Letter to the Editor

LETTERS: HISTORY OF LOCAL LONG-DISTANCE CALLS

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To the editor:

In a recent edition you stated that the first long-distance telephone line in Missouri was by a Bell company. This is totally wrong.

You should have know so, because earlier you published the truth that Capt. James Francis Brooks, a Civil War veteran designed and laid the lines from Jackson to Cape himself and that its operator managed the calls from his kitchen in Jackson.

He eventually sold his operations to a Bell company, because he had other time-consuming interests such as buying agricultural land (North Louisiana Avenue runs just to the east of it). He also became Cape's civil engineer and designed and laid out what now are many of Cape's streets west of the Mississippi River.

He became concerned about the water overrunning much of the Bootheel, so with financial backing from the whole area he designed and laid out what is known as the Little River Drainage District, which has given farmers and others land from which they make a living and bolster Missouri's total income.

He fell in love with this part of Missouri, where he stayed the last half of his life, though with his fame and experience he was offered many other jobs.

After the Civil War he received a handwritten letter from President Lincoln on his efforts during the war, which I loaned to Southeast Missouri State University, but it never got back to me and our family.

CHARLES E. STIVER

Cape Girardeau