I subscribe to a web service that tracks "hits" to this blog and lets me know in most cases (but not all) where each visitor to my blog originated and what terms he or she was searching that led the visitor to this site. It's a good service and lets me know the types of things that interest people. A column that I wrote several years ago on missing Kansas teen, Randy Leach, draws two or three visits a week, and another piece that I wrote dealing with the rich vocabulary of writer H.P. Lovecraft brings in hits almost daily. The writer, Tim Macy, who happens to be my son, also stirs a lot of interest in the blog from his fast-growing groupie fan base.
And then there are lots of extraneous searches that lead people to Pa Rock's Ramble. This week, for instance, someone from Anderson, MO, googled "Where can I make cash money in McDonald County, Missouri?", and Google's number twelve response was one of my old columns that mentioned the terms "cash," "money," and "McDonald County, Missouri." Know this, friends: I have spent many years getting by in McDonald County, but made damn little "cash money!"
Google's first response to that query, however, was much more practical and on-the-money. It directed the person making the inquiry to the Wikipedia page on Cora Hubbard, a nineteenth century bank robber whose major claim to fame as a felon was holding the reins of the get-away horses while her two male accomplices robbed the McDonald County Bank in Pineville, MO. That robbery occurred on August 17, 1897, when Cora was just twenty-one-years-old.
The desperadoes relieved the bank of $589.23 in currency - or roughly $15,000 by today's standards. They then high-tailed it out of town to Weir City where they holed-up at Cora's father's house and buried the loot in his garden. When the law arrived a day or two later, they dug up the old man's garden and retrieved the bank's money.
Cora Hubbard served a couple of years in prison for her crime, and then disappeared into the dust of history.
And that, Gentle Reader, is how you make real cash money in McDonald County, Missouri!
(Note: Most of the banks in McDonald County have been robbed at one time or another. I remember the Goodman Bank being robbed when I was in elementary school. The bank at Southwest City (now called the Cornerstone Bank) was robbed by the Wild Bunch (surviving members of the Doolin-Dalton Gang) on May 10, 1894. But the cruelest robbery took place at the State Bank of Noel on October 6, 1989 when brothers Shannon and Joseph Agofsky kidnapped the bank president, Dan Short, from his home south of Noel, took him to the bank and forced him to open the vault, stole $71,000, and then sadistically murdered the 51-year-old banker. The Agofsky brothers are now serving life terms in prison. Dan Short was a friend of mine - and that one is personal.)
Best bet for making real cash money in McDonald County, Missouri: get a job. The world would be a richer place today if the Agofsky brothers had taken that option.