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The Richard T. Jett Family Of Gregory, AR

by Gary Telford

Richard T. "Dick" Jett first came to Woodruff County from Kentucky in 1870, and became a prominent farmer and business man in the Gregory community. He was an expert machinist, was involved in the steamboat business, and was part owner of a sawmill on the Bayou and also a gin at Gregory.

The home which he built at Gregory was demolished about 1969. It was a two-story building with a large cellar. When the building was torn down, an odor of whiskey could still be detected in the cellar. In those days nearly every family kept a barrel of whiskey on hand to be used for medicinal purposes as well as for social functions.

He was the son of Richard H. V. Jett, a native of Virginia, who was born in 1806. Richard H. V. married Elizabeth Bradley of Maryland, and they were the parents of ten children, two daughters and eight sons. In addition to Richard T. "Dick", the children of this union were Mary Jane, who married Gabrial Corn in 1852; Charlotte Catherine, who married William Langston; Albert N. who married Mary Morgan; Josiah S.; James F., born June 28, 1847 and married Albertine Anders in 1879; George W. who married Nancy J. Moreland in 1869; and two others who are not named in the record of the family.

The family moved to Barren County, Kentucky, where Richard T. "Dick" Jett was born in 1833. In 1858 he married Miss Margaret Haden, daughter of John W. and Jane McDowell Haden of Kentucky. She was born in 1838 and died in 1894. Both she and Richard T., who died in 1915, are buried in the Augusta Memorial Park Cemetery, Sec. A.

When he first came to Woodruff County, he settled at Lone Grove on the bank of the Bayou. Later a new community was established two miles north of Lone Grove which became known as Gregory's Point, named after Minor Gregory. It is still sometimes referred to as "The Point", but is more commonly known as Gregory. It was in Gregory that he made his home.

He had a large interest in a sawmill at Lone Grove, but he also became interested in clearing and improving land, and cultivated about 300 acres, planted mainly to cotton and corn. He joined with Minor Gregory, Rolfe Eldridge, and W. J. and E. G. Thompson in the Mill Gin Company. This gin was equipped with four stands and used the most improved ginning methods of the day.

I remember Mr. Jett well. We moved to Gregory from Nebraska in 1911, and he rode by our home daily on his way to the farm from his home at Gregory. He was a man at home in the saddle, and rode with dignity and grace. His faithful companion, a large black shepherd dog, was always with him. One day he was riding near a rail fence along the bayou, and a board caught in the stirrup, frightening his horse. The resulting accident led to his death later in 1915 at Gregory.

In the years after the death of his wife he lived with his daughter Carrie, who married Lawrence Ritchie, and lived in the home her father had build until her death. Richard T. and Margaret Jett had two other children, Josie and Albert C.

Josie, the other daughter of Richard T. and Margaret Jett, married James Snodgrass and died many years ago. Richard T.'s only son Albert, or "Bert" as he was called, was born in 1865 and died in 1928. He married Dora McDuffy (1874-1953), and lived below Gregory on the bank of the Bayou. Their two children were Dixie and Minor. Albert C. "Bert" Jett and his wife Dora are buried in the Augusta Memorial Park Cemetery, Sec. A.

Dixie was well known in Woodruff County as a hunter, artist, fur craftsman, and carpenter. She was born at Gregory in 1893, and inherited her grandfather's energy. After attending Central College in Conway and Blue Mountain College at Blue Mountain, Mississippi she married John Allen Garriott of Stroud, Oklahoma, in 1914. He was born February 2, 1891and was in the undertaking business in Oklahoma, but in 1921 they moved to a farm south of Gregory where they lived until their deaths. He was a WW 1 Veteran. John Allen Garriott died in 1946 and Dixie died in 1968. Both are buried in the Augusta Memorial Park Cemetery, Sec. H.

One of the products of Dixie's skill was a solid walnut desk. The wood was sawed at the mill, but Dixie planed it, scraped it with glass, and finally sandpapered it. It held five drawers, two on each side and one at the center. Among other articles she made for her home were porch furniture and beds. In 1935 she was local leader for a group of 4-H girls in her neighborhood. Under her direction they erected a cabin club house.

She was also adept at handling fur, cleaning the skins herself. She made several fur coats, one of possum paws, and two of bear skin. She also made a number of bear skin rugs.

Dixie's brother, Minor, married Kathleen McKnight of Augusta on February 8, 1920. She was the daughter of R. B. and Annie McKnight. R. B. McKnight was born November 13, 1872 and died February 11, 1959. Annie McKnight was born November 10, 1876 and died January 31, 1938. Both are buried in the Augusta Memorial Park Cemetery, Sec. F. Mr. McKnight, known to the younger generation as "Uncle Bunny" was a large man, but had a soft genlte voice. He owned a large acreage of land northwest of Gregory. At one time he had charge of a group of convicts who were clearing land in the area. Minor and Kathleen Jett had two children, Robert Calvin, who was born October 30, 1929, and a daughter, Dixie Kathleen, their first child, born December 23, 1920. She married Doyle Jones in 1938, and their children are Chris, Shannon, and Kathleen. Minor Jett died May 22, 1938 and is buried in the Augusta Memorial Park Cemetery, Sec. D.

The surviving members of the Richard T. Jett family are Mr. Paul Eldridge and Mrs. Margaret Wilson of Forrest City; John E. Eldridge of San Francisco, and Mrs. Minor Jett of Parkin; and their children.