The Trolley ferried people from Recklein Commons to Kinder Cemetery where characters’ from Cuba’s past shared their stories.
Cuba, Missouri: Viva Cuba sponsored the 2011 Cemetery Tour that brought characters from the town’s past to share their stories. Trolley riders boarded at the Recklein Commons area and rode to Kinder Cemetery, on the west edge of Cuba where they heard echoes from the past. Colorful characters, some humorous, some sad, boarded the trolley and told their tales to a new generation.
Viva Cuba member Barb Stogesdill gave tourers an overview of the tour and also played Crawford County Sheriff Pearl Giles.
Barb Stogesdill, retired Cuba teacher played the part of Pearl Giles, who was sheriff to Crawford County. Both her husband Rollen and son were sheriff, so law enforcement was a family legacy. When Rollen Giles passed away in 1956 at the age of 60 with nine months left in office, the governor appointmented his wife to take his place. Her son said, “She handled a lot of problems, but she didn’t have any problems” referring to his mother’s calmness while in office. Mrs. Giles chose not to run for office herself because she did not think it was a lady’s job even though she knew how to handle a shotgun. Five years after she chose not to run, her son Johnny returned from WW II, ran for sheriff, and won. Pearl Giles died in 1985.
Popular history teacher Gary Durbin gave a colorful account of the life of Union Soldier Abraham Canary.
History teacher Gary Durbin held the crowd captivated by his account of Abraham Canary, who was born in 1842. At 19, he volunteered to join the 7th Indiana Infantry. He was part of the Union invasion that was repulsed by Stonewall Jackson‘s Shenandaoh Valley Campaign. He also fought in the Battle of Antietam, a bloody one-day battle that killed 28,000. In 1863 he was in the Battle of Chancellorsville, where Stonewall Jackson died. He also fought at Gettysburg. In 1864, he was part of Ulysses S. Grant’s Wilderness Campaign, and was captured, and was sent to the prison at Andersonville, Georgia. After the war and living in Kansas for awhile, he moved to Cuba in the 1880s. He was a carpenter and was Cuba’s first lamplighter. He died in 1906.
The character John Brock might be called a bamboozler by some. He faked his own death to collect insurance.
Dan Eidson played the character of John A. Brock, who according to a 1915 newspaper account, died when he rushed into his burning barn to save the livestock and some harnesses. According to his son, the barn collapsed on his father. Although his remains were never collected, his false teeth, a watch, suspenders, some bones, and some coins were found. However, the account was not accurate, and Mr. Brock re-appeared when he saw his family suffering. His family was so glad to see him that they agreed to help him in his deception on the community. Brock hid in the attic and witnessed his own funeral. He was said to have walked on the family farm dressed as a woman wearing a bonnet. Later, the family left for Colorado. A recently purchased life insurance policy was the motive for his shenanigans. Based on suspicions from the community and the insurance company, Mr. Brock, who was a Sunday School Superintendent and Mason, was later arrested, brought back to Cuba, and held for questioning. He returned most of the money and was given parole for a prison term. Later, Brock died in an automobile accident in California. Thus, we find our actor wearing woman’s clothing and describing the hoax with both humor and thoughtfulness.
Teacher Sue Ryle played Hazel Dopheide, a dramatic reader who made her mark on Cuba.
With a lot of flair, another Cuba High School teacher Sue Ryle played Hazel Dopheide, a dramatic reader on the Chatauqua Circuit. In Chicago, she also played radio roles. She had roles in Gasoline Alley, Little House on the Prairie, and others. She was best known for her role in Lil Abner, when she played the role of Mammy Yokum. After a time in LA and work in movies and TV, she moved to Cuba to be near her sister Irma and her good friend Audrey Ove, a Cuba musician. All three purchased cemetery plots together in Kinder Cemetery. She undoubtedly added to Cuba’s cultural scene.
Olivet and Chester Fox were billed as Fox and Fox when they performed in vaudeville.
Rachael Chaudhry and Brandon Harness brought youthful enthusiasm to their portrayals of Olivet and Chester Fox, a vaudeville team that later learned to love the natural wonders of Crawford County. Although they played the Palace in New York as Fox and Fox, they retired from the traveling life, to buy a farm on Hwy. PP. Then had two children Don and Betty and wanted a normal life for them. They went into business at the Cuba Grain and Feed with Olivet’s brother. They wanted to share the rivers and woods of the area with others, so they bought some land along the river on Hwy. KK. In the early 1920s, they decided to build Fox Springs Lodge on the property that that had many natural springs. They offered home cooked meals, a little entertainment, and the beautiful Ozarks. They ran the lodge in the summer and went to Florida in the winter. Chester was killed in an accident in Texas in 1931. Olivet ran the lodge until 1944 when she sold it to the Millers. She passed away in 1962. Fox Springs Lodge is still in existence and continues to host visitors to enjoy the natural wonders of the Ozarks.
Local hero Ralph Fishwick, played by Brad Austin, was killed during WW II. His face is pictured on the Gold Star Boys Mural.
Local bank employee Brad Austin enlivened the roll of Ralph Fishwick, WW II naval hero from Cuba, who is portrayed in the Gold Star Boys mural. Ralph Fishwick lost his life during WW II, but that’s not all of the story. The facts stated that he had lost his life in the line of duty on convoy off the coast of Africa in 1942. However, about twenty years ago his family learned that he was killed in a convoy off the East Coast of the US by a mine or possible German sub. The information was in some declassified papers that his niece had requested. The facts were changed at the time so that Americans would not know that German presence was so close to their homeland. Fishwick’s body, along with 14 others, was discovered on May 8, 1943. Because of the cold water, the bodies were perfectly preserved. Fishwick was brought back for burial in the Kinder Cemetery along with other members of the family. The Gold Star Medal was awarded to the families of young men who lost their lives in WW II.
Now, you can view Ralph Fishwick’s image in the Gold Star Boys mural with a little more knowledge because you know “the rest of the story.”
Ralph Fishwick is the last face on the right in the Gold Star Boys mural. Fishwick wore glasses and had to do special eye exercises to be allowed to join the service. His family received the Gold Star Medal when he was killed in the line of duty.
Local businessman Jim Cape played H. Conrad Packard who came from a rather colorful background to become Chairman of the World Oil Institute.
H. Conrad Packard, played by businessman Jim Cape, was born in 1909. His mother died at his birth, and his father was a gambler, owned a bawdy house and saloon, and was an oil wildcatter. Packard was sent off to military school that provided a stability that his home life wouldn’t have offered him. After military school, he worked in the oil fields, and using his intelligence and ambition, ended up working in the headquarters of the Shell Oil headquarters in New York City. Later, he became chairman of the World Oil Institute. Many decisions that would affect the world’s oil industry were made from his secluded farm Oakmoor outside of Cuba, Missouri, where he and his wife lived.
This year’s Echoes from the Past Cemetery Tour shows that Cuba’s history is as rich and colorful as many larger cities. Through its citizens, Cuba was touched by national events and trends.
Gone but not Forgotten
Viva Cuba would like to thank all the area citizens who took parts for the cemetery tour, loaned costumes, and helped with research. We also appreciate those who took the time to take the tour.