1114 S Noland Rd Independence, MO 64050

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Month: December 2017

Who Was Samuel Parker?

In the family plot of Napolian Bonaparte Stone in Woodlawn Cemetery, about a half mile from our inn, a tall monument has a panel marked, “SAML. M PARKER; DIED; SEP. 8, 1864; AGED; 28 Y. 4 M. 28 D.”  In the northeast corner of the family plot, likely the first to be buried there, is a headstone with the initials S. M. P.

Samuel Parker

Exactly who was Samuel M. Parker, and what relation does he have to the Stone family?

Napolian Stone MonumentThe patriarch Napolian Bonaparte Stone (1818 – 1883) built the house that would become Silver Heart Inn about 1856.  Our realtor  gave us some great information about the Stone family before we bought the house in 2012.  Soon after we purchased the home, I located the Stone family plot at Woodlawn.  The grand monument stands over fifteen feet tall and is topped with the statue of a beautiful lady.  It is the prettiest monument in the entire cemetery.

I always wondered why there was a panel dedicated to Samuel Parker on the monument.  He must have meant something to the family to be included in the family plot.  I also wondered if his death at a young age had anything to do with the Civil War.

Distractions

Years passed, and we became preoccupied with improving the Bed & Breakfast.  A 160 year-old house is in constant need of attention.  A new roof here, a hot water heater there, a major renovation of the columns holding up the porch roof.  New and renovated bathrooms.  Projects great and small that took a lot of oversight.  But thankfully, we are now at a point where the MAJOR tasks are mostly done, and we can continue to research the Stone family.

What We Already Knew

We knew that Napolian Stone and his wife Emily had three daughters that lived to adulthood. Annie was born in 1846, Addie in 1854 and young Margery in 1858. Margery was probably born in our house.

We also knew that oldest daughter Annie married Col. John T. Crisp, a gregarious, larger-than-life figure that served in the Missouri state legislature. Physically large, he was sometimes known as Jumbo by his detractors, and he was ever ready to deliver the most heartfelt speech in a booming voice.

An Interesting Discovery

Recently, Jackson County has made many records and documents available online, mostly deeds and marriage records. Curious, I looked for some information on the Stone family.

I could find no marriage record for a groom named Crisp and a bride named Stone. Were they married in another county? However, when I looked only for a bride named Annie Stone, it turned up a marriage record from 17 March 1864 for Annie M. Stone and none other than Samuel M. Parker.

Parker was Annie’s first husband we never knew about!

Searching for Samuel Parker in legal records turned up a few things. There is a commission from Governor R. M. Stuart appointing Parker as a Notary Public in 1858 at the age of 21. The next year, in connection with the holding of a promissory note, his name is mentioned last in a list of business partners and prominent Independence citizens:

“Wm J. Stone, Wm M. McCoy, Wm Chrisman, N[apolian] B. Stone, [Sheriff] George M. Buchanan, Thomas T. Smith and Samuel M. Parker, under the name and Style of Stone, McCoy & Co.”

Samuel Parker was the most junior of junior partners in business with his future father-in-law.

Twenty seven year old Samuel married the boss’ seventeen year old daughter Annie in March of 1864. He died the following September, which explains his burial in the Stone cemetery plot.

Cause of Death

We have been unable to learn the cause of Samuel’s death. He may have succumbed to disease, such as cholera. Or the Civil War, raging in Missouri at the time, may have been the reason for his death.

Samuel was a bit old for military service, at age 28. If he enlisted at all, it would probably have been with a Union Home Guard unit or state militia. Such units were employed in rooting out and engaging guerilla fighters throughout the state. However, I can find no record of any battles or skirmishes in the vicinity of Independence that incurred casualties within two months prior to his death.

But even if Samuel was not a combatant, he may have been a casualty of the war. Guerilla bands and nervous militia patrols made it extremely dangerous to travel. When stopped and challenged by armed men on the road, the wrong word could lead to summary execution.

Life Goes On

On the 21st and 22nd of October 1864, just over a month after Samuel died, Confederate Major General Sterling Price fought a running battle through town (known as the Second Battle of Independence) en route to defeat at Westport. In a daring sweep through the state, the long anticipated Price’s Raid was a final, failed attempt to arouse the southern sympathies of the citizens of Missouri, and possibly affect the outcome of the 1864 presidential election. It was the last major military operation west of the Mississippi.

Among the cavalry officers in Price’s Army of Missouri was a 26 year old Lieutenant Colonel John T. Crisp. Born and raised in Chapel Hill, Missouri in nearby Johnson County, this area was familiar to him.

