'Meandering' by Bev McCollom, Barber County, Kansas Barber County, Kansas.  

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'Meandering', the weekly column by Bev McCollom, published in The Gyp Hill Premiere, Medicine Lodge, Kansas.
Meandering, the weekly column by Bev McCollom, from The Gyp Hill Premiere, Medicine Lodge, Kansas.
The above photos at right and left are of Natural Bridge, near Sun City, Kansas.
Photographs from the collection of Kim Fowles.


The Gyp Hill Premiere
Medicine Lodge, Kansas's Locally Owned And Operated Newspaper
For all of the latest local news, subscribe to The Gyp Hill Premiere.


Meandering by Bev McCollom, September 9, 2008

One more poem by the Pilgrim Bard this week, a very sad one. This story of The Lost Child of the Cimarron made headlines in its day.

Scott Cummins wrote as an introduction to his poem: "In the present bounds of Woodward county about twelve miles northeast of Camp Supply is a place known as Bent Canon. At this place at the time I write of and for several years previous, was located one of the OE cattle camps. The camp was in charge of Hiram Dyer, commonly called Hi Dyer, an elder brother of T. J. Dyer of this (Woods) county. Mr. Dyer’s family lived with him at the camp and consisted of a wife and one child, a bright little boy between two and three years old. The little fellow was a great pet among the cowboys of the camp and also of camps on adjoining ranges. He was of a rambling nature and had been found several miles from camp at various times. He had a small terrier dog to which he was much attached. The dog always accompanied him on his rambles. Many times the almost distracted mother, after searching in vain for her baby boy, would behold him in the arms of a cowboy who had found him miles from camp always accompanied by his dumb companion, the dog.

One day in the fore part of November, 1888, the little boy and the dog were missing. All day long the alarmed and anxious mother sought her baby boy but in vain, and as one after one the cowboys returned to camp and none of them had seen him, everyone turned out and all night long the lonely canons echoed to the bronchos’ tread.

Morning came, but no tiding of the lost child. Horsemen were sent to the neighboring camps, also to Fort Supply. Nearly all the troopers as well as the Indian scouts joined in the search. It seemed as if the earth must have opened and swallowed him up. But on the fourth day as a boy, whose name we cannot now recall, was passing through a piece of tall grass at the head of a canon, he was attracted by the feeble bark of a dog and on nearing the place found the little boy lying on his face. Supposing the child was dead he ran upon the bank and motioned to Oliver Thompson, who was in sight. As Oliver tenderly lifted the poor child in his arms he discovered that he was yet alive. Mounting in haste he turned his broncho in a gallop toward the camp, but before he reached it, the soul of the little sufferer had gone to Him who gave it, and with a sorrowing heart and tearful eye he laid the lifeless lump of clay in a distracted mother’s arms. Not one who participated in the search expected to find the child alive, as during the five nights and four days that he was wandering there was a dreadful storm of rain, snow and sleet, and moreover the canons were infested with wild animals, as bears wolves, catamounts, and mountain lions. For several years after the occurrence it was feared that Mrs, Dyer would lose her reason. Mr. Dyer removed to Chautauqua county, Kansas, where he still resides. The following lines (right) were written by me on the death of the little boy and first printed in the Medicine Lodge Cresset in November, 1888."

The lonely Cimarron is sweeping
Above its bed of shifting sands,
Unmindful of the mother weeping,
And in despair she wrings her hands.

Lost! lost! she cried, in fear and sorrow,
As fades the twilight’s lingering ray,
My darling boy, before tomorrow,
May be the savage grey wolf’s prey.

Now homeward come the cowboys singing,
She hears the weary broncho's tramp;
Her heart beats fast, they may be bringing
The little wanderer back to camp.

She met them with a face appalling,
And fades her hopes in dark despair,
And fast still her tears are falling –
The little wanderer was not there.

On, cowboys! Search the rugged canon,
Each thicket dense, and dark ravine;
The little dog, his dumb companion,
Was with him when he last was seen.

Then rise the cowboys at her warning
And scout each glen and canon wild;
Hour after hour, till dawns the morning,
And still no tiding of her child.

From camp to camp the news went flashing,
And to the Fort, twelve miles away;
Soon horsemen were by hundreds dashing,
Spread through the wilds in loose array.

It snows – the wailing winds are sweeping –
Oh God! Protect that helpless form;
Despair was o’er each visage creeping –
The child must perish in the storm.

The cedar boughs with sleet are bended
In weird, fantastic shapes o’erhead;
The earth and sky in gloom seem blended,
Yet still is heard the broncho’s tread.

The dusky scouts, like sleuth hounds, hover
Through thicket dark and lone retreat,
And yet their eagle eyes discover
No foot prints of those tiny feet.

Four dreadful days the men have ridden,
Five sleepless night creep slowly by;
From many an eye fall tears unbidden,
All know the wandering child must die.

At last when hope seemed faint and dying
They found him on a prairie, lone;
The faithful dog was by him lying –
Hunger and cold their work had done.

Death’s icy hand was fast congealing
His breath, and soon his veins must clog,
Yet while the damps were o’er him stealing
He pointed to his faithful dog.

Sleep, little one, life’s journey ended,
All strove in vain thy life to save;
E’en strangers weep – their tears are blended
With those who mourn above thy grave.

Life’s path is dark with gloom and sorrow,
Each milestone is a broken heart,
Yet hope we for a bright tomorrow
Where loved ones meet no more to part.

Canema, Kan., Nov. 21, 1888


Meandering by Bev McCollom, September 2, 2008

Scott Cummins wrote a number of poems about people and things that happened in Barber County and Medicine Lodge. The intro to his poem, "The Last Man" says:

"A few days since while in conversation with Mr. Cameron and Mr. Posey concerning the future prospects of Barber county, Mr. Posey enthusiastically remarked: ‘I came here to stay, and will do so if it don’t rain enough to make a crop in four years.’ The following lines were suggested and respectfully dedicated to that same enthusiastic gentleman."

THE LAST MAN

Four years have passed; the broiling sun
Had tanned his visage well;
Four winters and their requiem sung –
Dismal as funeral knell;
Firm as the gypsum hills he stands
And praises the deserted lands.

Wot ye, what motive had this crank
To stem misfortune’s tide;
His fleshless limbs were weak and gaunt,
His skin like parchment dried,
Hung loosely on his haggard form
Like loose-furled sails in ocean storm.

Idle and rusting stands the plow
Hard by the river’s side;
Where bright waves used to ripple, now
To stagnant roots have dried;
The granger, once the country’s pride,
Has sought the parents of his bride.

The cattle men have pulled their freight
To streams and pastures green,
To skin their kine they did not wait, -
They died so dry and lean;
The hungry coyote, prowling lone,
Scraped dirge like note on hide and bone.

Like Goldsmith’s village* on the hill,
The Lodge town’s towering wall;
While starving bats, the dwellings fill,
The owls hoot from each hall;
The courthouse vultures, reft of prey,
Have packed their grips and stole away,

Yet every eve, when twilight pale
Had hid the burning day,
Like Spartan (minus shirt and mail),
This ghost-like man would stray; -
And at each owlet’s hoot would stop
And ask, "What prospect of a crop?"

One evening on the Grand Hotel
He climbed to gaze his last;
His pulse beat low, he knew full well
The die was almost cast;
Then with a dying gasp he cried: -
"This is a glorious land." And died.

The hungry vulture did not stop;
Alas! He knew full well
That body would not fill his crop, -
Too poor to cause a small;
Sweetly in death he slumbered on,
The last man in the village lone.

-- Canema, Jan. 20th, 1888

*Goldsmith’s deserted village.

And I think you will enjoy another Cummins’ reminiscence:

"On this occasion my musing mind reverts to my late home in Barber county, Kansas. One by one my former friends and associates pass in panoramic pageant before me. I can see scenes solemn and scenes ludicrous. One of the latter character I must give a rub for the sake of old, very old times.

"Scene: A portly doctor running frantically across Main street in Medicine Lodge amid a fusillade of bullets that he supposed were fired at him, but in reality were fired in the air by a lot of bums to frighten the dispenser of pills and squills. Into the house of a widow lady he rushed, down on his all-fours and under the bed, calling out in maniacal tones: "Let me get under here for God’s sake; them damn fools are going to ‘sassinate me."

My Dad loved Cummins’ intro about going to Flower Pot Mound unarmed.

"One day, about the last of January, 1871, I left camp, near the junction of Elm creek and the Medicine River. I was afoot and alone, and unarmed, except that I carried a Spencer rifle and two Colt’s 44’s !! More next week . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, August 25, 2008

One of my grandfather’s dear friends was Scott Cummins, who was known throughout Barber County as The Pilgrim Bard because of the beautiful poetry and exciting stories that he wrote.

Orange Scott Cummins was born May 12, 1846, in Zenia, Harrison County, Ohio. His father was the Reverend George Irving Cummins, a native of Scotland, and his mother was Mary Ann Clyde Cummins from Ireland. They had been married in Scotland before coming to the United States.

The Reverend Cummins was a Methodist minister for 55 years. The family moved as the church conference directed. The Cummins moved from Ohio to northern Iowa when Scott was 18 months old. The settlers in that area were mostly Indians of the Mesquoqie tribe Scott grew up with the Indian children, learning their customs and their legends.

In 1861 Cummins enlisted in the Union Army in Drakeville, Iowa, Co. A, Third Iowa Cavalry. He participated in raids all during the war. He was mustered out on August 8, 1864. He returned to Iowa, where in April 1865 he married Mary Melinda Martin and became a farmer.

The Cummins had a daughter, Nina Canema; a son, Rolland, who died in infancy; adopted a three-year-old orphan who had been brought from New York, named Dugan, after one of Scott’s old war buddies; daughter, Daisy Lorn; and sons, Walter Scott, Donald DeWitt (Dewey), and Dwight.

In 1870 Scott Cummins was recognized as the founder of Wellington, Kansas.

There he was Justice of the Peace and the proprietor of Wellington’s first hotel, The Frontier House.

Then the family moved to Barber County. Tom McNeal wrote of his friend, Scott:

"In the early seventies he settled among the canyons of Barber County, at that time the favorite grazing ground of countless thousands of buffalo and the chosen habitation of the deer, the antelope, the wolf, and the mountain lion. On the banks of a clear running and beautiful little stream, which bore the unromantic cognomen of Mule creek, he built his cabin, naming it ‘Last Chance’ because it was the last chance the pilgrims heading for the still further western wilds would have to get a meal under a roof."

McNeal goes on to describe his friend: "He was engaged in the business of transporting the bones of the deceased buffalo to Wichita, then the greatest bone market in the world. When I heard him addressing his mules with language that would hardly be permissible in an Epworth League meeting, I hardly supposed that I was listening to a literary genius, though it must be acknowledged that his profanity was strikingly artistic when occasion seemed to demand, but I soon learned that under a tough exterior and amid environments most discouraging, there burned the fires of real genius and existed a soul full of poetic fancy."

Scott Cummins is also noted for his stories, such as the favorite "Flower Pot Mound," which still draws people to its top to wonder at the things that happened there one very dark night.

We selected the name of our county history book, Chosen Land, from Canto II of Scott Cummins’ long poem. "A Legend of Barber County."

"Still sing we of sunny Barber,
Of the chosen land of Barber;
Of its valleys and its streamlets,
Of its rugged hills and canons,
Of its past and of its future,
Of its woe and of its welfare.
Sooner than the Chief predicted,
Sooner than the ‘Bard’ expected
Came the settlers o’er the border
Of the sunny land of Barber.
Logs were hewn and cabins builded,
Even as the Chief predicted.
Men plowed fields while woman planted,
Planted turnip, corn, and cabbage . . . . ."

Another of my favorite poems is "To A Bed Bug," which begins like this:

"Tormenting little cuss,
I hold they wriggling form between my thumb and index finger
The while I thus address thee.
Didst thou imagine
Thou could course down my spine
Like a two-forty horse upon the turf,
And send thy beak through my tough hide
And tap my veins,
And I resent it not?
Thou art no respecter –
Thou will bite the cradled infant
And the bald-pated veteran who has passed his time allotted
Three score years and ten;
And with thy sharp proboscis thou wilt gouge
The flash of fair-haired blonde (beauty’s own type);
Likewise the traces of they snout are seen
Among the freckles of the red haired dame . . . . ."

Scott Cummins died on March 24, 1928, and is buried in Alva, Oklahoma.


Also see:

The Flood -- The Medicine Lodge Cresset, May 7, 1885. This poem by The Pilgrim Bard is about the Great Flood of April 21, 1885, in Barber County, Kansas. At least 18 people perished in the flood.

Memorial Tribute by the Pilgrim Bard to the Memory of Capt. Byron P. Ayers -- The Medicine Lodge Cresset, March 15, 1888.

Lines, a poem from Musings of the Pilgrim Bard by Scott Cummins, "Rehearsed at the "Old Settler's Picnic in Paddock's Grove on Upper Elm Creek, Barber County, Kansas, September 16, 1886, on the grounds where Esq. Paddock and his entire family drowned in the flood of 1885."

A Christmas in the Wilderness, 1871 by Scott Cummins. A story about some buffalo hunters' Christmas dinner near where Medicine Lodge, Kansas, was later established.


Meandering by Bev McCollom, August 18, 2008

Cynthia Ann (Morton) Painter

Photo courtesy of Marilou West Ficklin Since having been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I have thought a lot about my great grandmother Cynthia Ann (Morton) Painter (pictured at right), who had the same disease, but unfortunately lived in a day when there was little or no relief for it. In size she was very tiny, and I can imagine that pain wracked her small body.

Cynthia was born in March 4, 1846, in the Beech Fork area of Kentucky near Perryville to Elijah Morton and Nancy Crane Morton. Elijah was born at the North Carolina border near the Hico River and left there as a young child with his parents, Joseph and Jemima Harrel Morton for the Kentucky frontier. Of note it was reported that his mother, Jemima, was part Cherokee, but was terrified of Indians.

David Franklin Painter

Photo courtesy of Marilou West Ficklin On December 6, 1866, Cynthia married David Franklin Painter (pictured at right) in Petersburg, Indiana. All the Painter children were born in Petersburg. They were William Wilbert in October 1867; Charles Clement in August 1869, who was long-time editor/publisher of the Barber County Index and married to Miss Clara Minnick of Medicine Lodge; Cora Edith in October 1871, who married Samuel Adams of Medicine Lodge; Ora Kathryn in September 1873, who married George W. Horney of Medicine Lodge and became my grandmother; and Lillian Vicury Herr in October 1875, who married Uriah Clayton Herr, editor and publisher of the Barber County Index along with his brother-in-law, Charlie.

Their father, David Painter, was a strong, stubborn, hardworking veteran of the Civil War, tall, handsome, with auburn hair. He brought his family from Petersburg to Barber County in 1886. The Painters and their children lived in a dugout in the southwestern part of the county near Sexton.

The family of David Painter and Cynthia Morton, about 1880-1890. 

Photo courtesy of Marilou West Ficklin.
The family of David Painter and Cynthia Morton, about 1880-1890.
Photo courtesy of Marilou West Ficklin.

David worked in Medicine Lodge during the week as a plasterer, giving fine finish to the many new brick buildings going up. On most Monday mornings Dave would walk the more than 20 miles through the gyp hills to Medicine Lodge, carefully carrying his shoes until he had crossed the Medicine River. On Friday afternoon he would purchase the things that Cynthia needed, sling them over his shoulder in a gunny sack, remove his shoes before he crossed the river, and walk home for a good weekend with his family.

And Dave was tough, having survived a stabbing from Harris Plotkins, a resident of the New Jerusalem community near Sexton when Plotkins had moved his cattle into Dave’s corn field. The knife wound nicked Dave’s lung, but he survived. Plotkins went to prison.

Dr. Lockwood asked the Painters to move to town so that he could keep a closer eye on his patient, who was improving. A weekly item was carried in the paper regarding his progress. Then during Plotkin’s trial, Dave took a turn for the worse. The Cresset carried this story:

"Dr. Gillette, assisted by Dr. Moore, on Monday performed an operation on Painter, who was stabbed by Plotkins. Painter’s lungs were penetrated by the knife, and as a result he is troubled by the pus sacks forming. Dr. Gillette opened up the old wound and got a large amount of putrid, offensive matter from Mr. Painter. The sick man is in very bad shape and as the wound is one that usually ends in death, the physicians are not over confident of Painter’s final recovery."

Dave continued to survive, and eventually was sent to the hospital at the Soldier’s Home in Leavenworth. On his arrival home, the Cresset reported: "Mr. Painter, who went to the Soldier’s Home for treatment for the wound . . . has returned. He says he received no attention at the home, but that the travel did him good and that he is much better than when he left."

When the Painter children had left home, Dave and Cynthia rented an apartment upstairs in the Cook Block, where they resided until Dave had another great idea. He had been given a pension; he was a good carpenter. Daughter Lillian and her husband were building a big new home at 321 North Main Street, just north of Buffalo Avenue.

David purchased the lots to the south, had Buffalo Avenue vacated, and built two new frame homes. He rented the house at 313 North Main, while he and Cynthia comfortably moved into the home at 315 North Main Street. Cynthia was able to enjoy life for approximately five more years. She was able to entertain her grandchildren in her home, which helped ease her pain somewhat, probably along with laudanum. Cynthia Ann Morton Painter died on January 27, 1917, in her home, where her funeral was held.


Meandering by Bev McCollom, August 4, 2008

Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, the Grand Hotel is beautiful and vital once more. It stands proudly where it has been for almost 125 years.

Medicine Lodge was a growing town, and in January of 1884, a number of its prominent citizens decided that the city needed a new first class hotel, and they began to get together a stock company. Those who were active in getting the company started were George Geppert and Wiley Payne, who sadly did not live to see the project completed; W. W. Cook; S. E. Stone; Standiford, Youmans & Co., and Darius Van Slyke. There were many subscribers, and Standiford, Youmans & Co. gave lots 22, 24 and 26 on South Main Street. The bricks for the structure were made in Medicine Lodge, and the woodwork was brought by ox team from the Harper railway terminal 35 miles away. When the building was completed, it was furnished in the most elaborate and splendid style of that day.

The Barber County Index described in detail the Grand Hotel. "Viewed from the outside, commanding as it does a prominent position in the city at the intersection of Main Street and Washington Avenue, the Grand is an imposing structure with a frontage of 55 feet on Main Street and a depth of 94 feet. It has four full stories, three being above the ground and the basement being only four feet below the grade of Main Street. The basement walls are of hard brick and are 24 inches thick, and are sunk into the earth three feet below the basement floor, thus insuring a lasting foundation for the massive walls towering over it. The walls of the first story proper, or the office floor, are 20 inches thick, the second story walls are 15 inches thick; and the third story walls are 12 inches. The brick used throughout the building were burned especially for it under the supervision of competent brick makers, and better material could not have been procured anywhere in the country.

The windows and doors are all surmounted with fancy metallic caps in imitation of cut stone in the latest architectural design. A heavy cornice of the same material of a beautiful design extends around the two fronts, giving it a rich and architectural appearance. The window panes are large, there being but one to each sash, and this adds beauty to the outward appearance of the building.

Around two sides of the building is an area sufficiently wide and deep to admit light and ventilation into the basement. The basement extends under the entire building and has a high ceiling style with hard pine floor and casings, plastered in hard finish, and painted in various shades and colors. Leading to the basement are two outside entrances and two from the inside, the one from the main hall being a wide and easy stairway. The billiard room is 18x51 feet; a large wine room opens into it.

Then there is a wide hall leading to a private club room, barber shop, and bath rooms. In the basement is also a large, dry store room, a laundry, and coal and vegetable cellars.

The first story proper - the office floor, has an extra high ceiling, large plate glass windows, and is beautifully furnished on the inside. The entire floor is grained in imitation of walnut with French walnut panels, with ebony, light, and red wood trimmings, having a gloss and finish. The stair rail, newel posts, etc., are of natural walnut, filled, pumiced, and polished, making a surface equal to glass and as durable as the wood itself. The second and third floors are of Arkansas pine, finished in hard oil.

The billiard room is furnished with excellent taste. A bar 16 feet long of solid ash and cherry is furnished with all the latest improvements in the way of cut glass ware, a large beveled glass mirror, 50x70, set in solid ash with turned sides; an extensive solid ash refrigerator; improved billiard tables, and pool tables of the Brunswick-Balke make.

The club room, the barber shop, and bath room are fitted up in nice style. The wine cellar is commodious and well filled. A large store room for canned goods and groceries is protected from heat and cold. The laundry is large and well lighted, convenient to the wells and cistern. A large vegetable and coal cellar complete the rooms in the basement.

On the first floor is the office, 36x18, fronting southwest, well lighted and heated, supplied with comfortable chairs, an elegant large desk and office counters. Opening into the office is the reading room 15x18 feet, comfortable to perfection.

Then comes the main hallway, 10x45 feet, from which the grand stairway leads to the second floor. Opening into the hall is the ladies entrance from the south, and leading from it is a broad stairway to the billiard room and basement rooms. At one end of the hallway is the wash room, supplied with marble basins, a forced water supply, and other necessaries. Two sample rooms, each 15x15, well lighted, also open on the main hall and from it the subhall leads to the dining room.

The dining room is 25x37 feet and will conveniently seat 75 people. It has the high windows on each side, north and south, and will always be cool. It is fashionably decorated with appropriate pictures, and furnished with six commodious tables with wide aisles between, sideboards, and ice tanks, and lighted at night with four immense chandeliers. The tableware is of the very best, as is the linen, while the silverware and cutlery are beautiful, artistic, and costly.

The cooking department is 18x57, finished in neat and suitable style and supplied with all the improvements in ranges and cooking apparatus. It is well lighted and ventilated and a glance through is convincing that dirt and trash need not to collect there. From the kitchen are exits leading to the cellar, laundry, etc.

The second floor halls are carpeted with extra heavy Brussels carpet of rich patterns. The parlor is furnished with hand carved furniture of solid walnut with a solid ebony center table, comfortable divans, and rockers. The walls of the parlor are hung with rich oil paintings and costly steel engravings, and the upholstery and trimmings are novel and beautiful. The bridal chamber opening into the parlor is finished and furnished to correspond with the parlor. The rooms on the floor are large and airy and are in suites. The furniture, carpets, and fixtures in every room are expensive and rich.

The third floor is furnished in equally as good style as the second story, although the rooms are somewhat smaller. Every room is supplied with a window, and over each door is a transom, thus affording light and ventilation in every department.

A large tank on the top floor is kept filled with water by a windmill, and from the tank water is carried to all the lower stories. A hose will be attached to this, and in case of conflagration in any part of the house it could be extinguished in short order. And to further avoid an accident from fire, each floor will be furnished with extinguishers."

My grandfather, George W. Horney, was a single cowboy in 1884 and was one of the first to move into the Grand. In the building there are 60 rooms, and of these 45 are sleeping rooms and all furnished.

I would like to add that on August 10th, 109 years ago, my Dad was born in the bridal suite of the Grand Hotel! It was really no longer the bridal suite; my grandfather owned the hotel, and the parlor/bridal suite was one of their living quarters. The Grand was home to him, so after he married my grandmother in 1898, he decided to buy the place. My Aunt Sweet, Candy Jacobs Mom, made her debut in the bridal suite on November 27, 1902.


