Some time back I wrote about how due to a mapping error the name of the road cutting through the place where I grew up is misspelled.
Well, I’m happy to report my own mother is doing something about it.
As I previously wrote, Beeman Hollow, in northwestern McDonald County, was named for early settler and War of 1812 veteran James Beeman and his family. I grew up about a quarter mile from what I believe is the original homestead Beeman farmed in the 1840s. Beeman Hollow, and the tributary Beeman Branch, have been spelled the correct way on topographical maps for years.
But when all the dirt roads in the county were finally labeled with official names for emergency response purposes, after I left home, an out of state company hired for the mapping project incorrectly spelled Beeman Hollow Road as “Beamon.”
Now, that may not seem like a big deal, but changing the spelling of the road affects the memory of who Beeman Hollow is named after in the first place. It was named for James Beeman, and his family, not James “Beamon”. I realize spellings can change, even with family names, but to me it’s just a matter of doing what’s right, fixing an error, and clarifying the historical memory. The history of a place isn’t just found in books, after all.
Correcting the spelling of the road on the maps and the addresses requires 100 percent approval by the residents on the road. So that is just what my mom, Cheryl Franklin, is doing, clipboard in hand. I don’t know how many folks live on that seven mile or so stretch of road, but my mom is trying to talk to them all and get their signature. My folks still live in Beeman Hollow and love our local history as much as I do.
I don’t know why anyone would refuse to sign, and correct this error. Once the county notifies the US Postal Service of a road name change, the USPS Address Management Systems department enters the new address and ties it to the old address in their database. Mail addressed to the old address will be automatically sent to the same address but with a new spelling. Customers do not need to submit any forms to the USPS and will incur no financial charges for the change.
I hope this gets done in the near future, and the history of Beeman Hollow, and the family it is named after, is respected and preserved.
-Wes Franklin writes a weekly column, That History Guy, for The Neosho Daily News.