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November 12, 2018

John Marr, David, J. T. and Mary C., J. D.,J. Kenneth Marr, Ruthanne Marr Harbach Jones Wise

In 1834,  two brothers (some sources say there was a third brother), John and Daniel Marr came to Missouri from Cocke County, Tennessee. The brothers and two other families built a flatboat on the Tennessee River.
John's father had a store and when he divided his property, a slave, Jack, was allowed to choose his master. Jack said he would rather have a good mistress than a good master, so he choose John's wife, (who is unnamed in biographies).  So John had to take Jack at $400. So Jack came on the boat with the rest of the crew down Tennessee and up Missouri to Lexington, pushing the boat with long poles.
The Marr's lived in Lafayette County for two or three years and then decided to move south and locate in what was to become Post Oak Township in Johnson County.  They set stakes and took up claims just a few months before Johnson County was organized on December 13, 1836.  They settled about 7 miles southwest of the Martin Warren farm 2 years before the town of Warrensburg was established.  The Marr brothers were pioneers in Tennessee. so they knew what to do in this new county. The land was mostly prairie then but there were brush patches along the creeks and in or near these the settlers located their homes.  John built a house without nails.  He first put on the roof and pinned the poles on using wooden pins. Their claims were broken and planted and all of the rest of the land was left as rangeland. 

John told Jack that after he worked out $400., he might have his free papers.  Jack wanted a wife, and by this time a Major Warnick came upriver with a lot of women so Jack bought a wife.  After the slaves were freed, their former masters were responsible for all of their acts and John gave Jack 40 acres of land on which Jack built his house, moved in and went to work.  John always knew where Jack was.
Jack and his wife Susan made money and saved it til after the Civil War when Susan died.  He married again and his second wife got a good part of the money and left him.

After John came to Johnson County, he had to go to Lexington to buy what he wanted for several years until Warrensburg got started.  Harry Anderson started a store and people thought modern times had started. John and Daws Houts bought a sawmill and went into business together.

John had some money when he first came to Johnson County and he would lend it to the first settlers.  He never took notes and never lost a dollar.  There was one man from Illinois who wanted some money but said he would have to send a note back home to get security.  John told him if his word wasn't good then neither was his note.

John was the father of fifteen children.  He and his first wife had Allman, William, Daniel, John, Catherine, David, Mary, George, James, Thomas and Tipton. He remarried after her death. Then came Sarah, Maggie, Jess, and Julia.

David Marr
 John Marr's son,  David, was born in Tennessee and came with his parents to this county when he was thirteen years old.  He lived in the Post Oak for the last 70 years of his life, witnessing the conversion of prairie to woodland to field. In the following years, much of this rangeland grew into woodland.

David was a trader in his younger days.  He would go south to St. Claire and Cedar counties and buy three and four-year old steers and drive them to Lexington and sell them for six or seven dollars a head. He and his brother would drive six or seven hundred head of hogs to Lexington, slaughter them and sell them and two and a half cents a pound.

The steamboat reached Independence in Jackson County, Missouri in 1849.  When people came from the East and bought their outfits to go to the goldfields in California, David would bring oxen, wagons and meat.  He sold the bacon at seven cents a pound.  He would bring six or seven yokes of oxen and two or three wagons and sell all but one yoke of oxen and one wagon to drive home.

There was an old bachelor in the neighborhood who wanted to go to California but did not have enough money so he asked David's wife, Catherine, to make him a suit of clothes which she did.  He gave her five head of cattle that were worth $13. The people didn't have any medicine then but teas and the women gathered weeds, barks, and herbs for medicine.

David took a notion to build a frame house in 1855.  He took some oxen and went to work, dragging logs to the sawmill and had lumber sawed to build a house thirty-two by forty-two feet. four sixteen-foot square rooms with a ten-foot hall, the largest in the county.  He hired a carpenter by the year and they went to work and dressed all the siding and flooring.  This siding was all walnut and the flooring was white oak tongued and grooved.  There wasn't any machinery so they took the plane and went to work and in two years it was finished. He then began trading and gave his six children homes leaving something over a hundred acres for himself.

After the Civil War prices got higher than people had ever seen them. Hogs went to nine cents a pound and things were pretty good until prices dropped again.

