BENTON -- The wait is over. After nearly three years of gathering information and photos, the Scott County Historical and Genealogy Society has completed its book, "History and Families of Scott County, Missouri."
Prior to the completion of "History and Families of Scott County, Missouri," the only information available about the history and family of Scott County was up through 1890. "As you know, a lot has occurred in Scott County since 1890, and we wanted to incorporate the 20th century and carry it on forward," said Society Book Committee Chair Margaret Harmon.
Approximately 300 stories are featured in the book. The Society's goal was to receive 1,000 stories, Harmon said. "We were disappointed we didn't receive more submissions from families, but we tried to document the county the best we could for future generations," Harmon said.
Darlene Margrabe of Sikeston said she was delighted with the book. She received her copy Tuesday.
"I think it's a fine book," said Margrabe, a New Hamburg native. "It dates back to a lot of the older times -- more than what I thought it would. I was a little disappointed that more of the families didn't contribute a synopsis though."
In addition to the lack of submissions from the community, the Society also faced some publishing problems, which delayed the turnaround rate of the books, Margrabe said. However, other than that, the Society is very pleased with the book, she said.
"I just think it's a good collection," Margrabe said. "It's a good reference material. It's an informational, educational book, and it does have history behind it."
Harmon said she learned many things while gathering information for the book such as how important the trains were in Scott County and how the county developed.
"One of the things we thought was real important was to record for future generations every single community and town in the Sikeston area," noted Margaret Harmon, With large sections on Sikeston, Chaffee, Benton and Blodgett, the book also features many pictures of buildings and people -- some in existence today and others not, Harmon noted.
Towns that no longer exist are documented in the book include Salcedo, Lusk, Illmo and Lambertville.
"Lambertville used to be where all of the soldiers of World War I were shipped overseas. We have a picture of them sitting out in Lambertville, waiting to board a train," recalled Harmon, a Sikeston native.
Even smaller, existing settlements like Blissett are featured in the book, Harmon added.
In addition to places in Scott County, the Society wanted to capture personalities of the County including those who've served on the Board of Regents at Southeast Missouri State University and other unique residents.
"We wanted to highlight people who've made a difference in Scott County," Harmon said. "Sue Marble of Sikeston was featured, and she is very fascinating. Sue was active as a board member for the Lincoln School building and known larger as a peace maker in racial situations. We felt she was important to be written about."
Another individual was Mary Spalding of Benton. Spalding recently celebrated her 100th birthday, and the Society felt it was important to feature someone who lived a century in Scott County, Harmon explained.
"Everybody should know where their roots are and where people come from. They had to start somewhere (with the book). I bet some families who didn't submit anything will look at the book, and say, 'Gee, I wish I would've sent something in,'" Margrabe pointed out.
Harmon even said if the Society receives numerous submissions from families who didn't send information the first time, they may consider making a second volume.
A burgundy leatherette, the book cover features a picture of the Scott County Courthouse and the title embossed in gold, Harmon explained. A copy of the book is on display at the Riverside Regional Library in Benton and will soon be at the Sikeston Depot, too, for public viewing.
"It is really something special -- something that generations to come will be happy to have," summarized Caryl Hairston of Sikeston, secretary of the Scott County Historical and Genealogy Society. "It's for people who have lived in Scott County and for those who are presently living there."
Books will be sold from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Riverside Regional Library in Benton and cost $55. For more information, call Harmon at (573) 335-0989.