March 1, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society. This is a story about an interesting fine given to members of the Kansas House of Representatives. In his weekly report from the Kansas Legislature, which was published in the “Junction City Republic” newspaper in March of 1949, Geary County Representative Ralph Upham reported that 15 bachelors in the House of Representatives were each fined … a barrel of apples. According to Representative Upham, the bachelors came from all walks of life. Good looks? Of course. Youthful enthusiasm? Well, all of them sizzle with it. The outdoor type? Well, they are nearly all farmers. Wealth? There is a cattleman from Emporia. A burning passion for public affairs? There are low students who have talked their way into office.
Democrats? Republicans? Both were plentiful. There were all types. Some were tall, dark and handsome; a few tall Swedes and even well-built white-haired men. However, there were no red heads. Before concluding his dissertation on bachelors Mr. Upham noted that Mrs. Kininmouth, the only lady legislator, was appointed their housemother.
We suspect that the fine of a barrel of apples was a light hearted way to encourage the young bachelors to pursue happiness …. through marriage. There was no mention of the impact the fine of a barrel of apples had on the young, eligible, bachelor Representatives and their marital status in the later years.
It would be interesting to know how many members of the Kansas House of Representatives are single today. That would be an excellent question for our Research Department at the Museum. We will get back to you on that…