20th-century Ozarks pioneer Birdle Mannon

20th-century Ozarks pioneer Birdle Mannon

20th-century Ozarks pioneer Birdle Mannon

Birdle Mannon distinguished herself from the rest of the world by only being.

The Ozarks lady spent the majority of her 90 years in a small cabin that was hidden on the Taney Province mountains. She was isolated from everyone else for the duration of that time, up until a few months before she passed away in 1999, birdle with the possible exception of a handy dog and a few neighbours dressed as forest creatures.

Although though her family’s home was surrounded by stunning scenery, it lacked modern conveniences like running water, electricity, and a constant connection to the outside world. These occurrences were frequent when the cottage was built in 1916. Yet, Birdle did not change along with the times.

Up until 1996, her way of living was widely known to her friends and neighbours. She rose to fame that year because to passages in a newspaper that she may not have even realised existed, let alone read.

She was praised for being special, which she was. She was declared one of a kind, which was accurate. Yet in essence, she didn’t live the way she did to draw attention.

Even though it has been almost 20 years since Birdle last left her small town, she still has things to impart, including the fact that one should always choose happiness above suffering and that life rarely goes as to plan.

It’s challenging to put the Mannons’ story together. The majority of Birdie’s siblings passed away when they were little. For the Mannon family tree, there has never been a further generation.

The information that is available is fragmented. One dates back to 1916, when the family relocated from Nebraska to the Ozarks. Although the reason they were in Nebraska is unknown, it is thought that they moved to Missouri as a result of the drought.

In 1997, Birdle told a Springfield News-Leader reporter, “We had some neighbours move here. “When they eventually returned, they told us about the native trees and how much hotter it was here. We moved here after packing up our possessions since we were lured to that. Keeping in mind that we are from the prairie, this was completely different. I just adore it.”

With the aid of a covered waggon, they initially made their way to the then-bustling Christian County town of Chadwick, which at the time functioned as an important railroad stop. The Mannons worked there for a while and made money and canned foods before moving the roughly 25-mile distance south.

It was the family’s final destination. There was a cottage built on the 120 acres that were subsequently purchased. Birdle, who was 7 at the time, was there when they moved. She lived in the Missouri Ozarks with her three older siblings, Miles and Elnora, and her little brother Halley, who was given the moniker Halley’s Comet.

Birdle was viewed as unique later in life, but it’s possible that the family was unusual from the start.

While many Ozarkers at the time were farmers, it appears that the Mannons had difficulties with trading. It’s possible that patriarch Samuel Mannon lacked that expertise, or that having a club foot made physical labour difficult.

The family’s remarkable attitudes towards education and creativity may be another point of distinction.

Samuel Mannon’s Cattle Drive (Courtesy of Missouri State University Libraries)

Samuel Mannon was a poet, painter, and illustrator who left behind works that are now kept at Missouri State University. Based on the nature of his poems and knowledge exhibited through painting — bird names, for example — it’s likely he had more schooling than the rudimentary education most persons had back then.

Each article offers a glimpse into a challenging life in bits and pieces:

“I recognise that the pile is substantial and that the slants are high.”

I realize the street is friendless and the sand is profound and dry

O it is blustery and it’s colder time of year and the snow is floating quick

It sees like consistently could simple be my last

Conceal me, O my saviorfrom the chilling impact

Preliminaries and vexations can’t endure all the time”

Another poem, also in one of the luggage, lamented the victory of women’s voting rights:

“Since they’ve been liberated

O how they put on a show

All that’s is bothered when they blend in men’s undertakings

How they clatter how they snitch

How they drive their men around

Until you think the cutting edge lady was the best at any point found

I genuinely pine for calm ladies

Like we was aware of quite a while in the past

Their presence resembled heavenIf you became their lover

Some time or another in ongoing ages

Holy messenger ladies will be conceived

They will cook and adore their spouses

Furthermore, blow the supper horn

An advantage to man in each circumstance

To make a superior world, and an extraordinary and honorable country”


“Birdle’s heritage,” Diane (Robinson) Majeske, Springfield News-Pioneer, Walk 18, 2001

“Birdle Mannon,” Springfield News-Pioneer, Oct. 27, 1999

“Birdle Mannon,” Douglas Area Messenger, Oct. 28, 1999″

“Bradleyville My Old neighborhood,” Leon Brushes, 2003

“Offspring of the trailblazers,” Diane Robinson, Springfield News-Pioneer, Dec. 21, 1997

“Picking life toward the finish of a desolate Ozarks trail,” Bill Varner, USA Today, Dec. 26, 1996

“Basic existence of trailblazers’ youngster reaches a conclusion,” Diane (Robinson) Majeske, Springfield News-Pioneer, Oct. 28, 1999

“Genuine Ozarks history tracked down in bags,” Springfield News-Pioneer, Walk 20, 2001


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