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Webmaster: Harold (Hal) Smith '55 
Published: 07 February 2023


In Memory of Brenda Karstensen (Class of 1958, Vesper High School Valedictorian) -  The driving force behind the sales and distribution of my books "A Town's Evening Song" and "Photographic History of Vesper, Kansas - Then and Now".  We miss her.

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Kansas By Dyca McDonald
Published Aug 31, 1911 - Lincoln Sentinel-Republican

Kansas, honored Kansas

A state of righted wrongs,

Beloved and praised in story,

A theme of freedom's songs.

A risen star of glory,

And brighter growing still,

Uplifted star of liberty,

Result of hand and will.

And from the heights of freedom,

Whose star uplifts, inspires,

Is gained the brightest ideals,

The noblest best desires.

'Tis Kansas life that teaches,

And Kansas faith that wins,

And 'tis Kansas inspiration,

That shows where faith begins.

'Tis Kansas hearts and courage,

That dares to do or die,

And 'twas Kansas love for freedom,

That could freedom wronged defy.

'Tis a Kansas sense of honor,

That can ne'er a wrong defend,

And a Kansas brain and power,

Makes the strength of Kansas men.

'Tis the obstacles surmounted,

That the path of progress bars,

'Tis a Kansas strong ambition,

And a hope to reach the stars.

Then a theme of inspiration,

Of the motto of a state,

That has guided, met and conquered,

Trials to conquer which is great.

Thru difficulties to the stars,

A motto grand and free,

Honored in its daring,

Born of liberty.

Three difficulties upward,

From out the darkened past,

Ad astra per aspera,

To join the stars at last.



Front Cover (Looking North up the main streeto town)


Front Cover (Looking East)


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Hal & Marge at Petco Park with a copy of "Towns Evening Song"



(Early Newspaper Story & Poem)

                                          Population 200

In viewing the cities of Kansas with a perspective eye, prominence must be given to Vesper, one of the most progressive cities in the central part of the state.  As a residence point Vesper is abreast of the age in natural beauty and advantages.  Nothing is crowded. Nature has been lavish; in primitive beauty and it needed only the touch of an industrious and law-abiding citizenship to make it an ideal spot.

Vesper has not allowed any single interest to develop at the expense of other features, as often occurs in the rapid growth of a community but has kept a balance over all issues.

Vesper is surrounded by well-improved farms.  The land is fertile and highly productive.  The farmers around Vesper are an intelligent, broad-minded class and are actively alerted to see the favoring forces of nature and make the most of their opportunities.

The doors of Vesper are open to the commerce of the world.  The school system is unsurpassed by any in the state. - (Taken From the Lincoln Sentinel, 24 June 1915)


Vesper's a city that I know well.

It's scattered about like a bursting shell.

The buildings are numbered, we haven't much space,

So, we combine the trades in this wonderful place.

The barber shop and billiard hall

With its candy case well known by all.

The blacksmith shop and hardware store,

Combined with its implements on one floor.

The paint shop where they overhaul shoes.

With its wonderful paintings on two by two's

The garage is combined with a power plant,

The voltage is limited, the power is scant.

The menagerie and the city school,

Now all we lack is a swimming pool.

The post office and the dry goods store.

And the butcher shop west one door more.

For salted peanuts are sold,

To make the high school teachers scold.

Where a candy game is played at a cost

And a large jar of olives is matched for and lost.

Oh, such a city with such fame,

Possessing such a good clean name.

Yet a son of wisdom that I know,

Says where buildings stand now, crops will grow.

(Written by Howard Sax*, VHS Freshman, 1926)

* Although Howard was a freshman in 1926, he did not graduate with his class of 1929.  He was probably the son of schoolteachers in the Vesper Consolidated School.  Before his graduation, his parents may have received a teaching contract at Climax, Ks; a small school which closed in 1957; as he is documented taking a Scholarship Test at Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia in 1930, where he received a first in Social Civics.    At this period of time, most of the teachers in Kansas were graduates of the Kansas State Normal School in Emporia, Kansas, (Emporia State Teachers College).  Howard may have gone on to become a teacher somewhere in Kansas.


                         VESPER CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL


The Vesper Cardinals came into existence as a result of three graded school consolidation and establishment of a high school in September 1914, with the first graduating class in May 1918.  The Vesper Consolidated School was a result of a closely contested vote in Vesper to consolidate the three school districts of Vesper Station (34 pupils), Old Vesper (12 pupils) and South Ireland (14 pupils) into both a graded school and high school.  This became the first consolidation of multiple school districts in Lincoln County. It was originally proposed to erect a new four room structure costing approximately $8000, with all new equipment to provide the 60 pupils with the advantage of a modern school building.  However, as the two photographs show the project grew. The first photograph above (Vesper Legacy & Requiem Section) was taken shortly after construction was completed.   The bell tower and flagpole had not yet been installed (probably because of the added cost). The later photograph above shows both the bell tower (center foreground) and flagpole (centered on the roof), with school children on the steps.  The American flag was hoisted above the building every school day and the bell and tower (erected in circa 1921) was used to call students to their classes. The school bell came from the Vesper Station School when it closed, along with the bell tower.  The bell and tower were eventually removed in 1946.

Lincoln Republican Newspaper (September 18, 1919):

"Vesper High School began September 1st with the largest enrollment it ever had. The course of study has been improved by the addition of Domestic Science and Art, Manual Training and Music.  Last years' work placed the school on the improved list, so with this year's improvement, there is no reason why the classification should not be higher." 


Library and Archives Division - Letter Response of July 05, 2007

Dear Mr. Smith:

Your two books, A Town's Evening Song and Photographic History of Vesper, Kansas, Then and Now arrived in fine shape in this Monday's mail!  Thank you for sending them so speedily!  The errata page arrived today, and we will see to it that it is added to the volume.  It would be so nice if there were books like these for every small Kansas town.

We have an excellent library of Kansas related material here and we try very hard to acquire a copy of all published Kansas histories, so we really appreciate generous authors like you who share their work with us. Thanks also for the information about other copies being available at the Lincoln County Historical Society.  Occasionally we receive questions about our new books, and we will pass this information along.

Thanks again and please accept our best wishes. 



Margaret B. Knecht

Head, Library Section



                From Brenda Petersen - (Sept 2005)

Harold & Marge: Just to let you know, some time you may get a telephone call or email from Laura Longero from the Lincoln Sentinel Office regarding the writing of your history book and the photo book.​I was in the paper office last Friday to give them an ad on the Vesper books.  The ad will be in this issue and the next.  While there, I told John Baetz about your book and the fact that the Vesper Alumni was donating the proceeds of your books to the Vesper Men's Club from sales at the May Vesper Reunion and the Vesper Men's Club Sloppy Joe Luncheon.  He assigned Laura to do a story on this.  So, this morning I was down at the paper visiting with Laura about how you had given the history book to the alumni and then to the Lincoln County Historical Society.  Hopefully, Laura will get in touch with you for this story - Brenda

​​From Laura Longero​:

Dear Harold​: My name is Laura Longero and I am writing a story about your donation of the book called "A Town's Evening Song" to the Vesper Alumni Association and the Lincoln County Historical Society.  I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me about your book.  Brenda Petersen of Denmark gave me your e-mail address.  Thanks Laura C. Longero, Lincoln Sentinel-Republican, Journalist


​Reply by Harold Smith Regarding Photos Sent to Laura: ​I think the photos might help your readers relate to who the Smith family of Vesper was.  I included a photo with our mother and one with just the three children - 3 photos total.​


Reply by Laura: ​Thanks so much for the pictures!  I love old photographs; they are so neat.  I really appreciate all of your help with everything.​​​​


(Newsletter - December 2005)

"A Town's Evening Song - History of Vesper, Kansas (1870-1970)" was recently written by Harold L. Smith of San Diego, a 1955 graduate of Vesper High School.  The author also printed "A Photographic History of Vesper, Kansas - Then and Now" which is a collection of old photographs pertaining to the Vesper community.  After having started his project in 2000; in May of this year Harold donated approximately 200 copies of "A Town's Evening Song" to the Vesper Alumni Association and the Lincoln County Historical Society.  After selling the books at the biennial meeting and at the Vesper Men's Club Memorial Day Monday Luncheon, the balance of the books was given to the Historical Society.  Harold did much of his research through old editions of the "Lincoln Sentinel" the Lincoln Library, the Internet for the Kansas Historical Society and Lincoln County, and in talking with family and friends.

