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Ralph (Jack) and Reva Condron’s Reflections
Reva and Ralph (Jack) Condron, Lori Olson and I met on December 27, 2003 at Reva’s house for an interview. The following remarks are based on that interview. Birth dates and death dates were taken from the Blue Mound Cemetery, CD-37, available from the CemPhoto WorkShop, P.O. Box 1222, Chillicothe, MO 64601 or visit http://www.cemphoto.com .
Ralph (Jack) and Reva Condron are Brother and Sister. Reva lives on the old home place south of Chillicothe on Livingston County Road 430 just off of Highway 36 and Jack lives a mile or so west of her.
Their parents were Kirby and Ruby (Perry) Condron.
Reva remembers as a kid going with Grandpa John Perry up to Blue Mound. Uncle Louis Blann married my Grandma’s sister, Aunt Winne (Stagner) Blann. We took some oranges up to Uncle Louis’s Mother, but I can’t remember which house it was. She was old and sick. We went up there to stay all night with her. They lived north of Blue Mound on what is now the blacktop, either in a house where the Hughes’ or McCrackens’ live now.
Reva remembered that the road going north of Blue Mound had a jog in it, but she didn’t know why the jog was in it–maybe there was a house there.
Reva didn’t know when the Burner Cemetery was changed to the Blue mound cemetery. She did say that “Where those Burners were buried, there used to be a fence around it”. Lori said, “By the way, I remember the fence around the Burner graves - it was still there when I was in high school. It was black wrought iron with a little gate in the east side. I was never allowed to open the gate and go in, although I always wanted to. There was a picture in the paper once about the Memorial Day service in Blue Mound, and my family was in the picture.” Jack remembers that there were two trees, both on the north side of the road. On the west side of the big tree is where the Burners were buried.
Jack talked about the Blue Mound Schoolhouse. He said that “On the north side of the school they had a hitching rack. The store was on the North side of the school.” Reva told us that “On Saturday nights they had medicine shows. “That was some time in the 30s. This old guy would sell this patent medicine. The local talent (according to Lori this was her cousins on her mom’s side - her first cousins, Flossie and Nora Mae Garber) would dance and sing for entertainment. He would sell that old patent medicine that wasn’t worth nothing.” Jack said, “It had a little alcohol in it!”
Reva said that she was having trouble with her tonsils when she was young and Grandpa bought her a bottle for her throat. She said that her Dad opened it up and said, “We are not going to use this stuff because it is nothing but gasoline”.
Reva said that the medicine shows were mostly in the summer time, but she couldn’t remember who ran the store. Jack said that the Winfrey’s ran it for a while.
Jack said that, “Grandma and Grandpa would take a bucket of eggs up there to the store. They would sell them and about the time they left, the grocery man gave me a big sack of candy. Just a nickel sack of candy then”. I asked Jack how much they got for the eggs. He said, “I don’t know. He bought me a straw hat out of it once. That would be a quarter or 15-20 cents for the hat”.
Reva said that Charlie Hoyt had a store on the south too. And Jack mentioned the one east of Blue Mound that was run out of the Church of Christ (after it disbanded). Jack said that Grandpa Jim had a little interest in that one. Johnny Hoyt also had an interest in it.
I asked when that church was built and Reva said, “That’s where Great Grandma and Grandpa Knox deeded the land and Grandpa Perry went in on it. Mom said they wouldn’t let no music in there. And I got something about the preacher, too, (Claude or Floyd Edwards) but I won’t put it out because he has relatives around here. It caused the church to fall apart (because of the preacher’s actions). They say he (preacher) ruined the church. I guess its all right to have women, but not music”.
I asked who owned the house up on the hill south of the John Perry house east of Blue Mound and Jack and Reva said that it was the Matt Mead house and that “Donk” Simmons once lived up there. Matt Mead’s wife was a Simmons. Mozine Simmons was her name. Reva said that Matt and his wife they never had any children, but Donk had a bunch of kids.
Jack said he was the one that kept paying taxes on the five acres and one could buy it because they kept paying the taxes. They finally forget to pay the taxes and Walt (Condron) got it. Reva has a picture, taken in 1982, shows the back side of the Mead house. They got to stealing the good walnut woodwork. My brother, Walter, owns it now.
Then Reva told us about Dave Owens who lived up on the side of the hill (north side of the road) east of Blue Mound (The hill that we called Rattlesnake Hill). Jack said that they had pilings on one end to hold up the house. Reva said that Dave raised tobacco down on the flat near the creek. When she walked up to see her Grandpa, Dave would be down picking off worms from the tobacco. They raised the tobacco down on the flat and they burned brush on it to get ashes on the ground.
Reva said, “I
know a Roger Owens, but I don’t know if he is any relation to them. He
bought that old mule (This was Peter Condron’s old mule Hutch that was
sold in1927 after Peter’s death) and he took it home to Dawn and it got
loose and came back home one night. That’s the mule that Great Grandpa
Reva said that she used to ride on a pony up the road down east of Blue Mound that used to ford the creek. “Uncle Johnny Hoyt had a 40 right there by it. The pony didn’t want to cross the creek so we had to get off and lead her. Coming home she just came across fine. He had to wade out into the creek to get him one time”.
Then we talked about Luther Whithead who use to run the store just south of the Blue Mound Schoolhouse. Neither Jack nor Reva could remember when he moved to Blue Mound, but Reva thought that his daughter is still alive. Jack said that Luther lived to be 100 and Reva said that he had the store south of the school. I think when Grandpa was still living he was there, in 1955.
Then we talked about the old rock quarry. Reva said that she knew that there was someone working there in the 1930s. “We had a neighbor up on the hill; he worked there in 1938 and he had a Model-T. He didn’t work there very long. His name was Ike Durnil. It was opened sometime in the 30s. Grandpa had some papers. I’m going to go through them sometime and see if it has anything about it. It may not pertain to the rock quarry”.
Jack talked about the boards they had to run their wheelbarrows on. “They would wheel the rock and stuff to the crusher and they wheeled the crushed rock out and pile it. Everything was done by hand”. I pointed out that those old wheelbarrows were still there when we moved to Blue Mound in 1945. They were in an old shed and the wheelbarrows looked really big and it would be a lot of work to use them.
I asked Jack what they used for power to run the crusher and he said he didn’t know but it wasn’t steam. Reva said it was probably gasoline.
I then asked them what they used the crushed rock for. Somebody said that they probably used the rock to rock Highway 65. I contacted the Highway Dept. and their historian didn’t think so.
Jack said, “There used to be a rock quarry over east of Avalon. They hauled the rock over here and crushed it in the field. They spread it on the pasture after they crushed it (Lime?)”. Jack also said that they graveled the road east of Blue Mound for a mile and a quarter, because Grandpa had a deed with them that they had to gravel that (this was the Blue Mound quarry). “Part of the land that the rock came from was his land. It came off his land and he got so much a ton. And the agreement that they had was that they would keep that road graveled down to the crossroads”.
I said, “There must have been several people that worked there”. And Jack replied, “ Yeah. I don’t remember who all of them were”. Reva said, “The only person I know for sure was Ike Durnil”. I said it must not have lasted very long and Jack replied, “Four or five years I think”.
I told them that when we got there in 1945 and it was all over with. As a matter of fact it wasn’t that long before M. M. Green moved in. Jack said, “Dad wanted to sell that to me, that place, and I wouldn’t buy it. I didn’t think I had any interest in it. He was going to sell it for the same price that Green was paying, $5,000 for 120 acres and 20 acres. Twenty on the north where the house was and then there was an 80 and there was a 40 acre piece”.
Reva said, “Trager wanted to buy it too, but Trager didn’t want to give that much so they sold it to Green and they got more money”.
I then asked Jack and Reva if they remembered when Mr. Whitehead built the dance hall south of the store. He built that when we were down there and my cousin, Ocal Berry helped him build it. Reva said that she remembered them talking about it but was never in it. It was on the south side of the store. Seemed to me that it was connected to the store, maybe a door between the two.
Jack the told us that he and his Dad used to go over to the store to get lunch when we were working over there on that 80 acres. “We’d get some cheese, a loaf of bread, and some lunch ham. And I remember that was the first time that I had a drink of pop. It was strawberry pop and I drank it, and it spewed and came out through my nose. I wasn’t used to it; I’ll never forget that experience. I had just been used to lemonade, tea, coffee or hot chocolate”.
Reva said the same thing happened to her at the state fair with a coke.
So, I asked them Reva what they bought when they went up to the store at Blue Mound. Jack said, “Cream, butter, eggs, and they sold dry goods, clothing, shoes. There was a double store on the north side (north of the school). The east part of the room was all dry goods and a little door went between them. On the west side they had groceries, candies. They had a little place in the back where they put their eggs, cream, cold butter”. “So you didn’t have to go to Chillicothe”, I asked. Ralph said, “No. I didn’t even know there was a Chillicothe when I was a kid. Avalon and Blue Mound were the only places that I knew about”.
As we were looking at a photo of the store Jack said, “There’s the old gas pump out there in front. That’s the first gas pump I ever saw I guess”.
I said, “That store burned down, didn’t it” and Jack replied, “Yes”. All that was left when we moved out there was a concrete foundation.
I asked them if they got receipts at the store and Jack said, “They wrote everything down and added it up at the bottom. It was all done by paper on a note pad. I think that they had an old cash register”.
I then related that Bob Dillard lived up there, just east of the store. One of my fond memories was when my dad was working for John Perry. I used to carry the water jugs out to them. The old water jug was wrapped up in burlap and I got to drink out of it too.
Reva said, “ The Sperry’s ran the telephone office. After they got married, Mrs. Sperry would want to go to town, and I would go up and run it for her while she went to town”.
I then asked them about the north-south road in and out of Blue Mound. Reva related that there used to be a road go through a mile south of Blue Mound, but they closed it up in the 1930s. She went on to say that none of the roads were graveled until 1959 when her dad died (from John Perry’s house east). Green cut the Condron hill down in 1960-61.
Jack remembered once when going to Chillicothe with his dad in a 1928 Chevy and old Mr. Brown who had some other kind of car. “They had it all graded up, just plain dirt, all smooth. Brown passed Dad and he was just a grinning. Pretty soon Dad passed him and he was grinning. They were probably going about 50-60 miles an hour”.
Jack also remembered that there was a blacksmith shop and a place to grind feed on the south side of the road just east of Blue Mound. “I remember them making tires for wheels for wagons in the blacksmith shop. They would hammer it out and weld it together some way. They would make it red hot and hammer them together”. I told them that was probably Fleshman’s mill where they ground up the grain and they said yes it was. I told them that was the place we bought from the Fleshman’s.
If you would like to submit your recollections, please contact Joe G. Dillard at: 3535 West Arbor Way, Columbia, MO 65203 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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