Wild Bill Hickok, Chautauqua Hills

(Frank) Today Around Kansas starts with an unusual story about Wild Bill Hickok and his love of baseball. Next enjoy the geological history of the Chautauqua Hills, the sandstone-capped rolling uplands in Kansas. Then it’s time for another poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with the Voices of the Wind People Pageant in Council Grove. Stay tuned!

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

(Frank Chaffin) Good Wednesday morning. I’m Frank. (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. Boy, do we have some good stories for you today. (Deb) It’s going to be a fun day. Any time you can incorporate the Wild West and baseball, and cowboys and Indians, and the scenery of Kansas, all into one segment, man we’ve got a great show. (Frank) Yes, going to be fun. Hey, we ought to do a little bit of a commercial for the folks that allow us to be here as our studio. We’re at the Dillon House in Topeka, Kansas, which is just west of the state Capitol, your house, and it’s a beautiful place that you can rent for all kinds of activities, and of course you can just come and look at, it’s neat. (Deb) Now, they do make us come in the servants’ entrance, but other than that, we really love – (Frank) Yes, and they didn’t put a tablecloth on for us. (Deb) No, we don’t get a tablecloth, but you will. They don’t want us messing up anything for the paying customers, do they Frank? (Frank) Yes. (Deb) But it is beautiful. We’re grateful to be here. Thank Ross Freeman and all the folks at Pioneer Group for welcoming us every week. (Frank) Yes, and so, we’re into September. Wow. (Deb) September’s half gone. Like I said, I haven’t even gotten used to writing 2016 on anything yet, and it’s going to be gone before you know it. It’s going to be time to do your Christmas shopping. We did the catalog segment a week or two ago, and it’s like, catalog – Yes. Starting to look for sales, you know, all the Halloween stuff has been out in the stores for what, a month? Right after – (Frank) After the Fourth of July. (Deb) You’re right, right after the Fourth of July. Now, it’s gradually rotating into the nightmare before Christmas, and you get Christmas stuff in there too, but you do have to plan and while you’re touring around Kansas you can pick up your Christmas presents in all the little stores. Really, that is a great thing. I get Christmas ornaments, that’s my souvenir from a lot of places. Or a wine bottle, I pick up sometimes, and sometimes they’re full, Frank. Sometimes I get a full bottle. (Frank) I was going to say, how many wine bottles can you collect? (Deb) I’m making a tree. I’m making a tree. (Frank) Well, in this time of year too, the trees are beginning to change, the monarch butterflies are beginning to migrate, which is really always fun. (Deb) We’ve got to do a segment on that too, and I’m glad you reminded me, because when I had my radio talk show, I interviewed one of the guys tagging the monarchs, and did you know they tag? (Frank) How do you tag? (Deb) That is exactly what – (Frank) You mean, does a monarch fly into the – inside? (Deb) What do you think? But they catch those little buggers, and they actually tag them. Is that not amazing? So, they can keep count and keep track, and I think you can participate in that if I remember correctly. (Frank) Yes, you can participate in the monarch count if you want to. (Deb) And you can thank the kids. I don’t know that I would trust my grandkids tagging butterflies, you know I think we might end up with a few squashed butterflies, rather than tagged, but tag them, bag them, I don’t know. Bag them, tag them. Is that how it goes on NCIS? Bag them and tag them? (Frank) Bag them and tag them, yes. (Deb) Oh, we got a fun show for you. Stay with us.

