Paton Keesee with his family left Little North Fork in Ozark County, Mo. in the year 1828 and moved to North west Arkansas and settled a place on the west fork of White River 12 miles below the head spring of White River in Washing County. He built a log house and cleared a few acres of land. There were an abundance of wild cherry trees on this stream and Mr. Keesee and family used it for fire wood. Mr. Keesees father in law Peter Graham went with him to the west fork and died there and is buried on this land. One day while Mr. Keesee was at work in his clearing he sent to the house for his wife to come and assist him in measuring the land he had cleared. His wife had just put on a lot of cherry tree wood on the fire which was burning briskly, but she taken her children and went out to where her husband was and shortly after she had left the house it took fire and burned down. They did not get to save anything. Their bread corn and other provisions was stored in the house and it and all their household including their wearing apparel only what they had on went up in smoke and ashes. Washington County was thinly settled then and the family underwent sore trials and hardships before they were able to recruit their bedding and wearing clothes. Mr. Keesee could renew his supply of meat out of wild game in the forest as long as he was able to procure ammunition, but there was no bread corn for sale nearer than the Arkansas River and Mr. Keesee went there and made arrangements with a settler on that stream for a supply of bread corn until he could raise a crop. This corn was carried on horse back all the way from the Arkansas River to his home on West Fork. During the following year he and family returned back to Little North Fork, where he bought the same place back again where he formerly lived before going to West Fork.
Springfield-Greene County Library