Alice Gannette (Dimond) Young was a noted temperance worker and devout member of the Methodist Church from the earliest days of the Downs community’s existence. She also was editor of the state Women’s Christian Temperance Union publication, Our Messenger, for almost two decades.
As a young woman, Alice Dimond experienced many of the events of the Civil War era during her early years in Pennsylvania and New York State, and later in Kansas. The youngest of seven children born to James H. and Harriet (Fifield) Dimond, Alice was born at President, Pennsylvania, on April 25, 1849, and later moved with her family to New York State. They soon returned to Pennsylvania and she graduated from Edenborough Academy, after which she then taught school in New York State. Her future husband, Francis Asbury Dighton Young, came to Osborne County in 1871 and homesteaded southeast of where Downs later was founded. He built a house and broke a few acres of sod, then returned east and he and Alice were married on December 12, 1871 at Stockton, New York. To this union one daughter was born.
They came west in the spring of 1872, accompanied by her brother, William W. Dimond, and his wife Susan. Their new dwelling was known as a Christian home where prayer and official meetings occurred. In the late 1870s, Alice and Dighton took an active part in a campaign to prohibit the drinking of alcohol. The Oak Dale schoolhouse was the center of this temperance movement. When Downs was established in 1879, the Youngs sold some of their land southeast of town, at prices below its worth, to aid the town’s expansion.
Alice became editor of Our Messenger in 1903 and continued in that position, with only a few years off, until ill health forced her to resign in 1919. During her years as editor of this temperance publication, she wielded a powerful influence for good throughout Kansas. The paper enjoyed a prestige that made it a popular periodical and a welcome monthly visitor to the homes of its readers. Alice was a brilliant writer and speaker, as evidenced by her speech at an Old Settlers Reunion near Dispatch, Kansas, in 1900.
Alice died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Hattie Foote, in Downs on November 13, 1922. At that time, it was written that “Kansas owes as much to her memory for state prohibition as to any other person.” She was laid to rest in the Downs Cemetery.
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“In 1871 when Kansas was offering landed estates to all who cared to come to her vastless prairies, F. A. D. Young homesteaded a quarter section in Ross Township, Osborne County, and after erecting a house and putting a few acres under cultivation, returned to Pennsylvania and married Miss Alice G. Dimond, a youthful school teacher. In the spring of 1872 the young couple, full of life and courage, made the long journey to the western border home. From the very beginning the Dighton Young abode was known as a Christian home and was honored with prayer and official meetings. With the discouraging scourge of drouth, grasshoppers and prevailing low prices of farm products and no railroad short of sixty miles, the Youngs never hesitated in the one great effort of taming the plains. In the memorable prohibition campaign launched in the latter 1870s both Mr. and Mrs. Young threw their very souls into the work. The Oak Dale school house midway between Downs and Cawker [City] was the center of activities in this vicinity. The late William Belk was the able president of this temperance society with Eminous Courter and wife, D. C. Bryant, W. C. Chapin, the Pitts and Cox’s; and here, too, Mrs. Alice G. Young proved her ability and loyalty to right by always having an entertaining message, with a prohibition clincher.
“In the 1880s when Downs began expanding, a Methodist parsonage estate, the Downs flouring mill with twenty-five acres, the big creamery and five acres of land, and resident homes were carved from the Young homestead. The price received for lots and acreage was always below the actual worth, the one thought always uppermost to help in every worthy cause. The only child, Hattie, was given a thorough musical education, which has already been passed to another generation and being enjoyed by scores of music lovers.
“When old age and its accompanying increpencies began interfering with the management of the farm, Mr. and Mrs. Young moved into Downs. Here the latter’s ability was shown in the successful editing of Our Messenger, the state W.C.T.U. monthly periodical. Later Mrs. Young gave the Methodist church activities such favorable weekly publicity that many were attracted to the church for the Sabbath program.
“In behalf of Mrs. Alice Young, a lifelong friend, we make this broad assertion: that Kansas owes as much to her memory for state prohibition as to any other person and this community has lost a literary genius. The history of Osborne County, if ever written, will never be as complete as though her gifted pen had contributed to its paragraphs.” – Del Cox in the Downs News and Times, November 16, 1922.