Showing posts with label Gainesville. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gainesville. Show all posts

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ozark County & Captain Stone's Mounted Company

Captain Stone's Mounted Company
Ozark County Home Guard Regiment Mounted
United States Reserve Corps Cavalry
Also known as the United States Reserve Corps, Company A, Ozark County.

Captain Thomas B. S. Stone’s Company was comprised of 132 mounted men. This cavalry was organized by the authority of General Thomas William Sweeney, on July 16th, 1861, in Springfield, Missouri.  This unit acted as scouts on the State Road from Springfield, Mo., to Jacksonport, Ark., until October 18th, 1861, when it was mustered out at Rolla, Missouri.  Captain Stone's picture & grave-site can be seen here at Find A Grave. It is a classic picture with a cigar in the corner of his mouth.  Again, below is the list of his regiment compiled from the Missouri Secretary of State’s Missouri's Union Provost Marshal Papers: 1861 – 1866  & National Park Service’s Soldiers and Sailors Database. As a side note, notice this company has its own musician listed.

Captain Thomas B. S. Stone and his wife Nancy Ann Murphree Stone were married Dec. 23, 1841, at Greene County, Arkansas.  They are found in Ozark County, Missouri, during the 1860 Census with four children.  I have no idea what the B. S. stands for in his name.
General Thomas William Sweeney
organized Captain Thomas B. S. Stone’s Company

HOLT, JAMES J. 1st Lieutenant
MERRITT, JOHN W. 2nd Lieutenant
MERRITT, SAMUEL  1st Sergeant
EVANS, JESSE  Sergeant

CLARK, P. H. Private
FOREST, ELI S. Private
GRAY, ISAAC F. Private
HERD, ANDRU  Private
KEEF, JOHN  Private
KEEN, LEVI  Private
MAHAN, KING D. Private
MARSH, JOHN H. Private
MOORE, JOHN  Private
NIPS, AREN Private
STONE, JOHN N. Private
STONE, JOHN S. Private
TERRY, J. F. Private

Work Cited:
"Missouri's Union Provost Marshal Papers: 1861 - 1866." Missouri Digital Heritage : Union Provost Marshal Papers: 1861. Missouri Office of the Secretary of State, n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2013.

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

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sweet Youth, Hot Lead, and Bitter Revenge - Part 1

While looking over snapshots of Ozark History, I am always amazed to see human passions replicated in every scenario. In searching old newspapers entailing forgotten history of the Ozarks, I stumbled upon an article which could be an everyday love story, but it dramatically morphs into a Hollywood plot of almost unbelievable circumstances. There have been other Ozark stories of love and tragedy published, such as Shepherd of the Hills, by Harold Bell Wright. Nevertheless, Shepherd of the Hills is mostly a fictional work. However, the story in this blog is not fictional, and it transpires in the heart of the Ozarks…Gainesville, Missouri, in Ozark County.

Apparently, this story caught someone’s attention somewhere, since the story made it to the East and West Coast newspapers. I found this story in New York’s, The Sun, and Portland, Oregon’s, Oregonian Morning, newspapers. The column transcribed in this blog is from the Oregonian Morning entitled, “Among The Ozarks.”

Before going to the story, I would like to deal with three aspects while looking at this column. These will be the plot, older vocabulary or terms, and colloquial speech.

The Plot…Spoiler Alert!
A young man named Horace "Hod" Miles moved to Ozark County from the North. (When I was a kid, we used the politically incorrect term for these people…”Yankees” or “Yanks.”) This young Yankee turns every eligible lady’s head in the county with his ingenuity, looks, and wealth. This also apparently catches the attention of the other young men in the area…especially the Gibson brothers. The next turn of events ensue with the dance, the standoff, the quick draw of pistols, and the untimely death of the first Gibson brother. As fate would have it, there is a marriage, a baby boy, a set of beautiful & fast wheels (carriage), and subsequently, more Gibson brothers have revenge on their mind. In the background, one can only surmise the undertaker will profit from the whole series of tragic events.

On a Personal Note
As I was reading this story, it was the name of Gibson that caught my attention. The Gibson and the Anderson family migrated from a small place in Jackson County, Tennessee, called Gainesboro in the 1870’s. Yes, I know, it still sounds funny to me…Gainesboro…Gainesville. These families settled in Howell & Ozark County, Missouri, and Baxter & Marion County, Arkansas. The marauding Gibson brothers in this story are distantly related to me. For that story, please go to this link on my blog.

Older Vocabulary or Terms
Here is a list of words or terms that are not in our everyday vocabulary. I have placed an explanation after each term; yet, some may be familiar.
Hitching-post- A fixed post with a ring to which a horse or mule can be tied to prevent it from straying.
Obliged – Thankful or grateful.
Row - A boisterous disturbance or quarrel; a brawl.
Stalwart – Rugged or muscular.
Tenderfoot – A novice or inexperienced person.
Toothpick– Bowie knife.
Trifle – A little bit.
Virginia Reel – A folk dance. The Reel was introduced to the U.S. in the late 1600’s. The Reel has its’ origins in Scottish country dance and the Highland Reel.
Waylaying – Intercept and ambush.
Yankee thrift – Resourceful person.

Colloquial Speech/ Quotes
Here is a list of quotes. Some of these quotes are old Ozark Colloquial speech. I have tried to render an explanation after each term.
Blow of a stalwart fist. – It was the hit of a muscular or powerful fist.
Didn’t have no call to be shootin’ the rest. – There was no reason to shoot innocent bystanders.
He resisted their arch looks. - He resisted their look for admiration or attention.
I haven’t got a toothpick. – I don’t have a bowie knife.
I ‘lowed he war dead. - I allowed/knew he was dead.
I reckon. - I suppose or guess so.
It was the prettiest thing ever seed afore or since. - It was the prettiest thing ever seen before or since.
Jest killed. – Just killed.
Lord, stranger, it was a sight. – This should be plainly understood. I just like the quote.
Lord, stranger! ye orter seed it. - Lord stranger, you ought to see it.
Mrs. Miles…had grown handsomer. – Mrs. Miles…had grown more beautiful.
Thank ye, John, I'm much obliged to you. - Thank you, John, I'm grateful to you.

Lastly, I would like to thank my wife, Michelle, in transcribing this long column. It is transcribed as it was printed in 1888; this includes the grammar & spelling. For example, some words were not capitalized in the 1880’s, as we would do today, such as Christmas “eve” or Ozark “county.” Additionally, West Pains, Missouri, was spelled as West “plains.” States were also abbreviated in an upper & lower case manner, such as Gainesville “Mo.”

I hope you enjoy the article.

The Trouble That an Immigrant Had With the Gibson Family
A Pretty Girl the Cause of the Row and Four 
Dead Gibsons the Result Thereof

One of the peculiarities of Ozark county, says Gainesville (Mo.) letter to the New York Sun, if one may believe what the people say, is that while from one to two men sometimes, more are shot to death every year, there never has been a murder. They are “jest killed.” According to Ozark mountain ideas there is but one sort of killing that could be construed as murder, and that would be the waylaying of a man for the purpose of robbery. If a commercial traveler were shot from the brush by one he had never offended and the simple grip were carried off, the murderer, if caught, would be hung.

The hanging would not cost the county a cent, either. A mob would do it.

The killings that occur are generally so much alike that when the story of one is written out one need only change the names of the parties to the fight to have the story of the next killing complete. There was a dispute, then a quarrel. Next time they met one made a motion as if he were going to draw; the other one was a trifle handier with his gun and shot him. One bullet did the job effectually.

An exception to the rule was the killing of the Gibson boys by Hod Miles. Horace Miles was a Massachusetts man, living just above Lowell when in his teens. At 21 he drifted down into Ozark county, Missouri, looking for a country where there was a game in plenty, a good climate, and where the necessaries of life could be had with little labor. He found what he wanted right here. He was somewhat surprised to find that one of the necessaries of life was a big revolver, but he took kindly to the condition of society, and, being a good fellow and a fair shot for a tenderfoot, and withal possessed of enough money to buy a farm, he was welcomed by the people.

