OLD TIME PRAIRIE FIRE
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
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
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
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
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
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
following is the list of letters remaining uncalled for in the post
office at Colby, Kansas for the week ending March 10, 1891.
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
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
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
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
FLEEING SUSPECTS SLAY TWO OFFICERS IN RUNNING FIGHT
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
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
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
FIFTY AUTOMOBILES ON COLBY STREETS SATURDAY
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.
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
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
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:
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)
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
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
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
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
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
(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
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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."
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.
these are not for little kids, I tell ya," Van Horn says. "They
wouldn't have the patience to keep them on the track."
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
--- 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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
(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
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.
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
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
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)
TOPEKA BOY IS MISSING
No Word From S. LeRoy Whitaker in Last Two Years
search which has been in progress for more than two years for S. LeRoy
Whitaker, 20 years old, has so far been unsuccessful, according to word
received in Topeka today from the boy's mother, Mrs. Marie Whitaker,
formerly of Topeka, who now resides in New York City.
LeRoy Whitaker is said to have left Topeka July 12, 1919, stating that
he was going to Brewster, Kan.,a s a harvest hand for the United States
Employment agency, since dissolved.
boy is described as being fair-skinned, has blue eyes and light hair.
He left his Oklahoma home with his elder brother, Thomas, in October,
1918, for Fort Worth, Tex., where he roomed at the Y.M.C.A. for a time,
it is said. He remained in Texas until June 29, 1919, when he started
north. His last letter was mailed at Topeka just before he left for
Brewster. This is the last word received from him.
(Topeka State Journal ~ July 21, 1921 ~ Page 8)
GEM, KAN., MAN'S INVENTION
Will Make Device to Transfer Passengers to and From Moving Trains
Railway and Engineering Review says: It is reported from Topeka, Kan.,
that a charter has been granted to the Gem Rapid Passenger Transfer
company of Gem, Thomas county, Kansas, which is capitalized at $100,000
and the purpose of which is to manufacture and sell a newly patented
machine to transfer passengers to and from moving trains. The
invention, for which a patent was granted in June, is to the credit of
Mr. Filer Sackett See of Gem., Kan., and he has announced that he and
his associates have labored for mnay years to bring it to its present
(Goodland Republic ~ October 26, 1906 ~ Page 3)
L. L. Brooks
and the Elliott boys dug up the remains of some people who were buried
a dozen years ago in the old Kingery cemetery in Hale township this
week, and at the request of friends, shipped them to Iowa to be
re-interred. The boys said the graves had been dug into by badgers
which dug through the coffins, and to all appearances devoured the
corpses before they had decayed. There is nothing more revolting than
to contemplate the destruction of dead friends by these vandals, but
from the appearance of graves in nearly every cemetery it is a very
(Colby Free Press ~ Thursday ~ November 14, 1901 ~ Page 5)