Thursday, April 21, 2022

Bunker Hill Memorial Dedication Ceremony to Truesdale, MO Founder


Pictured is the headstone of William Truesdale in the Bunker Hill Cemetery

From the Bunker Hill Gazette:

Truesdale, MO Founder Buried in Bunker Hill     

     On Saturday, April 9, 2022 in the Bunker Hill Cemetery, a memorial headstone was dedicated to honor William Truesdale. 

    Mr. Truesdale was born in Chautauqua County New York on January 9, 1815.  At the age of 12, he was working as an indentured merchant in Erie, PA.  In 1849, he contracted with the Panama Railroad Company to build a railroad across the Isthmus of Panama.

     In 1851, Mr. Truesdale, now married and with a growing family, headed west.  He contracted to build a railroad from Sandoval, IL to St. Louis, MO.  During his years working for the railroad in Missouri, he settled his family in Warren County, MO.  He purchased land (932 acres) and laid out a village.  He made a deal with the North Missouri Railroad to give them land to build a depot and switch yard if they would agree to name the village after him.  In 1857, the first train arrived in Truesdale, MO.

     Although he remained a civilian throughout the Civil War, Mr. Truesdale was referred to as "Colonel" Truesdale.  After the fall of Fort Sumpter, he was appointed as a military superintendent of the North Missouri Railroad.  He was put in charge of the Police and Secret Service under General Rosecrans who was in command of the Army of the Mississippi.

     Mr. Truesdale's 932 acre estate, comprising of most of present Warrenton and Truesdale, MO., was purchased May 19, 1863 by the Methodist Episcopal church as a school and home for orphans of fallen Civil War soldiers.  It was called the Western Orphan Asylum and Educational Institute.  The large house that the Truesdale's lived in became the orphanage.  In 1869, the name changed to Central Wesleyan College and Orphan Asylum.

     In 1864, Mr. Truesdale moved his family to Bunker Hill.  Mr. Truesdale died November 28, 1867.  His wife and children remained here until 1868 when they moved to Pennsylvania to live with her parents.  Buried here in the Bunker Hill Cemetery are Mr. and Mrs. Truesdale, two of their daughters, and three of their grandchildren.

     The city of Truesdale, MO conducted the dedication ceremony.  Guests included the City Hall staff:  Elsa Smith-Fernandez, Missy Bachamp, Elsie Morris, Mark Bennett, and Hal Pherigo. Police Chief Casey Doyle, Truesdale Mayor Chris Watson and Board of Alderman: Joe Brooks, Jerry Cannon, Robert Green, and Mike Thomas.  Mr. Truesdale's ancestor, grandson, Steve Williams from Tennessee and retired Truesdale Administrator and Truesdale Historian Marylou Rainwater.  other guests were also present.

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society.  "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, April 21, 2022

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