Oran Vaughan is shown at Pioneer Village, which he founded, with (from left) his wife, April Kelly and Ellen Key.
he 110th anniversary of the purchase of 500
acres of land in White County was celebrated on Sunday, November 7, by
descendents of Mr. and Mrs. Elijah Bailey, the land having been owned and
cultivated continuously by the same family.
The Baileys with their five children came from Tennessee in 1820 and settled in White County, three miles from where Pangburn is now located. On November 6, 1838, Elijah Bailey received a deed for this land for payment of unpaid taxes of $4.20.
About 40 persons, the majority descendents of Elijah Bailey and his wife, met at Little Red school, which is in the vicinity of the land, and where all except the youngest generations have attended school. At Little Red, once a thriving trading point with a large cotton gin, post office and several stores, only the school building remains, and it now is used only for church services, the school having been consolidated with the Pangburn school two years ago. The building, erected about 1885, was the community center for many years and was used for school, church, Sunday school and various community gatherings, oyster suppers, strawberry suppers, barbecues, etc.
Until recently a second story housed the Masonic Hall where dances frequently were held. The “fiddlers” were in the middle of the long hall, with a “set” of young people frolicking through the intricacies of a quadrille at each end of the building to the lively tunes of “Turkey in the Straw,” “Arkansas Traveler,” and “Swing That Pretty Girl,” and the call of “Do se do,” “Swing your partners,” and “Ladies to the center, gentlemen to the wall, take a chaw tobacco and balance all.” Chaperoned by a few couples of the older people (who no doubt took an occasional fling at “Swing Corners”), the dancers did not go home until the break of dawn.
When the pioneering Bailey and his brother Abner settled in the wilderness, they found only a few trappers and hunters, making an uncertain living from trading furs and hides to dealers from Pennsylvania who made infrequent trips on a keel boat. A military road, built about that time from Sainte Genevieve, Missouri, to Fulton, Arkansas, passed near the Bailey land and was the only road in that section except Indian trails. Other early settlers had acquired land from the government or purchased tracts by 1840.
The 500 acres now is owned by Oran Vaughan of Searcy, great-grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Elijah Bailey, and the heirs of Mrs. Ida Lewis, granddaughter of the Baileys. Mr. Vaughan, referring to the low price which his great-grandfather paid for the land, states that it can be redeemed by payment of taxes plus interest compounded annually at 10 percent, a small matter of about $100,000 at this date.
He made this offer at the 100th anniversary celebration on November 6, 1938, when it was only about $57,500, but has had no takers so far.
Mrs. Ola Wood, granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Elijah Bailey and the only living member of her generation, tells of a cow owned by her son, Boyce Wood, which is a descendent of a cow owned by Elizabeth Jane Bailey Sutherlin about 75 years ago. At the request of Mrs. Sutherlin a heifer of each generation was named “Keeps,” indicating that she was not to be sold, but kept to perpetuate the line. There’s no telling how many generations there have been in this lineage. This is the second celebration and it was decided to have these gatherings annually in the future.
Two great-great-great grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. Elijah Bailey were among those who attended the affair.
They represented the sixth generation of the family since the Baileys
came to Arkansas. They are
Terry and Dawn Butler of Pangburn.
Others were Herschel Lewis and Mrs. Alma Naylor of Little Rock; Mrs. Ola
Wood, Mr. and Mrs. Prince Wood, Joe Wood, Patsy and Sunny Wood, Mr. and Mrs.
Boyce Wood, Adele, Laquita and Mariola Wood, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Wood Temple,
Robbie, Norma and Lanny Wood, Mr. and Mrs. Houston Butler, Terry and Dawn
Butler, all of Pangburn; Mr. and Mrs. Shelby Wood, Mary Sue and Tommy Wood,
Bald Knob; Mrs. Tom Miller, Judsonia; Mr. and Mrs. P.C. Wood Jr., Heber
Springs; Mr. and Mrs. W.A. King and Julianne King, Kensett; Virgil Lewis,
Mr. and Mrs. Barney Hartsell, Miss Swan Hartsell, Oran Vaughan, Mr. and Mrs.
L.W. Sutherlin, Jane and Patricia Ann Sutherlin, Jetta Marie Nowell, Miss
Virginia Lightle, all of Searcy; Mrs. Joe Sexton, Walnut Ridge.
Oran Vaughan made a brief talk and gave the invocation before dinner was served. A sumptuous feast, featuring big platters of fried chicken, coffee, homemade cakes and pies and other delicious home-cooked food, seldom seen in these modern days of restaurants and fast-order “eateries,” was followed by an hour of music. Mrs. Sexton, accordionist, Miss Hartsell, pianist, and a group of young vocalists rendered old-time songs.
It was decided to make this celebration an annual affair. vvv