Because of Harold's generosity, the Alumni Association and the Historical Society retains the proceeds from the sale of "A Town's Evening Song"

Both groups took orders for the Photographic History book.

Copies of "A Town's Evening Song" are available at the Kyne House Museum -- $20.00 each plus $1.26 tax if a Kansas resident and $5.00 shipping and handling if the book is to be mailed.  There are only a FEW "Photographic History" books available - $30.00 each plus $1.89 tax If a Kansas resident and $5.00 shipping and handling if the book is to be mailed.  Once the few photo books are sold, we will only be able to take reservations for copies of the book, as a minimum of 50 copies need to be ordered in order to be able to sell them at $30.00.

You can stop at the Kyne House Museum to purchase your copy of the books or order by mailing your check for the amount of purchase payable to Lincoln County Historical Society, Box 85, Lincoln, KS 67455.  If ordering the photo book, it is suggested you call the museum at 785 524-9997 or Brenda Peterson at 785 524-5352 first to make sure a copy is still available or to put your name on a reservation list.

THANK YOU, HAROLD, for your generous donation of books, "A Town's Evening Song" to the Lincoln County Historical Society and the Vesper Alumni Association and for your part in preserving a part of Lincoln County's history.


Jim & Vi Clark, Cincinatti, Ohio (7-13-2005)


Dear Harold & Marge:

I wrote to Debbie who furnished your address.  Carol sent us a copy of your book on Vesper.  I started it but then let Vi have a turn and so far, I have not had another turn.  She was quite enthused by it and seeing familiar names from the past.  You did a really fine job of writing.  It was very interesting to me who spent time in Vesper after it's "History" was over.  Charlie and I used to walk around the area quite a bit and visited most of the local landmarks, such as the depot, which he wanted to move to high ground near the Denmark Hill and live in it. It seemed my first experience with Vesper was in 1946.  I was a greenhorn insurance adjuster just sent to Salina after a few months training in Wichita.  There was a storm which damaged the building occupied by Captain Ives.  I don't recall whether I checked the roof or the outcome of the claim, but the upper floor dance/skating rink had a floor with 3' high waves.  I have never since seen such a warped floor.


Another connection to Vesper:  In Salina were two secretaries, one was Ruth Brumbaugh and the other Laura Jensen from Lindsborg - a Dane and Swede; I asked Laura to teach me some Swedish so she did "Dabis Ua Katalla Swenske" - "You bet I can talk Swedish".  We had dicta-phones which recorded on wax cylinder's which were shaved in a machine to remove the used message.  At night I used to go to the office and make silly recordings for them.  We had a lot of fun.  In your book you mention Ruth ringing the Church Bell.

Also, in 1946 I visited an agent, Franklin Adams, who said you should meet my secretary - Vi Andreson.  I said hello to this very pretty girl and asked where are you from?  She said "Denmark", I said "How long have you been here?"  I don't know what she said.  A few weeks later I saw a sign (Perhaps Vesper Corner) which said Denmark.  I went up that road to the store, walked in, asked a lady working, if she knew Vi Andreson?" "Oh yes, she is my niece" (Aunt Luella!).  So, over the years I spent a lot of time in Denmark and Vesper, plus going all around to auctions with Charlie & Audrey.  I told Debbie she should buy the old Barber Shop building and move it alongside the Denmark Hotel.  It could be a museum.  I think at one time Charlie had a barber chair - probably no more.  It would be interesting to set it up like the "old days", which you recall, but I don't.  I am sure Charlie would be happy with what you have done.  He was a one-man Chamber of Commerce for Vesper.  Vesper and his connections to "Cromwell's" were highlights.  I will have to get Vi to let me have a turn.

Jim Clark (Lazy JC)

Reply by Harold Smith

Jim & Vi

Thank you for the nice words about the Vesper book and I really hope it brings back some fond memories of Vesper and Charlie.  I really did this because of Charlie, knowing how he felt about our hometown history.  I would hope that he would have been happy with the results.  I had never heard about his thought to live in the old Depot from Vesper, but that certainly sounds like him.  I also put together a book of old photographs, sort as a complement to the written work.  It is being distributed by Brenda Peterson at the Lincoln Historical Society.  My plan was to have both books available at my 50th high school reunion in May.  If you haven't received one from Carol or anyone back, there; let me know and I'll send you a copy.  It contains many of the photos Charlie collected during his rummaging around through old Vesper stuff.  There are even some photos of the Depot Charlie was going to live in.  I was hoping this modest collection of photos would prompt other people to send me old phots of Vesper to include, but so far, I haven't gotten any more than what Charlie had and I have found.  I certainly remember the old Bank building that Mr. Ives purchased and sold groceries and stuff.

A second motivation I had for the book was to just have a record of the history of Vesper, while there are some of us around to contribute information, as well as having a written document for the younger people to know something of their heritage.

Charlie and I had Swedish and Danish backgrounds, as well as English from the Cromwell's.  Dad was German, Scotch and Irish.  Now that I have finished the books on Vesper, I am going to get back into some of our genealogy research.

I don't think Dad's old barber shop building could hold up to be moved next to Debbie's hotel in Denmark.  After they moved the building up to the highway, they converted it to a cafe, making numerous changes to the inside.  They also took out some windows in the front, so the building doesn't even look like the old shop. We did have Dad's old barber chair in Manhattan after we moved there, but he sold it after I graduated from K-State.  My daughters gave me an old chair a few years ago, which I have upstairs along with a of collection barber tools and memorabilia.  It was really nice hearing from you, and I know you were a good friend to Charlie.

From: Jean Lush Staub, Lees Summit, Mo.

From Jean Lush Staub:

Dear Harold and Marge,

Thanks so much for the copy of your book on Vesper, Ks.  You did such a great job.  I know that was a big project.  It's wonderful you promised Charles, you'd finish it, and you did!  All the pictures sure add to the book and increase the value of the history.  We received the copy from Connie last Friday, June 10th.

I've only glanced thru the book so far and made notes of which pages I want to read first.  I did read the part on page 154 about the Dec 12,1955 fire.  Gary's looking forward to reading your book also.  Have you considered providing a copy to a few libraries?  Topeka, Ks, maybe?  County library?

Reply by Harold Smith

Jean, I'm certainly glad you enjoyed reading the Vesper book and looking at the old photographs.  This effort was a labor of love for both the town and my brother.  I always tell people that they don't need to read the book front to back in that order; but pick out sections at a time that might hold interest.  I found that as I wrote the book, I learned history about Kansas in general and Vesper in particular; that I had never heard of.  I hope this turns out to be the case for you as you go through it.    When we were back in Kansas over Memorial Day, I gave copies of the book to my high school Alumni Association, the Lincoln County Library, the Lincoln County Historical Society, the Sylvan Grove Library and the Sylvan Grove Historical Society. 

These organizations plan to offer the book for sale or donation. Of course, there is no library or historical society in Vesper.  Of course, I have no objection to any other organizations having a copy but feel there is limited interest outside of Lincoln County.  If anyone wants copies, they can either get them thru the Lincoln County Historical Society or I could get it to them.

The book is strongly injected with our family history as might be expected, especially the Smith's and Cromwell's.

Thank you for the kind words about the book and I hope you enjoy the experience.

Letter from Dorothy Block to Connie Knudsen (Harold's sister):

Delores Ancell was so kind to send me a copy of the History of Vesper that your brother wrote & I wanted to tell you how much I've enjoyed reading it.  I just got it Saturday afternoon and I have read all of it except the statistics in the back.  I love local history.  There was one omission which I feel bad about and that is that Richard was left out of the WWII veterans.  He should have been in there with Kyle & Robert.  I imagine the source that Harold or Charles got the list from didn't have it in, or it might have just been an over-sight.  Richard was in the Army three years - Oct 17 '42 to Oct 13 '45.  He served 1 1/2 years in Italy and was a Staff Seargent - in combat for one year.

The book brought back lots of memories.  Do you remember who lived in the house, where Alice lives now, prior to 1942?  I know Leaches lived there that fall (he was a teacher) & Mother Block bought it around 1954.

