(On this date, October 4, 2016, the Osborne County Hall of Fame is pleased to present to the world for the first time anywhere the first member of the OCHF Class of 2016.)
A community leader in his home county for decades, Samuel Willis Chatfield then became one of the first homesteaders of Osborne County, Kansas. There he was soon called upon to help organize and establish the first county government. 145 years later his contributions to the county’s founding are being rewarded with an induction into the Osborne County Hall of Fame.
Samuel was the third of five children born to Abraham and Jerusha (Cotton) Chatfield. He was born August 31, 1829, in the small New York town of Prattsville, in Greene County. There both the Chatfield and Cotton families were noted families, and young Samuel grew up well versed in hard work, having learned the trades of the barber and carpentry, as well as studying to be a medical doctor, though he never earned his medical degree. He was 21 years old when he was elected a City of Prattsville Town Supervisor in 1850 and began serving his first term in the Town Hall.
In 1853 Samuel met and married Charlotte Bligh, with whom he raised six children – Willis, Charles, Eben, Eliza, Elizabeth, and Mary. Shortly after Mary’s delivery in 1863 Charlotte passed away, and it would be two years before Samuel took a second wife, Elizabeth Newcomb, who became a second mother to the six children. In 1873 a seventh child, Austin, joined the family.
For reasons not entirely clear, sometime after his second marriage in 1865 Samuel devised the idea of going west and proving up a homestead claim. In the late 1860s he set off for Branch County, Michigan with other Chatfield family members. From there he moved to Kansas in the latter half of 1870, settling on a 153-acre homestead in northern Osborne County. His family remained behind when he set out west, and it would be nearly fifteen years before they came west themselves to join him.
When Samuel settled on a homestead in the northeast quarter of Section 6, Township 6 South, Range 12 West, he was one of the first one hundred settlers in Osborne County. At this time the county had not yet politically organized – the boundaries having been surveyed and defined just three years prior – and therefore was legally attached to neighboring Mitchell County as “Manning Township”. But as more and more settlers poured into the newly-settled region over the next year they soon desired their own government, and on June 2, 1871 a great meeting was held at (1996 Osborne County Hall of Famer) Calvin Reasoner’s general store in the town of Arlington. At this meeting the first set of preferred county officials was agreed upon and forwarded to the governor for approval, along with a petition to officially organize Osborne County.
Over the previous year Samuel’s skills as a carpenter, frontier doctor, and natural leader had shown him to be a notable asset to the region, and also being the first and only professional barber in the county did not hurt. His stock among his fellow men was such that at the Arlington meeting he was chosen to be one of the first county commissioners, along with (1996 Osborne County Hall of Famer) Frank Stafford and Charles Cunningham. This appointment was confirmed by the Governor of Kansas in September 1871, who designated the three as “special commissioners” to govern the county until the first official county commissioners could be elected in the November 1871 general election and take their places in January 1872. Samuel was designated chairman of the board of special commissioners.
One of the first duties of the special commissioners was to divide the county into townships that in turn would be grouped into three commissioner districts. Samuel designated the township that included his homestead Bethany Township, and the township to its east he named Ross Township. These two townships comprised the First Commissioner District. In 1872 the western portion of Bethany Township organized itself into a new township, Lawrence, so designated by Samuel and included in the First District.
At the time there was a prolonged fight being waged to determine which town would be declared the permanent county seat. To bolster their claim the town government of Osborne City offered the special commissioners their choice of any block within the city limits, to be given to the county upon which to build the county courthouse and other buildings. On November 22, 1871, commissioner board chairman Samuel Chatfield selected the square on West Penn Street (today’s Main Street) still being used for the county’s purposes.
Also at the time of the Arlington meeting a local government was being organized on Samuel Chatfield’s own farm. The Bethany Post Office was established just to the south of his farm on June 2, 1871, and the southeast portion of his farm became part of the community of Bethany, also established at this time. In 1872 Samuel stepped down as a special commissioner. He proved up his homestead claim and continued to work as a barber and carpenter, even taking on building construction as a line of work.
“The Cawker City Sentinel says that Cawker City has voted bonds for $5,000 to build a school house. On Saturday last the contract was let to Mr. Samuel Chatfield, of the town of Bethany, contractor and builder. The house is to be of magnesian limestone, put up in the most substantial manner, and provided with the latest improved school furniture. Work is to commence immediately, and the house will be completed by the first of August.” – Atchison Daily Champion newspaper, 19 March 1872, Page 5.
Over the next few years Samuel opened a wagon shop in Bethany and frequently visited his family in New York. In 1879 the Union Pacific Railroad built a line through the area that bypassed Bethany on the north. To secure a railroad depot at that site Samuel Chatfield and Philander Judson laid out the new townsite of Portis, which included the eastern half of Chatfield’s land and the western half of Judson’s farm. The plat of the new town was finalized and dated October 11, 1879.
Samuel Chatfield continued to prosper, even being named Bethany Township Justice of the Peace on August 16, 1883. Four years later he felt the need to return to his former home in Bronson, Michigan, where he then lived for the next 16 years. While there he could not quite escape the public eye, though for a rather unusual reason:
“Samuel Chatfield, of Bronson, Michigan, has in his possession one of the first copper coins ever made in the United States. On one side are thirteen links representing the thirteen States of the Union; the words, ‘United States’, and on a small ring, ‘We are one.’ On the other side are the words ‘Engio,’ ‘1777,’ a ‘rising sun,’ and ‘Mind your own business.’” – Democrat and Chronicle newspaper, Rochester, New York, October 3, 1888, Page 5.
In 1903 Samuel moved back to Portis and for a time enjoyed a quiet retirement among his old friends there. Sometime after his 80th birthday in 1908 he moved back to his birthplace in Greene County, New York. Samuel died in Maplecrest, New York, on January 4, 1918, and was buried in the Big Hollow (now called Maplecrest) Cemetery at Windham, New York.
SOURCES: Lorna Puleo, Durham, New York; ancestry.com/localities.northam.usa.states.northcarolina.counties.forsyth/; U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records; The Essentials of the of the Early History of Osborne County, Kansas, unpublished manuscript, compiled by Von Rothenberger (2011); Cawker City Historical Society, Cawker City, Kansas; Atchison Daily Champion, March 19, 1872; Downs Times, August 5, 1880; Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, October 3, 1888; Osborne County Farmer, July 19, 1906; Portis Independent, May 16, 1908.
Career diplomats are a scarce commodity in the annals of Osborne County. Bartley Francis Yost, a local farmer and teacher born in Switzerland, entered government service in 1909 and spent the next quarter of a century representing the United States around the world. Bartley was born September 20, 1877, in the Swiss town of Seewiss. He lived there with his parents, George and Elizabeth (Fluetsch) Yost, until 1887, when the family emigrated to America. They settled on a farm three miles west of Downs in Ross Township.
Young Bartley’s education, begun in Switzerland, continued at the rural Ise School, District Number 37. Incidents from his adolescent years are immortalized in the 1936 John Ise book Sod and Stubble. Upon graduation he worked on the family farm, and then from in October 1896 he embarked on a teaching career at the one-room Greenwood School while tending to his own farm as well. He attended Downs High School for a year in 1898 and then studied for two semesters at Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas.
He then returned to teaching at several rural one-room schools in Osborne County: Scott School in Delhi Township; Prizer School near Alton; Bethany Center School in Bethany Township; and at Rose Valley in Ross Township. He then took a year off with a trip to California and Washington before returning in 1906, when he became co-publisher of the Osborne County News. That same year he was elected to the first of two terms as Osborne County Clerk of the District Court. On October 7, 1908, he married Irma Blau at Kirkland, Washington. The couple had two children, Robert and Bartley, Jr.
While serving as Clerk of the District Court Bartley was visited by a government representative, who was so impressed with the young man’s abilities (Bartley had mastered five languages) that he suggested Yost fill out an application for the U.S. Consular Service, that branch of government which serves the needs of American citizens either living in or visiting a foreign country. He was accepted and entered the consular service in 1909.
Yost’s consular work kept him traveling abroad from 1909 to 1935. He served as deputy consul at Paris, France, and Almeria, Spain, and as vice consul at Genoa, Italy. As chief consul he oversaw consulates in Santa Rosalia, Gnaymas, and Torrean, Mexico; at Sault Ste. Marie, Canada; at Nogales, Mexico; and finally at Cologne, Germany, where he was one of the last senior diplomats to deal with Adolph Hitler’s Nazi government before the United States broke off diplomatic relations. After 1935 Bartley retired from the service and settled into quiet retirement in California. In 1933 he had been given life membership in the Kansas Illustriana Society, and a further honor was bestowed upon him when he was named to Who’s Who inAmerica. In 1955 he published his autobiography, Memoirs of a Consul.
Irma Yost passed away in 1952. Bartley married his second wife, Elfrieda, in July 1953. Their happiness was short-lived, however, as Bartley died September 8, 1963, in California of a heart attack. He was laid to rest beside his first wife in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.
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(Excerpts from Bartley’s book “Memoirs of a Consul”)
On his family leaving home of Seewis, Switzerland, 1887:
Uncle Nicloaus lost no time in sowing propaganda among such people as desired to leave. He also urged Father to dispose of his extensive holdings and to take his family to the New World, where there were opportunities unbounded especially for us children. He also insisted that Grandfather accompany him to Kansas and make his home with him (Nicolaus).
I know that Father and Mother deliberated long and seriously over this momentous question, for it was no small undertaking with a large family. The interminable railway journeys and the long ocean voyage had to be faced. There was also the matter of disposing of the properties. But the gravest question of all was Mothers condition. She was expecting to give birth to another child in January 1887, and course, she would hardly be able to travel for several weeks. The momentous decision was finally made. We were to immigrate to America. And with us were several other families and young men of the village. There were protests and regrets on the part of relatives and friends, and even the city authorities, at the loss of such good and useful families. The thought of our departure filled our minds with emotion and with speculation as to what we should see and experience in our new home. It was the greatest event that ever happened in our lives.
With little delay Father disposed of his properties, and set March 17, 1887, as the day of our departure. It was a red-letter day in our lives. We were driven in horse carriages down the mountainside to the station at Landquart, where we boarded the train. The great journey and adventure had begun.
For the first few hours we swept through beautiful Swiss scenery along the banks of the historic River Rhine, with the snow-capped mountains always in full view. Sometime during the night we left Swiss territory, arriving at Strasburg, early in the morning. I can still remember Mr. John Monstien calling attention to the great German fortifications there, known as the Schanz. From Antwerp where our steamer, the Westernland, was awaiting us. I shall make the description of this our first ocean voyage as short as possible, for it is not a pleasant subject. Our ship was an old tub, about ready for the scrap heap; it was dirty and the service in our class left much to be desired. Being early in the year, we encountered much bad weather, which caused the old ship to toss like an empty eggshell. Nearly everybody was seasick. The food was plentiful, but it did not appeal to us. Poor mother, with her baby boy, two months old, suffered most of all. She was not only sea sick, but also homesick throughout the voyage and unable to come up on dick to get some fresh air. After three weeks of this torture we finally arrived at the Fort of New York.
Although this was decidedly before the days of skyscrapers, yet the skyline of New York from an approaching vessel was a fascinating study even then. Some acquaintances came to meet us at Castle Garden, which was then the immigration station now replaced by Ellis Island, to meet us and to welcome us to the Land of Opportunity. The usual immigration formalities over, we were ferried across the Hudson River to Jersey City to entrain for the Far West. I should not fail to mention here that before leaving New York, father took us for a walk across the world famous Brooklyn Bridge, Mr. Roebling’s dream come true [boarded a train headed west and] I think of this the more I realize what great courage and pioneering spirit it required to carry through this adventure. After a week or so on the slow-moving immigrant train, we arrived toward to end of April at Downs, Kansas, our destination, a wide-open prairie, with few inhabitants, few building, and few roads.
Schooling in Switzerland:
As to the place of my birth, I may be permitted to repeat a part of the introductory sketch to my “Memoirs of A Consul,” that I first saw the light of day in that picturesque village of Seewis, nestled away up in the mountains of Switzerland, where the rest of the Yost children were born. That was on September 20, 1877. Obviously, I would rather have been born in the good old U.S.A., but this was a matter beyond my control, and I am glad that my place of birth was Seewis, and not China or Africa. Even as a baby I made my parents much work and worry, and often showed my temper and willfulness. My father often told me that I was the lustiest howler in the whole bunch, and that nigh after night he had to rock my cradle, even in his sleep, while I would continue to howl.
When I had reached the proper age I was bundled off to school in the Schloss, my first teacher being Prof Yenni. He always kept a fine selection of witches on top of the brick heater, and I remember that at times he would try them out on me. The first year my desk was in the far corner of the room. To the delight of my schoolmates, when the teacher’s back was turned, I would stand up in the corner and make faces. But I did it once too often, and got caught. You may guess the rest, keeping in mind these witches on the heater. I learned to write laboriously on the grooved lines of my slate, to read and to figure. I was a chubby lad, with a bountiful crop of freckles, which I inherited from my mother. To this day they cling to me closer than a brother. About the first thing that I can remember of my “kidhood” was that one day while running down the steep hilt in front of our house, I fell and bumped my head against a sharp corner stone of the house steps, cracking my skull just over my left eye. The scar is quite visible and becomes more so as advancing age thins my locks.
I was no shirker when it came to work. I recall having a lariat and hay cap all my own to carry hay from the meadows into the barn. No doubt, I also tried yodeling, probably in the manner of a young rooster trying to crow. I also recall that once while helping my Uncle Henry to thresh they tried to make me sit up to the dinner table with the real men, but I refused, and heaven and earth could not move me. I even hid under the table until they fished me out.
But to hasten on, long before I had become rooted to the mountain slopes of Grison I was taken with the rest of the flock to the Promised Land Beyond the Seas; and I do not know how to thank Father and Mother enough for this momentous decision. I-lad it not been for this I would today probably be following in the footsteps of my ancestors, climbing goatlike up and down the mountains, keeping a few cows, haying on those hanging meadows where a misstep sends a man to eternity, carrying manure to fertilize the arid, rock slopes, bringing up a numerous family, and finally without having built me “more stately mansions, “have joined my fathers in the silent city of the dead, in the little churchyard overlooking the Landquart.
