Semester Wrap-Up at the Chapman Center

On April 17, Alumni Fellow Judge Patricia Seitz and her husband, attorney Alan Greer, visited Chapman Center’s African-American Kansas class. Judge Seitz shared her experiences at K-State and law school that shaped her career as a U.S. District Court Judge in Florida. She talked about the process of judicial decisions, legal precedents, and the role of the Appellate Court. But she also took the time to meet each student in the class. It was an honor to have her with us!

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Judge Patricia Seitz and husband, Attorney Alan Greer, visited the Chapman Center for Rural Studies to speak to Dr. Morgan’s History 533 African-American Kansas class about issues such as the justice system and the role of the Appellate Court.

Blake Hall-Latchman speaks with Judge Patricia Seitz after her presentation.

Earlier, on April 10, students took their last field trip to the southern boundary of Manhattan. Standing on the flood-control levee, they viewed the fields and timber fringe along Wildcat Creek, the area historically known as “the Bottoms.” Here lived quite a number of resourceful African-American families, making a living from the river and the rich floodplain. The Bottoms disappeared after the 1951 flood.

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The last field trip for History 533: African-American Kansas class in the Spring of 2014.

Using plat maps that clearly show the location of the small farmsteads in the Bottoms, students traced the route that school children walked to the Douglass School — crossing muddy fields, two rail lines and several busy streets.

Old Mills in Kansas

On April 6, Research Director M.J. Morgan gave a Kansas Speaker’s Bureau talk (Kansas Humanities Council) on the culture of early settlers and food production to a historical museum in Fredonia, Wilson County. Wilson County is threaded with the streams and creeks of three major river watersheds: the Neosho, the Verdigris, and the Fall Rivers. In 1880, the area had over 12 working grist and merchant mills, built predominantly by settlers from Indiana and New York.

One left standing on the Fall River below Fredonia is still beautiful, despite age and wear.

The Old Fredonia Mill, Present Day.

The Old Fredonia Mill, Present Day.

Though old, the Fredonia mill is still functioning today.

The Fredonia Mill once served a thriving community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Old Iron Club is vitalized through volunteer efforts of community members who celebrate the diverse heritage of their southeastern county. Leanne Githens, Secretary-Treasurer of The Old Iron Club, explains,

Quotation“In the fall, the Iron Club holds the Wilson County Old Iron Days for 4 days and we are host to around 2,000 school children from southeast Kansas. The children visit about 30 exhibits and working demonstrations of rural ways of the past, both farming and domestic arts. We love doing it and teaching children, and our response is very positive. As an organization, we are committed to finding ways to preserve the knowledge of the past and how things work.”

For more information about the Wilson County Old Iron Days, go to their website: http://www.oldironclub.org/Wilson_County_Old_Iron_Club/Home.html.

Advertising the Old Iron Club in Fredonia, Kansas.

Advertising the Old Iron Club in Fredonia, Kansas.

Chapman Center is proud to have contributed to this striking effort to preserve the history of Kansas!

Two in a Row!

The Chapman Center for Rural Studies is proud to announce two interns in a row who were selected to present their research at “Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol.”

Jessica Wheeler standing next to her poster that she presented in Topeka on February 12th, 2014.

Jessica Wheeler standing next to her poster that she presented in Topeka on February 12th, 2014.

On February 12, former Chapman Center intern Jessica Wheeler presented her study of the vanished town of Chetolah, Kansas, in Ellis County. And last year in Topeka, former intern and undergraduate research assistant Angela Schnee presented her research and original map of “The Chinese Laundries of Wichita”. Angela, who graduated spring, 2013, is now Director of GIS Systems for Russell County, Kansas. Jessica, a senior majoring in biochemistry, is headed for law school after graduation.

Jessica is also the author of a fascinating history slide-show, “On the Track to Settlement,” posted in our multi-media collection. And Angela researched and wrote a history of the lost community of Gatesville Siding in Clay County. View their studies of the diverse people and places of Kansas on our website, www.ksu.edu/history/chapman/.

A Prairie School: Then and Now

Bean School

On March 11, student investigators from Chapman Center spent time at the old Bean School, District #3 in Wabaunsee County. Using historic images and several plat maps, they reconstructed the school landscape as it would have looked around 1890.

The remains of the historic Bean School after a devastating fire, which occurred just before the school was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. SOURCE: Schendt, Jamie. District School #3: Alma, KS (1893-1925): A Case Study of Integrated Schooling. K-REx, K-State Research Exchange, Department of History, Chapman Center for Rural Studies. Kansas State University, KS. 2010. http://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/handle/2097/4176

The remains of the historic Bean School after a devastating fire, which occurred just before the school was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. SOURCE: Schendt, Jamie. District School #3: Alma, KS (1893-1925): A Case Study of Integrated Schooling. K-REx, K-State Research Exchange, Department of History, Chapman Center for Rural Studies. Kansas State University, KS. 2010. http://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/handle/2097/4176

Although partially consumed in a tragic fire just as it was about to be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, this old limestone school still has a story to tell.

Dist. No. 3 is barely visible on this crumbling entryway to the school. Though it's known as Bean School, the official name was actually Dist. No. 3. SOURCE: Schendt, Jamie. District #3: Alma, KS (1893-1925): A Case Study of Integrated Schooling. K-REx, K-State Research Exchange, Department of History, Chapman Center for Rural Studies. Kansas State University, KS. 2010. http://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/handle/2097/4176

Dist. No. 3 is barely visible on this crumbling entryway to the school. Though it’s known as Bean School, the official name was actually Dist. No. 3. SOURCE: Schendt, Jamie. District #3: Alma, KS (1893-1925): A Case Study of Integrated Schooling. K-REx, K-State Research Exchange, Department of History, Chapman Center for Rural Studies. Kansas State University, KS. 2010. http://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/handle/2097/4176

The principal investigators of a vanished Flint Hills landscape, shown left to right: Will Lienberger, junior, Agriculture; Blake Hall-Latchman, sophomore, History; Michael Spachek, freshman, Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation; Sam Felts, senior, History; and Tanner Foster, junior, Secondary Education.

Students gather around the old school house.

Students gather around the old school house.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

The new Spring 2014 Interns have had nearly two months to get acquainted with the Chapman Center for Rural Studies, a program they were already familiar with through classes taught by Dr. Bonnie Lynn-Sherow and Dr. MJ Morgan. It was almost like deja vu to see the two faces and hear their names, which had already been floating around from time to time.

Griffin Page, Senior in History, and Jessica Hermesch, Sophomore in History.

Griffin Page, Senior, and Jessica Hermesch, Sophomore.

During their classes the two of them were able to get their Lost Towns paper published to the Lost Kansas Communities Digital Archive. Griffin and Jessica both wrote about towns close to where they grew up. Griffin was able to capture the struggle Stanley, Kansas (currently part of Overland Park, KS) went through during the process of being annexed by a nearby town. Jessica chose to write about Goff, Kansas and how the town beat all statistical odds based on the survival rate of other towns in similar situations.

The really exciting research is still-to-come, however, with Griffin working on CIS maps started by previous interns and Chapman Center staff that illustrate, for example, bootlegging and crime rates in Clay County, Kansas during the 19th century. Jessica will be working on interviewing a fellow classmate about her Lost Town paper about the home she grew up in – which had previously been a one-room school house! We’re very excited about the wonderful work Griffin and Jessica have already done and we can’t wait to see what they’ll produce next!

For a more information about Griffin and Jessica, go to our Staff page on our website: http://www.k-state.edu/history/chapman.

Chapman Center Students Find Traces of 1850s Bleeding Kansas

On a February 13 field trip to the Chris Barr cabin near Deep Creek, Riley County, students in African-American Kansas found amazing historical evidence. Although a sign in front of the mid-nineteenth century log cabin states it was built in 1863, students found legible newspaper wadding scraps still visible in the chinking of the cabin, some exposed behind crumbling mortar used to restore the cabin. With the help of digital technology (cell phone cameras!), students recorded this vital evidence.
These newspaper scraps reveal that the old assumptions about the build date on the Chris Barr Cabin are actually wrong!

These newspaper scraps reveal that the old assumptions about the build date on the Chris Barr Cabin are actually wrong!

Some of the words in these scraps of old newspapers are still legible, providing great evidence for the HIST 533 students.

Some of the words in these scraps of old newspapers are still legible, providing great evidence for the HIST 533 students.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Below, class members crowd into the tiny one-room cabin to examine the construction. The Chris Barr cabin is reputed to have been a station on the Underground Railroad, perhaps a stop between Wabaunsee and Manhattan. History major Haley Claxton kneels to take a close-up of a scrap of newspaper that can clearly be seen to have been the Leavenworth Herald, the first newspaper ever published in Kansas Territory.

Students studying the inside of the Chris Barr Cabin.

Students studying the inside of the Chris Barr Cabin.

Hayley using her cellphone to record history.

Hayley using her cellphone to record history.

Sometimes even the smallest details can lead to big discoveries.

Sometimes even the smallest details can lead to big discoveries.

Cellphone pictures capture amazing evidence that the Chris Barr Cabin must have been built at least a decade before the assumed build date based on newspaper articles found to restore the building.

Cellphone pictures capture amazing evidence that the Chris Barr Cabin must have been built at least a decade before the assumed build date based on newspaper articles found to restore the building.

Two photographs, at the right, taken by Haley Claxton, demonstrate how the newspaper, in print between 1856-1858, appears behind the more modern cement mortar.  The cabin was thus certainly built between 1856-1858, the heart of Bleeding Kansas in this area.

 

The 1850s also saw heavy use of the “western Kansas” route of the Underground Railroad, one that looped from Topeka northwest through Wabaunsee and Manhattan, eventually re-joining the Lane Trail into Iowa.

 
 

As some students said about the field trip and its surprising finds, “We had no idea it would be possible to actually discover historical evidence like this!”

Once More on Main Street…

The semester always ends in Lost Communities class with a field trip to the old Broughton townsite. It was a COLD but sunny Tuesday, December 10!

  Patricia McCollum, Jessica Hermesch, and Jennifer Milnes standing at the Broughton Townsite sign.

Patricia McCollum, Jessica Hermesch, and Jennifer Milnes standing at the Broughton Townsite sign.

Despite the cold temperatures, students walked most of the town on a snow-packed Tompkins (Main) Street, using old plat maps to locate businesses, the site of the grain elevator, and the railway lines that once defined the town. They enjoyed looking WAY up to the top of the two remaining cottonwoods, the last of the nine planted in 1890.

Nine cottonwoods were planted in 1890 and the only two remaining in 2013 are certainly a sight for HIST533 students who have never been to the Broughton townsite before.

Nine cottonwoods were planted in 1890 and the only two remaining in 2013 are certainly a sight for HIST533 students who have never been to the Broughton townsite before.

We also went to Broughton Cemetery. Here, history major Griffin Page tries to decipher a gravestone to the wife of one of the first Broughton settlers and Union war veteran, Thomas Ingersoll. Anna Ingersoll died within the first year of arrival, in 1870.

Griffin Page studying one of the oldest tombstones in Broughton Cemetery.

Griffin Page, deep in thought while studying one of the oldest tombstones in Broughton Cemetery.

It never fails that the students find something of interest in such a historic place, even if it’s just the fact that the students know how long this once-inhabited place has been left alone.

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 (Photograph courtesy of student and photographer, Jennifer Milnes)

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Dr. MJ Morgan leads the way across the Broughton Town Site. (Photography courtesy of student and photographer, Jennifer Milnes)

Yet while some aspects of Broughton townsite seem to be lasting memories, seemingly eternal without the traffic and changes in Manhattan or another bustling town, no matter how many times we take this field trip to old Broughton, there always seems to be something new to find!

This furry guy was definitely a first for the Broughton Field trip. Maybe we have a new mascot?

This furry guy was definitely a first for the Broughton Field trip. Maybe we have a new mascot? (Photograph courtesy of student and photographer, Jennifer Milnes)