This are might well be indebted to Jerry Hastings, of Oklahoma, who was in Cassville recently for his wife's family reunion. He happens to be the lone possessor of important maps of this area far into the past.
Those of you who might follow this column will possibly remember notes about Morris Funk and Roy Brooks when the pair floated every inch of the James, Kings and White rivers and also in the Flat Creek area, mapping as they went. When Funk passed away the maps apparently disappeared, except for a section of Kings that Pinky gave me.
Now, Hastings has provided a composite of the river maps that Funk, a chief draftsman for Phillips Petroleum Co. in Bartlesville, Okla., had compiled. They were available locally through Brooks, who was director of what was then called the Barry County Welfare Office.
Titled "Fisherman's Guide To Five Rivers of Fine Fishing in Southwest Missouri Ozarks," the map has a steep history of all the fords of the rivers, which were used as wagon crossings in those days, named holes in the river, which many were often named after families or communities in their area and the float time between each of the holes. Rapids are also marked as are large rock positions.
Noted in their past locations are bridge crossings, first at Eagle Rock called the Easley Bridge and sometimes know as the Farwell Bridge, next was the Golden Bridge that once connected the Mano and Golden communities and then what was called the Morris Bridge, then located near the Couch Hole and was later moved in replacement near High Dive.
Only the Eagle Rock crossing was slated for replacement by the Army Corps of Engineers in the initial construction of Table Rock Lake. Between the efforts of then Congressman Charlie Brown, the late Senator Stuart Symington and late Rex Whitton, chief engineer of MoDOT, and local interests, the Shell Knob-Viola Central Crossing was constructed, connecting those two communities.
Map information gave floaters, or just bank or wading anglers, put-in or take-out points that were convenient on the waters.
Bass Lake was in existence at that time as was fishable. It was noted on the map that free fishing was permitted on the lower parts of Roaring River while the charge for inside the park was 50 cents.
Also made available for purposes of identifying various areas were rural school sites in both Barry and Stone counties. The two map-makers also made sure those using the rivers would be able to identify a creek feeding the particular areas of the river. Blankenship Mill and Rockhouse Cave were designated. Gone from the scene is Stubblefield Camp, which was just below Stubblefield Creek, now called Mouth of Haddock at the Missouri-Arkansas line.
One possible notation that has gone unchanged is the elevation at Eagle Rock, 3,312 above sea level.
A noted change in names has Punkin Center renamed Silver City, which at the time was on Highway 86, now Missouri 39.
Often used as reference points were fire towers used by the U. S. Forest Service in those days.
A Crane's nest, Chimney Rock (still standing), Peck's Camp and Dale's Peak are points of location on Flat Creek, which were upstream from Carney Branch. This point was about a seven-hour float from the mouth of the creek, which ends at James River.
As one all the waters, times between holes of water and designation of points that might provide problems were the important purposes of the map makers.
As a sideline to the existence of these two river lovers was a time when a group of us were fishing up Kings River when Funk came floating up by himself. After quizzing him some, we learned that his prime purpose of being on the river that day was to scatter the ashes of Brooks in those waters so favored by the two.
Funk, whose home was on Main Street in Cassville after his retirement, was always recognizable by the float boat that always rested upon the top of his vehicle.
Others might remember him when a Cassville Babe Ruth baseball team traveled to Bartlesville, Okla., to play in a regional tournament, where they received a good beating. Funk had made arrangements to meet the group at the Phillips headquarters to enjoy a meal in the company cafeteria and tour the facilities of the semi-pro Phillips Oilers, which preceded the establishment of professional basketball.
Larger than most copy machines will handle, plans are to find a good way to duplicate the map and make some available for those who might be interested from a historical point of view.
Whatever happens, a tip-of-the-hat goes to Cassville Democrat reader Hastings for making something of lasting interest once again available!