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

Voices of the Ozarks – Glenda Pierce

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0:13

My name is Glenda, my maiden name was Robinson, I was married to John Skaggs who passed away and then I was married to Judd Pierce who also passed away. I was born July 2nd, 1934. I’ll be 85 years old this year.  I had 6 brothers and sisters, 4 brothers, 2 sisters. There were seven children in the family. I was born north of Patton Junction on a farm where we lived until I was about 5 years old. One story I remember about the farm house is going out for the day and forgetting my little sister.  Back then you didn’t have playpens or strollers so you would put a child’s dress tail under a table leg to keep them from crawling away.

Glenda, her husband John Paul Skaggs and their children.

We moved out to a place on HWY 51 north of Patton Junction. My father opened a filling station there. We lived there until I was 9 years old and that’s when we moved to Fredericktown. While we were there one of the things I remember best was working in the truck garden. We would work there while my dad worked at his filling station. I remember my mom would put my little sister in a horse collar to keep her from crawling away while we were working. read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Margaret Miller

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0:17

My name is Margaret Miller. I was a Warnicker. I was born in Iron Mountain Missouri in 1931. My dad was a miner. In 1931, of course, the depression was starting. Iron Mountain was a mining town and there was a strip of company houses across from the mines. We lived in a big house. Then the mines shut down and my dad lost his job. At that point he began taking city people on hunting trips as a guide which provided a good income. He also hunted and fished for food. We also had a garden.

I was the only girl. I had an older brother, Charles, who was eight years older than I was. I was the only girl in the extended family. I was probably a little spoiled. When I was six my younger was born.

I went to school in Iron mountain but often also stayed with my grandmother in Mine LaMotte and would sometimes go to school there. There was no high school in Iron Mountain so my older brother went to high school in Mine LaMotte and would stay with my grandmother. read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Della Rhodes

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My name is Della Starkey Rhodes, my parents were Roy and Nellie Starkey. I was born in 11/1 of 1935 just below Marquand across from the Whitener cemetery. I was born in a two story house in the upstairs bedroom. I don’t remember the doctor’s name.

Our house was on DD HWY but back then it was called Castor River Road.

1:00

My First memories are living a mile down below that where my grandparents lived. My dad built a house there. My grandparents were “truck” farmers. They hauled a lot of lime, farmer supplies and logs.

Truck farming is large fields of product such as corn, beans, and potatoes which are sold. We moved from there when I was 10. My dad bought a 325 acre farm about a mile below that. At the time my dad worked at the mines here in Fredericktown at National Lead. read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Norman Boland

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0:18

Norman Boland, born in Desloge, Missouri in 1930. Before that, in Desloge, they lived about a half mile from the chat dump. Before Norman was born his dad worked at the National mine mill. He was laid off around 1930 and worked at the WPA a few days a week but was otherwise unemployed for awhile. Norman eventually had seven siblings.

During their time in Desloge they didn’t have much. They would get out of date food from the dumpster and salvage food that was still good.  He talks about being six years old and going out to play for the day. He’d take off with cornbread in his pocket and pick fruit from trees and bushes.  Norman describes the house they lived in and tells the story of that house burning and getting rebuilt. read more

Voices of the Ozarks – AJ Fencl

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:16

My name is Albert Joseph Fencl, I go by AJ though. I was born on May 2, 1937. I was born on the head of Cedar Creek, Wayne County.  AJ describes his birth place and his dad’s farm. He lived there till he was 18, almost 19.

He started school at Burlington Grade School which was a little country school, no longer there. His first teacher was Wanda Stevens Leach. AJ was the only student there until the Bridges kids moved into he area. Later he went to Cold water for grades 6-8.

2:00

AJ points out that the roads were not rock but dirt and so they would often get muddy. When he was in the 6th grade he saved his money for a used bicycle. When the roads were dry he would ride the bike. If the roads were wet he would ride one of his dads mules or he would run.  Either way it was 5 miles to the school. read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Connie Nicholson

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:18

What’s your name? Connie Nicholson

When were you born?  April 7, 1948?

And where were you born? Fredericktown  

Well, I lived on, well, I don’t know the address. Across the street from where I live. I was going into the 5th grade. I went to school in Fredericktown over there on High Street. 

So, as a child, you lived across the street from where you live now? 

Yes, the house that I bought now on 306 North Mine LaMotte, yes.

I have four brothers and I’m the only daughter.  I raised Mikey, Ricky, and Randy and I’ve got a brother, we’re 14 months apart, so I just helped take care of them as I was growing up.

Were you the oldest?

Next to the oldest. My brother is older than me, Jerry.

So, as a kid in Fredericktown, what did you like to do? read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Victor Bailey

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00:17

My name is Victor Bailey and today is January 11, 2019. It is my birthday and I am 92 years old. I was born in 1927, the year that Charles Lindbergh became famous for flying the Atlantic. 

His parents moved to St. Louis county around the time that Lindbergh’s baby was kidnapped. The neighbors called the FBI because his family was new to the neighborhood. Victor suggests he may have been the youngest person ever arrested by the FBI.

He’s not sure why or exactly when the Bailey’s left Scotland. Later Bailey’s were Quakers. He mentions Patrick Bailey who, in 1680, had business dealings in that period. His mother’s native name was LaChance. He discusses the founding of the local village, St. Michaels which would later become Fredericktown. Among the founders of St. Michaels were 6 LaChances.  read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Rita Kayser

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Rita Kayser

0:15 

My Name is Rita Kayser, I live outside of Marquand with my husband of 55 years. We have 4 sons, 3 daughter in laws and 6 granddaughters and we’re expecting our first great grandchild.

She was born in 1945 and grew up in the boot heel near Glennonville and Wilhelmina settlements which was purchased by the St. Louis Archdioceses and sold to the people as a great place to settle. Actually it was a dismal swamp. 

Her parents, Ed and Lucille Larken moved to Willemena from Kentucky in 1925. She shares the story of her parents’ drive from Kentucky to Missouri. 

3:00 

Rita shares the difficulties of her parents and others living in the area due to flooding and crop loss. 

4:15 

Her parents struggled during the Great Depression but like many, they were already poor before so it didn’t matter much.  read more

Voices of the Ozarks – Phyllis Fencl

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0:17

Phyllis was born in 1936 in Zion Missouri, 12 miles south of Fredericktown. She’s lived in Zion her whole life with the exception of a short time in St. Louis when she and her husband felt like fish out of water. She was born at home and had an older brother and an older sister.

02:40 

Her childhood school was in a 2 room brick building with no electricity but thanks to close proximity to the  Mississippi River Fuel Transmission  (Now Center-point Energy) running water was available. Phyllis describes what it was like to be in a 1 room, then 2 room school with various grades in the same room. The school had a beautiful library full of books which Phyllis enjoyed because she loved reading books. 

“Every year the teacher got to order more books. I devoured them. I read books I didn’t even like because they were books and I wanted to read.” read more