Samuel Willis Chatfield – 2016 Inductee

 

(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.)

chatfield-samuel-headstone-in-maple-crest-big-hollow-cem-windham-ny
The gravestone for Samuel Chatfield. Photograph courtesy of Lorna Puleo.

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.

sta_patent_ks1840__
The homestead record of Samuel Chatfield for his Osborne County claim, dated March 1, 1879.

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.

chatfield-samuel-maple-crest-big-hollow-cem-windham-ny-c
Big Hollow Cemetery, now called Maplecrest, in Windham, New York. Photograph courtesy Lorna Puleo.

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.

Advertisements

Lemuel Kurtz Green – 2014 Inductee

(On this date, August 17, 2014, the Osborne County Hall of Fame is pleased to present to the world the first of the five members of the new OCHF Class of 2014)

Adaline and Lemuel Green.
Husband and wife: Adaline and Lemuel Green.

Lemuel Kurtz Green was born November 1, 1860, at Stovers Town, Blair County, Pennsylvania.  The son of Phineas and Nancy (Kurtz) Green, he moved with his parents in 1877 to a farm near Bull City (now Alton), Kansas.

 

“A fervent Methodist with a solid work ethic, Lemuel attended the local school, and his first job aside from that of the home farm was that of workman in a saw mill and corn mill. In compensation he received his board and eleven dollars a month, but his pay was largely in cornmeal, sorghum molasses and cottonwood lumber. About the time that Lemuel engaged in this work his father needed a shovel to dig a well for the home farm, and as cash for the purchase was lacking, Lemuel approached Hiram Bull, who had been a distinguished union officer in the Civil War and who was then engaged in business in Bull City, the town he co-founded. Bull listened to the talk of Lemuel and readily agreed to extend him the requested credit in the purchase of the shovel.” – From a letter by Adaline Green to Orville Guttery, May 22, 1934.

 

Lemuel was then employed four years for William Bush at the Alton Roller Mill, located a mile south of Bull City on the South Fork Solomon River.

In 1882 Lemuel moved to Graham County, Kansas, where he claimed a homestead and a timber claim and lived in a sod house. The next year he married Adaline Dirstine in Osborne County.  They would raise two children, Ralph and Lawrence, to adulthood.

Lemuel proved up on his two claims and then traded them for a flour mill in Lenora, Kansas. Three years later he turned his interest in this mill over to his father and his brother, Irvin, and in 1890 returned to Bull City, now called Alton, and purchased the Alton mill from his former employer, William Bush. Lemuel operated this flour mill for the next 12 years, serving on the Alton city council as well as mayor.

 

Advertisement in the Alton Empire newspaper of October 2, 1890.
Advertisement in the Alton Empire newspaper of October 2, 1890.

 

Advertisement in the Alton Empire newspaper of October 15, 1891.
Advertisement in the Alton Empire newspaper of October 15, 1891.

 

“We are told that L. K. Green sold the old mill property, including the feed grinder, to Hollis Snyder and one of the Emrick’s, of Mt. Ayr. Alton Empire, January 23, 1902, Page 5.

 

“When L. K. Green, of Alton, after looking the state over with a view to erecting a large flouring mill, decided that Osborne, Kansas was the most desirable place, his wisdom was applauded by the businessmen of this city.  The reasons for his choice were obvious. In the center of a fine wheat producing section, with no flouring mill of any size close at hand, and with a railway company lending its cooperation, there is no great wonder at Mr. Green’s selection. After surmounting some difficulties in the way of securing a proper mill site, in which the citizens of Osborne gave generous financial aid, the Solomon Valley Milling Company was organized February 15, 1902, with the following officers: President, L. K. Green; secretary and treasurer, C. W. Landis; directors, F. W. Gaunt and S. J. Hibbs, of Alton, Allen Clark, L. K. Green and C. W. Landis . . .

“Upon the completion of the organization of the company, steps were immediately taken toward the erection of one of the finest flouring mills in this section. A short description of this mill, which is fast nearing a finished state, will prove of interest to the readers of this issue of the Farmer. The total ground dimensions of this building are 64 x 72 feet. The main part of the building is 32×56 feet, with three stories and a basement. The warehouse will have a capacity often minded, and withal a good business man, carloads of manufactured products, and he seems to have been fitted by nature the mill will have a wheat storage capacity of 30,000 bushels. The engine and boiler room will be in a detached stone building, thus lessening the danger from fire. The motive power will be furnished by a steel boiler, 5 x 16 feet in size, of a high pressure type and carrying 160 pounds working pressure. The engine is a Corliss compound condensing, with 130 horse power.  The mill will have a capacity of 200 barrels per day, and will be equipped with five wheat cleaners, nine stands of rolls, eight purifiers, three sieve bolting machines, and all the other necessary appliances . . .

“The company is putting in a full rye grinding outfit, and will make the manufacturing of rye flour a specialty. It expects also to do a large custom business, although of course its main dependence will be export trade. The product of this mill will be high patent flour of the very finest quality, strictly straight grade and a fancy baker’s grade. Work is being rapidly pushed on the building, and it is expected that it will be completed and in operation sometime between July 1 and 15. With an eye to business, the Missouri Pacific railway has already put in a switch 600 feet long for the exclusive use of this mill . . . Osborne County Farmer, May 15, 1902, Page 12.

