Sen. Burns No Easy Mark

Gallatin native Conrad Burns is a Republican Senator from the strongly Democratic state of Montana and was seen as vulnerable in the election of 1994. But this campaign, following his freshman year in Washington, D.C., reveals much about the Missouri man serving Montana.

Gallatin native Conrad Burns is a Republican Senator from the strongly Democratic state of Montana and was seen as vulnerable in the election of 1994. But this campaign, following his freshman year in Washington, D.C., reveals much about the Missouri man serving Montana.

According to the anti-Washington gospel of the 1994 elections, Sen. Conrad Burns ought to be a sitting duck. Among the Republican incumbents, his seat once looked most vulnerable to a Democdratic gain that could balance a loss somewhere else. But on Nov. 2, just days before the election, his hard work and rich campaign treasury seem to be carrying Burns, despite a series of weaknesses that might cripple another candidate.

First, Burns won only 51 percent of the vote in 1988 in a strong Democratic state.

Second, the freshman senator’s main claim to fame is that he has taken 68 lobbyist-paid trips and has often voted the way his hosts at events such as the Kentucky Derby and the Orange Bowl would like. Then he voted to support a filibuster against a bill banning such trips.

Even The Billings Gazette, which endorsed him in an editorial Monday, said that “Burns’ propensity to sit on the lobbyists’ knees is an issue.”

Jack Mudd, a former University of Montana law school dean who is running against him, repeats that Burns is “too close to lobbyists,” as he put it in a Kiwanis Club speech Tuesday in Missoula.

Third, Burns, a conservative Republican, has made no legislative mark in Washington.

Then last month, Burns repeated a common racial epithet for blacks when he was telling of being asked by a constituent how he managed to live with all the blacks in Washington. “It’s a hell of a challenge,” he said he replied. He apologized.

When he was asked in a debate what he would do in Congress to help the minorities, he said the answer was to “live by example — it’s what we do and how we deal with those people.”

But Burns is doing fine, despite all that and despite his fractured grammar and despite clear proof of the falsity of his major television advertisement, in which he says he has never voted to increase taxes.

Burns seems about to become the first Republican ever re-elected to the Senate from Montana, the most Democratic of the Rocky Mountain states, where a strong labor tradition grew from the mines and railroads. Recent polls show him with leads of about 15 percentage points.

Mudd relishes exploring the complexities of policy in a televised debate and is unhappy that there was been only one. But both candidates say they oppose a government takeover of health care.

Burns argues for changes in insurance law, but Mudd goes further, telling small-business people they should support univeral health care because without it, “you are paying for everyone who is uninsured or underinsured.”

The Mudd campaign’s television advertisements have lacked bite. Mudd said Tuesday that his basic problem has been a lack of money to get them on the air. His campaign had collected $810,102 by Oct. 19, the last pre-election filing date. Burns raised more than $3.2 million during six years, and he voted to continue a filibuster on campaign-spending legislation, too.

But there is much more to the Burns success than money. He has campaigned hard, touring the state by bus and plane. Last Saturday he and some of his supporters made an all-day bus trip from Lewistown to Billings. He detoured to visit “a dilapidated old cowboy,” made brief speeches and greated old friends from his days as a farm broadcaster, livestock auctioneer and high school football referee.

His highly organized campaign is personal, with more than 12,000 people (1.5 percent of the state’s population) who know him, volunterring to make calls and get out the vote.

Burns’ speeches stress his opposition to taxes, gun control and a rampant environmentalism that he says puts man only equal to teh “Australian kangaroo rat.” He complains that Washington is ignorant about farming, and he rails against the decline of standards generally: “There is kids setting in classrooms with ball caps on.”

His continual presence and his manner, even his somtimes embarrassing bluntness and semi-coarse wisecracks, may explain why the lobbying issues has not crippled him. While the Mudd television ads ask, “Who is he really working for?” Burns in person just does not seem to have forgotten Montana for seductive lobbyists.

But the money helps. It pays for a field staff, for direct mail that says Mudd wants to cut Social Security and for television ads, including one showing champagne glasses clinking as Burns says that special interests press for tax increases.

“I’ve never voted for a tax increase, not one. Forty times they tried to get me to raise your taxes — Democrats tried it, Republicans tried it, and every time I voted no.”

Burns does have 40 anti-tax votes on his ledger, although some sought to carve out tax breaks for farmers and other interests. But he also voted in 1990 for a $3 tax on airline tickets and in 1993 for $15 billion in new user fees on items such as mining and patents.

Writtey by Adam Clymer, New York Times News Service, published in the Nov. 2, 1994 edition of The Oregonian

Busy Bertie Brown

To reach the age of 80 these days is not unusual. However, to reach that mark in a lifetime and still be healthy and active in civic organizations is quite a blessing. This is so with Mrs. Bertie Brown of Civil Bend, well-know telephone operator for Civil Bend Telephone Company and longtime reporter for the Gallatin North Missourian.

To reach the age of 80 these days is not unusual. However, to reach that mark in a lifetime and still be healthy and active in civic organizations is quite a blessing. This is so with Mrs. Bertie Brown of Civil Bend, well-know telephone operator for Civil Bend Telephone Company and longtime reporter for the Gallatin North Missourian.

Bertie lived in the same house at Civil Bend since 1915, “when I married Frank.” With his death in 1971, she has lived alone in the 7-room house, tending to its upkeep.

She rises each morning around 7 a.m. and begins the day by caring for her dog and five cats. Later, garden work is pursued. She also helps mow her yard, which is about an acre. Up until last year, she mowed it herself.

“I am currently secretary-treasurer of the Linger Longer Club. I was also a 1932 charter member of the organization.” Bertie is a member of the Rebekah Lodge at Pattonsburg and received her 50-year pin four years ago. She is also past secreary-treasurer of the Young at Heart at Gallatin. She served as Civil Bend correspondent for the Gallatin North Missourian for nearly 30 years. “I collect the news by telephone,” she explains, “beginning about 3 or 4 p.m. Sunday. I usually finish by 9 p.m. It goes in the mail at 8 a.m. Monday”

The correspondent says she looks forward to Sunday evenings as she gets a chance to visit with her friends and neighbors. “If one doesn’t keep in touch with people, he’ll get soured on the world,” she philosophized. “Besides, it gives people a chance to tell me their problems, and I tell them some of mine.” She added with a grin and a twinkle in her eyes, “I guess that’s why it takes me so long to gather the news!”

Editor Joe Snyder says “Bertie Brown is one of my favorite gals. She is special not only because she is a fine person, but she’s been one of the most loyal and dependable reporters this paper ever had. Some people send us news when its convenent, but Bertie sends it in regularly whether it’s convenient or not, because she feels a responsibility to us and to her readers. I wish everyone was like Bertie.”

From April, 1915, to August, 1960, the Browns ran Civil Bend Telephone Company. Bertie served as linesman, repairman, operator and an answering service for some. “Yearly rates were $10 a year when we began,” she said. “When we quit in 1960, due to dial phones being installed, the rate was $12 a year.” This included 24-hour line maintenance and operator service.

As operator, Bertie was expected to “know the price of eggs, if the mailman was coming, where the ambulance was headed, and other community news. Now one can’t call the operator for anything but a telephone number!”

When not gathering news, working in her garden, or doing housework, Bertie crochets, keeps a scrapbook and watches television. She crochets afghasn, shawls, centerpeices and edging for pillowslips. She has kept a scrapbook since 1920. It includes the deaths of frinds, relatives and acquaintances and anything of interest in the community.

“Probably the reason I don’t always get my work done is because I have to watch ‘All My Children’ and ‘General Hospital’ on television,” Bertie says. She says she has no specific plans for her birthday. “I usually get a long-distance telephone call from my sister. And a neighbor of mine always takes me out to eat, and I do the same on her birthday.”

Written by Cindy O’Brien for the Gallatin North Missourian, 1976

County’s Namesake a National Hero

This is a brief account of the life of Col. Joseph Hamilton Daviess of Kentucky, summarized from the Feb. 2, 1911, edition of the Gallatin North Missourian. Daviess County is named after this Kentuckian killed by Indians at Tippecanoe — 25 years before the county was organized.

This is a brief account of the life of Col. Joseph Hamilton Daviess of Kentucky, summarized from the Feb. 2, 1911, edition of the Gallatin North Missourian. Daviess County is named after this Kentuckian killed by Indians at Tippecanoe — 25 years before the county was organized.

Joseph (Jo) Daviess was born at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, Bedford County, near the peaks of Otter on March 4, 1774. His father was also named Joseph and was Irish. His mother was Jean Hamilton Daviess of Scottish descent.

The family moved westward to Kentucky because of the 1779 Land Law and settled in the Crab Orchard neighborhood, Boyle County, near the present-day site of Danville. In his youth, Jo is said to have been a husky woodsman of robust health, but did not like manual labor.

After the age of 12, Joe received a classical education (Latin, Greek, math and some English). At age 18 he joined Major John Adair to escort provisions to army outposts north of the Ohio River. This was a mounted unit of about 200 men.

On the return to Kentucky near Fort St. Clair, the unit was attacked by Chief Little Turtle and 500 of his warriors. Fewer than 15 whites were killed, but the Indians took all the baggage and horses. Joe Daviess saw his horse hitched to a tree on the outskirts of the forest and went back alone after it. Joe recovered his horse, and became the only mounted trooper of the unit.

After the unit disbanded, Joe began the study of law at Harrodsburg, KY. He was admitted into practice in June, 1795. That Septembe, Jo moved to Danville and his practice was mostly land litigation cases. It was Jo’s custom to walk to his cases clad in deerskin, leggings and coonskin cap. With his rifle on his shoulder, he ranged the woods from one court to another.

By age 26 Jo Daviess was a well-known public speaker but not popular as a politician since he was a Federalist. In 1800 Daviess was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Kentucky. He held that office until 1807. In 1803 he married Miss Anne Marshall, sister of Chief Justice John Marshall. They went to live in Frankfort, KY, then the social center of the west.

