Volume 4 , Number 9, Fall 1972


The Editor Speaks


We are starting some Lyman Paul Edwards stories this issue. Edwards, a member of the WRVHS, did not live in one of our seven member counties, but did travel our area as a salesman for the Springfield Grocery Company. He was born in Fairgrove.

Edwards knows every town, those present and past. If you will listen he will tell a story or stories from all along the road. He traveled by horse and buggy so went so slowly that there was time for visiting.

"For," says Mr. Edwards, "in those days ‘twas proper when noontime came to stop at the nearest farm and ask the farmer’s wife if she would prepare dinner for you.

Now at age 94 years, Mr. Edwards has written a book "Prisioner in the Phillipines". He is now revising that book and doing another on his experiences as a traveling man in our area. However, in the last pages of the "Prisioner in the Phillipines", Mr. Edwards tells a bit about his life after his return to Missouri from the War. These we start and hope for many a good Ozark story as Mr. Edwards continues his reminiscing.

I enjoyed watching Steve Miller, director of the Ralph Foster Museum, School of the Ozarks, as he spoke at the Summer Meeting. Steve told of and showed pictures of the new Edwards Water Mill now standing at the end of Lake Honor. I can well remember the many times, long ago it seems to me, that Steve talked about and hoped for a Water Mill to preserve. Steve stays just a step ahead of the rest of us, a Keeper of History, as he figures ways to save for the future Ozark folk art and folk ways.

I use the Springfield Newspaper stories of the Summer Meeting to show to you that the big city newspapers find our meetings interesting.

The Three Minute Stories Not Found in Print were given at the Summer Meeting. Others will be used in the next issue.

Now my dears, lets us talk shop for a bit. Really I believe that generally speaking you are "dears"... but also you often prove "dear" to the society. The Quarterly was founded to preserve the history of the White River Valley, yet many, in fact most of you, it appears, do little to preserve that history. Unless we get that history in print, much of it will die with you....for in such a busy world you do not take time or maybe your children do not take time to listen to your stories of long ago.

You will recall that Margaret Gerten in her stories of the family told how in the evening on a Taney County farm, the parents told stories of the family in Germany, so they learned about Europe, and stories of days in early Illinois and farther east.

I wonder if you would like to copy what Donald Pharis is doing with his News Letter for the Clay County Museum Association. He uses each month a family history. These stories will run from eight paragraphs to sometimes a continuance to the next issue.

Here are a few paragraphs of Historical Sketch No. 50: "The Andrew Means Family of Clay County", by Sam Laffoon.

"On the 1822 voter list in Fishing River township of Clay County was Andrew Means. He had come to the County from Howard County. He was probably here when the County was formed. He first became a landowner in the County in August, 1821. He entered the land where he lived in December, 1821, just north of Stockdale, northeast of Liberty.

"He was born in Randolph County, North Carolina, and came to Overton County, Tennessee, with his parents in 1808 as a lad of 9. He married there Aug. 28, 1811, to Miss Sarah Ware Hensley. Their oldest children, John, Mary Ann, and Jane C. were born in Overton County. Their fourth child, Adam, was born in Clay County in 1823 and by 1837 so were James, Frances, Alvin, and Sarah. He served for a time in the War of 1812.

"... in the Sept. issue of the Liberty Tribune, Andrew Means, past 80 years of age says, "I have had eleven children, five girls and six boys all are now living. I have 129 descendants now living. I have preserved my mental and physical powers to an unusual degree. I have this year tended my own crops and ploughed all day last Wednesday. I am now living on the first piece of land I ever owned. My wife is still living, is in full possession of her faculties and health, and attends to all necessary household duties"...

Another sketch, No. 43 starts thus:

"Henry Sparks of Clay County was born in Monterey County, Kentucky on June 28, 1810. He was the eldest son of Anthony and Mary "Polly" Sparks and the grandson of Henry Sparks and Lucy Clark of Culpepper County, Virginia. This Henry Sparks, Sr., served as a member of the Commander-in-Chief’s Guards in the American Revolution and his name is listed at Valley Forge

Now will you start today, not tomorrow, to write a Sketch of your family? Let’s see who will send the first sketch, be number one in the series. For the first five received I will send an extra copy of the Quarterly in which the story is printed, free.

Jewell Ross Mehus

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