Small Kansas Town and My Family Links to It
Few people know of Tyro, Kansas. It's small and well past its heyday. The only reason I know of this now sleepy town is my grandparents grew up there, fell in love and married. That was back before World War I.
My mother recently showed me some vintage photos of her mother in Tyro. It made me curious about what the town was like. Here's what we've found out so far.
Luckily, I've met online someone who grew up in Tyro and he has a wealth of vintage photos. Jack Irwin said I could feature his historic pictures of Tyro here.
(photo of the Vining sisters in Tyro, Kansas. Ruth is my grandmother.)
Why I Write about Kansas
There was a glass factory in Tyro
My grandfather worked there. The factory made clear glass chimneys for oil lamps. The lack of availability of sand needed in the process of glass making led to the closing of this factory. Here's a video about glass blowing.
1909 Brochure - Tyro, The Beautiful
Tyro, Montgomery County Kansas
"On a beautiful sloping elevation between the two rivers, the Caney and Spring rivers there stands the pretty little city of Tyro, Kansas. While these two rivers are any miles apart, yet they are much lower than Tyro, thereby making Tyro a clean, healthy high city, and as one drives through the streets and sees the lovely well-kept lawns, the big waving shade trees and the several miles of brick and cement sidewalks, and the shady little park, they can not but marvel at the rapid growth of the little City of Tyro in a very short space of time.
The water in Tyro is as clear as a crystal and as pure and soft as nature ever gave to mankind. Water can be found in abundance at the short depth of fifteen to thirty feet. In fact Tyro is a place where all the requirements have been bestowed with lavish hand."
Map of Montgomery County, Kansas, Showing Tyro
Description from a Vintage Advertising Booklet
"Tyro, Kansas, is an incorporated town of seven hundred inhabitants, with nearly two miles of brick and cement sidewalk, seven two-story brick buildings, two hardware stores, two furniture stores, two dry goods stores, four grocery stores, one meat market, one drug store, two wagon shops, two blacksmith shops, three barber shops, two pool halls, one grain elevator, one feed mill, one two-story school building, two churches, one Masonic hall, one Odd Fellows Hall, two brick plants, one glass plant, one bank, one printing office, two hotels, two livery stables, one millinery store, one lumber yard, one harness shop, one dentist. A complete telephone system -- Bell Phone and Home Phone."
1910 Photo of the Tyro Brick Plant
Learn More About the Brick Factory And Kansas Bricks
The Official International Brick Collectors Association - Kansas Bricks shows pictures of bricks made in Kansas. The designs and names on the bricks are unique for each brick plant.
A Tale of Two Bricks is an article by my mother, Gail Lee Martin. She researched the brick factory and gives the details in this article.
Read about Tyro in My Flint Hills Childhood
Tyro Included in a Book
- My Flint Hills Childhood by Gail Lee Martin
The daughter of Clarence McGhee and Ruth Vining (early residents of Tyro) has written a book about her childhood in 1930s Kansas. Included in the book is family history that includes Tyro. Read an excerpt from the book at this website. (just click on
Tyro Methodist Church
Boom Days in Tyro - Newspaper Article from 1978
Store in Early Tyro
Jack Irwin describes this photo: My grandparents and my mother are in right side of photo. The dimensions of building were reported as 30' x 24'. The erection of the building started in Nov. 1894 at Main and Market and opened in Jan. 1895. The building was replaced in 1907 by a new two-story brick building with dimensions of 50' x 90'. This building still exists.
Tyro Main Street
Tyro Kansas Timeline - Events over the Years in Tyro
- 1906 - Tyro was incorporated and Joseph Lenhart gave it the name Tyro. (The Caney Chronicle, March 1, 1978)
- 1907 - The Tyro Vitrified Brick Company opened. O.W. Buck was the president. It employed 32 - 36 men and made 1,000,000 to 1,400,000 bricks a month. A second brick factory was opened and it made a similar amount.
- 1908 - Odd Fellow Building dedicated.
- March 1908 - Three men robbed the bank in Tyro of $2500 and then escaped into the woods. Although a number of possees tried to capture them and even surrounded them at one point, they got away. The Moberly Weekly Monitor in Oklahoma reported on March 20th that they were still on the loose. (information from newspaperarchive.com)
13 March 1908 - Henry Starr and his gang from Oklahoma robbed the Tyro Bank.
16 March 1908 article in the San Francisco Call (Vol. 103, #107) - The Ochelata posse came upon the robbers at Sandy Creek which is 8 miles southwest of Ochelata. Caught by surprise, the 3 men in the posse were ordered to "halt and throw up their hands." The robbers broke their rifles and took their pistols and one of the horses, then let them go.
The outlaws moved further into the Osage hills and a posse of 100 men prepared to leave Bigheart in hopes of surrounding them.
28 March 1908 - Lee Elrick and Jim Lee were arrested at McLoud in Johnson County, Oklahoma as suspects in another robbery plus the Tyro one. (info from ancestry.com message board)
13 May 1908 - Starr was arrested in Colorado and held for transfer to Kansas. (info from Gunslinger Gulch forum)
- November 1, 1908 - J.C. Kelley began building the glass plant to make lamp chimneys. It was completed Feb 10, 1909. On February 15 it had 40 employees and expected to increase to 80 men making a total of 800 chimneys a day.
Tyro Photo Gallery - Then and Now
Former Residents of Tyro, Kansas - To see the photos larger, click on it.
Bertha and Lealon McGhee with School Children - Tyro, Kansas
Don't know if they are sitting on the steps to the school or not. The sign is for Dr. Chadw (possibly Chadwick). I searched online but could find nothing about a Dr. Chadwick in Tyro, Kansas.
Vintage Tyro Photo - Playing Croquet
from the family collection of Gail Lee Martin.
It is labeled "family friends playing croquet."
I'd love to know who these are. If you have old family photos of Tyro, please compare them to these people.
Photo of Hattie Musselman in Tyro, Kansas
Are you related to Hattie Musselman? Let me know if you are.
She must have been a friend of either the Vinings, McGhees or Tower families as this photo was in the family collection.
Other Kansas Topics That I Write About
Other articles focus on famous people from Kansas including Amelia Earhart and Carrie Nation. I also wrote about not-so-famous people from Kansas like the writers I know: Monte Manka, and my sister Cynthia Ross and aunt, Carol Garriott.
Some pages showcase family history like the one about Prairie Belle School, an old one-room school. In all, I've written about 70 pages on Hubpages and on my blogs with these Kansas topics.
Read More about Kansas by Virginia Allain
- Chelsea School Memories
An 80 year old shares his memories of 1930s and 1940s school days in Chelsea, Kansas. The town of Chelsea is long gone from the map, but his memories keep that time alive for us.
- Carrie Nation: Kansas Crusader
Carrie Nation earned fame by taking a hatchet to some saloons. She advocated temperance and made a difference in an era when women had very restricted roles. Learn more about this colorful character.
- Teterville, Kansas
Teterville, KS is no more, but it lives on in the memories of former residents. Enjoy those stories here, shared by my mother and others. Lots of great vintage photos too of this boom town, now gone.
© 2009 Virginia Allain