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Hi rambling readers. I am so very glad to be back in the saddle for week number five to continue our series about the Trail of Tears. O K–- let me catch everyone up that may have missed a week and for the new readers that need to know where we are in this story. A quick summary is: 190 years when Andrew Jackson was president he pushed congress and our nation to rid our country of all Native Americans. Fraudulent peace treaties, unfair laws and the power of the United States military were very successful in capturing the vast majority of the Indians by any means. We also learned that the Cherokees were very educated and lived in log cabins, owned hundreds of slaves and many had adapted the Christian religion. O K, enough review, let's get started! I already have our history horses saddled for everyone to ride with me in stealth mode into the past. Please mount up and let’s go ride and observe and listen in- first person- present tense. Let’s begin where we left off last week. Close your eyes–count to three. One, two, three–swish we made it! Look below—-friendly reminder: Mr Igley Moley of the Valley Flat Plantation is joining up forces with General Winfield Scott of the United States Army. The army is after the Indians and Mr Moley wants their slaves and land by any means. Let’s all hideout in the clouds above and listen in on Mr Moley and General Scott negotiating terms as they are eating supper. The servants are serving Mr Moley with his family and General Winfield Scott a fabulous meal. Steak, sweet potatoes, gravy and peach pie. Mr Igley Moley, how about it General anything more my servant can serve you? “ General, “I’m fine this has been one fine meal!” Mr Igley Moley, “very well let’s go into my study and join me for one of our cigars that we market and make ourselves. General Scott, “I would be delighted Mr Moley.” (Mr Moley and General Scott get up and go to the study room and sit down and light up cigars.) General Scott, “not bad, this is a great cigar, no wonder your plantation is famous for its cigars.” Mr Moley, “thank you general—- we ship wagon loads of our cigars and tobacco per year up to you yankees. General Winfield Scott, O K Mr Moley let’s get down to business and discuss terms. I have 500 soldiers camped on your land this evening and I appreciate you letting me use your mule barn as a stockade for the captured Cherokees we are holding until we can send them to Oklahoma.” Mr Moley, the Valley Flat joins Cherokee land on our northern border. I believe we can work together.” General Scott, “Mr Moley I am going to be to the point. I want to use your plantation as a staging area for my soldiers and I want to build stockades for the captured Indians. Also: I need the use of your slaves to build stockades for the Indians and to grow enough food for my troops and fodder for our horses. I will keep my troops busy day and night rounding up the Indians.” Mr Moley, “Very well General. You have some high demands however I can do it for the right price. I will need double the income I received last year from my cotton and tobacco acres. General Winfield Scott, “money is no problem Mr Moley. President Jackson wants these Indians captured and removed quickly! Mr Moley, “General you have a deal.” General Winfield Scott, “not quite so fast, Igley Moley there’s one more condition that must be met before we shake hands. I want Idimer Hader as my personal scout and tracker for the duration of rounding up the Indians. His reputation is infamous for his ability to track runaway slaves.” Mr Igley Moley, “now you have gone too far. He’s needed here to keep my slaves in line.” General Scott, “no deal without Idimer Hader and his mule.” Mr Igley Moley, mmmm O K I tell you what I can do. We get all the slaves and land that the Cherokees own when we capture the Cherokees.” General Scott, “It's a deal Mr Igley Moley. You want to shake hands and we start tomorrow?” (The two men shake and finish smoking their cigars) Whoa up rambling friends. Just think about what we have all seen and heard. Mr Moley and General Scott are more
The farmer down the road was the first person to pay me for working. more
I told myself I wouldn’t write this column, but Angela just won’t let go, nor would I wish it so. This is for all who mourn Angelas of their own: more
Hi rambling friends and neighbors. I am so very honored to be back for a new exciting adventure that all of us will enjoy and learn about our local history. Now for a little bit of background to explain why this is so very important. I have always liked stories from the past, especially the 1800’s. Forty years ago I soon realized that many of our families have Indian lineage in our family trees. I often wondered why and soon discovered that the Trail of Tears is the reason. Today nearly everyone has heard something about the forced march of the Indians through our county of long ago. Now let’s go back to a story that I heard in 1990 about a family of Indians that came to our county to pay respect for their fallen family member as a result of the forced march. I will admit I simply could not shake this story from my head so I began researching and going back into the past to the root reason why they came through to begin with. I want everyone to sit back at this time and pay close attention to everything written this week because in the future everything will hinge on this background knowledge to understand (the rest of the story) as the famous Paul Harvey used to say. Also: dear friends: I have a whole herd of special horses for all of you to ride with me into the past to understand and personally witness for yourself what happened. Other writers tell you about their story- as a rambling reader you can read and watch both. O K everyone got your mount picked out? We are riding into the past to the year of 1829 and President Andrew Jackson was our president and he was a ( I don’t care what you think) kind of President. One of his first actions was firing everyone from the past administration and hiring his own people to run the country. This custom began with his administration and is continued today as a result of President Jackson. Also: General Jackson years earlier was the hero of: ‘The battle of New Orleans.’ Alright everyone, I see that everyone is mounted. Follow me, let's ride!------- Whoa everyone!! Let’s look at what our country looked like long ago. Everything looks so very different. Congress is in session and President Jackson is speaking .Let’s all listen to President Jackson telling members of congress what he wants to accomplish during his term. “I want all of the civilized tribes of the Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw, Choctaw and especially the Cherokees to be removed from our country. I am going to submit the Indian Removal Act soon and I want congress to pass it and I’ll sign it. Our country will be much better without Indians in our land. I want them all to be sent to a place called the Oklahoma Territory, the land of red clay and rattlesnakes.” O K my friends let me tell you a few back stories as we listen to Andrew Jackson talking again. The five civilized tribes were considered a threat to white Europeans citizens because they were educated and many of them had adopted the White man’s ways. The Cherokees in particular were worrisome to Jackson and considered them a threat and a scourge. The governor of Georgia was a good friend to Jackson and let’s fast forward a bit and listen in on their conversation. Governor Gilmer: “President Jackson we have been good friends for several years. Now I think we both share the same sentiments about the Indians. They are educated, well respected by many and even gold has been discovered on their land. My state is passing a law making it legal to take everything away from the Indians especially the Cherokees and Seminoles! President Jackson: “well done my friend, If I have my way I am going to get congress to give me the authority to tell them to get out or I will round them up like cattle and force them out of our great country. I want it to be my greatest accomplishment that I –Andrew Jackson was responsible for removing all the Indians. Don’t worry Governor Gilmer I will not let you down.” Governor Gilmer, “Thank you my friend I knew I could count on you for support on this personal matter.” Oh my rambling friends, these two aren’t very nice! Now let’s give you some more back stories, The process of trying to more
Nearly a century ago, Vance Randolph began wandering the hills and hollers of the Ozarks visiting rich and poor alike, on shady porches, and beside the welcoming fire of foxhunters. Truly a man of the people, he listened to bankers, ferrymen, hunters, doctors and itinerant berry pickers, recording what he heard, saving large swaths of Ozark country’s culture in story and song. He made every attempt to meet and try to understand the people he was recording, by “immersing himself in village life, contributing items for the paper, dabbling in local politics” and in some cases living with his informants for several months. This culminated in classics such as Ozark Magic and Folklore, Who Blew up the Churchouse?, and finally the bawdy collection, Pissing in the Snow. His newest work, Mildred Quit Hollering! holds true to all previous volumes, and provides fresh commentary on the subject matter. Published forty-three years after his death, this volume became a labor of love for Curtis Copeland, who was given the unfinished collection by Dr. Gordon McCann who in turn, had received it from Randolph himself. more
I want to thank the citizens of Marshfield for electing me to another term as Mayor. The weight of this honor does not go unnoticed. I want to thank all of those that showed support by delivering Easter eggs, watching the forum or even a simple message to say you were on my side. It all means the world to me. Your confidence in my continued leadership is humbling and so appreciated! more
Good news, armchair critics: Young people can still write compelling and coherent prose and poetry with exceptional candor and grammatical skill. more
Last night around 11 p.m., we heard a familiar noise from the darkened hallway outside our bedroom door. It was part moan, part growl and part muffled meow. Tom and I glanced at each other because we knew what that sound meant. Percy had another mouse. more
Continued from the Feb. 28 edition of the Marshfield Mail: more
Hello to all my wonderful friends and rambling reader family. I will admit it has been a tough week for me because I have had a mental war going on between my ears. more
One hundred and thirty years ago, John Bollinger, who owned and operated the water mill in the vicinity of Pitts and Burford, had a dog that went mad. According to the Chronicle, before it could be killed it bit several head of cattle, numerous hogs and a flock of ducks; more
The Missouri Ozarks are chock full of both caves and legends about them. Gaudily colored advertising of outlaws and wayward conquistadors, cry forth from tourist brochures, billboards and painted barn tops, often alluding to buried hordes of plunder. Caves with more credible tales get more dignified advertising and historic markers. These “cave tales” whether true or not have one big difference with Marshfield’s subterranean wonderland; those caves actually exist. It is easy to build a cave legend around some wild tale. In Marshfield we seem to have legends “of” a cave, rather than those “about” one. Where did they come from? Three answers, wagons, newspapers and land speculation. more
A submitted response from David Tunnell, who brings us  a different story from his grandfather George Tunnell regarding last week's “Quote of the Week”.  He writes: more
Have you ever heard the legend of the cave? For generations, tales have persisted that beneath Marshfield lay a grotto of extraordinary breadth and depth, connecting many of the buildings around the square. The stories range from outlandish to downright plausible, with no one able to put an “X” on a spot of known entry. Rumors of alleged openings, some still supposedly in use, follow every building with a lower level. The only thing found thus far that even closely denotes an entrance is/was an old cistern in the back of the Ritz, which served in the theater days as part of an arcane cooling system. It is unknown whether it survived the remodel, but pictures of it can be seen at the museum. Scouring the rock outcroppings in the park and springs around the city yields nothing, but every old-timer you ask, can relate, with a twinkle in his eye, about somebody long dead, “who coulda told ya.” more
Species: Eastern Bluebird more
Jan. 26, 2024 more
A friend called a few days ago asking if I had a lantern she could borrow, not an unusual request from someone needing a light, but she had another purpose. more
Last week I wrote about “Mean Girls” and the problem of having seen a version of the movie before, which made it too familiar and predictable. I meant it in a very literal sense – there was a 2004 movie called “Mean Girls,” written by Tina Fey, with basically the same characters and story (though no more
Hi to all my wonderful rambling friends. I am glad to be back for another story from the past. Last Tuesday, I had a call from a school wanting to bring 100 third graders to Frontier Theater for their annual spring field trip. I told the teacher that I was no longer hosting school field trips. Folks, for those who do not know, I started Frontier Theater in 1989. For five years, it featured many different venues. In 1994, we hosted our first school field trip. Long story short, the park entertained and educated over 100,000 kids. We featured Native American Skills, Early Settler Adventures, and Civil War Reenactments. Plus: old-fashioned games and much more. Friends, I can not begin to tell you how wonderful our artisans and reenactors were. The best of the best! The kids loved and respected them greatly. more
I’ve come across the word “anachronism” often in reading, but I was never exactly sure what it meant. Context usually hinted it was something out of place, but I wanted to be sure; so, as a last resort I looked it up in the dictionary. more
Hi to all my rambling friends of Webster County and beyond. A few weeks ago, I was driving down Old Wire Road (west of Marshfield off of Hwy 38 and E ) and noticed a crew of skilled masonry workers. They were restoring the old spring house that kept the milk cool before electricity was available across from the famous Hosmer dairy barn. O.K. folks: Let’s all go back into the past and review when the Hosmer’s dairy operation was the pinnacle of all dairy herds. During the early 1900s, the Wire Road was the main travel route through Webster County. In addition, Highway 38 West from Marshfield was nothing but a dirt trail. When the Hosmer’s first began they milked a handful of cattle with the aspirations of expanding. They were always trying to improve and be the best. Through hard work and good management, they expanded over the years to an unheard number of 100 cows. more
Now that we’ve had a cold snap – and along with it, snow – we can say that winter is here. Although many of the conditions associated with winter (snow, ice, cold weather, etc.) make us grumble, it should be pointed out that there is a bright side. Because of our recent periods of less-than-balmy weather, it should be a great time to see one of the area’s most eye- catching winter visitors – bald eagles. more
I passed by my grandpa’s farm on the old Springfield/Buffalo road one morning last week. more
Hi to all my rambling friends. It's always my pleasure to share another bit of forgotten history and memories with you. I grew up near Elkland, and as a child, I have many fond memories of the little town in the northwest part of Webster County. Folks, this week, I have been asking several people this question: what is the tallest structure in Elkland? I have heard many varied answers. Do any of my rambling readers want to take a guess? Did anyone say or think of an old-fashioned concrete silo? more
January was always a hard month when I was a boy on the farm. more
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