Category Archives: Featured

Gov. Kelly signs executive order mandating masks in public spaces

Simple, proactive way to keep Kansans safe, and keep Kansas businesses open

TOPEKA, Kan. – Gov. Laura Kelly today issued Executive Order No. 20-52 requiring that most Kansans must wear a mask while in public spaces, and in places where individuals are unable to maintain social distancing of six feet.

The order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 3, 2020, and will remain in place until rescinded or until the current statewide state of disaster emergency expires – whichever is earlier.

“The last few months have presented many new challenges for Kansans, and all of us want to return to our normal lives and routines,” Kelly said. “Unfortunately, we have seen a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across our state and our country. We must act.

‘Viruses don’t stop at county lines. This order doesn’t change where you can go or what you can do. But wearing a mask is a simple and effective way to keep Kansans healthy and keep Kansas open for business.”

Under the order, Kansans are required to wear masks when inside any public space – including their workplace – or in situations where social distancing of six feet cannot be maintained. Guidance regarding specific places or situations in which masks are required is outlined within the order.

Kansans under five years of age, those with medical conditions, and others specifically outlined in the order are exempt from these requirements.

Hidden History: Young doctor’s ‘upward’ attitude brings hospital to Osage City

The Star Block, at 520 Market Street, Osage City, center of photo, was once an early day medical center (or doctor’s office), operated by Dr. Roup for a year or so sometime around the early 1890s. Photo thanks to the Osage County Historical Society.

At one time, Osage County was home to not one but two hospitals. Both were located in Osage City and served the surrounding area. Barnes Hospital was owned by Miles W. Barnes, a young Tennessee doctor who operated his hospital in the 1920s and into the 1930s. His building was located at 110 S. Sixth Street. Brown Hospital was established in 1917 on Main Street and operated by Thomas O. Brown, a former Osage County schoolteacher.

Thomas Brown grew up in Lyndon, the son of farming parents. He excelled in school and after graduation became a local teacher at No. 68 (or Jack Rabbit) and Vassar schools. In 1892, Tom married Jessie Jones, of Arvonia, a sister of his good friend. Those that knew Tom Brown knew him to be “a competent and thorough teacher and his motto was ‘Onward and Upward’.” Not only did Tom encourage his students with those words, he followed them himself. It was in Arvonia that Tom crossed paths with Dr. William R. Roup, town physician, and likely decided upon a new career path.

Dr. Roup, like Tom Brown, had a thirst for knowledge that had led him to the pursuit of the expanding field of medicine. Dr. Roup received his medical degree in 1869 from the University of Iowa at a time when the medical profession was largely unregulated. Doctors during this time were generally classified according to those receiving formal medical training, such as Dr. Roup, and eclectic medicine, which utilized botanical remedies and physical therapy. In the early 1870s, Dr. Roup established a practice in Reading. He also practiced in Osage City for a year in the newly built Star Block, and in 1892-94 moved to Arvonia, where he influenced Tom Brown to follow a career in medicine.

Roadside sales not permitted on Kansas highway right of way

The Kansas Department of Transportation is reminding the public that according to state law, all rights of way on state highways are to be used exclusively for highway purposes. KDOT has jurisdiction over all interstate, Kansas and U.S. routes on the state’s 9,500-mile system.

The violation that occurs frequently is the placement of various signs that are removed and taken to local KDOT offices. However, it is also unlawful for any persons to display on highway right of way outside the city limits any goods, wares or merchandise for sale.

One exception to this is the sale of farm or garden products, but these type of sales must be made exclusively at the entrance to the farm or garden where they were produced, as long as the sales are conducted a safe distance from the traveled way.

Any other location of these sales violates state law and will be removed by KDOT or law enforcement.

Human bone found near rural Osage County fishing spot; identity, age unknown

The location a human bone was found Tuesday was near 205th Street and Lewelling Road near the west end of Pomona Lake. Image from Google Maps.

