A Tour of Callaway County
All my life I have heard the stories about my Grandfather's life growing up in Callaway County Missouri. Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to visit there. In 1999 I began researching the Clatterbuck family, and this only increased my desire to explore the area from whence my kin came. This summer, 2006 I was finally able to visit Callaway, and I was not disappointed. The beauty of the land, the richness of the history and hospitality of my "cousins" made memories for a lifetime.
Nancy Meyer, my second cousin once removed, but more importantly my Clatterbuck genealogy buddy, helped plan a Clatterbuck reunion. It was fabulous to finally meet her and her beautiful family. She put together a wonderful book about the Clatterbucks that she so generously gave to all the kin at the reunion. In it she wrote an introduction which I have used excerpts from throughout my webpages. She more aptly than I captured the spirit of the area. Here is an excerpt:
"Missouri is a beautiful state and perfect for tilled farm fields that stretched flat to the horizon. Reuben and his family prospered there, became land owners and mule traders For those of us who used to have to explain our name to everybody we met, it was awe-inspiring to stand in Dry Fork Church and see a sea of stone Clatterbucks. So many people with my name. Who were they? I think that is where my interest began."
"Fulton is a "must" stop for anybody following the family trail. It close to the cemeteries and Guthrie and New Bloomfield and Auxvasse. The old farm steads are lost to memory now, but there are still tales to hear. Staying in a bed and breadfast one time I was talking to the proprietor and she was telling me that King's Row (book and movie) was all about the families of Fulton written by an orphan of the town who got back at them all for neglecting him by writing about all of their shameful secrets. The vicious Doctor who cuts off Drake McHugh's legs to keep him away from his daughter was really a Dr. Baker she told me. Well, Annie Baker Messersmith was fromt he Baker Clan, Bet they were related. When I read about Omer Clatterbuck getting his foot amputated after trying to jump a train, I wonder if when Ronald Reagn sits up in the famous movie scene and asks,"Where is the rest of me?" he wasn't portraying one of our ancestors done in by another one. I would love to think so."
So with much anticipation I made my way to Callaway County. Flying into Kansas City and traveling along Interstate 70. Awestruck at the miles of green farmland that helps feed our world. Passing over the Missouri we knew we were close. The signs to Fulton guided our way.
Callaway County was recently named one of the most liveable rural counties in America. I can surely see why.The county proudly proclaimed this fact on little banners throughout the city.
Callaway County's Southern boarder is the Missouri River, with the state capitol, Jefferson City sitting on the other side. Two hundred years ago Lewis and Clark traveled along this way on their great journey. A hundred years ago steamboats were the way to travel. The land along the river is rich and furtile, the destination of many early settlers.
Missouri River looking from the Jefferson City Side to Callaway County
Overlooking the "bottomlands" the furtile soil along the Missouri River
The Western boarder of Callaway County is Cedar Creek. It divides Callaway and Boone Counties. Clatterbucks settled on both sides of the creek. Apparently the creek barrier also became a social barrier as there was not a lot of interface between the families after a while.
Fulton is the county seat and the center of activity for the County. It's easy to close your eyes and imagine horses and buggies traveling along the cobblestone streets and pulling up to do business at one of the storefronts. The Palace hotel still stands. It must have been grand in its day.
The Palace Hotel
The Presbyterian Church
The Christian Church
In the Court Street area the streets are lined with lovely old southern homes with rolling lawns, mature shade trees, and wrap around porches. Just the place to sit and sip some sweet tea.
The brick houses were an unusual site for this northwest girl. In the west brick homes are a rarity, as we never know when we might be hit by a rumbling earthquake and the bricks would all come down. I also had never seen what were called "earth houses", some with only the roof visable from the outside. It seems like a modern "green" solution to cold winters and hot summers and protection from tornadoes. Maybe our ancestors didn't have such a bad idea with their sod homes on the prairie.
Fulton is home to two colleges: William Woods University and Westminister College. Beautiful campuses with the same charm as old Fulton. Although a rural area, education became an important value to the county. There were many Clatterbucks and kin who became teachers and school officials. William Woods was a girls school until 1997. It is one of the few schools in the nation that offers a riding program. My aunt Warrene attended William Woods and received a degree in education.
William Woods University
Stables and Corral of William Woods Riding program
Westminister University is known for the Winston Churchill Memorial. In 1946 Winston Churchill visted the campus and made his "Sinews of Peace" speech. Later a memorial was constructed and President Harry Truman came to help dedicate the memorial. See the Westminister College
history page for a virtual tour. The Fulton Sun recently ran an article interviewing people about their memories of the Churchill visit. You may read it at The Fulton Sun
One of our Clatterbuck Cousins was quoted:Vernon Clatterbuck, The Parade Watcher
Vernon Clatterbuck, 28, had recently returned from serving in World War II and was working at Branstetter Garage in Fulton. On the day of Churchill's visit, Clatterbuck watched the procession pass the corner of Market Street and St. Louis Avenue.
