The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on October 10, 1950 · Page 18
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 18

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Blytheville, Arkansas
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Tuesday, October 10, 1950
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Page 18
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SECTION A—PAGE ETGHTEETt BLYTHKVII.LE, (ARK.) COURIER NEWS TUESDAY. OCTOBER 1 0, 1950' First Livings Made From Sale of Vast Quantities of Lumber The littlo man with th< ; white mustache puffed on hi; tin-lighted pipe and gazer dreamingly nt the horizon. Time had shortened his pace somewhat .'but' his memorj was quick and far-reach ing in spite of his four score and four years. "It's a long story, son. A long story." , The "little old man" was W. \V. Pepper, one of Mississippi County's few remaining pioneers. He had been asked to tell about the logging op- eralions in the Huffman-Ar' morel area during the early . part of the century, when most ; of the county was nothing hut woods and swamplands. Mr. .Pepper, long retired from farming operations, noiv lives on 3 the 360-acre farm which he home:; steaded and cleared after his trek )• here from Illinois some 41-years aeo .- "We came here In 1909." he com;, menced. "My wife, my son and 1 i; My son. Stnnton. was only 11-years ,' old then, but he worked right alone •; with the rest of us. V "There wasn't much here then. :• No nilllfnn dollar crons nor fine , houses. JLIS! wnods and swamru. •i N'o, cotton wasn't king here Ihen.. j Lumber was. j> "We. came here from Illinois I . was practicing law Ihcre when I '•>' learned through my brother-in-law '.'. who lived at Cooter. Mo., that there 3 was some unsurvcyed land down .j here In Arkansas thnt was opened •; for homestead ing and I was cieler- ;;.: mined that ..if. .there was home^ steading land here I was going to - get me some. ,;..- "We came here"in u team and' j wagon. There weren't many roads. :i Just.a few crooked wagon trails j winding through the woods. a "And I mean they were woods." :;. his wife, Nora. Interrupted, "why • tt was dark here until 0 or 10 o'clnck 'i In the morning. It took the sun that lone to get over the trees." "We pitched a tent right out :. there, Mr. Pepper went on, polnt- .' Ing to a. spotspme 30 yards east of j his present hope. fit' was awfully K wet. and rugg(jj but It looked good S ' "In 1909 Ih'eri" was something b like 55.WW acres of uns'urveyeil 15 land in this county and there was IJ some controversy us (o who this i; land belonged to. The land own. U ers whore land adjoined this 8.000 V acres through here claimed that j; this land was a part of a lake |! known «! Walker's Lake at the ;j time of the government survey |; Mine vfars before, »nd that this j, land was formed by Ihe lake dry:, Ing un. Therefore,they arRiied that Ihey should have (irst rights to the land. "Anyway 1 slaked me out 120 M acres of land right around here and I; started clearing. Couldn't sell the !• timber though because the title to ^ the land wasn't clear. f "A little later a young man who '. had graduated from the Columbia ; University Law School and who had 5 worked some at the government - land office In St. Louis, came to this I area and started practicing law. H; got Involved in the argument. Han; died some of Ihe cases for the home', steade.-s. He was of the opinion that ;i.the land-was iinsurveyed land and that it still belonged to the ov- Y-ernment. _ , ' . ;'v ''Through'a Little Rock lawyer by .;,thc name of J. A. Tillier. we took ••the • argument to the government land office in Little Rock and they .'ruled in our favor that It was slifl '•government land. , "Hul the lan.Iov.ners appealed i to the government'land office in Washington. It ruled in our favor. , too. So the derision;was appealed to the United Stales Supreme <, Court, and the Supreme Court . ruled Hint it ,vas gorrriinirnt land. So that put an eml to Ihr argument. "After this was settled I picket: me out IGO acres of Isml and mj orother-in-Iaw moved his portable ' saw mill down from Cooler ant! we started logging. .. "I was 43 then and beiore coinlnc .here I been practicing law in II- Jmols. so you can imagine how It was for me at first. 