 

Lemuel started experimenting with electricity by wiring his home and lighting it with electric current from the mill. He then installed electric lights, an early electric washing machine and even an unsuccessful electric-powered dishwasher.  Lemuel followed this by stringing wires for lighting homes within a mile of his mill at Osborne.  Convinced of the potential for electric power, he sold his flour milling operations in Osborne in 1908 and purchased the Concordia Electric Light Company for the princely sum of $21,500.  This company owned the H. M. Spalding hydroelectric plant on the Republican River. Lemuel soon installed transmission lines to serve several nearby towns. To help finance the system, he convinced local voters to approve bonds to build the transmission lines. His construction crew often included his two sons, Ralph and Lawrence.

Prior to Green’s purchase the company generated power only dawn to midnight and was closed on Sundays. Green bought power from another flour mill and began selling power to neighboring towns. Within a matter of years, L.K. Green & Sons Electric Light and Power was serving 22 communities in northern Kansas.

In 1916 Lemuel sold the Concordia plant for $550,000. With this cash he then bought the Reeder Light, Ice & Fuel Company in Pleasant Hill, Missouri and with his sons formed the Green Power & Light Company. Lemuel then built Baldwin Lake, which was used for hydroelectric power as well as provide water for the community.

In 1922, looking to expand with a generating plant at Clinton, Missouri, Lemuel took the company public under the name West Missouri Power Company. The company would expand through southwest Missouri.

After four years he sold this company to the Fitkin Group again, which merged with the Missouri Public Service Company.  Later this company became UtiliCorp, which later became Aquila, and now is part of Great Plains Energy, currently one of the largest utility companies in the world.

In his later years Lemuel retired to Escondido, California where he bought a 2,000-acre orange grove.

The Lemuel Green home in Escondido, California.
The Lemuel Green home in Escondido, California.
Another view of the Lemuel Green home.
Another view of the Lemuel Green home.

Lemuel Green passed away on July 5, 1930, in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri, and was laid to rest in Forest Hill Cemetery in Kansas City.  He now joins his son Ralph Jerome Green in the Osborne County Hall of Fame.

The 1930 death certificate for Lemuel Green.
The 1930 death certificate for Lemuel Green.

 

SOURCES:  Alton Empire, January 23, 1902; Osborne County Farmer, May 15, 1902; Western Empire newspaper, June 13, 1895; Illuminating the Frontier, https://www.blackhillscorp.com/sites/default/files/bhc-ilwe-ch1.pdf; Aquila, http://www.wikipedia.org; Tales of a Town Named Bull City, Orville Guttery & edited by Von Rothenberger, Ad Astra Publishing, 2011); Bliss Van Gundy, “Osborne County Pioneers”, Osborne County Farmer, April 15, 1971.

Alice Gannette (Dimond) Young – 1996 Inductee

Alice Gannette (Dimond) Young was a noted temperance worker and devout member of the Methodist Church from the earliest days of the Downs community’s existence.  She also was editor of the state Women’s Christian Temperance Union publication, Our Messenger, for almost two decades.

As a young woman, Alice Dimond experienced many of the events of the Civil War era during her early years in Pennsylvania and New York State, and later in Kansas.  The youngest of seven children born to James H. and Harriet (Fifield) Dimond, Alice was born at President, Pennsylvania, on April 25, 1849, and later moved with her family to New York State.  They soon returned to Pennsylvania and she graduated from Edenborough Academy, after which she then taught school in New York State.  Her future husband, Francis Asbury Dighton Young, came to Osborne County in 1871 and homesteaded southeast of where Downs later was founded.  He built a house and broke a few acres of sod, then returned east and he and Alice were married on December 12, 1871 at Stockton, New York.  To this union one daughter was born.

They came west in the spring of 1872, accompanied by her brother, William W. Dimond, and his wife Susan.  Their new dwelling was known as a Christian home where prayer and official meetings occurred.  In the late 1870s, Alice and Dighton took an active part in a campaign to prohibit the drinking of alcohol.  The Oak Dale schoolhouse was the center of this temperance movement.  When Downs was established in 1879, the Youngs sold some of their land southeast of town, at prices below its worth, to aid the town’s expansion.

Alice became editor of Our Messenger in 1903 and continued in that position, with only a few years off, until ill health forced her to resign in 1919.  During her years as editor of this temperance publication, she wielded a powerful influence for good throughout Kansas.  The paper enjoyed a prestige that made it a popular periodical and a welcome monthly visitor to the homes of its readers.  Alice was a brilliant writer and speaker, as evidenced by her speech at an Old Settlers Reunion near Dispatch, Kansas, in 1900.

Alice died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Hattie Foote, in Downs on November 13, 1922.  At that time, it was written that “Kansas owes as much to her memory for state prohibition as to any other person.”  She was laid to rest in the Downs Cemetery.

