Volume 1, Number 2
by Ruby Matson Robins
26, on a flaming autumn day, the resort village of Rockbridge in Ozark County
was the site of the first historical marker dedication held by the White River
Valley Historical Society. Rockbridge was chosen as the first spot to be marked
by the newly formed Society because of its historic importance as a pioneer
milling point and trading center.
On that bright warm Sunday, the old village had its largest number of visitors since the days when early settlers turned the beautiful, clifflined valley into a tent and wagon town at milling time.
Some 500 or more persons were drawn to the old Ozark county community, now Rainbow Trout and Game Ranch, to enjoy a reunion with old friends, visit old haunts and celebrate the placing of a historic marker.
Elmo Ingenthron, president of the White River Valley Historical Society, presided at the cere monies and presented the marker on behalf of the Society to Dr. M. C. Amyx and Ozark County. Claude Hibbard, a director of the Society, gave the dedicatory address, and Ealum Bruffett, Ozark County Representative, gave the acceptance speech. Gary Morrison of Gaines ville offered the invocation and music was supplied by the Gainesville R-5 High School Band.
Among former citizens of the village introdu ced to the audience were Mrs. Lydia Morris of Rockbridge, daughter-in-law of B. V. Morris, builder of the present mill structure; Mrs. Alta Morris Ellis of Mtn. Grove, daughter of B. V. Morris, who recalled that her father loved the
Marker Dedication at Rockbridge.
valley and asked nothing more of life than it gave him; and Mrs. P. M. Brown of Ava, Bank of Rockbridge employee from 1923 to 1933. Among other visitors was Gen. Paul M. Robinett of Hartville, who some twelve years ago instigated the first program planning that led to the State's highway historical marker program.
Also present on the speakers platform were Mrs. Edith McCall of Hollister, secretary of the White River Valley Historical Society; Mrs. Dorothy Standlee of Hollister, treasurer; and Mrs. Ruby M. Robins, a director, who compiled the marker inscription.
Dr. and Mrs. M. C. Amyx and Mr. and Mrs. Lile Amyx, the present owners of the old village, having bought it in 1954, were gracious hosts to the many who toured the old store, bank museum, and mill after the dedication ceremonies. Dr. M. C. Amyx was born near Rockbridge and there he lived as a boy. His great-grandmother Patterson Little once ran a family mill on Bryant Creek near the present mill after her husband was killed in the Civil War.
The present Rockbridge takes its name from the first seat of Ozark County established when the county was organized in 1841, and comprised, besides its own territory, most of what are now Howell and Douglas counties.
The first Rockbridge, located at the junction of Spring and Bryant creeks, was succeeded by Gainesville as the seat of Ozark County when it was reduced to approximately its present size in 1857. During the Civil War, the old town was burned and completely disappeared.
After the war, a mill was built on Spring Creek above the old village that soon became known as Rockbridge Mill. The new community grew as a milling spot and by the early 1900's, when a bank was opened there, was a village of considerable importance.
Decline of the community began with the coming of the automobile, good roads, closing of the bank in 1933, and cessation of milling in the early 1940's.
The marker commemorating the old mill is a handsome sign of cast aluminum alloy with a baked enamel finish, dark green in color. Lettering is in silver and a pictural representation of the old mill is in color above the inscription
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly