Origins of Order No. 11
An Uncivil Civil War By Ralph Monaco II
T Articles Origins of Order No. 11: An Uncivil Civil War ................... 1 The courthouse that survives the times ....................................... 3 Bingham paintings tell history ..... 8 Truman courthouse rededication speech .................... 10 Courthouses are the center of our civic live ................................. 9 Stately structures: amazing sagas of county court houses ...... 10 Exhibit tells history with Bingham paintings...................... 14 The Legacy of KC’s Black Gospel Blues .............................. 21 Painfully Great In ’58: Bob Cerv’s MVP Season ................... 25
his year marks the sesquicentennial of the most climactic year of the Civil War.
At the dawn of 1863, the country was embroiled in a bitter partisan struggle pitting those determined to preserve the Union against those resolved to establish the Confederacy. The year 1863 began with President Lincoln issuing the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1 and it reached its denouement with Lincoln giving his Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19. Between those two dates, the battles and bloodletting in the eastern front and the banditry and bushwhacking along the western border reached its zenith. As the sun rose on New Year’s Day 1863, the Civil War was entering its third year with the outcome in doubt. To the surprise, shock and stun of the industrial north, the southern states had not been vanquished. Many, including Confederate President Jefferson Davis, predicted that southern independence was imminent. Davis was confident that once spring descended upon the land, Gen. Robert E. Lee would ascend into the north and victory would be assured. For the people in the north, the first two years of the war had demonstrated Lee’s genius and the resilience of his Army of Virginia.
A hail of Grasshoppers: The 1870s plague............................... 28
To the Lincoln administration and other defenders of the Union the latest catastrophe at Fredericksburg the previous month only heightened a sense of peril of losing the war.
The struggles in western Missouri and eastern Kansas were unsettling to the preservation of the Union. Unlike the battles in the east, the western front had been marked by a relentless and unforgiving guerrilla war of
Editor’s note ................................. 2 JCHS news ................................. 27 JCHS publishes local history...... 30
(Continued on page 16)
2 Jackson County Historical Society OFFICERS R. James Stilley Jr., President Sharon Williams, President-Elect Karen Penrod, Secretary Angie Felarca, Treasurer Ralph A. Monaco, II, VP DIRECTORS A. Scott Cauger Debra Gildehaus Karen Graves Jimmy Johnson, III George B. Lopez Benjamin Mann Michael Manners J. Bradley Pace Al Pitzner, Jr. Barbara Potts Charlotte Ronan David Ross Brent Schondelmeyer Gloria J. Smith Shirley Wurth STAFF Steve Noll, Executive Director David W. Jackson, Archivist ALL surface-mail correspondence must be delivered to PO Box 4241, Independence, Mo. 64051-4241. JCHS History Center and Archives 112 W. Lexington, Room 120 Independence, Mo. 64050
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013
Sharing our history
urs is a rich history – more varied than we imagine – particularly when we expand our world to include larger cultural and social interests.
We are thrilled to restart The Jackson County Historical Society Journal – our first journal in over three years. We thank our authors for their excellent contributions and helping us restart this publication. This issue includes several articles that cover three different centuries and take up a variety of topics – an intentional choice. We feature an article about Order No. 11— a singular and still controversial event in our regional history made infamous by Missouri artist George Caleb Bingham in mural painted while he lived in Jackson County. And Bingham gets his due with a feature about the new Jackson County Art Museum which features Bingham paintings and portraits. We share several companion articles about Missouri courthouses and give proper attention to the recent reopening of the courthouse on the Independence Square. We are thrilled to share an article about a much overlooked topic – early African-American gospel music in Kansas City and how it later led to development of Kansas City jazz and blues. And given the recent successes of our area baseball team, we thought it would be fun to share a piece about a long forgotten remarkable season of Kansas City Athletics player and no, it is not Roger Maris. We also share a wonderful first-person letter about an early grasshopper plague that was “so thick on the houses you can hardly tell a brick house from a frame house.” Our small staff has been extraordinarily busy so we have formed an editorial board to take up this important task and hope to publish two JCHS Journals annually.
1859 Jail Museum 217 N. Main St. Independence, Mo. 64050
We have missed publishing The Journal and sharing the wonderful history of our region.
Volume 52, Number 2, Winter 2013. The Jackson County Historical Society Journal (ISSN 0888-4978) is published semi-annually by the Jackson County (Mo) Historical Society, a non-profit Missouri educational corporation. Back issues are available on the JCHS website www.jchs.org.
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All rights reserved. Contents, when fully credited, may be used with written permission.
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JCHS Journal — Winter 2013
Holding court with the past:
The courthouse that survives the times By David W. Jackson
he Historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse on Independence Square, is a monument to the past and symbol for our future. More than one third of Missouri’s 114 counties boast courthouses over 100 years old. The courthouses typically represent the most architecturally significant building in their county.
dedicated in 2013 as the Jackson County Historic Truman Courthouse, in recognition of the 80th Anniversary of Truman’s Great Depression-era accomplishment. In addition to being timely, the recent restoration projects were much needed.
Teenagers for entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights between the 1930s through the mid1960s used to cruise one-way around the Courthouse Square walking, biking, or showing off their cars by “winding the clock” driving around the courthouse.
Hardscaped retaining walls surrounding the County Courthouse from a 1970s Urban Renewal project have been removed, and the
Jackson County has the rare distinction of claiming not one, but two surviving 19th century court-
The earliest courthouses
When constructed, the town or city selected as the “county seat,” was the administrative center of its county. Often, county courthouses have imposing, elaborate structural ornamentation, domes, and clock towers attesting to the prosperity and pride of its citizenry. “There can be no doubt that they are today among the county’s most tangible links with its past,” writes J. Bradley Pace, author of, “Survivors: A Catalog of Missouri’s Remaining 19th Century County Courthouses.” This notable anniversary and rededication coincided with the building’s complete restoration and adaptive reuse for the benefit of future generations of Jackson County citizens and the many tourists who visit Independence each year. After considerable planning, construction and expense, the Courthouse you see today — which was last remodeled under Harry S. Truman’s tenure as an elected county official in 1933 — was re-
Log Jackson County Courthouse, located one block south of Independence Square at 107 West Kansas
beautiful, manicured lawn restored. Long-lost parking was restored to the Square to accommodate patrons at restaurants, a movie theater, and a unique assortment of boutique shops.
houses: the 1827 log courthouse and later the first brick courthouse erected in 1838. The log courthouse was built in 1827 using African-American slave labor. That temporary structure was originally located one block east of the Square at Lexington Avenue and
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013 Before them lay a six-month journey across the continent once they ‘jumped off’ from Missouri’s western boundary. Without wagon seats or shocks, people walked the 2,000-plus mile journey through the late spring and summer months each year. Perhaps the most infamous wagon train of some 250 wagons leaving Independence Square was the ill-fated Donner Party in 1846.
Architect George Fredrick Wallace’s 1932 concept drawing of what became the Jackson County Truman Courthouse. Wallace was Harry Truman’s brother-in-law
Lynn Street. It later was moved in 1916 to the old City Hall property at 107 West Kansas, one block south of Independence Courthouse Square. The log structure was replaced with a brick building constructed in 1831 in the middle of Independence Square. That building was improperly constructed and was soon replaced with the first permanent brick courthouse in 1838. Interestingly, this building was never torn down and comprises the core of the current courthouse. There are at least three areas within the current-day building where one can glimpse the 1838 structure. A first-floor closet is a remnant of one of the original four corner fireplace flues. Inside the Jackson County Historical Society’s History Center, just to the left of its vault door, you can stand at a once-exterior corner of the 1838 structure and look out the current-
Their stories, and those of other diarists, too, are documented just a few blocks away in the Merrill J. Mattes Research Library of the National Frontier Trails Museum.
day windows to see just how large the Courthouse lawn was in those earliest days.
But to get the best feeling for the 1838 structure, stand in the Circuit Court courtroom (commonly known as the Brady Courtroom) on the second floor. Excluding the north side extension of the room, the Brady Courtroom is the second floor of the 1838 Jackson County Courthouse.
This building was requisitioned during the Civil War. Soldiers were quartered inside and it was used as a field hospital, and endured bullets fired in two major battles that raged through Independence Square, not to mention other skirmishes during the Border War and Civil War period, 1854-1864.1
Each of the four, angled corners are the location of the original corner fireplace flues. In the basement, you can still see a brick-lined tunnel beneath the first structure.
magine the hustle and bustle of thousands of travelers who circled the Courthouse Square on their way west on the Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails. There were rowdy saloons and clanging blacksmith shops, horses, mules, oxen and every type of animal-pulled vehicle by people from all over the U.S. and abroad.
In 1853, the courthouse was enlarged.
The Courthouse suffered damage by troops in Col. Jennison’s regiment of Kansas Volunteers in November 1861. In August the following year, the building was caught in the middle of the First Battle of Independence Afterwards, 19 or 20 wounded soldiers were moved to the Courthouse for care. There period between September 1862,and June 1863 wrought more havoc to the Courthouse.
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013
The county commissioners appointed Frederick F. Yeager, Miles Washington Burford, and James C. Carpenter to assess damages to the Courthouse, fencing and lawn. They reported that damages included the destruction of chairs, tables, stands, doors, windows, plastering etc. to the extent of $510.90. Additionally, 70-feet of cobblestone and 902-feet of railing would cost another $4,138. 2 In April and May 1864, the Court replaced windows panes and repaired the Courthouse roof. 3 As the Civil War concluded, the county court paid Peter Hinters $28 in March 1865 to clean the landscape surrounding the Courthouse.4 Further remodeling The courthouse was significantly remodeled in 1872, a minor facelift in 1887 and completely redone in 1907. At the beginning of the Great Depression, voters approved a multimillion-dollar bond issue that allotted $200,000 for a new County Courthouse on Independence Square. “As the highest elected official in the County of Jackson, Judge [Harry S.] Truman provided the leadership not only to pave thousands of miles of roads [and build bridges] but to provide improvements to the Independence Square Courthouse and to construct a new 15-story Courthouse in downtown Kansas City in the style of the times, Art Deco.,” writes Brian Snyder in a manuscript about the courthouse. “He took a prominent interest in the Courthouse renova-
Dedication Day, September 7, 2013
tion in Independence. He traveled the country studying the architecture of other public building and talking to architects at his own expense and on his own time. It was at Judge Truman’s direction and insistence that the core of the 1836 Courthouse structure remain.”5
One of the persons who personally vouched for the “historic treasure” was Dwight Brown, Kansas City architect. Brown, as a young professional just out of college, worked on the complicated rehabilitation project in 1932-1933.
