THE sixty-first annual meeting of the Kansas State Historical Society and board of directors was held in the rooms of the Society on October 20, 1936.
E. E. Kelley, president of the Society, was unable to attend the meeting because of illness, and E. A. Austin, vice-president, was called out of the state because of the death of a brother. In their absence Thomas A. McNeal presided at the morning meeting of directors and T. M. Lillard presided at the afternoon meetings.
Mr. McNeal called the meeting to order at 10 a.
m. The first business was the reading of the annual report of the secretary.
The past year has in many respects been the busiest in the history of the Society. The political campaign with Gov. Alfred M. Landon as Republican candidate for President has turned the attention of the nation to Kansas. Research men and writers of both parties have made constant use of our records, particularly the newspaper files. Every source of information relating to the governor's past life has been gone over with a fine-tooth comb, beginning with the Independence newspapers, continuing through University of Kansas publications and including the voluminous reports of his later political career. Among the by-products of this investigation have been a number of books, scores of magazine articles and countless newspaper stories. It has been impossible of course for the Society to attempt to secure copies of newspaper articles, but books and magazine stories are being filed. Subscriptions to all weekly magazines and special orders for issues of other magazines enable the Society to keep abreast of this flood of publicity.
The state has been put under the microscope along with its governor. Not since the days of "bleeding Kansas" have we been subjected to so close an inspection; not even Populism and Peffer nor Prohibition and St. John focused such a minute examination. The Historical Society has been the laboratory for much of this research, and a great deal of what has been written, spoken and broadcast about the state in recent months originated in our records.
In addition to these duties, the staff has had to supervise the work of twenty-five W. P. A. and N. Y. A. helpers, as well as to assist researchers from the Federal Writers' project, the State Historical Records Survey and other similar projects. The study of local history was featured by many schools in small towns and rural communities, who wrote for detailed historical data about their towns and communities. The members of the staff have been kept busy on these tasks and much that should have been done in cataloguing and organizing books and other collections was postponed.
The death of Dr. F. H. Hodder last December, only two months after he was elected president, deprived the Society of the leadership of one of the state's few truly great historical scholars. Dr. James C. Malin's fine appreciation of Dr. Hodder's career, which appeared in the Quarterly, speaks for all who knew him, but the secretary wishes to express here his personal indebtedness to Dr. Hodder for the many occasions when his counsel and sympathetic understanding were invaluable.
Dr. Hodder appointed Robert C. Rankin and Chester Woodward on the executive committee and reappointed Thomas Amory Lee, the members holding over being Judge John S. Dawson and T. M. Lillard. The committee met regularly except during the summer months, advice of the members was sought in all matters of consequence, and in accordance with the constitution and by-laws they approved all expenditures.)
Appropriation requests which will go before the next legislature were filed with the budget director the first of October. Upon the advice of the executive committee it was asked that all salaries be restored to the amounts received before the salary cuts of 1933. Two new clerks are requested, as well as a number of catalogue cases and a new newspaper filing rack.
Application for a new project to supplant last year's K. E. R. C. work program was submitted to the Works Progress Administration, August 24, 1935. It was not finally approved for several months, the first workers arriving on January 21, 1936. Within a thirty-day period the full quota of fourteen had reported. These were assigned and classified as research workers, typists, assistant museum curator, book and map mender, and library helpers. As under the K. E. R. C. project requests for trained librarians and a taxidermist could not be filled. Pursuant to the instruction of a W. P. A. official the Society applied for a project to run ten months. The federal government was to spend $8,900 in salaries and it was estimated that the Society would contribute $210 for working materials. From January 21 to October 5, the government's contribution totalled $5,850.90. The Society's expenditure for the same period was approximately $200. Employees under this project work sixteen days per calendar month.
Late in 1935 the Society was asked by officials of the National Youth Administration to place as many of its clients as possible in a work project. Since the status of our W. P. A. application was unknown at that time it was tentatively agreed that eighteen of these young persons could be employed. With the actual commencement of the W. P. A. project, our N. Y. A. application was scaled to nine, and work was begun January 29, 1936, with each worker receiving six days' work monthly. The federal government has contributed to date approximately $1,300 in salaries for the operation of this project.
Washburn college, through the courtesy of Pres. Philip C. King, permitted the Society to use two Washburn students from their project part time during the past winter.
Workers under these projects have been employed in all departments. Typists have copied indexes of the seventeen volumes of The Kansas Historical
Collections. This was begun under a former work project and is a preliminary step necessary to the preparation of a general index to the series. Other workers have wrapped and tied about five thousand duplicate volumes of the Collections and Quarterly, preserving them from damage. Another worker has checked all the Society's office equipment, mending and gluing pieces where necessary. Other work accomplished through government aid is described in this report in more detail under the department headings.
Except for the unexpected tabling of our request either here or in Washington for the five months between the dates of the W. P. A. project application and actual commencement of the work, we have had good cooperation on the part of both the state and first district administrative officials. When a statewide personnel cut was made in May, with the Society's project scheduled to lose four of its fourteen workers, officials of the Federal Writers' project and the Historical Records Survey, organizations which have leaned. heavily on our collections for information, agreed to pay the salaries from their own funds in order that the Society might continue to employ them.