Osage County Sheriff Laurie Dunn has reported that a human bone was found Tuesday in rural Osage County near a popular fishing spot on U.S. Army Corps of Engineer property along Dragoon Creek.

In a press release today, June 18, 2020, Dunn said the sheriff’s office responded at 12:30 p.m. June 16 to a report of a bone found near 205th Street and Lewelling Road, approximately 1.5 miles west of U.S. Highway 75.

The sheriff said the bone had been viewed by the coroner’s office and a forensic anthropologist and was determined to be human.

The area was secured overnight for a more detailed search. The sheriff’s office was assisted at by Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Mission Township Fire Department dive team, Missouri Search and Rescue K-9, and a cadaver dog from the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office. Nothing else was found on land or in the water, the sheriff reported, and the area was released at 7:30 p.m. June 17.

The sheriff said the exact age of the bone is yet to be determined, and it is not known where the bone may have come from due to flooding last year.

Dunn said the forensic anthropologist gave a timeframe of 60 to 90 days to determine more specifics about the bone.

Help House: Hungry for sports? Fans’ friendly rivalry means ‘game on’ for afghan raffle

Are you missing your sports teams, competition and rivalries they create?

Help House has come up with its own “game on” to help pass the time until athletes are back on the hardwoods and fields. Whether you are a diehard KU Jayhawk or a KSU Cat backer, Help House has just the thing to help get you ready to cheer on your team.

One of our great volunteers, Peggy Kampsen, of Vassar, Kan., who last year provided us with a hand crocheted American Flag afghan to raffle off as a fundraiser, has out done herself this year. She has created two very specially designed afghans to see which team will win. The KSU afghan is 45 inches by 50 inches and the  KU afghan is 46 inches by 54 inches. Peggy does beautiful work and they can be yours. Vote on both if you live in a house divided.

Buy tickets now to help your team win big. Tickets are $1 for one or $5 for six. Our volunteers are selling them now, so be sure to ask for yours. If you don’t know one of our volunteers, call Help House at  785-828-4888 and ask how you can get yours. Let us know how many you want we will get them to you.

A drawing for the afghans will be Aug. 14, 2020.

Eat Well to Be Well: Savor the sweet sensation of spring strawberries

Spring strawberries – what’s not to love? There’s more to this ruby-red fruit than meets the eye – they’re the first fruit to ripen in the spring, they are a member of the rose family, and one cup of strawberries is packed with more vitamin C than an orange – 55 milligrams compared to 85 milligrams.

If there’s one berry most people have a fondness for, it’s strawberries. Up to 94 percent of American households consume strawberries making them a top notch favorite fruit. May, National Strawberry Month, is dedicated to promoting and celebrating this favorite berry. Here are some interesting facts about strawberries you may not have known:

  • Strawberries are grown in every state in the United States.
  • California is the state that produces the most strawberries – an amazing 1 billion pounds of strawberries each year.
  • If all strawberries produced in California in one year were laid berry to berry, they would go around the world 15 times.
  • There is an average number of 200 seeds in a strawberry.

Even though available year round, strawberries full flavor shines best beginning in May through late summer, the prime seasons for strawberries. Now is when farmers markets and grocery store produce aisles are loaded with this red delicacy at its peak of taste and appearance. A carton of freshly picked strawberries is a sight to behold, turning even the pickiest eater into a fan.

Yes, strawberries are a spring and summertime favorite not only for its juicy sweet flavor and versatility, but don’t forget the tremendous nutritional profile it packs as a berry.

Hidden History: Osage County hospitality served with side of Southern pride

The road to Santa Fe was forged right through the middle of Osage County, and by 1822 the route was secured, opening travel for wagon traffic. Starting in 1825, the route was surveyed and mapped, treaties were made with the Native American tribes to secure safe passage, and modifications along the route such as bridges were constructed for easier travel.

After the establishment of the trail, the land in what would become Osage County became part of a tract land reserved for the Shawnee. The Shawnee favored settlement along waterways and had long been active in trade with Euro-Americans, so trail crossings like those at Switzler and 110 Mile Creek were a natural location for settlement.

