A great gravel road

The road running west from Rockbridge Missouri is a virtual honey hole of neat stuff and good folks. First you see the Mackey Place barn, which you’ll find on the photo of the week page at Corndancer dot com. Click here to see the photo of the week page. Back on the road, ford a couple of low-water bridges, curl around some steep hills and the barn below pops up.

Russell's barn

Gary Russell's barn was built in 1923 with lumber made from trees felled while clearing the land.

Gary Russell and his wife welcomed me to their property to shoot the barn. They explained that the builder and original owner cleared the land with a team of oxen and a couple of Jacks. He made lumber from the trees he felled and built the barn and the house where the Russells now live.  I  found out a short way down the road that this is in the Souder, Missouri community.

Souder Store

Souder Store, a fine country establishment. They stock RC Colas and Moon Pies.

Liz Macmillan, proprietress of Souder Store, Souder, Missouri is every bit as gracious as Gary Russell. Liz and her daughters Katy and Chelsea comprise the entire population of Souder. The population was temporarily at five while I was there, including a friendly neighbor, the driver of the four wheeler out front, Glenn Plaster. Well, six counting Glenn’s dog. Liz allowed as how she was the mayor, city council, and  the chamber of commerce for Souder. I asked if she was also the parade marshall and all agreed. That too. She’s operated the store two years now and appears to enjoy a decent business. She has her merchandising act together, stocking both RC Colas and Moon Pies. Katy and Chelsea attend school in Gainsville, Missouri, a daily hour-and-a-half ride both ways on dirt roads. They take it in stride. The flag out front is the “Don’t tread on me” flag. I like her style.

Souder MO Church of Christ

Souder Church of Christ. The original building (the right side) was built in 1909.

Not far from the Souder Store, is the Souder Church of Christ. As I was shooting, I wondered when the church was built. While pondering this question, Glen Plaster rolled up on his four wheeler (with dog) and gave me the particulars, 1909. Turns out, there are some Indian graves in the cemetery. Speaks well of early settlers.

Old barn

Unexplained barn.

Within sight of Souder Church of Christ is this old barn. It shows signs of age but is hanging in there well. Not a soul was in sight so I have no explanation or information for the barn other than this: Since the days of it’s highest and best use are long gone, its new job is to sit there and look cool. It is doing a great job.

Souder School

Souder School. Home of the three Rs for many, I'm certain, well educated and well-informed students.

The last stop on this odyssey was the Souder School. It stands there replete with an outside hand water pump in the front and off to the rear, an outhouse. Neither of which degraded the three R’s I strongly suspect. The odd looking arrangement to the left of the porch is a shower installed when the now completely abandoned school was used for a while as a hunting camp and/or club.

Many would have been entertained as I contorted my somewhat aged 6′-3″ frame between a fence and a tree to get the proper angle for the shot. You had to be there. But if you were within a mile or two, probably heard the joints creaking and snapping.

The parting shot

mud encrusted tractor

Oh #!**#??%$##!!

On our return trip from the rolling hills of southern MIssouri back to the flat lands of the Delta, we came across this tractor between Hoxie and Tuckerman, Arkansas. This condition clearly demonstrates the propensity of gumbo soil, AKA “buckshot,” to stick to anything. The goo has a particular affinity for high dollar tractors.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind


8 Responses

  1. Wonderful pictures and story Joe. I always look forward to your posting of a new adventure each week. Never ceases to amaze me what you can find if you keep going down the road.

    Enjoyed the weekend with you and your stories. Glad to see you made it home ok. Only six more months till we do Rockbridge again.

  2. Bruce, thanks. I enjoyed our visit and stroll through the mist on Saturday morning. Had you not pointed out the “guy,” I might have missed it.

  3. Hey hey … there are a lot of Joe-isms in this piece .. The moon pies, RC, General Stores, barns, headstones, 3Rs, constant stream of good people, tractor whit, and much more. SImply one of those posts causing a frequent visitor like me to chuckle. Thanks … and well done.

    By the way … love the first shot on CornDancer! The midst helps make it!

    Question … is that a cross on top of the school?

  4. Frank thanks for the read and return comments. I had to go back and take a second look at the school. Given the low resolution on the web, mistaking an old VHF tv antenna for a cross is a not unexpected observation. When I took the second look that confirmed it. The one I am working on now will have a cross, an Episcopal Church started in 1859 which experienced a construction delay while the male members were busy being soldiers in the war between the states.

    PS: The mist shot was fun!

  5. […] see “A great gravel road,” a  previous Weekly Grist post from the same […]

  6. Joe , I somehow stumbled upon this I grew up going down that road everyday. Where the souder store is there is a little white house I spent half my childhood there then I moved a mile up the road! I have attended that church my whole life and my grandfather E.J Hampton has been the preacher there long before I was born. As for that Red barn my Grandpa E.J use to have a little house by it that is no longer there, he use to milk his cattle there in that barn. My grandmother Fay Hampton taught at that school for a short while. It really changes my perspective on where I live because i have lived there so long I take it for granted. I thank it’s awsome people see the beauty in my home. I know the grammar and the writing is horrible please forgive me I done this on my phone :/ o

  7. […] On Souder Road near Rockbridge MO, you will find this old barn. I originally visited the old barn and property owners in October of 2009. See the how the barn looked in 2009 in our October 26, 2009 post. […]

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