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(published weekly in the "Prairie Sun" Meade, KS

by Nancy Ohnick

DECEMBER 18, 2012      

Well folks, I guess this is my last “Week at the Museum” column. It’s been fun sharing the happenings at the Museum with all of you over the years. I will concentrate now on our Face Book page and keep posting what’s going on. If you haven’t been there… search Meade County Historical Museum on Face Book, and be sure and click on the “like” link to become our friend… if you do that you’ll be notified when we post.

Over the weekend I got into Janae’s files to see if I could easily take up where she left off making the pages for the obituary books. I don’t see any problem, except that while I’m doing that something else goes undone. It’s a good thing she got as far as she did. Between her and Frances (who has been searching the microfilmed newspapers for the obits) the last decade of the 20th century is just about done. I can’t tell you what a gift this is to anyone who searches family history. 

It’s really quiet at the Museum these days… everyone’s getting ready for Christmas. We didn’t do much holiday decorating. Rebecca decorated the little “town” in the lobby by putting down snow and Christmas trees and snowmen. It looks really cute.

If you are planning your end-of-the-year giving for tax purposes, please consider the Meade County Historical Society. Did you know we are a tax-exempt organization? We had a great response to our annual membership drive this year, but even with those gifts we are finding ourselves struggling to make it to the end of the year. We borrow to make our payroll, but then that has to be paid back from the new budget in January, and before you know it, we’re short again. Our address is PO Box 893, Meade, KS 67864.

We have some great history books in our gift shops, both at the Museum and the Dalton Gang Hideout, as well as other unique items that might help you fill your gift list. You won’t have to pay admission at the Hideout if all you want to do is shop… and you never have to pay admission at the Museum.

If you’re looking for “something to do” with those holiday guests, bring them to the Museum. You might just find some of your own family history! Merry Christmas!

DECEMBER 9, 2012

It's been a busy week here at the Museum. We started out Monday having our monthly board meeting. We seem to have all the reservations made for the MCHS Annual Meeting which will be held in Meade, at the Forst Center, on February 2, 2013... so mark your calendars now!

Our speaker at the Annual Meeting will be Lon Smith. Lon is executive director of the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita, but he also just happens to be George and Lavona Martin's son-in-law. When I told the other board members that Lon had offered to speak to us for free... they jumped on it, so I called Lon and set the date with him. He will tell us of the history of Kansas aviation... something we haven't had before.

I had visited with several people lately about the moving of the school building from our farm lot over to the lot north of the Museum... there seems to be a lot of interest in the project of late so I brought it up again on Monday to the Board. We all agreed that the first thing we have to do is find out what it will cost to move the buildings. I called a house moving contractor the next day and set up a meeting for Friday, but he didn't show up, so I don't know where we go from here. Norman and I both were a little put out that we waited all day for this guy and nothing happened. We found another contractor at Victoria and I have emailed them to see if they would be interested in coming to Meade. It looks like it would be a win-win if we could free up that lot for business use and at the same time make it a lot more convenient for us to maintain our property. We are so spread out now we can't properly care for all of it.

We got a nice accession from Pat Smith this week. He was in the Museum and noticed the to-scale models we have on the top of the lobby wall of different kinds of wagons, and he said, "I have a wagon you can have if you want it." He brought it in a few days later and it is really nice... a fancy black buggy with two seats, pulled by two white horses. Rebecca and I put it up on the wall today in line with the wagons and it looks great! I don't know who made this model, but it has a lot of detail. One of the covered wagons we have was made by school boys in 1939, and was donated to the Museum by Madge Elliot. We also have a Weber wagon which was handcrafted by J.V. Blazer from Hooker, OK.

I got a call from Pratt County Museum with the offer of a gift, but I haven't figured out how to get it here yet. They have a matched set of bicycles hooked together by a gadget made my Meade Manufacturing back in 1965, called a "Buddy Bike" which hooks the bikes up side by side. I don't know where we will put this thing, but it will be great to have something made by Meade Manufacturing. The folks at Pratt thought we might like it as they were getting rid of it because it doesn't have anything to do with Pratt. They emailed photos of the bike set and I can't wait to see it in person. If anyone is going through Pratt with a pickup, please let me know!

This is a sad week for us here at the Museum as we will be loosing Janae Remple who has worked for us since June, 2010. Janae is moving on to pursue a career in journalism in Hillsboro, and we are all proud of her, but will miss her terribly. She has done an impressive body of work here in historical records and has helped us tremendously with our goal of getting our research library caught up-to-date and useful. It won't be the same without her.

DECEMBER 2, 2012

I have worked the weekend and it was not completely lonely at the Museum, we actually had visitors... looking at the guest book, the other girls had a little traffic this week also. I had to smile at one entry on the 28th... Mrs. Pennington's preschool came by and they all signed their own names (really big)... those entries tend to stand out.

Much to my relief, all the boxes and tubs of photos are finally sorted. I finished that project on Saturday and put the containers all away. The Museum library looks a lot better without all the clutter. We would welcome anyone who wants to come by and sift through the box marked "unidentified." It is an archive box filled to the top with photos of folks we don't know... some of them look familiar to me, but I can't quite call up their names. Not all of these photos are old... some of them are from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. I think we inherited photos from the newspaper... they are of kids, weddings, couples, etc. If you would like to look and help us identify, simply ask for the box... you can sit in the library and sift to your heart's content.

I posted to our new Face Book page this week and included a photo of the bison rib-rasp I told about last week. That appears to be the official name of the contraption that makes the sound of the male buffalo. I also went to You Tube and searched "buffalo growl" and sure enough... that's the sound! If you haven't checked out our Face Book page, go there and become a friend. The name of the page is Meade County Historical Museum.

Alma sent me an email with some interesting information... and I quote: "This quip is too good to miss: Iva Grim Stalder's obit. The following is a portion of a letter she wrote to Laurence Edwards in April 1981, with some Meade History: The Belle Meade school was first school built near the John Blair place about 7 miles from now Meade in 1880's. A small frame building maintained by subscription for 3 months. One of the first teachers was John B. Innis, $20 a month. When the county was organized it was District #1." You have to understand, with Alma and I, any information about a rural school is dear to our hearts.

As luck would have it I was just working with an old document that is titled a "Teacher's Contract" and it is signed by John B. Innis. The document states what the duties of a teacher are and how he/she should conduct themselves in the course of their job. John also wrote in cursive all around the margins... "And I agree to appear in the same humor before my school each day, as far as possible, and I further agree to keep (something) at all times." I would love to know what that missing word is... I just can't quite read the script. It is dated September 1, 1890, and by the time John signed this contract, he was making $25 per month and working in District 28. The notation on the back says it was given to us by his son, E.E. Innis.

Please keep our gift shop in mind when you are Christmas shopping. We have a good selection of history books about this area... some by local authors. We also have some handmade jewelry and other items that are one-of-a-kind (like the Kansas rain gage magnet... you will have to see this one to believe it.)

NOVEMBER 25, 2012

Well... here it is 4:00 PM Sunday afternoon, Thanksgiving weekend, and we have had virtually no visitors all weekend long. I'm surprised... I thought people would be home to visit and looking for something to do, but I guess shopping is the recreation for this weekend.

I didn't waste my time, though, I finally tackled those tubs of photographs in the Museum library. I sorted photos for three days straight. I have one archive box full of "identified people" and one of "unidentified people." Some photos I put right in family files if they had a name, some I sorted into our photo drawers under the town names or schools. I still have two boxes left, but at least I can take those big old tubs out of the Library.

My next step will be to sort through the "identified" box and file them in the family files, making new files where I don't have them. There is just no end to the organizing work in a museum... this could go on for a long time. I don't mind though, I love this stuff!

I had a visit from Larry Lemaster this afternoon... he showed me a binder where he had placed one of his collections. It is a collection of military "money" that the government uses to pay their soldiers in the field of battle (where ever that conflict is going on.) I didn't even know such a thing existed... they were very interesting. This isn't just WWI and WWII... they still do this today. Larry offered to show his collection sometime and we tentatively settled on Memorial Day next spring. I'm sure we could pull some uniforms out of the closet and come up with a gallery full. Anyone out there know anything about uniforms? We have many, but I'm not sure what era they belong in.

We just received an item I ordered from a vendor when I attended the Kansas Museum Association meeting last month. This vendor, Terry Powell, is an archaeologist and makes things that are replicas of items the Plains Indians used. What I purchased was a buffalo call that is made from a buffalo rib bone that has been notched, called a bison rib rasp. An open gourd is used, over which you lay the buffalo rib, then run a stick or another smaller bone across the ribs. Terry explained that the sound this produces is the sound the male buffalo makes, and the Indians used them when hunting. It is so interesting, and I thought it would be a great teaching aid when we have tours of school children. The kids are very interested in the Indian display and we teach them many things about the buffalo and what each part was used for. Makes me look forward to a school tour (and I didn't think I would ever say that!)

I've been posting regularly to our Face Book page: Meade County Historical Museum. We need FRIENDS! Go there an "like" us on Face Book... and get all the chatter from the Museum.

NOVEMBER 18, 2012

It has  been a slow week traffic-wise here at the Museum, and it will be short one day next week with the holiday, but I am hoping that folks will come home to visit and come by the Museum. We will also have a lot of travelers on the highway so maybe  things will pick up.

We got a nice acquisition this week. Remember Ola Granger who was the county superintendent of our rural schools for all those many years? Her niece, Dorothy, gave us a nice framed pencil drawing she did which is supposed to be a picture of the house on their farmstead north of Meade. Does anyone know where the Granger family lived?

I mentioned last week that we had lost the top to our smoke snuffer in the wind and before the paper could even come out, Alma spotted it down by Trends beauty shop, so Frances went down there and retrieved it. We are glad to have it back... the thing is kind of ugly, but does a nice job for us.

I told the girls that I would work so they could have off this week for Thanksgiving and they took me up on it. I should have several days in a row next week to get some great project done. I hope to get to the photograph project. I still have tubs of old photos in the Library awaiting my attention. I have heard through the grapevine that KeAnne Langford, who did a few intern hours on our photos this summer, has graduated and found a job at a museum. I am hoping she will come by over the holidays and show me where she left off.

I have trying to keep our new FaceBook page up-to-date, and I'm sure I will have more to post there next week also. We have several new friends. Remember all you have to do is "like" us on FaceBook to become our friend and keep up with all the chatter. Our page is titled Meade County Historical Museum.

OCTOBER 28, 2012

I'm back from Newton where I attended the Kansas Museums Association annual conference from Wednesday through Friday. This is the first time I have gone to such a meeting since taking the curator position at the Museum and I must say... it was well worth the three days I spent. I learned a lot and got to meet some nice people who do just what I do.

One of my favorite "break-out" sessions at the conference was all about Facebook and how all museums should have a page. I drove up there thinking we should have a FB page, but I drove back planning our page in my head. They told us, "If you want to reach anyone under 40 you should have a Facebook page." Well, we need to reach these folks if we want our work to keep going after we die... so I got busy this afternoon and made us one. Search Meade County Historical Museum on Facebook and see what you think. (And be sure and become a fan!!!) I am thinking we can use this page to keep everyone informed on what is happening behind the scenes at the Museum.

