Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rich Hill 1911 Yearbook

Tonights blog came from the 1911 Rich Hill, Year book. I like how in these old High School annuals how the students describe the entire Rich Hill, community.

Rich Hill is a beautiful little city of between three thousand and four thousand inhabitants, located in Bates county, in the southwestern part of the state of Missouri. It is not, as its name would imply, planted on a hill or many hills, but on an upland or rolling prairie, the land falling gradually to the north, where all streams empty into the Marias des Cygnes river, and to the south, where creeks and streams empty into the Little Osage river. The city is beautifully located on these high, rolling uplands, where the drainage is natural, thus making it a most healthful and delightful place in which to live.
The city is well laid out, having broad streets and spacious alleys between each block. The business district is substantial, with its many walks of concrete, stone and brick. In the residence district are many beautiful homes, surrounded by large shade trees and elegant lawns.
The people of Rich Hill are congenial, and are always ready to extend the hand of welcome to any stranger who may come into the city.
The educational advantages are good. There are three fine brick school buildings, and all are supplied with good, competent teachers. It has a first-class four year High School, with five teachers and an attendance of 159. All of its work is accepted by the State Superintendant and by the M. S. U. Many country graduates are taking advantage of this school by coming to R. H. H. S. for a higher education.
Rich Hill is well supplied with its own natural gas. It also has an electric light plant, which furnishes the city with light, making the streets bright and pretty at night.
The brick and tile factory, located just outside the city, is another great benefit to the town. The ice plant, which manufactures ice, and furnishes it to the people, is a great help to the city. Both of these factories have a large output daily.
Another very great help to the city, is the dairy, located near by. Milk wagons make visits twice daily, thus enabling the people to obtain clean, wholesome milk, cream, butter and ice cream very conveniently.
Rich Hill also has its own waterworks system. The water which supplies the town, is obtained from wells of great depth, and is clear, pure and whole­some. In connection with the waterworks plant, Rich Hill has the best equipped fire department of any town of like size in the state.
The city has one daily newspaper and, until recently, had three weekly newspapers. However, one of these has been discontinued, and now we have but two weekly and one daily newspapers.
Rich Hill is also noted for its fine churches. It has nine nicely built church buildings, each of which gladly welcomes everyone to its services.
Two beautiful little parks are located in the city, one in the central part, and the other in the east part of town, at the end of Park Avenue. These parks look very handsome, with their pretty shade trees, lawn swings, seats and band stand, and are a great comfort to strangers coming into the city.
Many rich fields of undeveloped coal surround the town, as well as numerous local mines, which are a great benefit.
Rich Hill, with its many business, social, religious and educational ad­vantages, its healthful climate and congenial people, is a most desirable place in which to live.

Frances Samuelson, 12.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Old High School Store

Here is an update on this blog, I recently visitied with Mrs.Carolyn King the wife of former Paul King the couple owned and operatered Kings Store which was located across the street from the old Rich Hill High School. Mrs. King was able to give me a date for the Rich Hill Mining Review article in the Wagon wheels edition, of May 2,1986.
Thank you, Carolyn for the date and information.

The story for tonights blog was written by Randy Bell and published in the Wagon wheels edition of the Mining Review. Unsure of the date!

The one great thing about Rich Hill when I began going to High School was that we could go and eat our lunch at the store across the street.

Paul King was right. I didn't really doubt that he was, especially considering the subject in question. Still I wanted to see for myself. . .
Paul was making his daily trip across the Rich Hill High School yard, looking for any bits of litter that might have come there via his place of business. I told him I like to visit with him in a couple of days to do a story on "the store." I went on to tell him that certainly many a Rich Hill student over the years had enjoyed a chili dog and bottle of pop at the store. A little history, a look at the changes the years had brought to this unique business might make interesting reading.
He replied that he, along with his wife, Carolyn, would be glad to talk with me "but" he said "you know, things haven't -really changed that much."
He was right. It has been almost 20 years since I'd hurried at the sound of the noon bell, out the west door of the high school, around the edge of the shop, across the road and up to the counter of the store for a sandwich or candy bar. But it was just about exactly as I remember it.

