Kansas Fact and Fancy:  Trivia questions about Kansas history

Answers to Part Two

21. Four towns on the Missouri Pacific Railroad in Kansas are said to have been named after members of a Chicago baseball club, in the order of their batting average. What are the names of these towns?

This rumor has apparently persisted for decades (it even fooled a Kansas State Universtity professor, who claimed that the towns were Allen, Comiske, Raff, and Admire). Kansas-L researchers must be among the best in the world, however, because they turned up this additional information:
     "I was really intrigued with your question, and I tried to puzzle out the names by using an old (1919) Clason's Guide Map to try and discern the various routes of the Mo-Pac. Then I attempted to cross-reference names along the routes to a couple of books given me by my son, over the years...TOTAL BASEBALL and THE BASEBALL ENCYCLOPEDIA...but FIRST, I consulted our 2 Ghost Towns of Kansas books by David Fitzgerald, and looking for Mo-Pac in the index...this pointed me to Comiskey, (being named after Chas. and the old stadium in Chicago was Comiskey Park), but it also mentioned that Bushong had been named after a (St. Louis) baseball player too (both in Lyon county.) So, since the question was regarding a 'Chicago Team', that led me to the town of Anson on the Mo-Pac... Cap Anson was player-mgr of the Cubs for several years...other players on his team(s) included Wilmot, Earl(ton), and Burns, but I don't think any of these towns were on the Mo-Pac line. I know Wilmot was on a (Frisco??) line that ran from Beaumont to Atlanta, through Latham (another old Cubs player!!!).. Wow...what a mystery! I will have to report that there are no 'Admire' or 'Raff' surnames at all listed in these comprehensive books on baseball. Of course, as you may realize, there are numerous 'Allens', but none on Chicago teams except in recent times."
     Another subscriber wrote, "According to information I have found, the Chicago Ball Club/Kansas Town Name story is incorrect.
     "In Kansas Place Names by John Rydjord, (c) 1972, University of Oklahoma Press, it says Latham is named NOT for Arlie Latham of the St. Louis Browns, but for Latham Young, a railroad commissioner from Chicago. It continues:
     "'The confusion over the name of Latham was the result of a report in Ripley's Believe It or Not, which listed towns in Kansas named for the members of the Chicago White Sox. According to another report, the towns were supposedly named by a railway contractor who was a fan of the St. Louis Browns. Arlie Latham played third base with the Browns, Comiskey in Morris County was likely named for Charles Comisky, the White Sox manager. Bushong in Lyon County is believed to have been named for "Doc" Bushong, the catcher. But some of the names listed were on the St. Louis team and others were White Sox of Chicago. Some of the names were not on the Missouri Pacific.'
     "By the sound of it (from local historians I am not allowed to name) it is one of those pieces of Kansas fable that is retold from time to time, but has no basis in fact."

Since the previous information was originally posted, Edward Kennington provides additional facts further clarifying this matter for us:

"On question #21 of Kansas trivia, there was mention that the towns in Kansas were mistakenly noted by Ripley's Believe it or Not as being named after players on the "Chicago White Sox" organization.  The players were in fact part of the Chicago White Stockings Organization in the 1880's but that organization is today known as the Chicago Cubs:

    The Chicago White Stockings (1871-1893)
    The Chicago Colts (1894-1897)
    The Chicago Orphans (1898-1902)
    The Chicago Cubs (1903-present)

"Today's Chicago White Sox was first organized in 1901, and the original White Stockings / Cubs team had already changed their name numerous times."

Edward goes on to explain:

"I believe the towns were in fact named after the White Stockings / Cubs team.  Here is the line-up that inspired the names of these Kansas towns:

    First base / Manager:  Charles Comiskey
    Second base:  Yank Robinson
    Third base:  Arlie Latham
    Shortstop:  Bill Gleason
    Outfielder:  Tip O'Neil
    Outfielder:  Tommy McCarthy
    Catchers:  "Doc" Bushong, Jack Boyle, and Jack Milligan
    Pitchers:  Bob Carruthers, Silver King, Dave Fouts, Elton Chamberlain, and Nat Hudson"


22. In 1891 a reporter for the Salina Republican was discovered in the attic of a meeting hall, spying on the state convention of the Farmer's Alliance. Who was he, and what honorable position did he eventually attain? (Tie-breaker...who was with him in the attic, but was not discovered?)

