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John Guyer: Memories of the Wilmore, Kansas, Community

An email from John Guyer to Jerry Ferrin, 25 Dec 2004.

I just revisited the Comanche County site you, with the help of others, maintain and I am absolutely amazed at the information you have collected. I have spent a couple of hours of reading about old friends and familiar places and am overwhelmed with nostalgia.

I, as you may recall, was a classmate of your father and Buck at Wilmore Rural High School. My father was manager of the Platt-Gilchrist Hardware and Lumber Yard for a number of years. We lived directly across the street from Alcana Ferrin and her daughter, Maude Watkins. They were great neighbors and friends as were the Schrocks, Snares, etc.

We later moved to the farm that was owned by my grandfather during the 1920's. Dad later purchased it, I think from the Federal Land Bank, and we moved to it probably before my junior year in High School.

It was located one mile South of the town site of Nescatunga and nine miles South of Wilmore. The large two story home had supposedly been a hotel at Nescatunga and was moved to our farm many years before, when Nescatunga was on its way to being a ghost town. I continued to attend school at Wilmore, catching the bus at 7 AM each morning at the bridge over Little Nescatunga Creek, where I met my friend Bob White, who walked the mile across the section from their home to the bridge.

Bob White of Wilmore, Comanche County, Ks, 1942 or 1943. Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin

Bob White of Wilmore, Ks, 1942 or 1943. From the collection of Wendel Ferrin.

Bob was the youngest of Neil Whites boys and, if you take the Western Star and read "Country Gal", you will feel to have been a friend of his brother, Vernie. Vernie's wife was Virginia Cary and, at one time, I believe they lived on a farm North of our farm (while we still lived in Wilmore) and almost directly Northeast of the Nescatunga town site little more than one quarter mile.

By the time my memory of the area began, E.G Carthrae owned the land where Nescatunga had been and reared his family at that location. My father's health began to fail, so we sold the farm the fall of my senior year and moved to Wichita. I, therefore, did not graduate with the class I had attended at the Wilmore schools for eleven plus years.

I remember Ira Schultz well, as he walked by our house most days on his way to town. He was a pleasant person and all we "kids" North of the RR tracks loved him. We would often wander to his shack at the "Zoo" during the summer.

I piddle with genealogy and see a query posted 2 Nov 2003 by a Suzann Keesee. She is looking for Keesee family information and I have quite a lot of it as Calla Keesee was a sister to my father. I would be happy to share it with her if you could furnish me her email address or some other way to contact her.

After I send this, I will post to the guest book. Thank you again for all your work and dedication.

Yours truly,
John Guyer

Ira's Shack.

Photo by Jerry Ferrin, 1 Nov 2004.
"Ira's Shack".     Photo by Jerry Ferrin, 1 Nov 2004.

December 27, 2004

Dear Jerry:

Maybe we can exchange some thoughts privately that we can sort out later for posting?

The "shack" served as a comfortable abode for Ira. The large window faced South, looking toward Wilmore, and the smaller windows were on the East and West. I remember Ira had his .22 rifle hanging on the North wall.

I attended one "Box Supper" at Ridge Summit school. Boxes were bid on to raise money for country schools, and this method of financing was common to nearly all country schools. Young men sometimes provided spirited bidding when their favorite girl tipped her "beau" as to how her box would be trimmed. Other young men would see him actively bidding on that particular box and immediately suspect whose box it was and bid up the price in order to share the meal with the young lady of their preference. I was pretty young when we attended my only Ridge Summit shindig and Dad bought me the box of Dorothy Parsons (?), a teacher at Wilmore and she made me feel comfortable being her "beau".

Fay and Velma Smith farmed East of Wilmore and were included in the community with the Ferrin's, Nielsen's, Kennedy's, etc. Their two oldest sons were Calvin and Forrest. Forrest was in the same grade as I and the others and Calvin a year or two older. They both had a slight speed impediment when they were young, which they outgrew as they matured. I am almost certain it was your grandfather Ferrin that I heard relate how, when they were quite young, Calvin was referred to in the community as "Big Pooie" and Forrest as "Little Pooie".

Did you ever hear such a reference from your father or Buck or others?

Just curious.

John G.

From left: Delmer 'Buck' Ferrin, Forrest Smith, Calvin Smith and Wendel Ferrin at Ernest & Nellie Ferrin's house east of Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas, about 1943 or 1944. Photograph from the collection of Wendel Ferrin.
From left: Delmer Ferrin, Forrest Smith, Calvin Smith and Wendel Ferrin
at Ernest & Nellie Ferrin's house east of Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas,
about 1943 or 1944.

8 May 2005:

Dear John: That would have been, I'm sure, my grandfather himself who gave them those nicknames of "Little Pooie" and "Big Pooie", especially as they sound just like nicknames I know that he gave to other people. He had a nickname for everyone, and every group he knew, I think. Each of his grandkids had a nickname.

I was "Squatrock" for some reason still unknown to me. My older brother Darrell was "Bigstuff" and my younger brother Brent was "Grandpappy" because he teethed later than usual for children.

My younger sister Janet was "Mess" to him, and she was his first grand-daughter. (He took great delight in her, I recall, and at how she called him "Poppy Doll" and insisted on combing his hair with the same comb she used for her dolls' hair. He would probably have let her put lipstick on him if she'd wanted.)

His grandchildren by my father were called "Warts" by him; while Uncle Buck's children were called "Muggins". I don't recall what he called my Aunt Helen (Ferrin) Flory's children as a group.

He called his niece Mildred Cobb "Breezy" and he called Mennonites "Hairy Chins" (because they wore facial hair at the time, which I always was told was required by their religion, though I don't know if that is true.)

He always took great pleasure in practical jokes he played, though I can tell you that he didn't appreciate them much, at least not at the moment, when they were played on him by his grandsons.

So far as I know, he never bragged to the guys he hung out with at the Bowersock elevator office in Wilmore (which was the "Buzzard's Roost" in my own childhood days in Wilmore) about how Darrell and I had rigged a trap for our younger brother which had accidentally snared him, and of how he'd gotten "bonked on the head" by about 10 empty shotgun shell casings.

I wonder if he told his cronies how his barn came to be polka-dotted by the bleaching effects of cow dung on weathered wood after his 11 grandsons celebrated their first (and last) "Day of the Poopy Stick" in his barnyard one day when we were gathered for a family holiday.

Darrell and I were "going through a phase" at that time, prompted by the realization that a string hooked to a doorknob could be used to pull down something suspended above the door, and that the exact length of the string needed to "catch" someone could be calculated by trial and error.

I don't recall if it was before or after we bounced empty shotgun shells off my grand-dad's head, but it was at about the same time that Darrell and I were standing in a side porch at our homestead, yelling for my younger brother to come to us, when Dad walked into the room to see what the commotion was about.

I still recall my horror at seeing the trap work exactly as planned: first, our victim was soaked with water from a dishpan which had been suspended above the door, then the dishpan itself "bonked his head" as it fell.

Dad stood there in silence for what seemed like an eternity, then asked us: "What in the hell is wrong with you?" before turning around and walking off.

When Poppy got bonked on the head by the shotgun shells, he also stood in silence for a long time before asking: "Don't you kids have anything better to do?" or something to that effect.

