January 26, 2012

Group Seeking to Return One of Only Three Remaining Pheasant Airplanes to Birthplace

Dr. Harlo Donelson stands in front of a H-10 Pheasant biplane that is housed in New York. Efforts are underway to buy the plane and return it to Memphis, where it was originally manufactured.

More than 80 years ago, a group of area residents joined forces to help the community take flight, literally. Now, numerous community boosters with similar vision are making every effort to land a piece of this town's history back home for good.

In the late 1920's Memphis was home to the Pheasant Airplane Company. An untimely accident and a financial downturn that devastated the entire nation, made the venture short lived. Despite its brief tenure as the community's top manufacturer, the airplane builders put Memphis on the map.

On a recent trip to New York, a local dentist discovered that a big piece of this local history could be had for the right price.

Dr. Harlo Donelson took time out his Christmas trip to visit his son, to do some special sight-seeing. Doc had learned of a fully-functional Pheasant airplane, which was on display at the Bayport Aerodrome Museum.

"There are only three of these planes still in existence as far as anyone can tell," said Donelson. "One is in Wisconsin, one in Canada and this one in New York. Not only did I get to see her, but I got to touch her and boy is she a beauty."

As his words demonstrate, Donelson quickly fell in love with the plane. Anyone that knows Doc, knows he is not shy when it comes to promoting his community. Before he had departed the hangar, the plan had been hatched to return the plane to its birthplace.

"Somehow, some way, we are going to get that gal back to Memphis," Donelson stated.

Just weeks after returning to Memphis, the tales of the plane and its availability had led to the formation of a committee to make the dream come true.

Local pilot Fred Clapp is heading up the group that consists of numerous other flyers and community boosters.

The first task at hand will be raising the estimated $75,000 it will take to purchase the plane from owner Tim Dahlen of Vintage Aero Collection.

The plane was originally restored by Bill Schwenk of Southampton, NY. According to a November 22, 2007 article in the Southampton Press, the then 94-year-old sold the plane to Dahlen and his partner, Ed Katzen. As part of the transaction, Dahlen concluded the 77-year journey for the former owner, by taking Schwenk for a flight in the 1927 biplane.

Schwenk reportedly had purchased the plane back in 1930 from a Southampton junkyard for the price of $50. Over the years, the new owner worked to restore the plane, ultimately completing the task, but not before his age prevented him from flying it himself.

The news article indicated the plane had been owned by an East Hampton family, but following a crash, was sold to the junkyard, where it was reclaimed by Schwenk in 1930.

While it took nearly 80 years for the plane to change ownership for the third time in its life, local boosters are hoping the fourth transaction occurs much more rapidly.

At a January 14 meeting of interested parties, a steering committee was formed with Clapp, Fred Cordray, Jason Glass and Stan Myers charged with organizing a governing board and seeking 501c3 IRS status as a tax exempt entity.

A fund raising committee was also established with members Ronnie Brown, H Middleton, Peggy Brown and Laura Schenk. A checking account has been established for the group and donations are already pouring in.

Another key task for the group will be transportation and storage if the plane's purchase can be secured. Glass and Larry Wiggins were assigned the duty of identifying suitable temporary storage as well as determining requirements for a permanent display location.

The group will meet again on January 27 at the Scotland County Rotary Building at 6 p.m. New members and prospective donors are encouraged to attend.

Airplane Builder Plays Big, Albeit Brief, Part in Memphis History

A local pilot's teaching abilities at the outset of our nation's aeronautical era likely were at the root of one of the area's historical highlights.

In the 1920s, prospective flyers from across the nation were traveling to Memphis to study under the tutelage of pilot Lee R. Briggs, who opened a flight school in 1925. The pages of the Memphis Democrat and the Memphis Reveille, the region's two newspapers at that time, are filled with stories of reports of Briggs's exploits as a flyer and a teacher of the skill with students coming from as far away as Canada.

Once trained in the art of flying, the new pilots offered a captive market for airplane sales. Early on, the news stories indicate Briggs filled the needs by buying and selling the vehicles, but ultimately the idea was born to build a better plane right here in Memphis.

News broke in the June 6, 1927 edition of the Memphis Democrat of plans to form the Pheasant Airplane Corporation to build a new biplane designed by Orville Hickman of Lomax, IL.

The new business was housed in the garage of the Briggs & Son Ford dealership on the northeast corner of the Memphis square (the current Payne Funeral Chapel property).

The first model H-10 biplane "rolled off the assembly line" in August and pilot Harold Phillips was the first to take a Memphis-made plane airborne, as reported in the August 18, 1927 Memphis Reveille. Shortly after, well-known local pilot Leslie Smith, put the plane to a full test of stunts, "pronouncing the Pheasant as superior to any plane in its class."

A full-page ad in Aviation magazine resulted in hundreds of inquiries about the plane, and within months a number of contracts were arranged for salesmen to handle dealership rights in states across the Midwest.

By October 1927, the newspaper reported seven planes had been contracted for construction, and by November of that year the workforce at the plant had more than doubled to 25 employees, with projected output of a plane per week.

Tragedy struck the company in December, when founder Lee Briggs and a student, Otis Oliver, of Versailles, OH, were killed when they fell an estimated 1000 feet from a plane, that later crash landed.

A December 8, 1927 article in the Memphis Democrat indicated that Oliver was piloting the plane, and reportedly banked the plane too sharply, causing it to overturn and ejecting the two pilots.

Inspections by the U.S. Army and the Commerce Department ruled the accident was no fault of the plane, and manufacturing continued despite the resignation of Hickman. W. H. Raines was elected the new board president.

The company became bogged down awaiting official approval from the federal government's aviation department to certify and approve the planes design, which finally was received in April of 1928.

While waiting, in March of 1928, the company relocated to the O.O. North Building (the current Tri-State Used Furniture building) west of the southwest corner of the square.

Craftsmen work on wing assembly for a Pheasant H-10 bi-plane being constructed in Memphis. This photo was taken in the new workshop, located on the second floor of what is now the Tri-State Used Furniture Store.

Well known Wisconsin pilot, S. J. Wittman, arrived in Memphis in April and quickly became a champion of the Memphis-built planes. He became one of the company's leading salesman, as more than half a dozen Pheasants were flown home to Wisconsin buyers. Other planes were sold, including one that ultimately landed in Prince Alberta-Saskatoon, Canada.

Despite the solid sale numbers, the company fell into a capital crunch, and investors decided to offer the corporation for sale as opposed to extending further local investments. In July of 1928, a call was made for added stock sales to raise the capital investments from $10,000 to $40,000.

Meanwhile Wittman was gaining national notoriety for the Pheasant. He entered his plane in a trans-continental race from Long Island to Los Angeles, and finished ninth, despite featuring one of the race's smaller horse-powered motor.

Despite some limited initial success in reorganizing the company under local stockholders, the Pheasant Airplane Company was ultimately sold to T.W. Meiklejohn of Fondulac, Wisconsin, an associate of Wittman. The plant was relocated to Fondulac in May of 1929, but reportedly no planes were ever built there following the stock market crash later that year that took its toll on commerce across the nation and the Great Depression began.

Leo Brown of Memphis reported in documentation on file with the Scotland County Library, that a total of 37 Pheasant bi-planes were built in Memphis.

Similar history provided by former plant worker Herb Prather, seems to affirm those numbers, as his documented estimates were 30-36 planes built in Memphis. Correspondence from Wittman to Prather in April of 1980, did dispute the fact that no planes were built in Wisconsin, as the former test pilot, informed Prather that he believed three new ships were built in Wisconsin. Further investigation may have revealed that these were the new monoplane version, whose prototype was developed in Memphis.

Of the estimated three dozen H-10's built in Memphis, only three are believed to remain. One is on display at the EAA's Pioneer Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, near the site of the transplanted factory. The second is on display at the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon, Canada. The third, currently in New York, hopefully will be on display in Memphis in the not-too-distant future.

SC Little Paw’s to Host Fall Fest October 29th


Would you like your children, daughters or sons, to have a great day of fun, dancing and playing group games with the Scotland County High School Little Paws?  Then mark October 29th on your calendar because from 9:00 a.m. -2:00 p.m. at the Scotland County High School, a day of learning large group and small group routines, and playing games with the SC Little Paws is something your child can look forward to.  The day will also include snacks and cheek cheers.

Parents are encouraged to attend their child’s performance of their routine at 2:00 p.m.

The cost for the day will be $15, which includes a t-shirt and snacks.  The children will need to bring a sack lunch.

Please sign up by October 21st so we can make sure each child receives a t-shirt.  The pom clinic is open to all girls and boys from three years to 8th grade.  Call Marie Brown at 465-2036 to register or with any questions.

We will also have our Yummy-Lix Lollipops available to the children for fifty cents each if they are interested.  And if you did not receive a pom calendar we will have some available for $5 each.

Hope to see you and your child/children on the 29th!

