The Independence County Chronicle, October 1981 - January 1982
This information is the property of the Independence County Historical Society.
To purchase this issue, please contact the ICHS, Batesville, Arkansas.
John Quincy Wolf, Sr. was born in 1864 on a farm near Calico Rock and died in June 1949 in Batesville.
Batesville Guard, June 27, 1949
Liz Burns Glenn, Webmaster for Independence County, Arkansas
"My Fifty Years in Batesville, Arkansas"
by John Quincy Wolf, Sr.
March 5, 1937
On Sunday, February 27th, 1887, I arrived, fresh and green, in Batesville. On that morning, right after
breakfast, the late W. A. Hinkle and I left Melbourne in a two-horse buggy and drove all day, not stopping
for dinner, and arrived in Batesville between sundown and dark. Now, this trip requires less than one hour.
So much for the progress in methods of transportation. Wonder how long it will take folks to make this
trip fifty years from now, and in what kind of vehicle they will travel. It would be unsafe to make a guess.
My purpose in coming to Batesville was to keep books for the newly-organized firm of Hinkle and Co.,
composed of John A. Hinkle, Jeff P. Hinkle, his cousin, and Henry H. Hinkle, a brother of Jeff. Already the
first two were in business here under the firm name of John A. Hinkle and Company. Henry Hinkle was in
business at Melbourne and I had been keeping books for him since the previous September. He decided
to close out his store at Melbourne and move to Batesville to become a member of the new firm of Hinkle
and Company, and he sent me on in February to open a set of double entry books for the firm. He came in
May, I think.
The first person I remember seeing that I now recall was Ruth Hinkle, now Mrs. Clayte Baker, who was
playing in the front yard of Mark Craig's home which stood about where Boyce Evans' Sandwich Shop now
stands opposite the Gem Theatre. [The Mark Craig home was mid-block on the north side of Main Street
between 3rd and 4th. The home burned in 1897. The Gem Theatre was located where the Landers Theater
is in 1984.] She was a baby, about two or three years old. Will Hinkle told me who she was.
I went at once to the home of John A. Hinkle where it had been arranged for me to board. This home is now
the Gray Infirmary. [The home of John A. Hinkle in 1887 was the site of Gray's Infirmary in 1937. It was razed
in 1960 and the lot is used to day for parking for Gray's Hospital. A picture of the house may be seen in the
Independence County Historical Society Chronicle, Vol. XX, No. 2 (January 1979), p. 17.]
Hinkle and Company's Store, a large two-story frame building, with the upper story front projecting out over
the sidewalk, stood on the corner where the stone building now occupied by Parks Hardware Company stands.
[Hinkle Store in 1887 stood at the northeast corner of 3rd and Main Streets. It burned in 1897. A later building
housed Parks' Hardware on the site in 1937 and is today the Platter Inn Music Store.] One of the first
impressions I received on my arrival was the sight of a pile of five or six hogs, gone to roost under the
projecting shelter of the Hinkle Store front, there being only a dirt sidewalk. Some years later a proposal to
have an ordinance prohibiting hogs and cattle from running at large in town was violently opposed by many
citizens. It was debated, pro and con, in the local papers and considerable feeling was aroused. Like every
progressive movement that has been inaugurated since the morning stars sand together, this one had to fight
its way, foot by foot, until it finally was put over by the more progressive element.
A good many changes have occurred during these fifty years, both in Batesville and out of Batesville.
I will mention some of these.
The city had a population of 2,300 in 1887. It had no waterworks, no electric lights, no telephones, no heating
plants, no concrete sidewalks, no paved streets, no ice plant, no Post-Office building, no locks and dams, no
railroad running up White River. We had no automobiles, no picture show, no Coca-Cola, no beauty parlors, no
lipstick, no club houses or public halls out on the highways, and yet, strange to say, the young people of those
days survived and actually seemed to enjoy life and to enjoy associating with each other.
But so far as the automobile, the picture show, the radio, the adding machine, the airplane, the submarine, and
the X-ray are concerned the rest of the human race were no better off than we were, for there was not in the whole
wide world a single one of these modern conveniences and inventions. Moreover, the incandescent electric
light had not come into general use; anti-toxins for the prevention and treatment of scarlet fever, diphtheria,
membranous croup, yellow fever, and many other diseases had not been discovered. Aseptic surgery,
pasteurization of foods, the germ theory, cures for leprosy, T.B., and the cause of malaria and yellow fever had
not been discovered.
The Panama Canal had not been built; the North Pole had not been discovered; the South Pole had not been
discovered; we did not own the Philippines, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Samoa.
Fifty years ago women wore long skirts, long hair; corsets (the wasp-like waist was the desideratum of every
young woman and many that were not so young); cotton and woolen stockings, bustles, high-top button shoes.
Matrons in the country smoked small clay pipes with cane stems; but neither they nor the women in town cussed,
or drank, or smoked cigarettes. They used side-saddles when they rode horseback. Women were not allowed to
vote or hold office, but they bossed the men then just about as they do now -- a good idea.
Fifty years ago practically all men affected moustaches, although some young men had an awful time
sprouting a set; (my memory carries me back just here); they also wore boots or high-top button or lace shoes;
most of them drank whiskey, especially men in middle life. Young men did not seem to care much about it.
When a man got drunk then, it was funny; now it is a disgrace. Farmers treated their wives once a year by taking
them to town; they considered this a great concession -- so did the wives. The men wore woolen underclothes in
the winter and bathed occasionally. Then, only grown men smoked and chewed.
Now, women wear short dresses, bobbed hair, low-quartered shoes, winter and summer; and very thin clothes,
especially in winter; bathe three times a day; spend much of their income at beauty parlors, drive cars, vote, and
run for office.
Now, very few men sport moustaches and some of them don't support their wives. Some of them do not wear
hats; they all wear low-quartered shoes; the young men do most of the drinking; everybody smokes and all have
indigestion, and most of them high blood pressure.
In 1887 the stores stayed open until 10 o'clock at night and opened by daylight. The reason for this was that
farmers coming to Batesville to bring their cotton and buy supplies, came from the adjoining counties in two horse
wagons. It took a whole day to come and a day to go back, so they did their trading at night and real early in the
morning. The stores were "brilliantly" lighted at night with the greasy coal oil lamps. Nearly all the merchants
sold on credit and most of them went broke -- especially if they bought cotton and sold it at lower prices, which
most usually happened.
In 1887 appendicitis treatment was not invented, neither had we heard of influenza. A severe pain in the stomach
or right side was treated as stomach-ache and the victim usually died. Remember when La Grippe was first
introduced into Batesville society. It was then a fashionable disease and no poor folks had it.
Fifty years ago Yellow Fever was a terrible scourge to the cities of southern climates and it carried off victims
by the thousands. To be exposed to it meant almost certain death. Now we hardly ever hear of it, and no one is
afraid to go to the funeral of one who has died with it. Screening against the mosquito has practically wiped out
Yellow Fever, just as vaccination has wiped out small-pox epidemics.
There are three business men living in Batesville now who were in business when I came here in 1887;
C. W. Maxfield and J. B. Fitzhugh and James A. Hardy.
[Batesville Guard - June 10, 1948
Funeral for James A. Hardy, 80, "Uncle Jim" was held Sunday in the Cecil Funeral Home with burial at Oaklawn
Cemetery. Mr. Hardy, born in Bedford City, Va., in 1859, was one of the last of Batesville's pioneers, that rugged
individualists little band of old timers who built Batesville from a little village to its present position as a major
trade center. Mr. Hardy, whose father died when he was 7, came to Batesville with his widowed mother, five
sisters and one brother on a steamboat when he was 17. His mother operated the Southern Hotel on Main Street,
the present location of the Burr Store.
He was city marshal, fire chief for 35 years, owned a butcher shop, a grocery, livery stable, established the first
picture show in Batesville, the first filling station, and owned and operated the Arlington Hotel, now the Marvin, for 20 years.
In 1885, he was a subcontractor for the Frisco Railroad and the town of Hardy was named for him.]
Styles Then and Now
March 12, 1937
When I arrived in Batesville fifty years ago I had no thought of settling here for life. In fact, I was going to travel
in all lands and sail the seven seas. I was going to go places and see things -- everything worth seeing. Yet, after
the lapse of a half century, here I am. My desire to go everywhere and see everything is still strong, but my purpose
is growing weak. I may abandon the idea altogether.
Arriving here late on Sunday afternoon, I was soon comfortably located in the home of the late John A. Hinkle. After
supper I went to the First Baptist Church and heard Dr. J. J. Taylor, the pastor, preach. There I met some of the members:
Edward Maxfield, W. G. Moore, T. B. Padgett. I already knew Mr. W. E. Maxfield, who was also there.
Monday morning, February 28th, I was at the office of Hinkle and Company, eager to open the books, double entry
fashion. A little more than a year before I had completed a course in book-keeping at Bryant and Stratton's Business
College in St. Louis. I was rather chesty over my knowledge of book-keeping and was on the point of applying for head
book-keeper of the Standard Oil Company. I think there was not a set of double-entry books being kept in Batesville at
that time, unless it was that of Siesel, Jacobs and Company, changed to Jacobs and Bacharach a few months later.
Mr. Sigmund Bacharach was an accomplished book-keeper, as well as a fine all 'round business man but I think he told
me he was not keeping the firm's books double-entry.
Right well do I remember the first entry I made on Hinkle and Company's Day Book. Here it is except that the
figures I use here are fictitious:
"A Copartnership has this day been formed by John A. Hinkle, Jeff P. Hinkle, and Henry H. Hinkle, for the purpose
of conducting a general merchandising business under the firm name of Hinkle and Company, in Batesville, Arkansas.
Merchandise, as per inventory $35,000.00
Cash, Amount on hand $ 690.00
Furniture and Fixtures as per list $ 310.00
To John A. Hinkle, his one-third $12,000.00
To Jeff P. Hinkle, his one-third $12,000.00
To Henry H. Hinkle, his one-third $12,000.00
It will be noted that each of the two columns of figures adds up to the same, viz;; $36,000.00, which makes the books
"balance". Thereafter, every entry made in either of these Dr. or Cr. columns had its counterpart in the other, so that the
books were always in balance, if no errors had been made. Tom Parsons, who had been the book-keeper for John A.
Hinkle and Company, took a good deal of pride in this first entry and insisted on showing it to a good many people who
would come into the office.
The personnel of Hinkle and Co. at that time was as follows: John A. Hinkle, (Henry Hinkle had not yet come to
Batesville), J. T. Parsons, I. N. Barnett [father of the transcriber of these columns, this I. N. Barnett was born in 1866 and
died in 1935.], R. D. Horn, Bell Moser, and myself. Anderson and Cook, cotton buyers, had their headquarters in the
office of Hinkle and Company.
After I had been working in the office of Hinkle and Co. two or three months, I began to lose in weight and became
almost an invalid. I consulted Dr. D. C. Ewing, who was considered the leading physician of this entire section. He
advised me thus: "Send to St. Louis and get a gallon of good whiskey and take a drink of it three times a day." It was
a brand new idea to me; I didn't drink whiskey -- didn't like and didn't want people smelling whiskey on my breath,
but here was a doctor's prescription and I was sick. So I ordered the liquor and put the jug under my standing desk,
and for five or six days took a drink three times a day. Then I suspended the treatment and left the jug alone. Some
three weeks after this I came to the office one morning with a sore throat and a tight chest and concluded that perhaps
a "dram" would be beneficial. So I reached under the desk and lifted out the jug, which felt very light. So I shook it and
heard nothing: then I took the cork and turned the jug upside down and not a drop came forth; it was as dry as a bone.
I mentioned the matter to Tom Parsons. He said: "You didn't expect a jug of good liquor to last long with me and
Capt. John A. Hinkle and Maj. John Cook and Commodore Anderson around, did you?"
I mention this incident here for the purpose of showing the evolution in the thought and feeling and conduct of the
public in general with reference to liquor drinking. Fifty years ago, little was thought of it. There was scarcely any ban
on liquor drinking except from wives who saw their husband's income squandered and his family impoverished and
the peace and quiet of the home broken up by drunken outbursts in the home which brought dismay and terror to the
entire family. Then, even the medical world thought that alcohol possessed some virtue as a medicine. Science has
long since exploded this idea. In view of this scientific research and of changed public sentiment it is safe to say that
if Dr. Ewing were alive today, he would be the last man to prescribe whiskey for a young man.
Before I undertake to recount who was who in Batesville fifty years ago I wish to say something of our State, District,
and County officials and the sort of government we were having. Grover Cleveland, a bachelor when he was elected in
1884, was President of the United States -- the first Democrat to occupy that office since Buchanan, although in 1876
the Democrat Party elected Samuel J. Tilden of New York. He was counted out of the Presidency by the Electoral
Commission composed of 8 Republicans and 7 Democrats, by a majority of 1, five of the members being Judges of the
Supreme Court, who decided everything "according to law".
Simon P. Hughes was Governor of Arkansas, James K. Jones and James H. Berry were our U. S. Senators. In those
days U. S. Senators were elected by State Legislatures, as the Constitutional Amendment providing for the election of
Senators by popular vote in all the States had not yet been adopted. So many extremely rich men broke into the U. S.
Senate in those days that it became a national scandal, and the Amendment to the Constitution came as a result.
Other members of the House of Representatives was Poindexter Dunn. Judge James W. Butler was Circuit Judge
and W. B. Padgett was Prosecuting Attorney. He was a Republican and a brother of the late T. B. Padgett, a life-long
Democrat. Hon. George Martin of Sulphur Rock was State Senator; John C. Stroud and R. H. Griffin were our Representatives.
A. J. Craig was County Judge; McCurdy Hail was Sheriff; M. A. Wycough, County Clerk; A. A. Steel, Circuit Clerk; John A.
Hinkle was County Treasurer and C. H. Webb was Assessor. All these County officials were Democrats unless it was
Webb, but they had been elected on the Wheel ticket, in opposition to the regular Democratic ticket. The Democrats had
run the County since the Civil War or since Reconstruction days, always having a heavy majority, running as high as
2500. The Wheel organization was a political-agricultural movement. [An article on the Independence County Agriculture
Wheel, by Dr. Marion Start Craig, appeared in the ICHS Chronicle, XXI, 1, p. 20.] It had been gathering force for some
time and in the election of 1886 it swept the decks, so to speak, electing every man on its ticket. Mr. Frank Denton,
formerly editor of the Batesville Guard, was the Post-Master.
