Area History
Hall of Fame

Thomas Hart BentonThomas Hart Benton - Thomas Hart Benton was born in Neosho in 1889 to Congressman and Mrs. M. E. Benton. At a very early age, Tom Benton developed an interest in art. After studying in New York and Paris, he worked as an illustrator and then became a muralist. His murals are found throughout the United States. Most depict Benton's view of the common people of America as he remembered them from his boyhood days in Neosho. Among his works are murals at the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, and in the House Lounge at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.
George Washington Carver National MuseumGeorge Washington Carver - George Washington Carver was born a slave on a farm near Diamond, Missouri. As a young man he struggled to receive an education, but eventually became a teacher at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. As a teacher and scientist, Dr. Carver became world famous for his work with peanuts and sweet potatoes. He is credited with saving agriculture in the South after southern lands were devastated by the overproduction of cotton. In his honor, the United States has issued a postage stamp, named a submarine, and installed him in numerous halls of fame. He is the first African-American to have a National Monument established in his honor.
Herman JaegerHerman Jaeger - Born in Switzerland in 1844, Herman Jaeger immigrated to Newton County in 1866. With his brother, John, he established a vineyard some six miles east of Neosho. Proficient in five languages, Herman worked with grape growers around the world to produce new varieties. When a deadly disease struck the vineyards of France, Spain and Portugal, some of the varieties developed by Herman were found resistant to the disease. For his work in savings the vineyards of France, Herman Jaeger was awarded the French Legion of Honor, the highest award given a civilian by the French government.
Grace and Beauty by James Scott
James Scott - James Sylvester Scott was born in Neosho in 1885. As a boy he loved music and, so the story goes, took a few piano lessons from an elderly black man in town. Gifted with perfect pitch, James Scott was interested in ragtime music. He greatly admired Scott Joplin, the world's greatest ragtime composer. James Scott was both a performer and a composer of ragtime music. By the time of his death in 1938, he was recognized as the second greatest ragtime composer in history - second only to his hero, Scott Joplin. Among James Scott's compositions are "Frog Legs Rag," "Grace and Beauty" and "Great Scott Rag."
Hugh RobinsonHugh Robinson - Hugh Robinson was born in Neosho on May 13, 1882. An early interest in mechanical devices led Robinson to a career in engineering and his field of work was aviation. Teaming up with aviator Glenn Curtiss, Robinson became part of a group of pioneer aviators known as the "early birds". Robinson is credited with many "firsts" in aviation history, including making the first right hand turn in any airplane, the first medical flight, and the first air-sea rescue. One of his greatest contributions to aviation was the invention of the tailhook, a system that allows airplanes to land aboard ships at sea.
Waldo Hatler
Waldo Hatler - H. Waldo Hatler was born on January 6, 1894, in Bolivar, Missouri, but grew up in Neosho. After a year in law school Mr. Hatler joined the army and was sent to France to fight in World War I. Just before the end of the war, Sergeant Hatler carried out a mission on the Meuse River. For his bravery, Hatler was given the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest honor awarded to a member of the military. Only 124 Medals of Honor were awarded during World War I. The Neosho VFW Post is named for Sergeant Hatler who died in 1967.
John Q. Hammons
John Q. Hammons - John Q. Hammons was born in 1919 in the Newton County community of Fairview. Growing up during the Great Depression, he was able to attend Southwest Missouri State College (now University) and become a schoolteacher. After military service, Mr. Hammons became a homebuilder, and is now the leading independent owner and developer of hotels and convention facilities in the nation. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the industry, Mr. Hammons was selected as the 2003 Hotelier of the Year and was inducted into the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor in 2004. Mr. Hammons has provided millions of dollars of support to educational programs, medical and health facilities, and performing arts centers in many communities around the nation.
Will Rogers
Will Rogers - Cowboy philosopher Will Rogers came to Neosho as a young man to attend Scarritt College. Rogers lasted only one semester, being expelled for rowdy behavior, mostly for roping girls and animals on campus. He later became a huge star of radio and movies.
They also passed this way ...

Mort Walker
Mort Walker - Cartoonist Mort Walker, creator of the comic strip character Beetle Bailey, served as a young soldier at Camp Crowder during World War II. Walker has said that he based much of his comic strip on his experiences at Camp. The camp near Neosho was his model for Camp Swampy, the setting of his comic strip.
Bell Starr

Bell Starr - This famous lady outlaw was a scout for her Confederate brother during the Civil War. Once she was captured by Union forces and imprisoned in the Ritchey Mansion in Newtonia. Legend says she escaped from the mansion and made a wild ride to Carthage to warn her brother that Union forces were out to capture him.
Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke - A movie and television star, Dick Van Dyke was stationed at Camp Crowder during World War II. He became a household name as the star of the television series, "The Dick Van Dyke Show". On that show, Van Dyke made many references to Camp Crowder. A few of the shows were "flashbacks", depicting the television star during his service at Camp Crowder.