Surnames in this history: Gard, Hill, King & Parker.
Almada King ( Madie, as she was known to her many friends) was a true pioneer women. She was born February 17, 1870 at Shelbyville, Missouri, and when she was sixteen moved in a covered wagon with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Parker, and ten of the fourteen children in the family to the area know as Poverty Flats in southeast Comanche County where her parents filed on a claim.
Mrs. King related many early days incidents, and one she told was of how Frank King who was the range boss of the Comanche Pool and whom she later married, came by and told her how that day he and other cowboys of the Pool had came upon the bodies of three salt-haulers who had been camped at a spring just over the line in Oklahoma. He also related how these men had been killed by Indians and their horses stolen. They buried these unfortunate men whose bodies were so swollen they filled a wagon box by the time they were found. These graves can still be found on the R.E. Hill ranch in northwest Woods County, Oklahoma.
Mr. King was among the first white people in this area and followed the great cattle drives from San Antonio to Dodge City as early as 1870 when he was sixteen or seventeen.
In April of 1889 Frank and Almada were married at Medicine Lodge, and when they went to the hotel for the night, the night attendant told them all rooms were taken, but finally agreed to let them have his room. The next morning Mr. King went down to the lobby and Mrs. King decided to look on the other side of a sheet which was hanging in a corner of the room. Her screams at the site of a skelton behind the sheet brought both Mr. King and the night attendant, and it developed that the night attendant was studying medicine, thus accounting for the skeleton.
That same year Mr. King was given the job of disposing of the remaining stock of the Comanche Pool since the awful winter of 1886 had killed most of them. It was told that after this terrible storm one could walk for miles along the Cimarron and never step off the bodies of dead cattle which had drifted there and died.
Mr. and Mrs. King lived on their ranch 20 miles southeast of Coldwater and just north of the Oklahoma line for thirty-five years before moving to Coldwater in 1911, and Mr. King passed away in 1915.
Mrs. King was a lifelong Presbyterian and attended church regularly as long as her health permitted, and she was a charter member of the Coldwater Presbyterian Missionary Society. She fell and fractured her arm in 1939, and it was then that Ruby Gard came to help her. She came to regard Ruby as a daughter, and Ruby stayed and cared for her for twenty five years, until she passed away on July 18, 1963. Though she had no children of her own, she also was very close to her brother, Boss Parker, and his family, whom she also treated as sons and daughters.
Fortunately Mrs. King had a vivid memory, and many people came to her to hear her accounts of the early days as they were putting together books about this area, so through them she will continue to live on throughout the early day history of Comanche County.
Comanche County History, pages 484 & 485, no author listed, published by the Comanche County Historical Society, Coldwater, Kansas, 1981.
Obituary of Frank King Published in The Western Star, 9 July 1915.
The Comanche Pool by Mary Einsel, from Kansas: The Priceless Prairie.
This page added to the site by Jerry Ferrin on 20 Sept 2002; thanks to Bobbi (Hackney) Huck for her help with this page.