This inspirational speech by Dr. William H. Allen, comes from the July 31, 1930 edition of the Rich Hill Mining Review.
Dr. Allen was the first mayor of the city of Rich Hill in 1880. He was still alive and of good mind in 1930 to give the following speech
Rich Hill Golden Jubilee Speech by Dr. William H. Allen
Chosen by the committee for the duty of this hour I am here to tell you that we are glad to welcome you all to the festivities of this occasion.
We are assembled today to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of this city, and we want every one of you to enjoy the occasion to the limit of your capacity of enjoyment.
We have another reason for this. In 1980 we will meet again on our centennial day, and I wish you all can come then and help us—then you can revert to this day and say it was the most enjoyable day of your life. I shall try to be here then to welcome you, but if by any accident I shall not be here in the body I shall preside over you in spirit and give you my silent benediction. You know that there are some trite sayings, as death choses a strong mark — the good die young —these we have heard all of our lives. If they are true, and I have no reason to doubt them, I ought to reach the age of Methuselah, whom we are told was 969 years, then I will be here in 1980, still going strong.
We have unlocked the city and thrown the key in our deepest well, we have chloroformed our city marshal! and his policemen for forty- eight hours and put them to bed, we have removed the doors from the city jail and the city is yours. We want every one of you to be happy for the two days and all we ask when you go to your respective homes you leave the city here so we can use it after you are gone don't take it with you.
I have been requested to give a short biography of our city. Now all of you have read biography of persons and know that the history of a person, in whom you have no interest, does not arouse enthusiasm or interest. The history of a city is no more enthusing than personal history, and if this is prosaic you will be patient for it will be brief.
In 1869 the town of Old Rich Hill started two miles north and soon became the trade center of this thinly settled community, and it was a very good village for about 12 years. We had a good lot of old persons here then to break the sod and put this land in cultivation. On the north, the Wears, Perry Mudds and Ratekins. On the west the Robisons, Rands, Borrons and Wheatleys. On the south the Cresaps, Fergusons, Crabbs, Handleys, and Heddens. On the east the Neptunes and Philbricks and later the McCombs' — Tom and Dave, all pioneers and builders. To all these men we owe a debt of gratitude. The best known of these men was W.C. Hedden, who wrote for years for the Rich Hill Review -- a fine, modest man who never spoke an unkind word of any man or woman. He was as gentle as a little child. We shall always-remember Gabe.
In 1879 the land on which this town was built belonged to the Logan County National Bank Russelville, Kentucky, and was purchased by a group of Bates County Citizens under the name of the Rich Hill Town Company. Early in the spring of 1880 engineers laid of the city into lots, blocks, streets and parks, and on the 17th day of May a charter was secured, and in early June an election was held of a mayor, four alderman, clerk, attorney, treasurer and marshal and the town got away to a good start. The number of votes cast was an indication of about 1500 inhabitants.
In 1881 the "Talmage house was built and became the center of all social activity. Buildings were erected on every hand. The sound of the hammer and the saw rang way late in the night and everybody was employed. The mayor was also police, judge and held court every Monday and no one was ever in his court and failed to be convicted. No expense was necessary. The fact that he was in court was proof of guilt and the judgment uncontested. A prison was built, crude but strong. But my fellow citizens, buildings, streets and parks do not make a city. A city is made by the strong upstanding, intelligent men and women who make up the citizenship, who are willing to stand shoulder to shoulder and fight for civic betterment with the motto "one for all and all for one."Take one verse of the Elegy of Way "Let us then be up and doing, with a heart for any fate, still achieving still persuing, learn to labor and to want." We have always had that kind of citizens here—Early came a young man who started a small jewely store; he became a booster —his business grew and expanded until today it is one of the most important mercantile establishments in the city, and he is still boosting. 1 refer to Chas. S. Beasley of the Beasley Mercantile Company. Soon came two young Jewish citizens who started a small clothing store, which by energy and thrift has become one of the largest department stores in Bates county—I refer to Herman and Simon Loeb, Simon has gone to his long haven, but Herman still lives to enjoy the fruits of his long labor.
George A. Logan, now a citizen of Vernon County, was an early resident. He is yet living, an esteemed, fine moral old man, surrounded by a fine family who do credit to him in their lives.
In 1882 the Fergusons came to this city and organized the Farmers & Manufacturers Bank, which still stands as firm as the rock of Gibralter, a perpetual monument to the name. Soon W.W. Ferguson became its president and ruling spirit— a man of the very highest class— gruff, honest, truthful, courageous; his word was as good as the national money. He never betrayed a friend nor did he retreat from an enemy. Every subscription started for civic betterment or for charity was headed by W. W. Ferguson with a generous amount. He was my constant companion for over 40 years and when he lay down by my side and departed this life I was grieved, and that grief remains with me to this hour — I hope when the time shall come for me to lay aside these habiliments of morality and go on that long journey somewhere in the great beyond I shall meet him again and renew those pleasant relations which were interrupted by his sudden end and untimely death.
Early came two stalwart Germans from the state of Kansas, who came boosters and builders —Phillip Krieger and John Klumpp. Both have passed away but have left behind, them families who have carried their designs into execution.
Soon there came a young dentist —gruff, energetic, ingenious, who gave more hum to civic improvement" than any one who ever came here. He has left us and gone to his reward. I refer to Dr. J. H. Cromwell, our late mayor.
' But who cares for the setting sun, typical of old age as it sinks in the western horizon it reminds us of the old, whose hair is whited by the frost; of many winters; whose eyes are growing dim; whose footsteps are failing, and whose life it is to sit by the fireside and live again the victors and defeats of the past. And when the sun of life has set we look for the dawn when it shall appear again and light the world, an emblem of the Resurrection. Who cares for the setting sun when all eyes are fixed on the rising star, typical of youth energy, vision, and strength. They are the ones to carry on when age has left off, and we feel they will do all and more than we could have done. We look at our city and all its improvements and we bow to our young rising star, George B. Dowell, our young, active mayor, who by energy and activity has made these things possible, and again ask, who care's for the setting sun when the rising star is within our vision?
The first child born in this town-site is, I think, with us today, Julia Connelly, late the wife of John Schmidt of the Loeb Mercantile Company —a fine matronly lady, surrounded by a family of grown children who might well be the envy of the city. She is not a grandmother yet but that is an oversight that cart be corrected.
My friends I am a dreamer and in my dreamings I travel over the world — I stand upon the Alps and look down upon sunny France upon the one side and Italy upon the other. I stand upon the banks of the Rhine and see the huge commerce rushing over her broad bosom to all the ports of the world with German energy and thrift—I stand upon the banks of the classic Nile and view her sparkling water and her fertile valleys. I climb the hills of Palestine and stand where the Shepherds stood when they found the star that guided them to the manger where the Babe of Bethlehem lay—the Savior of the World. I come back to Rich Hill and look at our substantial churches and free schools—her fine, upstanding men and women. I look over Bates County with her fertile lands, cultivated by a citizenship unsurpassed by any in the whole world. I look over Missouri, the most notable state in the 48 that forms this American union, and I am proud to live in Missouri; I am glad to live in Bates County, and I rejoice to be a citizen of Rich Hill, and I am content to remain here until the end of my time.
Just here I pause to deliver a toast fit to be drank by the Gods of Nectar: Woman, the star that shines with brightest ray. Wherever our footsteps roam. Her only Sovereign we obey. The Mistress of our Home.