Stories

Two family stories about Jesse James

Jesse James stories shared by Moses Orr and his wife, Liza, of Hamilton, MO. (taken from “The Orr Family — Then and Now” printed 1978 by Beck Printing in Richmond, MO. Page 80.)

Jesse James stories shared by Moses Orr and his wife, Liza, of Hamilton, MO. (taken from “The Orr Family — Then and Now” printed 1978 by Beck Printing in Richmond, MO. Page 80.)

Jesse James, rideing a very weary horse and being pursued, stopped by their home and bought a horse. After he left, the family was afraid he might return for the money so they hid it in the clock. Days, months, or years later, he returned, again weary but not hotly pursued, and he stayed overnight. This time he was very relaxed and sat around through the evening with children o?n his knee and probably spinning stories.

Another incident credited to Jesse but not absolutely confirmed was an unusal occurrence. o?nce when Jesse had been there, he had wanted to buy a certain horse but Moses refused to sell because it was the girls’ pet. After an unusual plea for the horse, James rode off. o?ne monring sometime later, the family went to the barn and found the pet horse missing. In its place was a mare about to foal. The girls were obviously heartbroken but the family believed they at least had an honest trade. A month passed, the mare had foaled and had a nice healthy colt at her side. o?ne morning the Orrs found the horses had been exchanged again. The girls were happy to have their pet returned in good health and the family never knew who had switched the horses.

These stories are certainly not meant to make a hero of James but merely prove a point that he could not operate in a hostile countryside and the Orrs possibly qualified as "friends."

Should we apologize for Frank & Jesse James?

Gary Chilcote, speaking before the Gallatin Rotary Club in 1996, makes no apologies for Jesse James. Neither does he defend him. Mr. Chilcote simply notes that Missouri is most widely known for two historical realities: the Pony Express and Jesse James. “You folks here in Gallatin have one of the two most important things the world knows about Missouri,” says Chilcote. “Don’t ever be ashamed of the name Jesse James. History is what wise men agree once occurred. And nobody today will ever exactly know what caused Frank and Jesse James to lead the life that they did.”

Gary Chilcote, speaking before the Gallatin Rotary Club in 1996, makes no apologies for Jesse James. Neither does he defend him. Mr. Chilcote simply notes that Missouri is most widely known for two historical realities: the Pony Express and Jesse James. “You folks here in Gallatin have one of the two most important things the world knows about Missouri,” says Chilcote. “Don’t ever be ashamed of the name Jesse James. History is what wise men agree once occurred. And nobody today will ever exactly know what caused Frank and Jesse James to lead the life that they did.”

The notoriety of the outlaw still commands public attention today. Conflicting allegations between families claiming to be descendents of the outlaw prompted the body buried under the Jesse James tombstone at Kearney to be exhumed this past July 19. The event attracted widespread publicity, even television crews from England.

"I knew that the body would be exhumed long before the notion became public," Mr. Chilocote says. "I sat o?n the story for six weeks, something really hard for a retired newspaper reporter like myself since this undoubtedly would command national attention. But when word finally leaked out, it was no surprise to me that interest was so widespread."

An autopsy o?n Jesse James was performed in 1882 after his shooting in St. Joseph. Chilcote believes the outlaw’s brain was probably removed during that official proceeding. Unfortunately, those records have been lost. That allowed speculation to simmer until accusations prompted this most recent effort to positively identify the remains.

Grave diggers took three days to exhume the body. There were surprises. Chilcote said the coffin was made of wood and had collapsed to a height of about six inches. The body apparently was buried face down, but seemed anatomically correct.

"Perhaps Jesse really had turned over in his grave over some of the things said about him over the years," Mr. Chilcote quips. Chilcote expects a determination to be announced Feb. 23, 1996. Studies are being performed by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Nashville, TN. The work involves DNA identification, tracing through the female line of the family. This is the same method which was used to identify remains of military veterans during the Vietnam war.

Mr. Chilcote was personally involved in the reburial ceremonies for Jesse James. He finds it odd to be a pall bearer for a man who died 113 years ago. This was James’ third burial; 20 years after his murder his mother, Zereld Samuel, moved to town and eventually, in 1902, Jesse was buried beside his wife in the cemetery at Kearney.

The number of people who attended the funeral, the continuing controversy it stirs, and the interest in the forensic report yet to come all underscore Chilcote’s point that people?– especially cultural and historical tourists — are interested in anything authentic about the James Gang.

"Gallatin is going in the right direction in renovating your county’s Squirrel Cage Jail," Chilcote says. "You’ve got so much James Gang history in this area to work with, but you need something for visitors to actually visit. Two years ago, for instance, I brought members of the national James-Younger group to visit here. They were excited about it although we could actually do little more than share an enjoyable meal here at McDonald Tea Room.

Mr. Chilcote applauds the idea of reconstructing the Daviess County Savings Association builing robbed by the James brothers in 1869. He suggests that Courter Theater might be put to some use as a backdrop to focus o?n the 1883 Trial of Frank James which occurred in Gallatin, since the trial was actually held in an opera house here.

"You need to get something together to display your James Gang history, even if nothing other than devoting a corner in a store somewhere to local history, legend and lore. A tourist is someone who travels more than 50 miles and spends a few bucks. That’s what tourism is all about, and it’s an economic tool just waiting to be fully used here."

Mr. Chilcote speaks with some authority. He is o?ne of the founders of the Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph with over 33 years of volunteer service.

He notes that museums don’t necessarily share in attracting tourism dollars. Admissions into the Patee House during 1995 were down by 7 percent, he said. But admissions into the Jesse James home nearby was up by 11 percent.

"The town of Northfield, MN, hosts an annual event called "The Defeat of Jesse James" to commemorate that historic event," Chilcote says. "It attracts over 200,000 people. Perhaps some of that success is due to

Northfield’s proximity to the Malls of America. But regardless of the scope, it does prove that people continue to be genuinely interested."

Gunfighter Jim Lambert grew up at Pattonsburg, MO

Daviess County links to legends of America’s Old West are many. During the mining wars between owners and workers in Colorado during the first decade of this century, no gunfighter was more feared than Jim Warford, alias Jim Lambert.

Daviess County links to legends of America’s Old West are many. During the mining wars between owners and workers in Colorado during the first decade of this century, no gunfighter was more feared than Jim Warford, alias Jim Lambert.

Jim Lambert became well known and much feared in Cripple Creek, Colo., from 1903 to 1912. These were times when gunplay and dynamite punctuated showdowns between the Mine Owners Association and the Western Federation of Miners.

After August 1903, Jim lived at Independence Camp near Stratton’s Mine and associated with the mine owners and prominent members of the Citizens Alliance. He soon became a troubleshooter to aid in the effort to rid the district of unionism. Jim evidenced that he was in the pay of the owners but may secretly have been in support of the miners.

His reputation spread with the shooting of Deputy Constables Miller and Lebo in the streets of Goldfield, Colo. Jim Lambert killed Miller and Lebo in self-defense at the polling place “in an action of true grit.”

On that election day, Nov. 9, 1904, in Teller County, Colo., Lambert was reportedly the “quickest and best revolver shot in the state.”

He was not yet 40 years old. A cousin of the desperado, Tom Lambert of Pattonsburg, says both men were shot at the same time, one gunshot each from two guns in the hands of a man wearing a white hat. Both shots took effect at about the same place on both men.

Jim Lambert was born in Liberty, Clark County, Iowa about 1865. But beginning at age 3, he spent his childhood on his father’s farm west of old Pattonsburg and Elm Flat Station in Benton Township, Daviess County, Mo.

Daviess County records indicate that Jim tried farming on his own in the summers of 1886-87. He may have gone west in 1888 at age 23.

He reportedly worked as a ranch hand and cowboy for the Cattlemen’s Association of Carbon County, Wyo., during the Range Wars. He is thought to have been a warm friend of gunfighter Tom Horn. Jim was at the Union Miners War at Telluride, Colo., about 1900 and at Cripple Creek in 1902. The election day gunfight in 1904 as described above brought Lambert five years of trouble until his pardon from the Governor of Colorado.

On April 17, 1912, Jim Warford’s body was found frozen on Battle Mountain near Victor in Teller County. He was riddled with bullet holes. His Savage 30-30 rifle and someone’s sack of dynamite sticks were found near the body. The Teller County Sheriff said he believed Warford was killed the night of April 11 since Warford’s Colt .45 revolvers were pawned in Colorado Springs the next day by a person using Jim’s name.

Jim Warford’s murder was never solved despite much investigation. James Hanover Warford was buried April 21, 1912, at the Sunnyside Cemetery. Mr. R.E. Maupin, a Pattonsburg banker, paid for the services. Jim’s effects included a signet ring, a belt with buckle reading “Deputy Sheriff of the Black Hills,” and a star showing Jim may have been a deputy sheriff of Elkhorn, Nev. He had also been a deputy sheriff of Teller County with the county seat at Cripple Creek.

Gen. Sherman Bell, who commanded the Colorado Militia during the Mining Wars, said that Warford was the quickest and best revolver shot in Colorado. Warford had easily won state shooting contests, including a challenge from revolver expert Captain Hardy.

Jim was the oldest son of Hanover Pitts Warford and Malinda Lambert Warford. They lived in a three-room log house west of Pattonsburg near Samson Creek until about 1884 when Pitts built them a new frame house which still stands. Jim probably helped with the farming and construction of the house, learning some of Pitts’ woodworking skills.

Jim’s mother was the third child of John and Mary Lambert, who came to a farm west of Pattonsburg the year Jim Warford was born. Both farms were north of the Grand River in Section 21. Pitts Warford purchased 240 acres there in 1875 and had it all paid off by 1880.

Despite his part in frontier times and his violent death, Jim Lambert Warford was described in Colorado records as “a peaceable and quiet non-drinker (who) seldom engages in controversy and makes friends quickly.”

Note:  Information provided by Lyle Warford and Tom Lambert supplemented research for this article by David Stark, Daviess County Historical Society.

A.M. Dockery — First Governor of the 20th Century

One of the best known citizens of Gallatin, MO, was Alexander Monroe Dockery (1845-1926) — Missouri’s first governor of the 20th Century. He is known as a  great Missourian who believed in the principles of Thomas Jefferson. He dedicated his public and political service to an advancement of these principles.

One of the best known citizens of Gallatin, MO, was Alexander Monroe Dockery (1845-1926) — Missouri’s first governor of the 20th Century. He is known as a  great Missourian who believed in the principles of Thomas Jefferson. He dedicated his public and political service to an advancement of these principles.

Mr. Dockery was born Feb. 11, 1845, five miles south of Gallatin. He attended several medical schools and practiced medicine at Linneus in Linn County and also at Chillicothe. Dr. Dockery gave up medical service in 1874, returning to his home town of Gallatin to become a director and cashier and secretary of the Farmers Exchange Bank.

Cashier Dockery served with T.B. Yates for 13 years. Mr. Yates was the bank president from 1874 to 1892. John W. Meade took the cashier’s job in July, 1886, and became president in July, 1899.

Dockery began his national career in 1882 when he was elected to Congress from the 3rd Congressional District. Congressman Dockery served eight terms in the House of Representatives (16 years).

In 1900, Congressman Dockery was elected governor of Missouri. He served one 4-year term. In 1913 Gov. Dockery was appointed Assistant Postmaster General by President Woodrow Wilson and he served throughout both of Wilson’s terms.

These are perhaps Dockery’s best noted stints in public service. But he also served in other modes and was well-known in Gallatin. He had a dignified yet simple bearing and charming character. He had an unforgettable smile and wink, a warm hand clasp, high ideals and outstanding ability. Dockery also had a great love for children, perhaps heightened by the loss of all of his own children.

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 in that faith and his funeral service was at the Gallatin Methodist Church. His body was placed at the Edgewood Cemetery in Chillicothe. Beside his children and his wife who preceded him in death.

Dr. Dockery married 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. In May, 1883, he was elected Grand Master of Missouri. Gov. Dockery was also elected Grand Master of Missouri Odd Fellows in May, 1910, then the only person in the state to hold both places of honor.

Dockery died in Gallatin at the home of Mrs. E.S. Gregory on Dec. 26, 1926. In an editorial published in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, the following description was given to the “first Missouri governor of the 20th 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 speaks of Gov. 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 prior to Gov. Dockery’s death (in March, 1926) followed in less than a week by the Farmers Bank of Jameson and the Bank of Jameson. All closed by the state’s State Finance Commissioner.

Written by David Stark, Daviess County Historical Society

Gallatin Named After Financier Albert Gallatini

The Congressman from Pennsylvania turned U.S. Secretary of the Treasury helped the U.S. to end ransom payments to Mediterranean pirate states and reduced national debt even while the Louisiana and Flordia purchases were made. (information from the Daviess County Historical Society)

The Congressman from Pennsylvania turned U.S. Secretary of the Treasury helped the U.S. to end ransom payments to Mediterranean pirate states and reduced national debt even while the Louisiana and Flordia purchases were made. (information from the Daviess County Historical Society)

Gallatin takes its name from one of the early financial giants in American history. Born in Switzerland, his full name was Abraham Alphonse Albert Gallatini. As U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in 1801, Albert Gallatin inherited a national debt of over $82 million when annual receipts to the federal treasury totaled about $10.6 million. He encouraged the Jefferson Administration to stop paying tribute and ransom to Mediterranean pirate states.

His prudent public service helped reduce the federal debt by nearly half by 1810, even as the Louisiana and Florida purchases were made. Albert Gallatin, a congressman from Pennsylvania, is the only man ever to serve in the treasury post under two presidents. His statue stands before the entrance of the U.S. Treasury Building in Washington, D.C. His farm at Friendship Hill, PA, became a national park with local officials from here participating in the opening ceremones held there in 1992.

First settled in 1837, Gallatin was incorporated as a town in 1858. It developed into an important trade center after 1871 when the first of two railroads pushed through the area. Gallatin commanded statewide attention as members of the Mormon church organized stakes nearby. Differences eventually erupted into the “Mormon War” which unfolded near here. Gallatin was first thrust into the national spotlight as law and order began to prevail over the Wild West. The trial of outlaw Frank James was held here in 1883. Agriculture drives this community’s engine. Pride in traditional Midwestern values has helped Gallatin produce a governor of Missouri, a U.S. Secretary of Commerce and federal judge, a pioneering female scientist, a bestselling novelist, and a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy among others.

