3rd Quarter 2012
July, August, September 2012
A quick note, this web page is sponsored by Elk City PRIDE in connection with Kansas State University PRIDE Program and through the Blueskyways Library System. PRIDE and the people of Elk City make up the content of this website.
Check It Out
Pictures of Elk City Fair 2012
Church of the Nazarene - Kids Korner is about faith, fun, and family. This fall the theme is "Faith Factor" and putting their faith into practice.
First Christian Church - Pastor Ron says - I've been told that I've yet to experience one of the true joys of life: "Old Settlers's Days" The first Christian Church entered a float in the parade with the theme "Planting Seeds for Jesus" First Christian Church also sponsored a Biscuit and Gravy breakfast on Saturday morning at Old Settlers Day.
The United Methodist Church invited women to bring Quilting, Crafts, Lunch and enjoy fellowship. We will furnish the soup and side dishes were welcome. The United Methodist Church also are hosting their annual Fall Dinner on October 20th.
The Annual Osburn Hog Roast was the end of September. It was a beautiful evening and a good crowd bringing side dishes which made the tables full of pot luck dishes and desserts. Pulled Pork and a huge pot of ham and beans were provided. A very enjoyable evening. This year we saw a pumpkin dragon which spit fire after dark.
One of the Reed boys made a fishing trip to Northern Canada. They traveled 24 hours to Ontario, Canada to Red Lake then took a small float plane to an island. They spent eight days fishing, eating fish and fishing some more. They caught some big fish and mostly ate walleye, pike, potatoes and onions. He caught a 42" long and a 39" long northern pike. They got to see a moose with her baby, lots of beavers, bald eagles and one very large black bear who didn't like onions.
The Gingham Aprons FCE gave lessons "Edible Flowers from your Garden" in September. They also sponsored a booth in the Community Building with the Citizenship Theme.
Elk Citians are planning on restoring the 1923 Model T Antique Fire Truck. It needs repairs and they are looking for any history on the fire truck that people may have. Elk Citians are also getting together and having a fund drive and donations to repair the Community Building which is in great need of repairs. All proceeds will go to the upkeep of the building and needed repairs.
Tid-Bits by Jane
The main topic of talk is the corn dying and an early harvest and not enough rain for the soybeans. Who can remember a corn harvest in July? Thank goodness I can water the garden and flowers from the pond. After last year of few tomatoes, my tomato crop has been tremendous.
We went to Hidden Haven Church Camp to work in the kitchen for the day ; assisting in fixing meals, washing dishes, serving 100 kids for 3 meals and we were worked to a frazzle, but we managed to have time to sit at the edge of the pool and dangle our feet in the water. Glad we only went for one day!
It’s been fun to have the coed softball league 2 nights a week. The first week in Aug. will conclude the season. Hope you all came out to watch, despite the heat & thanks to those who supported the games
What I learned this month – Michele bought coffee for her birthday ! Happy day & thanks.
It’s almost fair time. Can you feel the excitement in the air! I hope everyone is finding a way to help with the fair. Thanks to those of you who lend your time to help & participate.
It’s the same ‘ol, same ‘ol at the farmer’s table. Hot, dry, no bean crop. The corn results were about half of what they should have been. If you were or have been lucky enough to have some rain, it definitely shows in the crops. Do we plant wheat or not… “just dust it in” and hope for rain. Are we in the 5 yr. drought pattern of the 50’s? Pastures dry, not enough hay and the ponds are dry also.
The ‘ol guys did reminisce about smoking cigars one morning. How many, what kind & etc.
Area schools have started, college kids have gone back to studying. We all believe that, right! ? It’s quiet at our house now.
The Corp of Engineers is clearing trees and etc. from the old Duck Creek channel this month. What I learned this month, Vicki drove a “hot” car and we are excited when the temperature DROPS to 95!
This column is dedicated to all those who volunteered their time and resources to make the Old Settlers' Day Fair and Car Show a success. The fair actually started with men putting up the booths and everyone decorating them on Thursday. Friday was entry day. The entries were plentiful despite a slow start to the day. The evening festivities started with a big blow out, literally, as people were setting up the concession stand and waiting for the cars to arrive. The north wind came rushing down the street, blowing all the tents & trash barrels on the ball field to the playground and the rain came. As welcome as the rain was, did it have to be on fair night!. We were very fortunate as Havana and areas in Oklahoma received heavy damage from straight line winds. As the rain subsided, people began to arrive for the royalty contest. After the Royalty was selected, followed by the pie auction, and the door prize drawing took place followed by the Farm Bureau tractor pull for the children. The night was a success despite the wind and rain. The only disappointment of the evening was the car show being cancelled. But thanks to many of the car show buffs for bringing their cars back on Saturday afternoon.
