Puxico, MO (PRWEB) January 10, 2013
The turbulence that brought four railroads, several new towns, and the first newspapers to sparsely settled but timber-rich Wayne County is explored in Swindled, Cletis R. Ellinghouse’s latest history of the neighborhood where he spent his boyhood.
The narrative, which is supported by an unusually large number of very old southeast Missouri newspaper accounts from the period 1868 to 1904, takes its name from one of the more unfortunate and scandalous episodes he describes—the defrauding of the county’s school children of $40,000 in 1894.
The history commences with Thomas Allen’s purchase of the Iron Mountain Railroad, the election in 1869 of Mill Spring attorney William T. Leeper to a seat in the Missouri General Assembly, his influence on the decision to extend the railroad south from Iron County down the Black River valley to Wayne County in 1871, and the celebrated train robbery at Gads Hill by Jesse James and his bandit buddies in 1874, which was not long after the new road to Little Rock was put into service.
Rival Cape Girardeau railroader Louis Houck’s trouble with the Iron Mountain after it was made a part of Jay Gould’s empire led to his desperate and prolonged court fight to quash the appointment of Eli Klotz, Wayne County’s well-to-do Jewish lumber merchant, as the receiver of his financially troubled road, which cut across the expanse of south Wayne County to reach the pine forests of Carter County. Houck, who saw Klotz as a stooge for Gould, came out of the bitter fight victoriously but a short time later his chief attorney—Klotz’s treacherous courtroom foe—was assaulted by Klotz in a St. Louis hotel lobby, evidence the wounds sustained during the long and bitter court fight had not healed, said Ellinghouse.
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About the Author
Cletis R. Ellinghouse practically grew up in the offices of his father’s newspapers at Greenville and Piedmont before earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Arkansas State University at Jonesboro in 1958. His writing career included stints on daily newspapers in three states before he returned to his home grounds to commence publishing weekly papers of his own at Bonne Terre, Jackson, Marble Hill, and Puxico, where he now resides.
Swindled * by Cletis R. Ellinghouse
Wayne County's Turbulence, 1868-1904
Publication Date: December 11,2012
Trade Paperback; $19.99; 172 pages; 978-1-4797-5715-2
Trade Hardback; $29.99; 172 pages; 978-1-4797-5716-9
eBook; $3.99; 978-1-4797-5717-6
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