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MARION COUNTY AR
The Rush Creek Bugle
Reveille Number Volume 1, Number 1
Page 4, All Columns
10 Sep 1916
Blown Every Once in a While in the Interest of Rush and Ten Other Creeks on Buffalo River
Transcribed by: Linda Haas Davenport
Transcribing old records represents many hours of hard work. Please respect the work of the transcriber. Feel free to use this information in your personal research records. Do not copy the content for any other use or place this content on any webpage/website. If you want to use this information please link to this page.
This is an old yellowed brittle copy of a newspaper from the Mining era of Marion Co. It was sent to me by John Headrick. He tells me that he found it in his father's old papers. Many thanks to John for sharing this with us. I knew that some of the mining towns published newspapers but this is the first copy I've ever seen.
The photos in this newspaper are very dim. I've done the best I can with them.
Page 4 - Column 1, 2, 3 & 4 (spaced around ads)
The Silent One and Sadie Ann
A Short Story Laid on the Creek
By a Friend of Sadie Ann's
Sadie Ann untied her mutilated handkerchief, removed the last slick dime and paid the ferryman whith stoical indifference, stepped from the boat, and wayworn, fatigued and ill, started to plod up the creek road pulling Billy after her.
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Leaves on the bushes and trees that lined the roadway hung lifeless in the glaring, noonday summer sun. Billy was tired, too, and was whimpering with painful little sobs, as his small barefeet sunk into the loose, hot, sand and gravel of the road.
Sadie Ann's gait became slower and slower. She began to falter at every step, and her knees trembled with an unnatural weakness. Her emaciated, careworn face was flushed, and strange vagaries were flittering through her mind. Half consciously her eyes wandered to a big oak tree by the roadside, and catching Billy firmly by the hand, she summoned the last of her strength, staggered into this friendly shade and collapsed.
Aunt Jane, on the way to the spring, heard her sobs first. Pulling her glasses down from her wrinkled forehead, she scanned the roadside carefully and caught sight of the little crumpled pile of black alpaca, and Billy, with his tear-stained face buried deep down into the folds.
"It does seem that the Lord gives us women more than our share of trouble," she muttered as she hurried over to her.
"Tell old Aunt Jane just what the trouble is, Dearie," she consoled.
Sadie Ann's body was burning up and she muttered an unintelligent reply.
Aunt Jane grabbed her buck and hurried to the spring for water. Mrs. Smith was just leaving.
"Looks like the Lord just lets us women shift for ourselves entirely," she said, mopping her brow with her apron, after imparting the news. "Better call the rest of the women, laws knows the men won't do anything, and that poor girl needs attention," and she hurried back to Sadie Ann.
The noon-day shots were fired in the mines on the mountain side above the creek. A dozen mill whistles screeched the noon hour, the creek road became alive with men, and soon a curious crowd surrounded old Aunt June and her patient.
Tom Paxton, fireman at the June Bug, pushed his way into the center of the group. Big Tom Paxton, broad shouldered, big limbed and clean cut, with a broad, sober face that seemed to long to smile, but couldn't. "The Silent One" the denizens of the creek named him. He was reticent and ticiturn. Some said he was nursing a sorrow, others a grude. The women gossips in the camp credited him with having been disappointed in a love affair. He came when the camp was young, and worked incessantly. From six until six, he fired the boilers at the June Bug, on the night shift. From six until twelve he slept, and from one until five he worked a prospect of his own.
As he stepped into the center of the curious group, and caught sight of Sadie Ann's peaked, careworn face, flushed with fever, and little Billy's swollen eyes and woe-begone appearance, something gripped his heart, and squeezed a lump up into his throat.
His bigness, and calm, sober face inspired confidence, and Billy slipped from beside his mother.
"Sa, Mis-mister, you-you don't think my mother's go-going to die, do you?" Billy sobbed in heartbroken grief.
The big one took his hand and patted him on the back.