Saturday started out cool and beautiful. The First Christian Church served biscuits and gravy and the parade got underway. The parade had lots of floats and all the candy a kid could possibly want to pick up. There was also a convertible for "Elvis". The Culligan truck handed out bottles of water. The Independence Band and Dance Team and the Elk Valley High School Band marched in the parade. The All Stars Softball, the churches and the Power of the Past and PRIDE organization all participated in the Parade. It was a grand Parade!!!
The afternoon events consisted of kids races, volleyball, basketball contest; inflatables, money in the straw, horseshoes, salsa contest. Farm Bureau sponsored a Watermelon Feed. There were booths for entertainment. The BBQ cookoff was a success for the 2nd year. The Independence Orchestra, Jake Stockton and the Outlaw Souls for entertaining during the bean feed. Great talent for the talent contest after the bean feed. Concluding this years fair was the annual dance by Longshot as the pony' s were a pullin!
Pictures of Elk City Fair 2012
A Picture of Ladies
A picture of Elk City Ladies time frame about 1943-1946. Kindly shared by Jim Rankin.
A Small Town in Kansas
by Bethel Lawrence Simmons
this was written by Mrs. Simmons who has since passed away. It was discussed the other day and thought it should be run again.
A friend asked me to write the story of my parents, Clyde and Fern Lawrence, and our life in Elk City, Kansas where our family operated a local Creamery and the Lawrence Variety Store. My dad had a milk route and also had a shop in the back of the store where he did electrical repairs on small appliances, TV sets and radios. The business was located south of what used to be the Marr Drug Store, right on the “main drag” that was Montgomery Avenue in Elk City, Kansas.
I have often thought about writing such a story but always thought I would do that later and suddenly it is later. I never got around to actually interviewing my mother like I had planned in order to preserve some of her stories because I always thought there was time to do that later, but I was wrong. She died before I got to start her story.
Mother and Daddy’s story is unique in many ways because they were truly the small town, young mom/pop business operators. I say “young” for when we say “mom/pop”, sometimes we have a tendency to think of an older couple. My parents were a young married couple. My sister, Dianna and I were born after they started their business in Elk City, and Daddy died young. I feel like I grew up on the sidewalk in front of our store and the Drug Store and taking naps in the back room. It was truly a place where everyone knows your name as the song goes. Not only did they know our name, they knew everything we did and with whom. News often reached mother before we kids got home. I wouldn’t trade that childhood for anything. I think we were all richer, healthier and safer as a result of small-town 1iving. As Hillary Clinton commented, it really does “….take a village to raise a child”.
Growing up in a small town encompassed many things that most people may not experience in a lifetime, especially the children of today’s modern, electronic world with computers and cell phones. We walked or rode bikes every place, especially in the summer. We swam in near-by rivers and ponds and played at the neighborhood school yard for hours, or just sat around reading and gossiping about boys, movies and books. Life was good and we would be young forever, right?
Every Saturday night there was a free picture show and everyone came to town to watch the movie, do their weekly shopping and visit with friends and neighbors. Most of them turned up in my parents store for one thing or another. Mother and Daddy operated a local variety store and bought cream and eggs from local farmers, sold clothing and work boots, some groceries and ice cream, pop corn and cold pop in bottles from one of those old-fashioned coke machines with ice cold water in it. Everyone bought popcorn and/or ice cream before the movies. In the summertime the movie was shown outside on the side of the drug store building and traffic was blocked off in that block so people could back their cars up one side and park and most people, especially the kids, sat on the ground on blankets and quilts. It was great. That’s where we fell in love with the stories of the old west with movies starring Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Gene Autry, Audie Murphy, Jimmie Stewart, Tyrone Power, Hopalong Cassidy, the Lone Ranger, and the Cisco Kid. There were even a few Al Jolson and Shirley Temple movies. All the movies in those days started with world news and a cartoon like Popeye and Olive Oil, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Wylie Coyote or Woody Woodpecker.
