Osagepedia – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Tag Archives: Osagepedia

Osage County Cemeteries: Map and list

No Name No. 8 Cemetery, near Lamont Hill. Photo by Jan Williams.

In cooperation with the Osage County Historical Society, Osage County News has published online a list of Osage County cemeteries and their locations. The historical society had previously published similar information in a brochure, and volunteers of the society updated the list.

Osage County News has also created a map that shows the general locations of the cemeteries, which are listed with directions on the reverse side of the map. A printable version of the two-page map and cemetery list is available here.

When visiting the cemeteries listed, visitors are advised that some are on private property and property owners’ privacy should be respected. Not all cemeteries are located on all-weather roads, and some are in remote locations in Osage County; visitors should watch weather conditions and be aware of possible road hazards. Use of a highway map or GPS device to assist with navigation when trying to locate cemeteries is also advised.

Hidden History: Small town girl stands up to small-minded scorn

A family photo of Peter and Kate Peterson and sons, Roy, Clyde and John. Wendi Bevitt collection.

History becomes hidden for many reasons. At times it is because the person or event is surrounded by some shame. Attempts to suppress the shame cuts that part of an individual’s story out of the historical record. Living in a small, rural community amplified any shame a person had because town gossip mills could and still can be devastating.

Emily Kate Bratton, “Kate” for short, was born in 1867 in Pennsylvania, the youngest of eight surviving children born to John and Catherine. Her birth came right before her family and a group of others from the same area moved to Burlingame, Kan.

Kate’s uncle, George Bratton, had been one of the first settlers of Burlingame in 1854, when it was known as Council City. Kate grew up on a farm not far from town. As a girl from a rural middle class family, she would have conformed to the norms of the day – helping her mother with the household chores such as cooking, cleaning, and mending.

However, unlike other girls her age, as the youngest in her family, she did not have the responsibility of helping to look after younger siblings, which gave her a certain amount of freedom. As a student, school attendance was not regulated at this time, and particularly with farming families school was optional compared to farm and home responsibilities. Even though there was a school within a mile of the Bratton home, northwest of Burlingame, by the time Kate was 13, she was not attending school.

Osage City’s Got It: Osage City Library is more than just books

Osage City Public Library, 2024. Courtesy photo.

Submitted by Jeanette Swarts

Along with the town itself, the Osage City Library has a very historic past. The Sorosis Club, a women’s literary group, established the library in 1922. They developed a collection by pushing baby buggies around town to gather books.

In the mid 1920s, Edward Lieber donated money to build the first library at 214 S. Sixth St. The Sorosis Club consisted of 26 members; each member volunteered two weeks of their time to operate the library up until 1969. The library had outgrown their club and it became a public supported library in 1970.

With community support, a new library was built in 2000 and the Lieber Library became the Osage City Public Library. A community room, which can be rented, was added in 2016. A plaque honoring the Sorosis Club’s years of service was put on display in the library.

The library’s motto is “More than just books” and is very fitting. The library has a collection that loans out not only books, but a variety of items including audiobooks, cake pans, magazines, movies and television shows, music CDs, puzzles, and video games. The audiobook collection includes CDs, but also Playaways and Wonderbooks. Customers of the library also have access to Flipster, Hoopla and Libby; all are digital borrowing services that provide access to ebooks, digital audiobooks, music, movies, tv shows and magazines for users to enjoy free.

The library provides a variety of programs and services for all ages. During the school year, story time is held twice a week for those five and younger; programs for school age children are held after school on Tuesday and Thursday each week; and Lego Club meets each month. When school is not in session, additional programs are held. A teen group meets to work on projects for themselves and for the library, and the adult book club and bingo are held monthly. Art classes for adults and youths are also held at the library.

During the summer, the library provides library programs and incentives to promote reading, as well as providing summer meals to those 18 years and younger. Anyone needing to laminate, fax, scan or make color or black and white copies, the library provides those services. Also available is wi-fi and computers to use. The library’s genealogy collection includes local newspapers dating back to the 1800s, and Osage City High School yearbooks starting with the 1913 yearbook.

