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Posts Tagged ‘Missouri’

Wednesday morning, we started our day at the Cracker Barrel around the corner from our motel. We don’t have one close to where we live, so it is always a treat to be able to enjoy a meal there!

We arrived at the Pony Express Museum about 9:30. The mural (above) is on the wall of a building facing the parking lot. The museum is located in the original Pikes Peak stables used in 1860 after the military supply firm headed by William Russell, William Waddell, and Alexander Majors was picked by California Senator William Gwin to head up a new mail service. (Photo below: Display of the three men at their office.)

Below is the contract between the Citizens of St. Joseph and the Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express.

This is the location where Johnny Fry, thought to be the first Pony Express rider, left on April 3, 1860 to pick up the mail he would carry 90 miles westward – the first leg of the ride.


Photos above top to bottom left to right: Blacksmith display showing
how the horses were shoed; Johnny Fry ready to leave the stable;
“Moment in Time” plaque above stable door; Johnny Fry on horse

Below are pictures of what was carried inside the covered wagons as people moved westward. They would hang a few articles of clothing from the spokes inside the cover.

Inside the wagons were bags of sugar and flour, mold to make candles, a chair, tools, a large pot, a jug, rope, a washboard, a grater, (this model has a) bottle of whiskey, other food-stuffs, bucket, bedrolls/blankets, and more items that were necessary for such a long journey.

Contrary to what many think, everyone walked beside the oxen pulling the wagons instead of riding inside.

A Relay Station (pictured above) was a small building used by Riders to stop for just a few minutes to get a drink and change horses. These were located about 10 to 15 miles apart, and usually two men stayed there and took care of the station. The photos above show two bunks at one end of the station and a fireplace at the other end separated by a table.

The mochila pictured above was used by one of the Pony Express riders and donated to the museum by a descendant. This is what was used to carry the mail. It had three pockets that locked but the keys were at the other end of the ride. There was also a place to put military dispatches that were picked up along the way. Only 20 pounds of mail could be carried by a rider due to weight limitations of the horse.

This well inside the museum was used to water the horses during the Pony Express era in St. Joseph. It was capped in 1881, and during an archeological dig in the 1990s, it was uncovered. There are several layers of bricks built on the top in order to make the wooden platform, but all the rest is original. The bottom picture shows all of the items that were found in the well when it was excavated.

The sculpture pictured above is “The Long Trail Home” by Vic Payne. “Old Blue” – a Texas longhorn leads the chuck wagon crew home from a cattle drive.

A sixty foot diorama fills one entire wall of the museum, and the attention to detail is extraordinary. The scenes depicted show the types of terrain and weather that Pony Express riders had to endure on their rides – boat rides across rivers, prairie lands, Salt Lake Desert, mountains, prairie fires, thunderstorms, tornadoes, encounters with the Palute Tribe, and snowstorms.

A Hall of Riders has stories about 22 Pony Express riders – some famous and some not. There is a display about the telegraph and currency from the 1860s and Confederacy.

The Pony Express Museum has a chidren’s area and programs specifically designed for school children which includes a One Room School house built recently.

In conclusion, the story of the Pony Express is important in the history of our country, and the museum is designed for both young and old alike. Please visit if you are in the St. Joseph area. The admission is less than $5 per person and is well worth it. For more information visit the Pony Express Museum website.

(All photos taken by Wendy Littrell. Information on several exhibits – Pony Express Pocket Tour Guide, Pony Express Museum, St. Joseph, Missouri.)

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Recentlly, my husband and I took a short trip within our state. Since moving to Missouri four years ago, we have wanted to explore other areas.

Our first venture had us heading toward Maryville in the northwest corner of the state. My husband spent four of his twelve school years there (8th-11th grades) and hasn’t been back in over 40 years. As we headed west on US 36, we encountered morning fog. He kept telling me that soon the scenery would change. As we crested a hill and looked out toward Stewartsville (west of Cameron), I felt like I’d driven in to a science fiction movie. Not one or two wind turbines but hundreds of them dotted the landscape. Driving near, they loomed large and with the low ceiling touched the clouds.

Missouri Wind Turbines  (Image by David Mark from Pixabay)

My husband eagerly wanted to show me and see for himself the areas in Maryville that were special to him. He pointed me toward the street where one of the houses was located and just behind it cattycorner was the other house. He said other than different paint color and a retaining wall, both looked about the same. From there we headed toward Maryville High School – home of the Spoofhounds. Yes, there is such a mascot! Here is the photo I took of the school sign.

Afterwards, we drove around Northwest Missouri State University where my father-in-law was an Industrial Arts professor in the early 70s. Leaving there, we headed to the Hy-Vee grocery store where my husband had his first job. Since I didn’t get my coffee or caffeine that morning before our trip, I was happy to see a Starbucks inside the store! Chai Tea Latte – yum! Being close to lunch time, we sat in the Pizza Hut parking lot for a while until they opened.

Following lunch, we took the highway south toward St. Joseph and ended up on 71 Business which took us through Savannah. My husband laughed when I told him that I knew someone buried there – my 2nd great-grandmother’s sister, Matilda Reed Imus Beale. And no, we weren’t stopping to explore. That will be another time.

We arrived in St. Joe too early to check in to our motel so we drove straight to the St. Joseph Museums which are in the former clinic used for patients at the mental hospital. Originally it was located in an area of the St. Joseph State Hospital and in the late 1960s, it was moved to the current location. According to Wikipedia, the Glore Psychiatric Museum began when an employee of the Missouri Mental Health System – George Glore – “built life size models of primitive devices formerly used for mental health” to raise awareness (see pic below).

George Glore’s life-size model of a Giant Patient Treadmill
used in the 16th, 17th, or 18th centuries.
Sometimes patients would be inside up to 48 hours. 

Once we paid for admission and received a map, we took the stairs to the third floor. There were many sculptures and paintings as well as other type of artwork made by previous patients as art therapy. Included on this floor were replicas of a music therapy room, an art therapy room, a spiritual therapy room, a patient room, and the psychiatric nursing exhibit of “Ward Quiet” which is in a former surgical room.

Top L-R: Music Therapy Room display and Patient Room display
Middle: Original Chart Desk and Psychiatric Nursing exhibit
Bottom: Spiritual Therapy display and Dexterity/Puzzle area

This large embroidered piece below was created by a patient with the nickname “The Tatterer.” She rarely spoke and was diagnosed as schizophrenic. I stood and solemnly read her words. The sign next to it read in part: “…her sewn words have been described as psychotic; but in 2010 new research found that the patient was very connected to her environment.” (“Silent Voice” description; Glore Psychiatric Museum, St. Joseph, Missouri.)

Throughout the museum there were displays and information about electroshock treatments, the history of lobotomies and other types of surgeries, rocking chair therapies, and the history of mental health treatments. A very tall container held empty, flattened cigarette packs that a patient had been hoarding. Another patient had been witnessed sticking a piece of paper into the back of a television set. Upon further investigation, the staff found over 500 notes written on pieces of paper inside the television.


Early type of straight-jacket

This is a Restraint Ring – patients could be restrained to the wall
with a chain if they were considered “out of control.” This Ring
was removed from the basement wall in the Center Building in 1980.

The basement held the original morgue and autopsy rooms as well as information about treatment and education for youth. These two cars were painted by youth patients and entered in a contest.

At one time, patients worked the land as a farm which brought in money to the hospital but then was thought that since the patients were working for so long, it was equal to slavery so the farm work was discontinued. At one time the hospital served over 3,500 people so large scale salad bowls were needed as well as the mixer stand in the photo below in order to mix dough or make other types of batter. This stand was about 5 feet tall.

We asked to tour “the tunnels” before we left. A member of the staff guided us outside and across the sidewalk to an adjoining building. The entryway looked as if it was having work done and an area was used as storage. She  led us toward an open door. I kept walking but all I saw was a long, very dark tunnel. I backed up until she was able to turn the lights on. Both sides of the walls were covered with murals and paintings.

Patients had been led down there for art therapy. She told us to turn the lights out when we left. There were quite a few murals that – on a better surface and with better light – looked amazing. All I kept thinking was that I hoped the gated door halfway down the tunnel wouldn’t slam shut on us leaving us on the other side! I am not easily spooked but in that tunnel, I was a bit creeped out! We let her know when we were done.

The other smaller museums within those walls included the Black Archives Museum – highlighting St. Joseph African American experiences; the interactive Doll Museum; the Harry L. George Native American Collection which includes a large collection of artifacts from the late 1800s to early 1900s; and the WWI Saint Joseph: Reflections on Community and Conflict. There are also exhibits of the Folklore of Mary Alicia Owen and the Missouri Music Hall of Fame which includes Sheryl Crow and Chuck Berry.

The doll museum (which is one room) had a wall of Barbie dolls! I enjoyed looking at all the international Barbies.

Below is a display in the Native American area..

The display below has artifacts and information about the history of St. Joseph – especially about its founder, Joseph Robidoux IV. He had established a trading post in the Blacksnake Hills – now St. Joe.

Once finished at the Glore Psychiatric Museum, we went on to the motel and checked in. I cleaned up and then we went to eat at Bandanas Barbecue just down the road. One of my genealogy friends, Susan Petersen, always stops there on her way to Missouri from Nebraska so we had to try it. The food was excellent.

After relaxing at the motel after dinner for awhile, we drove on down to the Museum Hill Historic District. There are some beautiful churches and buildings. We parked behind a very large building in the Methodist Church parking lot.

The original location for the Francis Street First United Methodist Church was at 7th and Francis Streets and was built about 1857. Construction on the current building at 12th and Francis Streets began toward the late 1890’s-early 1900’s. We thought it was beautiful and wished we could look at the interior.

The building we parked behind had a dome at the top. As we walked to the front of it, my husband pointed out the words above it – First Church of Christ, Scientist. After doing some research later, I found that it was built in 1899 and has one of the largest pipe organs in the country. The congregation of the Christian Science church disbanded in the 1990s at that location, and it is now a wedding venue called The Dome.

In front of The Dome was a building that appeared to have been a church at one time. Now it is a Yoga Studio.


Across from the parking lot was the First Baptist Church and further down the block was Calvary Chapel.

Up on the hill was this large house with many steps going up to it.

Looking out toward St. Joseph, we saw a very long and huge structure that sat in the middle of Civic Center Park. The inscription over it said that it was given to the citizens of St. Joseph for Civic Use. Doing some research, we found that it was the City Hall built in 1926-1927. Another building I would have liked to see the inside.

We had a good first day in the city and were looking forward to the next.

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The  Week 2 prompt for “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” is Challenge. And do I have a challenge ahead of me! In October 2017, I accepted a position on the Board of Directors for my local society – Chariton County Historical Society. At the first board meeting I attended, I was asked if I would accept the role of Vice President/Program Coordinator. I was excited about helping the organization find new and exciting programs for their quarterly meetings.

Fast forward to July 2018 when the President of the Board resigned after many, many years of being very active on the Board and with the museum. At the July board and quarterly meetings, as Vice President I stepped up to chair the meetings. October is the month to elect new officers. Besides the one new member who was asked to serve to fill the empty spot, the other seven and I agreed to continue on the board. I really enjoyed my position and said I would continue as VP, but then one other lady said she could be VP but not President. So I consented to the position.

At the October quarterly meeting (our “big” meeting), the slate of Board members and Officers were approved and without any nominations from the floor, were elected. Immediately, I realized that I was really out of my comfort zone. I didn’t grow up in Chariton county. I didn’t know that much about most of the artifacts in the museum. I didn’t have a clue about the “business” of being President. I did however know that several of the board members and our hostesses are a wealth of information, advice, and guidance. And I can delegate! (Insert maniacal laughter!!)

This year will be challenging, but one thing I learned many years ago is that a challenge is just another opportunity. Missouri is coming up on the 200th Anniversary of statehood in 2021. Every group, society, and organization will be having some sort of birthday celebration of sorts. And in 2020 it will be Chariton County’s anniversary! I foresee many amazing things for the Chariton County Historical Society, its members, the community, and all the visitors!


Wheelwright Shop Display at Chariton County Historical Society & Museum


General Store exhibit in “Main Street” area

I can’t conclude this post without inviting all of you to come visit us at 115 E. 2nd Street in Salisbury, Missouri. The museum (which has a genealogy library and a large Veterans area) is open from the first Tuesday in April until the last Saturday in October, Tuesday through Friday from 1-4 p.m. or by appointment. Check out the website for Chariton County Museum and our Facebook Page.

If you would like to join the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge by Amy Johnson Crow, please click here to be taken to the link. (Hint: you don’t have to write about an ancestor – as this post shows – nor do you need to have a blog. This is a way for you to just start writing!)

(Images: Top – digital image use via Creative Commons; all other photos: photographer – Wendy Littrell, original digital images in possession of Wendy Littrell.)

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There are two ponds on the farm – the North Pond and the South Pond. For many of the years that we vacationed here, there were cattle in the vicinity of the North Pond so the family didn’t fish out of that one. The pond and pasture is separated from our backyard by a barbed wire fence.

The photo above is of the South Pond. This is where our nieces and nephews fished as kids as well as our own kids. After some neglect – which was apparent when we moved to the farm two years ago – all that my grandson caught were weeds. My husband spent most of that first summer here cleaning it up and just recently the dam was fixed because of so many muskrat holes that had caused it to leak on the backside.

I took the photo a year ago. It looked serene, and I can picture all the kids there being very quiet as they fished. The farm isn’t my favorite spot on earth without reason! And the pond is just one of those reasons.

(Photo above taken by Wendy Littrell.)

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Putnam County lies along the Missouri/Iowa border in North Central Missouri. Now that I am a resident of Missouri, I want to familiarize myself to the geography – especially in areas where some of my collateral relatives lived and are buried. And I do – have people buried in Unionville – the county seat of Putnam county.

As we drove toward Purdin last week for a high school baseball game, I saw a sign that said Milan was 30 some miles and Unionville was 53 miles. My husband’s grandparents once lived in Milan. To get to the cemetery where they are buried, we would need to go through there. Unionville was still closer than Columbia – the nearest “big” city.

The day after that, I checked to see where the Unionville cemetery was located because I will drive up one day and take pictures of headstones for my own files as well as Find a Grave. Oh, and who is buried there? The man who is purportedly the father of my great-grandmother’s half brother – James M Goul. James was also my great-great-grandmother’s first cousin. He was born in Virginia in 1822 and died in Unionville in 1888. He and his wife, Hannah Susan Harbert Goul are both buried in Unionville cemetery.

My Google search also turned up a link to the Putnam County Historical Society. I was excited to see that the Putnam County Library had digitized their collection of newspapers – and it was searchable! I found many wonderful goodies in those newspapers – which will be another blog post! For now – here are some links if you also have ancestors or collateral relatives that lived in Putnam county: Putnam County Historical Society and Putnam county newspapers.

Image: By The original uploader was Catbar at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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This Saturday I will be attending my very first genealogy seminar! I’m looking forward to being with other genealogists and experiencing what several of my genea-friends have experienced. There are some in the field who are considered “rock stars” – the ones who speak at conferences all over the country and have a wealth of knowledge to share. One such “rock star” is Judy G. Russell. She is known as the Legal Genealogist. Judy’s blog of the same name (Legal Geanealogist) is full of useful information on copyrights, laws from year’s past, and other helpful hints. If you are a family historian, you must read Judy’s blog. I’ve also been Facebook friends with Judy for several years. Finally, on Saturday I will get to hear her presentations and meet her in person at the Midwest Genealogy Center Spring Seminar.

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My husband, grandson, and I began a new adventure recently – selling our home and moving 600+ miles away to another state. The knowledge of the move was known for quite awhile but the logistics and details were filled with stressful moments. How long would our home need to be on the market before it sold? How much would it cost to make sure the home was ready to be sold (cosmetic and other repairs)? Would there be enough “profit” for us after the sale? Move ourselves? Hire a moving company? What to take? What to pitch? What to give away? When to start packing? Where to put the boxes that were packed? And for the love of everything – what is this going to cost? (If you have ever moved, you know what I’m saying!)

uhaul june 2015

U-Haul with some boxes in the over cab

Luckily for us, the selling of the house was almost the easiest part – we closed even before we had to move. Then it became a matter of how quickly can we get everything packed. Once we started packing boxes, it became pretty clear that there wasn’t any place to put them and be able to pack more! So we decided to rent a U-Haul truck in order to start getting things out of the house. 

 

My husband very meticulously figured out the best way to maximize the space inside the truck in order to pack everything in to it. There were some (in retrospect) funny moments such as when my husband and son-in-law was moving our reclining sofa and loveseat from the house into the truck. Our daughter mentioned that hers came apart to make it easier to move but since the company who delivered our furniture years ago brought each piece in as one piece and not apart, no one bothered to check. (It was only after they about killed themselves getting it out of our house, into the truck, off loaded from the truck at our new home and just before figuring out how to get it from an outbuilding on the property to the basement of the house, did my husband realize that yep – they did come apart!)

Time seemed to be our enemy on the day my husband had wanted to get on the road. Without any place to sit or sleep, we ended up staying in a local hotel overnight before braving the last bits of cramming more items into the truck or the vehicle I was going to be driving and being sure to leave enough room for our traveling items (luggage and a couple bags of “important paperwork”).

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Husband and I with our daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons

With good-byes, hugs, and tears shed, we finally hit the road and left our home north of Dallas in the afternoon of June 11th. We stopped for the night at a nice hotel in a small Oklahoma town and enjoyed a delicious meal at the diner next door. The next morning, we began the last leg of the journey to our new home.

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That picture and the one below is what it’s all about! Big sky, rows and rows of corn, soybeans, and wheat! Gravel roads and country lanes. Barns and tractors. People who wave as they drive by. Neighbors who bring corn, corn, and even more corn! Furry critters and feathered friends to watch and marvel over. Small towns and big hearts.

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Our life is a little more slower paced these days – at least until our grandsons starts high school soon. My deadlines are 7 a.m., 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. (breakfast, lunch and dinner – oh wait, here it’s called breakfast, dinner and supper!). There’s always laundry to be done, weeds to be pulled, flowers to be watered, and new places to discover. It’s not quite retirement but it’s pretty dog gone close!

Stay tuned for more stories of our life in Missouri – and what this means for my genealogy research (hint: I’m really excited!!)!

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