Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

October 29, 2019

1904 Ghost Stories of Warrensburg and the Murder Mr. and Mrs. Yeater, Yeater Hall Ghost of Warrensburg, MO

Los Angeles Herald, 2 April 1904 


ST. LOUIS, April 2—William Church confessed today to having murdered Mr. and Mrs. Henry W. Yeater, his benefactors, at Warrensburg, Mo, last August. "I cut their throats with my razor while they were asleep," he said. Church "then calmly related the detail" and told how he escaped from the country. "It doesn't keep me awake? at night." he continued. "Now and then I wish I had not done it. I'll take what I got without asking for mercy." The couple had adopted him when he was a. baby. He had believed the Yeaters had made a will leaving their property to a stepson, and this so incensed him that he decided to kill them.

1. Magnolia Opera House on West Pine Street.  This was the location of the temporary morgue of the 29 passengers killed in the 1904 World's Fair train wreck near Monserrat, at "deadman's curve". World's Fair Train Wreck 1904, 29 Killed East of Warrensburg

The passenger conductor E. L. BARNES, ran all the way to Warrensburg to report the wreck. Every physician in Warrensburg and hundreds of citizens hastened to the wreck to assist the wounded. Twenty persons were killed outright and seven died within a few hours. The dead were placed on flat cars and brought to Warrensburg.

The dead were carried up the track and laid in rows in an open space until the relief train arrived, while the injured were cared for as well as could be. The scene of the wreck was on the downgrade, on either side of which there was a steep rise. Both trains had put on extra steam to carry them up the opposite hill, and when they met at the curve at the lowest point they were running at a terrific rate. When the trains met the heavy freight train pushed the passenger engine back into the first coach. The tender of the passenger engine literally cut the coach in two in the center and never stopped until it had plowed itself halfway through the car and its passengers, killing those in the forward end instantly, and mangling all within reach in a most horrible manner. Half a dozen who were not killed outright were so terribly injured that they died before they could be removed from the debris. Many of the dead were almost unrecognizable. Arms and legs were dismembered in several cases, and, together with baggage and pieces of wreckage, were tumbled together into a confused mass of bleeding human forms.
2. Just 1 block west of Magnolia Opera House at an old electric power substation area was the site of the last double hanging in Johnson County, in Warrensburg. People came from around the area to site on the sloping ground to view the public hanging just in front of the railroad tracks. In this area numerous hangings were held, just 2 blocks from the old Johnson County Jail on Washington Street. 
3. The Old Johnson County Courthouse might be haunted by the ghost of Marsh Foster, he was shot to death here on February 18, 1861, just after winning the county clerk's election. Shot by his opponents son. Some local historians say this killing was the start of the Civil War. 
5. The murder of Rembrandt, the talented sign painter. Killed in his workshop where he also lived. On Marshall Street, now housing, ironically a pipe organ company. Some say he can be seen wandering behind Pine Street trying to paint his signs....

Yeater Hall, the oldest resident hall on campus, there is a long history of mysterious happenings. Residents have reported lights coming on in rooms unoccupied and locked, curtains opening on their own. One set of residents reported a commotion at their door one evening and footsteps above their room in a room that was vacant and locked, in fact the entire floor was padlocked and no one was allowed on that floor. Other residents have reported cold spots during the summer in this non-airconditioned hall. A shadow of just a woman's head was seen by two women during a summer cleanup when the hall was supposed to be empty. Men, in this Women`s only hall, feel like they are being watched and male campus maintenance workers have complained of drawers opening and closing in rooms they are working in, when no one else is present. The third floor is padlocked shut, as is the attic. It has been said that if you knock twice on the attic door someone will knockback. Witnesses claim that this is indeed true. The third floor of Yeater hall was used in 2001, it was not until the spring semester of 2002 that it was padlocked. The ghosts are believed to be those of Laura Yeater (the dorm mother when the dorm was new, and whom the dorm was named after), and of a man who served in the military at a time when the dorm was used as housing for the military (there is a base nearby as well).

