Stewards of History

Congressman Skelton Shares Memories
Ike Skelton shared personal memories of once representing a client appearing before Judge Brady-“a legendary figure”-and later getting an accidental endorsement during a Republican rally held at the courthouse during his first run for Congress in 1976.

Kansan Bob Dole, then the running mate for President Gerald Ford, looked to the signs in the crowd and urged his fellow Republicans to vote for the candidates whose names he saw. Skelton, a Democrat, had supporters there and seeing their signs, Dole mistakenly thought Skelton must be a Republican and promptly urged the would-be voters to “elected Ike Skelton to the House of Representatives.”

“That did the trick,” Skelton said. “I carried Jackson County as well as Independence.”
Congressman Ike Skelton Speaks at Rededication
Historic Legacy
In 1977 Skelton embarked on a 34-year career in the United State Congress, representing Missouri’s 4th District and earning, like Truman, a reputation for being a staunch supporter of military men and women and a vigorous overseer of military spending.

“Take pride in this courthouse,” Skelton said. “Use it and know in the decades ahead that those who follow you will be better off because of the government administrated here.”

Reimal and Sanders both noted that a great deal of history has been made in and around the Jackson County Courthouse, dating back nearly a half-century before Harry Truman’s birth in 1884. At Independence Square, pioneers often began their westward journeys in wagon trains bound for the Oregon and Santa Fe trails. The streets around the courthouse were the scene of battles waged during the Civil War.

Rich Tradition

Like Skelton, many politicians gathered at the courthouse on election nights, waiting anxiously for votes to be counted.

How many families, Reimal pondered, got their start with marriage ceremonies performed in the Truman Courtroom? “All of us here today are now stewards of this rich tradition and history,” Sanders said.

“President Truman left his legacy in his words and his actions,” he continued. “They still live on through us and through the history of this great square-in his town, in our town, in our county and, once again, in his and our courthouse.”

Officials Support New Courthouse
Those attending the re-dedication ceremony and thanked for supporting the project included members of the Independence City Council, Jackson County Legislators Scott Burnett, Theresa Garza Ruiz, Dan Tarwater, James Tindall and Dennis Waits, and 4 area mayors: Grandview’s Steve Dennis, Lee’s Summit’s Randy Rhoads, Raytown’s David Bower and Blue Springs’ Carson Ross.