Answer from Harold Smith:

My sister Connie sent me your letter about how you enjoyed the history of Vesper.  The major reason I wrote the book was to inform the readers on Vesper and provide some memories.  Like you, I am also very interested in history, both local and world-wide.  I think it is great that you have kept a journal for so many years.  The problem with history is that so many people try to remember events and don't write them down.  We all know how our memories get distorted or disappear.  I would be pleased to include any of your notes in my history of Vesper if you thought they were appropriate.  I am sorry about the omission of Richard's name from the "Military Honor Roll" for Vesper men.  As you suspected, I obtained the list from a military plaque displayed in the Kyne House by the Lincoln Historical Society.  I don't know why Richard's name was not included.  Perhaps, he had left Vesper and was included in another town.  I was only eight years old when the war ended, so did not have any personal knowledge of the men who served.  I have taken the information included in your letter and put it into the document in my computer so I will have it for the next printing.  I am trying to collect all omissions and corrections, as well as any new information on Vesper so I will have enough for the second printing.  Unfortunately, no matter how many times you read the manuscript or have others read it, there are always error and omissions. (Note:  Richard Block did not graduate from Vesper, so his military records did not get included with Vesper graduates; however, he should be included in the extended definition of "Vesper Cardinals". He enlisted in the U.S. Army, but other details of his Service are subject to privacy laws).

I want to thank you for the write-up you did, (Vesper Community History) that was published in the Lincoln Sentinel back in 1976.  That write-up was very helpful for me in getting started on the book.  Probably your journal helped you for that.

Regarding the property north of grandpa's (Bob Cromwell); my records only include the owners of the land, not renters.  The history of owners was few before 1942:  Of course, W.B. Middlekauff owned all the land to start with.  After the land was split into residential lots, the first owner was Adolph Morgenson, the bank manager.  He lived there until well after the bank closed in 1932, then moved to California.  The next owner of the property was Ralph Cromwell, then of course Howard Block.  There were numerous renters in there, but they are not recorded in my real estate records.  So that is all I know from my records.

I certainly am sorry for the omission and have corrected that, and if you think of anything that might help in maintaining the history of Vesper, I would be pleased to include any stories, write-ups or photographs.  Continue with your journal entrees as your grandchildren will enjoy them in the future.

Ben Sheldon, Paxico, Washington:

I was curious as to when and from where did Vesper get Administration electricity.  These questions only come from one who is retired and doesn't have anything really important to do.

Reply From Harold Smith:

Regarding your question on lighting in Vesper, I will give you a long answer because the answer varies with time.  Of course, originally the early settlers/farmers used kerosene lamps and candles (1870-1900).  In the early 1900's the affluent farmers and townspeople got their electricity from wind driven windmills which charged and stored the electricity in batteries (Delco System), just like the old cars with the electric generators.  This provided limited wattage, so they could only run DC lights and small radios, etc.  You remember seeing the old windmill behind the Swisher garage when we were growing up.  He also had a shed with a row of batteries constantly being charged.  Of course, during our time, it wasn't being used.  Some businesses in town required more reliable lighting, such as the hotel, bank and some stores, so they used the gas lighting system which had been around for a long time in Europe and on the east coast.  Later, in the 1920's the windmills were replaced with small engines for charging the batteries, just like the diesel submarines you are quite familiar with.  I think the subs used the Delco system also, but on a much larger scale.  A little more wattage was now gained so the user could run bigger equipment and appliances.  The city of Lincoln actually put their own power generation plant in, in the early 1900's to supply the town.  Next, (I think the question you were asking) came the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), put in place under the Roosevelt Administration.  Vesper Township started getting the wires and poles in 1938.  Depending on the direction the wires were put up from, some parts of the township actually got power earlier than others by a few weeks.  This power was generated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) at a power generation plant and dam in Tennessee


Now, I'll bet you'll never ask another question on Vesper.

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This site was constructed for the sole purpose of preserving the legacy of The Vesper Consolidated School, students and graduates, for surviving alumni and their descendants.  This will include some life achievements of prominent town members and students of the Grade and High school.  Individuals who may have moved to the town but did not attend or graduate from the school, are acknowledged appropriately.   Comments on this Site, including additional input will be readily accepted.  If you get enjoyment from reminiscing or "walking down memory lane", I would like to hear from you. - Sometimes it is the journey and not the destination, that provides enjoyment!


Two Residential Homes on the West Side of K-18 Highway:

Inquiry by Ruth Sorenson Regarding the House Moved from Vesper to Outside of Denmark - Now Used as Bed & Breakfast (B&B).

From Elaine Manners Hyden to Marilyn Reinert Delmar:

There were two houses on the west side when we moved to Vesper from Sylvan in 1940-41. Cannot remember which year for sure.  We lived in the north house & Sally Brumbaugh in the one on the south (wonder if there had been more than two at some time ???)  Everett Ancel owned the land & wanted the house's out of the way.  The Brumbaugh house was moved to Sylvan in 1949 & sits on main street.  I think it is the 2nd house south of the Presby church.

The house you are talking about was across the highway on the east side of the road & was moved to the location where I assume it still stands.  Then mom bought that vacant lot & our house was moved straight across the highway to the east side (it has since been moved to Lincoln & is next to the viaduct north side on the east side of that north/south street) right by the Lincoln High School).  I believe that it was the Errebo's (don't hold me to that) who bought that house you are asking about & moved it close to Denmark.  It was a beautiful house, but unfortunately it was not our house.  However, someone & I'm having trouble remembering who, lived in that house with her parents while her husband was in WW II and she had a Ouija board & I'd go over & we'd ask Ouija questions.  For some reason, I'm thinking it was a Sprague, but I really don't know.  Now I wouldn't TOUCH a Quija board, but back then I didn't know any better (only 6 or so).  We'd sit out on the porch; only it was not enclosed then.  The Smith's house which was very similar & sat next door.  It burned after I got married.  The interior of our house was very similar only on a smaller scale.  It had the nice dividers between the living room & dining room with the round posts, etc.  It had French doors off the living room into my bedroom.  Of course, we had to have sheer curtains over them for privacy! Don't know what that room was intended for.  We had only one room upstairs.  It was finished out (not just an attic).  Mom's room was the small room where stairs went up.

I was so interested in you talking about the rock house that the Liepitz lived in.  Mom rented a room from them when the weather/roads were too bad to get to Vesper & back, (only four miles- can't image that today).  It was the living room on the SE corner downstairs.  She had "batching" facilities with some sort of little stove to cook on, etc.; I can remember lying in bed out there & hearing the coyotes howl down on the creek, near the Dresselhaus place.  Loved to hear them.   I took a picture of that house when Ermadean & I were taking our "memory" drive.  Also, that beautiful rock arch bridge east of the school, down close to where Norman Baasch lived.

Love, Elaine

Response to Ruth Sorensen inquiry on the history of her B&B house, by Harold Smith:

Your house was built by Julius C Morgenson (actually his father James Morgenson bought the property from William Bruce Middlekauff, whose family arrived in Vesper in the 1870s and paid for the construction).  Julius, who ran the hardware store, was the brother of Adolph Morgenson, the manager of the Vesper Bank.  The Warranty Deed was recorded in Volume 23, page 468 in the Lincoln County Record of Deeds Book, if you want more details like exact dates, price, etc.  Julius sold the house to Anton G. Zachgo, circa 1930, Volume 26, page 272, who left it to his son, Arnold Zachgo.  Zachgo rented it out to several Vesper residents, including Pat Benson, circa 1948/49, Volume 35, page 209, who moved it to your location, circa 1949.  I don't think Albert ever lived in the house in Vesper.  When I was a youngster, my brother & I watched the DeBolt movers from Beloit, jack up the house and put it on large beams with wheels and transport it out of town.  Around 1950 Bessie Manners (Elaine's mother) moved her house into this vacant lot from across Highway 18 to the west.  Some of my dates might not be exact, but if you want, you can get all the exact dates from the Courthouse in Lincoln.

Harold Smith

Reply From Ruth Sorenson (Nov 2005)

Thanks so much for all the information.  I am really excited about hosting retreats and workshops at the B&B and am eager to get going after the first of the year.



Hello, my name is Wayne S. Clark....I was born in Vesper in 1926.  My father Lindsey Rueben Clark had been hired by the school to be the administrator/superintendent.  We only lived there a few years and then moved on to Kanopolis, Kansas.  My son was looking on the internet and found that there were a few houses and a grain elevator left in Vesper.  He found your Web Page and found the Stone Building where my father was superintendent.  What a nice page.... Of course, I don't remember Vesper at the age of two, but my father spoke of it fondly.  I am a painter/artist.  I plan on visiting Vesper this summer to take a few pictures.  You may visit my web page at:

Thank you for your interest of keeping the memory of my birthplace alive.  As it states on my webpage, I thought the town was completely gone.

