January 8, 2004

Gerths Celebrates 100 Years In Business

Longevity is uncommon in these days of business mergers and acquisitions. Last month the last Disney family member left the company. For a company to remain as a business for a century with the same owners is a rarity.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Gerth & Baskett Furniture and the Gerth Funeral Service. The Gerth family has owned and operated both businesses since Fred Gerth Sr. founded them in 1904 in Wyaconda.

It says something about the familys commitment through now four generations to this area, said Fritz Gerth, the business co-owner since 1993. It is rare for one family to own a business this long. Many sell out or close because their children move away or choose not to enter the business. Also, many small businesses have been unable to adapt to the changing climate where they have to compete with the larger discount stores and out of town businesses and are forced to close.

Fred Gerth founded an undertaking and furniture store in Wyaconda in 1904. Now those two businesses may seem to be an odd match, but at the turn of the century many funeral homes owners also operated furniture stores or hardware stores. At the time, it was economical because the wood manufacturers made both caskets and furniture and they were shipped together on the same trains.

One of the seminal events in Gerths history occurred when Ella Ewing passed away in Gorin on January 10, 1913. Her family contacted Fred Gerth to handle the services. The story of how he found a casket and vault appropriate for the 8 foot 4 Ewing is chronicled in Bette Wileys Book, Our Miss Ella.

There had been a heavy snow, and Gerth traveled to the Ewing home in Gorin from Wyaconda via horse and buggy. In those days, most of the funeral arrangements and visitation were held in the home. Even the embalming was done there.

Due to her great height, Ewing was too tall for the portable-embalming table so Gerth had to use her specially made dining room chairs, which were the same height as the six foot long embalming table, to accommodate the procedure.

When he was finished, he spoke with Ben Ewing, Ellas father, about arrangements. Ben wanted his daughter buried in a casket and sealed permanently in a vault. Ella, a proud and private person, feared her body would be experimented on or even displayed after her death.

Gerth remembered he had seen an oversized demonstration model vault at a show and contacted the manufacturers in Burlington, IA. They agreed to sell him the model, and make a casket to fit, but he had to come to Iowa and pick them up. After preparing the Ewing home for visitation, Gerth then left and promised to return the next day.

Immediately after leaving the Ewing home, Gerth rode to Wyaconda and boarded a train for Ft. Madison, IA. From there he traveled again by horse and buggy to Burlington, arriving in the middle of the night at the factory. Upon receiving the casket and vault, he drove them back to Ft. Madison and loaded them on the train for the ride back to Wyaconda.

Arriving in Wyaconda the morning of the service, Gerth loaded the casket into the horse drawn hearse, which had to be modified to carry the large casket, and rode to Gorin. The casket was so heavy that it took 10 men to carry it.

The funeral procession took Miss Ewing to the Harmony Grove Baptist Church, roughly five miles south of Gorin. When they arrived, a crowd had gathered that was so large the small church could not hold it. Wood burning stoves were placed outside to keep the mourners warm.

Miss Ewing was buried in the oversized vault and concrete poured on it to seal it forever, according to her familys wishes.

The funeral service of Ella Ewing garnered Fred Gerth a measure of notoriety. In the next few years, the business grew from Wyaconda to include funeral homes in Gorin and Rutledge, as well as a facility in Bible Grove, which had been owned by the Thrasher family.

The family also grew as George Baskett, Fred Gerths brother-in-law, joined the firm in 1913, creating Gerth & Baskett.

Baskett operated the stores in Wyaconda and Gorin when Fred Gerth moved to Memphis in 1930, when they purchased Mulch and Sons.

As well as having a funeral home and furniture store, Gerths for many years provided free ambulance services in Northeast Missouri. Before Scotland County Memorial Hospital, the nearest health care facilities were in Kirksville and Iowa.

Albert C. Gerth and Frederick Gerth took over operations of the business following the retirement of Fred Gerth Sr. and George Baskett. George Frederick Gerth succeeded his father Albert, following his untimely death in 1959.

During this time, the furniture store expanded to locations in Shelbina and Paris. They also purchased the Individual Mausoleum Corporation (IMCO) in Jamesport. IMCO was one of the first to produce granite top burial mausoleums. There are some of these mausoleums in most of the cemeteries in the area.

Frederick Gerth purchased George Gerths share of the company in the early 1970s and then closed the furniture stores in Shelbina and Paris. The locations in Gorin, Rutledge and Bible Grove were also closed, leaving the current business locations in Memphis and Wyaconda.

