Wednesday, March 18, 2015

This cute picture from the Simmons Studio collection shows the photographer stepping out from behind the camera to say something to the family that has come in for a portrait.

From the surprised look on the Dad's face, I imagine that he's just told Dad what he's going to charge for this picture.



Note that Dad's coat has a smudge on it and that dirt on the negative makes the baby's arm look diseased.  These negatives are old and have been stored under less-than-optimum conditions for over fifty years.  Although we are trying to produce the best photographs possible, they are more valuable as historically interesting items than as frameable portraits.

If anyone knows the names of any of the people in this shot, leave us a message in the comments section.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

C. A. Baile (NOT)

A mystery has surfaced at the Historical Society, which is nothing new since the place is full of mysteries.  This particular one involves a negative from the Simmons Studio collection that should have been easy to solve.

The negative has C.A. Baile written on it. So I took it to members of the family who confirmed that it was indeed NOT C.A. Baile.


When I developed the negative I saw that the customer (C.A. Baile?) had brought in an old picture and asked that one individual be isolated out of a family portrait.

The photographer cut out a silhouette which was still stored with the negative.

Placing the silhouette over the negative

gives you a picture that looks like this:


Suitable for framing.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Flower Girl

Here are some charming pictures of a little flower girl found in the Simmons Studio collection.  The name penned onto the edge of one of them is Mohler. These portraits were probably done in the late 40s or early 50s. Does anyone recognize this girl?




Thursday, February 26, 2015

Here’s an Interesting item hidden deep in the bowels of the Johnson County Historical Society Museum.  It’s a McIntosh Stereopticon projector used during initiation ceremonies at the local Odd Fellows lodge.  The projector and the slides that went with it were donated November 2009 by Leland Stewart.  




The slides were on glass and still retain their brilliant color.


Here's one of them:

David Before Saul


The Odd Fellows no longer meet in Warrensburg but at one time they were a major men’s club. Here’s part of an address of Hon. Edmond A Nickerson Delivered Before Eureka Lodge No. 88 Independent Order of Odd Fellows at the Dedication of Its Hall, November 12 1917


"The Eureka Lodge No. 88 Independent Order of Odd Fellows was duly instituted at Warrensburg on the 21st day of May, 1856.  It had for its charter members the best citizens of Warrensburg and of Johnson county: Josia Holden, Finis Hobson, William H. Colbern and other men of standing and influence [provided] a large and enthusiastic membership, until all of its proceeding were disrupted by the coming of the Civil War ...until… from the ruins of a Union of Sovereign Confederate States has arisen the mightiest form of National Government that ever existed since the days of the Roman Empire, and is destined in the future to be the most powerful, wealthy, and war-like nation on the face of the globe." (Yaay us!)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Lucille Gress



Lucille Deloras Gress was born on December 18, 1920 in Kansas City, Kansas to Willard P. and Fannie Hancock Gress. Her siblings were Bernadine Gress Coleman of Warrensburg, MO, Russell Gress of Sibley, MO and glenn Gress of Winfield, MO

In 1941, she started working as a Machine operator at the Hipsch Shirt Factory in Holden, MO.  By 1947 she worked as an operator for the United Telephone Company in Warrensburg, MO.

After getting her GED in 1951. She went on to earn a diploma from the Independence Sanitarium and Hospital school of Nursing in Independence, MO in 1954,and then stayed on as a member of the nursing staff until 1962.  By then, she had earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Missouri in Kansas City, and was promoted to the instructor staff at the Sanitarium.,  

In 1966, she earned a Master of Arts degree in education from the University of Missouri in Kansas City and joined the faculty at that institution. While there she was a member of the Torch and Scroll Society. She worked her way up to Associate Professor of Medical Surgical Nursing. By the time she left there in 1983.

A lifelong learner, she did postgraduate work in the University of Kansas where she was a member of the Sigma Theta Tau, Delta Chapter.  Finally she came to Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg in 1984 for additional course work.



She had many other interests and was a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and was a member of the RLDS Profgssional Nurses Associations.  She was a member of the Friends of the Library, and the Mid-Missouri Artists Association all in Warrensburg, MO.

