‘Dearest Jimmy:’ DeLaine Davis’ Memory Book

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

Looking through memory or scrapbooks is a fun way to to explore history.  At HCHM we have several memory books that were created by young ladies to remember their high school years. Pages from DeLaine Davis Ferguson’s book are shared below.

DeLaine Davis was born October 30, 1911 in Walton, Ks.  Her parents were Charles and Lillian Davis, she was the youngest of 5 children.

DeLaine Davis’ High School Scrapbook, 1929-1930. HCHM 2005.25.1

She attended Walton High School from 1928 to 1930.

Walton High School, 1930. Davis’ Scrapbook.

Friends

Nadine Hicks was a close friend.

DeLaine Davis (lt) and Nadine Hicks (rt)

Basketball

She was on the WHS Women’s Basketball  Team all three years.

Sports page.

Coach Dunham led the team in 1928.

Coach Dunham, 1928.

Helen ‘Okie’ Okerberg was the coach in 1929. In both photos she is wearing a sweater with the”S.”

WHS Women’s Basketball Team, 1929.

James Nicholson was the coach for the 1930 season.

DeLaine lettered in basketball all 3 years, and she was the team captain for 2 years.

Athletic Letter Basketball

Music and Academics

She also lettered in academics and music.

Music & Academics

Activities and Fun

“Dearest Jimmy”

Pages with notes from friends.  Her nickname was “Jimmy.”

Nadine’s page.

Graduation

DeLaine graduated from Walton High in 1930.

 

DeLaine married Bennett W. Ferguson.  Her obituary states that she was a retired restaurant owner. She died in Wichita on September 3, 1991.

 Sources:

  • The Girl Graduate’s Journal” DeLainie Davis Ferguson, 1928-1931, HCHM 2005.25.
  • Newton Kansan 5 September 1991.

 

“The Storm King Visits:” Newton’s First Tornado

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

Thursday, March 1, 1888, started out like any other weekday.  Later, people recalled that

 “there was a calmness that seemed to pervade the atmosphere. There appeared to be no movement in the air whatever and the people moving about were conscious of an oppressed feeling.  It was very close and a strange quiet settled over the city.”

“A Grand Sight, but Awful”

At 4:30, “a dark, murky looking cloud” could be seen “banked high up against the horizon”  in the west.

 “People were impressed with the strange appearance of the cloud and with the sky overhead.  Some who had been in regions regularly visited by the dreaded cyclone instinctively felt that all was not right and watched with trepidation the approaching storm.” 

At “three minutes to five the huge cloud, which now seemed  to be a turbulent mass of smoke, dust and steam came slowly toward the city . . .”

Newton Daily Republican, 2 March 1888.

“Almost at the same instant, a cold wave came from the north and then followed a terrific hail storm, with drenching rains.”

After the storm, there were reports that a “cyclone had struck the city at the carriage factory.” People quickly went and discovered the “roof of the north wing of the immense building had been stripped off . . “

“No Hope of Recovery”

In the midst of property damage,  the first two recorded tornado related fatalities in Harvey County were discovered.

“There, under the heavy roofing was found the lifeless form of William J. Lacey, foreman of the trimming department.  A hundred men lent willing hands, lifted the timbers and roofing off of the remains of the unfortunate man.”

Thirty-seven year old Lacey was  well-liked, “regarded as an honest, upright and perfectly trustworthy young man.”  His brother, Frank, arrived a few days later to return the body to Galena, Ill for burial.

The destruction continued southeast of the factory in what was known as “Walt’s Addition.”  Six homes had been destroyed by the fury of the “wind monster.” In the rubble, another tragedy.

“In the ruins of J.P. Amidon’s house . . . a heart-rending scene met the eye. Miss Annis Hobble was found insensible underneath the rubbish, with her teeth set as in death.”

The unconscious Miss Hobble was rushed to Axtell Hospital where there was “no hope for recovery.”  She never regained consciousness. Sixteen year old Annis Hobble died of her injuries on March 8, 1888.

Annis F. Hobble, Greenwood Cemetery, Newton, Ks.

“Inability to Predict”

Unlike today, when forecasters can give  reasonable warnings, the 1888 storm  caught everyone off guard and demonstrated “the utter inability of man to predict such.”  Indeed, the forecast by the weather bureau for March 1, 1888 called for the “probability of light snow followed by colder weather.”

The newspaper reports also suggest that this was the first tornado to strike the city of Newton. The headline for the March 2, 1888 edition of the Newton Daily Republican read;

Newton for the First Time Visited by the Storm King.”

The Kansan also noted that the tornado on March 1 was “Newton’s first Experience with the Storm King.”

