Why did I write the book?
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There is one book out currently that was written in 1988 by Elmo Ingenthron and Mary Hartman called Bald Knobbers: Vigilantes on the Ozarks Frontier. This is a classic book that I have read many times, and I am not trying to imitate it. These authors actually inspired me to cull out the articles that the people actually read in their local newspapers reporting the saga, piece by piece. Therefore, over the past five years, I have read and compiled over six hundred old newspaper articles concerning the Bald Knobbers. Many were repeated in similar wording and fashion. During my research, I have distilled the Bald Knobber saga into forty-nine chapters. Many chapters are a compilation of two to five articles.
Wichita Eagle, “Bungling Work,” May 11, 1889.
The purpose of this book is to present the original understanding from the newspaper articles that covered the 1880s and ’90s perspectives of the Bald Knobbers. Additionally, these stories are for the readers to glean for themselves the facts & fancies as people from that era did.
Some of the sources I used for research are:
- Chronicling America Newspaper Collection
- California Digital Newspaper Collection
- Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection
- Library of Congress
- Missouri Digital Newspaper Collection
- Oklahoma Digital Newspaper Collection
The crimes and punishments are documented in graphic detail.
- Charlie Graves
- C. O. Simmons
- Joe Inman Interviewed
- Dave Walker
Contains the anthropology of everyday life in the Ozarks:
- Chapter: An Ozark Bald Knobber’s cabin & what it contained inside.
Preserves the local Ozark vernacular & statements:
- “Hold up yer hands,” they yelled at Will Edens.
- “Now pop it to him.”
- “Shet up yer damn head!”
- "Ef’er’s bin murder done, ‘twzn’t done by God-fearin’ people, ‘n them Sherriffs ‘n people’e jes’ token off Bapsises ‘n Christianses, ‘n even poo’ Parson Simmons, ‘s wuz’s powful a preacher’s ever wuz heard yereabouts."
o Translation: If there’s been murder done, it wasn’t done by God fearing people. And them sheriffs and people are just taking off Baptists and Christians and even poor Parson Simmons, who’s a powerful a preacher there ever was heard hereabouts.
- "Them ‘ere homesteaders comin’ down yereabouts just want to run out us old settlers as’s lived yere for years, ‘n’s homes’ ‘n bin a-grwn’ of us up jes’ like them ‘ere trees."
o Translation: Them there homesteaders coming down hereabouts just want to run out us old settlers as we’ve lived here for years, and their homes have been growing among us just like them there trees.
Maintains the spelling integrity of original letters by Bald Knobbers:
C. O. Simmons quote-
“I want to say this to the people that the god of heaven noes who done that bloody deed and he noes that I, C. O. Simmons, is more ennocent of that crime than Pilate was of the blood of our savier.”
Bald Knobber’s wife quote –
Ef’er’s bin murder done, ‘twzn’t done by God-fearin’ people, ‘n them Sherriffs ‘n people’e jes’ token off Bapsises ‘n Christianses, ‘n even poo’ Parson Simmons, ‘s wuz’s powful a preacher’s ever wuz heard yereabouts.
Retains the 19th Century Period Spelling:
19th Century 20th Century
- Taney county Taney County
- Any one Anyone
- Some one Someone
- To-day Today
- To-morrow Tomorrow
- Can not Cannot
Retains unique newsprint format concurrent with the 1880’s – 90’s:
Green and Eden immediately went out, and as they passed the gate, a single
Pistol Shot Was Heard
and out into the moonlight, from the bushes rode about 200 Bald Knobbers.
At that time there was
No Jail In Ozark,
and the prisoners were taken to Springfield, Mo., for safekeeping.
Provides graphic details of crimes & punishments:
- Lynching & Murder Scenes & Details
- Confession Statements Unedited
- Execution Scenes & Details
Documents the Perceptions of the “Hillbilly” Ignorance & Prejudice from the North:
Newspaper excerpt- St. Louis Globe-Democrat [St. Louis, MO] 26 Mar. 1887.