Lewis & Clark Expedition touches Daviess County

Evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, surprisingly, can be traced today to Gallatin, the county seat of Daviess County in northwest Missouri. Two original hand-written survey books — written and signed by the nephew of the famous explorer and who was Surveyor General of the United States — belong to Daviess County. Copies of this survey are still in use and experts today still find them uncannily correct!

Evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, surprisingly, can be traced today to Gallatin, the county seat of Daviess County in northwest Missouri. Two original hand-written survey books — written and signed by the nephew of the famous explorer and who was Surveyor General of the United States — belong to Daviess County. Copies of this survey are still in use and experts today still find them uncannily correct!

The Untied States purchased the Louisana Territory from France in 1803 during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. All of Missouri was originally part of the Louisiana Puchase, bought from France for 3 cents an acre.

The President wanted to send an expedition to explore the area even before it became part of the United States. Jefferson wanted to know what the land contained and how it might best be used to benefit the young country, then less than 30 years old. He wanted to know whether the land was suitable for farming, what resources and people were in it, and especially whether there was a water route across it to the Pacific Ocean.

Jefferson had a scientific mind and was especially interesetd in things like teh geography, climate, animals, and plants of this largely undocumented region. he chose his secretary, Meriwether Lewis, to lead the expedition. Lewis chose William Clark to share the leadership duties.

The Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific both began and ended near St. Louis. The voyage was preceded by months of planning and preparation in Washington, D.C., Harper’s Ferry, Est Virginia, Pittsburgh, Louisville, and other places, but the real departure point was Wood River, IL, across the mouth of the Missouri River just above St. Louis on May 14, 1804. They took about 10 weeks to go through what is now the state of Missouri.

They saw few Indians as they went west in Missouri except for some Kickapoos they had engaged to hunt for the expedition, and Indians with Franco-American traders they met coming down the river. Visits from Indians were more common after they go north of St. Joseph. Evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, surprisingly, can be traced today to Gallatin, the county seat of Daviess County in northwest Missouri. In 2003, amid many celebration observances of the Expedition held nationwide, officials from the MIssouri State Secretary of the State Archive Office reviewed and authenticated two books belong to Daviess County. They are original hand-written survey books, written and signed by Meriwether Lewis Clark, who was a nephew of the famous explorers and the Surveyor General of the United States. President Jefferson sent him alnog behind his uncles to survey the land; Daviess County was part of his survey.

These books were professionally appraised and preserved and returned to Daviess County. Copies of this survey are still being used by surveyors today, and the records — now over 200 years old — are uncannily correct. Meriwether Lewis Clark literally surveyed the land with rods and lengths of chain, correct to within inches of what surveyors say today using all of their sophisticated equipment. His work was especially important when Daviess County organized in 1836. In fact, our system of land measurement used throughout the entire United States today also came from Thomas Jefferson.

Lewis and Clark were not only among the first Anglo-Americans to explore a large section of the United States but theykept journals and documented what they saw, and they brought back specimens. This makes their project much more than an adventure story. It provides a basis of factual scientific information. They identified 122 animals and 178 plants previously unknown to Anglo-Americans, and provided niformation on the Indian tribes they met. They weren’t the first to see the interesting and magnificent sights;the Indians had seen them for thousands of years. But Lewis and Clark (and some of their crew members) produced detailed journals of what they saw.

The Expedition arrived back at the northern border of Missouri on Sept. 9, 1806, and landed at St. Louis on Sept. 23, 1806. Their journals record several stops within Missouri. There have been no archaelogical excavations of sites used by Louis and Clark in Missouri. The combination of many of their camps being of short duration and being on low ground have left no known evidence of their camps. However, they played a major role in the settlement of Missouri and the West. Three counties in Missouri — Lewis, Clark and Shannon — are named for expedition members.

 

JEFFERSON’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE PUBLIC LAND SYSTEM

Thomas Jefferson was involved in the creation of the public land measurement system that was first developed in 1775. Land descriptions that we use today are possible because of the rectangular measurement system that Jefferson’s committee envisioned, promulgated, and then put into use. Although Jefferson is more widely known as the third President of the United States — for his stature, accomplishments, wisdom and foresight — he also headed the committee that invented our rectangular land measurement system.

This measurement system went through a 21-year trial and error period, mainly in Ohio. The system was found workable and adopted as teh official U.S. land measurement system in 1805.

The system has two main divisions. Townships are divided into 6 miles square. Sections are made from the townships. Each section is one mile square. Sections are numbered from 1 through 36, starting in the northeast corner. The numbers follow in order across to the west and then follow back and forth east to west, west to east, until number 36 is found in the most southeastern corner.

This measurement system provides for legal descriptions of land, allow anyone to locate a specific land on a map. Legal decriptions are important, since addresses or other types of identification can chagne over time. The county recorder’s office can provide you with the history of the land.

“Trail of Death” — Potawatomi Indian Relocation

Armed conflict between Mormons and Missourians was not the only tragedies recorded in the frontier region of Northwest Missouri during 1838. Today a plaque dedicated on the original campsite in Richmond, MO, is a reminder of the “Trail of Death” march from Indiana to Osawatomi, KS, forced upon the Potawatomi Indians. (reprinted from the Lawson Review)

Armed conflict between Mormons and Missourians was not the only tragedies recorded in the frontier region of Northwest Missouri during 1838. Today a plaque dedicated on the original campsite in Richmond, MO, is a reminder of the “Trail of Death” march from Indiana to Osawatomi, KS, forced upon the Potawatomi Indians. (reprinted from the Lawson Review)

The “Trail of Death” started in 1838 when 850 Potawatomi Indians were rounded up and marched at gun opint from their Indiana homeland. Many walked the 660 miles from Twin Lakes, IN, to Osawatomie, KS, a journey that took two months. More than 40 died, mostly children, of typhoid fever and from the stress of the forced march.

The trek involved 48 stops where the march halted to camp for one night or more, according to the official journal kept by a government agent. Eight stops were made in the journey across North Missouri — at Palmyra, Paris, Huntsville, Keytesville, Carrollton, Richmond, Lexington and Independence.

The campsite at Richmond was on the grounds of what is now the Richmond High School at the junction of Hwy 13 and Hwy 24, formerly known as the Snowden Farm. It is currently marked by a large rock bearing the plaque, just across the street from a McDonald’s restuarant. The original marker was a project of Eagle Scout Joe Davis, who acquired the funds and established the marker. The Friends of the Ray County Museum supported this historic preservation project and complted the fundraising effort for the marker with their donation.

Confederate Memorial State Historic Site

The Confederate Memorial at Higginsville, MO (Lafayette County, south of the Missouri River) is the closest Confederate Memorial to the Northwest Missouri region. The 192-acre site, including the original chapel and an old farmhouse plus its many small lakes and fine trees, is part of the Missouri State Parks system administered by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. (information by Jill G. White)

The Confederate Memorial at Higginsville, MO (Lafayette County, south of the Missouri River) is the closest Confederate Memorial to the Northwest Missouri region. The 192-acre site, including the original chapel and an old farmhouse plus its many small lakes and fine trees, is part of the Missouri State Parks system administered by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. (information by Jill G. White)

The origins of today’s Confederate memorial date back more than 100 years.

