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April 29, 2021

Mob of 300 Lynches Confessed Murderer, Warrensburg Courthouse, July 1872

July 1872
Kansas City Star, 1872
Warrensburg, Johnson County Courthouse, Next to the Jail in 1867
From the Kansas City times July 27, 1872

The reader will recall the account of an attempt to lynch James Sharpe, the murderer of John Erskine, at Warrensburg, on last Monday night (July 22). The result of that attempt was evidently anything but satisfactory to those engaged in it, and there was good ground, as the sequel has proved, for the apprehensions of the sheriff, as stated to our reporter, that another and more formidable attempt would be made to take Sharpe out and hang him.

Night before last, just before night-fall the sheriff received an intimation that that night was the appointed time for a renewal of the attempt to lynch the prisoner. Accordingly, Sheriff Smith summoned a large posse to assist him in guarding the doomed man, but the majority of them failed, for some reason or other, to come to time, so that about nine o’clock Smith found himself unsupported save by some halt a dozen citizens, and with the uncertainty before him that an attempt would be made that night to take Sharpe out of his hands and hang him, and that the attempt would be of the most
The first mob had evidently come expecting to be let into the jail after a little parley, and came unprovided with means of breaking in. 
 They had therefore gone away when it became evident that they could not force a passage to Sharpe’s cell without a fight with the sheriff. The second mob came prepared, if they could get at their victim in no other way, to raze the old jail to the ground. A little after midnight on Thursday, the mob, mounted and numbering over

Was observed approaching over the sight of eminence that rises between the old town of Warrensburg and Post Oak Creek.  When they had come within a short distance of the court-house square they halted, secure their horses, and came on in two bodies. 
To explain the nature of their operations a brief description of the jail is necessary.  It is a two-story brick, about forty-six feet north and south by twenty feet east and west. This court-house square, it must be remembered, is in the old town of Warrensburg, which is about a half-mile from then new, or railroad town, and westward from it.  The jail is divided into two parts, the north end being used as a residency by the jailer, and the south end fitted up for the incarceration of prisoners.  
Courthouse and Jail Warrensburg, Johnson County MO 1867
The cell is which Sharpe was chained is on the southwest corner of the building, on the first floor, and has two small, heavy-grated windows looking out into the back yard of the jail, which is perhaps ten feet by twenty, and enclosed by a high paling.  The brick wall around the cell is about sixteen inches thick, and the cell itself is a box made of two-inch oak plank, crossed and bolted together, and the whole lined with boiler iron.
The approach to the cell from the inside is through a narrow hall-way which extends to the end of the building, and between the end of the hall and the open air there is only the sixteen-inch brick wall.  The jail has been
And is evidently a very insecure place for the incarceration of the desperate felons, either for keeping them in or mobs out.
As has been said, the mob approached the jail in two bodies—one detachment investing the premises in front and the other coming up through the court-house square from the west, and surrounding the south end of the building.  They moved with silence, rapidity and precision of veteran troops executing a movement on the field.
1850's Courthouse Public Square Warrensburg, Johnson County, MO
They evidently meant to do their work of death this time, and to do it for certain, and in spite of whatever might come in their way.  It had become a settled conviction in the minds of these people of Johnson county that Sharpe must dies, and that he must speedily be put beyond any peradventure of an escape from the consequences of this crime.
These men, therefore, were determined.  There was no bluster, no loud talking; no one in the mob was drunk; there were no threats.  The orders and pass-words were delivered in muffled undertones—sullen growls through the set teeth of the lynchers; but there was no bravado; nothing but quiet.
That had the rustle of death about them, and hoarse whispers that might have been from the grave.
At length, when all was ready, a formal, respectful demand was made upon Sheriff Smith for the body of James E. Sharpe.  The Sheriff was upon the door stone.  It was unpretentious rostrum, but the audience was attentive and willing to hear.
“Gentlemen, “said Smith, “you are, most of you, citizens of Johnson county.  You have helped to elect me to this position, to discharge the duties for which I am here to-night.  You have chosen me to execute and enforce the law, and now you come to break it in spite of me.”