March 19, 1937
My feelings are lacerated; moreover, they are hurt. A couple of youngsters, to wit: Charley Ferrill and W. P. Jones
who have been posing around here as "old timers", have had the temerity to challenge the scientific accuracy of a
statement I made in the first chapter of my Fifty Years in Batesville, when I referred to the Mark Craig home as
standing about where Boyce Evan's upper sandwich shop stands, nearly opposite the Gem Theatre, when I came here
fifty years ago. They claim that Mark Craig didn't live there. And to make matters worse, they claim he lived somewhere
But truth is mighty and will prevail. Mark Craig lived there in 1887 and sold the place to Mr. R. D. Williams who moved
here from Evening Shade and occupied the house until it burned in the big fire of July 4th, 1888.
Prior to this Mr. Craig had lived at the Citizens Bank corner and ran a boarding house there. [This corner, the
southwest corner of 3rd and Main, is in 1984 the site of Skinner's Jewelry Store.] When he moved out, J. M. Barnes
moved in and operated the boarding house. The property belonged to Mr. Thomas Womac and extended from the corner
where the bank stands, for about 200 feet down the street, the frame house being near the center of the property and was
back thirty feet from the street.
The rest of the block in which Uncle Dudley Williams lived, in the direction of the Crouch Building, was also owned by
Mr. Womac. [The Crouch Building is today (1984) Roberson's Hardware, the northeast corner of 4th & Main.] There was
a residence on the upper end of this block, which was occupied by Rev. H. T. Gregory, Presiding Elder, and family, later
by Mr. R. W. Earnheart and family for many years when it was moved back to Water Street (where Mrs. Earnheart still
lives) to make room for the filling station of Simon Ball. [The Earnheart home was removed in 1951 and replaced by a
commercial building which housed the Batesville Guard office. That building in turn was burned in 1981. The
filling station, on the northwest corner of 4th and Main is no longer in business but is still standing in 1984. (This is
between Main Street and the Bayou.)] Adjoining this residence was a small office building, which was once the law
office of Judge U. M. Rose. Later it was the home of Mr. Womac. It was torn down when the filling station was built.
Between the Mark Craig or R. D. Williams home and the store of Hinkle and Company on the corner, there was a narrow,
one story frame building running back fifty feet, owned and operated by a Mrs. Hendren and her son Eugene.
Directly in front of Hinkle and Company, where the Annex stands, was a cedar grove owned by James G. Ferrill, who
was then running a store at Cushman. [The "Annex" in 1937 was a cash-and-carry annex to Barnett Brothers' Department
Store, diagonally across Main Street. It is presently (1984) the site of Schwegman's Office Supply.] Uncle Dudley
Williams bought this property from Mr. Ferrill and built the first installment of the Annex Building on it and opened up a
general store there in the late summer of 1887. This stone building has been added to twice since it was built, extending
it back to the old cemetery.
When I took my meals at the home of John A. Hinkle, I slept at the store, in my office. My bed-fellow was I. N. Barnett
[born 1866] who was then salesman for Hinkle and Company. I recall that our bed was more or less uncomfortable. There
were knots and ridges here and there in the mattress, and gradually these made indentures in our bodies, so that we
could rest and sleep fairly well. However, we could not swap sides, as the knots on my side of the mattress did not
correspond with the knots on his side, and consequently would not fit into the depressions on our bodies, alluded to above.
We "made up" our bed every two or three weeks, working down the knots and ridges and filling in the hollows as best we
could. Our dreams were pleasant.
The Mayor of Batesville was J. M. Bartlett, who had been twice elected Mayor and was now serving a third term without
ever being elected. In the election of 1886 the candidates were W. E. Bevens and John W. McDowell. The election
resulted in a tie, consequently there was no election and the result was that Mr. Bartlett held over for two more years, as
under the law, a Mayor held office until his successor was elected and qualified.
The City Councilmen were: C. T. Rosenthal, J. S. Handford, James A. Luster, W. E. Bevens, and J. A. Hardy. The City
Marshal was Alex Pharis, father of fire chief Sam Pharis. Mr. Pharis was not afraid of anybody and never hesitated to
arrest any law violator, regardless of his financial or social standing.
There was no City Fire Department. The Hotels were the Arlington, owned and operated by T. R. Taylor, and the
McDowell House, owned and operated by Mr. John McDowell. It stood where the Baker Hotel now stands and was a
famous hostelry for many years. [The Arlington Hotel is, in 1984, the Marvin Hotel. The McDowell House, later the
Baker Hotel, was located on the southeast corner of Central & College Streets, present site of the Coca-Cola Bottling
A freight elevator stood on the river bank just above the freight depot, where goods intended for river shipment were
lowered to the steamboats. [The freight depot is today the North Arkansas Cash Lumber building on Lawrence Street.]
The main channel of the river was close to the bank from the elevator clear up to the mouth of Polk Bayou and then
around in a big bend to the gravel bar opposite the head of Ferrill's Island. This big bend in the river has been filled in
by silt until now there is a large cornfield where the deep water used to be. The steamboats were the John F. Allen,
owned by Capt. Charles B. Woodbury, and the Ralph, Capt. Will C. Shipp, and the Tom Hess, owned by the Warner
The only semblance of a theatre was Adler's Hall, in the second floor of the building now occupied by Arkansas Dry
Goods building on lower Main Street. [The Adler Building is a handsome two-story brick building at 151 1/2 W. Main.
The second floor today houses the offices of the Batesville Preservation Association.] About twice a year a cheap
John theatrical troupe would visit Batesville and put on a show.
There was no chartered bank in Batesville. Simon Adler, Banker and Broker, was doing a small banking and
exchange business in the Adler building, now the Arkansas Dry Goods building on lower Main Street. [Simon Adler and
Adler Hall were discussed in "The Jewish Community in Batesville, Arkansas" by Nancy Zilbergeld and Nancy Britton,
in the April 1980 ICHS Chronicle, XXI, 3.]
There was no sewer system in 1887, nor for several years after. The passenger station was the present freight depot.
Mr. A. A. Weber was the station agent. The Pacific Express company had an office here. S. A. Smiley was the express
The White River extension of the Missouri Pacific Railroad had not been built and the passenger train came in before
noon and returned to Newport in the afternoon. The local was an accommodation freight and passenger train, which went
down to Newport every morning and back in the afternoon. It would go on to Cushman and back.
One day in March 1887 the livery stable bus stopped in front of Hinkle and Company to pick up a passenger. It had on
board two as handsome and fine looking specimens of young manhood as one could find in a day's journey. One of them,
a ruddy-faced, enthusiastic talkative chap, had on a black derby hat. He had on other clothes, of course, but I do not
remember the kind. I was attracted by his handsome face and splendid physique. His name was W. P. Jones. The other
young man, a little more quiet and dignified, was Charles A. Barnett, who for the last 45 years has been the head man in
the office of Barnett Brothers Mercantile Company. Mr. Jones was Post Master here for twelve years, and before that
had been in the grocery business here. These two and the other passenger picked up,Will Hinkle, another handsome
young man, were going to St. Louis, to attend Bryant and Stratton's Business College, and were on their way to the depot.
March 26, 1937
Fifty years ago the West Side was a wilderness beyond the large culvert that Crosses Central Avenue near the
stores. It was thickly grown up with young saplings and I do not think there was a house on either side of the street
beyond the culvert.
Polk Bayou made a bend at the bridge and a rather deep channel flowed over the West end of the bridge. The bed
of the Bayou was at least ten feet deeper than it is now. That is to say the bed of the creek has filled up with sand and
silt for at least ten feet. When the dam at Lock No. 1 was finally closed the water backed up the bayou until the water
was about ten feet deep clear up past Neeley's Spring and was several feet deep as far up as the mouth of Miller's
Creek. [Neeley's Spring was located on the bank of Poke Bayou directly behind Barnett Brothers' Department Store.
That site had once been the location of the home of Judge and Mrs. Beaufort Neeley which burned in the Main Street
fire of 1897.] But with the filling up with sand the backwater disappeared and the Bayou became once more a swift-
running creek clear down to its mouth.
The churches of Batesville were Baptist, Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian. The colored Methodists had a
church and still worship in it but some substantial improvements and additions have been made. The colored
Baptists had an organization but no building.
The Presbyterian Church was a red brick building and stood on the corner where the Crouch building now stands.
Dr. I. J. Long was its pastor and had been for many years. This was the first church whose services I ever attended
in Batesville. This was before I became a citizen.
The Methodist Church stood on the corner where Shaw's garage stood for the past 20 years. [This is the southwest
corner of 3rd & College where Citizen's Bank now stands. Shaw's garage occupied the building which the Methodists
vacated when they moved to the present sanctuary at 6th & Main in 1914. The church faced 3rd Street.] It was a large
stone building. Here, every Sunday afternoon, the young people, in large numbers, would assemble about 3 o'clock
and sing for an hour and a half. The singing was led by Mr. John W. Glenn while Miss Seddie Joblin played the organ.
Rev. N. B. Fizer was the popular pastor. But Rev. Fizer became rather unpopular two years later, not only with the
citizens of the town, but with the majority of the members of his church, for he got into politics -- deeply -- by becoming
candidate for Governor, of the Union Labor Party against the Democratic candidate, Governor James P. Eagle. Mr. Fizer
became so intensely partisan that he got in bad standing with the authorities of his church and was transferred to
Oklahoma. I am under the impression that he remained out of the ministry for a time, but am not sure of this. But, if so,
he got back into the ministerial harness and into the good graces of his party and died a faithful servant of his church and
a loyal Democrat.
The Episcopal Church had no rector at that time but Mr. Ed M. Dickinson frequently conducted the services. Rev.
George L. Neide was the first rector they had after I came here. The building was a wooden structure, on the site of the
present beautiful building.
The First Baptist Church building was a large stone structure and stood where the present building stands. Its
pastor was Rev. J. J. Taylor, who had just graduated at the Baptist Seminary at Louisville, Kentucky. He remained here
only two years, when he resigned to go as a foreign missionary. He went to Brazil and spent his life on that field,
becoming head of his denomination's publishing house and editor of its Sunday School literature.
As there were neither picture shows nor automobiles, nor jazz, then, it will be seen at once that the young people
fifty years ago didn't have a thing on earth to live for; life wasn't worth living and most of them jumped into the river
in order to escape this dreary desert of life -- this wilderness of woe. Of course, some of them didn't jump. These,
both male and female, being strong and vigorous, mentally and physically, and rather strong-willed, decided that life
consisted, or ought to consist, in something more than pleasure and amusement and entertainment and jazz. They
attended Sunday School, they went to prayer meeting, they went to church, they had parties at different homes; they
read books, they were active members of literary societies, carried on for the entertainment, the instruction, the
education, and the culture of the members and invited guests. Strange as it may seem, these young people lived
through those years of gloom and despair and made very good citizens.
As there were no telephones, the young men sent "notes" by colored boys, to the young ladies, when they wished
to call, or take them to church, or to parties. The fee was 10 cents on this side of the bayou and 15-25 on the West
Side. The young couples had to walk and didn't mind it at all since walking was a good exercise at that time and quite
fashionable. Moreover, a young man could say more words -- more soft words, more tender words, more flattering,
pleasing words during a half hour's walk than he could possibly work off during a four minute drive in an auto. But
those things couldn't happen here and now, for young people can't walk any more. If the place they want to go to is
two blocks away they have to go in a car.
Here is the mail schedule in and out of Batesville in 1887: Train from Newport came in every morning at 10:30 and
out at 2:15 p.m. To Jamestown daily except Sunday. To Evening Shade daily except Sunday. To Mountain View on
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, returning Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. To Melbourne daily except
Sunday. I am reminded here that George Trevathan, Jared's father, was carrying this mail horseback from Melbourne
to Batesville. [Jared Trevathan was publisher of the Batesville News Review in which these columns appeared
in 1937.] As indicating his alertness of mind, he read the then "best seller" Quo Vadis by Sienkiewicz while
making these daily horseback trips. I heard George make this statement one evening in a store at Melbourne while
he was still on this route.
Prof. C. P. Hudson, a small, timid but very capable man, was Superintendent of Batesville schools. Arkansas
College, then only the two-story brick building, was about twelve years old. [This two-story brick building is Morrow
Hall located beside the present First Presbyterian Church. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.] Dr. I. J.
Long was its President. Prof. T. J. Stubbs was the only member of the faculty in addition to Dr. Long, that I can now
There was an unusually useful literary and musical society, called "The Rude Mechanicals." It included in its
membership a large number of the most talented people of Batesville, Its programs were of a very high order. The
club would meet at the home of some member once a month. It was kept up for nearly a quarter of a century.
The newspapers were the Batesville Guard, M. Y. Todisman, editor; The North Arkansas Pilot
, W. W. Byers, editor.
April 9, 1937
The Sunday Schools in Batesville and elsewhere, fifty years ago, were not taken very seriously and were poorly
attended. The ministers, the women and the smaller children made up the main body of Sunday School goers. Men
of affairs thought the Sunday School was probably a good thing for women and children. The boys, after they passed
the age of eleven, were entirely too big to go to Sunday School -- that is, the majority of them. There was nobody to
teach but little boys and girls, and what did they amount to? The result was that Sunday School was rather a drab
affair, offering little attraction for any red-blooded boy or girl.
But how different the situation today! Sunday School is now a man's job; it is a serious matter. It concerns not
only the little boys and girls here and now, but the young folks and the middle-aged folks and the old folks. It
grapples with the life that now is and that which reaches out into eternity. The brightest minds, the best brains in
America, both male and female, are devoted to the extension of the influence and power of the Sunday School and
are making it one of the mightiest forces in the world. Teachers are now trained; they specialize, in every department,
from the Cradle Roll to the Adult. Teachers and would-be teachers take regular training courses, conducted by experts.
