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Bingham-Waggoner Estate

Location Information

Date: 19 September 2020     Type: Museum

Location Title: Bingham-Waggoner Estate

City/State: Independence, MO

Investigation Times: 8:00 PM - 1:00 AM

Status: Analysis


Weather Information

Sunrise: 07:02 AM   Sunset: 07:18 PM

High Temperature: 70°F   Low Temperature: 53°F

Sky Condition: Fair  Wind: SE at 8 mph

Humidity: 72%   Precipitation: 0%

Lunar Phase: Waxing Crescent   % disk visible: 6%

Pressure: 29.13 mmHg  


Investigators Present

Jennifer Sprague

Becky Ray

Angela Hodge

Julie Klos Burch
Neshela Duke

Investigators Notes

Jennifer Sprague, Lead Investigator: 

On this investigation, we did individual investigation sessions, a group investigation session, and an opposite trigger experiment which involved a group in the basement and a group on the third floor asking opposite questions to each other to try to see if the group in the basement could trigger activity on the third floor by asking certain questions and vice versa.

We used grid lights, audio recorders, cameras, emf detectors, a child-related REM pod, a paintbrush trigger object, and several motion-activated sensors we placed throughout the house.

We did capture some possible EVPS and other footage that we are currently reviewing. The second floor and basement appear to be the most active. One of our members, Julie, reported being touched in the basement as well as reported that there were some odd fluctuations on her EMF meter during a Q and A session in the main floor Ledger Rm.

We also had an interesting experience during our opposite trigger experiment. I was in the third-floor servant room with Neshla, and Angela and Julie were in the basement. Each group had a piece of paper with questions on it to ask the opposite group as well as various trigger objects in each place. We did seem to have some responses on the third floor that seemed to be responsive to the basement group’s questions. I would love to experience this more in the future.

This is a beautiful place and such a wonderful piece of history for Kansas City! We look forward to going back and many thanks to the historical society and Elijah for allowing us to investigate! 

Location History

In the early settlement days, before established roads were laid out, the estate grounds were considered a "short-cut" on the road that was later to become part of the "Santa Fe Trail".

Because of this high-traffic location, the property had many owners between 1827 and 1878. Some hoped to make a living from outfitting the covered wagon trains, others were apparently just real-estate speculators.

Some of the owners played a significant role in the establishment of this area and the West. They became prominent businessmen, helping to found other communities and the beginnings of the Pony Express.

During the trails period, thousands of wagons rolled down the hill from the Courthouse Square and passed over the property where the museum now sits. Evidence of the migration can still be seen today in the form of swales, or wagon ruts, left in the field directly across the bridge from the museum.

George Caleb Bingham, a famous 19th-century American artist, and Missouri politician was one of the home’s most distinguished residents. He and his family moved to the estate shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War. Bingham maintained a studio at his residence in Independence, a log-and-clapboard building to the northwest of his home. (Thought to be one of the first buildings built by earlier owners.) Bingham used this building as his studio. It was in this studio, Order Number 11 was painted.

The military proclamation officially known as Order Number 11 was issued in Kansas City, Mo. In August 1863, Brig. Gen. Thomas Ewing, Jr. commander of the District of the Border required all persons living in Jackson, Cass, Bates, and Vernon counties, except only those residing in certain areas near large towns, to leave their homes within fifteen days. The violence manifested itself chiefly in border raids by "Red Legs" and "Jayhawkers" who consistently plundered and committed violent aggressions on Missouri towns. The military order issued by Ewing was intended as a retaliatory measure after a particularly bloody raid was made from the Missouri side by guerrilla William Quantrill and his band on the town of Lawrence, Kansas. Bingham strenuously resented the order and appealed personally to Ewing’s superior officer, Gen John M. Schofield, to have it rescinded, but to no avail. When he was told the order would have to stand, he reportedly warned Schofield, "If God spares my life, with pen and pencil, I will make this order infamous in history." The painting Martial Law or The War of Desolation, better known as Order Number 11 was the result. There are two versions of the picture. In 1868, he made arrangements with John Sartain of Philadelphia to have "Martial Law" reproduced as an engraving. Upon publication, the engraving caused much furor and was denounced from the pulpit as being too sympathetic to the Confederacy and its cause. In March 1870, Bingham finished his second version of Order Number 11. The second, painted in the spring of 1870 shows minor changes in details and pose and costume. The second version is better known since it was the one used by Sartain to produce the large engraving commissioned by Bingham. It soon became one of the most publicized pictures of the day.

During this period, Bingham also was politically active. In 1868, he became a candidate for Congress from the Sixth Missouri District. He was defeated at the nominating convention.

Bingham sold his home in Independence to Mr. Francis Eames in 1870 and moved to Kansas City. Bingham would fondly remember his home of five years, returning in 1874 to a Fourth of July celebration to deliver a speech about the importance of the day and its relationship to the City of Independence and its citizens.

In Kansas City, Bingham served as Police Commissioner. He then served as Adjutant General of Missouri and investigated the bombing of the James home at Kearney, Missouri, by Pinkerton agents. He later was appointed as the first professor of art at the newly established University of Missouri, an institution championed by his old friend James S. Rollins. Mental incapacity claimed his second wife Eliza, and her condition required her confinement at the state asylum at Fulton, Missouri, where she died on November 3, 1876. Bingham married for the third time, one year before his death. His bride was Mrs. Johnston Lykins, widow of a former mayor of Kansas City and rabid Confederate supporter, who established a home for Confederate war widows and orphans, the Lykins Institute, in Kansas City. It was here with Mattle Lykins that Bingham made his home in 1877, and it was here that he died on July 7, 1879, from what papers of the day termed "choleramorbus".

The Waggoners were early millers in Perry and Cumberland Counties, Pennsylvania.  In 1865, Peter Waggoner, Sr. sent his son William to Independence to look over business opportunities.  William liked the prospects, and in 1867 the family purchased the "old City mill" from John Overfelt.  The family business developed a reputation for producing the very best in baking and cake flours, and "Queen of the Pantry" flours became known all over the middle west. 

Reflecting their improved economic condition, the Waggoner's new home across the street from their rapidly growing flour mill immediately began to be adjusted to fit the needs and expectations of its owners.  During the 1890s, extensive renovation was done to the home when William Henry, Jr. and his wife moved into the home.  They contracted the architectural firm of Root and Siemens, with Mr. Henry Ohaus in charge of interior decoration. 

The Waggoner family continued to live in this home until 1976 when Harry K. Waggoner died.  In 1979, a group of private citizens, in cooperation with the City of Independence, purchased the 19.5-acre tract for a museum and public park.


Bingham-Waggoner Estate09-19-2020
00:00 / 02:53

Recorded on the third floor by Angela during an individual session. Possible woman’s response.

Submitted by Angela

Bingham-Waggoner Estate09-19-2020
00:00 / 00:08

Julie and Angela were alone in the basement and recorded a possible male after Angela says “Umm..."

Submitted by Julie

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