Greene County Arkansas

Paragould, Arkansas

Centennial Edition Section 5


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


The family homestead of W. R. Cunningham
                                                                                                                Photo courtesy: W. R. Cunningham


I remember:
    Traveling to Texas
       by wagon with a family of 10


   My father's farm was located just about in the middle of the Unity neighborhood. In the spring of 1899, my father sold the farm to Mr. Sam McHaney, a well-known investor in those days. The purchase price was $325.
   My dad must have had the Texas fever, for it was Texas or Bust. So one morning in early May, 1899, the family - 10 of us - loaded into our two wagons, called the dog and headed for the Paine farm near DeLeon, Texas.
  I was only 3 1/2 years old when we travelled to Texas by wagon, but I remember many incidents along the way. One morning, my mother threatened to throw me into the river for wetting my bed. I peeped over the wagon board and, sure enough, the wagon was travelling alongside a small river.
   There is an old saying, "Bitter as well as the sweet come to us as we travel along life's pathway," and I believe it, for death visited the family and claimed my little brother, who died with malarial fever in Paris, Texas. He was buried there.
   My father went to Texas with the intention of buying a farm and settling there, but the climate didn't suit him.

   He told my mother crops would be too uncertain there and that we were going back to Arkansas. And go, we did. We arrived at Wes Stimson's home late one evening in early September.We arrived at Wes Stimson's home late one evening in early September.
   Now I must tell you of a thing that happened to my dad and Wes Stimson. One day back in the late '80s, the two went hunting in Locust Creek bottom lands. While hunting, they suddenly came in contact with a wild sow with a litter of pigs.
   Well, action began instantly. The sow came at them with her big mouth open, ready to battle. Wes Stimson threw his gun down and skinned up a sapling, but my dad stood his ground with his gun poked forward, which the sow grabbed, chewing on it. Surely my dad was under providential care, for the old sow quit wrestling with the gun muzzle and went chasing off after her pigs.
   Many things have happened to the family since then. In the course of time, Father and Mother died, fulfilling their mission on earth. And one-by-one, others of the family have passed away so that I, alone, of the J. E. Cunningham family, remain - just waiting for the summon to come up hither. So death is sure and one generation follows another.

                                               W.R. Cunningham

  The Commercial Hotel at 215 Main. Annie Edrington is the young girl in plaid in front of her father, John Nelson

                                                                                         Photo courtesy: Annie Edrington

   Annie Nelson Edrington came to Paragould in 1908, when she was 8 years old. Her parents,  Mr. and Mrs. John C. Nelson, bought the old Commercial Hotel, which was located at 215 E. Main St., where the Foremost Dairy parking lot is now. Her memories of those early days in Paragould are related here:
   The Commercial Hotel was a two story frame building, facing south. Annie says her parents added eight more rooms to the building soon after they acquired it and replaced the wooden steps in front with concrete steps. They also added a large porch across the back which was quite high off the ground. It was here, under the porch, that Annie made her "play house."
   "The porch was high enough for me to stand under it," she said, "and I hung gunny sacks all around the sides."
   Most of the sidewalks at that time were made of wooden planks, which would buckle in the summer heat. One had to be careful not to stumble over the ends of the warped planks. Annie recalls stumbling over these boards when her mother sent her to buy something at Boykins Grocery nearby.
   Annie still remembers the ice wagon coming by each day to bring ice for the 100-pound ice chest in the kitchen.
  "If it was hot and Mamma ran out of ice, I took my red wagon and went to the ice house over on Court Street to get another block of ice,:" she said. All the children on the block used to follow the horse-drawn ice wagon along the street as ice was delivered to the various homes. The children picked up the chinks of ice that flew from the ice pick as the ice man split the big blocks of ice into smaller blocks to fit his customers' ice boxes.
   There was a big steam laundry nearby where many people left their linens and clothes to be washed and ironed. All ironing was done by hand. But, Annie said, "Mamma did her own laundry by hand in a wash tub and a rub board. There were always clothes hanging on the line to dry."
  The Fletcher family lived next door to the hotel. Mr. Fletcher had a home-made candy and ice cream shop in the back. Across the street lived Mr. Casper, who ran the bakery downtown.
  The Nelsons later sold the hotel to Mrs. Cole and the name was changed to Cole's Hotel. But that's another story

                                     Vivian A. Davis
   Going on camp hunts and making

   The Beech Grove Community got its name from a group of settlers who came to live in a grove of beech trees.
   I was born in 1924 near the Friar cemetery in a log house. The house was torn down and replaced with a wooden structure in 1930. The house burned in 1975. A huge spring on our property is still there. It provided water for two families for house use and four families for washing clothes weekly.
   Through the New Deal program, the R. E. A. brought electricity to our community in 1938. Telephone service came in 1958.
   We raised a vegetable garden, an orchard of fruit and produced nearly everything we ate. We also raised peanuts, pumpkins, sweet and Irish potatoes and picked up and shelled hickory nuts and black walnuts.
  Holidays were always special. On the Fourth of July, the men would all gather at the Nazarene Church Tabernacle and wait for the ice man to come. Sometimes it would be after midnight. The ice was used to make ice cream and cool the soda and lemonade.
   Christmas was a fun time for all. Sometimes we would not get any toys, only our stockings full of fruits and nuts. In better years, my sister and I would get a doll and set of dishes. My brothers would get toy trucks. I remember well when my brother got a beautiful red wagon. We used it to coast down the hill but always managed to hit a tree or land in the water of the creek. The wagon was used also for carrying wood for the cook stove and heating wood.

ic e cream on the Fourth of July

   I remember Haud Cooper made all the caskets for the dead. They were made of pine lumber and lined with satin. Dead people were laid out in the home and they were carried to the cemetery in a wagon drawn by a team of mules.
   Revival meetings were held for eight weeks each summer in our community. We have four churches and each church had two weeks of services, two times a day - 10 a..m. and 7 p.m. Every man in the community hitched up the team to the wagon and took his family and neighbors to nearly every night of the revivals.
   A lot of young couples would walk to church and they would stop by houses on the way and get a drink at their neigh-bor's well. A water bucket and dipper were always left at the well for those passing by. After each revival, a baptising would be held in the creek.
   Each family had its own cows for its milk and butter supply. The milk and butter was either hung in the well to stay cool or placed in a well milk-house where the spring water flowed through to keep it cool.
    People  only  went  shopping  on Saturday. They would carry their cream, eggs and any surplus chickens they had for sale. The merchant often had a peddler's route. The peddler had a well-equipped  truck  with  all  kinds  of merchandise that he peddled on a route two or three days a week.
   I remember well when bread was 10 cents per loaf or three for cents. Light bread was a special food that was only served on Sunday.

                                                      Mayo Stallcup



  Raising our family
                  in a haunted house

    My husband and I raised our family
living in the haunted house that was
built by Mr. Irvin Horne near Beech
   We lived there for 30 years, but as a
child, I remember when it was being
built. Never dreamed that I would
spend 30 years in the same house.
   Believe me, the front door was a big
problem. The carpenter who built the
house said when he finished it, the
front door would never stay shut. And
believe you me, it never did.

   My husband nailed a big piece of 1-by-4 on the facing for a button, but it always managed to come open. You could bet on the door being open the next morning after it had been shut the night before.
   The late Bob Smith lived there when the house was being built. He was an honest man. He told me he would take the door down and burn it, as the carpenter had told him it would never stay shut. He was getting ready to move. The carpenter confessed he was a magician, but he was leaving the door for Mr. Smith to remember
him by.

                                          Cloro Shaver


First Day of School


Transcribed by: PR Massey

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