A word of appreciation is due workers on the three projects operated by the Society during the past year for their cooperative spirit, their alertness, and the above-standard work which has resulted.
Probably no one is able to predict at this time what the future holds for projects of this type. Experience has taught us that we can absorb without waste motion about two of these temporary workers to one of our regular staff members. Lack of table room, shortage of typewriters and supplies, and pressure from routine duties prevent us from taking more. Much good work has been done, and if available, we hope to continue to utilize as much of this labor as we can efficiently absorb.
Research on many phases of the state's history has been made during the year, including the following subjects: early days in Chetopa; Rawlins county history; Samuel C. Pomeroy; Emporia Gazette editorials; stage coaches in the Vest; Kansas imprints; theatre programs; Chouteau family; reclamation by irrigation; history of photography; coal mine disasters; history of irrigation; Edmund G. Ross; gold rush of 1858-1861; early Kansas literature; Connecticut Kansas colony; history of the Progressive Republican movement in Kansas; Kansas Pacific railroad; geography of Topeka and vicinity; survey of retail prices to farmers, 1909-1914; disposal of the public domain; history of poetry in Kansas; local color in the works of Margaret Hill McCarter; political geography of Kansas; William Allen White; consolidated schools; and the office of the attorney general.
A government project employing writers working on the "American Guide" has required much assistance from all departments, and particularly from the library, supplying a vast amount of information on state, county and town history. There have been since last November an average of probably six persons daily in the library working on this project and the minute subjects on which information has been furnished are too numerous to mention.
Under the W. P. A. project the catalogue cards, both in the Library of Congress depository catalogue and in the library catalogue have been redistributed,
and all trays have been relabeled. The filing of the Library of Congress depository cards has been kept up under this project, and the library catalogue is being revised. The books in the Hall Lincoln collection have been rearranged and labeled. Six hundred and seventy-eight books pamphlets and volumes of clippings have been catalogued for portraits, and approximately 13,000 cards have been typed to be added to the picture catalogue. An index to 178 volumes of biographical clippings has been compiled and typed, and much typing, largely of articles for the loan file, has been done. One of the most useful projects has been the mounting of valuable material which would soon have been completely lost through disintegration. Four hundred and eighty-four maps have been mounted on muslin, including a complete set of Kansas maps issued by the United States Geological Survey, and 141 broadsides, eleven genealogical charts, ninety-seven miscellaneous circulars and 657 pictures. Many portfolios, pamphlet boxes, folders, large mailing envelopes and binders have been made by project workers.
Under the N. Y. A. project, whose workers come only six days each month, work was assigned requiring a short time for completion, such as book labeling, pasting clippings, checking periodicals, filing cards and indexing.
The work of cataloguing the picture collection, explained in the secretary's report at the annual meeting in 1933, was resumed the first of this year with the employment of a full-time cataloguer out of membership fee funds.
This task has progressed until now the major portion of those pictures directly concerning Kansas have been properly filed. The work of earlier years had progressed to the point that a large proportion, numerically, of the pictures were already catalogued, but very important numbers of pictures had not been touched. Next to cataloguing portraits chief stress has been placed upon the building of an accurate and complete file of Kansas scenes. Important additions to this file of recent date have been those covering the Spanish-American and World Wars. A total of approximately 1,500 pictures have been filed this year, including both Kansas scenes and portraits. There remain several hundred important Kansas scenes, that many or more portraits, and a number of special collections. There are, in addition, a considerable number of out-of-state scenes and portraits.
In the matter of the preservation of pictures important work has also been ,accomplished. Six hundred and seven pictures have been mounted upon sign cloth by one of the project workers, which will add greatly to their life. The problem of the preservation of pictures from fading also needs attention, particularly in the case of the World War pictures.
The Society owns 241 large framed pictures which have recently been cleaned and sorted. Most of these will be taken out of the frames, as is done by other societies, and filed in drawers. Unfortunately the Society does not possess enough large filing cases to do this, without placing the pictures temporarily in large paper folders. There are also approximately 118 other pictures, including war scenes, Kansas scenes, legislative pictures (duplicates), and miscellaneous pictures and framed certificates that need similar treatment.
Another part of the current project has been the indexing of important group pictures in the museum. A number of project workers listed the leg-
islators portrayed, and cards were made for each. This index now numbers 3,875 cards. In connection with the picture collection a catalogue is being prepared by a W. P. A. worker of 627 cuts used by the Society in its publications during the past fifty years. The cuts are being sorted, cleaned and refiled.
