Lillis, Kansas: In Puzzle Pieces

10122016-lillis-ksby Mallory Harrell, CCRS Fall Intern 2016

Every semester, K-State students enrolled in Dr. Morgan’s ‘Lost Kansas Communities’ class are given the responsibility and opportunity to create their own piece of historical research. This is the very research fueling a large portion of the Chapman Center for Rural Studies.

Among the students enrolled this semester is Mary O’Connor, and her subject? The lost town of Lillis, Kansas, a community which once flourished in southeastern Marshall County on Irish Creek, established between the years of 1856 and 1860.

O’Connor, a senior majoring in psychology, enrolled in ‘Lost Kansas Communities’ after taking a history of Kansas class over the past summer. Her interest in Kansas history grew as a result of both the class and her personal ties to Kansas. “I’m interested in the Kansas historical aspect because it’s where I’m from, and there are many stories about resilience.”

10122016-lillis-ks-blueprintMiss O’Connor also intends to offer a very personal touch to her project. She explained that her interest in researching Lillis largely stems from her own family history. “I’m mostly interested in it because it was founded by Irish Catholics and my Catholic background roots are from Nebraska. I wanted to find something similar because my family has a very similar story.”

One of the more fascinating aspects of the Lillis project involves a town plat that had been donated to the Chapman Center several years ago. It came in many pieces due to its age.

Mary has committed to piecing together the plat like a puzzle as a part of her project. “It’s cool to see that piece of history and not knowing its story, it’s like a cool mystery to put together because you can tell it has a lot of history behind it.”

Mary is also grateful to be working with another donated collection from Francis Hupp, long-time resident of Lillis.

Linda Hupp Morse offered this collection of letters, newspaper clippings, maps, and stories collected over a lifetime by her mother, Frances Hupp, of Topeka. Mary is excited for the opportunity to interview Francis Hupp about her memories of Lillis.

This emphasizes one of the most fundamental rules in studying history:  information can be found anywhere even if one may not know exactly where and how to begin looking. All it takes is a little passion and enthusiasm!

Welcome Fall 2016 Interns!

Meet the Chapman Center for Rural Studies’ three new interns: Brandon, Bo, and Mallory.

They have joined the Center while we usher in the “Going Home: Hidden Histories of the Flint Hills” exhibit. Each have helped prepare thematic and town displays, clean artifacts, and keep the coffee flowing!

Brandon Williams, CCRS 2016 Fall InternBrandon Williams

I am a sophomore history major; I plan on finishing my undergraduate degree by 2021 before pursuing a PhD. I hope to one day be a historian who emphasizes research on small rural towns.

I am currently working on an inventory of a collection of articles donated to the Washington County Historical Society in tandem with the Lueb Camera Collection. In addition to this, I am going to be creating a second inventory on a collection of glass plate negative photographs taken of the small town of Clifton, Kansas, held in the town’s museum. I was born in Springfield, Missouri, but spent much of my life growing up in Kansas City, Kansas. I am a member of a large, blended family. My step-mother is a Kansas State University alumni and was a pivotal part to my coming to K-State for college.

Outside of my family, I am passionate about being outdoors, as I hunt, fish, and trek hiking trails. When not outdoors I enjoy writing, pottery, and spending time with my friends.


Bo Lin, CCRS Fall 2016 InternLin Bo

I’m currently a senior from Guangzhou, an hour west of Hong Kong, China. I want to pursue graduate school in Europe and expand my perspectives on correlation between the past, current, and the future. I would like to be in the field of Medieval Studies in the future education.

I am working on a project that relates to a monastery in Scipio, a vanishing town in Anderson County, Kansas. I am focusing on a mission that this monastery was sent out to Texas in 1881. I’m excited to be researching religious history and contributing to the Chapman Center.

I like playing chess when I am free because it is literally a game about history. I also like debating with people and discussing current events. After all, we all live in history.


Mallory Harrell, CCRS 2016 Fall InternMallory Harrell

I am a senior majoring in history and am planning to graduate May 2017. My current plans following graduation include furthering my experience working in the fields of either public or archival history. I also plan on pursuing a graduate program in either museum studies or library science.

My internship project primarily involves the production of a history and inventory for a series of primary source documents pertaining to the Clay Center Library Club. This project will be in collaboration with both the Chapman Center for Rural Studies as well as the Clay Center Historical Society, as the documents I will be examining are recent additions to their collections. I’m especially thrilled to be conducting research on a subject that has never before been explored and one that relates to my love of literature. I am also generally excited for the opportunities that the Chapman Center may make possible through the experiences I’ll have here throughout the semester.

I’m from a small town near Kansas City called Tonganoxie. I’m a lover of history and all things literary.  I have my history-teacher mother and speech-teacher father to thank respectively for each of these. I also share a love of discussing theater, animation, film, and several other visual mediums with my sister Lauren. In my spare time, I can often be found exercising, watching history documentaries or reading classical literature.

Welcome HistoryCats!

Durso f2 volland school860

Volland, Kansas, School, ca. 1860. Courtesy of Wabaunsee County Historical Society.

Welcome WildCats to a new year and new opportunities to Make History!

With classes in Lost Kansas Communities, Advance Seminars in History, and History of the United States to 1877 starting; our “Going Home: Hidden Histories of the Flint Hills” exhibit launching to the public September 24 at the Flint Hills Discovery Center, and interns working on Middle Kansas projects and more, the Chapman Center for Rural Studies is a busy place!

You are invited to explore our refreshed “Chapman Center Research Collections” online which houses our Lost Kansas Communities research, maps, and other thematic exhibits such as “Kansas History and Life.” Several town studies have been added this summer and there are more to come!

Keep an eye on the Rural Telegraph blog, our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channel for up-to-date information about your Chapman Center for Rural Studies!

And Go WildCats! Make History!

New Video Trailers: “Going Home” Exhibit, September 24, 2016 – January 8, 2017

Laura Ingalls Wilder once said, “Home is the nicest word there is.”
What if your home or hometown no longer stands?

The Chapman Center for Rural Studies will host “Going Home: Hidden Histories of the Flint Hills,” an exhibit at the Flint Hills Discovery Center, starting September 24. You are invited to explore the histories of seven Flint Hills, Kansas, towns including: Bodarc, Broughton, Cedar Point, Chalk, Maple City, Volland, and Big John Creek Village, the Kansas home of the Kaw Nation. Kids will have a very special area dedicated to exploring how Kansas kids of the past played, learned, and more!

08042016 James Pepper Henry

An interactive map of all verified towns will help you envision how the Flint Hills population waxed and waned. Vintage photos and video will be displayed throughout the exhibit where you can explore towns and ideas like communication, travel, and recreation of Kansas’ past. Several iPad stations will be posted for more exploration of the seven featured towns.

Plan to stop at the Story Store, a place to record your memories of home throughout the exhibit. This is also where we will partner with nationally-recognized, StoryCorps, in November. “StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” We hope to add Flint Hill stories to their archive housed in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

This exhibition represents the work of undergraduate students working with Chapman Center for Rural Studies faculty and made possible by an estate gift from Mr. Mark Chapman. The stories, images, sounds and exhibit films were written, discovered, and created by an amazing and talented group of young scholars who care deeply about the Flint Hills. ( View more videos on our YouTube channel!)

The exhibition opens Saturday, September 24, at 10 am to the public.

Explore hidden places of the Flint Hills and their stories! You’ll also be invited to tell us all about what ‘Going Home’ means to you. 

Visit the Chapman Center for Rural Studies on YouTube for more video trailers, student-crafted multi-media projects, and discussions of rural Kansas history.

Remembering Cathy: A thank you from us all

Blog by Dr. MJ Morgan
Research & Curriculum Director, Chapman Center for Rural Studies

photo of Cathy Haney

Cathy Haney’s 2016 interview with Chapman Center for Rural Studies researchers

Cathy Haney, enthusiastic curator and historian at Clay County Museum, left us June 21, 2016. She was spearheading a massive effort to move the museum from its location in an old hospital to a newly-acquired building downtown. Cathy, we will miss you so much! Dr. Morgan, Research Director, will especially miss you, for your openness and willingness to welcome undergraduate (and graduate) researchers was unparalleled.

As Dr. Morgan said at a June 27 memorial service, “Cathy never said no.” Chapman Center for Rural Studies faculty and students could call to the museum, make an inquiry, and Cathy was waiting with materials and sources.

Folders, albums, newspaper files would appear; CDs of scanned photos were available, genealogy collections materialized – and the right ones. Students could sit at tables with newspaper volumes while Cathy made on-the-spot phone calls to community members and those living out in the small towns of Clay County, setting up interviews. Her mind was a ready clearing house for all kinds of historical information, and she shared that so generously. Over the years, she probably supported the research of over 25 separate student projects.

The most intensive of these was the Broughton Project, resulting in the publication of our first book, Broughton, Kansas:  Portrait of a Lost Town, 1869-1966 (2010). Underwritten and supported by Mark Chapman, this project took over four years to complete. It was based on forty interviews of former Broughton residents, some living in Arkansas, California, and New York. Without Cathy’s help, we would not have had a book. Like Mark Chapman, Cathy was born and raised in the tiny crossroads village of Broughton. Her family names of Harris and Scheinkoenig connected her to early settling families, and did she have the stories!

“My great-grandmother, Mary Catherine Harris – I was named for her – was still picking apples, up on ladders in her orchard, in her late seventies. She dropped the apples into her big apron. You couldn’t stop her.”

Cathy, you were so like your great-grandmother:  vital, energetic, irrepressible, a lover of projects and history, interested in people, connections, life! Because of your efforts and interest, every semester, research classes make trips to the old Broughton town site. The Harris orchards are long gone now, but on these field trips, we’ll especially think of you.

Spring 2016 LKC Broughton Field Trip


“On the Brink of Medical Change…” Lost Kansas Communities Student Returns to Serve

Dr. Tyler Funke

Dr. Taylor Funke

Blog by Emmalee Laidacker
2015-2016 Chapman Center Intern

Each year, thousands of students graduate from K-State and move to bigger and better things outside Manhattan. However, one former student of Dr. Morgan’s Lost Kansas Communities class is doing bigger and better things after moving back to town. Dr. Taylor Funke, who recently began working at a Chiropractic office in town, is living in Manhattan again, and hopes to somehow give back to Kansas State University.

Taylor explained how his love for both the University and Manhattan is what brought him back. He also liked the idea of not being too far from his hometown of Osborne. “I wanted to be able to come back and become involved with the University in some way.” Taylor hopes to be able to teach a class someday. “I just knew that I really love to teach and I wanted to somehow give back to what was given to me.”

Taylor is from Osborne, a small-north central Kansas town. He was inspired to take the Lost Kansas Communities class due to his interest in other small communities. “My dad was a veterinarian; we would go on vet calls in the country and I would always find these little towns and cemeteries that were around there. I wondered ‘What was the story behind all of this?’ or ‘What used to be here?’”

Vintage Postcard: Junction City, Kansas’, First Hospital

Each student in Lost Kansas Communities researches and writes a semester-long historical study of a topic of their choice. Taylor had an interest in healthcare and after working with Dr. Morgan to choose a topic, was able to research the first hospital in Junction City. “It was great to meet people that were excited about what I was doing and helping to provide some history about Junction City”, said Taylor.

“[It was] the best class I had taken at K-State, hands down. I’ll be completely honest. I just loved learning about little things I never knew about history, in Kansas, especially. I found out some stuff about my hometown that I had never known… I really liked that we went on a lot of adventures around the area; we went to the Broughton site, we went to an old schoolhouse down by Wabaunsee [County] …We got to physically be with history… She also taught us the academic side to go along with that so we could connect some stories.”

"Dr. Dechairo's Medical Bag"

“Dr. Dechairo’s Medical Bag” Dr. Dechairo was in practice in Westmoreland, Kansas. His bag is an example of one commonly used in rural areas and is on display at Rock Creek Valley Museum and Historical Society, Westmoreland, KS.

Taylor described his experience in Dr. Morgan’s class as something he will never forget. His research of historical medical practices culminated into “On the Brink of Medical Change: The Junction City Hospital, Junction City, Geary County, Kansas, 1913 – 1921” and explored how the establishment of the hospital brought needed improvements to the area’s health and prosperity.

A normal day at the office for Taylor includes meeting with patients and addressing whatever issues or concerns they may be having that day. He often works with athletes and has adjusted patients both young and old. Taylor’s office, Premier Chiropractic and Wellness, is located off Seth Child Road and K-18 highway.

Chapman Center Intern and 2016 Graduate, Anthony Porter, Leaves Written Legacy

Anthony Porter Spring 2016 webby Dr. MJ Morgan, Research Director, Chapman Center for Rural Studies

Chapman Center for Rural Studies intern, Anthony Porter, a 2016 K-State graduate, Bachelor of Arts (BA) in history, left a written legacy of his time with us. Anthony’s study of the vanished community of Magic, Riley County, Kansas, appears in the May issue of Kansas Kin, published by the Riley County Genealogical Society (RCGS). “Magic: The Ultimate Vanishing Act” was an invited piece and marks the start of a fruitful collaboration between Chapman Center and RCGS.

Magic, Kansas, Schoolhouse

Magic, Kansas, Schoolhouse

We hope to offer more student work for inclusion in Kansas Kin as undergraduate researchers tackle the long-disappeared communities, villages, and trading centers of a lost Kansas landscape. Like many of our researchers, Anthony used both documentary and oral history sources, conducting interviews with Magic community descendants.

Through leads and contacts often suggested by RCGS, students learn to piece together the fascinating and sometimes quirky history of rural Kansas. Readers can also enjoy Anthony’s study of Magic in our Lost Communities Archive, at (Click the link, scroll down below the featured photograph, and click the printer icon on the black top bar above the pdf-copy of Anthony’s Magic paper. You can now print off and read Anthony’s paper at your leisure.) 

Coming Soon: make sure to catch Anthon’s digital museum exhibit on the Quivira Society, an early 20th century amateur archaeology club in Wabaunsee County appearing later this summer in our Kansas History and Life Collection.