Miami County Time Capsule

Miami County Time Capsule is compiled by Paul Branson, Sr., utilizing newspaper archives that date back more than 150 years.

100 Years Ago (1921)

Monday night, about 11 o’clock, Ralph Wilson, aged 39, janitor for the east school building in Osawatomie, was murdered in one of the coaches of the Patterson-Kline show, which was on a track near the depot in Osawatomie. Walter Hutchens, of La Cygne, Charles Cooper, of Kansas City, and Ed Pryor, of Paola, were arrested in connection with the shooting and are being held pending a preliminary hearing. The shooting took place in what is called the “privilege car” of the show. This car has a kitchen, dining room and club room. Tuesday Hutchens rented the coach from John C. Aughe, who has charge of the concessions of the show. The club room, where the shooting took place, is fitted with card tables. Wilson was seated at a table used for dice throwing when murdered. Tuesday evening a crap game was going on while the carnival was in progress. It was participated in by Osawatomie and Paola men not connected with the show. Hutchens was in charge of the game. Cooper was doorkeeper and Pryor was outside guard. The story told by the men in the car is that there was a knock and that three men with pistols entered. They commanded those in the car to put up their hands. Wilson was slow in complying. He was shot without a word, killing him instantly. The robbers took $250 it was reported. Hutchins was put under arrest. Pryor and Cooper drove to Paola, Pryor notified sheriff Lamm. He and Cooper were placed under arrest. Wednesday Coroner P. W. Robinson, Sheriff George Lamm and County Attorney Roy Lowe conducted an inquest at Osawatomie. The jurymen were W. H. Campbell, foreman, Charles Carrico, J. E. Colvin, L. W. Grant, N. B. Chambers and O. Newton. After hearing the story they brought in a verdict finding that Wilson came to his death by a bullet fired from a revolver in the hands of Walter Hutchens, Fred Cooper, Ed Pryor or unknown accomplices. Officials are working on every clue and are determined to shift the matter to the bottom. There are two theories. One is that the murder was committed by someone who had been in the car and that he is being shielded by the others. The second theory is that one of the men arrested keeps in touch with Kansas City criminals and informs them of a suitable time for holdups and steered holdup men to the game. About town the general verdict is that too many professional gamblers have been at work in both Osawatomie and Paola and that now is the time to clean them out. It has been current talk that their “big” game has attracted some of the worst thugs from Kansas City.


Fred N. Lewis is closing out his general store at Bucyrus and with his brother, Charles, will open a new store in Louisburg about May 1.


The Wethy hill, on the Short Line road in Middle Creek township has been repaired and now is in splendid condition.

75 years ago (1946)

John Kettler, who lives near Fontana, and who has been buying furs in Paola for 29 years, had a sizable fur business during the season in December and January. He paid out more than $10,000 for pelts. Included in the furs purchased by Mr. Kettler were over 2,000 muskrat, over 2,000 opossum, 500 coons, 23 minks, 3 red foxes, 50 wolves, 500 skunk, and 150 civet cats.


By a vote of 4 to 1 the “White Way” bond issue of $14,000 was authorized at the Paola City election Tuesday. The issue is to construct a modern white way lighting system around the square and one block in each direction from the square, thus taking care of the entire business section.


Machinery is being set up at the Western Steel plant. Several carloads of heavy corrugated steel have been received. Grounds adjoining the plant have been leveled and cleared. Foundation has been laid for a new addition on the south end of the plant, which was originally the Deck Anderson Sales barn.


Although the Tom Crawford Motors, the Paola Ford Agency, has not completely moved into the new building on west Wea built by John Sponable, the service end of the firm has been established.

50 Years Ago (1971)

Roy A. Smith was guest of honor at a dinner Friday night, observing his retirement after 35 years of service with the Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Company.


Four diesel engine units and six boxcars were derailed when two freight trains collided at a crossing of tracks about a quarter of a mile south of the Frisco depot in Paola at 6:47 a.m. Friday April 2. According to a railroad official, a 103-csr northbound Katy freight was stopped, blocking the crossing of the Missouri Pacific tracks. A 90-car Mo Pac freight, which was southbound, hit the Katy train about midway, knocking two boxcars completely off the tracks and overturning them. Four more Katy boxcars were derailed. The lead Mo Pac diesel unit left the track bed and plunged down a 25-foot railroad bed embankment with another unit just behind it. Two other units were derailed but remained on the track bed. All units remained upright. There were no visible injuries. However, A. C. (Rick) Arner, Osawatomie, engineer of the Mo Pac train, was taken from the scene by ambulance to his home. He was examined by his own physician. Head brakeman on the Mo Pac was E. B. Whitney, rear brakeman was G. A. Austin, and L. E. Akers was conductor. All of the crew are from Osawatomie. E. J. Linden, Parsons, was engineer for the Katy freight, and conductor was W. K. Quarles, Parsons. Both brakemen were from Parsons also.

25 Years Ago (1996)

By a slim 35-vote margin, patrons of Osawatomie Unified School District 367 approved issuing bonds for school facilities Tuesday. The money is to be used to construct a new elementary school, build an addition to the middle school, and raze the old East School.


Ed Hurlbut and Jerry Bell will close the doors to the Hillsdale elevator on Saturday. The two, along with Jim Westendorff, have owned and operated the business for the past three years. All are retired and will devote part of their retirements to farming operations. Hillsdale Elevator has been a place for local farmers to sell their grain, purchase feed and seed, and fertilizer for many years. A town map provided by Marvin Clark, Paola farm manager and abstractor, shows that a warehouse and mill was on the site in 1878.


People turned out by the carload at Powell Observatory over the weekend to glance skyward at the much touted Comet Hyakutake. The comet, discovered by a Japanese amateur astronomer will not disappoint. It was visible to the naked eye on Friday and Saturday nights.


The new Miami County Emergency Medical Service building is finished and occupied. The Paola and Osawatomie EMS units moved into the new structure last week. The EMS operations of the two cities will be combined into one at the new location on Clover Drive, between Paola and Osawatomie.

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