On Sunday nights our family usually gathered in the living room to watch the Ed Sullivan Show on a black and white TV set. My daddy used to really enjoy the Red Skelton Show and The Three Stooges and we would laugh so much it would bring tears to our eyes. Daddy loved that slapstick comedy as I always called it.
Because of the rheumatic fever, while in the Army, my father’s hair had mostly fallen out and all the years we knew him he was bald. As young girls, we would often massage his head in the hopes it would make his hair grow while we all watched TV. Of course this never worked but he got a good massage out of the deal and egged us on to keep trying. Looking back I can see it was a form of play and relaxation for him as well as for us. He would lean back in his recliner and we would stand behind him and towel his head off and then rub and rub to no avail because the hair just would not grow, but we never gave up hoping.
We probably had one of the first TV sets in town and long before other families even owned one at all, because daddy worked on TV sets and radios for people in a workshop in the back of the store. He loved tinkering with electrical gadgets and appliances, and was always trying to figure out how they worked. He even bought us boy-type toys so he could take them apart to see how they ran. He was always trying to fix everything and figure out what made it work or not work, teaching himself about new things that were rapidly coming onto the market in the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s.
I have memories of Daddy teaching me lots of things as a youngster. Particularly, I remember learning to ride a bike on the bumpy alley back of the store and on the street near our house after the store was closed for the evening. Our house was located on a corner with a dirt street in front and on the west side. (This is the way most Elk City streets were in 1950 and 1960).) Dad would get me on the bike and run along beside me holding onto the seat. Then he would let go when I wasn’t watching and away I’d go by myself until I realized what he had done, and then I would fall over. After many attempts I finally had enough confidence to ride by myself. From then on it was pretty hard to get me off that bike for it was a real freeing experience.
All of the kids played lots of outside games and almost every kid took part. Counting everyone in the neighborhood, we usually had between six and ten boys and girls playing until dark or whenever the first ones got called inside for bedtime. Our games usually included hide and seek, Red Rover, Red Rover, kick the can, all kinds of tag, hide and seek and catching lightening bugs. We had jars with holes punched in the lids to save the lightening bugs in and sometimes the girls pretended to make “shiny” rings from the “lights”.
Some people might think we girls were spoiled growing up in town, downtown would be more like it because we actually went to work with Mother most days. There was a room in the back of the store where we could take naps and play, and lots of room outside behind the store for playing and riding bikes. We knew everyone in town and everyone knew us, and consequently, they knew everything about us too. We could walk to the store each day after school, check in with Mother, maybe get cherry limeade or a soda at the drug store, read their comic books and visit with friends. Often Mother would give me a grocery list and I would go buy something for supper. As soon as I got old enough I would go on home to start cooking while she closed up the store. I remember she always polished our saddle oxfords early in the morning and put them in the kitchen window to dry in the morning sun. She was always up early doing laundry in an old wringer machine and hanging it outside to dry. She always made breakfast for Daddy before he left on his milk route to pick up milk from local dairies and farmers in southeast Kansas before delivering it to Glencliff Creamery in Independence and later to Page Milk Co. in Coffeyville.
Daddy hauled milk in that big truck, faithful in all kinds of weather, not missing a day. Dressed in olive green khaki’s and a matching cap, sometimes he would have to park at the end of a long country lane or road and walk to the farm barn and milking parlor to get the cans of milk because of the mud. Once he got there he would carry one and sometimes two ten-gallon cans of milk back to the truck. I used to help him paint the route/customer numbers on the cans in the summertime. I would even ride my bike several miles out into the country to meet him at a farm on his way hack from the creamery in Independence. By the time he started delivering the milk to Coffeyville, it was done in a tank truck and we no longer had to paint cans. I also remember his letting me ride with him on the milk route sometimes. Occasionally, he would let me and my sister, Dianna, off as he went through Independence on his way to Coffeyville and we would walk to our grandmother’s house. It wasn’t all that far, but I doubt that young children would try a trip like that these days. Grandma always had chocolate cake with white powered sugar icing and it was the best. She would tell funny stories and sing crazy songs for us. She died the summer between my junior and senior years in high school.