Sheriffs of Johnson County, Missouri
From left. J. H. Smith 1868-1872
H. H. Russell 1876- 1880
William Collins 1872-1876
David Raker 1890-1894
R. M. Lear 1900-1904
Winfield Dunham 1896-1900
A voice in the crowd: “Get out of the way Smith; we would not harm you, nor any of your posse; but we are three hundred strong, and we are going to take and hang Sharpe, no matter what stands in our way.”
“But,” replied the Sheriff, “what are you going to gain by such a proceeding? Why, simple to cast a stigma on the name of this county, to have it go out to all the world that the processors of law are interrupted by by armed mobs, and that the law of Judge Lynch takes precedence of the statutes.  If this were a new, border community, infested with desperadoes, without society, without the methods and appliances of legal procedure, and of executing the mandates of the courts, there might be some justification for this sort of thing.
But ours is an old community. Law is unrestrained in its processes and its execution is never delayed or hampered.  The prisoner is self-convicted.  There is no man or body of men in all the world who will make the faintest-attempt to rescue him.  He can elude justice only by taking his own life, and this he cannot do except by butting his own brains out against the walls or the floor of the cell.
Let it be said for once that the civil law has taken its course in Western Missouri, and that a criminal has suffered the legal penalty of his misdeeds in the manner prescribed by the statutes.  Leave the care of the prisoner to me; his trial to your jury: his sentence to your judge, and his execution to him upon whom such duty devolves.”
“It’s not use talking about this matter, Mr. Smith, “was the calm reply. “We understand the nature of this thing as well as you can do or can. We revere and respect you as a man of courage and honor, and a faithful and vigilant officer.  You know and recognize many of us, for we make no concealment or disguise.  We are all responsible men.  This is not a drunken, howling mob, but a company of intelligent men who know what they are about, who know how to do their work and who had fully and deliberately determined, long before they came here, to do it as whatever hazards.”
Here the speaker stopped, a signal was given, and those in the rear of the of the jail made an onslaught upon the brick wall with heavy sledge-hammers, old axes, crow-bars and a battering ram.  A hole was soon broken through the wall at the end of the narrow hall, and into this part of the jail came five or six, men, with lanterns and crow-bars.
The door of Sharpe’s cell is made of bars of ordinary horse-shoe iron, crossed and heavily riveted at the intersections, swinging on heavy hinges, and secured by a bar and heavy hasp and padlock.  Two crow-bars were run through between the bars, and four stalwart men surged backward upon this powerful leverage.  The iron door creaked and groaned, there was a dull, metallic snap as the
Site of old jail and the lynching.
Warrensburg, MO
And in a moment the door was wrenched out of its fastenings, and Sharpe and those who had come to kill him stood face to face in the cramped cell.  Not a word was said.  Outside there was only a murmur of impatience.  Inside there was no sound save the rapid, hard breathing of the men, and the quick click of one of the two revolver locks in the narrow hall. Then came the dull clank of the chain that fettered Sharpe, as it was laid across the side of a sledge-hammer; then a blow or two as the links were but with a cold chisel; the shackles were apart, and Sharpe was seized by two men and taken out into the open air, not free, but doomed, past praying for, and past the last and faintest hope he may ever have dreamed of, that life would still be his.
The crowd fell back as the men came out with the victim, and then closed up close around them.  There was scarcely a word spoken, Sharpe had not opened his lips.  In his spare, wire frame there was not a quiver, and the flickering light of the lanterns, as it fell upon his face, showed not even a shadow of pallor upon its livid surface.  If he had fears, or if there was a sinking at his heart, he gave no world or sign to tell it.
Whether it was clear nerve or brutal stolidity, none can tell.  It may be that, as he sat in his brick, oak and iron walled dungeon, with the pitiless iron clasped upon his limbs and riveting him to utter helplessness—alone, in the darkness that hid his hand raised in front of him, listening to the “thud”, “thud” of the heavy blows upon the outer wall, as if driving the nails in his coffin lid—it may be that those blows smote every one upon his heart and gave him pain as if upon his body and not upon the brick they fell. 
It may be that now as he heard knocking at his door the death he had sat for days and knights gazing at afar off, and with a glimmer of hope between, the shuddered a little and the memory of the sweets life had held for him in better days that were gone, came back to make his heart sick, and set his brain reeling.
It may be that when he heard the tumble of the unresisting bricks that had been at once his prison and his shield, and knew that the last barrier between him and death was down, there came to him in the blackness of his cell and the midnight, as from a camera, the picture of his fireside, his wife and his little ones.  But whatever there may have been to move him, had gulped it down, and when he came out among those who were to take away his life, not a step in all the crowd was firmer that his, not a check was less blanched, and not an eye quailed less than did his vacant little gravy orbs beneath their overhanging red brows.  To take him out to the road and tie him upon a horse was the work of a few moments, and then cavalcade set out of the
Which was in the timber on Post Oak Creek, about a mile and half from the old town of Warrensburg, Arrived at the appointed place, a halt was made. The men dismounted, a strong cordon was formed around the tree, over a limb fixed about his neck. The men who had been detailed to draw the rope took their places, and then the master of ceremonies stepped in front of Sharpe and asked him if he had anything to say before he died.  Sharpe said he would like to say a word.
“We will hear what you have to say.”
“I acknowledge that I killed Erskine in the manner stated in my first confession. I did not kill Gallagher.  Young’s story to that effect is false.  I do not know what became of Gallagher.  Erskine was the only man I ever killed.  I killed him because I thought he had wronged me in business.”
“Have you any request to make or any mercy to crave?”
“Are you ready to die?”
“I am.”
There was a signal, a tightening of the cord, a rasping sound as the rope slid over the rough bark on the limb, and
Never more to press its surface a living man.  All through the proceeding there had not even been a word spoken to Sharpe by any one of the mob except recognized leaders. Not a jeer, not a taunt, not an expression of malice or revenge. And now, as he swung between heaven and earth, there was not a word or brutal exultation—only the faint gurgle in the throat of the dying man, the rustle of the rope as it swung against the limb, and the occasional stamp of the horse’s hoof, and the sigh of the night wind among the branches of the trees. A few lamps threw a flaring, a ghastly light upon the scene and lit up the solemn, resolute faces of the lynchers that stood around.
Indiana Hanging
When Sharpe ceased to struggle, and his pulse had stopped even its irregular fluttering, the leader announced he was dead. 

“Our work is done, men” he said.
“Now disperse and go to your homes as orderly and quietly as you came here. I hope we shall never have occasion for another such job like this in Johnson county.
The mob then rapidly dispersed in every direction.
As soon as it was daylight Sharpe’s body was taken down and an inquest held.  The verdict was, that the deceased came to his death by strangulation at the hands of parties unknown to the jury.
His body has been delivered to his family for internment.
There was not excitement in Warrensburg over the affair.  Many of the most respectable citizens of various parts of the county, were engaged in the hanging, and they made no effort at concealment or disguise.  The affairs is to be regretted, but it certainly was conducted with a degree of decorum and formality that stripped it of the more hideous features of mob law, and made it an unique and curious affair of its kind.

Was about fifty-two years of age, and owned one of the finest farms in Johnson county, located near Centerview and about three or four miles from the line of the Missouri Pacific railroad.  He was a stock raiser and feeder, and dealt largely in Texas and Cherokee cattle.  His farm, with what stock, crops, buildings and utensils are on the premises, is worth at least forty thousand dollars.  It is said to be only lightly encumbered, and is in a fine state of improvement.
His family consists of his wife and six children, the eldest of whom is twenty-two, and the youngest about seven years old.  Mrs. Sharpe is a lade of about forty-five years of age, rather below the average size of women and more than ordinarily good looking for a women of her age.  She is an amiable, intelligent little woman with a face beaming of with womanly kindness and mother affection.  Her name in the neighborhood is a proverb of charity and benevolence, and she is a devoted Christian, in deed as well as in profession.
In this awful trial that has come upon her she has the keenest and most active sympathy of the entire community.  Since Sharpe has been in jail with a certainty of death at the hands of the law or mob, she has borne her affliction with meekest resignation.  To all who have conversed with her upon the subject, she has expressed her sense of justice that has overtaken her erring husband, and has said that his career has been, in spite of her tearful entreaties and prayerful remonstrances, a wicked one.  A few days ago she visited Sharpe in his cell, accompanied by three of her children.  Then, for the first and only time, he showed feeling and utterly broke down.
His death, in view of his career, is undoubtedly a relief to her, thought the manner of his taking off must always be a theme of the keenest grief and shame. But the community cannot and will not visit upon the innocent head of this dove-eyed little woman a shadow of the reproach that belongs to her hardened husband alone.
July 28, 1872 The Leavenworth Times
James Sharpe - John Erskine
Warrensburg, Missouri 
John Paulee Erskine 1819-July 1872, Murdered by James E. Sharpe
in Centerview, near Warrensburg, MO, Johnson County

Buried in the Centerview MO Cemetery
Age 52 yrs - from Guadalupe, Texas and was murdered near in Centerview, Missouri near Warrensburg.
John Paulee Erskine was born in 1819 in Monroe County, Virginia. The gory details of his murder and the aftermath, from the Dallas papers:
Dallas Herald August 3, 1872 (p.2 col.4)
The Kansas City Times gives an account of the brutal murder of Mr. John Erskine, of Seguin (Tx) in this state, a well known and highly respectable gentleman who has been for some years engaged in the cattle trade. He was murdered by a man named Sharp(e), who had given Erskine a mortgage on his property, to get rid of this encumbrance. Sharp was exposed by his little son, who witnessed the deed.

April 6, 2021

1864 The Confederates' Last Attempt (in Johnson County, MO) Parman Massacre

The Confederates' Last Attempt
 by Bruce Nichols 
As the winter continued into 1864, it gave no hint of the violence that was to begin in the spring. While Quantrill's band was wintering down south, there was little guerrilla activity in the county, although many bushwhackers remained hidden in wooded recesses. A letter written during this winter by eighty-year-old Mrs. Deborah Silliman, living near Warrensburg, commented on county conditions. She reported that many runaway slaves had made their home near the Union post at Warrensburg, the quartering of troops in private buildings, the employment of her son Charles to defend Captain Andrew Jackson of the First Regiment in a court-martial, and the burning by vandals of a house next to hers. Besides vividly describing her own troubles, Mrs. Silliman revealed that many families had fled the county for safety when their men went off to war. Her letter tells of eight such refugees murdered on the road fourteen miles east of Warrensburg a few weeks before. This letter reveals the lawlessness prevalent in Johnson County even so late in the war. Lizzie E. Brannock, a resident of the Chapel Hill area in northwest Johnson County (Lafayette), wrote a revealing letter about life in that southern neighborhood on January 13. She told of the loss of her house a year earlier during Major Thomas Herrick's "red leg" raid there, the frequent plundering of her possessions by outlaws, and the imprisonment of her husband and brother in the Gratiot Street prison. 
© 2011 The Missouri History Museum. All rights reserved.
The building that was to become Gratiot Street Prison was a large brick structure with two wings. The northern wing (along Eighth Street) had been the medical college. 
On January 8, Colonel James H. Ford's Second Colorado Cavalry was introduced into the region to replace the troublesome Kansas "jayhawker" troops, previously used by the Union command to guard the Missouri-Kansas border. These tough frontiersmen had no private scores to settle in Missouri and were to perform gallant service fighting guerrillas in Johnson and adjoining counties in 1864. Colonel McFerran ordered Company G of the First Cavalry to Columbus in northwest Johnson County from Lexington on January 13 after citizens of the latter town complained about the conduct of its officers and enlisted men. This episode clearly contrasts the fresh Colorado troops with the ill-mannered militiamen. On January 14, the leadership of the First Regiment ordered its men to show more respect for private property of civilians. Perhaps the Union command was at last beginning to control its unruly troops. Violence gradually returned to the county throughout February and March. 
The first skirmish of 1864 took place on February 22 when Lieutenant Walter B. Hamilton's squad of the Fourth Missouri State Militia Cavalry attacked twenty guerrillas of a Captain Blunt's band near Blackwater River in the north. The bushwhackers escaped after Hamilton and one of the guerrillas were wounded. The next day Captain Milton Burris and nineteen men of the First Regiment waylaid the same rebel band, mortally wounding two of them before the rest scattered into the Sni-A-Bar hills. A Kansas City advertisement on February 28, 1864, called for five hundred men to work on the railroad being constructed between Warrensburg and Holden and offered the inducements that the "country is healthy, water good and wages paid monthly in cash." The notice failed to mention what, if any, protection from guerrillas was available; but there was a sign that commerce was reviving in anticipation of an end to the bloodshed. The peaceful winter of 1863-1864 ended on a note of violence on March 10 when the district commander issued a general order calling for the formation of civilian home guards for patrol and guard duty. The return of good weather in April prompted local guerrillas to stir from their winter hideouts and Quantrill and his men were back for another fighting season after a winter in the south. The season began abruptly on April 28 with the defeat of a Union party in the northwest corner of the county. Earlier that day Major Jesse L. Pritchard, leading forty-eight men of the Second Colorado, found traces of eighty to one hundred guerrillas heading north (probably from a winter in the South like Quantrill) near Rose Hill in the southwestern corner and began to track them. The Union force followed the trail north past Holden and then to Chapel Hill where Pritchard learned he was too late to prevent disaster. The guerrillas had stopped earlier at a house fifteen miles northwest of Warrensburg on the Chapel Hill road when Lieutenant James E. Couch of the First Regiment and his small party rode up. According to Samuel McLaren, a civilian survivor traveling with Couch's party, the guerrillas were wearing Federal uniforms and identified themselves as Kansas troops. 
County Map about 1880
When Couch's group got close enough, the "Kansans" opened fire, killing Couch and two of his men instantly and felling another who feigned death and lived. The civilians accompanying the Union men were spared harm by a man who boasted he was Quantrill. 

This small disaster shocked Johnson County and the surrounding area Also in late April, a soldier identified only as Riley, convicted of murdering an Irishman in front of the poor man's family, was publicly executed in Warrensburg —a hopeful, yet gruesome, sign for a return of law and order. May brought more frenzied activity than actual combat. 
After Quantrill's May 20 attack on Lamar, Missouri, many miles to the south, all Union posts feared his next move. Johnson Countians' fears that Quantrill might come their way were justified on May 22 when guerrillas attacked a small party of First Regiment militiamen under Sergeant Solathel Stone four miles northeast of Chilhowee. Reverend Richard M. King of Captain William H. Thompson's citizen guards accompanying Stone was killed, and the rest were captured except one man who escaped. As Quantrill's gang hurriedly crossed western Johnson County, they upset Federal communications by destroying telegraph lines and capturing a pouch full of dispatches. The bushwhackers disappeared into the Sni-A-Bar hills before any of the pursuing Union troops could get close. During the excitement of May, construction of the "Pacific Railroad" was completed to Knob Noster and the Ninth Minnesota Infantry began a tour of duty in the area to guard the new tracks. On June 5, a foot patrol led by Lieutenant Daniel Shumate of the First Cavalry tried on twelve bushwhackers leading pack horses near the Blackwater but did not hit any of them. Two days later the same patrol fired on a man accompanied by two women in the same area, but he escaped leaving a Federal overcoat and blanket. 

