History of Ryland House

Ryland House, a jewel of Neoclassic Revival design, was built in late 1911 by Dr. Caius Tacitus (“CT”) Ryland (1874-1958), one of Lexington’s most beloved family doctors, and his wife, Betty Belle (1875-1963). The Rylands spent many happy years in their house, as evidenced by Betty’s handwritten notes that were found on the door of a kitchen cabinet.

In the early 1960’s, the house became the property of Helen and Marjorie Groves, retired school teachers. The Groves sisters were active in the Methodist church, the DAR, and in preservation projects around town. The house owes its pristine condition to the care the sisters lavished on it; perhaps also to the fact that neither set of owners had children!

In 1980, the Historic Neighborhoods section of Lexington, which includes Ryland House, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as “Groves House”, a Neoclassic Revival home with a gabled roof and pedimented entry portico.

In 1999, Ryland house was purchased by the Hicklins; renovations were completed in 2001. Many Lexington residents carry the name Ryland in recognition of the doctor who brought them into this world. This includes the owner’s father, whose middle name was “Ryland” and was delivered by Dr. Ryland.

The house underwent renovation from 1999-2001. The home has two full bathrooms, both completely renovated, as well as four lovely guest rooms decorated in the delightful colors of Scandinavia. Guests may relax in front of the fireplace with a snack, or enjoy music on the side porch in mild weather.

Dr. Caius Tacitus Ryland (1874-1958)

Dr. RylandLexington’s practicing physician from about the turn of the century until his retirement in 1947. Born Caius Tacitus (“CT”) Ryland, he was the son of Judge John Edwin Ryland and Nancy Pettis Palmer Ryland. He received his medical degree from Beaumont Medical College, St. Louis, Missouri, graduating in 1897. He interned at St. Mary’s Hospital, St. Louis, and did his residency at the Missouri Pacific Hospital, Sedalia, before establishing a practice in Lexington, Missouri. He also served many years on the staff of Research Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.

     Dr. Ryland was a captain in the Army Medical Corps in World War I. During World War II, he was examiner for the Lafayette County Selective Service Board.

     He was married on September 2, 1903 to Miss Bettie Belle Perrie, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. John Perrie of Mayview, Missouri.

     He served as President of the Lafayette Medical Society and as president of the Missouri State Medical Association in 1934-1935. In April, 1941, Drs. Ryland, Fredenhall, Hickson, Wallace and E.T.Shaberg moved their medical offices to the former Pettit home at Franklin and 14th Streets. Dr. Ryland was born and reared in the house, which is one of the oldest in Lexington.  Dr. Ryland was prominent in the furthering of plans for Lexington Memorial Hospital and was instrumental in the development of the plans that culminated in the opening of the hospital here in 1951.

     He was a member of the Lexington Methodist Church and had been a member of Masonic organizations for more than half a century. He was past master of Lexington Lodge 149, A.F.& A.M., and a member of Lexington Chapter No. 10, R.A.M.  and the DeMolay Commandery No. 3, K.T. He was a charter member and past president of Lexington Chamber of Commerce at the time Dunhill Shirt Company opened its factory here. He retired in 1947 because of ill health. In 1949, he underwent the first of several operations, which finally resulted in the loss of both legs. He learned to use artificial limbs, but by 1951 he was confined to a wheelchair. In 1957, while undergoing treatment at Lexington Memorial Hospital, he was found to be suffering from a lung tumor, and he entered a Kansas City Hospital for X-ray therapy.

     Dr. Ryland’s name undoubtedly has been bestowed upon more babies during his medical practice than has the name of any other man in the history of Lexington. Many Lexington residents and others who have moved away carry the middle name Ryland in recognition of the doctor who brought them into the world.  (Source: Obit 2/17/58).


Betty Belle Ryland (1875-1963)

Betty Belle RylandMrs. Ryland was born September 25, 1875 in Mayview, Missouri, the daughter of Dr. John Perrie and Eva Keith Perrie. She was the granddaughter of Dr. J. M. Keith, who was the first physician in Lafayette County, Missouri. She was married to Dr. C.T. Ryland, who had served as president of the State and County Medical Associations.     

    Mrs. Ryland was a graduate of Central College in Lexington. She was past President of the auxiliaries of the State and County Medical Associations.  She was also a member of the Lexington Methodist Church and a lifelong member of the W.S.C.S.  She was the first President of the Women’s Club when it was chartered and had assisted in the organization of the Lexington Public Library. (Source: Obit 1963). Mrs. Ryland’s handwritten notes, describing the date Ryland House was built, as well a note to the next home owners, were left behind on a shelf of a kitchen cabinet. This panel can be viewed in the dining room.


Helen E. Groves (1895-1998)

Helen GrovesHelen E. Groves was born on March 27, 1895 in Corder, Missouri. She was the daughter of William McKendree Groves and Bettie Corder Groves. She attended the Corder public schools through three years of high school, then finished high school at Central College in Lexington. She received her B.A. degree from Randolph-Macon in Lynchburg, VA.

     Ms. Groves taught high school for 31 years, with 24 of those years teaching History and Latin at Central High School in St. Joseph, MO. While teaching, she did graduate work at Kansas University, University of Colorado, University of Southern California, and Chicago University. She was a member of the Lexington United Methodist Church, the United Methodist Women and the Rebecca Circle. She had taught Sunday School and Bible school. She was a member of the D.A.R. and the Lexington Woman’s Club.

     She was preceded in death by a sister, Marjorie, a sister Frances Groves Aull and a brother, William McKendree Groves, Jr.  She died on March 16, 1998 at the age of 102.  (Source: Obit 3/18/98)


Marjorie Jane Groves (1908-1994)

Marjorie GrovesMarjorie J. Groves was born on December 8, 1908 in Corder, Missouri. She was the daughter of William McKendree Groves Sr. and Bettie Corder Groves. She attended Lindenwood College and the University of Missouri, Marjorie Jane Groves where she received her Master’s Degree in Mathematics. She lived in the Chicago, IL area before moving to Lexington in 1961. She was a mathematics teacher employed by the University of Chicago and taught in Gary and Whiting, IN. She had traveled widely, visiting Mexico, Germany, France, Italy and England.

     Miss Groves was a member of the Lexington United Methodist Church and a member of Lexington United Methodist Women. She was also a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Social Sorority and the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

     Survivors include one sister, Helen Groves, Lexington. She was preceded in death by her parents; one sister, Frances Groves Aull; and one brother, William McKendree Grove, Jr.     

     She died on June 16, 1994 at the age of 85. (Source: Obit 6/22/94 and Morton High School, Hammond, IN yearbook).


History of Hicklin School - Early Schools

Very early in Missouri history, certain government owned lands were set aside for the exclusive use of rural primary schools. Early settlers rented these lands until land sales began in 1822. It was specified by law that at least one school should be started in each township as soon as practical and necessary. Rural schools built on these lands were “subscription schools”, the teacher being paid $1 per month for each student, and would receive his or her room and board among their families. It was purely a private enterprise, the teacher taking the risk of getting enough to pay for his time and the community at large providing a school house, which was also used for Sunday preaching and other public meetings of the neighborhood. Classes consisted of a few disciplines – reading, spelling, arithmetic – and writing was accomplished with a goose quill pen, with pokeberry juice for ink.

In 1876, a site for a Lafayette County rural school east of Lexington was purchased from Young Ewing Hicklin (b.1842 d.1912). Young was the son of James Hicklin (b. 1795 d. 1875), one of Lexington’s first settlers; James bought the land on which the Hicklin School stands in 1825. In 1877, a new one-room school building was finished at a cost of $379. The rural community that was served by School District No. 1 (later No. 11) named the building the Hicklin School. This was a one room building, with four windows on each side and a door in the south end. Double desks and seats were on either side of the classroom, with painted blackboards and a place for wraps. The windows were painted in order to keep the students focused on their studies.

In 1914, a “modern” Hicklin school, using a plan developed by the Felt architectural firm, was erected on the site of the original Hicklin School at a cost of $1,600. This was the second school to be erected on the present site. Continued...

Ryland House
1809 Main St.
Lexington, MO 64067
913-314-1582, Reservations

Hicklin School History

A DVD of the Hicklin School kid reminisces, completed in 2008, is available for $20. Please inquire.

To read or print out a complete history of the Hicklin School click here.