Edward Bissell of Sedgwick was terribly injured last week by the accidental explosion of his shotgun. Mr. Bissell was hunting in McPherson county and was just going into a shed belonging to a friend to put away his gun, when he dropped it and it exploded. The shot ranged upward. Some lodged in the pit of his stomach, some in the lower jaw , a portion of his nose was torn off, as was part of his eyebrows and left hand. (Fair Play, November 4, 1898, page 2)


Peter Holler of Rome, Italy, came all the way from the head and center of the Catholic church to be ordained a priest in Kansas. The ceremony took place in Wichita last week. (Fair Play, June 3, 1898, page 2)


Jerry Simpson paid $2,400 for a home in Wichita last Saturday. Ten years ago Jerry would have declared a man owning a $2,400 home to be an enemy of the plain common people. (Kansas Semi Weekly Capital, February 22, 1901, page 4)

Saturday Jerry Simpson paid $2,400 for a residence at Wichita, just outside the city limits, and will make it his future home. (Kansas Semi Weekly Capital, February 22, 1901, page 4)


Kansas Town Officer Supposedly Slain by Outlaws

Clearwater, Kan., March 14 - R. J. Hammers, deputy city marshal here was shot and killed about 2 o'clock this morning in a mysterious gun fight with two or more men.

His body, riddled with machine gun bullets and shotgun slugs, was found in the street.

Hammers had emptied his own pistol in the battle, which occurred near the Clearwater bank. Officers said they believed that he surprised the men in an attempt to rob the bank. (Oregonian, March 15, 1934, page 4)


A Wichitan and a former Wichita resident have received special study funds for the 1971-72 academic year.

Leigh Wyatt Clark, Wichita, was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in 1970 and is working toward a graduate degree in English at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. He will receive a $2,000 living stipend plus $1,000 to be applied toward fees and other expenses.

T. Jeffery Melton, who received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Wichita State University, has been appointed a graduate assistant at the University of Tulsa. He will continue his studies toward a master of art degree under the $1,200 assistantship.
(Wichita Eagle ~ Sunday ~ September 26, 1971 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)


Fifteen years is the average span of official life of Wichita policemen, it became known Tuesday when a check of the death records were made.

An average of 90 men are kept on the police rolls, and the records reveal that 12 men have been killed or died of natural causes during the past four years. Six have been killed in gun duels, one lost his life in a motor car accident, one died of blood poisoning which developed after he had received a scratch while on duty during the flood, and four died of natural causes. Deaths during the past four years:

A. L. Young, shot while on duty by unknown parties
Robert Fitzpatrick, shot by Frank Foster
Charles Hoffman, shot by Eddie Adams
W. M. Ballard, shot by Harry Baird
Robert Scudder, shot by Ray Foor
H. R. Brown, shot by Robert Kelley
Ed Bowman, killed in car accident
Charles Galloway, died of blood poisoning, developing after he received a scratch while on duty during the flood of 1922
W. A. Scott, natural causes
S. W. Ziekefoose, natural causes
Frank Rogers, natural causes
Fred Cottew, natural causes
(Wichita Eagle ~ Wednesday ~ January 7, 1925)


Wichita Man Teaches Life Lessons While Helping Thousands of Kids to Fish

WICHITA---Ken McCloskey credits his grandfather for giving him one of his most cherished gifts.

"He's the one who taught me the love of fishing," McCloskey said. "Those weekends fishing as a kid on Pennsylvania mountain streams really left a big impression on me."

McCloskey was impressed enough that he's passing the magical gift of a dancing fishing rod and a bouncing bobber to some impressive numbers of Wichita-area youths.

Since 1994, McCloskey, a Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks regional fisheries biologist, has averaged 125 fishing clinics--with aorund 30 children in each class--from April to September. That means the 57-year-old McCloskey has taken about 20,000 children fishing.

Most clinics are held at a pond near McCloskey's office at the Great Plains Nature Center. If needed, he and his five assistants take the show on the road, with up to 100 rod-and-reel outfits stacked like firewood in the back of an aged minivan. Clinics have been held at everything from sprawling community takes to a just-stocked city fountain.

