to be honored at pocket park
ceremony will take place on Tuesday
William Paxton led an interesting life.
He was a prairie farmer that grew tired of the
prairie. So he started a town Platte City
helped it become a county seat and he became
its prominent lawyer.
Along the way, Paxton managed to add the titles
of general store merchant, mill operator, abstractor,
banker, public administrator, landlord, poet,
genealogist, historian and author to his resume.
Indeed, he is best remembered in Platte County
as the historian and author who wrote "The
Annals of Platte County, Missouri," a work
that still remains the definitive account of the
countys earliest days.
Prized by genealogists, the Annals features the
family trees of prominent Platte County families,
a service that Paxton said would show "that,
by intermarriage, we have become one great family."
And as another prominent Missouri citizen, Harry
S. Truman, would often comment on other matters,
it shows that history is often written by the
The annals contain colorful episodes culled from
period life, and often feature Paxton in a starring
Paxton tells how he and his friends tried to
cure the first known case of cholera brought into
town, but to no avail. He describes his efforts
to convince a marauding union army to spare the
Platte County Courthouse before he was hit with
a bucket and retreating to his home. At the volumes
end, he attempts to put his work in perspective.
"In this book, the aspirations of my life
are fulfilled," Paxton wrote. "The names
of my companions were fading into forgetfulness.
My volume is the first, but it will not be the
last, monument erected to their memory.
Now nearly 87 years after that last entry, Platte
City and the Native Sons of Greater Kansas City
are showing that they havent forgotten him,
honoring the pioneer with a bronze historical
marker in the new pocket park in Platte City.
The groups proposed plaque is set to outline
the life and times of Paxton, from his early days
as a farmer and lawyer all the way up to his time
spent as the historian of the area and genealogical
expert. The group has placed similar markers in
Kansas City Union Cemetery, Old Convention Hall,
the Battle of Westport and the Savoy Grill in
downtown Kansas City but it is the first such
historical marker by the group in Platte County.
Local historians are welcoming the event.
"Good show," said Lee Wilhite, genealogical
advisor to the Platte County Historical Society.
"Its a good thing for the old man to
get some recognition. I dont think enough
people are awake to history and appreciate it.
Others point to the mans enduring legacy.
"I think its a great thing theyre
doing," said Diane Pepper, director of the
Platte Area Historical Society. "His book
is the first thing many visitors to the Ben Ferrel
Museum look for. We still sell it, supporting
the museum to this day."
The dedication will occur on Tuesday, March 2
at 11 a.m. at the intersection of First Street
and Main. All are invited to attend.