The name for 110 Mile Creek, originally called Jones Creek, received its new name indicating its distance along the Santa Fe Trail from Fort Osage, in Missouri. The location was lined with a considerable amount of timber and had a few Shawnee houses with their fields nearby. The grove at 110-Mile Creek was well known to the military and saw regular use as a camping spot.

Aside from those of native blood, no other individuals were supposed to enter reservation lands without ties to the local Indian agency or the military. Some, like a man named Richardson and his compatriot who settled at the 110 Mile crossing, found their way around this by taking wives among the Shawnee. The pair had conducted a toll stop on the trail at that location, built a story and a half tall building and another smaller one near it.

The Richardson claim was sold to a man named Fry P. McGee in the summer of 1854 in anticipation of the land being opened up for general settlement. McGee had spotted the location on a return trip from Oregon where he had previously taken his family. McGee, apparently not content with the land, returned the following year and acquired the property in Kansas Territory. McGee assumed Richardson’s claim but retained the name Richardson for the area. McGee’s arrival was not only one desiring the favorable location, but a move intent on helping secure Kansas’ admittance to the Union as a slave state.

Despite life’s abnormal situation, Melvern remembers the fallen for Memorial Day

Volunteers place flags on veterans’ graves Saturday. Photo thanks to Lisa Reeser.

2020 has not been as normal as most people would have hoped due to COVID-19.  Yet in the Melvern community this didn’t stop community members both young and old, from coming together Saturday morning, May 23, to help the Woodward-Belt-Hellman-Arb American Legion No. 317 and Ladies Auxiliary  prepare Melvern Cemetery for honoring all of our fallen veterans. Volunteers helped place individual flags on all veterans’ graves and then hung flags along state Highway 31.

Osage County confirms 7th COVID-19 case; 6 recovered

The Osage County Health Department has reported that a seventh positive COVID-19 case has been confirmed in the county.

In a social media post May 18, 2020, the health department reported the infected individual is a 51-year-old female who lives in the southern part of Osage County. She was reported as doing well and quarantined at home.

The post said the health department is working on contact tracing and will contact anyone who has had significant contact with the patient.

As of yesterday, May 20, the department reported that Osage County has had six recovered cases, with currently only one positive case and four people under ordered quarantine. The county reports 331 negative test results.

The department reported Osage County does not have any evidence of local transmission of the virus.

Help House News: Community cooperation completes parking project

By Raylene Quaney

We are thrilled to have the parking area paved, as well as two parking lot lights and a security system that has views of all four sides of the building installed and completed.

Thank you to Ted Hazelton for all his efforts to secure the grant money and head up the building committee; Jerry Bilyeu, Johnny Neill, Raylene Quaney and Nancy Alley for serving on the committee; Lance Jones, Curtis Janssen, Ryan Jones and Dan Coffman for their help at different times to complete this project; James Kline and Signature Concrete for the construction; and Don Bailey who installed the security system and helped with the parking lot lights. Thank you also to Judge Taylor and Heather Wine for donating the usage of their golf cart, and to Lyndon Storage for donating the space to park the golf cart for two weeks. Thank you also to the Osage County Sheriff’s Department, which has been delivering food to those who cannot  come to Help House, and collecting food and personal items for Help House. Thank you to Pastor Jonathon Moore and the congregation of the Lyndon First Baptist Church who donated to Help House additional property to complete the dimensions for the parking lot. God bless you!

Help House will continue with scheduled curbside food orders for the rest of the month of May, however we will be going back to our normal hours, 4-7 p.m. Monday evenings and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, beginning this week.

We are at this time planning on allowing people to enter the building on June 1. We will continue to operate by scheduling visits and only allow individuals into the building if they are wearing a mask or face covering and gloves. They will be limited to 30 minute appointment that includes both food pantry and shopping outside of the pantry. Those who only want to shop on the floor will also need to make an appointment. Only one family member will be allowed to enter and shop.

