The following interview was from a 1975 assignment given to students at JEFFERSON COUNTY JUNIOR COLLEGE in Hillsboro, MO. They were to select a longtime resident of the county and ask them a prepared list of questions about their recollections of their family's experiences in the county.
Ivr: DeSoto. How long have you lived here?
Ive: All my life.
Ivr: And that is how many years?
Ive: Fifty-nine years.
Ivr: Fifty-nine years. Could you possibly tell me what kind of schools they used to have. Were they any different than they are now?
Ive: Oh, very much so. We had one-room schools, in fact.
Ive: In fact, our school was just about a half a block up the road that I used to go to. And it was just a one-room school with a wood stove and one teacher for eight grades.
Ivr: Eight grades. What was the enrollment?
Ive: Oh let's see if I can remember. I guess at the most I doubt if we had seventeen.
Ivr: That was for the whole of DeSoto?
Ive: Oh no, this was just the rural community.
Ivr: Oh, I see. You were trying to remember about what the enrollment was in a one-room schoolhouse.
Ive: Anywhere from 1? to maybe 25 at any one time.
Ive: This would, you may
not have enough students to have all eight grades covered. Maybe at one time you might
four grades you'd have enough students in each grade. Then the next year
they would skip those four and then
Ivr: Oh I see, yes. So that you maybe would not be covering all eight grades. And this was with one teacher.
Ive: One teacher, never more than one and she was janitor and teacher and companion and playground superintendent all wrapped up in one.
Ivr:Is the schoolhouse still standing?
Ive: No, the schoolhouse burned many years ago. In fact, when the schoolhouse burned was when consolidation was just coming into effect in the county, where they were consolidating more than one school together. And so when our schoolhouse burned, of course, then we had to consolidate.
Ivr: To what?
Ive: To well, we consolidated into DeSoto schools then because it was nearer for us.
Ivr: So then what your bus schedule started to bus you into DeSoto?
Ive: Yes, well for a long time you had to furnish your own transportation. I furnished my own transportation through high school, but I didn't go to the one-room school except for two years. After I was in the second grade I attended parochial school for the balance of my education until I was a sophomore in, junior in high school. Then I returned to DeSoto and attended the public schools.
Ivr: Was the parochial school in DeSoto?
Ive: Yes, it was in DeSoto and it happened to be a school of the religion of which we attend so we went. My mother felt that it was best for us to go to the Catholic school.
Ive: And then when I graduated from eighth grade she sent me to an academy and I went away to school for two years. And then I returned and entered the public school here as a junior in school and at that time the school district didn't pay my tuition. I had to pay tuition myself to attend the high school.
Ivr: You had to pay tuition for a public education?
Ive: For a public high school, for public education I had to pay my own tuition, which I felt was unfair so we made every effort to get that changed on the laws. That was the law in the state at that time, so we worked to get that changed and then the school district paid our tuition from then on.
Ivr: Yes. You mentioned the one-room schoolhouse for the rural population. Did you grow up on a farm?
Ive: Oh yes.
Ivf: This was then mostly all farm children who went to these schools.
Ive: All farm children, yes that's right.
Ivr: What was the farm life like back then, did you have cows on your farm that you had to get up to milk or did you have a different type of a farm?
Ive: Well, when my mother and father first came to this farm which was in 1914, the farm at that time was very unproductive because the land was poor. It had not been fertilized. It was practically virgin territory.
Ive: I think there has only been three owners of the farm up the land had been granted to someone from the government so it belonged to the government before that.
Ivr: Oh I see, yes.
Ive: So there had not been too many owners of the land. The land was principally, it's hill land.
Ive: It's rolling and
it's rocky, and it's had been planted into fruit trees. I think there were 100 and some odd peach
trees on the place when mother and dad first came. And they came down
with the intentions of raising chickens
Ive:But the fruit trees paid off. Possibly every four years you had a real good crop.
Ivr: Right, yes.
Ive: And they planted strawberries and melons and that was one of the joys of childhood was having my father bring a huge wagonload of watermelons up from the fields down below and park it under the Cedar tree out here and we could go out and have a melon anytime we wanted.