The long trip to America was full of thrills for me. I was just reaching the impressionable age when everything one sees registers in the mind. I remember distinctly the conditions under which we lived on the old Weternland for three weeks in coming from Antwerp to New York. I can still see my poor mother, seasick, taking care of baby John, eight weeks old. Our arrival at New York was for me like entering a fairyland. We walked the streets in the region of Castle Garden, which was formerly the immigration station, now replaced by Ellis Island. Castle Garden is now the Battery. We walked across the famous Brooklyn Bridge, Roebling’s great monument.
Once we had complied with the immigration regulations, and they were light then as compared with today, we were loaded into special immigrant cars at Hoboken, and the long tiresome journey to Kansas began. It was probably a week before we arrived at Downs.
Like any child of my age, I was not long in adapting myself to the new conditions and surroundings, and in learning the language. I reveled in everything that I saw, for everything was new, different, thrilling, full of interest. In the fall of 1887 I was sent to school in the little schoolhouse located on the Ise farm, and known as District 37. Because of my unfamiliarity with the language I was put into classes with primary kiddies younger than I. Miss Anne Carson was my first teacher, a kind, patient, sympathetic and competent teacher. The Carson family lived just across the river from our home. The Schoolmates and play fellows that I now recall most vividly were Albert Heiser, Clark Boomer, Frank Boomer, Ed, Charley and Walter Ise, Nate Winters, Nathan, Eddie and Wits Jones, Marian and Ed Worley, Elmer Richardson, Floyd Wagner, Dave McCormick, and others whose names have slipped my mind. The school term in those early days was for only six months. This meant long summer vacations, but they were not all play. On the contrary, we had to work hard most of the time, as soon as we were able to drive a team, or to handle farm tools or machinery.
Schooling in District #37, Ise School:
The little white schoolhouse where I received my rudimentary education would comfortable hold about twenty pupils, although I have seen as many as forty packed into it. There were a number of big families in the district in those days. There were fourteen children in the Jones family, of whom as many as eight were in school at one time; of the eleven Ise children there were as many as seven in school at a time; of the eight Yost children there were sometimes four of r five in school. I usually sat with Albert Heiser. During one of two winters I sat with Charley Ise. Charley had a quick mind and could learn his lessons in half the time that I could. This left him too much time for play and mischief He was daily getting into all kinds of deviltry, and was punished repeatedly in the old-fashioned way, with green sticks or rubber hose. Sometimes he would come prepared for it, by putting on about three shirts and three pairs of pants, or by sticking shingles into the seat of his pants. One evening he was ordered to remain in after school. This happened quite frequently. But, on this occasion, in a hurried conference be between us it was agreed that while the rest of the school was marching out, Charley was to jump out of the back window where I was to meet him with his wraps. Everything passed off according to progamme, and before the teacher realized our design, Charley was cutting across the pasture on his way home. Miss Anne Jones, the teacher, then locked the school house door and followed Charley across the pasture to his home. AS to the concrete results of the conference between Miss Jones and Mr. Ise, I an unable to say.
Once the teacher ordered Charley and me to get some switches from the nearby hedge fence; with which to punished us for some misconduct. We cut the switches full of notches, so that at the first blow the teacher struck, the switches fell all to pieces. One day just before recitation time Charley took off my shoes, of course I was not exactly asleep when he did it. When our class was called for an explanation. Charley then spoke up with’ “I throwed Yost’s shoes out the window.” The teacher then ordered him to go out after them, and the recitation went on. We were both kept in after school that night for the usual intimate talk.
My great joy was to be able to sit beside Minnie (Doll) Ise during the recitation periods. I hardly think that she experienced the same thrill.
First Year As A Schoolteacher:
That first term of school put me to the test. With more preparation than what the country school afforded, together with a month’s normal training, I struggled through my pedagogical duties. Some of my pupils were older than I, and probably knew almost as much. The teacher preceding me had had trouble over a triangular love affair, of which she was on e angle. I recall that we were nearly frozen out that winter. Gumbo Christ, the district treasurer, was delegated to provide dry wood for our stove, but he only began cutting the wood when school began, and we therefore had green wood during most of the winter, wholly in keeping with the name of our school. Greenwood. Once a month I would call at the Christ home, a combination of shack, stable and granary under one roof, to get my salary voucher for $25. He was a jovial and interesting man, an old bachelor. Usually he had a pie tin on the stove, filled with cuds of chewing tobacco, which he would dry and smoke in his pipe. About the year 1897 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the office of Probate Judge of Osborne County. But more about our green wood which merely sizzled and would not burn. The stove was also too small for the new, spacious schoolroom. It was so cold that I had to let the children keep on their wraps during school hours.
My prize pupil was Felix Gygax who later attended the Downs High School from which he graduated. After teaching school for two years he was admitted to the United States Naval Academy, at Annapolis, on competitive examination, and graduated in 1906, in time to take that memorable cruise around the world of our navy, under the administration of Pres. Theodore Roosevelt. His advancement in the navy has been consistent and rapid, his outstanding achievements many. Today he holds the rank of commander in the navy.
At a joint entertainment given in my school house by my pupils and those of the Columbia district, a serious fire broke out in the hall way, due to some one knocking over a coal oil lamp on the Felix was burning cork to blacken his face, preparatory to taking his part in “Jumbo Jum,” a Negro play. For a time consternation prevailed among the large number of people present. Everywhere I could see people breaking the windows and jumping through them for safety. There was screaming and shouting. I tried to calm the excitement, but with little effect. As the fire was in the hallway, it shut off escape. We finally got the fire under control and went on with the play, but the interest had been lost. Just fifteen years later, while I was home from Paris on a vacation and to attend to business in court, I was called upon one night for an address at an entertainment in the Rose Valley church; and strange as this coincident my seem, while they were giving the same play, “Jumbo Jum,” just before I was scheduled to speak, a fire broke out in the hallway. Crowd behavior is apparently the same under similar circumstances. People shouted and screamed, fought each other, broke the windows, and jumped through them for safety. We soon got the fire under control, and went on with the entertainment. It was a strange coincident, to say the least.