1 had had some logging experience, though, in I and around Cooter. j "Back in those days three-fourth? of this land nround heie was noth- : Ing but limber. There were a few I saw mills around, most of them i small ones. There was n big mill i at Blythcville. U'C Wilson had a j Mg one at Armorcl and there ivas a big one just across Ihe Missouri i line at Tyler. j I "These big mills were hu>in B 1 V logs from Ihe homcstfailcrs and ! ; (aklng Ihcm lo Ihcir mills b> '• •,mu!e teams. The roads were bad I iusl nagon (rails, \yhere HiRhwaj •,61 Is n';w there was nothing bui | :» crookfd, muddy wacon Irail I .that nonml through the timber. [ • ; "Sume of the large mills hart .rdftj. and barges running Ihe river »icy would buy loc,1 and, transport them up and down the river. The ife Line packets were running in those days and'I would sell some of my logs through wholesale market In St. Louis. . • "We sold a lot of. logs retail to logcrs mid other settlers around here too. They bought them to build homes. .? "1 bnllt a big sawmill In 1912 -That bnrn ouf there." he said, nflinlius to a stock barn across the MISSISSIPPI COUNTV I.UMHER—Shown at right Is Mr. Pepper's first suw mill creeled shortly afler his arrival in Mississippi County as a homesteader. In the phcio at left are stacks of lumber processed —W. W. Pepper (left), his wife and son. Stanton. (center) were one at the families that assisted with the clearing and draining ol North Mississippi County land in Ihe early part of the century I'he Pepper family- homestcaded 120 acres of land In the Huffman area. Today, the Peppers still live on the land they cleared. road, "was part ol It. That water- ina trough oui by 'liis barn there was made from Ihe boiler used in that null. "We mull our first home a few ynrds cast of this house. SUinlon and I bnilt it. u-was a small house made out of clapboards ' made In our mill. That house ourned a little while later though. We lost every- thing we had We lived !n a small shop back or the mill and in that Darn ' he said, pointing to a large green barn east of the house, "until we could get another one Built: "When we were operating lhat mill. I was ihe main sawyer and my wile was sealer. Everybody worked. "On An;. 1, 1311, we sot word in the portable mill. The lumber Is mostly cypress and pecan. The peppers are shown silling on a small stack of lumber in the left photo. I could get him stopped a as to hit a itnmp. And there, were plenty of clubs-and stumps around. "There's still a lot of the stumps left around here. Every once In awhile someone runs across a stump It's probably been there for years and years. "But tftrr Drainage District II was formed.ilonjc about 1911 anrt they started draining this Unit, then patchei of crops became more prominent. And look nt It today. Everything; tt nailed down now. It doesn't look like the latne place. "Back when I came here the Mississippi River was about three quarters of a mile further east than it Is now. In fact the school house was located Just about where the middle of the river Is now. "Yes. this used to be good tl.-.-.oer country. The trees were thick and big You could get lost easily. And there were wild animals, bear, panthers and turkey. And the ducks were plentiful [hen. I've gone out on Walker's Lake many times and killed eight or 10 mallards In 30 minutes. "The woods around here were i<thick," he went on, "ihat we would get lost coming back from Walker's Lake. You couldn't make It hack- after dark. One of the families that lived around here had a dinner bell and we would Instruct the children that when shooting stopped at the lake to start-ringing the bell and we would follow the sound. 'I remember one evening some men went off Into the woods hunting and got lost. They started shooting in the air and I heard the shots. I stood on my front porch and answered and they followed the sound of my gun i- order to get out. "And this wasn't scrub timber filher. See that cypre-u out there? I left lhat Irrr a<i a sample. We cut a cotton tree here once lat Heavy Growth of Timber Preceded Fields of White in Mississippi County u u ni i ^iii^KMBSglg^lS^J^.'^Sil« JM^itMr^'^***.^-^*-,. --^^ ^ «* »».!