Having Yankee thrift, his farm blossomed, and all the pretty girls of Ozark, of whom there are a plenty had their caps set for him, for he was unmarried. He resisted their arch looks and winning ways much longer than one would have supposed possible after seeing the Ozark girls, and it was not until the second winter of his sojourn here that he fell a victim. There is no telling whether he would have fallen even them but for the fact that another young man wanted her and undertook to run young Miles out of the county. Miles was not of the sort to run. He smiled when told of the threats, and said, having learned the ways of the country, to the friend who warned him:“You’ll swear to hearing those threats, won’t you, at the inquest?”

The inquest followed in due course. Miles rival was Dan Gibson. He belonged to one of the best families in the county, had money, as wealth goes in this county, was good-looking and companionable. But for the girl the young men would have continued good friends, as they had been all along.

On Christmas eve there was to be a dance at the hotel. Gibson invited the young lady to go with him and she declined. She knew Miles would ask her, and he did. Gibson sent word to her to order crape for her bonnet, and she sent the message to Miles. Both young men were at the dance, Gibson arriving first. When Miles came in he sent a friend to tell Gibson that he would rather go to the bar-room and have it settled by the word of a referee than to spoil the evening’s fun by watching for each other all the time. Gibson declined to fight.

So the dancing began, with Miles at one end of the room and Gibson at the other. It was a quadrille, and there was room for six sets in the room. The dance was uninterrupted. Then there was a call for the Virginia reel. Miles started across the room to seek a partner at the same moment that Gibson walked across his end of the room for the same purpose. Half-way across each looked at the other, and both stopped. They were about twenty-five feet apart, and no one near either. Gibson’s hand flew to the holster on his hip, Miles’ to the armhole of his vest. The spectators became dead silent in an instant. Gibson drew a heavy revolver, Miles a single-barreled target pistol. At that-his sweetheart screamed, frightened at what seemed his disadvantage.

Her scream was drowned in the crack of the target pistol. Gibson was knocked off his feet as if by the blow of a stalwart fist, and fell dead from the bullet that struck him square between the eyes. Miles put another cartridge in his weapon and replaced it. Then he walked back to the girls, who still trembled with fear, and, patting her on the shoulder, said as quietly as if nothing had happened: “You must not be frightened. One’s enough."

So it was. The target pistol being lighter than Gibson’s navy revolver had been handled a fraction of a second more quickly.

Miles married the girl within three months. Gibson had three brothers. They had declared that Miles should not live to marry her, but somehow neither of them ever “met up” with Miles during the time, and they were not of the sort to shoot from the bush. Inside of a year, however, two of them had had the misfortune to meet him, and both had been a trifle too slow. Both had made the mistake that cost their brother his life, for one had been armed with a shotgun and the other with a big revolver, while Miles had depended on the single barreled target pistol with signal success. The last of the brothers, Jerome Gibson, lived over in Howell county, near West plains. It was a good deal of bother for him to come over to Ozark, hunting for Miles, and the consequence was that he didn’t come very often. It was three year before they met. Mrs. Miles, in spite of the care of a big boy baby, had grown handsomer, as all well kept wives do, and the proudest man in Ozark county was Hod Miles. He had sent all the way back to Boston for a carriage for his wife to ride in, and it got to be a regular practice with him to hitch up on Saturday and drive to town, whether he had any trading to do or not. Gibson heard of the practice and straightway had business in Gainesville on a Saturday. When he reached town he found Miles’s carriage hitched in front and a short distance to the right of John Davidson’s store. Miles and his wife were inside buying something. Gibson walked over to the store and sopped at the doorway for a moment, looking at his man. Miles looked up and saw Gibson, and stepped to one side so as to be out of range of his wife. Then Gibson came in. There were other people in range, and he knew that Davidson would shoot him if any one save Miles were hurt. Besides, Gibson “didn’t have no call to be shootin’ the rest.”

Walking down past Miles, Gibson made a sneering remark about Mrs. Miles.

“Lord, stranger! ye orter seed it,” said Davidson. “Miles, he gathered that ‘ere twine-holder, and fetched him a rap on the temple that stretched him on the floor quicker’n you could flash your eye. I ‘lowed he war dead.”

