The Belton Historical Society
P.O Box 1144 | Belton, MO 64012 | 816-322-3977

October 2016: Newsletter 4 Volume XXXVI

Posted by Jason W on Saturday, 01 October 2016 at 2:00 AM

A Letter From Our President

Rob Powell


As you know, the Belton Historical Society is not the only non-profit organization in Belton. In fact, you can go to the online page of the Missouri Secretary of State and look up any business in Belton and check their non-profit status.


Several non-profits in town have a saying, “It’s all about the money”, meaning that without donations, fund-raisers, investments, i.e., income, the non-profit organization will not survive. They are right, of course, but I would much rather receive a ‘juicy’ tidbit about Belton history than a $100 donation.


Having said that (you knew this was coming!), the Historical Society is actively looking at several ways to raise money. First, the financial committee has spent many hours converting some of our CDs (certificate of deposits) to an investment account that contains stocks and bonds. Per the by-laws, the endowment fund (currently about $75,000) will continue to be invested in insured securities (CD), leaving ample funds for more productive investments.


Second, the Society actively sells the 100 Year book, our cookbook, t-shirts, games, puzzles and historical toys. We are looking at fun events to use as fundraisers in the immediate future.


Third, we always welcome donations. The next few months are the opportune time to contribute to your favorite non-profit organization so that you can save on 2016 taxes. We know that most of you are life members, and we VERY MUCH appreciate your support. If you would like to add to that support, donations are always welcome! If you are not a member, consider becoming an annual or lifetime member – see the back of the newsletter for a sign-up form.


And why do we want more money? First, check out the rest of this newsletter for exciting activities involving student scholarships, early learning story times, unique museum displays, cooperative programs with other Belton groups (e.g., log cabin and Fall Festival), and (not so exciting) maintenance. All of these cost $$!


Even though the materials for these activities cost money, our volunteer (unpaid) committees plan and conduct the work involved. These committees NEED YOUR HELP!


You do not have to live in the Belton area to serve on a Historical Society committee! Even if you live in California or Maine, we could still use your expertise, particularly with finances, research, and the steering committee (to be started in 2017). We NEED your expertise!


Finally, if you DO have a juicy Belton story please share it with us. We can’t give you a $100 credit on your taxes, but we can share it with the membership in the next newsletter.


October General Membership Meeting


The General Meeting of the membership of the Society will be held on October 23rd, 2016 at 2:30 pm in the meeting room behind the museum. This month’s speaker is Donald L. Gilmore.


Mr. Gilmore is the author of the book Civil War on the Missouri-Kansas Border and many other titles. His knowledge of the beginning of our Civil War between these neighboring states is profound. He was a consultant for Universal Studios’ Ang Lee motion picture, Ride with the Devil, the subject of which was the Border War.


Mr. Gilmore has MA and BA degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He has taught at several local colleges and universities. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army.


Please mark your calendars ! We’re sure to have a wonderful experience with Don Gilmore! Refreshments will be served!




The Nominating Committee


At the August special meeting of the Board of Directors, President Rob Powell appointed the following members of the Belton Historical Society to the nominating committee. From the Board of Directors: Pam Powell, Bill Brady and Woodrow Dick. From the general membership: Bettie Tanquary and Jackie Kreisel. Mid-September, Woodrow Dick resigned from the committee and Sally Smith was appointed as the replacement Board member.


First the Nominating Committee wishes to thank all the retiring members of the Board. Fred Buchanan, Mickey Tabor, Bill Brady, Denise Grow have each served on the Board of Directors for 6 – 7 years. We hope that after a year of rest they may each miss us so much they will return. Certainly their names will be made available to the nominating committee of 2017. The generous donation of their time to our Society has been significant.


The slate being submitted by the Nominating Committee is as follows:


President: Rob Powell (currently serving a 2 year term)

1st V.P. (liaison with Finance Committee): Janna Dillon

2nd V.P. (liaison with Programs): Pam Powell

Recording Secretary: Jackie Kreisel

Treasurer: Ed Maurer (currently serving a 3 year term)

Corresponding Secretary: Sally Smith


Class of 2017

Louise Fleetwood

Renee Kerckhoff

Norma Nelson

Class of 2018

Darin Jones

Dodie Maurer

Nancy Clutter

Class of 2019

Sherry Durham

Debbie Maurer

Karen Calvin



For more information about the Board of Directors, their terms, the officers and their terms, please refer to the By-laws. Call President Rob Powell 816-331-6710 to get a copy.


