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.

John Harm Voss – 1996 Inductee

John Harm Voss worked as a grain and implement dealer in Downs for fifty-five years and was active in local, area and statewide civic affairs.  A friendly and outgoing man who was well-known all across the area where he lived, Harm was especially active in the Republican Party and served as a Kansas State Senator.

Harm was born June 18, 1889, to George and Elizabeth (Buikstra) Voss on their farm northeast of Downs in Ross Township, Osborne County, Kansas.  His family relates how he was born in a dugout because the family home was being remodeled at the time of his birth.  Coming from a family of ten children, he gave and took a lot of gruff and joking but was serious in his business dealings with people.  He was a person you could lean on and were glad to share your life with.

Harm married Mabel A. Scott on April 4, 1917, in Downs.  They were the parents of two daughters, Lorraine and Althea.  Harm was active in community affairs.  He was a charter member of Downs Rotary Club and served as its president.  He was a Downs city councilman, a member of the Downs Chamber of Commerce, attended the Methodist Church, and was a member of the BPO Elks at Beloit.  He also found time to serve the Beloit Community Hospital on its board of directors.  Another interest for Harm was serving the Boy Scouts of America in several positions.  He was a member of their Coronado Area Council Executive Committee; was vice-chairman and an executive board member for the Piconda District; and served on the advisory committees of both the Wheatland and Tomahawk districts.  He also was a member of the Masonic Order, AF and AM, including memberships in the Shrine Isis Temple and the Royal Order of Jesters, both of Salina.

As a grain dealer, Harm was especially active in the Kansas Grain Dealers Association.  He was elected vice-president of that group in 1927 and became president in 1929.  After serving on the board of directors from 1927 to 1971, he was elected a lifetime member of the board.  As a culmination of this segment of his career, Harm was honored as Kansas Grainman of the Year in 1969.  He also was a member of the State Grain Advisory Committee for six years.

Harm served the Republican Party in several positions, ranging from precinct committeeman to delegate to the 1960 national convention in Chicago.  He served as Osborne County Republican Party chairman for twenty years, was Sixth District chairman for twelve years, and also was treasurer of the state committee.

Appointed to the Kansas Senate to fill an unexpired term, he was elected to two more terms, serving the 32nd Senatorial District from 1963 to 1972.  In the senate, he was chairman of the Committee on Engrossed and Enrolled Bills, was Supervisor of Bills, and his assignments included roads and highways, banks and banking, oil and gas, public utilities, printing, and fees, salaries and mileage.  After his death on April 23, 1975, the Kansas Senate passed Resolution Number 39, honoring his memory.  Senator Voss was buried in the Downs Cemetery.

John B. Taylor – 1997 Inductee

John B. Taylor was born at Junius, New York, September 1, 1853, and passed away at Concordia, Kansas, April 13, 1926.  John grew to manhood and then taught school and farmed.  He came out West to Exeter, Nebraska, in 1876.  On April 21, 1878, he was married to Jennie Linn Graves at Exeter.  To this union were born seven children, three of whom preceded him in death.

John began his mercantile career when he moved to Alton on June 6, 1878 into a small, frame building in the south part of the business section and with a stock which would invoice at little more than $1,600.  He soon needed more room, and as Hiram Bull offered John a lot and a half interest in the wall if he would build adjoining his own store building which stood on the corner north of the then-city fire department quarters.  Mr. Taylor accepted the offer and built a two-story building with full basement adjoining the General Bull store building.

Early in the year 1881 E. M. Beal, of Junius, New York, came to Alton and a partnership was formed with John.  In 1886 the City Hotel was purchased and the building razed to provide a place for a new store.  Beal and Taylor, as the firm was styled, built the two-story part of the native stone building and equipped the upper rooms for offices, which were rented out.  This structure housed the business until 1898 when increasing business again demanded larger quarters.  The space between the store building and the First State Bank was built up, making another large room which was used as a store room.

During 1903 John purchased the buildings and lot east of the store building and built still another addition.  The east wall was taken out and the part which now houses the shoe and clothing department added, thus converting the whole into one large room.  This made the Taylor Store the largest in town and the largest company of its kind in all of northwest Kansas.  After 1908 John no longer actively engaged in the mercantile business and it was managed by his son, Grover.  During the time John was in business in Alton he bought other city property and several farms nearby.  John was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Occidental Lodge, and the Odd Fellows.

John staked his place in almost every office from Alton mayor to Kansas state representative.  He was elected as Osborne County Representative to the Kansas state legislature in 1902 and was re-elected for two succeeding terms.  The fact that he was re-elected for two terms speaks for the splendid service he rendered his people while serving them in this capacity.  It was during this time that John’s health broke down, and he was not permitted to enter the race again for representative.  After twenty years of hard toil with public service he retired to Kansas City, Missouri.  Here his wife’s health broke down.  They then left for Whittier, California, hoping that she might recuperate, but she passed away January 13, 1919.  Since that time John lived with his daughter at Concordia, Kansas, until his own passing.  After a brief funeral service his remains were interred in the Sumner Cemetery near Alton.