Downing House Hosts Candlelit Tour of the Past


The Downing House Museum Complex and members of the community hosted an “Evening at the Museum – Candlelit Tour of the Past” this past weekend, October 14th and 15th.  Approximately 240 people attended the event, raising $1,200.00. Volunteers portrayed various characters and wrote their own dialogue for the two-night performance.  Characters included: a one-room school teacher (Lois Quenneville), William Downing (Joe Fulk, who also provided the welcome), Dr. A. M. Keethler (Harlo Donelson), Ella Ewing (Teresa Cotton), the Depot ticket master (Tom Cotton), Tom Horn (Jeff Dyer), a Civil War soldier (Chris Kempke), a barber (Larry Riney), Granny Green (Anna Lynn Kirkpatrick), and a blacksmith (Frank Wineinger).  Tour guides for the evening included Lynette Dyer, Rhonda McBee, Leslie Clark, Mary Ann Kirkpatrick, Janet Hamilton, Brooke Wineinger, Angie Wentworth, Elle Wentworth, Melissa Miler, Gary Miller, Angela Westhoff, Scott Westhoff, and Jan Slayton.  Box office volunteers were Debbie Seamster, Ruth Ann Cairn and Pam Shalley.  Sheila Berkowitz made the flyers, tickets and videotaped the event.  Pam Shalley served as photographer.  Elaine Forrester provided refreshments including cookies, punch and wassail and Alisa Kigar’s 4-H group donated some of the cookies.







Photos by Pam Shalley

Hospital Pharmacy Celebrates National Pharmacy Week      

Scotland County Hospital Pharmacy staff members (L to R) Dani Waterman, CPhT, Matt McKee, RPh, and Jennifer Laws, BSPS will be honored as part of National Pharmacy Week October 16-22.

Scotland County Hospital Pharmacy staff members (L to R) Dani Waterman, CPhT, Matt McKee, RPh, and Jennifer Laws, BSPS will be honored as part of National Pharmacy Week October 16-22.

The Scotland County Hospital’s Pharmacy Department is celebrating National Pharmacy Week, October 16 –  22.  Pharmacy Week acknowledges the invaluable contributions that pharmacists and technicians make to patient care in hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, and other healthcare settings.  During Pharmacy Week, Scotland County Hospital celebrates and recognizes the significant role that our Hospital Pharmacy plays as a member of the healthcare team.

The Hospital’s Pharmacy Department is staffed by Matt McKee RPh, Director of Pharmacy, Jennifer Laws BSPS, Supervisor of the Pharmacy Department and Danielle Waterman CPhT, Certified Pharmacy Technician.  No matter the time of day or night, our physicians can write an order for a medication for our in-patients and the medication will be administered promptly after interactions have been checked, thanks to the staff in the Pharmacy Department and their cooperation with the physicians and nurses at Scotland County Hospital as well as the staff of Scotland County Pharmacy and Blessing Hospital pharmacists.

Many patients and their families are not aware that the Hospital’s pharmacy staff play a critical role in preventing medication errors, collaborating with other disciplines to optimally manage patients medication needs, improving safety and patient outcomes, and advising prescribers on the best drug choices, all while maintaining the proper inventory to meet the needs of the patients.

Although medicine can make you well, it can also harm you if it is not taken the right way. That’s why you need to know all you can about all the medicine you take. While you’re at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, MO, the pharmacy staff is here to make sure that you receive the best and safest medications that aid you in your comfort and recovery.

Scotland County Speedway to Host Memphis Fall Nationals this Weekend


Racing action will return to the Scotland County Speedway this weekend for the annual Memphis Fall Nationals. The local track will host a two-day show October 21st and 22nd featuring modifieds, stock cars, sportmods, hobby stocks, sport compacts and late models.

With temps expected be in the high 60’s as highs and around 50 for the lows, the racing will continue this weekend at the Scotland County Speedway for the Fall Nationals,” said promoter Mike Van Genderen. “This show has been a huge tradition for many years and has become one of the favorite shows for many racers.”

Curt Marks of Dubuque Moving and Storage has added to the late model purse, making it $1,000 to win, which should add to the field of fastest cars at the speedway.

The track will host open practice for all classes from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday.

Hot laps will start at 7 p.m. on Friday night and at 6 p.m. for Saturday’s show.

With modifieds, sportsmods, stock cars and now late models all vying or a $1,000 top prize, the track is expecting a large car count as the 2016 racing season winds down across the Midwest.

The races will also be broadcast live on Speed Shift TV at www.speedshiftTV.com.

Cayden Carter captured victories on both nights of the Memphis Bottom Heavy Nationals held at the start of the month at SCS with his 10C modified. The Oskaloosa driver will be looking to keep his streak alive.

Tommy Elston was the winner in the late models while Jason Cook and Jeff Mueller staged a battle in the stock cars, splitting the wins.

More than two dozen sportmods participated in the Bottom Heavy Nationals, with the stock cars and modifieds also more than 20 racers, numbers the Fall Nationals should duplicate or exceed.

Grandstand tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for students. Pit passes will be $30 nightly or $55 for the two-day show.

For more info contact Mike Van Genderen at 6441-521-0330.

Missouri Department of Insurance Offers Free Assistance To Seniors During Medicare Open Enrollment 

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Insurance is encouraging Missourians eligible for Medicare to review their plan options and costs during this year’s open enrollment. To help Missouri consumers choose a plan that best meets their needs, the department offers free assistance through the CLAIM program.

CLAIM provides unbiased help to Missourians on Medicare and their caregivers. During the annual open enrollment period, which runs October 15 through December 7, consumers can change their Part D drug coverage or Medicare Advantage plans.

“Plans and prices can change from year to year and what you had last year may not be what is right for you this year,” said John Huff, director of the Insurance Department. “Contacting a CLAIM counselor could result in better coverage, more savings or both.”

Missouri consumers can ask questions by phone or arrange one-on-one counseling by calling 1-800-390-3330 or visiting missouriclaim.org. The website also offers a list of free open enrollment events that CLAIM is hosting throughout Missouri during open enrollment.

CLAIM can also assist consumers, who have limited income, determine if they qualify for programs to help lower the cost of prescription drugs.

Consumers with complaints or questions about insurance can call the department’s Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department’s seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.

Haunted House/Safe Stops Coming Soon!


by Andrea Brassfield

With Halloween less than two weeks away, local organizations are preparing activities for area trick-or-treaters.  On Thursday, October 27th, the Scotland County Care Center is hosting their first annual Haunted House.  The event will be open from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and admission is a free will donation.  The Haunted House will be located at the front entrance/activity room of the Care Center.  Everyone is invited.

The Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce is also hosting their annual Safe Stops on Monday, October 31st from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Children may visit Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce members for Trick-or-Treating.

You will see a bright orange flyer at participating businesses which have treats for the costumed little ones.  Crossing guards will also be posted at each corner of the Memphis Square where most of the members will be set up.

There are several MACC members who do not have a store front on or near the square, but do have treats at their business locations on Highway 136 and Highway 15.  Names of the participating MACC businesses will be published in the Memphis Democrat.  Only those businesses with an orange flyer are officially recognized as a Safe Stop.  A parent or adult should accompany the children.

As a reminder, Harlo Donelson is offering a Halloween Candy Buy Back.  The dental office will pay $4.00 per pound for your goodies, $3.00 he will give to you and $1.00 will be donated to the reading program at the elementary school.

Along with the candy and costumes comes the need for added caution as youngsters venture out onto the streets to trick-or-treat.  Drivers are asked to be extra safe this weekend.  Popular trick-or-treating hours are from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those times.

Children should be reminded to walk with an adult, remain on well-lit streets, if sidewalks aren’t available, walk on the far edge of the roadway facing traffic, and never cross between parked cars or out of driveways.

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!!!

Chinese Delegates Agree to Buy $2.1 Billion More U.S. Soybeans

DES MOINES (Oct. 14, 2016) – Six weeks ago, Chinese buyers committed to purchase nearly $1.8 billion worth of U.S. soy, totaling 146 million bushels of U.S. soybeans. Friday, Chinese buyers made an even larger commitment, signing contracts worth $2.1 billion of U.S. soy, or 5.1 million tons.

The new commitments were signed at a ceremony held in Des Moines and attended by seven of the top Chinese buyers of U.S. soy, Chinese commerce officials, top Iowa state officials and representatives from the U.S. soy industry. The signing ceremony was hosted by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the Iowa Soybean Association. Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey were in attendance.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad talked about the trust, honor and respect that have helped foster the long relationship between Chinese president Xi Jinping and U.S. soybean farmers, sharing a photograph that shows the Chinese leader’s first visit to Iowa in 1985. “It’s pretty neat to have the president of China call you an ‘old friend,’” he stated.

This year, U.S. soybean farmers are projected to export a record amount of soy and soy products, up from 62.88 million metric tons of soy and soy products, valued at $27.7 billion, in 2015. International buyers are turning to U.S. soy for a variety of reasons, including its quality, sustainability and reliability, to name a few.

China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-products (CFNA) president Brian Zhenhu spoke about the trade collaboration between the U.S. and China. “This signing ceremony is just one manifestation of our cooperation,” he said.

These sentiments were echoed by the U.S. soy industry. “We were honored to be joined by a group of Chinese provincial officials and crush company representatives, who traveled 7,000 miles to meet with U.S. exporters to sign 16 purchasing agreements,” said Jim Miller, USSEC chair, American Soy Association (ASA) director and Nebraska soybean farmer. “These agreements are an example fo the strong partnerships between the U.S. soy value chain and the international buyers who purchase our crop.”

The U.S. Soybean Export Council connects U.S. soybean farmers with opportunities to improve human nutrition, livestock production and aquaculture. This mission is accomplished with a science-based technical foundation and a global network of partnerships including soybean farmers, exporters, agribusiness and agricultural organizations, researchers and government agencies.

For more information, contact Lisa Humphreys at (636) 449-6040 or LHumphreys@ussec.org

RICHARD W. BILLINGS (8/23/1946 – 10/17/2016)


Richard Wayne Billings, 70, of Gorin, died Monday, October 17, 2016 at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis.

He was born the son of Ross “Shorty” and Stella Margaret (Davis) Billings on August 23, 1946 on a hill in Scotland County.

Richard graduated from Wyaconda C-1 High School.   He joined the United States Army, attaining the rank of Sergeant, before being discharged in 1972.

He married the former Beverly Marie Hicks on May 28, 1988 in Kirksville.   She survives.

Richard worked as a machine operator at Metzler Automotive in Keokuk.  He was member of the United Steel Workers #444. Upon retirement, he devoted his time to farming.

He was a member of the American Legion and a former member of the Bible Grove Saddle Club.

Richard had a special interest in cattle, AC tractors, and his dog Ruby.   He was fond of his horses, cows, and dogs.   He always looked forward to reading the NEMO Trader when it came out.   Richard especially enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Tom Billings; and a stepson and stepdaughter-in-law, Chris and Cindy Van Hoozen.

He is survived by his wife, Beverly, of the home; his children, Lesia (Rick) Hunziker and Les (Erin) Billings of Kahoka and Kimberly (Kevin) Carr of Warsaw, IL; stepchildren, Jennifer (Troy) Esser and Shawna Stone and special friend, Bubba Hauk, of Memphis; grandchildren and step-grandchildren, Raelynn, Logan, Lauren, Vince, Garrett, Wyatt, Clint, Laura (Craig), and Trent (Amber); step grandchildren, Nichole (Jimmy), Caleb, John, Whitney, Emma, Grace, Phillip, Katie (Colton), Mason, Kenny, Jaycen, Heather (David), Carrissa (John), Nakiya, Kody and Kaleb; 22 step-great-grandchildren; numerous brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and friends.

Funeral services will be at noon on Thursday, October 20, at the Gerth Funeral Chapel in Memphis with Shawn McAfee, pastor of the Peaksville Christian Church, officiating.   Burial will follow in the Etna Cemetery.

Military rites will be performed by the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial V.F.W. Post #4958 of Memphis.

Visitation is prior to the service, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Thursday, at Gerth Funeral Home.

Memorials are suggested to the Scotland County Cancer Fund or the Clark County Local Cancer Fund and can be left at or mailed to the Gerth Funeral Service, 115 S. Main St., Memphis, MO 63555.

Online condolences may be sent to the Billings family by signing the online guest book at gerthfuneralservice.com.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Gerth Funeral Service.



Proud parents Zach and Jessica McBee of Memphis are happy to announce the birth of their daughter Payton Leigh McBee on October 1, 2016 at Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville, Missouri. Payton weighed 7 pounds, 14 ounces and was 21 1/2 inches long. Grandparents are Jim and Rhonda McBee of Memphis, Valerie Bair and Patrick Hines of Memphis, and Doug Bair of Kansas City. Payton is the McBee’s first child.

Scotland County Health Department Schedule

Thursday, October 20 – Clinic hours from 8:00-9:00 a.m. for immunizations. A nurse will be available at the Scotland County Nutrition site to do blood pressure checks.

Friday, October 21 – Clinic hours from 8:00-3:30 for fasting blood sugars, cholesterols and blood draws, immunizations, nail care, flu shots, etc.

Tuesday, October 25 – Clinic hours from 8-9:00 a.m. for fasting blood sugars and cholesterols and blood draws and from 12-2:30 p.m. for immunizations, blood pressure checks, nail care, flu shots, etc.

Thursday, October 27 – Clinic hours from 8:00-9:00 a.m. for immunizations.

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