Cowboy Music and Poetry, Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker

(Frank) Today Around Kansas starts with a look at the Kansas connection to Cowboy Music and Poetry. Next learn why Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker was chosen to receive the 2016 Friend of the Flint Hills award. Then enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery, the largest of the original 14 national cemeteries created in 1862.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at

(Frank Chaffin) Hello. Good morning. I’m Frank. (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. Thanks for joining us this morning. (Deb) Well, fresh from the Kansas Sampler Festival. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) Gees as always. As you all know everything you can imagine and a few things you can’t imagine and just a beautiful setting in Winfield. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) And if you haven’t been to Winfield lately, by all means go. It’s such a beautiful town. And, of course, if you didn’t get to Winfield for the Sampler Festival, of course, you’ve got the Walnut Valley Festival coming up in September. So, be sure to make that. But, just go down in between times and enjoy that lovely town. (Frank) Yes. One of the more popular things is The Kansas Sampler, of course, it’s the wine and spirits which is… (Deb) Speaking of samples, yes. (Frank) [laughs] Yes. So, anyway, it is amazing the number of wineries and breweries and all of that that are in the State of Kansas. (Deb) It is amazing. It’s amazing. My friend Brett Nichols from Wamego, he was an attorney at Wamego who started, actually, he started the House Winery and then sold it and then started another winery and championed viticulture. Is that the right word? (Frank) Yes. (Deb) I know I have to say that correctly. And, of course, Highland Community College has a program on viticulture. (Frank) Viticulture, yes. (Deb) And it’s funny. It’s like we’ve got a lot of different climates as we’ve talked about on the show. So, we’ve got a lot of different varieties. And, apparently, they’re so great, they will adapt to just about anything- (Frank) [laughs] (Deb) – as well [laughs]. (Frank) Before prohibition, Kansas was number four in wine production in the country. And because of the climate and the geography and the whole thing, this was really a great place to go to grow the grapes for wine and the whole thing. And prohibition came in and- (Deb) Poof. (Frank) – it went away. (Deb) And then, the hops for beer. So, we’ve got, I have some friends who actually grow hops in their flower garden, because so many people make their beer at home. And, of course, we’ve got some awesome breweries just all over the place. And we’ve got, did we do a tory on this? We’ve got a distillery now over up in Atchison. (Frank) Oh, it’s been there a long time. Yes. (Deb) Have we done the story on that? (Frank) No, we haven’t. (Deb) Speaking of samples, we need to get up there. (Frank) [laughs] Yes. (Deb) I think we should go do that one together, Frank. (Frank) Yes, we could. (Deb) [laughs] (Frank) That’s been there a very, very long time. And, actually, they would make grain alcohol, the base and then sell that to a lot of other distilleries. (Deb) They would flavor it. (Frank) For a lot of brand names. Whisky has really had a base of McCormick’s anyway. (Deb) And now that McCormick’s is Weston. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) But, I’m talking about Atchison. (Frank) I know. But, yes, across the river. (Deb) But, is it the same group, maybe? (Frank) [chuckles] (Deb) We’ll find out. (Frank) In the cave. (Deb) Our investigative [laughs] team will get right on that one. (Frank) We’ll find out and we will get the story straight. Yes. (Deb) That’s right. We will get that story straight. We’ll get right on that. We’ll Google it [laughs]. We will move that one to top of the list here. (Frank) [laughs] (Deb) Things we’ve got to get to. One thing that we got to get to is commercial break. But, we got a great show. So, stay with us.

(Frank) And we’re back. (Deb) So, I went down a few weekends ago, who can go keep up? I spoke to the Kansas Chapter of the Western Music Association. This was my prize. This was my, one of the best speaker gifts I ever got, by the way. Thank you, Ivana. I appreciate that. (Frank) [laughs] (Deb) So, their CD is fantastic. This is a double CD or a double barrel CD as these guys call it. But, yes, Frank, you’re going to recognize a lot of the guys and girls on here. Our friend, Judy Coder, is on here and she has a yodeling number. And she’s just amazing. Ron Wilson is our Poet Lariat. (Frank) Our Poet Lariat, yes. (Deb) He’s on here and our friend Owen Friesen, even though the genre, it was just western music, the variety within that, it’s pretty amazing. We have so much talent here, like you and I have talked about before, Frank. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) So much talent. Thank you to my lovely assistant. (Deb) Let’s take a look. The Kansas connection to Cowboy Music and Poetry goes back to the beginning to the mid-19th century when cowboys began driving longhorn cattle from Texas to the Kansas railheads. Many of the old trail songs have their roots in Kansas. Kansas Cowboy is a remarkable collection reflecting the wide range of Kansans dedicated to the art of Western music and poetry today. These performers are all members of the Western Music Association, Kansas Chapter and have donated their time and talent to the project. Jeff Davidson is president of the Kansas Chapter of the Western Music Association, and is a longtime Extension Agent with K-State Research and Extension who is now a watershed specialist in Southeast Kansas. He is also a talented singer and guitar player who is an expert on Kansas and western history. It seemed like a good idea but I wasn’t sure just how we would get it done, Jeff said. Then when WMA member Jim Farrell volunteered to do it that’s what made it work. Jim Farrell is a longtime performer and producer and in the western music industry. He is a member of the award-winning group The Diamond W Wranglers. The result is a double barreled CD set called Kansas Cowboy, it includes 29 tracks with 20 artists or groups performing music and poetry most of which was penned by the artists themselves. Several of the tracks have never before been recorded. Featured performers are from all corners of the state from Dodge City to Kansas city and from Medicine Lodge to Manhattan representing ages from early 20s to the mid-80s, said Roger Ringer, the group’s Vice President. The CD’s are available from WMA members and at the Prairie Rose Chuckwagon in Benton.

(Deb) Welcome back folks and it seems like we’ve just created a Landon segment on every episode of Around Kansas for a while but I can’t think of a family more deserving of all that attention. So Nancy is garnering honors again. (Frank) Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker yes, well because she was very instrumental in getting the national park, another national park here in Topeka, not Topeka, in Kansas which is the Tallgrass Prairie down by Strong City. Yes it’s a beautiful place if you’ve never been there and you can make a day trip out of it, you can make a weekend out of it because there are a lot of trails that you can get back into the prairie and it is like it was maybe a hundred years ago, two hundred years ago. And so you can camp out there, you can tour there, it’s a beautiful beautiful place to go. (Deb) What a gift to the public and that’s one of the great places to take kids because you can see them from a mile away so they can run along on the trail, get out and get some exercise, work off some of that energy. It’s also a really great place if you’ve got guests visiting from out of town to go over there and do a walk-around too because if they’re not familiar with the Kansas landscape they’re going to be blown away, they’re really going to be impressed. (Frank) Well and you need to go through, and now the name escapes me, but there is a home there which is a three story home that was built out of natural limestone and all of that. And that in itself is interesting because of their cooling system in the home, because it’s built in such a way where during the summer the winds would come through, but then in the basement there’s a natural spring that comes through there and that’s how they cool vegetables and the whole thing. You’ve got to go see this place. (Deb) You do, you’ve got to go and see and it’s got that beautiful commanding view of the valley right there right in front of it, It’s really nice. (Frank) So thank you Senator Kassebaum Baker for providing such a beautiful gift to the people of Kansas. (Deb) A lot of service that woman has done for us, God bless you Nancy. (Frank) Each year the Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation presents an award honoring significant time, effort and resources devoted to the cause of conserving the Flint Hills of Kansas and Northern Oklahoma and to the Flint Hill’s Discovery Center. This year’s recipient is Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker. Nancy was chosen for her exemplary leadership role and commitment to the Flint Hills as an elected official, said Bruce Snead, president of the Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation. Kassebaum Baker’s love of Kansas and the Flint Hills region was exemplified by her efforts, along with that of others in the establishment of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve near Strong City, Kansas in 1996. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve and the 100th anniversary of the US National Park Service. The significance to the 20-year anniversary is that this was the first time a public and private entity came together and formed a partnership dedicated to preserving a portion of the last remaining stand of Tallgrass Prairie in North America. The nature Conservancy and the National Park Service partnered in order to foster preservation, provide a venue to interpret local cultural and historical features, provide visitors with the opportunity to become inspired and to explore the ecological, geological and historical aspects of the property. The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is the only one of its kind in the National Park Service System. Kassebaum Baker served three terms representing the state of Kansas in the US senate from 1979 thought 1997, she returned to her permanent home in the Flint Hills in 2014 following the death of her husband, former US senator Howard Baker. Nancy accepted her award at the annual recognition event in April at the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan. The Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation functions to advance the mission of the Flint Hills Discovery Center by providing support for its programs and initiatives insuring stewardship of the region’s Tallgrass Prairie and support to the Discovery Center.