Gifts to the manuscript division during the year include letters; documents; an autograph collection from Dr. Edward Bumgardner of Lawrence; notes, with accompanying lantern slides, on Lincoln, belonging to the late Frank Heywood Hodder, given by Mrs. Hodder; and typewritten copies of documents and local records. Acknowledgment is also made to the following for gifts: Mrs. D. R. Carr; J. M. Challiss; Chase County Historical Society; Mrs. Mary T. Ford; Claude K. Davis; Lewis E. Frazeur; W. W. Graves; Mrs. Mary Huron Hale; Stuart Henry; Alex D. Johnson; Kansas State Library; Frank Korab; Schuyler Lawrence; Walter Montgomery; Paul Parrish; Mrs. A. B. Seelye; Shawnee County Old Settlers' Association; Donald W. Stewart; Floyd B. Streeter; Oscar K. Swayze; Wichita City Library; William Allen White; George W. Wilhelm and James I. Wyer. Manuscripts accessioned total 4,402, including the 3,946 manuscripts of the Elam Bartholomew collection which was received just before the report for last year. Nine manuscript books were accessioned.
N. Y. A. workers, supervised by this division, are making an index of the correspondence volumes of the Society. Much historical material is to be found in these letters which heretofore has been inaccessible.
The archives department now has a total of 933,364 single manuscripts, 27,223 bound volumes, and 583 maps. This does not include the more than 500,000 pieces of manuscripts from the old post-office building. The accessions received since July 1 1935, include 82 maps and 69 manuscripts descriptive of them, given by the Woman's Kansas Day Club; and 8,500 manuscripts from the State Board of Agriculture.
The department work has been heavy, mainly in cooperation with the W. P. A. project. From the original census returns of 1855, approximately 2,800 cards have been filed, showing names of persons in Kansas at that date. From corporation volumes about 55,000 cards have been filed which show all chartered concerns up to 1886, ranging from Anti-Horse Thief and other associations to windmills, and from banks, churches, and manufacturies to town companies.
Work is progressing on the listing of thousands of townsites and post offices abandoned or changed.
The collection of original territorial road maps is being greatly improved by expert mounting and mending. These old maps are of great interest and service to civil engineers and the highway department. Another history of Kansas might be written from the volumes of charters, the collection of old maps, and the list of "ghost" towns.
The department has furnished information to many patrons. The Santa Fe Railway Co. asked for the origin of all town names on one branch of that road. A representative of the U. S. Department of Agriculture was given information
on the organization and development of Haskell county, in connection with a "Sociological Study of the Effects of Drought Upon Haskell County, Kansas."
Last year a large map, eight by four feet, was mounted on an easel for the purpose of designating on it by means of numbered pins all the historic sites in Kansas. This project, which entails many hours of research, was begun, but because of the pressure of other work it had to be discontinued. This map when completed will show the locations of several hundred sites, and an attached looseleaf book will indicate the present condition of each site, whether marked or not, and will describe the events connected with it. The Society has furnished information about historic sites to many individuals and organizations throughout the state during the past year and a number have been marked.
Several individuals and institutions have availed themselves of the W. P. A. and N. Y. A. operating through nearby colleges to sponsor special projects utilizing the Society's extensive newspaper collection. Three persons have averaged seven days a month during the past college year copying poetry from Kansas territorial newspapers on subjects directly relating to Kansas. From two to four persons were employed during a two months' period compiling statistical data on mine disasters in the state. Other workers represented the "American Guide," the highway safety division, and the department of agriculture. The work of political researchers has been mentioned.
According to information received from Washington the Kansas section of the Union List of Newspapers went to press September 25, 1936. This list, when published, will show in a geographical arrangement of places of publication, files of all newspapers issued since 1821 preserved in the libraries of the United States and Canada. Since the fall of 1933 the newspaper division, with the assistance of workers from the several federal projects, has devoted as much time as possible to the revision of our Kansas lists. `'While there doubtless will be errors, due in part to the inexperience of some of the workers who assisted in the reclassification, the new list is the best the department could compile under the circumstances. Miss Winifred Gregory, editor of the Union List, has written as follows regarding our Kansas holdings: "Your package containing your holdings of out-of-Kansas papers is received safely. What an imposing list it is. We had heard that there was an excellent collection in your library, but had quite underestimated its value. . . Congratulations on the fine collection of papers in your keeping . . . .. I began work yesterday on the Kansas lists and am so enthusiastic about them. What a splendid collection you have. Kansas is going to be one of our banner states."
Considerable progress has been made toward the checking of several large stacks of duplicate newspapers which have accumulated through the years. Nearly every number is compared with the file copy before the extra issue is marked "duplicate" and filed as such. These duplicate files are retained in a separate section and when not turned over outright to Kansas college libraries they are used for trading purposes with out-of-state libraries.
On January 1 the collection of Kansas newspapers totalled 43,554 bound volumes, and that of out-of-state papers approximately 10,000. One bound vol-
ume of the Commercial Gazette, Wyandotte, from August 18, 1860, to October 5, 1861, was perhaps the most notable newspaper accession of the year. Other accessions were: Real Estate Register, Emporia, July, 1869, received from A. O. Barton, of Madison, Wis.; six issues of the Stars and Stripes, American expeditionary force newspaper, from J. J. Blevins of Manhattan; The Kansas Democrat, of Topeka, 1875 to 1881, from Miss Ella N. Peacock, Kansas City, and The United States Daily of Washington, 1926 to 1933, from the Kansas state library. These of course are in addition to all current papers regularly received.