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013 through the late 1950s and early 1960s. In the late 1990s interest was renewed in restoring the courthouse and the Independence Square. Additional impetus was provided by Ken and Cindy McClain who began acquiring Square properties and opening businesses.
emnants of several portions of the former courthouse have been saved. One relict is an 1879 steamboat bell that had been installed in one of the earlier courthouse renditions. A bustling Independence Square, Lexington Avenue from Liberty, ca. 1940s
Brown worked with David Frederick Wallace, Truman’s brotherin-law, whose special interest, talent, and training were in colonial architecture. Wallace’s concept of design was the one from which the architectural firm Keene and Simpson made working drawings. Unfortunately, there were no blueprints of the 1838 Courthouse and they could find no working drawings of 1887 and 1907 remodelings, Brown added. The County Court had voted to raze all of the structure, save the 1838 original, said Brown. In actuality, this was not done. Major portions of previous additions were salvaged and incorporated into the 1933 design. “I measured the old building inside and out — every wall, partition and beam,” wrote Brown. “I can testify to its antiquity.” Demolition was required of the east portion that supported the
square clock tower and an 1887 west wing. Brown recalled some of the beams were joined with wooden pegs and that the plaster was “horse hair” vintage. Wallace drew his plans enclosing the 1838 courthouse. The buff brick facing, which had given the courthouse a new look in 1907, was removed. Red colonial brick and white Indiana limestone trimmings were added to punctuate classical columns and porticos on the north and south. Pace described the 1933 remodeling as, “a pleasing and elegant structure inspired by Independence Hall and resembling a Colonial Virginia meetinghouse.” Independence Square and the Jackson County Courthouse were not alone in dealing with the decay of its traditional hometown, downtown central business district
Printed reports gathered over the years indicate there were periods — long periods — when the bell would cease tolling . In 1975, County Public Works verified that an old bell about two and a half feet across was at the top of the cupola. There was no clapper in the bell, but attached to a rope was a 10-pound metal striker, or metal hammer arm which struck the edge of the bell. “The bell will chime again, on the hour. “The sound is beautiful. It’s got a great tone to it,” Jackson County Executive, Mike Sanders, said. After several years of dedicated work to restore the historic building, Sanders re-dedicated the Historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse on Sept. 7, 2013. The occasion was exactly 80 years to the day and time from when Harry S. Truman (whose position at the time was akin to the County Executive) first dedicated the building.
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013 Footnotes 1
“Citizens Helped to Rebuild County Courthouse in 1837,” Independence (Mo.) Examiner, 27 Aug. 1937. 2
Jackson County Court Minutes, July, 1863, 12:100600. On March 2, 1863, the roof was repaired in preparation for the Circuit Court session (12:100510), with thanks to Nancy M. Ehrlich, who also found Yager (1860 U.S. Census spelling) was a master carpenter; Burford was director of Independence Branch of the Southern Bank of St. Louis; and, Carpenter was a Rhode Island-born farmer living south of 24 near Salem Church. Ehrlich also found the notation that, “most of the wounded have been taken to Kansas. Those that were not able to be moved, are at the courthouse, are well taken care of, and are getting along well. There are nineteen or twenty here,” in the Cleveland Morning Leader (Cleveland, Ohio), 3 Sept. 1862, (http:// chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.lccn/ sn83035142/1862-09-03/ed-1/seq-1/ viewed 3 Apr. 2013). 3
Per Nancy M. Ehrlich, on April 4, 1864, the County Court paid J. C. Atkins $70.90 to replace glass (Jackson County Court Minutes (12:101771); and, on May 2, 1864, paid Pollard and Fairman $470 for repairing the Courthouse roof (12:100794). Years later in 1908, Jackson County received “$410 rental for the Courthouse and jail in Independence occupied by soldiers in war time…. The orig-
inal [war] claim filed by the Jackson County officials amounted to $21,684. It was based upon the fact that about November 1, 1861, Union troops under Colonel Jennison took possession of the Independence Courthouse, the jail and Square upon which those buildings stood and occupied them as officers’ quarters and for hospital purposes. Other troops under the command of Colonel Buell, Colonel Van Horn, Colonel Penick and others occupied the buildings until July 1865. The claim was itemized as follows: Rent of the Courthouse and Square, three years eight months and 14 days at $3,000 a year, $11,116; rent of jail from January 1, 1862, to July 15, 1865, at $720 a year, $2,548; repairs to buildings made necessary by reason of such occupancy, $8,000; total, $21,664.Old War Claims Paid.” The Blue & Grey Chronicle. (June 2013): 16: 5: 12-13. 4
County Court Minutes, per Nancy M. Ehrlich, Vol. 12, p. 336. Hinters, a barber by trade, became Mayor of Independence shortly thereafter. In 1877, he used his straight razor to commit suicide. 5
Snyder, Brian K. “Harry Truman’s Courthouse and Beyond.” Three-leave manuscript, possibly draft text for a subsequently published article. Jackson County (Mo.) Historical Society Archives, Document ID 276.01276.03. . Snyder continues, “Judge Harry Truman’s public improvement project was a huge success and was touted in a 122-page book entitled “Results of County Planning,
When was the brick courthouse really built?
New scholarship expands, improves, and sometimes corrects long-held knowledge about our past. An example is the date for construction of Jackson County’s first brick Courthouse on Independence Square. The brick courthouse was completed in 1831 but needed to be replaced. Traditional published (and, re-published) history accounts record the completion date for the replacement courthouse as being 1836. As David W. Jackson demonstrates in his forthcoming book, “Winding the Clock on Independence Square,” the date more likely was September 1838. A minor point. But, a factual point nonetheless. On Dec. 19, 1836, the Jackson County Court received a document from Grand Jurors which described “the dilapidated, deplorable condition of the Courthouse” and repairs would be “fruitless and unavailing.” The court ordered “that a new Court-
Jackson County, Missouri.” Harry Truman took these successes with him to Washington D.C. In the summer of 1947 while at a speaking engagement at the University of Virginia, surrounded by the architecture of Thomas Jefferson, President Truman was inspired to add a balcony to the south portico of the White House. He even imagined that he would be fulfilling a plan that Jefferson himself would have implemented. Months later, President Truman would begin to notice signs of deterioration of the White House structure itself. One of the grand chandeliers swayed from just foot traffic while its support chain had stretched to its limits and was near failure. One of Margaret Truman’s pianos actually broke through the floor. [A special] commission would eventually recommend the historic preservation alternative and the nation was about to implement one of its largest restoration project in its history. The exterior walls were to remain and be restored. The interior structure would be dismantled and reconstructed with the addition of a two-story basement. The entire structure would be supported and reinforced with modern materials combined with updates for security and modern conveniences for a total cost of $5,761,000.” 6
Fox, Jeff. “Courthouse Bell Will Chime Again,” The (Independence, Mo.) Examiner, 13 July 2013.
house be built upon the site now occupied by the old one” and appropriated $5,000. On Feb. 6, 1837, the County Court ordered “that the foundation of the old Courthouse be sold by the Superintendent [Henry Chiles].” On Feb. 20, court clerk Samuel Combs Owens recorded: “Daniel King undertook the building of the brick and stone work on the new Courthouse” for $3,500. King was partially paid on Aug. 22, 1837; and another “10 percent on the amount due,” on May 10, 1838. John Parker was allowed a similar payment on 20 Sept. 1838, for “the [carpentry] work done on the Courthouse.” Jackson County’s first permanent, brick Courthouse was completed in September 1838. It is this historic structure that survives, and is the nucleus of today’s courthouse. The early Jackson County Court minutes are available for research on microform in the Society’s Archives.
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013
Truman Courthouse Rededication — Sept. 7, 2013 Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders’ edited remarks
xactly 80 years ago today, on a warm summer afternoon, the citizens of Jackson County gathered in the county seat of Independence to dedicate a newly refurbished and reimagined county courthouse. At that ceremony, then Presiding Judge Harry S. Truman declared: “Here is your courthouse Jackson County finished and furnished within the budget set aside to build it.” Now 80 years later, humbly standing here in Truman’s footsteps, as your County Executive, I am proud to once again present the citizens of Jackson County with your county courthouse, which has been finished on time and on budget. The completion of this project is a shining example of how our government can work efficiently and effectively. We can take pride in the fact that this beautiful courthouse behind us is being re-opened to the citizens of Jackson County without asking them for additional tax dollars. When these courthouse doors open back up in just a few minutes, our citizens will be able to visit the courtroom where President Truman began his political career, as well as the historic Brady Courtroom.
“History just isn’t in books. It’s all up and down these streets. And knowing something because it is a fact isn’t really knowing something at all. To really know something is when you feel it. And when you come here, you feel the story of Independence, Mo. and thus the story of the United States of America.”
uring the Civil War, Union and Confederate troops battled on the ground where we stand today. These same streets were a key meeting point for settlers who were headed west along the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California trails, in search of a better and more prosperous life. And the key decisions that Truman made as president were based on the ideals he learned while living just a few blocks away on Delaware Street. All of us here today are now the stewards of that rich history. It is important that we work to keep the spirit and the memories of this city square alive, not only for our citizens today, but for the generations to come. More than anything, though, today is a reminder of the man who bears the name of this courthouse — President Harry S. Truman.
