Sunday, October 27, 2019

Notes of Interest from the book 25 Years Among the Indians and the Bufflalo

I originally got this book on library loan from another library just to see what was said about parts of Kansas that I am really familiar with. And there was - Jewell, Smith, Phillips, Rooks, Osborne, Republic, Graham counties and much more.

It was interesting that I got the library loan from a private university in Alabama which made me research what other libraries had it -- Ive League college libraries, and whole bunch of libraries -- I'll leave the rest of that discovery to my work blog for my library.

This is basically a diary printed into a book. Well written, crisp details, first-hand account about the frontier West.

So here are some interesting things I found from reading this book:

  • Sugar Loaf Mound
    Sugar Loaf Mound near the Rooks - Phillips county line was often used as a landmark for buffalo hunters. This leads me to believe that buffalo once roamed around that area then. In fact in his memoir, Mr. Street goes from Hill City towards Sugar Loaf Mound trying to find a buffalo herd.

    To those who don't know, Sugar Loaf Mound was within 8 miles, or less, from where I grew up.
  • Bow Creek
    Back in those days, Bow Creek was not called Bow Creek. It was called Middle Solomon. So there was a North Solomon, a South Solomon, and a Middle Solomon. I found that interesting as Bow Creek was within a mile of Sugar Loaf Mound, and I grew up calling the stream as Bow Creek.
  • Hays
    Hays was a bad, bad village. Mr. Street had served in the army, scouted among the plains, fought in battles, but his day of survival in Hays was an unforgettable experience. By the time he made his only visit to Hays, the railroad was already 125 miles west of Hays in Sheridan. But Hays was inhabited by people tired of following railroad west and decided to stay put, or as Mr. Street described, the worst of society. His morning started with two men shot in his presence and others shot or carved up with a knife. Outside on a sidewalk, he was caught in a crossfire of bullets. In the afternoon, it was quiet as no one was killed, but as the evening came, two soldiers were killed, one with his throat carved and thrown into an empty rail car, and of course other shootings and quarreling were going on. As Mr. Street aptly wrote, "for the one day's experience in Hays, I have never known equal."
  • Smith Center
    Mr. Street and a wealthy friend pushed for Gaylord to be the county seat of Smith Center. The temporary seat was in Cedar. As the votes were being counted between Gaylord or Smith Center, the next to last box was opened and counted which placed Smith Center in a slight lead. Mr. Street felt very confident as the last box was from Gaylord until he started seeing smirking going on. The box from Gaylord was opened up revealing absolutely no ballots in the box to be counted. Mr. Street and friend angrily left knowing that the election had been thwarted.
  • May-October 1869
    The Cheyennes and the Sioux had raided the White Rock Creek and Republican River area of Republic County killing 7 and capturing two; and then killed a few more down along the Solomon River, and on May 30, killed 13 on the Saline River. [To add context, there was a prominent Indian trail connecting the three rivers in that area in almost a straight line.] Mr. Street answered the call of the militia. Interesting stories including getting trapped in a flash flood at the confluence of White Rock Creek and the Republican; the discovery of the ruins of a Fort Kirwin near the confluence of the Middle and North forks of the Solomon with the stockade burnt to the ground by the Indians; and despite their efforts, the militia never found any marauding groups of Indians. Mr. Street commented, supposed Cheyennes and Sioux, indicating his doubts to the officials reports that there were any.
  • Great Spirit Spring (Waconda)
    From the book: "the battalion camped in a large horseshoe bend of the Solomon about one mile west of Waconda. Inside the spring, the water of which was rather brackish, carrying in it considerable salt, the water rises and slowly runs over an oval stone formation, the stone being gradually formed from the salt in the water." Mr. Street observed that the stone formation was about 20 feet high with the spring pool about 30 feet in diameter. The Indians brought gifts to Waconda believing the waters were of medical value.  Mr. Street wisely wrote that the Indians were not going to give up their Waconda without a fight.

Friday, October 25, 2019

My thesis from Kansas University

I wanted to write a blog post about my thesis for my master's at KU.  So this happened during the mid 1980s. I went directly from college to grad school (minus the summer break in between).

First let me digress, that was a weird summer because as soon I got back to Kansas after graduating in Iowa, I was helping my parents pack up the house. I could sense the dread from my parents of moving away somewhere comfortable to a new workplace. It was really weird to move even further east in Kansas.  For my Dad at least, the move became the first time he lived in town. We had neighbors just across the driveway. You could walk down to the post office. But I wasn't in the new town for long, less than two months, and then I moved to Lawrence.  One of my three moves in Lawrence the two years I lived there for master's degree study.

KU was a culture shock for me. I went from a college of 400 students to a university of 25,000 student. I had easy, relaxed living before.

An interesting story about my thesis. This was before Microsoft Word and instead was in the early days of word processing software. I was using Leading Edge to type up my thesis. I gave the floppy disk (yes the 3.5 floppy disk of yore) to the departmental secretary in order to print out three copies for binding. Somehow or another, a mistake was made and a period was inserted after every word! I was beyond words.  The college had to send the disk to the company to fix the issue. It came back fixed and all ended well.

Here is the cover to my thesis: Supervision Practices and Opinions of College Student Newspaper Advisers. If you are ever in Lawrence, it can be found in the archive library.

