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9. Hawkes to Rebecca Clarke, Norridgewood, Maine, November 6, 1877.

10. Hawkes to H. J. Wheeler, Woodford, Maine, November 13, 1880.

11. Hawkes to Rebecca Clarke, Norridgewood, Maine, November 13, 1880.

12. Hawkes to Lydia Hawkes, Portland, Maine, October 4, 1881.



70 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

pretty well." 13 "Enough have fair to good crops with the high
prices to give really a good result as to money so the Bankers
all tell me. . . ." 14 Hawkes found the lending business too
active to suit him. "Loans are overdone/' he wrote to his brother,
"too much money pressing on Mtges. so that farmers are borrowing
too much & too easy." And, he added, at too low an interest
rate seven per cent. The situation inspired Hawkes to contact
his chief investor, Elder Vance. "I want to have a good chat with
you and Elder Otis soon on the Loan business which is having its
full share of boom so that too much money is wanted or too poor
security offered both bad." 15

But it was not easy to dampen Hawkes' enthusiasm about Kan-
sas, especially after the state embraced prohibition. In August,
1882, he was "glad to get so good reports as are coming from all
parts of Kansas. With such fine crops 6- prohibition the money
lenders occupation will be reduced to close figures in Kan." Hawkes
was thoroughly happy as he wrote the next day to his cousin.
"Kansas is prospering finely fine crops wheat & other small grain
& good prospect for corn & prohibition is strong enough to nominate
my friend Gov. St. John for a third term, . . . the issue was
the endorsement of his strong prohibition ground." 16 His annual
fall trip in no way changed Hawkes' impressions of the summer,
for he wrote his wife in November that "Kansas is in very pros-
perous, hopeful condition as well as temper and I am well satisfied
with my business and prospects." By the next February the New
Haven broker was inspired to write in the following manner.

Have sold more Kan property and had more inquiry this winter than ever
before & my sales have been at an advance above prices of a year ago for the
same property, and considerably more above those of two years ago. Indeed
the improvement in the demand has been very steady for five or six years. Kan.
has now reached a position that precludes doubt about its success in future. 17

And in August he wrote: ". . . from all sections where I have
business I receive accounts of prosperity, new arrivals and buyers
of real estate at advanced prices." After viewing Kansas in the
fall his description was just as glowing: ". . . the 1883 crops
[were] very good and the winter wheat green & beautiful very
promising so Kan is having an era of decided prosperity and land
& city property generally advancing." 18

13. Hawkes to Otis Sawyer, Alfred, Maine, October 6, 1881.

14. Hawkes to the Rev. W. J. Alger, Aubumdale, Mass., October 15, 1881.

15. Hawkes to J. P. Vance, Alfred, Maine, December 23, 1881.

16. Hawkes to the Rev. W. S. Hawkes, South Hadley Falls, Mass., August 12, 1882.

17. Hawkes to A. J. Gleason, Alma, February 12, 1883.

18. Hawkes to Sarah Clarke, Norridgewood, Maine, August 5, November 21, 1883.



CONDITIONS IN KANSAS, 1871-1888 71

The panic of 1884 temporarily checked this prosperity. In May
Hawkes acknowledged the "flurry" but insisted that his business
would not suffer and sincerely hoped that neither would that of
his Kansas correspondents. Faith in Kansas was expressed to Vance
at the same time.

As you see by the papers, there seem no futher troubles as yet, but I fear the
troubles are not all over. I find solid comfort nowadays in Kan R Est. & Mtges.
Wish I had every dollar invested in them, but will feel my way to good in-
vestments I think. No doubt there is money to be made on Wall St. now, but
glad I am not troubled with such speculations the bank risks are all I want.
My Bk. here & N. Y. seem to be all right so far. 19

Hawkes claimed to remain unaffected by the panic during June.
"I have not suffered any by the late financial troubles in N Y C &
my business is good & Kansas prosperous & happy especially with
a chance to vote for her pet J. G. Elaine. I like the man/' 20 Upon
visiting Kansas, however, Hawkes discovered a slowing down in
lending, and interest payments : "Business in the loan line is a little
dull and there is a temporary lull in conditions. . . . This
country is prosperous however and remittance will come fast
enough soon." 21

