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2011 - Week at the Museum

DECEMBER 14, 2011

I just came in today to write this...  I haven't been working much lately. Looking at the guest book traffic has been dismal since last I wrote. Rebecca worked the weekend and brought the "traffic count" database up to date and I was surprised to see that our count is ahead of last year... then I realized that it was all in April when we had a record number of school kids come through. All of Meade Elementary toured this museum this spring... that was fun.

Frances is here today and working on the Fowler Cemetery file. That kind of work is always available to us so we seldom complain that "there's noting to do!" If any of you mothers hear that in the next week or two... bring them down to the Museum!

I've played a lot of "catch up" this last month. In the closet project I came up with an old 4-drawer file cabinet which I cleaned up, painted and put in the Library. I am going to dedicate this cabinet to what I'm calling "family files." I have moved them from the other cabinet and they already occupy three of the drawers. Now we have much needed breathing room in the other cabinet, which is good.... these files will do nothing but grow from this point.

In the original file cabinet I now have these categories: Meade, Plains, Fowler, Meade County, Events, Churches, Ghost Towns, Farming & Ranching, Pre-Historic Meade County and Surrounding Area. Today, Frances brought in some news clippings she found in some of her Dad's stuff... they were from a train wreck that took place in Meade in 1963. I was able to direct her right to an existing file (under "events") and we added them to information we already had. She thinks they were from the Hutchinson newspaper and they were great because they gave some personal accounts of people who witnessed the wreck.

My new mantra is... "what good is having information if you can't find it?" Our entire staff is doing a great job of organizing materials here at the Museum. Keep that in mind if you have a research project... you never know what you might find here.

DECEMBER 5, 2011

I didn't work at the Museum at all this past week, but looking at the guest book we have had a little traffic. I see Brenda Pennington brought in the Sunshine Preschool... she said the kids always enjoy visiting the Museum.

We had our monthly Board of Directors meeting tonight. It looks like everything is in order for the annual banquet that will take place February 4th. We will be having it in Fowler and have booked R&K Catering for the meal. We decided tonight to have brisket for the main dish and the men decided that Frances and I could make the decisions on the rest of the meal.

Glenn didn't make the meeting, but called to say that they made a lot of headway on the tack room this week. They got the south wall done and most of the west wall. When he said they had time to spare because they couldn't get much done on the ranch with all the cold and windy weather I told him... "Well, OK, I'll pray for bad weather!"

Norman and I would sure like to have the gallery space emptied out by April. We are hosting the KAA annual meeting here in Meade and would like to give the visiting archeologists a nice reception at the Museum. I have lots of ideas for events in the gallery... I'm sure Glenn feels the pressure to get that tack room done.

Marc Ferguson was on hand to report on the Dalton Days committee meeting that took place before our board meeting. He is really pleased with all the new interest people have shown in the event. It will be held June 25 & 26, 2012. This year they are working with Dale Schell and the Ranch Rodeo to combine the two events. Marc said the melodrama might take place Friday night and they have plans for a dance at the fairground on Saturday night. A lot of folks who remember those Dalton Days dances from years past will be glad to hear this bit of news! I'm glad to hear that there will still be a melodrama... it's become my favorite part of the event.

We just got in some of Marci Penner's "8 Wonders of Kansas" guidebooks in our gift shop. These books are HUGH! If you have someone on your gift list that loves Kansas and likes to explore... you have to see this book. Plains is in it with the "widest main street." It is just full of beautiful photography and tons of suggestions for places to go and things to see.

We also have some new Christmas earrings as well as a good supply of those devil's claw birds that we created last yead to make some to sell. Stop by and check out our gift shop.r for our Christmas tree. So many people wanted to buy them we decide

NOVEMBER 28, 2011

It was "Week at the Museum" fan week around here. First I got the nicest letter from Geraldine Woodruff. She wrote to tell me how she appreciated the way I told the story of Bernard McMeel and his World War I artifacts I found in the closet.

Geraldine wrote, "As daughters of Dr. and Mrs. P.O. Botkin my sister, Lorita, and I lived across the street from Mrs. McMeel and "Aunt" Jinny as well as next door to Al and Mona (McMeel) Innes. World War One was not that far behind us and we knew about Bernard. The Innes girls were our best friends all through school (class of '36 for me.) I'm 93 and I do enjoy reading your Museum News." What a nice letter... thank you so much.

THEN... I had a special visitor Friday... Russell Vail stopped by to shake my hand and tell me that "Week at the Museum" is the first thing he turns to when he gets "The Prairie Sun" in the mail. He brought me a t-shirt from Gettysburg that had General George G. Meade's picture on it. It was great to visit with Russell. He lives in White Lake,  Michigan, and was on his way to Plains and his sister's house for a visit. He just made my day.

I sure thought I would have more visitors over the Thanksgiving weekend, but things were still a bit slow around here. I spent the week getting a lot of little things done that have been piling up since the beginning of the renovation project.

Norman and Glenn Lauppe went out in the rain Friday to pour a concrete base for the new tombstone Glenn purchased for Jack Rhodes' grave. They got the base poured, but the stone is still sitting in the lobby of the Museum... to be planted on a better day.

Jack Rhodes, who was shot by Deputy Sheriff, Sam Gliver in the fall of 1893, was the sidekick of Jim Herron... the Cattlemen's Association accused Herron and Rhodes of cattle rustling and they were tried here in the Meade Courthouse. On the day they were to be sentenced, they had horses saddled and waiting for them in the livery stable (about where the City building is now.) Gliver was escorting the two men to the courthouse when they bolted from him, mounted their horses and rode east on Carthage Avenue. Gliver shot at them, wounding Rhodes who fell off his horse near where the entrance is to Graceland Cemetery. He was brought back to Meade and died three days later. He left a widow with small children and his grave was never marked... maybe because he died in disgrace... maybe because there was no money for it. When the guys started digging at the grave site they did find one small granite stone without any engraving and some kind of metal steak.

This is the second grave Glenn has provided a marker for... the first was that of Emery Large who was murdered in 1933... another long story involving cattle rustling. Glenn just finds it his mission to see that these graves get marked. These events are part of our history and he feels it's important for us to know where the men are laid to rest.

The story of Herron and Jack Rhodes is documented in the pages of the book "Fifty Years on the Owl Hoot Trail," written by Harry Chrisman from a manuscript dictated by Jim Herron. We sell this book in our gift shop and recommend it as great reading.

Russell Vail was still here when Norman and Glenn brought the marker in and left it in the lobby. Engraved on the stone is the fact that Rohdes was shot by Sam Gliver and Russell took one look at that and said... "Sam Gliver? That's my Great Grandpa!" I love this job.

NOVEMBER 15, 2011

By Nancy Ohnick I’m setting at home as I write this… I have so much help now I’m not at the Museum as much, but I’m enjoying catching up on some of my other things.

I got the MCHS Newsletter out last week. Whew! This one was eight pages… twice as big as it has been in recent years. We have just done so much this year there was a lot to tell. If you don’t get the newsletter it’s probably because we have not heard from YOU in a while. I post it on the “Museum” page on www.oldmeadecounty.com so that it is available to everyone.

If you are a regular reader of this column the content of the newsletter is probably old news to you, but it was interesting laying out a year’s worth of activity. We have already started receiving memberships and… THANK YOU one and all! The donations are extra welcome this year as we have pretty much “blown” our budget with all the renovations.

Traffic has been painfully slow at the Museum… I am looking forward to the holiday season when so many old friends come back home to visit and stop by the Museum. We are not going to have an open house this year. Janae and I have a great idea for a fall event, but we want to wait until we have the use of the Goodnight Gallery back before we do anything. Right now that space is occupied by a saddle collection. Glenn Lauppe and some of the guys are working on a “tack room” to house those saddles but it is still in construction. Glenn remarked at the board meeting that he was going to get started on it again soon. I really rubbed it in that MY project was done… but I can’t be too hard on him, he donates a lot of time and we all appreciate him.

One of the projects I need to start on now is working with all the photographs we uncovered during the closet organization. I have tubs full of photos stacked in the Library as well as boxes, folders and envelopes. It’s a little overwhelming, but like everything else, if we keep chipping away at it, eventually it will get done. I can see now we will have to have some kind of “come-and-see-if-you-can-identify-these-people” photo event. Some photos are indentified only by a Museum number which will require finding that accession record and… well… that’s another can of worms.

Alma referrers to herself as “Sherlock Holmes” when she gets on the trail of a family history… I guess we are all detectives of a sort. There’s nothing like a good puzzle to keep things interesting!


I can’t tell you how nice it has been working this week at the Museum and not having any big projects or deadlines hanging over my head! I’m having to play catch-up on things that have gone undone, but that’s ok… easy weasy.

I had a fun experience with a guest this week. A middle-aged man came in and I cajoled him into signing the guest book… he said his wife stayed in the car and he just wanted to ask about the Dalton Gang Hideout… was that much to see? I told him it was something to see, and we had a really nice Museum here… wouldn’t he like to go through? Finally he asked if we have a restroom. He grinned when I told him it was way in the back and said, “So… I have to go through the Museum just to get there?”

I went back to my computer and in a few minutes heard him quickly go out the door. I thought to myself… “Well, he must not have been impressed.” Then to my surprise, he came back in with his wife. He said, “You were right… this is great, I know my wife will want to see this.” They spent the better part of an hour looking around and “ooing and awing” at what they saw. The couple were from Michigan… they visited for awhile as they were leaving and he said, “We were so tired of looking at cowboy stuff… we thought this would just be another one of those, but… wow… this is great!” I said, “Go ahead, make my day.” That was fun. They were on their way to the Hideout when they left.

I finally got a project done that had been in the works for months. As a project for Prairie Books, I have created a CD with scans of the old 1909 Meade County Plat Book. This beautiful old book must have been plentiful back in 1909, as many people have them... the Museum has several in different stages of deterioration. I have two, one of which was falling apart anyway, so I separated the pages, scanned it and made a PDF of the book. I also spent hours going from section to section and listing the landowners on the maps. So, the CD contains a PDF of the Plat Book and a PDF with an alphabetical listing of every landowner... which will be worth the price of the CD even if you have an original book. I can't tell you how much I've used this myself since having it done and residing on my computer!

We now have these CDs for sale in the Museum Gift Shop. I think it would make a great Christmas present for someone who loves Meade County history. For one thing when you look up a map… photo… whatever on the PDF file, you can print it! It sure beats trying to copy out of that big plat book.

