Greene County, Arkansas

Paragould Daily Press

Thursday, April 12, 1984

Transcribed by: Sandy Hardin

                     PEOPLE . . .

   Lizzie Gwyn is celebrating her 93rd birthday today.    
   She lived in Greene County since 1898 when she and her parents, J. A. and Carpline Parham, moved here from Union City, Tenn.
   They didn't move in a covered wagon like a lot of folks did back then. They came via train. "It was a pretty rough ride," she recalls. "But it only took one day. It was pouring down rain when we got there.
   Paragould was a little place then, she remembers. "There weren't any sidewalks anywhere, except in front of Belk's and across the street from there. The sidewalks were made out of bricks and all the streets were dirt.
   She and her family moved frequently so she went to school in several locations in Greene County. She has a photograph hanging in her house of one school she attended, Newberry School between Marmaduke and Halliday. It's no there anymore.
   Glancing at the photo of the one-room school that looks like a barn, she says, "You wonder why we didn't freeze to death in there. It was just an old box."  
  Lizzie married John Gwyn when she was 18and together they parented 10 children. She out lived her husband and four sons. 

  "I've seen a lot of bad times," she says, "but I've had enough pleasure in my life to make up for it."
   They lived in Bard for a long time, farming sometimes as much as 120 acres. Thirty-six years ago she and her husband decided they were "too old" to farm anymore and moved to East Emerson Street in Paragould where Lizzie still lives.
   She liked living on the farm, she says. "Farming suited us. You could be your own boss. I worked out in the field a lot. The children helped me in the kitchen so I could get out and hoe cotton and pick cotton. But I was ready to leave when we did. It's easier to keep house in the city. There's more concrete so you don't get the house as dusty and dirty."
   Now she stays home most of the time, only leaving to go to church at Eastside Baptist where she is the oldest member, or to go see her children who live outside of Arkansas. "I don't take the plane. I've never been in a plane in my life. I like to go in a car. I love to ride and look out the window.

Kelly Quinn
Daily Press

Transcribed by: Sandy Hardin  Apr 24th, 2001


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