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The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri

From a Chicken Coop to a Digital Collection of Family Letters for the World to See

February 15, 2020 —           Imagine the astonishment of Daniel Barnard and his father Kenneth as they discovered – in a great-aunt’s Rogersville chicken coop – a pack of family letters and documents exchanged during the American Civil War and Mexican-American War. One page contains the lyrics of “Havock and Slaughter,” a Civil War song written by an unknown author.

          The letters, spanning 1844-1865, were sent between the Yandle family of Greene County and the Wester family in Tennessee. Together, the materials offer a new snapshot of early Ozarks life and strong family ties.

          The find in great-aunt Florence Annie Barnard Johnson’s chicken coop stirred excitement for the library’s Local History & Genealogy staff, too, when Daniel Barnard allowed staff to convert it to a digital collection for the Digital Archive on

          Now, everyone can read The Barnard Family Collection online at You can see images of the handwritten pages, and click on “Transcript” for a readable transcription.  

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           All library branches are closed Monday for President’s Day, but the rest of the week is packed with activities for adults.

          Tuesday, Feb. 18, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Library Center auditorium is Movies for Grown-ups: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” sponsored by AARP. Light refreshments will be served.

            Planning a research trip to build your family tree? Learn how to do your fieldwork, first, with Ozarks Genealogical Society member Rita Wallace at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, in the Library Center auditorium.

            The popular Brown Bag Travelogue returns at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19,   at the Schweitzer Brentwood Branch. Nicholas and Holly Holladay will share experiences from their vacation to Havana, Cuba, “The Pearl of the Antilles.”

            It’s Radio Heyday Live! At 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at Schweitzer Brentwood Branch. Performers from Radio Heyday podcast ( will perform a new, family-friendly romantic comedy in the style of old-time radio. Enjoy an hour of romance and laughs at this live performance.

            Also on Saturday, Feb. 22, from 3-4:30 p.m. at the Midtown Carnegie Branch for age 14 and older, get a free, introductory course in playing the ukulele from instructor Karen Maxson. Bring your own uke, or you may borrow one. Call 862-0135 to reserve a borrowed one.


Kathleen O'Dell
Community Relations Director
(417) 616-0564
Sarah Jane Rosendahl
(417) 616-0566

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