(Ron Wilson) The mid to late 1800s made a huge change in the culture of what would become Kansas. Homesteaders came in to the state of Kansas following the Homestead Act and with them they brought fencing. And this poem is based on the true story of the invention of barbed-wire fence. The poem is entitled The Death of Open Range. Let me tell you of a time when open range was in its prime, cowboys rode their horse forth and drove the herds of cattle north. We could ride all over this great land unfettered by the human hand, then a farmer over Illinois way invented something that’s used today. His name was Mr. Joseph Glidden he was doing the homesteaders bidden, he took a pair of heavy pliers and wrapped barbs around a long piece wire. The barb’s sharp points kept stock in or out, it could be used for fencing all about, for the open range it was a turn of events because barbed wire made it easy to string a fence. Barbed wire succeeded more than Glidden had planned soon fences crisscrossed the open land, the Old West changed with Glidden’s invention and it caused the cowboys apprehension. No more could we ride over free open range and the cowboys’ role would be forever changed. Homesteaders and nesters scarred this land and changed the role of the old cowhand. The cowboy’s work continues on but the days of open range are gone. The open range would have no more hope that’s why cowboys called barbed wire the Devil’s Rope. Happy Trails.

(Frank) And here we are again on your Wednesday morning. (Deb) In the middle of May just about, unbelievable. (Frank) You know what we’ve been doing on the show we were just discussing while the last story was on and all that there are how many national cemeteries in the state of Kansas? (Deb) Five I believe. (Frank) Five of them, and so of course my co-host here has been visiting them and we’re doing stories on all of them. (Deb) Well they’re all obviously filled with heroes and each one of those has an amazing story and so obviously on Memorial Day in May take some time, I know Memorial weekend gets pretty busy for folks, but you don’t have to wait for Memorial Day to go visit one of these cemeteries. And most of them have, well Find A Grave is a fantastic internet tool but most of them will have a directory if there’s somebody that you’re looking for. A lot of times you can call ahead and get some kind of tour. The one we’re going to talk about today is Fort Leavenworth’s National Cemetery. There are actually two national cemeteries in Leavenworth. One is Off-Post and it is beautiful it’s just rolling hills and it’s obviously a little newer than the one On-Post, but they are beautiful. They’re just landscaped beautifully but the stories that are there are so powerful. (Frank) It’s really kind of an emotional trip. (Deb) It is. (Frank) Especially at Leavenworth because, like you say, it has the rolling hills and you get a perspective and you see all of these stones and it’s like that’s why we’re free. (Deb) Yes. Amen, brother. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs who manages our national cemeteries, Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery reflects the Fort’s changing role in our nation’s history. From its beginnings in 1827, a burying ground was necessary mostly due to the ravages of malaria and other diseases. Military tradition dictated two cemeteries, one of enlisted men and the other for officers. In 1858, the remains from both post cemeteries were re-interred into a single site on the military reservation. When Congress approved the creation of national cemeteries in 1862, the Fort Leavenworth Cemetery became one of 14 national cemeteries to be designated or established as such that year. Of the original 14 national cemeteries, Fort Leavenworth was the largest at more than 36 acres. In the years following the Civil War, the bodies of Union soldiers from St. Joseph, Kansas City and Independence, Missouri were re-interred at Fort Leavenworth. In addition, the cemetery was used as the burial ground for soldiers who served at frontier posts in Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and southern Wyoming. In 1870, the Inspector of National Cemeteries reported more than 1,000 Union soldiers interred at Fort Leavenworth along with roughly 170 citizens and 7 Confederate prisoners of war. The oldest known burial at Fort Leavenworth is that of Clarinda Dale who died September 21, 1844. She was originally interred in the old Fort Leavenworth Arsenal Cemetery. The oldest known military grave is that of Captain James Allen, first US Dragoons, who died in August 1846. Like Miss Dale, Captain Allen was originally buried in Fort Leavenworth Arsenal Cemetery and later moved to the National Cemetery. In 1886, soldiers originally buried at Fort Craig, New Mexico were re-interred at Fort Leavenworth to facilitate completion of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. Following the close of the Indian Wars and resettlement of Native Americans, the Army closed or consolidated many of its small military outposts in the West. As a result, between 1885 and 1907, the federal government vacated numerous military post cemeteries and re-interred nearly 2,000 remains at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery. The remains of Brigadier General Leavenworth, the fort’s namesake, were dis-interred from Woodland Cemetery in Delhi, New York, and re-interred in the National Cemetery on Memorial Day in 1902. The general died in 1834 at Cross Timbers in Indian Territory without knowing he had been promoted from colonel to brigadier general. A large granite marker topped with an eagle in repose was erected in 1910 to mark his grave. Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 15, 1999. Among the many Medal of Honor recipients who rest here is Second Lieutenant Tom Custer who died with his brother at the Little Bighorn.

(Frank) Wow, another half hour, poof, has gone by. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And we’ll see you somewhere — (Deb and Frank) Around Kansas.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at

No Comments Yet.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.