Monday, July 26, 2010

It's Getting Busy

First, I would also like to say, "Thank you" to the Ozark County Genealogical & Historical Society for their invitation to speak last Thursday, July 22nd, in Gainesville, Missouri. I enjoyed your warmth & hospitality.

As many of you may know, our library won a $10 million dollar grant from the Donald W. Reynolds’s Foundation. Therefore, in the next 6 weeks, I will be in the process of moving my genealogy, books, and stuff from the Baxter County Library to our new home across town. A picture of the new library is posted above.

With this entire hullabaloo going on, I will not be able to post as much on Ozarks' History.

Try to keep cool in these Dog Days.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Adventures on Fox Knob in Ozark County

The Origin of Fox Knob
While growing up in Ozark County, I was always entranced by the old stories I heard about gold, silver, and lead mines in the area. It just so happened, one was within a stone's throw of my home in Mammoth. There's a story of Mr. Walrath having a dream of a particular geographical location in which he was to find, move his family, and mine its’ riches. The location was at the confluence of Lick Creek & Possum Walk Creek in Mammoth. Upon finding the lay of the land to his prognostication, he began his endeavors. The location of the mine was on top of a hill called Fox Knob.

Old Newspaper Stories
I happened to come across some articles recently, and it brought back memories of stories I once heard.  The authors of these articles never disclose the exact location or owner of the mines. But, I would like to think he was talking about Fox Knob.

Dreams hardly ever come true. A few weeks ago an Ozark county man dreamed he found a gold mine on the hills of his farm. The dreamer had little faith in visions and tried to forget the incident but without avail. At last, just to prove there was nothing in the dream, he took pick and shovel and started to work about 100 yards from his home. His doubts were confirmed for all he found was a rich load of zinc which promises to make him one of the richest men in the county.
End of Article

                            End of Article

While I was looking into mining in Ozark County, I also came across this little snippet. Even though the newspaper is worn and faded, it packed a huge word...Gold.

Gold has been found in paying quantities on Pond Creek in Ozark county, Missouri
End of Article

Though I know these articles were not about Mr. Walrath, it tells of a time when the mining rush was on in the Ozarks. In the past Ozarks' history, mining was a viable way to eke out a living.  A couple of years ago I did a survey on the old mines in Baxter County, Arkansas,  in 1901, which is linked HERE. Baxter County had a total of 154 registered within its’ county borders in 10 districts.

Though the Ozarks never yielded its’ precious hopes of great mining wealth, it is one of many threads that weave our Ozarks’ History.

Back to Fox Knob
The interesting thing about Fox Knob is it stood across from my house. Beside the old mine shaft stood a tall and solitary white pine tree towering over the other hardwoods on the hill. This tree was one of the focal points from our front porch. As a child, I remember dreaming about being old enough to climb to the top of Fox Knob and discovering the treasure that had once eluded its’ former caretaker.


The view from my childhood home on the front porch with Fox Knob in July, 1980.
Double click on the photograph to enlarge, then fine one of my favorite lone pines.

The view from Fox Knob in March, 1985.
Notice the second ridge behind my house, it's the Arkansas State line. 

Fox Knob is located above a well known swimming hole on Lick Creek called, “The Big Rock.” When I was 14 years old, I rode my motorcycle to the creek, and climbed Fox Knob’s steep grade. I had a camera in hand to document my adventure and a 50 foot garden hose. Why a garden hose? I didn’t have a rope. I know I looked ridiculous, but at that time, I didn’t care. Believe it or not, I was convinced that I was Daniel Boon. Upon reaching my destination, I tied the garden hose off on a small tree, wrapped the other end around my waist, and lowered myself down about 10 feet. The sides of the shaft were a mixture of chert & clay. At that moment, my fear or reality set in, and I pulled myself out of the small abyss. Afterward, I snapped a picture. 

In doing the math, I be 45 years old in September; this experience took place December 27, 1979. 

The Vertical Mine Shaft of Fox Knob

Warning: Rabbit Trail
That was a great garden hose. This hose came from a relative who worked a Baxter Lab. It was a clear thick hose entwined around a spool. For some reason it was a reject, and it ended up at my house. This is the same garden hose I would tie to a tree on the banks on Lick Creek, put the other end in my mouth, grab a big rock to eliminate buoyancy, and sit on the creek bed to watch the perch & sunfish swim around me. If I was fortunate enough, I might see a beaver, muskrat, or snake swim overhead. I got this idea from the book 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne,and the old TV show The Man From Atlantis, starring Patrick Duffy. Others may call it foolishness; I call it Redneck Scuba Diving.

Back to the Story
Exiting this steep hill was relativity easy. Halfway down, I would sit on my bottom and slide down the hill. If I would go too fast, I would simply grab hold of a tree sapling or dig my heels in and slow down. Even though this would wear the seat out of my jeans, I knew there wasn’t a pair of jeans Granny Anderson couldn’t mend. I will say this is also a great place to start a small avalanche, if one were inclined to do so. It was rumored at one time a few teenage boys attempted such a feat. But, my sources tell me..."We're not talking.


The steep access to Fox Knob from Lick Creek 

I’ve ventured to Fox Knob at other times, but my first experience was a lasting one. There is an old song my dad will sing in church every so often. The words are hauntingly familiar to that time of my life and many other of life's circumstances. 
  He brought me out of the miry clay,
He set my feet on the Rock to stay;
He puts a song in my soul today,
A song of praise, hallelujah!

Climbing out of that clay covered abyss has ingrained a few lessons of life for me. 

#1. Don't do stupid stuff by myself.

#2. Know my Deliverer.

#3. Listen to His Voice.

As I left Fox Knob the first time, I could look back in the snow and not only see my foot prints in the snow, but my clay covered boots left its' stain as a reminder of my deliverance. I remember taking a stick and trying to completely clean off all the clay on my boots in Lick Creek to no avail. To my surprise, I discovered this clay coating kept my boots waterproof in the chilly waters; it's another lesson of God's wisdom. The mire of sin & error is not easily cleansed, but redemption brings its' deliverance.

Some people have journeyed to this area through the promise of a dream, hope for an adventure, or a longing to create family memories. Though I no longer live in Mammoth, in my heart, it is still called home. For me, it will continually contain a part of my dreams, adventures, memories, and lessons of my...Ozarks' History.
Work Cited:
“Discovery of Famous Silver Mine.” Wheeling Register 27.211 (11 Feb., 1890) 7. Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Nov. 2009.
 “News from All Over Imperial Missouri.” St. Joseph Observer 9.20 (19 Feb., 1916) 3. Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Nov. 2009.
“Telegraph Tips.” Houston Daily Post 9.294(25 Jan., 1894) 6. Chronicling America. Library of Congress, Washington D. C. 1 Nov. 2009.
Zelley, Henry J. 1898. "He Brought Me Out." Gospel Publishing House, Full Gospel Songs (47).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

There’s Trouble Across the Line - Part 5

This is the Last Installment of "There’s Trouble Across the Line."

Bill Naves Not Guilty.
The trial of Bill Naves on the charge of assault with the intent to kill, committed against I. N. Lantz in July, 1902, came up last Tuesday Morning. The State was represented by prosecuting attorney Garner Fraser, assisted by W. S. Chastain and B. F. Fee, while Seawell, Jones and& Seawell appeared for the defense. Most of the fornoon was consumed in selecting a jury which was composed of C. J. Cook, Tom Ott, S. J. Dodd, A. A. Thompson, Will Briggs, Bert Record, Hance Underwood, J. H. Davenport, W. C. Wood, B. B. King, J. T. Gilley, and Jack Matlock.

After the opening statements to the jury by prosecuting attorney Fraser for the state and T. M. Seawell for the defense, and the introduction testimony began, Mrs. Luntz being the first witness. She stated on the night of July 23rd, 1902, while she was clearing up her kitchen work after supper, the dogs ran out and began barking and she stepped to the door, while her daughter, Malinda, stepped out into the yard, and a man rode up to the yard fence. He spoke and asked which way Mr. Lantz was. She recognized the voice as that of Bill Naves, and supposed that he had come to stay the night, as he frequently visited them. Mr. Lantz had lain down and was asleep, and Malinda went into the house, awoke her father, and told him that Bill Naves was out there and wanted to see him. Mr. Lantz went out to the fence in his night clothes and asked him what he wanted, and he said: “Nothing much.” Mr. Lantz then invited him to get down, and about that time she saw a flash and heard report of a gun, Mr. Lantz hollered and said he was shot. The man on the horse dashed away. The testimony of Malinda and Delia Lantz was essentially the same as that of their mother. Mr. Lantz testified that when he reached the fence he put one foot in the crack of the fence and place his left hand on his hip, asked Naves what he wanted and his answer was the same as stated by Mrs. Lantz, and while he was standing in that position, the gun was fired, inflicting a flesh wound in his left arm and some of the shot glanced his left side. He said that he never, at any time, saw the gun. He knew it was Bill Naves on the horse and made no effort to conceal his identity. When the gun fired, his horse whirled and dashed away. That the shooting occurred between 8 and 9 o’clock.

Myrtle Turnbo, a cousin of the defendant, testified that on the night before the shooting took place, Bill went to their house and got her father’s shot gun while he was away.

Andy Turnbo, father of Myrtle, and uncle of the defendant, testified on the night of the shooting he returned home from Pontiac at 10:40 o’clock and found Bill Naves on his porch, apparently asleep, and he stayed until the next morning. He said that it was between 7 and 10 miles from his house to the Lantz home.

Here the State rested and the defendant took the stand in his own behalf. Asked by the attorneys to tell all he knew about the shooting that occurred on that fateful night, he said:

“I will do that as best I can. In the year 1902, I made a crop at home with my mother, who was living on Uncle Newt Turnbo’s place. In the early part of June, I was over to Uncle Newt’s house and he began telling me about people killing his cattle. He said they were cut to pieces, shot, crippled, and killed because the people did not want them to run on the range, and that he begged them to let his cattle alone as he was old and could not look after them himself, but that his pleas had been disregarded. I said it looked like those people could be prosecuted for these acts, but he said that he had tried and failed, but that he had a scheme which he had been thinking of naming to me. I asked somebody ought to take a shot gun and give some of those fellows what they had been giving his cattle. A few days later, he asked me if I had thought about this matter any, and I told him I had not for I did not think he meant it. He said yes, he was earnest, and he thought I ought to help him out as he had been good to me, which he had. I told him I would think about it and he asked me if Bill Shaw would be all right to go with me. I told him I would have nothing to do with Shaw in a matter of that kind because I had no confidence in his keeping it. Uncle got mad and said he did not believe I wanted to help him, anyway. That ended the subject at that time. A few days later Bill Shaw came to our place and said uncle Newt Turnbo wanted me to come over. I went, and uncle was very angry. He told me to look at his cattle, some shot and some badly cut up. I asked him if he knew who did it. He said Tom Clark did it. I asked why he did not have Clark prosecuted and he said he didn’t have evidence. He said that Clark, Sam Frost, Hillhouse, and Jerry Jenkins were doing this killing and if they were run out of the country, it would stop. He said he had talked to Mr. Lantz who had told him he would look after the killing and report. He asked me again if I had made up my mind to help him. I told him I was already in trouble and couldn’t afford to do it. He said, “Bill, if I thought there was any hereafter about this, I would not ask you to do it, but I will see that you come out alright.” I again refused to go with Shaw, and uncle got mad and said that he had always stuck by me, was then on my bond but that I might now get another man to go my bond. I then told him that if he would get a man that I could depend on to go with me I would do what I could for him. He asked me how Sam would do, meaning his son. I said that Sam would be alright. Uncle then promised me that if I got to any trouble over the matter, he would stick to me and see that my brother was taken care of. Sam came to see me in a few days and we went out into the hills to several watering places but found no crippled cattle, but we saw Tom Clark in the woods with a gun. As we went home Sam said it looked like the old man was about right, which it was no use trying to get evidence and he asked me how my nerve would be on shooting a man. I told him I couldn’t tell as I had never tried it. He said he didn’t know whether he could hit one or not, so he practiced, shooting at trees a few times along the road and hitting his mark well. He then said, “Yes, the old man is right and some day we will go out and take a shot a piece.” I went out into the hills alone next day and found a wounded steer lying near Tom Clark’s place. He was nearly starved and I carried water in my hat to him to drink. In about a week Sam came up to his mother’s gate and called me out and said: ‘Well, what about our trip?’ I told him I had hoped he had forgotten it. He said he had not, but wanted to get it off his mind. I asked if it was coming off that night, and he said no-tomorrow night. So next evening I went up to Uncle Andy Turnbo’s and got his shot gun , and Sam and I met at the appointed place about an hour before sundown. He had some whiskey and we took two drinks a piece. Sam said that he had changed the plan, that it would be easier to track two than one, and that it would be best to separate and each go alone. He asked me where I wanted to go, and I told him it was immaterial. He said then that I could go to Tom Clark’s and Sam Frost’s and he would go to Hillhouses’ and Jenkins’. So I started out and got to thinking that Sam might not intend to carry out his part, and I came very near turning back. Then I thought of the way my uncle’s cattle had been treated and that if ever two men needed a taste of shot it was Tom Clark and Sam Frost. So I related my courage and rode on. When I got near Clark’s house I dismounted, and, leaving my pony, walked up to the house. It was after dark. I called, and a woman and a little girl came in sight. I asked to stay all night and she said she couldn’t keep me as her husband was not at home. I was glad to hear her say that and felt relieved. I decided that, as I could not get Clark, I would not bother Frost, either, so I started back, thinking that I might stay all night with Mr. Lantz, as he lived on my route home, and then I wanted to talk with him about this cattle matter. I rode up to the fence when Mrs. Lantz and one of the girls came out, I asked if Mr. Lantz was at home and the girl, saying he was at home, went into the house. It seemed to me that he was rather slow about coming out, and I wondered if he had become worked up over reports that had been circulated, and was fixing to come out prepared to give me a load of shot. When he did come out he walked right to me before speaking, and then he asked, and what seemed to me, a rather harsh tone, what I wanted, and , at the same time, I saw his left hand go to his left hip, and I thought he might be preparing, thought he might be reaching for his pistol. As he did that, I pulled back on the hammer of my gun, which lay across the pommel of the saddle before me, intending, if he brought a gun in sight, to shoot him in the arm. By taking a second look I saw that he had on only his night clothes and did not intend to harm me, so I started to ease the hammer of the gun back down when it slipped under my thumb and the gun fired My horse leaped a few jumps, and when I got him stopped, the women were screaming and I was afraid I had killed Mr. Lantz. I thought one I would go back, but I saw one of the girls come out of the door with a Winchester and I left. I had no desire to harm Mr. Lantz, and if I wanted to kill him I could have done so with the greatest ease. A short time after I had left the Lantz’s home I heard and gun fire and then I knew Sam was out. I went to Uncle Andy Turnbo’s house and was on the porch when he came home, as he testified, having in mind the chance to prove an alibi in case Lantz died. Ike Turnbo was the first to mention to me about the shooting. He said they were accusing me of doing it.’ That the people were all stirred and Pontiac was surrounded by men hunting me. I then decided to go to Oakland and give up to the sheriff of Marion county, which I did and was turned over to the constable to await preliminary hearing, being release on my own recognizance. While waiting for this hearing Sam Turnbo tried to get me to leave, offering to furnish me with money to do so; criticized me for giving up and asked me what I meant by killing Lantz? I told him it was accidental, and asked him what he meant b killing the Lantz’s boy? He said he did not intend to kill him. I waived examination and was turned over to the sheriff of Baxter county on the charge of killing Ike Lantz’s boy-taken to Mountain Home, lay in jail 14 months, was tried and acquitted. While in jail, there Uncle Newt Turnbo sent me tools with which to break jail and get away. I them back to him without using them. After my acquittal at Mountain Home, I was taken t West Plains, Mo., tried on the charge of shooting Jerry Jenkins, convicted, and had served three years in the Missouri penitentiary. I have told the truth and nothing but the truth here. I did not tell the truth at Mountain Home because I was on trial for my life, and did not want to say anything unfavorable to myself. I did not want to tell the truth at West Plains because I would rather suffer unjustly myself than untrue to my confederates when I thought they were still my friend. Since my imprisonment I have learned that they have turned against me, forsaken my mother, mistreated my sister, and I don’t feel under any obligations to shield them further in this matter.

In corroboration to the testimony of the defendant, Wm. Nelson testified that Newt Turnbo had told him about his cattle being killed, that he believe Sam Frost was one of the men who was doing the killing and he wanted to get someone to look after them as something had to be done.

H. H. Perkins testified that Dr. Sam Turnbo was boarding with him at the time the shooting was done. That he left his house on the evening before the shooting that night and was not at home at breakfast time next morning, although he came later. The above is the gist of the evidence produced in the case by both sides.

Naves can yet live down the stain upon his character and become a good and useful citizen.

The above article comes from the Yellville Echo. Naves was tried at Yellville last week by the Marion county circuit court.
End of Article

My Reflection
Bill Naves’ ordeal has taken him from a little place called Pontiac, Missouri, in Ozark County, to crossing the Arkansas line, and many other county lines in the Ozarks. Some would say he knew how to play the system, but others testify to his enduring innocence. Was his conversion in prison only a “Jail House Religion?” Though I am not offering stones to throw, I believe it was an interesting admission in Post #2. This is where he stated he had to lie in Mountain Home because he knew his life was on the line. Not only did Bill Naves cross geographical lines, by his own admission, he realized he crossed many moral lines.

I believe, due to our nature, we too have transgressed many lines in our lives. It may be easy to see the blatant faults of our neighbor, but it takes a greater courage and humility to acknowledge our sins and shortcomings. As we now let William “Bill” Naves rest in peace in our Ozark’s History, may we also make amends with our Creator and neighbor while it is still called “Today.”

Thank you to those who have called or emailed concerning There’s Trouble Across the Line.

Comments? My email address is:
Work Cited:
“Bill Naves Not Guilty.” Baxter Bulletin 6.34 (16 Aug. 1907) 3, 6, 8. Baxter County Microfilm Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Dec. 2009.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

There’s Trouble Across the Line - Part 4

Hard Times
After fulfilling the allotted time in the Missouri State Penitentiary, Bill Naves will be met by Marion County Sherriff Magness and escorted back to Yellville, Marion County, Arkansas.

B and C Hall, Missouri State Penitentiary, Jefferson City

14 June 1907

Sheriff Magness and Bert Record returned Sunday evening from Jefferson City, Mo., where they had been to get Bill Naves who is wanted in this country charged with having shot Ike Lantz on the night of July 23rd, 1902, and who had been liberated from the penitentiary at that place for shooting Jerry Jenkins on the same night that he is charged with having shot Lantz. Naves, being unable to give bond, was placed in jail Sunday evening, where he will probably remain until August term of court. Sheriff Magness was very much impressed with the management of the Missouri penitentiary. He says all their prisoners are worked on the inside the prison walls, in the manufacture of various article, such as shoes, overalls, jumpers, saddle trees, which he thinks is far better than the lease system which is in vogue in this state – that they are well fed and humanely treated.
End of Article

Comments? My email address is:
There’s Trouble Across the Line - Finial Post...Coming Soon

Works Cited:
“Bill Naves at Yellville” Cotter Courier 4.30 (14 June 1907) A1-1. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Dec. 2009.Baxter County Microfilm Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 1 Dec. 2009.

Photo: B and C Hall, Missouri State Penitentiary, Jefferson City.  2 July 2010.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fourth of July in Baxter County.

An Ozark Celebration
Are you planning a Fourth of July celebration this year? Let's go back in time and check out the festivities of our Ozarks' History.
July 10, 1908
Misses Argie and Margie Redus entertained a large number of their friends Friday evening with an apron and tie party. The girls brought the aprons and ties and the boys chose the ties in envelops and matched them with the aprons the girls were wearing. Each apron was unhemed and the boys had to hem the girl’s apron. A prize was offered for this and was won by Mr. Claude Alley. Later a gum molding contest kept the fun moving. Each had to make from a piece of chewing gum some animal or bird designed. Miss Beulah Casey won this prize by making an excellent dog. Refreshments were served later in the evening. All spend a very pleasant evening.

Cotter was the only town in the county that held a celebration for the fourth. A good size crowd spent the day there. While some of the things billed on the program were not pulled off, everybody reported a good time. About 50 Mountain Home people spent the day there. At Mountain Home, no one celebrated, but the younger generation, and they kept firecrackers popping all day. Many merchants observed the day with flag decorations etc. We should not overlook our Fourth of July parade either. Several of the younger children of the town, all girls, costumed one to represent Columbia, the rest, her escort, singing “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean” made the rounds of the down town streets. Their idea was a very pretty one and it helped break the monotony of the day. No causalities from the fireworks of other noise making devices were reported.
End of Article
Historical Note:
Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean was a widely popular song of the 19th and early 20th Century. It was written and composed by David T. Shaw in 1843. Occasionally, it was used as an unofficial national anthem in competition with The Star-Spangled Banner and Hail, Columbia. (Later, in 1931, “The Star-Spangled Banner” became our national anthem.) This song was a favorite anthem of Northern generals for their men to sing before marching on the battlefield during the Civil War. It was also published in 1882 as a soldier’s song book entitled: The Good Old Songs We Used to Sing, '61 to'65.  The idiom/expression "Columbia" was understood as a symbolic name for the United States. It is believed this song was a “sanctification” of an old British tune/ditty entitled: Red, White, and Blue. This song’s history, arrangement, and lyrics can be easily found on the internet at the Project Gutenberg at The following are the lyrics once heard on the streets of Baxter County in 1908.

Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean

First Verse
O Columbia! the gem of the ocean,
The home of the brave and the free,
The shrine of each patriot's devotion,
A world offers homage to thee;
Thy mandates make heroes assemble,
When Liberty's form stands in view;
Thy banners make tyranny tremble,
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
When borne by the red, white, and blue,
Thy banners make tyranny tremble,
When borne by the red, white and blue.

Second Verse
When war wing'd its wide desolation,
And threaten'd the land to deform,'
The ark then of freedom's foundation,
Columbia rode safe thro' the storm;
With her garlands of vict'ry around her,
When so proudly she bore her brave crew;
With her flag proudly floating before her,
The boast of the red, white and blue,
The boast of the red, white and blue,
The boast of the red, white, and blue,
With her flag proudly floating before her,
The boast of the red, white and blue.

Third Verse
The Union, the Union forever,
Our glorious nation's sweet hymn,
May the wreaths it has won never wither,
Nor the stars of its glory grow dim,
May the service united ne'er sever,
But they to their colors prove true?
The Army and Navy forever,
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue,
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue,
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue,
The Army and Navy for ever,
Three cheers for the red, white and blue.

(Alternate Third Verse)
The star spangled banner bring hither,
O'er Columbia's true sons let it wave;
May the wreaths they have won never wither,
Nor its stars cease to shine on the brave.
May thy service united ne'er sever,
But hold to the colors so true;
The army and navy forever,
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue!
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue!
The army and navy forever,
Three cheers for the red, white, and blue.

Work Cited:
"Fourth of July." Baxter Bulletin 7.24 (10 Jul. 1908) A1-1. Baxter County Microfilm Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 2 Jan. 2008.