Saturday, June 27, 2009

July Fourth in the 1880's in Rich Hill Missouri

This blog is about Rich Hill Missouri and one of its earliest 4th of July celebrations. The article came from the July 10th, 197? Wagon wheels edition of the the Rich Hill Mining Review.

The earliest record that I have been able to find on the Fourth of July celebration in Rich Hill was in 1882. At that time the parks were covered with tall prairie grass and no shade trees. Concern had been expressed about getting trees to grow in the heavy grass roots. In order to provide shade for celebrations, the towns people would go to the banks of the Marais Des Gygnes River and cut large branches from the trees and bring them to town and build an arbor of poles covered with the branches.
During the month of June, Rich Hill sent out an announcement to the, neighboring towns that arrangements had been completed for a Fourth of July celebration and invited them to participate in the festivities.
On Monday evening, July 3rd, the express brought Judge Givens and W. J. Terrell of Harrisonville and Senator D'Armond of Greenfield (Dade County) to Rich Hill. They were taken to the Talmadge House where they had rooms. On July 4th Governor Crittenden came on the 7 o'clock morning express to help celebrate the nation's birthday and the second anniversary of the existence of Rich Hill. The governor was escorted to the Talmadge House in a grand way with the Montrose and Rich Hill Bands forming the procession.
A twelve-pound field piece had been brought from Jefferson City to be used in the celebration. It was fired at intervals during the day. This cannon had beep captured in Mexico by a Missouri Regiment.
The crowd awaited the arrival of the excursion trains from Pleasanton, Nevada, Butler and Adrian before forming a procession to move to the celebration grounds. The parade started with the Montrose Band in the lead followed by the Mayor, council, press, special invited guests, and Colonel P. J. Shields with his colorful Knights, of Plutonia moving to the arbor on the celebration grounds. A large part of the populace had already gone to the Celebration grounds as the wait for the excursion trains caused a long delay. The speakers were ushered to the grandstand that had been beautifully decorated in red, white and blue. The celebration started when a salute of several guns had been fired.
When the music stopped, Rev. Wilson Collins delivered the invocation asking for divine guidance on the exercises of the day and the nation.
Professor J. H. Hinton, Superintendent of Schools,read the Declaration of Independence in a dramatic and expressive manner showing his genius as a master elocutionist.
Colonel Brown introduced Governor Crittenden who came before the crowd in a reserved and modest manner. The governor delivered a forty-minute extemporaneous, informal talk that was well suited to the occasion. His remarks were complimentary to Rich Hill saying that she was a "Marvel of Wonder" and that her destiny was as bright as the noonday sun. No mathematican would be able to estimate the value of the great wealth to be obtained from the deposits of dusty diamonds beneath the soil. He continued by saying that Rich Hill's, possibilities were as certain as Kansas City's had been ten years earlier.
His speech was purely patrotic, and that he was greatly appreciated was evident by the frequent applause from the populace.
W. J. Terrell gave a thirty-minute prepared speech that was an excellent tribute to the nation's birthday. At the conclusion of his talk, the program was adjourned until after lunch. People had brought well-filled picnic baskets, and spread a cloth on the ground and ate near the celebration grounds.
At 2:30 in the afternoon, the band called the people together with a few choice selections. Then Senator W D'Armond was introduced and made a fitting speech.
Judge Givens was the last speaker delivering an enthusiastic speech in an eloquent manner. The program was finished by 5:00 o'clock, but thousands remained on the grounds until the fireworks at 9:00 o'clock. Even then many remained on the streets to dance until daylight.
