David Massey's Memories, Barber County, Kansas Barber County, Kansas.  

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David Dean Massey

Ralph Nathan Massey Jr., David Dean Massey & John Robert Massey.

Photo courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Ralph Nathan Massey Jr., David Dean Massey & John Robert Massey.
Sons of Ralph and Blanche Massey
Photo courtesy of Kim Fowles.

"Ralph's three boys left to right
P.V.T. Ralph Nathan Massey Jr age 18
A.S.N. 375 300 44
Co.D. 78th Inf. Bn
Camp Robert Calif.
David Dean Massey age 12 who like Kent is doing a man's work with a tractor cultivating, disking and plowing and other ranch work.
P.V.T. John Robert Massey, age 20
I have given his address with the picture in uniform. We haven't Ralph N's they sent him right out after he was inducted."
-- Photo caption by Artha Surber in her own handwriting about her grandsons.

Collected Anecdotes from his messages to Kim (Hoagland) Fowles and Jerry Ferrin

David Massey's Memories

Exchange of emails, Kim Fowles & David Massey, 27 Oct 2005:

Kim Fowles: This page has photos of the Natural Bridge. Did you guys ever go there?

David Massey: Yes, we sure did, Kim. It was one of those places that you visited so regularly that you don't remember the first time. After you got to be high school age I think the Natural Bridge and Hell's Half-Acre were some of the more favored places to go to take snap-shots with your Kodaks (Brownies).

One other place the high school boys would oft times go was to Havard's cave. It was no place for girls 'cause you had to be real brave to go into them (because after you got inside it was more like a series of caves.) The tough part was the entrance as you had to lower yourself down into a sink-hole finally get yourself flat on your stomach and wiggle yourself in for several feet, then it would open up and finally you could stand up. It was fairly spacious and don't remember how big it was now, but I'm sure it was a lot less than I remember it. The first fellow that entered it had to have had nerves of steel as there is very little wiggle room at the beginning and its not easy to wiggle backwards if you met something that did not welcome you.

Sam Helton.  Photo courtesy of Beth Larkin Davis.

At left: Sam Helton. Photo courtesy of Beth Larkin Davis.

One of the oft told stories of the older guys was the story of Sam Helton, Louie Bissantz and the Cougar.

Irl Shutts told it to me last and he was a good story teller. Although Louie was a merchant, his heart's desire was to be a cowboy, or a hunter, trapper or most anything romantic. Sam hunted and trapped and Louie ever bothered Sam to take him with him to hunt coyotes, bob-cats and sometimes wolves or cougars.

There had been a cougar in the area and Sam had been hunting him, finally allowing Louie to accompany him. Sam tracked the Cougar to Havard's cave and determined to go in and check it out (that was a fellow with more than his share of nerve). Louie posted himself on the surface at the top of the sink-hole to shoot the critter if he got by Sam.

Sure enough that sucker was in there and Sam shot him right at the bottom of the hole and in his death throes the cat lept straight up Louie was so startled he fell over on his back and shot straight up in the air (this was the story according to Sam). The story according to Louie was that Sam went in, spooked him, took a shot at him, missed, the critter jumped out and Louie said "Pie Chinks, I shot the sonofapitch".

Bronc Rider at McLain's Roundup, Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo by Homer Venters, courtesy of Mike Venters.

CLICK HERE to view more rodeo photos by Homer Venters.
Bronc Rider at McLain's Roundup, Sun City, Barber County, Kansas
Photo by Homer Venters, courtesy of Mike Venters.

26 August 2005

Email from Kim Fowles to Jerry Ferrin, 26 August 2005:
"This is a message David Massey sent to my father regarding these rodeo photos:

Ronnie: I received a nice group of rodeo pictures, do you have more?

Those you sent were all of the early years weren't they?

I couldn't help but wonder how those old rodeo cowboys would compare with today's breed. Those steers they were riding in the pictures were about half the size the bulls the youngsters are riding today.

I couldn't help but be reminded of a story they used to tell about Mr. McLain (Frank) when I was viewing those pictures of the cars parked around the arena. Seems like the cars that parked up next to the fence either paid an additional fee or were reserved, don't remember which.

One of Mr. McLains responsibilities was parking and what other security problems that needed his attention. He always rode a big old buckskin horse when I could remember him, and on this day he asked a man who was illegally parked to move his car, the man didn't want to and told Mr. McLain so. Mr. McLain just dropped his loop over the bumper and old "Buck" just started dragging him off. Drug him all the way to the gate and out.

The man kept whining until Mr. McLain said "don't make me get off of this horse, boy." As he was about Mark's size except broader I can imagine the old kid didn't really want him to step down off of old Buck."


Lyle Bullock is presented with a watch on his retirement from the Postal Service.

Photo taken on the steps of Lyle Bullock's home in Sun City, Kansas.

Photo by Homer Venters,  courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Lyle Bullock is presented with a watch on his retirement from the Postal Service.
Lyle is holding the watch. John Walker is to his right.
Photo taken on the steps of Lyle Bullock's home in Sun City, Kansas.
Photo by Homer Venters, courtesy of Kim Fowles.

21 August 2005

"That picture was taken the night the community honored Lyle upon his retirement from his mail route. I believe when he retired they discontinued the route. The first man on the left in the back row worked for the RR I believe, the next is Glen McLain (Uncle Marion's youngest brother). then the next with most of his face covered is Roy Crow I think, then on the front is Harry Sears, then the next man I believe worked in the oil-field, Hully Hoss, Lyle and John Walker. I believe they had a piano on a hay-rack and Ethelyene Drew played and her husband Bill sang. One of the songs was "Dear Hearts and Gentle People" and Bill Adams was the MC. I don't remember what the other entertainment was but there were a number of comments and testimonials about Lyle's service ie: how he would drive miles off the regular route when there was a package from Montgomery Ward or Sears and Roebuck or to deliver baby Chicks (remember when they came by parcel post?) Those were the days when everyone knew what their neighbors were doing and why they were doing it." -- David Massey, 21 August 2005.

