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Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club: April meeting makes May flowers

Making May Day baskets at the April meeting of the Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club are Morgan Young, Allie Kneisler, and Kendall Young. Courtesy photo.

By Morgan Young, Club Reporter

The Lyndon Leaders 4-H Club had a fantastic meeting at 4:30 p.m. April 11, 2021. The 4-Hers made May Day baskets for the care home facility in Osage City. They used their creativity to make flowers out of paper.

There were three project talks presented at the meeting. Grayson Wine showed us how to make peppermint candy ornaments. He even ate some afterwards. Gage Kilgore told us how to rig a fishing pole. Kendall Wine demonstrated how to make a paper airplane. It was flying around for the rest of the meeting.

Members who participated in district club days were recognized, including Ethan Kneisler (blue), Tyler Williams (purple), Grayson Wine (purple), Allie Kneisler (purple), and Kendall Wine (blue). Some of them got to move on to regionals, too, including Ethan Kneisler (red), Tyler Williams (blue), Grayson Wine (blue), and Allie Kneisler (blue). Good job guys!

There will not be a meeting in May. We will be doing a project showcase for the June 13 meeting. There will be a farm tour with potluck following.

Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club shows their know-how at district club days

By Bella Reeser
MJH 4-H Club Reporter

Like everything in our current world, District 4-H Club Days were modified due to COVID-19. Participants were to video their presentation and have it submitted to the district office via YouTube by March 1, 2021. On March 15, Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club members found out how astonishing their skills were. Presenting demonstrations were:

  • Allie Reeser presented a demonstration on making Cinnamon Applesauce Delight; she received a top purple.
  • Bella Reeser presented Rub-A-Dub Dub, Who’s Duck is in the Tub; she received an alternate top purple.
  • Braelyn McNally demonstrated how to make pumpkin chocolate chip muffins; she received a top purple.
  • Gradey McNally presented a demonstration on making Bubble Bread; he received a top purple.
  • Justin Brinkley gave a speech on private property; he received a top purple.

All top purple participants were to resubmit their presentations to the 4-H district office by March 19 to compete at Regional Club Days.

MdCV Stuco members continue tradition for Melvern’s annual Easter egg hunt

The Melvern community was able to enjoy the annual Easter egg hunt this year due to the efforts of the local junior high school student council.

For many years, the Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club has held the Melvern Easter Egg Hunt, but when the Marais des Cygnes Valley Junior High Stuco found out this year the 4-H club couldn’t do it, they didn’t let their community down.

The StuCo spent a week putting eggs together and stuffing them with candy (with most of the candy donated by community member Lori Walker) in preparation for the big day. Stuco members felt blessed with a beautiful day and a huge crowd of people who showed up on Saturday, April 3, 2021, to celebrate the annual Easter Egg Hunt.

Friends of Pomona State Park gear up for camping season; elect 2021 officers

The Friends of Pomona State Park is getting ready for the 2021 camping season, having recently electing new officers: Darren White is chairman; Susan Jacob, secretary-treasurer; and Robert Stachowski is vice chair.

The Friends’ first meeting of the year will be at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 1, 2021, at the Southwind Shelter House, Pomona State Park. Other meetings scheduled for the year will be July 10, Aug. 7, Sept. 4, and Oct. 9.

FOPSP is a volunteer based non-profit organization that helps coordinate activities, educational opportunities, and conveniences for campers and visitors at Pomona State Park. Annual dues are $5 for individuals, $10 for family, or $25 for businesses. Anyone interested in joining the Friends can contact Stachowski at [email protected], or for more information, contact the park office at 785-828-4994.

Spring car show brings relief from year of pandemic

The Osage City Police Department and Osage County Sheriff Office selected Taurance Roberson, left front, of Platte City, Mo., to receive the “Thin Blue Line Award”. The thin blue line flag stands for the sacrifice law enforcement officers of the nation make each day. The Twin Lakes Cruisers used the opportunity to express appreciation, respect and thanks for law enforcement for their service to Osage City and Osage County. Twin Lakes Cruisers photo.