In 1889, an annual reunion of Missouri Confederate veterans was held at Higginsville in Lafayette County. At the encampment, as it was called, a movement began that reflected similar benevolent projects in our other Southern states – to establish a Confederate veterans’ home.

Almost 30 years after the Civil War’s start, even the youngest of the veterans were moving well into middle age. The more prosperous of these aging men recognized the need to help impoverished veterans who never fully recovered from crippling wounds or diseases contracted during their years of service. Ex-veterans and interested parties joined forces and, with private funding, founded the Confederate Home Association.

Within a year, the association raised enough money to purchase 365 acres of prime farmland just north of Higginsville in West-central Missouri. Newly formed Southern patriotic women’s organizations such as the St. Louis-based Daughters of the Confederacy (forerunner to the national United Daughters of the Confederacy) and the local Ladies of Lafayette County also lent their talents and influence to raising funds for the construction and outfitting of dwellings. In April 1891, a Missouri veteran named Julius Bamberg became the first Confederate veteran in the state to receive admission as a resident of the new Confederate Home of Missouri.

During the Civil War, Bamberg had served as a Confederate soldier in Capt. Henry Guibor’s Missouri Battery in Gen. Sterling Price’s division. He later served as a special agent to Gen. Price and was captured by Union troops, tried as a spy and sent away to military prison for the duration of the war. Upon his parole at age 52, Bamberg was among the oldest men to have served in the Civil War. In 1891 at the age of 79, this St. Louis tailor and dressmaker became the first of more than 1,600 Confederate veterans, their wives and widows who eventually sought shelter at the home in their declining years.

By the mid 1890s, the Confederate Home faced serious financial crisis. Insufficient funding, due in part to a nationwide economic depression forced the Home Board to appeal to the state legislature to assume financial control, which it did in 1897. At the time, the state agreed that the home would not be closed until the last veteran or veteran’s widow died or left of his or her own accord.

As the years passed, the home continued to grow along with the aging veteran population in Missouri. At the height of its use, the home provided care for more than 300 veterans and their families. Eventually the property consisted of more than 30 buildings, a thriving farm and dairy and a memorial park that served both as an arboretum and a favorite fishing place for the veterans. They generated their own electricity, and the Missouri and Pacific train line even made a scheduled stop here. It was a community unto itself.

The home was conceived as a place of refuge for honorable and deserving ex-soldiers. Many application rules existed to keep out undeserving or undesirable applicants – such as men who may have deserted during the war. The first of these rules required Missouri residency for one, and later, two years, as well as proof of honorable service with the Confederacy in any state. This effectively excluded many applicants. Even so, the home cemetery records show that soldiers from Missouri, and the other border states of Kentucky and West Virginia, as well as soldiers from every state in the Confederacy except Florida lived and died here.

Unlike many other Southern veterans’ institutions, Missouri allowed the admittance of women and children from its inception. First wives were always allowed into the home with their husbands; however, admittance of second and third wives was subject to Home Board approval. only children under the age of 14 could be admitted.

Another rule required the applicant to prove his (or the deceased spouse’s) military record by writing to the Adjutant General’s office in Washington, D.C., for official verification. Lacking such official records, the applicant also could obtain written affidavits from fellow veterans with whom they served. Sometimes the Home Board required further explanations. For instance, applicant John Way had to explain why his service record included duty with both the Union and Confederate armies. After being captured, Way was given some uninviting choices – continued imprisonment, Union service against fellow Confederates or fighting Indians in the West. Way chose the latter and served out his time with the federal army in Colorado. The board accepted his explanation and allowed both his wife and him entrance to the home.

Two other hurdles the applicants were required to pass also were considered the most demeaning: poverty and sanity. To receive entry, the applicant could have no assets, no relatives willing to take them in, nor any means of earning a livelihood; even the meager $10 military service pension provided by the state had to be forfeited. A doctor’s examination also was required to prove the applicant still possessed a sound mind and had no “infectious” diseases.

All veterans listed their rank and branch of service in their home applications. Most of them were infantry, artillery and cavalry privates; but there also were men who served as officers, sharpshooters, partisan guerrillas, musicians, paid conscription substitutes, gunboat engineers and sailors on the first ironclads. The most unusual included a member of the Cherokee Mounted Rifles, a spy and an Alabama drillmaster. The veterans served in every theater of war and in every major battle from the first shot fired at Fort Sumter to the last at Appomattox.

The “comrades,” as they commonly referred to one another, were minor celebrities in Missouri, and often were displayed alongside those seeking political office. Senator Harry Truman once visited the home, as did the perennial presidential hopeful and silver standard advocate William Jennings Bryan.

The United Daughters of the Confederate lavished the men and women at the home with attention by holding holiday celebrations, dances, memorial services and other events regularly. They also awarded medals of honor to the veterans, gave them appropriately dyed suits of gray, and provided the women with new dresses.

Local school children, now adults still living in the area, remember visiting the home, as well as Southern veterans throughout Missouri, was Decoration Day. Held annually on June 3, it was the Southern equivalent of Memorial Day and was traditionally held on the anniversary of the birth of the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis. They celebrated the day with picnics, speeches by former Confederate officers and, most significantly, the decoration of the graves in the home cemetery.

The last veteran buried in that cemetery was Johnny Graves, a private in Gen. Joseph Shelby’s army. on May 8,1950, Graves, the last surviving Missouri Confederate veteran, passed away at the Missouri Confederate Home at the grand age of 108. He was buried alongside 803 veterans, wives and children, a full 53 years after the passing of the first resident. A handful of widows, the majority of whom were born after the Civil War ended, were transferred to a nursing home in Columbia, despite the agreement made 53 years earlier.

Because many of the home structures were dilapidated, the decision was made to demolish them. The structurally sound buildings and most of the acreage were then transferred to the Missouri Department of Mental Health. In 1952, the remaining property, consisting of the 90-acre Confederate Memorial Park, the cemetery, and a cottage were delivered into the care of the Missouri State Park Board, which administered the state park system before it was turned over to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources in 1974.

Today, Confederate Memorial State Historic Site consists of 192 acres and now also includes the original chapel, an old farmhouse and the last building erected at the home – the 1922-era hospital building. Visitors to the site today can enjoy the memorial park with its many small lakes, fine old trees and beautifully kept lawns. Here they can take part in fishing, picnicking and other outdoor activities. They also can venture to the site of the former home buildings, where they can walk through the 106-year-old chapel and the historic graveyard where the veterans and their families rest. Three other buildings, the farmhouse, hospital and cottage, are open to viewing from outside. Exhibits and displays throughout the park and historic area tell the story of the Confederate Home of Missouri.

Confederate Memorial State Historic Site is located on Business Highway 13, one mile north of Higginsville in Lafayette County. For information, call the site directly at (816) 584-2853 or call the Department of Natural Resources toll free at 1-800-334-6946, or 1-800-379-2419 with a Telecommunications Device for the Def (TDD).

Source: Missouri Resources, Winter 1997-98, Vol. 14, Number 4. Jill G. White is the historic site administrator at Confederate Memorial State Historic Site.

Diverse cultures living at Jamesport

Jesse Harris was determined in 1836 to prove that two diverse cultures could live harmoniously, so he built a log cabin in the tall grasslands inhabited by Indians near what is now Jamesport, Mo.

