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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
What do you do when you have two stories, both in books, about one ancestor? Most people don’t have information that goes very far back into their family tree, but I seem to have dueling stories. I can trace branches of my family tree in the Ozarks (specifically Howell and Ozark County) back to 1838. I didn’t realize that it was kind of rare for ancestors to stay in one place for that many generations. Thanks to the genealogists and writers in my linage I know the names, important dates, and places they lived. I can see who they married and all their children, and most importantly the stories of their lives. In my story of the Martin clan that began in 1602 in Scotland, I am to the year 1776, when Samuel Gilbert Martin was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. His wife, Elizabeth, born in 1779, in that same area were the great grandparents who got us to Missouri. But just how is a matter of debate. There are two published accounts of how they came from North Carolina and they differ quite a bit until the family arrived in what would be Greene County, Missouri in 1828. The first tells that Samuel and seven other men set out on foot to explore the Ozarks. They had the clothing on their backs, a flintlock rifle, lead for bullets, a hunting knife, gunpowder in a horn, salt, a frying pan, and a tinder box. They also had a blanket or buffalo skin since it was early spring. At Paducah, Kentucky, they “secured” two boats which carried the eight of them down the Ohio and across the Mississippi. When they landed, this account says, they walked through a “forest swamp” and pushed in a northwest direction each day. They climbed up higher and higher ground through the roughest parts of the Ozarks until they finally emerged from the forest and saw a broad open prairie of buffalo grass (later to be Springfield, Missouri.) At the extreme northwest corner was a large spring that Samuel “staked out” by making the “proper markings that would secure the land against any newcomers.” When the others had finished claiming and marking their land, they returned to Paducah where they had left their families. The author of this story states that “staking out” land was an unwritten law among pioneers- a warning to those who came later to find another home. But the problems of getting their families back to their claims proved to be a formidable task. Taking the same route as they had done before, they built rafts to float down the Ohio and Mississippi. Traveling in ox-carts through the Ozark Mountains on Indian trails, carrying tents, bedding, farm tools, and provisions was treacherous and slow going. Much to Samuel's consternation, it had taken six months to return to their claims. I had to chuckle because the writer was so descriptive (and a little corny at times) when he told this story. He described the state of the travelers towards the end of the journey as having an “odor that defies olfactory imagination, one that repelled all except the less-respecting flies and mosquitos.” I’m not sure what prompted him to include this detail. The last day of travel found the group arriving to their “Promised Land” only to find two families feuding over the land Samuel had previously staked out. As Samuel joined in “asserting his authority in having the earliest claim” he could see that real trouble was brewing- “the shooting kind.” The author states that a Mr. Fulbright became bellicose (demonstrating aggression and willingness to fight-I had to look that one up.) He adds that Samuel, being a peaceful and God-fearing man (or Fulbright fearing) withdrew from the situation. more
Dear Readers, more
The first week of Summer Reading 2024 was a busy one! Thirty readers registered for the month-long program, and fifteen attended the first activity on June 7 with Marty the Magician. A favorite with young and old alike, all ages attended this first “magical” activity of the month. more
Not too many years ago could be found on many dairy farmers’ calendars the telephone number of their “cow breeder.” more
My next column will be about how my ancestors from North Carolina immigrated to the Ozarks. They went to the Springfield area, which wasn’t actually incorporated until 1838. Samuel Martin and clan arrived ten years before that in 1828. more
Last weekend was nothing short of spectacular here in West Plains! We were graced with not one, not two, but three major events: the Old Time Music Festival, the Heart of the Ozarks Fair, and the HOBA Bluegrass Festival. It was a weekend packed to the brim with activities, sounds, and flavors that catered to everyone in our community. more
Dear Readers, more
The energy is building in downtown West Plains, and it’s absolutely thrilling to witness. The collective efforts of our dedicated business owners, passionate property owners, and the ever-enthusiastic Downtown Revitalization Board are propelling us toward the vibrant, bustling downtown that we've all been dreaming of. It's a transformation that promises excitement, warmth, and a sense of community like never before. more
Marty the Magician will return to Summersville Branch Library on Friday, June 7th @ 1:00 p.m. in conjunction with the Texas County Library Summer Reading Program. A favorite with young and old alike, all are invited to attend this first “magical” activity of the month-long program! more
Before a packed Bison fieldhouse, Bud and Shirley Glazier’s eldest was inducted April 10 into the Dallas County R-1 School District Hall of Fame. more
Why are we as humans drawn to stories? Why do we read, watch, listen to, and write them? Every day, we encounter stories in newspapers, on the radio, and especially on television. Sometimes, it feels overwhelming, particularly with TV shows constantly vying for our attention. But are most of these worth paying attention to? No, they hold little to no value for me. Does anyone else feel this way? more
From time to time, I hear friends and family complain about being called for jury duty. It seems the summons for jury duty never comes at a convenient time because of personal or work obligations. But serving on a jury is an incredibly important constitutional duty for all of us. To recognize and honor jury service, Missouri was one of a few states in the country to hold a statewide Juror Appreciation Week early in May.  more
Dear Readers, more
No one's more excited about the upcoming Summer Reading Program than the librarians!! more
As we honor this Memorial Day those military men and women who sacrificed their lives in service to our country, let us likewise honor those mortally wounded yet among us. more
You know, there are times when I look around and just scratch my head in confusion. We’re living in an era that I don’t understand and, to be honest, don’t really like. It feels like we’ve become a society that’s quick to anger and even quicker to take offense. And it’s not just about politics, although that's a big part of it. We seem so divided on so many levels, and it’s heartbreaking to witness. more
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