Vol. VIII, No. 3, 1995


The Devil in the Ozarks

by William E Jud



Ozarks English, especially in place names, has been influenced by flora and fauna such as hedge (Bois d'Arc) and walnut groves and creeks and rivers where bees, coon, and beaver were common. Ideals and dreams left their mark as well--Oasis, Republic, Plato, Fair Dealing. Odd landforms such as shoals (Bull Shoals) and bluffs (White Rock Bluff) demanded special attention. Principal settlers also lent their names to towns, springs, fields, prairies. William E Jud points out that one of the Ozarks' most prominent settlers left her or his name on many spectacular landforms.


Judging by all the property listed in his name, and by all the impressions of Devil's Backbones and Devil's Elbows which leave their marks on Ozarks hills, the Devil appears to be alive and well in Missouri.

Evidently His Satanic Majesty finds the misty hollows and dense forests to his liking. The Devil has set up housekeeping and lent his name to many of Missouri's landforms.

There are five DEVIL'S DENS, two DEVIL'S HOLLOWS, and three DEVIL'S DEN HOLLOWS, presumably places for after-work relaxation equipped with television and other amenities. Two DEVIL' S WELLS provide domestic water for the DEVIL'S WASHBASIN, two DEVIL'S WASHBOARDS, and the DEVIL' S WASHPAN.

In his comfy DEVIL'S CAVE with its spacious DEVIL'S COURTYARD, you'll find three DEVIL'S KITCHENS, five DEVIL'S TEA TABLES and other DEVIL'S TABLES, two DEVIL'S ICEBOXES, a DEVIL'S BAKE OVEN, a DEVIL'S PUNCHBOWL, and a DEVIL'S SUGAR BOWL. A natural foods enthusiast, he really prefers using honey gathered from DEVIL'S HONEYCOMB.

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Relaxing in DEVIL'S ARMCHAIR he kicks off his DEVIL'S BOOT and settles his DEVIL'S BACKBONE and DEVIL'S ELBOW for a rest. To keep in shape, a bit later in the evening he trots out to two DEVIL'S RACETRACKS for two DEVIL'S RUNS and a couple of laps around DEVIL'S POOL.

After dark he walks around two DEVIL'S PROMENADES carrying the SPOOKLIGHT for illumination, passes DEVIL'S WALL and climbs up DEVIL'S TOWER to watch for travelers at DEVIL'S TOLLGATE. When the unwary person arrives he toots two DEVIL'S HORNS, and you better pay up or he'll pull you through DEVIL'S FRETWORK and slide you down DEVIL'S CHUTE.The Devil gets along with his neighbors in spite of opposing theological polarities. In Taney County, Abraham's Knob and the Devil's Rock Pile coexist with nary a squabble. Mount Ararat Church is only a mile from Hell Hole Hollow in Douglas County, yet the area stays peaceful.

Copyright 1988 by William F. Jud
Previously published in River Hills Traveler

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