"Oct. 21.-The Kansas Farmers Alliance met at Salina in secret session. Henry J. Allen, reporter for the Salina "Republican," who was discovered hiding in the garret, was evicted, but L. Kiene of the Topeka "Daily Capital," who was not discovered, furnished reports of the meeting."
          -from The Annals of Kansas, Vol. 1, p124.
     Henry J. Allen was governor 1919-23.


23. People from Southwestern Kansas may be familiar with the dream of a rich eastern businessman over a century ago. He had already made several million dollars manufacturing and selling patent medicine, and was looking for a new project. When he came to the Dodge City area, he discovered the new project he was hoping for. The project was begun, and he sold stocks in his company worth $1 million. These stocks were bonded, and sold in London at par. He made half a million dollars in this project before selling it to a trust company in New York in 1887. Though work continued for a number of years, it was never completed. In fact, the project suffered from several natural disasters, an early ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court (that was recently overturned in a much-publicized hearing) and from alack of understanding of soil mechanics. A piece of it was recently unearthed and is on display outside the museum at Ingalls. A newspaper article regarding the discovery of this piece cited its weight as 15 tons. The question: Name this folly and tell why it failed.

Asa T. Soule had grand dreams of building a canal from Ingalls to Spearville (east of Dodge City) to take water from the Arkansas and use it for irrigation. It never worked and Mr. Soule unloaded his interest in the Eureka Irrigation Canal for $1,000,000. Traces of the canal can still be seen east of town.
     Mounds of dirt excavated during construction mark the route. One of the giant pumps for pumping water from the Arkansas into the Soule canal is on display in front of the local museum. The steam-driven centrifugal pump could move 30,000 gallons per minute.
     According to folks in Dodge City, Mr. Soule's grand canal failed "when similar irrigation projects upstream and a prolonged drought during these years lowered the river's level."
     Additional information: Soule's Ditch suffered a series of setbacks beginning with a flood in 1895 which destroyed some of the project buildings and filled the reservoir. In 1902 the US Supreme Court ruled that if Colorado wished, it had the right to take nearly all the water it needed for irrigation, leaving the Arkansas river high and dry. In 1908 a new group of investors purchased the canal hoping to use the underflow of the river rather than what flowed above the ground. Another reservoir was dug parallel to the stream. On it were placed two barges equipped with dredges that pulled out the sand but left the water. Two centrifugal pumps were installed to send the water from the reservoir into the canal. It was cited that one of these pumps could "throw a stream of 30,000 gallons of water a minute." But, even with both pumps working, the canal suffered from seepage. 35% of water was lost back to the underflow in 1 1/2 miles. With that final failing, the reservoir became a swimming hole and baptismal font for local residents. The Pueblo Flood of 1921 filled in the reservoir and buried what remained of the equipment. One of the pumps was uncovered in 1977, and is now on display outside the museum at Ingalls.


24. This man was on the losing side in the war of 1812. He was first reviled then revered by his followers. His brother served as a brigidier general in the British army. Though the brother was killed in a pivotal battle of that war, this man lived until 1837. Many historians consider that he was an inept bumbler and was successful only through his brother's guidance. Among the facts that tend to support this theory is: In spite of his brother's explicit instructions not to engage the enemy, he suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of American forces in November of 1811. Many years later, the site of this battle became part of a presidential campaign slogan. Who was this man and, most importantly, what was his link to Kansas?