If you are like a lot of us, we have been cleaning and purging our homes while we were under shelter in place orders and we have been hearing from a lot of you wondering when we will be taking donations again on items other than donations of food. This will happen  on June 1. 

Cook’n’ show cancelled, so car buffs cruise Osage County

Local auto enthusiasts lined up cars of all makes and models, Saturday, May 9, 2020, at Jones Park, Osage City,  where they departed on a cruise around Osage County. 

By Jeanette Swartz

Since the Cruis’n & Cook’n Car Show was cancelled in April due to the pandemic, this past Saturday afternoon, May 9, 2020, brought a group of approximately 40 auto enthusiasts to Osage City, Kan. Friends from Osage City, Reading, Wakarusa, Burlington, Ottawa, Pomona, Emporia, Topeka, Carbondale and Lyndon lined up at the football stadium parking lot and cruised through downtown Osage City, then traveled on to Melvern and Pomona lakes through the state parks.

We are not sure who had more fun, the cruisers or the campers. The campers enjoyed seeing the participants cruise through the campsites at both lakes. There were smiles on everyone’s faces and it was nice to get out and enjoy the afternoon.

The cruise continued through Overbook, Scranton, Burlingame and back to Osage City.

We are not sure how many miles we actually cruised going through the lakes, a few small towns and the countryside, but it was an enjoyable three-hour tour (and nobody broke down or ran out of gas!)

The generous monetary donations, canned and packaged food items from the cruisers were greatly appreciated, and which will be given back to the community through ECKAN, ECAT and the Warmth Fund.

Thank you signs help fund local pandemic relief efforts

An ongoing fundraiser for the The Greater Emporia Disaster Relief Fund is the sales of “thank you” signs for windows and yards.

The Greater Emporia Disaster Relief Fund was recently organized to support the needs of businesses, nonprofits, and individuals in Chase, Coffey, Greenwood, Lyon, Morris, Osage, Wabaunsee, and Woodson counties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Promoting the fund as a donation hub is one way all organizations and individuals in the multi-county region can support local disaster relief efforts during the pandemic. The goal of the collaboration is to provide conduits for donations and for support of nonprofit organizations or businesses, and to collectively help the region weather the impacts of the pandemic.

An ongoing fundraiser, by Emporia Main Street and KVOE, is selling yard and window signs to help raise money for the Greater Emporia Area Disaster Relief Fund.

The signs say thank you to “Hometown Heroes” and are 24 inches by 18 inches and printed in full color on both sides. Proceeds from sign sales will go to the Greater Emporia Area Disaster Relief Fund for COVID-19 support. In Osage County, orders placed by noon May 4, 2020, will be available for pickup at Osage Garden and Produce, Osage City, on May 8.

To order signs online, see emporiamainstreet.com. Indicate your pickup location when ordering.

The fund is also accepting donations and donors can designate their donation to be used only in Osage County. Donors are also reminded that if they make a $300 or less charitable donation, the CARES Act allows for up to $300 per taxpayer ($600 for a married couple) in an above-the-line deduction for charitable gifts made in 2020 and claimed on taxes in 2021.

Hidden History: Amid health crises, Osage County towns invested in public sanitation

A promotional graphic details the benefits of public waterworks, Burlingame Enterprise, Oct. 10, 1912.

Burlingame’s water supply started simply with water taken from a natural spring on the territorial claim of John Freele which serviced the local settlers. As the town grew, the main water source shifted to a well in the center of Santa Fe Avenue.

With the arrival of the railroads that eventually brought increasing number of residents, the call for modern conveniences arose. Larger towns built access to utilities prior to the turn of the century, but for small towns like Burlingame utilities came later. The outlay of funds for public projects was problematic for many, since some had spent considerable expense to entice the railroad to stop at their town, causing large debt.

Utilities were not only items of convenience, however; across the country increasing urbanization brought increasing concern for public health. In 1879, the short-lived National Board of Health was created in part to determine the cause of recent yellow fever and cholera outbreaks and to institute preventative measures to combat future occurrences in the country. The outcome of its sanitation programs along with its encouragement of filtration and better distribution of water in larger towns created a new industry market – city waterworks.

