Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Weston to Kansas City

"I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come....."

I always start humming that old song every time I hear the words spoken about Kansas City.  Don't know why, but I just do.

Kansas City was selected as a stopping point on the trip because just outside of KC is Weston, Missouri.  Weston has the distinction of being voted the best small town in America and has an interesting history -- Lewis and Clark, on their famous expedition, camped out in Weston. Weston was one of the oldest settlements the early 1830's and was also the farthest western settlement (thus, "West Town") in the United States until the Texas joined the U.S. in 1845. William Buffalo Bill Cody was at one time a resident of Weston, and the town was a major "jumping off" point for the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail and the California Gold Rush. It was also at one time the second largest port on the Missouri river, surpassing both Kansas City and St. Joseph; in 1850 over 200 steamboats a year docked at the Port of Weston.
The Weston Brewing Company was first established in 1842 by German immigrant, John Georgian, and was one of the first lager beer breweries in the U.S. Five arched, limestone cellars, dug to a depth of 55 feet below ground, were constructed to create the ideal conditions for Georgian’s lager beer which needed to be stored below 60 degrees. The brewery closed in 1919 when prohibition was signed into law. In 2005 the Weston Brewing Company reopened and one of the cellars now houses a unique bar which requires patrons to descend down through a small rock faced tunnel to get to the large, cool, cavern like bar.
Weston, during the 1800's was also home to several of my ancestors, on my father's side.  I've been building my family tree, and recently tracked my father's fathers back to the early 1700's.  They were early pioneers, traveling from Virginia in the mid to late 1700's to the Weston area.  Both my great great grandfather and his father and wives are buried in one of the cemeteries in Weston.  When I realized that our road trip was going to pass nearby to Weston, I decided it must be a stop, so I could find their graves and see the area in which they lived for several generations.
Today, Weston is located really close to Kansas City International Airport - maybe about 20 to 25 minutes northwest.  It's still a little town - less than 2,000 residents - but there are a number of large farm homes that surround the town.  The country roads out there are winding and offer you beautiful rolling green hills, red barns and white picket style fences as you drive into town.  Farmers in overalls sitting atop their big green tractors still clog the roads and slow you down if you're lucky enough to be caught behind one.  
Our drive from O'Fallon/St. Louis was uneventful and we found ourselves in the greater KC area early in the afternoon.  Early enough, in fact, to make a stopover in Independence, home of Harry S. Truman, AND a Passport place!  We visited the Visitors Center, and then wandered down the street to the Clinton Soda Shop, where young Harry worked while growing up in this cute little town.  I don't think he actually worked in the soda shop, but he worked in the same building.  The history archives are a little bit unclear on that item.  Regardless, we ventured into the soda shop for an afternoon snack to tide us over until dinner.  I had a yummy ice cream sundae and Adrienne had a grilled cheese sandwich and a Limeade.

After Independence, we got back into the car and move on to finding Weston.  About 30 minutes later there we were in downtown Weston.  Completely lost in terms of finding the cemetery.  There are actually 3 cemeteries there, and the one we wanted was outside of town about 3 miles or so.  A nice young man in the main hotel there knew where it was and gave me directions.  A few minutes later there we were -- so close to my ancestors.  The next chore was to find their graves.  I had a picture from my research so I knew there was a raised headstone with the name Cox on it.  That helped to locate it in what appeared to be about 2-3 acres of graves.  

I can't explain in words what it felt like to stand before their graves.  To see their names etched in granite - their dates of birth and death - here I was - well over 150 years later - standing there taking it all in.  The location of the cemetery is lovely too - a serene vista of the neighboring farm homes and fields from atop a knoll that is this cemetery.  A quiet breeze of warm air.  We were the only ones there.  I just thought a lot about who they were, what their days might have been like, and could instantly understand why they lived there, in this beautiful little place of America carved out just for them.  It meant a lot to me to be there.

Jacob Cox was the father of Spead (see below).  Spend was MY father's grandfather.

 Julia married Spead.

 The cemetery is beautifully maintained and looks out over rolling green hills.  My family's graves are up near the top end, in the older section, as shown below.

1 comment:

  1. It was quite a thrill to find the final resting place of Sherita's relatives in this beautiful place. It was an honor to be there.