A teacher has only about thirty minutes before his or her class, once a week, hence it is highly important to made the
best possible use of that half hour. A wonderful transformation has occurred in our Sunday Schools.
Fifty years ago the town in Independence County, other than Batesville, were Sulphur Rock, population 600; Newark,
400; Jamestown, 175; Pleasant Plains, 200; Cushman, 400; Moorefield and Oil Trough, perhaps 100 each. Locust Grove
was not on the map; Rosie was not a Post Office; Salado may have had a Post Office, but that was about all. Charlotte
and Walnut Grove and Cord were only thickly-settled communities of prosperous farmers; Desha was a wide place on
the road from Batesville to Jamestown.
Cushman, at that time, was experiencing a manganese mining boom. A large Pennsylvania concern, The Keystone
Manganese and Iron Company, was operating there, with Ross Long in charge, and Walter Denison an understudy.
Mr. Long did not live but a year or two and Mr. Denison succeeded him as manager for the Keystone Company. He has
kept alive the manganese mining industry there, through good and evil report, for nearly half a century. But for Walter
Denison's indomitable energy and tireless activity in behalf of Cushman and manganese, I believe the branch railroad
from here to Cushman would have been abandoned long ago and the town of Cushman wiped off the map.
Independence County, fifty years ago, was divided into 17 townships, viz., Ashley, Barren, Big Bottom, Black River,
Caney, Christian, Fairview, Gainsboro, Greenbrier, Jefferson, Liberty, Logan, Ruddell, Stubbs, Union, Washington, and
White River. Caney was a small township (in population) across the river. It was intersected by Caney Creek and
perhaps by Salado Creek also. It was cut up long ago and divided up among new townships: Relief, Salado, and Huff.
Stubbs township was changed to Cushman township.
Black River was overwhelmingly Republican in those days and during the years of activity of the Wheel and Union
Labor Party. Barren, Fairview, Caney, Jefferson, Union, and Ashley and several others, were anti-Democratic. Union
and Jefferson are still that way. In the elections for several years after 1888, it required the Democratic majority in the
rest of the county.
The opposition to the Democratic Party, in the county, flushed with its clean sweep of all the offices in 1886, by
staggering majorities, was not satisfied with its victory, but quickly started a movement to take the County Seat away
from Batesville and give it to Sulphur Rock. Naturally, this prospect was pleasing to Sulphur Rock and all the lower or
eastern end of the county, because of the convenience. And surprising to say, a good many voters who lived in Stubbs,
Washington, Union, Jefferson townships, wrote letters to the local paper advocating Sulphur Rock although these
citizens would have to pass through Batesville and then travel ten miles further in order to reach the proposed new
county seat. The fight was bitter. The Batesville people had to lay pretty low in the fight. The loss of the county seat
would mean a tremendous slump in real estate values in Batesville and vicinity and a corresponding rise in real estate
in Sulphur Rock. The situation looked "squally". The readers can be sure that Batesvillians drew a big, long, and deep
sigh of relief when the returns came in showing Sulphur Rock had lost by a small margin.
There were no saloons in Batesville in 1887 and had not been for several years, nor were there any for several
years afterwards. The county was dry and in addition Batesville was doubly protected by the "Three Mile Act" which
prohibited the sale of liquor within three miles of Arkansas College. Mention of the Three Mile Act reminds me of a
picture I saw once in Puck: A traveler going through the country came into a town where about 100 men were moving
a church house on rollers. He asked what the matter was. The leader of the gang replied: "Well, the legislature
passed a law so we couldn't have a saloon in three miles of a church, so we're moving the church out three miles."
I think Batesville would have remained without a saloon a long time but for the fact that a local option election in
Jackson County went wet, whereupon a golden stream set in out of Batesville and into Newport, at least that was the
way the advocates of saloons looked at it. They set up the loud complaint that this golden stream flowing into the
capacious pockets of the Newport saloon-keepers was making them fabulously rich while our own hapless citizens
were being impoverished. Moreover, the Independence County money that was being spent in Newport for liquor,
causing the public coffers of Jackson County and Newport to overflow, ought to be turned into our own county and
city treasuries and thus bring a big reduction in our taxes. Furthermore, the liquorites claimed that our men were
being ruined by the law forbidding the open saloon, as they were all taking to drink like a duck to water, because it
was forbidden, and that if the prohibition laws were repealed not a one of them would ever drink another drop;
wouldn't want it, if they were only sure they could get it if they did want it.
The drys were not alarmed over the stream of money flowing out on Batesville into Newport. They claimed that
this golden stream had been running right along for years, dividing itself into three channels. One to Little Rock, one
to Memphis, and one to St. Louis, and that now, for convenience it was all going to Newport, leaving our city and
people just where they were before Newport became the center.
Another thing the obstinate drys couldn't understand was, that if repealing the prohibition laws would have the
psychological effect of destroying the yearning desire for drink, which almost sets men crazy when they can't get it,
where was all the revenue going to come from to fill our treasuries?
The drys also showed that it costs more to enforce the law in a saloon city than the liquor revenue amounts to.
But the liquorites never let up, day or night. They kept cutting in on the vote of the drys and whittling down their
majority until one fine day when they drys were not keeping their mind strictly on their business, feeling safe behind
their hitherto impregnable majority, they waked up to find that the county had voted "wet". Then it wasn't long until
four saloons were running full blast in Batesville. There were already two distilleries in the county, since the
manufacture of liquor had not been prohibited.
Thus Batesville, that had been dry so long, found her thirsty citizens abundantly supplied with the thirst-quenching
"fire water" which never did quench anybody's thirst, and our city was soon on the rocks financially and stayed that
way as long as we had saloons. And our taxes were not reduced. After a few years of the open saloon and its
destructive effects on the life and morals and finances of Batesville, the people, here and elsewhere, girded themselves
for war and started a campaign that did not end until the whole state of Arkansas went "bone dry".
April 16, 1937
In the opening chapter of these reminiscences I said I would presently undertake to say Who Was Who in
Batesville a half a century ago -- that is, who were the leaders, the outstanding personalities, intellectually,
morally, socially, financially, and politically.
I find this no easy task. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that the Who of today will not be the Who of
tomorrow or next year. Another thing: Today, some rather insignificant person, away down the line of possibilities
and never once thought of as a top-notcher may be the real Who ten years hence. We have seen this very thing
happen here in Batesville,
Another thing: "Who's Who" is a relative question, depending on the point of view. For example: Three years
ago Babe Ruth was the biggest man on the horizon to a certain section of our people and to nearly all the young
baseball enthusiasts. He was Who, in the baseball world. Likewise, John L. Sullivan was the greatest man on
earth in the opinion of Pugdom. And so, the person that you and I might consider Who in any particular field of
human activity, may not fill the bill at all to the man in the next seat.
Financially, Mr. Simon Adler was perhaps the outstanding man of Independence County in 1887. Yet there was
hardly a more modest man in public life.
Col. V. Y. Cook was the wealthiest land owner in the county. His holdings were practically all in the rich Oil
Trough Bottom section, where he lived at that time and operated a store.
Dr. I. J. Long was undoubtedly the most learned and intellectual man of the county.
The moral leadership quite naturally gravitated to the leading ministers, viz., Dr. I. J. Long, paster of the
Presbyterian Church, Rev. J. J. Taylor of the Baptist, and Rev. N. B. Fizer of the Methodist Church, South.
Dr. William Lawrence and Dr. D. C. Ewing (Ewing and Lawrence) were at the head of the medical profession
and were the largest practitioners in North Arkansas. A year or two later this firm was enlarged by taking in as
a partner, Dr. William B. Lawrence.
Socially, Dr. and Mrs. D. C. Ewing were the leaders. They were frequent entertainers in their large and
luxurious home -- the two and a half story brick on Main Street, still standing, in front of the Theodore Maxfield
residence. [Both the Ewing House and the Theodore Maxfield House are gone today. The Ewing House stood
on the northwest corner of 7th and Main, presently the parking lot for the First United Methodist Church. The
Maxfield House faced it across Main. Pictures of both houses are found in the ICHS Chronicle, XX, 2, pp. 21-22.]
Mr. and Mrs. John W. Glenn were liberal entertainers of the young people, of whom Miss Seddie Joblin was
the unquestioned social leader.
Judge James W. Butler and Hon. Robert Neill stood at the head as lawyers, not only for Batesville but for
North Arkansas as well.
There were several outstanding characters here who had formerly been very active in the business and
professional life of the community, who had retired from these activities, but whose influence was still potent
and whose counsel was still sought. Among these I remember the following:
Dr. John F. Allen, who had formerly been actively engaged in the practice of medicine and who had also
been engaged in the mercantile business, in the firm of Allen and McGuire. Dr. Allen was perhaps the leading
layman in the Presbyterian Church and was well-off financially.
Henry C. Smith had once been the leading merchant of all North Arkansas, but his store had burned and he
had suffered an enormous loss in the fire, and as he was getting well along in years he did not undertake a
"come-back" in business.
Thomas Womac, a fine old man, liked by everybody, had also been a merchant here for many years, had
prospered in business and retired to take life easy in his declining years. He was prominent in the Methodist
William E. Maxfield had been in business here in former years; later, he embarked in the mercantile
business at Sylamore and about 1880 he opened a large store in Calico Rock, under the management of
Charles R. Aikin. He spent most of his time at home here with his family and was prominent in Baptist circles.
There was another historic group of prominent men which I readily recall and which will be recalled by
several other citizens still living. Sam Allen's Drug Store located in the building now occupied by Shook
Music Store and which, for many years prior had been the Kennerly and Dorr Sanitarium. [This frame building
stood about mid-block between the present Broad & Central Streets, on the north side of Main Street.] This
building sits back several feet from the sidewalk and the upper story extends out over this set-off, making an
ideal shade on hot summer afternoons. There was a long bench sitting back under the front windows for the
convenience of the tired and weary. On almost any summer afternoon members of this group could be seen
on this bench and occupying chairs conveniently brought out of the Drug store, engaged in lively discussion
on current topics. The group consisted of Dr. John F. Allen, T. B. Padgett, Bob Weaver, Dr. I. J. Long, Dr. J. B.
Crane, Mark A. R. Weaver, Robert McNairy, J. C. McGuire, Alf Joblin, and Nathan Wells. Dr. Long, Mr. Wells,
and Mr. McNairy were only occasional visitors; the others were regular.
It was here on Summer afternoons that all questions of State, all matters of governmental policy, all
political questions, the burning question of labor and capital, prohibition and Women Suffrage, were brought
up, discussed pro and con and settled until the next set-to, when they would be taken up again and discussed
in the same logical and conclusive manner.
On winter afternoons the meeting place was in Pem Arnett's shoe store about where the Burr Store stands
until Pem sold out and Bob Bandy moved in with his harness shop. [This is believed to be a location a few
doors down Main Street in the same block. It is very difficult to located these places exactly because in most
instances the original frame buildings have been replaced.] The winter group was somewhat different from
the Summer. Frank Joblin, W. E. Maxfield, Dr. M. McClure usually met with Mark Wycough, Bob Weaver, and
J. C. McClure of the Summer group an discussed the questions, which were hot to the touch; the proposed
Live Stock Law, the liquor question, and county politics. The discussions always ended amicable and everybody
went home carrying with him the same convictions he had when he came.
The Batesville Guard had been published by Col. F. D. Denton for several years, but when Grover Cleveland
was elected President in 1884, Col. Denton became Post Master and Mr. M. Y. Todisman became editor and
publisher of the Guard in 1887.
The North Arkansas Pilot was published by W. W. Byers, who took over the editorship from Prof. T. J. Stubbs
John J. Morrill started the Batesville Progress in 1888. It did not last long. Then after Col. Denton's terms as
Post Master expired he started the Batesville Bee and about that time or a year or two earlier Ed L. Givens became
the editor and owner of the Guard.
I cannot refrain from repeating here a good joke Mr. Givens got off on Col. Denton, while the latter was editor of
the Bee. Col. Denton was summoned to Circuit Court in Marion County as a witness in some case, and since the
White River Railroad had not then been built and the automobile had not been invented, he found it necessary to
make the round trip on a mule, hired at the local livery stable. In the next issue of the Bee the Colonel made an
editorial apology for the short-comings of his paper, after this wise:
"We apologize to our readers for the Bee's shortcomings this week. Having spent the better part of the week on
the hurricane deck of a mule between here and Yellville over rough roads, the editor is so sore he can scarcely
think, much less write."
Mr. Givens copied this explanation in the next issue of the Guard and commented thus: "We had long wondered
where the Bee's editor's thinking apparatus was located, but we never suspected it was located in that part of his
anatomy which horse-back riding makes sore."
April 23, 1937
In listing the business houses in Batesville 50 years ago, as I remember them, I begin with the hardware store
of C. T. Rosenthal, the first business on Main Street and the only exclusive hardware store in town. This building,
on lower Main Street, is now occupied by Batesville Grocery Company. [This building, on the southwest corner of
Main & State Streets, has been replaced in recent years.] Mr. Rosenthal was a thorough believer in system and
order. His desk was a model of neatness and efficiency and his store was probably the most orderly and well-
kept and conveniently arranged hardware store in the State. Mr. Hoguem, Mr. Pilquist, and Oscar McCord were
his salesmen. Later, D. D. Adams and Charleton Crane and Mr. Gay were in his employ.
Eugene R. Goodwin had the largest drug store in town. It is still the Goodwin Drug Store and operated at the same
old stand. Mr. Goodwin operated it until his death. In going from his store for dinner and supper, he invariably turned
off Main Street at Fitzhugh's corner and I have heard it stated that for the last fifteen years of his active business life,
he never was as far up Main Street as the Post Office.
Sam W. Allen had a drug store at the stand now occupied by the Shook Music Company. He ran the store by
himself, having no salesman or assistant. His store was always neat and orderly.
