One of the most famous robberies attributed to the notorious James Gang was the daylight holdup of Clay County Savings in Liberty back in 1866. The robbers took $60,000 in gold and currency, and none of the money was ever recovered. Others who put Liberty on the map are Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, and Circuit Judge David Atchison, a Missouri senator credited with being president of the United States for one day. Colonel Alexander Doniphan took up the practice of law in Liberty in 1833. During his residence of thirty years, he became a leading citizen, orator, jurist, statesman, and soldier, eventually leading his famous expedition to Old Mexico in 1846–47—the longest military march ever made. By 1820 Clay County was formed and named in honor of Henry Clay, the famed senator.
Richmond, Missouri, touts itself as “The Mushroom Capital of the World.” Time your trip so that it coincides with Richmond’s annual mushroom festival the first weekend in May. This is when those hard-to-find morel mushrooms pop up, begging to be sautéed in butter and wine. The mushrooms are plentiful enough around here for a celebration in their honor. Richmond hosts a parade, plenty of food and craft booths, a model train show, a carnival, a beer garden, and other activities. Richmond folks will sell you some morels to take back home, but they won’t reveal their secret mushroom spots.
© Shifra Stein with Diana Lambdin Meyer/The Globe Pequot Press. All Rights Reserved.