Richwood Township: Section 9, Township 38 North, Range 13 West, Miller County, MO.
Take Hwy EE out of Iberia and go approximately 4.5 miles. There is an old church, which looks to be made of concrete blocks, on the left side of the road. According to first-hand knowledge of Mr. Wall there is a single infant buried behind the old Oak View Church.
October 25, 1934 Autogram William C. Driver (colored), Unique Character, Dies William "Bill" C. Driver, a colored preacher and who was a slave during his boyhood days, died suddenly Thursday night at the home of his son, William Driver, Jr., near Iberia. He did not know his exact age, but he must have been past 80 years old as he was in bondage when a child. His death was sudden. On the evening preceding his death he complained of feeling ill and he took two pain tablets. It was thought that these affected his heart. Driver was known throughout many towns in this section where he often appeared on the streets as an exhorter and singer. He was imbued with religious fervor and prided himself on some songs of his own composition, characteristic of the colored race. His habit was to beat a bass drum in accompaniment to his singing. Besides the son, William Jr., a daughter who lives in Chicago survives him. Date of death date for William "Bill" Driver would have been 18 October 1934. Reverend Wm. Driver (Reprinted from the New Iberian newspaper column dated 4 November 1981) Reverend William M. Driver, was a black minister who was widely known in our area of Missouri during the early portion of the 20th century. He was born in Jefferson City, a son of Mandy Dixon, and was later adopted by a slave family known as Driver. He himself was held as a slave during the Civil War period. Later he moved to Lebanon, in Laclede County, where he became a minister of the gospel, being affiliated with the Free-Will Baptist Church, where he performed a commendable service to other members of his race in the surrounding area. At approximately 1916, he came to Iberia, Miller Co., and moved to a farm southwest of town near the old Oak View Church. In his obituary, his widow is not listed, but he was married at that time and had 2 children, William Driver, Jr. of Iberia and Grace Driver Tucker of Rockford, Illinois. He and his wife had 6 other children, but all died in infancy. He died at the age of 75 years in 1934 and his funeral service was held at the Nazarene Church in Iberia with the Rev. Otto Shearrer conducting the service. He was buried in the Iberia City cemetery. NOTE: The following was written in MISSOURI LIFE, July/August,1983: A prominent community leader of Eldridge, Laclede Co., MO, was William Driver, who homesteaded in the Eldridge area in the early 1880's. Driver served the black community as a minister and often preached to his congregation in the same church used by blacks and whites that lived together in Eldridge for the first forty years of the 20th century remember that racial friction was relatively rare. In fact, one of the most frequently mentioned 'good memories' recalled by blacks and whites alike was of integrated community picnics that featured the fiddling of black musician Will Driver, son of the minister. No one we talked to failed to mention Will Driver, born on December 8, 1881. Driver now lives in Jefferson City with a daughter. Driver has been called by one student of fiddle music," the best example I encountered of a repertory strictly indigenous to a local area.".....................(Will Driver, son of Rev. William Driver, lived until 1985 and died in Jefferson City at the age of 104 years. His memory remained clear until his death but he was blind and incapacitated for several years before his demise. The words of an old hymn with the caption, "Listening All Night Long' as sung by Rev. Wm. Driver (colored) of the Free Will Baptist Church." This might be classified as a Negro Spiritual............Chorus: Been listening all night long, Been listening all the day, Been listening all night long, To hear some sinner pray. The devil tempted the woman, the woman tempted the man Go read the third of Matthew, Go read it through and through And it will tell the poor sinner, Just what he had to do. Some say that John was a Baptist, He was nothing but a Jew But the Holy Bible tells us, That he was a preacher too. Heard a mighty rumbling, A goin' through the Land St. John came a preachin', Way down in the promised land. There are Moses, Noah, and Abram, And all the prophets, too All things are ready now, Oh, what a heavenly crew The fare is cheap--all can go, The rich and poor are there. No second class on board this train, No difference in the fare. I believe in free communion, And in foot washing too Some says it's only a custom, As practiced by the Jews. On the night of the Last Supper, The blessed Savior knew: He washed the disciples' feet, And you must wash them too. Freewill is my contention, Freewill until I die: I expect to live in a Freewill, Till I ascend on high.
Inventoried by Dianna (Hale) Mattingly & Glenda (May) Crawford.
Driver, Infant no dates - no info child of William "Bill" & Violet (Williams) Driver
Last update: 19 November 2002
© 2001 by Dianna (Hale) Mattingly & Glenda (May) Crawford.