I would like to continue with some of the highlights of the counties of the 51st District. This week we move to Johnson County formed in 1834. District 51 incorporates almost half of Warrensburg, the county seat.
Martin Warren founded the city in 1856. Martin Warren Elementary School is located in District 51. The city is known for two things in particular, Old Drum and the University of Central Missouri. However, there is much hidden history associated with these stories and histories.
First, a note of information: District 51 has two famous canines with Old Drum in Johnson County, and in Saline County, Jim the Wonder Dog. This week we'll review the story of Old Drum and next week we'll consider the story of Jim the Wonder Dog.
Interestingly enough, the Old Drum story involves all three counties of District 51. The story begins with the death of Old Drum at the hands of owner Charles Burden's brother-in-law Leonidas Hornsby. Burden took the case to court and sued for the maximum restitution allowed by law, $50. George Vest traveled from Pettis County to represent Old Drum's owner in the case and gave the famous closing argument invoking the phrase "man's best friend." Today the thoughts of loyalty and friendliness is traced back to Vest. The eloquent orator passed away in Sweet Springs in 1904. A statute of Old Drum is on the new courthouse lawn and the old courthouse that housed the trial is still standing.
The notable institution of Warrensburg is the University of Central Missouri. Originally founded in 1871 as State Normal School, District No. 2, the mission of the school was to train teachers. The name became Central Missouri State Teachers College in 1919, Central Missouri State College in 1946, and Central Missouri State University in 1971. The latest name change to the University of Central Missouri came in 2006.
The university offers 105 bachelors degress, several graduate degrees, online instruction, the Lee's Summit campus, and of course, the Innovation campus. The university participates in the Great Internet Merseene Prime Search (GIMPS) and has discovered three Mersenne prime numbers.
Several well-known personalities have traveled through the halls in Warrensburg. Phog Allen developed basketball coaching to such a level that he is honored at the University of Kansas with Allen Fieldhouse. Vern Kennedy threw the first no-hitter in Comisky Park in Chicago and Jeff Wright played in several Super Bowls with the Buffalo Bills. Dale Carnegie studied in Warrensburg before moving east and discovering How to Win Friends and Influence People. Finally, Erich "Mancow" Muller, radio personality and a star of "God, Guns, and Automobiles". You can view this reality show on the History channel. However, this is certainly not an exhaustive list.