Butler County Missouri


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by Robert H. Forister

"Wayne County Missouri History and My Childhood Memories There" is the fourth in a series of county histories of missouri published by local author-historian, Robert H. Forister. A general history of his native county, the book also melds personal memories of Forister's childhood there in the 1930s and 1940s.

The other three county histories published by Forister include: “Stoddard County History”; “Bloomfield, Missouri—Highland in the Swamps”; and “Complete History of Butler County”, all of which are still in print and available for sale.

This latest publication is an 8 ½ by 11 inch soft bound book of 475 pages printed by Benchmark Graphics and Printing, LLC in Jackson, MO. Included are a complete index, seven sections of appendix and 213 charts, photos and maps, many of which are in color, including several hand-made typographic maps which detail relief and political features dating from the 1930s. (See Chapter Headings and Index below.)

In addition to his own memories that lend a personal flair of authenticity to his writing, Forister has spent many years of research on Wayne County history that includes interviews with many elderly Wayne countians.

His ancestors, both maternal and fraternal, came to Wayne County in the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s when the area was a wilderness. He lived on his grandmother Delia Cozort’s farm near the village of Kime from 1938 to 1942, walking the same three-mile route to the “Center Ridge” country school that his parents and grandparents had attended and which was organized in 1887 by his great grandfather David Cozort and his neighbors.

His great grandfather, David Cozort purchased the family farm near Kime in 1885, served as county judge in 1906 and was postmaster and country store proprietor there from 1907 until his death in 1934.

Over the past fifty years plus Forister has researched the histories of most of the families who lived in the eastern half of Wayne County from primary sources including interviews with family elders who generously shared old family photos with him.

Mr. Forister graduated from the eighth grade at Center Ridge School in 1947 at the age of twelve while living with his parents, Otho U. and Nellie (Cozort) Forister. He attended high school in Cape Girardeau and Illmo-Fornfelt (Scott City) and received degrees from the college in Cape and from Missouri University with additional post-grad work there. He and his wife, Joan, both of whom are retired school teachers, have lived in Bloomfield, MO, for the past fifty years.

“Wayne County Missouri History and Memories of my Childhood There” is a must read for anyone with strong Wayne County ties or who just enjoys a good story. The latter part of the book is a more in-depth focus on the area encompassed by Greenville, Lowndes, Shook, Chaonia and the St. Francis River.

“History of Wayne County, MO” as well as Forister’s other publications are available for sale at Hastings book and music store in Poplar Bluff, the Stars and Stripes Museum in Bloomfield and the office of the Wayne County Journal Banner in Piedmont.




1 - Indian Territory
2 - The State of Wayne
3 - Early Life in Wayne
4 - Hardships of Early Wayne
5 - Means of Travel
6 - Postal Service
7 - Civil War
8 - Greenville and a Look Back
9 - Piedmont
10 - Patterson
11 - Williamsville
12 - Lowndes
13 - Coldwater-Brunot-Gravelton-Mill Spring
14 - Wayne County’s Other Small Towns
15 - Otter Creek Settlements
16 - Chaonia
17 - The Village of Kime
18 - Road to School from Walnut Cove
19 - Kime-Center Ridge
20 - Walking the Country Roads
21 - My Grandmother’s House
22 - Our Road to Center Ridge School
23 - Center Ridge School
24 - Center Ridge School Patrons
25 - My Grandparents

List of Charts

Bald Point Subscription School Employers
Missouri Population 1810-1890
Negro Population of Missouri
Early Wayne County Towns and Post Offices
Presidential Vote by Precinct
Wayne County Post Offices
Members of Company H, 31st Missouri U. S. Infantry Volunteers
Civil War Veterans
Greenville High School Senior Class 1947
Center Ridge Pastors and Clerks
Center Ridge Church Membership
Graves at Center Ridge Cemetery
Center Ridge Friendship Quilt 1940
Sutherlin-Guinn-Blackburn-Page Cemetery
Center Ridge School Expenses 1887-1907
Center Ridge School Absentees 1923-1924
Center Ridge School Enrollment 1937-1938
LeRoy Forister’s Teaching Career 1923-1958

List of Maps

Figure Description
9 Map of Wayne County
12 Railroads of Wayne County
13 Townships of Wayne County
16 Map of Wayne County area during the Civil War
22 Map of Old Greenville
27 Map of Cowan Township
65 Map of Chaonia
86 Map of Happy Hollow, Oak Grove School and Kime
152 Map of Kime-Center Ridge
176 Map of Cozort Farm
189 Map of Center Ridge School-Henry Kime Valley
211 Wayne County School Districts 1930

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Copyright 1998, 2003, 2014 Robert H. Forister
http://CountyHistoriesofMissouri.hypermart.net