by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Often genealogy searches lead me to a dead end because of my inability to verify a person’s name. In a large family several off-spring might name their children after a parent or grandparent, leaving me no precise answers.
This frustration led to my investing in another online program, Newspapers.com. It not only helps me find wedding announcements and obituaries, with family names and dates, but I can also look up pioneer newspapers.
In researching old newspapers with news of Grain Valley, one can begin with The Kansas City Times and Star, circa 1880, The Buckner Star, circa 1890s, The Buckner Tribune, circa 1897, The Jackson County Examiner, circa 1898, or The Examiner, circa 1898, which became The Independence Examiner in 1905.
I find the articles to be most informative and fascinating like this news item that appeared in “Missouri Notes” in The Kansas City Star on January 17, 1905. It read “Grain Valley people must get noisy very easily. The Grain Valley correspondent of The Sni-A-Bar Voice says: Everybody is loud in their praise of the new gasoline lamp which the ladies bought for the church.”
Okay, so it is not the most earthshattering news.
When I put The Sni-A-Bar Voice into the search line, I came up with the following information. The first issue of The Voice (serving Sni-A-Bar Township) was published by David C. Herrington (my great, great uncle) in Blue Springs, MO, in July, 1901.
It also gave me 1,283 hits with the word Sni-A-Bar. While I have only gotten through about half of them, I want to share one I found to be quite amusing. It appeared in December, 1914.
Missouri Man Tells of the Most Remarkable Results of His Printing
It pays to advertise.
“We are doing a superfine line of advertising in our office just now,” says the Sni-A-Bar Voice, “and our sale bills are the talk of the county. Week before last we got out an order of bills for a farmer north of town and they were so attractive and nifty that he couldn’t begin to take care of the crowds that flocked to the sale.
After getting top price for every animal, implement and article on the bill the auctioneer simply couldn’t stop. The people just clamored for more.
The farmer, in the hopes of driving them away, put up his mother-in-law. She brought $160 on the hoof. Then he offered his mortgage for sale.
A lifelong friendship between two old neighbors was shattered as each tried to outbid the other. It was finally knocked down to the richest man, who was promptly knocked down by the poorer.
He sold the weeds along the roadside. He sold a gold brick that he bought in Chicago at the World’s Fair. He sold the ruts in the road in front of his place and then offered to sell the secret of where he had the sale bills printed. We cannot give the results as the returns are not all in. They are bidding yet. That’s the kind of sale bills we print.” – Sni-A-Bar Voice.
This “advertisement” drew the attention of newspapers throughout the Midwest. As I stated, I’ve only perused about half of the over twelve hundred hits for Sni-A-Bar, but I found the story reprinted in The Kansas City Times, The Sedan Times Star (Sedan, Kansas), The Shreveport Times (Shreveport, Louisiana), The Overbrook Citizen (Overbrook, Kansas), The New Era (Davenport, Oklahoma), Indiana Gazette (Indiana, Pennsylvania), and The Sun (Glasco, Kansas) to name a few. I don’t know how much business they received from their ad, but they certainly got attention.
Over the new few weeks, I hope to find more stories to share from the newspapers that have served Grain Valley over the past century.
Visit the Grain Valley Historical Society at 506 S. Main on Wednesdays or visit us online at ww.grainvalleyhistory.com and Facebook (@grainvalleyhistory).