Inky Dot's Last Trip

Updated: May 17

Liberty, Missouri was a small town in the 1950s. Everyone knew everyone, doors weren't locked and you said hello to strangers if you passed on the sidewalk. A friendly town of less than 45,000 people. This article appeared in the Gladstone News on Thursday, March 27, 1958 by an unknown writer.

"Funeral services for one of Clay County's most unforgettable characters was held yesterday afternoon at White Oak Grove cemetery where graveside services were conducted for Walter "Inky dot" Gibson.

For almost a century 'Inky Dot' has lived in the county. Some estimate his age at close to a hundred. Several years ago Inky Dot began celebrating birthdays - he was not able to establish his true age at that time - but selected an 82-year old figure. Old timers around the county, though, figure that 'Inky Dot' was between ninety-five and a hundred when he died.

Born to slave parents, at a site near the Ford plant in Claycomo, Inky Dot has long been a familiar figure to Clay Countians. Scores of stories and tales have been told about the loveable old man with the hand-carved hickory cane he carried. For the past 18 years he has lived in a small house-neatly kept-on the Harley Wyatt property. His home was near the west end of the Peter Hughes farm.

In fact, it was Mr. Wyatt and Mr. John Hughes who found his body about 200 feet from the little cabin Sunday morning. They had become alarmed after not seeing Inky Dot around for a couple of days and went to investigate. They found the cabin locked and after notifying Vivian Thomas, chief of police, began searching..

Inky Dot had made his last trip to the grocery store. The sack containing groceries was clutched in his arms. On his ody was found six dollars, a gold watch and a pint bottle of liquor. Inky Dot always carried a bottle of liquor - 'for medicinal purposes only' - he explained.

His gentle philosophy of life was well as his familiar figure trudging along the highways with can tapping and puffs of cotton-like hair protruding from under his cap will be sadly missed by those who knew and loved him."

Everyone knew everyone ... it was a small, friendly town.

Chery Carr Holtman, curator, Clay County Museum

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