This thesis reviewed the current legal status of the student press on the college level and surveyed their faculty advisers on the advisers' attitudes and practices concerning censorship of student newspapers.  Information was gathered via mail questionnaires and follow-up mail questionnaires. Each mailing including a self-addressed stamped envelope for easy return. The survey covered 92 colleges around the Lawrence region of the country.

I then wrote five hypotheses about what I would find from the calculations of the surveys. The hypotheses were written and approved by my thesis committee before the surveys were mailed out.

I had to learn very quickly Honeywell computer skills and punch-out cards in order to run cross-tabulations of the survey responses to the questions and then to the related hypothesis. I did significance to chi-square and cross-tabulations through SPSS-X statistical analysis program. Yeah, I had to learn that program really quick as well.

I had help of course. There was a young woman in the KU Statistics Lab who helped me tremendously through the program and data input process. My professor from Westmar had decided to move back to Kansas and he lived very close to Lawrence. He helped me develop the survey tool. I also thanked my parents profusely in my acknowledgements because without them, I would have never found an affordable apartment to move into, nor keep me calm when I thought my thesis had been ruined by the period after every word.

Some more pictures below. One is the thesis title page and the other is one of the many tables depicting cross-tabulation and all of the numbers I dealt with for each question on the survey. This was a massive undertaking but I am very proud of this accomplishment even if it was over 30 years ago!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

National PTA Convention 2019

Columbus, Ohio. View outside my hotel room window from the downtown Hyatt.

I was not wanting to fly to Columbus. Another person from Tennessee PTA was driving and that sounded more appealing. And was leaving on Saturday morning and that was even more appealing to me--three nights and two and half days. But it was not to be.

I was the incoming president elect for Tennessee PTA and National PTA wanted me to come early for enhanced leadership training. They would pay for the flight and for the two extra nights at the hotel. Five nights in all. So, I flew in on Tuesday, June 18 and flew back home on Sunday, June 23 (barely, more on that at the end of this post).

I flew from Chattanooga to Atlanta and then Atlanta to Columbus. All on regional jets. Columbus has a good bus connector system with a bus from the airport to the major downtown hotels for $1.75. Chattanooga needs a system like that.

After rolling my suitcases for a block and a half from the bus drop (thank God, no rain), I checked into my hotel and was promptly charged my three nights onto my card. Plus a deposit. Nice Hyatt, really nice, not. I’ve heard of charging for the deposit but not the entire bill at check-in.
I was hungry after unpacking my packing cubes. (Love my packing cubes!) So, I walked over this huge convention center in Columbus, Ohio at 3 pm. Both restaurants in the hotel were closed and re-open at 4. All the restaurants in the convention center closed at 2. I was going like what the blank is going on!

I finally found an exit door out of the convention center and walked across the street to Fuzzy Taco. It was Tuesday- twofer Tuesdays. Yep two big tacoes for the price of one!  And happy hour! Yep a big giant goblet schooner of beer for 3 bucks.  Total bill, 7 bucks! Yep, I was happy!

The next day was Leadership Institute. I’m not going to bore ya with all of the details from the Institute nor from the following days of Convention general meetings, all of the workshops (5), and other meetings I attended. Suffice it to say, I learned a lot, met a lot of state PTA leaders from across the country, collected pins from different states, and voted on a lot of things. I do want to cover one general business meeting vote.

A resolution that I wrote and researched for my county PTA council was adopted by the State. Then the State sent it to National for consideration.The National PTA adopted it too!  Here is my good friend Charles Everett speaking on behalf of the resolution! You can see me in the background.

The Reflections dinner was fantastic!  It is so amazing the talent of our youth and children. The PTA arts programs plays such a big role connecting PTA to the arts and to families.

Another cool convention was going on at the same time. It was the Pokemon North America Championships. There were Pokemon teams competing for the title. Here are some pictures outside their door entrance.

It was a great convention. I was able to reconnect with other PTA leaders I had met at previous events. I was able to connect with incoming presidents and incoming president elects. This type of networking is so important. And I got to see my good friend, Charla, at the convention!

Thank you to Cheryl Floyd for being a great friend and a great president!

And now to the story about getting back to Chattanooga! What a messed up day of flight!

The plane left on time from Columbus but when we arrived near Atlanta, we were circling, almost 30 minutes. Then over the intercom, we were being diverted to Charlotte. I knew my connecting flight would be out of the question! Thankfully, through the Delta app, I got the last flight out of Atlanta. After three failed tries to take off from Charlotte only to be called back to the airport tarmac, we were finally cleared to leave the runway on the fourth attempt.

When I walked into the Atlanta airport that were people everywhere - even sitting in the hallways. It was madhouse mayhem! Every single flight was delayed or canceled. People were frustrated, mad, angry, bemused, or just tired. By the time I got to the correct terminal for my flight to Chatt, I found out that the gate was changed, again. Then I walked to the new gate, and there wasn't a seat to be found. Then my flight to Chatt was delayed another 30 minutes. Thankfully, I got back to Chatt, 5 and half hours late. But I was thankful just to make it out of Atlanta airport unlike a lot of passengers.
It was great to be back home!