Herman Darrell “Joe” Hale – 2013 Inductee

(On this date, October 16, 2013, the Osborne County Hall of Fame is pleased to present to the world for the first time anywhere the fifth and last member of the OCHF Class of 2013)

Hale Joe 1943 high school seniorHerman Darrell “Joe” Hale was born April 12, 1925, in Woodston, Rooks County, Kansas, the third of four children born to Carl Raymond Hale and Mayme E. (Dunn) Hale.  Joe was baptized in the United Methodist Church, at Downs, Kansas, where he served as captain of the football and basketball teams and playing baritone in the school band.  The football team distinguished itself his senior year with a perfect record – unbeaten, untied, and unscored-upon.

After high school graduation in 1943 Joe enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II.  He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade, Service and Supply Ship, in the Pacific theater until his discharge in 1946.  Joe then attended the University of Kansas at Lawrence on the G.I. Bill and graduated in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in business.  Joe began work with the John Deere Company and later moved to Salina, Kansas, where he later worked for the Douglass Candy Company.  In 1951, he met and married Joyce Vanier.  Together they raised six children.

That same year, Joe joined Joyce’s father’s Western Star Mill Company in Salina, where he became vice president.  The Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) in Decatur, Illinois, purchased Western Star in 1970.  Two years later, Joe was named president of ADM Milling Company.  He became company chairman in 1989 and retired in 1996.  Joe was credited with building the company into a world-wide leader in the flour and grain milling industry.

Related to his field, Joe served as president of both Millers’ National Federation and the American Corn Millers Federation, now both part of the North American Millers Association (NAMA).  He was an honorary lifetime member of NAMA.

Joe also was chairman of the board of Sunflower Bank; president of Star A, a ranching and farming operation; and vice president of the American Royal Association.  He served as a director of the following companies – Archer Daniels Midland, Commerce Bancshares, and Lyons Manufacturing Company. Other directorships Joe held included the Wheat Industry Council, the National Pasta Association, the American Baking Association, the Biscuit and Cracker Manufacturers Association, the American Institute of Baking, and St. John’s Military School.

Joe was a founding member of the Rolling Hills Congregational Church in Salina.  He was a member of the Saddle and Sirloin Club, Mission Hills Country Club, Garden of the Gods Club, Vanguard Club, Man of the Month Club, and the Kansas City Club.  He was a former member of the Wolfcreek Golf Club, Oxbow Hunting Club, Equity Investment Club, Country Cousins, Privy Council, and the Black Sheep baking industry organization.

Joe supported many institutions throughout his life, and his support was honored through several lasting legacies both large and small:  the fences around the Downs City Park and the Downs Cemetery in Downs, Kansas; the Hale Arena at the American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri; the Hale Achievement Center and Hale Music Media Center at the University of Kansas; and the Hale Library at Kansas State University.

“Joe graduated from the University of Kansas, but several of his children went to K-State. He wanted to do something for K-State. His support had to be directly for students, so he contributed to a directly oriented student project that became Hale Library as we know it today. He and his wife, Joyce, came forward in 1992 as anonymous donors for the major portion of the $5 million in private funding needed to build the library. They are the reason that we finally have a facility that can accommodate the students at K-State.” – Brice Hobrock, Dean of KSU Libraries, 1999.

Gary Hellebust, president and CEO of the KSU Foundation, also said in 1999 that Hale was a true supporter of academics and was an inquisitive, intelligent person.  “He was a bigger-than-life character.  He was warm, but somewhat reserved – very inquisitive. He wanted to learn just so he would know and increase his awareness.”  He was very pro-academic and wanted to support the library because he felt it would be supporting all academics at K-State and not just one part.”

H. D. “Joe” Hale passed away November 20, 1999 at St. Joseph Health Center in Kansas City, Missouri. He was 77 years old.  His impact and generosity will influence many future generations to come.

The 1942-1943 Downs Dragons Football team. Herman "Joe" Hale, one of the captains of the team, is third from left in the front row.  The team went 9-0, scoring 188 points to their opponents' zero points.
The 1942-1943 Downs Dragons Football team. Herman “Joe” Hale, one of the two captains on the team, is third from left in the front row. The team went 9-0, scoring 188 points to their opponents’ zero points.

hale Joe signature

Hale Library at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.
Hale Library at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.

