John H. Shipman son of Nathaniel Shipman, an early resident near Ozark in Christian County, Mo. has this to say of his experience in breaking ground in that part of Missouri in the pioneer days. "in my boyhood days we had what we called hazlenut roughs. The land on which these hazle thickets stood was fertile but the ground was hard to put into cultivation and it require stout plows and the use of plenty of ox strength to break the land. A few settlers used big bull tongue plows with cutting coulters set before the point of the plow. Others used a different kind of plow which is not necessary to describe here. The noted black whose name was Layer and who lived at Springfield made nearly all the plows used in Green County and surrounding neighborhood many of these plows were used to turn sod with. Mr. Layer worked in a brick building and was kept busy in supplying the demand for his famed home made plows. "Refering to the breaking of land" said Mr. Shipman, "I remember that during one winter season my father cleared a few acres of very rough hazle land which required the combined strength of seven yoke of cattle to draw a large bull tongue plow and coulter through this land to break it. I had to drive these cattle all of which were hitched together with log chains. I hallooed at these cattle so much before we got the land broke that my throat become so sore and irritated which caused me to be very hoarse and I wished that all the hazle thickets and hazle land were all on the other side of the ocean."
Springfield-Greene County Library