Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ruins of Early Smelters

Finding & exploring old mining claims in the Ozarks seems to be one of my favorite things to do. ( The second is going to old cemeteries.)  In the following article from 1907, the ruins of of smelters comes to topic. This old article reminds me of a past excursion from last year's adventure & blog in discovering the same thing. That blog can be found at Bruce Creek Excursion..

In addition, I will also re-post the map from the early 1800's showing the Ozarks' Region of American Indian Tribes. Double Click on the map to enlarge it.

I hope you enjoy finding your own treasures in our Ozarks' History.


Relics of Unknown Explorers in the Cherokee Hills.

In the hills of the Cherokee nation are found the ruins of several crude and primitive smelters that undoubtedly were used by the early Spanish explorers in this country, says the Kansas City Star. The presence of these old ruins are taken by many as proof that there are valuable minerals in these hills and that the Spaniards found and mined them.

According to the best historical authority and according to Indian legends, the Spanish explorers made periodical visits to the Indian country, coming usually from the southeast. Marking the line of their operations are these old smelter ruins that stretch from the Ozark regions of northern Kansas, embracing half a dozen counties, most of the ruins being found in the White River country.

There can now be found among the Cherokee who live in the hills pieces of melted slag out of these ruins. From one of these primitive furnaces there was also washed out on the banks of the Illinois river a silver coin that bears the date of 1618. Not far from the same spot is a Spanish monument and cross erected by explorers long before present Indians inhabited this region.

The fact that old smelters are found in a region which in later years has been shown to contain large deposits of lead and zinc might be taken as evidence that they were erected for the purpose of reducing these minerals, and that the Spanish took large quantities of both minerals out, but many believe that the Spaniards also found silver and gold and coined them.

Works Cited:
"The Ozark Plateau." Map. Point Lookout, Missouri: School of the Ozarks Press, 1970.
Annotation: Map located inside of front cover of book entitled: Indians of the Ozark Plateau by Elmo Ingenthron. Full plate title: Map of the Ozark Plateau Showing Principle Streams, Indian Territorial Areas, Treaty-Fixed Boundaries, Migration Routes, Early Roads and Settlements. Color enhancements added by Vincent S. Anderson.

" Ruins of Early Smelters." New State Tribune. Muskogee, Oklahoma.13.44  (22 August, 1907) 1. Access Newspaper Archive. Donald W. Reynolds Library, Mountain Home, AR. 2 Nov. 2010.

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.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lovers of the Ozarks - Part 2

Bellings & Shivarees

A Belling or Shivaree was a common practice throughout the Ozarks in the rights of a newlywed couple to endure. It was to the good pleasure of the married folk to play practical jokes & indulge nonsense on the newly initiated. Sometimes it went a bit too far. A couple may come in their home and find all the furniture turned upside-down, the firewood scattered over the yard, or a noisy serenade of cowbells & frying pans.

For my family, many times, the jokes did not slow down after a shivaree. I remember old stories that were reminisced at family gatherings about my Great Uncle Jimmy Anderson. He never let an opportunity slip by without playing a joke on some family member...even after the wedding had ended...years before. One time he found my Grandpa & Granny Anderson were away from home. The doors were unlocked; actually, nobody locked their doors. He strewed firewood all over the yard and flipped the furniture upside-down. My grandparents came home and cleaned up the mess without saying a word or complaining to anyone. Grandpa Mack knew who did it but acted like nothing happened, and this all the more grated on Uncle Jimmy. Nevertheless, it payday was coming. One evening  Grandpa Mack had two of his boys, Berman & Jerel Anderson, sneak over to Uncle Jimmy's house when he wasn't home. They climbed up on the rooftop of the house and stuffed a wet tow-sack into the stove pipe. They also put Uncle Jimmy's false teeth in the flour bin.  Later that evening, Uncle Jimmy came home and started a fire in his potbellied stove and smoke filled the place. Nothing had to be said between the two, and a truce was drawn between the brothers.

