Every so often, people ask me what materials I use in doing research on the Ozarks. There are some great sources that can be found on the internet, local historical societies & archives. Finding the right data base, newspaper, book, or map can sometimes turn a project around. It is amazing when I become focused on a subject, the Father in Heaven will bring the right source into my hands. It is also remarkable when I figure out the right question continually, it will yield results.
This post will be on the books I sometimes use. I have quickly scanned my book shelf and made of a list of the books I use often. It is difficult to pick which is the most treasured source. Therefore, I have placed the following list by author’s name. Some of these sources are obscure and out of print.
Author: Elmo Ingenthron (One of my favorite authors.)
These three volumes are packed with excellent groundwork for understanding the original people, migration, politics, culture, and the Civil War in the Ozarks. These are essential books. Also, they're out of print.
Author: Silas Claiborne Turnbo (One of my favorite authors.)
The Turnbo Manuscripts by Silas Claiborne Turnbo 1844-1925: The Turnbo Manuscripts are made possible by the courtesy of the Springfield-Greene County Library & the White River Valley Historical Quarterly. An online database of his stories is here: Table of Contents.
Author: Earl Berry (One of my favorite authors.)
This book is an excellent source for the historical & genealogical information for communities & families in Baxter, Boone & Marion Counties in Arkansas.
This book contains great historical & genealogical information for communities & families in Marion County, Arkansas.
Authors: Duane Huddleston, Sammie Rose, Pat Wood (One of my favorite books.)
This book is a must have for getting a background on the White River that runs through the Ozarks. Many black-and-white maps, photographs, and illustrations are included in this book as it covers many events from the 1800s through the 1900s.
Author: Billy D. Higgins (One of my favorite books.)
Excellent book for background information on the Arkansas Territory, Free Blacks in Antebellum Arkansas, Fort Smith region , Marion County, Arkansas, and Arkansas’1859 Expulsion Law. Additionally, this book chronicles the extraordinary life of Peter Caulder, a free African American settler in the Ozarks.
Author: H. Schoolcraft
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch called Schoolcraft the “Christopher Columbus of the Ozarks.” Schoolcraft published this journal while making his Ozark exploration in 1818-1819. This is a very important book on the Ozarks. Milton D. Rafferty, Professor Emeritus of Geography, Geology, and Planning at Southwest Missouri State University, did an excellent job in in the introduction and tracing Schoolcraft on maps.
Author: Brooks Blevins (One of my favorite authors.)
These two books are is one of the best introductions to the Ozarks’ frame of mind within the context of Arkansas/Arkansaw. They are an excellent treatise of the Ozarks’ history, and gives the reader the bases for understanding the Ozark stereotype and misconceptions. These books are what I recommend to people passing through the region who want to know more about the Ozarks & Arkansas.
Ghost of the Ozarks
Dr. Blevins has also written a true crime book that is an absolute gem that takes place in 1929. It is an Ozarks’ Murder Mystery that would be a great movie. By the way, have you ever seen a man testify at his own murder trial?
Author: William Monks (One of my favorite books.)
A History Of Southern Missouri And Northern Arkansas: Being An Account Of The Early Settlements, The Civil War, The Ku-Klux, And Times Of Peace.
William Monks ran a mail route in Ozark & Howell County, Missouri, and down into Fulton County, Arkansas. Once the Civil War began, he was a stanch supporter of the Union and one of its feared officers. His memoir was published in 1907, and its title gives a great explanation of the book’s contents.
Author: John Quincy Wolf (One of my favorite books.)
This book contains John Quincy Wolf's childhood memoirs. He truly has the gift of wit & flowing narrative. I still remember the story about burying a lady that was still soft & perspiring.
Author: Robert K. Gilmore
As the title states, this book gives great sketches & background to Ozark baptizings, hangings, and other diversions. Beside the information in the title, one can also learn about "literaries," debates, mock trials, school programs, suppers, picnics, brush-arbor revivals. Time scope: 1885 to 1910.
This manuscript covers the Ozark Region of Arkansas & Missouri. Some biographies are flamboyant because the subject had a hand in writing them. There is also a database contains 668 Family Biographies in 12 Arkansas & 16 Missouri Counties. This database is here: Table of Contents.
This is a small book of stories of early life before, during, and after the Civil War in Northern Arkansas. A special focus is on Yellville and Marion County, Arkansas. Estes covers the customs of the area, hardships and deprivations, also pleasant times, sport and enjoyment.
Author: William A. Yates
This book is out of print. Try looking at yard, garage, and estate sales. The Ozark County Historium also has a copy.
Author: Tom Shiras
Walking Editor of the Ozarks.
This book was out of print, but no longer! It is on sale at the Baxter County Heritage Center.
Author: James A. Holmes
History of Ozark County, Missouri, to 1865.
This book is out of print, but it can be found here.
This book is out of print, but it can be found here.
Editor: Bill Wayne Blevins
EarlyBackwoods of White River Valley: From the Memoirs of J.J. Sams, written in 1896.
This book is out of print. Try looking at yard, garage, and estate sales.
A great Source & guide to the Ozark region. The author, Phyllis Rossiter, reconnoiters the major areas of the Ozarks including the following regions: the Buffalo National River, The Lake of the Ozarks, Ozark / Boston Mountains, White River Hills, Big Spring, and the Springfield Plateau. A detailed appendix is included.
Author: Lair, Jim
Mr. Randolph was, and still is, an Ozark treasure as he traveled around collecting Ozark anecdotes, folksongs, jokes, poems, and folktales. Warning…some collections are rather graphic and language can be offensive to some.
Ozark Folksongs: Vol. I: British Ballads and Songs.
Ozark Folksongs: Vol. IV, Religious Songs and Other Items.