In writing to his sister on the same day, Hawkes said that good
crops had kept the farmers happy in spite of low prices and that
"farm lands [are] steadily advancing in price." Slightly less opti-
mism was present in his comment to his brother that "business [is]
generally pretty dull, I believe all over the country and considerable
complaint in Kansas," although the advancing price of land con-
tinued to be emphasized. Finally in November, Vance was told
that "just now business seems dead save the coup remittees, but
I look for an improvement and opportunity for good loans & so a
good winter in my line." 22 But winter came and with it this terse
comment: "Money has not been so scarce with me before and the
complaint is general. . . ," 23 Late the next January, Hawkes
apologized to Vance for having no applications available, blaming
the severe weather. At the same time, he was eagerly requesting
applications from his Kansas correspondents "to reach money ready
in the Bank." The presence of ready money awaiting placement
was mentioned again in April, 1885, when there was "more money
offering than ever." Commenting on the continued lull in business

19. Hawkes to J. P. Vance, Alfred, Maine, May 21, 1884.

20. Hawkes to the Rev. W. S. Hawkes, South Hadley Falls, Mass., June 10, 1884.

21. Hawkes to J. P. Vance, Alfred, Maine, October 27, 1884.

22. Hawkes to ibid,, November 29, 1884.

23. Hawkes to C. B. Hawkes, Topeka, December 18, 1884.



72 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

activity, Hawkes mentioned the possibility of war as a stimulant
to the idling economy.

As to business hereabouts "generally" there has been much complaint &
there is still of dullness and the uneasiness about tariff does not seem to be
dispelled but there seems a waiting. I think there will be improvement right
along unless something in the new administration acts or utterances prevents.
War in any of the fields now threatening would benefit business in this coun-
try. . . .24

By late spring Hawkes' volume of business had picked up, as
had the general level of activity. Kansas was provided with an
abundant corn crop and Hawkes was again able to report as fol-
lows: "Kansas is prosperous and having a large immigration chiefly
to the western portion of the state which years ago was supposed
not to have sufficient rain but which is producing fine crops." 25

From this point, Hawkes' reports on Kansas conditions lack the
buoyancy and easy optimism of the earlier years, as crops declined
and the boom began to reach new heights, bringing unprecedented
competition in the lending business. In October, 1886, Hawkes
informed Vance that "light crops and low prices make general
business dull here. Just at this point too much eastern money is
pressing now & too large loans making on the securities." To
another lender he pointed out that although Kansas crops were
light and prices low, there were being made "more public and
private improvements than ever before."

The arrival of boom conditions brought a new set of problems.
Hawkes bitterly denounced the many loan agents who were (he
implied) undermining the business of the more cautious operators.

The West is full of real estate agents, dickering in Real estate exchanging
etc. until it is too much like horse jockeying business. The agents displaying
no more regard for the character of what they handle and careful only to secure
their commissions. 28

In reply to an apparent proposition from his son that he take
part in the Topeka town lot boom, Hawkes wrote the following
letter, "In re 'Boom'":

Thanks for yours of 26 inst. with invitation, but taking your quotation of
prices as sample I must be left out far out in this great Kansas enterprise
so far as regards adding anything to my Kan. Real Estate of which I have plenty
and fear to have more from foreclosures at prices way below those that the
high jumping, optimistic, cheery boomer boometh. Just measure the territory
involved in the boom and estimate when all these "Lots" can be sold to be
built upon & so the length of time that the "Lambs" buying will have to hold

24. Hawkes to C. W. Pickard, Portland, Maine, April 4, 1885.

25. Hawkes to Anna A. Nettleton, Guilford, Conn., October 19, 1885.

26. Hawkes to Elder Elijah Myrick, Ayer, Mass., December 7, 1886.



CONDITIONS IN KANSAS, 1871-1888 73

or take their chances of finding equally sanguine (or sanguinary) ones to un-
load upon and then with me you will get your enjoyment of the boom largely
as a spectator. ... I would greatly enjoy seeing you & visiting you and
have too considerable that I could do in Kan. but not in buying R. Est. at pres-
ent. If I live ten years hence I shall look with complacency upon the few who
are raised from small to large estate by their boom few as compared with the
poor multitude who will "get left." 27

By July, 1887, Hawkes had accepted, in a more resigned manner,
the fact that competition had made the rates "rather low in some
places" at the same time making the loans "rather large for the
security in very many cases." He stated, however, that he was
still getting "good loans at fair rates in various places/' 28 and in
October wrote to his sister, Lydia: "Crops poor but my business
prosperous. Will have some good loans for you."

