Remembering the old clay trucks that passed by our house

Posted on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Don Kruse

Don Kruse

By Don Kruse, Editor

The Advertiser-Courier

The sound of clay trucks could be heard zooming past our house on Highway 19 in the 1950s.
I didn’t know what those big trucks were carrying until I heard my dad talking one day to one of his siblings on Dry Hill. They were marveling at how many of them drove by in a particular day–two trucks for every car. It must have been a sight to see. Not many cars were running the highways in those days, 70 years ago, and to see these clay trucks on Highway 19 stood out to the farmers and anyone who watched them pass.
Clay mining played a big part on the economy of the county back in the day when many things were rationed because of the war.
A couple weeks ago, David Bridges of Rolla and Charles Gross of Drake gave a presentation on clay mining in Gasconade County at a Speaker’s Series program held in Owensville.
Bridges is a geologist with the Geological Survey Program under the umbrella of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. He spoke on the technical part and about the minerals that were in the ground that were being mined.
Gross shared what he remembers from the local end of clay mining. His dad, Harry Gross, worked in the business. He operated a clay prospecting drill and worked out of the Drake area for Langenberg Mining, and would even go into Osage County.
“It was big business in this county,” said Gross. “There was a lot of clay and we had a lot of workers.”
He said a lot of Gasconade County farmers who were struggling and about to lose their homes became rich after they discovered clay on their property.

(Read the rest of the story in this week’s Advertiser-Courier)

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