Carthage residents will have a new place to view part of their history and the people who contributed to make that history great.

Carthage residents will have a new place to view part of their history and the people who contributed to make that history great.

A committee of local residents is raising money to build a Hall of Carthage Heroes, a hall of fame of sorts to honor past Carthaginians and summarize their contributions to the community and to the nation.

The Steadley Trust has pledged $10,000 to the project.

Bill Putnam, a member of the Hall of Carthage Heroes committee and a member of the board of the Carthage Community Foundation, said he has raised $11,000 to match the Steadley grant, but he's hoping to raise another $7,000 to provide an endowment to fund for the maintenance of the Hall and pay for future tiles.

Sue Vandergriff, a local historian and member of the Hall committee, said the group plans to name the first inductees, approximately 24 people, 18 people who were most responsible for the founding and growth of the city in its early history and six athletes who achieved greatness in Carthage or grew up here and moved on to do great things.

Vandergriff said the committee, which also consists of Jasper County Archivist Steve Weldon, former Jasper County Clerk Marjorie Bull and Carthage Chamber of Commerce President Mark Elliff, is still working its way through the historic figures to determine who will be in that first group.

"I have from Marvin VanGilder, a list of names that he sent to me and Bill Putnam back in 2007," Vandergriff said. "The Jasper County Courthouse Historic Preservation Committee came up with this idea back in 2010, and we wanted it in the Courthouse, but we decided if we did that, we would need to include people in the entire county. Bill went to the Y and said, what do you think, and the Y couldn't have been better. They met with the committee and they are absolutely so excited about it."

Vandergriff said among the names being considered for the first group are Timothy Regan, who helped create Park Cemetery and served as Carthage's second mayor.

"He gave the land for it (the cemetery). I don't know whether he'll make the cut or not, but he's one name," Vandergriff said. "He was the second mayor of Carthage, and actually the first mayor was elected but died very shortly thereafter so Timothy Regan was the first mayor who actually served."

Another potential candidate is Emma Knell, of the family that founded the Knell Mortuary.

She lived from 1878-1963 and, among other things, she was the third licensed female embalmer in Missouri, she assisted her father in running the Knell Fair, she was the first woman Republican elected to the Missouri House of Represented and the first woman elected to a local school board in Southwest Missouri.

Bill Putnam said he has lists of dozens of athletes that could be included in the Hall of Heroes, but he's open to other suggestions.
He said people who want to nominate an athlete can get a form at the Carthage Chamber of Commerce office or email him at