By Ben Marshall
BENTON CITY—Lyndal Barker did not set out to do his own genealogy and history book, but when he discovered that there seemed to be little information available out there on Benton City, he asked why.
When he asked why was there no book about the area, it was suggested that he should consider writing a book about the community himself, and so he did.
Barker held a book signing June 5 from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. at the Mexico Audrain County Library.
The event was well attended, as several people passed through and stopped to share their own memories of their time in and around Benton City. Barker’s book, “History and Memories in and around Benton City” is self published.
Barker did his research over three years. He asked everyone he saw to submit information about their life experiences.
He read old newspaper articles that were not always directly related to Benton City, but that were interesting. Also, the news articles gave him a good snapshot of what was considered news in those days.
After gathering the information, Barker decided it was time to put it all together. He said that he had no idea just how big of a project it would turn out to be.
“So folks, this is my first attempt,(and last).” said Barker about writing a history book.
Barker has lived just about 1 mile from Benton City nearly his entire 78 years. When he was younger, he and his brother worked on neighboring farms, while his twin sisters helped their Mom with the gardening, canning, cleaning.
They would also help out the neighbors as well. Barker added.
“We would do whatever we were big enough to do, such as cleaning out the hog houses, cattle barn, chicken house, painting, and such, and received 40- or 50-cents an hour.”
As Barker grew older, the various jobs grew, as well. He drove tractors, worked for contractors, at warehouses and other jobs as they came along.
And now he has authored a book.
Now, he said, when anyone asks is there any place to find out about the history of Benton City, the answer is yes.
Barker has put together photos, maps, cemeteries, churches, schools, trains, residents, Audrain County WWII fatalities, memories, history, and much more in his.
Copies of “History and Memories in and around Benton City” can be found at Cora’s Antiques on 116 South Washington St., Mexico, and can also be purchased from Barker. Just give him a call at 573-581-2262.