Alexander Majors Residence

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Description: Postcard of the Alexander Majors Residence
Collection: Mrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)See finding aid:,36981
Historical Article: When it was built before the Civil War, the Alexander Majors home at 8145 State Line was on 320 acres of land, with a good spring near the house. The original house, as pictured, had nine rooms, each 17 by 17 with a fireplace in every room. Alexander Majors' wagon caravans to Santa Fe operated at a time when this area was the western outpost. In his book written in 1893, Seventy Years on the Frontier, Majors described a wagon train: The organization of a full fledged train for crossing the plains consisted of 25 or 26 large wagons carrying from 3 to 3 1/2 tons each, the contents of each wagon being protected by sheets of thin ducking, such as is used for army tents. The number of cattle (oxen) necessary to draw each wagon was 12, making six yokes or pairs and a prudent freighter would always have 20 to 30 head of extra oxen, in case of accident or lameness...The men for each train consisted of a wagon master, his assistant, the teamsters, a man to look after the extra cattle and two or three extra men as a reserve...I think perhaps there was never a set of laboring men in the world who enjoyed more uninterrupted good health than the teamsters upon the plains. They walked by the side of the teams, as it was impossible for them to ride and keep them moving with regularity...Average distance traveled with loaded wagons, 12 to 15 miles daily...A large oval camp was made at night, with wagon tongues turned out and wagon wheels chained to each other, oxen inside the circle. Men, in groups of six, chose one cook in charge of meals and vessels, the others gathered and cut wood for fires and performed necessary camp duties.Majors got his start in 1848 when he bought six wagons and oxen and wrote a pledge for the men to sign, that while in Majors' employ they would not use profane language, get drunk, gamble or treat animals cruelly. Later he included loyalty to the United States government.Partnerships later were formed with William H. Russell, a Liberty merchant, and William B. Waddell, a Lexington, Mo., banker.Today the Russell Majors Waddell National Historic Association is working on restoration of the home and has plans for a museum. The Kansas City Park Board has received gifts of three acres of property adjoining the home and will maintain lawn and trees as a park around the museum.Kansas City TimesJuly 8, 1983
Barcode: 20000586
Item Type: Postcard


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