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Tales from Days Gone By

Tales from Days Gone By

Behind the big themes, celebrated figures, and dry dates of history are the interesting stories of life in the past and ordinary people. Southeast Missouri has a varied and rich history that you often don’t hear about in history classes. Join Bill Eddleman of the State Historical Society of Missouri to hear about these stories with “Tales of Days Gone By.” Listen in on the second and fourth Thursday of the month during Morning Edition (7:45 a.m.) and All Things Considered (4:44 p.m.)
  • The War of 1812 in Missouri bore little resemblance to the war most of us hear about in history classes. Most Missourians who served were frontier militiamen such as a young man from near Caledonia—George D. Strother.
  • Residents of parts of southeastern Missouri were shocked to hear of the actions of a criminal gang during the late spring and early summer of 1881. Four men who had met socially, Jesse Myers, Robert Rhodes, James Hamilton, and Frank Brown were the primary members.
  • East of Oak Ridge in Cape Girardeau County is an old cemetery beside a county road. The inscription on the sign marking the cemetery is “Wilson Cemetery.” However, Wilson Cemetery illustrates how present-day names for locations and features can hide or blur history. The place has gone by three different names over the last 202 years.
  • Some witnesses reported seeing smoldering cinders blowing from the smokestack of a train passing on the main track before 9:30 a.m. One of these landed on the roof of the train depot and ignited the dry shingles. The station master quickly extinguished this fire. However, shortly thereafter fire appeared on the roof of Jacob Goeltz’s barber shop.
  • The U. S. government created a pension system in 1862, not only for soldiers disabled in the Civil War but also for widows and children of those dying in the line of duty. Also included were mothers who documented their soldier sons as their sole support. The resulting files are a treasure trove of Civil War stories, including that of one young Bollinger County soldier, Albert T. Limbaugh.
  • American settlers in Missouri 200 years ago would have been familiar with a ghostly “booming” sound heard in later winter and early spring on prairies. The source of this sound was displaying male greater prairie chickens.
  • Halloween is coming up within a week. I am going to veer a little bit from the documentable stories I usually tell and relate a tale that borders on legend. Sometimes things may have a perfectly logical explanation but appear supernatural. Such was the case with an experience a man from Daisy in Cape Girardeau County had in the mid-1800s.
  • On Saturday, October 15, 2022, an unveiling ceremony will reveal markers placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution at the grave of James Caldwell at Parkview Cemetery in Farmington. Caldwell was not only a veteran, but an under-appreciated pioneer and legislator in Kentucky and Missouri, and a local leader in Ste. Genevieve and St. Francois counties.
  • On January 17, 1926, newspaper readers throughout Missouri were surprised to read the following: “Benjamin Hodge today celebrated his 109th birthday. Records at his home near here show that he was born in New York Jan. 16, 1817.”
  • One of the initiatives of the Federal Writers’ Project portion of the Works Progress Administration in 1936 to 1939 was the Slave Narrative Project. This effort sent mostly white writers to interview over 2300 surviving African Americans formerly enslaved. Despite potential issues with the information, the narratives provide a glimpse into the experiences of formerly enslaved people during and after emancipation. One example is Robert Bryant of Herculaneum, Missouri.