By Rhonda Arens
Tales of Martinsburg and historical photos are some of the memories captured in a new book to be revealed at this year’s Martinsburg Picnic. After years of planning and much hard work, “Through the Years-Martinsburg 2017,” the 387-page book featuring stories and pictures submitted by families of those who were a part of Martinsburg history is completed. The book will be presented to the public on Friday, August 18 during Modern Woodman of America Camp No. 2556’s annual Martinsburg Picnic. A short program will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Modern Woodman building.
After the program, books will be for available for $25 each, with a limit of five per person. Two hundred copies have been printed. During Friday and Saturday of the picnic, the books will be sold at the Modern Woodman building. Following the picnic, the books can be purchased at the Martinsburg Branch Library. After the first printing is sold, orders will be taken for more copies with an anticipated delivery date before Christmas.
Reproductions of a couple of previously published Martinsburg history books will also be on display and for sale during the Friday night program. One offering is “Souvenir of Martinsburg MO 1926-Historical Sketches of the town of Martinsburg Missouri and It’s Institutions” by Father Henry Freese. The book was issued on the occasion of the golden jubilee of St. Joseph Church in October 1926. Father Freese was a priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church for many years prior and after the original publication of the book. The other reproduction available is “Through One Hundred Years-A History of Martinsburg, Missouri 1857-1957” by Frances Jacobi O’Meara. Mrs. O’Meara compiled the history of Martinsburg for the town’s centennial year celebration in 1957. She dedicated the book to those that gave of themselves and to the citizens who shared the pride and prosperity of Martinsburg. Mrs. O’Meara and her sister operated the Martinsburg Monitor newspaper for many years.
Books by other local authors will additionally be displayed on Friday of the picnic. Those authors include Paul Hoer, Agnes Fennewald, Debbie Householder, Jane Brooks, and Mary Ann Swaim Wilson.
• “Paul Hoer’s Slices of East Audrain History” was published on July 1, 2011. In the 175 years since the founding of Audrain County, much had transpired within its borders. Paul, a local history enthusiast, wrote the book which focused on the eastern part of the county; presenting slices of historical events and places with varying degrees of importance. Paul even had a book signing on August 27, 2011 at the Martinsburg Picnic.
• A long time writer of the Martinsburg Memos column for the Optic News, Agnes Fennewald penned the book, “From Georgia Peach to Missouri Mule.” Agnes moved across the country, battled polio, and raised 10 children. In her book, published November 2006, she chronicles the struggles, triumphs, and laughter throughout her life.
• Ten years ago, Debbie Householder could barely hold a pencil, her hands trembling with the neurological damage she sustained after being thrown from a motorcycle. After the accident, writing was a kind of therapy. She turned those reflections into the book, “God’s Intangible Senses.” Originally published in April 2015, Debbie attended the picnic that year for her book signing.
• Jane Brooks grew up on a farm south of Martinsburg, where her stories originated between 1931-1940 to create, “Lilac Lane.” The book takes you to a kinder, gentler time as eight year old Mary and her brother, William, rekindle true, captivating and heartwarming vignettes of bygone rural America. Mrs. Brooks’ book, published September 2014, includes fond memories of the Martinsburg Picnic of the past.
• Mary Ann Swaim Wilson’s “Roots and Wings,” illustrated by Don Swaim is a children’s book published in January 2010. Hometown people such as Bernice and Walter (Swaim). Eunice, Vickie, and Valerie (Welschmeyer) are mentioned. The book is available for check-out at the Mexico-Audrain County Library.
If your idea of a good read is a collection of recipes from the fabulous cooks in the Martinsburg and surrounding area, Friday night’s program has you covered. A limited number of previously published cook books from Martinsburg Community Church and St. Joseph Catholic Church will be on hand.
As you can see, lots of reading opportunities are to behold at the 2017 Martinsburg Picnic. Through the years, Martinsburg has been home to many. Take time out of your busy schedule and “come home” to Martinsburg for the annual MWA Picnic. Drop by the Modern Woodman Hall on Friday, August 18 to reminisce all-things-Martinsburg during the “Through the Years-Martinsburg 2017” debut.