Francis Albert Schmidt – 2014 Inductee

On this date, August 24, 2014, the Osborne County Hall of Fame is pleased to present to the world the fifth and last of the members of the OCHF Class of 2014:


Francis Schmidt with his trademark bowtie.
Francis Schmidt with his trademark bowtie.

He has been called one of the greatest college football coaches of all time.  He forever changed both college and professional football with his invention of the I-Formation and sowing the seeds for the West Coast Offense.  And, he was born in Downs, Osborne County, Kansas.  We welcome Francis Albert Schmidt to the Osborne County Hall of Fame.

Francis was indeed born in Downs on December 3, 1885.  His father, Francis W. Schmidt, was an itinerant studio photographer.  His mother, Emma K. Mohrbacher, a native Kansan.  Francis and Emma would have one other child, a daughter, Katherine.

Francis as part of the University of Nebraska football team in 1905.
Francis as part of the University of Nebraska football team in 1905.

As a photographer the elder Francis stayed in a particular location for only a few years before moving on.   After stops in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Kansas, the family was living in Fairbury, Nebraska, when young Francis graduated from Fairbury High School in May 1903.  A year later he enrolled in the University of Nebraska.

Francis participated in football, baseball, basketball, track and the cadet band at the University of Nebraska while earning a law degree in just three years, graduating in 1907.  Due to his mother having a serious illness Francis put aside his law career and helped his father with the photography studio in Arkansas City, Kansas, and taking care of his mother, who died later that summer.  He helped the local high school football team that fall, as they had no coach, and even coached the boys and girls high school basketball teams that winter, leading the girls (with his sister Katherine as the center) to an undefeated season and the Kansas state championship.

For the 1908-1909 school year Francis was offered the position of high school athletic director.  He held it until the spring of 1916 and continued to coach both football and basketball with amazing success.  Then Henry Kendall College in Tulsa Oklahoma, hired him to be their football, basketball, and baseball head coach.  His time there was interrupted by World War I, through which he served as a military instructor in bayonet, rising to the rank of captain. After the war he returned to Henry Kendall College (later renamed the University of Tulsa) and his 1919 football team roared its way to a record of 8-0-1.  In the 1919 season Kendall defeated the vaunted Oklahoma Sooners, but a 7-7 tie with Oklahoma A&M that year prevented a perfect season.   Francis became known as “Close the Gates of Mercy” Schmidt because of his team’s tendency to run up the score on inferior teams. During Schmidt’s three years at Kendall the football team won two conference championships as they defeated Oklahoma Baptist 152-0, St. Gregory 121-0, and Northeast Oklahoma 151-0, as well as a 92-0 defeat of East Central Oklahoma  and 10 other victories by more than 60 points each time.

Francis and his team at Henry Kendall College in 1920.
Francis and his team at Henry Kendall College in 1920.

It was around this time that Francis married Evelyn Keesee.  The couple would have no children.

Francis was then hired to be the head football, basketball, and baseball coach at the University of Arkansas , where he compiled a 42-20-3 record in football for the Razorbacks from 1922-1928 and a 113-22 record in basketball – winning four Southwest Conference Championships in basketball in 1926, 1927, 1928, and 1929 – as the school’s first-ever such coach.

From Arkansas Francis went on to become the head football coach at Texas Christian University (TCU) where he won nearly 85% of his games. Schmidt did everything to extremes, including recruiting. He refereed high-school football games, but spent much of his time telling select players why they should commit to TCU in the days before athletic scholarships.  In five years at Texas Christian, 1929-1934, Francis compiled a 46-6-5 record and won two Southwest Conference championships.

At this time Ohio State University was a backwater in terms of major college football.  Desperate to build a winning program, they took a chance on Schmidt, their third choice for the head coaching job.   At 6 feet 2 and 200 pounds, Schmidt was a large man with a prominent nose and distinctive drawl.  Schmidt used his World War One bayonet drill instructor experience in running his practices.  This, together with a loud, raucous and colorful approach to the English language, created an imposing character the likes of which had never been heard on the serene and conservative Ohio State campus. “He was Foghorn Leghorn in a three-piece suit and bow tie”, recalled one former player.

