Monday, February 21, 2011

Hog Stealing & Hard Times

Hard Times & Judging Others

It seems lately I am meeting more homeless people passing through the Ozarks. Hearing their stories breaks my heart; and for some reason, I can see myself in them. They are people...just like you or me. They are sheep who have lost their families,veterans without a platoon, and hurt children wrapped in a 45 year old bodies. They may not dress, smell, or  look exactly like me; yet, I see myself in them and thank the Lord in Heaven for his many blessings. I have also noticed when homeless talk about themselves, they have given up hope & plans for the future; they live from day to day just to survive. Some have given up hope on ever connecting back with family. This is the one thing that puzzles & scares me. Ozark families are usually cohesive & look out for each other.

Hard times have been experienced in the Ozarks by many. It is easy to make snap judgments and castigate the outcast. Many times we do things that are regretted and say words that will knock the bark off a tree.  Redeeming the words & deeds of the past is like fetching a bucket of water that has been slung to the ground...a loosing battle. 

Over the years in writing about Ozarks' History, it is impossible and unfair to write only about good times. People face challenging odds. Some excel, others struggle, and a few crash and burn. In the following article from 1911, there is a connection to all my my mind. We find a man from the Ozarks that seems to have a stream of bad circumstances. It looks like things were going to turn around for him. Nevertheless, he adds insult to his shame. Though I am not excusing or standing up for his crime, it does remind me of other stories from that era when people did whatever to provide for their family. 

As we all walk through the crucible of life and discover others misfortune, let us not wholeheartedly reject those who have fallen on Hard Times in our Ozarks' History.

 1Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
 2Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of the Christ.
 3For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 
                                                                                      Galatians 6:1-3 (KJV)

Missouri Murderer Who Was Paroled
Goes Back to Prison.
Jefferson City, Mo., Sept. 11.—Because he violated the terms of a parole Issued in his behalf by Governor Folk In March, 1907, W. K. Risley of Ozark county will have to serve about twenty-seven years in the penitentiary. He was convicted in Ozark county in 1895 of murder and was sentenced for forty years.

After serving about twelve years he was released. He returned to Ozark county and for a time his conduct was good. Later he moved to Marion county, Arkansas, where he recently completed a jail sentence for stealing hogs. Learning he was under parole the Arkansas officials returned him to Ozark county under arrest.
J. T. Lewis, prosecuting attorney of Ozark county, filed an official complaint with Governor Hadley, and the governor revoked the parole and directed that Risley be returned to the penitentiary to complete his sentence.

 Work Cited:
Blue Letter Bible. "Paul's Epistle - Galatians 6 - (NKJV - New King James Version)." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 17 Feb 2011. < >
“Hog Stealing Costs 27 Years.”  Vindicator And Republican, Estherville, Iowa . 43.37 (13 Sept, 1911) 7.  Access Newspaper Archive.   Donald W. Reynolds Library, Mountain Home, AR. 2 Nov. 2010.

1 comment:

pens and needles said...

Vince, You are so right that life has not always been a bed of roses for those living in our part of the world. In fact, it has been downright HARD for many. I think it is good for you to share some of the sad things along with the happy or funny ones. It creates a more accurate picture of what life was like for our predecessors. Thanks for all the good things you do to preserve Ozarks history.