(1856 - 1929)
With a Black father, a Mexican mother and born in Texas, Ben Hodges was a cowboy on a cattle drive which arrived in Dodge City, KS in 1872. The arduous life of a drover did not suit Ben's way.
So as a means of support, Hodges became a talented forger, confidence man and part-time cattle thief. With phony Spanish Land grants, Ben convinced leading Dodge City citizens of their authenticity and these people loaned him money.
After being arrested for stealing milk cows, Hodges was arrested. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence, his eloquent plea moved the jury and Ben was acquitted. Shortly after the trial, the cows broke loose and returned home.
The comical part is he probably swindled or attempted to swindle everyone in Dodge City. Somehow Ben Hodges lived until 1929 in the Cowtown Capital.
Ben Hodges is buried in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Dodge City, KS. One of his pallbearers is quoted as saying, "We buried Ben there for a good reason. We wanted him where we can keep a good eye on him."
Information compiled by Steve Grimm