Tenskawatawa, sometimes known as "the Shawnee Prophet", ignored the advice of his brother, Tecumseh, and, in 1811, led his people in an assault upon an entrenched American force force, armed with rifles and under the command of William Henry Harrison. The Shawnees suffered severe losses and were scattered, some of them still following their discredited leader as he withdrew to the west. Tecumseh, meanwhile, had been given a commission in the British army in Canada and was killed two years later, in the Battle of Thames, Ontario.
     As time passed, however, Tenskawatawa had begun to preach the doctrine that his people and the disoriented members of other tribes would recover their powers only by returning to traditional ways. Hundreds joined him at his camp not far from the Junction of the Mississippi and Rock Rivers. Makataimishekiakiak, or Black Hawk, leader of a small band of Sac and Fox, was one of those who fell under Tenskawatawa's influence. When his and the Prophet's people were moved, under threat of force, into Iowa in 1831, the two leaders decided to defy the whites. In the Spring of 1831, they moved back across the Mississippi into the Rock River valley, and a fierce war broke out.
     Interestingly enough, Abraham Lincoln served as captain of a group of volunteer militia, but, when his unit's 30-day term of service was up, he re-enlisted as a private, taking his oath of service from a Regular Army officer by the name of Jefferson Davis.
     The fighting was over by mid-summer. The Indian leaders were imprisoned, although only for a relatively short time, while their people were moved far from what was then the frontier of white settlement. The Shawnee, along with what remained of Blackhawk's Sac and Fox, were moved into lands that had been secured for them near the junction of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers (which today would include Shawnee, Indian Hills, Overland Park, and most of Kansas City, KS).
     Oh, yes. On 4 March of 1841, William Henry Harrison, whose supporters' slogan of "Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too!" had won him the presidential election, was inaugurated as the ninth president of the United States. Not that it made much difference, since he died in office, 4 April 1841.
     Tenskwatawa (aka Open Door, The Prophet) is probably the only War of 1812 participant who opposed the United States who is buried in a plot on private ground in the Argintine distict of Kansas City, Kansas.


25. Kansas was a dangerous place back in the early days, and none more so than Douglas county, where bands of armed men were likely to ride out of the trees to attack, and often kill, unwary passers-by. Sometimes the attackers had robbery in mind, and sometimes they were simply doing what they considered to be the proper sort of thing.
     Back in the days before statehood, there were a number of such murders, but two in particular, one not too far from Baldwin and the other near Lawrence, were of unimagined, although somewhat indirect, consequences. The first and earlier eventually brought the United States, per capita, more wealth than any other single event in its history, while the second came to cost the nation, per capita, more wealth than any other event in its history.
     Who were the people who were murdered, and how did their deaths lead to events of such magnitude?

On 1 December of 1855, a small army of Missourians, acting as a posse comitatus under the command of "Sheriff" Jones, laid siege to Lawrence in the opening stages of what later became known as "The Wakarusa War." Governor Shannon brought about a peace and lifting of the siege, but a young man who had come to the aid of the Free Staters rode of to his home about six miles west of the town. He was met on the way by a group of pro-slavery men from Lecomptom and was shot in cold blood without even drawing his own weapon. His body was returned to Lawrence where the entire citizenry followed it to its burial, in the presence of his young wife and children, in Pioneer Cemetery. This event, more than any other, hardened the Free-Staters to the realization that they had come not simply for an election to determinewhether Kansas would be free or slave, but to fight a war over the issue. The war in Kansas, catching the public eye and elevated to a national scale by John Brown, merged seamlessly into the American Civil War, the most costly conflict in both human and economic terms that the nations has ever experienced.
     Some seven years earlier, a Mexican businessman by the name of Chavez was travelling toward Westport on the Santa Fe trail, and passing through the general area that is now southern Douglas county, when he was waylaid by a gang of bushwhackers, killed, and robbed. Santa Ana, president and dictator of Mexico, used this as justification for closing down trade along the Santa Fe trail, a trade that was draining silver from the entire region of Santa Fe and Taos. The United States regarded this embargo as a sufficient cause for declaring war on Mexico. The war ended with the acquisition of an immense stretch of territory by the United States, territory that included California, where the gold found at Sutter's Creek shortly after, and the rich silver deposits of Nevada, furnished the bullion and plate from which the nation's currency was coined for the next half-century.


26. An author lived in Pittsburg, Kansas between 1901 and 1903. He was the author of a regionally well-known story that was later made into a movie by the same name starring John Wayne. He is reported to have been the first American writer to earn one million dollars in profits from his writing. Who is the author, and what is the well-known story?

Harold Bell Wright, Shepherd of the Hills.


