Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Patsy Cline at the Drum Room in the President Hotel, Kansas City

When she died in 1963, Patsy Cline was at the top of the charts, then the only female to headline her own shows and get top billing over males. She had just come off two top singles - I Fall to Pieces and Crazy, both recorded in 1961.
Patsy Cline, 1957
Patsy had by this time reinvented her personal style, shedding Western cowgirl outfits for elegant gowns, cocktail dresses, bright red lip stick, dangly earrings, and spiked heels. A fan favorite, she loved to hob-nob with fans after a concert, signing autographs and talking long afterwards.

On March 3, 1963, Patsy Cline performed a benefit concert at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, in Kansas City, Kansas for DJ "Cactus" Jack Call, who had died in a car crash a month earlier. She then spent the night at the Town House Motor Hotel and was unable to fly out the next day because the airport was fogged in. With a night to wait for better weather, Patsy then appeared for her last time at the Drum Room in the The President Hotel. [unverified].

Lobby, Hotel President

Drum Room

Patsy: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline,  Margaret Jones.

On March 5, she left Kansas City aboard a Piper Comanche, a four-seat, single-engined, low-wing plane. The plane took off, stopping to refuel in Missouri, then again at Dyersburg, Tennessee. There, the pilot was advised to remain because of bad weather and high winds, but he took off anyway. The plane was within 90 miles of Nashville when it crashed. Everyone aboard died instantly.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

In the Wizard of Oz, Dorthy Gale [Judy Garland] says to her dog, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." It's #4 on the American Film Institute's list of top 100 movie quotations.

On a windy day in November, on my way to the QuiviraNational Wildlife Refuge, the wind roars like the lion in the Wizard of Oz. Too windy for birds, or a rainbow for that matter, but I did get this shot of Cottonwood trees lining a quiet road north of the main highway.

Road to the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge

Friday, November 15, 2013

Matfield Green Cemetery

Clasped hands on a headstone often represent an enduring marriage, especially if two graves are near the monument.

John and Mary Lansbury, Matfield cemetery, Matfield Green, Kansas

Flint Hills Scenic Byway (K-177) courses through the Flint Hills between Council Grove and Cassoday.

To make this trip from Wichita, the Kansas traveler leaves I-35 at Cassoday and heads north on Highway 177. Then the road takes you along a scenic highway through Chase County. For a while, the road parallels the South Fork of the Cottonwood River. Guarding the road are bluffs and rounded sloping hills with occasional limestone outcrops.

Stop at Matfield Green, population 119. South of town is the Matfield cemetery. These two headstones and the irises between them, caught my eye.

John and Mary Lansbury (Lansbeurg) are husband and wife. John died November 28, 1873, at the age of 77 years, 11 months, and 8 days. The Union veteran flag holder star can be seen to the left in the photo. John was born in 1796. In 1861, the first year of the Civil War, he would have been 65 years old.

[Chase County was solidly Union during the Civil War. Seventy volunteers, more than a quarter of its voting age population enlisted during the Civil War. Kansas Skyways' list of Kansas Veterans for Chase County does not include John Lansburg, but does include John Bansbury in the Matfield Green cemetery. (possibly a misspelling?) Skyways later lists a John Landsbury of Matfield Green. The USgovarchives list of Kansas pensioners for 1883 lists Mary K Lansbury, widow war 1812. (John was 16 in 1812. Mary received $8 a month as her pension.) Another reference to the War of 1812 is Private John Lansbury at]

John Lansbeurg
Mary Lansbury is buried next to John. She was born May 13, 1808. She died February 11, 1885. Mary was twelve years younger. After searching the United States for the surname "Lansbeurg", I came up with only a single match. "Lansbury" is popular as a surname.

Mary Lansbury
The 1870 US Census lists John (age 72) and Mary (age 62) Lansbury residing in Bazaar Township, Chase County, Kansas, along with their son Dennis (age 20).  Chase County Probate Department includes a will filed by John Lansbury in 1873, naming a wife Mary K. Lansbury and five children.

The answer to John Lansbury's Civil War service and to his name change may exist in the Chase County Historical Sketches, Landsbury John, pages 150,151,354. vol. II.

Matfield Cemetery, Matfield Green