After these two experiments, each of which snared a victim other than the one we had intended, Darrell and I gave up our mutual design and deployment of booby traps.

Life was more peaceful that way, even if not quite as much fun.


Subject: Re: 8 Jan 2005: Photos of Ira Schultz's shack added to his page

Dear Jerry:

My apologies for being so slow to answer. I am trying a new drug that has not been kind to me. I looked with interest at your photos of Ira Schultz "shack" and it does not look exactly as I remember.

I am no longer sure of the orientation of the entry door. I thought the building was East and West on its longer dimension, but now that I see the door, I am not so sure. Could the door have faced South toward Wilmore? I do remember, when a couple of us "kids" would approach Ira's home when he wasn't present, we would look through a window and see his 22. rifle hanging on the blank wall opposite the window we were looking through. We never would have considered entering the shack without Ira being there. I hesitate posting my quote for fear it might be inaccurate.

While I am rambling on, I was thinking recently of the class of 1944 at Wilmore Rural High School. As you know, I missed graduating with them because of my parents move to Wichita. There were several who came and went during the years.

From left: Orlin Downing, Wayne Nielsen and Byron Wood of Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas, about 1944. 

Photo by Wendel Ferrin.
From left: Orlin Downing, Wayne Nielsen and Byron Wood
of Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas, about 1944.
Photo by Wendel Ferrin.

Orlin Downing and I were the only ones who started in elementary school as we lived in town at that time (unless Paul Ward was in Orlin's class). Orlin was in the second grade when I was in first, but they had me skip third grade (no favor to me as I was always younger than my peers) and we were in the same class from fourth grade on to senior in high school. Orlin has been gone for a number of years.

Orlin had polio (called infantile paralysis in those days) and one of my early memories was at the Wilmore Cemetery when they buried his mother. He was there on his little tricycle as that was how he got around at that early age. The "core" of the class through the later years was:

Orlin Downing
Wendel Ferrin
Delmer Ferrin
Wayne (Day) Nielsen
Forrest Smith
Robert (Bob) Wood
John Guyer
Frances Fern Wright
Paul Ward
Robert (Bobby Dean) Hackney
Mozetta Mangels

Donald Todd may have been in this class the last two or three years. He and his younger brother, Gordon, lived South of our farm and we rode the school bus together. Bob White may also have been in this class the last couple of years.

Bobby Woods, 8th grade, 1939-1940. Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin. This photo is from a page titled My School Chums in a scrapbook of photos of class mates in Wilmore, Kansas.

Bobby Wood, 8th grade, Wilmore School, 1939-1940. From the collection of Wendel Ferrin.

I may have forgotten someone. I am sure you know Bob Wood as he lives in Tucson. It would be interesting if you could ask him about the class and see if our memories are similar.

We stopped several years ago and visited briefly with Bob and Charlene when we were on our way to CA. We saw Charlene at least once at class reunion and Bob at least twice.

Paul Ward, 7th grade, 1940-41. Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin. This photo is from a page titled My School Chums in a scrapbook of photos of class mates in Wilmore, Kansas.

Paul Ward, 7th grade, Wilmore School, 1940-41. From the collection of Wendel Ferrin.

Paul Ward died much too soon and I believe Wayne Nielsen has been gone for several years.

Mozetta Mangels, 8th grade, 1939-40. Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin. This photo is from a page titled My School Chums in a scrapbook of photos of class mates in Wilmore, Kansas.

Mozetta Mangels, 8th grade, Wilmore School, 1939-40. From the collection of Wendel Ferrin.

I saw Mozetta a couple of times at the reunion, once while her husband was still alive and once after that.

Frances Wright, 7th grade, 1940-41. Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin. This photo is from a page titled My School Chums in a scrapbook of photos of class mates in Wilmore, Kansas.

Frances Wright, 7th grade, Wilmore School photo, 1940-41. From the collection of Wendel Ferrin.

I have lost track of Frances Fern Wright; she married Gene Wood and they moved to the Denver area where Gene died of a heart attack while still young.

I think Bob was a cousin to Gene, so he would likely know.

I made some notes last evening of Wilmore happenings and will try to send you a few each day or two and maybe we can paste them together and make something out of them.

Robert Hackney, 8th grade, 1939-1940.Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin. This photo is from a page titled My School Chums in a scrapbook of photos of class mates in Wilmore, Kansas.

Robert "Bob" Hackney, 8th grade, Wilmore School, 1939-1940. From the collection of Wendel Ferrin.

I remember when Bobby Dean Hackney started at the Wilmore school.

His parents lived East of the New Eden School (Highway 160) and Bobby would ride his bicycle to Wilmore; it must have been about 9 miles. None of the roads were paved at that time and a bicycle on sandy roads takes some stamina. I can't remember if his folks brought him to school when there was snow or ice and he couldn't ride his bike. The only bus did not run to his area.

Yours truly,

John G.

January 15, 2005

To: "Sheryl White"

Cc: "Jerry Ferrin"

Subject: OLD TIMES

Dear Sheryl: ( I hope I have spelled your name correctly).

Jerry Ferrin kindly shared your email address with me.

I surmise you are the daughter of Bob White and Neal (Neil?) White would have been your grandfather?

If this is correct, ask your father next time you see him if he remembers meeting John Guyer under a bridge over Little Nescatunga creek to wait for the school bus to Wilmore Rural High School.

This lasted only a year or so as my parents, because of Dad's ill health, sold our farm and moved to Wichita early in my senior year: we had lived in Wilmore prior to that. Bob would hike across the section to reach the road near us where the Wilmore's only school bus went South a short distance to pick up Crouse and Todd children.

Our house was only a few hundred yards from where the school bus passed. I had the advantage of being able to hear or see the bus go South and, if I was running late, could rush down to the bridge before the bus returned North! Bob, on cold mornings, would sometimes have a fire built under the bridge before I arrived. We would listen for the bus to return, then go up by the road to board it. On warmer mornings we would stand by the road and board the bus and be on it for its short trip South and back.

Yours truly,

John Guyer, Parsons, KS

Bob White of Wilmore, Comanche County, Ks, 1942 or 1943. Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin. Bob White of Wilmore, Ks, 1942 or 1943. Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin

To: "Jerry Ferrin"

Subject: FRIENDS

Dear Jerry:

Below is the contact with my classmate, Robert White, through his daughter Sheryl. I am most grateful to you for making this contact possible for me.

I have put together some notes about the neighbors who lived just South of Alcana and Maud; Bruce and Lily Snare. Bruce was custodian of the three story brick high school at the South edge of town. I will try to get some comments to you in the next couple of days about my times in that building.

John Guyer

Dear Sheryl:

How nice to hear from an old friend! Thank you so much for being our "go between". I had completely forgotten our boxing glove venture until I read your father's mention of it. It seems neither of us has been blessed with good health during our last years. I have a terminal lung disease that is limiting my physical activity severely.

This computer is now my closest friend, despite being nearly illiterate when it comes to operating it.

Tell your father next time you see him, that I enjoyed immensely the note from him. I have been married to a lovely lady for 54 years and we have been fortunate to have three sons. One lives 120 miles from us in Missouri and one near New York City and the other in Phoenix. Email allows us to keep in touch and we are grateful for it. All three were here for Christmas and we were most happy to have them all together.

