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A new novel to our branch, “Things I Wish I Told my Mother” is the story of a mother and daughter learning how to love and talk to each other – before it’s too late. more
Some days I want to give up writing, especially in pleasant seasons when I might otherwise be doing something useful outside. more
To call someone a liar in the Ozarks would be not only extremely rude but might be considered “fightin’ words.” But as Vance Randolph said in his book, “We always lie to strangers” Tall Tales in the Ozarks (1951) there is no harm in “spinnin’ a windy” or “sawin’ off a whopper.” He also said that there’s no harm in it “unless you tell it for the truth. Nobody is deceived except for tourists and furinners when a tall tale is told.” more
Progress is a funny word, isn't it? Webster defines progress as "1. : to move forward : proceed. 2. : to develop to a higher, better, or more advanced stage." But progress isn't just about definitions; it's about the tangible changes we see around us and the spirit of growth that propels our community forward. It's about the new businesses that open their doors, the old ones that expand, the community projects that bring us together, and the public art that adds color and joy to our lives. more
Dear Readers, more
You often wouldn’t know it from what we see on TV and social media, but the basics of a healthy lifestyle can be pretty straightforward. Try to walk or do other physical activities, eat a healthy diet of mostly plant-based foods, limit alcohol and, of course, don’t smoke. more
Saturday marked the end of an era in West Plains, as Aid Downtown Antiques closed its doors for the final time. The day was filled with emotion, nostalgia, and a sense of community that is rare in today's fast-paced world. It wasn’t just a store closing; it was the conclusion of a chapter that spanned five generations and left an indelible mark on the heart of West Plains. more
The number of candles on her birthday cake was evidence not only of the many years of struggles she had endured and overcome, but also of the triumphs she could reflect upon. She had remained steadfast through conflicts, poverty, famine, and heartache. She held her head high through the dark times, and her courage never wavered when her family came under attack. Threats to their hard-earned way of life only served to strengthen her resolve to do whatever it took to take care of her own. more
I have often written of my third great-grandfather, Capt. Peter Daly, an Irish-born soldier in the British army during the American Revolution who settled in Canada after the war. I’ve known Captain Daly’s story since childhood, as it was told me in letters from elderly aunts in Ontario, and long been proud of his loyalty to his homeland. more
Can you have too many stories passed down in a family? That seems to be the case in the genealogy of my Martin family branch. When there are two versions of the same event it’s hard to know which to believe and pass on. I have an extensive history of these ancestors tracing back to 1602. I know when the Martins came to America and how they journeyed down the Great Wagon Road, settling in North Carolina and fighting in the Revolutionary War. Judge Samuel Martin (b. 1776) and wife, Elizabeth (b. 1779) by all accounts were the first to arrive in Missouri in 1828. They left North Carolina and settled near Springfield, Missouri. Those facts are not in dispute. But the manner of their journey then turns into two different stories. Both were written by Martin descendants, and both were published in books. The first account, by Blunt Martin, describes a scouting party from Kentucky and a confrontation at Fulbright Springs. By Blunt’s account, the land around the spring that provides part of Springfield, Missouri’s, drinking water was the rightful claim of Judge Samuel since he had staked the area first. However, it seemed a Mr. Fulbright was there also claiming the land. But, as possession was nine-tenths of the law (as the saying goes) Mr. Fulbright won, kept the claim, and now has a well-known Greenway Trail, school, and housing development named after him. The second story, recorded in a book by Glain Martin, also tells of Samuel’s arrival in 1828 but omits mention of a spring or a Fulbright. In Glain’s well documented version, Samuel and wife, Elizabeth, were living in North Carolina in 1827 when he wrote to his sister and brother-in-law that in the next year he was going to “sell up and move to the Missouri- I am determined to go- and I wish you could go with us.” He also reminded them to be sure to vote for him in an upcoming county election being held. Judge Samuel made good on his promise and made the journey of approximately 1,100 miles with a whole community made of all his children, some who were already grown, and his many grandchildren. They traveled in carts or wagons pulled by three teams of oxen. They made a brief stop in Maury County, Tennessee, and joined former North Carolia neighbors, the Campbell and Polk families. It is recorded that when they left in the fall of 1828, they had as many as sixteen oxcarts and wagons and a large group of people, livestock, and supplies. At the end of the journey, Judge Samuel settled in Missouri on the James River in what would become Section 24 of Taylor Township. Two of his sons made their homes nearby. On the land that they settled in 1828, a new county was formed in 1833 by a special act of the legislature and named after Nathaniel Greene who was a Revolutionary War hero from North Carolina. The first session of the county court was held in the home of John P. Campbell. The new county charter called for three justices to be selected and Judge Samuel, due to having had some experience back in North Carolina politics, was first elected to serve. So, the move to Missouri was a success until 1835 when cholera hit Springfield and killed Judge Samuel’s son, Richard. It seems that Richard had amassed a large estate due to his running of the community whiskey still. It was noted that many prominent citizens were good customers of the still and several owed money at the time of Richard’s death. Judge Samuel was made administrator of the estate. Since the death was both unexpected and premature at Richard’s age of only 35, there was no will. Some sort of disagreement broke more
This weekend was a whirlwind of excitement in West Plains, and if you missed it, you missed out big time. Let's take a stroll down memory lane, shall we? more
Dear Readers, more
From those who know that I have a “copperhead problem” where I live, I’m asked almost daily whether I’ve seen any copperheads yet this year. I tell people that I’ve taken precautions in discouraging snakes by sprinkling Snake-Away granules around my property. more
Ever wonder why I named my weekly newspaper column “RFD”? more
It is really hot, isn’t it? And I’m not even in Missouri. I’m at the “Happiest Place on Earth” aka Walt Disney World. Actually, the temperatures back home in the Ozarks are hotter than here in Orlando. Humidity is about the same though. more
I've got a story to share with you today, one that's equal parts frustrating and enlightening. It's about an ordinary day turned into an unexpected lesson on why kindness matters so much in our little corner of the world. more
Dear readers, more
For those readers who keep up with my menagerie of pets, I regret to report that I lost my 15-year old St. Bernard-mix, Katie, a few weeks ago. Rebel, my Black Lab-mix, was showing signs of depression from the loss, so I found him a buddy @ Mountain Grove Animal Rescue a few days later. Dixie, the young Black lab-mix rescue, has been a handful, but both have now had their necessary surgeries at the vet and calmed down considerably. more
By the time you read this, another Father's Day will have come and gone, and I have no idea how I spent the holiday, because I’m writing this in late May. more
Get ready, West Plains, because something extraordinary is about to happen in our beloved Historic Downtown West Plains Entertainment District! Tomorrow evening at 6:30 p.m., we’re kicking off a brand-new event that promises to be the highlight of your summer, an evening of outdoor music that will make your heart sing and your feet tap. more
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