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.

Edwin Parker Sample – 1997 Inductee

One of the noted attorneys in Osborne County history was Edwin Parker Sample. While some sources list him as having been born in 1878 in Downs, Kansas, this is incorrect, as the city of Downs did not come into existence until 1879.  Edwin Sample was born in April 1875 in Pennsylvania.  At the age of twelve he moved with his parents, J. C. and Ella Sample, to Downs, where his father became a prominent furniture dealer and undertaker. Edwin attended the local schools and was a member of the first graduating class of Downs High School in 1895.  He then attended Washburn College at Topeka, Kansas, and the University Kansas at Lawrence, where he graduated from law school in 1899. He immediately returned to Osborne County and commenced the practice of law in Osborne, Kansas.  Edwin was at once nominated for Osborne County Attorney and defeated the incumbent, taking office in 1901.  He served one two-year term before being defeated himself.  It was not until 1909 that he was elected once more to the position, and served two full terms until he stepped down in 1912 and formed a law partnership with J. R. Reed of Smith Center, Kansas.

Edwin Sample was a noted speaker and in the days of his teens he was a great high school debater.  As county attorney his eloquence was largely responsible for sending two accused murderers to the state penitentiary.  Later the firm of Reed and Sample succeeded in clearing Will Ward, who lived north of Alton, of the charge of murdering his brother Enoch.  As practically an unknown lawyer he was selected one year as one of the principal speakers at the annual Kansas Day club banquet.  He electrified the audience with his eloquence and his reputation as a speaker was made.  He was an extremely popular man who possessed a very sunny disposition and was given to much laughter and always looking at the brighter side of life.  He was initiated into the mysteries of the Masonic rites in 1904 and was a member of Saqui Lodge in Osborne until 1928.  In 1907 Edwin was elected mayor of Osborne and served a successful two-year term.  His popularity was so that he was listed in the book Men of Kansas in 1905.

On June 21, 1905, Edwin married Florence Morton in Osborne.  A daughter, Kathryn, was born to this union.  In 1908 Florence Sample died and on December 28, 1911, Edwin married for the second time, to Augusta Flintom at Lawrence, Kansas.  With her he had two more daughters, Edwina and Betty Lou.

In 1913 Edwin and his law partner Reed moved their law practice to San Diego, California, much to the sorrow of his friends back in Kansas, where he was one of the best known citizens of Osborne County and Northern Kansas.  His popularity with everybody continued at his new home in San Diego.  Ed was elected to two terms in the California State Senate in 1919-1926 and in 1936 he was a candidate for U. S. Congress on the Republican ticket.  His law practice was extensive and he became one of the best known attorneys and citizens in Southern California.  Edwin died from a sudden heart attack in his home in San Diego on August 27, 1939, and was buried there in the Cypress View Mausoleum.

Calvin Reasoner – 1996 Inductee

The only known photograph of Calvin Reasoner, when he was a member of the 1873 Kansas Legislature. Photo courtesy of “, Kansas State Historical Society, Copy and Reuse Restrictions Apply”.

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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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.

John Knox Mitchell – 2009 Inductee

“John Knox Mitchell was one of the most influential men “behind the scenes” in Osborne County history.  A resident of Osborne city for more than forty years, he died at his home early Saturday morning, March 4, 1922, after an illness of ten weeks, aged 78 years.  He was born in Hart County, Kentucky, on June 17, 1848, and was the son of James and Mary (Masters) Mitchell.  After his school days were over Mitchell engaged in teaching, then studied law and graduated at Columbia law school in 1875.  Three years later he came to Osborne and entered into a partnership with Attorney Zachary T. Walrond, his cousin, who was one of the very earliest settlers in Osborne County [and later fellow member of the Osborne County Hall of Fame].  Mitchell was admitted to the Osborne County bar in 1879 and was considered one of the best posted lawyers in this part of Kansas.

Mitchell was a lifelong Presbyterian and soon after his arrival in Osborne he subscribed his name to the charter roll of 21 members when the Osborne Presbyterian Church was organized by Rev. J. M. Batchelder.  He was an ardent Sunday School man, teaching for many years and serving as superintendent of the Sunday School.  He was elected ruling elder of the congregation in 1885 and held that office twenty years.  As a Mason he was well known in Kansas, affiliating with the three branches of the order in Osborne, and being a member of Cyrene Commandery Knights Templar of Beloit.