No matter the location or the number of children, McCloskey and his crew strive to meet several goals. He estimates that up to 90 percent of the children at some clinics have never caught a fish. Changing that percentage to zero is a prime target.

"We work hard to make sure every kid catches at least one fish so they'll know the excitement," McCloskey said. "There something magical that happens when a fish starts biting at the end of their line. You can see it in the kids' eyes right away. Even kids who are scared of touching a fish will get all excited and start reeling in that line, trying to get that fish to the shore."

But a McCloskey clinic is as much about education as entertainment. At a recent Lake Afton clinic, the biologist began with an interactive lecture with the class of 50 on the finer points of baiting hooks, casting, hook-setting, battling the fish, and the value of releasing what they catch up public waters.

Later, McCloskey and his teen-age staff worked one-on-one with the budding anglers.

"We're as interested in teaching these kids the skills as letting them just catch fish," McCloskey said. "Fishing is something they can get into pretty easily if they like it. They can get a rod and reel for about 20 bucks and catch their own bait. Since the Wichita area has something like 22 lakes, there's a place to fish close to most kids."


McCloskey is quite popular with those who also work with children. Some, like Mitchel Gordon, a Wichita Police Department school resource officer, say the clinic can make their jobs easier.

"The fact that the kids are seeing Ken in a uniform, even though it's Wildlife and Parks, giving them something positive, helps all of us tremendously," said Gordon, who has worked with McCloskey on Big Brothers Big Sisters projects. "We have to deal with a lot of kids who get in trouble because they expect immediate satisfactions (Fishing) can teach them to be patient and that, if they're persistent, they can succeed."

Also required to manage the fish populations at Marion Reservoir and about 30 community lakes, McCloskey admits that teaching those important life lessons can mean putting in more hours per week than the 40 he gets paid for. But he admits that his reasons are also partially selfish.

"Hey, I love doing this for them, and for me, in a way," McCloskey said. "Fishing is important to me, and I know that the only way it can continue for years to come is if we have new generations of fishermen coming on. I'd like to think some of these kids will keep the sport, and all that's great about it, going."

Often, McCloskey sees something that tells him he's succeeding. At a recent Lake Afton clinic, he spent extended time with Luis Retana, a shy 11-year-old on his first fishing trip. The biologist and the boy endured several broken lines and missed strikes before the smiling young Wichitan finally landed two fat channel catfish.

Earlier that day, Luis had said his life's ambition was to be a police officer. After the second fish, he added, 'I'd like to be a copy who works with kids, so I can help them. Someday I'd like to take some kids fishing."
(Hutchinson News ~ Monday ~ August 21, 2000 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)


Law Stopped in and Caused Trouble at a Turkey Shoot Near Oatville Friday Afternoon

A "turkey shoot," at which dice were being used, possibly because of the high price of powder, was broken up Friday afternoon by Sheriff Frank Sarver and Deputies W. S. Gilleland and Arch Evans. Charles E. Carr of 1939 University Avenue and E. C. Carr of Oatville and O. A. Karr the latter place were arrested and their "shooting irons" confiscated.

A complaint against the "shoot" reached the sheriff's office about 2 o'clock. When the officers arrived at the Carr farm near Oatville, "firing" was discovered in the smokehouse. About twenty persons were crowded about the building waiting their turns at the "guns."

There was a lively scatterment when the officers appeared. The three men taken to the court house were released after being lectured on the sins of "shooting turkeys with dice" by County Attorney Ross McCormick.
(The Wichita Beacon ~ December 23, 1916 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)


The Kansas Masonic Home is embarking on a $5.1 million project to remodel its skilled nursing unit so that it's less like a hospital setting and more like a "neighborhood."

The remodeling will decrease the overall number of beds but provide a better quality of life for residents, said Jill Laffoon, director of marketing.

Work began a week ago, when residents helped tear down central nursing stations on each of the nursing unit's two floors.

Each floor will have two "neighborhoods." Each of those four areas will have a living room, kitchen, dining area and laundry, with residents' rooms around them.

One area will be for short-term rehabilitation and one will be for memory care, Laffoon said.

