The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on July 1, 1936 · Page 41
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 41

Blytheville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, July 1, 1936
Page 41
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BLYTIIEVILLE, (ARK.) COURIER NEWS WEDNESDAY, JULY 1, 193(1 PACE 1 SECTION DSCEOLA'S HISTORY SPAN.8JQRCRANTCENTURY IFFS PLW ROLE IN Osccola Has Seen Turbulent Times in Pasl Hundred Years Osceola Today Is A City of Beautiful Tree-Shaded Monies There were no more eventful years along Ihe Eoiftlicrn stretches of the Mississippi river, before the Civil War, than those ranging Irom 1830 to the firing of the first gun at Port Sumler. A span of 31 years. They were years in which civilization struggled in the wilderness. Law and order were pitted against the outlaw and lawless; towering intellect labored with total ignorance, and the cultured coped with the crude and ruthless. It was during this stretch of years that Mississippi county was organized and its first sheriff was elected in 1833. They were not easy years of service for an officer of the law, nor does it appear they were as profitable as some of the succeeding years have been. The records of old lowns along the river from New Orleans up through Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas reveal much of Ihe same history of the early settlers; a pattern of people that followed one after the other as the resources and requirements of the new country demanded. U. F. Lloyd First Sheriff Following Ihe Calholic fathers who had arrived many years before, Protestant ministers entered the wilderness. Tradesmen, seeking new- fields, followed the ministers. Bankers, being necessary to merchants, were the next to add their service. Business developed and the gamblers, heard of the "yellow boys," as they called the bankers, and they flocked in great numbers to the river towns. The gamblers 'brought trouble and trouble brought lawyers. There were in pro|x>rtion io the population of the towns more lawyers than there are today. Lawyers must have cases and cases had to develop out of lav,' and order of the land, and so sheriffs had the unpleasant duty of making citizens abide by the laws enacted by the lawyers. The first gentleman to serve in this capacity in Mississippi county was named E. P. Lloyd. He served from 1833 lo 1836, and Ihough Ihere Is no record of .what happened to Mr. Lloyd the odd nupber of years in office would jndic'ate ..tliat,.something;.(lid •happen/ 'His nahie" cfoes^rioT appear". In any other record of the county, lhat has been found, thoughHhere is mention made of a Presbyterian minister by name of Lloyd hold- 1 ing services in the. lower end of the county as.late as 1889.: Bo wens 1'layed Leading; Role His successors fared much better in length of service, for in 1836 began the reign of the Boweri family that lasted until 1866. The first of Ihe Bo wens lo take office was John C. Bowen, who served 12 years. He was the son of John and Jennie Bowen, who had come lo Arkansas 1n 1828 from Tennessee where they had built Ihe first cabin in what is now Dyer county John Bowen hnd a younger brother, Charles, who was just, eight years old when his mother died, diaries, it is said, sold wood tc steamboats and farmed on a small ' scale. When his brother John was elected sheriff, Charles served as his deputy and- was himself elected • to office at the expiration of -his .brother's term and became the comity's third sheriff in 1848. He served until 1862, when he organized a company in Mississippi county known .as the "Osccola Hornets," of which he was captain. It operated on the east bank of the river most of the time. He was in the battles of Belmont and Slii- loh, where his company was badly cut up, leaving him with only seven men. He then returned to Mississippi county and organized another company. This one operated on the west bank of the river. In 1803 Capt. Bowen was captured and kept prisoner at St. Louis for several months. When lie escaped he again relurned to his company and continued to operate In this section. He surrendered in 1865 lo the captain of a gunboat at Osceola. He was appointed sheriff by the governor in 1864 and served twc years, but refused to run again Mr. Bowen's son, clem Bowen, is now postmaster at Osccola. H is interesting to note that In another 30 years the sons of Charles Bowen served as shtdfis of Mississippi - county. J. B. Driver Named in 1872 s John Long served from 1856 lo 18868. There Is nothing eventful recorded In Mr. Long's service. Mr Long's name would indicate lhat he was probably of- Scotch aricestry and, if so, his conservative Inheritance was no