Friday, February 26, 2010

The War of Northern Aggression-Part 3

Meanness & the Slaughter of 3 Old Men
The problem for Ozark County during the Civil War was Bushwhackers. This problem precipitated from Northern Arkansas which harbored these guerillas in the area of today’s Baxter, Fulton, and Marion counties. In the heated moment, age, sex, and loyalties quickly held one’s ultimate providence of living or departing for fairer shores across death’s chilly waters. May we all find solace in the knowledge that our days are weighed in our Father’s hand, and we have stood for what is noble, just, and righteous.

FEBRUARY 6-8, 1865. - Operations in Ozark County, Mo.
Report of Capt. Moses L. Alsup, Forty-sixth Missouri Infantry.
                                                                          CAMP BAKER,  
                                                 Douglas County, Mo., February 12, 1865.
     GENERAL: I have the honor to state to you, general, that on the morning of the 6th I started a detachment consisting of twenty-three men under command of Lieutenant Alsup. On the night of the 7th he camped at the residence of James Martin, in Ozark County, Mo. On the 7th he fell in with two of Tracy’s and one of Elliott’s guerrillas, who were immediately placed hors de combat. We found in their possession one Savage revolver, one single-barrel shotgun. They all had bountiful supplies of subsistence, which we effectually destroyed. Our pickets were fired on the same night, but with no effect. On our return on the 8th we were fired on from the brush by one man. Owing to that region being infested by straggling bands of guerrillas I shall start another scout immediately. Lieutenant Alsup reports finding the remains of three citizens of Ozark County, captured in November by guerrillas and supposed to have been murdered by them. Their names were James Martin, sr., John Allcorn, and John Coil, all good loyal men and too old for the service.

I have the honor to subscribe myself, very respectfully, yours,
                                MOSES L. ALSUP,
Capt., Comdg. Company H, Forty-sixth Regt. Missouri Infty. Vols.
    Brig. Gen. J. B. SANBORN,
Commanding District of Southwest Missouri.

Works Cited:
Burch, Milton. “Operations in Ozark County, Mo.” The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies 48.60 (12 Feb 1865): 100. Making of America. Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY. 30 Nov. 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Marbles Anyone?

Grab your taw out of your pocket!
What is a game that can bring young and old together in the Ozarks over 100 years ago?
How about marbles.
And what is a taw?
In the game of marbles, your taw is your shooter marble, and the mibs is the target marble.
This next article is a wonderful glimpse of the small game that brought out large crowds in the evenings. Please focus on the last portion of this article that chronicles this serious past-time in Ozark County, Missouri.
Some of the grammar is a little difficult, but transcribed accurately.

A royal sport is hide-and-seek, rated so by Stevenson, and in the same table he might have named tops and marbles. Hide-and-seek stops early. It rarely is played by grownups. Top spinning, on the contrary, in certain college towns, is an institution. It is with top spinning that those gentlemen whom a college song describes as "grave old seniors" give formal good by to boyhood before they breast into the world. Where the custom is best established, silk hats are worn during the ceremony, to make the contrast more contrastly. Top spinning for grownups requires the aid of custom and the melancholy of tutumn or the light heartedness of spring for stimulus. But marbles!  Give the kingly game of marbles half a chance and it may convert all of the male population of a town—every one of Shakespeare's seven ages. Just what the process of fascination is, no psychologist yet has determined. In telling of how the game captured the town of Blue Springs, Missouri, a newspaper account says:

"Possibly some gray-bearded citizen sat on a nail keg in front of Lynn Pryor's blacksmith shop on a spring day two years ago and got to thinking while he watched the ‘kids’ playing marbles in the street, that he used to be pretty fair hand at that game himself in days before the war. Then he went out and knocked a middler from 'taw'—or almost did—and went back and bragged about it to somebody else. And that other person used to be pretty fair, too, in other days, and went out to see what he could do. Then every one got started —you know how, those things will happen."

The blacksmith shop soon came to be a marble players' headquarters. Of the six hundred persons in the a hundred or more – all ages got the marble playing habit; and the men grew so expert that games were won and lost by a hairbreadth. There is one story, exaggerated perhaps, that Uncle Dan Stanley, who is seventy-four, and Uncle Tom Holloway, seventy-five in a match last winter for the championship of the world, "lagged from taw for two days without either player gaining so much advantage as sixteenth of an inch, in the contest to see who should have first shot; and the match had to be declared a draw even before it began." Many southern Missouri towns are as enthusiastic over marbles as eastern Kansas is about horseshoe pitching. The traveler in the Ozarks finds in some places a little square of cement with five indentations in it for the marbles used in playing the old-fashioned game of hoss. In Gainesville, the county seat of Ozark county, has a public shooting ground done in cement at the northwest corner of the courthouse square. It is used by boys and men during all of the hours of daylight and when the champions, many of them bald or bearded, get to playing along about sundown, the gallery always is large and as appreciative as a baseball crowd. — Collier’s

Works Cited:
"Various Sports.”Sunday State Journal 41 (6 Nov. 1910) C4 . Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 25 Dec. 2009
"Various Sports.” Brownsville Daily Herald 18.307 (6 Nov. 1910). Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 25 Dec. 2009

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The War of Northern Aggression-Part 2

This is the second document and one of the most important documents concerning the Civil War in present day Baxter County, Arkansas. The focal point of this skirmish takes place at Talbert’s or Mooney’s Ferry & Landing on the White River. The Confederate’s Captain Mooney is also the man in charge in holding the confederate stronghold established to protect a saltpeter cave nearby the White River. While reading this Official Report below, you may want to take a closer look on an older Baxter County from 1919 and see the location of the Mooney Ferry.
 Double click on each map to enlarge.

I hope you enjoy the report.
Expedition from Ozark, Mo., into Marion County, Ark.
Report of Capt. Milton Burch, Fourteenth Missouri State Militia Cavalry.

OZARK, Mo., December 18, 1862.  
SIR: I have the honor of reporting to you, for the information of the commanding general, the results of a scout, commanded by me, in Marion County, Arkansas.

By permission from Captain [S. A.] Flagg, commanding this post, I took command of 40 men, composed of detachments from Companies ID, F G, and II, Second Battalion Fourteenth Regiment Missouri State Militia Cavalry, and, on the morning of the 9th instant, marched for Lawrence’s Mill, a distance of 35 miles. I arrived at the mill early in the night, and remained there till noon of the 10th, waiting for forage. During the time, I held a consultation with the officers of my command and those of the enrolled militia stationed at the mill, in regard to the direction we should take. It had been my intention to make an expedition into the White River country below Dubuqne, where it is said a band of marauders have a considerable number of horses. These marauders I wished to destroy or drive out, and to capture their horses; but, having received information that a rebel captain by the name of Mooney, with 75 men, were encamped at Tolbert’s Ferry, on White River, 60 miles from us, I resolved, with the advice of the other officers, to go and capture them. I received a re-enforcement of 60 men from the enrolled militia at the mill, and marched 20 miles in the direction of Tolbert’s Ferry.

The march was continued on the morning of the 11th, but, instead of keeping the road, I bore to the eastward, and marched through the wood, under the guidance of an excellent woodman by the name of Willoughby Hall. I arrived within 8 miles of the ferry by dusk, and stopped to feed and rest in the dense forest near an out of the way corn-field. During the time of our stay at this place, I sent Lient. John R. Kelso, with 8 men, to capture some rebel pickets that I supposed would be found at the house of a rebel by the name of Brixy. Lieutenant Kelso soon returned, having found and captured 2 rebels, with their guns, and 1 horse. From these prisoners I learned that Captain Mooney’s men had temporarily disbanded, and were not to assemble again for two days. I felt a little disappointed upon the reception of this intelligence, but I determined to proceed and make a dash upon a band of armed rebels that I learned were at the saltpeter cave, on the other side of White River, 7 miles from Captain Mooney’s house. At midnight my little band emerged from the dark wood, where we had been resting, and silently wound along the hills in the direction of Captain Mooney’s. Lieutenant Kelso led the advance, and, by the most excellent management, succeeded in capturing 7 or 8 rebels, who lived near the road, without giving any alarm to the country around. Just before day we captured a rebel recruiting officer by the name of Mings, formerly a lieutenant-colonel. At the break of day we reached Captain Mooney’s residence. We took him, with one other man, together with 15 stand of small-arms, most of which we destroyed, not being able to carry them. We also recaptured 8 horses, which had been taken from the enrolled militia stationed at Lawrence’s Mill.

I remained here to feed and await the arrival of a party that I had sent out, with orders to meet at this point. They soon came in, bringing several prisoners. I then sent Captain [P. T.] Green, of the enrolled militia, back with the prisoners, 17 in number, and 25 men as an escort. I then divided the rest of my command into two divisions, sending one, under command of Captain [J. II.] Sallee, accompanied by Lieutenant Bates, formerly of the Sixty-fourth Illinois, to march up the river on this side, and to await in concealment till I began the attack with the other division, which was to cross and approach from the other side.

It was just noon when we arrived at the cave. The rebels were at their dinner, all unconscious of our approach. When at last they discovered us, they mistook us for a company of their own men which they were expecting, and they did not discover their error until we were in half pistol shot of them. I ordered them to surrender, which they did, without firing a gun.

They numbered 23, of whom 3 were left, being unable to travel. Their arms were mostly shot-guns and rifles, which I ordered to be destroyed. We also captured 4 mules and 2 wagons. The wagons, however, we could not bring away; also 3 horses were taken. I ordered the saltpeter works to be destroyed, which was effectually done. These are gigantic works, having cost the rebel Government $30,000. Captain McNamar, who was in command, stated that in three days they could have had $6,000 worth of saltpeter ready for use. These works, although reported as destroyed at the time of the burning of Yellville, had been unmolested since early last spring, when they were slightly injured by a detachment from General Curtis army. The works being destroyed, and learning that a party of Burbridge’s command was hourly expected, I thought better to retire, as I was already encumbered with prisoners. I marched nearly all night through the dark woods, the rain pouring down upon us in torrents.

On the next day we advanced as far as Little North Fork, which was not fordable. Here we remained till the morning of the 13th, when we crossed and reached Lawrence’s Mills.

On the 15th we reached this place, having been absent seven days. We traveled 225 miles; captured 42 prisoners; destroyed 40 stand of small-arms; also captured 12 horses and 4 mules, and destroyed $30,000 worth of machinery, &c., and all without any loss whatever on my side.

In conclusion, I must say a word in praise of the brave men under my command. Often without any food, except parched corn, and no shelter from the chilling rains; deprived of sleep, and weary from long night marches, not a murmur was heard. Every hardship was borne with cheerfulness, and every danger met with the utmost coolness. The enrolled militia officers, Captains Sallee, Green, and [J. F.] Huffman, all did their duty well. Lieutenant Bates, of the Sixty-fourth Illinois, showed himself a brave soldier. Lieutenant Warren, of Company F, also de- serves favorable notice. As to Lieutenant Kelso, his reputation as an intrepid soldier and skillful officer is too well known to require any comment at this time. These, major, I think, are all the facts worthy of notice.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, MILTON BURCH,
Captain, Commanding Expedition.

Assistant Adjutant- General.

Works Cited:
Burch, Milton. “Expedition from Ozark, Mo., into Marion County, Ark..” The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies 34.46 (30 June 1864): 159-161. Making of America. Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY. 30 Nov. 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

The War of Northern Aggression-Part 1

A commemoration of the War of Northern Aggression, or commonly known as the Civil War, will commence next year. In honor of this event, the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission is looking to recognize all 75 counties for their special contribution, battle, and sacrifice in this historical era of our nation.

Baxter County has a special conundrum in this affair. First, Baxter County, Arkansas, did not exist until March 24th, 1873, which is clearly after the war. Therefore, I needed to scratch through the records of Fulton, Izard, and Marion County, Arkansas, from which Baxter County was drawn from. I also decided to pilfer through other surrounding county histories for the mention of any person, landmark, or reference to this area. What happened here was nothing short of heart-breaking and gut-wrenching meanness. The loyalties and lines between the North & South, immediate family & kindred, and friends & neighbors were so blurred with the passing of every regiment and skirmish. Some citizens of this area were traumatized at the sound of every beating of a hoof on the rocky soil and each snap of the primer that discharged releasing its’ conical slug.

All this leads me to the next problem. Due to the terrain and logistics, according to historians, there were no major battles in this area. I’m trying to figure out how many deaths and skirmishes constitute their definition of peace and sobriety. This area was fraught with the scourge of starvation and the depravity that truly makes my heart ache. I honestly swing in opinion on who was right and who was wrong and find myself in the strait betwixt which side to choose. I look at that time as a time of survival to live from day to day. Looking back, this area was so remote, its’ economy devastated, and society was consequently in desperate upheaval in with little or no chances for even the depraved carpetbaggers see the profit in coming to this area. That is why I love studying the history of the 1890-1910. I believe that is when this area really started to come back from the depravity of the Civil War. Nevertheless, it was not due to any government program. It was and faith in God and sheer determination. People struggled to put bread in their children’s mouths from legitimate revenue of farming, logging, and mining to the unsavory of path of moonshiners being chased by revenuers.

In the process to discover and trace the events of the Civil War in this area, I have been going through the book entitled: The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies or known as the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR). As I go through these reports over the next year or so, I will transcribe as many as possible that pertain to Baxter County area and the surrounding counties. These will include Boone, Fulton, Izard, Marion counties in Arkansas and Howell, Ozark, and Taney counties in Missouri.

Here is such one report. Enjoy.

Expedition into Marion County, ARK. 159 December 9-15, 1862. Expedition from Ozark, Mo., into Marion County, Ark.

Report of Brig. Gen. Egbert B. Brown, U. S. Army.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., December 18, 1862.
I have the honor to report a successful scout of Captain Burch, Fourteenth Missouri State Militia, with 40 men of his regiment and company enrolled Missouri Militia, into Arkansas, burning and destroying the saltpeter works of the Confederate Government, including 5 buildings, 1 engine, 26 large kettles, 6 tanks, blacksmiths and carpenters shops and tools; $6,000 worth of saltpeter, packed, which was to have been moved in two days; capturing 500 barrels of jerked beef, together with a full supply of other provisions for the winter, and returning, without a casualty, with 42 prisoners, their arms, horses, and equipments. The affair is the more creditable, as a large force of the enemy was encamped within a few miles of the works; but so rapid and secret were the movements of Captain Burch that they were unapprised of them until he had accomplished the duty assigned him, and returned in safety. This is the fourth equally important and successful scout of Captain Burch in the past few months, besides numbers of smaller affairs. These are the same works reported to have been destroyed by Colonel Wickersham about a month since. The destruction was not complete, as they were again in full operation. The works cost the Confederate Government $30,000. They are now destroyed. The engine, tanks, and kettles were broken with sledges, and buildings burned. The cave is sufficiently roomy to work 100 men.



