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February 19, 2019

1866 June 1 Sen. Francis Preston Blair, Jr., Vice Presidential Candidate (1868) Speaks at JOCOMO Courthouse, One Stabbed, One Man Killed

1866 James Stevens, stabbed to death at the courthouse of Johnson County, MO, Warrensburg, during a Sen. Francis Preston Blair speech.

Senator and General Francis Preston Blair

General and Missouri Senator Francis Preston Blair 

Future senator Francis P. Blair of St. Louis was the unsuccessful Democratic vice presidential candidate in the 1868 election. Blair was the running mate of former New York governor Horatio Seymour. They lost the election to the Republican ticket of Ulysses S. Grant and Schuyler Colfax.
Francis Preston Blair, Jr

Gen. Blair Spoke at the Old Johnson County, MO Courthouse - Tensions Arose and One Man Was Stabbed To Death
Original Courthouse, Johnson County, MO
Built in 1842 
In 1866 like his father and brother he opposed the Congressional Reconstruction policy, and on that issue left the Republican Party. He was the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for vice president in 1868, running with Horatio Seymour. Blair contributed to the Democratic defeat by going on a speaking tour in which he framed the contest with Ulysses S. Grant and the pro-Reconstruction Republicans in stark racist terms, warning of the rule of "a semi-barbarous race of blacks who are worshipers of fetishes and polygamists" and wanted to "subject the white women to their unbridled lust." At least one Democratic Congressman saw Blair as the cause of Seymour's defeat, calling his behavior "stupid and indefensible."
Blair had an odd, minor notoriety, when on July 29, 1870, he was an accidental witness to an incident in a famous homicide case. Staying at the then famous Fifth Avenue Hotel, facing West 23rd Street off Fifth Avenue, Blair woke up to cries of help from across the street. He watched from his hotel window as two men ran out of a brownstone mansion across the street. They were two of the sons of Benjamin Nathan, the Vice President of the New York Stock Exchange, who had been bludgeoned to death the previous night. There was a series of hearings, and even suspicion towards several people, but the mystery was never solved.
In 1871 Blair was chosen by the Missouri Legislature as a United States Senator. On November 16, 1872, he was stricken down by paralysis, from which he never recovered. Largely owing to his stricken condition, he was defeated for reelection to the Senate in January 1873. Blair learned to write painfully with his left hand and continued his political efforts.
Blair's consuming interest in politics kept him active and a candidate for office until his death from a fall in 1875. He is interred in Bellefontaine Cemetery.
In 1899, the state of Missouri donated a marble statue of Blair to the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall Collection.
Gen. Francis Preston Blair, Jr.
General Francis Preston Blair, Jr and Staff 
(1821–75). Missouri politician Francis Preston Blair, Jr., was active before and during the American Civil War and in the following Reconstruction period. He opposed slavery and secession but later came out against Radical Reconstruction and black suffrage.

