Times Past


This photo of the store at Locust, from the collection of the late Stella Martin Luna, is believed to have been taken shortly after the Locust post office opened in the store in 1911. According to “A History of Ozark County, 1841-1991,” Benjamin Breeding, right, was the only postmaster at Locust until it “closed out to Gainesville” in 1940. Also pictured, from left: Raymond McGinnis, Lonnie McGinnis, Margaret Webster Breeding, Stella Upton Martin, Clifford Webb and Bertha Webb holding Clifford’s brother.
Ozark County Times Jan. 18, 1918 This region has been experiencing the past week the most severe winter weather it has had in more than 30 years. On Thursday of last week it commenced snowing, on Friday the ground was covered to a depth of 12 or 14 inches and since then 6 inches has been added,...

We don’t know what occasion brought about this luncheon shared on the north-side lawn of the courthouse, but it may have been part of the open-house celebration marking the opening of the new Ozark County Times office after the original building burned on Feb. 14, 1963. We know the identity of only one person in the photo: Ruby Robins, who owned and operated the Ozark County Times with her husband, Fred Robins, is seated third from right. We speculate that the luncheon may have honored the Times’ correspondents and their families. The undated photo is part of the Ruby Robins collection of photos and memorabilia at the Ozark County Historium.
Ozark County Times Jan. 11, 1907 The County Court at its last session appointed Geo. W. Boone, W. T. Harlin and Marion Haskins as a committee to select a site and erect thereon a good substantial stone jail for Ozark county. The committee is authorized to sell the old jail and lot and with the...

This photo of the dam and powerhouse at Althea Spring is reprinted from “A History of Ozark County, 1841-1991,” which is available on DVD from the Ozark County Historium. A story by the late Dale Morrison accompanies the photo in the book, explaining that the area around the spring, now a Missouri Department of Conservation access point on the North Fork of the White River, was purchased by Karl W. Schmidt, owner of Builders Steel Co. of Kansas City, on May 9, 1958. Schmidt built a home, office, machine shop and caretaker’s home as well as the dam across the spring branch and a generator and powerhouse, which provided power for the Schmidt home. On Aug. 24, 1977, David Wagner drove Karl and his wife, Willa, to Springfield for doctors’ appointments. As they were returning home, all three were killed in a single-vehicle crash near Seymour. In 1980, MDC purchased the spring and surrounding property for $200,000.
Ozark County Times Jan. 7, 1916 Hammond – H. T. Owens and Bob Jones drove into Pond Fork which had a four-foot rise. The swift water carried the team and buggy some 50 yards below the ford before they could land. The buggy was completely submerged but remained upright, and the boys refused to leave...

We can’t be sure this photo was taken after the wolf hunt reported (below) in the Jan. 2, 1941, edition of the Times, but it seems likely, given that the late Raymond Luna, second from right, is pictured with four other men, probably Everett Johnson, Jud Hayes, Ode Beasley and Boyd Hickey. Except for Luna, we don’t know which name goes with which man. If you can help identify them, please contact Sue Ann Jones at 417-989-1040 or sueann@ozarkcountytimes.com.
Correction: We’ve been informed that the woman named as Mary Mefford in last week’s 1963 photo of Ozark County Times correspondents should have been identified as Delphia Mefford, correspondent for Price Place (Arkansas).   Ozark County News Dec. 30, 1904 Joda Wilson, Constable of Barren Fork...

This photo of the Ozark County Times correspondents, dated Sept. 28, 1963, was recently shared with the Ozark County Historium by occasional Times correspondent Theta Nokes, whose mother, Lilliam Clayton, is one of the correspondents pictured. These names are written on a piece of paper attached to the photo: Front row, from left: Edith Reynolds, Centerpoint; Alzona Miller, Sandridge; Rose Ranck, Dawt; Pearlie Poe, Charity; Golda Walker, Grabeel; Hazel Effia Hodges, Toledo; Bertha Watson, Lilly Ridge; Rose Snell, Pine View and Willhoit; Mary Mefford, Price Place and Alma Garrison, Guber. Back row: Pansy Rozell, Ocie; Roy Pare, Romance; Brooksie McGinnis, Lutie and Theodosia; Lilliam Clayton, Wasola; Opal Hooper, Gamaliel, Arkansas; Bessie Freeman, Crossroads; Edythe Farmer, Hi-Romance; Edith Jones, Clark; Bessie Feemster, Noble; Ila Young, Lone Pilgrim; Jenice Williamson, Nottinghill; Dohna Mahan, Caney; Blanche Honeycutt, Idumea; Audy Wallace, Longrun; Verna Gardner, Souder; and J. W. Findley, Hammond, who wrote the “Weatherman Bill” column.
Ozark County News Dec. 21, 1899 Rev. A. L. Simmons, pastor of the M. E. Church of this place, returned Monday after holding a three-week revival meeting at the Howard Ridge Church. He reports a good interest in the meeting resulting in 15 additions to the church, six by letter and nine on probation...

This photo, from the collection of Judy Ford Lyons, shows Ozark County’s second jail, built in the 1870s in Gainesville and most likely the one mentioned in the 1897 report of a prisoner’s attempted escaped in this week’s Times Past. A History of Ozark County, 1841-1991 says the two-story jail, about 12’ x 18’, was attached to the sheriff’s dwelling with removable steps leading to a second-story doorway. The lower jail level could be entered from the long porch fronting the sheriff’s dwelling. The jail and dwelling were “located in the field across Lick Creek, northeasterly from the town square, where Highway 160 bridge crosses the creek,” according to the history book. In its Dec. 28, 1905, edition, the Ozark County Republican expressed its opinion that “the jail ... is little better than a hog pen, ...disgraceful to the county.” A later newspaper story said the old jail “is immediately below a livery stable and the drainage from the stable naturally makes the jail a very unsanitary place to confine persons.” In its Jan. 11, 1907, edition, the Ozark County Times reported that the county court had appointed a committee to select a site and erect “a good substantial stone jail for Ozark County.” That jail is believed to stand today near Harlin Drive and Third Street and is owned by Wayne and Doris Sayles.
Ozark County News Dec. 9, 1897 James Guilliams, who is in jail on a charge of burglary, came near causing a conflagration in town last Thursday by trying to burn his way to freedom. The jail is made of logs, and the walls are double.  Last Thursday, while passing through the alley, Hugh Layton...

The “Whiddleing Club” in this undated photo from Romance, shared a few years ago by Russ Robinson before his death, isn’t the club whose members complained in the 1932 item below about the “whittling material” two of the members supplied, but it might have been a group that whittled about the same time.
Ozark County News Dec. 7, 1899 Noah Hawkins, an old citizen of this county who went to the Indian Territory about two months ago to locate, is among us again and occupies the residence east of the school building.  Noah, like many of us, has drunk of the waters of Lick Creek too often to attempt to...

This photo shows the Ozark County Courthouse that burned in 1934, as reported in the Times Past item below. The building, completed in 1874, was said to have been “built of wood from the county’s pineries.” After the courthouse was destroyed by fire on Nov. 28, 1934, the county court purchased the Christian Church building – a small portion of which can be seen on the left edge of the photo. The congregation was moving out of the building, which was located on the east side of the square near the present site of Park Place Realty. After that former church building also burned in 1947, county offices operated out of several rental quarters on the square until the current building was completed in 1939, costing $43,000 – paid for by a county bond issue and a 55 percent matching grant from the Federal Works Project Administration.
Ozark County Times Dec. 2, 1910 On account of there being so many post office names so nearly like Benners in the state, and the mail so often is miss sent, the name of Benners, 4 miles northwest of Thorn-field, has been changed to Toledo.  Dimock – Taylor Luna, who has been teaching the New Hope...

This photo of Dr. W. T. “Willy” Wiles is from an unidentified and undated newspaper clipping posted on the Bakersfield School Alumni Facebook page. A 1901 Ozark County Times item (below) shares a Bakersfield report that Wiles had left for Memphis to attend medical school. The caption accompanying the newspaper photo, obviously published some years later, said Dr. Wiles was “one of four physicians who practiced in the Bakersfield area in the early part of this century. They all would make area house calls day or night on horseback or in a horse-drawn buggy. Wiles, who died in 1961, was Mrs. Swain’s brother and the uncle of Dr. Jack Wiles of West Plains.”
Ozark County Times Nov. 15, 1901 Bakersfield – W. T. Wiles departed Sunday to attend medical college in Memphis, Tenn.     Nov. 27, 1908 Dora – Mrs. Tilda Bennett, wife of Jim Bennett, died at their home just south of Dora last Tuesday night. She was interred in the Sweeton cemetery Thursday at...

These men may have been members of the Gainesville Band who, according to an item in the Nov. 14, 1895, Ozark County News, reprinted below, “ascended the big hill opposite town and rendered several pieces of good music.” Front row, from left: John C. Harlin, Roy Tate, Guy Wood, Harry Walker. Middle: Everett Luna, Harry Force. Back: George Boone, Charley Burk, Averill Harrison, Frank Walker, Will Burk, Unknown. The photo is from John Harlin’s collection; the names were written on the photo by the late Madge Harlin Brown.
Ozark County News Nov. 14, 1895 Last Sunday morning the Gainesville Band ascended the big hill opposite town and rendered several pieces of good music. A better time could not have been selected. The morning was cool, the atmosphere light and clear, and the sun was shining brightly. The band could...

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Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423

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