The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on July 1, 1936 · Page 21
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 21

Blytheville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, July 1, 1936
Page 21
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WEDNESDAY, JULY 1, 193G BLYTHEVJLLE, (ARK.) COURIER NEWS SECTION B ' PAGE (> COTTON IS GIF MS EMBRACE 37,000 ACRES Big Scale Agricultural Operation Has Been Thoroughly Systematized Tlie Lee Wilson company cul- 'tivatcs 37,000 acres with less friction, difficulty and waste than ' possibly any olher one project of Ms slue which uses day laoor for Us operation. It moves with (lie precision of clockwork, with only the elements out of control. And hi harvesting feed crops even the elements have been eliminated lo some extent with the new system employed in dehydrating of alfalfa feed products. There are 40 farm managers who direct the (arming of individual tracts ranging mostly from SCO to 1,000 acres. Each farm manager is held strictly responsible for (he rcsulle of his activities and the management of ihc labor he employs to cultivate his particrlar tract of land. These individual farm malingers arc in turn under (he direction of John E. Crain, son of Ihc general manager of the Lee Wilson Company, who - succeeded his father in the farming division cf the company when the latter. J. H. Crain, assumed the genera! managership of the company at Mr. Wilson's death. John Grain is responsible lo the Lee Wilson Company for the re- suits cf all the 40 farm managers and the cpcratiou of their respective tracts. 25.0D3 Acres at Wilson There are 25.COO acres in farms In the vicinity of Wilson, 21,000 of which are under cultivation and growing crops. It is this tract that extends eight miles along tlie main highway throrjh Mississippi county, and nine miles west. Fourteen thousand acres of (his tract arc in cotton, 6,000 acres in feed crops, and 1,000 acres planted to truck and miscellaneous crops. Of the 6,000 acres given over to feed crcps, 2,500 acres are planted in alfalfa. Each farm manager .at Wilson planls as nearly as possible his , proportionate share of the above division of This system . has" been followed for several ...years.., J?ctiition_j}f,._crops _is__onc of the firm and fast rules thaOs practiced by the company. The farm managers are provided with attractive homes in shaded groves on the tracts which they operate. There is nothing of, the tenant atmosphere about Ihese j homes. They are well built, and set with shrubs, in fact, they are picturesque spots amid the wide fields of cotton and grain. They arc also provided with garden plots and out houses for their individual use. Tlie pictures of two of these homes arc shown elsewhere in this section. The farm homes are supplied with wood and water free. Each of tiie farm managers is paid on a salary and bonus basis, and each of the farms' is worked entirely by day labor. Mules, plows and other farming * implements are allotted to tlie individual farm manager for ihe cultivation of his particular tract, and he is held responsible for them. The large barns for storing feed crops are located at central points on each individual tract, but are completely isolated from any other building. Officials of the Lee Wilson Company state that they have been able to cut the insurance rales of the company tremendously by instituting this system ot storing feed crops, which are highly inflammable. Raise Own Feed About 1,000 head of mules are required to work these crops; all the farming of the Lee Wilson Company is done witli mules. The system uses very few gasoline operated implements or tractors. The farms are also worked entirely by negroes, except for the farm managers. There arc about 2,000 hogs on tlie Wilson farms. And plenty of milch cows are supplied for all the farms. There arc approximately 2,500 ;peop!c working on Hie various farms. Each family is given a plot of ground for a garden, a house, and is supplied with wood and water free. -' There were two things which Lee Wilson insisted on In his farming operations. One was that feed crops sufficient for the operation of the land be grown, and the other was that all lands should be ditched for drainage. Htm' well he has instilled this system into the men he trained to take over his holdings.. Is illustrated by a remark made by Jim Grain to .the-effect that it rained • on high land as well as low land, so ,(hat it all had to be drained for good results. Carrying oiit this system, all land is drained