Advance Train Depot

The Advance train depot was originally supposed to be located in Lakeville, described in 1875 as a “thriving town” with a population of about two hundred and all of the necessities of life in that era: a post office, a Union church, Masonic lodge, hotel, public school, general store and a saw and grist mill.

When Louis Houck extended his Cape Girardeau Railway line through the Old Field, heading south and west, though, he balked at the $30 an acre price Lakeville owner Jacob Kappler was asking.

Land in Advance was $10 an acre

Houck agreed that Kappler’s price wasn’t THAT far out of line, but he instructed his civil engineer Major James Francis Brooks to “advance” about a mile west near a stand of mulberry trees and lay out a new town where Joshua Maberry would sell the land for $10 an acre.

New Lakeville thrived and was later named Advance, with the accent on the first syllable. The original town dried up when it was bypassed by the railroad.

Railroad abandoned

I shot these photos for a story that ran in The Missourian June 24, 1966. The first train trip on this line was made in 1881. The last was Nov. 30, 1965. The tracks which once carried as many as four passenger trains a day in the 1920s were being abandoned. The ties were sold to Vernon Lee of Puxico; most of the right of way became part of the property that it adjoined. (What a great rails-to-trails bike path that would have made.)

A Missouri Railroad Pioneer

I picked up a book, A Missouri Railroad Pioneer: The Life of Louis Houck (Missouri Biography Series), when I was in Cape in the spring. I quickly set it back down when I saw it was forty bucks.

Reader, railroad buff and frequent commenter Keith Robinson highly recommended it, so I swallowed hard and bought it when I was in Cape this fall. It’s a great read about someone whose name I had heard all my life. I knew he must have been important enough to have a SEMO stadium named after him, but I never realized how key he was to the development of the Southeast Missouri region. (There might not have BEEN a Southeast Missouri State University if there hadn’t been a Louis Houck, by the way.)

Paul Corbin

Another reader, Madeline DeJournett said I should give local historian Paul Corbin a call. We chatted a few minutes and he mentioned that Missourian photographer Fred Lynch had published some audio recordings of him talking about the railroad and growing up in the Advance area. They’re worth a listen.

The old depot wasn’t just a place where the trains stopped. There’s a sign on the building saying that it’s the Railroad Express Agency, the way you got stuff to you in the days before Fed-Ex and UPS. I had a big box of stuff shipped by Railway Express from Cape to Athens, Oh., when I was in college. (They crushed the box and I had a devil of a time getting them to settle, but that’s another story.)

Another sign proclaimed that it was the Western Union Telegraph and Cable Office. I suspect it was a mail and newspaper drop, too. The Missourian used to put out an early edition for train delivery. It was a mishmash of yesterday’s news, today’s news and bad layouts. You had to have wanted a newspaper pretty badly to accept that one.

I’m not sure when the depot was finally torn down.

84 Replies to “Advance Train Depot”

  1. Thanks for the pictures. Having grown up & living in Advance all but 2 years of my 59 I remember it well. My grandfather John Long was a conductor on the train. Although I don’t remember I have been told many times he took me for a trip to Brownwood when I was less than 2 years old. I remember many walking excursions up and down the tracks toward Brownwood. Treasures abounded odd shaped rocks, old rusty railroad spikes & other pieces of detrious that only a young boy would find worth bringing home. I even remember when the park in the center of town still had hitching posts with horse heads on top & the rings in their mouths. Heck I even remember seeing grave markers there since it used to be a cemetary. Supposedly there is a whole story about that which isn’t so nice. The old timers like my great uncle would sit at the benches in the park all day playing checkers, swapping pocket knives & telling tall tales. Who needed i-pods, texting, im’s etc. if they had existed with all those wonderful things going on. I’ll get off here but one other thing. Not only did we have the depot & mill where the Bank of Advance sits now was a movie theater & bowling alley. Thanks again Ken for the pictures.

  2. These are the most clear photos I’ve seen of the old depot, Ken, and they’re the only ones I’ve ever seen of the site when the rails were being taken up.
    Of course, our records at the North Stoddard Countian office only go back to bound copies from 1993.
    Paul Corbin has a photo of the last train that went through in 1965, and Ken Carlton (who lives at Toga) remembers how they took the tracks up as they made that last trip. He says that sometimes at night he thinks he hears the whistle of the old train as it sounded when it went by his house.
    Thomza Zimmerman, an early Advance reporter, wrote about the last trip, but I’ve seen no other accounts. It’s as if the townspeople were so disappointed with the railroad leaving that they ignored it.

    1. Off subject, but wanted to say that I loved Thomza. She was a sweet lady and Salty (Lymann) were always good to ne. Somewhere I still have a Reader’s Digest with her story about the bird that visited.

  3. Thanks for posting these pictures! I too, grew up just outside of Advance in Toga. I still remember when the train used to run thru town. I also remember my mom telling the story about the train conductor that saved everyone who worked at the Inland Shoe factory warehouse when a tornado was approaching. He saw the tornado coming and blew his horn and pointed at the twister to get everyone’s attention. I have no idea of his name but he was a hero!

    1. Here is The Missourian’s account of the tornado that hit Advance Apr. 29, 1963.

      The members of the Frisco train crew that gave the warning that is credited with saving lives: R.M. Moore, engineer; Dave Peeple, fireman; W.B. McKenzie, conductor; R.J Richbourgh and L.B. Hooker, brakemen.

      Early reports said that there were no injuries. Police credit the Frisco crew with saving the lives of 16 workers at the shoe factory and a family living near the tracks.