W. E. Bevens, druggist, occupied the two-story stone building on lower Main Street just below Laman's Wholesale
The largest general store in town was that of Theodore Maxfield and brothers -- Theodore, Edward, Charles W.,
Fred, and Harry. It occupied the present Piggly Wiggly corner and the store building adjoining, now occupied by
C. W. Maxfield Company. [The old Piggly Wiggly corner building, on the northeast corner of Broad & Main, was
occupied, for many years by Crosby Drug Store. The Maxfield Building adjacent to it is presently Skinner's
Furniture Store.] I heard Mr. Theodore say that a $10,000.00 policy in the old Aetna Life Insurance Company
was the foundation basis on which Theo. Maxfield and Bro. was established.
Hinkle and Company -- John A., Jeff P., and Henry H. were members of the firm. The store, a large two story
frame, stood on the Parks Hardware corner. This building burned in the big fire of July 4, 1897.
About the time I came to Batesville and went to work for Hinkle and Company, there was a coal oil war on
between Maxfield's and Hinkle's. Maxfield's had the Standard oil and Hinkle's were cutting the price by buying
from a hot competitor of the Standard -- a brand of oil not so well known. One day during a blizzard a tank of
Hinkle's oil froze up and the clerk had difficulty in serving a customer. Presently the waiting customer said,
"Just cut me off 15 cents worth."
Reed and Company, at the celebrated Blue Front, built in the remote past and still standing. [The old Blue
Front Store stood about mid-block on the south side of Main below the present Court House. It was finally torn
down many years ago.] Mr. I. N. Reed was the owner of the business. His salesmen were John A. Leggett,
F. P. Albright, and Park Smith. It is said that during the last 75 years the Blue Front has stopped many a fire
that threatened the whole East side of Main Street; that a fire would break out somewhere down the street and
burn its way fiercely up to the Blue Front and there it would die out. Or a fire would break out farther up the
street and eat its way down to the Blue Front and there die a natural death. It is also said that several fires
have broken out inside the Blue Front, since we have had a Fire Department; that on one pretext or another the
Fire Department always delayed its arrival, hoping for the best, and when it finally did come on the scene, they
found the fire had gone out of its own accord! The Blue Front is fire-proof.
Jacobs and Bacharach were in the Adler building, later the Yeatman-Gray building, and now the Arkansas
Dry Goods Company. The firm was the late Mike Jacobs and his brother-in-law, Sigmund Bacharach. His
daughters now run the Jacobs Variety Store. Mr. Bacharach took an active part in the civic affairs of Batesville,
and was a very scholarly man. Both he and Mr. Jacobs were active in Masonic circles. [For more information
on Bacharach and Jacobs, see "The Jewish Community in Batesville, Arkansas," April 1980 Chronicle
.] Newt Cypert was one of their salesmen. I do not recall the others.
G. M. Miniken was dead, but the store, operated by H. L. Miniken, always retained the name of G. M. Miniken.
This building is now the Coca-Cola Bottling Works. [In 1984 this building stands next to the vacant lot on the
southwest corner of Main & Central.] A. L. Crouch and Rush Steel were the salesmen.
J. B. Fitzhugh
His store was the long wooden building with a broken back, which stood on the corner where the Sterling
Store now stands. It was a good stand. H. B. Jeffery was his salesman.
W. H. Moore and Company
Mr. Moore and his son-in-law, C. W. Rainey, were the proprietors of this store. It occupied the corner in
front of the Earnheart building and is now occupied by Menard's No.1. [The Earnheart Building is owned and
operated in 1984 by Freeman Mobley. It is located on the southeast corner of Main & Central. Menard's No.1
is today the Army-Navy Store.]
His store was the two-story stone building, now the Melba Theatre. Philander C. White and Ed Loewen
were his salesmen.
Mr. Frank lived in St. Louis. Mr. J. E. Rosebrough was the manager of his store here, which is next door to
Menard's No. 1, and is occupied by Harry Jeffery and "Dee" McLendon.
Padgett Lumber Company now own and occupy the building occupied by Mr. Hickerson in 1887. [Padgett
Lumber company was located on the northwest corner of Main & Central.] His salesmen were John L. Hickerson
and A. D. Cannon. There were no stores below this corner on Main Street.
John W. McDowell, in front of the First National building; [the First National Bank Building stood on the
northwest corner of Main & Central.]; James A. Luster down on Spring Street near the Bayou bridge, about
where the Wardrobe stands; J. P. Jones two doors above the Fitzhugh Store; John Cannon, bakery, confectionary,
and groceries. His store was a long frame building, the rear part of which was two stories. The Wade building
now occupies this space; [The Wade Building is the two-story brick building on Main Street just below the Court
House.]; John P. Boyd, about where Menard's No. 2 is; [Menard's No. 2 was mid-block on the south side of Main,
between 3rd & Broad.]; F. O. Livingston, the last store on Main Street, adjoining the Post Office block; Spring. S. Parsons,
just above the present Hail Dry Goods Company building; F. J. Smith, Jr., in a ramshackle building where the Burr
Store now stands. In the middle, this building was two stories high, and the lower floor was Smith's grocery; on
the side down the street was a lean-to occupied by Charley Roussell, a French barber, who went back to France
the next year, taking with him $13,000 he had made cutting hair and shaving off whiskers. The lean-to on the
upper side of the building was Pem Arnett's shoe shop -- later Bob Bandy's harness shop.
Mr. David S. Fraley, father of Mrs. J. E. Rosebrough, occupied the building now and for many years past used
by Johnson's restaurant. [Johnson's Restaurant was approximately across the street from the Wade Building.]
He was a unique character and frequently wrote for the newspapers, signing his name "Copperbottom."
In a sheet iron, one-story building about where Crosby Drug Store stands, J. Frank Martin had a Jewelry Store.
Mr. Martin did not devote a great deal of his time to the store, but turned over the management of it to Newton M.
Charles Mosby had a nice jewelry store near the center of the block which extends from the Citizens Bank to
Fitzhugh's corner. Leon Smith was his clerk and assistant.
Books and Notions
S. A. Hail and Company, the "company" consisting of J. C. Fitzhugh, had a book and news stand in a lean-to
adjoining John P. Boyd's grocery near the present Ben Franklin store. [The autobiography of S. A. Hail, "A Short
Story of My Long Life," was published in the ICHS Chronicle, XX, 4, page 4. The Ben Franklin Store is Cato's
Dress Shop in 1984.] They soon built the stone building across the street, which is the first story of the present
Hail Dry Goods Company building.
J. C. Bone had the only exclusive furniture store. This was later called the Rutherford Building and is across
the street form Brewer's Store.
James A. Hardy operated a meat shop below the Miniken store, in a one-story frame building, long since torn
down to make room for stone and brick buildings.
Mark Craig operated a butcher shop just above the present Annex in a frame building which burned down in the
big fire of July 4, 1897.
Mrs. Kate Hooper had a Millinery Store on upper Main, just below the Landers Theater.
Miss Sallie Stinson, later Mrs. Dr. J. W. Case, had a millinery store in the one-story frame row running from
Main down towards the Bayou. [This one-story frame row stood on the west side of the present Central Avenue
running from Main Street down to the Bayou.]
April 30, 1937
On the corner where the First National Bank Building stands there was a row of one-story frame buildings about
12 feet high which fronted on Main Street about 40 feet and ran back towards Polk Bayou 150 feet. The corner was
occupied by Lee Stone's music and sewing machine store. Goff's barber shop was in the front of this building
nearest Brewer's store building, which had not been built. This parcel of ground 40 feet on Main and 150 feet on
Spring Street was bought from John W. Glenn in 1889, along with a ten foot strip from W. J. Erwin adjoining Brewer's
store, by the Bank of Batesville, and the frame structure was torn away, and the erection of the Bank Building was begun.
The soft drink business was in its infancy. Even ice cream could not be had except in the hottest summer months.
Johnnie Cannon had sold ice cream one or two summers, but when F. J. Smith opened up an ice cream parlor in a
lean-to to Fitzhugh's Store (the Sterling Store corner), the business was overcrowded and Cannon quit handling it.
Coca-Cola had not been discovered.
Uncle Joe Smith made his own ice cream by the laborious and slow process of the old-fashioned hand-crank
But along with the ice cream, Mr. Smith introduced a soft drink, made by his own secret formula, which took the
town by storm. He called it "Ginger Pop" -- Smith's Ginger Pop. It had a tart taste. In fact, it was tart. It had a
strong "ginger" flavor and would "cut up" in the mouth like champagne. The present-day corks, like those used
on Coca-Cola bottles had not been invented. Mr. Smith tied his corks in with stout, cotton twine, for, if he didn't,
the corks would hit the ceiling when fermentation reached a certain stage. Smith's Ginger Pop was immensely
popular. It is said that old topers found in it an excellent aid in sobering up.
The late Mayor DeCamp was a son-in-law of Mr. Joe Smith and he told me a few years ago that he had the recipe
for making the celebrated Ginger Pop and had contemplated a small factory to put it on the market. The secret
formula may have died with Mr. DeCamp.
J. M. Bartlett's stable was on the corner diagonally across South Street from the Baker Hotel -- the Row Roy
corner. [The stable stood on the northwest corner of College & Central.] During the year 1890, through the
progressive energy of Col. J. C. Yancey, a local telephone company was organized. Its central office was located
in Bartlett's livery stable, and Mr. George Emmart was its first local manager.
George W. Landers operated a livery stable, which I think was located on lower Main Street just below the
W. E. Beven's drug store.
Dr. W. G. Rosebrough and Dr. J. P. Easley were the only dentists in Batesville.
Dr. William Lawrence, Dr. D. C. Edwin, Dr. W. B. Lawrence, Dr. J. W. Case, and Dr. J. B. Crane were the physicians.
Judge J. W. Butler, Hon. Robert Neill, Coleman, and Yancey, Baxter and Peete (Ex.-Gov. Baxter], and J. J. Barnwell,
W. A. Bevens.
Marble Dealer and Stone Cutter: Henry J. Wiebusch. [An interesting article on Wiebusch and his work as a stone-
cutter was published in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Vol. XLII, No. 3 (Autumn 1983). It won for its author, Dr.
Roberta Brown of Batesville, the Lucille Westbrook Local History Award for 1983.]
Photographer: T. P. Gilbert; Wagon-Maker: D. E. White. Blacksmiths: D. E. White and Dale Melvin. White's Shop
was a large frame building across South Street from Baker Hotel. Barbers: Charley Roussell, P. F. Coff, Louis Vagner.
Cedar Yard: C. R. Handford and Company; G. W. O'Brien.
Carpenters: H. H. Wiysel, Charles Fitzhugh, Thomas W. Williams, C. R. Livingston, E. B. McDonald, and J. J. Orr.
[See "The Batesville White Lime Company" by James R. Fair, Jr., in the ICHS Chronicle, XVI, 2, p. 14]
M. R. Denie was burning the celebrated Batesville White Lime that has been famous for 100 years. His kiln was
out on Spring Creek on the way to Limedale. One hundred years ago, some people from Baltimore had been
attracted to these deposits of limestone and had established kilns near town and were making large quantities of
superior lime for Southern and Eastern markets.
Some of the towns of Independence County are not doing the business they did fifty years ago.
Jamestown had a population of 175. M. C. Weaver and Company merchants were doing a very large volume of
business, from the upper end of Oil Trough to Wolf Bayou and from the river to White County, on the south. M. C.
Long was also doing a large business. There were two smaller stores. Dr. Dickson and Dr. F. E. Jeffery were doing
the practice for a large scope of country.
Sulphur Rock had five or six stores and a population of 600. We can understand why Batesville has built up
somewhat at the expense of Sulphur Rock when it is remembered that we have drawn on that town for nearly all
the bankers we have had in the last thirty years. Look at this list that Sulphur Rock has furnished to Batesville
banks: Dr. R. C. Dorr, President of First National; Paxton Thomas, Cashier of Citizens Bank; H. M. Kennerly,
J. Frank Grammar, Armie Hodges, Ben Jernigan, and Joe Wright, all cashiers and assistant cashiers of First
National and Citizens Bank. In addition, we drew on Sulphur Rock for Prof. Sidney Pickens, W. T. Jernigan, Oscar
Owens, Miss Maude Moore, for teachers in our schools. We drew on it for Drs. Kennerly and Dorr and a number of
other citizens. It is not surprising that so good a town as Sulphur Rock has suffered after losing so much business
and professional talent. [An entire issue of the Chronicle, VII, 1, was devoted to Sulphur Rock in October 1965.]
Hickory Valley was a live hamlet 50 years back, with a prosperous mercantile business and mills and gins, but
it was wiped off the map several years ago, as Cave City on the north built up and the good road to Batesville was
There were living in the county 50 years ago, a good many citizens of outstanding merit -- men who had made
large contributions to the upbuilding and progress of the county. It was my good fortune to get acquainted with
several of these and I wish to recall the names of those I was fortunate enough to know.
Hon. E. C. Gray who lived at Hickory Valley was one of the county's foremost citizens. He had nine sons who
were likewise conspicuous in later years both in business and politics, and in the professions.
Elijah Rogers, who lived at a Post Office called Sharp, was a prosperous farmer and well-beloved citizen. He
had three sons: E. J., J. H., and B. M. Rogers, all of whom have passed on.
J. R. Y. Luster of Cushman neighborhood, was well known in Batesville and greatly beloved because of his
uncompromising Christian character. I used to see him come to town with butter and eggs to sell. He had a
permanent list of customers in town who depended on him for butter and eggs.
James T. Headstream and Col. R. A. Childress of Washington township were two outstanding men and who
stood for all that was high and worthy and noble in the community. There was a young man who came to the
front about this time in the same locality. He was the late W. H. Calaway who only recently passed to his reward.
Practically everybody in Batesville knew and admired Hick Calaway for his upright life and business integrity and
active interest in all moral and educational progress.
Col. James Rutherford, who lived some six miles down the river. He was reputed to be among the county's
wealthiest farmers. He was named as Commissioner to built the court house and its cornerstone bears his name.
Robert W. Earnheart, who lived six miles up the river. Mr. Earnheart came up through privation and poverty,
and who by struggle and toil became one of our well-to-do farmers, and was the owner of some hundreds of acres
of White River farm and woods lands. He moved to town about 1894 and built the two-story stone building on
lower Main Street which bears is name. [The Earnheart Hotel is presently The Old Hotel Mini-mall at the corner
of Main and Central Avenue.]
