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Ben Henderson

                                                         Winfield, Kansas.
Cowley County Courant, January 19, 1882.
His Honor, Judge Torrance, in company with Messrs. Campbell, Hackney, and Henderson, took dinner at Chautauqua Springs last Sunday, in consequence of which Ginn, the popular hotel man of that place, has been compelled to make an assignment to his creditors. They ate him “clean out.” Sedan Times.
Cowley County Courant, May 25, 1882.
CARD NO. 2. Mr. Editor: It will be remembered that immedi­ately after the difficulty between myself and Tucker, there were individuals in this town misrepresenting me and trying to create the impression that the said trouble was the forerunner or the initial step of an organized fight against the ministers of the gospel, or in other words, the commencement of a war between ruffianism and vice, against Christianity and morality. Upon hearing this I published a card denying the same in toto. Now that the matter is all over and the smoke has cleared away, and, as many are daily enquiring of me as to the particulars, I desire to recapitulate this huge affair briefly.
On the morning of the 24th of October last, I was told by many of our reputable citizens that on the night previous, Tucker, a professed christian minister, in a speech in the opera house before an audience of some five or six hundred persons, had singled me out, named me, and charged me with having misrep­resented and lied to obtain signatures, to a certain paper circulated a week previous by Mr. Lynn and myself. That day I met the Reverend gentleman and quietly told him what I had heard, whereupon he in a very haughty, sarcastic, and insulting manner, said “he guessed I had heard what he said about me.” At this time I took occasion to slap the gentleman, which of course I do not claim to have been a christian act nor even right in a moral sense, but yet I believe the average mortal under like circumstances would have done the same.
Now, I have the word of a resident minister that Tucker told him about the time the suit for damages was instituted against myself that a certain lawyer had volunteered his services to prosecute the case against me. This minister asked Tucker who that lawyer was, and Tucker replied it was Capt. McDermott. I have the word of a lawyer in this town that about the time said suit was started that the said volunteer attorney boasted on the street that he would make me sick before he got through with me.
These acts of an eminently moral gentleman will evidently be considered by the community at large as emanating from a true christian spirit, especially when they learn that of $250 damages allowed by the jury and already paid by me, Mr. Tucker gets nothing, but that the same is divided up among the lawyers who tried the case, McDermott & Johnson, as I am informed, getting $150, and Hackney & McDonald getting $100 of the spoils, leaving poor Ben. Henderson, who made the only legal on the side of the prosecution, out in the cold, without a penny for his services.

And I also was reliably informed that Mr. Tucker is honor­able enough to object to this course and demands that Henderson must have at least a small portion, but our Winfield christian law­yers, I understand, don’t like to give any money up. It’s too soft a thing especially when ordinary law practice is light. I have paid the money and the lawyers and their client are now quarreling over it. Of course, it is hard to pay out hundreds of dollars to such a purpose, but I do not regret it. I would feel that I had lost my manhood and disgraced my parentage if I would take such a wanton insult slung at me without cause or provoca­tion without resenting it. If I had been permitted, I could have proven that I was not guilty of the charges made against me by Mr. Tucker, and that they were entirely without foundation. I love a christian gentleman, but a hypocrite I hate.
I believe the community will bear me out in the assertion that my actions have proven that I have no fight against churches or christians, but to the contrary have always endorsed all reli­gious organizations and helped them financially. My father and mother have been members of the M. E. church ever since I can remember. I believe they are christians, but the religion they taught me was not the kind practiced by some in this town. The question is, has this affair had a tendency to strengthen the cause of christianity? Did the language used by Mr. Tucker in the hall, with reference to myself, indicate a christian spirit, or did it sound like the ranting of a third-rate ward politician?
Did the money I paid into court belong to Mr. Tucker or myself, or was it confidence money? If the suit was brought through good and honest motives, for the good of the community, and for the benefit of society and Mr. Tucker combined, why was it the lawyers forgot Mr. Tucker in dividing the spoils? I may be wrong, and hope I am, but it appears to me that the whole affair would look to an unbiased mind like a robbery under the cloak of a prosecution in the interest of morality and in vindi­cation of the law. Again, is it not a strange coincidence that after Judge Campbell and Mr. Tipton (two gentlemen who never made any pretension toward being possessed of an extraordinary degree of moral virtue) had addressed the jury in my behalf, without making use of a single expression reflecting upon the character of Mr. Tucker. That in the closing argument the gentleman who professed to have the love of God in his heart should so far forget himself as to resort to blackguardism and billingsgate as I am informed he did. Among other things referring to myself and insinuating that I was a coward. Now I desire to address myself to this christian statesman and say to him kindly, but firmly, that he dare not undertake to substantiate that charge of coward­ice on any ground, at any time, or in any manner he may choose. A. H. GREEN.
Winfield Courier, July 20, 1882.
Our celebration at Cedarvale was just immense. We had the largest attendance in Chautauqua County, while Hon. Ben Henderson addressed the people with an effect which will not be forgotten before the month is ended.
Ben. Henderson, of Sedan...
Winfield Courier, November 9, 1882.
EDS. COURIER: We will drop you a few lines from the southeast of Cowley, adjoining Chautauqua.

On last evening, at our schoolhouse, we listened to a very able address, delivered by Hon. Ben. Henderson of Sedan, on the live issues of the day. He maintains that prohibition is paramount to all other issues of the day. He showed conclusively that the use and abuse of intoxicating liquors were a greater burden on the people than all the bonds, banks, and railroads were. One point he made more forcibly than was relished by our Democratic friends, was this: He said “they” (the Democratic party) were in favor of keeping four millions of human beings in servitude; but when we pass a law shutting off their whiskey, they shout with one accord, “That’s taking away our liberty!” The Democracy has a nice idea of liberty and freedom, indeed. OTTERITE.
Winfield Courier, August 2, 1883.
The all-absorbing sensation of the day in our county is the conflict of bourbonism on the one hand and civilization on the other. At least four saloons have been in full blast in our city for nearly a year under the cloak of a druggist’s permit, and whiskey has flowed free for adults and minors alike, while every back street is barricaded with beer bottles. Previous to this, no systematic, whole-souled effort has been made to abate this iniquity. It is true that Ben Henderson convicted a druggist of Peru, but the County Attorney, M. B. Light, to whom he confided his plans, reduced them to paper, gave them to the bourbon attorneys, and by the power of the County Attorney, defeated the verdict of guilty in the district court. Since then, Mr. Lemon has redeemed the office of county attorney by entering a righteous prosecution against four drug stores in Sedan, and at last the news comes that Mr. Lemon has resigned and Ben Henderson is appointed in his place. Of course, the usual howl goes up, but if the aforesaid Ben Henderson don’t convince the beer guzzling, law-breaking outfit in this place that there is still a “God in Israel,” in less than two months, than I am no shadow of a prophet. God prosper the COURIER for the grand, bold, uncompromising stand to which it is devoted in this all-important fight. So long as civilization stands up and rewards its devotees for their fearless labors, your inheritance is sure. JASPER.
Winfield Courier, September 6, 1883.
The greatest sensation of the day is the shooting of Milt Thompkins, some three miles from Cedarvale and one-half mile from Cowley County line, on Sunday night, whilst at home, asleep on a bed just outside of his house. He was shot with a small calibre revolver, just over his left eye. He is not dead yet. Henderson, County Attorney, and Sheriff Boyd came over from Sedan Tuesday and had a young man by the name of Bacon arrested and taken at once and confined in the jail at Sedan for fear of mob violence. The community is greatly worked up over the matter. Was told today that Bacon and Mrs. Thompkins have been on too intimate terms for several years and this was the cause of the assassination.
Winfield Courier, September 27, 1883.
