EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the seventh in a series of articles about Butler County history prepared as a lead-in to the county's sesquicentennial this summer. (All through this article the town is referred to as Hometown. The contributor says this should be Hamtown. I could not find Hamtown in any map source, just a Homestown in SE Butler Co.)
By BOB MANNS
Development in the hill regions of North
Butler County came later than Gillis Bluff or the Cane Creek area. The Hometown
area, named for the early settlers, Gilbert and Kearbey Hanson, was settled
prior to 1900. Jake Potillo and his wife Ellen (Inman) Potillo moved to
the Hometown area around 1900. They had three children, August Potillo, born in
1902, and Mark Potillo, born in 1906. Mark and August had one sister, Mrs.
Laddie Chronister, who once lived north of Fisk.
Ellen Potillo was born in the Hometown community and was the daughter of Shadrick Inman, who lived northeast of hometown on the old doctor Bailey farm. Shadrick was the father of Jim Inman. Jim Inman was the father of Alfred, Clyde, Paul, Billy, and Herman Inman. One girl, Ruth, married Dewey Brown. Dora (Meadows) Holloway was a half-sister to Jim Inman.
The only road to run near the Potillo farm in those days was the old military road cut during the Civil War. This road tied in with the Dealtown road just north of Poplar Bluff. Jake taught school, and his sons, Mark and August, did what farming was done. Mark and August earned extra money by cutting mine props and hewing ties. These were hauled to Poplar Bluff on a wagon and sold for cash. Both of the sons later attended college at Cape Girardeau, and they, too, became teachers.
Kearbey Ham was preacher at the Hometown Church during this early period. Descendants of the first Hams still reside in the county. Jake Potillo died in 1936, and August cared for his mother, Ellen, until her death in 1954.
The following were some of the families in the Hometown community. Joe Patterson lived on Indian Creek where Mr. Powell used to live. He was the father of Okie, Earl, and Raymond Patterson. Joe also had two daughters, Hattie, Effie. William Mangrum, who lived one mile west of the Potillo farm, married Effie Patterson and later moved to Poplar Bluff. Tom Eddington married the other daughter, Hattie. Two sons, Norman and Harold, were born to Tom and Hattie. Norman was longtime Shell Oil dealer in Poplar Bluff and contributed much to the area Boy Scouts. Bill Mayes, the father of Johnny Mayes, settled in the area prior to 1900 where Ruth Porch now lives. Bill had three daughters, Ruth Porch, Georgia McKinney, and Lizzie Inman. Ralph Mayes, the pastor of the Third Baptist church in Poplar Bluff, is the son of Johnny Mayes. Elmer Stucker Sr. and his wife Molly lived east of the Pattersons prior to 1900. Maude (Daniels) Zoll, the former railroad agent at Rombauer, was the stepdaughter of Sid Clevlen. Roy Clevlen was Maude's half-brother. Morrison Clevlen, who later moved to Poplar Bluff, was a cousin to Roy and Maude.
South of the Potillo farm in Franklin Creek was the Sam Wright place. Sam had three sons, Bob, Curt (who ran a grocery store for years on what is now South Broadway in Poplar Bluff), and Parm Wright. Sam also had seven girls. Theirs names were Stella Trusdale, Ethel Goodwin, Polly Atkinson, Pearl McCarthy, Avril Tarpley, Alice Deckard, and Gertie Crunk. Bob Wright married Mary Duley, whose father was Jim Duley. The Duley farm was located where the Rombauer Foothill Road meets Highway T.
Dora (Meadows) Holloway, half-sister of Jim Inman, taught school at Baskey, Lade, and Hometown in the early days. Dora was the mother of well-known Poplar Bluff realtor, James "Bud" Holloway. Some of the residents living in the Hometown area today attended school with Mrs. Dora. It is common knowledge that students thought very highly of Mrs. Holloway.
Daily American Republic, March 27, 1999 page 2A - Poplar Bluff, MO