Lifetimes of Memories: Voices of Barry County

Volume 19

Narrators Include: Bill and Adella (Gowen) Horner, The Patton Brothers, Leo and Kenneth, John and Betty (Baker) Seely
Bill and Adella Gowen Horner: Bill and Adella were interviewed during the summer of 2011. The Horner family has been in Barry County for at least 150 years and has played a large part in our community and, Bill is no exception. His parents were not only Dairy Farmers but business people, raising and selling quality Brown Swiss dairy cattle. They taught Bill the value of hard work and how to be an honest business man. It's been said that it takes a village to raise and child and Bill is living proof of that. He credits his success to the many wonderful people that helped him along the way, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and friends. Mr. Horner tells us of his hardworking grandmother, who always had enough extra to help those in need; the kindness of the local blacksmith, Mr. Fisher and even his memories of visiting 'baby' Bill LeCompte. No stranger to farming, he has worked with cattle, sheep, hogs and crops using both horses and tractors. Bill has been a Standard Oil Dealer since 1946 and a Homelite Chain Saw dealer 1965. Adella's family has as long a history in Barry County as Bill's does. The Gowen family owned and operated a farm between Washburn and Seligman. Adella was a true 'farmer's daughter' the family raised sheep, milked cows and even raised green beans and watermelon! A graduate of Southwest/Washburn High School, Mrs. Horner relives her pleasant days at school. After graduation she lived Wichita and worked for Decca Records for about a year and a half. Then longtime Cassville attorney offered her a position at his abstract office, which she accepted and worked there until she and Bill married. The Horners have been blessed with two wonderful sons, grandchildren and even great grandchildren.
Bill and Adella (Gowen) Horner
Leo Patton
The Patton brothers were raised in the Cross Hollows community east of Cassville, and since they are ten years apart, they have different perspectives of growing up. These interviews were conducted in the summer of 2011. Leo was born in 1916 and relates, "I've seen everything. I've seen the automobile replace the horse and buggies, and the horse and wagons. I've seen the tractors replace the horses in the field, and the airplanes take over the sky." Leo tells us of 'box suppers' and skunks, homemade peach brandy, and family stories of 'catamounts'. As an adult, he worked on "plain view houses", for Boeing Aircraft, and finally for the railroad. His interests have always been many and varied, from bee keeping, hunting and fishing, to gardening.
Leo Patton
Kenneth Patton
Kenneth was born in 1926 and shares his memories of boyhood mischief, friends, family and yes, hard work. He tells of a time when kids made their own fun—marbles, cornstalk fiddles and play parties. Mr. Patton is a World War II veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart, and he shares his observations, experiences, and firsthand knowledge of that time. Following his discharge, he pursued many endeavors, which included managing a pool hall, working on a large ranch in Montana, and helping with road construction. He eventually moved to Iowa where he lived for many years. While in Iowa, he became a champion coon hunter of several states. Following retirement, he lived in Oklahoma for some time before returning home to Missouri. The Patton family has lived in Barry County since about 1880.
Kenneth Patton
John and his family moved here in the 1930s from New York. He and his siblings attended Union Valley School and worked on the family farm; they later moved to Cassville where his mother worked as a nurse for Dr. George Newman. At the tender age of 16, John left Cassville and joined the NYA and was sent to California to the Keiser shipyards to build Liberty ships. At age 17, he joined the Merchant Marines and was able to experience life at sea. John shares his full, interesting life with us as he tells stories of gold mining, building ships, and operating a family business in Cassville. Betty's family—the Bakers and the Becks—have been here for more than 100 years; she was the only child of John and Gladys (Beck) Baker. The Baker family owned and operated Baker's Feed and Seed for several years. Betty's mother was one of the early "working mothers" and Betty worked in the store from the time she was a child. She remembers buying live chickens, skimming cream, and buying eggs. She was fortunate to grow up in a small town where she knew many of our wonderful town personalities. The Seelys' interview took place during the summer of 2011. They share memories of their Baker & Seely Super Market business, and the great people who touched their lives.
John and Betty (Baker) Seely