The 2021 Osborne County Hall of Fame Honors: Honoring “Firsts” in Osborne County, Kansas, Part 3

The year 2021 marks the 150th anniversary, the Sesquicentennial, of the formal organization of Osborne County, Kansas. In honor of this auspicious occasion The Osborne County Hall of Fame will share a series of Honors throughout the year, listing achievements and recognitions in a number of categories. So be sure to check both this website and the Hall’s Facebook page periodically as we celebrate 150 years of the notable people, places, and things, past and present, that reflect Osborne County’s heritage and culture.

Honoring “Firsts” in Osborne County, Part 3:

  • First Sermon, 1870—On September 6, 1870, Elder George Balcom, a Baptist minister, preached the first sermon in the county at the stockade on the North Solomon River in what is now Bethany Township.  His audience numbered four. 
  • First Permanent Settlement, 1870—On March 4, 1870, Charles and William Bullock made the first permanent settlement in the County on the north side of the South Solomon River in the E½ of the NE¼ of Section #15 in township Seven (7) South of Range 13 (West), in what is now Tilden Township.
  • First Concrete Silo, 1910—In early 1910 in Jackson Township Gene Daniels built the first concrete silo on a farm.
  • First Sunday School, 1871—The first Sunday school was organized by William Bear at his farmhome in northeast Penn Township in September 1871.
  • First Tailor, 1871— Professional tailors Richard Ruth and William Bear arrived with the Pennsylvania Colony on May 1, 1871.  It is believed that Bear put out his shingle first, however, opening for business that fall.
  • First Threshing Machine, 1872—Henry Jones of Ross Township operated the first threshing machine in the county in 1872.  He threshed for Pennington Ray, Joseph Delay, and others.
  • First Town, 1870—Hiram C. Bull and Lyman T. Earl established the first town in Osborne County, in the fall of 1870 in Sections 1 & 12 of what is now Sumner Township.  The name of Bull City was determined by a coin toss.
  • First 100 Acres of Wheat Sowed, 1871—R. R. Biggs planted the first 100 acres of wheat sowed in Osborne County. He also brought the first binder into the county.
  • First Euro-American Family, 1870—The James Weston family arrived at the Bullock Brothers Ranche on April 15, 1870.  They were the first Euro-American family to settle in Osborne County. The family members were father James (age 46), mother Emmeline (age 39), daughter America (age 15), son Leroy (age 9), daughter Minnie (age 6), and son Hugo (age 2).  This family had already braved the Oregon Trail and back.  With them was James’ older brother Thomas (age 57).  Emeline and America were also the first Euro-American women to settle in the county. After a few years the family moved on to Hays City, Kansas, and later settled in Mancos, Colorado.
  • First Passenger Train, 1879—The first passenger train to enter the county arrived at Downs on August 16, 1879. The first train that pulled into Osborne City occurred on September 4, 1879. The last passenger train to leave Downs was in 1960, marking 81 years of passenger train service in the county.
  • First Salina Northern Train, 1916—The first Salina Northern Railroad train rolled into Osborne from Salina, Kansas, in December 7, 1916.
  • First Television, 1950— The first television set ever brought to Osborne County was on display at the Rankin and Goss Appliance Store in March 1950.
  • First Self-Powered Vehicle, 1887—Osborne blacksmith Frank Hatch built a self-powered vehicle using a wagon and parts scattered around his shop in the spring of 1887.  He drove it around the town that summer before dismantling it. It is not only the first self-powered vehicle seen in Osborne City but is also the believed to be the earliest ever built in the state of Kansas.

[If you know of other “firsts” in the county, be sure to tell us about it in a message so that we can include it in a future Part 4 of “Firsts” in Osborne County.]

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The 2021 Osborne County Hall of Fame Honors: Honoring “Firsts” in Osborne County, Kansas, Part 2

The year 2021 marks the 150th anniversary, the Sesquicentennial, of the formal organization of Osborne County, Kansas. In honor of this auspicious occasion The Osborne County Hall of Fame will share a series of Honors throughout the year, listing achievements and recognitions in a number of categories. So be sure to check both this website and the Hall’s Facebook page periodically as we celebrate 150 years of the notable people, places, and things, past and present, that reflect Osborne County’s heritage and culture.

Honoring “Firsts” in Osborne County, Part 2:

  • First Homestead, 1870— On January 8, 1870, Robert J. Bonham filed for a homestead in the northwest quarter of Section 9, Township 6 South, Range Eleven West, in what is now Bethany Township.   On January 14, 1870, George Wolberd filed the county’s second homestead claim on land in the southwest quarter of Section One, Township 6 South, Range Eleven West, in what is Ross Township.   
  • First Mail Carrier, 1870—James W. Hughes, then of Cawker City, was the carrier.  He first went up the North Fork Solomon River valley and returned to Cawker, and then went up the South Solomon River Valley as far as Bull City and back to Cawker, all in the same week.
  • First Marriage in Osborne County, 1871—The first couple married in what is now Osborne County were Solomon Weatherman and Marinda Alling. The wedding took place on March 1, 1871, two miles south of what is now Bloomington in Tilden Township.  Their marriage license in on file in the Mitchell County KS Courthouse, as are the next eight marriages that occurred in the county, for between 1867 and 1871 Osborne County was attached to Mitchell County for all legal purposes and called Manning Township.
  • First Marriage License Issued, 1872—The first marriage license issued by Osborne County was to Thomas Jefferson “Jeff” Durfey and Mary Burke in 1872.  They were subsequently married on May 15, 1872 in the community of Emley City, later called Bristow, in Independence Township.
  • First Mortgage, 1871— The first mortgage in Osborne County was from Calvin and Venetia E. Reasoner to W. C. Berry and Co. and dated December 1, 1871.
  • First Motorcycle, 1902/1903—Asa B. Dillon is believed to have had the first motorcycle in Osborne County.  He rode a Wagner motorcycle while visiting schools across the county in his work as Osborne County Superintendent of Schools in 1902 or 1903.
  • First Newspaper, 1873– The first newspaper published in the county was the Osborne Weekly Times, started in Osborne City in January 1873.  The earlier Osborne County Express newspaper was headquartered at Arlington in western Penn Township in 1872 but was published in Concordia, Kansas.
  • First Plow, 1871—Edward Doolittle of Bethany Township built the first sulky cultivator or corn plow in the county
  • First Notary Public, 1871—Charles W. Bullock was the first Notary Public appointed in Osborne County, his commission being dated March 16, 1871.
  • First Woman to Receive a Pilot’s License, 1947—In October 1947 Marian Hardman of Downs became the first woman in Osborne County to receive a private pilot’s license.
  • First Ranch, 1871—In 1871 James Stephens established his ranch at the head of East Twin Creek and kept cattle at this then isolated point in what is now Bloom Township.
  • First Restaurant, 1871—On August 20, 1871 Charles Herzog opened the county’s first restaurant in downtown Osborne City.  He also operated a grocery store and remained in business at the same location for 50 years.
  • First Mansard Roof, 1878.  In November 1878 work commenced on the Key West Hotel in downtown Osborne City.  In dimensions it was 52 x 74 feet, including porches and verandas, with a height of 30 feet, and was topped with the first mansard roof seen in the county.  It stood for 68 years until it was demolished in 1946. 
  • First School, 1870—The first school in the county was organized in 1870 in Bull City and held in the home of Mrs. Alva Austin.
  • First School District, 1872—The aptly-named School District #1 was formally organized on March 14, 1872, in Independence Township.  School was held in the district for 92 years until the district was disorganized in 1964.

The 2021 Osborne County Hall of Fame Honors: Honoring “Firsts” in Osborne County, Kansas, Part 1

The year 2021 marks the 150th anniversary, the Sesquicentennial, of the formal organization of Osborne County, Kansas. In honor of this auspicious occasion The Osborne County Hall of Fame will share a series of Honors throughout the year, listing achievements and recognitions in a number of categories. So be sure to check both this website and the Hall’s Facebook page periodically as we celebrate 150 years of the notable people, places, and things, past and present, that reflect Osborne County’s heritage and culture.

Honoring “Firsts” in Osborne County, Kansas – Part 1

  • First Air Mail Letter, March 1924—The first letter with an air mail stamp ever received in the county was in Osborne from the Hub Clothing Store of Rochester, New York.
  • First Automobile, 1903—was purchased by Dr. Alfred C. Dillon.  It was a Franklin four-passenger car with air cooling. He paid $2,200 for it and drove for 1.5 years, then sold it to William Bodge of Portis for $200.
The 1904 version of the Franklin four-passenger car with air-cooled motor.

  • First Barber and Doctor, 1870—The first barber, and also the first doctor, to live in Osborne County was Samuel Chatfield, in what is now Bethany Township.
  • First Bicycle, 1891—Bought by Dr. Alfred C. Dillon and Jerome B. Hatfield. It was a Safety bicycle and cost $165; what specific brand is unknown.
  • First Burial of a Euro-American, 1871—The body of Tom Ritter was interred in what later became the Bristow Cemetery.  He lies there today in an unmarked grave.
  • First Census, 1870—The first census of Osborne County was taken around the first of July 1870.  A detachment of U.S Cavalry escorted the census taker.  The total population of Osborne County was 33—29 males and four females.
  • First Church, 1874—In the summer of 1874 work commenced on the first church structure erected in the county. The native limestone Lawrence Creek United Brethren Church stood in Section 7, Township 6 (South), Range 13 (West) in Lawrence Township.
  • First Euro-American Child, 1871—This “first” has been long debated and claimed by various families for years.  However, it can now be said that the first Euro-American child born in Osborne County was Bertha Manning, daughter of James and Emeline Manning, who was born on May 4, 1871 in what is now Penn Township. Four hours later on that same day Lillian “Lilly” Dewey, daughter of John and Fidelia Dewey, was born. Both births were attended by the same doctor.
  • First Democratic Convention, 1871—This occurred when registered Democrats William Rader, Franklin Thompson, and a Mr. Herring met in the fall of 1871 on the front porch of Venetia Reasoner’s boarding house located at 221 West Main Street in Osborne City.
  • First Republican Convention, 1871–The first county Republican Convention was held in Osborne City on Saturday, October 28, 1871, at the house of John Joy.
  • First Counterfeiting, 1874— The first case of counterfeiting occurred in the county in November 1874, when Edward Garrigues refused to honor several spurious milk checks presented by “dubious characters.”
  • First Woman Elected to a County Office, 1887—Tamsel Hahn was elected County Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1887, making her the first woman elected to a county office.
  • First Breaking of Sod and Corn Planted, 1870—The first breaking in the county was at the Bullock Brothers Stockade by Dave Willis and Tom Weston.  They broke about three acres on the low bottom and it produced quite a good crop of “sod corn.”
  • First Debating Society, 1871—The “Bethany Debating Society” was organized in the town of Bethany on December 23, 1871.  The first question discussed was, “Affirmed that this country is better adapted to stock raising than to agriculture.”  It was decided in favor of the negative.
  • First Deed in the County, 1870—Jason B. Handy is believed to have been issued the first land deed in the county environs on March 13, 1870, for land 8.5 miles south of Downs and a half mile west, on Stevens Creek, a branch of East Twin Creek.
  • First Patent for a Farm & First Deed Issued by County, 1871—Thomas Jefferson “Jeff” Durfey received the first patent for a farm on Sept. 23, 1871. On that same date the first deed was recorded from Durfey to Hiram Campbell.
  • First County Fair, 1872—The first county fair was held at the public square around the courthouse in Osborne City on October 16th and 17th, 1872.  Five hundred people were in attendance. 
  • First General Store, 1870—The first general store in the county opened in November 1870.  It was located near the Bullock Brothers Ranche on John Kaser’s homestead in a dugout and operated by Calvin Reasoner.   
  • First Hogs, 1871—Andrew Storer is said to have brought the first hogs into the county in 1871.
  • First House, 1870—Pennington Ray built the first home in Osborne County in February 1870 on what later became the townsite of Downs. This log house also had the first shingled roof in the county.

Kevin Vaughn Saunders – 2020 Inductee

(On this date, December 23, 2020, the Osborne County Hall of Fame is pleased to present for the first time anywhere the seventh and final inductee of the OCHF Class of 2020.)

Kevin Saunders is an American Paralympian, author, and is considered to be one of the Top 100 motivational speakers in the world. He is the first person with a disability ever appointed to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.  Through sheer will and a motivation to achieve Kevin rose from a catastrophic personal experience to live a full life of athletic success, strong moral values, and inspirational leadership by example.


Born on December 8, 1955 in Smith Center, Kansas, Kevin was the last of the three sons of Donald H. and Freda (Schoen) Saunders.  He attended school in Downs, Kansas.  Kevin and his brothers loved sports of all kinds from a very early age.

*  *  *  *  *

Story by Kevin Saunders:

My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Wiese, had a big paddle with sixteen holes in it and was a real strict lady with weathered skin and deep wrinkles. But what I remember best about this class was “the train”. It had a picture of everyone looking out the windows. The student’s grades determined what position they were at in the train. If you were in the caboose, you were down to the bottom. Of course, no one wanted to be in the caboose. I wasn’t exactly a Rhodes Scholar back then, but I at least managed to stay out of the caboose—most of the time.

We also had a chameleon in that class. It changed color to adapt to its environment. Funny, I still think about that chameleon, as if it had something to with my own later need in life to adapt.

It was in the first grade was that I first met Jack Myers. The Myers’ family farm was two and a half miles east of our farm. The two of us would remain life-long best friends. But after the first grade, whenever possible, teachers put Jack and I in separate classes. We raised too much hell while we were together.

In second grade I remember, apparently for the first time, the sight of “big kids” throwing the football around next to the school gym.

They could throw it so far—or so it seemed at the time. That made an impression on me. I wanted to do that, to throw that football so far until it looked like it disappeared in the Kansas sky. I liked the pads and the uniforms. I liked the idea of belonging to a team. When I saw the big guys playing football, that’s what I wanted to do.

Jack Myers claims that even as early as the second or third grade that I enjoyed the limelight and was telling tall tales (like the time I shot a buffalo on the farm) even back then.

My third and fourth grade classes were combined. My music teacher was Margie Colburn, who later married Bob Schoen and became the Schoen family historian. It was during that year that my friends Dan and Dave Renken, and Don Koops and myself followed a time-honored tradition among Kansas farm boys and got involved in 4-H. I took part in the club’s usual activities like growing vegetables or raising animals for competition, but found that these things did not satisfy my restless, animated personality.

By this time, the family farm was running itself to such a degree that Donald Saunders could get more involved in his son’s extra-curricular activities, including 4-H. He often accompanied me on various 4-H trips. But even then, my free-spirited nature must have driven me to distraction.

When we went on 4-H tours and shows, I just wanted to keep running around. Even so, I was successful in 4-H. I was good with animals and had the grand champion bull three years out of four. One year I had both the grand champion and the reserve champion. Freda said that Donald, my father, was inordinately supportive of my 4-H efforts, and would stay up at the fair with me while he showed his steers, perhaps because he wanted me to stay and run the family farm.

Kevin with his Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion steers.

I believe that it was during Mrs. Ivy Woodward’s class in the fourth grade that I first became obsessed with team sports. I remember Jack Myers running and being faster than the rest of the boys. We all played tetherball a lot at recess. Some kids played with those big trucks and different toys like that. Not me—I couldn’t stand not to feel the wind at my face. Recess always was the most important part of the day for me.

