Bliss Albro VanGundy, born October 14, 1885, on a farm near Milton, Atchison County, Missouri, was the son of John and Serilda (Jones) VanGundy. In 1888, the family moved to Tarkio, the largest town in the county, where Bliss attended and graduated from grade school. In 1902 the family moved to a farm in Winfield Township, Osborne County, Kansas. Bliss entered Osborne High School that autumn and graduated with the class of 1906 as valedictorian. For a few years following graduation, Bliss worked on the family farm, intending to make farming his life occupation. In 1910, however, he managed several business stations for the Farmers Union, including positions as assistant manager at the Farmers Union wholesale produce house in Kansas City and as manager of the Osborne general store.
In May of 1918 the postmaster suggested to Bliss that he enter the Osborne post office as a replacement for a clerk who was called to military service. Bliss did so, and this “replacement situation” became his life’s work for the next thirty-six years. During these years, Bliss served as Clerk, Civil Service Secretary, Assistant Postmaster, and for the last sixteen months as Acting Postmaster, finally retiring on April 30, 1954. Bliss also participated actively in the United Methodist Church, serving for forty-two years on the official board and taking a keen interest in helping care for the financial records of the Sunday School and the church. On October 18, 1918, Bliss and Pearl J. Nelson of Bloomington were married in Osborne County. To this union four children were born: Dorothy Josephine; Eugene Alleyn; Arthur Leroy; and Virginia Frances. The extended family included eleven grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. Following a second stroke, Pearl passed away on February 22, 1962.
Following retirement, Bliss did considerable work on the VanGundy family tree. Becoming interested in early day residents of Osborne County, Bliss wrote three hundred articles about such residents during the 1960s and 1970s which were published in the Osborne County Farmer under the title “Osborne County Pioneers.” In conjunction with this, Bliss compiled a “ready reference file,” as he called it, on Osborne County citizens and special events that had occurred in Osborne County history between the years 1910 and 1980, together with some earlier references. At the time of his death the card file had grown to over three thousand index cards. He gave the file to the Osborne Public Library, where it is consulted on a daily basis by historians, genealogists and others curious about the events that shaped local affairs for nearly a century.
Bliss had three brothers: Phil, who died in 1967; Harry, who died in 1979; and Frank, who died on December 9, 1982. In July of 1971, Bliss moved from Osborne, his home for sixty-nine years, to El Cajon, California, where he made his home with his daughter, Dorothy, and her husband, Wesley, for nearly nine years. He passed away in El Cajon on June 25, 1980, just four months short of his ninety-fifth birthday, and was laid to rest in the Osborne Cemetery.
Hudson Orville Turner was born on February 8, 1900, on a farm six miles west of Portis in Lawrence Township, Osborne County, Kansas. The son of Hudson and Mary (Caldwell) Turner, he attended the Portis schools. During his senior year in 1919-1920 Hud was the captain/coach of the high school basketball team, which earned a trip to the state tournament. After graduation he was a student at Ashland (Ohio) College for a term and Kansas Wesleyan University at Salina for another. At a track meet for Ashland Hud scored 27 points, finishing first in the 100-yard dash, 200-yard dash, standing broad jump, running broad jump, standing high jump, running high jump, and pole vault. From 1920 to 1925 Hud was a regular on the legendary town basketball team, the Portis Dynamos, and was also a formidable horseshoe pitcher.
After college Hud worked in sales.On June 28, 1931, he married Nina Marie Tetlow at her parents’ home north of Downs. Nina, the daughter of Fred and Katherine (Hull) Tetlow, was born on the family farm in Lincoln Township, Smith County, Kansas, on July 17, 1908. She graduated from Downs High School and the Kansas State Teacher’s College at Emporia. Nina then taught school at Solomon, Kansas, and at the Downs Grade School in 1927-1931. She and Hud had two daughters, Jeanette and Marjorie.
