Paul Andrew Hutton, Arthur Capper

(Frank) Today Around Kansas takes a look at historian Paul Andrew Hutton and his new book about the Apache Wars. Next we learn about the life of Arthur Capper, one of the nation’s leading publishers who served two terms as the 20th Governor of Kansas and five terms as a US Senator, among many other achievements. Then enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with a story all about owls.

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(Frank Chaffin) Well its early Wednesday morning, I’m Frank… (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) …and this is Around Kansas. Welcome, thanks for joining us. (Deb) Welcome and happy anniversary Frank. (Frank) Yes this is August 3rd isn’t it, yes it is. (Deb) We should give your wife a medal you know. Everybody out there that thinks Frank’s wife deserves a medal, just send your contributions in today and we’ll get a plaque for her. Do we even want to say how many years? (Frank) 54 years. (Deb) Wow, seriously congratulations. That’s awesome. (Frank) Thank you and as I said earlier, you know we got the whole weekend off for our honeymoon. (Deb) The whole weekend. (Frank) Yes, the whole weekend, so we went to Kansas City, where we did see How The West Was Won, because you know back there in the ancient ages of 54 years ago, there was a thing called Cinerama, there were three big screens, and How The West Was Won was one of the big movies they made, so if a train crashed it was clear across this whole screen in front of you. (Deb) Wow. I have to say, I think seeing How The West Was Won in Cinerama would be a wonderful way to spend a honeymoon. (Frank) It was fun, yes it was. And then, no I won’t even say that [laughter] I didn’t like Kansas City that well, and we went south and I think we ended up in Ottawa before we figured out we need to go that way home. [Laughter] (Deb) So what did you get her for your anniversary to celebrate? (Frank) Probably nothing. Maybe go to Kansas City for the weekend [laughter] (Deb) Well fortunately there’s a lot to do in Kansas City so that would be a great way to spend it. So when you were married 54 years ago, was it this hot Frank? (Frank) It was hot yes, it was. (Deb) So you couldn’t wait till wintertime or something? (Frank) No, I like summertime. Summertime is fine with me. (Deb) I tell you, people, I can’t wait for fall, I really can’t. You know fair season is going on. When did the fairs switch to the summertime from the fall? When did that happen? Because when I was a kid, again back when dinosaurs walked the earth, fairs were held in the fall. You had pumpkins and chilly weather and you wore sweaters to the fair for Pete’s Sake. (Frank) Well maybe it’s because now, planting is done at a different time. So you get the summer harvest in, you celebrate that and you’re off planting. (Deb) Well actually it’s between wheat and corn harvest. I’m like, so you can’t wait till the corn is in too? I don’t know, but I’m like, gosh. In fact State Fair is still in the fall, so if you’ve got a little pig for the fair competition, you’ve got to have two little pigs, because like they found out when they were making the movie Babe, little pigs don’t stay little forever. So how many pigs did they go through when they were making Babe, like 30 something pigs? (Frank) Really? I’ve never heard that. (Deb) Yes, because they grew. Little pigs are the cutest animals on the earth, and then they turn into hogs, that’s so horrible. (Frank) Then they turn into ham and bacon. (Deb) Then they turn into bacon, which is good. The circle of life, it’s all good. (Frank) I apologize to the kids, but that’s reality. (Deb) Yes, like poor Babe when he finds out people eat pigs, it was a sad day, but we’re going to have a great show.

Frank) We’re back. I think we’ve straightened up now, maybe. (Deb) Okay, no more about pigs, all right, nothing else about pigs. Except we raised pigs, we had little pigs, they are the cutest little things you’ve ever seen. All right, so Frank and I have talked about a lot of fun things on this show and have been able to share the accomplishments of your friends and relatives and people who pay you to share their news and all that good stuff. My good friend Paul Hutton, who is an amazing historian, and if you’ve ever watched the History Channel at all, you have seen Paul because he’s on a lot, everything they do has to have him in it. So Paul has a new book on the Apache Wars. It is incredible, I cannot tell you how good this book is. If you know nothing it’s a great book. If you know everything it’s a great book. It just illuminates this whole period of history and the personalities and of course we did a segment when I was staying in Las Cruces, New Mexico, last fall for the Order of the Indians Wars meeting down there, Paul was there, we toured a lot of that country. There’s a lot of Kansas connections because of course the forts where a lot of this stuff was, was coming out of Leavenworth, it still you know, rules the West. No matter what is happening in the West, there’s some connection to Leavenworth at any point in time. So lots and lots of connections there. We’re just going to take a closer look at Paul and this wonderful book, and a lot of the personalities and names that you’ve heard of and it’s really cool. (Frank) You didn’t bring the book so I could hold it up. (Deb) Sorry. They called him Mickey Free. His kidnapping started the longest war in American history, and both sides – the Apaches and the white invaders – blamed him for it, according to historian Paul Andrew Hutton in his latest work, The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, The Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History. Mickey Free was a mixed-blood warrior who moved uneasily between the worlds of the Apaches and the American soldiers; he was never trusted by either but desperately needed by both. He was the only man Geronimo ever feared. He played a pivotal role in this long war for the desert Southwest from its beginning in 1861 until its end in 1890 with his pursuit of the renegade scout, Apache Kid. In this sprawling, monumental work, Paul Andrew Hutton unfolds over two decades of the last war for the West through the eyes of the men and women who lived it. This is Mickey Free’s story, but also the story of his contemporaries: the great Apache leaders Mangas Coloradas, Cochise, and Victorio; the soldiers Kit Carson, O. O. Howard, George Crook, and Nelson Miles; the scouts and frontiersmen Al Sieber, Tom Horn, Tom Jeffords, and Texas John Slaughter; the great White Mountain scout Alchesay and the Apache female warrior Lozen; the fierce Apache warrior Geronimo; and the Apache Kid. These lives shaped the violent history of the deserts and mountains of the Southwestern borderlands, a bleak and unforgiving world where a people would make a final, bloody stand against an American war machine bent on their destruction. Paul is an American cultural historian, author, documentary writer, and television personality. He is also a professor of History at the University of New Mexico, a former Executive Director of the Western History Association and former President of the Western Writers of America. His research on Billy the Kid led to his consulting on the film, Young Guns, and landed his involvement in numerous TV productions. Paul is truly a bridge between the academics of western history and the public audience hungry for those stories. This latest work on the Apache Wars and the personalities involved will open an entire world to those unfamiliar with the story, and illuminate that world for those who are.

(Frank) We’re back again. (Deb) So Frank, you’ve got a great connection to Arthur Capper, because you worked with him. (Frank) Well it was Alf Landon then, of course they were very good friends. When I worked for Alf he was at the radio station, WREN, virtually every day, and he liked to chat with the people that were around there. At one time the Republican Party in the State of Kansas pretty much ran the Republican Party nationally, with Arthur Capper and the Stauffers and Alf Landon, and anyway, they were very good friends and they conferred on a lot of issues. (Deb) So did you get to meet Capper? (Frank) No, I did not. He was long gone before. (Deb) I knew that so, even as a child did you get to see him when? (Frank) No, how old do you think I am? [Laughter] (Deb) You just said you were married for 54 years. (Frank) I know, but Arthur Capper he was deceased in 1951. (Deb) You were around in 1951. (Frank) But I didn’t live in Topeka in 1951, so I did not know him personally, I knew who he was when I was what, six years old. [Laughter] (Deb) Yes, we’re not even going to get into my age. (Frank) But, anyway, he was really quite a publicist and the statesman. He was one of the great ones. (Deb) He was a remarkable man. So his new statue of course is on Kansas Avenue, and we are taking a look at all those folks who are being memorialized on Kansas Avenue. So here’s Arthur Capper.
(Frank) Arthur Capper was proud of the fact that he was the first governor born in Kansas. Born in Garnett on the heels of the Civil War and just weeks after the Lincoln assassination, Capper was to find himself in the midst of history. According to the Kansas State Historical Society, at the age of 14 he became a “printer’s devil” with the Garnett Journal. After graduation from high school Capper went to work as a typesetter for the Topeka Daily Capital. Working his way up at the newspaper, he became an editor and served as correspondent for the state legislature and U.S. Congress. In 1892, Capper married Florence Crawford, daughter of Governor Samuel Crawford. The couple had no children. Capper left Kansas and took a position with the New York Tribune. He later worked as a congressional correspondent in Washington, D.C., before returning to his native state. Capper purchased two Topeka newspapers, the Mail and the Breeze. He later acquired controlling interest in the Daily Capital. By 1911 the Saturday Evening Post called Capper’s Capital “one of the best and brightest dailies in the West.” Capper became the 20th governor, serving two terms, followed by five terms as U.S. senator, 1919 to 1949. In 1927 Capper purchased WIBW, among the first radio stations in the state. An advocate of children’s welfare, Capper established a number of events and programs to assist the state’s youth. The Capper birthday party was a popular summer event from 1908 until 1951, when the flood forced its cancellation. He established agricultural clubs that loaned money to students so they could start modest businesses. These clubs eventually merged into the 4-H movement. To benefit children with disabilities, Capper formed a foundation in Topeka in 1920. He also organized the Goodfellows’ Club of Topeka. Capper became one of the nation’s leading publishers of the decade and was featured on the cover of Time magazine. He served as chair of the Senate’s agriculture and forestry committees during the 80th Congress, and chose not to seek reelection in 1948. Capper died December 19, 1951, in Topeka.

