Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Party Like It's 1892

  From the Oskaloosa Times, Jan. 5, 1893

Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Huddleston gave a New Year’s party to their many friends last Saturday evening. Doctors taking rides on the bannister and merchants standing on their heads and turning somersaults were among the amusements of the evening. All present say they had a merry time.


This story appeared in "Yesteryears" in April 2020.
(Contributed by Leanne Chapman)

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Community Christmas Tree

  From the Winchester Star, Dec. 26, 1924

The Community Christmas tree given by the P.T.A. at the high school auditorium, Thursday eve, Dec. 18, was a success. Although the weather was cold and stormy, a large number of people braved the inclemency and came out for the good time, which everyone present seemed to enjoy. To start the entertainment, the lights were turned off, the curtains opened and the audience were given a view of the stage and its decorations. The living room scene was used. There stood the tree ablaze with the electric lights, small odd shaped bulbs of every color of the rainbow glowed softly and shown merrily from and behind the branches of the beautiful green tree. Tinsel and ornaments dazzeled and sparkled, a mound of snow glittering with frost formed the base. And beside the tree the old-fashioned brick fireplace, with its mantle and old brass candlesticks, with candles burning brightly, children’s stockings of three different sizes were hanging on the mantle, showed that Saint Nicholas was expected. Words fail us; we cannot describe the beautiful scene. For a few moments after the curtain opened, all were silent, then exclamations of wonder and approval came to our ears, and then a roar of applause, lasting until after the curtain had closed. The following program was then given:

  • Exercise, “The Birth of Peace,” third and fourth grades, District No, 7.
  • Reading, “The Little Match Girl,” Beth Snyder.
  • Exercise, “The Gift of the Stars,” District No. 9.
  • Music, Girls Glee Club, W.H.S.
  • Exercise, “Christmas Letters,” first and second grades, District No, 7.
  • Reading, “Mrs. Santa Claus,” Ida Curry.
  • Exercise, “The Gift of the Stars,” fifth and sixth grades, District. No. 7.
  • Jingle Bells, all the children.

From the Winchester Star, Dec. 15, 1922

As the chorus of Jingle Bells finished, the bells of Santa Claus were heard, as he came down the chimney. Yes, he came down the chimney and crawled out of the fireplace, dragging behind him two great baskets, one filled with popcorn balls, the other with all-day suckers. He filled all the stockings hanging to the mantle and then turned and asked the children to sing Jingle Bells again. They sang it with a spirit. Then he called for everybody to sing and they did, with a whallop. The children were asked to come in a long line to receive their treats. The youngest first, and after them, according to age. Santa gave to each a ball of popcorn and an all-day sucker. As the children passed across the stage the audience burst into song, “Silent Night.” After the song, as they saw the popcorn balls and suckers dropping down the chimney and keeping a constant supply in the baskets they came back with another hearty applause. Handclapping that showed co-operation. After which someone started, “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More.” Then came the noisy high school, with their yells and cheers for Santa Claus and The P.T.A. 


After the line had been supplied, Santa started the song, “Jingle Bells,” again, keeping time with the bells. As the last word of the chorus died away, up the chimney he rose, going back the way he came. The treats were then passed to everybody and there was enough and to spare.

Come again next year, it’s an annual affair. 


 Watch for the announcement of the Chautaqua to be given by the P.T.A. some time in January.


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Santa Claus in Jefferson County

  From the Nortonville News, Dec. 18, 1891

Dropped from the Clouds.

                        The Moon, Dec. 17, 1891.

To: A.J. Perry & Co.,



Gentlemen:—Please notify the public that I shall take pleasure in holding “High Carnival” at your establishment during the coming week. If my stock of goods holds out it will be quite necessary for all Good Boys and Girls to have very large and long stockings hung up on Christmas Eve.

            Yours as Ever,

                        Santa Claus.


From the McLouth Times,
Dec. 11, 1891

From the Oskaloosa Independent, Dec. 17, 1892

Headquarters, 1892.

Dear Children:—Having spent several days in Oskaloosa this week, examining the different stocks of Christmas goods, I have decided to make my headquarters at Johnston’s Drug-store. I do this on account of the better railroad facilities they enjoy, having a direct line of railway running right into their store, and an unlimited line of everything to please everybody, both old and young, and I desire everybody to go there for their Christmas presents. Yours truly,

                        Santa Claus.


