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 at the beginning of the decade. Chamber of commerce secretary Roy A. Dean 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 can get electricity to his home, he is using it." (June 22, 1950)
000The county continued to thrive on small businesses at the end of the decade. Daviess County has a total of 162 business enterprises employing one or more. (Nov. 30, 58) The county chalks up bigger job gains than most counties in the U.S. In a period of five years, it went from 831 to 1009. (Jan. 1, 59)
The big bug-a-boo during the decade was automation and the fear that machines would put people out of work. Such was not the case. In the long run, machines created more jobs than they destroyed.
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 Salebarn (12/7/50) and construction of the MFA Elevator. (9/2/54)— The Gallatin Truck and Tractor firm was bought by the Sullenger brothers, W. Glenn and Wilbur. (12/21/50) 000The Longwood Automatic Stove Company is now in production in its new building located on the Critten farm about five miles east of Gallatin. At present there are about eight men working at the various Critten enterprises including the stove factory, custom combining and earth moving. (Oct. 16, 58)
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) xxxExpenditure of more than $100,000 has been planned for construction and maintenance of farm-to-market roads. In addition 76 miles of the county’s three major highways are scheduled for major improvements during the next ten years. (3-27-52) 000A water treatment plant was under construction by 1958 after voters approved a $65,000 bond issue. (Sept. 25, 1958)
***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 Spring went into operation. That area had been without phone service of any kind since 1947. (Dec. 2, 54)
Increased incomes of Daviess County people during the latter part of the 1940s made possible the strong local market in the 50s.
\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 million in 1948 as compared with $1 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.
***Mr. 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)
000And the Winston Coal Mine, once a busy place, does not get a bid when the property was placed up for sale for taxes. The Winston Coal Co. was formed in 1936. The output reached 200 tons daily for a time. Fifty men were once employed there. But attempts to operate the mine profitably eventually failed. (Sept. 4, 1958)
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 nowsince 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 is wounded. The first area man to become a battle casualty in the far east. (Aug. 10, 1950)
–No ration controls were imposed at first on behalf of the war, but taxes were expected to rise. (July 20, 1950)
xxxEventually a farm scrap drive is on in Daviess County, only now it is under the auspices of the Agricultural Mobilization Committee. (10-25-51)
xxxPresident 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.
xxxA Daviess County woman fears that criticism of the Red Cross blood program heard in Gallatin on the recent bloodmobile day and since on the streets of Pattonsburg and Coffey might be the result of Communist propaganda. (Jan. 3, 1952) The woman had heard rumors that the blood was not getting to the boys and the Red Cross was making money on the deal. The Democrat assured that the rumor was false and stated, "It’s red blood we need, not red words." (1/3/52)
—"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)
000The state created a new survival plan in 1958. Daviess County is within easy fallout distance of two major target areasSt. Joe and Kansas City. Large public buildings would likely be used for hospitals. Billeting in private homes would be the primary method of housing evacuees."Residents should bear one thing in mindpeople fleeing from an atomic attack must be cared for even if nothing else at the time works right. It is a burden of the atomic age and we’d just as well learn to live with it." (Aug. 21, 58)
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-ed)
\American education underwent a dramatic overhaul in the 50s. 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.
xxxDrinking water at Daviess County’s rural schools 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.
xxxSchool 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. (April, 54…see Dec. 30, 54)
000By 1958 Gallatin’s new elementary building was complete and ready for the bell. (Aug. 7, 1958)
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)
xxxThere 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 1945 there were 2,243 farms embracing 336,544 acres for an average of 150 acres to the farm, valued at an average of $46.58 an acre. In 1950 there were 2,108 farms, embracing 336,231 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, 164 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 34,626 in 1945 to 37,058 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)
000The County Swine Industry Development Committee was elected to set up a program to stimulate improved production to meet the demands of the consumer. "Jack Sprat could eat no fat." Consumers are demanding lean, red muscling in their pork. (Oct. 9-16, 58)
000The Daviess county chapter of the N.F.O. conducted a membership drive in behalf of the organizations "Collective Bargaining Plan for Agriculture" by brining in their "big gun", Oren Lee Staley, national N.F.O. president. (1/15/59)
xxxFarm 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) 000Clarence Clark; won the state plowing match in the contour division. A crowd of over 6,000 was on hand. (Aug. 7, 1958) 000Daviess County’s skilled tractor operators’ contest was held Aug. 11 at the Sale Barn. (Aug. 7, 58)
xxxJ.N. Ward and Wilbur Lehr were Daviess 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?
xxxLewis 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)
xxxTelevision 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 Douard Green, who already had one. (10/25/51)
000Fred Wilcox, owner of the Wilcox Propane Gas Co. installed two-way radios in three company trucks. The calls put over the radio are similar to those heard on M Squad and other detective programs on television. (July 24, 58)
Daviess Countians will begin paying higher postal rates. The rate on letters is four cents an ounce. (July 21, 1958)
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. (9/9/54) The placing of two bombs in Jamesport, in front of the Home Exchange Bank and in the yard of its president, A V. Spillman, adds tension to the labor dispute. (9/16/54)
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.
xxxIf caught in a frame house, the southwest corner of the basement offers the best protection. If you have no basementfall 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 18, 000 chickens. (12/30/54)
And flood…And flood control…
–Pattonsburg civic leaders meeting with representatives of the U.S army engineers office at Kansas City made 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…They didn’t want to move any further than necessary. (Aug. 10. 1950)
xxxThe 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)
xxxThe Daviess County chapter of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis spent $2,354.15 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)
***ten years since bill enacted by congress…This has proved the most successful adult education program adopted in this or any other country…(11/25/54)
***Some 12 Mennonite families have purchased farms and are residing the Jamesport area. (8/5/54)
***Gone With The Wind is playing at the local theatres. It costs between 15 to 60 cents, depending on the theatre. (Oct. 14, 54…page 5)
000In many parts of the country, married women in droves are quitting the home to take jobs in industrybut not so in Daviess County even with its two cap factories. Locally, only 22.6 percent of all women above the age of 14 hold outside jobs. This compares with 28.9 percent in the United States. The actual figures were 978 in the local labor force out of a total of 4,315 women over the age of 14. (12/4/58)
Researched by Wilbur Bush