Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Time For Heidi

Waiting at the Gate

A Treat and a Gentle Word and All is Well

Heidi Guarding Her Rock

One of Heidi's Rocks

Heidi is emerging from summer more beautiful than ever. Each day I learn a little more about her, for instance she is a rock hound. She collects rocks and pieces of cement blocks and a couple of them are rather large, but she carries them around anyway. Heidi is spoiled, no surprise to me. When I leave the yard and she stays inside the yard she lays by the gate waiting and sometimes she is a bit mift and it takes a treat to bring back her good humor, but I would not have her any other way. Have a great Sunday morning. Adios.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Foot Prints Into The Dawn Of Prehistory, Continued

Yours Truly

Lucky Seven Revolver With Restord Handles

Present Day Photo of Cave

Photo of Cave Taken Aprox. Forty Years Ago

Hideout Cave
There is a place up stream from Moon Valley on the Niangua River where a deep hollow empties into the river from the south. It is a narrow hollow, more of a gulch or perhaps could be called a canyon. It is not an ideal locale to be, for the walls are steep and littered with stones and dead trees and in places the brush is near impenetrable. The hollow is cut deep with a gully where storm laden water has rushed unencumbered to the river for untold years. There are hidden dangers there in the quite solitude of this site, especially near the river. Copperhead Snakes and on occasion a Cottonmouth can be found, for many small creatures such as wood mice and rats and chipmunks thrive there, easy prey for any number of reptiles and other warm bloodied predators. A bluff, broken by the hollow follows the river, much of it is a majestic formation towering above the meandering stream.
Not far up the hollow is the remnant of a trail where a horse could be led safely down to the river and along the base of the bluff and even so it would be a precarious journey. This trail although faint and in places obscured with brush winds down from the top of the bluff past and around large boulders through old cedars and buck brush to the entrance of a stone overhang. At first glance the shelter appeared to be insignificant, too small for an extended family dwelling. The hole in the wall for all practical purposes is not a comfortable dwelling for a portion of it is damp. The most positive aspect of the overhang is the extreme seclusion, hidden from view by boulders.
In the autumn of 1982 I discovered the trail, a difficult task at best and while traversing it a thunderstorm overtook me and I began looking for cover when I stumbled onto the overhang. I sat for awhile smoking my pipe, watching two men in an aluminum flat bottom boat floating down the river, hunkered against the driving rain. Lightening flashed constantly overhead, with thunder crashing through the turbulence. The two men in the boat undaunted by the violent display slowly continued on down the river and soon passed from view.
No immediate let up in the storm seemed evident and I turned my attention to the interior of the shelter. The interior was about ten feet by fifteen feet with a ceiling of at least fifteen feet in height. The floor contained little to no soil and was strewn with stones. Fire blackened stones and wood ash lay near the outside and around the ash and stones and beyond into the interior lay several crock and stoneware shards, (present day material and later I was able to piece together three medium size bowls a small jug and pitcher.) Lying near the back wall was the rusted remains of a gray granite coffee pot.
Intrigued by the immediate discovery of the artifacts I dropped the backpack and slowly began a closer scrutiny of the shelter, convinced it would not reveal prehistory influence. Little had changed or so it appeared since the use of the artifact with exception of dust and rock debris.
Lying near the east wall I noted two rusted metal straps of about eight inches in length and an inch in width. Both straps appeared to have been cut haphazardly. The longest strap contained a screw or metal stud. I could find no markings on either strap.
Rain continued to fall and with time on my hands I decided to make a day of it and excavate the small shelter to try and determine what had transpired in the shelter. With a garden trowel I began raking the shallow dirt and stone debris into small piles and continued this until I had covered most of the floor. Then with a flashlight I began screening the piles starting with one near the entrance. It gave up two unspent twenty-two cartridges; several crock shards and a brass button used on overalls and the broken blade of a pocket knife. About midway in I discovered a horse or mule shoe and two unused shoeing nails and the rusted remains of a tin coffee cup.
In the meantime the rain had stopped and the sky cleared flooding the shelter with much welcomed light. I sat back and lit my pipe and poured a cup of coffee and inventoried the artifacts I had found in the piles of dirt and stones. There were eight twenty-two unfired cartridges, four spent cartridges, a horseshoe, two nails, coffee cup, two metal straps, a button and a short remnant of a bridle rein.
With most of the piles of dirt and stone recorded I decided to start at the rear wall of the shelter to look in every crook, cranny and ledge. With the added light it was easier now. My first discovery was a metal ring embedded in the wall about four feet from the floor and above it on a ledge lay a small seven shot twenty-two caliber revolver. It lay in mud, partial covered with grass tufts. The revolver was frozen in rust, the wooden handle long since decomposed. The weapon contained a short hexagon barrel and two spent cartridges. A Santa Fe brass railroad key lay behind the pistol and I would have been missed if I hadn’t scraped the ledge clean.
A thick bodied metal box of approximate eight inches high, twenty four inches long and twelve inches wide lay in a corner of the back wall, nearly covered in mud and gravel debris. The extent of the decomposition was near complete, a rusted hulk of metal. Two other metal straps were also noted and they too were nothing more than rust. A rusted tin frying pan and additional tin cup along with a short piece of copper tube completed the excavation with the exception of questionable items too badly decomposed or rusted to determine identity.
It is my assumption the railroad key, metal box and straps are an important aspect of the mystery or saga of the cave. The box may have contained currency taken in a robbery somewhere in the area around the turn of the century on or about the 1880’s or 90’s. (Note the following information is unrelated to the site. An acquaintance of mine discovered a safe in a hollow several miles away that had been blown open). The metal ring as far as I am concerned was used to tether horses. The story will remain a mystery I am sure, but is fuel for an imaginary story featuring the Lucky Seven Revolver as is now told in my third book, A Stranger in London Smoke.
The high back of McKee Ridge is scarred by an old county road that evolved from an Indian trace. The road begins east at Jones Crossing and meanders westward for possibly a mile across the ridge along the ruins and home places of early settlers to Highway K. It is said that Chief Black Hawk and his bandits frequented the road stealing unattended cattle and horses. A major portion of the vintage road has been invaded by brush and expanding plum thickets. Fireplace stones and remnants of farm machinery are all that is left of a time that dates back to the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. A secondary road veers off the main trace and follows the rim of the bluff for a half a mile or so. Adios

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Last Hero

When I was a lad my heroes to name a few were, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tarzan and a host of other movie stars. They were good people, at least in the roles they played and I grew up with that in mind. My first real life hero was Truman and I cheered when he defeated Dewy, to my Father’s dismay. Mother cheered with me. The years slipped by and there were so many heroes to choose from, real people and of course movie stars. I really don’t know if John Wayne and I would have gotten along too well, but he was the best in the roles he played and I would much rather watch one of his movies, than waste my time on the trash that appears on t. v. these days. Anyhow time keeps marching on and nearly all my heroes, including good friends and family are gone, but along came a man of whom I greatly admire, of great moral character, honest, brave and a man I would stand with any time. He is going to be around for a very long time, so I won’t be concerned about the fellow dying. He, I must admit is a strange looking man, very large, but as humble as pumpkin pie and he loves animals. His name is Shrek. Adios

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Twilight of the Primitive-Lewis Cotlow

There is one small difference between Lewis Cotlow and me and of course there are other differences. Lewis is a great writer and Journalist with several very good books to his credit and I am not. The small difference I have mentioned is I love to write about Prehistory and Mister Cotlow writes about the last of the primitive people. The word primitive is used simply because society in general does not know better. If not for the primitive people much of what we have become, both positive and negitive would have not occurred. Nearly every segment of the primitive people have been overwhelmed and in some aspects completely obliterated, leaving behind only fragments to wonder about.

Mister Cotlow's books on the twilight of the remaining people that have survived the massive rush of civilizations paralel that of our own societies of the present and that to me is a bit scarey, however nothing remains the same and the old must bend with the new or be pushed down to become remnants of bygone eras. For me at least, Mister Colow's books are remarkable accounts of The Last Primitive People on this planet. Adios

Friday, August 13, 2010

Once Again They lead the Summer Into Autumn

Although We are Still in the Grip of An Extremely Hot summer, Soon the Sumac Will Change to a Scarlet Hue and usher in the Autumn. Adios

The Sumac
They endure timidly in the realm of ragged fence rows
Among the wild rose vines and where the ivy grows
They never swell as tall as a sycamore tree
Or as stout as an oak on a windy hill
But wait, when September arrives in scarlet hues they stand
To lead the weary summer from the melancholy land


Back Home Again, My Old Tractor

My sixty year old Tractor was taken away as posted on July 17 for much needed repair and today it was returned to me purring like a Kitten. Adios

Monday, August 9, 2010

Good Monday Morning

Beautiful Heidi waiting for our walk

Last fall I relocated this wild sunflower from a road ditch to my garden and she has grown tall and is about to bloom. She is a beautiful creature of the wild. Adios

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Wilson Creek Connection

I Am a Refection of My Grandfathers Below. I am Captian Hurd in the Movie Arkansas Yankees and Captain Butcher Redoak in a Meladrama The Last Osage

James Mitchel Wright, Confederate Civil War Veteran

Henry Allen Pitts, Union, Civil War Veteran
A Time to Remember
Encounter at Wilson Creek
By Ronnie Powell

This chronicle, an edited version from an article of mine in the Country Folk Magazine, began at approximately 5: a.m., August 10, 1861 at or near Wilson Creek, not far from Springfield, Missouri. It is a saga of two men, who along with thousands of other men would soon take part in one of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War and helped to make it possible for me to be here.
James Mitchel Wright although very ill with the measles was one of more than 10,000 Confederate troops bivouacked along Wilson Creek. They were under the command of General Ben McCullough. James was a part of the 4th Arkansas Infantry.
James was born in Livingston, Overton County, Tennessee. On February 13, and at the age of ten, he moved with his family to Carrol County Arkansas near the town of Kingston.
James planed to be a medical doctor but in his twentieth year, the Civil War began and in the spring of 1861, he volunteered his services to the Confederate Army. He served the entire four years of the war. James equipped with only a common rifle and a cloth bag to hold powder and ball set out on an adventure that would change a nation. The blue eyed, sandy haired young man would become a loyal defender of the Confederacy.
The march to Wilson Creek was grueling and food was in short supply, consisting of roasting ear corn, potatoes and tomatoes, most of it foraged from fields along the way.
Not far away in a valley near the Ben Short farm, Henry Allen Pitts also prepared to do battle. He had been hastily awakened, ordered to keep quite and to fall in line.
Breakfast had been a hurried event on the move and consisted of a small portion of cooked pork carried inside a large turtle shell loaf of bread.
Henry served under the command of General Nathaniel Lyon and a part of Colonel Boyd’s Home Guard and would become a fierce defender of Bloody Hill around and above Wilson Creek.
Henry Pitts was born in South Carolina in 1840 and in his early teens, slipped away from home and headed west on a wagon train. The young lad made it to Orla Mills near the town of Lebanon, Missouri.
Henry settled at Orla Mills, became a blacksmith, a boot maker and veterinarian and married a local girl near the beginning of the Civil War. Henry, although a Southern Democrat, did not believe in slavery and chose to fight with the Union. The tall blue eyed young man of English ancestry carried with him a politeness and good manners that would remain unchanged during his lifetime.
At 5:a.m. the Union battery under Captain Totten sent shot and shell crashing into the trees above the 4th Arkansas. James Wright scrambled for cover. John Ried’s Rebel battery unlimbered their smooth bores in response. It was sometime during this barrage from the Union that Captain Ried quickly sought higher ground opposite the mouth of Skeggs Branch.
This battery was accompanied by the 3rd, 4th and 5th Arkansas Infantry. At 10 a.m. the infantry groups began fighting their way up Bloody Hill. It was during this perilous accent up the hill that James Wright and other of the Confederates came upon General Lyon’s iron grey horse lying dead. It was learned later the Union general had also been wounded but chose to reenter the battle. The general was again wounded and died and died from these wounds.
Henry Pitts and others in his outfit were pinned down. Captain Totten’s battery opened up again and they were successful in routing the Rebels and securing the ridge. From that position, Henry and his outfit went to the crest of Bloody Hill.
The Battle of Wilson Creek lasted from 5: a.m. until 11:30 Saturday, August 10. The losses on both sides were devastating and although the South was the victor, they chose not to advance into Springfield. The Union forces made a hasty retreat from the city at daybreak to Rolla, Missouri. The journey was over one hundred miles.
Henry Allen Pitts and James Michel Wright survived the war and returned to their homes, strangers and enemies of war. But years later they were destined to share a common bond.
On December 13, 1888, James Pinkey Pitts, first son of Henry Pitts and Lula Beulah Wright, first daughter of James Wright were united in Marriage. They moved to a farm a few miles northwest of Charity, Missouri. On this farm they reared nine children and were married fifty years. Minnie Minerva Pitts the youngest of the nine children was my mother.
There were two other known family members who fought in the bloody battle of Wilson Creek and survived. Both of these men were of my father’s family, an Uncle severing in the 8th Missouri Cavalry, a locale unit. The other man a Grandfather fought with the Confederacy. Adios

Monday, August 2, 2010

As Time Goes By, Five Hats, Four Books

A Book Signing in Branson

My First Book, South Through Bare Foot Pass

My Second Book, Tiddleson, Son of Tiddle

My Third Book, A Stranger in London Smoke

My Fourth Book, Life Along The Dousinberry
The above books were written and published aproximately one year apart. For more info please contact me at Each book will be signed, dated and the last three numbered. All four books are limited first editions.

P.S--- I would like to address the word Blabber. To ildly chat, to give away a secret, is but two aspects of the word. Picture if you will a man or woman talking recalling days past, revealing wonderful stories of early days or historic events etc. Personal details are often revealed, perhaps secrets of humor and drama that make the past come alive. If not for blabber I would not have been able to write my books and of course I am a proud blabber. Oh yes, I have had people roll thier eyes at time when listening to me, but that is alright, for I continue to blab. Adios.