Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Dr. Myrta E. McGinneis
It was my first intention to write a biography of my grandfather. This was to be an entirely creative piece of work, based on his Army discharge, an account of his death and burial in the local paper, and the traditions of the family. Because his life after 1875-when he left the 5th Cavalry was so closely connected with the history of Hays, the biography was to stop short, twenty-three years before his death. Hays City from 1875 to 1898, the people, the colorful English colonists east in Victoria, the Russian-Germans, the change of troops at the fort, the fort itself-in fact the whole local frontier history during those years--was too involved and interesting to be presented with the earlier part of Wilhelm Koenig's life. It soon became evident that the story of Wilhelm Koenig would be lost in the background, and other, more colorful persons and events, would come to the fore. His story, the intended biography which was to be purely creative, became instead a thread on which to string a series of related events in frontier history. The towns like Abilene and Hays City grew up on the prairies not because of the railroads, but because the railroads were making it possible to reach markets quickly . And at those markets the products of the frontier towns , the long-horned beef cattle and the buffalo hides, brought more gold . The “harvesting “ of buffalo hides on the plains from 1865 to 1875 led Sitting Bull and the other chiefs and warriors of the Sioux to band together against the money-seeking white men who were destroying their only real means of livelihood, and the massacres and raids which followed brought Billy King back to Kansas.
King, Paul, "Friedrich Wilhelm Koenig" (1936). Master's Theses. 242.
© 1936 Paul King