But he wasn’t. The two clerks and one or two men carried Gibson out, and he revived in a few minutes. Miles made but one comment:

“That was a rather careless thing to do,” he said. “I haven’t even got a toothpick.”
By toothpick in the country is meant a pocket-knife with a 8 1/2 inch bowie-shaped blade. For the first time since the night when Dan Gibson was shot Miles had left home without a weapon. But he went on and finished purchases as coolly as he ever did in his life.
When Gibson recovered from the blow, he drew his revolver and walked out behind Miles’ horses. There he leveled the pistol at the door over the back of one of the horses, using his left forearm to support eh weapon. He might have got behind a big stump used as a hitching-post at the left of the door, but he chose the horses for an excellent reason. He was sure Miles would come out with a pistol in hand. If he (Gibson) were at the left of the door, Miles could shoot at him without exposing more than a head and arm. If Gibson were on the right, then Miles must jump clear out before shooting. But he was not thoroughly acquainted with Miles.
When the trading was done, Miles walked deliberately to the front of the store. Stopping by the door frame, facing the door frame, he slowly bent his body until he could nod his left eye beyond the door from and back, with a motion too quick to give Gibson time to shoot. That one glance enabled him to locate the enemy.

“John,” he said to Mr. Thompson, who was behind a desk just then, entering up an account, “lend me your gun a minute, please,” He was as deliberate as if asking the loan of a tack-hammer. Mr. Thompson passed over the ordinary weapon of the county, a first-class navy revolver.

“It’s all right is it John?” said Miles, and John nodded.

Once more Miles bent his body slowly out, this time holding the revolver in his left hand, with the muzzle up and the hammer cocked. Suddenly the muzzle dropped just outside the door-frame and a cartridge exploded. The weapon was withdrawn and passed back over the desk without even a tremor or a second look out the door.

“Thank ye, John; I’m much obliged to you. Now we’ll go home, “said Miles, in the same quiet tones.

“Lord, stranger, it was a sight,” said Thompson, with hearty admiration in his voice. “It was the prettiest thing ever seed afore or since. His wife was a sight, too. She just got in a cheer, and never did no more nor just blushed a bit when he was walkin’ to the door the first time. She ‘lowed he might not be going to shoot, I reckon.”

They went out and looked at the dead body of Gibson. The bullet had struck him just over the right eyes. The body was placed in Gibson’s wagon and driven away by Livery-Keeper Beals. There never was any inquest held.

“Among the Ozarks.” Morning Oregonian 28.8816 (27 Dec. 1888): 6. Access Newspaper Archive Access. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 11 Nov. 2009 <>.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Growing Up in the Ozarks

I grew up in the heart of the Ozarks, surrounded by a time and culture that has slowly ebbed away. It was in a small place called Mammoth, Missouri. It's south of Gainesville, Missouri, and just a few miles north of the Missouri/ Arkansas state-line. Literally, it was in Ozark County, and you can’t get any more Ozark than that.

Vincent Anderson, Lesa Anderson-Pulliam, Dana Long-Headrick, Lynn Anderson,
Jereldene Anderson, and Jimmy Anderson on Granny's front porch banister

