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August 1, 2019

Henry County Museum, Clinton, MO

The Henry County Historical Society Museum is a multiplex of buildings spread over several acres near the courthouse square in Clinton, Missouri.  Details about the organization, its operating hours, and prices are here:

The Farm

The museum's "farm" is located on a large lot  across the street from the main buildings.
A machine shed with several antique pieces of equipment sits behind the well.
A closer view of the machine shed.

A stone watering trough.

An interesting outbuilding

A sorghum press?

The Dogtrot House

The highlight of the farm is the Dog Trot House. One roof covers two rooms that are separated by an open space or "dog trot."
About 1990, Clark Welling gave the house to the Henry County Historical Society, but it was not moved to the model farm until November 17, 1993 from 2.5 miles west of Montrose, Missouri. After much preparation, and stabilization, it was placed on beams and wheels so that it could be pulled by a truck. The sheriff's department escorted it, along with utility trucks and volunteer vehicles with lights flashing.  The move was made between midnight and 5 a.m. in compliance with the state moving permit.

The two rooms were probably built at different times as they are not the same size. and the notching at the ends of the logs is different.  The west room appears to be the older of the two.

The dog trot area was later enclosed forming three rooms in a line. A room and porch was added to the front and the back of the house.  All five rooms had been covered with weatherboarding and the inside had been paneled or wallpapered.  All evidence of logs had been concealed and it was not until 1977 when a 90-year-old woman named Mary Johnson told the story of how she had lived in the old farm house as a young bride that the historical-archetectural style was discovered. She told of stage coaches stopping under the trees to feed and water the horses while the drivers and passengers ate in the dining room.

An advertisement in a Clinton paper in 1869 stated the South Missouri Stage Line served Germantown and Hudson.  The log house was situated between these two communities.

The house originally had a fireplace on each end, but they had been removed through the years.  The ones now in place have been constructed since the move. Many of the original fireplace rocks were moved and used since they were found around the house being used as walks and flower bed borders.  The arch rocks in the west fireplace were once in the Squire Paul house west of Huntingdale which was built in 1842

Furniture is packed into the small spaces.  The residents most likely used every inch they had.

The Highland School House

This one-room schoolhouse features original desks, chalkboards, and many other items from rural schools.

A picture on the schoolhouse wall shows children in school.

The Dorman House

Built in 1852, it was the home of Jerubial and Udolpha Dorman. It was the first two-story brick home built in Clinton. The home has been restored with period furnishings.

 The downstairs features a front parlor with portraits of the Dorman family.

A music box is featured in the music room.

Upstairs at the Dorman House

The sons' bedroom

The master bedroom

The daughters' bedroom

The Main Museum Complex

The building with the dramatic three-stepped parapet wall topped with limestone caps, and decorative ornaments is the Anhauser Busch building, To the left of it is the Adair Annex

The Adair Annex

Whimsical painting on an outside door of the annex.

Workmen have pieced together original facades and interiors from all over the county to reconstruct a model 1880s village inside this cavernous building. 

Further back are various displays of interesting objects.
A woven casket was the origin of the phrase "To Hell in a Handbasket."

School children glued crayons to a board to create this panorama.

A small display gives a nod to the first residents of the area that is now Henry County.

The many coal mines that once dotted Henry County's landscape are memorialized in a room in the Annex

Famous Henry Countians

Bettye Miller

Bettye Miller was an American jazz pianist and singer. She was born Bettye Wilson September 12, 1927 in Clinton, Missouri, to Bernis and Maude Wilson. She attended the Lincoln School in Clinton and was a member of the Second Baptist Church. There she often assisted her mother singing and playing for the choir.

She attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts and master’s degree in music. After finishing school she taught music in Philadelphia for two years. She began her music career with Ethel Waters and Ada Brown and while in Philadelphia, she won the Bok Award for music. Bettye married her first husband Joel Miller and they had one daughter together, Bettye Jo Miller.

Bettye Miller's piano and some personal effects.

 In the late 1940s Miller moved to Kansas City to play in the Golden Horseshoe Lounge. About that time she was hearing about bassist Milt Abel and he was hearing good things about her.  When they finally met in 1953, started a trio with drummer Wallace Jones. Miller and Abel married after Bettye's divorce from Joel Miller  That was the beginning of their twenty-plus-year musical romance. 

They were part of the Jazz revival in Kansas City playing music that was described as "vibrant and imaginative"  As a duo they played at local Kansas City venues such as the Horseshoe Lounge, the Plaza III Restaurant, Putsch’s 210 and the Strawberry Patch as well as national venues such as the Ember’s in New York, Mr. Kelly’s in Chicago and the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. During their years together they also released several recordings. On February 28, 1977, Bettye Miller died of cancer at age 49. She was buried in the Antioch Cemetery in Clinton.

Wayne King

Here's a sample of Wayn King's Music

Wayne King was born in Savanna, Ilinois in 1901 and spend only three or four years of his youth in Clinton.  He lived with his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs John Kratzer, at the corner of Grand River and Carter Streets from 1915 to 1919.  He was an impressive athlete in High School. After graduation,Wayne was employed with Dennis Sims Ford Garage on North Main Street and with the Oldsmobile agency in Clinton.  A clarinetist at the time, he was a member of the North Methodist Church orchestra.

Upon leaving Clinton,he played in an orchestra on an excursion boat which ran from St. Louis to Chicago, ad St Louis to New Orleans. At St. Louis hemad recordings whichresulted in a contract on the "Lady Esther Serenade", on CBS radio for 8 years. Wayne King, his golden saxophone, and his famous orchestra were heard on such shows as " The Wayne King Show", "The Elgin-American Wayne King Sho","Rexall Program", and "The Lucky Strike Program."  In the late forties, he hosted the Wayne King Show on NBC-TV, originating from Chicago. 

When jazz was a craze Wayne insisted that every other number played by the orchestra be a waltz.  The waltz craze swept Chicago and the nation.  Some of his most popular hits were "The Waltz You Saved for Me," :Josephone," "goofus," and "I Love you Truly."

During World War II, Wayne disbanded the group and joined the army. As a major in special services., he helped organize entertainment for the troops.  After the war, he reorganized the band and began making concert appearances. He and his Orchestra even had the honor of playing for President Eisenhower's inaugural ball.

Wayne was married to actress, Dorothy "Mex" Jains.  They made their home in Kenilworth, Il. He passed away in Paradise Valley AZ,at the age of 84 after a lengthy illness.

Courtney Thomas 

Many of Courtney Thomas's costumes are on display.  Here is the gown she wore while playing in Romeo and Juliet.

Courtney Thomas was born in 1868 to James Lane and Delia Bike Thomas.  It is believed that her parents were living in Shelby County, Illinois at the time she was born. Courtney and her father traveled to Clinton around 1873.  Mr. Thomas was a construction contractor.

Mrs. Amrstrong,James and Courtney's neighbor operated a boarding home and private school out of her house just down the street from them. While Courtney's father was at work, she stayed with Mrs. Armstrong.  At the age of 6, Courtney's father needed to leave for his work and it is told that Courtney packed her bags and doll and went to Mrs. Armstrong stating "I need a mother for a proper upbringing. Courtney then graduated from Franklin school in 1885 and Baird College for Young Ladies in 1887.  Courtney's father had little means to send his daughter half way around the world for further vocal training in Europe, but beause of the suppport that she received from Mrs. Baird and others in the Clinton Community,in the fall of 1890 she was on a steamer headed for Paris.

In 1896, when she sang in her first opera in Paris, she adopted the stage name, Mademoiselle Vera Courtenay. She headlined at the Opera Comique for six seasons.  She was with the Metropolitan Opera Company when she played the part of "Carmen" in St. Louis, Missouri in 1909.

Courtney sang in over thirty roles with five different opera companies in five different continents.  She married French business man, William J. Ungerer in 1919.  

After retiring from the stage in the late 1920s Courtney assumed the name of Vera Courtenay Thomas and continued living in Paris until the Germans captured the city.  After the war, Courtney returned to Paris, but she was only able to reclaim a small portion of her pocessions.
Henry County Museum has over 200 of her opera costumes and many of her artifacts acquired during her world travels.  The final years of Courtney's life were spent in Arlington Va.  She passed away in 1959

Jane Froman

Jane Froman lived in Clinton, Mo for seven of her childhood years.  She was born November 10, 1907 to Elmer and Anna (Barcafer) Froman in St. Louis.  When she was five years old, her parents sent her to her grandparents, Thad and Ellender Barcafer, in Clinton.  When her mother arrived in Clinton later, she was alone and she gave no explanation as to the reason nor did she ever speak of Jan's father again.

Jane attended the Holy Rosare Academy in Clinton where she was soloist at all the school concerts and played Snow White in the school play.  She also sang at the churches in Clinton.

In 1919, her mother accepted a position with Christian College in Columbia, MO where Jane received her high school education plus 2 years of college.  She then attended the University of Misouri and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.  Jane also sang in church choirs and at parties and musicals.  .  It was at one of these musicals that Powel Crosley, Jr., owner of a radio station, heard her and so her radio career began as a singer for commercials.  This led toother jobs including one with Paul Whiteman.

In 1933 Jane and her husband, Don Ross, moved to New York where she landed a spot on The Chesterfield Hour which catapulted her into the big time.  In 1935, they moved to Hollywood where Jane had a role in Stars Over Broadway.  The early forties brought more shows and opportunities for Jane.  Then came Pearl Harbor and Jane threw herself into the war effort by helping with bond drive.  President Roosevelt asked Jane to be a performer in the stateside camp shows and she also sang over the Armed Forces Netork.  In February, 1943, Jane left for a USO Tour overseas.  Her plane crashed into the Tagus River near Lisbon, Portugal.  Of the 39 passengers aboard, Jane was one of the 15 survivors. Although both of her legs and her right arm were badly injurd, she managed, with the help of the co-pilot, John (later tobe her second husband), to stay afloat until rescued.  Although she had to endure many operations and wear a heavy cast, Jane began to rebuild her career with the show Artist and Models.

In 1945, Jane decided to finish her USO tour.  On crutches and wearing a cast, Jane gave 95 shows and sang to 30,000 GIs.  She always asked "Is anyone here from my home state of Missouri?"  That year American veterans of WWII named Jane Froman and Bob Hope "honorary GIs" for doing more for the morale and welfare of American servicement than any other entertainers.  Jane's popularity soared with the release of the movie, With a Song in My Heart.  She appeared on television in The Jane Froman Show.

In 1961, Jane retired to Columbia, Mo, where she married Rowland Smith, a newspaper man, whom she had known as a student at the university.  Jane passed away in 1980.


Aunt Jemima


Hallmark Ornaments

Some of Sickman's ornaments

Louis Freund (artist)

Louis Freund was born in Clinton, Missouri on September 16, 1905.  He attended Clinton High School and the University of Missouri.  He also studied art at the St. Louis School of Fine Arts, Washington University, Princeton University and Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

He was awarded the Edmund H. Wuerpel Scholarship for Foreign Study that enabled him to travel to several countries and study in Paris at the Colarossi Academy.  He also spent an extended period of time in Mexico and Central America to complement his studies. 
During his career Freund served as a mural designer for the State of Missouri exhibit at the Chicago World's Fair of 1933. 
In 1938, he was hired as an artist-in residence at Hendrix College in Conway, AR.  He remained in that position until 1941, then served as head of the art department from 1941-1946.  Around this time, he met jewelry artist Elsie Mari Bates. After they were married in 1939, the Freunds spent summers in Eureka Springs, Arkansas where they established the Summer Art school of the Oazarks.  The school ran from 1940-- 1951. 
In 1949, the Freunds moved to DeLand Florida where Louis taught at Stetson University untl his retirement in 1967. 

Elsie Freund (jewelry)

 Mrs. Freund was born on January 12, 1912 near the town of Mincy, Missouri.  She received her early education in a one-room schoolhouse. Later, her family moved to Branson, Missouri where she graduated from high school in 1929.  The next year, she taught in a similar one-room schoolhouse where she received enough money to attend the Kansas City Art Institute for one year.  Afterwards, she returned to Branson and opened a gift shop where she sold plaster models of fish and jewely made from walnut shells.

Mr. Freund died December 22, 1999 and Mrs. Freund passed away on June 14, 2001. Before their deaths, the couple established the Freund Trust which helped to distribute their art to churches and public facilities in Arkansas, Florida and Missouri. One of the recipients was the Henry County Museum.  Although Mrs. Freund has no connection to Clinton or Henry County, some of the jewelry donated through this foundation is on display there.

Interesting Henry County Locals

Dr. William Marseilles

The Raglands

Dr. John Britts

Dr. Britts was a surgeon with the Confederate Army during the Civil War.  He practiced in Clinton in the late 1800s.  He married Ann Lewis and they were the parents of six daughters.  In 1882, he was chairman of the Committee on Mines and Mining while serving in the state senate.  He became interested in fossils and had an extensive collection that was written up in professional journals.  Some of his collection is in the Smithsonian.  In 1888, he was elected Mayor of Clinton.  He passed away in 1909.


Chinker Chex Toys

Ellsworth Marks Photography Studio

A portrait taken by Ellsworth Marks

Stove found in Ellsworth Marks' studio

Keil Jewelry

A 1950s Home

A Christmas Village donated by a patron

A miniture church displaying amazing detail built by a local artisan.

A picture of the railroad that once went through Clinton.

Henry County Firsts

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