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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Author donating book proceeds to foundation

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

About four years ago, local businessman Dean Mann asked writer Judy Marshall to pen a book containing tales of ghosts, bank robbers, hobos and famous residents. The result is "Legends & Lore of Bourbon County."

"I spent a lot of time researching stories and picking out the best, most interesting stories. That includes ghost stories and legends," Marshall said. "... These stories are fun. Some of them are really fun."

Becky Mann, Dean's wife, took charge of the publishing and took -- or compiled -- all the photos for the book. "She just tracked them down," Marshall said, adding that Becky Mann also designed the book's cover.

Becky Mann said it all started when her husband Dean, who had been working a project to develop the riverfront area of Fort Scott, was approached by an older gentleman at Citizens Bank, which Mann owns. The gentleman told Mann he wanted to relay some tales about the riverfront, which he did. "It was enough to kind of get Dean's attention," Becky Mann said. "He thought they were interesting."

Dean Mann saw Marshall sometime after that. He knew Marshall and done some writing and asked her to investigate the tales about the riverfront. It took a lot of digging to verify the stories she heard, but Mann said Marshall accomplished it. "I think she really enjoyed doing the research. It was kind like peeling back the layers of on an onion and the more you know, the more you want to know," Mann said.

The book was published by Lulu.com, a self-publishing company and is available at Country Cupboard, the Iron Star Antiques & Such and the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds go to the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation.

Foundation Chairperson Janet Braun said the board was glad Marshall had made that decision.

"Those of us on the board of the foundation were extremely happy when she decided to do that. It will help our endowment fund to get bigger. We use the interest to give grants to charitable organizations in the area," Braun said.

Marshall's favorite stories in "Legends & Lore" are about Katy Wrenn and the Spook Bridge. Wrenn was a young black woman who arrived in Fort Scott during the Depression. She lived in a house on Jordan Row, located on both sides of Buck Run Creek, extending south from First to Sixth Street.

Since there were no social programs at the time, Wrenn took care of those less fortunate through proceeds from bootlegging and prostitution. "And in spite of that, people really liked Katy Wrenn in town. I never spoke to anyone who was not fond of Katy Wrenn," Marshall said.

After Wrenn left her way of making a living, she "went on to do wonderful things," Marshall said.

The "Spook Bridge," featuring, among others, the characters of Slick, Greenie, Lefty Cowan and his brother, Righty, is another story Marshall enjoys. The bridge spans Drywood Creek located several miles south of Fort Scott.

But they're actually all her favorites. "There are some great stories," she said.

Along with the Manns, Marshall expressed thanks to Charlie Magee, Bill Danley and Kenny Schwartz. "I started with them because I didn't want to lose them. I wanted their stories and everyone is as sharp as a tack. They had a good time in life," she said. "They were the ones who could take me back the farthest in history. The were involved in some good stuff."

Braun said she has read "Legends & Lore" and found it enjoyable. "I found it delightful to read; very interesting," she said.

Marshall grew up in El Dorado, Kan, and attended University of Kansas where she earned a degree in secondary education with a major in English. Marshall has had several stories published and a previous book titled "Ride a Hole Through the Wind." The novel, aimed at middle-grade readers, was included in a list sent to Kansas school libraries recommending books published by Kansas authors, according to author information in the book.

She and her husband, former state Sen. Bob Marshall, have lived in Fort Scott since 1998. They have three children and six grandchildren and tend to dogs, cats and horses.

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