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The Wichita Eagle, published after July 16, 1937.

When The Train Comes In

By Kent Eubank

When The Train Comes In

Kent Eubank, oil editor of The Eagle, is on his vacation, spending it at Wilmore, where his mother, sister and other relatives reside. Mr. Eubank had been under top speed for some time prior to taking his vacation. He handles The Eagle's 120-page New Era edition. The respite from work was a welcome relief to him. Writing back to The Eagle folk (he did not know The Eagle would print his letter) Mr. Eubank says, among other things:

Wilmore is a quiet little village of possibly 2 hundred and fifty souls, situated in the greatest wheat, corn and stock-raising section of Kansas. Being located on the Englewood branch of the Santa Fe railroad, it is a little tiresome to make the eight-hour ride, but Jack Hopper, conductor on the branch line, wields authority on the train and takes a lot of the unpleasantness out of the trip. Jack has been running on the Santa Fe lines for the past twenty or more years, but for some reason has failed to contract the conductor's grouch. He is even courteous to women and children, speaks a pleasant word to them while taking up the toll, and in most instances acts like a human being. Being so out of the-ordinary for a train conductor the inhabitants of Wilmore like him, and invariably go down to the depot, chat with Jack and buy an Eagle when the train comes in.

Berry Ware is mayor of Wilmore and he requires no special permit from the city to shoot the game that flies above and skips gaily along the outskirts of town. God Almighty never created Berry to dance before a lady's mirror, but he made him a man. He stands four feet two inches in his stocking feet and weighs 140 pounds, but cooped up in that little frame is as pure a soul as ever took up its temporary abode in mortal form. Berry is a typical sport and enjoys a chase with the hounds or a day's shoot at the lakes around the town. He owns five quarter sections of land near Wilmore, but has never yet posted the sign which reads: "No Hunting." Many times he wanders out of the confines of the city limits, but always gets back in time to go down to the depot and buy an Eagle when the train comes in.

Tells Nimrod Tales

John Bell is another character of the little city. John came to Wilmore with his good wife when the town was only a pasture for the buffalo and the long horn. In those days neighbors were scarce, but they all knew what John would have for dinner the next day unless he failed to catch a jack rabbit. When you get John properly wound up he can tell many interesting tales of the earlier days, but none of them equal his hunting escapades of today. John wouldn't give much for a man as a hunter who couldn't kill at least a hundred mallards before breakfast, and then get down to the depot in time to buy an Eagle when the train comes in.

Along in the early days there came to Wilmore wilds, a man in the prime of life, who answered to the fitting cognomen of Sam Booth. He was a fine man in his day and lived strictly according to his own idea of the teachings of the Master--especially that injunction which says multiply and replenish the earth. After long years of useful service in turning the useless and barren prairies into the greatest farming country in the world, he crossed the Great Divide, but left ten sons and daughters, all of whom have fine farms around the Wilmore Community, and are substantial citizens of the community. Like all others who cross the Great Divide, Sam Booth has sent no word back, but he left scores of friends behind who will bet an entire wheat crop that, no matter where he has gone, he still looks back on the transformations of the prairies around Wilmore into a land of peace and plenty, and that his spirit goes down to the depot every afternoon to buy an Eagle when the train comes in.

Community Builders

The ten children old man Booth left behind are: Sam Jr., Joe, Jim, Bill, Bob, Henry, Mary, Bell, Teen and Hattie. They all own good farms in and around Wilmore, and are following in the footsteps of their father in building up the community. Joe and Jim and Bill and Bob and Henry raise wheat and corn and cattle and hogs. The girls have all married and are living happily. Teen married Sam Wood and Bell married Taylor Hall and Hattie married Harold Wood, and Sam and Taylor and Harold are raising cattle and hogs and wheat and corn. They all too, raise jack rabbits and have ponds on which duck flock in abundance, and there are no "No Hunting" signs on any of their farms. They live in peace, prosperity and the usual amount of happiness that generally falls to the lot of man, and every afternoon they go down to the depot to buy an Eagle when the train comes in.

Have No Alibi

Greed and graft has not reached the little town of Wilmore. C.E. Richardson runs the leading dry goods store in the town, where goods are sold at pre-war prices, without a long alibi regarding freight rates causing an advance in the price. At Richardson's store a No. 1 cowhide will almost pay half on a pair of shoes, and a dollar and a dime will purchase a calico dress or a suit of Teddy Bears. The window trimmer don't dress live models in the show window, as the girls of Wilmore have not yet gone back to the fig leaf garb of Mother Eve. But the wandering herds visit the store, inspect the show window with the same degree of alacrity and delight as a colored preacher watches the plug hat passed through the congregation for the capture of small coin, make their purchases and then go down to the depot and buy an Eagle when the train comes in.

Mr. Boshel has recently bought the Ray & Ray store and moved to Wilmore. Mr. Boshel comes with the recommendation and appearance of a gentleman, and has been welcomed and made a part of the regular herd. He is enlarging the stock of goods and adding new supplies. The business is not so large as that of Jack Spines in Wichita, but it has prospects of flourishing. Mr. Boshel is a good mixer, talks fluently and keeps posted on the doings of the outside world by joining the throng that goes down to the depot and buys an Eagle when the train comes in. If you decide you want to have a real hunt come on down to Wilmore. You will not find all the modern conviences that are to be found in Wichita, but Harry Whitteberry runs a Ford Sales Service in the heart of the business district and for a few pence will take you out to the ponds where ducks abound, and you can shoot until your heart is content. If you want company on the trip Sam Fawcett, Lee Purcell, Teddy Hughes, A.V. Bigbee, Perry Wall, Charley Waters and C.H. Shearer will accompany you on the trip, bringing down more of the feathered tribe with their old muzzle loaders than you city dudes with your fancy guns, and get you back to the depot in time to buy an Eagle when the train comes in.

