Sunday, April 10, 2016

True Grit

In honor of “True Grit” month at the Springfield-Greene County Library, I will be at the Big Read Book Talk at Barnes & Noble in Springfield, MO.
I will be speaking at 7 pm & signing my book:

Bald Knobbers
 Chronicles of Vigilante Justice

Wednesday Night 7-9 p.m.

Barnes & Noble 
3055 S. Glenstone Ave.

Springfield, Mo.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sometimes, You Can Take it with You.

     In doing research for Ozarks' History over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to scan some wonderful old documents, maps, and photographs found in archives, universities, and old shoe boxes. There have been many things I could not take home; and if I could, I wouldn't have the room to store them properly. Yet, in many of these endeavors, I have used a tool that has been indispensable. It is a mobile scanner called a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner.

     The map/plate below is something I hunted for years; and to my knowledge, there is only one in existence. The plate was originally published in 1888, and it measures about 24" x 16". Therefore, it was pretty much a given it would not be relinquished into my custody. I used my Flip-Pal scanner, and I ensured each scan overlapped the proceeding one. Scanning can be done at 300 dpi, which takes about 6 seconds, or 600 dpi, which takes about 11 seconds. I scanned this plate below at 600 dpi and made 42 scans.

Taber, H. S., James C. Long, Charles C. Taft. 1888. Map of the White River from Forsyth, Missouri, to the Mouth. (Little Rock, AR: Pantagraph & U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1888), p. 1.
     About 12 minutes later, I pulled out the SD card included in the scanner and placed it in my computer. This SD card has a program called the Flip-Pal Toolbox, which includes an EasyStitch software program. With this software, the puzzle has met its match.

     In a matter of 4 minutes, the EasyStitch  program found the 42 overlapping scans and created a beautiful reproduction. Additionally, the toolbox also has a program which will restore old & faded maps and pictures and bring them back to life.

This title plate ended up being 187 Megs. 
It prints out in beautiful resolution.

       Not only can this scanner be used for historical research, but it can be used in preserving personal and family history, detailed coins & medals, jewelry, hand drawn art, and other keepsakes.

1st page of the White River Map starting at mile marker 505, Forsyth, Missouri, in 1888. 

Taber, H. S., James C. Long, Charles C. Taft. 1888. Map of the White River from Forsyth, Missouri, to the Mouth
(Little Rock, AR: Pantagraph & U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1888), p. 2.

42 overlapping scans stitched back together of Forsyth, Missouri. 
This plate ended up being a 156 Megs

Close up detail of the White River passing through Forsyth, Missouri, scanned at 600 dpi.
Notice the engineers detailed the depth of the river channel about every 100 feet and 
the depth from each bank about every 0.33 miles.
     The picture below originally came out of a book from a nameless university library. I don't even think they know that maps like this exist in their collection. But, I had the opportunity to go there one day, inquire about a certain book, and then get a wonderful scan. A slightly faded, black & white facsimile can be found on a website called Hathi Trust Digital Library. By the way, Hathi Trust Digital Library is a wonderful tool for doing research without charge. A few months later, I found this map at an old book sale. It's amazing the treasures that still lay in U. S. Congressional House Documents / United States Congressional Serial Set, commonly referred to as the Serial Set. The publication of the Serial Set began  in 1817 with the 15th Congress. All Congressional Documents before 1817 can found in the American State Papers.

This map below required only 12 overlapping scans.

Royce, Charles C., 1897. “Map Showing Indian Cessions, Grants to Indians and Changes in Western Boundary of Arkansas.” In 18th Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, Part 2, House Documents, 56th United States Congress, Session 1. (Washington D. C.: United States Printing Office. 1903), pp. 689-692.

“Map Showing Area and Acreage of Portions of Arkansas Derived from Various Indian Treaties.” In Executive Documents of the Senate of the United States, 51st Congress, Session 1. (Washington D. C.: United States Printing Office. 1890), p. 6.
If you would like to take a closer look at this great research & preservation tool, click on the image below.
Enjoy Your Ozarks' History.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Civil War Tales by Silas C. Turnbo.

"Death in a cruel manner." 

These are the words that often came to my mind as I assembled and narrated 100 Ozark Civil War stories by Silas C. Turnbo. This project has become one of my most treasured endeavors thus far, and it has only increased my appreciation of the struggled endured by the pioneers of the Ozarks.

