The Maynard Gang

The passing of Willie Mae “Bill” Shaver Thomas set my mind to thinking about the kinship connections of the pioneer families of Randolph County. Bill, 105, and Iolus “Bot” Spikes Johnson, 101, at the time of their deaths were truly the last of the “old timers” in the west of Fourche Country. As Mac Early uncomfortably pointed out recently at the pitch parlor, some of us have become the old timers.
 
Randolph County, especially the Fourche and Elevenpoint River valleys, was one of the first areas of permanent settlement west of the Mississippi River. The Southwest Trail or Military Road brought an increasing number of Scotch-Irish, English, and German settlers, mostly from Tennessee and Kentucky. The upland valleys were suitable for agriculture and much more hospitable than the swampy, mosquito plagued lowlands. In addition, the rivers teemed with fish and game was abundant.

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