Meandering by Bev McCollom, July 28, 2008

Barber County has had some memorable characters in its history. One who was particularly interesting lived here in 1886. His name was Lem Depew.

Late in the summer of 1886 authorities in Sun City turned over to Sheriff Nelson the Montgomery brothers, who were wanted for horse stealing in Chautauqua County, It was decided that the Montgomerys would serve time in lieu of a $50 fine for assault and battery in Barber County. The major problem was that Medicine Lodge had no jail.

The jail had burned to the ground a few weeks earlier in a fire that everyone was sure had been started by Lem Depew.

The jail was located where the Solutions Bank drive-in is today. It was built of pine scantling that was 2X6 inches, spiked together, with weather boarding on the outside. It was really not secure enough to hold a child, much less cattle rustlers, horse thieves, or the drunks that were picked up now and then. Some prisoner long ago had cut a hole in the floor in one of the cells. It had never been repaired.

Jim Bothwell, a deputy, had discovered the fire in the early morning hours of July 28th. The only prisoner at that time was Lem Depew.

Bothwell notified Undersheriff Lindsey, who lived nearby, and he went over to rescue the prisoner, Mr. Depew. However, when he opened the jail door, he found Lem’s bedding on fire – but there was no body. After things had cooled down, the ashes were sifted, and no bones or teeth, or other parts of Lem Depew were found. They were sure that their prisoner had some outside help in his escape. He set fire to his temporary abode when he left.

The county offered a reward of $25 for the capture of prisoner Depew, and Sheriff Nelson and his deputies began their search for him. Two weeks went by, and no one had caught Lem Depew.

Then one day when Sheriff Nelson was in Hazelton on business he learned that just the evening before a man with a gun and two dogs had passed through town. He also learned that the previous week Lem Depew had gone to Lodi, in the southwestern part of the county and had stolen two pups from Tom Shumate – pups that he had formerly owned. Sheriff Nelson had a good idea who the man was with the dogs.

The Sheriff set aside his business in Hazelton and immediately began to follow the trail of the man and his dogs. He lost track of them about two miles west of Anthony, about 40 miles from Medicine Lodge.

Sheriff Nelson enlisted the aid of the Harper County sheriff – and two butchers! He knew what he was doing when he selected the butchers. Lem had had his first run-in with the law after having killed a steer – claiming self defense.

Lem was not very smart. After his successful arson, he stayed in the county, spending times in some of his old haunts, and stealing the dogs. Nelson and his Harper County assistants found his trail easy to follow.

The butchers found Lem in a cornfield eating watermelon. They complemented him on his dogs. Then they came up with a wonderful idea for the hungry pups. They said they knew there was a slaughter house nearby where they could steal some meat – neglecting to mention that they owned the slaughter house.

The idea of stealing beef was great for Lem, so he and his dogs happily accompanied his new friends to the abattoir, where he cut the richest, juiciest steaks he could find for the pups. When their tummies were full, Lem went to Anthony with his new friends. He rode behind one of them, while the other man carried his gun. The butchers took Lem directly to the Marshal in Anthony, who secured him until Sheriff Nelson could get him and take him to Medicine Lodge.

Since there was no jail there, the prisoner was placed for safekeeping in Undersheriff Lindsey’s house, where he enjoyed the company of his friend Bill Seeley, who had helped him escape from the burning jail, and of the Montgomery brothers.

Then one night Deputy Shorty Kathrens, who was guarding the prisoners, took a little nap. He figured that with no shoes, coat, or hat the prisoners would stay.

As Kathrens slept, Seeley, Jim Montgomery (George had left earlier) and Lem Depew left the house quietly, taking Lindsey’s ax with them, and disappeared.

A few days later, Jim Montgomery, was brought in by Deputy Ed Buck, who lived near Lake City. Jim told them that he, Seeley, and Depew had gone south and east from Medicine Lodge. When they reached the railroad tracks, they used the ax on the iron rails to cut off their shackles. The three men hid in the hills during the day. While Montgomery was asleep, Seeley and Depew, stole his shoes and went on their way.

Lem was never seen or heard of again. What a relief for Barber County law enforcement!

More next week . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, July 21, 2008

In exploring ranches in Barber County one that cannot be left out is the Gant (now the Gant-Larson) Ranch. Located in the midst of the beautiful Gyp Hills, trail riders actually do explore the ranch several times a year on horseback or muleback.

Joseph L. Gant was born in 1871 in Nashville, Illinois, the son of Richard W. and Sarah Virginia (Boley) Gant. In 1875.the Gant family moved to Kansas, spending some time in Eastern Kansas and Missouri.

Then on July 28, 1880, the Gants with their children, Joe, Walter, and Minnie moved to a ranch in Mingona township, Barber County, Kansas, where Joe Gant grew to manhood. He worked with his father in government freighting from Wellington, Newton, and Hutchinson to Camp Supply in Indian Territory. They also hauled corn to Hutchinson, which they traded for posts and wire, since the open range was then being fenced.

In 1890 Joe Gant began to buy land. He found that he could buy land and fence it, and have less than a dollar an acre invested in it. Joe Gant amassed 8,000 acres of which 1,000 acres were under cultivation. The rest was for cattle ranching. He bred Shorthorns and Herefords, always maintaining about 200 head of each breed.

Also in 1890 Joe Gant was married to Hattie King, who was born in Carl County, Missouri, to Alfred and Eleanor (Ferguson) King. Hattie had come to Barber County in 1889 with her father and stepmother.

Joe and Hattie had eight children – Rosie (Kinsey), Jennie (Arndt), Bessie, Richard. Luther, Charley, Florence (Truelove), and Zella (Suhler).

Things were always busy at the ranch. Hattie cooked and canned for the family and for friends. Joe was busy with the cattle daily. Their children all had jobs to do.

Joe and Hattie were very active members of the Methodist Church in Forest City.

For 20 years Joe sponsored a Sunday School Camp of three days, which was enjoyed by the entire community, as they slept, swam, visited, and had daily church services outdoors. The Gants transferred their membership to the Methodist Church in Medicine Lodge when they moved to town.

In 1938 Joe and Hattie built a home for themselves in Medicine Lodge at the corner of West Kansas Avenue and North Cherry. Joe made daily trips to the ranch for as long as he could. Hattie died in 1945, Joes in 1950.

Joe’s son Charley went into partnership with him at a very early age. All their work was done on horseback, and Charley’s love of horses led him to become instrumental in the founding of the Kansas Cutting Horse Association.

On September 3, 1930, Charlie married Mildred Suhler, daughter of Nic and Louisa Suhler of rural Nashville. They became the parents of a daughter, Charlene (Larson) and a son, Gaylord.

Mildred joined Charley in his love for horses. In the 1950’s Charley was approved to judge cutting horse contests by the National and Kansas Cutting Horse Association. He judged at horse shows, fairs, and rodeos in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming. In the 1960’s Charley and Mildred began breeding and racing quarter horses.

And the Gants had lots of fun in the 50’s and 60’s as partners in a group who square danced on horseback to the music of "The Double Eagle. Lloyd Berry was the square dance caller. Audiences loved the spectacle of the beautiful horses with the colorfully dressed riders.

For eight years after their marriage Charley and Mildred lived with his parents on the homeplace. When Joe and Hattie moved to Medicine Lodge in 1938, they continued to live there until 1950 when they moved to the ranch house on Bitter Creek. In 1960 they retired, and moved into the Gant home on West Kansas Avenue.

Daughter, Charlene, met Bob Larson when they were both attending Kansas State, They were married in 1951 and moved to the Gyp Hills. The Larson’s have continued the ranching operation; it is now the Gant-Larson Ranch.

In a project developed by Gant-Larson and B 7 (Lonker) ranches the annual big trailride draws tourists from six states – the group is limited to 250. The ride through the Gyp Hills in unforgettable. Smaller groups also take rides through the hills, enjoying what it was like to be a cowboy in early Barber County.

More next week , , , ,


Meandering by Bev McCollom, July 14, 2008

The story of H. W. Skinner would not be complete without mention of Blaine Jones, his right hand man. Blaine was great with children, and Candy and I always enjoyed seeing him.

When the Skinners moved up to North Walnut, Blaine and his wife, Frankie moved into the home at 703 North Main. Frankie died in 1936, but Blaine always had his son, Reece, and Frankie’s children, Helen (Gaunt) and Luther Stafford, as well as many other young people that Frankie and Blaine had opened their hearts and home to.

Frankie’s mother, Julia Feltner, had come to Barber County from Greenup, Illinois, in a covered wagon with her parents, Archibald and Mary Feltner.

Julia had a twin brother, Jim, a brother, Arch, and three sisters, Martha (Kinchloe), Angeline (Mathews), and Ellen (Moffatt). They grew up on a farm south of Lake City.

Julia married Patrick Gallagher, and they had four children – Frankie, Martha, Tom, and James. Unfortunately young Patrick Gallagher was killed while trying to corral a wild bull. Then Julia’s sister, Ellen Moffatt, and her husband died within a short time, leaving three small children – Charley, Edgar, and Ellen (Platt). Shortly after that Julia’s sister, Angie, the wife of Dick Mathews, died, leaving four children – Orie, Pearl, Bill, and Frances (English).

Julia Feltner Gallagher and Dick Mathews married, making a loving home for all the children. None of them felt out of place. Bill Mathews married Carrie Nurse; Ellen Moffatt married Roy Platt. Frankie married a man named Stafford and had two children, Helen (Gaunt) and Luther. When Mr. Stafford died, Frankie married Blaine Jones, who had one son, and they raised the three children together. Blaine and Reece became members of a large and loving family. They later added another member to their family.

When young Walter Balding’s mother died; he was taken into their home and raised as their own.

Blaine managed the ranch for Pat Skinner and was always at his beck and call.

Blaine died in 1949, the same year that Pat Skinner left this mortal coil.

One of the girls that Julia and Dick Mathews took into their home was Ellen Moffatt, who married into another Barber County pioneer family. In 1913 she became the bride of Roy Platt.

John Platt had come to Barber County from New York in 1884. He married Miss Lizzie Tennison in Lenexa, Kansas, on June 7, 1884, who came to Barber County by train and wagon in October of that year. The newlyweds lived in a dugout just over the line in Comanche County, although the ranch that John operated with his uncle, M. R. Platt, was partly in Barber County.

The Platts had four children – Robert, Lucy, Beverly, and Roy, who grew up on the ranch. They all attended Aetna school. The Platt home was a gathering place for friends, especially on the weekends, when sometimes there were 25 people for Sunday dinner!

In 1927 the tornado that came through Barber County was devastating at the Platt Ranch, where it took buildings and killed livestock. Eventually it was rebuilt and today is one of the largest ranches in Barber County.

Mr. Platt died in 1920. After the tornado, Mrs. Platt moved to Wichita with her daughter, Beverly. Robert graduated from Kansas State and practiced veterinary medicine in Kim, Colorado, as well as in Coldwater and Protection. Lucy, also a grad of Kansas State, taught Home Ec until her marriage, when she moved to Abilene.

And Roy Platt married Ellen, granddaughter of another pioneer family, the Feltners. Roy continued to run the Platt Ranch with his two sons, John and Mike. In 1959 Ellen and Roy moved into Medicine Lodge, where they lived at 401 North Walnut.

Their son, John, died in 1960. His children live in Lenexa, their grandmother’s hometown. Mike continues to live in Medicine Lodge. He and his late wife, Betty, had three children Mike, who lives with his family in Turkey; Cynthia, who married attorney Bob Christensen and lives in Medicine Lodge; and John, who runs the ranch.

The Platt Ranch, which has been operating for over 100 years, is a Barber County historical treasure.

More next week . . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, July 7, 2008

H. W. (Pat) Skinner was one of Barber County’s largest landholders – with oil and gas wells, as well as provider of goods – and jobs. The H. W. Skinner Grain and Lumber Company supplied feed and building materials to residents of the area in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

In 1918 Skinner’s Medicine Lodge Milling Warehouse and Supply Company had handled coal and had produced and sold Carry Nation Flour. The mill had a storage capacity of 70,000 bushels of grain.

Pat Skinner was also one of the founders of the Home State Bank, which fell victim to the Depression, but was a popular banking institution in its day. The building was opposite the First National Bank on the corner of North Main and East Kansas There were office spaces on the ground floor, south side, and a hospital on the second floor.

Skinner Grain and Lumber had its own grinders and mixers. Their specialty was Skinner’s Super Sweet pellets. The company was a family business with Pat’s younger brother, Jan, as the bookkeeper.

The sons of Pat’s older brother, Jap, were Rolland and Bill, who would come to Medicine Lodge in the summertime to work for their Uncle Pat. His own sons, Don and Hap, also worked in the family enterprise.

H. W. Skinner was one of Barber County’s biggest stockmen, too. In 1912 his feed lot in Medicine Lodge had 500 head of steers and 500 head of hogs ready to ship to the Kansas City and Chicago markets. He also raised sheep.

Pat Skinner was involved in real estate in Barber County, in northern Kansas, and in Oklahoma. He was always busy with some project.

Don was their oldest son. He attended school in Medicine Lodge and went on to Baker University. Early in his life he became involved in his Dad’s business, especially the livestock. Many times Don rode the train to Kansas City and Chicago with the cattle, sheep, and hogs he was taking to market for his father.

In June of 1917 Don married Marjorie Cook, the daughter of Vestal Scarrett and Clara Belle Stevenson Cook. Marjorie was born in Lehigh, Oklahoma, still Indian Territory, in 1897. As a child she moved with her parents to Medicine Lodge. She attended college in Emporia.

Don and Marjorie settled on the Skinner Ranch north of Lake City. They were blessed with two daughters, Doris Ann (Alexander) and Elizabeth Jane (Thompson).

When her girls were little, Marjorie was one of the few mothers in the county to have a car. She drove the girls and their friends to school and church programs, to parties, and other festive occasions.

The main Skinner Ranch headquarters was west of Lake City, divided from most of the land by the Medicine River. The river was at times treacherous with both floods and quicksand, often causing the loss of both livestock and equipment. In the early days the Skinner Ranch employed 16 men to feed cottonseed cake to the cattle, driving mule-drawn wagons into the pastures.

H. W. Skinner was called "the Captain" by my Aunt Sweet and other members of the family. When he and Mrs. Skinner moved from Lake City, they lived west of town in a lovely brick house with a beautiful big brick barn. When they moved into Medicine Lodge, they lived in the house at 703 North Main Street, which I have always loved. I so enjoyed going there with Patsy and Uncle Hap. The Skinners then moved to 801 North Walnut, where Candy and I were often invited to Sunday dinner.

Both Pat and Lulu Skinner were active in the Presbyterian Church, as were other members of their family. The Captain died in 1949, and Lulu moved to a smaller home at 204 East Washington, where she lived until her death in 1961. Don died in 1968 and Marjorie in 1977. Ted Alexander, their grandson, along with his son, Brian, now manages the headquarters ranch west of Lake City.

Uncle Hap’s daughter, Candy Jacobs, lives in the home on the first land that the Captain bought in Barber County, where she raised her three sons, Mace, Mike, and Cord, who grew up appreciating the land, the River, and the horses. I am sorry that the boys did not get to know their granddad, Hap, who was lots of fun.

My Mother had dark red hair when my Dad and Uncle Hap were in school with her. Hap immediately nicknamed her "Brick," and that is what he always called her.

More next week . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, July 2, 2008

Henry Warren Skinner was born in Centralia, Kansas, in 1871, the son of J.L. and Effie Skinner. He grew up there on a large ranch with sisters and brothers. He learned first hand about the cattle business.

In 1891 at age 20 H. W. Skinner enrolled in a Commercial Business course at Baker University, and when he had completed the course, he went into the grain business in Ames, Kansas. He later moved to Nortonville, Kansas, where he operated a mill and elevator, began to purchase land, and went into the cattle business.

H. W. was pretty busy with all these things going for him. But he had time to do a little courting and on January 12, 1896, he married Lulu May Anderson, the only daughter of George T. and Margaret Manson Anderson. Lulu was born in Cameron, Missouri, on December 27, 1875. Her mother, Margaret Manson, was born in Scotland. At the age of seven Margaret came with her mother, three brothers, and one sister to the United States, settling near Madison, Wisconsin. At the age of 20 Margaret married George T. Anderson, and in 1879 they moved to Kansas, where they lived in various places, among them Nortonville.

Although rare for a woman in those days, Lulu was involved in H. W.’s businesses, taking time out for the birth of their son, Donald Warren, on February 20, 1897. Then in 1901 the Skinners purchased a ranch from William and Carrie Miller near Lake City. In 1902 H. W. and Lulu with son, Don, along with Lulu’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, moved to Barber County to the ranch. The Skinners’ second son, Maurice Bailey, who became known as Hap because he was such a happy child, was born on March 14, 1903. A third son, Henry Warren, Jr., was born in 1915, but died in 1917.

H. W., who was known to all in business as Pat, kept a multitude of businesses going both in Lake City and in Medicine Lodge, among them The Lake State Bank, the Pioneer Cattle Company, and the Medicine Valley Milling Company. Because the roads were so bad between Medicine Lodge and Lake City and it took so long to get from one to the other, the Skinners moved to Medicine Lodge. Pat continued to keep busy in Lake City, too.

In 1916 Pat Skinner and Hal D. Fair opened the Fair & Skinner Ford Agency, where they sold tractors and plows, as well as cars. It was this business that brought my Mother’s family to Medicine Lodge. My grandfather Powell had a brother who was a traveling salesman – for Folger’s Coffee – who came to Medicine Lodge often. He learned that Fair & Skinner were going to open the agency and that they needed a bookkeeper. My grandfather applied and moved his family from Buffalo, Missouri, to Medicine Lodge in 1916 to take the job.

My Dad’s sister, Sweet, married Hap Skinner, whom I adored. They had a daughter, Patsy George, named for her two grandfathers, who was from December to February older than I. I remember her so well – she had blonde curls, and we were inseparable. Aunt Sweet and Uncle Hap lived in the chat house that used to be on the alley back of where 3W is now. Sometimes when I was there and Aunt Sweet had to go somewhere, Jack Carter, who work for Mr. Skinner, would "babysit" for us. Patsy and I loved Jack. Then in April, when we were 3 years old, Patsy and I were separated for a day, when I went to Wichita with my parents. We just got there, when my Dad heard on the radio about the drowning of the granddaughter of H. W. Skinner, prominent land and cattle man. We turned around and went back home. It seems that Patsy and a little neighbor girl wandered off to the Ditch on Stolp Street. It was thought that one fell in and the other went in to try to help her. Both little girls drowned in a very little bit of water. Uncle Hap found them.

Then in July Aunt Sweet and Uncle Hap became the parents of another curly-haired girl, Candace. Candy and I, too, became very close. We all lived at the Grand.

In the winter of 1935 Uncle Hap returned from Denver, where he had conducted some business for his Dad, with pneumonia. Hap also had a heart problem from having been hit in the chest with a baseball when he attended Georgetown Prep. While Uncle Hap was so ill, it was my job to entertain Candy. I can remember pushing her around all day in her Taylor Tot. When Uncle Hap died, it was a tremendous loss for all of us.

More about the Skinners next week . . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, June 23, 2008

Henry Harrison Hardy was born in Lancaster, Ohio, on September 9, 1836, and served in the Union Army during the Civil War, a Lieutenant in Company H, 47th Illinois Volunteers. He was discharged before the war was over because of an illness contracted from severe exposure. He returned to his home, which was then in Shelbyville, Illinois.

Henry married Theresa Lockwood. She and her sister, Abigail, were schoolteachers.

Henry promised Theresa that her mother and her sister, Abigail, could make their home with them.

In 1880 in an attempt to improve his health Henry Hardy, his wife and children, his mother-in-law, and his sister-in-law moved to Barber County, Kansas, where they lived west of Medicine Lodge on Cedar Creek. Their home was damaged in the flood of 1885. Henry and Teresa had three children, all of whom attended District #10 school, where their Aunt Abigail was the teacher. The Hardy children were sons, Fred and Sherry, and daughter, Abigail, known as Babe.

The Hardy family eventually moved to Medicine Lodge. Their home was at 115 North Oak, at the southwest corner of North Oak and West First (where Gus Palmer built his house.). Henry served Barber County as Probate Judge from 1886 to 1890. Judge Hardy was described as a man with strong moral convictions, which he exemplified in his every day life. He was always honest and sincere in his actions and expected the same from others.

In 1887 Judge Hardy went into the cotton business with Henry Durst, who had decided to bring cotton to Barber County as a major industry. Durst was a well-to-do German who had come to Medicine Lodge from Dayton, Ohio. He immediately became a big promoter of the town and county. He went into real estate, building a number of homes on South Walnut in Durst’s Addition to Medicine Lodge. Only one remains today - on the east side of S. Walnut between Lincoln and Fremont.

In 1886 Durst grew some cotton in his garden and sent it to Alabama to have it ginned. The report was that it was good quality cotton. So in March of 1887 Durst & Hardy had cotton seeds for everyone to plant.. But the progressive German had not taken into account the harshness of the prairie, and cotton crops failed. However, Durst & Hardy put a cotton gin in the Farmers’ Mill at North Main and West Second (where the Southern Baptist Church is now). They had two bales of cotton at the mill and were sure that more would be coming in. But the cotton crop brought only $600 to Barber County. The cotton gin was not needed the next year.

The Judge had something more exciting than ginning cotton going on in 1888.

His daughter, Babe, married Lemuel Ellsworth and son, Fred, married Minnie Hunter in a double wedding in the Hardy home on December 23rd. The Reverend Sanderson of the Methodist Church officiated.

Then in 1898 H.H. Hardy and his son, Sherry, went into business together. They opened a grocery store on North Main Street (where the old Western Auto Store is.) It was a very successful business. Sherry, who never married, continued to operate the grocery store until his death in June of 1929.

Abigail Lockwood, Judge Hardy’s sister-in-law, never married, but continued to teach school in Barber County. Some of her schools were Roundup, Doles, Mingona, Forest City, and Kling. She boarded with a family in each area. On winter mornings she would walk to the one-room school early to make a fire in the stove so that it would be warm when the children arrived. Abigail died in 1912.

Judge Hardy died on December 7th, 1901, of lung disease. He had not been able to be out of the house for nearly five months. The Index reported: "About twenty-five years ago he was attacked with serious lung infection and at that time his death was expected. But after a long term of treatment, he conquered. He has been bedfast many times since, and finally his strength was exhausted and he surrendered to the decree that all mankind must sooner or later obey.. . . His death came at a time when his friends and neighbors were not fully prepared to bear his departure . . . . "

Mrs. Hardy was completely deaf and rarely left the house, but friends and neighbors visited her every day. Son, Sherry, lived at home with his mother until her death in January, 1928. When I was growing up, Fred Hardy lived in the home on West First. He was often in the group from Medicine Lodge who went to Colorado Springs in the summer, and he told wonderful stories about his Dad.

More next week...