During the last few years of his life John Taylor made frequent visits to Alton and always took an interest in Alton and Osborne County people.  He was a man who was highly respected by all who knew him and probably the greater amount of his success can be credited to his integrity in business affairs.  As stated in the Concordia Kansan newspaper at the time, “It was an honor to know and to have the friendship of John Taylor.”

John Taylor left a record behind him that your children might well be proud of.  His life, from schoolteacher, farmer, town councilman, school board member, to state representative – serving from village to state – you will do well to follow as an example.

Hugh Albert Storer – 2001 Inductee

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

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

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

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

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

Roscoe John Robinson – 1997 Inductee

Roscoe John Robinson, a dreamer, a lover of life but most of all a teacher, the youngest child of John William Robinson and Ellen (Eaton) Robinson, was born January 13, 1892, on a farm in the northern part of Saline County, Kansas. Roscoe attended the rural Mahon School, District Number 88, in Saline County throughout his elementary schooling. So that Roscoe could gain more education the John W. Robinson family moved to Tescott. He graduated from the three-year high school in 1909. He taught the school year of 1909-10 at the rural Cole School, District Number 72, in Saline County. The school term was for twenty-eight weeks. Roscoe received the salary of $40.00 per month. He probably boarded in the community as there was no direct route from Tescott to the school. He had no eighth graders that year according to Saline County school records. Needing a wider variety of high school credits, especially in the science subjects so he could attend college to fulfill his dream of becoming a physician, he enrolled in the Salina, Kansas, High School in the fall of 1910. Roscoe graduated, with honors from Salina High, in the spring of 1912. He traveled to and from Tescott to Salina on the train each day to attend school.

As he had not enough financial assistance to attend college beginning in the fall of 1912, Roscoe taught the next school year at Tripp School, District Number 8, in Ottawa County. No records yet have been researched as to the listing of salary, students or if there were any eighth graders. Roscoe felt that he should teach another year, and when his friend of high school days offered him a position of a teacher in the Tescott Grade School, he took it. That meant that Roscoe could live at home.

At last, to fulfill his dream of becoming a physician, in the fall of 1914 Roscoe enrolled in the medical school at Kansas University. An allergic reaction to the ether used in the surgery at the time caused him to give up his dream of becoming a physician. He then transferred to the education department to become a science teacher. Roscoe discovered that many of his pre-med courses could not be transferred towards his education degree; therefore he had to repeat many of the courses to complete his teaching degree to be a science teacher. He was not able to complete his B.S. in Education until the spring of 1926. His college was interrupted by World War I. He enlisted in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army. His service was very short due to physical problems. Following a goiter operation Roscoe could not work for a year. It was while in the service that Roscoe lost his mother.

Since he could not return to college after his operation, Roscoe resumed his teaching in the fall of 1919. He was hired as the principal of the Tescott Grade School, where the new 3rd/4th grade teacher, Mabel Hobrock, from Minneapolis, Kansas, took his eye. On December 28, 1920, Roscoe John Robinson took Mabel Anne Hobrock as his bride. They were married at the Natoma, Kansas, Methodist parsonage. Roscoe and Mabel had four children–Helen, Robert, Doris, and Frances.

In the fall of 1921, Roscoe and Mabel moved to DeSoto, Kansas. Roscoe continued his studies at Kansas University while being the principal of the DeSoto Grade School. Teaching full time, starting a family, and attending college classes kept Roscoe busy for the next five years. With his new degree in hand, in the fall of 1926 he took the position of science/math teacher at the Eudora, Kansas, High School. He taught there for two years. In the spring of 1928, he had hopes of becoming a high school science teacher in Fort Wayne, Indiana, school system for the coming school year, but that did not materialize.

Roscoe and Mabel, with their young family, were facing a crisis; what to do now–no teaching position available. They finally decided to move back to Tescott to be with his father. In the early fall, a teacher of the Tescott High School resigned. Roscoe was hired to fill that vacancy. At the end of December, the principal resigned and Roscoe was hired for that position temporarily. Since Roscoe had no Master’s Degree, he could not be hired as the permanent principal. George Hitchcock, an old teacher friend, asked Roscoe to become the science/math teacher/coach at the Ada, Kansas, High School for the school year of 1929.

Roscoe and Mabel stayed for eleven years in Ada, Kansas, first as a very successful coach and teacher, then as the principal. At that time only certain size high school principals had to have a Master’s Degree. When Roscoe assumed the principalship, he began his work to receive a Master’s Degree. The state requirements changed, and every high school in Kansas had to hire a principal with a Master’s by the fall of 1940. Roscoe could not complete his work by that time so he was relieved of his position at Ada.