In November, 1806, Daviess led in legal charges against Col. Aaron Burr, charging him with efforts to levy war against the United States. Even though the fact was later proven against Burr, Daviess lost the case and lost popularity. Daviess moved to Owensburg to live on some of the land he owned, but, finding that he had no taste for farming, went back to the law practice at Lexington, KY.

The Indians to the northwest under Tecumseh and his brother, “The Prophet,” were trying to form a confederacy to stop the whites’ westward movement. They formed a village at the junction of the Tippecanoe and the Wabash rivers in north central Indiana. Governor William H. Harrison decided to form an armed force and strike a decisive blow on the Indian town.

Col. Jo Daviess became the Aid de Camp of the Kentucky Militia and was a major commanding a unit of Indian Dragoons. The Kentucky forces consisted of about 800 men of which 270 were mounted. The unit marched up the Wabash River to Tippecanoe. Tecumseh was not at the village, but “The Prophet” led a surprise attack on Harrison’s forces with a like number of warriors at 4 a.m. on Nov. 7, 1811. Harrison entered the Indian village and burned it.

Harrison lost 52 men and had 133 injured. Col. Jo Daviess was among those killed. He was shot in the chest while leading a small charge on the Indians. Col. Daviess was buried on the battlefield at Tippecanoe in an unmarked grave. He was 37 years old, married but childless.

Jo Daviess was remembered by many Kentuckians, and counties in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri took his name as monuments to his memory.

Written by David Stark, published by the Gallatin North Missourian on Jan. 5, 1983

Oscar Nominee Martha Scott of Jamesport, MO

Martha Scott was a native of Jamesport, MO, who made her celebrated Broadway bow as Emily Webb in the original 1938 production of Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer prize-winning “Our Town.” She died at age 90 in June, 2003, from natural causes while hospitalized in San Fernando Valley, CA.

Martha Scott was a native of Jamesport, MO, who made her celebrated Broadway bow as Emily Webb in the original 1938 production of Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer prize-winning “Our Town.” She died at age 90 in June, 2003, from natural causes while hospitalized in San Fernando Valley, CA.

Martha Ellen Scott was born on Sept. 22, 1912, in Jamesport and was remembered as a lovely little girl with long, dark curls, who was very shy. Her parents were Mr. and Mrs. Walter Scott. The Scotts lived in Jamesport from the time Martha Ellen was born until she was about 13 years old. The family then moved to Kansas City and finally to Detroit, Mich.

She attended college at the University of Michigan where she earned a bachelor’s degree in drama in 1934. According to her family, her true and lasting passion was always the theater.

She enjoyed a long and successful acting career, dating from her early days in theater on through movies and television totaling over 60 years. She originate the role of Emily in “Our Town” and earned a 1940 best actress Oscar nomination re-creating the role in her film debut. Wilder’s play is set in a small New England town and portrays the universal cycles of birth, love, and death.

Mrs. Scott’s son, Scott Alsop, said his mother used a cemetery in her hometown to prepare herself for the third act of the play, which takes place in a small town cemetery. “She told me she used that place as her image because it’s so serene and beautiful,” he said. He also noted that her deceased relatives — the Scotts and the McKinleys — “became the Gibbs and the Webbs in the play.”

Martha Scott’s funeral was handled by McWilliams Funeral Home. Among flowers sent were those from Laura Dern, who starred in the movie “Jurassic Park” and also from Mrs. Dern’s mother, Diana Ladd, also a film star. In the late 1970s, Mr. Alsop and his mother visited the cemetery in Jamesport. And, he said, “That’s where she wanted to rest.”

Reprinted from the Gallatin North Missourian, June 4, 2003; and Gallatin Democrat, Oct. 6, 1938.

Another Account of Gallatin’s Newspaper Martyr

Few events in history shook Gallatin more than when Hugh Y. Tarwater entered the office of The Gallatin Democrat on a chilly December afternoon in 1919 and fatally shot its longtime publisher, Wesley Robertson. Missouri history reveals “Uncle Wes” as the only editor shot and killed in the line of duty.

Few events in history shook Gallatin more than when Hugh Y. Tarwater entered the office of The Gallatin Democrat on a chilly December afternoon in 1919 and fatally shot its longtime publisher, Wesley Robertson. Missouri history reveals “Uncle Wes” as the only editor shot and killed in the line of duty.

The shooting climaxed a running feud between newspaper publishers Robertson and partner Robert Ball with Mr. Tarwater, who had been city clerk for four years. Tarwater felt victimized during a crusade by The Democrat to rid the community of bootleggers. An article about Tarwater’s conviction and fine prompted a libel suit by Tarwater who sought $20,000 in damages. There was little concern by the publishers until it was discovered that the police court journal for the day Tarwater appreared in court was missing.

During the legal maneurvering which followed, Gallatin was hosting a Chautauqua in Dockery Park. The program included some stellar attractions and speakers of note. Uncle Wes was on the program committee. When one of the advertised speakers failed to appear, with a large crowd waiting in the boiling sun, it became Uncle Wes’s duty — or more his opportunity — to fill in.

Imagine, if you will, this colorful, rotund, good-natured bundle of quick and often biting wit, leaning back on his ample haunches, inserting his thumbs into his suspenders and opening his remarks by declaring, “Had I known I would be called upon to speak, I would have worn by $20,000 suit.” The crowd roared. But the plaintiff, who happened to be in the audience, stalked from the scene red-faced and enraged. This was just a few days before the lawsuit was to have been tried.

On Dec. 23, after spending the early afternoon drinking in the sheriff’s office, Tarwater left the courthouse and made his way to the newspaper office. There was a commotion and a shot. Robertson, who had been standing by his rolltop desk, slumped to the floor. There was some speculation about how Tarwater may have been provoked into confronting Robertson with a loaded .32 pistol and the fact that a sheriff’s car pulled up at the newspaper office to whisk Tarwater away before any alarm could be telephoned. The Daviess County Court, which functioned as commissioners, along with Sheriff J. Atch Blair, were Republicans and often targets of The Democrat’s editorials.

The funeral for Uncle Wes was perhaps the biggest in Gallatin’s history. Robertson was a popular community leader, even serving as Gallatin’s official Santa Claus during the holiday seasons.

Tarwater was tried for murder in Gallatin on Oct. 4, 1920. Immediately after the shooting of Robertson, Tarwater suffered a nervous breakdown and attended his trial in a wheelchair. The trial lasted eight days. The defense was based on insanity. In failing health heightened by stress, Tarwater was found guilty by a circuit court jury and was sentenced to 35 years. Tarwater appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, which affirmed the decision. He arrived at the state penitentiary in Jefferson City on May 21, 1922. From time to time, Tarwater’s application for parole or pardon met strong opposition from Missouri newspapers. He finally died in the penitentiary, and his burial was in Lile Cemetery on the west side of Gallatin. He was survived at the time of his death by his widow, a daughter who was living in California and a son living in Arizona.

Although The Democrat’s campaign against bootlegging in the county never fully succeeded, it seems ironic that a few weeks after Uncle Wes died the following item appeared on the newspaper’s front page, presumably written by publisher Robert Ball. It was entitled, “Good-bye, John!”

“At midnight Friday old John Barleycorn became a fugitive from justice and was outlawed in every state in the Union. National Prohibition went into effect and the entire country is up in arms against John, who reiungned supreme for so many years.

“The smiles he brought and the good times he was reputed to have given to so many are things of memory only, but the trail of desolation, heartaches, blasted hopes and ruined lives are the things of reality he has left strewn all over America. They will serve to remind not only this generation but future generations of the curse to mankind.

“Good-bye, John — here’s hoping your likes will never pass this way again.”

Reprinted, in part, from the Gallatin Democrat published in May, 1922

Banking Brought A.M. Dockery to Gallatin

In 1914, in a tribute to Tom Yates, Gov. A.M. Dockery told how Yates brought him to Galatin in 1874. In that tribute, Dockery wrote the following record of how they got together to start the Farmers Exchange Bank in Gallatin:

In 1914, in a tribute to Tom Yates, Gov. A.M. Dockery told how Yates brought him to Galatin in 1874. In that tribute, Dockery wrote the following record of how they got together to start the Farmers Exchange Bank in Gallatin:

“I first made his (Mr. Yates) acquaintance as a senior member of the drug frim of Yates & Dillon in Chillicothe and as a director of the Chillicothe Savings Association… our relations during the six years of our residence and association at Chillicothe were as they have always been (during the past 46 years) — very close along busienss, social and farternal and other lines of activity.

“In January, 1874, I had practically completed arrangements to remove to Milan and engage in the banking business at that place… Hearing of this contemplated removal, Mr. Yates induced me to abandon it and aid him in the organization of a bank at Gallatin.

“As a result of this understanding, on March 4, 1874, we bought the banking business of (Mr. G.) Amstrong and (Mr.) Thompson and on the 20th of that same month organized the Farmers Exchange Bank with Mr. Yates as president and myself as cashier.”

The Farmers Exchange Bank was opened for business on March 20, 1874, with subscribed stock of $50,000. THomas Booten Yates was elected president, Gabriel Feurt, Judge of the county court, was vice president; and Dr. Dockery was cashier and secretary. Others on the first board of directors were Capt. John Ballinger (postmaster), B.F. Dillin, Moses Brown, B.G. Kimball, Capt. N.B. Brown, A.L. Buzzard, J.P. Drummond, A.W. Gay, W.M. Brostaph (drugist), and D.H. Davis (drugist).

In 1881, the bank was the only bank in Gallatin and had paid in capital and retained profits of $14,000. Deposits increased from under $40,000 to nearly $200,000 (roughly $5 million in today’s economy). New directors included Hadley Brown, Jacob Poage, William Ray, R.M. Barnett, R. Downing and the governor’s grandfather, Alexander Dockery Sr.

In about 1888 the bank moved into a new building that it rented across Jackson Street to the south. The old office became the Stephens Farm Loan Company, with Tom Yates as president.

In 1892 Yates moved to organize the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Jamesport (later known as the Commercial Bank). He operated it for about 10 years. Yates continued to run the Stephens Company and kept his residence in Gallatin. Milton Ewing and John Meade took over the Farmers Exchange Bank that year. The original subscribed stock was not reported as all paid in until 1899 when John Meade became president.

In 1910 the Exchange Bank’s deposits were down to $134,000. A new building was constructed across the intersection northwest and was home fo the bank in 1913. The bank owned its first home. THis building became the Bank of Galatin in 1927 and the post office was also resident there from about 1918 to 1942.

When the Farmers Exchange Bank closed in March, 1926, it had $540,000 in deposits, capital and surplus of $110,000 and $800,000 in loans outstanding. The Jameson banks closed the next week with deposits of $120,000. The Bank of Jameson was largely owned by stockholders of the Farmers Exchange Bank of Gallatin, which lasted 52 years.

FARMERS EXCHANGE BANK OFFICERS:

1874 — T.B. Yates, president; A.M. Dockery, cashier
1892 — Milton Ewing, president; J.W. Meade, cashier (since 1886)
1899 — J.W. Meade, president; E.D. Mann, cashier
1910 — J.W. Meade, president; Homer Feurt, cashier
1915 — Homer Feurt, president (to 1926); cashier (unreported)

Research by David Stark

Kemper Family Has Ties to Daviess County

Here’s a famous Missourian with a little-known connection to Daviess County. William T. Kemper, whose family fortune became one of Kansas City’s largest, was born in Gallatin on Nov. 2, 1865. Kemper is the name lavished on Kansas City’s civic arena. Kemper is the name of the family which controls one of Missouri’s largest financial institutions, United Missouri Bank of Kansas City. And Kemper is one photograph you will find displayed in the third floor courtroom of the Daviess County courthouse.

Here’s a famous Missourian with a little-known connection to Daviess County. William T. Kemper, whose family fortune became one of Kansas City’s largest, was born in Gallatin on Nov. 2, 1865. Kemper is the name lavished on Kansas City’s civic arena. Kemper is the name of the family which controls one of Missouri’s largest financial institutions, United Missouri Bank of Kansas City. And Kemper is one photograph you will find displayed in the third floor courtroom of the Daviess County courthouse.

William Kemper’s ties to Daviess County were probably brief. Local records show that his father, James Kemper, was in the mercantile business at the southeast corner of the Gallatin business square in partnership with Major (Lt.Col.) Samuel P. Cox and Capt. John Ballinger. These partners were well-known adventurous citizens who figure prominently in early Daviess County history. The firm was called Ballinger, Cox & Kemper and lasted at least from Feb. 28, 1865, to Jan. 13, 1866. During this time the real estate was jointly held (Block 3 west and 3 south in Gallatin; Book L, page 587 and Book M, page 531), purchased for $1,500; John Ballinger later purchased Kemper’s interest for $1,250.

J.M. Kemper and his wife also held a lot in the northwest corner of the square From Nov. 23, 1865, to April 5, 1866, although it is not known whether this was business or residential property. This was purchased from James L. Davis and sold to Elizabeth Seat (Book M, page 436 and Book N, page 232. All of Lot #6, Block 5 West and 2 south). The Kempers paid $650 and received $700 for this property.

The only other local record found shows J.M. Kemper signing a petition on adding land to Caldwell County. This petition, dated Jan. 22, 1868, proved unsuccessful.

The Kempers evidently left Gallatin for St. Joseph. William T. Kemper Sr. began his career at age 14 sweeping floors in a shoe store in which his father was a partner. From shoe store janitor, young Kemper became shoe salesman representing Noyes, Morman & Kemper. He called on the Valley Falls, KS, firm of his future father-in-law, Rufus Henry Crosby. He married Charlotte Crosby in 1890, and the couple moved to Kansas City three years later.

At age 26, Kemper organized the Kemper Mill and Elevator Company, followed by Kemper Investment Company, and then Kemper Mercantile Company, an early day mail order house. At the turn of the century when Kemper was elected to head the Board of Trade, he was its youngest president ever at age 33.

Every decade became a milestone for Kemper as he entered banking. Within 10 years, W.T. Kemper was persident of the Commerce Trust Company empire. Ten years later he made a fortune, selling the Commerce at the boom price of $220 a share, and then 10 years later buying it back at $86 per share. Ironically, one source of Kemper’s fortune did not derive from banking but from the defunct KC, Mexico & Orient Railroad. Stock of dubious value in the never completed, disconnected route to the west coast of Mexico proved valuable when oil was discovered along the road’s tracks in Oklahoma, Texas and the Southwest.

Money-making, Kemper’s long suit, was interspersed with modicum of political activity — as Democratic National Committeeman, one-time Democratic mayoral candidate (defeated), and police commissioner. But for the most part, Kemper stuck to his last — banking — until his death at age 72 in January, 1938. His death attracted widespread attention, with journalist icon William Allen White eulogizing Kemper’s life that reflected broadly on the nation’s history.

Taken from research by Brent Schondelmeyer, William Kemper’s grandson, in a corporate history of the United Missouri Bank of Kansas City, and by David Stark of Gallatin; June, 1994.

A Homecoming for Rear Admiral Richard H. Cruzen

On May 20, 1947, Galaltin’s favorite explorer — Rear Admiral Ricahrd H. Cruzen — was the honored guest at a Homecoming dinner sponsored by the Gallatin Chamber of Commerce at the McDonald Tea Room. Over 170 people attended.

On May 20, 1947, Galaltin’s favorite explorer — Rear Admiral Ricahrd H. Cruzen — was the honored guest at a Homecoming dinner sponsored by the Gallatin Chamber of Commerce at the McDonald Tea Room. Over 170 people attended.

Richard (Dick) Cruzen was the son of Nathaniel Green Jr. and Mary Edna Gearhart Cruzen of Gallatin. Nathaniel Green Jr. returned to Gallatin in 1901 to join a law practice with Rollin Britton (the firm became known as Cruzen, Mann & Leopard ni 1913). Richard was born in Kansas City, came to Galaltin with his parents at age 4, and called Gallatin his hometown.

Cruzen graduated from Gallatin High School in 1914. His father and uncle, Harry Cruzen both graduated from Wentworth Military Academy at Lexington, MO. Richard, however, left Gallatin to attend VMI at Lexington, VA. He also attended a prep school at Severn Park, MD, before entering the U.S. Naval Academy, a member of the Class of 1920. Cruzen became an ensign in June, 1919. He said he was thinking about attending West Point, but Judge J.W. Alexander of Gallatin placed him into Annapolis.

When Cruzen’s father died as a result of an auto accident in 1931, Cruzen was back at Annapolis as an instructor.

In 1939 Cruzen was a Navy Lt. Commander and was named skipper of the USS Bear by explorer Byrd. The Bear was a sailing schooner purchased by Admiral Byrd to explore the “unknown continent” — the Antarctic. The sailing ship was used because it did not need to be refuled in remote locations.

The Bear was an old seal fishing ship built in 1873 at Dundee, Scotland. It was 190 feet long. Admiral Byrd obtained it for explorations in 1932 and sailed it from Boston in 1933 to the Antarctic, returning to Boston in 1935. Cruzen had The Bear redone in 1939 at a cost of $200,000, and rigged it as a Barkentine. He added a 600hp diesel auxiliary engine and put a small sea plane on board.

In the book, “Operatrion Deepfreeze” by Rear Admiral George J. Dufek, Richard Cruzen is described by the then Navy lieutenant Dufek as follows:

“I reported for duty on the USS Bear at the Boston Naval Shipyard. I reported to Lt. Commander Ricahrd Cruzen in the sail loft in the spring of 1939. Cruzen had a deep well of love for his fellow man which endeared him to everyone …(we) became fast friends (and I) took three tours of duty under his command.

“I considered Cruzen to be the finest and most capable officer I have ever served in the Navy. He was filled with boundless good humor and energy. He often reminded me of a bantam rooster and, in tense moments, he would walk like one. He made quick decisions, but only after a careful study of the factors involved in the problem. His favorite greeting to friends, to urge them to get on with the work, was ‘All right, Fattey, let’s get going.'”

Longtime Gallatin newspaper publisher Joe Snyder reported that Admiral Cruzen was “a remarkably down-to-earth man for all his years as a professional military commander… he never lost his feeling for his hometown.”

Cruzen and Dufek sailed The Bear from Boston on Nov. 22, 1939, via the Panama Canal for Little America in Antarctica. The Bear entered pack ice of the Ross Sea in mid-January, 1940, and arrived at the Bay of Whales to establish Little America III. Admiral Byrd joined them on board from the USS North Star. Cruzen sailed the old schooner up and down the coast and returned to Boston covering 14,000 miles without dropping anchor. Cruzen did not go exploring again with Dufek and Byrd until 1946 after World War II.

Captain Cruzen did not tell much of his war efforts, but recounted, in 1945 during a visit to Gallatin, that he had been operations officer under Admiral Kinkaid for the engagement of the Seventh Fleet in the Southwest Pacific. He was in the invasions of Leyte Island and in the sea battle of Leyte Gulf. He pased through Gallatin on his way to take command of the USS Birmingham.

In 1946 Captain Cruzen got Dufek to help on an Arctic sail of the USS Bear to establish weather bases in Greenland and the Arctic Archipelago. This was named “Operation Nanook” and Cruzen laid out the first airfield in Greenland at Thule. They returned in The Bear in August, 1946, and started planning for the Navy’s first large scale expedition to the Antarctic.

For Operation Highjump (1946-47) and after 30 years of Navy service, Cruzen was promoted to Rear Admiral and made the Task Force Commander. Task Force #68 comprised of 13 ships, 23 aircraft and 4,700 seamen. The job was to survey the coasts and as much of the continent as possible, using aircraft cameras. Cruzen got to the Ross Sea during the last days of December, 1946. In the next four weeks, the plans spent 220 hours in the air over Antarctica, flying 22,700 miles and taking over 70,000 photographs. They covered 60% of the coastline — 25% of which had never been seen before.

