Index of Names for The Story of Liberal Missouri

I’ve compiled an idex of names that appear in Orrin Harmon’s The Story of Liberal Missouri:

Early Settlements

John M. Minor
Marsh Minor
William H. Curless
Tom Stark
A. Delissa
W. A. DeLissa
J. M. Wilson
E. A. Wilson
John Rhines
William I. Stacy
C. M. Cameron
J. M. Coles
Charles Brown
John and Marion Fast
John Roberts
Jennie Cartmel
David N. Brewer
Kate Hesford
Sam Boulware
Robert Sweatt

Why the Town of Liberal Was Founded

George H. Walser

The Famous Barbed Wire Fence

H. H. Waggoner
George H. Walser
Clark Braden
C. W. Stewart

The Great Spiritual Awakening

Dr. Bouton
W. S. Van Camp
H. H. Roberts


Professor Youmans
Mrs. Belk
Mrs. Greeley
Mrs. Boulware
Mr. Brown
Miss Rene Mayer
W. E. Grayston
Frank Yale
E. E. Markley
W. E. Grayston
A. N. Warden
Jrs. Joseph McGuffin
Thomas W. Martin
W. J. McKinney
B. F. Brouw
E. S. Pettigrew
W. E. Condict
J. A. Swank
N. A. Mackey
H. M. Vorhies
C. H. Button
L. K. Brous
Mrs. G. L. Blatchley
J. J. Ping
W. S. Stephenson
Thomas Hurt
J. A. Wilson
J. B. Bundy
C. H. Hatten
Allan Piatt
E. D. Watson
J. M. Steele
Frank Greene
Byron Cowley
W. A. Martin
Grant Comfort
Carl Hesford
Luther Lipscomb
W. T. Cowgill
J. P. Moore
C. L. DeLissa

U. M. L. Hall

G. W. Baldwin
G. H. Walser

Medical Fraternity

Mrs. H. M. Allen
Dr. J. S. Gish
Dr. J. W. Clark
Dr. A. G. Eddlemon
Dr. F. R. Spell
Dr. C. H. Hatten

Business Development

Capt. S. W. Guffy
Arthur Guffy
J. F. Mohler
W. A. DeLissa
John H. Todd
Frank Yale
William Hesford
E. H. Wheeler
T. R. B. Adams
Gilbert Ol. Adams
William H. Curless
P. T. McClanahan
M. L. Jackson
J. F. Curl
L. L. Coleman
James B. Smith
C. B. Armstrong
J. G. Todd
A. M. Moore
O. N. Eddlemon
M. H. Bryson
M. M. Jones
J. W. Stone
Charles Travis
A. N. Wimmer
Arlie Bowman
Rolla Argo
F. A. Minnick
N. J. O’Neal
G. R. Crank
E. A. Wilson
Wilbur Smith
F. A. Marks
Taylor R. Palmer
Chas. Pomatto
Geo. G. Minor
J. E. Wicker
J. F. Mohler
J. M. Sinclair
Earl Creamer
Fred Mellor
Dave Kendall
Frank Cale
Max Davidson
J. A. Coy
I. G. Morgan
J. H. Brown
W. S. Jones
Roy Smith
H. Bouton
J. O. Pinkerton

The Brotherhood

D. P. Greeley
C. B. Adams
E. A. Jewart
Harriet P. Walser
J. B. Bouton
T. R. B. Adams
F. L. Yale
J. W. Curless
Rach H. Yale
G. H. Walser

The Churches and Charitable Organizations

Rev. Ashbaugh
Rev. George T. Ashley
Adam Burris

Some Interesting Characters in Liberal’s History

Henry Dorman
August Beckmann
Charles Beckmann
George Hesford
Kate Hesford
W. S. VanCamp
George Mellor
G. W. Baldwin
William Simpson
Robert Dunn
Arthur Guffy
W. S. Guffy
Walser Bouton
Will Thompson
Maude Thompson
John G. Petgen
George Petgen
James A. Noyes
Ray Noyes

Veterans of the Civil War and Soldiers of the Late World War

Capt. J. G. Mayer
Thomas A. Stark
Gilbert G. O. Adams
George Hesford
August B. Beckmann
Charles Brown
Henry Fields
Isaac Malcolm
J. A. Milligan
A. Decker
J. M. Post
S. L. Durham
Henry J. Whitesell
George W. Davis
_____ Suydan
Silas Andrews
J. K. Belk
Theodore Edwards
Samuel Baker
J. M. Wilson
James W. Coy
M. S. Roach
W. S. Van Camp
M. Bell
Abram Jones
T. O. Burson
Geo. Mc Clarinon
Daniel Baker.
Mr. J. A. Ramsey
Henry Bouton
Eddie Laycox
Donald Sechrist
Gerald Sechrist
Monroe Mohler
Warren Weaver
Dick Eccher
Frank Patrick
Bert Butler
John Campbell
Archie Campbell
William Tilley
George McCuistion
Nils Otto
Charles Swigart
Wm. H. Thomas
Fred Dazey
John Dazey
Leo Thomas
Harold Thomas
Ross Thomas
John Pingree
William Renner
Capt. Alva McClanahan
Mace Wicker
Major Thomas Curless
Louis McKenzie
Earl Sumners
Irl Holland
Chas. Skidmore
Ben Smith
Howard Coffey
Jesse Sherron
Fred Sale
Augustus Craft
Harold Trotter
Marty Netcalf
Arthur Guffy, Jr.
Scott Wimmer
Fred Pomatto
Wallace Swartz
Early Warren
Guernie Hadley
Wm. H. Curless
Lieut. Clyde A. Hatten
Otto Boyer
Luther Miller
Henely Stacy
Louis Payne
Cornelius Eccher
A. K. Coffey
Archie Jones
Carl Williams
Ray Sloan
Jas. H. Stanberry
Walter Crisler
Lloyd Riley
Val Bumgarner
Marion McWilliams
Clive Lloyd
Luther Aleshire
Jesse Sale
Earl Creamer
Harry Bailey
Oliver McWilliams
Rezin Bowman
Floyd Felty
Harley McColm
Stanley Cale
Wm. Wair Curless
Dr. C. H. Hatten
Paul Fast
Clyde Salmons
Lester Spangler
Julius Wolf
Ed Coffey
Ben Hall
Edgar Krebs
Chas. Craft
Dale Higgins
Harry Lawrence
Harold Black
Wm. F. DeLissa
Roy Hanshaw
Arthur Nelson
Tom Curry
Horace Robins
Monroe Miller,
Ezra Quackenbush
Landon Quackenbush
Ernest Thompson
Kathryn Curless (nurse)
Alton Ball
Wm. Coleman Black
Otto Wolf
L. M. Temple.
Dick Eccher
Frank Patrick
Tom Curry
John Pingre
Wallace Swartz
Alton Ball
Otto Wolf
Fred Sale
Been Smith
Wm. H. Thomas

Some of Liberal’s Public Servants

Frank Curless
W. O. Keffer
James K. Belk
E. A. Wilson
W. S. Guffy
F. L. Yale
W. A. DeLissa
R. J. Hughes
E. H. Harvey
E. W. Harvey
John H. Todd

The Founder of Liberal and the Surviving Pioneers

George H. Walser
Capt. J. G. Mayer
Dr. J. W. Clark
Dr. J. S. Gish
Mrs. J. K. Belk
John G. Todd
John H. Todd
Frank Curless
Mrs. Kate Hesford
George Hesford
Gilbert O. Adams
Arthur Guffy and wife
George Thomas
W. A. DeLissa
Mrs. America Sackett
Frank Cramer
Jake Betz
Mrs. Belle Hamilton
M. N. Minor
Matilda Comfort

The Story of Liberal, Missouri – O. E. Harmon, Biographical Sketch


O. E. Harmon, Biographical Sketch

O. E. Harmon was born in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, December 3, 1854. His father, Asa Harmon, was a native of Vermont, and descended from John Harmon, a native of England, who settled in Springfield, Mass., about 1640. John Harmon was the first Harmon to settle in America, and his descendants are widely scattered over the United States. Among them may be mentioned ex-Governor Harmon of Ohio, and Mrs. Cleveland, the wife of President Grover Cleveland.

A short time before the breaking out of the Civil War, Asa Harmon removed to Van Buren County, Michigan. Here he lived when the fire on Fort Sumter sounded the beginning of the war. He enlisted in the Union Army, first in the 2nd Michigan Cavalry, the regiment of which Phil Sheridan was the colonel; and later was transferred to the 3rd Michigan Cavalry, of which regiment he became chaplain.

He was mustered out of the service in the spring of 1866, and in that year moved to Union County, Illinois. Here


O. E. Harmon lived with his parents until the spring of 1881, excepting a period (1874-1876) which he spent in Colorado. O. E. received his education in the district school and in the high school at Anna, in Union County.

