and character of its floating population. Everything was in a constant "hurrah;" men were wild with excitement, and society was a chaos.


The wild, reckless "cow boy" knew no restraint; gamblers plied their avocation openly, and at all times; saloon men were hurried to serve customers with liquors, and the streets resounded with the rattle of beer glasses and the clickings of the keno and billiard rooms; quarrels were frequent, and the reports of the pistol, announcing that some unfortunate man had fallen a victim to the well aimed instrument were common; dance halls, filled with lewd women of the most beastly type, lined the streets, in which revelry, debauchery and criminalities ran riot.

Gambling became so common, and of such a nature, as to become a nuisance, so that, at one time, the Mayor of the city, A. B. Clark, instructed the police officers to invade the gambling dens and arrest the offenders. The next morning the "lordly magistrate" sat in judgment upon such as had been arrested for violating the laws during the past day, evening and night; but judge of his surprise to find among those arrested in compliance with his instructions, and now arraigned before him for trial, a majority of the city council.


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