Another pioneer settler, another well known and highly respected citizen of Comanche-co. -- R. A. Callaway is gone. Death came to him at 2 o'clock a.m. on last Saturday, February 21, 1925. After a lingering illness, the primary cause of which was diabetes. He had been able to be about most of the time, however, but for some time had been compelled to give up active labor. About a week before his death he was about town, and apparently was feeling better than usual, but he contracted a cold, which caused him to take to his bed. Uremic poisoning developed, and he grew rapidly worse. All that medical skill and loving hands could do proved unavailing toward staying the progress of the disease. The end came at an early hour Saturday morning, after a period of severe suffering, although he lapsed into unconsciousness during the last few hours of his life.
Funeral services were conducted from the home at 4 o'clock p.m. on Sunday, and were in charge of Rev. H. W. Cummings of the Methodist Episcopal church, assisted by Rev. Murray of the Christian church. The funeral sermon was based on the first three verses of the 14th chapter of St. John, and contained many comforting and assuring words for the living. A quartet composed of Perl Boshell, W. R. Stotts, Mrs. Earl Guizlo and Mrs. Fanny Swisher sang, "Jesus Lover of My Soul," very beautifully. A duet, "All the Way My Savior Leads Me," was effectively sung by Mrs. Guizlo and Mrs. W. B. Robbins. The pall bearers were O. O. Landess, O. M. Osbourn, R. M. Kirk, Arthur E. Barlow, J. M. McCay and Walter L. Cook. Burial was made in Crown Hill cemetery. The attendance at the funeral was quite large, people coming from all parts of the county.
The Odd Fellows lodge, of which Mr. Callaway had long been a member, attended the funeral in a body and conducted a brief funeral service at the grave. Rev. Cummings paid a well deserving tribute to the life and character of Mr. Callaway. He said in part; "Robert Callaway became a Christian at a very early age and united with the Baptist church. After coming West he passed through the usual experiences of pioneer life. In January, 1903, he united with the Methodist Episcopal church of this city, following a great revival held by the pastor, Rev. Jesse Clyde Fisher, assisted by Evangelist C. W. McClure. Since then he remained faithful to the Lord and to the church. For a number of years he was frequently seen at the annual conferences of the church and at other church conventions and gatherings. He seldom failed to be present at the services of his home church, when at all able to attend. Many times he was present when scarcely able to be about. He loved the church and all its services. He loved to mingle with his many friends and old time neighbors. Through all his sickness he was quiet and patient, and seemed anxious to cause as little trouble as possible to those about him."
Robert Arron Callaway was a native of Kentucky, having been born on a farm near Eminence, in Henry-co., that state, on June 17, 1861. At the time of his death, his age, therefore was 63 years, 8 months and 4 days. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Parham Callaway, were pioneer settlers in Kentucky.
Robert's boyhood days were spent at hard work on the farm. When quite a young man, he yielded to the lure of the West and turned his steps toward Kansas. In the year 1879 he landed in Dodge City, where he secured work in a hotel. He stayed there about three years, thus having an opportunity to study real life in a typical frontier town in a new country. From Dodge City he went to Texas, where he spent two years on a large cattle ranch.
In the spring of 1884 he came back to southwestern Kansas, continuing his duties as a ranch hand. He was here even before any town had been started in the county, and hence saw the laying out of Coldwater, and later of the other towns. He continued to make his home in this county. During the latter 80s, he was engaged for some time as a stage driver, first between Coldwater and Kinsley, and later between Coldwater and Medicine Lodge. He also worked for a time as a clerk in the Merchants Hotel, which was run for some time during the 80s by Ben Eaton. In the year 1889, he engaged in the hotel business, having purchased the St. Nicholas hotel, which was then, and which continued for over 25 years, to be, the leading hotel in the city. Mr. Callaway was a successful and popular manager. The St. Nicholas was recognized by hundreds of traveling men as one of the best hotels in southwestern Kansas, and it was made so by Mr. and Mrs. Callaway. After retiring from the hotel business in 1913, Mr. Callaway was the proprietor of a transfer line in this city and carried the mail from the depot to the post office. In that capacity he was always faithful and dependable. About a year ago he was compelled on account of failing health to give up the business.
On February 3, 1889, in this city, Mr. Callaway was united in marriage with Miss Mattie Burton, who survives him. Through the years of the development of the town and county, when it required faith in the county as well as perseverance and sacrifice, Mr. and Mrs. Callaway labored together. They knew from actual experience almost every phase of pioneer life. They saw the town and county grow, and in no small measure they contributed to the development of Coldwater and Comanche-co.
Mr. Callaway was probably known to more people - traveling men, farmers and others - than was any other man in southwestern Kansas. And it can truthfully be said of him that his friends included all of his large circle of acquaintances. His honest, courteous business methods won for him the confidence and esteem of all. In every respect he was a good citizen, just such as help to make any community what it should be.
"Uncle Bob," as he was familiarly called, has passed on, but he leaves an influence that will continue to make for better things in the life of the town. We shall miss his hearty laugh, his cheerful voice and his kindly greetings, which, for over 40 years, have helped so many people in our city. Of him it may be said, his life was well lived, and the world was left better thereby.
It will not be easy for our people to become accustomed, when going about town, not to see Bob Callaway and hear his friendly greeting. Even the children nearly all knew and esteemed him. He is gone, but we shall not soon forget him as a good friend and citizen.
Besides his wife, Mr. Callaway is survived by three brothers, James, Edwin and Samuel Callaway. The brothers live in Louisville, Ky. They were unable to be present at the funeral. Nine brothers and one sister preceded Mr. Callaway in death. The bereaved wife and brothers have the heartfelt sympathy of all.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!
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