Page 94 article text (OCR)
1999 &RKJ ootmrrs Manila of 50 Years Ago Described As Fisherman jr, Hunter's Paradise Earliest Settlers CametoBigLake Area about 1852 . fisherman'* and hunter's paradise. That's the claim of the old- timers of Manila when they discuss that city's status of almost 50 years ago. And the 'old-timers like to talk of those early days of "denied rough" winters and wonderful summers when ev- "*fy family of the area lived on fish, ducks and other game which was so plentiful in the area, B nd what they could grow themselves. One such> old-timer—H. A. Asha- braimar, who was bom and reared to that vicinity—likes to t«ll of this •early sportsman's Utopia. .Says Mr: Ashabrannar. who has EARIY MANILA HUNTING PARTl'-Back In the early 1930s, when game was plentiful Hi Missis- - ~~. uvuio, •jiiit.n^vi anu new i ui It. Ufii *-» ' ' ---- «•"••**•*» B«I**WI , uiiiitiiy uAVia, VYBJiei l_»lcrt> C5 "In early fall, people would drive • *'" G ' een .. Mu "T Kenley, Dick Turner. Con Turner 'and W. H. Button. Only three members of this party" "** '"*' Ke '" C5 '- are 5ti " "!""' Hanging from Mr. Ashabrannar's belt Tan be banks of the lake until fishermen caught them a load of fish. They would pay from one I and one-half to three cents a pound for them. "In the summer time! people would send word up In Missouri that there would be a fish fry. People would. come by the wagon loads. ~^ey would build a table 150 feet and about six feet wide. "It would be piled up with fish, fhlcten, boiled ham, roast beef, cakes, pies and everything that could be raised in a garden. "Everybody would have a good *ime and at the close of day they would ; sing 'God Be With You Til We Meet Again.' and then go home." - First Setllera Came In 1SSJ "According to Mr. Ashabrannar, the first settlers came to the Manila irts about 1853. /Supposedly the first two famines to^ arrive were those of Ky Asha- Brannar,' ah uncle' of the present Manila resident, and Ed Smith. *Xy Ashbrannar, who came from Kentucky, and Mr. Smith, .whose former home is not khown, homesteaded some land on what Is now Big Lake Island and began raising itock. Later the Boiling. Needham, Dau- ghlery and other families moved In and'the area grew into a small community. . By 1869, the place was still much of a wilderness. Schools, churches and doctors were undreamed of as the people taught themselves, oc- cMlonally attended a "meeting" of 4P itinerant preacher and fought disease with the "reliable" home remedy. Several iimilies went In the timber business and others took up farming. People on the island raised corn, hay and some cotton. The Umber dealers would float their logs down Little Fiver to Marked Tree, and In dry weather the fanners would haul their cotton and other crops to Lusora and Osceola in.wagons to market It on the Mississippi River. Two days were required to make a round trip to these places. Steamboat Operated MI Bit Lake At one time, a steamboat »as operated on Big Lake from Horners- vllle, fto~ to Marked Tree by Captain Joe Homer, but the good captain coujd not begin to furnish all khe transportation needs. In spite of. the many good peo-J pie who Inhabited 'this area, the community had Its evil element, and gambling, fighting and dnink- eness, prevailed In many places. When the community was first settled, it. was known as Big Lake Island, but the first post office was .located at Tim's Point on the lake a»rt was called Cinda, Ark. This Is QH£ two miles from the present site of Manila. Mall was carried from Homersvllle by boat In spring and winter and by horseback In mid-summer. It came about three times a week when weather permitted. ' By 1900, the people had'be«n too s«n n '™ V^'H ** * '" "" ""* "" * e at that ttole - '" " le bat; ^ rou ''« "• «» bu.lding at Lest Meyers Bakery Serves Big Area With truck Fleet Blyth«vill« riant Hot Payroll of $2,500 P.rWwk Herring Northeast Arkansas uid Southeast Missouri with 1U nect of trucks, lh« Meyer* Bakery located here is one of eight operated by the company In Arkansas. The Blj'theville plant from 42 (o W persons who put about »2.soo of payroll money in Blytheville each week. Thase persons are engaged In making and distributing some »0,000 loaves of bread weekly in thLi area. The company serves points ranging to Joiner on the south. Black Oak and Paragould on the west and Maiden, Mo,, to the north. ' Ten truck* make regular route run/i from tin Blylhevllle plant each day. • Dick Watson hu been manager of the. plant since Meyers acquired the organization in 1048. Mr. Watson was formerly associated with Meyers'In "both Jonesboro *nd-Lit- tle Rock. Six of the company's eight plants In Arkansas are devoted lo making bread, one each to cakes and cookies. Other plants are located at Tcx- arkana, Hope, Pine BHllI. Jonesboro and Little Rock. The Blythevllle plant makes and distributes buns and rolls as well as bread. Manila School (to he grade schyl when new high school building opens) busy dealing in timber to make the fish ang-game an'economic factor, and lumber camps flourished throughout the vicinity. Lnaber Attneta RailnuiU This lumber business attracted the attention of the railroads and that same year the Jonesboro, Lake City and Eastern extended its line to the. community now known as Manila. Already a one-room school existed r» this little community although the place had not yet been named. The next two years saw the community record a rapid growth, and In 1902 it officially became a town. D.