This real photo postcard, contributed by Karen Oheim, is of Quaker Mill on Spring River, southwest of Neck City.

Old News

From the 3rd floor
of the Webb City Public Library

Mighty fishermen in 1902

We found this funny tale in the Aug. 23, 1902, issue of the Webb City Daily Sentinel.

Fish Story

A crowd composed of Messrs Will Weber, Roy Gale, John Veatch, Burl Roberson, Henry Cavanaugh, Ira Tatum, Fred Nesbitt, George Schier and Frank Boyer spent Thursday night fishing near Neck City. The conditions were very favorable and they made a big haul.

They set 280 feet of trot line and in the morning, upon examination, found that it had upon it 136 bass, 212 crappy, and a monstrous catfish one inch or two in length. All in all they must have taken in nearly a pound of fish.

During the night the crowd was all out on the creek bank save Fred Nesbitt, who had remained to watch the camp and the valuables therein, a crowd of Indians, number about 3,000 attacked the camp. Nesbitt was equal to the emergency and armed with a skillet and an empty oyster can slew all except three of the assailants and these three he crippled.

In the rush back to camp to assist Nesbitt, Frank Boyer was attacked by a chigger and had both legs eaten off up to his shoulders—(to Frank’s shoulders, not the chigger’s). John Veatch fell over a log and injured his laugh. It is now down in the hands of the manager of the “fix it shop.” John don’t look natural today without that laugh.

Roy Gale was hung up by a fish hook which got stuck in his hand. If it were anybody else than Roy, lockjaw might be feared. There is no danger of Roy being thus affected.

Bill Weber, Burl Roberson, and George Schier got lost from the crowd. Upon search being made they were found hidden under a muscle shell some forty feet away from where Nesbitt was doing his slaughtering.

Tatum and Cavanaugh were rattled so badly that they stopped in Oronogo, thinking it was Webb City. Some friends will go over tonight and bring them home.


Here is a little information on each of the men.

In 1900, Will Weber was a zinc miner living at 133 S. Allen (Main) St.

Major (Capt) Fred Nesbitt was a resident of Webb City for 54 years. He was married to Eva Lucinda Ashcraft.

Fred volunteered for federal service in the Mexican-American War as a teenager, where he served as a corporal in Co. G, 5th Missouri Regiment. When his commander realized his age, Fred was mustered out of the service. He returned to Webb City and completed his high school education. After graduation Fred reentered the Army and served in the Spanish American War. Later he served as captain of Co. A, 130th Machine Gun Battalion in World War I.

John Veatch served as vice president of the S. H. Veatch Milling Company. He also ran a grocery store, pool hall and a coal and timber business before opening his real estate business in 1905. John was very active in the community and was a member of several lodges. He married Dona B. Sala. They were the parents of five children.

Roy M. Gale died in 1911 at age 33 in El Paso, Texas, where is occupation was listed as a local agent for a powder manufacturing company. Roy was married to Pearle C. Stewart. He is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery.

Burl C. Roberson ran a livery stable and a mercantile. He operated several area mines, namely the Crescent, Arkansas and Leila, which were large ore producers. His was married to Nellie St. Clair. Burl died July 14, 1921, at the age of 51 and is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.

In 1903, Henry Cavanaugh was a bookkeeper and was living at the Newland Hotel.

Ira Tatum was a lead and zinc miner. His wife was named Sadie. He died from pulmonary tuberculosis on Oct. 28, 1911, and is buried at the Carterville Cemetery.

In 1900, George Schier was listed as a clothing salesman and became a policeman in 1910. He was married to Hazel Etchison. George was a partner in the O’Neil Tire and Battery Company. He died in 1938 and is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Frank Boyer was married to Bess Haney. He worked for the Empire District Electric Company for 45 years. Frank died in 1957 and is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Sentinel bound volumes are now in the Genealogy Room

The WCAGS has accepted ownership of the complete collection of bound volumes of the Webb City Sentinel, from 1983 (after the fire) until the final issue on Dec. 30, 2020.

Those issues can also be viewed on microfilm, along with much older issues.

Webb City Area Genealogical Society

WCAGS members staff the Genealogy Room on the third floor of the Webb City Public Library. Current hours are noon to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Meetings are held at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month in the Genealogy Room.

Everything you want to know about Jasper County Missouri Schools is available at a site compiled by Webb City Area Genealogical Society member Kathy Sidenstricker.

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