Charles Jesse Jones – 1996 Inductee

 “There were three great types in the West:  Buffalo Bill, hunter and scout; Wild Bill Hickock, gunman; and Buffalo Jones, the preserver, who brought living things wherever he went.”  – Zane Grey.

Considered one of the most celebrated characters of his time, Charles Jesse “Buffalo” Jones was born January 31, 1844, in Money Township, McLean County, Illinois.  He was the third of twelve children born to Noah and Jane (Munden) Jones on the family farm, where Abraham Lincoln was a frequent visitor and family friend.  For the first seventeen years of his life Charles helped with the farm work.  In 1862 he entered Illinois Wesleyan University, but typhoid fever forced him to give up his studies after two years.  He thought to try his luck out West and so in 1866 he found himself in Troy, Kansas.

At Troy Charles started a nursery and built a stone house.  On January 20, 1869, he was married at Troy to Martha J. Walton.  Their union produced six children, four of whom are known: Charles, William, Jessie, and Olive.  While living in Troy, Charles took his first trip out to the buffalo range to hunt the American bison.  Intrigued by the great beasts and the money to be earned for their hides, he moved his family west in order to be closer to the range.  On January 1, 1872, the Jones family arrived in Osborne County, Kansas, settling on a homestead in Section 19 of Tilden Township.

 Anybody Know Him?

 “The Kansas City Times of October 7th contained a three-column writeup of Charles J. Jones, known to the world as ‘Buffalo’ Jones.  Jones died in Topeka some two weeks ago.  The articles says . . . Jones came to Kansas in 1866, going first to Doniphan County, but four years later settled on a claim in Osborne County, his home standing on the South Fork of the Solomon River . . . If ‘Buffalo’ Jones ever lived in Osborne County the editor of the Farmer never heard of it . . . If any of the old-timers know anything about ‘Buffalo’ Jones ever having lived here they will help out on a historical question by speaking up right now.  If Osborne County was ever the home of so famous a character as ‘Buffalo’ Jones the county is entitled to the honor and credit of it.” — Osborne County Farmer, October 16, 1919.

Yes, He Lived Here

“The Farmer’s article last week asking if anyone knew ‘Buffalo’ Jones when he lived in Osborne County soon brought forth conclusive proof that he was once a resident of Osborne County . . . C. A. Kalbfleisch, who now lives over at Harlan, writes us as follows regarding the Jones affair:  ‘I noticed your article in the Farmer of even date in regards to ‘Buffalo’ Jones and can tell you exactly where his homestead was.  It is located one mile south and one and a quarter west of Bloomington in TildenTownship.  In 1900 I bought this place from D. A. Rowles and among the papers turned over to me was the original patent from the government, dated, I think, 1874, and signed by U. S. Grant, president, to Charles J. Jones.  I talked at the time with Frank Stafford and he said this was ‘Buffalo’ Jones . . . .

L. F. Storer of BethanyTownship tells us he knew ‘Buffalo’ Jones well.  Jones taught a Sunday School class in Doniphan County and Mr. Storer was one of his pupils.  He says Jones used to visit at the home of his father frequently and they were intimate friends.  Jones was not much of a hunter here, but he did a lot of lassoing of buffalo.  He trained several of them to work as oxen.

J. E. Hahn is another who remembers Jones well.  Ed says his father often told him in later years of one of Jones’ hobbies.  He claimed to have the plans and a marked map of the place where a great fortune was buried in one of the Sandwich Islands [Hawaii].  He wanted J. W. Hahn to go with him and secure the treasure.  Jones, with all of his traveling in later years, evidently had forgotten all about that fortune, as history does not mention that he ever visited the Sandwich Islands.

John J. and Robert R. Hays knew ‘Buffalo’ Jones very well.  John says Jones came here from Troy, Doniphan County, in 1872 and stayed here, he thinks, three or four years.  His family was here that long, but after a year Jones used to be away a great deal on hunting trips or some other line of business.  John says he was a good-natured fellow and very likable, but also very visionary.” — OsborneCounty Farmer, October 23, 1919.

In Osborne County Jones divided his time between hunting and farming.  He started a nursery and served as Tilden Township’s justice of the peace.  In 1874 Jones was appointed Osborne County Undersheriff.  Often he was away on long hunting trips, where he learned by necessity the science and art of scouting.  On the range they began to call him “Buffalo” Jones (though never to his face) to differentiate him from “Dirty-Face” Jones and “Wrong Wheel” Jones, who were both also on the range.  In 1876 Jones had sold the homestead and settled his family in Sterling, Kansas.  Three years later he became one of the four founders of Garden City, Kansas, where Jones started a ranch and proceeded to make his mark on the community.  He was soon referred to as “Colonel” Jones, because, as he later put it in his autobiography, it was “the title awarded in the Old West when a man reached a certain level of popular esteem.”  This may indeed be the case, as it was Jones who convinced the Santa Fe Railroad to establish a station at Garden City, and it was Jones who in 1885 completed a stone courthouse and presented it and the surrounding block to the county as a gift.  He also served as the town’s first mayor and as Finney County’s first representative to the Kansas Legislature, where he worked alongside Hiram Bull, representative for Osborne County.  Jones predicted Bull’s death by an angry tamed elk.

