Sublette, Kansas

Some early pioneers became larger than life-myths, legends, our very own folk heroes.  One of Haskell County's towns bears the name of one such pioneer folk hero: William L. Sublette, mountain man.  

Click here to learn more about William L. Sublette.

An excerpt from...

"100 Years Beneath the Plow"

A Historical Anthology of Haskell County

Construction on the new town, Sublette - 1912

In the background you will notice the rail cars in use on the newly laid track.  The buffalo grass has been cut short to mark the new main street with construction on the first building in Sublette, The Cave Mercantile. 

The plat of Sublette was filed June 5, 1912 on section 32-29-32.  The center of town was located in the center of the street running east and west on the north side of the present Farm Bureau building, dividing the Section north and south. 
Gladys Sublette Boaz, born November 6, 1912 was the first baby born in the new town of Sublette.  She was delivered by Dr. Minor who, shortly after her birth, was called to the Claude Cave home where he delivered another girl, Carrye.  Dr. Miner was still living in Santa Fe at this time. He did not move to Sublette until the following year. 
The parents of Gladys Sublette we're Thomas Willis and Pearl Marie (Pound Bowass) who homesteaded 7 miles south of Santa Fe in 1906.  This is just now just southwest of Sublette. They later operated a restaurant with living quarters in the back of the building.

The Steve Cave General Store, 1913  - Photo courtesy of Ellis Cave
Shown; Claude Cave, Mary Stapleton, and Steve E. Cave

Maternal grandparents of the new baby girl were Thorton O. and Mary Elizabeth (Dutton Pound) lived between Sublette and Garden City. They later move to Garden City.
Gladys and her husband, Hubert Walstom, visited Sublette on September 25, 1975.  Now widowed, she lives in (1983) in the Topeka Convalescent Center, Topeka, KS.  (From information provided by Robert O. Pound, Garden City, and newspaper clippings.)
Sublette was an established village of 270 inhabitants by early in 1913. Many of the families had moved their homes to Sublette from Santa Fe. 

The Becknell Avenue addition East and West (13 blocks) and the McCoy first addition were filed March 6, 1922.
 A petition to incorporate the City of Sublette was presented to the Haskell County Board of Commissioners, February 15, 1923. The petition was excepted and incorporation proceeded.  Sublette was officially incorporated on March 5, 1923.
The first city election was held April 2, 1923, to elect a mayor, five councilmen and a police judge.  On October 2 a special bond election was held to approve a $20,000 bond issue.  The proposal was approved by a vote of 60 to 56. In November a waterworks bid was submitted by W.C. Swanwick and was discussed at length.  A emotion was made by F. G. Pope and seconded by L. N. Corson to accept the bid. The motion carried.
The waterworks was apparently completed by spring for, on April 21, 1924, the Robinson Hardware of Sublette was asked by the city Council to handle the pipe, fittings and water meters needed to pipe the water to individual properties.

Sublette Grade School, 1927

With the installation of the water system the budding city moved on to the purchase of a Ford firetruck.  R. L. Bethel was appointed as the first fire chief.  P. E. Lindeman was appointed water superintendent at a salary of $34 per month.

In the spring of 1926 transmission lines were begun with which to furnish Sublette with electricity. Two more additions were filed: the Cave first edition; August 2, 1926: the Park addition, May 18, 1928. In April 1929, the council granted a franchise to Argus Gas Company to pipe and distribute gas in the City of Sublette.  The Cave second addition was filed June 16, 1931, in the Elliott addition, November 25, 1933.

On January 9, 1947,  a bid was accepted by Burton and Binford and Contractors for a sewer system for the city.  By summer, more additions were filed: the Cox's first addition, July 26, 1947; the McCoy second addition, July 27, 1947; the Garrett, White, McCoy, and Phoenix additions, October 17, 1947.

In November 1953 the city Council voted to call a special bond election December 15.  The proposal was to issue general obligation bonds, not to exceed $75,000, to improve and extend the city water system.  The improvement was to include a water tank and tower, a new well and pumping station on a new site, and to extend the mains.  The bond issue was approved by vote of 70 to 16.