MARION COUNTY AR
The Old Dillard Settlement
From The Mountain Echo Yellville, AR
January-July 2001 Issues
By Doretha Dillard Shipman
The Mt. Echo Newspaper runs a column each week by Doretha Dillard Shipman called The Old Dillard Settlement. This column contains snippets of wonderful stories and memories. I have never met Mrs. Shipman but I look forward to her column and it's normally the first thing I read when I receive the Echo. Mrs. Shipman has been kind enough to allow me to share with you some of her stories and memories.
Jan 11, 2001: Top of Page
Some of that hogjowl, which was too scrappy to fry for New Year's dinner, was made into cracklings to be baked into cornbread later. It seemed good to think how once upon a time Mother was so busy in her kitchen, cutting up the pork fat and putting it into those long black tin pans which always went with the old wood stoves.
Mom's stove was an old Home Comfort, sorta gray speckled, as I remember, and, my, what good food would, come off and from within that stove. Sometimes there was more fat than she could render out in the oven, then she would put the rinds and fat in a cooker or iron skillet on top of the stove. If there was still more, there was always that old black wash kettle outside, which made it awfully good to cook in, and besides, all the grease fumes were outside, instead of all in the house.
When working with the meat for hours upon hours, you were ready to open up
the house and get some fresh air. After a rest from your labors of preserving pork it was time to reap your re ward of crackling cornbread, fried tenderloin, liver lights, head cheese, scraples and, as soon as the ham, shoulders, hogjowl and bacon were cured by the salting down and smoking, Mom would bring out a ham and cut into the best parts for a sample, as well as frying sausage to see if it had the right amount of sage.
I was reminded of all this and the times, Leon and I prepared this type of food for our families when Wesley brought me out a sample-well, a little more than just a sample, since I love it so much-of cured smoked ham which be had received from Max "Mousy" Wallace. Max, you did the most excellent job of home curing and smoking that ham that I have seen in many years, and as good as way back when. If you' went into the business of selling this tasty meat, you would become a millionaire without ever going to the TV show, "Who Wants to be al Millionaire?" I even made a dish of "frog-eyed" gravy to eat with biscuits and sorghum. This has furnished me with the taste, smell and looks of many years ago.
Carl Jones and I were talking over some of the times of the hog-killing days the other morning and how saving our parents were of every part of the pork. He was reminded of some year ago when he and Ann were teaching school at Wales, Alaska. The natives had killed a whale and he the privileged to watch and help with the butchering. He said it took them a day to get the ice chunked and cut down into a ramp to pull the whale out of the ocean. The whole community was called on to help pull it up the ice ram to carry out the process o cutting it up. What a job that must have been. Before the butchering began, it was ritual or custom to pour water down the whale's mouth before starting the cutting. I wonder why. It took hours to complete the job of taking care of each and every part. He said nothing was wasted, because he took Ann to see where it had been butchered and all that was left were spots of blood and the ravens were trying to find just a morsel of food to eat.
Ann received a letter from one of her ex-students of Wales the other day and he told her he had killed three polar bears and it made him so happy. His dad had loved to hunt and it seemed he was following in the same footsteps. This brought up an other subject of how those Alaskans completed the job of cleaning bear hides.
I remember when my dad, brother, grandpa and uncles would scrape the hides of their winter catch, preparing them for market, also sheep and goat hides to make a rug and for other uses, but the last process of the natives of Alaska was not used around here-although it could have been this year, with all the ice.
Back to the bear skins... after the larger portion of meat and fats were scraped off, the skins were given to the youngsters to climb the ice-and snow-covered mountains and use for sliding down the mountains. Of course, they sat on the fur side, with the underside worked next to the ice, cleaning the rest of the fat from the hide. How does that sound for a sled ride, kids?
Raymond Lynch and family were here in the settlement over the holiday season. They have their home in Alaska now and I wonder how they take care of their hides. I know they have them, because his wife is very talented at making caps, etc., from the hides. It was a pleasure to see them again. Hurry back.
Jan 25, 2001: Top of Page
In this weeks column Doretha tells stories about her father Pate Dillard. I have added these stories to the Myths & Legends section
Feb 1, 2001: Doretha continues the stories about her father - see Myths & Legends
Feb 8, 2001: Top of Page
I reckon that expression, "well-rounded life," is simply knowing what to do in all situatons. You be the judge about this next situation.
