Camping With the Jesse James Gang in Coffeyville, Kansas

Some states are RV friendly, and others, not so much.

One of the friendliest is Coffeyville, Kansas, a small town that sits in the Southeast corner of the state. 

We were in a small truck camper heading West the day we rolled into Coffeyville.   What brought us there was the promise of an inexpensive campground that we had seen listed in one of our RV travel books.

When we arrived, what we found at first appeared to be...well...nothing!  There was a small clapboard house that was locked and not a soul was to be found.
This is a campground?

They had an "honor" box for people wishing to camp, so we put our $10 into the envelope and started scouting for a site.

That took a few minutes, because the sites were hidden by tall prairie grasses and were spread out quite a bit.

The Problem

When we finally found a spot, we realized that we did not have the correct electric connections, so were unable to hook up.

This left us with a real problem because it was getting late, nobody was around and we had already deposited our money into a locked honor box.

We saw another small house in the distance, and decided to drive over to see if they knew where the campsite owners were.

It turned out that the son of the owner lived there with his family.  

Help Arrives

When we told him our situation, he immediately returned our $10, apologized for our trouble, invited us to stay for dinner and then directed us to a $3 a night campground that was located in town!

This man did not know us, did not know if we were being honest and still was wonderfully gracious.

We declined the dinner invitation, found the little campground and wound up spending a few days in Coffeyville.

As it turned out, the town had an interesting history.

Jesse James
via WikimediaCommons

Some Interesting History

It seems they have a bank there that was robbed by the Jesse James and his gang. During the robbery, the bank president whose name was Mr. Brown, was shot and killed.

To honor Mr. Brown and celebrate the notoriety of the big bank robbery, the town holds a formal ball on the second floor of one of Coffeyville's historic homes.

Everybody dresses up as people did "back in the day", and it is the biggest event of the year.

It made us wish that we could be there to enjoy the festivities, but we needed to move on.

The Brown Mansion Documentary

Everybody in Coffeyville was friendly and helpful, and we had a great visit there.
The only disappointment was the one steakhouse/buffet in town.  

At that time, they sold nothing but meat and potatoes.  No salads, no desserts...just steak and potatoes.

What else would you expect from a cow town?