(Ron) Cowboys like to eat and we also complain about the food. In the days of the old cattle drives, of course, there were chuckwagons that went with the cattle herds. And the guy who was chosen a chuckwagon cook, sometimes his only qualification was that he was too stove-up to drive cattle, which didn’t make for much of a culinary resume. This poem is entitled, This Grub is Out of This World. Now I hate to be someone to complain because people who gripe can be quite a pain. But us cowboys are really stuck on the hook because of our awful chuckwagon cook. On this trail drive he’s the only food that we’ve got, but his grub tastes like your belly will rot. Old Cookie makes coffee as bitter as tar, his beans have a flavor that seems quite bizarre. His beef is so tough you have to saw on it first but it’s old Cookie’s biscuits that are really the worst. Biting his biscuits will give you a shock, they land in your belly like they were a rock. Whatever his recipe he ought to adjust ‘cuz they taste like a mix of gunpowder and sawdust. We’d give anything for a meal in town ‘cuz his biscuits are the toughest thing around. But instead of giving our stomachs abuse I think I’ve come up with the perfect use. That feller Jules Verne wrote of going to Mars on some magic ship that could fly to the stars. A ship like that would have to be strong to make a journey so far and so long. But when they go to make that trip, they should use Cookie’s biscuits to build the ship. Happy Trails.

(Deb) Welcome back folks. Well the other night, we were walking, Dr. Jake and I went out walking because it had cooled down to what, 80 degrees or something, after the sun went down and the breeze was really nice and it was the night of the blue moon, the second full moon of the month in July. It was just beautiful. It was like you’ve got the whole world to yourself, the fields stretching out in every direction. Then this horrible screeching started. He had pointed out a few days before that there were a couple of owls, like out by the barnyard, he points those out, and we’re a little bit concerned about that because we’ve got all these barn cats and we need all these barn cats because they keep away the rattlesnakes. No joke. So, we got a new crop of kittens, if you need a kitten you can see it, and so we’re kind of noticing the owls, Frank I felt like I was in the middle of a Harry Potter movie with this screeching going on all around us. (Frank) Owls are fascinating, fascinating birds. (Deb): They are fascinating birds, they really are. When they talk about their silent flight, that’s absolutely true. No sound at all when they’re flying, and then you hear screams, and you probably hear the blood curdling scream of what’s being grabbed by the owls and everything, but man they were everywhere. They were on both sides of the country road there; they were just all over the place. (Frank) I have an idea. Do a story on owls. (Deb) I just happen to have one right here. Barn owls are the most widely distributed of any of the owl species, as evidenced by the numerous screeches in the night and the poop in the sheds. Apparently, it lives everywhere but Antarctica. According to the Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita, one of the qualities that makes the barn owl such an efficient hunter is its hearing. Although the barn owl has excellent night vision, its ears may be even more important for catching food. Experiments have shown that prey can be located and captured by sound alone. What amazing creatures! Like many nocturnal animals, barn owls often live in the midst of people without their even knowing. They like to roost high and away in old buildings, sometimes choosing the proverbial hollow tree. Females usually lay at least four eggs, but might have as many as a dozen. Hatching is staggered, so that a nest might have young birds along with those still waiting to break through their eggs. This could help explain why this owl is so prolific. Seemingly every creature that roams the prairies at night feasts on field mice, kangaroo rats, and other rodents. The barn owl is no different. It occasionally varies its diet with insects, lizards, frogs, crayfish, and yes, even snakes. The other owls that live in Kansas are eastern screech owls, the short and long-eared owls, barred owls, burrowing owls, snowy owls, northern saw-whet owls, and Great Horned Owls. Take a walk at night and listen. Chances are, there is an owl listening to you as well.

(Frank) Okay, we have to go again. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) We’ll see you somewhere… (Deb and Frank) …Around Kansas.

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