Volume 2, Number 7, Spring 1966
"Our library has 4000 pictures of buildings, events, and people that helped to make history of the surrounding area," Miss Grace Muller, librarian of the James Memorial Library at St. James, told members of the White River Valley Historical Society at its Annual Spring Meeting, held in the Williams Chapel of The School of the Ozarks on Friday evening, April 15.
Miss Muller then explained that they felt they must preserve the history of the locality now, for people die and then the stories die. First, they made a movie based on the history of the Maramec Mines and St. James. This movie called, "The Road from the Maramec," ran free for two night and brought on interest in history.
"But mostly," she says, "we just talked. We asked for pictures. We have 8 by 10 copies made of the pictures brought. The negatives are kept, but the owners may buy copies for one dollar each."
Often times Miss Muller runs a picture in the local paper or puts up an exhibit asking for names of the persons portrayed. Generally, she gets a good response.
Miss Muller told, too, that their shelves hold between four and five hundred books about the Ozarks.
She says the pictures, at present in 56 albums, and the books, help many. Often youngsters come wanting to see a picture of a great grandparent. Some come to find dates to put on tombstone. They come searching for genealogy; and there was the state forester who came to study pictures of the huge walnut trees that were cut and the lumber used in making gun stocks at the time of the First World War.
"The James Memorial Library was given to the city of St. James by the will of Miss Lucy James and gets its support from a trust, set up for that purpose," said Miss Muller. Miss Lucy James was a great granddaughter of Thomas James of Chillicothe, Ohio. He was a banker, a store keeper, and one interested in iron. One day in 1826 a band of Indians from Missouri came into his store. They were going to Washington to see the Great White Father. Mr. James noted the paint on their faces. He asked where they procured it. They told him, "In Missouri," and said if he would go to Missouri with them on their return they would take him to the place. Mr. James did accompany the Indians by boat down the Mississippi and then by horseback to Maramec Springs. He bought land from the government and began the mines. At first he used oxen teams for hauling. Later the railroad came
and St. James became a shipping point.
Miss Muller explained that the Maramec iron is of good quality, for it will not rust. The Eads bridge in St. Louis, was made of it and the metal boats of the Civil War that plied the Mississippi River, were covered with Maramec iron.
Four generations of the James served the St. James area. First Thomas James, then his son, William, who came out and ran the mines. Then Williams son, Thomas, who preferred staying in Kansas City to work in the Dunn and Bradstreet offices. And then Thomass daughter, Lucy, who spent much time and thought on the good of St. James.
The family made money in the Missouri mines during the Civil War, but later went into bankruptcy. However, they came into ownership of much of the stock of Dunn and Bradstreet and it is from this stock that comes the trust set up by Miss Lucy James for the support of the James Memorial Library.
Miss Muller suggested procuring old Platt Books when available. She showed slides made on glass to last indefinitely and brought along several of the picture albums.
Dr. O. Myking Mehus, president, introduced the officers present. These included: 1st vice-president, Mrs. Kenneth D. Ford; 2nd vice-president, Col. Albert D. Cummings; secretary, Miss Belle Mosley; treasurer, Mrs. Dorothy Standlee; historian, Elmo Ingenthron; board members, Elmer Curry of Douglas County and Gene Geer of Christian County; and two new members, Townsend Godsey, assistant to the president and in charge of public information at The School of the Ozarks; and Mr. and Mrs. H. P. Ingebretsen, Reeds Spring. Ingebretsen, a former engineer of the City of St. Louis, now retired, lives on Aunts Creek in Stone County.
At the business meeting held before the address, the amendment proposed to the Constitution of the Society as given on page 10, Volume 2, Number 6 of the 1966 Quarterly, was unanimously adopted.
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