Progress Notes

Joe Pryor - News Tribune Article Monday, June 04, 2007

Monday, October 27, 2008

Progress Notes

Last week we were very happy to receive a visit by Kathy (Martin) Fields and Marilyn (Barron) Bosso who are pictured here holding a large mirror Marilyn is donating to the museum which was originally hanging on the wall in the old Hauenstein’s General Store in Tuscumbia for many years (photo 01).

01 Kathy Martin Fields and Marilyn Barron Bosso
01 Kathy Martin Fields and Marilyn Barron Bosso

Marilyn’s great aunt, Ida (McCommon) Hauenstein (photo 02), was married to George T. Hauenstein (photo 03), and they were the originators of this famous landmark store in Tuscumbia.

02 Ida McCommons Hauenstein
02 Ida McCommons Hauenstein


03 George T. Hauenstein
03 George T. Hauenstein

Here is a very early photo of the store (photo 04).

04 Hauenstein's Store
04 Hauenstein's Store

After the death of Marilyn’s Great Uncle George Hauenstein in 1911, Ida ran the store for many years until her death in 1948 at which time Marilyn’s parents, Dorsey (photo 05) and Ruth (McCommon) Barron (photo 06) owned and managed the store for several years.

05 Dorsey Barron
05 Dorsey Barron


06 Ruth McCommons Barron
06 Ruth McCommons Barron

Because of Marilyn’s relationship through her mother to Ida McCommon Hauenstein, Marilyn was given many historical items belonging to the Hauensteins which came from the store. So we at the museum spent an entire day cataloguing the many articles of immense historical value which Marilyn has decided to donate to the museum.

Kathy (Martin) Fields is the daughter of Frank Martin, about whom I wrote last week regarding his harrowing escape from the fire which destroyed the Bear General Merchandise Store in Bagnell in 1931. She is also a cousin of mine since her father Frank’s mother, Cristina (Bear) Martin was a sister to my grandfather, Madison Bear. Kathy and her sister Elizabeth have donated much in the way of photographs and historical materials to the museum in the past also. Both Kathy and Marilyn live in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

I have written about Hauenstein’s Store previously which you can read at this URL on our website:

The McCommons and Barrons families are two families which have a long history in Miller County. I was happy to receive some information about them which Marilyn supplied me. First, I will copy here a biography of Ida McCommons Hauenstein, who with her husband George Hauenstein, started the Hauenstein General Store in Tuscumbia which as I indicated above I wrote about in the December 10, 2007 Progress Notes.  But for this week I will include more biographical information about Ida as written by Walter S. Stillwell, a prominent Tuscumbia attorney in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s (photo 07).

07 Walter and Lydia Fendorf Stillwell
07 Walter and Lydia Fendorf Stillwell

This biography as written by Mr. Stillwell was published in the Tuscumbia Autogram on February 19, 1948 as a part of Mrs. Hauenstein’s obituary:

Biography of Ida McCommons Hauenstein

W.S. Stillwell

Our community was saddened at the noon hour Sunday the 15th because of the death of Mrs. Ida R. Hauenstein, commonly called “Aunt Ida”. Mrs. Hauenstein has been one of the leading and well beloved citizens of Tuscumbia, and closely identified with the religious and business life of the community, since the year 1886 when she and her late husband, George T. Hauenstein, began the general mercantile business that continued until his death in 1911, and thereafter continued under the ownership and management of Mrs. Hauenstein until death, a period of more than sixty years.

Mrs. Hauenstein comes from one of the pioneer families of Miller County. Her father, Stanhope McCommons, was a native of North Carolina, his family afterward moving to Tennessee, where he met and married Julia Ann Youngblood. Mr. McCommons brought his family to Missouri in 1855, first living in St. Clair County, and later to Miller County in 1861.

Funeral services were held at the Presbyterian Church (photo 08), she being one of the charter members of this congregation, on Tuesday, February 17th, at 2:00 P.M. Reverend W.J. Gammon, the pastor, officiating.

08 Presbyterian Church
08 Presbyterian Church

The song service was under the direction of T.C. Wright and consisted of a men’s chorus.

The following acted as pall bearers: D.O. Barron, B.H. Cantwell, W.F. Clark, Henry Maggi, R.L. Wright, L.E. Kallenbach.

Interment was in the Tuscumbia Cemetery, in the Hauenstein family lot, under the direction of Phillips Funeral Home, of Eldon.

For further information relating to the life and activities of Mrs. Hauenstein, we refer to the following obituary:

Ida Rebecca (McCommons) Hauenstein

Ida Rebecca, daughter of Stanhope and Julia Anne Youngblood McCommons, was born near Eldon, Missouri, January 24, 1865; she died at her home in Tuscumbia on Sunday, February 15, 1948.