Apparently most Rich Hill students for over 50 years could say the same. Depending on when you were in school, the booths may be moved and the candy case may be in a slightly different spot and, of course, the prices have changed, but the more we talked with the various owners of the store about changes the more I realized—it hadn't really changed that much.
"The Store" is what we always called it in high school. There's a sign over the door now with the name King's Store but to five decades of students, and even to the owners, it's been "The Store." It sits just across the street, west of the high school.
What is now The Store was a garage back in 1936 when Mr. and Mrs. Lowell Davis bought the property. It was in the midst of the depression years and Doris' parents moved from Hannibal to Rich Hill. Her father, handy with tools, converted the building to The Store, making the benches and adding the windows. It was 1938 when he and his wife opened the Store to the first wave of hungry students. But the couple ran the business for only a year when Doris' mother took sick and in March of 1941 she died.
Doris was living in Kansas City at the time and with the death of his wife, her father lost interest in the business and Doris came back to run The Store.
For a quarter, in those years, you could have a bowl of chili (15C), a candy bar (5C) and a bottle of pop (55). The Store featured a lunch
counter, school supplies, pop, ice cream and of course, the candy counter.
Doris ran the store for 13 years, seeing many students through their entire school career.
With Lowell working for the state and often away from home, Doris pretty much ran the business by herself. Then, like now, the store was open before school, during the lunch periods, and after school. Lunch periods were the hectic time and Doris had everything ready before the kids poured in. In the early years Mrs. Davis had high school girls help her through the lunch period. They worked for about 20 minutes and in exchange got their lunch. Later Mrs. Davis would be aided by her twin sons, Richard and Robert.
"To this day I don't like chili because I made so much of it in those days," laughs Mrs. Davis.
She ran the store until 1954 when the Davises sold it to Jasper and Lucy Smith.
"Prices remained fairly stable in those years with little change," recalls Mrs. Davis.
Another whole era of school children knew Mrs. Davis in a different role, that of school teacher. After selling the store she returned to teaching (she had taught in her home town of Hannibal before marrying and coming to Rich Hill) first at Foster and then at Rich Hill retiring in 1970.
In the store or in the classroom she had no discipline problems to speak of.
"You have to let them know who's boss then there's no problem," she said. In The Store "it was noisy but that didn't bother me any. I loved working with the children."
Jasper and Lucy Smith ran the business for almost five years but I failed to talk with Lucy at any great length on the subject. In about 1960 the Smiths sold to Elmer "Bingo" Davis who owned the store until March of 1964. At that time, and for the next 21 years, the store became King's Store.
The menu is about the same, except for the prices. While the prices go up so does the cost and it all comes out about the same, said Paul.

The candy'case is still stocked. Brands of candy bars remain fairly constant but there are many more brands of gum now than in years gone by, said Carolyn. We sell more gum and sandwiches now, and less candy, she said. The Kings no longer handle school supplies due to their suppliers not handling them.
Paul drives a school bus including a trip to Nevada for Vo Tech School. Therefore he misses the first lunch hour but is back to help on the second lunch break, their busiest time. Carolyn's mother helps out through the first lunch period.
With 21 years in the store and many years as a bus driver Paul has had plenty of experience with students. They, like the store, stay pretty much the same. He sees some similarity between the bus driving and the store. The kids have been in class all day and when they run out to the bus or over to the store they're ready to blow off some steam, he says. For the first few minutes it's pretty noisy but then they settle down. He says he has very few discipline problems on the bus or at the store.
Carolyn thinks the children are less rambunctious than in past years. They are pretty orderly in the store and are good to clean up the tables when they're finished, she said.
While fashions, music, expressions, modes of transpor­tation for students have ran the gamut of change in the past 50 years, it appears The Store has remained a constant through it all.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jim Reed

Sometime during the 1980's I began reading a book called A Dynasty of Western Outlaws. I was surprised while I was reading to find an outlaw by the name of Jim Reed from the Rich Hill, Missouri area. To read more about Jim Reed simply follow this link: A dynasty of western outlaws

They say that several members of the Reed family are buried at Fairview Rider Cemetery which is located just a few miles west and south of Greenlawn Cemetery outside of Rich Hill.

Jim Reed (1844-1874) - Jim Reed was born 8 miles south of what is now Rich Hill, Missouri. He grew up in this same area, his family was friends with the Shirleys, who would have the dubious honor of raising the girl who would end up with the nickname of the Bandit Queen - Belle Starr. Reed grew up to ride with Quantrill's Raiders during the Civil War, along with the James and Younger brothers. When the war was over, he was with the James-Younger Gang when they fled to Texas after they robbed the bank in Liberty, Missouri in 1866.
There, he reconnected with Myra Belle Shirley (Starr) and the two soon married on November 1, 1866. Their first child - Pearl was born in 1868. In the meantime, Reed had become involved with the Tom Starr gang, rustling cattle. Reed was soon a wanted man, allegedly for murdering a man named Shannon. Jim and Belle then fled to California with their young daughter and soon had a second child in 1871 named Edward.
Soon afterwards, Reed returned to Texas with his family and became involved with the James-Younger Gang as well as continuing to ride with Tom Starr's gang. In April, 1874, he robbed the Austin-San Antonio stage and though there was no evidence that Belle Reed participated, she was named as an accessory in the indictment.
With the law hot on his tail, Jim Reed was killed by a deputy sheriff at Paris, Texas , in August 1874. His widow, Belle then sent her children to Missouri to live with their grandmother and dropped out of sight for a few years until she re-emerged as an outlaw in her own right.
Don Eoff sent me this link on Belle Starr and Jim Reed
Thanks Don

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Souvenir Book

I found this interesting souvenir book at the library. There was no date in it. I would guess that the book was printed around the 1900's. The little booklet had some very interesting pictures, I wish that the pictures would have copied better.

Rich Hill was founded in the spring of 1880, and is situated in the southern part of Bates County on an elevated section of prairie overlooking the Marias des Cygnes river on the North and East, and as its name indicates is rich in natural wealth. The question of fuel for the city was settled by nature in the surrounding coal mines and for drainage by the rolling prairie. It is a city of churches, schools, and of manufacturing and mining industries; is surrounded by fine agricultural country: timber is abundant in the nearby river bottom. Ever since the organization of the town prosperity has marked its onward progress in the development of its material resources and moral advancement. Tens of thousands of dollar are invested in mining industries. The zinc smelters employs a large number of men constantly. The beautiful residences, handsome business blocks, elegant churches, industrial institutions, park and street scenes pictured in This booklet will tell the story of the city better than tongue or pen. Population 5000.
Harry B. Marsh, Pub. Rich Hill Tribune Print.
City Hall

Park Ave.

Presbyterian Church

West Park

Rich Hill Gas Plant


F&M Bank

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pete Heuser

In Memory of Pete Heuser (June 27,1927 to November 23, 2008)

The Bates County Lawn & Garden Tractor Pulling Association is selling Stickers with the name Pete in Pete Heusers memory. The money raised from selling the stickers will be added to the Pete Heuser fund for the new scoreboard.
To purchase a Pete sticker contact Ron Tabor, Boone Ross or Tom Bridgewater.

In Memory of PETE

Pictured above the former Pete Heuser, he really enjoyed garden tractor pulling.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

History of the Rich Hill Red Buds

Tonights Blog Comes from the Mining Review May 21, 1970

Above -Four Students in Vocational Agriculture department of Rich Hill High School, take time out from their planting of red bud trees to pose for a picture for their instructor, Milton Schnare. The boys are left to right Ivan Fisher,Roger Farrell, Dan Coffman and Dean Fisher.

In February 1958,the Community Garden club started a beautification program in Rich Hill. At a meeting of the club at that time the members voted to meet with the city council and get permission to plant twelve red bud trees in the East Park. Mayor Marvin Hurst and members of the council were delighted about the beautification program and voted to buy twelve trees. It was voted to plant the trees on each side of the walk in the East park.

Members of the city council thought it would be a good idea to plant two rows of trees in the space between the driveways on Park, between the park and 71 Highway. The garden, club and a number of interested per­sons joined with the city council and decided to solicit business people for money to buy the additional trees.Mrs. Marion Moreland, volunteered to solicit the downtown district and Mrs. Elmer Ellis volunteered to con­tact the business people on the highway. The money was soon obtained.

When the Boy Scout Troop and their leaders heard of the project they volunteered their services in planting of the trees and in the second week in April found Mayor Marvin Hurst, Street Commissioner Harry Davis, members of the Boy Scouts' and garden club mem­bers, in the park planting the trees.

Since that time several trees have died and this year fifteen trees were needed to replace the missing trees. The Review published an article about the needs. The necessary funds were given by several persons and the trees bought. At that time Milton Schnare, instructor of Vocational Agriculture in the Rich Hill High School and four of his students went to the park and planted the trees.
Those contributing money to the fund for the trees this year were Mrs. Ruth Welborn, Raymore, Mo. Postermaster James Wheatley, Security Bank, Fred Marquardt, Miss Mable Waston Mrs. Oreine Klumpp, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. S. Newlin, Dr. and Mrs. Claude J. Allen, Mrs. Mary Northup, Mrs.Ruby Yarick Mrs. Ida Kenney, and Rich Hill Mining Review.
A large number of citizens, at different times, have suggested for this beautiful part of our town, such as Red Bud Lane. The project is one which every person who participated is justly proud.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Rich Hill in 1950

Tonights blog pictures are possible because of the generosity of Peggy & Paul Droz sending me copies of some of their old Rich Hill pictures from the 1950's. Thank you Peggy

I plan on finding out more about these mail buses so be looking for more information in my future blogs.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Rich Hill's Former Mr. Electric

Alva "Doc" Gordon, one of Rich Hill's best known and highly respeeted citizens passed away at the home, 402 East Cedar street, this city, Wednesday evening, 5:30 o'clock Mr. Gordon suffered a heart altack early Friday morning and had been in a critical condition since that time.
Alva Walter, son of George and Margaret Gordon, was born at Mapleton, Kan., December 29, 1879, and passed away September 23, 1953, at the age of 73 years, 8 months and 2 days. August 20, 1903, at Rich Hill he was united in marriage to Daisy Feeny, who survives. He was a mem­ber of the M. W. A. lodge.
Mr. Gordon came here from Mapleton in 1880 and grew to young man­hood here. He was a student of elec­tricity and was instrumental in building the electric light system in Rich Hill. Mr. Gordon until recent years read and studied all about electricity and was considered one of the best authorities on electricity in this sec­tion of the country.
He was superintendent of the Water and Light department of this city for forty years, and during that time worked hard that the electric light department could operate efficiently. Mr. Gordon liked his home town and wanted to see it grow and he took an active part in civic projects. He was associated with the business circles having operated a theatre in town at one time.
Besides his wife, Mr. Gordon is sur­vived by three sons, Wilson, Lee and Marshall, all of Rich Hill; nine grand­children and one sister, Mrs. Eva Melck, Boise, Idaho. One son, preceded him in death, May 12, 1945, while serving his country in the United States Navy, and one son died in infancy. Two brothers, John and Bill Gordon and one sister also preceded him in death.
Fureral services will be held in the Presbyterian church Friday afternoon at 3 o'clock conducted by Rev. Bartley Schwegler.
Rich Hill business house will be closed during the funeral hour Friday afternoon.
Burial in GreenLawn cemetery.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Old Power Plant


This is the front of the old Power Plant which sits at Maple and Railroad streets it appears that years ago it had a front door.

This is the east side of the old water plant. I often wondered just how they ever got the motors in and out of the building, it must have been through these double doors pictured here on the east side.

This view is fron thew west side. The two double doors pictured above were used when they shoveled coal into the coal room.