The attendance in the museum for the year ending July was 30,777. The largest number of visitors ever recorded in one day came on Governor Landon's notification day when, although the museum closed at four o'clock, a total of 1,244 had been counted.
Among the interesting accessions during the year was the full dress uniform of Gen. Wilder S. Metcalf, used during the Spanish-American War, donated by Miss Madge Bullene, of Lawrence, together with the nurse's uniform which she wore during the World War. Mrs. Ida Suberkrup, of Leavenworth, gave a bugle which had been carried through the Philippine insurrection by her husband, William Suberkrup, who was a member of Company C, Twentieth Kansas Volunteer regiment. Miss Bessie Kellerman, of Denver, presented a Colt Frontier Six-Shooter, nickel-plated with bone handle, and the belt, holster, cartridges, original primers, powder measuring cups and bullet molds, which had been used with the revolver. These had belonged to James Kellerman, a well-known cattleman in Gove county, between 1873 and 1889. A Henry rifle, originally gold plated, which had been presented to Maj. Gen. James G. Blunt by the officers of his staff in the Civil War, was donated by James G. Blunt, of Houston, Tex., a grandson.
Since January, with the assistance of one W. P. A. worker, the Brower archaeological collection, consisting of fourteen cases, including 6,233 specimens, and the Zimmerman archaeological collection of 3,020 pieces, have been cleaned and relabeled. All leather pieces in the museum have been treated with neat's foot oil. All other collections, with the exception of the Goss bird collection, have been cleaned and rearranged and the catalogue files are now being revised.
(This count does not include the 500,000 pieces in the post office collection which have not been catalogued.)
Despite the handicap of limited funds much improvement has been made on the grounds and the two south buildings at the mission. Continous work is necessary to keep these three old buildings, now nearly one hundred years old, in repair. As reported last year, the unsightly old garage was torn down, and the new garage and work shop, designed to match the east building, has now been completed.
There are five organizations directly cooperating with the Society at the mission: The Colonial Dames, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Daughters of 1812, the Daughters of American Colonists and the Shawnee Mission Indian Historical Society. The rooms assigned to these societies are being made more attractive each year and the active interest of their members is rapidly making the mission one of the best-known historic sites in the Middle West.
In the mission budget which will go before the legislature in January a request is made for $25,000 for the restoration of the north building. This building is now in such condition that visitors cannot be admitted. It is the only one of the buildings, however, that still contains the original floors, mantels and interior woodwork, and if money for this purpose can be secured it will be possible to restore it almost exactly as it was when erected.
The first capitol of Kansas on the Fort Riley reservation was visited by more persons than in any year since it was restored. Of the 18,025 visitors, 4,083 came from other states, and a number from foreign countries. The exterior woodwork and all the outbuildings and fences were repainted last spring.
The legislature of 1935 appropriated $1,600 for repairing this monument, which was blown over or struck by lightning during a storm. A new shaft was placed on the old base last spring under specifications prepared by the state architect, and it now presents a better appearance than it has for many years. The iron fence around the property and the flag pole were also repaired. The total cost of this work was $861.54, the balance being returned to the general fund.
This report would be incomplete without mention
of the members of the staff of this Society. They are uniformly courteous, loyal
and conscientious. The secretary acknowledges his indebtedness to them for the
accomplishments noted herein.
At the conclusion of the reading of the report of the secretary, Mr. McNeal stated that it stood approved if there were no objections. In commenting on the report Mr. McNeal said he appreciated as never before the extent of the collections of the Society and their historical and human-interest value.
Mr. McNeal then called for the reading of the report of the treasurer, Mrs. Mary Embree, which follows:
THOMAS H. BOWLUS FUND
MARY EMBREE, Treasurer.
At the conclusion of the reading of the treasurer's report Mr. McNeal stated that it stood approved if there were no objections.
Mr. McNeal called for the report of the executive committee. It was read by Mr. Chester Woodward, who had been appointed by the executive committee to examine the treasurer's report.
To the Board of Directors, Kansas State Historical Society:
Mr. McNeal stated that the report of the executive committee stood approved if there were no objections.
The report of the nominating committee for officers of the Society was called for and it was read by Mrs. Henry F. Mason, chairman:
October 20, 1936.
To the Board of Directors, Kansas State Historical Society:
Your committee on nominations begs leave to submit the following report for officers of the Kansas State Historical Society:
For a one-year term: Edwin A. Austin, Topeka, president; William Allen White, Emporia, first vice-president; J. M. Challiss, Atchison, second vicepresident.
For a two-year term: Kirke Mechem, Topeka,
secretary; Mrs. Mary Embree, Topeka, treasurer.
The report of the nominating committee was accepted and referred to the afternoon meeting of the board.
There being no further business to come before
the board of directors, the meeting adjourned.