Ivr: I bet that was great,
Ive: Just break it open and eat out the heart and throw the rest of it over the fence to the cows.
Ivr: So you did have cows then?
Ive: We had cows.
Ivr: Were they a dairy or a beef cow?
Ive: At that time, of course, it was just enough cows to support a family of five. But because my father, shortly after he came here, the nation entered into World War I and my father went to work at the Missouri Pacific Shops
to help raise the family. My mother milked the cows and made cheese and butter and took it into town in spring wagon and sold it, peddled it from door to door in order to make enough money to support the family.
Ivr: How many were there in your family?
Ive: There were three,
five children and two adults which was seven, plus my grandmother who lived with us.
And at that time my mother was trying to save enough money to build the home that we live
in now because the home that they were in was I think about 75 years old when
they moved into it and it was a log house. And it wasn't room to raise that large a family
and we were all pretty young. My sister
was just born, my youngest sister was just born when we moved into this
house. So the cattle that we had I think were, they were
Ivfr: Where were the shops, were they down here?
Ive: They were in DeSoto.
Ivr: In DeSoto.
Ive: Which was three, considered at that time about four miles away. So he would go to work in the shops every day.
Ivr: At that time there was no, well I guess with the war on they were employing right and left to get people for the war effort, or they were.
Ive: They needed good machinists and my dad was a good machinist.
Ivr: I was just wondering if you knew if a lot of people had to go far, a far distance like some of the people do today like in to St. Louis?
Ive: I don't think at that time, distance travel was unknown because you had horse and buggy you see.
Ivr: Oh, that's right, right. I didn't remember.
Ive: So there was no way for them to go a very great distance to work. Now if they did, they would have to stay where their employment was. I can remember some of our school teachers that would teach in one of these little one-room schools that wouldn't think of driving back and forth. They stayed with the families in the area where they taught. They would go home only on weekends.
Ivr: Right, yes. They would have to. Do you find since you did grow up on a farm, did you find the farm life to be say a lot different then than you would think it is today?
Ive: Yes. I think a farm today, even the large farms that we still have in this county, and they are a few, the farm life is much different today, than it is or was when we were raised on a farm because today they have transportation. Which I think changes your mode of living. They have electricity which we did not have. We did everything by hand in those days. We churned butter by hand, we pumped water by hand, we milked cows by hand even though later we did have, we provided our own electricity. Because the electric line was not available to us, or if it was, it was such a premium price to get the electricity out here we purchased our own power plant and produced our own electricity right here.
Ivr: The rural community did, or you did?
Ive: No, we did for ourselves. We were the only ones that had v electricity in all the surrounding area. And this was in the 1920's. We purchased our own electric power plant and had electric lights, a radio. If we had a larger one we could have had more appliances and it wasn't until we purchased our second plant that we had a milking machine, a "bottle washer for our dairy, and a washing machine and an iron. But you had to let the plant run all the while these appliances were in operation and it was rather a noisy and quite expensive.
Ive: I can imagine. Because of this plant, maybe "by the other families were you considered quite well off?
Ive:Yes. I think they possibly thought we were, but we just worked hard to get these.
Ivr:To get this.
Ive: Right, to pay for these extra luxuries. But we just felt that it was worth the money that we paid for it.
Ivr: Yes. Let's get back to the schooling. It kind of astounds me that it is a one-room school. Course I'm from the city so I, you know, would have no idea what that was. What do you think of the quality of education that we are experiencing now throughout the county in the public schools?
Ive: Well, I'm not an expert in that field because I only attended two years. I know that the one-room school survived many years after I even left. I feel that the quality of education was not really lacking in a one-room school.
I know that it could not carry on because of the growth in the county, but you learn from observing the other students. If you were in the second grade you could hear an eighth grader recite and you would be able to absorb an awful lot of material that you heard from day to day. So the one-room school, I think, answered its purpose and I don't believe that we lacked a great deal by attending a one-room school.
Ivr: With your opinion on this, do you think then that these classes where they do separate the children who are say lacking in some special educational skill, do you think they're really learning that much more than from being put into a class that is say status quo and not trying to keep up with these kids?
Ive: Well, I think they're still learning just in which way to handle children today. I think they're going back to the idea that if they put classes together today, they will learn more and learn more rapidly. There are some students that you cannot hold back and you can't, and it's not a good idea to put them in a class of slow learners. So they are trying to move those groups of children faster so that they keep them occupied. Otherwise they become bored and they lose interest in education.
Ivr: Right, right. But you think maybe that those who are slower should they have all the special educational availabilities that we're giving them now?
Ive: Yes, I think they should. I don't believe that it pays to push them.
Ivr: That's true, yes. Okay, let's see. Being from a rural community back in those days, I don't mean to sound way back there, but life was so different then. Was the church or church services or the church as a whole was that the center of the community life? Like I've read many times that it was either the family or it was church that bounded everybody together. Do you find that?
Ive: Well again, because of the fact that we lived in the country and we had to go four miles to church, from the time that I can recall that we went to church, of course I went to church all my life, but it did not become a reality until I guess I was eight years of age. But at that time we had, we already then started our dairy business which meant that on Sunday morning you had to deliver the milk as well as any other day of the week, so in order to conserve money we made one trip to town, so we went to church when the milk went in to be delivered. And my brothers would deliver the milk and stop and go to church and then maybe finish up and we would wait for them. So the church to us was Just a one-time-on-Sunday deal. We were not allowed to go back to participate in other activities so I do not recall that the church that we centered around the church or that there were a lot of activities for us to participate in when I was a child. I think there might have been. I do know they had card parties and my mother has told me that if she wanted to go she had to walk.
Ivr: Four miles?
Ive: Four miles. And even if she wanted to go in the wintertime and lots of times she would do it just to get away from the children, and the farm, and the boredom of nothing else to do. She would wrap gunny sacks around her feet and walk in the snow to the card party just for the heck of it.
Ivr: But you don't remember if say is your family, is the
children getting together and going to the church for a special activity?
Ive: No, because at that time we didn't have the money to participate in things, if they did have activities. We had alumni associations in school. I remember that and that became quite a social activity for us out here. And we always entertained a lot so they enjoyed coming to our house because we would be allowed to dance and have parties that maybe other families wouldn't. So, but the school-house was really more of our center of activities when the one-room schoolhouse was still going. That was more of a center of activity for us as farm families than the church was at that tine. Because they had pie suppers at the schoolhouse and school meetings and it was not unusual for my dad to say, well everybody come on down to the house and we'll have cake and a dance. And mother would have one cake and she would think how would I feed 50 people with one cake but she did.
Ivr: She did do it?
Ive: She did do it. And we had a marvelous time.
Ivr: Well probably then, like you said, your schoolhouse was your was the center of activity.
Ive: Was the center of the activity.
Ivr: Where in a lot of communities I, I'm assuming the church was from other people I've talked to. You know, much more so than today, let's put it that way.
Ive: think if the church was in the rural area it could have been more of a center of activity for the farm family. You taken in a rural area where they had a church within that rural area, it possibly could have.
Ivr: Was there one predominant religion that you can remember? Or were there different churches of different religions?
Ive: No. There has always been quite a number of religions. In fact, more today I think than there are, than there were then. I think the two predominant religions when I was a child that I remember were Baptist and Catholic.
Ivr: Really, down in through here I didn't know that.
Ive: Most of the people in this area were Baptists. We were the only Catholics in the area. And there was and possibly still is today, although I don't notice it so much, but at that time there was quite a, a faction between the two.
Ivr: I think there still is.
Ive: And there probably still is today, but.
Ivr: But at that time there was no real open confliction with the two religions.
Ive: At that time.
Ive: I think there was.
Ivr: Oh, your doctors, what did you do when living on a farm
away from the city? Did you have doctors that came around
in the buggies?
Ive: Yes, I remember the doctor that we had very, very
vividly. He was a stately elderly man. He had a beautiful white beard and white hair and wore a black fedora and in fact, my youngest, I remember the birth of my youngest sister.
Ivr: It was in this new house?
Ive: It was in the old house.In the old house, I'm sorry, yes. And it was, she was born at nine in the evening and, of course, my mother hurried and prepared us all for bed and put us to bed and thought we were asleep. And we weren't and we could hear the noise in the other room so we would
peak through the keyhole.
Ivr: Sure, sure. Was he the only doctor for the rural community, or the community of DeSoto?
Ive: As far as I can
remember he was the only doctor in DeSoto.
Ivr: Oh, in DeSoto. And he made all the house calls?
Ive: And he made all the house calls. That was in a horse and buggy.
Ivr: Now since you were small at the time, do you remember his age or do you remember just that he looked old? You looked at his white beard and his white hair. He looked old ?
Ive: He looked old, that's right. But I think that he must have been in his sixties, maybe older. I think he practiced until he was in his eighties before he died.
Ivr: Yes. And of course by that time I'm sure probably he had an office of some sort. In his number of years.
Ive: He had an office, yes. He had an office and everything, every prescription that he gave you was a little powder placed on a little square of white paper and you can see him put that with his knife onto the paper and roll it up and no matter what illness you had, you got the little powder.
Ivr: That was it?
Ive: It was a cure-all.
Ivr: Did it cure?
Ive: It did the job.
Ivr: It did the job. Did you ever find out what that was?
Ive: No, never did. But I can see him put that little dab of powder on that little square of paper and roll it up and fold it together.
Ivr: It wouldn't have been candy or anything would it?
Ive: Oh no, no. It was some sort of a prescription.
Ivr: It was a definite cure. I wonder what that stuff is?
Ive: I don't know.
Ivr: Well, of course, since they didn't have the penicillin back then.
Ive: Penicillin I don't think came in until the forties.
Ivr: Right. I'm sure it was about there.
Ive: Late thirties or forties.
Ivr: Was there any home remedies for all kinds of things?
Ive: Oh very much so.
Ivr: Folk medicines or anything?
Ive: My mother was a very good believer in home remedies. In fact, we still use one of the home remedies that she has had all her life. And it's an old German tea.
Ivr: What is it? For colds or flu or whatever?
Ive: And it's the best remedy for flu and colds that you can ever use.
Ivr: What Is the name of that?
Ive: The name of it is Schoenfeldt's
tea and I understand it's
Ivr: Really? Is it, it's Just in the
Ive: Oh no. She "bought it ^ust like that in those days.
Ivr: They were manufacturing it then too?
Ive: Oh yes, and still do.
Ivr: I'll have to see
if I can find some. Did you ever have to
Ive: No, we never seemed to have a serious illness in our family really. That I can recall.
Ivr:I think the families back then were a lot more sturdy, I
Ive: We had the mumps and chicken pox and measles. And we were always able to get a doctor. And they always came to the house.
Ivr: And you don't
really know of any families that you might
Ive:No. My brother even
fell off a mule and broke his leg and
Ivr: Is that still where it is now? I don't know whether that1d be it.
Ive: Yes, there is one there on I think it's on Kingshighway.
Ivr: I think it's Kingshighway, yes.
Ive: And she put him in there and they had to, of course, rebreak his leg and set it. It was a fractured hip.
Ive: But this doctor did not
diagnose it as that. He Just, I guess thought
Ivr: There was no setting of bones at that time, I see.
Ive: And so today he is perfectly well, perfectly all right.
Ivr: But he might not have been if he had stayed with the one doctor .
Ive: Might not have been if she had not been enough of an individual to see that there could be something done, or at least try.
Ivr: Right. I'd like to get on the population issue. I can't get over how much everything has grown down here in size of the towns and the townships and cities. Do you remember say what the population of DeSoto was when you were small?
Ive: I'm glad you asked that because that to me is the most interesting aspect in our census as to why DeSoto does not how an increase. DeSoto has had the same population ever since I can remember a sign appearing at the city limits. Five thousand and some odd population.