"Don't cry, son. She's not going to die," he consoled, and the youngster stopped crying.
"What's her name?"
"Sadie Ann Jones. We been chopping cotton over on the Flat. Cotton choppin's over an' we came on over here to work."
Big Tom Paxton swallowed hard three times, then turned savagely to the lingering crowd.
"You've all said you're sorry, haven't you? Sorry isn't going to get this girl medical attention. Sorry isn't going to shelter her. Sorry, just sorry, isn't going to get her into a clean bed and feed and care for the kid, until she gets well or --" He check his words.
"How much are you all sorry? I'm sorry ten dollars wroth," he finished, throwing a ten dollar bill into his hat.
Surprised at Tom's whirlwind of words, and swayed by his earnestness and the urgent necessity, the sorrow was soon expressed substantially.
As the collection was in progress the owner of the June Bug rode up. He took in the situation at a glance.
"One of you men go for Doc. Have him fix a bed at the hospital and send down a stretcher. I'll go to the house and send the madam down. I was a little late on the scene, but I'm in strong on the sorry contribution."
As Tom drove his steel that afternoon in the face of his tunnel, every blow of the hammer rang out the name of Sadie Ann. His thoughts were of Sadie Ann. Not of any physical charms she possessed, but of the tired, vacant expression of her eyes, the lines of sorrow across her brow, her melancholy, pinched, gaunt face, and her thin ghostlike little body, worn to a shadow. He thought of the atmosphere of lonesomeness that hung about her, and sighed, as he stopped, panting from his exertions, and rested.
Another vision arose before him in the flickering light of his miner's lamp, that cast strange, weird shadows in the darkness. He saw Sadie Ann's wan, fever flushed cheeks, rosy with health, and her small, emaciated, worn to a shadow body, strong and agile. He saw springtime in her face. And he saw Billy, eight year old Billy, growing up into manhood, happy, ambitious, a boy to be proud of. Associated with these two in this new role, he saw himself. Deep down in his heart an old sorrow was knawing.
"Dreaming!" he muttered.
As he came out of the tunnel that afternoon he stopped.
"Tunnel," he said audibly, "Tunnel up until now you have been my sorrow killer. I haven't cared much about you except to crawl back in you, and work, and sweat, and tear at the earth. I wish now you was different. You was at the start. You've been like my life and hers, I reckon. Promising at the start but getting weaker and weaker, every foot I've pushed you back. I haven't even named you yet, but I reckon from now on you'll be known as "The Sadie Ann".
He strode down the trail by the hospital, and stepped into the office.
"Doc", he said, hesitating with his hat trembling in his hand - "Doc, that poor girl that was picked up by the roadside, How's she coming along?"
Doc turned and looked over his glasses.
"Typhoid. Physically run down. Just a bare chance."
Tom Paxton's face blanched and his knees trembed.
"The kid, Doc - "
The door opened leading into the ward and the wife of the owner of the June Bug came quietly out.
"Doctor, I was just wondering what we would do with Billy. He will get dreadfully fretful if we keep him the house."
Tom started forward.
"Miss Elsie, I was just going to ask. Tomorrow is Sunday. Let me have him for the day. I - you see, Miss Elsie," he gulped, swallowing hard, "I used to have a wife and kiddie, like him. It was typhoid. I came to the creek to forget. I'm lonesome, Miss Elsie. God knows I'm lonesome, and I'd take such good care of him," he pleaded.
Miss Elsie's breast heaved under her nainsook waist.
"I know the little chap will be perfectly delighted to be with you," she said, with her Adam's apple pinching her windpipe.
The creek gasped with amazed astonishment next morning when Tom Paxton started up the mountain trail, with Billy perched high on his big shoulders, with his little legs wrapped tightly around his neck.
The wonder of it all, Tom Paxton, the silent one, was talking - talking and laughing with a kid.
