EDITOR'S NOTE: The following feature shows that, from its earliest days, the Pratt community has been able to boast of the athletic prowess of its favorite sons (and now daughters.) The information included herein was provided by family members descended from the Banburys, and according to the sources is well-documented. The family name of Banbury is well-established in the community since the 1880s. The family farm is still owned by Margene (Helsel) (McFall) Martin. We hope you enjoy reading about two of Pratt's earliest sports heroes.
Former Prattans John Quincy and Winfred Foster Banbury were recently inducted into the Bethany College Hall of Fame. This is their story:
They were the third and fourth sons of Richard Harrison and Sarah Jane (Bailey) Banbury.
They were both born in Danville, Knox County, Ohio. They were the second generation of that family that originated in Cornwall, England.
They moved to Saratoga, Pratt County, Kansas with their parents between 1886 and 1889, when they were quite young.
They were always very competitive during their younger pre-teen and teenage years, so athletics was an obvious call for them to answer.
They joined the Pratt town football team and became quite astute in their skill for the game.
In an article written years after they had played their last contest, the Pratt Tribune, local newspaper, wrote that Winfred was the greatest football player Pratt had ever seen.
They were so accomplished in their football skills that they were recruited by then-coach and eventual legend, Bennie Owen, to come to Bethany College of Lindsborg, Kansas to play collegiate football and get an education in the process.
John and Winfred arrived on the Bethany football scene in 1901 and began school and their illustrious football careers.
Their coach, the infamous Bennie Owen, had gained fame playing football at Kansas University and later became the football coach at the University of Oklahoma where the football field, Owen Field, is named in his honor.
Coach Owen was a terrible task-master and worked his teams hard. They would become known as the "Terrible Swedes." They were seldom defeated and John Quincy and Winfred Foster were the stars.
Winfred actually was the team captain in 1903. The Bethany College teams played the likes of the best in the Midwest.
They played against Haskell Indian School, which boasted none other than arguably the "greatest athlete ever" in America-Jim Thorpe.
After the 1904 season Coach Owen left Bethany for the University of Oklahoma in Norman, and the Banbury boys started looking elsewhere to continue their football careers.
With the help of Coach Owen, they ended up at Western University of Pennsylvania (now known as the University of Pittsburgh.)
They started school and pursued an education in dentistry. Both the boys became stars for the WUP football and track and field teams, and John Quincy was captain of the 1907 team. Once again they encountered the great Jim Thorpe of Carlisle University.
Page 2 of 2 - John Quincy held many track and field records and at one time was considered one of America's best sprinters in the 100 and 220 yard dashes.
John Quincy was one of the first members of the All-Eastern football team (this being the equivalent of All-American.)
Both John and Winfred graduated with a degree in dentistry and came back to their roots, Kansas, to establish their dental practices- Winfred Foster in Pratt and John Quincy in Wichita.
Winfred Foster has been credited with being the first football coach at Pratt High School, while he was a practicing dentist in the community.
John Quincy, meanwhile, did not abandon his love for the game as he became the soccer coach at Friends University in Wichita.
Two years later Friends established football and John Quincy coached the football teams there from 1916 until 1932. He still holds many records there as their coach.
Winfred Foster was a Pratt community icon. He established the first swimming pool in the community at his home and opened it to the public. He coached the first Pratt High School football teams and they became quite successful.
Winfred was married twice, the first time to Nellie Corbin who owned and operated a millinery shop in Pratt. She died of a sudden illness in 1921 after 12 years of marriage. They had no children of their own.
He then married Anna Ellen Lee Talbot, who had been married several times before. They had no children of their own. Winfred Foster left no heirs or children.
Winfred Foster lived in Pratt and practiced dentistry for 65 years. He passed away April 9, 1975.
A scholarship memorial fund was established in his name at Pratt Community College for anyone involved in the football program there.
John Quincy (1884-1956) was well-established in Wichita, where he practiced dentistry for 35 years. During that time he also coached the Friends University football teams.
John Quincy was married to Margret R. Carey. They had two children, Richard Clair who became an American Flying Ace during World War II, and Jean Louise.
The sporting accomplishments of these early-day Prattans will be long-remembered and honored. They set the standard for Pratt athletics.