I believe Jerry Ferrin said you were a minister, although I am not certain of that. I grew up a Baptist and my wife a Methodist, so we, some years ago, decided to attend our 100 plus year old Presbyterian Church as a compromise. We now have our first lady minister and we are already referring to her as one of our very best. She is a jewel!

If your father is able to make other comments in the future, I would be delighted if you would email them to me.

Yours truly,

John Guyer, Parsons, KS

Dear John,

My father wrote this letter to you and since I don't have your snail mail, I will email it for him.

What he doesn't say in his email that he has been married to my mother for almost 47 years and that I am their only offspring.

He works very hard to maintain some independence with walking, exercising, and trying to keep his weight up. His Parkinson's is working overtime to get the best of him; but he is a fighter.

Thank you for your email. It meant the world to him. He would have written more but it took him quite some time just to put these thoughts on paper.

Many blessings to you and your family.


Greetings John Guyer,

I was delighted when I heard of your inquiry about our past acquaintance.

Your comments about riding the old bus to Wilmore High School and our waiting under the old bridge to keep out of the cold wind left little to doubt concerning your identity.

You didn't mention our common interest concerning boxing. It seems we purchased a pair between the two of us.

It's sobering when we realize how many of our old classmates are no longer around. Of course, I'm now retired after 35 years in the classroom. After retiring I attempted to do carpenter work. But after a heart attack and after being diagnosed with Parkinson's there's not much for me to do.

Your friend,

Robert White

Aerial view showing the houses of Alcana Ferrin, Grace Schrock & Lilly Snare in Wilmore, Comanche County, Ks.  USGS photograph, 01 April 1996.
Aerial view showing the houses of
Alcana Ferrin, Grace Schrock & Lilly Snare

in Wilmore, Comanche County, Ks.
USGS photograph, 01 April 1996.

February 3, 2005

Dear Jerry:

We lived on the East side of the main North/South street directly across from Mrs. Ferrin and her daughter, Maude Watkins. There was a street platted East/West North of our house, but not opened. North of the street plat was a vacant lot. Dad was an avid gardener, so had permission from the city to fence off half the vacant street nearest our house and use it for a large garden. South of our house was the Lumberyard/Hardware he managed, so our closest neighbors were Alcana and the neighbors North and South of her. North across a short East/West street from her was the Schrock's. Joining Alcana on the South were Bruce and Lily Snare. All three of these neighbors were there the entire time we lived there, about 12 years. We could not have asked for better neighbors.

Bruce Snare had farmed, I think, but was custodian of the Wilmore Rural High School three story brick building when we moved from Coldwater to Wilmore about 1931. The high school had a large room on the Southeast corner of the main floor and it was the "study hall" where we had assemblies and studied when we had no scheduled class. I don't know if the term "study hall' is still in use in today's schools. One of the teachers was always on duty to maintain order in the study hall and the one whom I remember most was Margaret (M'Lee) Isenbart. She had grown up on the family farm on highway 160 East of the New Eden school and also East of where Robert Hackney lived with his parents. Robert had two older sisters. Margaret's father, Godfrey Isenbart, was a large and strong man. One of my friends and I shocked feed for him one fall and we could not keep up with him. M'Lee had flaming red hair and was an imposing personality. She would walk around study hall with her arms folded and impress on us "When you are in Rome, you do as Rome does". She was in complete control!

A hallway ran West from the study hall to the Home Economics Department. The boys and girls bathrooms were at the intersection of the hallway to the Home Ec Dept. and the North/South hallway that joined the study hall on its West side. The girl's bathroom was on the North side of this intersection and the boy's on the South. Between the girl's bath and the Home Ec Dept. was the principals office. Most of the boys in our grade took a cooking course at Home Ec and enjoyed it. Most of us belonged to 4-H and did some cooking there, also. The South rooms were slightly below the level of the main floor and were devoted to what was then called "manual training"; primarily woodworking and making projects from wood. I think such a class was later called "industrial arts" in many schools. Still further South of the manual training area was the room for the custodian and contained the steam heating system that was fired with coal. The system used the typical cast iron radiators in each room and they popped and cracked as they were alternately heated and allowed to cool. Bruce taught me how to make a five pointed star without lifting the pencil from the paper and I have never forgotten that brief lesson he gave me in the custodian's room.

More on this subject tomorrow.

John G.

February 4, 2005

When entering the main door of the high school building, which was on the North, you could walk down the hall (with the study hall on the left) and just before you entered the manual training area, there was a stairway on each side to the second floor. If you took these to the second floor, there were also twin stairways (I think) to the third floor.

Class rooms were on both the second and third floors. The unique thing about this building was that the gymnasium was on the second floor. When we practiced basketball, it seemed to shake the entire building and could certainly be heard throughout the building. The basketball floor was against the North wall and seating was on the South of the court only. The court was lengthwise East and West. The main bleacher seats were close to the floor and were wooden benches built up three or four rows. In addition, there was a balcony and it was entered from the third floor and had bench seats similar to those below, but fewer of them. The West end of the basketball floor was very close to the wall and the wall had a cast iron radiator hung on it immediately behind the basketball goal. It discouraged hard drives to the basket. I think they hung a wrestling mat over the radiator, but I am not sure when this was done. The East end of the floor had a stage with a dressing room on each side for sports and for plays. During basketball games, the band would occupy the stage. Community functions, as well as plays, were held by putting folding chairs on the gymnasium floor facing the stage.

Professor Oxley. Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin. This photo is from a page titled My School Chums in a scrapbook of photos of class mates and teachers in Wilmore, Kansas.

Professor Oxley, Wilmore School, 1939-1940. From the collection of Wendel Ferrin.

The principal during most of my time in the building was J.R. Oxley, a native Oklahoman.

Nina Hope Annis, English teacher in Wilmore High School, Wilmore, Ks, about 1943. Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin

Nina Hope Annis, English teacher in Wilmore High School, Wilmore, Ks, about 1943. From the collection of Wendel Ferrin.

Some of the teachers I remember were DeLoss Miller who taught science, Edith Shearer, Miss Wharton, Miss Old, M'Lee Isenbart, Nina Hope Annis, Ernestine Hubbard - who grew up on a farm on Highway 160 South of Wilmore (her married name escapes me at this time) - and she was our music and band instructor, Harold Johnston was our coach and also taught the manual training classes. A Mr. Robinson taught music prior to when Ernestine Hubbard was hired for that job. Another teacher at the high school for several years was Miss Dotson. I may think of others later.

Some time about my sophomore year, the government started a subsidized meal program with surplus farm products being given to schools. In our case, a small house about a half block Northwest of the school building was made into a lunch room and Maude Watkins was one of the cooks. She was a terrific cook as were others who were employed by the lunch program. We would walk to the lunchroom and the cost to everyone for a great meal was 5 cents! I can still taste the roast beef gravy on mashed potatoes.

I will try to get you some more in a day or two about the community in general and the fire that destroyed downtown in particular.

Yours truly,

John Guyer

To: Bobbi Huck

Cc: Jerry Ferrin


Bobbi: Below is a copy of an earlier email to Jerry Ferrin concerning Ernestine Hubbard, who taught music and typing at Wilmore Rural High School. Her father, Ernest Hubbard, and his wife farmed on what is now highway 160 South of Wilmore.