Speaking of Christmas… we have several items in our Gift Shop that are gift-worthy… history books, of course, and many smaller items that would make great teacher gifts or stocking stuffers. I just added some “bottle cap magnets” that are just adorable. Thinking of people visiting who used to live here, I made buffalo, mustang, and goldbug magnets, but after having them done I realized they would fit today’s boosters as well as us old alumni. Stop by and check us out.

OCTOBER 25, 2011

I'm so proud to announce that the closet project at the Museum is finally done! I worked on Monday and got the last of our "stuff" all put on a shelf or a hanger. Whew! What an ordeal. I still have a pile of boxes to dispose of and some trash to haul out, but I have shut the door on the closets.

Now I am wondering what is next... it must be those tubs of photographs I piled into the Museum Library... or maybe that stack of boxes I hid in the "bank" of Meade County Historical Society records... did I say I was done? Hmmmm.

Frances stopped by today. She is all healed up from her knee surgery and ready to go back to work, so starting next week I will have all kinds of help at the Museum. That's fine with me... maybe I can get my house cleaned.

I hope to pay a little more attention now to Old Meade County dot com. This week I finally got a report posted on our spring history tour with Dr. Bob Martin. I have links to those reports on the Museum page... down towards the bottom. That was such a fun tour, even the report itself has a lot of good information about prehistoric Meade County. Local folks have no idea how important the "Meade Basin" is to scientists all over the world.  

I even had time to write our fall newsletter this week. I hope to have that out soon... I had to double the usual size because we have been doing so many interesting things at the Museum and Hideout. If you don't usually get our newsletter, but would like to... send me an email at meademuseums@yahoo.com with your name and mailing address... I'll be glad to add you to our list.

My column seems a little short so I have to tell you one story about a box I found as I was finishing up the last closet.

It was an unusual cardboard box that looked like a suitcase... when I opened it I found all kinds of mementos of a soldier from World War I, named Bernard McMeel. Bernard was the son of B.S. McMeel. He grew up in Meade and graduated from Meade High... then went on to K.U. and the University of Chicago. Bernard was killed in action in France on July 18, 1918, at the age of 26. He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

As I rummaged through the box I found a black armband with an embroidered gold star... a framed newspaper clipping of McMeel among 36 officers killed in France... a little folder from the Red Cross with a photo of his grave which graced a white cross with his name on it... his army cap and what must have been a company flag... photos of an un-smiling soldier... countless newspaper clippings and a little dog-eared army issue Catholic Prayer Book.

I felt as though I had entered a shrine looking through that box. I was moved as I read about that soldier who died so long before I was even born. That box didn't quite fit my criteria for a storage container... didn't quite line up with my perfect white boxes all in a row on the shelves... but I quietly closed it and found a place for it. I labeled the box, "Bernard McMeel, mementos of a fallen soldier."

OCTOBER 18, 2011

I had to turn the furnace on at the Museum this week... looks like our beautiful Indian summer is coming to an end. I'm never ready.

We have had a busy week. Well, it seemed busy to me because Janae took her two days off last week and I was working every day... but I was amazed at how much I got done being here four days in a row.

Monday I put a full eight hours in on the closet project. About all that remains now is cleaning up the mess and putting the hanging clothes in the west closet. I was glad to find that there is shelf space left in the west closet... which is great because this is where documents are being stored. We need room to grow. I have discovered so many interesting things I am anxious to share with researchers when they come in.

The other closet will be filled, but it looks like there will be room to store our chairs that we use in the gallery. Once we get the saddles into the "tack room" we will be able to have events again. Those chairs haven't been used for a long time and I, for one, am looking forward to putting them to use.

I called Barbara Feldman today because I was confused as to what one set of records I found were. They were labeled "Meade County List of Residents & Enumeration Record" and appeared to list, by township, every citizen in the county. Barbara told me that this is correct.... the assessor used to go from house to house and list the head of household as well as all family members every year. What a treasure! Barbara was wondering what had happened to these records so I was able to make her day as she was mine. These books started in the 1930's and continue through the 1980's and will be most useful for researchers looking for people.

Alma is excited about the enumeration records because they will help her find the fathers of the rural school children. When we get the closets done we will pull those boxes and organize the books by township and they will be much more useful.

Every day we find new data about the rural schools. Alma is working tirelessly on this and we so appreciate her! We are starting to get so much data on the people of the county that we can now cross-reference. What fun!


I just counted up the guest book and we've had 45 guests since last I wrote. It is very encouraging to see traffic pick up at the Museum. These were from all over the country, California to South Carolina... so safe to say "coast to coast!"

Not much has happened at the Museum this week except business as usual. Working on obituaries and cemeteries... a bit depressing sometimes.

Our friend Raymond Hargett came back in today and brought some more things... I think this will be our last treasure trove from him. Today he brought some nice sad irons along with the plate that would be put on top of the stove with which to heat the irons. He plans to move to an apartment at Fort Dodge next month. I wished him well and thanked him again for all his wonderful gifts.

The closets are coming along. It is hard not to stop and read through everything I find. I have made so many mental notes to go back and examine material later that by now my brain is on overload. Archive boxes are lining up on the new shelving... all clearly labeled and arranged in some kind of order. I have been concentrating on the paper records now and will soon be moving on to the massive amount of clothes and HATS! I've never seen so many hats in one place. I'm thinking that's one thing a woman never wore out... her "Sunday-go-to-meeting" hats.

It's been a lot of fun going through all the "stuff" but I'm ready to have the job done.

I have to tell one story that started months ago when I ran into a novel printed in the Meade newspaper in the 1930's. The editor wrote that the novel was by Mr. George Emerson who used to be a part of the Meade State Bank. Mr. Emerson had written several books, but the editor thought this one was his best. After a great deal of effort he acquired permission and printed the novel in the newspaper as a serial.

The story takes place in Meade and is about a young banker and all the characters he associates with in the town. There is, of course, a love interest as well as excitement and intrigue. It's kind of hard to follow because it's written in very flowery language... making it a little hard to place in a raw frontier town.

At one point our young hero gets involved with a secret society of farmers. In the book this group met in secret and plotted how to influence politics of the day and sometimes seemed to take the law into their own hands. As I read this I rolled my eyes and thought... "now that took a lot of imagination!"

Fast forward to today. I am organizing all kinds of club records and putting them in archive boxes for the shelves and lo-and-behold I found an old journal with minutes from the Belle Meade Farmer's Alliance... there WAS such an organization! On some of the pages it was just referred to as the "farmers club" and inside the cover is pasted newsprint with the "Bylaws of the Meade County Farmer's Club" so it must have not been totally "secret." The earliest date I can discern is October of 1887, and it seems to have gone on through (at least) June of 1890. The journal is all hand written by several different secretaries and it's hard to read but certainly on that mental list of mine to go back and study.

I hope Glenn Lauppe gets busy and finishes our tack room soon, because we keep accepting things for our "Ag Museum" that will occupy (what we now refer to as) Building B next door. Our latest acquisition is a really nice seed cleaner from Scott and Lori Crain. Norman and his brother, John, went a got it last Saturday and stored it in the back of the building. What a nice gift!


I was just about to whine about how slow the Museum has been when, yesterday, we had several visitors in who took lots of time to look around and were really impressed with what they saw. Rebecca counted up our "September" last weekend and we were actually up three visitors from last year so I guess we are holding our own.

I had one couple in last week from Alabama who were impressed with the Museum. They told me,  "We've been all over the country and seen a lot of museums and this is as good as we've seen anywhere." They had just traveled to California and were on their way home... these are the kind of visitors we tend to get in the fall and it is so much fun visiting with them.

Alma, Jeanette Friesen, and I have all been working on the Graceland Cemetery file. Our dear Irene Lemaster, who worked so hard on this project and created the rolodex files at the cemetery, retired from the project after 1998, and neither the file or the rolodex had been updated since then. Thankfully we have Irene's data and have been diligently adding to it over the last year and a half.

The chain of events here at the Museum starts with Janae as she continues to create obituary books for the Museum library. She has done from 1920 through 1947 so far by looking the obits up in the various newspapers on microfilm, scanning them, then arranging them in notebooks indexed by years. She is doing a beautiful job and a wonderful service for Meade County.

When Janae gets a year or two of obituaries done, Alma takes the pages home and enters all the data about the deceased and their family into her genealogy program and updates the Graceland Cemetery database. She marks these new entries and red and every so often brings her computer down to the Museum and we transfer her new data into the master file on the computer in the office. Jeanette is constantly looking family data up for folks, so she periodically reviews the database and makes corrections for us.

It's a real team effort and I am so grateful to these wonderful volunteers. We are not only adding new entries into the Graceland file, but updating all the entries with full dates of birth and death, and names of parents and spouses. When we get this file caught up to date, we will approach Trevin Bachman about adding the plot locations, or we may have to do some cemetery walking, but somehow we will need to get the locations so we can update the rolodex. From then on we hope to update it on a yearly basis. So... if you need to find a grave... the database at the Museum will be your best bet. We will be glad to work with anyone who is looking for family history of any kind.

I hear from our friend, Raymon Hargett, yesterday. He keeps coming up with more things he wants to donate to the Museum. He now has a grinding wheel... something we don't have. What a benefactor!


I took a little vacation last weekend... our Feldman Family Campout at Two Buttes, CO... time to get reoriented and back to work.

I came in Monday while we were closed and worked on the closets. I am starting to put everything back now. Hopefully it will all fall into place soon. I ran on to some more rural school records for Alma to go through... she was like a kid with a new toy when I showed it to her!

We got a really nice donation last week... Raymond Hargett from Montezuma brought us an outstanding collection of barbed wire. I counted 478 different kinds of wire. They are all cut in lengths of about 18 inches and mounted on boards. These boards also came with stands and we now have the entire collection on display in the Museum lobby. In addition to the barbed wire he had a neat little display of "bale ties" and some little wire things that were used in plating corn.

Raymond also gave us two excellent restored corn shellers which we put into Building B. When  that addition turns into an ag museum they will make a wonderful addition... along with several primitive tools and pieces of equipment, all donated by Mr. Hargett. There were so many things I could not possibly list them here. What a wonderful gift!

I just today got a shipment from Vern Zielke of his recently published book, "Prairie Tails." I'm sure some of you have read Vern's tales on the website, oldmeadecounty.com. He has now self-published his stories into a book. What a treasurer! He wrote this on the back cover: "The stories I share are, for the most part, not based on profound experiences. Life for a small boy at Meade was not filled with adventure and excitement for the most part. These stories reflect a time and a place. The time has passed and the place, although no longer the same, is still there. In many ways this is still 'home' for me. Often, as I travel west, I feel that I am coming home as I follow Highway 54. The far horizon seems to beckon and the prairie seems a welcome relief from the noise of the city. My appreciation and affection for the community that nurtured me will endure throughout my life."