It is hoped that the membership of the Society will endorse the hard work done by the Nominating Committee and elect these members to the Board of Directors at the October General Meeting of the Society on Sunday October 23rd at 2:30 pm.




Fall Festival Weekend Brings over 700 to our Museum!


The Fall Festival was both exhilarating and exhausting as we reached out to the townspeople to become a viable, thriving organization in the community. The gift of time and gifts from the following people made our Museum a very popular site on Main Street! Rob and Pam Powell were onsite during the entire festival time, closing our booth both evenings at 8 pm. Craftspeople sharing skills with children were: Quilt-block designer, Jackie Kreisel; Rope maker, Greg Davis; Candle maker, Pam Powell; Spinning wheel demonstration and weavers, Becky Stevens and her family; Basket weaving, Rob Powell. The Board members and Docents who kept both the museum and carriage house open for approximately 18 hours were: Jackie Kreisel, Janna Dillon, Bill Brady, Norma Nelson, Sonia Bornheimer, Bettie and Cliff Tanquary, Renee Kerckhoff, Nancy and Bob Clutter, and Woodrow Dick, all of whom welcomed visitors to our outdoor tent or to our buildings.


Approximately 50 children made rope and 40 children made candles.


Our goal was to let everyone in town know who we are and where we are! One immediate response was two new children attended our “Early Years Story Time” on September 19th and learned how to make butter!


Thanks to everyone who supported this weekend activity. Please forgive us if your name was omitted, we tried to remember each and every faithful volunteer. We’re sure to see the benefits from our hard work in the future of the Historical Society.




Recent Obituaries


What wonderful news! To the best of our knowledge, none of our members have passed away during the last three months! Sandy McNeil has recorded several deaths of Beltonians of note, and they are located at the docent’s desk in the museum. Stay healthy!!




Early Years Story Time


The monthly story time with Grandma Norma (Nelson) and Miss Pam (Powell) will continue this month on October 17th. Since the number of children attending varies month to month, we adjust our lessons accordingly. All the children have enjoyed hearing the story of Little House on the Prairie with Ma, Pa and Laura Ingall’s family as they travel during pioneer times. Building cabins with Lincoln Logs has been a favorite activity every month and each group of children have learned how to make butter and practiced on a real butter churn on loan from Frances Mosby and Helen Graham. Please bring your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews to this delightful program. Following the October program, the story time will end for the busy holiday season and we hope to restart the program in March 2017.





Our Temporary Exhibits


One goal of the Museum Committee is commitment to maintaining temporary exhibits.


In September through December, you will enjoy the exhibit of kitchen implements and farm tools.. Museum committee chair Sally Smith and member Pam Powell have been the major contributors of this display. Janna and Ron Dillon contributed an early steam iron that you must see to believe! We hope all our local members will come by the museum and enjoy the display.


In September, we also began a display about Presidential Elections beginning with the election of local boy Harry S. Truman. We have information about how Belton and Cass county voted over the years and have a mock election of our own in progress. Early posters, bumper stickers and campaign pins are on display. A special thank you to Pam Powell, JoAnn Mosby and Patsy Minkler for sharing campaign items. In keeping with the concept of providing experience for children, we also have some Presidential information written at a level that children can understand.




Are You Related to a Veteran of World War I?

Submitted by Woodrow Dick


Did members of your family live in or around Belton in the early 1900s? If so, chances are excellent that you are related to a Belton veteran of World War I. Research has shown that the majority of families living in Belton in 1917 had at least one family member who either served during World War I or who married a veteran. Indeed, most Belton families had more than one such family member. Belton Historical Society President Rob Powell and board member Bill Brady, by way of example, are both related to Charles Finis Prettyman, a United States Marine who was wounded at Belleau wood in France. After 100 years, the name “Belleau Wood” may not ring a bell for most Americans but the victory of the United States Marines at Belleau Wood was so important to the French that they renamed the area from “Belleau Wood” to “Marine Wood”. And, every year for nearly 100 years, the French have met with the United States Marines at the site to commemorate the battle. Belton Marine Charles Finis Prettyman was there in June of 1918.


