PLATTSBURGH — Back home on Palmer Street here after a road trip out West, Marvin Stacy offered a kind of convoluted description of the trip.
“I kid people,” he said, chuckling. “I say we traveled three days, and the fourth day we stopped in Plattsburg.”
That’s Plattsburg — no “h” — in Missouri.
“I’d heard about Plattsburg years ago, said someday we’re going there,” said Marvin, 81, who was employed by Plattsburgh — with the “h” — as a Fire Department captain until his retirement 35 years ago.
“I’ve been retired now longer than most (city) firefighters have been living,” he said.
Missouri’s Plattsburg sits in Clinton County — in fact, it’s the county seat, just as Plattsburgh fits that description here.
That’s no coincidence.
“People here migrated there and founded the town,” Marvin said.
The Missouri community, founded in 1933, was first called Concord and then Springfield.
“However, it was found that there was another town by that name (Springfield) in Missouri,” says the Plattsburg website.
“(So), one year later, in January of 1835, the name ‘Plattsburg’ was borrowed from Plattsburgh, New York, which is the county seat of Clinton County, New York. This in turn was named for the Vice President George Clinton, who is the namesake for Clinton County, Missouri.”
Marvin was told that some folks from Plattsburgh, N.Y., had moved to Missouri, taking a little bit of home with them as they established the new city.
Marvin and his wife, Lillian, also 81, were driving to Colorado and other places to visit family, stopping in the City of Plattsburg on the way.
Much was familiar: Plattsburg Auto Parts, Clinton County Senior Center, Clinton County Courthouse ...
“The people there are so friendly, a lot like the people in Plattsburgh, N.Y., Marvin said. “They couldn’t do enough for me.”
They certainly were delighted to chat about the long-distance bond that exists between the two cities.
“I stopped in City Hall, and one of the ladies said she corresponded as a grade-school student with someone from (Plattsburgh, N.Y.),” Marvin said.
“And I met a captain in the (Plattsburg) Sheriff’s Department who gave us a rundown of the history of Plattsburg, Missoura,” he continued, pronouncing the state name with a Midwestern drawl as he heard it said there.
A woman who works for the Health Department in the Missouri city told the Stacys that she had received a complaint call a few weeks earlier — a woman wanted some neighbors to clean up their property.
“Where are you?” the Missouri woman had asked the caller.
“Plattsburgh, New York,” came the reply, Marvin said. “How she got that number was a mystery to them.”
BOTH HAD BATTLES
Plattsburg boasts a population of about 2,300, much smaller than Plattsburgh’s 19,000. It’s about 30 miles from Kansas City and St. Joseph, Mo.
Both, Marvin said, had a battle named for them.
The one in the Northeast gets all the attention, considering it stopped the British advance from Canada in the War of 1812.
The Plattsburg, Mo., battle, that city’s website says, took place July 21, 1864, during the Civil War.
Two were killed, three wounded, and the Union force was named official victor, the website says.
Plattsburg, Stacy learned, was the burial place of David Rice Atchison, who, as some say, held the post of acting U.S. president for one day — Zachary Taylor’s inauguration fell on Sunday, March 4, 1849, so he was not sworn in until the following day.
Marvin got a kick out of that as he admired the statue of the man outside the Clinton County Courthouse in Plattsburg.
The Stacys spent the whole day in Plattsburg.
“I think if we had decided to stay a couple days, someone would have offered us a stay in their home,” Marvin said.
Recently, Plattsburg Fire Department Chief Brady Lawrence sent Marvin a patch from that outfit.
He gave it to Plattsburgh City Fire Department.
“I thought they would enjoy it,” he said.
And Marvin sent two books, one on the City of Plattsburgh and one on Clinton County, N.Y., to Missouri.
He asked the fire chief to mail him a Plattsburg phone book, as he’d like to peruse the names in it.
“I might have relatives there,” Marvin said. “Who knows?”
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