An unusual family history | TheFencePost.com

An unusual family history

Eugene Blake
Winfield, Kan.

One day, near the turn of the last century, in Medicine Lodge, Kan., Pete Hoover was strolling down the sidewalk. Suddenly, a large, grim woman confronted him and pulled the cigar from his mouth. Apparently Carrie Nation didn’t like smoking any better than drinking.

Pete, born in 1849, came to Medicine Lodge in 1884 – not long after it was first settled in 1873 and incorporated in 1879. In 1904 he married Margaret Priest. Pete had three sons and one daughter from a previous marriage. By this time he had accumulated a number of 40- and 160-acre land parcels and created a ranch totaling some 1,880 acres. The land, purchased from the federal government, was part of the Osage Land Trust. The Trust was a strip of land 20 miles wide, running west from where the Verdigris River crosses the southern Kansas border (south of Coffeyville) and on the north side of what was then the Osage Tribal Reservation in what is now Oklahoma.

The U.S. government paid the Osage Indians $300,000 for the land and also reimbursed them when the parcels were sold, for a minimum of $1.25 per acre. The Hoover land deeds are dated from 1889 through 1904 and are signed by presidents Harrison, Roosevelt and McKinley. Apparently, because most of the parcels were 160-acres and because they were purchased by about a dozen individuals – including Pete and his three sons – that was the maximum acreage a person could purchase. Later purchases increased the size of the ranch to 3,800 acres, making him one of the more prominent ranchers in the area.

The ranch is located 12 miles southwest of Medicine Lodge in the Gypsum Hills. One of the more scenic areas in Kansas, it’s a region of rolling hills, canyons, and buttes with many Eastern Red Cedar trees. Commonly called the Gyp Hills, it’s also been known as the Red Hills, because of the presence of iron oxide in the soil. Native Americans referred to them as the Medicine Hills and the river near the town as the Medicine River because it could be used as a soothing bath or laxative. Later it was determined the water contained what is known as Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Many of the buttes in the hills are capped with a layer of gypsum (hydrated calcium sulfate) which is a little harder than the easily-eroded red soil. Today gypsum is mined northwest of Medicine Lodge and used in a local factory to manufacture drywall for home and commercial construction.

Pete was driving his wagon into Medicine Lodge one day when lightning struck his horses, killing them and blinding him. Unable to care for the ranch, he asked his nephew, Jesse Hopkins, to come to Kansas from Baltimore, Md., and help him. Prior to enlisting in the Army during WWI, Jesse had resided in the Hoover household. After Pete died in 1919, Jesse continued to make his home at the ranch. Since it was not socially acceptable for Jesse and Pete’s widow, Margaret, to live together, they married – in spite of the fact she was 12 years older.

At some point, he leased the ranch so he could build houses in town. In 1929 he built one for Margaret that was ahead of its time. The home has two and one-half baths and four bedrooms with spacious closets. In 1937 Margaret was killed when a bus struck her car. Jesse inherited the house and half of the ranch – the other half of which he purchased from her children.

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He hired Mammie Lenora “Nora” Ragan as a housekeeper to maintain the home and, when she became ill, asked her to move into the house so he could care for her. Again, in order for it to look proper, they married in 1940 even though she was 24 years younger. Nora had two daughters, Elsie and Juanita. Jesse paid for Elsie to go to nurses training at Hertzler Clinic in Halstead, Kan., and for Juanita to go to secretarial school in Denver, Colo.

Medicine Lodge has another interesting piece of history: It was here in 1867 a peace treaty was signed with the Kiowa, Comanche, Plains Apache, Southern Cheyenne, and Southern Arapaho tribes. Sixty years later, in 1927, the town began celebrating the event with an annual pageant. Among those participating the first year were Nora, Elsie, and Nora’s father, who used an ox and a mule to pull a covered wagon in the parade. Although the ox and mule represented two of the three types of locomotion for a covered wagon, they typically weren’t used as a team. Recently the pageant has been held every five years.

Jesse died in 1959 at age 74 and in his will gave Nora possession of the house and life estate on the ranch. Upon her death, Elsie and Juanita were to receive life estate on the ranch, and upon their deaths, the grandchildren receive possession of the ranch. Today Juanita is deceased, Elsie owns the house, has life estate on half of the ranch, and the seven grandchildren have possession of the other half. For the last 50 years the ranch has been leased by the Wagnon family.

Nora Hopkins is an interesting person in her own right. Her grandmother, Emma Howard, came to Emporia, Kan., on an orphan train from Pennsylvania. In May of 1927 her father’s home was completely blown away by a tornado. Seeking cover in a nearby canyon, they had to settle for lister furrows when the storm overtook them. Nora, barely 18-years-old, was holding year-old Elsie. Both were carried one-quarter mile by the storm that stripped clothing from their battered bodies. Many were surprised Elsie lived through the experience.

Born in 1909, Nora lived past her 100th birthday and, even shortly before her death, walked a mile every day. The nursing home where she lived requested an approval letter from her doctor to allow the walks. Elsie says of her mother, “She was a strong-willed, outspoken person who enjoyed needlework, quilting and weaving. Mom loved to play bingo and travel – particularly going to Las Vegas – even in her late 80s. She left 36 descendants, including 14 great-great grandchildren and five great-great-great grandchildren.”

Today, Nora’s daughter, Elsie Schauf, 85, lives in the house built by Jesse Hopkins and finds it to be more than a comfortable home. She appreciates the frequent visits and phone calls from her children. Her daughter and son-in-law, Martha “Marti” and Jim Sheetz, live close enough they can help maintain her home. She also appreciates her unique family history and is proud of her pioneer heritage.

One day, near the turn of the last century, in Medicine Lodge, Kan., Pete Hoover was strolling down the sidewalk. Suddenly, a large, grim woman confronted him and pulled the cigar from his mouth. Apparently Carrie Nation didn’t like smoking any better than drinking.

Pete, born in 1849, came to Medicine Lodge in 1884 – not long after it was first settled in 1873 and incorporated in 1879. In 1904 he married Margaret Priest. Pete had three sons and one daughter from a previous marriage. By this time he had accumulated a number of 40- and 160-acre land parcels and created a ranch totaling some 1,880 acres. The land, purchased from the federal government, was part of the Osage Land Trust. The Trust was a strip of land 20 miles wide, running west from where the Verdigris River crosses the southern Kansas border (south of Coffeyville) and on the north side of what was then the Osage Tribal Reservation in what is now Oklahoma.

The U.S. government paid the Osage Indians $300,000 for the land and also reimbursed them when the parcels were sold, for a minimum of $1.25 per acre. The Hoover land deeds are dated from 1889 through 1904 and are signed by presidents Harrison, Roosevelt and McKinley. Apparently, because most of the parcels were 160-acres and because they were purchased by about a dozen individuals – including Pete and his three sons – that was the maximum acreage a person could purchase. Later purchases increased the size of the ranch to 3,800 acres, making him one of the more prominent ranchers in the area.

The ranch is located 12 miles southwest of Medicine Lodge in the Gypsum Hills. One of the more scenic areas in Kansas, it’s a region of rolling hills, canyons, and buttes with many Eastern Red Cedar trees. Commonly called the Gyp Hills, it’s also been known as the Red Hills, because of the presence of iron oxide in the soil. Native Americans referred to them as the Medicine Hills and the river near the town as the Medicine River because it could be used as a soothing bath or laxative. Later it was determined the water contained what is known as Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Many of the buttes in the hills are capped with a layer of gypsum (hydrated calcium sulfate) which is a little harder than the easily-eroded red soil. Today gypsum is mined northwest of Medicine Lodge and used in a local factory to manufacture drywall for home and commercial construction.

Pete was driving his wagon into Medicine Lodge one day when lightning struck his horses, killing them and blinding him. Unable to care for the ranch, he asked his nephew, Jesse Hopkins, to come to Kansas from Baltimore, Md., and help him. Prior to enlisting in the Army during WWI, Jesse had resided in the Hoover household. After Pete died in 1919, Jesse continued to make his home at the ranch. Since it was not socially acceptable for Jesse and Pete’s widow, Margaret, to live together, they married – in spite of the fact she was 12 years older.

