The following in an article from an Oregon newspaper: contributed by Linda Haskins
 
 
Hinkle Not Ready To Retire At Age 100
Thursday, January 22, 1970
 
JOHN HINKLE, Who turned 100 years old last Sunday (99 by some records) sits with
his wife Madge who is 94. She is a resident of a nursing home, but Hinkle still
lives on a ranch near Harper. See story for details about this fascinating couple.

 

By Pauline Shunn 
A-O Staff Writer
VALE "I'm going to retire one of these days, said John Hinkle, with a hint of a smile beginning under his ample mustache and a decided twinkle in his eyes.
But John Hinkle isn't ready to settle down to a rocking chair yet. Even if he did celebrate his 99th or 100th birthday. Sunday, Jan. 18, 1970. There seems to be some discrepancy about Hinkle's age.
Some records indicate he turned 100 years old last Sunday, and others indicate he's really 99. But at that age, what difference does a year make?
One not knowing this amazing man would never guess he has seen a full century of life with all its Buck Rogers changes as he walks down a street, unaided, alone, and without wearing glasses, taking care of the business he has set out to do.
Life came to John Hinkle 100 years ago in the frontier Midwest where he grew to manhood, rather precariously. But then, life was precarious in those days of freighter wagons and families headed for the mystical and alluring pot of gold at the end of the trail - the Far West.
As a boy growing up and a young man, John went on many cattle drives and as he talks about them with memory mirrored in his eyes, one can see that he loved the excitement, the dangers, and hardships of these drives
It was during this time that he worked for John Shaver, a well-known cattle buyer. Shaver would have his men take his cattle west to "buffalo grass country,'' trade them for steers and bring them back to Kansas to feed.

LOTS OF INDIANS
"There were lots of Indians and buffalo,'' John Hinkle said "We didn't have to be afraid of the Indians except for the Apache and those devils were always hunting scalps,'' he said, turning back the leaves of the I century past "You never. saw one Apache alone - there were always three
when they run together in small groups When an Apache approached the white men, he would make the sign of peace and Friendship while the other two would slip up behind the unsuspecting victims and tomahawk them.''
 There were other dangers in cattle drives - but exciting dangers! Such as stampeding cattle frightened by terrific lightning, hail and thunderstorms that Kansans are so well aware of.
Often It would be necessary to shoot and kill the leader of the animals in order to stop the frightened cattle. At other times, it would be necessary to wail a week to swim cattle across the deep and swift river waters.
And at other times it became necessary to send men ahead to make the cattle follow or they would start milling and drown.
Occasionally, the men would run out of provisions and the lights of a lamp twinkling miles away across the flat Kansas prairies were a very welcome sight, for that usually meant food, at least temporarily. Cornbread and buffalo meat tasted wonderful at times like those.
 
DAD LIKED HORSES
Hinkle, speaking about his father, recalled, "my dad liked horse racing and he was a good gambler. After a game in which one of the other players lost $700 and killed himself because of his losses, I never knew dad to play a card game again".
Remembrance of his his father brought to Hinkle's mind "the Terrible Benders". The Benders were an outlaw team composed of two brothers and sisters who had the habit of making friends with unsuspecting west-ward families or those who lived on the skirts of the frontier. After gaining their confidence and staying a night with them, as was the hospitable custom of that time, the Benders did away with the people, took their property, and would sell it in various places such as Atchison and Topeka, Kansas.
Hinkle's father helped track down the Bender gang. Those were the times, too, when a good horse was worth as much as a man's life. It was the tracks of a doctor's horse, which had recently been shod, that finally proved the undoing of the Benders.
When the doctor turned up missing, his horse was tracked to a roadhouse operated by the Benders, who had already left for parts unknown. They were traced and run down in a box canyon and it was here the Benders shot it out with their pursuers. Hinkle said the girl was offered safety, but preferred to stand alongside of her brothers until all were killed.

