Volume 37, Number 1 Summer1997
First, I would like to establish a basic genealogy of the principals in this article.
Clara May (Drake) Harding, b. Sept. 7, 1866; d. July 27, 1950; left Goldwater, MI, with her mother in 1883 for Mitchel, S. Dakota.
Mother: Sarah Elizabeth (Horton) Drake, b. April 21, 1820; d. October 16, 1889, at Mitchel, S. Dakota. She married Samuel Elston on March 18, 1887, following the death of her first husband Richard Hawkins Drake on Sept. 26, 1882.
Father: Richard Hawkins Drake, b. Aug. 22, 1816; d. Sept. 26, 1882, at Goldwater, MI.
Clara May Drake married James Harding on October 31, 1885, at Mitchel, South Dakota.
Clara's father died at age 66 at Coldwater, MI, where the family was living. Clara was just 16 years old and so her life was beginning on a harsh note. From her letters, I would guess that she felt like it was running uphill most every day the rest of her life.
I also get the impression, however, that she was up to the task for she never seemed to lack the deter mination to overcome hardship, and even at times, it appears to me that she relished a challenge. The Hardings came to the Land of Taney near the close of the last century and, in so doing, were contributors to the life and times of their Ozark generation. I am going to summarize my story from old letters, docu ments, and various ephemera that I have collected over the years. I was fortunate enough to include one research trip to Reach, England, in 1984 to survey Harding family records.
For some reason I thought that they, Clara and James, went to South Dakota together, but that was not the case. At the time I wrote the other paper I did not know about the letter that Clara had written or did I know about Sarah Elizabeth Drake's location after her husband's (Richard Hawkins Drake) death on September 26, 1882.
I have no information about James Harding from the time he landed in Detroit, Michigan until he filed for homestead in South Dakota. Fact is, he landed in Detroit, Michigan in March 1873 at the ripe old age of 17 years, and 9 months, so there is an 8 year span of his life that I know nothing about. Clara pointed out in her letter that he had little education, and it was almost impossible for him to sign his name. Some family members have stated he was a diver, and it is possible that he found work as such in the Detroit area. (Something comes to mind about Kalamazoo but there again I have nothing to go on.)
The next date of record is when James filed under the homestead act on October 5, 1881 at age 26 in the Territory of Dakota, Davison County, South Dakota for 160 acres (N/W 114 of 5 17, Township 104, Range 59). About a year later (November 18, 1882) he filed an application of intent to become a U.S. citizen.
In the months that followed, Clara and her moth er Sarah Elizabeth Drake came to visit Clara's sister (Sarah's daughter) at Mitchel, South Dakota; she bought a farm just 1/2 mile from where James Harding had homesteaded (1881) and also Samuel Jewett (who was the husband of Clara's sister Frances, called Frank by family) and the date of his claim is dated March 18, 1879. This claim is only 112 mile from Sarah's claim, or purchase, whichever the case may be.
The record shows that Sarah's claim was filed on July 7, 1883 for 150.3 acres. Sarah's husband had died September 26, 1882, so in less than eight months after his death she had taken Clara from their home in Coldwater, Michigan, to South Dakota and, as Clara said in her letter, "bought a farm" and lived there when Clara married James Harding October 31, 1885. This land must have had a home on it or she built one in a hurry. Clara would have been 19 years 1 month and 14 days old at the time of her marriage to James Harding; James was 30 years old when this event occurred.
One of the things I had not been able to establish is the date Sarah Elizabeth Drake married Mr. Elston. If you remember, Clara in her letter said "she bought a farm and I lived with her until I married, alone until she married Mr. Elston." Well, Clara mar ried James October 31, 1885, and Sarah, Clara's mother, died October 16, 1889. Finally, I was lucky enough in my research to resolve the issue in 1995.
Sarah E. Drake married Samuel Elston on March 18, 1887; he survived her at her death on October 16, 1889, age 69.
The next event that occurred to this young couple appears to have been the birth of their first child and that would have been Harry Drake Harding on the 7th day of April 1887. Here again she describes this event in her letter as to the weather conditions and how they heated the house by burning corn as the snow was too deep to get to the hay stack, straw, or flax that they normally burned. According to the record this came 18 months into the marriage when Clara was nearly 22 years of age and James now 32.
At the age of 33 James was granted his citizen ship at a naturalization hearing on October 21, 1888, in the District Court, Second Judicial District, Territory of Dakota, Davison County, South Dakota. In June he had proved-up his homestead and was issued his final certificate June 16, 1888, and the fol lowing year on August 23, 1889, he received his patent (number 8732) to his homestead. The month before the first daughter, Sarah Frederica Harding, was born making two children in the family, another great event awaited the Hardings before the year ended; it may have proved to be the most dramatic time of all for this young family
Not only had a child been born (July 4, 1889), Sarah Frederica Harding, Clara's mother had died (Oct 16, 1889), and then they left South Dakota in November for Marionville, Mo. Surely they had spent some time planning to leave and that may have been delayed by the recent birth and death. Maybe they had contact with someone in southwest Missouri, or, was it really as some of the family members had been told by grandmother that the move was for her health? Or, was it the very cold harsh winter weath er, the cyclones, lack of rain, most of which she had referred in her letter?
They found themselves in Marionville in November 1889. They bought a house and lived there about 2 years. Then on November 24, 1891, the Hardings moved to the Dannie Howard place, later called the Woodworker place. In August of 1892 they purchased and moved to the Pettie place where Jessie Harding was born on November 4, 1892. The Pettie place was 114 mile from the Dannie Howard place. They lived there about 8 years, then moved to Aurora, Mo., in November of 1899, then back to McKinney Bend (now known as Long Beach or Highway T area Taney County, Missouri).
The details of the Marionville, McKinney Bend, back to Aurora and back to McKinney Bend was explained in her letter and I have nothing more to add to this period of 1889 to 1903.
I want to call your attention to an event which she described in her letter to her grandson (Glen Lambeth). She told about an event that took place at Spokane, Mo. The incident that occurred was in regard to John Bright, a trip to Springfield, Mo., and the purchase of a wagon. I have the original warran ty of the purchase of a wagon which I had thought was the one she referred to, but the date of the wagon warranty is October 22, 1898, and the incident she described occurred on March 12, 1892--so this is a dif ferent wagon and I would suggest they purchased it prior to the move to Aurora on November 27, 1899.
Now it is the year of 1903 so let's take a look at the ages of the family. Grandfather James is now 48, Grandmother Clara is 37, Harry is 16, Sarah is 14, Jessie is 11, Roy, born July 1st lived only a short time and died August 13, 1895, Hobart is 7, and Agnes is now 4.
The year 1904 rolled around and it seems they had settled on the Pettie place, worked the farm, and stayed in the community (McKinney Bend) where James Raymond Harding was born on October 30, 1904.
It seems clear by now that a number of things that had been in the talking and planning stages were about to become reality in the Land of Taney. A little known enterprise was well on its way, in fact booming, that is, the pearling industry. It had gained momentum in the 1890s on the Black River in Arkansas, a major tributary of the lower White River, which sparked a stampede of pearl hunters into Ozark waters. The Land of Taney describes a 14 grain fine luster, pinkish-colored pearl, and others, that brought from $5 to $50 dollars each, and others that occasionally brought more; the rush was on. Rumors of some pearls bringing from $100 to $1,500 caused some to imagine that the White River valley would rival the gold fields of California. Prevailing wages of 50 cents a day in the region caused many-- doctors, lawyers, business men, farmers--to desert there businesses and fields to prospect on the mussel bars of White River. In 1897 the regional sale of pearls only amounted to $11,000, but by 1903 sales had risen to $125,000.
I remember seeing graves in local cemeteries cov ered with what were called mussel shells and I guess
Clara Harding on wash day.
James Harding, 1914.
that is where we got the idea of feeling out the mus sels in the mud with our feet then diving down to bring them up to the surface, opening them in search of pearls. However this was after the lake had formed and we did this often in the summer time and the best place, as I remember, was at the Old Casey place (Missouri Cook Casey) in the slough in front of the Casey place. I do not remember finding anything of value and I'm sure I would remember if that would have been the case. Jack Gideon, my twin brother, and I and Glen spent many days--and yes and a few nights--on the lake shore, fishing, hunting, and swimming.