In 1878 he began the study of the law, and in June of that year married E. Viola Noyes, the daughter of James A. Noyes, and sister of Ray Noyes, who lives near Liberal.

He was licensed to practise law by the Supreme Court of Illinois in October, 1880. After a few months spent in the practice of the law at Anna, he moved to Washington, and after teaching school in Lewis County one year, settled at Chehalis, the county seat of Lewis County. This was in the spring of 1882. Here he practised law, and at different times served as deputy in the offices of County Auditor and County Clerk. He lived in Lewis County until the spring of 1897. He became interested in Astronomy in 1888, and his calculations on the solar eclilpse of June, 1891, drew complimentary letters from the astronomical staff of the Lick Observatory located at Mount Hamilton, California. He contributed articles to the publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and to “Popular Astronomy” published at Northfield, Minn. He furnished


the planetary predictions to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for five years (11893-1898). Besides the above astronomical work while a resident of Washington, he brought out in 1886, a little volume of poems entitled, “Voices from the Cascades.”

The cordial reception his astronomical writings received encouraged him to look forward to the career of the professional astronomer, and he planned to take a course of special training for that purpose. But in the winter of 1896-7, his health failed and he was obliged to give up his plans. The doctors advised a change of climate, and this brought him to Barton County, Missouri, in the spring of 1897. Here he has lived ever since with the exception of three years (1916-9) spent in Louisiana. During his residence in Barton County, he has lived on a little farm southeast of Liberal, which he has named “Lyrian Farm.”

His later writings have been published in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Springfield, (Mass.) Republican and Shreveport Times. He has also contributed to the local papers of Barton County, both on astronomical and literary subjects.

Among his literary writings may be mentioned “The Astronomy of Shakespeare” in which knowledge


of the great poet relating to astronomy is very fully developed. This work was published in “Popular Astronomy.”

Mr. Harmon has always been a close student and has ever taken a deep interest in educational matters. His addresses to the schools and teachers’ meetings in Barton County bear ample testimony to this feature of his character.

J. P. Moore, Publisher.

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The Story of Liberal, Missouri – To Liberal


To Liberal

All hail to Liberal’s pioneers!
Who through the storm defied the fears;
And toiled right on through good and ill,
And saw the town grow with a will.

With wealth of mine and fertile soil
That ’round her lie, no blight can spoil
The glow and beauty that attend
Her star and with the future blend.

May wisdom of the home and school
Give her the power of righteous rule,
Through coming years this be her praise;
Enlightenment and prosperous days.

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The Story of Liberal, Missouri – The Founder of Liberal and the Surviving Pioneers


The Founder of Liberal and The Surviving Pioneers

Mr. George H. Walser, the founder of Liberal, died May, 1, 1910. In closing this sketch, it seems proper to set out in review those traits of his character that promoted the growth of the town.

It is generally conceded that he was a man of broad public spirit. He was always ready to help in whatever way would advance the general welfare of the community. It is true he had many clashes with those around him; but this was only the result of his positive temperament. Differing as he did from the Orthodox Christians, he found ready cause for conflict. He founded Liberal as a Free-thinker’s town, and was himself a Free-thinker in the early years of the town; but later he became converted to Spiritualism.

Whatever faults he may have had, it must be admitted that he was a man of wide reading and fine intelligence. The books he wrote demonstrate this. This prose works comprise “Orthopaedia” and “The Life and Teachings of Jesus.” His


poetical works are “Poems of Leisure” and “The Bouquet.” This last book deals with the language and meaning of flowers; and it would be hard to find a more beautiful interpretation of the flowery kingdom. Botany was always a favorite study with him, and the collection of flowers around his home proved that he had an artistic mind, and loved with deep spiritual vision the beautiful in nature.

Mr. Walser’s literary efforts extended to the lecture field. One of his favorite subjects was “John Brown and the Border,” on which he lectured many times.

Many people now living remember the social gatherings at Catalpa Park, and especially the Old Settlers’ Picnics that drew large crowds. He always tried to make these picnics a source of enjoyment to the visitors, and in this he succeeded well. The town of Liberal will always be associated with his name, and the differences he had with some of the people of the town will be forgotten in what he did to advance the public interest.

He used to say that if any person had ever drank of the waters of Drywood and had left Barton county, the wanderer would have a longing to return. We know that some have left


Barton county, but the memories of Old Drywood induced many to return; and Liberal and its vicinity have received a large share of the returning prodigals.

We here take occasion to list the surviving pioneers of Liberal. Only those who were here prior to 1885 are included, as this makes them fory-year residents:

Capt. J. G. Mayer, Dr. J. W. Clark, Dr. J. S. Gish, Mrs. J. K. Belk, John G. Todd, John H. Todd, Frank Curless, Mrs. Kate Hesford, Uncle George Hesford, Gilbert O. Adams, Arthur Guffy and wife, George Thomas, W. A. DeLissa, Mrs. America Sackett, Frank Cramer, Jake Betz, Mrs. Belle Hamilton, M. N. Minor, and Mrs. Matilda Comfort.

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The Story of Liberal, Missouri – Some of Liberal’s Public Servants


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.

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The Story of Liberal, Missouri – Veterans of the Civil War and Soldiers of the Late World War


Veterans of the Civil War and
Soldiers of the Late World War

This sketch would not be complete without a notice of the surviving veterans of the Civil War and also a mention of those who have died in recent years. This last relates only to Liberal and its vicinity. The survivors so far as the writer has been able to ascertain them are:

Capt. J. G. Mayer, Thomas A. Stark, Gilbert G. O. Adams, George Hesford, August B. Beckmann, Charles Brown, Henry Fields, Isaac Malcolm, J. A. Milligan and A. Decker.

The soldiers of the Civil War who have died within a few years are:

J. M. Post, S. L. Durham, Henry J. Whitesell, George W. Davis, _____ Suydan, Silas Andrews, J. K. Belk, Theodore Edwards, Samuel Baker, J. M. Wilson, James W. Coy, M. S. Roach, W. S. Van Camp, M. Bell, Abram Jones, T. O. Burson, Geo. Mc Clarinon and Daniel Baker.

Mr. J. A. Ramsey is the only Confederate veteran now living in Liberal or its vicinity.


The part Liberal and the territory tributary to the town played in the World War may be shown by the roster of the boys who were in the army services. The writer has endeavored to make the list complete, and if any names are omitted, the omission is not intentional:

Henry Bouton, Eddie Laycox, Donald Sechrist, Gerald Sechrist, Monroe Mohler, Warren Weaver, Dick Eccher, Frank Patrick, Bert Butler, John Campbell, Archie Campbell, William Tilley, George McCuistion, Nils Otto, Charles Swigart, Wm. H. Thomas, Fred Dazey, John Dazey, Leo Thomas, Harold Thomas, Ross Thomas, John Pingree, William Renner, Capt. Alva McClanahan, Mace Wicker, Major Thomas Curless, Louis McKenzie, Earl Sumners, Irl Holland, Chas. Skidmore, Ben Smith, Howard Coffey, Jesse Sherron, Fred Sale, Augustus Craft, Harold Trotter, Marty Netcalf, Arthur Guffy, Jr., Scott Wimmer, Fred Pomatto, Wallace Swartz, Early Warren, Guernie Hadley, Wm. H. Curless, Lieut. Clyde A. Hatten, Otto Boyer, Luther Miller, Henely Stacy, Louis Payne, Cornelius Eccher, A. K. Coffey, Archie Jones, Carl Williams, Ray Sloan, Jas. H. Stanberry, Walter Crisler, Lloyd Riley, Val Bumgarner, Marion McWilliams, Clive Lloyd, Luther Aleshire, Jesse Sale, Earl Creamer, Harry


Bailey, Oliver McWilliams, Rezin Bowman, Floyd Felty, Harley McColm, Stanley Cale, Wm. Wair Curless, Dr. C. H. Hatten, Paul Fast, Clyde Salmons, Lester Spangler, Julius Wolf, Ed Coffey, Ben Hall, Edgar Krebs, Chas. Craft, Dale Higgins, Harry Lawrence, Harold Black, Wm. F. DeLissa, Roy Hanshaw, Arthur Nelson, Tom Curry, Horace Robins, Monroe Miller, Ezra Quackenbush, Landon Quackenbush, Ernest Thompson, Kathryn Curless (nurse), Alton Ball, Wm. Coleman Black, Otto Wolf and L. M. Temple.

Dick Eccher, Frank Patrick and Tom Curry were killed in action. John Pingree, Wallace Swartz, Alton Ball and Otto Wolf died in the service and Fred Sale has recently died from the effects of war and gas.

Been Smith married a German girl from Danzig.

