CHAPTER
Family Ties

Ozark life-styles may be generally classified as traditional or nontraditional, with the former obviously being of primary concern here. Families and family life are very important to most traditional Ozarkers, and knowing family genealogy is considered important. People take great pride in their family trees, although it is usually not possible to go back farther than four generations. Even today, young and old alike frequently identify themselves by mentioning their parents' names. Cultural geographer Milton D. Rafferty, of Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, once received firsthand evidence of this pride in family history: "I recall stopping at a house to inquire about directions to a place and, after a while, the conversation somehow was sidetracked into family history. A son, fortyish, recently returned from fifteen years of military service, gave a recitation on the family tree, including several divorces, stepchildren, half-brothers and sisters, cousins, nephews, and nieces while his mother looked on, nodding her head in approving fashion" (in The Ozarks: Land and Life, p. 240).

This interest in family extends to the entire community, with people often being identified through their relatives, particularly when those relatives might be better established locally. Unlike the stereotype of the noncommunicative, isolationist Ozarker, the hillfolk are interested in and knowledgeable about their neighbors. Silas Turnbo had little difficulty collecting numerous detailed narratives such as the following:

I am a son of Ambrose Yancy and Sidney (Jones) Stone and was born in Maries County, Missouri, April 23, 1842. The locality where my parents lived when I was born was on Little Tavern Creek which flows into Big Tavern. The last named stream goes into the Gasconade River. . . . Bobby Rowden built the first mill in our neighborhood which was built on Rowden's Creek. This stream took its name from the Rowden family and runs into Little Tavern Creek. The mill was a small affair and ground corn only. I remember all these people and the mill when I was near six years of age. One of my father's brothers, Rig (Gilmore) Stone and his wife, Aunt Celia, also lived in our neighborhood.

John Stone was my grandfather. He was born in Wales in 1755, and soon after he was grown, he came to the United States and finally shifted to Missouri where he died in Maries County in 1851, at the age of 96 years. He was buried in a

-17-

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Ozark Country
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • FOLKLIFE IN THE SOUTH SERIES ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Chapter 1 Historical Overview 1
  • Chapter Family Ties 17
  • Chapter 3 at Work 51
  • Chapter 4 Folk Customs 75
  • Chapter 5 Ozark and Appalachian Folk Music 97
  • Chapter 6 Games and Entertainment 131
  • Chapter 7 Folk Narratives 151
  • Appendix 167
  • Notes 173
  • Bibliographical Essay 181
  • Bibliography 185
  • Index 189
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