A tame wild animal is the most dangerous of beasts.  My old friend, Dick Rock, a great hunter and guide out of Idaho, laughed at my advice and got killed by one of his three-year-old bulls.  I told him they knew him just well enough to kill him, and they did. 

Same with General Hiram Bull, a member of the Kansas Legislature, and two cowboys who went into a corral to tie up a tame elk at the wrong time . . . They had not studied animals as I had.  That tame elk killed all of them . . . You see, a wild animal must learn to respect a man.” — Buffalo Jones in his autobiography Buffalo Jones: Forty Years of Adventure (1899).

By 1886 Jones had realized that the wholesale slaughter of the buffalo would lead to their eventual extinction and regretted his role in it.  Between 1886 and 1889 he made four trips to the Texas panhandle to capture buffalo calves and turn them loose on his ranch.  Within three years he had assembled a herd of over one hundred and fifty animals; at the time the only other herd left in the continental United States was sheltered in Yellowstone National Park – a herd of only two hundred and fifty head.  In 1901 the two herds were merged, and from this new herd are descended most of the American bison in existence today.  Jones also purchased other private herds, including one from Canada that caused considerable controversy.  His exploits earned him a world-wide reputation and he was hailed everywhere as the Preserver of the American Bison.  In 1890 he started a second ranch near McCook, Nebraska, on which part of his enlarged herd were protected.  While some critics denounced his capturing buffalo as hastening their end forever as wild animals, he always defended himself by pointing out that if he did not do it, then the buffalo hunters would – and they would do all they could not to keep them alive.  In 1891 Jones made a trip to England with ten full grown buffalo.  The animals were not entirely sure about the idea of traveling on ship, but in the end they were delivered to the London Zoological Gardens and Jones became the talk of Europe after he presented the Prince of Wales with a magnificent buffalo robe.

But with all this activity Jones had overextended his dwindling finances and he lost everything in the end, including both ranches.  His family went back to Troy to live with his in-laws while he sought to reestablish himself.  In 1893 Jones made the Cherokee Strip run to Oklahoma Territory and secured land near Perry.  He then became sergeant-at-arms of the Oklahoma Legislature.  After a while he was reported to be on the Gulf Coast of Texas, promoting a railroad from Beaumont to Fort Bolivar on Galveston Bay.  Then he hit on a new scheme that once again brought him national attention – he would lead an expedition into the Arctic Circle that would lasso and capture musk oxen and bring them back alive; something that had never been achieved before.

On June 12, 1897, he set out.  At Fort Smith on the Slave River in Alberta, Canada, he took on a partner, John Shea, a Scotch trapper and trader, and attempted to locate and snare the wild oxen.  But blizzards and other rough weather thwarted his plans; in the end they did manage to capture five calves, but the local Indians slit their throats for a native ritual.  The discouraged partners gave up the whole venture and Jones started on the way back home.  The following year he briefly joined the Alaska Gold Rush.  His partner Shea went on to Dawson in the Yukon Territory while Jones thought it was high time to get back to his family and boarding a steamer set sail for Seattle and the United States.

Jones reunited with his family back in Troy on October 8, 1898, after five years of separation.  With Colonel Henry Inman he penned his autobiography, Buffalo Jones: Forty Years of Adventure, which appeared in print in 1899.  In July 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him game warden of Yellowstone National Park, a position he held until September 1905 when he resigned in a dispute with the U.S. Army, who were then in charge of the Park.  The next year he established a ranch along the northern rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona Territory.  He had once before tried to cross domestic cattle with the buffalo, which he dubbed “the cattalo,” and had failed, and here he tried again.  But the cattalo never became popular.  It was also here that a dentist from New York City, Zane Grey, visited Jones in the spring of 1907 in hopes that his health would improve.  Together they roped and relocated mountain lions and Grey wrote his first book, Last of the Plainsmen, with Jones as the hero.

“Buffalo Jones was great in all those remarkable qualities common to the men who opened up the West.  Courage, endurance, determination, hardihood, were developed in him to the highest degree.  No doubt something of Buffalo Jones crept unconsciously into all the great fiction characters I have created.” — Zane Grey.

In 1910 Jones made his first trip to Africa to rope wild animals.  A silent film and lecture tour on the trip were national sensations and his previous exploits were also given much publicity.  Four years later, at the age of seventy, Jones made a second trip to Africa, this time to rope and capture gorillas.  On this trip Jones contracted jungle fever and suffered a severe heart attack.  His health never recovered and he spent his last years in Topeka, Kansas, where he died October 2, 1919.

Charles “Buffalo” Jones was buried in the family plot in the Valley View Cemetery at Garden City.  He never fitted in with the stereotype of the westerner found in dime novels or in movies and television – he did not gamble or use coffee, tea, tobacco, or liquor – and so his legendary life has faded from the American consciousness.  In 1982 his successful preservation efforts to save the American bison earned him a posthumous induction into the National Buffalo Association’s Buffalo Hall of Fame.  His character, courage, and indomitable spirit as a child of the American West has also earned him a permanent place in the Osborne County Hall of Fame.