Meandering by Bev McCollom, June 15, 2008

Mortimer Strong, who was at times the bane of Carrie Nation’s existence, came to Barber County from Michigan in 1880. He had purchased a claim on Sand Creek and was going to be a stockman. However, by 1881, after having tended bar in several local saloons, he decided that rather than stockman, his true calling in life was to be an innkeeper. Mort became the manager of the Medicine Lodge House on the southwest corner of North Main and West First Avenue. He enjoyed serving drinks to the cowboys until March of 1885 when all saloons in the city were closed. The Cresset reported that "now the only way the weary wayfarer can procure his ‘morning’s morning’ is to get sick and have a doctor prescribe for him or make out a statement that it is for ‘medical, scientific, or mechanical purposes.’"

The hotel business had lost its appeal for Mort even though he stayed at the Medicine Lodge as manager for a while. However, this ad appeared in the Cresset in October of 1885:

"M. Strong & Co. Druggists and Pharmacists. . . a full line of the purest drugs and medicines; prescriptions compounded day and night. Choice lot of wines and liquors for medicinal purposes." Mort’s "drug store" was in the Medicine Lodge House. He did not remain a "pharmacist" for long.

When Frank Lockwood left as one of the managers of the swanky new Grand Hotel, Mort saw another opening. The Cresset reported in July 1886 that "Mortimer Strong has taken an interest in the Grand Hotel and is now a proprietor. Mort is an old hotel man and will be general manager. Already the house shows that an experienced man is at the helm and there is no doubt but that it will take its place at once as one of the best houses west of Kansas City."

The Grand Hotel After a Snow Storm, Medicine Lodge, Barber County, Kansas, courtesy of Beverly Horney McCollom and Marilou West Ficklin.
The Grand Hotel, Medicine Lodge, Barber County, Kansas.
Photo courtesy of Beverly (Horney) McCollom and Marilou (West) Ficklin.

Mort was always thinking and planning. His partner at the Grand was Jim Fleming – who used to run a drug store! A month after Mort joined Jim at the Grand, it was announced that they were setting up "a nice little drugstore. . . in the northwest room of the Grand Hotel. It is called the Gem, and it sure is a Gem."

The Cresset announced the grand opening on September 2, 1886: "The Gem Drug Store in the north room of the Grand Hotel is open and ready for business. Further improvements by way of counters, etc., will be added, but in the language of Irishmen.

‘she is a daisy’ now." The Gem became the seventh drugstore in Medicine Lodge at that time!

Mort eventually took over the management of the Grand. Almost every week the newspapers had stories about fights and other commotion at the hotel, usually started by Mort or his son Frank, who were inebriated. One item noted: "A fistic encounter at the Grand Hotel was participated in by M. and Frank Strong, and a young man by the name of McGarr, an employee of the house. Young McGarr was pretty badly disfigured."

Then in 1890 things changed for Mort Strong. In August the Cresset carried this story: "Mrs. Mary R. Strong died at the Grand Hotel in this city on Sunday afternoon at 3 o’clock. She had for the past two or three years, been a sufferer from cancer, and all the skill of our local physicians, supplemented by the skill of great specialists of Kansas City and Chicago, had been exerted on her behalf in vain. Several painful operations were performed, and she endured the trials with great fortitude, but nature could not withstand the encroachment of the malady, and she peacefully closed her eyes in death.. .

She was 44 years and 8 months old at the time of her death. She was born in Ohio, where she joined the Methodist church at the age of 14 years. Her parents moved to Michigan when she was yet a girl. At the age of 17 she was married to Mr. M. Strong, and in 1880 they moved to Barber County. She leaves a husband and three children – Frank, Harry, and Viola. Frank is a grown man; Harry is a lad of 10 years, while Viola is about two-and-a half years old – too young to realize what a loss she has sustained. . . .Though the people had, for weeks, been expecting her death, yet when it was announced, they all felt shocked. All who knew her loved her . . . all cherished a hope that some change would occur to prolong her life."

Along with the death of his wife, 1890 brought new management to the Grand –my grandfather – and the arrival in Medicine Lodge of Mrs. Carrie A. Nation. On leaving the Grand, Mort opened a saloon on the west side of Main Street. Things went well for a while until Mrs. Nation, who was sure that Mr. Strong was a purveyor for the devil, brought her lady friends to sing hymns at the entrance of his saloon.

Mort’s business was a bust; he felt that he had been held up to ridicule by this demented woman and her friends. He decided that the only thing to do was to go back to Michigan. Mort Strong left an enduring impression on Medicine Lodge.


Meandering by Bev McCollom, June 9, 2008

When I was four years old, I would cross the alley to Allan and Fay Hibbard’s back door to go in to visit my best friend, Benjamin Glasier, who lived with his daughter, Fay, and her family. Ben had come to Medicine Lodge in the 1890’s. He had a general store to the east of the J. R. Young Drug Co. (later Hibbards). He was a popular businessman, and later a deputy county treasurer. His wedding to Jennie Currie, the daughter of C. B. Currie, was the social event of the season in 1894.

C.B. Currie, originally from New Hampshire, came to Barber County in 1892, lived on a stock farm and ranch, which was about a mile from Medicine Lodge at that time. The white frame house stood on a hill just north of where the Helipad is now. Mr. Currie owned three quarter sections, 480 acres of land watered by Elm Creek and Spring Creek. On the average Currie had 450 cows, 200 calves, and 60 head of horses. About 40 of the horses were brood mares with the English Shire stallion, Black Prince. Currie had ten acres of his land in orchard. He also owned some 800 acres of land on Chikaskia Creek in Kingman County.

In 1872 before coming to Barber County C.B. Currie married Miss Louise J. Petit, the daughter of Uncle Peter Petit, who also moved to Medicine Lodge. The Curries were married in Chetopa, Kansas. During their years on the Barber County farm, they had one son, Ralph, and four daughters, Jennie, Nellie, Maude, and Blanche.

Jennie was the first of the lovely Currie girls to marry. The Index carried the news of her marriage in October 1894. Mr. Benjamin Glasier and Miss Jennie Currie were united in Holy Matrimony, Rev. R. B. Engle officiating. Miss Nellie Curries and C. L. Sparks personated bridesmaid and best man. . . .. The groom is our present deputy county treasurer . . . a man of excellent habits and character, cordial, and never fails to make friends wherever he goes. The bride is the oldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. B.

Currie, has been brought up in this county, and is admired and befriended by all who know her. The Index joins with the many friends of the happy couple in extending congratulations and best wishes for the future.

Ben and Jennie had two children. Their daughter, Fay married Alan Hibbard, the son of George and Inez Hibbard, who owned Hibbard’s Drug Store, which had been started by Inez’ father, J. R. Young. They had two daughters, Helen, who married Glenn Shriver, a local farm boy, and Mary Jean, who married Dub Rickard.

Jennie Glasier died in 1917. Ben spent his last years living with the Fay and Allan and the girls – and having me to keep him entertained!

The Curries’ second daughter, Nellie, was married to Dr. C. L. Sparks in January of 1897. Sparks was a dentist. He died of heart failure brought on by typhoid fever in October, 1903, survived by Nellie and their two daughters.

In 1899 the Curries’ daughter, Maude, was married to Chauncey B. Kinkaid. The Cresset reported "...two popular young people of this city surprised their relatives and friends last Saturday by getting married. The ceremony was performed by Probate Judge Lacy at his residence in the presence of three or four intimate friends. Immediately after the ceremony, Mr. Kinkaid took his bride to the home he had prepared in the south part of the city, and they began housekeeping like the sensible people they are. . ."

The Cresset reported on April 11, 1900, that "Mr. Ralph Currie and Miss Leta Hoover were married in Wichita two weeks ago. Their marriage was a surprise to all their friends, as well as to the parents of the contracting parties. Ralph is the only son of C. B. Currie, and Miss Leta is the only daughter of Peter Hoover, who resides in Eagle township, two of Barber County’s most substantial ranch owners…"

And on May 9, 1902, the Cresset told us that "In the presence of the family on Monday morning, May 5th, Rev. W. T. McLain, pastor of the Christian Church, said the words which joined for aye Jerry C. Gano and Blanche A. Currie . . . Jerry is the son of Sheriff and Mrs. J. B. Gano, full of life and energy. The bride is the youngest daughter of C. B. Currie. She was born in Barber County . . .Both of these young people are very popular among their associates. . ."

Unfortunately, Blanche’s mother had died of pneumonia in March, 1900. On June 30, 1902, at the home of Robert S. Field and his wife, Beatrice (MacGregor) Mr. Currie married Mrs. Lilah M. Field, the widow of early Medicine Lodge resident, Seward Field. They lived on the ranch until the completion of the new brick home that C. B. built for Lilah, which still stands at 205 South Walnut.


Meandering by Bev McCollom, June 2, 2008

May 30th is Memorial Day, no matter what the government calls the "Memorial Day Weekend," which changes every year. We lived for several years in Sharpsburg, Maryland, which on September 17, 1862, was the site of the Battle of Antietam, named after the creek that runs through the battlefield. It is called the Battle of Sharpsburg in the South, as they named their battles after the nearest town. It was the bloodiest one-day battle during the Civil War with 23,000 casualties, 25% of the Unions troops, 31% of Confederate troops.

The big stone house, where we lived in the early 1970’s, was in 1862 the home of the only physician in Sharpsburg, Dr. Biggs. He turned his home into a hospital, where he treated many of the wounded. Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross, was also at Antietam to take care of the wounded. On September 18th President Lincoln came to Sharpsburg to talk with General McClellan. He expressed his disappointment in McClellan because neither side had a decisive victory. Lincoln also visited the wounded.

As a result of the Battle of Antietam, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862.

There were many Civil War veterans in Medicine Lodge – from both sides – and they got together on Memorial Day. My great grandfather, David Painter, was one of them; he had signed with the 15th Indiana Volunteers, Light Artillery. I learned that he did not make it to Antietam because he had been captured at Harper’s Ferry – 11 miles south of Sharpsburg – on September 15th, two days before the battle. He was released two months later and went on to fight at Stone River, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, and the siege of Atlanta.

W. E. Williams, father of Walter Williams, was also taken prisoner during the war. He was not as fortunate as Dave Painter, however, because he was sent to the horrific Andersonville Prison in Georgia. Mr. Williams was serving in Co. K, 7th Indiana Regiment when he was captured in 1864 and remained a prisoner until the the fighting was over. He had graphic stories to tell about the 33,000 men who were at Andersonville, where many died of malnutrition, exposure, and disease. He was one of the lucky ones who came out skinny and weak, but he recovered and lived a good life.

David Nation served with Co. B, 69th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers. He made it through the war safely, and eventually came to Medicine Lodge as the minister at the First Christian Church. I have an idea that his years spent with his second wife, Carrie A., were rougher than anything he endured in the Civil War! Orange Scott Cummins, The Pilgrim Bard, who was my grandfather’s good friend, served in the 3rd Iowa Cavalry.

"Sockless" Jerry Simpson, who later represented us as a Populist member of the U.S. House of Representatives, served with Co. A, 12th Illinois Infantry. Jessie Pelton, father of my Dad’s friend, Harvey Pelton, had served in the Union Army. He came to Sharon in 1881. Robert D. Simpson, father of Warren and Clayton Simpson, fought with Co. E, 78th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Henry Harrison Hardy, who was a well respected Probate Judge in Medicine Lodge from 1881 to 1890, was with Company H, 47th Illinois Volunteers. And Joseph P. Gibson, father of Mary Luallen, Carrie Patton, Cornelia Johnson, Gladys Gibson, Fern Shell, and Helen Harrison was in the 4th Tennessee Cavalry, which was part of the Union Army.

When I was a little girl, I was always so pleased that I knew a Civil War veteran.

He was William C. Barnard, who lived on a farm east of town (now on Pageant Road).

He had served with Company I, 167th Ohio Volunteers. He and his family came to Medicine Lodge from Oklahoma in 1905. His children were Evaline (Clawson), Alma (Hoagland), Julia (Knowles), Charles, Geneva (Wheat), and Bill. I think of him every time I drive east on 160.

Two other well-known Barber Countians were veterans. They were Milt Clements of Sun City, who came here in 1872 after having served in Co. E, 10th Illinois Cavalry. The other was Reuben Lake, the founder of Lake City in 1872. He had served with the 78th Illinois Infantry.

Barber County had a very prominent Confederate Army veteran. He was John Henry Garten, who was a Private in Co. F. 26th Virginia Battalion, Infantry of the CSA.

John came to Sun City on a buffalo hunt in 1872 and decided to stay. He met Miss Malinda Rogers, who was from West Virginia. They were the first white couple married in Barber County - on December 31, 1873.

John T. Jesse, who came to Medicine Lodge in 1883, had also served in the Confederate Army. He had been born in Kentucky. A friendship with Jerry Simpson brought him here. His daughters were Mamie Toombs, Sara Toombs, Blanche Hartley, and Jane Kimball (Mrs. Wilbur).


Meandering by Bev McCollom, May 27, 2008

Charlie and Zeal Johnson would be sitting in the big doorway of their livery barn on West Kansas Avenue when I was walking home, and they would talk to me, we would laugh, and I loved them. The livery barn, which is now Forsyth’s storage building, stood where their hotel, the Central, had burned to the ground. Their mother, Emma Johnson Adams, who lived in the beautiful brick house that was on the corner of W. Kansas and North Cherry, was always so cheerful and happy when I would visit her. I had no idea then about the real tragedies in their lives.

The first occurred in February of 1903. The Cresset wrote this about their Dad and husband: "About 1 o’clock Sunday morning J. H. Johnson, proprietor of the Central Hotel, was found dead in the rear of the hotel. He had committed suicide by cutting his throat. The small blade of a pocketknife was used, and when found, the knife was clasped in his right hand. Mr. Johnson was last seen alive by Louis Barrel, a boarder at the hotel, about 10 o’clock. He sat in the office posting his books when he suddenly threw the book aside and left the hotel hastily. When the family missed him, search was instituted, but it was not until 1 o’clock that E. Van Horn found his body near the pig pen in the rear of the building. He was in a kneeling position as if in prayer. The bloody trail shows that he first used the knife near the hotel kitchen and then walked fifty feet or more to where the body was found. There were two or three gashes in the side of his neck.

Mr. Johnson had been suffering mentally for two or three weeks . . . his physician had advised him to take a vacation, and he had promised his family that he would visit a brother in Illinois. . . John H. Johnson was 58 years, 3 months, and 4 days of age. He was born at Bishop Auckland, county of Durham, England and came to the United States when 8 years of age. On June 24, 1874, he married Emma Murray at Deerfield, Mo. To them were born 7 children, 3 of whom are living – Mrs. Seward I. Field, Charles F., and Zeal, all residents of Medicine Lodge. In 1884 Mr. Johnson opened a hotel at Sharon, and in 1891 came to Medicine Lodge and purchased the Central Hotel. He has been very successful financially since coming here and leaves his family in very comfortable circumstances. Mr. Johnson was a hard working man. . ."

Two years later, in 1905, happiness came to Charlie. "A very pretty church wedding occurred at the Methodist church at six o’clock Wednesday evening, September 27th, the principals being Mr. Charles Johnson, son of Mrs. Emma Johnson Adams (Emma had married Green Adams on August 20th), and Miss Cornelia Gibson, daughter of Mrs. J.P. Gibson . . .The service was conducted by Rev. W. H. Moore in the presence of a large company of well-wishing friends. The church was simply decorated with ferns. Mrs. T. J. Best played the wedding march and the ushers were Misses Gladys Gibson, Alma Shell, and Lillian Lorton. . . .Later a reception was held at the home of the bride’s mother on Walnut Street (at the southwest corner of Walnut and Stolp).. . .The groom has lived in this county most of his life, and the bride was born here. We trust their hopes and ambitions will be fully realized. The bride was becomingly dressed in a gown of blue taffeta silk with heavy lace trimmings. She carried a bouquet of carnations.

The happy young couple began housekeeping at once in the Vaughn residence on First Avenue east.

Then more tragedy. In the Cresset on January 12, 1905, this appeared: "Cornelia M. Gibson Johnson, wife of Chas. M. Johnson, died at her home in this city at 12:15 Tuesday morning, January 9, 1906, aged twenty-four years and nineteen days. The cause of death was blood poisoning resulting from premature childbirth. The funeral service was held at the Methodist church at 10 o’clock Wednesday morning by her pastor, Rev. W. H. Moore. . . . On September 25th, 1905, she was married to Charles M. Johnson. A little more than a week ago the illness which caused her death came upon her. It was only a few weeks ago that we attended the wedding. . . Little did we think then, as we saw them surrounded by well-wishing friends, with every indication of a happy future, that we would so soon be called upon to chronicle the death of one member of the union. . .

She was blithe of heart, and those who came within the circle of her ever-cheerful presence could not help holding her in high esteem. Her death does not fill only the hearts of her husband and relatives along with mourning. Their grief is shared by all who knew her. The flowers that covered her casket will soon wither and fade, but so long as the grass upon the mound over her bed in the silent home of the dead shall green and ripen will her many virtues be remembered."

More next week . . . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, May 19, 2008

Elam Thomas Chance was the son of Eli Pritchett Chance. Eli was born in Kent County, Delaware in 1833. On August 7, 1861 Eli was united in marriage with Melinda Fleming, born in Scott County, Illinois, in 1840’s. They had two children - Elam Thomas, born at Pleasant Hill, Missouri, in 1862 and Beatrice Ada, born in 1864.

On January 26, 1891, Elam was married to Miss Lizzie Mae Beieler, who was born in Springfield, Missouri, in 1874. They were united in marriage by the Probate Judge in Red Cloud, Nebraska, where they continued to reside until 1896.

Along with his parents, Eli and Melinda, Elam and his family moved to Medicine Lodge, Kansas, where they first lived on a ranch northwest of town. Their children loved living in the country. They were Andrew Murray, Elam Thomas, Jr., Douglas Fleming (who was one of my Dad’s high school buddies), Rachel May, Robert Bruce, Mildred Naomi, William Wallace (who died in infancy), and Leo Leroy.

Elam’s sister, Beatrice, married James Snodgrass in 1895. She gave Eli and Melinda four grandchildren- Lora Leona, Robert Eli, Nancy Melinda, and James LaFayette.

Elam and Lizzie Chance lived in Medicine Lodge until 1921 when they moved to DeRidder, Louisiana, for the rest of their lives. Elam died there in 1950 and Lizzie in 1958. Both were brought back here to be buried beside Elam’s parents and their son, Murray, in Highland Cemetery.

Andrew Murray Chance was born in Medicine Lodge on January 14, 1896. On February 19, 1921, before his parents moved to Louisiana, Murray was married to the lovely, blue-eyed Hattie Carmen Turnage, who was born in Mena, Arkansas in 1903, the daughter of Presley Lane and Rosetta (Atwell) Turnage. Their wedding was attended by Hattie’s mother, Rosa, and presided over by Probate Judge Steve Garrison and Justice of the Peace, W. L. Bragg.

In 1929 the Chances bought a home just east of Medicine Lodge from Harve and Mae Tedrow. The house is just across Elm Creek bridge to the south on Rodeo Drive. There they brought up their five children - Andrew, Murray, Jr., Jack Kenneth, Elam Preston (Bill), Darlene Rose, and Virginia Louise, who was in my class in school.

Murray worked for the Long & Bauman Creamery, which was where Dirk’s Copy Products is now. During the years of World War II Murray and Hattie moved to Lamar, Colorado, where he worked on relocation center for the Japanese. They later lived in Cimarron and Hays; then the Chances moved back to Medicine Lodge in 1944.

Murray went to work for KP&L at the pump station south of the wooden bridge on South Main extended. When I would go out to Shells, the farm to the south of them, to ride my horse, Murray and Hattie were usually on the front porch to wave as I went by. Then in December of 1945 there was an explosion at the pump station. I remember it well. We heard that Murray had been inured and badly burned. He was taken to Pratt to the hospital, but expired on December 29th. The whole town was stunned. Hattie continued to live in their home until her death in 1952.

Their third son, Bill, was born in Medicine Lodge in 1925 with Dr. Coleman in attendance. In 1948 he was married to Virginia Anne Mullikin, the daughter of Edith Lurinda (Woodward) and Ben Mullikin. Upon the death of Bill’s mother, they bought the house east of town and brought up their children there. There were five of them - Lurinda Lee, Elam Thomas (who died in 1972), Michael Preston, who died in infancy, Timothy Andrew, and Jerry Preston.

Jerry continues to live in the Chance home. He has two daughters, Chella Dawn and Alyssa Gale. Tim, who married Janet Watkins, lives further south on Rodeo Drive. They have two daughters - Carrie Elizabeth and Lacey Janae. Lurinda married Raphael Gehlen. Their children are Marsha Anne (Finch), Nicole Andrea (Bland), and Raphael Anthony.

On July 16, 1947, Murray and Hattie’s daughter, Darlene Rose, was married to Thomas Trantham of Sharon. They had three children - William Murray, Bonita Kay (Snyder), and Patricia Ann (Ditgen). And my schoolmate, Virginia, married Jack Kasney in 1951. They became the parents of three children - Jack Edward, John Preston, and Susan Louise.

I Know Hattie looks down from heaven with those beautiful blue eyes, and smiles as each new generation of her family comes along.

More next week . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, May 12, 2008

In 1889 Thomas Balmer made the long boat trip from England to the United States. His destination was Medicine Lodge, Kansas.

Miss Mary Best paid the fare for many young Englishmen to come here. They then worked for her for a length of time to pay her back. Tom worked for Mary Best for one year, then went to work at the Sugar Mill – which was located at what is now Fowler Avenue and Cleveland Street. He was saving his money for someone special.

On the ship that brought Tom to America was the Mounsey family from Penrith, England. Johnson Mounsey, his wife Jane Elizabeth, their eleven children, and one grandson were also on their way to Medicine Lodge. On the long trip Tom became friends with the Mounsey boys and through them met the love of his life, Rachel Mounsey, their sister, whom he married on October 25, 1900.

Tom had left the Sugar Mill in the mid 1890’s for a more lucrative job as foreman of a sheep ranch in Wyoming. He came home to marry Rachel, and the newly weds went back to Wyoming. While they were living in Meeteesee, Wyoming, their first child, Mary (Forsyth), was born. Then in 1903 the Balmers and their daughter moved back to Medicine Lodge, where they became the parents of two more girls – Esther (Johnson) and Thelma (Colton).

For a number of years the Balmers lived on their farm about seven miles south of Medicine Lodge. Then in 1917 the family moved to Anderson County in eastern Kansas, where Tom farmed for the next 25 years. When they retired, Tom and Rachel moved back here to be near family. Their daughters became the brides of Barber County gentlemen. Mary wed Caleb Forsyth; daughter Esther married Arthur Johnson; and daughter Thelma married Earnest McGuire. After his death, she married Clarence Colton, who had been a member of her graduating class in Colony, Kansas.

Mary Balmer’s husband, Caleb, had left his home in Maiden Bradley, England, at the age of 15 to come to America. He first settled in Osage City, but in 1904 he came to Barber County. When her family had moved to eastern Kansas, Mary had stayed in Medicine Lodge with her grandparents. Caleb had been left a widower with two children on the death of his first wife, Amy Richardson. In 1930 Caleb and Mary were married. They had one daughter, Esther Beth.

Another of Johnson Mounsey’s daughters, Ada, married a young Englishman, Simon Roe Willan, who had come to Medicine Lodge from Brough, England, to work for Miss Mary Best. After working for her for a while, he began his own farming operation southwest of town.

