Volume 6, Number 11 - Spring 1979

Rantz Mill and Spring
by W.D. Cameron

Dr. Wayne Davis and his brother-in-law, Mr. Shirkey, were my guides to the location of what had been the original Rantz Mill and Spring adjacent to the Taney-Christian County lines, should anyone desire to visit that spot. Warning is that they do not go alone. The approach to the Rantz Spring is made dangerous by the fact that huge boulders have been part of a rock slide. The spring and its approaches have their part of Ozark Mountain beauty. The Ranez (changed to Rantz) came from Germany in the 1800s and their first born son was given the name Daniel Boone Rantz. Daniel Boone Rantz built his small Mill building immediately above the cave and spring. The Mill was powered by a paddle wheel. Power from this wheel was transmitted by cable to the grist mill. To obtain enough water to operate the Mill, Daniel Boone Rantz closed the cave opening with rocks and left a small spill- way that could be used for release of water to the wheel. Water was impounded in the cave in sufficient volume to allow the water, when released, to operate the wheel and the Mill for a period of three hours each working day. The outlet was then closed and water impounded toward the next days need.

Time passed and our early settlers moved in. Three hours per day of Mill operation failed to meet their needs. Daniel B. Rantz met the need by installing a steam engine. This power change allowed him to operate twelve hours each day. His defendant Roy Rantz, of Reeds Spring Junction, Highway 248, gave me good information about his family and the Rantz Mill.

When change over to steam power was completed, the mill operated on a work day schedule for over thirty years, except for Sundays. The Rantz family were strict in their observance of the Sabbath.

Roy Rantz has in his possession a family Heirloom. The original Buhrs that Daniel Boone Rantz installed in his first mill, and used until the Mill ceased operation.

During the period of time that the Rantz Mill was in service, the State of Missouri listed 740 Mills; mostly small ones, the year A.D. 1900.

In 1924 when the writer started out selling leather transmission belting to the milling trade, the list of Mills had dropped to 151. In this year, 1979, only one Mill is operating out state in Missouri. The old McDaniel Mill, now National Biscuit Mill at Carthage, Mo, a captive mill, using the flour manufactured there in the National Biscuit Company’s own bakeries.

Little memories. The Mill was built in 1902 as a Spite Mill. The then McDaniel was in partnership with Morrow in a mill on the site of the old Pearl Mill (1848) McDaniel thought that Morrow was making too much money, Morrow bought him out, and as seems to be the fate of all spite, the Morrow Milling Company outlived the McDaniel name. Then in the first quarter of the 1900’s, Lizzie McDaniel managed the McDaniel Mill, and was succeeded in management by her nephew Thomas Staley, who quit in order to join his son Tom Staley in the creation of the Staley Milling Company, Kansas City, Missouri.

An old folks tale. One morning the older McDaniel gave Lizzie one dollar, George one dollar, and Bunch one dollar. By noon, Bunch was owner of all three dollars.

Heloise tells how to bleach old, yellowed newspaper clippings--I have been knee-deep in the restoration of old scrapbooks, I learned that old, yellowed newspaper clippings can be bleached white again by soaking them in a household bleach and water solution and then rinsing in clear water afterwards.

The amount of bleach is optional. I used about one cup to almost a gallon of warm water and the clippings bleached (depending on the degree of age and yellowness) in about ten to fifteen minutes.

After it’s rinsed, and while it’s wet, spread the clippings on a flat surface to dry and you will think it is brand new!

In my own case, I am applying the various clear films which come in a spray can and preserving the clippings indefinitely to prevent the yellowing and decay.

Incidently, this soaking also removed all the old paste and scrapbook paper which had adhered to the back of the clippings when removing them from the pages of the scrapbook.’


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