*  *  *  *  *

“In 1871 when Kansas was offering landed estates to all who cared to come to her vastless prairies, F. A. D. Young homesteaded a quarter section in Ross Township, Osborne County, and after erecting a house and putting a few acres under cultivation, returned to Pennsylvania and married Miss Alice G. Dimond, a youthful school teacher.  In the spring of 1872 the young couple, full of life and courage, made the long journey to the western border home.  From the very beginning the Dighton Young abode was known as a Christian home and was honored with prayer and official meetings.  With the discouraging scourge of drouth, grasshoppers and prevailing low prices of farm products and no railroad short of sixty miles, the Youngs never hesitated in the one great effort of taming the plains.  In the memorable prohibition campaign launched in the latter 1870s both Mr. and Mrs. Young threw their very souls into the work.  The Oak Dale school house midway between Downs and Cawker [City] was the center of activities in this vicinity.  The late William Belk was the able president of this temperance society with Eminous Courter and wife, D. C. Bryant, W. C. Chapin, the Pitts and  Cox’s; and here, too, Mrs. Alice G. Young proved her ability and loyalty to right by always having an entertaining message, with a prohibition clincher.

“In the 1880s when Downs began expanding, a Methodist parsonage estate, the Downs flouring mill with twenty-five acres, the big creamery and five acres of land, and resident homes were carved from the Young homestead.  The price received for lots and acreage was always below the actual worth, the one thought always uppermost to help in every worthy cause.  The only child, Hattie, was given a thorough musical education, which has already been passed to another generation and being enjoyed by scores of music lovers.

“When old age and its accompanying increpencies began interfering with the management of the farm, Mr. and Mrs. Young moved into Downs.  Here the latter’s ability was shown in the successful editing of Our Messenger, the state W.C.T.U. monthly periodical.  Later Mrs. Young gave the Methodist church activities such favorable weekly publicity that many were attracted to the church for the Sabbath program.

“In behalf of Mrs. Alice Young, a lifelong friend, we make this broad assertion:  that Kansas owes as much to her memory for state prohibition as to any other person and this community has lost a literary genius.  The history of Osborne County, if ever written, will never be as complete as though her gifted pen had contributed to its paragraphs.” – Del Cox in the Downs News and Times, November 16, 1922.

Anna J. (Frazer) Winslow – 2003 Inductee

Anna J. (Frazer) Winslow was born near Thorntown, Boone County, Indiana, on 5th day of 2nd month, 1848.  The daughter of Alson and Hannah Frazer, Anna married Josiah W. Winslow on the 13th day of 10th month, 1864, in Henry County, Iowa.  The Winslow family settled in Mount Ayr Township, Osborne County, in 1873.  Anna was a lifelong Quaker minister who for nearly 40 years spread the gospel as an evangelist from North Carolina to Ohio to Kansas to Oregon, all while raising five children.  She moved to El Modeno, California, on 7th month, 21st, 1907, and passed away at Huntington Park, California, on 2nd month, 21st, 1918.  Anna wrote her autobiography, “Jewels From My Casket,” which details her life’s work, in 1910.

“I was born near Thorntown, Boone County, Indiana, on the 5th day of 2nd mouth, 1848. My father, Alson G. Frazer, son of Henry and Mary (Otwell) Frazer; and my mother, Hannah (Rees) Frazer, daughter of Zachariah and Mary (Davis) Rees of Westfield, Indi­ana, were members of Sugar Plain monthly meeting of the Society of Friends, near Thorntown, Indiana. My father was one who helped to build the meeting house at that place. When I was four years of age my darling little brother, Elwood, twenty-two months old, died; and in a few months my dear mother passed away. They were laid away in the ivy-covered cem­etery by a spreading beech tree, near Sugar Plain meeting house.” – 

 “I was a mischievous school girl and usually of a lively disposition and enjoyed the pleasures of school life very much, notwithstanding my occasional lone­liness.  The hardest thing for me to give up was my school life, which occurred when, on the 13th day of 10th month, 1864, I was united in marriage with Josiah W. Winslow at Cedar Creek meeting in Henry County, Iowa, according to the order of the Society of Friends, my father having removed to Iowa when I was nearly six years old.  About fourteen months after I was married, my loved father died; he had pneumonia which ended with brain fever.  One even­ing I took him some crackers, and he put his arms around me and said: ‘O, Anna, thou hast always been so good to me, and always been an obedient child.’  O how glad I was that he could say that!  These words were the last rational words he ever spoke to me, for in a few moments he was shrieking with pain and was delirious with fever.  Although I had a home of my own, I felt I had lost a good friend and counselor by his death, for he had of then advised me in the right way.  We had been married about one and a half years when our Orestes Alson was added to the family.” – The above two paragraphs were taken from Jewels From My Casket, pages 19-20.

*  *  *  *  *

HIS PRESENCE IN OUR MIDST  blog

The Life and Times of Glendora Friends Church

Monday, 10th month, 13th, 2008

Anna J. Winslow

The other day my mother sent an email inquiring about a book by Quaker minister Anna J. Winslow titled Jewels From My Casket, published in 1910 by the Nazarene Publishing Company of Los Angeles. The only information she gave was that the book “was given to W. C. Gindlesberger” (my Great Grandfather on my mother’s side) and that Anna was originally from Indiana and the book mentions El Modena, a Quaker colony in Orange County, California.  Mom knew she was a Quaker minister but not much else. Great Grandfather Gindlesberger was a student at the Training School for Christian Workers in Huntington Park, California at the same time Anna J. Winslow lived there, around 1915-1916. It is quite possible he acquired the book then, perhaps given to him by the author herself.