Jones with his buffalo herd near Garden City, Kansas.

Jones with his buffalo herd near McCook, Nebraska in the 1890s.

Standing: William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody & Charles J. “Buffalo” Jones. Kneeling: Gordon “Pawnee Bill” Lillie. Photo taken in 1910.

Jones’ House Rock Valley ranch house on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Jones climbing up a tree to secure a mountain lion. Through his efforts dozens of lions were caught and released alive into remote areas of the Grand Canyon.

This statue of Charles Jesse “Buffalo” Jones can be found on the grounds of the Finney County Courthouse, Garden City, Kansas.

Part of the buffalo herd founded by Jones on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake of Utah.

Jones with yoked team of buffalo.

Jones with Zane Gray, 1907.

Cover from modern edition of Zane Gray’s first bestseller, “Roping Lions in the Grand Canyon,” featuring Charles “Buffalo” Jones.

The Charles “Buffalo” Jones exhibit in the Finney County Historical Museum at Garden City, Kansas.

Charles Jesse Jones grave in Valley View Cemetery at Garden City, Kansas.






Benjamin Franklin Hilton – 1996 Inductee

Benjamin Franklin Hilton was the son of Horace and Mary Hilton, and was born in Edgerton, Williams County, Ohio, February 16, 1844. He attended the local school and spent two years at a private academy. At the age of seventeen the Civil War began and he enlisted in Company A, 38th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was discharged in 1864 and re-enlisted the next year, this time serving in Company I, 8th Hancock’s Veterans Corps. He was discharged a final time in April 1866.

“B. F. Hilton, who served a full three years in the Civil war, was never sworn into service, but went with his company in the place of another man after having been rejected himself. In a letter to the National Tribune, published at Washington, D. C., he tells the story as follows: ‘Editor Tribune–I believe I am the only one of the boys of 1861 who actually served three years in any company without being sworn into service. With twenty-four other boys who lived at Edgerton, Ohio, I signed up and was ordered to report at Defiance, where the 38th Ohio was organized. When the mustering office came I was rejected. The regiment was in camp for about three weeks and when it left for the South I was on hand to go with them. At Camp Dennison one of the boys refused to be sworn in and my name was put on the roll in his place. I served the full three years, never missed a skirmish or battle in which Company A, 38th Ohio, was engaged and I was discharged at Atlanta, September 13, 1864, without having been sworn into service.  – B. F. Hilton, Co. A, 38th Ohio, Osborne, Kansas.” — Osborne County Farmer, January 28, 1932.

Hilton returned to his home in Edgerton and joined his father in the mercantile business. On September 13, 1868, he married Mary Elizabeth Spencer in Edgerton. They had five children: William; Carrie; Mary; Horace; and Elizabeth.

The call of the west was strong in those days, so in 1870 Hilton came to Kansas and located a claim on East Twin Creek in what later became Osborne County. Then he returned to Ohio, put his family and their belongings into a covered wagon and made the long, slow trip to Kansas, arriving on their homestead May 6, 1871. Hilton settled onto his homestead and also helped to settle the country around him. He assisted in the organization of Winfield Township in 1872, and seven years later was instrumental in organizing School District 84, Hilton School, which was named after him, And it should be noted that Benjamin Hilton was the first person to buy a subscription to the Osborne County Farmer newspaper in January 1875 – he traded a coyote for it.

Hilton was a Republican in political affairs. He was a vigorous speaker and an astute organizer who held several township and school district offices. From 1891 through 1894 he served as Osborne County Clerk of the District Court, and in 1895 he was elected the county’s representative to the Kansas Legislature, serving one term. When rural mail delivery was first initiated Hilton was one of the first carriers ever appointed, a position he held over ten years. In 1908 the Hiltons moved into Osborne in order to give their children the benefit of a high school education.

Hilton was active in the American Legion and the Osborne Chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic, O. M. Mitchell Post Number 69. When he died June 2, 1935, he was the last surviving member of Post Number 69.

Benjamin Hilton, soldier, statesman, and pioneer, was buried with full military honors in the Osborne Cemetery. It was a measure of the esteem in which Hilton was held by his fellow citizens when during the funeral all places of business in Osborne were closed, and all flags were placed at half staff in honor of this distinguished member of the Osborne County Hall of Fame.

Robert Roy Hays – 1996 Inductee

Modest and unassuming, Robert Roy Hays rarely pushed himself forward. But in spite of his quiet demeanor the citizens of Osborne County looked to him for council and leadership during the first sixty years of the county’s history. A friend and confidant to governors, senators, and vice-presidents, Hays makes a worthy addition to the Osborne County Hall of Fame.

