PAWNEE  COUNTY
 

History of Rozel

Compiled by Karl W. Smith, Carrol Smith Rice, Berniece Fromong and Hazel Fromong
Published in the Great Bend Tribune, Bicentennial Edition of July 4, 1976, Section F, pages 4 and 5.

Submitted by Barbara Ziegenmeyer


Pres Blackburn Family

Pres and Hazel Blackburn lived in the Parson Ks vicinity until they moved to Pawnee County In 1920 Pres was a farmer and stock man. They lived on a farm north of Rozel with their five children, Raymond. Joe Wayne. Keith and Elva Jean. Their home burned in August 1937. They moved into Rozel at Christmas time 1937.

Wayne, Keith and Elva Jean attended the Rozel school. The boys played on the basketball team at Rozel High School. Hazel enjoyed going to the ball games. One stormy night she came to the ball game and had to stay all night for by the time the game was over they were having a blizzard. The coach would often send some of the boys to the Blackburn home to eat. He knew Hazel would always have a good meal for them.

After the death of Pres in 1956, Hazel continued to live in Rozel. She enjoyed quilting end doing fancy work with her hands. Falling health caused her to move to Dodge City. She could only stay away from Rozel and her friends for s year. She moved back to Rozel and died in 1977.

Keith was killed in 1944 while fighting in Germany in World War II. Joe had Joined the Navy and Wayne the Air Force. They both returned to Rozel after the war.

Raymond married Verda Kline of Burdett. He helped his father farm. They had two children, Belva Jean and Raymond (Bud). They reared Verde's niece. Bonnie Smith. Belva and Bud graduated from Rozel High School They moved to Dodge City while Bonnie was still in high school Raymond died in December 1982. and Verda in October 1988.

Joe married Gladys Lawrence of Dighton and moved to a farm in Scott County. They have one eon, Everett Wayne. Joe died March 1, 1968.

Wayne married Francis Bell of Lamed. He was postmaster of Rozel and retired in 1978. He still lives in Rozel

Elva Jean started teaching school after graduating from Rozel High School. She taught in Ness County, Zook School in Pawnee County, Radium School in Stafford County and now teaches at Pawnee Rock. She married Eugene Latas and lives in Larned.

George S. and Virginia Bell Blackwell

On Dec 18. 1889. George S. Blackwell was united in marriage to Virginia Bell Fletcher at At water. Illinois. To this union was born 10 children: Mary Ellen (Dollie), married Ed. Brown; Nettie (May), married Walter Howell, and after his death married Conard Spreier Laura, married Emery Elmore; Dave, married Alta Elmore; George, married Ruth Parker, Charles, married Maude Christy; Effie. married F.K. French; Everett, married Claudine Well: Lena, married Kenneth Friend; Fred, married Lila Smith.

George and Virginia along with the first four children came to Pawnee County. Ks. from Atwater, III in 1898 by covered wagon. After two years of drought, discouragement and crop failure they were forced to return to Illinois where they remained only long enough to equip themselves for a return trip to Pawnee County by rail along with their belongings. They retired from the farm in 1928 to enter business in Rozel which was the purchase of a general store.

George was very active in the Sanford and Rozel communities where at one time he remained a member of the school board for 20 years and also president of the cooperative elevator at various times both at Sanford and Rozel. He was one of the men who had courage enough to rebuild his store after the city's disastrous fire in 1929.

George passed away Dec. 22. 1940 at his home in Rozel at the age of 71 years.

Virginia passed away March 20. 1966 In Lamed at the age of 84 years.

Of their 10 children, four are living: Dave of Medicine Lodge; Laura. Lena and Everett of Lamed.

As of October 1985 there are 21 grandchildren, 63 great grandchildren. 82 great great grandchildren and 11 great great great grandchildren.

Ralph Blake Family
By Wilma Blake Dirks

In 1952 the four Blake children, sons and daughters of Wilma and Ralph Blake, had to decide whether they would attend high school in LaCrosse or Rozel. They had gone to Woodrow, a country school, for their grade school education. After much persuasion, they talked their mom into driving them to Rozel That was quite a job for her because that job lasted for two years before the school board decided the bus would pick them up.

They all became involved in their school. They played ball, were band members, cheerleaders and majorette, were members of vocal groups and became known as "The Singing Blakes." The girls were Cheryl and Sandy, and the boys were Terry and Danny.

They sang so many places, schools and in other states. They won many contests with their singing. Their mom, Wilma, kept busy all the time driving to ball games, football basketball and track. During this tune the Rozel High School team won the state championship in basketball two years in a row.

Their dad, Ralph, went to Texas to do electrical work but Wilma and the kids stayed on the farm on Highway No. 183 for 10 years, doing the farming and going to school.

In 1957, Terry went to Fort Hays for three years, then moved to Colorado where he worked in an elevator for seven years. He married and had three children. Jeff. Jill and Jon. In 1968 Cheryl went to Fort Hays for one year, then went to beauty school in Hutchinson. She was a beauty operator for six years. She married and had four children, Terri, Billie, Bobbi and Tom. She lost her little boy in 1969. Danny went to Hutchinson Junior College, married and had two boys. He served in the Air Force for four years. Upon his return he became involved in golf and is now a professional golfer in Dallas.

Terry is now a farmer living north of Larned. Cheryl lives in Oklahoma City, is a registered nurse and works for the bloodmobile there. Sandy went to Fort Hays, graduated and became a basketball and track coach at Russell for two years. She lives in Guthrie. Okla, and has coached there for 10 years.

Sports and music are still a big part of their lives. Ralph died in 1972. Wilma married Herman Dirks in 1973 and lives on a farm north of Larned


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