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.

Scotland County Senior Nutrition Center


Thursday, October 27 – Swiss Steak, Scalloped Cabbage, Peas, Bread, Pudding/Fruit

Friday, October 28 – Salmon Loaf, Scalloped Potatoes, 3 Bean Salad, Buttered Corn, Cornbread, Crème Pie

Monday, October 31 – Juicy Burger/Bun, French Fries, Mixed Veggies, Cottage Cheese, Peaches

Tuesday, November 1 – Meatloaf, Macaroni Salad, Buttered Broccoli, Applesauce, Bread, Glazed Donut

Wed., November 2 – Chicken Strips, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Buttered Carrots, Hot Roll, Fruit Salad

Thursday, November 3 – Roast Pork, Stuffing/Gravy, Sauerkraut, Green Beans, Slice Bread, Cake


Thursday, October 27 –Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 2 – Red Hats will join us for lunch.

Thursday, November 3 –RSVP for doing Medicare Part D Free Comparisons from 9-12, call for an appt.  Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

SCR-I School Menus


Thursday, October 27 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk

Friday, October 28 – Sausage/Gravy, Biscuits, Choice of Cereal, Blueberry Muffin, Banana, Juice/Milk

Monday, October 31 – Cook’s Surprise

Tuesday, November 1 –Scrambled Eggs, Choice of Cereal, Hash Browns, Toast/Jelly, Apple Wedges, Juice/Milk

Wednesday, Nov. 2 – Bacon/Egg/Cheese Sandwich, Choice of Cereal, Cinnamon Biscuit, Orange Half, Juice/Milk

Thursday, Nov. 3 – Breakfast Burrito, Choice of Cereal, Toast/Jelly, Orange Wedge/Grapes, Juice/Milk


Thursday, October 27 – Pizza Roll-Ups, Chicken Fajitas, Hamburger Bar, Green Beans, Applesauce, Fresh Fruit

Friday, October 28 – Walking Taco, Fish Square/Bun, Diced Tomatoes, Cottage Cheese, Sliced Peaches, Fresh Fruit

Monday, October 31 – Crispy Chicken Strips, Grilled Cheese Sandwich, 5th/6th Grade Chef Salad, Tri Potato Patty, Peas, Mandarin Orange Slices, Fresh Fruit

Tuesday, November 1 – Cheeseburger/Bun, Chicken Patty/Bun, 5th/6th Grade Taco Bar, Oven Ready Fries, Tomato Slices and Pickles, Pinto Beans, Applesauce, Fresh Fruit

Wednesday, Nov. 2 –Country Fried Steak, Chicken and Noodles, 5th/6th Grade Potato Bar, Whipped Potatoes/Gravy, Carrot Coins, Dinner Roll, Jell-O/Fruit, Fresh Fruit

Thursday, Nov. 3  – Chili Soup, Broccoli Cheese Soup, Hamburger Bar, Peanut Butter Sandwich, Pickle Spear, Cheese Stick, Saltine Crackers, Cinnamon Apple Slices

Daylight Saving Time Ends November 6th


It’s almost time to “fall back” and return our clocks to standard time, rejoining 60% of countries around the world who use this time all year.  Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. officially comes to an end, Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 2:00 a.m.

Each year, this “changing of the clocks” brings about discussion about why daylight saving time started and why it still continues.  Typical responses to these questions include “to help farmers” and “because of the World Wars”.

Daylight saving time did begin in the U.S. during World War I and although some states and communities observed daylight saving time between the wars, it was not observed nationally again until World War II.  But World War II is long over and some wonder why we still observe daylight saving time?

The idea of daylight saving is first credited to Benjamin Franklin and found in his essay “An Economical Project” written in 1784.  In 1907, William Willett, a London builder, published a pamphlet titled “Waste of Daylight”.  In it Willett states, “Everyone appreciates the long, light evenings.  Everyone laments their shortage as Autumn approaches; and everyone has given utterance to regret that the clear, bright light of an early morning during Spring and Summer months is so seldom seen or used.”

About a year after Willett began advocating for daylight saving time, Britain set the ball in motion by introducing a bill in the House of Commons to make it compulsory to adjust the clocks.  An act was passed on May 17, 1916 to add 80 minutes, in four separate movements.  However, this act created great confusion and opposition with many adjustments being made to address unique problems created by changing the clocks.

There are pros and cons to both sides of the argument, and in the U.S., Congress has changed the rules a few times since passing The Uniform Time Act of 1966, which provided the basic framework for alternating between daylight saving time and standard time in the U.S.  In 1973, daylight saving time was observed all year; in 1986, the system of beginning DST at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in April and ending it at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday in October started; and in 2007 the rules changed again with DST beginning the second Sunday of March and ending the first Sunday in November.

Who knows what the future for Daylight Saving Time will be… only TIME will tell!  For now, the shifting of time and the illusion of shorter days, will take place Sunday, November 6th.

Living From Both Extremes 

The system of church could use a vigorous boost.  The body of Christ will always do well to consciously remain new in Spirit day by day.  It’s this new zone which challenges us; calls for us to function from such a perspective.  It would seem that hope awaits us, the church, when we decline to function somewhere within the realm of middle-zone in order to operate from the edge… both edges…at the same time.

We are not right with God because we figured ourselves out.  We are saved because He figured us out. We do not earn our salvation.  It is a gift from God.  Jesus is the one right.  We are the ones who could not save ourselves.  When we make inward adjustments to believe we could not save ourselves; but that He did, an entirely new frame of walk should take place.  Any arrogance due to self-salvation should slip away as an atmosphere of humility should increase.

We are called to live from both extremes; the energy of the Holy Spirit while fully aware of the non-power of ourselves.  Faith on one side and surrender on the other, we become free to enter the dynamic that only God can supply.  There is no middle of safety or forewarning or management.  God runs the show and we most certainly do not.  Our job is two-fold; to stay out of the way and to get into His way.  We are to live from both extremes…and this takes, therefore, a double-commitment of sorts.

From human logic it would seem at first glance that we would be one or the other. Yet, from faith’s perspective it is both… simultaneously…confidence in Him and the lack thereof in ourselves…we are to be empty of self in order to be full in Spirit.  Living from these two extremes make life tick.


Conservation Department Investigates Elk Sighting

Trail cameras at Hickory Hill Hunts in rural Scotland County captured images of this bull elk earlier this month. Elk are a protected species in Missouri, making it illegal to harvest an elk in the state. The Missouri Department of Conservation recently began an elk restoration program in Carter, Reynolds and Shannon counties.

Trail cameras at Hickory Hill Hunts in rural Scotland County captured images of this bull elk earlier this month. Elk are a protected species in Missouri, making it illegal to harvest an elk in the state. The Missouri Department of Conservation recently began an elk restoration program in Carter, Reynolds and Shannon counties.

by MDC Conservation Agent Michael Collins

The leaves are changing colors and some trees are losing most of their leaves, crop fields are being harvested and the deer are on the move. It appears that the fall has rolled in to stay, or at least that is what the hopes are for the majority of hunters. This coming weekend is the Early Youth Firearms Deer Season, and, before long, the November Portion of Firearms Deer Season will be in full swing. For some people, there is something to consider while they are sitting in their tree stand this fall.

Recently, I received a report of a bull elk in Scotland County. At this time, there is no evidence that it is an escaped captive bull elk or if it is, in fact, wild. Nonetheless, it is definitely an interesting occurrence in Scotland County, Missouri. Some questions have arisen – if it is legal, or illegal to harvest. Here in Missouri, we are currently in the restoration phase of building a healthy elk population. There is currently no season on elk and they are a protected species in Missouri. Therefore, harvesting one of these animals is illegal. If you are afield and see an elk, please contact the local Conservation Agent in the area you are hunting. Of course, here in Scotland County, contact Conservation Agent Michael Collins at (660)216-1374 or contact the Northeast Regional Office at (660)785-2420.

Currently, Missouri’s elk populations are concentrated in the Elk Restoration Zone, which is comprised in Carter, Shannon and Reynolds Counties – Elk are a species of Conservation Concern in Missouri due to habitat loss and overhunting by settlers. Before the coming of Europeans, elk, or wapiti, probably ranged over the entire region of what is now Missouri. By 1830, elk were becoming scarce; they eventually were limited to just the northwestern and southeastern parts of the state. By 1865, they were extirpated. Today, elk are being reintroduced, in large part, because of their popularity for hunting and ecotourism.

Missouri Voters to Decide Future of Sales Tax for State Parks, Soil and Water Conservation

On November 8th, voters across Missouri will decide the future of the 0.1% sales tax for the state’s parks and soil and water conservation, which funds places such as Thousand Hills State Park  The tax, first implemented in 1984, has previously been renewed by voters in 1988, 1996 and 2006.

On November 8th, voters across Missouri will decide the future of the 0.1% sales tax for the state’s parks and soil and water conservation, which funds places such as Thousand Hills State Park The tax, first implemented in 1984, has previously been renewed by voters in 1988, 1996 and 2006.

Ever since 1984, 0.1 percent of sales made in Missouri has gone to fund state parks and soil and water conservation efforts in the Missouri in the form of a special sales tax.

On November 8th, voters across the state will once again decide the future of the sales tax.

Originating in a 1984 state constitutional amendment, the issue is returned to the voters every 10 years for reconsideration. Missouri voters approved the continuation of the tax in 1988, 1996 and 2006. Each decade, the initiative passed by a minimum of two-thirds vote, with the over 70 percent of voters approving the tax renewal in the latest election in 2006.

According to the ballot language, Amendment 1, if reapproved by voters, will generate approximately $90 million in tax revenue.

The Citizens Committee for Soil, Water and State Parks points out that more than 19 million people visit state parks and historic sites annually, accounting for $1 billion a year in economic impact, while supporting roughly 14,000 jobs.

The ballot issue is being supported by numerous conservation and agricultural groups as well as park associations.

Proponents note that a yes vote is not costing voters anything, as this is not a new tax, simply a continuation of a sales tax that has been in place since 1984.

Police Warning Businesses, Residents of Utility Bill Scam


As temperatures turn cooler, no one wants their gas shutoff. That’s what scammers are counting on, as law enforcement agencies this week issued warnings to local business owners and residents regarding potential scam phone calls regarding unpaid utility bills.

The Memphis Police Department is investigating a case involving an alleged scam regarding natural gas bills. Investigators indicated a Memphis business was tricked out of $1,200 by an alleged con artist, posing as the local natural gas provider, Liberty Utilities.

According to the investigators, a caller to the businesses, stated unpaid bills would force the discontinue of natural gas service to the business. The scam included a 1-800 call-back number, complete with automated directions.

The alleged transaction was completed over the phone with pre-paid credit cards, which are purchasable at most retail outlets. Immediate payment of the debt was enticed with promises of waving all late fees and disconnect service charges.

While the scammer reported to be the local natural gas provider, similar cons have been reported in other area towns. The Kirksville Police Department recently issued a similar warning to residents in their city regarding scam calls alleging to represent Ameren Missouri, the electricity provider in that town.

Law enforcement encourages anyone receiving calls related to unpaid utility bills to search out valid contact information for the service provider, and to contact them directly to determine the validity of the charges. Customers also warned about any type of collection calls that seek immediate payment, requiring such payments in non-traceable currency, just as cashier checks, money orders, or pre-paid credit or debit cards. Do not confirm or give out any personal, financial or other sensitive information.

Amendment 2 Places Campaign Finance Limits Back on Missouri Ballots


At a time when voters are being bombarded by political ads and campaign propaganda seemingly non-stop, Missouri voters will be deciding if they want to try and place a damper on it with Constitutional Amendment 2, which is proposing campaign contribution limits for state and judicial offices.

If approved by voters, Amendment 2 would implement a cap of $2,600 for individual’s donating to campaigns for state offices, such as governor, secretary of state, attorney general or state representative or senator as well as judicial offices. Donations to political parties would be capped at $25,000.

Amendment 2 also would make it illegal for corporations or labor organizations to make direct contributions to candidates, unless the group created a continuing committee of its own for such purposes.

Other facets of the proposed law would ban candidate campaign committees from donating to other candidates, and would prohibit candidates from accepting contributions from out-of-state committees that are not registered in Missouri. Contributions from non-citizens, foreign governments and foreign corporations would also be prohibited, while anonymous contributions could not exceed $25 each and could not account for more than $500 or 1% of the aggregate campaign receipts.

The proposed law would not cap contributions to federal candidates, nor municipal, county or other local issues. It would not impact political action committees (PACs) which still would have no limits on the amount of contributions that could be received and used to promote ballot issues or candidates.

One such example of a PAC is Returning Government to the People, which was formed to support Amendment 2. According to campaign documents, the group, is solely funded by one individual, Fred, N. Sauer, who donated $1.5 million to the campaign for campaign contribution limits.

Sauer is on the record as saying campaign contribution limits are in the best interest of the entire state, putting limits on wealthy contributors whose voices otherwise can drown out majority rule.

Proponents of the amendment point to the 1994 election, when 74% of Missouri voters approved Proposition A, that drastically limited campaign contributions, before it was repealed in 2008 by the state legislature.

Opponents of the amendment have voiced concerns about unintended consequences, such as funneling even more campaign contributions to PACS and other less regulated avenues, that would ultimately have no impact on the peddling of political influence and would make it even harder to track.

Jauflione Chapter NSDA Hosts October Meeting

Jauflione Chapter, DAR, met in regular session Friday, Oct 7, 2016, at the Presbyterian Church Hospitality Room with Regent June Kice and acting Secretary, for this meeting, Terry Arnold.

The first order of business was a very informative presentation by Daisy Murphy, Scotland County Care Center Administrator. Daisy answered many questions for all present.

The business meeting was then called to order in Ritualistic form by Regent June Kice.

Roll call was answered by 11 members naming a famous American woman.

President General’s Message was read by Regent Kice. National Defense lesson was also given by Regent Kice in the absent of the Chairman, Marlene Cowell. Indian Minute was read by Nelda Billups. There was no Constitution Minute read.

Treasurer’s Report, prepared by Kathy Kiddoo, was given by Rita Stott. Kathy reported that she has received dues from many members. She reported that program books have been given to everyone who has paid their dues.

A discussion of eligibility for DAR membership followed.

Regent Kice reported that the “Thank You Veterans” reception will be held Nov. 4th, 2016, at the Hud Housing Meeting Room. Plans were finalized for the reception. It was decided not to mail invitations this year. Advertising will be by radio and the county paper. Posters will also be displayed in businesses around Memphis.

Regent Kice reported receiving a letter from the N. E. District Director Cheryl Varvil. Ms. Varvil will be planning to visit our Chapter after the first of the year.

New business consisted of voting on the two names presented for membership at the Sept. meeting. The vote was positive for both.

Registrar Patricia Miller will begin working on the documentation for their memberships. Volunteer hours were recorded and will be sent to the State chairperson.

The business meeting was closed.

Delicious refreshments were served by Nelda Billups and Verlee Dauma. Beautiful fall themed decorations were displayed on all tables. Everyone enjoyed a pleasant social hour.

Submitted by Rhonda Davis, Secretary

Funeral Services October 27th for Charles Ammons

Funeral services for Charles W. Ammons, 56, of Memphis will be at 11 a.m., Thursday, October 27 at the Gerth Funeral Chapel in Memphis.   Burial will follow in the Gorin Cemetery.

Visitation is prior to the service, from 10:30-11 a.m., at the funeral home.

 Charles W. Ammons died Friday, October 21, 2016 at his home.

A complete obituary will appear in next week’s paper.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Gerth Funeral Service.

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