Schmidt arrived in Columbus on February 28, 1934. Within hours, the coach had distinguished alumni, faculty members and reporters on their hands and knees combing the carpets of a hotel conference room. Asked for his offensive strategies, the Downs, Kansas native dropped to the floor, pulled nickels and dimes from his pockets and diagramed his innovative visions for the Buckeyes. The Columbus Dispatch columnist Ed Penisten depicted the bizarre scene:  “He was a zealot, full of excitement, confidence and quirks. Converts began to join him on the floor including OSU assistant football coaches.  He moved the nickels and dimes around like a kaleidoscope.”

Francis soon proved his genius for offensive football.  In his first year at Ohio State he stunned the opposition by displaying – in the same game – the single wing, double wing, short punt and, for the first time ever, his own invention: the I-formation.  He used reverses, double reverses and spinners, and his Buckeyes of the mid-nineteen thirties were the most lateral-pass conscience team anyone had ever witnessed.  He threw laterals, and then laterals off of laterals downfield, and it was not unusual for three men to handle the ball behind the line of scrimmage.   In his first two years he got touchdowns in such bunches that Ohio State immediately was dubbed “The Scarlet Scourge.” He was a bow-tied, tobacco-chewing, hawk-faced, white-haired, profane practitioner of the football arts – modern football’s first roaring madman on the practice field and the sidelines, and so completely zonked out on football that legend ties him to the greatest football story of the twentieth century:

So caught up was Francis in his diagrams and charts that there was hardly a waking moment when he wasn’t furiously scratching away at them.  He took his car into a filling station for an oil change but stayed right in the car while the mechanics hoisted it high above the subterranean oil pit to do their work.  Francis Schmidt, immersed in his X’s and O’s, simply forgot where he was.  For some reason he decided to get out of the car, still concentrating on his diagram.  He opened the door on the driver’s side and stepped out into the void, which ended eight feet south of him in the pit.  He refused to explain the limp which he carried with him to practice that day.

At Francis’ first football banquet after a sensational first season capped by a glorious 34-0 shellacking of Michigan, Schmidt bawled forth two classic and historic comments.  “Let’s not always be called Buckeyes,” he brayed.  “After all, that’s just some kind of nut, and we ain’t nuts here. It would be nice if you guys in the press out there would call us “Bucks” once in a while.  That’s a helluva fine animal, you know.” Ringing applause. And then:

As for Michigan – Well, shucks, I guess you’ve all discovered they put their pants on one leg at a time just like everybody else.” Bedlam.  It was the apparently the first time the homely Texas line had ever been uttered in public and it swept the nation.  It also launched a “Pants Club” at Ohio State; ever since 1934 each player and a key booster who is part of a victory over Michigan is awarded a tiny little golden replica of a pair of football pants.

The Schmidt Gold Pants Charm given to every member of an Ohio State team that defeats Michigan.
The Schmidt Gold Pants Charm is given to every member of an Ohio State team that defeats Michigan.

The Ohio State Buckeyes became a national sensation in 1935. They won their first four games, setting up an undefeated showdown against Notre Dame. The game attracted a capacity crowd of 81,018 and has been often called “The Game of the Century.”  The Buckeyes surged to a 13-0 lead, but their advantage vanished in the fourth quarter. The Irish scored twice in the final two minutes to beat the Buckeyes 18-13. The Buckeyes regrouped and won their final three games, including a 38-0 pasting of Michigan, to win a share of the Big Ten title – their first in 15 years.

Schmidt, however, was haunted by the Notre Dame loss. It was the first in a string of big-game losses, and critics started to question whether his reliance on laterals, shovel passes and trick plays worked against top-quality opponents. Schmidt never worried about “getting back to basics,” because he didn’t stress them. His long practices were light on fundamentals such as blocking and tackling. Perhaps fueled by paranoia, Schmidt didn’t delegate authority, which often reduced his assistants to spectators at practice. He kept the master playbook locked away; players’ copies contained only their specific assignments and no hint at what their 10 teammates were doing. Among his shortcomings, Schmidt never understood the importance of mentorship and discipline. In Schmidt’s last seasons, key players became academically ineligible; others showed up late to practices. Team morale suffered. After the 1940 season in which the Buckeyes won four games and lost four, Schmidt resigned amidst heavy criticism from both fans and the administration.  His total win-loss-tie record with the Buckeyes was 39-16-1 with two Big Ten championships.