  4. My father Dewey Stratton was the Frisco agent at
    Advance until he had a stroke in 1948. He was only there for a few years. He continued to live in Cape Girardeau and took a bus to work every day.

  5. First and foremost, thanks for posting the pictures. There are individuals on the website that will be glad to be directed to this blog for such clear pictures or the Advance Depot. Secondly, I am glad you bought the book, it is very enlightening to find out how big of an influence Louis Houck had on the development of southeast Missouri.

    Frisco records indicate the removal of the rails through Advance was completed May 6, 1966.

    Anyone seeking more information on the Hoxie Sub of the Frisco and Advance are welcome to come to the St Louis – San Francisco Railway Historical and Modeling Society’s website,

    1. Thanks to you for nudging me to buy the book. Louis Houck and I are cut from the same cheapskate cloth.

      It’s more than just about the man. It paints a great picture of how Southeast Missouri was developed. I wasn’t aware of how Houck probably saved Southeast Missouri State University for Cape when the original Normal admin building burned.

      And, I learned that William Vandiver, the author of one of my favorite quotes, was the school’s president.

      When vendors would come calling, I’d point the wall where I had posted Vandiver: “I’m from the land of corn, cotton, cockleburs and Democrats. Frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I’m from Missouri. You’ve got to show me.”

  6. Ken — Wponderful pictures. Does the book tell you whatever happened to the Houck Railroad after it passed out of Houck hands and before it became part of the Frisco? Also, now that I know how Advance was named, your reference to Delta reminds me that I once heard the story of how that town was named but cannot remember it. Was Delta named for the split in the old highways there?

    1. Paul,

      I did a quick search, but didn’t come up with the background for Delta’s name.

      The book goes into great detail in what happened to all of Houck’s branches (I think they totaled just over 100 miles), but I don’t remember the specifics of the transition.

      Keith Robinson probably knows it right off the top of his head.

  7. My Gr-Gr Grandfather was Jacob Kappler. Born in 1833 in Bavaria, he immigrated to the Port of New Orleans in 1855. He married Emma Tropf and had 1 son, Martin, in New Orleans. The family is listed on the 1860 census in Stoddard Co. He was a farmer and lawyer. He was enrolled into the bar in 1867 and also worked as a land agent for Mr. Bollinger. Jacob had aquired about 2000 acres of land by the time he died in 1884. Land was extremely important to him. Each of his 4 surviving children inherited equal shares of land when his wife, Anna died. One of his daughters, Emma Christina Barbara Kappler Farrar was my Great Grandmother. Her son, Franklin Oaks Farrar was my Granddad. Granddad Frank had a million stories about Advance and loved to tell them. He loved the area and the people. He talked about taking the train to “The Cape” with his father to see President Taft. His cousins were the 5 Zimmerman boys. When they got together the smoke would spiral up and the stories would pour out. It was wonderful to sit close by and fall under their storytelling spell.

  8. I also remember the old ice plant a short distance across the tracks from the depot. Used to go there when I was very young to enjoy the cool. Great memories. The train came through years later blowing their whistle and yelling to tell the people that a tornado was following them.

  9. Oh, yes — Joel Rhodes’ book on Houck is WONDERFUL! He used Houck’s own personal library and letters as a source and included many humorous anecdotes about a most remarkable Missourian! (He didn’t trust automobiles, so he supervised the building of Academic Hall on horseback!) Rhodes spoke to the Stoddard County Historical Society in Bloomfield shortly before the book came out. Absolutely fascinating material and riveting speaker!

  10. Ken,
    thanks to you for the photos, and to all the people who commented. Growing up in Advance,one of the big grade school events was taking a trip by train for a day off of school. I admit, I did not know how Advance got its name.
    When John Denver was just getting popular, he gave a concert in Cape where he announced how glad he was to be in Cape – “Gateway to Advance.” Brought down the house.

    1. I didn’t realize you were an Advance boy. When did you migrate to the Big City?

      I think the population of Advance was about 733 in those days. When you left, did you have to scratch out the population sign and provide an update?

  11. ken: I love to do Genealogical work and find out interesting things. When I started out doing my family genealogy on the “Revelle” family I had little to go on so I started the work about 1980. I found out bits and pieces but since my dads dad had passed away in 1966 and I never met him while I was growing up and a lot of my family members didn’t know anything more than that my grandfathers dad did live in Delta and died there too. With the advent of computers I found out more so I sent for a “Death Certificate on my Great Grandfather Alexander Revelle.
    I did get a Death Certificate and it said he was born at “Lakeville, Mo”. I hadn’t ever heard of a “Lakeville, Mo.” so I called a genealogist that lives in Dexter, Mo. named M.A. Hart. He told me that “Lakeville” was about a mile and a half east of where Advance is now. So I live in Bloomfield and found out that I live approx. 15 to 17 Miles from where my Great Grandfather Alexander Revelle was born. I foundout he was born in Jan 1856 at Lakeville and died in Delta in April 1915. So I know where he was born and I know his Mothers name from the 1880 Census but I don’t know his Fathers name at all so I hit a brickwall. But as I read how Lakeville just “Died out” and the people of lakeville were bypassed so they split and some went to a town called “Toga” (pronounced Togee) how they get that I don’t know, and the rest of the Lakevile people went to a place called “Arab” very interesting. “Advancewas first called “New Lakeville” and in 1897 the name of the town was changed to what it is today “Advance” meaning the town was advancing. So a bit of History there but you never know what you’ll uncover doing Genealogy. Thanks Much for this article.
    Lyndel Revelle

  12. Both of my parents and my most of family are or were residence in South East MO. Advance especially.

    Was very interesting reading. I need to print some of this for her. She really have to much to do with the internet (well, none).

    Thanks for sharing. Lisa Leadbetter (Simmers) Rock

  13. My grandfather Dr. C.E. Lewis (Doc Ed)as he was called was a doctor in Advance for many years. He also practiced in Bell City for a time. My dad started a restaurant on hwy #25 in 1932 during the depression. It was a log cabin that we lived in also. This was when I was first born. The first customer had to pay in advance so dad could buy the gas to cook the hamburger. Several years later he opened Dean’s Place” a restaurant in the middle of Advance.

  14. Thanks Ken I am like a lot of the other people and have
    spent time in Advance. My mom and dad were both from this area and Paul Corbin is my uncle. He continues to write books, and articles for the Missourian even at the age of 94 or 95. Fortunately a lot of his stories have been recorded so that part of history is not lost. Keep up the good work.

  15. Just an absolutely great backward glance to life in Advance. I was so sorry the depot in Advance was torn down or somehow destroyed and not preserved as the one in Puxico. To all the people who replied to the article and pictures….It is so nice to hear from people I went to school with …..Let’s keep on touch!

  16. My grandparents were Carrie and Corby Wiggins and most of my very best childhood memories are from Advance and my large extended Wiggins/Corbin/Goodman/Ward etc… family- many of whom are still living in the area. I am related to Paul Corbin too. I remember the trains, the Mill, Hinkle’s, Corbin’s and Ward’s stores and following my Grandmother around the town square. I also remember my Uncle Bud Wiggins collecting the tornado shoes. I went to that John Denver concert! I am now a new fan of this blog and will go through the family archives for pictures to send. My daughter, another Carrie, has become the family historian working on geneology and my brother Cameron and I are now re-habbing the 100 year old Goodman-Wiggins house in Advance which will continue to be our family homeplace. Thanks to everyone for adding all of this wonderful information about our “hometown”- the friendlist town in America!

    1. You just rattled off a bunch of names I’ve heard all my life.

      When I had just barely learned how to scribble, I grabbed a counter check out of my grandfather’s store and marched down to Hinkles for some ice cream or something. It was quickly explained to me that just because you could WRITE a check didn’t mean you could use it like money.

      You probably remember the old movie theater, too, that didn’t have air conditioning, so they put hay between two screens, poured water on it and let a fan suck in “cool” air.

      At some point, the hay caught fire, either from spontaneous combustion or because someone flicked a cigarette into it, if I got my story straight.

  17. Pat, your uncle will be 97 in November, and we consider him a Community Treasure!! He drives to the post office every day and to Cape every once in awhile to check on the Indian artifacts he donated to the nature center between Cape and Jackson. He also writes a column for the North Stoddard Countian every other week!

  18. Lyndel Revelle
    I grew up with in Cape Girardeau with Don
    Revelle. If you think he is related to you let me know.

  19. I loved growing up in Advance. I remember Saturday afternoons when the town square was full of people. Wards Store was always busy and back then they not only bagged your groceries but carried them to your car for you! Charlie and Sis Hinkle who had Hinkle’s were my great aunt & uncle. I remember Sunday afternoons when all the teenagers would ‘cruise’ town, make the loop (about a total of 3 blocks!) and come back again. Doesn’t sound like much fun now, but we always had a blast back then!

  20. My grandparents were Carrie Goodman Wiggins and John Corbin Wiggins. The Wiggins house is next to the post office but my family (unfortunately) does not own that any longer. My Grandmother told us all about the Wiggins inhabitants of that house through the years though and my aunt was born there. However, the Goodman house, where my Grandparents lived is on Ruth Street, and is a large yellow frame house. It was built by my great grandfather Richard Clayborn Goodman in 1910. I have photos of the original house and its inhabitants-my Grandmother was 10 years old. My younger brother (Cameron Mitchell) and I are dedicated to restoring this house a bit at a time. When the contractors came to look at it they were amazed at how well built it was and how little major damage– other than the settling of the ground beneath– there was. They were very impressed with the work of my great grandfather and his brothers. They built many structures in the Advance area. We have had the house “jacked” (like a car but a much larger job) and a new foundation put underneath and Cameron has completed the kitchen and is working slowly but surely on the other rooms. We are preserving all the bits and pieces we find and will have family “artifacts” and heirlooms included in our re-hab project. He recently restored the original brick chimney and turned it into a work of art. We have discoverd the original doors and pieces of wallpaper, and are photo journaling the process as we go. Our goal is for the house and its history as our “homeplace” to last another 100 years. We will have an “Open House” when our work is completed and invite the whole town!

    I remember the fun of being a teenager in the 1960’s and “cruising” around town in a big square–with my cousin Brenda Ward and Karen Hinkle and how Ward’s carried my Grandma’s groceries to the car every time. I remember the year my Grandpa bought all of us cousins (there were 10 of us) Stetson hats at Corbin’s Variety and made us ride in the Labor Day parade. I still love the Labor Day parade! My Aunt Mildred and Uncle Bud still live on the family farm about 3 miles out of town and all of us would ride back and forth to town in those old days in the back of a pickup truck-dust and all! Whooee-those were the days!

    1. Mildred wooped my behind once. Bud was a really nice guy, gave me a funny article to read in study hall i still remember

  21. You know I have just remembered a great Advance train story. In 1904 my grandfather J.C. Wiggins rode the train from Advance to the big city of St. Louis for the St. Louis World’s Fair. He was five years old and went with his older sister Maud Wiggins Ward. That must have been a real train adventure in those days!

  22. My grandfather Dr. C.E. (Doc Ed) Lewis practiced medicine in Advance for many years. He also practiced in Bell City for a short time. My father Dean E. Lewis
    first operated a service station and restaurant in a log cabin in Hwy #25. He started the business in 1932 during the depression. His first customer had to pay in advance so he could buy the gas for cooking a hamburger. He later operated ‘Dean’s Place” in down town Advance. I knew most of the older kids that grew up coming to the restaurant.

  23. I attended Mrs. Duckett’s 1956 first grade class in Advance, while my mother was attending college in Cape. We lived with my grandparents, Harry and Clara Sample. Harry had been a teacher and carried rural mail for many years in the Advance area. They had ten children: Fern, June, Hope, Nell, Sally, Bruce, Grant, Gail, Dixie, and Beverly. Their families are scattered throughout the country. The Samples have always gathered for any occasion, and continue to. For the past 12 + years there have been reunions in Texas, Ohio, Missouri, and more.

    I have great memories of walking to school, the post office, the grocery store for penny candy, and the drugstore for a lemon phosphate. My cousins visited in Advance most summers. It was always fun to have the store clerk’s try to guess which Sample was the parent to each of the cousins. We all looked a lot alike. Strong genes, I guess.

    Names I remember are Doc Masters, Becky Tilley, Bill Rhodes, Ann, Sue and Rita Davis, and Stephanie Strobel.

    It is great to read about so many familiar names. I hear Advance stories everytime more than one Sample is present in the same place. Thanks for writing. I am Nell’s daughter.

  24. My sister Jay sent me this link – what a great story!
    Growing up in Advance, this brings back lovely memories of hot summer days, playing outside. When we heard the train whistle, we would run down to the tracks and wave and wave. I remember Mrs Long took my sister and I on a train trip to Brownwood and it seemed like the biggest trip ever- I felt like a world traveller.

    During WWII, the airport was used as a training camp for pilots. How exciting that was watching airplane maneuvers from the back yard.

    I remember all the names aforementioned – especially my growing up friend, Sally Sue Sample. We remain in touch. We were in Mrs. Ducketts class too.
    Recently I looked for Advance on MapQuest and found streets that bear
    familiar names – Samples, Duckett, Gross, Master, Tilley, Jenkins, McLane, Tropf and David among others. My father’s name was David – I’m considering it his street.
    I love Advance stories.

  25. A neighbor of ours took one of my sisters and I on a roundtrip train ride to Brownwood. I felt like a world traveller.

    I grew up in Advance and all the names above are so familiar. I recently searched for Advance on MapQuest and found a map with streets named after some of the above mention citizens. Masters, Samples, Moore, Jenkins, McLane, Tropf, Davidand others. My father was David Looney so I’m imagining one is named for him.

    When we heard the whistle blow, we would run to the train track to wave at every one on board. Great fun. Nothing I do now compares to that. One of my childhood friends was Sally Sue Samples and we still correspond.

    Great story.

  26. We walked to school. Even in winter. There were 10 kids in our family and we usually got gloves for Xmas. If you lost a glove, you used a sock to keep warm. Our father half
    Soled our shoes, but the shoe repair shop did the major repairs. Remember!

    I keep in touch with the class of 1949 .

    What a great life the Sample children had.

    Sally Sample Parker

  27. Ken,
    Thanks for the great look back. Grew up in Advance and the Morgan Funeral Home (established 1929 by my family) is one of the oldest businesses. I may have missed it in the blogs, but can you tell me what stands now where the depot once stood?
    I learned a lot from this, including the origin of the town’s name.

  28. Hey Rhett the depot sat about where the parking lot is for the Bank of Advance Lending Center. At least in that area. I can’t remember the exact spot. In the first picture if you look at the left you can see Hensons store just above the trees. “C” highway now was where the track ran. When you came into Advance coming west on 25 you turned right into town where Rhodes is now. Only back then you crossed the tracks and went into town and up Sturdivant then out west on the origanal “C” highway. There used to be a old aireal map at city hall showing everything don’t know if it’s still there or not.

    1. I have a bunch of Advance photos, including aerials I shot of the town last fall. I keep putting off posting them because I keep running across more and more of them.

      My Mother knew the Morgan family well. She talks about playing hide ‘n’ seek around the caskets at the funeral home. Her brother was the first person buried in the cemetery.

    1. Mother informed me the other day that she did NOT play hide ‘n’ seek around the caskets.

      To keep from ruining a good story, I’ll have to say she no longer REMEMBERS doing it.

  29. My goodness…such a flashback after doing a simple google search on the Advance tornado in 1963. The Joplin tornado happened two days ago and it conjured up memories of what I witnessed as a child in my basement on that horrific afternoon. My father was Dr. L.A. Masters and so many were comforted after coming up out of our basement, looking across the park and railroad tracks seeing their home destroyed as well as the shoe factory.

    I remember the train depot in the early 60’s. I, nor my friends Kenny Carlson, et al., had no clue the importance of the railroad and the significance to the beginning of Advance. To me the train was a constant in my early years. I couldn’t even tell time but always had a feeling each day that it was time for the train to pass. I vividly recall the whistle blowing on the day of the tornado and within a few minutes our basement was full of frightened people. I also remember the teasing between fathers and mothers after the tornado was gone and somehow the men and infants all ended up under furniture while the women were laying in the open.

    Even as a child Paul Corbin was a gentle soul. He had to be in order to put up with my frequent excursions and those of my friends to buy toys at the Ben Franklin. Since finding this article, I followed links and read several of Mr. Corbin’s articles and am thankful he took the time to write them.

