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Audrain County, Missouri

Unwritten History in Newspapers

by Dr. F. M. Shoush


 Editor's Note: The Ledger (Mexico Evening Ledger) begins, in this issue, the first of a number of reminiscent articles by Dr. F. M. Shoush, well and favorably known resident of Audrain county for 53 years.  Dr. Shoush has been bedfast the past eleven months, and has been almost without sight, because of cataracts, for almost three years, yet retains his optimism astonishingly, and from time to time will relate, from his bedside, some of the interesting reminiscences and experiences of more than half a century of residence here.  Published March 15, 1934 5/2


             "Fifty-three years ago, on March 13, 1881, I came to Audrain County, in the midst of a terrific snow storm.  The snow was 22 1/2 inches on the level.  By laying low stake and double rider fences, my brother John, now of Montgomery City, the only other member of the family now living, and I, traveled 25 miles that day, and landed on the John Winn place, then owned and controlled by Kern White, father of our Dr. A. C. White.


            "At that time, he controlled 2900 acres of land, but through misfortune lost this.  I was one of the first men to reach him when years later he dropped dead in front of the city scales on North Washington street.

            "I was born in Macon County, on October 31, 1858, and as a boy, and young man, spent 10 or 12 years in Randolph County before coming to Audrain.  In 1881, I was one of the 15,000 people who saw the hanging of James Hayden Brown, in Randolph County, for the murder of his mother-in-law.


            "One of those whom I first met, and remember best, after coming to Audrain, was Esther E. Rombaugh, then a girl of 12 or 13, who later became my first wife.  She was the granddaughter of Simeon Ham and wife, who were born and reared in Canada, and Mrs. M. A. Rombaugh, their daughter, was my wife's mother.  My wife had three brothers, Will, John and Sim.  The family is all gone except Sim, now of Elma, Wash.  My wife died here at the sanitarium, and her remains were placed beside those of her father in the cemetery at Centralia.


            "We were married on April 24, 1888 by Rev. J. G. Hardy, of the Centralia Baptist Church.


            "One of the first fine characters with whom I met, was Loss Sappington, father of our own W. B. Sappington, of this city.  He was quite noted as a stockman, and handled fine hogs, horses, and most everything that belonged to the horse line, in connection with John Hinman of Centralia.  I was in Centralia and met him, went to his home, and bought there a fine male pig.  I paid him $6, shipped it to Ironton, and put it in a pen and sold it there to a man in Wayne County, at Patterson, named Dafford, for $20.  So you see, I have always been a businessman as well as a professional man.


            "After I entered the ministry, the winter of 1888, before I was married in the spring, I was assisted by Brother Loss Sappington, in a revival meeting at Centralia, as a singer, so you see the gift of W. B. Sappington was somewhat inherited. 


            "One of the next characters I think of was our C. F. Clark.  I met him in the spring of 1881, and enjoyed the hospitality of his home.  That was while his son, Charles, was just a baby in the home.  I recall that was the spring that Cy Clark purchased the fine saddle horse, Moss Rose, in Kentucky, and brought him here.  Moss Rose was one of Missouri's finest saddle stallions, and as I remember, he paid $2500 for him.  He made the first season at the Clark farm, near the Fox school.  He lived to be of great age, though never taking the honors that came later to Rex McDonald.


            "Among many near and dear friends, I think of Cy Clark as being among the best.  I always found him affable, and gentlemanly, with his hand open to the poor and needy, and seldom, if ever, did a poor man go to him for labor that he didn't get it.  I remember, when in the ministry, I was badly in need of a driving and saddle horse.  There was a horse sale here, and Cy Clark stepped up to me and said, 'Frank, why don't you buy that horse.  It is going mighty cheap.'  I said, 'I haven't the money.'  He said, 'Don't let that worry you,' so I bought it.  The next day, at the bank, when I gave a 90 day note for the amount, he took it and wrote his own name below mine, an act of great kindness to a poor Baptist preacher.  He was always active in and prominent in politics, and the activities of his town, county and state.  His first wife was a daughter of old Buffalo Bill Sims and wife, and a sister of Joe Potts' wife.  Mr. Clark at present, and for some time, is confined to his home.  I have not had the opportunity to visit him the past year, as I, too, have been confined to my bed for more than 11 months with paralysis.


Second in series Published Mar. 22, 1934 4/3 & 4


             Continuing my recollections of my friendship with Cyrus F. Clark, it was on August 8, 1906, he was married to his present wife, Miss Sophia M. Roth, of St. Louis.  To this union were born, Margretha, Elizabeth and Cyrus, Jr.  Mrs. Clark is an unusually bright woman, and a fine housewife and mother, and has been active in religious and temperance work since living here.

            Mr. Clark was a large scale land owner, having in his possession at one time more than 4000 acres, including an island of about 3000 acres in the Mississippi River, and more than 1000 acres in Audrain County.


            He has two children by his first wife, Fannie, who married Judge G. C. Bledsoe, and Charles.  Judge Bledsoe now holds an important position with the state tax commission, and is a man highly esteemed.  Mrs. Bledsoe has been a noble housewife.  Charles married Susie Brown, the daughter of John N. Brown and wife.  She is a very excellent lady, loved by all who know her, and is active in social and religious circles.


            The writer has known Charles from his babyhood, and has always held him in highest esteem, and as proof of that, when he was making a will in February, 1921, before a surgical operation, he appointed Charles Clark as his executor, with R. Coatsworth and John Deckard as witnesses.  We were operated on in a few days by the late much lamented Dr. Geo. Stille, of Kirksville, who died a few days later from a gunshot wound in the heart, accidentally received at the muzzle of his own revolver.


            Dr. Stille was a great hand for a banquet and had just purchased poultry, geese and ducks for a banquet he expected to have with his students.  He had also just purchased a gun, and while showing it at his home, it fell to the floor.  As he stooped to pick it up, it was discharged, and he was struck in the heart.  He was said by some to be one of the greatest surgeons in America.


            My first wife went to school to Cy Clark, at the Fox school, in Audrain, as did her youngest brother, Sim, and Cy Clark often spoke of him and called him the brightest historian he had ever met.


            Another worthy character I have known a half century was the late Boone Faddis.  He was living, when I met him, less than a half mile from where he died, and on August 11, 1932, I preached his funeral at the Bethlehem Baptist Church, in the Goodwater, or Naylor district.


            He left his widow, who has since purchased the entire farm.  They had an only son, and the farm was sold in settling the estate, and she purchased it, buying the 160 acres.  It is the only farm I know of in the county with 60 or more acres of virgin soil.  It is one of the finest, in point of fertility, to be found in all that part of the county.


            Boone Faddis was a constant member of the Bethlehem Baptist Church, and his wife is also a member there, and a woman of great religious activity.  She got the church to work and raised about $750 for its cemetery endowment.  Boone Faddis and his kindred, also Dr. Shoush's parents and oldest sister are laid to rest there.


            Mrs. Faddis is the sister of the late John Winn, who died several years ago, and who lived on an adjoining farm.  Mrs. Winn went east, after his death, and acquired an education as a nurse, and after her graduation went to Colorado, where she owns and controls a hospital.  She has been wanting Mrs. Faddis to join her there.  Boone Faddis was a remarkable man.  He would come from the plow handles singing, would play the piano at noon, then eat dinner, then perhaps play another tune or two before going back to the field, and was singing much of the time.


            Another amiable character whom I am glad to say I met shortly after I came to this country was Judge Creed Carter, who lived in a school district about 2 miles north of Bethlehem church.  I remember distinctly attending the first Democratic primary convention I attended in this county.


            In 1882, the convention had trouble settling on a representative.  The matter was discussed all day.  Finally, Shan Snidow, who lived near Creed Carter, said, 'I have a name I wish to present.  It is one worthy of your confidence.  He is a well to do farmer, and will reflect credit on the county, and fill the duties of the office with credit to himself and friends.  This man is Creed Carter.'  There was applause, and he was chosen on the first ballot.


