“I figured since I was brought into this world by a marshal, I ought to be one.”
On January 10, 1935, Dodge City pioneer and lawman, Hamilton B. “Ham” Bell delivered Charlie Meade in the back of his ambulance in rural Ford County Kansas. Charlie sees it as fitting that he became a Dodge City lawmen himself. Charlie’s parents were Logan A. and Pearl L. Meade. At the time the Meades lived on a ranch owned by Charlie’s grandfather, William M. Meade. The family can trace its lineage back to General George G. Meade who commanded the Union forces at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In 1939, the family moved to a ranch 37 miles northwest of Dodge City in Hodgeman County and Charlie attended a rural school until fourth grade. The family again moved into Jetmore where Charlie was schooled through his sophomore year at Jetmore High School. Charlie finished his secondary education graduating from Hanston High School in 1953, after which he went a year to Garden City Junior College. He moved to Dodge City in 1955, taking a job as a clerk at May Sporting Goods. Charlie served his country enlisting in the Army for two years starting in 1960. He then joined the Kansas National Guard for four years. On November 1, 1965, Marshal Ramon K. House swore Charlie in as a Dodge City Marshal, which was what policemen were called in those days. In the 1960’s, Charlie opened a gun shop in Dodge City. He is still extremely knowledgeable about typical cowboy and western firearms. He was a member of the Dodge City Posse, but was unable to participate in the 1961 inauguration of U.S. President John F. Kennedy due to his wife, Vicki’s, illness. In 1966, Charlie participated in the Y/O Ranch’s cattle drive riding over 600 miles from Mountain Home, Texas to Dodge City. Charlie settled on a ranch south of Dodge City which is fittingly on the famous Western Cattle Trail with his back pasture being a likely holding area for its herds headed north to the railway. When the Dodge City Trail of Fame was incorporated in 2005, Charlie joined the group taking visitors on walking tours around the Dodge City downtown historic district. His tours stimulates visitors’, as well as locals’, interest in southwest Kansas heritage leaving them with a strong desire to learn about our history. Preserving history in this way is what defines Charlie as a historian. Charlie has also traveled across the Nation promoting Kansas history in places as far-flung as Pendleton, Oregon; Crestview, Florida; and California. In 2006, he was sworn in as a Special Deputy U.S. Marshal, a title he proudly holds. In 2018, Charlie was the Dodge City Days Parade Marshal. Charlie Meade lives with his wife, Vicki, on their ranch south of Dodge City.