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June 14, 2016

Late 1860's Warrensburg, MO "...brutal force made Warrensburg an unfit place for human habitation."


Original Johnson County, MO Courthouse in Old Town
After the Civil War . - During the Civil War nearly everything in Warrensburg and Johnson County was at a standstill, building, schools, churches and business Generally. After the war everything took a new start. The best pictures of Warrensburg right after the war are contained in the Following Interview with Mr. William Lowe, Written by WC Kapp and Printed in the Warrensburg Star-Journal "of May 5, 1916. On the fiftieth anniversary of Mr. Lowe's residence in Warrensburg, and enter the address of May EA Nickerson at the dedication of the Odd Fellows Hall. November 12, 1917. 
Odd Fellows Hall, Warrensburg, MO Dedicated Nov. 12, 1917
Mr. Lowe said: "When I came, there was only one passenger train a day. It left St. Louis at 8 o'clock in the morning, struggled along with wood fuel, managing to get to Jefferson City for dinner. 
The train would make Sedalia in time for supper and my recollection Is that we've got to Warrensburg about 8 in the evening - just 12 hours after we pulled out of St. Louis. The fare from St. Louis here was $ 12.50. 
Train 1872
I think there were about 1,000 people here then and fully a third of them were Negroes. I stopped the first night of In The West Part of Old Town. I remember when I got up next morning I saw a regular procession of Negroes going by and I asked the people if the whole population were colored folks. They explained to me that there had been a soldiers' camp in a field west of town. The soldiers had built a lot of huts for winter quarters and When They Left These The Negroes took possession - that's how That section of Warrensburg came to pray and it is the favorite haunt negro yet.
Typical Winter Huts During The Civil War That were in a field right
 West of Old Town, Warrensburg, MO (Picture Note from Warrensburg)
 "I can think of only one business man who was in the business then - Uncle Ike Rogers had a harness shop in Old Town When I arrived, and he is here yet.
This is not from Warrensburg but typical of a Harness Shop of the Time.
Then there's Major Nickerson, Judge Brown, Sandy Lobban, Doctor Griggs, WE Crissey, John Scroggs, Tom Lawlor, Bob Mears, Clint Middleton and probably others. Oh, yes. Orl Stillwell was here. Orl was not selling autos then, he was selling clothing Sam Rosenthal, a brother of Henry. "Some of the kids about town then were Ernest Johnson, Dug Eads, Merritt Simmons, Mel Moody, John A. Miller." How big was the town then? Well, I might say it was bounded by the railroad on the south. Gay Street on the north, Holden Street on the east, and Old Town on the west. There were five or six houses east of Holden Street, most likely, but Gay and Holden Streets were about the limit. The whole Third Ward was a brush patch. 
Warrensburg, MO panoramic Click to enlarge
about 1885
In 1868 I built the first house in the Third Ward. It stood where Frank Ross now lives. "Holden Street stopped at North Street. If you wanted to go north you had to go to Old Town and take The Old Lexington Road. If you wanted to go south, you had to cross the railroad at The Depot - there were no bridges. "There was a daily Stage line to Lexington and overpriced to Clinton And one could travel north and south from Warrensburg, Even better than we can today.