UNOFFICIAL ANNA J. WINSLOW GENEALOGY

With this information and too much time on my hands I began my internet search. One source, Pioneer Memories of the Santa Ana Valley, Vol. VIII, by Maureen McClintock Richard (October 1988) notes that Anna was born to Alson G. Frazer (the family dropped the “i” some time before) and Hannah Rees near Thorntown, Boone County, Indiana.  Anna married a Quaker named Josiah White Winslow at Cedar Creek Meeting in Henry County, Iowa.  Josiah was born in Grant County, Indiana.  Josiah’s father was Nathan Matthew Winslow, born 15th day of 9th month, 1804 in Randolph City, North Carolina.

From Pioneer Memories: Hannah Reese was the daughter of Zacharia and Mary (Davis) Rees of Westfield, Indiana. Alson was the son of Henry and Mary (Utwell) Frazer. Hannah Rees Frazer died when Anna was about five years old. Her father married, secondly, Mary M. Hockett.

Anna J. Winslow became a Quaker minister. In her book, Jewels From My Casket, she tells about leaving her family of four children to preach in some distant place, like another state. Seemingly her absence was accepted by her husband and family.  Besides daughter Geneva, the children were: Urestus Alson, Julius, Matthew, Philander, Zacharia and Lida Anna Winslow.

QUAKER MINISTER

Anna J. Winslow came to do evangelical work in California in the summer of 1907 in the annual meeting [California Yearly Meeting]. She took up the pastoral work at El Modena on the 21st of 8th Month and resigned at the end of 1908. The family bought property in El Modena at the time. The little Quaker church still stands on Chapman Avenue near Hewes in El Modena. [El Modena Friends Church is a local city of Orange, CA historical landmark which was restored by a family and turned into a restaurant.]

The noted Quaker historian Thomas D. Hamm cites Anna J. Winslow’s book, Jewels From My Casket, as a source for his book The Transformation of American Quakerism: Orthodox Friends, 1800-1907. Hamm notes on page 102, under a section titled The Revivalists: “While the revivalists of the 1870s remained prominent, a number of younger ministers also came into prominence during the 1880s. Most having been born in the 1840s or 1850s, they came largely from solid Quaker backgrounds. Among the most important were . . . Anna J. Winslow in Iowa and Kansas.

Anna J. and Josiah W. Winslow are listed in the 1880 census as residents of Mount Ayr, Osborne County, Kansas. Anna’s occupation was listed as “Keeping House.” In the Book of Meetings By Society of Friends (1884) Anna’s name is mentioned under “List of Ministers” (p. 206): “Mt. Ayr Quarter . . . Anna J. Winslow, Mt. Ayr, Osborn County, Kansas.”

“Anna J. Winslow from Kansas” is noted in the 1885 Friends Review as having attended North Carolina Yearly Meeting.  The Review includes the following: “At this time Catherine Osborne and Anna Winslow paid a visit to men’s meeting. The burden of their exercise seemed to be, exhorting husbands to make a way for their companions to attend to all their religious duties, and to encourage them in every way to be faithful in attending to whatever service the Master may call them into. Many hearts were glad of this visit, and the stirring appeals of these faithful handmaidens will not soon be forgotten, or lightly passed by.

Anna next appears in the 1910 California Yearly Meeting of Friends Church minutes as living in El Modena, Orange County, California. In the 1915 minute book she is listed as “Anna J. Winslow, Huntington Park [California, near downtown Los Angeles]. In the 1917 minutes she is listed as “Anna J. Winslow, 125 N. Templeton St., Huntington Park.

Finally, in the 1918 Minutes of California Yearly Meeting of Friends Church (pages 119-121), Anna’s memorial is given: Anna Jane Winslow, daughter of Alson G. and Hanna Frazer, was born in Thorntown, Indiana on the 5th of 2nd month, 1848. Her mother died when Anna was nearly five years of age, and though Anna was provided for in her father’s home, she, for years afterward, felt her loneliness, and was often much depressed by it. Her mother had given her to Jesus, and to this fact Anna often attributed much of the tender Divine care and precious guidance to which she bore a feeling testimony in her later life.

In 10th month, 1864, she united in marriage with Josiah White Winslow of Henry County, Iowa. A few years later than this through the faithful ministry of Amos Kenworthy, she was led to seek and find pardon of sin through faith in Jesus Christ. Soon after her conversion she was quite clearly led to the belief that she should preach the Gospel. She shrank from this as being quite incapable of so important a service, and vacillated in her Christian experience for some time, but at length consented with her whole heart to what she was assured was God’s call. Her narrative of the influence of well known Friends toward her confirmation and establishment in the will of God, is full of interest.

