by Rocky Macy
Though few people today probably realize it, there were many famous individuals who called the Ozarks home. Yes, most school children know that Dr. George Washington CARVER was born into slavery on a farm near Diamond, Newton County, MO, and that the "bandit queen," Belle STARR (Myrabelle SHIRLEY) was a native of the area around Carthage, Jasper County, MO. And not too far north of Carthage is the small town of Lamar, MO, in Barton County, the birthplace of President Harry S. TRUMAN. But the list doesn't end there. Please read on...
Larry A. JAMES, whose multi-volume Saga of the Six Bulls continues to grow as a definitive source of Newton County, MO, history and genealogy, has provided Rootbound with a list of notables who have roots in and around Neosho. Perhaps as our readers scan through these names they will come up with others in neighboring communities. If that happens, send them to Rootbound and we'll share.
Thomas Hart BENTON, a painter of world renown, came from Neosho. Though some might assume that Benton School in Neosho was named for him, that honor was actually bestowed upon his father, Congressman M.E. BENTON, also a resident of the "Flower Box City."
Other Neosho natives include Admirals Roy E. ANDERSON and Wayne RICKMAN, Wiley BRITTON (author of books on the Civil War), Medal of Honor Recipients Aaron R. HUDSON (Civil War) and M. Waldo HATLER (World War I), Herman JAEGER (credited with saving the grapes of France), Dan LONGWELL (Chairman of the Board of Life Magazine), True MORSE (Undersecretary of Agriculture of President EISENHOWER), Mert SANDERS (Warden of the Missouri State Penitentiary), Jacquelin SCOTT (actress), James S. SCOTT (music composer), Roy SCANTLIN (State Commissioner of Education), Cassius SHARTEL (Member of Congress and President of the Missouri State Constitutional Convention of 1922), O.P. SKAGGS (founder of Safeway), Joe SOBIESKI (candidate for governor of Missouri), and Hugh Armstrong ROBINSON (pioneer aviator whose exploits have been noted in previous Rootbound columns.
Will ROGERS and Champ CLARK each attended Scarritt College in Neosho. Scarritt was located where Intermediate School is today. Ma BARKER reportedly lived in Neosho for a while, and Ralph HOUK played baseball in the town.
Our thanks to Larry A. JAMES for sharing this interesting list. Those desiring more information on his Saga of the Six Bulls should contact Larry at his home at 400 Susan Place, Neosho, MO 64850. It's an invaluable series!
It's been quite a while since Rootbound has heard from Jean HAAR (1600 South Baldwin Avenue, #26, Arcadia, CA 91007), and we thought that maybe she had found all of her Ozark ancestors. But a recent letter indicates that there are still a few missing pages in the family album.
Jean HAAR (above) is seeking information on Ella (TUNNELL) SMITH, daughter of William David TUNNELL and his wife, Nancy Jane HUTCHINGS, who were living in Joplin, MO, in 1880 with children Sophronia, Charles, and Fenton. That family was in Indian Territory (OK) by 1905. And Jean also wishes to know more about William and Octavia (MOSS) CHADDOCK who were residents of Benton County, AR, in 1900. Do any of our readers have information to share?
Other surnames of interest to Jean HAAR (above) include: BLAIR, BOGAN, BULLARD, CASEY, CROWLEY, FULKERSON, HOUSTON, LINVILLE, LIVINGSTON, MAYO, McCLAIN, MONEY, PERKINS, RHEA, RORK, ROARK, STEPHENSON, UTT, and WARE.
Rootbound would like to add to our list of area notables. If you know of some famous (or infamous) individuals who have roots in the Ozarks, send those name to Rootbound in the Hills in care of this newspaper.
Until next week...happy hunting!