Ralph A. Monaco, II is a lifelong resident of Raytown, Missouri. He graduated from Rockhurst College in 1978, summa cum laude, with a degree in history and political science, and he earned his juris doctorate degree from U.M.K.C. School of Law in 1981. Currently he is a practicing attorney with the Kansas City law firm of Monaco, Sanders, Racine, Powell & Reidy L.C. with offices in Independence and Leawood. Mr. Monaco has a long standing record of public service. He served 4 terms in the Missouri House of Representatives, where he served as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Prior to that he was President of the Raytown School Board, Board of Directors of the Keith Worthington Chapter of ALS, Board of Trustees of Elmwood Cemetery, Board of Directors of the Rice-Tremonti House, and Board of Directors of Stepping Stones. He currently serves on the Elected Officials Compensation Committee for the City of Raytown, and he is an active member of the Board of Directors of the Three Trails Museum and the Jackson County Historical Society, where he is past-president.
He is a well-known living historian, educator and public speaker earning several awards, including the following:
- PTA Lifetime Acorn Recipient;
- Outstanding Service Award from the Jackson County Heritage Programs & Museums;
- Making History Come Alive Award from the Jackson County Historical Society;
- Pioneer of Harrodsburg of Kentucky;
- Lifetime Membership Award in the Raytown Historical Society;
- The Outstanding Service Award from Jackson County Parks & Recreation;
- The 2012 John Edwards Literary Award from the Friends of the James Farm;
- Recipient of the 2013 Jackson County Historical Society Book of the Year; and
- Missouri Legislature of the Year Awards from several organizations including the Missouri Bar; Friends of ARC; Missouri National Educators Association; Missouri Association of Associate Circuit and Probate Judges; the Missouri Trial Lawyers Association; and the Judicial Conference of Missouri
Mr. Monaco is the author of five books: The Strange Story of Col. Swope and Dr. Hyde; Son of a Bandit, Jesse James & The Leeds Gang; Blood on the Street, The Civil War Comes to Jackson County, Missouri, August 1862; Scattered to the Four Winds, General Order No. 11; and Last Hand at Park Manor.
Since publishing Son of a Bandit, Monaco Publishing, L.L.C., Mr. Monaco's third book entitled Blood on the Streets, the Civil War Comes to Jackson County, Missouri in 1862 was published in August, 2012. This non-fiction account tells the tale of the 1st Battle of Independence and the Battle of Lone Jack both of which took place in Jackson County in August 1862 and resulted in the defeat of Union troops at the hands of Confederate and Guerrilla forces.
In 2013 Mr. Monaco's 4th book Scattered to the Four Winds, General Order No. 11 & Martial Law in Jackson County, Missouri 1863 was co-published by Monaco Publications, L.L.C. and the Jackson County Historical Society. It is a gripping tale of the history of the tragedy surrounding General Order No. 11 and martial law in Jackson County, Missouri during the American Civil War. Under Order No. 11, all citizens, regardless of their loyalty to the Confederacy or the Union, living in the Counties of Northern Vernon, Bates, Cass (except those living within one mile of Harrisonville and Pleasant Hill) and Jackson (except for those living within one mile of Westport, Kansas City, Hickman’s Mill and Independence) were ordered off their property within 15 days of August 25, 1863. Jackson County suffered more than all other counties as approximately 14,000 residents were compelled to leave their property under Order No. 11.
Order No. 11 was issued as a military measure after one of the most egregious terrorist attacks launched upon civilians: the raid of William Quantrill and his guerilla forces upon Lawrence, Kansas on August 21, 1863 in which approximately 200 people were killed. Learn about those who lived through this tragic event in history. A list of names of those effected and their personal stories are brilliantly researched and told.
In 2015 Mr. Monaco's 5th book Last Hand at Park Manor was again co-published by Monaco Publications, L.L.C and the Jackson County Historical Society. A compelling drama of cold blooded murder or self defense over a controversial game of contract bridge began September 29, 1929. The ominous setting begins with socialites Mr. and Mrs. John G. Bennett and their swanky neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hofman who were engaged in a "friendly" game of partnership contract bridge in the Bennett's posh Park Manor Apartment on Ward Parkway in the classy Country Club District of Kansas City. Soon, the world of these two couples would irreparably crash as would the stock market within the next thirty days on "Black Tuesday." The Bennetts were ahead on points and assured of victory until Mr. Bennett misread the game and played the wrong hand - a bid of four spades, doubled, and lost by two tricks. His wife, an expert bridge player, promptly decreed that her husband was nothing more than a "bum bridge player." With those words, John G. Bennett erupted into rage, slapping his wife several times. The end was climatic - four shots rang-out; two striking John, who mortally collapsed while clasping the hand of his slayer - his wife Myrtle. Was this homicide Murder or Self Defense? Last Hand at Park Manor can be purchased at the Jackson County Historical Society or by contacting Mr. Monaco.
Along with his many accomplishments he has produced several educational living history programs: The Murder of Marshal Bugler at the 1859 Jail; The 1866 election of George Caleb Bingham in Independence; the First Battle of Independence Living History Program; Order Number 11, a living history trilogy; the Battle of Westport historical lecture series at the Truman Historic Courthouse; and he has portrayed the lawyer Abram Comingo at Missouri Town 1855 since 1989 as well as providing first person portrayals of various historical figures: Col. Thomas Hutton Swope, George Caleb Bingham, James Slover, a defense attorney for Frank James, and Edgar Allan Poe. He has directed numerous mock retrials: the 1883 trail of Frank James for the Winston Train Robbery, the arraignment of Frank James, the 1910 trial of Dr. Hyde for the alleged murder of Col. Thomas H. Swope, the 1899 Kansas City train robbery trial of Jesse James Jr., and the 1932 Kansas City "bridge-murder" trial of Myrtle Bennett for the murder of her husband John.
Lastly, he and his wife Karen live in Raytown, and they have two married daughters, Lindsay and Lisa.