My other favorite session was titled "Adult Events for the Museum." This was a fun class and just full of ideas of things to do to attract adults to the museum, something I have been thinking about for a long time. Susen Foster, who worked with the Museum in the past, was very good at this... she had a lot of art shows, etc. in the Goodnight Gallery. Now that we have the gallery free again after moving the saddles to their own special room, we can start doing some events of our own.

Our first event was already in the planning stages... "Night at the Museum" the evening of Wednesday, November 7. From 7:00 to 10:00 the Museum will be open and lit only by means of light our ancestors might have had at their disposal. Our board members and staff will be on hand in period costume to guide you through and serve you cider and cookies in the gallery. It should be a fun "come-and-go" kind of affair. We thought we would stay until 10:00 so that even if folks went to church on this Wednesday evening they could stop by the Museum on their way home.

It has been pretty slow traffic wise this weekend. I did take in a very interesting accession today though... Larry Lemaster came in and brought me a little notebook titled "Service Records of Home Guard Members." I had never heard of the Home Guard, but we were a part of the 36th Battalion... Meade was Company "A," Minneola was Company "B,"  Plains was Company "C," and Liberal was Company "D." The book is for Company "A" in Meade and lists the officers and the squad members from 1917 to 1918. The most interesting part is the "service record" pages that list each squad member, their occupation, where they were born, their age, eye color, hair color, complexion and height.  These are people like Frank Fuhr, Ira Scott, C.A. Marrs, J.I. Stamper, Brother Buis, and E.E. Innis... and a ton of other familiar old names. I'm not sure what we will do with the little notebook, but for now I will make a file for the Home Guards so we can find it when we need it. Larry also printed out information from the internet on Skyways website about the 35th Battalion.

It's things like this interesting little accession that makes a week at the Museum so much fun.

OCTOBER 21, 2012

I'm back from Newton where I attended the Kansas Museums Association annual conference from Wednesday through Friday. This is the first time I have gone to such a meeting since taking the curator position at the Museum and I must say... it was well worth the three days I spent. I learned a lot and got to meet some nice people who do just what I do.

One of my favorite "break-out" sessions at the conference was all about Facebook and how all museums should have a page. I drove up there thinking we should have a FB page, but I drove back planning our page in my head. They told us, "If you want to reach anyone under 40 you should have a Facebook page." Well, we need to reach these folks if we want our work to keep going after we die... so I got busy this afternoon and made us one. Search Meade County Historical Museum on Facebook and see what you think. (And be sure and become a fan!!!) I am thinking we can use this page to keep everyone informed on what is happening behind the scenes at the Museum.

My other favorite session was titled "Adult Events for the Museum." This was a fun class and just full of ideas of things to do to attract adults to the museum, something I have been thinking about for a long time. Susen Foster, who worked with the Museum in the past, was very good at this... she had a lot of art shows, etc. in the Goodnight Gallery. Now that we have the gallery free again after moving the saddles to their own special room, we can start doing some events of our own.

Our first event was already in the planning stages... "Night at the Museum" the evening of Wednesday, November 7. From 7:00 to 10:00 the Museum will be open and lit only by means of light our ancestors might have had at their disposal. Our board members and staff will be on hand in period costume to guide you through and serve you cider and cookies in the gallery. It should be a fun "come-and-go" kind of affair. We thought we would stay until 10:00 so that even if folks went to church on this Wednesday evening they could stop by the Museum on their way home.

It has been pretty slow traffic wise this weekend. I did take in a very interesting accession today though... Larry Lemaster came in and brought me a little notebook titled "Service Records of Home Guard Members." I had never heard of the Home Guard, but we were a part of the 36th Battalion... Meade was Company "A," Minneola was Company "B,"  Plains was Company "C," and Liberal was Company "D." The book is for Company "A" in Meade and lists the officers and the squad members from 1917 to 1918. The most interesting part is the "service record" pages that list each squad member, their occupation, where they were born, their age, eye color, hair color, complexion and height.  These are people like Frank Fuhr, Ira Scott, C.A. Marrs, J.I. Stamper, Brother Buis, and E.E. Innis... and a ton of other familiar old names. I'm not sure what we will do with the little notebook, but for now I will make a file for the Home Guards so we can find it when we need it. Larry also printed out information from the internet on Skyways website about the 35th Battalion.

It's things like this interesting little accession that makes a week at the Museum so much fun.

OCTOBER 21, 2012

A lot of water has run under the bridge since last I wrote... I apologize for no "Week at the Museum" last week. We lost my dad and it has been a couple of hectic weeks, but I am back to work this weekend and trying to catch up at the Museum.

I see from the guest register that we have been fairly busy. Frances worked my days last weekend and she had stories about interesting people. One person I missed seeing was Jean (Barby) O'Brien... I haven't seen her since we were in high school together in the 60s.  

We would like to thank everyone who have sent in their annual memberships. It has really made a difference to get these much needed funds. The Museum would not be able to make it if not for our faithful supporters.

I had an interesting call the other day... I guess the guy got my number from the website... he lives in New Mexico and just bought an old shotgun that has the name George W. "Hoo Doo" Brown engraved on it. I assume he was goggling the name and found Old Meade County dot com. I asked him if he wanted to sell the gun and he said he planned to restore it, but if he ever wanted to sell it he would call me. I told Norman about it and he agreed that would be a real find for the Museum! If you don't know who Brown is, check him out on our website... index of stories... Hoo Doo Brown.

Glenn Lauppe came in more than a week ago and finally got the brand sign up over the door of our tack room. He had the Bartlett family burn their brand on a scrap of the cottonwood he build the room with, and it's been leaning against the wall for quite some time. It looks great up there and pays tribute to the Bartlett's who own the saddle collection housed in the new room. I always tell visitors about that room and how it was built and they always go in and check it out... I don't know what is more popular... the saddles or the room.

The Ken Burns documentary on the Dust Bowl is finally going to show on TV. Mark your calendars for November 18 & 19, 8:00 to 10:00 PM on PBS. It will air two nights in a row... two hours each night. Be sure and watch the credits... you will find Meade County Historical Society listed. We provided several stories and photos to the production crew. You can get the entire scoop on www.pbs.org/kenburns/dustbowl. I was privileged to see a preview of this documentary last spring and I don't think you will want to miss it... it is another Ken Burns masterpiece that documents a unique event in history that we were very much a part of.

I am off to Newton next week to the Kansas Museum Association annual conference. I applied for.. and got.. a scholarship for the conference fee, so it will just cost me room and gas. Hopefully I will learn a lot and meet some more "Museum" folks along the way.

OCTOBER 7, 2012

Before I sit down to write this column, I always check our guest register to see what kind of traffic we have had at the Museum. I was pleasantly surprised to see more than usual this week and encouraged that fall might bring us more traffic. I posted the number for September in our database and found that month to be down from last year. Hopefully fall will change that trend.

Friday I had a couple I have been corresponding with via email for quite some time. Their names are Sharon and Dan Templeton from Los Angeles, California. They have planned for some time to travel to Meade County to see what they could find on the Charles Thompson family who are Dan's ancestors. They wanted to visit Graceland where many of that family are buried, see the land where they think the old house still stands, and visit the Museum for any information we could give them. It was so much fun helping them find things. I showed them the obituary books and they looked up all their people themselves... delighted each time they discovered one. They found one uncle who was killed in a rather dark way... something that totally disagreed with the story the family had handed down. We had an old photo of some of the Thompson children at a rural school in the southeastern part of the county which is where their ranch was located. Sharon was hungry for more pictures and started looking through the boxes in the library I had marked "unidentified people" and "people identified." She hit pay-dirt when she found a number of photos of the Thompson children that had been donated to the Museum by the Painter family. These were beautiful studio photos taken by Mr. Backe and others... I scanned them all to a CD for them to take home, along with copies of all the obits and land records. It is days like this that make our jobs worthwhile. What fun!

Another interesting visitor I had on Saturday was Lon Smith. Lon is George and Lavona Martin's son-in-law (Sherry's husband) and the executive director of the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita. He had read my column and told he that he, too, would be at the KMA conference later this month and would look forward to seeing me there. Then we went on to have quite a discussion about all things museum. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed his visit. Lon told me he really likes our Museum, which he has toured several times in the past. He even offered to help us with some things we need.

I announced in our newsletter that we would have a "Night at the Museum" event on November 7th. This is a Wednesday night... and we plan to light the Museum with candles, lanterns, and anything we can find that will look like the old days. It will be a come-and-go tour with, hopefully, some entertainment, refreshments and "live dummies" in the rooms... just a fun night to promote the Museum. Janae and I have talked about this for two years, and I felt that if I announced it we would have to get on the stick and follow through. I have been looking through our sources and we will be testing light sources soon. Lon also gave me some ideas for this. So mark your calendar... November 7th, 7-9!

Don't get the MCHS Newsletter? You can find it on-line at: www.OldMeadeCounty.com. Click on the Museum tab and scroll down to Newsletters.

OCTOBER 2, 2012

I haven't been a the Museum much as I took last weekend off... but it looks as though traffic was a little better than last week. Frances seems to be the one here when all the interesting people come through. This weekend she had Richard Evans, an old schoolmate of mine... I would have enjoyed visiting with him.

We had our Board of Director's meeting last night, and were surprised by a visit from Bill and Susan Bunyan... these two were among the founders of the Museum and it was great to ask them some questions. We discussed the mention in our newsletter about the old schoolhouse and farm lot.  We are exploring the idea of moving the school to the lot north of the Museum and putting the implements into our ag museum in the building next door... then selling the south lot.  Frances had received some feedback in the form of a lot of questions we don't yet know the answer to... so it looks like we need to get busy and get some prices and ask some questions ourselves.

The board casually approved my going to the Kansas Museum Association Conference later this month. I have never attended this function, but it is in Newton this year, which is close for us. It is a three day event and I hope to learn a lot about exhibits and museum management. We retain a membership in the KMA, but haven't seen much benefit for the effort.... hopefully by attending their conference I can get to know some of them and take advantage of their expertise.

We also discussed the need to pick a speaker for the Annual Banquet which will take place February 2, 2013. Several members expressed disappointment with our speaker earlier this year, so we want to do a little better job picking one this time. We welcome any suggestions if anyone has heard a good historical speaker lately.

Norman reported on the Dalton Days meeting that was held just prior to ours. They are getting started now on next year's event... picking officers and establishing an organization. I'm glad to see that the new committee is still enthused and willing to work.

Frances told about a safe that Forest Lee Geisinger has offered to give the Museum. We don't think we have room for it, but it sure has an interesting story. It was originally in the Parson's store in Plains... there is a story about the shooting of a man who was trying to rob the store. Frances ran the story down and found that the murdered man... Doc Ward... is buried in the Potter's Field in Graceland Cemetery.

The girls have been busy on the obituary books. Frances says she is in the early 1980s now, and she's working all the days she can get just so she can get this decade finished. She is anxious for 1988 when the county went to having just one newspaper. Her part of the process is to print the obits from the microfilm, then Janae scans them into the computer and makes nice pages for the books with each obit identified as to name and what newspaper they came from. I know I, myself, have found these so handy while doing research.

If you don't get our newsletter, but want to see it... it is posted on www.oldmeadecounty.com. Click the "Museum" tab and scroll down to newsletters.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2012

I haven't been at the Museum all week, but looking at the guest register, I didn't miss many visitors.

Alma came in Saturday and we got the Graceland Cemetery file up to date. She recently took a trip to see her kids and she said it was sure nice to have her computer along and something to work on when she escaped to her room! She got done with the Plains Cemetery file and gave me a copy of it. The City of Plains provided us the database, but they do not record "fathers, mothers, spouses," like we do, so Alma has been busy adding all the names she could find to the file. I just posted both these updates to OldMeadeCounty.com... "Cemeteries" page. We would certainly appreciate it if someone who knows Plains will read through the file and let us know if there are any corrections.

I am just about done typesetting the book, "Buell Hampton." This is a Prairie Books project I have been working on at home and I'm now on chapter 40 of 42. This is a great book written by Willis George Emerson, who was the cashier of he Meade State Bank inthe early days of Meade County. It's a novel that takes place in the 1890s in Meade. The story line is a little corny, and the language is a little flowery, but the pages of "Buell Hampton" contain a lot of Meade County History. I am going to produce an "e-book" CD that can be read on the computer or with a tablet. If a person wants a printed copy, I guess they can print it out themselves.

I'm sure I will be doing a "book talk" on this novel when I get it done. We have some references in other histories that Emerson made an accurate description of Meade County events in this book. One such event was a prairie fire that almost engulfed the town of Meade... I am on the lookout for news articles about this one, the account in the book is scary indeed. The book is full of romance, mystery, cattle rustling, and class warfare. I can't wait to share it with you.

I also did a little work on ghost towns of Meade County this weekend. Making a map of the locations has spurred me on to doing some research about the old towns. Each had their own story and visions of grandeur. Having the history books in PDF files is a great help... because now we can search words with the computer. I will put a whole new category on the website about the ghost towns and we can add to them whenever information comes our way.

Fall means the "snow birds" will soon be traveling, so here's hoping traffic will pick up soon at the Museum. We are planning some fun events this fall also, so be sure and read your newsletter when you get it in the mail. Don't get it? Check the website and think of joining the Meade County Historical Society... so you will be kept up to date on everything going on at the Museum!

SEPTEMBER 16, 2012

It's been a dismal week as far as attendance is concerned.... but looking on the bright side.... there hasn't been much to take our mind off our research so we've got a lot done.

We recently go a copy of "The Explorer," the newsletter of the Kansas Explorers Club sponsored by the Sampler Foundation. They put a feature on page four about different things showing up on the Get Rural Kansas website... and under the "Art" heading Meade was mentioned for our telephone office. Here's what I posted on our Get Meade page about the Southwestern Bell Telephone building:

"This building created for the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in 1932, was designed by architect, Glen H. Thomas. Adorning the building is terracotta sculptures by Bruce Moore. Two buffalo heads atop columns flank the front door and relief sculptures of a tepee and full-body buffalo profile adorn both sides. Bruce Moore was a young artist in Wichita in the thirties and went on to acquire world fame for his work." I also posted two photos of the building.

If you have not been to this website, check it out: www.getruralkansas.org. You can explore many small towns throughout Kansas... right there on your computer! I sure wish someone from Plains and someone from Fowler would take the class and get their towns listed on this site. Both towns have so much to brag about. I tried to be the "contact" for all three towns, but they wouldn't let me... so Plains and Fowler... buck up!

My research of the old ghost towns has led me to some of the more obscure old newspapers of Meade County recently. I actually found paper copies of the old Pearlette Call in our vault and scanned them to PDF. We also have this on micro film, but I find looking through a PDF file on the computer much more enjoyable. C.K. Sourbier published a little paper at Springlake called "The Hornet." He was just a kid at the time and some of it is kind of disconnected... but interesting all the same. I took Larry Lemaster's map of the ghost towns a step further and marked them on a county map with all the section lines and section numbers. I printed it out, but don't think I'm quite done with it... I want to verify these locations with the Deeds Office... we have already found one typo in Frank Sullivan's book and this is what we are using for the legal descriptions.

I can't tell you how much fun I am having working on the ghost towns. I have had to stop and work on our annual newsletter the last few days, and I can't wait to get back to my research! Such is life...and another week at the Museum.


The guest book shows only 30 visitors since last week, traffic is slow, slow, slow. I had to laugh looking at the guest register, though... Frances called the other day to tell me a funny story. On August 22, we have an entry of Bruce Vance and in the "where's home" column he put "homeless." Frances had told me about his appearance in the Museum... the door bell had not rung and she was kind of startled by him. When she called she was in Colorado on a trip with her aunt... I think she said near La Junta... anyway, there along the road, she saw her homeless person. Frances and her aunt had a good laugh, and so did I... you never know where you will run into a guest you met at the Museum!

I took a little trip this week. Sharon Stockton had been telling me about the Edwards Cemetery (3 graves) up in the north part of the county that we don't have on our list. Wednesday when I was working I called her because I simply could not track down a trace of that cemetery. She said she would pick me up at five, which she did, and we headed north. Come to find out it was actually a couple of miles into Gray County, so I guess we don't have to list it, but one of her uncles, Agustus Wolfley, is buried there. He is listed in McCauley, but Sharon insists that when Hwy 23 went right through her grandpa's land they offered to move those graves and her grandma said, "No.. there isn't anything left to move." The three little flat stones are now buried, but Sharon insists they are there. She calls it the "Edwards Cemetery" because her uncle's death certificate lists it as the burial place.

While we were already in Gray County, Sharon took me on up to the Evans Cemetery a little bit north and west. One of her relatives is buried at Evans, but what I enjoyed finding was the grave of Willis Peoples and his wife. I recently found quite a bit about Willis and Malinda in our loose papers in the Museum library. We had few blacks in Meade County in those days, but they seem to be buried in Evans Cemetery... probably having something to do with segregation. I first learned about Willis Peoples when I reprinted a story in the "Home Town" magazine about his exploits in capturing "old Two-Toes" a renegade wolf who was a menace to the ranchers in Meade County. The story was written by Harry Chrisman and excerpted it from his book, "Lost Trails of the Cimarron." I will have to post it to oldmeadecounty.com... it's a great story.

We had some interesting accessions from Bob McCulloch this week. Bob is moving into a smaller place and has to "downsize." He brought us six books on antique tractors. This seemed a little different for our library, but I can't help but think when we eventually get the Ag Museum built in our building next door... having those books might come in handy. Anyway, thanks to Bob, if you are interested in old tractors, come and check our library.

We will be having our Board of Director's meeting this week, so hopefully I will have lots to report next time.


I counted the guest register for August and added up 108 guests... sounds kind of small, but when I typed it into the database, I find that it was up from August last year. Looking over my database, August and September are notoriously slow months. Guess we will have to come up with a plan to spur attendance.

I told you last week about my quest to find information about our early-day photographers... something we need to have, and something that was requested by Morgan Williams who plans to share his collection with us. I started out with Roscoe S. Gerow, and I was relatively successful. His photographs were mostly at the turn of the century (early 1900's) and he always stamped or signed his photos with "GEROW." I found out that photography was the least of Roscoe's accomplishments and must have been one of his earlier endeavors, because he went on to be very instrumental in keeping Meade up with the world of technology. A short quip in the paper when he died in 1936, went as follows: "Roscoe Gerow, Meade Pioneer and Promoter is Dead. Roscoe "Rock" Gerow, a municipal promoter of Meade died recently. He was credited with bringing to Meade its first telephone system, first electric light and power system, the first ice making equipment and the first moving picture." He was a good friend of the editor of the "Meade Globe News," who wrote an informative and lengthy piece about him in the paper when he died. Needless to say I have added to that file.

Glen Feldman got our sign done this week and re-installed it on our building. It looks great! It is so nice to have someone local doing sign work. Glenn did a great job on the sign, and also rummaged through our extra lumber and reinforced the boards that hold it on the building. We couldn't be more pleased.

The saved newspapers were starting to pile up on us so I decided this week to get them organized. This led to cleaning out the old vault in the Museum library... something that had never been done since I came to work here. I found some real treasurers, among them some original copies of the old "Pearlette Call." This was the first newspaper in Meade County and dates back to 1879. The paper is very fragile and aged so I decided while they were still strong enough to work with I should scan them into the computer. I finally finished Sunday and we now have them all on a PDF file which I wrote to a CD and put with the newspaper microfilm. I carefully labeled and wrapped the old paper back up and sealed it in plastic... it won't last forever, but at least now we have a file we can print out and look at freely.

The old "ghost towns" of Meade County are a favorite project of mine and I hope to have a little more information on each one of them before we publish our next history book. I will welcome any information that comes my way about Atwater, Carthage, Pearlette, Belle Meade, Helvetia, Jasper, Touszlin... the list goes on and on. Keep us in mind if you have a story to share.

AUGUST 26, 2012

I'm trying to get in the habit of writing this column on Sunday afternoon while I am working at the Museum... two weeks in a row now... maybe I can train myself.

We had forty-seven visitors this week... this number was helped a lot by the 13 who came with the YMCA out of Garden City. Frances was on duty that day so I called her to ask how it went. She said the kids were four-year-olds so they were a little wild... she couldn't keep their attention until she got them around to the school display. She told them to "sit down" and she would play the piano with no hands. I guess they really enjoyed that because she had to rewind the scroll on the player piano more than once.

I came in while we were closed last Monday and finally got that tint back up on the windows. It is very transparent, but is supposed to block 100% of the u-v rays and much of the heat. I want to start working on the photos in the lobby and blocking the damaging u-v was job one.

Since Glenn fixed the photo display more securely on the wall where we closed up the window, we would like to add more leaves as we go through the photograph collection. We would also like to revamp the ones that are there with modern type and scan all the photos so we can more easily share them. Many people have tried to take copies of the pictures with their cameras through the glass, but scans would be so much nicer.

Photographs have been the subject of conversation all week with me. I man by the name of David Meyer from Grand Canyon, AZ, emailed from the website to say that he was a photographer and had recently bought an old camera that had apparently belonged to William Backe. He wanted to know about Mr. Backe and sent me some prints he made from several old negatives that were still with the camera. I can't recognize any of the people, but I am hoping someone can. I sent him all I had about the Backes including a scan of a photograph taken about 1909, that showed Backe's house that he used as a studio.

Then... I got another inquiry from Morgan Williams who had stumbled upon the website. Morgan has ties to Plains as he married Lynda Angell, daughter of C. Francis Angell, and granddaughter of Charlie Angell. Morgan is a collector of photographs and is especially interested in three photographers from Meade County who printed the old post card photos and signed them: Dale Photo, Day Photo, and R.S. Gerow. We have some of these at the Museum and I have some of them in my own photo collection. I couldn't tell him much about the photographers, but now I'm on the search. Morgan has offered to share his collection on the website which will be a great addition. I have been planning to get more photos posted and this might be the nudge I need.

