General John J. Pershing's boyhood home
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources maintains General John J. Pershing's boyhood home. It's treated as a state historic site.
Gen. John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing led American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. He received the rank of General of the Armies. This is the most senior military ranking to receive in the United States Army.
Pershing was born on a farm that was outside Laclede, Missouri on September 13, 1860. He lived in the home pictured above from the age of six until he reached adulthood. His home is preserved. Prior to attending West Point Military Academy, he taught at Prairie Mound School which was a one-room schoolhouse.
In 1969, Pershing's boyhood home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1976, it was also designated as a National Historic Landmark.
The architectural design of the home is Gothic Revival style and it was built around 1857. The Pershings purchased it in 1866. After Pershing finished high school, he taught at Prairie Mound School. He then attended the First District Normal School (now known as Truman State University) in Kirksville, Missouri. He graduated there and taught at Prairie Mound School and was accepted into West Point.
In 1952, the state of Missouri acquired the home. It was discovered that the then-owner was going to destroy the structure. It is the only known permanent resident that is associated with Pershing.
During a centennial celebration of Pershing's birth, the home was dedicated to his memory (including the soldiers who had served under him) on September 13, 1960.
Inside the home is a small museum that features Pershing's life. The furniture in the home is period-specific from the mid-to-late 1800s. Also, the Prairie Mound School that is nearby has been restored.
During the 1950s, sculptor Carl Mose created a life-size statue of Pershing (pictured below) which can be seen in an adjacent garden near the boyhood home.
There are so many things named after Gen. Pershing
Little did I know that when I began researching Pershing's historical home, I would learn the street located in front of the office building I used to work at was named after him. Pershing Road borders the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, and also the Official National World War I Memorial.
There are schools at every grade level including colleges named after Pershing. Streets, boulevards, and buildings in so many states are named after him.
Gen. Pershing's years of service in the U.S. Army were from 1886 to 1924. He died at the age of 87 on July 15, 1948, at Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, D.C. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Gen. Pershing's family's tragic loss
Gen. Pershing had a wife, Helen Francis "Frankie" Warren Pershing, three daughters, and one son. His wife was also the daughter of Francis Emroy Warren, a Civil War Medal of Honor recipient, Wyoming Governor, and United States Senator.
When making arrangements to have his family join him at Fort Bliss where he was commanding officer, he learned of a house fire on the morning of August 27, 1915. His wife and daughters ages 3, 7, and 8 died. His 5-year-old son survived. His wife and daughters are buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Gen. Pershing brought his son, Francis Warren Pershing, and his sister May, with him when he resumed his duties at Fort Bliss.
In 1932, Pershing won the Pulitzer Prize for his book 'My Experiences in the World War'. (Source.)
Two years before Pershing died In 1946, at the age of 85, he secretly married Micheline Resco. Resco was much younger than Pershing. She was a French-Romanian artist he met in Paris during World War I. They were discreetly involved for nearly 30 years.
Click here for more information on Gen. John J. Pershing's boyhood home which is a State Historic Site in Missouri.
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