Maybe you, too, have such a hero in your family history. Or maybe your family has an everyday hero, the kind of hero who serves when called. If you would like to find out, you can search for your family members by Googling “Missouri Digital Heritage Soldiers Database”. Or, you can search a Belton-specific site The Belton Remembers site was created to honor Belton’s WWI veterans during this centennial of their war. If your search reveals that you do have a World War I veteran in your family, you can help honor that veteran by providing photographs of World War I veterans, their letters, or photographs of their personal World War I artifacts. Many such items are already on the site honoring our local heroes of World War I. If you have any such items, please contact Belton Remembers at this email address: Finally if you have any World War I related artifacts that you would like to donate to the Belton Museum please contact Rob Powell at 816-331-6710 or send an email to and he will direct you to the Research or Museum committee chair.




Featured Board Member — Pam Powell


Pam Powell first came to Belton in 1975 to meet her future in-laws! Pam married Rob Powell, son of Kathryn June and Vincent Powell of Belton. For many years thereafter she visited the family in Belton. When Pam and Rob retired, moving to Belton was just the natural thing to do. Rob has at least 10 first cousins in town and more relatives than can be counted. This seemed like the perfect place to live! Pam is a retired elementary and early childhood educator. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, she moved with her family to New Jersey where she graduated from high school. Pam continued her education in North Carolina and returned to New Jersey for her teaching career. Once married to Rob, the couple moved where ever Exxon needed them, but finally settling down in Houston, TX where they raised their daughter Katie. Pam particularly loves all the opportunities to teach in the Belton Historical Society, both in programs like Early Years Story Time, the Fall Festival and in every program held at the general meetings.




A Note About Dodie

Submitted by Pam Powell


When you hear the name “Dodie” no other name is necessary Dodie has been a member of the Board of Directors for the past 5 years and many years previously but her role in the Historical Society and town is greater than that.


From our own “100 Years Book” we learn: “Dodie Maurer came to Belton in 1963 with her husband Joe, and five children ranging in age from two to 11 years. Joe was managing editor of The Belton Star-Herald until a local corporation of which he was the principal owner, purchased the paper in September 1965 from J.W. Brown of Harrisonville. Following Joe’s death in 1985, Dodie sold the paper a year later but continued as a staff member until 1987 when she became executive director of the Belton Chamber of Commerce, a post she held until resigning in December 1995. She is a Board member and past president of the Belton Historical Society, served on the Belton School Board and has remained an active ember of the community.”


I talked with Dodie when I spent a shift as a docent with her last summer (2015). She loved hearing my story as much as I enjoyed hearing her story. Recently Dodie has not had good health and has not been able to attend meetings and volunteer as she would love to do. It is our loss to have her unable to lend a hand at the museum. From the Board and Docents: We miss you, Dodie!




Attendance is UP!


Forty four (44) people attended our July General Meeting! We invited the Board of Directors of the Smoky Hill Railway and their volunteers to attend and hear their president Patrick Furlong speak about the history of the railroad in Belton.


Also in attendance were the parents and families of our scholarship winners.


Bring a friend to our meeting on October 23rd. The public is always welcome!




Scholarship Winners


At the July General Meeting the Board of Directors was pleased to award the following scholarships to Belton High School graduates. $2,500 was awarded directly from Society Funds and $2,000 was awarded from designated gifts from Society members.


Joshua Cash received the first place award of $1,500. Josh is attending Missouri University of Science and Technology and majoring in Computer Science.


Olyvia Engelhardt received a $1,000 award. Olyvia is attending Missouri State University and majoring in Political Science and Journalism.


Emily Goffey received a $1,000 award. Emily is attending Creighton University and majoring in Finance.


Alexandra Floyd received a $1,000 award. She is attending Missouri University of Science and Technology and is majoring in both mechanical and electrical engineering.


If you would like to serve on the 2017 Scholarship Committee including setting the guidelines for standards to be met, please call Rob Powell at 816-331-6710. He will be appointing a committee chair early in 2017.




Trick or Treat on Main Street


Saturday October 29th from 2—5 pm, we will join the merchants on Main Street by participating in Trick or Treat on Main Street. Our goal is to host many Belton children and their families at this fun event.


