The Sixth District is rich in history. As frontier land, Missouri saw many changes and events during the 19th Century.
Fort Osage was the second outpost in the Louisiana Purchase, and was used by the U.S. Government for 19 years. The Fort was established to maintain stability in the new frontier. In 1961, Fort Osage was recognized as a National Historic Landmark.
Since Kansas City was located on the Missouri River, the young town was the starting place for many wagon trains heading to California and Oregon. Independence was the "jumping off" point for both the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails. Pioneers would stock up on the necessary supplies before joining a train to head west. The move to the western frontier began in the 1840s and continued through the rest of the 19th Century.
St. Joseph is best known for the beginning of the Pony Express and the end of Jesse James. The Pony Express was established in April 1860 to provide the fast delivery of mail between St. Joseph and Sacramento, California. Riders relayed mail over the 2,000-mile trail with new riders taking over every 75 to 100 miles. The total time for mail to travel from St. Joseph to Sacramento was usually ten days. The completion on the telegraph put an end to the Pony Express in October 1861. The Pony Express Stables in St. Joseph is now a public museum.
Pony Express Stables in St. Joseph
The infamous Jesse James met his end in St. Joseph in 1882. Born in Kearney in Clay County in 1847, Jesse and his brother Frank formed the James Gang with a few other men. The James Gang traveled throughout the Midwest robbing trains and banks. In 1882, members of his own gang turned on Jesse and shot him at his home in St. Joseph. That home now serves as a museum and is open for tours.
Watkins Woolen Mill is a restored 19th century textile mill that still has much of the original machinery intact. Established by Waltus Watkins in 1861, the Mill grew greatly during the Civil War and added a flourmill, general mill, and employee housing was added. The Mill is next to Watkins Mill State Park, which also has much to offer, from camping to fishing.
James Cash Penney- you might know him better as J.C. Penney- was raised near Hamilton and graduated from High School there. He moved to Colorado where he worked his way into a partnership for a small chain of stores. Eventually he bought all the stores and renamed them the J.C. Penney Company. Today, Hamilton High School is known as Penney High School and J.C. is in the Hall of Famous Missourians.
Just down Highway 36 you can visit the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline. In 1906, Walt and his family moved to a farm near Marceline. The town had a profound impact on him and it is where he fell in love with drawing. There is an Elementary School and Post Office named for him in Marceline.
James Beauchamp Clark, better known as Champ Clark, is the only Speaker of the United States House of Representatives to hail from Missouri. Clark, a Democrat, lived in Bowling Green and presided over the House for 8 years from 1911-1919. Clark's opposition to the Federal Reserve Act is said to be the reason why Missouri is the home of two Federal Reserve Banks (one in St. Louis and one in Kansas City). He is included in the Hall of Famous Missourians.
Samuel Clemons is better known to the world by his pen name Mark Twain. Twain's family moved to Hannibal when he was a young boy. Hannibal was the inspiration for the town in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Hannibal is home to the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum. It is a National Historic Landmark.
Gen. John J. Pershing
General John J. Pershing, one of the greatest military leaders in American history, grew up in the small town of Laclede. General Pershing also served as a teacher at the Prairie Mound School before beginning his military career. Both his childhood home and school exhibit the many accomplishments of this war hero.
Jamesport is Missouri's largest Amish community and offers visitors a view into the past and the Amish way of life. Amish quilts, foods, and antiques can be found at many of the local stores.