Approximately 210 entrants participated in the 17th Annual Cruis’n & Cook’n Auto  Show, Saturday, April 10, 2021, in downtown Osage City along Market Street. The show was deemed a success, though the morning started out somewhat concerning regarding the weather. Mother Nature kept the rain away, and even though the temperature was a bit cool, the sun was able to break through the clouds and gave us a nice day. Everyone seemed to be ready to get out and enjoy an event after a year of uncertainty with the pandemic. The Twin Lakes Cruisers had to cancel the car show last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the participants were pleased when they learned the car club had made the decision to go ahead and have the show this year.

Thank you
Twin Lakes Cruisers appreciate the downtown business district’s support and participation with the event. They also appreciate the spectator enthusiasm and attendance and are proud to organize an event that all ages can enjoy.

The Twin Lakes Cruisers announced the following entrants as winners of the show:

Piggin’ Whiskey O.G. claims grand championship at Smoke in the Spring 2021

Grand champion winner of Smoke in the Spring 2021 was Piggin’ Whiskey O.G.; accepting the award for the team are, from left, Ashton Smith, Jaxson Soerries, and head cook Josh Farley (presented by Smoky the Pig).

Smoke might still be lingering in Osage City from last weekend’s 18th annual Smoke in the Spring State BBQ Championship, but the grand champions headed back to Oak Grove, Mo. to celebrate.

Piggin’ Whiskey O.G., with head cook Josh Farley, of Oak Grove, earned prize winnings totaling $5,980 from the Osage City contest, after taking the grand championship with fourth place in chicken, 51st place in pork, second place in ribs, and 10th in brisket. The team also broke the 700 point barrier, winning the top spot in the contest with 703.44.

In Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned contests, membership in the “700 club” is achieved when enough points are earned in the four main categories, chicken, ribs, pork and brisket, to total 700 or more. A 180 is considered a perfect score in a single category. Piggin’ Whiskey picked up a 180 with their second place ribs entry, helping to secure their win with highest number of points. Adding to the team’s wins for the weekend, young team member Jaxson Soerries took fifth place in the 6-10 age group of Kids-Q.

The grand champs shared their 700 club spot with the reserve grand champions, Finger Leikham Good, head cook Chris Leikam, Wamego, Kan., with 701.7028, and the third place winner, The American Dream BBQ Team, David Qualls, Tecumseh, Okla., 700.5144.

Seven teams picked up a 180 pin during the completion, with two 180s awarded in chicken, two 180s in ribs, and three in pork.

The high scoring competition boosts Smoke in the Spring’s reputation as a world class contest, where some of the best barbecue cooks in the U.S. come to compete. During the weekend, 105 barbecue teams from 10 states gathered in Osage City’s Jones Park. The field included a number of top teams on the circuit, including KCBS teams of the year, Jack Daniels World Champion, and numerous grand champions from state championships.

Nominating commission selects Breshears as Osage County magistrate judge

LYNDON, Kan. – The 4th Judicial District Nominating Commission has selected Lori Breshears to fill a magistrate judge vacancy in Osage County. The commission conducted public interviews of nominees for the position April 6, 2021, in Lyndon. Three people had applied for the opening.

Breshears’ new position will be effective upon her swearing-in. She currently is employed as a paralegal and victim witness coordinator for the Coffey County Attorney’s Office, in Burlington, Kan.

The magistrate judge vacancy was created when judge Shannon Rush resigned effective Feb. 1.

The 4th Judicial District is composed of Anderson, Coffey, Franklin, and Osage counties. Eligibility requirements to serve as a Kansas district magistrate judge include: Must be a resident of Osage County at the time of taking office and while holding office; must be a graduate of a high school, a secondary school, or the equivalent; must either be a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas or able to pass an examination given by the Supreme Court to become certified within 18 months.

After serving one year in office, an appointed magistrate judge must stand for a retention vote in the next general election to remain in the position. If retained, the incumbent will serve a four-year term.

The 4th Judicial District Nominating Commission includes Justice Eric Rosen, Craig Cole, Garnett, Anthony Mersman, Greeley, Phyllis Gardner and Janet Walsh, both of Lyndon, Heather Landon, Ianne Dickinson, and Forrest Lowry, all of Ottawa, and Timothy Johnson, Waverly.

See related story: 4th Judicial District committee to interview nominees for Osage County magistrate judge

Chamber Chatter: Springtime sprouts activity in local business community

Osage City spring citywide garage sales, April 16-17, 2021

The holidays have been over for a couple months, the ground hog saw his shadow; however, spring time is just around the corner and it is time to get ready to do some spring cleaning. It will soon be that time of the year to sign up for the spring Osage City citywide garage sales, set for April 16 and 17, 2021. This is a great opportunity to get rid of some of that “stuff” you never use and free up some space.

To sign up, contact Tricia Gundy at 785-528-3301 or 785-219-9727. She has revised the area map and is more user friendly, providing a chart for the type of items at the garage sales. She will need your name – as you want it listed on the map, address, a phone number in case of questions about the sale, if you are having the sale Friday and Saturday or Saturday only, what area you are on the map, type of items that you will be selling, and a $5 donation fee. Gundy is also working to make the map available per the Chamber of Commerce Facebook page and website. The proceeds go towards a scholarship awarded every year to two Osage City High School graduates. The deadline for adding a sale to the garage sale map is 5 p.m. April 13.


Edward Jones Investments relocates to new office

Dec. 22, 2020, marked the first day of relocation for the Osage City Edward Jones office. Financial advisor Robyn Williams and her team moved east on Market Street one block, from 516 Market St., where the office had been located for 27 years, to 622 Market St.

New Edward Jones office at 622 Market St., Osage City, Kan.

Williams has been an Edward Jones financial advisor for more than 24 years and works to understand the individual goals of her clients prior to assisting them with their financial needs. Her primary goal is to help individual investors develop an investment strategy geared toward their family’s long-term goals. Her team has built their business by treating their clients as they would want to be treated.

Robyn graduated from Fort Hays State University with a bachelor’s degree in business communications, a finance minor and a leadership studies certification. She began her career with Edward Jones in Beloit, Kan., in 1996; then moved to Emporia, Kan., before taking over as the financial advisor in Osage City in June 2001. In August 2008, she earned the accredited asset management specialist designation from the College of Financial Planning. She celebrated her 25-year anniversary with Edward Jones on March 4.

In her Osage City office, Williams is joined by two branch office administrators: Mandi Potter, has more than 22 years of experience in the Osage City branch, and Jen Koch, who has three and a half years of experience.

The Osage City Edward Jones team is planning to have a grand opening at the new location when corporate COVID-19 guidelines allow.


Smoke in the Spring State BBQ Championship

Smoke in the Spring State BBQ Championship will be celebrating its 18th annual event April 9-10, 2021. Friday evening’s Taste of Osage City will get underway at 5 p.m. in Jones Park. BBQ Bucks will be on sale prior to the event at Osage City Hall; and at Osage City Community Building during the Friday evening event. The celebration will include a live band outdoors along with a fireworks display.


Cruis’n and Cook’n Auto Show

The 17th annual Cruis’n and Cook’n Auto Show, will be Saturday, April 10, 2021, in downtown Osage City. This year, the Twin Lakes Cruisers will be having additional attractions along with the auto show including the Manhatchet Axe Throw, a craft show at St. Brigid Hall, and also the senior center will be kicking off the citywide garage sales a week early, with a thrift sale at the center.