Gerth & Baskett merged with D.W. Payne & Sons following a fire that destroyed the Paynes business in 1979. PayneGerth operated until 1993, when the businesses split.

When Frederick Gerth retired in 1993, Fritz and Janet Gerth became the owners of Gerth & Baskett Furniture and Gerth Funeral Services. Melissa (Gerth) Behrens and her husband Jeff will be the fourth generation to run the business. Nathanial Gerth and Reese Hogarth are also the current employees. Tracey Russell maintains the Wyaconda location.

Gerth Funeral Service operates facilities in Memphis and Wyaconda. Both buildings were extensively remodeled in the early 1990s. The Memphis building features a childrens room, library, private family seating, and a full service kitchen.

In 1904, when Granddad started, the visitation was in the home and the service in a church, said Fritz Gerth. Now, we have modern and comfortable parlors and chapels in the facilities. Many families have moved away and only return for the funeral. So our parlor has to serve as a comfortable place for them to visit and grieve.

Also, back then the service was more formal. Now we strive to have a personal experience for our families by providing a comfortable parlor, memory boards to display photos, personalized memorial videos to play on a big screen television, and a website with funeral information for people to express their condolences if they cant get here.

There have also been many changes in the furniture business. Gerth & Baskett Furniture has operated exclusively out of the Memphis location since 1994, following the closing of the Wyaconda furniture store. Over the past 100 years, Gerth & Baskett has carried everything from pianos to appliances. Now the business deals in furniture, bedding and carpeting.

Many of the names have changed, Gerth said. At one time, my granddad sold more Cable Nelson Pianos than any other dealer per capita in the United States. We have carried every major name brand from Krohler to Lazy Boy to now Lane, Benchcraft, Berkline and Bruards. We have sold and represented about every carpet mill in America at one time. (Gerth & Baskett) has sold Simmons, Sealy, Serta, Therapedic, and Spring Air mattresses. The names change, but we are still here.

Gerth said the biggest changes in the business have been in transportation and style. When the business was founded, smaller towns had many stores because goods were shipped cheaply via train. Now merchandise is delivered in trucks, which is more expensive.

Also today, there is such a greater variety of furniture styles and tastes. A business must have a better knowledge and understanding of its market to survive. Customers have a wide range of choices and a business must be able to satisfy them, at a good price.

A lot has changed since Fred Gerth opened his one storeroom in 1904. The business plans several promotions during the year to celebrate the anniversary and the four generations that have maintained this family tradition.

Rams Outlast Lady Tigers 2-1 In Defensive Battle

Shortstop Abi Feeney makes a throw to first from her knees after one of her several nice defensive plays at Lancaster.

Shortstop Abi Feeney makes a throw to first from her knees after one of her several nice defensive plays at Lancaster.

Tuesday night saw an old-fashioned pitching duel in Lancaster backed up with plenty of defensive gems. Unfortunately for the Lady Tigers, Schuyler County was the last one standing in the 2-1 defeat.

Scotland County took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Abi Feeney led off with a walk. With two outs, she was able to score all the way from first base when Ashleigh Creek reached on an error on an errant throw from third base than got by the first baseman.

Schuyler County came right back in the bottom of the frame. The Rams led off the inning with a blooper that landed and died between the pitcher and home plate for an infield single. After a wild pitch and a sacrifice bunt, Megan Haley delivered an RBI ground out to knot the score at 1-0.

After that point, pitchers Ashleigh Creek and Dystine Priebe locked horns, putting up zeros on the scoreboard.

Ashleigh Creek fields a bunt and fires to Katie Feeney at first base to record the out.

Ashleigh Creek fields a bunt and fires to Katie Feeney at first base to record the out.

SCR-I managed a base runner each inning until the sixth, but were unable to advance anyone past first base. Julie Long singled in the second, but was stranded. Stevi See and Abby Blessing walked in the third and fourth innings before Abi Feeney got a base hit in the fifth, but Priebe worked out of the jams, in large part thanks to nine strikeouts.

Her defense helped out a bit, as center fielder Brooke Whitton made a fine running grab in deep center field to rob Creek of extra bases in the third and Haley made a nice catch to rob Chelsea Wood of a hit in the fifth.

Creek matched the zeroes, albeit with a little more effort, struggling a bit with wild pitches that had the Lady Rams with runners in scoring position every inning.

Priebe singled and moved to second on a wild pitch in the second inning. Abi Feeney ended the threat with a diving grab on a line between short and third base.

The senior shortstop made back-to-back put outs in the third to leave a runner at third base. Maddie Brassfield then made a defensive gem at first base to end the threat in the fourth.

Schuyler County finally broke through for the winning run in the fifth inning. A leadoff single followed by a passed ball and a wild pitch allowed the Rams to score on a sacrifice fly.

Long smacked a one-out single in the seventh, her second hit of the contest, but Priebe closed out the rally to secure the 2-1 win for Schuyler County.

Scotland County fell to 6-5 on the season and 4-3 in the Lewis & Clark Conference.

Creek pitched six innings and allowed two runs, one earned on five hits and no walks while striking out three.

Priebe held SCR-I to just three hits and three walks over seven innings, surrendering just the one unearned run.

Rutledge School Building Sold

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The Village of Rutledge sold the school to the Restoration Society for $1.00 on Tuesday, September 20th at 12:00 p.m.  Those at the closing were Society members L to R Lyle Otte, Reva Hustead, Charlene Montgomery, Gwen Ludwick, Bob Hunolt, Dorothy Hunolt, Elaine Forrester, Betty Lodewegan, Lynn McClamroch,  (Keith Zimmerman and Carol McCabe from the Village) and Leon Trueblood.

Grand Hall Singspiration in Memphis

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The Rabers, part of the By Grace Ministry, will be hosting a Grand Hall Singspiration in Memphis at the Grand Hall, across from the BP Station, 418 E. Grand, on Sunday, October 2nd at 7:15 p.m.  They are also hosting a Men of Valor men’s meeting on Monday, October 3rd at 7:15 p.m.  Everyone is welcome and admission is a free will offering.  For more information about the By Grace Ministry, visit www.bygraceministry.com.

Area Children Enjoy Games at Annual Rutledge Fall Festival

The annual Rutledge Fall Festival was held Saturday, September 17th and several area children enjoyed participating in various games.  Karl DeMarce emceed the games this year.

Balloon Toss winners in the six to eight division included Trevor and Evan Tague (1st), Kadence Burnett (2nd), and Craig Pflum and Cole Mazziotti and Nina Knepp (tied for 3rd).  In the nine and over division winners were Owen and Lucas Durflinger (1st), Hunter Holt and Aden Aldridge (2nd), and Aaron McDaniel and Hugh Baker (3rd).

Shoe Kick winners in the five and under division were Natalie Tague (1st), Travis Tague (2nd), and Ethan Pflum (3rd).  In the six to eight division winners were Evan Tague (1st), Cole Mazziotti (2nd), and Nina Knepp, Trevor Tague and Cole Pflum (3rd).  In the nine and over division winners were Owen Triplett (1st), Riley Small (2nd), and Lucas Durflinger (3rd).

Running Race winners in the five and under division were Landon Davis (1st), Kinze Mallett and Travis Tague (2nd), and Natalie Tague (3rd).  In the six to eight division winners were Kaden See (1st), Cole Mazziotti (2nd), and Evan Tague and Nina Knepp (3rd).  In the nine and over division winners were Owen Triplett (1st), Hunter Holt (2nd), and Lucas Durflinger (3rd).

Egg Race winners in the five and under girls’ division were Kenzie Mallett (1st), Nora Guthrie (2nd), and Natalie Tague (3rd).  In the boys’ division winners were Travis Tague (1st), James Guthrie (2nd), and Clay White (3rd).  In the six to eight girls’ division, winners were Natalie Howerton (1st), Kayla Pflum (2nd), and Tegan Mallett (3rd).  Boys’ division winners were Trevor Tague (1st), Kadence Burnett (2nd), and Craig Pflum (3rd).  In the nine and over division, winners were Braydon Tietjens (1st), Aden Aldridge (2nd), and Owen Triplett and Lucas Durflinger (3rd).

Afternoon games included a Kiddie Tractor Pull, Tug-of-War Race and the Shirley Chancellor Memorial Hot Cookie Race.

SCR-I School Menus

Breakfast

Thursday, Sept. 29 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Friday, September 30 – Sausage/Gravy Biscuits, Choice of Cereal, Blueberry Muffin, Banana, Juice/Milk

Monday, October 3 – Waffles, Choice of Cereal, Cinnamon Biscuit, Apple Wedges, Juice/Milk

Tuesday, October 4 –Cinnamon Rolls, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Half, Juice/Milk

Wednesday, October 5 – Ham/Cheese/Croissant, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Fruit Medley, Juice/Milk

Thursday, October 6 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Lunch

Thursday, Sept. 29 – Spaghetti/Meat Sauce, Chicken Wrap, Hamburger Bar, Green Beans, Garlic Bread, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Friday, September 30 – Sack Lunch Today – HOMECOMING

Monday, October 3 – Chicken Ala King/Biscuit, Juicy Burger/Bun, 5th/6th Grade Chef Salad, Onion Rings, Peas, Mandarin Orange Slices, Fresh Fruit

Tuesday, October 4 – Cheeseburger/Bun, Tenderloin/Bun, 5th/6th Grade Taco Bar, Oven Ready Fries, Tomato Slices and Pickles, Applesauce, Fresh Fruit

Wednesday, October 5 –Country Fried Steak, Chicken Alfredo, 5th/6th Grade Potato Bar, Whipped Potatoes/Gravy, Broccoli/Cheese Sauce, Dinner Roll, Sliced Pears

Thursday, October 6 – Beef ‘N’ Tator Bake, Chicken Wrap, Hamburger Bar, Green Beans, Dinner Roll, Pineapple Tidbits, Fresh Fruit

Scotland County Senior Nutrition Center

MENU

Thursday, Sept. 29 – BBQ or Plain Pork/Bun, French Fries, Cauliflower Blend Veggies, Mandarin Oranges, Cake

Friday, September 30 – Hot Beef Sandwich, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Coleslaw, Buttered Carrots, Pudding

Monday, October 3 – Juicy Burger/Bun, French Fries, Mixed Vegetables, Cottage Cheese, Peaches

Tuesday, October 4 – Roast Pork/Stuffing/Gravy, Sauerkraut, Green Beans, Slice Bread, Cake

Wednesday, October 5 – Chicken Strips, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Buttered Carrots, Hot Roll, Fruit Salad

Thursday, October 6 – Meatloaf, Macaroni Salad, Buttered Broccoli, Applesauce, Bread, Glazed Donut

ACTIVITIES

Thursday, Sept. 29 – Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 6 – Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Special 100-Year Homecoming Services This Weekend at First Christian Church

The Memphis First Christian Church will be hosting Homecoming Services to celebrate the completion of the current church building (located on corner of Jones and Main Streets) which was completed in 1916.  The celebration will take place this weekend –  September 30- October 1-2, 2016.

Phillip Gore and Tim Hawkins former ministers of the Memphis First Christian Church will be the speakers for the Sunday, October 2, morning worship service, and former Memphis resident Terry Rush will speak at the closing service on Sunday afternoon.  Following the morning service, there will be a luncheon served.

There will also be services on Friday, September 30, beginning at 7:00 with a “Linger Longer” fellowship time after the service.  On Saturday, October 1, there will be a barbecue at 5:00 with services beginning at 6:30.

Special music for the services will be provided by the Gateway Singers and Paul Burton and Mercy’s Bridge Band, a country gospel group.  The Planning Committee for the Church Homecoming Celebration will share historical information about First Christian Church as part of the three special services.

Members of the community are cordially invited to attend all of the services and meals for the celebration.

Mayor Reckenberg Proclaims Constitution Week, Sept. 17 – 23, 2016 in Memphis

Memphis Mayor William Reckenberg was joined by members of the Jauflione Chapter of the NSDAR to sign a proclamation declaring Constitution Week in Memphis.

Memphis Mayor William Reckenberg was joined by members of the Jauflione Chapter of the NSDAR to sign a proclamation declaring Constitution Week in Memphis.

On Friday, September 23, 2016, Mayor William Reckenberg signed and issued a proclamation announcing September 17 through 23, 2016 to be Constitution Week in Memphis, and asks our citizens to reaffirm the ideals the Framers of the Constitution had in 1787.

The Proclamation reads as follows:

Whereas, September 17, 2016 marks the two hundred and twenty-ninth anniversary of the drafting of the Constitution of the United States of America by the Constitutional Convention; and

Whereas, it is fitting and proper to officially recognize this magnificent document and the anniversary of its creation; and

Whereas, it is fitting and proper to officially recognize the patriotic celebrations which will commemorate the occasion; and

Whereas, public law 915 guarantees the issuing of a proclamation each year by the President of the United States of America designation September 17 through 23 as Constitution Week;

NOW THEREFORE, I, William Reckenberg, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of the City of Memphis in the County of Scotland do hereby proclaim September 17 through 23, 2016 as CONSTITUTION WEEK and ask our citizens to reaffirm the ideals the Framers of the Constitution had in 1787 by vigilantly protecting the freedoms guaranteed to us through this guardian of our liberties, remembering that lost rights may never be regained.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of Memphis to be affixed this twenty-third day of September in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen.

The United States Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties and freedoms and to ensure those unalienable rights to every American.

In 1955 the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) petitioned the Federal Government to dedicate September 17-23 as Constitution Week.  Congress adopted the resolution and on August 2, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into Public Law 915.  DAR Chapters have been observing Constitution Week various ways since then.  The local Chapter, Jauflione, places a display in a store window to remind the public of the Constitution and its significance to our way of life.  The city Mayor also issues a proclamation declaring Constitution Week.  This is an annual reminder of the inalienable rights the Constitution affords all Americans.

The aims of the celebration are to:  (1) Emphasize citizen’s responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution, (2) Inform people that the Constitution is the basis for American’s great heritage and the foundation for our way of life and (3) To encourage the study of the historical events which led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.

Written in 1787, the Constitution was signed September 17th.  But it wasn’t until 1788 that it was ratified by the necessary nine states.

The Constitution is a living document, being amended 27 times.  Of the written national constitutions, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest.

Jauflione Chapter, NSDAR helps keep alive the memory of the men and women who secured the Nation’s independence, whose bravery and sacrifice made possible the liberties Americans enjoy today.

Scotland County Speedway to Host Memphis Bottom Heavy Fall Special This Weekend

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With a special payout schedule making it more profitable for all drivers and a pleasant weather forecast, the Scotland County Speedway should be rocking this weekend for the Memphis Bottom Heavy Fall Special races to be held Friday, September 30th and Saturday October 1st.

“We have received an overwhelming amount of calls and messages on this show from people who have never raced in Memphis,” said promoter Mike Van Genderen. “As a race track, we never know how many cars will show up, but with the amount of calls we have a good chance of getting a great field of cars. Memphis usually gets around 30 cars in most classes.”

If the fields swell to 40 cars or more, the modified, stock cars and sportmods would all pay $2,000 to win.

Van Genderen stated there will be prize payouts on both nights with more than $60,000 in purse money on the line this weekend.

The Bottom Heavy Nationals feature a “bottom heavy” payout, meaning much better returns for all racers, instead of the traditional top heavy payouts that send the bulk of the prize money to the top finisher.

Hobby stocks, sport compacts and Lee County late models will also be in action on both nights.

Hot laps on Friday night start at 7 p.m. Fans will need to be at SCS an hour earlier on Saturday night, with hot laps scheduled for 6 p.m.

The two-day event will feature two complete shows, with payouts each night.

Grandstand admission will be $15 with students entering for $7 and children six and under receiving free admission. Pit passes will be available for $30 or a two-day pass for $55.

Absentee Voting Process Underway for November 8th Election

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While the general election is still more than a month away, voting technically began on Tuesday, September 27th, the first day for absentee ballots to be cast.

Under Missouri law (statute (115.277, RSMo) “Any registered voter of this state may vote by absentee ballot for all candidates and issues for which such voter would be eligible to vote at the polling place if such voter expects to be prevented from going to the polls to vote on election day.”

Justification for using absentee voting includes absence on election day from the jurisdiction of the election authority in which such voter is registered to vote.

Voters who are incapacitated or confined due to illness or physical disability, including a person who is primarily responsible for the physical care of a person who is incapacitated or confined due to illness or disability, may also vote by absentee ballot.

If religious belief or practice or employment as an election authority prevents a voter from making it to the polls on election day, they may also use an absentee ballot.

Scotland County Clerk Batina Dodge stressed that absentee voting is not early voting.  The voter must sign an affidavit stating their reason for voting absentee.

Absentee ballots may also be used by incarcerated individuals, as long as all qualifications for voting are retained; and by certified participation in the address confidentiality program established under sections 589.660 to 589.681 because of safety concerns.

Application for an absentee ballot may be made by the applicant in person, or by mail, for the applicant, in person, by his or her guardian or a relative within the second degree by consanguinity or affinity. Disabled voters, college students, and military personnel may also apply by mail.

The deadline to mail absentee ballots is November 2, 2016.

Dodge explained how the process works.

“Upon receiving an absentee ballot in person or by mail, the voter marks the ballot, places the ballot in the ballot envelope, seals it and completes the statement on the ballot envelope,” she said. “The affidavit of each person voting an absentee ballot shall be subscribed and sworn to before the election official receiving the ballot, a notary public or other officer authorized by law.”

Each absentee ballot must be returned to the election authority in the ballot envelope and is to be returned by the voter in person, or in person by a relative of the voter who is within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, by mail or registered carrier or by a team of deputy election authorities.

The last day to vote absentee ballot in person is November 7th, the day before the General Election.

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