  30. Ken, I have enjoyed the depot photos and the info. I was born in Advance in 1953. Doc Masters delivered me. I visited the depot and watched the trains on a daily basis, since I lived in the upper story of the old Farm Bureau Building. This build is now the present day Amerimart Gas Station. I watch the community change over the years and will speak as the guest speaker at the Alumi Banquet this weekend. My subject matter will be that of the history and the change of Advance and the school system. I would like to talk with you sometime, since I am sort of a history buff. My family ties go back to the early 1800’s in this area, thru the Cato and the McGee families. My grandmother was Mary Jane Cato and her father was Thomas Jefferson Cato. He was the son of Simeon Cato. Just thought you might appreciate that bit of background.

    1. I’m going to run more Advance stories and photos in the near future. My mother’s the one who knows all about the town. She was talking about going to the reunion, but there’s also something going on at Kentucky Lake that she might go to that weekend.

    2. Hey Richie…Steve Masters here. I remember you letting me hang out with you a few times when I was a kid. You were a nice guy back then and I’m sure you are today.

  31. Taking my dad, Jim Fakes, and son Will Fakes to Advance this weekend. My son Will, grew up in St Louis so he hss no idea about what Advance was like in the 50s. Dad ran the Frisco depot and mon was the band director.

    Know all of the stores and names from the past. Doc Masters, The old and the new doc, The Morgans, The Richmonds, Crader Tire, Jips, Mayberrys barbership,and all of the downtown stores. I thnk most of them are gone now. Spent a lot of time at the railroad depot with my dad.

    Wow was that another world.

  32. Thanks so much for posting this story again. It’s great to recognize names and to remember the train station.

    The station where my mother arrived when she came back to Advance to marry my father.

    During my teenage years, I was the baby sitter for the Master’s children and loved the opportunities I gained from being around such interesting and always engaged folks. Rusty and Eddie were my charges and playmates and they knew how to play. We had no TV to fall back on.

    I followed my sister in the job and later I followed her when she gave up her job as an usher in the theater.

    Girls in Advance seemed to have had equal employment opportunities very early on.

    One of Advance’s Military Honor Roll member would join us in play often. Lawrene Harness died much too young as a test pilot in the Air Force.

    It was a perfect job with a lot of hours for me to become acquainted and I loved my time with them.

    I went on to nursing school in St Louis and moved East after graduation. Advance is still in my blood and the memories as vivid today as they were all those years ago.

  33. How neat is this site? I searched for a picture of the Advance Train Depot and came up with this site. I see a cousin and my Aunt have left comments here also. I am one of the many Harry and Clara Sample grandchildren who came to Advance every summer in the 50s and 60s. I remember exploring the countryside and going all over the town. We could pretty much run wild back in those days. I could go on and on about the great memories of Advance. My grandmothers’ weekly bridge games, the tornado that sucked whole houses up and just left empty basements. The shoes all over the county. Did anyone ever find a matching pair? Wasn’t there a “hobo” camp outside of town? Anyway, thanks for the memories and the picture of the old depot.

  34. WOW!!!! Ken Steinhoff………..right now just in SHOCK at seeing all the pictures and stories…….and the names……..Gary Fakes…….knew your parents well………will write my comment later……….

    Fourth graders……..of 1954-55………tune in………

  35. Ken…….didn’t know you had connections with Advance when I stumbled on to you with the photo of my sister Ann Seabaugh……..stepping high as Central’s High School Drum Major………..

    Hey……we still need to get together……

    Happy New Year…….2014…….

  36. I can remember going on a field trip to the train depot when I was in 2nd grade, I believe, and they had the telegraph machine, our class was learning about Morse code at the time. I still have an old clay marble I found under the bridge that use to be around where the city park is now. We sure had some great times playing down there and finding all kinds of treasures! Thanks for the memories with the photos!

  37. I grew up in Advance and some of these names are so nice to hear. I remember the tornado of 63 and the shoes everywhere.

  38. How interesting this read! I too remember some of the 50’s and lots of the 60’s! I see Gary Fakes name above and had memories flood me and my pause was great! Now I too will have to receive all the updates.

  39. I,too, grew up in Advance. My mother, Helen Rhodes, was working in the Inland Shoe warehouse when the tornado struck. I was working at my brother’s service station. Raymond Mayberry, Wayne Voss, and I watch the tornado come and pass just south of town. Little did know at that point that the building my mother was working in had been totally leveled to the ground by the tornado. Thanks to the railroad engineer everyone got out alive and unharmed. My Uncle Ed Zimmer was the depot agent for many years. When he retired, he moved to Sikeston. My mother’s uncle, Ed Blomeyer, was Louis Houck’s construction superintendent. He lived to be almost 100 and visited my mother in Advance 2 times each year. While she prepared dinner, I sat in the living room with Uncle Ed and he would tell me many stories about Mr. Houck. I was young didn’t pay as close attention as I would today. I do remember him telling me that he and Mr Houck named most of the towns in Southeast Missouri They tried to name them after a prominent family in the area of the “new” town. The only one I remember the details of is Swinton. Mr Houck ask who the most prominent family in that area was and Uncle Ed told him that would be the Swindle family. Mr Houck replied they could not name it Swindle, nor Swindleville; those names had a bad connotation. So they modified Swindle to Swinton. Uncle Ed Blomeyer named Blomeyer (junction), which is at the intersection of highways 77 and 25, after himself. The only thing ever happened there interest was the opening of the 3 Stars (if you are old enough to remember it). I have a lot of memories of Advance. More needs to recorded about the unusual group of intelligent men whole made the little town really grow for awhile. These men were inspired by and led by Dr. E C Masters. Advance had the 6th largest shoe factory in the USA, Mirly Truck Sales was the 2nd or 3rd largest Internation Truck dealership in the USA, Elfrink Truck Lines was only existing truck line in Southeast Missouri. It had 3 farm implement dealerships, numerous businesses (approximately 100). It had 2 barber shops (totaling 5 or 6 full time barbers), an all night café and gas station (Mutt’s Place–of which many stories can be told). One could purchase almost anything in Advance. The people really worked together. The community built and still own all of the buldings formally occupied by Inland Show Mfg. Co. The town board is suppose to be incharge of the industrial corporation which manages the buldings. Bill Ward, Kenneth McFerron, Kenneth Rhodes, and I could go on hours about Advance.

