Saturday, March 12, 2016

Geary County Cowboys

Last week, we took a look at the very brief history of Junction City’s claim of being a Cowtown. Although the Cowtown status was very short lived, the working cowboy did not die with the Cattle trail. Geary County has a great tradition Cowboys that have been inducted in the Kansas Hall of Fame. The Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame is located at the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City. In our column this week, we will learn about four individuals who were inducted into the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame, who were working ranchers, farmers and cowboys locally in Geary County.
The first person who was inducted into the Hall of Fame from Geary County was Fred Germann, who was born to G.F. and Blanch Germann on March 3, 1921 in the Blue River Valley are. Growing up on a farm, Germann knew from a young age that he wanted to carry on the family tradition of farming and ranching. In 1939, Germann enrolled at Kansas State College of Agriculture and was very active in the livestock judging program. When the Tuttle Creek dam was built on the Blue River Valley Germann was forced to relocate to the Humboldt Valley southeast of Junction City, where he acquired 3500 acres. Although primarily known as a cattleman, German was also known as a prominent hog farmer. Fred has been the only person to have served as President of both the Kansas Livestock Association and the Kansas Pork Producers Council. Germann was honored as stockman of the year in 1989. Fred Germann passed away in 2010 and was inducted that same year as a Rancher/Cattleman.
William F. Ebbutt was the next person who was inducted in 2012 as a Rancher/ Cattleman. Born on February 25th, 1892 in Geary County, Ebbutt began riding and farming at a very young age. Stories of his riding experience as a young adult would circulate around the area. It was very well known that William would ride about 30 miles round trip to Dry Creek to visit and court his future wife Margaret Black, who he married in 1913. Ebbutt was primarily a pasture man who worked between Chase, Geary, Wabaunsee and Morris counties running between 3000 and 5000 head of cattle. In 1928, Ebbutt was able to rent about 910 acres north of Skiddy in Geary County and later purchased 640 acres in 1932 and 320 more in 1938. Due to his great knowledge of cattle and horses, Ebbutt helped promote the ranching industry in the Flint Hills by being able to improve the life and quality of cattle in the area.
Born in Skiddy, Kansas on March 1, 1922, Dusty Anderson, the third inductee, was well versed in herding cattle and competing in rodeos as early as 13 years old. At the age of 15, Dusty quit high school and got a job on the world famous Clyde Miller Rodeo Company. At 17, he joined the Army and served in WWII, later receiving a Bronze Star for the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign. After the war, Dusty returned to the rodeo, but was his real passion was working with cattle. He was able to work with ranchers in the Flint Hill area providing them with head counts, health and conditions, doctoring and pasturing. Along with his work with cattle, Dusty was good at raising horses. He was able to raise and train a World Champion Colt. He enjoyed riding horses so much that he did not own a vehicle until his early 30s. Dusty received a Gold Card from the Rodeo Cowboys Association in 1951. Mr. Anderson’s impact in farming and ranching in the Flint Hills area was greatly felt and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Working Cowboy in 2014. 
The most recent addition to the Cowboy Hall of fame was Gerald “Jerry” Peck in 2015.
Peck was born in Wakefield, Kansas on August 4, 1928. He grew up with cattle and horses and began breaking and riding horses as a young man. In 1946 around the age of 18, he started working for the late Bud McLinden in rural Marion as a ranch hand and, in his early 20's, began a lifetime journey as a foreman of the Big-4 pasture located on Highway 77 six miles south of Junction City. In the 1950's he helped drive Texas cattle from railroad cars in Cassoday, Kansas to local pastures. In 1955 Peck moved to Skiddy and rented 980 acres from the Ebbutt ranch. In addition to the 980 acre Ebbutt Ranch, he rented and managed another 1,600 acres of pasture. At Skiddy, Jerry was a friend of, and rounded up cattle with, 2014 KCHF inductee Dusty Anderson. Here, Jerry began building up a cowherd and, throughout his lifetime, had a close connection with his cattle. In 1976, Jerry was finally able to buy his own ranch and was also able to rent it out to other farmers. During this time he worked in the stockyard on sale day and was a cattle field representative for the Herington Livestock Commission Company until his death on April 1, 2002. Mr Peck was inducted in 2015 as a working cowboy
If you want to learn more about Junction City’s Cowboy history from a fellow Cowboy Hall of Famer, join us at the museum on March 19th to hear Gary and Margaret Kraisinger talk about Cattle Trials of Kansas and their book, “The Western Cattle Trail” at 1:30 pm. A special thanks to the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame for the information on the Cowboys! 

This was a business card the belonged to Dusty Anderson. As the business card can tell you, Mr. Anderson was a well versed man. This business card was donated by Ella Maloney.