At some point, he leased the ranch so he could build houses in town. In 1929 he built one for Margaret that was ahead of its time. The home has two and one-half baths and four bedrooms with spacious closets. In 1937 Margaret was killed when a bus struck her car. Jesse inherited the house and half of the ranch – the other half of which he purchased from her children.

He hired Mammie Lenora “Nora” Ragan as a housekeeper to maintain the home and, when she became ill, asked her to move into the house so he could care for her. Again, in order for it to look proper, they married in 1940 even though she was 24 years younger. Nora had two daughters, Elsie and Juanita. Jesse paid for Elsie to go to nurses training at Hertzler Clinic in Halstead, Kan., and for Juanita to go to secretarial school in Denver, Colo.

Medicine Lodge has another interesting piece of history: It was here in 1867 a peace treaty was signed with the Kiowa, Comanche, Plains Apache, Southern Cheyenne, and Southern Arapaho tribes. Sixty years later, in 1927, the town began celebrating the event with an annual pageant. Among those participating the first year were Nora, Elsie, and Nora’s father, who used an ox and a mule to pull a covered wagon in the parade. Although the ox and mule represented two of the three types of locomotion for a covered wagon, they typically weren’t used as a team. Recently the pageant has been held every five years.

Jesse died in 1959 at age 74 and in his will gave Nora possession of the house and life estate on the ranch. Upon her death, Elsie and Juanita were to receive life estate on the ranch, and upon their deaths, the grandchildren receive possession of the ranch. Today Juanita is deceased, Elsie owns the house, has life estate on half of the ranch, and the seven grandchildren have possession of the other half. For the last 50 years the ranch has been leased by the Wagnon family.

Nora Hopkins is an interesting person in her own right. Her grandmother, Emma Howard, came to Emporia, Kan., on an orphan train from Pennsylvania. In May of 1927 her father’s home was completely blown away by a tornado. Seeking cover in a nearby canyon, they had to settle for lister furrows when the storm overtook them. Nora, barely 18-years-old, was holding year-old Elsie. Both were carried one-quarter mile by the storm that stripped clothing from their battered bodies. Many were surprised Elsie lived through the experience.

Born in 1909, Nora lived past her 100th birthday and, even shortly before her death, walked a mile every day. The nursing home where she lived requested an approval letter from her doctor to allow the walks. Elsie says of her mother, “She was a strong-willed, outspoken person who enjoyed needlework, quilting and weaving. Mom loved to play bingo and travel – particularly going to Las Vegas – even in her late 80s. She left 36 descendants, including 14 great-great grandchildren and five great-great-great grandchildren.”

Today, Nora’s daughter, Elsie Schauf, 85, lives in the house built by Jesse Hopkins and finds it to be more than a comfortable home. She appreciates the frequent visits and phone calls from her children. Her daughter and son-in-law, Martha “Marti” and Jim Sheetz, live close enough they can help maintain her home. She also appreciates her unique family history and is proud of her pioneer heritage.

One day, near the turn of the last century, in Medicine Lodge, Kan., Pete Hoover was strolling down the sidewalk. Suddenly, a large, grim woman confronted him and pulled the cigar from his mouth. Apparently Carrie Nation didn’t like smoking any better than drinking.

Pete, born in 1849, came to Medicine Lodge in 1884 – not long after it was first settled in 1873 and incorporated in 1879. In 1904 he married Margaret Priest. Pete had three sons and one daughter from a previous marriage. By this time he had accumulated a number of 40- and 160-acre land parcels and created a ranch totaling some 1,880 acres. The land, purchased from the federal government, was part of the Osage Land Trust. The Trust was a strip of land 20 miles wide, running west from where the Verdigris River crosses the southern Kansas border (south of Coffeyville) and on the north side of what was then the Osage Tribal Reservation in what is now Oklahoma.

The U.S. government paid the Osage Indians $300,000 for the land and also reimbursed them when the parcels were sold, for a minimum of $1.25 per acre. The Hoover land deeds are dated from 1889 through 1904 and are signed by presidents Harrison, Roosevelt and McKinley. Apparently, because most of the parcels were 160-acres and because they were purchased by about a dozen individuals – including Pete and his three sons – that was the maximum acreage a person could purchase. Later purchases increased the size of the ranch to 3,800 acres, making him one of the more prominent ranchers in the area.