By March 4, 1947, all ships had started for home. This was the first time icebreaker ships had been used in the Antarctic. The work was Navy funded and utilized leftover supplies from the war. Cruzen estalished Little America IV and other bases and weather stations.

Rear Admiral George Dufek continued on with south pole exploration into the late 1950s in Operation Deepfreeze.

On April 14, 1947, Cruzen and Byrd were on the USS Mt. Olympus, a luxury flag ship which was called a communications ship by the Navy, when they were met by the Secretary of the Navy at naval yards at Washington, D.C. Cruzen spent several months with reports and giving speeches about the work completed. He later commanded support forces for the atomic weapons tests at the Eniwetock Atoll. He commanded U.S. Naval forces in and near the Phillippines before retiring to private business after 8 more years of Navy service. He retired in 1954.

When his mother, Edna Cruzen, died on Oct. 26, 1965, Richard Cruzen and his sister, Mary, came back to Gallatin for the funeral. Admiral Cruzen probably got his name from his great-grandfather, Richard R. Cruzen, who was an inspector of the National Armory at Harper’s Ferry, VA. His grandfather also worked there before leaving for Missouri at age 20.

Admiral Cruzen’s grandfather was Nathaniel Green Cruzen, born in Jefferson County, VA, on Oct. 14, 1826. In December 1860, he married Mary Faulkner, daughter of James Gillilan who was the founder of Jamesport, MO. Admiral Cruzen and his wife, Margaret, raised three children. Their only son, Nathaniel III, was killed in a hunting accident in 1946 while the Admiral was out to sea.

The Admiral’s sister, Mary, married Lt. Orville “Pinkie” Walsh while she was teaching school at Westport High School in Kansas City. John Leopard of Gallatin recalls their elaborate military wedding at the home of Edna Cruzen in Gallatin. General O.E. Walsh was part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and served in the Pacific during World War II as a member of General MacArthur’s staff. He achieved the rank of Major General before retiring to Portland, OR. At one time, he was in charge of the Missouri River Division of the Corps of Engineers. They raised two children, Sally and Richard.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin; March, 1997.

Who Was Capt. John Sheets?

John W. Sheets (1818-1869) is known mostly as an unfortunate victim of circumstance, allegedly shot by outlawn Jesse James who mistook him for former Union leader Samuel Cox during the 1869 robbery of the Daviess County Savings Association in Gallatin. But a look at the life of John Sheets reveals much more.

John W. Sheets (1818-1869) is known mostly as an unfortunate victim of circumstance, allegedly shot by outlawn Jesse James who mistook him for former Union leader Samuel Cox during the 1869 robbery of the Daviess County Savings Association in Gallatin. But a look at the life of John Sheets reveals much more.

Research reveals many details about the life and times of John W. Sheets. From January 1838 through May 1842 he kept the records of property lot sales in Gallatin. On Aug. 28, 1847, he joined the U.S. Army to serve in the Mexican War.

John Sheets served as sheriff of Daviess County from 1848 to 1852, and then as circuit clerk of Daviess County from 1852 to 1858. He then served as recorder of deeds from 1858 to 1862.

During the Civil War, John Sheets was a Captain of Company D, First Regiment of Cavalry in the Missouri State Militia for the Union (1862-64). He returned to civilian life to become a partner in a dry goods store in Gallatin, known as Sheets & Brosius, and saw his partner murdered in the store in 1864.

From 1865 until his death, Capt. Sheets was employed by Col. McFerran as cashier of the Daviess County Savings Association. It was while he was at work that Sheets was shot to death. Although Jesse James was never convicted of murdering Sheets nor of robbing the savings association, the robbery which occurred Dec. 7, 1869, marks the first time the State of Missouri officially declared a bounty on Jesse James, branding him as an outlaw. Witnesses said Jesse James was sworn to avenge the death of Confederate guerilla “Bloody” Bill Anderson by killing the man credited with killing Anderson, Samuel P. Cox. Apparently, James mistook John Sheets for Samuel Cox — shooting first before asking questions. A stone monument marks the grave of Capt. Sheets in Lyle Cemetery, next to Gallatin First Baptist Church.

The life of John Sheets also connects to another notorious outlaw of the Old West — that of Johnny Ringo. Sheets had control of the Greenfield and Einstien Store where his father worked as a gun smith when the store was rented to Martin Ringo and B.B. Pryor (1858-1861). Martin Ringo was the father of outlaw Johnny Ringo, famous in the gunfight lore of Tombstone, AZ.

John Sheets was the son of Henry Sheets of Virginia; his mother was Rachel Ellis of Jefferson County, VA, the daughter of Obediah Ellis (1745-1825) of Georgetown in Scott County, KY.

In November, 1850, at age 29 John Sheets married Martha R. Casey, daughter of Thomas J. and Martha Casey of Gallatin. The couple were parents of two children before Martha’s death in 1856.

In September, 1861, Sheets married Mary G. Clingan, the daughter of Major Thomas and Elizabeth Clingan of Gallatin.

Researched by David Stark, Gallatin; December, 2000.

Novelist Based Stories, Characters on Gallatin

Gallatin native John Selby was a very successful journalist, art critic, and editor. He also wrote 12 books and had a syndicated book column, the widely circulated “Literary Guidepost.” Ten of Selby’s books were published, and six of these have parts about Gallatin, MO. The names were changed, but, like television’s “Peyton Place,” just changing names didn’t prevent Gallatin citizens from recognizing themselves …and objecting to what was written.

Gallatin native John Selby was a very successful journalist, art critic, and editor. He also wrote 12 books and had a syndicated book column, the widely circulated “Literary Guidepost.” Ten of Selby’s books were published, and six of these have parts about Gallatin, MO. The names were changed, but, like television’s “Peyton Place,” just changing names didn’t prevent Gallatin citizens from recognizing themselves …and objecting to what was written.

John Allen Selby was born in Gallatin on Feb. 7, 1897, when Gallatin was a busy college town (Grand River College). He became a prize winning author with his first book; “Sam” was the American winner in the All Nations Prize Novel Competition of 1939.

John was the oldest son of Jonathan Selby, a prominent lawyer at Gallatin. John was a member of the GHS Class of 1914, and went on to school at Park College and at the University of Missouri. After school, he worked as a journalist and music critic for the Kansas City Star from 1918 to 1929. While working as a reporter, Selby covered a wide variety of subjects except for spectator sports, in which he expressed little interest.

Selby lived in France three years when many American artists took residence there (1929-32). In 1932, he became the New York music and arts editor for the Associated Press. While working in New York, he made his home in Connecticut with his wife, Esther (Baxter), originally from Pittsburg, KS.

In 1944 Selby left the Associated Press to become associate editor and publicity director for Rinehart & Company Inc., a book publisher on Madison Avenue. He was promoted to Editor-in-Chief the following year, and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1958.

While in retirement, Selby lectured at Columbia University, New York, and elsewhere. He was both a student and teacher at Columbia University, teaching courses in short-story writing. In 1965 he moved to Taormino, Sicily, where he died at age 83 on May 7, 1980, following a brief illness. During his retirement, he returned to Gallatin, MO, for a few months in 1972.

SELBY’S BOOKS

Selby’s first book was the prize winner “Sam” published in 1939. It is a novel about a newspaper owner in Kansas City in the early stockyard years.

His second book, “Island in the Corn” (1944) is a novel about the Trace-Starbuck family that came to Gallatin about 1900 after big business losses at other places.

His next book, “Starbuck” (1943) is about the only son of the Trace-Starbuck family, who was raised in Gallatin and became a world famous musician. Selby ended the story with Starbuck back at the old Trace family home after World War II.

Selby’s fourth book, “Elegant Journey” (1944), is about the earlier history of the Trace family. The novel covered the family story from roughly 1840 to 1880.

The next book, “The Man Who Never Changed” (1954), is a novel about the success of character Dennis Sandzen as he developed into a reknowned professional conductor.

His sixth book, “Time Was” (1956), is about a Gallatin family during the times of 1910. There is much that seems very familiar to readers residing in Gallatin, including a story about Gallatin’s first car, which was homemade.

The next book, “The Days Dividing” (1958), is about Henry Thorne and Harrison Adrian, two friends from California that came to live on East Grand Street after their contact with the famous Sara Wnichester, who was haunted by the ghosts of all things killed by the Winchester rifle.

Book number eight is “A Few Short Blocks Between” (1959), telling the story of Marian Byrd from Gallatin. Byrd became governor of the state in 1900. The few short blocks was the distance between the governor’s house and the state prison. This is the last published book that relates to anything about Gallatin.

Selby’s ninth novel, “Madame” (1961), is about the last few days of the life of a syndicated columnist who wrote on women’s issues. The story starts at Park College and goes on toward New York, traveling by car.

Selby’s last published book is “Beyond Civil Rights” (1966). This is a non-fiction history of the Karamn Project in Cleveland, OH. Much of it is about training black artists.

These 10 published books are available at the Daviess County Library in Gallatin. Janet Selby, Gallatin, holds her uncle’s last two unpublished manuscripts. They are entitled “The Andalusian Fury” and “What Came After Bertha.”

John Selby did what most good writers should do, that is, write about things they know. There is much of the flavor of Gallatin at the turn of the century when reading some of John Selby’s books, as well as his apparant love and interest in classical music and the arts.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin; August, 1997

Argument Over 50-Cents Leads to Murder

Many who venture through Lyle Cemetery across from First Baptist Church in Gallatin are naturally unaware of much of the local history that lies there. A tombstone for Jonathan “Jona” Brosius offers an obscure example. His name is only a footnote to the more famous, or rather infamous — the uncle to William “Curley Bill” Brosius, purportedly the best friend of outlaw Johnny Ringo, who was immortalized when shot by Wyatt Earp near Tombstone, AZ, in 1882.

