Jump to Navigation

Kansas Historical Notes - February 1940

February 1941 (Vol. 10, No. 1), pages 108 to 112. Transcribed by lhn;
digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.

This is Coronado year in Kansas. Spanish colors, yellow and red, on automobile license plates everywhere remind Kansas citizens and tourists of the journey to this area, four hundred years ago, of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and thirty picked horsemen.

The party remained in Quivira (now Kansas) for a month during the summer of 154I, and it is the anniversary of this Visit, the first made by white men, that Kansas is celebrating.

Gov. Payne H. Ratner in 1939 appointed a Kansas Coronado Cuarto Centennial Commission to plan for the observance. Paul Jones of Lyons, a Coronado historian, was named to head the committee. Other members are: Roy Bailey, Salina; Robert K. Lindsley, Wichita; Kirke Mechem, Topeka; Jess Denious, Dodge City; A. W. Relihan, Smith Center, and Mrs. R. H. Turner, Independence. The commission believes the celebration should be statewide, with all communities participating and benefiting. Every Village, town and city has been encouraged to provide something of interest for tourists during the summer of 1941. An appropriation from the 1941 legislature enables the commission to print and distribute advertising folders and historical information on Kansas. Copies of these publications may be secured by writing commission offices at Lyons. The Kansas State Highway Commission and the Industrial Development Commission have also printed attractive folders and maps telling the story of Kansas to the nation. The State Historical Society is cooperating with these organizations and others at all times. The program to mark historic sites of Kansas along the state's major highways, planned several years ago and mentioned in previous issues of this magazine, is proceeding at a rapid pace. By summer fifty markers will have been erected. The State Chamber of Commerce is assisting the Highway Commission and the Historical Society with this work.

The Oregon trail marker, erected at St. Marys by the Department of Kansas, United Spanish War Veterans, was dedicated September 15, 1940. The monument, of Silverdale limestone, stands at the east edge of the city near US-40. Another of a series of historical markers being placed by the U. S. W. V. was the plaque for the Memorial building at Topeka to Spanish-American War Veterans who offered their lives in Cuba in 1900 to eradicate yellow fever. Dedication ceremonies were held April 21, 1940.



An oil men's reunion was held in El Dorado September 26, 1940, to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the discovery of oil in the El Dorado field. As a highlight of the convention a marker was unveiled at the site of Stapleton No. l, dedicated as the discovery well of the pool. J. B. McKay, of Wichita, was master of ceremonies. Principal addresses were made by William G. Skelly, of Tulsa, Okla., president of the Skelly Oil Company, and Herbert R. Straight, of Bartlesville, Okla., president of the Cities Service Oil Company.

Mr. Straight presented the marker and easement to the Kansas Historical Society through H. K. Lindsley, of Wichita., director and past president of the Society, who accepted for the state. The granite monument bears this inscription: "Site of Stapleton No. l, Discovery Well of El Dorado Field October 5, 1915. Dedicated September 26, 1940."

On November 23, 1940, the Douglas County Historical Society met at Lawrence for its eighth annual meeting. Sen. Robert C. Rankin, the president, discussed the need for permanent housing of the society's collections and suggested that an annual display of historical materials be sponsored in order to encourage their preservation by private owners. W. L. Hastie, chairman of the committee to preserve records of rural cemeteries, reported on progress made during the year. Dr. Edward Bumgardner gave the principal address, his subject being "Abraham Lincoln and Kansas." The officers, all of whom were reelected, are: Sen. Robert C. Rankin, president; Miss Irma Spangler, first Vice-president; John Akers, second vice-president; Miss Ida G. Lyons, secretary, and Walter H. Varnum, treas urer. Dr. A. R. Kennedy was elected to a one-year term as director, and Miss Cora Dolbee, Mrs. George Barker, Otto Fischer, Elmer E. Brown and L. M. Walters were chosen directors for three-year terms.

The Shawnee County Early Settlers Association held its annual meeting at Topeka, December 5, 1940. Seventy-three members assembled to hear an address by T. A. McNeal, editor of the Topeka Daily Capital, and to elect the following officers to serve during the ensuing year: Oscar Swayze, president; Roy Boast, vice-president, and Florence Eckert, secretary-treasurer.

On December 11, 1940, at Pittsburg, the Crawford County Historical Society held its first meeting since its formation in September. The principal speaker, Kirke Mechem, secretary of the Kansas Historical Society, reviewed the history of the state organization and mentioned the work done by local groups in Kansas


counties interested in studying and preserving Kansas history. Dr. Ralph H. Smith, president of the county society, presided. The report of the committee to nominate a board of directors was received, and the following directors were elected: for three-year terms, George F. Beezley of Girard, G. H. Dyer of McCune and J. T. Fowler of Arcadia; for two-year terms, H. W. Shideler of Girard, Mrs. L. H. Dunton of Arcadia and Mrs. J. U. Massey of Pittsburg; and for one-year terms, J. H. Tharp of Cherokee, Miss Ellen Davidson of Mulberry and F. W. Brinkerhoff of Pittsburg.

