Roaring River Area: My Family and Barry County

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Barry County, Missouri

Barry County, Missouri

Roaring River is in Barry County, Missouri, where I have many family roots on my father’s side.

The quickest route from Bartlesville to the region takes me by the locations of the annual reunions for my paternal grandmother’s and grandfather’s families.  My grandmother, who was born on a farm six miles southwest of Roaring River near Seligman, was a Weston and their reunions were held at Twin Bridges State Park on the north edge of Grand Lake ‘o the Cherokees at the confluence of the Neosho and Spring Rivers.  And just southeast of the highway junction of US 60 and Missouri 37, where I make a sharp turn southward, is Monett’s South Park, where the Meador family reunions were held.  The property was once the farm of one of my great-grandfather Meador’s brothers and was sold to the city in 1923 for $10,000.

Cassville is a locus of family lore, where my grandfather was born in a double log house which had been a stage coach stop on the Springfield to Fayetteville Wire Road, and nearby Lee Spring was a home to several of my ancestors.

My paternal grandfather’s father and mother both lost their own fathers in this area during the Civil War, in which they served on opposing sides.  My great-grandfather’s father had enlisted in the Union army in April 1862 and died the next month of pneumonia after his overcoat was stolen.  He passed away in the army hospital housed in the McConnel building on Cassville’s courthouse square, the same building where my parents would close on their vacation home on Table Rock Lake 106 years later.  And Table Rock Lake was once White River, which my great-grandmother’s father was crossing at Golden Ford near Mano when he was shot and killed by Union guards.  My family still has the vest he was wearing, complete with bullet hole.

One of my great-grandfather Meador’s brothers published the Cassville Republican newspaper for 41 years and served as the town mayor and president of the school board.  The Republican folded long ago, but for years my father kept in touch with the area by subscribing to the rival Cassville Democrat paper, which lives on and “covers Barry County like the morning dew.”

My great-grandfather lost his mother before he was two and was orphaned at age six when his father died in the Union hospital in Cassville.  They lived on the family farm at Big Sugar Creek near Cyclone and that property is now a restricted part of Big Sugar Creek State Park located east of the ford at Cyclone up the big hill.  Upon losing their father, my great-grandfather and his orphaned siblings abandoned the farm and moved to former slave quarters on a farm near Monett for awhile.  Times were hard for them.  He remembered having only cornbread to eat, sometimes with milk and sometimes without, and crying from hunger after going to bed.  He also recalled that their only shoes were ones discarded by soldiers who bathed at a nearby lake.  Among the few family possessions were a bible and clock, which were passed on down to an influential professor in Springfield, Missouri.  Throughout his life my great-grandfather had hill farms throughout the Cassville area.  He and my great-grandmother are buried at Maplewood Cemetery in Exeter.  My paternal grandmother’s parents are buried at Corinth Cemetery south of Cassville.

cabinI grew up visiting the area regularly since my parents had “the cabin” – a one-bedroom vacation home in Sunset Heights between Eagle Rock and Chain-o-Lakes – from 1968 through 1998.  It sat on a high bluff overlooking Table Rock Lake.  That is where my love for day hikes developed, scrabbling about the bluff and on the plenitude of trails at Roaring River.

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9 Responses to Roaring River Area: My Family and Barry County

  1. michele barnes says:

    Enjoyed your story! Thanks for sharing. I too have family roots from 1860 in Roaring River,Mo. Close to your name……….Meaders [Meadows] so many stories,so little time………thank’s again best wishes!

  2. Steve Jabben says:

    I ran across your Great Great Grandmother’s resting place today at Big Sugar Creek. I’m the Ranger for that park and RoaringRiver. Enjoyed reading about your family and the history.

    • Mr. Jabben, thank you for sharing that! I love Roaring River so much, and enjoyed visiting Big Sugar Creek as well. I am glad both properties have your stewardship. They are public treasures.

  3. Jim Weston says:

    I was just at Roaring River Park actually tracing steps of my ancestors. You said your grandmother was a Weston. My Great Great grandpa Weston is buried south of Garfield at Union cemetary. He was a Drum major in Mo. 11th Confederate Infantry Co. B. I have a few family stories from Barry County and Carroll County Arkansas and was just trying to tie up some loose ends. Do you know much of the Weston family there?

  4. Michael E. Stubblefield says:

    Hello there. We must somehow be kinfolks, since my Great-Grandmother Dora Elizabeth Meador Stubblefield was a daughter of George Henry Meador and wife Lucy Boothe Meador, and an older sister of both Elihu Newton Meador and Lewis Elbern Meador. My father was Dora Elizabeth’s oldest grandson, son of her oldest son. I am an avid genealogist and lover of stories and would love to be in contact with you and follow your posts. I attempted to subscribe above, but it was twice rejected as an “invalid email address” even though I use it daily.
    Thanks for your interesting post! Good stuff!

    • Hello! We do indeed share an ancestor, since my great-great-grandfather Nathaniel Meador was your great-great-great-grandfather. So we are third cousins once removed. Your great-great-grandfather George Henry Meador was Nathaniel’s oldest son, while my great-grandfather Ira Newton Meador was his youngest son. And your great-grandmother’s brothers were well known, Eli as the longtime editor and publisher of the Cassville Republican and Lewis Elbern as the genius of the Missouri Constitutional Convention, with Eli also being a chairman of one of the committees at the Convention. I see you descended from Nathaniel to George Henry to Dora and then through Loren and then Loren Raymond. My descent is from Nathaniel to Ira Newton Meador to George Franklin Meador to Ira James Meador. I see that George Henry grew up on Big Sugar Creek and raised his family southeast of Cassville near his brother Wilson’s farm. It is fun to make the connection. I remember many Stubblefields at the old Meador reunions in Monett back in the day.

  5. Louie Keen says:

    Hi, I just uploaded a photo to my facebook of Dora Meador.
    Clarence Meador, brother of Eli and Elbern, etc
    (I just uploaded a photo of them with the whole family)

  6. Kody says:

    Oh, hello there! Just some kin of yours dropping by to make you read words 😀
    My great grandmother left me with her Meador genealogy works (Charles being the oldest recorded name, followed by Ambrose) & It warms a part of me knowing I have such family out there. I recently returned to Iowa from Bernice, Oklahoma. And was overjoyed to read about Twin Bridges. I went by there quite often and my father (Lawrence Eugene Pratt) told me about his family living in the Bernice area.

    I hope the day treats us well!

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