“If no one had written about it [the Western Trail], it would have been lost to time.”
Both Gary and Margaret Kraisinger are descendents of Kansas homesteaders. Gary was born on November 6, 1939 in Hays, Kansas, to Alfred and Christina Kraisinger. Margaret, his wife, was born on July 14, 1941 in Garden City, Kansas to Archie and Livona Beller. The couple met in 1960 at Fort Hays State University and were married in 1963. Gary received a BS at FHSU in 1963, and Margaret a BA from FHSU in 1964. As a partial requirement for his MS degree at Emporia State University, Gary wrote his thesis on “The Garden City Nickel Plate Railroad – C.J. Jones’ Dirt Railroad.” His 1966 degree was in Geography and Cartography. In 1967, Margaret got a Master’s in Business Education at ESU. Both taught for a short time in the Dighton school system. It was during this time they became interested in the cattle trails across western Kansas. In 1968, the couple moved to Wichita where Gary worked in the cement, sand, and aggregate industry for more than 40 years. Margaret continued to teach in Wichita and Halstead until her retirement in 1997. Soon after, she began writing history and purchased an old hardware store in Halstead. The couple has been enthusiastic about cattle trail history since early in their marriage. Together the Kraisingers have written two books on the Western Cattle Trail. The first one, “The Western, The Greatest Texas Cattle Trail 1874-1886,” was published in 2004 and the second, “The Western Cattle Trail 1874-1897 Its Rise, Collapse and Revival,” was published in 2015. A third book, “The Fort Arbuckle Trail, 1867 – 1871,” is scheduled for release in early 2016. The Fort Arbuckle Trail located in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) funneled longhorns into Abilene, Kansas. Gary is a board member of the national Great Western Cattle Trail Association and of the Kansas Chapter. He is a member of the Kansas Cattle Towns Association, International Chisholm Trail Association and of its Dodge City/Fort Dodge/Cimarron Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association. Gary and Margaret ardently write and educate the public about cattle trails. The Kraisingers have three children, Kurt, Eric and Kristi Stewart, and they have eight grandchildren. Margaret and Gary live in Halstead, Kansas where Margaret operates the Old Hardware Store, a business in a historic 1879 stone building.
Year inducted: 2015
Learn more about Cowboy Historians