Richard and Judith Wornall located their 1858 home within sight of the main road that led south from Westport and headed toward a Santa Fe Trail junction in what is today south Kansas City. With a homestead of nearly 500 cultivated acres, the Wornalls were in a position to help outfit overland travelers with needed provisions. The cliché “it takes a village” was the reality when you envision thousands of westward migrants descending upon the western Missouri frontier each spring, all of whom needed supplies and foodstuffs to last them for up to a six-month overland journey.
In 1843, Richard and Judith Wornall, and their two sons, John Bristow Wornall and George “Thomas” Wornall, moved to Westport, Missouri. In the late 1850s Wornall chose the site of his new showplace carefully—it was two hundred feet away from the main road that lead [sic.] south from Westport and headed toward the Santa Fe trail. Wornall purchased nearly 500 acres of land from John McCoy and soon sold the land to his sons.
Thomas died of cholera on the western plains in 1849, and John became the sole titleholder. After Judith died in 1849, Richard Wornall returned to Kentucky. John built the house in 1858. The homesite was subsequently subdivided and the original homestead remained in the Wornall family until the 1970s when the Jackson County Historical Society saved, restored, and opened the home as a museum.