From Gerry Cromwell:
Harold, I found the website while doing some research on something totally unrelated.  You probably don't remember me since I was 6-7 years younger than you. I am the son of Ralph Cromwell.  Back in the day, my nickname was "Shorty" but once I gained adulthood, my adopted name became Gerry Cromwell.  I have always been fascinated by our upbringing in such a small community.  I sometimes find myself amazed that from that background, I have been so fortunate to have lived a life of vast experiences.  My business career took me to many cities, including Boston, Los Angeles, Detroit, Saint Louis, Kansas City, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Charlotte, N. C.  Additionally, spent 3 1/2 years running a company in Tokyo, Japan.  I now live in Sarasota, Fl, mostly in retirement, although I still own a business in Charlotte N.C.  Anyway, gosh so many memories looking over the pictures.  I recall the fabulous baseball team that you and your brother played for in about 1952 or 53.  So many good players on that team and I seem to recall, one of those teams was in the State finals and lost to Silver Lake.  Gerald Woody did an awful lot for Vesper as an educator and his interest in developing good baseball teams.  I can still remember the starting lineup for the most part... Catcher: Charles/Dale Sheldon (after Charles graduated), First Base: Dean Dohe, Second Base: you (Harold), Third Base: Paul Sheldon and Dale Dohe, Short Stop: Bennie Sheldon, Left Field - not sure, maybe Dale Dohe, Center Field and Right Field: memory fading on those positions.  I applaud you for undertaking the project and seeing it to completion.  That, as well as the monetary contributions you made.

Hi, Gerry Cromwell,
certainly do remember you, as you were good friends and a cousin of Larry Bolte as well as our family. At that time in your life, I knew you as Gerald, but also tracked your success in life through Kay and your sister Linda.  We see Linda at reunions in Vesper and Lincoln.  I spent a lot of time with your folks, Ralph and Lily at Cromwell reunions and dinners.  Also grew up with Don Liepitz, also a cousin.  In later years you lived next door to granddad Bob Cromwell and the Bolte's.  I feel most of our generation who moved away did grow up and contributed as much to life as those folks raised in the big cities.

I'm glad you enjoyed Don's website, as he spent a lot of time and energy getting the Vesper photos into his site and blog. After I first visited his website, I sent him the two Vesper books I had printed and published, and he was gracious to include the pictures.  My Vesper books are "A Town's Evening Song, History of Vesper Kansas (1870-1970)" and "Photographic History of Vesper, Kansas - Then & Now".  I contributed them to the Vesper Alumni Association and the Lincoln County Historical Society.  If you are interested, I would be glad to send you copies.

I'm glad you have remembered our game in the Kansas State Baseball Tournament, even though we lost 3-1 to Silver Lake.  Found out later that the Silver Lake pitcher (I think his name was Golden) was drafted by the Major Leagues.  I certainly recall he threw a wicked fast ball.  For us small town boys that was quite an experience.  We even stayed in a motel overnight!  I'm like you, some of the particulars of that team have faded, but I did include the team picture in the books.  Penny Andreson had graduated at that time, but Roy Flaherty and Dale were our pitchers.  Your recall of the positions was mostly correct, however the line-up changed from game to game.  Al Bolte was always our biggest fan. Larry did pretty well for Kansas State pitching.
It sounds like you moved around more than the military during your career.  I was fortunate to not move much but did travel quite a bit for DOD and the Navy.  We (Marge and I) are currently retired here in San Diego and our two daughters live here as well.

Thank you for the kind words about the Vesper project as it was for the love for Vesper and for my brother Charles who had the idea but died of cancer before he could undertake the project.  When I left school, I also picked up the nickname of Hal.  Don't know why, but the folks in Kansas still call me Harold.  We may get back there this summer for my sister Connie and Gene's 60th Wedding anniversary.  Thanks again for being interested in Vesper and taking the time to track me down and letting me know.
27 Feb 2013

Regretfully, Gerry passed away on 01 October 2016 in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.

Dear Mr. Smith, I just ran across your web page and video that you produced for your family.  It is because of individuals such as yourself that we are able to experience history that may only be a distant memory at best for many.  My father set up his shop (a welder by trade) in one of the old buildings in the main street, circa 1963/1964.  I spent a few weeks with him there and remember going across the street to the gas station for a cold pop.  I had other relations just outside of town and remember thinking I could walk down the hill to town.  I was 7 and it was two or three miles, I think. Someone who knew my dad and me ended up coming by and giving me a ride the rest of the way.  Again, thank you for all your hard work and effort on this.  It is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely, Don Mueller - My dad was Lennis Mueller

Donald, what a beautiful tribute you have made to Vesper and what appropriate music you chose.  I especially like the Evening Song.  I am forwarding a link to this to my children and nieces and nephews.  I knew practically nothing of this area until I started scanning the diary's and reading them as I do.  (This is in reference to the Stine Family Diaries, which were transcribed to put on CD's. (John L. Stine and Louis Phillip moved from Vesper Township in 1899. - HS).  Harold and you are to be commended for your work in preserving the memory of a small, but not insignificant community.  I for one, appreciate what you have done, and I know many more will feel the same way.  Thank you.  You and Harold will be among the first to get a copy of my CD. I will send Harold an email now.

Email From Dr. Ives:

My daughter found your Vesper site on the net and sent me a link.  Appreciate the picture novel of Vesper memories. 
As a kid, my sister and I visited Vesper with our parents for about a week in the summer of 1950 or 1951 to see our grandad, Edwin Burke Ives.  We stayed in his house (saw picture on net which is now gone) across the tracks from granddad's general store (Stone Building). 
At the age of 14, I traveled alone by train from San Antonio, Tx to Vesper to be with my granddad for several weeks.  In fact, I celebrated my 15th birthday in Vesper on August 15, 1953.  Granddad had moved to a room on the second floor of the store, where he fixed me up in an adjacent room.  Leona (Baasch) worked for my granddad and lived in a house back to the southeast of the store (last street/1st or 2nd house on left going south).  She fixed meals for us at her house.  Leona had a son close to my age - maybe 1 or 2 years older at the time, who was a very talented young artist/painter (Norman - HS).  Can't recall name but would recognize it.  Do you have any idea of his full name and about where and what he is these days??? 
I can remember that we hiked straight south of town for a way and went swimming in a cow pond on the left not too far from the road.  I can remember the large upstairs meeting hall in the Stone Building that had a stage with a classic vintage canvas type curtain with advertisements and sponsorships painted on it.  It was in full color, but slightly drab and worn.  There was a classic two-holer out back that was a necessity.  The basement was full of damp mud and glass bottles.  

My dad sold the building after Granddad passed away to avoid liabilities.  I think it was torn down for the stone in the building.  We were dismayed that lots of rubble was left on the site with the vault still standing intact.

My sister and I still have several inherited properties (lots), located behind and south of the store and a couple of small tracts across the now gone railroad tracks.  Some of the property is currently being free shared by Richard? (Dean) and Dea Ann Ancell.  At one time a nearby resident's son put some old cars on a couple of lots just north of the tracks and it took the Lincoln Sheriff to get them removed.

Thanks so much for your time and effort to salvage some history of what once was a thriving little rural community.

Hello Again Fellers (Don & Hal)
Your amazing diatribe featuring the refurbished Kansas City Union Station landmark created an instantaneous flashback to my teenage railroad adventure to Vesper, Kansas in the summer of 1953.  The night light picture of Union Station with K.C. skyline is spectacular. (Photo taken by Don Smith).

Little did I know what experiences were in store for me traveling cross-country alone as a fourteen-year-old from San Antonio, Texas to Vesper. I recall some details quite vividly and wonderment has set in about other details, like did I take a carry-on bag, check a suitcase or both???

As I recollect, I rode the MKT train out of San Antonio for unknown hours to Union Station arriving late afternoon or early evening.  I entered the "Great Waiting Room" through a portal and immediately started checking the big schedule board for the outbound Union Pacific train headed to Salina, Kansas.  I can remember it was due out about 10:00 p.m. but was delayed to later time(s).

The waiting room was massive.  Portals lined both sides with latticed collapsible metal gates behind each.  The PA announcer was constantly calling out train arrivals and departure times with portal/track numbers. People listened for their call.  Sad to see loved ones go and glad to see loved ones come.

Long wooden church-like pews were placed back-to-back in sections with aisles.  There were a few folks stretched out napping, some sat quietly with their luggage and others were gathered in family groups.  If the huge clock in your picture was the same one, I glanced at it every few minutes for several hours.