I hope to use this story helps to set in context for the conclusion of the article below. We will hear about a newlywed couple in Gainesville, Missouri, that endured a "Belling" or "Shivaree." Sometimes, tomfoolery & shenanigans make up a part of our...Ozarks' History.

I hope you enjoy the conclusion of -
" Lovers of the Ozarks - Part 2"

It is said that one-third of the Taney lovers have to fly to Arkansas to marry. On the other hand, Arkansas lovers come north into Missouri. Squire Linzy issues warrants and marriage certificates with impartial hand. Justice Jones of Forsyth, however, has a greater runoff custom, from the fact that the lovers needs come or send to Forsyth for a license. A marriage a week is about the average.
In spite of the fact that marriages are common, there is enough rowdyism about Forsyth young men to make them give every couple “a belling” that stays over night. The belling is generally short and noisy. The boys fire revolvers and beat tin pans and devices. The groom comes out and says he is sorry, and trys for enough cheap cigars to go around, but sometimes the groom is stubborn. Charley Blood and Al Baldwin, two commercial travelers from Springfield, fell in with such a groom once, only it was over in Gainesville, in Ozark county, another border county.

The young man was from Arkansas, of course, and he vowed he would die or kill somebody before he would be compelled to say he was sorry, even if the expression didn’t mean anything. He’d smelled powder and heard the bullets whistle as he fled with his sweetheart. That is not an unusual condition of affairs in this country, but it made an impression on him that determined him to resist the “bellers.” He stood the racket bravely. The upper half of the window of his room at the hotel was shot out, the pieces of glass was covering the bed completely. The powered glass was mixed with powered plaster a-plenty.  The boys got a ladder and proposed to charge up mat and drag the young man out.  He shouted, when he heard the ladder, that they’d better not try to break in, for it would be lawful to shoot them, and he’d do it.  So they abandoned that. Finally at about midnight the racket ceased for a short time. The hosts were in consultation. They had hit upon a plan. One of the boys went to the store and got half a pound of red pepper, another got an auger, and, going into the loft over the young man’s room, bored a hole through the flooring, laid there, and poured the pepper through that hole and down through the bullet holes in that plastering into time room, That fetched the groom and his bride both. He gave it up, and said he was sorry, and treated the crowd, like a man, to two cigars each, instead of one. They were so tickled over their success that they bought the best cradle the town afforded next morning, and, filling it with fixings for housekeeping,  gave them to the young couple with the usual speech making in which the heart of the Missourian delights.

There are all sorts of girls in the Ozarks, just as there are in other regions, but there are more attractive ones here in proportion to the number of people than in most regions. As compared with time mountains of West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, for instance, time Ozarks are away ahead. It is a different people here, anyhow.  Along the Big Sandy the men shoot each other from time brush: here they jump “out into the clear” in some way, and although the quickest man lives, the man who dies has had sort of chance for his life. The quick fellow’s pistol might have failed to work, for instance. Naturally daughters of men who scorn to take a mean advantage have somewhat of the characters of their fathers, and their characters show in their faces.

The climate does much for them also, and there is an air of robust health, due to open-air-mountain life, that compensates for any lack of knowledge of social requirements. They are not only handsome and well formed, but they are vivacious and affectionate. They have a frankness of speech that though somewhat likely to be misunderstood by a stranger a first, is nevertheless one of the characteristics that make them charming.
There are, however drawbacks to a courtship when carried on by a stranger. Among these are the differences in language.  A New Yorker, for instance, on coming here and talking to a young lady, would be very apt to say, “I beg pardon,” if he failed to hear something that she had said. That would be a “stunner” for the Ozark girl, as she would say.  She could not comprehend an apology when no offense had been committed, so far as she knew.  If she failed to understand something which he said, she would say inquiringly: “Huh?”  That might be a stunner to the Now Yorker. If after n proper acquaintance, he should foolishly ask for instead of taking a kiss, she would say sharply: “Huh-uh,” with a downward inflection in the voice equaled only by the downward tendency of her estimate of the young man. But should he win her heart and ask her some evening it she loved him as much as she did the evening before, she would close her full lips into the prettiest pout imaginable and murmur sweetly: “Um-hum-m-m, I love you a sight dearie,”

Another drawback to an Ozark courtship is the necessity of being quick with a gun. In the Ozarks “the gun” is a big revolver. Not that Ozark lovers must always or even commonly fight for their sweethearts. But they must always be prepared to do so. The Ozark girl fears neither man nor beast, and could conceal her contempt for the man who flunked even for one instant. No New Yorker without long practice, not oven time skilled patrons of Conlin’s shooting gallery, could live through an Ozark shooting  match, and it would be uncomfortable, if heroic, to die even for an Ozark girl, especially as she would be sure to marry the survivor.