Simon courted the lovely Ada, and they were married and settled on their farm.

Ada retained many English traditions in her home. Harvest crews loved to work for the Willans because Ada prepared delicious meals for them. She always observed tea time at 3:00 in the afternoon, and even the harvest crews observed a tea-time break with delicious goodies.

The Willans became the parents of two children – son John Johnson born in 1907 and daughter Mary Elizabeth (Kimball) in 1909.

John Willan married Elsie Coppock from Oklahoma. John continued to farm his father’s land. They had two daughters – Barbara Lee (Dale) and Laura Ann (Johnson). Barbara and her husband lived and farmed in western Kansas.

Laura Willan married Johnny Johnson, and they lived in Medicine Lodge, where they had daughters Letitia, Lenise, and LeAnn and son, J.C. I might add that Laura and I share two grandchildren – Tony McCollom, who will graduate from high school this year and will attend Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, and Libby McCollom, who will begin her freshman year in high school.

Mary Willan married Paul Kimball of Medicine Lodge. They had three sons, and lived in New Mexico.

Johnson and Jane Elizabeth Mounsey enjoyed the company of their children and grandchildren in their home at 500 North Walnut in the house that stood back on the hill. They enjoyed being together.

The family’s favorite story was about their arrival in Medicine Lodge. It was a windy, dusty day when someone with a team of mules pulling a wagon came to meet them. Jane Mounsey, who had never seen a mule, turned to her husband and exclaimed, "Why they have sent camels to get us!"

More next week . . . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, May 5, 2008

I often look at the building at 107 North Main and remember the wonderful times I had there – and how good the ham salad sandwiches were.

Jay Rutan brought his family to Medicine Lodge in the spring of 1940 from Pratt, where he had run a confectionery for 19 years. In the winter of 1939 Jay bought Lyman Russell’s business, and he had been rooming with Mae and Marvin Parsons at 206 West Kansas Avenue until school was out, and he could bring his wife, two daughters, and his son to Medicine Lodge.

Jay Bartlett Rutan was born in Carrollton, Missouri, in 1896, the son of Oliver and Tempi Mason Rutan. On May 29, 1919, he married Clara Mae Bunting, the daughter of Harry and Lola Bowers Bunting, in St. John, Kansas. Their children were Margaret (Vaughn), Betty (Frisbie), and Bob.

The family came to Medicine Lodge, first to live at 310 West Kansas Avenue and finally at 210 West Second Avenue. Jay also bought the Hittle farm, which he rented to Earnest Riggins. Later, daughter Betty and her family lived on the farm.

Medicine Lodge was growing in those days, and Jay became friends with fellow business owners, such as Gladys Spencer (Youngers), who with her sister was starting a dry goods store; Thelma and Ed Dye, who had the wonderful café at 103 North Main; and Charlie Hall, who owned the Street Car Café up the street near the Standard Oil station. (Charlie had the best hot beef sandwich in town – for 25 cents!)

With his employees – who included Alma Jarnigan (Haynes), later City Clerk – Jay ran a thriving business, serving sandwiches, chili, soft drinks, and ice cream. During World War II, Rutan’s was the only place in Medicine Lodge where one could eat out at night. Saturday nights were always busy because the farmers and their families came to town to sell produce and to buy groceries and other necessities for the week, and guys from the Pratt Air Base came to town to the dances at the Legion Hall. And, of course, when I was in Junior High, Rutan’s was the place to spend Saturday night – especially when we could dance there in the back room. For some reason the government decided to put a cabaret tax on dancing, so we could listen to music, but not dance to it. My Mother did rent Rutan’s back room for my 16th birthday party – and we danced then!

In 1946 because of failing health, Jay sold the confectionery to Herman Snyder and Skeet Smith, who later sold it to Hank Hart and Charlie Bain.

Jay continued to be active, working at the grocery store at 201 North Main, where the library is now, and for Nick Baker at his corner grocery at 413 North Main (later Mayfield’s). Jay and Clara were also active in the Christian Church.

The Rutans’ son, Bob, was 14-years-old when the family moved to Medicine Lodge. He graduated from Medicine Lodge High School with the Class of 1944 – and soon after joined the Navy until World War II was over.

After the war, Bob worked for a while as a substitute mail carrier, then decided to be a self-employed carpenter. Bob and his Dad had built a rental apartment house at 303 North Oak when they lived on West Second.

In 1953 Bob and Lester Shaw began to work in the carpentry business together, forming Shaw and Rutan Construction Company. They worked together until 1976, when Lester retired and Bob bought his partnership. The business became Rutan Construction Company, and Bob’s son, Mike, eventually joined him.

In 1956 Bob Rutan married Margaret Colborn, the daughter of William H. and Madge Bayliffe Colborn. They began married life in a new home at 500 North Oak.

Now they live in the imposing brick home at 315 El Dorado Avenue. They are the parents of two daughters, Teresa (Farrar) and Michele, and one son, Michael Jay, who lives with wife, Christi, and their family at 200 South Walnut.

Margaret Rutan’s mother, Madge Bayliffe, had come to Barber County in 1910 with her parents, Robinson and Ida (Martindale) Bayliffe, her sister, Alice (Tharp), and brother, Martindale, from Crosby Garrett, Westmoreland, England. Mr. Bayliffe’s cousin was Tom Balmer, who lived here. The Bayliffe’s had three more children – Sarah (Vincent), Isaac, and Ena (Smith). Mr. Bayliffe worked at the Gyp Mill for a while, then when Mr. Balmer moved to town, the Bayliffes moved to the farm. Madge’s father, Robinson, was also a Wesley Methodist minister, and at times would conduct the services at the Methodist Church in Medicine Lodge.

More next week . . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, April 28, 2008

Darius V. "Rye" Woodward was the fourth child born to Sarah Ellen (Lytle) and Richard Mills Woodward. He grew up in Medicine Lodge. As mentioned in an earlier column, he spent a lot of time with his grandfather, John W. Lytle, who taught him the proper way to chew tobacco.

Rye, after graduation from Barber County High School, attended Business School in Salina. Always one to be daring, he enlisted as a volunteer in the Spanish American War, and he was on his way to the Philippines before he informed his parents.

While Rye was in the Army, he corresponded regularly with a local young teacher, May Axtell. May was born in Winnetka, Illinois, in 1884 to Will and Flora Axtell. Because of her brother Ned’s poor health May, her parents, and her brothers, Ned and Dan, made their way to New Mexico, where they lived until coming to Medicine Lodge in 1889. May Axtell began teaching school at age 17. Her correspondence with Rye Woodward continued while he served three years and four months in the Army. He came home to Medicine Lodge in late 1904.

Rye and May were married at the Baptist Church parsonage (east of the Grand Hotel) on April 12, 1905. Their attendants were Nettie McCoy (Benefiel) and James Woodward. The newlyweds moved to Oklahoma to their first home, a dugout near Grand. Their first child, a son Richard Axtell, was born there on July 31, 1906. He was joined eventually by seven more children; three of their children died in infancy.

Rye and May became mail carriers and moved to Gage, Oklahoma, where they lived for the next 17 years. Rye also had a leather goods and harness shop. The Woodwards moved to Hardtner in 1915 and to Sharon in 1918. Then in 1924 they moved back to Medicine Lodge.

A few weeks before his 21st birthday, the Woodwards were notified of the death of their oldest child, R. Axtell, who was serving in the Navy. He died at the Naval Hospital in San Francisco after surgery.

Rye and May had brought up their children to be good students, independent, resourceful, and patriotic. The remaining Woodward children lived successful lives.

Edith Woodward Mullikin Trantham graduated from Northwestern College in Alva and was a teacher for 25 years, as well as the mother of three children. Ethel Woodward Mullikin graduated from Emporia State, was a teacher for 21 years, and the mother of five children. Florence attended Salt City Business College. D. Vernon Woodward retired from the Army as a Sergeant Major after 30 years service; he had two children. William Allison (Bill) Woodward enlisted in the Army in 1923; his pay was $21.00 per month. He served with the 12th Cavalry in Fort Ringold, Texas, and was in the 31st Infantry in Manila. When his enlistment was up, he lived in Butte, Montana, until 1942, when he reenlisted in the Army and served with the 2nd Constabulary in Germany. Virginia Woodward Measday became a beautician, having her own shop in Deming, New Mexico; she was the mother of six children. Dan Henry Woodward graduated from Denver University after serving in the Navy in World War II on the USS Reno, which was bombed by the Japanese. He became a teacher and a psychologist, as well as the co-author of a book, "Living With the Now Child," used as a guide by teachers and parents of exceptional children. He was the father of five children. B. Joyce Westbrooks began as a beautician in the ‘40s, then went to college after her two sons had graduated. She became a 4th grade teacher in Deming, New Mexico, then went on to get her Master’s Degree in Silver City, New Mexico.

In 1938 Rye and May and their two youngest children, Dan and Joyce, along with the family dog, AyeSir, went to Hot Springs, New Mexico, for Rye’s health. Before they came home they went to Texas and to California for a while. Finally they left California on February 1, 1939 – and after seeing the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Rio Grande, mountains, and desert, they all happily returned home to Medicine Lodge on February 10, 1939.

Toward the end of his life, Rye Woodward was plagued with arthritis, asthma, and a rheumatic heart. He spent a number of winters in the Veterans Hospital in Wichita, where he died of a heart attack on January 7, 1942. The love of his life, May Axtell Woodward, had died in July of 1940 after having had surgery at Wesley Hospital in Wichita.

More next week . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, April 21, 2008

In Medicine Lodge on July 4, 1880, Orlando Vernon Lytle, the son of John W. Lytle, took as his bride Miss Clara May Shepler, the daughter of Samuel J. and Hester (Frye) Shepler, who had moved here from Illinois.

S. J. Shepler became City Clerk in 1879 when Medicine Lodge was incorporated, and he was Mayor from 1882 to 1884. He also served Barber County as Clerk and Probate Judge.

May Shepler Lytle was born in Peoria Heights, Illinois, in November, 1862.

She and Vernon Lytle had four children – Nora Blanch (Spangler); Jennie, who married Ralph Long and lived in Belvedere; Pearl, who married Rink McCullough of Medicine Lodge; and Loren Roy, who married Marie Lording of Coldwater. May was an intelligent, creative woman, and at the age of 71 she wrote about her experiences in early-day Barber County. These are some excerpts from her memoirs:

"I came to Barber County in 1873, February 23, with my parents, two brothers, and sister. I was a child of eleven years; our outfit consisted of two covered wagons, heavily loaded, one team of horses, and two yoke of oxen. We camped on Elm Creek.

"Medicine Lodge consisted of a dugout where two men lived and Derrick Updegraff’s cedar log cabin. As my father and I walked to the cabin, I saw an old gentleman standing in the doorway with his hands in his pockets. He was wearing black pants and white shirt, his hair was as white as his shirt, and he had a big, broad smile.

He greeted us with ‘Where in God’s name did you come from, Man and Child? Did you drop from the sky?’

"Going 15 miles west and across Medicine River, we made camp. Other families who moved in were Carlo Nickels, Martins, and Kerchners. Father made our living by cutting cedar posts and killing buffalo for meat and hides. They staked the hides out on the ground, hair side down, until they dried. He loaded posts and hides on the wagon, hitched a couple yoke of oxen to the wagon, and drove to Hutchinson, returning with the needed supplies. The trip took two to three weeks.

"As I write, I recall to mind one Sunday afternoon – Mother, sister, and I had gone over to the river beyond the timber, watching for father and the boys. We were sitting on a log when we heard something or somebody slipping up behind us, stepping lightly on the leaves. Every little bit a twig would break and snap. Mother drew a six-shooter from the front of her dress before she turned to see – a wonderful flock of wild turkeys – fifty or sixty big fellows with shining black and gold feathers.

"Buffalo everywhere – I have seen thousands of them in one herd. One could hear them for miles come treading, tramping, and bellowing from the hills to the river to drink.

"July 6, 1874, Indians killed and scalped three men who were cutting posts in a canyon southwest of Medicine Lodge.

"My brother, Frank, took a load of us west on Medicine River – plumming (picking sand plums). Six mounted militiamen went with us for protection. We saw a heavy dark, gray, greenish cloud roaring out of the west. As we looked, the sun was hidden, the roaring grew less, and we heard the soft thud of dropping things. A cloud of millions of grasshoppers covered the fields and forest. When the sun set, there was no vegetation over the land.

"September, 1874, the militia went to drive the Indians out of the country. They found them and battled on Sand Creek, near where Sharon is. They killed nine Indians and captured sixty head of ponies. Captain Cy Ricker came to our house and showed us the nine scalps hanging from his belt. Never will I forget the awfulness of it all!

"As times went on, more pioneers came to settle up the county."

May’s brother, Frank Shepler, married Sharlotty Fishburn in Sun City in 1879.

They had one son, Robert. The family was living on Elm Creek north of Medicine Lodge in April of 1885 when the devastating flood came on the 20th. Mrs. Shepler and Robert were among those who drowned. It was two weeks before Robert’s body was found.

Orlando Vernon Lytle died in April of 1898. May provided for her family with a millinery shop and dressmaking, which she did well and enjoyed doing. By the time May’s health began to fail, her daughter Pearl and husband, Rink, had moved into town.

May went to live with them. The family loved to gather to listen to her stories about the "old days." May died on December 15, 1944.

More next week . . . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, April 14, 2008

John William Lytle was 67-years-old when he moved to Barber County with some of his family in 1884. He was a pioneer all his life in many places and many ways.

John W. was born in Pennsylvania in 1817. He later moved to Ohio and then to Illinois.

He became a steamboat man on the Mississippi. Then in 1860 he moved his family on west to Ottawa County, Kansas, which was the real frontier at that time.

In 1863 an Indian uprising drove John W. and his family to Saline County, Kansas, where he homesteaded 160 acres, where the Lytles were living when his wife, Catherine Schuyler Lytle, died in 1867. The Lytles had ten children; four of them died in infancy,

John W. came to Medicine Lodge with five of these children – Sarah Ellen (Woodward), Orlando Vernon, John Adalaska, Mary (Fuller), and Harriet (Green).

He was a faithful member of the Baptist Church. John owned wheat land and some properties in Medicine Lodge. As he got older, he was confined to a wheelchair. His grandchildren often stayed with him. One grandson, Rye Woodward, received some excellent instruction from his grandfather – on the proper way to chew tobacco!

John W. Lytle died in December of 1893.

In 1870 Sarah Ellen Lytle was married to Richard Mills Woodward in Salina, Kansas. Richard Mills Woodward, later known to all as "Uncle Dick," was born on a farm near Clarksburg, West Virginia, in 1837, the eighth child of John Mills Woodward and Susannah Gillis Woodward, who was from Ireland.

Dick Woodward apprenticed as a harness maker, which remained his lifelong trade. In 1859 he visited his older brother, John Edmond, in Saline County, Kansas. However, he went back to West Virginia, where, after voting for Lincoln, he joined Company B, 5th Cavalry, Union Army in Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1861.

In December of 1864 he became a prisoner of war in Richmond, Virginia.

Dick survived being a prisoner of war and soon returned to Kansas, where he found his nephew, Ayel, was engaged to a lovely girl. Sarah Ellen Lytle was born in 1854 at Charlestown, Illinois, and had come to Saline County with her family, Dick, who was tall, dark, and handsome with blue eyes and was an Indian Scout and buffalo hunter, bet his nephew that he could take his girl away from him. Dick, at age 33, and Sarah Ellen, age 16, were married on Christmas Day, 1870.

Dick came to Barber County in 1871 to hunt buffalo. He sold meat to the Army, brought the first milk cow to Barber County, and freighted hides and bones to Hutchinson and Wichita, bringing merchandise back to Medicine Lodge for merchants and other settlers. Tom McNeal came here in one of his wagons. Dick’s Peak in the Gyp Hills is named for him. During the one year that Dick kept track, he killed 1700 buffalo!

Dick’s family finally moved to Barber County in 1877. By this time they had son John Hugh in 1872, daughter Maude Ellen in 1873, who died shortly after, and Bessie Blanche in 1876.

Fortunately for Ellen, her father and two brothers and two sisters had moved to Barber County. She was at her brother Vernon’s home when the Woodward son Darius Vernon, known as Rye, was born on her 26th birthday on April 21st, 1880. Their son James Richard was born in Medicine Lodge in 1885 in their home on East Kansas Avenue.

In 1889 when the Oklahoma Territory was opened for settlement, it was another frontier for Dick, and the family moved to Woodward Oklahoma Territory, where Dick had the Woodward Manufacturing Company, making harness, holsters, saddles, and other leather goods.

In 1909 Dick and Ellen moved back to Barber County to Sharon, where he still worked with leather. He and his son, Dick, had a harness and shoe shop. By this time Dick had rheumatism, and his crippled foot, which had been injured during the war, made him uncomfortable, but he remained unstoppable.

Ellen enjoyed her flower garden and her grandchildren. She died in her sleep on March 19, 1918. Dick followed her on March 20, 1920.

More about the Lytles and the Woodwards next week . . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, April 7, 2008

Samuel Stewart, who was born in 1858 in Keokuk, Iowa, was one of Barber County’s finest stockmen and land dealers. He owned 8900 acres of land and was interested in acquiring more. He was the third largest taxpayer in Barber County.

At age 18 Sam Stewart left home with 50 cents and the horse he was riding to make his own way in the world. On October 18, 1881, he married Cecelia Thompson, the daughter of David and Sarah Emeline Thompson, in their farm home near Raritan, Illinois. For a few years the newlyweds lived on a farm near Cecelia’s parents. While living there, they had two children – Cora in 1882 and Frank in 1883.

The Stewarts moved to Barber County in November of 1884, settling on a farm four miles east of Medicine Lodge, where their other children were born – Maude, George, Charles, and Roy. They lost one child in infancy.

To Sam Stewart Barber County was the "Promised Land." His crops excelled and his cattle prospered. He was so excited about his life here that he published a booklet titled "The Truth," which told about the excellent farm land here in Barber County that could be had for $5 to $30 an acre. He mailed out his booklet to prospective investors throughout the country. As a result, he brought many families to Barber County.

Sam was a handsome, compact man who was proud of his athletic ability. He heard about a Mr. Flint who had moved here recently and had told everyone that he could do well in any athletic contest. One day Sam climbed in his buggy and drove to Mr. Flint’s place, introduced himself, and challenged him to a wrestling match, a fight, or a footrace. Flint chose wrestling, and he quickly won the match from Sam. Then he asked what they should try next. Sam assured Mr. Flint that he would take his word about the other two contests.

The Stewarts’ daughter, Cora, married Lloyd Davis on July 16th, 1905. They had two daughters – Dorothy (Miller) and Margaret (Randels) But Sam never knew his granddaughters. Tragically, he died in November of that year.

The Cresset on November 17, 1905, carried this headline: "Samuel Stewart Drowned. Prominent Citizen of Barber County Meets With Fatal Accident.

Occurred Yesterday. Drove Into Deep Water and Quicksand at the Mouth of Cedar Creek." The story followed:

"Samuel Stewart, one of the most widely known men in Barber County, was drowned yesterday afternoon in the mouth of Cedar Creek, two and one-half miles west of Medicine Lodge. The terrible accident occurred about 4 o’clock. He had started out with H.C. Alexander to show him a piece of land. They were riding in Mr. Alexander’s top buggy, and when they reached the crossing where Cedar Creek empties into the Medicine River. Mr. Alexander, who was driving, hesitated a moment, but Mr. Stewart assured him that the crossing was all right. They drove in and immediately the horse went out of sight and the top of the buggy dropped forward. Mr. Stewart was pitched out of the buggy on the left side, going south. Mr. Alexander was caught by the top, but he called to Stewart and receiving no reply, crawled through the back of the top and began to disrobe. Just them Stewart rose to the surface, and Alexander pushed the buggy whip toward him, but the current swept him beyond reach. Afterwards, Stewart almost reached the bank when he sank out of sight. Mr. Alexander made further effort to reach Stewart, but failing, he hurried to where Gus Olson was working and sent him to town for help.

Olson notified Wm. Reutlinger and then stopped at Miss Best’s and telephoned the horrifying news to town. Mr. Reutlinger, who lives near where the accident happened, went to the scene. He found the body of Mr. Stewart under the buggy and was getting it out when the men from town arrived. A bruise on the face indicates that possibly he was stunned by striking some part of the buggy when pitched out. Mr. Alexander’s horse was also drowned. Mr. Stewart was 46 years of age and was one of the most popular men in Barber County. He leaves a wife, four sons, and one daughter. He was a member of the Knights of Pythias and Woodmen lodges. Mr. Stewart was an extensive dealer in land and cattle and owned several thousand acres at the time of his death."

In a story the following week the Cresset noted that Sam left an estate of $50,000.

They wrote that a great many people who visited the scene of the drowning wondered how a vigorous man like Mr. Stewart could possibly have drowned there. "It is a narrow place that looks as if one might cross in two jumps." Sam’s funeral was held in the Christian Church in Sharon on Friday, November 17, and interment was in the Sharon Cemetery beside his parents and a brother. The pall bearers were Sim Ewalt, Scott Rubert, G. W. Shaw, F.B. Chapin, H.H. Case, and James Dobbs of Medicine Lodge.

More stories next week . . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, March 17, 2008

Alice Rudolph was born in 1886 in a sod house on a claim in Meade County, Kansas. She was the daughter of Charles T. Rudolph and Elizabeth Kennedy Rudolph. A few years later, the family moved to Wellington when her father went back to work for the Santa Fe Railroad.

A few years later the Rudolph family moved to Medicine Lodge. Her Dad’s brother was Kansas Rudolph, who was Sam Ishmael’s partner down in Kiowa. They were known as Sam and Kan.

Alice finished grade school in Medicine Lodge, then went to Mount Carmel Academy in Wichita. After her graduation, she came back home and went to work at Fair’s store (later Trice’s). She then worked in the courthouse in several offices, finally becoming Clerk of the District Court.

In 1902 a traumatic event occurred in Alice’s life. The headline in the Cresset read: "Charley Rudolph Killed; Popular Railroad Man Loses Life by a Horrible Accident." This story followed:

"Charles F. Rudolph, brakeman on the Medicine Lodge branch of the Santa Fe road, met with an accident at Sharon on Monday, which caused his death at 11 o’clock Monday night, January 13, 1902. When the west bound train reached Sharon, it was found necessary to do some switching. While making a ‘clip’ switch, Mr. Rudolph, after signaling to go ahead, attempted to climb on top of a freight car just behind the engine. His hold on the car ladder broke loose. He made a desperate effort to catch the ladder with his left hand, but finding he could not sustain his weight, attempted to throw his body from between the moving cars, but the wheels caught his legs, one above and the other below the knee. Four cars passed over them, crushing the limbs to a pulp.

Conductor Knight and a traveling man were the only witnesses of the saddest accident that ever occurred on this branch of the Santa Fe. The railroad crew and passengers did all they could for his immediate relief. He was brought to this city as soon as possible and was met at the depot by Drs. Moore and Kociell. These physicians did all that could be done at the time. The Santa Fe company sent its surgeon from Wellington, but Mr. Rudolph died before his arrival. Charley Rudolph had been employed as a brakeman by the Santa Fe for nearly 22 years. He had been offered promotion, but preferred duty as brakeman on this branch for it permitted him to be at home every night with his family.

He was the oldest brakeman on the Santa Fe . . . .The Rev. J.J. Griffith of the Baptist church preached the funeral on Wednesday morning and interment was made in the cemetery in this city.. . .He was 51 years old and leaves a wife, son, and daughter, an aged mother and 5 brothers. One brother, K.F. Rudolph, lives in Kiowa. Every citizen of Medicine Lodge will weep with his surviving relatives. Always cheerful and genial, he became popular with everyone. . . . . "

In 1919 Alice married Henry (Sox) Rankin, who had been the coach at Medicine Lodge High School. He was the son of Hugh and Emma Weber Rankin, who lived near Nashville, where his father and grandfather had homesteaded in 1884 and where he and Alice later ranched.

Sox’s grandfather, Henry Rankin, was born in Antrim County, Ireland, in 1826.

In 1852 he married Mary Anne Archibald, who had been born in Scotland in 1838. The Rankins came to the U.S. in 1869, living for a while in Pennsylvania, where Henry worked in the coal mines. Later, they moved to Indiana, and finally in 1883 they moved to Sharon, Kansas. He homesteaded his claim in Ridge Road a year later. Henry and Mary Anne had 11 children.

Alice had learned to love the piano when she was at Mount Carmel, and Sox shared her love for music. They had a dance band for many years. Sox also conducted a band made up of local area young people, and was director of the band for the first Peace Treaty Pageant in 1927.

Sox and Alice had two children – Alicia and Charles – who grew up on the ranch.

Sox died in 1942, and in 1947 Alice moved back to Medicine Lodge, where she lived in the imposing house at 113 East Kansas Avenue. This was also close to her work, as she was appointed to fill an unexpired term as Register of Deeds, an office she continued in for 28 years, until her retirement in 1975. Alice died in 1984. More next week....


Meandering by Bev McCollom, March 10, 2008

First I want to correct an error from last week. Caleb Forsyth married Amy Richardson, the daughter of Hannah and Tommy Richardson, who was born in 1894.

She was the mother of Sam and Mary Alice Forsyth. She died in 1924. Amy Parker was the widow of her brother, John Thomas Richardson. My apology to Mike Thomas – I know that he and Tommy share DNA!

Thomas Warwick came to the United States from Penrith, England, when he was in his early twenties. He had apprenticed as a chemist, a machinist, a tinsmith, and a blacksmith, so was confident that he could find work in Baltimore, Maryland with the Baldwin Locomotive works. However, he did not stay there long. He knew the Bests and had heard what they were doing in Medicine Lodge, Kansas. He came here and became one of the first chemists for Best Brothers, and then worked as machinist. When changing a burr, he injured his leg, which left him with a limp for the rest of his life.

The lovely Elizabeth Hunter was born in Kirby Thore, England, in 1859. She had come to Medicine Lodge to be with her sister, Hannah Richardson. She met Thomas Warwick, and they were married in the Methodist Parsonage in Medicine Lodge in 1888.

They made their home on the Ramsey place two miles southwest of Medicine Lodge.

Three sons were born to the Warwicks – John William in 1888, Thomas Hunter in 1890, and Robert Henry in 1891. Sadly, Elizabeth Hunter Warwick died at only 35 years of age, leaving her husband and young boys devastated.

The boys grew up under the supervision of their very strict father. But they also spent a lot of time with their Aunt Hannah and Uncle Tommy Richardson, where they enjoyed being with them – and various cousins.

John William, who was Jack, told some funny stories about growing up. One time when he was staying with the Richardsons, they sent him out to the pasture to bring in the milk cows. He was wearing a new pair of corduroy trousers, and he was hurrying because it was getting dark. As it got darker, Jack hurried because he had heard this strange swishing sound behind him. The faster he walked the closer and louder the swishing sound became. He finally had the cows running and he was so scared he was afraid to look back. When he got the cows to Uncle Tommy’s, he was surprised, and I am sure relieved, that the swishing sound was coming from his new corduroy pants!

Around 1912 Thomas Warwick bought property north of the Opera house on North Main (the brick building that was located where the Masonic Lodge is now), where he opened a blacksmith shop. Thomas was a firm Episcopalian, the Senior Warden of St. Marks for many years. His boys went to church regularly. Their home was on West Stolp. Thomas Warwick died on August 2, 1937. The clock in his blacksmith shop, which was closed, was found to have stopped at the exact time of his death – at 1:40.

Tom’s son, Jack, was helping Gordie Smith with harvest when he met a girl at Union Chapel. She was Beulah McKaig, the daughter of L.F. and Annie (Starks) McKaig, who had come to the Union Chapel/Lasswell community with her parents, her four brothers – Dewey, Ernest, Fred, and Frank – and her sister, Faye. Jack and Beulah were married in 1914. In 1918 they were able to buy the Warwick place, southwest of town, from Elmer Angell. They had two sons – one who died shortly after birth and Jack Leslie. When Jack and Beulah retired in 1952, they moved to Medicine Lodge and let their son, Jack, who had married Vera Moore, the daughter of John and Lora Gail (Urton) Moore, have the ranch. Beulah died in 1961 and John William in 1974.

Thomas and Elizabeth’s son, Robert Henry, known as Chuck, was my Dad’s good friend. Chuck graduated from Barber County High School in 1910, and later served 18 months in the Army during World War I, mostly in France.

When Chuck came back home, he became a J.I. Case dealer for a while. I can remember when Chuck worked in what had been his Dad’s brick building on North Main

He later had the little gas station near the corner of Stolp and Iliff. He also owned quite a lot of real estate.

Chuck and my Dad particularly enjoyed being in the American Legion, where, of course, Chuck assisted in making the steak tartare (which he, too, called raw hamburger) for the Legion feeds. Chuck encouraged my Dad to bring my mother and me to Manitou Springs, Colorado, in the summer, where a contingent of Medicine Lodge friends spent time enjoying each others company, playing cards, telling stories, and relaxing at a small cabin camp there. I so looked forward to those trips.

More next week . . . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, March 3, 2008

Thomas Hope Richardson was born February 12, 1866, in Westmoreland England. He married Hannah Hunter of Penrith, England. When their daughter, Grace, was three months old, the Richardson family came to the United States to make their home. They had a rough trip over, and Hannah vowed that she was going to stay here in the U.S.

The Richardsons came to Medicine Lodge in June of 1888 to make their home in the English settlement, which welcomed them. They made their first home about a quarter of a mile south of what is now the junction of 160 and 281 highways. Then in 1890 Tommy bought a home on a farm seven miles southwest of Medicine Lodge from Frank Rigg, who was going to Oklahoma.

The Richardson family welcomed John Thomas in December of 1891 – and lost a son, William Henry, who died at birth in 1901. Their daughter, Grace, taught school at Lake City and Mingona until her marriage to David Kirkbride in 1913.

John Thomas Richardson married Amy Parker, and they had two sons – Donald Thomas in 1915 and Douglas John in 1917. Tragically John Thomas was killed later in 1917 when he was dragged by his horse.

Amy, who had two little boys to raise, later married Caleb Forsyth. The Forsyths then had two children – Samuel Edward and Mary Alice. Amy died in 1924.

Tommy Richardson not only farmed, but he helped to build the beautiful new grade school at the corner of North Walnut and East Second. He was pleased that later three grandsons, a granddaughter, and three great grandchildren went to school there.

When Hannah Richardson’s sister, Elizabeth, who had married Thomas Warwick in 1888, died in 1895 leaving three boys – Jack, Tom, and Robert (Chuck), the Richardsons raised them. They also helped to bring up their son John’s boys and the Forsyth children. They built a new home on the farm in 1911, which was filled with children and a great deal of happiness.

Then in 1913 when Tommy was helping to build a silo, he fell 35 feet from the top of it. He was tough and was originally left with only a limp. However, he gradually became paralyzed, and by 1938 he was confined to a wheelchair. Hannah had died in 1935. Tommy’s daughter, Grace, and her husband, David Kirkbride, made a home for him.

David Kirkbride was born in 1885 in Penrith, England. He grew up helping his father, David Henry Kirkbride, run their grocery store. His mother died when he was very young. Young David sang in the church choir, which often performed for the Royal Family.

At age 22 Dave decided to go to the United States. He joined the English settlement in Medicine Lodge in 1907. He worked on farms for Bert Catlin and Henry Goddard. Then his cousin, Ed (Doc) Kirkbride, came from England, and they began to farm together until Doc went on to Canada.

On June 15, 1913, Dave married Grace Richardson, Tommy and Hannah’s only living child. They farmed the Goddard place until about 1920 when they moved to the Richardson farm to help Tommy. The Kirkbrides had two sons – David Henry born in 1916 and John Wallace born in 1918.

Grace Richardson Kirkbride died in 1943. Their son Hank’s first son, David Lynn, was born two weeks after her death, which helped to fill the void for the family. Hank had married Verdie Groves. In addition to David Lynn, they were also the parents of Dorothy Lee, John Henry, and Traci Ann. The Kirkbrides’ son, Wally, married Mary Louise Harbaugh, and they became the parents of Karen Lou and Gary Wallace.

Hank Kirkbride and his family became the fourth generation to farm the Tommy Richardson place and to live in the house that Tommy had built. Hank and Verdie had made a little apartment in the house for Tommy to feel at home and to have his privacy. Although his paralysis became worse, Tommy could still turn the pages of a book, and he read copiously.

Tommy Richardson had a good life in America. He was saddened that his children had died before he did. He was a patient man. He accepted his paralysis and was not a burden to his family. Eventually the paralysis interfered with his ability to swallow. Finally Tommy’s throat became completely paralyzed, and he agreed to go to the hospital, where he died on June 23, 1946.

More about Tommy’s "other family," the Warwicks, next week.


Meandering by Bev McCollom, February 25, 2008

As I mentioned one time, John MacGregor’s home was on the corner of South Walnut and East Lincoln, a beautiful one-storey brick home that filled the lot. I never saw it, but I imagine it was much like Emma Johnson’s home on the corner of North Cherry and Kansas Avenue West. I loved that house and felt so bad when it was torn down. The sprawling house was one room wide in most areas, perhaps two rooms wide toward the front.

John MacGregor was born in Stirlingshire, Scotland, in April 1844. He came to the United States at the age of 12. At age 16 he enlisted in the 19th Indiana Co. D of the Union Army as a drummer boy. At the end of the war, his friends called him "The Colonel" because he loved the Army so much.

Lucy Ellen Riley was born in Owenton, Kentucky, in March 1854. She was married to John MacGregor on March 10, 1870, in Downingsville, Kentucky. They came West, where they lived several places in Missouri and in Washington and Crawford Counties in Kansas. In 1886 they brought their six children to Barber County in a covered wagon. They homesteaded on Hackberry Creek near Eldred, about 30 miles southwest of Medicine Lodge. John made the run to the Cherokee Strip in 1893, bought two lots in Alva, and traded them for a good horse.

In 1894 the MacGregors moved to Medicine Lodge Township, where they farmed east of town. In 1908 John and Lucy retired and moved to their home on the corner of Lincoln and Walnut (where Larrison’s Funeral Home is now).

All in all the MacGregors had twelve children, two of whom died early in life.

Their family included Joanna Frances (Fash); Robert; Nellie (Strother); Estella Belle; Jennie Beatrice (Field); Mary Rebecca (Hobble); Alice Vivian (Brandis); Jessie Irene (Cavanaugh); Johnnie D.; Lucy Florence (Ford); William Riley; and Margaret Gladys (Requa). Their father, John MacGregor, died on September 26, 1914, and their mother, Lucy, on February 6, 1920. Son, Riley, who changed his name to Riley William, was born in a dugout on Hackberry Creek in August 1892, the eleventh of the twelve MacGregor children. He went to grade school at College Hill and graduated from Barber County High School in 1912. He then graduated from K.U. Law School in 1916.

Riley joined the Army during World War I, was commissioned a First Lieutenant, and was awarded the Silver Star by General Pershing. When he returned to Medicine Lodge after the war, he went into the practice of law with Poley Tincher.

On September 5, 1919, Riley married Miss Alice Martin, the daughter of William and Comora Martin, who had been born in Medicine Lodge and had graduated from Barber County High School in 1912. She attended Salt City Business College in Hutchinson. Alice taught school at Eldred, Belvidere, and Protection, then worked for a while for the Santa Fe Railroad in Shattuck, Oklahoma.

The MacGregors were active in the Methodist Church and were involved in planning and building the new church. Riley helped to establish the Barber County Savings & Loan and was a charter member of Lions Club and the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty Association. In addition to his law practice, Riley served in the Kansas Legislature and also raised registered Hereford cattle and raced standardbred harness horses.

Riley and Alice had three children – Comora Ellen (Nash), who was also a graduate of K. U. Law School; John William MacGregor, another graduate of K.U. Law; and Nancy Alice (Greenwood). Following the death of Riley’s sister, Gladys Requa, the MacGregors raised their twin nephews – John Jay and Riley Ray.

Riley MacGregor died in 1973, Alice in 1980.

Their son John William, known as Bill, practiced law in Medicine Lodge, first as his Dad’s partner, then by himself. He served as County Attorney, City Attorney, and Republican County Chairman. He also continued to raise Herefords and to breed and race the harness horses. In 1951 Bill married Barbara Hagen. They had four children – John William II, known as Scott; Elizabeth Sue; Allison Jean; and Laird Stanley. Bill died in 1977.

Nancy married Jack Greenwood, whom she met while attending K.U. Jack served in the Army, then attended K.U., where he was outstanding in track. He graduated in 1952, Nancy in 1953. The Greenwoods were married in the Methodist Church on August 7, 1953. Jack became president and manager of the Barber County Savings & Loan and continued participating in Masters Track and Field. The Greenwoods had two sons, Riley MacGregor and Jack Martin. Jack and Nancy now live in Colorado.

More next week . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, February 18, 2008

One of my favorite people when I was young was Ben Harbaugh. To this day he remains the prototype of the western man to me.

Jacob Benjamin Harbaugh came to Barber County when he was 19 years old to join a couple of his brothers. His mother had died, so his Dad and a sister came with him to Kansas. They lived south of Medicine Lodge in a dugout until they had their house built on the property that still belongs to Pat Harbaugh.

One rainy morning in April of 1884, four men on horseback stopped at that house because the rain was so heavy, and they were looking for a good way to get to Medicine Lodge. Ben’s sister, Mollie, invited the men in and gave them a good breakfast before they rode on to Medicine Lodge. Ben was suspicious that these four men were up to something, so he rode into town the next morning, where he learned that the Medicine Valley Bank had been robbed, that Wiley Payne and George Geppert had been killed, and that one of the robbers had been shot and killed during an escape attempt, while the other three had been hanged from an elm tree on Spring Creek at the bottom of East First Avenue.

Mary Gronemier came to Barber County from Owen County, Kentucky, to visit her relatives, who were neighbors to the Harbaughs. She met Ben when she was on that visit, and although she returned to Kentucky, she came back to live with her family here.

Ben and Mary were married on March 22, 1888. They had four sons – Eli, Uly, John, and Arthur (known as Short) – and two daughters, Julia and Bess (Hewitt).

Ben served as Nippawalla Township Trustee for two years and served as a Barber County Commissioner from 1908 to 1920. In 1921 Mr., and Mrs. Harbaugh and their daughters moved to Medicine Lodge to 609 North Walnut. The daughters of their son, Uly, who were Faye (Gilmore) and Ruth (Chapin), came to live with them in 1922 because they had just lost their mother.

Ben served as Barber County Sheriff from 1924 to 1928. While he was Sheriff, my Dad was one of his deputies who went after the robbers who had taken $600 and travelers checks from the Isabel Bank. Law enforcement chased the robbers to a silo on George McGuire’s farm – and they recovered all but 10 cents of the amount taken.

I have a gun that belonged to one of the robbers, which Ben let my Dad have as thanks for his help.

Ben Harbaugh was with the Home State Bank on the northeast corner of North Main and Kansas Avenue from 1928 to 1932. He served as Deputy Sheriff for a year, then as Undersheriff from 1936 to 1938. I spent a lot of time playing in the courtyard, which was like a park, and I loved it when I got to talk with Sheriff Albright and Ben.

Daughter Julia continued to live with Mary and Ben. Mary died in 1943. After he retired, Ben and Julia put in the most beautiful garden every year in the lot south of their home. Ben died in 1957 at the age of 94.

My son, Bob, carved a bust out of wood in Mr. Kuhn’s art class when he was in High School, which I have at home – and it reminds me of Ben.

Julia Harbaugh never married. Her sister, Bess, married Ivan "Jibo" Hewitt in 1932. They moved into their home at 104 East Central in 1933, where they raised their daughters, Dorothy (Parker) and Marilyn (Hensley).

I never knew the Harbaugh son, Eli, who lived on a claim in Comanche County. Ulrich Benjamin Harbaugh, known as Uly, married Mary Page in 1912. They had two daughters, Faye and Ruth, who came to town to live with their grandparents after their mother died. Uly continued to farm near Gerlane. In 1921 he married Mabel Hensley, who lived in Gerlane. They had five children – Albert, Betty (Garten), Jim, Mollie (Watts), and Jake.

Arthur N. (Short) Harbaugh lived with his wife, Marguerite, and his two daughters, Joanne (Prothe) and Mildred (Magnison), near the home place about 7 miles south of Medicine Lodge.

John and Mayme Harbaugh had two daughters, Pauline (McClary) and Louise (Kirkbride), and one son, Pete, who has been known all his life as "Pat." Pat was born on the home place (which he still owns) on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. His granddad Ben told his parents, "You can call him anything you like, but he’ll always be ‘Old St. Pat’ to me." Pat married Vivian Holder in 1943. In 1948 they welcomed their daughter, Cheri Lee, the fifth generation Harbaugh to live on the home place.

More next week . . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, February 11, 2008

Emil and Lila Heydenreich enjoyed a large family of 10 children, who grew up on their farm six miles south of Medicine Lodge. They were Florence, Grace, Lucile, George, Leslie, Georgia, Emily Jane, Roy, Joyce, and Frederick. George and Leslie died in infancy.

Emil Heydenreich was born in Woods County, Oklahoma, the only son of George Woldmar and Emma Ann (Schmidt) Heydenreich. When he was four years old, Emil’s parents bought a farm 6 miles south of Medicine Lodge, and the family moved to Barber County. Emil attended Sunflower, also known as "Lickskillet," school.

Emil learned to be a mechanic and a blacksmith from his Dad. While working in the blacksmith shop one day, an accident caused him to lose the sight in one eye. Emil enjoyed riding his motorcycle and playing the harmonica.

Lila Christine Bradshaw was the daughter of William A. and Florence (Brumley) Bradshaw and grew up on a farm 7 miles southeast of Medicine Lodge, where she enjoyed horseback riding. She attended College Hill school.

Emil and Lila were married in Medicine Lodge on April 17, 1920. They lived in town for several years, where Emil worked. But farm life was what they both loved and in 1935 the family moved back to the country, where the children enjoyed farm life.

Lila died in 1955, Emil in 1960.

Three of the Heydenreich girls have homes in Medicine Lodge now.

Florence married Clinton Hindman, who was born in Weir, Kansas, the son of George Washington and Lula Mae (Skinner) Hindman. He had come to Barber County to work on construction of Highway 160.

Florence attend school primarily in Medicine Lodge, although she did spend a year-and-a half at Sunflower school. She was a member of the first kindergarten class in Medicine Lodge. She graduated from Medicine Lodge High School in 1940. She and Clinton were married in Hazelton on January 30, 1942. He was soon called to serve in the Armed Forces, and Florence accompanied him until he was sent overseas. Their son, Clinton Eugene, was born in 1943 in New Mexico.

After Clinton was discharged, he went to work at the KP&L Gasoline Plant, called the "stripping plant" out on Rodeo Drive. The Hindmans’ daughter Mary Ann was born in 1946; Peggy Louise arrived in 1951 and Betty in 1965. They enjoyed their home at 705 Medicine Blvd., where Florence still resides.

The Heydenreichs’ third daughter, Lucile, was born in 1925. Lucile attended Grades 3 through 8 at Sunflower school. She was a prairie flower in the Peace Treaty Pageant when she was in the first grade, and a scarf dancer when in High School.

Lucile moved to Wichita, where she worked for Beech Aircraft, then went to Topeka to work for Morrell Meats. After the war, she went to Columbus,Ohio, where she attended cosmetology school and worked for a while as a beauty operator. She then went to Bell Telephone in Columbus and also attended Ohio State.

Lucile eventually headed back west and worked for Southwestern Bell in Topeka.

She lived with former Medicine Lodge residents, Mr. and Mrs. O.A. Shoop in Topeka, where she met and married a Navy buddy of Darwin Shoop’s, Dale McMurtry. While Dave was in the Navy, the McMurtrys lived in Hawaii. After his discharge, he attended Oklahoma A&M, and when he graduated, the McMurtry family moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where Dean was a soil research scientist for the National Soil Survey Laboratory. The McMurtrys had two daughters – Christine Lee, born in 1954, and Mary Kathleen, born in 1961. Lucile returned to Medicine Lodge, where she lives in the lovely home at 109 East Stolp.

Another Heydenreich daughter, Georgia, born in 1931, also attended Sunflower school and MLHS, where she graduated in 1949, along with Montie Baty, whom she married in February 1950 in Alva. They had four children – Michael Wason, in 1950, Terry Lynn in 1951, Debra Ann in 1955, and Douglas Ray in 1961.

Montie was born in Bendavis, Missouri, and had come here to be with his brother, Lowell. He graduated from MLHS in 1949, married Georgia, and worked for the State Highway Department. He continued as an engineer with Kansas DOT, and on his retirement the Batys moved back to Medicine Lodge, where they now reside at 309 North Walnut, the beautiful home built by Poley Tincher.

More next week . . . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, February 4, 2008

Tom and Marjorie Stranathan purchased the Elizabeth Simpson property at 308 North Walnut when they decided to retire and move to town from the old Smith place southwest of town.

Tom’s parents were William Vernon and Fannie (Smith) Stranathan. William’s parents, James and Elizabeth (Woods) Stranathan came to Barber County in 1884 from Zanesville, Ohio, with their daughter and four sons. William was 17 years old.

Fannie’s parents, William Henry and Mary (James) Smith, came to Kansas from Wilmington, Delaware. They first settled in Harvey County, where William and his brother, Robert, farmed. In 1877 they moved to Barber County to a place 15 miles southwest of Medicine Lodge. They had four daughters, Anna (McCracken), Della (Thomas), Ella (McCracken), and Fannie (Stranathan). Their six sons were Arlenzo, John, Irvin, Frank, Hiel, and Ed.

The Smith farm was on the trail to the Cherokee Strip, and the Smith household was always open to visitors. The county was rather sparsely populated in those days, and the Smith home was a haven for food, water, and a bed for a lot of folks. William Smith loved to visit with people.

Fannie Smith married William Stranathan on February 17, 1897, and they lived on the Stranathan family place near Kiowa. They had three daughters – Helen (Youngers), Mary (Betty), and Louise (Owens). Their seven sons were Tom, Carl, Lute, Jim, Ed, Paul, and Bud. Tom and Carl attended Medicine Lodge High School. The other boys went to school in Kiowa, as did the girls.

