Just Released: Blood in the Ozarks- Expanded Second Edition

Foothills Media LLC is pleased to announce the release of “Blood in the Ozarks: Expanded Second Edition”

Deep in the Ozarks of Southeast Missouri a battle still raises about a massacre committed on Christmas Day, 1863 in Ripley County, Missouri by members of the 3’rd Missouri State Militia Cavalry led by Major James Wilson. While naysayers state that the “massacre” was nothing more than a rescue mission to free Union troops captured days before by Colonel Timothy Reeves and his 15th Missouri Cavalry, CSA, local historical documents, newspaper articles and military records prove bias on their part, painting a picture of a government cover up and the needless slaughter of men, women and children along with Confederate soldiers on the holiest day of the year. In this Expanded Second Edition the reader will find more photos, newspaper archives and other sources of information that paints a clearer picture of this tragedy.

More information, more photos at a more affordable price!

$15 paperback / $2.99 Kindle

Will Mayfield College

Note: This story was originally published in the State of the Ozarks online magazine

Will Mayfield College by Clint Lacy

The Arts and Science building of Will Mayfield College

Will Mayfield College

by Clint Lacy

The Will Mayfield College stands as a symbol of a once prosperous era for Marble Hill, Missouri. The small town of approximately 1500 people serves as the Bollinger County seat which lies in the Eastern Ozark foothills of Southeast Missouri.

“The area that would eventually become known as Marble Hill was established in 1842 as New California. Nine years later, it was renamed Dallas in 1851. As the area grew over the years, the First Baptist Church was built in 1856 near the oldest cemetery in Marble Hill. In 1862, the courthouse and town of Dallas was raided by Colonel S.D. Kitchen, along with 120 Confederate soldiers. Finally, in 1868, the name of the town was changed again, this time to Marble Hill, to prevent confusion with the already existing Dallas County.”(1)

The Will Mayfield College began as the Mayfield-Smith Academy in Sedgewickville (originally called Smithville), Missouri in 1878. In 1880 the school was moved to Marble Hill.

“The new campus was in a healthful location with “pure water” and “beneficial zephyrs.”  In addition, it was free of the vice associated with larger towns. The first main building—Academic Hall—was completed in 1885.  In 1903 the name of the school was changed to Will Mayfield College to honor the son of the founder.”(2)

The college was mainly known for producing teachers and at one point produced more teachers than any state college in Missouri.  Though successful the college’s demise came in the form of a fire destroying the women’s dormitory in 1926 and later the Great Depression.

More information for the college can be found in a Department of Natural Resources application to the National Register of Historic Places which states:

“Allegations that the schools endowment was spent without authorization, coupled with debt and loss led to the temporary closure of the school in 1930. It reopened briefly but the deepening of the Great Depression in the early 1930s caused enrollment to drop. The school closed its doors after commencement ceremonies in May 1934. To cover debts the ownership of the school transferred to a bonding company in St. Louis. Franklin Hall, located several blocks from the college campus, was sold as a private residence. The Patton School District purchased the frame gym and moved it out of town and it is unknown if the building still exists.

The large campus (10 acres) was also parceled and portions sold. The school’s two classroom buildings, the Administration Building and the Arts and Science Building, sat empty for several years until purchased in 1941 by Mrs. Lottie James Bollinger. Bollinger, who had briefly attended the college, planned to convert the buildings into a hospital. After the state regulatory board denied her application, Bollinger held onto the buildings and in the 1950s convinced El Nathan, a Christian retirement home originally established in Buffalo, NY, to move to the property.

El Nathan initially used the Administration Building, but later constructed a modern building immediately west. For a time the organization used both buildings and constructed an enclosed walkway between their new facility and the basement level of the Administration Building. El Nathan owned the Arts & Science Building, but never utilized it as part of the larger residential care facility. In 2001 the Will Mayfield Foundation and its offshoot, the Bollinger County Museum of Natural history, entered into an agreement with El Nathan to convert the Arts and Science Building into a museum. The first two floors of the building have been largely restored and HVAC and electrical systems have been updated throughout.

The museum has opened and contains displays on local history and the natural history of the region. In 2010 El Nathan sold the Arts and Science Building and the Administration Building to the Will Mayfield Heritage Foundation. The foundation is repairing the Administration Building and plans to open it as a community center and arts facility.”(3)

Today the Arts and Science building houses the Bollinger County Museum of Natural History while Academic Hall houses the Mayfield Cultural Center and restaurant.

