|The post-civil war Ozarks was a place far removed from the region we now know.
Most think of the Ozarks today in terms of natural beauty, country music, fishing, summer traffic, Christmas lights.
But not long ago, the place was a battlefield.
It is humbling to realize that the Ozarks of the late nineteenth century more closely resembled a war-torn third world nation than a civilized country.
And perhaps there's some inspiration therein.
|Baldknobber Mask by 16-year old Ozark artist Gage Becker.
Becker, currently enrolled in Reeds Spring High School and employed at Silver Dollar City, has impressed many with his deep appreciation of Ozark culture and knowledge of Stone and Taney County history.
It is with deep appreciation that Beckers artwork is displayed above.
Joshua Heston, editor
April 25, 2012
Homesteading on the James
My great-grandpa was the first to come to this area. He and his wife. I think their oldest son my great-grandpa Roy Tilden was 12 or 13 at the time.
They were, I believe, from Ashtabula, Ohio.
It was in the 1870s, following the Homestead Act. But they picked a place down by the James River, site unseen, which would be scary. They came down and started doing what they had to do to begin living there.
When the time came for them to get their deed, Roy left the farm and walked to Springfield.
Now, this was after the Civil War and the area was fairly lawless. The Baldknobbers were already riding and some of the local folks did not want them to move into the area.
This is the way I was told the story.
Shots were fired at them at times when they were plowing. And there were rumors that the Baldknobbers were going to burn them out.
One evening, my great-grandpa was on the porch with his rifle.
And a rider comes up at night as says, "Is this the Tilden Place?" And my grandpa says, "Yep" and cocks the gun.
The rider leaves and there was no more said about the Baldknobbers burning them out.
John Tilden, Reeds Spring, Missouri