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Locals, visitors gather to remember Round Spring, Camp Zoe history


Both locals and visitors braved summer humidity and blistering heat to remember the Round Spring area’s history, culture and people at Echo Bluff on Aug. 5. Round Spring is about 13 miles north of Eminence on Highway 19.

Judy (Maggard) Stewart, one of the event’s coordinators, shared highlights of the day.

Rick Mansfield of the Ozark Heritage Project spearheaded the event. He set up a vintage river camp scene with a refurbished Bales jonboat, which Judy Stewart described as “beautiful,” and a cooking kit.

The Shannon County Museum booth, hosted by Alan Banks, displayed his arrowhead collection and local history books penned by Banks and other local authors.

Families who grew up in the Round Spring area were represented by John Stewart, his sister Susan (Stewart) Jordan, and Allan Ramsey. John Stewart told many stories of Round Spring, while Jordan shared her great-great-grandfather’s handmade bread bowl that her mother used to make daily bread. Ramsey showed several pictures of Round Spring Cave back in the day when his family operated the cave.

History books by David Lewis were for sale, Judy Stewart said, noting they recount families and happenings from long ago. 

The Ozark National Scenic Riverways Foundation booth displayed information along with a treasured vintage butter churn. It also offered tickets for a giveaway drawing for a canoe and had items for sale to help fund ONSR projects.

Eugene Vale displayed the Shannon County Museum’s tie-raft model, showing how lumber was floated to the mill by men using long oars. His video shared the history of lumbering days in the area. Vale also had his telescope on display so people could see a closeup of the sun, to remind everyone of the upcoming partial solar eclipse on Oct. 14, and the total solar eclipse April 8, 2024. 

Jo Schaper brought and played her mountain dulcimer. Stephanie Smith and Jenni (Chilton) Dodson’s booths were full of children’s old-time toys from Coots and Boggs. Dodson’s hand-painted ornaments of Round Spring and other ONSR sites were for sale. Judy Mansfield and Reta Barkley brought gourds for children to paint.

Cammie (Conway) Younger shared the story of her grandfather Painter Conway working at Camp Zoe teaching city children to ride horses and learn life in the country. Her brother Floyd Conway and sister Julie shared memories. Floyd displayed Painter’s hat and saddle.

“Rick Mansfield always does a great job portraying the characters of our Ozark Mountain people,” Stewart shared, noting that Mansfield told the story of convict Thomas Capps of Capps Hollow and Henry Heiney, the first postmaster of Round Spring at the original Round Spring site, now Heiney Spring at Echo Bluff.

“We appreciate Renee Rowden setting up her lemonade stand late in the afternoon, as Friends Pickin’ provided music for the cakewalk, pie supper auction and country contests conducted by Rick,” Stewart added. “She gave free cups of fresh-squeezed lemonade from Hal Orr’s recipe from the Eminence Drug Store Days.” Rowden also collected donations for the Shannon County Museum, said Stewart.

“Thank you to all who volunteered helped and donated to this event celebrating Round Spring,” she concluded. “We appreciate the support of the Ozark Heritage Project, Ozark Riverways Foundation, Dent County Historical Society, Shannon County Museum and the Remembering Round Spring Families.”