Being Elected Osborne County Clerk of the District Court:
In the spring of 1906, the political bee began to buzz in my bonnet; I aspired to the office of Clerk of the District Court of Osborne County, and made and active campaign. My opponents were Bev Ayers, the incumbent of the office, and Adolph Brown, a lawyer from Alton. The Republican nominating convention, the last one on record, was held in the old Cunningham hail at Osborne in July 1906. Below is given an account of the convention by the Osborne County Farmer, July, 1928:
“The last Republican convention held for the purpose of nominating candidates for county offices was held in the old auditorium in Osborne in the summer of 1906, nearly 21 years ago. John Ford, now of Plainville, but at that time editor of the Alton Empire, was chairman, and Chas. E. Mann, then editor of the Downs New, secretary. The fight between the “Progressives and the “Standpatters” was just beginning to warm up, although practically all Republicans favored the nomination of Taft for President, as he was the choice of Roosevelt. According to the old custom, a few of the leaders met in Osborne the night before the convention selected the organization and tentatively agreed upon the county ticket. It was composed of J.B. Taylor for representative; John Doane for county clerk; L.F. Storer for treasurer; J.M. Smith for sheriff, A.P. Brown for Clerk of Court. There was no opposition to V.K.N. Groesbeck, Probate Judge; D.H. Lockridge, register of deeds; and N.C. Else, county attorney. The last two were serving their first terms, and with Groesbeck were endorsed by both factions. When the convention met it was known that there was strong opposition to the slate prepared the night before, and the fight grew warm as the afternoon session opened up. The opposition to the slate had not been able to get together on a candidate for representative, and was not real sure of their strength anyway. When nominations were in order, J.B. Taylor was placed in nomination. There was no other name mentioned, so the nomination was made by acclamation. This gave the impression that the opposition had given up its fight, but leaders were soon to know different, for when the next name was placed before the convention the fight was on. John Doane and George F. Schultz were placed in nomination for county clerk. The latter was sponsored by the Progressives of Boss Busters, as they were then known. The ballot resulted in the nomination of Schultz by a few votes. The atmosphere was now clear. The Boss Busters were now sure of themselves and they proceeded with reckless abandonment to nominate the entire remaining members the ticket, which was their own slate. They nominated Geo. H. Rogers for county treasurer; E.L.Curl for Sheriff, and Bartley F. Yost for Clerk of the Court. Groesbeck, Lockridge and Else were nominated by acclamation. The Boss Busters were jubilant and quite cocky after the convention was over, and they kicked themselves because they had not also picked a candidate for representative.
However, after the convention was over the factional trouble settled right down and everybody went to work for the ticket, and it was elected in its entirety. Two of the county officers elected on that ticket resigned without filling out their terms of office; George F. Schultz resigned to return to his business at Natoma, and John Doane filled out his unexpired term, Bartley F. Yost, Clerk of Court, Federal Government, in which he is still engaged, being now United States Consul at Sault St. Marie, Canada. He was succeeded by the late John A. Fouts.”
I was then new in politics and not aware of the trickeries practiced. When the first ballot for Clerk of the Court was announced, I had only about 40 votes, Ayers 25, and Brown 48. My heart sank within me. Some of my supporters seeing my distress, came to me, patted me on the shoulders and whispered into my ears not to worry, that the second ballot would show a different result; that Ayers was releasing his delegates and had instructed them to vote for me; also that a number of delegates had cast only complimentary votes for Brown and would come to me on the second ballot. All this came true and I was nominated with a rousing majority, It was a great day for me, I had announced from Bethany Township where I had lived for two years, but L.F.Storer, who aspired to the office of county treasurer, also from Bethany, fought me hard and claimed that I belonged to Ross Township. As a matter of fact, since April 11 had not actually lived in Bethany but all my interests were still there. Storer saw that it meant either him or me. He lost. He was elected to the office four years later.
That fall, after a strenuous campaign, I was elected by a good majority. After the election I made my home with sister Burga, 2 miles west of Osborne, Before taking up my office in January, I husked most of Ed Zimmerman’s corn crop. I began my first term on the first Monday in January 1907, in the old tumbledown courthouse. My term was for two years. During the summer of 1908 I announced my candidacy for a second term under the new primary election law which had been enacted by the Stubs administration, and which had just gone into effect.
How He Entered the Consular Service:
Senator Charles Curtis, while looking after his political fences in Osborne County, stepped into my office in the court house one day, and after a pleasant chat, he remarked to me; “Yost, do you speak any other language than English?” I replied that I also spoke German. He continued: “Well, this is very interesting; have you ever thought of trying for the United States consular service? If you are interested I am in position to assure you a designation for the next consular examinations to be held in the City of Washington this fall. Let me know definitely before I leave town” The Senator’s momentous proposition put me to thinking. It was no easy matter to break all the ties that bound me to the homeland and to launch out into uncharted waters. I had a county office; I was half owner of the Osborne County News; I owned a good farm; surely I could make a fair living without wandering off into foreign lands, away from Kith and kin. It was a momentous problem for me, and I had but little time for reflection. At noon I went home to confer with sister Burga. We arrived at a decision that such a step might be for my best interests. The dye was cast. That afternoon I called on the Senator at his hotel and told him of my decision. He looked me over with those keen, eagle-like eyes of his, slapped me on the shoulders and said “Bully for you, Yost; I shall write to President Roosevelt tonight and ask him to designate you for the next consular examinations”
Three weeks later I received a formal and courteous communication from the Department of State in Washington, advising me that I had been designated for the examinations to be held in November. I also received a number of pamphlets and suggestions with regard to the textbooks I should study. There were no library facilities then in the little town of Osborne, and I was unable to find the books I needed, and to send for them meant considerable loss of time. I borrowed and bought books whereever I could, and for the next two months I studied every spare moment, but I realized that it was an up-hill undertaking, and that there was but little chance of my passing the difficult test. At the suggestion of Mr. Fred Slater, a Topeka attorney, who had also been designated, being a distant relative of the Senator by marriage, we went to Washington together, three weeks before the examinations. There we had the advantage of the Library of Congress, the State Department Library and other sources of information
The examinations were given in the old Pension Building. Sam Reat looked the questions over, and suddenly developed some sort of a bowel complaint. The 36 men present struggled like Trojans over questions in international law, maritime law, commercial law, history of the world political science, commercial and industrial resources, accounting, bookkeeping, foreign languages, etc. etc. The third day at the Department of State we had to run the gauntlet of a scrutinizing commission of State Department officials and Civil Service Commission officials, who sized us up for our general appearance, personality, general address, manners, expression of thought, knowledge of current events, etc. I was ushered in with Fred Slater and a gentleman from Mankato, Kansas. “Please discuss the Balkan situation” was the question fired at the first man. He flunked, and it was passed on to Fred, and later to me. I was also called upon to discuss the Reclamation Policy of the United States Government. Fred Slater had failed in the previous examinations and was allowed to take it with me in November. In these examinations he failed also; so did the man from Mankato. In fact, out of 36 applicants, only 9 passed. I happened to be one of them, The first intimation I had of it was an article appearing in the New York World, shown me by Bert Lockridge, about three weeks after I had returned home.
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List of Consular Service through 1927 (retired in 1935):
It may be of interest to make a list of the several government commissions that I have been granted in connection with appointments and promotions in the consular service during the past twenty years; they are as follows:
1. June 24, 1908, Commission as Consular Assistant signed by President Theodore Roosevelt and Alvey A. Ade, Acting Secretary of State.
2. April 20, 1909, Commission as Deputy Consul General at Paris, signed by Huntington Wilson, Acting Secretary of State.
3. March 3, 1913; commission as Consular Agent at Almeria, Spain, signed by Philander C. Know, Secretary of State.
4. August 21, 1917, commission as Vice Consul at Genoa, Italy, signed by President W. Wilson.
5. June 15, 1918, Commission as Vice Consul at Santa Rosalia, Lower California, signed by Robert Lansing, Secretary of State. (On my way there I was appointed a full Consul; my work at S.R. was that of a Lookout Officer.)
6. July 6, 1918, commission as Consul Class Eight, Signed by President Wilson and Secretary of State Frank L. Polk.
7. November 22, 1918, Commission as Consul at Guaymas, Mexico, signed by President Woodrow Wilson and Secretary of State Frank L. Polk.
