Volume 9 , Number 8 , Summer 1987
Independence Day weekend, 1987, the White River Valley Historical Society hosted Taney Countys Sesquicentennial Celebration in Shadow Rock Park, Forsyth, Missouri, site of the original town and seat of Taney County.
This was the culmination of a years work by the Historical Committee of the W.R.V.H.S. Chair Jerry Gideon and the committee members had canvassed the area for interesting, authentic materials and artifacts for display and invited all towns and communities in the area to join in honoring the pioneer families that settled the land and created one of the most historical areas in the Missouri OzarksTaney County.
Some 3,000 persons attended the three day affair. Festivities began with the seating of the King, Ben Clemmons of Forsyth and Queen, Ollie Layton of Bran-son. The evenings entertainment was a glamorous fashion show with approximately 50 models moving down the flag bordered runway portraying the styles worn in the various eras of the past 150 years. Leading the pageant were the colorful buckskins, boots, feathers and beads of the early Mountain Men and their Indian counterparts. There were hoop skirts and elegant formal gowns of the ante-belluni period; practical attire of the early frontier; intricate laces and ornate satins of the turn of the century; the 20s scandalous flappers; conservative 30s; romantic 40s; rebellious 50s, mini-skirt 60s, and high-low 70s and 80s. Interspersed were wedding gowns, sleepwear, and tots to teens apparel. Military uniforms, Uncle Sam and Miss Liberty rounded out a charming display of clothing styles worn in America, particularly in the Ozarks. Joanna Swearingen, Regent, Taneycomo Chapter, DAR sang during the short intermissions while pianist Hannah Wolfe played appropriate background music.
The Bull Creek Mountain Boomers, black powder enthusiasts, camped on the outskirts of the fairgrounds beside the teepees of members of the Will Rogers Indian Club. Both groups performed and made themselves available for questions concerning their organizations and activities.
On Saturday, July 4th, the traditional parade wound through the park led by a Color Guard from the VFW. Both Union and Confederate Civil War troops marched with those of WW II. Among the vehicular entries was a 1936 Rolls Royce in which Dr. and Mrs. Graham Clark, The School of the Ozarks rode in style. Other conveyances ranged from surreys and carriages, farm wagons and carts to Model As and a bright red 1988 convertible.
The exhibition building was filled with displays from all levels of early Ozark living. Everything from the contents of an 1897 homestead cabin (courtesy of Kathryn Braden), a complete country kitchen (Becky Roberts) and a model of Rose ONeills Bonniebrook (Lois Holman). There were walls filled with newspapers dating from the mid-1800s and photos (Opal & Jerry Gideon), genealogies, musical instruments (Don Sullenger), drug dispensing paraphenalia and all manner of examination equipment from an 1890 physicians office (Wm. Hartman). One booth contained a massive arrowhead collection (Theron Holland), another the records from the old Mincy Valley Church (Rev. Fausett) and still another, artifacts from the Strahan Mill in Hollister (Cue Robinette). These included a chicken debeaking machine, a collapsing grain funnel and the first hand cart used in hauling sacks of grain when the former Jenkins Mill first opened. The City of Hollister displayed a stotie recently unearthed during excavation for water lines (Mayor Sharon Bart). The legend etched on its surface read: Commercial Club - 1911. The Empire District Electric Company had a continuous slide show of the construction of the Powersite Dam (Tom Snyder) and across the room the REA/REC history of this area was monitored through a TV set (Austin Fonda). The School of the Ozarks Museum (Jeanelle Duzenberry) had prepared a six foot
double screen filled with photos of the history of S of O and its Library (Bob Anderson) entered enlarged excerpts of the Schoolcraft Papers. The Little Photo Gallery of Forsyth (Vi & Cliff Edom) had all manner of Ozark books and the Ozarks Genealogical/Immigrant Society (Vera & Bill Wood) shared space with your own group (President, Robert Gilmore). The Town of Eglington (Jean Stuart), Protem (Kathy Brightwell), Kissee Mills (Darlene Cole/Carl Stuart) were all represented. Many organizations (DAR, Shepherd of the Hills, etc.) manned booths to hand out literature and explain their part in the growth of Taney County. Not to be ignored were the working tools and machinery of the farmers and early day settlers displayed on the grounds outside the hall.
While avid history buffs and curious individuals wandered through the maze of displays, the strains of Leon Bradleys School of the Ozarks Band played the marches of John Phillip Sousa.
The highlight of the day was a talk by attorney/author/historian, Douglass Mahnkey who gave a brief look into the legal history of Taney County. This was followed by presentation of awards to three men whom the Committee had voted as having best preserved area history; Douglas Mahnkey, Elmo Ingenthron and Emmett Adams. Evening festivities included jig dancing by Herman Rossner and Theron Holland and folk dancing to the music of B.T. Persingers band.
On Sunday morning while some visitors examined the exhibits, many others sat in the open to enjoy Gospel music and singing by Virgil Edwards and his daughter, Linda, Evelyn Fullerton and the choir from the Mincy Full Gospel Church. This was followed by a sermon by the Reverend Bobby G. Fausett.
At 1:00 p.m. Essay Awards were presented by Jerry Gideon to 1st place winner, John Walker of Walnut Shade, and runner-up, Carrie Keithly, Branson. Both are students of Mrs. Hilton, Branson School.
The temporary container for the materials to be placed in the time capsule was put on display. This will remain open for the remainder of 1987 and everyone is invited to contribute some article of historical interest. This may be whatever you think someone viewing the capsules contents fifty years in the future will consider an integral part of Taney County history. Paper material should be sealed in plastic. All items should have an explanatory message.
The Historical Committee wishes to thank all those who participated in and contributed to making the Sesquicentennial an overwhelming success.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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