Another new addition to our Gift Shop are two pieces of framed art from Jerry Shannon. They are both pastels on sandpaper... one is of an old elevator and the other is of an old AT&SF locomotive. Jerry does beautiful work and it really "classes up" our shop.

I have given you many reasons to stop by and visit the Museum... say "hello" and see what's new!


It's another quiet day at the Museum. If it wasn't for Alma stopping by and a salesman, I wouldn't have had a soul this morning. It gave me a chance to get some photographs off my camera and into the computer... we took a mini history tour last Saturday and got some great shots.

Rod Calhoun had approached me last week about showing me (and anyone who wanted to go along) the ruts of the old Jones & Plummer Trail that crossed his land down south of town. Janae and Norman wanted to go also, so Saturday morning we loaded up in Normans pickup and headed south.

Rod and Debbie Calhoun met us at the gate on highway 23 and we went all over his pasture looking at things. We saw trail ruts and a corner stone that Harold Heinson had made some time in the past... drove down through Crooked Creek at one point... and walked a beautiful little canyon. It was so much fun. It is actually greening up in that area and wild flowers were abundant.

On the way back to town we inspected a dilapidated farm house and went by the site of the old Lone Tree where Captain Short and his crew camped. These were the surveyors who met their demise at the hand of renegade Indians in 1874, an event most commonly known as "The Lone Tree Massacre."

We even re-visited the canyon called the "Borcher's pit." We had gone there on our History Tour last spring, but Janae was unable to go and we wanted to show it to her.  Dr. Martin told us it is the best place in the world to view so many layers of time in the earth  in one spot. More fauna has been extracted at this location than any location in Meade County.

When I got the mail I had a nice letter from Menno Loewen, who now lives in Derby, Kan. I couldn't place him at first but when he mentioned his wife, Elsie, I knew exactly who he was. She used to be a good customer when I had The Farmer's Daughter, an arts and crafts store where the Dusty Rose is located now. He took me on a trip down memory lane as he wrote about some of his memories here in Meade.

Menno had been reading about our closet ordeal in The Prairie Sun. Well, Menno, I'm glad to report that we are all fixed up and ready to go on that closet. Our handyman, George Lucas, has been here today and put a wooden floor right over that "hole" and we will now be able to complete that project. None too soon for me!


Not much is happening at the Museum this week. Rebecca worked over he weekend and only had 9 visitors... I've had 4 today... kind of like a trickle. Now that school has started our visitors tend to be couples in their mid-life. They seem to look around longer and enjoy the Museum more. I guess the older you get the more you relate to old things!

I have filled my time today working on the Atwater Cemetery. Our records were woefully inadequate for the little cemetery that lies one and a half miles south of Meade Lake. There was a town of Atwater at one time, and a rural school, but all that remains is the cemetery. Buried there are a lot of my ancestors, so it is especially interesting to me.

Alma had told me some time ago that Lavon Cordes is the "keeper of the map" on Atwater and would be bringing it into the Museum for me to copy. Lavon's mother, Agnes, created the map years ago... drawn in pencil on a large piece of card stock with a map on one side and a list of the "residents" on the other.

Lavon brought the map in last week and I got to work creating an Excel spread sheet for the cemetery. I am now in the process of cross-referencing the information with obituaries, family books, Alma's genealogy, and the internet.

Alma showed me the neatest site called "findagrave.com" that lists every cemetery in Meade County. Sometimes you can get photos of the grave stones on the site and even obits. It's a great resource as long as you keep in mind that it may not be complete or totally accurate. It's one of those sites where people can contribute, so I plan to bring some of Atwater Cemetery more up to date when I get done with my project.

My Dad (Bob Feldman) helped me a lot to decipher some of the Feldman & Cordes families. I still plan to draw a map to scale on the computer when I can get a chance to go down there. I tried zooming in on it from "Google Earth" but it's a little fuzzy. I can't tell you how much fun I am having working on this cemetery!

We are still waiting for our closet floor to dry out. I know you didn't want to hear about closets this week... so that's all I will report.


I always like to start my column on a positive note, so I will just say... praise God it wasn't sewer water!

As I wrote last week we had found "brown" water oozing up out of the cracks in the floor of our newly painted storage closet, and Double N Heat & Air was here working on it. Thinking it was sewer, we had them snake the drains and put a new toilet in the restroom (the toilet was cracked and had been running constantly for several weeks.) 

 Norman spent the day with the plumbers and when the drains seemed to be fine, they started looking for the water source. They traced the water leak down to a hole in the condensation pipe from the air conditioners that had been damaged apparently when they built the livery stable back in 2000. The plumbers repaired the pipe and capped and shored up all the drains before they left. About 14th of the concrete floor in the closet has been jack-hammered out.

The old cooler had two slabs of concrete with insulation in between. The water has been collecting between these concrete floors and the old insulation is disintegrating. The plumbers pumped out over 300 gallons of water. Norman has been scooping the old black stuff out and scattering floor dry to soak up moister. We will have to wait until it is dry before replacing the floor. In the meantime the livery stable exhibit will have to remain closed.

We have concluded that this air conditioner condensation has been leaking into the floor for years... this summer probably set a record for the AC running, and it just filled up. What a freaky thing! We have had odor problems in the restroom and closet back there for years also... we think this will clear up that problem as well. So there is a bright side and I'm trying very hard to look on it.

Besides all this excitement, there isn't too much to report on the Museum. We were closed Labor Day, but the Hideout was open and Marc said he had about 40 visitors. Labor Day weekend always marks the end of the summer season for us so we don't know what kind of traffic will have the next few months.

Rebecca has taken our old visitor log from last year and created a database for our visitor count so that we can record it month by month and compare it with the past. Marc has been doing this for years and it really helps him to gage what kind of year he is having.  Our record will start in 2010, but we will keep it up from now on.

The Kansas Museum Association is offering small grants for Museum improvements and I am in the process of application for a grant to help remodel our "Dirty Thirties" display. The grant application deadline is the end of this month... so keep your fingers crossed for us!


I had a little vacation.... went to Denver to see my son, Jay, over the weekend. Colorado is nice, but I sure was glad to get back to Southwest Kansas!

I came to work today to find plumbers at work in our freshly re-done closet. Last week while I was working in there I discovered that sewer water had backed up around the old floor drain... a drain we were convinced had been long abandoned. Apparently a sewer pipe has been leaking under the floor for quite some time. They took out 180 gallons with a shop vac before they gave up and started using a pump. The newly painted floor has been jack-hammered up in about the last quarter of the closet now, and they may have to keep going to find the leak. Norman took the day off work to help out and I'm so glad he is here. What a mess.

I found notes from Janae from last Friday. It seems we had a visit from Vashti Seybert's niece, Sheila (Gwendolyn's daughter,) who lives in Portland OR. Janae said she heard some great stories about R. M. Painter (Vashti's grandfather.) I just last week added his photo to our "wall of fame" in the Museum Library. It's always fund when people with family ties to Meade County find some of their heritage in the Museum.

Janae also had a couple from Wamego, KS, who wanted to look in the old FHS yearbooks for Betty Weber... they found her senior picture in 1954. The couple told Janae they knew her from church and she died several years ago.

I have started working on the photograph collection. We brought in three big tubs of pictures from the trailer and I took them straight to the Library where I have been sorting them. I labeled the drawers of the cabinet we overhauled for photos with labels such as "Mead, Meade Schools, Fowler, Fowler Schools, Plains, Plains Schools, Farming & Ranching, Etc." As I sort, I put them in these drawers and then we will take a drawer at a time and catalog, scan, and label the photographs. This project will take a long time, but when we are done, the photos will be accessible and easy to find. To my thinking, we need to be treating these photos with much more care and taking seriously our responsibility for their preservation.


It's been a very slow week.... visitor wise.. at the Museum. It's a good thing we have so much to do, or we might get bored!

I hit the closet project hard this week... got it all painted and scrubbed and started moving back the contents we had taken to the other closet over. Norman came along on Saturday and was a big help. His brother, John Dye, was having a surprise birthday celebration Saturday afternoon, and after that was over Norman showed up with three cousins and put them to work moving stuff out of our pod in the alley. I'm planning to work on Monday while we are closed and get that thing done.

The fall issue of "Kansas!"  magazine has arrived. This season it's all about food... there are articles about Kansas chefs and great places to eat all around the state. So... all you "foodies" out there... this issue is for you! We have the magazine for sale in our gift shop as well as lots of new books about Kansas. Check us out.

Alma has been busy this week. She acquired a bunch of old photos of the Abe R. Friesen family and brought some into the Museum she thought I would like. Abe was a cowboy and apparently worked on the Will Schmoker ranch... there were lots of photos of that ranch as well as some great old photos of the Sale Barn here in Meade taken in 1937. I have scanned them all and will return them to her next week.

When I have a chance like this to scan photos I get them into the computer then print out the scans along with the file name and put them in our files along with any comments that are on the photos. I've only been here a year and a half and you would not believe how many scans I have done so far. I could see that I would need a system for keeping them in order and with which I could find them when someone wanted a copy. I have started keeping the same file names on the computer that I use in our file drawers and this really helps. For instance, the prints of all these Will Schmoker photos went into the Schmoker Family file so that anyone looking through that file will know that we have those scans and what file name to request if they want a copy.

We are always interested in family photos and we can usually scan them and give them right back to you while you wait, so if you have some to share, please let us know. Digital images are just one more way to share the history of our county with each other and the world.

August 8, 2011

Another eventful week at the Museum.... Rebecca took a little vacation so I worked two week days and had a chance to do a lot of visiting.

I met Joe Parker, a bird biologist  who camps and works from Meade Lake. He was very interesting.... said when he first started out here he stayed in the same cabins that Dr. Hibbard and his students had used.

Kathleen Ross had given Alma nice photos from two rural schools... Century and Fairview. Well, this set of a flutter of activity trying to identify all the students, and that led to going back to some scans of Century school we had acquired earlier this year. Does anyone out there know anything about the Hammer kids? What a mystery!

I got a visit from Ken Campbell about those corner stones that Rod Calhoun had found on his land. Ken wasn't aware of them and it really peaked his interest when I showed him Rod's photographs. He didn't know who would have made them. Now, Norman has learned from one of Harold Heinson's sons that Harold made those stones. Harold was always interested in history and especially the Lone Tree Massacre which took place right down there in that area.

