Wednesday, November 27, 2013

From our Collection: Metate and Mano

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

We are entering into the time of year when traditions become so important. Families in Harvey County come from diverse backgrounds and have many unique and important traditions that usually include food.  Recently, a metate and mano belonging to Lucia E. Palacioz were donated to the museum.  These two objects highlight another culture with deep roots in Harvey County and south central Kansas.

Metate and mano
Belonged to Lucia E. Palacioz
HCHM 2013.23
Lucia was born June 25, 1891 in Mexico.  In 1922, she immigrated to the U.S. with her two daughters, Sepriana (11) and Aurora Martinez (10).  Sometime in 1922 or 1923, she married Alejandro Palacioz, who had immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 1911.  Their first child, Crestino, was born in 1923. Lucia was 32 years old.  By the 1930 Census the family had grown to include four more children; 3 daughters and two sons. They were living in the Mexican community in Florence, Kansas.  Their household also included a 13 year old lodger, Felix Dilgadillo.  Lucia Palacioz was 38 years old.

Lucia died ten years later on June 23, 1940, two days short of her 48th birthday.  She was buried in the Mount Calvary Cemetery, Florence, Marion County, Kansas.  This cemetery is associated with the St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Florence, Kansas, and it is likely that the Palacioz family attended there. 

Recently, her granddaughter donated Lucia Palacioz's metate and mano that she used as she prepared food for her family over the years.

Metate and mana

Most metates are made of volcanic rock, basalt or andesite.
 It is important that the rock is hard with pores. Pores are needed so bits don’t come off too easily when you are grinding. According to food blogger, Rachel Laudan, it takes about five passes of the mano to grind the maize which would yield enough masa (dough) for one or two tortillas.  She estimates that half an hour of work would yield enough masa to make about ten tortillas, "enough for one working person for one day." This task, no doubt, took up quite a bit of the day.

Photos of a Metate and Mano in use.

Laudan suggests that while you are working; 
"forget that you are getting dizzy, feeling slightly sick and that every muscle is quivering.  Think that you will never have to go to the gym again . . . Think about the joys of modern civilization . . . and that you're glad you weren't born a Mexican woman in the past."

YouTube Videos demonstrating the Metate and Mano

Lesley Tellez, food blogger, notes that the end result is worth the extra muscle power. 
"The taste of those tortillas . . . I'll never forget . . . they smelled intensely of corn and they had this kind of fresh, pastoral taste, . . . it was like I was eating something absolutely whole and complete.  This tortilla was not just a piece of unleavened bread, but something with substance. It suddenly made sense to me how people could survive off tortillas in pre-Colombian times. . . . the tortilla IS the meal."
No doubt tortillas made by Lucia Palcioz were just as good.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Roads Were of Course Bad: Thanksgiving 1918

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

Today, the weather in Kansas is dreary and getting colder.  The north wind is beating against the large windows of the museum.  It is a good day to stay inside.  Before television and video games, people had to find other entertainment on cold Kansas days. 

Playing a Game
HCHM Photo Archives

Waive Kline described her Thanksgiving Day 1918 in a letter to Glenn Wacker, who was serving with the United States Army in France during World War I.  Harvey County had received a fair amount of rain throughout October and November.  The rural roads were frequently impassible and this proved to be true on Thanksgiving Day.
"This has surely been a beautiful day.  This morning when we got up everything was covered with snow. The evergreen trees in the front yard were so full of snow that they bent almost to the ground. . . . The roads were of course bad. We had  invited  Aunt Elva's here so we were rather disappointed when the roads had to get so bad.  As it was the Kline family ate their Thanksgiving dinner by their 'lonesomes'. . . . We haven't done much to-day.  I have read a lot and tatted some.  I started to read a book." (Letter Waive Kline, Newton, Kansas to Glenn Wacker, France, Thanksgiving Day, Waive & Glenn Wacker Collection, HCHM Archives, Newton, Ks)

No doubt, many rural Harvey County families were home bound on Thanksgiving Day in 1918 and for entertainment played games together, read and worked on handwork.

Playing a Game
Lucile Mitchel Miller Collection
Our next exhibit, Games People Play, will open January 18, 2014.


  • Letter - Waive Kline, Newton, Kansas to Glenn Wacker, France, Thanksgiving Day, Waive and Glenn Wacker Collection, HCHM Archives, Newton, Ks)

For other blog posts featuring the Glenn and Waive Kline Wacker Collection click here.