Many who venture through Lyle Cemetery across from First Baptist Church in Gallatin are naturally unaware of much of the local history that lies there. A tombstone for Jonathan “Jona” Brosius offers an obscure example. His name is only a footnote to the more famous, or rather infamous — the uncle to William “Curley Bill” Brosius, purportedly the best friend of outlaw Johnny Ringo, who was immortalized when shot by Wyatt Earp near Tombstone, AZ, in 1882.

The grave of Jonathan Brosius lies not far from the marker of Capt. John Sheets, the victim of the 1869 James Gang robbery in Gallatin.

Jona Brosius died young at age 29. When he was shot, he left a 25-year-old wife and 7-year-old daughter. But that’s not what makes his story compelling; rather, it’s the reason why he died which describes the fervor of his times.

Jonathan Brosius was murdered over a half dollar dispute with teamster, P.B. Hunter.

Jona had sent several wagons after supplies that had come to Hamilton by train. He paid $4 per wagonload and offered the same to Mr. Hunter. Hunter wanted $4.50, stating he had moved 1800 pounds, or 400 pounds more than that carried by other teams.

The goods were delivered to the store called Sheets & Brosius on Dec. 20. The store partners were busy marking items for sale when Hunter made his demand for payment about 9 a.m. Both Capt. Sheets and Samuel Cox were in the store and became aware of the dispute.

Cox indicated that $4.50 would be the charge for 1800 pounds at the customary rate of 25 cents per 100 pounds of cargo. But Hunter was turned down. He left and told his sad story to others in town, saying he’d get his money and that he’d kill Jona rather than let Jona put his hands on him.

At 11 a.m. Hunter returned to the store with a shawl held by his left hand, covering his right hand. Hunter again demanded his $4.50. Jona got $4 which Hunter refused. Harsh words were exchanged until Jona ordered Hunter out of the store. Some witnesses later indicated that Jona apparently planned to fight Hunter on the street, but Jona made no motion to strike Hunter in the store.

Jona had been marking up grubbing hoes and had one in hand as Hunter backed toward the door. Just after Hunter backed into the doorway, he raised his right hand from under the shawl and, with arm at full length, shot Jona Brosius one time just above the heart from a distance of six feet.

Capt. Sheets was two feet behind Jona and a little to his left when the shot was fired. Three others in the store saw the shootnig. They were J.M. Doling, J.M. Smith, and J.W. Green. Some said that Brosius had laid down the 10-pound hoe before he was shot.

Hunter paused in the doorway, then hurried toward the circuit clerk’s building located east of the courthouse. John Sheets trailed Hunter at a distance, watching Hunter trot with pistol in hand as he looked back from time to time at Sheets.

John Green was the first to help Brosius, asking if he was badly hurt. Jona said, "John, I’m killed." When Jona was shot, he grabbed his chest with both hands and groaned. Green and James Doling put Jona on a bed in the back of the store, and Brosius died within 5 minutes.

Hunter went directly to the clerk’s office and Samuel Cox, saying "Major, I want protection." Acting Sheriff James L. Powell took Hunter’s pistol, described as a 5-inch Manhattan (a cap and ball revolver, either .31 or .36 caliber). The 5-shot revolver had four shots left in it.

Justices of the Peace Owen McGee and John Taylor made statements recording the information above, also noting that Hunter was known in Gallatin for a year as a peaceable man. Acting Prosecuting Attorney James H. Brosius (Jona’s brother) brought forward the charge of murder.

Hunter was held in the stone jail next to the courthouse until Feb. 2, 1865, when he was released on $20,000 bond. In the May term of 1865, a grand jury charged Hunter with second degree murder.

An 1882 report stated that Hunter was not seen again in Gallatin.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin.

Samuel Cox — A Daviess County Hero

The adventures of Major S.P. Cox (1828-1913) reads like a history of his time including the westerward movement, the Mexican War, the west’s early Indian wars, the California gold rush, the Civil War, and the James Gang.

The adventures of Major S.P. Cox (1828-1913) reads like a history of his time including the westerward movement, the Mexican War, the west’s early Indian wars, the California gold rush, the Civil War, and the James Gang.

Samuel Cox was born on Dec. 16, 1828, at Williamsburg in Whitley County, KY. He moved to Daviess County, MO, in 1839 with his father, Franklin Cox. The family settled in the southeastern part of the county near the old Ames Saw Mill and Trosper Lake.At age 19 Samuel enlisted at St. Joseph in the spring of 1847. He served under Capt. William H. Rogers in Company D of the Oregon Battalion. Cox was ordered down the Santa Fe trail. But order changes took him and other Missouri volunteers to develop the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, and to protect the Santa Fe Trail from waring Sioux as far north as Yankaton, S.D., where the unit was delayed by bad weather and low provisions.In 1848 Cox helped complete Fort Kearny in south central Nebraska. The fort was built on the south bank of the Platte River where the Oregon Trail first came to the river from the southeast. The fort was named for General Stephen Watts Kearny soon after his death.California Gold RushCox moved to Gallatin where in 1850 he married and entered into the mercantile business with George Poage. In 1854 Cox and family, with oxen and cattle, moved to Oroville, CA. There he worked as a teamster for the gold diggers and later as a dairyman.The family was soon prosperous but longed again for home. Cox sold out and with the family went to San Francisco and embarked with them by steamer. They returned by way of Nicaraugua and Baltimore. They were shipwrecked near Key West, adding another adventure to their lives.During the Mexican War, the western forces were not well supplied by the army’s system of wagon trains. The army contracted the supply of western forts to private companies. The largest of these contractors in the west was the company of Russell, Majors and Waddell, delivering north and west out of Fort Leavenworth. Samuel Cox joined this firm in 1856 as a wagon master.In 1859 Cox carried important dispatches to Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston near Salt Lake City. Cox made the trip by himself, 1200 miles by mule. He claimed to have befriended Red Cloud, chief of the Oglala Sioux, having seen him several times in the 1847 to 1860 period.The Civil WarCox was one of the few county people that declared openly in favor of the Union side after the start of the war in 1861. He had been serving for some time as a Deputy Sheriff under Sheriff James T. Minor.In September 1861, Cox formed the Cox Battalion and commanded Company A and Company B of that unit for six months. Major Cox then joined the First Missouri State Militia under Col. McNeil. They entered the Battle of Kirksville on Aug. 6, 1862, under Col. McFarran. A few days later Cox again bottled Porter’s forces at Lee’s Ford on the Chariton River.In 1864 the country was overrun by guerilla bands and Major Cox was given command of some militia troops because guerillas udner Thrailkill and Thornton ahd pillaged Kingston and Mirabile. They were threatening Plattsburg where a Capt. Turner had been killed. Major Cox overtook them at Union Mills in Platte County, and “dispersed them after a sharp fight.”“Bloody Bill” AndersonProbably the greatest service rendered by Major Cox during his active service in the Civil War which gained him the greatest fame was the killing of Bill Anderson on Oct. 27, 1864. Anderson was a notorious guerilla chief who claimed he had killed 54 men. Major Cox gave the following account in his own words:”When I left my home in Gallatin, I learned that Price’s men had crossed the river (Missouri River at Lexington), I got to Hamilton and met Major McDonald retreating with his cavalry. He sent me to St. Joseph to see General Craig as to what to do, but when I reached there McDonald had telegraphed for me to be sent back to take charge of the men.”I was not a member of that company, but Gen. James Craig telegraphed Gov. Hall to commision me a Lt. Colonel of the 33rd M.E.M.; this he did and I went back to Hamilton and took charge of the men.”Anderson and his gang had been terrorizing north Missouri for some time, and the people lived in perfect awe of them. only a few days before they had visited Glasgow, took one of its wealthy citizens (Ben Lewis) a prisoner, and placed a price of $5,000 as a bounty for his release. This the women of Glasgow raised and paid to save Lewis’ life.”I decided to hunt down Anderson, known then to be somewhere in north central Missouri, and put a stop to his depredations.”The next day I took my command to Knoxville, MO. I heard next morning of rebels at Millville having horses shod, I went after them but they had gone. I took the blacksmith back to Richmond and obtained some information from him.”That day Bill Anderson and his guerillas killed old man Elliott within three miles of Richmond. So terrorized were the people that they would give no information of the movements of the band for fear they would meet death if they did.”But one brave woman, whose name I do not remember, came to me with the information as to where the guerrilla chieftain and his gang were in camp and what they would be found doing and directed me as to the best way to reach them. She said we would know the place by a deep ravine crossed only by a wooden bridge.”I found things just as she had told me and decided to bring on the fight in the timber near this bridge. I had only about 300 men under my command and gave the the word to stand their ground — this fight must be victory or death — and not a man faltered. We dismounted at the wooden bridge leaving our horses in charge of the men with the commissary wagons.”Crossing the bridge I stationed my men in the timber and gave explicit instructions not to begin shooting until I gave the command. Lt. Baker was sent ahead to reconnoiter and bring on the fight with instructions to retreat through our line.”Cas. Morton, now a retired brigadier general, of Washington, D.C., was sent to Baker with the word to start the fight. Baker dashed up to where Anderson and his men were having meal ground and getting provisions, and opened fire. Instantly Anderson and his men were in their saddles and gave chase to Baker, who retreated under instructions and came dashing through our line. Anderson and some 20 of his men came in their historic manner, with their bridle reins in their teeth and revolver in each hand.”When my men opened fire, many of Anderson’s command went down. Others turned and fled, but the grim old chieftain and two of his men went right through the line, shooting and yelling, and it was as Anderson and one of his men turned and came back that both of them were killed.”The celebrated (Capt.) Arch Clemens, who had gone through our line with Anderson, kept right on across the bridge and stampeded my wagon train and its guards boy yelling to them to fly as the command was cut to pieces, and thinking it was one of their men, they ran and kept it up until I was a day or two getting them together again. In the hubbub, Clemens escaped.”Clell Miller, afterwards a noted bank robber and a desperate character, was wounded in this fight and taken prisoner. It was with difficulty I restrained my men and the citizens from lynching him. Miller was afterwards kiled in a bank robbery in Northfield, MN.”When Bill Anderson fell from his horse, took one of his pistols and Adolph Vogel, now living near Jameson, who was a bugler of my command, I took a brace of six pistols from around his body. We also took $600 in money, one gold and one silver watch from his clothing, and one of these watches, two of the pistols and the fine gray mare Anderson rode were afterwards given me by the Brigadier Gen. James Craig.”A letter I had written to Col. Pace at Liberty, to meet me the next day with what men he could muster, was also found on Anderson’s body, showing that he had captured and rifled the mail.”Anderson’s body was taken to Richmopnd and buried in the cemetery north of town. A guard had to be placed over the body to keep the enraged citizens from tearing it to pieces.”The place where Major Cox killed Anderson was near a small town in Ray County called Albany, but since merged into Orrick.Capt. N.B. Brown of Gallatin and Marion Township was with Major Cox in the fight and Corp’l James Mulican of Salem Township was killed in the fight. Mulican was wounded in 13 places, most of which were inflicted by Anderson himself. Lt. Baker was from Knoxville, MO.In 1862 Major Cox served the county as recorder and circuit clerk. In 1874 he was collector for Union Township. He died on Aug. 21, 1913 and is bured at Brown Cemetery at Gallatin.