Link Barlow Sanderson Stagecoach Warrensburg
"What improvements did we have then? Nothing at all, except a lot of cheap frame buildings. There was not a brick house in the New Town, and no bank Until The Fall of 1866. As for the streets, all we had was the brush Cut Away So wagons Could get along. Our business houses were all on West Pine Street in the block between Nathan's corner and the Ross store. There were one or two little shacks on Holden Street. They had made ​​a little fill on Holden Street in front of where Cohn's store ice and That drew a fine fish pond where the Cohn building stands. It was at least ten feet deep. "As for morality, Warrensburg was decidedly western then, and had plenty of saloons. 
Warrensburg Was a Saloon Town in the late 1860's.
This is a typical Saloon of the time  
but not in Warrensburg
Almost every store had a jug in the back room to treat customers. We had two little churches, and nary a schoolhouse. The first schoolhouse was here for colored people, it was built in 1867 by the Freedmen's Aid Society. ( Warrensburg Howard School History) The Reese school was built in 1868. I built the Foster School in 1870, 
Original Foster School, Warrensburg, MO Grover at Maguire
First Classes of State Normal of Warrensburg UCM were solid.
Site of the Jeff Collins lynching
Jeff Collins lynching at this site
"The town was Divided between Old and New Towns, no sidewalks and streets not graded. Old Town had the courthouse, the post office, and all the lawyers. But of course everything Gradually drifted to New Town.
1869 Warrensburg, MO Bird's Eye View of the City, the artist Albert Ruger *
"As for rents, wages, etc., in 1866 rents were higher than now: a two-room house would rent for $ 15 a month, four-rooms for $ 30. Clothes were three times higher than now: overalls, $ 3 a pair; shoes, double, flour, $ 10 a 100. Lumber was $ 5 per 100 and higher. All the improvements were the very Cheapest Because everybody expected to go back east as soon as They got rich or skinned the other fellow. But a few of us are here Yet and our record is open to the public. "I am doing business at the old stand where I located in 1868. I have sold lumber to Several fourth generation. To the Harrison family I have sold to the fifth generation, 1 Have seen the town of Warrensburg grow from a typical Western hamlet to the little city of modern proportions. I have had the satisfaction of seeing all the saloons go, and a city of Schools Take Their Place. "Major Nickerson said:" The New Town was commenced at the foot of Holden Street where a little wooden passenger and freight depot stood on the Missouri Pacific Railway where the passenger depot now stands, and a string of one-story  wooden store-houses straggled along on West Pine Street. 


Original Depot, MoPac, Warrensburg, MO built 1864-65


This is the actual 550 Train That Ran Through 
Warrensburg, MO twice weekly
"There were no houses south of the railway except a small frame hotel That stood on the corner where the Young Women's Christian Association (Commercial Hotel / Martin Hotel building now stands. An ordinary country road ran up a steep hill to South Street, and then ran southeast across the grounds where the Normal School buildings now stand, to Maguire Street, Which was then the main road to Clinton, and from the South Street onward towards the south there were no streets but all was underbrush and woods. "In built My Residence in the woods and when i went to see the workmen, my only road was the center of Holden Street along the surveyor's line, a cut of four feet with a thick brush on either side, to the place where the work was being done . "The political and social condition of the place was in a state of civil chaos. The camp Gangs That had Followed in the wake of Both armies lingered around and about the place, many of them having Their homes in this county, rode from Texas to Iowa, robbing the People of Their property and murdering strangers from other states who came to buy land and settle amongst us. When These roving criminals were in Texas They CLAIMED to ask Confederate soldiers, and When They were in Iowa They passed as discharged soldiers from the Union army. When any of the gang was in Warrensburg They Made Their headquarters at a grog shop kept by an old man Whom They affectionately called "Uncle Billy, 'and When They imbibed Their Uncle Billy's firewater and got drunk They ranged the streets of the town and shot it up in true cowboy's style; They urged Their horses into the store rooms, 
Warrensburg, Mo was a Frontier Town After the Civil War

Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show Camerata 
to Warrensburg Years Later
August 21, 1915 to ask the Exact  Link
discharged Their firearms and terrorized the owners and Their clerks. When They met a man who had a good horse, mule or saddle, They forced an Exchange Their worthless trappings and overridden, broken-down stock, at the point of the gun, and the if They resisted They insulted and beat Their victim. They dominated the town in every way, and by Their criminal, brutal force-profile Warrensburg an unfit place for human habitation. "
By 1881 We Had Progressed to this in Warrensburg, MO
Corner of West Pine and Holden, Facing East 



A Characterization of Johnson County, MO 1850
Johnson County Missouri Historical Society Link
Early Establishments .-In 1836 John Evans opened the first store in Old Town and for the Following six years there were only two stores in the village. Evans Conducted a general mercantile store, selling groceries, dry goods, hardware and whiskey. This store stood in the hollow a little east of the center of the town. WH Davis & Co. were the first to open a store on the hill near the center of the old town. The town soon Began to prosper and in a short time was an important business center and settlers came from a radius of Several miles to do Their trading here.
The town was extended eastward into the district known as New Town by the official platting of Grover's Depot Addition. October 18, 1857. It Seems That of according to a contract with the railroad company The Depot was to be erected on Colonel Grover's country, forty acres of which were donated for That purpose, but by mistake or otherwise, it was located on the Major Holden's country , one-half mile .further West. Holden Street, on the west side of Which The Depot is located, is the dividing line between Grover's and Holden's Addition. Martin Warren's old log house stood in the Grover Addition and Colonel Grover resided there for a time. The memory of the old log house Will Be Forever perpetual in the history of Warrensburg. When They Came to lay out Grover's Depot addition it was seen That Gay Street Continued east past Holden Street in a straight line and would go right through the Old Log House. So, instead of moving the house. Colonel Grover moved the street. He diverted it enough south to miss the house. Every other street running east was correspondingly diverted and the, North and South Streets left North and South. And today every street from Gay to the railroad and east of Holden Street runs at an angle southeast and no lot in this Territory Has a square corner.
Link Why Gay Street is Angled!

The general tendency of business was toward the New Town and When The railroad was built and the depot established here, Practically the entire business district was established in That vicinity. This was set in 1845.

Fires - Most of the business buildings were frame. Among the first merchants to Establish themeselves in New Town prior to 1865 were the Ming & Cruce, Henry Neill. AH Gilkeson & Co. Henry Bros., and De Garmo, Schmidlap & Co. All These business houses and a large part of the town were burned December 24, 1866.

On November 29, 1873, another fire destroyed the hotel, Several business places and cost the lives of three persons. Since then, with the business district chiefly brick and stone, there have been No such fires.
Link to 1873 Warrensburg Hotel Fire

Early Hotels . -The First Hotel in Warrensburg was built in 1837 by Young EW Berry. It was located on the north side of the Public Square in Old Town and was a small log house of six or seven rooms. He sold it in 1840 to John Mayes, and he in 1842 sold to Joseph McLeary, and He in 1856 to John D. Smith. Smith improved it and called it the Mansion House. At the breaking out of the war. Smith died and the hotel was closed.

The second hotel, overpriced smiled, was opened in 1841 by Zacariah T. Davis on the southeast side of the Public Square. Davis ran the place for about six or seven years, When he sold it to \ YH Anderson, who afterward rented it to Daniel Rentch. Anderson finally sold it to Thomas Ingle, who kept hotel here During the war, and was succeeded by Col. JD Eads. In 1876 he sold it to the Germania Club.

The third hotel was built by James Bolton in 1857 on the south side of the Public Square in Old Town. In 1861, it was taken by the soldiers and used for a hospital and guardhouse all During the war. Practically it marked the end of the hotel business in Old Town.

The first hotel in the New Town was in 1865, When The Redford House was built south of the Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot. This was destroyed by fire in 1868 and the Simmons Hotel was built on its site. This was finally bought by Mr. JN Christopher and converted into the town's first school dormitory, the Young Women's Christian Association building, and is successfully running now.

In 1870, a building at the southeast corner of Holden and Culton Streets was erected for the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In 1875 it was bought by AW Ridings & Company and Enlarged for a hotel. A little later it was bought by Mrs. JD Eads, and Became for manyyears the Eads Hojel and only recently was Replaced by Cohn's store.
Mills .-The first mill in Warrensburg was built about 185g, by William Dougherty about a half mile southwest of Old Town. It was a large three-story brick building, with least around Lower storyline and two run of burs. This mill was kept running During the war, though Several times the soldiers took all his grain. After the war he sold to his brother-in-law, John Smith, who ran two or three years and then moved the mill to Holden, where it was running successfully in 1880.

