The first-ever Civil War engagement involving Black soldiers occurred on Missouri soil, not far from Butler in Bates County. The momentous event will be commemorated at one of Missouri’s newest state historic sites, Battle of Island Mound, NW County Raod 1002, Butler, MO 64730, from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 10.
Much of what is known about this event comes from military records of the time or from oral histories. In this program, Dr. Ann Raab, of Weston, will share her experiences working as an archeologist at the historic site, as well as the social and cultural considerations of properly memorializing this moment in time.
On Saturday, June 17, Watkins Mill State Park team members will host a program titled Slave Soldier, from 2 to 3 p.m. . This presentation is about Black soldiers who fought for the Union in the Civil War.
Starting in 1866, Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, was the receiving station for the men of color following the Civil War. There, the most unlikely of soldiers, Cathay Williams, joined the United States Army in the United States Colored Troops. Williams, also known as Pvt. “William Cathay,” was the only female known to have served in what would become the Buffalo Soldiers.
Pvt. Isaac Johnson, the great-grandfather of one of the presenters, enlisted May 6, 1866, and joined his company at Jefferson Barracks. An original Buffalo Soldier, he traveled across Missouri by rail to the western frontier to serve with honor in the 38th and 24th infantries, and later reenlisted into the famed 9th Cavalry. His story is the basis of Slave to Soldier.
Watkins Mill State Park is located at 26600 Park Road N, Lawson. For more information, call 816-580-3387.
For more information visit mostateparks.com.
The Black Ancestors Awareness Campaign (BAAC) of Weston, Missouri, is pleased to announce the third annual Juneteenth Heritage Jubilee (JHJ3) commemoration, free and open to the public.
Host Angela Hagenbach will lead the festivities at Weston Bend State Park’s Bee Creek Shelter, 16600 MO-45, Weston, MO, from 10 am to noon.
A free BBQ luncheon sponsored by the Weston Rotary and live Kansas City jazz from 12:30pm to 2:00 pm concludes the celebration.
In Slavery and In Freedom
Grace, Grit, and Ingenuity
Honoring Weston’s Historic Black Ancestors
With song, poetry, storytelling, and spoken word, the 3rd Annual Juneteenth Heritage Jubilee (JHJ3) explores Weston Black history revelations, entertain you with drumming, dancing, and live jazz, and engage your mind and taste buds with an ancestral Juneteenth beverage that made its way from Africa!
In this multi-media event at Bee Creek Shelter, we’ll explore two of the myriad labor industries passed down from generations. With grace, grit, and ingenuity, these forebears’ skill sets enabled them to earn a living, plan their lives, and work those plans for a brighter future.
Then, honoring Sankofa, (to retrieve value from knowledge of the past), we’ll go back and fetch the story of a Weston Black family whose roots go back beyond 1860.
Guest presenters include poet Phyllis Becker, actors Gena Bardwell, Brother John Anderson, Trooper Lloyd Stevens, Rebecca Ehrich, jazz legends Roger Wilder, James Ward, and Mike Warren with 7th generation Weston Black descendant, saxophonist Tevin Johnson, and more.
We’ll meet a Laundress who used her skills to earn her freedom and buy her home and Buffalo Soldier Sgt. Maj. Robert L. Backer Jr. from the 1898 Spanish American War.
We’ll explore the Importance of Alleyways; used for deliveries, these Arteries of a Town provided safe passage for Black townsfolk before, during, and after the Civil War.
And lastly, Art In Motion, an African Drum and Dance, The Weston Heritage Jubilee Singers, and the Bethel AME Church Choir of Leavenworth, KS.
The 2023 Juneteenth Heritage Jubilee is made possible in part by a Missouri Arts Council (MAC) grant, as well as the generous support from the following: The Dible Foundation, Weston Chamber of Commerce, Weston Rotary Club, Holladay Distillery, BAAC, Catha Hall, Gary Hagenbach, Louis Smither, Green Grass Cattle Co., New Deal Warehouse, 10,000 Villages and other local businesses and contributors.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on 5/30/2023 to dedicate the new bench park at Blackhawk and Thomas Streets. Many Rotarians and city officials were present. The new bench park consists of five commercial grade benches and a concrete pad that were assembled and donated by the Weston Rotary Club in partnership with Rotary District 6040.
The project totaled slightly over $11,000 and is the fifth project the Weston Rotary Club and District 6040 have completed in service of the Weston community. For more information on the Weston Rotary Club, please visit our Facebook page.
Front Row L to R: Chris Donnelli, Lynn Johnson, Tami Weaver, Ryan Halling
Back Row L to R: Zim Hull, Kevin Harper, Keith Finn, Jerry Adams, Louis Smither, Kent Stelljes, Carl Felling
An altercation over a fender bender ended with the death of one man and arrest of another.
On June 3, the Platte County Prosecutor’s Office filed charges against Phillip J. Frazier in the death of Cody J. Steffen, in Northmoor, Missouri.
On June 2, 2023, Platte County deputies along with officers of the Riverside Police Department responded to reports of a shooting near a business in Northmoor, Missouri. The shooting allegedly occurred after the defendant’s vehicle struck the victim’s vehicle. Witnesses reported hearing the victim ask the defendant for his insurance information.
Witnesses also reported seeing the defendant pull a handgun from the small of his back and point it at the victim. The gun allegedly still had a holster on it. The defendant allegedly removed the holster from the gun and shot the victim from only a few inches away. The defendant was taken into custody shortly after the shooting by a Riverside Police Officer.
Prosecutor Eric Zahnd stated, “This is the kind of tragedy that is occurring far too frequently these days. Someone is dead from gunfire after a minor fender bender. Fortunately, thanks to an excellent joint investigation by the Northmoor and Riverside police departments and the Platte County Sheriff’s Office, this defendant was quickly apprehended and charged.”
Sheriff Mark Owen stated, “The loss of live in situations like this is something we never want to see. This type of incident impacts not just the friends and families of those involved but the whole community. Thanks to the willingness of citizens to assist in the investigation, the cooperation between law enforcement agencies and our collective efforts this defendant was quickly taken into custody.”
The defendant has been charged with 2nd Degree Murder and Armed Criminal Action and is currently being held in the Platte County Detention Center without bond. Charges are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.