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Harold Bell Wright


category : Famous People
Harold Bell Wright

Many know that Harold Bell Wright's, "Shepherd of the Hills" was the most widely read book of fiction in the history of publishing! Few know, however, that many of the places, events, and characters are based on actual models. There really was an "old shepherd of Mutton Hollow," whose identity was blended with that of Wright himself into the central character of the book.

Harold Bell Wright moved to this area in 1896, where he lived south of Marionville with an uncle. His cousin, George Pollard, taught at the Mt. Vernon Presbyterian Academy, on College Street, and Harold moved to Mt. Vernon the next year. He lived in the house at 631 McCanse St. (corner of E. Sloan) and also at 707 S. Main. During this time he operated an art and decorating shop on the east side of the square (about where the First National Bank is now). He was known to have studied and lectured at the academy also.

Mt. Vernon native, James Marion Wood moved to Mutton Hollow for a two-year period in 1900, at which time Mr. Wright was a frequent visitor, and Wood tended sheep at the farm of "Old Matt," J.K. Ross. When Wright finally published his book in 1907, the world was introduced to the warm people and enchanted hills soon to be known as the "Branson" area. Harold Bell Wright's frail health demanded that he later mover to California, but he left behind a legacy, which included some endearing characters from Mt. Vernon and Lawrence County as well as from "Mutton Hollow."


Come visit us in Mt. Vernon, Missouri

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Mt.Vernon Golf Course

Mt. Vernon's golf course features a nine-hole course, clubhouse, and golf cart rental and storage. There are a number of active leagues, including a senior men's league and Ladies' Golf Association.

Mt. Vernon, MO Recreation

Lawrence County Courthouse

Built in 1900 of native limestone, this is the third courthouse on this site. A statue of Justice graces the top of this historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The first courthouse was built of wood in 1846

Mt. Vernon, MO Historic Courthouses


"Brick" Presbyterian Church

The beautiful, stately, historic church, known familiarly as Brick Church because of its 17-inch thick brick walls, stands solidly in a picturesque setting of prairie land.

The church, organized in 1854 was built in 1872 to last as a house of praise to the Lord. Today'

Mt. Vernon, MO Historic Churches

The 2nd "Old Jail"

The county's first log jail burned in 1854, and a brick structure was built on Walter Street a block west of the square. It is presently undergoing reconstruction for historical preservation. It was used until 1868, and had an original cost of $3,500.

Mt. Vernon, MO Pioneer Life

Things to do Famous People near Mt. Vernon, MO