Hugh Wright of Sulphur Rock, was a successful man of affairs and a philosopher. He had a kindly heart and
enjoyed to a remarkable degree the high esteem of his fellow citizens.
J. N. Churchill of Charlotte; Crawford Wyatt of Rosie; Samuel Wyatt of Desha; Col. Henry Neill of Desha;
William Egner, Andrew Allen, William A. Allen, and Ab Allen, all of south of the river were outstanding men, while
James P. Montgomery of Sandtown; Joe Waldrip, Tom Magness, W. W. Glenn, W. J. Erwin, Alex Shaw, William
Bracy, Dick Williamson, T. A. Meachum, and George Crosser, living on the North side of the river were men of
affairs whom I knew half a century ago.
May 7, 1937
From the days of Reconstruction, the Democrats had dominated the politics of the county, overwhelmingly.
But, in the year 1886, the great agricultural Wheel rolled over the county and flattened the Democratic Party
out like a pancake, electing every county officer by majorities ranging from 1,000 to 1,700. It was a terrible
chastisement; it was the blow that almost killed Father.
The Democrats were so amazed and surprised and shocked, that they spent some time rubbing their eyes
and pinching themselves and wondering what to do. They were like sheep without a shepherd. In sack cloth
and ashes they spent the year 1887 in meditation and humiliation and hope, looking forward hopefully to the
general election of 1888, when they expected to turn the tables on the Wheelers and wipe out the bitter memory
of the 1886 debacle -- blissfully ignorant of the fact that they were in for another season of that deferred hope
which maketh the heart sick, and for another severe licking.
It is true that the gentlemen elected on the Wheel ticket in 1886 were practically all Democrats, and, in due
time, most of them returned to the Democratic party. But they did not call themselves Democrats now; they
were Wheelers, and they fought the regular Democratic ticket will all the zeal and vigor of crusaders.
The Republicans, who since Reconstruction days, had been on the outside looking in, went over to the
Wheelers, almost unanimously, in the hope of helping to administer a licking to their historic political enemies,
I was not a citizen of the county in 1886 and knew little about political conditions here, but I suspect that the
Democrats deserved the licking they got. Possession of the offices, or control of the business, or the school,
or the public institution, for a long period of time, has a tendency to beget a feeling of ownership; the incumbents
got to feeling like they were "it" and the business couldn't get along without them, and they consequently often
become chesty and over-bearing. The public will stand for a good deal of foolishness, but they have a way of
taking things into their own hands after a while, and ousting the would-be "bosses " or ring, or clique that have
been running things to suit themselves. That is a very short-sighted politician who gets to thinking the office
belongs to him.
Political situations, business situations, financial institutions, all need an occasional house-cleaning. Even
the Supreme Court, which, according to some fossilized views ranks right along with the Ten Commandments,
might need overhauling.
Such days of reckoning are never welcomed by the smug and satisfied beneficiaries. The Democrats of
Independence County, smarting under the knock-out they received in 1886, pulled themselves together in the
early Spring of 1888 and opened up hostilities. A Democratic Campaign Club was organized with Dr. D. C. Ewing
as President. I was elected Secretary. Democrats from all over the county joined it. We had meetings regularly
all Spring and Summer and we imported some speakers. Enthusiasm ran high. A full ticket was nominated,
former politicians being left off.
In the meantime the Wheelers were not idle. Dr. C. M. Norwood, a one-legged Confederate soldier was their
nominee for Governor. James P. Eagle was the nominee of the Democrats. Norwood was a good orator and his
speeches were regular rabble-rousers. He made a speech here out in a grove near the colored Methodist church
that swept some good Democrats off their fee. [A grove of cedar trees stood for many years in the area now
bounded by Boswell, Third, College, and Fourth Streets. The Negro Methodist Church was located in that block.]
M. A. Wycough was the undisputed leader of the Wheel forces.
As the campaign progressed the fight grew hotter. A great rally was held by both parties. The Democrats had
Hon. P. D. McCulloch as their speaker. The Democrats had their parade first. It looked pretty formidable. Then
came the Wheelers. It looked like a mighty army to me. There must have been four thousand of them. After the
parade a crowd filled the circuit court room while the Wheeler orator spoke. When he finished the Wheelers went
wild and left the room almost to a man. Mr. McCulloch found only Democrats to listen to him. It seemed to me it
was the best political speech that ever fell on my ears. It certainly did arouse the Democrats to a high pitch of
enthusiasm. We have never from that time to this had such a hot political fight.
The fact that 1888 was a Presidential election year helped the Democrats somewhat. We brought Gov. Hughes
and other orators into the county to make speeches. The Democrats were nervous; the Wheelers were full of
When the smoke of battle cleared away it was found the Wheelers had triumphed -- electing every county
officer but one, by greatly reduced majorities. John H. Dickinson, for Circuit Clerk, was the only Democrat to pull
through, defeating Cason by 77 votes.
The successful Wheel ticket was composed of the following: Legislature, W. P. Huddleston and John C. Stroud.
They defeated H. S. Coleman and A. E. Nixon, Democrats. County Judge, A. J. Craig. County Clerk, M. A. Wycough.
Sheriff, McCurdy Hail. Treasurer, L. C. Lindsey. Surveyor, A. A. Henderson. Assessor, Josiah Martin. The
successful long Democrat was John H. Dickinson, elected Circuit Clerk.
In the Mayoralty election of 1888, Hon. J. C. Yancey was elected Mayor; N. M. Alexander, Recorder. The
Aldermen: H. H. Hinkle, James Loewen, J. M. Cook, W. B. Ruddell, and J. G. Mayfield. John Q. Wolf was elected
City Treasurer by the City Council; J. M. Bartlett, Street Commissioner; and J. W. Foster, Marshal.
The Justices of the Peace were Byers Smith and H. K. Maxwell. John W. Masner was elected Constable.
The Third Judicial District was composed of the counties of Independence, Jackson, Lawrence, Randolph,
Stone, and Sharp. J. W. Butler was Circuit Judge and J. L. Abernethy was Prosecuting Attorney.
There were a good many business changes in Batesville in 1888. Several new concerns opened. I mention
such as I recall; Alexander and Davidson, Jewelers; Herman Schott, General Store; Akers and Brown, Auctioneers;
S. J. McGuffin, Auctioneer; George Phillips, Blacksmith; W. L. Chambers, Dry Goods; Ed. M. Dickinson, Book Store
and Stationery; R. S. Thurman, Attorney; Buchanan and Lake, General Store; O. P. Moore and Bro., Dry Goods;
Rohrscheib and Burhop, Butcher Shop; W. O. McCord, Hardware; C. J. Saenger, Merchant Tailor. J. B. Mason
became editor of the North Arkansas Pilot and M. Y. Todisman became editor of the Guard.
Hinkle and Wolf started a private Bank, with $11,600.00 capital, which next year was incorporated as Bank of
Batesville, Capital $25,000.00.
Eagle defeated Norwood for Governor in 1888 by a narrow margin -- narrow for Arkansas, less than 20,000.
Harrison defeated Cleveland for President. Some faint-hearted ones predicted that the Democratic Party would
never elect another President. Harrison was hardly warm in his seat before the Republican leaders began to lay
plans to see that the Democrats should never again become dominant. The McKinley (Tariff) Bill was introduced.
Thomas R. Reed of Maine was elected Speaker of the House. Under his arbitrary rulings the Democrats were
squelched. To keep from being run over, rough shod, they adopted the expedient of rushing out of the House to
break a quorum every time an obnoxious bill was being rushed through. Reed promptly counted hats and
umbrellas of the absent ones and thus made a quorum. When the Democrats got to taking their hats and umbrellas
* * * Not sure of the wording * * *
[had] the janitor nail up the exit doors so the Democrats could not break out.
One day some vicious measure, probably the Force bill was being rammed down their throats when they made a
rush for the exit. Finding the door nailed up, Kilgore of Texas, a six-foot, 240-pounder, wearing No. 12 shoes, made
a charge at the door and kicked it to splinters and out the Democrats rushed. Kilgore had made way for "Liberty".
But Reed, not to be outdone, promptly counted the absent Democrats as present and made up a quorum. An
enterprising shoe manufacturer put out "The Kilgore" Men's shoe. It was a popular brand among Democrats for
many years thereafter.
Crisp of Georgia took the floor a day or two after and read statement after statement of former Republican
speakers and leaders all declaring a constitutional quorum consisted of the bodily presence of the proper number
of members. He climaxed his speech by quoting Tom Reed himself saying that those present and participating in
the proceedings constituted a quorum. Crisp said: "I appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober." It was no use;
Reed had his unconstitutional way.
May 14, 1937
Only casually have I made mention of the social life of Batesville fifty years ago. A modern might be disposed
to think that without automobiles, the radio, the phonograph, jazz music, the modern dance, cigarettes, club houses
just out of town, picture shows and bridge, life would not be worth the living and there would not be any social life in
Batesville or anywhere else. It is hoped that no tears will be shed by the youth of today over the social life of the
young people of fifty years ago. They came through those years of supposed social starvation with high heads and
unblushing cheeks, apparently as well satisfied with life as are the young people of 1937, and, apparently as well-
equipped, mentally and morally and socially to meet the grapple with the serious problems of life as the youth of
The young people I had the good fortune to fall in with in Batesville were Charles W., Fred, and Harry Maxfield;
J. L. Boggs; J. B. and J. C. Fitzhugh; Winslow Evans, John L. Hickerson, Paul Butler; J. N. and L. J. Cypert;
Dr. J. W. Case, A. L. Crouch, L. D. Stone, Byers Dickinson, W. W. Byers, Arthur Neill, Charles H. Coffin, O. P. Moore,
E. R. Long, Preston Ferrill, I. N. Barnett, A. A. Webber, and Byers Smith.
The young ladies were Misses Irene Long, Eugenia Butler, Mamie Reed, M. E. and Minnie Street; Monnie Wycough,
Nettie Maxfield, Seddie Joblin, Esther Case, Rena Fraley, Adele Crouch [Miss Crouch later became the wife of John
Quincy Wolf.], Jodie Boyer, Lucy Bevens, Mary Maxfield, Sallie and Emma Stinson; Kate McClure, and Judith and
Country picnics, at Felt's Spring, Chinn Spring, Luster's Spring, and Bell Cave were frequently enjoyed by the
young people. Sociables, parties at private residences, monthly meetings of their fine literary society: The Rude
Mechanicals, were always happy occasions. Lawn parties, ice cream and strawberry festivals, and steamboat trips
added spice to the life of young people.
By the end of my first year in Batesville, I had come to know some other citizens who were outstanding in the
county's progress: P. C. Conn, F. M. Martin, and M. L. Martin of Newark section; E. M. and John P. Dunnington and
Robert Adams of Oil Trough; W. W. McLendon, Robert Morris, W. R. Ham, Jesse Moore of Moorefield; G. J. Lindsey
and J. W. Wilf, Floral; W. I. R. Howard, Capt. Cullins of Jamestown; Y. M. Mack and John A. Shaw and George C.
Luster of Ruddell Township.
J. A. Laman and Bro. were doing an active mercantile business at Loyal Post Office near Cave City. They induced
the Post Office Department to change the name of the office to Cave City and moved their business to the new
location. Cave City would have been in Independence County but for the obstinacy of one citizen out there who
refused to sell the land in Independence County for the townsite.
At a Post Office named Alvis, Dr. J. W. McSlarrow was conducting a mercantile business. This was in Jefferson
In 1889 the Bank of Batesville was organized and took over the business of Hinkle and Wolf, Banking and
Insurance. The capital of the new bank -- the first bank incorporated in Batesville since the Civil War -- was
$25,000. J. S. Handford was President, D. C. Ewing, Vice-President; H. H. Hinkle, Cashier; and John Q. Wolf,
Assistant Cashier. The directors were: R. D. Williams, John A. Hinkle, D. C. Ewing, P. G. Sheppard, C. R. Handford,
J. S. Handford, and John Q. Wolf. This next year, Peoples Savings Bank was incorporated, taking over the business
of Simon Adler, Banker and Broker. Mr. Adler was President; James Rutherford, Vice-President; James P. Coffin was
Cashier. The directors were: Simon Adler, Theo. Maxfield, James Rutherford, I. N. Reed, C. T. Rosenthal, E. R. Long.
The capital was $37, 500 at first but soon increased to $50,000. [An early picture of the People's Savings Bank can
be seen on page 18 of the Chronicle article, "The Jewish Community in Batesville, Arkansas."]
A corporation was organized in 1889 called the Batesville Bank Building Company. It bought the Glenn Row of
one-story frame houses on Main and Chestnut and began the erection of the three-story Bank Building, the only
three-story structure in town then and for a third of a century thereafter. The Bank of Batesville and its successors
occupied this building until 1936 when North Arkansas Bank was liquidated. [The three-story brick building, razed
in 1974, stood on the northwest corner of Main and Central, present site of the Batesville Insurance and Abstract
The Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodges had stock in the Bank Building and when the work began on it, the
Masons and Odd Fellows decided to celebrate the event by a great Corner Stone laying, participated in by the
Grand officers of the Grand Lodges and by the subordinate lodges throughout this section. It was a gala day in
Batesville and it is estimated that there were 5,000 visitors here that day. The cornerstone was laid August 26, 1890.
The year 1900 brought with it plenty of political excitement. It was National election year; that is, it was the year
for Congressional elections and state officers in nearly all of the states. The victorious Republicans had been
handling the Democrats roughly. The notorious McKinley Tariff Bill had been rammed down the throats of the
Democrats and that too over many Republican protests. James G. Blaine, the brainiest man in the Republican
party, warned his party of the folly and danger of passing the bill. But the manufacturers who had had the fat
fried out of them in the Presidential campaign of 1888 stiffly demanded the McKinley Bill and they got what they
wanted. Prices on everything the farmer had to buy had bounded upward and the farmers were up in arms. The
National political situation reacted favorably for the Democrats in all local and state elections.