Works Cited:
Brown, Egbert B. “Expedition from Ozark, Mo., into Marion County, Ark..” The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies 34.46 (30 June 1864): 159. Making of America. Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY. 30 Nov. 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ozark Mountain Freak

Here is another story from my file entitled: “Ozark Animal Adventures & Oddities.”

A chicken- within a chicken is, according- to the St. Louis Republic, the remarkable freak of nature witnessed by Attorney Alexander Young during his recent sojourn in the Ozark mountains.

If Judge Young were not rooted for his veracity, affidavits would be required.

As it is his remarkable reputation for truthfulness puts the stamp of credibility upon the story which he told the other day upon his return.

While hunting; in the Ozarks one day, Judge Young come to a lonely cottage tenanted by John Brown and family. He stopped there three days, fishing, and on the day of his departure the good family offered to kill the biggest chicken on the place for dinner. A big yellow leg, the largest chicken for its age ever seen on the place, was singled out for the ax. Mrs. Brown informed her guest that it had been hatched from, the biggest egg ever laid in the place during 25 years. She "allowed'' that the chicken which came from it would be a whopper. It more than exceeded her expectations. On occasions, however, it seemed to droop and pine.

After a long chase yellow leg was brought to a stump where wood was split. The whole family and their guests went out to see the killing. The negro woman chopped off the head and threw the jumping, flopping body on the ground. When it lay still she picked the feathers and split open the breast. The negro's screams attracted Judge Young and Mr. Brown, who had retired to the houses to discuss politics. Mrs. Brown, who was in the kitchen superintending dinner, witnessed the freak and explained what had happened. Mr. Brown guessed his wife and the negro cook "had 'em.' Judge Young regained his appetite for chicken and theorized that the freak of nature must have been hatched from an egg within an egg. The negro revived and "declared fo' God de debil'" had sent his message to her. It was finally agreed that the judge was right in his theory.

The inside chicken staggered about blindly. It had no eyes. Close observation revealed that its growth had been stunted.

"You ugly monster! That explains it," said Mrs. Brown, as she glanced at the freak in horror.

"Explains what?" asked the judge. "Why, old yellow legs always ate enough for two chickens, and I said so repeatedly."

There was chicken for dinner.

Works Cited:
“Ozark Mountain Freak.” Daily Republican 25.144 (21Sept.1897) 5. Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 25 Dec. 2009
“Ozark Mountain Freak.” Naugatuck Daily News 2.382 (30 Sept. 1897) 3. Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 25 Dec. 2009
“Ozark Mountain Freak.” San Antonio Light 27.243 (20Sept. 1897) 2. Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 25 Dec. 2009

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

25 Ozark County Possums

Saint Louis World's Fair
In 1910, Saint Louis, Missouri, hosted the National Land and Industrial Immigration Exposition. It was an extravagant affair for the nation and the state. Highlighting this occasion, the exposition accepted a large showing of unique Ozark displays.  There is one thing that caught my attention from this area, it was an exhibit from Ozark County.  Please read on and discover the Ozark surprise.

County exhibits will feature the big Land Exposition to be held in St. Louis December 15 to 21st.  Moberly and Randolph county, in all probability, will have an exhibit at the exposition and soon the Commercial Club will probably arrange the end. The right kind of an exhibit would be a fine advertise merit for us.

Among the exhibits already arranged are the following:

Various Missouri State Departments are preparing their exhibits, each one to be something out of the common.

County exhibits will follow the general scheme of having novelties, which will emphasize their various successes. Greene county will show a miniature state capitol made out of Green county stone. They will also have prize winning corn, the giant from "Jennie," captured in the Sac river, frozen in a lump of ice, besides other novel features.

Audrain county will show a corn palace.

Ozark county, besides showing the largest pumpkin ever grown, will, show a twenty-five foot persimmon tree, in which will be 25 live possums.

Wright county will prepare a grotto and cave made entirely of big red apples and other products.

Douglass county will show a growing cotton field and a miniature dairy farm.

Texas county will have a fine cut timber exhibit and a corn tower.

Jasper county, besides showing its champion small fruit exhibit, will show a cross section of a zinc mine in operation.

Adair county will have a beautiful grain and grass exhibit.  A model school house will also be shown.

Barry county expects to snow an old castle built entirely of vegetables and fruit.

Taney county will show farm products and a hunting camp in miniature, with a scene laid in a forest on the bank of an Ozark stream.

McDonald county will show a miniature strawberry harvest scene, showing the picking and marketing the strawberries.

Newton county writes that they expect to have the finest apple and corn display ever made in the
United States.

It is expected that Macon county will show a miniature coal mine operator by an electric motor.

Should Randolph county make fine exhibit it is said that it will take the form of a blue grass stock farm in miniature, with red barn, stock animals and blue grass pastures complete.

Iron county is preparing a colored copy, in miniatue, of the Arcadia Valley, created by Rev. Fuller Swift, together with a Woman's Missouri Development Association. This is expected to be the center of a great deal of attraction.

Works Cited:
"Will Arrange to Show." Moberly Weekly Monitor  41.45 (15  Nov. 1910) 4.  Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Dec. 2009

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thank you

I would like to say Thank You to the Mountain Home Coterie Club for their invitation to speak Thursday, February 12th, about the War of Northern Aggression & Ozarks’ History.   It was wonderful to see Ozark Heritage & Hospitality displayed in word and deed.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Passing the Torch

From Generation to Generation

I had the chance to go to another funeral of a cousin, Palmer Holmes, in Ozark County this weekend. There, in Mammoth Cemetery, I was standing by my Uncle Frank Anderson’s grave and saw the marker that commemorates him also as a World War II Veteran; it was just last year we made this journey to this cemetery for him.

Standing in the shivering breeze, I was reminded of my heritage, call, and duty that have been passed on to me. It was there…standing near by the flag draped coffin with the pungent smell of gunpowder and the mournful farewell of taps, I was reminded of my love and fondness for my family, friends, and this area. Furthermore, gratitude for men going to far flung places and fighting for freedom. This Uncle Frank and Palmer’s deeds were not flaunted, bragged, or trumpeted by themselves. It was a matter of a fact for them and life went on.

It was done for Love and Duty.

It is called Humility.

No Place Like Home
As these events played out, I saw children…God’s children of all ages. In my mind, it was the perfect U. S. Army Honor Guard. Even though the Honor Guard was composed of black & white, I did not see age, race, money, or political parties separating us. I saw God’s children. Though some have strayed from Home, they too heard the call.

Home can seem so far away, but the heart can transport us in a fleeting moment by simple reminders. These may be tombstones, pictures, or old papers. Though the tombstones are reminders of a loved one’s memory, I believe events are reminders too. It’s these events of family and friend coming together that can be markers along our path. I believe the Father in Heaven places these reminders in our lives. Let us not carelessly avoid them.

Passing the Torch
A few weeks ago I was talking to a cousin, Jimmy, about our fear of where our country has going. On a personal perspective, I look at the United States and the Ozarks today in angst and trepidation. We have veered from absolutes and moral standards. We have been sold political allegiances blindly. I have seen people sell their loyalties of their country for global unity and peace that will never come till the Prince of Peace descends.

There have been great generations in this nation’s past, and I would hate to see blood soaked ground lost and my children live under the threat of tyranny.

Uncle Frank and Palmer’s Generation has been truly Great, and I cannot decry the fact because they answered the call. This Greatest Generation has left their light and legacy in our hearts.

Will we carry the torch no matter the cost?

Will our descendants chronicle our deeds and sacrifice 100 years from a part of our Ozarks’ History? 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Taking No Chances.

Dark had just settled over the Ozarks when the writer rode up to a shanty, and, dismounting, rapped at the door. A woman soon made her appearance, and in a harsh voice asked what was wanted.
“Can I get lodgings for the night, ma'am?"
“Who be you?"
"A traveller on his way to Jonesville."
"All alone?"
"Ride up a leetle clusser and lemrne see what sort of a lookin' critter yo' are. Might be better and might be wuss. Ar' ye a married man?"
"That settles it. Stranger, I don't think I kin take ye in."
“Is your husband away?"
"I'm a widder with three children, sir. It's five miles to the next shanty, and it's a dark night and goin' to rain purty soon, but a woman has got to look out for herself out yere."
"Why, ma'am, I hope you are not afraid of me!" I protested.
"Not the least mite, stranger, nor of any other human critter on legs! This ar' the situashun. Jim Conover has bin sparklin' me fur three months. This is one of his nights fur comin'. He may pop and he may not, but if he I finds a stranger in the house he may marry the Widder Jones. I'm adoin’ ,my best to git him, and I don't want' no accident to happen."
"Couldn't you stow me away in the garret?"
"Haint got no garret’ sir."
"Only two rooms in the house?"
"That's all. Even if ye was asleep ye might git to snorin' and Jim would be skeered off. You kin see the fix, stranger?"
"Yes, and I will ride on. I shouldn't like to come between you and your chance."
“That’s good of you, sir. I want to show hospitality, and yit I want to git another husband. See!" "I do. Give me a light for my pipe and I will go on, and if I meet Jim I’ll—."
"Jest say that ye' stopped at the Widder Jenner's to ask th' way, and that yo' wonder why forty different men hain't crazy to marry her. That's it — ye' know yer gait, and now scoot before Jim shows up!"

Works Cited:
“Taking No Chances.” Mataura Ensign 278 (15 Apr. 1897) 4 Papers Past. National Library of New Zealand 25 Dec. 2009

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Tangled Wedding Story

Since we are quickly approaching Valentine's Day, I thought I would post a few more articles on love in the Ozarks.
The country editor has trials of various kinds of his own and some have worse troubles than others. An Arkansas man had written an article about a wedding that had occurred in his town and gave it to a printer to be set in type. The printer had been indulging to a limited extent in hydrant water, and he got the wedding article mixed up with a public sale notice and the whole thing appeared like this:

Public Sale —'William Jones, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Josiah Jones, was disposed of at public auction to Miss Lucy Anderson on my farm one mile east of Leonardville in the presence of seventy cows, including the following, to-wit: Seven mules, twelve head of Rev. Jackman tied the nuptial knot, with crinkly horns and one muley cow.

