Thursday, July 23, 2015

AMANDA UMBLE... More Info to Come Later!!!


Yesterday was a really great day of detective teamwork at the JCHS!  This group of (r-l) Dr. S. Mustakeem, Librarian Makiba Foster and two students Will and Zoe traveled from Washington University in St. Louis to seek information for an article Dr. Mustakeem is writing on an important person in Missouri history about whom almost nothing was known.  I'd like to share this great example of accidental history in action!

The goal of their visit was research of primary sources focused on a young woman, Amanda Umble, who was sentenced to hang for stabbing another woman over a man.  (Much like another case a few years later in Johnson County when one of the Heard girls from Bristle Ridge was killed by another with "an old case knife".)

Umble's case was a rallying cry for the rights of black women at the time, and Dr. Mustakeem's research had led her search to Johnson County where Amanda had later married a man named John Miller.   Miller was a hostler at T.E. Cheatham's which we discovered may have been the old Grover place in the 200 block of East Gay Street.   The group first searched through the card catalog, family files and city directories for any traces of Amanda Umble and her family.  She had proved difficult to locate before, but clues emerged from the files and records.

By afternoon all hands were employed in seeking out hidden tidbits.  The students continued combing the family files.  Herb Best went to find the graves of Miller and his son at Sunset Hill.  Betty Marr found a photo of the old Grover place.  Dr. Mustakeem and I went down to the archives and looked for a circuit court record of a divorce which was indicated in a census.   There was high glee when it was located!  The team reassembled in the Archive Room to intensify the search.  The photo above shows the group searching for mentions of the case in court indexes.

The afternoon ended with a trip to Sunset Hill cemetery to see the gravestones of John and his kin and then on to Trails Regional Library where I left the team looking at microfilm of newspapers more recent than those in our collection.   At Trails, Ms. Foster shared with me that she was so excited that their search had begun in the CARD CATALOG!   She has noticed, as have I, that younger generations are under the false impression that EVERYTHING is on the internet.  She is hoping to start a program that will encourage this generation of students to seek out these valuable and unique resources.  What a great day of delving into the informational treasures of the JCHS.   Thanks to all those  who have gone before us for creating this great trove of knowledge!!!   Lisa Irle, Curator

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Women in Costumes

It's hard to say what's a costume versus what are normal, everyday clothes.  I define a costume as anything you wouldn't wear to Walmart.  For example, the lady below is not dressed properly to go to Walmart.


Instead, she went to Simmon's Studio and had this picture taken.  I don't know why.

These women from the Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority are also wearing costumes.  


I sent this picture to the Alpha Sigma Alpha Headquarters and asked them if they knew anything about this event.  I never heard back from them.

Do you have any information about either of these pictures?  




Wednesday, July 15, 2015

An Embarrassingly Awful Picture of Bruce Uhler

It all started when I found this picture in the collection of old negatives from Simmons Studio.


There was no record of a clothing store in Johnson County named Rosenthals, but Lisa Irle, who is a genius at finding little-known historical details quickly dug up a 1938 article that explained the connection between the Rosenthals and the famous Russell Brothers chain that originated and once thrived here:

"Negotiations are under way... for one of the buildings...[in Lexintgon in which the] Russell Brothers will establish their fouth major store...

"A buying and sales conference was held at the store here... Those here for the buying part were H.R. Rosenthal, president of the St. Joe Hat and Cap Company of St. Joseph, and Marice Rosenthal, sales manager...  When H.R. Rosenthal was on the road as a salesman, Mr. Russell gave his first order of merchandise to him and they have maintained a friendship since.

"The original H.H. Russell operated his clothing store at 123 N. Holden street back in the 1890s, then in March of 1915 when Mr. Russell’s sons Winfrey B. and Hawley H. Russell opened their businsess."

While Lisa was digging around in the Russell Brothers file, she came upon this picture.



