Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Early Ozark Territory

For a quick reference to the Ozark’s beginning boundaries, this is one of the best maps that will begin to explain a lot.

Run your computer mouse over the map and double click to enlarge this picture.

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.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Bleaching of History’s Tapestry

Contrary to today’s popular & media understanding, history is not always “politically correct.” I believe political correctness is birthed many times out of cowardice & selfish ambition of one’s reputation in order to cover perceived flaws. Simply put…many love to rewrite history or neglect it… hoping it will fade away.

Nevertheless, history is not always pretty; yet, it weaves a beautiful tapestry. As beautiful or ugly as it may seem, it is our entire story.

Looking back in history may be part of the cure of repeating past mistakes. Though some may revel in our mistakes in order that they may have something to gossip about or publish again. For those who wish to hide their head in the sand, read no further.

A little over a 100 years ago, on July 17th, 1908, The Baxter Bulletin ran a front page story that was amazing for its’ time. When I was writing Looking Back in History articles for The Baxter Bulletin, they choose to delete this article due to racial sensitivity. I believe it was to their loss. In order for it not to be lost for us, I give the small article omitted that was once proudly placed on the front page of The Baxter Bulletin as follows.

White Ladies Prepare “Old Mammy” in Grave.
The only negro family in Baxter County is that of Sam Mason, who lives in Cotter. The family consists of Sam Mason, his wife Alice and one child, Charlie, 18 years old. On Friday, Alice Mason, after eating a hearty breakfast, was washing dishes when she dropped dead from heart failure. There being no negro people in town, the white ladies went in prepared the body for burial. There was no hesitancy on the part of the white ladies, several prominent too, in doing all they could do in rendering assistance. Sam Mason and his wife were born in slavery in Izard County and were well known. Alice Mason was about 53 years old. All the children were her pets and they all loved her.

My Historical Respective
Again, this article was on the front page of an 8 page newspaper. All other obituaries were on following pages. However, Mary "Alice" Mason was on the front page. I believe this is a historical milestone that has been over looked for that time in the Ozarks.

Was there segregation? Yes.

Was there prejudice in that era? Yes.

As a society, we do not the use of the term of “Old Mammy” today. Yet, in this 1908 article, it was used as a term of endearment and not a racial slur. Furthermore, this was a hallmark of benevolence that transcended racial & cultural norms. We find people here in Baxter County, crossing cultural norms and expressing genuine affection and sympathy.

According to 1900 U. S. Census, Sam Mason was born June, 1852, in Georgia, Alice Mason was born July, 1856, in Tennessee. Both were taken as young children to Izard County, Arkansas, as slaves. During this time period, Baxter County did not exist, and this area was known as Izard County and then Marion County. Their son George was born February, 1890, in Arkansas. After Alice's death, Sam and Charlie moved to Oklahoma.

Today, there is a tombstone at the Cotter Cemetery that bears her name; it too should make headlines. To my knowledge, she is the only former slave buried in the Cotter Cemetery. At the time of her burial, it was a white only cemetery. Thanks to the Arkansas Gravestones Project, her grave stone can be seen here at Mary "Alice" Mason.

After her death, it was an integrated cemetery. Furthermore, we see death as the great equalizer of us all, from the elite to the pauper.

After 1908, racial lines were blurred at death of a former slave in Baxter County, Arkansas.

History was embraced through the compassion displayed by the people living in Baxter County. May their noble deeds inspire us to accept their acts as well as their inadequacies.

Unfortunately, there are those today who would rather blur our true history…looking backward.

Shiras, Tom “White Ladies Prepare 'Old Mammy' in Grave.” The Baxter Bulletin 17 July 1908, Volume 7, Number 27 ed.: 1A1-1.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Waylands & McNeils: Family Roots in Baxter County, Arkansas

Above is a picture of my great, great grandfather & grandmother:
Thompson "Henderson" Wayland & Louisa W. Snow

This is a small documentation of some of my family roots in the Ozarks. Hopefully, this will help answer questions for family and friends alike.
My great, great, grandfather & mother:
Thompson Henderson Wayland & Louisa W. Snow
Thompson Henderson Wayland was born on September 16, 1836 in Lawrence County, Arkansas. He died on November 14, 1913 in, Baxter County, Arkansas, and was buried in Norfork Cemetery, Baxter County, Arkansas. A picture is also posted of Henderson Wayland in the Mountain Home City Hall lobby stating he was the Mayor of Mountain Home, Arkansas in 1901.
Henderson married Louisa W. Snow on May 7, 1856, in Lawrence County, Arkansas. Thompson Henderson Wayland, "Henderson" as he was known, was a member of J.R. Shaler's regiment and Capt. R.C. Matthews' Company during the Civil War. He applied for a pension at age 72 and proof of service given.
They had the following children:
    1. Susan Hester Wayland was born on June 26, 1860 in Iuka, Izard County, Arkansas. She died on November 16, 1905, and was buried in Trimble Flats Cemetery, Baxter County, Arkansas. Susan married James Franklin McNeill on June 11, 1877.
    2. Caroline Wayland was born on 10 Feb 1862 in Iuka, Izard Co., Arkansas.
    3. Cynthia "Syntha" Ann Wayland
    4. James Harrison Wayland was born on 1 Oct 1867 in Iuka, Izard Co., Arkansas.
    5. Benjamin F. Wayland
    6. Mary Belsoria Wayland

Henderson & Louisa's Obituaries -Both are buried at Norfork Cemetery, Baxter County, Arkansas.