Osage City Chamber of Commerce seeks 2021 scholarship applications

The Osage City Chamber of Commerce offers a scholarship to one senior girl and one senior boy graduating from Osage City High School. High School graduation is just around the corner and the Chamber is encouraging seniors that are furthering their education to get with Kathy Camarena, Osage City High School counselor, and ask for application information. For the Osage City Chamber of Commerce application, data needed to apply is a transcript, two letters of reference, and an essay from the student on importance of owning and operating a business in a small town. Application must be postmarked by April 23, 2021. The announcement of the winners will be dependent upon the status of the school allowing visitor participation in such events. The 2020 scholarships were awarded to Dylan Shaffer and Kaitlyn Heiserman.

Lyndon farm serves as headquarters for statewide celebration of farmers

Sandy, Darrell and Clint Sturdy explain to Gov. Laura Kelly and Sen. Rick Kloos some of the history of their family farm near Lyndon.

LYNDON, Kan. – Last Tuesday, when Gov. Laura Kelly’s SUV rolled out of a Kansas rainstorm and into a machine shed near Lyndon, she wasn’t there just for a barn party – it was a nationwide celebration.

Like the spring rains, the governor and other dignitaries were welcomed to family-operated Sturdy Farms to celebrate the agriculture heritage of Kansas, and the hard work and determination that produces the world’s food. In recognition of Kansas Agriculture Month, Kelly had come for a tour of the family’s farm operation, and to sign a proclamation in the Sturdys’ equipment barn recognizing all farmers and ranchers across the state for their labors invested in feeding the world.

Soggy roads and fields curtailed the farm tour to viewing the family’s historical farm through the barn door and pouring rain, with Clint Sturdy pointing out the family’s present and former homesteads across cropland and hayfields south and west of Lyndon. Sturdy said the family’s farm was started in 1898 and has continued as a family cattle and grain operation throughout the years. Sturdy Farms is operated by Clint, Rod, and Darrell Sturdy and family members.

The governor said the small celebration turned out to be more than she expected, noting the attendance of members of the Lyndon High School FFA chapter, state Sen. Rick Kloos, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kelsey Olson, and local citizens, but said Kansas farmers deserved special recognition this year after maintaining the nation’s food supply during pandemic conditions.

“During the pandemic, that was so evident – by the hard work of our farmers and ranchers we were able to keep our supply chain here in Kansas pretty much intact,” Kelly said. “We were the only state that did not have to shut down our meat production throughout the entire pandemic – all due to the very hard work of our farmers and ranchers, and some help from our federal partners helping us figure out how we could do that safely.”

Introducing the governor, Deputy Secretary Olson pointed out Kelly had a role in helping to keep the state’s food supply uninterrupted. “I’m very proud to say she is first governor to procure vaccines for our meat processing industry,” Olson said.

Olson said the state also utilized government COVID-19 funds for maintaining food production in the state. “One of the most exciting things I got to work on this past year was to be able to provide $11.6 million of coronavirus relief funds to the Kansas economy,” Olson said. “These dollars went directly to support food capacity in Kansas.”

The celebration also included the governor’s announcement that Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses exported more than $4 billion in goods in 2020 – up more than $214 million from the previous year.

“This is the first time exports have surpassed $4 billion in our state since 2014,” Kelly said. “That’s a huge accomplishment – our agriculture workers should be proud.”

Sen. Kloos told the barn gathering that as a newly elected state senator and originally “from the city” he had a lot to learn, but he knew the importance of agriculture to Kansas.

“It’s a good day in Kansas when we talk about our farmers. I’ve come just to appreciate the farmers,” Kloos said. “I really believe in the farming community and all that you guys do.”

Before signing the proclamation, Gov. Kelly said the celebration should be about gratitude to the state’s food producers.

“We do owe our farmers and ranchers gratitude, not only today but really every day,” the governor said. “Every time we take a bite, remember why you have that food on your table.”

The governor’s proclamation declares the month of March as Kansas Agriculture Month, and March 23, 2021, as Kansas Agriculture Day. The statewide observation coincides with the celebration of National Agriculture Day, which has a theme this year of “Food Brings Everyone to the Table” – a reminder that the food everyone enjoys exists because of the dedication and hard work of farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses.

“Farmers and ranchers are the true foundation of both the state of Kansas and our nation,” Kelly said. “It’s through their hard work that we are able to eat and have food on our tables. We owe them great gratitude for all their hard work and long hours to produce our food and take care of us in the future.”

Republican women host Osage County Treasurer at March meeting

Osage County Treasurer Lexie Fager presented a program on tax statements and tax processing at the Osage County Republican Women meeting Tuesday, March 9, 2021. The audience also asked questions about deadlines for paying taxes, the appeal process, and tax foreclosure sales.

Osage County Treasurer Lexie Fager, center, talks to the Osage County Republican Women during its March meeting.

Next month, OCRW is participating in a day at the Capitol April 7, in Topeka. The event is sponsored by the Kansas Federation of Republican Women, and legislative leaders speak with attendees and lead discussions on issues currently before the legislature.

Most years, a tour of the Kansas State Capitol and attendance in the gallery of the House and Senate sessions are part of the daylong event. This year, however, the event is scheduled “Near the Dome” as COVID-19 protocols have kept visitors out of the Capitol during the 2021 legislative session. Anyone interested in attending can contact OCRW President Judy Marten at 785-219-3557, as registration is required.

The next meeting of OCRW will be 7 p.m. June 8, at the Osage County Senior Center, 604 Market St., Osage City. The program topic is “Public Safety and County Government” with Osage County Sheriff Chris Wells and Osage County commissioners. The program is open to the public.

Osage City fire station celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with Budweiser donation

Unloading donated cases of emergency drinking water March 17, 2021, at OCFD No. 2 fire station were, from left, J.D. Lohmeyer, Assistant Chief Scott Brenner, FHB owner Casey Mussatto, Mario Schutter, Colton Hallgren, Dee Long, Lt. Justin Wright, and Cody Wright. Osage County News photo.

OSAGE CITY, Kan. – Although a Budweiser semi-trailer backed up to Osage County Fire District No. 2’s fire station Wednesday morning, there wasn’t a St. Patrick’s Day party going on. Instead, Flint Hills Beverage employee Mario Schutter was unloading a supply of emergency drinking water, canned by Anheuser-Busch, to help provide hydration for local responders during this year’s wildfire season.

With recent wildfire conditions across Kansas and Osage County, Flint Hills Beverage, the local Anheuser-Busch wholesaler partner based in Osage City and Manhattan, arranged for 98 cases of emergency drinking water to be delivered March 17, 2021, to the fire station in Osage City.

J.D. Lohmeyer, Flint Hills Beverage sales manager, said the company was aware of recent efforts of local fire crews fighting numerous pasture fires in the area, and thought the Anheuser-Busch emergency water program would be able help out.

Noting Anheuser-Busch has a longstanding tradition of providing emergency drinking water for disaster relief efforts, Lohmeyer said, “We contacted them, and it only took about three days and the water was here.”

Anheuser-Busch periodically pauses beer production each year to can emergency drinking water to be ready during natural disasters and other crises. The water was donated through Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with the National Volunteer Fire Council.

OCFD No. 2 Assistant Fire Chief Scott Brenner said the fire department welcomed the donation and fire fighters would be able to use it during the Flint Hills fire danger season.

“We are very grateful for the donation of drinking water that was received from Anheuser-Busch, National Volunteer Fire Council, and Flint Hills Beverage,” Brenner said. “Firefighters use water to stay hydrated during incidents to keep them functioning at their best, and the donation couldn’t have come at a better time as we are currently in the grass fire season.”

Brenner said the department consumes approximately 60 cases of water per year during all types of calls, either during structure fires, grass fires, or event standbys on hot days.

“Again thank you to Anheuser-Busch, National Volunteer Fire Council, and Flint Hills Beverage,” Brenner said.

The beer brewer teamed up with the NVFC in 2019 to provide emergency drinking water to help firefighters stay hydrated and healthy when responding to wildfires and large incidents. To date, the program has donated more than 3.2 million cans of water to volunteer firefighters across the country.

