James Gang Train Robbery, Wilson Lake

Today on Around Kansas we start with the story of the James Gang Train Robbery in 1874. Next let’s take a look at Wilson Lake, located mostly in Russell County and built for flood control, but also used for wildlife management and recreation. Then enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with the five cowgirls recently inducted into the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame.Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

(Frank Chaffin) Wednesday, early in the morning. I’m Frank– (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) This is Around Kansas. (Deb) The last day of November. (Frank) Oh my, already. Here we go. (Deb) Here we go. I can’t believe where has this year gone? (Frank) [Laughs] Yes. (Deb) It’s one for the record books, I’m telling you. (Frank) It is, it is, it just disappeared. (Deb) It just disappeared and here we are, smack dab in the Christmas season now. You can see we’re in the Dillon House and they’re ready for a party here. They’re going to be awfully busy during Christmas and it’s so pretty. I think Porterfield’s decorated again and nobody does it better than they do. Just to get in the Christmas spirit I want to remind you of Lecompton’s Christmas display at the Lane University Historic Lecompton Museum. They have a hundred and some Christmas trees on display that will be there through January 1st. It is a phenomenal display. Don’t forget them and our other sponsors when you’re doing your Christmas shopping, especially the three or four museums that we have who are our sponsors because they have a wonderful gift shop in Lecompton. They have the great little ornaments for Lecompton that are just beautiful and lots of other little great little history things to put in the kids’ stockings. Then of course, we have the Fort Wallace Museum, which has great books and again lots of really cool stuff. The museums in Oakley, the Fick Fossil Museum and the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center, so there are great books, mugs and just a lot of really neat, neat items. I know people are always looking for something unique so don’t forget them. Of course, all of our other sponsors, you know, the Western Wear. I thought about doing a segment. I did an article like this one time, years ago when I was a reporter for the Mount Airy News, they were still setting type and all that good stuff. Back in the ancient times. I went to the hardware store to look for gift ideas and my editor just loved this because, I had oil lamps–oil lamps are just my favorite. There were just so many cool things you can find in a hardware store for Christmas gifts. Flashlights, buckets, you know metal pails and all this cool–would you love to get a metal bucket for Christmas, Frank? (Frank) [Laughs] Yes. (Deb) Use a bucket to carry your stuff in? (Frank) Put that on the list. (Deb) Put that on your–I bet that’s real high on your list right there. (Frank) [Laughs] (Deb) I’m telling you honey, you can put a big red bow on it and anything will make a present. [Laughs] (Frank) [Laughs] That’s true. (Deb) Just put a bow on it [Laughs] (Frank) [Laughs] (Deb) They’ll be happy, yes, they’ll be happy. My family is very excited to open my gifts, you can tell. (Frank) Yes, that’s right. Okay. So anyway, we have some stories today, actually we have some stories. We have one coming up about Jesse James. (Deb) You just can’t have Christmas without Jesse James, can you? [Laughs] Yes? (Frank) I mean I don’t know where that came from, but it is coming up, yes. (Deb) It is. (Frank) It’s an interesting story. (Deb) Everything about Jesse is interesting, everything we do is interesting. (Frank) No, but you know I still think one of the more interesting stories is the fact that there really are people who believe, and I became one of the believers just because, we talked in another show about forensic science and there is a guy that lived out his life in Kansas that they really do believe was Jesse James. (Deb) Well, they’re deluded. But, anyway. (Frank) We’ll see. Who knows? (Deb) We’ll be right back.