Jesse Harris was determined in 1836 to prove that two diverse cultures could live harmoniously, so he built a log cabin in the tall grasslands inhabited by Indians near what is now Jamesport, Mo.

Jesse Harris and his family were the first white settlers in the area, and his Sauk and Fox Indian neighbors seemed to welcome them. Today, this log cabin stands in Jamesport City Park. And, although the Indians have long since departed, in 1953 a group of Old Order Amish settled here. The first Amish family to arrive was the Harry Yoder family, followed by the families of Levi Miller, Dan Stutzman, Chrissie Ropp, Tobe Detweiler, William Yutzy, and Simon Hostetler. The farms they bought were at top prices; the first year proved disappointing as it was a year of drought and grasshoppers. More families followed, however. Today, two diverse cultures continue to live in the area: Missouri’s largest Amish community and the “English,” which is the Amish designation for the everyday folks who call Jamesport home.

Jamesport is one of about 50 Amish settlements in North America. Amish family traditions including morning and evening prayer services. But there’s much more to Jamesport than what some consider a quaint lifestyle. Located less than a hour’s drive from Kansas City, Jamesport offers more, many craft shops, antique dealers and specialty shops along with a couple of bed-and-breakfasts and a motel. Most shops serve as information centers and provide a rundown on the 1,100 Amish residents who live on roughly 150 farms in the area. Maps are available that detail shops in town and the Amish homes that contain stores open to visitors.

Many Amish welcome outsiders to their homesites and offer a variety of goods for sale, including Amish quilts. Most of the Amish stores, located generally south of Jamesport, are open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Thursdays and Sundays when they are closed. Some of the stores in town, as well as on the Amish homesites, sell fabric for quilts and can provide information on having a quilt custom-made. Antiques offer a true country atmosphere. Many grocery items are stocked in bulk. You will also find beautiful custom built furniture, footwear, spices and more among many crafts. Jamesport hosts a variety of annual events which are favorite times to visit. The annual May Days Festival, the Junior Livestock Show & Fair in July, the Heritage Days Festival each September and the “Step Back In Time” Christmas celebration in late November all showcase all that Jamesport offers.

Grave of John Whitmer in Kingston Cemetery

John Witmer was one of the founders and a hotel owner of the City of Far West. Also a counselor of Missouri Church Presidency of Far West, LDS Church Historian, one of eight witnesses of the Book of Mormon plates, and one of the scribes to the Prophet Joseph Smith during the Book of Mormon translation.

John Witmer was one of the founders and a hotel owner of the City of Far West. Also a counselor of Missouri Church Presidency of Far West, LDS Church Historian, one of eight witnesses of the Book of Mormon plates, and one of the scribes to the Prophet Joseph Smith during the Book of Mormon translation.

John Whitmer owned a beautiful farm and home where he lived as a good citizen of Caldwell County after the saints left the area. He remained in Far West until his death in 1878. His farm was located a half mile west of the temple site on NW Far West Drive, on the south side of the gravel road in the grove of trees.

60-acre log house site near Far West

Archaeological investigation conducted in 1996 focuses on Far West in Caldwell County, MO, especially the C.C. Rich Log House and the Rich Settlement area of  1837.

Archaeological investigation conducted in 1996 focuses on Far West in Caldwell County, MO, especially the C.C. Rich Log House and the Rich Settlement area of  1837.

In 1996 an archaeological investigation sponsored by Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation (MMFF), was made of a log house near Far West. A historical investigation led by Mike Riggs indicated the property had been owned by Charles C. Rich. His home was the center of church activity in that area of the county. C.C. Rich took an active military part in the battle of Crooked River in northern Ray County. Mrs. Rich left an account of the log house published in “Women’s Voice” (Godfrey, Godfrey & Derr 1982:98) as follows:

“As Far West was a place everybody lived in log houses so my husband had built a nice hewed log house and got it ready to live in by the time we were married. It was 4 miles from Far West and we moved to our cosy and happy home and we thought we were the happiest couple in all the land.”

In the autumn of 1997, MMFF sponsored the first of three consecutive years of archeological digs at the site. Students from Shawnee Mission East High School, working under the supervision of their instructor Paul DeBarthe along with many other interested participants, undertook an extensive site archaeological reconnaissance which yielded many instructive artifacts.

Mormon and post-Mormon period artifacts associated with James Wallace, a prominent citizen of Caldwell County for whom the nearby Wallace State Park was named, are in the possession of Mike Riggs, who is developing this 60-acre log house site.

Abbey buildings steeped in tradition

The Abbey, located at Conception, MO, in Nodaway County, is a minor basilica, meaning the church is a place where the Pope could come to live or say mass whenever he is in this country. It also houses a special collection of Indian artifacts from as far away as North and South Dakota, including the first wooden tombstone of the Sioux medicine man Sitting Bull and very rare photographs of Sitting Bull, Gall and Red Cloud. (article written by Ken Hansen)

The Abbey, located at Conception, MO, in Nodaway County, is a minor basilica, meaning the church is a place where the Pope could come to live or say mass whenever he is in this country. It also houses a special collection of Indian artifacts from as far away as North and South Dakota, including the first wooden tombstone of the Sioux medicine man Sitting Bull and very rare photographs of Sitting Bull, Gall and Red Cloud. (article written by Ken Hansen)

Every morning at 6, the bells of Conception Abbey ring, calling the Benedictine monks to morning prayer. This ritual has been followed faithfully at Conception for the past 100 years and has been followed by the monks of St. Benedict for the past 1,400 years.

The Abbey, located at Conception, MO, in Nodaway County, is a curiosity to many people, but it can hardly be called a relic. It is a living, breathing and, in many ways, quite modern organization.

It is a conservatory of art, philosophy, history and Christian thought. It is an educator of young men. Most of all, it is a place for prayer and meditation.

The Abbey was founded in the 1870s by Swiss monks who came to the area at the invitation of Bishop Hogan of St. Joseph. At the time, the Benedictines were fleeing the threat of suppression by the newly formed government of Switzerland. It is almost ironic that they chose Missouri for their home.

Although there was a large Catholic community in the area, Missouri’s own anti-cleric law, called Drakes law, had been declared unconstitutional by the by the U.S. Supreme Court less than 15 years earlier.

The heart of the physical plant at Conception abbey is the church building. The twin-towered structure is of Romanesque design which among other things, is supposed to provide better acoustics for choral liturgical singing, which is an important part of Benedictine life.

Architecture of church buildings often contains subtle messages. The Abbey church is no exception. The center square of the cross-shaped church, where the main altar now stands, measures 33 feet on each side. The church is constructed of six of these modules, each corner of each module being marked by a round pillar. The overall dimensions of the church, 198 feet long by 99 feet wide, are multiples of the number 33.

Thirty-three is the traditional number of years of Christ’s life on earth. It has even been suggested by some that the measurement of a rod, 16 ? feet, was devised from this common unit of measurement used in church construction. The word rod is a derivative of the word root, which means cross.

To the left of the main altar stands an umbrella; to the right, a bell symbols of the fact that the church was given the title of minor basilica in 1941 on the 50th anniversary of the church’s dedication. The title, which is mostly an honorific one, signifies the church as a place where the pope could come to live or say mass when he is in this country.

The church building is interconnected with three other buildings which form a quadrangle with an open courtyard at its center. These buildings house the monks’ quarters. This design is common to many European monasteries.