Living in today’s culture, is a totally different time or era than when I was growing up. I am really not that old; I’m only 44. But, times have changed so much. Many people spend hours occupying their time in endeavors that would have been foreign to me. I’ll admit, sometimes I catch myself in trivial pursuits that really have no eternal value. This could be surfing the Internet, texting for hours, and even watching TV. It does sound somewhat hypocritical for me mentioning the Internet, since this is a blog…and it’s posted on the Internet. But as I grew up, TV was sometimes a luxury. We lived so low in the valley that TV reception was not that viable. Therefore, we didn’t have a TV for years. We listened to the radio. We also spent many of those hours we could have been watching TV and did other things. Though at times I complained about not having TV, I was saved from fruitless hours and rewarded with memories I cherish, such as:
  • Going visiting…that’s what we called it. We didn’t need to call ahead of time or make a special time on the calendar. We would just show up…
  • Sleeping with the windows open and positioning for the perfect breeze through the screened windows…
  • Sleeping with the roar of the attic fan on high…
  • The smell of the fresh & humid air as it saturated the sheets at night…
  • The chorus of tree frogs, bullfrogs, crickets, and whip-poor-wills chanting in the night…
  • The huffs of the hoot owls and the haunting shrill of the screech owl’s phantom call…
  • The yelps of the coyotes and the barking yaps of the gray fox…
  • The cry of the bobcat or the scream of a mountain lion/ panther echoing on the banks of Lick Creek which sounds like a lady convulsing in terror…
  • Fishing Possum Walk and Lick Creek for small mouth bass, blue gill, perch, and sunfish…
  • Catching grasshoppers, crickets, and crawdads for bait…
  • Finding and flipping the perfect 4 to 5 day old cow pile that held the juiciest night crawlers for fishing…
  • Stepping on thorns and old nails and soaking my foot in kerosene because Granny said so…
  • Helping my dad load the old aluminum V-bottom boat into the pickup bed and going to Liner Creek on Norfork Lake…
  • Watching the spring floods inundate the Possum Walk Creek & Bridge...
  • The fear of failure I felt… before I pulled the trigger on my rifle and dropped my first deer…
  • The pride of trapping my first gray fox…
  • The panic I felt when it came back to life in my hands…
  • The relief I felt when my dad helped me put it out of its misery for the second time…
  • The dread I felt in seeing my first skunk in a trap…
  • The joy I felt in the sense of knowledge in skinning my own animals on the trap line…
  • The wonder of seeing a herd of 60 white-tailed deer in the fields in front of the Mammoth Church…
  • The early morning breakfasts at Granny Anderson’s saucering hot coffee, eating biscuits, twice toasted toast, soakie, greasy gravy, black-eyed gravy, fried eggs, bacon, and sausage all covered in flour gravy made from grease…basically…a lot of grease…By the way, if you haven’t “saucered your coffee or had “soakie”,” you haven’t lived…
  • The mornings she spent reading to me from the Bible and the afternoons she spent reading to me The Ozark County Times, The Baxter Bulletin, or The History of Baxter County. Then, she would talk about the people she read about or how we were related…

  • Her lunches of black-eyed peas, rice with sugar, or cooked cabbage…all with cornbread…
  • The summer days I spent at her front porch and swatting flies…
  • Covering cousins up in the fallen maple leaves…pretending they were in graves…and jumping out and screaming like it was the Resurrection Morning…

Aunt Phylis, Aunt Velma, Aunt Jesse, Aunt Ruby...and me eying in Christmas dinner at Granny Anderson's.

  • Uncles, aunts, and cousins gathering a Granny’s house every Thanksgiving & Christmas Eve…

Kim Long-Sinor, Lesa Anderson-Pulliam, Roger Anderson
Jimmy Anderson, Dana Long-Headrick, Lynn Anderson, Jereldene Anderson
Jackie Anderson-Jennings, and me

  • Listening to KTLO Radio out of Mountain Home, Arkansas, to hear the most important news of the day…the hospital report, listing all the names of the people who were admitted and released, and the list of the people who died in the area…
  • Going to brush harbor meetings and using funeral home fans to keep cool…
  • Swimming at the Possum Walk Bridge, ole' Baptizing Hole, the Big Rock, or the Hoggard Hole…
  • Skidding down the icy cemetery hill on sheets of plastic & inner-tubes…
  • New Year’s Eve hike & camp-outs…
  • Playing football for Gainesville and always hoping for the next game to be a win...(long story)
  • The glee of watching spot-lighters chasing deer in the field in front of our house…knowing the game warden, Ralph McNair, was watching them from a hay barn...

  • And the work…
  • Hauling & splitting wood…
  • Feeding the chickens & protecting them from the coons…
  • Picking up rocks…gardening…picking up rocks…
  • Picking up beer bottles & beer cans on T Highway because Baxter County, Arkansas, was a dry county until 1978. Therefore, our road was the shortest distance between the honky-tonks on the Missouri / Arkansas state line on Highway 201 North & Highway 5 North…

This whole list thing could go on….and on.
Although no time or era is perfect, in the past or present, these times have helped to mold and form me into the person I am today. Though I cannot go back, I still hold these memories in my heart. At times, I am quickly swept away by some sight, smell, taste, word, or phrase to a little place called Mammoth. After all these years, it is still part of my essence. It is my sampling & experience of the Ozark’s History.
Thanks Dad & Mom.