 

70 BODIES
It was near this site that some 70 bodies, victims of the Benders, were found buried in shallow graves. "No money was ever found, and I still believe it to be buried somewhere," the old gentleman said.
John Hinkle knows his Indian lore and can talk about them for hours at a time and his experiences as a young man.
But as most men do at one time or another, he succumbed to the charms of a young lady by the name of Madge Foster who made a tiny bride just under five feet tall. The two were married May 4, 1887, at Osage City, Kansas, and will observe their 74th wedding anniversary this May. Madge will be 94 on May 12.
To John and Madge Hinkle were born three daughters, Mildred Hinkle Roethler and Elsie Hinkle Eberly, both now deceased, and Jennie Hinkle Perry of Harper. It is Jennie and her husband Jasper who look after her parents, even though John still lives alone
With a wife to support, John Hinkle served as a steam engineer for an ice plant at Burlingame, Topeka and Great Bend, Kansas for several year. He went to Burlingame Iron, Osage City where he worked for three years in the Ice plant in the summer months and in the flour mill in the winter months Then it was to Great Bend, where Jennie was born and where he worked at the same type of job.

 

GOLD MINING
From there the Hinkle family moved to Colorado Springs where he operated large pumps out of the Arkansas River for the Golden Cycle Mill in a gold mining operation. He well remembers the guards with rifles that watched over the gold constantly. The mill is still In operation and in those early days worked large quantities or low grade ore.
The next move was to Pocatello, Idaho, where he worked at odd jobs. "I was good at repair work of all kinds, and jobs were few and far between in those times,'' he reminisced
Next it was Mountain Home, Idaho, where he went to work for 1.5 years for the railroad company and stayed with them 34 years. There he pumped water for the engines. Madge helped with the living too, in several ways She took in big washing and Ironings for 75 cents - washing on scrub boards and tubs, and drawing water from the well. She was a wonderful cook and cooked at the exclusive Mountain Home Hotel and the Mellon Hotel.

75 CENTS A DAY
John worked for 75 cents a day at the same time Madge took in washings and sold cosmetics.
"We saw many years of hard times," John Hinkle said. " I can remember spreading lard on bread sprinkled with salt or butter."
It was in Mountain Home that Hinkle became a member or the Masonic Lodge, and he still belongs to that chapter. He treasures his association with that "wonderful organization."
Electric power came to Mountain Home, and Hinkle was sent to Harper by the railroad company where he watched the tunnel for 15 years to keep it clear of rocks, weeds, etc. He had a narrow escape once while re-timbering the tunnel, and "I saw many things happen while on the railroad but I don't like to mention them - all were caused by carelessness.'' he recalled without expanding on these experiences,
"The railroad treated me pretty nice; I have a long string of merit badges,'' he said with pride. John Hinkle retired from the railroad at the age of 73.
During these years he had purchased a ranch of over 240 acres from J. Fairman about 14 miles west of Harper and it is here he still makes his home. During this time too, Madge operated the hotel at Harper for many years.

ONE SHOULDER HURT
Hinkle had a bad fall from a horse about 25 years ago and he damaged one shoulder badly, However, he still rides and likes to go out occasionally rabbit hunting with his six shooter "to keep in practice." He keeps busy in the summer months taking care or his acre or two of fruit trees, and irrigating, His livestock are now looked after by his daughter and son-in-law who also keep a watchful eye on him, despite his independence, Madge is a patient at the Malheur Nursing Home now,
John Hinkle said, with just a hint of wistfulness, "I wouldn't be a very good engineer anymore - I can't hear so good, I see fairly well and only wear glasses
when I read''
He has been blessed with good health and has never been sick except with the mumps and whooping cough, "In those times they didn't have the things for a young man to dissipate with like there is now'' He explained.
"Most men my age are in a wheelchair, but I'm a pretty good old man yet," He chuckled, with that wonderful twinkle still in his eyes at the end of one century of very full living and the beginning of another just ahead of him.

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