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September 6, 2018

The Bulletin of the Johnson County Historical Society - Fall 2018

Preserving our history since 1920 by Peggy Nuckles
Gilbert Forbush, Spotlight Cleaners, Warrensburg, MO
Roger Maserang Photo ca 1970s
Fall 2018                                                Published twice a year
The Annual Meeting of the Historical Society is Sunday afternoon at
2:00 pm, 30 September 2018.
Long time Historical Society volunteer and board member, Herb Best, passed away this spring. For many years, Herb was the one who kept the doors open at the Smiser Library. He was there  almost every afternoon even if the curator or other volunteers were not around. Herb had many interests besides history and genealogy. He was an outstanding musician and often picked guitar on Sunday afternoons with the Historical Society’s Schoolhouse Players. He was also a founding member of the Chilhowee Antique Farm Machinery Collectors Organization and was a Professor of Computer Science at UCM.

Friends of CAFMCO. We are sad to say that one of our Founding members, Herb Best passed away yesterday. Herb will forever be remembered for so many things. His musical abilities, quick wit, jokes and most of all for me personally teaching me how to figure percentage pulls. He had infinite patience for my endless questions and was the record keeper of all statistics and slide shows. Rest in Peace, my friend.
Herb Best, Wonderful Volunteer and Supporter of JOCOMO Historical
Memories of Herb

Eddie L. Osborne October 6, 2012Come out to the old Courthouse (302 N. Main) for the second performance in the Eclectic Cafe Concert Series. Tonight features the talents of Hal Sappington (fiddle) & Herb Best (guitar). These were long time bandmates in a group called "Johnson Grass". You'll hear songs with roots in the 19th century and more. Concerts presented without amplification and lit with candles & mirrors. 
Clarence H. "Herb" Best, Author, Teacher, Musican, Historian
A visitor climbs among the rocks to view a petroglyph.
Cave Hollow has been a favorite of locals and visitors alike for more than a century. It was once a rendezvous for “Old Normal” students who came for picnics and to collect botanical specimens from the lush flora which covered the rocky sides and rich floor of the hollow.
Although it was a place of great natural beauty, people neglected and vandalized the place so much that articles in the 1920s and ‘30s described it as ugly. It declined so much that the city bought the property from Harry Day in the 1950s to use as a landfill. Even then, though, some people saw its potential. Even when councilmen wanted it to hold the city’s garbage, they thought that it might be used as a park after it could hold no more trash. According to David Curtis former Parks and Recreation manager, park board member Terry Simmons began pressing the city to act on their original intent and convert the land into a park in the late ‘70s. Then it was a popular nationwide movement to convert landfills into ball parks and Warrensburg needed more baseball fields. 

As a secondary project, the city built a hiking trail into the eastern part of the park. There walkers will find a deep wooded ravine which lies between the Old Cemetery on the south and Sunset Hills on the north, At the end of the paved trail, a cave hollow (not deep enough to be a true cave) opens beneath a sandstone rock cliff forty feet high. 

Further down the now graveled path, more cliffs form a passageway to a second smaller cave hollow. People have carved (and more recently spray-painted) their names on the walls for many years. Recently, unknown sculptors have come to the cliffs to attempt the ancient art of petroglyph carving.

Both of the houses purchased by the Historical Society earlier this year are rented. According to curator Mike Shaw, the houses were structurally sound so that the only expense in getting them ready to rent was replacing a few appliances. The combined rents are now bringing in $1,100 a month. If this income holds steady, the houses will pay for themselves in about nine years.
Shaw has discussed opportunities for adding more houses in the immediate area to the Historical Society’s holdings.  No final decision has been made.

Curator Mike Shaw talked about, "Historical Johnson County Characters – Famous and Infamous: Saturday, May 12, at the Old Courthouse. The University of Central Missouri Lifelong Learning program delved into the lives of several Johnson County residents who made out-sized contributions to our country and our society in such areas as music, mathematics and industry, and crime.
Carrie Nation was an instrumental figure in the national temperance movement, and Warrensburg’s John W. “Blind” Boone was one of the most preeminent entertainers in the world around the turn of the Twentieth Century. However, many now lesser known Johnson Countians such as Flora Quick Mundis, Rube Fields, Emmet Cord or Leonard Goodall were once national celebrities

Flora Quick Mundis, also known as “Tom King” or the “Chinese Boy” left Holden to become an outlaw and horse thief in Oklahoma.

Rube Fields from Fayetteville was a mathematical genius who could not read or write. His story is included in a free booklet offered by the Little Gift Shop.

Emmet Cord, born in Warrensburg, was a famous automobile maker in the early 20th century.

Many of Leonard Goodall’s lawn mowers are on display on at the Historical Society.

Their stories can all be found by searching our blog - 

Daisy Baker wins Old Drum Lookalike Contest
Daisy poses with her humans, Brooke, Misty, and Alli Baker after her victory at the Annual Old Drum Festival held Spring 2018.
Three Volunteers Update Acquisition Catalog
Karen Williamson Hurst, Rose Marie Kinder, Judy Shumate, wonderful volunteers at JOCOMO Historical
Karen Williamson Hurst (front) Rose Marie Kinder and Judy Shumate (right) have been hard at work bringing the acquisition catalog up to date. In this photo, they are  working in the basement storage room going through old items to see which have lost their acquisition numbers, and what needs to be repaired or cleaned and better protected.
By Fran Billings
What a wonderful, beautiful summer 2018 has been.  Those long, warm days of blooming gardens and patio flowers profusely overrunning their boundaries, evenings with small fireflies lighting the skies looking like little 4th of July tributes, all these delights on the wane. Katydids continue there well-orchestrated, yet crashing crescendos at evening; the wild hibiscus are growing taller, preparing to bloom, signaling tingling fragrances of fall soon in the air.  Our little people and youth are back to school eager to see old friends, meet new teachers and share summer’s adventures. The “big yellow buses” come and go. Some things do not change much, but what has happened to the Big Chief Tablet and the Number 2 lead pencil? And to Dick and Jane, Sally and Spot? Summer adventures and fall school “good old days of 2018” will likely be quite different from those of yesteryear housed at the Johnson County Historical Society Library and in little country schoolhouses.
Spring 2018 is a lovely memory breaking out from the cold breezy days of winter.  Old Drum Day, 14 April, brought a return of blustery cold weather. The day was good though many vendors left early and the crowds were not so large as usual.  The Historical Society always profits when old and new friends come to meet, greet and enjoy the activities. Always a special treat is the dramatic reenactment of the Old Drum Court Trial.  The many dogs also seemed to sense their day, just trotting about, tails wagging, collecting pets and many a smile. The drawing for bags of dog food was well received. Winners were: small dog, Charlie Stewart, mid-size dog, Bob Kerr and large dog, Bryan Jacob, AND there was a fourth winner also as the Animal Shelter received the unclaimed dog food after 1 June, making more little dogs happy!
Participation in the July Sidewalk Sale was literally a hot endeavor for Loretta and Mike but they met the challenge. Summer guests came from several states as well as neighboring towns and cities in Missouri. They researched, asked questions, chatted about their families and stories as they enjoyed a tour of the Historical Society campus.  Many took with them a momento from Johnson County made/produced/written by one of our sever talented artists. The Little Gift Shop’s monthly FREE gift (2018) has truly been a fit of history. “An Abbreviated History” is a tiny book of 3 or 4 pages which are 2 ½ X 3 ½ inches is size, each featuring a different Johnson County Town.  To date Columbus, Burnett Station, Centerview, Cornelia, Fayetteville and Holden have been well received. Watch for future editions of Kingsville, Knob Noster, Monserratt, Warrensburg and in December a Collection of Small Communities.

Fall, frivolously colorful and frightfully busy. The Annual Meeting of the Historical Society is Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm, 30 September 2018. The picturesque Courthouse of yesteryear on the Old Public Square stands steadfast and proud ready to conduct the business of this day. The School House Jammers are planning a program of musical opening and closing. The Society’s Business Meeting will be conducted, tributes made, introductions given and a short program. The 2018 Christmas Ornaments will be presented to mayors in Johnson County for their Town Hall Christmas trees. A new endeavor, the 2019 calendar of historical moments will also be unveiled and introduced. These two gifts sharing a common history with fellow Johnson Countians will be for sale at the Little Gift Shop alongside other gifts of distinction.
In Johnson County there are many diversely talented people. Fortunately, they are willing to share these talents. Following the Business Meeting, three treats are available!  Authors will be signing copies of their books and chatting about their work with readers. Mike Shaw, the Historical Society Administrator, is planning a guided tour of the campus grounds, buildings and artifacts for those who would like a brief (and fun) walk through Johnson County history. Last, but not least, TAKE TIME to enjoy a cookie from the RISE Cafe among friends. See you soon on the Old Town Square!
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Johnson County history  will soon expand its online presence thanks to the efforts of Historical Society member Lisa Irle and photographer Roger Maserang. Maserange has donated his collection of photographs of Warrensburg taken in the 1970s to the Historical Society.  Recognizing this an an opportunity to join a world-renown forum, Lisa Irle selected four of the photographs and sent them to Google’s Arts and Culture section along with an application to open a Johnson County page.
Hugh Reynolds - Feed Store
CMSU Homecoming Parade many years ago
Ike Martin Music and Gambles on North Holden Street
She submitted her application in November of 2017 and didn’t hear back from them until she got an email in May 2018 welcoming her to Google Arts and Culture.
Maserang, who taught sociology at UCM,  and Irle will select 50 photographs this fall to start the Google display. After that the opportunity to add more Johnson County art to Google is unlimited.
Visitors to the Historical Society grounds may notice that only three chimneys now sit atop the Old Courthouse roof.  The southwest chimney was tilting dangerously and had to be removed.  After waiting weeks for a contractor to do the job, curator Mike Shaw rented a lift and took the structure down himself.
According to Shaw, the leaning chimney was made of modern bricks and was not connected to an internal fireplace.  He estimates that the chimney was rebuilt during a 1960s renovation.

The Johnson County Historical Society hosted The Music Studio’s Summer Theatre Under the Stars as young performers presented several plays.  The season started on Memorial Day with The Sound of Music.  Special events included a talent contest before the show and a special sing-along.
Xanadu Jr.  brought back memories of music from the ‘80s as some audience members were invited to sit in the middle of the action onstage as Kira and Sonny strove to build a roller disco. The Little Mermaid closed out the 2018 season. $1.00 from every ticket sold was pledged to go to the Johnson County Historical Society.
After the season, the Historical Society Board decided to end the partnership for financial and aesthetic reasons

The Little Gift Shop on the Old Towne Square needs a volunteer manager.
The position offers short hours, pleasant working conditions, a chance to
meet wonderful people, and a great feeling of helping your local Historical
To volunteer or find out more, contact Fran Billings at 660 441-4727.
James Anderson - Ancestry research of the Black Family
Tanya L. Prince - a copy of the Gettysburg Address.
Stephen Grandfield - Books and Warrensburgopoly board game.
Jerry Girard donated items from his Reno Gastaldi Collection.  Gastaldi was the artist who made the Old Drum statue. The statue was placed on the “new” courthouse square on September 23, 1958.  According to the Kansas City Star, “Scores of dogs, some horses, an elephant, and more than 3,000 animal lovers turned out to honor Old Drum, a famous hound dog… John M. Dalton, Missouri Attorney General, pulled a cord unveiling the bronze statue of the black and tan hound.  A chorus of ‘ohs’ broke out from the crowd followed by applause.”
Gastaldi was born March 18, 1918, in Milan, Italy, to Siro and Mary Bercesi Gastaldi. He came to the U.S. at age 3, became an American citizen and joined the U.S. Army during W.W. II. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in fine arts and became a self-employed sculptor operating Reno Studios Sculptured Originals in St Louis with his wife for more than 30 years.

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