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Contact the Harlin Museum about Historyworks projects.

History in the Ozarks

For a long time, the only history known here was what people brought with them. Those who came here had no way of maintaining ties to the people they had left behind. There was no mail delivery, no roads, and no local institutions. Isolation was only matched by the scarcity of resources. 

Does anyone in your family tell stories of times long ago? Do you suspect they may have made some of them up? Does anyone in your family grow white corn streaked with red, and grind it for cornbread? Welcome to Ozarks folklore and folkways.

History WorksHistory Works is a hands-on multidisciplinary experience in local history for 4th grade students. Field trips take place at the Harlin Museum in West Plains. Students are introduced to the many ways Ozark settlers made their living in the early 20th century through the museum's tool collection and the original settler portraits drawn by regional artist L. L. Broadfoot.

Schoolcraft's Journey in the Deep Ozarks

This period of increased awareness of Lewis and Clark’s expedition is a good time to explore the journal of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, one of the first white travelers to make detailed notes of a journey through the Ozarks at the moment of very early settlement.

Early Settlers in Douglas County

Memories of the early days, from interviews with residents of Douglas County. Original source material from the Western Historical Manuscripts Collection, U.S. Work Projects Administration, 1935-42.

An Old-Timer Remembers

When Tommy Medlock of Gentryville was 95, he told of the days when Bryant Creek was the center of economic life in the area. He talked about the good times and the hard times of those days. 

Native Americans

The First People
Traces of the Ancients
The Osage
Osage Hunting
The Osage & White Explorers
Other Tribes, and Forced Relocation

The Civil War

The Civil War in the Ozarks
The Battle of Clark's Mill
Missouri's Last Civil War Veteran
Photo Story: A Civil War Soldier's Memorial
An Ozarker Finds His Family Home
African Slaves & Indentured Servants

The Europeans

The Scotch-Irish
Spanish & French Explorers
Schoolcraft's Journey in the Deep Ozarks
Patterns of Migration

Early Settlers

Early Settlers: The 1800s
Visit With a Pioneer Family
Pioneer Log Building
Pioneer Hog Butchering
Sheep: Spinning & Weaving
Tom Brown, Early Settler

Towns & Villages Grow

Cedar Gap
Vera Cruz

County Histories


Ava RailroadThe History of Transportation
The Coming of the Roads & the Wagon Wheel Boys
The Railroad
The Ozark Hotel
Photo Story: The Old River Road

The initial development of History Works in 2006 was supported by a generous private gift and a cadre of community volunteers. Collaborating groups include the Harlin Museum, Bryant Watershed Education Project, and the West Plains Council on the Arts.

Partial funding for this program in 2007 was provided by the Coover Regional Grantmaking Program, in partnership with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Further support came from the Noon Rotary Club of West Plains, the West Plains Council of the Arts and those wonderful volunteers.

Partial funding in 2008 was provided by the Missouri Council on the Arts and the Emerson Foundation - and the faithful volunteers!