Historical Society Gazette

Volume 7, Issue 3
Summer 1998


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My name is Victoria Erbe. As you know from last month’s Historical Society Gazette the historical society was looking for a new administrator. I am it. I began working at the museum on May 12, 1998, with Robert.

I have a B.A. in History from Washburn University in Topeka, KANSAS. I received my Masters in Historical Administration and Museum Studies from the University of Kansas in 1997. I began working in museums in 1990 when I worked as a part time staff assistant at the Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum in Chanute, KANSAS.

I completed three internships during my studies at Washburn and KU. The first was at the Kansas State Historical Society where I worked on a preservation project. For this project I cleaned several nineteenth-century maps of Kansas and rehoused the letters of Issac McCoy (Mr. McCoy was a missionary and Indian Agent in the Topeka area) My second internship was at the Kansas State History Museum where I worked the textile collection, mostly World War II army uniforms. My last internship was at the Mulvane Art Museum on Washburn University’s campus. At the Mulvane I worked in all areas of the museum, everything from exhibits to administration.

I am looking forward to working here in Leavenworth and hope to meet the membership as I do my work.

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Good bye - Until We Meet Again!!

It seems like just yesterday, that a young college student was looking for a part-time job to help pay bills. However, that was ten years ago. Herman Ochs was president of the Society, Debra Klenke and Kathryn Griffin were Administrator and Assistant, and Anna Marie had just left as Weekend Administrator. Sr. Mary Lenore Martin, SCL who was and still is secretary of the Board of Directors, and Joy Kozak, then Special Collections Librarian at Saint Mary, invited me to volunteer on the weekends. Wonderful weekend volunteers made me feel welcome. Couples like Leo and Frances Bodde, Mary and Ralph Wentz, and others like Lois Binderim and Mildred Patterson really made me feel welcome.

The next summer Jean Will asked me to be acting director, while a search for a new administrator was being organized. It was quite a summer, the few things that stick in my mind is coming to work and finding the ceiling to the new bathroom exhibit on the floor, and not understanding that to pay for needed supplies, I was to submit a check request to the Society Treasurer. I thought that as acting director, I was supposed to find donations for all that we needed. That year was very successful, because the director never requested funds for any supplies. The financial report at the end of the year was very healthy.

In 1990, after I graduated from Saint Mary, the board asked if I would take over as the regular director. With the help of Pam Kontowicz, and weekend helper Ethel King we became quite a team. Several special events during those first few years were, the Annual Covered Dish Suppers in June, manning the booth at the Leavenworth County Fair, and organizing the Annual Ice Cream Socials. Other great events were the Bi-Annual Day Trips, the Spring and Fall Lunch and Learns, and of course the special displays like Quilt Airings, Ethnic Exhibits, Stamp Displays, and who can forget the visit by NBC, when they filmed a scene for the documentary on Amelia Earhart in our kitchen, with the copper sink.

Other great events are the continued interest in our Annual Meeting and Banquet. The first year I was in charge, only about 35 people were in attendance, last year over 100 were active at the meeting. My trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the Smithsonian in 1993, and the trip to Texas to attend the McFaddin Ward Museum Conference in 1995 were a great opportunity. The hundreds of friends, volunteers, and special members will always be fond memories of my 10 years at the Museum. Working with past presidents, like Jean Will, Herman Ochs, Davis T. Moulden, Glenn L. Knapp, Stephen J. Kempf, Kathy Fox and Marianna Spain has been quite enjoyable as well as rewarding. Staff members like Pam Kontowicz, Ethel King, Wanda Holder, Christine Bauer, Kathryn Griffin, and Karen Shafer were great, and as director, the many wonderful events at the museum, wouldn’t have succeeded without their help and behind the scenes work.

As I move to Houston, and start a new career, the many friends and experiences that I have had over the last 10 years at the Carroll House will be a great foundation for my new path in life. The museum and the wonderful people of the Leavenworth County Historical Society will always have a special place in my heart. Please consider coming to the farewell party scheduled on Friday, July 24, 1998 at Leavenworth Landing Riverfront Park. If you are able to attend, please RSVP by July 21, at 682-7759. The museum will supply the main dish, those who attend are asked to bring a covered dish pot-luck.

Until we meet again, wishing you all many happy returns,

I am . . . Robert A. Holt

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As the first school bus arrives in front of the Carroll Mansion in Leavenworth on a warm Spring afternoon, the people inside scurry to take their places in a frantic hurry looking this way and that to make sure everything is in its place. For the next hour or two ten Leavenworth County Historical Society volunteers will transform this 19th Century home into a living history museum. The scene is set for a Victorian wedding and the household is getting ready for it.

