Tall tales, History, Legends of Piedm...

Tall tales, History, Legends of Piedmont and Surrounding Area

Posted in the Piedmont Forum

Since: Aug 07

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#1 Dec 9, 2008
Hi,
So lately I have been just kind of enjoying Piedmont, and everywhere around it. Well, some things around here are just amazing! and not well known, others I just wonder what hapeened, when why, You know the stories that no one remembers. So I have been talking and taking notes from some area residents, still living, that lived and farmed where the lake is now. But I wondering if anyone has any other cool, interesting great old stories.

Here is some things I have heard. Fort Benton is not the only fort. There is one deeper back in Patterson, long long walk. I have not been there and hoping to go Saturday. Walls still up on it? Be interesting if it's there?

Granite Bend was quite a prospering town. Then poof no one lives there, and the state payed people to remove and tear down, all of it's existence. True? Don't Know, will find out when I go, I guess.

Annapolis and one of the James Brother (frank?) lived there, and the house is still standing?

The damm while being built, a man in a dump truck had a horrific wreck by the "ponds" next to the road when his truck flipped and he drowned?

Just looking for some info, new info, anything having to do with our colorful area.

Just a note. The most famous person to come out of Wayne Co. was a man by the name of Bernard McFadden. He was born in Mill Spring. You can credit Sports Illustrated to him, and all those juicy gossip magazines too!

Since: Aug 07

Location hidden

#2 Dec 15, 2008
So we all have heard the story of Captain Leeper, and his haunts. But history is by far more radical than the myth part of this story. William Thomas Leeper was born in Kentucky and moved to Wayne County in 1857. He purchased 225 acres in what is present day Mill Spring and Leeper. When the Civil War was on the verge of breaking out, W.T (we will refer to him as from now on) was strongly opposed to Missouri joining the Confederates in battle. He founded Company D of the Twelfth Regiment of Missouri Militia. I will not go into the insane details of what Regiment blah, blah, and just stick to the interesting stuff. W.T. becomes Captain, and lets just say went a little wild. W.T. took a band of his men and "hunted" for Southern sympathizers. His hunt included mass killings of unarmed men. He burnt villages, cities, homes, anything that would light. One such story involved a group of 29 men referred to as the McGee Massacre. W.T. and his men snuck up to the house that these southern sympathizers were staying at for the night.(Important to note the McGee Clan had just abandoned the Southern Army to return home to protect their families from W.T) While the men inside sat, unarmed, W.T and his men opened fire. All 29 men died. Daniel McGee was one of the men killed; he was shot so many times his torso was almost severed in half. There is some speculation as to the truth of this next story, but let the historians argue, if anything it shows you his reputation. On May 8, 1865, Arkansas, Seven Confederate soldiers surrendered to the Union. They were then shot and killed and brought back to Wayne County. It is believed; W.T personally knew these men and saw to it that no sympathizers were in his area of control. A monument to the seven soldiers can be found at Cowen Cemetery in Wayne County.

W.T was famous for his take no prisoners orders. When his own farm was ransacked with his family home, he made it a personal goal to hunt down all involved. During the battle of Pilot Knob, Leeper with direct orders from the General, searched for guerillas and scouts, he sent several letters back recounting each kill in detail. He was eventually found incompetent and released from the Army. But his reign did not end there. W.T stayed in contact with his former unit and even helped organize the burning of Doniphan, MO. It is interesting to note, only one person was not given amnesty for the crimes they committed during the War, and he served under W.T. After the war W.T served as a member in the 25th Assembly of Missouri.

Legend has it W.T went crazy in house before he died. As one can imagine, he saw and took part in a lot of disturbing battles. It is rumored that he had to be tied down to stop him from battling the demons around him. He died May 19, 1912. He was 89 years old.

Although he is associated with some of the cruelest guerilla hunt downs in Missouri and Arkansas, he did many great things for Wayne County and Leeper. He is credited with "persuading/forcing" the railroad to go through Leeper. He served on the Committee for Education, and helped expand rural schools.

Knowing the history of Leeper Mansion, makes the sensation of Captain W.T. Leeper walking around today more realistic

Since: Aug 07

Location hidden

#3 Dec 15, 2008
Tidbits on Leeper

Leeper of course is named after W.T Leeper.(Yeah that Captain I spoke about previously) In 1871, W.T. Leeper “Convinced” the Iron Mountain Railroad to run through his property, even though they had to cut through two mountains. In 1872 Clarkson Sawmill had moved to Leeper and set up shop. This immediately caused the rise of Leeper as a “boom-town”. Leeper was not actually founded until 1874, by W.T.’s son Sid. By 1881, Leeper was a bonified town with a post office, although then it was called Leeper Station. Leeper had one hotel and four stores. Leeper’s hotel, Ozark Hotel, in the early part of the 20th century was considered one of Wayne County’s most elaborate resorts.

Andy Clark, a black man, was lynched in Leeper January 21,1903.

One of Leepers’ more famous residents is Jessie Beard Rickly. She was born in Leeper in 1895 and in her teens persuaded her parents to allow her to move to St. Louis to study art. Her artwork is still shown today and only going up in value.

Although he is not from Leeper, this next story probably involves one of the most famous people to ever come to Leeper. George Sisler, aka Gorgeous George, was a baseball player for the S. Louis Browns. George held the MLB record for most single hits in a season from 1920-2004. One year Sisler came to Leeper to visit his friend Herman Radke and do some Quail hunting. It was common for Radke to load the hunters up in his ford truck and drive down the railroad tracks. One evening, while waiting for the train to pass, Radke, Dr. Owens, Sisler, and Paul Simmons all waited in the station. Dr. Owens found a deck of playing cards and the men began to gamble on a little poker. A short time into their game, three men barged in wearing masks. Two of the men were armed. The three masked men began to rob the poker players of money, jewelry, anything of value. Paul Simmons pleaded with the masked men to let him keep his wedding ring and they obliged. Sisler, on the other hand, turned his around and hid it. Leeper being a small town, Dr. Owens, noticed one of the coats on the masked men. After the masked men left, Dr. Owens alerted authorities and the three men were apprehended. But during the court trial, which Sisler had to travel back for twice, the Judge determined that due to the men’s gambling, no matter how small, the robbers were innocent and set free. So basically, we get someone famous, rob them and tell them it is their fault. Gotta Love it!

Well that’s as far as I am getting into Leeper. What town is next?

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#4 Dec 18, 2008
from the way i hear it from people who have been life long residents of leeper, and their parents were, and their parents and so on. captain leeper was a racist, he and his boys would wait for a black person to get off of the train and they would hang them and then dump the bodies up by the leeper water tower, if you go up there, you can still see the sunken in spots where the bodies were thrown, there are no markers obviously, but its pretty obvious as to where the bodies are. i dont understand why he would go after southern sympathizers if he was so against the blacks. if your stories are from a historical archive, please let me know so i can correct my stories, it would be nice to have some actual proof. but if all this is true, then the hanging tree is still standing by the railroad tracks, its a big big tree. please let me know about your information.

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#5 Dec 18, 2008
oh and capt. leeper is buried in the family graveyard behind the mansion.

Since: Aug 07

Location hidden

#6 Dec 19, 2008
http://www.geocities.com/clintlacy1/nomanslan...
http://home.usmo.com/~momollus/FranCoCW/47MOI...
Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri(1901) By Howard Louis Conrad pg. 411
You can read Leeper correspondance at the Library of Congress under Civil War Archives

I always thought he was a confederate, too. He fully suported the Union and served the Union the best I think he could. I guess over the past 100+ years someone explained this mans "evil" ways and it just got spun into him serving the Confederates. If you want more sources just let me know. By the way the above book can be read at http://books.google.com/books... . Just type in leeper and it will take you to him. Thanks for reading!

Since: Aug 07

Location hidden

#7 Dec 19, 2008
As far as the hanging tree goes, I can not verify it. Wayne County has HORRIBLE records of anything. They only thing I could find on blacks and Leeper was that Andy Clark was lynched there in 1903. I am currently going through old diaries and such. If I come across more on the tree I will let you know. But my personal opinion is, probably quite a few people saw their last breaths on the tree. Usually stuff like that is a personal record and never "official".

Since: Aug 07

Location hidden

#8 Dec 19, 2008
The next "town" hopefully will be out on Sunday. Back to reading!

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