The handsome lad in the bizarre clothing is Bruce Uhler. This picture was taken in the early 70s when people actually dressed like that. Although you would have to dig your way into the dustiest corner of an old thrift shop to find a costume like that now, it was the best in style back then.

However, if anyone feels embarrassed by this picture, this blog can be deleted for a mere $10,000 donation to the Johnson County Historical Society.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Who Are They?

I love mysteries.  But I love solving them even better.  Maybe someone can help me with this one.

This huge group recorded on a negative in the Simmons Studio collection might have been a reunion.  The event was significant enough for them to call a professional photographer to come out and take a picture of them all squished together.


I've zoomed in on some of the faces.  All ages from babies to oldsters are represented.  The men run the gamut in dress from overalls to suits and ties.


Maybe the cars in the background will give a hint as to the approximate date of the picture.

Does anyone have an idea about when, where or why these people gathered on that  long-ago day?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Helpful Little Hints

The words that the photographer wrote at the edge of some of the negatives in the Simmons Studio collection are very helpful.  Take this picture for example:


Since the photographer wrote "queens - WHS" across the top of the negative, I assume that this is a picture of the WHS queen and her court.  The only thing I don't know is the year this was taken and the names of the people in the picture.  Could someone help me out on this.

This negative had "Kodak Safety" printed on the edge:


I couldn't find anything about the Kodak-Safety wedding in the family files so I'd appreciate some help on this picture, too. 

Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Oh My, Oh My, OH MY!

After the gloomy groups that were featured last week, I thought I’d cheer you up with a picture of this happy family.  Their names were written on the margin of the negative from the Simmon’s Studio collection.  

They are Marvin and Kathryn Colster along with their two children, Jerry and Jane.  


Marvin Colster was a life-long resident of Johnson County born  to John Frederick and May (Gardner) Colster on June 30, 1914. He was raised northeast of Holden. Both he and Kathryn attended Centerview High School.


Kathryn was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Dudley who lived just south of Centerview.  She married Marvin on October 7, 1939 in Warrensburg at the home of the Rev. J.C. Hollyman.  They made their home on the Porter Murray farm, 9 miles northeast of Holden.  


Marvin was a bulk agent for DX Sunray and was a member of the Elks Lodge and Moose Lodge.  He was a deacon and elder in the Presbyterian Church.  Kathryn was a member of the staff of the farm bureau in the courthouse.


Their son Jerry Marvin Colster, was born August 25, 1941.  I’m not sure about the birthdate of the daughter, Jane Elizabeth (Nolte).


After Marvin’s death on October 25, 1973, Kathryn married Frank Wells, a former state representative. He passed away and she married Lyle Jacoby.  Lyle and Kathryn spent their final years at Country Club Care Center in Warrensburg.

The cute little boy, Jerry, was in the Missouri National Guard for a while serving with the 635th Aviation Battalion in Warrensburg.  I was in the 635th at the same time and thought Jerry was an intelligent and very funny fellow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

They Didn't Want to Be There

In this day and age, when someone has their picture taken, they usually smile.  It's not uncommon, though, to see people looking stern in older photographs.  Here are some images found in the Simmon's Studio collection where the family members don't just look stern.  They look just plain mad.  

Here is an attractive picture to hang over the fireplace.  The father and daughter look as if they are about to attack someone, and the mother looks like she'd be glad to see them do it.



The mom looks happy in this picture.


But the little girls definitely didn't want to be there.

If someone has any information about the people in either of these pictures, please leave a message in the comment section.

Thanks to Joann Cross who left this comment on Facebook about last week's picture: 



 I have the brochure which contains this pic. This is the Junior Dept., Sunday School, First Baptist Church. The brochure (with other pics) shows the overcrowding conditions of the church; therefore, action was taken to build the educational building connected to the Church. This was in the early 1950's with Dr. Earl Harding as the Pastor. (I was a member of Young Married People's class and we met at Sweeney-Phillips.) Overcrowding conditions is a GOOD church attendance problem!!!