The ranch is located 12 miles southwest of Medicine Lodge in the Gypsum Hills. One of the more scenic areas in Kansas, it’s a region of rolling hills, canyons, and buttes with many Eastern Red Cedar trees. Commonly called the Gyp Hills, it’s also been known as the Red Hills, because of the presence of iron oxide in the soil. Native Americans referred to them as the Medicine Hills and the river near the town as the Medicine River because it could be used as a soothing bath or laxative. Later it was determined the water contained what is known as Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Many of the buttes in the hills are capped with a layer of gypsum (hydrated calcium sulfate) which is a little harder than the easily-eroded red soil. Today gypsum is mined northwest of Medicine Lodge and used in a local factory to manufacture drywall for home and commercial construction.

Pete was driving his wagon into Medicine Lodge one day when lightning struck his horses, killing them and blinding him. Unable to care for the ranch, he asked his nephew, Jesse Hopkins, to come to Kansas from Baltimore, Md., and help him. Prior to enlisting in the Army during WWI, Jesse had resided in the Hoover household. After Pete died in 1919, Jesse continued to make his home at the ranch. Since it was not socially acceptable for Jesse and Pete’s widow, Margaret, to live together, they married – in spite of the fact she was 12 years older.

At some point, he leased the ranch so he could build houses in town. In 1929 he built one for Margaret that was ahead of its time. The home has two and one-half baths and four bedrooms with spacious closets. In 1937 Margaret was killed when a bus struck her car. Jesse inherited the house and half of the ranch – the other half of which he purchased from her children.

He hired Mammie Lenora “Nora” Ragan as a housekeeper to maintain the home and, when she became ill, asked her to move into the house so he could care for her. Again, in order for it to look proper, they married in 1940 even though she was 24 years younger. Nora had two daughters, Elsie and Juanita. Jesse paid for Elsie to go to nurses training at Hertzler Clinic in Halstead, Kan., and for Juanita to go to secretarial school in Denver, Colo.

Medicine Lodge has another interesting piece of history: It was here in 1867 a peace treaty was signed with the Kiowa, Comanche, Plains Apache, Southern Cheyenne, and Southern Arapaho tribes. Sixty years later, in 1927, the town began celebrating the event with an annual pageant. Among those participating the first year were Nora, Elsie, and Nora’s father, who used an ox and a mule to pull a covered wagon in the parade. Although the ox and mule represented two of the three types of locomotion for a covered wagon, they typically weren’t used as a team. Recently the pageant has been held every five years.

Jesse died in 1959 at age 74 and in his will gave Nora possession of the house and life estate on the ranch. Upon her death, Elsie and Juanita were to receive life estate on the ranch, and upon their deaths, the grandchildren receive possession of the ranch. Today Juanita is deceased, Elsie owns the house, has life estate on half of the ranch, and the seven grandchildren have possession of the other half. For the last 50 years the ranch has been leased by the Wagnon family.

Nora Hopkins is an interesting person in her own right. Her grandmother, Emma Howard, came to Emporia, Kan., on an orphan train from Pennsylvania. In May of 1927 her father’s home was completely blown away by a tornado. Seeking cover in a nearby canyon, they had to settle for lister furrows when the storm overtook them. Nora, barely 18-years-old, was holding year-old Elsie. Both were carried one-quarter mile by the storm that stripped clothing from their battered bodies. Many were surprised Elsie lived through the experience.

Born in 1909, Nora lived past her 100th birthday and, even shortly before her death, walked a mile every day. The nursing home where she lived requested an approval letter from her doctor to allow the walks. Elsie says of her mother, “She was a strong-willed, outspoken person who enjoyed needlework, quilting and weaving. Mom loved to play bingo and travel – particularly going to Las Vegas – even in her late 80s. She left 36 descendants, including 14 great-great grandchildren and five great-great-great grandchildren.”

Today, Nora’s daughter, Elsie Schauf, 85, lives in the house built by Jesse Hopkins and finds it to be more than a comfortable home. She appreciates the frequent visits and phone calls from her children. Her daughter and son-in-law, Martha “Marti” and Jim Sheetz, live close enough they can help maintain her home. She also appreciates her unique family history and is proud of her pioneer heritage.

