A History of Rockbridge
in the summer of 1841 a group of families left Marion County, Kentucky,
in three ox and horse drawn wagons led by Captain Kim C. Amyx. Their
destination would require some 500 miles and six months of challenging
travel searching unknown territory for a new life in the virgin wilderness
of the Ozarks. Their journey would end near present day Hodgson Mill.
It is reported that members of this wagon train, along
with other previous settlers, set about to establish a new community
known as Rockbridge. The original town and mill site was located near
the confluence of Spring Creek and
Bryant Creek. Until 1860 it was the original county seat of Ozark County.
Until 1857 Ozark County included all of Ozark, part of Howell, and most
of Douglas counties.
After a few short years, the town and mill was destroyed
by fire. It is speculation as to whether the fire was started by Civil
War guerillas or by the townspeople to keep the guerillas from setting
up a base camp using the mill for survival. Rockbridge
Mill was rebuilt in 1868, a few miles upstream on its present day
The milling business was good, and B.V. Morris, who bought the mill,
enlarged it in 1888. In 1894 he built a two-story general store, one
of the largest and finest buildings in the area. This was followed in
1903 by a bank. In the early days of the twentieth century there was
also a general store, Masonic Lodge, bank, church, school, and blacksmith
The village of Rockbridge was a gathering place of people
from the countryside. The trip to the mill was a great occasion, enabling
people to visit old friends and neighbors, to get their meal and flour,
to vote on election day, and to get news of the outside world.
flourished the latter years of the 19th century and continued on until
the 1920-30s, but as gasoline power and better roads came along, the
need for the mill and the blacksmith shop gradually declined. The bank
went under in 1933, during the depths of the Great Depression, followed
some time later by the general store. The mill ceased operations in
the late 1940s. The world had changed, and Rockbridge was abandoned.
Rainbow Trout Ranch
In 1954, Lile, Edith, and Ray Amyx purchased the property
(today 1500 acres). It included the mill, the store, the bank, in fact,
the entire village. They began to develop a new business: Rainbow Trout
Ranch. The days were long and nights short and they worked diligently
to bring life back to the Rockbridge village. And once again people
from the town and countryside came from miles around to visit friends
and neighbors, enjoy a good meal, vote on election day, but this time
to bring news from the outside world, and enjoy world class trout fishing.
On Friday, January 24, 1986, fire consumed the old Rockbridge
General Store, which had been remodeled into the resort restaurant and
reception area. The Amyx family persevered. They rebuilt the restaurant
and reception, and, in 2001, expanded the restaurant.
Years later Rockbridge still exists with all of the stamina,
character, and a way of life we so greatly admired about our forefathers.
And with a little luck, a lot of hard work, good friends and neighbors,
the little village in a valley of the Ozark hills will continue to create
history and provide memories for all who visit.