Roscoe and Mabel were again facing the crisis of what to do. His father had died; therefore there was no reason to move back to Tescott. After looking into several opportunities in the teaching field and in business, without success, Roscoe and Mabel moved their growing family to the farm of her parents in Natoma, Kansas, where they farmed for one year.

Beginning in the fall of 1941, Roscoe began teaching at the Portis, Kansas, High School, as the science /math teacher and coach. He was a popular teacher and successful coach for one year. The Portis School Board wished Roscoe to return another year but the football coach/science teacher position opened in the Osborne, Kansas, High School system. After much soul searching and regret at leaving a fine small school system and a friendly community, Roscoe decided to take the Osborne position. Roscoe soon gave up the football coaching but remained as the science teacher with an occasional math class until his retirement from teaching in 1955. During the 1943/44 school year, Roscoe not only had to be coach of the football team but serve as band director as well.

In the spring of 1956, with the office of Osborne County Superintendent of Schools becoming vacant, Roscoe decided to run for the county position. He won that election and the next three elections also. He served the four terms as County Superintendent helping teachers to become better at their professions and to help instill a love of learning and reading in the students.

Roscoe decided that maybe a legislative job in Topeka representing the county would be interesting. He was elected for two terms as the Osborne County Representative in the Kansas House of Representatives. Although an educator all his life, it was ironic he was not assigned to the Education Committee. He could have added much to the state plans as the present redistricting was beginning to form when he served his two terms. He was assigned to the budget committee where he worked to have Kansans receive the most efficient use of their tax moneys. For this service and other leadership roles, he was presented the Governor’s Meritorious Award by then-Kansas Governor John Anderson.

After his serving in the legislature, Roscoe retired to enjoy to a fuller extent his recent hobby, playing golf. He played nearly every day with old and new friends. He could now be a more active member of the Rotary Club and the American Legion. Roscoe was an avid sports fan all his life; he played baseball in his early years, with the Tescott High School and summer sandlot teams. He had a knowledge of football, basketball, baseball and tennis both as a player and as a coach. Roscoe loved to fish. During their early married life Mabel fished with Roscoe, but as the family increased and grew Mabel did little or no fishing with her partner. Roscoe and Mabel probably knew every fishing hole on the Wakarusa River in eastern Kansas. Roscoe, with his son, Bob, fished in all rivers and creeks in the areas in which they lived. If Roscoe ever saw a snake near the water where they were fishing, there was no more fishing that day.
That Roscoe developed a musical ability to play almost any instrument and to sing in parts is remarkable for he had no formal training. His grandparents were very musical; his maternal grandfather led singing schools in Michigan and in Kansas. Roscoe with his brothers played for dances in Saline and Ottawa Counties during the early 1900s. Roscoe always sang in church choirs whenever he lived. He sang in Christ Episcopal Church choir while attending high school in Salina. He loved quartet singing, mixed or male, but he especially enjoyed choir work and he was a soloist of note. At Ada, he was the baritone of a male quartet that sang for many school, church and community functions. At Osborne he was well-known for his work in and with the Barbershoppers. He sang in a quartet called “Men of Note” with Olin McFadden, Frank Chalk and Gordon Bartholomew. They were a guest quartet at many concerts. They loved the competition of the Barbershoppers contests. Roscoe directed the Barbershoppers chorus for many years. All who listened or sang under his direction remember his exuberance in directing to bring out the best of the singers. Roscoe loved to work with plays and musicals. He was in his element while being, usually, an end man in the minstrels that were so popular in the 1930s and early 1940s. He did some directing of high school plays during his teaching years.

While at Kansas University, he earned a KU pin for each of the four years playing the “Double B” in the university band. These pins were equivalent to the athletic letter given for sports participation. In 1920 he purchased a new Conn alto saxophone. He played that for fun and entertainment at many musical functions. He was one of the prime movers when Bobby Dale of Bennington, Kansas, formed a community band at Ada. How Mabel kept her sanity during those years with her husband practicing his sousaphone, and each of the four children practicing their various instruments every evening, each playing a different song at the same time, is an amazing thought. Roscoe, with Homer Clark, directed the Osborne summer band concerts in the city park pavilion during the middle 1940s. If he did not direct he was a band member.

Roscoe took several summer workshops in physical therapy from Coach “Phog” Allen at Kansas University. He practiced many of these techniques to keep his players and other athletes in top physical condition. Roscoe was always very active in the Methodist Church wherever the family was living. He served in all aspects of church work–Sunday School teacher, Sunday School superintendent, Bible School leader, always a choir member, various committees of the church, and yes, even preaching. His religious thinking and attitudes were influenced by his maternal grandmother, Lydia Eaton. He was in church every Sunday and made sure his whole family worshipped with him. Roscoe, as a teacher, was a lover of learning. He was ever instilling in his students, his friends and his family to develop the desire to gain more knowledge. Books were a part of his every day life. He was a prolific reader on all subjects.

Roscoe was a gentle, kind man who lived the principles of Christ’s teachings. That meant that Roscoe expected the best from all. Each and everyone did just that to escape that stern look of his displeasure. His outlook on life was always positive with a smile and a cheery approach. In being introduced to his eldest daughter’s principal at Williamsport, Maryland, High School, she said that Roscoe had been in the education field for over fifty years. The principal remarked that Roscoe must have loved it because he could still smile after all those years. Roscoe loved to laugh and enjoyed a good joke. Yet Roscoe was a strong man who was not afraid to state his views, or to stand up for what was right, and still kept his integrity with the respect of others for him. He inspired everyone to live to one’s fullest and to the best in all aspects of life.

One of the toughest problems Roscoe faced when he moved to Osborne was to be known by his first name. In every other teaching community the teachers were known as Mr., Mrs., or Miss–never by their first names. But in Osborne it was a traditional sign of affection and acceptance to call a teacher by the first name.

It is very difficult for the family to separate Roscoe from Mabel or Mabel from Roscoe. They were a perfect pair, sharing fifty-five years of married life, raising four children, facing the economic uncertainties of the 1920s, 1930s, and early 1940s, to bring glory to their family, their friends, their communities where they lived but most of all glory to their God.

To quote from his obituary: “What is the measure of man? Micah says–loving kindness, doing justice, walking humbly with God.” These words typify the lifestyle of Roscoe J. Robinson. He died Sunday, November 16, 1974, at the Osborne County Memorial Hospital and was buried in the Natoma Cemetery. He is still talked of with reverence, love and respect by all who knew and loved him. — Written by daughter Helen (Robinson) Long, January 1996.

Calvin Reasoner – 1996 Inductee

The only known photograph of Calvin Reasoner, when he was a member of the 1873 Kansas Legislature. Photo courtesy of “kansasmemory.org, 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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Selections From “HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF OSBORNE COUNTY”

by Calvin Reasoner

Introduction:  Since the announcement a few weeks ago that an effort would be made to preserve a record of the historical details incident to the earliest settlement of our county there has been a commendable interest manifested in the mater by a number of our most intelligent citizens, and we can promise you a series of articles in which the most important historical matters can be preserved.  Let it be noted, however that in this series we will endeavor to follow no particular method whereby a systematic presentation would be secured.  Some articles will be furnished to us entire and will be published as presented and due credit be given to each contributor.  When the whole is spread upon the record, however scattering, it will not be difficult to systematize and put in proper shape. – C. R.

The first item we shall mention is the pecuniary condition of the early settlers in general.  It is no disgrace to those who came first into our county to say that the majority of them were very poor in this world’s goods, however blessed they might feel to be in their hopes of another and better life.  At the present, after half a dozen years of settlement, but few are well circumstanced.  Few have more than the barest necessities of life.  A very limited number have the comforts of life and scarcely any are able to afford the luxuries.

It must be expected that a majority of the settlers in a new country, and especially in a homestead country, will be poor.  Before the homestead law was enacted lands were often sold to the highest bidder and men of capital as well as those of moderate means would purchase lands.  The wealthy would buy large tracts and hold them for a rise in prices through settlement and the poor would buy each a farm for a home.  It was consequently by the improvements of the poor that speculators would get an advance on their lands.  But in a homestead country no man can get more that a small amount of land and in order to hold that he must live upon it.  Thus a man of wealth can scarcely invest his means until lands begin to change hands.  Some capital may be invested in the purchase and sale of goods, but even this kind of business is very much limited by the general destitution.

The markets . . . so far as there were any, were very remote from the settlers of our county–as they are still–but in 1870 and 1871 there was very little produced for sale, even if there had been a good market.  The principal staple was buffalo meat, and this was carried down the Solomon [River] valley as far as Solomon City [110 miles away] or sometimes to Junction City [160 miles], both places being trading points.  Buffalo meat was carried in wagons, sometimes in the raw state, and frequently it would be dried.  The latter would sell at from six to ten cents per pound and the former at from three to six.  Occasionally prices would vary from these figures but these were about the average.  The employment was therefore better than nothing and it was all that was available at the time.  Hence a great many of the settlers in 1870, 1871, and 1872 became of necessity buffalo hunters.

Let us draw a picture which has often been verified in our past history.  Here comes a covered wagon slowly moving up the road which was recently merely a buffalo hunters’ trail.  There are two persons walking and a boy driving.  Inside you notice, as the team approaches, that there are women and children; also bedding, boxes, tools and traps of various kinds; a shovel and a broom stick out behind and a small chicken coop hangs on at the rear.  The little cavalcade halts in our presence and inquires for vacant lands.  They want to get ‘timber and water.’  You tell them that there is plenty of vacant land with timber and water at a certain point and then inquire how far they have come.  Well they have driven some two or three hundred miles in search of a home and now they have got to their destination and they feel like laying the foundations of a new home.  They don’t feel discouraged by the entire newness of the country but indicate a determination to make the best of it.  They drive on to the place indicated and soon take hold on the surroundings and show they are able to take advantage of everything that offers in the building up of a new home.

You visit them in few weeks and find that they have used timber enough to build them a comfortable house capable of withstanding the winds, the heat and the rains.  They are breaking some ground and planting corn in the sod.  If the season is favorable they will get some ten or fifteen bushels per acre of sod corn and this will suffice to feed the team and perhaps a cow; and if it be not far to mill some of it will be ground for bread.  If there are no mills the corn can be parched or boiled.  I have known families to live all winter on little else than boiled corn and thankful to get even that meager supply.  If the season should fail to be one that would produce corn our settler will have hard times.  They have no money, perhaps.  Probably they did not bring five dollars into the country with them.  Some brought considerable money and soon consumed it in living expenses and then were quite destitute.

What then must our poor family do?  There is no work that will bring any remuneration.  How many poor settlers a few years ago contemplated life from this unhappy standpoint.  If the settler could get to haul a load of goods or freight of any king for a merchant or anybody else this would be of help; anything he could turn his hand to.  In this state of things it was very convenient to turn buffalo hunter, and for two purposes–one to supply the family with food, the other to have something for market to supply other things.

The year 1870 was tolerably good for wheat in the lower part of the Solomon valley, where it had begun to settle up and be cultivated, but it was dry through June and July.  In the vicinity probably corn would not have made more than half a crop.  Rains began early in August and continued through the fall.  All through the early part of the summer hot winds prevailed.  Some of the rains in the latter part of the season were exceeding heavy, so that the ground in many places was flooded with water.  During the latter part of this year 1870 Mr. [Frank] Stafford settled with his mother and her family on Little Medicine Creek near the mouth.  About the same time Baronet Gow, Will Garrison and Joseph Hart settled there, and these were the pioneers on Little Medicine.  They were soon joined by Wiley Wilson and others.  The winter was remarkably mild and pleasant and very favorable for the maintenance of stock without grain.  Gow had two yoke of oxen and had no grain to feed them, but they lived through and came out in the spring in good order, having had nothing but buffalo grass to subsist on.

Gow was a great devotee of the ‘weed.’  He had been out about a month and was severely punished for want of it when he succeeded in getting half a dollar and came out post haste down the valley to the writer’s store to get tobacco–I should have said ‘tobaker.’  His chagrin can scarcely be imagined when he got to the store and found that he had lost his money.  His words fell thick and fast and most of them indicated that he had been brought up under some of the numerous forms of orthodox religion.  A caddy of bright navy seemed to intensify his disappointment.  On being handed an immense plug his dental outfit set to work in good earnest as though the making of ‘amber’ was the chief end of man and to expectorate it around the height of human happiness.  It was not expected at the time that the plug would ever be paid for but it was and hundreds of dollars more within the next two years by this same honest, hardy, good-natured Baronet Gow.  Mr. Frank Stafford was one of the first three commissioners appointed by the governor and was subsequently elected to the same office by the popular vote.  He still resides in single blessedness on Little Medicine.” — Osborne County Farmer, March 3, 1876, and July 7, 1876.

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.

Charles Elliott Mann – 1996 Inductee

The third of seven children, Charles Elliott Mann was born February 9, 1870, on a homestead near Blue Springs in Gage County, Nebraska. The son of the Reverend Henry and Maria (Minard) Mann, Charles was six years old when the family moved from Nebraska to Eastland, Texas. There his father took charge of the Methodist Church while Charles attended the local schools, graduating from Belle Plaine College. At the age of eighteen he went to work in the print shop of the Eastland Review. The next year the Mann family moved to Norton, Kansas, where Charles went to work for the local newspapers. He then worked for papers in Oberlin and Phillipsburg, Kansas, and at Gering, Nebraska. At Gering he met and married Ethel Lovell on April 24, 1901. They had three children, Janice, Stuart, and Charles.

In 1905 Mann came to Downs. In partnership with William Ransom he bought the Downs News. Eleven years later they acquired the rival Downs Times and merged the two weeklies. Man and Ransom’s partnership lasted a total of fifteen years, until Mann left in 1920 to become editor of the Osborne County Farmer.

A staunch Republican, Mann was elected Osborne County’s representative to the Kansas Legislature in 1918. Re-elected to a second term, Mann also served as Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives in 1923. Five years later he returned to the legislature as a state senator, serving two terms.

As editor of the Farmer Mann exerted influence across the state. He was a brilliant and talented writer whose column Down Near the Short Grass Roots was widely quoted. Mann was deeply interested in the history and traditions of Osborne County and did much to preserve the stories of the early days of the county. He was a member of the National Editorial Association and of the Rotary Club, Masonic Lodge, and Order of the Eastern Star in Osborne. In 1933 he was granted life membership in the Kansas Illustriana Society.

Mann’s first wife died in 1925. On September 28, 1927, Charles married again, this time to Laura (Booz) Smith, a widow with two children, Lola and Cyril. Mann continued as editor of the Farmer until 1942, when he stepped down after 23 years. In 1948 Mann moved to Topeka and served on the public relations staffs of Governors Frank Carlson and Edward Arn until his retirement.

“I remember him as a quiet, understated man, full of dignity, who was never happier than sitting back in a chair spinning stories for a small, appreciative audience . . . [He had] a keen sense of humor. He used to joke that he always voted for the best candidate – it wasn’t his fault if those were Republicans.” – Marilyn Mann, granddaughter.

Charles Elliott Mann passed away January 19, 1958, in Topeka and was laid to rest in the Osborne Cemetery. His death was marked and lamented far and wide across Kansas and Kansas House Resolution 15 was passed in his memory.

                                                                                                                      ORIGINAL MOTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS
House Resolution No. 15–Resolution Relating to the death of Charles E. Mann
“WHEREAS, Charles E. Mann, former member of the House of Representatives, and former Senator, departed this life January 19, 1958, in Topeka, Kansas, at the age of 87 years; and

“WHEREAS, Charles E. Mann was born February 9, 1870, in Blue Springs, Nebraska. He edited the Downs News from 1905 until 1920, and later was editor of the Osborne County Farmer for twenty-three years. He was a brilliant and talented writer and his column Down Near the Short Grass Roots was widely quoted in papers all over the state. Mr. Mann was vitally interested in the history and traditions of Osborne County. He moved to Topeka in 1948 to serve on the public relations staff of Gov. Frank Carlson and Gov. Ed Arn until he retired. Mr. Mann is survived by his widow, one daughter and one son, six grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and one sister. He was a member of the Lowman Memorial Church of Topeka the Masonic Lodge, Order of the Eastern Star and the Rotary Club in Osborne. He served in the House of Representatives from the 84th district during the 1919 and 1921 regular sessions, and the 1919 and 1920 special sessions of the Legislature; and as Senator from the 34th district during the 1929 and 1931 regular sessions and the 1930 special session of the Legislature; and was speaker of the House in 1923; and

“WHEREAS, In the death of the said Charles E. Mann, his community and the state have suffered a great loss: Now, therefore
“Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Kansas: That we extend to the surviving relatives of said Charles E. Mann, our sincere sympathy; and

“Be it further resolved: That the chief clerk of the House of Representatives be directed to send an enrolled copy of this resolution to each of the following-named relatives: His widow, Mrs. Laura Mann, 1278 College Avenue, Topeka, Kansas; his daughter, Mrs. Janice Newhouse, c/o Mrs. Laura Mann, 1278 College Avenue, Topeka, Kansas; his son, Dick Mann, 1116 Washburn Avenue, Topeka, Kansas; and his sister, Mrs. Anna Ritter, Phillipsburg, Kansas.” — JOURNAL OF THE HOUSE, January 27, 1958.

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.

Charles Jesse Jones – 1996 Inductee

 “There were three great types in the West:  Buffalo Bill, hunter and scout; Wild Bill Hickock, gunman; and Buffalo Jones, the preserver, who brought living things wherever he went.”  – Zane Grey.

Considered one of the most celebrated characters of his time, Charles Jesse “Buffalo” Jones was born January 31, 1844, in Money Township, McLean County, Illinois.  He was the third of twelve children born to Noah and Jane (Munden) Jones on the family farm, where Abraham Lincoln was a frequent visitor and family friend.  For the first seventeen years of his life Charles helped with the farm work.  In 1862 he entered Illinois Wesleyan University, but typhoid fever forced him to give up his studies after two years.  He thought to try his luck out West and so in 1866 he found himself in Troy, Kansas.

At Troy Charles started a nursery and built a stone house.  On January 20, 1869, he was married at Troy to Martha J. Walton.  Their union produced six children, four of whom are known: Charles, William, Jessie, and Olive.  While living in Troy, Charles took his first trip out to the buffalo range to hunt the American bison.  Intrigued by the great beasts and the money to be earned for their hides, he moved his family west in order to be closer to the range.  On January 1, 1872, the Jones family arrived in Osborne County, Kansas, settling on a homestead in Section 19 of Tilden Township.

 Anybody Know Him?

 “The Kansas City Times of October 7th contained a three-column writeup of Charles J. Jones, known to the world as ‘Buffalo’ Jones.  Jones died in Topeka some two weeks ago.  The articles says . . . Jones came to Kansas in 1866, going first to Doniphan County, but four years later settled on a claim in Osborne County, his home standing on the South Fork of the Solomon River . . . If ‘Buffalo’ Jones ever lived in Osborne County the editor of the Farmer never heard of it . . . If any of the old-timers know anything about ‘Buffalo’ Jones ever having lived here they will help out on a historical question by speaking up right now.  If Osborne County was ever the home of so famous a character as ‘Buffalo’ Jones the county is entitled to the honor and credit of it.” — Osborne County Farmer, October 16, 1919.