The beautiful home of the bride was tastefully decorated with one Blackhawk corn planter, one sulky hay rake, one feed grinder, one set of double harness nearly new and just before the ceremony was pronounced the bride's sister played one Jersey cow fresh in the spring, carrying a large bunch of flowers in her hand and looking charming in one set of sleigh bells, six shocks of corn, three ricks of hay, one grindstone, Mouseline de soie, and trimmed with about ten bushels of wheat. The groom is a well known Durham bull, with ring in nose, and has always stood well with six Durham hogs, while the bride is an accomplished driver with flowing mane and tail. Among the beautiful presents were two sets knives and forks, one steam engine, one riding plow, one wheelbarrow, go-cart, bob sled and other articles too numerous to mention. The bridal couple left for an extended honeymoon trip.

Terms: Twelve months cash. Lunch will be served after the sale after which Mr. and Mrs. Jones will go to housekeeping in a haymow full of hay and two corn cribs in a cozy house near the corner of Main and chicken house close by.

Colonel L. B. Bray, auctioneer.

Works Cited:
“And the Printer Pied Type on Wedding.” Seattle Republican (22 Nov. 1912) A-2. Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Dec. 2009.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bad Spell of Love

Winning a bride’s hand in marriage and the consent for a future father-in-law may seem a daunting task.
The remedy may be a well written letter persuasion.    
Just make sure to consult a dictionary.

Here is a small article that originated from the Kansas City Star in 1905.

I hope you enjoy.

An Ozark county farmer, says the Kansas City Star, received a note from a young man who had been “going with” his daughter recently which read as follows:

Dear Sur –
Wood like Jessie’s hand in marage.
She and I are in luv and I need a wife.
Yures, Henry

The farmer replied by letter, saying:

Friend Henry,
You don't need a wife.
You need a spelling book.
Get one and study it a year.
Then write me again.

Works. Cited:
"Bad Spell of Love.” Richmond Times. (17 Sept.1905) A-2. Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Dec. 2009

Friday, February 5, 2010

An Ox Team Elopement

I have come across another Ozark elopement that gained notoriety all the way to the shores of New Zealand in 1895.  This story was a tough one to transcribe due to the age of the print quality and spelling. First, the spelling of regular words are sometimes different because New Zealand uses the spelling mechanics of the United Kingdom.  For example, wagon contains a double “g” — waggon, and there’s an extra “u” in neighbor — neighbour.  Secondly, this article is fraught with Ozark vernacular, and there’s no way to decipher all of it. I just tooke a deep breath, carefully type it out, and go on.

I hope you enjoy.

(Detroit Free Press.) Wandering down through the lumber region of the Ozarks, not far from the Missouri Arkansas line, I came upon a waggon in which were seated two young people — a man of twenty-four and a girl of eighteen or nineteen. To their vehicle were yoked two red oxen. The beasts rolled their eyes lazily as they stood still at the command of the youth, and the girl blushed and looked off into the trees.

"Lookin' fer us?" the young fellow called out to me, as I appeared through the undergrowth with my gun slung idly across my shoulder. "Looking for you?" I echoed. "Bless you, no. Where did you get the notion? "

"Dunno," the youth replied, lifting his hand from an old-time rifle that lay along the back of the seat. "I'm kinder suspisshus-like of every feller I see."


"Well, to get right down to the fas's, we're— Clorindy, here, and me — we're elopin'."

The youth's face had relaxed the expression of sternness that I first noted and he was smiling. The girl's face was very red, but she was smiling, too. Then I smiled.

“Eloping ? Well, that's pretty good. You haven't a very fast team there, have you?"

"No," returned the youth, looking at the dusty, tired, red animals. “No," he said again, "but they're stiddy, an' what's more," he went on, with a show of pride, " they're mine."

"How do you happen to be eloping?" I inquired.

"They was two of us after her— Clorindy here— an' I jest went up an' sez I, ' which'll you have?' She kinder smirked and said as she 'lowed she didn't know. I don't take no stock in dickerin', so I comes right out an' says, says I, 'Ye can have me now or not at all.' 'Mighty presumin', says she, but kinder soft like in tone. I knowed I had her then and I kep' up my blusterin', though my heart wa'n't backin' up all my mouth said. 'Well,' says I, ' we'll go right away if yer ready,' at which she held off like and said it wa'n't fair not to give Jonathan — that's the other fellow's name —a chance at it. I see right then an' there that I'd got to hustle if I was goin' to win, so I says good-bye to her for the minnit an' I goes over home an' yokes up. It was jest as I thought. When I got back she— Clorindy here— was all tuckered up ready fer to start."

"When did all this happen?" I interposed.

"Last week," he said, " and then we started to——"

"And you are still' eloping? Aren't you married yet?" I asked, stopping him in his excited narrative.

"Bless yo', yes," he exclaimed. The girl blushed again and pulling the pink sunbonnet over her face, turned away.

"Oh, yes," the youth went on. "Married that day noon at 'Square Harrises, over near Thayer. We was sittin' at the 'Square's table, eatin', when Phil Henry, one of the neighbour boys, kem runnin' in an' says, says he, ' Hank, Jonathan an' Rindy's dad's after you with the black yoke an' they're gittin' all the boys out.' Well, all we could do was to git right up and pike off, puttin' the 'Square's good dinner under the seat. Phil sad that Jonathan thought I had tuk a mean advantage of him."

"And haven't you seen anything of them yet?"

"No, not yet; but I'm skeered of that one of the boys 'at don't like me'll go to Thayer an' git one of the hotel hosses and come along, but I'm fixed here," said he patting his old rifle. "Our yoke is purty fresh yet, an' they're better than their'n any day. Ef they catch us we'll have fun then, shore."

"But didn't you tell me that you were married by Squire Harris?" I asked. "Yes, in course we're all right and jined," the youth responded.

"Then what right have the father and friends of the girl— your wife— to run after you in this manner?"

"Wall, to tell the truth, I hadn't thought of that," the young fellow replied.

The girl's sunbonnet was pushed back at this part of the conversation. She was a pretty thing, a good type of the Ozark young woman. Her eyes were red with weeping, but they brightened up at my words.

"An' don't you think that —"

"The girl started to speak, but she was stayed by the hand of her husband.

"What was you goin' to say, stranger?" he asked.

"I was going to say that you are foolish in running away in this fashion. Do you know how far you've gone?"

"About fifty mile, I reckon."

"You've gone across Oregon county," I answered. "You are in Ripley now."

"But they're right after us."

"What of it?"

"They'd take Clorindy."

The girl burst into tears.

"Stuff and nonsense!" I replied. "She's yours for all time. "You ought to be ashamed of yourself for running away like this. Where have you been sleeping?" "In the waggon Clorindy druv' while I slep' an' I druz while she snoozed."

"Well, I'd advise you to turn back and go home."

"An' can't they take Clorindy?"

"I should say not," I replied. "If you have a marriage certificate."

The girl almost laughed aloud. "Well, I'll be gosh durned," the groom exclaimed. "Gee about, you leather hided sons of Satan. If we meet them fellers an' they say shoo to us I'll put 'em so full o' holes that they won't hold sand and——"

"Don't be rash," I exclaimed, "just show your certificate. They'll growl, but that will be the end of it."

"Stranger," said the young mountaineer," you've done me a good turn, so I'm goin' to do you one. You kin s'lnte the bride ef you want." The girl did not hesitate a moment. She pushed her bonnet back and leaned far down from the seat, her red lips puckered and her eyes dancing with merriment. The blush was there yet, but it was more delicate than at first, the rich tan on the forehead blending with the roses on the check.

My wife has always wanted to know whether or not I took that proffered kiss.

Work Cited:
“An Ox Team Elopement.” Star , 5333 (10 Aug. 1895) 2. Papers Past. National Library of New Zealand 25 Dec. 2009

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Prodigals Return After Exciting Honeymoon

Love on the Run
Eloping in the Ozarks, on the behalf of forbidden love, was due to young age, uneven socioeconomic class, and clan & family harmony. It was a dreaded mania that panicked proud fathers and anguished beloved mothers. Yet, it was a fact of life.
Below is a front page story from The Baxter Bulletin that grabbed the attention of the county in1907.

I hope you enjoy.

One of the most sensational elopements ever occurred in this part of the country came to an end last Saturday, when Mr. and Mrs. Albert Gilbert (Formerly Miss Pearl Lowery) arrived home from Jasper, Newton county, where they were married on Friday after a lively chase by a deputy sheriff across three counties.

The young people had their plans laid for a runaway, and on Monday of last week, while the father of the bride, who is a pretty girl of 17, was in town, Gilbert went to her home, about three miles north of town, for her and they made their getaway and started for Gainesville, Mo., where they intended to be married that day. A phone message from friends to the effect that Mack Lowery, the girl’s father, had discovered their plans and had ‘phoned to the clerk at Gainesville not to issue them a license, turned them from that point and they headed toward Yellville, in Marion county. Lowery had started pursuit accompanied by a deputy sheriff with a warrant for Gilbert’s arrest on the charge of kidnapping. The young couple were detained at Yellville about two hours and their horses were taken from them. They escaped from that place and made their way across country sometimes walking, sometimes riding. They stayed in a cave in Boone county for half a day. Lowery returned with the horses; the deputy continued the chase. The couple succeeded in eluding arrest and finally got licenses at Jasper and were married.

They are both members of well-known families of this section, their fathers being numbered among the county’s most substantial farmers. The young bridegroom has resumed his position as rural mail carrier on the route between Mountain Home and Vin. Sometimes on his trips he is accompanied by his wife and they seem very happy, despite the fact they have not yet received forgiveness of the opposing parent.

Work Cited:
Shiras, Tom. “The Prodigals Return After Exciting Honeymoon.” Baxter Bulletin 12.11 (02 Sept., 1907) A1-1. Baxter County Library. Mountain Home, AR.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cold Toes & Bare Cupboards

With the recent heavy snow and cold temperatures, I am still grateful for the blessings of the modern world. Take a small trip back in time with me when pioneers were forging their way into the Ozarks in 1830.

I hope you enjoy.

Judge M. J. Rountree, who came to southwest Missouri with his parents in January, 1830, a few months after the founder of Springfield, John P. Campbell, had built the first log cabin on the present site of the metropolis of the Ozarks, tells the following story of that memorable winter:

"Our family left Tennessee in the fall of 1830 and reached the Mississippi river about the 1st of December. The winter came on early, and by the time we got to Massey's iron works the snow was so deep that our teams could not make the usual daily distance.

"We expected that the snow would soon melt and pleasant weather return, but the temperature kept falling from day to day and the sky continued cloudy and threatening.

"The country was an unbroken wilderness, with only here and there a wagon trail made by the home seekers who had gone before us to the western frontier. When the snow reached a depth of 18 inches, our situation became extremely uncomfortable and perilous, The trackless waste then all looked alike, and a more desolate scene was never beheld in this latitude by homeless wanderers.  We could travel but a few miles a day and were in constant danger of getting lost I should judge that the mercury was down as low as zero most of the time, but we had no thermometer to measure the cold.  The country was full of wild beasts, and packs of hungry wolves howled around our camp every night.  Fortunately for us, we fell in with a party of Canadian for traders and Indians, who were coming into the Ozark country, and they became our guides through the snow covered wilds of southern Missouri.  But for this good fortune I do not believe we could have completed our journey.  The Indians knew the country well, and they guided us from day to day slowly through the deepening snowdrifts.

"Now and then the sun would shine through the broken clouds, but the faint rays shed but little warmth on the frozen earth. Sundogs always appeared in the heavens when the sky was clear, and a biting frost tilled the air every cloudless morning.  By the middle of December the snow was nearly two feet deep, and our wagons could hardly be pulled through some of the drifts.

"Small game perished from starvation and became food for larger animals.  Wild turkeys died by thousands, and wolves devoured the dead birds.  Whole flocks of turkeys would drop from their roosts at night, exhausted by hunger and cold.  Very few quails survived that terrible winter.

"It was the 16th of January when we reached the Springfield settlement, having trudged through the snow for nearly six weeks and traveled only about 200 miles in that time. The snow remained in drifts till the middle of March and hardly began to molt before the last of February. Nearly all intercourse between the few settlements in- southwest Missouri was cut off by the severe cold, and bat for the abundance of game starvation would have been the fate of some of the pioneer families.

"The deer became as tame as sheep almost, and the settler could shoot a buck from his cabin door when meat was needed. Ammunition was more precious than gold, and no one shot a gun for mere sport. That was the hardest winter I ever saw, considering the unusual length of the cold season and the depth of the snow. Before the war the old settlers always spoke of it as 'the cold 'winter.' "
St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

Works Cited:
“The Cold Winter.” Indiana Democrat 35.47 (24 Mar. 1897) 1. Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Dec. 2009

“The Cold Winter.” Democrat Times 13.146 (3 Apr.1897) 4.Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Dec. 2009


I would like to say Thank You to the Friends of the Baxter County Library for their invitation to speak Wednesday, January 27th, about the Tennessee Traveler & Ozarks’ History.  I would also would like to say congratulations to the Friends for raising an ENORMOUS amount of $$$ for the new library. This is one amazing group.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dream No More.

Life in the Ozarks could prove to be hard. Yet, with a cherished partner, the day’s struggle seems to lighten when the solace of a helpmate is there at one’s side. The desire of companionship beckoned from this region, and the call of romance was sent to far away territories in many forms. Some pleas were placed in classified columns looking not only for love, but looking for help in raising children of a mother that past quickly from this life…or maybe, looking for someone to freshen the gene pool. The concept of “Mail Order Brides” may seem comical, but it was practiced in remote regions like the Ozarks. One piece of evidence can be seen in the Personal Column below from The Anaconda Standard in Anaconda, Montana, in 1914. Notice the plea for correspondence was posted in the month of February for the club of marriageable people in Ozark, Missouri.

Dream no more…
                a balmy fire to revive...
                            welcoming arms to embrace…
                                                        all can be yours…
                                                                    for the price of a stamp.


Works Cited:
Marry: Join the Ozark Correspondence Club.” Anaconda Standard 25.151 (1 Feb. 1914): 10. Access Newspaper Archive Access. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 11 Nov. 2009
“George Washington 2¢, 1914.” World Stamp Catalogue/United States. Scan by Stan Shebs. 15 Nov. 2009.