The design was completed with assistance from Anderson Knight Architects and Meadowlark Household Services, both of Manhattan. Meadowlark Household Services is a consulting service that grew from Meadowlark Hills, a continuing care retirement center in Manhattan that has served as a model for others.

The Masonic Home project will take about two years.

"We're going to try to do one wing at a time to try to minimize transition for people as much as possible," Laffoon said. "The big thing is to make sure it goes smoothly for our residents."

The Pavilion, as the nursing unit is called, has 120 beds. When the remodeling is complete, she said, it will have 88. In addition to creating the common areas, the renovation will enlarge patient rooms.

Laffoon said the Kansas Masonic Home's building services team will do part of the work. A general contractor is yet to be selected for the remaining work.

Taking out the central nursing stations was a way to demonstrate the change in philosophy that goes with the remodeling, Laffoon said — they were physical barriers between residents and staff. Without them, "there's more up-out-of- your-chair contact."

In addition to the skilled nursing unit, the Kansas Masonic Home has independent living and assisted living.

The Manor, the assisted living area, is scheduled for renovation when the Pavilion remodeling has been completed, Laffoon said.
(The Wichita Eagle ~ April 8, 2010 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)


New $14,000 School Dedicated With Community Celebration---Bonds Voted

Derby's new $14,000 high school was fittingly dedicated yesterday. Following a dinner served in the basement, attended by between 500 and 600, a half dozen or more persons spoke. Among the speakers were the Rev. W. W. Wallace, Editor Papes of Mulvane, J. J. Butterfield, T. D. Wardell, Miss Anna Weaton, Miss Bess Jones, principal of the school, Mr. Moore, J. W. Sweeney, formerly superintendent of the Derby school, but now of Clearwater, and R. M. Crum, county superintendent.

Immediately after the destruction of the old building by a cyclone, the people of the Derby school district lost no time in arranging to vote bonds for a new high school. At the bond election there were only three dissenting votes. The usual hard feeling that always crops out on such occasions was lacking. Only harmony existed and that spirit has continued to dominate the community.

The new school will be opened today with Miss Bess Jones as principal. There will be five teachers besides her.

Those on the reception committee who arranged the dedicatory exercises were: Mr. and Mrs. T. D. Wardel, Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Butterfield, the Rev. and Mrs. W. W. Wallace, Mr. and Mrs. Chamberlain, Mrs. Adolph Goeidner, Mrs. E. S. Gross, Miss Bess Jones, Miss Lucile Spencer, Frank Daniels, Miss Mabel McComb, Miss Pearl Swain, Miss Ethel Brownlee and members of the alumni association.
(Wichita Eagle ~ Tuesday ~ January 2, 1917 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)


Colored Man Fails to Stop Horse in Time to Avoid Driving Into Automobile


Victim Was J. W. Garrett, 50, Who Hooks Into Rear of Arnold Bros.' Car, Driven by Lewis Arnold

J. W. Garrett, 50 years old, a colored man residing at 1149 Ohio avenue, was instantly killed at 7 o'clock Saturday night when his horse and wagon collided with an automobile at the corner of Third street and North Emporia avenue. It is said that a shaft of the wagon caught in the top brace on the rear of the machine, jerking the wagon upside down on the pavement. Mr. Garrett was thrown high into the air, his neck, an arm, and one leg being broken.

The colored man was driving east on Third street, just as Lewis Arnold of the Arnold Automobile in his Dodge roadster was driving south on North Emporia avenue. It is thought that Mr. Garrett misjudged the speed at which the automobile was coming, and did not pull his horse down soon enough. A bottle of liquor was said to have been found in a pocket of the colored man.

Garrett's body was picked up on the other side and behind the automobile. It is thought he was thrown over the rear of the car. The automobile was but slightly damaged, where the wagon struck the rear fender. The horse escaped uninjured. One of the shafts of the wagon was broken.

The City Undertaking company's ambulance was called and the dead man taken to St. Francis Hospital. Mr. Garrett is survived by five sons and two daughters. Oscar Garrett is employed in a garage at Hutchinson, and came to Wichita last night, upon hearing of the death of his father. James Maurice, a son-in-law, was formerly employed as a porter by the Arnold Automobile company.
(Wichita Eagle ~ Sunday ~ December 31, 1916)


Vaudeville Singer, Down and Out, Converted at Mission, Takes Up With Wichita Evangelist


Now Robt. Forrester, Who was Given Lift by Y. M. C. A., Wants to Use Voice for Religion

Robert Forrester drifted into the Y. M. C. A. Wednesday afternoon. He was the sort of young man who never looks completely disreputable, but his jauntiness was sadly modified by his trip from Oklahoma City, this trip having been made in a manner whose chief recommendation was its inexpensiveness.

Young Forrester was somewhat out of luck. Hard knocks had been his principal portion since he left the vaudeville troups at Dallas, Texas. So the local association gave him a little lift: The inner man was satisfied and the outer man was made presentable.

The first kindness which he had met since hard luck claimed him for its own, touched the itinerant. Last night he went down to the Lighthouse Mission, which is conducted by G. A. Berry, and was converted.

It was given out at the Y. M. C. A. yesterday that Mr. Forrester will enter evangelistic work as assistant to the Rev. Jonathan E. Perkins of Wichita. They began last night a revival in Wesley M. E. church. The converted vaudevillian will sing for the evangelist. He gave a solo at the First Methodist church Thursday night, and is said to have an excellent voice. The two expect to conduct a series of meetings in Elkhart, Kansas, early in the year.

It was at first planned that the novice should accompany Evangelist Ben Griffin, who has headquarters here, in a three-week revival at Ford City, Kan., but a change in the arrangements was made yesterday afternoon, and it was decided that Forrester should begin his work with the Rev. Perkins.

Mr. Forrester's home is in Chicago. He is 24 years old. His last stage connection is said to have been with the Penrose Vaudeville Co.
(Wichita Eagle ~ Saturday ~ December 30, 1916)


Two men are hospitalized and a third is in custody of the Sedgwick county Sheriff's Office after county and Derby officers surprised the trio in the process of burglarizing Stimits appliance, 818 El Paso Village, about 10:30 p.m. last night. Two of the men attempted to flee from the scene and after refusing to halt, an exchange of gunfire followed. Don M. bishop, 38, 633 West 44th Street South, is in St. Francis Hospital suffering a from a wound to the back of the hip. his condition is reported not serious. Stewart Keene, 25, 208 E. 43rd Street South, is in the Intensive Care Unit at St. Joseph Hospital suffering from a head would and reported to be in serious condition. The third man, Robert Leon Towlett, 23 734 E. Wayne, was taken in custody by the officers. Sheriff Johnnie Darr was on the scene in Derby, He said the county squads had several area under surveillance and were acting on a tip at the Derby site. State warrant are expected to be drawn today charging the three with burglary and possible car theft. (Submitted by Kyle M. Condon, Source: Derby Daily Reporter Newspaper)


Quartet Made Song Famous

Roll back the years to the beginning of this century and before to the Bryan-McKinley campaign of 1896.  Four prairie boys named Weatherwax began singing a song about "The Little Brown Church in the Wildwood."

Christmas Day the third brother died in an Iowa town.  A Wichitan is the single remainder of the quarter that sang of the Little Brown Church in the Dale before 3,000 audiences.

(Come, Come, Come, Come, Come to the church in the wildwood -- Come to the church in the vale).

It was on the old Chautauqua Circuit, a sort of cultural vaudeville, that the Weatherwax brothers, Tom, Will, Asa and Lester--made famous the song that made them famous.

Lester, 3909 Willow Drive, was the baritone in the quartet that ranged from a top tenor to a bass.  During their 17 years on the circuit, they sang in all the states then in the Union.

Will, who died Christmas Day, was 90.  Long, a resident of Clarence, Iowa, he died in a Tipton, Iowa, care home.  The survivor, Lester, is 77.

The little church they sang of years ago still stands.  It was organized as the First Congregational Church of Bradford, Iowa, in 1855.  Bradford, however is extinct.  The church is about two miles northeast of Nashua, Iowa.

Though the brothers had a repertoire of the 300 songs, the religious march became their theme song.

(How sweet on a clear Sunday morning, to list to the clear ringing bell....)

