Greene County Arkansas

Paragould, Arkansas

Centennial Edition Section 2

Paragould Daily Press, Monday, August 29, 1983                                                                                                                         Section 2, Centennial Edition -5


The Land ~ Saving the Soil

"Farm Crop Production 1880-1980"


Photo Captions:

Top Photo: The Land:

Thad Crowley, his son Wiley and father W. T. Lined up the latest in field equipment for this 1918 picture on the family near Walcott.

Photo courtesy: Ruba Crowley

Middle Left: Saving the Soil:

This photograph was taken by an official Soil Conservation Service photographer in 1939 to document erosion problems on Crowley's Ridge. According to the notes attached to the picture: "This field was cultivated until about 15 years ago when serious gullying started and it had to be abandoned.....Little or no effort has been made to stop the gullies and as a result, approximately 35 acres of this 80-acre farm has gullied to such an extent that reforestration is the only practical treatment." The photographer also noted that the farm, near Walcott, was in one of the first settled communities on the ridge.

Photo courtesy: Soil Conservation Service


       Farm crop
                     1880, 1980

   The Greene County landscape has changed markedly over the past 100 years and so has our use of the land.
   We have drained the swamps, rechanneled rivers and creeks, cleared forests and opened new fields for cultivation.
   Because of other changes that have affected agriculture, those efforts do not show up when one compares the number of farms. There were more farms counted in 1880 (1,181) than a century later (990). But in the number of impro-ved acres, ah, there's the differ-ence: 30,596 acres in 1880, 370,560 in 1980. More than a ten-fold increase.
   The 1880 figures come from a United States agricultural census reported by the 1889 Goodspeed's history of Greene County. The recent figures are from the 1980 U.S. agricultural census provided by the county extension office.
   The crops grown on those acres have changed significantly too. The folks who worked to drain the low-lands would probably laugh (or cry) to hear that we flood them back now to irrigate the county's biggest crop, rice.
   Corn grew tall in 1880 -- 347,926 bushels; now it's a lowly 34,000. County farmers produced 10,475 bushels of wheat in 1880, 1,185,000 bushels in 1980. Cotton went from 3,711 bales to 7,150 bales. Oats, hay, potatoes and to-bacco were considered important enough to make the 1880 list, but have long since been replaced by soybeans and milo.



           Growing with Greene
                     County for

                                 103 years

   Early in 1880, S. L. Joseph, (1854-1909) a German immi-grant, came to Gainesville and began a store in partnership with Isaac Less. After establishment of that business, Mr. Joseph moved on to Paragould in 1885, where he embarked upon a career in merchandising under the name of Harris & Joseph. In 1899, he married Setta Goldman,an aunt of Alvin Samuel, and bought out Mr. Harris, his partner. He renamed the firm the S. L. Joseph Mercantile Company.

   In 1900, Alvin Samuel (1883-1963) came to live in Paragould, working alongside his aunt and uncle at the mercantile. With the successful realization of the business, the company purchased the existing cotton gin on the south half of Second Street and
changed the name to Alvin Samuel Gin, Inc. The gin remains located there today.

   Family members, along with Alvin Samuel, purchased the Joseph Plantation Company Farm in 1916 and the decision was made to incorporate at that time. In 1939, Mr. Samuel was able to purchase the gin from the S. L. Joseph Mercantile Company.
He retained an active part in the gin until his death in 1963, and his family continues to carry on the tradition and heritage of their ancestor today.

Transcribed from the 1983 Centennial Edition by : PR Massey

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