Jean Bell Mosley also was a weekly columnist for
the Southeast Missourian Newspaper of Cape Girardeau. The following is a column
authored by Jean Bell Mosley about the Lead Belt in the Southeast Missourian newspaper
just a few months before she died.
Bits of news from the Leadbelt
Sunday, April 6, 2003
A niece and nephew, Ann and Charles Wichman, who live in
Doe Run, Mo., send me copies of the newspaper, The Farmington Press. Doe Run was my last
home before I departed for college, teaching, marriage and Cape Girardeau. Doe Run was
once a thriving little town, headquarters for St. Joe Lead Co. There was a shaft leading
down to some mining activities. Two large chat piles were part of the town's topography.
They were not as tall and majestic as the chat dumps in Elvins, Flat River and Desloge,
which are rapidly disappearing, as the chat is being used for numerous purposes. There was
a notable museum housing the first crystal chandelier I ever saw. I was awestruck by its
beauty, seemingly hundreds of dangling prism pendants. I never saw it lit. Electricity
came late to Doe Run.
Suspended from upper balcony rails were carpets, Brussels and, for all I knew,
Persians. St. Joe was rich and this was their museum. There was a row of fine big houses
across the road from the museum. In retrospect, I imagine they were company houses for St.
Joe's officials. In our time, these were known as the Waltman, Manwaring, Powell houses --
named for the tenants.
When St. Joe moved its headquarters to Bonne Terre, the museum began to lose
its stature and over the years came to house a flea market. However, I found some things
there that were just as precious to me as a Persian rug. For instance, I found some of the
old "bluebird dishes" like the ones we ate from on the farm.
So, with these memories in mind, I like to keep up with what is going on in
Farmington and Doe Run. In a recent edition of the Farmington Press, I read in the
50-years-ago column this little tidbit:
"According to the Conservation Commission, the price for fur pelts were:
opposums, 25 cents; striped skunk, 96 cents; muskrats $1; raccoon, $1; mink, $15; weasel,
65 cents; gray fox, 25 cents; red fox, 35 cents.
Notice how that mink pelt stands out! This stirred another memory of mine --
the time Mama caught a mink. For several mornings, Mama reported that something had killed
another of her precius White Leghorn hens in the night. White Leghorns were the best
layers and selling eggs was one of our cash incomes. When her outrage reached a critical
mass, she vowed she would catch the thief, even if she had to sleep in the hen house.
My sister, Lou, and I jumped on the prospect. We loved to sleep anywhere except
in our own beds -- in the hayloft, the smokehouse, the surrey or just on a quilt spread on
the ground where we could see the moon and stars.
We begged to sleep on the strawed floor of the hen house where there might be
some excitement going on.
Mama quickly nixed this idea. "It may be the black panther," she told
us. Enough said. There were three things that made our toes curl with fear -- the black
panther, Britt's bull and Sam Hildebrand. Sam had long been dead but we didn't know that
and hear only of his meanness. In due time, we learned there was no black panther. Britt's
bull seemed to go on forever, but we knew he could never get in the hen house.
Back in a far corner we heard Mama exclaim, "Here it is!" She was
referring to a hole in the wall and had found the entry. Methodically she set a steel
trap. Next morning there was a mink.
Dad quickly put the glossy brown animal out of its misery. He took it to where
they paid for such and came home with SIX DOLLARS!
Income taxes would have required that we report $6 as income, a loss of three
White Leghorns and the eggs they would have laid over time at $8.50 cents.
LINKS TO MORE OF JEAN BELL MOSLEY'S WONDERFUL COLUMNS IN
THE SOUTHEAST MISSOURIAN
the language of jackets (Column ~ 07/06/03 - Since she died on
July 11, 2003, this was probably her last column.) My little,
midsized and larger helpers here at the R&R spread flit in and out of my room as
silent as butterflies. If I didn't have my eyes open, the only way I could tell they'd
come in is by a slight passing breeze. But I like to have my eyes wide open so I can see
what jackets the helpers have on that day...
scholar and the sage with a biscuit (Column ~ 06/29/03)
Every family or extended family has its scholar. This is not by
election or appointment. It is by conscientious appraisal and acceptance by all others.
Next to her dad, granddaughter Lauren is that person in our family. Ever since her
rendition, explanation and insight into the story "The Velveteen Rabbit," she
has held this exalted position...
likes one-two dance step (Column ~ 06/22/03)
Victoria Marie Collom made her way into our war-weary world May 3,
2002, daughter of Ellie and Glenn Collom and granddaughter of Viney Mosley, that dedicated
destroyer of darkdom. I think there is no such word as darkdom, but it sounds dreary,
doesn't it? And Viney is just the one to make it disappear...
stomachs beware (Column ~ 06/15/03)
It was the noon hour break at our eighth-grade, one-room
schoolhouse. A few of us were still standing in a semicircle around Yearbo Job Teateser
listening to him tell about his family. According to Yearbo, all of his family, including
two babies, came from the Old Country. He said his daddy was the best railroad tie cutter
anyone had ever seen and that they had crossed oceans, rivers and mountains to land smack
dab in the middle of our community because railroads were so important to us...
kinds of ladders to climb (Column ~ 06/01/03)
When one is young and full of idealism, there is no reason for
anything that smacks of the trite. Everything is bright and new and shiny. So it is with
the high school graduating classes this year. When I reflected upon my class motto,
"We build the ladder by which we climb," I thought there were never more
meaningful words. There it was, in blue letters, on white paper, forever stamped in our
day I thought I was pretty (Column ~ 05/25/03)
It was Sunday morning, late in June. I was 12 years old, walking
along a woodland path to neighbor Freemon's home to catch a ride to Sunday school. A wood
thrush was flying in the leafy ceiling above me, sounding its inimitable golden notes as
if to guide me along the way. But I knew the path, every little twist and turn, every
wildflower that bordered both sides...
power of books (Column ~ 05/18/03)
My books! My precious books. I would like to hug every one of them
and once again thank all the authors and publishers for their life-enhancing qualities and
the ability they have given me, through character identification, to live life on multiple
from Grandma II (Column ~ 05/11/03)
"Lydia, did you hang up on me yesterday? Lightnin'? Weren't no
lightnin' here. Well, anyways, where did I leave you? At the end of the pecular fence? All
right, you go a piece and you'll see one of them there mountains I've been talking 'bout.
directions by Grandma (Column ~ 05/04/03)
Unless well acquainted with all the back roads and where to ford the
creeks and river, one would have a difficult time finding our early farm home. Grandma was
always willing to give precise directions. When Aunt Lydia called, said she was coming to
visit us, and needed a reminder as to how to get there, Grandma was more than willing to
blossoms and butterflies (Column ~ 04/27/03)
Spring came in through my 16-paneled window on little pear-blossomed
cat's feet. I didn't know she even wanted to get in. A visitor, looking out the window,
exclaimed, "Oh, what beautiful pear trees!" "Where?" I demanded.
"Right there." She pointed at them and looked at me with alarm, no doubt
thinking I had lost the rest of my vision...
to the lilies as we pass (Column ~ 04/20/03)
Jerusalem Nisan, 3791 Dear Salome, I know you have heard what
happened in Jerusalem last week, but I want to tell you about my part. I had gone to the
well on Friday morning to get our daily supply of water. There were more women there than
usual, all talking loudly and emotionally...
of news from the Leadbelt (Column ~ 04/06/03)
A niece and nephew, Ann and Charles Wichman, who live in Doe Run,
Mo., send me copies of the newspaper, The Farmington Press. Doe Run was my last home
before I departed for college, teaching, marriage and Cape Girardeau. Doe Run was once a
thriving little town, headquarters for St. ...
Jeannie's rambles (Column ~ 03/30/03)
In our pre-teen years my sister and I enjoyed a card game known as
"Authors." There were pictures of our early America writers -- Hawthorne,
Longfellow, Alcott, etc. Underneath the pictures were the titles of some of their
well-known works. One of these titles was "Little Annies Rambles." I read it but
don't remember the story. ...
trivia to pass time at the RRR (Column ~ 03/23/03)
In my home away from home, I spend hours staring at the ceiling.
There is no Michelangelo painting there, nor any by Jake Wells or Grandma Moses. It's just
one of those paneled ceilings, the panels being of different dimensions, with little black
holes or depressions in them...
well-worn footpaths (Column ~ 03/16/03)
I have always had a love for footpaths. Old dirt paths. A network of
such paths held our early community together like so much featherstitching. Research tells
me that the earliest footpaths were made by wildlife -- deer hunting for salt licks,
others making their way to the rivers and streams in search of food and drink or just to
play in the water. ...
twilights, return home (Column ~ 11/24/02)
Editor's note: This column originally was published Nov. 26, 2000.
Twilights come early now, and they don't linger like they did a few weeks ago. They are
short and sweet and full of a different color. By four o'clock in the afternoon one can
see, if it is a clear day, that the nearer the sun gets to the horizon the faster it seems
words get quick attention (Column ~ 10/27/02)
Editor's note: This column originally was published Oct. 29, 2000.
Early one recent morning there was a timid knock at the door. When I opened the door,
there was the lady with the pokeberries. We had talked about them over the telephone a few
days earlier, swapping tales about our experience with pokeberries. ...
a century by the book (Op/Ed Columns ~ 10/20/02)
Editor's note: This column originally was published Aug. 1, 1999. It
took me more than half a year to read an account of the major happenings of the past 100
years. Put that way, it doesn't seem I'm such a slow reader. The book, "The
Century," by Peter Jennings and Todd Brewster was a Christmas gift from Steve and
love affair with leaves (Op/Ed Columns ~ 10/13/02)
Editor's note: This column originally was published Oct. 17, 1999.
Dr. Leo Buscaglia, teacher, author and lecturer, speaks of his love for leaves, especially
when they are dried and rustling. He took big bags of them from east coast to west coast
on airplanes! I, too, love leaves, especially during this season....
far back do makers of lists go? (Op/Ed Columns ~ 10/06/02)
Editor's note: This column originally was published June 6, 2001. I
don't know when, but at some point in life one begins to make written lists of things to
do. So far as I know, no one has ever made a study of this. Why would they? It's such a
bit of trivia....
lots to do in October (Local News ~ 09/29/02)
Editor's note: This column was first published on Oct. 10, 1999.
Many years ago I purchased a set of the World Books. Along with it came a gift book
titled, "Through the Year with the World Book." It listed things to do each
month as if one size fit all. I did most of the things except some like "Make a sail
for your boat," and "Make a telescope." The exercises were good for they
caused me to make my own list of things to do each month....
memories lingering (Op/Ed Columns ~ 09/22/02)
Editor's note: This column originally was published Sept. 19, 1999.
Deep into the Goldenrod and Wild Aster month, I thought it would do well for me to review
why this is one of my favorite months. Heading the list is not apples but goldenrod and
answers lose meaning (Column ~ 08/25/02)
Dad and I got home at the same time that September afternoon, he
from harvesting in the cornfield, I from my first week in fourth grade. He had waited at
the door for me and stooped to give me a hug. "Look, Daddy. We got new arithmetic
books and the answers to the problems are in the back of the book."...
for my special real estate? (Column ~ 08/18/02)
My intangible, non-fungible real estate gives me pleasure. I began
investing in it long ago. No down payments. No abstracts of titles. No taxes. They are
literally little dream houses built in pleasant non-places. I should give the subdivision
a name. Escape Manorettes. The little houses give me the comfort, rest and inspiration I
need for a particularly sour, wordly moment...
on summer events (Column ~ 08/11/02)
summertime babies (Column ~ 08/04/02)
Strunk and White think? (Column ~ 07/28/02)
the rocks in the river (Column ~ 07/21/02)
door and walk out (Column ~ 07/14/02)
column to column (Column ~ 07/07/02)
from ice to terrorism (Column ~ 06/30/02)
Hildebrand still bugs me (Column ~ 06/23/02)
trading cards are out of bounds (Column ~ 06/16/02)
the Sunday chicken (Column ~ 06/09/02)
memories stirred up (Column ~ 05/26/02)
things happen (Column ~ 05/19/02)
embers of dreams (Column ~ 05/12/02)
the universe (Column ~ 04/28/02)
into April's drama (Column ~ 04/21/02)
sense of time (Column ~ 04/14/02)
Easter to come (Column ~ 03/31/02)
A day to
proclaim hosanna (Column ~ 03/24/02)
whack at entrepreneurship (Column ~ 03/10/02)
looking into Grisham's 'A Painted House' (Column ~ 03/03/02)
knowledge starts with 'aardvark' (Column ~ 02/24/02)
crow stirs chicken memories (Column ~ 02/10/02)
no two alike, boggle the mind (Column ~ 02/03/02)
cometh the food and how was it cooked? (Column ~ 01/27/02)
fourth-grade readers welcome (Column ~ 01/20/02)
wintergreen and other things to do in January (Column ~
old Christmas or Grandpa's birthday (Column ~ 01/06/02)
again and again, 'Merry Christmas' (Column ~ 12/23/01)
full of stuffed toys and memories (Column ~ 12/16/01)
relieve stress? Watch a sunset (Column ~ 12/09/01)
picture a time continuum? (Column ~ 12/02/01)
A letter to
Mama carried on a sunbeam (Column ~ 11/25/01)
we be thankful for this year? (Column ~ 11/18/01)
through windows that aren't there (Column ~ 11/11/01)
days all over again (Column ~ 11/04/01)
we hoard? (Column ~ 10/29/01)
building for all time (Column ~ 10/21/01)
A personal season (Column ~ 10/14/01)
earth offer healing (Column ~ 10/07/01)
meanings of 'there you go' (Column ~ 09/16/01)
versatile, victorious Viney (Column ~ 09/09/01)
chicory flowers gone? (Column ~ 09/02/01)