 Ernestine Zeigler, Wilmore School Teacher, Wilmore, Ks, 1943 or 1944.Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin

Ernestine (Hubbard) Zeigler, teacher in Wilmore School, Wilmore, Ks, 1943 or '44. From the collection of Wendel Ferrin.

Ernest's brother, Everett Hubbard, had a farm on the North side of Hwy 160, West of Ernest's farm, which was (is) on the South side of Hwy 160. The Jordan's also had a farm on this highway and Esther Hubbard, daughter of Everett, married Glen Jordan. These names and places will be known better by your father than by me.

Lawrence and Marie York at one time lived on a farm on the North side of the highway near where the Hackney farm is located. I remember visiting there several times as my parents were friends of Lawrence (Kirk) York and his wife, Marie. Kirk had a brother, Alva, and I believe they had a brother that lived in or near Sitka, in Clark county; his name may have been Truman.

Two York sisters, who never married, lived on the South side of the highway near the Hackney farm. Maude and Stella were their names and they were active in the Baptist church at Wilmore.

Highway 160 used to come into Wilmore from Belvedere and go by our front door! Sometime in the mid or late thirties, it was rerouted to go directly from Coldwater to Medicine Lodge which also took it by New Eden school and your grandfather's (father's) farm. Your Dad will likely remember the construction of this highway better than I. The dirt contractor was from Hesston, and his foreman lived (batched) in the former small store building that joined Bruce and Lily Snare. His last name was Hostettler and he often visited with my Dad as the lumberyard was directly across the street from the former store building that was later inhabited by Joe Woods, partner with Nick Baker in a grocery store, and my idol as a ham radio operator. I am pretty sure this building was originally built by/for John Bell, grandfather of Florence Booth, my dear friend who is now having physical problems, and Helen (Booth) Metzger. John Bell, in his last years, lived North of us in Wilmore and was an almost daily visitor at the lumberyard. I can remember him looking at his pocket watch with gold chain that was draped across his vest; he usually wore tweed suits and a hat.

John Guyer


February 4, 2005

My mind went completely blank on Wade Ziegler! He, when courting Ernestine, would visit our typing class that Ernestine taught and would sit in the back of the room waiting for class to be over. A nice fellow. I sat with the two of them several years ago at one of the Wilmore reunions. They have a son-in-law who is managing editor of our local daily newspaper. I am ashamed I have not looked him up and introduced myself.

The problem with high, arching shots in the Wilmore gym was that it had either two or three large crossbeams on a fairly low ceiling and, you are correct, the ball would be called out of bounds if it hit one of the beams! I recall many small towns, including Wilmore, had "town teams" made up of players older than high school. One memorable evening, the opposing team (I have forgotten which town) launched the winning shot and the final gun sounded when the ball was half-way to the completed goal. Our team successfully declared (wrongly) that our team had won because the game had ended at the sound of the gun. A near brawl ensued, but we sent them home losers. Such was the home court advantage in those days; you got to make most of the rules!

John G.

(Note by J.F.: Ernestine Ziegler died August 20, 2005, and is buried in the Crown Hill Cemetery at Coldwater, Kansas. Anyone who knew her is bound to have some favorite memories of her, as she was such a kind-hearted person and good neighbor who shared her talents with her community for so many years. For the record, she was the person who taught me to recognize the three aligned stars which make up "Orion's Belt"; she was driving with her son, Zearl, and me in the car on the big curve in the road going NE out of Wilmore either before or after a Cub or Boy Scout meeting when she pointed the constellation out to us. I've learned to recognize and name many constellations since that time, but will always associate Orion's Belt with Ernestine. I feel sad to have learned of her passing, and hope that it is a consolation to her family to know that many people, including me, recall her with respect and fondness. She was truly a "pillar of the community" and was one of the most highly-respected people of whom I knew when I was a child growing up in the Wilmore community.)

February 6, 2005

To: Bobbi Huck
Cc: Jerry Ferrin

Dear Bobbi:

I have information on all the Guyer's at Crown Hill. I also have some or a lot of information on:

Nehrt's---my mother's family.

Keesee's--Dad's sister, Calla (Guyer), married Robert (Bob) Keesee. I have lots of information on this family.

Leta (Guyer) Poer was Dad's sister and married to O.M. (Mac) Poer, longtime custodian of Coldwater High School. Leta is the only member of this family buried at Crown Hill.

Walter Nicholas married a sister to my grandmother Guyer. He ran a produce business at one time and worked for the city as light plant manager. I have information on Walter and Lily, his wife, and a bit of information on the Nicholas children/grandchildren of this union.

Have very limited information on some Hoffman family and Jarnigin family members.

Limited Harbaugh information. Dad's sister, Mabel Guyer, married Edward Harbaugh. Ed was killed in a farm accident and Mabel died a few years later. The two daughters, Thuralene (known as Brown), and Elizabeth (known as Betty) were reared by Dad's sister, Mary Guyer, who worked for county offices and "kept books" for businesses in Coldwater and never married. Neither of the girls is/will be buried at Crown Hill.

If you will tell me what information you desire and on which individual/family, I will be happy to furnish what I have.

Yours truly,

John Guyer, Parsons, KS

February 10, 2005

To: Bobbi Huck
Cc: Jerry Ferrin

Dear Bobbi:

Yes, your father and I were in the same class. I will list some of those in "our" class later in this email. I remember your husband's mother and her sisters. They came to Wilmore Rural High School fairly late from their previous school and I left almost a year early, so I did not know them well. Bernice was the sister in our class.

Foster "Frosty" Keesee's wife was Marie and that would have been her in your notes.

I can't believe you lived in the same house we inhabited our 12 or 13 years in Wilmore! The house was the North building of the Platt-Gilchrist Hardware and Lumber Yard that dad managed during our time in Wilmore. That was absolutely a great house and I attended the auction when Leo Chance bought it. I think I must have cried a little. Tell me, when you lived in it did it still have the pull-down stairs in the ceiling of the dining room so that you could access the large finished room in the attic? I spent many hours in that upstairs room playing with toys, building simple electric motors, and trying to learn how to build a radio (with a notable lack of success). Across the street from us and in a small store building joining Bruce and Lily Snare on the South, was Joe Woods, a ham radio operator. DeLoss Miller was there some evenings and I used to be underfoot watching them build and operate radios. I guess it took, as I still have an Extra Class Ham Radio license, although I am no longer actively on the air (computers took over). I saw the house from Hwy 1 several times as we lived in Alva, OK, in the early 50's and in later years would go through Alva to visit friends after visiting in Coldwater and/or Ashland.

Next time you talk to your Dad, ask him if Helen Alder was in our class or the class ahead of us. I have trying to remember, but am not sure. Some of those who were with our class many of the years were: Wendel Ferrin, Jerry's Dad, his uncle Delmer "Buck" Ferrin, Wayne Nielsen, Orlin Downing, Francis Fern Wright, Mozetta Mangels, Donald Todd, Bob White, Paul Ward, Forrest Smith, Bob Wood, and Bernice Toothaker. Some came and went, but these are the ones I remember at the present time.

I have notes for a couple of LONG emails about Wilmore remembrances. I will send these to Jerry and maybe I can combine parts of earlier emails with the new ones and see if Jerry would like to publish them for others to read. I will try to remember to let you read the rough draft!

