THOMAS COUNTY, KANSAS

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

OLD TIME PRAIRIE FIRE

A real old time prairie fire was in evidence for a short time on Tuesday of this week a few miles southwest of Colby. It seems that a spark from a threshing machine started the fire and it burned unchecked for awhile through the heavy grass in the pastures in that vicinity. We understand that it destroyed about two sections of fine pasture for the farmers out in the McGinley neighborhood but as far as we have learned that was the only damage done as there was no wheat or buildings that were destroyed. This is a rare occurence here now but a few years ago before the country was broken up they were a quite common thing. Several went out from town in autos to take a hand in fighting it and after the crowd all go busy it was of short duration. (The Colby Free Press, Thursday, October 1, 1914, transcribed by Jim Laird)

OAKLEY BECOMING NOTORIOUS

Oakley is becoming notorious. An editor came near getting shot, a tramp was rotten-egged out of town and two railroaders had a prize fighter, all in one week. (The Colby Tribune, Thursday, August 20, 1888, transcribed by Jim Laird)

COLBY TRIBUNE NEWS - MARCH 12, 1891

It is estimated that there are 40,000 acres of fall wheat sown in this county, and every acre of it in splendid condition.

Under no circumstances will the Tribune publish communications of a personal nature. Nor can it allow neighborhood quarrels to be aired in its columns. If you have items of news, or any thing to say on questions in general interest, send it in and if space permits it will be published.

Every few days our farmers receive letters from their old neighbors, who have left for other parts hoping to better their condition, announcing their intention of returning to Thomas county in the near future. With successful crops the coming season, would come such a rush of settlers into Northwest Kansas, as was witnessed in 1885. (The Colby Tribune, March 12, 1891, Thursday)

JUDGE IRWIN AND THE DRUNKEN RAILROADER

Justice Irwin had a railroader before him Tuesday morning charged with being drunk and disorderly. The fellow pleaded guilty and poverty, and the justice let him go on promise that he would go to work and keep sober. (The Colby Tribune, Thursday, July 12, 1888)

FIRST BATTLE BETWEEN TROOPS AND INDIANS OCCURRED LAST MONDAY

The first battle between the troups and Indians occurred last Monday. The casualities are very serious; 25 officers and soldiers killed, and a band of 150 Sioux Indians almost exterminated. The Indians were being disarmed when they commenced firing on the soldiers. (The Colby Tribune, Thursday, January 1, 1873, transcribed by Jim Laird)

A MAN WAS KILLED AT MORLAND ON THE UNION PACIFIC

A man was killed at Morland on the Union Pacific last week. He had just come in from the harvest field and had some money and other valuables with him. He was attacked and brutally killed with a razor and club and thrown in a ditch. A man of bad reputation was caught with the murdered mans watch and some money in his possession but refused to make any statements. There is no punishment too severe for the guilty party as the case was a plain one of robbery where the object was money that had been honestly earned by hard labor. (The Colby Free Press, Thursday, August 26, 1915, transcribed by Jim Laird)

LIST OF LETTERS REMAINING UNCALLED FOR AT COLBY POST OFFICE

The following is the list of letters remaining uncalled for in the post office at Colby, Kansas for the week ending March 10, 1891.

Mrs. Mary Day; A. B. Goodiwn (2); Frank Colby; Frank Smith; Louis Train and Daniel Bradbury, P. M. (The Colby Tribune, Thursday, March 12, 1891, transcribed by Jim Laird)

KERSENBROCK'S HOUSE BURNED TO THE GROUND

We understand that Frank kersenbrock's house out north west of town was burned to the ground Tuesday of this week with a total loss of all the furniture it contained. This is certainly hard luck. We have not learned how the fire was started but that it possibly not known yet. (The Colby Free Press, Thursday, June 4, 1941, transcribed by Jim Laird)

KERSENBROCK - TRACEY

At the probate judges office of Colby on Tuesday, June 9, Frank Kersenbrock and Hester E. Tracey were united in holy wedlock. Mr. Kersenbrock is one of Thomas county's successful farmers with enterprise that promises a winning success. The bride is the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Tracey and is a bright beautiful girl. Mr. Goellert and son Kurt were witnesses to the ceremony. The young couple have the best wishes of a host of friends. (The Colby Free Press, Thursday, June 4, 1914, transcribed by Jim Laird)

HARRY MARSHALL LOST SEVEN HORSES

Harry Marshall has lost seven horses this week. The state veterinary has been there this week vaccinating his herd of horses and mules. He has lost none since vaccinating them. He has lost twelve horses all told. (The Colby Free Press, Thursday, September 26, 1912, transcribed by Jim Laird)

FLEEING SUSPECTS SLAY TWO OFFICERS IN RUNNING FIGHT

Colby, Kan., Tuesday, Aug. 25 - Authorities today had found no trace of two young men who yesterday shot and killed Sheriff Sam Pratt of Thomas County and then crossed the Nebraska line and killed Ed Clark, North Platte traffic officer, after running fights with posses of the two states.

