Man ‘got hooked’ on old papers; writes history of Pineville people

In 1960, James Reed inherited a stack of newspapers that towered over his six-foot-plus frame. He hauled them to Tulsa, Okla., where they languished in his attic for 20 years.
“I meant to look at them when I had the time,” Reed told a writer for McDonald County Newspapers.
The newspapers were printed in the 1800s by Reed’s great-great-grandfather, Claiborne “Claib” Duval, editor of the Pineville Herald, the only newspaper in McDonald County at the time.
In 1980 Reed took a closer look at the eight-foot stack of newspapers. “I got curious, and I got hooked,” he said.
For the next six years, Reed produced a hand-written, 3,000-page work called “Pineville and Its People.” It followed the lives of more than 80 families from 1883 to 1942.
Now a resident of Powell in eastern McDonald County, Reed dedicates several hours a day to reviewing the old, fragile newspapers and producing a series of books called “A Unique Little History of McDonald County, Missouri.”
Each volume is a year’s worth of news gathered from Duval’s column titled “Pineville News.”
“The newspapers I inherited are in pretty good condition and the collection is almost complete. I’m only missing a few issues from each year,” Reed said.
Now retired, his goal is to transcribe four volumes a year.
Among the entries:
“Jan. 11, 1884—The cold that struck us so suddenly last week was much more severe on our northern neighbors. At Pleasant Hill the thermometers marked 30 degrees below zero. Two children were frozen to death. A carload of 14 mules on the L&S R.R. were frozen to death and two carloads of cattle were frozen to death between Pleasant Hill and Nevada …
“Jan. 14, 1884—Last Wednesday night two girl-loving boys brought their girls to the reading society, then took them to the drug store to treat them. After setting up the cigars, a pound of candy, and various other things, they called for a dram, but the boy who kept the drug store very prudently refused to let them have it, for fear it would make them so sick they couldn’t get home, as they were already very sick from love.”
“I’m midway through with 1887,” Reed said. “I figure this endeavor will keep me busy for the next 15 years. I’ll finish this when I’m 77!”
—Southwest City Republic

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One Comment on “Man ‘got hooked’ on old papers; writes history of Pineville people”

  1. Elizabeth Hutcheson Says:

    My mother recently gave me some old papers. I do mean old. Among them is The Pineville Herald,
    Vol. II. #1 for Friday, July 24, 1908. It’s getting a bit old around the edges but can still be read just fine if handled w/care.
    No one in my family would be interested in this and I just can’t throw it away! I would be interested in donating this copy to a historical society or some enity that would preserve it for the future.
    Let me know.

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