8. September 5, 1919, commission as Consul Class Seven, signed by President Woodrow Wilson and Acting Secretary of State Win, Phillips.
9. October 15,1919, Exequator to act as consul at Guaymas, Mexico, signed by President V. Carranza of Mexico.
10. June 4, 1920, Commission as consul Class Six, signed by President Woodrow Wilson and Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby.
11. December 17, 1923, Commission as Consul Class Six at Torreon, Mexico, signed by President Calvin Coolidge and Secretary of State Chas. F. Hughes.
12. July 1, 1924, Commission as Foreign Service Officer Class Seven, signed by President Calvin Coolidge and Secretary of State Chas. E. Hughes.
13. Dec. 20, 1924, commission as Foreign Service Officer Class Seven, signed by President Calvin Coolidge and Secretary of State Chas. F. Hughes. (After confirmation by U.S. Senate).
14. June 18, 1924, Exequator, to act as consul at Torreon, Mexico, signed by President Alvaro Obregon, of Mexico.
15. October 13, 1926, commission as consul at Sault Ste. Marie, signed by President Calvin Coolidge and Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg.
16. January 3, 1927, Exequator, authorizing Bartley F. Yost to act as Consul at Sault Ste. Marie, Canada, signed by King George V. of Great Britain and by Mackenzie King, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Canada.
17. December 7, 1927, Commission as Foreign Service Officer Class Six, signed by President Calvin Coolidge and Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg (After confirmation by U.S. Senate.)
John B. Taylor was born at Junius, New York, September 1, 1853, and passed away at Concordia, Kansas, April 13, 1926. John grew to manhood and then taught school and farmed. He came out West to Exeter, Nebraska, in 1876. On April 21, 1878, he was married to Jennie Linn Graves at Exeter. To this union were born seven children, three of whom preceded him in death.
John began his mercantile career when he moved to Alton on June 6, 1878 into a small, frame building in the south part of the business section and with a stock which would invoice at little more than $1,600. He soon needed more room, and as Hiram Bull offered John a lot and a half interest in the wall if he would build adjoining his own store building which stood on the corner north of the then-city fire department quarters. Mr. Taylor accepted the offer and built a two-story building with full basement adjoining the General Bull store building.
Early in the year 1881 E. M. Beal, of Junius, New York, came to Alton and a partnership was formed with John. In 1886 the City Hotel was purchased and the building razed to provide a place for a new store. Beal and Taylor, as the firm was styled, built the two-story part of the native stone building and equipped the upper rooms for offices, which were rented out. This structure housed the business until 1898 when increasing business again demanded larger quarters. The space between the store building and the First State Bank was built up, making another large room which was used as a store room.
During 1903 John purchased the buildings and lot east of the store building and built still another addition. The east wall was taken out and the part which now houses the shoe and clothing department added, thus converting the whole into one large room. This made the Taylor Store the largest in town and the largest company of its kind in all of northwest Kansas. After 1908 John no longer actively engaged in the mercantile business and it was managed by his son, Grover. During the time John was in business in Alton he bought other city property and several farms nearby. John was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Occidental Lodge, and the Odd Fellows.
John staked his place in almost every office from Alton mayor to Kansas state representative. He was elected as Osborne County Representative to the Kansas state legislature in 1902 and was re-elected for two succeeding terms. The fact that he was re-elected for two terms speaks for the splendid service he rendered his people while serving them in this capacity. It was during this time that John’s health broke down, and he was not permitted to enter the race again for representative. After twenty years of hard toil with public service he retired to Kansas City, Missouri. Here his wife’s health broke down. They then left for Whittier, California, hoping that she might recuperate, but she passed away January 13, 1919. Since that time John lived with his daughter at Concordia, Kansas, until his own passing. After a brief funeral service his remains were interred in the Sumner Cemetery near Alton.
During the last few years of his life John Taylor made frequent visits to Alton and always took an interest in Alton and Osborne County people. He was a man who was highly respected by all who knew him and probably the greater amount of his success can be credited to his integrity in business affairs. As stated in the Concordia Kansan newspaper at the time, “It was an honor to know and to have the friendship of John Taylor.”
John Taylor left a record behind him that your children might well be proud of. His life, from schoolteacher, farmer, town councilman, school board member, to state representative – serving from village to state – you will do well to follow as an example.
“The Kansas Comet” of the college football world was born Marvin Allen Stevens on April 14, 1900, in Stockton, Kansas. The son of Dr. Calvin and Bertha (Allen) Stevens, Marvin never liked his first name and so was known to his friends and family as “Mal.” When less than a year old his parents moved to Osborne, Kansas, where he received his education and graduated Osborne High School in 1918. The previous summer Mal had gone to Kansas City, Missouri, and entered the Needles Institute of Optometry to study repairing and fitting spectacles. He completed his studies and returned home, where he assisted his father in that work throughout his senior year.
A star football player in high school, Mal was recruited by Washburn College of Topeka, Kansas, and in 1919 Mal entered Washburn, where he won ten athletic letters in five sports during three years there. In 1921 he captained the football team that claimed the Kansas Conference championship.
“A slender youth from Osborne led Washburn to a surprising 10 to 7 victory over a supposedly invincible Emporia Teachers eleven in 1921. The Emporians had been raging through the Kansas Conference that season. Washburn’s play had been erratic. When Coach Dwight Ream of Washburn caught Marvin Stevens, his quarterback, at a dance the night before the game, he kept him on the bench during the first half. “Steve,” as he was known to his Washburn teammates, went into the game in the third quarter. He led the Washburn second-half offensive that carried the ball deep into Emporia territory and kicked a field goal to give his team an upset victory.” – Topeka Daily Capital, November 6, 1921.
Mal’s recruitment by Washburn paved the way for a virtual avalanche of Osborne players joining the Washburn football team over the next two decades, including Lee Wykoff, Randall Sharp, Dewey Taylor, and others. In 1922 Mal transferred to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and played halfback for the football team. At six feet and 160 pounds, “The Kansas Comet” dazzled the East Coast crowds.
“I removed four of my players and bawled them out for not stopping him; then I realized that with his speed, drive and high-flying knees, nobody could have stopped him.” — Army coach John McEwen, after losing to Yale 31-10.
In 1923 Mal was named a Walter Camp All-American as he helped Yale win the Ivy League championship. The next year he also started for the college basketball team and later joined the football coaching staff as an assistant coach. Mal graduated in 1925 and enrolled in the Yale Medical School. He continued his coaching duties and that same year he married Barbara Luis Abbey at Millerton, New York. They had two children, Marvin, Jr. and Lucinda. In 1928 Mal was named the new head coach at Yale, the youngest coach in major college football at the time.
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The Harvard Crimson
STEVENS TO COACH YALE ELEVENS FOR NEXT THREE YEARS
Played on Championship Eleven of 1923 – Was Ineligible in His Senior Year
Published February 28, 1928
(Special Dispatch to the Crimson.)
New Haven, Connecticut, February 27, 1928 – Marvin Allen Stevens, a backfield player on the championship football team of 1923, was appointed head coach of Yale football teams for a period of three years, according to a statement issued last night by the Yale University Athletic Association.