In Independence County, the Republicans had fared rather badly at the hands of the Wheelers and they now
came forward once more with a just demand for recognition in making up the county ticket, since they had been
furnishing at least a third of the votes polled by the Wheel. The Wheelers cared nothing for the Republicans
except to get their votes and they hesitated about putting a Republican on the Wheel ticket. They feared it
would offend the old line Democrats, now lined up with the Wheel and would thus jeopardize their entire ticket.
The outcome of the matter was that the Wheelers agreed to let the Republicans have one place on the ticket.
The Republicans selected F. P. Southard for the office of Sheriff. The Democrats nominated the following ticket
and the fight was on, and it was a sure-enough fight:
For Senator, H. H. Oyler of Stone County; Representatives, Ed M. Dickinson and E. D. Farish; Judge, M. L. Arnold;
Sheriff, T. J. Owens; County Clerk, W. E. Bevens; Circuit Clerk, Clink Jackson; Treasurer, B. F. Mayhue, an ex-soldier
in the Union Army; Surveyor, George Wilson; Assessor, W. R. Ham.
Meantime, the Wheelers had abandoned the name of Wheel and assumed that of Union Labor Party. They had
also established a weekly paper here. Its editor was Lee Marston, a bright and fluent writer; he wielded a vitriolic
pen and was an adept in saying mean and exasperating things about the Democratic part. He proved a veritable
thorn in the flesh for the Democrats. But Democrats somehow have always fought more desperately and more
successfully when they have their backs to the wall.
Farish, one of the nominees for Representative, got sick and had to quit the canvass. The party leaders
drafted Moses Defries, a hard-headed, intelligent, well-read, practical farmer of Washington township, to make the
canvass for Farish. Defries entered into the campaign with as much zest as is he had been the regular nominee.
He proved to be a veritable "Moses" indeed. He was a big surprise, a happy surprise, for the Democrats and he
gave the Union Labor Party a great pain. He was the main feature of the campaign. It was hinted around that
Farish had sufficiently recovered to enter the canvass and was about to do so, when some long-headed Democrats
persuaded him that he had better get back in bed and be sick a little while longer -- until election day, as Defries was
putting in some powerful blows and the opposition seemed a bit groggy.
The first Monday in September was election day and a great day it was for the Democrats, for they made a clean
sweep, electing their entire ticket by safe but narrow majorities. Southard was the worst defeated man on the Union
Labor ticket and this did not set well with the Republicans and really caused a falling away of Republicans from
Union Labor affiliation.
In the November election of that year, Hon. W. H. Cate of Jonesboro was elected to Congress from this District
over L. P. Featherstone, but he was unseated by the Republican House and Featherstone was given the seat.
As an item of interest I recall the Republican County Convention held in July 1900. W. B. Padgett was chairman,
S. A. Smiley was secretary. The participants were: G. M. Reynolds, Jerome Ball, W. P. Jones, J. B. Meriwether,
J. J. Barnwell, and some whose names I have forgotten. W. B. Padgett and J. B. Meriwether were selected as
delegates to the Republican State Convention.
May 21, 1937
It must not be inferred that, in contrasting the amusements and diversions of today, many of which seem
questionable, with those simpler and less strenuous ones and young people of fifty years ago enjoyed, I am
seeking to disparage our young people of this day and generation. It is true that modesty is much less in
evidence now than it was then, and, in the main, young people are now reading fewer good books and less
worthwhile literature and are taking life less seriously, yet we must remember that conditions have changed,
the world has changed, life has become more complex, young people are facing more temptations, and life
is keyed up to a much higher tension.
The young people of today have their problems; they have more things to divert their minds and to distract
their attention, more sacrifices to make in order to walk the straight and narrow path and responsibilities with
high courage. They have strong faith in themselves. They are entitles to, and should have, the patient sympathy,
the earnest cooperation and the hearty good cheer of those who once were young and know something of the
pitfalls and snares that lie in the strange, mysterious paths in which the untrained feet of the young must walk.
We should extend the glad hand to youth, for a double blessing is involved: a blessing to them and a blessing
It is one of the common faults of those who are accounted old, to be out of tune with the spirit of youth, the
spirit of progress, and to have little patience with the foibles and mistakes of young people. Such persons
curtail their own pleasures and make others unhappy by living in the past. Well may we pray to be delivered
from that condition of life when we can see no good in that which is new and modern and progressive -- while
living on the husks of yesterday, while waiting in misery and gloom for the chariots to swing low.
A considerable change in the personnel of the business and professional life of Batesville had taken place
In the professions, Dr. William Lawrence, father of Dr. W. B. Lawrence, had died; Dr. T. J. Woods had come
here; F. D. Fulkerson, a young lawyer, had come here from Warrensburg, Missouri, and formed a partnership
with Hon. J. C. Yancey. Arthur Neill had completed a law course and entered the practice here. The churches
had new pastors: R. S. Deener was pastor of First Methodist Church; Arthur G. Jones had succeeded Dr. I. J. Long
at the Presbyterian Church; Thomas Griffiths, a Welshman, was pastor of First Baptist Church. The Episcopal
Church had no rector in 1892.
Among the business changes, a young man from Germany had opened a merchant tailor shop. His name was
Herman Guenzel. He had a partner, also a German, Fred Dauer. They did fine work, were attentive to business,
and quickly built up a good trade. We are glad that Mr. Guenzel is still with us. Mark Craig had moved away and
there were two other meat shops, Sam Earnheart and Rohrscheib and Burhop. There was a new livery stable, or
rather J. B. Maclin had succeeded J. M. Bartlett. Paul and Case had brought a stable in 1889 and had gone out
of business by 1892.
Penrod Bros. had opened a racket store; Herman Schott had opened a general store, as had also R. L. McNairy.
J. W. Fletcher from Mississippi had opened a new drug store where the City Drug Company now operates.
The city officers were: Mayor, John C. Bone; Recorded, N. M. Alexander; Marshal, G. W. Landers; Treasurer,
J. E. Rosebrough; Aldermen, C. W. Maxfield, J. B. Fitzhugh, J. G. Maxfield, Thomas W. Williams, and John M. Cook.
The year 1892 witnessed the first legal execution by electricity in the United States. Kemmler was executed
(electrocuted) in Auburn prison, New York state. It was a bungled affair and after he had been pronounced dead
he revived and had to be electrocuted again.
Jay Gould, one of the world's greatest railroad magnates, and one of American's wealthiest men, died. His
methods were said to have been cold-blooded. His home and domestic life were flawless -- in striking contrast
to that of many rich men of the present generation, who go in for divorces.
The year 1892 was one of the liveliest years politically, both National, District, and local, that many of us ever
saw. Grover Cleveland had been defeated for a second term as President in the election of 1888. The Republicans
had become pretty hungry after four years of Democratic rule. John Wanamaker, the great Philadelphia merchant,
had gone out among business men and especially manufacturers and raised a campaign fund of $400,000.
But this was a small part of the total campaign fund of that year. By a close vote, Benjamin Harrison carried
New York state, which gave him the election. Had Cleveland carried it, he would have been elected. Harrison's
majority was only about 14,000.
The Republicans had passed the McKinley tariff bill which had aroused bitter opposition. They had tried for
months to pass the Force Bill, and although they had a majority in both House and Senate, they could not get a
vote on the Force Bill. But their effort to pass it cost them many thousands of votes in 1892, when Cleveland
and Stephenson were elected. The Democrats carried the House of Representatives by a huge majority.
In that year Batesville had some of the warmest politics she ever enjoyed. The State had been re-districted
and Independence County was put into a new Congressional District called the Sixth. There were four candidates
for the Democratic nomination. Col. Bob Crockett of Arkansas County, grandson of the famous Davy; Hon.
Stephen Brundidge of White County; Hon. W. P. Fletcher of Lonoke County; and Hon. Robert Neill of Batesville.
The Congressional convention was held in Batesville and lasted over a week. Everybody was keyed up to the
highest peak of excitement, hoping, day after day, for a break in the forces of one or more of the candidates.
Finally the delegates became worn out with the pulling and hauling and urging that was going on behind the
scenes. Lonoke County broke the long deadlock by casting its vote for Neill, giving him the nomination, and
there was great rejoicing in Batesville.
Our delegation in the 53rd Congress was composed of: P. D. McCulloch, First District; C. R. Breckenridge,
Second; T. C. McRare, Third; W. L. Terry, Fourth; Hugh Dinsmore, Fifth; and Robert Neill, Sixth. We have
never had a stronger delegation in Congress. Jones and Berry were our Senators.
By way of parenthesis, I will state a fact which has just occurred to me, and that is that since the birth of
the Republican Party over 75 years ago, it has never had but one President to serve two full terms. General
Grant was elected twice and served his two terms in full, and he is the only one who has.
President Lincoln was assassinated in his second term. Andrew Johnson only filled out Lincoln's
unfinished term. Hayes had one term.
Garfield was assassinated early in his second term. Theodore Roosevelt who was Vice-President filled
out McKinley's second term and was then himself elected and served one full term. President Taft had but
one term and was defeated by Wilson. Harding died soon after taking office. Coolidge filled out Harding's
unfinished term and was then elected and served one full term.
Hoover was elected to succeed Coolidge, who "did not choose to run" at the end of his four-year term to
which he was elected. But in his race for a second term, Hoover was badly overwhelmed by Franklin D.
Roosevelt. Thus, no Republican has served two full terms except Grant.
On the other hand, of the three Democrats elected since Buchanan, Cleveland and Wilson were given two
full terms and Franklin D. Roosevelt is well on his way to the fulfillment of his second term.
General Grant made a desperate fight for a third term, but his Party denied him a third nomination at Chicago
in 1880. Theodore Roosevelt, having served out most of McKinley's second term, and then a full term of his
own, claimed he had had two terms and refused to run in 1908, but in 1912 he changed his mind and ran again
as a Bull Mooser, and against Taft, the regular Party nominee. Both were defeated by Wilson.
May 28, 1937
When, at the end of a year we look over the business houses and offices and the list of professional men,
lawyers, dentists, doctors, teachers, it seems there has been comparatively little change from the previous
year. But, if we take the time to actually compare the years, we will be surprised at the many changes that
have taken place. It is surprising how many teachers, lawyers, doctors, firms, business concerns come and go.
For instance, from1892 to 1893 these changes had taken place: (perhaps there were many others which
I cannot recall):
New business concerns: Wycough and Green, Lumber; R. P. Hitchcock, Lumber Mill; E. F. Matheney, Albright
and Ramsey, Groceries; R. C. Reynolds and Company, Shoe Store; J. A. Hardy, livery stable; Jackson and
Cannon, livery; Ernest Neill, insurance; Eugene Hendren, bakery; B. F. Barnwell, Attorney. One change had
taken place in city pastors: Rev. William Jones, an Englishman, had become rector of the Episcopal Church.
Three new steamboats were in the upper river trade, replacing older ones. The Randall, the Woodson
(Capt. Woodbury), and the Rex (Capt. Will C. Shipp). J. P. Jones was Post Master, John C. Bone was still the
Mayer, but Byers Smith was the Recorder. G. W. Landers was still City Marshall. The Councilmen were:
R. A. Bandy, J. W. Case, R. P. Hitchcock, J. A. Luster, and C. W. Maxfield. W. M. Fishback, a Union man, was
Governor of Arkansas. He was a Democrat, however, as were hundreds of thousands of Union men.
Dr. D. C. Ewing was elected President of the State Medical Society that year. During the year, John Temple
Graves, the famous author and lecturer, delivered his lecture: "The Reign of the Demagogue" in Batesville.
So it seems we had demagogues, whatever that means, in those days. Aren't we glad we have none now!
One of the outstanding events of nationwide interest that year was the opening of the famous Cherokee Strip
of the Indian Territory -- a strip of land 100 miles wide, running clear across, and containing 6,000,000 acres.
It was one of the most widely-advertised events in American history and the race put up by the participants was
the greatest and most spectacular ever seen in the world. Farmers, mechanics, preachers, cowboys, women,
adventurers, Easterners, strangers to frontier life, old men, young men, all classes, on foot, horseback, in
buggies, in wagons, tens of thousands of them, plunged forward, pell-mell, at the sharp crack of a rifle in the hands
of a Sergeant of the Third Cavalry, U.S.A., followed simultaneously, from guns of other soldiers, stationed along
the line between Kansas and the Indian Territory, on the 16th day of September, 1893. They were after the lands
and the townsites to be staked out in this Cherokee Strip. Within seven years, the Indian Territory, which had
been constituted a State, Oklahoma, had a population of 400,000. Oklahoma has long since become one of the
most progressive, outstanding states of the Southwest.
The national election of 1890, which turned on the McKinley Bill, has already been alluded to, as a great
victory for the Democrats, and an earnest of the still greater victory in 1892, when Grover Cleveland was returned
to the White House after, having been defeated by Benjamin Harrison in 1888. The Democrats carried the House
of Representatives by a large majority and enough State Legislatures to give the U. S. Senate to that Party also,
thus giving Democrats full control of both houses and the Presidency for the first time in a third of a century.
Another notable achievement of the year was the opening of the Chicago World's Fair, or Columbian Exposition,
in celebration of the Four Hundredth Anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America. No such ambitious attempt
at an Exposition had ever been made in America. The Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876, celebrating the
One Hundredth Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, had been the nearest approach to it. The Cotton
Centennial Exposition of New Orleans, Louisiana, was a wonderful show, but the Columbian Exposition overshadowed
both of these, great as they were. The largest assemblage of human beings this scribe ever saw, or ever expects to
see again, was the mighty throng of over one million people who went through the gates of Chicago Day, October 12th.
I think the Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in St. Louis in the early years of this century eclipsed the Columbian
Exposition in many respects. But I doubt if there were one million people in attendance on any one day during the Fair.
A notable social uplift occurred during the years immediately following 1893, which many local students of such
phenomena have been trying, in vain, to account for. Very recently we ran across a High School Program of the Sixth
Annual Commencement of Batesville High School which we think, clears this matter up and makes everything plain.
In that year, a triumvirate of ambitious young chaps, graduated at the local High School, and naturally, it was
expected of them, that, in their several orations at Commencement, they would lay down, iterate, re-iterate, make
manifest and set forth the rules of life and conduct, so plainly that the wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err
therein. The boys rose to the occasion; they did not disappoint the hopes of teachers or friends. By dint of hard
work, copious extracts from certain books of reference, and patient practice, they each produced an oration worthy
to be called a classic. Unfortunately, we are not allotted sufficient space here to print in full these three productions.
The young men acquitted themselves with great credit.
These three young men were none other than Charles Whitfield Wasson -- he of the red necktie; Dene H. Coleman,
otherwise known as Ham; and Robert Stanley Handford, affectionately dubbed "Hooks" by his chums.
Wasson blazed the trail with "Thrift" as his subject. Good selection. After the audience had recovered sufficiently,
the second member of the triumvirate, Dene Coleman, illuminated the prevailing darkness as he expatiated on
the modest subject of "Aims of Life" for about thirty minutes, while "Hooks" brought up the rear with a good many well-
chosen remarks on "Learn to Labor and to Wait."
Among others who participated in this program of the Sixth Annual Commencement, there was an Instruments Solo
by Mollie Duffey. Vocal Duet: Nora and Effie Glenn; Oration, Our Flag, D. D. Adams; Instrumental Duet, Daisy Reed
and Rilla Dickinson. The memory of these happy days, those care-free days, makes us feel the saying, "backward,
turn Backward, O Time, in your fight."
June 4, 1937
In some respects conditions are worse now than they were fifty years ago. In other respects there has been great
improvement. To illustrate, let us consider the evolution of the "drummer". I have heard it said, by traveling men
themselves, fifty years ago the average drummer's qualifications consisted in his capacity to tell smutty yarns to the
admiring proprietors and their clerks in the stores; to talk merchants into a state of submissiveness; to absorb liberal
portions of John Barleycorn, and still stand up well, and to entertain the house's country mercantile customers when
they visited the city, by taking them to see all the sights including theatres, some of them not very high class. Of
course, all the traveling men of fifty years ago did not qualify according to these standards, but many of them were
just as chaste in speech and clean of life and as circumspect in conduct as are the great majority of them today.
The traveling man of today is sober. He knows he cannot do his work to the best advantage when his brain is
befuddled with booze. He does not "cuss" before the merchant and his clerks; in fact, he does not cuss at all; he
does not offer his customers whiskey and he does not regale them with filthy yarns. In fine, the drummer of today
is a Christian gentleman. Back home he is a deacon, or an elder or a steward in his church -- probably a teacher
in its Sunday School
"Gab" is no longer a prime qualification of the drummer. The one who does not tell the prospective customer what
he needs, but let the customer tell him; who modestly inquires if anything is needed; who explains briefly any recent
changes in styles and prices and trends of the market; who thanks the merchant for any modest orders given him, and
thanks him for taking up his time even though no orders were given him; who makes his visit brief and business-like
and goes on his way -- he is the man that, in the long run, gets the business.
I recall a visit once from a stationery salesman, when I was buying for the First National Bank. I was very busy,
and he understood it, but he followed me from desk to desk and from counter to counter; he hounded me for two hours,
after I had told him in a genteel way that we did not want to buy. Because I was not rude, he felt he could impose on
me. But while I could not be rude, I could be firm, and I would not have bought anything from him, after his persistent,
tenacious, impudent attitude even if we had needed it. The real traveling salesman, the one who holds his job, and
gets the orders, would not annoy his customer, nor impose on his good nature nor try to overwhelm him with prattle
under any considerations.
There are plenty of traveling salesmen today who meet every test of character, conduct, and ability. I mention one
because he does not live here and because I have no orders to bestow. If you will observe W. A. Voss of the Geo. D.
Barnard Stationery Co., St. Louis, the next time he comes around, you will see one of those "salt of the earth" drummers
in action. I have not bought anything of Voss in nearly ten years and probably will never buy anything else from him,
and he will be surprised to see that I have used him name. He is only one of the fine company of ideal drummers today.
I recall the following traveling salesmen who were coming to Batesville fifty years ago, including some who lived
here and some who went on the road between forty and forty-five years ago:
Charley McCain, Hamilton-Brown Shoe Company; Jake Hirsch, Bernheimer and Co.; Ben Larmon, Shapleigh Hardware
Co.; Ed Barton, Rothschild Hat Co.; Lawrence Branch, White, Branch & McConkin; R. C. Snoody, Neill, Keith & Barlow;
Ed Angell, Alkire Grocer Co.; J. N. Cypert, Baer, Seasongood & Co.; Bill Cross, B. Lowenstein & Co., he afterwards was
the first Secretary of State for the State of Oklahoma.
Bill Hockaday, Wear, Boogher Dry Goods Co.; T. W. Burrow, Rice, Stix & Co. -- now an officer of Beall Burrow Dry
Goods Co., Little Rock. Wallace Byler, Kelly, Goodfellow & Co.; Cad. Hanks, Brooks, Neeley & Co.; J. A. Holmes, Brown,
Daughaday & Co.; J. L. W. Grover, Ferguson-McKinney D. G. Co.; P. C. White, Adler-Goldman Com. Co.; Alf H. Joblin,
Hill, Fontaine & Co.; H. P. Barbee, Houston, Meeks & Co., Lawrence Pierson, Schwab Clothing Co.; Commodore Anderson
(Golden Crown Flour) Blaker Milling Co.; W. D. Wall, Simmons Hardware Co.; A. E. Shields, Rice, Stix & Co.; Jim Rice,
Wertheimer, Schwartz Shoe Co.; John Oliver, Fosdick Hat Co.; D. N. Helm, White, Branch & McConkin; L. J. Cypert, Bray &
Landrum; _______ Sparks, Scudder-Gale Grocer Co.; Oscar Knight, Ely & Walker Dry Goods Co.; C. H. Wood, Reinskopf,
Sterne, Lauer; E. F. Matheny, Huiskamp Shoe Co.; Sam Hockaday, Brookmire, Rankin & Scudder; C. W. Reiney, Meyer,
Schmid Gro. Co.; G. M. Lewis, Simmons Hardware Co.; J. C. Johnston, Brown Shoe Co.; Fred Biggs, Friedman, Shelby
Shoe Co.; C. G. Prather, Ely & Walker Dry Goods Co.; Tom Parsons, Goodbar & Co.
I also recall that Mr. Bob Weaver was traveling for a clothing house and some few years later, J. F. Martin went to the
road selling buggies. T. R. Taylor and James Brown traveled for saddlery houses.
There were also some houses that had representatives traveling here whose names I have forgotten. The houses
were H. T. Simon, Gregory & Co.; Gauss, Shelton Hat Co.; J. S. Merrell Drug Co.; Senter & Co.; Witte Hardware Co.;
A. F. Shapleigh Hardware Co.; Richardson Drug Co.; Peters Shoe Co.; Lammert Furniture Co.; Huttig Sash & Door Co.
There are other respects in which conditions have not improved. For instance, fifty years ago a gentleman would
not smoke in the parlor; he would not smoke at the table where there were ladies; he would not smoke while walking
along the street with a lady.
Not so many years ago I recall a case in point. The Masonic Home Board was having a meeting here, at the Home.
After dinner, the President of the Board wanted to smoke, as do most smokers after a meal. The meeting was being held
in the parlor of the Home, and he asked the other members of the Board to excuse him while he went out in the yard and
smoked. Not many years later there were two new members on the Board, younger men. Again the Board was meeting
in the parlor, but it hadn't been in session half an hour until these two younger members had the room full of cigarette
smoke, and they hadn't asked anybody's permission.
The only place I know of now where men do not hesitate to light up their cigarettes and cigars, is in the passenger
coaches of the railroads. I believe the railroads still require men to respect the feelings and wishes and the comfort of
their non-smoking passengers by requiring the smokers to go into the smoker.
There has been a great and wholesome evolution in merchandising methods in these fifty years. Then, all the stores
were independent; they had no system as to opening and closing hours. Then general stores opened early and stayed
open until 10 o'clock at night. Nobody had a one price system; competition was much more rampant than it is today.
The great department stores like Montgomery, Ward & Company and Sears, Roebuck and Company were not in the field,
competing with the local merchants, selling everything from a paper of needles to a saw mill.
Local merchants are better organized now; they have system and order in their stores; they open later and close
earlier, making life less strenuous for their clerks and officers; they do not sell on credit like they once did; they render
a far more efficient service than was possible under the old methods.
In the former days the drummers would make periodic trips into the interior, coming in a two-horse hack with several
large trunks, stuffed full of samples of shoes, or clothing, or hats, or whatever they sold. The trips they had to make in
that way over these North Arkansas hills and mountains, with no roads worthy of the name, no Statler hotels or Tony
Faust restaurants, were not soon forgotten.
Speaking of poor hotel accommodations, I heard one traveling man say that from personal observation, he had found
that the drummer who made the loudest complaints about poor accommodations, sorry food, uncomfortable beds and who
was the worst all-round chronic kicker was the one who had the fewest of these comforts in his own home.
June 11, 1937
In the last installment, I omitted the name of an old St. Louis firm that did business all over Arkansas for many
years, viz.; McCombs, Caruth & Byrnes, a hardware concern. There were three of the Caruth brothers -- one in
St. Louis, one in Louisville, and one in Little Rock.
An outstanding event in the New World in 1892-93 was the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, commemorating
the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus. One of the main attractions of the Exposition
was the celebrated Ferris Wheel, over 300 feet high. Millions of people "went up" in this wonderful wheel.
Forty years after this Exposition, Chicago put on another World's Fair to commemorate the industrial and scientific
progress of America. To illustrate the progress in applied electricity, the vast machinery of this last exposition, was set
in motion by a ray of light shot out from the bright star Arcturus, which ray started on its journey from the star to the earth
just forty years ago or at the close of the World's Columbian Exposition. Traveling at the rate of 186,000 miles per second,
the ray traveled a distance of 5,865,696,000 miles (five trillion, eight hundred and sixty-five billion, six hundred and
ninety-six million miles).
The point of this unique feature was the capturing of this ray of light and using the impulse to set in motion ponderous
machinery on the earth. Locally, the year 1893 was epochal for Batesville. In that year, a petition was circulated asking
for the formation of a Water and Light Improvement District, under a late act of the Legislature.
A majority, in value, of the real estate owners signed the petition, the District was formed with Hon. Robert Neill,
C. R. Handford and William Ramsey as Commissioners. All formalities were complied with and bids were asked. A
man named Jaeger secured the contract and the work began. Late in the summer of 1894 the street lights were turned
on for the first time, and a regular Rebel yell rent the town from one end of Main Street to the other. The street lights
were of the arc type -- large globes each having 2000 candle power capacity. These arc lights were replaced long years
ago by incandescent lamps.
For some years prior to the advent of water and lights there was loud complaint from all classes, about the dust
nuisance. Every gust of wind blew dust into the stores, offices, residences, and all over people. It was quite impossible
to keep clothes and bodies clean. One year we tried oil on the streets. But it did not last long. Then a contract was
entered into between the city and Mr. J. A. Hardy by which the latter sprinkled the streets at certain hours of the day. But
this afforded only temporary relief, and so the agitation for waterworks increased. What the people want they are going
to get sooner or later, if their cause has merit and if they persist. There was opposition to so worthy a project as
waterworks and electric lights, just as there always has been and always will be to every other worthy enterprise. Human
progress has had to fight its way, foot by foot, from time immemorial, but the opponents of progress ultimately wear
themselves out; their ranks become thinner by deaths and desertions, and the advocates of progress win the day.
The agitation for good roads had been going on, with more or less insistence, since Arkansas became a State.
The old method of road upkeep consisted in having road overseers for a definite section of each county road.
Where one overseer's jurisdiction ended, another's began. At long intervals, probably twice a year, the Overseer
would notify every male citizen between the ages of 21 and 45 years of age to meet him at a specified place on a
specified date, and bring with him an axe or grubbing hoe or hand-spike or shovel or other tool needed in road
work. At the appointed time and place the men would meet and the bunch would tackle the bad places in the road.
They were all bad as to that, but only the worst places received consideration and attention. It usually required
only one day for an overseer to complete his section of road. Occasionally two days would be devoted to it where
bad washouts had occurred or slight detours were found necessary. Then the road would be left along for probably
six months. This highly efficient method of road maintenance continued until the demand for better roads and the
agitation through the newspapers, forced the Legislature to enact the Road Law, which provided for the election of
overseers and the taxation of real estate to maintain the roads. Under this law, there was at once a big improvement
in road conditions. Wherever a competent overseer was elected and graft was kept out, there would the people get
a taste of good roads. But it was not many years before the elections of overseers degenerated into a scramble of
little political township bosses or would-be bosses. The large sums derived from taxes were largely dissipated and
wasted through political manipulation and favoritism, and graft.
Ruddell Township was most fortunate in its earlier overseers. Capt. Y. M. Mack was our first overseer under the
new law. Capt. Mack was not only capable, but he was strictly honest and he kept politics -- practical politics -- out
of his administration and he built the first section of a real road that was ever constructed in the county. He was
followed in office by other competent and honest men. But all the townships did not fare so well.
In a few years the people became aware of the fact that they were not getting value received for the money they
paid in as taxes, to the road fund. The roads everywhere became a prey to dishonest and incompetent township
bosses and overseers and a general demand went up for a change in the law.
About this time the gasoline-driven automobile was developed, and folks who had money began to buy them and
use them. When Henry Ford produced the Model T at a decent price, the demand for automobiles became general
and people who didn't have money be to began to buy them -- on the installment plan. It was then that a real, sure
enough, full-fledged, insistent and persistent demand for good roads arose from every quarter. and the demand was
responsible for the era of frenzied building of highways by Improvement Districts and bond issues and has loaded
Arkansas down with the largest per capita indebtedness of any State in the union. We have the good roads now,
criss-crossing the State in every direction and we want more of them. We also have the back-breaking burden of
taxes, and the bonded indebtedness that our children's children will be paying.
Before we had good roads the old roads literally ate up farm wagons by the hundreds and thousands. The following
make of wagons were sold in this section in enormous quantities. The Linstroth, Springfield Hickory, Studebaker,
White Water, and Winona were sold by Theodore Maxfield and Bros.; the Leudinghaus by Hinkle and Company; the
Owensboro by Reed and Company; the White River Wagon was manufactured and sold here by D. E. White. There
was no superior to the White River Wagon.