doubt of great service to him during the troublesome years of reconslruclion. Next to .lake office as sheriff of the county was J. B. Murray, who served two terms until 1872, when John B. Driver took the office, which held until 1878. he Murray was the first sheriff to be killed in line of duty, unless this =, fate befell Mr. Lloyd, the first sher- >' iff, of whom there seems to be no record. As old timers lell the ( story of Murray's death, a man by . name of Kilpalrick was organizing negroes In Ihe front of oaylord's : slore when Osceola's business Descendants of Earliest Pioneers Numbered Among Present Residents Osceola. a. hundred years of history behind it, Is todiy.a modern city, the tree-shaded streets of its reslflential sections': iined with beautiful homes, a number of which nre pictured i:cre. At ill's left, from top to bottom, nre the Finley Cartwright hcm3, "Hos-:- acres," and Its out-of-doors living room, the residence of Dr. and Mrs. C. M. Harwell, and Mrs. E. E. Driver's bcautlfi'l home. At Die right, top, is Die O. E. Massengill residence. Below It nre "Oraiiite Cove." home of the A. J. Floridas, E. R. Smith's "Shadow section was down by the levca in vhat is now known as Old Town. An argument ensued between the two men and Murray was -shot. Mr. Driver is - the only living sheriff who served prior to the present century. His home is in Luxora and though tie has passed his 90th birthday he is an active figure about the streets where he reviews, for the present generation, the history and glory of the past. Mr. Driver held at various periods most of the county offices. He also served in the state legislature, and was a member of the constitutional congress of 1874. at, which t'ne present constitution of Arkansas was adopted. He fathered the St. Francis Levee board bill, securing Its passage at Little Rock, and became the board's second president. He also pioneered for many of the civic improvements' In the county during the last half of t'ne century. He married a daughter of Capt. Chas. Bowen, who was Ihe third sheriff of the county. His history and activities are given elsewhere in this edition. Hasklns Follows Driver Following Mr. Driver as sheriff came W. B. Haskins who served four terms of office. It Is said Mr. Hasklns had many strong supporters and friends, for in some manner there appeared to be trouble during his administration of the sheriff's office, but his friends came to his aid, and he was re-elected to serve another term which extended his reign from 1878 to 1886 Haskins is reported to have been one of the best detectives of his day. in attempting to arrest an escaped prisoner, it Is said Haskins disguised himself as a tramp and Lawn," and the George Florida residence. Tlic center pictures, from lop to toltom, arc the homes of J. T. Coston, D. H. Ul.ick- wood nn;l Dr. L. D. Massey. went into the hills of Tennessee, where the prisoner, had 'hidden himself in a farm house. Watching from his hiding place. Hasklns saw Ir.e man enter his room and when he thought the Haskins threw a tine ball into 'the room, which created the effect of tear gas, and made his capture easy. W. H. Hays was first elected in 1886 and was re-elected in 1888 but died in 1889 before he had completed his term of office. Mr. Hays was a farmer who had come to Mississippi county in 1874 and established his home at what was then known as Elmot and today Luxora. John A. Lovewell was appointed to complete Mr. Hays term of office which expired in 18990. In 1890 Lovewell was elected sheriff and was re-slecled in 1892. Mr. Lovewcll was the father of the present James H. Love-well, a resi- .dent of Oseeola. Prior to serving as sheriff, Mr. Love well had served as county assessor and constable. W. J. Boivcn Nameil In 1892 the Bowen family returned to the sheriff's office. W. J Bowen was elected to the office and served until 1896. He was the son «f Capt. Charles Bowen, third sheriff of the county and a 'naif brother of the present postmaster of Osceola. J. L. Hearn was elected sheriff in 1896 put died p3forc lie served out his term, and again a eotvcn was chosen. Sam Bowen. another son of Charles, was appointed to Mil out Ream's term of office. It seems Mr. Bowen had served .several terms, when John A. Lovewcll was again elected and there was a dispute over the sherifTs office and a suit was filed against Bowen to obtain the" office for Lovewell. Mr. Lovewcll served through a threatened uprising of citizens against a proposed drainage program, when man was asleep ] judges are said to )me dismissed lighted turpen- ] court and hurriedly left the courtroom when the indignation of taxpayers waxed warm. In 1908 C. B. Hall was elected sheriff