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

Historic Log Cabin Holds More History than First Realized

Posted by Jason W on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 at 12:00 PM

Log Cabin Will Find New Home in Belton’s Memorial Park

By Laurie Bassett-Edmonds

The Civil War brought unprecedented violence and terror to the Missouri/Kansas State Line.


What started out as a North vs. South, free vs. slave issue, took a much more personal turn in Cass County and surrounding areas, leading to some angst that is still evidenced today in a Kansas vs. Missouri mentality a century and a half later.


It is impossible to say exactly where the violence started. The answer probably depends on whether you ask someone from Kansas or Missouri, but either way, one thing led to another and the retaliation went back and forth.


Shortly after Jayhawkers murdered, burned and ransacked in Morristown, which is located near present-day Freemen, Quantrill led his famous raid on Lawrence, burning the town and killing many of its citizens.


Union Leader James Lane escaped sure death by running into a corn field and hiding until the raiders returned to the other side of the state line.


The very next day, according to historical accounts found by Cass County Historical Society Director Don Peters, Lane met with General Ewing, a Union General, in a log cabin near the Morristown ruins, and .6 miles from the Grand River. There the details of Order No. 11 were hammered out. It was signed two days later.


Fast forward some 150 years. Peters gave the program at the Belton Chamber of Commerce Meeting Tuesday afternoon. He explained how he received a call just over a year ago saying that the Cass County Historical Society was the owner of a house in rural Cass County. Peters had never heard of this, but his interest was piqued when he was told that said house was built around a log cabin.


A self-proclaimed log cabin enthusiast, Peters went to see it. He found that the house was indeed built around the cabin, which still served as the living room. The cabin had an upstairs, as well. With lots of cooperative help, the house was dismantled, leaving the 1840’s structure intact.


The cabin was built by Alfred Sloan, and later owned by a man named Tribby, who married Sloan’s daughter. In the history books, it has been referred to as the Sloan/Tribby Cabin. The two-story cabin measures 18 x 20 feet. It was hand-hewn with a broad axe. The cabin shows no signs of burning or bullet holes, so it somehow escaped Order No. 11.


The cabin was dismantled in June and July of 2015 piece by piece, with each part painstakingly labeled and stored for future reconstruction.

It was announced at the Tuesday meeting that the Sloan/Tribby Cabin will be reconstructed in Belton’s Memorial Park, across the lake from Memorial Station near the arboretum.


Peters said he expects the cabin to get national attention.


“The “Burnt District” is a very difficult thing to promote,” he said. “It was all burnt, and there is nothing left to see. This is a game-changer. It brings the burnt district to life.”


The cabin will be a living piece of history that not only survived Order No. 11, but was a key player in the heavy-handed edict. It’s something tangible from the “Burnt District” that will bring this part of Cass County history to life.