Hays was born August 29, 1845, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The son of Scotch-Irish immigrants John and Eliza (Kernahan) Hays and brother of John J. Hays, Jr., Robert headed west with his family to Muscatine, Iowa, in 1852. The next year it was on to Omaha, Nebraska, and then to a farm eight miles south of Nebraska City, where the young Robert spent the rest of his boyhood. During the Civil War Hays served as a private in Company F of the Nebraska Cavalry.  When the war ended he became a jeweler in Brownsville, Nebraska. In the spring of 1872 he came to Osborne and entered the hardware business. From 1874 to 1877 Hays served as Osborne County Treasurer. In 1879 he made a tour of California and then returned to Osborne, where he was appointed postmaster in 1880, serving two years.

In 1882 Hays was named by President Chester Arthur as the new Receiver of the U.S. Land Office in Kirwin, Kansas, the same position that his brother John J. Hays Jr. was in charge of only a few years before.  The busiest such office in the state, Hays collected more than a million dollars in homestead claim fees in his four years and five months as Receiver.  At the end of that time a federal audit in Washington, D.C., went over his account books and found that they were correct to the cent, as had been his brothers’ earlier.  The Hays brothers were famous for their integrity.

Hays was a Republican when it came to political affairs. He was an active participant in every district, county, and state convention held in Kansas during his lifetime, working closely with such contemporaries as John J. Ingalls, Preston Plumb, Charles Curtis, and Alfred Landon. In 1888 he was elected to his only state office, serving two terms as state senator. Hays was the first person ever elected to that office from Osborne County.

Hays became a charter member in the Osborne Congregational Church in 1872. He was a lay delegate to the International Council of Congregational churches meeting at Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1908. Hays was also a longtime member of the Masonic Lodge and the G.A.R., and aided E. O. Henshall in securing the Osborne Carnegie Library building for the community.

Concerns over his perennial bachelorhood were dispelled when on November 8, 1916, he entered into marriage with Minnie (McHenry) Rhodes at the Congregational Church in Osborne. Their years together were spent traveling across the United States and Europe between work with civic and county organizations back home. In 1933 they were both given life membership in the Kansas Illustriana Society.

Robert Hays died June 18, 1934, at the age of eighty-nine years at his home in Osborne. Tributes lamenting his passing poured in from across the state as he was laid to rest in the Osborne Cemetery.

John James Hays, Jr. – 2008 inductee

John James Hays, Jr. was born August 26, 1842, in Newburgh, New York. The son of Scotch-Irish immigrants John and Eliza (Kernahan) Hays and brother of Robert R. Hays, John headed west with his family to Muscatine, Iowa, in 1852.  The next year it was on to Omaha, Nebraska, and then to a farm eight miles south of Nebraska City, where John spent the rest of his boyhood.

During the Civil War John served as a private in Company F of the 2nd Nebraska Cavalry.  In 1871 he moved to Osborne County, Kansas, and that fall he was elected as one of the first three Osborne County Commissioners.  In March 1872 John and his brother Robert were dealers in agricultural implements.   Later John was appointed receiver at the U.S. Land Office in Kirwin, Kansas, a position of national importance in which he handled over a million a dollars a year in business during the 1870s. When he resigned the position an audit found his bookkeeping to be accurate to the exact cent.

For his entire life John one of the most influential men in civic and business affairs across the county and region.  He was Worshipful Master of the local Masonic Lodge numerous times and was a member of several fraternal organizations in the area.  In 1878 he helped the Osborne Congregational Church raise the money to erect the first church structure in the city.  By the late 1880s John was a cashier with the State Bank of Osborne.  He continued to be a “mover and shaker” until his death on June 21, 1932 in Osborne.  He was buried in the family lot at the Osborne Cemetery.

Dan Bogue Harrison – 1997 Inductee

Dan Bogue Harrison, son of William Oric and Augusta Jane (Garfield) Harrison, was born January 29, 1865, on the family farm in Chittendon County, Vermont.  One of a family of six boys and three girls, his boyhood days were spent among the hills and valleys of the beautiful Green Mountains.  At the age of sixteen years he moved with his family to Holley, New York.

After school Dan headed west and in December 1885 located at Concordia, Kansas, where he was employed as assistant cashier at the Cloud County Bank. He then spent a short time at the State Bank of Ellis, Kansas, and in a bank at Jamestown, Kansas, before arriving in Downs, Kansas, with his brother, Dwight, in 1872 to help their father establish the State Bank of Downs.

On October 7, 1894, Dan married Artie T. Dillon in Downs.  To this union three children were born, Catherine, William, and Dan, Jr.   The family settled into a comfortable and prosperous existence as Dan busied himself with several business ventures.  He served as a director of the Downs Artificial Ice and Storage Company, the Downs Electric Light and Power Company, the Rice and Johntz Lumber Company, and the Glen Elder State Bank.  He was also a charter member and director of the Kansas Banker’s Surety Company.

