Discover the unique digitized and indexed record collections available online and at the Genealogy Branch.
Arnold Family Photo Album: The provenance of this photo album remains a bit of a mystery due to a lack of proper identification of those who are photographed. It was originally discovered in a long-vacant trailer home in rural Cass County after being left behind by the previous owners. Based on a postcard and names written in pencil on a paper napkin found within, the album possibly belonged at one time to John Morgan and Mollie R. (Begley) Arnold or their daughter Lillie (Arnold) Hall of Freeman, in Dolan Township, Cass County, Missouri.
Bourland-Hutson Family Collection: This donated collection of family research covers the Bourland and Hutson families, along with various other associated families. It is comprised of over a dozen binders, each containing research, documents, photographs, family charts and more for a specific family. The index is organized alphabetically by surname.
Cowger Family Photo Collection: A collection of over one hundred Cowger family photos as well as from the affiliated Brooks, Hammontree, Warnstaff, and Wetterlund families. Also included are handwritten photo captions and several miscellaneous letters.
Luther M. Cowger Correspondence: Assorted letters, envelopes, and cards received by Luther Myron Cowger from relatives and fellow researchers. Much of this correspondence includes handwritten research notes and a variety of genealogical information.
Parrish Family Photo Collection: A series of nine storage envelopes containing over 900 family photos, including negatives, tin-types, pages from a photo album, and more. Many of these photos have detailed, handwritten captions and descriptions on their reverse.
Twitchell Family Collection: This collection contains decades worth of research on the Betty (Twitchell) Chastain’s Twitchell family and related family lines. Search over 148,000 names including given, middle, maiden, and last names. The index is arranged alphabetically by last name so patrons may also browse rather than searching.
Wirt Family Collection: This collection of research regarding the local Wirt family and associated families was donated to the library by Glenda Louise (Wirt) Bell, aka Calamity Jane. Also included in this collection is Bell’s autobiography “Glenda’s Footprints in the Dust” dedicated to her cousin, Francis “Frankie” Wirt, a policeman who gave his life in service to the Harrisonville Community on April 21, 1972. The index is arranged alphabetically by surname.
Memorial Card & Obituary Collection: This collection contains donated memorial cards and obituaries from Cass County, Missouri, and surrounding counties starting in the 1950s and continuing on into the 2010s. Search the index here for this collection first.
Cass County Public Library History: Established in December 1947, the Cass County Public Library began as an initiative to create essential educational and cultural resources for rural school children. In the decades since its founding, the library has continued to be a wellspring of information and access to resources in communities all across Cass County. The Genealogy Branch has documented this history with collections of photos, newspaper articles, and other materials.
Cass County Newspaper Image Index
The Newspaper Image Index, once completed, will be a record of every image published in the microfilmed Cass County newspapers the Genealogy Branch has in its collection. If you do not see the paper or year you are looking for, be sure to check back as the index continues to grow. This is an ongoing project; more newspaper titles and years of coverage will be added here as they are completed. View our Newspapers on Microfilm Finding Aid for a full list of newspapers in our collection.
Cass County Poor Farm Collection
The Cass County Poor Farm (later referred to as the County Home) housed the county’s paupers, often those who were old, feeble, and disabled. Many inhabitants were also “pay patients,” individuals were elderly and ill whose families had paid for them to stay there during the duration of their illness. Those who were able bodied worked as laborers on the farm and several of the inhabitants spent most of their lives there. This register begins in 1901 when the poor farm was located on roughly 120 acres in the northeast corner of Dolan Township. The County Home later relocated in the spring of 1910 to just north of Harrisonville. The building constructed specifically to be used as the County Home is still standing and in use as part of the Golden Years Health Center complex on Jefferson Parkway. It remained in operation at that location until its close in 1945.
When the County Home was located in Dolan Township, those who died while in the county’s care were buried in a cemetery on the grounds. County records of those deaths and burials no longer exist, if they ever existed at all. However, with the use of the Poor Farm Register, death certificates, cemetery records, and additional research, we were able to “recreate” death and cemetery records for inhabitants who died while living at the County Home or immediately after leaving it from 1910-1953. Though the County Home closed in 1945, we have also included the deaths of those who were life-long inhabitants, but died after its closure.
This index of the inhabitants of the County Home varies in detail and consistency – it’s apparent that each superintendent had varying levels of appreciation for detailed record keeping. For some years, only a name was recorded, while others provide much more information on each inhabitant or “inmate,” such as age, birthplace, date of admittance and discharge, marital status, and more. All of this information has been transcribed here. If you wish to view the physical register, you may do so by visiting the Cass County Historical Society.
The County Home Death Index includes information regarding the date of death and burial, the cemetery in which they were buried, whether we were able to locate a death certificate for the individual, and whether their burial is recorded in the Marble-Lehr compilation of Cass County, Missouri, cemetery records.
The County Home Unknown Deaths Index is a list of names pulled from the Poor Farm Register. These individuals have been recorded with a death date in the register, but we were unable to locate any corroborating death or cemetery record. For those who died before April 1910 and had no family to claim them, it is most likely they were buried in the County Home Cemetery in northeast Dolan Township.
Runnenburger Funeral Home Records, 1901-1983
For roughly a century, the Runnenburger Furniture Store and Funeral Home and the Runnenburger family were well-known Cass County figures. Located just northwest of the Harrisonville town square, the three Runnenburger buildings housed a used furniture store, a funeral home, and the personal residence of the family. Three generations of the Runnenburger family continued this work, including Francis X. Runnenburger, a German immigrant and carpenter who first began making caskets during the Civil War, and Frank E. Runnenburger, who also served as Cass County Coroner for 12 years.
This index covers Runnenburger’s funeral record books dated from 1901 to 1983, when the business closed. Records for the years 1902-1929 have yet to be located, though the search for these books continues. The original copies of these record books can be viewed at the Cass County Historical Society’s archives.