Photo of a half-track, probably the one driven by Cpl. Max McLain.

Photo courtesy of Brenda McLain
Photo of a half-track, probably the one driven by Cpl. Max McLain.
Photo courtesy of Brenda McLain.

19 August 2005

"Max McLain drove a half-track (which I believe was out-fitted as a maintenance vehicle) in the 2nd Armored Division (Hell on Wheels). Max was in the 2nd Armored from the beginning and was in it when Patton commanded it. (Patton later commanded the 3rd Army.) Max was in the North Africa, Sicily and European campaigns. Saw a lot of war, that boy.

Max made it through the war many, many months of combat without a scratch. Then, in the final days of the war, or perhaps after the cessation of fighting, he broke his hand. I believe it was in an accident with the machine gun that was mounted on his vehicle. Must have hurt it pretty good because he spent some time in the hospital."

-- David Massey, 19 Aug 2005.

6 August 2005

Dear Jerry,

Yes, I knew your dad, but not personally. He was a senior when I was a freshman, so always knew him as one of the big guys from Wilmore. My brothers graduated in '40 and '43 and I don't suppose we (the family) ever missed a base-ball or basket-ball game anywhere from the time I was just a little guy. Buck, I knew well as we worked with my mother on the ranch from 57 to 69 down at Sun.

I don't believe anyone could tell a story any better than your dad, I have really enjoyed reading his memoirs. Our dad, Ralph Massey, was a really fun guy who could take a joke as well as play them and someone was always trying to one up him. I was just barely 13 when he died so most of his antics I have heard rather than witnessed.

One of my favorites was told me by our neighbor, Frank Harrington.

The year was about 1932 or 1933, and Dad had come to Sun to do a little trading. He had all three of us boys with him. I was about 2 or 3 and the boys were about 7 and 9, maybe a little more. I don't know what kind of a car we had then, we had a 29 Chevy which is the first car I can remember, could have been it.

Anyway the old car apparently wasn't in tip-top shape. While we were all in the store dads friends (?) put one of those super car bombs on his old car. You know the kind: a real spark-plug buster, that howled, screamed, smoked and fimally exploded. Everyone in town was in on it and was waiting for the big moment.

Dad was a big strong guy so could really spin the crank. Starting the car was kind of a two person operation apparently, so he set the controls all up for one of the boys and he started to crank. The big old bomb done everything it was supposed to and took a long time doing it. Dad just stepped back and said "whoa", tipped his hat back, and never even opened the hood. Finally someone came out and said "Whats the matter with her, Ralph?"

Dad says "I don't know but I've been looking for that to happen for a long time. Come on boys, let's go get the team and drag her home."

Don't know what the rest of the story was but that was about as excited as he usually got and sounded about right.

Well, Jerry, I'd better put her up. Keep up the good work.


David Massey's Memories of Tull Balding

Hello, Jerry,

I didn't know much about Tull, nor did I hear people talk much about his early life. I knew his nickname was Skeeter but I never heard anyone call him anything but Tull. He died when I was in the 1st grade and I do remember going to his funeral. My first memory of him was when he was living in the bunk-house at Irl Shutts'. I sat on the steps while he was braiding a nose band for a latigo and he explained to me what he was doing, so I know he was nice to little boys. I visited with Irl (his nephew) a lot and I don't recall of Irl ever telling any stories about him. I always suspected that he may not have shared a lot about his life in prison and before. I sure enjoy all of your hard work and pull up both the Barber and Comanche county pages regularly.

Thanks again,
David Massey.

-- E-mail from David Massey to Jerry Ferrin, 6 Jan 2008.

Also see:

David Massey: Anecdotes and recollections:

* Anecdotes: Practical Jokes & Back Fired Actions
* Comments & anecdotes: Ralph and Blanche Massey's family
* Comments: George & Alzina (Knowles) Cornish
* Comments: Tull Balding
* Comments: Cornish/Harrington Cemetery (near Sun City)
* Comment: Ernest Gilges
* The Story of Mr. Shmidl's Cattle, Bulldog and New Steer
* Cat Wagons at Sun City, Kansas

A few of David Massey's relatives:

* Joseph Pierce Massey, grandfather of David Massey.
* Artha (Van Horn) Massey Surber, grandmother of David Massey.
* Ralph Nathan Massey, Sr., father of David Massey.
* Ralph Nathan Massey, Jr., brother of David Massey.
* John Robert Massey, D.D.S., brother of David Massey.
* Joe Massey, first cousin of David Massey.
* Hylon Hope (Massey) Howard, first cousin of David Massey.
* Kent Meadors Massey, first cousin of David Massey.
* Mark McLain, first cousin of David Massey.
* Max McLain, first cousin of David Massey.
* Kimberly (Hoagland) Fowles, cousin of David Massey.
* Thomas J. Murphy, uncle of David Massey.
* Argle Lyle Bullock, uncle of David Massey.
* Lilian Ruth (Massey) McLain, paternal aunt of David Massey.
* Ella Bird (Van Horn) Lott, maternal aunt of David Massey.
* Marion Francis McLain, uncle of David Massey.
* Mike Massey, nephew of David Massey.
* Van Horn Family Reunion at Sun City, KS: 2006

Heh, heh, heh... What the...? Uuugh!  HEY!!!
Practical Jokes & Backfired Actions:
A few stories from Barber County, Kansas

Courtesy of David and Nate Massey

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