“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Weston in Platte County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Laurel Hill Cemetery

Laurel Hill Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., August 1, 2014
1. Laurel Hill Cemetery Marker

The Waggoner Family
Known as a gentle man of large stature, Martin Richard Waggoner arrived in Weston in 1898 and opened a jewelry store before he went on to manage Kelly’s, a saloon in the St. George Hotel. Martin married Emma Quinley of Weston and the couple had two male children, but lost one when he was very young. Martin was elected Mayor of Weston in 1921 and served for twelve years. Unafraid of work, Waggoner was known to roll up his sleeves, put on work clothes and help with any chore that needed to be done for the city. An energetic, innovative man with a keen mind, and a great love of Weston and its citizens; he found solutions for many of the problems facing the city. To boost the local economy, Martin started the first “Tobacco Show” during his first year as Mayor. The shows continued into the 1950’s, bringing entertainment and fun for the community. His wife Emma, encouraged, pushed and aided Martin in his many endeavors. Martin passed away on Christmas, 1937 and Emma remained a widow for 42 years until her death on December 23, 1979.

Frank Kelly
Born in 1862, Frank Kelly was a good-looking, dapper Irishman. Frank and his business partner, George Baker, bought the St. George Hotel in 1899 and took over the saloon, the Palace Sample Room, changing its name to Kelly’s Bar.
Laurel Hill Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., August 1, 2014
2. Laurel Hill Cemetery Marker
At right foreground of photo
During these years, Frank befriended a stray dog named Bennie, and Frank spared no expense outfitting his little friend with clothes and hats. Bennie became very popular and his image was used on postcards and advertisements for Frank’s saloon. At the age of 43, Frank married a woman named Mary Josephine, who went by Josie. On a dark and stormy night in 1906, Frank accidentally shot and killed Josie, mistaking her for an intruder in their home. Frank was never convicted of any wrongdoing and he was laid to rest by Josie when he passed away in 1917 of diphtheria.

The Bless Family
Bartholomew John “BJ” Bless, Sr. was editor of The Weston Chronicle from 1886 until 1917 and was a well-known supporter of Weston. BJ and Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” How, had met as children and eventually married. They had two children: a son, who would later take over the family business from his father, and a daughter who died at one month old. After many years of marriage, BJ took a mistress, and despite objections from her family, friends and her church, Lizzie sought and won a divorce from BJ and custody of their only living child. BJ and his mistress left town. BJ eventually returned without the mistress and continued to run the paper. Nearly twelve years later, BJ and Lizzie remarried. Lizzie kept tabs on the mistress, and at one point, discovered she was
Photo of Bennie on Laurel Hill Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, circa early1900s
3. Photo of Bennie on Laurel Hill Cemetery Marker
ill. She and BJ brought the mistress back to their home, where Lizzie cared for her until her death. BJ died in 1943 and Lizzie died just four months later.

The Shenkner Family
Rudolph O. “R.O.” Shenkner was born in Züruck, Switzerland in 1851. He and his widowed mother, Anna Benz, immigrated to America and settled in Weston. He started a dry goods store downtown, established the Shenkner Opera House, a reading room before there was a library, and was considered one of Weston’s most successful early businessmen. He had two wives: first, Adele Bonifant, and after she passed away, Clara Brill. R.O.’s son, Jacquemin “Jack” Shenkner, served in the army, attended Kansas City Business College, and then went on to sell New York Life Insurance. Jack also served as secretary to a Missouri congressman for a time. He married Rita Belle Ross and managed his family farms and real estate. Rita was a devoted mother to their three children and served as the town baker, well-known for wedding cakes, cookies and especially her brownies.

The Ohlhausen Family
Born in Platte County, William Ohlhausen was a steamboat engineer, who owned and operated the Weston Mill for 35 years. He married the England-born Harriet Johnston and they had four sons, Charles Alexander, John Wesley, Edward Lee and William. Harriet died in 1917 and William
Laurel Hill Cemetery Sign image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr.
4. Laurel Hill Cemetery Sign
died in 1922. They were laid to rest side by side, and were later joined by several of their children. One grandson, Martin Monroe (Micky), son of Charles, and his wife, Ruth Schaback, raised their family on Spring Street in a home that had hosted the abolitionist minister, Frederick Starr, before the Civil War. Ruth was celebrated for her cake decorating talent and worked with Rita Shenkner to create an untold number of wedding cakes for Weston brides. These two women were neighbors in life and today; their family plots are adjacent.

[Inset photo captions, from top right to bottom right, read]
Frank Kelly and a postcard of his dog Bennie
2. A Cross symbolizing "salvation"
3. Mr. M.R. Waggoner
4. Lamb on a child's grave, symbolizing their "innocence" (there are many in this area)
5. Heart in Hand, a symbol used by either the I.O.O.F. and Masons which means the deceased was of a charitable nature.
6. Rita Bell Ross Shenkner
7. An Urn representing "mortality"
8. Father Time and Weeping Virgin, a Masonic carving, symbolizing that time, patience, and perseverance will accomplish all things
9. BJ and Lizzie Bless
10. A unique child's grave, a small hat (maybe like this child would have worn) a rose, calla lily, fern and [E]aster lily bouquet, symbolizing "beauty, innocence, resurrection and purity"
Erected 2014 by Platte County Outreach Grant Program and the Weston Community Theatre.
Location. 39° 24.914′ N, 94° 53.876′ W. Marker is in Weston, Missouri, in Platte County. Click for map. Marker is along the road through the cemetery, off Welt Street. Marker is in this post office area: Weston MO 64098, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Laurel Hill Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Laurel Hill Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Laurel Hill Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Laurel Hill Cemetery (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); United Methodist Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); Cody House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Benjamin Wood House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Weston Christian Church (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Weston.
Also see . . .  Laurel Hill Cemetery, Weston MO. (Submitted on September 19, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesIndustry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 264 times since then and 43 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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