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Tyro, Kansas

Updated on April 4, 2015
Virginia Allain profile image

I'm carrying on my mother's research into our family history. I've self-published some family memoirs & learned a lot about different eras.

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

 I grew up in Kansas and most of my family is still there. The pages I've written about Kansas included travel articles about small towns like Tyro, Hamilton, Whitewater and Chelsea. Each of those towns link to my family in some way.
I grew up in Kansas and most of my family is still there. The pages I've written about Kansas included travel articles about small towns like Tyro, Hamilton, Whitewater and Chelsea. Each of those towns link to my family in some way. | Source

Finding Tyro on the Kansas Map - Hint: It's near Coffeyville

show route and directions
A markerCoffeyville -
coffeyville, ks
get directions

B markerTyro -
Tyro, KS
get directions

C markerDearing -
Dearing KS
get directions

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.

tyro kansas downtown postcards 1910
tyro kansas downtown postcards 1910

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

Source


Montgomery County, Kansas Posters by davidrumsey

"Tyro, Kansas, is an incorporated town of seven hundred inhapitatnts, 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 lumberyard, one harness shop, one dentist. A complete telephone system -- Bell Phone and Home Phone."

Finding Kansas Ghost Towns

Tyro doesn't qualify as a ghost town, as it still has several hundred residents. Here are books to read about Kansas towns that lost all their population.

Ghost Towns of Kansas: A Traveler's Guide
Ghost Towns of Kansas: A Traveler's Guide

The author has a whole series of these books.

 
Source

Zazzle has this Tyro KANSAS Sunflower mug that I created.

Links to Tyro Websites

Let me know if you find more sites, and I'll add them here.

Read about Tyro in My Flint Hills Childhood

Read about Tyro in My Flint Hills Childhood
Read about Tyro in My Flint Hills Childhood

Boom Days in Tyro - Newspaper Article from 1978

tyro ks newspaper article
tyro ks newspaper article

Streets in Tyro, Kansas

A marker166 highway tyro ks -
166 highway tyro ks
get directions

Tyro Methodist Church

Tyro Methodist Church
Tyro Methodist Church

Store in Early Tyro

tyro kansas vintage photo
tyro kansas vintage photo

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 Main Street
Tyro Main Street

Photo courtesy of Jack Irwin. His description of the scene: Downtown Main Street looking east. The IOOF bldg is n left forefront and the hotel is east of it. The Deuel store is in right forefront.

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

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Gloyd Lumber CompanyThese are checks from the Tyro State Bank (Albert Vining and Ida Vining are my grandmother's siblings).Tyro downtown around 1910 (photo courtesy of Jack Irwin).Here's the same street scene (without the horse and carriage). I took this photo in October 2012.Faded glory, the tiled entrance to the R.A. Park store. (photo by Virginia Allain, October 2012)Jack Irwin says "There were 2 schools, this is the one that held upper grades and high school. Tyro High School closed in the spring of 1943."Tyro Methodist ChurchTyro Hotel ruins - around 1915.
Gloyd Lumber Company
Gloyd Lumber Company
These are checks from the Tyro State Bank (Albert Vining and Ida Vining are my grandmother's siblings).
These are checks from the Tyro State Bank (Albert Vining and Ida Vining are my grandmother's siblings).
Tyro downtown around 1910 (photo courtesy of Jack Irwin).
Tyro downtown around 1910 (photo courtesy of Jack Irwin).
Here's the same street scene (without the horse and carriage). I took this photo in October 2012.
Here's the same street scene (without the horse and carriage). I took this photo in October 2012.
Faded glory, the tiled entrance to the R.A. Park store. (photo by Virginia Allain, October 2012)
Faded glory, the tiled entrance to the R.A. Park store. (photo by Virginia Allain, October 2012)
Jack Irwin says "There were 2 schools, this is the one that held upper grades and high school. Tyro High School closed in the spring of 1943."
Jack Irwin says "There were 2 schools, this is the one that held upper grades and high school. Tyro High School closed in the spring of 1943."
Tyro Methodist Church
Tyro Methodist Church
Tyro Hotel ruins - around 1915.
Tyro Hotel ruins - around 1915.

Former Residents of Tyro, Kansas - To see the photos larger, click on it.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bertha McGhee, daughter of Sam McGheeAbraham Bates Tower, served in the Civil War.Workers at the brick factory in TyroRuth Vining, my grandmother.Bertha McGhee and Ruth ViningTyro church group (photo from Lenhart). My great uncle, Albert Vining is kneeling in the center of row 2.
Bertha McGhee, daughter of Sam McGhee
Bertha McGhee, daughter of Sam McGhee
Abraham Bates Tower, served in the Civil War.
Abraham Bates Tower, served in the Civil War.
Workers at the brick factory in Tyro
Workers at the brick factory in Tyro
Ruth Vining, my grandmother.
Ruth Vining, my grandmother.
Bertha McGhee and Ruth Vining
Bertha McGhee and Ruth Vining
Tyro church group (photo from Lenhart). My great uncle, Albert Vining is kneeling in the center of row 2.
Tyro church group (photo from Lenhart). My great uncle, Albert Vining is kneeling in the center of row 2.

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

type=text
type=text

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.

tHattie Musselman in Tyro, Kansas
tHattie Musselman in Tyro, Kansas

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.

Source

© 2009 Virginia Allain

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    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 2 years ago from California

      What an interesting read, Virginia! It's neat to see the tie in with your family history and where they lived. I suspect the history of Tyro is similar to many small towns across America.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Although I too have family members who hailed from Kansas, this is the first I've heard of Tyro. It's always fascinating to see how folks settled into these communities and what they built, what lasted, and what did not. Thank you for an illuminating story of the time.

    • Virginia Allain profile image
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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @anonymous: Thanks, Jack, you saved me some research time. Much appreciated!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Virginia Allain: "Henry Starr Last of the the Real Badmen" by Glenn Shirley, McKay, 1965. There is an index and Tyro is mentioned. Starr was an interesting person. He wrote a memoir "Thrilling Events" published in pamphlet form, produced a motion picture "A Debtor to the Law" and robbed 2 banks at the same time. There is a novel based on Starr called "The Saga of Henry Starr" by Robert J. Conley, Doubleday, 1989.

    • Virginia Allain profile image
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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @anonymous: This is marvelous family history and Tyro history. I'll have to find that book you mentioned and read up on the bank robbery.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @heytoto: My mother saw that the bank was being robbed and ran down the street yelling that the bank was being robbed. She was not yet 10 years old. Her father was one of the townspeople who chased Starr.

    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 4 years ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      I'd only recently stumbled onto the Henry Starr gang and the Tyro bank robbery, Jack. I subscribe to NewspaperArchives and they have some great old articles about Henry Starr.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      The Tyro bank was robbed by the Henry Starr gang and they did escape. They shot the horses from under some of the townspeople who chased them. There is a book about Starr.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 4 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      I've only traveled between Wichita and McPherson. This looks like a precious place.

    • Virginia Allain profile image
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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @anonymous: Jack - I could feature some of your Tyro photos here if your want more people to see them. Virginia

    • Virginia Allain profile image
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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @redravengrad: That's definitely my great-uncle, Albert Vining, in the 2nd row, center. I'm thinking to make a page on Squidoo about his WWI experience. We have his diary, his army helmet and some other memorabilia.

    • profile image

      redravengrad 4 years ago

      @Virginia Allain: Just posted the 2 Vining pics.

    • Virginia Allain profile image
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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @redravengrad: Would love to see any Vining, McGhee or Tower photos you have of Tyro. Those are all relatives of mine.

       

      Probably good to get the other photos online for people to see. My focus is mostly Tyro for now.

    • profile image

      redravengrad 4 years ago

      @Virginia Allain: Happy that you are enjoying them. Pictures of Donald(?) and his father Albert Vining (one each) are among my Tyro pics. Want me to identify them for you? Also have more Tyro scans that I can post. Tyro school class pictures from the school yearbook for 1939-1940 are among them if of interest. Any interest in old street scenes from Caney or Coffeyville?

    • Virginia Allain profile image
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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @redravengrad: I'm sure enjoying the photos you are sharing there. That makes it easy for me to go see them.

    • profile image

      redravengrad 4 years ago

      Started a Facebook page with many more Tyro Kansas photos. Search for Jack Irwin and I am the one with the Tyro Kansas identifying photo.

    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 4 years ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      @redravengrad: I was able to pull them up through Google+--wonderful photos from the era my family lived there! (BTW, I'm vallain's sister.)

    • profile image

      redravengrad 4 years ago

      Apparently my Tyro photos are on my Google+ page "Jack Irwin" with the caption Tyro Kansas historical photos. I placed a comment by each photo for identification. Page is open to the public.

    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 4 years ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      @Virginia Allain: hehe. I prefer "copy editor." ;-)

    • Virginia Allain profile image
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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @heytoto: I may have to hire you as my proofreader.

    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 4 years ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      Just so you know, the Kansas town near Tyro is "Coffeyville." ;-) There are "Coffeevilles" in several other states--looks like Kansas may be the only one with a "Coffeyville."

    • Virginia Allain profile image
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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @heytoto: Someone wrote her name on the back of the photo, but noted that she wasn't a relative.

    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 4 years ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      Wondering where you got the info to identify Hattie Musselman in the vintage photo? I have a copy of that photo, too, but never knew who either of the girls were.

    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 4 years ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      @redravengrad: Hmmm, I'm not having any luck finding them through the Google search. Help!

    • Virginia Allain profile image
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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @redravengrad: I'll hunt for them. Was it on a site like Photobucket or Flickr?

    • profile image

      redravengrad 4 years ago

      I placed 14 Tyro photos on the internet. Go to Google and search for "historical tyro. " It may be a bit tricky. If several pics come up, mine will be the 4 b&w. Click on any of those and you should find my posts. There may be a Tyro sunday class photo that shows up first, if so click on it. Photos are available to the public. Please let me know if you find the pics.

    • Virginia Allain profile image
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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @redravengrad: That's great to know, Jack. Good to have it from a primary source like you.

    • profile image

      redravengrad 4 years ago

      @heytoto: Mt great grandfather picked "Tyro" for the name because it meant beginner. Some people wanted him to name the town "Lenhart" but he did not want to do that.

    • Virginia Allain profile image
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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @Virginia Allain: Further note from HeyToto: Another book (I have a copy) about a Kansas "ghost town": Thurman, Kansas, 4 miles southeast of Matfield Green. It's written by an anthropology professor at Emporia State University. I can see you writing a similar book about Tyro--you could have an appendix with all those unidentified photos (and found a TON more last night when we were going through photos!)

    • Virginia Allain profile image
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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @heytoto: Looking around online, but not seeing that info yet. I'll try searching Montgomery County history online to see if it shows up there.

    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 4 years ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      Ginger, any info on how Tyro came to be named? I see that the definition of "tyro" is a beginner, but wondered if there was more to it than that.

    • Virginia Allain profile image
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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @anonymous: thanks, Jack, for clarifying that. Future historians will appreciate your input here.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @Virginia Allain: Made an error. My great grandfather who founded Tyro was Joseph LENHART. The Pence family was connected to my other maternal great granfather who married Caroline Pence.

    • Virginia Allain profile image
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      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @redravengrad: That's great information. I'd love to see any old photos you might have of Tyro. See you on Facebook for that.

    • profile image

      redravengrad 4 years ago

      My parents and maternal grandparents and great grandfather were from Tyro. My great grandfather Joseph Pence founded and named the town. I lived the first 22 years of my life in Tyro.

    • SayGuddaycom profile image

      SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

      Love it. Coming from Australia I really enjoy reading about small town America

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I enjoyed reading about your family and the town of Tyro, Kansas. I love small towns so really enjoyed this. Your family photos are wonderful.

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Interesting lens! I have never been to Kansas, but love learning about this time period.

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 7 years ago from Washington KS

      Oh I just love reading about small towns and their history.

      Thank you for revisiting my small town lens.

      Lensrolled to my location lenses, with a 5 and fave for good measure.

    • NanLT profile image

      Nan 8 years ago from London, UK

      A lovely look at a slice of America. I've lensrolled this to my Kansas related lenses.

    • Virginia Allain profile image
      Author

      Virginia Allain 8 years ago from Central Florida

      Yes, it's great fun creating lenses on Squidoo and hopefully other people can benefit from the info that I pull together.

      [in reply to Karen Kolavalli]

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Great way to organize information on a topic that catches your interest! I'm intrigued!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      You're right, I haven't heard of this tow, but I haven't been to small town Kansas either! Nice work!