Volume 31, Number 2 - Winter 1992

Keith McCanse
Missouri's first professional conservationist
by Lynn Morrow

State and federal governments have had a profound influence on all forms of conservation during the twentieth century. Little known in Missouri are the personalities and accomplishments of the Missouri Game and Fish Department, a bureaucracy created in 1895. Not until 1905, however, did the Game and Fish Department, encouraged by urban sportsmen and proponents for the development of Missouri tourism, begin to have an effect in laying the foundation for a public conservation conscience. Like all bureaucracies, achievements are often commensurate with the strength and abilities of their bureaucrats. Progressive Missouri Republicans, and gentlemen hunters and fishermen—known in the press as "True Sportsmen"—led in early twentieth-century rhetoric for the regulation of outdoor sports. As urban sportsmen urged action from St. Louis, regions in the state had small networks of local promoters. The White River area in southwest Missouri, long famous as a hunting and fishing paradise for travelers, locals, and urban sportsmen, had several early leaders in the conservation movement. One such leader was Keith McCanse.

A young Keith McCanse (1885-1964) began floating the James and White rivers with his father in 1901. The McCanses were town-dwellers from Mt. Vernon, Missouri, and participants in a new float tourism—an Ozarks recreation born in the White River country and promoted by native guides who turned local lore into engaging stories. The float guides, talented in the art of oral tradition, repeated frontier themes familiar to city folk who appreciated the entertainment and enjoyed learning something of the White River region. Tall tales of hunting, fishing, lost silver mines, and primitive lifestyles were common topics on the James and White river floats. The river guides, through retelling and dramatization, often assumed a larger-than-life character, similar to ones in their Ozark tales. Floating the rivers and enjoying the mixed company of urbane family and friends with that of provincial hosts left lingering, romantic impressions on young Keith McCanse.

McCanse became schooled in accounting, banking, and insurance, and he credited famous southwest Missouri promoter John T. Woodruff as an inspiration for his commitment to visions of the future. In 1919 a violent attack of the WWI flu epidemic forced McCanse into a recuperative retirement near Forsyth. He lost sight in his left eye, but became attracted to the embryonic conservation movement in southwest Missouri. By 1921 he was a game warden for the Missouri Game and Fish Department, and in 1925 Governor Sam Baker appointed him commissioner of the department. Within a few years, during the 1920s, McCanse became the most important conservationist in Missouri and, inspired by the promotions of the Izaak Walton League, launched the vision of the modern


Department of Conservation as an autonomous, apolitical body. McCanse used his Ozarks experience and connections in southwest Missouri, and especially in the White River country, to build his vision of recapturing a significant part of what constitutes much of the Ozarks romance. It was the linkage between the Ozarks environment that he knew and loved and the imagination of that environment that fueled his energies to plan for its reconstitution and public enjoyment on a wide scale.

The family background of Keith McCanse was similar to many entrepreneurs in southwest Missouri—Scotch-Irish forebears who had come to east Tennessee in 1813 and to the Ozarks about 1840. Grandfather William A. McCanse located in Mt. Vernon in 1844 and became a merchant, multiple-term county treasurer, and by 1890 co-founder of the Farmers Bank. Son George became cashier and largest stockholder of the bank while maintaining an active role in Republican politics, including membership in the Republican State Committee of Missouri. George served as supervisor of the 1910 census in the 13th district of Missouri, and Governor Herbert Hadley appointed him to the Board of Managers at the Mt. Vernon sanatorium. Both George and his son Keith worked for the Hadley election in 1908, the first off our Missouri Republican governors that Keith McCanse promoted. Republican connections in the McCanse family would quickly aid young Keith in his various careers.

In 1908, following employment and training at the Springfield Trust Company under John Woodruff, Keith accepted a job offer at the newly created State Banking Department, Secretary of State’s office, Jefferson City. In 1909, during the Hadley administration, he met and married Estelle Wagner, daughter of the Republican Wagner family who owned and managed the "Republican" Monroe House hotel in Jefferson City.

McCanse also met several Jefferson City politicians, including Ozarker Jesse Tolerton, commissioner of the Missouri Game and Fish Department.


