Ozarks Scots Irish history is very full, but finding good reading about the Scottish and Irish immigrant to the Ozarks is not always that easy. So, when I find a good read on the subject, I like to share that with my friends at the Celticozarkian.
David Benac’s book on modernity and the role of the Ozarks Irish and Ozarks Scottish is a good one. It really does a good job of talking about what the Celtic people of the Ozarks had to do, in order to survive on the land in which they settled. In some respects, one might contend that the Celtic people were the enemy of the environment. I would rather like to think of the Irish and Scottish as people trying to survive.
The book centers around the removal of the rich forest located on Missouri’s Courtois Hills. Our government, as well as the industrialists of the day, used the local hill folks to plunder their own land. Benac presents this story in very real terms. But he does not stop there, he also tells the tail of how the people reverted back to the land to find a way to survive the troubling times of the Depression. It is a real story of how Scot-Irish hillbillies kept themselves alive.
Lynn Morrow, a historian at the Missouri State Archives, had this to say about the writing of Benac:
David Benac’s Conflict in the Ozarks is an extraordinary account by a resourceful detective who has tackled the tedious details in the archives to create a readable story of company towns, how they functioned, and what happened when the company left. Benac shows how Scotch-Irish Ozarks culture accommodated modernity and then returned to traditional ways to survive a grueling economic depression. As the first scholarly overview on the development of Missouri’s modern forestry institutions, this book is a welcome and original contribution that will challenge researchers to compare the Courtois Hills to other Ozarks sub-regions.
If you want to get your hands on a solid book on the Celtic people of the Ozarks, then you may want to get Benac’s book. I am providing a link to the book here.