This the old switchgear which were the old controls for the cities electric. Each section was labeled as to which section of town the electric would go to. This is some more of the switch gear. It just really amazes me just how old it looks. This is a picture of one of the old Fairbanks motors I wrote about in an earlier blog.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Model 32-E Stationary Diesels

When I started the blog I was in hopes of finding a lot of information on the City's past utilities and how they operated. I did find a book with information on this old Fairanks-Morse Diesel Engine. The city of Rich Hill still has two of these Model 32-E Engines, they haven't run in years. The City's Model 32 Engines are 4 cylinders where the engine pictured below are actually a 6cyl.
The information below the picture is page 4 out of the book I found.
Fairbanks-Morse Model 32-E Diesel Engines enjoy an unsurpassed record for over-all economy of operation and dependability in the stationary power plant field. Several hundred thousand horsepower of these engines are to be found in daily operation in central sta­tion power and light plants, manufac­turing plants, ice plants, flour mills, rock crushing plants, cotton gins, cot­ton seed oil mills, textile mills, irriga­tion and drainage pumping stations, and a host of similar installations in­cluding practically every requirement for primary power.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rich Hill Power and Light

Switch Gear in the old Power Plant at Railroad and Maple St.

The following story was taken from the book the Town that Coal Built

Following their marriage in 1902 Alva and Daisy (Feeny)Gordan operated a restaurant in the Talmage House Hotel. It was while operating the restaurant that Alva built and operated the first electric power plant in Rich Hill to supply elec­trinity to his restaurant and later to the business dis­trict of the city. Power operating the generators was supplied by gasoline engines. About 1910 he sold his franchise to the City of Rich Hill and was appointed Superintendent of the Water and Light Department of the City. He served the City in that capacity for 35 years, retiring in 1944.

Lee Gordon, who succeeded his father as Superintendent of the City Light and Water Dept., until the department was taken over by Mis­souri Public Service.
The next story was taken from the Wagon Wheel in 1979 By Mary Griffin
The Rich Hill Power and Light Plant produced all the electricity and furnished the water for the town. The minimum for electricity was $1.50 per month and $1.00 for water. The chief use for electricity was for lights as there were few appliances available. Even the radio was battery powered. It was not until the 1940's that washing machines and refrigerators came into general use. Both the power plant and the ice plant used coal to produce the energy they needed. Lee Gordon was the superintendent of the Power and Light Plant for several years.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bates County News "headliner"

Rich Hill is known as the town that coal built.

Tonight's blog came from the Bates County News "headliner," Thursday, June 6, 1974. page 12.

One of the largest of these was the Southwestern, Lead and Zinc Smelting Company, that located on eleven acres of land at the northern edge of the city, (where the city dump is in 1974) A spur of the Missouri Pacific railroad, was run into the plant to bring the ore for smelting and the coal for fuel. The 11 acre plot was almost solidly covered with buildings pertaining to the operation. It was a spectacular sight, drawing visitors every day of the week and throngs on Sundays.
There was a two story brick engine house and crushing room with a huge Fairbanks scale adjoining it and a large elevator used in hoisting the ore. Coal brought in by the loads was dumped in large bins. There was the pottery and a drying room, the house used to clean sulpher and a brick house floored and lined with fire clay and iron, used for the ore.

But the most spectacular of all was the mammoth furnace house with its two furnaces, each 70 feet long. The smoke stacks were five feet in diameter and one hundred feet high, lined with fire brick from the ground to the top. The flames from the furnace were so great that nothing else could withstand the heat.

The smoke and fumes were damaging to the vegetation and trees over a vast area around the smelter.

There is no sight on earth that could be likened to the furnaces with their roaring flames and intense heat, so one writer likened them to the neather regions. But, for all that, it was a beautiful sight! One look into the fiery depths revealed the angry, gassy flames chasing each other in fiendish glee, while from the tubes, or condensers on the side, a blaze of rainbow, colored lights would burst forth making a colorful display with all the blues, greens, reds, yellows and orange tints og god's great bow! It was a spectacular sight and the visitors were awed by the magnificent show.
While the railroads were still building and almost before the town was laid out, two pioneer farmers and stock raisers opened a brick yard in the southeast part of the city. John Greenhalge and J. S. Craig built huge ovens and burned building brick under the name of Craig and Greenhalge Brick Company," which grew into a huge manufacturing enterprise. They burned the brick used in so many of the buildings put up in those frantic days of the town's beginning.
Neighbor of the smelter, located directly on the Missouri Pacific Railroad was a brick and tile company which opened in 1890 by Major D. H.Wilson, T.B. Farmer and Ben Evans. They were all pioneer families of Rich Hill and their brick and tile was of fine quality, but the lack of finances forced them to sell. The business was bought by Booth of Hedges who ran it a few years, then sold it to Walter S. Dickey of Kansas City about 1900. Dickey
was a prominent and wealthy citizen in Kansas City.

There were seven huge ovens in operation and clay was shipped from St. Louis until a suitable mixture was discovered near the plant. Blue clay found in small deposits over the country was also used in finer products. They turned out paving brick and drainage tile, that was shipped to distant places.