Her subsequent life was marked to the close with an earnest and unceasing desire for the salvation of others. She answered many a loving call of her Heavenly Father to service quite remote from her home and under circumstances, many time, of peculiar difficulty. She traveled in the ministry quite extensively in Kansas, which for many years was her home, in Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon and elsewhere; and her ministry was marked with the Divine guidance which comes only to those who are walking closely with God in a life of prayer. The account which she gives of special providence is deeply interesting. When her means for traveling were exhausted, and she knew not how to proceed, the means often came through the persons who had no outward knowledge of her circumstances.

Her life was often imperiled by exposure and fatigue. At many times she was prostrated by sickness; sometimes when on her journeys in the service of the Lord; but even then her firm faith in her Heavenly Father, and her composure, her freedom from anxiety, was in itself a ministry for good to many souls.

She was often engaged in holding meetings of her own appointment, or in conjunction with other ministers; and wherever she labored, she left behind her precious evidences of the Divine presence and guidance in her labors. Though not educated, in the popular sense of that word, Anna Winslow gave abundant evidence of church experience in the school of Christ. The will of God respecting the time, place and character of her service, was generally made very clear to her in advance, as she was not want to allow any reasonings of own or other minds, to turn her aside from what was to her a call of the Lord.

The last few years of life she was in very feeble health and a great sufferer, but even then her habitual cheerfulness, especially in the presence of God’s children, or of those whom she sought to bring to a knowledge of Him, was blest to those who called at her home. About twenty months before her decease she met a painful accident on her way to attend the Yearly Meeting at Whittier, California. She had then been for a few years a resident of this state and for a time pastor of the friends Meeting at El Modena. Her home was in Huntington Park. Though very feeble, she was brought to the Yearly Meeting House by private conveyance, and after alighting, made a misstep, fell, and received injuries from which she never recovered. During the long weary months that followed, she lay nearly the whole time in one position, suffering not only the greatest inconvenience, but nearly all of the time much pain. Numerous friends from various parts of the country, visited her during this long shut-in period; and rarely if ever did anyone come away without a sense of having been blest in spirit by her evident rest and joy in the Lord, the power of grace wonderfully triumphing over the suffering of the flesh. Those who knew her best have questioned whether the ministry of those last months may not have been the most fruitful of here entire life.

On the 21st of 2nd month, 1918, she fell asleep in Jesus. Of her it may be safely said that though she rests from her labors her works do follow her. The memory of her heaven-sent messages and her godly life will continue to bless not only her family, but hundreds, perhaps thousands of those who have come under her influence.

To her it was given to show the world that a faithful follower of Jesus, though with limited education, limited means, a feeble and ofttimes suffering body, may accomplish a fruitful ministry in the salvation of sinners and the sanctification of believers, the great object for which our Lord sends forth His own into the world.

Her funeral was held in the Friends place of worship, in Huntington Park, the services being conducted by Eli Reece, acting pastor of Friends Church of Huntington Park. The interment was in the Whittier Cemetery.

*  *  *  *  *

In 2008 Anna’s autobiography Jewels From My Casket was reprinted by Ad Astra Publishing LLC as part of their Hall of Fame series.

1870s Winslow farm home, Mount Ayr Township, Osborne County, Kansas.
Josiah and Anna Winslow’s California home, 1910.

Anna Winslow and family, 1910.
Anna Winslow in 1910.
California cemetery where Anna Winslow lies buried.
Gravesite for Josiah and Anna Winslow.
Anna’s headstone.

Zachary Taylor Walrond – 1996 Inductee

“Zachary Taylor Walrond was born in Hart County, Kentucky, April 3rd, 1847.  His birthplace is about six miles from Glen Lily, the birthplace and home, when not in public life, of [former Vice-President] General Simon Bolivar Buckner of Confederate fame and about twenty miles south of the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln.  Conrad Walrond, the father of Z. T. Walrond, was a prosperous farmer of a genial happy disposition.  It was always a joy to the young people to visit the home of ‘Uncle Conrad.’  It meant a season of sunshine and good fellowship.  The Walrond family are thought to be of English descent.  Emily Mitchell, the mother of Z. T. Walrond, was of a Scotch-Irish family, her mother, Rachel Crawford, was of the old Virginia family, bearing the name, which has produced so many men distinguished in Church and State, Art and Literature.

Z. T. Walrond was known in early boyhood as ‘Taylor’ Walrond, in compliment to his namesake, the twelfth president of the United States.  As he grew older he seemed to dislike the name and he was called by his abbreviated first name, ‘Zac,’ with the unanimous consent of those most directly interested, who soon learned to use the new name by which he was ever afterwards familiarly known among his relatives and friends.  His early education was in the common schools of his native county.  Later during the Civil War he entered the Male and Female High School at Columbia, Kentucky; at that time this town was one of the centers of learning for the Green River Country in Kentucky.  After a time at this school he returned to his father’s farm and engaged at this occupation until  the fall of 1867 when he again entered the Academy at Columbia.  While in school he united with the Presbyterian church and being of exceptional promise as a student and with rare social qualities he was solicited to become a candidate for the Presbyterian ministry, to which he consented and was taken under care of the Presbytery with this calling in view.  His zeal in study overtaxed his powers and he suffered a physical breakdown and left the school in the spring of 1868.  After this he engaged for some time in active outdoor life to regain his health, teaching school in the winter until the spring of 1870, when he decided to seek his fortune in the West, coming to Kansas in the spring of 1870.  He has left on record April 3, 1870, as the exact date of his settlement in Kansas, this being his twenty-third birthday.  At that time the Arapaho and Buffalo roamed at will over the hills, valleys and plains of Western Kansas.  In company with two brothers of the name of Crosby he selected a preemption on the North Solomon River in Osborne County.