Frank Blair, Union general, congressman, and senator, was born February 19, 1821, at Lexington, Kentucky, the third and youngest son of Francis Preston and Eliza Gist Blair. At the time his father was the circuit court clerk of Franklin County, but the senior Blair would gain fame later as a newspaper editor, particularly after Andrew Jackson called him to Washington in 1830 to take charge of the Washington Globe. The father’s political influence would be a dominant factor in the development of Frank’s career, with the senior Blair eventually harboring strong presidential ambitions for his youngest son.
Frank Blair grew up in the shadow of the Jackson White House, and he would maintain a lifelong devotion to Old Hickory and the ideals of Jacksonian Democracy, as he understood them. Educated in private schools, he proved popular with his fellow students but was hardly dedicated to his studies. He attended both Yale University and the University of North Carolina, from both of which he was expelled, before graduating from Princeton University in 1842, his degree held back for a year because of a riotous party a few weeks before he was originally due to graduate. In the meantime he had gone to Transylvania University Law School in Lexington, from which he graduated in 1843. He spent that spring and summer in Washington writing editorials for his father at the Globe before going to St. Louis in the fall to begin the practice of law with his brother Montgomery Blair.
In the fall of 1845, having suffered some health problems, Frank Blair decided to join a “buffalo hunt” along the Santa Fe Trail. He spent the winter with his cousin George Bent in Bent’s Fort in eastern Colorado. He was still there when the Mexican War broke out the following spring. Caught up in the excitement, he joined Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny’s expedition when it came through on the way to Santa Fe. Kearny appointed Blair attorney general at Santa Fe. Working with Alexander W. Doniphan, Willard Preble Hall, and David Waldo, Blair drew up an American Code of Law for the liberated region of New Mexico and tried several cases in the newly established circuit court there before returning to St. Louis in the summer of 1847. On September 8, 1847, he married Appoline Alexander of Woodford County, Kentucky, a distant cousin, and they established their permanent home in St. Louis where Frank resumed the practice of law. They had eight children.
To Frank Blair, however, his legal practice always took second place to his interest in politics. Although owning slaves himself, he became a strong supporter of the Free Soil movement and in the presidential election of 1848 briefly established a Free Soil newspaper, the Barnburner, to champion the cause of Martin Van Buren. A devotee of his father’s close friend Sen. Thomas Hart Benton, in whose law office he had taken additional training, Blair took an active role in Benton’s unsuccessful campaign to save his Senate seat in 1850 following his split with Claiborne Fox Jackson and David Rice Atchison over the question of slavery extension. He would continue to champion Benton’s cause throughout numerous other election campaigns in the 1850s. Blair joined his cousin B. Gratz Brown and several others in July 1852 to purchase the St. Louis Morning Signal, which they promptly renamed the Missouri Democrat. Blair and Brown used this organ to promote their successful candidacies for the Missouri legislature that fall as well as the election of Benton to the United States House of Representatives. Through the editorial pages of the Democrat as well as their newly gained legislative seats, the two men openly opposed the extension of slavery into new territories and denounced the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which opened the door for pro-slavery settlers to enter Kansas.
In the 1856 presidential election Blair supported John Charles Frémont while securing his own election to Congress as a Free Soiler. In his maiden speech in Congress Blair argued that slavery was doomed in the South and urged the adoption of a policy of gradual emancipation coupled with the deportation and colonization of the freed slaves in Central America.
This remained a major theme as he moved to the forefront of the newly emerging Republican Party and became one of its chief spokesmen in the late 1850s. He assisted Abraham Lincoln in his 1858 unsuccessful Illinois senatorial contest with Stephen A. Douglas and thereby developed a strong friendship that would continue throughout the Civil War. Blair’s own contest for reelection also appeared unsuccessful that fall as initial returns indicated that his opponent Richard Barret had won by 426 votes. Blair contested the election, however, and was eventually seated by the House of Representatives in a narrow vote. Over the next two-years, he suffered a series of financial reverses brought on by his bad habit of co-signing notes for various relatives and friends.
Although initially supporting the candidacy of Missouri’s favorite son Edward Bates for the Republican presidential nomination in 1860, Blair quickly endorsed Lincoln’s candidacy when the Republican convention turned to the Illinoisan. He himself was running for reelection to Congress. He organized a support group known as the Wide Awakes, who marched with him from one rally to another, often battling with supporters of other candidates who sought to break up Republican rallies. Following his own reelection in August, Blair campaigned extensively for Lincoln throughout Missouri, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. In the aftermath of Lincoln’s election, Frank’s brother Montgomery was chosen postmaster general in the new cabinet, while his father became a close personal adviser to the new president. Frank himself visited Lincoln in Springfield to strengthen the already existing bond between the two.
With the election of Claiborne Fox Jackson as governor, Missouri found itself divided between a pro-Confederate state executive and a majority of citizens who wished to remain neutral in any impending contest between North and South. Blair, on the other hand, was staunchly committed to the preservation of the Union with Missouri an integral part of it. He reorganized his Wide Awakes into Home Guards, drilling them secretly to prepare for any untoward move by the governor. When Jackson refused to furnish volunteers for the Union army in the wake of Fort Sumter, Blair and a new found ally, Capt. Nathaniel Lyon, offered the Home Guards, who were promptly accepted. Having organized a Committee of Public Safety, the two men developed a plan of defense for the federal arsenal in south St. Louis with its sixty thousand stand of arms.
When Governor Jackson mustered the state militia into a week-long training operation in early May 1861, Blair and Lyon immediately suspected that the governor had designs on the arsenal. On May 10 they surrounded the St. Louis encampment known as Camp Jackson with their newly mustered Home Guards and demanded its surrender. Although the militia complied, bloodshed occurred in the aftermath, and St. Louis was plunged into panic. The state legislature, meeting at Jefferson City, quickly passed bills giving the governor broad military powers to defend the state. A temporary truce between state and federal forces lasted a month until Blair and Lyon forced a showdown with state officials at the Planters’ House in St. Louis on June 11. The state government was now driven into exile as Lyon and Blair moved forces up the Missouri River to occupy the state capital and defeat Jackson’s newly organized Missouri State Guard at Boonville.
When Congress convened the following month, Blair was defeated for Speaker of the House by Galusha Grow of Pennsylvania but was chosen chairman of the Committee on Military Defense where he did yeoman’s work to help organize the war effort. At the instigation of the Blairs, Gen. John C. Frémont was appointed to command the Department of the West at St. Louis. Blair quickly became disillusioned with Frémont, however, because of his failure to support Lyon in the field and disputes over procurement contracts. His criticism of Frémont led to his arrest by the general, but in the end the Blairs prevailed as Frémont was removed from his command by Lincoln. This caused Frank to lose much of the German support, which had previously been his, because of the Germans’ enthusiasm for Frémont’s emancipation policy.
In the late summer of 1862, Blair raised seven regiments from throughout the Mississippi Valley for the Union cause and received an appointment as brigadier general. He fought with valor at Chickasaw Bayou near Vicksburg in December and actively participated throughout the entire Vicksburg campaign. Promoted to major general, he later commanded the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps, respectively, during the Chattanooga and Atlanta
In the interim, between the two campaigns Blair returned to Congress at Lincoln’s request to help defend his plan for Reconstruction against Radical assaults. In two fiery speeches on February 5 and 27, 1864, Blair attacked Secy. of the Treasury Salmon Chase for his policies in the Mississippi Valley and his presidential ambitions while deriding Missouri Radicals, who had falsely accused him of misappropriating funds while in the military. He then returned to his military command, leaving his enemies in Congress sufficiently infuriated that they unseated him in favor of Samuel Knox, who had been contesting his election.
Blair ably led the Seventeenth Corps with Gen. William T. Sherman in the fight for Atlanta and the March to the Sea and through the Carolinas. Declining a postwar military career, Blair returned to Missouri to take up his law practice and try to salvage his political career. Financially ruined by having devoted so much to the Union cause, he tried without success to retrieve his lost fortune through the leasing of a cotton plantation in Mississippi. Frank strongly opposed the Radical Constitution of 1865 and the prescriptive policies of that party, which now controlled Missouri. He challenged the test oath for voting in the courts, but ultimately lost the case on a tie vote in the United States Supreme Court.
Blair helped reorganize the Democratic Party in opposition and campaigned extensively throughout the state for its candidates in the elections of 1866 and 1868. Gaining widespread national recognition for his attacks on Radical Reconstruction, he was nominated by the national party for vice president in 1868. His highly controversial letter to James Broadhead, in which he advocated the overthrow of congressional Reconstruction by strong presidential authority, greatly handicapped the campaign, however, and helped lead to the Democratic defeat.
In the wake of the Liberal Republican split with the Radicals in Missouri in 1870, Blair advocated the “possum policy” of support for the Liberal Republican state ticket while running Democratic candidates in the legislative races. This proved successful, resulting in the election of his cousin B. Gratz Brown as governor. In the aftermath Blair was elected to the United States Senate to replace Charles Daniel Drake, who had resigned to accept a federal judgeship. In the Senate Blair strongly defended the course of the South in challenging Radical Reconstruction through such organizations as the Ku Klux Klan. He played a major role in arranging the 1872 Liberal Republican ticket of Horace Greeley and B. Gratz Brown.
In the aftermath of the election, Blair was stricken by a crippling stroke in November 1872, and sought recovery in a sanitarium at Clifton Springs, New York. In view of this, the Democrats in the state legislature rejected his bid for reelection to a full Senate term that winter. Gov. Silas Woodson appointed him state superintendent of insurance to help provide income, but the work of the office was largely left to deputies as Blair continued to pursue efforts to regain his health. He died at his home in St. Louis on July 9, 1875, following a fall. At his death there was a large outpouring of sympathy for the man who had dominated Missouri politics for the past twenty years. His friends raised funds for the erection of a statue that stands in Forest Park in St. Louis, and he is commemorated, together with Benton, as one of Missouri’s two representatives in Statuary Hall in the national Capitol.
Highly controversial in his lifetime, Frank Blair was either strongly admired or hated by the public and political figures of his day. Convivial and generous to a fault, he could also excoriate his enemies in biting terms. An impassioned orator, he held strongly to opinions with which he had been imbued in his Jacksonian youth as his world changed dramatically around him. Acclaimed by both Sherman and Grant as one of the best of the non West Point-trained generals during the war, he lived and breathed politics, which became his consuming passion.
William E. Parrish, Blair Family. Papers. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Blair Family. Papers. Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis.
Blair-Lee Family. Papers. Firestone Library, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.
Laas, Virginia Jeans. WartimeWashington: The Civil War Letters of Elizabeth Blair Lee. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991.
Parrish, William E. Frank Blair: Lincoln’s Conservative. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1998.
Smith,William E. The Francis Preston Blair Family in Politics. 2 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1933.
Excerpted from Dictionary of Missouri Biography edited by Lawrence O. Christensen, William E. Foley, Gary R. Kremer, and Kenneth H. Winn, published by the University of Missouri Press. To order this book, please call (800) 621-2736 or online at

