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Oak Hill School was a one-room school located five miles north of Summersville. I have a photo of the school and students from 1915, but I'm not sure when the school was actually built. Many locals still remember attending school and activities there over the years. more
I’ve been a paid writer most of my life — 49 of my 76 years. more
In this column, I am going to pick up with my Martin family history. James Pinkney Martin and his wife, Elizabeth, were my three times great-grandparents and were the fourth generation of Martins to live in the United States. In 1854, they homesteaded land in a very isolated area on the Bryant’s Fork of the White River in Jackson Township. This is near the community of Sycamore and the old Hodgson Mill. They would eventually populate the area with a large number of Scots-Irish Martin descendants. more
Seriously, where does the summer go? How does it always seem to slip by me so quickly? It’s nearly the end of July, and I feel like I’ve barely had time to look up since May. It's like I blinked, and two months just vanished into thin air. No hikes, no river trips, and I’m pretty sure the last time I really touched grass was back on Memorial Day weekend. more
Dear Readers, more
Newspaper reporters don’t typically get much respect as writers. more
Recently, I was told by two different people that they read my column faithfully and really like it. Granted, it was at my church, but I really appreciated their comments. And I have heard this from people who are outside of my church or family. One woman told me that her husband never reads anything except my column. I understand this because my husband never reads anything either- and that includes my column. I would feel insulted, but I know the only thing he reads is an instruction manual or the news on his phone. more
Usually, this little corner of the newspaper is where I share my lighthearted musings, those random thoughts that don’t quite fit anywhere else but still feel worth sharing. Maybe it’s the concert I went to or the memories of my dad. It’s a space for the quirky, the light, and the often “pointless” thoughts that make life interesting. But today, dear readers, I need to veer off that path a bit. Don’t worry, I’m not about to dive into the murky waters of political endorsements or bashing, this column will never be a playground for political nonsense. But I did see something last night that troubled me deeply, and I think it’s worth discussing together. more
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
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