In the fifth grade, I began to play Little League baseball, but it was never a passion with me like football and track, partly because Duane had excelled at the sport.

I found that I didn’t like the expectations people had developed about me through their comparison of me to my brother. I wanted to do my own thing— be in my own limelight, not in the shadow of my brother’s—and therefore focused my energies on football and track.

I finally got to play organized football as a seventh grader at Downs Junior High. Still whippet-thin and undersized, I was the team’s center.

We got our butts kicked when we were seventh graders. I remember guys pulverizing me, just great big guys. I was still just a little bitty guy when I was a seventh grader. All I remember about that team was these big monster guys hammering me into the ground, game after game.

But for some reason, I loved it!

I went through my growth spurt between seventh and eighth grade. I began both place-kicking and punting for the football team, as well as playing tight end. I also participated in basketball and track.

The ninth grade was my first year in high school and I was a little dog in the Big Kennel. My school had the second-ranked football team, in class 2-A, in the state my freshman year. The team had a lot of tough boys, but I really enjoyed it, liked getting right in the middle and scrapping with the toughest of them. I even got to play some on varsity and the kickoff team as the kicker, as I could kick the ball into or near the end zone. It was a good year for me, learning what it takes to be a champion. Even then, I realized that you’ve got to be tough, you’ve got to be able to endure whatever it takes to be a champion.

Kevin Saunders (left) was the kicker & punter for the Downs Dragons football team all four years of high school. His best punt was for 76 yards and his best field goal was 46 yards.

I also participated in basketball as a starter and track. In track, I was a member of the team and won the freshman mile relay, and had a fifty-eight second quarter mile as a freshman, which was impressive for my age group. Even in the biggest track meets with over 30 schools we never lost in the mile relay. It always helped to have an anchor runner like my friend Jack Myers who could run a 52-second quarter to finish for the win. I started to put on weight in my freshman year (up to 160-170 pounds) and grew close to six feet tall.

One memory in particular of my sophomore year stands out in Jack Myers’ memory. While Jack was on his way to a track scholarship, I was just a little over average as an athlete, except in the discus. One raw April evening, the Downs track team traveled to a popular high school invitational track meet, held annually in Lincoln, Kansas.

“About ten minutes before the 440-yard dash — probably the hardest quarter of a mile in sport because you don’t know if it is a sprint or a long-distance run — they ask Kevin to run it for Downs,” Jack recalls. “Kevin doesn’t have track shoes, he doesn’t have spikes, all he has are soccer shoes, but he says, ‘Sure, why not?’”

“When it starts, I’m sitting right in the middle of the field, and Kevin takes off like it is a 100-yard dash. He’s ahead of some pretty good runners. That’s the way he’s always been. If he runs it, he’s going to go for it. At the 220-yard mark, he’s still leading it, still running all out. At the 330-mark, he’s still leading it, still running full throttle. Then, it was like a big monkey jumped on his back. He just died. But he gave it everything he had.”

“Of course, Kevin didn’t know how to run that race, but that wasn’t going to stop him. He hadn’t trained for it, he didn’t have the stamina. But he said he’d do it and he gave it all he had, which is what he’s always done. And I really admired him for that. He wasn’t that fast of a runner, but he always gave it all he had.”

Jack has a host of similar Kevin Saunders stories, mostly illustrating my intrepid and determined spirit.

By my sophomore, junior and senior years, I was moved from end on offense and defense as a sophomore to playing full back and defensive end as a junior and finally quarterback and defensive end on the football team as a senior. I was on the varsity on our basketball team my sophomore, junior and senior years. My friend Jack Myers always said jokingly that I always seemed to score the most points when we played a team that would write up the game in their paper in a bigger town! Ha!  The Saunders family scrapbook is filled with articles from all four years of high school.

Donald Saunders, however, had mixed emotions about his sons’ athletic pursuits. Duane played baseball at Kansas State and Gerald ran track at Emporia State. My father never did support athletics.

He let my brothers play athletics, but he told them they ought to be working.

I got up early each morning on the farm, drove the tractor around and around, fed the cattle, herded cattle here, herded cattle there, fed the chickens, fixed the fence, etc. — only then could I play sports.

When I graduated, I had a few scholarship offers to play sports in college, so I ended up taking a few. As in high school, I played all kinds of sports in college from soccer, football, track & field and rugby through all four years – two years of Junior College Community College, and then my last two years at Kansas State University where I joined the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and played rugby (like football with no pads). I graduated in 1978.

I then took a job as a Federal Inspector for the USDA and was based in Corpus Christi, Texas.

*  *  *  *  *

Kevin Saunders was just like any other young man from the Kansas countryside. Fresh out of college and starting a family – his son Steven was born in 1981 – he worked long hours as a Federal grain elevator inspector. Touring facilities day after day in the heat, he knew the job wouldn’t be easy – but he didn’t know it would nearly take his life.

But then, on a busy afternoon – April 7, 1981 – like any other, Kevin heard the sound he would never forget . . . it sounded like an earthquake.

The government building that Kevin and his supervisor Albert Trip were in was rattling and shaking; things were falling off the walls. Kevin glanced out the window and saw chunks of concrete the size of a vehicle, some weighting more than a ton, being blown hundreds of feet through the air.  And it was all coming right at him.

The experts said that there were twelve explosions that ripped through the grain elevator at 1,500 feet per second. So, as Kevin saw those two-foot thick concrete walls of the grain elevator being blown apart like paper coming right at him and his supervisor, in a split second the earthquake-like rattling grew with so much intensity that the cracking and popping grew so loud he thought it was going to split his head wide open.

At the same instant Kevin caught a glimpse of his supervisor Albert Trip out of the corner of his eye and all the blood had drained out of his face and he had turned pale white and he had this look of absolute terror on his face. Kevin’s supervisor didn’t utter a word; his eyes his eyes said it all: “We’re not going to make it!”  And before Kevin could even take another breathe, the biggest and final explosion blew out where Kevin and his supervisor were. That last and most powerful explosion completely destroyed the government building he and his supervisor Albert Trip were in – there was nothing left of that government building but the concrete foundation.

Kevin saw his supervisor Albert Trip hit the floor just before the wall of that government building blew out in Kevin’s face and Albert was one of those lives that were needlessly that day in the worst explosions in Texas history. Kevin was knocked out when the wall blew out in his face and he was blown through the roof of the building.  He was thrown over a two-story building over 300 feet through the air onto a concrete parking lot. Kevin hit the concrete parking lot hard, first with the back of his head, and then his shoulder blades hit and were shattered in pieces.

The above picture was taken from across the ship channel over ¾ of a mile away by a person who heard what was happening and grabbed the box camera of the dash of his truck. You can see how the this explosion came out at a 45% angle and the silos of the largest most modern grain elevator at the time had silos that were fourteen stories high and the flame that looks like a blow torch is coming out of the building looks like it is probably well over fourteen stories and you can see the ring of smoke at above the fire blast that looks like it is about twice as tall of the white silo to the left. We don’t know exactly how high that explosion went as the guy who took the picture just had one click on and old box type camera so it was probably even higher at its peak. If it wasn’t the last blast that blew the wall out in Kevin’s face, killed his supervisor Albert Trip and completely destroyed the government building Kevin was in, it looks like it was pretty close.

The force of the blast blew his legs over his torso and broke his ribs, collapsed his lungs and severed his spinal cord at chest level. When the paramedics found Kevin lying in a pool of blood with blood and cerebral spinal fluid oozing out of his nose, ears, and mouth, and his body broken over at the chest like people bend at the waist, and after the paramedics took his vital signs they black-flagged him because they didn’t think he would survive the ambulance ride back to the ICU unit at Memorial Medical Center.

Kevin was unconscious and would have died in that parking lot, as no ambulances or stretchers were available while rescue personnel scrambled to get the injured to hospitals. However, a paramedic who didn’t want to leave him recruited a fire and rescue guy, and together they found a door lying in the debris, which they used as a makeshift stretcher and carried him to safety. Kevin knows that he owes them his life.

After a month in a coma, Kevin finally woke up in the hospital. He was in excruciating pain, facedown in a hospital bed with massive internal and external injuries. His doctors told him there had been an explosion, and while he was injured, ten of his co-workers were dead. The explosion and landing severed his spine at chest level. The doctors thought these injuries would kill him, but somehow he survived. However, he would be paralyzed for life. Kevin’s faith in God helped him to hang on when others may have given up.

*  *  *  *  *

Two years after his injury, Kevin Saunders was persuaded to enter his first wheelchair race, the Peachtree Road Race 10K in Atlanta, Georgia. Lacking the proper equipment and training – he attempted to complete the course in a hospital wheelchair unsuitable for racing – he was disqualified from the event for failing to maintain pace with other competitors. Despite the early setback, however, he continued to enter competitions, finding success at the regional, and then national levels.

In 1984 Saunders won the bronze medal in the National Wheelchair Athletic Association’s Track and Field competition. He would go on to win hundreds of medals in both domestic and international competitions, including:

  1. Gold medal, 1986 (pentathlon) World Track Competition, Adelaide, Australia.
  2. Bronze medal, 1988 Paralympics, Seoul, South Korea.
  3. Gold medal (pentathlon), 1990 Pan American Games, Caracas, Venezuela.
  4. Gold medal (pentathlon) and set a world record, 1991 Track and Field Championships, Stoke Mandeville, England.
  5. Gold medal (pentathlon) and set a world record, 1992 Paralympics trials, for Barcelona, Spain.
  6. 1996 qualified for (pentathlon) the Paralympics and competed in 1996 Paralympics Trials, Atlanta, Georgia.

In 1985 Kevin donated a new track to Downs High School and the Waconda Unified School District #272. When Kevin had attended Downs High School and had been on the track team there, He trained on nothing more than a dirt track. He was convinced that the new track would help the student athletes improve and become more competitive, and just four years later the Downs High School track team went on to win their school’s first State track & field championship.

At the dedication of Saunders Track at Downs High School in 1985.

In 1989 Kevin worked alongside Tom Cruise and Oliver Stone as a principal actor during the filming of the Academy Award-winning film Born on the Fourth of July. He has also been featured in over 50 television commercials promoting fitness, education, and wellness.

After winning the World Track & Field Championships in England in 1989, Kevin was declared “The World’s Greatest All-Around Wheelchair Athlete”. At the 1992 Paralympic Trials in Salt Lake City, Saunders broke the pentathlon world record.

Kevin became a motivational speaker and consultant shortly after the Paralympic portion of his athletic career. He is considered to be one of the top 100 motivational speakers in the world.

In 1991 Kevin was appointed to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. He remains the only person to serve two consecutive terms under different administrations, first under George H. W. Bush, and later reappointed by President Bill Clinton.

Kevin Saunders meeting at the White House with President George H. W. Bush, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, and Kansas Senator Bob Dole.

In 1991 Kevin spent time at his alma mater, Kansas State University, researching improved wheelchair performance with the school’s engineering departments. Mutual friends introduced him to football Head Coach Bill Snyder, who was impressed by Kevin’s story and asked him to serve as a motivational coach to the team. Kevin remained in that role with the team from 1991 through 2005, during which time the team went from being one of the worst football programs in the country to one of the most consistent winners, including a run of 11 straight bowl games. The change in the program was later dubbed “the greatest turnaround in college football history.”

In 1993 Coach Bill Snyder created the Kevin Saunders Never Give Up Award for the Kansas State football team. The award was given to the player who displayed the most courage, determination, dedication, and perseverance in the pursuit of team goals. Many of the award winners have gone on to NFL careers.

In 1993 Kevin was chosen as the Outstanding Alumnus and given the award from Pratt Community College in Pratt, Kansas.  In 1995, he was recognized as Distinguished Alumnus from Kansas State University, College of Agriculture. Kevin was recognized in 1995 among Kansas State’s 30 most famous alumni. Kevin had attended Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas where he earned and an Associate’s Degree in Kinesiology and acting, and in 2000 he was nominated by Del Mar College and received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in Washington, D.C., which oversees the 1,500-member community colleges across America.

Kevin being interviewed by ESPN Sports.

Kevin in his handcycle at Paris, France.

Kevin and his wife Dora at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, Germany.

Kevin and his wife Dora at the Berlin Wall in Berlin, Germany.

Kevin was inducted in 2016 into the Paralympics Hall of Fame.

Saunders is also the author of five books:

  1. There’s Always a Way, published in 1993
  2. CENTAUR, the first comic book featuring a wheelchair hero, published in 1997
  3. Mission Possible, published in 2003
  4. Conversations in Health & Fitness, published in 2004
  5. Blueprint for Success, published in 2008

One of the highlights of Kevin’s life occurred on February 17, 1996, when he married Dora Ortiz in Nueces County, Texas. 

Aside from his athletic victories, Saunders has received more than 100 commendations, proclamations, and awards for his work to improve health and fitness and education, including the Torch of Freedom Award given to the year’s Outstanding Sports Figure, and the Distinguished Service Award presented by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Each time [I encounter him] I’m more impressed with his perseverance and courage. [But] what fuels my admiration [about Kevin] is the knowledge that the most frightening moments of my life – and I was shot down twice in World War II – are not equal to what Kevin experiences on a regular basis.” – President George H. W. Bush.

“You have inspired me with your positive attitude and determination. You continue to raise the bar for everyone, to show people of all ages that you can turn dreams into reality. Thank you for teaching the rest of us what it means to be a real winner in life!” – From a letter written to Kevin by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

*  *  *  *  *

Kevin and Dora Saunders currently live in Downs, Kansas.

“May the thought of taking it easy, never enter your mind.” – Kevin Saunders.

*  *  *  *  *

Truth be told, Kevin was apprised of his Hall of Fame honor three years ago.  We humbly apologize to him and his loved ones for why it did not publicly occur until now, but this is truly the moment at last.  It is a distinct honor in according such an individual with a place in the Osborne County Hall of Fame.  Welcome to the Hall, Kevin Vaughn Saunders.  We are all richer for the life you’ve led.  

*  *  *  *  *

The Following Is A Detailed List of Kevin Saunder’s Athletic Achievements, 1983-2014:

To Present: Gold, Silver and Bronze Medalist. Over 700 races run and track and field competitions in U.S. and around the world.

1986 to 1992 – Kevin was considered to be either the Best All-Around Wheelchair Athlete in the World or World’s Greatest Wheelchair Athlete.

1986 to 1992 – Kevin amassed over 10 World Records and several Paralympic Records in the Pentathlon and other events.



Kevin ran his first wheelchair race (in his old hospital chair), the Peachtree 10K Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia. He got pulled from the race course before he got to the finish line.


Wheelchair Basketball – Chosen to All Star 1st Team, Texas Lone Star Conference.

Finished 3rd in the National Wheelchair Athletic Association (NWAA) in the Pentathlon.


Wheelchair Basketball – Chosen to All Star 1st Team, and also as the Outstanding Athlete, Lone Star Basketball Conference.

Silver Medal in Pan American Games – in the Pentathlon, where he won silver in the Discus, bronze in the 200-Meter Race, and gold in the Javelin.


Gold Medalist in the Wheelchair Pentathlon, at the World Track and Field Championships in

Adelaide, Australia.  Kevin set a World Record point total, which lead to Kevin being named the “World’s Greatest All-Around Wheelchair Athlete.”