Photo 8Yeater-Hall

October Update The most famous and most blown out of whack. An investigator investigated 3 known entities in this hall. The story of the shadow seen by 2 workers was solely investigated by the ghost hunter. There have been times kids state they see things and once a boy was petrified on the stairwell saying he saw something and it took a very long time to get him out of his trance. Most of the information that was originally posted was taken from lectures the ghost hunter gave at the college and the above updates were reported by him. If interested in talking to him, the staff would probably give you information if they check with him first.

Central Yesterday
Laura Yeater's Spirit Lives On
By Emily A. Michael
Yeater, its patron, was well known for her philanthropy and a strong sense of caring for single women. She headed up fundraising efforts to build the hall and even became the hall's first housemother, watching over the eight residents with the care and devotion of a real mother. For generations, students have whispered she is still there, watching over her girls. Even if you don't believe in ghosts, it's easy to believe that Laura Yeater haunts the residence hall named after her. After all, many of her personal furnishings and household items are still in UCM's oldest residence hall.
Yeater came to Warrensburg to teach English in 1900 after graduating from Wellesley College in Massachusetts. One year later she became head of the Latin and Greek departments, a post she held for 15 years. Coming from an all-women's university, Yeater was appalled at the male-dominated culture of UCM, specifically the housing situation. She saw the need for a female dormitory, a place where women could have available facilities and good living conditions at a minimal cost.

With the help of a wealthy mentor back East and a prominent women's organization, Yeater made her vision a reality. She estimated the new residence hall would cost about $225,000. By promising to raise half of that goal, she enlisted the help of Helen Gould, the eldest daughter of American financier Jay Gould and the creator of a scholarship that Yeater had received to fund her education at Wellesley. Gould was then a member of the National Board of the YWCA, and through that organization, several other projects and a lot of hard work, Yeater raised her half.

On May 10, 1941, Yeater saw her dream come true. After a 25-year absence from campus, she returned for the dedication of the Laura J. Yeater Hall for Women. "Giving my name to the residence hall for women on the Warrensburg campus is a touching tribute and it is quite wonderful," said Yeater all those years ago.
The Alumni Association is seeking Yeater Hall residents for a reunion this fall. Send them your contact information at

Just as Yeater considers Gould a vital link to her education, many women feel the same way about Yeater.
"When I enrolled at Central Missouri State Teachers College in 1941, I was assigned to Yeater Hall Room 315 where I lived for two years," says Myra Seafoss Hiles, a 1945 and 1975 UCM alumna. "No one had lived in that room, and I have always been so proud to have lived in a brand-new room."
When asked if Yeater Hall is haunted, she responds by saying, "Of course the third floor of Yeater Hall is haunted - by all the eager young women who lived and learned there!"

Comments About This Article

I lived on the 3rd floor in room 369 during 1969 and 1970. What a great dorm,it kept you in shape running up and down all the stairs. I always felt it was the best dorm on campus. What great memories. Linda Sumpter Clark

I have been in the hall three times. I love the history of it. I plan on being wealthy in the future. If I am, I plan on asking UCM if there is a price that they will accept to turn Yeater Hall into a museum. It is a great place and it should not be forgotten. The history needs to be shared.

When I enrolled at Central Missouri State Teachers College in the summer of 1942, I chose to live on the third floor of Yeater Hall. I lived several summer sessions at Yeater Hall. However, I did not choose the third floor, again, because it took too long to get to my room after my morning class and then to the dining room for lunch. I shall never forget that first summer at Yeater. Everything was so pretty, so new, and so feminine. And the food was delicious! Eunice B. (Wise) Boyd

I loved reading the history regarding Yearter Hall in the UCM Today. I lived in Yeater Hall for one year (1959/1960). I have such fond memories of Yeater Hall, and the many friendships I developed during that time of my life. In fact, when we get together we begin to reminisce about our time at CMSC and Yeater Hall. Joyce Bellis Ivey

UCM has much history that could and should be written about, to include athletes and coaches.