Also in the works at the turn of the century was the possibility of a railroad coming to Taney County. It had been rumored for several years and the wild speculations and rumors were put to rest on February 8, 1901, when the White River Railway Company was incorporated in Arkansas. On December 15, 1902, the company directed their chief engineer to extend and build a railroad from its present terminus on the boundary line between Marion and Boone counties, Arkansas, in a northwesterly direction through the Missouri counties of Taney, Stone, Barry, Lawrence and Jasper to a connection with the Lexington and Southern division of the Missouri Pacific Railway at or near Carthage, Mo. The cost was proposed to be $1,800,000 (see Land of Taney, pp. 270-76).
On June 10, 1905, the first locomotive from the north arrived at the newly formed town of Branson, which had only been a small hamlet with one store and a post office a short time before. As the railroad company brought steel rails and other supplies closer to the site of construction, it began hauling freight northward on its return trips. Timber products, including cordwood, were among the north-bound shipments.
This was a very important asset to the region for it brought an era of prosperity to many resident people, good wages for the times, demands for bridge piles,ties, and many other services related to the
construction of the road.
In 1901 railroads and trains had already come to Springfield and as a result a young man, on his way to Forsyth, arrived in Chadwick in June 1901 aboard a train. He had mounted the steps of the Frisco's Chadwick Flyer, a freight and passenger train at Springfield, Mo. When he arrived in Chadwick (end of the railroad) little did he know what was in store for the remainder of his journey.
The 26-year-old evangelist-missionary by the name of James Fulton Forsythe was to be a part of another great event and project which effected Taney County, and still does, even to this very day. (This is an exciting story found in The Flight of the Phoenix by Townsend and Helen Godsey). He arrived at Forsyth and made his rounds of his assigned territo ry that was comprised of Taney, Christian, and Wright Counties as an evangelist and missionary for the Presbyterian Church. He reported to them on many occasions about the opportunities for a mission school and finally the Trustees investigated and they found his reports, "lack of education," to be true. This was the start of an organized effort to build a large school, which turned out to be what we have known as The School of the Ozarks, now called the College of the Ozarks.
On several occasions in grandmother's letter she spoke of the possibilities of education for the children and, by 1907 or so, it was about to happen. As a result of the creation of The School of the Ozarks, Harry, Jessie, Agnes, and Hobart became students of this great school. They had formerly been students at Marionville, Aurora, and Mountain Grove schools, but the experience was a more limited amount of education because of the shorter terms each year.
S of 0 was incorporated November 1, 1906, and opened in September 1907 with 35 students. Joe Gideon was a student when Jessie Harding arrived. Joe would be the first student to graduate from the school (high school) and was also the only student in the class of 1913 when he graduated on May 19th. He was also the first student to earn the Huggins Medal of General Excellence which was presented on that graduation day by Mr. Dobyns.
The reason that James Harding went to Aurora, Mo., was for the sole purpose of obtaining employ ment in the mines. However, the rumors about the railroad coming to the County of Taney, the coming of School of the Ozarks, and later, the news about the construction of Powersite Dam near Forsyth was enough to draw them back to the farm in McKinney Bend and the Pettie place. Still lingering in the mind of Clara was the good school in Aurora for the chil dren, the drought, floods, and the hard work of a ridge farm, but she and the children came anyway.
Some of Clara's prayers were answered by the opportunity offered at The School of the Ozarks, and railroad construction meant employment for many; maybe things would look better. Harry and Jessie were in school at Mt. Grove, along with sister Sarah and Agnes and brother Hobart. Then Harry and Jessie were off to S of 0, Sarah got married (April 4, 1908), and Harry ran a power boat from Branson to Powersite Dam part time, pushing barges. Grandfather worked the dam construction, clearing timber from what was to be the impoundment basin for Lake Taneycomo, while Grandmother worked the farm and part time at Camp Ozark (Ozark Beach) where Harry and grandfather had a rented house. The family gathered there from time to time when possible.
After the construction of Powersite Dam was completed, Harry went to work as an operator in the power house, a direct result of the training he had received as a student at S of 0, plus his own training by mail through correspondence school curriculum in internal and external combustion engines, principle of gasoline engines, electricity, and the operations of hydro-electric power plants. He worked for the Ozark Power and Water Company for four years, the last two as Chief switchboard operator. Then, on May 28, 1918, he volunteered for the army, and was honor ably discharged December 12, 1918, after promotions to Sargeant.
Harry first went to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was employed by the Public Service Company until he was summoned home because of the illness of his father. Harry remained in Taney County the rest of his life, becoming part owner and builder of the water, electrical and phone system in Rockaway Beach (known as the Taneycomo Electric Light and Water Company), in association with the Merriam Company of Kansas City, Mo. Part of the work included the construction of the transmission line from Powersite Dam to Rockaway Beach.
Sarah, the second child of James and Clara had married Lauren Elmer Mayo in 1908, and lived in Taney County till 1916 when they moved to Clayton, New Mexico, with 3 children. Sarah's husband Elmer chartered a box car, loaded a team of horses, house-
At Camp Ozark during construction of Powersite Dam
on Sunday 1911 or 1912.
At left: Harry Harding standing and Clara Harding seated.
hold goods, fence posts, chickens, and the little dog Fritz, and headed for the homestead west of Clayton. Sarah followed later with the 3 sons and her brother to complete the task. They lived on the ranch where 4 other children and a set of twins were born to this union. Elmer died in 1937, and Sarah remained on the ranch from 1937 till 1953 when she moved to Clayton. Then in 1970 she moved to Albuquerque, next door to her only living child, Isabell Marie (Mayo) Curry Sarah's death came at the age of 93, on February 4, 1983. Lauren Elmer Mayo was the son of Phillip Achibald Mayo and Sarah Ann Bisel of Douglas and Taney County, Missouri.
Jessie, the third child of James and Clara received her Certificate of Attainment from The School of the Ozarks on the 6th of June 1911 for the eighth grade that admitted her to the High School. In 1912 she attended S of 0, and spent the summer and late fall of 1913 working after the school session had ended for the Rickey family at Oskaloosa, Iowa.
She returned home in December of 1913 and lived with brother Harry and her father James in Mr. Gard's cottage next to the log house. She described this as the large brown cottage next to the log house at Camp Ozark, explaining to Joe Gideon where to find her.
The following are taken from her letters to Joe. "Mother came yesterday and stayed till this morning July 3rd 1914. Five of family counting Harry, boat ride in row-boat." "Be my own boss as Harry has rented the house, he has aim in view later. Sister Agnes is going to stay with me, went to Rockaway Beach Thursday nite to dance, Harry is pilot on the Power Boat. Be with you Tuesday evening, find me at Everett Hotel. You stayed at Hollister and Branson longer than expected? Mother and I are here alone."
Joe received his eighth-grade diploma June 16, 1909, from S of 0, then became the first to graduate from the High School on the 19th of May 1913. After graduation he remained at the School for a year as
an assistant teacher. Joe then taught at Dickens, Mo., Taney County, for the term of 19 14-15. Local poi itics drew his interest and he was elected County Clerk of Taney County in November 1914 and served in that capacity through 1922. Early in his political career, he and Jessie Harding were married on May 22, 1915. Joe studied law by correspondence, received his Bachelor of Law degree from the Hamilton School of Law, a Bachelor of Law degree from the Cumberland College of Law at Lebanon, Tennessee, and was admitted to the Missouri state bar on July 16, 1923.
Joe, Jessie, and Harry had joined the Presbyterian Church at Forsyth, Mo., while students at S of 0. In 1915 he was elected elder of the church, and in 1916 elected Clerk of the Session and served in that position faithfully for 42 years. Joe attended the General Assembly representing the Lafayette Presbytery in 1963, and was selected number one Alumnus for 50 years of loyalty and devotion to his alma mater, School of the Ozarks. Later, on June 4, 1975, the 87th General Assembly of Missouri adopt ed a resolution paying tribute to a most distinguished Citizen as he and Jessie celebrated their 60th wed ding anniversary. The Missouri Senate, on September 3, 1980, adopted a resolution in his memory.
As an attorney, Joe served Taney County as pros ecuting attorney for 12 years and probate-magistrate judge 8 years. In other capacities he worked for 18 years on the Board of Education of the Forsyth School District, 12 years as Taney County highway commissioner, 26 years on the Forsyth Special Road District, served on the Selective Service Board from 1917-1919, and was appointed Licensing Agent for Explosives, Department of Interior, Bureau of Mines during World War One. He remained faithful to his church and country till his death on August 29, 1980. Jessie May Harding Gideon, his wife of 65 years, remained at his side and was his constant companion throughout this marriage. She was always involved in the work of the church, Sunday school, Church Circle and remained faithful to Joe, her children, and her church and country. Jessie was Joe's strongest supporter, kept the home fires burning while he was at Law School, away on business, never failing, always strong. Jessie died on the 29th of December 1981, age 89, leaving five sons to mourn her death and the end of a long and fruitful partnership. Joe was 96 at his passing.
