216 – A Fine Farm and A New House

Sedalia’s growth slowed in the first decade of the 1900s, up slightly to 17,800. It was still a railroad center, but the new-fangled automobile was beginning to make itself known.

Sedalia – Ohio Street – looking south from Fourth – c 1910

1910 Census

As always, the census gives us a good glimpse into family stats.

William and Josephine Riley – 1910 US Census

The Riley family lived at 615 West Fifth Street in a home they owned with a mortgage. They had lived at that address for 10 years.

W.J. Riley, 45 (should be 47), was proprietor of Cassidy Merc. Josephine, 39 (should be 42), was at home. All the children are still living at home, from Irene, 17 (should be 18), to Mary Agnes, 5 (should be 6).

A house for a farm

Will and Josie also owned a rental house at 616 West Fifth Street, across the street north from their own house at 615. In 1911, Will and Josie traded the house at 616 West Fifth Street for a 126-acre farm on the west side of Georgetown. They traded with Fritz and Caroline Eggert, who gave $4,200 for the house in town, while Josie and Will paid $8,000 for the farm.

They had been looking for a farm in that vicinity. It was only a few miles from John and Ann Riley’s farm where Will grew up.

A new outfit

Now that they had a fine farm, the Rileys needed a fine conveyance to visit the farm. They bought a fancy horse and buggy outfit.

A rail depot

What better way to add value to your farm than to have an adjacent rail depot? Will began to exercise his contacts. What do you know, a Georgetown depot was built.

The farm

The Sedalia Democrat – April 28, 1913

The Rileys had a tenant farmer, W.A. Haeslip, who lived on the farm and managed it. The Rileys used it for recreation, visiting frequently. Will Riley was a gentleman farmer.

The farm kept about ten horses for riding and driving, a few milk cows, and some pigs. Haeslip grew corn and hay in the fields. The farm had an orchard of 1,000 fruit trees!

Home life

Riley home life continued in the same manner we’ve become accustomed to; birthdays, illnesses, work travel, and visits from relatives. In 1913, Will Riley celebrated his 50th birthday, and Josie her 45th.

Mary Agnes Riley – about age 7 – c. 1911

Mary Agnes and her dog.

The Sedalia Democrat – August 16, 1912

In 1912, Catherine celebrated her 12th birthday.

Catherine Rose Riley (l), with friend – about age 12 – c. 1912

Joe graduated from St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana. He was also an accomplished baseball player.

A house on Broadway

In October 1914, Will and Josie Riley traded houses with Abel Campbell and his wife.

The Rileys had lived at 615 West Fifth Street for 14 years. Now they would upgrade to a larger house at a more prestigious address 1406 West Broadway. The Rileys had to add $1,000 to the trade. The 2,700 square foot house was built in 1890.

1406 West Broadway would become the Riley family home for many years. It was the home remembered by Kathleen Gallagher Teply in her childhood in Sedalia in the 20s.

1406 West Broadway – Sedalia – 2017


1915 found the Riley family in fine fettle. Everyone was generally healthy. Will and Josie were relatively wealthy. Here’s the family photo around 1915.

Riley family – back row – John, 13, Catherine, 15, Josephine, 47, Irene, 23 – front row – William E., 17, William J., 52, Joseph, 20, Mary Agnes, 11 – c. 1917



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