Benjamin W. Grover

Founding Father


Lying beneath the shade of a large tree about 30 yards away from the East Entrance, lays an entire section dedicated to one of Warrensburg's most time honored families. As one of the founding fathers of Warrensburg, Benjamin Grover served Missouri in the Senate and his effort became the main reason for bringing the railroad through Warrensburg.

Though Martin Warren was the first person to move to this area, the title for the most influential human being in the early history of Warrensburg would have to belong to Colonel Benjamin W Grover. A scholar, politician, civic leader, and military veteran, the influence of Grover's leadership in the early foundation of Warrensburg is unprecedented.

State Senator


Benjamin Grover moved to Warrensburg about a decade following Martin Warren in 1844 and was later elected to serve Missouri as a state senator. Grover appealed to a wide variety of people as he was described by one Johnson County citizen as "a man of no ordinary ability, and although a Whig in politics, he could safely count on 200 democratic votes in his support." Amazingly, unlike modern candidates, the humble Grover made only one campaign speech while running for senate.

Railroad


As the railroad moved west, Warrensburg needed a focused individual with a fiery spirit that could gain the attention of the powerful legislators who had the course of the railroad in the palm of their hands. On the table were two main proposals. The first, and probably the least expensive and most logical plan, was for the railroad to follow the Missouri River connecting prosperous river towns together like a trade route. The alternative plan, and the one strongly endorsed by Grover, was to bring the railroad inland through small villages and sparsely populated counties like Johnson. Grover vehemently argued that the state had a responsibility to develop all areas of the state and not stay isolated with the obvious and already wealthy towns on the river. It also helped that Grover was able to raise large sums of money known as subscriptions (also called bribes) to help influence state representatives that Warrensburg owned the kind of wealth worthy of a railroad stop.

Land


Also a shrewd business man, Grover had planned to make a large quantity of money because the plan to bring the railroad into Warrensburg was initially set to travel directly through his property with the depot resting nicely on his estate. With this, Grover could easily have sold off his land at inflated prices as the merchants of the community raced to place their businesses beside this monstrous attraction. As the plan turned out, the whistlestop would end up moving the center of town about a half mile eastward and on Major Holden's property, a rival to Grover in real estate.

Grovers Passing


When Grover perished at 50 years old on October 30, 1861, the city of Warrensburg held its head low. Colonel James A. Mulligan, a soldier who served with Grover during the Civil War had the following to say about him in a personal letter written to his wife, "Your husband rendered me constant aid during the dark days of Lexington. I remember him with pride. No man did his duty more nobly. I will not forget him." When the track finally reached Warrensburg in 1864 (3 years following Grover's death), his beloved son George S Grover proudly raised the American Flag at the station as the city celebrated their own sense of freedom on the Fourth of July, 1864.