Photo at left, the abandoned Hyder cabin, probably sometime during late 1950/early 1960. Photo at right, Hyder cabin, February 28, 2005, falling into ruins. Click on photos for enlargement. Click here for additional photos.

A portrait and biographical record of John B. Hyder and his son, John W. Hyder is found on pages 470 - 471 of a historical book of title "Clay, Ray, Carroll, Chariton & Linn Counties of Missouri" (Springfield, Mo. Pub. Lib., rare books, MR977.816 & most likely available in libraries of title counties). The account is reproduced as follows:

"John W. Hyder is an intelligent and experienced journalist, whose energy, enterprise and desire to please the public have been liberally rewarded, not only in regard to the reputation he has gained among the newspaper men of the State, but also from a financial standpoint. He occupies a high position in the estimation of the public, and especially is he popular in Excelsior Springs and vicinity. He was born in Clay County, September 6, 1862, his father being John B. Hyder, a native of Tennessee, who came to Missouri when only ten years of age. (editor's note - John B. Hyder was the son of John L. Hyder who was the brother of Jacob Jr. Hyder who came to Mo. about 1837. Both John L. & Jacob Jr. were the sons of Jacob Sr. Hyder and the grandsons of Michael T. Hyder who settled in Tenn. and who fought in three battles of the Revolutionary War)

Upon attaining a suitable age, he (John B.) chose the calling of a farmer as his life occupation, and through his own efforts, and with the aid of his industrious and economical wife, he acquired a competency. He married Miss Caroline Spearro, who was born in 1844, a very short time after her parents emigrated to this country from Germany. Twelve children were born of the union, of whom the subject of this sketch is the eldest. Five died in infancy, and the others are as follows: Lula F., now the wife of G. W. Lord, of Excelsior Springs, Mollie, Ida M., Tena, Henry H. and Sadie Zula.

Unfortunately the early life of John W. Hyder was almost wholly without opportunities for obtaining an education, and the sum total of eight months comprised his school days. This state of affairs was in a great measure owing to the fact that his services were very badly needed on the home farm, on which he spent many a day in hard work. During this period, while his mind was not being cultivated, his constitution was becoming strengthened by his outdoor life, and he obtained a useful fund of general information. Being of an ambitious disposition, he was not content with this mode of living, and many hours wasted by other boys were spent by him in reading such books, papers and periodicals as came his way.

At the age of eighteen years he procured an amateur outfit of printers' type, at which time his career on the journalistic sea commenced. He used his father's residence as an office, and with characteristic energy commenced business at once by soliciting job work, doing all the work alone. In a short time he commenced the publication of his first literary work, a monthly journal called Glad Tidings, which was a four-page, 7x10 inch sheet. The liberal patronage he received encouraged him to persevere in his new enterprise, and he was soon compelled to move his "plant" to more convenient and commodious quarters. He has been connected with the advancement of every newspaper in the city, and, in connection with Dr. Flack, is the founder of the Christian Union Herald, which is said to have the largest circulation of any non-sectarian weekly in the United States.

Mr. Hyder now devotes his entire time to the publication of his own papers, periodicals, literary work, etc., and is actively and lucratively engaged in all kinds of book and job work. In 1889 he began writing short stories and sketches for Eastern papers, and in an incredibly short time his productions were being accepted and published by such leading papers as the Boston Globe, New Orleans Times-Democrat, Epoch, Comfort, San Francisco Wasp, West Shore and others. He has written a few serial stories, one of which, "The Fair Enchantress," has just been published in book form.

He is a stanch Prohibitionist politically. For a number of years he has been an active member and ardent supporter of the Christian Union Church. In 1890 he was appointed a delegate to the General Council of the church held at Crawfordsville, Ind., which place he filled with ability and credit to himself. He is suave and polite in manner, modest,. unselfish, careful of the feelings of others, interesting and pleasant in conversation, approachable at all times and prepossessing in personal appearance, He is looked upon as one of the rising men of the county, and a brilliant future will undoubtedly be his.

At Excelsior Springs, in 1883, Mr. Hyder commenced the publication of a six-column weekly paper called The Sentinel of Truth, which he continued until 1887. He then discontinued it and inaugurated the Daily Phunn, a spicy, newsy and exceedingly entertaining 12x17 inch, four-column daily paper, which has met with almost unparalled success, its present circulation amounting to over five hundred copies daily.

Mr. Hyder is one of the self-made, energetic young business men of Clay County. He is ever on the alert to lend a helping hand to any worthy enterprise, and to his credit be it said that to his energy and push are due the site and endowment fund of $25,000 for the erection and support of the Christian Union College, which is to be erected at an early day.


An incident in the life of Jim Cummins (and John B. Hyder - son of John L. who was a son of Jacob Sr. Hyder of Tenn.), as related by James Lemmon, city collector of Excelsior Springs, Mo.(Ch XIII)

"The half has never yet been told" - a true saying as regards the interesting incidents in the life of Jim Cummins; and one of those interesting incidents occurred in 1864, and will bear relating in these pages, as it is not generally known and will throw a little light on the character of the men that made border warfare terrible - more terrible than war.

Captain Fletcher Taylor, under the command of Todd and Quantrell, was sent into Clay county from Jackson to recruit troops for their shriveling commands, and as the gods willed it, Jim Cummins, with Jesse James, Silas King and "Doc" Rupe, were the first to cast their lot with that guerilla band. It is not surprising that they did so, as Frank James had linked his fortunes with Quantrell some time before their coming into Clay county. And it is certainly a fact that these simple country boys little dreamed of the terror that in after years their names would spread in any community on the North American continent. But that is another story, and to proceed. Taylor went about over the country recruiting troops and doing as he pleased when he could, and as he could at other times. And it was not long after dcoming into Clay county that he encountered a squad of the Missouri militia, not far from Missouri City, and, as is usual in those skirmishes, some of them bit the dust, and among the wounded of the guerilla forces was a man named Donovan. The militia blood was hot as was that of the guerilla's, and at a point near the Judge Chambers farm, about three miles northwest of Excelsior Springs, a militiaman named Dagley shot this Donovan, who had previously been wounded.

That made the guerillas'blood boil, and one of the band, "Jim" Bissett, took it upon himself to even up the score, and he did. He killed Dagley, and not a quarter of a mile from where he killed Dagley he came upon a militiaman in full uniform and completely equipped, even to spurs.

Bissett took it as an act of Providence as it was just one more "Yank" delivered into his hands to hang or shoot as he saw fit. He saw fit to hang him, and proceeded to do it; but after the rope was drawn about his neck and his self-elected executioners were waiting the word to pull, the whole guerilla squad were amazed to see two of their number step up and intercede for the militiaman's life. The militiaman was John B. Hyder, one of Clay county's best farmer citizens, now living just beyond the corporate limits of Excelsior Springs, and the guerilla intercessors were Jim Cummins and "Doc" Rupe.

They succeeded, and Hyder was taken to a place four miles south of the present town of Excelsior Springs, was sworn out of service and sent home, the four youngsters who first joined Taylor accompanying him as guard.

Bissett, while preparing to hang Hyder, said that he killed Dagley because he had killed a wounded man, and when the wounded man begged for time to pray, he replied, "You can pray in h--," and fired. But Bissett's only excuse for wanting to hang Hyder was that he was a "Yank."

The next day after Cummins and the other boys had escorted Hyder to his home, they passed his house and Cummins made his horse take the fence,

rode up to the house, called Hyder out and asked if he had reported - reported that he was out of service. Hyder said he had, so Cummins rode away after telling Hyder to stay there and he would be protected.

And by the way, this incident only goes to prove the fact that there is a vein of sentiment running through every heart and soul, for Hyder had been a friend of Jin's and the two James boys before the war broke out. They had played together, ate together and slept together; they had fished in the same stream, hunted in the same wood, and swam in the same swimming hole. And when they chanced to meet while seeking each others' life, they could not forget.


Obituary - John William "Uncle Bill" Hyder
was born September 6, 1862, in Clay County, Missouri. He was the son of John B. and Caroline Spearro Hyder, and was a lifelong resident. While his formal education was brief, he obtained a great deal of knowledge by reading books, papers and periodicals.

Bill Hyder was known as an Excelsior Springs original. As a boy he played up and down the hollows of Fishing River Valley before Missouri's National Health Resort possessed any great degree of fame. It is even said that he was present when the water of Siloam spring was first unearthed and held in suspicion, due to the yellowish-brown streaks it left running through the clay.

At age 18 he began his printing and editing career with the use of an amateur printing press which he hauled up from Missouri City. In a short time, he began his first literary work, a monthly journal, "Glad Tidings."

At Excelsior Springs in 1883, he began a weekly, "The Sentinel of Truth", which he continued until 1887. He then started the "Daily Phunn", a four-column daily paper.

In connection with Dr. J.V.B. Flack, a founder of Excelsior Springs and the local Christian Union Church, he founded the "Christian Union Herald" publication, of which was discontinued about 1947. He also worked on the "Daily Call" newspaper. In those days he sported a high hat and an impressive Prince Albert, maintaining the dignity of the profession in Chesterfieldian fashion. His human brotherhood was his outstanding virtue. He was everybody's friend.

In 1889 he began writing short stories and sketches for eastern papers which were published by newspapers from coast to coast.

For a number of years, he had been an active and ardent supporter of the Christian Union Church. On January 16, 1926, he left for New York to partake in a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, arranged by the Christian Union Church and Dr. Charles Sheldon, then publisher of the "Christian Union Herald." This was the realization of a dream of Mr. Hyder for many years.

The journey included stops at Madiera, Gibraltar and the Algiers. In Egypt he visited the city of Cairo, the Nile Valley, and the Sphynex and saw the wonderful Pyramids. The itinery included landing at Port Said and Haifa, furthering to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerico and the banks of the River Jordan, and on the Mount of Olives. Leaving there the party visited the city of Constantiople and passed down the Dardanelles past Gallipoli. A visit was made to the Island of Sicily and on to Athens, Naples, Nice and other historic cities, including a quick glimpse at Monte Carlo, after which the tour of between 600 to 700 persons were steamered back to New York. The trip lasted about 60 days.

Bill Hyder passed away at the age of 94 after an illness of several weeks. The funeral was held at the Flack Memorial Christian Union Church and burial was at Salem Cemetery. Surviving were three sisters, Mrs. Lula Lord, Tena Hyder and Lillian Hyder, all of Excelsior Springs; three nephews, two nieces, a great-niece and three great-nephews.