Your Top 10 Winners of

the Wonders of Atchison County People

Below are the full descriptions of the 10 Winners and the 30 nominated Wonders of Atchison County People.

in alphabetical order

The Benedictine Sisters
William "Deafy" Boular
Elijah Cluke
Cloud L. "Bud" Cray
Amelia Earhart
The Kanza Indians
The Kerford Family
Ralph Nolan
The Atchison Rivermen
Jesse Stone


The Nominations (in random order)

1) Pony Express riders

-David Jay, Theodore Rand and the most famous Pony Express rider Johnny Frye - all spent time in Atchison. Frye, the first Pony Express Rider on the first day of service is said to have spent much of his time in Atchison during the Pony Express years (since the Pony Express was based in Atchison for the end of its 18 month run it only makes sense). Rand and Jay both wound up in Atchison. Jay worked for the railroad and as an Atchison policeman and is buried in Atchison's Mount Vernon Cemetery. Rand is buried in Atchison's Oak Hill Cemetery.

2) John Cameron Swayze

- The famed Timex pitchman graduated from Atchison High - He was the first network news anchor on the Camel News Caravan and is famed for saying, " takes and licking and keeps on ticking."

3) Gov. John A. Martin

- moved to Atchison in the earliest days, served as the secretary of the Kansas Constitutional Convention, was a successful newspaperman - converting the pro-slavery Squatter Sovereign to the free-state Freedom's Champion. A Lt. Col. of the 8th Kansas Infantry in the Civil War his involvement in public life led him to the highest office in Kansas serving as Governor from 1884-1888.

4) Joe Tinker

- born in Muscotah - Tinker became one of the icons of baseball and part of the leathal double play combination of the Chicago Cubs - Tinker to Evers to Chance, immortalized in the 1910 sports poem "Baseball's Sad Lexicon."

5) William "Deafy" Boular

- likely no one in Atchison County history has overcome so much. Deaf and dumb & struck by a train as a young child he lost both legs below the knees. A working man his entire life - he is most known for his bricklaying skills - still evident in the streets of Atchison. He was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not for laying 46,000 paving bricks in 8 hours.

6) Gov. George Washington Glick

- Glick moved to Kansas in 1859 joining Judge Alfred Otis' law firm here. He served in the Civil War before dedicating much of the rest of his life to public service spending 18 years in the Kansas Legislature and serving of Gov. of Kansas from 1882-1885. He started the KS Agriculture Sanitary Commission, credited with saving the Kansas cattle industry from a devistating hoof-and-mouth disease outbreak.

7) Senator John J. Ingalls

- an early resident of Sumner - Ingalls was active in Kansas politics from nearly the day he arrived on Kansas soil. The editor of the Kansas Constitution, the originator of the Kansas motto "Ad Astra Per Aspera" to the stars through difficulty and one of the states most noted Senators - his statue still represents Kansas in the Capital's Statuary Hall.

8) Atchison Rivermen

- this group of Atchison County performers became a signature sound for the region making recordings and performing at events spanning the 1960s and 70s. The group got together in 2004 for the last time to perform at the Atchison Sesquicentennial.

9) The Kickapoo

- relocated to Kansas in the 1830s almost all of today's Atchison County was inside their original reservation. Many of the Native American names across the county come from the Kickapoo language.

10) Oscar May

- a WWI hero Lt. May saved his unit twice - once single handedly taking out two German machine gun implacements and a second time leading his unit out of a gas attack in the pitch black of night with only his memory of the terrain. May was a succussful lawyer and prominent citizen in Atchison County.

11) Elijah Cluke

- a worker at the Rockwell (former Seaton) foundry Cluke, an African American suffered discrimination, he put his feelings into a new song that is still known around the world, "Just a Closer Walk With Thee."

12) Ralph Nolan

- Head basketball coach of St. Benedict's College from 1950-1970 his teams compiled a record of 312-174 including winning 2 NAIA National Championships in 1954 and 1967.

