Independence: A History Sampler

This page contains links to videos and articles shared at a Rotary Club presentation on Independence history.

The sources include informative videos about Independence and articles on Independence-related topics published in the Jackson County Historical Society in recent years.  Additional videos about Independence are available here.


Jackson County Historical Society Journal articles

These Independence-related articles have been published since 2013 in the revived Jackson County Historical Society Journal.

Articles are listed in order of historical period and include a brief description, the author and title. Click the title to download the full article.

The Courthouse that Survives the Time (By David Jackson) 5 pages
A general history of the Independence Square Courthouse and published at the time the courthouse was reopened for public use.

Washington Irving's 1832 Independence Visit (By R. James Stilley) 3 pages
The article described a trip by the famous author to Missouri and Independence in 1832. 

International Commerce, Regional Conflict and the Search for Identity (By William Patrick O'Brien) 5 pages
Independence was a thriving commercial center engaging in trade with Mexico along the Santa Fe Trail. The article shares the rich history of that early commercial trade and how it affect on the early development of Independence.

An Uncivil War (By Ralph Monaco II) 6 pages
The article provides historical background on Order No. 11 issued during the Civil War leading resulting in the relocation of families out of Jackson County and surrounding counties. The order was later made infamous in a George Caleb Bingham painting.

Exhibit Tells History with Bingham Paintings (By Patricia Moss) 2 pages
The author is leading expert on Bingham the artist and shares the background on the Bingham paintings featured in the second floor of the Jackson County Courthouse.

Arthur Grissom: A Poet in a Frontier Town (By Gloria Haralson Smith) 3 pages
Grissom is a little-known major literary figure who grew up in Independence involved in turn-of-the century (1990) publication The Smart Set.

Phog Allen: Remembered as a Jayhawk but his Greatness Began in Jackson County (By Blair Kerkhoff) 2 pages
So did you know that the famous basketball coach grew up in Independence and thought about attending the University of Missouri?

A Hometown Friendship that Changed the World (By Shirley Christian) 16 pages
This two-part story recounts the friendship between Harry Truman and Eddie Jacobson who met during World War I and how their long-standing relationship came to bear on the recognition of the new state of Israel when Truman became president.

Courthouse is the Center of our Civic Life (By David McCulllough) 1 page
This is an excerpted version of a speech the Pulitzer-prize winning historian gave in 1983 about the importance of local courthouses in community life and the particular responsibility Independence had given Truman's personal story.

Blevins Davis: Creating a Cultural Impresario (By Brent Schondelmeyer) 3 pages
Blevins was a local educator who went on to national prominence. The article tells the story of A Century of Progress - a pageant play Davis wrote to mark the 1933 centennial of Jackson County.

The Diary of Police Officer Max Gould Recalls Truman's Return to Independence (By J. Bradley Pace) 5 pages
This tells the story of an Independence police author assigned to Truman and the family's return to Independence in 1953. The story is told through the private diaries of Gould.

The Conflict in the Truman Neighborhood (By Brent Schondelmeyer) 9 pages
The article explores in detail a preservation conflict in the Truman Historic District during the 1980s including an update on redevelopment of the historic area in subsequent years.