The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on December 14, 1954 · Page 2
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December 14, 1954

The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 2

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Blytheville, Arkansas
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Tuesday, December 14, 1954
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Page 2
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FAQK TVTO BLYTHEVILLI (ARK.) COURIER NEW! TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1954 Max Kelley of Steeie Has Seen Bootheel Literally Rise from Mud By H. L. YEAGEK STEELE — Approaching the allotted three score years and ten and when illness beset him In July from which his doctors told him he could not recover, Max L. Kelley, postmaster of Stcele the past 18 years, set forth to prepare for publication of 40 poems from the lol he had Written In a period of 40 years. It was true to Max's philosophy of life. I have called Mnx "the best three-leg man" several times in my quarter of century of knowing him. He replies, "Thank you." Others call him one of the most colorful characters of the Bootheel. Max has been confined to his bed chamber since July. The other day on one of my visits with him, he said, "Perhaps I am a bit of a •tory.'' He was looking at the picture 1 had given him representing him as Past Master of Steelc Lodge No. 634 A. F. & A. M.. and that he WRS petition number one when the lodge was constituted in 19M, and now the only charter member remaining on the register. "It Is all right for you to write it now," he said. Max and I had shared the big dictionary in my front office when J published the local newspaper. Max was then a justice of the peace, city clerk, notary public and prepared contracts and Ipgiil for,ms for the public. Aside, he wrote numerous feature stories for the city papers and his "poems" as a hobby. For his convenience and others the big, dictionary was filially placed on the long counter in the lobby. Son of J. II. Kelley Max's lather, the late John Riley KelJey, platted and incorporated the original town of Steelc in 1902. Later three Kelley additions were among otliers added. The original plat was one block each .side of Main Street, and lying east of tiie Frisco Railroad crossing. The incorporation Idea was to make legal the license for Laclen's Saloon. The site; was a portion of Thorn Laluj. clen.se with timber. In [icquinng Thorn Lake, HO acres of Umber, the elder Kelley who then lived at IJig Sandy, Tenn., traded a wagon and two mules to one Dennis Green. Neither had seen the land. The year was lti!)it and the Frisco wa.s extruding its I rack to connect St. Louis mid Memphis, Tenn., and to servo u-c.st of Ihu MKslwlppI River. "Sawmill Mini" In 1002 (hi. 1 Kelley family moved iom Bin Handy, Tenn., to Bncoda.j \ lumber cumi and settlement 1 south ot Keniietl. Mo. In previous years lie had made 11 repulatinn as a sawmill man, :ie»ler in lumber, cmss ties anil bolts and he continui'd in this line of endeavor during the big years of the limber and lumber industry DOtUR-WWP WEN IT'S MAYTAG FOR YOUI 12QOS •k. AWor O**.* ' *• ' ' ' J Adams Appliance Co. Inc. Sensational E GIANT 21 TV with'Printed'Roboi Chassis • Full 270 iq. in. picture tube—20'";, bigger I !i;in regular 21'—"Aluminizcd" scrim for twice the brightness! • Powerful new "Printed" ROBOT Chnssii with full 18-tube complement! • All-Screen "Space-Saver" Cabinot—3' less depth front- to-back—5' less lop-to-bottom! Alto available in rich mahogany color and tmart blonde oak finiih«i (tlighll/ higher], Malching baict optional, eilra. Complete Selection of Phonograph Records, Players and Accessories ADAMS APPLIANCE CO., Inc. J. W. Adnms, Owner 206-08 W. Main PHONE 2-2071 In this section. Max is the eldest of John R. and Rhilda Kellcy's three sons and one daughter. He, with "Major" Fred of Little Rock, Ark., remain of the family. Albert died in. 1952 and Mrs, Johnny Phillips (Miss Johnny) in October, 1954. Max, when at the nge of 17, fell while sktitiiif; on ice and badly injured his left leg and hip. After finishing high school, and while hcliiB treated for MR Injury, he attended Dniuuhn's Business College in Memphis, Tenn.. and completed n course in bookkeeping. His first Job sent him to the Indian Territory, which became the state of Oklahoma In 1907. He WHS bookkeeper for the Henderson Lumber Co., which operated from its offices in Chicago. Another Accident ' Another accident befell him in 1!)07 when a horse run away with him and us a result, the injury to his Icy and hip became permanent. STKELE POST OFFICE STAFF — (Left to right) Max L. Kelley. postmaster; Joe Samford and Eddie Jnrboe. city carriers; Virgil Hahs, parcel post delivery; Howard McCollum, Mrs. Dorothy Hester and Clarence Potect, clerks; E. B. Elley, route 1; J. A. Wallace, route 2; David Whitficld, route 3. (1'holo hy Yeagcr) He returned to Memphis for treatment and subsequently to Steeie where his parents were now located. Forty years ago Max acquired the pair of mahogany crutches that now idle at the headboard of his bed. In 1941. the in- Jury abscessed and the limb was amputated. MaS ut 17 was omoarKed on a career to be as diversified as a farmer's truck patch. About the year 1909. he recalls that he organized the Cotton Exchange Bank of Steeie find was its cashier for about