Volume 2, Number 12, Summer/Fall 1967


The Editor Speaks

by Jewell Ross Mehus


Cletys Ackerman, Forsyth, came in, his brief case bulging with pictures, Civil War relics and letters a great grandfather wrote during the Civil War.

Mr. Ackerman is one of my favorite Taney County historians. He is such a good worker yet until lately he was not interested in either his family history or in writing. Now he searches every corner and mentions family to every one with whom he visits. Soon the whole neighborhood begins to help him.

Mr. Ackerman finds that like the good shepherd in Gunnar Gunnarson’s book, if he will just take one step after another, no mountain is too high nor road too long. Just the starting proves difficult.

When I hear some one say, "I would like to know more about my family, but I do not know where to start." I then think of Cletys Ackerman who started where he was . . . at Forsyth.

A few weeks ago in the Springfield Public Library he found a sentence he thought might help him. Immediately he sent a letter with the name of his grandfather and an uncle. Now he has records of the birthplace of each and is on his way to the family beginnings in Vermont.

Mrs. William DeWitt, Mt. Vernon, gave the Civil War letters to Cletys on Christmas Day of 1966. His Uncle died June 30, 1959. Mrs. DeWitt found the letters among her husband’s ‘treasures’. She also gave to the nephew a lock of hair. This he presumes his great grandmother cut from her head and sent to her husband when he was in the hospital. The lock is really strands of hair about a half inch in diameter and more than a foot long.

Also the Aunt gave to Cletys a little white heart of wool, edged in red and white embroidery, made by the same great-grandmother and sent to the hospital,

Lyman L. Bennett, Ozark, writes, "A friend called my attention to ‘A Soldier’s Diary’ by Lyman O, Bennett. He thought it might be of interest to me, and it is. The middle initial should be G. for Gibson. He was my grandfather.

"Grand-dad Bennett authored or co-authored a book or two- 'History of the Illinois 36th Regiment' for one. He was the first man to volunteer in Kendall County, Illinois, and at that time held some county office there. The brick house he built and which stands on Glenstone just north of Sunshine in Springfield was supposed to be a replica of the courthouse at Yorkville, Illinois, at least the outside architect, we, I have never read his book, but I find he is mentioned in the bibliography of ‘Terrible Swift Sword’. Some other members of the family, may have read the book and I understand it is in the Springfield Public Library.

"When he was mustered out it was as a major, 9th Arkansas Calvary".

There was no Annual Meeting held in June as designated or so provided by the Constitution of the Society. Therefore no officers were elected and no business transacted. Mailing, mailing lists, and finances suffered. But friends came to our rescue.

Each of the five banks of Stone and Taney County made a gift of twenty dollars each to the society. These banks are: Bank of Crane, Crane; Bank of Table Rock, Reed’s Spring: Bank of Taney County, Forsyth; Security Bank, Branson; and the Peoples Bank, Branson.

Then Dr. Graham Clark, president of the School of the Ozarks asked, "What do you want us to do?" He added, "The Historical Society and its Quarterly is one of, if not the best, opportunity we have for collecting and keeping the facts of the heritage of our area. We must see that it continues."

So perhaps we will likely remain solvent to the end of this issue. For this we thank the banks and the School of the Ozarks. But unless we can support our organization it is not worthy of being.

If each of our 700 members pays his membership dues, we will be able to publish the Quarterly four times a year. (In 1967 we combined the Summer and Fall issues.)

It is your organization, and your Quarterly.

I am pleased with the interest shown. Fred De Armond, one of the best of Missouri writers has said that he will send an article soon. I suspect on the Irish. I look forward to reading it, for it will be as Roy Stout says "fact, which is true history". Frances McConkey, Forsyth, promises material concerning her father, I hope some of his stories concerning the Bald Knobbers.

Besides other articles, I have a full family history which the printer and I are trying to decide how to set up.

Thank you for your Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Greetings.

Jewell Ross Mehus

The Editor Speaks (Continued)

Mrs. Loren Roden, Cassville, wrote to Ben Parnell, Jr., saying, "I have been trying to find some descendant of Issac Workman, mentioned in the Hoenshel article in the Quarterly, Spring of 1966. Do you know where I might find the name of the father of Issac Workman?

"In the early 1800’s the Workman and Bilyeu families intermarried. I have the book published by the Workman family organization, it also contains the Bilyeu records.

In the early part of the 1800’s the Workmans and Bilyeus, or many of them, left Tennessee and Kentucky, some for Illinois and some to Missouri.

"The book says Issac Bilyeu and wife, Mary Workman, both born about 1889, were both in Southwest Missouri, also several other Workmans. Also it gives the names of two of their sons as John and Issac.

"We had a John Bilyeu and a Jacob Bilyeu. Jacob being my great-grandfather. He had a son, Hosea Bilyeu. Hosea had a daughter, Susie, who was my mother. I feel that these are the same John and Jacob Bilyeu, sons of Issac, who were my ancestors.

"Some of the Workmans and Bilyeus might want to know where to order the Workman Family History Book."

Roy E. Stout, author of the "Eglinton Colony" article says: "This article is the result of many years work, gathering true facts which make history. Many have been misinformed over the years about the truth concerning the Eglinton Colony. That is one of the reasons I have searched for the truth. This would have been impossible to obtain without the help of Mayme Rankin Kirkpatrick of Republic, daughter of the late Charles Rankin mentioned in the story. Also, Mrs. Alice Dickenson, wife of the late Jack Christenson, of Dickens helped me."

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