Dan was a member of numerous fraternal organization, including the Order of the Eastern Star, Isis Shrine Temple, Elks Lodge, Modern Woodmen of America, the Royal Arch Masons, the Knights Templers, and the Downs Masonic Lodge of which he was a Past Master.  He was involved in civic improvements and government, serving on the Downs city council and school board, as city treasurer, and two terms as mayor.  His name appears on the cornerstone of the Downs Carnegie Library and the Congregational Church, of which he was a member for fifty-three years.  In 1919 he was honored with inclusion in the book series Kansas and Kansans.

In 1904 Dan was elected to the Kansas State Senate for the first of two terms.  While he was in the Senate he was a strong voice in financial affairs and served on the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.  A great lover of outdoor life, for many years he made annual trips to Colorado to fish and hunt.  He also made several trips to Minnesota, but in his later years he spent all his leisure hours working among his flowers and in the garden.  After a long and fruitful life, Dan Harrison passed away December 20, 1945, in Downs.  A large crowd of mourners attended his burial in the Downs Cemetery.

Lewis Hanback – 1996 Inductee

“In the summer of 1865, soon after the close of the Civil War, in which he had played a gallant part as a Union officer, Lewis Hanback came to Kansas to practice law.  For many years he was one of the eminent members of the Kansas bar, and he was also known and esteemed in public affairs.  He was one of the members of Kansas history during the latter half of the [nineteenth] century.” — Kansas and Kansans, 1919.

Lt. Lewis Hanback of the 27th Illinois Infantry during the Civil War.

Lewis Hanback was born March 27, 1839, in Winchester, Scott County, Illinois.  He was the oldest of six children by William and Ann Hanback.  His childhood was spent at Winchester and Madison, Indiana, after which the family moved to Quincy, Illinois.  The father, William, died there May 1, 1855, and his wife passed away the following March.  The family broke up after the parents’ death and the children became separated.  Lewis was seventeen when he went to work as a farm hand.  His education was not neglected.  He had previously attended the local school at Winchester and later he graduated from the Cherry Grove Seminary in Knox County, Illinois.  During the winter of 1860-61 he taught a term of country school.

Hanback enlistedApril 19, 1861, at Jacksonville, Illinois, when the Civil War began and the first call for troops came out.  He joined the “Harding Light Guards,” later Company B of the Tenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry.  When his term of three months ended Hanback re-enlisted in Company K of the 27th Illinois Infantry.  The same day Hanback was mustered in as orderly sergeant he participated in General Ulysses S. Grant’s attack on Belmont, Missouri.  Afterwards he was commissioned a second lieutenant of his company and promoted through the grades.  Hanback served with Grant in Kentucky and at the sieges of Island Number 10 and Corinth, Mississippi.  He then served on the staffs of Colonel G. W. Roberts, General C. G. Harker, and General L. P. Bradley, and took part in the battles at Stone River and Chickamauga and in the siege of Chattanooga.  Under General Phil Sheridan he served in the battle of Missionary Ridge.  Hanback reached the rank of captain when his enlistment time ended and he was mustered out September 20, 1864, at Springfield, Missouri.

After the war Hanback attended law school in Albany, New York, for a year.  On August 9, 1865, he married Hester Cooper of Chapin, Illinois.  Thirteen days later the couple moved to Topeka, Kansas, where Hanback was admitted to the Kansas bar and opened a law practice.  In 1867 he served as justice of the peace, then city attorney  and as Shawnee County Probate Judge from 1868 through 1872.  Lewis became Assistant Chief Clerk to the Kansas House of Representatives and later Assistant Secretary to the Kansas Senate.  In March 1878 Hanback was appointed Assistant U. S. District Attorney for Kansas.

While in Topeka the Hanbacks saw three of their children not live beyond infancy. Three other children lived to adulthood–Clara, Edwin, and Grace.  The family went to Salina, Kansas, in 1879 when Hanback was appointed Receiver for the United States Land Office there.  His formal entry into politics came in 1882 when he was elected to the at-large berth Kansas then had in the U.S. House of Representatives.  A Republican, he moved his family to Osborne in May 1883 and was re-elected to a second term the next year.

In 1887 Hanback was defeated and retired from active politics.  At Osborne he remained active in Masonic Lodge, Loyal Legion, and Grand Army of the Republic circles.  He turned down an 1889 offer to become editor of the Osborne County Farmer but instead continued in great demand as a speaker who could make an audience laugh or cry at his discretion.


“He spoke extemporaneously and his eloquence electrified his audiences on patriotic occasions . . . As a boy I once heard him rehearse a battle scene in which the late Governor Lyman U. Humphrey [of Kansas] carried the flag across a bloody terrain, the speech being a prelude to an introduction of Governor Humphrey to an audience.  When Hanback reached the climax every man in the room was standing on his chair shouting at the top of his voice.  It was the most exciting moment we have ever witnessed at a political meeting.

It didn’t last long after Humphrey began speaking.  He was a very poor speaker and dealt largely in statistics, with the result that his audience was soon peacefully sleeping.  Hanback as a word painter has had few equals in Kansas.  We shall not see his like again.” — Charles E. Mann, Osborne County Farmer, September 1914.


Lewis Hanback as U.S. Representative.