Z. T. Walrond was one of the first, if not the first to obtain full legal title to land in this county [Osborne] from the United States.  His patent is dated January 20, 1872, and bears the name of [Ulysses] S. Grant, then president.  Albert Wells and J. J. Wiltrout, now a banker at Logan, Kansas, were among his comrades and neighbors at that time.  They were all then young men, fond of adventure, and with high hopes for the future.  They lived in a stockade in what became extreme northwestern Bethany Township as a defense against Indian raids, enduring the privation of frontier life for the purpose of a home and independence in a material way.  He gave the name of Bethany to the township and post office [later known as Portis], being appointed the second postmaster and first justice of the peace in that vicinity.  After paying out on his preemption he homesteaded adjoining land and remained on his homestead until the fall of 1873.

Z. T. Walrond was elected register of deeds, November 4, 1873, and took the office in January 1874, making his home in the city of Osborne after that time.  Later in the year 1874 he had built the residence in Osborne which still stands at the corner of First and East Streets.  In December 1874 he was united in marriage to Mary Duncan Smith of Horse Cave, Hart County, Kentucky, immediately bringing his bride to Osborne to occupy the new home.  During all those early years Z. T. Walrond took an active part in laying the foundations of organized society.  He was in the forefront of every movement for the public kind, generous and hospitable.  He had a warm place in the hearts of the people.  He himself has said he never had better friends anywhere than the early settlers in Osborne County.  He loved them and was loved by them in return.  He held the office of register of deeds two terms, retiring in January, 1878.  During these early years he studied law and was admitted to the bar.  After retiring from the office of register of deeds, he formed a partnership with the late [Robert] G. Hays (who died a few years ago at Oklahoma City) for the practice of law; later this partnership was dissolved.  On January, 1879, he entered into partnership with J. K. Mitchell, and this partnership continued four about four years under the firm name of Walrond & Mitchell; later Cyrus Heren came into the firm and the business was conducted under the firm name of Walrond, Mitchell & Heren.  This partnership was dissolved January 1, 1890.

Z. T. Walrond had a retentive memory and kept a record of current events, from which between 1880 and 1882 he compiled a history of Osborne County and Northwest Kansas known as the Annals of Osborne County, a history of the decade of the 1870s that is a mine of information for all later historians.  He was elected county attorney of Osborne County in fall of 1880 and held this position for two terms, from January 1881 until January 1885.  He was elected county representative to the Kansas Legislature November 2, 1886, re-elected November 6, 1888, and was a member of the Legislature when appointed United States District Attorney for the Indian Territory by President Harrison in the spring of 1889.  During his second term in the legislature he was a candidate for Speaker of the House, but was defeated because he would not pledge himself in advance in the matter of appointments under control of the Speaker, deeming it of more importance to be free to use his best judgment in such matters and preferring defeat to being fettered.  His action in this probably aided in calling attention to the character of the man and in securing his selection as United States Attorney on the recommendation of the United States Senator, Preston B. Plumb, who was particularly anxious for a man with unquestioned integrity and firmness to be chosen as United States Attorney for the Indian country.  Mr. Walrond held the position of U. S. Attorney for four years, until  the spring of 1893, when he was relieved by the incoming Cleveland administration, being succeeded by a Democrat.

After his retirement from public office he continued to reside at Muskogee, Oklahoma, engaging in the practice of law, being called into the public position again as Referee in Bankruptcy and afterwards chosen police judge of Muskogee.  He discharged his duties in every public trust with honor to himself and to the satisfaction of his fellow citizens.  He was frequently attorney for the Indians and enjoyed their unbounded confidence.

He leaves to mourn his loss his wife and one daughter, Lucile, three children–Virgil, Warren, and Annie–having died in infancy and whose remains rest in the Osborne Cemetery.  He has a sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Hutcherson, residing at Portis, Kansas, a brother Madison in Nebraska, another sister, Mrs. Martha Hatcher and one unmarried sister, Alice, still living on the old Walrond homestead in Kentucky.  An older brother, Thomas, was a Federal soldier in the Civil War and died before the war closed from disease contracted in the service  The circle of his friends is only limited by the extent of his acquaintances which is not confined to state lines.  He had been in failing health for several months and spent some time at Sulphur Springs, Arkansas, during the last summer in the hope of regaining his health but gradually became weaker.  He suddenly became worse on Monday, November 2nd, and was taken to the hospital in Muskogee, where he had a specially trained nurse and the best of medical skill, but nothing could prolong his life and he peacefully and without a sigh breathed his last on one o’clock on Friday morning, November 6, 1914.  While he lay in the hospital his friends made his room a bower of roses.  Flowers beautiful beyond description covered his grave.

