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MARION COUNTY AR
My First Trip to Yellville
And the 1926 Yellville Fair
By: Alice Geneva (Harris) Williams
Mt. Echo Newspaper, Aug 14, 1997
Printed in: Yakima Valley (Wash) News by Frankie Seay
I mentioned in this column in December that I had received a letter from Alice Geneva (Harris) Williams that I wanted to share with everyone later and since this is the time of year for county fairs, I think now is the time to share it. This is in Geneva's own words and, to me, it is so interesting. She writes:
"My dad's family lived in and around Cowan Barrens and Rush. I grew up close to Grandma and Grandpa Jim and Alice Harris. Also we were related to most of the people we knew - by birth or marriage. Grandpa's mother was a Mears before she married Grandpa's father, John F. Harris, so I have a lot of cousins last name Mears. Several of them live in Washington; Troy and Lois Mears family and also some of the Abe Mears family. I remember Betty (Mears) Hall when she was a little girl back in Arkansas. My mother's family lived just south of Yellville, John and Martha McKinney.
I remember the very first time I went to Yellville. I was 7 years old and it was fair time in Yellville. Grandpa Harris hooked up his two mules to the wagon, drove them down the hill into Clabber Creek, left the wagon there overnight to soak up the wheels in water and put the mules back in the barn lot. Next morning he took the mules down to the creek, pulled the wagon back up to the lane between the house and barn, got out his big box of axle grease and put a lot on the wheels.
All this time, Grandma, my mom, Aunt Etta, Aunt Lou and Aunt Vernie were all busy getting clothes all washed and ironed and killing, cleaning and frying chickens, baking pies, etc.
We all got up early that morning to get ready to go to the fair - of course we kids didn't know what the fair was, but my uncle Gill Harris (10 years old), my brothers Johnny, 5, and James, 3, and myself, 7, were all excited about it all. The cows had to be milked, milk taken care of and taken to the spring house and set in the cold spring water.
Grandpa was busy feeding the mules and putting oat straw into the wagon box for us to sit on. He put some corn in the wagon to feed the mules, too. We al got dressed up in our best clothes - one special thing I remember was my little red strap sandals that my grandma had ordered for me from the catalog with her egg money. I loved them. Also, Grandma had a big black full-length skirt that she only wore for special things, with a white middy blouse. I can just see her now, sitting in the spring seat beside Grandpa with her special clothes on and a black hat and hightop shoes. Grandma spread quilts over the oat straw in the wagon bed for the rest of us to sit on.
The women put all the food they had cooked up into washtubs to take with us and also took spring water in big jugs. What a bumpy, fun trip to Yellville. The roads were very rocky. When we got there, all the wagons had a special place to park, close to Town Branch, and Grandpa unhitched the mules and they drank out of the branch. Grandma got all of her good food, they had cooked up and we ate, then we were ready to go see the fair.
What a sight for us kids! Grandpa took all of us on the merry-go-round, then bought us our very first ice cream cone (vanilla-I can still taste it). The boys got soda pop too, pink color. We spent the afternoon looking around, then it was time to drive all the way back home. But before we started out, Grandpa went into this big store and bought cheese and crackers and little wieners (that was also the first cheese and wieners we kids ever saw). It was dark when we finally got back to Grandpa and Grandma's house - a few miles northwest of Rush on the old Jim McCarty place overlooking Clabber Creek. This was in 1926 and this little girl never forgot her first fair or her first trip to Yellville."
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Linda Haas Davenport