Strain welcomed as guest speaker at OCHS meeting
Oregon County Historical Society welcomed Darrell Strain as their guest speaker at their monthly meeting held at Country Cottage in Thayer on Thursday, Feb. 14.
Strain presented a 1930s ledger book from an Alton general merchandise store, once located on the square for attendees to view. Given to him from his brother-in-law, Mike Caruthers, whose parents ran the store the book came from, the book contains records from 1930 to about 1941.
Strain discussed the contents of the ledger book, which included lists of items purchased as well as the cost. Many of the lists were charged, even during a time when the prospect of being paid was not good. However, the impact of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was evident in the ledger as there are records of amounts of $25 payments. Strain stated if his information was correct, the workers were paid $30 a month and $25 of it was allotted for family and $5 for the worker.
Strain discussed growing up in Oregon County and attending the Nebo School and circumstances that affected his family and many others in the area including the drought of 1952-53. This resulted in his family moving from the Many Springs community, where they lived after moving in earlier years. After trading the farm and moving closer to Alton, he talked about how they did not have running water during this time in history.
After graduating from University of Missouri, Strain taught vocational agriculture in Gainsville and Alton.
In 1973, he began preaching, even preaching revivals across the country. For the last 24 years, he has been the pastor for Bailey Freewill Baptist Church. He told a story of a man traveling through, going back to California, who wanted to get baptized, which happened to be on a cold day in December. They both braved the icy water of Eleven Point River, which had a thin skim of ice along the edge.
Strain is the chief financial officer at the Shelter Workshop in Alton and explained how the organization works. He manages the buying and selling of textiles. There are 17 handicapped individuals who work at the facility.
He stated approximately one-fourth of the program is tax supported. They also receive reimbursement from the state department of education and rest of the funds comes from selling merchandise through the facility. Items sold have been donated and sold through a thrift store. He stated they also recycle paper, which the price of has drastically dropped. The last load sold netted less than $900. This is less than one-third of what would have been netted three years ago, as a load would have sold for approximately $3,000.
Shelter Workshop also receives clothing from the OMC Thrift Store that they have excess of. Strain stated selling of the textiles, which includes clothing and textiles, helps keep items out of landfills.
Oregon County Historical Society meets the second Thursday of the month at the Country Cottage at 12 noon.