The I. O. O. F. celebration at Elm Park below Cedarvale last Wednesday was a perfect success in every respect. Among the notables present were Father Josiah Davis, W. W. Jones, Ben Henderson, J. D. McBrian, Bert Hilligosa, and Father Buckles, with a reasonable attendance. There was the best feeling, and some enthusiasm.

The preliminary trial of Wirt Bacon, charged with the killing of Milton Thompkins, has been continued to the 26th. Milton Bacon, brother of the accused, arrived here from Colorado recently. The evidence against the accused appears very strong, while his parents and relatives who have always borne the reputation of clever and worthy people, have the earnest sympathy of the community.
Winfield Courier, November 15, 1883.
The agony is over. “Verily, verily,” saith the preacher, “The spirit of righteousness is indestructible.” For one bitter year it was hardly safe for a square, decent man to oppose the turbulent cussedness which prevailed in this county, but we are all home again as snug as a school of mackerel, and democracy is gone to the devil from whence it originally came. The Slogan rooster looks like a hen in a rain storm. But the boys came gracefully down and took defeat in the best of humor. It occurs to me that since the redeeming movement on the part of New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, Ohio ought to crawl under the porch and call her pups under after her. She must of necessity feel supremely mean. In this county, be it said to the credit of the people’s movement that excepting a few instances of personal abuse, that party made a fair and generous race. Whiskey was employed of course on both sides, but in the main we believe the campaign to be the most decent and reasonable in the history of the county.
Dr. Endicott, People’s candidate for treasurer, did not run up to the expectation of his friends, for the Doctor can defy any man in the county to show a better record than himself for fairness, frankness, and intelligence. Fortunately, he takes his defeat with characteristic cheerfulness and good sense. Mr. Reddon for Clerk is not widely known, but is well respected by those who are acquainted with him. Otis Stark has incurred some censure by not standing closely by his boys in the last moment. Our nominee for register of deeds is a man of as noble a heart and loyal, as ever graced the Republican party, but he defeated himself by his reckless deportment during the campaign. His first remark on hearing of his defeat was, “Republicans nominated me, Republicans butchered me, but next fall you will find me working shoulder to shoulder with the Republican party.” Mr. Knapp steps from Clerk to Treasurer. Mr. Hilligosa steps from Deputy Sheriff to Clerk. Mr. Boyd succeeds himself as sheriff. Ben Henderson succeeds his own appointment to County Attorney, and everyone willing to make money within the sanction of the law and by no other means, is happy and contented. Jasper is as happy as an old sister at a camp meeting, and the goose hangs high. Let us pray for the soul of Democracy ere it takes its flight, that it may be kept in close quarters till the sun gets too cold to hatch out such a thing as a partisan movement on the face of the earth. JASPER.
Winfield Courier, January 24, 1884.
                                                          SEDAN NOTES.
Will Boyd, our honorable sheriff, after studying the matter over forty years, embarked at last in an enterprise which ended in a Failure, notwithstanding his mature deliberation.
Lansing Loyd is a brand new “dad,” and after falling downstairs with a quart of diluted tincture of catnip in his lap, he said he’d be “dadburned” if he wanted to be conductor of a nursery any longer. Boys, don’t be so keen to forsake the peaceful glories of bachelorhood.

If Mark didn’t have a cheek harder than Toltec copper, he wouldn’t try to humiliate Jasper any further about that “best girl,” especially after playing second to a rag-weed duet, as Mark did one time. He is a sort of a dandy, but he hasn’t been quite around the world. However, as I had occasion to say once before, Mark and I understand each other.
Show us the Commonwealth of the same size which can boast of more weather than Kansas. In the beauty of its snow; in the clearness of its ice; in the density of its mud; in the “cussedness” of its winds. And yet the corn comes, the stock comes, the money comes, and the power, progress, and intelligence comes. Verily, Verily, saith the preacher, this is a brick of a country!
The “Sedan Oratorical Society,” one of the finest literary organizations in the State, will give an evening soon embracing competitive exercises in declamation, debate, and oration. Messrs. Walker, Thornburg, Shartel, Bradley, Woodward, and others, participating. This is the most substantial literary club in the county, and if any society out of the county feels disposed to question their capacity, the boys are as ready to beat it as a race horse with a light rider.
The crusade against the unregenerated drug stores of this place opened on the 19th, the health of County Attorney Ben Henderson having so far improved as to warrant him in resuming operations. On the 14th, Graham and Prilliman, after slight negotiations, surrendered on the following conditions: They pay all costs incurred in the prosecutions against them, give up their permit, box their goods, with the understanding that said goods shall be sent out of the county, and that they quit the business. This, with the multifarious duties attendant upon the Commissioners’ Court, has occupied the time of the County Attorney pretty thoroughly since the war opened. But the folks may expect to hear of some very active demonstrations in the near future. This condition of things is what Jasper predicted a few months ago, when the campaign Slogan, now dead, as it ought to be, vomited its filth upon him for his seasonable prophecy. JASPER.
Winfield Courier, March 20, 1884.
We believe the Narrow Gauge intends to cross Cana on a sycamore log which lodged on Tom Newel’s place during the late thaw.
Lawyers, doctors, and dogs swell our population to a figure which demands a railroad forthwith, and a railroad we are going to have.
Yesterday the wind was up, the dirt loose, and real estate a mile high, and the old soakers as they spit the mingled dose of sand and alkali out of their mouths, cursed prohibition, the American constitution, and Ben Henderson indiscriminately.
The Chicago Comedy Company visited this place last week giving plays during five consecutive days and draining the neighborhood of its small change to such a degree that the confectioners and billiard hall men are about to starve out, and yet there is more to follow.
Jasper doesn’t pretend to explain how he brought up on his back in the skating rink with both feet in a lady’s lap. He will not attempt to paint the manner in which the ladies jump up on their seats and scream when they see him coming. But when he reflects that he is about as rapid, elegant, and uncertain on the rink as a bay steer with a lantern on his tail, it is no surprise that he creates as much terror among the ladies as a wet mouse in a parlor.
Winfield Courier, July 17, 1884.

B. S. Henderson, of Sedan, was in the City Saturday. The Knights of Pythias of that place have been playing Damon and Pythias and Mr. Henderson was desirous or arranging with our Lodge for a presentation of this drama here, which may be accomplished.
Arkansas City Republican, August 29, 1885.
                                    Bilious Chautauqua. [They spelled it Chataqua!]
T. J. Harris came in last evening from Chautauqua County. He says things are getting very bilious regarding the D. M. & A. bonds, which are to be voted on the 25th. Wednesday evening he attended a railroad meeting at Wannetta, which was presided over by Chas. C. Black, secretary of the D. M. & A., and Ben Henderson, County Attorney of Chautauqua. The matter was at fever heat on both sides. The committee of fifteen, who had gone to Topeka on free passes to consult with the Santa Fe officials, brought back a guarantee that the Santa Fe would be extended from Independence west to Caldwell and from Howard to Sedan, if the D. M. & A. bonds were defeated, with a Santa Fe guarantee of $50,000. The committee put out workers at once for the Santa Fe. But the majority caught on to the Santa Fe’s game. They know it wants to hold its monopoly. What would $50,000 be to the Santa Fe if it can hold its grip on all Southern Kansas, through the S. K.? Only a drop, and could easily be forfeited. They want the bonds defeated, that’s all. But the Santa Fe has some hot workers, and if their arguments are not shut off, many credulous will be duped. Charley Black telegraphed last night for all the men Winfield can send over; and the war will be sultry. The people of Chautauqua want the D. M. & A.—know it to be far superior to the little S. F. Branches, but the long delay of the D. M. A. gives them the fear of having their hands tied. The Santa Fe’s action is a big guarantee that the D. M. & A. is a surety, a lively robust fact that is liable to knock the wind off the Santa Fe’s monopoly. Winfield Courier.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum