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Saturday, July 30, 2016

The dashing, mustachioed Horton Harwood

Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2011, at 8:40 PM

In the midst of a series on the namings of area towns and cities, I'm thinking, what if instead of individual stories, they were all linked by people who were romancing and doing business here some 140 years ago? Let's go back in our imaginations to the rollicking post-Civil War era of Southwest Missouri when the settlers are young and making their reputations. Seeking money, love and status, they form a dizzying whirlagig of aspirations and endeavors that not until decades later congeal into immutable history.

The dashing, mustachioed Horton Harwood and thoroughbred racing promoter Milo Metz vie for the hand of the Siren of North Vernon County, Schell Richards, as rodeo trick rider-sharpshooter Lamar Stockton and pioneer rancher Sheldon Deerfield compete for the attention of tawny Taney Powell. Entrepreneurs Hume Butler and Adrian Amsterdam join banker Roscoe Mindenmines to bring in the Missouri Pacific Railroad.

Sagacious young lawyers Jasper Joplin and Clinton Springfield, just having married the willowy equestrienne Lowry Appleton and the long-haired blonde ballerina Iantha Irwin, recently of the San Francisco stage, announce a partnership with black-bearded sage Jerico Caplinger. Then just as things seem to be settling down, buggy whip magnate Bolivar Bronaugh and his wife Nevada move in from Connecticut to open a factory and rule the social milieu.

It was a transformative panorama to those who lived it and is an ever-burbling wellspring of nostalgic allure for those delving into it now.

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James R. Campbell
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