From the Valley Falls New Era, Dec. 24, 1892

Santa Claus (the spirit of good cheer and giving) will make his appearance at the Christian church Saturday evening (Christmas Eve). Elaborate preparations are made to receive him. A snow house and crystal grotto are being prepared for him and for the delight of the eyes of all who come.


From the Valley Falls New Era, Dec. 14, 1895

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will be at the Congregational Church Dec. 20th with a beautiful line of dressed boy and girl dolls also other articles useful and ornamental. Admission 15 cents including supper and entertainment.


From the Advocate, Meriden, Kansas,
Dec. 17, 1890

From the Oskaloosa Independent, Dec. 31, 1887

Christmas at Leaverton

Mr. Editor, will you allow me a little space in your columns to say a word or two with reference to the Christmas entertainment at the Leaverton school house on last Saturday evening?

A beautiful tree was planted in one corner of the room, loaded with gifts and making a grand display, while in the opposite corner was a platform for the children.

The exercises consisted in singing, prayer, and addresses by the two ministers present, and addresses, recitations and declamations by the children and young people, all interspersed with song. To say that the song service and the exercises of the children was all good, would not be saying enough; they were simply grand. The Kindergarten exercises were new, and faultlessly rendered by the children.

At the proper time Santa Claus made his appearance, and the gifts were distributed. Great credit is due the teacher who drilled the children, the officers and teachers in the Sunday school, and all the people in the neighborhood, for planning and executing such an entertainment.

            L.D. Price

At the Leaverton school-house they had a fine time on Christmas eve, as will be seen by the report elsewhere. A purse of nine dollars and a fine cake was presented Elder Price, and a cake was also given Rev. Mr. Lawless. The cakes were made by Mrs. Morrow, the material being contributed in small lots by the Sabbath school children—a novel idea.


Friday, December 11, 2020

A Bicycle Ride, 1893

  From the Oskaloosa Times, Apr. 20, 1893

Several Oskaloosa boys concluded to have a little outing last Sunday with bycicles (sic), among the number were Alt Buck, Ray Patterson and Curt Patrick, boarding the train on the Northwestern for the Falls, where after riding around for a while on the bycicles, made a stop at the Hillyer House, where they enjoyed the hospitality of that prince of landlords, R.D. Simpson. After partaking of one of his sumptuous dinners, they were taken in charge of Messrs. Piazzek and Tutt, owners of the little steamboat that plys the Delaware above the dam, who extended an invitation for a ride, which the Oskaloosa boys graciously accepted, going up the river about five miles and back. The Cyclone Cadet Band of Valley Falls furnished enlivening music on the trip. Getting back to the hotel about half past 4 o’clock, they immediately started for home feeling grateful for the gentlemanly and courteous treatment received at all hands. About an hour’s ride from the falls, the three arrived at Dunavant where they took supper with Geo. Elston. The boys got safely home at 7:30 being delayed a short time on the road.


This story appeared in “Yesteryears” in October 2002.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Founder of Grantville Dies

From the Perry Mirror, Sept. 8, 1921

Donated Townsite of Grantville and Laid it out.

A.J. [Andrew Jackson] Kleinhans, 90, one of the pioneer farmers and stockmen of Jefferson county, died at his home in Grantville, Tuesday. Death followed a stroke of paralysis which he suffered last Saturday. Mr. Kleinhans was born in Belvidere, N.J., April 25, 1831, and was educated in Belvidere college. He went to California during the gold rush of 1849, coming back to Kansas in 1856. He purchased the farm on which the family now lives, in 1857. The townsite of Grantville was laid out by Mr. Kleinhans and donated to the town's company. The Kleinhans home is one of the finest in Jefferson county.


Mr. Kleinhans was one of the original incorporators of the Bank of Topeka and was one of the close friends of the late John R. Mulvane. In 1856, Mr. Kleinhans married Mary J. Coffman, whose father was also a pioneer resident of Jefferson county. Mrs. Kleinhans survives her husband.


Two sons and two daughters also survive. Charles H. lives at Grantville, John A. resides at 827 Quincy Street. Mrs. W.T. [Della] Crosby, a daughter, is in California with Mr. Crosby, and is now on her way back to Topeka. Mrs. Mattie A. Ingram, another daughter, lives in Calcutta, India, with her son, Everett Ingram, representative of one of the largest rubber concerns in the United States.


