Miles & Ida Jennings Suggs

Submitted by Wendy Maxey

Suggs Family

On December 24, 1896, Miles and Ida Belle (Jennings) Suggs were married at Choctaw, Van Buren County, Arkansas.  To this union eight (8) children were born:


  1. Verlina Valentine

  2. Charles McKinley

  3. Samuel Lee

  4. Owen

  5. Mary Ruth

  6. Mila May

  7. Audry Pauline

  8. Infant


About the turn of the century, Miles and Ida Belle (Jennings) made an application for and secured a homestead of 160 acres of land on Bald Mountain, in Van Buren County, Arkansas.  Their children grew up on this mountain, walking two and one half or three miles to school.  Miles cleared the land; planted crops, orchards, and vineyards.


There was always fruit for family use and to sell.  Ida and the smaller children dried apples and peaches and canned fruit in summer months for family consumption, and to sell.  Miles and the older sons, and often help from all the family, made a crop each year.  They grew corn and got in hay to feed the teams of mules and the cattle.  He always had a sorghum can patch to make syrup or molasses for table use.  He also kept bees to make honey for his family.  A large garden and truck patch were grown, providing fresh, nice vegetables for the family each year.


The homestead was a very beautiful place with an elevation that gave a distant view in different directions, and virgin timber covered all of it.  As the land was cleared for farming, Miles made railroad ties and hauled them some twenty miles to Shirley, Arkansas to the nearest railroad to sell.  The ties were hewn out with a broad-ax.  The road to Shirley was very rough; the Red River was to cross, which made it a dangerous trip after a big rain.  He made oak rails to fence his fields and orchards from timber that grew on their land; the trees being cut down with a cross-cut saw.


All the young men, with families, who were beginning to carve out homes in these rough Arkansas hills, worked together at building homes and barns, clearing and fencing fields, and cutting trees into wood for the winter fuel supplies.  In general, they had a good simple life together, always helping their neighbors and friends.


Following is a short history of Miles and Ida Belle’s family:


In 1923, a son was born who died in infancy.  Audry Pauline lived to be nine years old and was a very talented child in music; she could play any tune she heard sung on the family piano, never having had piano lessons.  May also played the piano with the help of special piano lessons; and was the only child in the family to attend college.  She earned her B.A Degree in Harding Class 1938.  Both of May’s daughters have college degrees also.  Jeannie has a B.S. at Harding and Anna has a B.A. at Harding and a Masters in Education at Arkansas University, Conway, Arkansas.  May was married to Fay Ramsey.  Mary Ruth married William (Bill) Harris, and they were parents of three children; one, the oldest died at age two.  The others have wonderful families.  Bill and Mary took care of the aging parents to the end of their lives.  Owen never married.  After his father died, he helped care for his mother, who was by then seeing the “Sun Down Years” of her life.  Samuel married Edna Maxwell.  Sam and Edna were parents of four children.  They moved to Hobbs, New Mexico in the middle 1940’s, in hopes that the climate there would be better for Edna’s health.  Sam and their sons found employment there and they lived the remainder of their lives there.  Sam and Edna are buried in Hobbs Cemetery.  Charles married Eula Lea Holley and were parents of six children.  Their oldest son, Charles Farrell was killed on Guam on March 14, 1950 during the Korean War.  In the early 1940’s they moved to Richmond, California later to move on to Exeter, Tulare County, California, where Charles past away in 1963.  Verlenia married Oliver O’Dell.  They were parents of five girls.  They were farmers in the Choctaw area for years.  In the late 1940’s they moved to Van Buren, Missouri.  Miles was the only son of Charles Lee and Nancy (Fisher) Suggs, who came to Arkansas from southwest Missouri before his birth.  There were three sisters; Lucy, Betty and Dovie.  His sister Lucy married George Arnold.  They lived to be old, and were parents of three children.  Betty married Linn Kidd and had six children.  His youngest sister, Dovie, married George W. Fisher (her first cousin) and were parents of six children also.  Miles and Ida Belle lived all their lives in Van Buren County, Arkansas.  Both lived to be Eighty years, less one.  They, along with three children are buried at Huie Cemetery, four miles south of Clinton, Arkansas.  His father and mother, Charles and Nancy are buried there as well.  Two of Miles’ sisters, their husband and every child of both were buried at Huie Cemetery.


This is a brief history of my father and mother dating back to the turn of the century.  Many things have been left unsaid for lack of words.


(Written by:  Mary R. (Suggs) Harris, daughter of Miles and Ida Belle (Jennings) Suggs.

     (September, 1978)