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Lee’s Summit, the sixth largest city in Missouri, is located primarily in Jackson County, but a portion of the city extends into Cass County. The community was founded by William B. Howard, and named for his wife, Maria D. Strother. Howard moved to the area from Kentucky in 1842, owning 833 acres, and living five miles north of what was later to become the location of the town. In 1862, he was arrested for being a Confederate and, after he was paroled, he moved his family back to Kentucky for the remainder of the war. When the war ended, he returned. Knowing that the Missouri Pacific Railroad was surveying a route in the area, he platted the town with seventy acres in the fall of 1865, naming the town Strother. Shortly afterwards, the town changed its name to Lee’s Summit, for Dr. Pleasant John Graves Lea, who had been killed by Kansas Jayhawkers in 1862, as his murder had taken place near the site of the proposed railroad depot. However, they misspelled the name, and it was incorporated as the Town of Lee’s Summit in 1868. There is a local tradition that the city was named for Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Bob, Cole, Jim, and John Younger, of the James-Younger Gang, were born in Lee’s Summit. The city is situated just off of US Highway 50 and Missouri Highway 291, between Longview Lake County Park, James A. Reed Wildlife Area, and Lake Jacoma. Blue Springs is just over fifteen miles to the northeast, and Independence is about fifteen miles to the north.


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