When I was a baby my uncle, Earl Hankins, came to live with us to finish high school in Elk City. He used to ride with Daddy on the milk route. He didn’t so much ride as he ran. Daddy made him run in front of the truck, wearing heavy boots, from one farm to the next. You see, my uncle was on the basketball team and Daddy wanted him to stay in good shape for the games.
Basketball wasn’t the only sport in Elk City. There were many sports programs connected with the school system in Elk City and athletic programs in the Black Jack League they participated in with surrounding schools. The football field was just two blocks from our house and every Friday night we walked over to the game. My dad got all dressed up. I think men even wore dress hats to the games in those days, and he would move up and down the sidelines with other men beside the chain gang, always cheering on the team. Later when I was in the band, he was there for me too.
During the years that Mother and Daddy had the store, several different high school girls worked in the store for Mother. We always loved those girls and they often were responsible for baby sitting me and my sister. We learned lots from those girls and they served as great role models and mentors to young, impressionable girls in the fifties. We watched them with their “boyfriends” and envied their clothes, all those full skirts and can-cans under them. Some of the girls were twirlers with the band and we even attended weddings for some of them once they were grown. It was like having big sisters but they just didn’t live at our house.
Then of course there was the skating rink and drive-in movies in Independence. We could roller skate on the sidewalks in Elk City, but to really enjoy skating at a skating rink, we had to load up and go to Independence. We would do the Hokey-Pokey on skates which was great fun. Sometimes we would go to drive-in movies, either as a family or with a car load of kids. Before we were old enough to drive, Mother was good to take a car load of us to the movies or skating. I remember she would even take us to the movies downtown in Independence and that’s where we saw such movies as ‘Where the Boys Are”, “Tammy and the Bachelor”, and lots of westerns and war movies. It was good, clean fun and great entertainment for kids of all ages. We always listened to the radio programs such as “The Shadow” and “Buster Brown”.
Mother was hospitalized a lot when we were growing up with an ulcer and finally she had to have surgery the summer before I started to school. I was selling garden and flower seeds to desperately try and earn a Cinderella wrist watch from the proceeds of the sales. I worked hard selling seeds all summer while Mother recovered. She always said her main goal for getting well was to see me start school. Whether it was that or good medical care or all the tapioca pudding neighbors kept bringing her to eat, she did survive and I did get the Cinderella watch.
Whenever somebody got sick the first person to call was Lulu White at the phone company because we had to “ring” her up and have her call a doctor in Independence. We had no direct dial or cell phones, and a real person actually answered the phone wearing a headset and “plugged” into your lighted number on the switchboard to see what yon needed. I still remember our number was “10”. It may sound corny and old-fashioned, but it worked. I could call Lulu and all I had to say was, “Lulu, get Dr. Gollier, Mama is sick.”
We enjoyed the Bible Schools and many youth activities at the churches of Elk City. Although Mother was reared a Baptist, there was no Baptist Church in Elk City when we first started attending, so we usually went to the First Christian Church. Later a Baptist Church was started in the big old sandstone Presbyterian Church that is now torn down, There were five churches in town then, the Nazarene, Methodist, Fire Baptized Holiness, First Christian, and the Baptist. All of them had good youth programs and many children and young families attending regularly. Children did lots of memorization in those days. At Church we learned the books of the Bible, the Christmas Story, The Night Before Christmas and many Bible verses. In school we had multiplication tables, spelling words and many other things to memorize.
Growing up and in school I loved to memorize various poetry, lines from Shakespearean plays and The Gettysburg Address. It ended up that those who planned the memorial services at Oak Hill Cemetery asked me to recite The Gettysburg Address at the Memorial Day Services during those years as part of their program.
We tried to think of good community projects we could do for the betterment of the community. One of the ones I chose (as part of my State Degree for Future Homemakers of America) was to raise funds for street signs for Elk City and put them up. Up until that time, Elk City had no street signs and they did look impressive, thanks to the towns people that contributed to help my project.