Stevens during his Sophomore and Junior years was a versatile back and one of Yale’s most consistent ground gainers. In his Senior year he was ineligible. During the last few seasons, while a student at the Medical School, he has been assisting T. A. D. Jones on the coaching staff.
Professor George H. Nettleton, Chairman of the Board of Control of the Yale University Athletic Association issued the following statement last night. “The Board of Control of the Yale University Athletic Association announces the appointment of Marvin Allen Stevens of the Yale College Class of 1925, as head football coach for a term of three years. Since his graduation from Yale College, Mr. Stevens has been a student in the Yale Medical School where he is enrolled as a regular candidate for the M.D. Degree. He has been a member of the Yale football coaching staff for the past four years. This appointment assures the direction of Yale coaching by a resident member of the University community.”
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“Osborne naturally feels very proud of the success of this young man who has not only made a place of importance for himself in the world, but he has put the old hometown on the map in athletic circles.” – Charles Mann, Osborne County Farmer, March 1, 1928.
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Monday, September 24, 1928
“As the days and nights grow cooler in September, the gridiron absorbs the warmth of the waning sun. Rumors begin to sizzle, fat to drip off portly full-backs capering with pigskins.”
“The last teams to begin practice are those representing Yale, Harvard and Princeton. Even these had begun to grunt and exercise last week. While speculation as to which would be most imposing later in the season is properly confined to barrooms in college clubs and the writings of Grantland Rice, alert prognosticators fixed their attention upon the coaches. Of these, the most interesting is Marvin Allen (‘Mal’) Stevens who has replaced famed ‘Tad’ Jones of Yale. Brown, lithe and shy, ‘Mal’ Stevens played for Yale in 1923 on famed ‘Memphis Bill’ Mallory’s undefeated team; before that he had played for Washburn College, in Kansas. In his senior year at Yale he was ineligible; later, he was wont to divide his time between medical school and backfield coaching. Last year he was Jones’s assistant; this year he is the youngest of the important coaches and, since in football the cart goes before the horse, not the least likely to draw his team to November triumphs.”
“As usual, there is a pother about the new-rules and an argument as to how they shall be interpreted.”
“These are, in the last analysis, of small consequences and too intricate to explain without generally unintelligible technicalities. A far more important consideration is the continued and preposterous refusal of Athletic Associations at Yale, Harvard, Princeton and certain other colleges to provide proper facilities for unfortunate newspaper reporters who are compelled to sit on top of the windy stadiums, fumbling telegraph instruments with frozen thumbs.”
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Mal graduated from Yale Medical School in 1929 and opened a general practice in New Haven. In 1931 he served for a year as President of the American Football Coaches Association. After four years as head football coach he stepped down at Yale after compiling a 21-11-8 record. In 1933 he coached the Yale freshmen football team, and the next year he was named the new head football coach at New York University, a position he held for eight years.
Meanwhile Mal’s medical career flourished. From 1931 through 1936 he held a research fellowship in surgery at Yale, and during 1933-34 he was an assistant in surgery, obstetrics, and gynecology there. In 1936 he received his Doctor of Medical Science degree from Columbia University and opened a practice in orthopedic surgery, where he emerged as a pioneer in the treatment of college athletic injuries. From 1936 to 1941 he was an assistant clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at Yale.
Then Mal’s life took a distinct change. First, he and his wife divorced in 1938. And then in December 1941 the United States entered World War II. New York University dropped its football program for the duration of the war and Mal entered the Navy as a lieutenant commander, medical specialist, in charge of orthopedics at Sampson, Brooklyn, and St. Albans Naval Hospitals. He was then shipped to England and served as a medical consultant with the British Navy during the D-Day events in 1944. Mal was then sent to the South Pacific and served as a commander on the hospital ship U.S.S. Haven. This ship was among the first to reach Nagasaki after the dropping of the atomic bomb there and Mal helped with preliminary studies for the Navy on atomic warfare and its effects.
Before he left for England in 1943 Mal married Dorothy Hill Hopper at Harwinton, Connecticut. The couple had two children, Jean and Marcy. Discharged at the end of the war, Mal reopened his orthopedic practice and then in 1946 became head coach of the Brooklyn Dodgers of the All-American Football Conference, a professional team of which he was also part-owner. In 1947 he served as team physician to both the New York Yankees in baseball and the football New York Yankees of the All-American Conference.
From 1951 through 1975 Mal was chairman of the Medical Advisory Board to the New York State Athletic Commission. He also served as the attending orthopedist at the Jersey City Medical Center and as assistant professor at New York University. Mal belonged to a number of medical societies and was a director of the Navy League Council of New York. He wrote several scientific articles for magazines and a book on the control of athletic injuries. As Medical Advisory Board chairman he helped to initiate safety programs for boxing and wrestling that earned him a medal from the French Ministry for his services in this field. He was instrumental in the installment of a Neuro-Muscular Clinic at New York University to research Lou Gehrig’s Disease and other related maladies. For a time he served as the eastern director of the Sister Elizabeth Kenny Institute and Clinic for infantile paralysis. He kept up several hobbies and found time for hunting, fishing, photography, wild horse capturing, skiing, and big game hunting–especially of mountain lions.
“I also get a big kick out of my little farm of sixty acres in Connecticut, which has about thirty acres of woods,” he reported in 1955. “Being from Kansas, where we used to burn buffalo chips, it is fun to keep four or five fireplaces going with Connecticut oak.”
In 1969 Mal was awarded the Distinguished American Award of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame for his services to college athletics. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1974, and received the Washburn University Distinguished Alumni Award for his services in the combined fields of sports and medicine. He also was given the James J. Walker Memorial Award “for long and meritorious service to the sport of boxing. Mal was a member of the 1970-1971 class to the Washburn Athletics Hall of Fame and in 1984 he was inducted into the New York University Athletics Hall of Fame as a coach.
In 1975 Dr. Mal Stevens retired from practice and enjoyed a brief but well-earned retirement. He died December 6, 1979, in New York City and was laid to rest in the West Cemetery at Madison, Connecticut.
Frank Elwood Stafford was born April 24, 1845, in Greensboro, North Carolina. At the age of seven he moved with his parents, Milton and Tempa (Cain) Stafford, to Indiana. Prior to the outbreak of the Civil War the Stafford family moved again, this time to Kansas. In 1863 Frank went to Leavenworth and worked for a while as a teamster and then enlisted in Company B of the 16th Kansas Calvary. He was officially discharged in December 1865.
After the war Stafford returned to Indiana and farmed for a while, but then returned to Kansas and on October 4, 1867, he enlisted in Battery B of the Fourth United States Artillery. He served four years with the Fourth Artillery, stationed at Forts Riley and Hays, where he was an orderly sergeant. At times he was attached to the famed Seventh Calvary and often rode patrols through what would later become Osborne County, Kansas, before being discharged at the end of his term of service on October 4, 1870.
In 1870 Frank brought his mother and the rest of the family to a homestead near the mouth of Little Medicine Creek in Tilden Township, Osborne County, just west of the village of Bloomington. A respected war veteran, he was one of the three special commissioners appointed by Governor James Harvey in 1871 to organize Osborne County. In the county’s first general election the next year Stafford was elected one of the first three county commissioners. At Bloomington on November 28, 1878, he married LaNette Hart. The couple had three children, Frank, Nettie, and an infant son who died in 1886.