The annual meeting of the Kansas State Historical Society convened at 2 o'clock p. m. The members were called to order by T. M. Lillard. In taking the chair Mr. Lillard stated that the Society had suffered a great loss in the death of Dr. Frank H. Hodder only two months after his election last year. He called on the secretary to introduce Dr. James C. Malin of the University of Kansas, who presented a photograph of Doctor Hodder to the Society. Mr. Mechem said that he had expressed himself regarding Doctor Hodder in his annual report, and that Doctor Malin, who had long been an intimate friend, had expressed himself in a fine review of Doctor Hodder's career which had already appeared in The Kansas Historical Quarterly. He introduced Doctor Malin, who presented a splendid enlarged photograph in the name of Mrs. Hodder and the department of history at the University of Kansas.
The annual address of the president was then
called for. In the absence of Mr. Kelley his address was read by Mr. Charles M.
Correll of the Kansas State College at Manhattan, as follows:
Southwest Kansas is that high plains region extending westward from the hundredth meridian to the Colorado line and southward from a parallel at 381/2 degrees to what is now the Oklahoma line. It has an area of 12,000 square miles. Its altitude ranges from 2,500 feet to 3,600 feet. The eastward-flowing Arkansas river divides it into approximately equal areas.
At the time this area was being settled, the second generation was carrying on in eastern Kansas. Even the children of the second generation were attending our schools, colleges and universities. Around Lawrence, Council Grove, Osage Mission, Osawatomie and a score of other places, traditions already had gathered.. Histories of Kansas already had been written while this great Southwest was yet either Mexican territory or else was attached to Marion county for judicial purposes. The settlement of this region did not begin until the Santa Fe railroad had been built from Atchison to the Colorado line. It was a dozen years after 1872 until the first county was organized in this area. Then, during the five years from 1884 to 1888, inclusive, the entire 12,000 square miles was organized into fifteen counties. Fifteen county seat towns were established, innumerable towns were started, some seasonably to flourish, others to shrivel and die, their locations returning to the shortgrass sod from whence they had come.
From among the pioneers who helped transmute
this region from grazing ground for herds of wild horses and great multitudes of
buffalo to alfalfa fields
and wheat fields of green and gold, and spick-and-span little towns with Modern homes, I single out three types for record: The first cattleman, the first merchant, and the first homesteader.
Into southwest Kansas first came the cattleman. His industry flourished for eight years. By 1880 the coming of homesteaders menaced the free range; and the great blizzard of 1886 dealt the cattle industry a mortal blow. The ever increasing tide of immigration with its homesteaders finished it. The free range was gone.
The old-timers who owned great herds in those days mostly are gone. One of them yet lives on at Ingalls, Gray county-D. W. Barton, now 85, tall, erect, keeneyed, alert, reticent of speech, with a mouthful of natural teeth and an abiding fondness for a cigaret. He is a wheat farmer now.
"Dock" Barton, as he is known by old-time friends, established the first cattle camp in Kansas west of Dodge. He was born in Texas. His father came from South Carolina to Texas in 1840 while the Lone Star state was yet an independent young republic. He engaged in cattle-raising. "Dock" and his brother Henry grew up in the cattle business. They became familiar with the old Chisholm trail and the driving of herds northward to market. It was a long, long trail. "Dock" and Henry decided there would be more profit in raising cattle were they closer to a market. Up on the Arkansas, in southwest Kansas, was tall grass in the bottoms, rich short grass on the uplands, plenty of water. It would be weeks closer to a shipping point-and the Santa Fe railroad was building in that direction.
In February, 1872, they left the home ranch in Texas, eighty miles north of San Antonio and twenty miles west of Austin, with a herd of 3,000 longhorns. Nearing the Indian territory region they learned the Indians were on the warpath. So the herd was turned westward along the Pecos trail toward New Mexico. When the Pecos river was reached, the herd was driven northward to Pueblo, Colo., and then down the valley of the Arkansas and into Kansas. Five months after leaving the home ranch in Texas the Barton camp was established by the "Lone Tree," an immense cottonwood near the site of present Garden City and known as a landmark in the old Santa Fe trail days; a landmark some old-timers of Garden City remember, though few of them agree upon its location. It was cut down in 1879-but that's another story. As winter drew near the Barton brothers moved their camp on down the river and established headquarters near the site of present Pierceville. There their cattle could-and did-range east as far as the site of present Cimarron and south to the Canadian river.
By way of digression, one June day in 1924, 01 Brown, then sheriff of Finney county, brought to us in the Garden City Herald office a copy of an old newspaper which had just been taken from a souvenir box that day removed from the crumbling corner-stone of the old courthouse. It was a copy of the Garden City Irrigator, 0. 0. Layne, editor, dated September 5, 1885. In it was the publication of 107 different cattle brands. Among them was that of D. W. Barton described as "OS bar on the left side, crop off the right ear." At that time Mr. Barton had a herd of approximately 12,000 cattle bearing his brandmore than 11,000 grades and 800 registered cattle. Early in January, 1886, came what is still spoken of as "The Great Blizzard." Cattle drifted before the storm and scattered. They bunched in draws, canyons and against wire fences
to the southward and were frozen to death. After the roundup following the storm, Mr. Barton counted 11,000 grade cattle and 800 registered animals among his losses. The remnant, rounded up from as far south as Texas, were thin, starved and worthless. And "Dock" Barton was out of the cattle business.
