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LITTLE BALKANS CHRONICLES — Calling all history lovers

J.T. Knoll
George Hobson

I’ve run out of paperboy stories so I’m starting a new column this week calling for readers to submit narratives about the history of the area (people, places, events, businesses, etc.).

It might be a story about a certain personality, a family, a farm, a business, a happening, a school, a gas station or a beloved animal. They can be stories from "back in the day" or last week. I’m also looking to run photographs. If you send the original photo I will scan it and return it. Or you could use your smartphone to photograph it and send it to me by text.

Around submissions I will wrap chronicles I pull from old issues of The Morning Sun’s predecessors — The Pittsburg Headlight and The Pittsburg Sun — as well as the Girard Press and Frontenac Press and books by local authors.

Send your remembrances and/or photos, along with your name, address and phone number to me by email at or land mail at me at 401 W. Euclid, Pittsburg, Kansas 66762. You can call or text photos to 620-704-1309.

Submissions should be around 700 words and will be subject to editing. In fact, the pieces need not be long at all. You can send a short paragraph, an observation or a comment. A sight. A sound. A smell. Maybe a poem. I'll consider about anything as long as it deals with southeast Kansas history.

To things started, here’s a piece about George Hobson that was gleaned from the 1976 Centennial Edition of The Morning Sun.

In 1865, Civil War veteran George Hobson homesteaded 160 acres in what now is Pittsburg’s Random Acres (after a 6-week, 700 mile trip by wagon train from Hillsboro, Iowa with friends and relatives).

Iowa City, Kansas was established in 1866 on the banks of Cow Creek, east of where Meadowbrook Mall is now located. A log cabin served as home and business until 1870, when a two-story structure was built to house the grocery store, post office, blacksmith shop and a meeting house. Hobson traveled the old military road by wagon to Ft. Scott twice a week for mail (he was postmaster) provisions, patent medicines, and supplies for his store.

Legend has it that two horsemen — later identified through their mounts, their manners, and their general appearance as bank robber brothers Frank and Jesse James — stopped at the Hobson house one evening explaining they were hungry and wanted dinner.

Rather than accept Mrs. Hobson’s invitation to come inside, they rode their horses to the cover of one side of the house and asked her to bring their dinner there. The two horsemen dismounted, ate and then rode off.

When the city of Pittsburg was being established, Hobson proposed that it be named Iowa City to correspond with the existing post office but the name New Pittsburg, and then Pittsburg, was chosen.

By that time, Iowa City had a school (a 16 by 20 foot log structure), a cabin called the “Lindel Hotel,” and the "Bucket of Blood" saloon and dance hall – all surrounded by a stockade, which, in August of 1876, was torn down. For all practical purposes, Iowa City was gone.

The civic-minded Hobson served in Pittsburg as Clerk (secretary) of School Directors in 1886, 1887, and 1889. He died April 5, 1891 and was buried, along with his son, John (who died two days earlier) in a corner of his land, south of what is now the main entrance of Highland Park & St. Mary’s Cemeteries.

Undoubtedly some reading this know Corene Stroup, George and Amanda Hobson’s great-granddaughter, who lives in Pittsburg and has worked on various committees through the years to preserve its history.

J.T. Knoll is a writer, speaker and eulogist. He also operates Knoll Training & Consulting in Pittsburg. He can be reached at 231-0499 or