Digital Collections

Family Collections

Cowger Collection

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. Luther M. Cowger Correspondence Index

Parrish Collection

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.

Additional Collections

Arnold Family 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 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 most likely belonged at one time to John Morgan and Mollie R. (Begley) Arnold or their daughter Lillie (Arnold) Hall of Freeman, Dolan Township.

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. These resources can be viewed by visiting the Library History page.

Memorial Card & Obituary Collection

This collection contains select memorial cards and obituaries from Cass and other surrounding counties starting in the 1950s and continuing on into the 2010s. All of the obituaries in this collection have been scanned and copies can be requested by sending an email inquiry to Memorial Card Collection Index

Indexed Collections

Cass County Poor Farm Register, 1901-1941

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 many 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 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 it’s close in 1945.

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.

Cass County Poor Farm Index, 1901-1941

Cass County Home Death and Cemetery Records

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 close.

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 cemetery records (see our Cass County Records page).

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.

County Home Death Index, 1910-1953

County Home Unknown Deaths Index

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 Runnenburger Funeral Home closed. Records for the years 1902-1929 have yet to be located, though the search for these books continues. The original copies of these records can be viewed at the Cass County Historical Society’s archives.

Runnenburger Master Index

Newspaper Image Index

The Newspaper Image Index is a record of every image published in the microfilmed Cass County newspapers the Genealogy Branch has in its collection. With a few exceptions, advertisements and drawings have not been included in these indexes. If you do not see the paper or year you are looking for, be sure to check back. This is an ongoing project; more newspaper titles and years of coverage will be added here as they are completed. View our Newspaper Holdings Guide for a full list of newspapers in our collection.

Archie Beacon, March 1956 – April 1956 (Coming Soon)

Archie News, December 1971 – January 1986

Cass County Democrat, 1884 – 1941

Drexel Star, January 1896 – July 1906

Garden City Views, February 1924 – February 1952

Pleasant Hill Times, July 1901 – March 1942