The school children are welcomed by the museum director and given the history of the house. As the students are led through the foyer into the parlor, one can only smile at their awe-struck faces. Their eyes are quickly looking around and the whispers begin: is she the bride? "Mother" greets them and explains that her daughter is being married in a month. As the students move to the study they meet "Father." He shares an extraordinary amount of local history with them and tells them wonderful stories. A visit with the cook reveals that life then really did center around food! She explains how the old kitchen wares worked and how the kitchen was run on a daily basis. As they all move up the huge staircase in the center of the house, they are met at the top of the stairs by the organist who leads them to the bride’s room. The bride shares her excitement of the wedding with the students, explaining the trousseau and the items being placed in it. Of course, most of the talk is of the wedding dress and its undergarments, but as the conversation turns to the day of the wedding, the students learn that many of their customs today come from yesteryears. The "bride’s loaf" shared the day of the wedding with her bridesmaids contains a ring, and the lucky on e to find it will be the next to get married! Oh, says one student, that's just like when you catch the bouquet today! Yes, now you're learning, too.

A visit with the seamstress is always special. As she passes around jewelry made out of hair everyone looks about for the fainting couch they were told about in the bride's room. The seamstress explains how a fainted woman who has fainted is awakened, and they even get to take a whiff of the smelling salts. She plays music from an old player as they are led down the hall to the old bathroom. A visit with the organist who plays the wedding march for them, is finished with an explanation of "school back in the olden days." She even takes a few minutes to show them some of the toys the children played with. So many of them are the same as today, says one student.

As they move back down the gigantic staircase, running a hand here or there over the beautiful woodwork, one can only guess what might be going through their minds. As one student reaches the bottom step, he declares, "yes, I counted all the fireplaces in the house" just as ‘Mother’ had suggested. Most of the young ladies want to know if the "bride" is really getting married, and as the question is put aside, a tray of oatmeal cookies is brought out. So polite they all are, as they smile and say "thank you" on their way back to the waiting school bus.

A little later the volunteers gather around to share the stories and questions that the student inquisitive minds thought of that day. Only later, through circumstance and thank you cards, does one understand the impact the visit had on those students. Ms. Sandy Lowery, a teacher at MacArthur Elementary, writes to say: "Thank you once again for a marvelous trip back in time. My children never fail to be fascinated with the house and its contents. It is a wonderful educational experience for them." The things they seem to appreciate most often: the story of the ceramic dog on the lawn, "father's" stories and of course, the cookies. Mrs. West's 4th grade class from Muncie School sent hand made thank you cards; we couldn't help but chuckle at Carynn's declaration, "I liked the cookies and the skylight and the kitchen and the dog and the bride and everything else there was. Thank you very much."

This volunteer had a wonderful encounter that sums it all up. While at the Leavenworth McDonalds one April afternoon I watched my son go down the Playland slide. Momentarily, I couldn't help but feel someone was staring at me. I glanced around and caught the eyes of a young boy looking at me. He abruptly declared to everyone there, "I know who you are, you're from the big old Victorian mansion museum!" When I replied that indeed I was, I asked him if he remembered "who" I was. At that he blushed slightly and said, "yes, you are the bride." He ran off to play and his mother turned to me and commented that she would like to visit the museum one day herself, because that's all her son talked of for days after the visit! I said I hoped she did. After that experience one can only realize that the hour or two the students spend in the museum has a far greater impact on all of us, than one might initially think.

The Leavenworth County Historical Society enjoys hosting school-age children's tours in the fall and spring, and is especially appreciative of those that give their time and money to sponsor the program. Many volunteers participate, and just recently Hallmark, Inc. gave $3,000.00 to help replace the living history museum's volunteer's costumes among other things. Generous gifts from groups such as the Ft. Leavenworth Officer's and Civilian Wives Club also help pay for cookies! We invite you to make a visit to the Carroll Mansion in one day soon to step back in time.

June 1, 1998

Written by: Francoise B. Bonnell, Member of the Leavenworth County Historical Society has a Master's Degree in History and writes articles periodically for the museum.

