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Interview About Classmate Edison Ogrosky, WHS Class of 1923

Interview with J. W. (Bill) Powers who was a classmate of Edison Ogrosky in the WHS Class of 1923.
The conversation consisted of Bill Powers, his wife Mary, Bernard Bottorff and Bill Bottorff. The date was 1997.
Bernard Bottorff passed away on September 22, 1999, and Bill Powers passed on December 13, 1999. This is an example of how important to get this kind of content on tape whenever, however possible. Not long after the tape was made both Bernard and Bill made turns toward ill health and were not able to have this kind of conversation again.

Football 1921


Start of the tape.

Bill Powers: Russel Kingsley. Lysle Mummert. Cecil Snyder, doctor here in town.

Bill Bottorff: Oh that's Cecil Snyder, the middle one holding the football.

B. Powers: Yep. This is Don Cooper. And this is Ogrosky. This is the one that got killed. Died from the injury.

Bi. Bottorff: Yeah, internal injury.

B. Powers: Didn't take care of himself. Didn't realize he was hurt. This is Byers. And this is Fred Ridings. Reber the coach.

Bernard Bottorff: Wasn't this a championship team? That won the Ark Valley?

Bi. Bottorff: Well in high school they did.

Be. Bottorff: That's what I mean.

Bi. Bottorff: Yeah, see he didn't get killed till college.

Be. Bottorff: Oh, I see what you mean.

Bi. Bottorff: But any way, let me show you this stuff. Most of this is them growing up.

B. Powers: This is very interesting to me.

Be. Bottorff: Well I thought you'd think so.

B. Powers: I appreciate getting to see it. There's Ogrosky.

Bi. Bottorff: Yeah. The thing that's really surprising is that everybody seems... you know, the team I was on when I was a senior was the first time they had a winning football team since 1924...

Mrs. Powers: Is that right?

Bi. Bottorff: ...cause they dropped the football program. What I've been doing is trying go back and figure out why that happened.

Mrs. Powers: Why did it happen?

Bi. Bottorff: Because he got killed and they just quit having the program.

Page 2


Be. Bottorff: Then how many years later did it get started?

Bi. Bottorff: There he is. ...and apparently he was a really good athlete.

B. Powers: Oh he was. Let me tell you an interesting story. I had the privilege of him being my bunk mate going from Winfield, Kansas to Lawrence, Kansas to participate in a track meet. He ran half mile and I ran the mile. And he was my bunk mate on the train going from here -- We had a track meet out here at the race track at the fair grounds. We had that on Friday and we got on the train that night and rode the train to Lawrence that night. He was my bunk mate. That was my fastest mile record was when I ran at Lawrence and getting 6th place on the Saturday after the Friday.

Bi. Bottorff: Was that when you were still in high school?

B. Powers: Yeah. That was the year I was a junior.

Bi. Bottorff: You graduated when you were -- in 1922?

B. Powers: '3

Bi. Bottorff: '23?

B. Powers: '23.

Bi. Bottorff: Okay.

B. Powers: Yeah.

Bi. Bottorff: So that would have been spring of `22.

B. Powers: The spring of `22. There was an intersociety track meet down here that I won the record by a tenth of a second.

Bi. Bottorff: Oh yeah.

Be. Bottorff: What were you running the mile in then?

B. Powers: Well, my fastest mile that I have a record of was 4:40...4:46.

Be. Bottorff: That was pretty good for back then.

Page 3


Bi. Bottorff: Well it was better than anybody else.

Be. Bottorff: I never could run a mile. That was too long for me.

Bi. Bottorff: Here's Ogrosky as full back.

B. Powers: He was a swell fellow. His sister lived over on 9th street for a number of years. I made her tax returns for years and years and years. She had quite a return to make.

Bi. Bottorff: Well she apparently had a really fine education. She went to lots of schools.

B. Powers: She gave a farm out here southeast of town to the Lutherans.

Be. Bottorff: Just gave it to them?