            In those days there were no automobiles or telephones.  Shan Snidow was on the committee to inform him.  I was going home on the same road, with the committee, stopping at the Uncle Billy Conger farm, one of the first to be settled in the county, where we lived.  The committee called him to the stile blocks.  He declined, at first, to accept, but was finally persuaded, and was elected.


            He represented Audrain County one or two terms.  Afterwards, he was elected county judge from the western district.  While he was serving as judge, I had a matter to come up of taking a party to Fulton.  After getting a physician to examine the patient, he told me to go to B. L. Locke, then county clerk.  He took the matter in hand, and it went through all right, and with my brother, we went over to Fulton with the patient.


            This brings me up to meeting another amiable, stalwart character--B. L. Locke, the father of Pelide, Sam and E. R. Locke.


Third in series Published Apr. 14, 1934 3/4 & 5


             Among the finest characters I have known in 53 years residence in Audrain County, was Benjamin L. Locke, and members of his family.  Benjamin L. Locke was born near Louisville, Ky., on January 3, 1826.  He was educated at Brown University at Providence, R. I., graduating in June 1847.  He came to Missouri and settled at Ham's Prairie.


            He farmed in Callaway County until 1856, at which time he moved ten miles southwest of Mexico, and built what is known as the Newton Davis home.


            He married Emily A. Moore, who was born in 1829, at Ham's Prairie.  They were married in 1847.  She died in Mexico in 1906, and he died two years later, in April 1908.


            In 1882, he was elected county clerk of Audrain County.  This office he held until 1886, holding it longer than any man ever held an office in the Audrain courthouse, except Judge S. M. Edwards, who held the office of probate judge two years longer.


            It was while he was serving his last term, the writer met him.  The writer recalls that prior to the death of Mrs. Locke, about one week, he was called to the home to see Mr. B. L. Locke, who was suffering intensely with an acute attack of lumbago.


            The writer was very much impressed with his attitude toward treatment.  He said, "Now, doctor, what disposition do you want to make of me?"  I answered, "Please lie on this couch, and I'll see if I can't give you some relief".  He promptly obeyed.  If you know anything about lumbago, it is very painful to endure, but is very quickly cured, if acute.  I gave him a very severe treatment, doubling him up on the couch, and bringing his knees on to his chest to practically touch his chin, and stretching the ligaments and muscles affected by the rheumatic troubles.  When through, he said, "Well, doctor, your treatment was rather severe."  I said, "Yes, but I thought you wanted quick results."  He said, "I made up my mind I wouldn't grunt if it killed me."  I answered, "If I'd known that I might not have treated you so hard."


            This was on Friday.  On Sunday, I went back to see him, and he was standing before a mirror, shaving himself.  He said, "I don't need any doctor," and I answered, "I am glad you got such good results."  His wife then called to me, from where she was visiting with some ladies, and said, "Ladies, I want you to get my quilts, of my childhood days, and some needlework, and show them to the doctor."  This they did, and she showed them to me, and I don't remember seeing anything quite to equal it.  She took quite an interest, for about an hour, showing me these things before I had to return to my office, after expressing my appreciation for showing them.


            I have met a great many sick people in my time, but this was a most interesting occasion to me.  The saintly look that woman wore, and her fortitude and courage was remarkable.  As I came to the east end of the porch on leaving, her son, Elwyn, was sitting there crying.  I said, "Your mother can't be here much longer."   In less than a week, we were called to pay our last tribute of respect.


            Three Locke sons, Sam, who was born in 1849, and who died on March 3, 1932; Pelide, who was born in 1851, and who died in 1933, and Elwyn, born in 1863, who is a highly regarded citizen in our town, were splendid characters.  I wish to speak of some favorable characteristics of these sons.


            Sam, of all men I ever served in the capacity of banker, was counted as the most liberal, with his hand open to the poor laboring man, and the man who would aspire to better days.  Seldom did a man go to him for pecuniary aid, that he did not receive it.  Several times, when the bank felt uneasy about loans, he would say, "Just put it in my name."