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Every week the Residential Cleaning Service comes to the museum. They do the general, weekly housekeeping, they vacuum, dust and mop the floor. They do a great job, but there are some parts of this grand old house that require more intense cleaning and special cleaning techniques. Jobs like polishing the silver, washing the windows and cleaning out the basement. All of these jobs are very labor intensive. The museum could not hire someone to do these jobs for two reasons, one, the museum can’t afford to pay someone to do this work and two, this type of work requires special handling and consideration for the artifacts.

We would like to form a committee of volunteers who could come into the museum six times a year to deeply clean in each of the rooms in the house. I know that cleaning a large house does not sound like a lot of fun, but working in a group like this can be lots of fun. You can visit with a friend, make new friends and be doing a greatly needed service for your county museum.

If you are interested in volunteering to be a part of this committee, please call the museum at 682-7759 and ask for Christine Bauer.

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The contract for the work done on the museum’s porches was awarded to Blue Hills Homes Corp., on March 16. The construction began the next day. On June 19 the construction was completed. The painting of the porches is still in the process of being completed. The rain in May and June have slowed this work. The porches are looking great. Please drop by and look at the work.

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The museum is in great need of new volunteers. In recent months the museum has lost many valued volunteers from its group. As a result of these losses there were six days in May when the museum did not have a host or hostess. In June there will be ten days the museum will not have a host or hostess (30% ).

Our volunteers hosts or hostesses are a valuable and essential part of the day to day workings of the museum. They come into the museum in the afternoon to greet the guests, help in the gift shop and give general assistance to the staff such as stuffing envelopes for a bulk mailing. This work frees the staff’s time to concentrate on the work that must be done for the museum to run efficiently.

By giving three hours a month of your time to the museum you give a priceless service both to the Leavenworth County Historical society and Leavenworth County as a whole. Please call the museum at 682-7759 if you would like to become a volunteer or if you have a question about becoming a volunteer.

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Barbara Brackman has compiled pages of questions and answers in six categories, from geography thru science and nature. Each contains facts, both well-known and not-so well-known. While these questions are not exactly educating, they are entertaining. If you feel that some of the questions and answers tell you more facts about Kansas than you really need to know, you will still have fun!

You can have some more fun if Kansas Trivia is used as a party game. Be prepared for some hair splitting Kansas scholars to debate the accuracy at some point. It’s part of the game!

Here are a few questions from Kansas Trivia to test your knowledge on:

1. Q: Thirty-one states have more people than Kansas, but how many states have more public road miles?

2. Q: What is the oldest building still standing in Kansas?

3. Q: Ed Masterson, the marshal of Dodge City in 1878, was a chivalrous lawman who allowed his opponents to draw first. What happened to him?

Answers found further on in the newsletter.

Copies of Kansas Trivia can be found in the Museum Gift Shop for $6.95

Reviewed by Paul Strand

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The gift shop has many books on sale that would be the perfect gift for the friend who loves to garden or just read about gardening. Some of the titles are: Gardening with Perennials, The Lively Garden Prayer Book and The Little Herb Garden Prayer Book.

There are also some great selections for the History Buff: Titles like The History of Leavenworth Kansas by H. Miles Moore are sure to be of interest. Don’t forget about the book featured in this newsletter Kansas Trivia.

The gift shop has just received a shipment of Christmas Ornaments. It’s never too early to get started on your holiday shopping.

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On Sunday, May 24,1998 the Leavenworth County Historical Society dedicated a plaque at Fifth Avenue and Marshal Street, where William Merrell Vories was born. The house currently belongs to Wes and Crystal Ludwig. Glen Knapp gave the dedication speech to sixteen visitors from Omi Hachiman, Japan.

Mr. Vories was born in this house on October 28, 1880. He was the eldest son of John and Julia Eugenia Merrell Vories. In 1905 Mr. Vories was sent to Omi Hachiman as a missionary for the YMCA program. In Omi Hachiman he established the Christian Omi Brotherhood. As a way of supporting missionary work, Mr. Vories established two businesses, Vories Architectural Company in 1907 and Omi Sales Company in 1920. He is also credited with establishing the Omi Hachiman YMCA, the Omi-Brotherhood Pharmaceutical Company, the Omi-Sanatorium and Hospital and the Omi-Christian School System. After World War II Mr. Vories was instrumental in the negotiations between the United States and Japan.

This plaque dedication is the result of many months of work that begins with suggestion of historic sites in Leavenworth County that merit such a plaque and dedication ceremony. The historical society is always looking for these sites and welcomes suggestions.

