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Kansas Historical Notes - February 1941

May 1941 (Vol. 10, No. 2), pages 216 to 222
Transcribed by lhn;
digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.

Three more historic sites are to be acquired by the state under the provisions of acts passed by the 194I Kansas legislature. Title to the properties will be Vested in the state; separate boards or associations will manage them.

Senate bill No. 193 provides for the purchase of the site, restoration and repair of the old Iowa, Sauk and Fox mission building located about one and one-half miles east of Highland, Doniphan county. The Iowa, Sauk and Fox Indians of Missouri were removed by treaty to present Doniphan county in 1837. Samuel M. and Eliza Irvin, Presbyterian missionaries, accompanied them to establish a mission and school. In 1843 Irvin and William Hamilton, an associate, set up a press (the second in Kansas) to print school books and religious works in the Iowa language. A three-story stone and brick building of thirty-two rooms was completed in 1846. The state now plans to repair and reroof the remaining portion of this building. In addition, about fifteen acres of land will be set aside as a public park. An appropriation of $10,000 was allowed for the purchase of the property and the restoration of the building. Mrs. C. C. Webb, president of the Northeast Kansas Historical Society of Highland, is chairman of the seven-member board of trustees which is to manage the property. House joint resolution No. 6 provides for the acceptance by the state of a sixty-acre tract of land in eastern Linn county which was the site of the Marais des Cygnes massacre, May 19, 1858. Charles Hamelton, who had been driven from Kansas territory by Free-State men, retaliated by invading Linn county with about thirty Missourians. Capturing eleven Free-State men he marched them to a ravine and lined them up before a firing squad. Five were killed, five were wounded and one escaped by feigning death. This mass killing inflamed the North and John Greenleaf Whittier paid tribute to the victims in one of his poems. The Pleasanton post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars recently purchased, the site of the massacre and adjoining land, occupied for a time by John Brown, which will be deeded to the state. The legislature appropriated $1,000 to improve the property, henceforth to be known as the Marais des Cygnes Massacre Memorial Park. Management is Vested in a board of trustees of five members.



Senate bill No. 358 provides for the purchase and restoration of the ranch house built by G. H. Hollenberg on the old Oregon trail in 1857. Beginning in I860 it was a station on the Pony Express which operated for eighteen months like a giant relay race between the Missouri river and the Pacific coast. The state will buy the house and seven and one-half acres of land, a little over a mile northeast of Hanover, Washington county. The remainder of the appropriation of $3,000 will be used for landscaping and for the restoration of the old ranch house, sometimes known as Cottonwood station. The Washington County Oregon Trail Memorial Association, of Hanover, will manage the property through Leo E. Dieker, its president.

Other Kansas Historical Markers have been located on the state's major highways in addition to those announced on page 416 of the November, 1940, Kansas Historical Quarterly. Titles of these, their location and date of placing are: Fort Zarah, in roadside park on US-50N, three miles east of Great Bend, Barton county, October 13, 1940; Last Indian Raid in Kansas, at the junction of US-36 and US-183 at the northern city limits of Oberlin, Decatur county, December; Medicine Lodge Peace Treaties, in peace treaty grounds on US-160, about one mile east of Medicine Lodge, Barber county, December 11; First Capitol of Kansas, in the First Capitol grounds on US-40, near Fort Riley, Geary county, about January 1, 1941; Pawnee Rock, on US-50N at west city limits of Pawnee Rock, Barton county, March 16; Fort Larned, on US-50N six miles west of Larned, Pawnee county, April 6; Oregon and Santa Fe Trails, on US-50 1,000 feet west of Gardner, Johnson county, April 24; Capital of Kansas, on US-75 one-fourth mile north of Topeka, Shawnee county, May 2; Atchison, on US-59 at southwestern city limits of Atchison, Atchison county, May 5; Marysville, on US-36 one mile east of Marysville, Marshall county, May 11; Kansas Indian Treaty, on US-81 near Elyria, McPherson county, May 14. More than fifty markers are expected to be in place by the end of summer.