Unfortunately, there is no way to tell from the available letters
( which reach only to about the peak of the boom ) how the subse-
quent waves of foreclosures, business failures, and agrarian protest
affected Hawkes and his mortgage brokerage business.

27. Hawkes to S. N. Hawkes, Topeka, March 29, 1887.

28. Hawkes to John M. Brumbaugh, Concordia, July 9, 1887.



The Annual Meeting

84th annual meeting of the Kansas State Historical Society
* and board of directors was held in Topeka on October 20, 1959.

For the second year a meeting was held in the Memorial build-
ing in the morning designed to aid persons interested in local
museums and historical societies. The meeting was called for 10
A. M. Edgar Langsdorf, assistant secretary of the State Historical
Society, presided and Stanley D. Sohl, museum director, discussed
museum record-keeping and administrative problems. County or-
ganizations in many parts of the state were represented.

The meeting of the Society's board of directors was held con-
currently in the newspaper reading room. Called to order by Presi-
dent Richard M. Long, the first business was the report of the sec-
retary:

SECRETARY'S REPORT, YEAR ENDING OCTOBER 20, 1959

At the conclusion of last year's meeting the newly elected president, Rich-
ard M. Long, reappointed Will T. Beck, John S. Dawson, and T. M. Lillard to
the executive committee. Members holding over were Charles M. Correll
and Frank Haucke.

Three members of the Society's board of directors have died since the last
meeting. Mrs. Jean S. Reser of Hamilton succumbed unexpectedly at Boulder,
Colo., on November 19, 1958. A devoted student of Kansas and Greenwood
county history, Mrs. Reser and her husband assembled an unusually fine col-
lection of historical mementoes and antiques, some of which she lent for dis-
play in the Society's museum. One of her last projects was the preparation of a
history of Greenwood county which was published in the Eureka Herald in
September and October, 1955.

Mrs. Jane C. Rupp of Lincolnville, another long-time friend, died January
2, 1959. She had been a life member of the Society since 1929, and even
earlier had contributed a listing of tombstone inscriptions in Hillcrest ceme-
tery in Florence which was published in volume 17 of The Kansas Historical
Collections. She was also the donor of three Marion county scrapbooks to our
library.

Judge Karl Miller died July 12, 1959. A resident of Dodge City from
childhood, he was at various times a practising attorney, county attorney,
member of the legislature, and from 1926 until his retirement in 1955 was
judge of the 31st judicial district. He also served as state pardon attorney in
1955-1956. He was coauthor of a history of the Southwest Kansas Bar Asso-
ciation which was prepared in 1956.

The loss of these friends will be deeply felt.

APPROPRIATIONS AND BUDGET REQUESTS

During the present fiscal year the Society is operating on a tight budget,
as are most other state agencies. This is not to imply that our budget is not

(74)



THE ANNUAL MEETING 75

always tight, for it is, but this year it is a little tighter than usual. With a close
eye on the pennies, however, we shall manage to survive, barring additional
expensive incidents such as an unforeseen elevator repair bill of $500 last month.

The 1959 session of the legislature appropriated $15,000 for completing
air conditioning on the fourth floor and extending it to offices on the third
floor. It also increased by $1,150 a previous appropriation for installing a
fire protection system. No other capital improvement requests were approved,
but $5,000 was added to the Society's budget for the purpose of erecting a
memorial to Kansans who participated in the campaigns before Vicksburg
during the Civil War.

Budget requests for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1961, were filed with the
state budget director in September. Permission was requested to employ an
additional janitor, to change one part-time position to a full-time job, and to
increase the number of part-time employees. No new capital improvement
requests were made, but those denied last year were repeated, including the
sandblasting of the Memorial building, construction of a suspended ceiling in
the museum, installing a new elevator, and with emphasis the remodeling
of the G. A. R. hall area on the second and third floors. The latter also provides
for air-conditioning for the remaining offices and reading rooms.

Early this month supplementary budget schedules were filed with the budget
director to cover salary increases authorized by the state finance council. The
council also approved establishment of the position of archaeologist on the
Society's staff.

Except for these changes operating expenses are expected to remain at about
the present level both for the Society proper and the historical properties which
it administers.