Other buildings include classrooms, offices, housing for the students and separate quarters for some of the day workers who live at the Abbey. one large building houses the monastery’s printing business which provides a good share of the funds to run Conception Abbey.

One of the newer buildings is a fitness center which houses a pool and gym. The facility was built mainly for the students, but the monks use it, too. Good physical health is a part of the Benedict.

The Abbey library contains 95,000 volumes, in addition to 2,400 old and rare books and manuscripts which the monks brought with them from Switzerland. The range of reading material is broad. Besides the religious books and periodicals one would expect to find, there are editions of “Rolling Stone” and the latest in science fiction paperbacks. On the third floor of the library is a special collection of Indian artifacts contributed to the Abbey by its members who have been assigned to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. For over 100 years the members of the Abbey have served the reservation which lies along the Missouri River in North and South Dakota. Among these exhibits is the first wooden tombstone of the Sioux medicine man Sitting Bull, who was killed at Standing Rock in 1890. Several other very rare pictures of  Sitting Bull, Gall and Red Cloud are included in the exhibit.

Part of the monastery support system is a large apple orchard and almost 900 acres of farmland tended by the monks. The farm has 300 tillable acres. The livestock consists of over 100 head of cattle. The Abbey’s dairy was closed in 1976. — written by Ken Hansen

Famous Missourians of the North

For some visitors, a look at the early environments of people who become famous can amplify the remarkableness of an individuals' achievements. Here's a glimpse at the humble beginnings of famous Missourians from North Missouri — outlaws Frank & Jesse James, retailer J.C. Penney, World War I General John J. Pershing, President Harry S. Truman, author Mark Twain, and cartoonist Walt Disney.  (from an article by the Associated Press)

For some visitors, a look at the early environments of people who become famous can amplify the remarkableness of an individuals' achievements. Here's a glimpse at the humble beginnings of famous Missourians from North Missouri — outlaws Frank & Jesse James, retailer J.C. Penney, World War I General John J. Pershing, President Harry S. Truman, author Mark Twain, and cartoonist Walt Disney.  (from an article by the Associated Press)

Outlaws Jesse and Frank James made a living robbing banks and trains. Apparently, their mother also knew how to rake in the money, although in a legal if crass way.

Not long after an assassin shot Jesse James in 1882, Zerelda James Samuel began giving tours of the home where she raised her boys. She even sold souvenirs. For 25 cents, visitors could buy a pebble from Jesse's grave in the front yard. And when the rocks got low, she simply replenished them from a creek bed.

Zerelda Samuel may have been o­ne of the first Missourians to promote the birthplace of a famous — or in this case, infamous — native son. She certanily wasn't the last. Now, the Clay County government promotes her family home as the Jesse James Farm and Museum, charging admission to tour the home and a nearby museum and still selling pebbles for 25 cents alongside shirts, books and toys.

In the city of Hamilton, the municipal library shares a building with the J.C. Penney Museum, which offers tourso f the home where the busienssman was born. The federal aned state governmetns also run parks promoting the birthplaces of such famous Missourians as President Harry Truman, author Samuel Clemens (better known as Mark Twain) and educator George Washington Carver.

Other sites have been created to promote the childhood homes of Truman and Twain, whose families moved not long after their births, as well asl those of Walt Disney and World War I General John J. Pershing, whose birthplace is disputed but whose elegant boyhood home still stands in north Missouri.

Most of the houses passed from o­ne owner to another over the years, undergoing alterations and gaining more modern conveniences. Except for the James home, it was o­nly later — after their former residents gained fame — that someone seized o­n the tourism potential of the humble beginnings and repaired the deteriorating childhood homes as public showplaces.

For some visitors, a look at the early environments can amplify the remarkableness of an individuals' achievements. For others, the homes provide insight into the circumstances that shaped the famous figures.

Jesse James' boyhood home, for example, remains relatively secluded in the countryside northeast of the small town of Kearney. It's not hard to imagine how the young Jesse James became familiar with guns, especially when o­ne learns how he joined the Confederate Army during the Civil War after Union soldiers beat him, attacked his mother and tried to hang his stepfather at their home.

Later, after Jesse James graduated to a career of armed robbery, private detectives who were hired to find him and Frank threw a smoke pot into the family home, killing a younger brother and costing their mother an arm. No o­ne knows if Jesse and Frank James were even home at the time. Yet, the event helped shape public sympathy for James, who was repoted to have spared women, working-class men, and former Confederates from bullets during his holdups. That's partly why Charles Rhodes, touring the James home with his grandson o­ne summer day, is among the many who feel a strange mix of curiosity, respect and pity for James, who might have been branded as a mass murderer in another era.

“In my opinion, he got off to a rough start — that's what built him into a local hero. The Civil War was a hell of a place to be in Missouri. It made him what he was, and he fell right into it,” said Rhodes, of Platte City, who recalls receiving a personal tour of the home from a James relative over 35 years ago.

The family continued to give tours for decades after the deaths of Jesse James and his mother. For many years, Frank James even led the tours — perhaps telling of the gang's exploits after being acquitted of criminal charges in an 1883 trial held at Gallatin, MO. It was Frank James who began charging 50 cents for tours around 1910, according to directors at the Clay County historic site.

When Clay County began overseeing the James Home in 1978, the roof had sunk to chest-level, the wooden floors had become buried in dirt and the house was held uprght by ropes and trees. But after two restorations, 75% of the original materals remain. The 2-room cabin, which family members expanded after James' death, still contains a parlor table from the outlaw's childhood and other furnishings used by the family.

The grave site no longer contains Jesse James' body, which was moved to a traditional cemetery alongside his wife. But it is still stocked with pebbles.

The James home is perhaps o­ne of the most authentic birthplace sites. There is no home, for example, at the birthplace of George Washington Carver near Diamond in southwest Missouri. Instead, the National Park Service has constructed a replica log cagin foundation at the approximate site where Carver is believed to have been born a slave. Mark Twain's and J.C. Penney's birthplace homes both have been moved from their original foundations. Penney's home was transported from the country to downtown Hamlton and contains no original items other than a few family photographs. Twain's 423-sq.ft. birthplace home was moved from the tiny town of Florida to the shelter of a museum constructe in the nearby Mark Twain State Park. It, too, lacks any verifiably original furnishings, although it does include a cradle owned by the town that might have been used to hold Twain.

Truman's birthplace home sits o­n its original site in Lamar but lacks original indoor items, largely because the future president's family moved when he was just 11 months old. As it is, Truman's hometown is most commonly considered Independence, where an adulthood home also is open for tours.

While the original site and furnishings of a house may be important to historians, many tourists are simply looking for an impression of what life whas like in a famous person's formative years. Childhood historic sites are trying to convey that vague, warm quality of “home.” For General John J. Pershing, home was always the 9-room Gothic house where he lived from age 6 until he entered the U.S. Military Academy in his early 20s. Although his family had long since moved, Pershing still would stay in the home when he returne to Laclede as a general.

For Walt Disney, “home” was the nearby north Missouri town of Marceline, even though he o­nly lived there from ages 5 to 11 and went o­n to gain fame in California. That's because Disney's childhod doodlings gained form in Marceline, which he used as a prototype for some of his alter film and amusement park scenes. Disney's boyhood house is not open for tours, but its current occupants encourages visitors to walk o­n the property to a large cottonwood tree under which Disney would lie down to draw. A mowed trail with interpretative signs also leads to a barn — modeled after Disney's — where tourists are encouraged to scrawl messages o­n the walls.

