A few wedding ceremonies took place in Piggott, Arkansas, the following
manner (without the knowledge of the JP) if the couple getting married did
not look the required age, (because they were not old enough) a friend
would stand in as the bride/groom or couple. The ceremony would take place
and the license handed to the waiting young person/couple by the couple or
person who "stood in,"(as it was called) when away from the court house.
Return to (1)
RED SKELTON: Bernard Richard "Red" Skelton (July 18, 1913 - September 17,
1997) was an American comedian who started in vaudeville as a teen-ager,
worked his way up to Broadway shows He is best remembered for taking on the
persona of circus clowns in traditional makeup - a role that may have come
naturally to Skelton, since his father, who died shortly before his birth,
had worked as a clown for the Hagenbeck & Wallace Circus. His best-known
clown persona was "Freddy the Freeloader", who had traditional tramp clown
makeup. Another popular character was goofy "Clem Kadiddlehopper".
MARK TWAIN: Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835-April 21, 1910),
better known by pen name Mark Twain, was a famous and popular humorist,
writter and lecturer. He was also a steamboat pilot, gold prospector and
journalist. His classics Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
are widely read in schools across the U.S., as well as in many other
western countries. Also popular are The Prince and the Pauper, A
Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court and the non-fictional Life on the
Mississippi.Return to (2) (3)
Laundry was done out side by heating the water in a kettle over an open
fire. The water was pumped by a hand pump, carried to the kettle, carried
from the kettle to the washtub, next a tub with rinse water in it. The water
was removed from the cloths by wringing or twisting the cloths by hand,
then hung on a line of fence to dry by the outside air. This was done
winter and summer, as was the ironing with the irons headed on a wood stove
inside the homes. Return to (4)
Crank Type Victrola - The fore runner of todays music CD's.
Victor Brand, Victrolas, were marketed, ranging from small tabletop models
selling for $15. to a high dollar of $600 considered the high point of the
development of the commercial wind-up phonograph, offering audio fidelity
seldom matched by most home electric phonographs until some 30 years later.
These machines had to be craked by hand for each record. The needle tracked
the grove in the record and produced sound. It was a real treat even to
know someone who had a Victrola.Return to
"THE BEULAH MAE & MARVIN O'DELL MC CLURE YEARS"
Mother, Beulah McClure won a small diamond ring in a beauty contest at Joe
Hefner's store in the mid-thirties. Joe had initially offered a round trip
to Little Rock but he didn't get any interest from the public, because no
one could understand why anyone would want to take that long boring bus
ride to Little Rock, when we had so much at home and besides all of those
sky scrapers would be enough to give a person a migraine.
Joe would give a tremendous number of points to a contestant for items
purchased in his store. On certain days he would give extra points if the
person bought a broom when they shopped at his store. The next week it
might be a person with red hair, blue eyes or any gimmick to keep the
customers coming back into the store as often as possible. This contest
went on for many weeks. Mother won second place and Aunt Jullean third
place by a margin of only about 10,000 points. Pop had the ring converted
into a stickpin after mother's death.
Return to TOC
Getting Married for some folks
A couple could get married across the state line in Piggott, Arkansas (1)
in a large vault at the court house for $20.00, without a blood test. Which
was required in Missouri. This was also where most of the kids at home went
to get married. Most of the couples had to lie about their age, because the
girl was supposed to be 18 and the boy 21. Jamie and Glenn were married
there by Judge French (a shirt-tail relation on the Mc Clure side), so they
got a Freebie. Saturday was the big day there for marriages. This gave the
couple the entire weekend to make whoopee.
Aunt Lillies Cafe
Aunt Lillie operated her cafe in the tavern for many years, cooking some
great hamburgers, bar-b-q's, (beef and pork cooked until she could shred
it) chili, stew and cheese sandwiches. During the Second World War the
price control board established and controlled the prices of just about
everything that was sold. They notified pop that Aunt Lillie was charging
20 cents for a bowl of stew and the ceiling price was only 15 cents and
that she was charging 15 cents for a cheese sandwich when the ceiling price
was only 10 cents. It was hard to make a dishonest nickel back then.
Return to TOC
Carnivals, Tent Shows and Traveling Medicine Shows
During the thirties and into the forties a large portion of Pop's lot was
used by traveling carnivals, tent shows (the first movies were silent
films, talkies hadn't reached this part of the world yet) and medicine-
shows. If we didn't have enough money to buy a movie ticket, we would use a
grass ticket, by lifting the edge of the tent and slipping under it. The
free Medicine shows generally stayed in a town for about a week,
entertaining with skits, tap dance, black face, musical instruments and
above all, those lovable clowns. While the hucksters would pass through the
crowd selling their patent medicine, along with peanuts and taffy. Some of
the boxes contained prizes, not unlike the cracker jack boxes of today. The
tonics sold by the staff were derived from special herbs and roots. The
tonics were good for coughs, colds and anything else.
All of the Doc's had their own spiel. Red Skelton(2) worked in a medicine
show as a drummer and of course as a clown, telling his corny jokes. The
Doc that owned this show also extracted teeth. When he was ready to pull
the tooth, he would tell Red to play the drums. The noise from the drums
helped to conceal the scream of the patient. Even Mark Twain(3) traveled
with a medicine show for a period of time.
see endnote(2)and (3)
Our Doc Beaver (none of them were doctors) was a pitchman of the highest
caliber. He was a very distinguished man with wavy salt-n-pepper hair, who
could really sell the old snake oil, as it was frequently called. It was
reputed to have a high alcohol content, so it probably did kill the pain
for a while. If not, who cared? This Medicine show returned to our hometown
for many years, to sell their harmless concoctions and to entertain all of
us local yokels.
The clown of this show was "Dynamite" Huggins, who was so good at his
trade. We, country bumpkins enjoyed his old tired jokes and cornball
routines, year after year. He always used the same routine each year about:
going around his big fat girlfriend with a piece of chalk in his hand a
huggin and chalkin and a chalkin and huggin away and when he got to her
back side there was Crip Mc Clure with a piece of chalk in his hand busily
huggin and a chalkin and a chalkin and huggin away. This annual routine
always got a big laugh from the crowd. Most of the live bands that appeared
at the theater in later years also used this same corny routine.
Dynamite became well known during the many years that the medicine show
returned and he and his family eventually settled here.
Dynamite later became a successful minister at our Methodist church. There
were large crowds that attended his revivals, because they enjoyed his
forceful and emotional sermons. Everyone agreed that he could sure preach-
up-a-storm and truly had a gift. This was back when everyone knew three or
four dozen gospel songs by heart, even kids, who were only knee-high to a
grasshopper. Such songs as: The Old Rugged Cross, Love Lifted Me, Peace in
the Valley, What a Friend we have in Jesus, When the roll is called up
Yonder, Will the Circle be Unbroken and oh so many great heart warming
songs of inspiration. We loved to belt them out. (raise the roof and shake
the rafters)Return to TOC
Church no AC in those days
The churches were not air conditioned, not even with fans back then. So all
of the women and a few of the men would fan themselves with cardboard fans
with a wooden handle, which were donated by the local funeral home. There
was usually a religious scene on it. It's unfortunate that we were unable
to tape his heart rendering sermons, because his preaching certainly
inspired a lot of amens!
Board Sidewalks and Hitching Rails
In the good ol days, we had boardwalks at home until the mid thirties.
With so many saw mills and lumbering in this area, it was cheaper to put
down long thick boards than it was to pour cement. Betty Scott and Sally
Carter's fathers owned saw mills. The walkways were muddy after a rain or
the ground thawed after a freeze, prior to the boardwalks. Most of the
houses had boardwalks with much smaller boards that were laid horizontally.
1940's, some of the farmers still drove their teams into town. I can recall
Marcus Evan Cobb trying to smooth out some of the potholes by driving his
team through town as fast as he could, when he was about three sheets to
the wind. It didn't work and he had a sore southern pride for a few days
During the first few years of operation Pop had a hitching rail beside the
first tavern. There were still a few young men who rode their horses into
town. Especially the young men from Glenonville, a small Dutch settlement a
few miles southeast of home.
The streets continued to be a mess until they were eventually black-topped
many years later. Till then a person had to avoid the mud and manure when
crossing the street. Return to TOC
4th of July Picnic / Dancing in The Open Air
Each year there was a 4th of July picnic in a grove of trees on the
Southwest corner of Black River bridge, about 3 miles north of town on
highway 53. Pop always had the beer concession and other venders sold food
There was a singing contest at this picnic, with "You are my Sunshine"
being the most popular song of the day. With "Pretty Red Wing", "Beautiful
Brown Eyes" and "Ida Red" competing for second place. "Playmate", was a
favorite with the young kids. It went something like; "Playmate come out
and play with me, bring your dollies three, climb up my apple tree, holler
down my rain barrel, slide down my cellar door and we'll be jolly friends
for evermore. It was a rainy day, she couldn't come out to play, her
dollies had the flu, boo hoo boo hoo. Ain't got no rain barrel, ain't got
no cellar door, but we'll be jolly friends for evermore."
There was a portable dance floor for a lot of good down-home dancing. One
of the customers kept bugging Pop for more beer, after he had been told a
number of times that he had already had enough to drink. Pop finally broke
a quart of mustard over his head. Needless to say, this convinced the drunk
that Pop wasn't just "whistling Dixie". The drunk gave up drinking after
this incident, because he never realized that drinking could cause a person
to see yellow. Barbecued goat over an open pit was the favorite food of the
day. Yum yum, good! The 4th of July was a fun day for everyone, except for
ole mustard head, that is. Return to TOC
The Shooter Returns to Qulin
The only time that I ever heard of Pop being afraid of anyone was when the
gunman, who shot-up his first tavern was released from prison, after
serving a term of about fifteen years. Delores Chaney, Pat McClure and Pop
were in the liquor store when a small man all dressed in black approached
the building. No, it wasn't Johnny Cash! Pop recognized the man, even
before he entered and told the girls to relax. So they knew instantly that
something was amiss.
The man approached the counter and "asked Pop if he remembered him." We can
be sure that a person doesn't have another person shoot-up his place of
business, kill his bartender, shoot the town constable and himself, without
remembering him as vividly as a bad dream. He then asked Pop for a package
of Chesterfield cigarettes from the glass topped show case.
The man then withdrew a pocketknife and slowly sliced the cellophane from
the top of the pack of cigarettes. This was surely the high-point of Pop's
fear for his life, because, the man could have leaned across the counter
and slashed Pop's throat at this point. Although, I'm sure that he would
have gotten a chest full of lead in the process. For the survival instinct
would have prepared Pop to push away from the counter and get off a few
rounds. Pop would have automatically checked to see that the gun was in
it's usual place under the counter, within easy reach, when he cautioned
the girls to relax.
He informed Pop that he was back to settle an old score with him, Bill
Brent and Guy Scott who were witnesses to the killing and subsequent
witnesses at his trial. Noting that the man was heading toward Poplar Bluff
where Bill Brent was still sheriff. Pop immediately phoned Bill and told
him of the situation. It didn't take Bill long to locate the man in a
tavern on Broadway Street and instantly confronted him by telling him that
he had heard that he had made a threat against him and if he didn't leave
the county at once, that he would be a dead man.
The ex-gunman knew that he was staring death in the face. So he didn't
hesitate in leaving the county and was never heard from again. Bill
personally followed him to the county line to be sure that he didn't
double-back. Return to TOC
Bank Robbery and What Happened To The Bank
The Second Bank Robbery in Qulin. One resident was identified in the second
bank robbery at home, but never served any time because the gang had
already disposed of the money when the posse from the Bluff apprehended the
gang at the Ruth and Hargrove Bridge. So they were never prosecuted for
Irvin Waller, the bank manager recognized the citizen by his clothing and
his horse tethered outside the bank. Even the bandana didn't fool Irvin.
Irving recognized the citizen before he said, "Give me all of your money,"
in his well known gravely voice. The bank was moved to Malden, Missouri
after this holdup.
The old bank building was utilized as a mattress factory after the last
bank robbery. A person could sew together a straw mattress for only 20
cents. Initially the farmers didn't charge anything for the straw, but at a
later date, they charged a whole dime for enough straw to stuff a mattress.
I don't recall us ever using a straw mattress, but we probably did, if any
mattress was used at all when we first moved to Missouri.
Our life styles have never been the same since World War 11 brought about
so many changes in our lives. The building was used for school lunches
later and the historical society is in the process of obtaining it as part
of the museum, which is the oldest house at home. This house was recently
renovated to its original state and moved to the center of town.
All of the homes had the spirals of sticky fly-paper hanging from the
ceiling of most of the rooms. There were many places of business that had
so many of these festooning the ceiling that a person would have thought
that it was part of the decorations, until they noticed all of the dead
flies studding the sticky paper. We also sprayed flies with a spray gun
that contained bug spray. This spray was probably responsible for some of
our respiratory problems. The odor and taste was enough to make a dog puke!
Before Electricity and Indoor Plumbing:
My brothers and I took our weekly (Saturday) bath in a round #3 galvanized
washtub, with our knees crisscrossed in front of our face. We later
purchased an elongated galvanized tub for bathing.(some of the farmers used
these for watering their livestock) We were one of the first families to
have indoor plumbing. It was greatly appreciated by all.
This same #3 washtub was used on blue Monday (standard washday for most
families) to wash their (4) clothes on a washboard and lye soap.(the more
talented ones would make music on the washboard come Friday and Saturday
night at some of the local honky-tonks). The lye soap, which was made by
boiling a mixture of ashes and water to remove the lye. Then the lye was
mixed with lard and water and boiled in a cast-iron kettle, until it
reached the proper consistency. This mixture is poured into a tray to cool
and setup, then cut into bars of soap. (some people also used ashes or lye
to make hominy from corn)
see endnote (4)
The mothers also added a small cake of bluing to the wash water when
washing white clothing to brighten them. This was years before wash-and-
wear, so the mothers had to starch most of the outer garments which were
difficult to iron with one piece molded flat irons, some with detachable
handles, so that more than one could be heated on top of the (wood burning
cook) stove at a time and a few gas irons were used.
I can still hear Pop yelling at us at bedtime during the summer months to
wash those rusty feet before we went to bed, (it was never dirty feet). He
would also tell us to wash our teeth. Some people did use a washcloth to
clean their teeth. A large number of people used a mixture of salt and
baking soda for brushing their teeth. Most of the women collected rain
water for laundering their hair.
Thankful for indoor plumbing, because the old outhouse was dreaded by all
during the winter months when the old north wind came whistling in. During
the summer months the heat and ammonia odor was so overpowering that we
would sit on the throne with our eyes closed and breathing through our
mouth, while trying not to inhale. We were afraid that if we inhaled too
deeply, we would suffer permanent brain damage. It wasn't a pretty sight!
Infrequently we would have to rescue, someone who had neglected to inhale.
WWII War Years:
Pop also provided taxi service whenever someone needed to be taken
somewhere. He drove a group of ladies to and from a large victory garden at
Crane Roost and Oglesville each day during the war, as part of the war
Many items were rationed during the Second World War, to include tires,
gas, meat, sugar, ladies stockings and even the green Lucky Strike
cigarette package was replaced with a white one and their slogan was: Lucky
Strike green has gone to war. In 1943 the copper penny was replaced by the
introduction of the steel penny, so that the copper could be used for
The candy bars were smaller during the war. One night when Pop opened a box
of Butter Brickle bars, which were only about half the size of the small
Heath bar, he said, "Aw hell, these damn candy bars are too small to sell,"
so he passed them out to everyone in the tavern. He was quite a character!
He sold used cars on the lot next to the liquor for a short period of time.
Pop and another man or two would drive to the car auctions at Cape
Girardeau or St. Louis. They would tow the cars purchased home with a
special hitch made for this purpose. The cars would be serviced and resold,
at a profit, of course.
Endnotes: (1) A few wedding ceremonies took place in Piggott, Arkansas, the following manner (without the knowledge of the JP) if the couple getting married did not look the required age, (because they were not old enough) a friend would stand in as the bride/groom or couple. The ceremony would take place and the license handed to the waiting young person/couple by the couple or person who "stood in,"(as it was called) when away from the court house. Return to (1) (2) RED SKELTON: Bernard Richard "Red" Skelton (July 18, 1913 - September 17, 1997) was an American comedian who started in vaudeville as a teen-ager, worked his way up to Broadway shows He is best remembered for taking on the persona of circus clowns in traditional makeup - a role that may have come naturally to Skelton, since his father, who died shortly before his birth, had worked as a clown for the Hagenbeck & Wallace Circus. His best-known clown persona was "Freddy the Freeloader", who had traditional tramp clown makeup. Another popular character was goofy "Clem Kadiddlehopper". (3) MARK TWAIN: Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835-April 21, 1910), better known by pen name Mark Twain, was a famous and popular humorist, writter and lecturer. He was also a steamboat pilot, gold prospector and journalist. His classics Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are widely read in schools across the U.S., as well as in many other western countries. Also popular are The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court and the non-fictional Life on the Mississippi.Return to (2) (3) (4) Laundry was done out side by heating the water in a kettle over an open fire. The water was pumped by a hand pump, carried to the kettle, carried from the kettle to the washtub, next a tub with rinse water in it. The water was removed from the cloths by wringing or twisting the cloths by hand, then hung on a line of fence to dry by the outside air. This was done winter and summer, as was the ironing with the irons headed on a wood stove inside the homes. Return to (4) (5) Crank Type Victrola - The fore runner of todays music CD's. Victor Brand, Victrolas, were marketed, ranging from small tabletop models selling for $15. to a high dollar of $600 considered the high point of the development of the commercial wind-up phonograph, offering audio fidelity seldom matched by most home electric phonographs until some 30 years later. These machines had to be craked by hand for each record. The needle tracked the grove in the record and produced sound. It was a real treat even to know someone who had a Victrola.Return to (5)
(c) Taken from: "My Memories," written to my children, nieces & nephews. Charles McClure in Owasso, Oklahoma
|(c) and Contributed by: Charles McClure|
(c) All material contained on this site (within this document) is the work of Charles McClure.
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