Genealogy Trails' Kansas

 

SHAWNEE COUNTY, KANSAS

NO GRAVE FOR NAT OLIPHANT

THE REMAINS OF THE LYNCHED MURDERER SPIRITED AWAY

Efforts Made to Keep the Matter Quiet Prove Futile

THE ROBBERY CHARGED TO RIGHTEOUSLY ANGRY CITIZENS

A Careful Examination of the Grave Reveals the Fact That the Corpse Had Been Removed Wednesday Night---A Clan-na-Gael Member Forced to Give Up Facts---McGeehan Tells but Little---The Record of Misdeeds


TOPEKA, KAN., June 8----The body of Nat Oliphant, who murdered Alphonse T. Rodgers and was lynched here Tuesday night, has been stolen from its grave in the Topeka cemetery, and who the ghouls were and what they have done with the remains are closely guarded secrets.

The resurrection was effected Wednesday night. The fact soon became known to Superintendent Crane of the cemetery, and, acting upon the advice of certain officials with whom he at once conferred, he made no further mention of the discovery and enjoined secrecy upon the cemetery employees. Notwithstanding these precautions THE TIMES correspondent heard of the theft and tonight gathered all the facts obtainable.

After Oliphant's body had been cut down from the telegraph pole it was carried to the undertaking establishment of J. W. Stokes. He was in the crowd that surrounded the improvised gallows, and after the lynching he started to return to his place of business. Half way there he was overtaken by the mob carrying the body of the murderer. He suspected that they were going to his place, and tried to get ahead of them, but they were too fast for him and when he reached there he discovered that they had broken in and laid the body on the floor. He accepted the situation and on Wednesday prevailed upon Superintendent Crane to furnish a grave. Crane picked out a site among the single graves about 300 feet from the entrance and at 6:30 Wednesday evening the body was driven to the cemetery and deposited in the newly made grave. The Rodgers funeral procession entered the cemetery soon afterward at 7 o'clock.

ROBBED DURING THE NIGHT

While the colored gravedigger was filling in the grave of Oliphant two young men who looked as if they might be clerks or students appeared, asked whose grave it was and when the negro told them one of them said it was a shame that the remains of a discreant like Oliphant should be placed alongside those of decent people. They remained by the grave until it was filled and the mound banked and made several uncomplimentary remarks to which the negro paid no particular attention at the time.

Soon afterward two men inquired of Mr. Pease, Mr. Crane's assistant, the location of Oliphant's grave, and he informed them, thinking they asked him out of mere curiosity.

That night was very dark. The next morning the negro gravedigger reported to Mr. Crane that someone had been tampering with Oliphant's grave. He said the mound had been leveled and the top of the adjoining grave looked as if a heavy weight had been dragged across it. Investigation showed that a board in the fence on the east side of the cemetery had been removed and there were marks on the ground showing that a burden of some kind had been dragged through the opening. There is a road passing by this spot which leads to Tenth street.

Crane came to the city and conferred with one or two officials. One of them told him he understood that Oliphant's brother had come to Topeka from Newton and ventured the opinion that he had taken the body from the grave. Sheriff Fuller subsequently said this report was false.

Crane spent all of Thursday consulting with County Attorney Welch and the sheriff and finally the three arranged to go to the cemetery that evening and open the grave. Through a misunderstanding they failed to meet, the two officials going to the cemetery and Crane remaining in town. When he returned home he was told that they had examined the ground and left word that it would be advisable for him to open the grave.

THE MURDERER'S GRAVE EMPTY

Crane ordered employees to do this Thursday morning. As they removed the loose soil they came upon many splinters and half way down their spades struck upon the shattered lid of the cheap pine box. Finally the box itself was uncovered. It contained the coffin, the lid of which was broken into a hundred pieces. The coffin was full of dirt. Oliphant's body had been stolen.

Crane reported the result of the investigation to the sheriff and county attorney and they decided not to make the discovery public. The superintendent labored under the idea that the friends of persons buried in the cemetery would be unduly excited if they learned that ghouls had visited the city of the dead.

There are three theories regarding the disappearance of the body. Superintendent Crane is inclined to think that persons who objected to the burial of the murderer near the graves of once prominent Topekans exhumed the remains and either dumped them into the Kansas river or else buried them elsewhere. He refers to the language of the two young men in the presence of the gravedigger Wednesday evening in support of this view. Another theory is that medical students have made away with the corpse, but there is no medical college in Topeka. The third theory is that men out of pure hatred of the murderer resolved that his body should not have decent burial and dug it up accordingly. From the marks on the ground of the cemetery it is plain that the body was dragged to the road where a wagon was in waiting.
(Kansas City Times ~ June 9, 1889)