For more information about the OCFD No. 2 water donation, contact Lohmeyer at [email protected]. For more information about the emergency drinking water program, see www.nvfc.org/water.

4th Judicial District committee to interview nominees for Osage County magistrate judge

LYNDON, Kan. – The 4th Judicial District Nominating Commission will convene April 6, 2021, to interview three nominees to fill a district magistrate judge vacancy in Osage County created by judge Shannon Rush’s resignation Feb. 1.

The nominating commission will meet to interview nominees, convening at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 6, at the Lyndon Community Center, 204 Topeka Ave., Lyndon, Kan.

Nominees to be interviewed are attorney Tonya Vignery, of Vassar, Kan., 9 a.m.; Lori Breshears, paralegal and victim witness coordinator, Burlington, Kan., 9:30 a.m.; and attorney Joseph Falls, Lawrence, Kan., 10 a.m.

Interviews are open to the public. After the interviews, the commission will appoint a district magistrate judge.

Anyone who attends in person must follow public health requirements set out in Supreme Court administrative order. These include answering questions at check-in about symptoms of or possible exposure to COVID-19, wearing a face mask while in the building, and maintaining six feet of physical distance from others.

After serving one year in office, the new magistrate judge must stand for a retention vote in the next general election to remain in the position. If retained, the incumbent will serve a four-year term.

The 4th Judicial District Nominating Commission includes Justice Eric Rosen, nonvoting chair; Craig Cole, Garnett; Anthony Mersman, Greeley; Phyllis Gardner and Janet Walsh, Lyndon; Heather Landon, Ianne Dickinson, and Forrest Lowry, Ottawa; and Timothy Johnson, Waverly. The 4th Judicial District is composed of Anderson, Coffey, Franklin, and Osage counties.

Community joins forces during Overbrook freeze up and water outage

One of many water line repairs underway in Overbrook during the great freeze of 2021. Courtesy photo.

During the deep freeze in February, Overbrook residents experienced an unprecedented number of water main breaks – five if you’re counting. These breaks caused city water sources to disappear or slow to a trickle as the water towers drained.

Overbrook employees, residents, local businesses, and work crews from nearby cities pulled together, working in subzero weather, to fix the water main breaks. As one was fixed, another would break. Most residents in Overbrook were without water for part or most of three days, and were issued a boil water alert that was finally lifted Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.

Here are many of the people who worked long and hard to get water back in everyone’s homes: Jon Brady, Jim Koger, Aaron Traphagan, Danny Gamblin, Ross Miner, Hanna Smith and Ben Trotter for the City of Overbrook, Todd Goodyear and Ralph Guffey from G&G Excavating, Chris Warthen, Mike Musick and Jim Jolly Jr. from Osage County RWD No. 5, the crew at Conklin Plumbing, Osage City utility workers who assisted through the Kansas Mutual Aid Program, Kansas Rural Water Association, Jim Foster, Jesse Heberling, Nathan Averill, Calvin Young, and Kansas Municipal Utilities. Special thanks go out to the Osage County Fire District No. 4 as they provided bottled water, non-potable water, filled non-potable tanks at Brookside, and allowed us to install a temporary pressure relief valve at their station. The Overbrook United Methodist Church provided non-potable water and bottled water for drinking. Thank you so much!  We hope we did not leave anyone off this list.

An outpouring of appreciation was expressed by residents. Many residents brought food and beverages to the tired and hungry crews. Children from the Overbrook Attendance Center brought gift baskets and handwritten thank-you cards.

Water issues of this magnitude should not occur again because the city of Overbrook will begin replacing the old water system in 2021.

– Overbrook City Clerk Jim Koger

Hidden History: Osage County exiles populist publisher back to plow pushing

Gritty Kansas newspaper editor Sylvester Fowler made Osage County his temporary home in the late 1800s. His passion in politics and writing rubbed many the wrong way, causing his stays to be cut short, but he remained determined to return to this place he felt held his same ideals.

