Section 8, West Point Township, Bates County, Missouri
From Butler, go north on US Highway 71 to Passaic, turn left (west) onto County Highway F and go 10 miles to intersection with County Highway J, turn right (north) onto J and go 4 miles to Amsterdam and the intersection of County Highways J and Y, turn right (north) and to 3 miles, turn left (west) on gravel road (county road #11002) and go ¾ mile. Cemetery is on curve on west side of road.
Those Who Rest Here
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The land for West Point Cemetery was given by James M. and Nancy Daniels on April 8, 1870. Children Ida A., Florence, Emma R, William M.
West Point Township
West Point Township had doubtless as many settlers within its present limits before the great civil war as any other township in the county, and the citizens who composed its settlers were said to have been an enterprising class of people, many of them coming from the free states.
Israel Brown came to the township among he earliest, and located just south of the old town of West Point. He sold his farm to Vincent Johnson, and now lives in Linn County, Kansas. Vincent Johnson was from Kentucky, and came in the fall of 1851, and purchased, as above stated, the claim of Israel Brown. Johnson died in 1876, at the age of eighty-three years; Covington Cooper settled in the township at an early day, and died in 1851; James Cooper, his brother, is now a citizen of Butler; Benjamin Runnels settled early, but moved out of the town before 1861; Benjamin Sharp opened a farm on the Miami, with many others; Henry Schuster pitched his tent about three miles east of Butler, but now lives near the Double Branches, Bates County; John Green was an old pioneer, and died during the war; William Scott settled about a half mile northwest of West Point, and is now a resident of Nebraska City, Nebraska; Edger C. Kirkpatrick came to Pettis County, Missouri, from Zanesville, Ohio, in 1847, remaining there till 1851, then moved to Henry County, and finally located in Bates County in January, 1852, locating one mile north of West Point, where he died in October, 1857. Among other old settlers were William Lemar, Jackson Clark, Nathan Sears, Thomas Sears, James McHenry, J. E. Mooney, Samuel Forbes, James Forbes, Emberson Keaton, George Walley, William Reed, Riley Reed and William Adams.
The Town of West Point
West Point is one of the oldest towns in the county, and was in ante bellum days, the most populous and thrifty place in the county. It contained a population of 700 souls and was the center of a large trade. It was located near the Kansas line, as early as 1850, the land upon which the town was founded, having been entered by Thomas B. Arnett and Sidney Adams in 1843. Thomas B. Arnett was the first clerk of Cass County. Adams is now residing in Dolan Township, Cass County, and is one of the oldest living men of that county. The land forming the two site, is the northwest quarter of section 8, township 41, range 33. The first conveyance of lots was made in 1850, by Thomas B. Arnett and wife, Adams having sold his interest in the land to Arnett some time previously. Among the first to purchase a lot in the new town was J. A. Fox.
A large section of county paid tribute to West Point. The nearest towns of any importance to it were Papinville in Bates County and Harrisonville, Kansas City, Clinton and Butler (after the latter became the county seat) and was for some years the western terminus of these mail routes. It was located on the main Texas cattle trail, and before the border troubles with Kansas, enjoyed a good trade from the state.
Among the early business men of the place, were William H. Barrett, now one of the wealthy citizens of Harrisonville, Cass Count. He and a man named Curd (Curd & Barrett) were the proprietors of a drug store, which they continued until the breaking out of the war of 1861. F. M. Wilgus, now a banker as Paola, Kansas, was selling dry goods there at the same time. Judge Alexander Feeley, William Scott, James McHenry, Chil. Lovelace, Thomas Sears and Dr. T. J. B. Rockwell, were all the business for some years previously to and at the inception of the war. Joseph and William Potts, brothers, and Slater & Stribbens were blacksmiths. Slater went to Morgan County Missouri, and his partner moved to California. John Martin ran a saloon (then called a grocery). The old settlers remember Martin’s little boy, who was then about three years of age. He had contracted the habit of smoking tobacco, and smoked either a pipe or cigar, almost constantly on the street. William R. Simpson, and John Roundtree were also among the business men.
Henry Schuster erected a mill near the town for grinding corn only, which was the first mill in the township. This mill was propelled by ox power, the oxen being placed abreast and made to walk on an inclined plane. It was called a “tread mill.” The same mill was afterwards operated by Nathan Sears. John Green had a mill also at an early day. Wyatt Sanford was the postmaster about the year 1856, and was succeeded by James McHenry and Irvine Walley.
The town was noted for its school, which had a daily attendance of seventy-five pupils in the summer, and about ninety in the winter. The school building (the one that stood there at the beginning of the war) was large and well arranged. It was erected in the addition to the town which was then owned by a company of men who came from Yellow Springs, Ohio, and who represented the Harrington Nursery, at that place. The building was built by subscription. Among the first, if not the first teacher to follow his profession in the new town was Edgar C. Kirkpatrick, who taught in 1852. He was the husband of Mrs. Elizabeth Kirkpatrick, who now resides in Butler. Among the pupils who attended his school were John Gilham, William Gilham, Mary Gilham, Caroline Simpson, Jennie Johnson, T. A. Johnson, and Josie Roundtree.
The town not only had a good school, but possessed a printing press, from which was issued a sprightly weekly newspaper called the West Point Banner, Democratic in politics. Thomas H. Stearns, who then (1858) resided at Butler, was the editor. Stearns died after the close of the war. His press, type and everything belonging to the office was destroyed, in the fall of 181, by a company of men from Kansas, commanded by Gen. James H. Lane. The first hotel was kept by Mr. Hedges, who afterwards sold to Judge Alexander Feeley. This hotel was a two-story frame building, and was the largest house of entertainment in all this Western country, containing no less than forty rooms. This fact shows something of the travel that was done through West Point at that time. There were three other hotels in the town, and sixteen business houses, all told.
General Clark arrived at West Point in the fall of 1856, with about five hundred men, and remained in the town about ten days. This was during the border troubles between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery men.
West Point was subjected to the torch during the late war, and scarcely one stone was left to tell that the town ever existed. Since the war a small business and postoffice have been kept there by different parties. Mr. Burns is the present postmasters and business man. Dr. L. G. Hayes is the physician and druggist. H. H. Tipton is the blacksmith.
The stranger when passing through the village would never suppose that it was at one time the center of a large trade; that its population was numbered by the hundreds, and that its people were noted for their intelligence, public spirit and enterprise.
From the The History of Cass and Bates Counties, Missouri
(St. Joseph, MO: National History Company, 1883)