Yes, He Lived Here

“The Farmer’s article last week asking if anyone knew ‘Buffalo’ Jones when he lived in Osborne County soon brought forth conclusive proof that he was once a resident of Osborne County . . . C. A. Kalbfleisch, who now lives over at Harlan, writes us as follows regarding the Jones affair:  ‘I noticed your article in the Farmer of even date in regards to ‘Buffalo’ Jones and can tell you exactly where his homestead was.  It is located one mile south and one and a quarter west of Bloomington in TildenTownship.  In 1900 I bought this place from D. A. Rowles and among the papers turned over to me was the original patent from the government, dated, I think, 1874, and signed by U. S. Grant, president, to Charles J. Jones.  I talked at the time with Frank Stafford and he said this was ‘Buffalo’ Jones . . . .

L. F. Storer of BethanyTownship tells us he knew ‘Buffalo’ Jones well.  Jones taught a Sunday School class in Doniphan County and Mr. Storer was one of his pupils.  He says Jones used to visit at the home of his father frequently and they were intimate friends.  Jones was not much of a hunter here, but he did a lot of lassoing of buffalo.  He trained several of them to work as oxen.

J. E. Hahn is another who remembers Jones well.  Ed says his father often told him in later years of one of Jones’ hobbies.  He claimed to have the plans and a marked map of the place where a great fortune was buried in one of the Sandwich Islands [Hawaii].  He wanted J. W. Hahn to go with him and secure the treasure.  Jones, with all of his traveling in later years, evidently had forgotten all about that fortune, as history does not mention that he ever visited the Sandwich Islands.

John J. and Robert R. Hays knew ‘Buffalo’ Jones very well.  John says Jones came here from Troy, Doniphan County, in 1872 and stayed here, he thinks, three or four years.  His family was here that long, but after a year Jones used to be away a great deal on hunting trips or some other line of business.  John says he was a good-natured fellow and very likable, but also very visionary.” — OsborneCounty Farmer, October 23, 1919.

In Osborne County Jones divided his time between hunting and farming.  He started a nursery and served as Tilden Township’s justice of the peace.  In 1874 Jones was appointed Osborne County Undersheriff.  Often he was away on long hunting trips, where he learned by necessity the science and art of scouting.  On the range they began to call him “Buffalo” Jones (though never to his face) to differentiate him from “Dirty-Face” Jones and “Wrong Wheel” Jones, who were both also on the range.  In 1876 Jones had sold the homestead and settled his family in Sterling, Kansas.  Three years later he became one of the four founders of Garden City, Kansas, where Jones started a ranch and proceeded to make his mark on the community.  He was soon referred to as “Colonel” Jones, because, as he later put it in his autobiography, it was “the title awarded in the Old West when a man reached a certain level of popular esteem.”  This may indeed be the case, as it was Jones who convinced the Santa Fe Railroad to establish a station at Garden City, and it was Jones who in 1885 completed a stone courthouse and presented it and the surrounding block to the county as a gift.  He also served as the town’s first mayor and as Finney County’s first representative to the Kansas Legislature, where he worked alongside Hiram Bull, representative for Osborne County.  Jones predicted Bull’s death by an angry tamed elk.

A tame wild animal is the most dangerous of beasts.  My old friend, Dick Rock, a great hunter and guide out of Idaho, laughed at my advice and got killed by one of his three-year-old bulls.  I told him they knew him just well enough to kill him, and they did. 

Same with General Hiram Bull, a member of the Kansas Legislature, and two cowboys who went into a corral to tie up a tame elk at the wrong time . . . They had not studied animals as I had.  That tame elk killed all of them . . . You see, a wild animal must learn to respect a man.” — Buffalo Jones in his autobiography Buffalo Jones: Forty Years of Adventure (1899).

By 1886 Jones had realized that the wholesale slaughter of the buffalo would lead to their eventual extinction and regretted his role in it.  Between 1886 and 1889 he made four trips to the Texas panhandle to capture buffalo calves and turn them loose on his ranch.  Within three years he had assembled a herd of over one hundred and fifty animals; at the time the only other herd left in the continental United States was sheltered in Yellowstone National Park – a herd of only two hundred and fifty head.  In 1901 the two herds were merged, and from this new herd are descended most of the American bison in existence today.  Jones also purchased other private herds, including one from Canada that caused considerable controversy.  His exploits earned him a world-wide reputation and he was hailed everywhere as the Preserver of the American Bison.  In 1890 he started a second ranch near McCook, Nebraska, on which part of his enlarged herd were protected.  While some critics denounced his capturing buffalo as hastening their end forever as wild animals, he always defended himself by pointing out that if he did not do it, then the buffalo hunters would – and they would do all they could not to keep them alive.  In 1891 Jones made a trip to England with ten full grown buffalo.  The animals were not entirely sure about the idea of traveling on ship, but in the end they were delivered to the London Zoological Gardens and Jones became the talk of Europe after he presented the Prince of Wales with a magnificent buffalo robe.