On June 11, the ill-fated patrol of and fourteen men of the First Cavalry was sent out from Holden to the Kingsville area to the west. The next day Dick Yeager's and "Bloody Bill" Anderson's band of fifty mounted guerrillas — on their way north from wintering in Texas — ran into Parman's astonished patrol on open prairie and easily killed all but Parman and two others who fought their way to cover and escaped. The pursuing Union troops discovered that Yeager's and Anderson's guerrillas had previously attacked the stage nearby, ransacking the mail and robbing the passengers before encountering Parman's party. It was obvious that some of the twelve slaughtered men had surrendered only to be shot; one of the corpses had been scalped and the other bodies had been mutilated. "Bloody Bill" wrote his version of the fight one month later in a letter he sent to Lexington newspapers. 
"Bloody Bill" Anderson
He claimed that he would have spared the militiamen had they surrendered since he heard their company consisted mostly of southern men. Anderson boasted that he and two of his men had dispatched all twelve. He ridiculed their marksmanship and taunted Federal leaders by daring them to send their men out for him to train. By any version, the Parman massacre was one of the worst defeats of the war in Johnson County. On June 20 a squad of partisans kidnapped a civilian named George Peake near Clear Fork to guide them around the Union home guard at Knob Noster on their way north. They later released him and continued on to Dunksburg where, on June 27, they fought that village's home guard, killing two Dunksburg men (John McGuire or one of his older sons and a man identified only as Bales). Captain William B. Ballew, leading a fifty-man patrol of the Seventh Cavalry in the area, head of this and struck out in pursuit of the guerrillas as they turned back south. Ballew's force caught up to the rebels on June 28 after tracking them eighteen miles and in the ensuing battle, one on each side was killed. As the rebels continued their flight across southeast Johnson County, they shot Thomas and Isaac Cooper (the latter survived) for unknown reasons before Ballew's patrol lost track of them near Post Oak Creek between Chilhowee and Warrensburg. Sometime in June, Battery L of the Second Missouri Light Artillery began a three-month tour of duty in Warrensburg — an indication that Federal leaders must have expected more trouble during the summer. July brought more railroad progress and some interesting explanations. Railroad construction was completed to Warrensburg that month (July 4), providing local Union forces better communication and transportation. This left Warrensburg as the western terminus for the "Pacific Railroad" for about a year, which stimulated the area's economy. 
Pacific Railroad Completed to Kansas City through Johnson County Missouri in 1864.
Six to eight carloads of goods arrived daily from the east, and twenty or more freight teams were required to carry goods from the town throughout the region. On July 1, Miss Anna Fickle of Warrensburg was sentenced to three years in a Union prison for attempting to help a prisoner escape from the provost prison at Lexington. Missouri guerrillas were already sensitive about southern women after the collapse of the women's prison in Kansas City in 1863, and this new incident provoked "Bloody Bill" Anderson to write angry letters to area Union leaders such as General Brown and Colonel McFerran. Anderson's letters: 1) warned citizens not to take up arms against guerrillas, 2) asserted that he had "...chosen guerrilla warfare to revenge (himself) for wrongs that (he) could not honorably avenge otherwise." 3) denounced Federals for warring against southern civilians, especially women, 4) threatened to abuse Union women if southern ones were not left alone, and 5) gave his own version of the Parman fight. County warfare during July was more beneficial to the Union than earlier. On July 11 William E. Chester, a lieutenant of the Knob Noster Home Guards, led a party of them to scatter a band of guerrillas in the town. A patrol of the Seventh Regiment led by Major Thomas W. Hoots fleshed six or seven bushwhackers from the brush near Columbus on July 12 but failed to catch them as the rebels had fresher mounts. Captain James M. Turley's twenty-five-man patrol of the Seventh Cavalry fought Hutchins' and William "Bill" Stewart's band of guerrillas near Clear Fork on July 16, killing five of the bushwhackers. Sometime during the war, Bill Stewart's gang robbed and burned the village of Cornelia south of Warrensburg and not far from Clear Fork. Perhaps this was the time. On July 20 a band of one hundred guerrillas mulct' Jeremiah V. Cockrell and one Greer was reported near Chapel Hill. On July 27, Corporal William T. Hisey (a farmer from Warrensburg) and four men of the Seventh Cavalry — hunting a stray horse along Blackwater River — were attacked by Dick Yeager's (Picture Link)band of twenty guerrillas, whom they chased off after wounding Yeager and killing two of his men. Captain Melville Foster's patrol of the same regiment had a running fight with Yeager's band the next day from near Columbus to Big Creek in the southwest corner of the county, killing two, wounding four, and scattering the rest. Lieutenant Elisha Horn with ninety-three men of the Seventh Regiment discovered about fifteen guerrillas in a grove less than two miles south of Chapel Hill on July 30 and charged into them, killing one and wounding another before the rest scattered. Obviously, Union troops in Johnson County worked energetically throughout July to recover from their defeats in June. Guerrilla activity seemed to increase in August in spite of the vigorous Federal patrolling. Lieutenant M. A. Thompson of the Knob Noster Home Guards requested help on August 2 when he noticed "...a great many rebels in town," but the district headquarters nine miles west at Warrensburg told him to handle things himself by ordering out his home guards and closing the saloons. On August 5 Captain William P. Baker, with thirty men of the Seventh, chased a small squad of guerrillas on Big Creek and Crawford's Fork in southwest Johnson County, killing one. A forage train under Corporal John A. Adams (a Warrensburg farmer) of ten men of the same regiment fought eight guerrillas of Hutchinson's band near Holden on August 12, but the only reported result was that Adams' men captured five rebel weapons. On August 17, fifteen guerrillas robbed and burned the stage in western Johnson County between Holden and Pleasant Hill, cut telegraph wires, and escaped efforts of Federal troops to catch them. On August 22, Captain Foster took Lieutenant Francis Pharis and fifty men of the Seventh Cavalry and arrested the Durrett (Benjamin L.), Stoner, Cowarden (Frances), and Scott families of western Johnson County for feeding bushwhackers. Foster reported from Holden on August 23 that Quantrill and Dick Yeager with two hundred men were in the vicinity and might attack to release those southerners held there. They did not, but Foster moved his prisoners to Warrensburg the next day to prevent further worry. On August 25 about eighty troops of the Seventh Cavalry, led by Captain Oscar B. Queen and guided by William E Chester, encountered two small squads of rebels near Rose Hill, capture several horses, and perhaps wounded some of the guerrillas in the chase that ensued. Queen commented in his repeal that Chester often went into southern neighborhoods dressed as a Confederate to obtain intelligence about guerrillas movement from unsuspecting rebel sympathizers. Sometime during the last of August bring the tea of August or the fit of September, George Todd's gang of bushwhackers swept through the county killing discharged Union veterans, Union sympathizers, and men of German background as Union sympathizers based on the large number of German-Americans in Federal Missouri units in 1861. August must have seemed disappointed to Union leaders in the area for guerrilla bands suffered no notable loss during the month despite hard work by Federal patrols. September began violently on its first day as Lieutenant Daniel V. Man's (a Warrensburg farmer) patrol of the Seventh Regiment completely routed forty-five guerrillas five miles south of Lone Jack in the west, killing one and wounding several at the loss of one Union trooper killed. Two of Marr's men were badly injured when their horses fell during a charge in the fighting. 
To pay damages for the stage burned on August 17, Captain Melville Foster with thirty men from his Holden garrison on September 7 to the Walnut Creek area in the southwest and provided protection to Unionist families moving out. That evening, bushwhackers murdered Bailey P. Dean who lived north of Holden had acted as a guide for Union Patrols. Two nights later on September 9, unidentified militiamen murdered four southern sympathizers in reprisal for Dean's death. Yet, the distraction of guerrilla activity could not divert local attention from vital developments in eastern Missouri. By late September, Confederate General Sterling Price's long-awaited rebel invasion of Missouri was well underway. At long last. southern sympathizers in Union-occupied Johnson County had hope for liberation. As the invasion progressed, the tempo of the guerrilla movement increased. On September 21 and 22, local Federal troops tried in vain to catch up to a band of sixty bushwhackers as they rode north from near Calhoun in Henry County to the Blackwater River area near Columbus. Union authorities guessed that this band was sent from the south to gather intelligence from some upcoming Confederate maneuver because its members dropped off in twos and threes along the route of march. These rebels were probably sent to prepare for General Price's invasion of the region in October. 
On September 25, about one hundred guerrillas passed two miles west of Holden heading south. The next day, nine more rode by four miles from Warrensburg kidnapping two Negroes and stealing horses and mules. Captain Ballew at Knob Noster reported two bands of one hundred guerrillas each and another of fifty near that town also on September 26. Meanwhile, Price's invasion surged closer even after a bloody repulse at the Battle of Pilot Knob in eastern Missouri on September 27. The morale of Union sympathizers, battered by over three years of guerrilla terrorism, must have sunk to the lowest ebb of the war. On September 27, Federal leaders began to organize Companies G and M of the Fortieth Enrolled Missouri Militia under Captains Clifton Bondurant and Leroy C. Duncan, respectively, in anticipation that the regular militiamen would soon be ordered away to fight the invasion. Expecting the worst, the home guard in Knob Noster set to preparing defenses in the little town. As the last regular troops left Warrensburg on September 29, citizen guards there under the leadership of veteran Emory Foster, (called back to service from a retirement forced because of Battle of Lone Jack wounds), began to fortify the deserted Union post. 

Foster's new force, called first the "Johnson County Citizen Guards" and then "Foster's Cavalry Battalion, Missouri Volunteers," stayed in Johnson County about two weeks waiting and patrolling as the Confederate force moved steadily closer. Elements of the rebel invasion reached the county in mid-October. On October 15, Sedalia, to the east, fell to Shelby's — Confederate cavalry division in a nerve battle. That night Union troops, streaming into Warrensburg from that fight, retained Knob Noster lost to the rebels. too. The next day as Price's force moved past Johnson County to the north, heading west for an encounter with the Federal force near Kansas City, Foster's Johnson Countians were ordered to join the fighting. Foster moved out and joined General Blunt's Kansas force near Pleasant Hill to the west and together they rode to Holden on October 17 and on to Lexington the next day. Major Anderson's force fell back from Warrensburg on October 17 fearing the advent of rebels from Knob Noster and brought Blunt the report of a spy encountered at Warrensburg telling of Price's movements and intentions. the same day, reconnaissance sent to that town by Blunt revealed that the rebels had pulled back to the main force without entering Warrensburg. Meanwhile, Federal forces from the east — pursuing the Confederates — moved through the area about this time. The list of the pursuing union commands passed through Chapel Hill on October 22 Price was finally defeated the next day at the fierce battle of Westport, just south of Kansas City. During the battle, Garnishe Pleasonton arrested General Brown and his assistant, Colonel McFerron of the First Regiment. As Philips took command of Brown's brigade, the leadership of the Seventh Cavalry fell to Warrensburg's Colonel Thomas T. Crittenden. All four had served many months of the war in Johnson County. Crittenden, Philips, and the Johnson Countians of the Seventh Regiment fought gallantly at the Battle of Westport and throughout the resulting pursuit southward of Price's beaten Confederates. Meanwhile, Johnson County gradually recovered from the invasion. Major Foster's command was detailed on October 27 to escort Missouri Governor Willard P. Hall from Independence to Warrensburg. They remained on duty at Warrensburg until November 4 when they were mustered out. The First Regiment returned In Warrensburg, their old duty station, escorting Confederate prisoners taken in Price's retreat from Fort Scott, Kansas on October 31 or November 1. Colonel Philip's regiment was also stationed at Warrensburg after returning from the pursuit of the rebels. The last weeks of 1864 were strangely quiet.  Captain Bondurant's Company G, Captain David Marr's Company M of the Fortieth Enrolled Missouri Militia were released from active duty on October 31 and November 1 -- ending more than thirty days service during the invasion. 
Railroad construction had been halted six miles east of Holden during the excitement, and the advent of winter threatened to limit further work.  The peace after the Storm of invasion indicates how crestfallen guerrillas were after the major Confederate defeat.  Guerrilla activity had increased throughout the year as if in anticipation of the Confederate Army, but with its defeat, most local guerrillas and the supporters probably realized that a liberating army would not or could not be sent into Missouri again.
The Southern cause was finished in Johnson County, Missouri, but the fighting was not.

(Editor's Note: This article is taken from Bruce E. Nichols, "The Civil War in Johnson County, Missouri" an unpublished Master's Thesis, Department of History, Central Missouri State University, 1974.)

March 25, 2021

Newspapers of Johnson County Missouri 1858 - Present

Newspapers of Johnson County Link

The American signal. ([Warrensburg, Mo.]) 18??-18??
The Centerview record. (Centerview, Johnson County, Mo.) 1898-1906
Chilhowee blade. (Chilhowee, Johnson County, Mo.) 1915-1921
Chilhowee news. (Chilhowee, Johnson County, Mo.) 1896-1941
Daily herald. (Warrensburg, Mo.) 1880-1880
The daily news. (Warrensburg, Mo.) 1872-1878
Daily standard. (Warrensburg, Mo.) 1878-1893
Daily star-journal. (Warrensburg, Mo.) 1916-current
Daily star. (Warrensburg, Mo.) 18??-18??
The democratic press. (Warrensburg, Johnson Co., Mo.) 1878-1879
The drovers journal. (Chicago, Ill.) 1961-1997
The Holden advance. (Holden, Johnson County, Mo.) 1877-187?
The Holden democrat. (Holden, Johnson County, Mo.) 1871-1872
Holden Democratic oriole. (Holden, Mo.) 1877-18??
The Holden enterprise. (Holden, Mo.) 1885-18??
The Holden enterprise. (Holden, Johnson County, Mo.) 186?-1937
The Holden herald. (Holden, Mo.) 1882-1892
The Holden image-progress. (Holden, Mo.) 1995-current
The Holden image. (Holden, Mo.) 1992-current
Holden independent. (Holden, Johnson County, Mo.) 1890-1890
The Holden progress. (Holden, Johnson County, Mo.) 1904-current
The Holden Republican. (Holden, Mo.) 1877-1877
The Holden times. (Holden, Johnson County, Mo.) 1895-1896
Johnson County star. (Warrensburg, Mo.) 1882-191?
Johnson County union. (Warrensburg, Mo.) 1891-189?
Johnson weekly Democrat. (Warrensburg, Mo.) 1871-1874
The journal-Democrat. (Warrensburg, Mo.) 1898-191?
The journal-Democrat. (Warrensburg, Johnson County, Mo.) 1876-189?
Kansas City Jewish chronicle [microform]. (Kansas City [Mo.) 1920-current
Kansas City Jewish chronicle. (Kansas City [Mo.) 1920-current
The Kingsville star. (Kingsville, Mo.) 1866-1868
Knob Noster gazette. (Knob Noster, Johnson Co., Mo.) 1870-1870
Knob Noster gem. (Knob Noster, Johnson Co., Mo.) 1890-1948
Knob Noster gem. (Knob Noster, Johnson Co., Mo.) 1878-1884
The Knob Noster item. (Knob Noster, Johnson Co., Mo.) 1958-current
Knob Noster news. (Knob Noster, Johnson Co., Mo.) 1869-1870
Knob Noster register. (Knob Noster, Mo.) 1871-18??
The Leeton shield. (Leeton, Johnson County, Mo.) 1963-1987
The Leeton times. (Leeton, Johnson County, Mo.) 1896-1943
Linwood ledger. (Kansas City, Mo.) 1898-1899
The Missouri sentinel. (Warrensburg, Mo.) 1861-????
Missouri tribune. (Warrensburg, Mo.) 1864-1865
The Semi-weekly standard-herald. (Warrensburg, Mo.) 1893-1894
The standard-herald. (Warrensburg, Mo.) 1894-1896
The standard-herald. (Warrensburg, Johnson County, Mo.) 1964-current
The star-journal. (Warrensburg, Mo.) 1918-1969
Taylors' local. (Knob Noster, Mo) 1874-1875
Uptight. ([Warrensburg, Mo.) 1969-19??
The Warrensburg daily star. (Warrensburg, Mo.) 1889-1916
The Warrensburg Democrat. (Warrensburg, Johnson County, Mo.) 1874-1876