Hanback’s virtuosity with words served Osborne well.  Literary debates were the rage of the day and the rivalry between Osborne and Smith Center was intense.  In 1889 the Osborne Literary Society went to Smith Center for a much-anticipated debate.  Hanback, disguised and hidden, was suddenly introduced as the last Osborne speaker.  The Smith Center crowd cried foul and were in a somewhat riotous mood, but after Hanback finished speaking a roar of applause greeted his oration.  All was forgiven and the night ended peacefully.

In 1891 Hanback moved back to Topekaand resumed his law practice.  After a period as Adjutant General of Kansas he moved to the Kansas City suburb of Armourdale, Kansas, dealing in law and real estate.  His last public appearances were at the Ottawa (KS) Chautauqua and at Chetopa, Kansas, where he addressed a meeting of the GAR.  He contracted typhoid fever and two weeks later Lewis Hanback passed away at his home in Armourdale on September 6, 1897, shortly after he was named to Who’s Who in America.

Hanback was originally buried in the Armoudale Cemetery, but in 1910 a dispute arose over a proposal that he be buried elsewhere. Kansas City,Topeka,Wichita, and even Osborne all vied for the honor.  In the end Congressman Hanback was reburied in the Topeka Cemetery under a suitable monument next to his wife and three children.

Lillie Mae (Axtell) Washabaugh Wineberry Hamilton – 2001 Inductee

Lillie Mae (Axtell) Washabaugh Wineberry Hamilton was born January 12, 1925, in Beloit, Mitchell County, Kansas.  The daughter of Marion and Mary (Todd) Axtell, Lillie went to high school in Beloit.  She married John Washabaugh in 1942.  In 1944 Lillie received a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Kansas at Lawrence and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the State of Kansas College at Pittsburg, Kansas in 1945.  Lillie gradu­ated from Washburn Law School in Topeka, Kansas, in corporate law in 1948.   She had one year of mechanical engineering in 1950 from Kansas State College, Manhattan, Kansas, and studied public administration in 1956 at theUniversity ofKansas.

From 1942 to 1958, Lillie owned and operated the Natoma Publishing Company, publishing five weekly papers and doing commercial print­ing. From 1943 to 1964 she was co-owner and manager of the Washabaugh Drilling Service, drilling oil wells in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and South America.

On July 1, 1957, Lillie was appointed Kansas State Printer by then-Governor Robert Docking.  With her appointment Lillie achieved the following: the first female Democrat Party member inKansasstate history to ever hold public office; the first woman ever to hold the State Printer office; the only Democrat to ever hold the State Printer office; and at the time the only woman state printer in theUnited States.


 “For five days a week – Monday through Friday – she works in Topeka as state printer.

On Friday evening she flies or drives the 200 miles to her home at Natoma to hold justice of peace court Saturday morning and spend the remainder of the weekend working on her weekly newspaper.

Then it’s back to Topeka again . . . In November 1956 she was defeated in the polls for state printer, but was elected justice of the peace, of Natoma Township, Osborne County.  She previously had served two two-year terms as Natoma police judge but would not accept reappointment ‘be­cause I don’t believe in more than two terms in office.’

As justice of peace she limits herself to traffic cases.  No marriages.

There’s never been a Sat­urday morning when she didn’t have at least one case in court. One Satur­day she had 13 defendants before her. . .

She is tall and handsome—queenly without the aloofness of pride and position.  She is unselfconscious and completely altruistic, with a personality so vital that when she walks in to a room she takes possession of it. Her dark hair is combed back into a bun and forgotten about until time to comb it again.

Lillie was an accountant for the Union Pacific Railroad before her marriage.  She raises 300 baby chicks a season.

Lillie bought the newspaper in 1949 when it had 661 subscribers.  Over the years she has built that into 1800 subscribers.   She takes her own pictures.” – Taken from The Topeka Capital, July 16, 1957.


By George Mack

 “Mrs. Lillie Washabaugh, Kan­sas’ first woman state printer, is cleaning house at the state printing plant by selling surplus presses and machinery, and paper stocks.

She asked the state purchasing division Friday to sell the equipment and paper, which had an original inventory price of $58,254.50.

Mrs. Washabaugh, printer since July 1st, said that neither the machinery nor paper is any longer needed by the state plant.  The machinery includes two flat bed presses of the type many weekly newspapers use.  The paper, some of it bought as long ago as 1939, runs in various lots, ranging from a few sheets to sev­eral reams.

Also included are 112 rolls of paper delivered to the plant last month and ordered for a rotary press for which Mrs. Washabaugh has canceled the purchase order.  She canceled the order for the press after the time passed for the date of de­livery specified in the contract.

State Purchasing Director Henry H. Knouft said the ma­chinery and paper will be advertised for sale to the highest bid­der, in the usual manner followed by the state in making sales of items.

Mrs. Washabaugh said that in making her decision to sell the paper, which bad an original cost of $22,509.06, she went through job printing orders of the past year from various state agencies. She said she found that none of the paper stock she classified as surplus could be used for these jobs, so she decided that it would not be called into use the coming’ year.”