27. A native of Garnett who moved to Chicago, this turn-of-the-century poet's work can be found in most anthologies of American literature. Name this poet.

Edgar Lee Masters was born in Garnett, Kansas on Aug 23, 1868 while his parents, Hardin W. Masters and Emma Dexter, were homesteading there. He spent his early childhood near Petersburg, Illinois; moved to Lewistown, Fulton Co., Illinois at age 12; and spent adult life primarily in Chicago, Illinois. He died in 1950, buried in Oakland Cemetery, Petersburg, Menard Co., Illinois.
     Masters also was a friend of Vachel Lindsay, which might account for his setting The Santa Fe Trail in Kansas.


28. On October 26, 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-525, establishing a National Historic Site in Kansas to commemorate a landmark Supreme Court decision. What was the court case? (Either the name or the decision is okay.) Where is the National Historic Site? (The city and the building.)

On October 26, 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-525, establishing Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site to commemorate the landmark Supreme Court decision aimed at ending segregation in public schools. Topeka was the city and Sumner School was the building.
     The Supreme Court began considering the decision Dec. 9, 1952 with a full house and another 400 people being turned away. The case went on and on. The justices were split and the issue was dividing the country. Then the Supreme Court's chief justice died and President Dwight Eisenhower (also a Kansan) named California's former governor Earl Warren as the new chief justice. Warren belived in justice and fairness. He also believed that the decision should be unanimous. The decision was made on May 17, 1954: "(in part) It is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity...is a right which must be available to all on equal terms...Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race...deprive children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does...We conclude, unanimously, that in the field of public education the doctrice of 'separate by equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."
     The subscriber who provided the informaiton in the previous paragraph added, "My source for most of the above is a wonderful series of History books for children: A History of US by Joy Hakim, published by Oxford University Press. They are great if you have upper grade school children. As you can see, adults can learn from them too. It is a set of 10 books."
     NOTE: For more information on McKinley Burnett, who was the moving force behind this court case, see McKinley Burnett: Fired by a Dream here in KanColl.


29. This Kansan was Commander of the pilot ship during the flight of Apollo 17 to the moon. (1) Who was he? (2) What high school did he graduate from? (3) What college did he graduate from?

Captain Ronald E. Evans, USN retired, was bBorn 10 Nov 1933 in St. Francis, KS (his parents reside in Iola, KS). He graduated from Highland Park High School in Topeka, and received his bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Kansas in 1956.


30. WHO AM I?
     I was born in Cherryvale, KS in 1907 and died in Connecticut in 1979. I was a successful Broadway stage performer before I became a beloved and well-known television personality in the 1950's. What was my birth name? What was my stage name?

Vivian Vance (born Vivian Jones) played Ethel in "I Love Lucy."


31. When Dr. James Naismith was hired by the University of Kansas in 1898, he was hired to fill two positions. What were they?

What most people don't know is that Dr. Naismith was a very religious man, and served as Chapel Director at Kansas as well as Physical Education instructor after earning a doctor of medicine degree in Denver. (He graduated from medical school. He studied as an undergraduate for the ministry while maintaining an interest in physical education.) Dr. Naismith had reluctantly agreed to coach the new college team for the exclusive purpose of promoting recreational activity, which was his intended purpose in inventing the game of basketball.


32. Erected in about 1856 and destroyed by fire in 1883, it was where Horace Greeley organized the Republican Party in Kansas on May 18, 1859. What was the name of the structure, what town was it in and what occupied the grounds in 1954, at the time of the Kansas [Territorial] Centennial?

From A Town Between Two Rivers, Osawatomie, Kansas, 1854-1954", published by "Osage Valley Centennial, Inc., in 1954" and contains all kinds of info about the first 100 years of the town:
     "It was on May 18, 1859, that the Republican party was organized in Kansas by Horace Greeley, who addressed some 5,000 persons assembled in and around the Osage Valley Hotel, which stood on the ground now occupied by the American State Bank. The preliminary work was done at a rival hotel, the Jillison Hotel, which stood just north of the present site of the Presbyterian church."
     The subscriber asking this question added, "The part about the OVH burning in 1883 came from the caption of a picture of the hotel which reads: "OSAGE VALLEY HOUSE, hotel erected in about 1856, destroyed by fire in 1883. It was here that Horace Greeley organized the Republican Party in 1859."


