My mother’s maiden name was Noland, as in Noland Road, which incidentally, was indeed named for the Noland family, some of the early settlers here in our neighborhood. They came to Jackson County from Kentucky when this area was first opened to American settlement back in 1825. The Noland Clan were die-hard Southerners, and several of those boys played into the Civil War and some of them even rode with the Bushwhackers.

My grandfather of that first generation, Francis Marion Noland, entered many acres southeast of the Independence Square. Noland Road was the western boundary of his original claim. He apparently added to it through the years and his property ran from about 23rd Street, to just south of present-day U.S. 40. Drumm Farm, The Glendale Farm and Stephenson’s Apple Farm Restaurant were all located on that property, as was the Independence Center and much of the Little Blue River Valley. The home that Francis Marion built was burned by Union troops during the Civil War’s Order #11, but was located on Lee’s Summit Road, where the Glendale Mansion is today, across from Drumm Farm.

Joseph Tilford Noland was one of Francis Marion’s many grandsons and grew up during the Border Wars along the Kansas-Missouri border. Joseph’s mother and father both died during a tuberculosis outbreak when he was only 4 years old. So, he was raised in the household of his grandfather, Francis Marion. If I have the order of my cousins straight, Joseph Tilford would have been my fourth cousin. Joseph Tilford Noland joined the Confederate Army at the outbreak of the Civil War when he was only 14. He served as a soldier under Upton Haye’s Company, Shank’s Regiment, in Sterling Price’s Army, and under General Joseph Shelby. He fought at the Battle of Wilson Creek, Battle of Lexington, Missouri, the Second Battle of Independence, and the Battle of Westport, to name a few. He was mustered out at Shreveport, Louisiana, following the end of the war and returned home to Jackson County.

He joined a wagon train hauling machinery to Canon City, Colorado, and used the money he earned to buy a farm near Hickman Mills, close by the Grandview farm of Harry Truman’s grandparents.

He fell in love and married Miss Margaret Ella Truman, the sister of Harry Truman’s father. After farming for a few years the couple moved to Independence in 1883, across the street from what is today the Truman home on North Delaware. When Harry came along, he spent a lot of time sitting on Uncle Joe’s front porch; because of that pretty blond-headed Bess Wallace who lived across the street.

Harry’s Uncle Joe and Aunt Ella also had three daughters about Harry’s age. Miss Nellie T. Noland grew up to become principal at the Gladstone School, Miss Ethel Noland was a teacher at Fairmount School, and Ruth (Noland) Ragland, who married and lived in the intercity district, between Independence and Kansas City.

Uncle Joseph Tilford Noland went into the real estate business and served on the Independence City Council in 1910 under Mayor Llewellyn Jones and later served under Mayor Christian.

As for Harry and Bess, I think we all know how that relationship went. When Harry Truman was nominated for the office of vice president, a newsman asked Harry’s Aunt Ella if she was happy about his nomination.

“Of course I’m happy about it,” she said. “Harry is a good boy.”

When he became president, she said she only hoped he would be able to visit Independence and have time to sit on her front porch at 216 N. Delaware and sip lemonade, as he often did when he was courting Bess Wallace from across the street.

Reference: “Independence & 20th Century Pioneers” by Pearl Wilcox.

• Ted Stillwell will be featured speaker before the Civil War Roundtable of Western Missouri this evening, May 14. He will cover the Noland Family History, who were some of the early settlers of Eastern Jackson County and many of them fought alongside the Bushwhackers during the Border Wars and the Civil War in this area.

To reach Ted W. Stillwell, send an email to or call him at 816-252-9909.