Volume 3, Number 1
Some of good journalism left us a generation ago . . . when obituaries left the newspapers.
I recall that just after I received a Master's Degree from the School of Journalism of the University of Missouri a good editor asked my advice about writing obituaries. I asked to see his paper. He handed me a copy of the edition of the past week. He casually and modestly remarked that a subscriber living in California ordered a hundred copies because of an obituary concerning a member of his family. I happened to know that man in California to be a citizen of high repute in both financial and cultural circles.
I quickly said, "No need for you to ask for ad vice about writing obituaries."
The next week one of Kansas City Star's own died. Lo', there followed in that great city newspaper an obituary of good country style... good journalism, too.
I never knew Uncle Mack Wise. I never heard of him until a granddaughter of Uncle Mack, Mrs. W. E. Rodin of Cassville, handed to me a copy of the material used in this issue of the Quarterly. I, now, feel that I know Mack Wise.
I tried to trace down who wrote the material. I find no such newspaper listed, as "the South west Weekly Miner" of Aurora, in the 1903-1904 Missouri Blue Book (black leather that year). I do not own a 1904-1905 Blue Book. That newspaper may have come into existence in 1904. Neither is it listed in my 1907-1908 issue.
Mrs. Frank W. Martin, Springfield, writes "My grandfather was a soldier who fought at the Battle of Wilson Creek and was then sent to Rolla. He continued to live on a farm 4 miles out of Rolla. The place is yet known as the John R. Thomas Farm. He died in a Springfield hospital, but is buried in the Roach Cemetery near Pea Ridge where there are three lots filled with their children, grandchildren and one great grand child."
Ruth Gillis Ryser one of the best genealogists in the state of Oregon or in the U.S.A. offers to us a short study of the William Benjamin Sims family. That is, she calls it short but it took much research to locate this material. Now she asks that other members of the family or any one who might have material concerning one of the William Benjamin Sims family send it to her that she may incorporate such material in to a more complete history.
As yet we have no elected officers, or at least none elected at the time specified, for two years, but Colonel Cummings will lead us. Several have sent in their dues for last year and for this year so we yet hope that enough will come in to permit us to print four copies of the Quarterly during the year.
We have printed the first half of the Dye family tree in sort of tree form but the remainder will have to be put in paragraphs... first the cost of setting is too expensive and the space not available.
We hope others will send material on families. It seems that every one hunts for an ancestor these days. The material you have may help some one to prove a line.
Did I tell you that Charles Rogers came in to get the issue which carried the last installment of his stories of early days in Ozark. He said, "I was surprised, it sounded pretty good to me" ... Each of us enjoyed his narrative of his family in Christian County.
One needs not be Presbyterian to enjoy the old Book "Presbyterianism in the Ozarks" by Dr. E. E. Stringfield. One only needs to take local history seriously... just be a good member of a Historical Society.
This book enhances one's knowledge of the area, church wise yes, and war wise but mostly people wise.
What a place for locating an ancestor, for learning of education, travel and country.
The first Presbyterian church in this area was organized in Ozark Nov. 12, 1888, with 8 members. This church was dropped from the roll in 1891.
Dr. Stringfield calls one chapter "Etchings from the Pews" ... he says "I glance back to the time when "men were so great and so few". He tells of the laymen, too.
--Jewell Ross Mehus
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly