News From Years Gone By

by Charlotte Purdy

Includes information from the Casscoe News Journal

Living in Arkansas County since 1977, stories of days gone by surface throughout the years, allowing us to reminisce on the simpler times, or at least what we believe to have been simpler times. Working part-time for the DeWitt Era-Enterprise has allowed me to hear many stories and tales of things that have happened in and around our communities and it never fails that those stories touch my heart and soul and result in me wanting to share the information with you all, our readers!

Well, I am not the only one who wants to share the news from the past and it is exciting to see these stories resurfacing! Cindy Shelton, President of the Casscoe Community Center, has shared a few articles from the Casscoe News Journals that were published from 1988-1999 by T.C. and June Sutton, residents of Casscoe. With 32 issues, the Casscoe News Journals were published quarterly.

To draw interest to the Casscoe community, specifically the Casscoe Community Center, Shelton has created a Facebook page where she is sharing some of the entries in the journals. The Community Center was originally a schoolhouse built over 100 years ago and now it is in dire need of many repairs.

The article below was published in the 9th issue of the Casscoe News Journal and was written by Mrs. Keithley from Crocketts Bluff.


We are proud to continue the stories about life in and around Crocketts Bluff. We hope you find them as interesting as we do. We want to thank Mrs. Keithley for taking time to share her memories.

By: Hallie Gosnell Keithley


When I was about four, our next door neighbors were Buddy and Lulu Strong. The only memory I have of them was Mama laughing when Daddy told her why Buddy hauled home sacks of corn cobs. He was the mail carrier making the trip to Casscoe and back each day, and he often brought sacks of corn cobs and set them in his outhouse. (we called it the toilet then) When Mama said something to Lulu about it she said that Buddy always said he had rather use a corn cob anytime as a page from the Sears and Roebuck catalog. I thought he was crazy because I liked to set on the little hole Daddy made for James and me and read the pictures in the catalougue. Didn’t like it tho when all the thin pages were used and one had to really rub those thick pages together to get them pliable.

Then we heard that we were getting a new mail carrier. Buddy and Lulu moved and a new family moved in next door. James and I stood on the fence most of the day watching them move in. That night when Daddy came in he ask Mama if she had seen the new neighbors. Mama said, “I saw a man, a boy about eight or nine, a little girl and a young girl carring a baby, I believe he must be a widower.”

That “young girl” was Mrs. Alice Keithley, she may have weighed only 90 lbs. But she was certainly all there. She and Mama because the best of friends.

Harvey Strong had the route from Roe to the Bluff and he hired Joe Keighley to carry the mail from the Bluff to Casscoe for $80.00 a month. Good money in those days.

This was in the days of dirt or mud roads. A model T was used when the roads were dry, a team and buggy when it was muddy and when worse came to worse it was carried on horse back.

Every little house along the road had a family in it, and on one day a week you stopped at every mailbox. Those were the days when one could trade an old hen for the Kansas City Star so everyone on the route took the Star. The old mares pulled the buggy for so many years that you could hang the reins up and they would pull up and stop at every mailbox.

Not only did the mail carrier haul mail but they picked up grocery lists and hauled cream that would sometimes stink you out of your vehicle. The grocery lists were given to Uncle Clarence or Aunt Bet Trice and they were filled and put in your car or buggy.

Mr. Joe Keithly worked at other jobs so Miss Alice Keithly carried the mail often. On the days she was on, she would bring the baby, Garnet to our house and I often went with her. I guess she was glad to have anyone with her on that all day trip looking at the rear end of two horses. When it was cold I would sit down on the floor board and she would cover me up with an old quilt she kept over her knees.

Cris Prange and then Adolph Prange was Postmaster at Crocketts Bluff. When J.E. (Siax) was about fourteen he started carrying the mail and from then on it was his responsibility to keep the model T running. Between the three of them they kept it going.

Another one of our mail carriers was Harper Kennedy. He carried it when Roscoe Self had the Post Office and then Flavelia (Bela) Kline. Harper stepped in Bela’s door one morning and fell dead. We mourned him. R.G. Kennedy was next, everyone liked him and his wife. After he resigned Gene Kirkman got the job and his wife Gelene is now considered part of the community. She’s been with us a long time.

Derrell Gardner was the next Postmaster and when he went to St. Charles as Postmaster, his wife Vicki took his place. Now Vicki is at Casscoe and we have a Ethelite Carolyn Padgett Knowlton as Postmaster. They come and go but all carry on.

What an interesting article! I grew up in the Bluff and frequently gathered the mail from our tiny little post office. At that time it was right next to Schwab’s Grocery and it was like walking into a hall way with post office boxes and a small window. Years later an actual Post Office building was built in the corner coming into the Bluff. That building will never hear the stories we heard as kids growing up there.

Are you interested in more articles from the Casscoe News Journal or would you like to help with the repairs at the Casscoe Community Center by making a donation? Aside from the yearly fundraisers which include the annual BBQ fundraiser and the Spaghetti Supper, Shelton is working on creating a jump drive that has the articles from the Casscoe News Journal and other pieces of history that interested individuals can purchase once she finishing compiling the drives.

If you’re interested in purchasing one of the jump drives, there will be a signup sheet at the annual BBQ fundraiser on Saturday, May 4, from 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. and for the first time in many years there will be live music by Cam and Dustin Shelton and friends! Grab your lawn chairs and wallets and head on down and enjoy a great afternoon!

You can contact Cindy Shelton at for more information on ways to support the Community Center!