Janae left me a note about two dear ladies who came to the Museum on her watch. Ada Ruth Tripet said that she had attended Western Gem School, and Julianne Post had attended Artesian Valley School. Alma just happened to come into the Museum while they were here and it was "old home" week! This job is so much fun.

Janae also greeted Shirley Brinkley, who is the daughter of Norma Feldman. We have a permanent wave machine donated by Norma that is always a big hit.

We had our Board of Directors meeting this evening... not much going on there. We have a load of corrugated tin that Glenn Lauppe hauled in after it was donated by Frances Elffner from her Dad's farm. Norman sized it up and told us that he thinks it will pretty much cover the outside walls of the Tack Room. I have been putting aside great old ag- related signs that will look so good on that tin. Glenn brought a "NO HUNTING" sign in the other day from the "American Agriculture Strike." That's got to be a collectible.

Norman reported that during one of his archeology events he was working with a woman who said her grandparents used to live in Meade... one thing led to another and Norman found out that this Mr. Hudson was a judge and the lady wants to donate his robe to the Museum. We got out one of Frank Sullivan's history books and found him... W.D. Hudson, a Republican, was Probate Judge from 1886 to 1892. We will be able to fill in some of the banks for his granddaughter, and at the same time acquire a great donation to the Museum. Like I said... fun job!

July 25, 2011

Traffic is still a bit slow at the Museum... we keep filling in our time with projects. I finally got the story posted on Old Meade County dot com about Paul Brice and his time working for Eva Dalton Whipple in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Paul was a man who lived in Fowler and he had given the editor of the Fowler News this story back in 1949. It's quite entertaining and gives us another perspective on our dear Eva Dalton.

Brian Hantla gave us a special gift this week. His uncle, Bob Hantla, was a member of the MHS class of 1950. Bob was a football star in high school and went on to play for the University of Kansas, the San Francisco 49ers, BC Lions, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He ended up coaching... first at Phoenix Community College for 12 years, then at Scottsdale Community College for 20 years. Brian had fixed a framed collage of photos and memorabilia of Bob's football career to hang in Cruisers Sports Bar where he worked for awhile. Since Cruisers closed, Brian brought the piece to the Museum. It now graces the wall in our Library where we plan to make a "wall of fame" for famous people who lived in Meade County.

If you know of people from Meade County who need to be included in our wall... please let us know. My daughter, Jana, suggested David White who graduated with the class of 1988. David is an actor and producer in the movie business. We're requesting an 8x10 glossy! Let us know of we're missing someone famous.

Janae is quite a photographer and has contributed some note cards to our gift shop inventory. She made the cards with photos of wildflowers and one with a black and white photo of that old abandoned house you see north of Hwy 23 when you are just east of the lake. So many people are curious about that house! When Alma saw the note card she got so excited.... she can tell us about several families who lived in that house long before it was moved to it's present location. I seems it started out down south a few miles from the "eight-mile corner," and went through many changes over time. I would love for Janae to dig a little and give us a history on that old house.... it has survived several prairie fires and years of Kansas winds and yet stubbornly stands there all alone like a sentential on the prairie.

Besides Janae's note cards, we have new jewelry by Linda Kastens, and I have put in a few more pieces of gourd art... our gift shop is filling up! Remember us when you want a unique gift with Meade County ties.

Rod Calhoun came in with some photos he took of a couple of cornerstones he found on his property south of Meade. These are made of concrete with a square base with the section numbers impressed into it, and a stone rising from the center. Rod wasn't sure what they were and as we talked, he seemed surprised that someone would make these and wants to know why. I couldn't tell him much and realized that someone should probably document these stones and find out who laid them, etc. I have a call in to Ken Campbell... I'm sure he can shed some light on the subject... he probably knows where they all are. I'll keep you posted as I learn more, and would welcome any information on these cornerstones.

I can almost see the end of the closet project.... through the efforts of my brother, Glen Feldman, I now have more shelves in the last closet and I'm ready to paint. Soon as it's scrubbed and painted we will be ready to move all our stuff back in. Whew! What a project. There are always plenty of projects here at the Museum!

July 17, 2011

I'm afraid circumstances won out last week and I didn't get my column written. No excuses... just fact. I'll try to remember where I left off.

I was looking at the guest book and we've had 94 visitors so far in July. I really ought to keep a log like Marc does down at the Hideout... he always knows when he is "down" or "up" in comparison to last year. It seems busy to us... there are lots of tourists and people stopping by who have come home for a visit. I missed Vern Zielke last week... I see from the book he was in the Museum on July 13th. I would have enjoyed visiting with Vern... he has a good memory and can always shed some light on things. If you want to read some very entertaining stories by Vern go to www.OldMeadeCounty.com and click the "index of stories tab"... click on "Prairie Tales." At the bottom of the first page are some links to several other stories. Good news… Vern is planning to publish his work and he assures us we can have some to sell in the Museum.

We had our board meeting last Monday. We discussed the old schoolhouse roof and siding... we know it is in a sad state of repair, but we just haven't been able to get to it. We are trying to find someone to look at the roof, and Norman plans to have a work day... perhaps with the 4H kids... to work on the siding. It has been so hot and dry we need inspiration to get out there!

Marc gave a report on Dalton Days. The most exciting news there is the outpouring of offers to help next year. Russ and Karrie Ohnick came to the board meeting and reported on a social networking group Karrie formed called "Dalton Days Enhancement." She told us 100 people are in the group so far and ideas are flying around like crazy. If you want to check it out go to Facebook and type in the search box: “Dalton Days Embellishment Group.” We are so pleased to have renewed interest in the event. A Dalton Days committee meeting has been planed for August 9, at 7:00 PM at the Hideout. Everyone is welcome to attend.

When our meeting was over Norman announced that we were all going back to the back of the Museum and help get the remaining contents from one closet to the other. I was thrilled... even Russ stayed and helped us! Now I have no excuse... that closet is empty and I need to get to work and clean and paint it so that we can get our storage organized once and for all. I have an overwhelming lack motivation, but I decided that if I got this project done I could lord it over the guys working on the Tack Room... that helped a little.

We are also planning ahead for our Annual Banquet next February. We've set the date for the first Saturday which is February 4th. Marc and Norman have found an historian who plays a dust bowl farmer. We have had so many "cowboys" of late, we thought this would be a good change of pace. We would like to have the meeting in Fowler, but haven't settled that question yet.

Our gift shop is looking up. We got in an assortment of Pennsylvania Dutch Candy... old fashioned candy sticks in twelve yummy flavors. I have found that grandpas are an easy sell on these things. We also got some bracelets from Linda (Smith) Kastens.... and she plans to bring in more in days to come. I put in some of my gourd art last Thursday at noon, and Janae texted me about 2:30 to tell me I had sold one already! I have some more of them in the works as well.  

So... stop by and see what's new. We are so enjoying the renovation and lack of HEAT in the front of the Museum. This was a goo summer to get this job done!

July 5, 2011

Thanks to Janae our column wasn't absent last week... goes to show you can't always trust email!

Traffic is really starting to pick up at the Museum. Thanks to Dalton Days, in part, we have had 129 visitors since last I wrote.

Dalton Days was a big success in spite of the HOT weather. I fell so sorry for those living history re-enactors and gunfighters... they all seem to have on black jackets or at least long sleeves in the sweltering heat.

I worked at the Museum both days of the celebration, but I did get to catch a chuckwagon breakfast and the melodrama. The melodrama gets the best crowds and this year was no exception. The show was hilarious and it is so much fun to see people from all walks of life around Meade County dawn their costumes and turn into old west characters. Marshall Bailey and his wife from Dodge City emceed the show and they were excellent.

The Museum is still trying to recover from the renovation. We expanded the gift shop and it is taking a while to get it stocked up. George Lucas made us a wonderful display which has been stocked with books. We are putting in a wider selection of books as well as hand-crafted items from around the area. We just got in an assortment of sparkly sun catchers and beaded bookmarks. Our goal is to stock things made in the USA! So remember us when you are looking for small gifts and want something locally made.

I'm starting back on the closet project. We paid rent on the pod for July, but my goal is to have it emptied out by month's end. We may have to wait and inventory after everything is stored... this has turned out to be a bigger project than we thought. Already it is easier to find things and when we are done we will know where everything is and know what all we have. We are trying to start thinking in terms of "we may not be here" when we document things and store things.

Our next big project will be to inventory everything in the Museum. I hope to acquire some museum software by that time so we can do it correctly.

Right now we are enjoying our summer traffic and a much cooler Museum with the big windows gone! Stop by and see what an improvement we've made.

June 29, 2011

Traffic is really starting to pick up at the Museum. Thanks to Dalton Days, in part, we have had 129 visitors since last I wrote.

Dalton Days was a big success in spite of the HOT weather. I fell so sorry for those living history re-enactors and gunfighters... they all seem to have on black jackets or at least long sleeves in the sweltering heat.

I worked at the Museum both days of the celebration, but I did get to catch a chuckwagon breakfast and the melodrama. The melodrama gets the best crowds and this year was no exception. The show was hilarious and it is so much fun to see people from all walks of life around Meade County dawn their costumes and turn into old west characters. Marshall Bailey and his wife from Dodge City emceed the show and they were excellent.

The Museum is still trying to recover from the renovation. We expanded the gift shop and it is taking a while to get it stocked up. George Lucas made us a wonderful display which has been stocked with books. We are putting in a wider selection of books as well as hand-crafted items from around the area. We just got in an assortment of sparkly sun catchers and beaded bookmarks. Our goal is to stock things made in the USA! So remember us when you are looking for small gifts and want something locally made.

I'm starting back on the closet project. We paid rent on the pod for July, but my goal is to have it emptied out by month's end. We may have to wait and inventory after everything is stored... this has turned out to be a bigger project than we thought. Already it is easier to find things and when we are done we will know where everything is and know what all we have. We are trying to start thinking in terms of "we may not be here" when we document things and store things.

Our next big project will be to inventory everything in the Museum. I hope to acquire some museum software by that time so we can do it correctly.

Right now we are enjoying our summer traffic and a much cooler Museum with the big windows gone! Stop by and see what an improvement we've made.

June 20, 2011

It has been a busy week at the Museum. We are still a little disoriented... the gift shop area is still not put back together from our recent renovation, and the new office is arranged all backwards from the way it was... that old saying about "old dogs new tricks" comes to mind.

We have had some traffic also... 31 guests have come through since we re-opened.

