Home

Unwritten History in Newspapers
First Series --Second Series--Third Series--Fourth Series

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. 

 

                        Fourth in series Published Apr. 23, 1934 3/1 & 2

             Another outstanding character here, ever since I have known him, has been Sam Morris.  The writer recalls that he landed in Mexico with $25 in his pocket, and went into business here.  He was a purchaser of old iron, rags, feathers, wool, papers and magazines, and every conceivable thing.  He was not a man to invest in sporting goods, and the nearest he came in this direction was when he joined the golf club.

            He has always been a great lodge man, the writer having met him many times in the Masonic lodge, and later, in the Odd Fellows lodge.  He became a Shriner in the Masonic lodge, and was an active T. P. A., and attended its convention for many years.  We were Knights Templar Masons together, and he became a 32d degree Mason.

            He was very enterprising, and a great man to boost every local enterprise for good.  For instance, he gave to the schools, and he could be counted on to be in the lead in any worth while drive that came before the public.  He was ever ready to help the various denominations in a financial way.  Few men in our town have ever done more to help the poor.  He has always been a man of generosity, and well liked in business transactions and in social affairs, having succeeded admirably along all lines of business, and at present carries furniture, rugs, and hardware, with his two enterprising sons, Herbert and Earl, looking after his business for him in his retiring years.

            He is a man who has taken unusual interest in his family, assisting them in whatever selection they made of a livelihood for life.  His two boys, at the time of the World War, went overseas, and Earl, the younger of the two, remained after the close of the war, for five years in the navy.

            One daughter, Natalie, is making a success teaching home economics in the high school at Bunkie, La., another daughter, Pearl, has remained at home to give her attention to her father's needs, in his declining years, and his daughter, Mrs. E. F. (Gertrude Morris) Klass, is rearing and educating a family of fine grandchildren, and at present resides in Columbia.

            The writer recalls a conversation with Sam Morris some years ago, while his children were yet in school.  He sent the two boys off to military academy.  The writer said, "Why in the world, Sam, do you want to send those boys to military school for. "  He straightened up in his chair, looked me square in the eye, and said, "I'm sending them off to school to learn to eat."  That was his way of saying he was sending them to school to learn proper discipline.

            "I want them to learn to have some style, and some manners about them, and to take some pride in their appearance."  The writer said, "Why, Sam, what do you want to fool away your time trying to give these boys a military education?  What better

 

education can you give your boys than they can get right here in this business house of yours?  You're the best educated man in Mexico today.  You know your business thoroughly.  The evidence of that fact is found in your success.  Take your boys out of school and put them in here, and teach them this business you have."

            Sam did so, and today, his boys are thoroughly informed along the line of their business, as much so as any business man you might find in the county.  You could take a pelt from an animal's back to one of those boys, and after feeling of it, he can tell you the month in which the skin was taken.  And in all particulars of their business, they are fully as well informed.

            There are certain characteristics connected with every business that are bound to determine its success or failure.  Sam Morris is a man possessed of the characteristics of integrity and honor, and of forthright and square dealing, that should dominate any life of success.

            It would be hard for me to think of a man in Mexico today who has as many friends as Sam Morris.  And, perhaps, few men of whom the public at large and businessmen have knowledge, throughout this entire country, from New York to San Francisco, are held in higher business esteem than Sam Morris, of our own home city.      

                     

Fifth in series Published Apr. 27, 1934 3/4

             We continue this story by mentioning, first how Sam Morris came to Mexico in the year 1879.  He came to the United States in 1876.

            While a young man, he placed his best energies in the pursuit of knowledge and book learning, and as was the law and custom of his native country of Germany in those days, he was compelled to complete a school curriculum that would measure up with what we might call a public school education here.

            And, as was the custom, every boy was compelled to learn a trade, after first having his education as a foundation for success. 

            He was supposed to select his own profession, or his parents would do it for him.  It suffices to say that he selected the trade of cigar maker, and worked at the business until he became a very fine cigar maker.

            He then came to America, landing in New York, with only a few dollars in his pocket.  Without money he refused to think of crossing the ocean again, until he had something ahead.  He took whatever presented, thinking this better than to spend his money and time looking for a select occupation or calling.

            I will, in a few words, give you a sketch of his life in New York.  Sam went from the hotel down the street, and stopped in a place of business, thinking he could perhaps get a position there.

            He stepped into a store and asked for the proprietor.  New York having so many Jews, he was not so much troubled about the language.  He said to the old gentleman he found there, "My friend, I am out of work and I'm stranded.  I've got to earn the money today to permit me to sleep in New York tonight."

            The man said, "All right, sir.  I give you a job.  No man is turned from my door, if he's a man for work.  Experience is not necessary.  You simply go out and find your people and do business, right on the spot.  I want you to go out and buy hair combings for me."

            This man manufactured hair jewelry.  He had quite an interesting factory.  "If you do your part, you will come to the front," he said.

            Sam went out and walked the city until noon.  "I couldn't make it go, I came back to him and told my story.  He said, "Well, get a little bit farther away.  You's begin to pick it up in another day."

            With no success the first day, Sam had a sleepless night.  He said, "I rolled and tossed on my bed the whole night through.  I could find plenty of hair combings, and they wanted to sell them, but their prices were too high.  I couldn't do a thing.  So I fell upon this plan.  I got farther away from the factory and stopped at a house.  I rang the door bell.  A woman came.

 

            "I said, ' Hair combings.  I'm buying hair combings.  Have you any to sell?' She said, 'Yes, walk in.  Have a seat.' she said, and stepping into another room, came back with two or three shoe boxes of hair combings.  As she approached, I rose to my feet leaving my hat on the floor.

            "I said, 'Let's see, Madam,' and as she took off the box lid, there was the nicest black hair.  I hadn't seen any nicer the day before.  I said, 'Red hair, red hair.  It is the only kind we buy.'  Then I said, 'Well, we do buy some black hair, too, but it is very cheap, if we buy it.  But, I'll tell you, lady, what I can do for you.  We make hair jewelry, all kinds of it, watch chains, watch guards, bracelets, breast pins, everything you can think of.

            "I'll tell you what I can do.  I'll make up the hair into jewelry and sell it back to you, and take the hair as part pay.  She soon signed with me and I had the hair and was gone, to return in a few days.  This I did, closing some very profitable sales.

            "Leaving that house, I called at another in the same block, and was permitted to enter.  I had about the same success.  But the success in all of it  was in buying the goods right.  She said, 'Yes, I have some combings,' and brought me two shoe boxes full.

            "When she entered the room, I rose, and said, 'Let's see,' and when the lid was taken off, and I looked in, I said, "Ah, black hair, black hair, we buy only red hair.  That is, we do buy some black hair, but if we do buy it, we buy it very cheap.  However, at our factory, we'll manufacture this hair into jewelry and I know that you'll be interested in it, and want to buy some of it.  When you show to your husband the jewelry made from your hair, he will only want to know the price and will buy it.

            "To make the story short, a sale was accomplished, and I soon had the boxes of hair, and was gone with them.  When I thus got all I could carry, I then started for the factory.  There, I turned in the contracts and got my commission, and went out for another load.  It was hard work but proved to be good pay.

            "The proprietor was much gratified, and wanted me to stay with him, especially when I told him the secret of my success, but after remaining there some time, I made up my mind to go on west.  When I purchased my ticket, I had $5 left, and enough to buy a few sandwiches on the way.

            "I landed in Mexico one night and took lodging.  Next morning, I started early, looking for employment.  I am still a seeker.

            Sam started out at once, buying old rags and papers and wool and feathers, hides, pelts, and skins from forest animals.  His motto was ever, "Quick sales, and small profits."  He opened on the east side of Jefferson Street almost opposite the present Llewellyn residence.

 

            He succeeded, as he mingled his thoughts with his labors.  I recall meeting him one morning on the street, after I opened my practice here in 1902.  He said, "I can buy the G. D. Ferris property for $3000.  What do you think about it?"  I said, "Sam, don't let the sun go down before you have closed the deal."  He went away and as I recall it, he closed the deal before noon.  He has since been in business at that location.  He continued for a time in the same line of business, and has only discontinued the pelts and hides the last 12 or 15 years.

            Many interesting things in Mr. Morris' life come to mind.  Mrs. Morris, his wife, was a splendid housewife, who lived (sic) after all the interests of the home in general.

            It was interesting to me to hear him tell how he purchased his wife a nice surrey, that she wanted very much.  His wife, one morning, said, "Mr. Morris, I've been thinking about how nice it would be for you to purchase a nice surrey for the children and me."

            Mr. Morris said, "Very well, we'll see about that."  In a day or two, meeting me on the street, he said, "I've just bought my wife a surrey.  It cost me $135."  I said, "Yes, Sam, it is a very handsome one."  "I'll tell you how I got it," he said.

            Sam said, "I called the Wilder and Pearson firm at Laddonia, over the phone.  It cost 25 cents.  I asked them if they had any wool for sale.  They said they did.  I told them I'd be down in the morning.  I went down on the 7 o'clock train the next morning and bought the wool.  There was a car load of it.  It was a lump deal.  I get the market every day by wire and watch it very close.  I turned the car over to the St. Louis people, there in the siding at Laddonia, for enough profit to pay for the surrey and the cost of my train fare to the cent.  So the surrey cost me only my telephone call.

            It is still Mr. Morris' custom to get daily prices on the lines of goods that he handles.  Besides that, he gets a daily report of all transfers and chattels in this town.

            I recall another season when he made $1000 in the wool business and didn't buy a pound.  I met him one morning on the street.  He said, "Doctor, I'm going to take my daughter, Pearl, and go to California for a month or two."  He went the southern route and came back the northern one, taking in many of the large cities and staying some time in New York.  When he returned home, I met him again on the street.  He said, "Doc, I made more than $1000 this year in the wool business without buying a pound.  Some of my competitors lost thousands.  But the market didn't look good to me, and I left home, leaving orders for them not to buy a pound.  I'm confident I saved more than a thousand dollars."

            It suffices to say, from these illustrations, that he will leave his children, financially speaking, on Easy Street.