Researched by David Stark, Gallatin; written by Darryl Wilkinson, Gallatin North Missourian, 1983

Walter Page Helped Build KC’s Jazz Tradition

Redevelopment of Kansas City’s rich jazz heritage is evident at 18th and Vine. You might be surprised, however, to learn that one of the bass players who helped build this tradition was originally from Gallatin, MO. Walter Page (1900-1957) called Gallatin home.

Redevelopment of Kansas City’s rich jazz heritage is evident at 18th and Vine. You might be surprised, however, to learn that one of the bass players who helped build this tradition was originally from Gallatin, MO. Walter Page (1900-1957) called Gallatin home.

He received musical training from Major N. Clark Smith at Lincoln High School and at the University of Kansas before leading the Blue Devils band during a time when its muscians included Count (then just “Bill”) Basie, Eddie Durham and Lester Young.

Bandleader Bennie Moten began hiring away talented members of the Blue Devils, and eventually Page himself went over to the Moten Band. When Moten died, Page stayed with a core of musicians who metamorphosed into the band led by Basie at the Reno Club. Page was a key member of Basie’s all-important rhythm section. Drummer Jo Jones often credited Page as a major influence and pragmatic music instructor.

Bennie Moten (1894-1935) might be considered the Godfather of Kansas City Jazz. The bandleader is remembered less for the recordings under his own name than for the roster of future jazz stars he employed and influenced. These include Count Basie, Harlan Leonard, “Hot Lips” Page, Eddie Durham, and Ben Webster among others.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin

More About “Wild Bill Elliott”

Most B-western historians today consider Wild Bill Elliott (born at Pattonsburg, MO) the successor to the realistic westerns of his hero, silent star William S. Hart, who retired in 1925, the same year, ironically, that Elliott made his first picture. On teh silver screen Elliott was Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, Red Ryder, Kit Carson, Davy Crockett’s son, Daniel Boone’s grandson, and, of course most often — himself.

Most B-western historians today consider Wild Bill Elliott (born at Pattonsburg, MO) the successor to the realistic westerns of his hero, silent star William S. Hart, who retired in 1925, the same year, ironically, that Elliott made his first picture. On teh silver screen Elliott was Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, Red Ryder, Kit Carson, Davy Crockett’s son, Daniel Boone’s grandson, and, of course most often — himself.

With his thin handsome face, hawk-like nose, flashig eyes and slender body, Bill was very different from the other more popular singing cowboys of the 1930s and 1940s. Even his resonant voice, characterized by his clipped speech, was distinctive. In the early days of his career, his clothing was simple in comparison to duds worn by other sagebrush stars. Later, he began wearing the tall hat with its brim appropriately turned up on both sides.

Although he never went looking for trouble, and in fact, usually did his best to avoid it — “I don’t want trouble with anybody unless I start it” — he looked like a man who could finish anything that anybody started, as he parted saloon doors, walked to the bar and belted a stiff drink before searchig out the man responsible for his brother’s death. During his brawls, Wild Bill didn’t always fight fair either, and at times when an opponent was on the floor, he would kick to finish the fight quickly. IF he needed information in a hurry, he wasn’t above beating the truth from a fillain while holding a gun on him. But after a gunfight in one of his early films, he innocently asked, “Why do you call me Wild Bill? I’m a peaceable man.”

However, Elliott’s trademanrk — and the touch that set him forever apart from the other B-western gunslingers — was the pair of sixguns strapped to his side, close to the belt line, worn buttforward with the handles out. After the cross draw, he would move the guns in a vertical line giving the impresion of throwing bullets. Bill was also quite adept with a bullwhip.

During his career, he was also most fortunate to have a thoroughly professional and highly competent technical crew supporting him, especially during his final years. Cameraman Ernie Miller supplied especially pictorial beauty and Lambert Hillyer (who was earlier an associate of Hart’s) directed several of his earlier pictures, and allowed Bill to experiment — and at times even playing an outlaw, though reformation was always a central part of the theme.

Elliott was born Gordon A. Nance on Oct. 16, 1904, on a farm near Pattonsburg, MO. He was the second child of Leroy Whitfield Nance (born Aug. 20, 1874) and Maude Myrtle (Auldridge) Nance (born Sept. 30, 1881) who were married on Sept. 4, 1901. The couple later divorced. The family also included an older daughter, Carmen A. Nance (born Oct. 30, 1902) and a second son, Dale A. Nance (born Sept. 8, 1908).

Gordon fell in love with horses and began riding when he was five and soon was proficient at roping, bulldogging and bronco busting. At 16, he won first place in rodeo riding at the American Royal Horse and Livestock Show in Kanas City, where his father was then employed as a stockyards commission buyer. After graduating from high school, Gordon attended Rockhurst College for a while, and then headed to Hollywood where he enrolled in the Pasadena Community Playhouse, and came under the direction of Gilmore Brown and did a variety of stage roles.

In 1925 he changed his name to Gordon Elliott and appeared in his first film, “The Plastic Age,” which starred Clara Bow and featured both Gilbert Roland and Clark Gable in small roles. Two years later he got a small part in “The Drop Kick” which was John Wayne’s initial motion picture. He also managed to land good-sized roles in “The Private Life of Helen of Troy” (1927) and “Valley of Hunted Men” (1928) before the “talkies” forced him back again to bit parts.

Meanwhile, in February 1927, Gordon married Helen Meyers with whom he had a daughter, Barbara Helen, on Oct. 14, 1927.

In 1931 (during the early years of the Depression) Elliott became a Paramount stock player, although the studio loaned his servies to other film companies as often as they used him in their own productions. Two years later, he signed a 5-year contract with Warner Brothers where he was employed in bit roles in dozens of films. In 1935 he appeared in over 20 pictures for the studio, including his first western, “Moonlight on the Prairie” where he garnered considerable praise as an opponent to Dick Foran.

In mid-1937, Gordon was loaned to Republic to work with Gene Autrey in “Boots and Saddles” and then to 20th Century Fox to do “Roll Along, Cowboy,” a Smith Ballew western. He was impressive enough in his parts for Columbia Studios to offer him the lead in their serial, “The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok.” Upon its completion, studio head Harry Cohn immediately signed the 34-year-old hard-working and personable Elliott to a contract to do a series of 8 westerns with the Larry Darmour unit — and changed his name to Bill Elliott. In the first picture, “In Early Arizona” the actor played a very fictionalized Wyatt Earp. Darmour had only produced four pictures, however, when Columbia took over the series. After first using Bill in another 15-chapter series called “Overland With Kit Carson” (with Trevor Burdette as a villain named Pegleg), they assigned him to producer Leon Barsha for the final four. Beginning with “Taming of the West” (1939), Elliott was cast as screen character “peaceable” Wild Bill Saunders with Dub Taylor as his sidekick, Cannonball.

Columbia then signed the actor to do a series of eight Wild Bill Hickok adventure pictures with Taylor again as Cannonball. Among Bill’s leading ladies were Iris Meredith, Dorothy Faty, Luana Walters, Betty Miles, and Mary Daily. In “Beyond The Sacramento” (aka Power of Justice), he worked with Evelyn Keyes.

The studio also employed Elliott to do an additinoal eight formula westerns for producer-director Oliver Drake with Tex Ritter (who had just left Monogram when his 5-year contract expired) as his co-star. Ther first picture (and what most critics feel was the best) was King of Dodge City, which also featured Taylor (who soon quit, however, and was replaced by Frank Mitchell).

In 1940 Bill was #10 on the Motion Picture Herald-Fame’s poll of Top Western Stars. He also placed every year in the Top 10 on the prestigious survey until 1954 (a total of 15 years) and was in the Top 5 a total of 10 times (#9-1941, #7-1942, #9-1943, #5-1944, #4-1944, #2-1946, #4-1947, #3-1948, #5-1949, #4-1950, #6-1951, #4-1952, #4-1953, #4-1954).

Although he and Tex were good friends, Elliott was not particularly happy about the double billing the two men shared and after eight pictures together, he left Columbia in late 1942 to go to Republic to replace Gene Autry, who had enlisted in the Air Force the previous summer (at the same time, Ritter also left Columbia to go with Universal, where he teamed with Johnny Mack Brown). Bill ended his association with Columbia with a 15-chapter serial entitled Valley of Vanishing Men, which was released in December 1942.

At Republic, Elliott was teamed with George “Gabby” Hayes, Anne Jeffreys and Roy Barcroft for a series of eight pictuers, beginning with Calling Wild Bil Elliott (released in April 1943). For the first time, Elliott the actor was now also billed as Wild Bill Elliott.

