Believe these articles were written around 1980 and appeared in the Greenwood Democrat, Jenny Lind News section.
They list many of the people who lived in that area during the 20's, up to the time of the second world war.
"We received a much needed rain Friday and now enjoying nice cool crisp weather. These are truly beautiful days, the trees are turning gorgeious colors of red, and gold, and fall gardens are ready for harvest, those that survived the drought that is. The following article was sent to me from Mary Cirar and very interesting. Do hope you enjoy it.
A Little History From An Old Timer
and Mr. Vodishek said to his wife, "You and I will walk it." Mrs. Vodishek said, "Don't be funny, do you know which direction to start walking to Jenny Lind?" Our mother was on the look out for our father. Every time the door would open,and once when the door did open mother said "We're saved, here's my husband." Once again our mother and father were united with their sons and it was a happy moment. With a family of five and more children being born, mother would wash clothes and bake bread for the bachelors who paid her and this helped out father's pay.
My name is Mary (Grilc) Cirar of Chicago, Illinois, and I would like to write a little history of my childhood and the Grilc family.|
I was the eighth child of my late parents, Louis and Ernestine Grilc. My father left his hometown Slovenia, Yogoslavia in 1904 to come to America to seek work. He landed in Jenny Lind, Ark., and got himself a job in the coal mines (as he was a coal miner) batched with a friend to save money, so he could build a house for his family. In 1905, he sent for his wife and three sons, Anton, Louis Jr., and Frank, ages 1, 2, and 3. Our mother always told us how lucky she was at the depot in Yugoslavia. A lady and man were in line in front of her and had overheard them tell the ticket agent that they wanted to buy a ticket to America, so she quickly asked them what state in America they were going, and the replied Jenny Lind, Ark.
Our mother said I am too, so they became friends and they helped our mother with the children. Mother was so grateful she didn't have to travel by boat alone. The friends were the late Frank Sr. and Rosie Vodishek. Those days they traveled by horses and wgons, and when they arrived in Fort Smith, they were waiting for our father to arrive, and at the depot a Catholic priest was speaking German to a friend. (Our mother could speak a little German) Mr. Vodishek said to mother to ask him how many miles to Jenny Lind, then he replied 12 miles,
As soon as Anton, Louis Jr., and Frank got large enough, they helped mother with chores around the house and watched the smaller children. The family got larger, there were eleven of us. As soon as Anton, Louis Jr., and Frank reached the age of sixteen, they went to work at the coal mines and helped mother and father raise their children.
Sadness did come to the family when four of the children died young from different illnesses, which left the following children, Anton, Louis Jr., Frank, Ernestine (named after mother,) Mary, Albin (Beanie), and Justina (Usty). We did have some extra land that father and my brothers worked to have gardens. We had our cows, pigs and chickens and those were the good old days when we had smoked and fresh sausage, blood sausage, and all you could make out of your hogs. Our family was large, although we didn't live in style and none of us were hungry even during the depression, mother knew how to make a meal even if there wasn't some meat at each meal.
Our school days we spent going to school down camp, (It's now called New Jnny Lind I understand), a large two story building with grades from 1 to 12. The school was where the late Joe Erker later had a shoe repair shop. We all walked and on one was bused, as well as I can remember. My first grade teacher was a Mrs. Boothie Johnson, and our principal a Mr. Redwine. I can remember Mrs. Estelle Manuel, she had two children, a boy, Carl and a girl, Maxine, and on out way to school we would stop by her home and go to school together. Estella Manual, now Mrs. Szegedin, lives in Greenwood, Ark.
As this community of coal mines, Camp One called 16, where we lived was called 17, and there was camp 18. Thre was one No. 3 and No. 5, near surrounding 17 and one mine No. 20 up near 18. Down 16 near camp lived the following people: Alvo Combs, Evans, LeRoys, Gamles, Matzeks, Johnsons, McGehees, Whittingslows, Nelchs, Webbs, Woodards, Smiths, Mumeys, Belues, Neighbors, Littles, Hoods, Drofels, Prices, Alverson, and Brooms.
