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

January 2016: Newsletter 1 Volume XXXVI

Posted by Jason W on Friday, 01 January 2016 at 1:00 AM

      Happy New Year!  This is not only the first newsletter of the year, but the first article by the new president of the Society.

      It is my privilege to give a warm and sincere THANK YOU to Norma Nelson for her leadership over the last several years.  She was gracious to accept extra terms as president, and over the years she has maintained the high standards of preservation set up by the original Society board.  She is looking forward to a well-deserved 'vacation', although we'll be putting her to work on the Society board as the past-president.

       As introduction for myself, I am the son of Robert Vincent and Kathryn June (Alderson) Powell, both deceased, who lived on Main Street in Belton from 1952 to 1998.  The most frequent question I get is if I'm related to Bill (William V.) Powell (deceased), who was a charter member of the Society and built the carriage house.  Yes, he was my dad's brother.  My aunt, Bill's wife, Ernestine (Hockaday) Powell, now lives in Excelsior Springs near her son, William (Kent) Powell.

      I graduated form Belton High School in 1966, went off to college for a masters degree and a career with ExxonMobil (chemical engineer) and returned to Belton with my wife, Pam (new recording secretary for the Society) in 2014 after retirement.  We have one daughter, Katie, who just started her career in California.

      My interest has always been in science and technology, not necessarily history, but I have a good recollection of the 'good ol' days' of Belton in the '50s and '60s.  I truly enjoy reminiscing about those days, and in particular discovering that I'm related (no matter how tentatively) to others (so far: Tabors, Sears, Grohs, Higgins, Mosbys...).  In fact, my personal goal is to show that the whole town of Belton is related to each other!

      My goals for the Society are to:

  • continue preserving our collections
  • continue informative and entertaining programs at the general meetings
  • research Belton area history for building new museum displays
  • provide additional programs for patrons aged 3-103

      I'll be elaborating our plans for each of these goals in latter newsletters.

      If you have ideas for other goals and/or ways to accomplish the above goals, do not hesitate to contact me or a board member.  Also, please review the Society's be-laws for a description of the Society committees, because we may be calling you to serve on one!  Don't have to a copy of the by-laws?  There is a copy on our website (, or get in touch with me and I'll get you a copy.

      I look forward to seeing you at the general meeting on January 24th!

      Rob Powell, 816-331-6710, robpowell (@)

In Memory

      Peggy Dryden, docent and former Belton Historical Society President, passed away December 5, 2015.  At the time of her death, Peggy was on the Society's board of directors.  A former teacher in the Belton schools, she also served as the treasurer for the Cass County Public Library Board.  Peggy was dedicated to the museum, and in particular, Belton history.  She is already missed as a consistent contributor to the Society.  Condolences can be left at The Historical Society president will soon appoint a replacement for Peggy on the Board.

Articles of Incorporation

       When a group applies to be a non-profit entity in Missouri, the Secretary of State requires the group to submit Articles of Incorporation, which in turn must contain the group's purpose.  The following is an excerpt from the 1978 Belton Historical Society's Articles, which were approved by Missouri in May, 1978:

      "The purpose(s) for which the corporation is organized are: (a) To discover, collect, and research artifacts, documents, and material relating to the history of the surrounding community and to record historical information of the present..."

      Although other purposes are listed, the only one that specifically addresses the Historical Society's mission is quoted above.  Since the Articles have not been rewritten, this mission statement remains our Society's guiding purpose.

      Even though we do a great job of preserving and displaying our materials at the museum, this is not our main mission.  Instead, we should be working to "discover, collect, and research...".  In the early months of 2016, the Belton Historical Society Board of Directors will consider any ideas the Society members have for accomplishing our main mission.  Please feel free to get back to us with your suggestions!

      Bonus question: without peeking, do you know which current Society member was listed as an "Incorporator" for the society by the Secretary of State of Missouri in 1978?  (Answer below.)


      The Belton Historical Society by-laws have been updated several times since the Society incorporation in 1978.  However, as far as we can find, the by-laws have always had a requirement for the following standing committees:

  • Executive
  • Program and Social
  • Financial
  • Public Relations
  • Research
  • Museum
  • Nominating
  • Audit

      Please go to our website ( to see the description of the duties of each committee as written in the bylaws.

      Although the Society has successfully functioned without most of these committees due to talented individuals filling key roles (e.g., Treasurer vs. Financial Committee), it is time to go "back-to-basics" and form the committees above, particularly those that have not recently existed, e.g., Research and Audit.

      If you would like to volunteer to be on any of the committees above (except for Executive), please call or e-mail Rob Powell.  If not, he'll be calling you!

Board Meeting - January 14, 2016 - 6:00 P.M.

      There will be a meeting of the members of the Board of Directors this month.  Please call Rob Powell at 816-331-6710 if you will be unable to attend.







      In October, 2014, I wrote an article about the mystery surrounding an old family cemetery south of Belton.  Several people have responded positively and added information to further tell the story.  Here is an update on "Family Reunion":

Friends of the Alderson Boren Dye Cemetary

Pamela Powell

      Descendants of the Alderson Family, including but not limited to Robert Powell, Bill Brady, Melinda Randall, Jordan Garoz, Joyce Groh Rice, and Jay Roberts had been investigating their genealogy and the history of their family on the farmlands south of Belton before the Civil War.  Each in doing so, discovered each other and have decided to organize and form a non-profit organization, Friends of the Alderson Boren Dye Cemetery.

      The Corporation is organized exclusively for charitable, educational, and historical purposes with the meaning of Section 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Specifically, the Corporation will raise and distribute donations to maintain and improve the Alderson Boren Dye Cemetery in Cass County, Missouri.

      As the family sifts through the soil, photographs grave markers, begins to locate graves, and research genealogy, the story of a strong family emerges.  As found in "The First Hundred Years 1872-1972", published by our society, James C. and Lucinda Bush Alderson settled on a farm south of Belton before the Civil War.  At the time Order Number 11 was issued, Lusinda stood her ground and stayed in her home.  And from "Cass County Families", published by the Cass County Historical Society, "...1849... Mrs. Alderson was known as Aunt Cindy in the entire community.  She had a smoke house and the family killed from 15-25 hogs every winter.... The house was in the center of a half section of land.  It was 3/4 mile back from one side of the section and the river had to be crossed from the other side.  No one mentioned her during that time (after Order No. 11) because she was loved by everyone in the community.  She always gave a helping hand to everyone who needed shelter or food, including slaves, wounded deserters, or neighbors.  So the house was never touched.  When her husband James C. died in 1856, Aunt Cindy gave an acre of land on her farm for a graveyard and over 50 graves contain the remains of Aldersons, Borens, and Sears.  There are also Dye family members."

      There are other family names recorded as having been buried in this cemetery.  In addition to Alderson, Boren, Dye, and Sears, there are these names: Cloud, Davis, Fitch, Greenword, Hawkins, Judd, Keeton, Leonard, Meador, Richards, Stayton, and Tate.  Our hope is that others will recognize their ancestor's names and join our search and efforts to restore this cemetery to the honor of those who have passed away.

      During the summer of 2015 the following work was done on the site: remove stumps, rake debris, level the land, and reseed.  A long term goal is to use ground penetrating radar to locate the specific burial sites and to place markers on each grave.  The group also thanks Woody Dick (BHS board member) and cemetery neighbor Warren Yeary for all their support and hard work with the family.

      Interested?  For more information or to join the non-profit group, please call Rob Powell, 816-331-6710.

Historical Society Cookbook

      During the general meeting of the membership of the society in October, the completed cookbook was presented to outgoing President, Norma Nelson.  It was Norma's dream to have a new cookbook published by the Historical Society during her term as President.  The cookbooks were well received by the members at the meeting!  The price per book is $16.00 for Historical Society members and $18.00 for the general public.  Pam Powell created a "gift package" by adding wooden kitchen tools or a cookie cutter and priced those at $20.00 for the holiday season.  A special thanks goes to Sally Smith at Whistle Stop Antiques and Sheila Sullivan at Tara's Café and Malt Shop, both on Main Street, for placing the cookbooks for sale in their shops.  Books were also sold at the First Friday Coffee of the Chamber of Commerce in December.  We have sold approximately 72 books.  The treasurers report will reflect the monies made on their sale.

General Membership Meeting - January 24, 2016 - 2:30 P.M.

      The quarterly meeting of the Historical Society will be held this month on Sunday Jan. 24th.  The program will feature Don Peters, Director of the Cass County Historical Society (CCHS).  We will look at CCHS programs and initiatives at the County level and see how we can best work in concert with them.

      The answer to the question above is: Connie Harris!

Please continue your support of the society's work by mailing your 2016 dues.  Thank you.