This had truly been a gala day for the "Infant Wonder" (a term used many times in reference to Rich Hill). It was to be long remembered by the people of Bates County and surrounding territory and was truly worthy of a place in Rich Hill history.
Extra copies of newspapers had been printed and were distributed to the thousands of people on the grounds.
The news of the celebration evidently spread to other parts of the state as the St. Louis Republican July 14, 1882, ran the following article about the Rich,;;
Hill celebration.
"The day passed quietly, not a single drunk or row reported. The fireworks at night were magnificent. Excursion trains brought hundreds of people from western Missouri and eastern Kansas to hear the great governor of magnificent Old Missouri."
Evidently the people were quite well pleased with the celebration as an article from the Western, enterprise June 8, 1883, really got things to moving for another celebration. It was suggested that Boulware Mineral Springs would be an ideal place for Rich Hill and Butler to hold a joint celebration.
Butler did not go along with the idea. Another suggestion was made that the day could be a reunion for old soldiers who fought on either side of the Great Rebellion and include those Mexican veterans and any other soldiers who might be residing in the county. It was also suggested that the meeting be held on the same grounds that had been used the previous year.
None of these suggestions seemed to meet with approval, but the people continued to voice a desire for a celebration.
Final plans were made to have the celebration at the beautiful and shady grove at the school house in "Old Rich Hill". People were so elated over the decision to celebrate again that the miners claimed they could feel the coal in the deepest mines being shaken as if by an earthquake due to the rejoicing of the people.
A procession was formed headed by a good brass band that played all through the streets and all along the road to the grounds where everything was prepared for the celebration.
On the morning of July 4, 1884, the sleeping masses of people were awakened by the firing of anvils and firearms. There had been strong winds and a heavy downpour of rain the night before. The fury of the storm had been great enough that broken limbs and other destruction prevented the program from starting until 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon even though the crowd had started to gather at1 0:00 o'clock in the morning. C. A.Denton started the program by reading the Declaration of Independence, followed by W followed by W.A. Jackson of Butler who was introduced as the orator of the day. The title of his speech was,"The Struggle of Liberty" He started by tracing the existence of Greece and Rome through their struggle for liberty and marked the causes of their downfall. Then came the growth and development of liberty in England and the United States and the effect of liberal ideas in Europe South America, and the United States. He went on to make remarks on the abuses in American politics and the existence of dangers to liberty and liberty's future hopes. The speech was so moving that it held the audience completely spellbound.
The concluding speaker was Rev. H. M. Hackney who spoke in an amusing, and satisfactory way to the young people. He was well .known for his entertaining speeches and always delighted the crowds. The crowd at the grandstand dispersed at 5:00 o'clock and gathered at the junction of Park Avenue and Sixth Street where the fire companies made a test of time and a grand display of waterworks. This was quite interesting and exciting to the masses.
There was a grand display of fireworks at 8:00 o'clock lasting for two hours. It seems that every year the fireworks were a high point, of the festivities.
W. P. Brobeck and John Weathers of the Cowles Mercantile Company who lived at First and Walnut on adjoining lots had a joint illumination. They had their yards illuminated by Chinese lanterns and discharged rockets and Roman Candles making a beautiful display.
From this report and records of later, celebrations we can see that the Fourth of July has always been an important event for the people of Rich Hill and a place where old friends like to return to share in the celebration.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

