Confederate Memorial Day

Join us Sunday June 6, 2021 for a Confederate Memorial Day Service which will be held at the Stoddard County Civil War Cemetery located in Bloomfield, Missouri. The service starts at 2:00 pm and will feature noted historian and public speaker Danny Honnell, a live fire cannon salute, and echo taps played on the hillside. Take Hwy 25 to Bloomfield, Missouri, turn on Hwy E, then to County Rd 517. Service will honor Confederate Veterans from Southeast Missouri. Sponsored by the Stoddard Rangers Camp #2290, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The Last One

The August 2, 1940 issue of the Dexter Statesman [Dexter, Missouri] published a photo of “Uncle” George Fox and Francis M. Snider , the last two surviving Civil War soldiers in Southeast, Missouri and noting that with the recent passing of Fox, Snider was the last surviving Civil War veteran in the Southeast Missouri district.

Last of Southeast Missouri Civil War Veterans.Last of Southeast Missouri Civil War Veterans. 02 Aug 1940, Fri The Dexter Statesman (Dexter, Missouri) Newspapers.com

However, the paper did not reveal the two veterans loyalty during the war. I was able to find the information on a webpage that listed attendees of the 1938 Veterans Reunion held at Gettysburg, Pa. , remarkably both Fox and Snider both attended the event and were listed as serving in the Union Army.

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The Intruder: When Hollywood Came to Southeast Missouri

In 1962 Hollywood came to Southeast Missouri to make a movie starring William Shatner According to Wikipedia.org:

The Intruder is a 1962 American film directed and co-produced by Roger Corman and starring William Shatner. It is adapted from a 1959 novel by Charles Beaumont. The story depicts the machinations of a racist named Adam Cramer (portrayed by Shatner), who arrives in the fictitious small Southern town of Caxton in order to incite white townspeople to racial violence against black townspeople and court-ordered school integration.

The film is also known under its US reissue titles as I Hate Your Guts! and Shame, and The Stranger in the UK release.”

Since the movie was set in a small Southern town, Missouri’s “Bootheel” region was a natural location. The movie was actually shot in the towns of Charleston, East Prairie and Sikeston.

According to Wikipedia:

“Before it was finished, local people objected to the film’s portrayal of racism and segregation.”

The July 24, 1961 issue of Sikeston, Missouri’s The Daily Standard published a story which covered the start of film production, included a quote from William Shatner, who when asked, “What do you think of Sikeston?”, replied by stating, “It’s a lovely little town with nice people. If I wanted to live in a small town, Sikeston would be my choice.”

It’s a lovely little town with nice people. If I wanted to live in a small town, Sikeston would be my choice.

William Shatner, quoted in the July 24, 1961 The Daily Standard newspaper

1961-07-24_(Sikeston, MO) Daily Standard_Cameras Begin Rolling at Dunn Hotel for 'Intruder' 11961-07-24_(Sikeston, MO) Daily Standard_Cameras Begin Rolling at Dunn Hotel for ‘Intruder’ 1 24 Jul 1961, Mon The Daily Standard (Sikeston, Missouri) Newspapers.com

The movie, which is now in the public domain can be viewed below:

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Rattlesnake Raid in Bollinger County

The May 13, 1886 Warrensburg Standard newspaper reported on a rattlesnake raid in the vicinity of Bollinger Mills (present day Zalma). According to the paper the party killed 17 rattlesnakes ranging in size from four feet to six feet. Additionally six “very large” snakes of varying species were killed before the rain stopped “the slaughter of the innocents” as the paper put it.

Rattlesnake raid in Bollinger County, MissouriRattlesnake raid in Bollinger County, Missouri 13 May 1886, Thu The Warrensburg Standard (Warrensburg, Missouri) Newspapers.com

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Hanging Narrowly Avoided in Delta

The January 12, 1917 issue of the Bloomfield Vindicator carried the news of a Black porter (railroad employee who handled baggage and assisted passengers) who assaulted a citizen in Delta, Missouri at the Delta Hotel. The article, originally published in the Lutesville Banner reported:

“It is reported that last Monday evening a negro porter at the Delta Hotel, who had his hide full of bad whiskey, picked up an oil wrench which was laying on a barrel at the depot and hit Lem Boone, one of the hands at the Goodwin and Jean poultry house, across the head. It was thought for some time that he had killed Boone. He stood the crowd at the depot off with an automatic and made his escape before the citizens could get their guns, and it is well that he did, for it is said there would have been a hanging in Delta and one less bad negro. The telephones were used and after a few hours the negro was arrested in the Cape and was landed in the Jackson jail.”

Assault of Citizen in Delta, MissouriAssault of Citizen in Delta, Missouri 12 Jan 1917, Fri The Bloomfield Vindicator (Bloomfield, Missouri) Newspapers.com

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Big Plans for Bollinger

The May 11, 1893 edition of the Marble Hill Press reported that big plans were in the works for Bollinger County, Missouri which included either an improved (possibly new) railroad depot in Lutesville and a mining operation at Alliance.

A planned zinc mining operations near Alliance was also taking shape. For those unfamiliar with Alliance it is located in the northern portion of Bollinger County. A brief history of the area can be found on the Wikipedia website, which states Alliance was also known as “Jugtown”:

Alliance is an unincorporated community in the northwestern part of Whitewater Township in Bollinger CountyMissouri, United States.

The community was named after the organization Farmer’s Alliance, an organized agrarian economic movement among American farmers which had been organized in Illinois in 1880. Farmer’s Alliance was a strong and flourishing organization in Alliance at that time. Alliance is also called Jugtown because of the pottery that was manufactured from the clay found there. A post office was established there in 1889 and was in operation until 1953.”

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Laflin’s Farm Implement Dealer

I found this old advertisement for Champion Equipment in the May 21, 1902 issue of the Marble Hill Press newspaper. There isn’t much left of Laflin, Missouri now but in 1902 it was a small community with a store and home to an equipment dealer named Fred Clippard.

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Thomas Fletcher: Missouri’s Most Hated Governor

A scathing editorial of Missouri Governor Thomas Fletcher published in the June 28th, 1866 Cape Girardeau Argus.

Thomas Fletcher was the 18th Governor of Missouri serving from 1865-1869.

During the Civil War he served as a colonel in the 31’st Missouri Volunteer Infantry (Union) and was captured in 1862.

Fletcher was released via a prisoner exchange in May, 1863 and saw service during the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, the Battle of Chattanooga, Tennessee and the Atlanta Campaign. According to Wikipedia.org:

“Returning home because of illness in the spring of 1864, Fletcher recovered in time to organize the 47th and 50th Missouri infantry regiments and to command a regiment at the Battle of Pilot Knob, Missouri, where General Sterling Price‘s advance on St. Louis was stalled. For this service, he was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers.”

At first glance, reading a brief summary of Fletcher’s military and political career in a Wikipedia article seems impressive, however, a closer look at this career will reveal he was a corrupt criminal and a very accurate view of just how the citizens of Missouri felt about him can be found in the June 28, 1866 issue of the Cape Girardeau Argus (Cape Girardeau, Missouri).

Missouri Governor Thomas Fletcher 1865-1869.

The Probity of Thomas Fletcher:

“Although Tom Fletcher and his contemptible minions are detested are detested by the people of Missouri, scornfully and haughtily treated in their private and official relations ( as becomes a dignified and honorable society , when forced into communication with dissolute and unprincipled characters, ) still with shameless and what is still worse malignant audacity, he and they , exercise the functions of their respected offices regardless of law or common decency.

It is not enough to appoint men tainted with impiety and steeped in crimes – such as arson, larceny and murder, to responsible and once honorable offices, but he selects those against even Radicals have expressed their disapprobation , so horribly vile and unnaturally low were the people defying aspirants.

Yet it is the malignant pleasure of this excorable Executive, by such appointments , to sink the State, if possible, beyond redemption.”

Bollinger County, Missouri suffered the fate of one of Governor Fletcher’s “appointees”, James Rogers was appointed sheriff of the county in 1866. In a previous blog post I wrote of Roger’s reputation:

“The June 28, 1866 issue of the Daily Union and American newspaper (Nashville, TN) reported:

General J.R. McCormack, who is a candidate for the Conservative nomination for Congress in the third district, delivered a speech in Dallas, Webster County [Editors note: mistake by newspaper, Dallas present day Marble Hill, Missouri is in Bollinger County] on the 14th inst. , and he was attentively listened to. Shortly afterward a squad of five or six ruffians surrounded him, when one of them, named James Rogers, without provocation, knocked the Doctor down, the blow for a time rendering him speechless.

On recovering , he found the ruffians had left. Rogers is Sheriff of Bollinger county, an officer of the peace, appointed by Governor Fletcher. He is also charged with committing murder during the troubles in Southeast Missouri, and to have been guilty of swindling the Government in some lead and beef contracts down there.”

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Richard Saling’s “Small Fortune”

Art MarlerArt Marler 10 Mar 1996, Sun St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) Newspapers.com

In 1996 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a public interest story about Bollinger County resident Richard “Mac” Saling. The paper, in its March 10, 1996 issue reported that when “Mac” Saling died around Christmas, 1994:

“He left behind 40 acres of timber and stickerweed, a $25,000 checking account, a collection of over 100 shotguns and rifles, six guitars, 18 pairs of brand new overalls and thousands of dollars in cash hidden in and around the little house where he had spent most of the past 40 years.

In fact they found a little bit of everything when they started poking through what was left of the old man’s life.

Everything except a will.

In the year since his death, Salings relatives have been locked in a battle for the disabled World War II veteran’s estate, an estate that some say is worth a quarter of a million dollars.

Richard Saling and Jackie Lee MakaraRichard Saling and Jackie Lee Makara 10 Mar 1996, Sun St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) Newspapers.comnm

According to the paper, the fight for Saling’s estate, which was located near the Gimlet Creek Bridge on Highway 34, was between a group of cousins from Illinois and Jackie Lee Makara, a woman who claimed she was Saling’s daughter.

The Post-Dispatch also quoted a local neighbor of Saling’s (one that local readers probably know and recognize):

“Deanie Givens, a neighbor of Saling for 40 years, says she has no doubt that Makara is Saling’s daughter and legitimate heir.”

Jackie Lee MakaraJackie Lee Makara 10 Mar 1996, Sun St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) Newspapers.com

The Post-Dispatch reported that an auction of Saling’s property netted between $60,000-$150,000.

“The house had no running water or indoor plumbing. Saling burned firewood in a big stove in the middle of the living room before the pain in his legs became so bad he had to move to the apartment in Glen Allen several months before he died.”

On July 23, 1997 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch followed up on the story reporting that Jackie Lee Makara had sought and was granted an exhumation to extract a DNA sample from Mr. Saling and that the test proved (with a 99.4 % probability) she was the daughter of him.

The paper also reported that this did not dissuade Saling’s cousins from challenging Makara for his estate.

This however, is where this story seems to end, in the press anyway.

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