Rural Missouri - March 2012 - (Page 28)

C of Ames, Iowa. Decades later, there would even be women presidents selected for the event. Perhaps the best-known Callawegian not to be a guest of honor was Henry Bellamann, author of the best-selling 1940 novel, “Kings Row,” that became a hit 1942 movie starring Ronald Reagan. Having left Fulton, Bellamann found success as both a music educator and writer. Though based in a fictional setting, his “Kings Row” seemed to be a thinly disguised version of Fulton. Local people saw real-life counterparts for some of the story’s unseemly characters, and they suspected Bellamann of evening the score for an unpleasant childhood in which he was treated as a black sheep. Bellamann scholar and now-retired Westminster College professor Jay M. Karr discovered among the author’s papers a 1942 invitation from Fulton, and the rural by Martin Northway Kingdom supper President Frank P. Baker to area. attend the 1943 event as guest of honor. In the beginning, Bellamann at first accepted, then the supper was called the allaway County has • begged off due to a conflicting event. Businessmen’s Banquet. been known as the Fulton Likely, we will never know whether According to one account Kingdom of Callathere was any lingering resentment by co-founder A.C. Bush, way since the Civil as Bellamann died in 1945. editor of the Fulton Daily War, when local volunteers The 100th supper in 2005 honSun, it was an opportunity went eyeball to eyeball with ored U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Byron S. for owners of Fulton busiUnion militia and exacted Bagby, a Fulton native, local Westminster College nesses to enjoy “a pleasant social a non-invasion “treaty.” graduate and decorated officer. Nominated in 2004 evening (including) speeches and The nickname has endured, by Callaway Bank President Bruce Harris, Bagby was toasts in which the needs of the perhaps because of an unreunable to return a phone message immediately but town, methods of improvements constructed spirit of indepenremembered financing his first car with the bank and the work of the past year may dence and community that many years before. In an e-mail, he quipped that he be discussed.” continues to characterize the wondered whether a check had gotten lost in the That first evening gathering largely rural county today. mail “and I owed the bank one payment, plus 25 was all male and all white, taking That spirit will manifest years accrued interest.” place in Fulton’s distinctive manitself again on March 13, More seriously, he said, “I accepted this honor on sard-roofed Palace Hotel, which when “Callawegians” and behalf of all those Callawegians, past and present, survives just off the courthouse friends gather at William who have served in our nation’s Armed Services.” square today. Supper was a sumpWoods University in Fulton That number includes two Bagbys who were Caltuous spread with top-drawer for the annual Kingdom laway County slaves but became Union soldiers appetizers such as blue point oysof Callaway Supper. It is a Henry Bellamann with the U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War. ters on the half shell, honey-cured historic event that dates back Author of “Kings Row” This tradition of family U.S. military service was ham, roast turkey and Saratoga to Jan. 18, 1906. While it has passed down to Gen. Bagby and his son, Benjamin, Chips, predecessors to the potato undergone many changes, a retired Marine. chips now produced locally by Backer’s Potato Chip including its name, the event remains a joyous, In Boulware’s estimation, Bagby’s choice also Co. Tickets were $1. much-anticipated celebration of all things Callaway. illustrated progress in local attitudes concerning Among the talks and speeches — some of whose The centerpiece of the supper is the introducthe offspring of former slaves in the once pro-South titles seem decidedly tongue-in-cheek — were “The tion of the guest of honor, a native who has moved county. Kingdom of Callaway” by Judge S.P. Beaven and elsewhere but achieved fame. This tradition is key to The 2011 Kingdom Supper honoree was Dr. D.H. Harris and J.S. Watson’s talk on “Our City the supper’s success, says Mike Boulware, the 2012 David Durst, a plastic surgeon living in Huntsville, Dads: Shall We Curse ’Em or Bless ’Em.” president of the event. Ala. During his talk, the physician presented slides In 1909, the event became the Fulton Business “Callawegians enjoy seeing folks they grew up favorably comparing his home since 1987 with Fuland Professional Men’s Banquet. The event was with, who left here, succeeded and came back,” he ton. He concluded, “There’s no place like home.” moved to the First Christian Church in 1912, the says. The down-home menu featuring turkey and ham first of several changes of venue over the years. In Mike is a cousin of I.W. Boulware, who was a was less elaborate than that of the 1906 event, but 1919, it became the Kingdom of Callaway Supper, leader of the first local Old Settlers’ Meeting in the audience also clapped along to the music of the “not an organization but an institution,” accord1883. Just as the original settlers were passing, their Rooster Creek Boys. They, with their absent ailing ing to President J.H. Atkinson. As the size of the descendants created the supper to succeed the old leader Ron Lutz, received a special award for more event grew, participants would dine at any of several reunions. than a half-century of performance, including local churches and other places before assembling elseThe annual president is often from one of the radio broadcasting on Fulton’s KFAL-AM. where for the program. old families. It also is now customary for presidents While the event in the distant past drew as many In 1921, the supper introduced its first annual to alternate between residents of the county seat, as 700, attendance has settled in between 200 and guest of honor, Dr. Walter G. Bryan, editor of the 300 in recent years. There also has been some relaxNew York American. In the ing of the idea of “Callawegian,” since most infants 1920s, the nowadays are born not in Callaway but in hospiorganizers tals of adjoining counties. Callaway’s late regional relented on historian Mark K. Douglas even suggested, a little the malesjocularly, that immigrants to the county who kept only policy their nose clean for at least seven years should be and began considered “common-law Callawegians.” hosting and The supper now honors one such late arrival then selling with its “Settler’s Award,” which in 2011 went to tickets to retired Southside Baptist Church pastor Ron Baker. women, in The award is very much in the spirit of the origipart to bolnal Old Settlers — acknowledging that, just maybe, ster sagging Callawegians aren’t just born — they can be made. attendance. The first William Woods University hosts the Kingdom of Calfemale honlaway Supper on March 13. Tickets are $15 and can be oree was Dr. purchased at the Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society Paulena Nickell located at 513 Court St., Fulton, MO 65251. For more information, call 573-642-0570 or log on to Kingdom supper photos courte programs are a Northway is a freelance writer from Callaway sy of the King dom of Callawa rare find. y Historical So County. ciety Callaway’s Kingdom Dinner For more than 100 years, “Callawegians” have proudly celebrated their local heritage WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - March 2012

Rural Missouri - March 2012
Stickin’ to it
Out of the Way Eats
Spending to save
Just vault
Guarding the honeybee
Hearth and Home
Callaway’s kingdom dinner
News Briefs
Around Missouri
The comical curator

Rural Missouri - March 2012