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The Historical Society now has the collection of 30,000 negatives, most of which are stored at the Combined Arms Research Library on Fort Leavenworth. A small number of the negatives are being housed in the museum. The majority of these are nitrate negatives. Due to the flammability of cellulose-nitrate negatives they are being housed in a frost-free freezer. This freezer was purchased with funds donated to the museum. Without this donation the Historical Society would not have been able to purchase this freezer.

On May 30 the museum hosted a photo workshop with Bobbi Rahder, a photo archivist at the Haskell Foundation. Those who attended this workshop were given a workbook which contained information about the history of photography and information about the proper storage and handling of photographs. We will be using this information as we begin to process this collection.

We have made our first payment toward the $6,850 cost of acquiring this collection and will be making the next payment of $2,500 in October of this year. This Historical Society also needs funds to buy supplies for the proper storage of the negatives. Your donation toward either of these efforts is welcome and greatly needed.

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LETTER TO A SON, March 29th, 1891

Johnny my dear Boy,

Thinking I would be home before this. I have not answered your letter, but will do so now. I am much pleased at your satisfactory progress in your studies and gratified to know that you have profited by my advice regarding your companions and formation of bad habits. Now is the time to avoid them, in a few years hence, when you have grown wiser, you could not be induced to take them up at all. Smoking, Drinking, Chewing and swearing are all things to avoid. They have absolutely nothing to recommend them on the other hand. There is everything to condemn in the use of them. They are offensive to those whose good sense will not allow them to use them They are an expense and never ending trouble to those unfortunate enough to have rivetted the chains on themselves.

For once acquired it is as hard to break from them almost as to suspend the taking of food and expect to live. While young, even though from the example of others a commencement has been made. It is comparitively an easy task to break off at once. But as years roll on the task becomes harder, and verges close on impossibility, from constant daily use these things become a necessity and the relative positions of victim and habit are changed. What was once the servant to minister to the pleasures of the user. Has at last become the master, and through his acquired habits rules Him with a Rod of iron. The veriest slave on the face of the Earth.

My dear son this picture is not overdrawn. I have experienced in my own Life the truth of all I say. And as Light-houses are erected on all dangerous coasts. To warn off the mariner, os should the experience of others be a guide to those just entering on the sea of life. Nothing on Earth can make a Boy hold his head up and give Him the power to look all mankind in the face, with a clear bright eye. Except conscious rectitude and the fact that He has nothing to conceal. This is the kind of a Boy I wan you to be. If you commit a fault or make a mistake, be prompt to acknowledge it. No being ever God made went through life without doing both, many times. The trouble lies in prevarication or through concealment, so that an inocent person may have to bear the blame, or some business or other interest suffer. This is the crucial test of manhood.

This it is that commands the highest respect from men. A young man who gains this reputation has a Capital at His service, that no viccissitude in life can touch. Now Johnny you must not look on my letters, as reproof or Lectures, I intend nothing of the kind. They are the expression of my Love and Pride in you, and prompted by an earnest desire to warn you away from many things that I know would be detrimental to you in the future. The fact that others do these things, does not excuse any-one, for taking up the same vices, with their eyes wide open to the consequences, as there is nothing in this letter of a personal nature. It might be as well to let it go round.

Your Affectionate Father

George M Kenna

(From Leavenworth County Historical Society Archives)

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Was a Joke on the Doctor.

Colonel Daniel R. Anthony, brother of Susan B. Anthony, and the last of the fighting editors of Kansas, is on record as the only man who has had his aorta severed and lived. In a newspaper feud with a gambler of the name of Jennison Anthony was shot. The doctor told him he could not live. The wounded man did not say anything, but bade his sister good-bye and went to sleep. When he awoke he asked the nurse; "What time is it?" "Six o’clock," replied the nurse. The colonel chuckled for a moment; then said: "Say, that’s a good joke on the doctor, isn’t it? He said, I’d be dead at 5:30." He fell asleep again and when he awoke the doctor acknowledged his mistake.(Chicago Chronicle.)