13) Kerford Family

-one of the most successful African American families arrived in Atchison County in 1863 arriving in a wagon. George W. Kerford opened the first quarry - which became the family business untill 1944 when it was sold the US Government. Lloyd Kerford, Sr. became the first African American to represewnt Kansas as a delegate to the GOP convention in 1939.

14) E.W. Howe

- in later years known as the Sage of Potato Hill Howe was one of the most influential newspapermen in Kansas history. Arriving in Atchison in 1877 as a "tramp printer" Howe used his own style of writing and connecting with people to set his "Little Globe" apart from the competition. Often called a one man chamber of commerce Howe did more than any one person to promote Atchison County, including founding the world reknowned Corn Carnivals.

15)Brit Craft

- a railroad engineer on the AT&SF line was faced with a life or death decision and is honored to this day - as his engine approached a bridge on the line west of Atchison the bridge was boiling in fire - Craft choose to apply the breaks rather than run the engine across the bridge - the bridge collapsed killing Craft but leaving the passengers safe without a scratch.

16) George Harper

- became Atchison's first African American Mayor in 1979. In 1973, when first elected to the Atchison City Commission he became the first African American commissioner. Harper was born in Atchison, atted St. Benedict's college and worked at Rockwell Foudry. He was also the President of the Local 6934 United Steel Workers for 12 years.

17) Rep. Chester L. Mize

- U.S. Congressman representing Kansas from1965-1971 Mize was a WWII veteran awarded the Bronze Star for service in the Pacific Theatre. Mize worked in the Blish-Mize Co., was VP of LFM Company.

18) Evelyn Harper

- Long time teacher and administrator at the Lincoln School Harper lead the way to promote and get the African American students of Atchison ready for integration in 1955. She played a key role in making Atchison schools the first to fully comply with Brown v. Bd. of Education.

19) Eugenie Dennis

- known at the Atchison Wondergirl, Dennis was a clairoyant of remarkable abilities. Beginning as a school girl - she could find lost items for her friends - on stage first in 1921 Dennis toured the world- most notably helping Scotland Yard solve a "trunk murder."

20) Cloud L. "Bud" Cray, Jr.

- Lead Midwest Grain Products (now MGPI) through some of the companies biggest growth years to become one of the most important businesses in the region. Known for supporting the community the Cray family's philanthropy has benefited the Atchison Hospital and many non-profit organizations over the years.

21) Fleming-Jackson-Seever

- WWI Veterans of Atchison County the local VFW Post 6 was named for when it opened in 1919.

22)Benedictine Sisters

- seven Benedictine sisters first came to Kansas in 1863 after journying from Eichstaedt Bavaria and then from their motherhouse in St. Cloud, MN. They began the first schools in Atchison in a one-room school which grew to today's ACES, Maur-Hill/Mount Academy and Benedictine College.

23) Z.E. Jackson

- a public servant and a lover of parks. Jackson was the leader of the 1930s efforts to bring a Free Bridge to Atchison - testifying before Congress to the need for a modern bridge - Jackson is also responsible for developing a modern park system in Atchison with spacious Jackson Park bearing his name.

24) Joe Carrigan

- business leader Carrigan was also the Mayor of Atchison during one of the worst trials the city ever faced the floods of 1958 and the Urban Renewal projects to revitialize the city. Carrigan was also the local lead with the 99s to develop the International Forest of Friendship as a US Bicentennial Project for the community in 1976.

25) Amelia Earhart

- the most noted woman pilor - set many flying records including being the first woman (and only 2nd person) to fly the Atlantic solo. Known locally for her daring and love of family, Earhart disappeared over the Atlantic in 1937 during her attemp to fly around the world at the equator.

26) Jesse Stone

- did more than any other person to shape the sound of Rock 'n Roll - wrote the first million selling rock song, "Shake, Rattle and Roll" as well as over 350 other songs. Stone is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the R&B Hall of Fame and the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.