Must quit for now, but more later.

John Guyer


Dear John,

I have just got off the phone with my Dad, Robert Hackney.

Robert Hackney of Wilmore, Ks. Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin

Robert "Bob" Hackney of Wilmore, Ks. From the collection of Wendel Ferrin.

He remembers you quite well from school. He told me he was not sure if you were in the same class or not, do you remember?

He also told me that the home that I lived in for 12 years was the 'John Guyer' house. That it was in Wilmore and you lived there, then Leo Chance moved it up north of Wilmore and lived in it several years. know someone moved that house to Ashland Ks and lived in it. Then Larry Meyers moved it back to Comanche County to a location on Hwy 1, 12 miles south of Coldwater and he and his family lived there a few years. When they moved we bought it and lived there from 1986 thru part of 1999. How very interesting. I loved that house and hated moving.

 Melva Toothacker. Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin

Melva Toothacker. From the collection of Wendel Ferrin.

Now, my husband's mother is Melva (Toothaker) Huck, do you remember her from school?

We have been married 30+ years and have always lived in Comanche County. Just thought all this was interesting, and one other thing. I had taken my Dad to Wichita on Feb 9th to a retina specialist, and in my notes I am always taking about history, I have down that a Mary Keesee worked at Shorty Haun's for awhile. He thought this was Frosty's wife, does that sound right? At any rate my point is the last two families I have started researching, I have been contacted out of the blue by someone from that family or that knows about that family, one is you, the other is a man from Illinois contacted me about the Holland family. These wonderful connections just started last week.

Jerry Ferrin tells me that you have shared some memories of Wilmore with him, would you mind sharing them with me? I would love to read that, and I am sure my Dad would also. He is computerized also. Finally got him to buy one.

Later, Bobbi

Feb 23, 2005

To: Jerry Ferrin
Cc: Bobbi Huck

Dear Friends: This may be rather disjointed and have some duplications. I really don't feel like referring to my previous emails to the both of you this evening, so will let you "filter out" the repeats, etc.

I think, at one time, Jerry asked me for my Dad's full name; it was Charlie Marion Guyer. His father was Thomas Robb (T.R.) Guyer and he and his wife farmed South of the town site of Nescatunga at one time. My Dad later purchased this farm plus some additional land from the Federal Land Bank and we lived there before moving to Wichita. Granddad Guyer came to Coldwater from Harper, KS, and ran a blacksmith shop with a man named Small who also came from Harper, where they had been acquainted. T.R.'s wife was Anne Mary and she was usually called "Molly". Both of the Guyer grandparents grew up in Reno county in or near the town of Arlington for grandfather and Abbeyville for grandmother. My Mother was Alma Caroline Nehrt prior to marriage and her parents had come to Coldwater from Nashville, KS, and my grandfather, Louis Nehrt, was a miller and managed the milling for a local elevator. He had also been a blacksmith earlier and opened his first shop in Schuline, IL. He later purchased a general store in the now defunct town of Centerview, Edwards county, KS, and operated it until he retired in his seventies.

My full name is John Rowen Guyer and I was named after my Dad's best friend, John Rowen Crawford, who died not long after being in the army in WW1. He was still in training in the states and I think he was a victim of the "Spanish flu" that killed so many during WW1. His father was Dr. T.H. Crawford, who, in addition to his regular practice, was County Health Officer for many years.

Quick thought: I have forgotten if I mentioned one of our high school teachers for a couple of years was Miss Dotson.

Grace Calloway of Wilmore, Ks, 1944. Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin

Grace Calloway of Wilmore, Ks, 1944. Daughter of a train section foreman. From the collection of Wendel Ferrin.

Also, Grace Marie Calloway was in our class, I think. I have forgotten when she came to Wilmore, probably around our sophomore year; her Dad, George Calloway, was section foreman for the Santa Fe.

Other section foremen I remember over the years were Shurd Smith and Ed Withrow. Mike Day, younger brother of Warren Day, worked on the section for a time and lived in the "Section Houses" that were all joined, (apartments actually), and located North of the RR tracks and West of the railroad bridge over Mule Creek.

C.O. Masterson was postmaster during the time we lived in Wilmore and he had a dairy at the South edge of town, East of the high school, and milk was delivered to houses by his dairy employees.

 Frances Wright, 1938-39. Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin. This photo is from a page titled My School Chums in a scrapbook of photos of class mates in Wilmore, Kansas.

Frances Wright, Wilmore School photo, 1938-39. From the collection of Wendel Ferrin.

I remember Gene Wood worked there (He later married Frances Fern Wright and died young of a heart attack).

Ralph Ward later milked cows for the Masterson's.

I must stop for now, but will try to continue with the Wilmore memories soon.

Yours truly,

John Guyer

March 1, 2005

To: Jerry Ferrin
Cc: Bobbi Huck

Dear Friends:

Well, I have a new computer, but haven't put it online yet. Got another Dell and will likely have to hire one of the local gurus to come by and get things connected and transferred properly. Did I need one? No. Did I want one? YES! It cost about 1/4 what I paid for my first sophisticated one, a Gateway, and this one will do XXX times what the Gateway would do. It is unreal how prices have come down as capabilities have gone up. Sitting in front of a computer is about all I can do any more, so decided to go ahead and buy something I didn't really need. My first computer was a hand-me-down, an MS-DOS IBM from #2 son, the software engineer, so I have witnessed some remarkable advances.

I hope I don't have too many repeats today, you will just have to filter them out as my comments won't be very well organized.

The house just South of the lumberyard was rented to the Arthur Ray family when we moved to Wilmore and they were there probably about 8 years after we arrived.

Aleen Ray, circa 1938-39. Photograph from the collection of Wendel G. Ferrin. This photo is from a page titled My School Chums in a scrapbook of photos of class mates in Wilmore, Kansas.

Aleen Ray, Wilmore School photo, circa 1938-39. From the collection of Wendel Ferrin.

Arthur had a mental breakdown before we came to Wilmore and he would sit around in various chairs and was able to do nothing useful. His wife was named Lydia and their children were Loren, Elsie, Aline, and Lawrence. My age was between Aline and Lawrence. During the years they were neighbors, Arthur either passed away or was institutionalized, I am not sure which.

Shurd Smith, the section foremen for some years lived in the Section House (apartments) nearby and his wife passed away, probably in the late thirties. I think Arthur Ray was gone by then and Lydia and Shurd married and moved to Kansas City. The house the Ray's lived in was owned by Mrs. Hastings and Mrs. Shearer, widows and sisters, and they returned to Wilmore and moved into the house. Dad hired Garland Hough to dig a hole for a septic tank and laterals and they then had indoor plumbing.

Edith Shearer, daughter or granddaughter of Mrs. Shearer (I don't remember which) stayed with them for a couple of years and taught at Wilmore High School, I think English. Edith was a very pretty girl and she was visited by a relative for several days; her first name was Dawn and she was also very pretty. They dated Jack Grace and Gerald Lott one evening and I was jealous for weeks! My memory is vague on many of these things, so do not record them as gospel. It is likely you can ask other peers of mine for their memories and see how our recall compares.

