very special thanks to Vicki Stinson, her mother Ruth
Elgelina Hollings (nee Atterbury), and Bob Ulrich for
providing the information, poem and map on this Monroe
County “Ghost Town”. LPP
indicates that “Shake Rag” was a predominantly
African-American community in Monroe County
established for freed slaves after the Civil War. Located
on the Middle Fork of the Salt River, the area was
found near the railroad crossing about 2 miles north
of U.S. Route 24 and ½ mile east of Missouri Route C;
it is not currently known if any buildings or signs of
this settlement remain. Local legend is that the
name “Shake Rag” was given to the settlement by
the trainmen who could see laundry hanging to dry on
the tree limbs, bushes and fences, a common practice
of poor people in those days.
area map below was drawn by Wendell Sherman, who was
born in Holliday. As a young boy, he walked and
trapped all over the area and knew it as well as
anyone could. He drew the following map from
memory and felt that this was a good representation of
the Holliday area around 1935-38, including the
community in the lower right hand side known as Shake
Rag. Of Shake Rag he wrote, “Cemetery 2 in
Shake-Rag as I recall did not have any headstones and
even grave markers and graves had just about
disappeared even during those days. Did you ever
read 20 Acres and a Mule? This a book that describes
the same as Shake-Rag. This was a government
project after the Civil War that tried to make the
black self supporting. These plots were laid out
over various parts of the north. This was the
only one I was ever familiar with and the three
buildings as shown were all that was left when I
hunted there. I understand there was a house on
each 20 acre plot.”
In 1867, Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens
proposed a Slave Reparation Act also known as the
“forty acres and a mule” plan as part of
reconstruction after the Civil War. Stevens hoped
to confiscate land from southern Confederate
plantation owners and redistribute it to the freed
slaves to help them make a living and pay them back
for slavery. In support of his Act, Stevens
proposed that “Out of the lands thus
confiscated each liberated slave who is a male adult,
or the head of a family, shall have assigned to him a
homestead of forty acres of land, (with $100 to build
a dwelling), which shall be held for them by trustees
during their pupilage.” LPP)
Shake Rag community is fondly remembered in the
following poem written in 1974 by Hilda Gooch Clark:
reams have been written of Erin's green isle-
a wonderful place" so they say
I too write of a spot on which God must have smiled,
And it isn't so far away.
It's a place known as "Shake Rag", a very
Such another you're not likely to see.
A wonderful spot, its folks wonderful too.
And they meant a whole world to me.
It's in Monroe County, down in "Old Mizzou",
Near a small town, Holliday is the name-
Just a very small area - a square mile or two,
That I'd nominate for fame.
I go back in memories, some beyond my years,
To folks whose home it used to be;
Some I do remember, and shed a few tears-
As I think how dear they were to me.
Many years have gone by since I've seen this spot,
But its memories are with me still.
And in dreams I go back - listen to "Bishop
See the little white church he'd fill.
There were Beauchamps, Hagers, Pierces and Whittakers,
Galbraith families - two.
A Dutchman named Wheeling, who was not
Stevens, with their pretty daughter, Sue.
Hawkers, Harmons and Heathman lived on "The
In the "Bottom" lived Aunt Chloery Jane-
And tho her descendants are legion, there's none left
who carry her name.
There were Burgesses, Braytons, Bartons and Millers,
Beechums with three sons and three daughters - One
Of them named Ola Bea-
Ragsdales, Durbans and Jacksons,
Blacks and Anglo-Saxons,
Lived in peace and in harmony.
Many names I've not mentioned, most folks have gone
Many gone beyond recall;
But, I think when we're gathered on Judgement Day
'Twould be wonderful to see them all.
There were fish for the taking back in the creek,
'Coons and 'possums in the woodland shade.
In the meadows about, bobwhites you could seek,
And fat rabbits basked in the glade.
There were blackberries most as big as my thumb-
Gooseberries and I think wild plus - a few,
"Hazel nuts", hickory nuts, walnuts and
Were in the woodlands too,
While nestling down in the dew at your feet
Were dewberries covered with dew.
Down on Rocky Branch, behind Glascock's Farm
Grew lovely wild fern, half as long as you arm.
Phlox, "boy-breeches" and daisies their
languid heads raised,
As bluebells silently rang out a paean in God's
Some of my Indian forbears may have once strode the
Of the wonderful Rocky Branch cave.
For their marvelous drawings are all on the walls,
Forgive me, if I seem to rave.
That a spot so fair, bears a name so drab, certainly
seems a shame.
And mem'ry hears Grandpa's voice insisting still-
Pleasant Hill is it's real-true name.
Some day all its wonders will be known far and wide,
And if God's new earth I'm to see,
I hope that Jehovah gives me,
A spot in SHAKE RAG, you guessed,
Where the truest, the best,
Friends on this old earth seemed to be.”
of Shake Rag
two and a half miles east of Holliday is a
territory which has been named Shake Rag. At
one time this was a settlement of black
people, and there was a school and a church.
The settlement is now gone, but the people
of Shake Rag played a very important role in
the rearing of some of the older residents
of Holliday. They would come from Shake Rag
to the town two or three times a week to
wash, iron, or do other work. Often they
brought their children with them, and the
black and white children would have a good
time playing together. Some of the prominent
people of the settlement were Sally, who
made her home with the Greg Glasscock
family, Crawford, Judy and Taylor Calbert,
Judy Hawker, and Sherman and Myrtle
of Shake Rag
two and a half miles east of the town of Holliday is a
territory which has been named Shake Rag. It used to
be well inhabited by negroes. They had a negro school
where all the children attended. The old negroes
church was torn down recently. Bishop Mac was the
minister and his best liked sermon was “The Speckled
Bird”. The negroes thought be was the grandest man
the Lord ever produced.
negro-women have played a very important part in the
rearing of some of the middle aged people of this
town. They would come from Shake Rag two or three
times a week and wash, iron or do anything that was
desired for them to do. Sometimes they would be seen
coming up the track with a very heavy load on their
heads. They could carry very heavy loads in this
manner. If they saw anyone they would remove the load
and carry it in their arms. Once in a while they would
bring their children with them, and during the day the
white and black children would have a good time
of the prominent negroes of the older day were Sally,
who made her home with Greg Glascock, Crawford, Judy
and Taylor Galbert. Others are: John Williams, Aunt
Ellen, Jim Calloway, Cora Heathman. There are only
five negroes left in the settlement. They are Judy
Hawker, Sherman Galbert and Myrtle Galbert.
of Art Hemmings’s garden they would have big
meetings every summer. Some of the negroes were the
Bassetts, and the Pettis.