Voices of the Ozarks – Jack Ward Skinner

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Jack: My name is Jack Ward Skinner. I was born November 28, 1935 in St. Louis. My history with this county actually begins with my parents. My dad grew up in the Knob Lick area, but my mom was born and raised down on Castor below Higdon, Missouri. And so a lot of my early information comes from her, hand me down stuff.

This was, of course, they got married in 1934. And I was born in 35. And they’re in the middle of the depression. Jobs were hard to find. And so we moved to St. Louis and that’s why I was born up there.

1940, still jobs were kind of hard to find. So dad, we moved back down to live with my grandpa and grandma Ward, whose farm, they had an 80 acre farm, which lies across the road from the current Amidon parking lot. There on Castor. read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Sharon Robbins

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My name is Sharon Robbins and I was born in Glen Allen Missouri, July 5, 1948. According to my momma, it was a very hot day and she had a large garden and the corn was about ready and she spent the day picking and shucking and canning corn the day I was born. The corn wasn’t quite ready and she always said she liked her corn “nubiny”, not quite fully ripe which seemed to big. Sharon says that’s what shaped her to love the first, tenderest sweet corn. Her parents were Winfred and Lavern Upchurch that lived on a small farm outside of Glen Allen. She had an older brother who died tragically when they were teenagers. She also had a much younger brother that still owns and farms the family farm.

Her first memory of childhood was getting electricity in the house when she was only two. She and her older brother followed the electrician, Elmer Hahn, around the house collecting the little round metal “coins” that were left over from punching out holes in the metal outlet boxes. read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Joan Whitener

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My name is Joan Whitener. I was born in Flat River Missouri, September 6, 1935, I’m 83, soon I’ll be 84.

When mother and dad were married they lived with my mother’s mother who had lost her husband for awhile. She went to Jr. College for awhile and her brothers were int he service. Then my mother and dad moved to Fredericktown with his mother and dad. I was only 18 months old when we moved to Fredericktown so I have no memories of this time. But during that time they lived with dad’s parents, Eli Minor and Mary Burdella Minor, she was a LaPlant. When I was 6 I remember grandpa Eli and my dad and his brothers that were home at the time built our house on some land that grandpa Eli gave us and it was right next door, across the little field. My parents names were Claude and Glendora Minor. Mother was a Dudley from Flat River and she was a school teacher. And my dad was a farmer and a chicken rancher for awhile. And then he was a foreman in the shoe fitting department at Spalsbury, Steis and Deevers Shoe Company which was the precursor to Brown Shoe. read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Billy Ray Starkey and Rory Starkey

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Billy Ray:  My name is Billy Ray Starkey. I was born in Marquand, MO 2-18-1946. I was born near the Castor River in a house near Green Hollow. I think it was the last existing house there at that time. I’m here with my son Rory

Rory: I was born April 9, 1971 in Cape Girardeau.    

Billy Ray shares that his parents did not own their farm. He thinks the house was torn down in the mid 1970s or 80s. He lived in Marquand most of his life and went to school there at Piney Union which was a one room schoolhouse. There were no busses so they walked. Later he went to the school in Marquand. He mentions that his dad had worked with he WPA program and that they had used teams and wagons to haul rocks for the gymnasium for the school. It still stands today. read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Howard Royer

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My name is Howard Kenneth Royer.  I was born in October 3, 1929 in Silvermines Missouri. My parents are Audrey Jewel Means and Harmon Howard Royer.

I remember the Depression and how hard it was and I remember how my parents started out on the farm. My grandfather owned the farm and my parents lived there.

Dad grew corn, wheat, oats and barley. He used a team of horses to farm and he owned cattle as well.

In his family he was the oldest. Roy was the second, Shirley was the third, Charles was the fourth. He notes that his parents took a break with kids for awhile but then had Lee Gale, Paul Dean (they called him Buck), Louis who was named after his grandfather, and the last was Linda.

5:00

Howard shares some of his memories of life on the farm. He says his father kept bees and he once got stung because he poked them with a stick. His uncle and dad farmed together and he remembers that at a very early age he wanted to go with them and work in the fields with them which he did. read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Bill Osborne

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My name is Bill Osborne.  I was born March of 1948 here in Fredericktown in a home on Franklin Street where I was born and raised. My parents are Rosina Kessler Osborne and Buddy J.E. Osborne.

My earliest memories were going fishing with my father and my cocker spaniel puppy dog got out in the water. Papa assured me she wouldn’t drown. That was at the Little St. Francis River down by Saltpeter cave just up from the new bridge. Papa drove a stock truck and knew all the farmers, roads and places to fish and hunt. I was probably four or five at that time. My father passed away when I was just six or seven and that was also a vivid memory.

I always admired my mother because she had 3 kids to raise, ranging in age from me, I was the youngest to my sister who was the oldest. My brother had spinal  meningitis when he was 3 months old. It was prevalent during that time and similar to polio. The girl next door to us had it though she had a better recovery and could walk and talk. My brother survived but couldn’t walk or talk. read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Linda Whitener

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My name is Linda Gay Whitener. I was born March 11, 1953 at Saint Mary’s in Ironton Missouri.

What to you remember of your childhood?

It’s really easy to remember because I lived there until the 6th grade. I’ve been here all my life. Just recently moved in with my significant other on High Street just a couple of houses down from the elementary school.

Right after my birth we lived on Z Highway but I don’t remember that. My parents were George Robert Whitener and Helen Maple Miller Whitener. We moved to 310 High Street soon after I was born. One of my early memories is sitting with my dog Peppy, a black and white chihuahua on our gray couch and chair while everyone was working. Her dad would bring her a snack and drink while she sat and watched. read more