When I was a little girl and in the years of growing up, Elk City’s summer streets were busy and noisy. Starting in June and through the summer months big trucks were lined up all the way up and down that main drag and Montgomery Avenue after the harvest of wheat and then soy beans, then maize, then corn. We were in the middle of wheat-growing country and wheat was the biggest harvest, with trucks coming in from all directions waiting to have their wheat weighed on the scales at the feed store across the street from my parents’ store. It was truly a busy time for everyone
In July Mother sold fireworks and I always helped. My first order of business was to wash the store front windows with a bucket of water and squeegee and sweep the sidewalk. Then we displayed fireworks in the windows and proceeded to try out a few of them in front of the store. Mother loved the fireworks and always used the money from those sales for something special. Every Fourth that I can remember we took a picnic to Independence Riverside Park and sat on the ground where we had a good view of the city fireworks display. Daddy would stop at a little ice house just outside the park to get a cold watermelon. He would thump several until he knew by the sound that he had the best one picked out for our picnic. Mother made fried chicken, potato salad and deviled eggs. What great memories these are, what great food that was.
It wasn’t always fun and games and movies though. A concern of the 1950’s included the need for bomb shelters and fear that the “Russians were coming”, which was frequently stated by adults in and around the country. People everywhere were building bomb shelters in anticipation of an attack from Russia or other communists. When Cuba was taken by Castro about 1960, families stored extra food and water, fearful of what might come about in our country. We didn’t have a shelter but I remember Mother and Daddy saying that the steel vault in the store, left there by the bank that was in the building before my parents turned it into the Variety Store, might be protection if we really needed it.
Elk City was noted for its flooding history when we had too much rain in a single night. I especially remember the flood of 1951. I have a picture of mother and me in front of the store and the water was everywhere. There was ten inches of water in the store and you couldn’t see the curbs on the streets outside. Our house was surrounded by water. Water was right up to the back step. I remember mother said it was more than ten inches deep on the floor of the furnace under the house and it cost $28.00 to get the furnace cleaned when the water receded. Everyone in town had to have typhoid shots.
During the fifties we were all concerned about Polio and a few people in Elk City were even stricken with the dreaded disease. I remember being lined up for the first oral vaccine for polio. It was really hard to believe that what looked like a drop of red food coloring on a sugar cube could really prevent us from getting the disease.
In about 1961 the Elk River was finally dammed and a dike was built around Elk City to prevent future flooding of the town.
The new lake was supposed to make Elk City grow and prosper with the new recreation available so close by. But it eventually had the opposite effect and slowly the town became like so many other small towns on the prairie. Sunflowers and weeds grew where once there were vegetable gardens and rose bushes. Many of the young people moved away and the old timers started to die off leaving empty houses and boarded up buildings. The school district was even closed down in about 1975 and all the students were bused in various directions to finish their schooling someplace else. The old high school building is still standing, barely, and in disrepair and surrounded by weeds. The older, big brick school building where most of us went to grade school was torn down. The old spiral slide swings, teeter-totters and play ground we loved are gone and that is now a vacant lot.
Main Street, including Montgomery Avenue and where the old highway used to come through the middle of town, is not as busy as it used to be on weekends in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Cars no longer cruise from the high school on the hill to the beer joint on the north end of town as teenagers with cars used to do. Teenagers no longer stop at the Laundromat to get a coke from the pop machine inside and sit on the laundry tables to visit and joke around to kill time.
The only thing left where my parents; store used to be are some scraps of bricks and the steel vault that was there only because it used be a bank before it was the Variety Store. The wheat trucks are gone and they no longer show movies in town. All the things we knew have changed. So many of our parents and oldest friends have passed on. The whole town is changing and renewing in a different way. There are many young people starting to stay around and it looks like enough children to have a school there, but so far they are still bussed to other towns. Most of the locally owned businesses are gone and families go other places to shop, but Elk City is still a very, very good place to live and raise a family. It is a community where children and families can thrive.
As learning to ride a bike was a “freeing experience” to get places we wanted to go, earning a driver’s license at sixteen and driving a car was even more so. Of course, my daddy was largely responsible for teaching me to drive a car too. He would take me out in the country and let me drive. It wasn’t all laughs and fun though. I wasn’t allowed to drive in rain or snow or if it was getting dark, or if it was a holiday, and the list went on. I always asked him how I was going to learn to drive in the rain or at night if I never got to practice under those conditions. I don’t remember a single good answer to that question, but somehow I did learn and eventually had drivers’ education classes in school and obtained that driver’s license.