During the late l940s we fraternity lads gathered to sing outside Yeater Hall, but, so far as I remember, did not make any "panty raids" so popular at the time. The tennis team played its games on the courts behind the dorm. My only campus-published poem, in the Muleskinner, was about the fond goodnights at the front door. One chilly morning, because I got the timing wrong, I bundled up to arrive at Yeater about 5:30 am to attend some kind of of breakfast gathering and I had a date for it. When a house staff arrived and saw me waiting, I told her, "There's a girl inside I am supposed to see." Fortunately she let me in to get warm and didn't call campus police. If nothing more the Hall haunts my memories. Jerry McDaniel '50

I loved living at Yeater and South Yeater Hall. I lived there from 1970-1974. It was a great place to live and I loved the feeling of being at home. I loved the phone calls down the hall and in the Fall of 1970 still have room check. Who would have thought! I made lasting friends during those years at CMSU that I'll never forget. I'm glad Yeater is still going strong. D (Cole) Ganley, Class of 1974.

I lived in Yeater Hall for my freshman year in 1993 to 1994. I loved the non-residence hall feel of the hall unlike the others I lived in during the rest of my years at Central. Jennifer Williams Burr '1997

The only item of Laura's still in the hall, as far as I know, is her round table in the 1st floor library. The rest had been moved to the president's home, Selmo Park. I was an SA in '97-98 for Houts/Hosey/Yeater and shared several paranormal experiences there, with at least 4-5 other witnesses on 3 separate occasions! Very awesome memories! Martie Gravitt, M.D., Class of 1999

I lived in Yeater in 1995-1996 in room 228. It was a great experience, one of the best in my life. Yeater will always hold a special place in my heart.

I lived in Todd from '55-'58 and we were happy sharing the dining hall with Yeater girls, but really enjoyed the article about the history of Yeater. Judy Counts Skinner

In response to the previous post about the belongings: as far as I know, Laura's items are no longer in the hall--(I live here currently). If anything does remain, it is very very minimal. Some of her items--like a grandfather clock--are now in Selmo Park. There are a lot of great Laura items in the archives that you can view if you are interested! I did some research there this semester and we recently held a 70th Birthday Party with the residents. I love the building and we have an excellent community here.

I really enjoyed staying in Yeater Hall in the '80s. I remember a couple of times the piano playing and when I went to look no one would be there. Guess Laura liked to entertain us as well as look over us.

I lived in Yeater Hall--1947-1951. There was always something going on. I worked in the dining room for three years. Great times and great friends. M. A. Weber

I lived in four of the dorms on campus during my time at CMSU. Yeater was by far my favorite. The wooden floors, lack of gray concrete blocks, creaky stairs, the dumbwaiter! As a resident assistant, I stayed many an overnight without another person in the building. If Laura's ghost is there, she is definitely friendly, because I never felt frightened or alone while there alone. Thank you, Laura J Yeater, for being such a woman of character and intelligence, paving the way for all of our futures.

This was an interesting article. I lived in South Yeater for two years in the 1980s and my kids enjoyed the "Haunted Yeater Hall" tour last Halloween, but I never knew that Laura Yeater helped raise half of the $$ to build the hall.

What ever happened to Holden Hall, the old hotel downtown? How about some history on it. Nick Owen, Class of 1969

It was mentioned that Laurs's personal belongings were still in the hall. Why are they not in a museum so they could be seen, and her history made public?

I lived in Yeater all my four years of college. We ran down the hall to take phone calls in the tiny phone booths. If a male visited, we shouted "Man on the floor.",(talk about days gone by.) We played cards in the lounge. When I visited Yeater several years ago and walked into the lobby, it was as if I had stepped back in time. Pat Strider Vandiver (Class of 1959)

I met my wife of 51 years during the 1956 pre-season football season.The girls used to sit on the lawn as the football players would come down to eat during pre-season.She was sitting with Pat Murphy Eileen Stahl and Pat (can't remember her last name now but they all lived at the Belt home. Her name was Belle Carter. She now has Altz. and is in a home here in Denison, Texas.But Yes I do remember all the fine looking women who lived in Yeater. So the article brought back some fine memories of 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958. Thanks for the article. Gene Augustine

I dated two women who lived in Yeater in the 1950s. It was an interesting time and experience.

Thank you for this story. I had friends who housed in Yeater Hall and I was always jealous of the feeling that Hall had over the ones I lived in (1975-1978). Glad to see that the history of the campus is getting shared.

I lived in Yeater in 1979-1981 and worked as an office assistant as we were known; buzzing the girls for phone calls and visitors. It was a great experience and one I have treasured. It was the best dorm to live in and now I can see why!

I lived in Yeater Hall for three years. It was the best as it was the closest to campus and none of the furniture was bolted to the floor - wood floors at that. I have great memories of after hours parties, buzzers, amd phones ringing early on a Saturday morning. Bonnie Cooley-Davis

I lived in Yeater Hall the first part of freshman year, from August 1972 until early January 1973. It was a building with a lot of character! Julie Walter Weissflog CMSU Graduate 1976

Yeater Hall was a wonderful home away from home. I spent four years there and also worked in the office and on the switchboard. Hazell Cossell was a great dorm mother.

I am so happy to see that Yeater Hall might be getting information sent out about the wonderful place that I lived from 1952-1956! Each sorority had a "wing" in the dorm which was so much fun for us to gather as "sisters." I worked in the office my sophomore year and then was in charge of getting workers my junior and senior year. It was fun having the opportunity to "buzz" girls that their date had arrived or for their phone call. Some would stand or sit in the hall for hours talking to their friend. We had a Yeater Hall choir that sang at Christmas time and so many special memories are there. I sure hope that those of us that lived there along with UCM can bring the dorm back to its original beauty. What a great place. Jonna McKendree Merritt

My mother, sister and I all lived in Yeater when we attended CMSU. It was my favorite of all the women's dorms. Of course Laura is still there! She closed our doors and turned off the hall lights for us when we forgot!

Great to read and learn about the history of the University. We need more articles such as this one so we can all learn the history of our University and learn to appreciate the sacrifices that were made on behalf of students.

Thank you for sharing this story!

The article was very interesting. I was not able to live in the dorm as my parent made tremendous sacrifices for my education. They even left their small town and moved to Warrensburg, so I could sleep at home -- for free. Carmen Duvall Lightle

Yeater Hall was occupied by the Navy in 1945.

Diemer Hall, It was on the second floor, was a private room with a private bath on the south end of the hall. Feelings of being watched. Two witnesses experienced the bathroom sink turning itself on and filled up with hot water.

Osborne/Phillips Hall, a residence hall that is shut for an undisclosed reason. Rumors of it being haunted, October Update: The hall was shut down for financial reasons and low resident numbers, not for anything supernatural. Though an orb has been reported.

North Ellis first floor, north end of the hall, feelings of being watched, One witnesses alarm clock fell off the dresser and skidded into the far wall, and another time it flew from the dresser shattering, they also say they witnessed an apparition appear in the mirror.

Houts/Hosey Hall is supposedly haunted by a girl who killed herself while she was pregnant. Her ghost is said to walk the halls, knocking on doors, and calling for her baby asking where it is. Shadows are seen under the doors when no one is walking by. During a séance 2 different room numbers where given and one of them was a room that was not used, the other room of a suite used by a community advisor (like an RA). This room’s door looked very different from the rest of the doors, had a sort of darkness above it. And was very obviously off limits to residents. Rumor is that the numbers of the rooms in that building had been reassigned so that no one would hear about the room the suicide victim lived in and not want to live in it. This could be just a rumor, though. This is the legend of Sarah. An eye witness to both the séances reports the findings were fake – that nothing happened.

Hawkins Hall, where a student hung himself. October Update: Hawkins has been closed for many years so you will not find many that remember it being open. It is now an education center and no sightings have been made for about 7 years.

Other ghost sightings possible?.
Behind the Amtrak Station where Carl Steidle was murdered, then dragged onto the tracks and decapitated, 1884.  
In the trees on the Southwest corner of West Pine Street and Warren Street.  This is where the "Hamilton Brothers" where hung in 1884 for the murder of Carl Steidle. 15,000 attended the double hanging.  
Rembrandt, the sign painter was murdered his studio/home which is now pipe organ repair company on Marshall street by the railroad tracks.
The old Johnson County jail, on the southwest corner of Washington and West Market. It is now a medical supply company. Untold prisoners mysteriously died in this building. The historical society says maybe up to 20 prisoners died in here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Marr Park, an apporition of a young girl has been seen there. Many people have claimed to see her plus other strange things. Rumor says she was murdered and burried in the feilds just to the back of the park.