We happened to get our shipment of new flags in just before we opened again and so our "curb appeal" has vastly improved in more ways than one. I went out on the street and took some photos while we had a nice gentle breeze and posted one on the Museum page of OldMeadeCounty.com, so you readers who live far away can see what we look like now.

We've had mixed reactions to the new front... good for the most part. I am confident that when we get murals painted on the new panels everyone will share the "vision."

Now we are looking forward to Dalton Days, which takes place this weekend. Marc got a notice the other day that we could no longer call it "Dalton Days Wild West Fest" because Michael Martin Murphey has a trademark on "West Fest." Who knew?

I have posted the news release for the event on the Dalton Days page of OldMeadeCounty.com, which would make a good link to send to folks who might want more information and a schedule. It looks like we will have a fun weekend... I am so looking forward to the melodrama: “The Pony Expresso or The Villain Came to a Grinding Halt." A lot of local "players" have been working really hard to bring us a good show. See you this weekend!

June 14, 2011

The Museum project is finally done and we opened again today (Tuesday, June 14.) It has been an experience to say the least. I wasn't quite prepared for the enormous mess for one thing... we have spent the last few days just cleaning up and putting the Museum  back together.

Ken Isaac and Barry Friesen did an excellent job closing up the windows and building us office walls. I would recommend these carpenters to anyone. Not only were they fast and good, but we had a lot of fun... I missed them after they packed up their tools and left.

I was a little overwhelmed by the task of patching things up and painting everything when George Lucas came along. He offered to help and I honestly believe we would have been closed an additional five days if it hadn't have been for George. He finished the outside, built shelves, repaired furniture, laid tile... anything I threw at him he cheerfully accomplished and did an excellent job. You saved me, George, thanks!

While we were closed I decided to re-do the Backe Photography Studio display. It is such a little room, I can't believe it was so much work! Before the carpenters left they put up some new sheetrock for me and cut some plywood for a shelf. I painted and papered the walls, painted a new backdrop, washed wigs and changed up the mannequins, painted the floor... the list went on and on. It's presentable today, but I still have some story boards to do on Meade County photographers that will go on the new shelf. Rebecca polished up all the old camera equipment and we have them on display for now.

Last weekend (June 11 & 12) I went to Dodge to help man the Meade County booth for Marc Ferguson. He and his wife, Alice, along with George Lucas were gunfighters and players in the "Dodge House Shoot Out" event. There were actors there from as far away as New Jersey and the guys had a great time putting on a show. I visited with a lot of people and encouraged them to come to Meade and visit the Hideout and Museum.

To my fans out there... I'm sorry my column was absent from "The Prairie Sun" for a few weeks. I'm back now and hopefully things will get back to normal around here... what ever that is!

May 19, 2011

The day has finally arrived! Ken Isaac and Barry Friesen actually started on the window-closing job at the Museum this morning.

Even Ken was amazed at how fast the first set of windows came out. By noon they had the framing up and ready to put the sheeting on. They did the west windows first and will do the east side tomorrow. By the end of day the west side was done on the outside. We had people here to take the glass off our hands, so it got recycled around Meade.

I was delighted that the carpet went under the boxes that ran under the windows. I was afraid that we would have to do something with the floor... a project we really didn't want to face this year.

We are closed now until the job is done... a little gritty and in a big mess, but glad for the progress. We have been waiting a long time for this.

Dr. Martin got to town yesterday. He has been busy checking out the dig sites that we are gong to visit on our tour. By the time you read this the tour will be complete and we should have a report on it. It was good to finally meet him... we have emailed back and forth a great deal in the last few months. He came to the Museum today and inspected some of the changes we have made to the pre-historic display. He liked what he saw and suggested that he might bring us some small bones to add to our collection. All the paleontologists who have worked in Meade County through the years were interested in small mammals, and I pointed out to him that we had no "small bones" in our case. I think he and I will get along famously.

May 15, 2011

The school tours are finally over and I'm sure it will seem really quiet around the Museum this coming week. Janae said she was "so sad" that the tours had come to an end... I just gave her that "look," but it's great that she enjoys the kids so much. I overheard one teacher say, "We need to thank Miss Rempel, I think that is the best tour we have ever had at the Museum." To which the kids all said in unison, "Thank you."

It is Sunday as I write this... a couple with three kids came in and I noticed that they were from Liberal. I asked if the little girl had been on one of the school tours and she said no she had been sick and couldn't go... so her parents brought her over today. That was sweet. They spent a lot of time looking around and said they really enjoyed it.

That family was the only traffic I have had all weekend. Yesterday Rebecca worked so that I could work on the closed project. I have started hauling the contents of the second closed into the recently refurbished one. I am encouraged that there is a lot less stuff in the second closet (especially after I got rid of a bunch of empty boxes.) I think this will go much faster now.

Our carpenter called and delayed the window project one more week. Now he won't start until May 23. It's probably for the best since we have our big history tour coming up next weekend, but I have sworn off making big announcements about any project around here until it's done!

Ann Classen brought in a very interesting accession today... a yearbook titled, "Service for  Peace," and dated 1945. It came from a camp labeled "Civilian Public Service" camp number 33, Ft. Collins, CO. Apparently this was a World War II effort by men who were exempt from the military because they conscientiously objected to war. The project work was under the supervision of the Soil Conservation Service. I don't recognize anyone in the book, but I am anxious to show it to Alma who will surely know if there are any local boys that went there. Ann thought she might have acquired this in an auction box somewhere along the line. Interesting.

Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner and we are ready for traffic to pick up here at the Museum. There will be lots of changes as the windows get closed up and some of our other projects get finished. We encourage everyone to stop by and see what's happening at the Museum.

May 11, 2011

I'm beginning to sing "second verse is just like the first verse," these days... school tours have us surrounded by kids! Looking at our guest book we have had 231 school children plus 17 other guest since last I wrote. Whew! Busy time at the Museum.

Last week we not only had our scheduled Liberal kids from Cottonwood and Sunflower Schools, but we had kids from Plains Grade School and Montezuma Mennonite School. Today the Liberal teachers split the class up by boys in one group and girls in the other. I challenged the girls to be as good as the boys... I don't know who won, they were both very well behaved.

I was amused at one of the teachers yesterday... she was older... probably been on this tour 30 times, and she seemed determined to be bored to tears. However, by the time we got to the back and I gave my talk on the Dust Bowl... she was offering comments, getting involved and having a good time. It was great.

We had good news this week... Ken Isaac is finally ready to start on our window project. He plans to start next week... we are so excited! We will be closed during the construction, so if you have things to look up, please keep that in mind. Not only will we be getting the windows closed up, but we will build a wall inside to create a real office... with a closet for storage. An office has become a necessary element for a Museum these days... it will be good to be able to shut the door and have all our storage and equipment out of site.

Our History Tour is also quickly approaching. Remember, May 21, we will meet at the Chuckwagon at 7:30 A.M. for breakfast, then we will have a talk by Dr. Martin at 8:30, then leave on the tour after that. We will be going to some of Dr. Hibbard's dig sites, so wear sturdy cloths and shoes and drive sturdy vehicles.  We have people from all over the state planning to attend so we think we will have an excellent tour.

That's about all I have for now. We are looking forward to the summer season... more guests... and a much cooler Museum with those windows gone.

May 5, 2011

It is a big week for school tours at the Museum. Tuesday we had 45 third-graders and 10 adults from Cimarron Elementary. It's Wednesday as I write this and we had 23 fourth-graders and 3 adults in from Liberal today. If it wasn't for these tours we wouldn't have had much traffic this week.

When the Cimarron kids came through David Ediger was one of the adults. David's daughter was a student and got to show her great-grandmother's doll collection to the class.... and a granddaughter of the Bartlett family got to show off her family's saddle collection. That was fun.

The last two days I have been giving the tours while Frances watches the front and does her work on the Fowler cemetery files. It's funny when the kids first see one of our mannequins in the Mercantile Store they jump... then when we get around to the library toward the end of the tour they jump again when Frances MOVES! They are not expecting a real person by this point.

We had a MCHS board meeting Monday. Norman reported that some of the store fronts blew down in the "old town" at the Hideout. Last weekend a work crew consisting of Norman, Marc Ferguson and George Lucas patched them back up. We need them ship shape for Dalton Days which is coming up June 25th and 26th. The actors are already rehearsing for the melodrama. Marc showed us a clever metal badge the he as purchased to sell at Dalton Days this year instead of the button. It will make a great souvenir of the festival.

Our group is off to the Sampler Festival this weekend. Representing Meade County will be Rodger & Lila DeGarmo, Norman Dye, and Marc & Alice Ferguson. They will have a booth and try and interest people to travel to Meade County... for tourism... and more. We thank these folks for all they do.

April 26, 2011

Busy week at the Museum... we had 27 guests besides the two school tours we hosted. Things are looking up.

On April 21 we had tours for all of the students from Meade Elementary School. We were so pleased to have some local kids in the Museum. There were seven groups with kids of all ages in each group... they totaled 243 kids. Pat Rains organized this event which included the Hideout and the Sunny Dale schoolhouse. It went very smoothly and we all had a good time.

I came in to help with this tour, and Janae and I took turns guiding them through the Museum. This was Janae's first time to guide a school tour, and it was kind of like baptism by fire. She did a very good job.

On April 26 we had 45 fourth graders from the Cottonwood School in Liberal. These kids were very well-behaved and eager to learn. I was amused by one of the teachers... she looked like a child herself to me, but she certainly had control of her kids... at one point I saw her bring a little boy into line with that "look" I always associated with Miss Fee. (I'm sure anyone who went to grade school in Meade in the 40's and 50's will know exactly what I mean.)

Rebecca has worked now for two Saturdays while I worked on putting together the shelving. She has updated the Plains Cemetery database with all the mothers, fathers, and spouses we have a record of and has started to update the Graceland file. She is doing an excellent job. Marc Ferguson plans on keeping her busy at the Hideout this summer as well, so Rebecca will be our "floater" employee between the two entities. 

The shelving is all put together now for our closet... it looks massive, but I'm sure when we start loading up the shelves we will run out of room fast enough. Norman brought the cabinet Larry Dewell overhauled for us into the Library from Building "B." Now we can start sorting old photos as we run across them in the storage files. We are moving in a lot of different directions these days!

Frances is currently researching the boys from Fowler that were killed in WWII. She is tracing them from the notices in the newspapers of when they were killed or missing in action... then when the bodies came home and eventually when they were buried in Fowler Cemetery. This will be great stuff for the family files and the obituary books.

