Times Past


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...

As Ozark County native John R. Sims celebrates his 90th birthday (see page 7), we thought it was a good time to share again this photo of the Sims Locker Plant in Gainesville, from the collection of the late Phyllis Herndon and shared by her niece, Rhonda Herndon. Shown in the 1949 photo are, from left, Odean Goodway, P.O. Sims, John R. Sims, Alton Kyle with son Jimmy, Neil Lawrence, Howard Wade, Jack Barger and Bob Kyle. John R. Sims, now living in Mountain Home, Arkansas, operated the business with his father, P.O. Sims. He told the Times in 2016 he does not recall the occasion for the photo but did remember that Egbert Robbins and Aus Shanks built the locker plant and cheese plant in Gainesville at about the same time, around 1945-46. John R. and Eddie Shanks “mixed mud all summer” for the blocks used in constructing the locker plant; they then joined Hayden Carter in mixing mud for the cheese plant blocks. That summer the Rural Electric Authority ran the first three-phase electrical lines to Gainesville to provide power for the two facilities. The locker plant provided freezer space for rent to residents at a time when most homes only had small refrigerators with tiny freezer compartments.
Ozark County Times Nov. 8, 1901 Thornfield – Elders G. R. Curry and P. A. Byrd baptized 38 converts Sunday. Mrs. Abija Frost and five of her children were baptized. Mrs. Pease died last Tuesday at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Carry Love. The remains were buried in the cemetery south of town.  Our...

The fire that destroyed Dick Deupree’s 93-year-old home in Dora reminded us of this photo of the Deupree Store, which was included in an album of photos found several years ago by John L. Harlin in an unused Century Bank of the Ozarks vault. A 1913 story in the Times explained that E. Y. Mitchell was in the county with a photographer named Stark taking photos, probably including this one, to use in promotional materials for Mitchell’s plan to “colonize” land here. According to a history of Dora by the late Bess Cropper, Dick Deupree’s grandparents, Edwin and Mattie Deupree, bought the Dora store and adjoining farm in 1912, a year before this photo was taken; the family operated the store for decades. It close in 1967 after the death of Edwin’s son, Ray.
Ozark County Times Nov. 2, 1917  Rep. G. W. Collins was here from Brixey Monday on business. He was very sore and barely able to move about, caused from military drilling on Sunday at Brixey under command of Taylor Walker. Mr. Walker was one of the 26 who were sent from this county to Camp Funston...

The date and source of this photo of the Elijah store and post office are unknown, but it is known that George Hardin opened the first post office there in 1905 and named it after his son. It’s thought that the photo shows the “mail hack” stopped in front (left) of the store building. Handwriting beneath the original photo said “K. Parker,” thought to be a reference to Avery Elcaney (“K”) Parker (1867-1957), who was postmaster in 1911-1912. The Elijah post office closed in 1973. This photo is reprinted from A History of Ozark County: 1841-1991, now out of print but available on searchable CD at the Ozark County Historium or through its website, ozarkcountyhistory.org.
Ozark County News Oct. 24, 1901 Our County Clerk, John C. Harlin, has purchased the newspaper outfit formerly owned by W. W. Harris at Cabool and has moved it into the old bank building and will establish a new paper here which will bear the name of the “Ozark County Times.”  Mr. Harlin has secured...

This photo of renowned mule trader Ferd Owen, an Ozark County native, is reprinted from the Jan. 26, 1948, edition of Life magazine, recently shared with the Times by Paul Rose. The magazine said that Owen, pictured here with a “cotton” mule, had “bought and sold as many as 100,000 horses and mules in a year.” Even more amazing, he was famous for being able to recognize and name the price of any mule he had ever bought or sold through the years. He was related to the Ozark County Amyxes. A 1955 item in this week’s Times Past collection reports his death at his home near Belton. His former 2,100 ranch there has been developed into a planned community in the Kansas City suburbs where Times Past columnist Mary Ruth Luna Sparks and her husband, Mike, make their home.
Ozark County Times Oct. 20, 1911 Nottinghill – F. H. Cantwell sold his cattle and is going into the sheep business. He says he is not afraid of the wolves now as Mr. Grudier and Mr. Williams make frequent trips over here with their hounds and have killed several wolves.  Landon Gaulding is having a...

Guy Howard, who became known as the Walkin’ Preacher of the Ozarks, is shown in this photo reprinted from the Dec. 25, 1944, edition of Life magazine. Howard is pictured with Lena Clayton (Mrs. Roy) Brown, 17, as she does laundry outside her Turkey Creek cabin in Ozark County. Howard told a reporter for the Springfield News-Leader that he walked about 3,300 miles in a year to preach in churches and schools around the Ozarks. An Oct. 15, 1942, item in this week’s Times Past reports that he had begun a two-week revival in Gainesville.
Ozark County News Oct. 10, 1895  A subscription is now in circulation for the purpose of raising money to purchase the 40-acre tract of land that the Gainesville Cemetery is located on. This is government land. Every-body in and around Gaines-ville is either directly or indirectly interested in...

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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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