Roy, the fourth child of James and Clara was born the first day of July 1895 and soon died the following month on August 13th. He was buried in the family plot at the Mt. Grove Cemetery near the old home place.
Hobart McKinley Harding, the fifth child of James and Clara was born October 30, 1896. At the age of 20, he went with his sister Sarah to help with taking her children to Clayton, New Mexico where her husband had gone to take up a land grant. Hobart remained with Elmer and Sarah for some time, then he himself took up a 40-acre land grant and lived on the place farming and helping his sister Sarah and her husband.
Agnes, the sixth child of James and Clara was born October 4, 1899 at the old home place in McKinney Bend. She, like the other children of the family before her, attended the Mt. Grove school and was later a student at S of 0 when it had moved to Hollister, following the fire at Forsyth on January 12, 1915. Agnes married Jack Lambeth August 6, 1918, and they moved to West Thlsa, Oklahoma where Jack was employed in the oil fields, and worked in the wheat harvests of Oklahoma and Kansas. He moved on to the oil fields of Wyoming and later returned to Taney County where he farmed, purchased a tract of land at the north edge of Forsyth, became engaged in the trucking business, and used the skills he had acquired over the years to maintain the family through the Great Depression. One of those skills was almost a lost art. He had for many years main tained a small blacksmith shop on the farm and it was well known throughout the region for his skill at the trade; for many years anyone owning a good sad dle horse knew the man to keep it shoed. In fact, if you will look at page 198 of the February 1989 issue of the National Geographic magazine you will see Jack and Agnes doing what he loved to do.
Agnes was a life-long member of the Forsyth Presbyterian church. She died December 15, 1992, while Jack had preceded her in death on March 6, 1986.
James Raymond, the seventh child of James and Clara, was born at the old McKinney Bend home- place on October 30, 1904. Being the youngest mem ber of the family during this period of time must have been most difficult for James. He grew up to enter into the life of a young man among all the harsh times that all were faced with during the early 1900s. All three sisters got married, left the family, started their own families, and sought opportunities else-
To continue with history of this family, I now take notice of a diary that Clara kept about events of the day written in a tablet of common use, starting May 5, 1915, through 1923.
May 15: Camp Ozark, I went to Harry's to try earn my own living because could do nothing here on the place. Stayed there till Sept. 11, 1917, then went to care for Sarah in New Mexico. [Sarah was expect ing a child] While at Sarah's on Nov. 21, 1917 filed for land grant of 80 acres, moved in my house Apr. 30 1918, stayed 14 months, proved up Aug. 13, 1919, came home Aug. 30, 1919, for I felt it was my duty to take care of Jammie.
Jan. 26, 1920: Sarah and Hobart came home to old place. Sarah left for Ben and Maggie's Feb. 7, 1920. [Maggie Welch was a sister-in-law who lived in Branson, Ben worked for the Highway Dept.] Hobart took Jammie and went to Tulsa, then to New Mexico Apr. 5th, 1920.
April 28th, 1919: Elmer (Sarah's husband) took 16 sacks of my Beans to Clayton, weighted 12.39 bu at 4 114 cts., $52.65, wire $21.25, post $17.56, staples 25 cts., Exchange cost $2.50, supplies cost $41.55, including exchange cost, 16 sacks of Beans $52.65, left me with $11.10. Had they been sold in the fall the price was .08, they would have brought double, could not get them off.
Hobart took 5 sacks of my Beans in town June 1st, brought me $14.78 which he put in bank. Used $10.00 from others the exchange sold to give Talbert (Land Office) to prove up on land. Have 3 sacks left for seed on my land which Hobart puts in, gives me 112.
Gave Talbot $7.00 to advertise in paper to prove up. May 22, 1919 and August 13 paid him $5.50 for making out proof papers when I prove up. Came on train to Aggie's in Tulsa Ok., arrived there the 15 of Aug., stayed 2 weeks, came on home with Harry 30 Aug. 1919, he met me at Aurora. Harry sent home 10 dollars after I came which was used for flour, lard and sugar during Sept. and Oct., then the last of Oct. sent $20 to buy Jamie winter clothes which was all used for him, the little money I had left after getting home was used for groceries, about $12, Oct. 31 Hobart sent me $20 part of my bean money which I am using for groceries. Sent $38 in Dec. rest of my bean money. Sent Harry $50 of this money to help him pay for Tulsa home. 
Harry came home to see to his father May 7, 1920. He had sale of cattle and all tools on the farm July 2, father gone to Kan. No cattle sold for no bids, tools and household goods brought $137. Harry put $108 in bank in my name as my share. Sold after sale colt $50, Bull to Joe for $53.80, $32.80 in Hollister Bank, total $273.60, father had the $50 colt money all to his self.
Nov. 13, 1920: sold white face cow $17.10 2 112 cts. lb., heifer $27.76 @ 4 cts, cow $15.81 @ 3 114 cts lb, calf $8.00, cost of weighing 10 cts., total $68.57 for all 4.
Nov. 15th, 1920: paid the taxes $31.22, Harry gave me $5 of this to get chicken tonic to make hens lay he has rest for groceries, gave John Hodge check for $8 on Bank Nov. 8 to pay for Aggies's Molasses and express, she sent check for $6.50 to pay for it afterwards which Harry got check and gave me back $7, 6 gallons $6, can 50 cts, express $1.19, got John to get Can for Sarah's molasses and put 5 gallons in and took to Branson to send to Sarah. Molasses $5.00, can 50 cts, express $2.28 total $7.78. Paid for Sarah's molasses by money, all my own money.
Oct. 21, 1921: received letter from Sarah with check for $90 my share of the bean money. Sent it to bank. The boys burned the fences on Sat. 23rd. Harry got fence from Manchester at Rockaway for $25, let it go on his wages he had worked for him. I gave Harry check for $25 to pay him back on Nov. 2nd 1921. Sent James Hicks check for $34.33 for taxes Nov. 5. Gave Harry $10 check to get groceries and overalls for Jammie Nov. 7th 1921. I washed for Rockaway from first of July 1921 till Nov. I made over $125 which all went for groceries and making out papers to sell the 54 acres Nov. 7th. Have deed all made out and signed by all. Harry has taken it to Branson to give to Wilhite. James carried clothes back and forth and helped me so.
At no time has the diarist said anything about the death of grandfather James Harding. Now and only now is the event mentioned and not by name; James her husband died February 24, 1921 and this is the only written word in regard to the matter. "Gave Harry check for $15 he spent toward the funeral expense and Aggie has $25 also they let us have for the same purpose so all paid back to them and settled."
September, 1921: sold the 54 acres with house to WH. Spain for $1900, first payment Sept. $50, deeds exchanged Jan 1st and $400 paid making us 450 and the 300 commission due Wilhite which he took, price was $2100 he took 300 left us $1900, we bought lumber first bill $340 for new house on Feb. 2nd and Harry and James dug out trenches for base ment wall in Jan. Fred Mitchel worked 3 days in Jan. on walls Jan. 31-Feb. 1st to 5th 1922 Rube Mitchell layed rock 36 hours and 15 minutes @ 25 cts. hour. Old Woodworker laid rock Feb. 4-5-6-7-8 then carpenter on house till from Feb. 4, got done 18 Feb. his bill $25.75. Young Joe Feb. 9-10 last day the 16th, bill $14.65, Fred Mitchel cut rock 11 days car penter 4 days bill $41, Charley Branson hauling lum ber $43.20, Frantz Michell 3.50 water and sand. H.H. Randen work $6, Edd Michell one day $2.15, Rube (Michel) $125.25, powder and nails $75.60 equal $220.85, first bill for lumber $340.20, total $561.05, expense, paper and lumber.
May 29, 1922: the last Harry drawed out for his insurance $9.06 so all is gone till Sept. payment. Gave Harry $5 I had to make enough-he had part of it, June 1st sold sow I bought with wash money last Sept. for $12.50 to Charlie Branson for $30 with her 9 little pigs. Sent Whelchel $6.60 for window shades, Bank over drawn $2.30, Harry $10 of sow money to pay Mrs Ausborns his board and for a pair of pants he bought to go on Sammie Lane one week boarded at Mrs. Ausborns then come home to stay nights on June 5th.
