The house is located in M.K. Smith's 4th addition which was platted in Springfield in March 1884. Smith was a well-known local businessman and was the owner of Springfield Woolen Mill.
This sad little house was auctioned recently and its fate is as yet undetermined. It has some interesting features, but is in need of considerable work, both inside and out.
The house is located in M.K. Smith's 4th addition which was platted in Springfield in March 1884. Smith was a well-known local businessman and was the owner of Springfield Woolen Mill.
The house was built at least by 1890 at which time it was inhabited by Thomas B. Lewis and his wife, Sarah. Lewis was a self-employed carpenter, though he later worked for Queen City Wood Works.
Lewis lived here until 1918 when ownership passed to J.E. White, who also owned the lot next door. James E. White, along with his partner, Loran C. Sechler, operated a grocery store located at 312 W. Commercial. In 1920, White sold the house to John W. Welch and his wife, Flora.
John Welch was a chairman with the General Council of the Assemblies of God, which is headquartered in Springfield. By 1925, Welch was the manager of the Gospel Publishing House and by 1936 he was president of Central Bible Institute, now part of Evangel University.
Welch owned the home only a short time before selling it to John C. Cramer and his wife, Ethel. Cramer, along with his partner, G.F. Smith, owned a lunch counter located at 444 E. Commercial. By 1927, Cramer had sold the house to grocer Fred Elliott and his wife, Bertha.
Fred Elliott owned a grocery store at 884 N. Campbell for several years, before taking a job as driver for the Springfield Special Road District in 1932. He was employed at several jobs over the next twenty years, including a position as a watchman at Oberman Manufacturing Company (Oberman's was a local garment factory.) and later as a custodian at Campbell's 66 Express. Ethel also worked at Oberman's for a few years as a machine operator. The Elliott family lived in the house until at least 1959.
The five-room house has approximately 900-square-feet with two bedrooms and one bath. The house has pine flooring and has a 10 x 12 concrete basement. There was once a one-car garage in back but it is no longer extant.
After the Elliott's moved, the house had several other owners prior to its recent auction. It appears to have been vacant for some time.
When I first visited this late-Victorian beauty in February 2014, it was wearing a lovely shade of blue. The house had been fairly well maintained, though the grounds were somewhat overgrown and in disarray. Otherwise, the house was still beautiful, both inside and out.
Located in the the Rountree neighborhood, the house was built in approximately 1900. Its first inhabitants were the Park sisters, Elizabeth and Alzoa, along with their mother, Clara. The lot was originally part of the George M. Jones addition; in March 1911, the Park sisters subdivided a portion of that addition and created Zobeth's subdivision. Interestingly, when filing the plat for the new subdivision, the sisters had to declare "themselves to be single and unmarried" before a notary. The Parks lived in the house until at least 1906.
Elizabeth and Alzoa were two of the six children born to Dr. William H. Park and his wife, Clara. William was born in Pennsylvania, but lived in Springfield by 1870. He had his own medical practice, though by 1890 he had gone into business with J.W. Crank and J.G. Davis to form the Crank Drug Company. One of their several stores was located on the corner of Commercial and Boonville, a location that later housed Skaggs Drug Store.
The Park sisters never married, choosing instead to have careers. Both sisters graduated from Drury College near the close of the 19th century. Elizabeth was a teacher for much of her life, mostly in Springfield but also in Pierce City at the beginning of her career. She taught at the Springfield Normal and Business College where, in 1916, she was the dean. In addition to teaching, Elizabeth was also a "special agent" for the Equitable Life Insurance Society which had offices in the Woodruff Building. Alzoa also taught school; in 1916 she had moved to Wyoming, where she was a public school teacher until at least 1930.
Alzoa, the younger of the two sisters, died in Springfield in 1942 at the age of 73. Elizabeth lived another twelve years; she died in 1954, just a couple months short of her 88th birthday.
By 1915, the house was owned by the Anderson family. Arthur L. Anderson was born in Kentucky in 1875, but his family later moved to Missouri. By 1910, he had been married to Gertrude Jefferson for five years and the couple had two children. Arthur was a doctor and had an office at various locations in Springfield over the years, including the Woodruff Building and the Medical Arts Building.
For a time, Arthur's mother also lived with them; the family was eventually joined by two more children, as well as Gertrude's elderly father, Benjamin, and her sister Anna. Benjamin was a retired farmer and Anna was a teacher at the nearby Jarrett Junior High School. The home also included, at various times, one or two servants.
Arthur died in 1940 and Gertrude continued to live in the house, along with her sister-in-law Anna, until at least 1959.
At the time of my 2014 visit to the Park-Jefferson house, it had been empty for a while and was looking for a new owner. The house has since been sold and appears to be in good hands. The exterior has been updated with a beautiful new paint color. The grounds have also been cleaned and cleared, making the house easier to view.
The new paint color and the lack of debris around the house makes it look warm and inviting.
It is hard not to fall in love with this house located in Arlington Heights subdivision. The lot was originally platted in 1910 by William G. and Mollie Swinney, along with Harrison M. and Sarah Smith. By 1915, the Swinney's had sold their share to the Smith's; a few years later they retired to California and never returned to Missouri.
Harrison Milton Smith was born in Ohio in 1857, but moved to Pulaski County, Missouri, in 1889. Smith started the Pulaski County bank where he was cashier for many years. In 1903, the Smith family moved to Springfield and opened the Farmers and Merchants Bank. The Smiths had two daughters, Orpha and Wilma. Wilma married George Thompson, the owner of Thompson Auto Sales Company. Harrison and Sarah both died suddenly, within four days of each other, in December 1929.
Construction of the house was completed at least by 1931, when Charles W. Riley moved in with his wife, Carlotta and their son, John. Charles was born in Dade County and was the son of a physician and druggist in Everton. Charles chose the same path and became a well-known druggist in Springfield. He had a pharmacy in the Medical Arts building, as well as his private business, the Riley Drug Store, located at 225-227 N. Main. The Riley's lived in this house until 1946.
The perfect spot for a mug of coffee and a good book!
The back view of the house is just as lovely as the front, especially with the double stair case. The large patio area overlooks a beautiful backyard.
Oscar C. Nonweiler, a district superintendent with the Cherokee Pipeline Corporation, and his wife Sarah lived in the house during much of the 1950s. Since then, the house has had various owners and has, fortunately, been beautifully maintained.
Located in Springfield's lovely Rountree neighborhood, this 1939 house is part of McMillan Place subdivision, 2nd edition, which was platted in April 1914 by Otho McMillan and his wife, Laura. Otho was a businessman of varied interests; in addition to real estate development, he was also a restaurateur and and a meat-market owner. When Otho died in 1927, Laura became sole owner of the development, which included 28 lots.
The original owner of the house was Thomas J. Welsh, who was born in Springfield and grew up in a house on S. National. He was the son of Thomas N. and Agnes Glynn Welsh. Thomas N. was part owner of what would eventually be called the Welsh Meat Packing Company. The business began operating in 1895 under the ownership of A. Clas. He sold the company to the Tegarden brothers in 1904; in 1912, they sold the plant to a group of local businessmen. One of those businessmen was Thomas N. Welsh. His partners included his wife's uncle, Thomas H. Glynn, as well as Dr. Robert Glynn.
In 1930, Thomas N. is listed on the census as the secretary of a meat packing company and his son, Thomas J., as an employee of a college bookstore. The bookstore was likely located at present-day Missouri State University, where he was a student. While attending college, Thomas J. was a member of the men's group called the "S" Club in 1929 and 1930. Also in 1930, he was part of a men's pep club called the "Grizzlies."
By 1940, Thomas J. was married to Mary Mildred, had two children, and was an accountant at his father's meat packing company. Thomas J. and his family lived in this house for over 20 years.
In 1961, Thomas N. Welsh and his wife Agnes died within two days of each other, both deaths due to bronchopneumonia. Thomas J. Welsh died the following August. He was only 53-years-old. Mary Mildred died in 1966. The house went to their son, Michael, who owned it for several years. This lovely home is currently awaiting a new owner.
Copyright 2015 by Connie Yen
Kristie C. Wolferman, The Osage in Missouri (Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 1997.)
Kristie Wolferman’s narrative of the Missouri Osage is a light read originally meant specifically for “adult new readers”. It is written in easy to understand, non-academic language, but is detailed enough to give a good overview of the history of the Osage from the time of first contact to their ultimate end in Indian Territory.
The Osage were a semi-nomadic prairie people whose territory covered most of the Ozarks, from the Missouri and Osage Rivers in northern Missouri down to the Arkansas River in central Arkansas. The origin of the Osage is still debated among archaeologists and other scholars, but they are believed to have become a distinct people around 1500. With no writing system of their own, their history begins with European contact around 1700.
The Osage were by all accounts a handsome group, with the men usually topping six feet tall. This height was to their advantage as they were a warlike people who fought with every Native American group they had contact with and stubbornly resisted peacemaking attempts by the Europeans who wanted to conduct trade with all the natives. Deeming death in battle the ultimate honor, the Osage did not understand the Europeans desire for peace any more than they understand the repeated change of leadership among the white men attempting to control their people and their territory. As European influence in the Louisiana Territory changed from France to Spain, then back to France again and finally to America, the survival of the Osage and their culture became increasingly in doubt.
Lewis and Clark’s “Corps of Discovery” opened up Missouri to a multitude of new settlers who invaded Osage lands. Compounding the problem for the Osage were Native Americans from the eastern United States who were being forced into Missouri and Arkansas, thus reducing the Osage territory even further. Though Indian Agent William Clark promised the Osage their own lands forever and assured them that Americans were “strictly forbidden to disturb…their nation” (57), this was a promise he found impossible to keep. Along with many of the eastern Native Americans, the Osage would eventually face life on a reservation in Indian Territory.
The Osage in Missouri is quick and easy to read and provides a good vantage point for further study for students of Native American history. It may be read quickly and easily by readers not looking for a detailed history of the Osage and the Ozarks. The most details provided in the book are about the journey of Lewis and Clark and are mostly unnecessary to the story of the Osage. Nonetheless, The Osage in Missouri is certainly worth the short time it will take to read and learn a little about the history of Native American life in Missouri.
Legend has it that this abandoned building in the ghost town of Plano, Missouri, was once a casket factory. Not so, according to the Springfield News-Leader. The crumbling remains were actually home to a general store, while a building across the street, no longer extant, served the community as a mortuary. For more information, click here.
Above, on a lonely stretch of Route 66 through Plano, a former gas station has been converted into a lovely home.
The Reed-Underwood house inhabits land that was originally part of Hawthorn Place subdivision, which was platted in 1903 by John R. Hegiman, president of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in New York. The first owner of the lot was J.W. Drumwright; by the end of that year it had been sold to H.F. Denton. In 1905, the lot was owned by W.H. Johnson, as were several other lots in Hawthorn Place. By 1907, Samuel A. Reed and his wife Susan, had acquired the lot along with two others. Construction likely began on the house in 1907 and was completed by 1909. The house sits on approximately 1/4 acre and according to a 1965 appraisal, contained a total of eight rooms, with four bedrooms, one bath, and three closets. The house contains only one fireplace. Out buildings included a barn and a tool shed. The two-story enclosed porch and the garage were later additions, as is the wood deck in back. The kitchen counters are made of beautiful Phenix marble. The house now boasts five bedrooms and four baths and still claims the same 1/4 acre plot.
In 1914, a portion of Hawthorn Place was subdivided into Reed's Addition by Samuel A. and Susan Reed. Reed was a prominent member of the Springfield community and served as clerk of the circuit court for many years before becoming a District 1 judge. The Reed family lived in their new home for a few years before moving to another house just down the street. Susan Reed died in 1934 and Samuel in 1937.
By 1920, the house was owned by Thomas F. Underwood, a mechanic for the Frisco railroad, and his wife, Jennie. When Thomas died in 1922, Jennie became sole owner. When Jennie died in 1927, the house was left jointly to their seven children. During the 1930s, the house was inhabited by Shane M. Wallace, the Underwood's son-in-law who was married to their daughter, Esther.
During the 1940s and 1950s, the house saw a succession of owners and even stood vacant for a couple of years. The home has been lovingly maintained throughout its 100+ year history and is currently in need of a new owner.
Copyright 2015 by Connie Yen
Paulette Jiles, Enemy Women (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2002.)
That Paulette Jiles began her literary career as a poet is readily apparent throughout her work of prose set in southeastern Missouri, Enemy Women. Giles was born in Salem, Missouri, and spent a portion of her childhood exploring the hills of the southeastern Ozarks. It was a return to the Ozarks as an adult, for the sake of family research, that led her to write the story of a young Ozark girl’s adventures during the closing days of the Civil War.
Just six months before the end of the Civil War, a troop of Union militia burn the Colley home and kidnap the father, events that would send the Colley children into the woods and down the muddy winter roads searching for help. While attempting to discover her father’s whereabouts, our heroine, Adair Colley, is arrested as a Confederate spy and sent to a Union prison in St. Louis.
Adair’s experiences in St. Louis serve to illustrate to her the differences between Yankees and mountaineers. Adair realizes that she is seen as being different. Her interrogator, a Union major, believing her to be a remnant of “some prehistoric people of the British Isles,” (78) forces her to read just to prove to himself that she can. And though Adair can read, her accent is thick and her grammar somewhat backward, especially compared to the precise language of the major. What Adair reads, and what the major hears, is filtered through his superior education and his perception of hill people.
It is taken for granted that Ozarkers are a superstitious group, and Ozark superstitions are scattered throughout the book, especially in regards to marriage. Adair spends a considerable amount of time worrying about having to get married and feared marriage to the wrong man. To this end, she threw salt in the fire, hoping in vain to see a message about her future husband. She then tried to find his face in the water by means of a mirror over her shoulder, catching only a glimpse of her future intended before she dropped the mirror.
Though the first use of the term “hillbilly” is murky, Giles confidently inserts the term in her book. It is usually used in either a condescending or derogatory manner. When the major warns Adair against marrying “some hillbilly” (140) there is, for him, a little affection found in the term. But Adair knows how she is perceived by the Union soldiers. She determines “never to be caught riding astride” (245) since it was “something only hillbilly women” would do. She believed she had no hope of remaining safe if she appeared to be a hillbilly because hillbillies are perceived to be just ignorant white trash. To appear to be a low-class hillbilly would mean she could not count on being treated with respect.
Jiles understands the ways of Ozarkers; she understands how we interpret ourselves and how we are perceived by others. She does not romanticize the Ozarks, or hillbillies, but writes of them with both affection and respect. She occasionally writes with incomplete sentences, but she will be forgiven for this because her words are beautiful to read. She also writes without the usual dialogue punctuation and she will be forgiven this also; if it occasionally makes the dialogue difficult to follow then the passage must be re-read. This would certainly be no hardship.
Mitch Jayne, Fiddler’s Ghost (Wildstone Media, 2007.)
Steve Clark is a Navy veteran and college student but lacks direction. Unable to decide what to do with his 175 accumulated college credits, he is encouraged to take a break from learning and try teaching instead. Knowing good advice when he hears it, he packs up his belongings and his pregnant wife Lacey and moves to Medley Springs Township in Burke County, Missouri. Though he is an outsider to the Ozarks, it is love at first sight for Steve and the old run down schoolhouse where he is to teach.
Members of the school board help the Clarks find a place to live, but follow up their recommendation with the cryptic warning that the house in question is not “natural” (27) and that they fear the pregnant Lacey might see something in the house that would “mark the baby” (28). Undaunted, the Clarks rent the old house, complete with the massive bed on the upstairs floor.
It isn’t long before Steve and Lacey meet the unnatural aspect of their new home in the form of a ghost they call “Hiram Walker”. Hiram doesn’t exactly haunt the house; he haunts the large bed that came with the house. Hiram is actually Benjamin Springfield, a Confederate soldier from Tennessee who died in the Civil War. His wife Elizabeth lived to old age and passed away in their bed, which her ancestors later brought with them to Missouri.
At first Hiram looks quite ghostly, just a wisp of a person, but as he becomes stronger and more tangible the neighbors begin to wonder at his presence and Steve has to pass him off as an adopted uncle. This scheme is only partially successful and eventually Steve is forced to publicly prove to the community, particularly the virulently fundamentalist preacher, Pastor Tucker, that Hiram is real and not some evil manifestation.
Music is what moves this story along and gives Hiram his strength. Hiram was a farmer by necessity but a musician by choice in his former life. He shares his passion for music with Lacey, who has a music degree from the University of Missouri. It was a little unexpected that it was not love for his wife, but his devotion to his music, that had kept him tied to the earth for almost a century after his death. Music gives Hiram substance and keeps him tied to the mortal world, influencing lives and the evolution of music.
Fiddler’s Ghost is peppered with the Elizabethan language that so entranced the book’s author, Mitch Jayne, when he came to the Ozarks many years ago to teach in his own one-room schoolhouse in Dent County, Missouri. Like Steve Clark, Jayne was an Ozarks outsider who fell in love with the Ozarks land and people. While not a typical ghost story with the usual chills and thrills, the book is quite readable and illustrates Jayne’s love for the Ozarks. The book is somewhat wordy and moves a little slow for my taste, but the old Ozarks language is lovely to read, and I am grateful that Jayne chose to share it with his audience.
Jayne wrote several books set in the Ozarks and in 2008 he won the Missouri Governor’s Humanities Book Award for Fiddler’s Ghost. He passed away in Columbia, Missouri in 2010.
is a published author, historian, and archivist who loves books, fountain pens, and old houses.