DNR Resource Manager Bryan Bethel and Brick Autry will be the next speakers in the Summer Speaker Series at 6 p.m. Thursday followed by historian Tony Starr on June 27 at the Fredericktown branch of the Ozark Regional Library.
Autry and Bethel will show the intertwining of fossils and Missouri history during “Missouri History and Fossils.” Starr will show off incredible research of when lead and barite were transported from Potosi in the early 1700s during the presentation “The Three Notch Road.”
“Brick will be in 1865 dress and be giving a presentation about what life was like during the Civil War,” Bethel said. “Much like people today don’t go anywhere without their laptop or cell phone, people back then did not go out without their musket, ammunition, food rations, a bag with daily stuff like soap, needles and family photos.”
Bethel said he will be giving a presentation about fossils. He said he finds the topic interesting due to the fact that a living thing from so long ago is still here today for people to study, and there are so many kinds of life from back then that are so different from what is here today.
“I have always been interested in science and history,” Bethel said. “I love stories, and history is nothing but the best story there ever was because it is exciting and true.”
Bethel taught history in middle school, high school and college level classes and science in middle and high school before becoming a park manager.
“We teach people and kids about fossils so they will understand and appreciate them when they see them in our parks,” Bethel said. “But also so they will know that they should not take fossils out of our parks as souvenirs, as moving them subtracts from the context and history of the fossils.”
Bethel said he hopes those attending the talk will leave with an appreciation for history both recent and ancient.
“Understanding the past gives you skills to understand today,” Bethel said. “You can find examples in history that are similar to things you might run into today and see how people in the past addressed those problems, and how their efforts turned out.”
The speaker for June 27 will be historian Tony Starr who will discuss the Three Notch Road that connected Mine La Motte, and later Fredericktown, to the Mississippi River.
“Often called the first road in Missouri, Native Americans guided French colonists along this ancient trace from the salt springs to the galena deposits in 1715,” Starr said. “Fredericktown owes its existence and much of its history to these minerals.”
Starr said miners hauled lead along the Three Notch Road from Mine La Motte to the river by horse pack train, later improving the road for wheeled carts. He said parts of the route persist as roads that are still driven on today.
“My interest in Mine La Motte and the Three Notch Road began on hikes as a Boy Scout at the S bar F Scout Ranch,” Starr said. “I wondered about the stories behind the ruined log cabins there. The camp comprises one-fifth of the ancient French land grant.”
Starr said S bar F celebrated its 50th anniversary as a camp in 2015 and he wrote a section about the history of the area before it became a camp for a book published by the Boy Scouts.
Starr is also an active member in Historic Madison County Society and continues to actively research the area.
The Fredericktown branch of the Ozark Regional Library will continue its Summer Speakers Series at 6 p.m., every Thursday evening with the exception of July 4.
The next speaker after Starr will be Missouri Mines State Historic Site Director Art Hebrank.
Other speakers lined up include John Bennett, author and historian Brooks Blevins, archaeologist Russel Weissman, and Historian Jesse Francis.
Hebrank will return to do a reprise of his Geology of Missouri talk which he gave last year entitled “Missouri’s Oldest History: Her Geologic History” on July 11.
A topic of particular interest to the community, cobalt, will be discussed by Bennett during “Cobalt Mining part II: The National Lead Company Operations” on July 18.
Blevins will travel to town from Springfield where he is a professor specializing in Ozark studies and has recently had published “History of the Ozarks: Volume I.” He will give a presentation titled “Ozark Myths” on July 25.
The topic of the Trail of Tears always tears at heart and conscience, Weissman will fill in some of the blanks of what happened locally during “The Cherokee Trail of Tears in Southeast Missouri: The Hildebrand Detachment Route” on Aug. 1.
Francis will rap up the series with “Travel, Trails and Railroad: Moving Around in Old Missouri” on Aug. 8.
All programs are at 6 p.m. and are free and open to the public at Ozark Regional Library in Fredericktown.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at email@example.com