Baxter Bulletin newspaper September 20, 1912.
Mrs. T. H. Wayland and Mrs. Sarah Cunningham of Norfork, both old and respected citizens of Baxter County died last week. They leave many relatives and a host of friends to mourn for them.
Baxter Bulletin newspaper November 21, 1913

Uncle Henderson Wayland Dead.
Henderson Wayland an old settler in the seventies, for years a justice of peace at Norfork passed away Saturday and was buried Sunday at Norfork. The Waylands were among the first settlers in the west part of Baxter County. Mr. Wayland is survived by a brother, S. J. Wayland of Mountain Home and a married sister who lives in the south part of the state. His wife died about a year ago.
Next, my great, great grandfather & mother:
James Franklin McNeil IV & Susan Hester Wayland

James Franklin McNeil, IV was born on May 8, 1858, in Iuka, Izard County, Arkansas, and died on an unknown date. He married Susan Hester Wayland was born on June 26, 1860 in Iuka, Izard County, Arkansas. She died on November 16, 1905, and was buried in Trimble Flats Cemetery, Baxter County, Arkansas. Susan married James Franklin McNeil IV on June 11, 1877.
They had the following children:
  1. William Frank McNeil was born on July 7, 1879 in Iuka, Izard County, Arkansas and died on June 9, 1948 in Amos, Baxter County, Arkansas.
  2. John H. McNeil was born on Dec. 15, 1877 in Iuka, Izard County, Arkansas and died in May 1920 in Hulbert, Cherokee County, Oklahoma.
  3. Mary (Molly) J. McNeil was born on Nov. 11, 1883 and died on Apr. 19, 1969.
  4. Jesse Hogan McNeil was born on Oct. 25, 1881 and di ed in 1913.
  5. Benjamin A. McNeil was born on Nov. 19, 1887 and died on Feb. 1, 1965.
  6. James Monroe McNeil was born on Nov. 7, 1885 and died on Jul. 2, 1959.
  7. Joseph Henry McNeil was born on May 1, 1890 and died in M ay 1944.
  8. Hester B. McNeil was born on Apr. 1, 1894 and died on Aug. 16, 1894.
  9. Charles W. McNeil was born on Apr. 11, 1892 and died on an unknown date.
  10. Louisa Etta McNeil was born on Jan. 31, 1895 and died in 1915.
  11. Eva “May” McNeil was born  on May 23, 1903 and died on June1, 1997.
  12. Stephen E. McNeil was born on Feb. 7, 1899 and died on Aug. 31, 1972.

Next, my great grandfather & mother:
William Frank McNeil & Mary "Mollie" Girkin

Picture taken in Flippin, Arkansas, about 1944

Mary "Mollie" Girkin 1900 
Picture taken at Carr Studios in Mountain Home, Arkansas.

                                           Mary "Mollie" Girkin McNeil circa 1957

-->William Frank McNeil was born on July 7, 1879 in Iuka, Izard County, Arkansas and died on June 9, 1948 in Amos, Baxter County, Arkansas. He married Mary "Mollie" Girkin. She was the daughter of Burton Gerkin and Sarah Martin and was born on July 14, 1875 in East Nelson, Moultrie County, Illinois and died on October 3, 1958 in Theodosia, Ozark County, Missouri. Both are buried at the Trimble Flats / Amos Cemetery in Baxter County, Arkansas.

They had the following children:
  1. Eunice McNeil was born on February 23, 1906 and died on September 30, 1990.
  2. James Bert McNeil died on an unknown date.
  3. Hogan McNeil died on an unknown date.
  4. Lurkie McNeil died on an unknown date.
  5. Susan Geneva McNeil was born on May 10, 1904 and died on Aug. 2, 1904.
  6. Ralph Herman McNeil died in March 1916.

Picture of Uncle Bert & Uncle Hogan McNeil taken in Baxter County, Arkansas, circa 1918.

Next, my grandfather & grandmother:
Mack Anderson & Eunice McNeil
Mack 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. Eunice, daughter of William Frank McNeil and Mollie Mary Gerkin, Eunice McNeil was born on February 23, 1906,in Amos, Baxter County, Arkansas and died on September 30, 1990, in Bull Shoals, Marion County, Arkansas.

Grannie Anderson's house in Mammoth, Missouri, as I
remember it in the fall time of the year.

This picture was taken in November of 1989.

This is a current picture of the old home place taken in June of 2008.

Mack & Eunice Anderson are buried in the Mammoth Cemetery, Ozark County, Missouri.