B. Powers: Just gave it to them. What year's that?

Bi. Bottorff: This is Winfield Oracle Friday night, December 5, 1924.

B. Powers: Yeah we had the privilege of having John Williamson here from Vanderbilt. He's been a professor from Vanderbilt.

Be. Bottorff: You mean this weekend?

B. Powers: Uh-huh. He's over in Maryland right now. We went out to the country club. Tom had his girlfriend out to the country club. First time we had met her. Very sweet little girl.

Mrs. Powers: Grandpa's trying to make a match.

B. Powers: Yeah that's Edison. Good old fellow.

Bi. Bottorff: I was surprised that there was nothing in any of the history that I heard about the school we never heard about this guy. There are no memorials, no -- if it weren't for his sister's scrapbook he's just forgotten. Because he had no children. His sister had no children. And these are just snapshots I guess -- this is the flood...

B. Powers: Of what year?

Page 4

Bi. Bottorff: I don't know. Must have been 1922 or `23. Wasn't there a flood...

Be. Bottorff: 1928 there was one.

Bi. Bottorff: One in `23, I think, too.

B. Powers: This is -- I think my name is on that list if there is...

Bi. Bottorff: Yep. William Powers. You were "Phillip."

B. Powers: Yeah.

Bi. Bottorff: He was Phillip in the ....

B. Powers: In the play "Smiling Through" which we thought was quite a play.

Be. Bottorff: Now what's this? Oh it's a play.

Bi. Bottorff: Senior play.

Be. Bottorff: Oh, I see.

Bi. Bottorff: April 1923.

B. Powers: Wasn't long before I was out of Winfield High School.

Bi. Bottorff: Here's the -- I don't know who this is.

Be. Bottorff: Whose is all this?

Bi. Bottorff: Delores Ogrosky.

B. Powers: Edison Ogrosky's sister.

Be. Bottorff: The one that got killed?

Bi. Bottorff: Yeah.

Be. Bottorff: I see.

B. Powers: Rollo Ogrosky just died less than three months ago. That was the brother.

Bi. Bottorff: Oh they had another brother?
Page 5


B. Powers: Yeah.

Bi. Bottorff: Oh I see. Did he have any children?

B. Powers: Uh. Yes, he did have.

Bi. Bottorff: Cause this is family material.

B. Powers: Yeah. He...

Mrs. Powers: Wasn't there an Orgrosky girl in Larry's class that graduated with Larry? I'm sure there was.

B. Powers: I don't know.

Bi. Bottorff: This is one is the freshman class at Southwestern. Oh this is a reception for high school seniors. I bet you went to that. Did you go to that?

B. Powers: Boy I can't remember. Tell you another little thing that happened recently. A lady by the name of Mrs. McConnel, who was the principle's wife when I was in high school, she died out here just -- When I was a senior, I was the President of the Philo Society and he, the principle, had a waffle supper down to their house. And, I had a little poem that my mother wrote for me cause I wasn't a poet. She wrote a little poem for me to take along that night. Then I gave it to Mrs. McConnel just a few days ago after her mother died. I had shown it to her before.

Be. Bottorff: Now this was the daughter?

B. Powers: Yes. No that was the high school principle's wife.

Bi. Bottorff: See this is the first thing we saw. Melburn Brown was reading this thing and he says, "Isn't that Bill Powers?" I said, "I don't know. I thought his name was Bill Powers not James William."

B. Powers: Yeah.

Bi. Bottorff: I don't know what that means -- Baylor -- Schrader. Are those people?

B. Powers: Well....

Bi. Bottorff: Yeah. Apparently a storm in Augusta -- St. Johns....
Page 6


B. Powers: St. John's of (can't understand)... There's Edison?

Bi. Bottorff: Mummert? Here's where the football activity ended. Did you remember that -- when my -- you know in `57 when we actually almost won the conference, that that had been the first time they had had a winning team since then? Did people remember that? Cause nobody ever mentioned it to me.

Be. Bottorff: It kind of seems like they would have had some kind of memorial set up for him especially since it caused them to quit playing football for several years.

Bi. Bottorff: And here he is near death. Apparently he had a bleeding internal injury that....

B. Powers: Spleen as I recall it.

Mrs. Powers: Bill. Who was it that put a monument that used to be on the school grounds before they built this new...

B. Powers: That was a swimming accident wasn't it.

Mrs. Powers: He drowned didn't he?

B. Powers: Yeah.

Be. Bottorff: That would have been a different deal.

B. Powers: That was a different deal.

Bi. Bottorff: See here's the one for the 1921 football season. They had a perfect record -- undefeated. I believe they beat Arkansas City 48-0. And their average --whole team average weight was 152 pounds.

Be. Bottorff: I noticed last year's Winfield High School's offensive line in football averaged 300 pounds. That's pretty big boys.

Bi. Bottorff: Well, they even cancelled the St. John's games.

Be. Bottorff: Back then?


Page 7


Bi. Bottorff: Yeah. The high school quit. St. John's quit. I don't think St. John's ever started back up.

Be. Bottorff: No they didn't.

Bi. Bottorff: Well the one I'm looking for is -- there's a team picture back here -- that's some guy named Johnson. Here's Topeka back in those days. Kansas River bridge. Oh I see, these are all Topeka pictures.

B. Powers: What happened to this here?

Bi. Bottorff: Groene, G-R-O-E-N-E. Is that the sister? That's the other sister?

B. Powers: I don't know.

Bi. Bottorff: It must be. That must be. Thayer Art Museum. This must be KU? Natural History Museum. Thayer Art Museum.

B. Powers: Yeah.

Bi. Bottorff: I think she went to school in Pittsburg and she went to school at KU. Trying to find...

B. Powers: Have you looked in the telephone book to see if there are any Orgrosky's listed?

Bi. Bottorff: No. The one you're in must be back here in the first batch. That's his father. Here's a Bertha, that must be his mother. There we are. Who's this?

B. Powers: Looks a little like Bill. Does it say?

Be. Bottorff: Bill Powers. Let me see.

Bi. Bottorff: This one in the back right?

B. Powers: Yeah.

Be. Bottorff: Is this the basketball team?

B. Powers: No. This is track.

Page 8


Bi. Bottorff: You want to see what Bill looked like when he ran that....

Mrs. Powers: Yeah.

B. Powers: Right there by my finger. Back row. I'll be darned.

Mrs. Powers: You had lots of hair didn't you?

B. Powers: Yeah.

Bi. Bottorff: And he had dark hair too.

B. Powers: There's Lysle Mummert.

Be. Bottorff: Do you remember all of them?

B. Powers: Oh I'm having trouble. Remember setting my finger on that?

Be. Bottorff: Yeah, that was a long time ago.

Bi. Bottorff: I'll make you a copy of that picture.

B. Powers: You've seen my big picture Louis made of me haven't you?

Bi. Bottorff: Huh-uh.

B. Powers: I'll show it to you tomorrow. When you leaving?

Bi. Bottorff: Tomorrow.

B. Powers: I wished you would have gotten over to the gym and seen the nice picture he made of me in the Hall of Fame room.

Bi. Bottorff: Now Ogrosky's down there at the other end.

B. Powers: Yeah that's him. That's what I looked like when I was a freshman. This is a -- `22 -- what year's that supposed to be?

Be. Bottorff: 1922.

B. Powers: High school `20.

Page 9


Bi. Bottorff: This is `20.

B. Powers: 1919-1920.

Be. Bottorff: That'd be when you were a freshman?

B. Powers: Freshman.

Bi. Bottorff: Okay, so this is spring of 1920.