Wm. H. Thomas received the decoration of the War Cross for valiant service.

Besides the boys listed above who have died, some have moved away from Barton County since the close of the World War.

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The Story of Liberal, Missouri – Some Interesting Characters in Liberal’s History


Some Interesting Characters in Liberal’s History

Besides some already mentioned in the foregoing pages, there are a few others who from varying standpoints deserve mention.

One of these was Henry Dorman, the aged Civil War veteran who died in Liberal in March 1914, at the age of 115 years. He was born in Steuben county, New York, January 10, 1799. He enlisted in his 64th year and served three years. He was wounded in the battle of South Mountain. He had four sons in the Civil War, one of whom died in Libby prison. He lived in Barton county after 1892, and had lived in Liberal for nine years before his death. He was the father of ten children, the youngest of whom was the husband of Mrs. Hattie Dorman, who cared for him in his later years. At the time of his death Henry Dorman was the oldest person in Missouri, and was one of the oldest, if not the oldest, veteran of the Civil War. His war record combined with his extreme old age made him a person of much interest, and many visitors to Liberal made it a


special object to visit the aged veteran.

Another Civil War veteran, now living in Liberal, is August Beckmann, father of Charles Beckmann. He is 97 years of age. He is of German birth, and was born on the Baltic Sea. He served in the Crimean War, also through the Civil War. He enlisted as a Cavalryman from Connersville, Indiana, and saw much hard service. He came to Barton County in 1884.

It may not be out of place here to remind the reader that the Crimean War above mentioned was waged against Russia by England and France in the years 1854-6. One of the famous episodes of the War was “The Charge of the Light Brigade” which Tennyson has celebrated in a poem of that title.

Another Civil War veteran living in Liberal is George Hesford, familiarly known as “Uncle George Hesford.” He is 93 years of age. He enlisted in the Union Army from the state of Wisconsin. On a forced march he was captured, and after treatment for a time in a hospital, was discharged for disability. His home is near that of Mrs. Kate Hesford, his daughter-in-law. He is a great lover of flowers and his flower garden is admired by all who see it.

W. S. VanCamp is one of the characters of


Liberal who is well remembered. He died some years ago. He was a soldier in the Civil War, and had lived in Liberal many years. He was a Free thinker and, of course, a great admirer of Thomas Paine. He had been a school teacher, studied law, and had read extensively. He had considerable ability, but did not always put his ability to the best use. He made a good garden, made brooms, and could make keen lawyers sit up and take notice in a justice’s court. His home in Liberal was near the schoolhouse, and his friendship for the school children was one of his better traits. His escapade in calling spirits from the “Vasty Deep” has already been related.

George Mellor is another citizen of Liberal who deserves mention. He died a few years ago. He was born in Derbyshire, England in 1839. He always took great interest in the public school, and served on the school board for several years. He belonged to the liberal element in religious belief, and had read a great deal.

Mr. G. W. Baldwin has already been mentioned. He is one of the latest departures from us, having died September 7, 1924. He is best remembered as an Agnostic, a banker and a man of considerable culture. For many years he was one of the leading citizens of Liberal.


One of the eccentrics who lived near Liberal was Robert Dunn, best known as “Bobby Dunn.” He had been a sailor, and therefore had seen much of the world. He was a radical of the Freethinker sort. He had much mechanical ability and knew how to put the polish on many mechanical contrivances. But he was always rubbing the rough edge against those around him, and thought the affairs of this world were wrong side up. When he was not engaged in his farming or mechanical work, he spent his time “cussing the government.” Some nine years ago he broke his leg in an accident at his home southeast of Liberal. He was taken to the hospital in Pittsburg and died there.

Arthur Guffy’s father, W. S. Guffy, set out the first trees in Liberal; and as before stated, built the first building which was used for a hotel. The building has disappeared, but many of the trees are yet standing.

The question as to who was the first child born in Liberal has led to some controversy. It seems that the honor must go either to Walser Bouton or Will Thompson’s girl, Maude. The writer is not certain as to which one deserves the honor: but until the matter is definitely settled, we will just call the honors even.


Among those who settled near Liberal at an early day, and were drawn here on account of the “liberal” atmosphere of the town may be mentioned John G. Petgen who died July 31, 1915, from injuries in a runaway accident. His son George owns and lives on the old Ridenour place just northwest of town.

Another was James A. Noyes. He settled on the place where his son Ray Noyes now lives, in 1882. He died in January 1901.

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