While you are shopping this month, please purchase an extra bag of candy and bring it to our October General meeting on Sunday October 23. If we all contribute one bag, it will reduce the money from our general budget that we will need to spend. We certainly don’t want to turn anyone away...we don’t want any “tricksters” at the museum!


Rob Powell is chairing the committee to create an eerily good time for the children. If you would like to be part of the fun, please give Rob a call at 816-331-6710. He will welcome any help offered! Please consider coming by the museum that afternoon to help pass out treats to the children. And if the “spirits” move you, come in a Halloween costume!




New Home for Early Cass County Cabin

From the Cass County Historical Society

Don Peters


Cass County Historical Society (CCHS) was given the unique opportunity to save and preserve a 175+ year old log cabin. This forgotten piece of our nation’s history helps tell the tales of life on the early prairie through the Burnt District/Civil War period and up to present day realities. Through their preservation of this historic building CCHS will be able to relive the pioneer families who homesteaded this land through stories, tales and artifacts as well as its connection to the Civil War and General Order # 11.


The CCHS is now working with Belton Parks and Recreation, the City of Belton, the Belton Historical Society and Freedom's Frontier National Heritage group to rebuild and preserve the cabin in the City of Belton. The game plan is to completely restore the cabin to its original condition, utilizing it as a museum/venue/educational location for retelling the early history of Cass County. The preliminary site chosen for this project will be in Belton’s Memorial park.




Museum to Close for January and February

As is our custom, the museum will close during the months of January and February. This year, the “Special Committee” consisting of the Research Committee and Museum Committee, chaired by (respectfully) Bill Brady and Sally Smith, is continuing to arrange, catalogue, and computerize listings of the Historical Society’s artifacts.


Late in February, the docents may expect a phone call/note regarding a clean-up and orientation day before resuming duties in March. Hope everyone stays safe this winter and comes back in March refreshed and ready to work! Enjoy your well earned time off!




Our Docents


Our most visible asset is our Museum, but to keep presenting the history of Belton to our visitors, we need more docents. If you have time to share with our society we’d welcome you with open arms to the following shifts at the museum:

The first Thursday of the month: 1 pm - 4 pm

The first Saturday of the month: 10 am - 1 pm

The second Saturday of the month: 10 am - 1 pm

The third Tuesday of the month: 1 pm - 4 pm

The fourth Tuesday of the month: 1 pm - 4 pm

Please call the museum and leave a message if you are interested in lending a hand! 816-322-3977





New E-mail Address and Phone Message Service


Our new e-mail address is Our phone number is 816-322-3977. Our website remains, and our Facebook page is “Belton Historical Society”.




Down Memory Lane

The Old Frisco Depot


Twenty years ago, in 1995, The Tri-County Art League and the Belton Chamber of Commerce published a calendar with original prints of local landmarks. This is a copy of the print for April, 1995. We chose this print because our July speaker was Patrick Furlong, President of the Board of Directors of the Smoky Hill Railway. The Old Frisco Depot ny Sally Saar of Belton.


Notes from the calendar state that Sally began painting 40 years ago when she and her husband were living in Hawaii. She moved to Belton when her husband was transferred to Richards-Gebaur AFB in 1974. She joined the Tri-County Art League and served as parliamentarian of the League. If anyone has more information about our artist, please get in touch with any of the Board members.


Notes about the depot state that it was built in 1871. The building also served as a town social center and was used until 1875 by the Methodist Church for its Sunday School program. Metropolitan newspapers were delivered by train and the depot was a gathering place or townspeople anxious for state and national news. On days of national events such as elections, the station agent would work late to inform the townspeople of results received by telegraph. The station was torn down in 1964. The Smoky Hill Railway now operates excursion trains on the old line. The depot was rebuilt but no attempt was made to replicate the original.






Thank you!


The next time you are enjoying lunch at Tara’s Malt Shop on Main Street, take a minute to thank Sheila Sullivan for selling our 100 Year Book, Cookbooks and puzzles. She is an ardent supporter of the Historical Society.


And, looking for gift ideas? While you shop at Whistle Stop Antiques on Main Street, take a minute to thank Board member Sally Smith for her efforts to sell the 100 Year Book and our Cookbooks.


Many visitors shopping and eating in olde town Belton like to take a keepsake of their visit!


Thanks, Sheila and Sally!