Volume 4 , Number 7, Spring 1972
Mr. Cletys Ackerman searches county cemeteries for family records; visits elderly relatives to learn what they know about the family and to see what records they possess; reads musty volumes of newspapers and carries on correspondence with libraries. While doing these things he becomes more and more interested in history in general.
Ackerman, born in Billings, Missouri, attended high school in Kansas, fought our battles in Europe and the islands, worked, a master carpenter in California, then returned to the Ozarks to retire. He lives just out of Forsyth on Highway 160.
He soon affiliated with the Forsyth Masonic Lodge. Last year he became secretary to the Lodge. But long before that he became intrigued with the fact that the Lodge would, in 1972, celebrate its 100th birthday.
This secretary kept reading the past minutes. The more he read the more he discussed the idea that the members of the Lodge should know of their heritage.
Since Mr. Ackerman often comes to our house to discuss family and history, he told about the 100th birthday. I, as editor of the Quarterly, became interested. I went to Dr. Good for advice. I asked, "Is not the work of a respected and honored group, a Masonic Lodge, worthy of having its story told, in part, in the Quarterly?" Dr. Good answered, "Yes." Dr. Clark, president, and the staff of The School of the Ozarks Print Shop promised support in getting the Quarterly out a month early...so here we are.
But first Mr. Ackerman and I bargained. He to write the story. I to edit it only enough to keep out libel. We would leave spelling and punctuation pretty much as he found it.
For more than a year Mr. Ackerman read those volumes of minutes, searched files and cemeteries, and asked questions of any older Mason that he might "collar". Then he sorted and chose.
He spent time and money getting a picture of each of the past Masters. He brought to the printer a pix of every master of a hundred years save one, the first.
He must choose not only the facts of one hundred years of Masonry, but he must choose facts to interest the near 500 paid subscribers to the Quarterly.
Getting the facts sometimes appeared impossible, for sometimes the ink used faded beyond deciphering. Sometimes the secretary proved not a writer of legible copy.
I ask that you deal gratefully and kindly with Mr. Ackerman. If you first think to criticize some choices of facts used, when you recall some fact or story of your family, your neighbor, your friend, not mentioned, just remember that Mr. Ackerman did choose, while you continued at your job of being comfortable.
Of course within the year there were times when Mr. Ackerman and I did not agree. He needs must struggle to keep "dimit", dimit. I pointed to Mr. Websters spelling, demit, and that Mr. Webster mentioned Masons demitting. But the secretary of the Forsyth Lodge brought forth both local and state guide books...both always using dimit, and the editor acquiesced.
I, one subscriber to the Quarterly, and one truly interested in history, say, "Thank you, Mr. Ackerman".
Jewel Ross Mehus
[Inside Back Cover]
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