While searching for the soldiers, Frances ran across the most interesting article in the Fowler News in 1949. The editor had interviewed Paul Brice, a long-time Fowler resident, and he was telling about when he was first married and living in Siloam Springs, Ark. He got a job at the Urie Hotel there and found himself working for Eva Whipple (the sister of the Dalton Gang who lived where the Dalton Gang Hideout is today.) Mr. Brice was not a big fan of Eva... it is a very funny story about what a difficult boss she was. I plan to post it on Old Meade County dot com when I have time.

April 19, 2011

The visitor count was nothing to brag about this week, but we did have people from Eagle Creek, Oregon and Buffalo, New York... so I guess you could say we had people from all over the nation. There are many ways to "look on the bright side."

The saga of the closets continues... shelving was purchased this week and three of the units have been set up and put to use in the newly renovated west "walk-in." Now we can switch the contents of the second closet into the first one and get the second one painted, etc. I would say we are "half-way there" on this project, and nobody will be more excited than me to see it completed!

We have hired Rebecca Orth to work part-time for the summer. Rebecca will be a junior next year at MHS, she has been cleaning for us for about a year. We decided to put her on the payroll as Frances is facing some medical leave this summer and we need someone to fill in. Saturday was Rebecca's first day at the Museum and I had her doing some data entry on a cemetery file while I put together shelving. She is quite at home on the computer so I'm sure we won't run out of anything for her to do. She is very familiar with the Museum as she has cleaned every inch of it at one time or another.

Thursday will be a busy day this coming week. Every student at Meade Elementary will be touring the Museum as well as the Dalton Hideout and the old Sunny Dale Schoolhouse. This is all a part of celebrating Kansas' 150th birthday and has been planned by Pat Rains at the grade school. We are delighted. We host many tours from other schools throughout the spring, and we are glad to see some of our own kids come through... giving us an opportunity to share Meade County history with them.

Janae is still working on obituaries. She has gone all through the 1930's now on the microfilm of all three towns and she is in the process of completing the notebook for that decade. This has to got tedious at times and we sure appreciate all of her efforts. We are all looking forward to the day we have all the past obits done and only have to concentrate on the present... that's a job in itself we keep putting off until we get the past caught up. It's kind of like a cat chasing it's tail!

Frances has been working on the Fowler Cemetery database and is to the point of having others proof her work. She took the file home with her today to print out copies to share. This is a good idea... I hope we can find "proofers" for some of our other databases. 

It looks like the project of closing up the front windows has been delayed now until after all the school tours... perhaps the middle of  May. We have found people who want the glass and we have informed them that they have to be here and ready to take it when it comes out. It is yet to be seen how smoothly that will go, but the alternative is breaking it up and hauling it off. Seems like every project has it's own set of problems

April 12, 2011

We were very busy with visitors this weekend... a pleasant change from the "winter doldrums" we have been experiencing. I counted 43 since last week in our guest book. Jack & Della Jinkenson's anniversary brought several couples to Meade. Jack & Della were such faithful board members for a long time.... I'm sure they would be pleased to know some of their guests visited the Museum.

Speaking of important guests... we had Dr. Bob Daugherty from Reno, Nevada in the Museum this morning with his friend Dr. Michael Kennedy from Kansas City. Bob is the son of our dear Dr. Robert M. Daugherty who served this area from 1939 to 1972. I was so pleased to meet these guys and show them around the Museum. Bob said he is a fan of "Week at the Museum"... wow.

Bruce Williamson also dropped in this morning on his way out of town. Bruce lives in California. He's been here for several weeks working on a pipeline project with Marc Cottrell and Brian Hantla. Bruce fell in love with the Museum and volunteered to help with some computer work while he was here. He helped work over the Graceland Cemetery file to correct some of the data that had transferred incorrectly from old data files. Bruce is a whiz-bang computer guy and a great friend.... we were delight to get his help.

Alma emailed me a wonderful old map of Graceland Cemetery that she received from Loretta Davis at the Register of Deeds office. This map is out of an old plat book and is dated 1888. It is signed by C.W. Adams, Secretary and James A. Morris, President of the Graceland Cemetery Association, and also Moses Black, County Surveyor. What a great piece of history. I printed it out and put it in the front of the Graceland book.

Alma has people all over the county digging up stuff about cemeteries and families. Her enthusiasm is contagious. She has been such a blessing for the Museum.

Janae left me a note this week about the great reputation the Museum is enjoying. Last month we had a visitor from Rockton, Illinois, and this week another couple from there came in and told that they got a phone call from him to be sure and stop at our Museum "because it was so nice." Now you can't buy that kind of publicity!

I'm glad to report that that darned closet is finally finished. The walls have been primed and painted as well as the floor. It's ready for shelving, which I hope to go get this week. Whew! What a job. One down, one to go. I did notice that the other "walk in" has at least been painted before so it shouldn't be quite the big job the first one was. We will have an awesome storage system when we get done.

We are preparing ourselves now for school tours. We will have hundreds of kids through the Museum and Hideout starting next week and continuing through the second week of May. Keep us in your prayers!

April 4, 2011

We had a busy week at the Museum. I finally found time to come in on Thursday while Janae was working so that we could tie up some loose ends and get some projects finished.

First I worked on the storage closet some more. I have this old Sears electric floor scrubber that Kathleen Ross gave me over thirty years ago when she worked for me at the Farmer’s Daughter. The thing was old then and looked quite like it had been through a war. It still works though… I tackled the cement floor of the closet with that old scrubber and powdered cleanser, and finally got it cleaned to my satisfaction. I was exhausted!

After that, Janae and I pulled out the display case that houses the archeology exhibit from the “Lundeen Dig.” Janae had completely redone all the graphics on the wall and on the little signs that label the artifacts in the display. We took the faded burlap off the shelves and lined them with black felt… then put everything back in place. We have been planning to do this for some time, and Janae had to admit she had no idea what a project it would be. I had an idea because I had redone the first case that houses the paleontology exhibit… it was great to have a partner on this one and we had a good time doing it. Now both cases “match” and look all fresh and new. Whew!

Janae also brought our “devil’s claw bird” display from the back of the Museum to the gift shop area this week and made a clever sign. We had so many people wanting to buy the birds we made for Christmas decorations, we made some extra ones to sell.

I was so excited to get an email today from June Bender in Plains. We had visited at the annual banquet about sharing the database for the Plains Cemetery and she sent it to me today from the City office. We will print this out and put it in our Plains Cemetery book and have that book completely up to date. Thanks June!

We had our monthly board meeting tonight and were delighted to have members of the Town & County 4H club attend and present their plan to update the old Sunny Dale School House. I will write more about this as it unfolds, but the kids are excited about cleaning, painting, and organizing this piece of Meade County history. It sounds like a great partnership… the kids can earn citizenship “points” and the Historical Society Board can get some new energy on a much needed project.

Norman brought up the Sampler Festival which takes place the first weekend in May. We always partner with the Meade County Economic Development in traveling to this event to promote Meade County. Rodger and Lila DeGarmo, Norman Dye, Marc and Alice Ferguson plan to attend. We are a little short-handed this year so if there is anyone reading this who would like to go to Leavenworth and help work the booth on that weekend, please call and let us know. We have motel rooms reserved and can provide lodging. Read all about the festival at www.kansassampler.org.

March 29, 2011

I just looked at our guest book and we have had 31 visitors since the 20th... things are picking up around here. We all have plenty to keep us busy, but nothing brightens our day like having guests. We get people from all over the country and all over the world and it is such fun to visit with them.

I have been busy working on our storage closet. I now have all the cracks filled and it is ready to paint. I called Brad Ackerman in to check on an old electrical wire that was hanging down from the ceiling and I about choked when he tested it and it was LIVE! He quickly removed it and left us with safe and tidy wiring.

There has been some more action over at the Tack Room the last few days, but I haven't had a chance to check out the progress. Larry finally got all the drawers cleaned out for the cabinet I found in Building B. I now have to clean it up and get it into the Museum. We must have owned this cabinet for years and it will finally be put to good use housing photographs. A big "thank you" to Larry for all his hard work.

I had a visitor today, Doug Freeman, who has been an email and facebook pal for a long time. Doug has ties to several old Meade County families... the Sourbiers, Griggs, Sims, and Brannans. He spent a long time in the Museum and found several family photos he had not seen. It was fun to finally meet Doug face to face and "talk history." He has that "genealogy bug" in the worst way.

Dr. Martin has finalized his agenda for the History Tour scheduled for May 21. He has put together a guidebook that we will copy and have available for everyone who attends the tour. The new agenda is as follows: 7:30 AM, Chuckwagon (east room) for breakfast; 8:30 AM a lecture on the Meade Basin and Dr. Hibbard's dig sites; 10:00 leave for the Cudahy site; 10:45 head for the Borcher's gravel pit; lunch in the Meade Lake area; 2:00 PM head for the Rexroad location 2 site; 3:00 PM, the Rexroad location 3 site, then at 4:00 head back to Meade. The names of these sites won't mean anything to most of our readers, but that's the beauty of going on a tour... we will caravan all the way. We think this will be one of our finest History Tours and we look forward to a good attendance.

That's about all I have for this week. We invite everyone to stop by the Museum and see what progress we have been making. Check to see if we have your family history... if not... please share!

March 20, 2011

I messed up last week and didn't get my column sent in... so this will have to span two weeks.

We had a very busy weekend at the Museum two weeks ago... even though we were closed on Saturday. Sorry if that inconvenienced anyone, but we were having a work day to clean out one of our walk-in "cooler" closets. We set the time from 10:00 to 2:00 and it took almost that long to get everything out of the closet ant into our "pod."

Our work crew consisted of Norman Dye, Don Wilson, myself and my granddaughter, Rebecca Orth. After lunch my daughter, Jana Orth joined us. We managed to get all the contents moved and the closet swept out... it's clean as a whistle right now. It still smells like an old cooler so we are trying to deal with the smell, then we plan to prime and paint the walls and install some sensible shelving.
One of our problems was we kept wanting to stop and look through the stuff! None of us were around when that closet was packed full... so it was like Christmas to us. It will be good to at last have an inventory of what's in there, which we plan to make when we pack the contents back in. We also plan to re-box and label everything for ease of use.

A big THANKS to the work day crew... we were few but mighty. Once during a coffee break I heard Don say, "My 77 years are beginning to show." Wow, Don... you kept up just fine.

We found one more tub of rural school records buried in that closet, so Alma is back on that "rabbit trail." She talked like she would have to work on that next fall because she has travel plans this summer, but I knew she couldn't resists, she's already hard at work.
I found some tubs of old photos in the closet... which are my passion. I have already gone through two of them and just had to put them back in the tub for now. When Larry Dewell gets done with the last four drawers to that old cabinet I found in Building B, I will put it in the Museum Library and start sorting photos in earnest. Right now they are all just thrown together... about a century of memories waiting to be sorted into sensible categories. What fun!