One night some friends and I drove our car up on the Elk City dike north of town near Duck Creek. The car got hung up on a rock and hump in the dike. The oil pan got punctured and the car wouldn’t run. I had to walk home and wake up my dad to go get it. Boy was that a stressful experience. Like I said earlier, he was a big man, and he worked long hours and did not appreciate being awakened in the middle of the night. I had to agree with him because I didn’t like doing it any better than he did. A word of advice to young drivers, keep off the Elk City dike!
My Daddy, Clyde Lawrence, died in January of 1967 of polycystic kidney disease and urermic poisoning, just six months before I was married and five months before Dianna had his first grandchild. He was a truly wonderful man; large in stature and large of heart. He had never let on that he was ill a day in his life that I could remember until his illness that brought about his death. Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) was a little known genetic disease. In Kansas in 1967 the average man with a kidney disease could not afford the newly invented dialysis machines. It broke my heart and made me furious when the doctors tried to put what I thought to be a price tag on my father’s life by saying we could never afford what it would cost to use one. (Thanks to medical technology this is no longer a problem, but being on dialysis is no fun. It is painful. My sister, Dianna, and I both have this genetic disease of the kidneys. Dianna is now on dialysis and I have had a kidney transplant with a kidney donated by my daughter.)
Daddy was only age 50 at the time of his death on January 21, 1967. The day he died we had left the hospital and gone home, 12 miles away, to rest and clean up. We were about two miles out of Elk City on our way back to the hospital when my nose started to bleed and we had to return home to stop it and clean up again. Daddy died just a few minutes before we returned to the hospital. We knew something was wrong when our uncle met us at the door to the hospital. I couldn’t listen to him or wait for an elevator; instead I bolted up the stairs to my father’s room. It was white, empty, and sterile, all the machines and tubes had been removed. Daddy was in the bed with the sheet pulled up to his neck, eyes closed, and so cold, so very, very cold and quiet, as I bent to kiss him one last time. The day of the funeral was cold and it snowed so hard that all the beautiful flowers at the cemetery were soon covered with a blanket of white.
After our mother retired from her business in Elk City in December of 1971, where she had owned and operated the Lawrence Variety Store for forty years or so, she moved to Independence where she worked a few years in a local department store until her health failed and she could no longer work.
Mother died on the same day in January as Daddy died, only 29 years later. They are both buried in Oakhill Cemetery east of Elk City.
Dunham Connie A. age 60 passed away August 10, 2012.
Pannell, Pauline Blanch age 93 died September 3.
Old Elk City News Sun Exhorts
December 25, 1959
Elk City High School, which has been robbed on several occasions, was again broken into Monday night. Entrance was gained by prying open two or three doors; apparently with a heavy bar. The door of the safe was opened and badly damaged. About $40 was obtained from the safe. A heat register was damaged. Sheriff Lessman investigated the robbery.
The city water pay station at the City park, south of the Church of the Nazarene, was robbed of a small sum of money some time Saturday night. The lock to the building was opened in some manner and money taken from the meter box.
The total attendance at Sunday School last Sunday at the five Elk City churches was 284, which was the largest number since the Sun has been publishing the weekly attendance.
Mr. & Mrs. E. R. Gailey of Ochelata, OK. were here Monday on business connected with the local telephone system, which he purchased some months ago. Mr. Gailey stated that the contractor will start early in January on construction of the new telephone building in Elk City. He also stated that he had made arrangements with the First National Bank of this city to handle all the billing for the Totah Telephone Co., which operates several telephone exchanges in Kansas and Oklahoma in addition to the Elk City and Havana exchanges.
October 14, 1960
Elk City and vicinity was saddened by the sudden passing of L. W. Davis, who had been editor and owner of the Elk City Sun for 55 years. Death came unexpectedly due to a heart attack. He had worked in the office in the morning, feeling as well as usual. After the noon meal he retired to his favorite chair and was watching the world series ball game when stricken.
During the month of September 2,- 502 type "A" meals were served at the school lunchroom. One-half pint of milk was served with each plate. For these meals children of grades 1-6 paid 25 cents while those of grades 7-12 paid 30 cents.
It is possible to serve these fine meals for such a small sum because the National Government reimburses the school 4 cents per lunch. In addition the school receives a large portion of the food, surplus commodities for a very small sum, the cost of freight only. For the sum of $39.49 your school received 10 cases of butter, 4 cases of processed cheese, 1 case of natural cheese, 100 pounds of flour, 50 pounds of cornmeal, 100 pounds of whole wheat flour, 3 cases of dried eggs, 1 case of dried milk and 100 pounds of beans during Sept. A half pint of milk is served at the cost of 2c with the Government reimbursing 4 cents. Orange is served at the cost of 2 cents per glass to children grades 1-2.