As before stated he connected himself with the Presbyterian Church in Kentucky, there being no church of that faith when he came to Osborne, he united with the Congregational Church and remained with that body until his removal to Muskogee, where he reunited with the Presbyterian Church, was chosen an Elder and at one time represented his Presbytery in the General Assembly as a Commissioner.  He became a member of the Masonic fraternity in Kentucky and remained a member all his life.  His pastor, Reverend J. K. Thompson, conducted the funeral service and his body was escorted to the grave in the Greenhill Cemetery by the entire local membership of the Masonic Lodge.  The Bar Association of Muskogee was present in a body.  Hundreds were unable to enter the outer portals of the church.  At the conclusion of the church service the body was placed in care of the Knights Templar and their brother Masons.  The active pallbearers were uniformed Knights Templar, while the honorary pallbearers were deacons of the church of which Judge Walrond had been a member for the last twenty-five years of his life.  He was the oldest lawyer in the state of Oklahoma in rank of admission to the bar in that state.  Few men have gained and held so high a place in the esteem of all classes of people through a long period of years.  He was always kind, gentle and considerate of the feelings of others, rarely wounded anyone or made an enemy; at the same time he was always firm for the right as he saw the right.

One of nature’s noblemen such as we do not look upon every day but whose lives leave the world richer for all time by reason of their sojourn here.  Requiescat in peace.”

— John Knox Mitchell, cousin, in the Osborne (KS) County Farmer, November 19, 1914.

Frank Elwood Stafford – 1996 Inductee

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.

Frank Stafford served three terms as Osborne County Clerk.

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:

 

REMINISCENSES

” 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 [1870] 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 of Covert 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.”

 

Howard Herman Ruede – 1996 Inductee

What can we set down in cold print about Howard H. Ruede that will do the man justice?” – Bliss VanGundy, Osborne County historian.

H. H. Ruede Dead
End Came to Local Editor of the Farmer Thursday Night after an Illness of Two Weeks

“Howard Herman Ruede was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, June 25, 1854. He was the eldest child of Herman and Marie (Smith) Ruede. He was educated in the Moravian Parochial Schools in the town of his birth. He afterwards learned the printing trade, with which he was connected until coming to Osborne County in March 1877. He settled in Kill Creek Township where he resided on a homestead until June 1901 when he removed to Osborne, Kansas, where he has since lived, and has been connected with the Osborne County Farmer practically all that time. On April 10, 1870, he united with the Moravian Church of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, of which he remained a faithful member until he united with the Presbyterian Church in Osborne in 1901. He passed away at his home in this city on Thursday evening, April 9th, aged seventy years, nine months and fifteen days. He leaves to mourn his passing his sister, Miss Ruth Ruede, his brother George F. Ruede of Wichita, Kansas, and his nephew, Eugene Ruede of Omaha, Nebraska.

“Howard H. Ruede, who has been connected with the Osborne County Farmer more or less intimately for nearly half a century and who was personally known by more people in Osborne County than any other man, passed away at his home in this city on Thursday evening, April 9, 1925, at 11:30 p.m. He had been in poor health for several weeks, but in spite of it he remained at his work in this office until Saturday night, March 28th, attending to his duties as usual. He had been suffering from the effects of a severe cold which bothered him for two or three weeks, but he was a man who never complained nor shirked a duty, and while those of us who worked with him every day noticed and remarked a hoarseness and cough that was unusual, none of us suspicioned that he was approaching his fatal illness. On Monday morning, March 30th, he was unable to come to the office. He was feeling badly and had a high temperature. He thought if he would lay up a few days he would be able to come about the middle of the week. This was what we all hoped for, but while the fever subsided somewhat and there were now then hopeful symptoms, he seemed to gradually lose strength, and all hope was abandoned by relatives and friends by the beginning of the second week. He was conscious much of the time, but whether he was rational or wandering in his mind, his thoughts were with his work at the Farmer office, where he was happiest in his life work.

“Howard Ruede was not what is known as a ‘mixer.’ He knew himself hundreds of people, and could call most of them by their first name, but unless one worked at his side for years it was impossible to know his true worth. He was the most conscientious man this writer ever knew. He was absolutely dependable and trustworthy in all that those terms imply. Those who met him daily liked and respected him for his unfailing courtesy and his proverbial good humor. Those who worked by his side and came in daily contact with him, loved him for his tireless devotion to duty, his loyalty to his friends and his convictions and his unwavering fidelity and integrity. He was a man of absolute clean mind and clean life. He was possessed of a fine education and had added largely to his stock of knowledge by wide reading and by observation. Had he been obsessed with a desire for wealth he could have turned his shrewd mind in that direction and amassed a fortune, but he cared nothing for money except as it ministered to his simple needs. Financially he could not be called a successful man, but measured in good deeds and in character he towered like a giant, and his life in this community was one of its most valuable assets and one worthy of emulation. He will live in the memory of those who knew him best long after the names of many so-called successful men have been forgotten.

“Dozens of people have asked us in the past few days, ‘Who will take Howard’s place on the Farmer?’ To all we have been obliged to give the same answer: No one can take Howard’s place. Someone can perhaps come in and take up the daily routine of visible duties that were his, but his wise counsel, his intimate knowledge of Osborne County men and Osborne history, and his daily example of fidelity to duty, are things that passed out with him, and can never be replaced. He was like eighteen-carat gold; the more one came in contact with him, the more one applied the acid test, the more one valued his actual worth. Truly it can be said of him in the words of Marc Anthony:

‘His life was gentle, and the elements
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world:
This was a man!’”

– Charles E. Mann in the Osborne County Farmer, April 16, 1925.

 

In March 1877 Howard Ruede stepped off the train at Russell, Kansas, hitched a ride to Osborne, and filed a claim on land in Kill Creek Township amid other settlers from the Bethlehem area. That same year he began working as a printer for the Osborne County Farmer, walking the fourteen miles between Osborne and his homestead in the Kill Creek community. Over the next two years Ruede kept his family back in Pennsylvania informed of his activities on the prairie through a long series of letters, until his parents and siblings also came west and joined him on the homestead. In 1879 he donated land along the west edge of his homestead for the establishment of the Zion Mennonite Cemetery, now called the Kill Creek Presbyterian Cemetery.  A bachelor his entire life, Howard Ruede worked for the Osborne County Farmer for nearly fifty years, frequently writing articles of historical interest that displayed a sense of humor and attention to detail.

 

Howard H. Ruede

“The passing of Howard Ruede removes the last connecting link between the Farmer of the pioneer days and the present Farmer of modern times. The Farmer was a pretty puny infant when Howard first stepped into the little shack that housed it way back in the summer of 1877. The office then stood about where the Olds grocery store now stands. He was but twenty-three years of age and had learned to set type back in Pennsylvania. He worked on the paper in 1877-1878 a good deal of the time. He told me only last February that he made his living off the Farmer the first two years he was in Osborne County.

Then he decided to try farming and went out into Kill Creek Township to break the virgin sod. He stuck to it with his usual faithfulness and for twenty-five years he worked early and late and went against all the privations and hardships so prevalent among the pioneers of those days. Then he removed to Osborne and ever since has been connected with the paper. In fact, he was really connected with the Farmer during his stay in Kill Creek, for he was the Kill Creek correspondent all those years and his items were sent in regularly and if pasted in one string would reach a goodly distance. So Howard’s connection with the Farmer outranks all others, approaching almost fifty years – forty-eight, to be exact.

But the Farmer boasts of long service from those who have been connected with it. Frank H. Barnhart, the founder, stayed with it about sixteen years. Charles Landis was with it for nineteen years and owned it about sixteen years. Tom Skinner had the longest consecutive years of service. Unless I am badly mistaken, Tom was with the paper from 1882 until 1921. I started on the Farmer in October 1897 and have been owner since August 1, 1904. But Howard Ruede was the historian of the paper. He remembered everything that happened during the babyhood days and on down through all the years up to the very hour he left the office the last time to return no more. He was the most reliable and accurate person with whom I ever associated. He was always right on hand when you wanted him and when told to do anything he never forgot the errand. You could set your watch by his daily routine. Day after day and year after year everything left to him was done at the appointed time. He kept all his work right up to the minute, and he did it so quietly and systematically that he was never in a hurry. He could remember every advertisement and paid local in the paper and its price; he knew whether his local event or that one had appeared in the columns and just about when. He knew nothing about politics or baseball or football, but he knew so much else that those trivials were never missed. Of late years he never appeared to be busy, but when he was absent for a few days the little things he always looked after piled up until they became a mountain and very seriously affected the usual routine of work.

The thing that made Howard so reliable and dependable was that he never tackled anything he didn’t know. He always stayed with the duties and work he could handle and experiment was something he knew nothing about. He either did it or he did not. Consequently he made few mistakes. Howard was so regular on his beat and in his haunts that he will be sorely missed. The arriving and departing trains will miss him, the post office lobby will miss him and the business houses will miss him on the first of every month. His soul was as clean and spotless as the morning sun and no dishonest thought or sinister feeling ever entered his mind and he has entered upon his reward with all the glory and honors of the greatest that ever trod the earth.” – Bert Walker in the Osborne County Farmer, April 16, 1925.

The sod house built by Howard Ruede on his homestead as it appeared in 1895. From left to right are: George “Bub” Ruede, Howard Ruede, and Ruth Ruede.

In 1928, three years after Howard’s death, University of Kansas economist John Ise was in Osborne conducting research for his forthcoming book Sod and Stubble.  He spoke with Ruth Ruede, Howard’s sister, who showed Ise the letters Howard had written to the family in Pennsylvania those many years before.  Ise took the letters and, by combining them with some of Howard’s newspaper articles, had them published as the book Sod-House Days: Letters from a Kansas Homesteader 1877-1878 in 1937.

Still in print over 75 years later, both Sod-House Days and Ise’s own Sod and Stubble are together considered to be two of the finest literary works on the homesteading life of the Great Plains ever written in either the United States or Canada.  It is for this reason that Osborne County is known as The Homestead Literature Capital of Kansas.

In 2006 the Rediscovering Sod-House Days Self-Guided Driving Tour was established in the Kill Creek community for readers around the world to discover the actual sites of people, places, and events made famous by Howard Ruede and his writings.  It was designated an Osborne County Heritage Backway in 2012.