About Us
Museum Membership
Event Schedule
Museum Newsletters
Museum Displays


Sheriff Owen S. Gibson

Was I ever in for a surprise. I thought the O. S. Gibson I found was a cattleman. He had a herd, but I do not believe he handled cattle all that much. The only item I found which indicated he had a herd was the following.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, October 10, 1885.
Tuesday O. S. Gibson, residing in Silverdale Township, left home early in the morning to go to the territory to see his herd of cattle. The distance was 20 miles. He drove down, saw every animal in his herd, and returned home by 8:30 p.m. In order to see his cattle, he had to drive several miles in hunting them. Mr. Gibson thinks this is an extraordinary big days work.
                                              SHERIFF OWEN S. GIBSON.
Arkansas City Republican, March 1, 1884.
                                                             A False Alarm.
Last Friday evening, a flying messenger rode hastily into Silverdale and with bated breath, related the story that his companions had been killed by the Indians. The men within the military age, quickly collected, and armed themselves with knives, swords, halberds, tomahawks, muskets, scythes, and pitchforks. A company of twelve was hastily formed of as brave men as ever carried a deadly weapon. P. F. Haynes was chosen captain, and O. S. Gibson high corporal. Mounting their gallant steeds, the flying cavalcade started for the territory and vengeance. Arriving at the scene of the massacre, they found the murdered boy as serene as a summer’s morning. It seems that the two boy herders had had a slight quarrel with an Indian, who threatened to kill them if they intruded upon his sacred domain. Boy-like they intruded, and seeing another Indian, one of the boys started to run. The other boy called to him not to flee, but the harder he called the faster the other boy ran. It was a woeful disappointment. The citizen soldiers had expected some fun. They had ground their knives to a razor’s edge, rammed their guns and cannon to the muzzle, with grape and canister, and had supposed they would take many scalps. Slowly and sadly the boys faced about; high private Gibson sounded the recall; Captain Haynes gave the order, and like the boys who charged upon the mullein stalks, returned without the loss of a single man. As soon as Gov. Glick was informed of the ubiquity of the company’s movements, he telegraphed that he would be pleased to attach the whole command to his staff.
Arkansas City Republican, August 2, 1884.
                                        War to the Knife and Knife to the Hilt.
The citizens of Creswell and Silverdale Townships met on Monday evening, 28th, at Silverdale schoolhouse, and organized an association for the purpose of stock protection, and after the subject before the house was thoroughly discussed, the following resolution was passed.
Resolved, That we the citizens of Creswell and Silverdale Townships, will prosecute to the full extent of the law any person or persons driving any stock through our township contrary to the statute laws of Kansas.
The following officers were elected: President, John H. Showalter; 1st Vice-President, James Estes; 2nd Vice-President, O. S. Gibson.

Another meeting was appointed for Thursday evening, the 31st, for the completion of the organization. It was also suggested and has been announced that a meeting for the same purpose be held at the Parker schoolhouse, in Creswell Township on Friday evening, August 1. The association also earnestly requests the cooperation of Bolton Township.                   SECRETARY.
Joseph H. Gibson and Owen S. Gibson...
                                                           LAND SLIDES.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, September 3, 1885.
The following are the real estate transfers filed in the office of Register of Deeds since our last issue.
Joseph H Gibson et ux to Owen S Gibson, lots 27 and 28, blk 139, A C: $500
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, October 10, 1885.
                                                  COWLEY DEMOCRACY.
              The Democratic Convention Very Tame Indeed—No Competition Whatever.
The democrats of Cowley County met at the courthouse Saturday to go through the same old farce of nominating a county ticket to be easily defeated by the Republicans—a sequel inevitable in grand old Republican Cowley. About fifty delegates were present, with a small audience of visitors. J. T. Andrews, of Maple City, was chosen chairman and Ed Gage secretary. Everything was as tranquil as a May morning. The office went around hunting its man, as usual in Democratic conventions in Cowley. Nobody could smell meat, and didn’t care to sacrifice themselves on the party altar. The convention was exceedingly tame—no opposition whatever. The following nominations were unanimously made.
For Sheriff: Capt. C. G. Thompson, of Arkansas City.
Treasurer: Rudolph Hite, of Dexter.
Register of Deeds: John Ledlie, of Burden.
County Clerk: Fred C. Hunt, of Winfield.
Coroner: Dr. T. B. Tandy, of Winfield.
Surveyor: J. W. Weeks, of Udall.
The Democratic County Central Committee for the coming year stands as follows.
                                                     Silverdale: O. S. Gibson.
Arkansas City Traveler, November 25, 1885.
                                                       Notice for Publication.
LAND OFFICE AT WICHITA, KANSAS, November 19th, 1885.
Notice is hereby given that the following named settler has filed notice of his intention to make final proof in support of his claim, and that said proof will be made before the judge, or in his absence, before the clerk of the District Court in and for Cowley county, Kansas, at Winfield, on January 8th, 1886, viz: Annis P. Estus, D. S. No. 24,533, for the e ½ of nw ¼ and nw ¼ of nw ¼ of section 32, tp. 34 south, range 5 east.
He names the following witnesses to prove his continuous residence upon, and cultivation of said land, viz: John B. Splawn, of Arkansas City, Ks.; Stephen Splawn, of Arkansas City, Ks.; John M. Murry, of Arkansas City, Ks.; O. S. Gibson, of Arkansas City, Kansas. FRANK DALE, Register.
                                                      ROAD NOTICES (6).

