Voices of the Ozarks – John Mertens

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Voices of the Ozarks: Recording an Oral History of Madison and Iron Counties

A man wearing glasses and a blue shirt stands in front of books on a shelfToday we are interviewing John Mertens, former director of Ozark Regional Library, interviewed by John Jones.

First, some background on you.

Where are you from?

What did you do before coming to the Arcadia Valley and so forth?


Okay, I grew up, partially grew up in Wisconsin.

My family, when I was very young, lived in Wisconsin.

I lived there until I was 12 years old, had an unfortunate situation.

My father was an excellent businessman.

He worked hard, worked long hours.

He owned a clothing store in Dodgeville, Wisconsin.

That’s the home of the Land’s End, their main place of business is Dodgeville, Wisconsin.

But my father died at age 44 of a heart attack, and so that was the end of his business.

My mother sold the business and so we were sort of out of a place to live. read more