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

April 2016: Newsletter 2 Volume XXXVI

Posted by Jason W on Friday, 01 April 2016 at 2:00 AM

Welcome to the 20th Century!  That's right, the Belton Museum is the updating to 1990's technology - computerizing our acquisition process, entering our collections into an Access database, installing Internet service and a new Dell computer, and, most importantly, relying on the current skills of our volunteers.  We'll be in the 21st Century in no time!


      All of the changes listed above (except for our volunteers, who have ALWAYS been up do date!) are just beginning.  Change does not mean we are not still a Historical Society - but we must improve the way we handle our valuable history or we will lose it.  One person who truly believed that was Ed Fleetwood, who passed away in February.  I met with Ed two weeks before his death to discuss dreams for the Museum, and I can humbly say that what we are doing now is just scratching the surface of Ed's ideas!  Thanks Ed.


      In addition to technology upgrades, we are asking our volunteers for more, and they are responding enthusiastically:

  • the research committee (Woody & Leslie Dick, Bill Brady) has started upgrading acquisition forms, computerizing our list of holdings, visiting other museums for new ideas, and centralizing the sorting process in the carriage house;
  • the museum committee (Sally Smith, chair) has developed a beautiful display of depression glass along with informative descriptions.  The committee also took the lead in cleaning the museum before our March opening, as well as training docents in the new procedures;
  • the finance committee (Ed and Debbie Maurer, Fred Buchanan, Renee Kerckhoff) is busy finding better places to invest the museum funds AND, for the first time in several years, is developing and annual budget for the society;
  • the program & social committee (Denise Grow and Mona Snoderly) has hosted a successful general meeting and has exciting programs lined up for the rest of the year;
  • the public relations committee (Pam Powell, Darin Jones, Karen Fletcher, Jason Weinzierl, Janna Dillon) has upgraded the website and Facebook page, and has continued a successful newsletter publication;
  • the education committee (Pam Powell, chair) has purchased books, started costumes, and planned upcoming story times for young museum patrons.


      It's an exciting time to be at the museum!  YOU are invited to join any committee that you believe can use your contributions!  We aren't there yet, but our goal is to have no more patrons saying, "I was here 10 years ago and nothing has changed."


      Rob Powell, President


New E-mail Address and Phone Message Service

      Our new e-mail address is beltonhistorical (@)  Our phone number is 816-322-3977.  If you call and leave a message, I can hear your message on my e-mail!  (Keep profanity to a minimum!)


      Our website remains and our Facebook page is "Belton Historical Society".




April General Membership Meeting

      The General Membership meeting of the Belton Historical Society will be held on Sunday April 24th at 2:30 pm.  After a brief business meeting, the program will feature entertainment by the Glory Road Strummers, a group playing dulcimers.  The afternoon promises to bring a smile to your face and some toe-tapping fun for all!


      "The Appalachian dulcimer is a fretted string instrument of the zither family, typically with three or four strings.  Its origins are in a Appalachian region of the United States.  With only three or four strings and a simple fret pattern, the Appalachian dulcimer is generally regarded as one of the easiest string instruments to learn.  The traditional way to play the instrument is to lay it flat on the lap and pluck or strum the strings with the right hand while fretting with the left."



With Deep Appreciation

      Please join the Board of Directors in thanking the family of Vauncil (Cooper) Bush for having their loved ones send memorial gifts to the Belton Historical Society.  Her children, F. Steven Bush and Michelle Parrish have respected Vauncil's last wishes to do this.  We have received many gifts and will decide the best way to use this gift for the greatest benefit of the Society.  At the time of her death, Vauncil lived in Temperance, Michigan near her daughter's family.


Recent Obituaries

      The following deaths have been recorded by the Historical Society.  There is an in-depth article available for your perusal at the docent's desk in the museum.  Thank you, Sandy McNeil, for your help recording these memories.

Peggy Dryen

Ed Fleetwood

Vauncil Bush


Our Docents

      Our museum could not continue as a symbol of our Society's commitment 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" without the generous gift of time from our docents.


      Our museum reopened after a brief winter closing during the months of January and February with a fun-filled cleaning day and orientation meeting for docents.  Yes, you read that right, a fun-filled cleaning day!  A big thank you to each and every person who attended and cleaned the museum so that we would simply shine this spring!


      The following docents helped during the two day event:  Janice Gladening, Irene Buchanan, Cliff and Betty Tanquary, Faye Wallace, Wanda Keifer, Pat Minkler, Jackie Kreisel, Barbara Gregory, Norma Nelson, Dodie Maurer, Denise Grow, Mona Snoderly, Bill Brady, Sue Ferraro, Rob and Pam Powell, and Mari Jones.  Also, the Board members rolled up their sleeves to lend a hand:  Nancy Clutter, Janna Dillon, Sally Smith, and Woody Dick.  A special additional thank you to Leslie Dick who helped so much!


      If you would be interested in becoming a docent, please consider volunteering on the Third Tuesday of each month.  The late Peggy Dryden faithfully volunteered during this shift before her heath last fall.  We have two volunteers serving double shifts so that the museum can remain open on every Tuesday.  If you would like to help, please call Pam Powell at 816-331-6710.  Training will be provided!


Belton Historical Society Goals:

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


January General Meeting - Don Peters, Cass County Historical Society

      Don Peters presented an outstanding review of recent Cass County Historical Society activiteis at our January general meeting.  Although a little painful, Don brilliantly chided our Society to raise our bar, starting with the dilapidated sign outside the Museum and continuing into a genuine shared relationship with the other societies in Cass County.  You will find a list of Don's ideas on our website.


The Harry Truman Childhood Home

      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 March, 1995, The Harry Truman Childhood Home by Sandra Young of Belton.  The information we have on her reveals that she never had any formal training and her first oil painting class was at Raytown night school (most likely in the mid-60's).  If anyone has any more information about Sandra Young we'd love to hear about her.  You can send correspondence to Woodrow Dick, Corresponding Secretary, Belton Historical Society, P.O. Box 1144, Belton MO 64012 or send an e-mail to President Rob Powell at robpowell (@)


      Notes about the old farmhouse indicate it was "four and one half miles southeast of Belton (and) is located on a hilltop facing south.  Once it was the temporary home of former President Harry S. Truman and his family.  Built in 1848, it was rebuilt in the late 1880's by Isaac P. Dye.  When Dye went prospecting, the house was rented to the Truman family when the former President was two years old.  His brother Vivian, was born in the home in April 1886."


      Of note, Isaac P. Dye's burial place is in the Alderson, Boren, Dye Cemetery that is being researched by descendants currently.


One-Room Schoolhouses

      The August 2015 issue of Missouri Life magazine featured an article and photos of nine one-room schoolhouses in Missouri.  Interestingly, one is here in Cass County and has connections with the Cass County Historical Society.  Don Peters, Director of the Society, was our guest speaker at our January general meeting.  The article states, "Originally located five miles west of Harrisonville, this historic one-room school was dismantled and relocated on a site in Harrisonville and is used as a living history classroom..."


      For tour information call 816-380-4545.  If you go to visit, be sure to take pictures and tell us all about your trip!


BHS LIFETIME Member list


Featured Board Member - Woodrow Dick

      Woodrow "Woody" Dick first got to know Belton in the early seventies during visits to his wife's Air Force family who were living here.  For the next thirty years, that Belton family would serve as an anchor for a young family that would make several moves over the years, the last being to Washington, DC, where Woody worked as an independent IT consultant for more than 20 years.  In 2007, after his father-in-law's death, Woody and his wife moved to Belton to be closer to his mother-in-law.  Woody had not been living in Belton long before the smoldering embers of a lifelong interest in military history were again fanned into flames.  The more Woody learned about Belton's wartime paste and the impact it had on veterans and their families, the more he wanted to learn.  Due to the upcoming centennial of World War I, Woody's current passion is the history of Belton's veterans and their families during World War I.


      Editor's Note: Woody and his wife Leslie have devoted many hours to computerizing our museum records.  The key for the Museum in Woody's bio is "IT"!


Historical Society Board of Directors

      Many of you have served on the board of the Historical Society and can remember quarterly board meetings.  The current board has graciously volunteered to meet monthly, and the results have been impressive!  Kudos to the board for all of your extra efforts!


      Since the last newsletter we have added 3 new board members (and lost 2).  New board members are Janna Dillon (director-2017), Nancy Clutter (director-2018 ), and Renee Kerckhoff (director-2017).  Glenn McNeil and Opal Heaton have resigned from the board.  Director Peggy Dryden's death was covered in the last newsletter.


Our Temporary Exhibit

      Our new, temporary exhibit tells the story of Depression Glass.  During the Great Depression, glass products were made rather inexpensively and distributed as prizes and thank you gifts to purchases of household cleaning items and/or for attending movies.  Money was hard-earned and decisions to spend money were well thought out.  If purchasing an item included a bonus of glassware, it was quite an incentive.


      Sally Smith, Janna Dillon, Leslie Dick, Jackie Kreisel, and Pam Powell contributed a beautiful array of the many colors of glass and representing many patterns used during this time.  If you have not visited, please do!  If you have pieces of Depression Glass of your own, take them to the museum to identify them.  We have two reference books available for your perusal!


Upcoming Exhibits

      In September, Pam Powell will share a display of Presidential Political Buttons and other political items such as bumper stickers and posters.  We are asking for you to look through your attics, basements and garages for any such items you may have to loan to the museum for this exhibit.  Please call Pam at 816-331-6710 to make arrangements.


      The exhibit will list all the Presidential races since the infamous election of our own Harry S. Truman.  A photo of the newly elected President Truman holding the Chicago Daily Tribune with the headline "Dewey Defeats Truman" will be in the exhibit as well as Time Magazine from April 23, 1945 with President Harry Truman on the cover.


      The exhibit will list each subsequent election and what the election results were in either Belton or Cass County, based on the research available in our archives.  Did our small town select the winner of each election?  This promises to be a fun exhibit.  We will also have our own mock election and have all our members and visitors to the museum vote for their choice in the November 2016 election!  Will we pick the winner?


      Come, be a part of history!  Share any presidential political items and help us vote for Belton's choice in the 2016 Presidential election!  We will post the results in the January, 2017 newsletter!


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