In the summer of 1944, Bill was the studio’s natural choice when Republic decided to revive the popular Red Ryder movie series (based on Fed Harmon’s comic strip hero), which earlier starred Don “Red” Barry in 1940. Gabby, then nearly 60, also appeared with Elliott in the first two pictures in the new series, but then went back to working with Roy Rogers. Bill especially enjoyed working with Bobby Blake (who played Little Beaver) in the series. Like Tom Mix, Elliott liked children and always insisted that the scenarist write a younster in the plot of his films at some point. The following summer Bill joined a number of other Western stars to do a guest bit — his only guest appearance — as himself in Rogers’ Bells of Rosarita.

After performing in 16 Red Ryder installments, Elliott was replaced by Allen “Rocky” Lane. Meanwhile, Bill was handpicked by Yates to substitute for Randolph Scott when he decided not to play the colorful highwayman SPanish Jack in Republic’s quality production of In Old Sacramento (1946), directed by Joseph Kane. The popular picture, which co-starred Constance Moore (was later re-issued as Flame of Sacramento) had earlier been filmed in the 1920s as Diamond Carlisle and in 1940 as The Carson City Kid (with Roy Rogers). Now billed as William Elliott, he became a Class A star and was right next to Rogers as the top B-western favorite of 1946.

As William Elliott, Bill did nine additional big-budget films for Republic including The Plainsman and the Lady (1946) and Wyoming (1947) where he was unfornately teamed with European-born skating star Vera Ralston (Yates’ wife). The cowboy star also dd two pictures for his own production unit — Hellfire (1948) with Marie Windsor and The Showdown (1950) — which was his last picture for Republic. During the late 1940s, Bill also tried in vain to interest Yates in casting him in a film based on Hart’s life.

Elliott departed Republic in late 1950 after eight years although the studio continued to re-release his earlier films. During that time Bill could also be heard on the “Wild Bill Elliott” western variety series on radio with the Andrew Sisters and Gabby Hayes.

Bill then signed to do a series of 16 outdoor films for producer Vincent M. Fennely at Monogram, in which he was again billed as Wild Bill Elliott. The first was The Longhorn (November 1951) directed by Lewis Collins.

After Fargo (the fourth picture), Monogram became Allied Artists, and for them the actor did an additional seven westerns. Although the production values were now lower — many were tinted in the sepia process — Elliott did gain a much more mature image, mainly due to Dan Ulman’s exceptional scripts — especially Kansas Territory (also directed by Collins), which featured Peggy Stewart as leading lady. Stewart, who had appeared with Elliott years earlier in his REd Ryder pictures, later told writer Paul Dollinger, “Truly I adored Bill Elliott. And Bill was sharp. He was like an attorney, and he befriended me an awful lot. He’d look after me.” Ulman also scripted Bill’s last “oater” for the studio — The Forty-Niners — in which he played opposite Virginia Grey. It was directed by Thomas Carr, who had also helmed other Elliott pictures at Monogram.

By the early 1950s, the B-Westerns were biting the dust due to changing economics, public tastes and, of course, television — which dealt the entire movie industry a very serious blow. Elliott’s last western was The Forty-Niners (released May, 1954). He completed his remaining studio obligations — five films — in a series of detective melodramas, the last of which was Footsteps in the Night (1957).

After his retirement from pictures at 53, Bill sold his Westwood, California home and moved to a ranch near Las Vegas in 1957. He also owned a ranch near Calabas, California, which raised horses and cattle. He became interested in collecting Western memorabilia and also studied geology. In the late 1950s he was employed as the national spokesman for Vicroy cigarettes. After moving to Las Vegas, he was persuaded to host a teleseries which offered his olf films. He also did two pilot films for television — “The Marshal of Trail City” and “Parson of the West” — but neither found a network sponsor.

Bill and Helen’s 34-year marriage ended in divorce in 1961. That same year he married Dolly Moore.

The great cowboy star died of cancer on November 26, 1965, in Las Vegas (where he is buried). He was 61.

Carmen Nance married Louis Green in 1931 in Kansas City and died two years later on March 2, 1933, at the age of 30. Maude Nance died on June 12, 1936. She was 54. Both women were buried at the Forest Hills Cemetery in Kansas City, MO. Leroy Nance died at 63 on November 15, 1937, and was buried at the Harwick Wheeler Cemetery, located 7 miles west of Pattonsburg. Dale Nance married Frieda N. Lewis (born June 15, 1908 in Australia) on May 13, 1938. The couple had two children — Bruce Dale (born July 20, 1939) and Dianne Audry (born October 28, 1942).

Reprinted from Yesteryear magazine, written by Dwight Bratcher.

Pattonsburg’s Gordon Nance as “Wild Bill Elliott”

Gordon A. Nance was born Oct. 16, 1904, on a farm near Pattonsburg, MO. In 1946, he was rated as the No. 2 Western movie star in America, topped only by Roy Rogers.

Gordon A. Nance was born Oct. 16, 1904, on a farm near Pattonsburg, MO. In 1946, he was rated as the No. 2 Western movie star in America, topped only by Roy Rogers.

Gordon was the son of Leroy Nance and Maude Auldridge Nance. He loved horses and was proficient at roping, bulldogging and bronco busting. At age 16, Gordon won first place at the American Royal as a rodeo rider.

In 1925 at age 21, Gordon used the stage name “Elliott” and appeared in his first film with Clara Bow, Gilbert Roland and Clark Gable. In 1927 he was in John Wayne’s first picture. That same year he married Helen Meyers. In 1935, Gordon was in 22 films, his busiest year.

In 1938 he changed his name to Bill Elliott and played Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, and Kit Carson. In 1939 he was joined by sidekick Dub “Cannonball” Taylor. Gordon was in the Top 5 Western stars for 10 years during the 1940s and 1950s. In 1943 he stared a series as Wild Bill Elliott and in 1944 played in the popular Red Ryder series with 16 installments, some with Bobby Blake as Little Beaver. Gordon also played in a series on the radio in the early 1950s. He made his last movie in 1957, a detective story named “Footsteps in the Night.”

Gordon retired at age 53 and moved to a ranch near Las Vegas. He remarried in 1961 to Dolly Moore. He died of cancer in 1965 at age 61 and was buried at Las Vegas.

The touch that set Bill Elliott apart from other “B Western” gunslingers was the way he wore his guns and by the way he not always made it a fair fight. Elliott wore his two guns backwards and high at the belt line. After the cross draw, he would move his guns, giving the impression of throwing bullets. Elliott sometimes used a bull whip and was known to kick a villain when he was down or to beat the truth out of a villain while holding a gun on him.

Gordon was slender with a hawk-like nose and flashing eyes. He had a distinctive, clipped speech and deep resonant voice. He didn’t wear flashy clothing as other movie stars did, but did begin to wear “the tall hat with a good roll” in later years.

Gordon was a true rodeo champion that became a western movie star. He had his own ideas about what and how a cowboy should act in the movies.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin, in August, 1993. Loren and Rose Clay of Pattonsburg supplied pictures, assisted by Forest Meadows.

Govenor Dockery — A Great Missourian

Words are not adequate to express the remarkable life of Alexander Monroe Dockery, called a great Missourian. Only a few facts of his life would be worth remembering.

Words are not adequate to express the remarkable life of Alexander Monroe Dockery, called a great Missourian. Only a few facts of his life would be worth remembering.

A.M. Dockery died in Gallatin at the home of Mrs. E.S. Gregory on Dec. 26, 1916. His wife and children preceded him in death. He was born Feb. 11, 1845, five miles south of Gallatin. Dr. Dockery went to several medical schools and practiced medicine at Linneus in Linn County and at Chillicothe. He gave up medical service in 1874 and returned to Gallatin, his hometown.

In March, 1874 Dockery became director and cashier and secreary of the Farmers Exchange Bank. Cashier Dockery served with T.B. Yates for 13 years. Yates was bank president from 1874 to 1892. John W. Meade took the cashier’s job in July 1886 and became president in July, 1899.

Cashier Dockery began his national career in 1882 when he was elected to Congress from the 3rd Congressional District. Congressman Dockery served 8 terms in the House of Representatives (16 years). In 1900 Congressman Dockery was elected governor and served 4 years. In 1913 Gov. Dockery served President Woodrow Wilson as Assistant Postmaster General throughout both terms of Wilson’s administration.

Gov. Dockery served in other modes of public service and was known in Gallatin for his dignified yet simple bearing. He had a charming personality, an unforgetable smile and wink, a warm hand clasp, high ideals and outstanding ability. He had a great love for children, despite losing all of his own.

Alexander Dockery was the son of the Rev. Willis E. and Sarah McHaney Dockery. His father was a distinguished minister of the Methodist Church. Alex continued on that faith and his funeral service was conducted at the Gallatin Methodist Church. His body was placed at the Edgewood Cemetery, Chillicothe.

Dr. Dockery married Miss Mary E. Bird on April 14, 1869. All of the seven children born of this union died in infancy. Mrs. Dockery died at the State Executive Mansion in Jefferson City in January, 1903. She was the daughter of Greenup Bird of Daviess County.

Gov. Dockery was active as a Mason and in May, 1883, was elected Grand Master of Missouri. He was elected Grand Master of Missouri Odd Fellows in May, 1910 — then the only person in Missouri to hold both places of honor.

In a 1926 editorial in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, the following description was given to the first Missouri Governor of the Twentieth Century: “He was an honest and well-intentioned as well as able man… his humorous wink and the high-top boots he always wore are minor symbols of a vanishing political era in Missouri and may be called to mind longer than much more important things associated with other leaders.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch spoke of the late A.M. Dockery as “a great Missourian. For more than 40 years, then, he was a man of consequence in the Democratic party, and one whose qualities were esteemed by all citizens familiar with public affairs… Those qualities were substantial rather than striking. Mr. Dockery possessed an abundance of common sense and a scrupulous honesty against which no breath of suspicion was raised… A politician of the old school, who loved the game in all its aspects, a citizen of worth and character, his name belongs in the list of Great Missourians.”