Presented “Outstanding Athlete of the Games” award at the Wheelchair Track & Field Championships.  Kevin won the silver medal for lifting over 300 lbs. in the weight lifting competition; he weighed in at just under 155 lbs. Kevin also always won medals in the World Games in swimming as well as all the other events he competed in.

At the World Games in Rome, Italy Kevin won the following: the gold medal in the Pentathlon; silver in the 200-Meter Race; silver in the 400-Meter Race in swimming; Silver in Air Guns Pistol and Rifle and in the field events and relays.

At the National Games in Pennsylvania, Kevin won every race he entered: 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters, and 1500 meters. Kevin also won the Pentathlon, the Javelin, Discus, and Silver in the Shot Put. Kevin also won the gold medal in the Pistol shooting and silver in Air Rifles.  He then then finished gold, silver and bronze in the different swimming events. Kevin also won the silver medal in Weight Lifting Bench Press with a lift of well over 300 lbs. while weighing in less than 155 lbs.


At the Paralympics Trials in Edinburgh, Scotland Kevin won multiple gold medals.

Kevin won the bronze medal in the Pentathlon at the World Paralympics Games in Seoul, South Korea.  He was awarded the Austrian Crystal Sculpture, that only a few people in the world have the ability to make, for being named the “Outstanding Athlete” award of the World Games.


Won the gold medal as the winner in the Capitol 10,000 10K Race in Austin, Texas, one of the largest 10 K’s in the world.

World Wheelchair Games, Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain Gold and world record Pentathlon, Silver discus.


Kevin was the gold medalist in the Wheelchair Pentathlon at the Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela. In doing so he set new World and Paralympic records in the event.

Gold medalist in the Wheelchair Pentathlon in World Record time at the World Track and Field Championships in Essen, Netherlands.


Kevin won multiple gold medals and was awarded a plaque for the “Outstanding Athlete Award” at the National Wheelchair Games.  He won the most events of all the competitors.

He won the gold medal at the Wheelchair Pentathlon in the “Victory Games” Paralympics Trials in Long Island, New York.

He won the gold medal in the Wheelchair Pentathlon at the World Track and Field Championships in Stoke Mandeville, England, with a World Record point total.  In the event Kevin won the silver in the 200-meter dash, the gold in the 1500-meter race, the gold in the discus, the gold in the Javelin, and the silver in the shot put.

At the World Paralympic Games in Assen, Netherlands, Kevin set the World and Paralympic record in the Pentathlon, as he won silver in the discus, silver in the 200-meter race, and bronze in the 400-meter race.


Gold medalist in the Pentathlon in the Paralympic Trials in Salt Lake City, Utah, setting the World, National, and Paralympic records, and was the featured athlete of the Games by Fox Sports in Salt Lake City.

Gold medalist in the Wheelchair Pentathlon at the Paralympics Games in Barcelona, Spain.


Presented the Torch of Freedom Award, given to the year’s “OUTSTANDING SPORTS FIGURE OR TEAM WITH A DISABILITY.”


Gold medal winner in the Woodlands Marathon at Woodlands, Texas.


Top 10 finish in the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia.


Kevin was a gold medalist at the Paralympics Trials in Staunton, Virginia, and qualified for the World Paralympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.


Top 10 finish in the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia.


Earned gold medals by winning 5-mile and 2-mile races.


Earned gold by winning the Corpus Christi Marathon in Corpus Christi, Texas.


Earned gold by winning the Midwest 10K Championships.


Earned gold medals by winning 5-mile and 2-mile races.


Earned gold by winning the Corpus Christi 10K in Corpus Christi, Texas.


Earned gold medals by winning 5-mile and 2-mile races.


Pushed over 2,500 miles across America on the USA Health & Fitness Tour.


Earned gold medals by winning 5-mile and 2-mile races.


Pushed through portions of five countries in Europe promoting Health and Fitness as an international Ambassador for Fitness & Health appointed by President George W. Bush.


Earned gold medals by winning 5-mile and 2-mile races.


Earned gold medal by winning Chevron Aramco USATF Half Marathon in Houston, Texas.

Earned gold medal by winning Conoco Phillips Rodeo Run 5K in Houston, Texas.


Earned gold medal by winning the Conoco Phillips Rodeo Race 5K in Houston, Texas.

Earned silver medal by winning Chevron Aramco Half Marathon in Houston, Texas.


Earned gold medal by winning Chevron Aramco USATF Half Marathon in Houston, Texas.

Earned gold medal by winning Conoco Phillips Rodeo Race 5K in Houston, Texas.


Earned gold medal by winning Chevron Aramco USATF Half Marathon in Houston, Texas.

Earned gold medal by winning Miracle Match Half Marathon in Houston, Texas.

*  *  *  *  *


Kevin Saunders, Downs, Kansas.

Corpus Christi Caller Times, Corpus Christi, Texas, April 8, 1981, Page One.

Health and Fitness

Vickie Lynn Dugan – 2020 Inductee

(On this date, December 20, 2020, the Osborne County Hall of Fame is pleased to present for the first time anywhere the sixth inductee of the OCHF Class of 2020.)


Always a top scholar and athlete, Vickie Lynn Dugan’s perseverance from her involvement in one of the landmark legal decisions of modern American history through to a decorated Hall of Fame teaching/coaching career have earned her both honor and respect and an overdue place in the Osborne County Hall of Fame.

Vickie was born in Osborne, Kansas, in February 1952, the second of the three daughters of Cleo Max Dugan and Cathryn Irene (McDaneld) Dugan.  She attended school in Osborne and in the spring of 1970 graduated as the salutatorian of her senior class from Osborne High School.  That fall she enrolled at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, and was instantly a starter on the women’s volleyball and softball teams.


Two softball pictures.


Franch Horn Quartet, Osborne High School, 1967. From left: Judy Dugan, Carrie McDonald, Vickie Dugan, Carol Lewis. Received a “I” rating at State Music Festival.


*  *  *  *  *

   “Vickie Dugan, junior at Fort Hays State College, has been selected as an Outstanding College Athlete of America for 1973. 

   “Nominated by her college, she is one of a select group of students to receive this national award.  Vickie is now being considered, with fellow award winners, for the Outstanding College Athletes Hall of Fame award.  Athletes chosen by the Board of Advisors will be honored at an awards presentation to be held at the permanent Hall of Fame in Los Angeles.

   “As an Outstanding College Athlete, Vickie’s complete biography will be featured in the 1973 edition of Outstanding College Athletes of America.” – Osborne County Farmer newspaper, Osborne, Kansas, May 3, 1973.

*  *  *  *  *

   “Five Fort Hays State College women received special honors at the recent Woman’s Athletic Banquet.  Among those five was Vickie Dugan of Osborne.

   “Miss Dugan was one of three Senior Scholar Athletes. Those receiving the award had to have a 3.5 cumulative grade point average for four years and lettered in at least one varsity spot this year. Other Senior Scholar Athletes were Kathy Clouston, Ness City and Chris Keller, Great Bend.

   “Miss Dugan has lettered four years in volleyball and softball.  She was one of the leading servers in this year’s volleyball conference championship and state third place.

   “A 1970 Osborne High graduate, Vickie was salutatorian of her class and a member of the KMEA band.  While at FHSU she has been active in Women’s Recreation Association, Alpha Lambda Delta. Phi Kappa Phi, Sophomore Women’s Honorary and the Brass Choir.  She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Cleo Dugan of Osborne.

   “All nominations and selections were made by the women’s athletic coaching staff.” – Osborne County Farmer, May 15, 1975.

Alpha Lamda Delta senior certificate receivers, 1974, Fort Hays State University. From left: Cynthia Hartman, Jeannine Ross, Beverly McClellan, Linda Kneller, Vickie Dugan, Verlaine Hays, Frances Casey, Deanna Molby, Barbara Otte, Barbara Cooper.


Fort Hays State University Volleyball team image.


1974 Fort Hays State University womens softball team. Third from left: Vickie Dugan.


*  *  *  *  *

   Vicki was selected as an Outstanding College Athlete of America in both 1973 and 1974.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude and earned a B.S. in Health and Physical Education and a B.A. in music from Fort Hays State University.

In 1977 Vickie’s coaching career took off with her selection as the head softball coach at Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1977.  In 1978 and 1979 she served as an assistant coach at Utah State University, where she received a Masters degree in education/physical education.  Vickie then became an instructor at Western Nevada Community College, and for six years she worked as an activities director for National Camps for the Blind in Utah.  She also worked as the Fitness and Recreation Director for the Churchill County Parks and Recreation Department in Fallon, Nevada.  From 1983 to 1987 Vickie was the head softball coach at Churchill County High School at Fallon.

In 1988 Vickie was hired as the head coach of the softball team at Oregon State University, in Corvallis, Oregon, a member of the Pacific-10 Conference, which at the time was considered to be the toughest conference in the nation for softball.  In 1994 she became the second-longest serving softball coach in Oregon State University softball history with her sixth season at the helm.

*  *  *  *  *

Osborne native at Oregon State

Vickie Dugan became the longest acting coach in Oregon State University softball history when her sixth season at the helm began with this year’s team.  She ranks third on the all-time win list with 48.

During her tenure, Dugan has continued to keep the Beavers competitive in the demanding Pacific-10 Conference. Last year, the Beavers won an OSU-high six Pac-10 games and finished fifth in front of conference newcomers Washington and Stanford. Oregon State has improved in each of Dugan’s last four seasons . . . .” – Osborne County Farmer, May 5, 1994.


Three images of Vickie while head softball coach at Oregon State University.


*  *  *  *  *

In September 1994. Vickie was informed by Oregon State University that her contract as softball coach was not being renewed, and it was announced that she was being replaced as coach by Kirk Walker, a then-assistant coach with the UCLA softball team. 

For three years Vickie could not get a job coaching or teaching.  But she used those years to prepare for the then unthinkable: in 1997 she sued Oregon State University and former Athletic Director Baughman for gender discrimination.

*  *  *  *  *

Former OSU softball coach alleges discrimination

EUGENE (AP) – A former Oregon State University softball coach says she was paid less than her male counterparts and eventually was replaced by a male coach after she complained to federal civil rights investigators and fought a move to eliminate the women’s softball program.

“We are not really here about a softball field,” Eugene attorney Martha Walters told a U.S. District Court jury in opening statements Tuesday. “It’s the level playing field that we are here about.”

But Oregon State lawyers responded that Vickie Dugan was simply not up to the job.

They said that former athletic director Dutch Baughman, who is named in the lawsuit, went out of his way to help Dugan succeed.

“This is a story of remarkable patience toward really poor performance,” said Assistant Attorney General John McCulloch, who is representing the university and Baughman.

Dugan’s suit alleges that Oregon State officials violated federal laws that prohibit gender discrimination in employment and require substantially equal pay for equal work by men and women.

In addition, Dugan claims officials violated her constitutional right to free speech by punishing her after speaking out about issues related to alleged gender discrimination in the athletic department.

Dugan was hired in 1988 as a temporary half-time women’s softball coach for $9,750 a year, according to court documents and testimony. She was filling in for the former softball coach, who was on leave.

Dugan’s contract was subsequently renewed in 1989 after the former coach decided not to return, and her contract was renewed again in 1990, the year Baughman was hired.

Prior to that, Dugan had complained to Oregon State athletic officials about what she thought was inequitable pay. Internal Oregon State memos from 1988 and 1989 show that some university officials shared those concerns, Dugan’s lawyers argued.

In a July 1988 memo, the university’s vice president for academic affairs questioned athletic department officials about salary discrepancies between men and women, noting that the men’s soccer coach was earning $32,000 a year, compared with the $19,400 that Dugan would have made had she been full time.

In the spring of 1991, federal civil rights investigators were looking to see if the college’s athletic programs were in violation of Title IX, the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in education. 

Dugan cooperated with investigators, discussing what she said was inadequate funding, inadequate scholarships and a lack of adequate assistant coaches.

Also that spring, Dugan said Baughman told her he planned to discontinue the women’s softball program. Dugan rallied support inside and outside the university.

In testimony Tuesday, Dugan said it was at this time that Baughman reminded her that she was an “interim” coach. – Albany Democrat-Herald, Albany, Oregon, October 22, 1997.

*  *  *  *  *

Up to this time lawsuits such as this had been filed many times before across the entire country, and each time the plaintiffs had lost their case.  So Vickie knew that she was fighting an uphill battle with little chance of success.  Still, she carried on.

*  *  *  *  *

Former coach testifies at OSU trial

EUGENE – A sex discrimination lawsuit against Oregon State University entered its fifth day Monday with testimony from a former gymnastics coach who said she also lost her job after complaining about problems in the university’s athletics program.

Former softball coach Vickie Dugan is suing OSU and former athletic director Dutch Baughman. Dugan claims OSU athletic officials discriminated against her because she is a woman, then retaliated when she, spoke up about inequalities between the school’s men’s and women’s sports programs.

Jill Hicks, an assistant under head gymnastics coach Jim Turpin for more than 10 years, told a U.S. District Court jury she was concerned about the gymnasts’ safety during the 1996-97 season when Turpin was battling illness.

When Hicks took the matter to Baughman, he told her he would discuss the concerns with Turpin. Turpin’s illness eventually led to his retirement, and OSU conducted a national search to replace him.

Although Hicks applied, she was not selected. The next thing she knew, Hicks said, she also was out of a job when she read in the newspaper that, she had been replaced.

However, in college athletics it is not unusual for new head coaches to hire new assistants.

Hicks was one of several witnesses over the last week who testified to unfair treatment at OSU. Other testimony has been given by former players as well as coaches at other Pacific-10 Conference schools.

OSU’s attorneys did not ask any questions of Hicks on Monday, and have yet to present their side of the case.

According to court documents, Dugan, softball coach from 1988 to 1994, was hired part-time at an initial salary of $9,750. Her contract was renewed until 1991, when Baughman told Dugan he intended to drop softball.

Dugan said she fought to keep the program, and Baughman changed course when she rallied support from outside groups.

Dugan then noted that her salary was lower than those of other coaches in similar positions. She also said her funding did not provide for adequate uniforms, assistant coaches and scholarships to be competitive in the Pac-10, among the strongest conferences in the nation.

Dugan was one of three finalists in 1993; after Baughman opened her job of head coach to applicants. She was not selected. However, she filed a grievance with the university, which determined she had been treated unfairly in the hiring process.

Dugan was then given a one-year, full-time contract and a salary increase to $12,000. That year, however, Dugan said athletic department officials threatened to file a report with the NCAA alleging that she violated various rules.

After she responded, Dugan said, OSU did not file the report but in 1994 conducted another search for a softball coach. This time, she was not granted an interview. Former UCLA assistant coach Kirk Walker, the first choice of the search committee in 1993, was selected again in 1994 and then hired.

Dugan’s win-loss record was 64-201 overall and 9-112 in the Pac-10. Walker is 53-110 overall and 13-67 in the Pac-10 in three seasons. OSU won 29 games this past season, the third-most in the program s 23-year history.

Dugan is seeking lost wages and other unspecified damages.

The trial continues today. OSU is expected to present its case later this week. – Corvallis Gazette-Times, Corvallis, Oregon, October 28, 1997.

*  *  *  *  *

After weeks of testimony the case was handed to the jury, which after due deliberation rendered its verdict in the civil case.  Their decision rocked the entire country and made national headlines, as the reverberations were deeply felt throughout the collegiate world and the nation in general.

*  *  *  *  *

Ex-Softball Coach Wins Case

Jury awards $1.3 million for sex discrimination

EUGENE – Vickie Dugan called it a grand slam.

As much as $1.3 million could be headed her way after a jury ruled in her favor Wednesday in a sex discrimination lawsuit. Dugan, a former Oregon State University softball coach, sued OSU and former Athletic Director Dutch Baughman in the civil case heard in U.S. District Court in Eugene.

Dugan claimed officials discriminated against her by paying her less than male coaches in similar positions. She also said officials treated her unfairly after she spoke up about inequities between the university’s men’s and women’s sports programs.

Pacing the floor in her attorneys’ office in Eugene, a jubilant Dugan wanted to make one thing clear about the lawsuit that had consumed three years of her life and could have left her in debt for the rest of it.

“It’s for those people behind me,” she said. “I want to give them a shot.”

Dugan said that she filed the lawsuit for the more than 3 million school-age girls who play sports and may want to be coaches someday. Their chances of achieving such a dream have become slimmer over the past 20 years, she said. Less than 50 percent of coaches who lead women’s sports are females, compared to 90 percent two decades ago.

“Someone has to start standing in the gap,” Dugan said. “It wasn’t easy to stand in the courtroom knowing the record I had – I knew everything would be scrutinized.”

Three Pac-10 coaches testified at the trial that Dugan had done a respectable job, considering the program’s limited resources.

OSU’s attorneys maintained throughout the 16-day trial that Dugan was not up to the job. They pointed out her record was 64-201 overall and 9-112 in the Pacific-10 Conference considered the best softball conference in the nation during her tenure from 1988 to 1994.

“We were disappointed in the decision,” said Bob Bruce, OSU’s director of communications and marketing. “The issue we believe was inadequate performance, not discrimination.”

Bruce said the university will review the decision with attorneys before deciding whether to appeal.

Baughman, now the executive director of the Division I-A Athletic Director’s Association, was not in court Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.

The all-woman jury awarded Dugan $329,000 in economic damages and $750,000 in compensatory damages because it determined she was deprived of rights under the Equal Pay Act. She also was awarded $13,000 in lost salary under the act. The jury also ruled that Baughman must pay Dugan $185,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

Because Oregon government is self-insured, Bruce said, any damages awarded to Dugan would come out of the state’s risk management pool, not the university budget. He was unsure whether Baughman’s part would be covered by insurance.

Assistant Attorney General John McCulloch said the damages could still be disputed because there may be some duplication of the amounts awarded.

Both sides worried about the composition of the jury, comprised of eight women.

“It’s ironic and might have been unfortunate that it happened in a case all about gender,” McCulloch said.

Dugan’s attorneys also were concerned about the all-woman jury. They feared the women might feel pressure to compensate for the lack of men and let that affect their decision.

The case may be one of the largest tried in Oregon and drew attention from the American Association of University Women, which donated more than $15,000 for Dugan’s legal expenses.

Dugan was succeeded in 1994 by then-UCLA assistant coach Kirk Walker, who was recommended twice to fill her shoes after two national coaching searches.

She has spent the last three years with attorneys preparing for the case, which included more than 700 exhibits most of them memos and documents from OSU.

Although Dugan said she hadn’t given much thought to her future, she said she wants to continue coaching and teaching. – Corvallis Gazette-Times, November 13, 1997.

Vickie celebrating her win with her lawyers, Suzanne Chani (left) and Martha Walters (right).


*  *  *  *  *

Oregon State University did appeal the verdict, and in July 1998 U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan lowered the damages to $623,000. But the State of Oregon, which represented the university during the trial, agreed in an out of court settlement in January 1999 to also pay Dugan’s legal bills of more than $460,000.  

*  *  *  *  *

The fall of 1997 also saw Vickie land a new coaching job.  Porterville is a two-year public college located in Porterville, California.  At the time Vickie was hired, the women’s softball team was not doing well. They needed a teacher and head coach to not only lead them to success on the field but also in the classroom.  It was a situation that Vickie thrived in.  She turned the team around both athletically and academically, and through 2019 Vickie had taught and coached for 22 successful years at the college, winning more than 368 games as the Pirates’ head coach. 

*  *  *  *  *

PORTERVILLE – (January 18, 2019 press release)

“The Porterville College Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of longtime PC softball coach Vickie Dugan as the 2019 Hall of Fame inductee for Athletics.

“Dugan will receive the Foundation’s highest honor at the Porterville College Foundation Hall of Fame Ceremony on Friday, February 1st, in the college gymnasium.

“For 22 years, Dugan and her players have celebrated success on and off the PC softball field. Dugan has won more than 368 games as the Pirates’ coach and seen her players excel at PC and beyond. Just last season, PC third-baseman Chelsea Ramos was named to the 2018 National Fastpitch Coaches Association California Junior College All-American Team, making her the first PC athlete ever to be honored as an All-American. Only 19 other players from across California received All-American honors.

“Off the field, Dugan is just as committed to her players’ success. That commitment is reflected in student outcomes such as graduation, transfer and program-completion rates.

“Under Dugan’s leadership, the PC softball team has been nationally recognized for team grade-point average. The 2009-10 and 2015-16 teams were recognized by the NFCA as All-Academic Teams. The 2009-10 team had a cumulative GPA of 3.289 – 11th in the nation.

“Over 80 percent of Dugan’s players have transferred to four-year institutions. A map riddled with pushpins indicating where all of her players have transferred hangs in her office. The pins can be found in nearly every state, from Hawaii to Maine. She’s known for being a student advocate who actively seeks out recruitment, scholarship and educational-advancement opportunities for her players.

“Dugan is also committed to the larger success of the college. She is currently the division chair of PC’s Kinesiology Department and serves on various campus committees as well. She’s also served as the division chair of the Physical Education Department.” –


Coach Dugan with her Porterville softball team.


Vickie’s Porterville College Foundation Hall of Fame plaque and award.

Three favorite pastimes of Vickie Dugan: Skiing, camping, and backpacking.


*  *  *  *  *

In the spring of 2020 Vickie entered her 23rd season as the Porterville College softball coach.  Professor Dugan currently teaches physical education and health classes, and continues to make a true impact on the world as a role model for many.   It is our humble honor to welcome this native daughter as part of the 2020 Class of the Osborne County Hall of Fame.

*  *  *  *  *


Vickie Dugan, Springville, California.

Albany Democrat-Herald, Albany, Oregon, September 15, 1994, Page 19; October 22, 1997, Page 16.

Corvallis Gazette-Times, Corvallis, Oregon, March 14, 1993, Pages 11 & 13; October 28, 1997, Pages 1 & 3; November 8, 1997, Page 1; November 13, 1997, Pages 1 & 8.

Lancaster New Era, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, November 13, 1997, Pages 39 & 44.

Osborne County Farmer, Osborne, Kansas, May 3, 1973, Page 19; May 15, 1975, Page 1; April 20, 1989, Page 4; May 5, 1994, page 13., November 13, 1997. XtaHU6i YqQOzapvHU0UJfc1H3vt4IAr3xYLoB_Pem80x-d7z_R0 former_osu_coac.html; Kitsap Sun, Bremerton, Washington, January 15, 1999. 

Fort Hays State University yearbook, The Reveille, 1974, pages 114, 146 & 166.

Osborne High School yearbook, Swan Song, 1967, pages 68, 69, & 72.

*  *  *  *  *

Elton Lee & Joyce N. (Wiersma) Koops – 2020 Inductees

(On this date, December 17, 2020, the Osborne County Hall of Fame is pleased to present for the first time anywhere the fifth inductees of the OCHF Class of 2020.)

Elton and Joyce Koops. Image courtesy of the Downs News & Times newspaper.


Notable couples who complement and empower each other their entire married lives have often shared over the years the spotlight that is the Osborne County Hall of Fame.  Husband and wife Elton and Joyce Koops – long time teachers, community leaders, one a sports hero, the other a storytelling legend – have easily earned their turn to shine.  Here is their story. 

Our story’s heroine, Joyce Wiersma, was born July 26, 1931, at Hull, Sioux County, Iowa.  Joyce was one of five sons and two daughters born to Johannes and Gertrude (Reinders) Koops.  She attended elementary school in Lincoln, Iowa.  Joyce graduated in 1949 from Western Christian High School in Hull, Iowa and later from Northwestern Junior College in Orange City Iowa. 

Our story’s hero, Elton Lee Koops, was born in Jewell County, Kansas May 3, 1933, the second of the three sons of farmers Renzo and Gezinna “Sinnie” (Ramaker) Koops.  Elton, or “Al” as he was often called, attended Maple Grove School, District #35, in northeastern Ross Township, Osborne County, Kansas, and then enrolled in Downs High School in Down, Kansas. Elton was a star high school athlete.  In 1949 he won the Kansas state shotput championship in track and field with a throw of 48’ 6”, a distance that stood as the state record for ten years.  Elton was also a starter at tackle/fullback on the Dragons football team and at center for the basketball team.  During his junior year in high school the undefeated Downs Dragons won the 1949 Class B Kansas state football championship, and Elton was named to the All-State first team by the Topeka Daily Capital newspaper, the only junior in the state so honored.  Elton was also named to the basketball All-State first team after he helped the Dragons win the 1949-1950 Class B Kansas State basketball championship with a 28-0 record, the first time in state history that any school won both the state football and basketball titles in the same school calendar year.  In Elton’s final three years of high school the Dragons basketball team compiled an overall record of 72-5.

Advertisement from the Downs News & Downs Times newspaper of September 28, 1950. Elton Koops played fullback on the Downs Dragons high school football team.


In the fall of 1951 Elton enrolled at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and graduated from Calvin there in 1955.  Elton was a standout on the school’s track team.   

*  *  *  *  *

Thinks Koops May Break Shot Put Record

“‘Calvin’s track coach Dave Tunk is looking forward to a fairly successful season even though high-point-making graduates Al Berkkompas, Ed Monsma and Ken Thomasma will be sorely missed by the squad as they enter conference track competition.  Returning, however, as the core of the team, are veterans Pet Duyst, Gary DeBoer, Elton Koops and Morrie Tubergen.  Turbergen is expected to crack the college’s half-mile record.  Big Elton Koops should put the shot put close to the record.  The squad opens the season April 14 in a triangular meet with Kalamazoo and Olivet.’ – School Record, Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The Big Elton Koops mentioned above is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Renzo Koops, and is a graduate of Downs High School.” – The Downs News and The Downs Times, March 25, 1954.

*  *  *  *  *

After his college graduation Elton was drafted into the U.S. Navy, where he served aboard the USS Saipan, with the rank of TD3 (Training Devices Man Third Class).

*  *  *  *  *

Letter from Elton Koops

April 16, 1956

“Dear Mr. McKay:

Since I’ve been in the Navy now nearly five months, I think it’s high time I write you a few lines in regard to my whereabouts and what I’m doing.

First of all, I was drafted in to the Navy on December 5, 1955, for a term of two years.  After being inducted at Detroit, Michigan, I was sent to Great Lakes, Illinois, for nine weeks of Recruit Training, then was ordered to report aboard the Air Craft Carrier U.S.S. Saipan (CVL-48), located at Pensacola, Florida.  After reporting aboard I was assigned to the Executive Department of the ship.

My duties here are varied and numerous.  One task I undertake is correspondence.  I order courses and administer tests for the crew members, better known as United States Armed Forces tests and courses.  These tests, if passed, make possible the acquirement of their high school diplomas.

I am also in charge of a Training Room which has a movie projector and a supply of nearly 500 films.  This room is used primarily for educating the ship’s crew through films and lectures.

The purpose of the ship being down here is to train Naval Cadets.  Each Cadet has to make six carrier landings before he can graduate from Pre-Flight.  Our ship never gets more than 50 miles from the coast and is in port every night. 

The weather down here is beautiful and quite different from that of Kansas, but I still consider Downs my home town.  I enjoy my work but am already looking forward to the time when I will receive my discharge; there’s nothing like being a good old civilian.

                                                                                                                        Elton Koops, A.A.”

The Downs News and The Downs Times, May 3, 1956, Page 6.

*  *  *  *  *

“Elton Koops has received his discharge from active service in the Navy and is now at the home of his brother Gerald and family for a number of weeks, helping Gerald with his farm work.  Elton visited his brother Gary, who is stationed in an Army Base in North Carolina.  Their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Renzo Koops, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, also spent a couple of days with Gary at the same time and Elton drove back to Grand Rapids before coming on out here.” – The Downs News and The Downs Times, October 10, 1957.

*  *  *  *  *

Senior Joyce Wiersma, from her Calvin College yearbook.


Joyce attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, graduating in 1957.  There she got to know one Elton Koops, and the couple were married on August 14, 1958, in Orange City, Iowa.  They would become the parents of four children – Katherine, Steven, Paul, and James.  The Koops settled in Grand Rapids and both began teaching in the Grand Rapids school district in the fall of 1958. 

Joyce worked as a teacher in Grand Rapids for 25 years, specializing in reading education for illiterate adults and English as a second language for immigrants new to America.  She became an accomplished professional storyteller. 

Elton Koops with some of his student charges, May 1959.



Elton’s nearly 40-year teaching and counseling career began at Huff School, continued at Northeast Junior High, and culminated at Creston High School, where he served as a guidance counselor until his retirement.

In 1992 Elton and Joyce decided to move from Grand Rapids back to Elton’s hometown of Downs, Kansas.  Elton taught in the local school system and was a member of the Downs Lions Club.  He later served on the Downs City Council.  Joyce taught school and was appointed to the Downs City Library Board in 1993.  Both were active members in the Dispatch Christian Reformed Church and the Downs Historical Society.

Joyce loved the art of storytelling and was instrumental in establishing the Meadowlark State Storytelling Festival, later called the Kansas Storytelling Festival, in Downs in 1993.

*  *  *  *  *

Storytelling festival to come to Downs

“DOWNS – When she found out Kansas did not have a state storytelling festival, Joyce Koops saw no reason when Downs couldn’t hold one.

‘Holding the Kansas Storytelling Festival here will do so much for Downs and make it the kind of place people will want to move to,’ Koops told the Downs City Council Monday night.

A member of the National Association of Professional Storytellers, Koops said she got the idea to hold the festival in Downs when she found out Kansas doesn’t have one.

According to Koops, the statewide annual event will be held in April.  Four storytelling events will be going on concurrently, but there will be free time to browse and have tours. 

Authors will also be brought in for autograph sessions and for those attending to meet and visit with.

‘We also want to feature a sort of Art in the Park, where artists can exhibit, and musicians can have a concert,’ said Mary Rotman.  ‘We want to put them together and give them a forum to exhibit their talents.’

To finance the festival, a local group wants to apply for a grant from the Kansas City Arts Council, and that’s where the city comes in, explained Rotman.

The grant application has to be submitted by a non-profit organization such as a city.  The request would be for $1,000 with the match coming from fund raising, ticket sales and volunteer labor.

‘We’ll take care of all of the paperwork and finances,’ said Barbara Stevens.  ‘All we need is for you to sign the grant application.’

After discussion, the council voted unanimously to assist with the grant application.

It is hoped the storytelling festival will be a kick-off activity to start an arts council in Downs, said Rotman.  Organizers envision using a local art council to encompass such things as a theater group, art gallery and musical performances.” – Osborne County Farmer, November 4, 1993.

*  *  *  *  *

Enthusiastic response to Storytelling weekend in spite of moving inside due to wet weather

“Cold, wet weather could not dampen the enthusiasm and fun of the first annual Kansas Meadowlark Storytelling Festival held in Downs the past weekend.

While the record freezing weather had to affect attendance considerably there were still large crowds at most events, with an estimated 500 in attendance.  The necessity to move portions of the storytelling events off the main street probably caused some confusion and hurt attendance at those events.

Most in attendance did not even know what a storytelling performer did and had never been to one before.  They were not disappointed.

The Senior Center was packed for the Tall Tales of Terry Koops, Mike Nyhoff, Irvin Burmeister and Dan Buser at 11 o’clock.

Kay Negash, the featured storyteller, seemed to mesmerize the audience with her tales of Baby Doe Tabor and Aunt Clara Brown and received a long, enthusiastic response and a standing ovation.

‘You could hear a pin drop during this,’ said Doug Brush of the Swedish Homesteading stories of Tom Holmquist of Salina as listeners sat enthralled by these events.

A full house at the Senior Center heard Von Rothenberger tell about the new data, including whole unprinted chapters, [that] he has unearthed in his quest to elaborate on the book ‘Sod and Stubble’ about the Henry Ise family, who homesteaded three miles from Downs in the late 1800s.

There was an unbelievable amount of local talent rendered by the Community Band, the Carl Warner guitar and singing group, Darrell Geist, Bernita Smith, Carol Cordel, Oak Creek Boys and Sherry Stroh groups.

The food stands seemed to be having good sales in spite of being in rather cramped quarters, having had to move into Memorial Hall due to the weather and grateful to be there.  Everything from cotton candy to pork burgers was available.

The popular hour-long bus tours drew a half load for the noon hour, then a full load for the next three trips with a few passengers turned down.  It was hoped they made the later tour.

Dispatch was a highlight of this tour, where the group disembarked for traditional Dutch treats of Olie Boelen and Banket at the Dutch Reformed Church there.  They heard [the] history of the former post office and main street, now a ghost town, as Norma Miller explained.

Organizers Barb Stevens and Joyce Koops were pleased with the weekend.  If things went this well in this bad weather, think about what a great Spring weekend could do for it in future years.” – Downs News and Times, May 5, 1994.

Joyce Koop performing at the Kansas Meadowlark Storytelling Festival in Downs, Kansas. Image courtesy of the Downs News & Times newspaper.


*  *  *  *  *

After a lifetime of public service and creative accomplishments, Joyce Koops passed away at the age of 83 on August 28, 2014, in Downs.   Just over two years later Elton Koops would follow her to the Lord on December 26, 2016.   They were both laid to rest in the Dispatch Cemetery in Lincoln Township, Smith County, Kansas. 

Elton and Joyce Koops left their mark as respected members of the community and they will forever be missed.  The Osborne County Hall of Fame is honored to keep their memory alive.

Elton and Joyce Koops rest together in eternal peace and bliss in the Dispatch Cemetery, located in the Dutch community of Dispatch in Lincoln Township, southeast Smith County, Kansas.

*  *  *  *  *


Steven Koops, Monument, Colorado.

The Downs News and The Downs Times, March 20, 1950, Page 4; September 28, 1950, Page 7; March 25, 1954, Page 1; May 3, 1956, Page 6; September 11, 1958, Page 2; May 5, 1994, Page 1.

Manhattan Mercury, November 27, 1949, Page 5.

Osborne County Farmer, December 8, 1949, Page 1; November 4, 1993, Page 15. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012

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James Edward Neihouse – 2020 Inductee

(On this date, December 2, 2020, the Osborne County Hall of Fame is pleased to present for the first time anywhere the fourth inductee of the OCHF Class of 2020.)



Longtime teacher/coach Jim Neihouse is considered to be one of the greatest long distance runners in Kansas high school history; he did pretty well in the sport in college, too.   Among the many accolades accorded him in his lifetime he can now add being selected to the Osborne County Hall of Fame.

James Edward Neihouse was born May 2, 1949 in Salina, Kansas, the twelfth child of eleven sisters and one brother born to John Bernard Neihouse and Inez Ella Foulke.  Jim grew up in Salina and attended Sacred Heart High School. 

Jim played four years of basketball for the Knights.  He led Sacred Heart in scoring with 361 points for the season, with an average of nearly 20 points a contest, and paced the rebounding with 259. He hit 43 percent of his field attempts and 62 percent of his free throws.  In 1967 he was named to the Topeka Daily Capital newspaper’s Class A All-State High School Basketball Team.

In the fall of 1966 Jim became the Class A boys cross country state champion.  That winter he was the indoor state champion in both the 440-yard (quarter mile) and 880-yard (half mile) runs, helping the Sacred Heart Knights boys track and field team to win the Kansas state indoor track championship.  In the spring of 1967 the high school senior placed first in both the 880-yard run (in a time of 1:55.1 minutes) and the mile run (in a time of 4:13.7 minutes), both of which were Class A state records.

Jim graduated from Sacred Heart High in 1967 and enrolled that fall at the University of Kansas, where he competed in indoor and outdoor track.  In 1969 Jim ran a 1:50.4 opening 880 on the distance medley team (which included KU legend Jim Ryun) that set a world record of 9:33 flat at the 1969 Kansas Relays.  Jim also ran the 880-yard second leg of the two-mile race in 1:50 flat at the 1970 NCAA Indoor Championships.  That race set a world record for an 11-lap track with a time of 7:25.7 and helped the Jayhawks clinch their second straight national title by 1.5 points over Villanova.  Jim was named a track All-American in 1970.

Jim Neihouse, sophomore year, University of Kansas.


Jim’s best outdoor 880-run effort was a time of 1:49 in 1970 against UCLA.  He was the 1971 880 indoor champ in Big Eight in 1:52.2 and has the 4th best 880-run of 1:51.1 in KU history.  In Jim’s four years at the University of Kansas the men’s track and field team won both the Big Eight Conference indoor and outdoor championships every year.  


KU Distance Medley Relay World Record Team, 1969. From left: Jim Ryun, Thorn Bigley, Randy Julian, Jim Neihouse.


KU Indoor 2-Mile Relay World Record Team and KU NCAA Champions, 1970. From left: Dennis Stewart, Jim Neihouse, Roger Kathol, Brian McElroy.


*  *  *  *  *

Jim Neihouse to Tipton job

“TIPTON – Jim Neihouse of Salina and Stephen Adams of Minot, N.D., will be coaches for the 1972-73 school year at the high school, according to the Rev. Donald McCarthy, principal.

“Neihouse will be athletic director and head coach in basketball and track. Adams will be head coach in football and assistant in the other 2 sports.

“Neihouse, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Neihouse, 203 N. Columbia, is a graduate Sacred Heart high school and the University Kansas. He was an outstanding runner at both schools; in addition, he played 4 years of basketball for the Knights. He will teach biology, health, physical education, and religion at Tipton.

“Adams is a graduate at Sts. Peter & Paul High School, Seneca, and St. Mary’s of the Plains, Dodge City. He participated in football and track at both schools. He now lives in Minot. He will teach social studies.

“Neihouse and Adams succeed Joseph Hammerschmidt, Dennis Conaghan and Terry Robl at Tipton. Hammerschmidt be a regional insurance representative for the Knights of Columbus in Northwest Kansas, Conaghan will teach and coach at a Kansas City, Kansas, school, and Robl will do likewise at Ellsworth high school.” – Salina Journal, Salina, Kansas, June 11, 1972.

*  *  *  *  *

Jim spent two years at Tipton as the biology and physical education teacher and coached football, boys’ basketball and boys’ and girls’ track.  In the spring of 1973 the Tipton High School girls team won the Class 1A state track championship.

The Tipton High School 1A State Track Championship Team, Spring 1973. BACK, FROM LEFT : Coach Steve Adams, Brenda Cordel, Joan Pfeiffer, Carmel May, Marie Eilert, Coach Jim Neihouse. CNETER, FROM LEFT: Center: Mary Lynn Schroeder, Lisa Hake, Diane Arnoldy, Carla Streit, Eileen Hake, Ruth Streit. FRONT, FROM LEFT: Managers Barb Adam, Nancy Arnoldy, Jeanne Hake, Paula Moritz.


On December 27, 1973, Jim Neihouse married Karla Robinson in the St. Boniface Roman Catholic Church at Tipton, Kansas.  Together they raised two children, Paula and Aaron, and later welcomed four treasured grandchildren into the family.

In the fall of 1974 the Neihouse family moved to Stockton, Kansas, where Jim taught physical education and driver education and coached cross country, boys’ basketball and boys’ track.  After two years in Stockton Jim was hired in August 1976 at Downs, Kansas, where he taught earth science, biology, and physical education.  In time Jim would also serve as the school’s football coach, volleyball coach, boys’ basketball coach, cross country coach, and boys’ and girls’ track coach. 

In 1989 Jim’s Downs boys’ track team won the Class 1A State Track championship.

Downs High School 1A State Track Championship Team, Spring 1989. FROM LEFT: Jesse Schreuder, Doug Cordill, Mike Becker, Tony Gradig, Lance Weeks, Coach Jim Neihouse.


In all Jim coached cross country for 29 years and track for 35 years at Downs, where he coached eight individual state champions in track and many state placers in track and cross country.

Jim retired from classroom teaching in 2005 and after a year took a job as a paraprofessional for USD 272 until his retirement in 2016, after forty years employed by the district.  He retired from coaching in 2015.

In 2000 James Edward Neihouse was named one of Salina’s Top 50 athletes of all time by the Salina Journal newspaper.  He is a member of the University of Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame and a 2010 inductee into the Kansas State High School Activities Association Hall of Fame.  It is an honor to welcome Jim with his many accomplishments into the Osborne County Hall of Fame.

University of Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame.


*   *  *  *  *


Jim Neihouse, Downs, Kansas.

Salina Journal, Salina, Kansas, March 19, 1967, Page 14; April 17, 1970, page 8; May 19, 1971, Page 1; May 19, 1971, page 17; June 11, 1972, Page 24; December 2, 1973, Page 12; January 1, 2000, Page 15.

*  *  *  *  *

Victor Nelson Holloway – 2020 Inductee

(On this date, November 5, 2020, the Osborne County Hall of Fame is pleased to present for the first time anywhere the third inductee of the OCHF Class of 2020.)

Victor Nelson Holloway was born Victor Nelson Miller on January 16, 1921 in Covert, Osborne County, Kansas. He was the son of Charles Warren Miller and Rachel Maud (Kilford) Miller.  After Victor’s mother died in 1926 Victor went to live with his Aunt Ada Mae Pflugradt in Saint Joseph, Missouri.  On April 7, 1930, he was adopted by his half-sister, Christina M. (Weber) Holloway, took the name of Victor Holloway and went to live in Alton, Osborne County Kansas.  There Victor spent his childhood in animal husbandry projects and teaching himself to play drums, the harmonica, and the clarinet.

Birth certificate of Victor Holloway.


Victor Holloway (center) as a child with his cousins Thomas and William Pflugardt.


At Alton Rural High School Victor was a starter on the football team. During his senior year the team compiled a 6-0-2 record and on the season outscored their opponents 127 points to 19.  He and his fellow sixteen seniors – one of those being Osborne County Hall of Fame member Oid Wineland – graduated from Alton High in May 1939.  Later, on August 4, 1939, Victor enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Fort Logan, Colorado. 

“Word was received from Victor Holloway, who had gone to Denver to join the army, that he had succeeded in passing his examinations and had entered the corps.  He is now at March Field in Riverside, California, in an air school.  Victor states that he was very lucky to get in the air corps as there is a big chance for advancement.” – Osborne County Farmer, Osborne, Kansas, August 17, 1939.

In June 1941 Victor graduated from Curtis-Wright Technical Institute.  He was promoted to corporal and sent to Everest, Washington.  In February 1942 Victor graduated from the Brady Aviation School at Curtis Field in Brady, Texas and was assigned as a flying cadet to Kelly Field at San Antonio, Texas. 


Victor Holloway’s photograph from Page 15 of the classbook Eight Weeks Toward A Goal, compiled by Bronson Gardner and published by the Class of 42-G, Brady Aviation School, Curtis Field, Brady, Texas, February 1942.


On August 28, 1942 he was married to Mary Olive Miller (no relation) in Dallas, Texas.  Their marriage lasted over 60 years and together they raised four children, Victor, Jr., Mary, Keith, and Donna. 

Victor advanced to the rank of flight officer and later first lieutenant. In 1943 he was stationed at Dallas and Rosecrans Field in Saint Joseph, Missouri.  Victor was stationed in southeast Asia and flew Chinese troops to Shanghai.  After the end of World War II Victor was stationed in Paris, France. 

“CAIRO – four new cases of suspected cholera in Egypt, including two in Cairo and 12 cholera deaths today in Qalyubia province were reported in tonight’s health ministry communiqué.  Meanwhile foreign countries were sending vaccine and medical supplies and offering help in fighting the epidemic.  Two United States planes landed with medical cargoes at Farouk Field today.  A U.S. Army Transport Command plane brought a load of blood plasma, blood substitute and sulfa drugs.  The pilot was Capt. Victor N. Holloway of Alton, Kansas.  A few hours earlier, a Navy plan came in with pounds of vaccines and other medical supplies. Thirty thousand pounds more of such supplies were on their way in three additional U.S. aircraft.” – Charleston Gazette, September 30, 1947.

From 1949 to 1951 Victor was stationed at Brookley Air Force Base in Mobile, Alabama.  The following year the now Captain Holloway was assigned to West Palm Beach, Florida.  From 1955 to 1958 Victor served as Group Operations Officer at Orly Air Force Base, Orley, Seine-et-Marne, France, where he trained over 200 pilots and was responsible for the operation of 20 C-47s. 


From the Salina Journal, Salina, Kansas, September 1, 1957.


In 1958 Major Holloway was the MATS Flight Training Officer at Travis Air Force Base in Vacaville, California. He retired two years later from the United States Army Air Corps/Air Force after a 20-year career.

In 1960 Victor was hired by the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to be an Air Carrier Inspector for Boeing 747s at Lake Quivira in Kansas City, Kansas.  Ten years later Victor was appointed the FAA Air Carrier Inspector at San Francisco International Airport in San Carlos, California.  In 1975 he retired from the FAA. In 35 years of service to his country Victor logged in more than 19,000 hours of flying time on DC-4s, C-124s, and Boeing 727s and 747s.  After retirement the Holloways moved first to Roseville, California, and in 1987 to Normangee and Hilltop Lakes, Texas. 

Throughout his life Victor was an avid sportsman, enjoying snow-skiing, boat racing, slalom-skiing, deep-sea fishing, hunting, and golf.  He passed away on April 24, 2006, in Hilltop Lakes, Texas, and was laid to rest next to his wife with honors in the Evans Chapel Cemetery at Leona, Texas. 

The Alton High School class of 1939 has indeed done Osborne County proud. We welcome Victor Holloway to the Osborne County Hall of Fame.


Victor Holloway’s tombstone in Evans Chapel Cemetery, Leona, Leon County, Texas. Image courtesy of Gary W. Adams.



Donna Holloway, Hilltop Lakes, Texas.

Charleston Gazette, Charleston, South Carolina, September 30, 1947, Page 1.

Miami Herald, Miami Florida, January 11, 1959, Page 9.

Montgomery Advertiser, Montgomery, Alabama, June 11, 1966, Page 1.

Osborne County Farmer, Osborne, Kansas, December 1, 1938, Page 1; May 18, 1939, Page 6; August 17, 1939, Page 8; June 26, 1941, Page 6; August 6, 1942, Page 6; February 4, 1943, Page 6; November 25, 1943, page 6; October 9, 1847, Page 6; January 11, 1959, Page 9; June 11,1 1966, Page 1; May 18, 2006, Page 7.

Salina Journal, Salina, Kansas, September 1, 1957, Page 15.

St. Joseph Gazette, St. Joseph, Missouri, June 29, 1944, Page 4.

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, St. Louis, Missouri, September 30, 1947, Page 4.

Gardner, Bronson. Eight Weeks Toward A Goal. Published by the Class of 42-G, Brady Aviation School, Curtis Field, Brady, Texas, February 1942.

Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 27 October 2020), memorial page for Victor Nelson Holloway (16 Jan 1921–24 Apr 2006), Find a Grave Memorial no. 74567163, citing Evans Chapel Cemetery, Leona, Leon County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Gary W. Adams (contributor 47094749) .  Image courtesy of Gary W. Adams.

Eldon Winfred Kaser – 2020 Inductee

(On this date, October 24, 2020, the Osborne County Hall of Fame is pleased to present for the first time anywhere the second inductee of the OCHF Class of 2020.)

The tale of an Osborne County farm boy from Covert, Kansas whose name adorns spacecraft currently flying beyond our solar system is one that is long overdue, both in the telling and in recognition of his achievements.



Eldon “Don” Winfred Kaser was born on February 3, 1912, the only child of Clyde and Anna (Paget) Kaser, who operated a farm in Covert Township, Osborne County, Kansas.  Eldon attended first Covert Grade School and then Covert Rural High School in Covert, Kansas, where he lettered in basketball and served as vice president of his class his senior year.  Eldon graduated from Covert High in 1930.

For the next few years Eldon worked on the family farm.  He then enrolled in Hastings Business College at Hastings, Nebraska for two years of business training, after which Eldon got a job in the offices of the Beverly-Pasadena Bowling Corporation at Pasadena, California.

“So many friends of Eldon Kaser have wondered about just what type of government work he is doing so we tried to find out more about it while enjoying a little visit with Eldon and his mother.  We have admit that we are not as familiar with this sort of work as we should be, however, we do know that it is a civil service job and was secured solely upon Eldon’s own ability and by examination . . . After he had been with Beverly-Pasadena Bowling about six months he obtained his first civil service work, for which he had taken the examinations while in business college in Nebraska, and from March 1936 until January 1, 1937, was stationed at Los Angeles.  Last January he was transferred to Richmond, Virginia and so far as he knows, will continue to be there indefinitely.  At Richmond Eldon is in the personnel section of the division engineer’s office, South Atlantic division of the Army engineers.  This is under the war department and has to do with flood control and various waterway projects.  Eldon’s work in the office has to do with making reports, writing letters, handling files, etc., in connection with this work.  It can easily be understood that it requires careful, accurate, detailed work, and anyone who knows Eldon Kaser can appreciate how well adapted he is to such a position.  He tells us he likes the location very much, though he hopes some day to be nearer home.  But while he is there he is making the most of every experience offered him.  Richmond is so much the center of many points of historic interest, many of which Eldon has visited or will visit in the future.  Friends of this young man are very glad that he is doing so well and we believe his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Kaser, have every right to feel proud of their son.  Eldon is a grandson of John Kaser of Osborne.” – “News from Covert,” Osborne County Farmer newspaper, Osborne, Kansas, October 28, 1937.

*  *  *  *  *

In 1938 Eldon began work for the U. S. War Department as an engineer, officially under the U.S. Navy.  In 1940 he was living in San Francisco, California, where he was formally drafted into the U.S. Navy.  His registration papers listed his height at six feet and weight at 170 pounds, with brown hair, hazel eyes, and a light complexion.  At first Eldon continued his work as engineer for the War Department.  He served on the U.S.S. Livingston in 1943 with the rank of Yeoman 1st Class, rising to the rank of Chief Petty Officer by 1946.  

Image of Eldon Kaser’s World War II Draft Registration Card.  


*  *  *  *  *

“The marriage of Miss Lillian Kamphaugh, formerly of Hatton, N. D., and Eldon Kaser took place recently at First Congregational church, Los Angeles, with Rev. M. Owen Kellison reading the double ring ceremony. The bride wore a two-piece white wool dress with matching accessories and an orchid corsage. Her attendant, Mrs. Elmer Hardesty, wore aqua. Mr. Hardesty was best man. Mrs. Kaser is a Sister of Mrs. Blaine Johnson of Northwood, N. D., and was formerly a teacher at Hope, N. D., and Sheridan, Wyo. She has recently been employed in Burbank, Calif. Mr. Kaser served 43 months in the navy, being stationed in the Marshall Islands as chief yeoman for two years. He is with the United States engineering department in San Francisco, where the couple will make their home.” – Hope Pioneer newspaper, Hope, North Dakota, February 28, 1946.  Eldon and Lillian raised two daughters, Linda and Ginny.

*  *  *  *  *

After his marriage Eldon continued to serve with the U.S. Army Engineer District, San Francisco.  He remained on the U.S. Navy muster rolls until 1949.  In 1954 he received his Associate in Business Administration degree from Golden Gate College in San Francisco.  In 1961 Eldon took a job at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Ames Research Center at Moffett Airfield, in Mountain View, California, located 40 miles south of San Francisco.  There he began work as part of the team that developed NASA’s Pioneer program.

Pioneer 6, 7, 8, and 9 were space probes in NASA’s Pioneer program. They were a series of solar-orbiting satellites were created to make the first detailed, comprehensive measurements of the solar wind, solar magnetic field and cosmic rays. The probes were designed to measure large scale magnetic phenomena and particles and fields in interplanetary space. Data from the vehicles were used to better understand stellar processes and the structure and flow of the solar wind. The vehicles also acted as Earth’s first space-based solar weather network, providing practical data on solar storms which affect communications and power on Earth.  They were launched a year apart from 1965 to 1968. Twenty-five years after their launch data was still being received, an astounding achievement.

*  *  *  *  *

Kaser is awarded for work on Sun-watching interplanetary spacecraft

“Outstanding contributions to development of the network of solar weather stations ringing the Sun, known as Pioneers 6 to 9, has earned a NSAS Achievement Award for Eldon W. Kaer, Supervisory Contract Specialist.

“The four low-cost, reliable Pioneer spacecraft have made important contributions to basic understanding of the Sun and the Sun’s atmosphere (which extends far beyond the Earth).   They also provide day-to-day reports of solar activity and predictions of solar storms to around 1,000 users – airlines, power companies, communications organizations, and groups doing electronic prospecting, surveying, and navigation.  Solar storms have important effects on the operations of all these groups.

“Pioneers 6 to 9 have functioned effectively for from four to seven years, and all four continue to return useful data.  Since specified design life of these spacecraft was six months, their long service has been an unexpected bonus and has allowed a solar monitoring program not planned originally.  The four solar-orbiting Pioneers travel around the Sun just as the Earth does.  But, since their orbits are different, they travel at different speeds, and occupy constantly varying positions relative to the Earth.  As a result they observe the rotating Sun from all sides.

“Mr. Kaser was one of a group of key people recognized by NASA Administrator Dr. James C. Fletcher in Washington, D.C., November 9th.

“He was cited for “outstanding contributions to the management, design, development and operations that led to the successful launch and mission operations of Pioneers 6 through 9 resulting in the achievement of all of the primary mission operatives.  The scientific data obtained from these missions have provided major contributions to the understanding of the solar processes, the interplanetary medium, and the effects of solar activity on the Earth.”

“Mr. Kaser currently is at work on the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer G spacecraft, one enroute to Jupiter, the other to be launched to the giant planet in April 1973.

“Mr. Kaser and his wife Lillian live at 2332 Ben Hur Court, San Jose, California.   He was born in Osborne, Kansas, in 1912.” — Osborne County Farmer, November 16, 1972. 

*  *  *  *  *

Eldon and the Pioneer team then worked on Pioneer 10.  This space probe was launched in 1972 and completed the first mission to the planet Jupiter.  Thereafter, Pioneer 10 became the first of five artificial objects to achieve the escape velocity needed to leave the Solar System.  Radio communications with Pioneer 10 were last linked on January 23, 2003, when the probe was at a distance of 12 billion miles from the Earth.

Pioneer 11 (also known as Pioneer G) was a space probe launched by NASA on April 6, 1973 to study the asteroid belt, the environment around Jupiter and Saturn, solar wind and cosmic rays.  It was the first probe to encounter Saturn and the second to fly through the asteroid belt and by Jupiter. Thereafter, Pioneer 11 became the second of five artificial objects to achieve the escape velocity that will allow them to leave the Solar System. Due to power constraints and the vast distance to the probe, the last routine contact with the spacecraft was on September 30, 1995, and the last good engineering data was received on November 24, 1995.  A last faint signal from the probe was received in 2002, nearly 30 years after its launch. 

Both of the Pioneer spacecraft carry the names of the team that created them, including that of Eldon Kaser.

Official NASA patch for the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 programs.


*  *  *  *  *

The 1974 Pioneer 10 Award Recipients.

 “The achievements of Pioneer 10 would not have been possible without the dedicated hard work of’ many, many people. All of them in NASA, in industry, and in the scientific community have our appreciation and admiration for their parts in making Pioneer 10 the success it has been. As Administrator of NASA, I take great pride in giving those receiving awards today and the entire Pioneer 10 team my congratulations for a job well done.” – James C. Fletcher, Administrator of NASA, August 16, 1974.


*  *  *  *  *

In 1980 Eldon’s wife Lillian passed away.  He later married Josephine Joyce Day.  After retirement Eldon was a passionate community volunteer in Arcadia, California, where he died on November 14, 2005 at the age of 93.  Eldon was buried in Rose Hills Memorial Park at Whittier, California.


Military tombstone for Eldon Kaser in Rose Hills Memorial Park at Whittier, California. Photo courtesy of Andrew W.


It goes without saying that we are proud to honor Eldon Winfred Kaser for his extraordinary achievements and welcome him as the newest inductee into the Osborne County Hall of Fame.  From the farm to the stars.  What a ride.

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Hope Pioneer, Hope, North Dakota, February 28, 1946, Page 1.

Osborne County Farmer, Osborne, Kansas, Kaser March 14, 1929, Page 6.

Osborne County Farmer, Osborne, Kansas, September 12, 1929, Page 7.

Osborne County Farmer, Osborne, Kansas, “News from Covert”, October 28, 1937, Page 8.

Osborne County Farmer, Osborne, Kansas, November 16, 1972, Page 4.

Pasadena Star-News, Pasadena, California, from Nov. 16 to Nov. 18, 2005.

Kennedy, Mona Winder.  Covert, Kansas: Evolution of a Ghost Town.  Ad Astra Publishing LLC, Lucas KS (2012).

Eldon Winfred Kaser.

Kaser, Eldon. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947.  The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for California, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 936

Kaser, Eldon.  Fold3, WWII Navy Muster Rolls (/title/829/wwii-navy-muster-rolls :accessed October 26, 2020), database and images,,_7,_8,_and_9.

Pioneer 10 & 11 patch By NASA –

1972-012ADirect link, Public Domain,

NASA Achievement Award for Eldon W Kaser, Supervisory Contract Specialist.  NASA-SP-4012-Historical-Data-Book-Vol.-IV . › wp-content › uploads › 2017/02 .

Pioneer 10 Award Recipients.

Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 26 October 2020), memorial page for Eldon Winfred Kaser (3 Feb 1912–14 Nov 2005), Find a Grave Memorial no. 143241444, citing Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Our Ancestors Branches (contributor 47083884) .

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Paul Smart Warden – 2020 Inductee

(On this date, October 22, 2020, the Osborne County Hall of Fame is pleased to present for the first time anywhere the first inductee of the OCHF Class of 2020.)


Its always interesting whenever one peers deeply into the intricate layers of Osborne County history.  In doing so one comes across nuggets of historical note both great and small that simply astound the most experienced researcher.  Take the case of a young man from Tilden Township who became not only a noted journalist but also had ties to one of the most popular songs of the early 20th Century.


Paul Smart Warden

by Susan Hayes, granddaughter

Paul Smart Warden was born in Cass, Dupage County, Illinois on December 14, 1873.  Paul was the third of six children and the first-born son of Peter Warden and Emma Cecilia (Smart) Warden.  Paul was a third-generation Chicagoan; his grandfather had been stationed at Fort Dearborn in Chicago around 1830, just prior to the Black Hawk War.

The Wardens were living in Chicago, Illinois when they decided to move to Osborne County, Kansas to take advantage of the Homestead Act of 1862 and own their own land.  So in the early part of 1875 the family – Peter, Cecelia and their two oldest children, Minnie and Paul – headed West, settling on a homestead located in the southeast quarter of Section 24, Township 8 South, Range 14 West, in Tilden Township, Osborne County, Kansas.  Peter was a mason and he constructed on the homestead a farmhouse built with local Fort Hays Limestone quarried a mile from the farm.

Their family grew to include Jessie, Eloise, Wesley and later Franklin. We don’t have much information about their farm and family life, but assume they experienced the same frustrations and rewards of other prairie families.  As Paul’s brother Franklin Warden later wrote in a memoir: “The farming venture was unsuccessful, but was exhilarating for Paul, who never ceased to glory in the expertness of his father with a rifle and a shotgun.”

Peter Warden family. TOP: Jessie, Paul, and Minnie. BOTTOM: Peter, Frank, and Cecelia.


Peter Warden farmhome, Section 24 of Tilden Township, Osborne County, Kansas, as photographed by Paul Warden in 1910.


Rosedale School, District #22, was the one-room schoolhouse that Paul Warden attended as a child. Photo taken by Paul in 1910.


*  *  *  *  *

There is one story related by Paul that happened when he was a child, one which tells of the time that he met the great showman P. T. Barnum.  The problem is that it is unclear as to exactly where or when the story occurred.  Nevertheless, we present it here because it is a really good story.

“Through the years, I have carried a vivid recollection of the great ‘P. T.’ himself.  Ma let Pa take me to the circus on the promise that I was to have no peanuts . . . I was allergic to them . . . and when we reached the entrance there was a peanut-stand run by a barker who tore my soul out with praise of his wares.  I said to Pa: ‘Please buy me a sack.’  He replied: ‘You know what we promised Mama.’  Right there was the old hornswoggler himself and he laughed.  I remember his twinkling eyes and crafty smile. ‘Here you are, sonny,’ said Barnum, as he grabbed a sack of peanuts and put it in my hand. Then he whisked away.  But Pa was outraged.  First of all, Barnum hadn’t paid the vender of the peanuts and I can still hear the latter’s growl of disgust Pa as snatched the peanuts from me and put them back on the stand and I started a sniffle.  It is my impression that the picture showing me up with a flock of ghastly curls and a wide white collar was taken from a tin-type Pa had made of me that day.” – Chicago Tribune newspaper, Chicago, Illinois, September 3, 1939.

*  *  *  *  *

In April of 1886 Peter and Emma left the homestead and bought a “fine residential lot” at the corner of Market and Walnut Streets (now Third and Jefferson Streets) in Osborne, Kansas. The youngest child, Franklin, was born here in June of 1886.  

The Warden home that stood at the corner of Market and Walnut Streets in Osborne, Kansas. Photograph taken by Paul Warden in 1910.


Osborne High School opened in the fall 1886 and Paul immediately enrolled, graduating in 1889.  The family then returned to Chicago and moved into a home on Princeton Avenue.  There Paul spent time teaching his little brother Franklin to play baseball.

Paul continued his education and graduated from the Kent College of Law in 1897.  It was then when he started courting Margaret Amelia Heck. She was a second-generation Chicagoan of Irish Catholic descent. They were married by a priest on April 9, 1899 in a private ceremony witnessed by a few relatives; no parents attended.  Margaret had a beautiful voice and sang at many weddings. On the morning of her wedding she told her parents she was planning on singing at the church; instead she married Paul.

Meanwhile, newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst purchased several newspapers in Chicago, the Chicago American in 1900, the Chicago Examiner in 1902, and the Chicago Herald, which he merged to create the Herald Examiner.  In 1901 Paul was hired by Hearst’s Chicago American as a police reporter. He used his investigative skills to uncover a strange new version of President James A. Garfield’s assassination twenty years after it happened. On August 1, 1943 his story was republished by the Herald American Pictorial Review with Edgar Brown retelling it in the Police Reporter Story.

It was during Paul’s time as a police reporter for the Chicago American in 1901 that the following incident occurred.  One day a mother and daughter locked themselves in a room in the Murray Hill Hotel in New York and caused a riot by insisting that the telephone operator connect them with heaven.  In writing the story for his paper Paul was awarded a $100 bonus for turning in this headline: “WANT HEAVEN; GET BUGHOUSE.” To carry the headline he wrote the following lead: “Hello, Central, Give Me Heaven.”  Later Warden and another young man on the staff collaborated in writing a lyric using the lead as the song title.  They then sold it to song publisher Charles K. Harris, who set it to waltz music.  He was officially credited for both the words and music and earned quite lot of money from the song royalties.  The song was recorded by native Kansas singer Byron G. Harlan and released in 1901.  His version was immensely popular, with sales of over a million copies of the sheet music alone.  Hello Central, Give Me Heaven is today one of the most famous songs from the early 20th Century time period.  

Front cover for the sheet music of the song Hello Central, Give Me Heaven (1901).


Paul’s family grew with the addition of Martin Warden born May 18, 1904 and Joseph Warden born April 18, 1906. In the summer of 1910 Paul took Margaret and sons along with his mother Emma back to Osborne County, Kansas to visit the old Peter Warden homestead.  They traveled by train and car.  Peter took images that can be seen in the photo album he created called The Wandering Wardens.  They met old friends and had dinner with the John Conrad family. The group continued on to Colorado Springs, Colorado and visited the new Garden of the Gods Park. Later that year third son Frank L. Warden was born on December 13th, one day shy of Paul’s thirty-sixth birthday.

Photograph taken by Paul Warden in 1910 of the north side of Penn Street (now called Main Street) in downtown Osborne.


Paul continued his investigative reporting as well as reporting on grain futures.  In 1913, at age 40, he was part of the editorial staff of the Chicago American. He returned to Osborne around April 30, 1914 to speak with the staff at the Osborne County Farmer newspaper to inform them that he and his family were moving to Los Angeles. Paul’s brother, Franklin, and his mother also lived in California at this time. The Paul Warden family remained there for two years while he was part of the editorial staff of the Los Angeles Examiner. It’s believed his wife, Margaret, wanted to return to Chicago where her family still lived, and so they did.

Paul taking a photo of the rest of his family in Chicago, 1914. TOP: Margaret and Martin. BOTTOM: Frank and Joe.


Paul Warden in Los Angeles, California, image taken in 1906-1909.


Paul Warden seen with his sons Martin and Joseph, circa 1910 in Chicago.


Returning to Chicago in 1916 Paul did the same editorial work for the Chicago Tribune, as well as his main beat, the Chicago Board of Trade. He also began working on the side for Bert Collyer as a sports reporter for Collyer’s Eye, writing under the name of Aurelius.

In 1919 the Chicago White Sox baseball team were involved in scandal when they won the 1919 American League Pennant then threw the World Series.  Warden was asked to write the story, but refused, saying he “didn’t believe a word of it [and was] still unconvinced . . . the Chicago players didn’t do their best to win.” It was not until 1946 that Paul wrote four columns of material about the scandal that was only published in the News & Courier newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina.  He later remarked that he chose to write about it since “two of the principal characters connected to the story are dead.”

In 1917 Paul was a copywriter for the Chicago Herald. Some of his work was published in the Hearst New York papers like the New York Morning and Evening Journals as well.  Around 1920 Warden concentrated on becoming an expert in the grain futures market and was soon considered a world authority on the subject of grain crops.  He created Tickerlog, a national publication for sharing his expertise in the field.

Print of the department heads for the sports weekly Collyer’s Eye of Chicago, Illinois, published in the April 7, 1923 edition. Paul Warden is image #7.


A copy of Paul Warden’s Tickerlog, as printed in the National Grain Journal of December 1924.


In 1924 Paul traveled to Europe with Bert Collyer on a grain market fact-finding trip on the ship Aquitania, docking in Southampton, England. They then stayed at the Cecil Hotel in London and later in Liverpool where they met with George Broomhall, “a shrewd analyst on the international conditions” according to Paul, who informed them about England’s wheat market.  They continued on to France, Italy, and Germany, enjoying the tourist attractions as well as investigating the growing conditions of grain. When they returned from Europe Warden wrote about their experiences in Bert Collyer’s book The Truth About Europe (1925), which included this observation: “I regard the European market as just about being permanently lost to us.  Some years we will sell them wheat – if we have to sell.  Europe is a poor customer [for the U.S.].”  

Bert Collyer (right) and Paul Warden (center) in Rome, Italy, 1924.


Paul Warden as spokesman for a car advertisement in the Chicago Tribune edition of July 11, 1926.


In May 1928 the Osborne County Farmer newspaper published an article about a recent Warden visit: “Paul S. Warden of Chicago was in town for a short time recently looking over the wheat prospects in this section and other parts of the county. Mr. Warden is one of the most noted crop correspondents in the world and his reports are accepted as authority on the various boards of trade. He is a former Osborne boy and still has many friends here among the older residents.”

On October 29, 1929, Black Tuesday hit Wall Street as investors traded some 16 million shares on the New York Stock Exchange in a single day.  Paul Warden and many of his friends lost their fortunes on this day.  His family had to deal with this by making compromises in their lifestyle and living conditions.  Paul continued on working in grain futures and in 1937 had an office on South LaSalle Street, as he was still considered a “wizard of the grain market.” He was sixty-four years old. 

Sometime later Paul returned to his newspaper life and after World War II was the assistant night editor of the Chicago Daily News.  For the rest of his life he continued to write stories, poetry for his grandchildren, and some news articles. He was an author and newspaperman for fifty-seven years.


Paul Warden in his later years.


Paul Warden and his typewriter.


On November 20, 2020, Paul Warden’s typewriter was donated by a descendant to the Osborne County Genealogical & Historical Society in Osborne, Kansas.


While listening to the Chicago White Sox ballgame on the radio on June 23, 1955, Paul suffered a fatal heart attack.  He was 81 years old.  Paul was laid to rest in Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Alsip, Cook County, Illinois.  His wife of 56 years, Margaret, lived for twelve more years before her own passing in 1967.

The grave of Paul Warden in the Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, Alsip, Cook County, Illinois. Image courtesy of Julie Vicik.


*  *  *  *  *

The lyrics to the song Hello Central, Give Me Heaven (1901):



Papa I’m so sad and lonely,

      Sobbed a tearful little child

Since dear mamas gone to heaven,

      Papa darling you’ve not smiled

I will speak to her and tell her,

      That we want her to come home

Just you listen and I’ll call her

      Through the telephone


CHORUS [sung after each VERSE]:

Hello Central, give me heaven

For me mama’s there

You can find her with the angels

On the golden stair

She’ll be glad it’s me who’s speaking,

Call her, won’t you please

For I want to surely tell her

We’re so lonely here



When the girl received this message

Coming o’er the telephone

How her heart thrilled in that moment

And the wires seemed to moan

I will answer just to please her

Yes, dear heart, I’ll soon come home

Kiss me, mama, kiss your darling,

Through the telephone


*  *  *  *  *


The American Magazine

July 1920 through December 1920

Pages 54-56


Kiss Your Money Good-by

If you start to gamble in the grain market

By Paul S. Warden

(MR. WARDEN’S article is directed toward the amateur speculator. It does not refer to legitimate trading on the Board. In a letter to the Editor, Mr. Warden says: “The Board of Trade does a wonderful and useful business in the marketing of the world’s grain crops. The speculation in futures seems unavoidable. At least, no other marketing system so fair to producers as well as to consumers of grain has yet been devised.”—THE EDITOR.)

NINE O’CLOCK one morning, some years ago, I went on the floor of the Board of Trade in Chicago, and there, sitting on the steps of the wheat pit, was a cat. She was facing toward the south and was looking down.

“By George!” I said to myself. “She’s in the wheat pit—and she’s looking down! Wheat’s going to drop. I’ll sell it!”

I sold ten thousand bushels of wheat—sold it “short”—it went down ten cents a bushel, and I made a thousand dollars.

There was just as much sense in that fool performance of mine as there is in the way thousands of people speculate on the Board of Trade. A tip from a stray cat is about as likely to turn out well as nine out of ten of the tips on which a lot of people risk their money every day.

I know the story of grain speculation inside out and backward and forward. It is the graveyard where are buried the savings of countless people, an abyss that has swallowed hundreds of fortunes, a cemetery of dead hopes, a rag-bag of tattered reputations.

Is there money in “playing the grain market”? Yes, more money than you ever dreamed of! Millions and millions and millions are in it—for keeps! If some of your money is not in it, I congratulate you on having had sense enough not to try to beat an almost unbeatable game.

You would be amazed if you knew how many people monkey with this buzz saw of grain speculation. And you would be still more amazed to know how precious few of them escape the sharp teeth of that saw.

Every trading day—except when the Government fixed the price of wheat and thus made speculation in it impossible—people all over the country have bet their money on whether wheat, corn, and oats were going up or down. And don’t think for one minute that this speculation is confined to the cities. You small-town folks swell the list just as much as anybody does; and your five hundred, or one thousand, or five thousand dollars, may leave an awful vacuum in your bank account when it goes. The point is that it does go. You might as well kiss it good-by at the start. For if you stick to the game the good-by will come sooner or later.

A statistician once made the rounds of the commission houses, trying to discover the “batting average” of grain speculators. He was astonished at the candor of the brokers in admitting that the batting average of ninety-nine out of a hundred amateur speculators would be neatly and accurately represented by zero, or even by zero minus. That is to say, the vast majority of people lose the money they start with, and many of them have to dig up some more good money to throw after bad.

One broker declared that in his twenty years of experience he knew of only nine men, among the thousands of non-professional traders he had encountered, who actually had made money and kept it. To five of these he gave credit for great sagacity. Two others, he said, were simply “fools for luck.” Another played a “system.” While the last had a remarkable and very significant experience.

This ninth man, it seems, had lost a great deal of money and time trying to beat the market. He was always com-plaining that he was “out of luck,” and that he simply “couldn’t get a decent break.” But still he kept at it.

One day he was indulging in his usual pastime of watching a downward market as it crept closer and closer to the point where he would be wiped out. The fact that the experience was a familiar one did not make it any easier to bear and he ground his teeth in rage at his helplessness.

He watched the blackboard marker chalking up the figures until the price was only an eighth of a cent above the point where his margin would be exhausted. Then, cursing his luck, as usual, he rushed out and went back to his office.

The next day he was called East; and, while there, he was stricken with an illness that kept him in bed for weeks. He was too sick to read the market reports; and, anyway, he wasn’t interested in them then, for he thought he had been wiped out. But one day, when he was convalescent, he received from his brokers a telegram which read:

“You have twenty-five thousand bushels of wheat, bought below one dollar a bushel. What shall we do with it?”

Sending for a newspaper, the man discovered that wheat was almost at the two-dollar mark! He rushed a wire to his broker to “sell it quick,” and was soon informed that they had done so, at above one dollar and eighty cents a bushel. The very next day the Leiter corner in wheat collapsed, and the price dropped something like a dollar a bushel inside of a few minutes. He had sold just in the nick of time.

At last, apparently, the man’s luck had turned. But his excitement over the deal was so great that it brought on a relapse and, by the irony of fate, he died, and the money went to his heirs. It is a cinch that if he had lived he probably would have lost it all, in which case that list of nine men who had made money out of grain speculation would have been cut to eight.

You will notice that only five men were credited with great sagacity. Yet even the casual speculator imagines that he is wise enough to beat this game. He honestly thinks he has the market “doped out” correctly when he puts up his money. But, added to his confidence in his judgment, there is always the hope that luck will be on his side too. Well, if a broker has discovered only two of these “luck guys” in twenty years, you can see that the chance in that direction is about as slim as a man would have of selling foot warmers and ear muffs in Hades.

It is interesting to pick out the kinds of people who fall for the speculating game. In proportion to their numbers, it seems to me that doctors head the list. I believe that if I should go into a building full of doctors’ offices and put before these medical gentlemen, one by one, a proposition to speculate in grain futures, could “land” twenty-five per cent of them.

The explanation seems to me to be this:  they work pretty hard and for long hours. They are always being routed out in the middle of the night, and their recreation is always being interfered with. The people they see are always in trouble, pouring out some tale of woe and suffering. The result is that the doctor has an unsatisfied hankering after some excitement to relieve the monotonous grayness of his daily life. As a rule, he doesn’t know a whoop about business. He earns pretty good money, but it comes through his own work. He puts down in his books so many calls at so much a visit. If he skips a call he loses a fee. And he thinks it would be almighty pleasant to get a little money in some easier and more enlivening way. So he risks his savings in speculation.

Insurance agents are good customers too. So are real-estate men and small-town bankers. I don’t like to say it, but the inference is that considerable money passes through their hands, and they yield to the temptation to make use of some of it while it is in transit. Lawyers are more wary about speculating, although of course some of them do indulge. A rich lawyer whom I know approached me one day on the subject of taking a flier in corn.

“Well,” I said cheerfully, “I can tell you how to make a little money.”

Of course, that sounded good to him and he asked me what he should do.

“About how much money can you afford to lose?” I said.

“Oh, I might put up a couple of thousand dollars,” he said.

“All right!” I told him. “You just make me a present of one thousand. It will come in handy for me—and you’ll be the other thousand ahead!”

