Historical Figures from Missouri
Did you know that Walt Disney attended the Kansas City Art Institute? Or did you know that J.C. Penny graduated from Hamilton High School? There have been quite a surprising number of movers and shakers to come out of Missouri.
The State Historical Society of Missouri is a great online resource for researching Missouri's historical figures. Reported here are some of the more notable figures.
Most recognizable in this area is Samuel Langhorne Clemens, most known as writer and satirist Mark Twain. Clemens spent much of his childhood in my hometown of Hannibal and based his two most famous novels "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" on the town as it was at the time.
General John J. Pershing was from Laclede. He served as commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I and led the 1916 campaign to capture Pancho Villa. Pershing is also the only other man besides President George Washington to be appointed General of the Armies of the United States.
Fr. Augustus Tolton, the first black man to be ordained a Catholic priest, grew up in and around the town of Palmyra near the time of the Civil War. He also attended college in Quincy and served in the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois.
Acclaimed composer and "King of Ragtime" Scott Joplin attended Lincoln High School in Sedalia and travelled often to St. Louis and the surrounding area to play his first shows in local clubs. Years later, his most famous song, "Maple Leaf Rag", would see its first printing in St. Louis.
33rd President of the United States Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar, but grew up and had all of his schooling in Independence. Truman, having taken office after the death of Franklin Roosevelt, led the nation out of World War II and through the Korean War.
Laura Ingalls Wilder, the writer of the beloved "Little House" series of children's books, first began writing when she and her husband Almanzo moved to Mansfield to start a farm. Wilder's stories she wrote there, about her and her family's lives on the plains of Minnesota, would go on to inspire the NBC television series "Little House on the Prairie" which ran from September of 1974 to May of 1982.
Chuck Berry makes his home in Wentzville outside St. Louis. Berry is famous for the hit songs "Johnny B. Goode", "No Particular Place to Go", and "Roll Over Beethoven".