December 21, 2014

100 Years Ago In West Plains Missouri

In the last two days I have thoroughly enjoyed the book “West Plains Missouri…As I Knew It” by Robert Neathery and told to Marideth Sisco (1994).  It was the first time I had ever really gotten a “feel” for the town in which so many of my families lived and originated.

Robert mostly describes his own life growing up in West Plains and his own family, but he did mention a few of my family members, one of which was Pauline Smith Pond.  As it turns out, she also wrote a book entitled “Teacher, You’re Almost a Lady”.  Pauline, along with my other cousins were some of the earliest of my family to join the Ozark Springs DAR Society in West Plains.

Robert Neathery was in the telephone and radio business (and several other endeavors) and he tells some interesting stories of bringing electricity to the city, life before the air conditioner and refrigeration, and power outages.  As time went by and new conveniences were introduced, it didn’t matter if you needed help in Brandsville or West Plains, Robert knew how everything worked and even how to fix it!

If you are at all interested in West Plains, Missouri history you might find Robert Neathery’s book very interesting.  He describes the West Plains dance hall explosion and what caused it; local characters like his uncle who would rather do yard work for the government than put in an actual day’s work at the radio station even though he was a partner; or why the peach trees down by Brandsville eventually failed.

 

West Plains as I knew it / by Bob Neathery ; as told to Marideth Sisco

Surnames of my families that lived in Howell County: MORRISON, YATES, PENTECOST, SMITH, BREEDLOVE, WRIGHT, KELSEY, DAWSON, and HOLMES.

My Civil War Ancestors – John Watts Breedlove

john-breedlove-with-sword

My Great-Great Grandfather was John Watts Breedlove. Many of my family have called him John Wyatt Breedlove for years, but I believe his middle name really was Watts. The name Wyatt doesn’t show up in any of the naming patterns of the family, while the name Watts does, as it was his Granfather’s middle name, and John’s Great-Grandmother’s maiden name was Mary Watts. I would be happy to make corrections if someone can provide me with documented proof.

John Breedlove fought in Civil War, Volunteers of Company E, 32nd Regiment,  Missouri Infantry as a Sergeant. Enlisted August 13, 1862 at Steelville, Missouri. Discharged 18 July 1865 in Louisville, KY; promoted to First Sgt. He was with General Sherman on the March to the Sea. I have a copy of a picture of him in his Civil War uniform that had written on the back, “Chattanooga”. The 32nd Regiment was in Chattanooga, TN from Nov. to Dec. 1863.

John was a resident of Dent County, Missouri from 1865 to 1880. His father was William Martin Breedlove who migrated from Simpson County, KY to St. Francois County, MO in the early 1800’s.

John’s first wife, Mary Francis Wright, was the sister to his second wife Elizabeth Jane Wright Wilson. Mary Francis died in March 1861, soon after giving birth to a baby boy. The baby died a few months later.  Undoubtedly, John went off to the War with a broken heart and shaken spirit. His religious beliefs were no doubt what sustained him.

Just a note to genetic genealogists, John was first cousin to both of his wives, and not being a geneticist myself, I have no idea what that might have cost them as they had children. In that day and age it wasn’t unheard of to marry a first cousin, but now it is not as widely accepted because of genetic diseases that might be passed on.  As it stands now, I am my own cousin, and my son is also my 5th cousin, once removed.

John Breedlove, with second wife Elizabeth

and son Russell Breedlove b. 1889. Russell was the youngest child.

Two Tips For Organizing Aquired Genealogical Records

When I first began keeping genealogy records, I was able to save them right on my hard drive, but over time I found there were just too many to keep that as a long range plan. Census records, photos, PDF files, and even web pages need to be kept in one place, but not necessarily just on my hard drive.

I had already put many of my scanned photos and documents on disks which really makes it easy to use my computer to access them quickly.  All that said, hard drives are still the heart of any computer you can use as a holding area until you decided how to disseminate your records where you want them.

  • If you’re just beginning your genealogical research, a tip I would suggest is to make sure you give names to all your documents, or put them in some logical and format.  For instance, when I save census records I begin the file name with the year, name of the head of household and state abbreviation.
  • Before I began scanning and saving photos in earnest I created surname folders for them, and put them in a main folder I named for each designated family group.  That would be for me: Yates Family Photos and then sub-folders like Barnett, Dawson, Kelsay, etc.,  for the allied family names.  It really isn’t all that time consuming if you do it so you can find the folders and files easily. If you start out organized you will end up enjoying record keeping much more.

Do you have a method you like to use on your hard drive to keep files under control?

 

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