They went high up on the very crest of the ridge, where God's azure blue met nature's green. All day long Billy's childish prattle filled Tom's ears, as they loitered along, or sat resting. Every child's story he had ever known came drifting into his mind, to be imporated to the boy, listening in rapt silence. Unconsciously he drifted onto his own story, and unburdened his life to the child, who grasped the details and sympathetically consoled him.
Coming back late in the evening they wound around the mountain to the Sadie Ann, and stopped to rest.
A chipmunk jumped up on a rock and blinked at them. The little fellow was bedraggled, its eyes lacked brightness and its usual animated little body life. Billy looked up at Tom with questioning eyes.
"It's a widow, Billy. It's mate was killed by a flying rock from a shot," he explained.
"Maybe that's what's the matter with mother, Mr. Tom. She's a widow," the child lisped.
His heart gave a wild, surging jump. She was single.
That night when he carried Billy back, he pleaded with Doc to let him in, and he did.
Every day at four he'd come and sit for a few minutes by her bedside, breathing hard in sober silence, with Billy his lap.
Three weeks passed. The crisis came. He sat all day on a rock in the shade by the hospital, torn with his emotions. Late that night Doc came out.
"No change yet, but we can hope."
He went to his room and spent a sleepless night. Early next morning he started down the creek. As he passed Miss Elsie's bungalow she called to him form the veranda. She was sober faced. It was to hell him of the passing. His knees shook. His very soul was prostrated. Then he caught her words.
"Her fever is gone. She is conscious but very weak. Doctor says she will get well."
The mountains seemed suddenly to laugh with joy. The sun shone brighter and his brain reeled with delirous happiness. Then he stopped, his mind torn with apprehension.
"Shucks, man, what's eating on you. What right have you, not knowing, to be overcome with happiness. What right have you with nothing, to assume the obligations of a family. Eh, what right"? And he looked at Miss Elsie's bungalow enviously.
As the afternoon wore on, Sadie Ann grew restless. She tried to raise up from the bed and catch a glimpse through the window. Doc looked uneasy.
"What's the matter, Miss Elise, a replase?"
" 'Spect she's looking for Mr. Tom. I am," lisped Billy.
"Tom. Who is Tom?" questioned Sadie Ann in a weak little whisper.
"A mighty good friend of yours. Here he comes now. Shall I let him in?"
She nodded and smiled a weak, questioning little smile, but when he grasped her hand, and gave it a friendly shake and squeeze, and in bashful awkwardness congratulated her on her recovery, somehow she knew.
Two weeks later the convalescent was strong enough to take her first ramble.
"Sadie Ann," said Tom, "Billie is going to stay with Miss Elsie this afternoon, and you and I are going up to see your namesake. The hole in the mountain in which I used to drown my troubles," and they did.
Halfway up the mountain side they heard a round of shots explode.
"Those shots were fired at the Sadie Ann," said Tom, puzzled as he took her arm and helped her on a little faster.
And they were; they were fired at the Sadie Ann.
As they climbed over the dump, a half dozen men were disappearing around the mountain, taking up an air line as they went. The owner of the June Bug, with his back turned, and his hands on the roof of the tunnel entrance, was closely scanning the interior. He turned as they came up, and smiled a sheepish smile. Tom's eyes bored him questioningly.
"You see," he said, "I always had an idea you were paralleling your ore, and just blasting rock, but you never seemed to care. You act like you have something to live for now, so I just ran an air line over here from the June Bug, and put in a round of side shots. If you do not think I was right, just crawl back in the hole and see. You can pay me some time for the labor of my men. You will not have any trouble raising the money. So long," and he disappeared around the mountain.
It was the natural thing to do, of course, and Tom did it, but it didn't come without mental perturbation. Sadie Ann was willing, and twilight caught them still on the dump, each with a sharp pointed stick, drawing bungalow plans in the dirt, absorbed in new born happiness.
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Linda Haas Davenport