The Daily Republican's 10th Anniversary Edition, published in 1915, featured three stories about the Cape Girardeau County town of Oak Ridge, filling one page of the special issue.
Reprinted here are stories about the Bank of Oak Ridge, Harris Hardware Company, and the Oak Leaf Milling Company.
The Bank of Oak Ridge
Cape Girardeau County is fortunate in having some excellent financial institutions. Among the first and foremost of these is the Bank of Oak Ridge, which began business in 1905 with a capital stock of $10,000. The institution has been well managed and conducted along conservative lines and has been a success from the beginning. Is backed by some of the most prominent men in Oak Ridge and Cape County commercial life. The president of the bank is P.M. Hinkle, the vice president is G.C. Kinder, the cashier is Wash Miller and the assistant cashier is Vest Walker. Charles Harris, W.F. Clippard and W.C. Cracraft are members of the board of directors.
For many years Oak Ridge, though a thriving and prosperous little city, was without a banking institution. The mills and merchants acted as bankers for their customers. In 2905 the bank was opened in a small building adjoining the Hinkle-Statler store on the east, but it was soon found that this building was entirely too small for the fast-growing business of the bank. In 1912 the fixtures and vaults were moved to its present location, one of the neatest and most secure bank buildings in the county. Here the officers of the bank will take great pleasure in giving their friends and patrons all accommodations consistent with conservative banking. Fire-proof vaults, with burglar-proof safe and a goodly number of safe-deposit boxes are some of the fixtures in this bank.
The president of the bank of Oak Ridge was born at Oak Ridge on April 15, 1852, the son of Louis and Margareth (Fulbright) Hinkle. The public school was the only educational institution attended by him, and after leaving that he became a clerk in his father's business, in which he later, at the age of 20 years, became a partner, the firm being known as L. Hinkle & Co. in this business he remained until 1910, when he retired from active work, but retained his stock in the establishment.
On the 27th of March, 1887, he was married to Jennie Jenkins, and they have one son, Linus L., and one daughter, Iola H., now the wife of Dr. W.K. Statler. Mr. Hinkle owns residence property in Oak Ridge, where the family lives, and also owns farm land, which he rents. He has served as town trustee and member of the board of education several years. In the firm of Hinkle & Statler Mercantile Company he holds the position of president,, and is also interested in the Oak Ridge Lumber Yard. Besides holding the position of president and director in the Bank of Oak Ridge, he also is one of the largest stockholders in that institution.
In political matters, Mr. Hinkle is affiliated with the Democratic party and votes that ticket. He is well known and highly respected throughout the county and beyond the borders thereof, having been identified with the business life of it so long. In the town of Oak Ridge he is one of the most influential citizens, and his opinion is sought in all matters of public interest.
Wash Miller, who holds the responsible position of cashier of the Bank of Oak Ridge, was born on a farm near Oak Ridge on the 5th day of March, 1877, and is the son of William A. and America (Wills) Miller. He obtained his education in the Oak Ridge Public Schools and in the Carlisle Training School in Jackson. Having finished his education he taught school several terms and when the Bank of Oak Ridge was organized he became its first cashier, and still holds that position.
Mr. Miller is a man of means and of great business ability, and holds several other positions besides that of cashier. He is the president of the Oak Leaf Milling Company, secretary and manager of the Oak Ridge Canning Factory, president of the Commercial Club of Oak Ridge, and farms on an extensive plan. He is known as a breeder of blooded Jerseys and Berkshire hogs, and as a grower of alfalfa. He is also prominent in fraternal organizations and is a Mason, an M.W.A. and a B.P.O.E. In religious matters he and his family belong to the Baptist denomination and they worship in that church in Oak Ridge. Politically he is and has always been a Democrat.
On the 9th day of September, 1903, he was married to Floy Swan, and they are the parents of two sons, Edward Glenn and Robert Ivan. The family lives in a commodious residence in the suburbs of the town of Oak Ridge, and the Millers are quite prominent socially.
(This photo shows a gathering of merchants at Oak Ridge on Sept. 2, 1914.)
Harris Hardware Company
The proprietor of this growing business was born Sept. 17, 1869, son of Thomas and Mahala (Bollinger) Harris, and Oak Ridge was his birthplace. His education was procured by him in the Oak Ridge Public School and the High School of the same place. Leaving school, Mr. Harris became a teacher and followed that profession two years, when he bought a farm of 100 acres near Oak Ridge and began to farm on his own account. In 1906 he bought an interest in a general store in Daisy, but two years later sold out and came to Oak Ridge, where he bought the hardware business, which he now operates, and where he handles a general line of hardware, tinware, glassware, paints, oils, pumps and fittings, etc.
On the 29th of March, 1891, he was married to Bertie Wills, and they have two sons, Thomas G. and Roscoe E. Mr. Harris is a Democrat, is a member of the village board and its clerk, owns stock in the Bank of Oak Ridge and is one of its directors. He is a Mason and a member of the M.W.A. lodge.
Mr. and Mrs. Harris occupy their own neat residence in the southwestern part of the town of Oak Ridge and are quite prominent socially in their community. They are among the most substantial citizens of Oak Ridge and are always ready to take their part in any public enterprise.
