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Bypaths of Kansas History - February 1946

(Vol. 14 No. 1), pages 118 to 120.
Transcribed by lhn;
digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.


From the White Cloud Kansas Chief, January 6, 1859.

We understand that, at the Iowa Point Ball, last week, several young gentlemen and ladies, in dancing a Schottische, tried which one could out-dance the others. One young man keeled over, and came very near "kicking the bucket"; and, we understand, has been laid up ever since. How many deaths are caused by such foolishness in dancing?


The following letter, probably written about 1860, was lent to the Historical

Society for copying by Mrs. Evelyn Whitney of Topeka, a granddaughter of J. B. Whitaker.


Dear Sir

In regard to the proposed carrying of the mail I carne up to see you a while ago- Not having heard any thing from you I knew not your intention. But aside from that it becomes necessary for me to explain that the exigencies of the case today obliged me to close an arrangement for carrying the same until 1st July next with the person who has lately been on the route- He & Pardee [or Pardu?] had a falling out and both mails were likely to be greatly retarded this week- I finally made an arrangement by which he is to put on the route to Fort Riley a two horse passenger hack, and gives me & my wife the privilege of riding therein to Fort Riley or up country occasionally, free of expense- This I supposed was better than you would do- But I had to close it today- I trust you will excuse me for not finding you sooner

Yours truly


From the Washington (D. C.) Evening Star, February 2, 1861.

At noon, today, a national salute was fired at the Columbian armory, in honor of the admission of Kansas into the union. The noise of the firing caused much inquiry upon the streets as to the occasion of it. The salute was fired by Lieut. Fry's company of light artillery now quartered in Dr. Lawson's house, first ward. As the troops rode through the streets, large crowds flocked from all quarters to see them, and followed to the armory grounds. The thoroughgoing military appearance of the soldiers was the subject of admiring comment by all who witnessed the turn-out.




From The Congregational Record, Lawrence, July, 1861, p. 56.

Western ministers, in log school-houses, sometimes have their solemnity rather hard pressed. One of them gives us the following bit of experience in this line.

"Imagine, for instance, a huge rat coming out from a hole in the desk floor, and running up to my feet, so that I have to kick at him and frighten him away. Think of this same rat taking a circuit of the front of the desk floor, and being caught sight of by a little dog, who starts for him, just loses his game in the hole, and sets up a bark, right in the midst of the sermon, and just too far away to be reached by my foot!"From the Hope Dispatch, November 12, 1886.

The Methodist folks have tacked cards on the walls of their church calling attention to the fact that you are not expected to spit on the walls of the building or throw nut hulls around promiscuously. They intend to break up this practice if it takes all winter.


From the Ford County Globe, Dodge City, October 28, 1879.

On the return trip of the presidential party from its Kansas visit, General Sherman addressed a multitude at the Illinois state fair at Springfield. Here is his reference to Kansas:

"When out on the plains where the Indians were but yesterday, where the buffalo roamed, and the elk and the antelope found a home, it appeared to us that it would be proper for us to say words of cheer to the brave soldiers and to the men who went to that land and made fields of corn and wheat, and made the earth to blossom. To them we felt willing to say words of cheer and words of praise, because they had made those prairies to blossom as a rose. You in Illinois found when you were born a country partially cultivated, and you have gone on doing what your fathers did, and I hope you will go on to the end of time. [Cheers.] But you don't hold a candle to those fellows out there in Kansas. [Laughter and cheers.] Whenever you get too much crowded in this state, I want the president to tell you that there is plenty of room in Kansas for 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 more. We found 1,000,000 of brave and hardy people out there, and not a single man, woman or child complaining. Every one swears that he is living in the very bast county in the very best state in the union, and that he has the best farm in the country. [Laughter and cheers.] There is not a discontented soul in Kansas. [Laughter and cheers.] They bad plenty of cornbread to eat and plenty of beef, and all of them worked hard."



From the Dodge City Times, November 29, 1879.

The hunting party, consisting of Mayor J. H. Kelley, A. B. Webster, Samuel Marshall, Jim Anderson and George Sullivan, which left here on the 16th, returned Tuesday evening, having been absent ten days. The party had an adventurous trip. They killed a bear, a panther, a coon, three deer, 40 turkeys, and severely punished a demijohn. The first day's drive brought them to the ranch of John Glenn, 27 miles out, on Bluff creek. Here they were finely entertained by Mr. Glenn. The next night found them at Red Clark's ranch on the Cimarron. Red entertained his guests in his usual happy style. The third night found them at Ft. Supply; their teams, by order of the commanding officer, were put in charge of Mr. Stewart; while the party were taken possession of by the entire fort and right royally entertained by officers and men.

Some of the incidents of the trip were full of interest. The party went out 40 miles east of Supply. Their first day's hunt was on Oak creek. Mr. Webster shot a turkey, and Mr. Sullivan killed a coon. In the afternoon Mess. Marshall and Sullivan went to find the deer Sullivan reported he had killed. On the way Marshall espied a coon in a tree; and of course he promptly brought down that coon, which to his surprise was cold. Sullivan said all the coons in that country were cold coons, whether dead or alive. The coon had been killed with a club and showed no marks of shot. Web put the coon in the tree, and he declares he is even on those "decoy ducks" which Sam set in the Arkansas river last summer. The coon hunt enlivened the hunters' camp after supper, and yet is a subject spoken of.

Kelley's exploit with a bear is told with a gusto. He was hunting quail and his gun was loaded with small shot. He found a bear cub in the jungle. He shot that bear, but his fowling piece might just as well have been loaded with salt. The bear was shot all over, and yet he didn't die. Kelley had a desperate encounter with this cub, and lashed with the butt end of his gun, and yet the bear wouldn't die. The bear and Kelley embraced; and wouldn't let go until Jim Anderson and his dog "Cute" came to the rescue. "Cute" is a very small dog, but he is heavy on bear cubs. The last camp made before reaching Supply on their return was made under a tree, a few feet from an Indian burying ground. As the party was preparing for a night's rest an owl set up a terrible screech. This was the signal of distress. The owl watched over the graves as he does a prairie dog village. Some members of the party thought the camp was haunted. One of the number declared he saw the ghost of Tecumseh. Another commanded silence, while there appeared weird spirits, flashing tomahawks, and hoop-las; and in the profound wonder and silence which followed, the screech was declared to be that of a coyote; but it was an owl, and you can't get Jim Anderson to sleep on an Indian grave any more. He says they were good Indians, because they were dead Indians.

The owl, the coon, the bear, and the Indian graves furnished the party with a fund of merriment. At one camp they were mistaken for the President and his party, as invitations had been given to His Excellency to visit the camp; but when the lady found they were a party of hunters from Dodge, she thought her calico wrapper was good enough to receive them in. We have told the story about as it was related to us, and drew very little on the imagination. The facts are there.