The Oregon Trail Memorial Association, at its annual convention in Wyoming in August, 1940, authorized the organization of state councils or affiliates to the parent association. The Kansas council, called The American Pioneer Trails Association of Kansas, was organized at Marysville, September 30, 1940. John G. Ellenbecker, of Marysville, who for years has been actively interested in the preservation of the trail's history, was elected president; W. R. Honnell, of Kansas City, vice-president; C. E. Hedrix, Marysville, secretary,


and Charles J. D. Koester, Marysville, treasurer. George A. Root, curator of archives of the Kansas Historical Society, was named chairman of the committee on historic points in Kansas. Each of the 105 counties of the state is to have a representative on the committee to assist the council in its program of marking historic sites and old trails of Kansas. The 1941 annual convention of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association, founded in 1922 by Ezra Meeker, is to be held in Marysville in August, 1941. Dr. Howard R. Driggs, of New York City, is president of the association.

Native Sons and Native Daughters of Kansas held their annual dinner meeting in Topeka, January 28, 1941. Judge Homer Hoch, of the Kansas supreme court, was the principal speaker. "Our Kansas Birthright," was his subject. At the business meeting the following were elected officers of the two organizations for the ensuing year: Native Sons-Bert E. Mitchner, Hutchinson, president; Glenn Archer, Norton, vice-president; Richard Allen, Topeka, secretary; W. M. Richards, Emporia, treasurer. Native DaughtersMrs. H. M. Richardson, Pratt, president; Mrs. Charles H. Benson, Topeka, vice-president; Mrs. George L. McClenny, Topeka, secretary; Mrs. F. S. Hawes, Russell, treasurer.

The Washington County Oregon Trail Memorial Association was organized at Hanover, March 10, 1941. It succeeds the temporary organization known as the Washington County Historical Society formed at Hanover July 22, 1940. The new organization will manage the historic Hollenberg ranch house soon to be acquired by the state. Officers of the association are: Leo E. Dieker, president; Dr. F. H. Rhoades, vice-president; Ed J. Flaherty, secretary; John Merk, Jr., treasurer. E. H. Miller, Dugald Spence and Fred Brockmeyer are members of the board of trustees. The Dickinson County Historical Society held its spring meeting at Elmo, March 13, 1941. The origin of churches and schools, tales of the Wild West, stories of antelope, prairie fires and other sagas of the old days were told. The Rev. W. J. Becker gave a history of the Swiss people who settled on Turkey creek in 1860 and of the Germans who came a few years later. The Rev. Ben Fadenrecht and the Rev. John Broeder gave synopses of the North German and South German Baptist churches which were organized in 1865. Jean Bonfield told of the organization of the St. Columba church in Elmo in 1872.


A program and reception in honor of William W. Nixon, of Jewell, the first Kansan to hold the office of commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, was held at the Memorial building in Topeka, April 5, 1941. Martin L. Phillips, commander of Capitol Post No. 1, of the American Legion, was master of ceremonies and Al F. Williams was speaker of the evening. Mrs. Grace M. Wanner, secretary of the Kansas G. A. R. and president of the Woman's Relief Corps, had charge of arrangements.

Rex Singleton of Benedict was elected president of the Wilson County Historical Society at a meeting in Fredonia, April 5, 1941. Other officers are: Mrs. Vella Smith, Fredonia, Vice-president; Mrs. Bernice Ludwick, Buffalo, secretary; Mrs. C. O. Pingrey, Neodesha, treasurer, and Mrs. W. H. Edmundson, Fredonia, historian. These offIcers and a representative from each township in Wilson county make up the board of directors. Township directors, elected May 3, are: W. W. Stover, Duck Creek; 0. L. Hayes, Neodesha; Albert Stroud, Talleyrand; Charles H. Mitchell, Newark; Mrs. C. E. Hall, Fall River; John Perry, Pleasant Valley; Fred Dodd, Cedar; George Robertson, Verdigris; Mrs. Frank Cantrall, Center; Virginia Canty, Clifton; Gus Larson, Colfax; M. T. Roney, Guilford; Frank Ridlon, Webster; W. H. Cranor, Chetopa, and Martin Youngstrom, Prairie. Featured on the May 3 program were papers by Mrs. C. 0. Pingrey, of Neodesha, on the founding of the First Presbyterian Church in Neodesha, February 12, 1871, and by Roy Caven on "Pioneer Settlers of Coyville." The latter was read by W. H. Edmundson.