(Frank) And we’re back. You know, we’re going to have a segment on baseball, but Topeka has a vintage baseball team, they’re called The Topeka Westerns. And they play baseball in the various styles depending on what decade and all of that, but they decide when they show up at the field, and they say, “Okay, we’re going to do 1872”, and they go, “Okay. Well, the rules are this and this and this.” Anyway, you’re going to hear a story about “Wild Bill” Hickok – (Deb) One of my favorite, favorite, (Frank) – in the baseball game. (Deb) Can you make this up? You’ve got all my favorite people, Buffalo Bill, all these guys, and you just don’t put them in the same era with baseball, but of course Abner Doubleday who is credited incorrectly with having created baseball, was a Civil War veteran. We know they played baseball during the Civil War. We know that on some of the reservations the American Indians played baseball. There’s records of some of those games that some of the posts had baseball games, but to have “Wild Bill” Hickok, the legendary Marshall, umpiring a baseball game, you can’t make this stuff up. (Frank) Can you imagine that? Strike. You go, “What?” “Oh, never mind.” (Deb) “Oh, no. Never mind. Never mind.” Yes, yes. (Frank) “Thank you sir, for the call.” (Deb) Yes, but there wasn’t much heckling going on for that. And he was, and… (Deb) I say this in the segment but I’ll go ahead and let you in on it. He was wearing his six shooters while he was umpiring. (Frank) Can you imagine that, there goes the fly ball. (Deb) Exactly and if you’ve got, “You need glasses.” Boom. (Frank) Yes he did need glasses, that’s the problem. (Deb) I don’t think he was too bad yet. By 76, when he died, he really did need glasses. But 72, I don’t know maybe we could go back and see what the reports say. Were they yelling, “The umpire needs glasses?” Let’s take a look and see. James Butler Hickok has many ties to Kansas and Missouri. His first job as a lawman was in Monticello. He became a legend in Abilene and Hays City. But not every day was marked by a gunfight. He sometimes squeezed in time for a baseball game. Dr. John Arthur Horner, of the Kansas City Public Library’s Missouri Valley Room, wrote of the Kansas City Exposition in 1872. From Dr. Horner’s account: There are at least two accounts of times when Hickok was prevailed upon to umpire baseball games-once in Fort Hays, Kansas, and the other here in Kansas City. Hickok was quite a fan of baseball, which was just establishing itself as the national pastime. On August 12, 1866, the Kansas City Antelopes hosted the Atchison Pomeroys in a deciding game between the two clubs. There were intimations that there may have been favoritism in the officiating of the other games, since both teams had trounced the other when having home field advantage. In the game in Kansas City the umpire had actually run for his life. For the third game, Hickok was asked to officiate by both sides, since both thought Hickok had a better chance of not being swayed by the home crowd. When asked if he could be fair, Hickok said, “I’m a U.S. deputy marshal, not one of the local men. I got friends in Atchison, like I got friends here. You got no call to wonder. When game day arrived, Hickok, having studied a borrowed rulebook the day before, quietly took his place behind home plate. He was wearing both of his six-shooters. The encounter has been described as perhaps the most decorous game in the annals of baseball history. After the Antelope victory, 48-28, Hickok is said to have been taken back to Market Square in an open carriage pulled by a matched pair of white horses secured by deeply pleased Antelope fans. Thanks, Dr. Horner, and the Kansas City Public Library, for this story and visit their website for even more amazing history.

(Frank) Oh my. Bill Hickok, umpiring the game. We’ve talked about hills a lot on the show and a lot of people that have never been to Kansas or through Kansas, have the image of course that it’s just flat and it’s straight through and all of that. I’ve said it many times; the typography of Kansas is really varied. If you ever do have the chance to start in the Northeast corner and go across the state and down the state and back around, you won’t believe that it’s all the same state. Yes, there are some high plains, it’s flat – (Deb) – in places and then it drops off and becomes very different. Over the past few weeks, we have crisscrossed the state; I can’t count how many times for different events and picking up kids and grandkids. My granddaughter who lives in Israel, we were travelling along Highway 16 up through Blaine and Westmoreland and you cross north of Manhattan, Tuttle Creek and everything up there; it’s just like this, Greg Fox wrote this song ‘Counting Hills’ because when he was a kid, they’d drive up there to visit family. His mom said, “Count the hills.” And people laugh but it’s like this. It is just like a ribbon there and my granddaughter’s like, “Where’s the flat Kansas?” It’s like, wow. (Frank) Well, we’re going to talk about a place that’s called the Chautauqua Hills and the thing is it’s up in northeast Kansas and you’re going to think you’re in the Ozarks if you go there. It is amazing. Totally amazing. (Deb) Very pretty. Stay with us. (Frank) The Kansas Geological Survey characterizes the Chautauqua Hills as a sandstone-capped rolling upland that extends into the Osage Cuestas from the southern Kansas border. About 10 miles wide, these hills extend as far north as Yates Center in Woodson County. Small patches of similar terrain can be found as far north as Leavenworth County. The Chautauqua Hills formed primarily in the thick sandstones of the Douglas Group. During the Pennsylvanian Period, about 286 million to 320 million years ago, rivers and streams flowed into the sea in this area. Sand and other sediments collected in the estuaries and at the mouths of the rivers in deltas. Over time, the sediments were buried and compacted, the sands became sandstone and the muds became shale. Over millions of years, uplift and erosion exposed the sandstone and shale at the earth’s surface. Further erosion has dissected the area into a series of low hills, capped by more resistant sandstone. Because of rock outcrops in this region, the hills are generally not cultivated but are used instead for pasture. The Verdigris, Fall, and Elk rivers cross the area in narrow valleys walled by sandstone bluffs. The Kansas Geological Survey says that the change in altitude in the region is never more than 250 feet. Even so, many visitors liken the area to the Ozarks, unlike many Kansas landscapes. Many of the hills are covered by stands of black jack oaks, scrub oaks, and other hardwood species. This mix of medium-tall grasslands and scattered stands of deciduous trees is called the Cross Timbers by scientists who map vegetation. In Kansas, the extent of the Cross Timbers follows almost exactly the outline of the Chautauqua Hills.