Warrensburg Clipper
“The first attempt at a paper in Johnson county was the “Warrensburg Clipper,” edited by William Stephenson, known as  ‘Uncle Billy.’  It was written by hand, five or six copies, and posted in the show windows of the prominent stores.  Uncle Billy depended upon advertising to pay him for his labor and in that day the unregenerate ancestors of modern non-advertisers flourished.  So Uncle Bill, like the poor editor of today, had some difficulty in making ends meet.  One firm, Pinkston & Calhoun, druggists, were so particularly averse to inserting a 25-cent weekly ad that Uncle Billy in disgust decided to give them a free advertisement.  He drew a picture of their store with the sign, Pinkston & Calhoun, Druggists, very prominent.  In front of the store stood a man bended doubled with his hands upon his stomach, unloading all that he had eaten for a month.  The legend from his mouth was, ‘Damn your stuff.’  We do not know whether this converted the firm or not, but we note that in a paper of 1858 they were liberal advertisers.”
Western Missourian
Edited by Marsh Foster; important newspaper prior to the Civil War.
The Signal
Important newspaper prior to the Civil War.
“With the breaking of the (Civil) War the newspaper business stopped short.”
1865.  The first paper published after the war; first called the Warrensburg Standard which was started in 1865 by N. B. Klaine and S. K. Hall.  In 1880 Hall sold his interest to Roderick Baldwin; in 1877 Klaine sold to George A. Richards who later sold to Van Matre.  After the death of Major Baldwin, his son Mark Baldwin succeeded him until he sold his interest to J. M. Shepherd, who bought out Van Matre.  Shepherd sold to C. M. Jaqua, the present editor and proprietor.  The hyphenated name came from the absorption of the Daily Herald, published by Will Car..  The paper is the only torch-bearer of the Republican party in Johnson county.
1865.  Largest paper in the county [in 1918]; combination of the Star and the Journal-Democrat, which was a consolidation of two of the oldest papers in the county, the Journal (est. 1865 by J. D. Eads, father of J. D. Eads, a popular Warrensburg banker) and the Democrat (founded by Julian & Conklin in 1871).  “The Star-Journal is owned by a stock company, the largest stockholders being Wallace Crossley, now lieutenant governor of Missouri, and W. C. Kapp, a veteran newspaper man who has editorial charge.  A daily edition and a semi-weekly edition are issued.”
The Daily Star-Journal traces its history to the Warrensburg Journal which began publishing April 17, 1865 by James Douglas Eads - seven days after the end of the American Civil War and two days after the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Warrensburg, population of 1,000 at the time, did not have a newspaper. Prior to the war, Eads, a church pastor, had published the Warrensburg Signal. In addition to his pastor and newspaper interests he was also a physician and ran a hotel.
On October 6, 1876, it became the Journal-Democrat after merging with the Warrensburg Democrat which had started in 1871. In 1907, Wallace Crossley became the publisher. On February 6, 1913 it became the Star-Journal after merging with the Johnson County Star founded in 1883 by J.M. Coe. William and Avis Tucker bought the paper in 1947. At one point it owned radio station KOKO.  William Tucker died in 1966 and Avis owned the paper until 2007 when it was sold to NPG. 
James C. Kirkpatrick started his reporting career at the paper. 

Holden Enterprise
1867.  Established August 1867; presently conducted and edited by Richard H. Tatlow; Democratic in politics; well supported by the western section of the county.  Judge Tatlow was former county judge and has conducted the paper now for a long time.
Knob Noster Gem
1878.  Established by Harris and McFarland in 1878.  Shortly afterward, Will D. Carr and J. P. Johnston took charge; in 1879 Johnston sold his interest to E. B. Farley; few months later Carr become sole proprietor; February 1889 Carr sold to E. D. Crawford; November 1889 Crawford sold back again to Carr and brother who afterward sold out to George J. Taylor who conducted it for 16 years; it was then sold to a company and conducted by O. A. Palmer; then sold to Houston Harte; now belongs to E. T. Hodges.  Independent in politics.  “The press upon which the Gem was first printed was the one carried by General Fremont in his famous Rocky Mountain tour.”
Chilhowee Blade
1894.  Established as the Chilhowee News by Tol McGrew, 23 years ago.  Afterward it was conducted by a company of Chillhowee citizens, then sold to Stuart Lewis, and is now owned and conducted by Don H. Wimmer as an independent paper.
Leeton Times
1897.  J. R. Bradley, editor and publisher, in 1918.
Holden Progress
1903.  The paper is 14 years old and has been owned by its present editor, C. L. Hobart, for 12 years.  Independent in politics.
Normal Student
1911.  School paper.
Johnson County Democrat
1913.  Established by Mel. P. Moody in 1913.
Old Papers
“One is ‘James K. Duffield’s Land Bulletin,’ published in November 1867.  (Mr. Duffield was Mrs. Dixon’s father.)  It lists 212 farms and 40 town properties for sale, at prices of $5 to $50 an acre for farms and $150 to $5,500 for town properties.  It gives a short sketch of Missouri and its advantages, tells about Johnson county and its resources and conditions.  It emphasizes the fact that peaceful conditions exist, and states that ‘people are as safe in person and property as they would be in Ohio or Illinois. The Sabbath is duly observed and divine worship is held in every part of the county. Warrensburg is certainly as quiet and orderly as towns in New York or Pennsylvania; and society with regard to culture and refinement, compares favorably with that of Eastern towns.’  (Mr. Duffield’s solicitude that the seeker for a peaceful and prosperous home in our county should realize its good character as a law-abiding community, is somewhat explained by the fact that in the nine months immediately preceding, nine men had been hanged or shot by a vigilance committee in order to bring about this happy and peaceful condition.  The last one was hanged two months before the ‘Bulletin’ appeared.  The results of these ministrations by the committee to the spiritual needs of the community fully justified Mr.Duffield’s statements.  At that time the most exemplary lives were being led by those whose previous reputations had been even slightly doubtful.“The Bulletin also contains an advertisement of the ‘Warrensburg and Clinton State Line,’ which states that is ‘connects with stages at Clinton for Osceola, Ft. Scott and other points south and west.  Also at Warrensburg and Lexington for other points north,’ and that ‘This line has just been refitted with new four-horse coaches.  The most careful drivers and the best horses.  Office under Ming’s Hotel near the depot.  No. 1 Holden Street.’  (This was the first house north of the railroad on the east side.”
Source:  taken from HISTORY OF JOHNSON COUNTY MISSOURI, by Ewing Cockrell.  Topeka, Cleveland: Historical Publishing Company.  Pages 337-342. Transcribed for the WWW by Nancy Howland©1999