The Chase County Historical Society issued its first book early in 1941 under the title Chase County Historical Sketches. It is Volume I of what the association intends to be the first of a series of historical studies concerning the county. The preface was written by William Allen White, who said: "I suppose I had my origins in Chase county." He went on to explain that his mother taught school in Cottonwood Falls, and his father was a storekeeper there.". . . So I was born into this world in Emporia, but it all started in Cottonwood Falls." The book contains a variety of interesting and valuable information about the county. Included among the contributors were: Howel H. Jones, Henry Rogler, George A. Root, C. W. Hawkins, G. W. Starkey, Herman Allen, Mrs. Frank C. Montgomery, Helen Proeger Austin, Albert Rogler, Carrie Breese Chandler, Mrs. Annie S. Frey, Clara Brandley Hildebrand, Inez M. Brickell, Charles A. Sayre, John Madden, Mrs. Oscar Altemus, Laura J. Wells, Mrs. Frank Calvert, Harry McCandless, Mildred Mosier Burch, Col. Court Crouch, Lee M. Swope and F. W. Schneider. Of particular note is a list with drawings of 598 registered Chase county brands and earmarks. More than 300 of the book's 448 pages are devoted to biographical sketches of Chase county families. A map showing old trails and the county's rivers and creeks was featured. The book is indexed.

The Belleville Telescope absorbed the Republic Advertiser in January, 1941. The name and subscription list were purchased from R. R. Furse of Clay Center, Neb. This marks the twelfth consolidation of the Telescope with other Republic county papers over a period of 71 years. A. Q. Miller is publisher.

At the annual meeting of the Augusta Historical Society January 7, 1941, Miss Stella B. Haines was reelected president. Other officers include Mrs. W. W. Cron, vice-president, Mrs. Clyde Gibson, treasurer, and Dr. Glenn T. Gough, secretary. At the meeting Mrs. K. L. Grimes reviewed the book Coronado and Quivira by Paul Jones. The society is engaged in restoring the first log building erected in Augusta. This building, located in the third block on State street, housed a general store in the early days and the upper floor was used for the first school and for Various other purposes as the town grew.


The annual meeting of the Lyon County Historical Society was held at the society's museum in the civic auditorium at Emporia, January 3I, 1941. The following officers were elected: W. L. Huggins, president, H. A. Wayman, first Vice-president, Geo. R. R. Pflaum, second vice-president, E. C. Ryan, secretary, J. S. Langley, treasurer; directors, Clarence Paine, Robert D. Lumley, Mrs. J. C. McKinney, Richard Langley, Alice Evans Snyder and Miss Margaret Lowe; historians, Mrs. Fanny Randolph Vickery, Miss Lucinda Jones, Mrs. Lulu Purdy Gilson. Two hundred seventy-nine persons attended the society's annual dinner program which was held at the Broadview Hotel the same evening. Dr. S. D. Mock, professor of history at the Kansas State Teachers College, spoke on the importance, purpose and work of a historical society.

A meeting of the Riley County Historical Society was held at the parish house of St. Paul's Episcopal Church February 1, 1941. Featured speaker was Jay M. Lee, of Kansas City, who recalled his early life in Manhattan and the life of his parents, the Rev. and Mrs. James Hervey Lee who came to Manhattan in 1866 from Ohio. The program followed a dinner at noon.

Several Wilson county residents met at the courthouse in Fredonia, February 1, 1941, to encourage the formation of a Wilson County Historical Society. W. H. Edmundson presided. A committee of five was appointed to act as a planning group. They are: J. T. Cooper, W. H. Edmundson and Mrs. Harry Smith of Fredonia, and O. L. Hayes and Mrs. Frank Pingrey of Neodesha.

The Ness County News, of Ness City, February 6, 1941, announced the regular meeting of the Ness County Historical Society to be held February 8. Mrs. Bess Barrows was scheduled to address the group on "Some Stamps and Their Stories." An analysis and application of the cultural approach to history was the theme of the December, 1939, meeting of the American Historical Association held in Washington, D. C. A selection from the papers presented before the association was recently published


in a 359-page Volume by the Columbia University Press, of New York, under the title The Cultural Approach to History. "Local Historical Studies and Population Problems," as discussed by Dr. James C. Malin, of the University of Kansas, appeared on pages 300-307. One of the points brought out from the study of Kansas census records is that population movements did not conform to the generalizations drawn from the Turner "frontier interpretation of American history, by which individuals are represented as following successive frontiers, each new frontier being peopled by the last adjacent. frontier." It is shown that "at the peak, direct migration [from the state of birth] constituted 46 percent to 60 percent of the native migration . . . and direct migration from non-contiguous states accounted for approximately half of the native migration at the highest point of its flow." Another conclusion emphasizes the stability rather than mobility of the Kansas farm population since the World War and even during the decade of the depression; a conclusion that runs contrary to the popular conception of mass migration.

A Guide to Hillsboro Kansas, compiled by workers of the Writers' program of the Work Projects Administration in Kansas and sponsored by the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce appeared early in 1941. The 91-page Guide relates the history of the Mennonite settlement in Marion county. It covers points of historical interest and gives up-to-date information concerning schools, churches, business establishments and life in general in Hillsboro. Biographical sketches and photographs of some of Hillsboro's prominent citizens, past and present, were included. The history of Fort Scott and its places of interest were discussed in A Guide to Fort Scott, Kansas, also compiled under the Writers' program. The sixteen-page booklet was sponsored by the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce and was issued in February, 1941. Herington history and points of interest were discussed in a small illustrated folder recently published by the Herington Chamber of Commerce, with editorial assistance from the Writers' program.