Volume 8, Number 10, Winter 1985
The never-failing two springs heads of Little Crane Creek lie in the twin valleys of the White Oak Community of Northeast Barry County, Missouri. Good grasslands interspersed with forests of oak, ash, hickory, and red cedar meant that there would be an abundance of grazing land for cattle, much loose hay to store for winter, as well as an abundance of wild life: coveys of quail so thick the ground appears to be moving; grapes and nine kinds of berries growing in the wild; excellent timber for the building of houses and barns. Aunt Jerusha Ross said the "White Oak Community was the lap of luxury'.
Sometime early in 1896 the father of Harold Bell Wright arrived in the White Oak Community to visit his brother Ben Wright. Father William told his son Harold, who was recovering from eye and chest ailments, to come also with a view that the climate (1,300 to 1,500 feet elevation) would help him to regain his health. While the young Harold Bell Wright was usually walking around, visiting, and writing with a pencil on a notebook supported by a board, the elder Wright picked up his trade of carpentry again.
Will Wright teamed up with another carpenter named Elwood Ray. The two re-built the hewn walnut log "hotel" that stands at Spring Mourning, making a log barn inner structure, and sawed oak exterior. Quickly the two carpenters changed their techniques to use the new style - sawed oak timber - for their next buildings. Because the hay was "loose", (no balers yet), the barns needed to be very big in order to be useful. Pictures show the barns still standing in fair to good condition.
Dates for the buildings range from about 1898 to about 1912. William Wright would have been seventy years old by then. This would have been no small achievement for the man averred by Charles T. Jones2 to have been such a drunkard that "his drinking had become a problem." Could William Augustus Wright have walked these barn scaffolds in an inebriated condition? The pictures speak for themselves.
2Charles T. Jones, Brother Hal: The Preaching Career of Harold Bell Wright Missouri Historical Review July
1984, p. 389.
Before the meeting on June 10, Mrs. Lydia Mourning Clark gave a pheasant-eye white narcissus bulb to each one. Dug from the William Wright- Harold Bell Wright farm. Bulbs were the courtesy of Maurice Dyer, present owner.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
Next Article | Table of Contents | Other Issues
Local History Home