Volume 2, Number 7, Spring 1966
Gobbler's Knob School that Maggie Yarnell attended when she was a student there.
I was much interested in the article, "Pathways of the Press," in the fall quarterly for way back in the obscure past, certain members of our family were treading that pathway.
I kept running my eyes down the list a bit fearful lest time had obliterated his name then at last there it was! 1893 The White River Herald, Editor Ben McPherson, together with coeditors J. C. L. McKnight and Andrew Brown, both my former instructors. There was another name which had escaped my memory, but I do remember there was a Mr. Adams connected with the enterprise. Perhaps he was the former editor and helped them get started. As I remember, the paper was called The Sentinel when Ben took over and was later changed to The White River Herald.
Andrew Brown was my teacher at Gobblers Knob School when I was eleven or twelve years old. He made me feel quite important and grown up by calling me "Miss Jessie."
Prof. McKnight was County Commissioner and instructor at the Kirbyville Teachers Institute in 1899, when I was in my late teens. Ben McPherson was my brother-in-law and one of Taney Countys best teachers before he entered the newspaper world. He held a first grade certificate. The schools were not graded one teacher taught all ages from beginners to those who were finishing the grades, or were too old to go to public school. I believe the age limit was 21, but the rules were rather elastic in such matters.
From an old scrap book I gleaned the following item anent Bens marriage to my sister Julia:
"G. B. McPherson of the Sentinal was married at Kirbyville on the 4th Inst. (4th of January) to Miss Julia Yarnall. Elder J. M. Hayworth was in requisition and performed the ceremony. Miss Yarnall was a school teacher of marked ability and everybody is wondering why she married an editor. We will say, however, that apart from being a newspaper man, Ben is a nice young fellow with many friends and bright prospects. The Star tenders congratulations."
The article is yellow with age and the outer edges show evidence of having been nibbled by mice. Flour paste had been used in making the scrap book, as library paste was an unknown quantity in those days and mice dearly loved flour paste, I found to my sorrow.
I was deemed too young to lend my assistance at the paper office, much as I would have liked to. But my sister, Maggie, who stayed with Ben and Julia, and attended school at Forsyth, would sometimes help set type, or "make pie" as she laughingly said, after school hours. Then brother Frank had his first job in the Herald (or Sentinel) printing shop. He was all around handy man (or boy) about the shop in other words he was what they called the "devil." The experience he gained in this capacity stood him in good stead in later years when ill health prevented his doing manual labor.
During a protracted stay in Branson with illness in his family, he was able to procure a job setting type on the White River Leader (1913) edited by Quincy L. Nace, a former resident of Springfield, whose wife w a s the former Erie Hawkins, daughter of the Uncle Billy Hawkins who were natives of Taney County and postmaster of Lucia, later Branson.
I am enclosing an announcement of the wedding of my oldest brother, Samuel Yarnall to Annie Walker, in the gay nineties which appeared in The White River Herald about March 18, 1893 or 94. It is headed "Wedding Bells." I have copied it verbatim:
"Samuel Yarnall and Miss Annie Walker, the beautiful and accomplished daughter of the Widow Walker of Mincy, Mo., were married at the residence of the bride last Sunday evening, March 18th at 7 oclock, Parson Jennings tying the nuptial knot.
"Quite a number of relatives and friends were present to witness the marriage of the couple. The groom is a highly esteemed young man, honored and respected, and known by all as a person of marked ability. He is a former resident of Nodaway County, Mo., and has been a citizen of Taney County just three years.
"The bride is one of the loveliest young ladies we have ever chanced to meet, and has been the reigning belle of her neighborhood since childhood. She was dressed in white with lace and ribbon to match. Her beautiful black tresses were adorned with a cluster of flowers. She also carried a hugh boquet of flowers in her hand.
"We will end the description by saying she looked magnificent. We will not attempt to give a detailed description of the groom, for we feel that we could not do him justice, but will say he looked very handsome in a neat suit of black. After congratulations had been extended, supper was announced and all were shown to the dining room where the table loaded with delicious food awaited them. After all had partook of the bountiful repast, they returned to the sitting room where the evening was spent most pleasantly. All returned home feeling honored that they were present.
The Infare dinner was unsurpassed in the way of eatables and was prepared by the mother and sisters of the groom, and those that know their ability in that line need no description of the many delicacies which adorned the table. The day passed away very pleasantly and will long be remembered by the many friends that were present."
After copying the above I got to wondering what part I, the youngest sister of the groom played in helping prepare the infare dinner (there were four of us girls). I could think of nothing except perhaps scouring the knives and forks. They had wooden handles, and must be scoured with either brock dust, sand or ashes till they fairly sparkled. Of course, there were a lot of other menial jobs, such as ironing the napkins and combing their tangled fringe, that always fell to the lot of the young un, or Babe, as I was called.
Sam and Annie were the parents of two fine sons Otis, who died soon after World War One, and Clarence, who married Augusta Whorten. They were parents of Clarence Yarna II, Jr., and Maxine Dawson of Mincy, Mo., who were left fatherless at a tender age.
So much for genealogy. Now to return to "The world of letters." My first job of "reporting" was in a way thrust upon me when I, a girl of eleven or twelve, attended Gobblers Knob School where Andrew Brown was teacher. Mr. Brown was a wonderful teacher and a good disciplinarian. He had, I think, a somewhat exaggerated sense of humor, and a jolly contagious laugh, but he could also be stern when occasion demanded. So one recess when he called me to his desk (a crude, home made table), it was with "fear and trembling" that I went forward, expecting to be reprimanded for some misdemeanor. (I was forever seeing the funny side of school life at the most inopportune times. It was next to impossible to control my "risibles." I would always get caught, while Sister and my chum, Vic, could, on a split seconds notice, straighten their faces and be studying diligently when Teacher turned around and pointed an accusing finger at hapless me, still "laughing my head off.")
But on this occasion Mr. Brown had a favor to ask. He had written some items for the county paper, and wanted me to sign my name to them. If I had been frightened before, I was simply terrified now at the thought of my name being printed in the paper for everyone to see (and thats something I never quite outgrew). The reason Mr. Brown didnt want to sign his name was that he had written something about himself. The write-up was about a fishing party, and all I remember is that the fishing group were about to enjoy a sumptous meal of fried fish and all the fixns when "Andy Brown, lank and haggard, put in an appearance with hunger depicted on every lineament of his features." Against my "better judgement," I consented to the arrangement, provided I be allowed to sign my name in pig Latin, which would make it "Essieja." Mr. Brown agreed, and my first contribution was on its way.
But I hadnt reckoned with the staff at the printing shop who also knew pig Latin, and quickly saw through the disquise. As a result I was subjected to what was probably more or less good natured kidding (they used to call it "deviling"), and they dubbed me a budding genius and even more ironical appellations contrived by my just-older-than-me brother and sister. But that didnt deter me for I still like to try my hand at scribbling a few when the spirit moves me. (As of now).
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