The old smoke house behind Granny Anderson's house.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Small Beginnings in a Mammoth Surrounding: An Ozark County Family Journey

This is the story of how the Anderson family migrated to the Ozarks.

I must also give a small warning; this story can be a little confusing due the replicating of names in the 1800’s. There were a lot of Williams, Garlands, & Billy/Bills…such as “Long Billy” & “Short Billy.” Also, a big thanks is also due to my dad, J. R., for taking a summer Tennessee trip with me to the small town of Gainesboro, Tennessee, in the county of Jackson, nestled in the Cumberland Mountains. There are other stories to be told of Virginia & Scotland, but we will touch on Tennessee for the moment.

Armed with a thumbnail sketch of Gainesboro, Tennessee, dad and I took off to journey back the 500 miles and the 134 years that had separated a family. To do this, we must also cover some earlier genealogy and history. The destination was Gainesboro, Tennessee, in Jackson County...Just north of Cookville on Interstate 40.

About 208 Years Ago
In 1801, Thomas Shirley Anderson and his five brothers, Garland, Joel Blanton, Paul Thomas, Silas Caleb, William James (Long Billy), emigrated from Virginia to Tennessee after the Revolutionary War looking for a fresh start. Virginia was offering Warranty Bounty Land Grants as payment for services in the war. In addition, the beckon call for young settlers to move west was given. Others, such as the Anderson brothers, were going for cheap land. Why was the land cheap? This was also in the heart of disputed Shawnee & Cherokee Territory. The trek was made down the Cumberland Road. (Yes…it’s OK to let your mind to wander to Daniel Boone & Davy Crockett days.) The fight and bartering for land was on.

Thomas Shirley Anderson Thomas Shirley Anderson was born on Feb. 8, 1779, in Cumberland County, Virginia and died on Oct. 8, 1858 in Jackson County, Tennessee. He married Judith Anne Robinson in 1807 in Jackson County, Tennessee. Judith Anne was the daughter of Edward Robinson, Jr. and Anna Elizabeth Meador. Judith was born on May 9, 1785, also in Cumberland County, Virginia.

Thomas & Judith had 10 children.
  • William James "Short Billy" Anderson
  • Anna "Annie" Anderson
  • Garland "Gallant" Anderson
  • Fannie Anderson
  • Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Edward "Ned" Anderson
  • Katherine Anderson
  • Silas Caleb Anderson
  • Francis Marion Anderson
  • Thomas Shirley Anderson, Jr.

    Here is the tombstone of my Great, Great, Great Grandfather & Mother at the Anderson-Allen Cemetery at Blackburn's Fork in Jackson County near Gainesboro, Tennessee.

This was once the family homestead where crops of corn, cotton, and tobacco were raised.
Thomas & Judith’s eldest son was William James "Short Billy" Anderson, my great, great, grandfather, was born on Feb. 12, 1808 in Jackson County, Tennessee, and died in 1890 in Blackburn's Fork, Gainesboro, Tennessee. "Short Billy” married Mary "Polly" Lynn. "Polly" was the daughter of Asa Lynn, Sr. and Elizabeth Hawkins. She was born in 1808 in Jackson County, Tennessee, and died in 1854 in Jackson County, Tennessee.Thomas Shirley Anderson also had a brother named William Garland “Long Billy” Anderson. From these two brothers, a line of Andersons moved to Mammoth, Ozark County, Missouri.

William James “Short Billy” Anderson
William James "Short Billy" Anderson was born on Feb. 12, 1808 in Jackson County, Tennessee and died in 1890 in Blackburn's Fork, Gainesboro, Tennessee. He married Mary "Polly" Lynn. Mary "Polly", daughter of Asa Lynn, Sr. and Elizabeth Hawkins, was born in 1808 in Jackson County,Tennessee and died in 1854 in Jackson County, Tennessee.

“Short Billy” & “Polly” Anderson had 9 children.

