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Front view of the Mansion House

The Ball Room


The Mansion House is one of the oldest pre-civil war residences in Independence, Missouri, and is listed with other historic places of the city. Today, it is the home of Dave and Paula Swayne. It's remaining 2 acres and carriage house, combined with the old home carry with them the ambiance of long ago elegant living and is the perfect setting for refelction and creating the atmosphere people expect when visiting historical Independence. Many are drawn here because of the quaitness and warm atmosphere, and request it for many special events such as weddings and anniversaries.

This beautiful, white colonial home has a history which is very interesting.  In 1827, Stuart and Polly Pallett bough a portion of this land from the government for the purpose of starting a seminary.  In 1832, Gabriel Fitzhugh, a trapper, purchased it from them.  It appears that also in 1832, Preston Roberts, considered to be the second wealthiest man in Missouri, purchased 160 acres of land from the United States government.  Samuel Ralston then entered the picture and acquired Gabriel Fitzhugh's land and also Preston Roberts' land.  

This home was built in 3 sections at different times, dating from it's earliest year to approximately 1870 when the last portion was added.  It appeared to have been remodeled around the turn of the century.

The most fun and interesting connection with this estate is that of Mr. Ralston and Frank James (yes, Jesse's older brother).  They met during the Civil War, and were involved with Quantrill's band of Guerillas.  This home is where he met his wife, Annie, who was Samuel Ralston's young daughter.

The mansion consisted of seven rooms.  On the left of the entrance is the library, parlor and to the right is the ballroom with a rococo ceiling.  Then straight ahead of the entrance is an elegant stairway that leads to four bedrooms.  It is assumed that the cooking was done in a summer kitchen at the back or even a separate building all together.

It is interesting that the house was not damaged in any way as a result of the infamous Order No. 11, even though most southern sympathizer homes were.  It is speculated that it was because of a friendship between Mr. Ralston (who owned the farm then) and Mr. Bingham.  Mr Bingham was a northern sympathizer, and had a lot of political clout...he also painted the picture depicting Order No. 11 for all to see, which did not set well with the government at the time.

The palntation gree to about 260 acres, and has had several owners including Stuart Pallett, Gabriel Fitzhugh, Preston Roberts, Samuel Ralston, Willard Winner, Barnet Noland, J.M. Colburn, Daisy Otis, Melvin Hudson, Elizabeth Darneife, Harry Train, Robert Train, Archie Nace, and the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The back part of the mansion, including a large kitchen and pantry, as well as additional upstairs rooms were added after 1870 brings the total number of rooms to 17, as it remains today.  Dr. Nace divided the property into lots and cut the streets through when he owned it.  He sold the two-acres that were left to the churh in March in 1953.

The Swaynes have done extensive restoration, and when you walk in through the double doors, you will know you have entered a mansion.  You will be surrounded by marble, slate, and chandeliers in a very Victorian setting.

The Parlor

Upper Level