1114 S Noland Rd Independence, MO 64050



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.


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.

A Train Trip: Take the Rail to the Trails

Truman Depot, the start of our train trip

I recently had the pleasure of making a train trip by the Amtrak line which comes into Independence.

While I needed to make a trip to St. Louis, I turned it into a bit of a research project for the Silver Heart Inn Bed and Breakfast.   Boarding the “Missouri River Run,” which is the name of the route which runs across the state between St. Louis and Kansas City, I left from the local Independence Station.   The early morning train which would take me into the St. Louis station would arrive just after lunch.   Of course, this would give me time to maximize all the opportunities of traveling on the train.

It had been many years since I had ridden the train, and honestly I had forgotten how enjoyable it can be.  The gentle rocking of the train was comforting and the scenery rolling by the window reminded me that Missouri is a very diverse state.  I observed the quick change from city with industry that used to depend on the rails to bring needed resources and take the finished product to the market place, to rural with its fields full of soft, lush, green spring grass.  Old rail fences took me back in time to a different pace of life attested to by more than a few abandoned barns who had stories of their own to tell.

Each stop was interesting, people coming and going.  I wondered what brought each of them to the train: commuting, seeing loved ones, a special time of getaway?  A group of school children were being herded by teachers and mothers, taking a short ride from one stop to the other.  I saw a young man asleep, a bunch of soft pink roses bundled in pretty paper tucked protectively in next to him.  What lucky girl would have them?  I wondered if she knew how much he cherished and missed her.  The image of a sweet reunion played in my mind.  A grandmother and granddaughter were traveling together.  The little girl’s voice was full of excitement as she questioned the older woman about all things that were new to her.  They smiled and enjoyed each other; it will be a precious memory neither will forget.  My own daughter and I traveled together, a spontaneous trip to see a young man who is very special in her own life.  She will soon be out on her own, beginning her life in the world.  We both have busy lives.  I captured the opportunity to make something special of our stolen time together.

Feeling a bit hungry, my daughter and I were free to get up, move around, and walk to the club car.  A charming boxed lunch was shared in the booth in the club car.  We had time to talk.  My daughter, who had been somewhat skeptical about the train verses driving (because it would have been a half an hour shorter), remarked that, “This was really nice,  I’m glad we did this.  I would definitely do this again.”  I would trade 30 minutes for this time with her any day!  Having had our fill, we returned to our seats and catnapped.

A pull of the whistle announced Jefferson City station.  Our capital is beautiful.  From the tracks, the Governor’s mansion and various state government buildings can be seen.  The range of history here boggles the mind.  Many of the people boarding were in business attire.  Could I be traveling with lawmakers and other important people?

Mid-way into the trip, we entered Missouri wine country.  There are many choices for tasting.  I have my own favorite Missouri wines.  I enjoy the variety of those produced and often serve them for events at Silver Heart Inn.  We do our best to support local sustainability by conscientiously choosing locally produced products.

The landscape began changing from suburban to urban once again.  St. Louis was not so far away now.  Was this the end of my trip?  No, my trip had begun at the station as we boarded.  When we travel as a “car” society, we think of how long it will take to get there before our “vacation” can begin.  Travel is something we tolerate, a necessity of going from one place to another.  But what if we were to look at the “getting to” as part of the journey that can be the phase where we begin to wind down?  How much more would we feel like we got out of it?  I was only gone for an overnight trip but I do feel refreshed.  I slowed down and so did time, it seems.

And just so you don’t think that I was slacking, I wrote this blog, “Take the Rail to the Trails” on the train.  Which trails?  The Civil War, the westward trails, Santa Fe, Oregon, and California, or the campaign trail which ended here for President Harry Truman?  I will be arriving home in Independence as he did, later today.

My daughter is already planning her next trip.  It was fun!  I’m looking forward to doing it again.  But first, I think I’ll catch a bit of shut eye.  I’m not doing the driving!

Patterns and Textures – Other Times

Shirley Gamble lovingly decorated the Stone-Gamble Mansion in the 80s.  Here are a few patterns and textures in the house that her decorating complemented.

