“My girls can do anything boys can do.”
William F. “Bill” Ebbutt was born Feb. 25, 1892 in Geary County, to John and Maria Ebbutt. He went to school at the Ebbutt School on land which his father donated. Though he did not graduate from the eighth grade, Bill could read, write and do math. Bill began riding as a young boy even if he had to sneak off to do so. Later he would ride 30 mile round trips to Dry Creek to court his future bride Margaret Black whom he married on April 10, 1913. The couple’s main income was from Bill being a pasture man in Chase, Geary, Wabaunsee and Morris Counties running between 3000 and 5000 head of cattle from April to October. His income was good enough that in 1928 they could rent 910 acres of farm land north of Skiddy, purchase 640 acres in 1932, and buy 320 more acres in 1938.
Bill excelled at vaccinating, castrating and dehorning calves. This was before the invention of cattle chutes, so calves had to roped at both the head and heels. His love and knowledge of horses helped him much in this and other endeavors. Because he was a good judge of stock, he was often asked to pick replacement calves in the fall. Bill had the patience to show people how to do things and tried to make work a pleasurable experience.
Bill assisted in many rodeo events including working as a pick-up man, furnishing stock and was sometimes featured in events. Had he been born later when rodeos were more prevalent, he probably would have been a professional rider and roper. He promoted the ranching industry in the Flint Hills by working to improve cattle quality and breeding stock, and he exemplified the cowboy way of life. He has three daughters, Helen Ebbutt Olson, Edith Ebbutt Underwood and Bessie Ebbutt Wildman who gave him eight grandchildren. He died at the age of 51 on August 30, 1943 at the Ebbutt Ranch near Skiddy ironically from a riding accident.
Year inducted: 2012