Recently I was called into the Shawnee County District Court for jury duty. Initially there’s always a bit of waiting before you discover your fate as a juror or a free man. While waiting I took a look at the photos and other items that graced the hallway of the court house, telling something about the County’s legal history.

Of note is a small plaque honoring a local attorney, and placed in the previous county court house by the local bar association. Lt. Robert Stauffer Heizer was born in Topeka on September 25, 1888, and killed at Belleau Wood on June 11, 1918.

When the previous court house was torn down, the plaque was saved, but only found a place in storage in the basement of the new court house. Finally rediscovered in 2015, the plaque found a home in the hallway with other mementos of Shawnee County legal history.

It was good to see the plaque, but I wonder how many people actually take note of it and Lt. Heizer’s sacrifice.

For more information, here are a couple of articles from the Topeka Capital-Journal from 2015:

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.