The site is owned today by Ed Link and there is one of the ovens still standing and brick, wife the name Dickey Brick and Tile. Company imprinted on them, are still scattered along the building sites.
Early in the history of the city, R.T. and J.C. Young saw the necessity of a mill in the village and selected a site south of the Gulf Railroad, between Fifth and Sixth Streets. They erected a frame structure with a rock engine room, where they milled flour and ground grist. They were fine millers, honest in their dealings and had the respect of the community, who felt the mill was an asset and they did a thriving business.

Another fine industry was added to the growing city when, Elias Falon and his two sons, Norman and Charles, came down from Illinois in the fall of 1881 and bought a site in the southeast section of town with easy access to both railroads and built a five story elevator and flour mill.
They came with plenty of capital and had the mill in operation by November of the following year. They bought the finest equipment and machinery they could find and easily turned out 200 barrels of flour every 24 hours. They proved to of great advantage to the farmers and townspeople alike. By paying the farmers the highest prices for their wheat and giving the citizens the best flour without these extra freight charges. Looking to the future they bought themsleves large farms and cattle ranches in Vernon County a few miles south of Rich Hill.

Another timely addition to the growing city was, the Rich Hill Foundry and Machine Shop. Two gentlemen by the names of Gawcett and Stealey had W. N. Newton erect the building and the business became known as the Star Shop. They did plant work in wood and iron. The plant was at the junction of the railroads and on the banks of Twin Lakes (coal pits filled with water) but it was an eye-catching site appreciated addition to the city's industries.

Monday, March 16, 2009


It has been hard finding the time to blog, with the weather getting nicer and the time change. I still have many unanswered questions about Rich Hill's history so, I have not thrown in the towel, yet.
The blog tonight was inspired by a fire that happened last week. The fire burned an old house just north of town. They say that parts of the old house that burned were built before the railroad came.
Pictured below is the Rich Hill Fire Department crew from 1888. the picture was taken from the book, "The Town that Coal Built."

Steve Hamack, Burt Covel, Dr. H.H. Heylmun,C.W. Orris, Thos Jones, F.M. Koontz, Henry Cook, Al Gunn, Alex Maylon, Bert Rupand, Sam Hamack, Will Tabler, Lon Scott, James McCarty,

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Historical Notes of Reva Stubblefield

I have no dates on this newspaper article. I would guess about 1974!
Link to “Outstanding Women of Missouri” on Reva Stubblefield

Rich Hill History
Memoirs of Dr. Claude Allen and Stories he heard from his Father
For more first hand information and stories of those early days of Rich Hill we paid a visit to the home of Dr. Claude Allen,whose father, Dr. William H. Allen,was one of the founders of-the city. He came down from the old town of Rich Hill, which was about two miles north of the present site, and was one of the men who formed the town's corporation May 17, 1880. B. B.Singleton, of the Lexington and Southern railroad (branch of the Missouri Pacific) was brought in to help.

The corporation consisted of the following citizens E. H. Brown,President: S. B. Lashbrooke, Secretary; J. N. Hardin Assistant Secretary: F. G. Tygard, Treasurer. The- trustees were: Dr. William H. Allen, President; George Reif, W.I. Heylmun, N. R. Powell. Dr. William H. Allen was appointed mayor and served until Feb. 25,1881, when the village became a city,fourth class and T. L. Hewett was elected Mayor; Samuel Hackett, William Leslie, J. L. Miner J.C. Skagg were elected aldermen; R. J. Starke, marshal; Thomas M. Orr,treasurer George Templeton, city attorney; C A. Clarke, collector Isaac Bullock, clerk.

Dr. William Allen was the first doctor in town and officiated at the first birth, Julia Connaly (Schmidt). Julia Schmidt and her sister and nieces still live in Rich Hill in 1974. Their home is on Maple street.

Dr. William H. Allen built one of the finest homes in town the corner of Fifth and Olive streets and there his last two sons were born. They were twins -Claude and Clyde. The order children, Laura who married Ben Brook and made her home in San Augustine, Tex.- and William H. Jr were born in Kentucky. William H. became a doctor in Hume, Mo., another coal mining town not far from Rich Hill.

The next two children were born in while the family lived in Missouri although the mother traveled back to Kentucky for their birth. They were Ebenezer, called Eben who became a civil engineer, and Samuel, who went to Oklahoma during the land rush and became Superintendent of an Oklahoma mine.

Dr. William H. Allen, Sr. migrated from Kentucky in 1871 and settled in Hale, Mo., a small village near Excelsior Springs in Carroll County. The James family lived in the neighborhood and the doctor was aware of the trouble with the railroad and was one of the attending physicians who amputated the arm of Mrs. James when it was mangled by a bomb thrown into their home.

She was present when the bomb came through the window and grabbed it up to toss outside, again when it exploded.One arm was so mangled it had to be removed. The intent of the bomb was to frighten, or scare the James into selling their land to the railroad for a mere pittance of its worth. Dr, William H.Allen remembered that at was soon after this experience, the boys, Frank and Jesse, robbed the gate at the fairgrounds in Kansas City and were started on their life of crime.

Dr. Virgil Allen, a cousin, was the first of the Allen's to settle on a farm near Old Rich Hill. It was before the Civil War and when he went to California, his cousin, Dr. William H. Allen took over the farm. A neighbor, W. H. Thomas, had erected blacksmith shop and E. W. Ratekin had put up a dwelling house in the neighborhood.Culbertson opened a grocery store and sold the first goods in 1865.

The site on which they built was a little knoll that gave a fine view of the countryside, so when a post office was established there in 1869, it was given the name Rich Hill. The village endured until coal was discovered in 1880, and the new town of Rich Hill was established two miles south. The Rich Hill Mining Company bought the land where the village stood and practically the whole town moved-down to the new site.

Dr. Claude and his brother, Clyde were born in 1886, and grew up with the city. They attend the Public School there and Clyde was called to World War one.He was sent to Fort Sill where he was injured in a explosion, never fully recovering from the injury, he died at an early age. Claude received his Medical training at the University of Kansas City and during World War I, served as medical officer at Fort Riley, the original military reservation west of Kansas City , called Camp Funston. He married Fay Joplin in 1912, and always made his home in Rich Hill. They had one son, Dr.William Allen, the third, who lives in Nevada, Mo. He married Mary Adaline Caton of Rich Hill , superintendent of nurses in Nevada-hospital

Dr. Claude Allen, though 87 years old and blind,has a vivid memory of people and events of those early years that is remarkable! While reminiscing ones mind leaps from event to event with no regard to time or subject, so it was the day we visited him. He and Eleanor Lynch compared stories and recalled old-times until it became very confusing but we give you the stories as we heard them.

One of the first things of which he spoke was Frank James visit to Rich Hill. Frank had by this time been granted amnesty and was often used as a drawing card at large affairs. He came to the new boom town of Rich Hill to act as a starter for the races at the fairground race track. O. Spencer, the Christian Church preacher from Kentucky, loved and bred race horses, on his farm near Rich Hill, which he showed all over the country, winning many awards for his efforts. Both his horses and the race track, which he was instrumental in starting in Rich Hill, had gained recognition among lover's of the sport.
O. Spencer always wore a long white beard, and one day at the races he kept jumping the bell. After several starts because of his restless spirit, Frank James called down from the starters box, "Hey, you old man with the white whiskers, if you come out of there again ahead of the bell, I'll come down there and beat H—out of you."
Frank was more of an itinerant character, but he did buy and run a shoe store in Nevada for a few years.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rich Hill Famous for the Fourth 1926

Tonight's blog is about yet another great Fourth of July Celebration held in Rich Hill, Missouri. Rich Hill is Famous for the Fourth!
The following article was found in the June 23rd, 1926 issue of the Rich Hill Daily Review.
Rich Hill's Program will Please the People Who will celebrate Here.

That people of Rich Hill and visitors will be entertained here the 5th of July is now assured. The committee in charge contracted Tuesday for the S. B. Williams Shows. This is a clean bunch of attractions, rides and concessions that will please the public. Thru the courtesy of Mayor Cromwell and City Alderman it is arranged to have them from Tuesday June 29 until after the celebration July 5th. This contract gives the committee the financial aid that was lacking to put the program on that had been planned. While it is not complete the following are some of the big attractions to be here Monday July 5th.
The Bennett Air Circus. Doing fancy air stunts and parchute leaps from the clouds.
The Warricks in comedy acting on the big platform and trapeze.
The Mathews family of 4 people that do some real acting from high trapeze and on platform Two small children are featured in this act.
The Barn yard Circus. With a high diving pig. This act alone would be worth coming to see.
Old Fiddlers contest Charles­ton contest.
The Mo. Pacific Booster Band of Nevada will furnish music for the day.
Rockville and Rich Hill ball game at 2:30 p. m. at the ball park.
The biggest display of fire works that Rich Hill has ever shown.
Some other features will be ad­ded to this program and all in all the 5th of July will be remember­ed as one Gala Day for Rich Hill.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A reflection from the past "Old Advertisements"

Tonight's blog comes from a 1926 Mining Review Newspaper. It is interesting to take a look back in time to see how the town and advertising have changed in the past 80-90 years. To me it is amazing that there were so many businesses and opportunity in a now small town.

Monday, March 9, 2009

100th post

Wow! This blog makes my 100th post! I want to thank the people that have been following the blog and those who have been e-mailing me about the previous articles I have blogged.
The following two pictures came out of Rich Hill Mining Review July 1976 Wagon Wheels edition.

Small fry entries in the parade in the early 50's. The boy in the middle is Terry Clark aided by one of the McCoun boys. This is a Toppy Clark photo.

A ferris wheel, marching band and prize horses were all a part of this Fourth of July Celebration in Rich Hill long ago Mrs. Clara Peterman, Rich Hill brought this picture to us. We're not sure of the date this taken but some very early cars can be seen on the south side of Park Ave.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Miller Rodeo part II

The only thing I ever new about the Miller Rodeo as a boy is that Oklahoma Slim died in 1978 around my birthday just after I moved to Rich Hill. All the kids were talking about Oklahoma Slim dying, they said he was a famous Rodeo clown. Then in the mid-1980's I was working construction in Oklahoma people would ask me just where in Missouri I was from. I would always say midway between Kansas City and Joplin. This one man replied, "Oh Rich Hill" and come to find out he used to Rodeo with the former Lester Breckenridge. I was also happy to finally post a story by Randy Bell one of Rich Hill's most important historians.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Miller Rodeo-a Family Affair

Tonight's blog was published in issue of the Rich Hill Mining Review(Wagon Wheel in 1976 ) . The following story is by Randy Bell
Clyde Miller-on his horse,Leonard

Kid Fletcher, Casey Tibbs, Bill Fell, Rex-Campbell, Bones Ashton. If you were a rodeo fan in the 1940's and 50's these names might ring a bell with you.
Or maybe if you aren't even a rodeo fan but have lived around the Rich Hill area you've heard of Oklahoma Slim and Arkansas Shorty, well known rodeo clowns of a few years back. It's possible you now know them by another name.
Then again there were three pretty trick riding sisters named Betty, Doris and Deloris England, at least one of whom you might have known in Rich Hill.
If you don't know these next two names two things are pretty certain about you. One, you haven't lived in Rich Hill long and two, you were never much of a rodeo fan at all. The names are Mrs. Belle Miller and her husband, the late Clyde Miller.
Back to the other names for just a moment. Oklahoma Slim was the stage (or in this case arena) name for Martin Gulick and Arkansas Shorty, out of clown make-up, is Lester Breckenridge. Both men now live in or near Rich Hill.
The Miller couple mentioned had three sons and a daughter. One of these sons, Maynard, was a pick-up man in the Miller rodeo and married Doris England, the trick rider. In fact they were married on horseback during a rodeo in Ottawa, Kansas.
These are just a few of the things I learned from talking with Mrs. Miller one morning and by going through a scrapbook she had.

Clyde and Belle Miller got into the rodeo business at a tough time. It wasn't tough just because it was the early years for such shows, it was rough in all types of business then. It was 1932 and the Depression was on.
The Millers were originally from the Waterloo, Iowa area where they farmed. They got into show business with horse acts at county fairs. This lead into a Wild West Show and then on July 29, 1932, in Iowa they staged their first rodeo. Their rodeo, career would span almost twenty years and take them north to Bemidge, Minnesota, south to New Orleans, east to Boston and as far west as Denver.

As could be expected, a newspaper man helped bring the Miller show to Rich Hill the first time in 1936. Dynamite Matthews and a barber named Elmer Hughes promoted that first show which was held west of Rich Hill near what was then the Robinson farm.
After this the Miller Shows often started their season off in Rich Hill and in 1942 they moved here. At those county fairs and in the early years of their rodeo business, both Clyde and Belle rode High School horses, horses trained in dressage or difficult maneuvers. They also both performed in a special feature of the show called a Quadrill. This was a square dance done on horseback using 8 matched white horses.
In 1937 Belle's horse was hurt and she quit showing. After this she stayed on the Miller ranch with her youngest son Mark and granddaughter Ann while Clyde was with the show in the summer months. The show remained a family affair, however. Their oldest son, Bill, was the announcer, daughter, Maxine was a trick rider and bookkeeper, Maynard was livestock foreman, pick-up man and trick rider. Mark was-very young during this period however, he did do some trick riding as did grandchildren Buck and Ann Morton.
The four children have now left the rodeo life for various careers, Bill is now a minister in Lee's Summit, Maxine is a government employee in Kansas City, Maynard manages a cattle ranch in Illinois and Mark is the Vocational Agriculture teacher in Rich Hill.
From 60-120 cowboys and cowgirls traveled along with the shows. Some became famous in their sport and found their way into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma. Clyde and Belle are also mentioned for their part in rodeo history in the Hall.
One of the shows performed in Rich Hill was held on the athletic field with the sponsor's proceeds going towards the purchase of the first set of lights for the field.
In 1951 the Millers sold their rodeo and settled down to the farm life once again. Both Clyde and Belle took part in various civic affairs in Rich Hill with Belle once holding a position on the school board.
The Millers moved to town in the early 1970's where Belle still resides. Clyde passed away in 1974.
Rodeo today is a professional and ever more popular sport based on the foundations laid by people such as Clyde and Belle Miller.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pee Wee Team

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Former Associates Honor Marvin Hurst with Dinner

Former Mayor of Rich Hill, Marvin Hurst was honored at a banquet at Bedell's Dining Room Friday evening, May 9. Mr. Hurst, who completed twenty-four years as Mayor of Rich Hill April 1, was given a beautiful plaque with the inscription, "In appreciation of twenty-four years of sincere efforts and devoted service to the City of Rich Hill, Missouri, Mayor, 1945 to 1969.

Fred Marquardt, a former member of the City Council acted as master of ceremonies. He told of Mr. Hurst's affiliation with all civic organzations of the town. He is a member of the Christian Church, Lions Club, Masonic Lodge 32nd Degree Mason, Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Community Betterment, B.P.O, Elks, President of the Rich Hill Mining Review, Inc., and Vice President of the Rich Hill Development Corporation.

Mr. Marquardt told of a number of accomplishments in the city during Mr. Hurst's reign-improved fire protection, improved electric service, improved water system, street improvements with new street improvement equipment, and many others. He told how Mr. Hurst devoted much of his time with the people in Rich Hill for the betterment of the town as a whole, and was in constant contact with all the people. Other improvements made while Mr. Hurst was in office were recreation in the parks, rest rooms in the park, youth center, baseball park. All of these projects Mr. Hurst gave willingly of his time as he did with assisting the owners of the Booth Theatre in the rebuilding of the theatre following a disasterous fire, also the support and work he contributed in rebuilding the factory following the fire in 1964.

One of the highlights of Mr. Hurst's twenty-four years as Mayor of Rich Hill, Mr Marquardt stated, was the annual Mayor's Christmas tree, and his tiring efforts every Christmas season in decorating Rich Hill for the festive season.

The Fourth of July celebrations were also supported wholeheartedly by Mr. Hurst, as in later years was the annual Rich Hill-Kansas City picnic in September.

Mr. Hurst is a great humanitarian and is always willing to help needy familes or anyone traveling who is in need of assistance.

Mr. Hurst reared in the Carbon Center neighborhood southeast of Rich Hill. When a young man he moved to California and lived there many years. He returned to Rich Hill in 1941 and purchased the Parkview Hotel, which he operated until 1965 when he sold the business. Because of his interest in civic affairs he decided to run for mayor in 1945 and was elected.

Mr. Marquardt gave a list of men who have served on the city council the past twenty-four years. They are: Loy E. Moore, Al Holtz, Tracy Lyman, O. M. Peterson, Dr. T. F. Boyd, Bill Christopher, John E. Robertson, Marion Moreland, Ed Montgomery, Ralph Droz, Gary Jennings, Richard Leavitt, Wesley Heuser, V. 0. Barth, H. F. Kienberger, Ed Lyons, Cecil Heckadon, A. J. Bedell, Ray DeMott and Fred Marquardt. Deceased; members of the council who: served during that time, Earl Neptune, Harry Pierce, I. C. Callendar, J. Elmer Jones, Karl K. Engel. Ray DeMott, A. J. Bedell, Cecil Heckadon and Mrs. Goldie Clerk. Mrs. Hazel Myers, As elected to the council; City Wheeler, the first woman to be assistant Clerk, Mrs. Bud Vodry, City Collector, Bud Vodry, all now serving the city, were present for the dinner as were many who had worked over those twenty- four years with Mr. Hurst.

Mr. Marquarct gave each person who had worked with Mr.Hurst the privilage of making a few remarks and each one told of the pleasures they had enjoyed by their business associations with him.

An invited guest, Adrian Craigmiles, made a short talk and compared the reign of Mr. Hurst to that of two great presidents, the late former President Herbert Hoover, who served the country during the depression. He told of the many things that Mr. Hoover tried to promote which had been carried out in years after he ser­ved as president and which had been for the betterment of the Nation. The other great president is former President Harry S. Truman, who is now regarded as one of the five greatest presidents of all time.

Mr. Craigmiles said in years to come many of the improvements for which Mr. Hurst worked so hard and diligently for and which did not materialize will become a reality and that the history will recognize Mr. Hurst as one of the great­est mayors to serve Rich Hill.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The old Rich Hill Baseball Diamond

The documents for tonights blog were items in Miss Mary Griffin's research file.

For a number of years a plot of ground located at the south edge of town, large enough for a baseball diamond has been leased yearly by management of the Rich Hill Ball Club from Joe Peterman, Sr. for a playing field.

Now that a movement sponsored by Craig-Wheeler-Duzan Post No.67 of the American Legion, is under way to build a permanent park in Rich Hill, which will be used as a baseball park, the old playing field in Joe's pasture is to be abandoned.
Mr. Peterman an ardent baseball fan, hardly ever missed a game. He is quite proud of the following poem, composed and sent to him by another baseball fan:
The old cow pasture
So dear to us all
Is still as the grave
"Thout the call, "Play Ball"
Old Bossie and Brindle
And Billy, the goat.
In peace can meander,
Sometimes in a boat.
"S-t-r-i-k-e," says the Umpy,
"It's a foul" or "dead ball"
Or "Hold yer hat, Gertrude,
There she goes over the wall."
We'll miss his sad grimace
When the batters swing low,
He sits there in silence,
His objections are few,
And to quell his emotions
He just takes a fresh chew,
All the boys were his ideals,
He loved every one.
And all nine players
Were second to none.
Even the Dodgers, the Giants, the Reds or the Cards,
Are very small potatoes
With his boys in his yards.
So, goodbye to the old pasture,
our memories and spirits are low.
In sadness we leave the old diamond
With love and devotion to Joe.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

William Henry Allen III M.D.

I think Dr. Allen was a great doctor. However, I must admit that I am prejudice as he is the doctor that delivered me.

William Henry Allen, III M.D. died at 3:15 a.m. April 11, 1978 after an illness of 5 years. He was born October 27, 1913 in Rich Hill, Mo. he only child of Dr. Claude J. Allen and Faye Harriet Jopling Allen.

Dr. Allen was educated in the Rich Hill School System and graduated from high school in 1932. He received his premedical schooling at central Methodist College, Fayette, Mo. from 1932 to 1935, he entered the university of Arkansas Medical School, Little Rock Arkansas and graduated in 1940.

At this point in Dr. "Bill's" life, he became the fourth and last medical doctor in the Allen family. Preceding him in the medial profession were Dr. William Allen, Dr. William Harry Allen and Dr. Claude J. Allen. All four Allen doctors at different spans in time had served and would continue to minister to the people of Bates and Vernon County for 112 years.

After graduation from medical school, Dr. Allen received his internship at St. Luke's Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri from 1940 to 1941. In 1941 and 1942, he studied surgical residency at Saint Marys Hospital, Tucson, Arizona. His second year of surgical residency was spent at Trinity Lutheran Hospital, Kansas City Missouri. In 1943, Dr. Allen established his private practice in Nevada, as general practitioner and surgeon. He continued his practice until June 1, 1973 when ill heath forced him into a premature retirement.