Tolerton came from Ohio to Forsyth in the mid- 1880s and became a successful livery man and merchant, married into the influential Republican Parrish family, and was co-founder of the Bank of Branson. Tolerton rose quickly in Missouri Republican politics as a political confidant and personal friend to Governor Hadley. Tolerton spent over $100,000 in Missouri for Teddy Roosevelt in his 1912 presidential campaign and accompanied Hadley on his annual outdoor promotional safaris, which included float trips on the Current and ‘White rivers. Tolerton, an effective promoter, conducted his activities with the goal of increasing tourism in the Missouri outdoors, thus, generating more revenue for Missouri businessmen and the state.

In 1911 Keith McCanse returned to southwest Missouri as an officer with Missouri Fidelity and Casualty Company, Springfield. He opened their branch office in Joplin in 1913, and in 1914 he moved to a position as special agent for St. Louis Southern Surety Company. Keith opened an insurance office for them in Dallas, Texas, and then moved to Kansas City for work with Employers Casualty Company, where he packaged portfolios of successful capital stocks. He sold stock in new automobile factories and was particularly proud of his promotion for a wholesale health-foods company that began the manufacture of whole-wheat bread. During the next decade, McCanse would bringhis skills in the private business sector to government service.

At age 34 in 1919, suffering from multiple physical ailments, he established a tent camp in Taney County with his wife and two small children. McCanse had arrived in the newly created Lake Taneycomo district on White River, which had become a haven for sportsmen, tourists, journalists, and promoters of various description. In an unforeseen development, the lake had become an outdoor laboratory, so to speak, for the exchange of ideas concerning conservation.

Years earlier, in 1891, one group of wealthy St. Louis sportsmen, after looking at many potential locations throughout Missouri, chose an area in south-central Taney County along the White River as the place for their St. Louis Agricultural and Game Park. They fenced out the open-range environment and fenced in a special preserve for habitat and big-game populations, especially deer and elk. St. Louis businessmen, aware that St. Louis was perhaps the largest game market in the U.S., had begun to complain as early as 1884 in official publications of the Missouri Fish Commission that the "pot" fisherman and "pot"


hunter in Missouri were irresponsible characters. Thus, to insure an environment capable of providing successful hunts for commercial elites, businessmen and industrialists established a game park, including the subsequent Maine Clubhouse and farm near Hollister, which soon became a rendezvous for VIPs, politicians, and special guests. They hired and imported William Hunt, an Illinois Republican and sportsman, to be their game keeper and warden, a position that Hunt zealously guarded. Bill Hunt and his sons were expert guides for St. Louis V.I.P.s and a string of politicians, from presidential hopeful William Jennings Bryan to several Missouri governors, from the 1890s to the 1920s. These urban visitors hunted, fished, resorted, drank, camped, hired local help for services, became audiences for "local color" tales, and increasingly brought other friends to the area as St. Louisans developed other camps around Lake Taneycomo, including the great YMCA retreat at Hollister.

The St. Louisans, the Maine Club, and White River fishing and floating received considerable attention in 1910 in the first annual report of the newly combined bureaucracy of the Game and Fish Department. Jesse Tolerton, operating with an expanded legislative mandate, increased the quality of reporting in the state publications as well as the visibility of the department. Lake Taneycomo, in its newness as a great fishing habitat and as the Midwest’s first exclusively recreational reservoir, received shipments of tens of thousands of St. Louis hatchery fish via the railroad. The stage was set at Lake Taneycomo for a debate.

Self-styled true sportsmen, used to little competition in fishing on White River, now also competed with native fishermen upon a man-made reservoir. Local Nimrods had great fun during the teens catching hundreds and thousands of lake fish, cleaning them, and exporting processed fish on refrigerated railroad cars to restaurants in Springfield, Kansas City, and St. Louis. True sportsmen and resort owners, however, bitterly complained and raised the issue in the press (e.g. in Rod and Gun columns) not only about fishing etiquette but also about the legality of locals who commercially profited from state hatchery fish that presumably were in Lake Taneycomo for the recreation of tourist- sportsmen. Conservationists began to lobby for fish license legislation, which was countered in the White River country by charges that a "fishing graft" bill was in the making. The Branson White River Leader blamed St. Louis representatives as the power behind the bill, but concluded that they did not run good old Missouri, not by a long shot. In fact, the St. Louisans "must have been lapping up a chest full of Bevo [beer]." The Leader reported a winter 1918-1919 export of 72,000 pounds of cleaned bass and crappie to city markets.

Dr. Guy B. Mitchell, Kansas Citian cum Bransonite, headed a local Fish and Fisherman’s Protective League that lobbied the public through the press and lobbied politicians directly in Jefferson City. By late spring 1919, however, the Missouri legislature did pass a fish license bill and prohibited the commercial sale of game fish during the open season to urban restaurants and hotels. The local Leader Rod and Gun column continued to report cultural antagonisms between local and tourist fishermen, many of whom introduced the trappings of true sportsmen outfits to the locale. "Hickory pole fishermen" spoke with great disrespect of the "fly fisherman"—called him a "dude fisherman" and other not-so-polite names. However, reported Rod and Gun, isn’t it interesting that the pole fishermen sulk around for a half day


with one bite and that from a mosquito, while the "dude fisherman" packs home a fifty pound string of big bass.

In the wake of complaints about fishing licenses, Keith McCanse in 1921 had recovered from his bout with the flu and assumed a position as game warden, stationed at Branson and Mt. Vernon. He initiated a highly visible and vigorous education campaign speaking to schools and community organizations. Springfield, Joplin, and southwest Missouri newspapers reported his activities. Old friends like John Woodruff and Jesse Tolerton who were active in many promotional groups, such as the Springfield Club, lent encouragement to their young ally. McCanse patrolled area waterways looking especially for dynamiters and arrested many; he became a stickler for strict observance of game and fish laws and supported true sportsmen ethics. Urban sportsmen, enjoying progress, sometimes added their own folksy poetic verse to their celebration of the Ozarks outdoors.

Many moons ago this beautiful place
With its wondrous streams for bass,
Was the home of the Aboriginal race
But palefaces came, alas!
Now only Indian phantoms frail
Glide o’er these hill tops still,
For modern recreation’s trail
Was God’s intended will.

McCanse did not give true sportsmen a free reign, but instructed them, too. He charged them to respect the rights of the farmer. "Some sportsmen," he said, "become intoxicated with the spirit of the wild.. .their primitive instincts inspire them to a certain bravado...." The White River game warden went so far as to say that even if a farmer had "no objection to uninvited sportsmen, he ought to run the hunters off who go on his land without permission." These were radical words for many Ozarkers who still remembered and practiced open-range, hunting lifestyles.

McCanse was co-organizer of the local


Sportsmen’s League, which in philosophy countered the Fish and Fishermen’s Protective League. The Sportsmen’s League argued for increased governmental regulation, including ceilings on the number of game and fish allowed to be taken, observance of closed seasons, and protection of habitat.

In 1923 urban conservationists founded a national organization named the Izaak Walton League of America. Immediately, members in groups like the Sportsmen’s League took double affiliation with the local group and with a chapter of the Waltonians. However, the popularity and success of the Waltonians and their publication Outdoor America eroded memberships in local organizations, and Missouri quickly became a national leader in the number of Izaak Walton chapters (125 by spring 1924). At the national meeting in 1925 in Chicago, representatives from Missouri chapters led the country.

Locally, McCanse became a Waltonian, heralded the work of the Waltons, and businessmen and tourist industry leaders followed. By 1925 H. G. McQuerter, owner and promoter of the Sammy Lane boat and resort enterprises, was president of the local Izaak Walton chapter. Fellow officers included such well known figures as Ed Goodman, Bethel Eiserman, E. M. Shockley, and others. An Izaak Walton resort camp was established at the mouth of Bee Creek on Lake Taneycomo, and Waltonians from the Missouri Boonslick and Taney County promoted the Shepherd of the Hills as a location for a new state park. The


following year, McCanse, also the head of an incipient state park system, toured west Taney and east Stone counties to consider just such a proposal. However, the modernity of tourism had escalated real estate prices beyond that of land available elsewhere in the Ozarks.

McCanse’s spirited promotion of the Missouri and Ozarks outdoors and his connections in the Republican party resulted in his 1925 promotion to commissioner of the Game and Fish Department—an historic appointment as McCanse was the first commissioner with previous experience in the department. More importantly, McCanse revolutionized the organization and policies of the department, making it for the first time a modern bureaucracy. He established a double-entry bookkeeping system and divided the department into three divisions—Fish Hatcheries, State Parks and Game Refuges, and Enforcement (prior to McCanse the department had functioned more particularly as a policing organization with arrest records as the criterion for a commissioner’s success). McCanse created major staff positions including a chief clerk, an attorney, and a director of public information. The PR section was a favorite child of McCanse’s to which he gave special and personal editing attention, especially in the creation of the monthly Missouri Game and Fish News, forerunner to the modern Missouri Conservationist.

McCanse, with legislative support, began to depoliticize while professionalizing the sometimes-notorious Game and Fish Department by suspending over 200 honorary game wardens, recalling their commissions, and informing them that they were no longer permitted to wear the official star of the department— a serious wound to the good-ole-boy politics of the department (the department had over 500 applications waiting for such appointments). To help democratize both the new laws concerning conservation and citizens’ access to the outdoors, McCanse’s administration greatly expanded the number of locales where one could purchase hunting and fishing licenses. Formerly, only county clerks, justices of the peace, and notary publics could sell them, but under McCanse, banks, hardware stores, drug stores, and other cooperative businesses sold licenses. Since the department was still funded by license fees, McCanse increased license availability as well as the department treasury—a crucial element in McCanse’s opportunity to expand the professional staff. McCanse’s administration heightened the professionalism of the Game and Fish Department, in part, by conducting annual summer meetings, emphasizing education for members of the department, and placing over one hundred additional deputies in the field.

By spring 1926 McCanse was faced with the development of an embryonic Missouri park system, and he named C. D. Montieth as chief of parks. Montieth was an Ozarks friend and editor of the Field and Stream column in the Springfield Leader. Montieth had also been elected president of the Sequiota chapter of the Izaak Walton League and had a reputation for work in game protection. Montieth and McCanse traveled widely in Missouri inspecting real estate for potential purchase by the department.

As Montieth and McCanse made plans for capital improvements in the state parks, especially in the construction of rustic landscapes, the commissioner contacted another professional man with a background in the White River country.

A. L. Drumeller, prominent Branson architect for institutional buildings and superior pattern-book houses, accepted the offer to become construction engineer for the state parks. Drumeller had built several large Craftsman bungalow houses in Branson, including remodeling for poet and ardent sportsman John Neihardt, and as a sportsman himself, had a cabin at Ozark Beach and managed the Branson Boy Scouts. Drumeller supervised the construction of shelter houses, bridges, drives, and park entrances, and in essence planned all buildings for the department, but he was to concentrate on houses and stores in the parks. He first built the parkkeeper’s house at Mark Twain park, planned the store and filling station at Round Spring, and raised the great Arts and Crafts departmental exhibit building on the state fair grounds in Sedalia. The Ozark bureaucrats planned to use over fifty varieties of native Missouri wood in the structure and to include old-fashioned clapboards on the roof. McCanse used the new exhibit building as the site to host a 1927 Outdoor Life Conference to discuss methods of "awakening the public mind." Speakers agreed that what was at stake was keeping "alive the frontier spirit." Long-time conservationist Sen. Harry B. Hawes made an impassioned speech concluding that "We must save the things for our boys which had such a fine effect on the character of our ancestors."

In a third crucial administrative position in the new park system, McCanse once again drew upon the White River country. He appointed Claud Hunt, veteran guide from Taney’s St. Louis Game Park and a 1920s game warden, to be game refuge inspector. Hunt, like Montieth, Drumeller, and McCanse, had years of outdoor experience in the Lake Taneycomo district—a center of activity for emerging conservation ethics and professionals.

McCanse’s general promotion included effective use of another new product—radio. Station WOS in Jefferson City, a widely respected station for Missouri promotion, broadcast publicity for McCanse. As new


brochures, pamphlets, and maps became available through the Office of Information, WOS announced them on the air. Soon McCanse himself, never shy, took the microphone and began giving broadcasts. In 1927 he asked his listeners, "What would Daniel Boone and our forefathers say if they could return to Missouri today and see the little consideration we have shown our wildlife resources?" McCanse conjured up former scenes of immense turkey roosts, deer, and black bear, but said, "It is not too late."

McCanse also cultivated the new film industry. Paramount News produced new films to be shown in theaters across the U.S. In September 1927 McCanse hosted a Kansas City cameraman and an entourage that met in Galena for the famous Galena-to-Branson float. The Barnes Brothers outfitted the party, with Herb Barnes in charge, while guides (Dave Williams and Ernie Standridge) piloted additional john boats. They filmed Virgin Bluff, White Rock Bluff, and Table Rock as McCanse explained the impending giant dam and the guides recounted Indian legends for their guests. McCanse further dramatized float fishing and the Ozarks outdoors by playing host to Bill Vogt, Americas s world-champion fly fisherman of the 1920s. In 1929, Vogt, McCanse, and local Waltonians embarked on a trip at Galena followed by correspondents for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, and were photographed for a special promotional brochure sponsored by the Missouri Pacific Railroad.

McCanse instructed his information department to use film to augment the efforts in public education. By early 1929 the Game and Fish Department had six reels of motion pictures titled "Outdoor Life History of Missouri." Topics included Fish Distribution, Trout Culture, Conduct of Game Refuges, Work of Wardens, Motor Boat Patrol, State Park Activities, and more that allowed McCanse and the department to spread their "gospel of conservation."

McCanse and the department may have been the first publishers to reach a statewide audience with rosters of float fishing outfitters. By August 1926 readers could consult the Game and Fish News for listings. The same month, McCanse underscored the historic importance of the White River country in this particular aspect of outdoor life. The commissioner planned a Current River float with St. Louis friends Branch Rickey, owner of the St. Louis Cardinals, Sen. George Williams, and other businessmen and politicians from St. Louis and Kansas City. Although there were several float outfitters in the Current-Jacks Fork area, McCanse hired the Barnes Brothers in Galena. Storyteller and guide Herb Barnes loaded a truck with several john boats and camping gear, and met the true sportsmen in Shannon County. The Barnes guide and tour business had developed their premier reputation in the Shepherd of the Hills country, and McCanse wanted the best on Current River. Throughout McCanse’s administration, float fishing pictures and floating accounts were regular features in the Game and Fish News. Not surprisingly, most concerned experiences on the James and White rivers.

By 1928 Game and Fish News advertised St. Louis’ new KMOX radio promotion, the Ozark Pennant Half Hour, directed at fishermen and tourism. Pierce Petroleum Company sponsored the program, and veteran Ozarker and sportsman Jesse Tolerton was a district manager for the company. The Game and Fish Department inaugurated the new service of daily reports on fishing and river conditions for this nightly program while W. H. Johnson, developer of Hollister and many southwest Missouri ventures, directed the programs. The Game and Fish News had become popular enough by 1928 to be placed on a subscription basis instead of the usual free circulation.

McCanse reached out to embrace the cultural romance attached to the great outdoors. The Game and Fish News became a vehicle for the publication and promotion of romantic poems about Missouri, especially the Ozarks. They included such titles for state identity as "Missouri, I’m Coming Back to You" and "The Death of a Missourian"; such regional titles as "That Ozark Shack" and Mary E. Mahnkey’s "A Cabin in the Ozarks" and ‘The Fisher-Man"; such promotional titles as "America’s Playground" and "The Sportsman" (promoting true sportsmanship); and approbation of folklorist Otto Rayburn’s productions. The Game and Fish News (March 1929) included a full-page discussion of the question "What Constitutes a ‘Real Sportsman?"’ while one writer to Game and Fish News repented of his "murderous boyhood" and concluded that "We have to learn the true meaning of Sportsmanship from within our hearts." Game and Fish News tried to influence the public through the effective coalition of romance, poetry, and conservation.

In 1928 McCanse increased his growing public visibility by being elected president of the Association of Young Republicans of Missouri; John Hadley, son of ex-governor Herbert Hadley, who was co-founder of the Association in 1901, was treasurer. After the election of Governor Henry Caulfield in November, the Young Republicans met in February 1929 for a Lincoln Day dinner at the Muehlebach Hotel in Kansas City. McCanse served as moderator of ceremonies and stood by Caulfield while the governor carved an eight-footlong sailfish caught by president-elect Herbert Hoover. Also present was one of McCanse’s old float


fishing mates from the White River country, representative-elect Dewey Short. Short recited the history of the association. (McCanse, with two others, claimed credit for persuading the Ozarks Orator to run for office.)

While McCanse was never far from Republican connections, he continued to make fundamental contributions to conservation. The St. Louis Globe -Democrat, April 1928, lauded his work as "originator of the auxiliary game refuge act" in 1927. McCanse established most refuges in Northern Missouri but founded some in the Ozarks, too, stocked them with quail, pheasant, squirrel, rabbit, deer, and turkey. In 1928 he achieved national recognition, widely reported in the Missouri press, as member of a national 11-man committee on Wild Life Legislation; the committee was instrumental in bringing final congressional action on the Migratory Bird Refuge Bill, which provided an annual $1,000,000 to establish refuges for ducks, geese, and other migratory birds. McCanse chaired or was member of several other national and regional game and wildlife associations during the late 1920s. In 1927, he spent several weeks with the Pennsylvania Game Department, an innovative national leader, to acquire new ideas for implementation in Missouri.

The front cover of the April 1929 issue of Game and Fish News carried a portrait of Keith McCanse and the announcement of his retirement—a surprise to politicians who expected him to continue his appointment. Radio station KMOX, under the sponsorship of Pierce Petroleum Corporation, hired him as director of Ozark broadcasting; his salary more than doubled that of his pay as game commissioner. His numerous supporters concluded that "He has done more for the preservation and propagation of wild life in Missouri than any predecessor and that through his efforts Missouri was once again "considered a sportsmen’s paradise." The Jefferson City Tribune in 1928 had lauded McCanse’s efforts saying that "Five years ago everyone was pessimistic over the future of Missouri’s wild life... .the sportsman had practically nothing for which to look forward." The report concluded that the Game and Fish Department had accomplished more good in the 1920s than the previous forty years of government involvement.

McCanse was a rare professional who combined talents as a skilled administrator, conservationist, and publicist. He was a man of the hour who took full advantage of extant legislation and promoted more legislation toward the goals of conservation and tourism. He doubled the income of the Game and Fish Department by doubling the number of hunting and fishing licenses; he inaugurated a professional bookkeeping system, a detailed budget system, and periodic inventories of assets; state parks expanded from four to fourteen and fish hatcheries from two to seven. McCanse has been forgotten, however, as the first significant publicist for establishing a commission-control form of government for the Game and Fish Department, forecasting the 1936 constitutional amendment that created the modern Department of Conservation. While at KfvLOX, McCanse headed a group of St. Louis sportsmen to sponsor legislation that would have created "commission control of game and fish" based upon a Pennsylvania model, according to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat in December, 1930. The organization, called the Missouri Sportmen’s Committee, was chaired by Sen. Harry B. Hawes. This group was an important harbinger of more successful work carried on later in the Depression by Roland Hoerr, E. Sydney Stephens, and others. (For a history of the movement from the mid-1930s, see James Keefe, The First 50 Years, Department of Conservation, 1987.)

Always at home in the Ozarks, McCanse announced that he would continue to work for the advancement of the Ozarks—much as he had been doing for several years. In the Pierce Petroleum Company he joined old friend Jesse Tolerton, and he worked especially with the Ozarks Playgrounds Association (including John Woodruff and Dewey Short) and the Missouri Ozarks Chamber of Commerce (Sen. Carter Buford’s family). McCanse, while state commissioner, had already begun his own family-produced annual Where To Go in the Ozarks. He announced its expansion as the Automobile Club of Missouri made it their official publication.

Where To Go in the Ozarks began as a 55-page textual guide with no pictures or maps. In 1929, and for each annual through the last in 1932, it expanded to 100 or more pages, including a color photo on the front cover, black-and-white pictures inside, maps, and advertisements, and it was the first comprehensive guide to Ozarks tourism. It surely must have been a model for Otto Rayburn’s subsequent, popular, and longer-running Ozark Guide. In public meetings before such groups as the White River Boosters League in 1930, McCanse continued his interest in attaching poetic romance to the Ozarks with a recitation of "Taneycomo Land."

The Great Depression took its toll on thousands of promoters and investors. Jesse Tolerton and John Woodruff lost heavily in Ozarks promotion, as did Keith McCanse. McCanse ran unsuccessfully in 1932 for nomination as Republican Lieut. Governor, and, was unable to profitably develop Sunrise Beach—his resort promotion on Lake of the Ozarks. He returned to financial management, first with Farm and Home


Savings at Nevada, Missouri. An assignment in Texas, however, continued for a decade, and he worked there in Republican politics, real estate promotion, and community service for the rest of his life. But while in Missouri Keith McCanse did more than just reflect upon the romance of the nineteenth-century environment—he imagined it and played a major role in its reconstitution for Missourians everywhere. Prophetically, he said, "I have no fear of tourists, recreation seekers, hunters and fishermen exterminating our game and fish. Increased use will result in increased care... .Farmer and townsman alike will carry on constant warfare against the enemies of game and we will have a better understanding as to what constitutes an enemy." For McCanse, romance was in the past and in the future.

Sources courtesy of Department of Conservation
Collection, Missouri State Archives; Keith McCanse
Papers, George McCanse family, Houston, Texas; and
Mercantile Library, St. Louis, Mo.


This volume: Next Article | Table of Contents | Other Issues

Other Volumes | Keyword Search | White River Valley Quarterly Home | Local History Home

Copyright © White River Valley Historical Quarterly

 Springfield-Greene County Library