21 November 2013

November 25th Meeting - Horse Racing - A Family Affair

November 25th Meeting

 “Horse Racing: A Family Affair”

On Monday, November 25th, Joyce Church, retired teacher and former girl jockey will present the program, “Horse Racing: A Family Affair,” to Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society members and guests at 6:30 p.m., at the Wellington Senior Center, 308 S. Washington, Wellington. Visitors are welcome; no charge for the program. For possible weather cancellations, contact SCHGS President Jane Moore at 620-447-3266.

In 1946, wearing maroon and pink racing silks, a skullcap, and wielding a bat, fourteen-year-old Joyce Riggs Church began her short career as a ‘bush’ jockey, racing her father’s thoroughbreds on small ‘bush’ tracks. Church and her sister raced in several Kansas towns, including their home town of Conway Springs, Anthony, Burden, Garden City, Emporia, and many other towns in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Mexico, Missouri and Illinois. 

Church, a genealogist, was surprised to find that breeding horses and racing them was ‘in their genes.’ Her research turned up that not only had her grandfather bred and sold mules by the train car load, ancestors before him had also bred mules and pacing and trotting horses.

“Dad grew up in that atmosphere,” Church said, adding that it was her father’s dream to breed and race thoroughbreds and after her folks bought four colts and a stallion from a man in Fairfax, Oklahoma, her father needed jockeys, so he enlisted the help of his two daughters.

“Mother never wanted us to ride,” Church said, adding that although her father allowed them to race, her parents were very protective and she and her sister were not allowed to hang out with other jockeys in the barns where there was drinking and gambling.

“Racing was a family affair,” Church said, adding that the entire family traveled to the races with the horses. The horses traveled in the back of a wheat truck, and her mother drove the car. 

Church said that her mother packed picnic baskets with fried chicken and cherry pie, and the family picnicked on the race track grounds, and often spent the night in the back of the wheat truck with a tarp strung over the stock racks to keep off the rain.

Although Church went off to college when she was 16 years old, she came home on weekends to race, and at times lived at home and drove back and forth to school at Friends so that she could continue to ride. Church stopped racing when she was twenty-nine years old, and married in 1963.

“Before that, I ran around so much I didn't have time to get married,” Church said.

 Church said she “had had some accidents,” and been knocked out and taken to the hospital by ambulance, but had never broken a bone. But Church added that 1976 was a bad year for the Riggs family when her sister was killed in June at Churchill Downs at the age of 37, and her father died later that year.

Church will bring photographs and other racing memorabilia to share with the group, as well as the book “The Boys From the Bushes” by Lou Dean, a book about ‘bush racing’ that shares stories from Church and other ‘Bush’ jockeys.

19 November 2013

Amanuensis Monday - From Argosy Files for September 1952

Conway Springs Star & Argonia Argosy
From Argosy Files
Fifty Years Ago, September 1952

Higher enrollment in both the grade and high school was reported in the Milan public schools following their opening on September 2.

Two new teachers have been added to the grade school faculty. Mary Lee Craven, third and fourth grades, Alice McFarland, seventh and eighth grades.  Faye Allen, fifth and sixth grades and Mildred Ramsey, first and second grades, have been retained from last year’s faculty.

Wilma Sanburn, recording steward of the Milan church assisted Dr. Raymond Dewey district superintendent in opening the quarterly conference meeting.  Following reports of officers, election of officers were held for the coming year: church school superintendent, Herbert C. Ewing; trustee, Mrs. Harry Showalter; church treasurer Bertha Neal; treasurer of benevolences, Billie Roe; communion steward, Grace Jeffries; recording steward, Wilma Sanburn, Member of conferences, Violet King; other stewards, Mrs. Daryl Jones Mrs. John Aspedon, Mrs. Louis Muhlenbruch and Violet King.

The last free picture show of the season was shown at Milan on August 28.  The shows have been a weekly feature during the summer and have been out of doors.  They have been sponsored by the American Legion and co-sponsored by the American Legion and co-sponsored by the merchants of Milan and Argonia as well as interested citizens.

After the show on Thursday night, the Legion held their drawing for a television set and a radio.  The television was presented to Paul McIntyre, Wellington and the radio to Eugene Metzen, Mayfield.

12 November 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Conway Springs Star & Argonia Argosy - Star Files for November 1923

Conway Springs Star & Argonia Argosy
7 November 2013
From the Star Files – November 1923

The Cary Circle of Wellington invited the federated clubs of the county to meet at the Park House in Wellington last Thursday.  Because of the rain and bad roads only one car of Progressive club ladies went.  They were Mesdames James Snelling, Joe Shaffer, T. I. Guest, A. G. Small and Raymond Cline.

Several managers of neighboring telephone companies met at the city hall here yesterday as guests of E. J. Frantz, manager of the local company.  The state secretary of telephone managers is visiting various sections of the state since the national convention.

Mr. and Mrs. Bert Probst and son moved down from Wichita this week.  Bert is taking pharmacist exams at Lawrence this week after which he will take a position with Thew’s Drug Store.

“The Merchant of Venice” appeared here Tuesday night as the second number of the school lyceum course.  A big crowd attended completely filling the gym auditorium.

Mrs. Lida Shobe left Friday for an extended visit in Kansas City, MO., with her daughter Lola and Malvern Pepper and on to Murryville, Ill. To visit her sister, Mrs. Lottie Hart.  She will be away until Christmas. 

05 November 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Conway Springs Star Flashbacks - September 1933

Conway Springs Star - Flashbacks
reprinted 26 Sept 1933

Flashbacks from September 1933

Kenneth Beal, Roy Jenkins, Clyde Clark and Harold Lange of this place and Julius Miller of Clearwater returned last week from several days visit to the big fair in Chicago.  The boys made the trip in a Model T touring car.

Sam Scott has moved his store from next door to Ebersole Mortuary to the I.O.O.F. building which he occupied several years ago.  He is using only a portion of the building, the balance being used by Bicket and Staley Produce.

Averill Skiles is among the 57 students selected for membership in Southwestern's A Cappella Choir this semester.

The annual Presbyterian rummage sale will be held in the Myers' building Thursday and Friday of next week.