The Missouri Kid

by James Melvin Scott

Edited by Cathy Scott

     "The Missouri Kid is a coming-of-age memoir that takes us back to James Melvin Scott's formative days growing up in the rural Ozark foothills during the early 1900s. Born in 1911, Scott spent much of his childhood hunting and fishing for sustenance, and his book describes many of his adventures along the way. Scott's stories of finishing high school, finding his first teaching job (during the middle of the Great Depression) and becoming a local rodeo "celebrity" are impressive. Perhaps the most forceful and heartfelt narrative, however, is that of Scott's ill-fated relationship with his first, true love. As an added bonus, Scott describes experiences (passed down from oral traditions) of his ancestors. Most notable is a narrative about his grandfather's run-in with "bushwhackers," who notoriously killed innocent country folk while ravaging many parts of southern Missouri during the 1860s.

     Although a book about a country boy growing up in poverty and struggling with his family to survive is nothing original, Scott's art of storytelling can turn ordinary history into captivating anecdotes. Each of the thirty-plus chapters in this book comprises short narratives connected by chronological timeline. While reading The Missouri Kid, one cannot help but ponder similarities between Scott's life and that of Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn. Though Scott's stories read like fiction (which only adds to the charm), they are poignant historical and sociological rediscoveries of a time and place that are unfamiliar to many today. This is what makes The Missouri Kid so essential and so relevant; it is a fascinating, fun and quick read for anyone interested in taking a journey into the past."

 --Danny Kathriner

Gateway Heritage Magazine (Fall 2002)

(Reprinted with permission)

Barnes & -

“It is the beauty of the foothills of the Missouri Ozarks I remember the most when I think back on my childhood. The pristine rivers and creeks. The hills green with trees. The river banks peppered with rocks. The wildlife. It is where I spent my first years. I was educated in the Missouri hills of my youth. This is my story, to my children and grandchildren, so they, too, can know the nature of things that made those thar hills come so alive for a young country boy.”


James Melvin Scott (1911-2001)

Copyright © 2000-2008 Cathy Scott, USA. All Rights Reserved.