(Ron Wilson) Today the American Angus Association is the largest breed association in the United States and people may not know that that breed originated in the British Isles but then was brought all the way to Kansas. This poem it entitled, Birth of a Breed. It was on the 17th of May way back in 1873, that Kansas welcomed in some cattle that would change beef history. Near the town of Victoria out on the Kansas plains a man named George Grant wanted to boost his cattle gains. To improve the native bloodlines and reduce the needed culls, on that day George brought in four Aberdeen Angus bulls. Can you imagine the sight when those beefy cattle arrived, where nothing but short horns or ranging longhorns had survived? There must of been a funny scene that the neighbors thought contrary, when those black-hided cattle arrived out on the Kansas prairie. But when those calves were born then the farmers’ opinion moved because the influence of those bulls made the cattle much improved. The Angus breed developed and grew for all to see, the Angus Breed Association was formed in 1883. The American Angus Auxiliary was formed in 1952 supporting youth showing and scholarship and all the good they do. So like when George Grant brought those bulls here in that way, Angus bulls still bring improvement in cattle herds today. Since the hungry people of the world have protein as a need, we’re thankful for this immigration of the Angus breed. Happy Trails.

(Frank) Again, here we are. Hills. (Deb) Hills, hills. Speaking of hills, of course the Flint Hills, one of the prettiest sections of Kansas, and this will be a great weekend to enjoy the Flint Hills down at Council Grove, which is one of my very favorite places in Kansas. I have very good friends down there and Mary Honeyman who used to be at the Kaw Mission and Marc Brooks who is there now and of course we’ve got Frank and Judy Goodrich who’ll be putting me and the Doc up this weekend for the events down there and Sharon Haun is in charge of the Voices of the Wind People Pageant and so I got to know Sharon I guess through that pageant a few years ago. And if you’ve never been to see the pageant, you won’t believe it, you just won’t believe what it takes to put this entire thing together and it’s a pageant in the real sense of the word. You got horses and wagons and mules and stuff and our mules, Minnie and Pearl will be there pulling the stage coach. (Frank) Yes, we had a cabin at the City Lake there in Council Grove a number of years in our younger days. (Deb) Isn’t that pretty? (Frank) Yes, and it’s a wonderful place. There are two lakes there: the State Lake and then the City Lake but also they have the Hays House, we have to mention the Hays House which has been around for, what now, a hundred and–? (Deb) Since 1850 something. Seth Hays is a descendant of Daniel Boone and of course I grew up in Daniel Boone stomping grounds in western North Carolina, Virginia. He came from Pennsylvania originally, wound up in Missouri and his descendants were all over Kansas. So one son or grandson was an Indian agent here to the Kaw and it was just a phenomenal history. And Seth Hays is one of the characters in the play because he is so important to the history of Council Grove. And we got our great friends at the Cottage House and the Trail’s End Cafe and we got friends all over Council Grove. (Frank) It’s a great little town. It really is. (Deb) It’s beautiful, so stay tuned and come see us this weekend. It wasn’t very long after the Louisiana Purchase that the Santa Fe Trail brought traffic to what would become Morris County and Council Grove. The grand backdrop of the Flint Hills would become the setting of the quintessential story of westward expansion, the clash of the Euro and Native Americans. The Voices of the Wind People Pageant was conceived to provide the public with a historically accurate account of that conflict in the historic setting where those events occurred, where those people actually lived. The two main pageant characters, Chief Allegawaho, Kanza (Kaw) Chief and Seth Hays, Council Grove’s first Euro-American resident, narrate this compelling story. The first production was in 1992, with performances in 1993, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014. The performances take place in the old Neosho riverbed near the historic downtown and adjacent to the Santa Fe Trail crossing of the Neosho River. The production incorporates historic photos, images of the prairie landscape, and video images with the live-action of a pack train, wagon train, stagecoach, riders on horseback, tepees and the campfire of a Kanza village. Approximately 45-50 members of the Kaw Nation, who once lived in the Council Grove area, return to participate in this production. They provide the principal narration of Chief Allegawaho, enact village scenes, and perform dramatic roles and traditional dances. The production of Voices of the Wind People requires the involvement of at least 125 people, and is accomplished by volunteer staff and performers. The more than four thousand volunteer hours logged during each pageant reflect the passion of those volunteers for sharing this important moment in time. We think you will agree that the pageant resulting from their hard work and passion is magnificent. Coinciding with the Council Grove Fall Festival, the pageant will be the highlight of activities, displays, shopping, and dining in one of the most picturesque settings along the Santa Fe Trail.

(Frank) Hey, we’ve got to go. I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And we will see you somewhere (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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