Patterns and Textures: Marble Entryway


This is the marble floor in the entryway at the front door.  I like to stare at it often and find familiar shapes.  I can make out a yellow Illinois, a red-brown sort-of Oregon and a green marbled Nevada.  (Not to scale, of course)



Stair Post


Here is the bottom post of the staircase.  By its rough-hewn look, it could be from the 1850s, when the house was built.  Curiously curved the way it is, it widens the bannister and opens the staircase.



Patterns and Textures: Cabbage Rose Carpet


The cabbage Rose (Rosa centifolia) is the primary element in the wool carpet found on most of the ground floor and the stairway.  The carpeting was installed in the mid-1950s and predates Shirley’s decorating.  Severely worn in some places after decades of service, this patch hints at the carpet’s original beauty.


Patterns and Textures: Gardening Scene


This gardening scene from colonial times is from the couch in the main parlor.  The couch has been in the house since at least the 1970s, but it fit in perfectly with Shirley’s decorating.


Patterns and Textures: Fire Dog


This is the fire dog in the downstairs fireplace. Newspaper articles about the house opine that these may have been original from when the house was built in the 1850s.  Does the head represent a fire sprite?  An angel?  A Greek god?




Patterns and Textures: Fireplace Mural

This is an addition we have made to the home, a mural over the fireplace.  It was painted in May, 2012 by Melanie’s mother during a visit from Virginia.  The mural represents the courtship of Margery Stone, the youngest daughter of Napolian B. Stone, builder of the house.  A protective and skeptical Stone looks over Margery, who is admiring a ring on her finger.  To the right, three suitors are present.  Which of them won her heart?  Was it Red, Pork Chop, or Top Hat?

Patterns and Textures: Gaslight

The light fixture in the kitchen appears to be converted from gas.  The gas valves are evident.  The fixture is in the newest addition of the home, from the 1940s or 50s, so if it was in the house before, it was moved from somewhere else.


I like to use many of these pictures as personalized wallpapers for my phone.  They are a constant reminder of the rich heritage of the house.  We welcome you to visit us and discover many more unique patterns and textures on your own.

Risk Reunion Weekend, 28-29 September 2012

On a recent weekend, my wonderful wife Melanie presented me with a surprise that was nearly a year in the making: a Risk Reunion!

Risk Reunion: Vintage box

First, I need to explain how Risk, the board game of world domination, played an important part in the history of the Silver Heart Inn.

Since seventh grade, I was close friends with Evan, who lived in this beautiful house with his grandparents.  I visited him here often, and got a glimpse of the many rooms.  I recall one occassion when we stayed overnight in the Little House, the cottage in the back.  With no adult supervision, we stayed up the whole night.  On the huge console TV, we watched Johnnie Carson on the Tonight Show, then scary movie after cheesy movie on the Late Show.

Starting in our Junior year of High School (1978, Go Bears!), Evan hosted a game of Risk on Saturday nights in the Dining Room.  Anywhere from five to fifteen people showed up each week to play.  Most of the time, we played multi-board games, split into two alliances and rolled the dice with a special program that Evan wrote in BASIC on his TRS-80.  I always played green, Evan was blue, and several of the other regulars had their colors: Barton was black, Scott was red.  We had T-shirts made in our colors with the words, “I take risks” and a special pocket on the sleeve for our Risk card sets.

I know what you’re thinking, “Musta been pencil-neck geek Central in there!”  I will only say in our defense that we were perfectly NORMAL high school students of our time.  We all had cars, and most of us had girlfriends.  My letter jacket was adorned with medals and pins from my triumphs in Math relays, but the gold C I wore came from JV track I ran sophomore year.  Like I said, normal.

After high school, our lives all followed their own separate ways:

– I spent time in the Navy and Navy Reserve and became an IT weenie (“Could you reboot one more time, ma’am?”).

– Evan became a serial matriculator, attending several prestigious universities.

– Scott was a part-time corrections officer and become a successful marketer of food products.

– Barton was a software developer team lead at Garmin (my own dream company to work for), and became an accomplished Contra dancer in his spare time.

