Odds & Ends

Well it’s time for an update paper.  There were a few loose ends that have now been tied up with some new discoveries.

During the 1954 Centennial the newspaper had a writing contest for the residents of Morris County.  The categories for writing were; Family Stories by writers over 70; Family Stories for writers under 70; Community Stories over 70; Community Stories under 70; Frontier Stories over 70; and Frontier Stories under 70.  Thanks to Mary Lu Hainey most if not all of these writings are collected in a scrap book that she compiled of everything going on during the centennial.

One story of interest to me was by Edna R. Strieby Avery.  Although I think I have given sufficient proof elsewhere that the pioneer jail was built in 1870, Edna Avery gives more confirmation in her family history she wrote.  “Also on the 13th day of May 1870, C. H. Strieby and Carrie E. Strieby deeded to the inhabitants of Council Grove part of the north end of Lot 11, block 20 fronting 40 feet, part of the north end of Lot 11, block 20 upon the alley between 2nd and 3rd streets [now Mission and Belfry respectively].  Then old city jail was built on this by our town.”  She apparently had the legal description before her.

This scrap book is available at the Morris County Historical Society and I highly recommend taking a look at it, especially the pioneer stories.

I had asked for information about the Old Fiddlers contest that was held Tuesday May 11th at 2 p.m. during the 1954 Territorial Centennial.  The papers of the day are silent on the event.  I suppose it didn’t get any press coverage because it was during the big parade.   The only reason I knew of it is because it was listed in the events in the program that was printed.

My plea was not unanswered.  A number of people gave me suggestions as to who might have been involved, but it seems only one man remembers the event, because he was there playing rhythm guitar for the contestants.  Gail Burns came into the shop one day and listed off those who won first place.  S. E. Neff was the organizer of the event, and he was a well known fiddler in the community.  I understand that S.E. stands for south east; I can’t give you any other reason for the nick name.  Frank Knard also known as Buster Jenkins placed first on fiddle and banjo.  Jim Wilson took second in fiddle and won first on mandolin.  Don Lee took first on guitar.   Many thanks to Gail Burns because without him this piece of history would have gone unrecorded.

The Old Fiddlers’ contest of 1954 has inspired me to organize a fiddle contest for Wahshungah Days this year.  It will not be limited to fiddle only but will include mandolin, banjo, guitar and an open category for oddball instruments like bagpipes or viola.  Details are still being worked out but anyone who is interested or who knows someone who is interested please contact me for an entry form.

I also promised that I would let you know when the Anti Monopolist paper ended publication.  Ken McClintock informed me that March of 1889 was when the paper ceased.  The last issue at the Historical Society is February of 1889.  So it was in fact a short lived paper.

I must make mention of the annual Cottonwood Falls Kansas Day Ball this Saturday the 28th at 8 p.m. at 220 1/2 Broadway (across the street from the Grand Central).  Beginner lessons start at 7:30, all ages and experience levels are welcome.  I will be the dance instructor for the evening and Tallgrass Express String Band will provide the music for us.  Admission is $8 for adults and half that for children.  This is an 1860 period style dance so many will be dressed in proper attire, it is however not required.  Great family fun for all!  If you like square dancing, Zumba or contra dancing you will have a hoot and a half at this fling.


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