-A. Smith became the flrst'mayor. Its Inhabitants ,ln search of a name, adopted one made famous by the Spanish-American war when Admiral Deney made his great stand at Manila Harbor In the Philippines. Another railroad known as the 1840 Letter Settles Question Of First Osceola Postmaster Life on the Mississippi River along »iout the time the first white set- tiers were coming to Mississippi County Is related In two letters now among the, keepsakes of the John W Kdrlngton family of Osce- o.a. The letters were written In December, IMS, and In February, 1MO, by John P. Edrlngton, grandfather of John W. Edrtngton. At the time, John p. Ednngton was operating a merchant boat on the river between Cincinnati, O., and New Or- l':ans. Besides telling what life of the river was like In those days, the letters also throw some light on the highly controversial question of who was the county's first postmaster Historians claim that J. W T>_ headed the first post office at Wttt OWol In 1840, but both of Mr. Edrlngton's, letters were addressed to "WilllTn Bard, postmaster, Osceola, Mississippi County, Ark." Bird was one of the early settlers of Mississippi County and he played a prominent role In the settling of . Osceola. One of the letters reads as follows: "February 12th, 1840, Island »4 "Dear Sir— 'It Is now after supper »nd as I have nothing else to do and the .mnn who lives here will leave for Helens. IB th« morning, I will writ* you a few lines Just to say we are doing nothing. It Is. and has been for several days, extremely windy and the heaviest run of drift I ever saw. The river Is still full of trad- Ing boats and no money. Arkansas is quoted in N. Orleans 28 percent discount now. What next. We have more of It, than anything else. "I shall still move on slowly and wall for the money to get Into circulation. JVe have soli and are selling but llt.tle. "William <s not- very well this morning. Goods can scarcely be sold at any price as bad as the money Is. Another trip with the present stock Is bound to be the result. It has been the worst time that we ever experienced on the river. Ice, wind, sr.ow, sleet, rain and everything else but money and good weather in abundance. The wind Is now blow- Ing heavy and the river full of drift bui we are In a safe place. "Thursday morning. The wind Is still too high to.run and there is but little drift running. We shall reach Montgomery's Point In about one week more If the wcnther should be good, but say lo days. "S.-.m Beard, he that you let the door lock of, has been with us.near a week. He said you Jewed him heavy. Our best respects to all. Yours _j J- P. Edrlngtoa" Paragould and Manila lint was built between the two towns it was named fprj and shortly afterwards a bank was established. By this time, the people had learned the full value of their fish and ducks, and for the next five years- the bank showed more, income off the lake than from farm and stock sales. The first store came to Manila In 1902 and was set up by Will Wilcox as a general merchandise store. No church existed, but services were conducted about thts time by the Rev. Henry T. Blythe, who later was to have the city of Blythe- vllle named for him. • Mill Established Chicago Mill and Lumber Company established a mill in Manila shortly after It became a town and for several years operated successfully in the area. When most of the timber disappeared, however, and Manila inhlb- itants turned to a fish and game economy, it was forced to move out. ' Today this company still has preserved In -Its Chicago offices a huge block of. wood which came from a giant Manila tre«. This tree required a 27-foot saw to cut It down. -Another early Industry was a stave mill which was established by John Hornbcrger. This mill la still In operation today, although under different management. There was a movement In* the early 1900's to make Manila the north county seat of, Mississippi County, but the proposal failed to pass In a special election, and Blytheville was later named Instead. When the timber played out the sportsman's era came to the Manila and from 1»00 to 1918 hunting and fishing provided three-fourths of the area's Industry. Sometimes as much as 40 tons of fish were shipped out of Manila In one day. In 1D13, Lee Wilson bought out the J. L. c. and E. Railroad and operated it for a while. later he sold It to the Frisco Railroad, the present owners. Before 1915, the Manila area was frequently under water, but the establishment of Drainage District 16 that year solved this problem to a large extent. Flooded In 193T .The last time the city was under water was during the great overflow of 1037 when the entire area was covered. By the early 1920's. the fish and same had gradually disappeared like UM tlmbtt befor« them, and Ma- God.'' . One of the greatest Improvements of the city has been Its school sys- SECTION E—PXGE HTN1 D . .. , — Courier Newi Ph.iU BlyihevJMe . wat«r C.mijwny's new $50,000 filtering plant under . first Move to Install Waterworks System H'ere Was Begun in 1908 S nila became a farming area with its principal crop cotton. By this tlm», the