On April 15, 1891, he married Sarah Frances Brown of Natoma at the Knebworth Farm.  They had four children, two of which died young, and raised to adulthood daughters Dorothy (later Mrs. George Bailey) and Muriel.

The John Knox Mitchell family. Clockwise from left: J. K. Mitchell; daughter Muriel; wife Frances; and daughter Dorothy. Photo courtesy of the Osborne County Genealogical & Historical Society.

Mitchell was a successful and influential attorney in Osborne for over 40 years.  In addition to being a lawyer he was also a Notary Public in 1878-1879.  In terms of public offices Mitchell served on the Board of Directors of the Kansas State Historical Society from January 1909 to December 1912.  In 1917-1918 he served as Osborne County Attorney, and in 1919-1920 Mitchell served as Osborne County District Court Judge.

For more than forty years Mr. Mitchell practiced law in this city and was devoted to his profession.  He was not considered a great advocate but was well versed in the fundamentals of law, and a large familiarity with court reports so that he was a good counselor.  He also had an extensive knowledge of history, biography and literature.  Perhaps no one in this county had a library covering so large a range of subject.  He was a man of pronounced individuality; strong convictions with courage to defend the right as he saw it, he was often misunderstood, and in political campaigns and times of agitation on other subjects in the community he was criticized, and being with an intimate acquaintance with him of nearly half a century I seldom heard him speak an unkind word to anyone.  Often times he would come, deeply wounded, and his only comment would be, “Why did they want to do that?”  He was public spirited, interested in and contributing so far as he was able to the improvements in his city.  He had an abiding faith in things unseen, was devoted to the church of his choice as one of the avenues through which Christianity would triumph, in the world.  A number of people (some locally and elsewhere) have been the recipients of his generosity.  Some years ago he became interested in two young men and through his instrumentality they went to college in Kentucky.  One of these, Henry Buell, is pastor in a Presbyterian Church in Long Beach, California; the other, Frank Duffy, has been successful.  Although born and reared in the South, he was for the Union one and inseparable, and always an American.

From December 14th until the time of his death Mitchell was confined to his bed.  Almost a constant sufferer during all that long siege he was in an eminent degree, kind, gentle, courteous to his attendants.  To suffer in silence, without murmur or complaint is an evidence of a great soul, with a deep underlying faith.  Those of us who knew him intimately and understood the nature of his life will, as the days go by, miss good fellowship and counsel.

Last Saturday just before dawn his spirit took its flight.  Bryant describes his last moments.  “Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams.” – written by Robert R. Hays [fellow member, Osborne County Hall of Fame].

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When John Knox Mitchell passed away three brothers and one sister were left to mourn his departure – M. L. Mitchell of Columbia, Kentucky; W. H. Mitchell of Sterling, Kansas; James Mitchell, who home is in Missouri; and Mrs. Mary Murrell of Canton, Oklahoma.

John Knox Mitchell’s funeral services were held at the Presbyterian Church on Monday afternoon, March 6, 1922,  at 2:00 o’clock, conducted by the pastor, Rev. E. M. Scott, assisted by all the pastors of the city and Rev. Joel Mitchell of LaHarpe, a cousin of the deceased.  Special music was furnished by the choir composed of Mesdames Woodard, Lee, Cady and LaBore, and Messrs. Zimmerman and Walker, with Mrs. W. P. Gillette at piano.  The Masonic fraternity, of which deceased was a member, attended in a body.  The sermon by Rev. Scott was very beautiful and touching and a fitting eulogy on the life of one who was ever faithful to his trust.  The casket bearers were from the Masonic Fraternity, and the lifelong friends of the deceased, as follows:  S. P. Crampton; C. W. Baldwin; C. W. Eckman, Harvey Bottorff; L.E. Woodward; and S. D. Botkin.  The floral offerings from friends, relatives, and the various organizations were many and very beautiful.  The services at the grave were in charge of the Saqui Lodge No. 160, A. F. & A. M., and were very impressive.  The oration was delivered by Worshipful Master D. C. Roy and interment was made in the family lot in the Osborne Cemetery.

