History of Belton

Belton Sign.jpg

George W. Scott and William H. Colbern purchased about 80 acres of land on August 13, 1869, from Manzey Q. Ashby of Kentucky, who had received it a month earlier from the U.S. government. Scott and Colbern filed a plat for the 80 acres in December of 1871 and called the new town "Belton." Belton was incorporated in 1872. It was named for one of Scott's close friends, Captain Marcus Lindsey Belt, who helped Scott survey the land. The two had served in the Civil War together.

The Shawnee
The Shawnee lived and owned land four miles west of Belton, just across the Missouri-Kansas border, on what was known as the Black Bob Reservation. Located in the southern part of Johnson County, Kansas, it was deeded to the Shawnee in the Treaty of May 10, 1844. Because of harassment from both sides at the beginning of the Civil War, the Shawnee abandoned their lands and settled in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. At the end of the war, they found their lands in Kansas had been occupied by white settlers, and most Shawnee had to return to Indian Territory empty-handed.

The First Trading Center
High Blue, two miles west of Belton on 58 Highway, was the community's first trading center. It was about 1,200 feet above sea level, making it the highest point between Springfield and Liberty Memorial Hill in Kansas City. Belton is located on a ridge reaching to Lee's Summit.

Order Number 11
Following the sacking of Lawrence, Kansas in 1863 by Quantrill's Raiders during the Civil War, the Union commander in Kansas City, Brigadier General Thomas Ewing, issued the infamous Order Number 11. It decreed the depopulation within 15 days of an area 30 miles wide and 100 miles long south of the Missouri River on the western border of Missouri. The order affected 20,000 people who had to salvage what they could of clothing, personal belongings, and livestock to make a hasty move. Plundering and devastation followed. Union soldiers confiscated horses and wagons. Looting was rampant and torches were set to fields and homes. The area came to be known as the Burnt District and for 18 months was largely uninhabited.

Other Historical Figures with Belton ties

Carry Nation

When Carry Nation started swinging her hatchet across Kansas, the anti-saloon movement was a mere weakling. She transformed it into a militant giant that eventually put the 18th Amendment into the Constitution.

Carry was born in Kentucky in November 1846. She and her family moved to a farm east of Peculiar, Missouri in 1855. The family moved to Texas during the Civil War. On their way back after the war, they crossed the Pea Ridge battlefield in Arkansas shortly after that battle. All the bedding and pillows they could spare were given to the wounded.

In 1867, Carry married Dr. Charles Gloyd, who became an incurable drunkard and died within a couple of years. In 1877, she married David Nation. David was a lawyer, editor, and self-styled minister of the Christian Church. That marriage ended in divorce in 1901.

The "cyclone in petticoats" launched her campaign against tobacco and liquor from Medicine Lodge, Kansas. In 1880, Kansas voters outlawed saloons. Since they were illegal, Carry thought she could destroy the property and not be sued for damages. Her 10-year crusade was filled with fury and personal sacrifice. She was jailed at least 33 times, egged, stoned, beaten, and, on at least one occasion, hit over the head with a chair.

On June 9, 1911, Carry Nation died in Leavenworth, Kansas. She was brought to Belton for burial in the family plot next to her parents. In 1991, the Belton Historical Society purchased an antique hearse reported to be the one that brought Carry to Belton. It is on display in the carriage house located next to Old City Hall. 512 Main St, Belton MO.

Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie was a frequent visitor to Belton and called it his hometown. Born in Maryville, Missouri in November 1888 to Elizabeth and J.W. Carnagey, they bought a farm on the outskirts of Belton in 1910. The house still stands today on Carnegie Street, just west of the railroad tracks. Mrs. Carnagey was a member of the Methodist church and active in its missionary society. She organized Belton's first Sunday school class. 

Dale got his start as a business manager for Lowell Thomas in 1919. He spent several years traveling in Europe, Africa, and the Arctic. He changed the spelling of his last name because friends in the east constantly misspelled it, and he said he wanted to spare them the embarrassment of repeated corrections.

Carnegie started teaching public speaking and writing his own texts. He had a radio program and a syndicated column, which appeared in 71 newspapers. His formulas for success were broadened to include all phases of human relations. His most famous book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People," was published in 1936.  

Dale Carnegie married in 1940 and died in 1955. He and his parents are buried in the Belton Cemetery.

The Dalton Gang

In 1866, the Dalton farm, which was southwest of Belton, was purchased by the father after coming here from Kentucky. Of 15 children born to the couple, 13 survived. The younger sons eventually became outlaws.

After several financial setbacks, the Daltons moved to Coffeyville, Kansas in 1882. It is claimed that because of the hard times, some of the boys first became lawmen and then later turned to crime.

After serving 14 years in prison, Emmett Dalton was paroled in 1907. He wrote a book and publicized it by traveling about the country. In 1931, he even made a tour stop in Belton.

Tate Stevens

Stephen "Tater" Eatinger is better known by his stage name, Tate Stevens. In 2012 he won The X Factor and a recording contract with Syco Music and RCA Records Nashville.

Before winning The X Factor, Tate Stevens grew up in Belton and graduated from Belton High School. He was the lead singer in numerous bands before 2012. He also worked for the City of Belton's Public Works Department. 

In 2012, he auditioned for The X Factor in Kansas City. He was ultimately selected by L.A. Reid as part of Reid's top four. After several weeks of competition, Tate Stevens performed "Tomorrow" by Chris Young and was crowned the winner of The X Factor.

For more information about the history of Belton, please contact the Belton Historical Society