BENTON - It's been like a story-telling marathon for the Scott County Historical and Genealogical Society.
Members have spent hours over the past few months sorting through photos, listening to stories and reading family histories submitted by Scott County residents and former residents.
"We have, and Judy Bowman at the Train Depot was very helpful in supplying information and pictures on the old Sikeston Airport and other history of Sikeston," said Margaret Harmon, Scott County Historical and Genealogical Society president. "Tom Lett and I went all over the county and talked with people, tried to learn about the small communities and met many nice people."
Now, that priceless information is one step closer to being preserved in book form.
Written in commemoration of Scott County's 180th anniversary, "Scott County Family History and Families" will include in information on the general history of Scott County, individual communities, the Little River Drainage District and the Harvey Park Airport Missouri Institute of Aeronautics 309th AAFFTD. A special section will feature unique individuals.
Harmon explained the idea to create such a publication came from the purpose of the non-profit society which is to publish and preserve historical records and family histories for current citizens to enjoy and to educate future generations.
"We started on the project in early 2001 with a small committee," Harmon said. "I have been doing most of the writing of the history of Scott County and Carolyn Frey has been responsible for logging the family histories and pictures as they came in before sending them to the publisher. Lois Spalding, our treasurer, is responsible for depositing checks and tracking the pre-publishing book sales and Tom Lett has been working on getting churches, business and organizations to sponsor a page in the book, which is how we are able to publish the family histories at no charge. We have been disappointed that more family businesses have not preserved their history in the book by buying a page. As a non-profit society the fee is fully deductible."
Several members of the society are contacting churches, businesses and organizations about sponsoring pages. To make it even easier, they only have to complete an outline and organizers will write the page for them.
Although organizers are appreciative of having received over 300 family histories, they would like to see more and there's still time.
"After making several mailings announcing the publication of the 'Scott County Family History Book' we have been disappointed that more people did not submit family histories as each submission is free," said Harmon. "There is no charge for having your history and photo published in this book, up to 500 words and one photo. An 8 1/2 by 11 double-spaced page is generally 250 words. The publisher has already begun typesetting but if families would submit their histories within the next week to Scott County History Book, P. O. Box 151, Benton, Mo. 63736 they could still get into the book."
Harmon said the information will be sent to Turner Publishing Company by the end of January. It is anticipated that the book will be out by late spring or early summer and there will be notification of the arrival. In addition, plans are being made to have books available at various businesses.
The pre-published price of the encyclopedia-style hardcover book will be $53.95 or $89 for the deluxe real bonded leather edition. There will be an additional $6 per book for postage, if mailed. The book will be available to be purchased from Lois Spalding in Benton, Donna Cannon or Betty Mirly in Chaffee, Ramona Glastetter in Kelso, Carolyn Frey in Morley, Carolyn Pendergrass in Scott City or Caryl Hairston in Sikeston.
For more information contact Harmon at 335-0989 or Caryl Hairston at 471-5872.