A Landing a Day

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Independence, Missouri

Posted by graywacke on December 5, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-day blog, I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  Phew!  And this state barely qualified as a USer, cause now it’s a PSer . . . MO; 41/41; 3/10; 23; 355.1.  Here’s my landing map, showing that I landed very close to a previous landing (July 30, 2007), on the eastern fringe of a seriously urban area:

You can see my proximity to Independence.  Here’s a broader view, showing proximity to Kansas City:

Today’s landing is the one that seems to be pointing to the “n” in “Independence.”  And an even broader view:

As I did back in 2007, I landed in the watershed of the Spring Branch Creek, which flows on to the Little Blue River (no other hits besides 2007; ergo 2nd hit); on to the Missouri (336th hit); to the MM (718th hit).

Here’s a very-close-in GE shot, showing that it looks like I’m in a totally rural area:

Not!!  Here’s a slight pull-back GE shot:

So, Independence will be my featured town.  Four items about Independence caught my eye:

1)  The early history of Independence revolves around riverboat travel up the Missouri.  It turns out that the riverboats couldn’t go further upstream than Independence, so naturally enough, a town grew up here for the pioneers to begin their overland journey further west (on the Oregon, Sante Fe and California trails).  Note that on the Kansas City map above, you can see the Missouri north of my landing near the town of Courtney.

2)  Early Mormons came here.  In fact, Joseph Smith had a revelation that Independence was to be the centerpiece location for the Mormons (although it ended up in Salt Lake City).

3)  As you may know, Independence is the birthplace of Harry Truman.

4)  As you probably don’t know, Jim Eisenreich (one of my all-time favorite Phillies) lives in Independence.

About Independence as a trail head – from the Idaho State University “Oregon Trail” website:

For many years Independence was the most popular “jumping off” point on the Oregon Trail. Here the emigrants stocked up on supplies and prepared their wagons. There was generally a festive air in Independence in the spring. The newcomers collected information and misinformation, made friends and enemies, changed proposed destinations, and behaved in general as though they were on a picnic.

Because of the fear of Indian attacks (which was largely unfounded), emigrants often tried organize a traveling party here, because no one wanted to head west alone. When a wagon “train” had been assembled, a quasi-military organization was often formed, as discussed by Capt. R.B. Marcy in  The Prairie Traveler:
After a particular route has been selected to make the journey across the plains, and the requisite number have arrived . . . their first business should be to organize themselves into a company and elect a commander. The company should be of sufficient magnitude to herd and guard animals, and for protection against Indians. An obligation should be drawn up and signed by all the members of the association, wherein each one should bind himself to abide in all cases by the orders and decisions of the captain and to aid him by every means in this power.

So what about the early Mormons?  Here’s quite the story, from MormonWiki (with a little editing for brevity’s sake):

As persecution persisted in Ohio and other areas in the East, Joseph Smith suggested that some of the Saints settle in Missouri.  In 1831, Joseph Smith received a command that they should buy as much land in the Jackson County area of Missouri as possible.  He also received revelation that Jackson County would be the site of the New Jerusalem at the time of the Second Coming.

In the spring of 1832, another 300-400 families arrived and the area began to rapidly prosper. By the end of 1832 there were over 800 Saints in Jackson County.  In July 1833, the peace the Saints were enjoying in Missouri ended suddenly. The first settlers of the area and other non-Mormons became afraid and suspicious of the Saints. They did not like the huge influx of people moving into the area that did not hold the same political, cultural, or religious ideas as them. By this time, there were nearly twelve hundred Saints in the area. Independence also began to lose business at this time because a flood had caused the Missouri river to change its course. This was also blamed on the Mormons.

On July 20, four to five hundred non-Mormon citizens met at the courthouse in Independence. The meeting quickly turned into a mob and they destroyed the printing office and press. The mob then went searching for the leaders of the Church. Bishop Edward Partridge and Charles Allen were tarred and feathered by the mob because they would not denounce the Book of Mormon.