February 19, On this day in 1821, Union General Francis Preston Blair Jr. is born in Lexington, Kentucky. The colorful Blair was instrumental in keeping Missouri part of the Union during the early stages of the Civil War. Blair’s father served as an advisor to several presidents. His namesake and youngest son was privileged and rebellious as a youth. As a college student, the younger Blair was expelled from the University of North Carolina and Yale for misconduct. He finally finished his degree at Princeton, but was denied graduation for participating in a wild party in his final week. Blair’s degree was bestowed a year later after an influential friend intervened on his behalf. Blair studied law in Kentucky and went onto practice in Missouri with his brother, Montgomery, who would later serve as U.S. postmaster general under President Abraham Lincoln. During the 1850s, Francis ran an anti-slave newspaper in St. Louis and served in the Missouri legislature. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1856. Blair was opposed to the extension of slavery, even though he owned a few slaves himself. His stance led to his defeat for re-election in 1858. In 1860, Blair campaigned for Abraham Lincoln and also regained his congressional seat. When the Civil War erupted, he organized Missouri’s Unionist forces and helped save the federal arsenal in St. Louis from the Confederates. Blair personally organized seven regiments from Missouri, and became a brigadier general, winning the respect of his superiors, Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman. Blair commanded a corps
12 January 1865 His Father, Blair House is Named for Him, Vice President's Office Next to the White House
Francis Preston Blair, Sr., aging Democratic political leader, conferred with President Jefferson Davis in Richmond on possible peace. Blair, unofficially but with apparent sanction of President Lincoln, presented suggestions to Davis. The Confederate President gave Blair a letter to Lincoln, which indicated Davis, was willing to enter into peace negotiations and that he would appoint an agent “to enter into conference, with a view to secure peace to the two countries.” Davis was not willing to give up independence for the South and the North’s entire policy was that “of one common country.” At least there had been talk between the two contending sides.

Blair House - Washington, DC Named for Francis Preston Blair, Jr's Father. Built in 1824, Blair House became politically central in Washington, D.C., the moment the Blair family took up residence in 1837. Francis Preston Blair was a circuit court clerk from Frankfort, Kentucky, whose editorials in his local newspaper attracted President Andrew Jackson’s attention. Jackson invited Blair to convert the Globe, a failing D.C. newspaper, into a pro-administration publication, and in 1830, Blair, his wife Eliza, and their three children moved to the nation's capital. Seven years later, they took up residence in the former home of Dr. Joseph Lovell, the first surgeon general of the U.S. Army. It would soon become known as Blair House. As editor of the Globe and the Congressional Globe (the first published proceedings of Congress) with partner John Cook Rives, Blair acquired a good deal of political power. Many political players, including presidents, sought his insight. He was the most influential member of President Jackson's informal group of advisors, the “Kitchen Cabinet,” and remained an important confidant to Jackson’s successor, Martin Van Buren. Abraham Lincoln also sought Blair’s counsel during his presidency and appointed Blair's eldest son, Montgomery, to his cabinet as Postmaster General. In 1859, Francis Preston Blair built a home at 1653 Pennsylvania Avenue, next to Blair House, for his daughter Elizabeth and her husband, Admiral Samuel Phillips Lee. This home, known as Lee House, is now an integral part of the Blair House complex.

Blair House, Washington, DC  Attempted Assassination of Harry S. Truman Occurred Here

February 4, 2019

1861 September 17 Passengers in the train from Jefferson City last night bring a report that Gen. S. Price has entered Warrensburg, Missouri and taken possession of the town.

Mattoon Gazette Mattoon, Illinois
Thursday, October 10, 1861

Jefferson City, October 7, 1861.--General Fremont left this morning, accompanied by his staff and bodyguard, and followed by long cavalcades of baggage wagons and camp equipage.  General McKinstry leaves this afternoon. We have new from Sedalia to Saturday night 
--Scout's Report-- 
Price still moving southward from Warrensburg, Missouri. Mr. Cumming a member of the Convention from Jackson County, on his way to St. Louis, was stopped near Warrensburg by (General Sterling) Price and detained until the army passed through.  He says that they have an immense force, and are steering for the Arkansas border.
Nashville Union and American
Tuesday, September 17, 1861

Nashville Union, Tuesday 17 September 1861

Affairs in the Interior--Passengers in the train from Jefferson City last night bring a report that Gen. S. Price has entered Warrensburg, Missouri and taken possession of the town. We are clearly of opinion that this wants confirmation.
Two respectable citizens of Boone County, informed Col. A. P. Richardson of Jefferson City, that 1,000 mounted men are stationed at Kinkead's mills fourteen miles north of Columbia; that Martin Green was between the junction of Hannibal and St. Joseph and North Missouri roads, with 3,000 men; and that "Military Bill" Harris was to join Green and take Columbia, then night of the 11th inst. Pickets were seen three miles north of Columbia. A bank is located in that town. Mr. Smith, a Government agent for the purchase of horses was taken prisoner by Harris and $1,200 and all his horses taken from him. St. Louis Republican, Sept. 13.

General Sterling Price, entered Warrensburg, Missouri
September 12, 1861

Gen. John C. Fremont

Kennedy Hickman 
Updated March 06, 2017
John C. Frémont - Early Life:
Born January 21, 1813, John C. Frémont was the illegitimate son of Charles Fremon (formerly Louis-René Frémont) and Anne B. Whiting. The daughter of a socially prominent Virginia family, Whiting began an affair with Fremon while she was married to Major John Pryor. Leaving her husband, Whiting and Fremon ultimately settled in Savannah. Though Pryor sought a divorce, it was not granted by the Virginia House of Delegates. As a result, Whiting and Fremon were never able to marry. Raised in Savannah, their son pursued a classical education and began attending the College of Charleston in the late 1820s.