The Mitchell family home in Osborne, Kansas. Photo courtesy of Osborne County Genealogical & Historical Society.


The Mitchell family at the train station in Osborne in 1914, saying goodbye to youngest daughter Muriel, who was leaving for college. Photo courtesy of Osborne County Genealogical & Historical Society.

William Henry McBride – 1997 Inductee

One of the few Osborne County citizens to achieve state office in Kansas was William Henry McBride.  A son of the Reverend Henry and Christina (Thrushy) McBride, William was born May 22, 1842, in Summit County, Ohio.  He was educated at the Greensburg (Ohio) Seminary and with the beginning of the Civil War he enlisted in October 1861 in Company I of the 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  He served in the Army of the Tennessee and was wounded in the assault on Arkansas Post, Arkansas, on January 11, 1863, and received his discharge July 21, 1865, at Columbus, Ohio.  On August 29, 1865, he married Aurelia L. Fisher at Georgetown, Ohio.  They had two children, Frank and Minnie.

After the wedding the McBrides moved to Iowa. They first lived in Ottumwa, Iowa, and then after six years they settled in Council Bluffs, Iowa. During these years in Iowa William engaged in the mercantile business and spent much of his spare time studying law. On October 1, 1871, the family arrived in Kirwin, Phillips County, Kansas. William worked for two years as editor of the Kirwin Chief newspaper and continued in the mercantile business. In October 1877 he was admitted to the Phillips County bar and entered into the law firm of May and McBride in Kirwin. Six years later he gained the Republican nomination for the Phillips County Representative to the Kansas legislature. The ensuing campaign proved a lively and spirited contest.

“Last Thursday evening at the courthouse was the joint discussion upon the political issues of the day, between W. H. McBride, the Republican candidate, and G. M. Finch, the Greenback candidate, for Representative. A large audience was present. Mr. Finch no doubt did the best he could  .  .  .  he frothed a little as he pranced upon the bit for a few moments, and then settling back upon his haunches, he snorted forth the words f-r-a-u-d a-n-d c-o-r-r-u-p-t-i-o-n and then collapsed. Mr. McBride is a merciful man, and did not wish to chew him entirely up into mincemeat, yet, when he quit, his opponent was terribly mangled. It was easy for the audience to see who would best serve them in the legislature.

“McBride is well posted, is a fine speaker and has a strong vigorous nature. He will be heard, and don’t you forget it, in the legislature, while Finch, to say the least, is a weak sister, and his——-but as he will soon demise politically, we will draw the veil of charity.” — Phillipsburg Herald, November 1, 1883.

McBride was duly elected and served a two-year term in the Kansas House of Representatives. Afterwards he moved to Osborne, Kansas, and practiced law there. He also served as one of the directors of the state penitentiary and in January 1891 he was appointed Superintendent of Insurance of Kansas by Kansas Governor Lyman Humphrey. In January 1893 he left this office and returned to his law practice in Osborne. Seven years later the McBrides moved to Fergus Falls, Minnesota, where he engaged in a land and farm loan business. William was a longtime member of both the Masonic Lodge and the Grand Army of the Republic and was elected mayor of Fergus Falls.

In his later years William and his wife partitioned their time between their home in Fergus Falls and visiting their daughter in Sterling, Kansas. After Aurelia McBride’s death in 1920 William made his home in Sterling and died there on November 17, 1922. He was buried beside his wife in Sterling’s Cottonwood Cemetery.

The McBride tombstone at Sterling, Kansas.

Fred Ephriam Lindley – 1997 Inductee

One of the more nationally known and respected attorneys of his time was born July 23, 1876, in the log cabin post office at Bethany (Portis), Osborne County, Kansas. Fred Ephriam Lindley was the son of Joseph and Lavina (Laman) Lindley.  He attended school in Bethany and helped with the work on the family farm.  When he was seventeen Fred became a schoolteacher and farmer, teaching at area one-room rural schools and in larger towns over the next eleven years. He spent the 1896-97 school year as a student at Emporia (Kansas) State Normal School and from 1905 through 1909 he served as principal of the high school in Gove, Kansas.

On June 20, 1909, Fred married Alma Laura Ise in Lawrence, Kansas. The couple had four children, Laura, Edward, Mary, and Ruth. After their marriage Fred and Alma moved to Chicago, Illinois, where Fred enrolled in the University of Chicago Law School. He graduated in 1911 and opened a practice in Chicago. After a year there Fred moved his family to San Diego, California, where Fred formed a law partnership with a former law school classmate, Robert Hamilton, that lasted twenty-five years. They supplemented their income those first years by operating an evening law school adjacent to their own offices, which lasted until World War I and the depletion of their student body forced it to close.

Following World War I Fred helped organize the Law Institute of San Diego, one of the first incorporated bar associations in the United States. In 1919 he was elected to a two-year term in the California State Assembly, where he sponsored and supported legislation making formal legal training mandatory for practicing attorneys, a concept that was soon adopted across the country. He helped organize the State Bar of California, serving later on the Committee of Bar Examiners and as a member of the Bar’s board of governors. He became a member of the San Diego County Probation Committee and assisted in the development of new detention centers in the county. In 1939 Fred became president of the San Diego County Farm Bureau.

Fred maintained a citrus ranch near Escondido, California, and he soon became a specialist in agricultural law and marketing cooperatives. He served on several San Diego County Cooperative Sunkist associations and as a legal advisor to many agricultural cooperative corporations during the 1930s and 1940s. He became a director of the Security Trust and Savings Bank in San Diego and was board chairman after 1945. In the 1940s Fred held a membership on the San Diego Board of Education for ten years, and served as its president in 1948.

Fred celebrated his eightieth birthday in 1956 and officially retired from active practice after forty-five years as an attorney. He continued to be busy with memberships in the Elks Lodge, Masonic Lodge, the San Diego Farm Bureau, and the San Diego Athletic Club. He helped to form Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego during the 1950s and he remained a senior partner of the law firm of Lindley, Scales, and Patton until he stepped down in 1967. Two years later the American Bar Association honored him not only for his fifty years of membership but also for his lifelong efforts to improve professional standards in the legal field. His impact on California and San Diego County can be seen from the eleven books published between 1919 and 1955 that contain biographical sketches of this prominent citizen.

Fred Lindley died December 21, 1971, in San Diego, where his remains were cremated and placed in the Greenwood Mausoleum there.  Osborne County can be proud of the accomplishments of this native son.

Sketch of the Lindley family log cabin at Bethany (later called Portis), where Fred Lindley was born. This cabin was also the location of the Bethany Post Office.

Hiram C. Bull – 1996 Inductee

     In the annals of Kansas history the name Hiram C. Bull has been remembered chiefly for the unusual manner of the man’s death – for being killed by his pet elk.  Yet over 130 years after that event Hiram Bull is still revered in Osborne County for much more: for his leadership, his vision, and his generosity.  And so it is appropriate that this most prominent of the original settlers of Osborne County was the first name considered and agreed upon for induction into the Osborne County Hall of Fame.

The charismatic Bull was born August 19, 1820, in Laona, Chautauqua County, New York, one of eleven children of Thomas and Sally Bull.  His father, Thomas, was one of the first settlers in Chautauqua County, arriving in 1808.  Hiram received his academic education at Fredonia, New York.  He read law in the office of a Mr. Mullet in Fredonia and in 1843 he was admitted to the New York bar.  For two years he practiced law in Chautauqua County before opening a practice in 1845 at Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  On September 16, 1845, Hiram married Mary Johnson at Laona.  Mary passed away shortly afterwards and by year’s end Hiram had moved west to Wisconsin.

Hiram settled in Milwaukee and practiced law there for four years.  He then married Emma Chamberlain at Janesville, Wisconsin, but this marriage ended after four years with Emma’s death.  In 1850 he was elected to the Wisconsin Legislature as a state representative.  In 1852 he spent a year in California, then returned to Wisconsin and on May 9, 1853, he married Sarah Fifield, a member of one of Wisconsin’s most influential families, at Janesville, Wisconsin.