FRAKER CAUGHT AT LAST

Sensational Developments Concerning a Famous Insurance Swindle Out in Kansas

SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN DEAD

The Story of a Fake Drowning Accident in the Missouri River

HEAVY INSURANCE ON HIS LIFE

After the Companies Paid the Money the Swindler Was Captured in the Woods

DULUTH, Minn., Sept. 2---Dr. Geo. Fraker, of Topeka, Kas., the man who was supposed to have been drowned in the Missouri River two years ago, was captured in the woods near Tower, Minn., yesterday. Fraker's life was insured for $58,000, and the heirs brought suit in the Kansas courts to recover. The case went to the Supreme Court, and was one of the most famous insurance cases in the country. The companies were defeated in the final decision, it being recorded last month. It was always maintained by the companies that Fraker was alive, but his whereabouts were unknown. Recently it became known in some way that Fraker was near Tower, where he was known under the alias of Schnell.

Attorney Robert T. Herrick and Deputy Sheriff Wilkinson, of Topeka, came here and organized a party to search for him. Fraker was found in the woods and his capture was effected in a strategic manner. He was brought to Duluth today and was taken to Topeka at once. He admitted his identity, and said he did not leave home for the purpose of defrauding the companies, but that while he was near the Missouri River he fell in. He swam across the river and got on land. The next day he read in the papers that he had been drowned, and concluded to craay out the deception and allow his heirs to collect the insurance.

BIG REWARD OFFERED

The case is one of great interest because of a reward of $20,000 which was offered for his capture. Fraker is a physician, and up to the latter part of 1893 was physician to the St. Elmo Hotel, the leading hotel in Excelsior Springs, a famous health resort near Kansas City. The doctor went fishing on the Missouri River one day after dark, and while in company of George Harvey, James Triplett and Jake Crowley, a colored man, he disappeared and was seen no more. These parties afterwards swore positively that they witnessed his drowning while rowing in a leaky boat, but after a strict search his body could not be recovered.

Some three or four months previous he began loading up with life insurance, taking $10,000 in the Kansas Mutual Life Insurance Company, of Topeka; $15,000 in the Hartford Life and Annuity, $15,000 in the Providence Savings Life, of New York, $10,000 in the Equitable Insurance Company, and $8,000 in the Benevolent Society of that place, a total of $58,000.

After a thorough investigation all the companies except the Equitable refused to pay the claims, whereupon James E. Lincoln, the executor of the will, brought suit in the District Court at Liberty, Mo., which was afterwards transferred to the United States Circuit Court at Kansas City. In the latter part of 1894, after a very sensational trial lasting two weeks, the jury acting under positive instructions from the court declared for the defense.

A new trial was granted on technical points, but in February, 1895, judgment was given for the full amount and a stay of execution granted for six months, until August 15, 1895. On that date the full amount was paid to the executor, and the companies withdrew their offer of $20,000 reward.

FRAKER FINALLY RUN DOWN

Herrick obtained a clue in the latter part of 1894 which he was patiently followed ever since, until about a week ago he learned the whereabouts and assumed name of the doctor. Thursday night he arrived in Tower, together with John Wilkinson, chief of police in Topeka, to assist in taking Fraker back. They learned that Dr. Fraker lived with a young man in a woodman's hut twenty-five miles from Tower, on the Itasco county road. A warrant was secured and Sunday morning, accompanied by Deputy Sheriff Archie Phillip, they started in a rough wagon over still rougher roads for the place.

About twelver miles from Tower, Phillip, who was acquainted with Fraker under the alias of Schnell, saw his companion in a shanty near the woods, and on inquiries where the doctor was learned that Fraker was out hunting. About two miles futher was a man with a gun on his shoulder, who was instantly recognized as the supposed dead man, Fraker. Herrick engaged him in conversation, when suddenly Phillip seized his arms, and Wilkinson put on handcuffs.

When the warrant was read to him he was thunderstruck, but admitted his identity. He stated that he had expected his relatives to get a portion of the insurance money and himself some also.
(Philadephia Inquirer ~ September 3, 1895)

MURDERED HIS FATHER

To Secure His Life Insurance---Serious Charge Against a Kansas Man

Topeka, Kan., June 9---The shooting of J. S. Collins, a tragedy which has agitated the people of Topeka for four weeks past, culminated tonight in the arrest of the dead man's son, John Henry Collins, and he is charged directly with the murder of his father. The youth who is a student at the State university, is held at the county jail. Johnson Jordan of Topeka and John Harper of Lawrence, negroes of bad reputation, are also under arrest. Both negroes have stated that Collins hired them to kill his father. They received jewelry said to have been given by Collins to the negroes. The elder Collins' life was insured for $26,000 of which about $6,500 was in favor of the son.
(Grand Forks Herald ~ June 10, 1898)