Originally published in Western Life, Leavenworth, Kansas, October 4, 1900

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Answers To Kansas Trivia:

1. A: Only two, Texas and California.

2. A: The Rookery, the first permanent head-quarters for the military at Fort Leavenworth, which was built in 1832.

3. A: He was shot dead.

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Memorials Received

Donor In Memory of
Dr. & Mrs. William Allen Leo Bodde
Dr & Mrs William Allen Ferris Taylor
Alma Jones Van Houten Leo Bodde
Mr.& Mrs. H.C. Sommerville Leo Bodde
Virgil & Rita Dahl Leo Bodde
Eugene Wentworth, Sr. Leo Bodde
Davis Moulden Family Leo Bodde
Mrs. E. Bert Collard, Jr. Leo A. Bodde
Mr. & Mrs. D.A. Walters Leo Bodde
Marguerite B. Strange Leo Bodde
C.G. and Ireta M. Cocayne Leo Bodde
KC Power and Light Leo Bodde
Norrie Beil Ed Gordon
Mary Jo Winder Leo Bodde
Pam Kontowicz Leo Bodde
William B. Eddy Leo Bodde
Alyne M. Schanze COL. A.E. Schanze (Rose)
Joyce Klemp Browder Henry F. & Rose Tracy Klemp (Everhard)
Mary Jo Winder Leo Bodde
Lois Binderim Leo Bodde
Robert A. Holt Joyce Hawley
Reed E. Davis Leo Bodde
Hazel Schlick Elmer Roach
Mary Sue Winneke Effia E. Winneke (Rose)
Judge & Mrs. A.J. Stanley Ruth E. Stanley (Rose)
Ann L. Sachse & Family Herman R. Sachse (Rose)
Mrs. E. Bert Collard E. Bert Collard Jr. (Rose)
Daniel Zeck Norda S. Zeck (Rose)
Mrs. J. L. Clark, Jr. J. L. Clark, Jr. (Rose)
Norrie Beil Sara Davis
Clark H. Cummins Barbara A. Cummins (Rose)
Lois Binderim Lynn Johnson (Rose)
Holt and Auvil Family LaRue Moorehead (Rose)
Nellie L. Kreutzer Zocie M. Hewitt (Rose)

The Historical Society would like to THANK everyone who gave so many generous donations the past three months.

Donor For
Mary R. Chapman Everhard Photos
Agnes Kramer Everhard Photos
Maxine Zielinksi Everhard Photos
Pamela Kontowicz & Walter Kretchik Annual Dinner Guest Speaker
Mildred Stuckey Everhard Photos
Hallmark Corp. Living Museum
Lois Binderim Everhard Photos
Mary Sue Winneke Everhard Photos
Col(R) Jess & Jo Ann Hendricks Birthdays of Judge & Mrs. Stanley
Judge Arthur J. Stanley Use as needed
Marguerite Strange Everhard Photos
OCWC Living Museum
Bobby & Carole Lawrence Everhard Photos
Larry and Diane Cantwell Donation
Terry & JoAnn Norman Gift Membership
Pam Kontowicz & Walter Kretchik Everhard Photos
Annabelle Morris* Everhard Photos

* Ms. Morris is asking her former employer, Southwestern Bell to match this gift. The Historical Society would like to express its gratitude for this consideration.

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Leavenworth County Historical Society & Museum Events for July—December 1998

July 24 Saying Goodbye to Robert
The Historical Society will be giving a goodbye roast for Robert Holt on the twenty-fourth of July at Landing park at 7:00 p.m.. We ask that you bring a covered dish. The meat will be provided by the Historical Society. Please R.S.V.P. by July 21, so we will know how much meat to get. Come and say goodbye to Robert and express your thanks for all the great things he has done for the historical society in the past ten years.

September 12-13, Riverfest
The Historical Society will have a booth in the Riverfront Community Center. We will provide information about the Historical Society and sell books from the gift shop.

October 4, Annual Cultural Awareness Open House
Celebrate Cultural Awareness Month at the Leavenworth County museum. Free admission, with refreshments and tours conducted by the LCHS Board Members. Leavenworth Star—Carrie Hall Design Quilt will be given away at 3:00 p.m.

November 27, Children’s Holiday Party
Sing Carols, listen to vintage holiday stories. Children will be able to make Victorian style ornaments. Normal admission will be charged. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

December 13, 8th Annual Holiday Homes Tour
Several Vintage homes in Leavenworth will be on display. Tickets are $10 each and are limited to 700. Local entertainment and refreshments provided. Proceeds will help the Everhard Photo Collection for Leavenworth.

The Annual Ice Cream Social will not be held this year. The board felt that due to construction on the porch system and the low attendance last year that it should be deferred in hopes of renewing interest in this fund-raiser.

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Victoria Erbe, Museum Administrator
* Grey Ink, Designer
John H. Johnston III, Volunteer Editor
The Historical Society Gazette is published quarterly for members of the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum
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