* * *

“The two big presses that she is offering for sale were bought in 1916 and 1924.  They were used for printing state textbooks when the textbooks printed on offset presses and, she said, the flatbeds have been standing idle for some time.

Also included in the machinery for sale are book-binding sewing machines, ruling machines, drills, motors, casting boxes, paper lifts and other items.  She said that two British-made sewing machines bought in 1950 and 19511 “never have been used—they’re both like new.”

The paper stock is in both white and colors in varying sizes and weights.

Mrs. Washabaugh said that state printery normally keeps a stock of $220,000 worth of paper on hand.  That which is left after the surplus items are sold, she said, will be readily usable on printing jobs ordered by various state agencies.”

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“Sale of the equipment, she said, will make more room avail­able in the plant and the “money can be used to repair other equipment.”

She emphasized that by reduc­ing the inventory of paper and equipment she believes she cut the hourly cost of printing charged the state agencies.

When Mrs. Washabaugh, a Democrat, became printer July 1st she said she refigured the hourly coats for various printing pro­cedures used in the plant and followed in figuring jobs by Ferd Voiland, the Republican she suc­ceeded by appointment.  In some cases the hourly costs as she figured them were higher, in other lower, but she said that they averaged out to be lower.

In the past week, she said, she had discovered that she could re­duce most of the hourly cost figures by 25 per cent and still “come out all right on the jobs.”  She expressed belief that a further reduction in hourly costs could be made when the surplus items no longer have to be figured in the plant’s inventory.”


“At their national convention the American Business Women’s Association named Lillie Washabaugh the National Woman of the Year, chosen over 146 other nominees nation-wide.

“She also cooks, sews, swims, water-skis, belongs to a few other professional clubs, does some work for the Sacred Heart Church of Plainville, manages polio or Red Cross funds campaigns, and raises 300 chickens a season . . . Lillie has light brown hair, blue green eyes, weighs 165 pounds, and is five feet eleven inches in height.  She used to pilot her own plane, but a bout with polio in 1951 stopped that.  They have no children, but helped four Natoma children along the way.  One girl lived with them six years.  Now she is married and they feel that her daughter is their ‘grandchild.’  The other three are now students at K-State and Kansas universities.” – Taken from The Topeka Capital-Journal,October 19, 1958.

After she left the State Printer office in 1961 Lillie worked in California for William L. Cassell, Mechanical Engineer of Kansas City, Missouri.  Her husband John Washabaugh died in 1964, and the next year Lillie became Office manager and Comptroller of Sunrise Food Products, Inc. of El Segundo, California.  Sometime in the next few years she married a Mr. Wineberry.  When the Sunrise business was sold in 1978 she joined Dobbins, DeGuire & Tucker for a year, working with public accounting and tax returns.  In 1980-1981 she worked as office manager and corporate secretary for Morba-Log Homes, Inc. until that business too was sold.  Lillie then went to work for Bitter Root Accounting, working with the general ledgers, financial statements and fixed assets, as well as tax preparation in 1981-1982. In 1982 she started her own tax and bookkeeping service, which she operated until her death.

On June 26, 1978, Lillie married Eugene C. Hamilton in Clark Fork, Idaho.  The couple moved to Corvallis, Montana later that year.  Lillie died at Corvallis on November 8, 1986, and was buried in the Corvallis Cemetery.

Harry Gray – 1997 Inductee

The son of John F. and Wealthy (Heath) Gray, Harry Gray was born February 14, 1854, in Bellville, Richland County, Ohio. Later that year the Gray family moved to Iowa County, Iowa, where Harry attended the local schools and worked on the family farm. In 1877 he filed a claim for a homestead in Valley Township, Osborne County, Kansas, near the Vincent community. Harry then returned to Iowa and on March 28, 1878, he married Ida Jane Parker, at Ottumwa. The couple had four children, Rose, Earnest, Ralph, and Clarence.

In addition to farming Harry supplemented his income by teaching in the nearby rural one-room schools, first at Grantham School, District Number 63, and then at Rouner School, District Number 65, where he was paid thirty-five dollars a month for the six-month term. Harry helped to build both the Vincent Church and School. He also taught Sunday School for several years and also served as justice of the peace. At two hundred and twenty-five pounds, Harry was an imposing yet jovial man, with light-colored hair, sandy beard, and a ruddy complexion. He was popular among his fellow citizens and in 1891 he was elected Osborne County Clerk, a position he held for a two-year term. He stayed out of politics for another twenty years before being nominated as the Republican Party candidate for Kansas State Senator in 1912. Harry won the election and served for two terms before retiring from public life.

Soon after the Grays moved from their farm into the town of Luray, Kansas, where they spent their remaining years together. Harry passed away August 18, 1927, in Luray and he was buried in the Vincent Cemetery in Valley Township. Ida died November 25, 1932, at Waldo, Kansas, and she was buried with her husband in the Vincent Cemetery.