Winfield Courier, Thursday, January 28, 1886.
Recap: S. J. Smock, County Clerk and Clerk of Board of Commissioners of Cowley Kansas, gave notices that on January 5, 1886, the following petitions would be attended to at a session of the Board. Petitions were presented and granted on January 5, 1886.
5) Petition signed by J. N. Fleharty and others of Silverdale township, asking for a view and a survey for the purpose of locating a certain County Road: Commencing at a ledge of rock about 8 rods more or less east of the southwest corner of northeast quarter of 2:34-5, thence northwesterly by most practicable route around ledge of rock to ½ section line running north and south, thence north about 30 rods, north and northwesterly around ledge of rock by most practicable route to point on half section line about 10 rods north of southwest corner of southeast quarter of 15:34-5, thence north on said half section line to a small stream, thence west 3 rods and 3 links by most practicable route to a point 5 rods and 20 links west of northeast corner of northwest quarter 15:34-5, thence west to northwest corner of said section 15:34-5, thence north on section line between sections 9 and 10 same township and range to connect with what is known as the S. Cottrell road. I. D. Harkleroad, O. S. Gibson, and W. W. Irons, Viewers. N. A. Haight, County Surveyor. February 19, 1886, date set.
Winfield Courier, Thursday, March 4, 1886.
The following are the real estate transfers filed in the office of Register of Deeds yesterday.
Owen S Gibson et ux to James W Fox, lots 27 & 28, blk 139, A C: $1,000
James W Fox et ux to Owen S Gibson, e hf ne qr 31-34-5e & w hf ne qr & e hf nw qr except 25 acres 31-34-5e: $3,000
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, March 6, 1886.
O. S. Gibson purchased the farm formerly owned by Mr. Fox, Monday.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, July 17, 1886. From Tuesday’s Daily.
There will be a meeting of the Democratic voters of Silverdale Township at the Estus Schoolhouse at 5 p.m., July 22nd. O. S. GIBSON, Committeeman.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, October 23, 1886. From Tuesday’s Daily.
There will be a caucus of the Democrats of Silverdale Township Tuesday afternoon, October 26, 1886, at 2 o’clock in the Silverdale Schoolhouse for the purpose of nominating a township ticket. There is to be other important business transacted.
                                               O. S. GIBSON, Committeeman.
                                          SHERIFF OF COWLEY COUNTY.
                                                           O. S. GIBSON.
Daily Calamity Howler, Thursday, October 8, 1891.
Sheriff Gibson started this morning for the Oklahoma country on business.
Daily Calamity Howler, Saturday, October 10, 1891.
                                                              For Murder.

Sheriff Gibson returned today from Oklahoma City, where he arrested one Henry Pruitt, charged with the murder of Louis Tournier, an old Frenchman who was found murdered on an island in the Arkansas River, south of and east of Arkansas City. The killing occurred something over two years ago and has been shrouded in mystery ever since. The prosecuting witness, a colored man who had been in the employ of Tournier, claims to have been an eye witness to the killing, but did not dare to reveal it for fear of losing his life.
[Note: The murder of Louis Tournier was covered in Volume I of Cowley County History. I did not realize at the time that Henry Pruitt was charged with his murder. MAW February 28, 2002.]
Daily Calamity Howler, Monday, October 12, 1891.
                                                    C. T. Atkinson Arrested.
Papers were placed in the hands of Sheriff Gibson this morning with instructions to arrest C. T. Atkinson, present county attorney, at once. The information filed with the clerk of the court alleges that C. T. Atkinson as county attorney of Cowley County has knowingly permitted divers persons, named in the information, to engage in the business of selling intoxicat­ing liquors contrary to the statutes made and provided in such cases. The sheriff proceeded at once to Arkansas City, and at this writing we are unable to state whether he has served the papers or not.
Daily Calamity Howler, Wednesday, October 14, 1891.
Mr. Childers, of El Dorado, called at the Sheriff’s office this morning. He is a boyhood friend of Mr. Gibson’s.
Note: I gather from the next item [1918] that O. S. Gibson was Mayor of Arkansas City at one time. MAW
Arkansas City Traveler, Wednesday, December 11, 1918.
O. S. Gibson, who was ousted from the mayor’s office by the supreme court of Kansas a couple of years ago, has announced that he is going to be a candidate for the office of mayor at the spring election. He claims he wants to be vindicated. Just how his being a candidate will vindicate him when the supreme court of the state found him guilty as charged, a man with average intelligence will fail to see.
The court ousted Mr. Gibson from office on the charge of bribery and made him pay what salary he had collected as mayor to the successful contestant, C. N. Hunt, present mayor.
If all the people in Arkansas City voted for Mr. Gibson, it would not vindicate him. No one can blot out the decision of the supreme court.
All Mr. Gibson’s candidacy will do will be to continue the Hunt-Gibson town row. If Arkansas City is wise, it will not permit this to happen.
Arkansas City Traveler, Saturday, February 4, 1922.

A large crowd of taxpayers assembled at the junior high school building in this city this afternoon at 2 o’clock, calling this meeting to complete the organization and to elect two dele­gates from this congressional district to the state meeting to be held in Topeka February 15. Two to three hundred people attended. Chairman H. P. Holman called the meeting to order and stated its purpose. He said the meeting was for the discussion of the tax question and the waste proposition in the matter of conduct­ing the public’s business, and asked “Where is the limit of taxation?” His answer was, nothing but the deep blue sky. There is no end, unless action is taken to restrict waste and extrava­gance. He urged the necessity of getting back to normalcy, and restricting unnecessary and extravagant expenditures of the people’s money. He sounded a note the tone of which indicated that taxes have mounted up to a degree reaching the danger line, and where the burden of taxation is becoming too great to bear. He called the attention of the taxpayers at this meeting to the fact that the revolutionary war was caused by overtaxation. He said the taxes here now are burdensome; that agriculture is bleeding; that farm products won’t bring enough on the markets to pay these taxes.
He said that the taxpayers assembled at this meeting and forming an organization did not intend to tear down the schools and roads; in fact, he said, it is the intention to make these institutions better, but he repeated that extravagance and waste had been abroad on every hand and there had been a great deal of loose business in connection with the expenditure of the public’s money, and proclaimed the business of this taxpayers’ organiza­tion to be to see that there was an accounting so that the public may know how their money is being used, and where it goes to.
He said there should be a public auditor and reports made so that each taxpayer may know just how his money is being used. He cited that some townships had not drawn a dollar of the road drag money to which they are entitled, while other townships have overcharged the limit allowed by law. He stated that there should be an official drag sheet so that each township would know exactly what it is entitled to, all getting what is coming to them and none getting more than their share.
He recommended the lessening of tax levies by from one-third to one-half the present levies. He was not for any ugly-faced wild action, but believed the time had arrived to get down to bedrock, maintaining all those things absolutely essential and meeting all obligations of honor and upright citizenship.
After these introductory remarks, the minutes of the previ­ous meeting were read by the secretary, R. J. Murray. The chairman then announced committees as follows:
Investigating committee on state institutions of Cowley County, U. S. Alexan­der, Winfield, chairman; A. H. Abrams, and O. S. Gibson.
Committee on poor farm and roads: W. C. Bender, Floral; J. H. Goff, Arkansas City; and Louis Maurer, Dexter.
Attorney on road law, Albert Faulconer.
Attorneys on legislation and legal matters pertaining to the organization: W. L. Cunningham, Judge C. L. Swarts, C. T. Atkinson, Chas. Roberts, and A. M. Jackson.
Committee on finance: M. B. Light, A. H. Denton, and J. O. Rambo.
The chairman announced that two delegates to the state meeting would be elected at this meeting, but this election had not taken place at time of making this report.
The resolutions committee, consisting of U. S. Alexander, C. T. Franks, and O. S. Gibson reported, but these resolutions were not available for publication today.