by ditches, arranged so thai, .there is no point in'a field that is more Uian 330 feet from a ditch. All ditches are on east and west. : or - north and south lines, abolishing the , MAP OF MISSISSIPPI COUNTY ARKANSAS HOLDINGS OF LEE WILSON 8, CO -WILSON, ARK 34,000 Bales Handled in Company's First jYear of Operation Wilson lias become one of the large colton markets of the coun- i try. With its own 37,000 acres ot farm lands, nnd Hint of the surrounding territory, there lias; (or tome years keen the need of a cntlon compress and storage plant H was this fact tlmt interested, the Leo Wilson Co., and ill? ' Memphis Compress Co, In cs 1 - tnbllshinff the Wilson Compiess • Co., near Wilson, nnd since Its establishment it has cared foi n largo per cent of tho cotton Brown In the lower end of Mississippi county. , The new compress handled a.bau£ 34.C.CO bales last year, of vvhlcli al;out 20 per ccilt mis ejiported, and the remainder sent to millb In the Cnrolinas. This year some colton was shipped to Canada. The compress covers about nine ncres of land and has a capacity of 30,003 baler,, . with both standard mid hjgh density compression. It, Is licensed and bonded by (he government, and- la equipped w 11 h an tivlomatic •sprinkler system, ns well as toui ccmiiarlmcnts which ha\o fireproof ivnlls. This mcdcrn compress will handle nbaut ISO bale-, an, hour, •UK! requires 30 men to operate . The. compress performs Uui mc service of other ipmpred- ses, Una of weighing sampling oltoti, and l.s»ujng bonded, ware- ouse receipts, Ollicers of the Wilson Com- ress Company arc: n. L Malloiy, resident; W. N. Mallory, vice- president;- Charles E. Lcftwich superintendent, nnd w S Turner jr.. assistant superintendent and "Iffcc manager. ditches. The Lee Wilson Company docs everything in a thorough, scientific, and systematic manner. An engineer is employed by the company who plans even the arrangement of ditches, as well as all other engineering projects. To sum up the farming activities of the Lee Wilson Company, there are 23 farm managers at Wilson; lo farm managers at Victoria , nnd . seven at Armorel. The total acreage is 42.000. of which 37,000 acres is in cultivation and 20.000 acres is in cotton, John Crain, the. farm manager, estimates this year's production at 15.000 bales of cotton, 20,000 tons of hay, and 300,000 bushels of corn. Some wheat is grown, approximately 700 acres , this year, and the indicated yield for this year is about 14,000 'bushels. Compared to the old system of farming the Lee Wilson Company's way is bewildering to contemplate, sjnd. yet as the plan unfolds its, simplicity is cqnvinc- Ing .and the results" have proved that it is about as foolproof and effective a system as has ever been devised. It is not the system, the acres or ', magnitude of: tlie operations' that has such an appeal, 1 but the general appearance of. these farms to the casual- observer. They are as neatly'laid out and tended as-, a good housewife's kitchen There are ,no ragged comers, or unkempt and;neglected-weed' patches; even : the stumps In the new ground tracts,-ate Skimmed around as neatly-as a.'turning row. TpLEbo (Up)-To]edo's eleven Kentucky colonels have decided to Wilson Company Built Through Founder's Unremitting Effort (Continued From p a »c 1) , of road improvement districts and sossible if drainage" disiiict- 1 ; had not been formed to effectuate a systematic scheme of dilching. The first drainage ditches w-ere completed in 1903. When you look about over the county and sec the numerous ditches today, most of us do not realize, the difficulty that was encountered in convincing the farmers nf the early 1000s about the necessity of drainage. These pioneers who had cleared the lands for their own farms did not realize how greatly drainage would en-* nance. the value of their lands. They saw only an imposing tax which they did not desire. As was usually the case, only a few men in the community had the necessary foresight. Father of Drainage Mr. Wilson was the leader of this drainage movement, and has often been called the . "father of Mississippi county drainage." A large number of people became so incensed over the activity which he played in the creation of Ihe drainage districts that a mob assembled upon one occasion at the Osceola court house with the avowed purpose of hanging Mr. Wilson and anyone else connected with the newly created drainage districts. But neither a mob nor other opposition could alter Lee Wilson's attitude about the necessity for drainage construction. He played an active part in the creation of every drainage district in Mississippi county. In addition to his :s!.ius* V«ft eci all of his efforts to have good roads constructed in Mississippi county at a much earlier date than they were constructed in many oUi- cr counties in the state. Lee Wilson was always willing to admit when he was In error. In tlie case of road improvement districts he realized that the taxation for the payment of the roads, as well as for their maintenance, would be so heavy that farmers could hardly make a living. Ho became active in creating sentiment to have the state assume the payment of these road bonds and .was Instrumental in having the Martineau road bill passed by the legislature. Friend of Education . Though Lee Wilson did not have [many educational a.dva,ntages, jjc always realized the importance of schools. AS soon as he • had ac* cumulated a little property and had begun a small settlement around his holdings, he constructed a small log school house.,That occurred as early as 1905.. He hired teachers at his own expense to instruct the children of his employees. As his holdings grew and more people were hired, he increased the educational facilities in the Wilson community, in 1920 he erected largely at his own expense, the most modern school blinding in Mississippi county. Mr. Wilson Irled, not• to be partial In these educational activities as between the children of white and negro employes. In 1925 there the day that this modern building was completed, for some unknown cavse, it was completely demol- shcd by fire. As was characteristic of Lcc Wilson, before the foundation of the burning building :iad completely cooled, he begun the construction of the present structure for negroes al Wilson. Mr. Wilson's interest in education was recognized outside of this county. He was elected to the board of trustees of Hendrix College at Conway, as well as A. & M. college at .lonesboro. In the spring of 1933. the year of his death, the agricultural college at Jonesboro honored Mr. Wilson by naming for him its newly constructed administration hall. Lee Wilson did not Intend that his death should terminate the beneficial interest-which member of many hunting clubs. The citizens around Manila still recall tlie large parlies of friends from St. Louis. Chicago and New York that Lee Wilson used to bring to the old hunting club at Big Lake. He was a skilled marksman and enjoyed winning bcls from his eastern friends about bringing in the bag limit each day. His fav- oille pusher on the lake was old Nick Ourno, and he considered Nick such a close friend that upon one occasion when the old hunter and fisherman was indicted before tho federal grand jury at Jonesboro for violation of migratory bird regulations, Mr. Wilson employed his own lawyer to defend Nick and lo keep him from havinj to serve time In the federal penitentiary. Mr. Wilson a.lsq .enjoyed his deer he had bestowed upon the cduca- • hvnts. and established a camp near tional institutions of Arkansas. He Keiser which he frequented often conveyed, in trust, a large:portion of his personal estate with specific direction that the trustees use trie money for the, cational institutions, particularly the schools In and about the' Lee Wilson & Company holdings, The trustees of the Lee Wilson estate have been fully cognizant of his devotion toward education and have expressed their intention to fulfill his wishes as soon as it -is possible. There has been some discussion about the feasibility of a plan to oiler scholarships in the various high schools inthecounty to a«Ist worthy students in obtaining a higher education. Aidcnt Sportsman Most people have hobbles, but the only hobby that Lee Wilson had was work. The harder the work, the more he enjoyed'It. Occasionally he did take time to hunt and whether he was looking for deer, bear or other wild game, he V£\t ifts? f.i» ^r/TtthtiWHaW vigor thit he worked., «t was - 4 frequented often during tlie open seasons. - He was one of the best .hunters In any group that went to'the woods. His success was probably attributable to his dogged, ' determination 16 plunge ahead alter-' tt\e game, n<5 matter how dense the th^ck'e't be'r fore him or the'other obstacles-in the way. His associates still mar- velat how he. escaped serious injuries upon- numerous occasions. Often he would come to. a, wide drainage canal .and rather than detour a hali mile:"pr-a mile to'.a bridge, he would -plunge down the steep banks and fdfd the stream on horseback.' Several ((meshedid find himself unhorsed and had-to swim to the bank, . ''• ,.'- ! Banker and Railroad Builder .In addition to his famvirig and lumbering interests. Lee Wilson devoted much of his time to banking and railroading. One .of ; the' first railroads in this comity was the *!»' finance it. Most of 1U> rolling stock was obsolete nnd its tracks were in bad condition. Mr. Wilson did not attempt, lo make this short line a modern railroad but he did cause the expenditure of a sufficient amount of money so that the railroad rendered first class service. With- the consolidation ot various railways throughout the country, he finally sold this road to the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway. Lee Wilson founded the Bank of Wilson at an early'date and at no time has the bank ever been In any strained financial condition. He was always insislent vpon the strictest nnd most careful handling of monies entrusted to his care by olher people. Other banks in the county when they found themselves In need of financial aid came to Mr. Wilson lo discuss their problems with him and to ask his advice and assistance. At no time did he ever turn a cold shoulder to any of the bankers in the county. In fact, at' the time of his death he was a stockholder and director in every bank In the coun- ly. To him, more than to any olher one man in this county, can credit be given for (he fact tliat every banking Institution in the county was able to open its doors after the panic of 1933withnoie- strlcllons. Lee Wilson was prob ably more proud ot this achievement by thesi banks- than any other single success that came to him during his lifetime. -It was somewhat of a coincidence that during his last year of life he had to call upon all of his experience in finance to prelect the large interests which he had built up for. his company during a half century. As' has beeri stated previously, he suffered uos and downs :n fafiiw* '!«}» ^Misi«Jy??>-^The depression of-the past few Retail Lumber Manager at' Wilson Repoits Encpur- aging Outlook The Lcc Wilson Company lumber yard does powlbly the largest retail lumber business In northeast Arkansas. It constitutes an investment of $75,000 and the average sales are $150,000 lo 4200,000 n yejir. The yard stocks everything from foundations to roofing, ai\d does an extensive contracting and build-? ing business. The jard employes' the latest method'! for protecting lumber against termites nnd other insects. W. L. Evans, managerofthls'der partment, lias Ins tailed every modern method of service to customers, including plans for budding nnd advice on construction. He states that building prospects ate bettor now than they have been since the depression years. Tlie yard has an up to date planing mill and makes cabinets; sash, doors, boats and all, types of building material Recently a paint department has been added to the retail lumber and building department, and,wlth experimentation and research which Is now under way, Sir. Evans expects to be able to reduce the cost of painting a house to that of a ccat of whitewash. Underthis new system the paint will be sprayed on and can be applied to rough surfaces as well as dressed lumber; It promises not only to .preserve (lie wood, bvt offers farmers "the opportunity of improving the a pi pearance of their farmsbypaiht- ing their tenant houses at the same cost y of whitewash. To make this retail lumber arid building department complete, an altractive line of wall paper has also be Installed, and Mr. Evans slated that lie is looking forward, to, the construction of some ; of ' the attractive homes m the county Ihis summer nnd fall. , Mr. Evans has been employed by the Lee Wilson Company since he was 19 years of age. AiUonlo Stradivari, of Cremona, Italy, is said to ha\e beon the. master violin maker of all tjnje. He was bom in 1644 and died in 17,17. 1 years affected him just as greatly as it did the business of any other individual or company in the south. The only difference was that his was a larger business and required more financial assistance to keep it alive. In 1932 it seemed impos'- sible to, escape a complete bapk- ruptcy and a-similar-man would have thr6wn ,up his hands Inde'j spiir -and tossed his businesijnlo the hands of hjs creditors H(S »cj tions demonstrated his courage. He, together'with' his competent assistants, % labored from twelve tq sixteen hours ' for, many dajSi during sl<c „• months' in order to obtain a loan which sived ' U" SI

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