The Weatherwax Quartet broke up during World War I.  The little brown church though, is visited by thousands taking bus tours out of Minneapolis, Des Moines and other cities.  Though it has almost no congregation, couples who want to add the weight of tradition to their marriage travel there---a thousand weddings a year.

Lester Weatherwax, who will still sing the old song when asked, has been in the middle of Wichita music since he came here in 1917.  With time out for eight weeks at St. Mahiel on the Western Front, he was choir director at one church or another here 43 years and sang at hundreds of funerals.

Telling the history of the song one time, he said it was written by a William Pitts two years after the church was founded.

The song of the Little Brown Church gained a little fame for 30 years, though it struck fire briefly in Australia during an evangelistic campaign.  Weeds grew around the little church for years, and then came the Weatherwax brothers.

During ceremonies there about five years ago the brothers, then all alive, sang their song before 10,000 persons.


There's a church in the valley by the wildwood,
No lovelier spot in the dale.
No place is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the vale.

Come, Come, Come, Come, Come,
Come to the church in the wildwood,
Come, Come, Come, Come, Come,
Oh, Come to the church in the vale.
Come, Come, Come, Come, Come,
No place is so dear to  my childhood
Come, Come, Come, Come, Come,
As the little brown church in the vale.

Oh, come to the church in the wildwood,
To the trees where the wild flowers bloom,
Where the parting hymn will be chanted---
We will weep by the side of the tomb.

How sweet on a clear Sunday morning
To list to the clear ringing bell.
Its tones so sweetly are calling,
Oh, come tot he church in the vale.

From the church in the valley by the wildwood,
When day fades away into night,
I would fain from this spot of my childhood
Wing my way to the mansions of light.
NOTE:  Lester Weatherwax died on November 1, 1966, and is buried in Park Cemetery, Wichita, Kansas ~~ Lori DeWinkler
(Wichita Eagle ~ Thursday ~ December 26, 1963)


One of the biggest corporate marriages in Wichita history took place in double ceremonies Thursday.

Pizza Hut Inc. and Pizza Corp. of America, both Wichita-based giants in the fast-food industry, made their merger official in the Palm Room of Holiday Inn East. The new company will be knoan as Pizza Hut Inc.

Stockholders of both companies passed the merger proposal overwhelmingly in short order.

The Pizza Corp. of America meeting lasted four minutes. Pizza Hut Inc. took slightly more than that to write another chapter in its history.

At the close of business Thursday, Pizza Corp. of America's stock was taken off the American Stock Exchange. Pizza Hut Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Merger terms called for one share of common stock of Pizza Corp. to be exchanged for .55 share of Pizza Hut Inc. common stock.

According to Frank Carney, chairman and chief executive officer of Pizza Hut, the issuance of a maximum of 1,148,207 additional shares of Pizza Hut Inc common stock will be required.

Howard Wilkins, Jr., chairman and founder of Pizza Corp., will serve as vice chairman of Pizza Hut's directors, under Carney.

Pizza Hut Inc. owned and operated 661 Pizza Hut restaurants before the merger. With the additional 227 Pizza Hut restaurants obtained from Pizza Corp., the company will have a total of 888 Pizza Hut restaurants.

Pizza Hut Inc also is franchiser of an additional 767 Pizza Hut restaurants.

Combined net sales for the two companies increased from slightly more than $26 million in 1970, the year PIzza Corp. was organized to more than $119 million for fiscal year 1974, which ended March 31.

Combined net income for the merged companies increased from slightly more than $1 million in 1970 to more than $7 million in 1974.

Pizza Hut Inc., as a result of the merger, has total assets in excess of $65 million. Prior to the merger, its assets were slightly more than $51 million.

Under terms of the merger contract, Wilkins will be retained on a two-year contract at $6,000 per month as a full-time employee of Pizza Hut Inc.

The company has the option, however, to assign Wilkins to consultant status at any time during the two-year period, at which time the compensation would revert to $3,000 per month.

Pizza Hut Inc., which has its international headquarters at 10225 E. Kellogg, will take over the Pizza Corp. offices in East Side Financial Center on East Kellogg.
(Wichita Eagle ~ Friday ~ September 27, 1974 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)

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