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The Guide to Warrensburg (2017 - 2018)

HERITAGE Warrensburg’s exciting future remains anchored to its colorful frontier past. The town’s history dates back to 1833 when Martin Warren arrived from Kentucky and settled along the Osage Indian Trail. In 1834, the county of Johnson was designated, and the town of Columbus was the center of county government until 1836. In 1838, a group of early Missouri leaders, including Daniel Morgan Boone, chose the site for the county courthouse in the growing village that was to become Warrensburg. The county court commissioned the building of the courthouse in that same year, and it took four years to complete. Another citizen’s group has formed to preserve Howard School, one of Incorporation as a city came in 1855, and the railroad arrived in the oldest and the most historically significant black schools in 1864. A thriving new commercial district sprouted along the tracks, Missouri. These two exciting projects enhance the work already five blocks southeast of the original town (or town square), and nearby accomplished by the Johnson County Historical Society. sandstone quarries helped spur growth. Old Drum, our beloved hunting dog mascot, is one of the most Important historical sites maintained by the Johnson County Historical celebrated figures from Warrensburg’s past. When U.S. senator-to-be Society on old Main Street include the 1838 Old Courthouse, Mary George Graham Vest delivered his eulogy to the dog in 1870 in a Miller Smiser Heritage Library and Museum, the Johnson County Johnson County courtroom, he had no idea his words would make him Courthouse (now over 100 years old), and the restored 1890s train famous. His words, coining the phrase “Man’s best friend is his dog,” depot that houses The Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of quickly won him fame across Missouri and beyond. Vest made the Commerce office. Preserving our past has become a focus for our speech while arguing in court on behalf of Charles Burden, whose community and the Johnson County Historical Society. favorite dog was shot by the ward of Leonidas Hornsby. Burden sued One of the parks, located in the city’s historic area, has been restored and the case eventually wound up in the Missouri Supreme Court and is now known as Blind Boone Park. The completed restoration where the plaintiff was awarded $50. The trial advanced Vest’s includes a gazebo for public musical events, picnic areas, and a political career, and in 1958 his Tribute to a Dog was cast in bronze statue of Blind Boone. J.W. “Blind” Boone was a beloved member of beneath the statue of Old Drum on the courthouse lawn. Vest’s eulogy our community who, blind and of multi-ethnic heritage, succeeded in has won world fame and has been cited as one of the greatest working past many physical, cultural and economic limitations to speeches given during the 19th-century. The story of Old Drum is become a famous concert pianist. known and loved the world over. THE ORIGIN OF ‘MAN’S BEST FRIEND’ By George Graham Vest “Gentlemen of the jury: The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it the most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.” “Gentlemen of the jury: A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, when the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master enemies, and when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens. If will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.” 2 | Discover the Guide to Warrensburg


The Guide to Warrensburg (2017 - 2018)
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