three years. He WHS later nttice manager for the YiirbroiiBh Gin and the Phoenix Cotton Mills, both operating in Steelc, going from Jnnlor-book- keeper to assistant cashier until he quit the job in 1922. In 191D-20, he was interested in the Kelley Mercantile Co. with his brother, Fred. Somehow, as be recalls it, his jobs seem to have over- hipped and he does not remember exact dates. Marries in '22 in 1922, he was married to Miss Carrie Lee Seigler, who was teaching in and principal of Steeie Grade Schools. She was from Hayti where members of the Seigler family still reside. In 1923, Mike Lee was born, who after completing -high school here, enlisted in the U. S. Navy and emerged a first class petty officer at the close of World War II Shortly after his return to Steeie, he was married to Miss Doris Ma- ioney of near Pascola. They reside in the Pnscola community, 12 rnlies north of Steeie, ana Kiiey Maloney Kelley, .fige 2, is the grandson to whom Max's poems are dedicated He rates a full page of verse on ACCURATE Each tablet IK to Rive exact dosntte"ju5t us doctor urdu. SEPH "I IRIN 1 ltiJHjJiJ ST. JOS EPH" ASPIRir FOR CHIL- World's Lowest Selling Aspirin For Children P*c«T. In th« Interim of from IKE! through the depression yeari, M»x worked for cotton gins, was Justice of the peace of Cooler Township, city clerk, notary public »nd prepared most of the legal forms that became necessary and more numerous the farm programs and crop allotments. He wrote most of his feature stories and poems during the depression years, he states. Named Pontmuter In 1936, he received the appointment of postmaster of Steeie and moved across the street from his office over the local newspaper plant. He was proudly on the Job when in 1943 Steeie emerged from that of a third class post office to second class rating. He boasted of city "airs" in 1962 when the post office moved to larger quarters and city mall and parcel delivery was instituted. The post office was his pride and Joy of life-time endeavor. He greated a friendly public and served them and his department efficiently. In the 18 years that he has served as postmaster, he has had a great interest in the Tenth Congressional District organization of the National Postmasters' Association. He. with Postmaster E. H. Randall of Kennett, ,Mo., comprise a membership committee. They have found intervals to travel 4,030 miles in the past two years and visit each of the 154 post offices and postmasters in the district. For the past five years they have kept the membership of the 154 postmasters at 100 per cent. Max had been a familiar figure and greeted with recognition and a bit of renown at national and district meetings of the association. He is unsubdued when he compares the Tenth District with 154 members to Kansas City with one member and one postmaster. Max is a past master of Steeie Lodge No. 634 and a member of York Rite Masonic bodies. The Kelley church affiliations are Methodist. The Great Floods Adjunct in his reminiscence, ' gather that this section was periodically harassed by flood waters prior to efficient levees and ditches and that many times a year Steeie w«j iwimped from downpours prior to pavement of city streets In 1003 and the building of U. S. Highway 01 In 1929-28. Flood waten from the Mississippi coursed around a few miles to the north and west through the Dolphin community and headed for Big Lake In Arkansas. The Frisco railroad was being completed through here in 1898. When John Riley Kelley heard about the railroad and swapped unseen for Thorn Lake, he said, "I'm going to lay out a town there If the railroad goes through." And he did. The Mississippi Valley Railway, a short line, was built In 1900 for the haul of timber products from Dunklin to Tyler and the river. It started a boom in Denton, 4 miles west of Steeie, but Denton later diminished to a cross road hamlet and the railroad was torn up and leveled In 1917. 1900 Live Another short line from Kennett through Bucoda to Leachvllle, Ark., was built In 1900. It is still in operation. Louis Houck, engineer, contractor and promoter figured greatly in the levee and railroad building in the Bootheel. His memorial Is Houck Stadium and Field at Cape Qlrar- deau. Levee and drainage ditch projects were constructed mainly in the era of 1907-8. As we all know, cotton followed the timber industry which began to vanish In the early "20's. Cotton wa» planted up to the back door stoop of the cabins that dotted the first cleared areas. The cabins, too, are now of th« past. The stumps have been removed and the ground leveled of holes. When you see the fine farm homes now in the Bootheel, the See MAX KELLEY on Pafe » Croupy Coughs* DR. Dn.AKE'S brln«« quick, Moth- Uff reller for chlldrtn'i CT»*PT couKhft of «old«*. fl !*»•«* relief vt*rl« wit* th« Terr **"* »w«How. IlMd •««•««•» fullr by MAth«* f«r « y**r«, OK. DRAKE'S ta tfe« tar**** »*• IIInK couRh netflclne for ehll«r««. 5«W «tn * mo»er back r»rn*ee. G«t DU. D •tore today. The car is the with exciting* new Trigger-Torque Power In 3 mighty engines .., with fresh, new styling inspired by the Thunderbird . . . with smoother new Angle-Poised Ride. Sec and Test Drive the lolally new l''onl and we he- lie vt' you, too, will agree llial llu: car lor 5. r ) is Kurd! Us styling was inspired by the Thnnderhird—Ford's greut persoitiil ear. 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