Wayside Rest. Robert Allison Brown Home
Mary Moore Allison was my great, great, great great grandmother, Robert Allison Brown was my Great, Great Grandfather, he was named after his grandmother Mary. My Grandfather Howard Allison Todd was named after Robert, his grandfather, and I was named after my grandfather Howard.
Robert Allison Brown (b. Feb. 8, 1808) and his wife, Mary Jane Roddye Gillenwaters Brown (b. Dec. 30, 1819) left Tennessee with Mary Jane’s family September 10, 1842, traveling by river steamer to Lexington, Missouri. Early abstracts indicate Mrs. Brown’s parents, the Gillenwaters, had, in 1840, been granted a 40-acre land grant, the initial Missouri family holding, northwest of Harrisonville. Later documents (Wayside Rest, a narrative by R. A. Brown III, 1966) describe the family’s landing on the Missouri River banks in Lexington, riding horseback over “considerable” parts of western Missouri, locating the land in Van Buren (now Cass) County, and then moving the family to Harrisonville, October 20, 1842.
Brown purchased over 2,000 acres including a stream which powered a steam saw built by R. A. Brown, and he opened the first grist mill in the county in 1847, providing lumber, flour, meal and feed. Lumber from the mill was later used to build the homestead, Wayside Rest in 1850. Visitors often believed upon arriving at the site of the farm that they had arrived at a village.
Family members have been at home in this fine house built on the property acquired in 1843 since that time. The farming operation included hemp and row crops, cattle, sheep and horses which necessitated the construction of a spring house, well house, ice house, wood shed, cart shed, workshop, apple house, grainery, bath house and various barns. Additionally, housing for approximately fifty slaves and farm laborers was constructed around the main house and scattered throughout the property.
One of the slaves who came with the Browns from Tennessee was Maria Jane Rodgers. Family lore tells that she was a seamstress and could possibly have quilted the two pre-Civil War quilts still housed at Wayside Rest, the Feathered Star and Mississippi Oakleaf quilts. Maria married Fred Martin at Wayside Rest, and they had eight children.
A slave, according to family lore, possibly stitched this Feathered Star pattern quilt before the Civil War. If it was Maria, she worked as a nurse in the household.
“The quilt is a stunning example of fine workmanship and quality. The maker understood both quilt construction and artistry. Today the Feathered Star is considered an advanced pattern and is shown here done with flawless execution. The points are perfect, the quilt is flat and square and the quilting is done with such attention to detail, we would call it microstippling today. The alternate blocks are quilted with extensive trapunto (stuffed) quilting . It was created all by hand.” Stories in Stitches by dick, Bohl, Hammontree and Britz. 2012, Kansas City Star Books.
Another quilt purported to be made by a slave is this pre-Civil War Mississippi Oak Leaf pattern. Its expert workmanship is still visible despite damage and holes. It is of cotton in red, white and blue and hand appliqués and hand quilted in the alternate blocks with a detailed basket pattern. It is bound on three sides with fringe.
Family history documents that Maria was taken from the Brown home in 1862 by Federal troops during one of their numerous raids on the home during the Civil War. She served Senator James Lane as his personal servant in Lawrence, Kansas. One of the children she took with her was son Benjamin P. Martin who as only three at the time. He returned to Harrisonville in 1869 and became an accomplished blacksmith.
Maria returned to Harrisonville in 1900 to live with her son Ben. She was buried in the Brown family cemetery upon her death in 1922 at the age of 91, having outlived all her children
More information about Robert Allison Brown House.