The picture of “An Ozark Beauty” is from a photograph of one of time handsomest ladies of the region, but it is nevertheless typical.  Although married for a number of years, she is like all women who are well treated, handsome in her maturity than she was in the freshness of girlhood. Although more than 30 years old, she seems to be no more than 22. This is one of the peculiarities of the region. Not that a majority of the women retain their youth so long, but that a larger proportion of them do than in the ordinary country communities.

Work Cited:
“The Lovers of the Ozarks.” The Sun 61.156 (3 Feb. 1889): 8. Access Newspaper Archive Access. Donald W. Reynolds Library, Mountain Home, AR. 11 Nov. 2010

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lovers of the Ozarks - Part 1

How hard is it to find love in the Ozarks in 1889?

It may be as easy as finding Planet X in the southern ecliptic plane in the Constellation of Orion this midsummer. It seems this Nemesis of Love seems to crouch around every rock.

Nevertheless, this story has the elements of a great Ozark Saga, such as:
  • An Angry Father
  • A Stolen Kiss
  • Mrs. Branson
  • A Branson Get-a-Way
  • Arkansas Elopement
  • Baldknobbers  
  • A Posse Chase
  • And…Handsome, Vivacious, and Affectionate Ozark Girls
Again, there are words & spellings in this article that we do not use today. For those who live in Kirbyville, Missouri, this article spells it "Kerbyville."
 I hope you enjoy!



Ozark Girls are Handsome, Vivacious, and Affectionate, but Eastern Lovers Must Learn Some Things to Win Them.

KERBYVILLE, Taney county, Mo., Jan 25. - There is a thrill in the heart of the Taney lover of which the lover beyond Taney civilization knows little. All lovers know the thrills which come from sly glances of bright eyes and from the touch of soft hands or of maiden’s breath.  The Taney lover knows and appreciates these, but there is something that compresses more to stir his blood. It is something that compresses the joys and fears and the anxieties and the anxieties and excitements of the whole lifetime of the ordinary limp and matter-of-fact lover of the North into the brief space of two hours.

Just two miles southwest of this village lives A. J. Storms, a ranch owner of considerable intelligence.  “He’d a sight of stock, but the pick o’ the bunch was his daughter,” in the vernacular of the country. Her name was Lois. Lois is as common here as the variations of Mary are in New York. Lois had wavy, light hair that banged bewitchingly round cheeks that slowed with health and flushed carmine at the least excitement, and a form that was a delight to the eye. Lois was but 16. Girls are older here at 16 than New York girls at 18 or 19.

Lois was the pride of her father and the sweetheart of Langston Bishop. Bishop came from Davis county.  He was a likely young man, but Mr. Storms seeing that Lois was in love with Bishop and therefore likely to marry him and go away, determined to break off the match and the young man’s head at the same time, if necessary Mr. Storms came to this conclusion suddenly one afternoon in August. Lois was helping her mother put up peaches beneath a big oak tree in the front yard when young Bishop came walking by. Bishop tarried to help with the peaches and Mrs. Storms, mother fashion, remembered some other work that had to be done immediately. Left alone time lovers enjoyed life for an hour or two, and then Lois cut a pretty finger with her poach knife. The peach juice made it smart, and in a moment the girl’s eyes were full of tears. Bishop couldn’t help it; he just done had to kiss those tears away, just as other lovers who have not had Taney experience would have done.