DASTARDLY OUTRAGE

Foreman of Mulvane Ranch in Kansas Brutally Murdered by a Tenant

Topeka, Kas., July 5---J. D. Ross, of the Mulvane Ranch of 4,000 acres, fifteen miles west of here, died today from two gunshot wounds inflicted yesterday by Richard de Barros. De Barros was an unsatisfactory tenant and Ross tried by legal means to get rid of him. Yesterday, it is said, he ordered De Barros off the place, when De Barros opened fire at him. Ross is prominently connected here, being a brother of Mrs. Job Mulvane. He had the reputation of being a most peaceful citizen and his murder is looked upo as a dastardly outrage. The murderer gave himself up to authorities.
(New Mexican ~ July 5, 1895)

A KANSAS FARMER KILLS HIMSELF IN TOPEKA

Topeka, July 2---George L. Edward, a farmer whose home was near Tecumseh, killed himself last night in a hotel. Edwards left a note addressed to his sister, Dora, in which he said: "I am responsible. The passion for drink has too strong a hold on me. Plant me cheap. Any old thing will do to bury me in."
(Kansas City Star ~ July 3, 1899)

TORNADO RIPS PATH IN TOPEKA, KILLS 15

TOPEKA, Kan.---A devastating tornado ripped at 15-mile path through this Kansas capital Wednesday night leaving at least 15 dead in an estimated $100 million in property damage.

National Guardsmen and other relief workers continued an intensive search through the rubble after Mayor Charles W. Wright, Jr., expressed fear more might still be buried in the debris of wrecked apartments and homes.

More than 450 persons were injured and 2,000 left homeless by the storm. At least 70 remained hospitalized. Richard Garrett, U.S. meteorologist, said the fact there were no more deaths with such a storm moving through a heavily populated area was a tribute to the work of stressing tornado safety in the past 15 years.

There was 15 minutes bewteen the time the Weather Bureau ordered the sirens sounded and the time the storm first hit a populated area.

Mayor Wright made the $100 million estimate. This is more than five times the amount of the loss in the great flood of 1961 which inundated a large portion of the city, and paralyzed it for days.

The tornado first hit in the southwestern part of the city, and cut diagonally across to Municipal Airport at the northeast edge. In its path were luxury apartments, fine houses, Washburn University, the downtown business district and the state Capitol, and the industrial coast side area, including the Santa Fe Hospital and the plant of the Topeka Daily Capital-State Journal.
(Augusta Chronicle ~ June 10, 1966)

KANSAS HOUSE KILLS 'BLUE LAW' REPEAL

TOPEKA, Kan., Tuesday, Feb. 17---The Kansas House today killed a bill to repeal the state's 63-year-old "blue laws" and to provide local option on the regulation of labor and business involving labor on Sunday. The vote was 86 to 29.
(Seattle Daily Times ~ February 17, 1931)

CAVE-IN KILLS KANSAS GRIDDER

TOPEKA, Kan.---Dennis Balagna, 22, slated to be a starting offensive guard for the University of Kansas football team this fall, suffocated Wednesday when a 10-foot trench at a construction site caved in, burying him and a companion in mud and clay.

John Mascarello, also 22, who was an offensive lineman for the Jayhawks until he completed his eligibility last season, was buried up to his neck, but escaped without serious injury.
(Augusta Chronicle ~ June 29, 1978)

AGAINST MARKING CONVICT MADE GOODS

Topeka, Feb. 25---The house this forenoon refused to print and place on the calendar the bill requiring all penitentiary made goods to be branded "convict made goods". This action kills the bill.
(Kansas City Star ~ February 25, 1899)

ATTORNEY DAVIS DEFENDS ALLEGED KILLER

Topeka, Kansas---James A. Davis, attorney of Topeka, is defending Harvey Puryear, charged with 1st degree murder, in one of the three murder trials of the January term of the Shawnee County criminal cases.

Mr. Puryear is charged with the murder of Lloyd Burnett on December 9, 1933. Burnett, it is alleged, was cut and stabbed after being assaulted and attacked, it is alleged by Harvey Puryear. Burnett died at St. Francis Hospital on December 13, 1933. The alleged crime is supposed to have taken place in Topeka's celebrated bottoms.
(Plaindealer ~ March 9, 1934)

JAKE HIGHTOWER IN "SOLITARY" CONFINEMENT 12 YEARS; REFUSED FREEDING IN 'KILLER' BRADY'S BREAK

Shawnee County Killer Considered One of the Dangerous Inmates; Received at Kansas State Pen in 1922 on First Degree Murder Charge

Leavenworth, Kansas---Alias 'Jake' Hightower, notorious killer, who is often referred to by guards of the state pen to be one of the most dangerous criminals, inside of the grey prison walls, is nearing the twelve-year mark in solitary confinement.

Received at the prison October 17, 1922, from Shawnee county, on charges of first degree murder, Hightower always has been known as a fighter and a killer, while his attitude towards convicts as well as guards has gained for him the reputation of being a man "who would rather fight than eat."

This reputation is borne out by the fact that during much of the time spent in solitary confinement as a result of fighting he was given nothing but bread and water.

However on each occasion when given another chance to conduct himself properly, Hightower has violated a prison rule that put him back in the punishment ward.

WORKED IN MINE

Upon being received at the prison in 1922, Hightower was assigned to work in the mine, but after about two months of the hard labor, decided to quit work--his first indication at the prison of his desperate make-up.

Brought up from the mine and placed in the punishment ward on bread and water, his steady list of violations has kept him there ever since with the exception of about one month.

Fashioning knives, fighting with other convicts, and gambling has marked his confinement at the prison these many years.

December 21, Hightower, a man of large proportions was having his daily exercise breaking rock in the "cages" outside No. 2 cellhouse--the punishment ward--when he took a sudden disliking to a fellow convict, a killer serving a life term, and wielded a heavy rock hammer over his head.

Gus Thomas, the other notorious convict, with his crushed head, lived for twenty-four hours before dying.

Although his prison violations always have stamped him as "dangerous" to the prison guards, Hightower has never figured in any of the prison break plans.

However attention was centered on him during the recent sensational break from the prison when seven convicts, led by Bob (Big Boy) Brady, Jim Clark and Fred Cody, all desperate characters, scaled the south prison wall to freedom in the early morning fog and darkness.

Hightower confine in No. 2 cellhouse, from where the break was made, was given the changes to go along but refused, and snarling, turned upon the freedom-intent convicts with the dare to, "come on you--and fight."

FASTENED IN CELL

He was restrained however from interfering with the plans and inviting possible wholesale murder within the walls, by Clyde Deere, 260-pound guard. Deere and Hightower, together with about a dozen desperate characters confined in the punishment ward, were locked in the "screen cell" and forced to watch the entire preparation for the break.

During the entire period occupied by the convicts who escaped in making the ladder inside No. 2 cellhouse used to scale the wall. Hightower faced them with curses and profane utterances, shouting all the time, "let me out of here and I"ll kill the whole bunch of you."

In prison vernaclar, Hightower has been bitten by the "stir bug." His many years of confinement have had their affect upon him, and he paces his cell like a caged animal.

Hightower's record previous to being received at the Lansing prison included two terms in the Oklahoma state penitentiary, one term of one year on a charge of fighting with attempt to kill, and another term of two years for violating the national liquor laws.
(Plaindealer ~ March 16, 1934)

PROMINENT KANSAN DROWNS

LUDINGTON, Mich., Sept. 1---Dr. W. B. Swan, secretary of the Kansas State Board of Health, was drowned by the capsizing of a boat here. In the boat with Dr. Swan were Dr. L. Powell and Frank Cope of Topeka. Dr. Swan was one of the most prominent Republicans of Kansas and had been secretary of the State Board of Health for six years.
NOTE: Dr. Swan is buried in the Topeka Cemetery.
(Salt Lake Telegram ~ September 2, 1902)

KANSAS MURDER IS MYSTIFYING

Step Daughter and Father Dead---Murder and Suicide Possible

Topeka, Kan., Feb. 17---That John J. Rickels shot his step daughter to death and then turned the weapon on himself is the theory of officer working on the tragedy on the Rickels farm near here yesterday. They admit, however, that this theory does not satisfy all the elements in the mystery.

An examination of the man's battered head revealed the presence of shot and powder burns under the left ear. His cap was found thirty feet from where he fell and between it and his body were bits of hair and brain and blood spots, as though caried there by the explosion of the gun. The head was so shattered it could not be determined whether it had been beaten after the shot was fired. Only one recently fired gun shell could be found.

The officers have not given up their investigation but there were no developments today. An examination indicated that the girl had been attacked and one theory is that a third person shot the stepfather and accidentally killed the girl at the same time.
(Evening Times ~ February 17, 1912)

New Twentieth Kansas Head

The Twentieth Kansas regiment in ninth annual reunion at Topeka held a business meeting and selected new officers Col. E. C. Little was chosen president; George Swartz, secretary, and J L. Padgett, treasurer. Sallna was selected as the next city for the holding of the reunion, but the date was not named. (Alma, Wabaunsee County, Kansas, October 2, 1908, page 2, submitted by Barbara Ziegenmeyer)

To Move State Reform School

The Kansas board of control, In its annual report to the governor and the legislature, will ask that the industrial school for boys in Topeka be re-moved to some western town In Kansas and the present buildings converted Into a hospital for Incurable Insane, or that a new hospital be built In the western part of the state. (Alma, Wabaunsee County, Kansas, October 2, 1908, page 2, submitted by Barbara Ziegenmeyer)

A Candidate Declines

Topeka, Kan.—Harry R. Ross of St. John, Prohibition candidate for congress in the Seventh district, has withdrawn from the ticket. (Alma, Wabaunsee County, Kansas October 9, 1908 Page 2, submitted by Barbara Ziegenemeyer

Kansas After Missouri Pacific

Topeka, Kan.—In a letter addressed to George J. Gould, president of the Missouri Pacific, the Kansas railroad board Tuesday reiterated Its threat made to General Manager Sullivan to publish weekly bulletins of the condition of the road, If steps are not taken to improve it at once. An answer Monday received from Mr. Sullivan failed to declare any Intention on the part of the road of improving conditions and brought forth the letter direct to Mr. Gould Tuesday, in the letter the board alleges the Missouri Pacific has failed in nearly every instance to obey the orders of the board.Alma, Wabaunsee County, Kansas October 16, 1908 Page 1, submitted by Barbara Ziegenmeyer)

Refuses to Leave Kansas

Topeka, Kan.—Rev. Charles M. Sheldon, of the Central Congregational church of this city who was asked to compete for the $10,000 pastorate of the Second Presbyterian church of Pittsburg. Pa., recently vacated by Rev. S. Edward Young, stated Thursday night that he would not entertain the offer. "I am satisfied to remain where I am." he said, "and will not entertain any offer that will take me away from the Central Congregational church. I have been with this church nearly 25 years and have no idea of leaving. (Alma, Wabaunsee County, Kansas October 23, 1908 Page 2, submitted by Barbara Ziegenmeyer)

GIRL TELLS STRONG STORY OF KIDNAPPING

MISSING KANSAS GIRL WAS FOUND YESTERDAY IN DALLAS

VICTIM OF "DRUG GUN"

Said She Was Held a Prisoner and Taken to Fort Worth, Where She Escaped

DALLAS, June 23--Mary Turner, aged 22, who on last Wednesday disappeared fropm her home in Topeka, Kan., appeared here today and told the United States district attorney a story of how she had been rendered unconscious on the streets of Topeka by a "drug gun," kidnaped by two men and brought by one of them to Fort Worth, Tex., where she said she was held a prisoner in a hotel until the men, fear apprehension, fled.

The girl was being detained here tonight by United States authorities pending an investigation. Intimation that she was in Texas first was given by a letter which her mother received yesterday in Topeka. The girl says she contrived to post the letter while being held a prisoner.

At the hotel Miss Turner said she and the man whom she says brought her to Texas, where registered as "Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Hall of Des Moines." She declared to federal authorities that no harm had come to her during her imprisonment, and that she wanted to aid in finding her abductors.

The girl was standing on a downtown street in Topeka Wednesday, according to her statement, when an emaciated young man accosted her, and calling her attention to an odd looking pistol he had. A moment later th weapon was thrust under her nose. She says she recalls nothing else until she awake on a train speeding through Arkansas. Threats of death, she said, kept her quiet.

Miss Turner declared that the first she knew of her captor having left her was when she received a note from him saying he feared the police were after him, and threatening to kill her if she told her story. The note added that the man was going to Arlington, Texas. Local authorities are searching for him, but put no faith in the note's statement as to the man's whereabouts.
(Tulsa World ~ June 24, 1914)

FRIENDS PAY LAST RESPECTS TO FRANK WILSON

Hundreds Attend Rites of Young Topekan Killed in Auto Accident

Topeka, Kansas---Topeka was shocked when the news spread over the city of the fatal auto accident in which Frank Wilson, 23, was killed, Friday night, enroute to Emporia. Young Wilson had lived here all of his life and was well known among the younger set of Topeka. He was active in church and civic organizations. His father, the later Rev. W. Frank Wilson, died here several years ago.

The accident in which Wilson was killed occurred last Friday night, one mile north of Osage City on HIghway 500N. Wilson with three companions, Brice Gaitskill, Sam Payne, and Richard Atkinson, all of Topeka, was enroute from Topeka to Emporia. They had just passed a truck going in the same direction and Gaitskill , the driver, saw a concrete culvert in their path. He attempted to swerve the car but the back end struck the culvert and Wilson was killed instantly.

The other three boys received severe body injuries but are reported to be near recovery.

The Rev. L. A. Storey conducted the services. Rev. Hogarth, Ferdinand Waters and Mrs. Emma Gaines gave eulogies. Byron Spears, close friend of the deceased, read the obituary.
(Plaindealer ~ April 20, 1934)

POUNDED HIS BABY TO DEATH

A Kansas Father's Awful Deed--He Barely Escapes Lynching

TOPEKA, Kan., Nov. 5---Frank McLain is accused of murdering his nine-month-old son, who died Tuesday. McLain's daughter told in school that her father had taken the baby by the heels and pounded it against the door. The police reached the house just in time to find McLain preparing for the burial of the child. The face was covered with scars, the left ear deeply gashed, the body bruised in several places and a leg was broken. The coroner's jury decided that the child came to its death as a result of cruel treatment at the hands of its father. It was only by the foresight of the sheriff that McLain escaped the vengeance of a mob last night.

By seven o'clock several people clamoring for the murderer's life surrounded the jail. The officers assured the mob that McLain was not confined there, and it is believed that McLain has been put in some insane asylum.
(Boston Daily Advertiser ~ November 6, 1891)

OLDEST KANSAS PRINTER IS DEAD

Edward Payson Harris Had Been Identified With Many Important State Issues

CAME TO KANSAS IN 1856

Mr. Harris Had Met and Knew Personally Every Governor of Kansas---Helped To Form the Republican Party

Topeka, Sept. 25---Edward P. Harris, 82 years old, veteran Kansas printer, died here this morning following an illness of two weeks. He underwent an operation, the third within a year, and failed rapidly until his death today, which was caused by kidney trouble. He is survived by a son, Dwight T. Harris, and a daughter, Mrs. Fred J. Hill, both of Topeka.

Edward P. Harris was the oldest printer in Kansas and had the distinction of having known and personally met every governor of Kansas--territory and state. Mr. Harris came to Kansas in 1856, and since that time set into type many of the stories which chronicled the advancement of Kansas from a frontier territory into the great comonwealth it is today. He also was acquainted with practically every man and woman who was prominent in the early history of the state. Among these were John Brown, Jim Lane, Horace Greeley and Bob Matthews.

Mr. Harris and one of a company which started from Worchester, Mass., for Kansas in June, 1856. As the pro-slavery agitation was high at that time, the party experienced considerable difficulty in entering the state. He often told of how pro-slavery sympathizers were stationed along the border of the state and turned back the Free State men after robbing them. It was not until September--three months later--that a safe entry was effected, near Nebraska City on the nothern border.

Shortly after Mr. Harri's arrival in Kansas, the Herald of Freedom, a Free State paper published at Lawrence, was revived. This paper had been destroyed in the May preeding by a party of border ruffians. Mr. Harris assisted in the re-establishment of this paper, and since that time was employed by many papers within the state.

When the call for a convention to form the Republican party was issued in 1859, Mr. Harris set with his own hands and ran off the pink half-sheet dodger that called the convention. The meeting was at Osawatomie on May 19, 1859. Horace Greeley attended the meeting and made the principal address.

Nearly two years later--January 29, 1861--when the news was flashed across the few telegraph wires which crossed the country west of the Mississippi River that Kansas had been admitted to the Union, Mr. Harris set the type, containing the announcement and then worked the paper off on an old-style hand press. The paper was the Lawrence Tribune, of which T. Dwight Teacher was manager.

In addition to his duties as a printer, Mr. Harris found time to act as "conductor" on the famous "underground railroad" by which many slaves escaped during the turbulent days of Kansas early existence. "Many a time," said Mr. Harris, in discussing his experiences, "have I got up in the middle of the night, slipped my revolver into my holster, my bowie knife into my belt, picked up my rifle and conducted a slave to another point on the route between Lawrence and Topeka."

In 1873 Mr. Harris became foreman of the state printing office, a position he held until 1891. Several years ago he suffered an accident which made it imperative that he give up the more heavy duties, and since that time he held various important assignments as proof-reader.
(Emporia Gazette ~ September 25, 1916)

LOUIS L. DYCHE DEAD

Topeka, Jan. 21---Louis Lindley Dyche, explorer, naturalist, educator and author, died at 3:45 o'clock yesterday afternoon of heart disease. Few persons knew he was ill, and until shortly before his death his condition was not regarded as dangerous.

Nationally known for his work in zoology, Mr. Dyche was also an explorer and hunter of renown. He headed twenty-one scientific expeditions and hunted big game in every country in North America. At the time of his death he was state fish and game warden of Kansas.

Entering the University of Kansas in 1881 with only a country school education, he did ten years' work in the school in five, according to J. W. Gleed, who was connected with the University at that time. The three-year preparatory course he completed in a year and was graduated from the institution in four years more. In 1890 he became curator of birds and mammals and professor of zoology in the school, in which he held assistant professorships before he received his A. M. degree.

His collection of mammals in the University is said to be one of the finest, part of it attracting favorable comment inthe Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where it was shown. His lectures and magazine articles brought him additional fame.

A rumor became general in Topeka and outside the state last night that the bite of the Gila monster two weeks ago was the cause of Dyche's death. Dr. C. A. McGuire, one of the attending physicians, asserted that he did not believe the bite of the lizard was even the remotest cause of the attack of heart disease.

Mr. Dyche was showing the lizard to Governor Hodges and his brother. The monster was stretched along Dyche's arm when he attempted to point out the poison sacs under the teeth. As he put his thumb into the lizard's mouth to hold it open the monster suddenly bit Dyche and attempted to run away. The wound was treated at once and Dyche suffered no ill effects from it.

Mr. Dyche was born in Berkeley Springs, W. Va., March 20, 1857, and came to Kansas with his parents when three months old. The family settled along the wakarusa River, about fifteen miles southwest of Lawrence. The country was wild in those days and the small boy early showed an interest in all forms of animal and insect life. He never went to school until he was 12 years old, and when he started at that age he was unable to read or write. He was a big, overgrown lad and the other scholars in the school twitted him about his age and inability to read.

Dyche became so ashamed of the twitting that he quit the country school and went to Emporia and entered the State Normal. He was there three years and then went to the State University. He cooked his own meals, shot a good deal of his own meat and relied entirely upon his own resources to get an education. He was graduated from the University in 1884, but a year before that the late Chancellor Snow had discovered his scientific usefulness and Dyche was a member of the University faculty, and had been a member since.

A considerable part of the insect collection at the University, one of the most valuable in the country, was made by Dyche under the direction of Chancellor Snow.

Early in his college career Dyche determined to devote most of his time to zoology, and became so expert in the work of obtaining and mounting specimens that the Scientific American referred to him as "the greatest taxidermist of the age." The zoological collection in the University, collected and mounted by Dyche in natural shapes and in the natural habitat, is the most valuable in the United States, and contains a specimen of every North American animal except the musk ox. In the collection are two bull moose with horns locked. Dyche found the two animals locked in deadly combat near the Lake of the Woods and killed both. He has been offered $10,000 for the two.

Dyche made twenty-three expeditions into all parts of North America from Mexico to Alaska and Greenland in search of specimens. He was in charge of the rescue party that brought Commander Peary back from the Arctic regions in 1895. He hunted over a considerable part of Greenland and in Alaska and was with Cook in Alaska when Cook was supposed to have climbed to the top of Mount McKinley. In the controversy about whether Cook or Peary discovered the North Pole, Dyche was a partisan of Cook and insisted that the same credence be given Cook for his discovery that was given Peary.

In 1909 Governor Stubbs apointed Dyche state fish and game warden to succeed the late T. B. Murdock. It was the governor's wish to take the fish and game warden place out of politics and make the job of some real value to Kansas citizens. Dyche did it. He paid no attention to politicians, was always in trouble with them and beat them at every turn because he demonstrated that he cold grow fish.

Mr. Dyche was married October 4, 1884, to Miss Ophelia Axtell in Sterling, Kan. Three sons and a daughter were born to them.
(Emporia Gazette ~ January 21, 1915)

BEATEN BY THE GUARDS

Patient in Kansas Insane Asylum Dies of Brutal Usage

TOPEKA, Kan., Feb. 13---Amos A. Maxwell, aged 50 years, an inmate of the Kansas Asylum for the Insane, suddenly died this afternoon as a result of a severe beating alleged to have been given him by Earl New and M. W. Peterson, two guards.

An examination of the man's body, made soon after his death, disclosed nothing unusual. Then the gardener of the institution made the statement that he had seen the two guards throw the old man down on the floor and kick him until he was unconscious. Another examination then disclosed the fact that several ribs were broken and that the body was discolored.

Governer Bailey and the State Board of Charities are making an investigation tonight, and the two guards are being watched by officers to await further developments. Governer Bailey, in discussing the death of Maxwell, said tonight that there would be no whitewashing of the affair. "If the attendants are guilty they will have to suffer," he said.
(Oregonian ~ February 14, 1903)

A POET'S MIND IN A FINE FRENZY

Loses His Temper and a Police Judge Assesses Him One Dollar

Topeka, Kan., Nov. 2---Dr. W. H. Roby, the well known physician, politician and poet of Topeka, was fined $1 and costs in Justice Guy's court this morning for disturbing the peace of Mrs. Bertie Sousman, a dressmaker. Mrs. Sousman lives in one of Dr. Roby's houses, and they had a fuss about the rent. Dr. Roby lost his temper and Mrs. Sousman had him arrested.
(Kansas City Times ~ November 3, 1895)

HODGINS PLEADS GUILTY

Owns Up to Having Landed Heavily on Ex-Judge Isenhart's Physiognomy

Topeka, Kan., Nov. 1---Dick Hodgins, steward of the Topeka club, who whipped ex-Judge S. B. Isenhart some time ago, today plead guilty to the charge of assault. He ahs not been sentenced. The maximum penalty is a fine of $500 and a year in the County jail. The trouble between Hodgins and Isenhart grew out of the trial of the Topeka club damage case against the Populist police board. Hodgins claimed that Isenhart, who was attorney for the board, insinuated that he sold liquors, and otherwise cast reflections upon his character. When Isenhart came out of the court house, Hodgins landed heavily on his neck and other parts of his anatomy. Isenhart clais that the club people planned the assault, and he employed lawyers to prosecute his assailant most vigorously when Hodgins stopped proceedings by pleading guilty.
(Kansas City Times ~ November 3, 1895)

INCUBATOR BABY HAS BIRTHDAY

TOPEKA, Kan.---The now famous "incubator baby" of the St. Louis World's Fair, for the possession of which the mother, Mrs. Charlotte Bleakley, and the foster mother, Mrs. Stella Barclay, have been fighting in the courts of Kansas and Illinois, is today 4 years old.