The only position that Francis could then find as a head coach was at the University of Idaho.  In 1941 his team posted a 4-5 record, and in 1942 they finished 3-6-1.  Then the school suspended football because of World War II.

Francis never coached again, ending with a college coaching record of 158-57-11.  He stayed on campus to help condition service trainees, but barely a year later he fell into a long illness and died at St. Luke’s Hospital in Spokane, Washington, on September 19, 1944, at the age of 58. Francis was laid to rest beside his parents in the Riverview Cemetery at Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas.

The legacy of Schmidt has endured thanks to Sid Gillman, a Pro Football Hall of Fame coach who was a Buckeye end in the early 1930s and an assistant under Schmidt.  Gillman is considered the father of the modern passing offense, and specifically the West Coast Offense which he used as a head coach.  He always gave credit to Francis Schmidt that the principles of that offense were based on what he was taught by Schmidt.  Gillman’s teachings had significant impact on the careers of later National Football League icons such as Al Davis and Bill Walsh.

Francis Schmidt’s imprint on the collegiate game remains well into the modern era as well. In the 2006 Fiesta Bowl, Boise State used three trick plays – a hook and lateral, Statue of Liberty, and wide-receiver pass – to stun Oklahoma 43-42.  Schmidt had made all three plays famous while using them at Ohio State.

75 years after Schmidt coached his first game at Ohio State, a new book profiling his life was published. Frantic Francis, written by Brett Perkins (University of Nebraska Press, 2009) examines not only his career but also his effect on the modern game

Francis Albert Schmidt was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971.  He is also a member of the Halls of Fame at Nebraska, Tulsa, Arkansas, Texas Christian, and Ohio State. And now he is the newest member of the Osborne County Hall of Fame.

Francis when he was head coach at Ohio State University.
Francis when he was head coach at Ohio State University.
Evelyn Keesee Schmidt, wife of Francis.  Photo courtesy of Caroline Cain.
Evelyn Keesee Schmidt, wife of Francis. Photo courtesy of Caroline Cain.
News story about Francis and Evelyn Schmidt while he was coach at Ohio State University.  Courtesy Caroline Cain.
News story about Francis and Evelyn Schmidt while he was coach at Ohio State University. Courtesy Caroline Cain.
The official 1971 letter announcing Francis Schmidt's induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.  Courtesy of Caroline Cain.
The official 1971 letter announcing Francis Schmidt’s induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. Courtesy of Caroline Cain.
Cover of the book Frantic Francis, published in 2009.
Cover of the book Frantic Francis, published in 2009.


Schmidt Francis Albert tombstone
The grave of Francis Schmidt in Arkansas City, Kansas.

SOURCES: Barbara Wyche; Frantic Francis, written by Brett Perkins, (University of Nebraska Press, 2009); Columbus Dispatch, Thursday, September 3, 2009;  Topeka Daily Capital, May 16, 2012; The Spokesman-Review, November 6, 2009; University of Arkansas Athletics Hall of Fame; University of Tulsa Athletics Hall of Fame; College Football Hall of Fame.


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.

Dwight Harrison Hardman – 1996 Inductee

Osborne industrialist Dwight Harrison Hardman devoted most of his career to the lumber business, although he spent some time in the construction field as well. He built up the Hardman Lumber Company, of which he was the president; and he was absent from his commercial duties at the time of World War II to serve as an officer in the United State Navy.

Dwight was born on February 19, 1897, in Phillipsburg, Kansas, and was the son of Marion W. and Geme (Edick) Hardman. His father is the subject of an accompanying sketch. Attending the public schools of his native city, he graduated from high school there in 1915.  He then entered the University of Kansas, where he was a student for two years. He left to enter naval service for the first time in World War I.  Assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, he was chosen for officer’s training while there and transferred to Northwestern University.

Except for a period of some twenty years spent in highway construction and the building of government airports, the remainder of his active career was devoted to the development of the lumber and building materials business.  In 1925 Dwight went into partnership with a man by the name of Hall to form the Hall-Hardman Construction Company, headquartered in Alton.

On April 8, 1922, Dwight Hardman was married to Mabel Parker at Junction City, Kansas.  They established their home in Alton, residing there until 1945 when they moved to Osborne.  In 1940 Alton had a new airport, built one mile west and one mile north of town.  The airport began with Jess Daffendoll, who had a long time “bug” for flying.  While shopping for a plane and talking about the idea, the “bug” also hit Dwight Hardman.  Between the two the airport was conceived and the field laid out.  Since Dwight owned and operated a large contracting business in the area he furnished the machinery and cleared away tons of cacti, filled in holes, and rolled the ground until it resembled a billiard table.  A number of people became interested in flying after the two inaugurated it, including Marian Hardman, Dwight’s sister.  Dwight was a charter member of the Everett Storer Post Number 87 of the American Legion atAlton, and the legion hall, now called Hardman Hall, was made possible through his generosity.

Most of his career, however, was identified with the Hardman Lumber Company. This firm had been started in 1909 with three yards. He played an active part in building up the organization prior to re-entering the United State Navy at the time of World War II.

It was in November, 1942, that he was sworn in as a lieutenant commander in the United States Naval Engineering Corps., and soon afterwards Dwight was appointed officer in charge of the 57th Battalion of Seabees (Construction Battalions). Assigned to duty in the Pacific, he spent one year in the New Hebrides, and moved with his battalion from there to the advance naval base on the Isle of Manus.  Commander Hardman returned to the United States in September, 1944, and shortly afterwards was ordered to the School Military Government, Princeton University.

On returning once again to peacetime pursuits, Dwight became president of the Hardman Lumber Company in 1945. In 1947 he completed the construction of new headquarters in Osborne. Previous to that time the firm’s main offices had been at Downs. By 1956 the lumber firm operated about thirty yards in western Kansas, eastern Colorado and Nebraska and carried on a large wholesale business as well as retail.

Dwight was a member of the Kansas State Chamber of Commerce, and as a veteran of naval service in two World Wars, he belonged to Everett Storer Post No. 87, American Legion. He was a member of Downs Lodge No. 204, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, the Consistory of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite at Topeka, Commandery No. 59 of the Knights Templer, at Osborne, and Isis Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Salina. He was also a member of the lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, at Phillipsburg, and had been a member of Phi Gamma Delta social fraternity from his college days.

In his politics, Dwight was an independent Republican, and was a conservative in his views on foreign policy. He was a progressive, however, in his attitude toward social trends. A few years before the end of his life he became a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Something of the nature of his character and his active mind is suggested in these lines from a review of his career in the columns of a local newspaper:

“Dwight was not provincial in his thinking, but rather catholic and universal. His vast studies of world history, economics and politics gave him an insight into modern diplomacy and daily drama that but few seem to grasp in our time . . . Dwight learned courage from his parents, he learned fortitude in the Navy and in business . . . His business associates and ardent friends feel a deep loss . . .”

In 1955 the Hardmans were flying to Washington, D.C., where Dwight was to be a delegate to a United States Chamber of Commerce meeting, when Dwight passed away at the Hotel President in Kansas City on April 29, 1955.  His funeral was held at the Downs Congregational Church and he was buried in the Downs Cemetery.  In 1959 Dwight’s widow gave the land for Hardman Park to the City of Osborne in his memory.

James Wilboarn Sylvester Cross – 1996 Inductee

Few doctors anywhere have had longer or more uniformly successful careers than James Wilboarn Sylvester Cross.  James was born to John and Harriet Cross on March 22, 1867, in the town of Sigourney, Iowa.  In 1874 he came to Kansas with his family in a covered wagon near Portis.  He went to school in a sod dugout before attending Gould College in Harlan for two years.

Cross taught rural school in Osborne County for seven years.  In 1892 he married Charlotte Austin, with whom he had three children: Frank, Charles, and Wayne.  The next year Cross entered Northwestern Medical College in Saint Joseph, Missouri.  He graduated with a degree in medicine and surgery and obtained a license to practice in Kansas.

“It was much too easy to get a license in those days,” he recalled later.  “If a boy could read and write he could gain admission to almost any medical school in the country.  Today medicine has become a profession for rich men’s sons.  That cuts off the farmer at both ends.  He can’t afford to give his own son a medical education; and as for the rich man’s son, well, what rich man’s son would take up practice here in Portis, for example?”

Cross moved back to Portis and served two years as Osborne County Coroner.  He went to Plainville in 1896 and practiced medicine there for eight years.  Then, in the spring of 1904, he moved to the little Colorado settlement of Norwood, in San Miguel County.  He was the only man there who did not carry a six-shooter.  By 1908 James and Charlotte had divorced, and James then married Ethel Davenport.  They had a son, Loren, and three daughters, Ethel, Beulah, and Ruth.

Six years later the Cross family moved to Telluride, Colorado.  Cross was elected mayor of Telluride, and for one term in 1917-18 he was elected as a representative in the Colorado Legislature.  During World War I he served in the Army Medical Corps with the rank of captain.  The Colorado Medical Society in 1917 named him to their Medical Roll of Honor for his role in the war.

At war’s end Cross moved his family back to Kansas, first to Harlan, then to Portis in 1924.  In 1929 he ran once again for the office of Osborne County Coroner and was duly elected to the first of twelve consecutive terms, stepping down from the post in 1952.  He moved to Osborne in 1943 and was active in numerous organizations, including the American Legion and the Odd Fellows.  He was a member of the Masonic Lodge for sixty-four years and filled several state offices in the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

James Cross epitomized the country doctor.  In his sixty years in the profession he made house calls in cars, buggies, lumber wagons, on horseback, and even afoot; and on several occasions he pumped a handcar to get to a railway station from which he could reach a patient.  He died October 16, 1955, in Osborne and was buried in the Osborne Cemetery.

Harold Dermont Arend – 1997 Inductee

Harold Dermont Arend was born October 3, 1893, on a farm northwest of Downs in Ross Township, Osborne County, Kansas.  The son of Franklin and Susanne (Bowers) Arend, Harold,  or “Dutch” as he was known all his life, attended the local schools and graduated from Downs High School in 1913.  Between 1914 and 1917 he taught school in Osborne County at Greenwood Rural School, District Number 44, and in the Osborne city school system.  He was a student at the University of Kansas in Lawrence when the United States entered World War I in 1917.  Dutch enlisted and became a fighting “doughboy” in the American Expeditionary Forces to France, where as a first lieutenant he saw action in the Argonne Forest and elsewhere and was a Purple Heart recipient.  After his discharge in 1919 he was employed for a time by the McPike Drug Company of Kansas City, Missouri.  On June 28, 1926, he married Hildegarde Krobst in Kansas City.  Hildegarde had experience in the ladies’ ready-to-wear business, so the couple settled in Dallas, Texas, where they operated a wholesale ladies’ ready-to-wear house for ten years.

In 1937 the Arends moved to Beloit, Kansas, and opened a ladies’ ready-to-wear shop.  Later Dutch also operated the 24 Grill restaurant.  A life member of both the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas and the Kansas Congress of Parents and Teachers, Dutch also became a major figure in local affairs, holding membership in the Beloit Lions Club (as charter member and past president), the Masonic Lodge, the Order of the Eastern Star in Downs, and the Mystic Shrine at Salina, Kansas.  He was a member of the board of directors for the Beloit Community Hospital and was active in both the Boys Scouts and American Legion organizations at the local, district, and state levels.  Dutch also served three terms as president of the Beloit Chamber of Commerce and was a director in the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, as well as a member and chairman of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce Industrial Council.

“H. D. Arend has probably given more time and talent to state and community work than any other one person in Mitchell County.  He was selected in 1950 for the Who’s Who in the Midwest and the reason for the choice is [that] he was among the best known men and women of the Central and Midwestern states in all lines of useful and reputable achievements and was selected on account of special prominence in the creditable lines of effort.” — Beloit Daily Call, October 3, 1955.

In August 1942 Dutch began serving the first of three terms as Mitchell County Representative in the Kansas legislature.  In the legislature he was noted both for his wisdom and school experience in working with the various committees that dealt with school district reorganization and for his term as chairman of the House Committee on Education.  For ten years he was the local Home Service Director for the American Red Cross, and in July 1947 he was appointed Mitchell County Probate Judge to serve out an unexpired term of office, which ended in November 1948.  A stroke in 1951 slowed down his busy life, possibly brought on by over-exertion in his zeal to serve his fellow citizens.  He was in and out of hospitals after that, and spent a year in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in hopes of improving his health.  Harold Arend died in Beloit on February 11, 1956.  He was buried in the Downs Cemetery.