While riding on the MKT, I talked to a gentleman for some time who was a railroad detective (showed me badge).  He briefed me and gave me some safety tips about Union Station.

I can remember briefly walking out to the front of Union Station to take a quick peak of K.C., but all was dark, and I don't remember what I did see.  I was concerned about not missing my train.

I boarded the Union Pacific train that night sometime about 1:00 am, which didn't pull out of the station till about 2:00 am.  In the meantime, after passengers had boarded and taken their seats, uniformed soldiers came on board headed for the west coast and occupied empty seats and completely filled up the aisles sitting on the floor.

The conductor in his classic RR jacket with brass buttons and round flat-topped cap worked his way through the crowded aisle punching tickets and clipping them over the window.  Soon I fell asleep.

When I woke up it was daylight.  I wondered where we were.  The conductor came by, and I asked about when we would get to Salina.  He looked up at my ticket and said "Son, we passed Salina a while back", gesturing to the rear of the train.  I can still see the look on the conductor's face.  It was saying, "Why didn't you get off?"

I was supposed to catch a one car loop-train (milk run/puddle jumper) that morning out of Salina to Vesper.  The conductor contemplated a moment and indicated that he would see what I would need to do at the next stop which was Hays, Kansas (100 miles from Salina.)

At Hays, the conductor talked to the local stationmaster and then come got me.  He had made arrangements for me to ride in the back of an open-ended U.S. Mail truck about 25 miles north to Plainville, Kansas.  He paid the mailman 50 cents for his help.  I perched myself on the canvass mail sacks and carefully watched the countryside go by while trying to keep my bearings as to the direction we were heading.  That was the Boy Scout in me.

Arriving at the loop-train station in Plainville, I waited for the motorized train car on the return trip to Salina via Vesper which was 60 miles away.  The train car had operational controls at both ends, so it did not have to turn around for the return trip.  The one-person conductor/engineer simply moved to the other end.

With the windows wide open and the train going down the track clickity-clack, I arrived in Vesper late afternoon.

There was no one to meet me at the Vesper station, so I walked to the "Stone Building" which was my granddad's general store.  Needless to say, granddad (Edwin Burke Ives) was glad to see me.  He had called and talked to my maternal grandmother about my non-arrival.  My parents were away from home and had not been worried about my circumstances.  By the time they returned home, I had been found.  My two grandparents were the ones worried.

As for me, I wasn't worried, I was just fine, safe and sound all the way.


(P.S. I have some RR spikes from the Vesper RR crossing left behind after the RR was abandoned and the tracks removed for mementos of this adventure).

From a follower of Don's Blog:
I miss chatting with you Don.  Harold and Marge remind me of my favorite great aunt and uncle....looking at that pic makes me wanna hug them. 

Don Smith,

I am searching for an image of the Vesper Cardinal mascot.  Would you by any chance know where I might obtain one?

I checked the internet but couldn't find any... Told him I would ask the expert....

Here are photos from my records.

Yes, those are perfect.  Just what I was looking for.  Thank you again, very, very much for all this.  It's nice to see the ghosts of these rural high schools come back to life and not be completely forgotten.
Von Rothenberger

How do I order of your books?  I'm interested in Vesper because that's where my great grandpa homesteaded.  He is buried in the cemetery there.  My grandpa grew up there and we used to go on a car ride there and he would tell his stories.  Thank you.

Reply by Harold Smith

I'm Hal Smith, Don's cousin, who authored the Vesper books, "A Town's Evening Song" and "Photographic History of Vesper, Kansas, Then & Now".  I donated these books to the Lincoln County Historical Society, Lincoln, Kansas and the Vesper Alumni Society, for their sale.  I do not know if they are still selling them as there was only a limited number that were printed in 2005.  However, if they no longer have any, I still have a few in my home, and can send them to you if I have an address.  If you happen to live close to Lincoln, Kansas that would be more convenient for you.  Who was your great grandfather, I'm not aware of the family name of Linder in Vesper Township?

Reply By Kevin Linder

Hal, his name was Abraham Lincoln Linder, and he came from Missouri with his two brothers.  I'm not sure exactly where his farm was, I was just a small kid when my grandpa took me there.  My grandpa's name was Orel Linder.  He left there after WWI and he is buried in Lindsborg, Ks.  I live in Little River, Ks, which is south of Ellsworth about 35 miles.  I have been trying to get to Vesper to just drive around and see if I could remember anything.


I was recently surfing the net and found your site on the history of Vesper and the book "A Town's Evening Song" and the "Photographic History of Vesper".  Are there any copies available for sale?
My Great Grandfather Christian Naegele lived in Vesper (or just South of town) and married Matilda "Tillie" Pankau in Vesper in 1899. My grandfather Edwin Naegele was born there in 1902.

Reply From Don Smith:

Hi Kent, my cousin Harold wrote the Book and I believe he donated all the remaining copies to Vesper or someone representing them.  You can email him at .... If you would like a DVD Copy of my Video, I can furnish one for you at no cost.  I did the Web Page and video for Harold and appreciate any and all that like my effort.

Reply By Harold Smith: 

Hi Kent,
I received your email from my cousin Don regarding the Vesper books.  I self-published both books in 2005 and donated them to the Vesper Men's Club and the Lincoln County Historical Society, Lincoln, Kansas in order that those organizations might benefit from the sale of the books.  I believe they still have 30 or so of the book "A Town's Evening Song", which I think they are selling for around $25.  The "Photographic History" book was sold out the last time I heard from them, but they were thinking of doing a re-print.  However, if none of that works out for your, I probably still have a couple of the books around here that I could send you.

P.S. I have seen the DVD Video Don is talking about giving you and I can attest that it is well done, including with music.  Since it is digital, copies of the photos have great resolution!  You might consider taking him up on is offer.


An inquiry as to obtaining a copy of the Vesper books and info on Moses and Abagail Holman.

Reply By Harold Smith
I self-published two books about Vesper (A Town's Evening Song, History of Vesper, Kansas (1870-1970) and Photographic History of Vesper, Kansas - Then & Now in 2005.  I donated the books to the Lincoln County Historical Society so they might benefit from the proceeds.  If you ever go thru Lincoln, they are located on Main Street, or you might contact them via mail.  However, if they no long are selling them, I do have a few copies left and I could mail you a set.

Carl and Caroline owned 160 acres in Section 35 of the Vesper Township.  This property may have been originally obtained from the Union Pacific Railroad to John Pankow?  I have no records of the Holman's owning land in Vesper Township, but I think they may be buried in the Vesper Cemetery.  My family lived in the town of Vesper, where I was raised.

Let me know if you cannot obtain a copy of the books from the Lincoln Historical Society.  I can't be of too much help as I live in San Diego, California.

Reply From Darlene Lampe:

Thank you for the information. I will contact the historical society in Lincoln. Moses and Abigail Holman homesteaded 2 miles west of Denmark in Pleasant Township, so that would explain no records in Vesper. name is ed and I live in ny, bought an antique stool on eBay and I was told it was bought at an auction and it came from the town of swivels, it's about 20" tall with an ornate cast iron and figure it was used at a general store or a bar, cafe, luncheonette.  I just was wondering the history of this antique...The next email has a photo of it...ed

Reply By Don Smith
Ed, I only visited Vesper a couple times and I wouldn't have any info...I'll forward this to Cousin Harold who wrote the book, maybe he can help.

Reply By Harold Smith

Hi Ed.
My cousin Donald forwarded your email to me regarding a stool you purchased on eBay, however I didn't get the photo.  If you could send it to me, I might be able to give you more info on your purchase.  There was a general store in the town (1892-1953), a lunchroom (1901), a drug store (1903/04), a home-cafe and bar (1905-1920), a restaurant (1914-1920), and a cafe (1956-1970). Other businesses that might have had such a stool are the barber shop (1909-1956); a hardware store (1901-1926), a hotel (1901-1937), and a millinery shop (1909-1912).  Any of these businesses might have used this stool.  Are there any other markings or lettering on the stool?  The town of Vesper, Kansas does not exist anymore, except as a bedroom community.  The town site was organized in 1902 and pretty much ended in 1966 with the closure of the school.  A couple of businesses hung on for a few years, then closed.  Hope this might help on a history of your stool.

No Further Reply


This is a voice from Harold's past.  I am Judy Dresselhaus Shaffstall, and my grandmother lived next door to you in Vesper.  I have been trying to get your e-address for years.  Every time Jim had a reunion, I would ask him to tell you I had been trying to get in touch.

