DIED AT AN EXTREME OLD AGE
By S. C. Turnbo
The town of Ozark in the state of Arkansas is an old settled place and has been a prominent trading point in that part of Arkansas since its existence. The town is situated on the north bank of the Arkansas River where in the early days of that locality the famed hunters would congregate together and exchange their furs and deer skins with the traders for the necessary supplies. A few of the early settler in the neighborhood of Ozark were the Moores Gails and Youngers. I remember that one night in the month of March in 1877 I remained over night with one of the Youngers who was an old man and lived on the Mulberry Mountain some 10 miles north east of Ozark. He was suffering with a severe chronic disease at the time. He and his daughter were living alone. I found the Younger to be an intelligent man and he told me a number of interesting incidents connected with the early history of that section of country but unfortunately I did not note them down. I learned that he died in 1878. Mr. Thomas McWilliams who was born in County Derry North Ireland in 1849 and came to the United States in 1862 and after stopping in New York where remained some time and made his way into Arkansas in 1874 and finally lived at Ozark where he married Miss Mary Jane Steele daughter of William Steele who was one of the first settlers on that part of the Arkansas River. Said Mr. McWilliam, "Steele was the first settler on the land where the town of Ozark now stands. He sold goods and groceries there when there were but a few families occupying the fertile lands along the Arkansas River. He had his chattels brought up the river on a small steam boat. John D. Steele a brother of William Steele is said to have been poisoned to death. William Steeles wife was named Marjorette. They had three other children besides Mary Jane, their names of which were David, William and Samuel. Mr. Steele my father in law lived to be a very old man, he was always healthy and during all his life he took but a small quantity of medicine. When the war broke out he took sides with the south and was able to serve a while in the southern army in the Trans-Mississippi deportment. He lived to be 103 years old. Long before his death he selected a spot of land on his farm 4 miles north of Ozark for his resting place after death called him away and here he and his wife and my wife and Samuel Steele his son lie at rest." The writer will say that when he saw Mr. McWilliams he was living at Coweta Indian Territory. I interviewed him on the 19 of July 1906.
Springfield-Greene County Library