Around 17 and on highway 17 were, The Grilc family, Logis, Albin Klinc, Frank Klinc, Vozels, Bobnics, Kolenc, Vodishek's, Ocepek's, Sadars, Adams, Mocivnik's, Sr., and Jr. Watson's, Henson's Mathews, Wallace, Fondern's, Erzens, Pike, Dollars, Walters, Cox, Decroos, Bokals, Frank Moschner, Matt Moschner, Krishers and Heynens. At 18 were, the Kosmatins, Stermetz, kerhlikars, Mohars, Capps, leJong's, Powell's, Restine's, Matuell, Teropsics, Luna's, Jeseneks, Mizel's, Pokey's Raunikars, Lausches, Childres, Jones and Mintons. At Old Jenny Lind were, the Fayette, Bradleys, (daughter mary Jo Bradley King, remembers me with phone calls and letters), Phillips, another Bradley down on the highway where later John and Mable Mumey lived, Dewberrys, Marsdens, Blaylock's, Winters, Davis, Nolen's, Clark's, (Willie and Wells), Demeter's, Bailey's, Decker's, (there were two families of Decker's) nearby the Nance's, Gibbs, Clay's, E.M. Clark, Hall's, Barber, Been, Longs, Rosses, Powers, Reanos, and Simons. (Marjorie Simon Smith writes the Jenny Lind news I love to read).
Mary's article will continue next week. Be sure and read it, I find it most interesting.
(Last Week's News)
The remaining part of Mary (Grilc) Cirar's "History From An Old Timer" is as follows:
Mines 17 and 18 had large ponds, for use of water needs; we called them our swimming pools, we kids had lots of fun swimming and fishing in these ponds. Many people were baptized from the Baptist and Methodist Churches in these ponds and also had nice fish in them until some men started seining with long nets to get the fish, some person got angry about this and planted water lillies in both ponds, which was the end of swimming and fishing.
Down camp or New Jenny Lind, had a few stores. One of the oldest stores was the Company Store, owned by the Western Coal Mining Co., had an office for the Coal Company and also a post office. Later Alvo and Ray Combs built a store near the post office. Ray left and opened a store at the foot of Rye Hill. Mrs. Allen had a large home, like a hotel with a little cafe, it had a doctor's office, I remember Dr. Means. Then came along Dr. Scott, and as I mentioned Joe Erker had a shoe shop in the old school house. Wells and Willie Clark had a store in Old Jenny Lind, closed it and took over the Company Store. Marion and Alice LeRoy) Mathews had a little store up by Highway 71 where the railroad was to go to mines No. 3 and 5 and to mines 18 and 20. They later sold and reopened one in Old Jenny Lind. Bill Wallace took the former store over on the highway, and Dr. Scott moved to Old Jenny Lind.
In the late 20's they built a large 3 room school (wood) and it had classes from the 1st to 9th grade, and our teachers off and on were, Mr. James Winters, Miss Ann Basinger, Mr. J.H. Dunn, Miss Carma Warfield, Miss Margaret Nance, Miss Edith Weir, Miss Agnes Minton. Then they decided to build a brick schoolhouse which they did, and closed the one down camp and at 18. Grades 1 to 8, and 9 and 12 grade pupils were bused to Greenwood High School, now I think all children go by Greenwood. The only teachers that I had that are still living whom I recall are Mrs. Estella Szegedin, and living in Greenwood (I read your weekly column Mrs. Szegedin) and Mrs. Edith (Weir) Tarpley who lives in Fort Smith.
We also had a meat market or butcher shop owned by Mr. and Mrs. Alphonse Heynen who had two sons, Henry and Martin. Mrs. Heynen and Henry helped mr. Heynen. Henry would make deliveries and he went as far as Bonanza, and when Martin grew up he also helped. Henry lives in Oklahoma the last I heard, and Martin, married to Pauline Alverson now lives in California.
Our Slovene people were all a happy family, had our wweekly parties. My brother-in-law John Mocivnik Jr. and Anton Stermetz Sr. would play their accordions for our dancing (John and our sister Ernestine got married April 23, 1926). But it all ended when sadness started and on May 21, 1927 our oldest brother Anton, age 26 was injured in Mine No. 5 and the following day he died.
On February 28, 1928, another tragedy, our close friends got killed in Mine No. 3, John Kosmatin, his son-in-law Joseph Sadar, Valentine Vervack, a Mr. Brown, a few others, their names at this time I can't recall. These friends are all resting in the Douglas Cemetery, the Grilc family in Mt. Calvary in Fort Smith.
Others before these loved ones, were a young boy of 16 killed in the mines, Leopold Kolenc, a Rudolph Pokey, and Frank Vodishek Jr., now resting at Mt. Calvery Cemetery. Another tragedy, our newspaper boy, a good swimmer, a young boy went fly fishing in the dam between Jenny Lind and Greenwood, got cramps and couldn't help himself and drowned. This fine boy was the son of Marion and Alice Mathews and a brother to Danny. He was our dear friend Kenneth Mathews and he's at rest in Old Jenny Lind Cemetery. This all happened in the early 20s and 30s, Kenneth in 1940.
In August 1939 I came to Chicago with my cousin Joseph (Grilc) Omerzo and his mother. It was my first trip out of Jenny Lind for a visit, and it was a nice vacation. I met a lot of Jenny Lind people that had moved up here. I came back to Chicago in 1940 and went to work and met my beloved husband Joseph Cirar. November 22, 1941 was my happy day, as we got married at St. Aloysius Church and had a happy married life. He was a devoted husband. He loved my family and always said that when I retire we will move back to Jenny Lind and be with your family. But great tragedy again came to the Grilc family. Our three brothers, Louis Jr., Frank and Albin (Beanie) got killed in a mine explopsion in an Excelsiour Coal Mine on February 28th, 1948. Such a tragedy was hard to take. In 1951 our father Louis Sr. died and our mother Ernestine and Justina then moved to Chicago to live in an apartment of our sister Ernestine and John Mocivnik. Ernestine and John had four children, Ernestine III, John Jr. II, Georgia Marie, and Frank. Ernestine III married Adolph Svigel and they have a daughter Donna. John Jr. II married Virginia Walenski and have a daughter Patti. Georgia married Raymond Czajkowski and they have four boys, David, Stephen, Mark and Thomas. Frank married Jerrilyn Vodicka and have a daughter Hope and son Kenneth. Ernestine and Georgia live across the street from one another in Berwyn, Illinois, and John, Frank and family live in Rogers, Ark. and own Kedzie Inn Transmissions Garage.
Justina, (Usty) our sister got married in 1956 to Edward Dabrowski and they have a son Edward Jr. and daughter Justina. He works for Channel 5 and she works at law offices down town.
Sadness started again as our mother Ernestine Grilc died in 1961. Our Georgia Marie died in 1967 and left those four boys at the age of 11 months to 6 years old. Now grown, three are in college and the youngest in high school. I had so many sad days in my life and my worse was March 16, 1978, when I had to give up my beloved husband Joseph Cirar when he died on the operating table of open heart surgery.
Again in June 1980, our sister Ernestine Mocivnik and her husband, John Mocivnik, our brother-in-law died in September of 1980, just a short three months apart. In November of 1980 John's sister Annie Klinc, who lived in springfield, Illinois, died.
There were 11 children in the Grilc family and Justine (Usty) and I are left up to date................
I almost forgot to write about my barber, well he was everybody's barber, Barber Been, and he had a barber shop in the old town (now called Old Jenny Lind) next to E.M. Clark's garage. I still talk about how I liked the hair cut I got from him.
I haven't been back since Mary Ann (Evans) and husband Harold Gamble bought Alvo Combs' store and they have the store and Antique Merchandise. I have a few antiques that she had given me from her store before they bought Alvo's store. I wish them good health and good luck in their new place and I hope to see it one of these days -
Mary (Grilc) Cirar."