C. J. Jones came to Garden City for an antelope hunt, about the middle of January, 1879, from Sterling, Kansas. Before returning to his home, the Fulton brothers arranged with him for his services to assist in the promotion of Garden City, and especially in trying to influence the Santa Fe railroad to put in a switch and station.
Finally C. J. Jones made an agreement with the Santa Fe railroad early in 1879, and the Fulton location at Garden City was agreed upon as the town-to-be. It became necessary for the Fultons to immediately acquire title to their lands. To save the time and expense necessary to make commutation proof, they relinquished their filings, and title to the land was acquired by placing thereon, Land Script (additional homesteads) in the names of Edmund Guy, John Welch, John N. Baughn and A. R. Clark, each of whom were veterans of the Civil War. These four men to whom patents were issued for eighty acres each, conveyed to William D. Fulton the southeast quarter of section 18 and the southwest quarter to James R. Fulton. The Fultons in turn conveyed to the Garden City Town Company about 51 percent and received a minority interest in the town company in consideration of the conveyance.
As a young member of William and James Fulton's hunting outfit, John A. Stevens quickly filed on the northeast quarter of section, after the Fulton Brothers had filed on the south half on March 16, 1878, with the intent to start a town. Thus Mr. Stevens became on of the founders of Garden City when his homestead became an addition to the original townsite in 1883.
Mr. Stevens was born December 22, 1850, in Warren County, Illinois, not far from Hopper's Mill which William D. Fulton operated in the late 1860's and early 70's. Mr. Stevens came to Peace (Sterling) in Rice County, Kansas by way of Iowa and Republic County, Kansas in 1873. Before long he took his place among the hunters of wild horses and buffalo roaming the prairies on west. After William and James Fulton arrived in Sterling and changed their vocations to wild horse hunting, John A. Stevens joined their outfit and eventually joined their new town. The Fultons and Stevens continued rounding up wild horses which they sold and shipped to other places; but their chief goal was promoting the growth of Garden City.
The first marriage for Garden City was that of John A. Stevens and Ciddie (Sadie) Fulton, daughter of William D. and Luticia Fulton, on February 10, 1879. They were the parents of two sons, Orville F., and Glenn W. All of the Stevens family are buried in Valley View Cemetery. The first was John A. Stevens on April 9, 1902. He was builder of the Windsor hotel, now a historic landmark at the head of Main Street, and the Stevens Opera House, which was dismantled in January 1959.
Photos courtesy of Finney County Historical Museum
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