Hidden History: Not forgotten, Klan congregated prejudices to fuel flames of hate

A photo of an unnamed Osage County town shows unmasked Klansmen riding horses in a parade. Osage County Historical Society photo.

Sometimes history that is hidden just means it is forgotten. Other times, history is purposefully suppressed because it is much easier to forget than to deal with it. One of those topics that has been intentionally pushed to the side is associations with the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan in Kansas found a foothold in the 1910s.

Increased immigration, along with a surge of nationalism with the first world war, provided a foundation for a resurgence of the KKK. The original Klan emerged in the South in the period following the Civil War called Reconstruction, a plan to alter the skewed social structure that existed in the South caused by slavery. The Klan used political and social terrorism to keep those of African descent in check during this period.

While Klan activities diminished after the early 1870s, memories of the organization did not. The KKK experienced a resurgence when the group was romanticized by author Thomas Dixon in his 1905 novel, The Clansman, which went on to be adapted into a motion picture called The Birth of a Nation in 1915.

The same year the movie came out, the new Klan initiated its first citizens into the “invisible empire” around a fiery cross on top of Stone Mountain in Georgia. The new Klan voiced prejudice against not only African Americans, but also Roman Catholics, Jews, individuals with low morals, or those that showed a lack of patriotism. The new iteration of the organization was much larger than the first one, gaining membership nationwide, and took hold predominantly in the rural states.

Kansas, however, fought hard to keep the Klan out of its borders. Earliest actions included the Kansas censorship bureau banning The Birth of a Nation from being shown in the state.

Hidden History: Early inhabitants wove the fabric of Osage County’s past

Every property has a story, every house has a story, woven by the individuals that make their mark at that specific location. In the southern part of Osage County, Kan., the impact of written human history starts with the Sauk and Fox.

In the winter of 1845-46, the Sauk and Fox tribes were removed to a reservation in Franklin and Osage counties, consisting of 435,200 acres located at the upper reaches of the Osage River. This land contained 500 acres of rich farm ground used by the Sauk and Fox for farming until the Treaty of 1868, a deal which would lay the groundwork to remove the tribes to Oklahoma. Despite the signing of the treaty in 1868, the majority of the Sauk and Fox were not moved from the area until 1869. The land was then sold by the government to incoming settlers.

Julius Gandion, early Lyndon  farmer/stockman. Photo Los Angeles Times, Jan. 31, 1906.

One of the first settlers to be granted a land patent (purchase of land from the government) was Julius Gandion. Julius was a native of France who arrived in Osage County in 1871. His farm was located approximately three miles south of Lyndon, a property that now has a large two-story ranch house upon it. That house, while not Gandion’s, would become the center of a larger story.

After only 20 years, Julius Gandion moved on from his property due to personal struggles. Edward H. Perry, an agent for a real estate company in Topeka, heard about the newly available property and jumped at the chance to purchase it in 1892.

Edward constructed a new eight-room house on the property. The ranch became known as one of the most improved farms in the county. It boasted all kinds of fruit and shade trees and a lovely blue grass and tame grass lawn.

Traveling exhibit tells story of Osage County’s county seats

Ann Rogers and Lynsay Flory show the historical exhibit “Individuals of Influence,” which is on display now at the Lyndon Library.

The Osage County Historical Society has a new, civics-minded exhibit. “Individuals of Influence,” led by an Osage County archivist, Ann Rogers, gives current Osage County citizens a connection with those who came before them.

The display contains photos and artifacts related to the county seat at Lyndon, but it is important to note the county had several county seats prior to when Lyndon became county seat. Rogers and Lynsay Flory, OCHS director, have written a short history tracing the county seats, and it is available in a free pamphlet at the display. The exhibit is currently on display at the Lyndon Carnegie Library, 127 E. Sixth St., Lyndon, Kan.

“The society would welcome donations of artifacts directly relating to the past county seats,” Rogers said.

Flory noted the exhibit highlights the important history of citizen involvement in local government.

“As we approach a two-year election year, it can be tempting to neglect local and county concerns,” Flory said, “but our exhibit demonstrates the value citizens place on county affairs. To Osage County residents past and present, local and county issues are important.”

The historical society plans to move the exhibit around the county, enabling more people to see it.

Arvonia School kicks off 150-year celebration with outdoor concert

The Arvonia Historic Preservation Society has plans for several events for the 150th anniversary of Arvonia School. The celebration will begin with a concert by Tina Barrett and Zak Putnam.

Everyone is invited to attend the outdoor concert 4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 24, 2022, in front of the Arvonia School, and bring lawn chairs or blankets and a picnic, snack and refreshment of choice.

Located in the Welsh settlement of Arvonia, Kan., is the Arvonia School. Built in 1872, the school is one of the few remaining buildings designed by pioneer Kansas architect John G. Haskell. It is one of the earliest-known architect designed schools in the state. The building was constructed by Welsh craftsman James Rice. It has become a Kansas icon, immortalized in the art of photography and legend of the region. The school is on the Reigister of Historic Kansas Places and the National Register of Historic Places. The building has been restored in the past several years.

In case of rain, the concert will be moved to the township hall. For more information, contact Susan Evans Atchison at 620-794-3917. Arvonia is located four miles north of Lebo and is on the southwest side of Melvern Lake.

More activities are planned this year to celebrate the beautiful historic school building, including another concert in the fall.

Hidden History: Deaf education helps early settlers cope with silence on the prairie

Photo of the printing class from History of the Kansas Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb, 1893.

Perry Barnes and his wife Lizzie, like others anxious to take advantage of the newly opened Sac and Fox reservation lands, moved to Osage County in 1866. However, Perry and Lizzie were unlike other settlers – they were both deaf and non-speaking.

Perry and Lizzie settled south of Osage City. While they were different than other settlers, Perry and Lizzie were also not like many other deaf individuals at that time. Both had been educated at schools for the deaf, and Perry had even taught at one. Because he was given a chance at education, Perry became an avid reader and also a successful farmer and stockman.

Even though Perry and Lizzie left Osage County by 1870, evidence of his time here remains, the name of the creek adjoining their property became known as Mute Creek.

Educational possibilities for the deaf in Kansas started with the Kansas Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in 1861, which was only a small house school in Baldwin City at that time. While the founders desired to impact area deaf children, it was quite some time before their services would be made more widely available. And so, the deaf of the Kansas interior at the time were left adrift in society and few had the knowledge of how to best meet their needs.

In some cases, deaf individuals were cared for at the county poor farm or floated about. One young Burlingame boy was reported in 1883 to have been given a bottle of whiskey and a cigar as he wandered the neighborhoods.

National Deaf History Month is recognized and celebrated every year from March 13-April 15 to recognize the accomplishments of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. 

The deaf school became established in 1866 at Olathe and reached a period of growth and outreach in the 1880s, when it changed its name to the to Kansas Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb. At this time it and began working on integrating deaf students into society instead of merely separating them from it.

The school in Olathe offered free tuition to students and did not charge for board or clothes washing, which put an education within the grasp of most young deaf or hard of hearing people. Students were accepted as early as age 8, enrolled for a 10-year course of study. The school year ran from September to June, and the students would board at the school during that time. At the end of the term, the students often would be carpooled (for a fee) back to their homes across the state.

Within a decade of growth for the school after its expansion in the 1880s, the school doubled in size. There were 17 teachers in the literary departments, and trades like cabinet making, shoe making, harness making, printing, and baking were taught to the boys, and home skills or the arts to the girls.

Ads ran in Osage County newspapers promoting the school, and many families started to take advantage of the offer. Among the first students from Osage County to attend the deaf school in Olathe were Constance Morell, of Osage City, and Fred Allen, of Burlingame.

Like many at the school, Constance was not born deaf, but due to accident or illness, lost her hearing when she was about six. Her parents first sought out assistance from a doctor in Atchison to no avail. She began attending the institute in Olathe in 1887 and excelled in the art of drawing and painting under the direction of teacher Jessie Zearing, an Osage City native.

Hidden History: Barclay, Osage County’s forgotten Quaker community

A Quaker influence has been in Osage County since the state was opened for settlement in 1854. Even before that time, however, the Quakers were active in Kansas Territory as missionaries to the Native American tribes. Quakers took the belief of “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” literally and believed that all races were equal. At the Kansas Quakers missions, followers sought to bring the Christian faith, as well as education, to the tribes.

Their position in the missions gave them early access to the newly opened lands after the signing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Their early presence here also put them in position to take a role in laying the groundwork for Kansas to be admitted as a free state. Nearly from the time slavery was introduced to the United States, the Quakers had objected to the institution of slavery. Quaker beliefs prohibited them from any force in the matter, so they found another way to take an active role in the fight against slavery – such as the Underground Railroad. In our area, Quaker missionaries were in Osage County early on, but later moved into Wabaunsee County, where they established known stops for the Underground Railroad.

The next major influence of the Quakers in Osage County would not occur until more than a decade later. When a treaty in 1859 shrunk the Sac and Fox reservation, nearly 140,000 acres of the premium parcels of the former reservation lands were snapped up by government officials and land speculators. The largest portion went to Seyfert and McManus Company, acting in conjunction with the Reading Iron Works, of Reading, Pennsylvania. John McManus was also tied to the railroad, and because of his varied interests, sought to open coal mines in the county.

Hidden History: Newspaper ad reunites Uncle Wash with family more than a century later

When he was an octogenarian, “Uncle Wash” was observed as being a “pleasant faced appearing old man, whose gray eyes, hair, and beard [gave] him a venerable appearance, not much unlike the typical Uncle Tom”, as was quoted in the June 9, 1892, Osage County Chronicle. Wash’s story, however, was much different than the Uncle Tom of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

George Washington Irving had been held in slavery near Springfield, Missouri, one of about 20 slaves owned by a Mr. Fulbright. Possibly John Fulbright, who with his family, in 1829, brought 30 slaves with them to Greene County, Missouri. Fulbright was “a very hard master” and Wash and the others enslaved by the Fulbright family were submitted “to the lashings of a cruel and capricious owner.”

When General James Lane led a campaign into southwest Missouri in the fall of 1861 with his Kansas Brigade, Wash’s family was one of the hundreds of others the troops freed during their time in the area. Wash would later recount an attempt by the local slaveholders to dissuade their slaves from leaving with the Army, telling them that if they left, they would be sold by the government to pay the debts of the war. However, Wash and others tired of their bonds figured it was worth the gamble and took the soldiers at their word.

These formerly enslaved families became “contrabands” or recently freed individuals taken under the care of the Army. When the refugees became too numerous for the frontier Army to handle, Lane sent many of the contrabands, dubbed “The Black Brigade” to the safety of Kansas under the care of Army chaplains. The refugees took with them all of their earthly possessions, sometimes using their former master’s livestock to transport the loads. The troop traveled day and night on this journey, with little opportunity to rest and limited protection in this pro-slavery area of Missouri.

Wash and other refugees who formed the Black Brigade first arrived in Kansas at Fort Scott. Many then ventured on to Lawrence by the fall of 1861, where some found livelihoods and settled. Wash worked as a teamster in the free-state town during his time there.

In 1863, he weathered the fury of Quantrill’s raiders when they sacked the town. The following year, Wash and his family moved to Burlingame, Kansas. It was there that he found a job performing labor at the Burlingame Cemetery. During his career, he was said to have dug more than 1,000 graves at the cemetery, earning $2 per excavated grave.

Hidden History: Doodlebug, the little train that touched ‘every person’s life’ in Melvern

Photo of the Doodlebug M.177, in 2011, at Los Angeles, Calif., by Jd from RR Picture Archives.Net.

When Leona Knight Shaffer was a young girl in Melvern, Kan., in the 1930s, her father, Edward, was employed by the Santa Fe Railroad as a section laborer. One of the rewards for her dad’s labors was a pass issued to him, his wife, and minor children.

For a long time whenever Edward or his family wanted to go anywhere on a train, they had to order a pass, but later passes were issued annually with the eligible names on the pass. With the passes, the family had the opportunity to travel wherever the passes were honored.  Most of the time the family rode on the local Doodlebug.

Doodlebug M.177 was a passenger train that was built in 1929 and designated by the number M.177. It ran from Emporia to Lawrence, 1930 to 1933 and  in 1936, Kansas City to Newton, in 1937, and Burlingame to Alma,  1941 to 1943.

The following is Leona’s account of Melvern’s “Doodlebug”, which “touched every person’s life” in Melvern, she said.

The little train, or “doodlebug,” as we called it, made a daily run through Melvern, between Emporia and Lawrence. This train was the only mode of transportation for most of the people in this small town, because of the majority of the men worked on the Santa Fe in some capacity, and most of them didn’t have automobiles.

The little train was pretty small, but we all thought it was “just right.” I can recall the train having an engine, coal car, baggage car, and the passenger car. At the back of the passenger car was a railing where people could stand if they wanted to. There was no need for a larger train. If a person were going anyplace very far, there was always more passenger trains that were available. Most of us were not going anyplace other than the little towns close by.

One thing on the little train that fascinated us smaller children was the fact that there was a real honest to goodness modern toilet at the end of the passenger car. None of us were used to such a modern convenience. All we had was a “path” to the outhouse behind the house. As soon as we got on the train and got our seats, one of us would have to go to the toilet. It was so nice to sit on a nice modern stool seat with some water in the bowl. We were used to just an old hole and it was a smelly place at that. We all took turns going to the restroom.

The wives of the Santa Fe employees got the most use of the doodlebug. On Saturday afternoons after payday, the women rode the little train over to Ottawa to do their shopping. Some bought their groceries, others got clothing or household items, others just went for the ride to get out of town for a while. This was a pretty good form of recreation. The ladies could catch up on all the gossip because most of them didn’t have a telephone. A few had radios, but lots of them did not even have electricity, and of course the wonderful invention of TV was unheard of. For many of the ladies, this was the only time that they met for conversation, and they thoroughly enjoyed it.

Carbondale plans grand opening ceremony for new library

Members of the Carbondale community form a human chain on Aug. 29, 2021, to move books and materials from the old library to the new one, in preparation for the library’s grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 11. Courtesy photo.

The Carbondale City Library will hold a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the new building’s construction. The ceremony will be 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at 302 Main St., Carbondale.

The new 6,000-square-feet building features seating for more than 100 people, study areas, group meeting rooms, and a multi-purpose room, including a kitchen for future classes.

The ceremony will include remarks from Board of Trustees President Lonnie Hinck, Library Director Heather Garrison, and elected officials. Refreshments will follow with a craft activity for children.

Additionally, the library will be closed Aug. 28-Sept. 10, 2021, to migrate the collection into the new building and install all new technology.

Hidden History: Young Kansas invites young Americans to settle as agrarians

As Kansas emerged, first as a territory and then a state, early pioneers sought to create towns to entice additional settlers to desirous locations. The town of Young America, in what was later to become Osage County, was one of these locations. Built on the premise that the everyday farmer could find success in selling the produce from his small estate, Young America attempted to draw in settlers to its remote location in the interior of the United States.

The first settlement of the claim later to be known as Young America was by a middle-aged man named Carter B. Griffin. Griffin came with the flood of Missourians in 1854 intent on settling Kansas to make it a slave state. Griffin chose a plot of land on the edge of the Sac and Fox reservation, on what is now the northwestern part of Pomona Lake, to establish his claim.

Settlement by Euro-Americans within Indian reservations was prohibited for individuals without direct ties to the tribes, but Griffin utilized a nearby trail that led from the Indian agency to the Pottawatomie reservation to the northwest to trade with the tribes. The nearest neighbors, Fry McGee and his family, also pro-slavery Missourians, were north of Griffin’s claim by 10 miles, also along 110 Mile Creek.

Griffin’s location, like McGee’s, was partially wooded and offered a good location for hunting and fishing. To improve his claim, Griffin built a log cabin and dug a well. After a little more than a year, Griffin left his claim and returned to property he still held in Missouri.

In the spring of 1856, the Griffin claim was assumed by a Mississippian by the name of Smith, who built an additional three log cabins at the site for himself and a number of enslaved individuals he had brought with him. Smith used his labor force to break out 45 acres of prairie land. When the tide within the territory began shifting as 1856 wore on, Smith left, selling his human property in Missouri and returning to Mississippi.

Hidden History: Fostoria musician goes to Nashville, becomes a country ‘Starr’

Burlingame area native Kenny Starr, center, sings with Loretta Lynn during a 1970s era performance. Photographer unknown.

Osage County has long been the home to a strong working class responsible for building the industry in the county. These hard workers and small-town life are the inspiration for the themes of many country music songs. Kenny Trebbe, Osage County native, used his blue-collar roots and his love of music to become a shining “Starr” of the Country Western scene.

Kenny Trebbe grew up in what had been the little mining community of Fostoria, two miles east of Burlingame. His father, William, was a coal miner, construction worker, and vegetable farmer before a back injury limited him to cutting wood for his family.

Kenny got his start in music in elementary school, singing 1950s rock and soul at local venues for nickels and dimes. Some of his first bands were Kenny and the Rebels and later Kenny and the Imperials. His songs were so well received that on one New Year’s Day, he made $13.

His parents, fans of Guy Lombardo’s big band style were not as interested in Kenny’s earliest choice of music but appreciated his switch to country music when he reached his teens. By that time, he had chosen the stage name of Kenny Starr – surname borrowed from a Texas cousin – and created the band Kenny Starr and the Country Showmen.

In 1971, a 17-year-old Kenny entered a talent contest sponsored by a Wichita Radio Station. Ninety-eight contestants participated, but Kenny’s rendition of Ray Price’s “I Won’t Mention It Again” stole the show. His performance caught the eye of Harry “Hap” Peebles, a local promoter. Peebles was able to get him an audience with Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty, who were in town for a show. Kenny was then invited to perform with Lynn and Twitty in both Wichita and Kansas City. Loretta Lynn took a personal interest in the young singer and told him to look her up if he ever got to Nashville, and she would help him get started.

As soon as Kenny got home, he and his mother, Kathleen, prepared to leave immediately to pursue his dreams. A neighbor drove them to Nashville because the Trebbe’s car would not have made the trip, and the group arrived two days later, beating Loretta Lynn home.

Loretta Lynn, true to her word, helped establish Kenny in the country music business. Lynn gave him the opportunity to tour with her band the Coal Miners. When they weren’t touring, she let him live in her mansion. After four and a half years of learning his way in country music, Kenny struck out on his own.

At 150, Melvern proudly represents Kansas Spirit!

Dear Editor:

Congratulations to the town of Melvern, Kansas, for achieving 150 years of township!

Since its formation, Melvern has remained a place of hospitality for all Kansans to enjoy. Whether it’s to experience Melvern Lake, prosper as a small business owner, or be a historical part of the expansion of Kansas with the BNSF railroad, Melvern’s welcoming people and community embody the heart of Kansas.

Melvern offers incredible, photogenic views, and when you’re not celebrating a new fishing season, you’re celebrating the success of the USD 456 Trojans at Marais des Cygnes Valley High School.

As Kansas State Treasurer, one of my favorite things is traveling the state to visit communities like Melvern. While a busy schedule educating our citizens about unclaimed property, Learning Quest 529 accounts, and more keeps me from being able to attend Melvern’s Sunflower Days in person, I hope to visit soon to honor your wonderful achievement of 150 years!

May you celebrate many more and take pride in being a true representation of the Kansas Spirit!

Lynn Rogers
Kansas State Treasurer

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.”

Osage City historical downtown property shares in statewide preservation grants

The Star Block, at 520 Market Street, Osage City, center of photo, was once an early day 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.

OSAGE CITY, Kan. – An Osage City property will receive a historic preservation project grant as part of 2021 round of Heritage Trust Fund grant program.

The Star Block, a portion of the downtown in Osage City on Market Street, will receive $90,000 of the total of $1,168,492 awarded for 15 historic preservation projects across the state.

HTF grants reimburse expenses for projects that preserve or restore qualifying historic properties. The funded projects represent a diverse collection of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places or the Register of Historic Kansas Places. All awards are contingent upon available funding.

“Kansas has a unique and rich history, and with these awards, we can continue to celebrate and learn about that history for generations to come,” Governor Laura Kelly said in announcing the grants.

Hidden History: Cheese depression ends success of Burlingame’s Western Reserve

In the 1860s and beyond, Osage County was one of the most prolific cheese manufacturing areas in Kansas. Cheese production increased in the county when under the guidance of W.D. Canfield, a cheese factory was established at Burlingame, making the town an important cheese producer in the state.

When Canfield and Harvey Parker came to Kansas in 1873, they likely had every intention to establish a cheese factory the moment they settled in the town. Both men were natives of northeast Ohio known as the Western Reserve, Geuga and Portage counties, respectively.

The Western Reserve had long been one of the leading cheese producing locations in the United States, exporting so much cheese that it became known as “Cheesedom.” In 1860, Portage and Geuga counties had produced about 8.5 million pounds of cheese, selling at about 13 cents per pound in eastern and southern markets.

H.W. Parker in particular had gained extensive experience in the cheese industry and was ready to put it to use in Burlingame. A publication in 1872 promoting the success of a cheese factory system, coupled with a depression of the cheese economy in the Western Reserve, sent Canfield and Parker to Kansas, where they could produce a large quantity of cheese at a lesser price.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Burlingame and Osage County were already established as the leading producer of cheese in the state – Osage was the first county to give a thought to its production. John S. Bush and Gamaliel Kent, also from the cheese districts of New York and Ohio, were among the first dairy men in the county. Bush and Kent’s cows produced enough milk to make nearly 70 pounds of cheese (primarily American) per day. The pair sold large loads of what was considered the finest quality cheese to both Leavenworth and Lawrence, earning 10 cents per pound, wholesale.

At that time, three dairies were located around Burlingame and they gained a reputation for superior cheeses, winning state fair premiums for the best cheese for most of a decade. Merchants were willing to pay a premium for Osage County cheese because of its quality.

In the early days, cheese was cured at the homes of local farmers, but due to the benefits of the factory system and increase in demand for cheese from the Civil War, factories began to be established. In 1866, Superior (a now extinct town south of Burlingame) created a factory within its former hotel.

For their cheese factory in Burlingame, W.D. Canfield and Harvey Parker joined with Homer Rogers, of Lyndon, and purchased a former furniture factory with hopes to convert it for cheese production. A steam mill and boiler were attached for use in pumping and heating the water for the cheese process. The men invested less than $5,000 in the property, buildings, and machinery, and named their venture the Western Reserve Cheese Factory in honor of their place of nativity. By May 1873, they were ready for production, reportedly one of five small factories in the state. The Western Reserve Cheese factory projected that they could manufacture 1,000 pounds of 40-pound cheeses per day, contracting with local farmers for 400 cows.

Burlingame, while the center of Osage County at that time, was not the only area town that was considering the marketability of cheese. Carbondale began looking into a flour and cheese mill pairing. The booming town of Lyndon and Valley Brook Township also marginally passed $3,000 in bonds to build a steam mill and cheese factory within a half mile of the disputed county seat.

Powered by WordPress