Wells and cisterns within city confines were becoming increasingly problematic with urban contaminants. This was countered in part by the use of waterworks, as well as regulations from the Kansas State Board of Health that was created in 1885, a time when many large cities started building public water projects.

Fire prevention was also a major consideration, and towns without a water system would see inflated insurance costs to their citizens. Burlingame had established a fire department in 1876, but would have to hand pump their water until mechanical means came along.

Discussions and votes on the possibility of Burlingame improvements started in 1902, centering around electricity and water. The push for modern conveniences was partially realized in 1903 by the creation of a city light plant. At the celebration of the light plant, J.T. Pringle stated that the lights came at a time “to be in harmony with other improvements and is simply a forecast of the future of our city.”

A water system seemed the next immediate step – for some. The first town in the county, one that at one time had dreams of being the state capital, could get its citizens to see the light for an electrical plant, but not dip a toe into the purchasing of waterworks.

With the lack of support for a water system as a whole, inquiries were made as to the possibility of putting in just a sewer system. This plan was discouraged however when the head of the engineering company Burns and McDonnell, of Kansas City, inspected the city. He stated that sewers without waterworks could only be used to drain cellars and therefore the costs involved were not sufficient enough to warrant the outlay of funds. And the water campaign stalled. The opposition to water was too significant to overcome for the next 10 years.

Town boosters, seeking to boost the town’s attractiveness to settlement voiced their opinions in the newspapers with cries of dismay: “What’s the matter with Burlingame? Is she dead or only sleeping? If she be dead let’s have a funeral and save the expense of embalming. If asleep let’s turn the hose on her and wake her up. But we have no system of waterworks.”

Check the facts, don’t spread rumors

The Kansas National Guard needs your help to dispel a rumor that is being shared on social media platforms. Individuals are receiving a letter or graphic that falsely claims the Department of Homeland Security will mobilize the National Guard to enforce a national quarantine.

The Department of Homeland Security does not have the authority to mobilize the National Guard as described in the graphic. Additionally, there is no discussion of a nationwide quarantine.

There might be National Guard men and women seen working in communities. There are 72 Guardsmen on state active duty status currently supporting the COVID-19 response conducting warehouse operations, commodity distribution, planning, access control, mailroom support, and manning the State Emergency Operations Center with interagency partners.

Members of the Kansas National Guard live, work and raise families in the communities they serve. It truly is neighbors helping neighbors. Any help you can provide in dispelling unfounded rumors would be helpful to all of us as we battle COVID-19 together.

Please help us to stop this rumor.The National Guard is messaging it on all of its social media platforms but we need everyone’s help to reach a wider audience.

Hashtags #KSRumorWatch, #SpreadFactsNotFear, and #StoptheRumors are being used to help stop the rumors.

If people have questions about whether something is legitimate or not, they are encouraged to contact the Adjutant General’s Department, Topeka, Kan., 785-646-0092.

Beat back COVID-19 with foods that boost immune health

As Coronovirus (COVID-19) continues to crisscross the globe, each of us should do our part to help stop the spread of this potentially deadly virus. Aside from vigilant hand washing, covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, avoiding touching your mouth, nose, and eyes, and staying home when sick, a strong immune system is an important ally in keeping you healthy and well.

Strong immune functioning begins by eating a healthy diet. Fortunately, there are plenty of nutrient-dense foods to choose from such as crunchy vegetables, succulent fruit, hearty whole grains, and energy-rich beans, nuts, and seeds. However, there are certain top-notch foods ready and willing to duke it out with the germs, viruses or microbes wanting to cause you harm. Thanks to their antioxidant-rich powers, these foods kick it into high gear helping your immune system work as efficiently and diligently as always.  Not only are they health-promoting but are also available any time of year, providing peak performance for protecting your body from microbial harm.

Consuming these foods several times a week increases your odds of enjoying more healthy and disease-free days than someone who rarely consumes them.  Of course, other factors that help strengthen immune functioning are regular exercise, adequate sleep, minimizing stress, and avoiding smoking. Basically, practicing good health habits is more likely to enhance immune health, increasing your chances of fighting off COVID-19 along with other illnesses.

Best foods for boosting immune health

Citrus fruits

No matter what time of year, citrus fruits are always a winner for promoting immune function. Whether you choose to eat oranges and grapefruit, or lemons and limes, these citrus fruits grown in warmer climates will bring that ray of sunshine into your home on the bleakest of day.

Citrus fruits will also bring to your immune system a healthy dose of the water-soluble vitamin, vitamin C.  Oranges and grapefruit are particularly abundant in vitamin C as they can contain as much as 70 milligrams in one piece of fruit.

Osage City 3rd grade boys win league tournament

The Osage City Indian 3rd grade boys basketball team won their league tournament, finishing 8-1 for the season. From left, Coach Clint Silver, Chase Silver, Braxton Kooser, Noah Wood, Lincoln Senft, Kacen Keeffe, Devyn Theel, Layne Martin, Grady Bellinger, and Coach Jimmy Bellinger.

Osage City 3rd grade girls finish undefeated

The Osage City Lady Indian 3rd grade basketball team finished their season 10-0, tallying 7-0 in league play and 3-0 in their tournament. From left, Brynlee Harmon, Kaiden Bosse, Amelia Stark, Reece Wilcoxson, Harmony Linton, Hayden Lieber, Kaylee Theel, Lena Stucky, Taber Gantenbein, Jayla Jenkins, and Sawyer Serna. Coaches were Corey Linton and Natosha Jenkins.

Renowned livestock auctioneer Verlin Green closes bidding on record breaking career

After nearly six decades working the auction barn, Col. Verlin Green, Perry, has become a most familiar sight in the auction box selling cattle.

It’s a livestock auctioneering career likely qualifying for the Guinness Book of World Records.

When Col. Verlin Green dropped the gavel July 24, 2019, it was culminating climax of 57 years serving the auction block.

Claiming he’s completed his lifetime profession, the nearly 84 years old Perry, Kan., auctioneer’s official last day of work was at Overbrook Livestock, at Overbrook, Kan.

“I’d worked there 26 years, but I’ve also sold at a couple handfuls of auction barns through the years. Several longer than that, plus a lot of farm sales and other auctions,” Green reflected.

“It was time to stop while I was still satisfying the sellers, buyers and auction barn owners. This’ll give me more time to run the hounds,” Green added.

In apparent sound health, good voice, hearing and eyesight recovering nicely from cataract work. “I’m doing quite well,” he assured.

“It’s been a good day. A friend and I just ran seven hounds for five hours or so. I just love their music when they pick up a scent,” Green claimed.

Brief clarification, Green takes his beagles out three or four times a week, usually four female dogs of his own. “They’ll get on a rabbit, start howling and get that rabbit circling until he goes into cover,” Green explained.

It’s all for the sport of the chase watching and listening to the hounds, not bagging the prey. “I’d never shoot a rabbit, and then there wouldn’t be any more excitement for the chase,” he smiled.

Growing up at Perry, Green said, “My dad handled cattle, did some buying and selling, I’d go to the sales with him. The auctioneers fascinated me, and I’d practice auctioneering on my own, act like I was selling cattle.”

He’d also sometimes get to ride around with Johnny Ross, a local trucker who heard him practicing the auction chant.

“Johnny said, ‘Verlin you’re really good for a kid. You ought to take up the auction profession.’ And by gosh that’s what I decided to do,” Green reflected.

County foundation continues its mission by helping local organizations

Kenna Burns, center, of ECKAN, receives a check from Osage County Community Foundation board members Joe Humerickhouse, Michael Pitts, Jodi Stark and Casey Mussatto, as part of the foundation’s 2019 end of year grants.

The Osage County Community Foundation recently finished its benevolence of the last decade by awarding its 2019 end of the year grants to three area organizations.