– Sadly, after creating several award-winning screenplays, Bob succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2007.

Zoom ahead to 2010.  Evan came to town and called a few of us to meet at Arthur Bryant’s, his favorite barbecue place.  We learned that the beautiful house was going on the market.  Melanie has dreamed of running a Bed & Breakfast for a long time, and was convinced that this wonderful house I knew from childhood, would be perfect to welcome guests in.  It took us a year and a half to get our finances in order to make an offer, but soon the house was ours!

The summer was a scorcher, and it was very difficult to make improvements on the Little House in the hot weather.  Melanie told me we had a booking for the weekend, so I took off work the week prior to make the enormous upgrades that still needed to be done.  Fortunately, everything progressed well, and by the end of the week, we had reimagined the Little House into a fabulous Beach Cottage.

Meanwhile, since before we even moved in, Melanie was contacting as many of my Risk buddies as she could locate to arrange this Risk Reunion.  A few weeks out, I happened to look on her phone and saw Scott’s name.  Melanie played it cool, and said that he was in town to visit family and had heard about our Bed & Breakfast plans from Evan.

Well, Friday night came, the time for Scott to arrive.  As soon as he did, I showed him around the place.  As I was doing that (surprise, surprise), Evan showed up.  I was still in the dark, and thought that maybe Evan stopped by because he knew that Scott was here.  Then Barton arrived, and I still didn’t put the pieces together.  Finally, Melanie presented us with our new, improved Risk shirts, and explained about this wonderful surprise.  We enjoyed wine and cheese that evening, and got caught up on each others’ lives.

On Saturday, after a breakfast of pumpkin pancakes, the Risk tournament began.  We used three boards, connected in a line from Kamchatka to Alaska.  After some jockeying for position, we soon formed into alliances: Barton and myself against Evan and Scott, black and green versus blue and red.  Missing Evan’s old TRS-80, we used an iPhone app to roll the dice.

After many hours of enjoyable banter and intense conflict, black and green finally succumbed to the onslaught.  Not to worry, however, we are planning a rematch next September.

Patterns and Textures – Shirley

The Stone-Gamble Mansion was expertly decorated by Shirley Odneal Gamble from 1983 to 1985.  She took special care, because not only was the house a showcase for her interior decorating talents, it was also her home.  The house was featured in local newspaper articles of the times.

Shirley Gamble

Shirley Odneal Gamble

Shirley decorated the home in Georgian Style, a flamboyant style that is characterized by elaborately carved furniture legs, ball-and-claw feet, ornate carvings and gilding.  The style borrowed from many influences, architecturally from Greek and Roman styles, but Chinese and Eastern styles were common interior elements, such as oriental rugs, Chinese prints and lacquer ware.

Allow me to share some rich patterns and textures that were lovingly placed throughout the house by Shirley.

Chinese Wallpaper

This wallpaper print, found the southeast bedroom, is a perfect example of Chinese elements used in the Georgian Style.  There is so much subtle variety in the pattern of birds and dainty dancers, that it is hard to discern three repeating vertical bands.

Bluebird Wallpaper


This is the wallpaper design in the northeast bedroom.  It is light, bright and airy.


Bird of Paradise Wallpaper

This wallpaper was Shirley’s crowning achievement.  It is a pattern featuring a Bird of Paradise and adorns the front entryway, all the way to the top of the stairs.  Straight from the factory, the print is very, well, BLAH!–not very colorful at all.  Shirley punched it up by commissioning local artist Dortha Wingate to hand paint highlights to the flowers and feathers in burgundy, pinks and teal blues.  It was a stroke of genius, because it coordinated perfectly with the deep burgundy moire below the dado.

Dortha Wingate

An artist always signs her work!







Blue Drops

Shirley went a little 80s in the north bathroom.  This small chandelier and the light fixtures in the wall feature light blue drop-glass beads.  The rest of the room is done in baby blue and gold, with brass faucet and tub fittings.  Following the Georgian style, the large mirror is surrounded by an ornate, gilded carved frame.