Oak Leaf Milling Company
The history of this growing enterprise is as interesting as the history of the city of Oak Ridge, where it is located. During its existence the milling company has changed hands so often that, to enumerate all the owners, would be tiresome reading, but each owner did well while in possession of it, and endeavored to improve the plant. Not many years ago the Cape County Milling Company acquired the mill, but in 1914 sold out to the present owners, the Oak Leaf Milling Company, of which Wash Miller is the president, J.B. Bowman vice president, James W. Kinder secretary-treasurer and general manager. As a flour mill this establishment has quite a reputation, and its brands, "Oak Leaf," "Belle of the Ridge," "O.K.," and "Tip-Top," are known over a radius of 200 miles. They buy all kinds of grain and pay the cash for them. They also handle all kinds of feed, corn products and hay. Although shipping as far as into the State of Arkansas, they cater to the home trade principally.
The milling plant is located in the eastern part of Oak Ridge on the Cape Girardeau Northern railroad and about six acres of real estate is property of the company. All the latest and most improved methods in the art of flour making are employed in this mill.
The success of the Oak Leaf Milling Company is in great measure due to the business abilities and foresight of its secretary-treasurer and general manager.
James W. Kinder
Mr. Kinder is the son of Mathew and Anna (Berry) Kinder and was born Feb. 7, 1874, in Cape Girardeau County. His education was obtained in parochial, public and high schools and the Will Mayfield College at Marble Hill, Mo., and was such as to entitle Mr. Kinder to a teacher's certificate. He taught school through winter months and worked on the farm between terms. In 1904 he became an employee of the Cape Milling Company at their plant in Advance, Mo., and remained at that post until 1909, when he was transferred to the Oak Ridge plant as manager. In 1914 he helped organized the Oak Leaf Milling Company and was chosen its secretary-treasurer and general manager.
Mr. Kinder was married to Eva Henry on the 8th day of August, 1904, and they have three sons, Clyde M., Lyman H. and Walter, and two daughters, Helen and Vivian G. The family lives in a comfortable home of their own in Oak Ridge. Mr. Kinder is a Mason, a Woodman and a member of the I.O.O.F., also the Ben Hur. He is a Democrat from principle, but not a political crank. While in Advance he was honored by his fellow-citizens by the election to office of president of the Board of Village Trustees. In the city of Oak Ridge and in the country roundabout he is known as a man of unquestioned integrity and is considered as one of the really prominent citizens. So far as the affairs of his home town are concerned, he can always be found in the foremost ranks of the boosters of those that do things.
While the stories above are interesting, they offer little history of the town itself. So I dug through our clip files and located this story published by the Missourian on Oct. 13, 1949. It features a lovely aerial photograph, no doubt shot by G.D. Fronabarger.
Oak Ridge Nears 100th Birthday
Next year, 1950, will mark the 100th anniversary of Oak Ridge, an aerial view of which is shown above. In earlier days it was referred to as Lizard Lick, but the rolling land, covered then with oak forests, seemed to have given rise to the community's name.
The town was established in 1850 by John M. Wilson, who purchased the land at $2.50 per acre. He started a store and the next establishment which gained some initial success was a saloon. Mr. Wilson had a definite eye for business. To attract trade he exhibited the first metal stove ever brought to that section of the county. As a result many fireplaces in the old dwellings gave way to these newfangled heating contraptions. Mr. Wilson then exhibited a rug, and many bare floors got their first coverings.
First Brick Building.
D.B. Horn erected the first brick building, a drug store. Jack Wilson operated a store from 1852 on for many years. This was later the Hinkle & Wilson store, and it continued in business until about 1875. The old Granger Stock Co. established a store and later store operators were F.W. Bollinger and C.A. Macom.
In 1899 the Hinkle & Statler Merchandising Company, then one of the leading retail establishments in Southeast Missouri, was established. The two-story brick structure this business occupied may be seen in the center of the picture. The late owners, Peter M. Hinkle and G.D. Statler, did a big business there. After their deaths the store was discontinued and the building is now occupied by the L.J. Carron store and the post office, Vest Smith being the present postmaster.
Buildings in Town.
The small brick building to the left of the big store for a half-century housed the Drum &Wilson store, operated by D.A. Drum and Tom Wilson, now deceased. The larger brick building to the left was occupied by the Bank of Oak Ridge, now defunct, and in it also was a hall for community activities. Emory Harris operated a hardware store in a frame building for many years, the establishment now being owned and run by W.D. Clingingsmith.
A the right center in the picture is the Methodist Church and at the left center the Baptist Church, a congregation dating from 1860. AT one time the community supported a Presbyterian Church. Jack Snider operates a mercantile store and there are two restaurants, a garage, blacksmith shop, feed store, cream buying station and barber shop in the town. A truck line, serving livestock interests, also operates there.
A number of physicians served the community, among them Dr. Walker, Dr. John I. Ellis, Dr. W.K. Statler and others. Dr. R.D. Blaylock is now the resident physician.
Running diagonally through he picture is a farm-to-market road, this connecting with Highway 25 to the east and the Millersville-to-Daisy farm route west of the town. The old C.G. & N. Railroad depot is shown in the lower center of the photo.
At the extreme left is the high school, a brick building which replaces another brick structure that burned shortly after its erection a little over 20 years ago. The first high school in Southeast Missouri was established at Oak Ridge in 1874. At one time a bill was introduced in the Legislature to establish the old Normal School, now State College, in Oak Ridge.
The community is surrounded by many well developed farms and remains one of the important centers in the county.