Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Redlands Connection

Many years ago I began ordering the Hickory County newspaper, The Index, on microfilm from the State Historical Society of Missouri. I'd order them through ILL (Interlibrary Loan) at my public library and spend 40-50 hours per roll reading and transcribing them, also printing longer articles and family obituaries. I have hundreds (if not thousands) of pages of notes from 1885 until the early 1930s.

Hickory County has never had much to offer young men coming of age. There's never been any industry in the county to speak of, so jobs have always been scarce. Farms were usually pretty small; certainly not large enough to divide among multiple sons and be economically viable. Many Hickory Countians ended up migrating to Redlands and vicinity in San Bernardino County, California. I found some old letters from my great-grandfather to my great-grandmother when they were courting in 1891 and 1892 that were postmarked Messina, Calif. From what he writes, I assume this place was near Redlands, but I can't seem to find it in a gazetteer or on a map.

In working through my Index notes from 1885 through 1911, I've found the following names of people who either moved to or were already living in the Redlands area:
before 1890 - John D. Cooke (died Sep 1892)
1906 - E V McShane; J E Brock; Mary Lightfoot & Mrs. Anna Solberg (sisters); Miss Mary Bandel; Miss Ethel Brent (married Ed Moore, Oct 1906); Robert Clark
1907 - W H Gist; Harve Paxton; Miss Winnie Paxton; Mr. & Mrs. D. A. Pine, daughter Missie (living at 202 Washington St., Redlands); Edward Brock
1908 - Clark Sutt (lived at Dearborn SE & Sylvan); J. D. DeWitt; Homer Bennett & daughter Rebecca
1909 - Mr. & Mrs. S. R. Bailey, son Elmer; C. V. Edwards; Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Pine; John Crates, Buell & Clifford; John D. Blair
1910 - W. Y. Harlan; George Wilson & wife; Miss Mada Edwards & Otto D. F. Krull; C. E. Hinkle; S. E. Pine, pastor of Holiness Church; Cora Langford; W. E. Rickett (sister of Cora Langford); Denton Iams & wife
1911 - Walter Delmont (East Highlands); Stephen Nix; B. W. Whelchel; Mrs. Jennie Hinkle-Poe; Luther & Leonard Gist; Arie H. Harlan

I'm hoping to visit the Heritage Room at the A. K. Smiley Library in Redlands next week and learn more about these people. The library is in this incredible historic building. Built in 1898, the building has been used as a library since its construction and was donated to the City of Redlands by Albert K. Smiley, a wealthy hotelier. It is noted for its archives. I'm hoping they'll have information on some of these Hickory County transplants and be able to help me understand why so many moved to the Redlands area.

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