It was good advice I gave him, and he took it—although he went me one better, by keeping his two thousand. But the reason he yielded so readily was that he never had speculated in his life. The germ had never got into his system. Speculation is a disease. And when a person has once got the infection it is a hard thing to cure.

It attacks all kinds and conditions of people. I know of a bishop who was in on a big deal once. Scores of small-town merchants catch the fever. Women develop it, in spite of the fact that Board of Trade members refuse to handle their accounts, and they are therefore compelled to deal with other houses. I know of places where ten or a dozen calls from women come in over the telephone every hour in the day. But women are poor gamblers. They are excitable—and they squeal hard when they lose. So most firms decline their orders.

AS A RULE, the Southerner is a poor gambler too. He is a plunger, not a cool-headed gambler. Yet they are keen for the game. And I figure that it is due to the craving for excitement which they miss in their daily life. You will find that some kind of a game of chance flourishes in all warm climates. I think it is largely because the climate is warm, and people cannot go in for sports, or for anything strenuous. Yet they crave action and “pep” of some sort. So they get it by gambling.

The people whom you would expect to be interested in speculating in grain, and who would seem to be qualified to do it, are the very ones who practically never attempt it. I mean the farmers. It isn’t that they are wiser guys than the rest of us. There are plenty of them on the “sucker lists.” But they don’t gamble in the stuff they produce. They raise grain, and they sell what they raise. That’s a straight proposition. But when they want to try a get-rich-quick chance it is always on something else.

Neither do grain brokers themselves speculate in grain on their own account. You can put that in your pipe and smoke it. They put up your money for you, but they don’t play the game with their cash.

It may seem queer that it is so hard to be a winner in grain speculation, because there is always apparently an even chance. The market will go up or it will go down. You would think that a man might often hit it right, even if he was only guessing. But it isn’t so simple as all that. The market is the most sensitive thing in the world. It is affected by everything—from the “acts of God,” in the shape of storms, droughts, and other weather conditions, to the careless remark of some insignificant nobody or the practical joke of a bored trader wanting to stir things up.

During the war a man who had sold short some ten thousand bushels of wheat was talking with a couple of cronies one day, and offered to bet that he could put the market price of wheat down two cents. They took the bet. The man had been a reporter on a Chicago paper, but had changed his job some time before this happened.  He went to a telephone booth, called up a member of a certain firm of brokers and said:

“This is So-and-so of the—,” naming the paper with which he had been connected. “We have an unconfirmed rumor that the Kaiser has committed suicide,” he went on very seriously. “Have you received any information about it ?”

“Good lord, no!” the broker exclaimed. “Gosh, man! You don’t mean it!”

The practical joker hung up the ‘phone and waited to see what happened. It surprised him as much as it did anybody. The brokerage firm held a consultation and decided to get in on the news. The idea was that the suicide of the Kaiser would mean the end of the war, and that prices would go down. They jumped into the market, began selling, and inside of a few minutes wheat dropped twelve cents a bushel! The man who had sprung the joke bought quickly, because he knew it was a fake. He made three cents a bushel on his lot. If he had held it five minutes longer, he would have quadrupled his winnings. Of course, the rumor fanned out inside of half an hour; but that shows how little you, the outsider, can know of the forces which, absolutely undreamed of by you, may send the market up or down and perhaps wipe out your margin.

Several years ago, prolonged drought and hot winds over the corn belt stirred up a crop scare of unusual proportions. For several days prices went up, up, up—until it began to get monotonous. Dispatches from all directions stated that unless rain came the damage to the growing crop would be irretrievable. As no rain was in sight, you would have thought it perfectly safe to buy corn and hold it for a rise, wouldn’t you ?

BUT somebody happened to  telephone to a friend over in the Field Building just at that time, and the friend happened to mention casually that it was raining over there. The man at the ‘phone repeated this bit of news to somebody else, and, presto! it was reported in Board of Trade circles that it was raining somewhere.

Thereupon, bedlam broke loose in the corn pit! Panting brokers fought with each other in a wild stampede to sell corn. Traders in the other rings stopped business in amazement.  Prices of corn dropped several cents a bushel before the tempest in the pit subsided. And all this happened simply because somebody had seen a little “steam shower” from a standpipe on the Field Building and called it rain! It was funny—to everybody except the speculators on a slender margin, who had been wiped off the map during the excitement. For them it was not comedy, but tragedy.

Years ago the market was sent sky-rocketing by a clever fake, apparently perpetrated by a farmer out in Iowa, but later said to have been concocted by a famous figure on the Board of Trade. The Iowa farmer sent in a story about how the wheat crop was being damaged by bugs of a greenish hue which had appeared in great numbers. He added to the impressive effect of his tale by stating that the bugs worked at night. The story got into the papers, and caused an uneasy feeling among traders. This was aggravated when tangible evidence of the new pest began to appear in the shape of paper boxes sent from widely scattered parts of the wheat belt, and filled with the mysterious bugs. Several Board of Trade houses received some of these boxes of specimens; and the market, anticipating a damaged and reduced crop, sent wheat prices soaring, while pandemonium reigned.

Then the man who had concocted the fake, and who had cleaned up a pile of money on it, decided to play it both ways. He went short on the market, and proceeded to undo the effects of the green-bug story. He had reports wired in to the effect that the mysterious visitors were the least harmful of all known insects. I guess they were, too; for they were nothing but old-fashioned “lightning bugs.” But they had fooled a lot of people out of a lot of money.

Of course, some fortunes have been made in grain speculation. The wisest trader of them all is probably James A. Patten, who has made millions at the game. But Patten is one of the few men who have great sagacity, and he backs up his native shrewdness with a careful study of conditions. He is a professional trader. It is his business. He is not like the non-professional. He knows how to wait for the long swing. And the long swing is precisely what the casual trader does not wait for.

A number of years ago, when I was still a reporter, I happened to be able to do a favor for a well-known professional grain trader. Some months later I met him on the street, and he stopped and thanked me for what I had done. He seemed so appreciative that I yielded to the temptation which besets .all of us when we come into contact with men who are supposed to be “on the inside” of the market. I asked him to tell me how to make some money in the market.

“Humph!” he said. “You might sell a little December corn.”

I got together what money I had—about a thousand dollars —and took his tip. Of course I didn’t tell anybody about it. That would have been against the ethics of the game. I sold December corn, and then waited to see what would happen.  It went up a few cents first—then began to go down. In the next six months corn had gone down forty-five cents a bushel! If my original deal had been let alone, I would have made about ten thousand dollars; instead of which, when I closed the account, I had lost over six hundred dollars.

How could it happen?  Just the way it could happen to you. I didn’t know much about the game then, and instead of telling my brokers simply to sit tight and let my original selling order stand until I told them to buy, I left it to them to manage. They sold and bought in again, sold and bought, repeatedly. They lost on more deals than they won on. The result was that my original thousand dollars melted away, and I was over six hundred dollars in debt before I called a halt.

A FEW years ago I again met  the man who had given me the tip, and I told him the story of how I had lost out on it. 1 guess I intimated that I’d like to even up the score some way. At any rate, he gave me another tip—this time to buy wheat. I’d learned a few things myself in the meanwhile, so I bought the wheat, but didn’t allow it to be sold until I said so. It went down for a while, but I held on. Then it began to go up. Of course, it fluctuated more or less, and if I had been trying to “guess the market” from day to day, as most amateur traders do, I might easily have been whipsawed out of it with a loss. But I was banking on the judgment of one of the shrewdest of grain traders, and eventually I cleaned up a nice little pile of money.

But a friendly tip from one of the best men in the game is a mighty different proposition from the alleged tips to which people listen with confidence. Half the time these alleged tips have absolutely no foundation. The people who spread them may have made them up out of whole cloth in an attempt to influence the market to their own advantage.

There have been some amusing cases of his sort when the biter himself got bit. I remember one instance in particular: A certain business man made it a rule in his organization to discharge any employee who was found to have speculated on the Board of Trade.  So a bunch of fellows who resented this, or thought it would be a good joke on the man to catch him and pinch him, arranged to have someone give him a crooked tip on the market, making it so alluring, however, that he would think it was a sure thing.

They did give him the tip, and he did fall for it.  But here is the proof that even the wise guys are often fooled:  Instead of steering him wrong, as they had planned to do, an unexpected turn of the market made their false tip a good one! The man won on it, and the joke was on the conspirators. And that sort of thing has happened, not once, but many times.

You must remember that this is a gamblers’ game—the most intricate and ruthless game in the world. There are fifty-two cards in a poker deck, and a man who sits in at a poker game knows what he is up against. But there are fifty-two thousand cards, so to speak, in a grain-speculating game. They are under the table and up the sleeves of the players.  Anybody that can find a new card anywhere in the world, or can make one up out of his own imagination, can play it against you.

TAKE the famous corner in wheat engineered by “Joe” Leiter more than twenty years ago: That was a great piece of work—probably the best planned and the best executed big deal of the kind ever attempted. Yet it failed, and it cost millions to the man who tried to put it through. This is the way it happened:

When wheat is sold on the Board of Trade the seller agrees to deliver it in a grain elevator. At the time of the Leiter deal, there was a limited number of these elevators in the country. Leiter began buying wheat and storing it in the elevators.  He filled them, one after the other, until every one of them was packed with wheat.

Then he went on buying—millions of bushels. The man who was selling him the greatest quantity was P. D. Armour, the founder of the packing business. Of course, the price of wheat had mounted steadily under all this buying, and was selling it at a big profit.

Then, suddenly, Leiter began to call for delivery of the grain he had purchased.  That meant delivery in grain elevators.  But when the men who had sold to him tried to find an elevator in which to deliver the wheat they had sold, every one in the country was discovered to be full of wheat already—and it belonged to Joe Leiter! That meant that they must buy Leiter’s own wheat from him in order to deliver any to him. Naturally he could charge them whatever he wanted to.

The market simply went wild, and Armour was worse hit than anybody. It looked as if Leiter would make the biggest  “killing” in history. And he would have done so had not Armour, whose influence was the most powerful known at that time, obtained a temporary suspension of the rule requiring delivery in an elevator.  Under this new arrangement delivery could be made in cars on the track. When the news of this action reached the Board of Trade the excitement beat anything on record. The price of wheat went down a dollar a bushel in a few minutes! And the Leiter corner collapsed like a house of cards.

There is a peculiar hangover from that event which has persisted ever since. The top figure reached by wheat during the affair was about $1.88 a bushel. That was where it broke. And since that time, except when the war boosted the price, it has been almost impossible to push wheat above that figure.  Apparently there has been a feeling like that of the burnt child dreading the fire.  The scare that came revived every time it got to that figure.  And the result is that there has been more wheat sold at around $1.88 on the Chicago Board of Trade in the past twenty years than has been raised in the whole world during that period.

One reason why so much money is lost by non-professional speculators is that the public almost invariably buys, hoping that what they purchase is going up in price. It is very rare for the average person to figure on making money on a decline in price.

In the long run, grain goes down just as often as it goes up. But the ordinary amateur trader ignores this fact.  He almost invariably starts by buying.  He practically never uses his judgment by anticipating a decline and selling what he can later buy and deliver at a lower figure. If he buys at a dollar, he hangs on and on, hoping to get more than a dollar. He tries to make himself believe that a turn will come, even though the price keeps on dropping. Whereas, the professional trader who makes money, does it by studying conditions and buying or selling according to what the conditions are.

THE market is made to fluctuate by a hundred small factors—even, as I have explained, by fake rumors, false tips, and practical jokes. But the long swings controlled by the laws of supply and demand. The shrewd trader studies crops, finance, world conditions, and acts accordingly. The amateur risks his little pile on the daily fluctuations, and no living man can tell what these will be.

There is usually a time of the year when grain will be lower, and another time when it will he higher. The big trader knows and studies conditions, and decides which way the broad movement will be.

Speculators are, however, as superstitious as any darky that ever carried a rabbit’s foot. Which reminds me that one time my wife sniffed unpleasantly when I came home from down-town, and upon investigation the trouble was located in my left coat pocket. My new rabbit’s foot, it seemed, was too new, yet not quite new enough to be carried in polite society.

Oh, yes! I was like all the rest of the folks. For instance, if I had bad luck one day you couldn’t have hired me to wear the same necktie the next day. I had one suit of clothes which I thought was a “lucky” one. I wore it for six years, until my regard for the proprieties forced me to abandon it. If I hadn’t it would have abandoned me, piecemeal.

A well-known broker in Chicago has a curious habit of always pawning a diamond ring belonging to his wife, and using the money he gets for it in starting a deal. Years ago, when he was first married, he and his wife decided to try a little flyer on the Board of Trade; in fact, I believe it was his wife’s idea. They had only a few hundred dollars, which didn’t seem enough. So she suggested pawning this ring, which had been given her by a previous fiance who had neglected to reclaim it when the engagement was broken.  So the ring was accordingly pawned, and the couple made a little money in their grain flyer. He is a rich man now; but he always pawns that ring, uses the money in starting a deal, then redeems the ring. It doesn’t do any harm, of course—no more harm than it does good.

Just the same, I wish I had a thousand dollars for every time I have pawned my watch and used the money in trading because I thought it brought me luck! For, underneath our dependence on judgment, sagacity, study, and experience, all of us know that the little God of Luck has his invisible throne in every haunt of speculation. The average person is simply laying his savings at the foot of that little fellow’s throne. And, believe me, Luck frowns on millions where he smiles on a semi-occasional devotee.

I know of one man on whom Luck smiled once, and who had sense enough to pocket his good fortune and keep it. He was an insurance agent in Chicago. In two days, largely by pure fool luck, he made about ninety-five thousand dollars. They say he didn’t even go back to his office. He hot-footed it to a bank, salted away ninety thousand dollars of his winnings in a way that insured him the income of it, but forbade his touching the principal. He even had the bank put a clause in the contract, providing that if he ever asked to have an advance payment on his income he should forfeit the whole thing! Then he took the other five thousand dollars and—no, you’re wrong! He did not take it back to the Board of Trade and see whether Luck would keep on smiling. He took it home with him, and he and his wife treated themselves to a gorgeous trip by way of celebration. That man had sense enough to know that he hadn’t beaten the game. Luck had done it for him. And Luck has a constitutional aversion against keeping on smiling in the same direction.

MORE people are yielding to the mania for speculation now than ever before.  I notice that the reports of failure in this country during the past few years have shown a steady decline in those attributed to speculation outside of legitimate business. That would seem to indicate that fewer men are speculating.

But it doesn’t, and for this reason: The only time when the public makes any money in speculation is during rising prices, because, as I explained before, the public always buys for a rise; it doesn’t count on declines. The period of the war was one of increasing prices in practically every commodity, especially in the basic products, like wheat, corn, cotton, steel, oil, and so on. Consequently the public came off much better than it usually does. But just wait until a few more years have gone by and prices have dropped, as they already have begun to do. It will be the old story over again. The public, which had begun to think itself pretty smart, will be caught again. Men who study these things closely contend that the public has already lost practically all the money it won through speculation during the war. These first few years of peace are going to hold more pitfalls for the average untrained speculator than any previous years in our history. If ever there was a time for you to watch your step, that time is right now.

*  *  *  *  *



Susan Hayes, South Euclid, Ohio.

Von Rothenberger, Lucas, Kansas.

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Hello Central, Give Me Heaven. Sheet music, Fred’k Followorth & Bro., Music Printers, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1901.