Ozarks Viewpoints

Friday, August 23, 2013

Good readers

Anyone who plans on putting ink on paper as in the Fourth Estate knows it often takes good readers to make a good reporter. Readers can be a source of information unequalled at times. Such is the case in a couple of instances recently when this column dipped back in history to talk about the Barry County Sheriff's Posse and Boy Scout Troop 76 Indian Stomp Dance team of many years ago, and there were certain facts that were omitted or incorrectly stated by one source.

Readers Burl Mitchell and Judy Homesley were the ones who came to the rescue to provide full information about the two subjects.


Mitchell, a member of the last group that made up the posse, corrected the article with the order of succession of the sheriff at the time or the organization's existence. Formed by Bill Hemphill, who was succeeded by his chief deputy Vernon Still, who continued the posse and then he was succeeded by Abe Dummit, also a chief deputy.

Both the successive sheriff organizations continued the posse, and they remained active until a member was fatally injured during one of their drill practices. That pretty much put a damper on the existence of the group.

Mitchell also noted that the organization's initial drillmaster, Ollie Stimson, was succeeded by Bob Norman.

Indian dancers

The case of the Indian dancers went a full circle once Mrs. Homesley put her inquiring nature into motion, resulting in one of the members even furnishing some clippings out of the Cassville Democrat, complete with photos of the

group in action.

First off, Judy knew that the former DeeDee Ash, now of Dallas, Texas, would have more information from sources that were directly involved in the performing group. Through the now Mrs. Lewis, came a contact with Joe Tucker, of Springfield. He credited his mother with saving the clippings that provided much of the information from the 1950s.

So, here is the complete official listing of the group that

put Cassville on the map in performances throughout the region, not only during Rodeo caravans. Heading her list was a brother, Carol Ash, Joe Tucker, Norris Treat, Gary McClure, Mike Sullivan, Rex Ash, Jim Mandell and Charles Wooten.

Their performances included the Plute Moon Dance and the Pueblo Green Corn Dance. The photo of the group in action was at the Stone County Centennial Celebration in Crane.

Tucker's information included the fact the dancers were actually members of an Explorer Scout group that was formed by Dr. H. W. Staggs, a veterinarian in Cassville at that time.

Upon his departure from Cassville for California, Staggs sponsored a dinner for the group at the Mandell Café, a longtime eating establishment for the area.

A memento from the dancers as a going-away present was a boat paddle used by the group during a Canadian float trip that summer with their names etched in the wooden tool.

An interesting fact in the info was that a one-time director of the county's welfare system, Roy Brooks was an advisor to the Scout group. Brooks and his sidekick, Morris Funk, at one-time mapped the rivers of this area, White, Kings and James, all on their frequent float trips.

Fact is, Funk scattered Brook's ashes on the upper Kings River after his death.

Funk was a leading draftsman for Phillips Oil Co. in Bartlesville, Okla., and was well qualified in his design of the maps. Somehow these treasures disappeared when Funk passed away. It would be of great historical value to this area if they could be recovered.

Not used

With all the rainfall this area has received during recent weeks, one word out of the past that was connected with this type conditions has not been used by any of the weather people. That is cloudburst, a term which was always connected with heavy rainfall in years gone by.

It was the cloudbursts between Cassville and Exeter that would bring Little Troublesome Branch roaring through Cassville's midsection years ago.

Then, when that cloudburst occurred south of town between Cassville and Washburn, it was Flat Creek that got out of its banks and caused damage on the muddy-water route through town.

Spike notes

A note at the city hall in Diamond serves as a reminder for folks there to keep their property looking good. It says, "The grass is growing, don't forget the ditches."

Truth is, there are some properties in Cassville that haven't been keeping up with their grass cutting these days and their property is beginning to show badly as a result of their neglect.

Last week we had the great-grandchildren visiting from Colorado Springs, Colo. Lindsley, Dole and their four offspring provided some really lasting memories at Chinquapin Woods.