Fowler was born in 1853 in Ohio, and came to Kansas when he was three years old. He entered the newspaper business in Pottawatomie County in the mid-1870s, pledging that a paper under his supervision would not publish anything “unsound in morals, or unhealthy in religion … and parents need not be afraid of its bringing an evil influence into their homes.”

It didn’t take long however, for the young, ambitious and outspoken newspaper man to stir controversy. In 1879, he was accused of plagiarizing and stealing from another paper.

He continued to push the limits of what was considered acceptable in society when he published a book called Sex and other Poems in 1890, which included what was considered erotic poetry but also poems of a more general nature. While tame by today’s standards, the mere utterances of anything of a sexual nature were taboo during the Victorian period, and Fowler’s poetry caused breathless readings among its fans.

“In spite of creeds that mislead us
And doubts that vex and perplex
I hold that the highest religion
Is the proper worship of sex.”-Sex 1890

Despite some approval the poet gained, others were not so impressed. The Nortonville News stated that Fowler’s poem dedicated to recently deceased newspaperman Milton W. Reynolds was so terrible, “It seems a great pity … that Reynolds could not rise from his grave and drop the man who would write such trash and dedicate it to him.”

At the time Sex and other Poems was published, the People’s Party (or Populist Party) arose on the political scene and caught the eye of Fowler. The Populists sought to restore the government to the hands of “plain people”, distancing itself from corporate and financial interests, a concept appealing to both farmers and under-represented minorities. Fowler, who maintained a farm in addition to running a newspaper, took up the Populist cause and started papers that were considered “organs” for the Populist Party.

In 1893, Fowler made the move to Osage County, considering it a place with down-home values and anticipating a good reception for a Populist paper. He purchased the former Burlingame Herald and turned it into the Burlingame Blade, a Populist promoting periodical. His success and ambition encouraged him to purchase the Lyndon Herald, also. He would consolidate those papers under one title, The People’s Herald, and move the offices to Lyndon, reasoning that he often got turned around in Burlingame.

His People’s Herald went head-to-head with the Osage City Free Press, calling it and any others out on any anti-populism rhetoric. It did not take Fowler long in his reporting to stir up controversy.

In the previous election, in an attempt to revitalize the lackluster response to enforcement of prohibition around the state, the Populists promoted an all-temperance ticket in Osage County. Problems arose when the Populists’ winning choice for county attorney, Ellis Lewis, was found to be all but temperate, and would not enforce the laws. Rumors began that the Populists had agreed that there was to be no enforcement of the laws if their ticket was elected. Both of these were too much for the ardent Populist Fowler to bear and he lashed out at Lewis in his People’s Herald, calling him a “miserable ingrate, malicious, ungrateful, and wretchedly debauched and depraved. He is a traitor to the party that honored him and to the friends who furnished him money … He is the most hopelessly confirmed drunkard today in Osage County. He is without self-control and without hope. Let him be removed.”

Historical reenactment at Overbrook to celebrate Santa Fe Trail bicentennial

As part of the bicentennial celebration of the establishment of the Santa Fe Trail, the Osage County Historical Society will host Gary Hicks in a reenactment presentation on Alexander Majors, 2 p.m. March 6, 2021, at the community room of Overbrook Public Library.

Alexander Majors is best remembered as the co-founder of the famed Pony Express with William H. Russell and William B. Waddell, but prior to that he was transporting freight along the Santa Fe Trail by 1848.

Hicks will address the life of Majors and the numerous contributions he made to the western expansion movement of our nation in the 1800s. Drawing from his in-depth research of the life and times of Alexander Majors, Hicks will also present a close look at Majors’ partners Russell and Waddell, and the time preceding the Civil War.

As Alexander Majors, Hicks will explore the nation’s desire in the 1850s for a faster overland mail service to California on the west coast. Hicks will offer his personal perspective (through Majors) how pre-Civil War politics may have influenced the creation of the Pony Express.

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