  • Garland "Garllante" Anderson
  • Miles Wesley Anderson, Sr.
  • Andrew "Andy" Thomas Anderson
  • Bailey Payton "Pate" Anderson
  • Asa Lynn Anderson
  • Sarah "Sary " Ann Anderson
  • James William "Blue Jim" Anderson
  • Edward A. "Ned" Anderson
  • William Roberson Anderson.

Here are the tombstones of my Great, Great Grandfather, William James “Short Billy” Anderson & Great, Great Grandmother Mary “Polly” Lynn Anderson at the Anderson-Allen Cemetery at Blackburn's Fork in Jackson County near Gainesboro, Tennessee.

Garland "Garllante" Anderson
Garland "Gallant" Anderson, age about 17, married a young lady named Louisiana "Lucy" Ann Hawkins, age about 17, in 1850 in Gainesboro, Jackson County, Tennessee.

Garland & "Lucy" had 7 children.

  • Crawford Anderson
  • Andy Thomas Anderson
  • Martha J. Anderson
  • Alexander Anderson
  • Polley J. Anderson
  • William W. Anderson
  • Sampson Anderson
Here, in this small town, Gainesboro, Tennessee,a family had apparently grown to the point that greener pastures were needed. After the Civil War, the Ozarks was considered a great place to make a start with land in abundance and relatively cheap. In addition, Jackson County records arefull of law suits. Yes, with the Anderson name duly recorded all over the court documents. We had neighbor’s cows eating off our apple trees and property lines being moved. Neighbors were suing neighbors, and family members were suing family members. There were …and still are familiar family names that encompass Jackson County that have traversed county record books for the past 110 years that we are still kin to such as: Allen, Apple, Hawkins, Kirkpatrick, Loftis, and Lynn.

Gainesboro, Tennessee
Road Trip
As dad and I drove into Jackson County, and Gainesboro, I have to honestly admit it kind of felt like home. It looked like home, and the people we met were very friendly. The first day we were there, dad and I started driving down the county roads looking for Blackburn’s Fork…and found it. How? A gentleman stopped while we were looking around and took us to the old family cemetery. It turns out…he was a distant cousin.

Here are a few pictures on our excursion towards Blackburn’s Road to find the Anderson-Allen Cemetery.

We made it!
The Anderson-Allen Cemetery
Great, Great Uncle Miles Wesley Anderson...Confederate Veteran
Going down town into Gainesboro, Tennessee.

Then, we then went to Jackson County Historical Society & Museum to do some research.
Here are a few pictures from there.

Jackson County Courthouse…Downtown in Gainesboro.
We briefly found family and touch bases in exchange of name and the promise of future correspondence. Pictured here are Jimmy Dale & Linda (Flatt) Anderson. They own the Upper Cumberland - Anderson Funeral Home in Gainesboro, Tennessee.

Jimmy Dale & Linda (Flatt) Anderson
Thanks Jimmy & Linda for your cordial hospitality.

Garland Anderson & My Line of Andersons
Garland & Lucy (Hawkins) Anderson with their son and daughter-in-law, decided to follow trek in pursuit of land and headed for the Ozarks. Crawford Anderson married a young lady named Julie “Dula” Sims. Guess what…this is a bit of a unique twist. They were cousins…3rd cousins. Grandma Dula’s mother was named Martha Emeline Anderson who married Thomas Paris Sims. The Sims were people of considerable substance. According to county records, Dula’s father, Thomas Paris Sims and grandfather, Otis Sims, were doctors in the Jackson County and possibly in the Civil War. Dula’s mother was Martha Emeline Anderson’s father & grandfather was William Garland "Long Billy" Anderson and wife Sarah Loveall. William Garland "Long Billy" Anderson was a wealthy man by the standards for that time. In 1850, he owned 6 slaves. By the looking over the U.S. Census, a fair exodus took place about this time from Jackson County & extended family members, such as Sims, & Hawkins headed this way. They also came and moved to Ozark County & Howell County, Missouri and Baxter & Marion County, Arkansas, in the rugged hills of the Ozarks.

