Or Phone 573-248-6147 or 573-565-2025 for an appointment
DearRallsCounty Members and
The Ralls County Historical Society will have its
March meeting in the courtroom on the second floor of the Ralls County Courthouse
in New London on Tuesday, March
24. The doors will open at and the meeting will begin at . After a short meeting, Judge Dave
Mobley will present a program on historic RallsCounty trials. This will be a
continuance of his popular Ralls County Courthouse Sesquicentennial program.
The public is welcomed and encouraged to attend both the meeting and programs.
Open of ResearchCenter
Because of the amazing growth of our Museum and Library
in the past five years, we will be expanding again. As of April 1 we will
begin moving our family files, genealogy books and the rest of the library
to the former Pack Rat antique shop one door east of our present museum.We have run out of space to display
all of the museum items we have received from members
and friends of Society.By moving
the library and genealogy records to our new site we will free up space
for these displays and have more room for researchers to use in the library.As soon as we can complete the move
and have an open weekend we would like to have an open house to commemorate
our fifth anniversary of the opening of the museum and library.
2009 Membership dues were due as of January
1; single membership $10.00,family $15.00 memberships
and lifetime $100.00.Please
note that we have changed our address to P.O.
Box 463, Perry MO
63462. Please send your checks to the address above or pay in person
at the museum or the meeting. We have a goal of 200 members and we may have
a chance make that this year.
Friends of the Short Line Railroad;
The Friends of the Short Line Railroad will meet at Chelles
Restaurant in CenterMO
April 18 at . Following
the meeting there will be a tour our restored Center St. Louis-Hannibal
Short Line depot that is across the street from Chelles.
The public is welcomed and encouraged to attend both the meeting and tour.
Volunteers will be needed to get the depot ready for this and this years
Our Ralls County Jail is a National Historic Landmark,
but was listed as one of the most endangered landmarks in Missouri
last year. The society is looking for any old photos, articles, or information
on the jail people could share or donate. We are looking into grants or
funding to restore the site and this information would be helpful in doing
Thanks to Rev, Dave Todd, We now have a second website
and we will be soon updating our other site.The new site is http://www.rallscounty.org/HistoricalSociety/index.html.
For samples of what we will have on these sites see below for Short
Line Railroad Newsand
note from one of our Ralls County scrapbooks.
On September 20 we will have the Perry High reunion at the Perry
Catholic Church basement. It is hard to believe, but the last class of Perry
High graduated fifty years ago in 1959.Both 1958 and 1959 classes will have a reunion the same weekend.All former PerryHigh School students and public
are welcomed and encouraged to attend. The doors will be opened at for those for those wanting to
visit their former classmates and friends.There will also be time to visit after the meal. We will close when
the last person goes home. At
there will be a catered meal, so reservations for the meal in advance
will be required. The meal will be $15.00 per person and reservations
and payment should be received by Tuesday, September 15. Checks should be
made out to the Ralls Historical Society and if mailed sent to Ralls County
Historical Society, P.O. 463, Perry MO. 63462
Cemetery Clean Ups and Recording
The NEMO River Valley Chapter
of the Show-Me Missouri Back Country Horsemen has asked for our help in
cleaning the Mount Pleasant
The dates being planned are April 23-26 and May 9-10. If you would like
to volunteer any of these days please contact us as soon as possible.
cemetery is being cleaned by community service people.
Digital pictures have been
taken of all the stones at many of the RallsCounty cemeteries, by members
Tony Elam (Lick Creek, Pleasant Grove, Wolfe, Muldrow, Fern Chapel, Olivet/Center
and St. Paul) and Rouse Jarman
(Brush Creek/St. Peters, New Oakland, Bethlehem
hope to soon have programs to list all the burials in the cemeteries we
have recorded and may make them available on our website. The society has
listed 138 known cemeteries in the county and has written listings of burials
in most of them in our library. Our long term goal is to enter all of this
information on our program and make it available to researchers on our website.
We have already entered most of the information on the above digital photographed
cemeteries. The program designed in a way that only basic knowledge of computer
skills would be needed to enter the data. If have an interest or knowledge
of one of the cemeteries in RallsCounty, we would like for you
to adopt that cemetery and help in entering the data on a computer or share
your information with someone else. Many of the cemeteries were recorded
many years ago and need updating too.
for this year's Florida Folklife Festival have
been set. The event will be held Aug. 8 and 9. Last year's festivities were
called off because of flooding. The festival is sponsored by The Friends
of Florida Inc.
The Mark Twain Lake Chamber of Commerce in cooperation
with the Corps of Engineers will have a Salt River Expo on May
15-17 @ Warren See South Spillway recreation area. (below
the Clarence Cannon Dam). Society member John Hawkins who was a big help
with our Ralls County Courthouse Sesquicentennial program is the main organizer
of this event.If you can help
can on the project or want more information you can contact him at 573-355-4365,
firstname.lastname@example.org. For those
who are on the internet there will be an attachment on this newsletter.
Preserving Oak Hill Rural School;
We have been asked to help a group working to preserve
the OakHillSchool in RallsCounty south of Hannibal.
In the past we have had two of our meets at this school and a saw first
hand the great work this group has done. I meet with the group on March
21 and we are making plans to create a fund to help in the restoration of
the school to be use as an exhibit and sample ofthe many rural schools that some of you went to school at.We will be contacting the surrounding area school districts to welcome
them to have the site for field trips and even use as a classroom for a
day.On the last Saturday from
April to November there will be a monthly open jam session the last Saturdays
from April to November at the School house.The public and all musicians are welcome and are encouraged to attend.