33. One of the largest towns in the region of Kansas was once burned to the ground to prevent the spread of disease and then burned again, several years later, because "'evil spirits' dwelt there." What was the name of the town?

Uniontown in Shawnee county, Kansas. Uniontown today is a cemetary where the residents are said to be buried in a mass grave.


34. What city was founded by the "Vegetarian Kansas Emigration Company" in 1856?

Octagon City. Miriam Colt was part of this group and describes the trip out and the group in Went to Kansas. Watson Stewart also mentions this in his Memoir.


35. What part of Kansas was once sold to the Conferate states? Who sold it? What were the terms of the sale?

The Indians sold the Cherokee Neutral Lands to the Confederacy for $500,000.00. Half of this was paid in gold, the other half in Confederate "dollars." In addition, the Indians were suppose to provide 4 troops?/divisions? of soldiers to fight for the Confederacy. Since the Confederacy lost, the Indians later sold the land to the United States.
     For more information (and it's quite a tale!), you can visit Cutler's History of the State of Kansas.


36. L. Frank Baum's children's novel The Wizard of Oz has become almost synonymous with Kansas, helped in large part by the beloved movie that was based on the book. Not a few Kansans can get misty-eyed hearing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"! While the movie followed the story in the book closely, there were some significant differences, and my question deals with one of them. In the movie, Dorothy was safely returned home to Kansas, but we never found out what happened to her companions. My question: whatever happened to the Cowardly Lion?

The Cowardly Lion became King of the Beasts in the grand old forest that lies over the hill of the Hammer-Heads.


37. On October 5, 1871, an Abilene Law Enforcement Officer shot and killed two men. Who was the lawman, who were the victims, and why was the death of the second man considered so peculiar?

On October 5, 1871, there was a gun battle with Phil Coe, proprietor of the Bull's Head Saloon in Abilene. Wild Bill was in the Alamo when he heard a shot in the street. He jumped to his feet to see what had happened. Coe said he shot at a stray dog. It is not clear if Coe fired at Hickok. Hickok shot Coe in the stomach and he died.
     Just after shooting Coe, Hickok heard a man turn the corner and come running up the sidewalk. He saw that the man had a pistol in his hand, but failed to recognize that it was his friend Mike Williams. In December, the town council informed Hickok that they were "no longer in need of his services."


38. There are four things I remember with great fondness and miss terribly from my youth on a Miami Co., KS farm. I wouldn't return to that hard life for anything but if I were wealthy I'd arrange to experience these four things regularly. Our family left that farm (and farm life) in 1959 therefore I can't "go home" for these treats.

(1) The smell of freshly mowed alfalfa; (2) the smell of a newly plowed field; (3) Kansas sunsets over a full and unobstructed horizon; and (4) ripe wheat waving in the wind.


39. What is the meaning of the phrase "out of Missouri by Jennison"?

The phrase "out of Missouri by Jennison" was used (wink, wink) to explain the pedigree of horses of doubtful origin. "Doc" Jennison of Mound City was such a talented horse thief and did such a thorough job of redistributing the horse flesh wealth of Missouri. It was a bitter joke for Missourians that the phrase found it's way to common use in such places as Illinois and Iowa describing stolen horses.
     This alternate explanation was provided: "The standard forms for describing the "parentage" of a prize animal, say a horse, were "sired by (stallion's name), out of (mare's name)" or "born out of (mare's name), by (stallion's name)." The phrase was common enough so that the verbs "sired" and "born" were dropped, as they are today when describing race horses. Since Jennison was the "father" (in a way) of the slaves he brought out of Missouri, people of the time understood that "out of Missouri by Jennison" was a shortened form of "born out of Missouri, by Jennison, " an apt comment on newly-free men and women. The pun, however, was that the slaves were "borne out of Missouri by Jennison.""


40. Who was the first baby born in Barber County? What year? Who were the parents?

The first child born in the county was Ralph Duncan, son of A. L. Duncan, born in the spring of 1873.

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