NEWTONIA —The oldest home in Newtonia recently had some work done to it.

NEWTONIA —The oldest home in Newtonia recently had some work done to it.

The Ritchey Mansion was built in the early 1850s.

"We replaced and repaired the siding, the windows just in the back part of the house," said Don Jessen with the Newtonia Battlefields Protection Association (NBPA). "The siding was deteriorating greatly causing the outside walls to rot and there was water damage inside and outside of the back part of the house."

NBPA operates and maintains the mansion.

"We actually started the project back in March, we started looking at what we needed to do and got some bids," he said. "Then we started the fundraising to pay for the project after we knew how much it was going to cost. The work started about three weeks ago."

Randall Bray was the contractor and according to Jessen, "the materials (siding and windows) were supplied by Bruce McDermott of Mac Steel of Diamond."

When they removed the old siding, Jessen said, "we got to see what the original brick chimney on the back looked like and what we did was left that exposed for people to see what the original chimney in the back looked like. The original siding they had up covered up that part of the chimney, so we had no idea what it looked like."

Jessen is pleased with the completed project.

"Words can not express how happy I am," he said. "It has been awhile. We have known that this project needed to be done. It was time to start moving on it. Basically the house is in excellent shape."

Jessen encourages visitors to come by and thanks those who contributed to the renovations.

"I would like to thank all of the people who bought raffle tickets and those who donated money to the project," he said. "I would like to invite them to come by especially during the Newtonia Fall Festival (Sept. 29) to see what their money has done for the house."



Background info

During the Civil War, Newtonia – located about 15 miles east of Neosho on Hwy. 86 – saw two battles. The first battle at was in 1862 and saw an unprecedented number of Native American units fight on both sides. The second battle in 1864 battle was the last one fought in Missouri, a state that had more Civil War clashes than any other beside Virginia and Tennessee. Approximately 350 soldiers were either killed or wounded in 1862, and 650 casualties were reported in the 1864 battle. The two-story Ritchey Mansion was built in the early 1850s and served as both a headquarters and a working hospital during both battles.