March 15, 2017 News

Birthdays: March 15, Jenna Higgins, Havyn Showalter, Lily Rues; March 16, Audra Hurd; March 17, Brian Davis, Bruce Kershner, Brandon Herdman; March 18, Mark Baus, Joshua Miller; March 19, Laura Wierman, Bill Wetzel, Andrew Zimmerman, Alexandra Anderson; March 20, Nicole VonLehe, Carla McCarrell, Shari Funk, Dylan Derr, Roxan Dechant, Sonia Mae Conner; March 21, Robert Higgins, Hannah Albers Enslow.

Anniversary: March 20, Jerry and Ann Schutte.

A donation has been received from YourCause, L.L.C. from Michael Harp for the Jail/Museum.

Marty and Tina Mills were Sunday dinner guests of Opal and Gary Mills at a café near Auburn, California. Marty said water is standing everywhere, but they had no rain that day.

We were surprised by a snow shower on Saturday afternoon. It melted off quickly when the sun came out. Pray for rain. After all the warm weather last week it is hard to go back to winter. The cattlemen are in the midst of having calves.

We are sad about the extreme loss of cattle that died in the fires in SW Kansas.

We are indebted to all those members from our McCracken volunteer fire department, Bill, William and Michael Greenway, John Irvin, Kevin Anderson, Heath and Ted North, Scott Keener, Travis North, Chansler Petz, Chase Rogers, and John Zeller who prevented the potential fire disaster at Brownell from coming on east. Arlyn North, Les Rogers and Dave Albers provided water. We have a lot of CRP ground in the path. Also our cattle herds and farm homes would have been in the path. We took a trip to Ransom yesterday. There were volunteers there helping out around the burned homes. If you want to help, a fund has been set up at First State Bank of Ransom, P. O Box 245, Ransom, KS 67572 for those impacted by the fires.

The Hays Daily News had two days of articles about the fire. They also posted a video of the start of the Brownell fire. Janice Showalter was shown in one photograph in the paper of her daughter's home in Ransom. On Facebook Norma McNair mentioned that Barbara McLain could use some support by sending her a birthday card to P. O. Box 247 in Ransom. Gift cards would be of help to those who lost everything.

Some houses at Ransom didn't look burned, but they were burned completely inside as they had steel siding on them and the firemen couldn't get to the fire. (That happened at Jeff and Anita Butler's house also north of McCracken a few years ago).

In the book “Early Days of Kansas” by Bliss Eisley it has a chapter on The Prairie Fire. James R. Mead of Iowa loved to hunt and fish. When he was old enough to leave home he bought a horse and rode it to Kansas where he met Buffalo Bill Mathewson and they hunted together. One day they were hunting along the Arkansas River near Wichita. The noticed a great cloud of smoke coming up from the south near the Whitewater Creek by Cupp's. They hurried to help. The Indians were in retreat - they headed for the river for safety. The fire was coming as fast as a horse could ride and in front of the fire were rabbits, coyotes and deer, trying to get away. The fire roared like the wind. The fire leaped high in the air and was carried on by the wind. Mead hitched his horses to a plow and plowed around the Cupp's house . Then he started a back fire on the south side of the furrow. As the back fire burned the grass it left nothing but black ash. The big fire came so fast that it sometimes jumped 100 feet at a time. . At last the big fire and the back fire met and there was a big roar, but the area held. Only a few sparks could jump across and those were knocked down by Cupp and Mead. It is said that in the earlier days, the fires went clear across the state. You wonder if the buffalo could keep ahead of the fire line. Most of these stories appeared in the Wichita Beacon and was published by the Kansas State Teachers Association in 1927 and was used until 1956.

We are saddened to hear that Kirby Petz died Saturday, March 11. He was born October 15, 1953. Funeral services are pending.

Kathleen Stremel Thomas celebrated her 70th birthday this past weekend in Kansas City. Celebrating with her was Shirley Bundy, Carolyn Davenport, LeAnnn Knight, Hutchinson, David and Lanette Kaster, Katie Elias, Overland Park, Denise Fuller, Miltonvale, and Celeste Davis, Memphis. David and Lanette hosted a birthday dinner on Friday evening and despite the snow on Saturday they shopped on the Plaza, visited the Nelson Art Gallery and stayed at the Embassy Suites. It was great getting together and not being the holiday season.

Jerry Higgins was an official in Emporia at the State Tournament.

History Notes: March 1887:

McCracken is to have a newspaper. E.B. King is fencing in a 140 acre pasture. Mr. Peter Derr will in the near future erect a two story stone house. John Rixon is now erecting a new farm home. School was out in Hampton the 16th. Mr. Parker will take up a select school at McCracken commencing on March 28. Jared Metz History 1980: Norma Elmore was crowned queen, Mitchell Jacobs King at the basketball homecoming Friday night. Attendants were Kellye Irvin, Tammy Higgins, Craig Stull, and Kathleen Moran. Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Brackney moved to Ness City. Willard Justice and Davanna Fletcher were married recently. The 6th and 7th grade boys beat Otis-Bison 35-27.

from Pat Petz

On Monday and Tuesday evenings, mom and I along with a large number of other people attended the Mission presenters at the St. Michael's Parish Center. Sisters Paulynn Instenes and Jean Michael Treba, FSPA, from St. John, Kansas, gave us their thoughts on “Community, Service and Involvement” on Monday evening. They had taught science to tribal adults in Zimbabwe, Africa for 4 years and were in Guam for 3 years and had served the poorest of the poor in Mississippi. On Tuesday evening, Mr. Steve Martinez, from Danville gave us his experience with a near fatal E-coli infection that put him in a coma for 14 days and was not expected to live. His presentation was very inspiring and challenged us to be better Christians.

On Thursday, family members and friends of Kirby Petz attended the memorial service at the Janousek Funeral Home in La Crosse. After the services a nice luncheon was prepared at the McCracken Community Building. My children, Kelly Petz from Hays and my daughter, Angie, and her family from McPherson attended the services and then came out to the farm.

Since Spring Break has begun around many school districts, Drake (Angie's son) decided that it was time to spend a week at Grandma Pat's house. Angie had taken an extra day off of work so that she could spend some time out at the farm as well.

Do you know where all 8 Wonders of Kansas are located? Well one of those locations is at Castle Rock, a large limestone pillar landmark in Gove County, Kansas. The formation and the nearby badlands are located in the Smoky Hills region of Kansas, approximately 11 miles south of I-70 near Quinter. On Friday, Angie, Drake, Grant, Grandma Mary, and myself headed to these awesome rock formations. The formations got their name in 1865 from Lt. Julian Fitch, who was a surveyor for the Butterfield Overland Dispatch. The chalk formations were deposited in the area by an ancient inland sea during the Cretaceous Sea period, over 60 million years ago, and were formed by the weathering of the chalk by wind and water. The Castle Rock formations are very fragile and in 2001 there was a thunderstorm that toppled the tallest spire. People are afraid that the Castle Rock spires may not last a lot longer. Although the roads are not in the best of shape, the beauty of it all makes up for the inconvenience. Be sure to visit this magnificent sight.

To continue our enjoyment of the past and fossil and rock formations, Drake, Grant, Angie and I visited the Sternberg Museum in Hays on Saturday afternoon. They have a very nice presentation of bees for the public to see and to learn about their habitat right now. Of course, the boys loved the “Fossil pit” where they could dig for fossils and the “Discovery Room”. That evening we met up with Christi Schneider from WaKeeney at Guiterrez's for supper. We had a very nice visit.

Sunday afternoon, Angie and Grant needed to return to McPherson, so we picked up Grandma Mary in La Crosse and headed for Great Bend. We ate lunch at the “Great Wall” and then we headed for the Brit Spaugh Zoo and the City Park. The favorite part for the boys was feeding the ducks, swans, and coi in the pond. Later that afternoon Trent, Angie's husband, met us at the park. We ate supper at “Pizza Hut” and then we each traveled our separate ways. We ate a fun few days together and Drake and I have a lot of things planned for this next week.

©2017, McCracken Alumni Association
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