Iron County Historical Society
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May 22, 2024 By: John Abney
Memorial Day, Its True Meaning
Every year, the last Monday of May brings with it the promise of summer fun – backyard barbecues, beach trips, and the unofficial start of the season. But before we fire up the grills and dig out the swimsuits, let's take a moment to remember the true significance of Memorial Day.
 
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, has a rich history rooted in honoring the sacrifices of those who died serving our country. It wasn't always a national holiday. In the years following the Civil War, a nation still grappling with its losses saw local observances spring up around the country. People decorated the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers and held ceremonies to remember their bravery.
 
In 1868, General John Logan, leader of an organization of Union veterans, formalized these efforts by establishing Decoration Day on May 30th. The date was chosen strategically – a time when flowers would be blooming across the country. The first large observance was held at Arlington National Cemetery, a powerful symbol of the war's cost. Over time, Decoration Day evolved into Memorial Day. World War I saw the holiday expand to honor all American service members who died in war, not just those from the Civil War. Today, Memorial Day serves as a day to remember and pay tribute to all the brave men and women who gave their lives for our nation's freedom.
 
To honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice I would like to share a video that I created that provides a brief history of our National Cemeteries and then pays tribute to our service members who are buried there.  The video was created a few years back and is available for viewing at the historical society’s YouTube channel.  Here’s the link.
 
Memorial Day is a time to honor the fallen, but it's also a time to reflect on the cost of war and the importance of peace. Let's use this day as an opportunity to remember the sacrifices made, appreciate the freedoms we enjoy, and recommit ourselves to building a brighter future for all.
May 16, 2024 By: John Abney
Crossing the Pond
Join Cape Girardeau Research Center Coordinator Bill Eddleman for the next installment in his genealogy series: “Crossing the Pond: Tracing Ancestors in Immigration and Naturalization Records.” Most family historians in the U. S. have ancestors who migrated from other continents. Depending on the time period of immigration and port of arrival, it can be difficult to find these ancestors and tell their immigration story. This session will summarize surviving immigration records from different time periods and where to find them. It will also include a summary of naturalization records, where to locate them, and information they might contain.  The program is part of the State Historical Society of Missouri's "Basic Genealogy Series".  The program is free and available on-line, but you must register to attend this free webinar.  You can register at this link.
May 15, 2024 By: John Abney
Congratulations Class of 2024!

Class of 2024: You Did It! Now Go Out and Change the World

Congratulations, graduates! Today marks a monumental achievement – you've officially crossed the stage and earned your diploma. This milestone signifies countless late nights studying, early mornings cramming, and moments of pure determination. It's a testament to your hard work, dedication, and resilience.

But graduation isn't just an ending; it's a roaring launchpad into the exciting unknown. The world awaits, brimming with opportunities, challenges, and experiences waiting to be unraveled. You might feel a mix of emotions – exhilaration, maybe a touch of fear, and a whole lot of "what now?". That's perfectly normal.

Here's the thing: you're equipped. You've spent years honing your skills, broadening your knowledge, and discovering your passions. You've learned from incredible professors, mentors, and classmates. You've faced obstacles and emerged stronger. You are adaptable, resourceful, and ready to take on the world.

Embrace the Journey, Not Just the Destination

The path ahead won't always be smooth. There will be bumps, detours, and moments of doubt. But remember, the most fulfilling journeys rarely follow a straight line. Embrace the unexpected turns, learn from your mistakes, and never stop growing.

Here are a few words of inspiration as you embark on this new chapter:

  • Don't be afraid to dream big. The world needs your innovative ideas and audacious goals.
  • Find your passion and pursue it with fervor. There's nothing more rewarding than pouring your heart into something you truly love.
  • Never stop learning. The world is constantly evolving, and so should you. Embrace lifelong learning and keep your mind curious.
  • Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth. Every obstacle you overcome makes you stronger and wiser.
  • Leave your mark on the world. Use your skills and talents to make a positive difference, however big or small.

The Class of 2024 is a force to be reckoned with. You are a generation brimming with potential, creativity, and the power to make a difference. Go out there and change the world. We're all cheering you on!

May 10, 2024 By: John Abney
School Records Project - Phase II
You are going to be seeing the “Under Construction” logo to your left a lot over the next few weeks and months as we start adding content for Phase II of our School Records Project to the website.  Phase II records consist of several District Record Books that were kept by the individual schools and were used by the teachers and others to create a record for that school.  

Our collection of these records is relatively small and only a handful of what were once some 50 school districts in Iron County are included.  The contents of the District Record books changed over time as did the format of the book used.  Our earliest one dates to the 1870s, but most are from the 1930s to the mid-1950s when Iron County schools were consolidated and reorganized.

Where the records are more than 100 years old, we will include scans of each of the pages with recorded information.  Federal law, state law and privacy concerns prohibit us from sharing the scans of pages where students may still be living, hence the 100-year rule that we are using.  No matter the age of the record, all the District Record books will be scanned for preservation purposes.
 
Transcriptions from each book will be included on the public side of the website.  Where records meet the 100-year-old cutoff, images for these records will be included in the Members Only area of the website.  Again, our dues are only $10 per year, so we don’t see this as a financial hardship for anyone. 

As with the records in Phase I, any records less than 100 years in age are restricted from public viewing or copying.  Records in Phase II and Phase III that are over 100 years of age will be made available for public viewing.  We are excited to bring these records to you and ask for your patience as we work through the process.
May 10, 2024 By: John Abney
Phone Numbers to Block
If you are like me, you receive at least one and usually more than one scam phone call each day.  Yes, my wife and I are on both the federal and state "No-Call" lists, but that doesn't mean a thing to these crooks.  
 
In simple terms, scammers are no different than the con artists and flim-flam men and women of yesterday.  They seek to separate you from your money through a various number of means by taking advantage of a person's trust, innocence, and in some cases maybe even greed.  All that's changed is the technology.  
 
The example provided here contains a list of phone numbers and the scam involved and advises those reading it to never accept phone calls from the listed numbers.  It's terrible that we live in a world where we must be distrustful of every phone call that we receive from an unknown number, but sadly that is the reality of today's world.  If it sounds too good to be true, there's a 99.99% chance that it is.  There's no such thing as a "free lunch" either, there's always a hook involved.  Some choose not to answer calls from numbers they don't recognize.  Let them go to voice mail and most of the time the caller will simply hang up.  If they leave a message, you can analyze it and check it out before ever calling them back.  
May 7, 2024 By: John Abney
Permanent Links for Rion Collection
As I promised last week, I have created a permanent link within the website for users to find the link to the 1986 interview of Johnny Rion conducted by his son, Hugh Daniel (Danny) Rion.   The "Rion Collection" in the Links and More tab contains not only the 1986 interview, but also three of Johnny Rion's recordings including:
 
"That Heaven Bound Train", written and performed by Johnny Rion as a tribute to Hank Williams Sr. after Hank's death.
 
"The Iron Mountain Baby", was written by the Rev. John T. Barton and was recorded by various artists over the years.  The version here was performed by Johnny Rion.  The song was about the story of the Iron Mountain baby.
 
"Don't Build Your House in the Sand, was one of the many gospel songs written by Johnny Rion and performed by Johnny Rion and his wife, Ann Rion.
 
Photos from the Rion Exhibit in our museum are contained in our Exhibits tab.
 
 
 
May 1, 2024 By: John Abney
Johnny Rion Interview Now Available
As promised in our most recent newsletter, we have just published an interview with Johnny Rion on our YouTube channel and here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NyHHXL4RXw.
 
The interview was conducted by Johnny's son, Danny Rion, in 1986.  This past December, Danny donated his father's 1938 Martin guitar, a biography of his parents, an original portraint of his father and a collection of 13 CDs containing not only the interview discussed here, but also much of his father's music to the historical society.
Within the next week, I will create a permanent link for this interview as well as links to some of Johnny Rion's music (which remains to be uploaded).  For now, I hope you enjoy the interview and the photographs it contains.  None of this would have been possible but for the generous donation of Danny Rion and for the research that he did to document the lives of his parents.  
 
 
April 29, 2024 By: John Abney
Annual Election Results
Among other business conducted at our recent Annual Meeting (April 21, 2024) was our annual elections.  Congratulations and thank you to all of those that were newly elected or decided to continue serving in the current positions!  
 
President: Jeremy Medley (reelected)
Vice-President: Vacant 
Treasurer: Wilma Cofer (reelected)
Recording Secretary: Judie Huff (newly elected)
 
We still have one vacancy on our Board of Directors (a two-year) term but wish to congratulate and thank Laurie Walker (three-year term) and Pam Inman (one-year term) for agreeing to serve on our Board.
 
If anyone is interested in or has questions about serving as either Vice-President or on our Board of Directors, you can contact any officer or board member or you can send us an email at askus@ironcountyhistory.org .
April 23, 2024 By: John Abney
Museum Building Repairs Fundraiser
Whether you look at our website or our Facebook page, I think you would be able to count on the fingers of one hand how many times that we have done a direct appeal for fundraising.  As most of you already know, we are a small non-profit, all volunteer organization.  We are thankful for our many generous members and patrons whose donations through the years have gone a long way to meeting a significant portion of our annual expenses.
 
This is a fundraising appeal, but it’s for a special cause and all donations that we receive will be forwarded to the owners of our building, Our Town Tomorrow, which is the non-profit wing of the Arcadia Valley Chamber of Commerce.  We’ve been in this building for over 15 years and this year has proven to be extremely challenging thus far.  Our sewer line became blocked back in February, and it was finally fixed earlier this month.  That fix required cutting through miles of red tape, multiple entities including MoDOT and Union Pacific, as well as thousands of dollars in deposits and repairs.  While Our Town Tomorrow had some funds set aside for the station, this setback has pretty much cleaned out that money. 
 
As we lease our space in the building, we aren’t on the hook for any of the cost related to the repairs.  That said, we would like to help.  That’s where this fundraiser comes in and where you can help.   If you would like to make a donation towards the cost of these repairs you can do so, securely at our website by clicking here.  You can either donate on-line through PayPal (no account is needed) or by filling out the form and mailing it to us at: Iron County Historical Society, P.O. Box 183, Ironton, MO 63650.  In the Donor Comments box, please enter the words, “Station Repairs” .  You can also just send us a check without filling out the form, but again, we would ask that you write “Station Repairs” in the memo portion of the check.  All funds (100%) received for station repairs will be forwarded directly to Our Town Tomorrow. 
 
As always, we appreciate your support and we look forward to your visiting the museum!
April 21, 2024 By: John Abney
Annual Meeting Today - 4/21/2024
Just a quick reminder about our Annual Meeting.  It's today, Sunday, April 21, 2024  at 2p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Ironton located at the corner of Reynolds and Knob streets in Ironton.  Prior to the meeting, Charlie Brooks will share his story of how he took up the hobby of toy making. Charlie's "new" hobby began at Christmas of 1994 when his daughter, Melanie gave him a book titled "How to Make Animated Toys".  
 
According to Charlie, “It looked easy....it was not.  I had no tools, no lumber.  Just the book.  After  that worked and looked like the ones in the book, 28 years later and nearly 400 toys later, my hobby keeps me busy year round.  I will always thank my daughter Melanie for that book.  I still have it.  Many smiles and memories over the years make the effort rewarding.”
 
As always, the public is invited and encouraged to attend our meetings.  We hope to see you there!