Back In Time–The Dillingham-Lewis Museum

Morgan Vachel Dillingham was born in 1843 to Joshua Robert Dillingham and Susan Jane Walker.  He fought, and was wounded, in the Civil War.  He served with confederate forces.  On his return from the war, he found his family home had been inhabited by the Mock family.  He married Melvina Mock.  The log cabin in which they lived is now located at Missouri Town.

Morgan and Melvina ultimately built the Dillingham home at 15th and Main, in Blue Springs, Missouri.  They owned a general “mercantile” store. He was a bank vice president/president. [1]  His family had a large farm in Eastern Jackson County, Mo. This photograph of the Dillingham family in 1914 identifies a couple, “Ma D and Pa D” presumably Morgan and Melvina.

Morgan and Melvina’s son, David Morgan Dillingham, was born 1873.  He married Mary Estella Spicer in 1898.  Morgan and Melvina built them a home on property adjacent to the Dillingham home.

Known as the Brownfield House, it is where David and Estella raised their family.

David owned a gas station and a store. In January, 1955, David was shot and killed in a botched robbery at his store.

David’s daughter, Margaret, was raised in the Brownfield House. She married Wade Brownfield. They also raised their family in the Brownfield House.

The Brownfield House was sold privately and has been beautifully restored.  The Dillingham House was eventually sold to Narra Lewis who, in 1977, sold the home to the Blue Springs Historical Society. It is now a museum, and also houses the historical society.

The museum has been decorated in period pieces consistent with the styles of the early 1900’s, approximately 100 years ago.

While the furnishings are not original to the home, the interior of the house nonetheless reflects the style of the early 1900’s.  It is lovely, reflecting the graciousness of that time.

The museum is open to the public for only a few hours a week.  It is worth a call to arrange a tour and to glimpse a slice of life in the earliest years of the 20th century.

[1]  Sources are inconsistent as to his role at the bank


6 responses to “Back In Time–The Dillingham-Lewis Museum

  1. I am researching Joshua and Susan Dillingham and family as they built a house that was later donated to Missouri Town 1855. (The door of this house still has the bullet hole from Morgan Dillingham accidentally discharging his gun after the Civil War.) I was wondering if you have any family stories or photos from the time period of the 1850’s to the 1900’s.

    • So nice to hear from you. I met two people researching Missouri Town houses in the Missouri Valley section ion of the KC Librarry in early January. I assume this research is related. I did not know they were researching a Dillingham home. I was researching the Harris family at the time. But,,, I will go into my Dillingham research to see what I find. It has been some time since I reviewed this research. I do not recall how closely related Dusan and Joshua are to Morgan.

    • I admit I have been focused on other things recently, and have been slow to turn my attention to Joshua. In many ways, Susan’s family stories during the Civil War are more interesting than the Dillingham stories after the war. The family connection to Quantrill and the skirmish at the family farm I 1860. But maybe you already have that information.

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