Bob Mitchell: 20 years since Cassville Democrat sale

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Everyone knows time flies in their later years. Perhaps that's why the last 20 have been so swift.

Mitchell

It was 20 years ago this month that Sue and I sold the Cassville Democrat, ending 123 years of ownership by the Ray family. The paper was acquired in October 1872 after the Civil War by Dr. John Ray and continued in the Ray family until 1995.

Probably the best part of the last 20 years has been this column that has kept me with a deadline, which was always a challenge of the newspaper ownership. Now, it's a Friday noon schedule to have the column at the office. Twenty-two years ago, that deadline was noon Wednesday when the pages had to leave here headed toward the central plant for printing.

Today, all that is accomplished electronically. Even the addressing of subscriber's papers is printed as a particular paper comes off the presses. No longer is folding or addressing using a Mustang mailer or Addressograph necessary to get your paper in the mail.

From these improved methods, it then becomes the responsibility of the postal department to get the news in your hands.

Online readership

Although we've never thought it necessary to have our computer online, there is a possibility for readers to get the news these days via their computer. We understand that a lot of folks are choosing this method of keeping up with what is going on in Barry County.

And then there are obviously those who want to have the news in their hands while they read the columns. This is obvious by the number of contacts concerning this column that reach us either by letter or telephone call.

It's rather comical these days when a telephone conversation results in something that has appeared in the column and the caller is asked about this service and the reply is that they have a cell phone and aren't concerned about the time being consumed in discussing an item out of the past.

One such call

One of those calls recently came from Hollis Smith of Independence, who once lived about halfway between Exeter and Cassville, close to the railroad tracks.

He talked of his youth, getting aboard the C&E when it slowed in its route, and riding the train to Exeter and then getting back home on the return trip.

His father was Linzie Smith, who could have occasionally boarded the train and made the trip. In the early days of the railroad, it wasn't unusual for folks to choose this mode of transportation.

Unusual passenger

One of the unusual passengers could have been a reporter from The Springfield Newspapers, who was occasionally interested in a story originating here and would ride the Frisco to Exeter, then either ride the C&E to Cassville or walk the four miles.

His usual interest was around the courthouse when a particular trial was in progress that had regional interest.

He was a large man and would always stop by the Cassville Democrat to visit with Uncle Means. Or, perhaps the directions I received to take him back to Exeter to catch a Frisco unit heading back to Springfield that attracted him the most.

What's happened?

Some of the things with which I was once deeply involved, that have fallen by the wayside and have been somewhat disturbing during those 20 years include:

* Cassville has lost two payrolls with industrial transgressions elsewhere.

* No more is the Old Soldiers' and Settlers' Reunion a summertime event, which old and young alike seemed to enjoy. At one time, it was the oldest such gathering in Missouri.

* Cassville still doesn't have a detailed street program in place, even after voting funds to establish same. Neither has the town kept in step with those throughout the Ozarks keeping their city limits extensions up with the times.

* Last, but not least, being no longer the owner of bird dogs and hunting quail is a mark of reaching most senior status. Those who have never owned a real honest-to-goodness English Setter, sometimes called a Pointer, have missed a life's experience that is worthwhile.

There are others, but, these will suffice for now.

No World War II vets

Right now, to my knowledge, there are no World War II veterans living in Cassville. It's a shame they are no longer with us. Many contributed much to the progress in the City of Seven Valleys during their years among us.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.