My uncle, Don Dresselhaus, lived in Carlsbad, CA and I visited him many times before he died.  I always wanted to contact you while I was there because I flew in and out of San Diego.  I enjoyed your Vesper history and would have loved to have given you some info on the Dresselhauses, who were homesteaders as well as Bob and Jim's great grandparents, the Lewises, who were original homesteaders in Old Vesper.  But alas, that didn't happen because I didn't know in time to share the info.
 We went back to KS in May, for a sentimental journey and to do some historical research.  The next time you make the trip, I hope you will let me know and just maybe we can make the trip again.

Best regards, Judy,
July 2017




Includes Military Service Prior to the Establishment of Vesper, and Acknowledges Early Residents of the Town, as well as the Attendees and Graduates of Vesper High School.

Army of the Republic - Early Residents:

  • Baird, William, Pvt, (Early Settler) Private Baird was a prisoner in Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia, the most infamous prison of the Civil War for its over-crowded and unsanitary conditions.  The prison was the major recipient of Union prisoners from the Battle of Manassas (Bull Run-1861).  More than 50,000 prisoners passed through there during the Civil War. Pvt Baird remained a prisoner until the end of the War in 1865; however there are no records of when he was captured.

  • Biggs, A.T., Sgt - Ohio Infantry

  • Bobenrieth, Jos. 

  • Bowen, A.G., Pvt - Indiana Infantry

  • Burger, Levi B., Corporal - First Maryland Cavalry, serving three years.

  • Creighton, J.R., Pvt - N.Y. Calvary

  • Cross, A.B., Sgt - Penn. Infantry

  • Fuller, H.H., Pvt - Penn. Infantry

  • Hickey, W.H., Pvt - Co. M, First Regiment, Ohio Light Artillery. He served three years and three months.

  • Hill, J.R., Pvt

  • Hurlburt, Pvt - Iowa Calvary

  • Ide, G.P., Pvt - Wisconsin Infantry

  • Kelley, Patrick, Pvt - Ill. Calvary

  • Lamont, M. Pvt - N.Y. Infantry

  • Lee, Frank, Teamster

  • Loy, B.F., Pvt - Penn. Calvary

  • McMillen, B F., Pvt - Ill. Infantry

  • Mollenkamp, G., Pvt-Mich. Infantry

  • Naylor, H., Pvt - Ohio Calvary

  • Richardson, J., Pvt - Mich. Artisan

  • Rife, J., Pvt - Penn. Infantry

  • Ross, J.F., Lt - Indiana Infantry

  • Shannon, J.E., Pvt. - Penn. Infantry

  • Shepherd, F.M. 

  • Steele, H. S., Sgt. Enlisted September 1861 in the New York Independent Artillery.  He fought at Yorktown, Mechanicsville, Siege of Richmond, Seven Day Fight Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Wilderness Campaign and Petersburg.  He was wounded at Cold Harbor and discharged after three years of service.  He was a true brave soldier and loved by his comrades.

  • Sutton, A.S.

  • Whiteman, G.H.

  • White, Joseph E., Pvt - Ohio Calvary. Joseph served four years in the Union army carrying messages on horseback between the Union Commanders.  He refused to be promoted to a higher rank.

Confederate Army - Early Settlers:

  • Mong, Wendell W., Pvt Being born in West Virginia, Wendell "threw in his fortune with the Confederate States, and served four years, until the close of the War; serving under J.E.B. Stuart, Co. B., 1st Virginia Calvary. He was a very brave and daring soldier" - Lincoln Sentinel, April 1922.  He has the distinction of being the only Confederate soldier buried in the Vesper Cemetery.

WWI - Early Residents of Vesper​  (113 Draft Registrants)

  • Anderson, Harry J. - National Army

  • Anderson, Anton A.-National Army

  • Baird, Walter, Sgt - National Army

  • Baird, Early (Earl) G.

  • Cavanaugh, I.J., - Regular Army

  • Feldt, Emil - Regular Army

  • Jensen, Edward - National Army

  • Jensen, Andrew A. - Regular Army

  • Jepsen, Arthur A. - National Army

  • Larsen, John - National Army

  • Loy, Darrell D.

  • Lykke, Richard C., Pvt

  • Maupin, Elmer - Regular Army

  • Mueller, Ortwin G., Pvt

  • Noon, Joseph - Regular Army

  • Peterson, Waldemar, - National Army

  • Riggs, J.E. - Regular Army

  • Swisher, Kyle U., Pvt

Note: The National Army was the designation of those drafted in WWI.

WWII: VHS Graduates - (U.S Army Unless Otherwise Noted)

  • Ancell, Darrel Dean, (Non-Vesper Graduate) Pfc, Served in combat with the Ninth Infantry Division, European Theatre.  Wounded in Action near Aachen, Germany and was awarded the Purple Heart.  In December 1944, the 9th Infantry was at Elsenborn Ridge where it waged an 18-Hour engagement during the Battle of the Bulge. After the reduction of the German salient , the ninth spear-headed a 1945 drive toward the Siegfried Line. They crossed the Rhine in March 1945, and advanced into Czechoslavakia.  Dean mustered out in October 1945.  

  • Andreasen, Harlan (Class of 1941), "Harlan turned 18 on 26 December. Joined the Army and was first sent to Alaska in 1943.  He became a member of the 503rd Airborne and was sent to the Western Pacific." - Bud Andreasen.  "He joined the Army at the age of 17.  His mother was against it, but signed the papers to let him join because he would on his birthday". - Robert Andreasen

  • Block, Kyle U. (Class of 1936)

  • Block, Richard, (Non-Vesper Graduate) S/Sgt, Served in combat in Italy.

  • Block, Robert Francis, W1 USN (Class of 1931) Warrant Officer Block, career Navy, served in both WWII and the Korean conflict.

  • Bolte, Alfred (Bud), (Freshman 1926) Alfred served in the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC), Circa 1936, an organization run by the Dept of Defense.  Besides being a test organization for the draft, the CCC fought forest fires, built infrastructures such as bridges, roads and small structures. Unfortunately, Bud could not serve due to a heart condition.

  • Bunch, Everard Jack, (Class of 1940) - KIA.  PL S/SGT Bunch was a Marine Platoon Gunnery Sergeant aboard the USS Colorado Battleship, BB-45 on active duty in the Pacific.  Engaged in a major battle on 24 July 1944, around Tinian Island - of the Mariannas Islands, he was killed.   The USS Colorado was supporting the Marine invasion of Tinian Island.  S/Sgt Bunch's ship sustained 22 hits from Japanese shore batteries, which killed 44 of the ship's crew.  Despite the damage, the ship continued to operate against the enemy until August 04. Jack was awarded five stars indicating five major engagements. He was considered a leader in Vesper High School activities and was popular in the community.  Following his graduation in May, he joined the Marines in November.  His parents, Harry & Josie, received a telegram telling of his death, with no date given, but was later informed of the date after the conclusion of the battle engagement.     

  • Burger, Herbert Lee (Class of 1934)

  • Cheney, Dwayne (Class of 1941)

  • Clark, Vernon (Non-Vesper Graduate)

  • Cromwell-Boynton, Doris YN3 (Yeoman) U.S. Navy (Class of 1939).  After graduation, she worked a brief time in Beloit, Kansas. Doris, a sister of Herbert (KIA), served in WWII, where she later met her husband (Layton Boynton). She continued her service to her country after the War retiring with 39 years in Civil Service.

  • Cromwell, Eleanor, U.S. Navy (Yeoman, Oakland-Alameda Naval Base (Class of 1936). Eleanor received word of her brother Herbert's death while working as an FSA office girl in El Dorado, Kansas. This news probably prompted her to enlist in the Navy and serve in a clerical position at the Navy Base in California, where she met and married her husband (David Bates) in 1945 after the War.  

  • Cromwell, Eugene (Class of 1932)

  • Cromwell, Herbert F. (KIA), (Class of 1938).  Herbert Cromwell enlisted in the U.S. Army on November 15, 1939, about a year after high school graduation. He was trained as a radio operator & gunner, assigned to the 17th Bombardment Group (Medium), Pendelton Oregon. The 17th used their B-25 Mitchell bombers for patrol duty along Oregon's west coast after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 1941, until ordered to transfer to Columbia, North Carolina.  The 17th patrolled the southern Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico with planes and personnel stationed at airfields from Columbia to Miami.  Meanwhile, twenty planes and volunteer crews moved to Eglin Airfield, Florida to train for a "Special B-25 Project" (Doolittle's Tokyo Raid). On April 16th, Sgt Cromwell was assigned to crew #27 of the thirty-three crews participating in Project 157, (assignment of aircraft to support the Chinese effort in Asia), which included seven B-17's and twenty-six B-25's.  Preceded several days earlier by the B-17's, the fully combat-ready B-25 Mitchell bombers departed Morrison Field, Florida, in flights of five and six planes between 2 and 5 May 1942. Sgt. Cromwell's plane departed on 4 May.  After arriving at Karachi, India (now Pakistan) he was assigned, on 28 May 1942, to the 11th Bombardment Squadron (M), assigned to the Bombardment Group, temporarily designated Composite Group. The day after the 141st Bombardment Group (Medium) was activated, on 15 Sept 1942, the 11th and 22nd Bombardment Squadrons were assigned to it.  Herbert Cromwell was assigned to Detached Service with the 11th Squadron at Dinjan, India, performing armed reconnaissance flights from Dinjan over northern and central Burma, to be on one of four crews; (two 11th and two 22nd) to join with the 11th Bomb Squadron at Kwellin (now Gullin), China for a series of China Air Task Force special missions against Japanese resources in the Hong Kong area of China.  His aircraft, a North American B25D, with four bombs on board, launched from Dinjan the afternoon of October 18th.  About thirty minutes out of Dinjan, the plane developed engine trouble and soon both engines quit.  The pilot was forced to attempt an emergency landing about 35 miles southeast of Dinjan, in heavy fog and rugged terrain near Deomali, India.  Sgt. Cromwell's plane plowed into a mountainside. The aircraft was totally destroyed, and all the crew members (6) were killed.  The bombs were later found intact, and it was later determined the aircrafts fuel had probably been sabotaged, since later flights also had engine failures due to fuel contamination.  This was later traced to deliberate actions by one Indian worker.  At the time, due to large numbers of Japanese fighters located in northern Burma, all flights between India and China, were considered "combat missions".  Nonetheless, members of this crew have been reported as either "Killed in Action" or "Killed Non-Battle".  Taken from: "The Record; History of the 11th Bomb Squadron, (M).   But for the luck of the draw, Herbert might have been remembered as a member of General Jimmy Doolittle's famous bombing raid on Tokyo; but instead made the ultimate sacrifice in a shroud of secrecy!

  • Cromwell, Maurice (Class of 1925)

  • Cromwell, Max - USAF (Class of 1937)

  • Cromwell, Ralph (Class of 1934)

  • Cromwell, Robert M. - US Navy Construction Battalion, Sea Bees (Non-Vesper Graduate)

  • Engstrom, Eugene, U. S. Navy (Class of 1930)

  • Fensch, Reinhold (Class of 1933)

  • Feldkamp, Leo - U.S. Navy, Seaman First Class, KIA (Class of 1934).  Leo enlisted in the Navy Reserve (USNR) shortly after high school graduation and was activated to duty after the Pearl Harbor attack. The ship he was assigned to (USS Reid, DD - 369) participated in the War of the Pacific (Dec 1941 - Sept 1945 as part of the Seventh Fleet. During the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Reid fired on the Japanese planes and her group of destroyers downed one.  After the attack, the USS Reid patrolled the Hawaiian Islands.  After patrols off Leyte, Philippines; in November she steamed to Oromoc Bay, Leyte.  She supported landings there on 7 December, and escorted the damaged U.S.S. Lamson, DD367, toward Leyte Gulf. The large invasion convoy came under strong attack by Kamikazes, but they were unable to delay the American invasioin. Escorting reinforcements to Oromoc Bay, near Suragamo Straits on 11 December, Reid destroyed seven Japanese planes before she sunk from repeated Kamikaze crashes. Her 150 survivors were picked up by landing craft in her convoy.   The USS Reid earned eight service stars during World War II. This invasion was extremely important paving the way to the later landing of troops on the Island of Luzon. Control of Mindoro was needed to establish air bases for the invasion of Luzon.  It was this kamikaze attack on his ship, that Seaman Feldkamp was found Missing in Action (MIA) - "lost at sea" on 11 December 1944; and later declared Killed in Action - (KIA) "giving his life in the service of his country".  Leo was awarded the Purple Heart and is memorialized at the "Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines, Tablets of the Missing".  Leo Herman Feldkamp is among the 8,133 American Gold Star causalities recorded with close ties to Kansas.

  • Feldkamp, Paul (Class of 1943) Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas on 23 September 1944, a year after graduation. His term of enlistment was "For the duration of the War or Other Emergency Plus Six Months, Subject to the Discretion of the President or Otherwise According to Law". He achieved the rank of Private.

  • Feldkamp, Reinhold (Class of 1936) TEC 4. Sergeant Feldkamp was drafted and spent almost four years in the U.S. Army, European Theater, during WWII.

  • Feldkamp, Warren - USN (Class of 1940)

  • Flaherty, Emery (Class of 1929)

  • Flaherty, Leonard (Class of 1931)

  • Flaherty, Vincent (Class of 1933)

  • Heinze, Leonard (Class of 1939)

  • Heinze, Richard (Class of 1939) TEC 5. Corporal Richard Heinze attended U.S. Army Basic Training in Texas, shipped out from Halifax to England, and then into Northern Ireland, where he joined the 11th Infantry, 5th Division, as a 6X6 truck driver.  He trained in Ireland for 9 months and then headed to France. He landed in France one month after D-Day and was soon in the battle for St. Lo. Next, General Patton wanted his Division as part of the 3rd Army, as part of a River Crossing Division, so they blitzed across France, a 700-mile jaunt, capturing and securing bridges as they went.  His Division spent the winter in Luxemburg, and helped General Patton protect the south side during the Battle of the Bulge.  (Write-up taken from 2004 calendar "Honoring a Few Lincoln County World War II Heroes".

  • Kleinschmidt, Wilbur (Class of 1941)

  • Lyne, Virgil T., U.S. Navy (Class of 1941)

  • Lehmkuhl, Elton (Class of 1939) Elton enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Sept 1939 (right out of high school) and served until October 1945.  He achieved the rank of Petty Officer First Class.

  • Morrison, Gerald, U.S. Army, PFC (Non-Vesper Graduate)

  • Nelson, Marselene, Army Air Corp. (Class of 1942)

  • Nelson, Willis (Class of 1944)

  • Nielsen, Leland Chris, Major U. S. Army (Class of 1935) From 1941-1946 Leland served in the United States Army Air Corp, achieving the rank of Major. Following his discharge in 1946, he received a Juris Doctor from the USC Gould School of Law.

  • Nitsch, Alvin (Class of 1943)

  • Nunn, Grant, Jr. (Class of 1941)

  • Nygaard, Leo Vernon, USN, (Class of 1930)

  • O'Leary, Phillip (Class of 1933)

  • O'Toole, John (Class of 1944) U.S. Navy, Medical Corp. 1944-1947

  • Panzer, Floyd (Class of 1945)

  • Peterson, Kenneth USAAF (Class of 1939) 

  • Powers, Paul Bernard (Class of 1936)

  • Powers, Emerson (Class of 1933)

  • Powers, Kenneth (Class of 1940)

  • Rahmeir, Ernest (Class of 1944) Ernest served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific area during WWII.

  • Roten, Harold R. QM, PFC (Non-Vesper Graduate)

  • Sheldon, John Alden (Class of 1944)

  • Swisher, Kyle, Jr. (Class of 1942)

  • Taylor, George, (Class of 1935)

  • Toole, John, USN, (Class of 1944)

  • Toole, Lawrence, (Class of 1933)

  • Voss, Harold, Merchant Marines (Class of 1940)

  • Wiebke, Leonard (Class of 1937)

  • Woody, Gerald D. 2nd Lt USAF, (VHS Supt.1950-1955)

Cold War Period (1947-1991) - A period of time when geopolitical tension was high between the United States and the Soviet Union. Because there was not a World War during this time; actual combat was considered local, i.e., Korean, Vietnam Conflict. The recognition of the importance of the military support during this time of potential Nuclear War was not given. Much of this Service included surveillance and intelligence gathering. However, these veterans deserve to be recognized and "thanked for their service" as well!

  • Anderson, Alvin Andrew PFC U.S. Army (Class of 1961) Andy was promoted early as an Army Incentive for Outstanding Trainees.