Shortly after his presidency ended, he returned home. In his typical and enYou will see a museum space filled dearing no-nonsense style, Truman Mike Sanders with world-class pieces of art, along spoke glowingly of his hometown and with a tourism center that welcomes visitors to our our county seat of Independence by saying: community. “It’s good to be back home, in what I call the cenAnd as you heard just a few minutes ago — for the first time in more than 20 years — the bell on the iconic clock tower is ringing once again and will continue to ring for years to come. But today is about more than the building that sits behind us. It marks another key milestone in the revitalization of the Independence Square. During a 1993 speech, historian and Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough had this to say about Independence, our county seat.
ter of the world….Independence, Missouri. I think it’s the greatest town in the United States and I’ve been all over the country and I’ve been to Europe and South America and several other places. But I still like to come back home and I’ll continue to feel that way as long as I live. It’s the center of things for me and I’m more than happy to be here and to stay here for the rest of my life.” While President Truman has passed on, his words and his legacy still live on….in this town, in this county, and now, once again….in this Courthouse.
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013
Courthouse is the center of our civic life These are excerpts of a speech Pulitzer-prize winning author David McCullough gave in Independence, Mo. at First Baptist Church on May 8, 1993.
e need to know more about the symbolic importance of architecture. The idea was the courthouse was literally and figuratively the center of the town. When you went up to the courthouse square, you had all the necessities of life and the shops and the center of the town – where the town clock is – is a place of government, free government. You could go and petition your government there. The person who is the official there is your neighbor. He walks up the same street to the town hall. The fact that you tell the time, by the town clock, is extremely important. Your orientation in both time and space is being determined by the symbolic building which is the center of your government. If government is at the center, then government matters. It is not extraneous. Now some people don’t care about any of this. Some people couldn’t care less. Town people leave at the depot and they return to the depot. Now just imagine what it meant then in emotional terms and the emotional residue in the vicinity of the old Independence depot. The people going away to war, people going to college, people going away because they had to get out of town. People coming home for wedding and funerals. Do we dismiss all that? Do we tear the old thing down or crucify it with graffiti because it has no value and those people have no meaning to us? Well maybe those people don’t have meaning to us, but the culture they created is still here. We are all,
every single one of us, beneficiaries of the people who went before us. And if we dismiss them and write them off as irrelevant, or boring, or old-fashion and out of date and dead, then we are not just being ignorant, stupid, blind. We’re being rude. Gratitude. Where’s our gratitude?
ow if one loves one’s country, or one’s town, a desire to protect what is best about it or to save and perpetuate its character is an expression of that love. But in the case of Independence, Mo., the responsibility is greater than that. What is done to save the distinguishing characteristics of Independence is really, in fact, and always at heart, should be for the national interest. Your town is known everywhere, I assure you. And everywhere I travel, people tell me: “Those first few chapters made me want to go see Independence.” “Those first few chapters have led to a completely different interest and understanding in the nature and in the life and times past in Jackson County.” “My husband and I are driving west later this month to visit the Truman house. Is it like it used to be?” Etc. You have as much responsibility to maintain the best of your city as the people in Concord, Mass. have because Emerson lived there. As much as the people of Emporia, Kan. do because William Allen White lived there. As much as Salem, Ill. because Abraham Lincoln lived there. It isn’t just for you to decide willy-nilly that it just doesn’t matter anymore. Because you have national duty and a great opportunity, not just to serve your town but to serve your country.
Truman National Historic Landmark District expanded The historic Independence Square is now included in an expanded Truman National Historic Landmark District including over 560 properties of which 455 are “contributing” properties to the historic district. The official National Park Service nomination contains detailed information about the neighborhood, homes and buildings making it one of the best documented neighborhoods in the region and discussed in a new book by historian Jon Taylor titled Harry Truman's Independence: The Center of the World. National Historic Landmarks are designated by the US. Secretary of Interior and represent sites where events of national historical significance occurred; places where prominent persons lived or worked; icons of ideals that shaped the nation; outstanding examples of design or construction; places characterizing a way of life; or archeological sites able to yield information.
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013
Missouri’s Stately Structures:
The amazing sagas of county courthouses By J. Bradley Pace
ounty courthouses occupy a central place in our history.
Their first and most obvious role is to house the court system – that human institution designed to be the great leveler. In Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, fictional attorney Atticus Finch, later played to perfection on film by Gregory Peck, explains to the jury that the court is the one place in all the land where we are all truly equal, whether rich or poor, uneducated or college president. But a court is only as good as its jury, and in Mockingbird the jury listened carefully to closing arguments and then promptly convicted an innocent man. In the real world we know that the occasional injustice does occur but society still by and large places its trust in the judicial system, embodied in brick and mortar by the courthouse. Courthouses, like the nation they serve, are as much an idea as a place. While the legal role of the county courthouse is obvious, they have also historically enjoyed a very high social relevance. Before the automobile most people spent the majority of their lives within the confines of their county. Cities competed vigorously and sometimes violently for the coveted status of county seat. County government, particularly in smaller jurisdictions, was traditionally
housed in the courthouse, providing space for the school boards, tax commissions, roads and other government bodies. The county courthouse was usually constructed on prime real estate at the center of the town square, and was the natural site for civic gatherings, protests, rallies and speeches of all kinds. The courthouse was literally and figuratively the center of the town. A trip to the courthouse square offered all the necessities of life; shops, restaurants, government, and the town clock. Although now diminished by technology and interstate highways, county courthouses and the roads linking them historically constituted a kind of national network, or “skeleton”, serving as market centers and transportation hubs. The county courthouse has always been built with a great deal of pride, and with something more in mind than mere functionality. Particularly in the 19th century, courthouses were intended to evidence the greatness of the county and often featured elaborate ornamentation or symbolic design elements. When first built, many were the most architecturally significant structure in their county, and some remain so still. Some, like Iron County’s 1858 courthouse, featured gazebo-style bandstands used for concerts, speeches, town events, and even Christmas caroling. Others, like Cass County’s 1897 building, originally included a comfortably furnished room set
aside for weary travelers, town square shoppers, and those just needing a meeting place. Their modern replacements clearly have a tough act to follow. In the past, as now, financing a new county courthouse was always difficult. Cass County purchased bricks for a new courthouse just before the Civil War. The hardship produced by that conflict and financial hard times that followed meant that the citizens had to wait over 30 years before their 1897 courthouse was finally constructed at a cost of $45,000.
ven that expense, a huge amount for the day, was not enough to pay for a working clock in the clock tower. It was left to a grassroots effort to raise the necessary capital. In 1908 the all-female “Town Clock Club” was organized to hold fundraising events including pie suppers, “most industrious women contest,” “laziest man contest” and a minstrel show. Sufficient funds were raised in less than a year. A similar challenge arose when the 1859 Miller County courthouse was remodeled in 1910-13. Lacking funds for a proper timepiece, a temporary fix was provided when a clock face was simply painted onto the clock tower. The county never raised the necessary money and so the painter’s illusion became permanent with periodic touchups over the years. The opening of a new courthouse has traditionally been a major so-
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013 cial event. When the Moniteau County courthouse opened in 1867 the locals celebrated by holding a ball in the courtroom. Attendees arrived by horse from all across the county. The ball reportedly lasted two days with the courtroom hosting at alternate times up to 24 couples dancing the cotillion, or 3 double lines for the Virginia reel. In 1898 rural Caldwell County held cornerstone ceremonies for its new courthouse in Kingston, 2,000 people showed up to see and be seen. As late as 1958, when the 1858 Ralls County courthouse was rededicated, the courts and mayors of the three main towns in the county declared a legal holiday. Businesses were closed so no one would miss the festivities, which included dancing, food and drink, speeches, a parade, and the coronation of “Queens” representing seven county townships.
lose examination of any county courthouse in Missouri will reveal much history. The grounds typically include various plaques and inscriptions, memorials, plus the occasional relic or time capsule. From the civil war cannon on the lawn of the 1888 Barton County courthouse, to the “Old Drum” dog statue guarding Johnson County’s 1896 building, to the cannonball embedded in the 1849 Lafayette County structure, all the courts have a rich story to tell. When Jasper County constructed its 1895 courthouse in Carthage the obvious choice for building material was the locally mined light-colored limestone known as “Carthage marble,” a stone partly
responsible for the great wealth in the county at that time. Several surviving Missouri courthouses, including Lafayette County, still bear scars from the Civil War. The 1858 Iron County courthouse played a central role in the Battle of Pilot Knob. Cannon and rifle holes can still be seen on the building. During the battle the courthouse served as a barracks and was occupied at alternate times by Confederates and Union troops. After the fighting it was pressed into service as a badly needed hospital. Today two ancient army cannons stand on its front lawn as evidence of that bitter time. The 1885 Crawford County courthouse hosted a slice of Americana when, in 1954, 2,000 people attended an elaborate ceremony to celebrate the end of the county’s outdated crank telephone system. Festivities included a parade, free barbecue, speeches, and the dynamiting of an old switchboard. The
Warren County Courthouse demolition in 1995. Nick Decker, photographer
parade stopped in front of the courthouse as an “Old Cranker” phone was actually buried on the lawn. Final respects were given in a eulogy by a local Baptist minister, and a call was then placed to the Governor over a new rotary phone. Not exactly an important legal moment, but a classic example of a small courthouse at the center of county life. In the 21st century many of Missouri’s old county courthouses face an uncertain future. In some cases money and a lack of public awareness have resulted in their destruction. The 1870 Warren County courthouse was demolished in 1995, and the 1871 Clark County courthouse was destroyed in 2011.
very time one of these structures falls to the wrecking ball a large part of its county’s history is lost forever. Some, like the Jackson County Truman courthouse, have thankfully been saved through a creative mix of public and private uses. Others may find their niche in a purely commercial role. Efforts have recently been underway to convert the Miller County courthouse for possible use as a bed and breakfast. Over the years Missouri’s county courthouses have captured the imagination of not only the public, but also two of the state’s most celebrated artists, George Caleb Bingham (1811 – 1879) and Thomas Hart Benton (1889 – 1975). Both men spent much of their lives in Missouri and sought to chronicle its history and colorful characters. A rich portrayal of frontier life can be found in Bingham’s “The County Election,” which depicts last minute electioneering on the courthouse steps.
