Roxie Olmstead, newspaper article reprint
Augusta Daily Gazette —Friday,
April 9, 2004
Research fuels life for writer of history
By Belinda Larsen, Augusta Gazette Staff Writer
Author Roxie Olmstead
ready to write about the past.
Select photo to see larger version.
Roxie Olmstead of Augusta
knows a few things about history. She doesn’t mind poring through page
after page of old records, manuscripts and newspapers. In fact, she likes
A native of Butler County, Olmstead has been on an enlightening journey to the past since she began to research the town where she was born.
Magna City was an oil field boomtown in Rockcreek Township, nine miles east of Douglass, and no longer exists. The town boasted a population of approximately 2,000 residents in 1920. She began the research in 1986 and submitted her essay in the Annual Jessie Perry Stratford Historical Writing Contest sponsored by the Butler County Historical Society. She won and that was the beginning of an impressive writing career.
“With research, one thing just leads to another,” she explains.
Did you know that in the late 1880’s there was a thriving community called Providence located in southwest Butler County? And that the town developed into a health resort around a world-renowned mineral well?
The Providence story is just one of Olmstead’s fascinating research projects. She has had 84 published works, and she recently submitted a book to a publisher. The book, entitled “How Did Augusta Get Its Name?” should be available soon.
The local author is a wellspring of Butler County stories, due to her enthusiasm for history and her many hours of researching. She dedicated about a year of work on the Augusta book.
“Libraries are the best resource for information and I use the census and courthouse records a lot....Most people are very nice and willing to help me with my questions,” she said. She advised that she rarely depends on the internet because much of the information cannot be confirmed. She’s a stickler for facts and sources. Hundreds of dollars have been spent on postage and copies of information.
Olmstead and her husband, Dick like to say, “We wandered the wilderness for 40 years before we came back home to Butler County.”
Dick retired after 35 years with Texaco and the couple raised three children while they lived in western Kansas and Oklahoma. Their children and their families live in California, Colorado and Wyoming. There are 10 grandkids and 16 great-grandchildren.
The couple is active in the local First Southern Baptist Church, and Roxie is treasurer for the Kansas Authors Club. After years of craft hobbies and sewing, she now puts most of her energy into her historical research and writing. She figures the work she does today is going to help the historians of tomorrow.
She finds time to speak at local clubs and area schools–sharing her historical knowledge. She recently spoke at local schools on her research about the Ku Klux Klan and its short existence in our community.
“I was surprised at how interested the kids were,” she said modestly with a smile.
The Butler County Historical Society has asked Olmstead to write about their history, and she’s thinking about researching the late Bert Shore, Augusta’s famous newspaperwoman.
She recommends parents to help their children appreciate the past and make sure that they know their family history.
“I’ve learned so many interesting things through the years. And it’s never finished...never done.”
If you would like to read Olmstead’s historical essays, some are in the reference sections at the Augusta Historical Museum, at El Dorado’s Kansas State Oil Museum, and at the Augusta Public Library.