Volume 5, Number 10 - Winter 1975-76

by Jewell Ross Mehus

Kathryn Stone Purcell, Santa Barbara, Calif., writes: "My grandparents were Benjamin Stone and Catherine Smithson Stone who came from Cannon county, Term. Also Thomas Edward Phillips and Elizabeth Collins Phillips, from Bloomington and Collinsville, Illinois.
"My maternal Grandfather and grandmother were George Herbert Phillips (Herb) and Effie Stone Phillips, residents of Forsyth for many years. Granddad Phillips married Emmett and Garnett Wolfe Adams and built their first house.
"May McCord was a friend of my grandfathers. Did Mrs. Mankey write more than one book of poetry?
"My mother is Anna Phillips Grill and I am the daughter of her previous marriage to Raymond Stone of Republic.
"I remember so well Maud Freeland, Frieda Ingenthron, and Rachel Church."

A "Home Town Boy Makes Good" strikes the same chord as any story of home, God and mother. Why not? Everyone can think of how in some way he or she influenced or gave a boost along the way or perhaps just gave love and encouragement.
Not being a native of Taney County, though it is 53 years since I first visited the area, I can claim neither influence nor encouragement... though for years I’ve nudged and exhorted Elmo Ingenthron to get into print the things he eternally talked about, the history of his beloved county and state. We so often quote, at our house, the remark of his son Chandis Ingenthron, quite young then, just a child. I was laying it on thick. The youngster looked up at me then to say, "My father is a very busy man."
Now we are reading the second volume of Elmo’s Ozark regional history series, "The Land of Taney." It is a goodly sized book of 523 pages printed by the School of the Ozarks.
It is more than a hist6ry of Taney County, it’s a good story. Perhaps better said, it is a book of many stories which give life and feeling to history. In the newspaper field we call them human interest stories or feature stories. They bring alive history and make good reading any time, anywhere; with a group of compatible friends and family, they will keep children reading history instead of surreptiously laying an exciting paperback inside the pages.
Do you scold when you must raise your count from 45 minutes to an hour for reaching Springfield from Branson. You will feel content with a 55 mile an hour speed after you read Ingenthron’s chapter on "Commercial Roads and Freight Wagons." He writes, "It took a week to ten days for the freighters from Huntsville, Harrison, and Yellville regions to make a trip to Springfield, Ozark, or Chadwick and return..."
In a bit of the telling of the building of the "Walnut Shade-Spokane Road, "quoted from Ingenthron who quotes from Judge Keithley, we read:
"The road machinery consisted of two chopping axes, a hatchet, and an ox wagon. The power was a yoke of oxen and transportation was one grey mare.
"I was the driver of the oxen, Old man Hilton was the surveyor. His surveying instrument was ~ tomahawk. We began at the Walnut Shade end of the route. I think it was in May or June. Hilton was about 70 or 75 years of age, and he rode the grey mare. We could see her a long way off and there was no underbrush then. My father and Austin would follow Hilton and I drove the ox team. We did not have to cut many trees, but had to move those that had fallen across the place where the road was to go...
According to Mr. Keithley it took some time to complete the opening-up process. The builders camped along the way as they worked the road. At that time it was all a virgin forest and not a person lived along the entire route. Mr. Keithley said, "We could hear the howling of timber wolves at night and the warning of the timber rattler by day."
The present highway that follows the principal divide between Bear Creek and Bull Creek was for the most part built on or adjacent to the Walnut Shade-Spokane route laid out by Mr. Hilton and his small crew in 1882.
There, there, space and time stoppeth me. You may continue by purchasing the book.

Jewell Ross Mehus

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