Independence House, Main Street, Near the Public Square, Independence, MO. William Paine Twyman, proprietor.
Independence House, Main Street, Near the Public Square, Independence, MO.
Independence House, Main Street, Near the Public Square, Independence, MO.

Independence House, Main Street, Near the Public Square, Independence, MO.

Independence, Missouri, [ca. 1850]. Illustrated broadside, 10.5” x 8.25”, on coated stock paperboard with traces of gold lettering; inset wood engraving measuring, 2.25” x 3.75”, signed indistinctly in the lower right corner “Lay[?] St. Louis[?].” Accompanied by a circa 1900 historical note in pencil.

An unrecorded illustrated broadside for Independence House, one of the earliest hotels in Independence, Missouri.

A two-story Greek Revival building, as seen in the engraving, this prominent hotel is described as one of the oldest and best in Missouri—“having for a number of years been the favorite resort of the traveling public”—and notes that “the citizens of the county have made it their stopping-place in preference to any other.” The proprietor takes the opportunity to “return his sincere thanks to his friends for their very liberal patronage, assuring them that no pains will be spared to make them comfortable, and at very moderate charges.” The Hotel’s table, it is noted, will continue to be “supplied with the very best the market affords, and the bar will be well filled with the choicest wines and liquors.” Moreover, “a large and commodious stable is attached to the house, under the immediate supervision of the proprietor.”

Erected in 1831 by Leonard Renick (1803–1877), Independence House was located on Main St. near the public square and was one of the first hotels established in town. According to a note that accompanies this broadside, the proprietor, William Paine Twyman (1823–1887), was the son of Julianne P. Twyman and Dr. Leo Twyman, both of whom came to Independence around 1839 from Shelbyville, KY. Dr. Leo Twyman was among the earliest doctors to practice in Western Missouri and is thought to be the first medical practitioner in Jackson County. In addition, Twyman engaged in the mercantile business and operated Independence House, which was subsequently managed by his son. The Twyman’s operated the Hotel until 1872. It was purchased by George Kenton in 1873, becoming Kenton House. Described by one source as “one of the most fashionable and elegant of the early day hotels,” Independence House seems also to have served as a way-station for western emigrants passing through town, as suggested by the following passage describing a cholera outbreak in 1849:

In the month of April there occurred a number of cases of small-pox among immigrants, which, however, did not spread, to any extent among citizens; diarrhea, and other diseases of the digestive organs were of frequent occurrence, and on the 17th of April occurred the first case of genuine Asiatic cholera in a vigorous and previously healthy negro man, the property of Jabez Smith. From this time forward occasional cases occurred, not, however, very malignant until the 6th of May, on which day it broke out with great malignancy in various parts of Independence which was crowded to over-flowing with California immigrants; the hotels were excessively crowded, and at the Independence House there occurred seven deaths in the first twenty-four hours … (The History of Jackson County, Missouri).

A rare broadside advertising this noted Independence, Missouri hotel during the heyday of western emigration.

REFERENCES: Goodwin, Edward J. A History of Medicine in Missouri (St. Louis: W.L. Smith, 1905), p. 269; The History of Jackson County, Missouri (Kansas City, Mo.: Union Historical Co., 1881), p. 96; Twyman Hotel–Kenton House at hmdb.org

CONDITION: Moderate wear, soiled, gold lettering faded, losses in some places, but no losses to the text or the image.

Item #5976

Price: $1,250.00

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