The Farmers Exchange Bank had passed away a few months earlier (March, 1926) followed in less than a week by the Faremrs Bank of Jameson and the Bank of Jameson. All closed by the Missouri State Finance Commissioner.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin. December, 1994

Governor Dockery’s Official Summary of Service

Alexander Monroe Dockery, physician, banker and Congressman for many years, was Missouri’s 30th governor. He announced for Governor in 1899 and on June 5, 1900, he was nominated by acclamation. Elected over Joseph Flory, Republican, and four other opponents, he served from January 14, 1901, to January, 1905.

Alexander Monroe Dockery, physician, banker and Congressman for many years, was Missouri’s 30th governor. He announced for Governor in 1899 and on June 5, 1900, he was nominated by acclamation. Elected over Joseph Flory, Republican, and four other opponents, he served from January 14, 1901, to January, 1905.

Several important laws marked his administration: A beer inspection law was revised; preference was given to Missouri stone in erecting public buildings; franchises of public utilities were taxed; the first law for the consolidation of school districts was passed; entire new election laws, both general and primary, were enacted; and the Legislature appropriated $1 million for the St. Louis Louisiana Exposition of 1904, the largest sum voted by any state.

In January, 1905, at the end of his term, he returned to his home at Gallatin. In 1906, he was given an honorary LL.D. degree by the University of Missouri. He was elected treasurer of the Democratic State Committee of Missouri in 1912 and 1914. On March 10, 1913, he was appointed third assistant Postmaster General, serving from March 17, 1913, to March 31, 1921. He died at Gallatin on December 26, 1926, and was buried in Edgewood Cemetery at Chillicothe.

Dockery was born near Gallatin on February 11, 1845, to the Rev. Willis E. and Sarah Ellen McHaney Dockery. He attended local public schools and an academy in Macon City, which was closed in the Civil War. He studied medicine at Keytesville and then entered St. Louis Medical College, graduating March 2, 1865. He began the practice of medicine at Linneus, MO, before moving to Chillicothe in 1868, where on April 14, 1869, he married Miss Mary E. Bird. He practiced medicine in Chillicothe seven years, and served as the appointed physician of Livingston County. In 1872 he was named to the board of curators at the University of Missouri, serving 10 years. He gave up medicine and on March 20, 1874, returned to Gallatin.

From 1878 to 1882 he was chairman of the congressional committee of his district. He served Gallatin as a city councilman from 1878 to 1881 and as mayor from 1881 to 1883. Thus, he was mayor of Gallatin when the county seat town hosted the nationally known trial of outlaw Frank James. He was elected as a Democrat to Congress in 1882, and served eight consecutive terms, from March 4, 1883, to March 3, 1899.

Tragedy marked Dockery’s children: Six died in infancy and two others at an early age — a daughter at seven, and a son at three. Mrs. Dockery died January 1, 1903, in the Mansion at Jefferson City and was buried January 3, 1903, with her children in Chillicothe. Mrs. Dockery’s death was the third in the Mansion: Governor John S. Marmaduke in December, 1887, and Carrie Crittenden, daughter of Governor Thomas T. Crittenden during his administration. Mrs. Dockery was the first wife of a Governor to die while he was in office. Mrs. Al M. (Kate S.) Morrow was hostess for the rest of Dockery’s term.

Reprinted from the Official Manual, State of Missouri, 1963-64, pp. 23-24.

Samuel Cox Takes a Ride

Samuel Cox of Daviess County tells about a 1200-mile ride he accomplished in 30 days during 1859 in order to avoid Sioux Indians. This feat, accomplished on the use of two good mules, is considered as extraordinary in Western history.

Samuel Cox of Daviess County tells about a 1200-mile ride he accomplished in 30 days during 1859 in order to avoid Sioux Indians. This feat, accomplished on the use of two good mules, is considered as extraordinary in Western history.

Stories from the U.S. Army’s days of the Old West tell how infantry units could normally out-walk the cavalry and artillery and often were well in camp each night before horses got there. The old Army standard for horses was to select a horse 15 hands and 1000 pounds with a small rider for a 16 mph pace (in an extended gallop). But the best rapid movement was an alternating gallop and trot averaging about 10 mph. The rate was limitd by the weakest animals and rest, feed, and water stops.

This knowledge simply magnifies the story of Samuel Cox.

In 1859 Cox covered over 1200 miles in 30 days, riding from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Nebraska City — the full length of the North Platte River and then some — by mule. His trek includes one leg of 125 miles without stops in order to avoid Sioux Indians.

Cox worked for Alexander Majors of Russell, Majors & Waddell. Prior to Cox’s journey, Majors reported that the best ride he could confirm was by Francis X. Aubery. In 1853, Aubery rode 800 miles frmo Santa Fe, NM, to Independence, MO, in 5 days, 13 hours or roughly 6 mph. Aubery had made the same trip the prior year in just over 8 days. Aubery rode horses in relay, taking an extra horse in lead. By contrast, Samuel Cox accomplished his trip by pack mule in lead, completing the trip without change of animals.

Pony Bob Hasham once rode 380 miles in 36 hours and, at one time, used up 15 horses in one hour trying to make a record trip. At age 15, William Frederic Cody rode 384 miles without rest but exchanged horses several times. Louis Remme once rode from Sacramento to Portland — 700 miles — in 6 days and made his own horse trades en route. The best Pony Express mail trip was 2000 miles in 7 days, 17 hours (10.8 mph).

Majors’ supply trains took about 6 months to make the same trip that Samuel Cox accomplished in 30 days. He was a lone rider and without companions or support, other than two good mules.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin, with Cox’s biography and book by Alexander Majors as sources.

A Newspaper Martyr — “Uncle Wes” Robertson

Gallatin Publisher Wesley L. “Uncle Wes” Robertson is known as Missouri’s Newspaper Martyr.

Gallatin Publisher Wesley L. “Uncle Wes” Robertson is known as Missouri’s Newspaper Martyr.

In the building still housing printing presses off the northeast corner of Gallatin’s business square, Uncle Wes was fatally shot at his desk about 4 p.m. on Dec. 23, 1919. He died about three hours later. His fate climaxed a bitter four-year feud with a disgruntled former city official over stories the 70-year-old editor had published in the Gallatin Democrat.

The newspaper had been leading an effort to rid the community of bootleggers. Hugh Tarwater sued the newspaper for libel following a report on a fine levied against Tarwater for being intoxicated. Damages claimed in the lawsuit totaled $20,000.

In those days, Gallatin, like most small towns throughout America, hosted a Chautauqua. Uncle Wes was on the program committee, and when one of the advertised speakers failed to appear with the crowd waiting in the hot August sun, he set about to fill in.

Imagine, if you will, this colorful, rotund, good-natured bundle of quick and often biting wit, leaning back on his ample haunches, inserting his thumbs into his suspenders and opening his remarks by declaring, “Had I known I would be called upon to speak, I would have worn my $20,000 suit!”

The plaintiff, who was in the audience, stalked from the scene red-faced and obviously enraged. Several weeks passed, building up to a fateful end.

The fiery editor had served as the official town Santa Claus for a number of years. Ironically, it was a chilly December afternoon just two days before Christmas when Gallatin’s longtime publisher was fatally shot as he sat at his desk. During the confusion, Robertson was shot two or three times, and Robert J. Ball, junior manager of the newspaper, was shot at several times but escaped without injury. Tarwater, 50, was immediately taken into custody.

The scene of Tarwater confronting Uncle Wes was one of four selected by the Missouri Press Foundation to be featured in the Missouri Press Heritage Collection. A print of the work by artist James Burkhart is displayed at Gallatin Publishing Company, 203 North Main, located next door to the scene of the shooting. Other heritage prints also on display depict “The First Wilderness Newspaper,” “The First Newspaper Press Arrives in St. Louis,” and “The Country Newspaper Office,” a typical scene during the 1930s.

Wesley L. “Uncle Wes” Robertson was editor and co-publisher of the Gallatin Democrat for over 25 years, the first president (1891) of the Northwest Missouri Press Association, president to the Missouri Press Association (1901), and is remembered as Missouri’s Newspaper Martyr. His funeral services, conducted by the Rev. G. B. Smith at the Methodist Church under auspices of the Masonic and Oddfellows lodges, was exceptionally large.

Reprinted from the Gallatin Tourism booklet (1989) and the Gallatin Democrat, December, 1919

Novelist of Note… John Selby

Gallatin has provided an exceptional number of nationally acclaimed leaders in business, government and the arts. One of its most widely recognized was novelist John A. Selby, whose books were popular in the nation’s bookstores for many years.

Gallatin has provided an exceptional number of nationally acclaimed leaders in business, government and the arts. One of its most widely recognized was novelist John A. Selby, whose books were popular in the nation’s bookstores for many years.

Selby was born in Gallatin in 1897. After attending Park College and the University of Missouri, he joined the Kansas City Star as a journalist and music critic. After 11 years there he was forced to resign because of ill health. The next three years he and his wife lived in France while he recuperated.

They returned to New York where John accepted a position as music and arts critic with the Associated Press. They made their home in Westport, Connecticut.

He was the author of ten novels and was also a lecturer at Columbia University where he taught courses in short-story writing. Later he joined Rinehart and Company as editor-in-chief, a position he held until his retirement in 1965.

Shortly thereafter he moved to Taormina, Sicily. His wife preceded him in death in 1945.

Mr. Selby returned to live in Gallatin for several months in 1972, but returned to Taormina where he lived until his death in 1980. He is buried there.

One of his most successful books was “Island in the Corn” in which many Gallatin readers believe he mirrored his hometown. His novel “Sam” was an All-Nations fiction prizewinner. Two others, “Starbuck” and “Time Was,” were also best sellers.