John A. Fouts – 1997 Inductee

One of Osborne County’s best known citizens for forty years was John A. Fouts. The many city and county offices he held, together with his prominence in the G.A.R. and other lodges, display a record of service seldom equaled in the history of the county.

John was born May 7, 1844, near Dayton in Montgomery County, Ohio. The youngest of twelve children, at the age of three he moved with his family to Logansport, Indiana. There he enlisted in Company E of the 29th Indiana Volunteers in 1861 at the start of the Civil War. He served for nearly five years, mostly with the Army of the Cumberland, and was wounded in the leg at the battle of Chickamauga. He was mustered out in December 1865 at Marietta, Georgia, with the rank of sergeant.

Fouts returned to Indiana and spent the next two years farming near Logansport. In 1867 he moved to Fulton County, Indiana, where he farmed and also worked as a peddler traveling the countryside selling his various wares. After nine years he proposed to try his luck in the West and moved to Waterville, Kansas, where he engaged in the mercantile business. John then settled in Osborne, Kansas, in August 1878 and found work as a clerk in Alfred Fritchey’s general store, The Pennsylvania House, and later with J. R. Boland.

On April 29, 1879, John married Molly Ferguson in Osborne. The couple had five children–Maude, Franklin, Helen, Roy, and a baby who died in infancy. In 1883 John joined with Joseph Ford to start the Farmers Lumber Yard in Osborne. This partnership lasted until 1898 when Fouts entered into the implement business with Charles Eno.

In his years at Osborne John Fouts held more city and county offices than any other citizen. Between 1882 and 1909 he served three years as city clerk, six years on the board of education, eight terms as city council, and four terms as mayor of Osborne. In 1896 he was elected the Osborne County Representative to the state legislature for a term and in 1909 he began the first of three terms as Osborne County Clerk of the District Court. Socially he was a member of numerous lodges and organizations: the Odd Fellows Lodge; the Modern Woodmen of America; Rebekah Lodge; Ladies’ Circle Organization; Sons and Daughters of Justice; Workmen Lodge; Masonic Lodge; and the O. M. Mitchell Post Number 69 of the Grand Army of the Republic organization, of which he was commander in his last years.  Somehow in the midst of all these activities John found time for still other interests–once he received a patent on a barbed wire fence builder, which became a market success in the region.

John was serving as Osborne justice of the peace and police judge when he was struck by an automobile while crossing the street near his home on November 28, 1918. He was carried into his residence but his injuries were too severe and he died a short time after. He was laid to rest in the Osborne Cemetery, with the final rites being handled by his Masonic brothers from Osborne and Downs, escorted by the Osborne State Guards and the Alton State Guards, who also furnished a twenty-man firing squad in honor of this distinguished Osborne County citizen.

Selah Burlingame Farwell – 1996 Inductee

One of the most respected men in early Osborne County history was Selah Burlingame Farwell.  Farwell was born in Denmark, Lewis County, New York, on August 26, 1841.  The son of Selah andNancy(Plank) Farwell, he moved with his parents in April 1857 to Whiteside, Illinois, where he was the schoolteacher during the winter of 1860-61.  During the Civil War Farwell enlisted as a private in Company A of the 33rd Illinois Infantry.  He was captured and held in a Confederate prison in Mississippi until February 1864, when he was paroled and sent home.

After discharge from the army Selah went to Ames, Story County, Iowa, and engaged in the mercantile business.  On June 11, 1867, he married Nancy L. Ware.  They had nine children: Lena, Gue, Roy, Mable, Grace, Clay, Edwin, Nancy, and Selah.  On November 15, 1869, Selah closed his business and the Farwells moved to Waterville, Kansas, and the next year they moved again, this time to a homestead in Corinth Township of Osborne County.  Selah divided his time between farming and serving in public office.  In 1872 he was elected Osborne County’s first coroner.  He served two terms as county probate judge in 1873 and 1874, and was the county’s representative in the Kansas Legislature in 1875-76 for two terms.

In 1874 Farwell started the first Masonic organization in the county.  Saqui Lodge, Number 160, was begun in Osborne with Farwell serving as the first Worshipful Master.  He remained a member for sixty years.  Selah was also a member of the Knights of Pythias and the G.A.R.  In 1881 he moved his family into Osborne to further his children’s schooling, and in 1884 he was elected to the first of two terms as Osborne County Register of Deeds.  For years he owned and operated the oldest lumberyard in Osborne before he sold it to the Hardman Lumber Company in 1903.  He held the position of president of the bank in Lucas, Kansas, for five years.  By 1914 he was in the loan business, specializing in farm loans, and owned some eighteen hundred acres of land scattered across Osborne County.  A deeply religious man, Selah was an active member of the Congregational Church for over fifty years.

Selah’s wife died in 1905.  OnMay 28, 1907, he married Mattie (Ludlow) Smith of Downs.  She died in June of 1910.  On October 15th of that year he married Lucy (Ware) Hullinger, a half-sister of his first wife.  The couple lived comfortably in their home in Osborne until Selah’s death on May 11, 1934, after which he was buried with honors in the Osborne Cemetery.