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Mark

Oregon County History And Folklore

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Since we have another flood occurring, I thought I would change topics and hopefully get some discussion from the locals. Since I have been coming to the Eleven Point area regularly for the past 12 years, I have become interested in Oregon County history. The Internet has many interesting tales - the Irish Wilderness story is fantastic, the Civil War Era with the bushwackers, raiders, guerrillas, the burning of Alton :o , the Kansas 7th Calvary hunting down Devil Dick Boze and the subsequent "haunted" stories :huh: , White's Creek Cave once was home to a substantial Indian community, and Thomasville was renown for its baseball team back in the early twentieth century B) . Does anyone have any old history stories they would like to tell? I think it would be an interesting topic while we wait for the river to recede again and we can get back to talking fishing.

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Most of my mom's family is from Oregon county going back to the 1850's we have a lot of cool old pictures and stories passed down through the generations!

The Irish wilderness holds a lot of old tales, and there were some pretty notorious (in there own way) families that lived in the wilderness there! I'll IM you some of the old pics I have if you're interested.

My great grandpa and grandpa worked for the logging companies and at the CCC Camp.

It's a really cool area with lots of secrets and hidden treasures!

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The latest edition of Missouri life has a nice article about the history of the Irish Wilderness you might want to check out. Did you know that the Mary Decker Shoals area is supposed to be haunted, at least that is what I have heard. A civil war union soldier from an Iowa reg. supposedly fell off the upstream side of what was the logging dam there in the winter. His brother stayed around a few days waiting for the body to surface, but it never did. I've never seen any evidence of the ghost, but that is the jist of the story that I heard. If it is not true, I don't want to know because I like the story. They have recovered musket balls in the river over the years and a good part of a riffle was found at Mary Decker shoals.

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Great stuff fellow fishermen and women!!! I thought I heard or read somewhere that the Beatles spent the day on the river a number of years ago. Kind of hard to get that picture in my head...seeing those guys fishing or floating....but you never know!!! Had also thought I heard something about an outing with Bobby Knight on one of our rivers ....don't know enough about it so I best leave it at that!!!

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The "History of the Irish Wilderness" was a short book written in 1970 and can be found in it's entirety on the Internet. It's only about 60 pages and fascinating reading. Archealogical digs at Greer Springs discovered remnants dating back 9,700 years - just a little bit before Columbus!! HA

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The Beatles staying on the river is absolutely true. They stayed at the Pigman ranch, which currently has 5 miles of river frontage (under easement today) just downtream of Riverton. Their pilot's family when they were touring America, owned the ranch and he invited them to stay there when they had a 2 week break in their schedule so they could get away from the crowds. They took him up on the offer and stayed about 10 days until people stated to sneak up to the house to peek in on them. They rode horses, motorcycles, and floated the river I think. They rehearsed in the old boat house on the river. The ranch goes up sale now and then by auction and they always bring out the pics of the Beatles enjoying the ranch. Pretty cool trivia for the area if you ask me.

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Growing up in NE Arkansas, I always heard about the Beatles landing at the airport in Walnut Ridge, on their way to MO. I guess that is where they were headed. That is a neat part of history to say the least.

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My Dad, who passed away last year at age 89, first took me on the Eleven Point in 1973. We made arrangements for our float through a family called Huffstedder (sp). They had a canoe livery and store at Riverton. At that time, an elderly gentleman in the Huffstedder family was helping run the business. He told us stories about guiding fisherman on the river by "polling" a homemade john boat up and down the river, no paddles and no motor. One of our family's good friends was Dr. Claude Bruner, a Columbia (MO) ENT doc. He had fished Ozark rivers since the 1930s and had been on every floatable stream in Missouri and Arkansas. He had a wooden john boat made the the elder Huffstetter, the same fellow we had met the first time we went on the Eleven Point. That old john boat was incredibly sold and heavy; almost impossible to flip. As I recall, it was made of yellow and white pine. We continued to float the Eleven Point off and on for the next 20 years or so. Sometime in the 1980s one of the younger Huffstedder boys (I think he was a teacher in the Alton area) served as our fishing guide. I wonder if any of the Huffstedder family continues to live in the area?

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The Hufstedler store and canoe livery is still there. No longer owned by anyone in the Hufstedler family, but still goes by that name. In fact, if you were to walk in that store tomorrow, IMO, you would think you were back in 1973!!! There are pics and a story on the wall about the making of those john boats. I have been told that there are relatives of the Hufstedlers in the area. I believe Mark or Brian might be able to give a little more insight on that !!! Neat stuff on the fab four!!!

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