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The Douglas and Ozark Counties Area Retired Teachers and Other School Personnel met Tuesday, October 11 for lunch at the Senior Center in Gainesville. Ida Mae Huse introduced the guest speaker, Lou Wehmer, who talked about the Civil War in Ozark and Douglas Counties. Lou did not talk so much about battles although there were some in the area; he talked about how it impacted the families living here. When the war was upon them the people in this area took sides, not so much because they cared about slavery, but because of family feuds and rivalries already dividing them.
The government in Jefferson City was made up largely of southern sympathizers even though Missouri had voted to remain in the Union. When Lincoln had ordered the Governor of Missouri to call up militias to fight against the South, the Governor refused. A Circuit Judge, McBride shut down the due process system in the Southern borders counties of Missouri and made himself, Brigadier General of the State Guard. They were fighting for States Rights. McBride ordered that all able bodied men should join the State Guard or face arrest.
There were men who were avowed Unionists in the area. It was dangerous for them and their families. Men were arrested (or kidnapped) and sometimes killed for being Unionists. Able bodied men fled the area. Then later on when the war had given the Union the upper hand, Southern sympathizers had to flee to avoid arrest.
Many women and children had left the area for Springfield Rolla, or St. Louis. Many died of starvation because they had no resources. When both sides sent patrols into an area they took what they found. When the war was over between the states, the war did not end in the border counties of Southern Missouri. There were killings for many years afterward that had roots in the Civil War.
Marie Bristol called the business meeting to order. The minutes and treasurer’s report were accepted as presented. There was no new business. Ida Mae Huse gave a report on Social Security and Medicare. Marie announced that the Region 10 MRTA Fall Meeting would be held October 28 in Springfield. Those wishing to car pool to that meeting should meet at 7:45 at the General Baptist Church parking lot. Marie also urged members to renew their MRTA state memberships and to make a donation to the MRTF Building Fund to help pay off the new building early. Dues for Douglas and Ozark Counties RTA were collected from several members present.
Those attending the October meeting were Terri Hall, Geraldine Gray, Norma Griffith, Thelma Chisam, Marie Bristol, Betty Moore, Julane Williams, Dorothea Humphries, Virginia Parsley, Ruth Evans, Patty Crisp, Jenny Billings, Ida Mae Huse, Caryl Feiler, Edith McKinnon, Norma Stillings, and the guest, Lou Wehmer.
The next meeting will be November 8 at the Pizza Hut. David Norman will be the guest speaker on the subject, “Why woman outlive men.”