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Trailblazer - George M. Hoover – Maple Grove Cemetery, Ford County, Kansas

A trailblazer is an individual who is willing to take risks and go on a path that isn’t already there. On July 17, 1872, George M. Hoover arrived in what would become Dodge City, Kansas. He opened the first saloon, was elected the first mayor, and opened the first bank, to name a few.

Upon his death, he bequeathed $100,000 specifically to be used to beautify the city and its cemeteries. Hoover Pavilion was built using some of those funds. Each of the six churches in Dodge City was given $1000.

George Merritt Hoover was born in Ontario, Canada in 1847. At the age of 22, he set out to make his way. George married Margaret Carnahan in Dodge City on August 20, 1876. The couple did not have any children, however, they did raise a foster son, George Curry. Margaret served as the female ambassador to Dodge City. She organized many social and charitable organizations.

One of the four major cattle trails which ended in Dodge City was the Great Western Trail. In 1874, John T. Lytle blazed the trail by bringing approximately 3,500 north to the railheads in Dodge City. Traffic on the Trail began to decline in 1885, however, six to seven million cattle traversed the trail.Along with other merchants, the G.M. Hoover store prospered. By the 1890’s the cattle trails had ended as the railroads had been built in Texas.

Margaret passed away in March of 1914. George died the following July. Both are buried in Maple Grove Cemetery.

Note: George Curry led a fascinating life. He was born at the beginning of the Civil War in Louisiana. During the Spanish-American War (1898), George served in Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Rider’s. He served as governor of the Philippines for several years. Returning to America, he was elected governor of the Territory of New Mexico. When New Mexico became a state in 1912, George was elected as a US representative. He is buried in Santa Fe National Cemetery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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