The gathering place downtown for people like my Dad was Josh Pendergraft's garage. Many wives, including my Mother, derisively referred to it as the "Buzzard's Roost". Dad occasionally let me go with him in the evenings and I thought it was a pretty neat place! There were a number of chairs in the fairly large office and many tall tales were told. They sold gasoline from old fashioned hand pumps in front of the building and did mechanic work in the back of the building. I remember one of the regulars was a Mr. Funkhouser who had a truck and frequently brought loads of fruit to Wilmore for resale. Most of these loads were from Colorado. Lew Klutz was the Chevrolet dealer and he had a brick garage across the street and West of Pendergraft's. He also had gas pumps, I am pretty sure. To digress, I was downtown one night and Willie Parsons came from Coldwater on his motorcycle. He took several of us for a ride and I was really impressed, enough that I bought one some years later after returning from WW2. I still have the scars to prove ownership!

I will send this and begin another shortly.

John G.

March 1, 2005

To: Jerry Ferrin
Cc: Bobbi Huck

The house North of us, across a vacant lot, was occupied by the Freeman's most of the years we were there. They had a large family; Warren was nearest my age. North of them in a large concrete block home was Lester Fry and his family.

North of them was, I think, the home John Bell lived in and later DeLoss Miller, WHS science teacher, lived there and took care of his elderly parents. Further North was the home of Ode McCorkle and his wife, plus many handsome children.

I am missing some houses, but further North, still on the East side of the street was George Kennedy and his wife. George farmed the land East of Wilmore between the town and Mule Creek. He also had farmland East of Mule Creek. They had a boy and girl, Kathleen and Robert. Across the street from Kennedy's lived Ollie Ward and family and North of them at one time, next to the "Zoo", was a family named Hackney; Bobbi, I don't know if they were related to your family, but ask your Dad. They had two sons and one was playing with gasoline and matches and burned to death; I don't remember their first names.

West of the Hackney's lived Garland Hough and his sister. The Downing family lived a block West of our street and a couple of blocks North.

On our street, West side and South of Ward's, were Nicholson's and Evans plus others I have forgotten; some will return to memory later. The Evan's family had three sons, Charles, Ronnie and Donnie; I don't remember if there were other siblings.

Robert Kennedy married the daughter of Art and Helen Barber, after the Barber's had moved to Greensburg.

Arthur was my Sunday School teacher during my early years in Wilmore. Art and my Dad were competitors and Dad was often antagonistic toward Art; Art managed the Wilmore Hardware and Implement Co. for Perry Wall and they had the McCormick Deering (International Harvester) dealership. I mention this as I worked for International Harvester from 1950 to 1970. Arthur Barber had moved to Greensburg and owned the International Harvester dealership there. His son, Crawford, was active in the business by that time. I was transferred from the Wichita office to what was called the "Dodge City Territory" and I rented a house in Greensburg from the Freemen family, formerly our neighbors at Wilmore. Art was not at all sure how I would treat him, given the disagreements he and my father had. I held no ill feeling and Art and I became great friends the few months I lived in Greensburg. We remained close friends after I was transferred back to Eastern Kansas and we would have nice visits when at company meetings together. They were a fine family.

Crawford was killed in a plane he was piloting as he returned to Greensburg and tried to land in, I believe, bad weather. Tragic. I will try to send another email in a few days detailing my memory of the fire that burned out much of the Wilmore business district.

John G.

March 2, 2005

To: Jerry Ferrin
Cc: Bobbi Huck

Dear Friends:

Have either of you attended a "shivaree" for a newly married couple? They were common before newly married's went on wedding trips. I remember several. A group of people would go to the abode of the newly married's a day or two after the wedding and bring them to town (if they lived on a farm) and have the husband load the bride in a wheelbarrow and push her down the "main drag" of the Wilmore business district. Much shouting would come from the group following the couple. I seem to remember attending the one for Valtos Richardson and his bride (Bertha Booth?) and they ended up bringing them to the home of Valtos father, C.E. Richardson, and throwing him in the large cement pond C.E. had built south of his home just North of Mule Creek on the West side of the road leading across the main wooden bridge at the West edge of town. Walter Boles and his family lived farther North on the same side of this street. This street was the North/South street farthest West in Wilmore. I was also with my parents when they and others shivareed Donald and Catherine Waters at their farm home. I hope my memory is correct about these things.

The WHS basketball team during my years, other than myself, was made up mostly of our class containing Wayne Nielsen, Wendel Ferrin, Buck Ferrin, Bob Wood, Paul Ward, Bob Hackney, Warren Freeman, and Forrest Smith. I am sure I probably left out some.

Summer baseball was the main sports activity for those of us who lived in town or could get to town. John Jansen had been a fine player years earlier and he was usually at our practices and games. I think he had a chance to play pro ball, but work or something interfered and he was not able to take advantage of the opportunity. He had a hernia and would hit "fungos" to the infielders, but wasn't able to instruct us about fielding, etc., because of the physical limitations. That instruction was usually left to Nick Baker, who devoted much time to our team and took us, with another car or two, to out of town games. I remember we played Protection four times one year, twice at each location.

I think I had mentioned previously that Nick Baker and Joe Woods were partners in a grocery store and meat market. Other grocers were Van Lott on two different occasions and I am pretty sure C.E. Richardson handled groceries in his general store. Others may be able to confirm or deny this memory about Richardson's General Store. The Richardson children were Sylvia, Royce, and Valtos.

Gerald Lott of Wilmore, Comanche County, Ks, 1942 or 1943. Photograph from the collection of Kim Fowles.

Gerald Lott, USNR WWII pilot, of Wilmore, Kansas. Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.

Van and Ivy Lott had only one child, Gerald, and he was a couple or three years older than I. He was a carrier based Navy fighter pilot and he had returned from the Pacific after his first tour of duty to Corpus Christi Naval Air Station where I was in Primary Flight Training with the goal of carrier based fighter pilot. The war was nearing its end at that time and I elected to get out near the end of primary as my Mother was ill.

I hope I am accurately remembering the story Gerald told me at Corpus Christi. He was returning from a mission in a Grumman F4F Wildcat and his radio had been disabled. It was dusk when he returned to the carrier and he was unable to identify himself by radio. The carrier was not sure if he was friend or foe, so followed instructions when a carrier is threatened and shot him down. He survived the crash OK and was picked up by a trailing destroyer or destroyer escort. A carrier does not turn around for rescue as they are protecting a crew of 6,000 and show no concern for one individual. If the following smaller ship had not witnessed the event, he would have been left. Please don't repeat this story as gospel without confirmation from other sources. It has been many years and distant memories are not reliable.

George Brown and his wife had the drug store and pharmacy and also served meals. I remember that Fay and Clara (?) Moberly of the Wilmore State Bank always ate lunch at Brown's. The Bowersock Elevator across the street North of the bank was also managed by Mr. Moberly and they had a John Deere franchise at one time and Dad bought our tractor there when we moved to the farm. Mrs. Brown was an excellent cook and baked some really delicious pies. Banana cream and lemon meringue come immediately to mind.

When the basketball team played out of town, we were supposed to eat our lunch of two poached eggs and toast about 2 PM at home and then rest with nothing more to eat before the game. Brown's would then stay open and wait for us to return from Greensburg or Mullinville or Coats or wherever. We were each given the princely sum of 10 cents by our coach to spend on food at Brown's however we saw fit. We soon learned that 35 cents would buy one of Mrs. Brown's whole pies, so we would pool our money and buy pies and have a little bit left over for chewing gum or something.

Once, before a home game we were excused at noon and I accompanied Forrest to their farm home. They had a dirt basketball court, so we played basketball all afternoon and Mrs. Smith fed us a large meal just before we returned to Wilmore for the game. Neither of us ever played better than we did that night. The last time I visited with Forrest a few years ago, we both remembered that afternoon and evening in detail!

When Brown's retired or moved, I believe Ernest Wood operated a restaurant in that building for several years. This was Bob Wood's "Uncle Ert" and Bob would remember the details. Ert was a fine cook. He was a German prisoner of war during WW1 and he was sent to a farm to stay and work. The farmer's wife actually had him pull a farm implement (her husband was in the German army, if I recall correctly). I think he told me he lived mainly on soup made from potato peels. Bob would remember far better than I and would have some interesting stories about his "Uncle Ert". I am pretty sure that Alice, the wife of "Big Jack" Grace, ran a restaurant for several years that served meals family style.

They finally had to forbid a bachelor farmer from the Ferrin neighborhood from coming as he would empty each dish of peas, beans, etc. as it was passed by. I imagine Jerry can figure out who this person was!

"Big Jack" had gangrene in a leg that ended his life. "Little Jack" was a contemporary of Gerald Lott. I think there were two girls in the Grace family and I believe the youngest one's name was Ardis. The Alder family also operated a restaurant for a year or two and I believe it was in the building Van Lott used for a grocery on two occasions. That building was just West of the bank building.

Next email in a day or two: The Big Fire in downtown Wilmore!

Yours truly,

John G.

March 2, 2005

To: Jerry Ferrin You get an "A" for coming up with Frank Nielsen. I was a first hand witness to Frank and the "family style" dining. Mom was apparently out of town, because Dad took me to Grace's restaurant for lunch one of the rare times I ate out when I was young. I was sitting directly across from Frank at the large family style table and when the dish of peas was passed to him, he simply dumped all of them on his plate and proceeded to eat them. His prodigious appetite was well documented in Powell Township.

A good idea of yours. I will have Bob and Mozetta critique my things and will credit them for anything they can add. I hope they will join us as the two of them could add a lot to the posting.

John G.

(Note by Jerry Ferrin: the transcript of an interview from A Reunion of Former Residents of Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas
held 10 March 1991 in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona
contains Gerturde Cobb's and Gladys Wood's remarks about Frank Nielsen's appetite, including how he once ate the leaves off the decorative plants in the Wilmore Post Office.)

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: We were coming from Hopeton, Oklahoma. And he said: "No, we're here. We'll go on over to Willard's and see what he says". So we went on over to his brother's; they were running the telephone office there. Well, the next morning they got up and they were all packed and ready to leave. They did. They left that day and went to western Kansas and I'd never seen a telephone office in my life.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: A switchboard and everything.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Yeah, that was the first time I'd ever seen one. And there I was...

Gladys (Rose) Wood: ...having to learn to use it.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: I never will forget... it was a-ringin' and I didn't know what to do and I was just sittin' there and Edna come in from the kitchen and she said: "Are you going to answer that or are you just gonna let it ring?". And the tears just started rollin' down my face. I thought: "Oh, I can't take this". They left and come evening Austin said: "I gotta go get another load of our stuff" and I said: "And leave me here?" and he said: "Yes, I can't stay here with you." and he left and there I was all by myself and a big blizzard came in. Do you remember that great big old desk in our telephone office?

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Yeah.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: I slept on that thing for three months. I didn't go out of that room; I stayed right there in that room and slept on that desk. And old Frank Neilsen; he got stranded in town and he came over and knocked on the door and I never saw anybody as big as him in all my life and he came in and sat down on the floor and I was scared to death.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: I would have been too.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: And about that time another knock on the door and it was Emmett Graue of Southwestern Bell Telephone Company and he was following the long distance lines that run through there. He came in and he said: "My God, woman, what are you doing with him here?" and I said: "Well, he just come in and I don't know how to get him out" so Emmett didn't leave me. He stayed till morning.

Gladys (Rose) Wood: It must have been awful.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Oh, it was awful and after I learned him, you know... (laughs).

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Do you remember the time he went to the Post Office and ate up all of Slim and Auntie's plants, just picking off the leaves and eating them. (Slim and Auntie were Mr. & Mrs. C.O. Masterson.) And remember the time the guys wired his spark plugs? His car had caught a-fire once and when he come into town the guys wired his sparkplugs so that when he stepped on the starter it made a great big boom and he said: "Oh, my God, it's on fire again!" and he opened the door and just rolled out in the street. (Laughter) Then one time somebody fed him Ex-Lax chocolate. He was so fond of chocolate in anything. I don't know how they had it fixed up but they just had it laying there and he was always taking up everything he could find to eat and they just let him eat it.

Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb: Emmett Graue came through there with a brand new Southwestern Bell Telephone pickup (truck) and, remember back when they had running boards and you stepped on them to get in, and Frank went over and sat down on that running board and he was so big he just caved the whole door in and Emmett said: "Now just how in the hell am I gonna tell Southwestern Bell that a man bent that door in just by sitting on the running board?" (Laughter)

Gladys (Rose) Wood: Oh, Lord, we have so many stories about Frank.

March 4, 2005

To: Jerry Ferrin
Cc: Bobbi Huck

Dear Friends:

Some random memories.

A Miss Nattier (Esther) was a teacher. I think she may have been the music teacher for the grade school. I know that a Mr. Gould was music teacher for the grades for a few years. Mr. Gould and his wife lived in the house a block West of Schrock's; a house that Junior and Rowena Snyder later lived in. Mr. Gould built model airplanes of balsa wood and tissue paper. They were powered by a rubber band and he would fly them early in the morning when there was no wind. I also built model planes.

A large barn was behind the house South of us and I think it was a livery barn in earlier years. When Ray's lived there, a Mr. DeMoss kept his horses there. I know the DeMoss'es lived in town, so I don't think he farmed with them. He may have plowed gardens or pulled a road grader, I am just not sure.

Harve Shrock's wife's name was Grace; that eluded me a couple of days ago.

Frank Stout had an acre or so with a small house on it near the park and baseball diamond. He raised lots of vegetables, melons, etc. He was always considerate to we children and sometimes split a melon for us to eat. He later hanged himself in the small house. Others who saw him before his body was removed said he had tied a rope around his neck and to a rafter and then stepped off a low stool. He apparently made no effort to step back on the stool.

George "Shorty" Sawley was a veteran of WWI and had problems from being "shell shocked", a term I have not heard in many years. He was a pleasant fellow and did odd jobs for support. I have corresponded with a relative of his a few years back, but don't remember her name without digging through the files.

Claude Austin was the Santa Fe freight and passenger agent. They lived the first house South of the City Hall: there was a vacant lot between City Hall and them and at one time it was, I believe, a croquet court. We often used it for playing marbles and games of "shinny", played with a tin can and some sturdy wooden sticks for clubs.

A quick look at the 1930 census leads me to believe Edith Shearer was a niece of Mrs. Shearer who lived South of us in later years. She apparently was not a daughter or granddaughter.