and served four years. He was succeeded by J. E. Roberts elected in 1012. Sam Mauldin, elected sheriff in 1914, was killed in a raid on Island 37 when he attempted to arrest a gangster operating there at that time. The gangster, Andy Cram, was arrested, and later killed in the Osceola jail by a band of cill- 7cns who had become enraged over the death of Mauldin. John j Collins was appointed to finish I Mauldin's term of office after which elected and served two he was lerms. The next sheriff .was Dwlght Blackwocd. who served six years. J. A. Bass served ihe next foui years and was succeeded by W. W. Shaver, who served four years. C H. Wilson, ihe present sheriff, has held the office during the past six years. Strangre Law Test Made SAN FRANC'ISCO. (UP) — Th< District Court of Appeals nuisl decide whether fire can annul a law. A sentence for alleged drunkenness in a public place resulted a writ of habeas corpus being in _____ _ filed on Ihc grounds thaiIhiTor- ficlal records or the law passed in 1903, were burned In 1S06 and hence the law no longer exists. Jobn Harding Established Plantation There Prior to 1850 pit, each handling one end of a saw similar lo n crcss-cut. At a dntc of which there is no record Ferguson and Hampson, cotton brokers and ccmmlssicn merchants, acquired the place rn a debt. They operated it (or n number of years and In the lute i.*...*-... u. JLUI.I mill ill UILI: HILL- «]*•] | - p* seventies equipped a steamboat Wilderness irOSpect plain, called minis' Darkiea in the early days another clearing "Vai- Delighl" because when Osceola can rightfully lake its plnee In Arkansas' celebration of its century of history as the ', oldest town In Mississippi county. There arc many historical facts of Ilia early settlement of Ihc county on which to base this claim. 11 can also clnlm the richest and most clowly knit family history or nny town In Ihe county, and'.possibly in east Arkansas. A series 'of. names has been woven through ILs history, dating back lo 1828, along about Ihc lime when old records show Ihe first white men settled this region. . There has been some discussion by old settlers us to the possibility of Carson .take having been the first settlement, but pages 'of diisty old scrap books, records, and grey- ed letters which have shed much light on the early history of Mississippi county would tend to discount such n posslbjllty. It appears thai Carson Lake received its name from one of the two first white men to Inhabit Hie couiily. u seems thai Mr." Carson was a great hunter and with n friend named Kellum frequented Ihe vicinity of Carton Lake, where they were on good terms with the iniilans and hunted with them,' Records prove these men were in Ihe county as early us 1812,' . Scillers 'Followed Quake It was nfler these men settled on Carson Lake that, the great New Madrid cnrthnimke changed the topographical featmes of ihlstscc- tlon, nnd lIUlo villages began to spring up over the county, of which Oscooln appears to have been Ihe first anil largest. The Indian tribes occupying the county prioi to the while .man were the Delawarcs Simwnces. Mlamls, Cherokees and chlckasaws, nnd from.the Indians came the names of the settlements —Osceola, chlckasawbn, • Shawnee Village nnd-Tyronza. Many of Ihc other old lowns alonj this scclion of Ihc Mississippi wcic probably named by Ihe Calholic fathers who first Invaded Ihe territory and weie so impressed with the similarity of the nlluvltil jniids to those of Lie valley of Ihc Nile tlmt they immad the various landing places for cities along the Nile, , William Bard -' Edrington, who cnmc from Kentucky, bartered with. I'iie Indians In 1830 for imich of.the present site of the; oily of Osceoln There follow a number,of names which were.Identified with the settlement of Ihe town and surrounding countryside, some as early as First there appears Ihe name of Brackens, a father ant! two sons: then \ve and Thomas Mills, tne first representative after the county was organized In 1833 John Troy was another pioneer, who was county Judge from 1836 to 1833. J. W. Whitwo'rth, Ihe first clerk; E. P. Lloyd, the first sheriff, and C. G. Barfleld, for whom Barfield Point was named. . Mr. - BarfisM was a member of Ihe Territorial, council 'i < , from Criltenden county when Mis- \j slsslppl county formed a part of I. Crltteiidcn county, In 1827. V 51.25 an Aero for Land I While Arkansas was a territory 1 Ihe lands within Ihe present bonn- j claries of Mississippi county were | surveyed by the United States government during the jears 1821-25- I 26, and were placed for entry in the land office,at Helena, at $125 per acre. The land was covered with forest of