Finally I was able to provide Alma with a database of Graceland Cemetery. We pulled a lot of old files together and NOW I found out that some of our dates didn't "pull over" correctly, so there is still work to do. It is especially frustrating when you think you have a job done and it barks back at you.

I haven't heard much hammering over in the tack room recently. Glenn and Sherman must be busy ranching. If we can get that room done this spring I will be a happy curator! We have so much going on it's overwhelming at times... but downright exciting all the same. If anyone out there wants to pitch in... let us know. We like to share. :)

March 8, 2011

I finally got the storyboard finished of the 1985 time capsule. It has been added to the photo display in the lobby of the Museum. Now you can see all the photos that were in the capsule in one display. We will be sealing the capsule up again soon. We are putting everything back in it and there is room to add items so don't delay if you want to contribute to it. The capsule will be sealed until 2035.

Several things were brought up at our Board Meeting last evening. The Stauth Museum in Montezuma is creating a quilt display to celebrate Kansas' 150th birthday. They are asking every county in Kansas to loan a quilt which will hang in the Museum from July 3 to August 14. We decided to loan them our Fowler Centennial quilt which is not only our most striking quilt, but also one that tells a story.

We have rented a "pod" from A.J. Electric for temporary storage while we clean, paint and shelve our closets. Our building was the old Ideal grocery store and we have two old walk-in coolers that we use for storage... both in dire need of attention. This way we can clean them out... work on them and then put everything back. As things go back in we plan to create a complete inventory so we know what is in storage. This record will also be in a form that we can pass on to the next generation of curators. It makes me tired just to write this paragraph, but something we desperately need to do.

Marc Ferguson reported on news at the Hideout. Several months ago we purchased a horse-hair bridle that was made by Emmett Dalton while he was in Lansing Prison. We knew we had to display this in a very secure manner and we are finally getting that display done... at the same time updating some of the tired displays that we had. Some of the old gun cases on the south wall of the barn loft will be lined with cedar planks to display the bridle in a prominent spot behind plate glass. This will be a great up-date for the Hideout.

Marc also told us about an interesting trip he is planning. Several people wanted to go to the Adobe Walls battle site in the panhandle of Texas. One of Marc's "characters" being Billy Dixon, he has been to the site several times and is familiar with that area. Well, it's turned into quite an expedition encompassing the entire weekend of April 16 & 17. Anyone who wants to go is invited. They will leave Meade on Saturday morning at 9:00, and drive to Adobe Walls... then on to Hutchinson County Museum in Borger, TX. From Borger they will travel to Amarillo to spend the night and Sunday morning tour Pala Dura Canyon and visit the Panhandle Plains Museum in Canyon, TX. It will be a history packed weekend. To get more information or sign up, call Marc at the Hideout, 620-873-2731 or email daltonhideout@yahoo.com.

Last but not least we were updated on the Spring History Tour slated for May 21. Since the attendance promises to be rather large, Dr. Martin decided to change the agenda. We will meet at the Chuckwagon Restaurant east room at 7:30 am for breakfast. At 8:30 Dr. Martin will give an introductory lecture and slide presentation about prehistoric Meade County. Then from Meade we will visit four dig sites that are relatively easy to access. We will eat our sack lunch at Meade State Lake somewhere in between sites. We are so excited to offer this tour. This will be a wonderful learning opportunity.  If you aren't able to climb around on rocks you can at least attend the lecture. There is no charge for our tours... just buy your own food, wear sturdy shoes and clothing and drive a pickup or SUV if you have one... rides will be available if you don't. This will be fun!

March 1, 2011

We've had another slow week (traffic wise) at the Museum, but we are getting lots done.

I've been working on the time capsule contents trying to get it ready to pack back into the pipe again. I have scanned all the photos and I am in the process of creating a story board for the capsule. I went back in the microfilm of the "Globe" and printed out the news article when the capsule was buried, September 4, 1985. Quoting from that article:

"Monday, September 2, was the climaxing day for the celebration. People gathered at the court house lawn to witness the burial of the time capsule. This will be raised in 2010. Don Goodnight recalled the words of Ernest Vieux, upon the burying of the capsule in 1961. He mentioned that things unbelievable would take place before the first capsule was raised. Don noted that during that time men had been sent to the moon and mentioned the advancement of the whole space program. 'Things will happen that we can't even dream possible before this capsule is raised,' said Don, 'it will be interesting for those present at that time to witness the changes that have taken place.'"

The computer revolution was just starting out in 1985... just think what has happened since then. While we were digging the capsule up I was taking photos with my cell phone. I called Janet Hale from right there on the street to see if we needed to let the custodian know about the mess we were making. Half the folks standing there when the capsule was lowered are gone now... but they would have been in awe to learn what technology has meant to our civilization in these last 25 years.

I get all teary-eyed when I think of the importance of recorded history... and especially about our efforts right here in Meade County. We are working on the cemetery lists in all three towns, if anyone died here they are there on that list... recorded testimony that they existed. The many obituaries that we are trying to get into accessible form tell the people's story... who they came from and who they left behind. It's quite overwhelming at times but so rewarding.

Frances is actually working with hand-written records for the Fowler Cemetery.... records that have been handed down through several loving hands to hers. Alma has an incredible amount in information in her database and "connects the dots" every day between one family and another. We're all having a great time. But like that little robot who constantly wanted "input" we always welcome more information. Stop by and tell us about your family!

February 22, 2011

Oh my! Has another week come and gone? Where does the time go? I am constantly amazed at how much we get done around here and how little a "dent" it makes on our to-do list.

We are working on cemeteries... we are working on obituaries.. we are working on families... and they all seem to tie together. I finally provided Alma with an Excell file with the graves in Graceland Cemetery and she says it has helped her a lot with her family trees. She gets into the family trees when she is researching a rural school and one thing leads to another. I love it when she brings one in and we can put it in that family's file folder. Her genealogy program makes the nicest print-outs of family data I have seen.

I hear a rumor that the Lone Tree Roots & Shoots genealogy members are all working on their individual family stories to add to our files... now won't that be GRAND! How I wish every family in Meade County would do that.

I saw Ken Isaac at the Annual Banquet and he said he was getting closer to coming to do the work on our windows. We have had such nice weather lately it makes us think about such things... we just have to remember it's still February and we are still in Kansas... but I am so looking forward to getting that done. For one thing, we plan to create an actual office in the west end of the lobby so that we can better organize our work and have space to do projects.

As we bring all the historical data we are working on up to date we are digitizing it and bring our research library into the 21st century. Obituaries are being scanned to PDF format which are searchable on computers... cemeteries are being put into databases which make them both sortable and searchable, and our history is being saved in electronic files suitable for publishing and sharing. All of a sudden our facility needs to be configured for these new processes... wiring brought up to date... computers to work on, etc. It is my opinion that this is a good thing... we need to progress with the rest of the world.

In the gift shop we now have the spring issue of Kansas! magazine. I noticed that our Hideout manager, Marc Ferguson, made page 26 with his wife, Alice, in an article about the Kansas Sampler Festival. Yea Fergusons! This magazine is chock full of beautiful photos and interesting stories about Kansas. We also have a new book, "Will 'O the Wisp" by Mary Spurgeon. Some of you will remember Mary... she wrote this book after she finished the Wyatt Earp statue in Dodge City at the age of 86. It is a work of fiction based loosely on her life. Mary was an excellent artist and the quintessential "rancher's wife"... she left her mark on this country in many ways... this novel being one of her last efforts.

I'm still working on scanning the photos from the time capsule. It's like walking down memory lane... we were all so young! My Mom had put in a photo of all of us and our kids.. I wish I was still that skinny. The Lemaster envelope has photos of Zada, Ora Fletcher, Irene and Leroy... an entire family so faithful to the Museum. There is one of Frances Gates in her stripped centennial bathing suit... leave it to Frances to do something so "untypical!" This has been such fun. Soon it will all go back in the capsule for the next 25 years.

February 15, 2011

I counted the guest book and we had all of eight guests for the entire week. It might be a blessing because one of our furnaces went out and it was extremely cold in the back of the Museum. We've had furnace problems and frozen pipes (probably because of lack of heat) so we are in hopes the sun will shine and the temperature will rise!

Janae has used her free time to re-do the archeology display from the Lundeen dig. Norman was so impressed with the white-on-black letters I used for the Hibbard display he suggested we keep going. She has the display board all done and it looks great. This change just gives the exhibits and updated look... something long over due.

I started to put the time capsule contents back in the "pipe" and then decided that we should scan all the photos before we seal them back up. Well... this has led to a lot of new files being made and a lot of scanning, which will be quite a project. I also intend to make a storyboard for the time capsule in one of the photo displays in the lobby... we have done them for other capsules and this one should be no exception.

When Jim Gray came to town to speak at our banquet, he stopped at the Museum and Frances and I could scrape up very little on the early ranches of Meade County to share with him. Thinking about it later, it struck me that as important as farming and ranching was, and is, to Meade County, none of our exhibits tell that story. I am hoping that our "Ag Museum" idea for Building "B" will correct that oversight. The tack room is coming along nicely and after it is done, I think the rest can progress pretty quickly. Glenn Lauppe and Sherman Overbay have been putting in a lot of time on the tack room, we really appreciate these guys.

While in Building "B" awhile back I found an old file cabinet with nine large flat drawers which I think will make excellent storage for the wealth of old photos we have around here. Trouble is they are all divided up for card files. Larry Dewell was in last Sunday so I showed one of the drawers to him and begged a little, and he took it with him to his shop over in Fowler. This week he brought it back with all the dividers gone! Perfect! I sent three more drawers home with him... I'm excited to get this cabinet rigged up for photos... recycling at is best. Thanks Larry!

Weather is warming up this week... maybe we will be busy with guests. Regardless... we will be busy. We have all decided that the work will never run out. Stop by the Museum and let us tell you all about it. :)

February 7, 2011

The Annual Banquet & Meeting last Saturday was a great success. We had 100 guests... that's more than we have had at this event in a long time. We have to thank Joyce Knott for the great attendance, she made sure Plains was well represented.

Our talk on the cattle towns was good... I noticed that the audience became much more interested toward the end when he started talking about Dodge City and Meade County, places we were all more familiar with. The food prepared by Heart & Home Catering was excellent as always and everyone seemed to be in a festive mood.