    1. I remember you well Don. I remember you getting your law degree and how proud my dad L A Masters was of you..practicing in Bloomfield back then???

      I flew in and out of the Bootheel on a day trip not long ago for a funeral and was absolutely heartbroken to see Caruthersville, Hayti and Kennett looking like a disaster area. What happened???

  40. So interesting to read about the people from my home town. Grew up in Advance – graduated in 1959 – noticed Lee Dahrenger comment — your mother was my favorite teacher in high school. My Dad, Lyndell McCullough, worked the projector at the theater in the late 40’s. Lots of fond memories of basketball games, overnight parties at Ida Tilley’s and Mr. Benjamin, high school principal. Also remember Dean Lewis’ teen town and bowling alley. In the 50’s my parents ran Flamingo then a restaurant in town my senior year. Also a big fan of Paul Corbins – remember the tornato and train story –so many wonderful memories and love getting together with classmates every year!

  41. What a great venue for Advance stories. Thanks a bunch Ken. (That’s what we used to say)
    I was friends with Joyce Rhodes in high school and I remember her mother was Helen. Must be the same one. Helen was very kind to all of we teens. I liked going to her house and making fudge.
    Joyce moved to Washington D.C. area and I met up with her again as I lived here too. I still do.
    Love reading this as we wait for the next weather go-round. I remember all the aforementioned folks too.

    o many memories. My sister and I ushered at the movie theater and a classmate of mine also ran the projector. Another classmate sold popcorn. I loved that flashlight and showing people to their seat. What power. Our high school principal was Lyman Evans.

  42. Thanks for this special look back. Linda Zimerman Eggimann, Janell Shell Reutzel, and I took a train ride one day during the summer, right before the train quit running. We rode to Puxico, ate lunch and then the train picked us up and brought us back to Advance. Adventure, big time.

  43. I am a lifelong resident of Advance and love all of this history. I am now the Superintendent of Advance Schools. I would love it if anyone can provide any other history of the school or town. I am currently working on a plaque to be hung above the cornerstone from the old high school. I have the 2000 newspaper article written by Jan Morgan about finding the old Bible in the cornerstone when the high school was demolished. We have both on display in the new high school. If you have not been back to Advance in awhile, come by and see our high school and our new FEMA safe room. No more fear of tornado.

  44. I do have a question, relating to the history of the development of the town. My grandpa, Bill Griffin, loved to tell stories about Doc Masters, especially hunting stories. I really want to know how much truth there is to this one story that he told in his later years after Alzheimer’s had gotten pretty severe. I know there’s something to it, he had to have some long-term memory to have sparked the story. He worked for MODOT for 30 some years, retired in the early 90s & he said that one afternoon when he was up around town working (he had a large piece of equipment – sorry I’m not sure which one) Doc Masters climbed up in the cab with him & basically said “hey let’s turn this pasture field into city streets.” Per his account, he & doc spent the rest of the day laying out the dirt work to develop the field into streets on which to build homes. The area I understood him to mean is the residential area on the northeast corner of town heading towards Toga – the streets basically b/w the school & highway 25. Looking at the age of the houses, it falls into the timeline of Grandpa’s story for that area to have been developed. However, with his dementia, it was hard to get details from him. An old memory would come to the his mind fleetingly & you had to catch as much as you could before it escaped him again. I wish I had gotten more stories before it was too late & done a better job of remembering the ones he did tell.

  45. I do have a question, relating to the history of the development of the town. My grandpa, Bill Griffin, loved to tell stories about Doc Masters, especially hunting stories. I really want to know how much truth there is to this one story that he told in his later years after Alzheimer’s had gotten pretty severe. I know there’s something to it, he had to have some long-term memory to have sparked the story. He worked for MODOT for 30 some years, retired in the early 90s & he said that one afternoon when he was up around town working (he had a large piece of equipment – sorry I’m not sure which one) Doc Masters climbed up in the cab with him & basically said “hey let’s turn this pasture field into city streets.” Per his account, he & doc spent the rest of the day laying out the dirt work to develop the field into streets on which to build homes. The area I understood him to mean is the residential area on the northeast corner of town heading towards Toga – the streets basically b/w the school & highway 25. Looking at the age of the houses, it falls into the timeline of Grandpa’s story for that area to have been developed. However, with his dementia, it was hard to get details from him. An old memory would come to the his mind fleetingly & you had to catch as much as you could before it escaped him again. I wish I had gotten more stories before it was too late & done a better job of remembering the ones he did tell. If anyone has any info on when that land was developed, I would like to know, I kind of like picturing all those houses gone & just my grandpa & doc Masters out there deciding where streets should be.

  46. It was great to read this article and. comments about my hometown! I lived there and was active in the community and school until I graduated from high school in 1972. My parents loved Advance, especially my Daddy, James J Harnes Sr, He lived and breathed doing all he could to make Advance a better place for it’s citizens. As City Clerk way back in the 50’s and 60’s and then again as Major for many many years. Both my grandparents LJ Harnes and ET Bird were early and lontime Advance business owners.

    The older Harnes sons went to war, LJ was killed on the Normandy Area on his Mother’s Birthday. Daddy was injured and awarded the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts and a bronze start. Our family had a cousin who was a Gold Star Boy, Ben Harrnes.
    The Bird siblings: Uncle Gerald Bird (married Virginia Shell) was a farmer at Brownwod (he’s the one who warned Mother LaVelle Bird Harnes about the tornado coming. Uncle Quinny BIrd had a grocery store. JT Holder (married my aunt Geraldine Bird) and took over my grandpa’ ET Birds’d paint & hardware store. Then there was Mammy, my Aunt Arline Bird Williams. Closest I ever had to a Grandma.

    There were four other Bird siblings, Lyle Bird, married Helen Proffer staying in the Mathews area and farmed, Marie Bird married Lloyd Eby who owned a Fertilizer Plant near
    Matthews. Aladine Bird Bowling and her husband Ogle tan a grocery store in Morehouse.
    I too remember my mother frantically looking for me when the tornado was coming! And making Ray & Gloria McClane get in the car “right now”!! Driving faster than I’d ever seen her drive picking up other people along the way and filling out basement completely full of people. We didn’t know some of them! But that was okay and everyone was praying. Looking back it feels like a movie.

    As far the Train Depot, the best stroy I heard was when my Grandpa & Grandma came back from there honeymoon, the whole town was there to greet them at the Depot. Evidently back in that time, “friends” would steal the bride for a while. Well Grandpa didn’t want that to happen. So when he saw the Large Group of people, he grabbed his bride Nellie Beard Harnes and they ran as fast as they could down Cypress Street to the house he’d built for her wedding gift! I love that story!! I’ll just end this that Advance was a wonderful place to grow up. I miss it. And I miss that my parents, all grandparents, greatgrandparents, Aunts, uncles, and some cousins have passed on. Daddy really wanted to live to 100 and be president of the Alumnai Banquest! It didn’t quite make it, he died a age 94. If there was ever a Mr. Advance, it was my daddy

    I was recently told that the
    Memorial Day Service will go on this year. Since it the 25th Annivetsity that my Dad stated the whole thing rolling by settting up a table at the Labor Day Party to ask for donations to get the memorials started, that he might. Be honored for his service to Advance. Have any of heard anythimg about that?

    1. I believe my gg-grandma, Mary Watkins is buried in the Hector grave yard, Cape Girardeau, Mo. The under taker is Ed Looney from Rum Branch Lakeville, Mo. Doctor was D.M. Simmons, MD. Can you help me locate the Hector cem. It may have changed names. Mary died Jan. 19, 1884. Burial Jan. 20th. I live in Oklahoma and have been searching for her a long time. Thank you in advance. Cindy

        1. I would appreciate the help. I am thinking that the Mary Watkins in the Death Record may be African American and not of my family. It says she is English. There are so many burials on family home steads and church yards that there may not be a Hector grave yard. Thank you for your help. Cindy

          1. Are you sure Rum Branch was known as Lakeville? I have never hear that before.

  47. My Grandparents were Harry and Clara Sample. They lived down the road from the Shoe factory that got destroyed by the tornado. I remember coming up to visit my Grandmother just after this and their were shoes all over the county. Every summer my sister and I (along with all of my cousins) would come to visit Advance. We had a great time playing with the local kids and walking up and down the railway tracks, putting penneys on the track to see them squashed. I don’t remember ever finding one after it got run over though. ha

    1. I remember both of the Sample houses!

      I took piano lessons from a Mrs, Shoenoff for many years. I was impressed with both of her homes. The latest one because no by the Post Office. I don’t recall the original owners!

  48. Hello, interesting. I live in Lakeville and know “some” about it. Does anyone have or know of any OLD maps of Lakeville? or where they may be? thanks.

  49. I just ran across these comments on the internet, not having lived in the Advance-Brownwood area for 70 or so years. The old railroad station was located in Brownwood until around 1936 or so before being transported intact to Advance. The stationmaster in Brownwood was a fellow named Penrod. I graduated from Advance High in 1948 and SEMO University a few years later and then served as a Federal Agent for many years, mostly overseas. I might be the last survivor of the 1948 class, noting that Lemond Jenkins, Mary Lou Looney and Verna Eggiman have passed on in recent years. It was interesting reading about the Advance scene.

    Bill Ashcraft


  50. Wow I’ve recently been reading the dark cypress swamp book. An it’s quite intriguing, and a little percurliar that many murders n bootlegging an the blind tigers. No offense to anyone living here. I have my whole life still do right here n Brownwood. I am related to Joe James, Ramsey’s, Bess,s Seabaughs, Wilson’s, Langston’s. My great grandfather Lawrence Joseph James an Ruth Ramsey. Had 5 children Wanda Bishop, Doris Langston, Sonny James, Joann “Wilson” Graham, and Joyce Kelley. They came here by hitchhikeing from Arkansas where they picked cotton. An African American picked them up an drove them almost there whole way. They were 2 of the most loving ppl you would ever encounter. Great grandpa’s friends were Sylvester Bridgman, Noble Bollinger, Mr. Bland,etc etc. They lived back n the holler by the old gravel pit by the Rock point school house. I miss there stories an out family dinners. Thank you for making me appreciate this town again. Does anyone remember the murder/homicide of Helena Inez caby mcmillin? I’ve been researching for years now. Phil n Diane caby live n that house now. Mrs. Inez was murdered by allegedly 3 men. Left n her house for 8 days wrapped n a sheet folded navy style under her bed. Neighbors noticed her vegetables on her porch starting to rot an got concerned. No one ever solved this case, or Roger millers for that matter. Anyhow please if info contact mebk please and thank you. Sincerely Candice Ann Farver

