Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Col. Switzler’s history held some surprises

Of course I knew nothing about the War Between the States, as I was not born until July 1914.

I bought William Switzler’s 1,100-page "History of Boone County" years before I realized that Grandpa Henry’s information was in that volume, filed under the name of his business partner, Dysart. They were partners, "Dysart and Henry."

In a book compiled so long ago with so many names, the reader must expect a few surprises. Eventually, it dawned on me that my grandfather fought for the South in the Civil War.

"James Lawrence Henry and James C. Dysart bought and operated a milling company near Hinton, Mo., north of Columbia. Natural water power" from flowing creeks "provided the power to grind grain and saw trees into lumber for building homes and other structures. After his first wife’s death, Susan, the oldest girl, assumed the responsibility of caring for Barnie and a boy, John Henry. After being educated at the University of Mo., John Henry ran for various Boone County offices and was elected for 24 years."

Neighbors said that Grandpa and Grandma often sat on the front porch in evenings, softly singing church hymns.

Then there was an error in Switzler’s history. He said that the couple, young wife and elderly husband, "walked to the same church together every Sunday morning." However, Mom often told of their starting together, separating and going to separate churches.

Mom, Nancy Henry Meyers, couldn’t participate in sports as a child because she wore glasses.

The nearest optometrist was in St. Louis, and to replace a broken frame or lens was a major problem: The glasses had to be packed and shipped from Columbia to Centralia, where packages were transferred to the St. Louis train and sent to a repair shop. It took about a week to get her glasses back.

Switzler’s "History of Boone County" was written in 1882 and is available at the Boone County Historical Society - all 1,100 pages of it!

The Civil War section has surprising maps and detail about families, horses, cattle, schools and universities.

There is an interesting history of the University of Missouri with the names of the early presidents up to James Rollins in 1870. There is a sketch of the university president’s home, which is in Columbia’s news because of impending renovation.

The book has a few hand-drawn sketches of Columbia’s prominent people, elaborate homes, city buildings, etc. There are charts of population by county. Hunters will be interested in early Missouri game laws. One page gives the population in 1880 by race. I was surprised to read that there were about the same number of Chinese residents as there were "Civilized Indians" in 1880 - almost 100 of each!

I enjoy sharing memories in this, my 93rd year. I should have made more notes as I aged! September marked the end of the 12th year for "Granny’s Notes" in the Tribune.

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