About Us Daily Star Journal

Warrensburg - The Daily Star-Journal's colorful, 149-year history is rooted primarily in the vision and longevity of several publishers.
EADS: Birth of a Newspaper
J.D. Eads' made what might have seemed a harebrained decision to start a weekly newspaper in Warrensburg, doing so shortly after the Civil War decimated the nation and much of Missouri.
"No paper was published (in Warrensburg) during the war years, but only eight days after its close, April 17, 1865, publication of The Journal was begun," the newspaper's centennial issue states.
Imagine that - a newspaper operating in difficult economic times.
Eads started the paper when Warrensburg had neither a public school nor a bank, and no more than about 1,000 residents. But if not for his bold decision, today's Star-Journal would not exist.
CROSSLEY: Ends Revolving Door
The centennial edition Dec. 7, 1965, names nine people who led or co-led the newspaper after Eads.
During this "revolving door" period, a competitor emerged in 1871 - The Democrat. Competition with The Democrat lasted five years, until Oct. 6, 1876, when a merger established The Journal-Democrat.
The revolving door slammed shut in 1907 under The Journal-Democrat's new publisher, Wallace Crossley.
Crossley's paper showed a penchant for solid reporting, including on April 18, 1908, when Byron Hall arrived in town by train. He toted an automatic pistol and seemed out of his head. Marshal James Ryan, Assistant Marshal James E. Basham and Officer Robert Polk approached Hall outside a hotel and tried to take the gun. The Star-Journal headlined the story, "Warrensburg Police Officers Slaughtered," and provided solid details of the shootout that left Ryan and Basham dead, and Hall wounded before committing suicide.
Part of the account states: "The five shots, every one of which did deadly work, were fired within two or three seconds. Such wholesale killing would have been impossible with any other sort of weapon. Had Hall been armed with an ordinary pistol, no more than one shot would have been fired under such circumstances and nobody would likely have been killed."
Competition would heat up in June 1883 when J.M. Coe moved The Johnson County Star from Knob Noster to Warrensburg. Five years later, Feb. 6, 1913, Crossley's Journal-Democrat merged with the Johnson County Star and from this union the Star-Journal sprang.
Crossley later employed one of the most respected men in Missouri history, James "Jimmy" Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick served 13 years as The Star-Journal's editor, became Missouri secretary of state and is the namesake for the library at his alma mater, the University of Central Missouri.
In the Star-Journal's centennial issue, Kirkpatrick wrote: "The Star-Journal has always been a progressive newspaper. ... Today, as it has been all down through its 100 years of service to the people of Warrensburg and Johnson County, The Daily Star-Journal is quick to fight for what is best for the community and area."
Crossley, no stranger to politics, served from 1905 to 1911 in the Missouri House, from 1913 to 1917 in the Senate and from 1917 to 1921 as lieutenant governor. He did not relinquish the newspaper's reins for 36 years, until his death in 1943.
THE TUCKERS: Innovation, Longevity
The paper remained in the Crossley family's hands for four more years, until William and Avis Tucker took the helm. The Tucker family would own the paper for 60 years, from 1947 until 2007.
The newspaper's archived pages are a testament to William Tucker's newspapering skill and innovative spirit. From 1947 to 1966, the year he died of a heart attack, the paper showed continued improvement.
As examples, in 1965, the Star-Journal moved from being about 18 inches wide to a more reader-friendly 16 inches wide, and printing took place on a new, high-speed press. Also, a review of front pages produced that year showed the publication using large, bold headlines; big, action-packed photos; and a full column of briefs down one side of Page One. This visual cocktail, designed to attract readers, shares characteristics with the "modern redesign" given to the newspaper in 2008.
In addition to creating a compelling product, William's paper reported well, including editorializing for restoring the original Johnson County Courthouse and reporting on making Skyhaven Airport public.
Following William's death, Avis took command as editor and publisher, and in so doing made history.
"I decided I was going to run this paper. I was going to try. I told everyone that I had more nerve than ability, which was the truth, and still is the truth," Avis once said. She also is quoted as saying, "I have felt an obligation to publish a paper which serves the community and takes sides on issues that I think are best for the community and the most people."
Based on further anecdotes collected by Missouri newspaper historian William H. Taft, Avis earned recognition during her 41 years at the helm as "a pioneer for women in business." She served not only as one of the state's rare female publishers, but in other leadership roles, including as the Missouri Press Association's first female president, as president of Missouri Associated Dailies and as the first woman president of the University of Missouri Board of Curators. In 1992, Avis became the first woman inducted into the Missouri Newspaper Hall of Fame.
In understated style, Avis once said, "I don't handle leisure time well."
At the end of her tenure in 2007, Avis sold the Star-Journal to another newspaper family, the Bradleys, owners of the St. Joseph News-Press. In the same year the family named as publisher a respected newspaperman, Bill James, a former Missouri Press Association president.
James in 2008 focused on modernizing company facilities and operations, and on returning visual vitality to a product already possessing a strong reporting tradition. President Lyndon Johnson once acknowledged The Star-Journal for maintaining a "history of responsible journalism."
The Star-Journal today, as in William Tucker's time, prints a briefs column on Page One, again uses large headlines to draw readers into stories and again uses large photographs that are sometimes stories unto themselves.
The main difference between then and now is technology based. Newspapers in William's day did not have the advantages of computerization, which makes page design far less labor-intensive - headline sizes are easier to change, photos simpler to process and color abundant.
If William would have possessed this century's technology, there likely would not be a nickel's worth of difference between his layout philosophies and those that exist today. He understood clearly that a newspaper can show the importance of a story based on the size of a headline; he used photos effectively, not just on Page One, but on frequent photo pages; and he understood people like to see their relatives and neighbors in action.
William put out a bold community newspaper, as did his wife. They preserved a tradition no publication can afford to neglect.
Star-Journal management to this day embraces wholeheartedly a simple and powerful philosophy: The future of this newspaper depends on the staff's unwavering commitment to the finest traditions of community journalism.
Warrensburg Newspapers from Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries Added to Collection
Missouri Times ,February 2013 Vol. 8, No. 4
William and Avis Tucker, Warrensburg, MO Publishers
"The Daily Star Journal" 1965
Before selling Warrensburg’s Daily Star Journal
newspaper in 2007, longtime publisher
(and SHSMO trustee and president) Avis Tucker realized there was a stockpile of history lying in the newspaper’s back offices. This cache, in the form of thousands of issues of newspapers spanning more than fifty years, had been there since the World War II era. Thanks to the foresight of Tucker, who passed away in 2010, and with the mediation of University of Central Missouri history professor William Foley, these newspapers are now available on microfilm to researchers interested in the history of Johnson County, Missouri. Claire Presley Marks, an associate historian at the SHSMO Research Center Columbia, performed the painstaking work of organizing the thousands of newspaper pages, encompassing several related titles in both daily and weekly formats, in preparation for microfilming. According to Marks, “This project allows us to preserve an invaluable piece of Missouri history. The newspapers are an excellent window into the daily lives of Missourians during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.” Newly filmed titles include weeklies, 1883-1915, and dailies, 1896-1925 with one issue from 1933 (there are, however, issues and years missing between these beginning and ending dates). The lineage of the Star-Journal newspaper can be traced back to the Journal, started in 1865 at the close of the American Civil War. In 1876 the Journal merged with the Warrensburg Democrat, which had been started in 1871 as the Johnson Weekly Democrat. In 1883 the Star moved from Knob Noster to Warrensburg, eventually becoming the Johnson County Star. The fates of the newspapers crossed in 1913 when
Wallace Crossley, Publisher
Warrensburg Daily Star Journal
 the Journal-Democrat, owned by Wallace Crossley since 1907, merged with the Johnson County Star to form the new Star-Journal. Crossley, who would own the newspaper until
his death in 1943, also served as Missouri’s lieutenant governor from 1917 to 1921. Throughout their publication, the Warrensburg newspapers documented life in the town and county and collected state, national, and international news. Opening the wider world to readers, the papers educated them about distant events and figures but also kept them informed about happenings and personalities with a local connection—like John William “Blind” Boone, the pianist extraordinaire. The newspapers provided extensive general coverage of major world events, including World War I, with the Daily Star-Journal proclaiming on June 29, 1914: “Heir to Austrian throne assassinated – archduke Ferdinand and morganatic spouse victims of bullets after escaping bomb.” And when the effects of the war started to really hit home, that newspaper informed readers on March 12, 1917, regarding William Joel Stone’s approach to the impending conflict, “A statement from senator Stone – took no part in filibuster, thinks fair minded Missourians should await facts.”
Any newspaper is full of big moments and little moments, and the Warrensburg newspapers are no exception. Births, deaths, marriages, divorces, comings, goings, social affairs, and a myriad of life’s other joys and sorrows found their way into the newspapers’ pages. Avis Tucker’s husband, William, who acquired the newspaper following Crossley’s death, captured this quality in the December 7, 1965, centennial issue of the Daily StarJournal: “To these round and rolling hills of West Central Missouri which have endured so
much already and whose comforting contours will continue to endure for centuries to come, 100 years is but a moment in
time. Time flows – now slowly, now with torrential suddenness – and we never step into the same river twice. We only capture, on newsprint, and in words, the fleeting images of a moment.” The public is invited to make use.