Recipients during the latest grant round were: East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation, which received $500 to assist with expenses associated with its prom boutique, an annual event that provides dresses of all sizes to girls for prom night or other formal events; Osage City Chamber of Commerce, $1,000 to help with the cost of rebuilding a portable stage used for the Osage County Fair, Smoke in the Spring, and other community events held at Osage City’s Jones Park; and the Ecumenical Christian Action Team, $1,000 for roof repairs and to help with the cost of a small storage shed.

Spangler claims Osage County spelling championship for 2020

After 16 rounds of fierce competition, eighth-grader Tristan Spangler, representing Carbondale Attendance Center, claimed the title of Osage County’s championship speller for 2020, during the countywide spelling bee held Feb. 5, at the Osage City school auditorium.

Tristan competed against nine other champion spellers chosen from five school districts in Osage County at their own school bees. Tristan and the Osage County runner-up, Dylan Theel, sixth-grader from Osage City Middle School, will represent the county at the statewide Sunflower Spelling Bee, March 21, 2020, at Newman University, Wichita, Kan.

Tristan Spangler, left, is Osage County’s champion speller for 2020; Dylan Theel is runner-up.

Competing Wednesday at Osage City were Lyla Sterbenz, fifth grade, Burlingame Elementary School; Taneal Stevenson, seventh grade, Burlingame Junior High School; Tristan Spangler, eighth grade, CAC; Colt Jones, fifth grade, CAC; Samantha Cole, eighth grade, Lyndon Middle School; Nathan Roll, seventh grade, LMS; Olivia Lacey, eighth grade, Marais des Cygnes Valley Junior High School; Emily Criqui, fourth grade, MdCV Elementary School; Sawyer Dorsey, fifth grade, OCMS; and Dylan Theel, sixth grade, OCMS.

The first round of Wednesday’s bee was successful for all competitors, but the second round started the steady drop off of contestants with incorrect spellings – “savvy” and “boycott” stymied two competitors. Round three “whisked” away another. In round four, seven competitors were whittled down to four with incorrect spellings of “dawdle”, “squirm”, and “treadmill”.

Hidden History: Osage County settlers planted churches, seeds of abolitionism

The making of Osage County’s history was not limited solely to those individuals who maintained permanent residence here. Such is the case of John Rankin, an Ohio resident and the man who established the Presbyterian church in Lyndon, Kansas.

John Rankin was originally from Tennessee. Rankin was influenced by the period called the Second Great Enlightenment, which was a revival of the Christian faith that led many to realize slavery was incompatible with their beliefs.

Rankin became ordained as a pastor in 1814, and soon after joined a local Anti-Slavery Society, a branch of a nationwide group that believed prejudice in any form was offensive and that African Americans were entitled to the same rights and privileges as the white man. Rankin’s involvement in the Anti-Slavery Society was influential to famous abolitionist radicals such as William Lloyd Garrison.

Garrison is quoted as saying, “It was reading the productions of [Rankin’s] pen that awakened my mind to the enormity of the crime of slavery.”

Rankin’s opinions on slavery and his outreach to those that were oppressed caused his neighbors to create an environment that was increasingly dangerous for him and his family. Local mobs beat him and shaved his horse’s tail and mane, in addition to other instances of cruelty. Elders in his church encouraged him to move safely north if he was to continue to preach against slavery.

He moved his family first to Kentucky, where he organized an Anti-Slavery Society, and then across the river into Ripley, Ohio. The house at Ripley sat on a bluff 300 feet above the Ohio River and served as a beacon and refuge for those seeking freedom.

One such freedom seeker, a woman named Eliza, crossed the river one winter, jumping from one block of ice to another with her baby boy on her back. Her pursuers watched amazed at her every leap, expecting her to slip and succumb to the icy current, but Rankin’s awaiting hand reached down on the other side to assist her off the riverbed. Rankin later secured her passage with others to Toronto, Canada, and safety of freedom.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas