Old Letters & Stories from My Family 
Submitted by Deborah Brown-Musgrove


Here are 5 letters written to various relatives that lived in Sebastian County during the Reconstruction Era and later. They are good examples of poor white farmers in this area. While they are not the "Johnsons, Seviers, Pikes, or Conways, for example," they are reflective of their times.

First letter is from my great-great-great grandfather David Beatty to my great-great grandfather, James S. Hukill. Letter is transcribed as written; remember, most farmers in Arkansas were not educated at this time. Let me give you some background of individuals you will read about: James S. Hukill-came to Arkansas around 1840 to 1850. Was postmaster at Evansville before moving to Greenwood. He was married three times and had numerous children by his second and third wife. First wife was Caroline West, who gave birth to two sons. She died in Washington County. Family history tells she was killed in an indian attack and buried in Evansville with two other women. This oral history has not been confirmed with data. James then married a woman by the name of Elizabeth who gave birth to a "large" number of children. Two of whom you will hear about in these letters. First Mark M. Hukill, who became a doctor and was a charter member of Greenwood Masonic Lodge, was also postmaster at Greenwood before going to Arkadelphia to practice medicine and the finally to Hot Springs. Mark and brother James served in both the Confederate and later the Union Armies. This was quite common during the Civil War. James owned land in Jenny Lind and later some property just north and west of Jamesfork Baptist Church in or around highway 96.
James married Mary Elizabeth Beatty(my great grandmother) and they had four daughters and a still born son. The daughters were: Minnie Zetta, Oregon, Della, and Omaha.
David Beatty and wife Elizabeth Ross-Beatty came to Arkansas around 1840. They first lived in Crawford County, which part of the land was later in Washington County. During the Civil War, David moved first to Scott County and later moved to California and finally lived in Jenny LInd. After his wife died, David moved to Bloomer where he helped run a mill with is sons. Jasper Beatty is the son of David and Elizabeth. We call him the "trouble maker." Jessee Ross and his wife Sarah came to Arkansas in or around 1840. But when the gold rush came about in California, they left out there and became wealthy merchants in and around San Francisco.

I hope this short synopsis helps readers.

These are but a few of the letters I have.
Deborah Brown-Musgrove
Great great granddaughter of James S. and Mary Hukill

Continue to Letters