This project took longer than I estimated, but it is an experience I will not long forget. Before this project began, I went to look at the documents & stories that were donated from the College of the Ozarks and given to the Arkansas History Commission in Little Rock. Additionally, I went through numerous rolls of microfilm which retold many of these stories. Furthermore, I compared these stories to the Springfield Greene County Library's Turnbo Manuscripts.

Editing was slow and meticulous due to Mr. Turnbo's sentence structure was sometimes a little tough and long. Some sentences were enormous and were up to 9 -11 lines long. In order for me to read aloud and breathe (and not pass out), I had to add a few commas and brake up some of his sentences in order for them to sound correct. As I assembled these stories, I endeavored to maintain the integrity of the names, phrasing, and pronunciation true to its Ozark heritage. I even pronounced "Missouree" as "Missouruh."

Once I began this project, I thought I could complete it in just a few months. Unfortunately, that was not the case. As time progressed, it seemed like I became acquainted with the subjects of the stories. Many times before I began to narrate a particular story, I endeavored to do some genealogical research on the people and families mentioned in order to get to know them. Sometimes after narrating their ordeal of trials and tribulations, I would turn off the recording equipment and simply walk away in awe of what was endured. At other times, I just had to walk away due to, "Death in a cruel manner."  On most of the stories that detailed torture, I recorded alone...not wanting anyone in the house to overhear the encounters of agony explained. As a solace, I would take walks on the White River where some of these incidents occurred. Sometimes, I would go visit the graves of those the stories detailed. Though I knew my visit could not help them, it was always encouraging to see the old memorial stones that loved ones left behind. As I left each area or gravesite, many times I would sing the refrain of old penned after the Civil War by Joseph P. Webster and S. Fillmore Bennett.1

  "In the Sweet By and By."

There’s a land that is fairer than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.

In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

I believe the second verse holds a wealth of meaning for those in that era of war.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest. those who would like to hear these Ozark Civil War stories, they are now available on Google Play. In all, this project contains 7 hours & 10 minutes of narration. Each album contains at least 33 stories, and they are priced at $4.99 each.  If you would like to listen to a portion of each story, simply click on the Google Play icon or the albums below.

 Below are the Titles & Times of the 1st Volume.
 Viewing the Steamboat Going up the Missouri River

. 4:31
 The Alph Cook Cave. 

 A Cold Swim Across White River

. 11:19
 A Little Scare in the Big War.

. Picked Up Her Husband's Brains. 

. The Last Hours of Mike Yocum.

. Stirring Scenes in the Early Days of Yellville, Arkansas

. 4:53
 Riding into the Federal Lines for Salt

. 3:11
. The Commander of the Company Refused to Prefer Charges Against Them. 

 Dragged a Dead Man from the Road. 

. A Terrible Experience in the Civil War

. 1:37
. A Little Incident of War Times. 

. Oh, Boys, Shoot Me Again

. 4:17
. War and its Victims. 

. Hot Words Pass Between Two Officers Unequal in Rank. 

. Reading the Bible by the Reflection of Light from a Burning Town

. 1:59
. Captured in the Night Time

. 2:14
. A Man Escapes Death by Leaping Up and Running

. 2:33
. How a Soldier Exchanged Hats with a Small Boy. 

. A Party of Southern Soldiers Refuse to Appropriate a Pair of Federal Gloves

. 3:27
. The Killing of Wilse Brown

. 4:59
. Substituting Pieces of Plank and a Door Shutter for a Coffin

. 2:27
. How I Was Befriended Once in War Times. 

. Ex governor Elias N. Conway

. 1:10
. Sacrificed His Life Foolishly

. 3:57
. Opposed to Civil War. 

. Joyful Meeting Between Father and Son. 

. A Solemn Scene. 

. A War Time Incident in Douglas County, Missouri.

. Love and War. 

. A Pathetic Scene on the Battlefield.

. Sad and Serious Recollections of Wardays.

. Wounding an Inoffensive Man. 0:57

Enjoy your Ozarks' History.

1.  Webster, Joseph P., and S. Fillmore Bennett. "In the Sweet By and By." In the Sweet By and By. 1868. Accessed October 31, 2015.