She also joined the Warrensburg Writers Circle where she developed her interest in writing.  She was the author of the monograph, “An Informal History of Black People of the warrensburg Area in 1993 and “An Informal History of Black Families of the Warrensburg, Missouri Area in 1997.

She also published poetry in various anthologies, journals and chapbooks.  She also published haiku in the “New cicada,” a Japanese publication and in the Chapbook “Nature’s Quatrain, 1992.

Lucille was also an artist whose work includes water colors, pencil and pen and ink sketches which were exhibited at the annual Mid-Missouri Artists spring show, and at the Central Missouri State University Art Gallery.  

Her book is available at the Johnson County Historical Society Museum for $15.00.



ePictures of Lucille Gress suitable for printing as 5X7 photographs are available from the Johnson County Historical Society for $1.00

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hey Lisa. This is Ronnie Goodwin. I am a den leader for Centerviews Cub Scout Pack. I am trying to put together a lesson on history for them and kinda hitting a wall on a few questions. So I thought of you. If you have any info I would be thankful. I hate giving incorrect info to kids. After all they will carry that knowledge for years.  There is only a few questions...
Where was the first school?
Where was the first fire station?
Where were the first places to worship?


The first school was a private one built by Mr. Peak and Samuel Graham in 1866.  in 1868 the town bought that school.  They built a school just east of the Methodist church after that.
Sluder Cemetery 1/2 mile south of Centerview is one of the Oldest in the Co.
In 1867 the German Baptist (Dunkard) Church was organized (now called the Church of the Brethren there is still one in Warrensburg)  The cemetery on the north side of town was next to the church.   Methodists in 1871 including a separate Black congregation..., Cumberland Presbyterians in 1833--but no church built until 1872.  Presbyterians, 1873, Baptist 1874,
According to Donna Holt, there was no early "fire department" , but I am sure there would have been some system in place where neighbors helped neighbors...
Here's a story... Mrs. H.J. Scheer remembers vividly the fire fighting in the community, which meant that at the word "FIRE!" everybody grabbed a bucket and ran.  Across the street from where they lived was the Porter Elevator which had a lot of wheat there at that time.  When it caught fire people came from everywhere with their buckets to the pump in their yard.  She was just a child and was busy shoving buckets under the pump as a man pumped.  Everybody was there with a bucket.  men, women, and children.  Burning shingles form the elevator were falling everywhere about them, blown about by the wind.  Suddenly her mother appeared and took the pump off the cistern so they couldn't get any more water.  "The way the burning shingles are falling", she commented, "we might need that water ourselves."
Thursday 8:34pm

Thank you Lisa. This will work great!
Friday 9:23am

Ronnie, one more thing... did you see yesterday's Daily Star Journal article about Centerview's water rates going up... note in the story it was a cistern.  Centerview residents have been responsible for their own water until the PWSD#2 was created... interesting... That's why Donna Holt kept saying there had NEVER been even a public well...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015



Richard Dean Adams was born on April 12, 1922, in Wichita, Kan., the son of Fred Adams and Elta Adams Mason.  He was raised by his step-father, Charley Mason in a household that included one half-brother, Lee Mason.

On April 22, 1949, he married Berniece Rose Pryor in Warrensburg and they were married 56 years. The marriage produced two children, Richard L. Adams and Barbara Adams Bolton both of Springfield.

Mr. Adams was a World War II veteran, serving in the U.S. Army from Nov. 17 1942 to Oct. 22, 1945.  He was in South France and in the Normandy operation.  He recived seven Bronze Stars.

Mr. Adams worked as a machinist in heavy equipment at Whiteman Air Force Base for 42 years and also was a farmer, living at the Adams farm at Bristle Ridge in Johnson County, MO.  He was a member of the American Legion Post 131 of Warrensburg.

He died at the age of 84 on July 18, 2006 at the Western Missouri Medical Center and is buried in the Warrensburg Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

This photograph was developed from a negative found in the Simmon's Studio collection donated by Ben Pierce of 209 Enterprises, LLC.