A storm in early  March was also a surprise. The reporter concluded;

“The appearance of a cyclone storm in Kansas in March is, we believe, without a parallel.” 

Sources:

  • Newton Daily Republican; 2 March 1888, 6 March 1888.
  • The Kansan: 8 March 1888 15 March 1888.
  • U.S. Census: 1880, 1900.
  • Correspondence with Dean Hess January 2014.  HCHM Curator’s Files.

Building Harvey County: A New Government Building

Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

A new HCHM mini-exhibit is up at the Newton Public Library featuring construction photos of several ‘landmark’ buildings in Harvey County and this posts features another one.

 “Dirt will be Flying”

Early in January 1908, the Evening Kansan Republican reported that a “new federal building scheduled to be built in Newton will be commenced within the near future and be rushed to completion.”  Plans for the new post office had been drawn  and the supervising architect of the U.S. Department of Treasury,  James Knox Taylor, noted that “dirt will surely be flying by May 1st and before winter the roof on.”

This proved to be an optimistic timetable. In June, the Kansan reported that there would be a delay.

Taylor explained that “the department has under way the construction of over 150 public buildings in various states authorized by congress two years ago.” Taylor concluded that “while it may seem long to the citizens of your city, it is rapid for the government.” 

The federal building in Newton would have to wait until the spring of 1909.

Dirt is Flying at Last!

The Evening Kansan Republican in January 1909 reported that they were “delighted to see a load of lumber” at the location of the new post office. After a year of waiting,  “dirt is flying at last.”

By the end of February 1909, the site for the new building had been excavated.  People often stopped to watch the progress.

Building the Post Office, 1909

In December 1909, a “carload of stone  . . . arrived from Bedford, Indiana.”

In an article reviewing the year 1909, the reporter noted that Main Street had been paved from 1st to 8th, which “added to the beauty as well as value of Main street properties.”  He concluded that “the government building is assuming shape and should be ready for use in the next six months.  The year ended, but its work remains.”

Throughout the spring, the editor remained positive  that the federal building would soon be done. Several large items were completed including the concrete ceiling  and the installation of the steam heating plant. The target date for occupancy was July 1st.

“It is only a few weeks until the people of Newton will have the use of the post office they have so long waited for.”

The wait continued.  In June, the editor observed that “work on the federal building is progressing at a satisfactory pace now-days.”

Another Month

“S—-h! Don’t breathe it out to a soul, but it may be another month before the post office gets moved into its new quarters in the elegant federal building at Main and Seventh streets.”

The target date of July 1 passed without the completion of the building. In August, the editor outlined some of the difficulties that had plagued the project over the spring and summer.

The project had been delayed due to strikes, materials not arriving and “the failure of different subcontractors to perform their part of the work.” In one case, the carpenters “quit work twice over alleged failure on the part of the contractor to pay the union scale for overtime and Sunday work.”

Mid-August problems with the ceiling were discovered and “it was necessary to go over the crimping and see that it was properly attended to. . . “

Evening Kansan Republican, August 27, 1910.

At the end of August, another set-back when the marble cutters “walked out  in response to a telegram from the business agent of their union in Kansas City.” It was noted that “officials are becoming thoroughly disgusted with situation.” 

By the end of September there were rumors that the project would be done —soon.

Evening Kansan Republican, September 26, 1910.

Finally in October;

“For many, many months running back seemingly into the misty ages there have been periodical rumors to the effect that the post office was to be removed to the new federal building, but each of these rumors have proven false. . . however the latest is given only as a ‘probability’ not as assured fact.”

Merry-go-round

By December 1910, the trials of the past 2-3 years were a memory and the post office was a busy place.  One unintended problem did develop concerning a revolving door.

“So attractive are the revolving doors at the federal building that it has become the custom of a number of school children to go to the post office after the close of school and play ‘merry-go-round’ in the doors.”

Parents were warned that there was a serious danger of breaking a limb or other  injury with the large number of children behaving recklessly. The editor pointed out that  “Uncle Sam’s people . .  should not be required to look out for the life and limb anyone having no real business at the post office.”  In addition, the public was also “greatly inconvenienced in getting in and out of the building by the play.”

Today, the “Federal Building” is the home to Cornerstone Law Offices.

Sources:
  • Evening Kansan Republican: 16 January 1908, 24 June 1908, 11 July 1908, 14 January 1909, 18 January 1909, 21 January 1909, 22 February 1909, 1 Dec 1909, 31 December 1909, 16 March 1910, 26 March 1910, 14 April 1910, 2 June 1910, 15 June 1910, 27 June 1910, 1 August 1910, 8 August 1910, 19 August 1910, 27 August 1910, 29 August 1910, 26 August 1910, 17 October 1910, 3 December 1910, 31 December 1910.