(Deb) Welcome back. Speaking of Jesse James living out his life in Kansas, which is totally bogus. No matter what the history channel said- (Frank) [whispers] He really did. (Deb) The James’ did not spend a lot of time in Kansas because Kansas was full of Yankees. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) Union veterans and having been confederate guerrillas–Jesse James did not ride with Quantrill, I don’t care what you heard, no, he did not. He did ride with Bloody Bill Anderson but not Quantrill. I keep seeing that over and over. In fact, it was on some quiz show the other day, about Jesse riding with Quantrill. No, no, no. All right. (Frank) She was there. (Deb) I was there. When they rode by the house, I’m like, “Jess–where’s Jesse? He’s not with you?” No he didn’t, but the reason, seriously, that the James’ did not come over into Kansas very often to loot, plunder, steal and all that stuff, they wouldn’t say. They tried to keep their activities to a place where they can disappear into the countryside and somebody’s going to take care of them. They can hide out with friends or relatives, former confederates, confederate sympathizers where they’re a little safer. Kansas, not so much, not so much sympathy in Kansas so they did not spend much time over here except for this story we’ve got today where they did come over to Kansas to ride a train. That’s a fact. In early December of 1874, five members of the infamous James Gang rode to Muncie, a small town 12 miles west of Kansas City. Their target was a Kansas Pacific train carrying a Wells Fargo safe. At Muncie, they robbed the Wells Fargo safe on a train that had been halted on the tracks. A gold watch belonging to a messenger was returned to him with the explanation that it was personal property. The gang rode away with a wave and a shout: “Good-bye, boys, no hard feelings. We have taken nothing from you.” The State of Kansas and the Kansas Pacific Railroad joined Wells Fargo in offering rewards. The State of Missouri cooperated in trying to track down the robbers. But it was only by accident that one actually was arrested. William “Bud” McDaniel, a.k.a. “McDaniels”, was the son of a Kansas City saloonkeeper, and had a brother who also rode with the James Gang. Just days after the robbery he was stopped by a police officer for rowdy behavior and public drunkenness. McDaniel was carrying four revolvers, six dozen cartridges, over $1,000, and some jewelry from the safe. He was sent to Kansas to stand trial. This was not completely welcome news in Kansas City, where officials were intimidated by the James Gang and generally willing to look the other way. In fact, McDaniel had been seen drinking with the Chief of Police on the day of his arrest! McDaniel was jailed in Lawrence, Kansas, enough distance from the Missouri border to be considered safe. But he escaped from the Douglas County jail with three other men, arms, ammunition, and horses. The Deputy Sheriff quickly assembled a posse and, by the following day, McDaniel and another prisoner had been tracked down. Louis Beurman, a local farmer known as a good shot, described what transpired for the Lawrence Republican-Journal: I had been harvesting Monday, and soon after midday I met Constable Phillips, who told me he had just seen McDaniels and Dunn seated on a log a short distance off. I ran back to my house, got out my rifle, an old squirrel rifle, and started in pursuit. I ran about a quarter of a mile, when on coming to an open space I saw the two men. They saw me at the same time, and McDaniels slipped from his horse and brought his gun to his shoulder. I took quick aim and fired. He felt the shot and almost fell forward on his face, but recovered himself immediately, pulling the trigger at me, the ball whistling over my head. Then he mounted, and together the two men dashed into the woods. The outlaw died within hours, remaining silent to the end about the identities of his accomplices in the Muncie train robbery. The old squirrel gun that killed McDaniel–actually a German Schuetzen rifle–remained in the Beurman family until 1958 when Louis’ nephew donated it to the Kansas Historical Society. It is in the collections of the Society’s Kansas Museum of History who shared this account.

(Frank) Here we are again. It’s Wednesday and this is Around Kansas in case you just tuned in. And you’re saying who are those people? So, anyway. (Deb) We’ve got to get a billboard. That reminds me Frank; I was thinking of that again when I was riding out I-70, there’s our friend Brent Harris from Dodge City who is just all over the place. I talked to Brent on the phone the other day, but it’s like we need a billboard Frank. (Frank) We need a billboard. (Deb) We need a billboard. (Frank) A big billboard. (Deb) A big billboard, that’s right. A big billboard. (Frank) [Laughs] This show really is all about Kansas and its people, places, things to do and all of that. (Deb) Around Kansas. (Frank) Really, there are a lot of places to go in this state. I’m going to get to do a story about one of those places. You really should go there, it’s an absolutely beautiful place and it really is diverse somewhat in its topography. (Deb) Again for all those folks who think Kansas is flat and after watching the show for a month or two, I don’t know how you could possibly still believe that. This will put to rest forever about flat Kansas, wouldn’t it? (Frank) Yes, it will. Well, part of it is managed by Kansas Parks and Wildlife, and the others by the Corps of Engineers as well, so it’s both federal and Kansas-managed. Nevertheless, there’s all kinds of wildlife, there’s all kinds of recreational activity and all that, but I’m getting ahead of the story. (Deb) As you will see, it’s a perfect place for photographers. (Frank) Oh, yes. (Deb) The photographers were just getting so many gorgeous photos from around the state. Share yours with us on our website, on our Facebook page Around Kansas, email them to us, but we love seeing the photographs that you take all over the state of this gorgeous places. (Frank) Well, and we’ll probably use a lot of Greg Rud’s work in this particular story. (Deb) Wonderful. (Frank) Yes. (Deb) Wonderful. We love you Greg, you do amazing stuff. (Frank) Whenever folks claim Kansas is flat, pull out one of Greg Rud’s photos of the jagged landscape surrounding Wilson Lake. It’s one of those scenes that make the unknowing scratch their heads in disbelief and it is only minutes north of Interstate 70, on the Post Rock Scenic Byway west of K-232. Located in the heart of the Smoky Hills, Wilson State Park is located in Russell County with a small arm extending into Lincoln County. The Saline River is both the reservoir’s primary inflow from the west and outflow to the east. Smaller tributaries include Elm Creek, which flows from the south into the western part of the reservoir, and Hell Creek, which feeds the reservoir’s southeastern arm. The Corps of Engineers manages three parks at Wilson Lake: Lucas Park, Minooka Park and Sylvan Park. Lucas Park is located on the north shore of the reservoir’s eastern end and includes the Rocktown Natural Area. Minooka Park, named after the Otoe word for good earth, lies on the south shore of the central part of the reservoir. Sylvan Park lies below Wilson Dam immediately northeast of the reservoir. Both Lucas Park and Minooka Park host swimming beaches and boat ramps. All three parks include hiking trails and camping facilities. The Corps of Engineers also operates a Visitor Center located below Wilson Dam near Sylvan Park.[15] Considered by many to be the most beautiful in the state, Wilson Reservoir features a rugged shoreline punctuated by scenic cliffs and rocky outcrops. The park and surrounding wildlife area offer the opportunity to view and photograph deer, pheasant, waterfowl, songbirds, and furbearers. Wilson Reservoir offers excellent white bass and striped bass angling. The Cedar Trail in the Otoe area is a one-mile loop with a concrete surface and is great for a leisurely, low-stress walk. The 25.5-mile long Switchgrass Bike Trail is popular with mountain bikers to pursue this challenging activity. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks operates Wilson State Park located on the south shore of the reservoir’s eastern end. The park is divided into two areas by the reservoir’s southeastern arm: the Hell Creek Area on the west side and the Otoe Area on the east side. The Hell Creek Area hosts a marina. Both areas include hiking trails, swimming beaches, boat ramps, and camping facilities. Hunting is permitted on the public land around the reservoir although it is restricted in certain areas. Wilson Wildlife Area is located on the upper end of the Reservoir. The 8,000 plus-acre public hunting area is made up of rugged rolling hills of native prairie, cropland and riparian timber along the Saline River, Cedar Creek, Turkey Creek, and Elm Creek. The area has a waterfowl refuge that was established in 1996.

(Ron Wilson) Howdy folks, I’m Ron Wilson, Poet Lariat. Those of us who lived out here in the middle of the country get used to one thing and that is, the weather’s going to change. This poem is entitled “Just Wait a Minute It’ll Change”. We’ve had lots of winter weather, so when we got a thaw, the chance to get outside was really quite a draw. It felt like cabin fever so I was glad to get outside clean the feeder, built some fence and managed to get in a horse ride. I stripped down to my shirtsleeves and got a whole lot of good work done. And found it was the spring’s first exposure to the sun. The next day I was in the house paying some ranch bills when I heard a clap of thunder roll across the nearby hills. I tuned into the weather and they proceeded to inform that a wave of snow might follow a local thunderstorm. I just shook my head and went back to working on the books. When what I saw out the window made me take a second look. Big fat, wet snowflakes were falling from the sky. It looked like a full-fledged blizzard passing by. I finished up my paperwork and bundled up to do my chores and found the sun shining brightly across the great outdoors. It made me think about the weather pattern in this Kansas land. It will change so dad gum fast, that it is hard to understand. And I said to my wife, as the weather made its turn, you know you live in Kansas when it snows on your sunburn. Happy Trails.

(Frank) Back again. (Deb) For those of you who are not informed yet, this has been and still is the Year of the Cowgirl. Every year the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame, and what a distinguished group of honorees that is, inducts the cowboys, the entertainers, the working cowboys, people who had been involved in advancing Western heritage and culture and working in traditional Western jobs. It honors those folks. This year, it decided to turn to the women and honor them. Man, those were some tough decisions because there were a lot of women in Kansas that fit the bill. Dodge City, the Boot Hill Casino which is amazing. You know, we went in to the Boot Hill Casino, Michael and I did, and he won money right off the bat. I was so jealous of that boy. We had a really good prime rib too there in the restaurant. This was awesome. An awesome event and congratulations to these amazing ladies. Let’s take a look at the honorees. Five legendary Kansas cowgirls were honored this month for their contributions to the western lifestyle as they were inducted into the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame in Dodge City. Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees are selected by a committee in five different categories. Each inductee has contributed significantly to the western heritage lifestyle and preservation of the cowboy culture in Kansas. They personify cowboy ideals of integrity, honesty and self-sufficiency. The Year of the Cowgirl, the 2016 inductees are: Vicki Johnson, Holcomb, Kansas – Working Cowboy/Cowgirl; Jane Koger, Matfield Green, Kansas – Cattleman/Rancher; Margie Roberts Hart, Chase County, Kansas – Rodeo Cowboy/Cowgirl; Joyce Thierer, Emporia, Kansas – Cowboy/Cowgirl Historian and Martina McBride, Sharon, Kansas – Cowboy/Cowgirl Entertainer/Artist. The induction ceremony was held at the Boot Hill Casino & Resort Conference Center in Dodge City. Special guest, Diana Vela, PhD from the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame was the featured speaker. Other “Year of the Cowgirl” events included a concert by Martina McBride and tours of Dodge City, made possible by a generous grant from ITC, Great Plains. ITC president Brett Leopold said that ITC is proud to partner with the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame to recognize these five outstanding women and their contributions to the state of Kansas, western heritage lifestyle and preservation of the cowboy culture.

(Frank) How quickly it goes. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is– (Frank and Deb) Around Kansas.
Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow.
Learn more at agpromosource.com.

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