After their marriage Hud worked for eight years as a car salesman in Smith Center and managed the five farms owned by the Turner family. In 1943 he was appointed postmaster at Portis and served for the next 27 years. Hud became vice-president and a director of the Portis State Bank. During World War II Nina served as a substitute teacher in the Portis schools and in the Portis post office as a clerk. She also worked at the J. C. Penney Store in Smith Center. Later Nina was the assistant cashier at the Portis State Bank and, like her husband, served on the board of directors.
For 38 years Nina’s weekly columns as the Portis news correspondent for several area newspapers allowed thousands of people to keep track of what went on in the Portis region. Hud served on the Portis City Council and was instrumental in promoting the Kirwin Dam and Irrigation District.
Both Hud and Nina were involved in the Order of the Eastern Star. Hud was also a member of the Masonic Lodge while Nina was active in Delta Kappa Gamma. At a time in their lives long past when most people would have settled into quiet retirement, both Hud and Nina remained busy with civic and social activities. Nina served on the Portis Pride Committee, the Portis Reunion Committee, and in the Portis Christian Women’s Association. Hud was a cooperative observer for the National Weather Service from 1972 until his death. A passionate angler and bowler, he was state singles bowling champion in 1974 and again in 1980. In 1982 he was team captain of the Portis Dynamos (named after the old basketball team), which won the state seniors team bowling tournament. And at the age of 81 Hud took up public singing, performing in churches, senior centers and other public forums.
Hud and Nina Turner were active members in the North Central Kansas Tourism Council, promoting economic development through tourism across the region. To this end they backed the establishment of a memorial in Portis to Melvin Millar, native son and animator of Porky Pig, in 1992.
Hud Turner passed away in 1998, followed by Nina in 2001. Their decades of achievements and community service earned them many friends and admirers. Hud and Nina will be forever held with the highest esteem and respect among their fellow citizens, who honored them in 1996 with an induction into the Osborne County Hall of Fame.
Karl Henry Kertz was born on September 1, 1921, the only child born to Louis and Emilie Kertz. Ten years later he moved with his parents to Oakley, Kansas, where he attended school until he transferred to Natoma High School in Natoma, Osborne County, Kansas, in 1937, shortly after the death of his parents, making his home with his aunt, Mrs. Wilhelm Kertz. In 1939 he graduated from Natoma High School and entered Fort Hays State University. On July 15, 1942, he enlisted as an apprentice seaman in the U.S. Naval Reserve, serving in the South Atlantic and in various Pacific campaigns. He remained on inactive duty until February 10, 1955, when he resigned his commission as Lieutenant (JG) from the Supply Corps of the U.S.N.R.
On June 1, 1947, he married Louise C. Moore of Hays at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Hays. They had three children, David, Deborah, and Dorothea. Shortly after returning home from the service Karl was approached by John Dukewits, who operated the Ford dealership in Natoma with his brother Paul. Karl and another returning veteran, Ernest John, were offered jobs in the company. In August of 1946 the four men formed a partnership known as Dukewits Motor Co. It consisted of the Ford Agency, sales and service, Phillips 66 Service Station and Gleaner Combine sales and service.
In July, 1959, a totally unexpected position of postmaster for the Natoma Post Office was offered to Karl. He served in this position until his retirement on November 1, 1985. Karl served two terms on the Natoma School Board (1951-57) and when school laws demanded a separate school district treasurer, he very capably held that position for twenty years.
Karl was a faithful and active member of the Natoma Lions Club since October 1961, serving as president in 1966 and 1967, and as secretary-treasurer from 1978 until 1996. He also held various other offices (First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, Director, and Tail-Twister). When he joined the Lions Club, his sponsor was Phillip Thomas; Karl subsequently sponsored 19 members. He was 100% secretary six times (this means all his reports, etc. were in) and he had thirty-four 100% attendance pins; and at the time of his death he was just short of eligibility for his 35-year Monarch pin. This surely tells us he hardly ever missed a meeting!
In October of 1984 a group of interested citizens met to see if it would be feasible to remodel the vacant Welling Theater and use it for a community center. Karl and Louise were at the first meeting and each one thereafter. Karl willingly took on the “sometimes frustrating” task of scheduling all events and reservations for the center, and also served on the board from that first meeting. The Kertz family were members of Peace Lutheran Church in Natoma. Gathering information from the church secretary, it was no surprise to learn that from 1948 until his death, Karl held some kind of office in the church – he spent many years as elder, treasurer and secretary, Sunday School Superintendent, and also on the Board of Missions. He was also active with the Natoma Senior Center.
Karl Kertz died at his home in Natoma on June 30, 1996, of cancer, and was laid to rest in the Peace Lutheran Cemetery at Natoma.
In Germany the seat of the Eisenmanger family for centuries was the Kingdom of Wuertemberg, where they had been members of the noble classes dating back to the fourteenth century. One member of the family was the hero of the book known as The Man of the Iron Hand. Christopher Eisenmanger in the 1840s was considered the richest citizen of the Kingdom of Wuertemberg, owning controlling interests in every brick and tile manufacturing establishment in that country. He participated in all the wars of Germany in his time, and it is said that his father was slain in the battle of Waterloo.
Christopher and Johanna Eisenmanger had seven children. One, Christoph Heinrich Eisenmanger, was born on April 29, 1841 in Sindringen, Wűrttemberg, Germany.
Christopher Eisenmanger Sr. was a very progressive man who advocated – and to some degree brought about – reform far in advance of his time. Partly for this and for religious reasons he fell out of favor with the ruling house of Hohenzollern. Eventually all his property was confiscated and he was left practically bankrupt when his son Christoph Heinrich was sixteen years of age.
After the family became bankrupt the sons became eligible for subscription into the German army. To avoid this, the family decided to emigrate from Germany to either America or Australia. The three Eisenmanger children who traveled to America were Christoph Heinrich, then eighteen years old; Johann, later called John, a Baptist minister who died at Williamsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1915 at the age of eighty-two; and Katerina, or Kate, who married farmer Chris Reamenschneider and lived outside of State Center, Iowa.
For a time Christoph Heinrich Eisenmanger lived at Springfield, Illinois. In 1861 at the age of twenty he enlisted in Company H of the Tenth Illinois Infantry, Union Army, and served his adopted country throughout the Civil War with the rank of private. At the time of his enlistment his name was changed to Henry Christopher Ise by his captain, as this was a name easier for the captain to both spell and remember. Henry fought in the battle of Chickamauga, where he had an arm broken. Although wounded at one time and sick at other times he never spent a day in the hospital.
After the war Henry Ise moved to State Center, Iowa, where he worked as a farm hand. Then in 1871 he moved to Osborne County, Kansas, where he claimed a homestead in Ross Township in the northeast corner of the county.
Rosena “Rosa” Christina Haag was born October 7, 1855 in Kleinbottwar, Wűrttemberg, Germany, just twenty miles from Henry’s birthplace of Sindringen. She was the daughter of John and Rosena (Friehoffer) Haag. In July 1852 her family emigrated to America, where they settled on a thirty-acre farm near Theresa, Wisconsin. Eight years later the Haag family moved to a farm six miles outside of Holton in Jackson County, Kansas.
In 1871 Rosa’s brother Christopher Haag claimed a homestead in Ross Township of Osborne County. That winter he brought his neighbor Henry Ise back east with him to find work and for Henry to meet Christopher’s sister. Rosa married Henry C. Ise on May 19, 1873 in Holton, Kansas. Together they raised eleven children (a twelfth died at age six months) on the Ise homestead in Ross Township. From 1872 to 1879 Henry served as postmaster of the New Arcadia Post Office, which was located in the Ise farm home. Over the years the family grew prosperous. The homestead of 160 acres was enlarged and eventually included three quarter sections of land. Nine of their eleven children would go on to graduate from college.
Thirty years after arriving in Kansas Henry Ise became ill and died of cancer on November 21, 1900. Rosa continued to live on the farm for another decade before selling it and moving to Lawrence to be nearer her children. She passed away there on August 2, 1947 and was brought back to Downs, where she was laid to rest next to Henry in the Downs City Cemetery.
The Ises’ story became internationally famous after their son John Ise published a book, Sod & Stubble, based on their life experiences on the homestead from 1873 through 1910. Sod & Stubble was first published in 1936 and is considered one of the finest works ever published on the subject of homesteading the Great Plains of North America. Sod & Stubble remains in print seventy-five years after its initial publication.
The story of Henry and Rosa Ise has come to be celebrated not for their uniqueness, but rather for their being the symbol of what all homesteaders everywhere have had to endure simply to survive, let alone prosper. In 2003 grandson John Ise, Jr. made his first visit back to Osborne County in 60 years to induct his grandparents into the Osborne County Hall of Fame at that year’s Hall’s Induction Banquet in Alton. Along with becoming the first person to ever use the phrase “quantum physics” in a speech in Osborne County history, Ise thanked Henry and Rosa for passing on to their children and grandchildren “the grit and determination to challenge and overcome any obstacle, however imposing it might be.”
William Wallace Dimond is best remembered as Downs’ first postmaster, but that was only one phase of his active life. Born at Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, on September 22, 1839, he served the Union cause during the Civil War, came west to Osborne County among the first homesteaders in, and was a city and county official here.
Dimond’s great-great-grandfather was Captain James Lawrence, who was commander of the American frigateChesapeake during the Revolutionary War. It was he who immortalized the words, “Don’t give up the ship!” In the Civil War Dimond served in Company G of the 83rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Wounded at the Battle of Malvern Hill, he was furloughed home to recover and saw no more action, but served instead as an Army recruiter. The minié ball that wounded him he had made into a watch charm that he wore until his death.
He married Susan Bixby on January 3, 1866, at Hartfield, New York. Dimond visited Osborne County in 1871 and was among the early influx of settlers. He returned to Pennsylvania, brought his wife Susan here in 1872 and they homesteaded southeast of Downs. Three years later, he bought a relinquishment on a farm just east of what later became the Downs townsite. There he was appointed postmaster for the post office of Violet. During those years before the railroad arrived, he hauled wagonloads of freight from distant railroad points to the new town of Cawker City.
The Dimonds were charter members of the Downs Methodist Episcopal church, which was organized “in a cottonwood church that stood on the Blunt farm,” as it was once described. When Downs was founded in 1879, he became postmaster of the new town and held that appointment six years. He was also Downs city clerk and in 1897 was elected county treasurer, serving a little more than two terms before resigning because of ill health. William and Susan had no children of their own, but in 1896 they adopted a son, Benjamin Stuart. Dimond was among the Civil War veterans who founded the Ben Greenman Post, the Grand Army of the Republic organization in Downs. He helped organize the Masonic Lodge in the schoolhouse that stood in north Downs, and was a Ross Township trustee and member of the Downs school board.
William Dimond was visiting in Osborne onMarch 27, 1911, settling some business. He was engaged in conversation with his friend, William H. Mize, when he became ill suddenly. He was rushed into the nearby office of Dr. Miller but soon expired. It was later determined that he died of heart failure due to acute indigestion. He was buried in the Downs Cemeterywith both the Masons and the GAR conducting services. A sketch at that time said of him: “A certain directness that inspired respect and trust marked his speech. No one ever doubted his meaning nor questioned his steadfast purpose. It was a part of his life, of himself, to be just what he seemed to be.”
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.
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.
“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.” — OsborneCounty Farmer, October 16, 1879.
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.