Thanks to 40 years of collecting stories, newspaper clippings, photographs and digging through historical records, Larry James has turned out another book on Newton County, Mo.

Thanks to 40 years of collecting stories, newspaper clippings, photographs and digging through historical records, Larry James has turned out another book on Newton County, Mo.
The new book is a complication of stories and pictures from several crossroad communities, many of which have long since fallen off the map. Communities such as Ergo, Kent, Christopher, Waddill and Grangeville are distant memories, living mostly only in the minds of people whose grandfathers or great-grandfathers lived there.
Funds for the publication of "Crossroads Communities and Villages of Newton County, Missouri: Part 1" were provided by Shoal Creek Heritage Preservation. Any profits will be plowed into its treasury for future projects, including Part 2, a second book featuring other communities.
"I included every community I ever heard of in Newton County, if I had anything at all on them," James says.
Unfortunately there is almost no information on many small communities, but some, such as Fairview, has many pictures and much information.
"It was a little easier if the community had a post office," James said. "That meant more people and more activity."
Almost every one of the communities in the book had a general store and a blacksmith. Today, many of these communities have nothing left, not even a foundation of some kind.
"Just about 25 years of so ago, there were a few things to mark some of the towns, but the old signs and old buildings are now gone," James said.
In his research, James found some interesting items. He said most of these towns had dreams of becoming big cities, with lots of commerce. In Stark City, for example, someone built a huge baseball stadium, thinking it would be the center of growth.
"It helped for a while," James said. "They even attracted the Kansas City Monarchs, the famous black team, to come and play a game."
Building Camp Crowder in the 1940s put an end to some communities and some rural schools. Also, several of these towns relied on the railroad or on mining to keep them going. When mining activity ceased or the railroad went another place, most of these towns failed to grow and eventually faded out of sight. As good roads were built on other routes, some communities lost their businesses as people could get to larger towns to shop.
The communities represented in this book are Christopher, Ergo, Fairview, Grangeville, Indian Creek Valley, Kent, Stark City, Stella, Waddill and Wanda.
The book cost $15 and is for sale at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery gift shop, the Granby Museum, the Neosho Chamber of Commerce, the Newton County Museum, Rod's Place Antiques, Silhouette Imaging and Mitchell's drug stores on the Boulevard and downtown.