(An American Tragedy)


Donald K. Muschany

     In 1978, Donald K. Muschany wrote an extraordinary personal memoir of the events surrounding the destruction of the towns of Howell and Hamburg, and of the efforts of a small number of dispossessed landowners, including his aunt and uncle, Vera and Karl Muschany, to seek just compensation for their losses through the United States court system.
     Long out of print, the text of this book is presented online here for the first time, with the written consent of the copyright holders. Because the book is currently under copyright, readers are asked to respect the protections provided by copyright law. Text appearing on this website may not be reproduced and/or redistributed without written authorization from the copyright holders.
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     Since many of the photographs used to illustrate the book entailed third-party agreements between the author and the owners of the images, only the captions of the photos (not the photos themselves) will be reproduced. The illustrations appearing on this page were scanned from the dust jacket of the first edition.
     The printed text has been reformatted for web presentation, with each section linked to the Table of Contents page. Footnotes were regrouped to appear at the ends of sections. Obvious typographer’s errors have been silently corrected. Hyperlinks to documentary material that is mentioned, but not presented, in the text may be added on an ongoing basis.
     Sincerest thanks to the family of the late Donald K. Muschany for granting their permission to publish this digitized version of the book’s text; to the staff of the Scenic Regional Library in Union, Missouri and the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia, Missouri, for help in locating a copy of the book, and to Stephen J. Sherman, President of Lupton Chapel in St. Louis, for his kind assistance and encouragement.

From the dust jacket of the first edition (1978):

          Here, at last, is a historical reconstruction of an incredible event related to the outbreak of the Second World War.  Discover how the United States Government contracted to purchase 18,000 acres of land for the Weldon Springs Ordinance Plant and then refused to honor its contracts. Unbelievable? Yes, but true and well documented. The landowners and their families were dispossessed of their homes and lands. They sought justice in the courts.  After several years, justice prevailed, but the scars of the tragedy and the mental anguish endured by those involved cannot be erased.

          A glow of the author’s love of his country is woven in a moving testimonial to his parentage. Yesterday’s memories shape his thoughts of today as he recalls his boyhood years spent in Howell and Hamburg, Missouri.

          Don K. Muschany was born near Howell, Missouri, the son of Morris and Nell Muschany. He attended Francis Howell High School and graduated from Central Methodist College, Fayette, Missouri. He attended Washington University later, enrolling in courses that would be beneficial to his career. He has been a practicing funeral director for forty years, owns his own business, and is also a director on the board of several corporations. He has traveled extensively throughout the world and has great compassion for his fellow man.


This digital edition is published online as of May 26, 2012.