“I will never forget watching the parade as it worked its way through the streets of our town,” Clatterbuck said. “People came from all over Missouri and some from out of state.”
Not satisfied only with one viewing of Churchill and Truman, Clatterbuck dashed to another location in town.
“When the parade went by, I walked - well, actually I ran - across to Court Street,” he said. “Just to see two World War II leaders ... was an event that thrilled thousands of people.”
When Truman came to town in 1964, Pauline, a woman who cooked for my aunt Warrene and her cousins prepared the meal for Harry Truman. My aunt and her cousins, good Baptist that they were, were strict tee-totalers, and would not tolerate any alcohol in the house, or anyone who drank any alcohol, but apparently, Pauline was such a good cook that they looked the other way when she took a swig now and then.
Churchill Memorial Statue
Churchill Memorial Chapel
Columns from one of the original buildings at Westminister
My Grandfather, Marvin attended Westminister University (then college) and he too took an interest in education, later going on to become a teacher of the deaf. The presence of the Deaf school in Fulton gave training opportunities and inspiration for people to pursue training in the teaching of the deaf. Besides my grandfather, there were several other people from Fulton who went on to be Superintendants of deaf schools in other states. See The Missouri School for the Deaf history page.
Missouri School for the Deaf Campus
The country side is filled with corn and soybean fields and a few cattle farms. The county was known for it's famous "Missouri Mules"and many Clatterbucks, including my great grandfather were "Mule traders". Callaway presently is home to the largest horse breeding ranch in the United States. A surprise to me, as I would have expected that title to go to somewhere in Kentucky or Tennessee.
Largest Horse Ranch in the US
The county has many small villages, really large neighborhoods separated by country roads, some are paved some are not. The Clatterbucks seemed to have congregated in the Western side of Callaway along Cedar Creek in Guthrie, New Bloomfield and Carrington areas. The Callaway Historical Society has several nice articles about these villages on their website Callaway Historical Society.
My Grandfather lived in Guthrie on a farm with his mother and step father. The house and barn are still standing today.
Grandpa's home in Guthrie
The Barn at Grandpa's house in Guthrie
Entering New Bloomfield
Waller and America's home in New Bloomfield
James Henry Clatterbuck's Home in New Bloomfield
This house sits on the land that William Sam Clatterbuck's home in New Bloomfield once stood
Callaway County is filled with pretty little churches, many with cemteries on their grounds. I was impressed by how well tended the churchyards were, and by the sea of flowers that decorated the stones. There was obviously a sense of pride and care about their ancestors and their history.
The Clatterbucks are mostly buried in Dry Fork Baptist Church Cemetery in Guthrie. Nancy Dorton, one of Reuben Clatterbuck's daughters, was one of the founding members. Waller Clatterbuck, was a deacon in the church for many years. There are still Clatterbucks attending the church today. You can see more pictures of Dryfork on my Dry Fork page.
Dry Fork Baptist Church
Dry Fork in the early part of the century split and sent some of it's members to begin Hopewell Baptist Church. William "Sam" Clatterbuck donated the land to build the Hopewell church. There are quite a few Clatterbucks buried in the cemetery there.
Hopewell Baptist Church
There are a handful of Clatterbucks buried at Old Prospect Cemetery, along side other early settlers to the county. I did a double take when I saw the stone of Lucy (Holt) Reynolds. She was born on July 4, 1776! How auspicious to have been born on the very day our nation was birthed. I stood in front of her grave 230 years and one day after her birth. What a legacy these settlers carried. Two of Lucy's sisters, Annie and Martha, married Clatterbucks and are buried in Old Prospect.
Old Prospect Cemetery
Lucy (Holt) Reynold's grave
My Grandpa attended Carrington Baptist Church for a time while he was a boy. We only passed by the church on our trip. I believe some of the Humphreys are buried there.
Carrington Baptist Church
Carrington Baptist Church Cemetery
Thanks for taking my little virtual journey with me. My desire is that you experienced just a little taste of what Callaway is like. Hopefully the natives won't see too many inaccuracies!
I would like to give special thanks to my tour guides, Waller and Vernon, for so generously sharing your stories and your love for the county, and the legacy of the Clatterbucks. A special thanks to Alva and Jim who tromped around the cemeteries with me on a hot Missouri morning and considered it to be fun!