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013 tling center for trade and migration, complete with covered wagon, a farmer bringing hay to market, and of course the courthouse on the town square. The square two-story building with four corner chimneys and central tower included in the mural is the 1838 Jackson County courthouse in its original configuration. The building is presented as an essential part of the city scene, and representing the final stage in settlement of the West. Notes on Sources: Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1960. J. Bradley Pace, Survivors: A Catalog of Missouri’s Remaining 19th Century County Courthouses, CreateSpace, North Charleston, South Carolina, 2011. “Have a Seat”, The Washington Post, July 4, 1999. Notes from Speech by David McCullough, “Neighbor Truman’s Town: An American Treasure”, May 8, 1993.
Thomas Hart Benton painting the mural in the Missouri state capitol
Although “County Election” shows only part of the courthouse itself, it is the center of gravity for all the activity displayed. Bingham presents another scene on the courthouse steps in “The Verdict of the People,” depicting the announcement of election results.
n the 1930s Thomas Hart Benton was commissioned to produce murals in the Missouri State capitol building in Jefferson City. In one mural a courthouse is shown amid much town square activity, including a political gathering. Another panel depicts an
interior scene where a trial is underway before a sleeping judge. The murals — “A Social History of Missouri” — can be seen in the House Lounge in the Missouri Capitol. In 1959 former President Harry S. Truman commissioned Benton to paint a large mural in the entrance of his Presidential Library in Independence The mural’s theme is conveyed through its title “Independence and the Opening of the West.” The lower portion (or predella) of the mural shows the city of Independence as it would have been encountered in the 1840s, a bus-
National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form (Iron County Courthouse), Claire F. Blackwell, Department of Natural Resources, Office of Historic Preservation, Jefferson City, Missouri, 1979. Cyrus Peterson and Joseph Hanson, Pilot Knob: The Thermopylae of the West, New York, the Neale Publishing Company, 1914. Historic Missouri Courthouses, Missouri Historical Review, Vol. 58 (July 1954), inside back cover. The Cass County Democrat, Harrisonville, Missouri, May 21, 1976. “The Harrisonville Town Clock Club”. Bulletin of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc., Vol. XIX, Feb., 1977. Daily Capital News, Jefferson City, Missouri, May 18, 1960.
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013
“Grand Inaugural Ball Held for Courthouse 70 Years Ago”, California Democrat, May 13, 1937. The Hamiltonian, Hamilton, Missouri, September 2, 1898. “Ralls County Courthouse Centennial July 26”, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 10. 1958. “Construction was a Challenging Undertaking”, The Carthage Press, August 15, 1994. Crawford County, Missouri 1829-1987, by Crawford County History Book Committee, Turner Publishing Co., 1987, pages 8, 30. “George Caleb Bingham” – The Making of The County Election”, http:// www. slam.org/bingham/ “Jefferson City, Missouri Murals of Thomas Hart Benton”, http:// www.wpamurals.com/JeffCity.htm “Independence and the Opening of the West”, www.trumanlibrary.org/teacher/ benton.htm Marian M. Ohman, Encyclopedia of Missouri Courthouses, Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri-Columbia Extension Office 1981. Various plaques on courthouse grounds.
Other Missouri counties are making major investment to renovate local court houses. The Bates County Courthouse, in Butler, Mo., was originally built in 1902 and recently restored at a cost of $1.4 million. The structure, made of Carthage marble, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one of four Missouri court houses constructed on a design by an architect by George E. McDonald.
And there’s more: Look for related information on our new website We are truly excited about our history and honestly could not get every thing we wanted to share our revived print edition of JCHS Journal.
An interview with Paul Wenske on his interest in Kansas City African-American music and his project to produce a documentary film.
So we put more online.
Music video of George Caleb Bingham’s Order No. 11 with original music composed and performed by area musician Dana Mengel — one of several Bingham inspired pieces which he and his brother Les have recorded.
Go to www.jchs.org/winter2013 and find interesting information related to many of the published articles and some wonderful bonus features. Special features include: Full text of David McCullough’s 1993 speech about Truman, historic preservation, Independence and county courthouses Slide show of Kansas City African-American gospel singers with links to some of their music.
Links to the Truman National Historic Landmark District National Park Service nomination including detailed descriptions of over 500 properties. Link to a talk by historian Jon Taylor on why President Harry Truman considered Independence the “center of the world.”
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013
County opens art gallery
Exhibit tells history with Bingham paintings By Patricia Moss
n George Caleb Bingham: Witness to History, the opening exhibit of the Jackson Art Museum in the newly renovated courthouse, visitors can see beautifully conserved portraits and exquisite prints by the Missouri Artist, view history through his eyes and judge the art and life of the famed 19th artist from the perspective of the 21st century. George Caleb Bingham (18111879) is now acknowledged as one of America’s finest artists. Born in Virginia, reared in Missouri’s Dixie, he chose Jackson County as his home for the last two decades of his life.
and concludes that after his sojourn in Europe from 1856-1859, his work deteriorated. The negative criticism is based almost exclusively on Martial Law or Order No. 11 and generally ignores the impact of the Civil War, which closely followed.
he exhibition offers a fresh look at the man as a talented, ambitious, persevering frontier artist who modulated cursory training, books of engravings, and a cabinet-making apprenticeship into a distinctive, precisely measured geometric style that informed his lifetime’s work. n the chronological yet also thematic presentation, portraits from America’s antebellum years into the Gilded Age demonstrate how the artist retained his basic composition but continuously improved his technique. Examples of his early work show the artist’s skill even with a limited palette. Through the paintings, visitors can view how Bingham advanced from the hidden brushstrokes and the brightly lit angular planes typical of American primitivism and Luminism to masterful chiaroscuro, undulating curves, rich color and bold impasto.
George Caleb Bingham, Mary Snell (Mrs. Priestly Haggin McBride), 1836/7
Mid-20th century assessment of the artist — repeated after nearly 60 years — focuses almost exclusively on his paintings of everyday life, dismisses his portraits
The central room of the museum contains prints of the artist’s paintings of everyday life in the 1840s and 1850s. Integral to their creation was the American ArtUnion whose support freed Bingham to pursue his political passion
in both the legislature and the studio. The scenes of everyday life are rich with meaning. Some interpretations speak to political issues of the time. Others contain visual references to works of other painters that Bingham’s audience knew either consciously or subconsciously. The fourth room may be my personal favorite. The colors harmonize.
George Caleb Bingham, Sarah [Sallie] Harris Rodes (Mrs. Anthony W. Rollins), c. 1855
A large rectangular portrait of Bingham’s best friend, James Sidney Rollins, 1855/1856, discovered not long ago, hangs next to an oval portrait of the man’s mother. Both Bingham’s craftsmanship and affection for his subjects can be seen in the two portraits. In the same room, created with the same palette, are the important portraits
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013 of two men responsible for increasing the southwestern trade.
looked final genre work, The Puzzled Witness.
The fifth of the six museum galleries is devoted to the effect of the Civil War’s tragedies as told through the stories behind individual portraits and through one of the finest engravings in existence of Martial Law or Order No. 11. Included in the display is a rediscovered portrait not seen since the early 1950s, Julia George, 1869/1870.
At the end of the courthouse exhibit, the viewer is asked, after reviewing the evidence in the life and art of George Caleb Bingham, what is the 21st century verdict?
In addition to fine examples of Bingham’s art in the 1870s, the final gallery presents an interpretation of Bingham’s usually over-
Artwork for the exhibition came from the collections of Kenneth B. and Cynthia McClain, the State Historical Society of MissouriColumbia and the personal collection of the art curator, Joan Stack; from the Jackson County Historical Society, and others.
Curator’s Commentary Like many Midwest natives who grew up around the paintings of George Caleb Bingham his artwork is part of the fabric of my being. I did not truly appreciate him until I returned home after 20 some years away. I was studying local history in primary sources and found it far more complex and puzzling than what I learned in school. I found answers to some of the puzzles in the faces and in the stories behind the portraits of George Caleb Bingham. I came to believe that art, even more than the written word, reveals a detailed and accurate picture of history. This idea changed my life. My belief applies to all art and history, worldwide, but it is the Midwest I know and love. I began to look for images of all Bingham portraits. It was in the pages of this very publication in September 2001, that David Jackson announced my “Bingham Portrait Patricia Moss
George Caleb Bingham, John Campbell, c. 1860
Project.” Jackson was also the person who searched for and found the first “lost” portrait, Judge Thomas Chevis, 1837. As a work of art, the portrait is exquisite. As history, the back story is that in the last days of the Civil War, Judge Chevis, a Union supporter, was shot in the back for his horse. His story is one of the hundreds of capricious violence at the western border where political affiliation justified personal gain – on both sides. To be qualified to pursue my passion, I returned to school and earned masters’ degrees in art history and history. I continued the portrait search and have found five new Bingham’s portraits and learned more about art, the artist and the history of the Midwest than I ever dreamed possible. The beauty of George Caleb Bingham’s artwork alone makes the museum a treasure deserving of international attention. But I hope those who take the time to read the display panels and labels find, too, that art, even more than the written word, can reveal a detailed and accurate picture of history. These are only some of the paintings; only some of the stories. Can you imagine how much can be seen and told over the years at the Jackson County Art Museum?
- Patricia Moss
16 (Continued from page 1)
insurrection. In Jackson County the violence became so pronounced that no one regardless of his or her loyalty was safe. Along the border, there were no great battle fought or contested; no grand armies paraded or marched. Engagements were fought in wooded areas, over fence-lines, along by-ways, on farm fields and front-yards and in the streets of towns. Most fights were skirmishes between small-numbered groups o bushwhackers and rebels against militias, volunteers and federal troops. Rebel guerrillas frequently utilized an Indian-style of fighting against an opponent who was generally ill equipped and understaffed. Much of the bushwhacker success came from aid and support provided by a citizenry principally cultured in an agrarian southern mindset.
s the crucial year unfolded, the Confederate confidence felt at the beginning of the year would devolve into desolation. The foreshadowing of grim events evolved out of General Lee’s brilliant victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia. In the waning hours of the battle, Lee lost his most dependable commander. General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was mortally wounded when he was mistakenly shot by a Confederate soldier and died on May 10. Within two months the Confederate army lost at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. These two Union victories marked the end of the highpoint for the Confederacy and be-
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013 gan the road to Appomattox and surrender two years later. As Civil War progressed, terrorism reigned along the MissouriKansas border. The border was overrun by lawless bands of desperadoes. These gangs were composed of reckless and unrestrained soldiery who had “rioted upon the substance of the people” and had “wantonly destroyed their property and trampled upon their most sacred rights. Theft, robbery, houseburning, and other crimes” had “been perpetrated with impunity,” and “plunder and vandalism” prevailed. A large portion of Jackson County was left impoverished and almost depopulated due to these ravages.1 Western Missourians were harassed, threatened, robbed or killed by Kansas Red-legs and Jayhawkers. Rebels, guerillas and bushwhackers retaliated against Kansas border towns. As 1863 progressed, Lincoln could not ignore these atrocities. In May, Lincoln took affirmative steps to modify the military leadership by reappointing Gen. John Schofield as commanding general of the Army of the Frontier. Schofield promptly realigned the district of western Missouri and eastern Kansas placing it under the leadership of General Thomas Ewing, Jr. As the summer heat intensified along the borders of Kansas and Missouri, these military decisions proved cataclysmic. The people of Jackson County were openly outraged over Ewing’s appointment. Ewing, an attorney and emigrant from Ohio, had settled in Leavenworth, Kansas during the drama of Bleeding
Kansas where he had played an integral part in the Free-soil movement. When Kansas was admitted to the Union in January 1861, Ewing was elected the state’s first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Most troubling to the residents of Jackson County was the fact that Ewing was seen as a political pawn of the hated senior U.S. Senator from Kansas, James Lane, known as the Grim Chieftain. No one in Missouri would ever forget or forgive Lane and his minions, such as Charles “Doc” Jennison, James Montgomery and Dan Anthony, Mayor of Leavenworth and brother of suffragette Susan B. Anthony, for the bloodletting and barbaric guerilla attacks these Redlegs and Jawhawkers had inflicted upon western Missouri since the outbreak of the War.
wing was considered to be no different than Lane and his followers, and his position was seen as an insult and slap in the face of western Missourians. Ewing assumed command on June 9 establishing his headquarters at the Pacific House on Delaware Street in the River Market area of Kansas City. He soon ordered the incarceration of anyone known or suspected of providing aid, succor or support to guerillas and bushwhackers, including women and children who had relatives fighting under Quantrill. When prison facilities in Jackson County became overcrowded, Ewing commandeered warehouses and other facilities — including a three-story, vacant building located near 14th & Grand — to incarcerate suspects and enemies of the
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013
Robert J. Szabo, a Weston, Mo. photographer, recreated the George Caleb Bingham’s famous painting Order No. 11, during a Sept. 14, 2013 JCHS living history event at the Rice-Tremonti home in Raytown, Mo. The photograph was taken using a large format historic camera and “wet plate collodion” process. Preparing the plate entailed thorough cleansing until spotless. Collodion, a sticky solution, is poured onto the plate to form a thin layer that evenly coats the plate, with all excess removed. In a darkroom where the only light used comes through a red glass filter, the plate is then immersed into a bath of silver nitrate for several minutes. Szabo has been a photographer for more than 40 years and his photographs have appeared widely as he produces modern artistic images using 19th century methods. Learn more about the photographer and the process at www.robertszabo.com. Reprinted with permission © 2013 Robert J. Szabo.
Union. The Grand Ave. building was converted into a woman’s prison. The building was owned by the wife of George Caleb Bingham, the Missouri State Treasurer who was an avid Union loyalist and rabid anti-secessionist. By the afternoon of Thursday, Aug. 13, prisoners in the comman-
deered jail totaled between nine and 27 prisoners. For two weeks, rumors swirled that the structure was showing signs of distress and potential collapse.2 Around 2 pm with the summer heat and humidity enveloping the town, the brick building collapsed, burying many prisoners under the
brick and mortar — four were crushed to death and a fifth was mortally injured. The magnitude of the building’s destructive force caused the adjoining building to its south owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Cockerel, to collapse. The gathering crowd grew openly hostile and became outraged.
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013 ern women, Quantrill and some 450 guerillas marched undetected to Lawrence, Kan. Neither the Orders nor the disaster caused the rebel attack, but clearly the bushwhackers were aware of them. Quantrill’s men chose to retaliate upon Lawrence for several reasons. Lawrence was the root of the Free-soil radicalism, the home of their hated enemies Doc Jennison and James Lane and the source for the agony, suffering, grievance and sorrow experienced in Missouri.6
T Ewing, fearing a riot, sent troops to garrison the neighborhood. No violence broke out, but the echoing cries from the injured and maimed fostered intense, revengeful sentiments throughout Jackson County.
esentment and hostility was directed at Ewing. He immediately took steps to inflict retaliatory total war military measures against rebels and their sympathizers. On Aug. 18, Ewing issued General Order No. 9 and Order No. 10.3 Order No. 9 applied to the emancipation of slaves owned by disloyal citizens. Order No. 10 ordered rebel families living within the District of the Border to leave their properties within 15 days. They were only permitted to take their livestock, provisions, and household goods. If they failed “to remove promptly” or refused to comply with the evacuation order they were to be sent under military escort “for shipment south” with their clothes
and such necessary household furniture and provision as may be worth removing.4 Ewing used his military authority to wage war against the civilian population. He considered two thirds of Jackson County residents to be “bushwhackers actively engaged in feeding, clothing and sustaining them.”5 Three days after issuing Orders No. 9 and No. 10 and eight days after the deaths of the five south-
he rebels were given names of marked men to kill. Number one on the hit list was Jim Lane. Around 5:00 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 21, the guerilla cavalry formed into columns of four and galloped and charged from south to north straight down Massachusetts (the Main Street of Lawrence) and parallel streets. Their rebel cry and chants of “Remember Osceola” and “Remember the Women in Kansas City” bellowed from the Eldridge House to Mt. Oread. Lawrence’s 3,000 citizens suffered the most horrible wrath and de-
Details about the images The black and white images in this article are details from an early impression original 1872 mezzotint engraving by John Sartain based on George Caleb Bingham’s Martial Law or Order No. 11. Bingham painted two versions of the mural and travelled with one copy in order to sell prints to the public. It was a commercial failure for Bingham and his two financial backers, one of those being his good friend Sydney Rollins who bought out the other investor. Bingham gave Rollins the second version of his painting which now is owned by the State Historical Society of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. and in 2011 was on display at the Truman Library. Images courtesy of Patricia Moss.
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013 structive force ever waged or unloosed upon an American civilian population during the Civil War. Lawrence was robbed, looted, burned, pillaged and destroyed. Its residents were subjected to wanton wrath, murder and mayhem. The town offered neither defense nor resistance. Witnesses saw men slain in a “most fiendish manner.” The rampage through the streets of Lawrence lasted about four hours. To the victims and their families it was an eternal, relentless nightmare. Around 10 a.m., the annihilation and obliteration ended. In their wake, Quantrill and his followers abandoned Lawrence in the grips of death, fire, smoke and ashes. Millions of dollars in property damage befell the ravaged town. Most haunting was the tragic reality that more than two hundred people were wounded, killed or mortally injured. In the end, the rebel assault became the most “barbarous act” of the entire Civil War.7 It appeared to have been a ruthless victory of total war for the rebels. By the following day, Quantrill and his men successfully retreated
and secretly scattered throughout western Missouri. After the Lawrence atrocity, Gen. Ewing realized the disaster necessitated the implementation of prompt and sweeping retaliatory measures and sanctions against western Missouri. On Aug. 25, Ewing issued General Order No. 11, which mandated
citizens residing in the counties of Jackson, Cass, Bates and northern Vernon in Missouri, except for those living within a one mile radius of Independence, Kansas City, Westport and Hickman Mills in Jackson County and Pleasant Hill and Harrisonville in Cass County, to leave their properties within fifteen days and report to a military post. Ewing also ordered the destruction of all crops in the impacted area as well. Ewing believed the Order was a military necessity to put-down the
rebellion and to quash guerilla activities. Those affected considered Order No. 11 the greatest deprivation of civil rights ever witnessed in the United States.8
hen word of Order No. 11 reached Bingham in Jefferson City, he was furious. Loyal Missourians advised the State Treasurer to go to Kansas City to
demand the rescission of the Order and request the arrest of Lane as a seditionist.9 It has become part of the Bingham lore that he traveled from the Capitol by steamboat to Kansas City where he personally challenged Ewing and his Order. No extant letters or official contemporary records exist of Bingham having made the trip or meeting with Ewing at his headquarters in the Pacific House, but according to Bingham, he met Ewing there and
20 promptly demanded the immediate rescission of the Order. Bingham reminded Ewing that the Order would “damn” him before the world. Ewing’s response was emphatically curt and pointedly explanatory: “I am a soldier and have to obey orders.”10 Ewing promptly refused Bingham’s demand and ordered the State Treasurer out of his office. Bingham allegedly proclaimed: “I will make you infamous with my
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013 November 1863 proved to be the critical turning point in the Civil War. As Lincoln addressed the crowd at the dedication of the Gettysburg Cemetery on Nov. 19, 1863, Ewing in the same month relaxed portions of Order No. 11 by allowing loyal citizens to return and tend to their farms.12
he Civil War in Missouri and in particular Jackson County had been an “uncivil affair” that
Order No. 11 was a military measure imposed against everyone, including women, children and the elderly — or to use today’s nomenclature, a war against noncombatants. Its memory continues to haunt Jackson County, and Bingham’s two paintings depicting Order No. 11 has enshrined it in the lore of the horrific rebellion along the border of Missouri and Kansas. Notes 1
O.R., 22.2:485-488; and Reminiscences of the Women of Missouri During the Sixties, Missouri Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy, publication date unknown, 124 (hereinafter “Reminiscences”). 2
Black Flag, 73.
7 The Devil Knows How to Ride, 199200; Bleeding Kansas, 236; Gray Ghosts, 121; Frontier State, 126-127; and Bloody Bill, 29. 8
pen and brush as far as I am able.” 11
Order No. 11 marked the beginning of Bingham’s personal “war” against Ewing— a conflict carried out in letters, editorials and in his famous painting. There is no question that Order No. 11 had a massive and everlasting impact upon Jackson County and border counties. It would eventually have a similar impact upon Ewing’s career.
climaxed during the summer of 1863 with the most drastic military measure of deprivation of civil rights ever imposed upon American civilians to that date.
Many historians consider Order No. 11 as the greatest warfare waged by the government upon Americans to the date of its issuance (second only to the removal of Japanese-American citizens following Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941). 9
Frontier Lawyer, 204.
Jackson County (Mo.) Historical Society Archives Document ID 82.06F12, and Jackson County (Mo.) Historical Society Archives, Document ID 113F21.
The story of Order No. 11 remains shrouded in debate and controversy. It has become enshrined in the law of military necessity and the artistic fabric of the 19th Century.
Most importantly, the meaning, purpose and ramification of Order No. 11 continue to be part of a modern America faced with national and international terrorism.
Nagel, 112; and Rash, 191.Bingham’s letter to the editor of the Republican Newspaper dated February 22, 1877 ratifies the account of him going to see Ewing in an attempt to have the Order rescinded or modified, Letters, 472. In March 1864, General Egbert Brown who had replaced General Ewing ended Order No. 11—ironically Brown’s recession order was known as General Order No. 11).
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013 Trouble Don’t Last Always
The Legacy of KC’s Black Gospel Blues And today, pioneer groups, such as Alma Whitney and the Whitney Singers, the Heaven Bound Travelers and the Sensational Wonders, to name a few, continue to perform regionally.
By Paul Wenske
veryone knows Kansas City is famous for its jazz and blues. But the same forces that shaped these expressive musical forms also account for Kansas City’s traditional gospel blues. Like the blues, gospel music expresses the adversity faced by many African-Americans through history. But the ultimate message of black gospel blues is one of hope and overcoming trials, the promise that, like the old spiritual says: “Trouble Don’t Last, Always.” Kansas City’s contribution to the legacy of gospel music complements, and even rivals, the traditions that evolved in Chicago, Memphis, Detroit, New York and Los Angeles. Yet, the role played by Kansas City’s pioneer gospel community is not well documented. No single depository exists that collects this rich heritage. Records, photos and accounts are housed mainly in church collections, disparate archives and individual memories. In addition, Kansas City’s blues and jazz may have eclipsed gospel because those art forms catered to a commercial audience, while gospel singing was viewed more as a ministry best served in church. Still, many of Kansas City’s gospel luminaries performed on a national stage. Etta Moten Barnett starred in movies, including a singing role in “Flying Down to Rio” with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and
Church Influence Kansas City’s gospel heritage traces, in part, back to the period of slavery, when Quindaro, Kan., was a stop on the Underground Railroad. In 1862, Freedman School was founded in Quindaro to educate freed slaves. Later bought by the Etta Moten Barnett went on to nation- A.M.E. Church, it became Westal and international fame after singing ern University, a technical arts with the Jackson Jubilee Singers of school known for providing blacks the best musical training west of Western University in Quindaro, KS. the Mississippi River. It closed in was the first black female perthe late 1930s. former to sing at the White House. In 1907, the school’s charismatic Eva Jessye was choral director for George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” and led the choir at the 1963 March on Washington. Composer and critic Nora Holt became a figure in the Harlem Renaissance. The Kansas City Melodyaires, a female gospel quartet featuring Mildred Clark and Genetter Bradley, gained national attention after singing at the Apollo Theatre in the 1960s. Composer and director Michael Charles led workshops and choirs across the nation, as well as in Kansas City. Some former Kansas City gospel singers, like Marva Whitney and Johnnie Taylor, left their gospel roots to become national pop stars.
choir director, Robert Jackson, formed the Jackson Jubilee Singers, who travelled the country performing classical music and spirituals. Moten Barnett, Jessye and Holt, were alumnae of the Jubilee Singers. Other graduates went on to be choir directors and instructors in the churches that served the growing African-American community.
ansas City’s central location as a railroad hub and meatpacking center made it a natural destination for African-Americans looking for better jobs and new lives. By the early 1900s, the 18th and Vine community was the center of African American life, writes Charles E. Coulter, author of Take up the Black Man’s Burden. Resi-
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013
dents who endured segregation in white Kansas City found refuge in the churches.
al piece of the churches’ success, both spiritual and economic,” Worley said.
New arrivals from the south brought with them a bluesy style of sanctified singing, with its rhythms, shouts and call-andresponse rooted in field songs.
The music became so popular it couldn’t be contained in the churches alone. It spread to outside venues, many long since razed, such as the Ivanhoe Temple, the Lincoln Theatre, the Transit Union Worker’s Hall and one of the most beloved, the Cross of Christ.
Rev. Tommy Arnick recalled taking a train north to Kansas City from southern Texas after being promised a job at a packinghouse and an audition with the Ruffin Brothers, a popular local gospel quartet. “One of the Ruffin Brothers called me up and asked me, ‘you want a job?’ So I got on a train and come up here. There was a line outside the plant but the man that was hiring called my name. I went right in.”
ome churches initially frowned on the harder-edged gospel blues. But other churches, especially the Pentecostal, Missionary Baptist and Church of God in Christ denominations, embraced the emotionally expressive songs.
The Cross of Christ, a cramped space upstairs from an auto mechanic’s garage at 18th and Lydia, became a gathering place for both local and national groups, where singers would compete for applause. “You would plan and rehearse and lay out your clothes three weeks ahead knowing you had a program at the Cross of Christ,” recalled the late Michael Charles in an interview. “There were no microphones. You had to sing loud and project your voice. You sang your heart out,” he said.
Musical crossroad Kansas City’s central location also made it a destination for national touring groups. “If you had to go east or west or north or south, you had to go through Kansas City,” said Chuck Haddix, jazz historian and director of the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In addition, Kansas City was the western turn around point on the Theatre Owners Booking Association circuit, a string of 80 theatres between New York and Kansas City. So Kansas City became an entertainment center for gospel as well as jazz — two musical styles that share the same roots. Haddix explains: “When the preacher calls out and the congregation responds, it is really the building block of American blues and jazz. “In jam sessions there is a dialogue. Maybe Dizzy Gillespie
“Black Americans had to have something within that would give them a ray of hope,” said the Rev. James Tindall, Bishop of the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ in Kansas City. “These were songs of liberation,” he said. Historian and author William Worley said “the music reflected the black culture of that time. It created a special experience that didn’t exist outside the church.” Church leaders soon realized the music’s power to attract parishioners. “The music brought people into the church. It became a pivot-
The Street Hotel in the 18th and Vine district was one place where African-American musicians could stay while visiting and performing in Kansas City.
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013
United Methodist Church, wrote one of the few histories of those years in 1987, in trying to develop a national gospel music fraternity. The short but rich history documents local groups that gained regional and national fame, groups like the Whitney Singers, the Voices of Faith, the NuLight Singers, the Ray Manning Singers, the Dawna Ward Singers, the K.C. Clouds of Joy and the Wings of Grace rose to prominence.
The Ruffin Brothers: (Front row: from left to right: Vermer L. Wright, Manuel Ruffin and Calvin Ruffin. Back row: from left to right: Tommie Arnick, Emory Ruffin, Thomas Ruffin and D.D. Miller)
calls out and Charlie Parker responds to that.” By the mid-20s, blues and gospel were prevalent on 18th and Vine. And except for the message, the musical style was similar. Old 78rpm records from that time feature gospel singers, accompanied by a rollicking piano, sounding much like Joe Turner belting out the blues.
ne 18th and Vine entrepreneur sought to capture the sound. Winston Holmes opened the Winston Holmes Music Company in 1925. Besides promoting such jazz greats as Bennie Moten and Hattie McDaniel, he launched his own Meritt label, one of the first to market to a black audience, and placed a Victrola outside his shop at 18th and Woodland to advertise the records he made in his back room.
“Winston tried his best to make the Meritt label go,” said Haddix. “But he could never get national distribution.” His biggest success was recording Rev. J.C. Burnett performing “The Downfall of Nebuchadnezzar.” The record proved so successful, that Columbia records persuaded Burnett to leave Meritt and record with them. Holmes sued for breach of contract, but he lost. In in 1929, Holmes went out of business.
Indeed, the popularity of Kansas City’s eclectic mix of groups and quartets attracted other performing groups, who attracted huge crowds. One could attend a battle of song featuring national touring groups like the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Pilgrim Travelers and local groups such as the Dixie Wonders and the Ruffin Brothers. Arnick recalls practicing for hours in preparation for these performances. He recalls one night singing with the Ruffin Brothers when “one woman got to shouting and she fainted. Another one got to shouting and they had to take her to the hospital. After that night we said we aren’t going to sing so hard. We don’t want to kill somebody.”
From the 1940s to the 1960s, arguably the golden age of traditional black gospel blues, Kansas City developed a number of recognized groups.
ven so, while Kansas City was a great place to be, it was difficult for local groups to make a name outside the city. For one thing, the big promoters, record labels and publishing companies were in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City. Some groups did leave for greener pastures. The Kansas City Gospel Singers, a top quartet, moved to Los Angeles.
Michael Charles, who was musical director at both Metropolitan Spiritual Church and St. James
Traveling to gospel performances could be challenging. Segregation limited where a group could stay
24 and quartets that had day jobs had to limit their travel to weekends. Creating a legacy “People didn’t make money,” recalled Alma Whitney, leader of the Whitney Singers. “Being on the road was hard. Sometimes you got paid and sometimes you didn’t.” Whitney, who has been a gospel singer for more than 50 years, preferred spending more time in Kansas City where she earned a reputation developing youth gospel choirs. Sherri Goff, whose mother, Mildred Clark, led the Kansas City Melodyaires, recalls how her mother taught her group to be selfsufficient on the road. “They learned how to change the oil, a flat tire, the different belts, so that if they broke down, they first could try to fix it themselves before they would call someone else for back up,” she said. Persistence, however, garnered the Melodyaires national fame that eluded some others. Genetter Bradley, a former lead singer for the quartet, recalled their debut at the Apollo Theater. The Sounds of Music? Not everyone was a fan of the music. Roy Wilkins, a Kansas City Call journalist and later a major civil rights leader, wrote in the paper: “But the cruelest pain of all is that furnished by the horns of music stores which squeal ‘blues’ and ‘sermons’ from morning until night. “There is at least one shop in the neighborhood which has an excellent machine and which plays
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013 “You have 15 minutes to sell yourself,” she said. “And you have to do your very best.” The Melodyaires proved their stuff. “People in the audience were reaching for you. They just wanted to touch you. The Kansas City Melodyaires were one of the most famous They would gospel groups to come out of Kansas City, recording for ABC, be waiting Peacock and Song Bird Records. for you to come out. You knew then you been out there singing for the Lord and don’t even have a picket were stars.” fence.” But after several successful years, Genetter Bradley also came home off the road, marrying James Bradley, who sang nationally with The Bright Stars.
After returning to Kansas City, Bradley ran a successful gospel workshop until the late 1980s. She still continues to sing.
As she tells it, “Jim said, ‘Genetter if you come home off the road, I’ll buy you a house. In those days, when you think about it, you’ve
Today she says the real value of gospel is not the commercial success that some contemporary groups chase. Instead, she says, it’s the “spiritual anointing that falls on you. That’s the highlight – telling the good news, and that’s what we were doing, and enjoyed it.”
latest and favorite releases to advertise its business—and it is a good advertisement. “But for this one, there are a half dozen which persist in ‘blues’ and sermons from preachers no one has ever heard of and on subjects one cannot find in the Bible. “These sermons consist mostly of moanings and groaning and hysterical unintelligible yelling. These particular evidences of spring we can get along without.” The Kansas City Call editorial March 9, 1928
Bob Maravich, a historian and founder of the Black Gospel Blog in Chicago, said the legacy of Kansas City’s pioneer gospel groups continues to inspire because “of their religious conviction. “They got very little money and still they pursued their conviction. These are the ones that paved the way for today’s artists,” he said.
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013
Painfully Great In ’58: Bob Cerv’s MVP season By Aaron Stilley
aseball fans outside of Kansas City may be familiar with Bob Cerv as the fourth outfielder on the potent early ‘60s Yankees teams (and as Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle’s roommate in Billy Crystal’s 2001 HBO film 61*). But for Kansas City fans, he should be remembered for his painful but great 1958 season, when he was a MVP candidate for the fledgling Kansas City Athletics despite suffering a series of injuries.
Cerv came away with a broken jaw. Cerv said, “From opening day one I had a hot bat…And now here I was, flat on my back at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, waiting for them to set my jaw and listening to a nurse tell me it might be
After just a couple of days, Cerv started itching to get back on the field, saying, “I wouldn’t mind sitting around if I had a broken leg and couldn’t move. But all I’ve got wrong with me is a broken jaw. I don’t see why I can’t play.”
Heading into that season, Cerv was a 32-year-old marginal major leaguer. After seven years in the Yankees organization that included plenty of time on a major league bench but no regular playing time, the A’s purchased his services before the ’57 season. A full-time starting spot was finally his, but he had a disappointing year. He was looking at the possibility of being platooned in ’58, if he won a job at all. Motivated by the sense that ’58 was a now or never year, Cerv shed 15 pounds in the off-season. He earned the right to remain the A’s full-time left-fielder. When the season opened, he shot out of the gates like a bucking bronco. Just 25 games in, Cerv had 11 homers (equaling his ’57 total) and 30 RBIs. But On May 17, Cerv made the curious decision to try to score from second base on a squeeze play. Detroit catcher Red Wilson was waiting for him at the plate with the ball. Cerv slammed into Wilson, who held onto the ball, and
Kansas City Athletics player Bob Cerv is honored in 1958 by notable area politicians including (left to right) Gov. George Docking of Kansas, Gov. Victor Anderson of Nebraska, Gov. James T. Blair of Missouri and former president Harry Truman.
six weeks before I could play ball again. The last thing I remember thinking just before going to sleep was thinking over and over to myself, ‘Not me! They won’t keep me out six weeks—or even six days!’” After waking up with his jaw wired shut, he headed to friend Maurice Bluhm’s Lake Lotawana home to convalesce. Waiting for him there was a gift basket from his teammates full of chewing tobacco and gum.
Incredibly, Cerv forced his way back into the lineup after missing just three games. After a swing and miss in his first game back, his jaw hurt so much Cerv thought he had “jarred it out of place.” He played the next month subsisting on a liquid diet and in a great deal of pain. Cerv said, “Whenever I threw hard, I thought my teeth would come right out of my mouth. And when I slid, which wasn’t often,
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013
my whole face hurt.” He couldn’t breathe naturally so sucked on an oxygen tank in the dugout. During a road trip, Cerv dumped his hotel room service dinner into a blender and sent it flying around the room when he forgot to put the lid on. Somehow he clouted six homers in that miserable month and still led the league when the wires were removed on June 16.
motivated him to stay in the lineup. Besides his broken jaw and toe, Cerv also busted his hand running into a wall, sprained his knee sliding, and was stung by pitches to the hand and elbow during the season. “One thing’s for sure,” said A’s teammate Joe DeMaestri, “Cerv leads the major leagues in pain this year.” The toe may have been the worst of them because it forced On July 1, Cerv broke a toe but on- Cerv to ease up on his swing. ly sat out two games. He hit home Bob Cerv Night took place at KC’s run number 22 in his first game Municipal Stadium on July 22nd, with former President Harry Truback. man and the governors of Kansas, Cerv started the All-Star game on July 8, where he collected a single Missouri, and Cerv’s native Nebraska making presentations in and an intentional walk in three trips to the plate to go along with a Cerv’s honor.
when Cerv played 22 games without a homer. He bounced back with nine homers in the season’s final month to finish with 38, good for fourth in the AL, and still the record for a KC major leaguer, A’s or Royals.
Cerv was given gifts of an organ, color TV, washing machine, and As a team, the A’s were off to a surprisingly good start, clinging to side of beef. His torrid home run a winning record of 38-37 at the All pace slowed down, though slightly, -Star break, good for second place. in the second half of the season. The team success, of course due in The only home run drought of any significance came during August large part to Cerv’s heavy hitting,
“I Played Without Eating,” Bob Cerv, Saturday Evening Post, July 19, 1958 The Sporting News The Kansas City Athletics, John E. Peterson
“sparkling” catch in left.
Graduate students complete studies on regional history topics The Missouri Historical Review, in its April issue, lists graduate school history theses related to Missouri history completed during 2012. Several titles reflect topics of local and regional interest including the Civil War, Mormon history, J.C. Nichols and African-American Kansas City politics.
After the break, the A’s resumed their losing ways, and quickly tumbled down the standings finishing the year in seventh. Still, their 73-81 record was the best an A’s team could muster in 13 seasons in Kansas City and Cerv’s season was the best — and most grueling — individual year by a Kansas City A’s player. Sources
Mormon history "Tarred and Feathered: Mormons, Memory and Ritual Violence," John Kimball Alexander, MA thesis, University of Utah. "The Vox Populi Is the Vox Dei: American Localism and the Mormon Expulsion from Jackson County, Mo.," Matthew Lund, MA thesis, Utah State University.
"Households at War: Men, Women and Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Missouri," Joseph Beilein, PhD diss., University of Missouri-Columbia.
"'We Didn't Expect You to Be So Good At It: Freedom Inc. and the Black Empowerment in Kansas City, Mo. 1962-2007,'" Micah Kubic, PhD diss., Howard University.
"Before the Compromise: Slavery in Missouri, 1804-1821," Kaitlin Benson, MA thesis, Western Illinois University. "Warfare as an Agent of Culture Change: The Archaeology of Guerrilla Warfare on the 19th Century Missouri/Kansas Border," Ann Raab, PhD diss., University of Kansas.
"Suburban Cowboy: J.C. Nichols, Masculinity, Landscape, and Memory in Shaping of an American Neighborhood," Clinton Lawson, MA thesis, University of Missouri-Kansas City.
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013 JCHS archives receives historic materials about Missouri Town JCHS collects historical materials primarily and makes them available to the public. One of the latest acquisitions is a leatherbound thesis in art history by LaVonne Carlisle Belew Moore (wife of local artist Sidney Moore) titled “Missouri Town-1855: A Program in Architectural Preservation.” It includes detailed history and original photographs documenting how the historical village was re-created as a Jackson County Parks and Recreation historic site. The thesis and associated matter from the Moores, who were heavily involved in Missouri Town’s project, is conserved in the Society’s Archives as is Mrs. Moore’s subsequently published book by the same title. JCHS is committed to preserving important and unique history of the region. Kemper scrapbook index gets digitized One of the rich unusual collections held by JCHS are several volumes of scrapbooks about Kansas City banker and civic leader William T. Kemper Sr. and his family. JCHS converted the paper index (over 400 pages) and made it available as a searchable PDF file available on our website. Kemper lead an extraordinarily rich and interesting life during the early 1900s. Many of his interest, activities and associations were dutifully clipped and preserved in a series of unusual scrapbooks that provide a rich perspective on life,
business and politics in Kansas City and Missouri. The scrapbooks also include clippings about other family members, relations and other interests. Each scrapbook is generally divided into these sections: banking, financial, political, railroads, and personal (including items about himself, Mrs. Lottie Crosby Kemper and their three sons, James M., R. Crosby, and William, Jr.). There are 34 different scrapbooks. The 1918 scrapbook has a "war activities" section detailing among other things the end of World War I, and welcoming home of Kansas City boys. A detailed, searchable, topical finding aid is available for the 34 scrapbooks. The index lists all items (by scrapbook and page number) contained in the various scrapbooks. The scrapbooks are open to researchers by contacting the JCHS Archives. Spring JCHS Journal will feature article by Pulitzer-prize winning journalist
We are excited to renew publication of the Jackson County Historical Society Journal and the opportunity to share the rich history of the region. Look for our next edition in the spring in 2014. Our cover story will explore the important personal relationship between two friends who met during World War I and later became business associates — Shirley Christian Eddie Jacobsen and Harry Truman. The story does not end there. Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author Shirley Christian, a JCHS member, is working on an article tentatively titled Harry and Eddie: The Hometown Friendship that Re-drew the Map of the World." Christian, who lives in Kansas City region, previously wrote Before Lewis and Clark: The Story of the Chouteaus, the French Dynasty that Ruled America’s Frontier, was published in April 2004 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
JCHS Journal â€” Winter 2013
A Hail of Grasshoppers: The 1870s Plague By Gloria Haralson Smith
y the time Henrietta Eccles Bush came to Independence in 1865, she was a young widow with a 7 year old son, Benjamin. At the age of 26, she had already experienced many of the joys and hardships of life. Henrietta was born in Indiana to John and Jane Eccles. Her great grandfather William Shepherd had been one of the founders of Harrodsburg, Ky., and her father, John D. Eccles Jr., and his father, John D. Eccles Sr., were lawyers in Mercer County, Ky., before moving to Indiana. At the age of 18, Henrietta married William Bush and bore four children, three of whom died in infancy. In 1864, William Bush died, leaving Henrietta a widow with a young son to raise.
Henrietta Tindall, on the porch of their home at 316 N. Main (circa 1897) with her husband, Robert Tindall, and their five children.
While living in Springfield, Ill., she met Robert B. Tindall, who had been mustered out of the Union Army, and together they moved to Independence, Mo., where they married in October, 1865. They settled in the 300 Block of North Main, where she lived until her death in 1922.
After settling in Independence, Mr. Tindall built a business as a carriage trimmer. When the demand for stage coaches diminished, he built greenhouses on his property, where he grew a variety of plants to sell. That business expanded, eventually encompassing the block surrounding their home on North Main. The impending invasion of grasshoppers (also known as locusts) was certainly a threat to their business, as described in Henrietta's 1875 letter to her sister.
It happened everywhere: Insects caused major crop damage in the 1870s The last major swarms of Rocky Mountain locusts were between 1873 and 1877, when the locusts caused $200 million in crop damage in Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and other states, an amount equal to $4.2 billion today. A fictionalized description of the devastation created by Rocky Mountain locusts in the 1870s can be found in the novel On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The novelâ€™s description is based on actual incidents that happened to her family in western Minnesota during the summers of 1874 and 1875.
JCHS Journal â€” Winter 2013
Actual letter transcription Letter addressed to Mrs. Harriett Bottoms Renick, Randolph, Missouri Independence, Missouri May 25  Dear Sister: I thought I would write to you and let you know what a time we are having with grasshoppers but I know you will hardly believe me when I tell you there is nothing green to be seen, not a life on a bush or tree, not a vegetable to be seen. Less than a week ago we had such a nice garden now there is nothing but the bare ground. We heard on last Saturday that they were coming and all the neighbors that had gardens dug trenches. Robert and Frank worked two days trying to keep them out but it was of no use. They caught 35 bushels in one day but they came so thick and fast they filled the trenches and crossed over before they could do any more. When they come it sounds just like a heavy hail storm. The whole lot is full. I have to keep the doors and windows closed and if you step in the yard you can hardly see where you are going; you will be covered all over. Robert keeps his lot beds covered but he has to ship all his plants. He has shipped some sweet potato plants today to Renick to the postmaster. I wish you would tell your neighbors and friends to go there to get their plants. They are raised from the very best potato that could be bought. He shipped some a few days ago to Moberly and Mexico. If you will help to sell you can have all the plants you want free. I was thinking of coming to see you but canâ€™t tell now what to do. Robert says he lost three hundred dollars worth of stuff. We had such a beautiful green grassy yard. There is nothing now but the bare ground. They are so thick on the houses you can hardly tell a brick house from a frame house. The City kept men all around the Square scooping them up. Day before yesterday they hauled thirty five barrels. You never saw such a site in your life I know but enough about the grasshoppers. We are all well as could be expected under the circumstances. Write soon. Henrietta Tindall
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013
JCHS publishes local history resources Jackson County Historical Society is taking advantage of new on-demand technology to publish and print books of local interest. These books are available through the JCHS History Center and through the JCHS website online bookstore. JCHS members receive a 10% discount on books purchased.
A History of Pink Hill David W. Jackson
Winding the Clock David W. Jackson
This book started out highlighting The Wall that Heals, a miniature but faithful reproduction of the Vietnam Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C., which became a traveling exhibit and was made available to the public in Blue Springs, Mo., in 2010. Residents and leaders in Blue Springs were inspired from the wildly successful event to create a permanent memorial to veterans in Pink Hill Park, the Veterans Way Memorial, dedicated in 2013. Presented here is a community history that adds an interesting and important chapter to Jackson County’s rich history. Retail: $10.
JCHS has produced a souvenir book in commemorath tion of the 80 anniversary of the historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse, re-dedicated at 2 p.m. on Sept. 7, 2013, which was 80 years to the day and time when Harry S. Truman last dedicated the remodeled building. Interestingly, however, the building contains remnants of previous renditions of the courthouse dating back and including the original 1838 Jackson County Courthouse. This book details how the Courthouse and Independence Square have evolved since it was first platted in 1827. Newly uncovered details from the building’s past are juxtaposed with the most current historic preservation efforts to restore the Courthouse for its adaptive reuse. Included, is the dedication speech by Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. Retail $10.
Scattered to the Four Winds Ralph A. Monaco, II Monaco presents an authoritative view of the origin of “Order No. 11,” when martial law was enforced in 1863 during the Civil War in Jackson County (and three other Missouri counties along the MissouriKansas border). Never before had martial law been enacted on U.S. soil. Never before had a comprehensive list of people affected by “Order No. 11” been compiled. To commemorate the th 150 anniversary of this event, JCHS staff and volunteers assisted Monaco by providing documented references about those who wrote about how they were impacted by the military order. This book includes not only history; but, also biographical details about the refugees who were driven out by the military dictate. Retail $25.
Vital Historical Records 1826-1876 In 1934 the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) went to pioneer church congregations and known local family cemeteries and transcribed church records and tombstone inscriptions into an extremely helpful local history resource covering Jackson County’s formative years between 18261876. David W. Jackson and Suzanne Vinduska spent two years preparing an all-name and subject index to the book and JCHS secured permission from the DAR to reprint their original book in 2009. That hardcover edition is now out-of-print and JCHS in 2104 will print a two-volume soft cover edition of the book.
JCHS Journal — Winter 2013 About our authors David W. Jackson Jackson is the Jackson County Historical Society archivist and the author of several books on local history including Kansas City Chronicles: An Up-to-Date History. Ralph A. Monaco II Monaco is a lifelong resident of Raytown, Mo. with a passion for local history. He is the author of several local history books including Scattered to the Four Winds: General Order No. 11 and Martial Law in Jackson County, Missouri, 1863. Monaco shares first-person historical characters based on original research. He is a past president of the Jackson County Historical Society and a practicing attorney for 32 years. Patricia Moss Moss is an art historian and historian who has located nearly 70 previously “lost” George Caleb Bingham portraits and found five more. Moss believes, art, even more than the written word, can reveal a detailed and accurate picture of history, especially in the Midwest through the stories behind the portraits of George Caleb Bingham. She has developed a business, Fine Art Investigations, which initially specialized in distinguishing the work of Bingham from his students and colleagues, but which has expanded to identifying 19th century American portrait artists. She lives in the Pacific Northwest but her roots are firmly planted at the Kansas-Missouri border. J. Bradley Pace Pace is a past president of the Jackson County Historical Society and an attorney. His published book Survivors: A Catalog of Missouri’s Remaining 19th Century County Courthouse is available for sale at the Jackson County Historical Society Archives.
Looking for Journal articles: Send us your stories and ideas The Jackson County Historical Society welcomes submission of articles relating to the history of Jackson County, Mo. and the Kansas City area. Materials should be written for an interested general audience. Manuscript should be between 1,500 to 2,500 word and include sufficient notes and sources. Authors should submit manuscripts electronically. JCHS does not accept responsibility for statements of facts or opinions made by authors. Original articles are preferred though articles previously published may be considered if reprint rights are secured. An editorial board will review and select articles for publication based on subject, quality and sharing a broad view of the region's history. Send your manuscripts to email@example.com.
Gloria Haralson Smith Smith is a seventh generation Jackson County resident who loves local history and family history a "genealogy addict." and a JCHS board member. She is a member of DAR, Jamestown Society and active in the Junior Service League. Aaron Stilley Stilley shares his passion for all things Kansas City baseball-related online through various blogs including Royal Heritage: The Past and Present of Baseball in Kansas City found at kcbbh.blogspot.com. Paul Wenske Wenske is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who is working on a documentary about Kansas City's black gospel heritage. As part of that project, a compilation CD and DVD recording of some of Kansas City's gospel pioneers in concert will soon be released by Electric Prairie Productions and Jondo Media. For more information, email: ImSoGladProject@gmail.com.
Notes on pictures and illustrations
Jackson County Historical Society, 3, 5, 6; Jackson County, 8, Nick Decker, 11; State Historical Society of Missouri, 12; Brent Schondelmeyer, 13; Bingham images 14, 15, courtesy Patricia Moss; Robert Szabo, 17; Order No. 11 images, courtesy of Patricia Moss, 18, 19, 20; Paul Wenske, 21, 22, 23, 24; Cerv imaged accessed on the Internet; Gloria Haralson Smith, 28; State Historical Society of Kansas, 28
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