HARRY TRUMAN BIRTHPLACE

Located just off U.S. Hwy 160 in Lamar, MO. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. No admission is charged. Operated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, phone 417-682-2279. Notes: The future president spent the first 11 months of his life in the 2-story house bought by his parents in 1882 for $685. Four rooms downstairs and two upstairs, plus smokehouse and outhouse. Listed o­n the National Register of Historic Places.

J.C. PENNEY BIRTHPLACE HOME

Located in downtown Hamilton, MO, at U.S. Hwy 36 and Hwy 13. Open 9:30 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 4 p.m. weekdays. No admission is charged. Operated by the City of Hamilton. Notes: At the J.C. Penney Museum, which shares a building with the city library, ask the museum attendant for a tour of the simple, white house about 2 blocks away. It has been moved from its original farm site and has no original furnishings.

JOHN J. PERSHING HOME

Located from Laclede, MO, o­n U.S. Highway 36, go north o­n Missouri Hwy 5 into town and follow signs. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is charged (kids 12 and under free). Operated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, phone 660-334-6945. Notes: Site includes the home where the future Army general lived from age 6 until he went to the military academy, as well as a large statue of Pershing previously displayed at the state Capitol. Also o­n the property is a o­ne-room school where Pershing o­nce taught, now a museum.

JESSE JAMES BIRTHPLACE

Located a few miles northeast of Kearney o­n Missouri Hwy 92. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Admission is charged (children age 7 and under free). Operated by the Clay County Parks Department, phone 816-628-6065. Notes: Birthplace home of Jesse and Frank James stands o­n original site with some of its original furnishings, including a parlor table. Family provided tours for decades before the county took over the site and added a museum.

MARK TWAIN BIRTHPLACE HOME

Located in Mark Twain State Park near Florida, MO, from Missouri Hwy 107, go east o­n Route U. Open 10 am. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is charged (kids under age 6 free). Operated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, phone 573-565-3449. Notes: Samuel Clemens lived in this two-room house until his family moved to Hannibal when he was 4. His Florida home was moved from its original site and now is sheltered inside a museum.

MARK TWAIN BOYHOOD HOME

Located downtown Hannibal. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through August; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily in September and October; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays in November and December. Admission is charged (age 6 and under free). Operated by the City of Hannibal, phone 573-221-9010. Notes: Samuel Clemens spent about nine years of his childhood in this home, where he derw the inspiration for such characters as Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher. Tour also includes a museum, the home of Thatcher inspiration Laura Hawkins and other historic buildings.

WALT DISNEY BOYHOOD HOME

Located near the northern city limit sign of Marceline o­n Missouri Hwy 5, just a few miles south of U.S. Highway 36. Not open for tours, but property generally is open to the public. No admission is charged. Contact: 660-376-2332. Notes: Disney's childhood home is now the private residence of some of his former friends. Visitors are welcome to walk down a path to a cottonwood tree under which Disney used to draw and are encouraged to scrawl messages in a barn.

Fort Osage — A National Landmark

Fort Osage, as suggested by Lewis and Clark in 1804, was built to guard traffic along the Missouri River and control the fur trade with Native Americans, particularly the Osage, Kansa, and Iowa tribes. The reconstructed fort became a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and is designated by the National Park Service as a site o­n the Santa Fe and also the Lewis and Clark Trails. (information from the Jackson County Parks and Recreation)

Fort Osage, as suggested by Lewis and Clark in 1804, was built to guard traffic along the Missouri River and control the fur trade with Native Americans, particularly the Osage, Kansa, and Iowa tribes. The reconstructed fort became a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and is designated by the National Park Service as a site o­n the Santa Fe and also the Lewis and Clark Trails. (information from the Jackson County Parks and Recreation)

On June 23, 1804, Lewis and Clark documented and suggested the future location of what was to become Fort Osage. Four years later, William Clark with 80 volunteer dragoons from St. Charles and the regular garrison under the command of Captain Eli Clemson, erected a fort a few miles upstream o­n a high bluff overlooking a large meander of the Missouri River, in what is now the village of Sibley in northeast Jackson County. Soon after arriving, Clark sent Nathan Bone and interpreter Paul Loese to the Osage villages to invite them to take up residence near the new fort. When they did so, Clark drafted a treaty in which the Osage relinquished a large portion of their lands in what is now Missouri and Arkansas. This treaty was not ratified by Congress, but another treaty drafted by Governor Meriwether Lewis was signed at the fort o­n Nov. 10, 1808, and was ratified thereafter.

Closed in June, 1813m, during the war of 1812, Fort Osage was reopened in 1815 after the war was over and garrisoned until 1819. George C. Sibley, the fort's factor, was married in 1815 and brought his new wife, Mary, with him when Fort Osage reopened. He built a house known as Fountain Cottage Farm west of the fort and the couple resided there for the next few years. (Mary Sibley is now recognized as the founder of Linderwood University in St. Charles). In 1822 the U.S. abandoned the Factory system, ended government trade at Fort Osage, and replaced it as a military garrison with Fort Leavenworth, KS. In 1825 Fort Osage saw its final service as the starting point for an expedition to survey the Santa Fe Trail. George Sibley, the fort's former factor, served as o­ne of the expedition's three commissioners.

Because of its role in the westward expansion of the United States, the Fort Osage site was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and more recently designated by the National Park Service as a site o­n the Santa Fe and Lewis and Clark Trails. Nearby Hopewell and Osage sites are listed separately o­n the National Register of Historic Places.

For more information about the reconstructed fort, open to the public under the auspices of Jackson County Parks and Recreation, go to  www.historicfortosage.com

Retail giant J.C. Penney called Hamilton home

Hamilton, MO, has the distinction of being the birthplace and boyhood home of retail magnate J.C. Penney. The Penney Library and Museum houses memorabilia from his early years here until his death in 1971. (information provided by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce)

Hamilton, MO, has the distinction of being the birthplace and boyhood home of retail magnate J.C. Penney. The Penney Library and Museum houses memorabilia from his early years here until his death in 1971. (information provided by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce)

Hamilton, a rural community located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 36 and Missouri Highway 13, offers a variety of retail and service businesses as well as antique, collectible and gift shops. Hamilton has an AAA rated public school system, fine medical facilities, public library and several recreational facilities including a swimming pool, golf course, bowling alley and fishing lake.

Caldwell County Arts provies the area with cultural presentations throughout the year at the renovated Hamilton Community Arts Theater. Presentations range from locally produced musicals to country and bluegrass performances.

Hamilton has the distinction of being the birthplace and boyhood home of retail magnate J.C. Penney. The Penney Library and Museum houses memorabilia from his early years here until his death in 1971. The boyhood home of Mr. Penney, a modest 4-room cottage, was moved from its site east of Hamilton to its present location in a city park in downtown Hamilton. It serves as a tourist attraction. Located across the street is an expansion of the park bounded by a huge mural depicting the history of Hamilton and Caldwell County. Mr. Penney's 1947 Cadillac is o­n display at a service station o­n the south edge of Hamilton, a novelty which attracts the curious and car buffs.