5th&Walnut then and now

This blog is of an old building currently in downtown Rich Hill. The building at the corner of 5th & Walnut Streets used to be owned by Eastlands and then Toppie Clark. The picture below is of the same building when Eastlands tractor supply owned the building. The second picture is of the same building. The building was recently purchased by Bill Reed 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sammuel Hackett

Does this house look familiar to you?
Tonight's blog I need help from the people who have been following this blog or just anyone who knows about this house. Just below the picture is an email about this house.

Hello Bart,

I read your blog on Samuel Hackett and appreciated that. I am a relative
of his and am interested in the Hackett family history, which is quite
interesting. Samuel was one of ten brothers. Eight of them fought in the
Civil War, on either side. I have here a picture of an old house which I
believe housed one of the brothers. I suppose it could be Samuel's. It
must have been in western Missouri or eastern Kansas in 1906. I'd like
you to take a look at it and see if you recognize it. Thanks a bunch.

Rick Walker
If you have information about the house pictured above please contact me any information is appreciated.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Frisco Depot

Tonight's blog focus is the Frisco Train Depot in this picture.

Most people don't know that there used to be two train depots in Rich Hill, Missouri.
There was the Frisco and the Missouri Pacific. The Frisco was the building that burnt about two years ago it was located by where Petermans Home Center is located.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Continuation of Rich Hill Missouri Prosperity

The Smith Pool Hall has been a family business since 1941 when Dalph and Hazel Smith started it. The Pool Hall was passed on to Orben and Margaret, to Earl and Gjra Lee and now Ora Lee and Clifford operate the Smith Pool Hall. Needless to say this has been a favorite place for men who want to enjoy a game of pool.
Times have changed and business men no longer drop by the barber shop each morning for a shave and shoe shine, however, Rich Hill does still have Paul's Barber Shop where both Paul and Larry Bill style hair to suit everyone from tiny tots to teenagers and mature men.
The D and L Variety Store and Fabric Shop are owned by Mr. and Mrs. Dan Zumbrunnen and offer a large variety of items needed by every household. Dan assisted by Mrs. Marshall Gordon and Eileen McCombs, serve the customers at the variety store with efficiency and courtesy. Lillian and Mrs. Clarita Wilson assist women who come in to purchase fabric from the large selection of materials in the latest colors patterns and fabrics.
Mr. and Mrs. Ed Hanson brought "The Spot", a well-supplied furniture store to Rich Hill. Beautiful lamps, tables, divans, mattresses, chairs and appliances can be found in a variety of colors, patterns and styles. This line of modern furnishings is equal to that of any town and certainly is a welcome addition to the business district.
Mr. Bud Stoner of the NAPA store carries a large supply of parts for tractors, trucks and automobiles.
The Western Auto Store owned by Dixon Palmer carries tires, batteries; fans, belts and parts for cars. Ivan Shelton is the service man with a smile.
Mr. and Mrs. Forrest (Toppy) Clark have rendered a valuable service to the community for many years handling prescriptions and non prescription medicines, cosmetics, jewelry, Kodaks, films, gifts, candies and stationery.
"Toppy" first came to Rich Hill in 1938 to be the pharmasist for the Northrup Drug Store. In 1945 he bought the pharmacy just east of the Parkview Hotel from Stuart and Davis. In 1955 the interior of the building burned and Because Toppy liked Rich Hill and Rich Hill needed him, he bought the Moore Drug Store and opened the Clark Pharmacy on Sixth and Park Avenue in 1963.
Doctors are much needed people in every community' and Rich Hill is indeed fortunate to have the services of Dr. J. A. Clark with Brenda Swarnes Arrasmith, LPN as his assistant and Dr. M. O. Bjerke with Sue Bolser as his receptionist.
The Kithcart Orchard south of town featured an Apple Harvest which may become an annual event. Melvin and Mary Kithcart sell apples, peaches, nuts, relishes, honey, cider, novelties and lawn ornaments at their location.
Any one wanting a basement dug, brush removed or anything requiring heavy machinery can find the service they need from Nichols Construction Company, Eason Bulldozing or Heckadon Bulldozing.
Terry and Pat Peterman of the Palmer-Pruett Lumber Company carry a line of paint, paneling, roofing, tar, plumbing materials and lumber.
The services of a plumber are provided by Randy Ross who has a well established plumbing business as well as laying sewer lines, Bill Reed, who does plumbing as well as residential and commercial electric wiring or Mr. Williams who does plumbing and sewer lines.
The K.L.M. Telephone Company, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Kenny Kern, have provided communition services for Rich Hill since the telephone exchange was purchased from Mr. A. L. Shopper in 1955. In a short time the dial system was installed and service was extended to Metz, Richards and Deerfield. Rachel Proffer is the local exchange operator and the two local line men are Dean Talbbtt and Bill Bradley.
Mowers and tillers can be sharpened or repaired as well as saws sharpened and appliances repaired at the Bill Beard Saw Shop on West Pine Street and Fayette.
The Aries Assurance Company, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jim Schneider, employs twelve people who all work in different departments. In the personnel department, that is life, fire, home owners, etc. Lucille Agnew and Joan Cornett are employed. The commercial department, liability, farm and package, is served by Billy Petersen, Wendy Ensor and Jeanne Oldham. In the accounting department we find Darlene Schneider, Marian Cameron and Jerri McGovern. Insurance for long haul trucks is handled by Alma Talbott, Vicki West and Jim Schneider.
MFA Insurance with Mr. and Mrs. Steve Haile as agents offers life, health, home, and car insurance.
The Bankers Security Insurance has an office in the Security Bank.
Ed and Nora Lyons sell residential, commerical and farm properties.

to be continued