But with all this activity Jones had overextended his dwindling finances and he lost everything in the end, including both ranches.  His family went back to Troy to live with his in-laws while he sought to reestablish himself.  In 1893 Jones made the Cherokee Strip run to Oklahoma Territory and secured land near Perry.  He then became sergeant-at-arms of the Oklahoma Legislature.  After a while he was reported to be on the Gulf Coast of Texas, promoting a railroad from Beaumont to Fort Bolivar on Galveston Bay.  Then he hit on a new scheme that once again brought him national attention – he would lead an expedition into the Arctic Circle that would lasso and capture musk oxen and bring them back alive; something that had never been achieved before.

On June 12, 1897, he set out.  At Fort Smith on the Slave River in Alberta, Canada, he took on a partner, John Shea, a Scotch trapper and trader, and attempted to locate and snare the wild oxen.  But blizzards and other rough weather thwarted his plans; in the end they did manage to capture five calves, but the local Indians slit their throats for a native ritual.  The discouraged partners gave up the whole venture and Jones started on the way back home.  The following year he briefly joined the Alaska Gold Rush.  His partner Shea went on to Dawson in the Yukon Territory while Jones thought it was high time to get back to his family and boarding a steamer set sail for Seattle and the United States.

Jones reunited with his family back in Troy on October 8, 1898, after five years of separation.  With Colonel Henry Inman he penned his autobiography, Buffalo Jones: Forty Years of Adventure, which appeared in print in 1899.  In July 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt appointed him game warden of Yellowstone National Park, a position he held until September 1905 when he resigned in a dispute with the U.S. Army, who were then in charge of the Park.  The next year he established a ranch along the northern rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona Territory.  He had once before tried to cross domestic cattle with the buffalo, which he dubbed “the cattalo,” and had failed, and here he tried again.  But the cattalo never became popular.  It was also here that a dentist from New York City, Zane Grey, visited Jones in the spring of 1907 in hopes that his health would improve.  Together they roped and relocated mountain lions and Grey wrote his first book, Last of the Plainsmen, with Jones as the hero.

“Buffalo Jones was great in all those remarkable qualities common to the men who opened up the West.  Courage, endurance, determination, hardihood, were developed in him to the highest degree.  No doubt something of Buffalo Jones crept unconsciously into all the great fiction characters I have created.” — Zane Grey.

In 1910 Jones made his first trip to Africa to rope wild animals.  A silent film and lecture tour on the trip were national sensations and his previous exploits were also given much publicity.  Four years later, at the age of seventy, Jones made a second trip to Africa, this time to rope and capture gorillas.  On this trip Jones contracted jungle fever and suffered a severe heart attack.  His health never recovered and he spent his last years in Topeka, Kansas, where he died October 2, 1919.

Charles “Buffalo” Jones was buried in the family plot in the Valley View Cemetery at Garden City.  He never fitted in with the stereotype of the westerner found in dime novels or in movies and television – he did not gamble or use coffee, tea, tobacco, or liquor – and so his legendary life has faded from the American consciousness.  In 1982 his successful preservation efforts to save the American bison earned him a posthumous induction into the National Buffalo Association’s Buffalo Hall of Fame.  His character, courage, and indomitable spirit as a child of the American West has also earned him a permanent place in the Osborne County Hall of Fame.

Jones with his buffalo herd near Garden City, Kansas.
Jones with his buffalo herd near McCook, Nebraska in the 1890s.
Standing: William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody & Charles J. “Buffalo” Jones. Kneeling: Gordon “Pawnee Bill” Lillie. Photo taken in 1910.
Jones’ House Rock Valley ranch house on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
Jones climbing up a tree to secure a mountain lion. Through his efforts dozens of lions were caught and released alive into remote areas of the Grand Canyon.
This statue of Charles Jesse “Buffalo” Jones can be found on the grounds of the Finney County Courthouse, Garden City, Kansas.
Part of the buffalo herd founded by Jones on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake of Utah.
Jones with yoked team of buffalo.
Jones with Zane Gray, 1907.
Cover from modern edition of Zane Gray’s first bestseller, “Roping Lions in the Grand Canyon,” featuring Charles “Buffalo” Jones.
The Charles “Buffalo” Jones exhibit in the Finney County Historical Museum at Garden City, Kansas.
Charles Jesse Jones grave in Valley View Cemetery at Garden City, Kansas.