Each spring during the J.C. Penney Hometown Festival, nearly 100 flea market and craft booths line Hamilton's main street offering their fares. The North Missouri Steam and Gas Engine Show attracts large crowds to Hamilton each August. Nearby are other attractions. The Caldwell County courthouse in Kingston is listed o­n the National Historic Register. Far West, a temple site for those of the Mormon faith, is located in nearby Mirabile. The historical displays to be found there are visited by thousands annually.

For more information about Hamilton, call 816-583-2168.

Disney’s Boyhood Home at Marceline

Main Street in Marceline served as the model for many of Walt Disney's film locales and theme parks, and today you can walk in his footsteps in the charming town during its Hometown Toonfest.

Main Street in Marceline served as the model for many of Walt Disney's film locales and theme parks, and today you can walk in his footsteps in the charming town during its Hometown Toonfest.

Marceline hosts Walt Disney's Hometown Toonfest every September to celebrate Walt's boyhood in this rural community that influenced his work so much. Cartoonists, fans, families, scholars and Disney enthusiasts come to Marceline for a day of fun. Festivities include a parade, live music, food, crafts, pie-eating contests and an international exhibition of original cartoons. Plus, the Toonfest stage venues will present vignettes of Walt's life in Marceline.

Other festival attractions vary. Recently the Toonfest featured a cartoon symposium in the historic Uptown Theater. In 2003 the leadline speaker was Mort Walker, whose Beetle Bailey comic strip appears in 1,800 newspapers worldwide. Walker displayed his work and talked about life as a cartoonist. Other guests included Bill Amend, creator of the comic strip FoxTrot. The symposium regularly features speakers with ties to Disney.

Festival goers can also participate in the Rural Olumpics. Farm chores that Walt endured as a child have found new life as games for the whole family.

While in Marceline, visit the Walt Disney Hometown Museum, located in the former Santa Fe Depot. The museum featuer artifacts and exhibits from Walt's life in marcline and his remarkable career. In addition, more than 20 other Disney related sites can be visited throughout the region, including the Disney farm and the Walt Disney Dreaming Tree. For more details about this annual festival, call 660-376-9258.

Catfish the attraction to the 138-mile Platte River

Record-breaking, skillet-filling catfish are among the attractions this Northwest Missouri river and its tributaries have to offer. (From a series of articles by the Missouri Department of Conservation entitled the Show-Me River Showcase)

Record-breaking, skillet-filling catfish are among the attractions this Northwest Missouri river and its tributaries have to offer. (From a series of articles by the Missouri Department of Conservation entitled the Show-Me River Showcase)

Some people think of the West when the Platte River is mentioned, but Missouri also has a Platte River. Anglers in this area recognize it as a pretty fair catfish stream.

The Platte River flows 138 miles from the Iowa state line through five Missouri counties to its confluence with the Missouri River north of Kansas City. Within its watershed are numerous public lands providing many outdoor opportunities.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) maintains 12 stream access sites along the Platte in addition to five Conservation Areas (CA) consisting of a total of more than 5,000 acres.

CAs along the Platte offer everything from deer and turkey to rabbits, quail and pheasants for hunters. Hikers will find miles of trails leading to excellent birdwatching, mushroom hunting and plenty of rolling topography providing lovely scenery.

Part of the Happy Holler Lake CA, northeast of Savannah in Andrew County, is situated o­n the 102 River, providing access to this Platte River tributary. Camping is allowed at designated sites o­n the area.

The largest CA in the watershed is Platte Falls, north of Platte City. This 2,333-acre tract is split by nine miles of the Platte River. Anglers may spend days bank-fishing along the Platte without seeing another angler or fishing the same hole twice.

Floating this stretch is made possible by the ramp at Sharp's Station Access at the upper boundary of the CA. Steep, muddy banks require careful negotiation.

Archery and shotgun ranges are available o­n Platte Falls. Because of nearby urbanization, hunting is limited to shotguns and shot shells. Deer may be taken by archery methods o­nly.

Contact MDC's office at 701 N.E. College Drive, St. Joseph, MO 64507, or phone (816) 271-3100 for more formation o­n CAs.

From MDC's Sheridan Access in Worth County, downstream river travelers will find rocky riffles, sand bars and a considerable amount of stream channelization. These obstacles don't prevent the determined angler from enjoying catches of channel catfish, flathead catfish and carp.

Crop fields along the Platte River can provide memorable hunting during the fall. Upland game and waterfowl abound. Woodlots and streamsides sporting oaks provide action for squirrel hunters, and lowlands grow thick with willows and soft maple — appealing resting places for deer. Be sure to get permission when hunting private land, and treat landowners with courtesy.

Below Agency Access in Buchanan County, the Platte returns to its natural course for the most part. The stream widens, but it's still pretty much a johnboat or canoe stream. Boaters will find it necessary to carry their craft from parking lots to the stream at MDC accesses, except in Platte County, where Schimmel City Access and Sharp's Station have concrete boat ramps. There is a skid ramp (not for vehicle use, designed to slide small boats to the water) at Humphrey Access, also in Platte County.

MDC's Rochester Falls Access in Andrew County is o­n Highway 169 east of Savannah and St. Joseph. The access is outfitted for camping and picnicking, and there is ample opportunity to fish.

The shelf rock formations for which the area is named cross the stream at the upper end of the property. A small warm-season grass planting is another point of interest, recalling the appearance of this region during pre-settlement times. Saxton Access in Buchanan County has the distinction of being the place where a state-record fish was caught. o­n July 15, 1992, Anthony Winans of St. Joseph outlasted a 55-pound 12-ounce grass carp that fell for a prepared bait. Who knows what other behemoths may lurk in the waters of the Platte?

Tributaries of the Missouri River have a tendency to produce memorable catches. If Winans' catch isn't enough to pique your interest, seasonal white bass and crappie fishing may provide the incentive to explore the Platte.

Take a “walk” with Harry Truman

Harry Truman was so fond of walking through his hometown of Independence, MO, that the city has honored him with a trail of his own.

Harry Truman was so fond of walking through his hometown of Independence, MO, that the city has honored him with a trail of his own.

The city completed the Truman Historic Walking Trail in 2003 as a tribute to the eventful and triumphant life of its most famous resident. The 5-mile trail links 43 memorable places in Truman's life, with a customized brass plaque at each site describing its significance.

While he remained in good health, Truman took almost daily walks through the Downtown Independence square area, past his barbershop, the church where he and Bess were married and to his office in the Truman Presidential Museum and Library. He enjoyed strolling the tree-shaded streets of his beloved neighborhood where he lived, was invited to dinner and stopped to play cards. “I walk early to get a chance to think over things and get feady for (the) work of the day,” Truman o­nce said.

Many of the sites he passed are included o­n the trail, which is designed to be a self-guided experience. Along the way are homes of Truman's friends and associates and several landmarks, including Truman's courtroom in the historic Jackson County Courthouse and Clinton's Drug Store where he held his first job.

To pick up a map of the trail, stop by Fire Station No. 1 at 223 North Main o­n the square. The building now houses the Truman Ticket Center and offices for the National Park Service, which conducts tours of Truman's nearby home. Or call Independence Tourism at 1-800-748-7323. For more details, visit  www.visitindependence.com