J. T. and Mary C. Marr

The Marr family lived in a rude, unfinished log cabin when they settled in Johnson county and in this primitive home J. T. Marr the son of David and  Catherine (Reed) Marr was born. When he was a youth, he would go miles across the prairie to drive the cattle home, for they had unlimited grazing territory. Small streams that flowed through the prairie land were hardly noticeable.  The water was clear and holes, generally, only a few feet wide and forty to fifty yards long, were deep enough to swim a horse.  These narrow, deep pools were full of fish and wild animals came to them for water.  A deer lick was often found nearby. Not only was this true southwest of Warrensburg but it was also true of most of the county.  Before the settlers came, the annual Indian fires killed all of the timber seedlings.  But the white farmers did all they could to prevent these fires.
Protected for a few years, the seedlings became saplings and grew so dense the prairie grass was killed out.  Thousands of acres of woods were grown in Johnson County in the century that followed.  As the prairies that were left were broken and put into cultivation, the streams of clear water filled with washed soil.  Some of them have been plowed over and corn and wheat now grow over where fishing and swimming used to be good.

J. T. received his education in the old-fashioned "subscription school," which was taught by Mr. Winfrey and later by Jim Townsley.    The preacher, who moved amid the scenes of pioneer life, and whom Mr. Marr often heard expound the tenets of Christianity, was "Uncle Johnny" Morrow.

J. D. Marr
J. T. Marr lived independently and alone on his farm for many years because his son, J. D., lived close by.  J. D. married Maud Rose. 
J. Kenneth Marr
James D. Marr of Post Oak township and his wife Maud Rose Marr were the parents of J. Kenneth Marr who was born in Warrensburg Feb. 23, 1905.  J. Kenneth attended Central Missouri State and graduated from the St. Louis School of Pharmacy in 1926.  He married Ruth A. Shelton in August 1929. 

In 1930, Mr. Marr purchased half interest in the Montgomery Drug Store in Warrensburg and in 1931 bought the business. 

Marr's Drug Store, Warrensburg
Marr's Warrensburg

His sister, Cova married at his home in 1935.

History of the first drug store in Warrensburg est. in 1874, bought by J. Kenneth Marr in 1931.

He established Marrs Apothecary on East Market St. in 1940 and sold his original apothecary located at West Pine and Holden to Buente Brothers in 1946.

J. Dennis Marr
 J. Kenneth  formed a partnership with his son, Dennis, in 1959 to run the East Market St. pharmacy.

J. Dennis Marr, Rowena Chaney, J. Kenneth Marr, P. S. Alexander, M. G. Lanning, Warrensburg, Missouri

J. Dennis Marr bought his father's interest in the drug businesses in 1971.  The son then opened another shop in Northpark but continued to run the store at 112 E. Market.

J. Dennis Marr sold the pharmacy in 1983 to Steve and Janis Mills

J. Kenneth Marr (again)

After his son took over the family pharmacy business, J. Kenneth Marr was free to pursue his many other interests. He operated the J. Kenneth Marr Realty Company from the 1940s until he retired in 1975.  

He was once president of the Midwest Board of Realters. He bought and sold land and donated some of it to the city for a park in 1956.

He purchased the Warrensburg Medical Center and turned it into a nursing home in 1962.

He was director of the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce and a member of the local Masonic Lodge, the Scottish Rite bodies and Ararat Shrine.  He was also a member of the Warrensburg First Christian Church.

Mr. Marr entered the aviation field in the 1940s obtaining a private pilots license. 

He was active in the Civil Air Patrol from its inception in 1942 and held a commission as a lieutenant colonel in the North Central Region. He also served as a deputy wing commander for the state of Missouri. In 1946, he and Dr. Ralph McKinney established Skyhaven Airport.  
He wasn't the only flyer in the family.

Mr. Marr was a key figure in the local effort that led to the reactivation of Whiteman Air Force Base in the 1950s and the installation of Minuteman Missiles in the area in the 1960s.

A lifelong Democrat he served for years on the Democratic Central Committee. Deleta Parmley Williams worked for him from 1961 to 1973 in real estate sales, and insurance. She also did secretarial work for him.

J. Kenneth Marr died Sep. 13, 1979.


Prominent Warrensburg businessman, J. Kenneth Marr, 74, 1103 Christopher Street, Warrensburg, MO, died this morning at Research Hospital in Kansas City.    He attended Central Missouri State University for two years and graduated from St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 1926.

She died January 7, 1971.  He married Anne Bechhold, Sep. 28, 1973.  In addition to his wife survivors include a son, Dennis, 800 Laurel; a daughter, Mrs. Keith (Ruthanne) Jones, 711 S. Holden Street; eight grandchildren; three stepsons: Edward Bechhold of Marco Island, Fl., Kent Bechhold of Kansas City and John Bechhold of 1103 Christopher St.: one stepdaughter, Mrs. Kathy (David) Harris of Kirksville, and a sister, Mrs. Cova Brenner of Springfield. 
Funeral services were held at the First Christian Church with Dr. Richard E. Johnson and Dr. Frank E Myers officiating.  Burial was in Sunset Hill Cemetery with Masonic graveside services.  Honorary pallbearers were Garrett Crouch, Adrian Harmon, Len Gregg, Evans Little, Burton Richards, Dr. Wayne Reynolds, William J. Randall, James C. Kirkpatrick, Dr. James Whiteman, Byran Schultz, Dale DeLozier, Dr. O.H. Damron, Jerry Talley, Merrill Lanning, Edward LaCamp,  and Dean I. L. Peters.
Active pallbearers were Roland West, Clinton Conners, Ed Novak, Art Norton, Hayes Finley, and J. M. Werling.

Ruthanne Marr Harbach Jones Wise
Ruthanne was born in Warrensburg, the daughter of Ruth and J. Kenneth Marr.  She enjoyed an active and adventursome childhood with her brother, J. Dennis Marr. Ruthanne remembers that she felt like she had to excel to get her father's attention.

Ruthanne's leadership skills became apparent in childhood and certainly her father's entrepreneural ideas had an impact.  At the age of 3, Ruthanne was selected as the mascot of Central Missouri State's drum and bugle corps, the Cannerries (pronounced Canareys.) At age 11 she opened her first business - a neighborhood firecracker stand.  Not content to be a one person operation she soon recruited other friends and her business soared generating $400 in just four days.

She attended and graduated from the College Laboratory School.  Twirling became her passion and she soon mastered the technique. Throughout highschool she performed at athletic contests and special events. 

During this time she went to Simmons Studio to have some pictures taken as she showed off her skill.
After graduating from highschool she decided to enroll at Central Missouri State. In her freshman year, she was selected as drum major for the college band.  She soon decided to spread her wings and left CMS for the University of Missouri at Columbia and then went on to the University of Southern California where she was elected as the first woman student body president.  

After earning two undergraduate degrees there she returned to her native Missouri to continue her education earning a Master's degree in communication from CMS in 1960.  Following graduation, she decided to volunteer her services abroad under the auspices of CARE and helped organize seven orthopedic clinics in Jordan.  

Mrs. Leonard Edward "Ted" Harbach III (Miss Ruthanne Marr)
Miss Ruthanne Marr, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Kenneth Marr, 711 S. Holden Street and Leonard Edward Harbach III, son of Mr. and Mrs Leonard Harbach, Jr., of Beverly Hills, California were united in marriage at 8:30 o'clock, Saturday evening, June 28, 1959 at the First Christian Church of Warrensburg.  The double-ring ceremony was read by the Rev. Herbert D. Woodruff, pastor.
Preceding the ceremony, "How Do I Love Thee" was sung by James E. Garrison of Warrensburg, a member of the chorus of the Starlight Theater in Kansas City.  Just before the ceremony, he sang, "Oh Perfect Love" and at the close, "The Lord's Prayer."  He was accompanied by Mrs. W. L. Marse for the first two solos and Miss Emma Lou Diemer of Kansas City for the latter.
The candles in the candelabra at the front of the church were lighted by the candlelighters, Misses Sarah and Nancy Houx, twin daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Houx.  The Matron of Honor, Mrs. Norman Hanson of Kansas City, wore a dress of deep pink taffeta styled with long torso and harem overskirt of silk organza.  The five bridesmaids, Mrs. Bryson Jones Kitchen, Kansas City; Mrs. Richard Harrison, Independence; Miss Lois Minderhunt, Los Angeles, California; Miss Carolyn Brenner, St. Louis, who is a cousin of the bride and Miss Carolyn Parsons, Warrensburg, wore dresses styled identical to that of the Matron of Honor, but a lighter shade of pink.
The bridegroom was attended by his brother Charles Harbach of Los Angeles, as best man.  Other attendants were J. Dennis Marr of Columbus, brother of the bride; Theodore Rehmann, Des Moines, IA: Jack Nixon, Kansas City; Lt. Edward Lacamp, Birmingham, Alabama; and Glenn Brenner, St. Louis. Ushers were John Innes, Jr. and Jack Stewart, Warrensburg; Herman Hansen, Kansas City; and E. W. Brenner of St. Louis, uncle of the bride.
The guest book at the church and later at the reception which was held at home was in charge of Mrs. Don Parmley, Mrs. Robert Dyer and Miss Natalie Prussing.  The flower girl, little Miss Deborah Harmon daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adrian Harmon and the ringbearer, Garold E. Humfeld, son of Col. and Mrs. Harold E. Humfeld of Whiteman Air Force Base preceded the bride and her father down the aisle.
Reception at Home
Those assisting in serving were Mrs. E. W. Brenner, St. Louis; Mrs. James Cronin, Roswell, N.M.; Mrs. J. R. Garrison,  Mrs. O. A. Marti, Mrs. J. L. Essig, Mrs. Clarence Kemp, and Mrs. Adrian Harmon of Warrensburg. Buddy Lucas and his strolling troubadors of Kansas City mingled among the guests and played for dancing.
Wedding gifts on display at the house were in charge of Mrs. T. L. Hartshorn, Mrs. W. K. Stewart, and Mrs. Alva W. Creach
To Reside in California
Following the reception the young couple left for Kansas City, They returned to the Marr home Sunday afternoon to join their families before leaving on a wedding trip to Acapulco and Mexico City, Mexico before returning in about to weeks to Los Angeles where they will make their home.

The couple moved back to Warrensburg.  Leonard worked for Ruthanne's father J. Kenneth Marr for a while but they soon divorced.

In 1964 she married Dr. Keith D. Jones in Kansas City.  

In 1966 she began manageing the rehabilitation department of a skilled nursing facility owned by her family.  She became active in the community and was instrumental in organizing the Johnson Coounty Hospital Guild and the Secunda Club.

At the same time, she also decided to start her own business of managing rehabilitation services for hospitals and nursing homes.  That was the beginning of the business which was known as Healthtech Rehabilitation, Inc.,which became the third largest provider of rehabilitation services with an annual revenue of more that $18 million.

Ruthanne divorced Dr. Keith Jones and moved to Texas where she married Dr. Wise.

This article is misdated. Should be 1993
Ruthanne Marr Wise
Ruthanne Marr Wise, a fourth generation Warrensburg was recently selected as a 1993 Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in a national program sponsored by Ernst & Young, Merril Lynch and Inc magazine.  Twenty-five finalists, including Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, were selected in the Entrepreneur of the Year program which honors those who have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as inovation, financial preformance and personal commitment to their business and comunities.
Mrs. Wise, who received two separate nominations for this prestigious award, is the owner and founder of Healthtech Rehabilitation Inc., a provider of healthcare services including occupational, speech, and physical therapy, audiology, social work, and psychological consultation.
Mrs. Wise began her rehabiltation practice in 1966 in Warrensburg, focusing her efforts on providing hospitals and nursing homes with physical, speech, and occupational therapy as well as social and psychological services and from that built what is now Healthtech.
Since 1978, the company has grown to employ more that 350 staff and 200 contract workers in three states including Missouri, California, and Texas.  In Missouri, Healthtech services 11 hospital contracts and employs 140 staff members.  While the company's corporate headquarters were officially moved to Dalas Texas in 1989, Warrensburg remains Healthtech's state operation office.  Mrs. Wise splits her time equally between Warrensburg, Dallas and California.
Healthtech was recently selected as a member of the prestigious "Dallas 100," an award sponsored by the CEO Institute and Southern Methodist University honoring Dallas' fastest growing companies.  Mrs. Wise was also recently named in the top 25 Dallas-Ft. Worth Area Women Owned Businesses" by the Dallas Business Journal.
Mrs. Wise, an active advocate for the rehabilitation industry, helped found the National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care (NASL) of which she currently serves as president.  NASL, a consortium of 125 national companies, is the only organization at the national level which concentrates its concerns and endeavors on exclusively on legislative and regulatory matters affecting the ancillary service and product supply componants of long-term care facilities.
In addition to being the founder and CEO of Healthtech,  she has been involved in the movie industry, motel business and travel trade.  Since 1984, Mrs. Wise has owned CTN/Red Carpet Travel Agency in Warrensburg.  Red Carpet Travel is part of the world-wide Carlton Travel Network.  In 1994, she opened Wise Travel agency in Dallas
Mrs. Wise currently resides in Dallas with her husband, Dr. William J. Wise, a prominant Dallas orthodontist.  Mrs. Wise has two sons, Brian and Steve Jones, and a step-daughter, Kathleen Rogers, who are senior members of Healthtech's staff.

Her second husband, Keith Jones moved to Dallas to be close to his two sons.  Although she was married to Dr. Wise, she took care of Dr. Jones in his declining years until his death in 1996.

Ruthanne is now retired and still lives in Texas.  She used to come to Warrensburg for class reunions and still comes occasionally to visit.

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