*< i«. «*»,. «, P rr ^ i Huffman Planter Recalls Days of Logging Activity CYPRESS JUNCI.K-Thls photo taken In 1SH by Curtis J. Little, who was then surveyor for the county, jives an idea of what the world's largest cotton pr.jrnirmg county looked like In those days. The photo was taken in the "Walker's Lake" area which Is now Huffman and Forty and Eight. The, cypress trees are typical of Ihc timber found by Ihe Pepper family when 11 homesteaded 120'acres of land near what Is now Huffman. that Germany hart Invaded B«l- eium. That was the beginning of World War I. When Ihe United States jrof into the war. the packet boats left the river and I had no way lo ship lumber."1 couldn't haul them to the railroads on account of the roads. There was a short log line at Ar- inorel and at Sleele arid Tvler but nine months out of the year. I "So I started to manufacture fin- j ishect lumber. Put in a planing mill ' and manufactured lumber for' houses and made most of-the furniture in il. There are 15 residences and five barns on this place now and all of the buildings, with exception of one. were built of lumber from my mill. I would buy logs from other settlers and then manufacture the finished lumber. "There wasn't much farminj until after 11)21) because Ihe land was so lull of slumps and there was no drainage, oh, there were a few small patches of crops when we came here, hul didn't amoun', in much. "The only way yon could plow was with a six-inch plow, one mule and a double shovel. Then you could only fnrm the high spots. "1 remember I was farming a patch out by the barn there and I had an old mule that was deaf He couldn't hear at all. The only way I could get him going was to htt him with a club and the only way I* It-foot U>K» and Ihe lop lot mt two feet In diameter at Uie small end. "There were mostly cypress trees. Som« gum, maple, sycamore, oak, pecan and cottonwood, but mostly cypress." Mr. Pepper abandoned the lumber business for agriculture when timber became scarce some 25 years ago. He drained and tilled the land on which he had fought the elements for nearly 20 years, and today it Is one of the finest farms in North Mississippi County. He and his wife live coi.ily In.that home which they built back In 1916 afler they had conquered the swamps and wilderness. They lead a retired life today while their son. Stanton, takes care of their farming interests. Three months ago they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary, right on the land which iliey can so rlgl .'ully call home. For It was the sweat of hard, honest labor of families like the Peppers that made Mississippi County the nation's richest agricultural county today. "I often think about those days, Mi. Pepper's wife said laughingly "Sometimes it makes me'shudder when I think o! what we went through. I can afford to shudder now. Back then, we Just laughed off our hardships." U. S. Ideas Landed LONDON <AP) — Ten British pressed metal experts who studiod U.S. methods for a year think their industry needs "a change of outlook by all concerned". Their report, which found tlie American industry more "proclur: prepared to b« mor« receptive to progressive methods, to modernize and reerinip plants and to provlrt« the means to utilize labor more ef. ticiently." They added: "Trade union officials must convince their members of the absolute necessity for an immediate increase In productivity end must, Implement 'lhi« nlllvt Itull Illuuali) Illule JJJWIHi.- \jnv.ni»*.r mtvi inujw ii'ipi^u^cl IV I nl tivity conscious", said British "man- by securing the abandonment of re agcment-s must be prepared to be strictlve practies of all kinds " NEWBERN & CO., Inc. Cotton Merchants 45 Union Ave. Memphis, Tenn. Phone 5-5322 S. Y. West & Company ESTABLISHED 1919 POST OFFICE BOX 1652 Memphis, Tennessee BRANCH OFFICE! P. O. Bo\ 1077 Dallas, Te*. TELEPHONE 37-7124 I,. I). Teletype ME 59S Cable Address: "SIDWEST" PUMPS & WELL. WATER f YSTEMS Completely installed and Guaranteed for Capacity and Quality IRRIGATION, DRAINAGE AND WATER SYSTEMS FOR PLANTATIONS & ESTATES Municipal & Industrial Well Systems LAYNE-ARKANSAS COMPANY STUTTGART, ARKANSAS Jonesboro - McGehe* - Carlisle - Foiroakj PUMPS FOR FARM CROP IRRIGATION... TO THE SPONSORS OF THE NAIONAL COTTON PICKING CONTEST FROM HRSTIE UT STONE OMPAN Y Established 1906 Phone 7-0883 Memphis, Tenn. Yord and Office Tanglewood and Eliey We Arc Now Supplying Cut Stone to Ben White & Sons For the New High School, First Baptist Church, and First Methodist Church in Blytheville •I;

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