History

At the end of the nineteenth century, Howell County experienced an upturn in violence much as it had in the two decades following the Civil War. Most of the deaths resulted from feuding and caused alarm about how the next century could be. 1899 was a rough one with a smallpox outbreak that...
I suppose there aren’t many of us still around who had a homemade shirt or dress made from a feed sack. My grandmother made my shirt from a chicken pellet sack purchased at Welch’s Montier Grocery in—where else—Montier. According to the National Museum of American History, “By the 1940s the bag...
The Great Depression began with the stock market crash in late October 1929. Franklin Delano Roosevelt assumed office as President in January 1933 during the greatest economic downturn in our nation's history. By March that year, he had submitted legislation to Congress creating the Civilian...
With Veterans Day approaching, I am remembering another World War II service member, George C. Anstey, M.D.—my father-in-law. He served as Battalion Surgeon in the 3rd Armored Division at the Battle of the Bulge. George Anstey, born in 1917, grew up in Messina, Iowa, with his father, a...
Humans have a natural affinity for sugar and sweet things. I certainly do and have missing teeth to prove it. The first settlers of Howell County likely brought a supply of salt and sugar with them, but once that was used up looked to source them locally where possible. In his history of this...
Images courtesy of the State Historical Society of Missouri, from the Lowell and Margaret M. McMurtrey Papers. 1942-1971 (C4172).
On June 7, 1944, after hearing nothing about her husband for over four months, Lowell McMurtrey’s wife Margaret received a telegram from the War Department stating a shortwave broadcast from Germany had been intercepted, in which Lowell was purportedly heard saying he was a prisoner of war....
My last article relating the story of Sterling, once a community, now a place only in name, led me to a nearby community that has fared a bit better in recognition, but not much. Three miles west of Willow Springs, the Pine Grove community retains its identity among many Willow Springs residents...
Courtesy of State Historical Society of Missouri from the Lowell and Margaret M. McMurtrey Papers, 1942-1971 (C4172).
In my previous article, “Lowell McMurtrey, WSHS Alumnus, Teacher, and POW,” I mentioned that researching newspaper accounts and the records preserved by the State Historical Society of Missouri gave me a different perspective of my former teacher. A more personal, human understanding, which I...
Like several towns in Howell County, Sterling owed its existence to the Kansas City, Fort Scott, and Memphis Railroad. Officially created with a post office, railroad officials supposedly named the railroad construction camp for "John Sterling, who had come from Illinois, entered land there, and...
My freshman year in 1961, I heard the sophomores talk about how hard the new World History teacher was and how much homework he assigned. Some girls said they were afraid of him. One guy told me Mr. McMurtrey slammed a burly upperclassman against a locker for mouthing off. Lowell McMurtrey...

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Howell County News

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Willow Springs, MO 65793
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