BN.com Gift Guide

Ghost Settlement on the Prairie: A Biography of Thurman, Kansas

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $6.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 82%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (4) from $6.00   
  • Used (4) from $6.00   

Overview

Four miles southeast of the village of Matfield Green in Chase County, Kansas—the heart of the Flint Hills—lies the abandoned settlement of Thurman. At the turn of the century Thurman was a prosperous farming and ranching settlement with fifty-one households, a post office, two general stores, a blacksmith shop, five schools, and a church. Today, only the ruins of Thurman remain.

Joseph Hickey uses Thurman to explore the settlement form of social organization, which—along with the village, hamlet, and small town—was a dominant feature of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American life. He traces Thurman's birth in 1874, its shallow rises and falls, and its demise in 1944. Akin to what William Least Heat-Moon did for Chase County in PrairyErth, Hicky provides a "deep map" for one post-office community and, consequently, tells us a great deal about America's rural past.

Describing the shifting relationships between Thurmanites and their Matfield Green neighbors, Hickey details how social forces set in motion by the American ideal of individualism and the machinations of capitalist entrepreneurs produced a Darwinian struggle between Thurman stock raisers and Flint Hills "cattle barons" that ultimately doomed Thurman. Central to the story are the concept of "ordinary entrepreneurship" and the profoundly capitalist attitudes of the farmers who settled Thurman and thousands of other communities dotting the American landscape.

Hickey's account of Thurman's social organization and disintegration provides a new perspective on what happened when the cattle drives from Texas and the Southwest shifted in the 1880s from the Kansas cowtowns to the Flint Hills. Moreover, he punctures numerous myths about the Flint Hills, including those that cattle dominated because the land is too rocky to farm or that Indians refused to farm because of traditional beliefs.

Like many other small rural communities, Hickey argues, Thurman during its seventy-year history was actually several different settlements. A product of changing social conditions, each one resulted from shifting memberships and boundaries that reflected the efforts of local entrepreneurs to use country schools, churches, and other forms of "social capital" to gain advantages over their competitors. In the end, Thurman succumbed to the impact of agribusiness, which had the effect of transforming social capital from an asset into a liability. Ultimately, Hickey shows, the settlement's fate echoed the decline of rural community throughout America.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
At the turn of the century Thurman was a prosperous farming and ranching settlement with 51 households, a post office, two general stores, a blacksmith shop, five schools, and a church. Today, only the ruins remain. Hickey (anthropology, Emporia State U.) traces Thurman from its birth in 1874, using it to study the settlement form of social organization and the impact of individualism and capitalism on the community. The foreword is by William Least Heat-Moon. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700606801
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 1/28/1995
  • Series: Rural America Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 342
  • Sales rank: 1,454,064
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.35 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Foreword, by William Least Heat-Moon

Acknowledgments

1. The Common Currency of Common Folks

2. Transitory Myths and Enduring Monuments

3. Goers and Stayers: Thurman's Social Antecedents

4. An Unimportant Post Office Settlement

5. Steers Ate People: Thurman and the Great Western Cattle Boom

6. The Strong-Gould Feud and High Prairie

7. Upland Farmers and Their Hardscrabble Fortunes

8. The Golden Years: Cattle Barons and Country Folks

9. Reviving Settlements and Saving Souls

10. Waste and Solitary Places: Thurman Becomes Matfield Green

Notes

Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)