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