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Local History

A.T. Yoachum

“A.T. Yoachum, president of the Christian County Bank, died at Ozark at 12 o’clock last night of heart disease at the age of 78. The funeral will take place Friday afternoon. The remains will be buried at the Glenn Cemetery southwest of Ozark. The Yoachum family settled near the mouth of Finley Creek when the present territory of Christian County was a wilderness. The Yoachum mill was one of the first built on Finley, and for many years it ground the bread supply for a large scope of country. ‘Teen’ Yoachum, as everybody about Ozark had for many years called the old settler now departed, always made money in a quiet way. He was a man of no show and bluster and his business affairs never attracted much public notice.

“The firm of Robertson & Yoachum was one of the first mercantile enterprises that opened up in the Ozarks after the Civil War and for a long time this house had a trade that extended into Arkansas. ‘Teen’ Yoachum was a man whose honesty no one ever doubted, and though he had none of the modern arts of soliciting trade the people felt safe in his store and believed what he said about an article of merchandise.

“Mr. Yoachum was one of the largest original stockholders in the Christian County Bank and made considerable money out of that investment. He was interested in the Ozark Mercantile Company and other kinds of business in the town. He owned large tracts of good land and this real estate constituted an important part of the fortune Mr. Yoachum had guarded so closely for the last forty years. At one time and perhaps at his death, ‘Teen’ Yoachum was the largest tax payer in Christian County. He had no children and this fact made the strict economy and simple habits of the man seem a little strange. His wife survives the pioneer and she will have at her disposal for life more wealth than she can use. Like her husband she never enjoyed spending more money than the real needs of life required. Mr. and Mrs. Yoachum about 35 years ago took into their childless home a girl whom they educated and treated with much affection. The child grew to womanhood and married and now lives up in the Linden neighborhood northeast of Ozark. For many years it has been the opinion of the people about Ozark that this woman, now Mrs. Williams, would get a large share of the Yoachum fortune, but the old man left no will and the probate court of Christian county will have to divide the estate among the legal heirs, numbering about ten. Mrs. Williams not having been formally adopted into the Yoachum family, may get no part of the estate which is worth between $75,000 and $100,000. There is a chance for a long legal contest over this bequeathed estate. 

“For about 15 years Mr. Yoachum had suffered from sore eyes, being almost blind in fact. He spent large sums of money in seeking a restoration of his sight and was treated by some of the most noted specialists of the country. At the first Wilson Creek reunion held in Springfield ‘Teen’ Yoachum was robbed by a gang of pickpockets and lost $800. The crooks had seen him go into a bank and get the money a few minutes before they made the attack. The robbery took place at the Boonville Street crossing on the square near the Nathan Clothing store. The crowd was dense and one of the pickpockets knocked down a negro child in the jam. Yoachum stooped down to pick up the child and while in this act of kindness his pocketbook was snatched. He never recovered the money and could not have recognized one of the gang who robbed him. There was a tradition in Christian County fifty years ago that the Yoachum family coined their fortune out of one of the fabulous lost silver mines of the Ozark country. It was told and believed by many that the father of the late Ozark capitalist learned the secret of the hidden mine from the Indians and procured government stamps and dies and made standard silver dollars at will. None of the persons who told this story seemed to know that such a way of getting rich was prohibited by the laws of the United States and denounced as counterfeiting.

 “Men have declared in Christian County within the last 15 years that the early pioneer who profited by this Indian secret actually took his new money to the Springfield land office and challenged the government officer to find a flaw in the coin.” Springfield Daily Leader October 6, 1904

The photograph above is of Mary and Augustine Yoachum in the 1890's. The photo is from Christian County History A to Z and is used with permission of the author, Wayne Glenn. Mr. Glenn has written several books on Christian County history that are part of the library collection.

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