Clint Lacy is author of “Blood in the Ozarks: Expanded Second Edition “

Source Citations



FREE DOWNLOAD of “Cave Regions of the Ozarks: Revised and Expanded”

Foothills Media LLC is pleased to announce that we have made our latest eBook “Cave Regions of the Ozarks: Revised and expanded for FREE. Originally written by Luella Agnes Owen under the title of “Cave Regions of the Ozarks and Black Hills” Foothills Media has re-edited Owen’s work to focus on the Ozarks regions of Missouri. Additionally, we have added information about cave regions of Perry & St. Francois in Missouri. Simply visit OUR PRODUCTS page and click on the “Cave Regions of the Ozarks: Revised & Expanded selection. We hope you enjoy this unique study of Ozarks history and geology. Thanks for visiting!


Book Review-Blood in the Ozarks: Second Edition

Paulette Jiles, author of Enemy Women, The Color of Lightning, News of the World & Simon the Fiddler, very graciously posted a review of Blood in the Ozarks: Second Edition on her blog. In it she writes:

On Amazon there are a great many books (non-fiction) on the guerillas in Missouri during the Civil War, and almost all of them have to do with the guerillas/bushwhackers in Central Missouri; Quantrell, Frank and Jesse James, Bloody Bill Anderson and others.

Blood in the Ozarks by Clint Lacy is a much-needed look at the war in southeastern Missouri. In that area things were quite different and this work makes things about as clear as they are going to get. The geography was different, the terrain and the people and the circumstances were different and other than Jerry Ponder’s books this is one of the few or perhaps only book dealing with the war in the southeast. I don’t have the reference here to hand but I believe it was the only part of Missouri held under martial law/reconstruction after the war was over. I think it was two years under martial law.

Other non-fiction studies; Gray Ghosts, Bushwhackers, Guerillas in Civil War Missouri and many others, almost all dealing with the better-documented activities of Confederate-sympathizing freelancers in Central Missouri. The situation in the Ozarks of the southeast can be simplified more easily than in other places; it was mainly Tim Reeves Fifteenth Missouri State Guard units against Union units, mainly Missouri Militia (Union) and the Twelfth Cavalry (Union). The rivalry and intense, personal animosity between Reeves and the men of the Missouri Twelfth Cavalry (Wilson and Leeper) turn the situation into a terrible years-long vendetta and Lacy documents this extremely well, including civilian deaths.

It occasioned one of the most moving, despairing and yet well-written night-before-the-execution letters I have ever read, that of Asa Ladd. During a reading and book-signing a woman came up to me and told me she was a descendant of Asa Ladd, that it was in her great-grandmother’s house they had found the letter. This book sets out this rivalry and the tragic consequences, and it all took place in the most difficult terrain, far from the notice of “important” people or newspapers, played out, one could say, almost in darkness. My mother’s people were from Central Missouri and we have stories passed down about the bushwhackers — Bloody Bill Anderson came close to killing a distant relative of mine but said relative (George Brownfield) escaped into the thickets surrounding the Pilot Grove post office, dodging Bloody Bill’s bullets. There was a lot at stake in Central Missouri — good farmland, harvests of cotton and hemp, the great commercial highway that the Missouri River had become, not to speak of the extremely rich bottomlands of that great river.

My father’s people came from southeastern Missouri, the Ozarks, which was not in any way a vital area for crops, conscripts, herds or war products. We have no stories, only a confused report that my great-great-grandfather was hung, no details. Leaving a wife and three children and a pregnant wife; Mahala Giles. His name was Marquis Lafayette Giles, justice of the peace, taught the common school in Carter County.

Often in war, I have heard, from the participants, that certain units will develop an intense rivalry and hatred for one another — this happened to my husband in Vietnam. He was with an ARVN unit, as an advisor, spoke Vietnamese and lived with these troops. They got it on with a certain unit of the Viet Cong, and the two units fought each other for years. In the course of which my husband was wounded, got himself repaired and went back to the fight. Also a wonderful man, a world war 2 vet, Charles Meuth, told me years ago that his unit of the Texas National Guard (141st Regiment) developed the same personal and intense rivalry with a certain unit of the German SS tank command and pursued them all the way up the Italian Peninsula and finally into Germany, where the war ended and they surrendered. He even knew their names.

So this is the drama and ferocity outlined in Lacy’s book, very well documented, a fascinating story of conflict played out in a country of great beauty but thin soil, heavy swamps, thick forest that almost nobody wanted, except the people who lived there.