The Pat Sauble Project: Veteran, Rancher, and “Pretty Good for an Old Guy!”

One of the exciting current Chapman Center projects centers on publication of a book on famous rancher Pat Sauble and his life in rural Kansas. The project is headed by Chapman Center Director, Dr. Bonnie Lynn-Sherow. In addition to being the Assistant Editor of the Online Journal of Rural Research and Policy, Brad Galka also works as a research technician with the Chapman Center for Rural Studies, researching and digitizing materials for projects. Galka, along with other Chapman Center students, faculty, and staff,  spends hours transcribing interviews, digitizing, identifying, and organizing thousands of photos and memorabiliaworking directly with Sauble to make sure things are recorded accurately. 

What is your favorite part of the Sauble project?

My favorite part about the Sauble project has got to be Pat himself.  He is such a cool guy to talk to and hang around with.  He has led such an interesting life and going over to his house and seeing all of his memorabilia makes the connections with all his stories real.

Is there a favorite story of yours from the interviews?

My favorite story is probably about Pat’s grandfather’s neighbor Mr. Parrell.  Apparently Parrell had a running feud with all of his neighbors living across the county line.  Mr. Parrell (who Pat describes as an ornery Frenchman who nobody liked) used to lure his neighbors’ livestock across the county line onto his property and then, once they were on his land, Mr. Parrell would essentially kidnap the stray cows and horses and lock them in his pens until their owners paid the ransom to get them out.  This engendered no warm feelings toward Mr. Parrell to be sure.

One day a young ranch hand named Charlie Sayer went with his boss to free some kidnapped cows.  Charlie’s boss and Mr. Parrell got into a wrestling match over the fee Parrell was charging to free the animals and Charlie ended up shooting Mr. Parrell!  Mr. Parrell died of gangrene and Charlie went on the run for a little while to Oklahoma.  When he come back a few weeks later though Charlie was acquitted of the killing by a jury of his peers.  According to Pat, all his neighbors thought Parrell had it coming!

Sauble Material

Memorabilia from the Sauble family to be scanned and archived. Some of the material requires special care like this almanac from 1878.

What are some challenges to organizing and prioritizing such a vast amount of research and material? How do you even begin?

Much of the challenge comes in verifying the details of the stories that Pat tells us and finding good photographs to illustrate them.  Pat has a lot of photographs but most of them rely on his ability to remember who is in the photos and what the context is for us to be able to make use of them.  Other things like financial records, journal entries, and letters pose their own difficulties in just being able to read them.  A lot of the material comes from the early twentieth century or even the nineteenth century so it takes a very keen eye!


You must feel very close and invested in this project. Explain your connection to the project:

I have been working on this project in some way or another for about two years now.  Other than the Going Home exhibit that we put on at the Discovery Center this was the first project I worked on for the Chapman Center.  By now I have spent hundreds of hours listening to Pat’s voice on audio and video recordings transcribing his stories and then more hours on top of that talking with the man himself.  I am eager for this to come to a successful conclusion – for Pat’s sake as well as ours – but I probably will miss it a bit once it is over!


Cedar Point School

Is preparing this material for publication anything like organizing the Going Home collection or a similar collection at a museum? Explain the similarities or differences for someone who doesn’t know anything about it.

For the Going Home project I worked on artifact acquisition for the museum exhibit and on writing labels to help tell a story through physical objects.  I also spent many hours transcribing oral interviews with individuals about their home town histories.  Many aspects, then, are the same yet, with the Sauble project being a book, they are also pretty different.  It is great when your experience overlaps with various projects but learning new skills is very important and can be fun as well.  Working with the Chapman Center and the Online Journal of Rural Research and Policy has given me many such useful experiences and new skills.

-Edited by Maggie Cody


The Insider Scoop

A familiar face at the Chapman Center for Rural Studies, Brad Galka has served as the assistant editor of the Online Journal of Rural Research and Policy since his graduate school days at Kansas State University. After earning an M.A. in History in December 2017, he is excited to announce that he will return to Kansas State’s History Ph. D. program in August. We asked him to share about his role as editor for the journal.


Brad Galka, Assistant Editor of the Online Journal of Rural Research & Policy

What are the job duties of an assistant editor?

My responsibility is being the main contact for our authors, reviewers, and board members. When authors submit their work to our journal, I walk them through the process of getting their work published. I am responsible for sending the articles out to appropriate reviewers and for requesting revisions to the authors’ work because of those reviews. In consultation with our managing editor, Dr. Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, I help make the final decision of whether we publish an article or not. I also provide copy-editing for the articles before we send them out for review and otherwise make recommendations to Dr. Lynn-Sherow about our articles and journal policies.

What is the mission of the Journal? What are you looking for specifically in an article? How do you solicit authors? 

The mission of the Journal is to publish scholarly research related to life in the Great Plains region of North America. It is a broad research area, and we do get a lot of very different topics submitted to our journal. Most common, however, are articles related to rural education, economics, environmental issues, agriculture, and the livestock industry. Dr. Lynn-Sherow and I are historians, so ever since we took over management of the Journal, we have tried to solicit more research emphasizing history. However, we do have a reviewer base capable of tackling almost any field of study.

The most common approach for soliciting authors is to look through lists of scholars who have presented their work at academic conferences in fields most relevant to our mission and contact those whose work I believe would be a good fit for our journal. I will also “cold call” individuals with a research focus relevant to our mission and see if they or someone they know are working on anything that they might like to publish.

How do you promote the Journal?

Dr. Lynn-Sherow and I take promotional materials to conferences so that we can increase awareness and solicit submissions. We also have a Twitter account and a Facebook page that I am working on to increase our online presence. We also rely on a lot of word of mouth from authors and reviewers we have worked with, and members of our editorial board also help spread the word.

Do you envision growth in the near future of the Journal? How?

I hope so! We are always thinking of new strategies to increase the profile of our journal and increase the number of submissions and publications that we have per year. We have recently begun to require more participation from our review board, and with their input and help, we hope the journal will continue to have greater success.

How has this experience shaped your professional goals and your own historical research and writing?

This job has shown me how many different fields one can work in, while still making academic contributions. We have a lot of university academics, to be sure, but we also have had tour guides, government officials, doctors, scientists, students, and business people writing from their experience in the non-academic professional world.

OJRRPTo learn more, see publications, or submit an article, please visit the Online Journal of Rural Research and Policy

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Edited by Erin Comfort & Maggie Cody