cotlonwood, gum, .elm, hickory, walnut, ash and olher limber, while Ihe undergrowth consisted of almost impenetrable cine was first put In cultivation '.he wild animals would conu out n; night and steal tin! corn. One of Mississippi county's lils- tcric plantation homes is Nc-dcna. about 12 miles below Osccola. established by John Harding prior to 1850. The story, as furnished the Courier News by Mrs. J. II. lave- well, of Osccola, and Mary Louise Mclcdy, of Nodena, Is that. Hard- Ing, who cnmc to this seclion In 1841, In seeking a location for ,» homestead came upon a 15-acre clearing on the banks of the Mississippi, made by the Indians, and chose It as the site for his future home. He named the place Ncdena, using letters from Ihe names of his wife and daughter. Just when the present house wr.s built Is not known, but it was old at the time of the yellow fever epidemic in 1817 and 181S. The old smokehouse that stands buck of the house was probably built when John Harding first developed the place, as the logs In It are whip-sawed, a method obsolete since sawmills were Introduced. H was done by placing :v log over a One man stood on the log, another in the with a cotton gin and sent tl up and down the river, ginning cnt- ten for river bank plantations. Louis Hanover acquired the v'.n,-t from Ferguson and Hampson in 1879 nnd at his death he IcfS it to his daughter, Mrs. Hampson. and her children, Dr. J. K. Hampson, Mrs. C. P. Hale ar.d Mrs. J. R. Lovewell. It has remained in the family ever since. In the early days a bend of the river ran directly in front cf Ncdena and it and a'number of nearby plantations made up whnl was known as "Social Bend." In those limes the river afforded the best means of travel and social and business intercourss among the planters was largely by boat. River sleamers used to call at 1 the plantation landings. In comparatively recent times the Rcbert E. Iff and Anchor line boals made calls at Nonehii, Mvch of present day knowledge of early times at Nodenn was gained from an old negio Uncle George Washington, who came to Arkansas as a slave with the Hardlngs and was over one hundred years old at his death in 1905. The original Indian clearing which John Harding found al Ihe present site of Nodcira was known ns "Congress." cording to .the old negro, for reasons which \he was unable to ex- Not Alluring to All \ brake, that grew to a height of 20 feet, with some of the stalks o\er an Inch in diameter. Much of the land was covered with water during the spring overflows from the Mississippi River, and some of this water remained throughout the year in low places which were generally heavily timbered with cypress lhat jrew in ,„, ... i grotesque shapes that presented That the pioneers were not weird scenes in the n,oonn»ht without a sense of humor to help The pioneers vlSced tKctlon •• -- ** fine homes. >t ikfkui^>. . One story which is a great favorite with the old timers concerns one of the early investigators of the land in Mississippi county when it was first offered for sale land that were best suited. for cultivation, which as a lay near the river. eneral rule Not only the superior qualily of the land near Ihe Mississippi River Interested • them In making their sslecttons by Ihe government aflcr It had. but ths river boats offered the only been surveyed. The gentleman of j means of transoortalion in those Ihe story came from Nashville I days, and so the historic old homes with the McGavocks, Craigheadsj of the plantation owners were built and In early the ly pioneers. .After a day j near the river and crealsd pictur- woods, where lie suffered csque spots along its bunks from from Insect bites, briars and other hardships of the wilderness, he remarked to his friends that they were welcome to his part of the discovered rich lands. He Is reported to have said that he believed Arkansas was not part of Ihe world (or which Jesus Christ had died, nnd he would have none of it. He returned on the next boat to Memphis. New Orleans to Cairo. Among the most widely known were tMars Point, Elmot, Plum . Petal, Pecan Point. Island 37, Sexton's Landing, St. Thomas and many others. In fad, wherever the boats could reach the shore at a planter's place where there was a store or gin they would \larid for "discharging freight and taking on cotton and passengers. From Tennessee and Kentucky The "tourist" industry has fall- There were two distinct'groups of en lo the half million mark in'investors who were Interested in France, as compared with 3,000,- securing lands In Ihe territory at CtO foreign visitors before the that lime. One consisted of Ia»World War. l (Continued On Page 4) \

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