    1. Candice,

      I can add, as Ken put it, more “details” to your 20 February post. Your gr-grandmother, Ruth (Ramsey), and my late, adoptive father, Cletis T. Ramsey, were first cousins. Ruth was a daughter of Maple Ramsey and Tracy (Simmons) Ramsey. Maple was a younger brother of my father’s father, Clarence Paul Ramsey. Uncle Maple and Grandpa Paul were sons of Albert Stokley “Stoke” Ramsey and Martha Elizabeth (Wright) Ramsey. On the 1940 census, Ruth (20 and single) is listed as living on the family farm in Pike Township, Stoddard County, with her parents and siblings Harold, Mildred, Homer, and Dorothy. The last-listed resident of Maple’s household in 1940 was his widowed father Stoke (83). Stoke would die in 1941, most likely on his son Maple’s farm. I can trace Ramsey ancestors from Southeast Missouri back to North Carolina (and likely the Valley of Virgnia before that), and to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, at least as early as the 1740s. Finally, Lawrence James’s father, Joseph Marion James, died on 6 October 1965. His funeral director was William H. Morgan of Advance, and he was buried in the Morgan Cemetery in Advance.


  51. Ken,

    The first, and it appears last, national meeting of the Ramsæy Family Association was held in St. Louis, Missouri, on August 26, 1904. The meeting, also described as a family reunion, was held in the Kansas State Building on the grounds of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, better known as the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. According to the meeting’s proceedings, as many as 250 individuals with Ramsay and Ramsey connections were registered to attend, while some individuals attended without registering.

    One entry in the proceedings of the 1904 meeting in St. Louis (my native city) that caught my particular attention was the name and residence of the last person listed as registering for the meeting and reunion; Mrs. R. L. Ramsey of Advance, Missouri. She was Mary Jane (Flynn) Ramsey, the wife of Dr. Robert Lee Ramsey, a physician.

    Dr. R. L. Ramsey died from tuberculosis of the lungs on 23 July 1923, at the home of his brother, Dr. John W. Ramsey, MD, in Tilsit, Hubble Township, Cape Girardeau County. He is buried in the Ramsey/Rumfelt burial ground along Byrd Creek, south of Oakridge, Cape Girardeau County.

    The two doctors Ramsey were sons of Albert Ramsey and Catherine (Barks) Ramsey. Catherine was a daughter of Jacob Barks and Hannah (Masters) Barks.

    My Ramsey family has ties to Advance dating back over 100 years. My late, adoptive father, WWII veteran Cletis T. Ramsey (1912-1986) was born in Greenbrier, Bollinger County, on the Castor River and the Houck/Frisco rail line between Brownwood and Zalma. He spent part of his childhood in or near Advance before his parents moved my father and his three siblings to St. Louis not long after the birth of my father’s sister Hyacinth in Advance in January 1921. My father’s paternal grandfather, Albert Stokely “Stoke” Ramsey, who died in or near Advance in 1941, was a first cousin of Dr. R. L. Ramsey. Both Stoke and Dr. Ramsey were grandsons of Samuel Ramsey and Rebecca (Huggins) Ramsey, who trekked to Cape Girardeau County, Missouri Territory, from Lincoln County, North Carolina. It appears likely they brought with them nine children, including Dr. Ramsey’s father Albert, who was born in North Carolina in 1816. My father’s Ramsey gr-grandfather Alfred was born in Cape Girardeau County in 1819, the year his parents and siblings likely arrived from North Carolina. My father’s paternal grandfather, Albert/Stoke was likely named in part after Dr. Ramsey’s father Albert, Stoke’s paternal uncle.

    My father’s parents, Clarence Paul Ramsey and Stella Jane (Owens) Ramsey, returned to Advance in the mid-1950’s, settling in a house on Ruth Street. Grandma Stella moved first and Grandpa Paul followed later after retiring from the Missouri Pacific Railroad in St. Louis. Before joining Grandma Stella in Advance, Grandpa Paul lived with my parents and me in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood. My father and I would visit Advance regularly until the death of a widowed Grandma Stella on 28 December 1970, during my senior year at Mizzou.

    Grandma Stella was the daughter of John Madison Owens and Missouri Belle (Virgin) Owens of Greenbrier. John Owens operated a general store and sawmill in Greenbrier. He also was postmaster there and served two terms as a judge in Bollinger County.

    The various posts here contain many surnames familiar to me from researching my father’s family history, some with connections back to North Carolina.

    Belle Owens died in Advance on May 27, 1955. Attending her death was E. C. Masters of Advance.

    Grandpa Paul died at home on Ruth Street on December 5, 1959. Attending his death was L. A. Masters of Advance. His funeral director was William H. Morgan, also of Advance.

    Grandma Stella died in hospital in Cape Girardeau City. Her funeral was arranged by William H. Morgan of the Morgan Funeral Home of Advance.

    Neither Paul and Stella Ramsey nor John and Belle Owens are buried in the Advance or Greenbrier areas. All four are buried in the Baker Cemetery, south of Lutesville, Bollinger County. The late Andrew Jackson Baker, who owned the Baker Funeral Home and the Baker Cemetery, shared a grandmother with Stella Ramsey, but not a grandfather. Elizabeth Shearing first married in 1852 Andrew Jackson Crites, with whom she had four children, including Drucilla Jane (Crites) Baker, funeral director A. J. Baker’s mother. A. J. Crites died in 1862. In 1865, the widow Elizabeth (Shearing) Crites married Civil War veteran Enoch Virgin. Missouri Belle (Virgin) Owens was their daughter.

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