The slayers are believed to have committees a series of hold-ups in Western Kansas and were escaping in a motor car when they encountered the officers. (Seattle Daily Times, August 25, 1925, page)

BILL SHIFTLESS DROPPED INTO TOWN LAST SATURDAY

Old Bill Shiftless dropped into town last Saturday. Bill went into one of the stores and asked for some crepe tissue paper. His wife had asked him to get some so she could make a few little ornaments to improve the looks of the front room. She wanted two colors and Bill found that he would have to take two rolls, as the merchant would not cut it. They cost ten cents a roll. Bill refused to take it, saying it was too darn much money to pay for such useless stuff. He then bought a dollar's worth of Horseshoe chewing tobacco and a half dollar's worth of cigars and went out to see what the chances were for "chipping in" on a consignment of Kansas City jug house booze. Bill wants to go to the San Francisco exposition. His trip to St. Louis did him so much good that he thinks he owes it to his health to take this trip. Mrs. Shiftless would like to go but Bill says he can't see how she could get away, as there would be no one at home to look after the stock.--Deacon Bert Walker. (The Colby Free Press, Thursday, June 3, 1915, transcribed by Jim Laird)

FIFTY AUTOMOBILES ON COLBY STREETS SATURDAY

There were fifty automobiles on the streets of Colby at one time Saturday afternoon. If our farmers continue to prosper as they have the last year or so, the real curiosity in another year or two will be to see a team of horses in town.

Several fires over the county have been reported the last few days. This is the real danger just now. The high winds which we have now, the dry weekds, and high grass, make it very dangerous to be the least careless with fire.

Ford touring cars have been sold to A. H. Miller, Joseph Karr, Ben Foster, and Bud Young, during the past week. (The Colby Free Press, Thursday, April 22, 1915, transcribed by Jim Laird)

MARRIAGE TENDS TO MAKE GIRLS STRONGER

A Concordia girl, who according to Gomer Davies, formerly could not carry her own fan and parasol when she went by with her beux, now goes by pushing one baby in its carriage, carrying another and hanging onto a bundle besides, Gomer thinks getting married tends to make girls stronger. (The Colby Free Press, Thursday, September 26, 1912, transcribed by Jim Laird)

LIST OF JURORS - FEBRUARY 26, 1913

List of Jurors

The following is a list of the jurors drawn for the March term of the District court:

B. C. Bigelow, E. H. Cogdill, M. E. Bartelson, John B. Parrott, Chas. Mayer, John Reid, S. D. Claar, Ray C. Crumly, Hayes Ackard, Arthur Hemstrom, Otto Kleeman, W. D. Ferguson, Theo. Rall, Pete Renner, J. P. Horney, and E. C. Spriggs. (The Colby Free Press, Thursday, February 26, 1913, transcribed by Jim Laird)

LIGHT SERVICE

There is some demand for an all-night service from our light plant. Of course, the council is doing what appears to them to be the right thing and are giving a service that leaves the city in darkness from midnight until 5 o'clock. It is a little inconvenient, but the revenues of the sysem will not justify a great expense. Our idea was not favorable to the buying and building of the water and lighting plant for the city to secure them, but now that we have them, we are of the opinion that they should be made to answer the purpose and we are of the opinion that the present rates for light and water will have to be raised before the plant will make a fair showing. (The Colby Free Press, Thursday, April 15, 1915, transcribed by Jim Laird)

A LITTLE FRACAS - DOCTORS COME TO BLOWS

Down at Russell, Kansas last week some of the prominent citizens had a little excitement of their own. Two of the doctors of that place in arguing over a certain case in hand came to blows and one doctor came out a little worse for wear. He jumped up and ran home where he hauled forth a rifle with which to puncture the other doctor but he could not find his quarry, but finally landed up at the said doctors office where he proceeded to shoot in the door but luckily enough the other doctor was not in. The shooting doctor was arrested and brought up before the court. The county attorney being out of town the judge acted in his place and the doctor was summarily dealt with. In the afternoon the Judge got in an argument with one of the business men over the case and the Judge came away considerably battered up. This is a very interesting little fracas and one to be regretted also as we understand all of the parties involved are first rate citizens but even this kind can stir up a little excitement occasionally. (The colby Free Press, Thursday, August 26, 1915, transcribed by Jim Laird)

ANOTHER HOLD UP

Monday morning shortly before daylight while the night Marshall was making his rounds through the streets of the town, a couple of fellows held up a bunch of hobos on the Rock Island and robbed them of twenty dollars. They were forced to hold up three car loads of the fellows before they were satisfied witht the amount. It is thought that the fellows who perpetrated this crime are the same two who have been working on the harvesters all up and down the Rock Island lines the past two months. Some of these days these fellows will meet up with someone who will fill them up with lead and there will be very few regrets from this part of the country when they do. (The Colby Free Press, Thursday, August 12, 1915, transcribed by Jim Laird)

CONFESSES, KILLS SELF

Colby, Kans., June 19---Frank Young, 28, of Colby, committed suicide in the county jail today after making a confession admitting his complicity, and accusing Wade Tate, 32, in the murder of an unidentified man whose body was found by harvesters in a straw stack 15 miles northeast of Colby last July.
(Omaha World Herald ~ June 20, 1932 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)

The Colby Tribune says Thomas County's poor house has had no inmate for two years.  We can go one better in Trego county.  We have no poor house and no need for one.
(Western Kansas World ~ Saturday ~ September 24, 1892 ~ Submitted by Lori DeWinkler)

BRAKEMAN  IS  KILLED  WHILE  COUPLING  AIR

Colby, Kan., May 21 --- A brakeman named Laughlin on the local Rock Island freight, while in the yards here, had his leg mashed frightfully from above the knee.  He was coupling the air between the caboose and a freight car when the air moved the train about four feet and caught him before he could get from under the car.  He is reported to have died at Norton.
(Topeka Daily Capital ~ Thursday ~ May 22, 1913 ~ Page 3)

REJOINS  FAMILY  AFTER  THIRTY-EIGHT  YEARS

Aged Father Located at Colby, Kan., by Middle-Aged Son Who Was Baby When Last Seen by Him

Colby, Kan., Feb. 28 --- For the past twenty-five years there has lived in this city a gentleman named James Breeden.  While he had many friends, he never talked about himself, and especially of his early life.  A few days ago he became confidential with a friend and told a story of his life in Ohio fifty years ago, resulting in a son of the old man coming to Colby and taking the old man back to the scenes of his boyhood.  Breeden was married in Ohio fifty years ago.  To the union six children were born.  The family had been a happy one, but a cloud arose over the sale of a piece of real estate and the husband and father left home, stating that his family would not hear from him for at least five years, if ever.  Fifteen years after he left home, he was located in Kansas City by a friend and the family was notified.

Mrs. Breeden and her brother-in-law went to Kansas City, but were unable to find Breeden, friends telling them that he sold his interests there and had gone farther west.  He came to Colby and has lived here ever since.  A few weeks ago Breeden, who is now more than 75 years old, told Richard Chelf these detais and Chelf wrote to a newspaper at Ironton, O., stating that the old man was in Colby.  A few days ago one of Breeden's sons came to Colby for his father.  The son did not remember his father, who was quite surprised to meet his boy.  It required considerable persuasion from the son and from "Jim's" friends here to get him to consent to accompany his son home, but he finally did so.  The boys about town took up  purse and bought Breeden's property interests here before he left.  It was thirty-eight years ago that Breeden left his hom in Ohio, and in all that time he had never heard from his family.  He is old and feeble and unable to care for himself, but he declared that he would rather live here alone than to return to Ohio.  Mrs. Breeden died two years ago, and she died firmly believing that her husband had been dead for years.
(Topeka Daily Capital ~ Monday ~ March 1, 1909 ~ Page 9)

HOBBY  KEEPS  COLBY  MAN  ON  TRACK

A host of model trains surround Colby resident Bill Van Horn, who has been interested in them since childhood.

COLBY --- Bill Van Horn remembers his first train.

"The first train I had was a wind-up train," Van Horn said.  "I was three years old."

Like many other children, Van Horn discarded the wind-up train as he grew up.  He eventually became a field service man for Caterpillar and even though trains still interested him, he was too busy to mess with them.

But that's all changed now.

Van Horn retired from Caterpillar several years ago.  Although he and a friend sold guns from a shop north of Colby, the retiree still needed something else to do in his spare time.  So he bought a train set.

Van Horn's been buying them ever since.  Now the guns are secondary.  The rear fourth of his gun shop is packed with trains.

"God almighty, I've got cars all over everywhere," Van Horn says, looking over the mes of trains that now occupy his time.

The first train he bought was an "N gauge" set.  The gauge indicates the distance between rails, with a letter designated for each width.  An N gauge set uses cars that are about one inch tall and two or three inches long.

About three years ago, Van Horn got a big boost to his collection.  The Thomas County National Bank took over a large train collection, and put it up for sale at an auction.  Van Horn got the set for $1,000, narrowly outbidding a Denver train dealer.

"There were 200 cars, engines, everything," he said.  "I figured it was worth $5 a car."

Some of the cars in his collection were made in the 1950s, with several older than that.  He says his most valuable car is a locomotive that is worth about $180.

Each month, Van Horn reads from cover to cover a model railroad magazine to get ideas for realistic layouts of train tracks anad glean information about locomotives and railcars.

In the shop, Van Horn has two trains, both 027 gauge trains --- with cars about five inches high and about 12 inches long ---- that run on a circular track sitting on plywood and stuck to the walls about head high.  Tacked to the walls behind the tracks are town scenes.

He also has set up two other trains to run on tracks built on shelves along two walls, and another train set --- with N gauge track, railroad cars and even buildings resembling a train station --- is set up on a table.

Stuck on shelves all over the end of the room are many other trains, most still in their original box.

The collector is reluctant to guess what his collection is worth.

"It's hard to say," Van Horn said.  "I've probably got $10,000 in here."

Van Horn likes to play with his train, occasionally going out to the shop just to run them around and around the track, just like a child would.

"(But) these are not for little kids, I tell ya," Van Horn says.  "They wouldn't have the patience to keep them on the track."

While some train collectors get carried away with details, making entire layouts exactly to scale, Van Horn isn't so particular.  He just likes playing with trains.

"It's just something to do besides watchin' the boob tube," Van Horn says with a chuckle.
(Salina Journal ~ January 20, 1986 ~ Page 3)

TO  DEDICATE  CAR  OF  WHEAT

Weskan --- Vanguard of the Kansas Goodwill train, a 1,500 bushel car of wheat, will be dedicated Thursday, Aug. 12, here, according to Rev. Melvin Ostlin, pastor of Bethany Lutheran church.

Rev. Ostlin announced 60 members of his church donated money and wheat to fill the car.  The dedication will climax a special mission celebration planned by the church, although most Kansas counties will not dedicate their cars until Goodwill Train week Aug. 23-28.

Leonard M. Lowe, formerly of Hutchinson and now director of the Kansas CROP committee at Topeka, said all northwest counties are responding to the Christian Rural Overseas Program.  All but Logan county expect to be organized by the end of the week.

In the southwest quarter of the state the business of organizing is in progress.

Lowe announced between 12 and 16 cars of grain are expected to start the Goodwill Train at Colby on Monday, Aug. 23.  Carls will come from Norton, Rawlins, Decatur, Sherman, Thomas, Wallace, Gove, Sheridan and Logan counties.

The Colby Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the dedication service for the Union Pacific special.  The special train will leave Colby after the dedication and will arrive in Topeka Aug. 26.
(Hutchinson News Herald ~ August 6, 1948 ~ Page 15)

THEY  NO  LONGER  WALK

Menlo Receives A Carload of Buggies

Menlo, Kan, April 22 --- For the first time in the history of this Thomas county town, a carload of buggies have been unloaded here.
(Topeka State Journal ~ Saturday  ~ April 22, 1905 ~ Page 3)

The new school house, completed and furnished at a cost of about $5,000, is source of gratification to all.  The people of Menlo can truthfully point with pride to their new school building.
(Topeka State Journal ~ Saturday ~ April 22, 1905 ~ Page 3)

Mrs. Rose McKinney is agent and opeartor for the Union Pacific at Menlo, a position she has creditably filled for the last 18 years.
(Topeka State Journal ~ Saturday ~ April 22, 1905 ~ Page 3)

BANK  BANDIT  JAILED  CASHIER

Menlo, Kan., State Bak Robbed of $4,800 in Cash

Colby, Kan., Sept. 22 --- The Menlo State Bank, at Menlo, a small town in the southeast part of Thomas county, was held up at 4:30 o'clock Wednesday afternoon by an unmasked robber.  He secured $4,800 in cash and locked the cashier, J. E. McKinney, in the vault.

The robber drove a Hudson roadster, which was parked back of the bank.  He entered the front door and escaped the rear way before anyone knew his intentions.

He is described as a small man and was garbed in yellow unionalls.  Posses have been formed to attempt his capture.  A reward of $5,000 has been offered for him.
(Topeka State Journal ~ Thursday ~ September 22, 1921 ~ Page 10)

MENLO  ENTERPRISE  SUSPENDS

Menlo, Kan., June 11 --- Lee R. Cummins has suspended the publication of the Menlo Enterprise.  For several months past the paper has been in charge of Mrs. Bertha Cheney, who gave the county a good paper and did much better than was expected under the circumstances.
(Topeka State Journal ~ June 11, 1912 ~ Page 12)

The Rexford Union Cemetery corporation, of Thomas county.  Directors---G. M. Baun, I. E. Gilbert, George Fitzsimmons, J. W. McPherson, Henry Harstine, of Rexford.
(Wichita Daily Eagle ~ Wednesday ~ November 26, 1890 ~ Page 1)


 

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