History

It recently came to my attention that October 29th was National Cat Day. With the abounding number of odd “national” commemorative days, it isn’t surprising that I missed it. But it caused me to reflect on some of the feline friends I’ve known.   Some folks don’t like cats. Some claim to be...
In July 1925, The West Plains Journal Gazette interviewed Ephraim J. Buford of Mansfield, Arkansas, and wrote a lengthy article that gives us a significant window into the earliest pioneer life of Howell County. The report, used as a source for some of the county's earliest historians, might be...
A new century was little more than a couple of weeks old when word of a heinous crime circulated through our local communities. Forty-seven-year-old Alfred Henry was found dead in a locked cell in the Howell County jail in West Plains. Two prisoners were missing.   The West Plains Daily...
I’ve been absent-minded since birth. As a kid I was forever losing things—combs, watches, ball gloves—you name it. My hands had the ability to operate independently of any cerebral process, as if each had a mind of its own. I still wish I had the wristwatch I left in the dressing room at Smoky...
With politics in the air, I recall that casting my first vote in a U.S. presidential election in 1960 created a dilemma for me. Who should get my vote?” Two-term Vice President Richard M. Nixon or the dashing challenger, John F. Kennedy.    Wait a second . . . he’s not that old, you might be...
I've written previously about the Topaz community near the western side of Howell County in Douglas County. Northern Howell County has many ties to the place. Several families still living here trace their origin to the Norfork River, its headwaters, and the people who initially settled here....
Like Sherlock Holmes, the fictional English detective, I have an older, smarter brother. Jack will admit he is four years older but deny that he is smarter. Nevertheless, my observation is true. Generally, this has proved to be a blessing, but at times during my childhood, I would have cringed at...
For over a decade following the Civil War, parts of Southern Missouri and North Arkansas were plagued by vigilantism in various forms directed at African Americans. In Howell County, the conflict was primarily political, and violence was limited between white citizens of the Radical Republican...
In 1963, a changing tide, or, maybe, a small hurricane rolled in with the arrival of tough-as-nails Joel Case. Coach Case, another Mizzou football letterman, had a swagger that he imparted to the team. Fans started coming to the games again. My mom said part of the reason for the increased...
I am indebted to Dave Malone for the answer to a question I posed the last issue. Two separate groups of African Americans immigrated to Howell County after the Civil War. Roughly ten years separated them, and I puzzled as to how they might be interrelated. The answer is they were not. In 1869...

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Howell County News

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