My father used to tell his children stories about the Civil War, but I must confess I paid very little attention. He got his interest from his father who heard the stories passed down from Dad’s Union soldier grandfather. My personal connection with Vernon County is I was born in the Nevada hospital and lived my first 14 years on a farm near Schell City.
Where is this leading you ask? What interests me is what I write about whether it be my blog post or writing a book. Now I have to confess I didn’t pay nearly enough attention to my father’s tales. It was later I developed an interest in the Civil War that lead to me write a Civil War book about a lady bushwhacker from Vernon County. Ella Mayfield’s Pawpaw Militia is about a woman who fought valiantly to protect her home along with other members of her family. If you want to get an idea about how hard it was to live in the area, not from a north or south version, but about citizens struggling to stay out of both armies way during the Civil War read my book. It is in paperback on Amazon and my bookstore site www.booksbyfaybookstore.weebly.com and in ebook on Kindle and B&N nook.
The Bushwhacker Museum is a resource center to find out about family histories as well as being filled with exhibits. Some items somewhere in the museum belonged to some of my ancestors. I know, because I donated a few of them. The volunteers are helpful, knowledgeable about their county and friendly tour guides. If you want to learn about the Civil War in the Ozarks and the border war between Missouri and Kansas that started long before the war, take a look in the museum book store. Check out the website www.bushwhacker.org and go visit.
The tour includes the Civil War era jail that sits next door to the museum. Quite an interesting place with double decked cells and rooms for the lawmen and their families to live in. To think, the brick building was considered modern in the mid 1800’s. Just looking around the jail gave me an insight about where one of my great uncles spent some of his time, including extra time for his failed jail break, but that’s another story.
Patrick Brophy passed away last summer. The museum lost a colorful character as well as a talented writer. He dressed the part of a gent born in the 1800’s complete with black suit and string tie and wore the traditional beard. The one time I saw him, he glided from his office across the museum to the book counter, looking for references for his next book no doubt. I choose to think when I go back to visit, I’ll see him wondering around the museum, checking out the exhibits or the bookstore, because it would be hard to imagine the Bushwhacker Museum without him in it.
Students take field trips to the museum to learn about their county’s past. They were born in that area, and the exhibits and stories will undoubtedly contain names they know from their own family tree. What a great way to get them interested in history?
I’ve just about finished my mother-in-law’s story about her life. While doing research on the internet for the family trees, I found a story about a great uncle of hers that had been a Confederate soldier. I found the story interesting enough to include in her book with the hope that this might spark some interest with future generations of this family. What really thrilled me about this man from Summersville, Missouri was the fact that he walked across Missouri to join the Confederate Army and fought along side the men from Vernon County that I wrote about in my book. Goes to show you, it was a small world even back then.