Washed for Rockaway all summer what I could till Sept. 1st, then so dry no water all money went for groceries and Jammie some clothes as he helped me or I could not do it. Sept. 1st Spain paid $212 due on note, the $12 interest I drew for groceries. Chester Arnold came here to board charge him $10 a month as only here from Monday night till Friday noon sure help us out. Hobart came Dec. 23, gave him Chester's check of $10 on Feb. 24th as he said he was going away but did not go. Went and bought gas for auto to ride around.
Feb. 12, 1923: sold 5 pigs and sow to Manuel Christian for $15 not money down. He waiting for check from Wheatleys. Feb. 24 Harry took off 8 head of hogs to Branson to pay up feed bill, they weighted 814 lbs @ 6 112 cts a pound $52.91, feed bill, $45.35 for all winter and some to go on. Had a little over $6 left after buying some flour and groceries. Jammie sick with flue. Spain money in March, as no washing, leaving $200, sent Tom Wheatly check for $45 due him for the plaster board on house. Sept. 4th 1922 paid Judge Marrow and Adams $45 for settling up estate in court. Have paid Adams $70 in all for court and abstract business. Bought tent for $12, paid taxes took nearly all I had.
The well is finished Jan. 26 1923, Harry paid Roundtree check for $270.00, 180 feet at $1.50 per foot, rope and pulley wheel and bucket and casing come to $10 making about 277 cash for wee Harry paid out. Harry came home to stay Jan. 21 1923.
Aug. 15, 1923: sold heifer and black calf for $34, then Harry had to go to Tulsa, let him have money which he paid back again when he went to work on boat line. Hobart gave me $10 towards what he owed me or else for board. Paid Edd Michell out of the $10 Hobart gave me for cutting hay and stacking and putting shingles on the old house. Paid Homer Hodge $5 for helping Edd in hay and boards on old house. Harry paid this $5 or sent it to me to pay it, got $12 from J. Otto for my pasture in New Mexico kept it to pay taxes on it. The hay cutting and stacking, boards on old house cost a total of $20.75, Harry paid $5 of it. Chet Arnold [Mt. Grove School teacher], came Sept. 3, 1923 to Board and left Nov. 3rd to go home practice for
The new house about 1925.
Left to right: Clara Harding, Blackie, the dog, and Mrs. Barnes.
Oct. 4th, 1923: Hobart have me on board at 3.00 a week $12, Hobart 1 bu. of pears $1.00. 1 bu. sweet potatoes $1.50, Chester Arnold here to board to teach school, when here all time $12, Chet here 2 terms (4 mo. each) ($12 per month), making due me $144 and some over, Jean Franklin $24.25, total $168.25, all for family use, nothing else. Sold James boat to Hoyt June 23 for 12.00, he cut hay to pay on it for $15.
Sold John Comptin sow and 5 pigs March 17, gave Harry check for the $15 I got for her for the 18 he spent at Barnhart sale, he got dresser and Comode and junk.
Feb. 1924: Harry sold 3 sholts to Hoyt for $17, took check to pay feed bill at Exchange. Oct. Hobart paid his board bill of $18.00 while working at Barber Shop at Rockaway, all settled.
Nov. 11: Hobart gave me $10 to board till Dec. 1st, $1.20 due me for last week leaving $8.80 for the 3 weeks to Dec. 1st.
Dec. 5th: Hobart gave me $6 for board from Dec. 1 to Dec. 15, Dec. 20 $3, Dec. 15 to Dec. 22 out of work the 20th, all laid off. Dec. 27th, from 22nd to 29th $3 nothing for board when he came home from Marshfield and worked at Rockaway Shop. Check to pay up feed bill at Exchange and for Oat and Alfalfa seed he put on the north field. [Harry]
Nov. 6th, 1923: gave Harry check for $25 to buy cow at Buffington's sale. He got bedstead, 2 rugs, 3 chairs and a stand for wash tub for $16, kept the bal ance of money. Nov. 9th he bought the cow of Buffingtons giving $40. I gave him a check on state Bank as had that from the old red cow I sold in the Spring.
The Harding family history is one of many, and what we have is a selection of a much larger picture. These few glimpses into the past help explain our col lective local history. There is always more to do that awaits the energies of our own inquiries. We can only hope that we have the patience and wisdom to com prehend and appreciate what we learn.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly