Stratford Saunders Makes a Trip, 1902

A travelogue from the September 5, 1902 Skidmore Standard (Skidmore, Missouri), page 4:

Stratford Saunders Makes a Trip Over-land

Dear Mr. Editor: — After getting back from my trip I thought I would give you a short history of what I saw as it might interest some of the readers of the grand old Standard.

Well, to begin, we started (my son, Jim, and one daughter) from near Maryville in a two-horse conveyance, on Monday morning, Aug. 25, and drove by the way of Bolckow where I have a twin sister living, and here we proceeded to put up for dinner and spent some three or four hours visiting old friends that I had not seen for some time.

At three o’clock we started on our journey again, arriving at Savannah about sundown.  Here we stopped with Mr. Orris Saunders, a cousin of mine.  The next morning we visited the famous Richardson house, saw where Mr. Richardson was shot, saw where he lay, and heard some express themselves as to whom they thought did the killing.

After dinner we started on our journey again and went through St. Joseph where the Woodmen and the Elks were having a grand time.  We did not stop but drove on until night and went into camp.  The next morning we got up and started by daylight.  That day we drove to Weston and saw J. W. Jackson, a former Skidmore man, also a Mr. Owens, a brother to Frank Owens of Maryville.

Just beyond the town we stopped for the night and I must say we met with some as clever people as I ever saw.  They came to where we were camped and would have us to go to their houses and stay all night and put our horses in the barn and treated us royally.

I have now come to the most interesting part of our journey.  We crossed the river at Ft. Leavenworth where we saw the regular troops and the military prison but did not visit it as the prisoners had been taken out and put to work.  We then drove through Leavenworth City and on to the Soldier’s Home.  Anyone seeing this place would be compelled to saw that this is a grand and good nation.  Oh but it is a beautiful place!  It is kept as neat as any man’s lawn.  There are about 2,000 or more old soldiers there.

We then went on to Lansing where the state penitentiary is located.  We hadn’t been there long until we found ourselves within the prison walls with a guide at our disposal.  We proceeded to go through the whole building.  They have, in all, about 1,100 prisoners.  They have about 55 hangmen.  They are called hangmen because they have been sentenced to hang, but the Governors of the state will not sign the order for the execution, so they are just kept there for life.  There are, including these, about 100 life prisoners.  I saw the famous Jessie Morrison whom you have all read about in the papers.  She has been sent there for 25 years.  I also saw a young girl about 16 or 18 years old who was sent there for life for killing a child.  She and an old woman who is blind are both sent for life.

Well, when our time was up they let us out, but while in there I bought a little souvenir made by some of the inmates.  They had some of the finest things for sale that I have seen for a long time.

I could write many more things of interest but I fear of worrying the readers of your paper, so will close by saying that we got to Kansas City that night about midnight.

S. Saunders.