Three years ago I had a number of visits with Mr. Barton at his home and at mine. As best I could I endeavored to draw from him some sidelights on the life and adventurous happenings incident to cattlemen of those days. "Adventures?" No, nothing ever happened. He was away when the Indians burned Pierceville in 1874. In the winter of 1875-1876 a bunch of Cheyennes were in camp in the White Mound valley in old Garfield county (now Garfield township of Finney county, and the largest township in the state, falling just short of the 432 square miles required by law as the minimum area for a county), but they didn't bother the whites. Probably ten or twelve thousand of them. The next fall a band of Sioux camped in the same locality, spotting herds of ponies which they planned to stampede from other tribes; which they later did and had a running fight through Kansas northward and into Nebraska. That fall Barton was on the Pawnee looking after a herd of 160 good saddle horses, but the Sioux were friendly and didn't bother him.
"Bother his cattle?" No, Indians never bothered his cattle; unless you'd call this bothering: Once while he was driving a herd to Great Bend, southwest of that town a band of Pawnees killed eighteen of his steers. "But the Pawnees were hungry," he explained, "and only killed what they wanted to eat. It didn't amount to anything. They were hungry."
"Boot Hill?" Yes, the first twenty-four buried there-maybe the first thirty -died with their boots on. Mostly gamblers, toughs and desperadoes. Only one cowboy among the number. Cowboys were not as bad as they were painted. "Slaughter Kid" worked for him for three years and was a good cowhand, though he had a bad reputation. Same for Ben Hodges, desperado and horsethief by reputation. Ben worked for him several years. Good cowhand.
"Bat Masterson?" Yes, he knew Bat. Bat was a young man of eighteen when Dodge was started in 1872. Later he was elected sheriff of Ford county. He wasn't the killer he had the reputation of being. It's foolish, that story of his having killed thirty-two men. He certainly killed one man-possibly three. He may have had thirty-two gun battles, and if others were shot they were only wounded, not killed.
One bright autumn day R. E. Stotts of Garden
City and his two sons and myself were with Mr. Barton on a sandhill twelve miles
southwest of Ingalls, hard by where the Cimarron branch of the Santa Fe trail
once was a freighters' highway. Toward the center of a weedy section of farmland
he pointed: "There," he said, "in 1873 I was scouting one day for cattle. About
half way between this spot and that ranch house yonder I ran upon the bleached
remains of a wagon train. There must have been fifty or sixty wagons, some
burned, some good as when they went into camp there. I asked others what about
it. None knew anything about it, or of a massacre there, and I never found
anybody who did know. In 1875, I think, George Emerson, who was hauling buffalo
bones to Pierceville, came over here and salvaged enough chains, oxbows and yokes
and wagons to start a bull train of thirty-five wagons between Dodge and Fort
Elliott, Texas, 200 miles south of Dodge." On the
return trip, approaching Ingalls, he pointed out the location of the old Cimarron crossing, and the upper Cimarron crossing, and the point on the hillside far to the southwest where the divergent trails joined; and likewise traces of the old Santa Fe trail, deep-rutted and grass-grown, winding down the slope of the uplands toward the river.
Among my talks with "Dock" Barton there was but one flash of humor. It came unexpectedly. I had asked him about Bob Wright of Dodge City. He answered my questions and then went on, reminiscently:
"One season I built a corral on the south side of the river just across from where Charleston now is. There was quite a big grove of cottonwoods along the river and on an island there. So we cut a lot of the trees and built a corral ten rails high and big enough to handle 5,000 head of cattle. The corral had cross-fences and was all fixed for cutting-out and branding. Then the outfit went out to round up our cattle. They had grazed far south and it was some weeks before we got back to the corral. When we got back, there was no sign of the corral. It had vanished."
I waited for the explanation. Finally, I asked.
"Well," he grinned, "Bob Wright had a contract with the government to furnish wood to the forts. His men ran upon my corral, found nobody there and proceeded to load it up, haul it away and turn it in on the contract, figuring if they did not somebody else would. Besides, it saved cutting and splitting." And all of the foregoing I give you as I had it by word of mouth from D. W. Barton, the pioneer cattleman of southwest Kansas.
On December 28, 1872, the Santa Fe railroad reached the Colorado line. That day a train was run from Atchison to the end of the road. A telegraph station had been put at a point about seventy miles west of Dodge and named Lakin. Here, in April, 1873, came an Irishman, John OLoughlin, to make his home. So far as I can learn he was the first white settler west of Pierceville, thirty-five miles to the east in all of southwest Kansas and north of the Oklahoma line. In April, 1873, he opened a store and trading post in a dugout at Lakin. In the late 1860's he had appeared in western Kansas with Gen. Phil Sheridan's command in the earlier days of Fort Hays and Fort Dodge. On the trail between those forts was a steep-banked crossing on the Pawnee. 0'Loughlin decided it would be a good place for a toll bridge; so he built one of logs cut from along the Pawnee. Also he built a trading post. He took toll for the use of his bridge-one dollar for each government team crossing, fifty cents for all others. Over this bridge passed famous warriors-General Dodge, General Sheridan, General Custer, General Hancock. And President Hayes. And those two fighters of some reputation, Jesse James and "Wild Bill" Hickok. It was something for OLoughlin to remember in his latter days. Incidentally, O'Loughlin was the first white settler in Hodgeman county.