In 1923 W. V. Stranathan and his family moved into Kiowa, where he served as postmaster. Lute and Ed were clerks. William died in 1954, and Fannie moved to Medicine Lodge to live with her daughter, Helen, until her death in 1972.

Marjorie Ishmael grew up in Kiowa, where she attended grade school and high school. She graduated from the University of Kansas and was teaching music in Kiowa until she met and married Tom Stranathan.

Marjorie’s grandparents Charles and Carrie (Hardin) Rumsey came from Indiana to live on a claim in Rice County. Because of the constant threat of prairie fires, the Rumseys soon moved to Barber County and settled in Old Kiowa, where Charles’ brother, A. W. Rumsey, had had a store and trading post since 1872.

In 1883 the Santa Fe Railroad bought a right-of-way about six miles southeast of Kiowa. The New Kiowa Town Company was formed in 1884, and New Kiowa was laid out along the right-of-way. In 1885 most of the residents of Old Kiowa, including the Rumseys, had moved into the new town.

In Kiowa the very progressive Mrs. Rumsey built a skating rink, read law, and became Justice of the Peace. Although she was essentially a professional woman, she made delicious cakes for all the cowboys who came to the skating rink.

Shortly after they had moved to Kiowa, the Rumsey’s daughter, Nell, met a young boy from Kentucky, Samuel T. Ishmael. He had come to Kiowa with a cattle drive from Texas, but stayed there to run a livery stable and feed yard. He then went into the cattle business with a partner, Kansas Rudolph. They were known as Sam and Kan.

Nell and Sam were married and had four children – Caroline, Robert, Roy, and Marjorie (Stranathan).

Tom and Marjorie participated in many Peace Treaty Pageants – Tom as Coronado and Marjorie as Carry Nation. Marjorie was extremely proud of her great aunt, Dr. Rachel Rumsey (Packson), who was one of the first two women graduates of the Chicago School of Medicine.

Marjorie said that her Aunt Rachel came to Kansas, thinking it was a "dry" state. Instead she found that Kiowa was a typical border town – with 21 saloons. In 1891 she decided that she would try to do something about those saloons, so she ran for Mayor of Kiowa on a "Dry" platform – and was elected! She retired from politics when she was unsuccessful in getting rid of the saloons. It took Carry Nation and her hatchet to do that.

More next week. . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, January 28, 2008

The Stone brothers were well known in Barber County. They were Harry, Howard, Frank, Fred, and Daniel. Harry settled down early, but the other four boys loved to do crazy things. One of these things was to go on horseback to a tent revival meeting and after the meeting to go home, standing on the backs of their horses, repeating in fine voice the sermon they had just heard.

Their parents were Daniel F. and Catherine (Shoemaker) Stone who lived on a farm in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. They moved to Illinois, where they lived for a while.

In 1879 Daniel, Catherine, and their family moved to Kansas to a farm seven miles east of Lyons, near where Daniel’s brother, Solomon, had staked a claim. In addition to the boys, the Stones had three girls – Maude, Laura, and Florence.

Shortly after the family’s move to Kansas, Harry left home and staked a claim in Barber County. He married Orpha English, a young school teacher. Later the whole family came to Barber County except for Laura, who had married Clark Conkling, editor and publisher of the Lyons Republican.

Fred married Golda Murphy of Medicine Lodge, and they later made the Cherokee Strip run to Oklahoma. Frank married the young teacher at North Star school, Elizabeth Urton. Howard married Ethel Gibson from Sharon. Florence taught school before marrying Jim Hall. They lived on a farm west of Medicine Lodge. Maude married Edwin Adams, a native of Cornwall, England, who had come here as part of the "English colony." Only Dan remained unmarried; he built beautiful houses and had fine cars!

Frank Stone proved a claim south of Hardtner when he was 21 years old. Then in 1899 he sold his land and came to Barber County. He rented some farm land southeast of Medicine Lodge, passing North Star school every day when he went to work. He was quite taken by the young teacher at the school and began to make plans. He purchased a farm one mile south and one mile east of Pixley, and in March of 1901 married the pretty teacher, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Urton.

Frank built a new home on the farm, and the Stones welcomed sons Clarence in 1902 and George in 1906. On the farm Frank raised Percheron draft horses, hogs, corn, and wheat. The boys grew up. Clarence married Juanita Rule from Sharon in 1924 and settled on a farm one mile from the home farm. The house is gone now, but it stood to the south of 160 just before Hrencher’s Hill when you are going east. Clarence and Juanita had two children – June (Donovan) and Jon.

George Stone had attended Central View school and had graduated from Sharon High School. He then went to Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, to become a teacher and a coach. His college days were cut short, however, due to his father’s illness. George took over management of the farm at age 18.

Frank Stone died in February of 1927 of a heart attack, leaving his 46-year-old widow. Son George married LaVon Werner of Sharon on Christmas Eve in 1927, and they moved to the home farm to be with her. George and LaVon had three children – Dwight, Doris, and JoAnn. George was very successful raising Holstein dairy cattle, beef cattle, and sheep.

George eventually turned the farm over to son Dwight, who had married his high school sweetheart, Jean Sitler. George and LaVon built the lovely home at 109 East Stolp and moved to town to enjoy their retirement years.

Dwight and Jean had two daughters – Kimberly (Newman) and Cameron (Angle), who were the fourth generation of Stones to live in the family home.

Dwight and Jean and the girls later moved to town to their lovely home at 919 Goodview, leaving the old family home empty. It was eventually torn down. Dwight continued to manage the farm, raising sheep. For many years he served on the Board of the American Sheep Association.

Sadly, Dwight, who was in my graduating class at MLHS, died in 2007

More next week . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, January 21, 2008

Every time I drive by the house at 605 North Main Street I think about Speck McCune and his sons.

Speck’s parents, James Alva (Mac) and Liz (DeMoss), and he and his three older brothers came by train to Sharon, Kansas, from Unionville, Missouri, in 1901. Mac’s brother, William Jasper, had come there the year before. The McCune family settled on a farm 2 ½ miles south of Sharon. The boys were William Joseph, born in 1888; Charles Murl, born in 1890; Guy Emil, born in 1891; and Winnie Floyd, known as Speck, in 1894.

In the spring of 1903 the family moved once again to a farm 2 ¾ miles east of Medicine Lodge, where they raised corn, oats, and wheat and had a small fruit orchard.

The McCunes moved their membership to the Christian Church in Medicine Lodge.

Mac’s father, William, had become a minister in the Christian Church at the age of 23 and had served for 45 years in churches in Iowa and Missouri. The McCune boys attended Walstead school.

In 1917 their farm was sold and Mac purchased the house at 605 North Main Street with adjoining lots, where they raised chickens, vegetables, and grapes that they sold. Mac and his team of large gray horses hired out to sprinkle the city’s streets to keep down the dust. He also installed the city’s first general delivery mail collection boxes in 1919.

Mr. and Mrs. McCune enjoyed sitting on the front porch next door with Sam and Blanche Griffin. After the four boys were married, they came back to North Main for big family dinners. Liz McCune died in 1936 and Mac in 1942.

Floyd "Speck" McCune was born in Green City. Missouri, and came to Kansas with his family, where he lived on the farm near Sharon for a couple of years, then on the farm east of Medicine Lodge until the family moved to town.

In 1917 Speck joined the army. He had basic training at Camp Funston and Fort Riley, then served with the 353rd Infantry, 89th Division in France and Germany, as well as in the Army of Occupation until 1918.

Speck returned to Medicine Lodge and in 1920 married Viola Mae Crick, the daughter of Sam and Lou (Hittle) Crick. The ceremony was performed by Judge Garrison. Viola was born in Sumner County, but came to Barber County as a child. She attended Doles school and Barber County High School in Medicine Lodge. She then studied nursing and assisted local doctors, particularly Dr. Gilbert.

Speck went to work for Henry Abt, and during this time the McCunes had three sons – James David, Wayne Royal, and Dallas Floyd. During their childhood the family moved around the county, as their Dad worked for the Fred Gillig farm southwest of Kiowa, the Axline Ranch, and for Earl Holmes.

Viola died in 1939. Speck took the Railway Express and Freight route, and he and the boys moved to Medicine Lodge. The boys enlisted in the Navy during World War II.

In 1945 Speck moved to Niangua, Missouri, and was remarried. He and his wife moved to Wichita, where he worked for Boeing. His wife died in 1957. Then Speck suffered a heart attack and had to retire. He died in February of 1962 while visiting his sons in California. He is buried beside Viola in Highland Cemetery.

J. D. (James) McCune attended a number of Barber County rural schools, as well as in Hazelton and Kiowa; he studied and learned at Eldred, north of Medicine Lodge; Elwood, near Union Chapel; and North Star, as well as Medicine Lodge grade school. He graduated from Medicine Lodge High School with the class of 1939.

J. D. served in the Navy during World War II, then went to Kansas State, where he majored in electrical engineering. While he was in college he married Joy Ryan of Medicine Lodge. They had two sons and a daughter. The McCunes moved to California, where J.D. became an electrical design engineer for the City of Los Angeles.

Wayne lived in Wichita, where he worked for Beech Aircraft. Dallas lived and worked in California.. . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, January 14, 2008

Bruce and Hyacinth Kindig and their family lived at 106 East Stolp. They had purchased the home from the widow of Captain James Brady, a Civil War veteran, who had lived in Medicine Lodge for many years. He was a cook friend of V.S. and Clara Belle Cook. Mrs. Cook had an original 13-star flag that Captain Brady had given to her, which she gave to me. I treasure it.

Bruce grew up in Berwick, Pennsylvania, the second of six sons born to Charles and Ellen (Beishline) Kindig. After he graduated from Bloomsburg State Normal School in 1917, Bruce began a teaching career, which lasted for forty years.

During World War I Bruce trained at Ft. Meade, Maryland, and served in France with the 305th Signal Battalion of the 79th Division.

Hyacinth was the third of six children born to David and Mary (Bowman) Matney in Wyandotte County, Kansas. Her father died just two days after the youngest child was born, and since he had been a Mason, the five older children were placed in the Masonic Home in Wichita, where they received loving care.

Hyacinth graduated from Wichita High School in 1919 and from Pittsburg State College in 1921. She taught school in Erie and Syracuse, Kansas, before her marriage.

Later Hyacinth received her B.A. from Northwestern in Alva, and she taught at Isabel High School, Barber County rural schools, and the Medicine Lodge grade school.

Bruce and Hyacinth were married in the O.E.S. Chapel at the Masonic Home in Wichita. The Kindigs had three children – Elizabeth, Miriam, and Neal.

Bruce Kindig was a quiet, reserved man who taught science at Medicine Lodge High School, and was also the principal and Dean of Boys. In 1952 he received the Master Teacher’s Award from the Kansas Board of Education for his long service to Kansas youth.

For thirteen years Bruce was also the part time chemist for Kansas Power & Light Co. He had many other interests, too, - meteorology, photography, woodworking, and genealogy. He was also a ham radio operator; his call letters were WDHR.

Bruce was active in the Methodist Church, the Amateur Radio Relay League, the American Chemical Society, Farm Bureau, Kansas State Teacher’s Association, and Medicine Lodge Post 69 of the American Legion.

Bruce enjoyed his retirement years. He died in 1969.

I knew the Kindig girls, who were older than I, but Neal, who was only two years older than I, was a good friend. I remember that one time the High School had a box supper party. The girls brought the food, and the boys bid on it. Neal bought mine, and my mother had fixed a wonderful box supper for us. We enjoyed the food and the conversation we had while doing so.

Neal was born in the old Brady house in 1928 and attended grade school and high school here. When he was growing up, Neal and his Dad spent lots of time hiking in the Gyp Hills. They learned about the local geology, plant life, and how the oil and gas industry worked. They had the chance to see several gushers come in. Neal also delivered groceries for Parkers in the store’s pickup.

After graduation from MLHS, Neal went to West Point, then spent five years on active duty with the Signal Corps in Europe, New Jersey, and Georgia.

Neal moved to Boulder, Colorado, in 1955 where, after one year of additional study in electrical engineering, he began teaching at my Alma Mater – the University of Colorado. He met his wife, Jean, in Boulder, and they had two children – David and Susan. Jean is an artist specializing in woodcut prints and pen-and-ink drawings.

Neal spent two years at Stanford obtaining his PhD and one year in Southhampton, England on a fellowship. He remained a Colonel in the Reserves.

I was delighted that Neal was at the U. of Colorado because I could follow the outstanding things he accomplished in my alumni magazine. His whole family enjoyed hiking in the mountains and spent their leisure time that way. A few years ago, however, my alumni magazine carried a headline and story that I did not want to see.

While hiking in the mountains of New Hampshire, I believe, with his family, Neal had dropped dead with a heart attack. I couldn’t believe what I was reading – such a talented and good person was gone, the one consolation being that he was happy hiking with his family. More next week . . .


Meandering by Bev McCollom, December 31, 2007

When I drive down South Oak and turn the corner at Eva, I always think of Grover Gordon. That was his home on the hill, and he was often on the front porch to wave. Grover and his brother Frank did cement construction on new homes, and introduced the chat stucco that we see on so many homes in Medicine Lodge.

The Gordons came from Pulaski County, Missouri, but moved to Kansas in 1880. They lived near Sharon, where Mr. Gordon practiced as a veterinarian and farmed. The Gordons had four boys - Frank, Grover, Charlie, and Jessie - and four girls- Lillie, Julia, Margaret, and Olive.

Frank graduated in 1897, obtained a teaching certificate, and began teaching in the rural schools. Frank was a big man, who loved children. He was very popular with school boards because he had no trouble at all taming the bullies in the schools. He was an excellent teacher.

In 1901 Frank married Myrtle Riggins, the daughter of William and Viola Riggins of Elm Mills. Frank then went into the more lucrative business of construction with his brother, Grover.

Frank and Myrtle had three boys - Floyd, Charlie and Franklin. They all graduated from MLHS. I remember Franklin and Charlie very well.

Franklin married Hazel Frame in 1941 at the home of her parents, Clarence and Grace Frame near Sawyer. She had graduated from Sawyer High School and then completed a secretarial practice and bookkeeping course. She was the first receptionist at Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital when it opened. She later was in the bookkeeping department at the First National Bank, kept books for the Barber County Index, and eventually was secretary for the Barber County Conservation District.

Franklin served in World War II. They lived at 706 North Main Street, where Hazel continues to live. He was district representative for a life insurance company. Franklin was active in the American Legion and served as Democratic Committee Chairman. He was a Mason and served as Acting Postmaster for 1 1/2 years.

Franklin and Hazel had four children - twin daughters, Karen and Arlene Kay, (sadly Arlene died in infancy); son Robin Lynn, who has had a career in law enforcement, and Cheryl (Standage), who is a hairdresser here in Medicine Lodge.

Frank Gordon’s son, Charlie, was my Uncle Zeek’s good friend. They double-dated a lot when Zeek was courting my Aunt Mary (Coleman) and Charlie was romancing Helen Wheat. Charlie eventually went to mortuary school, and not only worked at Forsyth’s but was County Coroner for many years.

Frank’s brother, Grover, who I knew, married Mary Ida Coombs, who had also come from Missouri to Kansas. Their children were Davis, Neona, Clarice, Betty, and Edna.

The Gordon children loved living on the hill that overlooked Elm Creek (the sewer plant was not there then). They played in the nearby fields, swam in the city swimming pool, which was located by the water plant (where the City’s big barn is now), and loved going to Luallen’s (where Hibbards is now), to Russell’s (next door to where Frosty’s is), or to the Sweet Shop (where Hrencher’s cabinet shop is). They also enjoyed the movies at the Pastime Theater, where the girls worked sometimes.

Grover worked with Frank building houses that are still standing. Medicine Lodge has more chat houses than any town I have seen. The Gordon boys were busy. They went through hard times during the Depression and the dust storms. Grover’s children married and left home. Ida died of pneumonia in 1940, and Grover later married Betty Sears.

Frank and Grover were hard workers, and they passed down their determination to their children. Franklin died in 1932 in the midst of the Depression. His sons took care of their mother until her death in 1967.

After Grover retired, he enjoyed sitting on his front porch, visiting with friends, and staying busy with projects at home. He died in 1958.

More next week....


Meandering by Bev McCollom, December 24, 2007

Two people I loved dearly when I was growing up were our neighbors to the west, Had and Elva White. Had was always fun to be around, and Elva was one of the best cooks in town.

Had was born Harry White in 1882 and grew up in Medicine Lodge . He worked for various people and went into business for himself. Had was a plumber, a carpenter, and a dealer in second hands goods, among other things. And he was a fiddler par excellence.

Elva was born in Sumner County in 1893 and came to Barber County with her parents, Dora and Jim Wise, and her brother Charles in 1902. She attended Amber School and Barber County High School. She and Had were married in 1913. They built their home on the site of the old bus barn – where wagons, etc. from the depot were stored.

Back in the days when Had was young there was no smallpox vaccine, and sometimes the disease ran rampant. People who were diagnosed with it were sent to the "Pox House," a structure out east of town near the poor farm, which is close to where the helipad is now. The victims of the disease were confined to this awful place until they recovered or died. Fortunately Had survived.

In an incident in January of 1909 Had saved a life. It was that of Earl Holmes – not Mayme’s husband, but another Earl from the south part of the county. The Index reported: "Earl Holmes of Elwood township came very near freezing to death in the storm of the 11th. He started to town with a team and wagon through the beating wind and snow and became lost. He was found in the evening near the Lonker school house about 14 miles southwest of the city by Had White and Mr. Ritchie after having been out in the storm the greater part of the day. He was unconscious, but sitting in the wagon and still holding the lines. . . . Mr. Holmes was sufficiently revived to be able to speak . . .

Upon taking off his mittens, Mr. White found three fingers frozen stiffly and indications of frozen feet and toes. Messrs. White and Ritchie . . . took him to his home and Dr. Gilbert of this city was phoned. Dr. Gilbert went out and dressed Mr. Holmes’ hands and feet and brought him to the home of J.P. Hall in the city, where he is being given every attention. He is entirely out of danger, and Drs. Gilbert and Donovan say that they will save every finger, even on the hand that was the most frozen. . . Mr. Holmes had under estimated the severity of the weather . . . he crouched down to protect himself from the snow and wind and in this condition lost consciousness. The road to which the team drifted was a seldom used road, and it was indeed circumstance of rare fortune that Messrs. White and Ritchie happened to travel it that evening. Had they not done so, Mr. Holmes would have surely been frozen to death."

Had worked at one time for Chase Hardware, where the telephone office was located. It was a switchboard and an operator who sat in a corner of the hardware store.

The hardware store closed in 1918 – the telephone company having moved one door south to the building that is still there. Had then decided to go into business for himself.

He opened a plumbing shop and second hand store in the Cook Block at 201 South Main, where Alan Goering’s office is now. Had often entertained his customers with tunes on his fiddle.

One of the most exciting nights every four years took place in Had’s store.

Remember, we had no television in those days. Had would put up a huge chalk board on the south wall of his shop, and practically everyone in town gathered there for the election returns. As the votes would be announced to radio, Had marked it on the board so that people could follow what was happening.

Had closed his shop in 1940, and they purchased the Brittain farm west of town beyond the gyp mill, where the bridge crossed the Medicine River. They grew the most delicious corn and tomatoes, and my Dad bought both by the bushel basket!

Elva not only helped my mother take care of me when I was a baby, she was also my first Sunday School teacher at the Christian Church, and she was terrific. She gave me a firm basis of faith.

Had died in 1955. Elva moved back to town. She was a wonderful seamstress and designed my outfits for her friends from pictures. She made my first formal, which she had designed herself. I loved it. Elva enjoyed living at the Indian Hills Lodge until her death on my 45th birthday – February 12, 1975.

More next week!


Meandering by Bev McCollom, December 17, 2007

When I was a little girl living at 211 West Kansas Avenue, our neighbor to the east was Mayme Cole Holmes. She had a greenhouse where she raised the most beautiful peonies I have ever seen. And she had dogs – Chihuahuas – which she took to dog shows. My best friend at her house was Donnie, her blue-ribbon winning dog.

Mayme was the daughter of P.B. Cole, a prosperous farmer who lived east of Medicine Lodge. The Barber County Index carried the news of her marriage: "Earl H. Holmes and Mamie Cole were united in marriage on Wednesday, December 10, 1902. The ceremony took place at the Presbyterian parsonage, the Reverend L.M. Belden pronouncing the words that made them man and wife. Mr. Holmes is one of our substantial young men and has lived most of his years in Barber County. For a few years he held a clerical position in Kansas City, but he soon found it more profitable and satisfactory to return again to Barber County and is at present foreman of the Dobbs ranch near this city. He is the only son of Mrs. Frank Holmes of Kansas City. Mrs. James Dobbs of this city is his sister. The bride is the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. P.B. Cole, residing a few miles east of this city. She ranks among Barber County’s most accomplished and pleasant young ladies whose friends are limited only by the number of her acquaintances. The marriage ceremony was witnessed by only a few relatives. The Index hopes that Mr. and Mrs. Holmes may find married life one full of pleasure and success."

Their daughter, Lois, was born on May 20, 1904. She married Robert (Bob) Cook, the son of Mr. and Mrs. V. S. Cook, who was a close friend of my parents.

They had graduated from Barber County High School together in 1919. The Cooks had two daughters, Bobbie (Davis) and Joyce (Lawrence).

Mayme’s happiness was short-lived. "On Friday morning of last week this community was shocked to learn of the death of Earl Holmes, which occurred at his mother’s house in this city on Thursday night, March 28, 1907 at 10:10. For the last two days his condition was considered serious by his physician, but the public was unaware of the seriousness of his case, and the news came to many as though one of their own relatives – for Earl was universally liked and respected. The cause of his death was an aneurysm of the abdominal aorta, the technical term for the dilation or breaking down of the walls of the large artery connecting the left ventricle in the heart and the abdomen.

Earl Franklin Holmes was born in Riverside, Iowa, on December 3, 1878, and was at the time of his death 28 years, 3 months, and 25 days old. He leaves a wife and one child, a daughter, besides his mother, Mrs. M.M. Holmes, two sisters – Mrs. James Dobbs and Miss Gay Holmes, and his grandmother, Mrs. P.J. Boyd. His parents came to Kansas in 1887 and resided in Kiowa for a number of years, when they removed to Medicine Lodge. In 1894 the family removed to Kansas City, where Earl’s father died two years later. Earl has suffered greatly with his eyes for many years, and his residence in Kansas City seemed to aggravate his complaint. The family returned to this city in 1901 in hopes of the change being beneficial. In December of 1902 he was married to Miss Mamie Cole, daughter of P.B. Cole and wife, and to this union was born one daughter, Lois, now three years old. While in Kansas City, Mr. Holmes united with the Tabernacle Baptist church in 1896. The funeral services were held at the residence of his brother-in-law, James Dobbs, on Sunday afternoon, conducted by the Reverend W. A. Cain, pastor of the Baptist church at Caldwell, assisted by the Reverend W. A. Covert, pastor of the Presbyterian church of this city. The services were attended by a large number of friends of the deceased and the family who followed the casket to its last resting place in Highland Cemetery. . . . ."

Years later Mayme married her good friend, Daws Grigsby. She continued to ride her horse in the Peace Treaty parade and remained active in the community.

As a little girl, I was so impressed with Mayme that I thought the town had named a street after her. That street that runs through the center of town, I thought was "Mayme’s" street!


Meandering by Bev McCollom, December 10, 2007

One of my Dad’s best friends was Harvey Pelton with whom he worked for 30 years at the Post Office. My Dad carried the mail on Route 1, Harvey on Route 2.

Every day they sorted the mail together and kidded each other.

Harvey was born on a farm near Sharon to Jesse and Cynthia Pelton. He went to Enon school near Sharon. Two of his favorite teachers were Fred Wadsworth and Frank Shell. He later taught school, himself. Harvey’s father, Jesse Leonard Pelton, was from Ohio. He had fought in the Civil War. At age 23 he married Miss Cynthia Murry. They had 11 children, four of whom died at an early age. Jesse had heard about the Sharon Valley in Barber County, Kansas.

It had been settled by a group of members of the First Christian Church and appeared to be a land of promise. Jesse, Cynthia, and their seven children came to Sharon in a covered wagon in 1881. A year later their 12th child, Harvey was born.

Jesse Pelton was active in the Sharon community. He was Justice of the Peace and an Elder in the Christian church. He gave each of his children 80 acres of land if they stayed home until age 21, or they could pay $50 for each year they left home before age 21. Harvey moved to Medicine Lodge before he was 21, and paid his father $200 for his 80 acres.

In 1903 Harvey Pelton married Miss Bertha Ritchie, who was born in Mexico, Missouri is 1882. She had come to Medicine Lodge at the age of 16 to live with her father’s sister, Mrs. Sadie Clay. Bertha worked for Carry Nation and for the Baptist minister’s family.

The Peltons had two sons, Ralph and Orville, and a daughter, Opal. They lived in Sharon until 1908, when they moved to Medicine Lodge. In 1917 they purchased their home on the southwest corner of South Cherry Street and Eva.

Harvey first carried the mail on the Star Route, but after four years went to Route 2. He first drove a horse and two-wheeled cart with his load of mail. His sons’ job was to keep the horses cared for.

The Peltons remained active in the First Christian Church. Harvey was on the Church Board. Bertha took the Sunday School literature and activities to the homebound members. She remembered their birthdays with cakes and parties.

Bertha died from burns in 1947. Harvey died in 1961.

Another of my Dad’s co-workers was Marvin Parsons. Marvin came to Kansas in 1915 to work in the wheat harvest, and later became a carpenter for Roy Hoovler, who remodeled and built houses.

He met Mae Smith, the maternal granddaughter of John Garten and Malinda Rogers, the first couple married in Barber County. Her paternal grandparents were Samuel Smith, Sr. and Mary Ann Bibb. John Garten served in the Confederate Army; Sam Smith in the Union.

John Henry Garten & Amanda (Rogers) Garten.
CLICK HERE to read their family history.
Photos courtesy of Bonnie (Garten) Shaffer.
John Henry Garten & Malinda (Rogers) Garten
Photos courtesy of Bonnie (Garten) Shaffer.

John Garten came from Kentucky to Kansas and settled at Sun City, a trading post in 1872. He was a scout, a buffalo hunter, and drove a freight wagon. Widower William Fisher Rogers had come to Barber County from Independence, Missouri, in 1873 and settled on Bitter Creek with his daughter Malinda and three sons. Sam Smith Sr., came here from Lees Summit, Missouri, a widower with four children. Mae grew up in the Forest City area. She taught in the Barber County rural schools from 1942 to 1959.

During World War I, Marvin Parsons served in the army in France. He came back to Medicine Lodge in 1919, and Marvin and Mae were married in 1920. In March of 1924 Marvin was hired as clerk at the Post Office, a position he held until his retirement in June of 1954.

The Parsons lived southeast of town during the first years of their marriage. They had one son, LaClede. Then they moved to 216 West Kansas Avenue, a lovely home where they entertained their friends and La Clede’s.

Marvin was a member of the American Legion – where he and my Dad used to make the steak tartare for their refreshments. He was also a member of Lions Club. He and Mae belonged to the Methodist Church.

Marvin died in March of 1979 at age 92.


Meandering by Bev McCollom, December 3, 2007

Just north of R. G’s Tire Shop in the old Byerley, Dark, & Runyan department store building was the Binning Photographic Studio. The Binnings – Clyde and Mattie – first rented a suite of rooms in the Opera Block for their studio, then later erected a 12’ X 24’ studio on the southwest corner of First and Main. In 1927 they moved to the building at 211 North Main.

Clyde Jefferson Binning was born in Ottawa, Kansas, in 1881. His mother died in 1898, and he and his father came to Barber County in a covered wagon in 1900 to work for his Uncle Jim on the Binning Ranch in Eagle Township. Jim had been in Barber County since 1876 when he had come by covered wagon from Ohio.

Mattie Angell, the 5th of 7 children of David and Ella Angell, was born at home near Lasswell in 1888.

David Saddler Angell was born in Athens, Ohio, in 1856, the son of William and Sarah Haney Angell. He moved to Missouri in 1879, where he was married to Ella Mae Phillips. They lived on a farm near Maryville, Missouri, until 1884 when they moved to Greenwood County, Kansas.

In 1886 David decided he wanted to move to Barber County. They loaded their family and belongings in a wagon, which Ella drove, while David herded the cows. It took them almost two weeks to make the trip.

The Angell family stayed several weeks with the William McAdoo family near Coats until their new home was completed near Lockert school in Eagle Township south of Medicine Lodge. In 1895 David Angell purchased the William Lockert farm.

In 1899 thirty-seven-year-old Ella Angell died, leaving David with 7 children.

They then moved to a farm one mile south of the Lasswell store and postoffice. The children attended Eagle school.

Clyde and Mattie were married in 1906, and their first years were spent operating photographic studios in Elk City, Frederick, and Marie, Oklahoma, where they also entertained with Chautauqua troupes in schools and opera houses.

In 1911 they returned to Medicine Lodge, where they set up their studio in the Opera Block. Clyde and Mattie were true partners. They worked together taking the pictures, developing them, and finishing them. I have pictures of my Dad and Aunt Sweet at various stages of childhood, as well as those of the Herr children. They are very imaginative in the way they were done. I am sure there are hundreds of Binning pictures in Medicine Lodge.

The Binnings were also active in the community. Clyde was Justice of the Peace for 12 years. They had two daughters, Juanita (Thomas) and Mina (Daxon). They adopted their grandson, Clyde Don in 1932.

During the terrible flu epidemic in 1918, Clyde Binning helped take care of those who were afflicted. He had an empathy and a compassion that made him successful in caring for the sick. During the severe winter of 1936, another epidemic of flu broke out in Medicine Lodge, and Clyde, although ill himself, was there to help. He went to West Lincoln Avenue to the home of his old friend, Judge Steve Garrison, to take care of him.

Clyde developed pneumonia while caring for his friend, and died on February 15, 1936, at the age of 54.

Mattie was tough. She was independent and a survivor. She continued taking photographs, doing beautiful work. She came up with other ideas to provide for herself and for Clyde Don.

There were rooms above the studio that Mattie rented – which was particularly profitable during the oil boom. In 1918 the Binnings had bought a house at 704 North Main, which she rented. Then she bought more houses and apartments, and Mattie found herself managing quite a rental business. She also managed the Binning Ranch south of Medicine Lodge, where Flower Pot Mound is located.

Mattie remained active in the community. She was a member of the Christian Church, Eastern Star, BPW, Community Club, and was one of the organizers of The Kansas Photographer’s Association.

Mattie Binning died in Farmington, New Mexico, at the home of her daughter, Juanita, on July 15, 1976. She was brought back here to the family plot in Highland Cemetery, where she lies next to Clyde.


Meandering by Bev McCollom, November 26, 2007

When I was growing up, they had torn down the Opera Block - which had made me cry - but just north of it on Main, where the Masonic Hall is now, was a red brick building with two entrances off the street. One of these buildings was the site of R.G, Hall’s Tire Shop, which was his business for 25 years. At one time Lulu had a wonderful bakery in the building on the other side. They lived upstairs.

Lulu was the daughter of James Springer, who was born in Clinton County, Missouri in 1842. He married and moved with his family to Chautauqua County, Kansas in the early 1870’s. There an epidemic of cholera wiped out his family except for two daughters.

In 1877 James married for the second time to Matilda Hayden. With his two daughters and a nephew, the Springers moved to Barber County. James and Matilda had 10 children – Hattie (Hamblin); James B (Joke); Cora (Warren); Maude (Jarnigan); Bessie Vandruff; Edson L; Herbert H; Lulu (Hall); Carrie (Balding); and Lucy (Ives).

The Springers lived south of Medicine Lodge.

Rolley George Hall was born to George Andrew and Molly Jackson Hall in Shelbyville, Illinois in 1891. He had two brothers, Charles A. and William G. When R.G. was a child, his family moved first to Russell, KS and then to Nashville. He came to Medicine Lodge in 1922.

Lulu graduated from Barber County High School in 1915 and then became a teacher, a career that lasted for 20 years. She also served as Assistant County

Superintendent of Schools under Glenola Wilkins Hinshaw. She and R.G. were married on October 25, 1925, in Wichita.

Lulu and my mother did many things together, both as teachers and as members of the First Christian Church. Lulu and R.G. had no children, but had many nieces and nephews, as well as others like I was, who enjoyed so much being with them.

R.G. and my Dad worked together in the American Legion and on the Medicine Lodge Fire Department. They also loved to fish. I remember in the summer of 1946, when I was going to summer school down at Alva, my folks and the Halls went to Minnesota for several weeks on a fishing trip. They had a wonderful time!

During the war, my Dad decided to raise chickens so that we would have plenty of meat. He built a chicken house in the back yard and got a flock of Buff Orphingtons.

The only problem was, they all became his pets, and there was no way he could kill them.

So, one day while he was at work, Lulu came over and killed the chickens, and she and my mother dressed them for the locker. I know my Dad was relieved that he did not have to kill his friends, who were now anonymous. I think Lulu did this every time the chicken supply needed to be added to.

Lulu’s brother, James Blaine Springer, known to everyone as Joke, was born south of Medicine Lodge in April, 1881. He attended Sunflower School, which the boys who went there called "Lick Skillet" because of Joke’s love of licking the skillet after the taffy pulls!

Joke lived at the Grand Hotel when I was a little girl since he was a bachelor. He was one of my best buddies there. He had been there in 1929 when my grandfather died. My parents were living on the farm out on Rodeo Drive then, and Joke had come out that morning to get my Dad.

Joke married in 1936 to Ina Rogers, a private duty nurse he had met during a long stay at Wesley Hospital in Wichita. She was a wonderful person, and served as my private duty nurse when I had pneumonia, so that my mother could get some rest.

Almost every summer a group of families from here, including my own, the Halls, and others went to Manitou Springs, Colorado, where we stayed at a cabin camp for a couple of weeks, while people fished and did other Colorado things. We always had a wonderful time – eating together, playing cards, and just having fun.

R.G.’s brother, Charles, was a Chiropractor, who also worked at Trice Mercantile.

But what we all remember him most for was the Streetcar Café, which was located just south of the Standard Station before the Smith building was built. It had the best hamburgers and hot beef sandwiches. My mother always sent me to lunch there when she wasn’t going to be at home.

I lost my friend Lulu Hall in September,1970. R. G. died in May of 1972. At the time they were living in the house on the hill at 302 West Central. Joke died in April ’72.


Meandering by Bev McCollom, November 19, 2007

Two of my very good friends when I was growing up were Fannie Wilkins and Mary Lake.

Fannie was the daughter of William Cloud Mills, known by most as "Uncle Billy," who was born in East Tennessee, now Hancock County, in 1829. He married Miss Hannah Louise Ogan, also of East Tennessee, in 1854. The Mills had 11 children.

Billy was a captain in the Confederate Army, serving under General Early. When the war was over, he came West. He came to Barber County in 1876 and moved his family here in 1877. The log cabin where the Mills lived was made of native cedar logs with doors of native cottonwood. The spaces between the logs were plastered with gypsum. There were three rooms downstairs and one large room upstairs. Uncle Billy was a cattleman and mule dealer in partnership with Nick Sherlock. He accumulated land on Bear Creek and Dog Creek.

In 1889 Uncle Billy sold his interest in land and cattle to his two older sons, Govan and Tonk, and moved to Medicine Lodge, where he dealt in real estate. He and Nick Sherlock built the large brick building still standing on South Main Street that we refer to as the Cook block. Later he and Hannah moved to Lipscomb Co. Texas, where they are buried.

Uncle Billy’s daughter, Fannie, was born in 1861 and had made the trip to Barber County with her mother and brothers and sisters. She later met and married Mr. Wilkins.

Brough Wilkins was a big man with a deep voice. He was clerking in a local store when he married Fannie.

Soon after their marriage, the Wilkins bought a store of their own and built at new home at 209 South Oak. They had general merchandise stores in various locations. The first was on the west side of Main Street in the Mills-Sherlock building. Later they moved north of the Pastime Theater, then to the west side of Main Street near where John Nixon’s office is now, and finally to the east side of Main across from Benefiel Hardware.

My favorite story about Brough Wilkins, who was an active member of the Christian Church, is that Carry Nation came to his home one day, knocked on the front door, and when he answered it with his favorite pipe in his mouth, she grabbed it and threw it out on the railroad tracks!

The Wilkins had two daughters, Glenola (Hinshaw), one of my mother’s best friends, and Ruthelma (Hershberger). Mrs. Wilkins was so excited about my arrival in 1930 that, after Dr. Coleman had arranged for my mother to come to Wichita to have me, she made arrangements with her sister, Elizabeth Bowen, who lived near Wesley Hospital, for my mother to stay there until my arrival was imminent. I loved both Fannie and Mrs. Bowen. In 1937 when we were going to California to spend the summer before we moved into our house on North Main Street, we spent some time with Mrs. Wilkins, as we were without a home.

My other dear friend was Fannie’s niece, Mary Lake, the daughter of Orville Tonk Mills, who was born in East Tennessee in 1856. He married Mary Heavlin in 1892, and they had two daughters, Mary (Lake) and Celia (Purdy).

Tonk’s wife, Mary, died and he later married Lora McColl. They had five children – William Cloud II, Orva, Ethyl, Elizabeth, and Orville (Red). Tonk served as Sheriff of Barber County in the 1880’s. He worked on the Salt Fork and Eagle Chief Pool with my grandfather.

Mary Mills married Ervin E. Lake, and they built their home at 210 West Washington. They had one son, Bob.

Ervin spent most of his working life at the Barber County Savings and Loan, which at that time was where Taco Tico is now. He served as a Representative in the Kansas legislature.

When I lived on Kansas Avenue – and wasn’t visiting the Hibbards – Mary would invite me over to spend a day with her. Her home was beautiful, and I enjoyed so much spending time with her. When Bob would come home from school, he and I would go upstairs to the billiard room, and he would try to teach me to shoot pool.

Mary suffered from heart trouble late in life, and was confined to the first floor of her home, primarily in the lovely sun porch on the west side of the house. Every time I came home to Medicine Lodge I would visit her. She was a dear, dear friend.


Meandering by Bev McCollom, November 12, 2007

A couple of weeks ago when I mentioned Roland Hewitt’s Ford dealership, Hugh Hill came to see me to tell me about his grandfather’s car dealerships. They are almost unbelievable.

When I was 4 and 5 years old, I spent a lot of time across the street at Stricklands – 204 West Kansas Avenue, playing with their granddaughters Jean Hill and Joyce Hewitt. Since I had no grandparents, they said they would be mine, too. Later we were joined by grandson, Hugh Hill.

Levi Strickland came to Barber County from St. Clair, Missouri in 1879 when he was about a year old. His parents, Henry Lee and Edna Elizabeth (Cole) settled in Mingona Township. While Lee was hauling freight, Edna staked a claim, and they lived on this claim for the rest of their lives.

The Stricklands were the parents of 16 children, all born in Mingona Township except for Levi. Three of the children died in 1886; the rest grew up on the claim. They were Levi, Bert, Nellie, Frank, Louie, Josephine, Irl, Tell, Fred, Tom, Cuba, Carrie, and Troy.

The Strickland kids all married here, but all but four of them moved to other parts of the country. The four were Levi, (married Ellen Doles), Louie (Mrs. Lee Nurse), Josephine (Mrs. William Clarke), and Fred (married Alice Bradney).

Levi was interested in cars and in selling them to people. Hugh Hill remembers his granddad telling him about it, and although perhaps not in this order, these were Levi Strickland’s garages:

The Opera Block on the corner of North Main and East First, where he sold Fords – the Model T. There was a splendid showroom there with room to store the cars.

The Cook Block, where Alan Goering’s office is now. The two big doors on Washington Avenue allowed the cars to be brought in, and the big windows made quite a showroom for his cars – also Fords.

Then he did something different and became a Pontiac dealer. This took place at what people of Hugh’s and my generation called the Hamilton Hardware – the white frame building on Main Street that belonged to Schiffs when it burned. To the left of the building were large doors that opened into the garage and the showroom. Skinner and Fair had sold Fords here earlier.

Then Levi went back to Fords in the building across the street from the The Grand Hotel to the south. This was a popular car.

Levi then moved his Ford dealership to the building on South Main that housed Lodge Chevrolet later. When Tony Bertoglio bought the business from him, he thought his beloved Fords would continue to be sold there – and Levi had plans for another car dealership. However, Bertoglios switched to Chevrolet.

However, Levi had decided to go into something bigger and better in the place he had rented south of the Grand Hotel, where the Teen Center is now. He opened a car dealership for Chrysler, Hudson, and Packard. These were very large cars that sold for a lot more money. He enjoyed dealing in these for a while.

When they were cleaning up the building to make the Teen Center, they found painted on the walls "Chrysler, Hudson, and Packard." I remember that Chick Axline always drove a blue Packard, and I thought it was so ritzy. I also rode in a Hudson once, but I cannot remember who had it.

And finally in the east building on the corner of West Kansas Avenue and South Cherry (where Winters used to have their shop), Levi Strickland went back to his first love – Fords. He sold cars from that location for quite some time.

Cars – especially Ford – were Levi’s love. Remember. Cars had just come out, and there were a lot of things to learn about them. Levi selected the car he wanted to sell, he studied it, learned all about it, and became the best car salesman that Medicine Lodge has known. And he was happy.

Unfortunately, Levi had another distinction. He was the first patient to die in the new Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital.

More next week.....


Meandering by Bev McCollom, November 5, 2007

At the age of six Les Forsyth came to Medicine Lodge from Canada to live with his uncle, W. R. Forsyth. Les had been born in Toronto to Charles P. and Annie Nixon Forsyth. His father died when he was only 18 months old, and since his mother had to work as a practical nurse, Les was cared for by grandparents, aunts, and his Uncle Will.

Uncle Will and his wife lived in their home on West Lincoln, where Les spent about half his time. When Les was a freshman, he returned to Toronto, where he took an Electrical Engineering course, which he completed in 1915.

Uncle Will ran a mill on the corner of North Main Street and West Kansas Avenue, then in 1910 opened a furniture store. In 1915 Les came to Medicine Lodge to work there. He also enjoyed playing baseball and football, dating girls, and his newest interest – cars.

In 1918 Les enrolled in Embalming School in Kansas City and became the first licensed embalmer in northern Barber County. Most funerals were held in the home at that time.

On July 28, 1920, Les married Estelle Greisinger of Anthony, who had come to Medicine Lodge to teach school. The newlyweds moved into their new home at 605 North Walnut. Uncle Will’s wife died four months after Les and Estelle were married, and they moved to his home at East Lincoln to help him.

Then in 1923 their first son, Bill, was born. Les and Estelle moved back to their home on North Walnut since Uncle Will was doing well, and they had a new baby. Their second son, Bob, was born in 1933.

Big changes came in 1936 when Forsyths bought the Cavin Funeral home, which was located at the corner of North Walnut and East Lincoln. They added on to the house with preparation rooms in the basement and a chapel on the main floor.

Son, Bill, played basketball in high school and college. He graduated from Medicine Lodge High School in 1941, then went to K.U. before joining the Navy, where he was able to continue playing basketball at the University of Pennsylvania.

After his officer’s training was completed, Bill served in the Pacific until the war ended.

Bill returned to K.U. in 1946 for his final year. There he met Janice Nattier from Concordia, Kansas. They were married in 1947, and Bill came back to Medicine Lodge to join his grandfather and father in the furniture and funeral business.

Les and Estelle built a home on the corner of North Walnut and East Second, where they spent their retirement years.

Bill and Jan lived at the funeral home, where they raised three children. Their first was a daughter, Paula, who is married and has two daughters.

Their son, William Andrew – Drew – joined his Dad in the funeral business and at the furniture store. Their son Charles Bradley – Brad – worked at the furniture store, and I remember how delighted Estelle was when she told my mother and me that he, too, had decided to go to mortuary school and to join the funeral business, as well.

The Forsyth’s are out of the funeral business now, but still have the furniture store – and the beautiful old building it is in, which was built in 1884 when Medicine Lodge began to boom. The Gem Drug Store was just to the south and is now incorporated into the store.

When I drive by the buildings, I think of all the things that have gone on there since they were built. Perhaps the saddest story was about Dr. Meinke who had come here as a young man from Germany. He had his office – and lived also – above the Gem Drug Store.

One day he nicked himself with a needle he had used on a sick patient. In those days there were no antibiotics to take care of a mistake like this. Dr. Meinke knew he was dying and kept a diary about how he felt every day – to the time of his death. The 35-year-old unmarried doctor was buried in Highland Cemetery. I think of him every time I drive by Forsyths, and on Memorial Day put flowers on his grave.

(See "Two Frontier Doctors", Chapter 5, page 210 of When Kansas Was Young by T.A. McNeal for more information about the sad death of Dr. Meinke.)


Meandering by Bev McCollom, October 29, 2007

The Grand Hotel After a Snow Storm, Medicine Lodge, Barber County, Kansas, courtesy of Beverly Horney McCollom and Marilou West Ficklin.
The Grand Hotel, Medicine Lodge, Barber County, Kansas.
Photo courtesy of Beverly (Horney) McCollom and Marilou (West) Ficklin.


Downtown Medicine Lodge was interesting in the 1920’s and 1930’s. South across from the The Grand Hotel was the Sinclair Station. Roland Hewitt had a Ford dealership there for a while. Across the street west from the Grand was The Golden Rule Station. They were always busy. Eb Rule, of course, owned the Golden Rule, which later was sold to Champlain Oil. In 1937 Lloyd Davis put his farm implement shop just north of the Golden Rule.

Then next door to the Davis store was a very busy place - Jack’s Café. Jack Hill ran this café for several years, serving tasty hamburgers, steaks, chicken fried steaks, fried chicken, and apple, cherry, and blackberry pie.

Before going into the restaurant business, Jack had a pool hall and card-playing place in the basement of the Grand Hotel, which did a good business.

Jack was married to Opal Strickland, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Levi Strickland, who lived at 204 West Kansas Avenue. They had a daughter name Jean and a son name Todd.

Roland Hewitt was Jack’s brother-in-law, married to the Strickland’s other daughter, Gladys. He did well in the car business and had built a lovely home at 509 North Main Street. They had one daughter, Joyce. Roland died very young of a ruptured appendix.

Just north of Jack’s café was Lodge Chevrolet, and across the street just north of the The Grand Hotel was the dime store, operated in the 30’s by Campbell Sedgwick. You could find anything you wanted or needed there.

But the primary spot on Main Street in those days was the Pastime Theater owned and operated by Roy and Mae Culley, who had previously run a hardware store in Greensburg. They were wondering what to do now that they were out of the hardware business, when Charlie Spainhour, Greensburg theater owner, told them that the Pastime theater in Medicine Lodge was for sale.

In March of 1925 the Culleys came to Medicine Lodge to talk to Oscar Thom, the owner of the Pastime. They decided to buy it, and by the end of March had moved to Medicine Lodge.

The theater building was small, seating less than 100 people. The seats were wooden, the booth had one machine, and the movies were all silent. A player piano was in front of the screen. Marita Gordon operated the player piano at the Pastime, synchronizing the music to the action on the screen. At times there was a narrator.

Then on May 19, 1927, Charley Marshall’s Hardware Store, next to the theater, burned to the ground, taking the Pastime with it. Mr. Marshall said that he would rebuild. The lot was cleared, and Roy Culley was allowed to supervise the building of the Pastime.

The new Pastime was opened in December 1927. The neon lights over Main Street let everyone know it was there.

One of my good friends at the Grand, Dad Reddish, used to take me to the movies before I could go by myself It was usually on a Saturday afternoon, and we would walk up to the Pastime, he would buy his ticket, and we would go down the left aisle, where there were two seats marked for us with a notch cut out of the back of my seat. We would always enjoy the movie and go back to the Grand in the early afternoon. My folks would take me to the movie on Sunday afternoon. It was always a good one, just out, that everyone wanted to see.

Then as we got a little older, my friends Wayne Davis, Jim Moore, and Herbert Dale Smith and I would go to the westerns on Saturday afternoons. We would sit on the front row and help Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, Charles Starrett, and Roy Rogers fight off the bad men.

The Pastime Theater was remodeled again, and this time soft seats were put in, My friend, Bob Ash, ran the projector. Donna Hamilton, who later became his wife, popped the popcorn, which we had to have to enjoy the movie.

The Culleys had two children, Craig and Kathy. I first remember them living in Dr. Coleman’s house at 303 North Main. Later they bought the Adrian Houck home at 201 South Walnut. Then, after the war, they built the ultramodern looking house at 110 West Washington Avenue.

The drive-in theater became popular in the 50’s and 60’s. Roy Culley died in 1955. Mae Culley lived in Hutchinson until her death. I will always remember selling the tickets at the Pastime. More next week....


Meandering by Bev McCollom, October 22, 2007

I became a daily patron of the Sweet Shop in 1945 when it was purchased by Bud Rodgers. I was in high school, as were all my friends, and the Sweet Shop became the place to go.

The songs of that era - and the artists - couldn’t be beat. We didn’t go to the Sweet Shop with dates; we were there altogether and took turns dancing with different partners.

Over those three years we particularly enjoyed Accentuate the Positive by Johnny Mercer; I’m Beginning to See the Light by Harry James; Rum and Coca Cola, the Andrews Sisters; White Christmas, Bing Crosby; Oh, What it Seemed to Be by Frankie Carl; the Old Lamplighter, Sammy Kaye; Ole Buttermilk Sky, Kay Kyser; Prisoner of Love by Perry Como; I Love You for Sentimental Reasons by Nat Cole; Anniversary Song, Dinah Shore; Ballerina, Vaughn Monroe; Five Minutes More by Frank Sinatra - and many, many more.

Bud Rodgers was the first son born to Mr. and Mrs. F. R. Rodgers in El Dorado, Kansas. He graduated from Medicine Lodge High School in 1935. On October 5, 1938, Bud was married to Alice Mae Howard at the First Christian Church in Anthony by the Reverend Rinehart, who had been pastor at Medicine Lodge.

Alice Mae Howard was born in Nash, Oklahoma, on November 10, 1919, the third child of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Howard. The Howards moved to Medicine Lodge, where Mae attended school for 10 years. Then they moved to Sharon, where she graduated from Sharon High School in 1937.

Bud was working for Barbara Oil. Then in 1941 the family moved to Hutchinson, where he worked for Lane Wells Company. They moved back to Medicine Lodge in 1942, as Bud had joined the Army. He served with the 78th Infantry, seeing action in Italy and Belgium, including the Battle of the Bulge. When Bud returned to Medicine Lodge 14 months later, he bought the Sweet Shop. A few years later he sold it, went back to the oil business, but business for himself had great appeal.

In 1959 he bought the DeWeese Grocery at the corner of South Main and Highway 160. The name was changed to Rodgers Grocery, and the Rodgers successfully ran their Mom and Pop store for 20 years.

The Rodgers had five children. Terry, the oldest, served three years in the Army.

He received his Master’s Degree from Emporia State and served as a counselor in the St. John schools. He then had his own insurance company in Garden City. He and his wife have two children. Jerry, who was tragically killed in 1979 by a falling tree, obtained his BA, then attended Mortuary School in Dallas. He owned two funeral homes - one in Monte Vista, the other in Del Norte. Colorado. He and his wife had two sons.

Two daughters, Sue and Jan, both attended Emporia State, then were married.

They both live in Dodge City. Sue had three children and Jan had two. Randy, the youngest, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Kansas State University, then received a Fellowship to study at the University of Wisconsin, where he received his Master’s Degree in Wildlife Biology. He became a wildlife biologist for the Kansas Fish and Game Commission.

Bud and Mae lived at 211 East Lincoln, where Mae still resides.

Bud’s parents, Forrest and Leontine were pioneers in the oil and gas industry in Barber County. Short, as Forrest was known by all, started working for Barbara Oil in El Dorado in 1915. In 1928 Short was brought here to help bring in a well for Barbara Oil, which led to the oil field by that name.

The Rodgers lived in the Union Chapel area where they raised their five children, Viola, Warren, Stanley, Barbara, and Joan. Short worked for Barbara as superintendent and was there when another big field, the Rhoads Pool was developed.

Then in 1946 Leontine became the first florist in Medicine Lodge. They had moved from Union Chapel into town. Rodgers Floral, a florist shop, greenhouse, and nursery serviced 10 cities or more in the area. Leontine loved to design, and she gained national recognition when one of her float designs was selected for the Rose Parade in Pasadena.

In 1956 when poor health caused Short to retire, the Rodgers sold the flower shop so they could spend summers in Colorado and winters at home in Medicine Lodge. When Short died in 1966, Leontine continued with her needlework.

More next week...


Meandering by Bev McCollom, October 15, 2007

Many of us remember the gray soft-brick house on the northwest corner of West First Avenue and North Oak. It had originally belonged to the Gleasons, who were active members of the First Christian Church. Mr. Gleason was the Probate Judge for some time.

The Gleasons entertained in their lovely home until Judge Gleason’s death. Mrs. Gleason remained at home except for church on Sundays. My mother and I used to go to her home to visit with her frequently. After Mrs. Gleason’s death, the home was purchased by Harold and Blanche Roessler.

In 1912 Samuel J. and Nellie Brattain Roessler moved to a farm 10 miles north west of Medicine Lodge with their two sons, Harold and Raymond. Harold graduated from Barber County High School in 1915, went to normal school, and became a teacher.

He met Miss Blanche Agnes Batty, who had come from Sterling, Kansas, to teach in Medicine Lodge.

Harold and Blanche were married and immediately began their farming operation in Mingona township. In 1934 the Roesslers with their daughters Haroldine and Rita moved to Medicine Lodge - to the Gleason home. The girls were close to school, and Harold went to the farm every day.

From 1939 until 1946 the Roesslers operated a dairy, delivering fresh milk to homes every day. Then in 1946 they opened a restaurant, which provided the finest meals in town. But Harold was a farmer at heart, and in 1951 they sold the restaurant.

Harold went back to the farm to work every day - and Blanche became the first cook-dietitian for patients at the new Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital.

The Barber County Savings & Loan tore down the gray soft-brick house and put up the townhouses on that corner. I wish I had had the money to save the Gleason/Roessler house.

Last week we learned about Russells’ confectionery, but on down South Main Street on the east side was the Sweet Shop, another major stop for the High School crowd, which was made to feel at home by Guy and Flossie Hittle.

Guy Hittle was born in the farm home of his parents William and Laura Hartley Hittle near Lake City. Later the family of five boys and three girls moved to the Elm Mills area. Guy graduated from Medicine Lodge High School.

Flossie’s parents, Fred D. and Alta Mae Mitchell Hoyt had come to Medicine Lodge with Alta’s parents, James and Elizabeth Mitchell. Flossie had two sisters, Luella (Swartz) and Myrtle Marie (Sage).

Fred Hoyt worked for Standard Oil, one of the first oil and gas companies to locate in this area. Fred drove the truck, supplying gasoline to stations in the area.

He was a familiar figure around the town and county. Fred continued to do this until his retirement in 1938.

Guy and Flossie were married in 1924. Then in 1929 Guy and Lloyd Clarke bought the Sweet Shop. Lloyd took the bakery, and Guy and Flossie ran the Sweet Shop together for 20 years.

As one entered the Sweet Shop, on the right was the candy counter and on the left was the cashier and the soda fountain. I often went in there to buy a BB-Bat or some bubble gum. My mother would not let me drink Cokes, but the Sweet Shop served the best 400 in town. (A 400 is just chocolate milk!) Once in a while we would go in to buy an ice cream cone.

I was too young to fully enjoy the Sweet Shop when Guy and Flossie had it, but it was a fascinating place. Just back of the fountain were lots of booths, where people could catch up on homework, gossip a little, and just have a good time.

Beyond the booth was a dance floor, where people kept the Jukebox going all the time, and couples enjoyed dancing. There was an old piano back there, and once in a while George Griffin played the dance music.

I can remember one night when I was five or six years old, I got to fully enjoy the Sweet Shop - with only a 400, of course. Jane Nixon (Fowler) took me up to the Sweet Shop one evening, and I had a wonderful time watching the kids dance, enjoying the laughter, and being really "grown up." There was a photograph booth at the Sweet Shop, and Jane and I were caught on film on our night out.


Meandering by Bev McCollom, October 8, 2007

In 1924 Mr. and Mrs. Felix Casey moved to Medicine Lodge from Iola. Mr. Casey was employed at Best Bros. Keene Cement. Shortly after, their daughter, Annabel, who was married in 1923 to Maurice Crook, followed them. Maurice had also obtained a position at Best Bros.

The Crooks and the Caseys built a house together and lived in it at 308 West Kansas Avenue. In 1925 daughter Helen was born. Annabel Crook became the librarian at the Medicine Lodge library, located on the east side of Main Street next to the High School. She was there for 12 years. Things were changing at Best Bros., which became a part of National Gypsum.

The Crooks went to Bellefonte, Pa., then returned to Medicine Lodge, where Maurice became plant manager while Dudley Chads was at the Blue Bonnet Ordinance Plant in Texas. Then in 1943 Maurice was transferred to Fort Dodge, Iowa, and in 1944 to Buffalo, New York, as Assistant then as Chief Engineer.

After Mrs. Casey’s death in 1951, Felix Casey moved to Buffalo to be with his family. He died there in 1953. The Crooks’ daughter, Helen, graduated from Medicine Lodge High School in 1943, and went on to Fort Dodge, where she became a reporter for the Fort Dodge Messenger.

Here in Medicine Lodge the family was affiliated with the First Methodist Church. Maurice was a Mason, and Annabel was in Eastern Star.

Next door neighbors to the Crooks on Kansas Avenue were Lyman and Pearl Russell and their son, Gordon. The Russell’s ran a wonderful confectionery and bakery on the west side of Main Street.

The Russell’s, who had moved here from Harper in 1921, were part of the closeness and camaraderie of downtown Medicine Lodge. From the beginning the Russells showed their interest in the young people. They provided a juke box and a dance floor. The high school students loved to gather at Russells.

After work on Saturday nights, merchants and friends gathered at the confectionery for good times. Ed and Thelma Dye, who had the wonderful restaurant just a couple of doors south, would bring goodies. John Ryser and my Dad would make steak tartare after the butcher shop had closed at Ryser’s store and bring it to the party. How I loved that "raw hamburger!" My Dad always brought some home to me. He and John took round steak, chopped it small, and then chopped in onions. It was delicious. Gordon Russell grew up on Main Street at the confectionery, at Dye’s café, at Ryser’s store, and at the Pastime Theater. One night when Lyman and Pearl got home from the confectionery. Gordon was not there. They called a few people -and Roy Culley went back to the Pastime to see if he was there. Sure enough, there he was, sound asleep on the front row.

Gordon also spent time at the neighbors’ - the home of the Caseys and the Crooks. He and Helen Crook became fast friends, and he credited Annabel with encouraging his desire to read, which lasted throughout his life.

Gordon and I had mutual friends on West Kansas Avenue. They were Bob and Tom Smith, the sons of Gordie Smith. I used to go down there when I was four and five years old, and we would have lots of fun on the front porch. The Smith boys would ask me my name, and I would respond, "Becky Kay Kay."

The Russells sold the confectionery to Jay Rutan in the ‘40’s when I was in high school, and we continued to have wonderful times with the juke box, the dance floor - and the ham salad sandwiches!

The Russells then managed the Palace Hotel on West Kansas Avenue. My Mother and I spent many splendid summer evenings sitting in the front yard talking.

Gordon was interested in dramatics at an early age. He studied dance, and he and Mary Jean Hibbard (Rickard) appeared as Spanish dancers in the Peace Treaty Pageant.

After his graduation from Medicine Lodge High School, Gordon went to drama school, but when World War II broke out, he served in North Africa and Europe. Then after the war, Gordon moved to New York City, where he went to work for CBS-TV.

Because George Griffin was also in New York, I visited him frequently - and when Gordon was with us, he and I argued over who was best - my NBC-TV or his CBS.

It was all in fun. We loved it! How I miss both of those guys.

More Next week!


Meandering by Bev McCollom, October 1, 2007

The house at 302 West Kansas Avenue was home to Ray and Grace (Hibbard) Sheldon and their family. The lovely home was built primarily by Ray and his dad, Ralph, who lived next door at 304 West Kansas Avenue.

Ray Sheldon was born in Medicine Lodge to Ralph and Bessie (Tyrell) Sheldon.

He graduated from Medicine Lodge High School in 1923, traveled for a while, and played trumpet in a dance band. Then in 1933 he went to work for National Gypsum, where he remained until his retirement in 1973. This left him with lots of time to play golf, his favorite pastime.

Grace Hibbard was born and raised in Ava, Missouri, the daughter of Claude and Halie Hibbard. Claude was a teacher and school administrator - and was related to the Hibbards in Medicine Lodge. Grace had spent a few times visiting here, and in 1936 she came here to teach in the Primary School. She made her home with the George Hibbards at 206 West Washington Avenue. It was there on June 25, 1939, that her wedding to Ray Sheldon took place.

The Ray Sheldons watched four children - Jana, John, Miles, and Mark - grow up in that happy home on West Kansas Avenue.

The house just west of them was home to Ralph and Bessie Sheldon, who had moved here in August, 1908. Bessie had lived here before in the 1890’s with her parents, the Robert Tyrells. Ralph and Bessie first lived in an apartment upstairs in the Cook Block. Bessie’s father and brother, Charles, had already come to Barber County, and her mother and her sister, Leona, moved here a while later.

Ralph Sheldon went to work with a harvesting and threshing crew, and soon Bessie was running the cook shack, feeding the crews. After harvest was over, the Sheldons operated a café, which was located in a frame building on the site that is now part of Dirks Copy Products. Bessie was a superb cook - and her pies were especially popular. After the birth of son, Ray, in 1910 Ralph Sheldon went to work for Best Bros. Keene Cement. The family moved to Kling - a gypsum workers’ "suburb" of Sun City. The Sheldon family of three lived in three rooms of a duplex; Ralph’s widowed mother and a brother lived in the other half of the house.

Gyp Mill near Kling, Barber County, Kansas.

CLICK HERE to read more about Kling, Kansas.
Gyp Mill near Kling, Barber County, Kansas.

In 1922 the Sheldons built their spacious home at 306 West Kansas Avenue - which they shared often with relatives, friends, roomers, and boarders. They were active members of the Methodist church and in the community. Bessie spent her free time quilting, crocheting, and embroidering, leaving many of these treasures to her family.

Ralph kept busy after his retirement in 1961. He had four grandchildren next door. His grandsons were well trained in doing projects around the house. Ralph died in 1965, Bessie in 1971, after wonderful lives of love, devotion, and hard work.

Just west of the Sheldon home was the home of Leona (Tyrell) Watts, sister to Bessie Sheldon, who had come to Medicine Lodge with her mother in 1909. Leona was a delightful woman whose life had tragedies, but who with great faith and strength survived them. On her arrival in Medicine Lodge Leona went to work for the Rural Telephone Exchange and Trice Mercantile Company.

In July 1915, Leona was married to Charles R. Watts, who had moved here from Austin, Texas, as an engineer for Best Bros. Keene Cement. In July 1918, the Watts welcomed their son, Charles Tyrell, to the family. At Christmas that year the family took the train to Texas so that the baby could meet his relatives there. They had a wonderful time. On the way home, however, the train was stalled in a snowstorm; they had trouble keeping warm. By the time they got to Medicine Lodge, Daddy Charles had the flu and pneumonia. He died in January 1919.

In 1920 Leona built her home (west of where her sister would build) on West Kansas Avenue. Leona’s mother took care of the baby, while she went back to Trice Mercantile. Then baby Charles’ life was cut short in March 1928, when he died of complications of Scarlet Fever. Leona, now on her own, went to Cosmetology School in Wichita, coming back to operate a beauty shop for Annabel Crook in the basement of the Post Office on East Kansas Avenue. In 1941 Leona opened the Watts Beauty Shop on the west side of North Main - just north of Benefiel Hardware. Despite the tragedies, Leona was a cheerful person, and ladies loved going to her shop. She remained active in the Methodist Church and B.P.W. Her many friends in The Birthday Club - Pearl Russell, Arvilla Garten, Julia Harbaugh, Rose Murphy, Bertha Wilson, Marian Knight, Gladys Gibson, and Vera Hammond - called her "Fussy," her childhood nickname.

Leona died in January, 1972...


Meandering by Bev McCollom, September 24, 2007

The lovely home at 212 East Lincoln - on the corner of South Spring Street - was the home of Aubra and Minnie Donovan. I had a lot of good times there playing with their granddaughter, Carol, who was in my class.

Sixteen-year-old Aub Donovan came to Kansas in the spring of 1895 from Warrensburg, Missouri. He went first to Caldwell to be with his father, Dennis, who had cattle to be herded to land northwest of Alva, Oklahoma.

Aub had been in this area of Kansas when he had come here with an uncle, J. R. Holmes, to drive cattle up from Texas through Indian Territory to pastures along the Canadian and Cimarron Rivers and to the Aetna area. In the fall and winter of 1896 Aub camped in a dugout on a small stream east of Elm Mills. During some social events at Elm Mills, he met Miss Minnie Rackley.

In 1885 William B. Rackley, his wife Cynthia, and their children, Clark, Minnie, and Charley, came to Kansas from Galesburg, Illinois. They arrived in Harper on the train, then took the stagecoach to Medicine Lodge. Mr. Rackley bought land west of Elm Mills, a community that not only provided the mill, but was also the social center.

Aub and Minnie were married in Harper in the spring of 1897, then moved to a claim northeast of Freedom, Oklahoma. They had six children - Sybil, Raymond, Fay, Jessie, Aubra, Jr., and Owna, who died in infancy. Raymond and Fay had been born in Medicine Lodge with their uncle, Dr. James Donovan, in attendance.

By 1906 Aub Donovan had acquired land northwest of Hardtner, and in 1911 received his brother’s land near Canema. He also bought the J.P. Hall home at the corner of Spring and Lincoln in Medicine Lodge, moving to town so the children could go to school, then returning to the country for the summer, planting and harvesting. In their later years Aub and Minnie made their home on East Lincoln a headquarters for their grandchildren and their friends. Aub Donovan died in 1937, Minnie in 1958.

The house next door to Donovans at 208 East Lincoln was home to Herbert and Lora (Trice) Newsom, who were also from early-day families. John Robert (Jack) Newsom and his wife, Nellie, made the trip from Virginia to Barber County shortly after their marriage. They made their home 3 ½ miles east and one mile south of Sharon, just east of Enon School. Jack and Cynthia Newsom had seven children. Their home was a happy place, especially for Enon school children. Mrs. Newsom always had cookies and apples for the kids at recess.

The Trice family had come to Sharon from Kentucky. Lora was their first child.

Herbert and Lora Newsom moved to Medicine Lodge when Herb joined his brother-in-law in the Trice Mercantile Store, which in 1937 became Newsom’s when son, Trice, joined his Dad in the business.

Just west of the Newsom home, on the corner of South Walnut and East Lincoln, the large chat house with the adjacent carriage house/stable was the home of Lawrence and Fannie Stevens. Lawrence Stevens was born in England and had come to Medicine Lodge with his family in 1889. While he was still in school, Lawrence went to work for the First National Bank, and in 1903 he became a full-time employee.

Fannie Stevens was born on a Sharon Valley farm, the daughter of M.P. and Alice DeWitt. Matthew Pleasant DeWitt had come to Barber County from Skidmore, Missouri.

He settled on a homestead four miles southwest of Sharon, living in a dugout and herding livestock on the open range. Mr. DeWitt answered to either "Matt" or "Pleas." In January of 1887 he married Miss Alice Atwood Whitehead in Maryville, Missouri, and brought his bride to Sharon. The DeWitts had ten children.

Their daughter, Fannie, was married to Lawrence Stevens on October 16, 1909.

Their children were Dorothy (McIllree), Mildred (Guthrie), Esther (Findlay) and a son, DeWitt.

Lawrence Stevens remained with the First National Bank until 1938 when his son-in-law, Clarke McIllree joined him in the purchase and operation of the First State Bank in Kiowa. The Stevens moved to Kiowa, where they lived until 1944, when they moved back home to Medicine Lodge. Lawrence drove to Kiowa to work every day.

When DeWitt Stevens graduated from Kansas State in 1950, he joined the bank in Kiowa, and Lawrence had more time for travel, which he loved. Lawrence died in 1959.

Fannie remained busy working with the blind through the Red Cross. She lived to enjoy celebrating her 100th birthday.

More next week...


Meandering Medicine Lodge: The 1880's - by Beverly McCollom (1991). Copies of this book are available from the Medicine Lodge Stockade Museum, Highway 160, Medicine Lodge, KS 67104. Call the museum at (620) 886-3417 to inquire about purchasing a copy of the book.
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Thanks to Bev McCollom for permission to publish the above information on this web site!

This RootsWeb website is being created by Jerry Ferrin with the able assistance of many Contributors. Your comments, suggestions and contributions of historical information and photographs to this site are welcome. Please sign the Guest Book. This page was created 27 September 2007.