Ray County Driving Tour

Ray County Historical  Driving Tour

Ray County Poor Farm building was built as a county home in 1910 at a cost of $19,491, which included wiring, plumbing, &  heating Built in the shape of a “Y” with 14,424 square feet of floor space, the building has three floors with 54 rooms, eight masonry walls which are 14″ thick up to the roof, and fire doors at the wing entrances. The side porches are approximately 200 square feet each. The building rectangle would cover 1/3 of an acre. The poor farm served as a nursing home, a hospital, a jail for juveniles and a shelter.

Bob Ford’s Gravesite. Richmond Cemetery – W Main St. – Between Sunny Slope Cemetery and Shotwell & Woodland Cemeteries. Burial site of the man who killed Jesse, Bob Ford: “The dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard.” A member of Jesse’s gang, Ford shot Jesse in the back of the head while he was straightening a picture.

Bloody Bill Anderson’s Gravesite Pioneer Cemetery or Old City Cemetery – N Thornton & Crispin Sts. Some people say it was cruel treatment from Union soldiers during the Civil War that turned Frank & Jesse into a life of crime. Certainly, during the war years, they learned to kill while riding with William Quantrill & Bloody Bill Anderson.

Pioneer Cemetery.  In this cemetery are the graves of a number of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who were prominent in this section in the early days of Missouri. They included Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer – the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon in June 1829.

The Farris Theatre was built in 1901 as an opera house. It was originally called the Dougherty Auditorium, named for Sam Dougherty who had moved to Richmond in the late 1800’s after striking it rich in the goldfields of Colorado.

Richmond Historic Bank – McCalley Gorham & Bowman Building at 206 W Main Formerly called Hughes/Wasson Bank, it is now a private office. The bank, robbed six times in 1866 & 1867, was reportedly robbed by the James Gang on May 23, 1867. A plaque hangs on the building noting the robbery.

Alexander William Doniphan monument on the lawn of the Ray County Courthouse. The statue of the noted 19th century American politician, soldier, and statesman was unveiled in 1918.

World War I Memorial and Monument Doughboy at attention in the middle of the sidewalk leading to the Ray County Courthouse.

World War II Memorial / Monument. World War II and Korean Memorial at Ray County Court House.

VIETNAM WAR MEMORIAL/ Ray County Courthouse lawn.

TRAIL OF DEATH HISTORICAL MARKER. On October 26, 1838, about 800 Potawatomi Indians were forcibly removed from Indiana camped on the river bank opposite Lexington. They ferried the Missouri River on October 27 and were marched on to Northeast Kansas. Located at the corner of Spartan Drive and M-13 south by Richmond High School.

CAMDEN:  began as a boisterous river city. It was incorporated May 13, 1836, and replaced the river settlement of Bluffton on its western edge. It fast became the location of one of Missouri’s biggest tobacco warehouses, along with the first packing house of Armour & Plankton, because of its location as the only river port in Ray County. The first mention of this place was found in Colton’s THE WESTERN TOURIST of the year 1845. Doubtless named for a local family. Pret Camden was in business at that place at least as early as 1849.  On July 2, 1915, erratic Missouri River cut a new channel, eliminating the “Great Bend” which had given prominence to Camden and Orrick. A beautiful natural lake was formed in the Bottoms as a result of this and it was called Sunshine Lake for the area where it forme

BLUFFTON:  In 1821, according to Louise Darneal, Ray County settlers, fearing an attack by the Indians, built a fort on the Missouri River near where Camden now stands and called it Bluffton. It was the first village founded in Missouri north of the Missouri River and became the first county seat. The first public road in the county ran over 7 miles from Bluffton to John Thornton’s mill, east of where Richmond was after founded.

Bluffton served as the county seat of Ray until 1828. Twice efforts were made to have it accepted by the county commissioners, but since the title involved many transfers and New Madrid, Missouri, land grants were a part of it, the title never could be cleared sufficiently at that time to be accepted, so the town of Richmond was purchased, platted, and named as the County Seat.

Local tradition has it that the first settlers in Bluffton were the members of a Copeland family, at or near Bluffton, who went to Oregon during the land rush thee in the 1850’s. When Bluffton was started there were no steamboats on the Missouri River, and the river traffic was not considered to be any particular importance. So the fort was built, and the town of Bluffton was started off the river, to the west of what is now Camden, in Sections 26 and 27, Township 51, Range 28. Bluffton’s demise began with the regular advent of the steamboat on the Missouri River finished the town, which was already dwindling with the transfer of the county seat to Richmond. Camden, a good steamboat landing site, was platted in 1836, and Bluffton was replaced and gone.

FLEMING:  The village of Fleming began as a small acreage farming and mining community. The Central Coal and Coke Company bought the mine and opened a company store with their office in the back part of this building. At one time, 1903-04, the post-office was in this building. The post-office was discontinued prior to 1905. There were two blacksmith shops; one for the company and the other for individuals, and a cobbler. The doctor’s office had a barbershop in the rear of the building. Business’ sprouted up and were successful until the coal mines closed. Now it is marked by a few homes.

THE BATTLE OF ALBANY – 1864: A row of graves in an old cemetery northeast of Orrick is the last resting place of 10 or 11 Confederate guerillas killed with Capt. William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson in a battle with Union troops on Oct. 27, 1864. The action took place near Albany, which in the 1860s, included a grist mill, general store, blacksmith shop, and one or two churches and had a population of 150.

Anderson and his guerillas spent the night at the William Riley Blyth home, north of the battlefield.

They rode out early in the morning of October 27, 1864, and were ambushed by Captain S.P. Cox and his Union troops. Anderson was caught completely unaware and was riddled with bullets, then left for dead in his saddle.  His followers put up a fight to try to recover Anderson’s corpse, but they were outnumbered by the Union troops.

GUERILLAS KILLED in the battle were; 1. Hank Patterson;  2. Simonds;  3. Anson Tolliver;  4. Paul Debenhorst;  5. Smith Jobson;  6. Luckett;  7. John Mcllvane;  8. Jasper Moody;  9. William Tarkington;  10. John Pringle;  11. William T. Anderson.

After he was killed, Bloody Bill’s body was taken to Richmond where it was propped up in a chair and a pistol was placed in the dead man’s hands.

Capt. Anderson himself rests in’ the Pioneer (or Mormon) Cemetery in Richmond.

LEWIS & CLARK ENCAMPMENT– June 23, 1804 – Lewis and Clark camped on shore after rounding Jackass Bend in Ray County; the men camped on an island across from the later site of Fort Osage built-in 1808 under the supervision of Indian Agent William Clark.

Richmond Pioneer Cemetery

In this cemetery are the graves of a number of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who were prominent in this section in the early days of Missouri. They included Oliver Cowdery, for a time a close friend and associate of Joseph Smith, founder through revelation of the church. The large Granite monument was dedicated on November 22, 1911. More than two hundred people from Salt Lake City headquarters of the church were present.

By agreement with the city of Richmond, after the cemetery had been abandoned for about seventy years the church landscaped the area in 1949-50. Brush and rubbish were removed, headstones were restored where possible. New shrubbery, hardwood and evergreen trees were planted and the entire area sown to grass.

Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer were appointed to be three special witnesses of the Book of Mormon in June 1829. Every copy of the Book of Mormon includes the testimony of their experience in which the angel Moroni appeared and showed them the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. Their testimony is as follows:

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates, and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor is to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.