|Welcome to the Ozarks first online magazine!
These old hills are home to a people. A people defined by a region a people who have come to define that region.
It is easy to understand plateaus and highlands, rivers, boundaries. It is not so easy to understand a people, a culture, a sensibility.
These old hills are rugged. Long ago, they attracted the desperate, the independent. The foolish.
Frenchman from New Orleans. Early British pioneers. Poor Irish immigrants, then black-dirt farmers from Indiana and Illinois.
Southerners to establish Missouri as a slave state.
Unionists from Ohio and Iowa. German immigrants by the scores, with high-minded sensibilities, organizational skills and a desire to escape political persecution in Europe.
The foolish died quickly or moved away.
The independent flourished.
The depraved found safety and often became more depraved.
In the 19th century, the Ozarks were a lonely, dangerous place. And what little law and order existed before the ravages of war, there was none after.
Stories of deadly bushwhackers, baldknobbers and just plain-out-and-out-coldblooded killers make for romantic legends today.
It wasnt too romantic at the time.
How would you like to walk to school one morning and find the body of a neighbor hanging from a tree?
Or work from dawn till dusk for months, only to see locust clouds descend over the hills, eating crops, grass, even fenceposts?
Life in these hills was hard.
Out of that hardness was bred a people a people defined as stalwart, laconic, distrustful. A people self-reliant.
To define the Ozark region by its culture?
Some would say these peoples are a microcosm of all that makes the United States what it is.
This State of the Ozarks.
Joshua Heston, editor
April 26, 2009
"The early spring day
[believed to be April 5, 1885] dawned bright and clear. The meeting grounds were on top of Snapp's Bald, a great treeless peak located about two miles northwest of Kirbyville, a village of approximately five miles southwest of Forsyth and not far from the Kinney home.
"Barren of timber and underbrush, the spot had been selected because sentries could insure the secrecy and security of the proceedings. This particular peak commanded a view of the countryside that discouraged interlopers from drawing nearer than a half mile." page 35
Excerpt from: Hartman, Mary and Ingenthron, Elmo, Baldknobbers: vigilantes on the Ozark frontier, Pelican Publishing Company Inc., 1988.
|Photo, top, 10/05/08, Black Oak Ridge & Bread Tray Mountain. Photo credit, J. Heston. Location: Roark Mountain, Stone County, Missouri.
StateoftheOzarks is now the definitive website of the Ozarks.
Not a government-sponsored travel site nor a local advertisement page, StateoftheOzarks is dedicated to the history, culture and the people of the Ozarks.
The Ozarks region has long been a respected place where the American Heartland still has a voice. Where time runs a little slower, the folks are friendlier, and rivers a bit cleaner. A place that stands in book end answer to elite Eastern sensibilities and the flash of LA culture.
The Ozarks are still here. And we're still proud of that.