Stafford did not serve in public office again until 1882, when he was elected Osborne County Clerk. He served three terms and then retired to his homestead. The farm was prosperous for many years and Stafford retained a wide popularity among his peers. He passed away March 30, 1919, in Osborne and was buried in the Osborne Cemetery.
The following article was written in 1898 and revised in 1905 by Frank Stafford, being reprinted in the Osborne County Farmer of August 21, 1930, Page 6:
” On the 12th of May 1870 four men were killed near where Glen Elder now stands, by the Indians. A few days later Battery “B” of the 4th Artillery came on the Solomon to protect the settlers from the Indians and camped near the fork of the river. I was a member of that company and did scout duty south as far as Fort Harker up and down the south and north forks of the Solomon River and as far north as the mouth of the White Rock on the Republican River. Settlers on the Solomon from Minneapolis west were few. Where Beloit now is was called Willow Springs, If there was anything there by way of a settlement I did not see it. There was a little store building made of logs, on the east side of the Limestone, kept by the “Simpson boys” who were there doing business. There was a stockade near the forks of the Solomon where one or two families were living. No settlement on the South Fork except Bullocks’ ranch, located in March  about two miles west of where Osborne now is by William and Charles Bullock, two as brave frontiersmen as ever came to the West.
On the North fork a log house covered with shingles built by Pennington Ray (the first shingle-roofed house in Osborne County) south of where Downs now is. The old building was still standing the last time I was at Downs; Mr. Ray was not there. He had gone away and did not return until a year or two later. The next settlement was where Portis now is, made by Walrond, Wiltrout, Wills and Willis, who built a stockade and lived there during the summer of 1870 (Walrond lived here many years afterward one of our most respected citizens. Wiltrout now lives at Logan, Wills is dead; I do not know of the whereabouts of Willis).
There was no settlement in Smith County, no settlement south on the way to Fort Harker except a ranch south of the Saline on the Elk Horn. No settlement north except in and around Jewell City, which later consisted of a stockade made of sod in which the settlers camped at night. I rode into Jewell City during the summer on my way to Scandia with a sick horse which died in half an hour. I found the settlers, who had seen me at a distance and thought I might be Indians, waiting to receive me. No other settlement north until Scandia – which was mostly a name – on the Republican was reached.
The first settlers to arrive during the summer were Col. Cawker and others who went up on the hill and started Cawker City. The Indians made a raid down the south fork and up the north on the second of July, killed a colt was the only damage done. Bill Harris, myself and John Neve (who built the first mill at Glen Elder and afterwards was County Commissioner of Mitchell County) were sent to follow those Indians and see where they went. We followed them to Bow Creek in Phillips County, where we concluded they were leaving the country. We went back and reported accordingly.
The next settlers to arrive were the New York colony – William Manning and family, James Manning and family, C. W. Crampton and family and others whose names I do not remember. They were just from the east, clothed in garments of civilization and looked good to us as it was the first mark of civilization we had seen on the Solomon. I was talking to one of the ladies afterward and she told me that they were very dirty, they had made a long journey and from her standpoint her statement was probably true but they were so different from anything we had seen for months that they looked fine to us. The New York Colony settled at the mouth ofCovert Creek. The only one left of the colony in Osborne County is S. Palmer Crampton.
The next settlers were Jeff Durfey, Chauncey Bliss and family, John Kaser and family, Mrs. Leaver and family and others who are all gone. The next to come were the Tildens who settled around Bloomington, the only one left now is Mrs. Adaline Tilden. The next were Joe Hart and Calvin Reasoner, L. T. Earl and General Bull and family. Those who came and stayed in Osborne County during the winter of 1870-71 and are here now are S. Palmer Crampton, Jeff Durfey, Willard, Silas, and Merrick Bliss, John Kaser, Sr. and family, John Kaser, Jr., and wife, Dave Kaser, August Kaser, John Leaver, Joe Hart, Mrs. Tilden, Mrs. Reasoner and myself. Nobody wintered on the North fork during the winter of 1870-71.”
The annals of Osborne County history cite many individuals of exceptional ability. Few, however, can match the versatile Calvin Reasoner. Clergyman, newspaper editor and reporter, attorney, author, judge and politician, Reasoner left his impression on the early history of Osborne County and rightfully takes his place in the Osborne County Hall of Fame.
Calvin was born May 13, 1837, in Adamsville, Muskingum County, Ohio. He was the sixth of eleven children born to Jacob and Nancy (Hill) Reasoner. Little is known of his early life, other than that he was a college graduate with several degrees of merit, including Doctor of Laws. On March 8, 1863, Calvin married Venetia Shearer in Jackson County, Ohio. Together they raised four daughters, May, Florence, Clara, and Elsie.
After their marriage the Reasoners moved west to Leavenworth, Kansas, where from 1864 to 1869 Reasoner was pastor of the First Christian Church. In 1870 he moved his family west again, this time settling in Tilden Township in Osborne County, Kansas. There Calvin joined with others and founded the town of Arlington. To insure the stability of the new town he and his partner Frank Thompson opened a general store, and in 1871 Calvin became the town’s first postmaster.
It was on the steps of Reasoner and Thompson’s general store that the organization of Osborne County took place on May 27, 1871. Much to Calvin’s consternation. however, Osborne City was selected the temporary county seat and not Arlington. To champion Arlington’s cause, the first newspaper in the county, the Osborne County Express, appeared with Calvin Reasoner as editor. The county seat contest was spirited, but in the third and final election held in November 1872 Osborne City garnered 267 votes to Arlington’s 214 and dashed its supporters’ hopes forever. The Arlington post office was discontinued and the town quickly faded away.
Calvin accepted defeat graciously and moved his family to Osborne City, where he opened a successful law practice and real estate business. He served as editor of the Osborne Times newspaper in 1873 and was elected mayor of Osborne in 1881. In 1873-74 he served both as the county representative to the Kansas Legislature and on the board of trustees of the Kansas Institute for Education of the Blind. In 1876 he compiled the newspaper series Historical Sketches of Osborne County in which was preserved much of the history of the county’s first five years.
In 1881 the Reasoners divorced. Calvin then married Ellen Jillson on December 16, 1882, in Massachusetts. This marriage also ended in divorce four years later. By 1888 Reasoner was working in Washington, D.C., as a special correspondent for the Topeka Daily Capital. The 1890s saw Calvin move to Utah, where he served as a probate judge in Ogden and wrote influential political articles urging less state government control by the Mormon Church. In 1896 his self-published book, Church and State: The Issue of Civil and Religious Liberty in Utah, influenced many Utah legislators in writing that state’s constitution.
Calvin Reasoner later lived in Warrensburg, New York, and in Sanford, Florida, where he lived with relatives. He died there December 6, 1911, and was laid to rest in Sanford’s Lakeview Cemetery. To date there is no known photograph of Calvin.
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Selections From “HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF OSBORNE COUNTY”
by Calvin Reasoner
“Introduction: Since the announcement a few weeks ago that an effort would be made to preserve a record of the historical details incident to the earliest settlement of our county there has been a commendable interest manifested in the mater by a number of our most intelligent citizens, and we can promise you a series of articles in which the most important historical matters can be preserved. Let it be noted, however that in this series we will endeavor to follow no particular method whereby a systematic presentation would be secured. Some articles will be furnished to us entire and will be published as presented and due credit be given to each contributor. When the whole is spread upon the record, however scattering, it will not be difficult to systematize and put in proper shape. – C. R.