The baby was born in a St. Louis hospital on February 15, 1904, and was so frail that it was sent to the incubator baby concessions at the St. Louis exposition. The child remained at the exposition throughout the summer. Mrs. Barclay and her husband were in charge of that exhibit and they decided to adopt the child. They took out adoption papers and took the baby to their home in Illinois. They understood then that the baby was the daughter of an cress. After the child was adopted, Mrs. Bleakley, who had been informed that her baby was dead, learned where it was, and claimed it. This started litigation which has lated nearly four years.

The illinois courts first decided in favor of Mrs. Bleakley, but the court of appeals reversed this decision and ordered a new trial. Then Mrs. Bleakley returned to her former home in Lawrence, Kan., and lived there with the child for a long time before Mrs. Barclay found where she was. Then the suits began in Kansas. The supreme court here was held in favor of Mrs. Bleakley. Last summer an effort was made to kidnap the child, but this failed, and Mrs. Bleakley came to Topeka to live. She is now here with the baby.

About two months ago Mrs. Barclay obtained a write of habeas corpus in the United States circuit court and in the United States circuit court and this was recently argued. The case was submitted on the agree statement of facts. The Barclays admit that Mrs. Bleakley is the mother of the child. The entire case hinges on the legality of the adoption papers, which the Barclays procured in Missouri.

Mr. and Mrs. Bleakley have been divorced and Mrs. Bleakley lived with her mother, Mrs. Cora Thompson.
(Prescott Morning Courier ~ February 15, 1908)

MURDER CHARGES TO FACE GUNMAN AS U.S. AGENT DIES

FIRST DEGREE WARRANTS TO BE ASKED AGAINST ALFRED POWER AND ROBERT SUHAY IN TOPEKA DEATH

Topeka, Kan., April 18---The bullets of two New York gunmen he sought to trap two days ago claimed the life of a young federal agent just as his fellow G-men were clamping an $11,000 web of evidence about the spectacular gangsters today.

W. W. Baker, 27, the agent, died near last midnight in a hospital here of four bullet wounds he suffered in his first major assignment. An emergency operation and at least two blood transfusions were futile.

The death of the agent was shielded in such secrecy by the federal bureau of investigation that it did not become publicly known until the body was removed to a funeral home. Baker's father, a resident of Yuma, Ariz., was understood to be in seclusion here.

In nearby Kansas City, federal agents held Alfred Power and Robert Suhay, gangsters accused of an $18,000 Katonah (N. Y.) bank robbery, to face what United States Attorney S. S. Alexander said would be a prompt indictment for murder. The prosecutor indicated the indictment would be sought before a June grand jury although there was a possibility of a special grand jury being called earlier. Alexander said the death penalty would be demanded.

Warrants charging first-degree murder will be issued for Suhay and Power tomorrow, Alexander said. He indicated they might be taken before a United States commissioner in either Kansas City, Kan., or Leavenworth, location of a federal prison.

Baker was the 10th federal agent killed in the line of duty since 1925. George Barrett, Kentucky moonshiner, was the first man executed under a new law providing the death penalty for the slaying of federal agents. He was hanged in Indianapolis, March 24, 1936, for the slaying of Agent Nelson B. Klein in August, 1935.

The two gangsters blasted their way out of a trap Friday in Topeka's downtown postoffice. As Baker was cut down by bullets the return fire of his fellow agents wounded Suhay in the left wrist.

Homer, Sylvester, five-foot, four-inch Nebraska sheriff, and his deputy seized the gangsters without a shot Friday night after the New Yorkers lost their way through the streets of Plattsmouth, Neb., a little town of 3700.

J. Edgar Hoover, director of the F. B. I., said in Washington that the gunmen had admitted the Topeka shooting.
(Springfield Republican ~ April 19, 1937)

For Murder of His Father

Killing of J. S. Collins of Topeka Is Traced to His Own Son

Topeka, Kan., June 11 – John Collins was arrested here last night for the murder of his father, J. S. Collins, of this city on May 13. Collins is now in the county jail and refuses to make a statement.

John Jordan, a negro of this city, and Jesse Harper, a Lawrence negro, have both made statements that implicate Collins in the murder and leave but little if any doubt of his guilt.

Miss Frances Babcock, the society girl of Lawrence to whom Collins sent a telegram the day after the murder admonishing her to “say nothing,” has also made a statement. Her statement will not be given out for the present but there is no doubt that it seriously implicates Collins in the murder of his father. (Mulhall Enterprise, Mulhall, Okla., Friday, June 17, 1898, page 2) 


back to index
Copyright © 2010 to Kansas Genealogy Trails' Shawnee County host & all Contributors
  All rights reserved