When she was a young girl, the family moved to a farm near Ulman, now the home of her brother, J.L. McCommons. Later, she attended school in Tuscumbia where she lived with her brother in law and sister, Dr. and Mrs. Henry A. Bradleyford.

On May 1886, Ida Rebecca McCommons was united in marriage with George T. Hauenstein, also of Tuscumbia. To this union one child was born, a son who died in infancy.

On December 2nd, 1889, Mrs. Hauenstein became one of the fourteen charter members of the Tuscumbia Presbyterian Church. The church record under that date recites, among other things, that “All standing with right hands uplifted, took the covenant to walk together as a Presbyterian Church, and were then constituted as such.”

Thereafter, on March 25, 1893, her husband, George T. Hauenstein united with the same church. Mr. and Mrs. Hauenstein remained as faithful members of this church until their respective deaths. After serving for a number of years on the Board of Deacons, Mr. Hauenstein departed this life on the 5th day of December, 1911. After the death of Mr. Hauenstein, his widow continued to live in this community, and continued to own and mange the mercantile business which was established by her husband soon after their marriage in 1886. She continued this ownership and took an active part in the operation of the business until she was past eighty years of age.

Mrs. Hauenstein was one of the principal stockholders of the Bank of Tuscumbia, and she served for many years on the Board of Directors of this institution.

While she was attentive to her business affairs, and became well acquainted throughout the business circles of the State, yet, we, her neighbors and friends will always cherish her memory for her friendly and cheerful disposition: for the interest she always manifested toward those who were in need of help: for the devotion she always manifested to her loved ones: for the continued loyalty in the Church she helped to organize, and her zeal in a attendance upon the services of the church including the Sunday School and Woman’s Auxiliary, and her generous support of the activities of the church and its several causes.

The deceased is survived by one brother, J.L. McCommons, of Ulman, and one sister, Mrs. Rosa L. Capps of Rolla, Missouri, and a number of nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by three brothers, William, James, and Charles McCommons, and by five sisters, Martha Bradleyford, Hanna Mathews, Ellen McClain, Julia Wilson and Mary McCombs.

“What we call life is a journey to death.
What we call death is the gateway to life.
Night always comes before the unfolding beauty of a dawning

W.S. Stillwell

For several years after the death of Ida Hauenstein her store was owned and operated by her niece and nephew in law, Mr. and Mrs. Dorsey Barron, parents of Marilyn Barron Bosso, who so kindly this last week donated so many of the Hauenstein General Store historical artifacts and memorabilia as I mentioned above.  Marilyn’s parents in 1964 held a liquidation sale of all the goods in the store and sold the property. This story was told in the Miller County Autogram-Sentinel:

Miller County Autogram-Sentinel

April 1, 1964

A complete disposal of the stock of general merchandise and groceries at the Barron store in Tuscumbia is under way this week and will mark the close of a business that has been practically an institution in the Tuscumbia community more than 75 years.

The store was closed for inventory most of last week and, without previous announcement, was opened Tuesday to sell out at discount prices. The word spread throughout the town and bargain hunters emptied many shelves the first day. The sale will continue until all merchandise is disposed of.

This type of general store was the country version of the modern shopping center where practically all items needed for every day country living could be purchased Groceries, dry goods, clothing, shoes, toys hardware, paint, drug items, furniture, and many other articles were included in the stock.

Mrs. Ruth Barron, assisted by her brothers in law and sisters, Mr. and Mrs. D.E. Kallenbach and Mr. and Mrs. Wes Clark, are conducting the sale.

The store was long known as Hauenstein’s Store, started by G.T. Hauenstein, who came to America from Germany at the age of 16. After his death, his widow continued the operation of the store throughout her lifetime.

The Barrons purchased the store from the Hauenstein estate in 1948. Bud Ward came to Tuscumbia March 1, 1961 from Slater, and operated the store a few months for Mrs. Ruth Barron, who was forced to retire from business due to ill health, and Mr. Ward contracted for its purchase in July that year. He relinquished control of the store last week to Mrs. Barron, the former owner.

The Wards will continue to live at Tuscumbia and Mr. Ward plans to accept a salesman’s position of some type. He was employed in this kind of work before coming to Tuscumbia.

Mrs. Barron is completely liquidating the store’s assets. She plans to sell the property and at the present rate the stock of merchandise will be depleted in a very short time.

Marilyn has recorded some of her memories working in Hauenstein’s Store as a child:

Aunt Ida and Uncle George Hauenstein started the Hauenstein’s Store in 1886. Uncle George passed away in 1911 and Aunt Ida continued to operate the store until she passed away in 1948.

