Greene County Arkansas

Paragould, Arkansas

Centennial Edition Section 5

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


1912 "Buttermilk Special"

         'wash pan'

   My mom --Bessie Gordon McFall
-- was a small, neat person, but very self-conscious. She took everything
   Momma never felt like she was quite dressed  up  without her  hat when she went to town. In the spring of 1946, she got a new hat. She was proud of it and it really looked nice on her.
   That summer, I had to have an appen-
dectomy. I was in the old Dickson
Memorial Hospital in a ward that had
five beds at that time. Momma rode the bus from Goobertown to spend the day at the hospital with me.
   Mom didn't know anything about
what affect medicine could have on a
person. About the only medicine we had at home was Carter's Little Liver Pills, Castor Oil, Salts, Castoria for small children and chill tonic or Vick's salve.
   In one of the beds, a girl had just had an injection for pain. She got to talking silly. All of a sudden, she sat up in bed, pointing at Mom, and said, "See that women over there? She has a wash pan on her head."
   Everyone laughed and I was so sore, it hurt to laugh, but I couldn't help it. Mom was really put out. She never wore that hat again. She put it in the stove and burned it up.
   We teased her off and on over the
years about her hat, but she never did
see the funny side of it and probably
wouldn't appreciate me telling it on her, even to this day.

                                                      Murlene Dial


Meriwether Hardware
                Photos courtesy: Jack Meriwether



 Lilbourn Meriwether's 1912 model "Buttermilk Special" was the first auto-mobile in Paragould, although there wasn't much "auto" or "mobile" about it.  The barrel churn engine and churn dasher steering gear provided the name.  The wheels were lifted from a cultivator, the seats from a coal oil stove.  Brass cuspidors served as lights and a fireplace guard as the windshield.  Meriwether had assn a picture of an automobile and set out to make his own from materials available at Meriwether Hardware.  In turn, pictures of the Meriwether car appeared in several national magazines including the Literary Digest.


I remember: A taxidermist's dream

   Mr. R. W. Meriwether, father of Bill and Ray and grandfather of Bob and  Jack, ran Meriwether Hardware in the building where Fred's now is.
   In the 1920s, this store carried al-
most everything in the hardware line,
but besides that was adorned with a
wide assortment of wildlife which had been mounted by taxidermists.
   There was an albino squirrel, a
black squirrel, a bobcat, an alligator
gar which had gotten its bill caught in
a net on Big Slough Ditch and drowned. It weighed about 190 pounds, I think, and was several feet long.
These were but a few of the exhibits.
   The Shelby twins and I used to go to the store often. We were maybe 13 or 14 years of age.
Occasionally, we bought BBs or .22
shells and Mr. Meriwether would in-
quire about our hunting. I don't recall
ever bringing home any game;mostly,

   we shot at tin cans and sticks floating
in the creek.
   I recall that he once pointed to all
the wildlife exhibits around and the
told us that there were two things he
didn't have and would be willing to
pay pretty good money for. One thing, he said, was a crow's gizzard. He told us to kill the crow, cut him open and make sure he had a gizzard and then bring him in and Mr. M. would give us $5 for it.
   The other thing he said he needed
was a set of cow's upper teeth. He
asked if we occasionally ran across a
skeleton of a cow and we said we did. He said that if we could verify that the skeleton was that of a cow and we would bring in the upper teeth, he was prepared to pay handsomely.
He figured that no crow would let us
get close enough to shoot it, and be-
sides -- crows don't have gizzards.
Neither do cows have upper teeth.


                                                      Phil Herget

  An impressive demonstration

 In about 1926 or 1927, Bill Moore had a livery stable on Highland Street. The front door was on Highland, about
where Holland's Home Appliance shop
is now.
   The building was a large structure,
probably made of corregated metal. It
had a wide passageway down the middle from the large front opening to the large rear opening, with horse stalls on each side.
   Bill Cannon worked there and one
day as a boy I heart Mr. Cannon and
some of the adults there arguing about
hot to drive a buggy.
   The large rear doors of the stable
closed against a pipe driven into the
ground in the center of the passage-
way. The pipe protruded about five
inches or so above ground level. So
with the doors open, the pipe was a
stob about 1 1/4 inches in diameter,
sticking up about 5 inches in the
center of the rear doorway.
   Finally, to settle the argument, Mr.
Cannon  hitched a  horse to a buggy,
took  his  position  in the  buggy  and
started from the front doorway  toward the rear doorway. He coaxed the horse to a fast trot and ran both the front and the rear wheels of the buggy directly up and over the top of the stob; that is, the wheels literally rolled over the pipe itself.
   It was the most amazing exhibition
of control over a horse and buggy that
I ever saw.
   Just west of Bill Moore's livery sta-
ble, Mun Brannon had a blacksmith
shop. This was in the 1925-27 time
I used to hang around there watching
Mun  shoe  horses,  repair  wagon
wheels and shrink the metal tire onto
the wood or fix links in log chains and
the like.
   Mun had joined a religious group
which was, I think, called the House
of David. I had read that members of
this group did not believe in cutting
their hair, fingernails or beards.
   Sometimes Mun would get to discus-
sing these House of David beliefs while I was hanging around there and I can recall that the arguments he would make to those who questioned him were along this line: The Lord made people with hair, beards and fingernails and, therefore, to cut them off was an expression of displeasure with the Lord's creation.

                                                     Phil Heget




Transcribed by: PR Massey

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