Presidential chair featured

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Register/Bob Johnson
Above, Linda Call answers questions from Yates Center second-graders Clifford Hobbs and Paige Burrough about a chair made of steers’ horns when they toured the Woodson County Museum Monday afternoon. The chair was a gift to President Rutherford B. Hayes when he visited Neosho Falls in 1879. It will be at the museum in Yates Center through the middle of July.

YATES CENTER — A unique chair fashioned from steer horns given President Rutherford B. Hayes when he visited Neosho Falls in 1879 is on display through July at the Woodson County Museum in Yates Center. The chair was made from horns of steers raised on the Warren Crandall Ranch north of Yates Center.
Linda Call, a member of the museum board, brought the chair from the Dwight Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, where it had been on loan, to Yates Center. Its usual residence is a museum in Fremont, Ohio, dedicated to Hayes.
Hayes and Gen. William T. Sherman, a Union Civil War hero, visited the Neosho Valley District Fair in Neosho Falls in the late 1800s.
An account in the 1979 Woodson County Historical Society quarterly, “In the Beginning,” tells about Hayes’ visit and how it came about.
“While Neosho Falls had lost the county seat in 1876, and the M.K.&T. Railway land office in 1878, the Woodson County Fair had grown into the Neosho Valley District Fair with the organization of four counties, Woodson, Allen, Anderson and Coffey. In the spring of 1879 it was learned the President Rutherford B. Hayes planned to take a tour through the West in the coming fall. At a meeting of the fair board it was suggested that an invitation be extended to the President ... to everyone’s amazement Hayes accepted.
“The date for the visit ... had been set for Sept. 25, 1879, the first day of the three-day fair ... A large archway was built over the park entrance. The arch was made up of sorghum stalks and heads of grain, of corn of all colors and other grain. Many different vegetables and flowers of various shapes and colors were used to make it an artistic triumph of skill ... The agricultural exhibits were many in the large building referred to as the ‘Pumpkin Palace.’ Sheds were full of livestock.”
Pres. Hayes came to Neosho Falls by train from Topeka and was reported to “seem disappointed at the small crowd at the depot. But when he passed through the arch and saw the vast multitude assembled in the lovely grove on the banks of the Neosho he inquired, ‘Where did all these people come from?’”
Estimates were as many as 40,000 people greeted Hayes. Reporters from most Kansas newspapers, as well as many from out of state, and representatives of national magazines Harper’s Weekly and Leslie, were on hand.
Both Sherman and Hayes spoke and reporters noted that Sherman was as well applauded as Hayes.

THE SIGNIFICANCE of Hayes’ chair was explained Monday to Yates Center Elementary School students by Curator Geri Town and several volunteers.
The museum has prolific topic-specific displays arranged for easy viewing. Included are several rare Civil War utensils, stone artifacts recalling Woodson County in prehistory and an array of tools, military, medical and household items.
The museum’s season starts Monday. It will be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of each week.