The next year found the Bulls living first in Milwaukee and then in Madison, Wisconsin, where Bull opened a lumber business.  By 1856 he operated lumberyards in Janesville, Madison, and Milwaukee.  That fall he was elected state senator from Madison and Davis County and soon became a powerful voice in state affairs.

During these years in Wisconsin Hiram was commissioned quartermaster general of Wisconsin, an appointment he held through three gubernatorial terms.  He was one of the early officers and benefactors of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin and served as a delegate to the Second Wisconsin Constitutional Convention.  In 1858 Hiram was a candidate for the Republican Party nomination for governor but lost the nomination by one vote to eventual Governor Alexander Randall.

In 1859 the Bulls moved from Wisconsin to St. Louis, Missouri, and then on to New Mexico and Arizona Territories, where Hiram was appointed Adjutant General of the Army of the Southwest.  He was on a trip to St. Louis when the Civil War broke out.  Hastening home, he conferred with Sarah, resigned his commission, and in August 1861 he enlisted at Dubuque, Iowa, in Company C of the 9th Iowa Volunteer Infantry as a first lieutenant.  In January 1862 he was promoted to captain, a position he held that March during the Battle of Pea Ridge [Arkansas], where a musket ball shattered his right hip as he led the charge of the 4th and 9th Iowa Regiments on the second day of the battle.  Two months later he was promoted to the rank of major and given the job of Additional Paymaster for the United States Volunteers of the Union Army.  In this capacity he served a year in Washington, D.C., before being transferred to Utah, Oregon, and California during the remainder of the war.  He was discharged from service at San Francisco in August 1865.

Bull Mansion, Leavenworth KS
The mansion overlooking the Missouri River in Leavenworth, Kansas where Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Bull lived during their stay in that city.

After a period of time in Massachusetts and Iowa the Bulls headed west once again, this time settling in Leavenworth, Kansas, where Hiram opened a lumberyard.  Ever restless, he soon entertained the idea of founding a town in this new and growing state.  After a search of likely sites across southern Kansas, he entered into discussions with Union Pacific railroad officials.  They soon convinced him to seek a location along their proposed route into the Solomon River country of north-central Kansas.

In the summer of 1870 Hiram stopped at Cawker City, Kansas, where he met Lyman T. Earl, a Michigan native also interested in starting a town.  The two teamed up and headed west, following the course of the South Fork Solomon River.  On September 12, 1870, they staked out the first townsite in Osborne County, Kansas.  A coin toss determined for whom the new town would be named, and Bull City soon became the major distribution and supply center for the settlers throughout much of northwest Kansas.  On November 29th the first log structure on the new townsite was begun, but a major snowstorm left it uncompleted until the following year and forced the Bulls to spend the winter in a tent.  But in January the one-story building, twelve feet wide and twenty-four feet long, was finished.

Bull General Store
The log Bull General Store, in which was located the Bull City Post Office. The Bulls lived in this two-room cabin for nearly a decade.

“It was a long, low shingled-roof building made of logs, one laid on top of the other, the cracks between being filled with chunks of wood plastered over with mud.  It had two rooms, one for their living quarters, the other for a general store–the only one for many miles around.  There were two doors:  the south one for the residence; the other, the store entrance.  As one walked in, the ‘post office’ was on the right.  This consisted of a dry-goods box with pigeon holes for the mail.

On the left were shelves with all kinds of dry goods, such as men’s overalls, shirts, red bandanna handkerchiefs, pins, needles and thread.  Coarse linen thread was put in skeins about six or seven inches long . . . Everything was placed very neatly on the shelves, including the tobacco in the northeast corner.  At the time there wasn’t even a counter.”–Nettie Korb Bryson (1942).

In the back room there was a bed with oil and vinegar barrels and such things, and when the mail came in once every other day, it was dumped on the bed and sorted.  When they set the stove up the pipe was too short to reach the chimney, so they put a box on the floor and set the stove on it.  Mrs. Bull would stand on another box to do her cooking.  Hiram was the first town postmaster and used his former military title to good effect in promoting his town.  Mrs. Bull minded the store while the General (as he was universally known) hired drummers to haul goods from Russell, Kansas, to Bull City in freight wagon trains numbering fifteen to twenty wagons each, pulled by either horses or oxen, that could be heard coming for miles.