Did the young cavalry officer meet newly-widowed Annie at this time?

John T. Crisp and “Mrs. Annie Parker” were married on 18 December 1866. They had five children and remained married until John’s death in 1903. Their eldest son, Napoleon Bonaparte Crisp, was named after Annie’s father (without the quirky spelling). Another son, Greenville Crisp, was named for John’s father.

Divided Loyalties

The marriage of Annie and John T. Crisp demonstrates that loyalties were not so clear during and after the Civil War as we generally believe now, especially in Missouri. The daughter of Napolian Stone, an avowed Unionist, married a former Confederate cavalry officer. After the war, there were many matrimonial and political unions that joined former enemies. For example, the Missouri Democratic Party in the 1880s, to which John T. Crisp belonged, was made up of an alliance of Union men and ex-Confederates.

An Exciting Journey of Discovery

Finding new information about the Stone family was very exciting, and there is much more to be discovered. Other than a couple of photographs of John T. Crisp, several deeds and records and some newspaper articles, we have very little information on the family. Fortunately, given time, there are many new sources to explore. If you have any information about the Stone family, please share it with us.

How’s That Name Spelled?

Our house was built in about 1856 by Napolian Bonaparte Stone (1818 – 1883), a prominent banker and businessman in the pioneer history of Independence. There appears to be some controversy in the way he spelled his first name.

The Namesake

Napoleon BonaparteNapolian Stone’s French namesake Napoleon Bonaparte was a young lieutenant of artillery when the French Revolution began in 1789.  He worked his way through the ranks, becoming a general four years later at the age of 24.  A string of victorous battles and a campaign in Egypt caused his popularity to soar, and by 1804 he was named Emperor.  His military victories expanded the French Empire from Spain to Russia.  When the Russian Czar withdrew from its alliance with France, Napoleon invaded, and was defeated, more by the Russian winter than by battle.  Exiled to Elba in 1814, he escaped and returned to France the next year.  He raised another army, but within a hundred days he was defeated once and for all at Waterloo.  Napoleon passed away in exile on the lonely south Atlantic island of St. Helena in 1821.

Our Napolian

When Napolian Stone was born in 1818, Napoleon Bonaparte was still alive.  Americans at that time were generally amicable toward France, a vital ally from the American Revolution, and they admired the self proclaimed Emperor who once controlled most of Europe.  It is not surprising that Stone’s parents named him after this impressive figure.

There is no record of Napolian Stone’s birth, nor have we been able to find a record of marriage to his wife Emily.  According to the information we have, he came from Kentucky to Independence with Emily and daughter Anna about 1846, and the earliest records from Jackson County bearing his name are from 1849.  As a banker, he was involved with many transactions (deeds, mortgages, etc.) that are recorded with the county clerk throughout the 1850s, 60s and 70s.  In all the examples we can find, Stone’s first name is always spelled like the French general, ending in -eon.  When he affixed his signature, he always used his initials, “N. B. Stone.”

Legal Document

A legal document from 1857.

Why Was it Spelled Napolian?

So why would we believe that the proper spelling of his name was Napolian? The proof is carved in granite.

Stone MonumentThe Stone family plot in Woodlawn Cemetery (less than half a mile from our inn) contains a grand monument fifteen feet high with a statue of a young lady (an angel?). I believe it is the most beautiful marker in the entire cemetery. The monument has panels that mark the life of Mr. and Mrs. Stone and list several of their children who died in childhood. There is also a panel that commemorates Samuel M. Parker (more about him in a later blog).

Stone’s first name on the monument is spelled with –ian. Not once, but in two places. Of all the places where a person’s name is written, it should be spelled the desired way here. A man would make sure his name was spelled correctly on his tombstone!

Napolian spelling
Spelled -ian

A Mistake?

Was the –ian spelling the result of a stone carver’s mistake? Not likely. If Mr. Stone objected to the spelling of his name, there were several options to make a correction. The error could be ground down and carved again. Or a mixture of cement and granite dust could be used to fill the error. Or the entire panel could be redone.

Correction in Stone
A stonecutter's mistake. "Minny" corrected to "Minnie."

Why Spell it That Way?

We will probably never know why Napolian Stone spelled his name in such a non-standard way. Perhaps that is the way his parents taught him to spell the name. Or he preferred an alternate spelling to set him apart from his namesake.

Help !

As you can probably discern, most of this blog is our best-informed speculation about Napolian Stone. Currently (December 2017), we do not have much definitive information to go on. We don’t even have a photograph of Napolian or any of his family. If you have any information, please share it with us.

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