by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
When I view the personality descriptions, I find myself identifying with characteristics from each personality type, but I’m definitely Type A when it comes to being rigidly organized. So, when I attempt to write I always want my research to be organized, usually chronologically. I’m sure I have spent far too much time attempting to identify all of the newspapers that have served our community. Still, that is the challenge I have given myself and frustrating as it is, I continue to try and “get it right.”
At the risk of too much repetition, I have mentioned The Kansas City Times and Star and its’ sister publications, circa 1880, The Oak Grove Banner, circa 1880 to 1985, The Buckner Star, circa 1890s, Buckner Tribune, circa 1897, The Jackson County Examiner, circa 1898, or The Examiner, circa 1898, which became The Independence Examiner in 1905.
I have written about The Sni-A-Bar Voice, circa 1901-1923, The Grain Valley Herald, circa 1914-18, and the Grain Valley News in The Oak Grove Banner. That brings me to The Jackson County Democrat. There was a paper by that name in Independence, Missouri from 1907-12, however, I do not believe that newspaper covered Grain Valley.
The Jackson County Democrat (Fairmount Station) was published in Kansas City until 1951. At that time several newspapers sprang up. The Blue Springs Herald lasted only a few months in 1951. It was followed by The Herald-Democrat, published in 1951 and 1952. The publication moved to Buckner in April of 1952, apparently replacing the Buckner Record, 1907-1951. All of these papers were printed by Herald Publishing Company.
And now enter, Lois Lauer. Miss Lauer was a KU journalism graduate from Abilene, Kansas. From her 1955 engagement announcement which appeared in the Kansas City Star, I learned she was the publisher of
The Jackson County Democrat in Buckner, Missouri. Her soon to be husband was James F. Wolfe of Leeton, Missouri. He was a graduate of Central Missouri State College (now University of Central Missouri) and was a reporter for The Kansas City Star.
I can find no record of when the newspaper returned to Blue Springs or when Lois and Jim Wolfe bought the paper. I can tell you that in 1959 my brother Charlie wrote the sports for Grain Valley High School and turned his stories in to the newspaper office on the north side of Main Street in Blue Springs.
During the summer after his senior year, he was employed as a reporter for the paper. He returned to work at the paper after his freshman year at Mizzou. (No, Lois did not talk him into a journalism degree from KU.) He covered traffic accidents and house fires, learned to set type and delivered papers to the area post offices, usually in the wee hours, on Thursday mornings.
With Lois as the editor and Jim as the publisher, they ran the paper until 1966. One would think the Historical Society would have many articles from the paper but after searching for several hours, I determined we do not have a single story. The only page from the paper I found at home was from May, 1964.
This is my graduation class - - all 26 of us. Moody Murry (football field) was our superintendent and he also taught us World History in the 10th grade. Romulus Malone was our principal and 11th grade American History Teacher. We had to write a term paper in American History on any topic we chose. I got an “A” on my paper titled “The Four Horseman of Notre Dame.” Did I mention, Mr. Malone was also our football coach!
Other items in the May 21, 1964 edition included:
Kathleen Barnard (Barnett) was our valedictorian and Loye Henrickson ranked first in the 8th grade. The 8th grade teacher was Mr. Gil Nichols.
The theme for kindergarten graduation was the Old South. The recessional was “Camptown Races” and other songs included “My Old Kentucky Home” and “Oh, Susanna.” Mrs. Gil Nichols was the kindergarten teacher.
The senior class motto was “From dreams to reality” while the 8th grade motto was “Knowledge and work are the keys to success.”
Seniors who have attended Grain Valley Schools all 12 years are Kathleen Barnard, James Brown, Janice Cogan, Diana Elliott, Lane Lasher, Karen Lindsay, Marcia Napier, James Payton, Donna Roberts, and Carolyn Taylor.
An oriental theme was used by the juniors for the junior senior banquet and prom. Tight security measures were in effect to keep the gym locked down before the event.
I'm sure that during the years 1952-1966 there were many more interesting and exciting things to read about in The Jackson County Democrat, but I rather enjoyed looking at these two old pages!
Next week: The Jackson County Sentinel, 1966-1974
Visit the Grain Valley Historical Society at 506 S. Main on Wednesdays or visit us online at ww.grainvalleyhistory.com and Facebook (@grainvalleyhistory).