The Good Old Days
found in the S. E. Kansas Tribune dated July 24, 1901
Elk City Thirty Years Ago
In 1869 Eugene and Will Baird opened a store at Elk City, Alexander H. Baird then living at Mound City, invited me to join the Elk City colony and engage with him in the drug business. In March 1870, we left Mound City for our new home. The journey made with loaded teams occupied four days. The "city" consisted of three store houses, a blacksmith shop, half a dozen cheaper residences and a sawmill run by "cockeye' Brown. Besides the Baird store which did a large business, there was the store of Sherman & Southard and a vacant store designed for drugs. After a few days inspection, Will Baird and I drove two teams to Lawrence and returned loaded with drugs and groceries. Notwithstanding the presence of many hard citizens who often "painted the town red" in definance of the city marshal, the town prospered - so did horse thieves until their ocupation was discouraged and they fled.
In the spring of 1870 a town company was organized. I was elected secretary and it was voted to call the name Elk City. Space will not permit reference to many of the early settlers of the Elk valley. John Hanks, John Davis, Denton, Sam Houselton and a few others located some of the best land as early as 1867. Messrs Uri Cox, Bert Quigg, Wright, Turner and Seward B. Davidson remembered as reputable citizens of the metropolis.
Of the early physicians, Dr. Southard and Dr. Woodring were the most prominent. Dr. Southard was a man of superior natural abilities, a successful practitioner and much beloved. Of the early settlers of Elk City, Alexander H. Baird will long be remembered for his hospitality for "the latch spring was out"
In November 1871 I sold my interests and removed to Independence.
In Jan. 1872, the people were trying to break up the Beardsley ring that had been robbing the county. The newely elected commissioners issued an order to the sheriff commanding him to take possession of the county records and to deliver them to John A. Helphingstine, the newly elected clerk. The sheriff hesitated. The citizens were determined to oust the ring and they urged the sheriff to act. He sought legal advice. His counsel desired until 4 O'clock p.m. to look up the law. This was a late hour, but the people were determined and they waited. At 4 o'clock the sheriff informed the crowd that he would not execute the order as the legal was to proceed was through the courts. I said "you deputize me and I'll execute the order." I was deputized instaner. I took the order and proceeded towards the County Clerk's office with the people close behind. I opened the door and entered, followed by the crowd. There were probably fifteen or twenty of Beardsley's friends in the room at the time. I stepped up to the clerk and read the order to him. He said "let me see it" After glancing his eyes over it he said "It has no authority. I can not obey it". In a loud voice, I exclaimed, "Vox populi, vox dei" and in order that there might be no misunderstanding, I repeated "The voice of the people is the voice of God." It has a hypnotic effect, Seth Beardsley, clerk, nervously opened a drawer, took out a revolver and slipped it into his pocket. When the people saw that he made no answer nor offered any resistance, immediately and without additional orders from me, the records rapidly disappeared from the office. When the majority of my deputies went out with record books, Seth locked the door. Some one informed me of this move. I asked Seth for the key and he said, "If that door is opened you must break it open," I went up to the door and pressed it outward with all my strength, then with a sudden inward yank I broke the lock and the door opened. John A. Helphingstine was soon in possession of the balance of the county records. H. E. Gill, the hardware merchant, Captain M. S. Bell, John Anderson and Solomon Duncan are remembered as having rendered most efficient service on this occasion. I was not armed, neihter did I know that any of my friends were armed. Mr. Anderson afterwards told me that if Seth Beardsley had attempted to shoot, he would have knocked him down as he stood close beside him. One of the Commissioners requested me to present my bill for services rendered the county. This I refused to do. When I went to pay my taxes in the fall, I was informed that my property had not been assessed. I quickly took in the situation. Republics are not ungrateful.
Individually. I have burned the midnight oil for many years writing "The Custom of Barter" It is now in press. The work is designed to make of political economy a science.
I congatulate the South Kansas Tribune on its thrty years of successful work and hope that the county that did so much for me may accomplish greater things in the next than in the past thirty years.
H. W. Miller M. D.