THE STORY OF LIBERAL, MISSOURI
BY O. E. HARMON
Published by THE LIBERAL NEWS, J. P. MOORE PRINTER, LIBERAL, MO, 1925
Some of Liberal’s Public Servants
Under this title may be included some names not before mentioned, but who deserve notice by reason of their public service in various capacities.
Frank Curless served as postmaster eight years and W. O. Keffer, postmaster for eight years. He moved to Indiana some years ago and died there. Mr. James K. Belk was postmaster two terms, and E. A. Wilson is now serving his second term. Other postmasters were W. S. Guffy, F. L. Yale, W. A. DeLissa, and R. J. Hughes. Mr. Belk died in 1917 and for many years was a prominent citizen of Liberal. He came to the town in 1881, and was closely identified with the progress of the place. He was very charitable, but never made display of the charity which he liberally dispensed. He was born in Kentucky in 1837.
E. H. Harvey and E. W. Harvey deserve special notice by reason of their long service as rural mail carriers. They have served in this capacity for 20 years, and have given great satisfaction to
the patrons of their rural routes.
John H. Todd, already noticed as a merchant, has been secretary of the Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Company for many years, and in this office has rendered valuable services, not only to farmers in the vicinity of Liberal, but to Barton County.
A family tale much laughed at by my mother’s family is that my maternal grandfather, Ernest John Percy, who lived in Liberal from the 1930s until his death in the 1960s, and in Iantha, Barton County, prior to that time, served as, I believe, Justice of the Peace, for at least a brief period. When he was in his 60s ca. 1946, he applied for Social Security benefits only to discover that he was not a U.S. citizen. He was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, in 1881 and was brought, first, to Canada, then to Iowa, then to Missouri by his parents. They somehow had neglected to apply for naturalizing him. Being only a year old at the time he left England, of course he had no idea he had never been naturalized, nor had he, or anyone else, every questioned that he was a citizen in good standing. Of course he very quicly applied for, and got, his citizenship. I guess they weren’t so prickly about illegal aliens in Barton County in the late 1940s, at least not if they were English and had lived in Barton County for 60 years.
Thank you for commenting. That’s some story.