Alice Gannette (Dimond) Young – 1996 Inductee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Katherine (Chapin) House – 1996 Inductee

Katherine Chapin, better known as “Katie,” was born near Monmouth, Illinois, on December 13, 1870. She came with her parents, Samuel and Lydia (Van Fleet) Chapin, to Osborne County in 1874, settling in Ross Township. Katie attended country school and later enrolled in the Salina Normal Institute in Salina, Kansas.

For two years beginning in 1890, Katie taught in the Green Ridge School, District Number 13. In 1892, due to the persistence of Katie and others, the Downs High School came into being. A two-year curriculum of Latin and English was offered to the initial student body of six. Katie served as the first female teacher in the high school and as the assistant principal from September 1892 to May 1897.

In 1897 Katie married Ross H. House, who in 1901 became principal at the high school. They had one daughter, Eleanor. Katie’s interest in education and in the community led her in 1905 to work closely with Mrs. Chattie Allen and Mrs. Alma Duden to begin the first public library in Downs. She instilled in her students a desire for knowledge that stayed with them the rest of their lives. “I never see an unusual stone, or enjoy Nature in any way, that I don’t think of her in Geology class,” commented one former pupil.

The Houses moved to Denver, Colorado, in 1915 when Ross was appointed head of the YMCA. In 1926 they moved to Washington, D.C., where Katie became a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and other community and church organizations. When her husband’s health began to fail the Houses returned to Colorado and settled in Aurora. Katie became active in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. From 1933 through 1940 she served as the director of the WCTU Department of International Relations for Peace and Freedom. She was also involved in the WCTU’s Scientific Temperance Instruction and Alcohol Education. Her work enabled her to lecture and present educational programs in every corner of Colorado. Katie organized the Aurora, (Colorado) Women’s Club, and in 1940 she was elected justice of the peace of Aurora, a position she held until her death on June 29, 1944. She was laid to rest in the Fair Mount Cemetery in Aurora.