History on the Ground

Glove check! It was important to keep the integrity of the historical materials, many of which were hundreds of years old. Gloves helped protect the materials against the oils of the students' hands - not to mention they made everyone look so dashing!

Glove check! It was important to keep the integrity of the historical materials, some of which was over one hundred years old. Gloves helped protect the materials against the oils of the students’ hands – not to mention they made everyone look so dashing!

On October 24, HIST533 Lost Kansas Communities students, under the direction of Dr. MJ Morgan, traveled to Rock Creek Valley Historical Society in Westmoreland, Pottawatomie County. This museum generously allows students to browse original newspaper volumes — wearing white gloves, of course. Class members evaluated the weekly reports from tiny, lost Kansas towns and aggregate communities in order to write about small town values between 1910 and 1930. They also enjoyed the advertisements, in which patent medicines play a large role!

Digging into history with iconic advertisements in the background. Students were able to do more than just read about what they were studying in class at the Rock Creek Valley Historical Society on Thursday, October 24, 2013.

Digging into history with iconic advertisements in the background. Students were able to do more than just read about what they were studying in class at the Rock Creek Valley Historical Society on Thursday, October 24, 2013.

Student inspect the sides of the Summerhill Cabin, built in 1867 and was moved to Wabaunsee County from Nemaha County.

Student inspect the sides of the Summerhill Cabin, built in 1867 and was moved to Wabaunsee County from Nemaha County.

On the grounds of the museum is the Summerhill Cabin, built in 1867 in Nemaha County and moved later to Westmoreland. It was occupied until 1952! Students were able to study log cabin architecture and apply material learned in class about the origins of the log cabin — appearing by 1623 along the Delaware River south of what would one day be Philadelphia. The log cabin has become iconic in American frontier history — but it was not invented in North America! To learn who did create it…ask a student in History 533!

Many thanks to Nola Wilkerson, curator of the museum and historical society, for her open door policy.

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Interns in the Field – October 11

When is a metal detector part of historical research?

Matthew Leverich surveys land lying south of Horseshoe Road. It is possible there were auto campgrounds near the Kansas River in the 1920s.

Matthew Leverich surveys land lying south of Horseshoe Road. It is possible there were auto campgrounds near the Kansas River in the 1920s.

The interns find an abandoned bridge and discernible "road" in the middle of overgrown woodlands. The road runs parallel to the Union Pacific Railway line, both on the floodplain.

The interns find an abandoned bridge and discernible “road” in the middle of overgrown woodlands. The road runs parallel to the Union Pacific Railway line, both on the floodplain.

Matthew Cantril uses a metal detector near a possible campground site.

Matthew Cantril uses a metal detector near a possible campground site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interns Matt Cantril and Matt Leverich discovered its use (and drawbacks) when working in southern Pottawatomie County Friday, October 11. After much analysis of old maps and newspapers, they think they may have located a portion of the Roosevelt Midland Trail passing through Pottawatomie County, Kansas around 1914. The Midland Trail was a major transcontinental auto route in the early days of Model T travel. Working in Riley County as well, the interns think this early route had many names. It may actually have been originally part of the Military Trail connecting Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley in the 1850s.

Matt and Matt begin work around the old bridge. The metal detector turned up several clues, including a possible 1922 pill bottle and telephone pole insulator glass (telephone poles were used as markers for early routes).

Matt and Matt begin work around the old bridge. The metal detector turned up several clues, including a possible 1922 pill bottle and telephone pole insulator glass (telephone poles were used as markers for early routes).

The Midland Trail Project Continues to Unfold! Check Here for Updates!

Mining Memories, a How To by Dr. MJ Morgan

Dr. MJ Morgan giving a presentation on Oral History at the Manhattan Public Library to commemorate the Rile County's Genealogical Society's 50th Anniversary.

Dr. MJ Morgan giving a presentation on Oral History at the Manhattan Public Library to commemorate the Rile County’s Genealogical Society’s 50th Anniversary.

Chapman Center Research Director MJ Morgan spoke Sunday afternoon, October 13, 2013, at the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Riley County Genealogical Society. Her talk, “Reliability in Oral History,” was based on at least forty interviews she and undergraduates did to collect material for our 2010 book, Portrait of a Lost Town: Broughton, Kansas:  1869-1966.

The Riley County Genealogical Society’s History:

For fifty years, the library has been a major genealogical research facility located in Manhattan, Kansas. [Their] research resources include over five thousand volumes in its holdings with a comprehensive collection of family histories, books, and records, representative of every U.S. State and most European countries, census, marriage, deed, school and cemetery records, a Kansas collection for each of the 105 counties, a large holding of information on microfilm and microfiche, internet access to the worldwide community, plus its own website. The Society continues to publish genealogical boos, a quarterly journal and a member newsletter. [The Society is] a non-profit organization, serviced by volunteers who provide thousands of hours annually to maintain research resources for the public. The research library is open to the public five days a week, twelve months a year.

During the presentation Dr. Morgan debunked popular misconceptions about the reliability of oral history. She gave valuable tips on how to use and verify oral history, including showing a clip of a recorded interview, given by Dr. Morgan herself, of an elderly woman from Clay Center.

Here, former Undergraduate Research Assistant Angela Schnee talks with an audience member after the presentation. Angela, who graduated last spring, came to help Dr. Morgan with the talk. She assisted Chapman Center students for over two years with their research. She is missed!

Here, former Undergraduate Research Assistant Angela Schnee talks with an audience member after the presentation.

Angela Schnee, who graduated last spring, came to help Dr. Morgan with the talk. She assisted Chapman Center students for over two years with their research. She is missed! Also indispensable: Office Manager Amanda Dempster, who helped to create Power Point images and also edited a film clip of an interview in Clay Center. Thank you to Angela and Amanda!

Welcome new Chapman Center Interns (2013-14)

The Chapman Center for Rural Studies has two undergraduate interns joining the ranks of CHS interns Billie Chesney and Rebecca (Becky) Hall. Both Matthew Leverich and Matthew Cantril (we call them “the Matts”) are with us for the Fall 2013-Spring 2014 academic year and are working closely with Dr. MJ Morgan on a project for the Center that will become a part of the research collection in the Research Library in 112 Leasure Hall. We’re excited to welcome such great undergraduate researchers who will be doing such important work for the Center. Check in often for updates on their projects.

Matthew Cantril

The Cantril Family, gathered for Matt's sister's graduation. EMAW!

The Cantril Family, gathered for Matt’s sister’s graduation. EMAW!

Pictured with his sister, Matt is a sophomore at Kansas State University and currently enrolled in the Open Option program. Matt has said that being one of the interns for the Chapman Center for Rural Studies this year has helped him form interests in different areas and may help him decide which major to pursue in the future. Right now he is trying to decide between History and Geography, both of which his research at the Center depends heavily upon. He went to high school at Shawnee Mission East in Kansas City, KS, about a mile away from the Kansas/Missouri border. Matt is involved in a ministry program in Manhattan called Ichthus, which is a partner of the Kansas City branch in his hometown. Matt also loves Basketball. His self-imposed title is a Basketball “fiend” as he watches as much of it as he can, and he can almost always be found at the K-State Recreational Center on campus playing on the new courts. Matt lives with his parents in Kansas City during academic breaks and holidays where he grew up with his sister. She also went to, and graduated from, Kansas State University. Matt’s sister is now a teacher living in South Africa and just recently got married in September.

Matthew Leverich

Matthew Leverich

Matt Leverich is standing in front of his favorite painting in the Research Room. If you look closely enough it’s a painting of a small town in the Midwest in the early nineteenth century. There are roosters in the street!

Pictured in front of his favorite painting in the Chapman Center’s Research Library, 112 Leasure Hall, Matt is a senior in Computer Science at Kansas State University. This is his first internship at the Chapman Center for Rural Studies and it seems a pretty good fit for Matt. In his 21 years he’s always been fascinated with visiting little towns in Kansas and has been fortunate enough to have visited over 200 of the 9,000 towns that are located in the state. Matt prides himself on being able to name obscure Kansas towns that other people have not even heard of. He’s enjoyed traveling around the state with his family and his cubicle in the Research Room has several pictures posted of himself with his little brother in Kansas ruins and other areas they’ve visited together.

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Fall 2013 has a New Face. (Quite a few of them, actually.)

Welcome new semester, new staff.

From left to right: Rebecca Hall, Matthew Leverich, Matthew Cantril, Billie Chesney

From right to left: Rebecca Hall, Matthew Leverich, Matthew Cantril, Billie Chesney

We have a lot of new faces this semester. Our new interns this academic year are Matthew Leverich and Matthew Cantril (we call them the “Matts”) who will be joining the experienced Billie Chesney and Rebecca Hall in new and exciting research projects this year. Stay tuned for updates on what they’re working on in later blog posts. Katie Goerl has returned to us as the new Graduate Brunswick Researcher and Ryan Bach, also a Graduate Student in History, is going to assist her in a large project for the Brunswick Corporation, generous sponsors of academic projects and grants. You might already be familiar with Dr. Lynn-Sherow, the Director of the Chapman Center, and Dr. Morgan, the Director of Research at the Center, who have been with the Center from day one. Through their help and research experience the Undergraduate and Graduate researchers have been able to work on hundreds of “lost” towns in Kansas, a rather unique look at rural Kansas throughout its history.

From left to right: Dr. MJ Morgan, Hayley Taylor, Amanda Dempster, Dr. Bonnie Lynn-Sherow

From left to right: Dr. MJ Morgan, Hayley Taylor, Amanda Dempster, Dr. Bonnie Lynn-Sherow

But that’s not all, the office has quite a few new faces too. Amanda Dempster has taken over the position of Office Manager. If she looks familiar, that’s because she’s a recent alum of K-State’s History Department, receiving her BS in both History and Sociology. Along for the ride are Student Assistants, Hayley Taylor, Junior in Kinesiology and Pre-Physical Therapy at K-State, and Kaitlyn Gormley, Junior in Social Work at K-State.

From left to right: Dr. Suzanne Orr, Dr. Derek Hoff, Tim Gresham, Dr. Virgil Dean; Not shown: Dr. Jim Sherow

From left to right: Dr. Suzanne Orr, Dr. Derek Hoff, Tim Gresham, Dr. Virgil Dean; Not shown: Dr. Jim Sherow

 

Even the Kansas History Editorial staff has a few new names to add to the mix. We’re excited to welcome Dr. Suzanne Orr as the Consulting Editor for the Journal and to K-State itself. Along with her husband, Dr. Andrew Orr, they’ve made their home in Manhattan – two new faculty members in the History Department, and a new addition to the K-State Family.

 

 

To learn more about each new addition to our Faculty and Staff here at Chapman Center for Rural Studies, go to our website to see what everyone has to say about themselves.