There were two other Museum improvements that happened this week. We finally came up on the work list for BKM Electric and they got the light changed out in the "jail."
We had a way-to-bright fluorescent light in there and we replaced it with an old schoolhouse light that Elmer Friesen re-wired for us. It makes the jail look much more authentic and our new "prisoner" look much more ominous.

Our second project this week is our sign... if you noticed it is missing from the front of the Museum, it's because Mother Nature took a piece off with the wind and we decided  now might be a good time to get it painted. Glen Feldman had given us a bid for the signs last year, but we just haven't felt like we had the money... but now it seemed silly to fix one piece and not the rest so we are having it painted. Glen had to do a lot of work on the "blown off" piece to get it straightened out, but I stopped by his studio the other day to check out his progress, and the sign looks great!

AUGUST 19, 2012

It has been good to be back in the Museum after a couple of weeks of vacation. Traffic has been dismal this (last) weekend, but I have enjoyed catching up on mundane things like bookkeeping and fun things like research.

One thing I sure wanted to do when I got back was get that Meade City location straightened out. I have finally come to the conclusion, supported by an old 1885 Meade County map, that Frank Sullivan had a typo in his book... what he was documenting as section 16/31/28 should have been 16/30/28, so Larry will have to move the town six miles north on his map. Today it would be located at the intersection of 15 road and D road. Following is an excerpt of Sullivan's description (corrected) of Meade City or Jo-Ash as it was succeeded by:

"The first town with which Meade County was threatened was located on Section 16, Township 30, Range 28. “Cap.” French was a surveyor and locator; in the summer of 1878, he located two parties on this section, and in conjunction with them he formed the

plan of establishing a city at that place, to be called Meade City. A little store was put up, a few other buildings were erected from time to time, a post office was secured, but the town failed to grow to any appreciable extent, and was abandoned about 1884."

"Meade City was succeeded by Jo-Ash, located about a half-mile to the west. Jo-Ash acquired two stores, a post office, and was a regular mail route on a regular stage line. After two or three years it passed into memory."

I reported last week about a family by the name of Warkentin coming to the Museum. Since last I wrote, I have heard the "rest of the story." Frances was working at the time, and she called Alma Regier down to the Museum to help him with family history and did he hit a gold mine with her! She brought her laptop with her and provided him with a flood of genealogy. He, in turn, had a wonderful old photo of the family and as a result of that meeting, we now have a Warkentin Family file full of information. I guess you would have to be a "history nut" like us to know just how much fun this sort of thing is for Alma, Frances and I.

We now have the fall issue of "Kansas!" magazine in our gift shop. The feature article in this issue is titled, "The REAL Farmwives of Kansas" and documents the contemporary version of our pioneer grandmothers. I love this quote: "Kansas farm and ranch women are as comfortable out on the range as in front of one." The magazine also has a feature on steakhouses of Kansas and, as usual, it is full of beautiful photos and Kansas travel ideas.

AUGUST 5, 2012

Another week gone by at the Museum. I can't believe July is gone and it's August already! The summer is flying by. Traffic has been pretty steady this week, but we are not setting the world on fire. The Dalton Gang Hideout gets about four times the traffic we get... I keep thinking if we ever get our murals painted on the front of the  building we might get more attention ... hmmmm, something else to do!

I haven't worked until the weekend, so I really don't have much to report this week, The girls have been working away on the obituary books and cemeteries. I finally got the West Glendale Cemetery into a database and posted on the Web site, www.oldmeadecounty.com.

Janette Friesen and Frances both pointed out mistakes in the McCauley Cemetery file, so I spent a great deal of   my time Saturday updating that one. A man came in on Saturday who has connections to the Click family that used to live in Plains. I have corresponded with him before via e-mail, and it was very interesting talking to him about his family. I showed him the file I had made for the Click Family, and he was pleased. The file  contains some of his e-mails as well as other information I have found on his family . Having the file folders made is nice ... I would like to have them on everyone who ever lived in Meade County, but I suppose that's a pipe dream. I have had compliments on my system, though, so maybe I'm on the right track.

Today Gloria McKinney gave me some really nice old photos to scan of some of our rural schools in the  southeast part of the county. Sunny Dale was a popular old school, but does anyone remember Two Mile School? I think the rural schools will be the next update to the Web site ... making a page for each rural school and  posting photos, stories, and the history we have on them. If I take one district at a time ... it should only take a year or two. :)

I got a really nice donation from a Historical Society member this week to update the Dust Bowl display. I had applied to the Kansas Museums Association last year for a grant but never heard back from them. With this kind donation, I should be able to make it a very dynamic display. You know who you are ... thanks again!

JULY 31, 2012

Since this is the last day for July, I quickly counted the guest book and we have had 166 this month, which is 23 up from last year... not bad. Of course, the day isn't over yet so I will have to check back before I make the official entry.

I have some notes here from the Janae who wrote, "1960's are done!" Referring, of course, to the obituaries book. We had a fairly decent book of the 1960's but it did not have the name and date of the newspaper they came from... and they weren't all there, so the girls just used their tried-and-true method to create a book for the decade. I can't tell you how much we appreciate the work of Janae, Frances, Alma and Cheryl as they "dig up the dead." They are doing a great service for Meade County.

Janae wrote another note about July 27th. She had visitors that day from Germany, Mexico, New Mexico, Oregon, Arkansas, and Fowler. Wow... we truly are Meade County's face to the world.

A call from Janae brought me down to the Museum that day because the guests from Germany and Mexico happened to be childhood friends of mine, Conner, Nathan and Garth Sorensen. Their father, Howard Sorensen, was the pastor of the First Baptist Church here in the 1950's and 60's, and we spent a lot of time together. Unfortunately Howard's passing is the reason the boys were all together, but it was certainly great to visit with them. I called my two brothers, David and Alan... they came to the Museum and it was like "old home week." David and Nathan were classmates, and Garth and I were classmates, but we went to church with them all and had great times together.

We got a nice donation in the mail from Bill and Susan Bunyan the other day. I know I have said many times that these two were among the founders of the Museum and give us a lot of support. They know how much we are struggling this year to make ends meet and we really appreciate their gift.

JULY 16, 2012

Busy week at the Museum! We had good traffic all week, but Dalton Days, the Rodeo and other events sure brought us a busy weekend. Frances worked last week and really wanted to get some micro-film work done... she wrote on the calendar... 24 guests on Thursday and 19 on Friday. I can remember last winter when we wouldn't have those kinds of numbers in a week.

On top of busy traffic, we have had a week full of acquisitions. My brother, Alan Feldman, came in with a rocking chair that belonged to our grandmother, Katherine Feldman. It was a wedding present when she and her first husband, Herman Cordes, were married. What a treasure! I put it in the "parlor."

Rod Calhoun brought us a double tree... it sat in the office for awhile until Rebecca and I found a place for it back in the Livery Barn this week. Rod also brought us some rocks from his ranch to make a fire ring in our teepee. Thanks Rod & Debbie! Ken Wiedner stopped in after his talk at the Library Saturday and gave me some input as to how to place my fire and some suggestions of what their utensils might have been. If he can find one, he said he would make us a buffalo stomach pot. Wow!

Martha Lou Sneath came in with some things that had belonged to her mother, Ruth Dingess. I worked for Walter and Ruth at the Hideout when I was in high school, and among the things she brought was a picture of me my junior year and a post card I had sent them on a trip to Arkansas in 1963... that brought back memories.  She also brought me HAIR... several wigs and hair pieces, bobby pins (remember those) and hair combs. In a zip-lock bag were several advertising items... a 1972 calendar from Randy's "Mr. A.G." Market, a pie server from the Western Auto, a key chain from Wolfe's Ford, and a little desk calendar/mirror from Bisbee's Variety to name a few. Another bag held a handful of pens and pencils from the business of Marcie's Beauty Salon, Artesian Valley Foods, Ace Machine Shop, Eads Farm & Home, Earl's Photo & Flowers, Klein Skelly... the list goes on and on. I added all these items to my "Advertisement" box. One of these days we will get all that stuff out and make a display back in the gallery. It really takes you back to look at them... that sort of thing was such an ordinary part of life growing up around here.

I have spent a lot more time on the Stone School Cemetery... refining the map and recording photos of the stones. One stone out there has painted in big letters: M.B.B. It is located by a group of Klotz graves. Does anyone know who this is? Please contact me if you do... call the Museum or email: meademuseums@yahoo.com.

Katherine Borger wanted a map with all the names on it, so I took my Stone School Cemetery map and made it a little bigger and typed in all the names. Her nephew, Randy Blehm, was going to print her out a big map for the Lutheran Church anniversary this past weekend. I drove them nuts with revisions... it probably still has mistakes, but I posted it on the website so everyone can take a look at it. Click the "Cemeteries" tab on www.OldMeadeCounty.com.

My son, Jay,  has made us a "prisoner" to put back in the jail... behind the bars. He has had great fun sculpting the head and hands and giving him a pvc pipe frame. Jay is bringing this guy this weekend and Monday while we are closed we are going to put him in jail. This project leads to another one I have been meaning to do... replacing the bright fluorescent light in the jail with a more authentic fixture. I donated an old school house light I happened to have and when Elmer Friesen came in last week looking for Janae, I asked him to rewire it for me. He was glad to do it, so now we can have a little dimmer light and a great new prisoner to lend some authenticity to the jail.

Elmer also brought in an old lantern that actually used to hang at the Meade County jail years ago. Back then Arlie Johnston had asked him to change it to a more modern light and Elmer hung on to the old one. We held it up to the wall outside the jail and decided it would look great! Elmer's pretty busy this summer, but plans to restore the old fixture when he can.

This has been a fun week... so many guests and so many great gifts. I am so grateful to all the Meade County folks who support the Museum. Thanks to you we are constantly evolving into a even greater preservation of Meade County History.

JULY 1, 2012

I am writing a little early this week to help the "temporary" editors in their quest to get the paper out. The Museum has been a busy place this week.

We had a small group from Moscow Elementary School on Thursday... they must have been summer school kids. They were really good and seemed to enjoy the tour.

Two entries in our guest book were international this week... one from Sweden and one from South Africa. Both these groups spent a lot of time looking around the Museum.

Cemetery databases have continued to be a work load for us. I feel pretty well done with Stone School Lutheran Cemetery until I make a trip down there to check locations. Today I went back through the McCauley Cemetery and checked it with a book we had here that was researched by Ben Standard in 2004. Ben had lots of obituaries in the book and some dates I didn't have... so I got it all up-to-date and reposted it on the website.

Alma has enlisted the help of Cheryl Shelton to work with her on the Plains Cemetery. We have an up-to-date listing on that one, but the girls are adding fathers and mothers names as well as spouses. I don't know what we would do without these wonderful volunteers. I guess the work would just not get done. Thanks girls!

Dalton Days is just around the corner... as is Fowler Threshing Days ad the Meade County Fair. Meade County is a busy place this July. I want to encourage my readers to get out and support these events if you possibly can... a lot of people are working hard to make it memorable for you!

JUNE 27, 2012

I'm working at the Museum pretty steady this week, and I have to say ... the heat hasn't , deterred visitors from  getting out and seeing the sights! I was just sure their air-conditioned cars would beckon them to stay on the   road, but we have had pretty decent traffic this past week.

 Janae will be heading to Japan soon on a two-week trip, and Frances is busy doing "summer stuff' until July 3, sothat leaves me to hold down the fort. I have to say I'm getting a lot done ... and enjoying our visitors. I even have a school tour this week for a Moscow group ... only eight kids; I think I can handle that.

There's an entire committee working on the Stone School Cemetery. Alma, Katherine Borger, and Dorothy  Blehm have been back in the Museum Library trying to figure it out. My part is making a grid map on the computer so we can give the graves a location. I've been out there once, and I can see another trip in the near future.

I've got a commitment from Barbara Feldman to accompany me ... if anyone knows most of the names out there  it would be Barb. Katherine is working on the cemetery for the up-coming Lutheran anniversary, but it will be good to get it all on the computer and posted on the Web site. Alma has built the entire database in Excel... thank you, Alma, you are an ANGEL! I have been working on those rural cemeteries and have a database for most of  them posted on the Web site, www.oldmeadecounty.com. I have a map as well for Atwater, and plan to create maps for all of them. Home folks won't need them, but if a relative out there plans to travel to Meade County to look up a grave, these will be very helpful. The rural cemeteries don't change much, but Graceland, Plains, and Fowler will always be a work in progress.

I have already replaced the Graceland database three times. I also  posted the Web site address out at the cemetery ... the way so many people have tablets and smart phones, it can be downloaded right on location.

When I went south the other day, I first visited Atwater ... then swung down by Elsie Chapel, and back up to Stone School. Let me know if anyone is interested in a history tour that would include some cemeteries ... we could learn about Atwater the town, Elsie Chapel the church, and the rich history of the German Lutherans down at the Stone School.

I'm afraid working on the "dead" is about all I have accomplished this week. .. so this column will be short and sweet. If you have a lazy day ... come down to the museum ... it's cool inside, and we would love to "talk history!"

JUNE 19, 2012

Things have been "humming along" at the Museum.

Last Friday Bill Bunyan came in and was waiting around for his wife, Susan, to bring in a group of ladies for him to guide through the Museum. Bill and Susan are two of our original founders and it's always fun to visit with them and learn a little bit more about how things got started around here.

Susan brought Judith (Ross) Bird, Susan Post, and Cheryl Waite, a friend from Hays, to view the Museum. The group spent quite awhile looking around at and the old photos in the lobby. They were very complimentary about how the Museum looks and seemed to enjoy their tour. I always learn a lot of Museum history from Bill... this time he brought us a collection of past MCHS newsletters, and a really cool old covered dish with the logo of the Bunyan Hotel, along with a Threshing Days t-shirt from 1988, that had the hotel pictured on the front. Thanks Bill and Susan!

While Bill was here waiting for his group and young man came in to see the Museum. He told us he had been in town for awhile on a seismograph crew. After he went through he was heaping praise on the Museum. He said he travels all the time and has seen a lot of museums, but this one was exceptional. I think he called us a real "high class joint." I was so glad Bill was here to hear the praise... he got a kick out of that. We get these remarks a lot, but we never tire of hearing them.

I visited with Marc Ferguson from the Hideout last week. He said Dalton Days plans are going good. He would still like to find some more hand-crank ice cream freezers for the Ice Cream Crank-off. If anyone would like to donate one, call Marc at 873-2731. I asked him about my favorite event... the melodrama. He said he had a full cast now and they are starting to practice. This year's title is "Blazing Guns at Roaring Gulch" or "The Perfumed Badge." Marc is playing both villain and good guy this year because the characters are twins. I can't wait!

KeAnne Langford came in for the first time Saturday. She started on the photography project by typing up a plan laying out what she is going to do and how she will organize the photos. Then she made a couple of databases and started to work with some of the scans I have already done. We fixed her up in the Museum Library where we already have a computer... she will scan and organize digital files of all the photos as she goes.  I have already learned a lot from her about archiving! We are so lucky to have her working with us this summer.

Alma and I were working on the Graceland file the other day bemoaning the fact that the Rolodex was so outdated at the kiosk at the cemetery. I told her since I have posted a PDF of our database on www.oldmeadecounty.com, I just pulled it up on my smart phone when I was out there looking for a grave. Then the revolution hit us! I posted a new sign on the board that gives the website address and tells of the up-to-date database... lots of people have smart phones and tablets... this is an excellent solution. Now if we can just figure out how to get he locations of the new graves we have added, we can have a complete up-to-date directory. Sometimes solutions are right under your nose... or in your pocket!

JUNE 13, 2012

I got a little vacation from the Museum last week. Frances wanted to get caught up on the part of the job she is doing with the obituaries, so she signed up to work the weekend through Tuesday. I don't think she got much work done, though, judging from the guest book. She had 37 visitors Saturday and Sunday!

I certainly enjoyed my time off but now I have to get "back in the groove." One project I am in the middle of is updating the doctor's office. We have a photo display of many of the doctors who have served Meade County and I'm trying to tidy it up a bit. They are all in different sized frames which seldom hang straight and are difficult to see from the front of the "room." I have scanned all the photos and printed them out the same size and now I am working on mounting them on foam core at an angle so they are consistent. I will feel better when these precious old photos are tucked safely in the files where they will be protected.

Elmer and Eunice Friesen came in one day last week and helped me get that dark tint off the front door and side windows. They just volunteered to do this when they read about my dilemma in this column, and I'm not one to turn down help! Fortunately the tint just peeled off and didn't leave a residue on the glass. It was fun to watch these two work together... they are an inspiration. Thanks Elmer and Eunice for your help.

I have purchased new tint that is made for retail windows. Hopefully we won't look so "unfriendly" when that goes up.

For those of you who like Kansas wildflowers, I have found the most wonderful website... www.kswildflower.org. This site is very well organized and has got to have every wildflower that ever graced our prairies. Check it out.

JUNE 5, 2012

Summer seems to be here now and traffic at the Museum shows it. Things have picked up, but I am sure we can do better.

Just this week I FINALLY read the emails I have been getting from the Kansas Dept. of Tourism, which led me to check this year's Kansas Travel Guide... I could not believe we are not listed in the guide... and neither is the Hideout. Prior to last year the listing was always free and would automatically renew, but budgets cuts (which by the way, I agree with) have forced the state to start charging for the listings. The cost is minimal, but it is something we have to attend to. Needless to say... we will be in the 2013 guide. I even forwarded the email to the motels, RV parks, and restaurants I had emails for, and encouraged them to list under the Meade heading. Meade County has a lot to offer the visitor! If any business wants to look at this guide and/or get information about being listed... drop by the Museum.

Larry Lemaster came in Sunday and brought me a couple of photos. One was a band photo which included his Great-Grandfather DeWitt. Larry thinks it probably isn't local to Meade County so I put it in the Dewitt family file. The other photo was of Sunny Dell School. We already had a copy of this photo in our Rural School Album, but Larry's copy had the names of the students on the back. Some of the names are Hickey, Perkins, Teeter, Boyd, Gum, Kensinger, Moore, Little and Young; the school year was 1915 to 1916. What a treasure! Thanks Larry.

We had the key changed for the information directory display at Graceland Cemetery because we needed to make a change in the sign and nobody had a key to the glass door. Trevin brought me a copy and I finally got out there last week to change the sign. I'm glad I had some window cleaner in my car because millers had made a home inside the display for some time and it was... let's just say "not attractive." I cleaned the glass the best I could and kind of swept it out. Then I cleaned the plexi that covers the rolodex index of graves. All this is outdated... we are working on updating the database, but we are not quite there yet. Alma was gone for awhile visiting her kids, but worked on it the entire time... now that she's home we should pick up steam again!

I have posted the Graceland database on the website, OldMeadeCounty.com. I was hoping that other people out there would let us know if they found corrections, so I was delighted the other day when Emma Ross emailed me with a long list of corrections for her relatives. We will update the website often as we work on the list.

KeAnne Langford came in Saturday. KeAnne is a graduate of Meade High School, working on her masters in museum science, and she wants to volunteer at the Museum this summer. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself! She has been working at the Bob Dole Institute as an intern and wants to do some of her hours here. She is going to tackle the photograph collection and I'm sure she can teach the rest of us a thing or two about how to handle and store the old photos. KeAnne is also a high school classmate of Janae so I'm sure they will enjoy working together.
All in all I'm thinking it's going to be a great summer here at the Museum!

MAY 30, 2012

Memorial Day weekend was a "hopping" here at the Museum! If you count Friday... we had 46 over the weekend.. and that's great traffic for us.
Friday, Ellen Verell brought in the Kellerman family. They are related to the Way and Bunyan families. Saturday I visited with Melvin Beutler who came to decorate graves with his son and grandson; Bill & Susan Bunyan came by and left me some good information on Susan's family; Rick and Janet (Gray) Urban brought their grandkids in, and I had a nice visit with an old classmate of mine, Alice (Seybert) Montemuro.

It was quite slow before the holiday started so I marked off several things from my "to-do" list last week. One thing I finally accomplished was updating the website, OldMeadeCounty.com, with all the news clippings from September, 1933, when Bonnie & Clyde stole a car in the Meade City Park. I already had a clipping on there from the Fowler newspaper relaying Bill Brock's experience, but now I have added all the clippings from all the papers. It is a great story, and just one more "claim to fame" that a lot of people don't know about. Look for "Bonnie & Clyde" in the Index of Stories list.

Today I have been scanning all the photos from our Dr. Office display. We have a lot of photos of the Doctors who have served Meade County in the past. The photos are all sizes and labels and haphazardly placed on the wall. I plan to make them uniform in size and label and see if I can improve the display some. I also plan to protect the original photos and place them in the files and use prints from the computer for the display.
Norman stopped in yesterday and told me he was about to go on his "dig." This is something he does every June... traveling somewhere in the state with the KAA group for archeology. He decided we will not have a board of directors meeting this month, and so far everyone seems to be in agreement.

I got an email last week from Jeanette Friesen that really made my day! The genealogy society voted at their last meeting to help us pay for more reels of microfilm for our newspaper files. I have already ordered one reel and plan to call in today and get a second one ordered. It takes about eight months to get a reel, so the sooner it's ordered the better. This should make our Meade County News archives complete through 2007. We are thinking that starting in 2010 we will use PDF files instead of microfilm and put them on a DVD that can be read with the computer that sits in the Museum Library. "Times they are a changing."

MAY 23, 2012

Well, folks, it feels like summer is here in Meade County. All that lovely rain is a distant memory and wheat harvest will surely start any day now.

Last Wednesday after I closed I got busy and put the new window tint on the front door and side windows of the Museum. As I worked I was enjoying how much of the glare and heat was gone with every glass I got covered, but I was totally shocked when I finished up and went outside! The tint is so dark I couldn't even see our open-closed sign through the window. It certainly wasn't our intention to shut the world out... so I got back on the website and found a tint that will stop the UV rays and most of the heat, but allow vision through the glass. I really feel bad... one because I did all that work, and two because with an already strapped budget, we didn't need the extra expense. I just hope the new tint is easier to remove than the old tint was!

Glenn Lauppe called me from an auction last Saturday and asked me if I still wanted some coal. I had put in this column that I needed some to put a coal bucket by the pot-bellied stove in the school display. I gave him the go-ahead and he bid on a garbage can full of big beautiful coal chunks! Then he sold other bidder some of it and got half his money back. Thanks, Glenn... I guess it does pay to mention things we need.

I know Frances Elffner reads my column, too, because she brought me a wig! The hair is long enough to pull back and I have several hair pieces that same color that I can easily make an old fashioned "doo." I still need wigs though... short hair works good for the guy mannequins as well.

Rod Calhoun stopped by and told me he had rocks for the fire ring we want to build in the Cheyenne teepee.  It's like Christmas around here! Rod said he would hang on to them until we are ready. Since Norman is our resident archeologist we have tasked him to find out what kind of stuff we need around our fire.

I see from a note Janae left that we had at least one busy day around here last week. She wrote, "Had eight people at once... some from Kansas, some from Texas, some from Florida, one from Maryland. Two boys from Garden City brought their mother from Maryland in. One of the boys had been on a school tour here and had recommended that his Mom visit the museum." Isn't that great? As those kids on the school tours leave I always tell them to bring their families in to see the Museum... maybe it works!

 MAY 15, 2012

It sure is quiet around the Museum this week now that all the school tours are over. We  had a total of 455 kids and teachers come to the Hideout and Museum in the last two weeks. It's fun, but I'm always glad when it's over.

Janae finally wised up this year and started making her tour longer. I'm going to work on that for next year. When they are at the Hideout and have seen everything, the kids can run and play and explore the "Old Town" at the bottom of the hill... but when they are at the Museum it's hard to fill an hour. I like to sit them down and do a little test of what I told them on the tour or ask them to tell "what was your favorite thing."

This is the first year we have had the gift shop when the school tours come... Marc has given us some tips on things to have on hand they can spend their money for. Our old fashioned stick candy went over well, but I can see the wisdom in having some little fifty cent items.

While we were at the Kansas Sampler Festival, LaDonna Meyers brought me a story that someone had sent to her because Doc Anshutz was mentioned... it was a scan of an old magazine from 1916, called "Recreation." The story was written by H.R. Walmsley, who was touring this part of the country in 1914, with his wife. They traveled in a horse drawn wagon and camped and worked their way from Kansas City to Raton, New Mexico. I could hardly read the scan, so I went on the internet looking for the magazine. I found it in Google Books and was able to print myself a better copy. It was a great story... I typed up the part that was related to this area and put it on the website. Check it out... it's in the index of stories under "Road to Freedom." You will find some familiar names from our past like Doc Anshutz, Capt. R.M. Painter, and the Edwards family at Plains.

We have the new summer issue of "Kansas!" magazine in our gift shop. This issue is called the "arts edition" and is full of art and music... find out where cool galleries are and what music festivals are scheduled for this summer! It's also got a great article about the drive-in theaters still active in Kansas. This magazine is great fodder for those who have decided to save gas and explore Kansas this summer.

I spent today (Tuesday) doing maintenance around the Museum.. changed furnace filters... fixing the little vacuum sweeper... little things like that. I scrapped the last of the old window tint off the front glass. We have a new roll of UV-blocking tint to go up on the door and side windows, which will mean no more UV light in the lobby, fading our photos and damaging our artifacts. I have wanted to get this done ever since we got the windows closed up and it looks like it will happen this week!

MAY 07, 2012

I am writing this on Monday... we just spent the weekend in Liberal with a booth at the Kansas Sampler Festival. I think I can speak for the others when I say we all had a wonderful time. I had a table for selling books and had record sales.

Rodger DeGarmo built our booth years ago and they take it and set it up at every year at the Sampler. It is a very impressive booth made from old cedar fencing. He and Lila were there representing Meade County Economic Development. Norman Dye, Otis & Carolyn Meredith... and for a short time Janae... manned the Museum/Hideout booth, and LaDonna Meyers and I had our table in the middle. LaDonna came to help me and sign her book, "Cimarron Chronicles." She was a selling machine!

We certainly gave all those people a "sample" of our constantly changing weather! Saturday was HOT, and Sunday was cloudy, cool and windy. There were thousands of people through the Wild West Country tent and we got to tell our story many times. Add that to getting to see all our old friends in tourism and it makes for a great, but exhausting weekend.

I would have loved to stay in bed this morning, but I had promised Jeannie Toews, who teaches in Minneola, that I would open the Museum for a tour of her 4th grade class. They were a small group and great kids! This is our last week for school tours, so we will soon be getting back to normal around here... whatever that is.

One interesting guy I met in Liberal was Ken Weidner from Copeland. He is a re-enactor who does a Cheyenne Indian and gives talks about all their "gear." I told him about our teepee display and my plans to make it better and he gave me some websites to check out. I would like to get him sometime to give a talk... he seemed very interesting. I'm researching the Cheyenne now and learning a great deal... hopefully it will someday result in a great display for the Museum!

MAY 01, 2012

They're here! School kids, that is... the spring school tours have started! I came in on Monday for a tour of Cimarron kids, and have kids from Liberal Tuesday morning and Cimarron kids again Tuesday afternoon. The Dalton Gang Hideout is equally as busy because the groups split up and half come to the Museum, while half go to the Hideout. It will be this way through next week.

The kids are great. So far this year they have been very well behaved and interested. I take them around the Museum and give them my "spiel" then just let them roam around and take a slower look at their favorite things.

Today, between school groups, Al and Elaine Sawyer came in with a box of accessions. They are items from Kay Ross's estate... hats and dresses that belonged to Grandmother Gamble. The items are in amazingly good condition for their age. We will put them with our collections, and hopefully get them out to show some day. I would like to have temporary exhibits of such things occasionally, but I don't know when I will have time to get that started.

We probably won't do many projects around the Museum this year simply because of budget restraints. We did so much last year that we ended up borrowing money which had to be paid back out of this years budget. We will just have to stick to projects that don't require much money. One such project is the Cheyenne teepee display. I got some really great ideas from the archeologist who were here for the KAA meeting last week. Now I want to pull the mannequins into the teepee... dress them a little more "prehistoric" and build a fire ring in the middle. I'm on the lookout for buckskin... crude pottery... and other things the native Americans might have used before the white man came to Meade County and started influencing their lifestyle.

We are also in need of all manner of wigs. I have been washing the dust out the of the "hair" of our people and some of those wigs are just shot. If any of our readers have an old wig or two they don't need... we would certainly take them off your hands!

Don't forget the Sampler Festival in Liberal next Weekend, May 4 & 5. It is rarely this close to Meade County... and trust me, it's something to see! Get more information online at www.kansassamplerfestival.com.

APRIL 24, 2012

We had a very busy weekend at the Museum. Norman felt that the KAA meeting was a great success. We had about 27 archeologists show up and they were a very interesting bunch.

One lady, I believe her name was Marjorie, was very helpful to me. She gave me a lot of advise on how to handle textiles. It started with a little rug in our display case with Indian artifacts. She explaining how to clean it and that I should get a moth-proof spray and spray everything wool that we have in the Museum... I didn't even know that you could get moth-proof spray. She went on, over the weekend, to give me advice for our quilts and all manner of textiles.

Another interesting lady, Becky Nioce, brought us Fillmore Hudson's morning coat and Priscilla Hudson's woven coverlet. Fillmore was Priscilla's son and our clerk of the court dating back to the beginning of our county's history. I got a lot of information on the Hudson family tree. Our Gracland file lists Fillmore buried here, but he's not... and Hattie, his wife, is... but she's not listed. Long and very interesting story, and when it comes from one of the family... priceless! The story was that Hattie died while living elsewhere, but she requested that she be brought back and buried by her mother-in-law. Soon after that Fillmore remarried and he is buried somewhere else. Priscilla died from complications to her lungs from fighting a prairie fire that was threatening to devour their home... she lived for about a year in constant pain and then died in 1893.

After the meeting was over Norman said he took a few of the participants around and showed them some Meade County history sights. He really enjoyed that.

I also took in some interesting artifacts Saturday. In the midst of all the hub-bub of the KAA meeting, Fay Hardaway's daughter, Louetta Shiplet, brought in a wedding dress that belonged to Jenny Van Hoesen in 1884, as well as two little baby dresses that belonged to O.C. and George Van Hoesen in that same time period. I think Jenny was Faye's great grandmother. Pinned to the dress was a sweet little story about her coming out here to the prairie in Meade County as a young bride.

I have had some interesting visitors today at the Museum. Bill Barby stopped by... he had not seen the Museum since the windows were closed up and he's the one who suggested it to the board of directors back in 2008. He liked all the changes we have made. Jack Dufield from Liberal also stopped by with Mason Dufield to show him his grandfather, Sam Gliver whose photo hangs back by the jail as one of our Meade County sheriffs. Jack has mentioned several times he was going to bring me some good "stuff" on old Sam... and he's still saying that. Last, but not least was Chuck Bisbee... Lottie and Clifford Bisbee's grandson. He is a tennis coach and was in Meade for a match and took a few minutes to come downtown and relive his summer visits to the Bisbee home. He had taken a picture of the old "variety store" and I told him I owned that building now... we had a nice visit. Can you imagine as a kid... visiting that dime store and it being owned by your grandparents!

APRIL 17, 2012

It's good to be back working at the Museum again... visitors must know that I have lots of catching up to do, because they certainly haven't been stopping by!

I've been continuing my cleaning... fixing little things in my wake. I cleaned the Sheriff's office yesterday and rearranged it a little bit. I'll have to say it's been awhile back there! I also got some pictures hung in the Goodnight Gallery. Two years ago I started replacing "local art" along the west hall with photographs of old Meade County. My intention all along was to hang the art in the gallery, and now that it is empty again I finally got it done. I figure they can hang there in between other events.

Last week I got in contact with the gentleman who handles the microfilm at the Kansas Historical Society. I learned all the ends and outs of how the microfilming works. The staff at the Meade Public Library faithfully sends them our newspapers which they sort and store until microfilm is ordered. We have film through 2004, so I ordered another roll. He said it would probably hold a year and a half. It takes up to eight months to get this done, so I thought I should get another roll "in the works." I was also glad to find out that we can re-order some of the older rolls that are becoming so scratched they are hard to read. I'm sure that just getting so many obituary books completed will save a lot of wear and tear on the microfilm.

This weekend is the KAA Annual Meeting, which will be held here at the Museum. We plan to hold a reception for KAA members that arrive early on Friday night, then on Saturday, registration will start at 9:00 AM. Norman wants to stress that anyone interested in archeology is welcome to attend this meeting. It would be a good chance to learn who they are and what their organization does. There will be tours of the Museum and Hideout in the morning, and the business meeting will start at 1:00, after a lunch at the Chuckwagon Restaurant. It should be a lot of fun... I will get to meet some people I have emailed and visited with over the phone.

One such person in Becky Nioce. She was working along side Norman last year and mentioned that she had ancestors from Meade. We demised it was Judge W.D. Hudson, but in a recent email she clarified that her great grandfather was Fillmore Hudson (not related to W.D.) who was the Meade County Clerk of the Court in 1886. She has artifacts from this family she wants to donate to the Museum. Her family goes way back to the early days of the county, and I am so anxious to meet her!

Our first school tour is April 27, so it looks like it will be a busy spring at the Museum.

APRIL 10, 2012

In perusing the guest book I see that 34 visitors have toured the Museum since last week. We're not setting the world on fire, but it's picking up. One couple was Bill and Susan Bunyan from Dodge. Bill and Susan were on the original committee when the museum was created. They come by once in awhile and go through ... I'm sorry I missed them. It is
fun to ask them questions about how things came to be.

I am going to be working Frances' days for awhile so she can tend to some medical issues. I am looking forward to getting some "piles" whittled down and some long-over due chores done. I love our new Tack Room, but BOY did those guys cause some dust. Now we are hosting the KAA meeting this month and ... well, our rooms are a mess! I am
trying to clean at least one room a day. I have done the church, the school and bank ... slowing working my way down the west side of the Museum. We will see how far I get, I may be hollering "help!"

I have had several "locals" in today to check out the new Tack Room. Everyone seems duly impressed ... and rightfully so. I talked to Glenn Lauppe today and got a list of all the folks that helped build the room so that I could make a plaque to put on the wall. Those guys deserve a little recognition.

Elmer Friesen came in and asked where we were going on our spring history tour. We haven't announced a tour yet because we don't have any ideas of where to go! We have had such good tours lately they will be hard to compete with. I told Elmer to put his thinking cap on and perhaps we would schedule a tour for the fall. We haven't been to the west end of the county for a long time ... you folks at Plains need to think of some history sites we can visit.

Our schedule this spring is crazy with the KAA meeting on the 21 st, Trash & Treasurers Day on the 28th and then the Sampler Festival in Liberal on the weekend of May 4th & 5th.

I sure encourage everyone to attend the Sampler Festival while it is so close. It will take place in Light Park on North Kansas (where the swimming pool is.) I will be having a Prairie Books booth right next to the Meade County Economic Development -- Museum - - Dalton Hideout booths. If you have given any thought to my suggestion that you vacation in Kansas this summer to save gas ... the Sampler Festival is THE PLACE to get information about what the state has to offer. www.kansassamplerfestival.com

APRIL 4, 2012

I am sitting at home as I write this, so I can’t look at the guest book, but Frances tells me that Museum traffic has really picked up this week. She has been busy with guests, some of which have been very interesting.

We hosted a Dalton Days committee meeting at the Museum last Monday prior to our MCHS board meeting… it was so good to see so many new faces getting involved in our celebration! I think folks will be pleased with all the improvements to Dalton Days this year. Not only will the Meade County Fair Ranch Rodeo be held in conjunction with the event… I heard them talking about a DANCE! It has been many years since we have included a dance, and if memory serves, that used to be one of the most popular parts of Dalton Days.

Our board meeting was short and sweet. We bragged to Glenn about getting the Tack Room finished and the guys for getting the saddle collection moved. There was a little talk about where we go from here, but I think everyone is ready for a rest now. Someone brought up the need to work on the Sunnydale School house and Norman brought up the idea of moving it to our lot north of the Museum and placing all the old implements into our planned Ag Museum… he and I have been talking about that for some time. The board seemed receptive. It is hard to maintain a lot so far removed from the main building and it would make it so handy to actually use the school house… especially for school tours. Norman also discussed plans for the KAA Annual Meeting we will host on April 21. We will have an elite group of archeologist here that weekend from all over Kansas.

April is a busy month. I am working with Victoria Ward and trying to find a Sunday afternoon to host an event with Barry Ward. Since we now have our Goodnight Gallery space empty again, I proposed to her that we set up a projector back there and show the new video they made at the Hideout and Museum… Barry could be on hand to sing a few songs and sell some CDs. Victoria jumped at the idea, we just have to wait until they get the DVD and find a date.
I am looking forward to having lots of events in the Gallery… the Barry Ward music video would be a great start!

MARCH 26, 2012

I counted 39 in the guest book again this week. They seem to come in spurts, at times we will be extremely slow, then other times we will be swamped.

The big news this week is the moving of the Bartlett saddle collection from the Goodnight Gallery into the new Tack Room. Mike Bartlett showed up Monday with two young men and they, along with Glenn Lauppe, made short order of the move. The saddles are mounted on racks with big casters on the bottom. Unfortunately, two longer racks could not make the turn at the front of the Museum and had to be dismantled... this involved taking some of the saddles off the rack and taking them into the room by hand. Two of the racks could just be rolled along. Later, Norman showed up so we had five guys working on the project. I just tried to stay out of their way!

I encourage everyone to stop by the Museum and see the new Tack Room. Glenn Lauppe deserves a big pat on the back for all his hard work. He seems very proud of the room, and rightly so. It certainly enhances the saddle collection which looks right at home among the cottonwood planks.

Before he took his tools home, Glenn also mounted the picture racks to the new wall that was formed when we closed off the east windows. This looks so much better... seems a lot more sound... and frees up a lot of floor space. We moved a showcase and our baby buffalo around and came up with a pleasing floor plan for the lobby. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but it seems like things just might get back to normal around here. I know Glenn made the remark he was ready to get back to the ranch!

With the Gallery free, I plan to have some events and temporary exhibits. Larry Lemaster was in last weekend and as we visited about it we came up with several ideas... a Dick Brown art exhibit... a quilt show... a Larry Beard art exhibit... just to name a few. Hopefully, we can get a copy of that music video Barry Ward made last week and show it on our projector back there. As you can see the ideas are flowing!
All in all... things are progressing nicely at the Museum.

MARCH 18, 2012

I was right about the nice weather... we've had 32 visitors since last week! It's sure nice to have a little traffic around here. I suppose it helped this week that Kansas was having spring break.

One couple that came in this weekend was from Liberal. The group included husband, wife, a teenage girl and a little boy about 8. The father and the girl had both been through the Museum on a school tour when they were in 3rd grade! They still recall that tour as a good experience... that's what makes it worthwhile.

Our big excitement for the week was Barry Ward coming in on Thursday to shoot part of a music video in the Museum. Janae brought her camera and got some great shots of the crew working. There were several costumed extras wondering around the Museum, including our own board member, Don Wilson. The video goes with the song, "Eli Crow" from Barry's new CD titled "West of Dodge." In the song, the singer is the son of Eli Crow, who is a wanted man. He sees a wanted poster in "Miller's store" of his father with a price on his head. I guess that's why they were shooting in our general store. They also shot in the blacksmith's shop and the livery stable. They also shot at the Dalton Gang Hideout the day before. Barry's CD is excellent, and full of songs that he has written himself. Check it out on www.barrywardmusic.com.

I had a note here from Janae... she has finished the obituary book for the decade of 1950-59. That makes 4 decades she has done! What a gift to Meade County. She will now go back to the decade of 1910-19, to fill in that blank. Frances has already provided her with copies from the microfilm... it's a real team effort.

I spent a couple of days at Graceland Cemetery last week looking for gravestones to answer some of our questions. You know I have started to get my energy back if I could do that! It was a fun project and I had lots of corrections to our cemetery file. Like I told Alma, "You can't argue if it's etched in stone." My experience led me to sit down at my computer and draw a new map of the cemetery.... one that would be a little easier to hunt graves by. If anyone wants to take a look at it, I have posted it on www.oldmeadecounty.com, in a new section titled "cemeteries." I think I will post the PDF files of all our cemetery lists on the website. There are many sites that have them, but it would be an excellent way to share all this work we have been doing, and a way to make the site more valuable for anyone researching Old Meade County.

Speaking of the website... I also posted a new story that Frances wrote titled, "The Flood of 1955." There are lots of us who remember that flood but few of us write our memories down. Frances did an excellent job of telling her family's story. Check it out!

MARCH 13, 2012

Visitor count seems to get worse every week at the Museum... we only had seven this week. Hopefully the beautiful weather will bring them in.

We ordered fire retardant for the tack room which should be in today. Bud Bartlett, who owns the saddle collection going into the new room, requested this and even offered to pay for it. I don't blame him... those walls look like they are built out of what matchsticks are made of! This is the last step, folks, we will be moving the collection into the new room soon.

I asked Frances if anything exciting was going on. She said she was through printing obituaries from the microfilm on the "teens." For some reason we started in 1920, and forgot all about the decade of 1910 through 1919. She and Alma have moved on to the 1960's. We had a book on that decade, but it does not include Plains and Fowler... and our copies do not include the name and date of the newspaper from hence they came. Our girls are kind of persnickety about those obit books... I'm sure they will figure out a way to make that decade proper.

I worked four straight days this week. Alma and I finally got her corrections to our Graceland Cemetery file copied over... and I have even been out on the "hill" trying to find the answers to some of our questions. The rest of my time I spent trying to catch up on things. I didn't get done, but made a dent.

I guess Barry Ward is coming to the Museum this week to shoot a part of music video. We gave him the run of the place... we welcome that kind of publicity!

MARCH 5, 2012

We have had all of twelve visitors through the Museum since last week... not much to brag about. I did, however, make arrangements with a teacher from Cimarron to host their entire third grade early in May. If nothing else, we will have plenty of "kid traffic" this spring.

We have several events coming up this spring. on April, 21st, we will be hosting the KAA (Kansas Anthropological Association) for their annual meeting. Norman Dye, our president, is a member of this group and is very excited about having their meeting here in Meade. We plan to put on a reception the evening before and doing all we can to make their members feel at home. Get information about the KAA on-line at www.katp.org.

The weekend of May 5 & 6, we will be taking part in the Kansas Sampler Festival, held this year (and next) in Liberal. We put up a massive booth that houses the Museum and Dalton Gang Hideout as well as the Meade County Economic Development Committee every year at this event. It will be a real treat to have it only 40 miles away. I will have a booth next to the Meade County booth, selling the books I publish. I did this when the event was in Garden City several years ago and had a great time. Check out this event on-line at www.kansassampler.org/festival. I wrote before about making Kansas your vacation destination... well, that's what this event is all about.

The ranch must have called Glenn and his crew back to work... the tack room hasn't seen much action lately. Bud Bartlett has offered to loan additional items for the room, such as "tack" to hang on the walls. Glenn said he has figured out how to make a rack for the displays so that the items will be secure. We can see the room will fill up fast... it will be a great addition to the Museum. We have set a moving deadline of April so we can have our gallery free of saddles for that KAA reception... the pressure is on!

FEBRUARY 28, 2012

I came by the museum today to write this... didn't seem to me that much has gone on this past week but there are signs of life here... Glenn is putting some finishing touches on the saddle room and Frances is busy at the microfilm machine.

The saddle room is pretty much done. We have a door into the Museum lobby and a secure door going out to the rest of Building B. Saturday Rebecca and I both worked so that she could clean. We had a lot of construction mess to clean up. She took the shop vac to the new floor, dusted all the cases, then vacuumed the Museum. I cleaned the lobby and the office... we still have to dust everything in the Museum... it's hard to believe how that dust gets around.

Looking at the guest book, we've had 22 visitors since last I wrote. That's not bad for the middle of the winter. I had an email from two elementary schools in Liberal and they have already made plans for school tours in early May.

Marc Ferguson came back from the Southwest Kansas tourism meeting with a box of  free books. They were published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and are titled "Birds of Cimarron National Grassland." Morton County must have been giving them away. They have information about the Grasslands, but their bird study encompasses all of southwest Kansas... so if you are a bird watcher, you might want to stop by and pick up a copy of this book while they last. The photos are black and white, but the book seems to have a lot of good information... and they are free.

I am starting to get back to working on family files. I have a lot of information put aside waiting for folders to be made. I can see this will be a never-ending process. The old file cabinet I found in the closet has afforded me four full drawers for family folders... I finally got frames put in the drawers for hanging files and now I am progressing slowly. All our projects seem to work this way... obituaries, cemeteries, photos... we just keep plugging away. My problem is I keep hopping around from one project to another, not getting any of them done. I think I'm trying to insure there will always be work to be done here at the museum!

FEBRUARY 22, 2012

We have a door! The new tack room now has a door from the Museum lobby… it looks just like a barn door and is stout enough no mule could ever kick it down! Glenn and his crew have been working tirelessly all week and they are just about done. The room looks awesome.

Now Rebecca is going to have to get to work, because those guys have made a royal mess. It might be a good thing that traffic at the Museum has been a little slow… we have been apologizing a lot, but what a treasure we will have when we get the Bartlett saddle collection moved into the new room!

Since I haven’t been around much, I asked Frances what has been going on… her answer was, “Not much.” She has been busy printing out the obituaries from the “teens,” 1910 through 1919. For some reason we skipped them when we started the project of getting the obituary books up to date. She is complaining because there wasn’t many deaths in Meade County back then… maybe we can have a skinny notebook for that decade.

The spring issue of “Kansas!” magazine is in the gift shop. The theme of this one is “enjoying outdoor wonders” and has articles about biking, kayaking, and horseback riding all over the state. If gas prices go up like they say they will this summer, a Kansas vacation might not be a bad idea. This magazine gives you great ideas for places to travel.

Remember that the Museum is also your tourist information center. We have brochures from all over the state as well as several Kansas travel guides. Save gas… vacation in Kansas… let us help.

FEBRUARY 13, 2012

Looking at the guest book there has been very little traffic at the Museum this past week. We have been busy... planning and executing the Annual Banquet and Meeting... but all the excitement is over now so it's time to get back to business.

We were very pleased with the Annual Banquet. We had a record crowd, the meal was excellent, and the speaker was informative as well as entertaining. Fowler holds the prize now for attendance... we will have it in Meade next year so we will have to work on getting our numbers up there!

The Tack Room is coming right along. The boys busted through the wall after they made the room secure, and now they are working on a ramp for the entrance from the Museum... then all that's left is building a door. I told Glenn it looked like he was "building this by the seat of his pants," and he didn't argue! I am anxious for moving day when the saddle collection moves into its new home.

I have been busy digging through all the things that piled up when I was on "sick leave." Email, bills, and paperwork don't stop just because you do. Alma and I have a system on the Graceland Cemetery file... as she makes changes the database in her computer she marks them with red... then we sit together and change "the master file" at the Museum. We are getting somewhat caught up, but not quite there yet.

Frances got the help of Ruby Deaver on the Fowler Cemetery file... what a treasure trove of information! It is so gratifying the way everyone chips in to help. We know that one day we will get all this done, but right now it still feels like a daunting task.

FEBRUARY 1, 2012

For mid-winter, it's been a busy week at the museum. Glenn is just about done with the
Tack Room and is working on the doors now. We moved the furniture out of the way and Norman took down a display from the wall... we're ready to break through!

After the board meeting the other night, the guys moved the Hargett barbed wire collection over to Building B and we discussed the idea of hanging the photo "leaves" on the wall... something I've wanted to do ever since we got the windows closed up. The board was agreeable, so it looks like it might happen. The lobby looks rather empty now, but we are very excited about getting a door into the Tack Room.

We had our Board meeting a week early because of the Annual Meeting on Saturday. We finalized plans for the event and came up with 122 meals to order. If we have that many show up, I think Fowler will hold the new record for banquet attendance. When we had the event at Plains last year our count was 104. The Heritage Award will be going to a family in the Fowler area so that boosted our count quite a bit... it's a big family.

Otis Merideth brought an entry form for the Pancake Day parade with him to the meeting. He is going with his antique car, so after some discussion, we told him he would have to represent us as nobody else had time to go.

I have been back to work some full days. I get worn out, but it is good to be back in the Museum. First I had to get all the end-of-year chores done, and now I have been able to get back to working on files, etc. The girls have been diligently working on obits and Alma has been busy updating the Graceland Cemetery file.

I went out to Graceland the other day to change out a sign and it was so nice, I ended up driving around a little. I had to laugh at myself... I was reading grave stones and saying to myself... "oh, that's a familiar name!" Through this experience we are ALL getting acquainted with many of Meade County's deceased.

JANUARY 24, 2012

I worked a little this week… got much needed end-of-year books done and hosted a tour of several women from Plains on Monday. They were ten ladies from Laureate Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer group. Being from Meade County, these ladies were really interested in the Museum and we had a great time.

I have learned a lot more about the old Meade State Bank building since last I wrote. It seems that when the bank merged with the First National Bank in 1937, the building was rented out to various businesses. My dad, Bob Feldman, recalled that the City offices were in the basement and at one time, the farm office was on the main floor. Marrs & Twist was located there long before the bank closed and Roy Twist told me a little bit about the fire and how it affected them. The fire took place in the late 1960’s… I’m still trying to narrow that down to a date before I start looking on the microfilm at the old newspapers.

I went ahead and finished my note card with the bank photo on it. In my description, I just put that it burned in the late 1960’s. We now have quite a selection of those note cards with the old Meade County photos. If you are a history buff, you might check them out… I’ve used a few when I knew the recipient would appreciate the subject.

We are in the final stages of our Annual Banquet planning. Remember, it takes place February 4th… 6:30 pm at the grade school in Fowler. We will have to have our meal count about a week in advance, so get your tickets now! You may get them at the Museum or Hideout, or call the Museum at 873-2359 to turn in your reservation. We will also take credit card sales over the phone.

I want to challenge folks in Fowler…. when we had the banquet in Plains last year we had a record turnout. Fowler is known for “town loyalty,” and we expect a good crowd.

I heard Glenn working on the Tack Room when I was at the Museum Sunday afternoon. He is trying to meet his self-imposed deadline of the banquet to get his project done. I am excited for the new room as well as having the gallery empty again. We have been talking about different events we can have in the gallery. One of my favorite ideas is a Sunday afternoon talk series. We have so much history to share! We could have musicians in, maybe some cowboy poets… let me know of you like the idea and if you have something you would like to share.

JANUARY 17, 2012

I sit at home as I write this… still on the mend. I did get to the museum this weekend for a short visit and back on Monday for a little bookkeeping. I get stronger every day.

At home I now seem to have the time to work on some history. In creating some new note cards from old Meade County photos I was led down one rabbit trail after another while writing a paragraph for the back of each card explaining the photo. Though I had a great old picture of the Meade State Bank, I kept running into conflicting information on my search for a description. None of our books have anything of the fire that destroyed the building that housed the bank and sat on the southeast corner of Fowler and Carthage Avenue. I know this happened when I was just a kid, but in my research, I find the Meade State Bank merging with the First National Bank in 1939… wait a minute… I wasn’t even born yet! Either my memory is faulty or there was more than one Meade State Bank. Can anyone tell me when that fire was?

Another photo led me down the trail of the Edwards Family. This would have been Nancy Dye’s ancestors who had a farm between here and Fowler. We visited that place a few years ago on our history tour… they moved from their sod house into an frame house that was a  hotel they moved from Atwater. Great old pioneer family. I had two photos in my collection of their farm… one of which is an excellent threshing operation. This led me to researching the family and working on a page for them on www.oldmeadecounty.com.

I can see it will take a trip to the Museum just to get some of my facts straight. I can’t wait to get back to working on my files there. I have Alma helping me with genealogy and all those tubs of photos to go through… I’d better get me strength back.

I looked over the guest book at the Museum and saw that Rebecca was at least a little busy over the weekend. One of her visitors Sunday was Nolan Sump who will give our program for the Annual Banquet February 4th. He called Marc at the Hideout and told him he was through… he had been at Beaver to give them the same program for their meeting! What are the odds that Beaver would choose the same guy?

There was an article in the Beaver newspaper, shared with me by Larry and LaDonna Meyers, that their Historical Society now has all their signs up to mark the Jones and Plummer Trail through Beaver County and even the Texas Panhandle. This is certainly good news… the trail is now marked all the way through. I will have to check with Kim Goodnight to see if Ford County has completed their sign on Mulberry Creek… when they do, the trail marking job will be done! Good job.

JANUARY 10, 2012

It’s good to be back! Heart surgery kind of put me out of commission, but I’m home and on the road to recovery. A few days after I got home Rebecca took me to the Museum to do payroll… she cleaned while I did some books. Yesterday we were closed so I went in and did some more catching up…. the girls were great while I was gone, but there are just some things I do that nobody knows about!

We had our monthly board meeting last night. Frances and I met early and finalized the menu for the annual banquet coming up on February 4. The menu will be brisket, scalloped potatoes, mixed vegetables, bread and cherry cobbler. This will be at the Fowler Grade School Cafeteria and catered by R&K Catering of Meade. We are looking forward to meeting in Fowler this year and we have chosen a family for the Heritage Award that has ties to Fowler.

Glenn was at the meeting with some great news… the tack room is almost done! They have put the old corrugated tin on the outside walls that was donated from the Salmon farm and they only lack a couple of rows of planks on the west and north walls. Reuben Bartel donated some insulation he had left from his shed construction… thanks Reuben! It’s time to make the doors and finish off the entrances and we can move in. Glenn took us over after the meeting and showed it off… it is a sight for sore eyes. He and Sherman Overbay deserve a big pat on the back for all the work they have put in on this project. Our Bartlett saddle collection will look right at home in that room.

Marc reported on Dalton Days which will happen on June 25 and 26.. They will be meeting next month and have set that meeting as a deadline for all the good ideas they have received. They will only use the ones that have a plan and a committee in place to implement the idea because they have to make a schedule and start publicity. The theme for this year’s event is “Wild Wild West” so that leaves lots of room for fun events and promises to be a grand time.

When I went to the office I found a map that Janae had made showing where all our visitors came from in 2011. It is very nice… I showed it to the members of the board last night and it was quite the subject of conversation. I plan to hang it on the wall for everyone to see.

I want to thank the staff for filling in for me while I was gone… they even wrote my article for the “Prairie Sun.” Thanks, girls, you’re the best!

2011 "Week at the Museum"

2010 "Week at the Museum"


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