Windows On Our World

March 2023 | Written by Maribeth Griessel

     This month we will continue exploring the history of both Barry and Gashland, concentrating primarily on the latter. 

     But first a look at another of the stained glass windows in the sanctuary. Pictured here, we see the Good Shepherd window, found along the west wall. Jesus is portrayed in scripture as both a shepherd and as the Lamb of God. We see him here amidst some of His sheep, carrying a lamb. This window was selected specifically for the young children of the church.

      Previously we discussed early settler Joseph Gash and his descendants. His daughter, Pauline, married Dan Carpenter and this couple played a prominent role in the history of this part of Clay County, primarily the Gashland area. After initially working as a merchant for 2 ½ years at Randolph farther east in Clay County, he moved to Barry for 3 years. Gold fever caught up with him and he spent a year in California before returning home to Missouri, where he would combine the careers of farming and being a merchant. Grandson of a Virginian Methodist minister, he would become a vital member of Barry Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He became an elder in January, 1860, and clerk of session the following month. Additionally, he served from that time until 1911 as the Sunday School superintendent. A talented horticulturist, Mr. Carpenter grew apples, peaches, pears, grapes and berries on 25 acres known as Woodside Fruit Farm.

      Not far to the east of Barry, a village was established in 1890, comprised of 4 or 5 houses, a blacksmith shop and a railroad station for the O.K. (Omaha, Quincy and Kansas City) Railroad. Dan and Pauline Carpenter donated ground for the train depot, (land currently the site of Bank of America on the southwest corner of Barry Road and North Oak) with the understanding that this would be called Gashland in memory of her family.  Due to extensive strawberry crops, this became a fairly large, prosperous area, though never formally incorporated into a town.

      Around the year 1900 Dan Carpenter built a two story building across from the depot on land now occupied by the CVS Pharmacy.  He used the second story as a community facility, with the space used at various times for business meetings, a Sunday School, public dances and even for women to do sewing for the Red Cross.  Mr. Carpenter enlisted Claude Knighton to open a store on the ground floor of his building.  Until then residents needed to travel to either Liberty or Barry, nowhere near the simple jaunt that is today, to conduct their shopping.  Mr. Knighton’s first stock was purchased for $65, with his business growing until at its peak he grossed $47,000!  He was quoted as saying, “Gashland was established on a Christian foundation and has continued so until now.  It is a far greater community and richer in history than anyone realizes.”

       At the height of the strawberry business, two rail cars of crated berries were shipped out daily. By 1935 the community of Gashland boasted 3 grocery stores, 2 feed companies, 4 gas stations, a barber shop, a restaurant, a blacksmith, a doctor’s office, a telephone exchange, a pool hall, a foundry, a welding shop, a church, a school, a fire station and an ice house.

       As shown on the “Olde Barry Gashland Area” map, you might still visit the Gash Cemetery, located just to the east side of Red Lobster on Barry Road, and view the graves of the Carpenters and other family members.  Dan died in 1920 at age 95 and his wife four years later at 94 years old.  They were childless.  A second historic site is the Barry Cemetery, found behind the Quick Trip on the south side of Barry Road, to the west of Highway 169.

      Another well-known little lady from Gashland’s early years would be Nettie Asbury, or as she was commonly known, “Granny Asbury”.  She lived in a small wooden building at the southwest corner of what is now Barry and N. Oak, in front of the train depot. She could be found, wearing her trademark lavender sunbonnet, as she gardened vegetables and flowers, tended her many chickens, ran a small store, and was the final telephone operator in the community while the exchange still originated several miles to the north in Smithville.

      GEPC member Carol Cooper shared, “The history of the area and the pond on the property that I grew up on was interesting, located on the northwest corner of N. Highland and Barry Road, with North Highland being called Dooley Road part of that time. A neighbor, Mrs. Bishop, lived near our house; she wrote a short history of this area and said that Jesse James watered his horse at our pond as he passed through the area at times.”

      Last month we barely mentioned Mamie Samuel whose Barry home has been moved to Missouri Town at Lake Jacomo.  We will certainly include more information about this lady in the future.  We had hoped to include a picture of her Bible in this issue, but her son is having problems locating it. He believes it to be in storage in his attic, but has not yet found it so we can take a photo. Will certainly do so if possible for next month. And in April we will begin to tie in our Barry and Gashland heritages into what would become our current church.