The "Eureka Mills," well known to many of us, was built in 1867 by Country, Fike and Company. It was one of the Largest mills in the West, costing $ 40,000. Eleven hands were kept at work, besides eight or ten coopers making barrels for them, and shipped an average of a carload of 125 barrels daily. (See History of WL Hyer, who was with this establishment from an early day.) The Roseland Company now owns the property.
The Warrensburg Grain Elevator & Mill was built in 1869 by SM and EC Fitch. It has had many changes, was destroyed by fire, but its successor is still doing a large and Increasing Business at the Same Place. 
The Magnolia Mill was completed October, 1879, and owned by WH Hartman and Isaac Mark Ward. It has had very few changes of ownership, HAS greatly Increased the size and business, and is now owned by The Magnolia Milling & Investment Company, a corporation in Which Messrs. Daniel Bullard and HF Kirk are the active members. It is the only mill now in Warrensburg making flour, making one fire, The Crystal, Which is very unusual and Normally can always sell more than They can manufacture.
Old Miscellaneous Industries .-Among the Industries of Warrensburg thathave lived and gone are:
1. The Warrensburg Brewery Established in 1865 by Philip Gross; Made as high as 2,000 barrels of beer annually: was burned down by the temperance forces in 1873: rebuilt, and finally load operated about 1910 by Mr. Murche.
2. The Edward L. DeGarmo & Company, Woolen Mills, built in 1867, and That Used to turn out 200 yards of goods daily, besides buying 'annually 30,000 pounds of wool sold as yarn.
3. The Foundry of David and WY Urie, Founded in 1874. Ran on West Pine Street, and used to make up 250,000 pounds of iron a year. Mr. William Urie, the load proprietor, moved to Kansas City sometime in the eighties.
The first Agricultural Fair was held in 1857 on the ground owned by Col. Ben W. Grover and close to the house. It was soon moved to twenty acres just south of town, run successfully for the war, reorganized after the war. and $ 15,000 spent in improvements; failed financially, and the grounds bought by Drummond & Bros., who did a fine molasses business there. Subsequently be fairs were held and race tracks built northwest of town, north of Electric Springs, they're abandoned, then south of town between Holden and Maguire Streets and they were finally abandoned a few years ago.
The Enoch Clark Library was founded in 1875 by a contribution from Enoch Clark of $ 200 on condition That the Citizens would raise a like amount. They did so, and a good library was established. It was burned January 10. 1877. Insurance used to buy new books and reopened with 552 books besides papers.
Post office .-Warrensburg post office was established in 1836. John Evans, a bachelor, was the first postmaster. The headquarters in the early days were in the various stores, and so Continued for many years after the war. The chief message from the east arrived late in the-evening, and the writer remembers as a boy joining in a nightly procession of the Citizens, most of them with lanterns, to the store where the post office was kept. While the message was being distributed in the proper boxes, the crowd Gradually Increased and soon became a very gay and neighborly party. This store was always distinctly the social center of the town. A marked deterioration was Noticeable, however, When They Took The Post Office out of the friendly setting of the store and put it in a building by itself. Then carriers were appointed and matters Became worse- we didn't have to go for the mail at all. Finally the gift, big, hard, business-like government building was secured, and that was the crushing blow. The Post Office, as a social institution, Became absolutely extinct.
Map Artist - Albert Ruger (1829-1899)
Albert Ruger was the First to Achieve Success as a panoramic artist. The collections of the Library's Geography and Map Division containe 213 city maps drawn or published by Ruger or by Ruger & Stoner. The Majority came from Ruger's personnel Collection, Which the Library Purchased in 1941 from John Ramsey of Canton, Ohio. Before this accession, there were only four Ruger city plan in the Geography and Map Division. Born in Prussia in 1829, Ruger emigrated to the United States and worked INITIALLY as a mason. While serving with the Ohio Volunteers During The Civil War, he drew views of Union campsites, Among Them Camp Chase in Ohio and Stephenson's Depot in Virginia. He Continued to draw after the war, and his prints include a famous lithograph of Lincoln's funeral car passing the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio.

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