21 May 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Indian Papoose Grave Found on Bluff Creek

The Wellington Monitor
11 July 1890

The grave of an Indian papoose was discovered on an island in Bluff Creek near Caldwell by Sam Woodson and Dr. Noble last week.

It was protected by a basket-shaped cover, neatly woven of twigs and roots, and so carefully hidden away among the underbrush as to have escaped observation heretofore.

Old settlers think it was made as far back as 1876 during the Indian troubles at that time.

06 May 2013

Kansas Humanities Council Awards Grant to the Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society

Sumner County Historical & Genealogical Society receives
grant from the Kansas Humanities Council

TOPEKA – The Kansas Humanities Council (KHC) recently awarded Sumner County Historical & Genealogical Society of Wellington a $3,500 grant for the “Prairie Letters: Written in Rural Kansas in the Late Nineteenth Century” project.

Jane Moore, SCHGS president said that in 2012 the Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society received a notebook containing the “Prairie Letters,” letters that had been written primarily in the 1870’s by Emily Sell, one of Kansas’ earliest setters. Sell homesteaded in the Rome, Kansas area with her husband.  Moore said that even though Kansas was opened to settlement in 1854 and became a state in 1861, there were only 22 white people living in Sumner County by 1870 (The Sumner County Story, Paul and Gwendoline Sanders, 1966, p. 9).  Sumner County was not fully organized until Nov. 7, 1871.

“When I saw that the first letters were dated 1870, and learned that there were only about 22 white people living in Sumner County in 1870, I couldn't imagine what life must have been like for those early settlers,” said Elaine Clark, Prairie Letters Project Director and grant author.

There have been histories written about other areas of Sumner County during this time period, but very few collections of letters have been discovered which give a first-person perspective,” Clark said,  “that makes this collection of letters a priceless, irreplaceable piece of Kansas history.”
“Transcription and preservation of these letters will give future historians, researchers, genealogists, and those interested in early settlement of the Midwest a first-person account of the hardships and difficulties of early homesteaders,” said Moore.

“Historical details about settlement in the Rome, Kansas, area are sketchy, but the town was officially organized in 1884,” Moore said, adding that  SCHGS members involved in transcribing Emily’s letters to friends and family are eager to learn about early-day settlement of Sumner County through the eyes and viewpoint of the homesteader and his wife.

Clark said she and her husband, Larry Clark, traveled to Jordan Cemetery recently to view and photograph Emily’s grave stone.

“I stood there and wondered what her life was like,” Clark said, adding that “these letters reveal much about the early days of Sumner County and the hardships and sorrows that families endured.  We tend to take food, warmth, air conditioning, doctors and medical care for granted, but these letters share the facts of everyday life for Kansas’ early settlers, babies that died because no doctors were available, weeks that go by before getting letters from family and friends, and children who can’t get an education because they live too far from school or they are needed to work on the farm.”

“These situations would seem foreign to today’s young people,” Clark said.

Clark said that some of the letters are almost unreadable because of fading, so it is imperative for the SCHGS to transcribe these letters as soon as possible. 

“This Heritage Grant from the Kansas Humanities Council will assist in preserving this treasure,” Clark said, “I can hardly wait to do the transcribing.”

Clark added that as the project progresses and they learn more about the contents of the letters, they will share information on the website at www.ksschgs.com, blog at www.ks-schgs.blogspot.com, SCHGS Facebook page and in area publications. 

“KHC Heritage grants encourage the preservation of local cultural resources,” said Julie Mulvihill, executive director of the Kansas Humanities Council. “This transcription project will preserve these one-of-a-kind primary source documents for generations to come. What a treat to find out what stories these letters will tell.”

The Kansas Humanities Council is a nonprofit organization that supports community-
based cultural programs, serves as a financial resource through an active
grant-making program, and encourages Kansans to engage in the civic and cultural
life of their communities. For more information, visit www.kansashumanities.org.


Amanuensis Monday - Flashbacks from the April 24th, 2013 Caldwell (Kansas) Messenger

Reprinted with permission from the Caldwell Messenger

April 19, 1883
Most astonishing claim yet of electricity - It has been proven possible to convey by its vibrations of light so that it is practicable not only to speak with a distant friend, but also to see him.

April 20, 1893
The proposed lottery plan for opening the Cherokee Strip to settlement was meeting with opposition.

The public well on South Main was being cleaned out.


April 23, 1903
County Attorney Wison cashed in a collection of mining stock certificates for $32,000.  They were acquired for a song while he was a Denver newspaper reporter from 1895 - 1897.


April 21, 1923
Dad's Cafe - Sunday
Soup, chicken with noodles, pork loin roast with brown gravy and horse radish, mashed potatoes, spinach garnished with lemon and eggs, apricot pie, Parkerhouse rolls 35 cents.

Airplane Exhibition and Passenger Carrying - northeast of Caldwell, all day Sunday.  $5 per passenger.

April 18, 1933
Oklahoma is taking drastic steps to aid schools.  In July, a tax of 2 cents on every dollar of retail sales will be assessed against all purchases in Oklahoma stores.  Also a tax of 3 cents a package on cigarettes should bring in $1,5000,000 annually - also to go to school aid.

Intramural punkin ball to start tomorrow.

Wheat again hits record high when it reaches 49 cents a bushel.  This is more than double the price offered in Caldwell less than four months ago.


April 19, 1933
Wheat prices up 2 cents more!


April 24, 1933
New Masonic Hall is now complete.  Believed to be one of the best in Sumner County.  Kitchen has hot and cold running water.


April 19, 1943
Job/wage freeze ordered for entire nation.  Will be backed by penalties as great as a thousand dollar fine and a year in prison.

Ration book No. 3 will be issued late in July.  Will be used primarily for shoes, sugar and coffee.


April 22, 1943
Bill Aakers, who joined the Navy last July, is now in North Africa.

A farmer who sells butter, lard, or any rationed food to a retailer must now collect ration points for the sale.

Less canned food to be available.  Compared with '42 there will be 11% less meat, 37% less canned shell fish, 21% less butter, 11% less cheese, 15% less canned milk, 51% less canned fruit, 27% less canned vegetables, 29% less coffee, and 60% less tea.


April 20, 1953
Presbyterian Church to celebrate 80th Anniversary.


April 19, 1973
Drury to be film site of Carradine movie. **

**  The filming of the David Carradine movie in Drury was literally the talk of the county for a short time, and many folks found themselves driving through Drury or nearby South Haven to try to catch a glimpse of David Carradine and wife Barbara.  SCHGS Vice President Sherry Kline and husband Norman and two of their cousins went to South Haven one evening on the off chance they might see Carradine.  They stopped at the little restaurant that was open then, and they did see Carradine and some of the other cast members.