PUBLICATIONS AND SPECIAL PROJECTS

The 1959 volume of The Kansas Historical Quarterly begins with the presi-
dential address of Alan W. Farley on the Union Pacific railroad in Kansas.
Letters written by the Rev. S. Y. Lum in Kansas during 1854-1858, edited by
Dr. Emory Lindquist, appeared in the Spring and Summer issues. Dr. James
C. Malin's contributions this year consist of a story on William Sutton White
in the Spring and Summer issues, and articles on Eugene F. Ware scheduled
for the Autumn and Winter numbers. A story of particular interest for the
Summer and Autumn magazines was the history of the U. S. Army and Air
Force flight installations in Kansas. Religion in Kansas during the Civil War
is the subject of an article by Dr. Lindquist, to appear in the Autumn and
Winter numbers.

The four issues of 1959 will comprise volume 25 of the Quarterly, and
volume 42 of the Collections. Approximately 2,600 copies of each issue are
mailed to members of the Society, to Kansas newspaper publishers, schools,
and libraries.

Now in its fifth year, the bimonthly Mirror continues to give members of
the Society current news of developments, plans, and activities. Since its pub-
lication was begun this little newsletter has been especially helpful in calling
attention to items needed in the museum and other departments, and the
response from readers has been prompt and generous.

Weekly releases are still sent out each month to the Kansas press, presenting
articles from Kansas newspapers of a hundred years ago. Many publishers



76 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

over the state use this material regularly. The Johnson County Herald editor
wrote last month: "We newspaper men don't get many thanks for things we
do, and have to assume that if we get no kicks, things are O. K. So . . .
just a word of thanks and appreciation to you folks who mail us the Kansas
100 Years Ago material. I enjoy reading it and I know Herald subscribers do
also." The Society will continue to issue these releases as long as they are so
well received.

This month a special release was sent out, to weekly newspapers only, at
the suggestion of President Long. The subject selected, Abraham Lincoln's
visit to Kansas late in 1859, should be timely and interesting. Possibly such
stories can be released from time to time, especially in connection with the
Kansas centennial, if ways and means of paying for the necessary "mats" can
be worked out.

Today is the official publication date of the long-awaited Comprehensive
Index to Publications, 1875-1930 on which Louise Barry, of the Society's staff,
has been working for several years. It is a great satisfaction to make this
announcement, and if this 515-page volume proves as useful a reference tool
as everyone expects, the time and labor expended on itr production will be
well worthwhile. It is also a pleasure to report that Miss Barry has already
started indexing the Quarterly series, which began in 1931. This second
Comprehensive Index volume will be published as soon as her work can be
completed.

Texts for seven new historical markers have been prepared. One for the
Kansas Turnpike Authority features "Lawrence and the Old Trails." The
other six are: "Land of the Plains Indian," erected in Clark county; "Open-
ing of the Mid-Continent Oil Field," to be erected at Neodesha; "The Bloody
Benders," near Parsons; "Alcove Springs and the Oregon Trail," east of Blue
Rapids; "Montgomery County," east of Independence; and "Land of the
Buffalo," west of Kingman.

Work is underway in earnest on a pictorial history of Kansas which it is
hoped can be published by January, 1961. Plans have been made for a
300-page book containing about 550 pictures, some in color with colored maps.
The accompanying text will tell briefly the exciting story of Kansas. This is
designed to be a book with wide popular appeal, not for the scholar but for
the person who likes his history in a nutshell and who enjoys looking at in-
teresting illustrations. The Kansas Centennial Commission has included pro-
duction costs of the book in the budget which it will present to the 1960
legislature. If all goes well, this will be the Society's major contribution to
the centennial observance.

The generosity of Robert Baughman, one of our directors, in establishing
the Robert Baughman Foundation, has made it possible to begin work on
two special research projects. One is a compilation of all Kansas post offices
with dates of establishment and discontinuance, names of postmasters and
dates of their service. The second is a descriptive listing of Kansas maps,
atlases, and plats. Funds have been given to the Society by the Foundation
to pay the salaries of the two research workers employed on these projects
and to purchase the necessary supplies and equipment.

There are many projects in Kansas history which are worthy but may never
be accomplished except for aid of this kind. And it is redundant to report



THE ANNUAL MEETING 77

here that the Society considers it a privilege to be able to co-operate with
Mr. Baughman in this fine work. May others, who have Kansas history in-
terests, be inspired to come and do likewise.

ARCHAEOLOGY

During July and August the Society conducted archaeological excavations
on the George Hart farm in the area of the Pomona reservoir, Osage county.
Cosponsors were the National Park Service and the Smithsonian Institution.
The site was located in 1958 during a preliminary archaeological survey, and
surface materials indicated an occupation dating 600 to 800 years ago. A
report of this survey, which also included the proposed Melvern reservoir,
was published by the Society last November.

Probably the most interesting result of the summer's work, supervised in
the field by Roscoe Wilmeth, the Society's assistant museum director, was
the discovery of the remains of a house quite different from the Plains earth
lodge which might normally have been expected. It was apparently ovoid
in shape, measured 18 x 14 feet, and had a roof made of grass and twigs
plastered with mud. It showed influences derived presumably from the
"Caddoan" area of eastern Oklahoma and Texas, and is significant because
it shows the connection between prehistoric Indians of this area and the more
elaborate cultures to the southeast.

Plans have already been made for a survey this winter in the area of the
John Redmond reservoir in Lyon and Coffey counties, and for a "dig" next
summer at the Milford reservoir in Clay county. Meantime the artifacts found
at Pomona will be studied and a formal report will be prepared.

ARCHIVES DIVISION

Public records from the following state departments have been transferred
during the year to the archives division:

Source Title Dates Quantity

Administration, Depart-
ment of, Accounts &

Reports Division Fiscal Records 1951 12 vols.

Agriculture, Board of ... Abstracts of Agricultural

Statistics 1956, 1957 212 vols.

Statistical Rolls of Counties, 1952 1,719 vols.

Population Schedules of

Cities and Townships . . 1958, 1959 8,835 vols.

Governor's Office Correspondence Files 1955, 1956 5 bxs.

Insurance Department . . *Annual Statements 1951, 1952 936 vols.

*Record of Agents' Licenses, 1945-1952 87 vols.
*Applications for Agents' Li-
censes 1934, 1939-

1952 63 vols.

( * To be microfilmed and originals destroyed. )

Annual reports were received from the Board of Basic Science Examiners,
Board of Healing Arts, Board of Podiatry Examiners, Livestock Sanitary Com-
missioner, and Workmen's Compensation Commissioner for the fiscal year
ending June 30, 1958, and from the Corporation Commission for the fiscal
year ending June 30, 1959. A biennial report from the Office Building Com-
mission for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1958, and a report of the Old Age



78 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

and Survivors Insurance program, issued by the Department of Administration
for the calendar year 1958, were also received.

Records of the Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Kansas, were
moved into the archives division from the old office space of the G. A. R. dur-
ing the past year. Fiscal and reunion records, 1879-1936, have been micro-
filmed while letters and papers of the organization, totaling 18 manuscript
volumes and 14 document boxes, have been arranged and shelved.

In 1952 the Society received from Johnson county a large quantity of original
records dating from 1857 to 1930. The bulk of this material has now been
microfilmed on 14 reels. With the consent of the Johnson county commis-
sioners, most of the originals have been destroyed although four document
boxes of manuscripts have been retained.

A special project, to microfilm the statistical rolls of counties for the years
1919 and 1937-1952, is currently underway. When it is completed, about the
end of this year, filming of abstracts of agricultural statistics and population
schedules of cities and townships will begin.

LIBRARY

The total number of library patrons for the year was 4,508. Of this number
2,236 worked on Kansas subjects, 1,395 on genealogy, and 877 on subjects of
general interest. In addition to queries from Kansas patrons, the correspondence
included letters from 38 states, Germany, Ireland, and England. These out-
of-state requests were chiefly concerned with Kansas people, places, or events.
Nearly 200 packages of loan file material were sent out.

One of our most valuable collections is the material on churches. It includes
clipping volumes, periodicals, histories of several individual churches, and
proceedings of annual conferences for the major denominations. Some of the
conference records date from the territorial period. Records of some of the
early congregations were kept carelessly, if at all, so these conference reports
are useful in answering requests for information about a particular church.
This is especially true now, when many churches are celebrating their cen-
tennials.



Online LibraryKansas State Historical SocietyThe Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 26) → online text (page 9 of 59)