  • Andreson, Donald (Class of 1946) Donald enlisted in the USAF shortly after graduation, achieving the Rank of Sergeant.

  • Block, Garrett (Class of 1963)

  • Bolte, Alfred Larry, Lt. USN, (Class of 1960)

  • Brumbaugh, Leslie LaVerne (Verne) (Class of 1947) Verne served in the Army Reserve 01 January 1951 to 01 January 1953.

  • Bunch, Richard (Class of 1957)

  • Cheney, Glen, USN (Class of 1946)

  • Clark, Wayne S. (Non-Vesper Graduate)

  • Dohe, Dean (Class of 1955) Enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1956 and served until 1959 under the "Buddy System" with Carroll Feldkamp.

  • Errebo, Bill (Class of 1947) Served with the U.S. Naval Reserve at the Olathe Naval Air Station.

  • Feldkamp, Carroll (Class of 1955) Enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1956 and served until 1959, under the "Buddy System" with Dean Dohe.

  • Flaherty, Laverne (Class of 1962)

  • Hildebrandt, Eldon (Class of 1947) Eldon served in the U.S. Army from 1950 - 1953 in Germany as a Military Policeman.

  • Hildebrandt, Orvel (Class of 1952)

  • Knudsen, Donald (Class of 1946) Served three years in the U.S. Army.

  • Knudsen, Eugene (Class of 1950) Cpl. Knudsen, U.S. Army, served at Camp Tokyo with the 29th Engineer Topographic Battalion as a file clerk in in Headquarters Detachment.  Prior to his overseas assignment, Gene was stationed at Ft. Lewis, Washington. 

  • Krueger, Billie Dean (Class of 1962)

  • Liepitz, Donald L., Sgt 1st Class (Class of 1949). Sgt. Liepitz was assigned to the 10th Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kansas, which was later re-assigned as the 7th Infantry Division when deployed to South Korea, (Korean Conflict 1950-1953). While serving in Korea, he was a Squadron Sergeant, leader of 8-24 enlisted men.  Due to the high causality rates in the landing at Inchon, Sgt. Liepitz was temporarily promoted to lead a Platoon (16-50 men) in a position normally assigned to a 1st Lieutenant.  During a subsequent landing at Wonsan, Korea, Sgt Liepitz sustained a shrapnel wound to his eye, resulting in the loss of the eye, for which he subsequently received the Purple Heart Medal. The Purple Heart is a U.S. military decoration awarded in the name of the President, to those wounded or killed while serving with the U.S. Military.  The Purple Heart is the oldest military award still given to U.S. Military members. Sergeant Liepitz was also awarded the Korean Service Medal and the Bronze Campaign Star.  Donald later graduated from the Brown-Mackie School of Business.

  • Mannell, Norman, USAF (Class of 1963) 

  • Meir, Marvin (Class of 1947)

  • Nelson, David USN - Korean War (Class of 1950)

  • Nelson, Jay (Class of 1945)

  • Nelson, Wayne (Class of 1947)

  • Nitsch, Alvin (Class of 1943) Served in Italy during WWII.

  • Nunn, Billy Joe (Class of 1950)

  • Nunn, Robert (Class of 1947)

  • Panzer, Dean, USN (Class of 1948). Dean served in the U.S. Navy as an Aircraft Mechanic aboard the USS Valley Forge from 1950 to 1954 during the Korean Conflict.

  • Payne, Tommy (Class of 1949)

  • Powers, Robert USAF (Class of 1946)

  • Schroeder, Dale, National Guard/Army Reserve (Class of 1954)

  • Sheldon, Ben USN Submarine Service (Class of 1955)

  • Sheldon, Dale (Class of 1949)

  • Sheldon, Bill (Class of 1954) When Bill filed on a 160-acre homestead east of Homer, Alaska, in 1959, Alaska was still a territory.  To gain title to the land, he was required, under terms of the 1867 Federal Homestead Act, to cultivate 20 acres of the land.  The solution: a used tractor, which would in time, become a collectible.  "We purchased a 1951 8N tractor with a 4-foot Rototiller and other implements" he says.  "We got our 20 acres tilled with the 8N and also got title to 160 acres of Alaska land".  Over the years, the 8N was put to work on a regular basis, "From pulling logs to the sawmill, putting on the half-tracks and going moose hunting, to pushing snow in the winter," Bill says. "It has earned its keep."  Fifty years later, Bill gave the 8N a complete face lift, which led to another acquisition.  Since I had a 1951 Ford tractor, we felt we needed a 1951 Ford truck", he explains.  "While visiting our daughter in Washington a couple of years ago, I bought this truck in Vancouver".  He shipped the truck via barge to Anchorage and drove it the 230 miles from Anchorage to Homer on the Kenai Peninsula. -(Write-up Taken from Farm Collector - 2008)Bill was honored in 2018 with the "Veteran Honor Flight" from Anchorage, Ak to Washington D.C. to honor his service in the Army, as well as his contributions to the Homer American Legion, where he donated many Army collectibles and built a display cabinet for them.  Bill was also honored with the American Legion "Alaska Legionnaire of the Year Award."

  • Sheldon, Paul (Class of 1953)​​

  • Sorenson, Abraham Lincoln, Jr. USN (Class of 1947) 

  • Swisher, Donald (Class of 1950)

  • Zachgo, Ronnie USAF (Class of 1963)

  • Wacker, Bill USN (Class of 1958) 

A Special Salute: Taken from the Wichita Eagle-(10 June 1955), BOEING HERE PICKS TYPICAL PILOT OF B47 - Typical of 22 B47 test pilots and co-pilots employed by the Boeing airplane company's Wichita Division is a 33-year-old veteran of nearly 17 years flying experience according to results of a survey conducted by the company.  The survey also included fact and figures on the "triple threat" third man of the Stratojet crews - skilled observers - who serve a combination navigators, bombardiers and radar operators.  Most of the test pilots and observers, headed by Flight Test Chief Elliott Merrill, are Midwesterners, although several live in hometowns as widely separate as Seattle, Wash. and Rochester New York.  Nine are native Kansans.  "Mr. Average Pilot" is James H. Goodell.  A native of Vesper, Kansas, (born on a farm outside of Vesper, however, did not graduate from VHS), he is three years younger than the average of men who have accumulated thousands of hours putting the swept-wing, six hundred miles-an-hour Boeing jets through their paces.  He grew up in the Kansas City area.  As a college engineering graduate (University of Kansas), the experimental pilot has somewhat more education than the average Boeing B47 crewman. Jim served in the Navy as a pilot during World War II in Patrol Squadrons VP207 and VPB114, flying PBM and PB4Y airplanes.


Law (Includes Lawyers, Judges & Court Officials)

  • Nielsen, Leland Chris - Lawyer, Superior Court Judge, San Diego, Ca. (Class of 1935)​​. Born in Vesper, Kansas, Leland received an A.B. from Washburn College in 1941 and was in the United States Army Air Corp during WW II, from 1941-1946, receiving the rank of Major.  He received a J.D. from the University of Southern California Law School in 1946.  He was in private practice in Los Angeles, California from 1946-1947.  Leland was a Deputy City Attorney of Los Angeles, California from 1947-1951.  He was in private practice in San Diego, California from 1951-1968.  Mr. Nielsen was a judge in the Superior Court California for San Diego, California from 1968-1971.  Neilsen was a Federal Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.  Leland was nominated by President Richard Nixon on April 21, 1971, to a new seat created by 84 Stat. 294.  He was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 20,1971 and received his commission the same day.  He assumed senior status on June 14, 1985.  He served in that capacity until September 23, 1999, due to his death.National Basketball Association v. SDC Basketball Club Inc. (1982) - a notable law case presided by Judge Nielsen.  Taking advantage of the opportunity to move into the vacant Los Angeles Coliseum, the San Diego Clippers relocated without seeking league permission in May 1984.  The league then filed a $25 million lawsuit against the Clippers and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commision claiming the move was in violation of the NBA's by-laws.  In March 1986 Federal Judge Leland Nielsen dismissed the lawsuit, citing a recent anti-trust decision allowing the recent move of the NFL's Oakland Raiders to Los Angeles, but a Federal Court in San Francisco ruled that the NBA could proceed with its lawsuit in April 1987.  Finally, in September, the Clippers and NBA reached an out-of-court re-settlement with the Clippers agreeing to pay the Los Angeles Lakers a $5.5 million indemnity for moving into the Lakers territory and to sign documents acknowledging the validity of league by-laws regarding franchise movement.​