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    Friday, November 15, 2013

    Sure Was Some Celebration: Armistice Day

    by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

    This past week Veteran's Day was celebrated on November 11 prompting this blog post on the very first celebrations at the end of World War I.  2014 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the start of the "Great War" in Europe. Countries involved included the Allies: France, Britain and Russia; and the Central Powers: Germany and Austria-Hungary. The war eventually involved all of Europe. The United States did not officially join the Allies until April 6, 1917. 
    On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice was declared between the Allied nations and Germany. Although the Treaty of Versailles would not be signed until June 28, 1919 officially ending "the Great War," all hostilities stopped on November 11, 1918.  

    "Service Note"
    November 11, 1918
    Dr. Harold Glover

    For a world weary of war,  November 11, 1918 was a day of celebration.

    November 11, 1918
    Lucile Mitchel Miller Collection
    HCHM Photo Archives
    In a letter to her soldier fiance serving in France in the fall of 1918, Waive Kline described what happened in Harvey County when "Peace" was finally declared.
    "There was surely some excitement Monday morning when we heard about 'Peace'.  We went to Newton about two o'clock [in the afternoon] and didn't get home until about ten.  Sure was some celebration.  There were people every place you looked and the noise. Oh! My! You could certainly see that something wonderful had happened."  (Waive Kline to Glenn Wacker 14 November 1918)

    Evening Kansan-Republican, 11 November 1918

    Harvey County Celebrations 
    November 12, 1918

    Parade on November 12, 1918
    100 Block North Main, west side
    Hesston, Ks
    HCHM Photo Archives

    Newton Armistice Day Parade
    November 12, 1918
    HCHM Photo Archives

    A year later, "Armistice Day" was celebrated on November 11 to commemorate the ending of the war.

    Newton Evening Kansan-Republican, 5 November 1919
    Stores closed in Newton for the day and "Main Street was in gala attire in its patriotic decorations." The Evening Kansan Republican noted that "stores being closed emphasized the significance of the holiday observed." The parade down Newton's Main Street had more than 2,000 participants with "10,000 people in town" for the festivities.  The American Legion had a full day planned in addition to the parade, including special music, speeches, games and an Armistice Ball at the City Auditorium.

    November 11th, or "Armistice Day," became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938 and was to be a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.  In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.
    • Glenn and Waive Kline Wacker Collection, HCHM Archives
    • Evening Kansan-Republican, 11 November 1918
    • Evening Kansan Republican, 5 November 1919, 6 November 1919, 8 November 1919, 10 November 1919, 11 November 1919, 12 November 1919, 13 November 1919,
    • Bethel Breeze in the Evening Kansan Republican, 18 November 1919 
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    Friday, November 8, 2013

    A Lamentable Affair

    by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

    This past year, the Harvey County community of Sedgwick has been featured at HCHM.  The exhibit on Sedgwick will be up through mid-December.  The latest blog post features a dispute that almost led to a fatality in Sedgwick and a trial that caught the attention of the whole county for a few days in May 1897.

    Thanks to Jim Brower for sending the initial idea and question for this post.

    McClung's Hotel, Main, Sedgwick, Ks
    Later Frazier's Hotel and then, the Commercial Hotel

    Born in Indiana, Amos Frazier opened a hotel in Sedgwick, Kansas in the mid-1890s. The hotel was located "the first door east of Mathis' Corner Grocery" and had formerly been known as the McClung Hotel.  The Frazier family consisted of Amos, his wife Mary J. and daughter, Bessie.  

    His ads in the Sedgwick Pantagraph boast of "Bright, Clean Rooms . . . The Only Hotel in Town, Good Meals . . . Special attention to the Transient Trade".  Frazier had the habit of meeting the train when it stopped in Sedgwick and walk people to his hotel.

    At some point in early 1896, the Frazier's Hotel became the Commercial Hotel with Charles Dickerson as the proprietor.

    Dickerson was a well known businessman in Wichita.  He was well liked and arrived in Sedgwick with a wife and 16 year old son to operate the hotel.  At some point Frazier opened a second hotel "fifty feet away" from the Commercial Hotel on Sedgwick's Main Street.  The two hotels were separated by a small barber shop.

    Why Frazier sold his first hotel to Dickerson and then established another one a short distance away remains unanswered. Throughout 1896 and 1897 tensions continued to rise between the two men. 

