We just completed our second annual Deepwood Cemetery Tour and it was very interesting. Last year I portrayed William Joel Stone, who was a local prosecuting attorney, governor of Missouri, State Representative, and finally U.S. Senator. I learned that he was a champion of the ordinary person, and a favorite of  area farmers.

Stone was  a Democrat, but his positions were more in line with conservative Republicans of our day.  He was in favor of states’ rights as much as for national sovereignty.  He was a pacifist, and one of only 6 senators to vote against our involvement in the war against Germany. He was vehemently against what we know today as “pay to play”, or the buying of political favoritism by large corporations and countries. Stone is no doubt rolling over in his grave at Deepwood.

This year I was honored to portray William H. Talbot, jeweler, watchmaker, and designer and creator of some of the highest quality fishing reels ever, and which were made here in Nevada from around 1895 to 1913.

There were lessons learned here as well. The Bible tells us to “train up a child in the way he should go”. I think that this admonition applies to not only training children in good morals, but in discerning that children have special gifts that should be discovered and encouraged.

Mr. Talbot’s parents noted that he was “good with his hands” and that he showed an interest in details and fine craftsmanship. This led them to arrange for him to serve an apprenticeship with a watchmaker in Sedalia, Missouri, where he learned to be an exceptional silversmith.

College is not for everyone, and parents would do well to note which of their children would best attend a trade school. A good example is the enrollment at our local Missouri Welding Institute which has a history of job placement of around 99% upon graduation. Many college grads find that there is little in the way of employment for them with the major they have chosen, while facing huge student loan debt.

Mr. Talbot was only 18 years old when he moved to Nevada and opened his own jewelry store on east Cherry Street. What if he had missed his calling and gone off to college and possibly settled for some other occupation. I suspect that he would have done well, though, because we also learn from studying his story that he was very determined, imaginative, and persistent. He spent nearly 14 years studying and working on producing the best possible fishing reels!

We can also learn that it is important to know the basics of how to run a business, as Mr. Talbot eventually allowed himself to be displaced by others who bought in to his company. This led to the move of his business away from Nevada to Kansas City, and to a fall in the quality of the reels produced.

Thanks to all who bought tickets to the tour this year. We have all learned a lot, and had fun discovering the stories of Vernon County citizens of years gone by.


Dr. J

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