Boot Hill Museum is thrilled to announce on Tuesday, September 24, they will be receiving the donation of Reverend O.W. Wright’s personal desk. Claire Laird, great-granddaughter of Rev. Wright will be in Dodge City, along with her children from New Jersey, to personally present the desk to the museum.
Most who tried to bring religion to early Dodge were scared off by the rowdy buffalo hunter or cowboy, but one man of the cloth stuck to his guns and helped settle down wild and rowdy Dodge City. Reverend Ormond Worthington Wright born in Acworth, New Hampshire in 1850, arrived in Dodge City in early 1877 at the age of 26. He remained in Dodge City as a minister to all people, regardless of their background or occupation until 1882. Soon after he arrived in Dodge City, he joined efforts to build the Union Church. It would be the first place of worship in the young town. He sought out and convinced Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp to be deacons at the church. He felt this would draw more people to church, but for protection as well. Author William Schillenburg stated, “Only in Dodge City was there a need for someone to ride shotgun over church services.” Wright’s daughter Helen once stated, “The first official act he performed as clergyman in Dodge was the burial on Boot Hill of a woman who had died the night of his arrival. From that time in Dodge City, he was called a ‘minister of our own’.”
Laird remembers her great-grandfather and often would sit on his lap at the desk. She feels it is important that this piece return to Dodge City, to preserve the story of Reverend Wright and the good works he did for the people of Dodge City and Ford County. “To say we are thrilled would be an understatement. We have had so many items recently making their way back home to Dodge City. Each is a piece of the puzzle that helps us complete the story of our past and allows us to have it for generations to come.” Lyne Johnson, Assistant Director of Boot Hill Museum stated.
The public is invited to come to the Union Church at Boot Hill Museum on Tuesday September 24th at 10am for the presentation and to meet Mrs. Laird and her family. Following the donation, birthday cake will be served in the Occident Saloon in honor of Rev. Wright who was born September 24th, 1850. For more information, please contact the museum 620-227-8188 or visit boothill.org