A family is "relatives by blood, marriage or adoption, often including a nucleus family; living in close proximately ... especially if three generations are involved." Harg in Boone County was like a family during horse-and-buggy days, and it has not changed much as far as the integrity of its citizens is concerned.
I learned the value of truth and trust when I was 10 years old. The "big" new Boone County Hospital was nearing completion, and the director also was the head nurse, Elinor Keeley. She visited several small family dairies and chose Dad’s because she trusted him. O. D. Meyers was her dairyman when sanitation was a matter of a farmer’s personal integrity.
Dad supplied the hospital with all of its milk, seven days a week, from the day it opened in 1924 until he sold the dairy and retired about 20 years later.
Integrity was the key word to describe Harg’s goals for youngsters in Sunday school, Harg Hustlers 4-H Club, Olivet’s Friendly Bible Class and in five one-room country schools.
Integrity requires "being of sound moral principles; honesty, uprightness and sincerity."
Harg families fought for human rights; integrity was the important goal. Black children had a wonderful teacher, Eva Coleman, and the school board members required equality for students and teachers in the district.
After six defeats, the school board finally won the right to build a large, modern school for all of the children and teachers. They all enjoyed bus transportation, telephones, indoor toilets, hot lunches, an expanded library and many other changes.
The reorganized R-II district was the first in Missouri to graduate integrated classes. It set the example that many other communities followed. The integrity of those Harg voters was firm, like solid rock! That school, much enlarged, now is one of Columbia’s public schools, New Haven Elementary.
For more than 50 years, the people of Harg’s Olivet Church have helped to finance church and neighborhood activities by serving barbecued mutton and chicken to hundreds - sometimes as many as 2,000 - people. They eat, visit, remember, work and enjoy. Profits are shared with service groups, and other rural churches have similar gatherings.
In an annual family camping weekend in July, Olivet members and guests of all ages camp and share chores, recreation and worship. This weekend event reminds us Olivet Church first convened under maple trees. It was organized in the Carlisle School House on a cold day in January; after the meeting, members went to a nearby pond and baptized 23 members.
Yes, people in the Harg community were like a family - with three generations of the McHargs as the nucleus. Cynthia McHarg was instructor of English at Hickman High School and later at Christian College. Her father, a retired minister, and her husband were storekeepers who "just wrote it down" for some, knowing they’d never collect.
Many of us in Harg died a little when one of our young soldiers, William "Junior" McHarg, lost his life in World War II. He was a brilliant student, an accomplished musician and a great young man.
His brother, Wilkes, flew dangerous missions over Berlin and far exceeded the number of trips expected of U.S. pilots. It was as if he fought on for his brother as well as for this country and for us.
We in Harg still recall those McHarg boys and appreciate what they did for us.
The horse-and-buggy days are long gone, but the integrity of Harg is alive and well in many young people.