L. Perry Cookingham Collection: A Salute to Our Veterans of the Armed Forces

0554Known as Armistice Day or Veteran’s Day, November 11th  signifies the demise of World War I when Allied Forces signed an Armistice Agreement with Germany in 1918.  Recognizing their sacrifice and duty to country, we continue to honor our Veterans on this historical date each year.

Perry Cookingham, former City Manager of Kansas City, Missouri was called to duty and served in World War I. Per his request, he and several buddies from his hometown of Danville, Illinois were assigned to Company B of the 310th Signal Battalion, which was located at the front for a period of 5 months prior to this world changing event. Following are excerpts from a diary penned by Cookingham and titled: A Few Little Incidents of the War and My Travels with the “Army of Occupation”. Depicted are personal accounts of Cookingham and his fellow soldiers leading up to the Armistice. Obviously it was ever business as usual for our courageous warriors as Cookingham notes on his October 23rd entry. Not only did he have KP Duty (Kitchen Police) on his birthday but they were also shelled by the enemy. Happy Birthday!


SEPT 28 – Attack of appendicitis
Off eight days.

Oct 15 – Came down with
cold. Could not talk
for four days.

Oct 21 – Well again.
Moved to Monsard.
Living on public sq.
Real homelike. Shelled.

Oct 22 Worked

Oct 23 – Birthday. K.P.

Oct. 24 to Nov. 4. Worked
on permanent lines.
Shelled every night
with 9” babies. Co. C
man wounded. Dirt
flying everywhere.
Hit by a few. Thot [sic]
it was a big shell
bursting on my head.

Nov. 5 – Moved to hills
back of Buxerelles [sic].
Nice house. Thanks to
the boche.

NOV. 5 – 11 Worked
on permanent line
near St. Benoit. Shelled
every day. Tore for the
dugouts. Working
½ mile from line!

NOV – 11 – “Finis la Guerre”
Firing ceased. Worked
under the heavy barrage
of last six hours. No
one hurt. Sure lucky.
Went up to see the
boche come over.
Talked to several. Some

NOV. 11 – 17 Worked on lines
and waited for orders.
Transferred to occupation

November 11, 1918 would not be the conclusion of all war-related activity. There would
still be an aftermath of responsibilities and Cookingham and others were to remain on active duty through February of 1919 according to General Orders No, 38.-A, by General John J. Pershing, Commander in Chief

Wanna Go for a Walk?

Today marks the 100th anniversary of a little-known but fascinating tidbit of Kansas City history.  At 6:00 on the evening of July 8, 1913, Gustave Kuhn (“Gus”), his wife Irene, their 5-year-old daughter Ruth, and Morris and Myrtle Paul started a hike from Kansas City to San Francisco.  According to Mrs. Paul, who wrote the Diary of the Kansas City Hikers, “the principal object of the walk being for health and pleasure, although a pecuniary consideration was involved”.  It was 101 degrees in Kansas City the day the left, though a late afternoon rainstorm helped to cool the air somewhat.  Gathering and packing their camping and other equipment onto a horse-drawn wagon near the intersection of Independence and Park Avenues, the “official” starting place was the federal courthouse at 8th and Grand.  From there they walked to 59th and Wornall, where they broke camp for the first time.  The entire trip covered a distance of 2,384 miles, and it took 227 days.  As might be expected, along the way they had an array of adventures, met all kinds of supporters, and received an abundance of press coverage of their exploits.  They reached San Francisco at 3:30 p.m. on February 19, 1914.  Here’s the cover of the diary that was published that same year:

Hikers diary

Cover of the Hikers diary, published in 1914.

This is an image of the troupe on the day their hike was launched, taken at what we believe to be Independence and Park Avenues:


The Kansas City Hikers on July 8, 1913.