Hometown haunts

Just in time for Halloween, meet five exceptional Tigers from some of Missouri’s most aptly named places.

map of missouri

Oct. 29, 2020
Contact: Kenny Gerling, 

The University of Missouri has students from all 114 counties and metro areas of the Show-Me State. Tigers come from big cities and small towns, and a few of those places are perfectly named for the Halloween season. To celebrate the time of year — and highlight some great students — Show Me Mizzou brought together Tigers from some of Missouri’s most festively named places. Together, we talk about what makes their towns special and learn about their own Mizzou Made ambitions. What these Tigers hope to accomplish is anything but scary.

Sam Carter – Ellsinore, Missouri

Master's student, human dimensions of natural resources emphasis area

How would you describe Ellsinore?

Ellsinore is situated in southeast Missouri, pretty close to the Bootheel. There is not even a stoplight, only stop signs. I lived in Ellsinore until I was 18 and went to Mizzou. I spent a lot of time outside growing up. It’s a very beautiful part of Missouri and there’s a lot of nice resources there.

Any idea where the name comes from?

I think it’s the name of a town founder. It’s spelled a little differently than the castle in Shakespeare’s Hamlet where he sees the ghost of his father. I was a big nerd so I read a bunch of Shakespeare on my own, but we never talked about it in school or about the connection to the town.

What are you studying at Mizzou?

This is my second semester in the master’s program. I’m researching the human dimensions of natural resources. It’s the social science side of environmental policy work, specifically related to Native American rights and environmental justice. I’m a graduate research assistant working on a law review article on Native American sovereignty in a globalizing marketplace. I’m also working at Renew Missouri, a local environmental law firm. I have a bachelor’s in international studies also from Mizzou.

What’s something about Ellsinore that you’re proud of?

I guess two things. First, there’s a really cool natural phenomenon called the Blue Hole. It is described as an underground lake, and it’s geographically curious — especially in southern Missouri. Second, and more sentimentally, I think we really have a good sense of community there.

Sophia Holmquist – Roach, Missouri

Junior, secondary language arts major

How would you describe Roach?

It’s a small, interesting place on the Lake of the Ozarks. There’s a tiny little post office and a tiny gas station. But we’re pretty close to Camdenton, which is a bigger town.

What reactions do you get when you tell people where you’re from?

We moved to Roach from Pennsylvania when I was a senior in high school. My friends would ask for my mailing address and then they were kind of confused. People were surprised to hear about it, but I’m really glad we came. If I hadn’t moved to Missouri, I wouldn’t have gone to Mizzou.

What are your plans after graduation?

I think I want to move to Tampa, Florida, because my brother lives there. Eventually, I would love to teach abroad — preferably in Japan or South Korea.

Reese Lavers – Blackwater, Missouri

Freshman, psychology major

How would you describe Blackwater?

It’s right off of I-70, just 40 minutes west of Columbia. The population is probably less than 200 people. It’s definitely a major farming town, but it’s also really historic. There are some little shops downtown and a restaurant. The name comes from the Blackwater River. The water is very muddy, so it almost looks like it’s black.

What are you studying at Mizzou?

This is my first semester as a psychology major, and it’s going pretty well. I’m really glad I get to have a few classes in person, and I’m part of a research group called the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program in Psychological Sciences for Underrepresented and First-Generation College Students. I’m getting exposed to research early on in my academic career, so that’s pretty fun.

I definitely want to go to grad school, but I’m debating if I want to go the PhD route and go into a research field — maybe something like neuropsychology — or if I want to go to medical school and study psychiatry.

What’s something you want people to know about Blackwater?

At first glance it’s a really small town, but if you get to know the people, they are all really nice, and there’s a great sense of community.

Would you like to return to Blackwater after graduation?

I’ve definitely thought about that a lot. Really the only thing I don’t like about Missouri is the weather. But I made the decision that if I can put up with Missouri weather, then someday I want to live in Blackwater — because I really do love it. The people are great, and small towns can be more interesting than you think.

Kaylee Lower – Humansville, Missouri

Sophomore, agricultural education (communications and leadership) major

How would you describe Humansville?

Humansville is a pretty small town compared to Columbia. If you drive through, you can basically miss it, but it’s definitely home.

What are you studying at Mizzou?

I just transferred to Mizzou, so I’m a first-year student who’s a sophomore. I’m studying agricultural education (communications and leadership), but after this semester I’m going to dual major in animal sciences. My dad is a veterinarian in Humansville. It’s something I never wanted to do, because I had grown up around it. But I got here and was removed from the family farm and vet clinic, then I realized it was something I had a passion for. I want to dual major to tell the story of agriculture and work with animals as well.

What’s something you want people to know about your town?

I feel like I can stop in at the gas station off the highway, and I always know someone… I can go in a store and everyone is asking about me. I feel welcomed there, and I love the great atmosphere of being around people I know.

What reactions do you get when you tell people where you’re from?

You definitely have to explain where Humansville is. I get a lot of questions about it, but that doesn’t bother me. I went to high school in a nearby town called Weaubleau, and people butcher that name all the time. So, with Humansville, at least they get the name right.

Do you plan to return to Humansville after graduation?

I would like to return to the family farm for a couple of years and practice as a veterinarian if that’s the path I choose to go down. Then I would like to move elsewhere to do research and product development. I’d like to research cattle and possibly do some product development on vaccines or on the herd health side of things.

Reed McIntyre – Ravenwood, Missouri

Freshman, animal sciences major

How would you describe Ravenwood?

The town itself is about 500 people. It’s super tiny, and I only had 15 kids in my graduating class. I actually lived 3 miles outside of town, and everyone in my family farms. I grew up showing pigs and stuff like that.

What are you studying at Mizzou?

I’m transferring to animal sciences next semester. I always wanted to go into the agriculture side of things because of the community I came from. I actually plan on going to veterinary school after I graduate.

Do you plan to return to Ravenwood after graduation?

I plan on going back. I came to Columbia to change my world a little bit from growing up in a small town my whole life. I kind of like the big city vibes, but I plan on going back for the long haul. Ravenwood is about 15 minutes from Maryville, which is a bigger place. It’s the best of both worlds because you get to live in a small town and be able to have a lot of other stuff close by.

What’s something you want people to know about your town?

Ravenwood was one of those little towns that was kind of big, then it really shrank down, and now it’s making a comeback. It’s because of the community more than anything. People in the community want to own a business, and they want to own it in their hometown. It’s hometown pride.

Subscribe to

Show Me Mizzou

Stay up-to-date with the latest news by subscribing to the Show Me Mizzou newsletter.