The traveling men who made North Arkansas territory in the eighties and nineties had to have the sturdiest kind of
two-horse hacks to haul themselves and their heavy sample trunks. A concern at Springfield, Missouri, Jess and
Sturdy, being familiar with the territory and the roads, manufactured the only hack that seemed to stand up under
the buffetings of the sand rock ledges and the limestone boulders, the chug holes and the ruts and the hummocks
that beset our alleged roads. Their hacks were in great demand; no other would long survive the strain of gliding
over our North Arkansas highways. What an amazing advance has been made in our methods of transportation.
June 18, 1937
Batesville received a great sock June 3, 1893 when the Rev. R. S. Deener was arrested on instructions from
the Prosecuting Attorney, Hon. Paul Butler, upon a charge of forgery and lodged in jail. In fact, the whole state
was shocked. Mr. Deener stood high as a minister. He was the most popular minister in town, among all
denominations. He was also very prominent in Masonic circles. The Knights Templar accompanied him in a
body, to Sulphur Rock, where his preliminary trial took place, a change of venue having been granted him.
In local banking circles his arrest did not occasion great surprise for he had been doing some high financing
at the banks for some time. He served a term in the penitentiary for his crimes.
I shall not forget the pathetic picture of his old father standing on the edge of the crowd of 1000 people who
had assembled at the Bank Building corner to see Deener when the sheriff brought him back from Newport where
he was arrested while attempting to flee. The father told me a short time afterwards that as he looked upon his
son, in the custody of the sheriff, as he was being taken to jail, he thought he was the noblest-looking man his
eyes had ever looked upon.
The old man did not long survive this tragic event. As someone said in a newspaper account, he died of a
slight sickness and a great sorrow.
Notable among the events of 1893 was the passing of Hon. James G. Blaine, one of the most brilliant men in
American public life. He was at once one of the most popular men and one of the most berated. Twice a formidable
candidate for the Republican nomination for the Presidency, he was finally awarded that nomination in 1884 only to
be defeated by Grover Cleveland. In 1888 he could have had the nomination but would not accept it.
He went to Congress from Maine in 1862. From the very first he became a leader in the House. By 1868 he was
the recognized leader of the Republican party. In 1869 he was elected Speaker and held that office until the
Democrats captured the House in 1874. He served in the House 20 years.
The enemies he made in his own party were even more bitter than were the Democrats. The great Conkling was
one of the most bitter and unrelenting on his foes. He was dubbed "The Plumed Knight" by his enemies. I think it
came about in this way: Ingersol, the agnostic, was making a nominating speech putting Blaine in nomination for
President. He was a man of great eloquence. In defense of Blaine form the charges of crookedness in connection
with the Little Rock and Fort Smith railroad and the Mulligan letters, Ingersoll said: "Like an armed warrior, like a
Plumed Knight, James G. Blaine marched down the halls of the American Congress and threw his shining lance full
and fair in the face of the defamers of his country and the maligners of his honor." Thereafter, "Plumed Knight" was
applied to him in derision by those who did not like him.
When Garfield was shot by Guiteau, he lingered for over two months. Blaine was his Secretary of State and as
the chief cabinet officer he took charge of the Ship of State, and steered it safely and ably until the President died,
when Arthur, the Vice-President, became President.
Blaine protested to his party leaders against the passage of the McKinley Tariff Act, warning them of the
disastrous consequences. I recall some words he used before the Committee having the bill in charge: "Go
on with your driveling idiocy, and you'll see what happens." They went on. This was in 1889. At the general
election in 1890 his party was overwhelmingly routed, and two years later, lost the Presidency.
The ablest and most brilliant man in his party, Blaine was an active candidate for the Republican nomination
for the Presidency in the conventions of 1876, when Hayes was nominated, in 1880 when Garfield was named.
He would have polled more votes than either of them in the election.
The coveted nomination finally came to him in 1884. Logan was his running mate. Aside from a Republican
rift in New York where the Independence Republicans came out for Cleveland, his party was highly pleased with
the ticket and enthusiasm ran high all over the country. It looked like a sweep for Blaine and Logan. But fate
decreed otherwise. Right on the eve of the election there was a banquet given by some sort of organization in
New York City, which was attended by Blaine, who made a short address. Near the end of the banquet, a preacher,
Dr. Burchard, arose and made a short address, winding it up by characterizing Mr. Blaine's opponents as the Party
of "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion". Mr. Blaine scarcely noticed the remark, but some of the banquetors almost
fainted. The newspaper reporters were now slow in giving the incident to the press. New York is full of Irish
Catholics. The Irish had shown a strong leaning towards Blaine and he was assured of a tremendous Catholic
vote in New York City and Brooklyn. But when a Republican speaker, in the very presence of the party candidate
for the Presidency dubbed the Democratic Party as the "Party of Run, Romanism, and Rebellion" the Catholics by
the tens of thousands deserted Blaine and voted for Cleveland who carried the State by the microscopic plurality
of 1049 votes out of more than a million and won the Presidency.
I revert to the years of 1889 and 1890 to recount some political experiences which stirred Arkansas deeply.
The Wheel had overturned Democratic majorities in a great many of the counties and Wheelers were occupying
the offices. Its candidate, Dr. C. M. Norwood, had given Hon. James P. Eagle a close run for Governor. W. H. Cate,
Democratic nominee for Congress from this district had defeated Featherstone, the Wheel candidate, but the
Republican majority in the House of Representatives had unseated him and given the seat to Featherstone.
Hon. John M. Clayton, brother of the noted Powell Clayton, had been defeated for Congress in the Pine Bluff
District by Hon. Clifton R. Breckenridge. Clayton at once instituted a contest and began to seek evidence of fraud
in several counties of the District.
On the night of January 29, 1889, while stopping in the village of Plummerville, in Conway County, whether he
had gone to investigate alleged ballot box frauds, he was shot and killed, the murderer firing through the window.
His assassination sent a thrill of horror throughout the State. A large reward was offered for the apprehension of
the assassin. Detectives and county officials worked on the case for months; the newspapers in and out of the
State called on the sheriff to arrest the elusive murderer, but no arrest was ever made, and so far as I know, no
particular person was ever suspected of the murder. A detective employed by Clayton's relatives, took up the
case and the information was given out that he was about ready to solve the mystery, when he suddenly, and
without explanation, abandoned the case.
Some time afterwards, Gov. Fishback came out in letter to the press, charging that Clayton was accidentally
killed by one of his own hired tools, and that when the detective ran upon this evidence, he was promptly called
off the case. Gov. Fishback's explanation was that Clayton was shot just as he was in the act of sitting down in
a chair in front of the window; that the hired tool was stationed just outside and intended to shoot a foot or two in
front of Clayton, but just at the moment he fired Clayton sat down, leaning forward, as one does when in the act
of sitting down, so that his head came within range of the gun and received the charge, killing him instantly. The
Governor's explanation was that his was a scheme of apparent attempted assassination, in order to create a
hostile public sentiment and inflame members of Congress so that Breckenridge would be unseated and Clayton
given the seat in the House of Representatives.
Breckenridge was duly unseated by the House and the seat declared vacant. Clayton's murder is an unsolved
mystery unless Fishback's theory is correct, fantastic as it appeared to be.
Powell Clayton, brother of John M., furnished the Democrats of Arkansas ammunition for many a political
campaign following Reconstruction. When Democratic candidates and Democratic editors found themselves
running short of logical campaign thunder, they fell back on Powell Clayton.
In later years Powell Clayton became our Ambassador to Mexico, and made and excellent record in that
capacity. Before his death he was restored in large measure, in the good opinion of the Democrats, as he was
in the confidence and esteem of the business element. I recall that a meeting of the Arkansas Bankers Association,
held in Little Rock, while he was Ambassador to Mexico, Hon. Powell Clayton was the principal speaker at the
banquet of the Association and was loudly cheered when he arose to make hostility towards him.
Thus does the gentle Nurse of Time mollify and heal most of the wounds of mankind. It is better so.
June 25, 1937
Coming from the backwoods, where privileges are plentiful and opportunities few, to a large and cultured town
like Batesville, where strong emphasis had been put on education by Arkansas College and where there was
abundant opportunity for social advancement, was a most important transition for me and brought to me many
happy and interesting experiences. There was a difference of only fifty physical miles between my old home and
the new, but there was a difference of a thousand miles in conditions and surroundings and environment.
To be buried back in the Leatherwoods mountains suited me all right. I was satisfied with my environment.
I did not look with longing eyes beyond my horizon until I was twenty-one years old. I was lacking in initiative.
I think I was not very original. Perhaps somebody called my attention to the world beyond, or maybe I read about
it in a book, for I was quite a reader.
I fell right in with the life of Batesville. I think the people here were unusually good to me. They seemed to
take more interest in me than I deserved. I do not recall that any worthwhile person held aloof from me on account
of my simple country ways. I wish I could recount the happy experiences that came to me. I will relate one
experience that was not so happy:
I was boarding at the home of John A. Hinkle, at present the Gray Infirmary. It was before the days of waterworks
and there was and still is a fine well at the rear of this building, about 16 feet deep. (This well has never been moved.)
One winter day we began to take notice of an odor in the water. It grew worse, day by day. The odor soon got into
the foot. It became so pronounced that the appetites of the boarders began to fail -- a most unusual experience for
a boarder. One cold winter morning I went to draw a bucket of water just after breakfast -- a breakfast in which this
sickening smell was rampant. I noticed the well bucket was unusually heavy, as I wound up the rope. When the
bucket reached the top of the curb, I looked, and lo and behold, a large rooster, its body sloughing off from
decomposition, had caught in some way on the bales of the bucket and was thus drawn up. I gave the alarm.
Everybody who had been to breakfast reconsidered their breakfast at one and the same time.
I have retained a mental photograph of that pale and mellow rooster. During a severe freeze he had jumped
up on the curb to get a drink and the curb being covered with ice, he had skidded in! If ever a well got a disinfecting,
that one did. All the water was pumped out and kept pumped out for a day while the walls were washed with chemicals.
For a week or so we drank the water from the fine but much deeper well in Mr. T. B. Padgett's well next door. [Mr.
Padgett's home was on the site of Gray's Hospital.] The boarders will survived and in an incredibly short time their
appetites were recovered and restored to their former robust strength and vigor.
In 1893 there was shipped from Batesville to the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago, a solid chunk of zinc
weighing 14,000 pounds. It was mined by Mr. W. Q. Seawell of Yellville and hauled to the river at Buffalo on a log
wagon, where it was loaded on a barge and floated down the river to Batesville, whence it was shipped on flat car
to Chicago. It was 90 per cent pure zinc.
There was a fine Manganese exhibit at the Chicago Exposition, set up by Mr. Walter H. Denison from the mines
A CONVENTION SWEPT OFF ITS FEET
More than one National Convention has been swept off its feet by a speech. In 180 Garfield was sent to the
Republican National Convention with instructions to cast the vote of Ohio for John Sherman for President. He was
instructed to make the nominating speech. He did so, and that speech was responsible for Garfield himself being
nominated. Gen. Grant was an active candidate for a third term. The Stalwarts, like Conkling, were for him. Conkling
placed Grant in nomination. He began his nominating speech thus:
"When asked what state he hails from, our sole reply shall be:
He hails from Appomattox, and its famous apple tree."
This speech almost sewed up the nomination for Grant. The immortal 306 delegates stood by him through many
weary ballots. Finally, the friends of the other candidates, among whom was Blaine, held a council of war and
centered on Garfield and gave him the nomination, thus giving a heavy black eye to the movement to give any man
a third term for President. In my next article I hope to tell how another man swept a great convention off its feet by
an oratorical effort, and won for himself the nomination. He was William J. Bryan and the year was 1896.
UP FROM OBSCURITY
In Buffalo, New York, an inconspicuous lawyer had been elected sheriff of Eric County. He surprised everybody
by getting out of the usual rut and making a first-class sheriff. He was a Democrat, yet he had been elected in a
Republican county. On his record the Democrats nominated him at the next election, for Mayor of Buffalo. He was
elected by a rousing majority. Again he astonished some people by bringing simple honesty, unusual ability and
untiring energy to the task of running city government. Before his term as Mayor was half out there was a movement
that took form all over the State of New York, to nominate him for Governor. He was duly nominated. The Republicans
nominated Folger to oppose him. Folger was beaten by the enormous majority of 192,000 -- a record majority for
those early days, by this man about whom the people knew very little. In the Governor's office he continued that
splendid record for hard work, simple honesty, and broadmindedness. Before his term was out for Governor he was
nominated for President of the United States by the Democratic Party, against the popular and brilliant Blaine, the
idol of the Republican Party. He seemed to be a man of destiny, and defeated the most popular personality of his day,
carrying New York over Blaine by a very small plurality.
The man I have been telling about was Stephen Grover Cleveland, twice elected President of the United States.
HOW PRESIDENTS RANK
I have seen a chart of our Presidents, which purports to show how they rank in ability and intellectual greatness.
I do not know who is the author of the chart. It show a number of surprises. The base line, or line of average ability
showed Andrew Johnson and Taft exactly on that line -- just average, just Presidents of ordinary ability.
The highest point reached above this line contains the names of Washington, John Adams, John Quincy Adams,
Lincoln, and Woodrow Wilson. One of the surprises is that the name of Thomas Jefferson, while well above the
line of average, is still below the high point.
Madison, Monroe, Cleveland, and Theodore Roosevelt are below Jefferson, but all are well above the average
Below the average line are first Taylor, then Andrew Jackson. This last is another surprise. Still below Jackson
came Taylor, Hayes, and Arthur. Lower still are Polk, William Henry Harrison, Pierce, Garfield, Van Buren, and
Fillmore. Buchanan and Benjamin Harrison are lower still, while third from the bottom is McKinley; the second from
the bottom is Grant, while the very lowest point reached by any of our Presidents is the name of Harding. Coolidge
ranks with Taft and Andrew Johnson; Hoover with Jackson, Taylor, and Hayes. The name of Franklin D. Roosevelt
has not yet been set up on this chart.