No Board of Trade

The marts of trade and the forum run on in perfect accord in Wilmore. There is no board of trade on which the nerves of the populace are run up to a high pitch, and no wrecks or wraiths of humanity from lost hopes and fears of the ticker. The farmers raise wheat in abundance and market the grain at two elevators run by E.E. Smith and Fred Vance. They receive the highest market price for their products and deposit the cash in the Wilmore State Bank where R.O. Nevins stands serenely in the wicker cage until a shrill whistle is heard in the distance, when he closes the bank, joins the crowd and goes down to the depot to buy an Eagle when the train comes in.

Wilmore is not behind in the industrial world. The Golden Rule Refinery of Wichita has a filling station here, managed by W. Betzer, where the highest grade gasoline in the United States is obtained to move along as high powered cars as can be found in the Peerless Princess--the oil center of the Mid-Continent field. The crowds of busy humanity congregate at the station, fill their tanks, then rush down to the depot to buy an Eagle when the train comes in.

The citizens of Wilmore, possibly are not as high flyers as some of the newly rich of the oil fields of Kansas, but there is no "hairy heathen" in the quiet little town. Mack Payne, with blade and strap applies the latest in tonsorial art to the wiry faced inhabitants and visitors alike, which leaves a clean, smooth surface without scratch or blemish. Like the rest of the tribe, Mack eases the pain by telling the customer the happenings of the day during the operation. Most of the patients of the shop claim the operation is not painful, especially when the job is completed in time for them to get down to the depot to buy an Eagle when the train comes in.

The prairies around the Wilmore are level and smooth--an ideal farming country and the farmers have but little trouble with broken hearts and broken machinery. Occasionally a bearing burns out or a pitchfork handle breaks, but this causes but little worry or delay. H. Schrock has a large hardware store on Main Street, where the farmers and cattle men stop and replenish their repairs on the way to the depot to buy an Eagle when the train comes in. When pestilence sweeps over the country and the sick and dying of the cities writhe in fear and pain, the inhabitants of Wilmore go peacefully along their way, secure in the care of Dr. R.M. McCroskey. Occasionally some of the inhabitants have colds or fever or a baby howls throughout the night with colic or croup. Then the Doctor is called and with a prescription on George Brown's drug store the patient is soon relieved and able to go down to the depot and buy an Eagle when the train comes in.

But with all the doctor's skill and Brown's pills and pain cures, they have not yet learned how to successfully combat the disease of old age. Some of the early day inhabitants are getting along in years, and occasionally the Grim Reaper calls them to join their comrades who have gone on before. On these occasions the whole countryside gathers in and with deep reverance wend their way to the top of the hill and above the town. They go slowly as they travel on the outward track to the final resting place of a beloved friend, but when Bro. Burrill has paid the last sad rites and winds the ceremony to a close, the congregation gathers in their cars and "speeds 'em" back to the depot to buy an Eagle when the train comes in.

Wichita is a great city, inhabited by a great people. It is a city flowing with milk and honey, where every inhabitant drives a high powered car and even the politician and oil magmate is not wholly vile. It is a great town, because I work there, but I had rather live in a hovel in Wilmore, dress in a suit of sun burn and live on hominy and hope, yet see the love light blaze unbought in truthful eyes, than to be the greatest oil king in the Mid-Continent field and know not who fawns upon the master and who esteems the man. Come on down to God's country, shoot ducks and rabbits and join the crowd that goes down to the depot to buy an Eagle when the train comes in.

Yours truly,

Kent Eubank

Note from Bobbi Huck to Jerry Ferrin, 28 Oct 2004, about this article:

"This article was given to Amy Ring of Wilmore by Bertha Booth. Bertha Booth was married in 1932, and her name became Bertha Richardson.

It mentions Berry Ware as mayor, and I know he was mayor when Powell Township Cemetery was plotted in 1913. He died in 1926 and his obituary says he was mayor since the town 'was incorporated nearly 8 years ago', so that narrows down the publication date from about 1913 to 1926.

The author Kent Eubank's mother is Mamee Combs, also known as Margie Combs, and she is buried in the Powell Twp. Cemetery. I am contacting Charles Eubank from Coats, Ks, trying to find out when Margie may have been married to a Eubank. Then we can update the cemetery info on her, as I have very little on her now.

This article, as seen on the back page was mailed from Kent Eubank to Velma Hall, who is a cousin of Bertha (Booth) Richardson. So, this was not copied out of the Eagle, but sent to several Wilmore folks from the author himself.

Amy Ring gave a copy of this article to Patricia Snyder just a few weeks ago.

Margie Comb's obituary was published July 16, 1937.

Also see:

Margie (Maxey) Combs, mother of Kent Eubank.

Photograph: Wilmore Train Depot, an undated photograph from the collection of Kim Fowles.

Thanks to Bobbi (Hackney) Huck for transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site and to Patricia Snyder for providing this article to Bobbi!

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