town had Improved lt» educational facilities with the addition of a modern schoo: house, and at least three churches had been built. Like all other towns of its site Manila suffered through the depression of the thirties, and like most of, them emerged from it with a limited economy but optimistic hopes for the future. For a long while, the town was without a bank, the original one having long since gone out of existence snd later ones falling during the depression. But In 1948. another was organized and the city has one bank today Today, Manila has grown Into a place with 1,712 inhabitants and I. a farming center of the Immediate area. Its Industries Include lour cotton gins and a stave mill. ' It Is located on two state highways—77 and 18—which connect it with Blylhevllle, Jonesboro and other trading centers . To Harr. Sewer System Soon Utilities Include lights furnished by Ark-Mo Power Company and w<u«r piped throughout the town from a well At the present time, the city has no sewer system,' hut one is under construction and Is scheduled to be ready for use In the near future In a special election In March, 1949. Manila residents approved a proposal to raise their municipality status fr 0n , an incorporated town to a city of the second class. Present mayor ff the city Is I D Sncdd. and otner city officials Include Recorder A. A. Tipton. Fire Chief Charles Carter. Chief of Police Lee Baker, Night Policeman John Below and six aldermen. Two aldermen are elected from ca<h of the three districts of the city lo serve two-year terms, i Present aldermen are Claude Lancaster, Harvey Durham. L. L. Woodruff, R. E. McCoulIough, Perry o Ballard and Clifford King. The fire department Is a voluntary organization that has been In existence for about ten years Equipment Includes a modern lire truck. Has Tw» Hospitals City offices are located in a small facilities Include two city hall. Medical •'mall hospitals, operated by Dr. V. R. Fox and Dr R. W. Ration. Only recently Dr. Doyle Brewer, a chlro- P r aclor, Joined Dr. Fox's hospital. Five churches in Manila today in- ciude the Methodist. Baptist, Chrh- tua, FtnUcostaJ *Jid Church of tern Prom a one-room school house the system has grown Eoday into system embracing the entire .territory surrounding Manila. Children from the outlying areas are brought to Manila's ' modern school buildings by bus, and are taught almost anything available at larger schools. The Manila school plant Includes a 12-room red-brick elementary building, a live-room junior high building with an auditorium that seats 200, a wooden frame home economics building, containing living room and three kitchens, ting a combination hot lunch and can- trlcl. ning building where much food la canned by school and city groups, an elaborate combination agriculture building and training shop and a modern library. Machine Shop This agriculture and machine shop building is one of the features of the entire city, for It In there that all kinds of machinery repair and trades are taught. The schools own buses are .repaired there and furniture for the school library wera manufactured there. , The library Is of buff brick and includes well-equipped, reading and projection rooms. A unique feature of the system Is a group of 11 teachers homes that are owned by the district and located near the school buildings. The homes are modern, five-room houses constructed to bfl rented only to school Instructors. tinder construction at the present time and expected to be in use by Nov. 15, Is a 13-roorh senior high school building combined with a 'gymnasium and auditorium that will seat about 1,000. The Manila School District, which Includes 1,344 students and 4« faculty members, Is headed by W. W. Fowler, superintendent of schools. A five-man board 1 governs the district. Members of this board are C. W. Tipton, president; . c. B. j Chllders, secretary; D. H. Buck; J. E. McMaslers; and W. rVBallard, Three Civic Orr»nli»ti«ni The city has three civic organfca- tlons—the American Legion Junior Chamber of Commerce -and Lions Club—and a Masonic Lodge. . A. E. McCulley is president of the Lions Club which was organized there In 1929. The club's three vice- presidents are Max Isaacs, Alex Curtis and O. O. Stivers. Joe Borowsky, a charter' member, has been secretary-treasurer since 1933. , Two other charter members of the club who are still in this area are G. E. Snyder. and Kendall Berry, who now lives In Blythevllle, The Junior Chamber of Commerce Is the . newest organization, having been organized In 1949. Alvln Tipton became Its first president. Present president is Tom Steele, and It's three vice-presidents Include Roy Dcnton, Amos Decker and Herbert Adklns. Cherrell DeBusk Is secretary. The Junior Chamber Board of Directors Is made up of A. W. Smith, Jack Edwards, William Edwards, Roy Ashabranner and Robert Townsend The American Legion organlza tlon of Manila Is headed by Commander Roy Denton. Legion Officers Listed Other officers Include Joe Os born, first vice commander; Lamsr Edwards, second vice' commander, John Culllns. adjutant; Max Isaacs financial officer; Arnold Phillips, L historian and service officer; S Horn, sergeant-at-arms and L. L. Woodruff, child welfare director. The Legion meets In an alr-con- dllloned hut, built In 1942, and