On April 6, 1941, dedication ceremonies for a Chisholm trail marker were held in Wichita. The marker, erected by Calvin P. Titus Camp No. 5 and Auxiliary No. 33, United Spanish War Veterans, has been placed just west of the Douglas avenue bridge. According to Warren L. Matthews, who traced the original trail through Kansas, the marker is near the northern terminal of the famous trading trail blazed by Jesse Chisholm to the Vicinity of present Anadarko, Okla., in the 1860's. At the dedication W. H. Bradley was master of ceremonies, Judge Ross McCormick gave an address, Ezra E. Beard presented the marker, and City Manager Alfred MacDonald accepted for the city.

The fifteenth annual meeting of the Kansas History Teachers Association was held at the Memorial building in Topeka, April 19, 194I. At the morning meeting three papers were read: "Recent United States-Latin American Relations," by A. Bower Sagaser,


Kansas State College; "A Survey of College Students' Reading Habits in the Field of Current History," by S. D. Mock, Emporia State Teachers College; "Canada's War Effort," by Harold E. Conrad, Ottawa University. In the afternoon a panel discussion was held on "The Status of History and the Social Studies in Kansas High Schools," based on a report by James C. Malin, Kansas University, and Annabelle Pringle, Topeka- High School. Jessica Smith, Wichita High School North, presented "The High School View," and J. D. Bright, Washburn College, "The College View." An open discussion followed. At the business meeting it was decided to designate the Memorial building as the permanent meeting place for the association, and the following offIcers were elected: Ernest Mahan, Pittsburg State Teachers College, president; Iden Reese, Kansas City Junior College, vice-president; Della A. Warden, Emporia State Teachers College, secretary-treasurer. Additional executive committee members include: Robena Pringle, Topeka High School; Dr. C. S. Boertman, Emporia State Teachers College; Raymond L. Welty, Fort Hays Kansas State College, and Bertram Maxwell, Washburn College.

Several Lane county citizens interested in preserving the history of the county and organizing a historical society met at the courthouse in Dighton, on April 26, 194I. Mrs. William Charles was chairman of the meeting. The following officers were elected: Mrs. D. G. Egbert, president; Mrs. W. A. Charles, Vice-president; Mrs. Cathryn Mull, treasurer, and Mrs. W. V. Young, secretary. The Shawnee Mission Indian Historical Society met at the residence of Mrs. George Fickle on April 28, 1941. The guest speaker was Miss Louisa P. Johnson who told of her great grandfather Alexander Majors of the firm of Russell, Majors and Waddell.

Clark county's chapter of the Kansas Historical Society has published an attractive 84-page booklet, entitled Notes on Early Clark County, Kansas. The publication contains the "Clark County Historical Society Notes" printed in The Clark County Clipper, of Ashland, from July, 1939, to August, 1940. Mrs. Dorothy Berryman Shrewder and Mrs. Melville Campbell Harper are editors of the booklet. This is the first of the proposed series of historical collections for Clark county.


The Kaw, the Heart of a Nation, by Floyd Benjamin Streeter, is the twelfth book to be published by Farrar and Rinehart in The Rivers of America series. The history of the Kansas river is the history of the state and its prairies. The trails of the hunters and trappers who came in the early days followed the banks of the Kaw and its tributaries. The same trails were used by traders and set tlers and later by the railroads. Mr. Streeter tells of the days when the cattle industry was at its height and thousands of Texas longhorns were driven along the beef trails to Abilene and Dodge City, famous among the cow towns. Then the prairie was broken by the plow and fields were fenced and there began what was to become one of Kansas' greatest industries, the cultivation of wheat. Mr. Streeter relates the story of the Mennonites and the part they played in the agricultural development of the central part of the state.

The Longhorns (Little, Brown and Company), by J. Frank Dobie, professor of English literature at the University of Texas, was published in March, 1941. The book is a history and a collection of tales and folklore of the longhorn breed which once ranged the plains of the Southwest. "The Texas longhorn made more history than any other breed of cattle the civilized world has known," wrote Dobie. "As an animal in the realm of natural history, he was the peer of bison or grizzly bear. As a social factor, his influence on men was extraordinary. . . . However supplanted or however disparaged by evolving standards and generations, he will remain the bedrock on which the history of the cow country of America is founded."