Missouri Newspapers on Microfilm at the State Historical Society

Johnson County

This is not a roll by roll listing; often a list of issues spans many rolls of microfilm and not every issue is indicated.
  • A (mostly) complete span of issues is indicated by a dash: "-", and only the beginning and ending dates are shown.
  • Gaps in our holdings, not the dates on each reel of microfilm, are indicated by a semi-colon: ";".
See the fuller explanation of abbreviations.
To request microfilm through interlibrary loan (ILL), see our Interlibrary Loan Policy. When making a request, include the town of publication, title of the newspaper, and the date or time period needed.
If possible, current newspapers are linked to their Web sites.


Chilhowee Blade (w)

Jan 22, 1915-Dec 16, 1921

Chilhowee News (w)

Nov 18, 1898-Nov 24, 1899; Jly 26, 1901-Oct 1, 1914


Advance (w)

Oct 18, 1877-Oct 16, 1879

Holden Daily Enterprise

Sep 1-15, 1885

Holden Enterprise (w)

Aug 17, 1876; Jan 1, 1880-Mar 25, Apr 8, Aug 5, Oct 14, Nov 11-25, 1886; Jan 13, Dec 8, 1887; Mar 29, Nov 1, 1888; May 28, 1891; May 19, 1892; Jly 25-Sep 12, 1901; Mar 19, 1903-Nov 17, 1904; Dec 13, 1906-Dec 31, 1908; Jan 21, 1909-Dec 4, 1913; Feb 19, 1914-Dec 26, 1918; Jun 19, 1919-Nov 4, 1937

Holden Image (w)

Dec 2, 1992-Feb 22, 1995; Apr 22, 1999-present

Holden Image-Progress (w)

Mar 2, 1995-Apr 15, 1999

Holden Progress (w)

Oct 8, 1904-Feb 23, 1995

Republican (w)

May 10-Oct 11, 1877


Knob Noster Gem (w)

May 31, 1878-May 19, 1882; May 23, 1884-May 10, 1889; May 16, 1890-Nov 13, 1903; Jan 1-May 27, 1904; Jun 23, 1905-Sep 24, 1948

The Knob Noster Item (w)

Sep 26, 1963-present


Leeton Shield (w)

Oct 2, 1963-Apr 23, 1987

The Leeton Times (w)

Oct 19, 1922-Aug 12, 1943


The Warrensburg Democrat (w)

Dec 25, 1874; Jan 7-Apr 14, 1876

Warrensburg Gazette (w)

Oct 31, 1996-Nov 3, 2005 (Ceased publication)

Daily Herald

Jly 28-Sep 19, 1880

Johnson County Star (w)

Aug 8, 1891-Aug 6, 1892

Johnson County Star Journal (sw)

Mar 10, 1964-Jly 14, 1966

Johnson Weekly Democrat

Sep 23, 1871-Mar 20, 1872; Apr 25-Dec 18, 1874

The Warrensburg Journal (w)

May 8, 1867-Jly 4, 1868; Jly 2, 1870; Jun 13, 1874-Oct 20, 1876

Journal-Democrat (w)

Oct 27, 1876-Oct 18, Nov 15, 1878-Dec 12, 1879; Jly 18-Aug 19, Sep 2, 1881-Dec 29, 1882; Jun 29, 1883; Feb 22, 29, 1884; May 8, 22, 1885; Aug 6, 20, Sep 3, 1886; Apr 8, Oct 14, 1887; Feb 24, Jun 8, Sep 21, Nov 2, 1888; Jun 14, 1889; Oct 31, 1890; Jan 1-Nov 18, 1892; Jan 5, 1894-Sep 8, 1911

Daily News

Aug 30, 1876

Daily Standard

May 6, 1878-Sep 13, 1879

Warrensburg Standard (w, sw)

Jun 17, 1865-Sep 30, 1875; Jan 1, 1880-Dec 28, 1892

Weekly Standard-Herald

Jan 3, 1893-Sep 8, 1905; Jan 12, 1906-Dec 29, 1933; Jan 4, 1935-Dec 25, 1936; Oct 28, 1938-Oct 24, 1996

Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal

Jan 3-Jun 27, Dec 28-30, 1936; Jan 5, 1937-present

Warrensburg Star-Journal (w, sw)

May 5, 1916-Dec 30, 1938; Jly 4-Dec 29, 1939; Jan 3, 1941-Mar 6, 1964

The Western Missourian

Aug 21, 1858