which includes a recreation room with television and dancing facilities. On a lawn adjacent to the hut is a monument erected In memory of Herman Davis, Manila resident and the third ranking hero of World War I who was decorated by both General John J: Pcrshlng and the French General Marshal Foch. Davis was killed In the first world war. Today this little city In North Mississippi, like most of the county, relics on agriculture lor Its survival, and annually contributes Its share of that white Bold—cotton- to make this county the biggest cotton producing county in the nation. Syslem of Water Works and operating same." This ordinance, passed after a number of citizens petitioned the aldermen for this action, called for Installation of a. water system In the First and second Wards, An engineer hired by the cpunsll estimated the cost of this work at 139,341.77. i DIscusslop of the waterworks move cropped up at, council meetings for many week* later, but no lacttoh.wss taken. The council appeared to be waiting tor an application for a franchise l» be submitted before taking any action on appomtment of 'assessors or other procedural routine Involved In-jetting up »uch an Improvement dis- DiMiualoiu _. By August. 1909. Ihese d'lsciisslom had become so .frequent that they were mentioned In the minutes of nearly every meeting. It was even proposed to eitend such a system to the city limits If a waterworks franchise was granted. Two franchis, proposals were submitted to the council in early December. 1910, but were 'rejected »y the aldermen. Later, two more applications were filed—one by J. E. Thompson of Nmshrllle, Tenn and the other, by Alex Bener ,of Jonesboro. • An engineer «mployed by the council recommended that Thompson's proposal be accepted and the councllmen ' " However, before Thompson could complete' his wafer system or even make much progress with Its Installation, the council assigned his franchise to the Blythevllle Water Company, » different organization than that which operates t'le water system here juicier the same nniiie. Contract Okayed In 1911 Rales were readjusted In an ordinance Ihal appioved a contract between the city and Blylhevllle Water 'Co, . thai was approved In November, 1911. A minimum rate of 75 cents a month was agreed on. Uttle progress had been made by 1913 and the council voted one or two extensions of time In which Io get the system Installed. Finally, the aldermen ordered Its completion wllhln a stated period. Otherwise, they said, the contract and franchise would be ruled '"nuir mid The water system was completed with in the time limit set and was accepted by th« council In August, A bin presented the council '» month or two later Indicated that the company had gone Into receivership after a brief operating We. This bill ,bor« Ihe signature of "P. O. Prout; receiver." Th« company later became known as th«, Consumer* Water Company • nd Mr. Prout figured prominently In .Its operation for many years. In about 19T7, the present water Tip»ny. headed by'rtobert Johnston of Oklahoma City, was award- Company. Twenty miles of pipeline were In uw that year and !,3S« consumers received service from ; th« company. The company pumped 1WW.OOO gnJlon.1 of" water. In 19.T7. A total of 128 fire plugs were in list then. i • / Operations Triple In the past 13 years, these operations have virtually tripled. There now are some 3,700 consumers and the company pumps 36,442,000 gallons per year, Kitty miles of plpn- llncs are In use and 235 fire plugs are scattered over the city. A new 5W),000-gallon water t*nk and a new p,-ell resulted In reduction of lire Insurance, rates hers about two' years, ago. Blythevillc Is now a Cla.is fl city In regard to fir • insunuice rates. Approximately »500.0b6 has-been .•»iient in a three-year expansion program that Is to continue through 1ncrea.w In water ser- this year. Grralcit vice resulted from expansion of th« city limits In 1MB. This necessitates Increasing water service two and one-half limes over th«t provided originally. . ' ; . Work Is nearlng completion this month on laying of • water mains ttjal will "loop" the city and provide greater lire protection. Also under construction at present Is thelcompnny's new $50,009 filtering plant at 215 West Cherry. near the Frisco tracks, Expected to bo completed this month, the new plant will triple the company's filtering capacity. , BIythnville water Company's an- mial payroll l« about «0,000. O..W. Kapp is currently serving as' ; m»n- This proposal was accepted Dec. 27. ed the franchise and the name H10. On April n. iMvtht council FIRST PASTEimrzmo PLANT-MissIsslppl County's first milk pasteurizing plant Is shown lh ; »«tloB Just after being remodeled in 1936. The plant, located at Green's Dairy on Highway 61 on the south edge'of Biytheville, was established back In 1929 during the County Health Unit drive to Improve dairy condition* throughout the county. In 193B new and more modern equipment was installed. The above photo shows CM! Green, Jr., son of the dairy owner, bottling milk as It emerges from the new machine/Carl Green, owner, ant another son, Ocorfe, c»n be seen at the left, while to the right art George^Shatnlln, county sanitarian lot • number ot ftut, an* Bbert Da,vU, Negro employs of the dairy Vt th» Uint.