I am glad to get back to work on Museum "things." My next project will be to update the "Backe Studio" display, something that's been on the back burner for awhile. Janae is working on the 1930's obituaries and updating the archeology display. Frances has started working on Fowler's cemetery book... so we are all staying busy.

We had a lot of traffic last Saturday which included our speaker, Jim Gray from Ellsworth. He is looking for information on all the early ranches around Meade County and Frances and I realized that we really don't have much on hand about them. Some of the names would be... the Crooked L, Big Springs, XI, Cheney, Grove, Horner, McCampbell, Furhman, Craig, Bunyan, V.V. Long... just to name a few. If anyone can help us out here... it's a missing piece of the puzzle.

February 1, 2011

Most activities this week have been preparation for the Annual Meeting and Banquet next Saturday. So far about 50 tickets have been sold, but we always seem to get about half our number the last week and end up with 80 or 90.

In preparation for my Museum report our guest book had to be tallied to get the number of total visitors this year. We had 1,490 when you include the 378 school children that came for school tours. This count was up 311 over that of last year. I was extremely pleased about the numbers. We must be doing something right.

The report also made me reflect over the last year... many big things were accomplished. We got a new video surveillance system and all new lighting... we got our library all cataloged and straightened up... we have a beautifully written account of Dr. Hibbard and his work in Meade County. We now have many old photos on the wall and an updated prehistoric display as well as new graphics throughout the Museum. All those FILES were a pain but it is so nice now, when answering an inquiry, to just go to the file cabinet and find the information. We have the information on our rural schools organized and a every-growing photo album of all the school districts. Everyone... employees and volunteers alike... should consider 2010 a job well done!

This year will bring more big changes... we are getting our tack room finished... the windows will surely get closed in this spring, and we are planning one of our best history tours ever when Dr. Robert Martin leads us on a tour of Hibbard's dig sites on May 21st.
We have heard from Dr. Martin about the tour. He plans to start at 7:30 in the morning with a breakfast at the Chuckwagon. Now, that's different! He is also developing a guidebook that will be available exclusively to everyone who goes on the tour. Norman is beside himself.
That's about all this week. I hope to see many of you at the banquet. For those of you who can't come, I will post a report on www.oldmeadecounty.com.

January 25, 2011

I hardly know what to report on the Museum this week as I haven't been around much. We have shifted our working hours around and it puts me working mostly weekends.

I answered an inquiry today from a member of the Button/Coon families. The lady wanted to know if I had photos and the name Canada Button seemed so familiar to me. I had made a "Button" file, but it had no photos, then I happened to think... perhaps he was a doctor. I went back to the Dr.'s Office and there he was on the wall. I scanned him and sent him in an email, I'm sure she will be thrilled. I love technology!

And then there is low tech... Herman Smith brought me in a couple of photos today. One was a faded old photo of Missler in it's heyday... the other, taken in 2009, of the way it looks now. The older photo was taken in the 1920's and Herman actually knew what the building were. I scanned the picture and we made a photo copy on which we made notations. He pointed out the Twist elevator, Alfred Frame home, the old Coop-Jasper-Bunge-Collingwood elevator (as it went by many names through the years.) You can see the Missler school, a section hands house for railroad workers, and a couple of store buildings. Herman thought the general store was run by the Bird family and remembered mention of it in Frank Sullivan's Meade County History. We looked it up and... sure enough... M.A. Bird was pictured with his family and the caption said he "conducts a general merchandise store at Missler, and is also extensively engaged in handling horses and cattle." What a treasure, thanks Herman!

Barb Feldman was in again today... she continues to map the old rural school districts. The old records are full of contradictions, but we feel like we will have a general idea of where they were. What a job!

The annual banquet is getting close and tickets sales are picking up. Be sure and get yours as soon as you can so we can have a count on the meal. The meeting will be held in Plains this year at their new community building, February 5, 6:30 PM. We have had some people call in and request to pick their tickets up at the door... we don't mind doing that, our phone number is 620-873-2359 and our email is meademuseums@yahoo.com.

January 17, 2011

Traffic is picking up a little at the Museum.... our weekend wasn't entirely a bust. I did manage to get my end-of-year bookkeeping done between visitors and processed some great new acquisitions from Carmen Welch. She brought us some beautiful old photos and newspaper clippings.... all things that led to more family files being made.

Janae left me a note that she had a lady from Minnesota in last week who told her, "This is my favorite museum of all." They were on their way to Arizona and have stopped here before but wanted to see it again. Now that's an endorsement! I, too, had a family from Stratford, Texas in this weekend that had been here a few months ago and wanted to bring their teen-age son and show him the Museum... they were here for about an hour, and made the nicest comments. I love to see a kid interested in history... all too often they are too busy being bored at that age to appreciate anything.

Alma has graciously updated the EMB/Countryside Bible Church cemetery book. (We feel we have to label that book with both names as we may have visitors coming here to do research that are unaware of the name change.) Thanks to Alma this directory is completely up to date. Frances is going to work on the Fowler Cemetery Directory... any one for Plains? Anyone?

We are anxiously awaiting the Annual Banquet slated for February 5th. Ticket sales are off to a slow start, but we usually sell most of them the week before. Tickets are available at the Museum, the Hideout and on-line at www.meadecountymuseum.com. Joyce Knott has some in Plains if that would be handy for you. Tickets are $12.50... not bad for a good meal and great entertainment at the beautiful new Plains Community Building.

The tack room in Building B is coming right along. Glen and his crew have all the studs and beams in place and the floor finished. It is going to be quite rugged and beautiful. Our saddle collection will look right at home in this environment. The collection is from the Bartlett brothers and they tell us they also have lots of "tack" to hang around on the walls when the room is done. I can't wait. If you're curious, press your nose up against the glass door and you can see what's going on in Building B.

Hopefully Norman Dye, our president, will meet with the leaders of the Town & Country 4H club soon. They have expressed in interest in "adopting" the old country school house on our farm lot at the corner of W. West Plains and Pearlette Street. With all the renewed interest in the rural schools, it would be grand if the old building was useable.

Mark your calendars now for the Annual Meeting. February 5, 6:30 PM. See you there!

January 12 2011

Winter has definitely settled in... makes for long days at the Museum as we have few, if any, guests stop by. Fortunately there is plenty to do to keep us busy.

We finally got tickets printed for the Annual Banquet... they may be purchased at the Museum or Hideout. We also have them on-line at www.meademuseum.com. Tickets are $12.50 each. Our menu this year is baked steak with all the trimmings prepared by Heart & Home Catering. Good food, good entertainment, and getting together with other history buffs... what could be better than that?

We have decided to put everything back in the Time Capsule after February 1st, so please stop by if you want to check out the contents, and if you would like to add something to the capsule please bring it in before that date. The next time it will be opened is 2035. We had talked about burying the capsule in the "farm lot" when we seal it back up, but some of the board members favored just sealing it up and putting it somewhere in the Museum for the next 25 years. We will make that decision next month at our regular meeting, so if you have an opinion, let us know.

The tack room in Building B is finally getting some attention. When Larry Dewell donated enough lumber to finish it, Glen Lauppe started working on it again. Glen doesn't have a lot of time to spare but will do what he can. If anyone out there is interested in working on the tack room, he would welcome the help. It's all rough cut lumber... we are calling the style "like Grandpa would have built," so we don't expect expert finish work.

We have all agreed that work on the "Agriculture Museum" can start in earnest when the tack room is done and we can get all the debris out of the building.

We have heard from Dr. Robert Martin and have set the date for the Spring History Tour for May 21. He said he would prepare a guide/summery for the participants. We will tour some of Dr. Hibbard's dig sites. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for some of us to experience this part of Meade County History.

Janae has finished the 1920 obituary book. She has done an excellent job and it is now on the Library shelf. She has already started on the 1930's. It will be so nice to fill in all the gaps we have in this research area.

Alma Regier has started researching families all over the county to tie them into the rural school records. She recently brought me the Butler family tree. We plan to add the Butler Cemetery to our record book and one thing leads to another.... now we have files on the Butlers, the Kobs, and the Bruingtons. Now I see we need to add files on the Birds, the Penningtons and the Littles. We both agree.... there will never be an end to it, but we are all having such fun!

January 2, 2011

Happy New Year to all our "friends of history" out there. The holidays are come and gone and maybe now things can get back to normal... whatever that is.

I think 2011 will be a very good year for the Historical Society. We will surely get our windows closed up this spring... giving us new opportunity to make other improvements at the Museum. We still plan to paint a mural on the front of the building which will vastly improve the way it looks. I guess I would have done "something" about the windows since last May... I just kept thinking the big project was right around the corner.

I am excited also about Building B and the renewed interest we have had lately turning it into an agriculture museum. I talked it up during our Open House and found several people interested in helping. One such person was Larry Dewell from Fowler. Larry has given us enough milled lumber to finish our tack room project. Wow... what a gift. Hopefully we can get on the stick now and get it done.

If the new tack room were finished... and we could move the saddle collection out of our gallery... I several ideas for temporary exhibits and events in the gallery. Wouldn't it be fun to have storytellers or old fashioned book "readings" back there on Sunday afternoons? We could do quilt shows, hat exhibits, and more just from our storage closet.

The Cheney family gathered in Meade over the holidays and I had a good visit with Merrill, Lynda and her husband, David Todd. David is the family historian and he allowed me to keep his tub of family photos for a day to scan them. He has written a book on Seth Cheney, who first started the Cheney Ranch in 1882. Seth led quite a colorful life and we are so fortunate to have a copy of this book in our Library.

Alma is back from her Christmas vacation. She is all rested up and ready to hit the "rabbit trails" she is so fond of going down. This is what she calls her research... the most recent family tree she brought me was of the Paden family. A woman from this family was buried in Meade recently and Alma didn't recognize the name so she started searching and found the Padens connected to the Griggs and Simms families... names very familiar. I now have their entire family tree... I'm starting a file.

Janae is on the last year of the 1920's. She will soon have that decade done in an obituary notebook. I've been looking it over.. she does such a nice job. She has an index for every year, then when she's done she will index the decade as well. We will have this in a notebook on the Library shelf as well as in PDF format in the computer. She wants a break after this... she's tired of files of dead people... I can't blame her. I'm sure we can put her skills to work somewhere else for awhile.

So, new year, new challenges, new projects. Our next project being the Annual Banquet and meeting February 5, 2011, 6:30 PM, at Plains Community Building. Mark your calendars and plan to attend. Tickets will be available at the Hideout and Museum or on-line at www.oldmeadecounty.com


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