Ivr: I read that, I think it was 390 something, and I couldn't get over how small it was.
Ive: And we know that there are more people in DeSoto. It must be that they are in the outlying areas. DeSoto has, of course, annexed some areas, but it must have happened since the last cenus. But even the last census still shows approximately the same number of people.
Ivr: When was that census, do you remember?
Ive: Well, that's every ten years and I think it occurred in '70,
Ivr: I'll be darn. I think it's still the same.
Ive: I think it's still the same.
Ivr: That surprises me because, of course, you read now you know that Jefferson County is 100 and some odd thousand people and I was wondering just how far down.
Ive: And DeSoto has more students in their school than Festus. I think they did until, until Festus annexed such a large area. They had more students in one school.
Ivr: I didn't know that. Well, now did they only have what the one high school and one junior high, or?
Ive: Oh, they have grades. They have kindergarten, grades, and high school.
Ivr: Well yes. But I meant just the one
Ive: Yes, yes.
Ivr: But they have not noticed any influx of people?
Ive: But the population
doesn't show that in the census for some reason or another. But the surrounding
area of ^eSoto has grown and we have a large shopping
encourages and invites and does obtain a great number
Ivr: And that is the
Ive: So they draw all
the way from Grubville and Ware and even
Ive: So the lake properties you see around have brought a lot of people in.
Ivr: So in other words, this great influx of people that we're, that Jefferson County is said to have, it's just up north of you then?
Ive: I guess it just
must be all north of here. Most of the population growth in
Ivr: And this is Highway 30?
Ive: And that's Highway 30.
Ivr: Thirty, yes. I was
wondering, have you, what is your
Ive: Oh yes, definitely.
Fifty-five highway has opened a vast
Ivr: Now DeSoto, does it have industry? I don't know anything about BeSoto.
Ive: DeSoto has had the Missouri Pacific Shops which has been here since the early 1900*8 and they had, have a shoe factory and they at one time had a spring factory. They had the water of DeSoto was world reknowned you know. The artesian wells that DeSoto has, the water was taken to the World's Fair in 1904. It was bottled here and taken up there and sold. So that water is marvelous water.
Ivr: Was it really? Yes.
Ive: And they had a bottling company here at one time for soda water. And course now they have a manufacturing concern in the industrial part which makes metal products, Haake Manufacturing. And I think they have a small glass bead manufacturing plant, Plexiglass. They have a nice park and I think there is room for small industry to come into DeSoto.
Ivr: Okay. I was just
wondering, if there was enough industry
Ive: No. There isn't enough industry here to bring people in.
Ivr:Do you think they, aren't they building a Hwy.21 through to hwy 67 or something?
Ive: Well no, they're building Hwy 110 through to Hwy 67 which will help a great deal.
Ivr: Yes, Hwy 110, that would help.
Ive: And 21 is in the plans for a, improving
and enlarging, it will not come all the way to DeSoto. It I think will stop at either
to support the whole population, it would be nice, but I don't think that they would ever be able to have that much. I really believe th^t if they could get a lot of smaller industries here, it would be better than a large one.
Ivr: A large one? Why do you think that?
Ive: Well because then you will not have a layoff that would cause havoc in the community.
Ivr: I see, yes.
Ive: A lot of small industries that would maybe employ 50-60 people would be better than having 500 and having all 500 laid off at one time.
Ivr: True, right. Well
do you believe that then the influx of population into the county has been from say
your larger industries bringing transfer in, or do you think it's people from
Ive: I think it's
people from the
Ivr: Do you think
Ive: Possibly, but
where are they going to go where they would
Ivr: Or their city. Yes, I think that's probably the reason why having such an influx is well, the rural community like we mentioned before were right near the city and you got to be to have any increase in population.
Ive: I think now people are looking for larger areas, they're not, they're not moving into the subdivisions. Oh, they're still moving into the subdivisions because there are certainly a number of people that like that type of living.
Ive: But there are more people looking for secluded five and ten acre tracks, wooded areas, where they can be more alone than there were years ago.
Ivr: The country life, right. I've noticed that too. It seems as though people are building, you know, and you ask them where they're building; oh, down highway such and such or you know, out some place.
Ive: Way out.
Ivr: Yes, I think you're right there. Do you think a lot of our land will be used for subdivisions or for industry, or do you see say do you see still a rural life? Say a home here, a home there, a farm here, a more so than subdivisions as such? I mean people are moving down here so we've got to have places for them to live.
Ive: Well, restrictions on building have created something that I see coming now, and that is that real estate developers are dividing, they are purchasing a farm say for example and they are dividing into tracks, they are not calling it a subdivision. Now they are doing this to get around rules and regulations. Because if they subdivide it then utilities must go underground and they cannot develop it. It's a costly thing to develop that way.
Ivr: Right, right.
Ive: Because if they want to put a 10 acre track and call it a subdivision and make it a 10 acre track, it would be a costly thing to give them electric service in an area like that.
Ivr: Right, well with selling tracks.
Ive: They avoid that you see.
Ivr: They avoid that, but how would they publicize this?
Ive: Oh, they can still advertise it as a track of land. They don't advertise it as a subdivision so someone can buy and build their home.
Ivr: And somebody buys their own track of land and builds their own home on it. And worry about their own utilities, how to get water and electricity.
Ive: That's right. How to get water and sewer and electricity which is going to be difficult at some time as the population grows, keeps on, as the county keeps growing then eventually we're going to be right back where we were with a subdivision and septic tanks. Now they are doing this if you have 10 acres, you can still put a septic system on 10 acres but with the environmental controls that we have, the clean water commission, the state clean water commission, you cannot put a septic tank now in a subdivision that contains more than nine homes. See?
Ive: They have to then go into a sewage treatment plan and that becomes again a costly proposition.
Ivr: This kind of gets us into zoning. What is it about zoning down here that people shy away from?
Ive: Object to?
Ivr:Those type of restrictions?
Ive:Those type of restrictions.
Ivr: Now, what people are objecting to this? Is it your average homeowner, is it your builders?
Ive: No. I don't think the builders are objecting to it so much unless they are not telling the truth. I think the ones who are objecting to it are the people who are ignorant of the fact that it can work.
Ive: Or that it really should be instituted in this county in. order to survive. The majority of the people who are against planning and zoning are the farm, the rural people who feel that they are, their rights are being taken away from them.
Ivr: Why I don't know.
Ive:Well, they feel that they cannot take and give to their son or daughter a piece of property right off of their farm and they can do with it what they want. They don't like to be told that they have to have a proper treatment, sewage treatment facility. That their water must be inspected.
Ive: That they have to build a house that is, comes up to the code of the county, which they have to do now anyway.
Ive: But part all, part of this, the reason that planning and zoning was voted down was because all of these came in at about the same time.
Ivr: I see.
Ive: The restrictions were a little stiffer on the tracks of land, than they were when actually it was voted down. The original draft of planning and zoning was fairly strict and it was changed, but by that time there was an element
in the county that objected to those, to the original concept and they didn't realize that the changes were made.
Ivr: Were made. So through a planning and zoning because people have voted it out, it's just as easy now for say Harry to build a mobile home court and Joe to build his business right next door?
Ive: That's right, that's right. You have no planning and zoning at all in the county and I think that is going to hurt us because the national, the nation, the national government wants these things. And we are getting so much federal grants, so many, so much money coming back to the county that if we do not live up to these standards, that the nation has set, then we will not obtain these monies and it's money that we deserve because it is our taxes that are going to the nation's government and then being returned.
Ivr: I see, yes. Right. Does the planning and zoning have any direct relationship to our charter government, or is that something different for the people to understand?
Ive: No, that is something entirely different but because again
Ivr: Well, they get used to something for so long.
Ive: They don't, they do not understand it. The
charter form of government would only give us here in
Ivr: I see, right. Right, making our own decisions.
Ive: If we had our own charter form of government, we would be electing our own assemblymen or councilmen or representatives, whatever they wish to call them, and we would be making our own ordinances and laws to live by.
Ivr: Yes, I see.
Ive: Now we cannot make changes in taxes, taxation, because that must be done by the state.
Ivr: Right. What would say some ordinances, if we were able to vote on our own, what would be an example of one of them?
Ive: Well, one of them I think
that would be quite a help and would be quite a saving to
Ivr: In the whole county?
Ive: Rather than, yes in the whole county rather than an assessor, you would have a department of revenue. Now this, the head of this department could be appointive or could be elected that would be decided by the charter. That would be something that the people would vote on. But it would be a more efficient form of handling the assessment in the county than is done now. And because our method of handling this is not efficient, we are losing tax money. The department is not keeping up with the growth of the county. They do not have the machinery to work with. They do not have
the people, the personnel that they should have.
Ivr: So with the department of revenue there would be a complete overhauling of the assessor's position?
Ive: That's right.
Ivr: And the manpower would be brought in to handle the Job then.
Ive: That's right, that's right.
Ivr: I see.
Ive: I think that our whole courthouse system could be handled more efficiently if we had a charter form of government. The way it is set up now there is no one individual out there answerable to anyone else except to the county court
when it is budget tine.
Ivr: That' s true, yes............
Ive: So he can be a kingpin all his own as far as the way he operates his office or her office.
Ive: So if they're not answerable to anyone except every four years when they're elected and by that time the people forget and if they feel well there's no one any better to vote for, I'll just put he or she back in office.
Ivr: Yes, right, right. He's been there.
Ive: So they have another four years in which to do to suit themselves.
Ivr: Right, right. Well, I don't know, I kind of had the same idea about charter government but to me too I'm astounded that people will not vote for this. They like you said, they it seems as though sometimes they want to remain stagnant. They want to stay in their little world as they are and not, you know, not make a change or anything. Do you think this is because the people have lived here for so long it's generations over generations that have had this the same way?
Ive: I think it's apathy on the part of the people who know better. The part of the people in this county and there are a lot of well-educated people who understand charter form of government who know what it will do for us but they do not get out and work as hard for it as the people who do not want to make the change.
Ivr: Oh really?
Ive: They get out and work harder against it'. So naturally, it is defeated. And why I really can't understand, other than that they are ^ust against change.
Ivr: Yes, well you've been in a league of women voters. Are your members, are they new members or are they members that have been in the county now for so many years and are trying to change it, or are the ones that want to change it new members coming into the county?
Ive: Mostly new members coming in. Although we do have some members who have lived here since the 194-0's.
Ivr: And they see that there definitely is the change? And they see that they need to change.
Ivr: Yes, well I guess it's Just that faction though of the people who have, don't want to have anything to do with it. That's right.
Ivr: They're a lot stronger than those who are working for it. That's very true, well, let's get back to something else here You worked for Union Electric, right? How many years have you worked with U. E.?
Ive: Twenty-eight years, going on twenty-nine.
Ivr: You see any major changes in the company down here or has it been pretty status quo?
Ive: Oh yes, we've grown. Yes, it's grown from I think when I started to work for Union Electric we had approximately 35 employees, maybe 50, and now we have 150.
Ivr: Yes. Is this the main what office for all
Ive: This is the main office for this county, yes. I see. And it was started here, it was not started in say another town and brought here?
Ive: Well actually, I think that there was another either a power company or a small company that was producing electricity and selling it to Festus before Union Electric came in and purchased this company. I don't know just what year that was, but Union Electric, of course I think, started in the city.
Ive: And has been branching out.
Ivr: What street is it on over in Festus?
Ive: It's on
Ive: Oh no, no. It was started there where the cleaners is. Tom Snyder's cleaners on Second and Walnut was actually where the power house was. Part of his cleaning establishment was the power house.
Ivr: Right, yes. When you started working for Festus, were you very familiar with Festus or the town?
Ive: No, I had not
traveled very much within the county at that time.
My territory was between here and
Ivr: I see.
Ive: To shop. And Festus was a little out of the
Ivr: Right. Were there very many businesses at that time, smaller businesses?
Ive: In Festus?
Ivr: Yes. Or really any place that your job took you. Did you find small businesses or were there?
Ive: Well, see my job when I started to work for Union Electric it was as a service representative. That was how I was hired. And it was to call on residential customers all over the county. So I immediately started traveling the county from the time that I started to work, within two weeks after I started.
Ivr: What part of the county has impressed you the most from the times you started working to say now, impressed you so much that you think wow I can remember this when it was just such and such?
Ive: I think
Ive: Because I can remember it as a rural community. There were farmers there.
Ive: Yes. It was large farms. I remember one subdivision up there was just one man's farm.
Ivr: Oh, my gosh.
Ive: And now it's practically a little city of its own.
Ivr: Was the high school say a farm at that time?
Ive: Yes. Where the high school is today, that was a farming area
Ivr: Was it? So that in your opinion is probably the fastest growing town or city.
Ivr: When you first traveled for U. E. what were some of the businesses the first businesses you come in contact with?
Ive:I did not contact businesses very much then. My duties were to call on at first it was to call on the rural people and encourage their use of electricity in the home. And, because of course I was a farm girl, it was very easy for me to go and talk with them because I felt I talked their language.
Ivr: Yes, sure.
Ive: I could talk canning and freezing of foods and promotion of electric water heater service in the home which was very new at that time and we had to build our use of electricity to pay for the large extension of lines in the rural area. Because in 1939 was when the REA was coming into being through President Roosevelt's promise to get electricity into every farm home.
Ivr: Right, right.
Ive: And although we did not have REA in this county, they did come in and one, one part of the county and so my company tried to extend their lines into the rural area at that time. And they did it with not much hope of getting, well they had to get a return so their only manner of getting a return was to promote the use of electricity in the homes then. Encourage women to cook with it, encourage them to put in electric water heaters, encourage them to put in water pumps.
Ivr: Did you find much objection to it when you first come up with it?
Ive: No. There wasn't an objection but the people at that time did not have the money and of course the butane and propane gas had been put into the rural areas so that they did have gas stoves. They didn't maybe have running water in the house, so we had to encourage them to put in running water
so that they would be able to use an electric water heater. They didn't have bathrooms.
Ivr: Right, right.
Ive: A lot of the farmers that I called on were large dairy farmers so they had milking machines.
Ivr: So these people were more or less ready for a change.
Ive: They were progressive, yes.
Ivr: Well, they too were probably somewhat tired of living a hard life.
Ive: That's right.
Ivr: And if it was something easier for them, they were ready for it.
Ive: But I feel that one of the things that was the hardest and I used to point out to them if you went to the city to visit some friends of yours and they did not have running water in their house, you would think they lived in the slums. But still you continue to live in your home without running water,
Why do you do that? And that would be probably the last thing that they put in their home.
Ivr: Was that running water?
Ive: Was the running water, but of course, it was expensive. You had to drill a well maybe if you didn't have a drilled well. If you had a dug well or a cistern, but still they would prefer to pump it by hand rather than actually put an electric pump on it.
Ivr: Yes. Now what year was this, do you remember the year?
Ivr: From '39 on when electricity reached the rural areas. Maybe I would say in the 30's before '39 because it was in '39 when it came out here to our home. But there were other areas that I think they started building electric lines from the 30's on after the Depression.
Ivr: Right. Well, I think that about covers everything I'd like
to cover in the interview. I want to thank you for doing
the interview with me. I hope
to grow as it has in the past as I'm sure you are, and I
hope league of women voters is successful in the next election
if we have zoning or planning up again. Thank you so much.
Conclusion of interview.
Camp, Adelaide Sept. 15, 2015, age 99. Dear sister of Catherine Cathy Camp Roop, De Soto, MO; and the late Jack, Bob, William, and Marion Camp. Dear aunt and friend. Ms. Camp retired as a Commercial Sales Representative from Union Electric. Services: Int. Calvary Cemetery, De Soto, MO. Obituary Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sept. 17, 2015