Unfortunately old Storms come around the corner just then and “got mad” at once. He picked up a gad that was lying on the ground and came down on the lovers like a tornado. Bishop would not run. The first blow of the gad fell not on Bishop but the girl; she had jumped in between the two men.  Then Bishop picked up a “rock” and knocked the old man endways with it.

That brought matters between him and Lois to a climax. If he were ever to get the girl now was his chance. Storms was a Bald Knobber, and when he got up and swore he would fix the hot-headed young lover the threat had a business end to it. But Storms believed in doing things according to the form of law, and he at once hastened to Justice of the Peace S. W. Linzy and issue a proclamation calling on all good citizens to “follow, pursue, overtake and capture the aforesaid Langston Bishop, and bring him duly bound with these presents,” &c.  In Taney county that is sufficient warrant for an armed posse to hunt a man and shoot him to death if he fails to throw up his hands at the order when overtaken.

Bishop knew all about this.  As the old man rode off for the warrant Bishop was hastening to his boarding place - or rather Henry Branson’s farm where he worked - for two saddle horses. Mrs. Branson herself helped him with the horses, but it all took precious time, and Bishop stopped for nothing but his pocketbook and revolver, and then away he went.

Lois, with a small bundle of clothing in one hand and clad in a riding habit, stood on a corner of the rail fence as he came along. Her mother, good soul, stood in the doorway crying and wiping her eyes on her apron. With a jump the girl was in the saddle before the horse had stopped, and with a wave of her hand she was gone.

Then began a wild race for the Arkansas line, twenty miles away, with the posse of good citizens leaving the Squire’s door two miles off at Kerbyville.  Clip-it-ty-clip went the hoofs of the lovers horses, the boy with his race over his shoulder half the time, looking for pursuers; the girl with her head bent forward, her cheeks aglow, and her long yellow hair floating in the air. You must needs keep a-jogging lad, for the posse behind you scents blood and is as eager as the devil. And jog he did, uphill and down, and through ravines with the gloom of night, and a gloomier foreboding of ill success in his heart. On and on the mountains growing higher and the country wilder as they go, with scarce ever a check to the mad gallop oven when the road was roughest, for where is the Taney horse that is not accustomed to a twenty mile dash over a Taney road?

By and by when three-fourths of the distance has been covered and no sign of pursuit seen, the lovers came out of a dark hollow and see, not a mile away on the other bald ridge, a half dozen horsemen plunging along.

“Whoo-e-e!”  The horsemen see the lovers, and a faint yell comes down the wind.  The girl plies a hickory switch till her horse files, and the boy sets home the spurs till the blood drips from time rowels. It is down grade now through the White River bottom, and but five miles away is the home of Horace Doss, the friend of all runaway Taney lovers,  who will bar his door against the pursuers.

“Whoo-e-e!”  The yell is heard again but it is fainter.

By the Lord, we are gaining says the boy, and once more they ply whip and spur. Alas! If this were a novel, the lover and his girl would spring through Doss’s open door just in time to escape the shower of bullets which the baffled pursuers would fire after them. Not so in this case. The yell I had grown fainter because the posse led by Constable Dick Prather, was taking a shorter cut up a branch and over the divide to head the lovers off. Dick had yelled because he found the lovers had taken the long road.

Three miles further on, with hearts beating high with hopes the lovers rounded a turn on the river bank and came out into an open space lighted by the full moon. Square across the road stood a line of horsemen with guns leveled, while a voice said with a threat and sternest:
“Throw up your hands, Lang Bishop.”

There was nothing for it but to obey, and long before morning Mrs. Storms was putting her weeping daughter to bed and saying, “Never mind dearie; it will be all right yet.” While the lover, too bitterly disappointed to even curse his luck, was lying on the wooden cot in Forsyth jail.  Of course he was bailed out next day; all sorts of criminals get bail here, and why not a lover?  Of course, he tried for the girl again and with better luck.

Part 2 Next Week

Work Cited:
“The Lovers of the Ozarks.” The Sun 61.156 (3 Feb. 1889): 8. Access Newspaper Archive Access. Donald W. Reynolds Library, Mountain Home, AR. 11 Nov. 2010