John C. Frémont - Going West:
In 1835, he received an appointment to serve as a teacher of mathematics aboard USS Natchez. Remaining on board for two years, he left to pursue a career in civil engineering. Appointed a second lieutenant in the US Army's Corps of Topographical Engineers, he began taking part in surveying expeditions in 1838. Working with Joseph Nicollet, he aided in mapping the lands between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Having gained experience, he was tasked with charting the Des Moines River in 1841. That same year, Frémont married Jessie Benton, the daughter of powerful Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton.
The following year, Frémont was ordered to prepare an expedition to South Pass (in present-day Wyoming). In planning the expedition, he met noted frontiersman Kit Carson and contracted him to guide the party. This marked the first of several collaborations between the two men. The expedition to South Pass proved a success and over the next four years Frémont and Carson explored the Sierra Nevadas and other lands along the Oregon Trail. Earning some fame for his exploits in the west, Frémont was given the nickname The Pathfinder
John C. Frémont - Mexican-American War:
In June 1845, Frémont and Carson departed St. Louis, MO with 55 men for an expedition up the Arkansas River. Rather than follow the expedition's stated goals, Frémont diverted the group and marched directly to California. Arriving in the Sacramento Valley, he worked to agitate American settlers against the Mexican government. When this nearly led to a clash with Mexican troops under General José Castro, he withdrew north to Klamath Lake in Oregon. Alerted to the outbreak of the Mexican-American War, he moved south and worked with American settlers to form the California Battalion (US Mounted Rifles).
Serving as its commander, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, Frémont worked with Commodore Robert Stockton, commander of the US Pacific Squadron, to wrest the coastal towns of California away from the Mexicans. During the campaign, his men captured Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. On January 13, 1847, Frémont concluded the Treaty of Cahuenga with Governor Andres Pico which terminated the fighting in California. Three days later, Stockton appointed him the military governor of California. His rule proved short-lived as the recently arrived Brigadier General Stephen W. Kearny asserted that the post was rightly his.
John C. Frémont - Entering Politics:
Initially refusing to yield the governorship, Frémont was court-martialed by Kearny and convicted of mutiny and disobedience. Though quickly pardoned by President James K. Polk, Frémont resigned his commission and settled in California at Rancho Las Mariposas. In 1848-1849, he conducted a failed expedition to scout a route for a railroad from St. Louis to San Francisco along the 38th Parallel. Returning to California, he was appointed one of the state's first US senators in 1850. Serving for a year, he soon became involved with the newly-formed Republican Party.
An opponent to the expansion of slavery, Frémont became prominent within the party and was nominated as its first presidential candidate in 1856. Running against Democrat James Buchanan and American Party candidate Millard Fillmore, Frémont campaigned against the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the growth of slavery. Though defeated by Buchanan, he finished second and showed that the party could achieve an electoral victory in 1860 with the support of two more states. Returning to private life, he was in Europe when the Civil War began in April 1861.
John C. Frémont - The Civil War:
Eager to aid the Union, he purchased a large amount of arms before returning to the United States. In May 1861, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Frémont a major general. Though largely done for political reasons, Frémont was soon dispatched to St. Louis to command the Department of the West. Arriving in St. Louis, he began fortifying the city and quickly moved to bring Missouri into the Union camp. While his forces campaigned in the state with mixed results, he remained in St. Louis. Following a defeat at Wilson's Creek in August, he declared martial law in the state.
Acting without authorization, he began confiscating property belonging to secessionists as well as issued an order emancipating slaves. Stunned by Frémont's actions and concerned they would hand Missouri to the South, Lincoln immediately directed him to revoke his orders. Refusing, he dispatched his wife to Washington, DC to argue his case. Ignoring her arguments, Lincoln relieved Frémont on November 2, 1861. Though the War Department issued a report detailing Frémont's failings as a commander, Lincoln was politically pressured into giving him another command.
As a result, Frémont was appointed to lead the Mountain Department, which comprised parts of Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, in March 1862. In this role, he conducted operations against Major General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley. Through the late spring of 1862, Frémont's men were beaten at McDowell (May 8) and he was personally defeated at Cross Keys (June 8). In late June, Frémont's command was slated to join Major General John Pope's newly-formed Army of Virginia. As he was senior to Pope, Frémont refused this assignment and returned to his home in New York to await another command. None was forthcoming.
John C. Frémont - 1864 Election & Later Life:
Still noteworthy within the Republican Party, Frémont was approached in 1864 by hard-line Radical Republicans who disagreed with Lincoln's lenient positions on postwar reconstruction of the South. Nominated for president by this group, his candidacy threatened to split the party. In September 1864, Frémont abandoned his bid after negotiating the removal of Postmaster General Montgomery Blair. Following the war, he purchased the Pacific Railroad from the state of Missouri. Reorganizing it as the Southwest Pacific Railroad in August 1866, he lost it the following year when he was unable to make payments on the purchase debt.

Having lost most of his fortune, Frémont returned to public service in 1878 when he was appointed governor of the Arizona Territory. Holding his position until 1881, he was largely dependent on income from his wife's writing career. Retiring to Staten Island, NY, he died in New York City on July 13, 1890.

Justus McKinstry
Justus McKinstry (July 6, 1814 – December 11, 1897) was a United States Army officer who served in the Second Seminole War and with merit in the Mexican–American War and in the Third Seminole War. He was appointed a brigadier general and assistant quartermaster in the Union Army in the early days of the American Civil War but his appointment expired without being confirmed by the United States Senate. His actual highest rank was major. He was suspended from his appointment and held under arrest starting November 13, 1861, although his confinement was expanded to the city limits of St. Louis, Missouri after February 22, 1862, in anticipation of a court-martial in October 1862. He was convicted of graft, corruption, and fraud in the quartermaster's department in the Department of the West. The court recommended his dismissal from the army. On January 28, 1863, after being held in arrest for more than a year, McKinstry was cashiered "for neglect and violation of duty to the prejudice of good order and military discipline." Despite the expiration of his brigadier general appointment without Senate confirmation, some sources, such as Ezra Warner, list McKinstry as a brigadier general. If so regarded, he was one of three Union Army generals who was cashiered. After his dismissal from the Union Army, McKinstry was a speculator and stockbroker in New York City, 1864–1867, and land agent in Rolla, Missouri, 1867 – c. 1870, although he spent most of the rest of his life in reduced circumstances in St. Louis.

December 24, 2018

1864 First Hospital Opens in Warrensburg - Dr. Alexander Reese - Namesake for Reese School

Story from Western Missouri Medical Center
Pictures from JOCOMO Historical Society

Celebrating a History of 150 Years of Hospitals in Warrensburg 
1864  The story of hospitals in Warrensburg begins with an introduction to the career of one physician who  came to this area in 1864 to implement a Civil War Hospital. Near the end of the devastating Civil War,  Dr. Alexander Reese, a native of Madison, Ind., was in charge of the first hospital for the duration  from 1864 to 1866 when it ceased operation.    The Warrensburg Civil War Hospital was housed in a Presbyterian Church at 219 West Gay Street  which had been commandeered by the United States Government. It was stripped of its spiritual  furniture and made to function as an infirmary, surgery and death-house for scores of Union soldiers  and civilians.    

Dr. Reese left Warrensburg following the end of the Civil War. He served his next assignment issued  by the Army as a surgeon at Fort Leavenworth. However, a few years later he came back to  Warrensburg, married Miss Susie Baile and built his home at 209 West Culton. He practiced for many  years in Warrensburg and was very active in this community.

In recognition of his work with the  community school system, the Reese School building was named after him.  
Reese School, Warrensburg, MO.  Named after Dr. Alexander Reese, Civil War Doctor
With the advance of years, Dr. Reese retired from practice and moved to a farm south of town. He  died in 1907, a loyal citizen remembered and mourned by many of his townsmen.  
This story would not have been told if it were not for the diligence of a particular volunteer working  on the archives of Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC). 
She noted Oak Hill Sanitarium was not  the first hospital in Warrensburg’s history. (WMMC would like to thank Jane Reynolds, who brought  the above information to us from a book written by another pioneer, Mrs. L. E. Smiser’s, “The Golden  Years.”)   
1908  Oak Hill Sanitarium at 519 South Holden was opened by Dr. Harry F. Parker. This five-patient-room  hospital used the third floor for the surgery section as it had large skylights for natural light and  ventilation. Oak Hill closed in 1937 when Dr. Parker was appointed as Missouri State Commissioner  of Health.    
1908 Oak Hill Sanitarium Opens at 519 South Holden Street
by Dr. Harry F. Parker
1910  Two years after Oak Hill opened, Drs. L. J. Schofield, W. R. Patterson and O. B. Hall bought the  Gilkeson home at 122 East Market for $9,000. When it opened, this facility had seven patient beds  with a large front porch which was utilized. Both hospitals attended to the healthcare needs of  Warrensburg throughout the thirties.    
1910 Warrensburg Clinic, 122 East Market Street by Drs. Schofield, Patterson and Hall.
1940 As Warrensburg’s population grew, more doctors came to town and more patient rooms were needed. The physicians encouraged a bond issue to build a new hospital, but it was voted down. The  three original owners felt they could not continue in the same building and chose to sell their  interests in the clinic. Dr. Hall sold his interest to his son-in-law, Dr. R. Lee Cooper, father of Dr.  Robert L. Cooper and father-in-law of Dr. Hugh A. Hanna. Dr. Patterson sold his interest to Dr. Ralph  McKinney and Dr. Schofield’s interest was sold to Dr. O. H. Damron.    
1941  With an investment of $45,000, these doctors began and completed the remodeling and construction  of a 12-bed addition. The name of the facility became The Warrensburg Medical Clinic.   

