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The Western Star, March 31, 1922.


A few Reminisces of Pioneer Life in Comanche-co.

Early Day Facts About Comanche-co.

By Geo. W. Hollenback

1798 Quindaro Blvd., Kansas City, Kansas.
March 7, 1922

To the Star,
Coldwater, Kansas.

I am handing you herewith check for renewal of my subscription for another year. I am a little late about ordering in my renewal, but the joy of living has been so urgent the last few days that I have overlooked a few matters. We have had with us for a few days our oldest son, who lives in Montana, and during his visit old Comanche-co. and old timers were recalled to mind.

I noticed in the last issue of the Star the account of the last snow storm out there. This article reminded me that I reported for the weather service for some 13 years while living in the county, so I have concluded to make mention of a few dates on which occurred storm periods and periods of droughts and likewise, favorable seasons, for we should not forget the silver lining, for it was always there.

The great storm and severe winter of 1884-5 began with a heavy rain, turning to snow, commencing on the 10th of December and continuing until about the first of February, 1885. The entire southwest country was covered with snow for a period of 45 days and the low temperature from December 20 to January 20, was a record for the country. The settlers were poorly prepared for such cold weather, and the suffering was great, tho I believe there was no loss of life. Live stock suffered severely, and the loss was great in many instances it was total. Some fourteen hundred head of "through" steers were turned into the pasture adjoining our claim, this pasture was owned by Jake Kehl. These cattle were delivered about the 15th of November, and the loss was total.

The severe winter of 1886 began on the first day of January. The record shows a temperature of 32 degrees below zero on the 6th of January, a heavy snow and severe winter continuing until about the 5th of February.

The great snow storm of 1892 began on the 13th of December. This storm blocked the railroad for about ten days.

The winter of 1898-9 was exceedingly fine up until the 16th of January. From this date there was an increasingly low temperature, culminating in a severe storm, with a temperature of 32 degrees below zero on February 14th.

The extreme precipitation records are as follows: 1890 the lightest rain fell, of 16.02.

1899, the heaviest rainfall of 37.08, 1890, poorest crop season.

1889, best general crop season - corn crop particularly fine.

Important events that occurred during the years that we lived in the county:

Under this head I must mention the organization of school district No. 7. The district was organized in 1886, and maintained one of the most successful schools in the county. The success achieved in this school must be attributed to Henry Baker, Ike and William Powell, and I must not fail to mention D. F. Edmonds in this connection. Dave attended every annual school meeting from the start up to the time that he moved out of the district. We invariably voted 2 per cent for school purposes, the writer made out the vouchers, and if we were out of cash, Henry Baker endorsed "Not paid for lack of funds." Florence Chapman taught about six or seven consecutive terms in old No. 7. Right now, and during the interval of nearly 20 years, I have been thankful that we were able to secure her services as teacher. One of Miss Chapman's old pupils is now a member of the faculty of the University of Southern California. He delivers a lecture three times each week on Surgery. It has been said that for clarity and simplicity his diction is very fine. Again I want to thank Miss Chapman. She drilled thoroughly in grammar.

In a material way, and in helping us over the shallows, George H. Sombart is first. He loaned us money in a time of great need.

I ought not close this letter without mentioning my old neighbors, Henry Baker and Emma Baker, his wife. To have lived near by these good people for fifteen years was a great good fortune and the results of their lives are such that I believe "goodness and mercy hath followed them all the days of their lives, and they will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."


G. W. HOLLENBACK - The Farmers Alliance elected their candidate for the Legislature at the general election in 1890. There were two candidates - Frank J. Saunders, republican, who received 261 votes, and Geo. W. Hollenback, 297. Mr. Hollenback served one term, and continued to make this county his home for several years afterward. He now lives near Bethel in Wyandotte-co., Kansas. Mr. Saunders went to the new Oklahoma country during the early 90s.
-- The Western Star, January 7, 1927.

Also see:

Obituary: Charlotte Hollenback, The Western Star, May 8, 1925.

Lottie Hollenback
WWI Red Cross nurse, died of influenza at Camp Riley.
Surnames: Hollenback & Willard.

Helen M. (Hollenbeck) Baker, sister of G.W. Hollenbeck, died 1891.

George W. Hollenbeck

Hollenbeck and Hallenbeck Genealogy

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!

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