Mrs. Crosby will arrive in Topeka in time for the funeral which will be held at Grantville, Thursday. The funeral will be private. — Topeka Daily Capital


This story appeared in “Yesteryears” in April 2003.



From the Topeka State Journal, Jan. 4, 1930

Mrs. Mary J. Kleinhans, 87, widow of the late A. Jackson Kleinhans, for seventy-one years a resident of Grantville, died this morning at the family homestead. 


During the first term of President U. S. Grant, Mr. Kleinhans founded the town. The neighbors favored naming it Kleinville, but he was a modest man and insisted that it should be named in honor of the President. He donated the land for the Methodist Church, of which his wife was a member, the district school and the railroad station. Mr. Kleinhans died in 1923 at the age of 90. 


From The First Hundred Years of Jefferson County, Kansas:

Kaw Township

Originally a part of Kentucky township. It was organized in 1858. Settlers of 1854 were Jefferson Riddle, J.T. Wilson, K. Kukendall and R.P. Beeler. A town company was formed in 1857 and a town site of 320 acres was laid off and named Kaw City. A postoffice was established in 1858, on the east side of Big Muddy Creek. When the Kansas Pacific came through the township in 1865 a station was built on the farm of D.W. Kleinhans and called Kaw station. The Kaw City postoffice was moved to the new location, Mr. Kleinhans laid off a town around it, this was the original town of Grantville.


Friday, November 27, 2020

School Teacher Duties Questioned

  The Winchester Star, Nov. 16, 1945

A puzzling problem has been tossed into the lap of J.D. Everett, county superintendent. The question asked him by one of the school districts of the county is thus: “Is it the duty of the teacher or the janitor to ring the school bell?” It seems the two are loggerheads over which one should perform this task, and Mr. Everett is now studying the situation, preparatory to making his decision.


The Winchester Star, Nov. 30, 1945

J.D. Everett, county superintendent, has announced a solution of the bell ringing problem, tossed in his lap a few days earlier by a school district in the eastern part of the county. The problem arose when the teacher and janitor each refused to ring the bell, stating the job should be done by the other. Everett met with the school board, and after hearing, it was announced that the janitor hereafter would ring the bell. The decision was that the ringing chore is not a part of the teacher’s duties.


This story appeared in “Yesteryears” in October 2014.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Ozawkie Postoffice Robbed

  From the Perry Mirror, February 24, 1910

 The Ozawkie postoffice was robbed about 1 o’clock Sunday morning and about fifty dollars in cash and twenty-five dollars in money orders were taken from the safe. The thieves used dynamite in wrecking the safe and the people of the town heard two distinct reports. Nobody saw the thieves, although the dynamiting of the safe woke almost everybody in town. 


"West Side, Ozawkie, Kan., 1907"
from Ozawkie on the Delaware

The county authorities at Topeka believe that the men who robbed the postoffice at Ozawkie passed through, or are still in Topeka. A buggy occupied by two men believed to be the parties who wrecked the postoffice at Ozawkie, passed through Meriden at 3 o’clock Sunday morning just two hours after the robbery occurred and at 4:25 the same party entered North Topeka. A search of all the livery barns in Topeka revealed nothing and it is evident that the party did stop there.


This story appeared in “Yesteryears” in April 2003. 


Other papers included more details: 


The Oskaloosa Times,
Feb. 24, 1910
From the Valley Falls New Era, February 24, 1910


Saturday night the Ozawkie postoffice, location in the Ford Quiett store, was entered and robbed, more than $200 being taken from the postoffice safe.


It is supposed that two men were implicated in the robbery, which occurred about one o’clock. Fred Littlejohn and son were across the street in the Frost residence and stated early Sunday morning that they had noticed the men in the building and had heard the explosion, but didn’t notify any one of the facts because they “didn’t want to get mixed up in the affair.”


The robbery was discovered by people returning home from a country dance. “Shorty” Clark noticed the door was open and tried to close it, but discovered it was out of plumb. He struck a match and noticed the damage done inside and the safe, which had been blown open. He notified others and the sheriff was notified.


The men were traced west of Meriden, and later to Topeka. U.S. postoffice inspectors are working on the case.