One day, near the turn of the last century, in Medicine Lodge, Kan., Pete Hoover was strolling down the sidewalk. Suddenly, a large, grim woman confronted him and pulled the cigar from his mouth. Apparently Carrie Nation didn’t like smoking any better than drinking.

Pete, born in 1849, came to Medicine Lodge in 1884 – not long after it was first settled in 1873 and incorporated in 1879. In 1904 he married Margaret Priest. Pete had three sons and one daughter from a previous marriage. By this time he had accumulated a number of 40- and 160-acre land parcels and created a ranch totaling some 1,880 acres. The land, purchased from the federal government, was part of the Osage Land Trust. The Trust was a strip of land 20 miles wide, running west from where the Verdigris River crosses the southern Kansas border (south of Coffeyville) and on the north side of what was then the Osage Tribal Reservation in what is now Oklahoma.

The U.S. government paid the Osage Indians $300,000 for the land and also reimbursed them when the parcels were sold, for a minimum of $1.25 per acre. The Hoover land deeds are dated from 1889 through 1904 and are signed by presidents Harrison, Roosevelt and McKinley. Apparently, because most of the parcels were 160-acres and because they were purchased by about a dozen individuals – including Pete and his three sons – that was the maximum acreage a person could purchase. Later purchases increased the size of the ranch to 3,800 acres, making him one of the more prominent ranchers in the area.

The ranch is located 12 miles southwest of Medicine Lodge in the Gypsum Hills. One of the more scenic areas in Kansas, it’s a region of rolling hills, canyons, and buttes with many Eastern Red Cedar trees. Commonly called the Gyp Hills, it’s also been known as the Red Hills, because of the presence of iron oxide in the soil. Native Americans referred to them as the Medicine Hills and the river near the town as the Medicine River because it could be used as a soothing bath or laxative. Later it was determined the water contained what is known as Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Many of the buttes in the hills are capped with a layer of gypsum (hydrated calcium sulfate) which is a little harder than the easily-eroded red soil. Today gypsum is mined northwest of Medicine Lodge and used in a local factory to manufacture drywall for home and commercial construction.

Pete was driving his wagon into Medicine Lodge one day when lightning struck his horses, killing them and blinding him. Unable to care for the ranch, he asked his nephew, Jesse Hopkins, to come to Kansas from Baltimore, Md., and help him. Prior to enlisting in the Army during WWI, Jesse had resided in the Hoover household. After Pete died in 1919, Jesse continued to make his home at the ranch. Since it was not socially acceptable for Jesse and Pete’s widow, Margaret, to live together, they married – in spite of the fact she was 12 years older.

At some point, he leased the ranch so he could build houses in town. In 1929 he built one for Margaret that was ahead of its time. The home has two and one-half baths and four bedrooms with spacious closets. In 1937 Margaret was killed when a bus struck her car. Jesse inherited the house and half of the ranch – the other half of which he purchased from her children.

He hired Mammie Lenora “Nora” Ragan as a housekeeper to maintain the home and, when she became ill, asked her to move into the house so he could care for her. Again, in order for it to look proper, they married in 1940 even though she was 24 years younger. Nora had two daughters, Elsie and Juanita. Jesse paid for Elsie to go to nurses training at Hertzler Clinic in Halstead, Kan., and for Juanita to go to secretarial school in Denver, Colo.

Medicine Lodge has another interesting piece of history: It was here in 1867 a peace treaty was signed with the Kiowa, Comanche, Plains Apache, Southern Cheyenne, and Southern Arapaho tribes. Sixty years later, in 1927, the town began celebrating the event with an annual pageant. Among those participating the first year were Nora, Elsie, and Nora’s father, who used an ox and a mule to pull a covered wagon in the parade. Although the ox and mule represented two of the three types of locomotion for a covered wagon, they typically weren’t used as a team. Recently the pageant has been held every five years.

Jesse died in 1959 at age 74 and in his will gave Nora possession of the house and life estate on the ranch. Upon her death, Elsie and Juanita were to receive life estate on the ranch, and upon their deaths, the grandchildren receive possession of the ranch. Today Juanita is deceased, Elsie owns the house, has life estate on half of the ranch, and the seven grandchildren have possession of the other half. For the last 50 years the ranch has been leased by the Wagnon family.