The store was a general merchandise store carrying everything a farming community needed such as food, clothing, farm machinery, feed, tools, etc. When the store was first started, they would have merchandise shipped up the Osage River to Tuscumbia from St. Louis. When I was in 8th grade, I first started working at the store on Saturday and in the summers for 50 cents a day and on Saturdays $1.00. I waited on and filled customers orders, restocked the shelves with groceries, dipped ice cream, ground coffee, sold twists of tobacco, candled eggs, took the cream to be separated, sold shoes, clothes such  bib overalls, and anything else that needed to be done. You had to candle the eggs to make sure they were all good and not rotten and check the butterfat content in the cream to determine how much money the farmer would receive for the cream.

I worked at the store all through high school. I was very surprised and grateful to receive a graduating present from Aunt Ida of $1000 for my first year of college. Can you believe that the money covered my first year at Christian College for room, board, and tuition?

These pictures of Aunt Ida and Uncle George are when they were older (photos 09 and 10).

09 Ida McCommons Hauenstein - Later Photo
09 Ida McCommons Hauenstein - Later Photo


10 George Hauenstein - Later Photo
10 George Hauenstein - Later Photo

The house pictured below is Aunt Ida’s house she built in 1928 or ’29 for about $10,000 (photo 11).

11 Ida Hauenstein Home
11 Ida Hauenstein Home


Ida (McCommons) Hauenstein’s brother, John McCommons (photo 11a) was a well known and respected Miller County farmer..

11a John Lou McCommons
11a John Lou McCommons

He was the grandfather of Marilyn Barron Bosso. John McCommons’ obituary gives some more interesting history about the McCommons family:

John McCommons was the son of Stanhope and Julia Ann Youngblood McCommons. He was born near Eldon, February 12, 1867. He came from one of the pioneer families of Miller County. His father was a native of North Carolina, migrating to Tennessee where he married, later moving his family westward to Missouri in 1855, first to St. Clair County, and later to Miller County in 1861.

On October 30, 1887, he was married to Margaret Emily Graham (photo 11b) who preceded him in death on March 12, 1938.

11b Margaret Graham McCommons
11b Margaret Graham McCommons

To this union 8 children were born, all surviving as follows: Julia Wright, Tuscumbia; Willard L. of Reinbeck, Iowa; Sadie Clark and Albert Reice of Ulman; Ina Kallenbach of Tuscumbia; Helen Cantwell of Eldon, Ruth Barron of Tuscumbia (Mother of Marilyn Bosso); and John Graham of the U.S. Navy, whose home is in Salinas, California (photo 12). He is also survived by one sister, Mrs. Rosa Capps of Rolla, and 3 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

12 John Lou McCommons Family Photo
12 John Lou McCommons Family Photo

Mr. McCommons spent his entire life as a farmer and stock man near Ulman. He loved the soil and through experience learned to care for it well putting into practice modern soil conservatory methods which gave him success and satisfaction. Likewise, he also was a leader in promoting better livestock production, and would have only the best on his premise. He could talk with conviction to his friends and neighbors on the merits or demerits of this or that breed of livestock. His naturally cheery disposition was an inspiration to not only those of the farm circle but to everyone with whom he came in contact.

Here are some memories Marilyn has of her grandfather, John McCommons:

Grandfather John Lou McCommons lived on a farm about a mile south of Ulman. When I was growing up our family and the other sisters of my mother, Ruth (McCommons Barron) almost each Sunday had dinner or a visit at the farm. Grandfather and Grandmother always sent each family home with a sack of either fruits and vegetables or meat that had just been butchered or cured ham or bacon or butter that we had churned that day or fresh cream. Some of the memories of the farm are that in the summer time when the tomatoes started to ripen, Aunt Helen, cousins and I would go to the garden with a salt shaker and eat tomatoes in the garden (Aunt Helen always declared that the tomatoes always tasted better in the garden), picking persimmons with my dad and Uncle Hayes (they always made sure that I ate a green one), getting to quail hunt during the season (I can’t remember there not being a quail hunt on Thanksgiving Day and then a big dinner). When I was about 12, Uncle Dewey bought me a 20 gauge shot gun so I got to go quail hunting, too.  Of course, going out to see all of the cows or picking blackberries or apples or peaches was another eagerly anticipated activity. We always had some special activity going on and if not Aunt Ina or Aunt Helen created one.

Grandfather McCommons raised cattle, had apple orchards, and owned a feed mill in Ulman. He was a short, round faced, jolly, Englishman. I didn’t know Grandmother very well since she passed away when I was seven. As I remember her, she was a tall slender person. They had eight children: Julia (who married the rural mail carrier, Richard Wright); Willard, Sadie (who also married a rural mail carrier, Wes Clark); Reese, Ina (who married Dewey Kallenbach, one of the really well known personalities around Tuscumbia); Helen (who married Burleigh Cantwell….the two of them started the first hair salon in Eldon); Ruth (my mother, who taught school); and Glen.

Marilyn’s father, Dorsey Barron, also came from a historical family.  Marilyn has written a short history about the Barron family as follows:

My paternal ancestors were English, Irish, and German, with a little speculation thrown in. My Barron side of the family is traced back to the Commander of an English naval frigate of the American Revolution. The Barron “Coat of Arms” suggests that of a feudal Lord of French ancestors. The name was next listed as residential in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Later the name appeared in Missouri, Miller County, Flatwoods community, at the junction of the old Tuscumbia and Bagnell road which is halfway between Tuscumbia and Eldon on Highway 52. This is where my great grandfather, George Barron, owned a farm and was a blacksmith who was in great demand at that time of history. He forged steel tools necessary for farming in early pioneer times. At that time, nails were cut by hand from flaming steel which was a major part of smithing. George married Ann Riley, of an Irish family, who also lived in the same community. From this union was born Bascumb (Bass) Barron, my grandfather, who was a farmer in the Osage River valley between Bagnell and Tuscumbia.  Bass Barron was married to Nancy Eleanor Crisp (nee Harbison) (photo 13).

13 Ransom and Sarah Crisp
13 Ransom and Sarah Crisp

To this union was born my father, Dorsey Olaf. He was the youngest of four sons. His brothers were Jason, George, and Norman. Dorsey attended elementary school at Bear Creek and high school in Tuscumbia. He then attended Iberia Junior College in Iberia, Missouri. He had very limited funds and was only able to attend less that one year. After quitting college, he went back to Miller County. Sometime before he married he worked for a newspaper in Cole Camp and Tuscumbia.

Dad and mother (Ruth McCommons, daughter of John McCommons and niece of Ida McCommons Hauenstein) were married in old Linn Creek, Missouri (covered over by the Lake of the Ozarks) in 1928 and lived in the house next to the Miller County Autogram in Tuscumbia across the street from the Court House (photo 14).

14 Barron's Home - 1940's
14 Barron's Home - 1940's

The house was first a two room law office. In 1935, they built on two rooms, added a side porch, drilled a well, added electricity, and a bath room and a sink in the kitchen. They also built a cistern under the addition and put in a wood burning furnace. With these additions, no more carrying drinking water from the Court House well, no more wood carried up the stairs for the stove, running water to do dishes, no heating water to take a bath in the wash tubs in the basement and running water in the house.

Dad worked and operated the Miller County Autogram and Mother taught school while I was growing up. I used to help some in the newspaper office folding papers, selling Christmas cards that were to be imprinted, and gather the social news about the people in Tuscumbia.

Ruth McCommons Barron, Marilyn’s mother, who was a niece of Ida McCommon Hauenstein, had a rewarding career as a school teacher early in her life. Marilyn describes in the following narrative some interesting detail about her mother’s teaching experiences:

My mother (Ruth McCommons Barron) taught in the Tuscumbia school system from the late 20’s until the early 40’s. In elementary, she taught the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. She did teach in the late 40’s in high school. This is a picture of one of her classes taken in front of the Tuscumbia High School (which housed the grade and high school at that time) (photo 15).

15 Ruth McCommons Barron 4th 5th 6th Classes
15 Ruth McCommons Barron's 4th, 5th and 6th Grade Classes
Click image for larger view

In the picture mother is the in the last row in the middle. Please note that in the first row, the third girl is Mary Jo Berry Tyler (known as Miss Jo to us), 5th person is Susie Bear Pryor, the next boy is Lloyd Wright, 9th person is LeRoy Snodgrass, 10th person is Windorf Berry. In the second row standing behind LeRoy is Rex Wyrick.

Mother started her teaching career at age 16, after she graduated from Tuscumbia High School, at the Walnut Grove School up near Bagnell. I can remember her saying that she taught all eight grades each year, opening the school each day, building the fire in the winter in the stove and carrying in the wood, opening the windows when needed and closing them at the end of the day. She attained her college degree by going to school each summer first at Warrensburg Normal, now Central Missouri University and finishing up with a degree from the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Marilyn’s parents, Dorsey and Ruth (McCommons) Barron took over operation of the Hauenstein’s General Store as described above after the death of Mrs. Ida (McCommons) Hauenstein in 1948. The Autogram was sold to Jac and Reba Zimmerman who owned and operated it for several years thereafter.

Last week I wrote about the Old Bagnell area based on an article published in the Autogram which included stories about the several fires which occurred there during the time Bagnell Dam was being built. Iberia was another town in Miller County which was unfortunate in its suffering of a couple or more significant fires during its history (photo 16).

16 Iberia Before The Fire of 1939
16 Iberia Before The Fire of 1939
Click image for larger view

One of the most destructive fires occurred in 1939 and the story of that fire was well written and recorded by Peggy Hake in the New Iberian in 1979.  A copy of that article is below. (Having been written some thirty years ago, some of the places mentioned may no longer be present):

On April 22, 1939, late on a Saturday evening in the balmy, windy season of mid springtime, the village of Iberia (population 535) experienced her most devastating fire in the town’s history.

Jimmie Eads, driving a gasoline tank truck, was filling an underground fuel tank in front of the Lev Adams Produce Company on St. Louis Street (present site of the Law Oil Company).

While the tank was being filled, one of the town’s young men came along and struck a match on the metal elbow of the hose to light his cigarette, unaware of the impending danger. The fumes from the tank were ignited and started the disastrous blaze.

In the excitement and confusion following, if proper judgments had been used, perhaps the fire could have been extinguished there, but in times of disaster, one’s reaction is completely unpredictable. One of the produce company’s employees grabbed the hose and removed it from the truck, spewing the liquid fuel all over the front of the wooden building. In an instant the whole front of the produce store was engulfed in flames. Everything in the building was destroyed including the company’s books and money.

Alfro ‘Alf’ Eads, father of Jimmie, rushed to the scene; shut off the gasoline at the tank; jumped in the cab; and drove the truck, all ablaze, away from the burning building and eastward on Highway 42 and on out of town. The flames spewing from the truck were extinguished in the flight of the truck driven by Mr. Eads…a very heroic deed in face of such danger (photo 17)!

17 Iberia Fire - Alf Eads in front of Ruins
17 Iberia Fire - Alf Eads in front of Ruins
Click image for larger view

The produce company, which had been in existence only two years, was a large frame structure and it burned very quickly. The flames spread to the Arthur Jones Garage occupied by the Harry McGill Truck Lines and onward to the Brose Dickerson two story building adjoining. The fire spread back to the Irwin and Perkins Garage with an office and supplies building adjoining; the Clarence L. Casey office building (formerly was the von Gremp office building) occupied by Dr. E.D. Suggett; and the Bank of Iberia, a one story structure located on the corner of the block (This building had been built circa 1924. The old one was moved to Lombar Avenue which is occupied today by Catron’s Electric Shop). Had not the wind suddenly shifted, the entire residential district east of the bank would have burned. A brisk wind from the southeast carried the wall of fire across St. Louis Street and enveloped the George Adams and Clarence Casey Mercantile Company, a large frame building with a funeral home occupying the second floor.

Practically all the glass fronts of the business houses on Main Street facing the fire, were broken. The Nixdorf building caught fire a couple of times from the intense heat, but a well organized bucket brigade of town residents, located in an upstairs window, kept the building saturated and finally saved the scorched, weatherboard building.

From the Adams and Casey Store, the flames continued on their path of destruction westward in the block. Destroyed was the old Rowden Hotel owned by Mrs. Cliff Clark and occupied by the Oscar Wilson restaurant on the first floor with rental rooms upstairs and it also housed the W.P.A. Sewing Room. The old Rowden residence at the rear of the hotel, owned by Arthur Jones, was occupied by the Lee Atwell family and it was destroyed, as was a large, two story structure also built by Arthur Jones, occupied by the Loren Atwill family. A home owned by Melvin Perkins was destroyed and a building occupied by Hedges Beauty Shop was also a loss. Next in line was the M.E. Kinder’s new private garage and the two story concrete building with Kinder’s Restaurant and meat market inside, on the corner of the of the block where the concrete walls finally stopped the hungry flames. Had not these strong, concrete walls held back the fire, then without any doubt, the Groff building,  the Clark residence (present home of Leftie Kinder), Farnham’s Store and Lumberyard, the old Shelton Hotel and post office would have been leveled by the flames (photo 18).

18 Iberia Fire - Earl Kinder Restaurant
18 Iberia Fire - Earl Kinder Restaurant
Click image for larger view

Black smoke could be seen billowing high in the skies and was seen for a 25 mile radius of the town. Hundreds of people witnessed this distressing spectacle from various vantage points. I can only vaguely remember the soaring flames, the excitement; the milling crowds. My family was living in a small house to the west of the Baptist Church and we stood on the hillside and watched as the flames literally swallowed up the town.

In all, 14 buildings were burned covering practically two business blocks, and only a small portion of these buildings were covered with insurance due to the fact that so many were wooden structures, constructed very close together, making them a fire hazard and the insurance rates were exorbitant even in 1939. The three heaviest losses were incurred by Adams & Casey who had approximately $16,000 stock in merchandise and funeral supplies; Lev Adams’ Produce, with a loss of approximately $4000; and M.E. Kinder’s Restaurant and living quarters with a loss of about $4000.

The Eldon Fire Department, 28 miles north, was called for assistance, but the fire call was too late. Evidently there was some communication problems. Eldon’s fire chief, M.E. Atkinson, stated in a newspaper report, “before we could get out of the city, a second call came through stating that the crest of the conflagration had somewhat subsided and there would be no need of coming.” I doubt that the fire department could have saved even one building had they driven the 28 miles.

The town was in total darkness that Saturday night because the light and power systems were put out of commission by the fire. Local merchants reported they had complete sell outs of lamps and lanterns and the entire town reverted back to the days of candle light and kerosene lamps.

When work spread about Iberia’s big fire, curiosity spread over the country and the next two or three days, sightseers swarmed into the area. It was reported folks came in from St. Louis, Kansas City, Sedalia, Jefferson City, Rolla and many other towns, giving Iberia’s surviving cafes a booming business!

Did Iberia die after her holocaust of fire? Indeed not!  The people began a rebuilding project. Some businesses were transferred to temporary quarters, but eventually a new town arose from the ashes, much like the legendary “Phoenix” and took on new life. The citizens pulled together for a greater and better Iberia. They did not bend to defeat after the calamity because it was a thankful community who realized they were so very fortunate to have suffered no loss of life in the great fire nor any injuries. A local newsman said in 1939, “These Iberians are men of stamina who have the determination to carry on. Knowing them as we do, we are led to believe that, despite the gloom, they see a silver lining beneath the cloud. We vision, as many others do, a rebuilt district with buildings more attractive and substantial. We are populated by fine and enterprising people with high standards and the reputation of our educational institutions alone are enough to assure an abiding faith in the future welfare of the community.

History almost repeated itself because in 1941, another gasoline fire broke out at the same location…the Adams Produce Exchange! An employee of the Exchange was filling the tank of a gasoline engine, which operated a hammermill inside the main building and it burst into flame. The tank had run dry and while trying to refill it from a five gallon can, the heat from the exhaust pipe ignited the fumes. However, thankfully, this fire was contained without spreading to other buildings in the area.

Thanks Peggy.

Earlier this year at different times, I featured two Miller County Missouri State Representatives, Carrol McCubbin and Lucian Mace.

Another Missouri State Representative of the past from Miller County was Rex Wyrick (photo 19).

19 Rex Wyrick - State Representative for Miller County
19 Rex Wyrick - State Representative for Miller County

Rex went to school in Tuscumbia; his parents, Clyde and Gertie Wyrick, for several years ran the Farmer’s Exchange in Tuscumbia (photo 20).

20 Farmer's Exchange Store - Gertha Wyrick - Second from Right
20 Farmer's Exchange Store - Gertha Wyrick - Second from Right

The Exchange building was next to the general store run by my grandparents, Madison and Sadie Bear (photo 21 of Exchange and Bear stores during a flood).

21 Farmer's Exchange and Bear General Store during Flood
21 Farmer's Exchange and Bear General Store during Flood

My mother, Susie (Bear) Pryor spent all of her childhood life around the two stores and because Rex’s parents managed the store next door, mom and Rex were constant playmates. Here are a couple of photos from those early days they spent so much time together (photos 22 and 23).

22 Susie Bear and Rex Wyrick
22 Susie Bear and Rex Wyrick


23 First Row Seated - Inez Johnson - Inez Wyrick - Sec Row Standing - Rex Wyrick - Susie Bear - Third Row - Norma Jones - Gertie Wyrick - Mother
23 First Row Seated: Inez Johnson and Inez Wyrick
Second Row Standing:Rex Wyrick and Susie Bear
Third Row: Norma Jones, Gertie Wyrick , Mother Sadie Bear with Bonnie Bear

Doris (Edwards) Wyrick, Rex’s wife, wrote a biography of Rex which was included by Carl McDonald in his book, Peter Lupardus Family Tree since Rex’s great grandfather was Peter Lupardus.  So I thought I would copy here the biography Doris wrote about Rex, who certainly was one of Miller County’s most outstanding citizens.

We are very proud, by the way, that one of Rex and Doris’s children, Karen (Wyrick) Smith, is a board member of the Miller County Historical Society. Karen, even though she is still working and not retired, faithfully donates one day a week to our museum activities, especially regarding the compilation of data about the history of our nearly one hundred one room schools which were so important to the education of Miller County children before consolidation occurred in the early 1950’s.  Karen is especially qualified for this project as she has spent her career in the field of education having been a teacher specializing in speech at Eugene many years before taking retirement. Currently, she is employed by the Luektemyer Insurance Agency in St. Elizabeth.

Karen’s mother, Doris Edwards Wyrick, who wrote the biography of Rex copied below, has written many historical articles including several recorded on our website.  Here is a group photo of Doris (on left) which includes her sister Mary, sister in law Inez, and longtime friend Susie Bear Pryor (photo 24).

24 Doris Edwards Wyrick, Mary Edwards Groves, Inez Wyrick Woody and Susie Bear Pryor
24 Doris Edwards Wyrick, Mary Edwards Groves, Inez Wyrick Woody and Susie Bear Pryor

And now for the biography of Rex Wyrick authored by his wife, Doris:

Rex Raymond Wyrick


By Doris Edwards Wyrick

First published in Peter Burton Lupardus Family Tree by Carl McDonald

Rex Wyrick was born March 15, 1923, Miller County, Mo., son of Clyde Manoy and Minnie Gertrude (Sullivan) Wyrick, grandson of Harrison Mulligan and Nancy Jane (Lupardus) Sullivan, great grandson of Peter Burton and Mary (Kyser) Lupardus.

Rex was graduated from Tuscumbia High School, Tuscumbia, Mo. in 1940. He began his teaching career in a one room school, Topping N0. 4, in Miller County. He served with the U.S. Navy 1942-45 (photo 25).

25 Rex Wyrick - 1942
25 Rex Wyrick - 1942

(Note: you can read a letter Rex wrote while overseas on our own website at this URL: (

He received his BS in education in 1950 and in 1953 his MS Degree in School Administration from CMSU, Warrensburg, Mo. He taught Mathematics and Social Studies at Tuscumbia High School and spent 1 ½ years in the Versailles, Mo. Public School System. He became Principal of the Warrensbug Public Schools in 1956 where he served nine years. In 1965 he became Director of Title 11 Program with the State of Mo. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. In 1974 he became Superintendent of the Missouri State Schools of Severely Handicapped and retired from the State School System in 1981.

In 1982, Rex was elected Missouri State Representative from the 113th District. He served four terms retiring again in 1990.

Rex was recognized as “Statesman of the Month”, May, 1990 by the Jefferson City, Mo. News Tribune Newspaper.

Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg, Missouri honored him in May, 1990 with the “Outstanding Service Award” for his commitment and contribution to the field of education.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary education honored him in August, 1990 as a “Pioneer In Education.”

Not forgetting his roots, Rex and wife, Doris, also a THS graduate, were active in the Tuscumbia Alumni association. Rex served as President of the Association in 1959 and 1990 and Doris as secretary in 1985 and 1986. He was guest speaker at the first Alumni meeting. In 1994, the Association established a Tuscumbia Alumni Scholarship Fund. Rex and classmates contributed a sizeable amount to start the fund and in Rex’s presentation to the school at the 1994 October meeting, challenged other classes to meet the amount. He served on the 1995 Scholarship Board which awarded the first Scholarship from the alumni.

Among his and his wife, Doris Dean (Edwards) Wyrick’s other fine achievements are their children, Karen Lynn Smith, (also in education, having been a teacher in the Eugene Missouri School System); John Clyde Wyrick and Raymond Edward Wyrick.

Rex was a member of various civic organizations and he was an active member of the Community Christian Church, Jefferson City, Mo.

Thanks Doris. 

I asked Karen Wyrick Smith, daughter of Rex and Doris, what she thought was Rex’s major achievement as a legislator. She told me without hesitation that his service on several education committees through the years of his tenure as a representative to revise and update statutes and laws regarding the general education system of Missouri was his greatest accomplishment. Karen wrote me the following:

“Dad co-sponsored the Excellence in Education Act of 1985.  He served on both the Education and Transportation Appropriations Committee and the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee.  In 1990 he received an Outstanding Service Award from Central Missouri State University for the many years he dedicated to the promotion of education as a teacher, administrator and legislator.”

Karen said this as one who herself has devoted her life to the teaching profession.

Unfortunately, Rex passed away May 9, 2001 after suffering several years from coronary artery disease and diabetes.

Copied below is the obituary of Rex Wyrick:

Obituary: Jefferson City Post-Tribune, Friday, May 11, 2001

Rex R. Wyrick, 78, Jefferson City, died May 9, 2001, at Capital Region Medical Center.

He was born March 15, 1923, in Ulman, a son of Clyde M. and Gertrude Sullivan Wyrick. He was married June 26, 1944, in Kansas City, Kan., to Doris D. Edwards, who survives at the

A 1940 graduate of Tuscumbia High School, he first taught in 1941 in rural Miller County. He was a member of the Naval Reserve during World War II. He received a bachelor’s in education in 1950 and a masters in education in 1953, both from Central Missouri State University.

He taught at Tuscumbia High School and served as principal at Versailles High School. He was principal at Warrensburg Junior-Senior High School and was superintendent of the Warrensburg District. He joined the Missouri State Department of Education in 1965 and retired in 1981 as superintendent of the Same Schools for Severely Handicapped.

In 1982, he was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives from the 113th District. He served four terms and retired in 1990.

He was honored in 1990 by Central Missouri State University with the Outstanding Service Award for his work in education. He was recognized by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as a Pioneer in Education in 1990.

He was a member and elder emeritus of the Community Christian Church in Jefferson City. He was a member of Corinthian Lodge 265 AF & AM, Warrensburg; American Legion Post 229, Eldon; VFW Post 2442, Eldon; the Miller County Historical Society; the Missouri Retired Teachers Association; the Association of Rtired State Employees; and AARP.

Other survivors include: one daughter, Karen Smith Eugene; two sons, John Wyrick, San Francisco, and Ray Wyrick, Jefferson City; one sister, Inez Woody, Lee’s Summit; and six grandchildren.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at First Christian Church of Eldon. The Rev. David Avery will officiate. Burial with military honors will be in Mt. Zion Cemetery near Tuscumbia.

On May 18, 2001, the Missouri House of Representatives passed House Resolution HR2240 in memory of Rex.

Last Thursday, October 23 at the Osage Beach City Hall a ceremony was held in honor of Lee and Joyce Mace regarding the naming of the Highway 54 Expressway through Osage Beach for Lee.  I attended the event and was impressed by the number of people attending; the area in front of the city hall was nearly filled with guests. The master of ceremonies for the event was David Webb, nephew of Lee, who lives in Stilwell, Kansas (photo 26).

26 Dave Webb - Master of Ceremonies
26 David Webb - Master of Ceremonies

David spent much of his youth in the Ozarks visiting his Uncle Lee and has maintained close contact with Joyce since Lee’s death. Lois Webb, David’s mother, who recently wrote for our website a wonderful history of the Miller County Mace family, also was present (photo 27).

27 Lois Webb
27 Lois Webb

You can read Lois’s Mace history here:

Joyce Mace had some help uncovering the large sign which will be placed at the entrance of the section of the highway honoring Lee (photo 28).

28 Gene Williams, Joyce Mace and Dr. Wayne Cooper
28 Gene Williams, Joyce Mace and Dr. Wayne Cooper

Some of the ‘Opry members from the past attended including Bob “High Pockets” McCoy of Hermitage (photo 29) and Bill “Goofer” Atterbury (photo 30) who is seen here being interviewed by KRCG TV of Jefferson City, the station which carried the weekly broadcasts of Ozark Opry for many years.

29 Joyce Mace and Bob McCoy
29 Joyce Mace and Bob McCoy


30 KRCG interviewing Bill Attebury
30 KRCG TV-13 interviewing Bill Attebury

At this URL you can read a press release in the Jefferson City News Tribune about the ceremony:

You can read more about Lee Mace at this URL on our website:

Last Saturday we had a sunny perfect day for our chili dinner.  Almost one hundred persons attended and enjoyed the homemade chili, soup, and scrumptious desserts.  The quilts we had been displaying all year at various locations in anticipation of today’s raffle finally were awarded to the winners. The large quilt made by Elva Steen was won by Dana Maloney, daughter of Sherril Steen, who now lives in Virginia. The small quilt made by Sue Dillon was won by Jerome Brondel of Eldon. Numerous other prizes were also awarded by lottery to other guests who attended.

Outside the Brian Duncan family (photo 31) made apple butter using old time recipes and equipment.

31 Brian Duncan family mixing Apples and Cider in Pot
31 Brian Duncan family mixing Apples and Cider in pot

Brian had an old cast iron pot in which he put the peeled apples and some cider and after starting a fire began to stir (photo 32).

32 Beginning to Heat and Stir
32 Beginning to Heat and Stir

Some of the guests had made apple butter on the farm many years ago such as Elva Steen (photo 33).

33 Elva Steen stirring Apples
33 Elva Steen stirring Apples

Finally, the apple butter began to form (photo 34) and soon after was ready to serve (photo 35)

34 Almost Finished Cooking
34 Almost Finished Cooking


35 All Ready to Serve once Cooled
35 All Ready to Serve once Cooled

As an extra, Brian also let the boys squeeze out some apple juice which after warming was delicious (photo 36).

36 Squeezing Apple Juice
36 Squeezing Apple Juice

That's all for this week.

Joe Pryor

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Here We "GROW"

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