Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rich Hill Mining Review July,1 1976 (more from the Belvins collection

Booth family spans Rich Hill History

In announcing the sale of the Booth Chapel, Theatre, business office and home to George and Therese Flexsenhar, Dorothy Booth makes an end to a long family history in Rich Hill.
From the first days of Rich Hill's development the Booths have played a major role. Rolla Jesse and Fannie Hedges were the first ,two school teachers. Fannie then married the surveying engineer, Charles Clark, who planned the layout of the streets. Rolla and her new husb.and started the old "Opry" House, a photography studio, furniture, store, livery stable and funeral parlor.
These early coal mining days saw Rich Hill population grow faster than Butler or Nevada. Weekends were spent riding around in a buggy seeing the tents and new buildings which had mushroomed up.;
Horse racing was popular. Many old timers remember when' Booth's Consillio held the world championship title for sulky racing.
H. M. & Rolla's children Beryl (Smalley), Harry, Frances (Boughan), Jimmie and Shirley all grew up in the large white house by the West park. Jimmie died in childhood from eating poison berries. Frances' death later resultd in Jim, Booth and Rolla Beryl Boughan being reared by Nanaw Booth. Virginia moved to Indiana with her aunt, Beryl.
Dorothy, Shirley and daughter, Peggy Ann, returned from St. Louis in 1936 when his parents health failed.
Later two modern theatres were built and the family home was trans­formed into a lovely, dignified Funeral Chapel. Shirley and Dorothy's Carth­age cut stone house is adjacent to the North.
Shirley served as President of the School Board when the athletic field and auditorium were constructed. Every 4th of July parade bulged with his floats from many organizations.
After his death, Dorothy carried on the family tradition for a decade of service for people at the time of the death of their loved ones.
"Leaving was a very difficult decision for me to make," said Mrs. Booth.
"George Flexsenhar is home-folks. He worked for us while going to high school. His experience includes many years of owning his own funeral home in Lebanon, Mo. Therese has already endeared herself to bereaved fam­ilies," said Mrs. Booth.
Mrs. Booth intends to travel exten­sively and eventually, make her home in St. Louis near her daughter. Peggy Ann Thompson is Executive Director of five St. Louis Hearing and Speech Centers. Her husband Corley (Jim-mie) is a Public Adjuster and a State Representative. Their daughter Terry Ann Bridgnole (25) is married and living in a St. Louis suburb. Jim (23] makes his home in San Diego, Califor nia. Ten year old Gregdry Booth wil be in the 5th grade this fall.
"A large part of my heart wil always remain with my dear friend; and neighbors in Rich Hill," coneluded Mrs. Booth.

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