The Sedalia Katy Depot

Sedalia Missouri's  Visitor Center and Year-Round Historic Railroad Destination

Sedalia and the Civil War 

This exhibit was made possible by the Missouri Humanities Council.  It was developed to compliment the traveling exhibit Missouri and Civil War and was produced with the support of Becky Imhauser.  Other exhibit sponsors include Mark Hammond, Pettis County Historical Society, Missouri State Parks / Battle of Lexington State Historic Site, Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site, Charles Wise, Linda Myer, Kathleen Boswell, Terri Fowler, Jill White and Debbie Biermann.

Every new town has its challenges. Consider Sedalia, which was founded in October 1860—six months before the Civil War began. The war turned Sedalia’s focus from settling to survival, from building to bushwackers. Every person was affected by the war and had a story. This exhibit represents a portion of their experiences, which shaped Sedalia into the city it is today.

Becky Imhauser, Sedalia, Missouri Historian

As the 1850’s drew to a close, two things were about to change Pettis County forever – the Pacific Railroad and the Civil War.  When the Civil War came, loyalties of Pettis Countians were fairly evenly divided among Northern Unionists, Southern Rebels and those who professed neutrality.  With Union garrisons at Sedalia the railroad terminus and the crossroads town of Georgetown, Longwood and Dunksberg, local conflicts were limited to skirmishes and light casualties.  Nevertheless, when the war was done, families were displaced and Pettis County’s sons lay in hundreds of graves scattered far from home.  And those returning home, Union and Confederate alike found new leadership, new money and unfamiliar faces installed in the new county seat town of Sedalia.
Bill Claycomb, Sedalia, Missouri Historian

It may safely be said that no inland town in Missouri has been cursed and more blessed by the present war than Sedalia.

Sedalia Advertiser, February 1865

David Thompson

Civil War Casualty

The midnight appearance of Confederate bushwhackers at David Thomson’s home scared him to death. Literally.

Sarah Smith-Cotton

Daughter of George R. Smith

Living in a town named for you doesn’t get you special treatment during a war. Just ask Sarah Smith-Cotton.

Dr. John Trader

Early Doctor

Dr. John Trader came to Sedalia as a soldier and chose to return as a citizen. His patients included Sedalia Founder George R. Smith and family.

George Lingle

Newspaper Editor

George Lingle landed the scoop of a lifetime when he founded Sedalia’s first permanent newspaper in August 1864, weeks before Sedalia was captured.

Nancy Griffin


Nancy Griffin gave southern hospitality new meaning when she housed Confederate soldiers the night before the Capture of Sedalia.

Charlie Lyon


During the Capture of Sedalia, Charlie Lyon turned out to be as handy with a shotgun as he was with a pool cue.

Josephus Smith


Some say, “If you have a lemon, make lemonade.” Due to a Civil War injury, Josephus Smith might have said, “If you have a wooden leg, make shoes.” And he did. 

Col. A.D. Jaynes

Civil War Officer

After the war ended, Col. A. D. Jaynes recognized Sedalia’s potential and moved to the emerging city. His legacy touches nearly every aspect of the town.