            He was liberal in educating poor girls, and in religious matters, though in his early days he was not a religious man.  All who knew him admired him, for his integrity, honesty and patience, fortitude and courage.  His wife, the former Miss Anna Gussin, of Georgetown, Ky., died a few months ago, after his own death.


            Pelide, who comes next, was head man in the utilities for a good many years.  He was a man of few words and yet enjoyed a joke as well as any man.  He died after a useful lifetime, at the age of 82.  He married Miss Mattie O'Rear, and they had two charming daughters, Allie, who married Col. Fred A. Morris, and Byrd, who married C. C. Madison, prominent attorney in Kansas City, who was U. S. district attorney for a number of years.  The children of Col. and Mrs. Morris are Miss Willie, a radio star in Boston, Fred Locke, a student at Notre Dame University, and Mize, a student at M. M. A.


            E. R. Locke, the youngest son, was deputy county clerk in his father's office in 1881, the year the writer came to Audrain County.  He had served there for several years, and principally grew up in that office with his father.  He married Miss Mary Northcutt in 1894.  Mrs. Locke was an accomplished and talented young woman and teacher.  Her father, Rev. Dr. Northcutt, was among the most fluent speakers the writer ever heard.  He died suddenly while here, the same spring that Mrs. B. L. Locke died, if memory serves, while on a visit here.  He preached here in a revival meeting, and was a brilliant gentleman.  Mr. and Mrs. E. R. Locke have two fine sons in Sam, in business here, and Ben, educated in the schools here, and graduated in electrical engineering at Cornell University, who has recently taken charge of the management of forty towns in Kentucky, supplying electricity in that section, just across from Cincinnati, O.


            B. L. Lock had a favorite expression that the biggest investment you could make was in showing some young boy a kindly deed.  That brings me to recapitulate and say that it was his demeanor in the office the day I first called there with a note from Judge Creed Carter, and his taking a big red apple out of a grip and giving it to me, that caused me to forever remember him.


            May our readers not forget there is great power in little things.


            B. L. Locke entered into his final rest on March 15, 1908, in his eighty-third year, and funeral services were conducted from the home, his pastor, Rev. A. W. Kokendorffer, delivering a beautiful memorial tribute, as friends and neighbors filled the house.  Rev. Mr. Kokendorffer was assisted by Revs. Wallace and Headington, and the pallbearers were J. C. Mundy, John W. Atchison, S. M. Rice, W. R. West, J. V. Williams, J. F. Baskett.


            The Rev. Mr. Kokendorffer is now the pastor of a fine, flourishing church at Sedalia, where he has been many years.  Rev. Mr. Headington, a few years earlier, had led a group of citizens from here to the Klondike, but had returned here, and retired.  Rev. Dr. Wallace, a pastor here since 1887, is still spared to the congregation of the local Presbyterian church.



Unwritten History - Part 1

from The Mexico Evening Ledger

©2003-2008 Betty Brooks


Article published in The Mexico Evening Ledger March 15, 1934 with mention of the names—BROWN, CLARK, DAFFORD, HAM,  HARDY, HINMAN, McDONALD, POTTS, ROMBAUGH, ROSE, SAPPINGTON, SHOUSH, SIMS, WHITE, WINN    Click here

Article published in The Mexico Evening Ledger March 22, 1934 with mention of the names—BLEDSOE, BROWN, CARTER, CLARK, COATSWORTH, CONGO, DECKARD, FADDIS, LOCKE, ROTH, SHOUSH, SNIDOW, STILLE, WINN     Click here

Article published in The Mexico Evening Ledger April 14, 1934 with mention of the names—ATCHISON, BASKETT, EDWARDS, GUSSIN, HEADINGTON, KOKENDORFFER, LOCKE, MADISON, MOORE, MORRIS, MUNDY, NORTHCUTT, O’REAR, RICE, WALLACE, WEST,

WILLIAMS, WILLIE        Click here

Article publish in The Mexico Evening Ledger April 23, 1934 with mention of the names— KLASS, MORRIS, PEARSON, WILDER       Click here