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Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.


Knocking on Doors

Dave Allen 07-27-2013I wanted to see if I could find any trace of the house on Robinson Road where I photographed Bill Robinson and Jesse King in 1969. I drove the length of the short road and didn’t see a house like it, so I doubled back to see if any of the land forms were the same. I got no answer at the first two houses I tried. At the third, I was greeted by two dogs about half my size who threatened to lick me to death. A young man working on a bicycle pedal was almost as friendly as his dogs (except for the licking part), but he was of no help.

I drove down a lane and heard a dog barking inside a trailer. When I knocked on the door, the dog came charging down the hallway and launched himself at the window at about neck-high. They (a) didn’t need a doorbell and (b) probably didn’t have many door-to-door salesmen (who survived.)

I had better luck at the last house: Dave Allen was working out in his driveway. After I explained my mission, he thought he might have a vague recollection of the two men, but said his dad might be better able to help. He reached out for him on his cellphone. While we were waiting, Dave showed me two farm tractors he was restoring and told me that the Allen family had been living on that land since 1850. Nobody else’s name has ever been on it, he said.

Norm Allen

Norman K Allen 07-27-2013

Norman K. Allen, 77, was a delight to talk with. He thought the house might have been one “just before you go down the steep hill with the curve. We didn’t go down there much.” He said it was possible the old house might have been reconfigured, but a second glance convinced us that it must have been replaced with a newer one if we were in the right place. (I’m not convinced we were. Some points of the terrain didn’t add up for me.)

Another Allen was fascinating: Capt. Josiah Benton Allen was one of the men responsible for the erection of the Civil War memorial on the Main Green at Ohio University. When he enlisted in the Union Army, his mother didn’t want him to go. “She chased him all the way from the house to the train,” Norm said. He was 19.

Capt. Allen lost arm at Vickburg

Norman K Allen 07-27-2013The information Dave and Norm provided pretty much dovetailed with a biography of Capt. Allen in the 1883 History of Hocking Valley: “July 4, 1861, he enlisted in Company C, Thirtieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry as a private. In April, 1862, he was promoted to First Orderly Sergeant. He participated in a number of battles and skirmishes, the most important being Giles Court-House, Carnitax Ferry, Second Bull Run, Centerville, South Mountain, Antietam, Haines’s Bluff, Jackson, Champion Hill, Black River and Vicksburg.

At the last, May 22, 1863, while storming Fort Gregg, he being in command of his company at the time, all but fourteen of his men were killed, he himself losing his left arm. After submitting to two amputations of the same arm, and being unfitted for service thereby, he was discharged for disability in 1861.

He returned to Athens and attended the Ohio University until the close of the college year in 1866, then went to Missouri and that fall was engaged in the insurance business. During the winter he taught school in the village of Maysville, of that State; returned to Athens in April, 1867, and the following fall was, without opposition, elected Recorder of Athens County on the Republican ticket. He held that office by being re-elected, for twelve years. From January to June, 1880, he held the stewardship of the Athens Asylum for the Insane. Losing that position through a change in the administration, he was appointed Recording Clerk in the office of the Secretary of State at Columbus, in December, 1880, remaining there until January, 1883.

Historical treasure trove

Norman K Allen 07-27-2013Saturday evening, I was meeting with some of the folks from the Athens Historical Society and Museum and giving them a recap of my day. “Does the name ‘Josiah Benton Allen’ mean anything to you?” I asked.

The room suddenly got quiet, then someone said, “Well, duh, yes. He was a big deal.”

“What would you say if I told you I spent two hours with his descendants. Oh, and by the way, they have his Purple Heart and some of his original correspondence?”

Saying something like that to historians elicits a Pavlovian response. “How did you meet these people?”

“Oh, just by knocking on doors. That’s what I used to do.”

(You can click on the photos to make them larger.)

6 comments to Knocking on Doors

  • Margi Whitright

    This blog proves the fact that I don’t have to know the area you feature to enjoy it. I feel like I’ve known these people all my life just by reading about them and seeing their pictures. Thanks for taking us along on your journey.

    • Thanks.

      When I was on the photo to Wife Lila last night telling her of my day, I said, “I don’t know what I’m going to post tomorrow. I don’t know if I want to dump an Ohio story on them.”

      “I thought it was interesting,” she said. “Just write it like you told it.”

      So, I did. I’m glad you enjoyed it. You may get another travel story or two as I wrap up my visit to Athens and head back to Cape.

  • darrell ulrich

    Ken, your information, stories and photos are always interesting to read and see.
    Thanks, and keep them coming!

  • Jane Neumeyer

    I would love stories about the people you meet and places you go as you travel, regardless of where you are.

  • Terry Hopkins

    It is amazing what and who you find when you only knock on doors or talk to people on the street! Keep it up!

  • The tree by the barn in your photo of Jesse looks distinctive enough for you to place it, maybe? Though no leaves were on it when you visited. I can’t tell much about surrounds otherwise. A shame you couldn’t find it. Would love to know the end to that story.

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