“In the spring of 1871 the General and Lyman Earl had a well dug . . . The well was thirty-five feet deep, nicely walled up, with a neat wellhouse over it and a wheel and rope and two buckets, as there was no pumps here at that time, and a nice stone watering trough, three and one half feet square and four feet long, neatly dug out.  Travelers and strangers often watered at this well and the General would go out hat in hand and invite them to settle and to trade with him.”–Nettie Korb Bryson (1935).

The General was the acknowledged leader in advocating the settlement of northwest Kansas.  In 1872 he was elected Osborne County’s first probate judge.  In the spring of 1875 Bull declined being appointed the head of the consulate at Honolulu, Hawaii.  He did, however, accept the Republican Party nomination as Representative from Osborne County to the Kansas Legislature in 1876 and was duly elected to that position, serving the first of two terms as county representative.  In 1879 he finished fourth in nominations for the Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives.  He was the heart and soul of Bull City and northwest Kansas and was as much beloved for his occasional outbursts of colorful language as he was for leading in the singing of “Marching through Georgia” whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Bull was well known for his sense of humor.  When talking with prospective settlers he would invariably point to his wife and ask them what other frontier town could boast of something so unusual as “a female Bull.”  During a session of the state legislature, Bull let it be known that he would vote for a pending herd law “as long as the Bull is allowed to roam free.”  In 1876 a circus came to Bull City and the General saw several children who gazed longingly at the big tent but could not afford tickets.  Bull asked the ticket man to count the children as they went into the tent.  Delightedly the children ran in, and after they were all in the General began walking away.  “Here pay for these kids!” called the man.  Bull turned and said, “I did not say I would pay for them, I said, ‘Count them as they go in.’”  The General and the man argued the matter for some time before Bull paid the bill – as he intended to all along.

In January of 1879 the Bulls adopted a four-year old girl, Lenora Elzora Mackey, after her natural father could no longer care for her, and renamed her Nora Lillian Bull.  For her and the other children of the community the General had a few years earlier enclosed a park on the east edge of town in which he kept tamed wild animals – elk, buffalo, antelope, and others – inside a tall white picket fence.  He did this as he wished them to remember how the land was before the white man had come to the area.  The male elk was a special pet that Bull had raised by hand, and was a favorite of the children, who could handfeed him.  The General built a large frame house that reflected the growing prosperity of the area, and then Bull City received the long-awaited news that a railroad would reach them by that December.  The future seemed bright for both the town and its leader.  Then came the morning of October 12, 1879.

“At about half past eight or nine o’clock Sunday morning General Bull’s hired man, Robert Bricknell, entered the park for the purpose of caring for the elk.  He immediately discovered that there was something unusual about the appearance of the animal [the male elk], which showed hostile signs, compelling him to retire from the park.  Bricknell hastened to inform the General of the fact, and arming themselves with heavy clubs both went again to the park, the General remarking that he could subdue the animal.

Without a sign of warning the now infuriated beast made a charge at the men, striking General Bull and knocking him down with great force.  The elk then drew back and made a second attack on General Bull, this time with increased force, using his antlers with terrible effect, piercing the prostrate body of the General through the breast until the prong protruded, then tossing his form high into the air and throwing him over its head.  The elk then resumed his attack on Bricknell, inflicting terrible injuries, whilst . . . George Nicholas, who had witnessed the occurrence, ran to the rescue with a heavy club of hard wood four and a half feet long and about two inches in diameter, with which he expected to so disable the enraged animal as to compel it to desist.  With redoubled fury and madness, however, the elk caught the club in its antlers, making indentures in it and rolling it on the ground with great force.

At this time there were two bodies lying prostrate, and with equal heroism and courage William Sherman hastened to the combat.  The elk served Sherman the same as the other men, catching him in his immense antlers and throwing him over the fence.  George Nicholas was tossed upon the fence.