    One March morning, both men met the Gulf Train from Kansas City at 6:20 a.m.. According to the Sedgwick Pantagraph two passengers got off the train and both hotel owners met the passengers.** 

    The Newton Kansan recounts what happened next:
    "After the usual boisterous soliciting by the two hotel men, the travelers went away with Frazer to his house.  A quarrel started with this, and on the way to the hotel the men exchanged words, with the final result of Frazer's pulling a 38 and shooting Dickerson."
    Five shots were fired and Dickerson was hit twice - one striking him "two inches above the heart and the other in the arm."  The reporters for all three papers expected Dickerson to die of the injury. Frazier, age 50, was unhurt and was taken to jail in Newton.

    The Wichita Eagle summarized the events of the morning by noting that "Sedgwick City has not been so wrought up for years, and business there yesterday was suspended on account of the excitement following the conflict."

    Amos Frazier had something of a reputation in Sedgwick.  The Newton Kansan reported that "Frazier has the reputation of having an ungovernable temper - a 'bad man when riled'". The Kansan also reported that Frazier had actually chased Dickerson into his house that morning "determined to deliver a fatal shot, although Mrs. Dickerson was present and very heroically shielding her husband from danger."  (Newton Kansan 11 March 1897, p. 1)

    Frazier defended his actions telling Kansan reporters that "in the heat of the quarrel Dickerson felt around his hip pocket and he [Frazier] thinking his life was in danger, shot in self defense." (Newton Kansan 11 March 1897, p. 1)

    Charles Dickerson did not die. Once he was able to speak, Dickerson reported that the shooting was all done in front of his hotel (the Commercial) and that "two or three shots [were] fired in quick succession while he was attempting to pass through his hotel door". 

    As a result of the early morning shooting, Frazier faced charges of "assault with the intent to kill." His trial was scheduled for May. The prosecution was led by County Attorney Allen and Hon. Ed Madison, "the famous young criminal lawyer of Dodge City".  Defending Frazier were two well-known Harvey County attorneys, Hon. Harry Bowman and Hon. Charles Bucher, "the king of criminal lawyers of Kansas".  

    Charles Bucher***
    Photo courtesy Bob Myers, Newton City Attorney

    During the two day trial, witnesses for both men described a strained relationship which had started in June 1896.  Each had tried to discredit the other man's establishment.  Dr. C.E. Johnson recalled a time when he was eating dinner at Frazier's Hotel when Dickerson "had solicited him and accused Frazier's place of being a dirty hole."  One friend of Dickerson, Dr. Winn, was heard to say "that Frazier ought to be hung and he would like to be the man to tie the know." 

    Frazier took the stand and the Newton Kansan dramatically reported his testimony.
    "The guest had gone into the hotel office and that he and Dickerson had remained outside, Frazier shutting the office door, the counsel asked dramatically, 'Why didn't you go in and take care of your guest, instead of remaining on the outside with the man you claim to be afraid of?'  Frazier was almost trapped and trembled perceptibly.  After a pause, he answered: 'I had a right to be on the sidewalk.'"
    Frazier continued and "admitted that he did not see Dickerson have a weapon, or aim a weapon at any point in the affair." 

    The trial lasted two days and was given to the jury on Tuesday night.  Wednesday morning the verdict came back "guilty of assault with attempt to commit manslaughter".  Frazier faced up to 5 years of hard labor or more than six months in the County Jail.  

    Following the verdict.

    It could not be determined if Frazier served time for the shooting or not. The 1900 Census indicates that Amos Frazier was living in Newton; however, by 1910 he was back in Sedgwick.  His wife Mary, died in 1928 and soon after Frazier moved to Wichita to live with his daughter, Bessie Hobble. He died in 1934, he was 87. 

    Charles Dickerson apparently moved on, perhaps back to Wichita. A brief note in the personal section of the Sedgwick Pantagraph notes that "Charles Dickerson will sell his household goods a public auction at his residence on north Commercial today."  
    Sedgwick Pantagraph, 20 May 1897, p.1

    No further information could be found on Charles Dickerson. 

    Perhaps the Sedgwick Pantagraph said it best:
    "And so ends the last chapter of this lamentable affair in which all parties have doubtless been at fault,  and all parties concerned have likewise suffered much. Let this case stand as a warning to all who may be concerned in annoying business complications or petty jealous rivalry.  When the hot blood of passion mounts . . . beware, for the end is not there and the wake of thoughtless action often come the deepest sorrow." (Sedgwick Pantagraph, 13 May 1897, p. 1)

    **The Wichita Eagle indicates that there was one passenger. Both the Sedgwick Pantagraph and the Newton Kansan indicated two.

    ***Charles Bucher practiced law with Cyrus Bowman, "the patriarch of the bar association" in Harvey County at the firm known as "Bowman & Bucher." Bucher was a highly regarded attorney and involved in other high profile Harvey County cases in the 1890s, including the case featured by Bob Myers in his Speaker's Bureau Program, "Harvey Counties Foulest Crime and Greatest Legal Battle".  By 1904/05, Bucher had moved away from Newton and was practicing in Bartlesville, OK.  He then moved to Coffeyville, KS, where he spent the remainder of his life. 

    • Sedgwick Pantagraph, July 11, 1895, November 28, 1895, April 23, 1896, April 30, 1896, March 11, 1897, March 25, 1897, April 1, 1897, April 22, 1897, May 13, 1897, May 20, 1897.
    • Newton Kansan: March 11, 1897, May 13, 1897
      • The May 13, 1897 issue contains the account of the entire trial.
    • Wichita Daily Eagle: March 10, 1897
    • United States Census 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930.
    • Kansas Census 1885, 1895
    • Find-a-Grave: Amos Frazier (1847-1934) Hillside Cemetery, Sedgwick, Harvey County, Kansas.
    • Bob Myers to Kristine Schmucker via e-mail 7 November 2013 regarding Attorney Charles Bucher.

    Friday, November 1, 2013

    Riding the Midget Beltline

    by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

    Recently, on facebook, we posted an album of the animals that were kept at the Athletic Park "zoo" during the 1950s through 70s.
    Athletic Park, Newton, Ks

    This was followed by a photograph of the elephant slide that was once part of the play equipment at the park. 
    Elephant Slide, 2013
    Originally located in Athletic Park, now on private property.

    The memories people shared were wonderful!  

    This post will highlight another piece of Athletic Park history - the Midget Beltline Railroad, Newton, Kansas. For approximately seven summers (1962-1968), Harvey County kids and their parents were able to ride a midget steam locomotive around Athletic Park.

    "Working on the Railroad" was the caption for a photo in the Newton Kansan for May 19, 1962.  Twelve men were laying track in a big circle north of the Athletic Field for the midget railroad. Two men, W.C. Peters, a retired "roadmaster", and Clinton Spencer, a retired locomotive engineer, were in charge of the project. Others involved included; E.J. Gomez, Johm Arellano, Martin Lepe, Frank Flores, Sisto Avilla, Otho Blankenship, Manuel Perez, Ramando Jasso, John Martinez, and Ramido Carrion. They planned to have the railroad operational by the beginning of summer. (Kansan, 19 May 1962) The men laid 1,080 feet of track in Athletic Park for the locomotive, one tender, and two passenger cars. 

    Children could buy a share in the Midget Beltline Railroad Inc., Newton, Kansas, for $10.

    Certificates from:
    Thiesen, John D. "Athletic Park Steam Train, Newton, Kansas:
    A Forgotten Piece of Newton's Railroad History".

    The train, a 14-inch gauge, 4-8-4 Hudson Class steam locomotive, was built by a Lindsborg, Kansas machinist and inventor Henry Lungstrom in approximately 1950.  Two miniature passenger coaches were also built. He had track laid out to operate the train across the street from what is today the Old Mill Museum in Lindsborg, Ks.  

    Midget Beltline Railroad, Athletic Park, Newton, Ks 1966
    Clinton Spencer, owner and operator
    Courtesy HCHM Photo Archives

    By the early 1960s, the train was in Newton.  Once the track was laid, Clinton Spencer operated the railroad on weekends and holidays throughout the summer.  The train was available for pictures with special permission. Clinton Spencer served as the owner and general manager for the seven summers the train ran.

    Midget Beltline Railroad, Athletic Park, Newton, Ks 1966
    Clinton Spencer, owner and operator
    Courtesy  HCHM Photo Archives

    Sometime after the 1968 season, the train was moved to Greensburg, Kansas, to another park-like setting, "Burketown."  In 1988, the train was purchased by the St. Louis Iron Mountain railroad in Jackson, Missouri. 

    Midget Beltline Railroad, Athletic Park,
    Newton, Ks 1963
    Clinton Spencer, owner and operator
    Courtesy HCHM Photo Archives

    Clinton Spencer passed away 15 May 1971.

    Do you have memories or photos of the train in 

    Athletic Park, please share.

    • Newton Kansan, 19 May 1962, 1 June 1962, 23 April 1963, 11 June 1965, 4 October 1966, and 6 April 1968.
    • "Clinton Spencer" Obituary, Newton Kansan, 15 May 1971.
    • Thiesen, John D. "Athletic Park Steam Train, Newton, Kansas: A Forgotten Piece of Newton's Railroad History".