About 1875, Garland & Crawford's family all moved to the Mammoth, Ozark County, Missouri, area on Little Creek and started a homestead land. This stretch of land can be found today close to Uncle Jerel Mack & Aunt Velma’s house that burnt and Palmer & Delpha’s home on T Highway.

The Mystery ???
The mystery to me is why only Garland, Lucy, Crawford, and Dula Anderson went to Missouri and left the other Andersons in Tennessee. Garland and Lucy were getting up in years. They left all family…fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters. But, Dula's family, the Sims, also made the journey to the Ozarks.

While I was in the Jackson County Courthouse, in the Recorders Office, I found the deed of sale Garland made to his brother, Bailey, in the amount of $400 for 50 acres of prime farmland.

Also, how did they know about the Ozarks?
How did they know about Gainesville, Missouri?
Isn’t it odd they left Gainesboro and moved to a Gainesville?
By records in Tennessee, the sale of land was in November, 1875. Crawford& Dula’s first child was born in April, 1876…in Mammoth, Missouri. That means…after the harvest & sale of land, they traveled 500 miles in the winter on a wagon train. That’s remarkable…that’s almost crazy.

Here is a list of Crawford & Dula’s children who were all born in Mammoth, Missouri.
  • Angeline “Liney” Anderson
  • Lucy E Anderson
  • Mary Anderson
  • Abby G Anderson
  • Mack Anderson
  • Robert Crawford,
  • Orlena Anderson
  • Elmer Anderson
  • Cloves Anderson
  • Ethel Anderson
  • James “Jimmy” Franklin Anderson.
Here is a family photograph from 1925 of Anderson siblings.
Pictured are Angeline "Liney," Ethel, Elmer, Mack, Lucy, and Abby.

Here is another old family photograph starting with the back row from left to right:
Willie Dye holding Sue McGinnis, Eunice & Mack Anderson, Lucy Dye, Eual McGinnis holding Joni, Lucy Dye, Velma McGinnis, Myrtle & Elmer Anderson, Abby Foster, Jimmy Anderson, Ben Foster. Front Row: little boy Billy Anderson, Ethel Holmes, Ivy Holmes.

My Grandfather & Grandmother: Mack & Eunice Anderson
Mack Crawford Anderson was born on Feb. 24, 1890, in Mammoth, Ozark County, Missouri, and died on May 5, 1962, in Mammoth, Ozark County, Missouri. He married Eunice McNeil on Mar. 12, 1926, in Three Brothers, Baxter County, Arkansas. Eunice, daughter of William Frank McNeil and Mollie Mary Gerkin, was born on Feb. 23, 1906, in Baxter County, Arkansas and died on Sep. 30, 1990, in Bull Shoals, Arkansas. They are both buried at the Mammoth Cemetery. To view their tombstone, please click this link:

Mack & Eunice Anderson had 4 children.
  • Berman Anderson
  • Frank Anderson
  • Jerel Mack Anderson
  • Phyllis Anderson
  • James Ralph "J. R." Anderson
Frank, Jerel Mack, Phyllis, James Ralph "J. R."
(I will get a picture of Uncle Berman posted soon.)

The Excursion
In addition to our family genealogy exploration, dad and I decided to take a small excursion to Bee Rock in Monterey, Tennessee. This was a last moment idea but well worth the time. We were directed to go to The Garden Inn Bed and Breakfast Let me say here also, this is a beautiful bed & breakfast with gracious hospitality. We parked our car and inquired of the proprietor, Mike Kopec, for permission to take look at the view from his property. It turned out to be after normal visiting hours; nevertheless, he graciously consented and gave instructions on accessing trail that only took about 5 minutes. We walked to the end of the trail and found the view breathtaking. The view overlooks Calfkiller Valley & Stamps Hollow below. Apparently to local lore, it was called Bee Rock due to Native Americans scaling over its precipice to retrieve precious honeycomb. Hence the name, “Bee Rock.”

Journey's End

Before I leave this post, I would like to thank Martha at the Jackson County Historical Society your all her help. Also, research help from the Jackson County Archivist, Jackson County Clerk, Belinda Ward,
and Jackson County Recorder, Kim Barham. The last picture that I leave this post with is a view of the Roaring River in Gainesboro, Tennessee.