Nora Hopkins is an interesting person in her own right. Her grandmother, Emma Howard, came to Emporia, Kan., on an orphan train from Pennsylvania. In May of 1927 her father’s home was completely blown away by a tornado. Seeking cover in a nearby canyon, they had to settle for lister furrows when the storm overtook them. Nora, barely 18-years-old, was holding year-old Elsie. Both were carried one-quarter mile by the storm that stripped clothing from their battered bodies. Many were surprised Elsie lived through the experience.

Born in 1909, Nora lived past her 100th birthday and, even shortly before her death, walked a mile every day. The nursing home where she lived requested an approval letter from her doctor to allow the walks. Elsie says of her mother, “She was a strong-willed, outspoken person who enjoyed needlework, quilting and weaving. Mom loved to play bingo and travel – particularly going to Las Vegas – even in her late 80s. She left 36 descendants, including 14 great-great grandchildren and five great-great-great grandchildren.”

Today, Nora’s daughter, Elsie Schauf, 85, lives in the house built by Jesse Hopkins and finds it to be more than a comfortable home. She appreciates the frequent visits and phone calls from her children. Her daughter and son-in-law, Martha “Marti” and Jim Sheetz, live close enough they can help maintain her home. She also appreciates her unique family history and is proud of her pioneer heritage.

One day, near the turn of the last century, in Medicine Lodge, Kan., Pete Hoover was strolling down the sidewalk. Suddenly, a large, grim woman confronted him and pulled the cigar from his mouth. Apparently Carrie Nation didn’t like smoking any better than drinking.

Pete, born in 1849, came to Medicine Lodge in 1884 – not long after it was first settled in 1873 and incorporated in 1879. In 1904 he married Margaret Priest. Pete had three sons and one daughter from a previous marriage. By this time he had accumulated a number of 40- and 160-acre land parcels and created a ranch totaling some 1,880 acres. The land, purchased from the federal government, was part of the Osage Land Trust. The Trust was a strip of land 20 miles wide, running west from where the Verdigris River crosses the southern Kansas border (south of Coffeyville) and on the north side of what was then the Osage Tribal Reservation in what is now Oklahoma.

The U.S. government paid the Osage Indians $300,000 for the land and also reimbursed them when the parcels were sold, for a minimum of $1.25 per acre. The Hoover land deeds are dated from 1889 through 1904 and are signed by presidents Harrison, Roosevelt and McKinley. Apparently, because most of the parcels were 160-acres and because they were purchased by about a dozen individuals – including Pete and his three sons – that was the maximum acreage a person could purchase. Later purchases increased the size of the ranch to 3,800 acres, making him one of the more prominent ranchers in the area.

The ranch is located 12 miles southwest of Medicine Lodge in the Gypsum Hills. One of the more scenic areas in Kansas, it’s a region of rolling hills, canyons, and buttes with many Eastern Red Cedar trees. Commonly called the Gyp Hills, it’s also been known as the Red Hills, because of the presence of iron oxide in the soil. Native Americans referred to them as the Medicine Hills and the river near the town as the Medicine River because it could be used as a soothing bath or laxative. Later it was determined the water contained what is known as Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Many of the buttes in the hills are capped with a layer of gypsum (hydrated calcium sulfate) which is a little harder than the easily-eroded red soil. Today gypsum is mined northwest of Medicine Lodge and used in a local factory to manufacture drywall for home and commercial construction.

Pete was driving his wagon into Medicine Lodge one day when lightning struck his horses, killing them and blinding him. Unable to care for the ranch, he asked his nephew, Jesse Hopkins, to come to Kansas from Baltimore, Md., and help him. Prior to enlisting in the Army during WWI, Jesse had resided in the Hoover household. After Pete died in 1919, Jesse continued to make his home at the ranch. Since it was not socially acceptable for Jesse and Pete’s widow, Margaret, to live together, they married – in spite of the fact she was 12 years older.

At some point, he leased the ranch so he could build houses in town. In 1929 he built one for Margaret that was ahead of its time. The home has two and one-half baths and four bedrooms with spacious closets. In 1937 Margaret was killed when a bus struck her car. Jesse inherited the house and half of the ranch – the other half of which he purchased from her children.

He hired Mammie Lenora “Nora” Ragan as a housekeeper to maintain the home and, when she became ill, asked her to move into the house so he could care for her. Again, in order for it to look proper, they married in 1940 even though she was 24 years younger. Nora had two daughters, Elsie and Juanita. Jesse paid for Elsie to go to nurses training at Hertzler Clinic in Halstead, Kan., and for Juanita to go to secretarial school in Denver, Colo.

Medicine Lodge has another interesting piece of history: It was here in 1867 a peace treaty was signed with the Kiowa, Comanche, Plains Apache, Southern Cheyenne, and Southern Arapaho tribes. Sixty years later, in 1927, the town began celebrating the event with an annual pageant. Among those participating the first year were Nora, Elsie, and Nora’s father, who used an ox and a mule to pull a covered wagon in the parade. Although the ox and mule represented two of the three types of locomotion for a covered wagon, they typically weren’t used as a team. Recently the pageant has been held every five years.

Jesse died in 1959 at age 74 and in his will gave Nora possession of the house and life estate on the ranch. Upon her death, Elsie and Juanita were to receive life estate on the ranch, and upon their deaths, the grandchildren receive possession of the ranch. Today Juanita is deceased, Elsie owns the house, has life estate on half of the ranch, and the seven grandchildren have possession of the other half. For the last 50 years the ranch has been leased by the Wagnon family.

Nora Hopkins is an interesting person in her own right. Her grandmother, Emma Howard, came to Emporia, Kan., on an orphan train from Pennsylvania. In May of 1927 her father’s home was completely blown away by a tornado. Seeking cover in a nearby canyon, they had to settle for lister furrows when the storm overtook them. Nora, barely 18-years-old, was holding year-old Elsie. Both were carried one-quarter mile by the storm that stripped clothing from their battered bodies. Many were surprised Elsie lived through the experience.

Born in 1909, Nora lived past her 100th birthday and, even shortly before her death, walked a mile every day. The nursing home where she lived requested an approval letter from her doctor to allow the walks. Elsie says of her mother, “She was a strong-willed, outspoken person who enjoyed needlework, quilting and weaving. Mom loved to play bingo and travel – particularly going to Las Vegas – even in her late 80s. She left 36 descendants, including 14 great-great grandchildren and five great-great-great grandchildren.”

Today, Nora’s daughter, Elsie Schauf, 85, lives in the house built by Jesse Hopkins and finds it to be more than a comfortable home. She appreciates the frequent visits and phone calls from her children. Her daughter and son-in-law, Martha “Marti” and Jim Sheetz, live close enough they can help maintain her home. She also appreciates her unique family history and is proud of her pioneer heritage.

One day, near the turn of the last century, in Medicine Lodge, Kan., Pete Hoover was strolling down the sidewalk. Suddenly, a large, grim woman confronted him and pulled the cigar from his mouth. Apparently Carrie Nation didn’t like smoking any better than drinking.

Pete, born in 1849, came to Medicine Lodge in 1884 – not long after it was first settled in 1873 and incorporated in 1879. In 1904 he married Margaret Priest. Pete had three sons and one daughter from a previous marriage. By this time he had accumulated a number of 40- and 160-acre land parcels and created a ranch totaling some 1,880 acres. The land, purchased from the federal government, was part of the Osage Land Trust. The Trust was a strip of land 20 miles wide, running west from where the Verdigris River crosses the southern Kansas border (south of Coffeyville) and on the north side of what was then the Osage Tribal Reservation in what is now Oklahoma.

The U.S. government paid the Osage Indians $300,000 for the land and also reimbursed them when the parcels were sold, for a minimum of $1.25 per acre. The Hoover land deeds are dated from 1889 through 1904 and are signed by presidents Harrison, Roosevelt and McKinley. Apparently, because most of the parcels were 160-acres and because they were purchased by about a dozen individuals – including Pete and his three sons – that was the maximum acreage a person could purchase. Later purchases increased the size of the ranch to 3,800 acres, making him one of the more prominent ranchers in the area.

The ranch is located 12 miles southwest of Medicine Lodge in the Gypsum Hills. One of the more scenic areas in Kansas, it’s a region of rolling hills, canyons, and buttes with many Eastern Red Cedar trees. Commonly called the Gyp Hills, it’s also been known as the Red Hills, because of the presence of iron oxide in the soil. Native Americans referred to them as the Medicine Hills and the river near the town as the Medicine River because it could be used as a soothing bath or laxative. Later it was determined the water contained what is known as Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Many of the buttes in the hills are capped with a layer of gypsum (hydrated calcium sulfate) which is a little harder than the easily-eroded red soil. Today gypsum is mined northwest of Medicine Lodge and used in a local factory to manufacture drywall for home and commercial construction.

Pete was driving his wagon into Medicine Lodge one day when lightning struck his horses, killing them and blinding him. Unable to care for the ranch, he asked his nephew, Jesse Hopkins, to come to Kansas from Baltimore, Md., and help him. Prior to enlisting in the Army during WWI, Jesse had resided in the Hoover household. After Pete died in 1919, Jesse continued to make his home at the ranch. Since it was not socially acceptable for Jesse and Pete’s widow, Margaret, to live together, they married – in spite of the fact she was 12 years older.

At some point, he leased the ranch so he could build houses in town. In 1929 he built one for Margaret that was ahead of its time. The home has two and one-half baths and four bedrooms with spacious closets. In 1937 Margaret was killed when a bus struck her car. Jesse inherited the house and half of the ranch – the other half of which he purchased from her children.

He hired Mammie Lenora “Nora” Ragan as a housekeeper to maintain the home and, when she became ill, asked her to move into the house so he could care for her. Again, in order for it to look proper, they married in 1940 even though she was 24 years younger. Nora had two daughters, Elsie and Juanita. Jesse paid for Elsie to go to nurses training at Hertzler Clinic in Halstead, Kan., and for Juanita to go to secretarial school in Denver, Colo.

Medicine Lodge has another interesting piece of history: It was here in 1867 a peace treaty was signed with the Kiowa, Comanche, Plains Apache, Southern Cheyenne, and Southern Arapaho tribes. Sixty years later, in 1927, the town began celebrating the event with an annual pageant. Among those participating the first year were Nora, Elsie, and Nora’s father, who used an ox and a mule to pull a covered wagon in the parade. Although the ox and mule represented two of the three types of locomotion for a covered wagon, they typically weren’t used as a team. Recently the pageant has been held every five years.

Jesse died in 1959 at age 74 and in his will gave Nora possession of the house and life estate on the ranch. Upon her death, Elsie and Juanita were to receive life estate on the ranch, and upon their deaths, the grandchildren receive possession of the ranch. Today Juanita is deceased, Elsie owns the house, has life estate on half of the ranch, and the seven grandchildren have possession of the other half. For the last 50 years the ranch has been leased by the Wagnon family.

Nora Hopkins is an interesting person in her own right. Her grandmother, Emma Howard, came to Emporia, Kan., on an orphan train from Pennsylvania. In May of 1927 her father’s home was completely blown away by a tornado. Seeking cover in a nearby canyon, they had to settle for lister furrows when the storm overtook them. Nora, barely 18-years-old, was holding year-old Elsie. Both were carried one-quarter mile by the storm that stripped clothing from their battered bodies. Many were surprised Elsie lived through the experience.

Born in 1909, Nora lived past her 100th birthday and, even shortly before her death, walked a mile every day. The nursing home where she lived requested an approval letter from her doctor to allow the walks. Elsie says of her mother, “She was a strong-willed, outspoken person who enjoyed needlework, quilting and weaving. Mom loved to play bingo and travel – particularly going to Las Vegas – even in her late 80s. She left 36 descendants, including 14 great-great grandchildren and five great-great-great grandchildren.”

Today, Nora’s daughter, Elsie Schauf, 85, lives in the house built by Jesse Hopkins and finds it to be more than a comfortable home. She appreciates the frequent visits and phone calls from her children. Her daughter and son-in-law, Martha “Marti” and Jim Sheetz, live close enough they can help maintain her home. She also appreciates her unique family history and is proud of her pioneer heritage.