Restored Ozark Mill centerpiece of Johnny Morris tourist destination

Source: Restored Ozark Mill centerpiece of Johnny Morris tourist destination What a great choice to preserve this piece of Ozark history.  I have spent a lot of time just upstream from here catching catfish when I was younger and always loved this mill.  I have included a selection from Born of the Ozarks that I wrote about mills in the Ozarks.  I hope you enjoy. The Old Mill I see the old mill sitting abandoned, with no water flowing near.  I hear it whisper to me.  It talks of the days when its great wooden wheel powered a whole community, Continue Reading →

A family’s stories: King Davis family subject of photo exhibit

Great article, about a great Ozark family from the Hartville, MO area.  I loved the quote about pictures of the family “sucker grabbing.” One annual family tradition that McMurtrey captured was sucker grabbing. Beau says as children, they were only allowed to go if their grades were good. “I joined the family for sucker grabbing, and when I showed them the pictures and they said, ‘All we have of this are the memories, no one has even taken photos of this’ and they loved it. They have done it their whole lives,” McMurtrey said. Grabbing and gigging were a Continue Reading →

The Animals Talked on Christmas Eve

Young or old, Christmas Eve is a magical time when dreams come true, well water turns to wine, and animals talk?  Never heard of animals talking on Christmas Eve?  Vance Randolph’s book Ozark Magic and Folklore, introduces us to several Ozark superstitions about Christmas Eve.  Vance writes: “A great many of the old-timers call December 25 ‘New Christmas’ in order to distinguish it from ‘Old Christmas,’ which falls on January 6. They tell me that in pioneer days nearly everybody celebrated Christmas twelve days later than they do now. Old folks say that elderberry always sprouts on the eve of Continue Reading →

Stabs in the Dark – Ozark Sucker Gigging

Campfire on the river, friends and a beverage, tater sandwiches and fried suckers…it doesn’t get better than this. Life has been too busy for the last couple of years, but I am going to make it happen this fall. Great article in Field & Stream from a couple of years back.  

Laura Ingalls Wilder – Life in Mansfield Missouri

Today’s Ozark History Blog was written by Kathryn Cantrell – my wife and frequent Editor. For Laura Ingalls Wilder, her career all began with storytelling. Storytelling was a favorite pastime and great entertainment for Laura’s family while she was growing up. Laura described her father as a great storyteller, and she herself kept the tradition going when she had her daughter Rose. Rose would listen intently as Laura told of the many adventures she had as a child: tales were told of traveling in a covered wagon into Indian territory, of the hardships of living upon a homestead, but Continue Reading →

Mark Twain

Humorist, lecturer, author & steamboat Captain are just some of the many ways in which you will find Mark Twain described in today’s history books. I am impacted more by his skill as a social observer and descriptive writer though. His artistry in the description of human behavior has always held me in awe of his ability to see to the core of a person. It has not only allowed me a glimpse into the mind of a great writer but has also brought about a better understanding of myself, of my writing, and of those around me. Mark Twain is considered Continue Reading →

Memorial Day – A Little History…and a Few Thoughts

As Memorial Day does for so many across this nation, it causes me to take a moment and be thankful.  A moment to say a prayer or raise a toast to those brave souls that stood and said, “I will go.”  A moment to be reflective of the great sacrifice so many have given so that I may sit here and write and share a day with loved ones and friends in a free nation. Throughout history the living have remembered the fallen by decorating graves, but our modern day holiday had its official start in this country during Continue Reading →

Why do we Go Camping? and the Luxury of Mosquito Netting

When our children were much younger, my family would camp a dozen times each summer (I think we were within six of going to all of Missouri’s State Parks at one time). These were not primitive trips, but we didn’t have a satellite dish, a TV, or phone either. Great family times with lots of memories that we still talk about now that they are grown.  There were also times I wanted a more primitive trip, so I would grab my backpack and take off to one of the many state forest and conservation areas.  No electric, no worries, everything I Continue Reading →

Tink, Tink, Tink is the Blacksmith’s Song

Real Photo Postcard of unknown Blacksmith.

During summer vacation from school, I often spent time around Toll’s Blacksmith Shop on the corner of Cherry Street and Barnes Avenue in Springfield Missouri.  My father worked part time for Bill Toll as a Blacksmith and was apprenticed/taught by Bill over the years. Toll’s Blacksmith Shop was a big old barn left over from some earlier farm in the area.  It seems out of place in the middle of Springfield now, and so did the piles of metal in and around the old barn. In the back corner of the shop was a large open fire forge that vented to the Continue Reading →

Ozark National Scenic Riverways Quarter | Alley Springs

New Ozark National Riverways Quarter

Source: Ozark National Scenic Riverways Quarter | U.S. Mint Representing the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Alley Spring and Mill will be featured on a new quarter from the U.S. Mint.  What a wonderful way to commemorate a great piece of Missouri history.  I was aware Alley Springs was one of the possible choices, but the actual coin looks just great! One of my favorite places in Missouri, Alley Springs has been a destination 44 times since 1937 for annual The Brown Family Reunion.  Alley Spring & Mill  will always be a special place for many of my family members to Continue Reading →