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History Monday: May 2021 Be Kinder to All

By Mike Watson

A New Year has arrived. It happens once a year, every year, and resolutions are made, then broken. Good things come to pass, and sad ones, too. A new beginning is a fine thing, we all need this from time to time, if just to clear the cob-webs from the mind. Personally, I do not make resolutions any more, at least not in the traditional way. Those made in past years for things that were not likely to be adhered to, almost as if designed to be broken, are things of the past for me. But periodically I do need to sweep away the cob-webs, and for me this is best accomplished in cleaning off my desk... not an easy thing to do.

At times my long-suffering wife, Renea, will pop her head in the office door and ask if there is any trash she can take away. My response, nearly always the same, amounts to 'No'. There may well be a full basket of paper, but I have a process. I must go through it piece by piece before it heads to the big trash can in the garage. Why? Well, I have these cleaning seizures from time to time, tossing out bits and shreds of paper with old notes and addresses, newspaper clippings and duplicated research. But I feel I must go through this pile before the long, last journey to the landfill or recycle center. And every time I do the re-sort, I find several items that should not have ended up there, rescued from the jaws of the garbage truck and returned to the pile(s) on my too-large desk. And I say that I will never do this again...but I do.

From the piles on my desk are articles to complete, research to tackle, and projects to polish, including:

  • The Columbia High School graduating class list for 1937; Lindsey Wilson College graduating class list for 1938; transcribe the Melvin White articles published in the Adair County News in the first quarter of the twentieth century; a new biographical sketch of Doctor William Voils, the herb doctor of repute, who lived to be well over one hundred years; the Joseph Turner mill on Crocus Creek; the Jasper Gadberry store at the head of Earls' Ridge; biographical sketch of Rev. Noah Page; more research on old Hopewell Church of the Inroad community; Republican school and church;

  • GTT, or Gone to Texas--a project started at the Adair County Library by Ernie Smith Bennett which lists those who left Adair for the great promised land of Texas. The list increases each year and in this new year, perhaps many more will be added.

  • Columbia Christian College--to continue this long-term project to list graduates and students of this important Columbia institution.

  • The Gradyville Flood project has been gnawing at me once again. The boxes of notes are strategically placed so that I must step around them to get to the printer. Mrs. Margie Coffey aided me so much in gathering information on this project and I must get down to work, in her memory.

  • This new year may be THE year to uncover some lost items: The store ledgers and the equine records of W.L. Grady, of Gradyville; the Wilmore Hotel records and ledgers from this storied business of old Gradyville. And any financial records of local physicians, country stores, teachers, post offices, etc. So many of these may be stashed away in an attic or barn or garage, awaiting discovery and the opportunity to enlighten we who really do care about the past and how it formed the present and will continue to inspire the future. Add to this the many lost church minutes, membership lists, and other records that often went home with church officers or ministers, only to be put away.

  • Perhaps the largest stack of materials on my desk is collected material on the veterans of Adair County. A collection that grows almost every day. There are notes on men and women from the present all the way back to the French and Indian War of the 1750s. Once considered a single project, it has turned into a monumental work. The War of 1812 section was published in 2015; the Mexican War and the Spanish-American War will come off the press in this new year, 2021--each a slim volume of less one hundred pages, but important to the body of research on Adair and her people.

  • The Civil War veteran project is one that will never be finished, but will be printed in the next two or three years, I pray. Already reaching 300 pages, it will never be complete. I know this simply because every time it seems to be coming to an end, another soldier finds his way home, then another, and another...

Perhaps I should get to work now, I have 'piles to go before I sleep.'

Happy 2021 my friends, let it be a fine year, and don't let the avalanches of life wipe you out! óMike Watson, January 2021

This story was posted on 2021-01-04 06:00:40
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