27) Hattie Silliman Cosgrove

- Atchison hardware store heiress she became one of the most noted archeologists of the early 1900s. She did much to document the lives of the Mimbres people and their pottery.

28) General A. D. Warnock

- retired military man Warnock was a long time community advocate - he found his niche promoting the need for flood control dams after the July 1958 floods which devastated Atchison. The largest of this dams and recreation area is named for him.

29) Pardee Butler

- this early preacher, homesteader and abolitionist spoke his mind on his feelings about slavery no matter the consequences. the town of Pardee is named for him.

30) The Kanza Indians

- first settled on the west bank of the Missouri River in the early 1600s - living along what is today known as Independence Creek the Kanza built a large city by the late 1700s - over 3,000 people - that was the first capital of the Kanza Nation. From this home in today's Atchison County they controlled most of what is now the state that bears their name - mostly as a prime buffalo hunting ground.




The Atchison County Historical Society announces this year-long program to highlight the wealth of history and hertiage of our county. Kansas Day, January 29, 2011, the 150th Anniversary of Kansas joining the Union as the 34th Star, opened the nomination period for "The 10 Wonders of Atchison County," with nominations being accepted in six categories: History, People, Events/Customs, Businesses, Restaurants/Cuisines, and Art & Architecture. You are encouraged to make as many nominations as you wish - especially to nominate historic sites, businesses, people, etc. that you know well or are in your neighborhood in Atchison County. Please see the list below for more info on the category and the dates nominations are accepted, or you may download the pdf file ( below) for all the details and a printable nomination form. Nominations are accepted by email - complete the requested info in an email and send it to the link below - or you may mail the form you print to the Atchison County Historical Society, P.O. Box 201, Atchison, KS 66002 or drop it off at the Santa Fe Depot.


Download a pdf of the Wonders of Atchison County Nomination Form

Email your nomination - make sure to include all requested info


More Info on Wonders of Atchison County Categories

return to the main Wonders page

History - nominations closed - voting complete - view 10 Wonders of Atchison County History

a site, place or specific period of Atchison County history - preference to nominations that have something tangible to see, touch or experience (examples: wagon ruts, site of historic event(s), place famous person or persons particiated, etc.

People - nominations closed - view 10 Wonders of Atchison County People

person or group from Atchison County who are recognized for their life-work, notoriety, infamy, or benefits to the community

Events/Customs - nominations closed - voting underway

events or community custom unique to Atchison County citizens or communities (examples: rose festival, religous gathering, clubs or social gathering that have a unique flair

Businesses - nominations accepted through 6/30/2011

businesses former or existing that made a significant contribution to Atchison County

Restaurants/Cuisine - nominations accepted through 8/5/2011

Places, events, gatherings (of a regularly scheduled nature - bi-annual, annual, semi-annual, etc.) that feature unique, ethnic, or other food offering that are special

Art & Architecture - nominations accepted through 9/9/2011

works of art either public, occassionally open to viewing or well known but not open (but allowed to be photographed for Atchison County Wonders), or significant architectural features of homes, barns, farms, businesses, or any other built structures that give a special flavor to Atchison County (examples: public art - Earhart Earthwork, carved art in local cemeteries or private home with wealth of unique features).

To make a nomination or nominations - please include your name and contact info (phone or email in case we need additional info on your nomination), the Name, Descriptions and Physical Location of your nomination. You may include a photograph if you have one available or if the nomination is on private property please note if photographs would be allowed for the Wonders of Atchison County contest.

Download a pdf of the Wonders of Atchison County Nomination Form

Email your nomination - make sure to include all requested info


More Info on Wonders of Atchison County Categories

return to the main Wonders page

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200 S. 10th Street, Santa Fe Depot • P.O. Box 201 • Atchison, KS 66002 • 913-367-6238

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