Moundville M.W.A.

Following the big fire of 1909, a second two story brick building was built just across the county road north of the new IOOF. This stone at the top of the new building says

M.W.A. Camp 3282


M.W.A. stands for Modern Woodmen of America, which was a popular fraternal organization of that time that is still in existence today. The new building had the MWA meeting hall upstairs that was used not only for the MWA but also for other civic and religious meetings. The first floor of the building housed general merchandise and other well known businesses. The best known would be the Mathews Store which was later the Ashbaugh Store.

This image shows the MWA building when it housed the J. F. Mathews and Sons Dry Goods store, also selling Groceries and Shoes. To the left you can see the back corner of the IOOF building across the street and the house that became the Clyde Ashbaugh home.

Sam Urton tells that his grandfather, Hail Urton, ran a store in Moundville for about a year. Sam's Uncle just told me that it was a drug store. Sam told that Hail Urton showed movies in Moundville for several years while he ran an appliance store in Urich, MO which is in Henry County. Sam's mother said that they strung a sheet between two trees in the lot north of the building. Sam says his grandfather would have been in Moundville from 1939 to 1940.

Lindell Haverstic shared some of his family stores also. He told that his late father and aunt talked about the cheap or free summer movies in Moundville. Their favorite was "The Phantom Empire" with an underground civilization called Murania. It starred Gene Autry as the hero trying to catch cattle rustlers in an underground hideout.

Lindell also tells that the Moundville Methodist church used to lease the upstairs of the IOOF building and also owned the lot north of Ashbaugh's store where some of the movies were shown

Donald Short added his recollections of street movies. "I vividly remember the open air “free” movies. If that was Mr. Urton, I offer my long overdue belated thanks. Although I had forgotten the name of the serialized Gene Autry chapters shown before the regular movie, usually a western also, he surely put Moundville on the map for a bunch of kids by bringing those “imagination stretching” movies to town. I recall the “screen” was tied across the county road to power poles and we sat in the street. There were no trees on the north side of Ashbaugh’s store, only a vacant lot that had been the Baxter lumber company, destroyed by fire prior to my memory. Because the concrete floor of the original building remained, that area was often used in summer time for “ice cream socials”. Must have been a fundraiser for something but we called them “ice cream suppers” at my house. My recollection is very clear of the layout at the intersection of Main St and County road F. Ashbaugh’s general store was on the northwest corner. A two story red brick building which is being described as the MWA building. There was an open auditorium style room above the store that ran full length and width as the ground floor, with a stage in the east end. The stairway to the second floor was at the west end of the building. Opposite Ashbaugh’s, across County road F south was another red brick two story being identified as the IOOF Building. It contained two businesses. The north half was Carter’s Drugstore. I believe Carter’s operated their drug store until around 1940. I don’t remember what came after that. I do not remember of ever going to the second floor of the IOOF building. Hammond’s Hardware occupied the south half of the IOOF building for as long as I can remember. I recall Mrs. Hammond running the business alone. I don’t ever remember seeing a Mr. Hammond."

Sam Urton added, "After my father was in the army he was an entertainer who did shows at fairs with Gene Autry and Smiley Burnet, then eventually became a Methodist Minister."

The MWA Building in 2006.

Web page images of Ladies of Moundville and the Men of GAR were taken in the MWA meeting room upstairs.

The Modern Woodmen of America was a fraternal organization founded in 1883. It was like a lodge and was not affiliated with any religion. MWA members were white males in the Midwest between the ages of 18 and 45. Membership came with insurance benefits. One of the roles of the organization was to provide insurance benefits when the primary breadwinner of a household died. Below is a 1908 membership receipt from the Moundville MWA Camp for Ben Baugh from Clerk J. D. Garton:

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This genealogy page was designed and is maintained by Lyndon Irwin