“This building is my life now.”
Harold Dawley was born to Lloyd and Nettie Dawley on their family farm north of Spearville in rural Ford County on February 19, 1923. After his family moved to Ford, he worked for many area farmers, graduating from Ford High School in 1942. Harold served his country in World War II in the Armored Infantry and was seriously wounded in northern France. After a medical discharge he returned to Ford County where he married Alice Williams on November 6, 1948. Both were actively involved in the Boot Hill Saddle Club for many years and always had horses. Alice passed away in August of 1972. Their son John lives in Pratt and has one son, Scott. In the 1950’s Harold started collecting horse bits and bridles. For decades he attended every farm sale in the area looking for items to add to his collection. Over the years his assortment has grown to one of the finest and largest collections of bits and bridles. To house these items, Harold built an addition to his residence which was known as the Bits and Bridle Museum. Harold’s research and vast knowledge are a major source of information for the Encyclopedia of Bits and Bridles. As a member of the National Bit, Spur and Saddle Collector’s Association, he has been honored with a Life Time Achievement Award. Harold is friendly and very likeable, and interested in all things western. Harold has been a real cowboy all his life, but made a living from the Kansas Highway Maintenance Department, retiring from them in 1988. He currently lives in the Wichita, Kansas area.
Year inducted: 2009
Learn more about Cowboy Historians