My Zion Church at Akers
Good Morning Everyone,
Thank you so much for making our Give Ozarks Day fundraiser for Mt Zion a success. Come out to Akers tomorrow (May 22nd) and join us for the Upper Current River Community Celebration at Akers. Mt Zion church will be opened up about 11am so you can take a tour of the building and see the needed repairs first hand. Judy Maggard Stewart, and others, will also be there to share some history on the community and church. At 9am you can walk from the parking lot of the old lodge, to the Welch Hospital where Regina VanPatten will share history on that structure and community. Or at 9am you can take a short float trip with Dave Tobey from the Welch “put in” back to Akers. Gene Maggard is offering $10 off a rental. Be sure to check in at Akers at 8am to rent and catch the shuttle to the put-in. At 10am you can take a free ride on the Akers Ferry and learn the history on the ferry and how it operates. There will also be informational tents of Cedar Grove and Akers, Missouri history. Bring a lawn chair and a picnic lunch, and enjoy a day along the beautiful Current River. At 2pm, we will do a cemetery walk, learn some more history and possibly see ghosts of Akers past.
I look forward to meeting you. Find me in the Cedar Grove tent.
Ruth Maxwell, sec. Ozark Riverways Foundation
Upper Current River Celebration
Good Morning All,
We had a beautiful day at Akers, Missouri on Saturday. Following is a wrap up of the day. I thought you all would enjoy it.
By Judy Maggard Stewart
Saturday May 22 was a fun day of celebrating the river community of Akers and the upper Current River.
Dave Tobey led a paddle from Welch Spring to Akers. Barb Ostmann shared the local lore and legend of the Howell-Maggard cabin with float participants. Regina Van Patten shared her family's history of Welch Spring, cave and hospital.
Gene Maggard, Margaret Ard, Rick Mansfield, Deloris Gray Wood and Judy Maggard Stewart shared their memories of Akers Ferry and other ferries on the Current and Jacks Fork River. Ferry boats played a big part in improving the lives of the Ozark Mountain people by connecting them to other communities for working, shopping and social events.
Ervin Taylor, Kevin Purcell and Judy Maggard Stewart shared their family histories with Mt. Zion Church. Judy’s grandparents, George and Jane Purcell, donated the land in the 1930s. Ervin’s grandparents, Jason and Ada Boyet, built the stone walls of the building. Judy’s parents, Buck and Loreen Maggard , and Kevin's grandparents, Elmer and Hattie Purcell, along with other families in the community, helped construct this beautiful building, which was completed in 1948. The church is now part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR).
Jo Schaper shared her knowledge of Ozarks geology. She explained the Ozark-style tooling of the concrete between the rocks, which is a unique method. Dena Matteson and Skyler Bockman, both with ONSR, shared the plan for an informational wayside marker to be placed at Mt. Zion by the park service.
Ruth Ruppel-Maxwell, a resident of Cedar Grove and secretary of the Ozark Riverways Foundation (ORF), organized the first fundraiser for the preservation of Mt. Zion through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks' “Give Ozarks Day” in March, which raised more than $2,000. ORF had already received a grant for $2,000 from the L-A-D Foundation. The ORF's Mt. Zion fund now has $4,200, dedicated toward the approximate $60,000 needed to restore the church. Stay tuned for future fund-raising events.
Local organizations that set up booths to share their information included ONSR, ORF, Shannon County Museum, Cedar Grove families, Ozark Heritage Project, Friends of Mt. Zion, and the Dent County Historical Society.
Rick Mansfield, Civil War ghost re-enactor, led a tour of the nearby Akers Cemetery, sharing funeral traditions of the Ozark Mountain people. The cemetery is managed by the Akers Cemetery Association and appreciates donations for the upkeep.
It was a landmark day for the park and the foundation. Jason Lott, the ONSR Superintendent, and members of the ORF Board of Directors signed the park agreement to become the official Friends group for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. You, too, can become a member of the non-profit ORF and help support the preservation and promotion of the Current and Jacks Fork rivers; visit the Ozark Riverways Foundation on FaceBook for more information.
It was a fun day at Akers. A big thanks to Skyler Bockman, District Interpretative Ranger; Dena Matteson, Chief of Interpretation; Jason Lott, Superintendent of ONSR; our visitors; our partnership organizations; and our locals who shared their history of Akers.