When the Santa Fe had reached Dodge, John O'Loughlin sold his toll bridge and trading post to George Duncan, and the place in time became known as Duncan's crossing. The old log bridge did duty until 1923, when it was replaced by one of modern type.
John O'Loughlin soon had a prosperous business
in his dugout store at Lakin. His early business was with trappers, freighters,
soldiers, buffalo hunters, cowpunchers. He carried a line of dry goods,
rifles, ammunition (regular and "fixed"), six-shooters, chaps, spurs, saddles. cowboy boots, gorgeous silk shirts, scarfs and handkerchiefs, Stetson hats, Dutch ovens, ox-yokes and bows, cross-cut saws, ox-shoes. His daughter, Jennie Rose O'Loughlin, in her "Lakin in 1873," says: "The last thirty pairs of ox shoes were sold in 1901 by Ernest McDowell to a man who was driving cattle through the country. At the same time the last of the `fixed' ammunition for buffalo guns was sold to a customer who made a special trip to Lakin for it, having heard he would find some of it in stock in this store."
John O'Loughlin bought furs from the trappers, hides from the buffalo hunters, in the first years. Later he bought buffalo bones. He salt-cured buffalo hams. He loaded up chuck wagons headed for the roundups with food. He did some farming, some ranching. He acquired lands in Texas, Oklahoma, and of course in southwest Kansas. The famous Pig Pen Ranch of Grant county was his property. His trading post in the dugout became the nucleus of a hamlet which became a village and then a town. In the dugout days his store did a primitive banking business. Customers would ask him to keep their money on call. He kept their money as he did his ownbetween bolts of calico, in tin pans and coffee pots, even in the fish keg. He was of that old-fashioned type-a merchant who trusted his customers who, in turn, trusted him. He passed on in 1915 at Lakin, having seen it grow from a telegraph station and a dugout store to an average-sized western countyseat town.
For the pioneer homesteader, I offer a leaf from the life of one of the illustrious unknown-the life of a woman who came to southwest Kansas as a young wife to help her husband make a home while it was yet a cattle country. Sallie Crow came with her husband, William H. Crow, a Civil war veteran of the Ninety-first Ohio Volunteer infantry, to old Sequoyah county (later Finney county) early in 1879. I had tried, directly and indirectly, to have a talk with her about her pioneer days, but age and ill health prevented. Two or three years ago she passed to her reward at the age of eighty-six. Strange to say, she left behind a short and concise written account of her early years in old Sequoyah county. I had the privilege of reading it after her death. The account says she and her husband left Ohio early in 1879, reaching Rice county, Kansas, by train. There Mr. Crow bought a yoke of oxen, an emigrant wagon, a stove and a cow. Then they made a three-weeks trek into Sequoyah county, arriving April 12, 1879.
"We took a claim five miles east of town (Garden City) and dug a well 100 feet deep," she writes. "Later we left this place and took up school land one mile east of town. The first year we broke sod and put in spring wheat, and as it came up the jack rabbits ate it up. The eighth of August Oran Crow was born. He was the third baby born in Sequoyah county. Mr. Crow went five miles east with an ox team after an old doctor and his wife.
"We raised nothing this year and everything we
had to buy was very high. Meat was fifty cents a pound. At this time Mr. Crow
plowed sod and built a sod house. He went to the river and got brush for the roof
and threw dirt on it so it would not leak. This house was built to hold the
winter fuel, which was cow chips. We lived in a plank one-room house with a small
dugout built at one side.
"The rattlesnakes were so thick we could see them coiled up in the yard . . . . The coyotes, deer, antelope and wild horses could be seen in the distance . . . . That fall Sim Buckles went to the river, got a log and tied it under the wagon, let one end drag on the ground to make a trail by which to find the way home. He and Mr. Crow would drive miles over the open prairie hunting buffalo bones and cattle bones to sell at the depot to get money to live on. When they got their load they would put the log on the wagon and follow their trail home . . . . Our oxen and cow we would stake out on grass. Prairie fires were numerous. We had to keep a wide strip plowed around the place to stop the fires.
"The last of August, 1880," continues Mrs. Crow's narrative, "Mr. Crow got a job ten miles north of town to build a large sod barn and sheep corral for $50. At the same time the children and I, one child nine, the other eleven and the baby one year old, took fifty bucks to take care of, for $50. I herded them all day long, the children on an old horse when the weather was warm enough. When it was cold I went alone on foot. The grass on those lower lands grew tall and I would hear the rattlesnakes rattle near me; and when I would jump one way I never knew if I was jumping off or on another one.
"At the end of his work Mr. Crow came home with $50. About the same time my months of herding ended, the man came and got his bucks and paid me $50. Mr. Crow took the $100 to Mr. Menke's grocery store and paid our bill. Mr. Menke said he would carry us through the winter if we could pay what we owed him." Incidentally, Mrs. Crow relates that on his way home with his fifty bucks, the sheepman was caught in a blizzard and fortynine of the sheep were frozen to death. It was in this storm that the longhorn cattle drifted south from the Smoky Hill country.
"This valley was filled with them," says Mrs. Crow, "eating our grass, and breaking down our fences around the stacks and eating the hay. Of nights we often heard guns fired in the air to scare them away . . . . About this time Mr. Crow got work with the Santa Fe railroad, walking the track. The rails were of iron instead of steel and often broke when frost got into them. Mr. Crow would take his lantern and walk six miles of this track going east. At that time a man would start from Pierceville, walking west. When they met, at a dugout, they would stay there until the train passed. Then each would take his track back, reaching home about daylight. The children and I were alone at night."
In 1881, during a time of sickness in the family, the Rev. L. H. Platt (ancestor of the Platt family of Kirwin) with his wife called on the Crow family, "bringing," says Mrs. Crow, "love and encouragement and gifts of friendship. Reverend Platt was the first minister (to live) here and established a church; and for four years services were conducted in a room over the Red Lion livery stable. There was no denominational discrimination and people of every belief attended, although Reverend Platt was a Congregationalist."
And there is a little of the story of Sallie
Crow's first two years as the wife of a homesteader in the southwest of Kansas.
There, all you Kansans of these days of 1936 who still manage to take Sunday
afternoon motor-car rides over paved highways, and attend the movies, and are
among those present at the bridge party and who buy ripe tomatoes and head
lettuce in midwinter and yet complain of the high cost of living-there is the
unadorned story of one woman-and there were hundreds of her kind-who fifty
E. E. KELLEY.
October 19, 1936.
At the conclusion of the reading of Mr. Kelley's address, Mr. Lillard said it recalled to his mind an incident that occurred when he was a young man in college in Illinois. He and some friends had decided to come to Kansas to be cowboys. They went to Pierceville, mentioned in Mr. Kelley's paper, and worked for a rancher at Charleston, also mentioned in the paper. He told how they discovered that the life of a beginner on a ranch was confined largely to work about the barns and in the cow lots, and how they finally persuaded the rancher to permit them to ride on the range.
A special collection of many of the Society's old and rare maps, charts, atlases, town-promotion lithographs and broadsides, was on display during the day on tables in the main lobby. About thirty of the most interesting early-day maps were mounted and exhibited during the meeting and commented on by the secretary. This collection began with the earliest map possessed by the Society bearing the name Cannes, and continued with succeeding maps in chronological order illustrating the growing knowledge of the geography of the plains country. A number of more recent maps were shown to indicate the development of the state and its political divisions. Several town-promotion lithographs were included in this display to explain the conditions that had brought many of the early settlers to the territory.
At the conclusion of this exhibit. the report of the committee on nominations for directors was read by Mrs. Henry F. Mason, chairman, as follows:
To the Kansas State Historical Society:
Your committee on nominations beg leave to submit the following report and recommendations for directors of the Society for the term of three years ending October, 1938:
On motion of Justice John S. Dawson, seconded by Dr. Edward Bumgardner, these directors were unanimously elected for the term ending October, 1939. October 20, 1936.
The reports of representatives of other societies were called for.
Mrs. Mark E. Zimmerman, of Doniphan county, spoke briefly about the old mission at Highland. She called attention to the fact that the building is rapidly deteriorating and asked the Society and its members to help in the work of saving it for posterity. She was followed by Mrs. Fenn Ward of Highland, who also commented on the mission and its influence in the early history of northeastern Kansas.
The secretary stated that Mr. W. F. Thompson of Topeka, who could not attend the meeting, had telephoned a request that the attention of the Society be called to the two historic covered bridges over Stranger creek in Leavenworth county which should be preserved.
The report of the Douglas County Historical Society was read by Mrs. Lena V. Owen of Lawrence.
Mr. C. M. Correll of Manhattan made a report for the Riley County Historical Society.
The report of the Shawnee Mission Indian Historical Society was presented on behalf of that society by Mr. Mechem.
A report of the Kansas Catholic Historical Society was made by Father Angelus Lingenfelser of St. Benedict's College, Atchison.
Mr. Lillard ordered that the above reports be filed with the records of the meeting.
There being no further business the annual meeting of the Society adjourned.
The afternoon meeting of the board of directors was called to order by Mr. Lillard. He asked for a re-reading of the report of the nominating committee for officers of the Society. The following were unanimously elected:
For a one-year term: E. A. Austin, president; William Allen White, first vice-president; J. M. Challiss, second vice-president.
For a two-year term: Kirke Mechem, secretary; Mrs. Mary Embree, treasurer.
There being no further business the meeting
DIRECTORS FOR YEAR ENDING OCTOBER, 1938