Ness County, Kansas


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The following obituaries are of the deceased buried in Ransom Cemetery, St. Aloysius Catholic Cemetery, and Cyrus Cemetery, Ransom, Ness County, Kansas. These obituaries and news articles were collected and contributed by Mark Horchem.

Frederick Ireton, age 54 years, was shot to death last night at the family home 24 miles southwest of WaKeeney in Trego County, by his stepson, Roger Callahan, age 17 years.
The shooting occurred during a family disturbance at about 6:30 p.m. Sheriff McAtee, Undersheriff Herr, County Attorney Clark and Coroner Dr. Burnett, were called to the scene of the tragedy and young Callahan was brought to WaKeeney and placed in jail pending investigation.
The body of Mr. Ireton was taken to Ransom.

Western Ks. World, June 21, 1951

A second degree murder charge was filed against Roger Callahan, age 17 years, in the Trego County District Court at a preliminary hearing held in the County Court at WaKeeney last Monday afternoon. Roger is charged with the death of his stepfather, Frederick Ireton, age 45 years, at their farm home 24 miles southwest of WaKeeney, last Wednesday evening.
The young man was bound over to the district court for trial at the November term and was released on a $2000 bond signed by his mother, Mrs. Ireton; and he returned home with her. Paul Applegate has been employed as an attorney for Callahan.
Roger claims that the shooting was in self defense, as Ireton had threatened to kill him and his mother and was attacking his grandfather, Jess Shanholtzer, age 74, when he shot him the second time with a .22 rifle. In the fracus Shanholtzer also struck Ireton with a washboard.
Ireton was a patient at the Winter General Hospital in Topeka for several months; and since his release, it is said, has been the cause of a number of family altercations, in which he had threatened members of the family.

Western Ks. World, June, 28, 1951


Frederick Ireton, 45, was slain with a .22 rifle at his farm home in southern Trego county eight miles from Ransom last night, and the farmerís stepson, Roger Callahan, 17, was being held in the county jail at WaKeeney today for questioning in connection with the slaying.
Trego County Sheriff Chet McAtee, County Attorney Ralph Clark and the county coroner were forced to walk part of the way to reach the farm 25 miles from WaKeeney because of washouts of rural roads. The Ireton farm is located on a creek which empties into the swollen Smoky Hill river.
Ireton was found slain immediately south of his farm house. A family dispute that had been festering for several weeks was said to have been the cause of the slaying.
Deputy Sheriff W.E. Horr said the only person present at the time of the slaying, which occurred immediately south of the Ireton home shortly after 6 oíclock last night, were the slain man and three other occupants of the Ireton home. They were Callahan, Mrs. Ireton, the mother of Callahan, and Mrs. Iretonís father, Jess Shanholtzer, 76.
Ireton had been a farmer for several years in Trego County. He formerly operated a farm on land which was inundated by the Cedar Bluff dam before moving to the farm near Ransom.

Hays Daily News, June 21, 1951

Trego County officials said today a second degree murder charge has been filed against Roger Callahan, 17, in the slaying of his stepfather, Frederick Ireton, 45, at the Ireton farm eight miles from Ransom and 26 miles southwest of WaKeeney late Wednesday.
The county officials received word Wednesday night of the death of Ireton from Dr. Kenneth McLain of Ransom and were forced to wade through Sand creek to get to the farm because of high water and washouts in the vicinity.
A county official, who asked his name not be used, said second instead of first degree murder charges were filed, as the shooting of Ireton with a .22 rifle was believed done on the spur of the moment through sudden anger rather than being a premeditated act.
The Trego county officials said a family altercation between Ireton and his wife had been in progress shortly before Ireton was hit by two rifle bullets.
The official quoted Callahan, who is being held in the county jail at WaKeeney, as saying he left the scene of the family altercation in the yard south of the Ireton home, went to the second floor of the Ireton house, got the .22 rifle, broke out the upper pane of a first floor window and fired one shot hitting Ireton. The official added Callahan said he fired a later shot hitting Ireton again. At the time the second shot was fired, Ireton was tangling with the fourth occupant of the Ireton home, Jess Shanholtzer, 76, father of Mrs. Ireton.
The county official said Ireton did not drop immediately from the effects of the bullet wounds, but continued to run about the yard. While he was running around the yard, Callahanís grandfather hit him with a washboard.
The Trego county authority said Ireton had recently returned from the Winter General Veterans hospital at Topeka where he had been a patient for quite some time. A preliminary hearing for Callahan is planned next week.

Hays Daily News, June 22, 1951


Mrs. C.N. Irvine, 92, the former Kate Harkness and member of the pioneer Harkness family, passed away on Tuesday morning, December 21, at the Ransom Hospital, where she had been a patient for almost three years. Prior to entering the hospital for care, she had made her home here for several years with her nephew, J.G. Harkness.
She was a teacher in the pioneer schools of Ness County, and served four terms as Ness County Superintendent of Public Instruction, first being elected in 1888.
She had made her home in Ness County since coming here in 1855, with the exception of a few years spent at Colorado Springs, Colo.
She was united in marriage to R.P. Irvine in 1919. Her husband passed away in 1934.
Survivors include nieces and nephews, among whom are: J.G. Harkness of Ness City, Mrs. Lorena Amstutz and Charles L. Harkness of Ransom, Mrs. Mary J. Lewin of Pueblo, Colo; other relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be held from the Ransom Methodist church today, Thursday, December 23, at 2:00 p.m. Interment will be in the family plot in the Ransom Cemetery.

Ness Co. News, Dec. 23, 1954


Catherine N. Irvine, better known as Kate Harkness Irvine, only daughter of Simeon G. and Mary B. Harkness, was born March 31, 1862, near Galesburg, Ill., and departed this life December 21, 1954, at the Grisell Memorial Hospital at Ransom, Kansas, at the age of 92 years, 8 months and 21 days.
She often expressed appreciation for the long life she had been granted with the use of all her faculties, and a few hours before the end expressed concern and regret that she was causing so many people so much trouble just before Christmas.
She taught several terms of school in Illinois prior to the summer of 1885 when she, her widowed mother and youngest brother, Pat, loaded a few of their most prized possessions in a covered wagon and came west to find homesteads in Ness County, Kansas, where an older brother, James B. Harkness, had settled in 1878.
They found homesteads seven or eight miles southeast of where Ransom is now located.
She taught her first term of school in Ness County in a little sod school house in District No. 7, southeast of Ransom. She later taught several terms in Ness City, Ransom and several country school districts.
She was elected county superintendent in 1888, and held the office for three consecutive terms, and the was elected again in 1902 for another term.
She was married to Richard P. Irvine in 1919. They resided a Beeler for a few years, then moved to Colorado Springs, Colo., and made their home there until his death in 1934.
She had retained property and business interests in Ness County and returned to make this home about ten years ago.
Her parents and four brothers preceded her in death. She is survived by six nieces and four nephews, 17 grand nieces and nephews, and 28 great-grand nieces and nephews and many friends.
Funeral services were held from the Ransom Methodist Church on Thursday afternoon, December 23, conducted by Rev. A.E. Greenler, pastor of the Ness City Methodist church. Interment was in the Ransom Cemetery.

Ness Co. News, Dec. 30, 1954

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