The first item we shall mention is the pecuniary condition of the early settlers in general. It is no disgrace to those who came first into our county to say that the majority of them were very poor in this world’s goods, however blessed they might feel to be in their hopes of another and better life. At the present, after half a dozen years of settlement, but few are well circumstanced. Few have more than the barest necessities of life. A very limited number have the comforts of life and scarcely any are able to afford the luxuries.
It must be expected that a majority of the settlers in a new country, and especially in a homestead country, will be poor. Before the homestead law was enacted lands were often sold to the highest bidder and men of capital as well as those of moderate means would purchase lands. The wealthy would buy large tracts and hold them for a rise in prices through settlement and the poor would buy each a farm for a home. It was consequently by the improvements of the poor that speculators would get an advance on their lands. But in a homestead country no man can get more that a small amount of land and in order to hold that he must live upon it. Thus a man of wealth can scarcely invest his means until lands begin to change hands. Some capital may be invested in the purchase and sale of goods, but even this kind of business is very much limited by the general destitution.
The markets . . . so far as there were any, were very remote from the settlers of our county–as they are still–but in 1870 and 1871 there was very little produced for sale, even if there had been a good market. The principal staple was buffalo meat, and this was carried down the Solomon [River] valley as far as Solomon City [110 miles away] or sometimes to Junction City [160 miles], both places being trading points. Buffalo meat was carried in wagons, sometimes in the raw state, and frequently it would be dried. The latter would sell at from six to ten cents per pound and the former at from three to six. Occasionally prices would vary from these figures but these were about the average. The employment was therefore better than nothing and it was all that was available at the time. Hence a great many of the settlers in 1870, 1871, and 1872 became of necessity buffalo hunters.
Let us draw a picture which has often been verified in our past history. Here comes a covered wagon slowly moving up the road which was recently merely a buffalo hunters’ trail. There are two persons walking and a boy driving. Inside you notice, as the team approaches, that there are women and children; also bedding, boxes, tools and traps of various kinds; a shovel and a broom stick out behind and a small chicken coop hangs on at the rear. The little cavalcade halts in our presence and inquires for vacant lands. They want to get ‘timber and water.’ You tell them that there is plenty of vacant land with timber and water at a certain point and then inquire how far they have come. Well they have driven some two or three hundred miles in search of a home and now they have got to their destination and they feel like laying the foundations of a new home. They don’t feel discouraged by the entire newness of the country but indicate a determination to make the best of it. They drive on to the place indicated and soon take hold on the surroundings and show they are able to take advantage of everything that offers in the building up of a new home.
You visit them in few weeks and find that they have used timber enough to build them a comfortable house capable of withstanding the winds, the heat and the rains. They are breaking some ground and planting corn in the sod. If the season is favorable they will get some ten or fifteen bushels per acre of sod corn and this will suffice to feed the team and perhaps a cow; and if it be not far to mill some of it will be ground for bread. If there are no mills the corn can be parched or boiled. I have known families to live all winter on little else than boiled corn and thankful to get even that meager supply. If the season should fail to be one that would produce corn our settler will have hard times. They have no money, perhaps. Probably they did not bring five dollars into the country with them. Some brought considerable money and soon consumed it in living expenses and then were quite destitute.
What then must our poor family do? There is no work that will bring any remuneration. How many poor settlers a few years ago contemplated life from this unhappy standpoint. If the settler could get to haul a load of goods or freight of any king for a merchant or anybody else this would be of help; anything he could turn his hand to. In this state of things it was very convenient to turn buffalo hunter, and for two purposes–one to supply the family with food, the other to have something for market to supply other things.
The year 1870 was tolerably good for wheat in the lower part of the Solomon valley, where it had begun to settle up and be cultivated, but it was dry through June and July. In the vicinity probably corn would not have made more than half a crop. Rains began early in August and continued through the fall. All through the early part of the summer hot winds prevailed. Some of the rains in the latter part of the season were exceeding heavy, so that the ground in many places was flooded with water. During the latter part of this year 1870 Mr. [Frank] Stafford settled with his mother and her family on Little Medicine Creek near the mouth. About the same time Baronet Gow, Will Garrison and Joseph Hart settled there, and these were the pioneers on Little Medicine. They were soon joined by Wiley Wilson and others. The winter was remarkably mild and pleasant and very favorable for the maintenance of stock without grain. Gow had two yoke of oxen and had no grain to feed them, but they lived through and came out in the spring in good order, having had nothing but buffalo grass to subsist on.
Gow was a great devotee of the ‘weed.’ He had been out about a month and was severely punished for want of it when he succeeded in getting half a dollar and came out post haste down the valley to the writer’s store to get tobacco–I should have said ‘tobaker.’ His chagrin can scarcely be imagined when he got to the store and found that he had lost his money. His words fell thick and fast and most of them indicated that he had been brought up under some of the numerous forms of orthodox religion. A caddy of bright navy seemed to intensify his disappointment. On being handed an immense plug his dental outfit set to work in good earnest as though the making of ‘amber’ was the chief end of man and to expectorate it around the height of human happiness. It was not expected at the time that the plug would ever be paid for but it was and hundreds of dollars more within the next two years by this same honest, hardy, good-natured Baronet Gow. Mr. Frank Stafford was one of the first three commissioners appointed by the governor and was subsequently elected to the same office by the popular vote. He still resides in single blessedness on Little Medicine.” — Osborne County Farmer, March 3, 1876, and July 7, 1876.
Frank Avery Paschal was born December 26, 1895, in Valley Township, Osborne County, Kansas. The son of William and Dorcas (Transue) Paschal. Frank was educated in the rural one-room schools. He then attended Kansas Wesleyan College in Salina, Kansas, and Fort Hays State Teacher’s College at Hays, Kansas. From 1916 through 1935 he taught at Vincent and Duffy one-room rural schools and was an administrator at both Covert and Alton town schools. He married Louisa L. Robinson in 1917, and the couple had three daughters – Marie, Frances, and Florence Ann.
In 1935 Frank was elected County Superintendent of Public Instruction. He served five terms, ending in 1944. He was then appointed state school supervisor for the Kansas Department of Education. In 1947 Frank became secretary to Governor Frank Carlson on the now-U.S. Senator’s staff in Washington, D.C.
In Washington Frank served in many official positions over the next eighteen years. He was Chief Clerk of the Republican Party and for a time was Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Post Office. For fourteen years he served on the Civil Service Committee, where he helped draft and analyze postal and civil service legislation, conducted hearings and wrote legislative statements and even a few speeches. He retired in 1969 as Executive Assistant to the U. S. Senate.
Frank remained active in the Masonic Lodge and the Order of the Eastern Star. He was a past president of the Downtown Topeka (Kansas) Optimist Club and had served as president of the Kansas County Superintendent’s Association. After a lifetime of public service Frank enjoyed a quiet retirement. He passed away February 24, 1987, in Naples, Florida, and was buried in Topeka’s Mount Hope Cemetery.