On July 23, the mob returned again this time with guns, clubs, and whips. They burned fields and haystacks, and destroyed homes. Six leaders of the Church offered their lives in exchange for the safety of the rest of the members. Their offer was turned down and they were forced to sign an agreement that they would be out of the county by April 1, 1834.

Wild times, eh?  Here’s a quick summary of what happened after:  The Mormons left Independence, but not Missouri.  Tensions continued, culminating in the “1838 Mormon War.”  Twenty-one Mormons and one non-Mormon were killed, and Joseph Smith surrendered.  As a result, about 10,000 Missouri Mormons left and settled in Nauvoo, Illinois.  That’s where Joseph Smith was killed, and then Brigham Young led the flock out to Salt Lake.

Moving right along to Harry Truman (from Wiki):

Truman, whose demeanor was very different from that of the patrician Roosevelt, was a folksy, unassuming president. He popularized such phrases as “The buck stops here” and “If you can’t stand the heat, you better get out of the kitchen.” He overcame the low expectations of many political observers who compared him unfavorably with his highly regarded predecessor. At different points in his presidency, Truman earned both the lowest public approval ratings that had ever been recorded, and the highest approval ratings to be recorded (until Bush Sr. in 1991).  Despite negative public opinion during his term in office, popular and scholarly assessments of his presidency became more positive after his retirement from politics and the publication of his memoirs. Truman’s legendary upset victory in 1948 over Thomas E. Dewey is routinely invoked by underdog presidential candidates. Most American historians consider Truman one of the greatest U.S. Presidents.

Here’s the famous picture from the ’48 election:

On to Jim Eisenreich.  I have very fond memories of him as a Phillie (from 1993 – 1996).  I liked Jim Eisenreich; everybody liked Jim Eisenreich.  He was such an all-around good ballplayer and great guy.

From Wiki:

In 1993, his first year with the Phillies, Eisenreich put together one of his best years, batting .318 and helping the Phillies to win the National League pennant. As the Phillies began their slide the next year (1994), Eisenreich was one of the team’s few bright spots, batting .361 for the last place Phillies in 1996.

Eisenreich was infamous in Los Angeles for his long time domination of Dodger pitching staffs, despite those staffs being among the best in baseball throughout his career. His .405 batting average and .620 slugging percentage absolutely dwarf his other career numbers and rank among the most successful of any one player against any one team.

From the Phillies’ website:

He arrived in this town as an unheralded free agent. He left after four years as one of the most popular players ever to wear Phillies pinstripes.

Everyone loved Jim Eisenreich. He and his family feel the same way about Philadelphia.

He conquered Tourette’s Syndrome early in his Major League career and has spent countless hours trying to help others with the disorder. During his final year with the Phillies, he established the Jim Eisenreich Foundation for children with Tourette’s. His willingness to reach out to help others went a long way with the fans.

On the field, the left-handed-hitting outfielder excelled in his four years here. He batted .318, .300, .316 and .362. That last number was the highest average for a Phillies player with 300 or more at-bats since Smoky Burgess batted .368 in 1954.

Eisenreich played all three outfield positions nearly flawlessly; an error on May 21, 1996, ended a span of 208 consecutive errorless games.

OK, OK, so I need at least one picture of Independence.  Here’s a cool 1906 shot:

Oops!  As astutely pointed out by Richard in his comment below, the above shot is actually of Independence OR.  Let me try again.  Here’s an 1868 stylized map of Independence (from the collection of the Library of Congress), posted on the House Divided website, Dickinson University:



That’ll do it.



© 2009 A Landing A Day

2 Responses to “Independence, Missouri”

  1. Richard Piland said

    I regret that the photo you posted for Independence, 1906, is not Independence, Missiouri. I think it might be Oregon. Check out my Independence book fvor photos of the town and its people.

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