Thomas Marshall Walker – 2013 Inductee

(On this date, October 7, 2013, the Osborne County Hall of Fame is pleased to present to the world for the first time anywhere the third of the five members of the new OCHF Class of 2013)

Thomas M. Walker 1912Thomas Marshall Walker was born on a farm in Owen County, Kentucky, August 15, 1846.  His family became identified with Kentucky when it was a new western state.  His grandfather, William B. Walker, was born in England and came to this country with an older brother.  In Kentucky William located at Lexington, and became superintendent of the cloth manufacturing plant in which Henry Clay was financially interested.  William had learned the trade of weaver at Manchester, England.

Thomas was the fifth in a family of seven children born to Delville and Lucinda (Sparks) Walker, both of whom were natives of Kentucky.  Delville Walker was a prosperous farmer.  On the slavery issue he took a firm stand on the side of abolition and became one of the early members of the Republican Party.

Thomas spent his boyhood on a Kentucky farm until he was fourteen.  One story maintains that and he had only the advantages of a country school, while another states that he was educated by a private teacher.  Upon leaving home he joined an older brother in Shelby County, Kentucky, and while there had further advantages of school attendance for six months.  Like many successful Americans Thomas’ beginning in commercial life was of the humblest.  Working in a store at wages of $10 a month, sweeping the floor, building fires, and performing numberless other duties, he gained by that apprenticeship a knowledge of business which came to flower in later years in Kansas.  After three years Thomas became associated with his brother in a general store and tobacco warehouse, where he remained five years.  With this experience as the foundation, and such capital and credit as his work enabled him to acquire, he then set up in business in Kentucky as a general merchant on his own account.  Thomas finally removed to Louisville, Kentucky, and became member of the firm of Reed & Walker, wholesale produce and provisions.  The business was in a fair way to prosperity but after three years Thomas found his health so undermined that he concluded to follow professional advice and seek new opportunities in the West.

When twenty-five years of age Thomas went to Colorado.  He left there in 1876 and went to St. Louis, Missouri, and three years later arrived within the borders of Kansas in 1879.  He traveled by railroad as far as Hays City and then drove across the country to what was known as “Bull City,” a locality named after Hiram C. Bull, a famous Kansan who subsequently came to tragic end when gored by his pet elk.  The Central Branch of the Missouri Pacific Railroad was just being extended to Bull City, and that point was considered a favorable location for business and had already attracted about 100 inhabitants when Thomas joined his fortunes with the town.  Bull City is now the town of Alton in Osborne County.  Thomas set up in business as a general merchant and attempted to supply all the varied demands of a frontier community.  He proved equal to the situation, and the store he conducted at Alton proved the foundation of his success.   Thomas later served as Alton mayor and was the principal resident of Alton in the years after the death of Hiram Bull.  In Osborne County during the lean years that followed his early settlement there he showed the quality of his public spirit and his practical charity by extending credit to many who were absolutely dependent upon their crops for a livelihood, and when weather conditions prevented the harvest such people would have touched the extremities of misery but for his intervention.  Thomas also began investing in land and became the owner of very large cattle ranches in Osborne, Rooks, and Graham Counties in Kansas, and was also one of the first men to plant alfalfa in the western part of the state.

From merchandising and farming Thomas’ participation in banking followed almost naturally.  In 1884 he embarked in the banking business by founding the Bull City Bank.  In 1889 Thomas bought the First National Bank of Osborne, Kansas, and served as its president for fifteen years, when he sold the institution.

In 1885 Thomas married Carrie Nixon, a daughter of John and Matilda (McConnell) Nixon, Smith County farmers.  Carrie was born, reared and educated in Chicago, Illinois, and was a lady of culture and refinement who also possessed good business qualifications.  Two children graced their union: Thomas Delville, who died at the age of eighteen; and Henrie O., later the wife of William A. Carlisle and engaged with him in the lumber business in Washington, Kansas.

After moving to Atchison, Kansas in 1901 Thomas acquired the interests of Mr. Fox in the McPike & Fox Drug Company.  That same year he was voted treasurer and a member of the board of directors of the McPike Drug Company of Kansas City, Missouri.  In 1917 he bought the controlling interest in the McPike Drug Company, and became its president.  In 1903 Thomas bought an interest in and was made president of the Savings Bank of Atchison, the oldest state bank in the state.  From 1907 until his death he served as director of the Commerce Trust Company of Kansas City, Missouri, having been one of its charter members and organizers.  He also served as president of the Globe Surety Company of Kansas City and as a director of the Thomas Trust Company, also of Kansas City.  Thomas was also president of the First National Bank of Hoxie, Kansas, of the Citizens State Bank of Selden, and numerous other financial interests.

From the time he cast his first vote, Thomas was a stanch adherent of the Republican Party and worked in its interests, but considered himself to be never tied by party allegiance in local elections, as he believed in putting the man with the best qualifications into office, regardless of party, and thus securing the best local government. Thomas was active in both the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks fraternal organizations, and held chairs in both lodges.

In 1930 Thomas came across a famous relic from his days in Bull City/Alton, Kansas, and took it upon himself to save a valuable piece of Osborne County history.  The following account of the incident was related by Alton resident Orville Grant Guttery in his book Tales of a Town Named Bull City (Ad Astra Publishing, 2011, ppgs. 40-41).

*  *  *  *  *

“A few years after the Elk killed the three men at Bull City, and while T. M. Walker had a drug store [in Atchison, Kansas], a traveling man from a drug house came into his store and said ‘T. M., there is a man in [Muscotah] who has a drug store and he has bought more than he can pay for.  I wish you would go over and buy him out.’  The traveling man and T. M. knew each other well; he said he would go and look over the store.

“He bought it, [accepted] the invoice and paid for the goods, then said to the man in charge (the owner), ‘You go ahead and run this store and when you get any money you pay me what I have in it and it is yours,’ for which the man was thankful.

“As they were looking Mr. Walker saw a pair of elk horns and spoke about them, and the man said ‘those horns have a history – they are the ones taken from the elk that killed those men at Bull City.’  T. M. said, ‘I want to buy them.’  The man said, ‘You can have them.’  T. M. said, ‘I will pay for them.’  He gave $5.00 for them.

“I thought for many years I would like to have the horns from the Elk, but had no idea they were in existence.  Some years ago a statement was made that T. M. Walker had the horns.  I wrote him and he said he had the horns and would send them to us, and when we were ready to dedicate the [Bull] monument at the [Sumner] cemetery I asked Charles E. Williams to write Walker and ask about the horns.  He crated them and expressed them to C. E. Williams, prepaid.  The invoice read: ‘Shipped from Atchison, Kansas Way Bill and No. 6134 3/6  Dated 3/8/30  Shipper W. W. Blair.  Weight 190 Lbs. Freight $3.88 paid.’”

These very same elk horns can be seen today in the Osborne County Courthouse in Osborne, Kansas.

*  *  *  *  *

After a long and prosperous life Thomas Marshall Walker passed away at the age of 94 on July 6, 1931 in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.  He was laid to rest in the Mount Moriah Cemetery at Kansas City.

1931 Death Certificate for Thomas M. Walker.
1931 Death Certificate for Thomas M. Walker.
The entrance to Mount Moriah Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri.
The entrance to Mount Moriah Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri.
The front of the Thomas M. Walker vault in the Mount Moriah Cemetery.
The front of the Thomas M. Walker vault in the Mount Moriah Cemetery.


Genealogical and Biographical Record of North-Eastern Kansas. Lewis Publishing Company. Chicago: 1900.  750 Pages.  Transcribed 2008 by Penny R. Harrell.

Pages 584-585 from Volume III, Part 1 of Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc.. . . with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence.  Standard Pub. Co. Chicago: 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar.  Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward.

A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed by Kita Redden, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 1-28-1999.

Hugh Albert Storer – 2001 Inductee

Hugh Albert Storer was a farmer, stockman and politician who was born in Alton, Osborne County, Kansas on February 13, 1889.  The son of Charles and Elmira Storer, Hugh grew up on the family farm near Alton and continued to operate it the rest of his life.   He married Ethel Sproal on August 20, 1915 at Bloomington in Osborne County.  Together they raised a son, Everett, and a daughter, Lois.

Hugh served as Osborne County’s official weather observer for the National Weather Service from 1908 to 1965.  He was honored by the National Weather Service for lifetime achievement in 1949 with the Thomas Jefferson Award, awarded only to those who have achieved “unusual and outstanding accomplishment in the field of meteorological observations”.

Ethel passed away in 1935 and two years later Hugh married Rachel Hart on June 1, 1937.  That same year he began the first of five terms as Osborne County’s State Representative to the Kansas Legislature, completing his last term in 1946.

Hugh also served as secretary of the Farmers Union and on the local school board, as well as with the First State Bank in Osborne, Kansas.  After a few years Hugh ran for public office once again, this time serving a four-year term as Osborne County Commissioner from 1953 to 1956.  He was a member of the Alton Masonic Lodge for over 50 years.

Hugh passed away in Salina, Kansas on October 15, 1967.  He lies buried in the Osborne Cemetery at Osborne, Kansas.


John Emmett Kissell – 1996 Inductee

Emmett was born September 14, 1889, on a farm in the Twelve Mile community in southern Smith County. One of three children born to James and Mary (Sutton) Kissell, Emmett’s education began in the Stone School in Lincoln Township. He later attended grade and high school in Portis, graduating as the county valedictorian. He then studied at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, Kansas, where he lettered in five sports.

On June 14, 1911, Emmett married Ina Spencer at Soldier, Kansas. The couple had two children, Helen and Max. In 1913 Kissell joined the Portis Independent as a co-editor with C. N. Akens. He bought the newspaper in October 1913, and served as editor and publisher until the paper’s last issue on July 22, 1943. He was a highly successful and respected newspaperman who in 1932 earned national recognition when the Independent was cited as one of the seven best small weeklies in the United States.

Kissell was an active community and business leader in Portis. He was a member of several organizations: the Portis Board of Education; Order of the Eastern Star; Modern Woodmen of America; Portis Methodist Church; Masonic Lodge; Portis Community Band (he played trumpet); and sang baritone for a barbershop quartet. He served as city clerk for nearly forty years and was secretary of the Kansas U.S. 281 Highway and Kansas State Reclamation Associations. He also served on the National Reclamation Resolutions Committee and was a captain of the Kansas State Guards during World War I. From 1918 through the 1930s he was manager of the renowned town basketball team the Portis Dynamos.

Kissell was president and director of the Portis State Bank for twelve years until his death. He was listed in the 1933 edition of Who’s Who in the Midwest, and that same year Emmett was given life membership in the Kansas Illustriana Society. He passed away May 23, 1959, in Portis and was buried in the Twelve Mile Cemetery in southern Smith County.



“I remember J. E., or ‘Emmett’ as he was called by family, as a ‘go and get it done’ type of person.  Once he took on a cause there was no slowing down or stopping him.

My uncle, John Emmett Kissell, visited our home in Topeka [Kansas] quite often as my mother was his only sister. In the 1930s on his way to Lawrence to visit his daughter, Helen, at Kansas University, he would call ahead and Mom would have a meal on the table when he arrived. It was not unusual for him to return to our home for the next meal of the day and then go back to Lawrence. Apparently he loved Mom’s cooking. Many times I would ride with him to Lawrence in his Model A Ford with everything wide open. It was usually a wild ride.

J. E. Kissell was a teetotaler and disliked tobacco, but otherwise was an intemperate man in most things. With a passion he loved good food, politics (Republican), quartet singing, the Portis Dynamos basketball team, KU basketball, the Portis Methodist Episcopal Church, family, and any cause that he could be involved to better his community he pursued with great fervor. In the 1940s and 1950s he was active in promoting U.S. Highway 281 improvements and also the Kirwin Dam to furnish water for irrigation.

J. E. Kissell was the owner and editor of the Portis Independent newspaper for a number of years. After it was no longer published he wrote weekly descriptive letters about where he went for meetings, what happened, who was there and what they had to eat.  Copies of these “travelogue letters” were sent to all members of the family. The letters also included news about relatives, friends and church. Even though my parents, Roy and Goldie Bell, left Portis in 1918 to live in Topeka, the letters were a great way to get news after Emmett stopped publishing the Portis Independent and we could still know what was going on in the community until the late 1950s.

J. E. served on many boards and committees. He was opinionated and stubborn, but you knew where you stood with him as he could be very outspoken. J. E. had a chance to work other places as a newspaperman. Whether it was a fear of the unknown or whether he just wanted to stay in Kansas, he chose to stay in Osborne County to write and work for the good of the community. It is a shame we do not have more J. E. Kissells to stand up for a cause and go to no end to get a change made – ’go and get it done’ type of people.

Our family is proud of his induction to the Osborne County Kansas Hall of Fame.” — Rex K. Bell, January 1996.


Robert Roy Hays – 1996 Inductee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dan Bogue Harrison – 1997 Inductee

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

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

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

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

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


Charles L. Cushing – 2004 Inductee

Charles L. Cushing was born near Greenleaf, Washington County, Kansas in 1896.  He worked in banks in Greenleaf and Logan, Kansas, before moving to Downs, where he worked for 55 years in the Downs National Bank as both president and chairman.  In his lifetime Charles was very active in the business sector and in public service, serving on both the school and Chamber of Commerce boards, as city councilman, and as mayor of Downs.  Charles also served for 12 years on the Kansas State Highway Commission.  His remarkable career ended with his death in 1974.