Once upon a time, when Uncle Jim Still lived near Buffalo River, he told two of his young sons, Rufus, 10, and Theodore, who wasn't far from the same age, to go hitch up the mules to the wagon, then go down and get a load of corn. They did. At this time Jim and his family were farming on the river but had their houses on top of the ridge (as was often the custom).
Rufus and his brother did as they were told and to the river they went. All the roads to Buffalo River are steep sand how two little boys can manage this is past my understanding. They had no problem loading the corn. All went well until they started up the steep hill to home.
We all know a mule has a stubborn streak and one of ;these mules showed that streak about halfway up the mountain. They tried all the old-time ways remembered, such as blindfolding, talking pretty straight" to him and using the reins rather roughly, but nothing helped.
Then it entered their mind of the last resort, which they had heard of-build a fire Under him and that would make him stir. They gathered up a few sticks and dry leaves, lit a match to it and that worked. You bet it did. The mule's response was two or three big jumps and the stubborn streak was gone. He and his teammate took off up the hill with the wagon and corn on fire. That was a total loss and Uncle Theodore Still stated, "That was the dumbest thing I ever did."
They did solve one problem. . .the mule moved.
Feb 15, 2001: Top of Page
I heard from a very dear cousin this past week, Geraldine (Dillard) Schellhous. What a pleasure to hear from her. It seems like her great grandson, who is 9 years old, is coming along real well, maybe a chip off the old block. He is interested in ghost stories and haunted houses. Yes, Jerry, I am getting you two or three prepared to send him. Nothing like stories.,
She had seen the Lindsey Woolsey quilt picture in the Echo and before her stroke she had a hobby of collecting old quilts and making new ones. She did such beautiful work-little, little stitches. I am glad you did that, I think I'll keep mainly with the ghosts and story telling.
Once upon a time, Geraldine's father and my father, Pate, were known as the Dillard Brothers in different businesses they shared. They dealt in a sawmill and lumber, as did their dad, Doc, before them and in the year, I believe, 1927, they had the Chevrolet dealership in Yellville. Their ad in the Echo read something like this:
"Service and courtesy is our motto--Dillard Brothers Chevrolet, Nowlin Building, south side of square, Yellville."
This was just above a picture of the new Chevrolet Sport Coupe. Listen to this: "During the past 20 years the American public has purchased 4,883,865 Chevrolet cars. Seventy-two percent of these, 3,511,651, are still in active service," with a few more words, then they stated the prices: "Roadster, $75; Sport Roadster with rumble seat, $195; Coach or Standard Five-Window Coupe, $515; Pharton, $535; Sport Couple (Rumble Seat), $575;Convertible Cabriolet, $615;
Standard Sedan, $635; and Special Sedan, $650."
I guess we can't get one now, since they don't have a heater, air conditioner or seat belts.
I did like rumble seats I remember when Geraldine and I played in one such old- time car at Mom and Dad's. Our game of pretend was, "We are going to California when we grow up" (probably felt grown then) and what all we would do."
Well, Jerry, you made it... I never did.
Mar 8, 2001: Top of Page
This tidbit is from Frankie Seay's column (Feb 26 #320) "I was reading Mary Stonecipher's copy of the Feb 1 Boone County Headlight and in the "Deer" news column by Lynne Woods I found something interesting. She asked if anyone remembered when their grandma used to mix a yellow food coloring tablet with margarine to make it look like butter (it sure didn't taste like butter). I've been there, done that. That was right after WW II and we gladly did lots of things that we never heard of before, but I believe the oddest way of using that coloring tablet that I knew of was a Yellville lady who dissolved the tables in water and used them to color her hair. It worked , too ... colored her hair orange and made her happy, so what more could you ask? You make do with what you have and that's what she had so she used it. Ms. Woods also mentioned frying potatoes in mineral oil. I never had to do that, but in the late 1945 or early '46 we did use beef tallow to fry with and that's something I hope to never have to do again. It wasn't too bad if you ate the potatoes while they were hot, but once they cooled off there was no way you could eat or even smell them. I don't know whether the shortage of lard was everywhere at that time, but it was sometimes impossible to get lard or anything else to fry in except beef tallow where we lived at Mull, south of Yellville, and between hog-killing times we used tallow and I'll never forget the smell and the taste. We never tried mineral oil but that might have been better than tallow. I don't think it could have been worse. Mrs. Woods asked in her column if anyone had to throw a coal oil lamp outside when it caught fire and I remember that happening at our house in Pyatt when I was about 6. It scared me so bad I've never forgot it. One of our cousins, Ernie Wade, was there and he grabbed the lamp and threw it outside and 66 years later I still remember it. Fire was a scary thing then, with no way to put it out once it got a good start. It doesn't take much to start an old lady remembering, does it"?
- Missing April 2001
May 3, 2001: Top of Page
It was nice to be at Freck Cemetery. Perhaps some of you know it as Water Creek or Bums. It is a beautiful, peaceful place, and so great to see some of the folks who come to decorate the graves. It is like all the other Community Decoration Days of today's culture or should I say practice. Some go on Saturday, some Sunday and other days it's any hour of the day. It is all right, but wouldn't it be nice to see each other at this special time?
After class and communion, some were not able to stay for the sermon Bruce Trogdon presented. Bruce, you did such a wonderful job, I would like to hear it all over again. His subject was on "making a difference." What a sermon to preach at this time of our dear one who has gone from among us, Holland Davenport.
I thought of how many ways Holland has made a difference in our lives, in being a friend, cousin, brother, dad, husband and child of God. He made a difference when he taught Bible class, when he taught our young boys to lead singing as he did for so long with us. He made a difference when he served our country during WW II, in his conduct while he was serving. He was highly praised and as a neighbor he made a difference in our lived, because he set a good example and his helpful, cheerful ways were so that it made it a pleasure to be with him.
Berneta, Holly, Monty and families, I am so sorry, more than I can say, but lets be thankful for the differences he has made in our lives for the good.
Holland, we ill never forget you.
As I think back on Friday night at the visitation hours at the funeral home, there was not only Holland, but also Brother Watts, who was in the adjoining room. Both so very dear.
Brother Watts for many years attended church at Freck. He had a smile and greeting which always made you feel good to have seen him.
Once again, I am sorry for all of you, but again, think of the differences he has made in our lives and I feel that knowing Brother Watts and his family has made a difference in your life, Bruce, in becoming the young gospel preacher who brought us the message, "Making a Difference."
We have relatives in the Stone Cemetery, which many of us cannot be at the appointed Decoration Day; we then go at the first opportune time, so this makes me understand just how I miss seeing every one, as was the costume "once upon a time."
Since our attention has been turned to Wars, Death, and Heroes, I would like to quote a story written many years ago in The White River Chronicles by S. C. Turnbo. (This was a real hero action, calling for help in time of need, "Hebrew: 4:1 6," during the Civil War times.)
"Saving Her House Through Tears And Prayer"
A man by the name of Joe Allen lived on Shoal Creek in Taney County, Missouri. His cabin stood on the east bank of the creek near one-fourth mile below Protem.
When the war broke out Allen claimed to be a southern man but refused to enlist in the confederate army. As the war progressed Joe proved to be a bad man and kept the worst of company. Peter Keesee, who lived on Big Creek on what is now the Sam Holett place, was a union man and when the war warmed up to red heat Keesee took his family and sought safety among his friends who lived on Little North Fork.
"A few hours after I was compelled to desert my home on Big Creek," said Mr. Keesee "Joe Allen and his clan come along and finding that we were gone set fire to my dwelling and reduced it to ashes".
I went on and as soon as I had got my family in safe quarters. I lost no time in making preparations to retaliate on the destroyer of my residence. Joe Allen had burned my home and I was determined to burn his, but I asked a few of my intimate friends to assist me at the burning and they promised to aid me. It was war times and who cared for burning a house when the enemy burns yours? My heart was hardened and with those that had promised to help me. We mounted our horses and rode off toward Shoal Creek.
We went at a rapid gait and it did not take us many hours to reach Joe's cabin. Of course, Joe was not there but his wife, whose name was Alwilda, and two or three little children were in the house.
The wife and children were destitute. Their clothes were in tatters and they were nearly without food. It was shameful for a man to turn a mother and her little ragged children out of doors. But I cared nothing for that I was wanting revenge for the loss of my house.
"I informed Mrs. Allen at once what we had come for and as I not desire to deprive her of what few household property she had in the house I ordered her in a peremptory way that she must carry her household effects out of doors. She protested in piteous words not to destroy their only place of shelter. It seemed that I possessed the heart of a savage and refused to listen to tearful entreaties. In reply, I told her to hurry or I would set he house on fire before she carried her things out. With loud sobs and her eyes bathed in tears she began to move out the few bedclothes and scant furniture. She saw that it was useless to plead with a barbarian and went on with the work. We waited in silence until the despairing woman had carried all her effects to a safe distance so that they would escape the flying sparks from the burning hut. We now began to make preparations to set the building on fire for I was anxious to see it go up in flames. "At this moment, the now nearly crazed woman renewed her pleading to me not to wipe out their only shelter. She prayed that I might repent of my wicked design of burning their cabin and that she could not help what Joe had done and begged me and my friends to return back home and leave her house to shelter herself and helpless children.
She looked up toward heaven and I saw her tear stained cheeks, and as the tears were streaming down her face, she implored the good Ruler of heaven and earth to soften our hearts that we might abandon our heartless work and go away without destroying her only place of abode.
She stood and prayed as if her heart was broken. Her little children were standing there with her holding her and crying. It was a heart-rending scene.
A few minutes before this Satan had control of my heart. But as I listened at the poor helpless woman's piteous sobs of grief and heard her devoted prayers and saw her children huddled about her, my wicked thoughts of burning the house began to soften.
The spirit of revenge was leaving me and an impression of pity was taking the place of my stony heart. Her prayers were too much for me and I yielded to the influence of her supplications.
"Turning to my companions I said, "men, we cannot afford to burn this house," and I told the weeping woman that she was at liberty to carry her stuff back into the hut for it was safe as far as we were concerned for we had got out of the notion of putting fire to the building. The nearly distracted woman could hardly believe it until I assured her that is was true.
Then she gladly put away her tears and sorrows and rejoiced that I changed my mind. Though Joe Allen had wronged me and it was my desire and intention to treat him likewise but the tearful prayers of his helpless wife had turned my reckless heart into one of mercy and I thank God to this day that I did not burn that cabin."
Our hearts can be softened.
May 10, 2001: Top of Page
Once upon a time, long before our time, the Indians lived here and had to really knap the tools they worked and hunted with. I try to imagine how it was back then and did it sound like it did at the knap-in held on Water Creek this past weekend, with the clicking of stone striking stone; the birth of flintknapping.
Evidence of this type of existence is still with us today. Lee Davenport once told me how as they plowed the sandy soil on the buffalo, the flintstone arrowheads, we called them, were in their way and if it wasn't something very special and appealing to their eyes, they tossed them out of the fields. They could be sharp to the barefoot while working in the fields. My dad said they would pile them up in the corners of the rail fence. I would even like to have the rail fence, but a lot of women cooked some fine meals with the cookwood made from the rails, so I won't complain. I hoe they had a sharp ax to chop them with.
It is estimated about 400 were at this pioneers knapping campout and folks who came to observe. We must give some of the modern knappers credit for keeping this important historical art alive and growing. Such men are Don Crabtee, J.B. Solberger, Bob Patton, Ron Fuller, Charlie Shewei, John Mondino, Jack Cresson, young Martin Schempp and many others.
Some comments of these young artists:
"I knap to understand what they knew about technology. Writing down the insights builds new tools for archeology."
"It's satisfying to be able to replicate tools that carried mankind through the stone age, especially creating something from the impossible rock."
John Mondino has been knapping these impossible rocks for 30 years, and bob Patton adds another 10 years to his knapping. Forty years is several years to study and do this art.
It was suggested by some of the many campers that Water Creek should sponsor two a year, but the Shipman boy have to do a few other jobs in between, so it is still once a year, although now both sides of the creek will have to be provided for campers, as was the case this year.
One big even of the knappin is the "Ooga Booga," which adults and children enjoy. This is a serious even and colorful, with the big campfire and drums rolling. It is only for members and those who are being initiated into the Ooga Booga. I am an official member now and I cannot say another word.
Thanks to all who participated in this celebration of the remembering the Indians who once kept this wonderful Ozarks territory alive.
May 17, 2001: Top of Page
What a wonderful time I had with some of my kin over Sunday evening; spent the night and Monday with Ruby and Errnestine "Tina" (Dillard) in Morriltom. Can you imagine the things we talked about of once upon a time? Many years ago their parents and mine were the very best of friends and relation. Our dad's Pate and Clarence, were brothers and our mothers, Cora (Davenport) Dillard and Lizzie (Williams) Dillard, were cousins, but more like sisters as they grew up around Maumee and Mull.
We had a delicious breakfast together. Ruby made the most delicious buttermilk biscuits. I had to keep hold of them at all times to keep them from floating away because they were so light.
Once upon a time when a group of young folks, Ruby, George Pyle, Eltis Callahan, their friend Jim Methvin, "Janie" Ruby and Tina's sister, who doesn't want to be called by her name, Walsie, so I won't call her that, and her boyfriend, who also became these girls' husband, were surprised to get to our home and find their hands were black after entering the picket fence gate. When thy got cleaned, somewhere else their hands would appear black. My dad had put the black in may places, which provided the poor teenagers an entirely new experience on a date.
That was an enjoyable time, but Tina continued the talk, saying, " woke up each morning wondering what Uncle Pate would do to me today."
Once upon a time she said Uncle Pate went to the pigpen and gathered a bunch of lice off the pigs. He slipped around and put them on her head and when her boyfriend, Eltis, came to see her, Uncle Pate told him to look on her head and tell her he saw something crawling there. How embarrassed she was, and what a joke to play on a little niece. I am sure she didn't think it was a funny joke at the time, but it is now. I didn't ask how she got them out.
May 24, 2001: Top of Page
Thinking of change, I was reading about some of our Marion County people who came here in the very early times. In The White River Chronicles of S.C. Turnbo, Man and Wildlife on the Ozarks Frontier, Turnbo wrote about the Coker family who first settled in northwest Arkansas.
Buck Coker fathered several children. One son was named "River Bill," who was married to Winnie Yocum. Both names are still prevalent today, especially in Lead Hill.
Another son, William named one of his sons "Yellville Bill." He was a noted fiddler and a Confederate soldier and first merchant of Lead Hill.
Another Fiddler of the Coker family, a son of Joe Coker, was Daniel.
Once upon a time, Brice Milum, a resident of Yellville during the Civil War, told Mr. Turnbo a Story. Quote: "I well remember being at Yellville one day in the month of July, 1961, when a call was made for volunteers to join the Confederate Army. A company of men raised in Marion County and the southern par of Taney County, MO., was present. Captain Mitchell marched his company back and forth through the streets of the music of two violins by the hands of Dan Coker and Yellville Bill Coker, who were members of the company. As the soldiers marched along with colors flying at the head of the column, both officers and men extended invitations to the men present to enlist in their ranks. A number of those gallant young men responded to the call of their friends and fell into line to shed their blood for the Sunny South."
Be it a trumpet or violin, music has an influence on us. It makes a difference.
May 31, 2001: Top of Page
I was looking over some of the once-upon-a-time adventures of some of my relation and I ran across something which seems rather odd, considering nowadays with all our youngsters dating. Our forefathers seemed to have a very different outlook on the dating custom. Of course, they had "fellers," girlfriends or sweethearts, as they were called, but this one I want to tell you about has an unusual approach to it and I wonder exactly how this could be.
Once upon a time when my Uncle Arthur was a young boy, the boys would saddle up their horses and take off to, shall I say, parts unknown to their parents. Evidently, Uncle Arthur made it to Searcy County one time and saw a good-looking girl he wanted to call his sweetheart, or perhaps he met her wile working on the railroad in Search County. He was quite a fine -- rather tall and his build was that of a strong, healthy and very muscular young man.
Laura Bell Baker was that beautiful girl who was born and raised near Marshall in Searcy County. Her parents were very strict religious people and Laura wasn't allowed to wear makeup. She wanted to wear it, so she would get red paper and put it on her lips and cheeks to look like she had on lipstick and rouge. She, like other girls, I think wanted to "catch" a feller and wanted to look attractive all painted up.
