Missouri's story told on bicentennial quilt

·3 min read

Oct. 28—From the boy who grew up to achieve acclaim as an agricultural scientist to the headliner court case involving the shooting of man's best friend, a quilt now on display at Joplin City Hall visually conveys the stories of Missouri.

Viewing of the Missouri Bicentennial Quilt, which features 115 blocks representing the state's 114 counties plus the independent city of St. Louis, opened Wednesday on the first floor of Joplin City Hall, 602 S. Main St. The display continues again from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday.

Members of the Talken family did not let Wednesday's rain and drizzle stop them from seeing the quilt.

"I think it's neat there's a block from each county and somebody was able to submit those and they were judged," said Emily Talken, who lives in the Joplin area. "The Missouri star is close to where I grew up, and it was neat to see."

A quilter herself, she came to see the quilt along with her daughter and her parents-in-law from Cass County.

"The interesting part to me is that each county is depicting what they feel their county represents in the overall of Missouri," said Alberta Talken, mother-in-law of Emily Talken and who also quilts. "It's what they see themselves as, which might be different from someone from another part of the state. It's pretty interesting."

Alberta Talken's husband, Bernard, said, "I liked that it depicts by the county what their ancestry is or what it relates to in the present day."

The Cass County quilt block depicts the burning of communities in the county by Union soldiers during the Civil War to chase out insurgents. Jasper County is represented by a rendition the Kneeling Miner statue on historic Route 66 in Webb City. Newton County is illustrated by a portrait block of George Washington Carver, whose birthplace in the county is the site of the George Washington Carver National Monument near Diamond. A block for Barton County shows a quilted version of the President Harry Truman Birthplace.

Among the other famous Missourians named in the blocks is author and humorist Mark Twain, whose birthplace is in Monroe County.

Famous sites depicted in the quilt block include Livingston County, the "Home of Sliced Bread." A town in that county, Chillicothe, is where a baker in 1928 introduced the world's first sliced bread to the public.

Another Missouri story that has withstood time to be depicted on the quilt is that of Old Drum, a hunting dog that was shot by a neighbor in 1869 after some of the neighbor's sheep had been killed. The dog's owner filed a lawsuit contending Old Drum was innocent of any sheep assaults. After three trials, the sheep owner appealed the case to Court of Common Pleas in Warrensburg, which is in Johnson County.

The lawsuit over the death of Old Drum was won by the dog's owner after an impassioned plea to dog-loving jurors by an attorney who told them that "the one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog."

Today a statue still stands in Warrensburg in tribute to the wrongfully slain Old Drum.

Missouri bicentennial ice cream socials were held during the summer across the state, including those in Joplin and area towns. After the quilt leaves Joplin, there are no other bicentennial events planned here, according to Patrick Tuttle, the director of the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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