B. Powers: Yep. Well, I'm glad you brought them down.

Bi. Bottorff: I couldn't believe when I was -- we were over at Jim Davis'. I was working on Jim's computer and Melburn Brown sat down and started going through this book and he ran across your name in that thing. And then he said, "I think that's Bill Powers."

B. Powers: Yep.

Be. Bottorff: You remember Bill -- Melburn Brown. He played football. Colored boy. Real nice guy. And he has a good job with the Goodyear company now.

Bi. Bottorff: He made our team.

Be. Bottorff: He was the bulwark of their team. He's quite a big guy.

Voices are in the background. Sound like maybe the people are looking at pictures somewhere else. Then they say their goodbyes.

Start of a different session:

Bi. Bottorff: Delores was the...

Be. Bottorff: She's the sister?

B. Powers: She was the sister.

Mrs. Powers: Did you look in the phone book?

Bi. Bottorff: No.

Mrs. Powers: Addresses...
Page 10


Bi. Bottorff: Why do they still make Ark City long distance? It looks like that'd be a good thing to change.

Be. Bottorff: They talked about it a few years back but they never did change.

Bi. Bottorff: There's O'Grady and Ogolsby and Ogden but no Ogroskys. The other sister...

B. Powers: Her name was Baas. B-A-A-S.

Bi. Bottorff: Her married name?

B. Powers: Her married name.

Bi. Bottorff: Here I got a notepad right here.

B. Powers: Let me see if her name would have been in...

Bi. Bottorff: B-A-A-S?

Mrs. Powers: Would that be in the Ark City (can't understand)?

Be. Bottorff: No, it's been Winfield.

Mrs. Powers: Just Winfield huh? Didn't he used to live on Alexander? Ogrosky? Up here uh....past ninth, going north towards the college? He lived in one of those houses when I knew him.

B. Powers: Let me see it. Getting warm. I think it might be (can't understand) right there.

Bi. Bottorff: Okay.

B. Powers: B-a-a-s.

Be. Bottorff: That was her name after she was married.?

B. Powers: Yeah.

Mrs. Powers: B-A-A-S. You say?

Be. Bottorff: Baas or Bass?
Page 11


Mrs. Powers: I don't know.

Bi. Bottorff: Nothing with B-A-A

B. Powers: Okay.

Bi. Bottorff: But I bet my friend Jack Banks can figure it out.

B. Powers: (Can't understand)

Bi. Bottorff: You should have seen him yesterday at the meeting with all the history people from -- we had a bunch of people in from Arkansas City. JJ was telling how to get archives -- how to put all the stuff off the computer.

Be. Bottorff: He's a computer nut isn't he?

Bi. Bottorff: Oh yeah. He's good. He's good. He's really picked it up. In fact I've got some stuff I need to do for him and I didn't get it done when I was over there Friday. You remember what her first name was or what her husband's first name was?

B. Powers: Oh. I can't think of it.

Bi. Bottorff: But there probably weren't many...

Mrs. Powers: Would the city directory have some...

B. Powers: City directory. They got all the old city directories, I think most of them, at the building museum.

Bi. Bottorff: Okay. Okay. I can get Bob Hartung, who lived across the street from -- Bob Hartung that works down at the city -- and he lived across the street from the sister and the sister gave him her scrap book. So Bob has been kind of the curator of that and ...

Be. Bottorff: Who do you have to give this back to?

Bi. Bottorff: Bob Hartung. But if there's a sister, he'll find her. He just didn't know there was one.

Be. Bottorff: Oh I see. How are you going to get this back to him?

Page 12


Bi. Bottorff: Oh I'll send it to him. I'm going to take it and type all that stuff in and put it in the computer so we can have it on the web. And it'll flesh out the history of our football team.

Be. Bottorff: Then you'll send it back to him?

Bi. Bottorff: Yeah. I've also got on there the pictures of the guy from Wellington's knee hitting the line before they crossed the -- we would have tied for first place in the conference if they'd have counted his knee hitting the ground.

Be. Bottorff: The ref made the wrong call.

End of tape.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum