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The Ogles :
A Link with Viburnum's Past

Johnny Jones, 29 September 2003

This morning I was talking with Betty Ogle at the Post Office, and the conversation reminded me of an article I did based on an interview with Ted and Mary Ogle.  It didn't seem that long ago -- but when I tried to find the article on the computer, it wasn't there.  I found it in a paper file. It was written in August of 1982, before I started keeping e-files.

I called it "The Ogles: A Link with Viburnum's Past."   This is the first part:

The family history of the Ogles in these parts reaches all the way back to before the Civil War. The Mincher family, including "Doc" Mincher, Ted Ogle's uncle, began and named Viburnum.

Doc was born to Jack and Catherine Borden Mincher. Catherine was part Native American. Jack was a preacher, who started the Missionary Baptist Church (now First Baptist). Doc went to medical school at Washington University in St. Louis, then started practicing medicine around here. He also ran a general store and farmed some. When he applied to the federal government for permission to establish a Post Office, he wanted to name it Lone Pine, after the single pine tree on his property. That name was taken, so his request was denied. His second choice was also a botanical, named for a common bush whose berries he used in making his medicines: Viburnum.

The population didn't start to take off until the railroad ran its branch line out this way, in 1901. Doc moved his store to be closer to the railroad, and the first site for the town was abandoned.

In those early boom days, timber was the big industry. Ted Ogle said that during that time, three trains a day ran through Viburnum. "There would be cordwood stacked on both sides of the railroad tracks for half a mile. Fifty to one hundred teams hauled surface-dug iron well as ties and cordwood on the branch line to Sligo."

Farm produce, such as cream and eggs, would be shipped by mail, which also went by train. Ted Ogle knew about this, because both he and his father, Sam, were mail carriers. Before the trains came, to deliver the mail between Sligo and Viburnum, Sam Ogle rode horseback or drove a buggy.

People lived where the timber was. Ted Ogle said, "In every hollow where there was usually a spring, you'd find a family. The men worked in the timber and let their hogs and cattle run out in the woods and feed to mast. The railroad was the means of getting their supplies and mail, and of shipping their produce." Even in the 1950s, according to Mary Ogle, it was still open range here. Mary remembered sometimes seeing cattle wandering around in Viburnum's streets.

Ted and Mary said they remembered when a man's foot was crushed by working in the timber, and Doc had to take the leg off. They said he did the surgery on a table in Doc's store. After that, the man walked with a wooden peg.

During that time, twin sisters came here to teach school. Their names were Mary and Carrie.

Mary remembers distinctly how she came to Viburnum. "We went to Salem by bus; we went to a motel. It was pretty early in the morning. They told us there was no bus or taxi to Viburnum. We didn't know what we were going to do. While we were talking to the hotel clerk, some men heard us and said they were going out that way. I thought they were drummers (salesmen) but Carrie said they were conservation agents. After we turned towards Viburnum from Bixby, their car got stuck in the deep mud. The wagons loaded with ties cut deep ruts, so cars would drag. There was nothing to do but get out and walk the rest of the way."

Fortunately for Viburnum, they stayed.  Mary married Ted Ogle, and Miss Mary, as she was fondly known, celebrated her 97th birthday earlier this month.