History

Ira Wayne Smuck was born December 11, 1911, in Cabool, Missouri. His parents, Homer and Lily Roberts Smuck had an older son, Garland. The family had moved from extreme north Missouri with their two children a few years after Wayne's birth. A few years later, Lily Smuck died in Cabool in 1916....
Photo from the 1958 Willamizzou yearbook.
Say it ain’t so—this year, the August primary election in Howell County marks the fiftieth anniversary of Wendell Bailey’s initial campaign for the Missouri House of Representatives from District 163. To put the time in perspective, Don McClean’s “American Pie” was the No. 1 song on the Billboard...
Hate is a strong word, often misused. I can think of no one coming close to the title of most hated in the history of this region than William Monks just before, during, and after the Civil War. For decades mere mention of the name Monks could release a torrent of invective in print throughout...
During orientation my first year at Mizzou, all freshman were required to give a short speech before an instructor to determine if the student had a speech impediment. We were warned not to talk about what we did on summer vacation because the topic was too tedious. Nevertheless, that’s what I’m...
Extreme variations in the weather are something that long-term residents of Howell County have learned to expect. One of those extremes is drought. In August 1901, the Howell County Gazette published a letter from an over fifty-year resident here recounting a drought he witnessed in 1854. The...
Each year around this time, my thoughts return to an event 157 years ago at an idyllic place on the Eleven Point River. Symbolic of the violence permeating this part of the Ozarks during the Civil War and a decade afterward, the killing of Richard Boze occurred in the early dawn hours of June 15...
At the Memorial Weekend alumni barbeque in Willow Springs, I was enormously grateful for the numerous positive comments I received about this column. The curiosity about my other writing efforts, however—particularly the children’s books—surprised me. How long have you been writing? How did you...
Associated with much of the early history and development of Howell County, the surname Bond isn't as well known as some others of the period. In fact, the Bond name to me more elicits a location in West Plains rather than a person. Some important historical events happened in the Bond Block,...
Photo courtesy of Reda Brooks Foster.
Thornton Wilder’s 1938 Pulitzer-winning stage play, Our Town, played out this past Memorial Weekend, as old friends gathered in Willow Springs to reminisce and celebrate. With apologies to revered WSHS English teacher, Mrs. Jessie Munford, I’ll use passive voice and a cliché and say, “Fun was had...
In the spring of 1958, the Montier School bell rang for the last time, when the school that had existed for decades was absorbed into the Birch Tree system. By that year, the school only served six grades. Seventh- and eighth-grade classes had merged the previous year. My brother’s class was the...

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Howell County News

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