The resolutions recommend a strict surveillance in regard to the conduct of the public’s business and in the expenditure of the people’s money, and a definite accounting for every dollar spent. The resolutions take a flat stand against the present state automobile tax law. They also declare the extension of paved roads in rural districts questionable under good conditions and unthinkable under present conditions.
Arkansas City Traveler, Monday, February 6, 1922.
The meeting of the taxpayers league Saturday afternoon at the Junior High school was largely attended at the beginning, and for a goodly portion of the time it went very nicely.
U. S. Alexander explained the road law as he interpreted it. When he had finished, several parties spoke in regard to what Mr. Alexander had said. Mr. Alexander claimed that the road law did not retain the automobile tax in the county, that the state highway commission had full control of it.
Albert Faulconer explained the law very clearly, showing that the automobile tax remained in the county, and could not be taken out by the highway commission, if the law was observed. He admitted that the state highway commission had to approve the expenditure of the money, and also the road that was built.
R. J. Murray, secretary of the league, also spoke in regard to the law and explained the law as it was intended. When the legislature was in session, there was a great clamor for federal aid, and this law was passed in the form it is, in order to secure federal aid. The automobile tax collected in the county is placed in what is called a state aid fund, and is kept in the county where it is collected. The requirements of the federal aid are to the effect that the state must give aid and in order to have state aid, the only way it could be obtained, was by labeling the automobile license tax, state aid fund, and keeping it in the county. This was done to prevent the state issuing bonds for state aid, in order to meet with the requirements of the federal aid proposition.
The controversy grew quite heated, and many of the taxpayers left the hall while this was in progress. At the beginning of the meeting, there was a good sized crowd present, but it was probably reduced a third while the quarrel was on. A lot of those present had no desire to be engaged in a controversy, as they came there to see if a way could not be evolved by which their taxes could be reduced.
U. S. Alexander and Commissioner Crotsley were elected as delegates to the state meeting of the league at Topeka. A collection was taken up to pay their expenses.
Finally, after much argument, harmony was restored, and the meeting began to talk business once more. W. H. Nelson, A. H. Abrams, O. S. Gibson, R. C. Howard, and others made short talks, after which the meeting adjourned.
Following are the resolutions adopted by the league, reported by the resolution committee, composed of U. S. Alexander, O. S. Gibson, and C. T. Franks.
We, your committee on resolutions, realize that the predica­ment of the taxpayer is a most grievous one to bear. Improper governmental policies, and countless follies, carelessness and thoughtlessness, formed largely during the recent war, in public affairs, compels us to shoulder burdens of taxation tremendous in amount and almost impossible of payment.
We believe, the war being over, the extravagance, careless and hasty methods of handling public affairs, which were unavoid­able during the war, are inexcusable now. Since we are demanding retrenchment in the conduct of the general government, we as citizens of Cowley county, demand the most careful and economical handling of the business of our state, our county, and the various municipalities of our county.

And while we realize that perhaps justice dictates a pa­tient, quiescent attitude, we contend that much may be done to render these burdens less intolerable and to some extent relieve the present strain that overwhelms us.
Taxes for interest on bonds, public improvements already secured, maintenance of the status quo in county affairs, and proper support of the existing school system must be met. We insist, however, on the strictest economy and a full measure of service for moneys used for the above purposes.
We declare unqualified opposition to the extension of city streets, brick pavement, or so-called hard-surfaced roads into the rural districts, such improvements being of very doubtful propriety in times of easy money, and unthinkable under present conditions. We declare positive opposition to the automobile license law passed by the last legislature, in that the money raised thereby is excessive, and that perhaps more than 50 percent of this tax leaves the county which pays it, and lodges in a state commission, with full power to receive everything and do nothing. $3,000,000 from automobile owners of the state is too large a sum to be placed in the hands of individuals and commissions without a definite and specific plan for its use.
Therefore, as a committee, we recommend that this meeting organize as a taxpayers league, to be known as the Cowley County Taxpayers Association.
Arkansas City Traveler, Monday, April 17, 1922. Front Page.
L. C. Brown was nominated city attorney, Ed Marshall, city clerk, O. S. Gibson, police judge, and Ben Cross, sanitary officer, by Mayor-elect George H. McIntosh at city hall this morning. None of the nominations were confirmed as there was no vote taken at this time. Following are appointments by the mayor to which the two commissioners raised no objections: Chester Daily for chief of police; for police officers, C. E. Elliott, Frank Ketch, Wm. M. Charles, Robert Atterberry, Wm. Jobe, and George Sims.
Those objected to or laid over were Ben Cross, for sanitary officer; O. S. Gibson, police judge; J. H. Knapp, dairy inspec­tor; E. G. Marshall, city clerk; L. C. Brown, city attorney.
Arkansas City Traveler, Monday, April 24, 1922. Front Page.
Mayor George McIntosh met with the opposition of Commission­ers Thompson and Sturtz at the meeting of the city commissioners this morning, with the result that most of his unconfirmed appointments were turned down.
The officers whose appointments were confirmed at this meeting were: L. C. Brown, city attorney; M. N. Sinnott, city clerk; John Simpson, custodian of city building; Mrs. Ida White, waterworks collector; C. M. McIntire, sanitary officer; C. N. Lusk, city engineer; Howard L. Wickliffe, superintendent of waterworks; H. McGuire, foreman of waterworks; Sam Morning, chief stationary engineer waterworks; Earl W. Gingrich and Frank Mayse, assistant engineers; Fred Long, plumbing inspector; Charley Post, street commissioner.
Appointments not confirmed: E. G. Marshall, city clerk; O. S. Gibson, police judge; Ben Cross, Sanitary officer.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum