Progress in Kansas

Selections from
the May 1935 Issue

Kansas Caravan  Pioneers and New Frontiers  $53,500,000 Paid to Kansas Farmers

Children on Relief  Kansans Say:  Wilroads Gardens

Piebald Human Beings


CARRYING a message of faith, courage and hope into every section of the state, the Spring district meetings of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce were the most successful of any since they were inaugurated three years ago.

     Enthusiastic crowds were present at each of the eight meetings altho adverse weather conditions cut sharply into the number of individual delegations in the western part of the state. A shorter program and the change from luncheon to duinner meetings proved unusually popular.

     Starting at Clay Center on April 23 other meetings were held at Hays, Garden City, Hutchinson, Topeka, Wichita, Chanute and Kansas City where the final one was staged May 3.

     Roy F. Bailey, president of the State Chamber, and Paul Jones, editor of the Lyons News, carried the brunt of the speaking program. They addressed all eight meetings.

     Harry Colmery, Topeka attorney, spoke at Clay Center and Hays; Chancellor E. H. Lindley of the University of Kansas, at Garden City and Hutchinson; and, Carl Magee, famous Southwest editor from Oklahoma City, at Topeka and Wichita. Mr. Magee was forced to cancel his Chanute and Kansas City engagements when he was called back to Oklahoma by urgent business. Samuel Wilson, manager of the State Chamber , also addressed the Clay Center meeting.

     Exceptional interest was evidenced in each of these addresses and there was warm praise for the high calibre of the speaking program.

Return to Top of Page


Following are excerpts from speeches delivered at the annual Spring district meetings of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. An outline of the talk by Paul Jones is carried elsewhere.
Roy F. Bailey

THE problems which perplex us today are merely duplication of problems which have distressed those who have gone before us. They have seemed insuperable at the time but they have always been solved and, thereafter, the people have found themselves on a higher plane, boasting a higher standard of civilization than ever before. Fifty years ago the newspaper and periodicals were full of stories about unemployment and overproduction, high taxes, a prostrate agriculture, the high cost of relief, the centralization of power at Washington, pensions for Civil War veterans and demands for inflation. If the man who died 50 years ago could arise now he would start reading his newspaper again without realizing that he had passed on. We came out of it before and we will come out of it again but it calls for courage, faith, loyalty, clear-thinking and honest effort.

Chancellor E. H. Lindley

THE great frontiers of the future are economic and social frontiers. They will be conquered thru the mental genius of man operating thru a spirit of cooperation and organized leadership. Brains count today.

THREE inventions changed the course of Kansas history. They were the bargerd wire, the reaper and the windmill. These three inventions rescued Kansas from an awesome plains and changed it into a great agricultural empire. Later, the development of the power age started a trend toward the decentralization of industry which has brought Kansas to a position of 14th among the states in manufacturing and 8th in mineral resources.

THE Kansas State Chamber of Commerce is the only body in the state organized to give expression to and afford fulfillment of the people's individual and collective hopes and ambitions.

Carl C. Magee

THRUOUT this depression Kansas has been dominated by a greater sanity and has kept its feet more firmly planted on the ground than any other agricultural state.

IF you can get public sentiment behind you, nothing is impossible. Public sentiment, based on an informed public opinion, is the greatest weapon for accomplishment in the world.

THE home is the bulwark of civilization because within it we have learned to cooperate. In its operation we are unselfish, loyal; we practice both a practical and spiritual cooperation. If we would exercise the same principles of cooperation in our business, social and economic relationships, our problems would vanish.

Harry W. Colmery

THE prioneers of early Kansas never retreated; they never looked back. They knew only how to go forward. Thier lives and their heritage is a challenge to the present generation. The next three or four years will be years of opportunity but pnly for those who are on their toes and who have the vision and courage to take advantage of the possibliites that will exist.

THE greatest danger confronting the American community today is inertia and laziness of the mind.

Samuel Wilson

THERE is plenty of technical knowledge in the world with which to make government and society an almost perfect organization. Research will bring it to light and place it in the hands of the business man in convenient form. Technical men, in general, welcome the chance to work with business men on such problems. The only lack today is a large enough number of business men who see the seriousness and importance of the situation and are ready to make some sacrifices of their time and money to meet it.

THE improvement of goverment must be accelerated so that it will keep pace with the material developments which are going on and will go on so rapidly, or organized society will disappear. Those of us who believe in democracy as the most flexible and satisfactory form of goverment must be prepared to do something more about it than we have done in the past. I have no heart of regimentation or socialism or collectivism, but I am quite sure that the rugged individualist will become a ragged individualist in the economic storm which is breaking around us. The adjustment of society to these new demands is unthinkable without organized leadership.

IT is of little importance whether you think of the programs of today as the new deal, the square deal or the raw deal; but it is of tremendous imporance that you think and that your thinking be based on study.

Return to Top of Page


SINCE AAA [Agricultural Adjustment Administration] checks began flowing into Kansas with the beginning of the adjustment programs, purchasing power of Kansas farmers has been boosted $53,500,000, says H. Umberger, director of the Kansas State College extension service. Seven Kansas counties have each received more than one million dollars. They are Barton, Ford, Gray, Pawnee, Pratt, Reno and Rush. Reno tops the list with $1,533,015, representing $1,340,490 in wheat checks and $192,525 in corn-hog payments.

     Of the 53½ million total, more than 40 million is in wheat payments and in excess of 13 million in corn-hog payments.

Return to Top of Page


ORE than 7,400,000 children under 16 are on relief, says the Committee on Economics Security. They constitute nearly 40 % of the total on the relief rolls. Over 700,000 of these children are fatherless.

Return to Top of Page


THE only garden homestead project in the United States, financed directly by the RFC [Reconstruction Finance Corporation], is going steadily forward a few miles out from Dodge City, Kans., along the Arkansas River.

     The first unit of Wilroads Gardens, as the project is known, consists of 29 homes, either built or now under construction. The second or third units, yet to be deveoped, will bring the number close to 100.

     The houses are being erected, under a system of pooled labor, by men living in the Gardens or who expect to have homes there. The Wilroads Corporation, headed by C. C. Isely, secured the RFC loan form the government; hires these men; allocates a certain amount of their wages to the payment of their homes.

     Under the contracts between the men and the corporation, payment starts when each home is finished at the rate of $8.50 a month. The second year it is $12 a month, then $1 a month higher each year until the buyer pays out in 10 or 12 years. Any buyer may pay up and secure full title at any time.

     To each home, modern in every respect, is attached an acreage for the growing of crops. Certainty is added by the fact that the entire tract is irrigated. Alfalfa is a favorite crop. Sugar beets is another. Chicken raising has a wide appeal and nearly every family boasts at least one cow, with sheep and hogs also popular. Several contemplate the planting of fruit trees.

     Basically, the idea is that, thru these agricultural pursuits, the families can sufficiently supplement their earnings from other part-time endeavors to make for themselves a comfortable livelihood. And, most important of all, eventually establish themsevles as home-owners. Applicants of garden homes exceed the supply of tracts. Tests applied to character, need, willingness to work, etc., aid in the sifting process.

     One of the by-products of Wilroads Garden is the development of a community spirit emphasized by the organization of a baseball team and a common interest displayed in the misfortunes of other members to the colony.

Return to Top of Page


Excerpts From Written or Spoken Statements

PROF. W. A. IRWIN, Washburn College economist -- What we need is a modern system of taxation. The system we have in Kansas belongs to Noah's Ark. It was a beautiful system for 1860 but this is 75 years later. We need to take some the tax off real estate and put it on intangibles, where it belongs. A sales tax is the most unjust known because it is regressive -- it puts the heaveiest burden on those least able to bear it.

DUDLEY DOOLITTLE, General Agent, Farm Credit Administration, Ninth District -- The past year, to me, has been one of repeated revelation as to the extent and possibilities of agricultural financing and adjustment service. It has been a revelation, too, of the ability of the farmers of our district to "take it" and to maintain their morale. In almost 50 years' constant contact with agriculture, I have witnessed nothing which so greatly strengthens my fatih in its final emergence on a plane with the most favored of all other callings.

OSCAR S. STAUFFER, Publisher Arkansas City Traveler -- The true American is today deeply concerned in the future of his country rather than what may be the political fortune of his or her party. Using the yardstick of "What is the best for the country" there are many hopeful signs on the horizon. Adverse conditions do prevail. Plenty of them may be found in most aggravating form. Yet out of the welter of economic disorder almost bordering on chaos, strength of character and real men and women are developed. This is distinctly not a time to indulge in self-pity but rather to gird our loins and be glad that the world today is no place for a mollycoddle. The days ahead call for clear thinking; they call for all of us to hold fast to that which has come down to us thru the centuries, rather than trade it off for an expedient mess of pottage.

JUDGE GEORGE A. KLINE, Topeka -- The present jury system is not the best. In many of the less important cases the juries, as they are now selected, can meet the situation. But in the larger suits, involving life, property, or large sums of money, the juries should be selected by the court from men and women who are acquainted with business and will not be confused involved evidence and testimony.

R. I. THROCKMORTON, Head of Department of Agronomy, Kansas State College -- Soils of the west have not been ruined by wind eroision. With abundant rainfall during the remainder of the season this region can produce large quantiities of corn, grain and forage sorghums this year and,if properly prepared, will be in excellent condition for the seeding of wheat next fall.

DR. EARLE G. BROWN, Secretary Kansas Board of Health - I believe that Kansas is on the way to a new low typhoid record for this year.

Return to Top of Page


by F. J. Atwood
For 50Years President of the First National Bank, Concordia

Just over a year ago, F. J. Atwood resigned as president of the First National Bank of Concordia, Kansas, after directing its destinies for 50 years. He has had a long notable career as a Kansas banker, including service as president of the Kansas Bankers Association.
     So, we asked Mr. Atwood to tell the readers of PROGRESS IN KANSAS about his philosophy of life as molded after dealing for a half centruy with bank customers. In this article he tells us.

MY philosophy of life, Mr. Editor? Bless my soul! Until you mentioned it such a thing never entered my head. Philosphy of life! It sounds Emersonian, deep, profound.

     I have a dictionary (eight volumes, including supplements) which, after much reading and analytical study leads me to conlude that you mean: What was your working code during those years? What basic principles guided you?

     Well ,the different phrasing doesn't help much. I have never, consciously, formulated a code nor adopted rules nor thought out a philosophy of life. I have lived day by day working, playing, reading a little, thinking some -- trying all the while to be a decent servant, citizen and husband. I did not seek the limelight nor try to be impressive. I was prone to court the back seat rather than the platform.

     Experience and observation led me, in my later years, to say that two things only are of prime importance; Good Health and A Good Conscience (emphasis on the latter). If this aphorism can be dignified sufficiently to be called a code or a philosophy of life, then, that is that.

     My forebears were English on both sides; Atwood -- Bosworth. The most remote grandsire bearing my name, of which I have certain knowledge, was in his earlier life a medical officer under Oliver Cromwell. He emigrated to Massachusetts and later to Connecticut where the family remained for several generations. My most recent grand-father Atwood removed from Connecticut to Vermont. I was born on a farm in Washington county, New York, close to the Vermont line. My ancestry seems to certify me to be a Connecticut Yankee of Puritan stock. I think, however, that I have more traits commonly ascrbied to the Puritan than of those attributed to a Connecticut Yankee. At any rate "blood" or early training -- more likely both - instilled in me an abiding respect for veracity and high moral standards.

     My ethical training was too thorough to admit of such an error as that made by a less fortunate lad who, when asked to give a scriptural definition of a lie, said, "A lie is an abomination unto the Lord, and a very present help in trouble." I was taught that a liar is no better than a thief, and that a thief is on the lowest rung of infamy.

     To my mother I am chiefly indebted for the basic principles of morality and religion. To my father I owe a sense of humor that has helped me in many trying situations. My father also endowed me a degree of common sense. (I regret that, too often, the qunitity has been inadequate).

     My work, including side-lines, has put me in touch with many people; high and low, rich and poor, literate and illiterate, good and bad. I have found nearly all of them interesting. While still young, I said I hoped not to live to lose faith in my fellowman. I am now nearing four-score and, in spite of present world conditions, I still have a kindly regard for my fellow mortals. I have seen in this one and in that one strength and weakness, nobility and its opposite, courage and cowardice, virtue and vice; and to my chagrin and perplexity I have noted like inconsistencies in myself. I know I have a deep and abiding desire to be definitely decent -- why, then, do I too often think or speak or act unworthily? . . . I do not wish to be measured by my occasional bad breaks -- it would be unfair . . . So, is it not up to me to look with kindliness and sympathy upon my neighbor? His heredity and environment may have been less fortunate than my own. Why not make much of the white spots rather than the black ones? If we stop to think, not one of us is snow-white; we all are more or less piebald.

"Let us walk kindly, friends,
We cannot tell how long this life will last,
How soon these precious days be overpast,
Let love walk with us, friends."

     I will try to illustrate my attitude toward life by quoting two or three paragraphs from a brief address I once made to a convention of bankers -- the subject was "The Value of An Account."

     "A little fellow four or five years old came in, climbed on the footrail and said, 'I want to leave my money in the bank.' We had to ask his name. 'My name is James Fitzpatrick Donahue -- but my mother calls me Jimmie.' Do you think we said to him, 'We're sorry James, our rules do not permit us to take on your business. Your initial deposit indicates that the account would be unprofitable. Take your pennies and run home.' On the contrary, we assumed our most cordial manner, counted his pennies and nickles, gave him one of our most expensive pass-books, and thanked him heartily for his business.

     "A widow of foreign birth, probably over eighty, having no income except a small pension, comes regularly to us to prepare her papers. She deposits her government check and twice a week comes and draws a dollar. She cannot write. We prepare her check and attest her mark. We treat that old lady as courteously as we treat the richest woman that comes to our bank. You would do the same, of course.

     "The value of an account? In the case of a country banker, who can measure it? We know this: An account certifies confidence, good-will, friendship. True, good-will does not buy flocks and herds, stocks and bonds; but is it, therefore, valueless? Is it not worth something to have a shy smile fom Jimmie when we meet him, and a pleasant word from the old lady as she draws her semi-weekly dollar? We can't be millionaires -- we country bankers; many of us have no wish to be. But we can have enough to satisfy our modest wants. We can be the next friend to Jimmie and a lot of others. We can have the respect of many and the love a few in our little world. We can breathe good air and watch with wonder and delight man's co-operation with nature in the produciton of abundant harvests. We can safeguard the money that is left in our keeping, and, as the years slip by and Jimmie grows to manhood, still our friend, and the old pensioner cashes her last check, we come to know -- more than we can tell -- the real value of an account."

     After considering my off-hand statement as to Life's greatest vaues, I now deliberately pass up Pleasure, Wealth, Fame, Knowledge, Achievement -- in favor of Health and An Approving Conscience . . . To have and to hold the former is not always possible, nor is it it, in fact, essential; To have and to hold the latter, I believe to be possible, and to the last degree, vital.

"He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; And what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God."

Return to Top of Page

Table of Contents     Articles     KanColl