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July 29, 2017

VIntage Photo of Ford County Sheriff Chalkley Beeson and His Friend in 1894

Chalkley McArtor “Chalk” Beeson (1848–1912) was a well-known businessman, lawman, cattleman and musician but was best known for his ownership of the famous Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City, Kansas.

Chalkey McArtor “Chalk” Beeson (left) and his friend in 1894 while serving as Ford County, Kansas Sheriff. Beeson was part-owner of Dodge City’s Long Branch Saloon from March 1, 1878 to February 6, 1883.

Originally from Salem, Ohio, Beeson was the seventh born child of Samuel and Martha Beeson. The family moved to Iowa, and at 19 Beeson left home, moving to Denver, Colorado. He worked, for a time, as a guide to buffalo hunters, with his clients including Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia, Phil Sheridan, and George Custer.

By the mid-1870s he was living in Dodge City, Kansas, becoming involved in many citizen organizations, and becoming wealthy in the cattle business. He married Ida Gause on July 17, 1876. He later, in 1878, became an owner of the Long Branch Saloon with partner William Harris, which led to his becoming associated with noted lawmen, outlaws, and gunmen of the time, to include Luke Short, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, James Masterson and Ed Masterson, Charlie Bassett and others. Under Beeson’s leadership, the Long Branch Saloon boasted a 5-piece orchestra and Beeson also formed the Dodge City Cowboy Band which still exists today.

Beeson was sheriff for two terms, from 1892-96, during which he helped defuse a confrontation by convincing a group of cowboys led by noted gunman Clay Allison to leave town. Pinkerton Detective Charlie Siringo, who at the time was a young cowboy, witnessed the event and later wrote an account of the event, discounting a claim later made by Wyatt Earp that he had “backed Allison down”.

Beeson served for two terms as the Ford County sheriff, serving from 1892 to 1896. His most notable accomplishment while serving as sheriff was when he and Deputy US Marshal, Tom Hueston, killed Doolin Dalton gang member Oliver “Ol” Yantis, on November 30, 1892. Deputy Marshal Hueston was later killed during the Battle of Ingalls, a shootout between US Marshals and other members of the gang. Beeson was later twice elected to the State Legislature. He has been said to have been one of the most respected members of Dodge City during its wildest times.

Beeson represented Ford County in the Kansas State legislature four times: 1903, 1905, 1907, and a special session in 1908. Beeson died on August 12, 1912. His wife, Ida, lived until June 15, 1928.


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