Mrs. Bull was meanwhile a horrified spectator of the terrible tragedy and wild with grief and terror ran to the village crying for help . . . .” — Osborne County Farmer, October 16, 1879.

“Lew Korb kept his horse in our stable; he came in a hurry for his horse to go for the doctor.  Dr. Martin lived in the little house upon the bluff one-half mile north of Bull City.  I hurried down to the park as soon as I could.  Others had got there ahead of me.  They had lain the General outside of the fence and carried Nicholas and Bricknell to the house.  I went over where the General was laid.  They had him laid on a broad board and wanted another hand to help carry him to the house.  They asked me to help, which I did.  We carried him to the house and into the upper room, took off his clothes and saw his wounds, which were many.

By this time the doctor had got there and was down in the basement caring for Nicholas and Bricknell.  I went down and the doctor showed me their wounds.  They were badly gored and both later died.

A young man named Sherman, a carpenter . . . had an account book in his vest-pocket which likely saved him.  There was a dent or cut in the book.  He was quite badly bruised.” — Cassius P. Austin, then thirteen years old, from a notebook entitled Old Time Memories (1935).

General Bull received forty-four wounds and was killed instantly.  Robert Bricknell suffered thirty-two wounds, while George Nicholas had sixty-six.  After great trouble the elk was caught and tied in the center of a stout rope cable between the house and a tree.  He was later shot and killed.  The death of Bull and the other men made national headlines as Harper’s Weekly and other major publications of the time dispatched reporters to the scene.  The funeral services for the three men, the largest ever held in northwest Kansas, took place the following Wednesday.  The three funeral wagons, drawn by black horses, were at the head of the funeral procession, followed by a multitude of Civil War veterans marching out of respect for the General.

“The largest concourse of people it has ever been our lot to witness on a similar occasion, assembled to pay the last tribute of respect to the deceased, and all the places of business in the town were closed and draped in mourning.  Owing to the extent of the throng the services were held in a large unfinished livery barn.  It is estimated that upwards of two thousand persons were in attendance . . . Reverend Mr. Morrill of the Beloit Episcopal Church conducted the services.  His discourse was preceded by brief eulogistic remarks from Reverends [Robert] Osborn and [Richard] Foster . . . When the procession moved toward the place of internment, about a mile northwest of the village, the foremost portion had reached its destination ere the rear had fallen in line.” — Osborne County Farmer, October 16, 1879.

Bull Tombstone
The new 1930 monument erected over Hiram Bull’s grave.

When the Sumner Cemetery was platted the remains of the three men were reinterred there.  Bull’s memory was held in such esteem by the citizens of Osborne County that fifty years later funds were raised and a granite monument was dedicated over his gravesite.  At the same time it was discovered that a former citizen of the town, Thomas M. Walker, was in possession of the set of elk horns that had killed the three men, having come across them years before in a store in Muscotah, Kansas.  He was contacted and in March 1930 the horns were shipped back to Osborne County, where they are on display in the Osborne County Courthouse.

Sarah Bull ran the general store for a few more years before she and her daughter moved back to Janesville, Wisconsin, in 1883.  She passed away there on June 6, 1912.  In 1885 the town of Bull City changed its name to Alton.

“After he [Bull] attained an age when men usually retire from business he came to Kansas, and after some changes finally went into the new county of Osborne, and established himself far up the [South] Solomon miles away from any settler . . . He keenly enjoyed his life, loved his kindly neighbors, and felt a boyish enthusiasm over the wonderful resources and prospects of Osborne County.  One of the pleasantest recollections in this writer’s life is a ride on a beautiful morning in autumn from Osborne City to Bull City in the General’s company; he standing up in the vehicle, his white hair streaming in the wind and his face aglow with his theme, as he enlarged on the beauty of the country which he had seen transformed from a grassy wilderness . . . He was thoroughly identified with Kansas, and every Fourth of July he was accustomed to address his fellow citizens on the glories of this new country.  It is needless to say that his death is a greater blow to Osborne County than that of many a younger and, possibly, abler man . . . His memory will long be preserved in northwestern Kansas by those who knew him as a public-spirited citizen and a brave, courteous, true-hearted old gentleman.” — Atchison [KS] Champion, October 1879.