Dorothy Parsons taught school at Wilmore; I think at the High School. I don't remember what subject she taught.

Each teacher at the grade school taught two grades and there were six grades in that relatively new building just North of the High School. Junior High students were located in the High School building. Miss Kernohan taught first and second grades and she was also the "principal". I took third and fourth grades the same year and they were taught by Miss LaMunyon. Miss LaMunyon roomed with Mrs. Hastings and Mrs. Shearer at least part of her years in Wilmore. Fifth and sixth grades were taught by Miss Randall.

Nick Baker, partner with Joe Woods in the grocery store, married Gwendolyn "Gwen" Woods, daughter of the Baptist preacher and sister to Joe. I think they married after Nick and Joe started the grocery store. They lived in a house on the East side of the main North/South street a block or so South of the corner bank building. That house was later occupied by George Callaway, section foreman for the Santa FE and father of Grace Marie Callaway that I mentioned earlier.

Warren and Lena Day farmed just NE of Wilmore. They and my parents were good friends. They had no children.

Myrl Dellinger had apparently worked for Francis Chapman, when he operated the lumber yard before Platt-Gilchrist bought them out. Also, I think a brother of Harve Schrock owned the lumber yard prior to Platt-Gilchrist. Myrl, I am pretty sure, worked for F.H.Moberly at the Bowersock Elevator. Myrl and Dad often hunted and fished together.

Residents North on our street and the same side as Ferrin's and Schrock's were Dora Holmes and her daughter in a corner house and to their North was Carrie Nicholson and son Charley and daughter Mary. There were others in that area that I can't recall.

Carl Snyder's wife was Floy and their children were Carl, Jr., Clifford, Doris, Jean, and Eleanor. Carl, Jr., was simply called "Junior" or "Junkie". This was long before "Junkie" had any drug connotations. He was a member of the WHS basketball team that place third or fourth in the State before they had different classes based on school size. They did that in competition with schools in Kansas City, KS, Wichita, Salina, Topeka, etc. That would have been in the thirties as I can remember when they played. George and Carl Redfield were also on this team. Junior married Rowena Booth and she is still living. I visited with her the last time I was able to make a Wilmore school reunion. The Snyder's lived in town and Carl, Sr., had a garage and sold gasoline, oil, etc., and maybe did mechanical work. They also owned a farm just West of Wilmore, near where John Bell's farm was located (Helen Metzger lives on the Bell farm now; John Bell was her grandfather).

Corporal Carl L. Snyder, Jr.,  United States Marines, 2nd Airdrome Battalion - 17th A.A. Battalion. Served 06 Oct 1942 to 21 August 1945. Expert Rifleman, LAAFC Man. Served in the Pacific Theatre and in the taking of Tinian in the Marianas Islands. Photo courtesy of Rowena and Trish Snyder.

Photo at left: Corporal Carl L. Snyder, Jr., USMC, 2nd Airdrome Battalion - 17th A.A. Battalion. Served 06 Oct 1942 to 21 August 1945. Expert Rifleman, LAAFC Man. Served in the Western Pacific and in the taking of Tinian in the Marianas Islands. Photo courtesy of Rowena & Trish Snyder.

Junior Snyder grew up hunting and when WW2 came along, he was in the army and became a "marksman" with a rifle. Problem: Junior was left handed and the bolt on Army rifles was on the right side of the rifle. He had to learn to shoot right handed and still became excellent at marksmanship. I related this story to Rowena last time I saw her and she said she thought she and I were surely the only ones who remember this.

I have acquired an unexpected physical problem that will require a few days for recovery. I will follow with the downtown fire when I am able.

Yours truly, John G.

(Note by J.F., 22 October 2005. Rowena (Booth) Snyder died 13 October 2005; her obituary was published in The Western Star on 20 Oct 2005.)

Wendel Ferrin with his 1935 Ford in front of Ernest
Wendel Ferrin with his 1935 Ford in front of Ernest "Ert" Wood's cafe.
Wilmore, Comanche County, Ks, about 1944.
See: Leo Thornberry's Watermelon Patch

April 25, 2005

Dear Jerry:

It was a hoot reading of the watermelon adventures of your father. I remember Evelyn Trummel, but not Marie. Were they sisters? Cousins? I have been down with pneumonia since shortly after I talked to you on the phone. Pneumonia and pulmonary fibrosis do not go well together. I will resume email when I recover.

John G.

August 19, 2005:

Dear Jerry: I hadn't realized the Lotts I knew in Wilmore had a Sun City connection until I looked at the URL you posted in your email.

The picture of Ella Lott at her 80th birthday that was taken with her children shows the Van Lott I knew in Wilmore. He was about my fathers age. The picture below that of the entire group shows Van standing in the second row just behind Artha Surber who is identified as Ella's sister. To Van's right (left of him in the picture), the short lady is his wife whose first name was Iva. To Iva's right is surely their son Gerald. That is about how he looked in my earliest memory of him. I remember playing against Nate Massey in basketball (he was much better than I) and against Bill Garten in baseball.

Small world. I am pretty sure the J. P. Woods referred to as a minister in Sun City is the one who spent a few years at our Baptist Church in Wilmore. His son, Joe, was partners with Nick Baker in a grocery store. Nick later married Joe's sister, Gwen. Nick was a good baseball player and sometimes coached our summer team that your father and I and many others played on.

Joe Woods was single and lived across the street directly across from the lumber yard and hardware store that joined our house. Joe was a ham radio operator and I spent many evenings in his house listening to him contact other people by voice and by Morse code. It was the beginning of my interest in ham radio and I still hold a valid Extra Class License from the FCC, although I am no longer active on the air.

The lumber and hardware store was called Platt-Gilchrist Lumber Company and was managed by my father. The main yard was in Coldwater and my father worked there before they sent him to manage the Wilmore yard. The Coldwater yard was owned and operated by Sylvester J. (Gillie) Gilchrist, who also owned the Wilmore yard. I think he had bought out the Platt interests by that time. The Platt family had large ranching interests in Comanche county.

John G.

August 20, 2005, email to Jerry Ferrin:

Regarding the Wilmore basketball players mentioned by Nate Massey in a newspaper clipping, they would have been as follows:

Paul Ward
Wayne Nielsen
Ernest Lawrence
Robert Schenk
Gene Wood
Probably Forrest Smith

It would not have been Orlin Downing. Orlin was my classmate and the youngest of that family. He had polio when he was an infant and could only walk haltingly with heavy leg braces. The next older Downing was Donald, so it was likely him.

Bob McCorkle and Lawrence "Red" York and Donald Downing were older than I, but I knew them well. Gene Wood and Ernest Lawrence and Robert Schenk were also a year or two older than I. Paul Ward, Wayne Nielsen, and Forrest Smith were my classmates.

The Bill Garten I played baseball against would have been the same or similar age as Nate and I know they were close friends. Bill was a tough baseball player.

Yours truly, John Guyer

27 September 2005, email to Jerry Ferrin from John Guyer:

Dear Jerry:

I have reviewed my memories on the web site listed below, and they are as accurate as my fading memory allows. You may edit them as you see fit and publish them, if you wish. I will try to send you a bit more when I am able.

Yours truly, John Guyer, formerly of Wilmore, KS.

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