Our Story

Our story is as unique and eclectic as the people of western Kansas. At the turn of the century, William Henry Wagner graduated from the University of Kansas. He was a renown orator - after all, he received the "Bowerstock Medal for Oratory" - and he swore in at the Kansas Supreme Court in in June of 1900. And with that, the founder of Deines & Deines was born.

William Henry Wagner.PNG

william Henry Wagner

W. H. Wagner started practice as the Logan County Attorney. He also served as the General Attorney for the Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma railroad. He moved to Trego County in 1921. 


Our first law office

It all began in Russell Springs, Kansas in 1900. W. H. Wagner hung his shingle and entered the practice of law. The sad truth of this building is the "shingle" is roughly the same size as the building itself. This little shack is not without amenities, however. It had a slanted roof and not just one window... it had two. What it lacked in electricity and indoor plumbing it made up for in economical design and zero wasted space. This office was about 116 years ahead of the "tiny" revolution. 

Old Attorneys.PNG

Bill Wagner, JR. 

The second member of the firm began practice with his father, W. H. Wagner upon graduating from Washburn law school in 1934. The father and son (pictured above) practiced in Wakeeney, Kansas for over two decades together. Bill served as the both the Trego County Attorney and the WaKeeney City Attorney many times. 



By the 1950s, Deines & Wagner was growing at an alarming rate. The firm moved to the very spacious building south of the Trego County Courthouse. 


Paul Applegate

The fourth member of our firm began practice in Western Kansas in the 1940s. Mr. Applegate was a litigator and an advocate for the people of Trego County. Among his crowning achievements was his involvement in the building of Cedar Bluff Damn and the state park that shares the name. In 1951, Trego and Ellis counties were ravaged by a massive flood that killed six people in Hays, Kansas. The damn was a monumental proposal and Mr. Applegate was a member of the executive committe that saw the project to fruition. Today, Cedar Bluff is the crown jewel of all of Trego County. After Bill Wagner Jr. Retired, Mr. Applegate and Mr. Deines formed a partnership (below is an excerpt from that partnership in the local paper). 





Our second Law office

Perched at the top of a narrow flight of stairs containing over 40 steps, our second office was much more spacious. It sat on top of the local drugstore and overlooked the Trego County Courthouse square. The firm practiced here for nearly three decades focusing on real estate, oil and gas and general litigation. 



The third member of our firm, and the namesake, graduated from the University of Kansas law school in 1949. After W.H. retired in 1953, Bill and Ernest named the firm Deines & Wagner (below is a clipping in the local newspaper).