It’s the “Fabulous Fifties.” World War II has ended and the young soldiers have returned home. Peacetime growth and expansion is everywhere in America during the decade. People are buying up what they couldn’t get during the war.

  • Business is good in Gallatin. Chamber of Commerce secretary Roy A Dan said the electrical appliance sales are a good barometer of business. “I was talking to a man the other day in that business, ” Dean explain. “And he was selling electric refrigerators like mad to farms. Now that the farmer has REA and get electricity to his home, he is using it.” (June 22, 1950)
  • The Lambert Cap Factory’s payroll supplements the local economy. (4/10/52) The agricultural community gets a boost with the dedication of the Gallatin Sale Barn (12/7/50) and construction of the MFA Elevator. (9/2/54)

Lambert Manufacturing, headquartered in Chillicothe, MO, used its Gallatin facility to assemble and sew caps and other headwear products for deliveries to customers across the United States. The community and workers invested in the business to entice the factory to locate in Gallatin with many local citizens eager for employment.

  • The Gallatin Truck and Tractor firm was bought by the Sullenger brothers, W. Glenn and Wilbur. (12/21/50)

Web Sullenger, owner and operator of Gallatin Truck & Tractor, hands the keys to the proud new owner of a Farmall 806 tractor. The dealership was located at 801 West Grand Street in Gallatin, MO. (date unknown)

  • Gallatin’s projects include a sewer and disposal plant and a “whiteway” system. Approximately 50 city blocks are to be paved with blacktop coating. (June 22, 1950)
  • Expenditure of more than $100,000 has been planned for construction and maintenance of farm-to-market roads in Daviess County during 1952. In addition 76 miles of the county’s three major highways are schedule for major improvements during the next ten years.
  • Other modern improvements include a dial telephone service which become a reality in Daviess County for the first time in history when the new Green Hills Telephone Corporation exchange at Lock Springs went into operation. That area had been without phone service of any kind since 1947. (Dec. 2, 1954)
  • Increased incomes of Daviess County people during the latter part of the 1940s made possible the strong local market in the 1950s. Figures released showed retail sales in the county during 1948 aggregated $7.2 million, an increase of 324 percent over the $1.7 million in 1939…Wholesale in the county reached a total of $3.0 million in 1948 as compared with $1.0 million in 1939. The service trades included in the census of business recorded receipts totaling $244,000 in 1948 compared with $34,000 in 1939. (May 18, 1950)
  • The importance of the automobile to the local economy is indicated by the fact that automotive sales account for 33 percent of the entire retail business of the county. Residents of Daviess County are spending at the rate of $2,415,000 a year for automotive equipment and supplies. Of the total, filling stations are garnering $730,000 per year. (June 16, 1955)
  • The railroads do not fare so well. Newspaper publisher Harrison’s editorial reads: “Cussin’ the railroads seems to be a popular pastime. But do we know what we’re doing? Last year the railroads paid Daviess County over $70,000 in taxes to help keep the schools going and support other county expenses. The truckers, for which we build wide extra-thick concrete pavement so they can move freight at a lower rate to put the railroads out of business, paid not a single dime and never have.” (9/9/54)

The impact of the railroad in the development of rural America cannot be overstated. Gallatin’s prominence was fueled in no small way be being the crossroads of two railroads. This scene shows the Wabash Depot east of the Grand River near Gallatin, MO. (circa 1955)

  • The country had just started to recover from World War II, when suddenly the Korean Conflict broke out. Until this week there hadn’t been much talk around the square about the Korean War. But, it’s different now — since the word got back that the Reds were shooting American troops after the Yanks had surrendered. (July 13, 1950)
  • Harold Terry and Leo Wheeler are the first two Daviess Countians to enlist since the Korean outbreak. Both were in service during the last war. (July 13, 1950)
  • Lt. Nevin McCartney of Jameson, MO, is wounded. The first area man to become a battle casualty in the Far East. (Aug. 10, 1950)

This memorial plaque is prominently displayed in the Daviess County Courthouse at Gallatin, MO, to honor those who gave their lives in military service during the Vietnam War. The plaque, presented by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and their Auxiliary, was dedicated on July 4, 1987.

  • No ration controls were imposed at first on behalf of the war, but taxes were expected to rise. (July 20, 1950)
  • Eventually a farm scrap drive is on in Daviess County, only now it is under the auspices of the Agricultural Mobilization Committee.
  • President Truman approved production of the hydrogen bomb in 1950.
  • The health and vigor of our domestic economy today and for the past six years is not only a notable achievement of the Truman Administration, but it is our great bulwark against Communistic aggression both at home and abroad….(June 21, 1951-ed)
  • The USSR became a major enemy in the Cold War. Senator Joseph McCarthy saw Communists infiltration everywhere. Americans were feeling a sense of national anxiety.
  • “Gallatin should get ready for the A-Bomb, said Capt. Dalton Davis, U.S. naval medical officer, in a speech to the Rotarians. He warned that the Communists were scattered in large and dangerous numbers throughout this nation, in places where they could do a lot of harm. (July 27, 1950)
  • Daviess County figures prominently in the evacuation plan for KC in the event of an atomic attack there. According to the data, Daviess County would be expected to provide for 27,000, persons, of whom 15,000 would remain. This is four thousand more than the county’s population. (4-14-55)
  • People build bomb shelters in their back yard and worry about surviving. Guest editorial….You didn’t die in the blast, and you escaped fatal dosage of radioactivity. You have only to face the primitive problems of hunger, cold and disease in a world that played 19th century diplomacy with 20th century weapons. Worthwhile to start digging? (March 24, 1955 editorial)

  • American education underwent a dramatic overhaul in the 1950s. Integration began. Parents are wondering Why Johnny Can’t Read. Locally, school’s crack down on lax parents. A father was given 30 days in jail for his son’s truancy. (April 13, 1950). Rural schools in Daviess County undergo a crisis.
  • Drinking water at Daviess County’s rural school for the most part is unfit for human consumption, a survey conducted by Dr. Floyd E. Nelson, county health physician, has shown. School grounds were also surveyed and reports showed that all had unsanitary outdoor toilet facilities. The school grounds in several instances were overrun with snakes and rodents, Nelson said.(3/27/52)
  • School districts are about to be revamped. The big yellow school bus is pushing the little red schoolhouse off the American landscape. Larger buildings offer better facilities at lower cost per pupil. School district reorganization was proposed. There would be six districts, centered around the five larger towns in the county, Gallatin, Pattonsburg, Jamesport, Winston and Jameson. (June 21, 1951)
  • A Parent Teachers Association was formed. (Dec. 30, 1954) By 1958 Gallatin’s new elementary building was complete and ready for the bell. (Aug. 7, 1958)

A new school building for elementary grade students was built on the west side of Gallatin, MO, shown here soon after its completion. During the 1980s the Board of Education renamed the school in honor of longtime elementary school principal Covel Searcy.

  • Problems with education persist through the decades. In thousands of communities both public and private schools are overcrowded with youngsters, staffed by underpaid teachers, and are in disrepair. While our population has grown and the people prosper the school systems of the nation have not kept pace with the advancement and have constantly lost ground. (Nov. 11, 1954)
  • There are fewer farms in Daviess County but they are worth a lot more. Daviess County dropped 135 farms from 1945 to 1950, but the remaining farms increased in value from $46.58 to $75.17 per acre, according to an agricultural census released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • In 1985 there were 2,243 farms embracing 336.544 acres for an average of 150 acres to the farm, valued at an average of $6.59 an acre. In 1950 there were 2,108 farms, embracing 338.231 acres, an average farm of 159.5 acres valued at an average of $75.17 an acre.
  • Farms with telephones showed a gain of 13 in the five year period from 1, 253 in 1945 to 1,264 in 1950. Electricity on the farms showed a gain of from 443 in 1935 to 1,537 in 1950. The number of motor trucks on farms also gained considerably from 290 in 1945 to 607 in 1950. Tractors gained from 795 in 1945 to 1,350 in 1950. A total of 336 farms were powered entirely by tractor.
  • In 1950 there were 169 field-crop farms, other than vegetable and fruit-and-nut, 174 cash grain, five other field crop, 84 dairy farms, 50 poultry farms, 1,230 livestock farms other than dairy and poultry and 253 general farms. The horse and mule population dropped from 5, 943 in 1945 to 3, 650 in 1950. Cattle and calves increased from 34,6262 in 1955 to 37,053 in 1950. Hogs in number jumped from 39,220 in 1945 to 59,661 in 1950.
  • Daviess County farmers travel an average distance of five miles to their nearest trading center. (6/21/51)

This pig escaped from death row at a KC meat packing plant after its owner, Justin Doak, discovered how a trucker had made a mistake. Porky was a 65-pound runt when delivered to the MFA Hog Market in Gallatin, compared to his 230-pound brothers and sisters. Doak spared the runt, putting Porky on a diet of 38% swine conditioner and corn. Porky responded by gaining 1.75 pounds a day… and became a pet along the way. As you can see by this stroll through the Gallatin business district, Porky lived a pampered life of leisure. [MFA – Columbia, MO]

  • Farm competition is the latest fad and local farmers are among the best. Lewis Cox and Richard Porter, both of Gallatin, rode in one-two with top honors in the first annual Missouri Mechanical Corn Picking Contest held at the Robert Macy farm. Mr. Cox went on to win the national championship (10/18/51). J.N. Ward and Wilbur Lehr were Daviss County’s entrants in the state plow event. They matched plowing skills with rivals from 19 other counties at the George Montgomery farm, north of Pattonsburg. The national plowing match was also held on the Montgomery farm. The national event drew a crowd estimated at 50,000. (8/16/51)
  • Who would have guessed that a local farmer could make a fashion statement? Lewis Cox, Gallatin’s corn picking champ, is receiving nationwide publicity this week in the form of 8,500 posters, printed in four colors, which will be distributed over the entire country to dealers who sell Key work clothing. It seems that Lewis has been wearing this brand of work clothing for years. Lewis is shown on the posters in a full length portrait clutching a big trophy in each arm. You can see one of these posters in Crawford’s window. (5/29/52)
  • Television was the dominant media for entertainment and news. Nearly everybody has a TV in their home by now. A television set given at the Corn Picking contest went to Doard Green, who already had one (10/25/51). Sitcoms like The Honeymooners, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and I Love Lucy portrayed ideal families living ideal lives. The real world fell short.
  • Labor trouble is brewing in Jamesport. The Teamsters union out of Chillicothe signed up employees of the concrete vault factory owned by A.V. Spillman. When Mr. Spillman learned of this, he discharged the employees. This is the third attempt at union organization in Daviess County. Unsuccessful efforts have been made at the Snyder Quarries and at the Pattonsburg cap factory. (9/2/54)
  • Nature is anything but ideal. The heat wave of this week may go on record as the most damaging on record…Most areas in the county went into the fourth straight week without rain. Hog and poultry losses have been the worst on record. Farmers have lost up to 10,000 chickens and 200 hogs. All records for the consumption of power and water were broken in Gallatin. (July 15, 1954)
  • Advice is offered if you get caught in a tornado. If caught in a frame house, the southwest corner of the basement offers the best protection. If you have no basement — fall flat on your face and wish you hadn’t done all those mean little things. (May 29, 1952)
  • Fire leveled the popcorn plant at Jameson. (Nov. 25, 1954). Fire destroyed the Phillips Broiler Plant at Coffey destroying the property and killing 13, 000 chickens. (12/30/54)

Eben Estes and his sons, J.D. and Glen, built and operated this popcorn processing plant located on the northwest corner of the intersection of Highway 13 and State Route OO in Jameson, MO. The plant bought corn from area farmers, shelled, cleaned and bagged it before shipping it throughout the United States by carloads on the railroad. The plant hired several workers. In November, 1954, just over a year after the plant opened, it was destroyed by a fire.

  • Pattonsburg civic leaders meeting with representatives of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers office at Kansas City to make it clear that if the Pattonsburg reservoir was built and the town had to be moved , the new site would have to be on highway and railroad facilities or it wouldn’t suit. (Aug. 10. 1950)
  • The second mass meeting in two weeks at Pattonsburg to organize opposition to the Pick-Sloan plan of big flood-control reservoirs in the Grand River basin will be held at Pattonsburg City Hall. More than 200 persons attended.(8/23/51)
  • Smallpox and whooping cough immunizations are offered in the schools county-wide…(10/28/54) but polio is still claiming victims.
  • The first case of infantile paralysis in the county this year is that of Peggy Sue Vyrostek, 6-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Vyrostek, northwest of Gallatin. Peggy is in Missouri Methodist Hospital in St. Joseph, where her condition is reported as satisfactory. (10-12-50)
  • The Daviess County chapter of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis spent $3,254.15 to assist a total of five polio patients last year (1/10/52). Then Dr. Jonas Salk developed a vaccine and Daviess County residents, along with the rest of the nation, shared the thrill of the announcement that the Salk polio vaccine is safe, effective and potent and indications are that the vaccine program in the county might get underway “within next week.” (April 14, 1955)
  • Some 12 Mennonite families have purchased farms and are residing the the Jamesport area.
  • It’s been 10 years since the GI Bill was enacted by congress. This has proved the most successful adult education program adopted in this or any other country.
  • Social Security for farmers goes into effect.  Daviess County formed the “I Like Ike” club.

— researched and presented by Wilbur Bush of Gallatin, MO