1945  These physicians formed a nonprofit corporation and the new facility became known as The  Warrensburg Medical Center, Inc.    
1949  As the community grew, more referrals from surrounding areas came to the physicians. They realized  another addition was needed. In 1949, they added an 84-foot addition to the front of the structure.    
1959  Despite the best efforts of those who owned the hospital and their concerns for patients, the cost of  changing the physical plant and new rigid state laws forced the owners to make a critical decision. In  December 1959, an announcement was made that the Warrensburg Medical Center, Inc. would close.    
1960  Realizing the importance of a modern hospital, Johnson County residents voted in favor of a bond  issue to build the current facility at a cost of $1.6 million.    
1963  The newly completed 58-bed Johnson County Memorial Hospital (JCMH) opened on July 31, 1963, at  403 Burkarth. Before the day was over, Wilma and John Pfeffer became the parents of Julie Dianne  Pfeffer, the first baby born at JCMH as the staff was transferring patients from the old hospital to the  new one.    

1965  Betty and John Ridge were the parents of the first set of twins born at JCMH on Jan. 21, 1965.  1967  JCMH received its first accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals in  September.      
1968  Members from three study clubs began a Gift Shop at JCMH and the American Medical Association  approved the facility as a Radiological Technology School. 
1969  As a result of an increased patient workload, the Radiological Technology School was closed and a  22-bed obstetrical and medical/surgical area was completed.    
1973  The C. W. Sheppard Wing was added with another 20 beds as well as an uncompleted shelled-in area  for future expansion. The 60s and 70s   These years included many changes in healthcare such as; the birth of Medicare, the formation of a  16-person volunteer chaplaincy program, the hospital began preparing all the Meals on Wheels food  for this community, along with multiple additions and renovations occurring.    
The 1980s   These years brought two significant changes. The beginning the Skilled Nursing Facility and Johnson  County Memorial Hospital became Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC) on Jan. 1, 1986.    
The 1990s  During the 1900s numerous new physicians moved into the area. As the population of the  Warrensburg area continued to grow, so did WMMC. Clinical Documentation on the computer system went live as planned, on Dec. 3, 1996, and was  successful. Many hospitals in Missouri regard WMMC’s computer usage. WMMC received the highest level of accreditation possible from the Joint Commission on  Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. This was the second time WMMC received the  “Accreditation with Commendation” Award, one that only 2% of hospitals nationwide have ever  received.    
2009  WMMC expanded family healthcare services with the addition of Western Missouri Family Healthcare  in Holden, Mo.       
2010  WMMC continued to see growth. In fact, WMMC leaders agreed upon a Master Facility Plan to expand  the medical center to roughly 215,000 square feet, nearly double the previous facility. The plans  included a state-of-the-art Patient Tower featuring 72 private-patient rooms, a tranquil healing  garden, new lobbies and nearly 500 parking spaces. The plans also included renovations to the  medical center and Diagnostic Imaging.  On April 19, 2010, WMMC broke ground on the nearly $51.5 million building project. The year also  saw the opening of Western Missouri Family Health in Knob Noster, Mo. 

2011  WMMC acquired Western Missouri Internal Medicine—formerly Warrensburg Medical Clinic—on Jan. 1,  2011. WMMC continued to see advancement in technology with the completion of the new Diagnostic  Imaging Department and arrival of the MAGNETOM Verio 3 Telsa (MRI scanner), SOMATOM Definition  AS (128-Slice CT scanner), and AXIOM Luminos (radiographic and fluoroscopy imaging system).  WMMC now offered patients one of the most sophisticated imaging experiences in the region.     
2013  On July 10, 2013, WMMC broke ground on a new Medical Office Building. The $8.4 million project is a  state-of-the-art, three-story Medical Office Building that features 43,298 square feet attached to  the current facility. The building will house a variety of specialties including general surgery,  cardiology, oncology and pulmonology, with room to grow for additional specialists.  
2014  On July 8, 2014, WMMC celebrated the completion of the new Medical Office Building (MOB). ​The new MOB includes a Cancer Center, Pulmonology Clinic, Outpatient Lab, Cardiac/Pulmonary Department, Pain Center, Sleep Laboratory and office suite for Surgical Services of Warrensburg.     2016  WMMC continued to grow specialty services for the community. Recognizing a need for behavioral  health, WMMC opened the new Bridge Behavioral Health Unit to provide care for senior adult (65+)  patients whose psychiatric symptoms have posed significant problems or safety hazards to their  activities of daily living.     In addition, the medical center began developing strategies to adapt to the changing trends in  healthcare. The best solution to continue providing the best care, closer to home, was for WMMC to  join forces with local providers to establish an Integrated Community Care Model. These partnerships  enhance care coordination and allow for patient record integration.   
WMMC Today   
WMMC has significantly expanded in order to bring innovative healthcare closer to home. Over the  years, it has welcomed numerous physicians, partnered with other health organizations and  purchased new technology and equipment to bring advanced care to our region.     The medical center is embedded into the community with participation in health fairs, screenings,  support groups, seminars and classes, various task forces, projects, teams, committees and wellness  initiatives. WMMC has had years of glowing reports from our auditors complimenting our stability and  resources. Our roots continue to grow deep as we work to leave a lasting legacy for Warrensburg  and the surrounding communities.    WMMC is a fully-accredited acute care county medical center. WMMC prides itself in emergency care,  obstetrics, orthopedic and general surgery, family healthcare, internal medicine, outpatient clinics,  ambulatory care, rehabilitation services and more. Inpatient services include medical, surgical, intensive, obstetrical, orthopedic, pediatric and skilled nursing care, as well as a wide range of  therapeutic and diagnostic outpatient services.   

Biographical Sketch of Harry F. Parker, M.D., Johnson County, Missouri,
Warrensburg Township

>From "History of Johnson County, Missouri," by Ewing Cockrell,
Historical Publishing Company, Topeka, Cleveland, 1918.

Harry F. Parker, M. D., the founder of the "Oak Hill Sanitarium" in Warrensburg, has not only pre-eminently succeeded in the practice of medicine in Johnson county but he has made a name for himself that is widely known and he is now only thirty-three years of age.  Doctor Parker was born January 8, 1884 in Johnson county, the son of Col. J.
H. and Elizabeth Ann (Field) Parker, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of Missouri.  Col. J. H. Parker was the son of William  W. and Elizabeth A. (Higgins) Parker.  The father of William W. Parker, Solomon Parker, was of Scotch descent and a lineal descendant of one of the three brothers who emigrated from Scotland and settled in Jamestown, Virginia, during the earliest Colonial days.  William W. Parker came from Virginia to Missouri with his maternal grandfather, Mr. Higgins, and his son, J. H., and settled in Lafayette county in 1842, on tracts of land they had purchased and entered from the government. Their route to Missouri led over the Allegheny mountains and along the
national road from Cumberland to Wheeling, West Virginia.  Mr. Higgins died in Lexington, Missouri, in 1843 and in the same year his daughter, Elizabeth A. (Higgins) Parker, the mother of Col. J. H. Parker, also died.  William W. Parker and his son, J. H., were engaged in the pursuits of agriculture in Lafayette county, as were also the family of Fields, prominent pioneers of Missouri.  J. H. Parker and Elizabeth Ann Field were united in marriage in 1860 and to them were born the following children: William, a well known farmer and stockman; John, deceased; Frank, deceased; Joseph, deceased; Sallie, deceased; James H., who is engaged in the real estate and stock business in Julesburg, Colorado; Bettie, deceased; and H. F., the subject of this review.  Col. J. H.
Parker has been prominently connected with the early history of Johnson County.  Politically, he is affiliated with the Democratic party and he represented Johnson county in the state Legislature.  Col. Parker has also filled a number of appointive offices.  He is a member of the  A. F. & A. M. and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  While residing  in Johnson county, Col. Parker erected a church near his home and contributed generously toward its support.  A sketch of Col. and Mrs. Parker appears in the Biographical History of Missouri in the edition of 1915.  Harry Field Parker was one of the youngest students who have attended the Warrensburg High School, graduating at the age of sixteen years.  He entered the University of Missouri and was in attendance at
that institution for two years when he matriculated in the Medical School of Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, graduating with the degree of Doctor of Medicine in the class of 1906.  For one year Dr. Parker was interne in the City Hospital of St. Louis, which was then under the direction of the board of health.  Dr. Parker had charge
of the Hearne Hospital in San Diego, California, for one year.  In 1908 he returned to Warrensburg, Missouri, opened his office, and began at once an extensive practice.  Three years after locating in Warrensburg, Doctor Parker founded the "Oak Hill Sanitarium," located at 519 South Holden street, which he still owns and maintains at a high standard.  The hospital has the best and most modern equipment and is always filled to its capacity.  The patients who have been taken there are among Doctor Parker's warmest friends and admirers upon leaving the sanitarium.  It has proven of great value and has filled a long felt need of the citizens of Warrensburg and adjoining counties.  Doctor Parker devotes his time exclusively to his large practice.  His practice is of a
general nature and he has proven equally efficient as physician and surgeon.  "Oak Hill Sanitarium" is open to all the physicians of Johnson County, who send many of their patients there.  It is under the official management of Mrs. Maude M. Irwin, a trained nurse who has been connected with the institution since its founding.  November 25, 1908, Dr. Harry Field Parker was united in marriage with Martha Sousley of Nebraska City, Nebraska.  She is the daughter of Capt. J. R. and Martha (Cheatham) Sousley, both of whom are now deceased.  At the time of her marriage, Mrs. Parker resided in Lowville, New York.  Doctor and Mrs. Parker reside in their home at 118 West Gay street in Warrensburg.
Besides his city residence, Doctor Parker is owner of the "Meadow Lawn Stock Farm," comprising 400 acres of the best farm land in Hazel Hill township, and it is devoted to the breeding of Shorthorn cattle.
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