Signatures in Elavator Shaft

In 1984, Roy Gamble suffered a stroke that confined him to a wheelchair.  At the same time that Shirley was redecorating, the house was remodeled for wheelchair access, including a small elevator.  But Roy wasn’t the only passenger.  On the wall inside the elevator shaft, visitors have made their mark, echoes of happy times.

Shirley and Roy

This is one of the first signatures on the wall, Shirley and Roy welcoming us all to their home.




These are some of the decorating elements that Shirley added to the house. In my next blog, I’ll feature patterns and textures found in the house from other times. Many of them are elements that Shirley’s contributions complemented and harmonized with.

The 1850s

The Stone-Gamble Mansion has been an Independence landmark since it was built.   The exact date of construction is unknown, but the best evidence seems to indicate that it was between 1855 and 1859.  To set the stage, here is a list of significant events in local and American history from the 1850s.

1850: Millard Fillmore becomes the 13th President of the United States on 9 July, after Zachory Taylor died in office.

1850s Millard Fillmore

Millard Fillmore

1850: California is admitted as the 31st state on 9 September.

1850s U.S. flag with 31 stars

31 Stars

1852 to 1855: Commodore Matthew Perry and his fleet of ‘Black Ships’ established trade relations with Japan.

1853: Franklin Pierce becomes the 14th President of the United States on 4 March.

1850s Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce

1854: The Kansas-Nebraska Act was signed into law on 30 May.  The law repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which used geographical location to determine whether a territory would be admitted as a free or slave state.  Under the new law, the inhabitants of a territory (beginning with Kansas) would decide by popular vote whether to allow slavery or not.  Abolitionist settlers from the East stream into Kansas, as do pro-slavery settlers from Missouri, leading to many clashes in the following years.

1855: Alexander Majors built his two-story farmhouse south of Kansas City (now 81st and State Line Road, on the Missouri side).  The farmhouse still stands, and it is now a museum.  Majors was a partner in a vast shipping firm that transported freight overland from Kansas City to all parts of the West.  In 1860, the firm created the Pony Express.

1855 to 1856: Abolitionist John Brown travels to Kansas.  Advocating violent action against slavery, he terrorizes pro-slavery settlers and fights several skirmishes in what has become known as ‘Bleeding Kansas.’

1850s John Brown, 1856

John Brown, 1856

1856: The sidewheel steamer Arabia hit a snag and sank in the Missouri River near Parkville on 5 September.  The wreck was excavated in 1988 and the cargo is on display in the River Market area of downtown Kansas City at the Steamboat Arabia Museum.

1857: James Buchanan becomes the 15th President of the United States on 4 March.

1850s James Buchanan

James Buchanan

1858: Minnesota is admitted as the 32nd state  on 11 May.

1859: Oregon is admitted as the 33rd state on 14 February.

1859: John Brown storms and occupies the Harper’s Ferry Arsenal in what is now West Virginia, from 16 to 18 October, with plans to use the weapons to arm a slave rebellion.  He was captured by U.S. Marines under the command of Army Colonel Robert E. Lee, and later convicted and hanged.

I’ll add more entries as I discover them.

Our Story

Our own love story began in 2008 with a small silver heart.  It was found on a wintry day the first time that Perry and Melanie went geocaching.  On one side is inscribed “Passion,” and the other side, “Romance.”  Taken as a memoir of that day, it became very precious to us.  It is on display and we just love telling the story.

Silver Heart

Perry also enjoys sharing the adventure of geocaching with anyone who is interested.  Kansas City is a great location for geocaching, alone or with the family it can be a great day outdoors, fun and educational.

Innkeepers Perry and Melanie Johnson welcome you to historic Independence, Missouri.  Silver Heart Inn is located just off “The Square.”  Take in the sights; visit our downtown shopping; soak in the history from the historic trails, the Civil War, or visit the home of president Harry Truman; enjoy the local flavor of Kansas City’s barbecue; or just relax in the garden with something delicious to savor.

Perhaps you have a special occasion?  Let us have the privilege of making it unforgettable.  Requests are our specialty.

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