Volunteers who were scraping paint at the historic Bayless-Salyer House on Saturday got a mid-morning break when the Barry County Genealogical and Historical Society stopped work to honor a special benefactor.
Rex Stubblefield, who resides at the Ozarks Metho-dist Manor in Marionville, received an honorary lifetime membership to the Society in recognition of his donation to the Bayless House Restoration Project. Stubblefield donated $15,000 in stock to the Society, and that money is already being used to continue interior restoration work at the historic home located at the corner of Townsend and West Ninth Streets in Cassville.
Stubblefield was pleasantly surprised by the special recognition he received this past weekend. He was driven to the Bayless House under the guise of showing him the progress that had been made on the home. He was given a tour of the structure and then was presented with his lifetime membership.
"We certainly appreciate Rex Stubblefield's donation to the Society and his interest in our project," said Georgia Farwell, president of the Historical Society. "The money he gave us is being used on the work we're doing now to continue the restoration."
Stubblefield said his interest in the Bayless-Salyer House stems from the fact that his great aunt, Mary Stubblefield Bayless, lived in the home, and his father, Karl Stubblefield, lived in the home with his Aunt Mary for a time. Mary Stubblefield Bayless was John Bayless' second wife.
Although Stubblefield is legally blind, he said he could see enough to know the Barry County Genealogical and Historical Society was "making great progress."
During Saturday's special work day, a small group of volunteers worked scraping, cleaning and sanding woodwork on the interior of the home to prepare it for painting and further restoration.
To date, a majority of the restoration work has focused on the exterior and foundation of the historic Colonial revival-style home.
A new metal front porch ceiling has been installed thanks to a donation from De McGruder. New columns on the porch were also erected and a new floor installed. Individuals and businesses donated the columns, which have been affixed with small plaques bearing each donor's name. The brick wall and roof on the back side of the house have also been refurbished.
The next major project facing Society volunteers is installation of heating and air conditioning systems and plumbing. Tucker Electric is currently working on wiring the home.
When restoration of the Bayless-Salyer House is complete, it will be filled with period furniture that was common during the early years of Barry County's history and used to store Historical Society books and records.
The project is expected to take another three or four years to finish. Melvin and Barbara Lacey serve as co-chairmen of the restoration project.
The more donations and volunteer help the Society receives the faster the restoration process will proceed. Donations can be mailed to: Barry County Genealogical and Historical Society, P.O. Box 291, Cassville, MO 65625. Checks need to be made out to the Society and designated for the Bayless-Salyer House Restoration Project.
"All donations would be greatly appreciated," said Farwell.
For more information on volunteering, contact the Laceys at 835-3360 or Farwell at 271-3521.