If you enjoy country, western, folk, gospel and any good music please try
and attend.The first session will be April 25
from to whenever. On May 9th there will
also be an auction of terms and merchant certificates donated by friends
and members. If you have any item you would like to donate please contact
us at the numbers and address on the front page of this Newsletter.Old school items are needed to furnish
and use as displays.
The interior doors of the RallsCounty courthouse have been replaced
and the county has given us the original 1858 doors for our museum.We will have on display as soon as we can after our move.
When the Perry school closed the school district donated
the large bell that was first used at the Strother
Institute in 1880s and the memorial sundial that dedicated by the former
students of Mr. and Mrs.French Strother in 1930. Recently
the building was sold and the Perry Junior Chamber Commerce volunteered
to move both to the Perry city park and restore the roof covering the bell.
Terri (Leake) Laird benefit;
There will be a benefit for Terri Leake
Laird on March 28 from . To @ Mark Twain High School gym. Terri is the daughter of society
members Sam and Sharon (Day) Leake and is
battling cancer. There will be food and desserts will be available for sale
all day. Music by Heaven Bound, Joyful Sound, Rachel Bringer & band,
Chuck Wade, Tony Gilland and Larry Hilderbrand
and others will be jamming. There will be an auction at with more than r 95 items to be auctioned off.
Just some of these include 2 hour Skid Loader work, 3 day duck hunting trip
for 2 in NE Arkansas, 2 hour power washer service,
2 hour tree trimming, homemade quilt stand, and many Cardinal
Tickets. Raffle between and
8. Just some of the raffle items are Wii Nintendo
entertainment center, home made rocking chair and handmade quilt.
of RallsCounty History
Wednesday, December 30,
100 Years Ago Town Of
Center Was Virgin
Claims Connection With Mark Twains Military Career
By Mrs. Mabel Keithly, Staff Correspondent
CENTER, Mo., Dec. 30
Before 1853 the town of Center
was virgin soil on which the prairie grass grew to a height that would seem
fabulous to this generation and the deer, the wolf and the prairie chicken
were plentiful.In the year 1853 the land on which
the town now stands was fenced for the first time and leased from Col. W.C.
was then known as Splawns black swamp
its principal product being frogs and green heads (horseflies) enemy of
man and his livestock on the prairie.
The settlement on the north and west was the old Robert Briggs farm,
on the south and east W.S. Tipton, W.C. Splawn
and Nimrod Waters.
In the early seventies the counties in Missouri
were seized with an epidemic of railroad fever.RallsCounty
engaged in the enterprise of building the shoreline from Hannibal
to St. Louis via Gilmore and
also the branch from New London
The grade for the latter route was built twenty years before the
track was laid.
With the beginning, T. Jeff Ellis built the first house on the site
of the present town of Center
starting a grocery and drug store.This building still stands and can be seen on the lot belonging to
Mrs. Mabel Keithly, wife of the late E.A. Keithly
of Center.This first house is located at the
rear of the home and is one half blocks south of Centers first bank
building which still stands and is occupied.The old bank building was built in 1889 and the brick were fired
three blocks south where Bennett Stuarts home and lots are located.In the day books of George Osterhout who was president of this bank, we find an
entry where lumber and building materials were hauled by wagon from Hannibal
taking two days to make the trip.The
teams were put up and fed.Lodging
and board were supplied at the Marion House at the cost of $1.00 for the
entire trip.This oldest bank
building of Center is directly across the street west of the present Center
Center was originally called Jeff Town being named for
Jeff Ellis the first man to live on the swamp.Soon after James Mason built another house, which was later occupied
a jolly, round and efficient sheriff of the county, [sic] Sheriff Whitamore
married Evelyn Mairrah [sic] Ralls descendent of Daniels Ralls and
both are buried in Olivet Cemetery of Center.Just about this period the present town was regularly, planted by
J.M. Mason and given the name of Center.From this small beginning has sprung up the present town of Center,
and most of the business men who contributed to its growth and development
were native citizens of the county and immediate neighborhood.B.C. Briggs and M.L. Hulse
were the next to engage in business later G.H. Smith, N.B. Smith and others.
About the year 1876 Ralls Lodge No. 33 A.F. and A.M. soon after removed
to the town thus Center has the oldest lodge of Masons working under its
original charter in the county and observed with appropriate ceremonies
the Centennial of Ralls Lodge No. 33 A.F. and A.M. in June of this year.
In the list of Worshipful Masters of Ralls Lodge No. 33 A.F. and
A.M. from 1853 to 1953 we find that Col. John Ralls who organized the lodge
and for whom Ralls Lodge No. 33 A.F. and A.M. is named served nine times
as Worshipful Master over a period of years and Col. W.C. Splawn
served the lodge in the same capacity two years.Col. John Ralls the son of the man for whom RallsCounty was named is buried in
In the year 1889 G.W. Osterhout, W.W. Epperson
and others moved into the town and built homes.Soon after the prospect of completing the Perry branch road gave
an impetus to the building of more substantial business structures.
It was at this time that the first bank building was built, including
the adjoining storeroom, now occupied by the Cash Beavers station and office
[sic] the second story of this storeroom was completed by the Baptists and
seated for a church.The Methodist
church house was the first built in the town and is one of the oldest of
their denomination in the county.In
1890 the Christian church house was moved from OlivetCemetery one mile north to its
present location.This is the
oldest organization of the Christian church in RallsCounty.The Baptists built their first meeting
house in 1890.It was partially
destroyed by fire in 1897.The
present church house was erected in 1898 in Splawns
addition.In 1889 Dr. N.A. Foster built the
first brick building in the north settlement of town, across the tracks
to many natives of Center.Dr.
Foster was also the first resident physician.