A Landing a Day

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Baileyville, Kansas

Posted by graywacke on January 10, 2010

First timer?  In this (hopefully) once-a-day blog, I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –   I’m on a bit of a heartland kick – NE, WI (sort of heartland), AR, MO, and now, the heart of the heart . . . KS; 53/49; 5/10; 2; 153.7.   Here’s my landing map.  As you can see, I landed near a string of what I assume are 19th-century railroad towns – Axtell, Baileyville, Seneca and Oneida.

I landed in the Wildcat Ck watershed.  (Not hard to guess how it got it’s name.  I wonder if wildcats have made it back into KS?)  The Wildcat flows into a new river, the S Fk of the Big Nehama; on to the Big Nehama (2nd hit); on to the Missouri (338th hit); on to the MM (724th hit).  FYI, the S Fk of the Big Nehama is my 1050th river.

Here’s a broader landing view:

Here is one of my all-time  favorite GE shots.  This is practically frameable!

I love the visual richness and variety of the landscape.  This visual richness and variety continues on a larger scale as well:

I landed closest to Baileyville.  This is all I could find out about Baileyville:

Baileyville was founded as “Haytown”; it was renamed to honor future Kansas governor Willis J. Bailey.

No offense meant to Willis, I wish they had stuck with Haytown!!  Here’s an 1890 shot of the Baileyville School:

And this, of Baileyville’s Main St. in it heyday (1913):

Here’s one of those classic High Plains photos, of  a wonderful old building (Marion Hall) in Baileyville (from Brian Vander Brink on Picasaweb):

Interesting – a little research shows that Mr. Vander Brink chose his viewpoint very carefully, to make it look like Marion Hall is relatively isolated, out in the country.  Check out this GE shot of Baileyville, with Marion Hall pointed out:

There’s a warehouse across the street to the south, a ballfield (with lights!) across the street to the southeast, and the still-viable town of Baileyville stretches out to the northwest!

To further my point, here’s a picture from GE Street View, showing Marion Hall across the ball field.  You’d never guess that this photo and the beautiful shot above are of the same building!

Seneca is a more substantial town (pop a little over 2000).  From Wiki:

Seneca grew up along the wagon route from St. Joseph, Missouri to Oregon and California. British explorer Richard Francis Burton en route to California in 1860 passed through town and noted: “… Seneca, a city consisting of a few shanties …”

Here’s a shot of a classic building in downtown Seneca:

The Wiki entry made me chase down Richard Burton.  I believe I had heard of a historic Sir Richard Burton (as opposed to the actor), but I certainly knew nothing about him.  He was quite the interesting character.  From Wiki:

Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821 – 1890) was an English explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, ethnologist, linguist, poet, hypnotist, fencer and diplomat. He was known for his travels and explorations within Asia and Africa as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures. According to one count, he spoke 29 European, Asian, and African languages.

He was a prolific and erudite author and wrote numerous books and scholarly articles about subjects including human behaviour, travel, fencing, sexual practices, and ethnography. A unique feature of his books is the copious footnotes and appendices containing remarkable observations and unexpurgated information.

So anyway, Sir Richard traveled across the United States to Salt Lake City (obviously, passing through Seneca).  Here’s a write-up about the trip from Trivia-Library.com (under the heading “Famous Meetings in History”, the meeting being with Brigham Young):

Who: Thirteen years earlier, ex-carpenter Brigham Young had led Mormon immigrants from Illinois across the prairies to the Salt Lake valley. A brilliant organizer, he had directed the building of Salt Lake City in the state of Deseret, which he headed. As the chief prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, he advocated polygamy. Young himself kept numerous wives–some sources say 19, others say 27. Capt. Richard Burton (later Sir Richard), the fabulous English explorer, Orientalist, author, and translator of The Arabian Nights, was 39 when he reached Salt Lake City.  Seven years earlier, determined to become one of the few white men to visit forbidden Mecca, he had dyed his skin brown, memorized the intricate Muslim ritual, and had himself circumcised in a painful operation. Then, disguised as a Pathan, an Afghanistan Muslim, he had successfully entered Mecca.

What Led to the Meeting: Burton traveled to the American West for two reasons. The first was that he wanted to fight Indians, although he found out that a battle had just been concluded against the Comanches and Kiowas, and that there was no immediate action in sight.  His second reason for going West took him to Salt Lake City.  The practice of polygamy in Eastern countries had always intrigued him, and now that the Mormons were practicing it, Burton was eager to see how it worked.

What Happened: At noon on Aug. 31, 1860, Captain Burton, respectfully attired in stovepipe hat and dark frock coat, was led by Governor Cumming into Brigham Young’s office, where the prophet and several aides were waiting. After introductions and hand-shaking, Burton sat on a sofa and observed the man he had crossed an ocean and a continent to see. “I had expected to see a venerable-looking old man,” Burton wrote later. “Scarcely a gray thread appears in his hair, which is parted on the side, light-colored, rather thick, and reaches below the ears with a half curl. . . . The hands are well made, and not disfigured by rings. The figure is somewhat large, broad-shouldered, and stooping a little when standing. . . . The Prophet’s dress was neat and plain as a Quaker’s, all gray homespun, except the cravat and waistcoat. . . . Altogether the Prophet’s appearance was that of a gentleman farmer in New England. . . . He is a well-preserved man, a fact which some attribute to his habit of sleeping in solitude. . . . He assumes no airs of extra sanctimoniousness, and has the plain, simple manners of honesty. His followers deem him an angel of light, his foes, a goblin damned; he is, I presume, neither one nor the other. . . . He has been called hypocrite, swindler, forger, murderer. No one looks it less.”

Interesting that a man of many wives would be, as Sir Richard states, “sleeping in solitude.”  Anyway, here’s an 1851 picture of Brigham Young (9 years before his meeting with Sir Richard:

Moving to Axtell, where there’s this statue of a WWI Doughboy:

And this, from a local website, about the statue:

The statue, according to The Chamber Monthly of Spencer, Indiana, was designed and copyrighted by E. M. Viquesney of Spencer in 1920. It was titled “The Spirit of The American Doughboy. “ It is a World War I infantryman advancing through No Man’s Land, through stumps and barbed wire entanglements, his rifle held in his left hand while his right hand is raised high, holding a grenade. The Viquesney creation has two tree stumps, one front and one rear, and the sculptor’s name is imprinted on the statue. These features distinguish it from Doughboys done by other sculptors.

Research now being done by T. Perry Wesley, editor emeritus of the Spencer Evening World, says there were at least 136 Viquesney Doughboy statues placed in 35 states. There were three Viquesney Doughboys placed in Kansas:  at Axtell, Parsons and Oakley.

On to Oneida (pop 70).  At the Kansas Museum of History is a leg brace worn by a child from Oneida.  From the Kansas State Historical Society website:

Betty Jean Funk was a healthy child from Oneida, Kansas.  Born in 1923, she had just learned to walk when she contracted polio.  Although Betty survived the disease, for the rest of her life she could walk only with the assistance of braces.  As a teenager she was admitted to Shriner’s Hospital, where doctors fused her left leg at the knee. This procedure made it possible for her to use only one leg brace.

The brace Betty wore later in life is pictured here.

Betty wore this brace for a long time, as indicated by the numerous repairs to the leather.  She worked at a garment manufacturer in Kansas City, Missouri, prior to getting married.  On icy days, she would strap cleats on her shoes to get better traction on her way to work.

During the first half of the 20th century, many Kansas children contracted polio during the summer months. The Kansas State Board of Health noted that 1952 had the highest number of polio cases ever reported. That year 1,718 individuals came down with the disease; of those, about 70 died.  Based on Kansas’ population at the time, that was almost one case of polio per 1,000 people.

Here’s a picture of Betty’s class in Oneida (probably the early 1930s).  The caption is below:

Betty is the second child from the left, middle row, in this photo of her Oneida grade school class. She is the only one leaning on a crutch. Her leg brace is visible just below the hemline of her dress.

That’ll do it.



© 2009 A Landing A Day

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