Laura never dated Arthur before they were married. They met and talked and wrote each other letters, which they left under a rock near a spring where the Bakers got their water. Sometimes they would use a tree that had a hole in it for their mailbox. I sure would like to have read some of those letters to see how he proposed to her.
They were married July 30, 1903. She had never met Arthur's parents, Doc and Nancy Dillard, until the day they were married.
Do you supposed she "prettied' herself up with color for her lips and cheeks from red crepe paper on that noted July day?
June 7, 2001: Top of Page
Once upon a time, after church, my family went home with the Swaynes for dinner (we used to do things like that, you know) and what a wonderful pot of noodles Mrs. Swayne prepared. They were made with several eggs, not much water, flour, salt and I think a small amount of baking powder. She made a stiff dough, rolled it thin, cut and let it dry for a while, then dropped it in a boiling broth and chicken. She then put the lid on the pot and pushed the pot to the back of the wood cook stove to allow the noodles to cook slowly for about 14 or 15 minutes. My, how good t hey were! Then there was a jar of homemade watermelon preserves to finish a delicious meal off.
June 14, 2001: Top of Page
Frankie Sue, Washington is not the only place with delicious cherries. I had the privilege of picking some along with my daughter, Vicki Cooper, who has two or three trees in her yard. I have enjoyed fresh cherry cobbler like I always looked forward to having at Freck Decoration, and fresh cherry jelly.
Willodean Barnes said she sure didn't like to pick them when she and her family went to Washington one year, and picking apples was just as bad. Joe said once upon a time while they were picking, their girls were with them and pretty small. Justine, one of their girls got real sick one night after a long day under the cherry trees. Joe said they picked in good-sized buckets. He asked Justine, "How many cherries did you eat today?" Her reply, "Not over a bucketfull." She got all right. Remember how we used to tie bucket lids up in the trees and a rubber hose to try to keep the birds from getting them? It seemed the birds always got their share, although when I was a little girl at cherry time I spent a lot of time sitting in the tree eating them, maybe just half a bucket at a time, but hte birds and I ran a close race in those days.
June 21, 2001: Top of Page
June 28, 2001: Top of Page
As I grew up, I don't think there were many people who hadn't made an appearance at Doc and Nancy's home on Hwy. 14 for a meal or to spend the night.
Their home was a working place, but Grandpa and Grandma always had the time and food for anyone and everyone. It is no wonder the poem was read at Doc's funeral, "The House by the Side of the Road," by Sam Walter Foss. It is a great poem and one of the verses which seems to fit real well is: "Let me live in a house by the side of the road, where the race of men go by--The men who are good and the men who are bad, as good or bad as I. I would not sit in a scorner's seat, nor hurl the critic's ban--Let me live in a house by the side of the road, and be a friend to man."
Well, one of his nephews loved company and the family had music a lot at night, but once upon a time some folks came over to Uncle Guy Dillard's and Oscar, one of the sons, began to get tired, so he had such a gentle way of informing their guests it was time for them to go home, so he said, in his own manner, "We better go to bed, these folks may be wanting to home"
There is a way for everything, I reckon.
Since camping out seems to be the thing, I got to thinking about once upon a time my cousin, Bob Collins, whose grandmother Davenport were sisters, told about their camping out days.
Once a year the whole family planned a week's camping trip. The women would start baking cakes, pies and bread, etc., while the men loaded clothes, boxes and groceries, fishing gear and lanterns. Down the country road the wagonload of things and family went.
He said the women would make big biscuits once a day for the morning meal. They never asked "How many eggs do you want?", they fried large platters of them right along with the big batches of ham, potatoes and, no doubt, gravy. A big pot of red beans with plenty of salt smoke-house pork was cooked in a bib iron pot with fish, if and when they were caught. The fishing was done mainly at night and swimming took place in the day.
The young boys' job was to feed and carry water (in cedar buckets) to the horses. For their drinking water, the buckets were wrapped in gunnysacks to keep it cool. The wood they got close by.
This was camping in the early "30s. The children had no bathing suits, so the boys were at one place and the girls at another. I thought to myself, girls are not much better off now. I reckon the manufacturers are running tout of material to make swimsuits. It is still almost skinny-dipping.
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Linda Haas Davenport