The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on January 18, 1954 · Page 5
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 5

Blytheville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Monday, January 18, 1954
Page 5
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MONDAY, JANUARY 18,1954 BLTTHEVILLE (ARK.) COURIER NEWS FACE OTB Frenchman's Bayou: Age, 125 By EDNA BROWN (Courier News Correspondent) The town of Frenchman's Bayou is named for the bayou thut bears the same name. It seems that about 125 years ago, there was a colony of Frenchmen living someplace on the bayou, so it was named for them — ov perhaps just one cf them, as it is called Frenchman's. The bayou itself empties into Swan Lake, n short distance from the town. Frenchman's Bayou is located in the southern part of Mississippi County on highway 61 and the Frisco railroad. In 1836, Lawrence Specie settled there. He had come to America from Germany while lie was still a boy. He wandered over different parts of the State and finally decided on Frenchman's Bayou. It was all woods then. He operated a woods Ibt, and sold wood to the steamboats on the Mississippi River to fire the boilers. The wood was hauled to Old Molasses Landing. Other river landings were Idaho, Pecan Point and Golden Lake. Mr. Speck only cleared up his land, he never farmed any of it. He was a good woodsman and river man but he couldn't swim. He was never known to have lost an axe in the' river. When one was accidentally dropped in the water, he would drive a spike pole into the water, climb down it. retrieve the axe and climb back up. * * * MR. SPECK built his home on the site that Mrs. Betty Speck's home now occupies. He and his wife, Polly, who came from Kentucky, raised five children at Frenchman's Bayou. The fifth generation of Specks now live on the same land he homesieaded. It has never belonged to anyone else. Their children were named Marshall, Shelby, Rowena Ferrell, Mary Ann Speck and Caroline Guffin. Between these, there were 17 children born. Delia Guffin, one of Caroline's daughters, mnr- ried Roy Clark. Another one of Caroline's daughters, Mollie, married Elbert Norton. They had three children each. Shelby Speck had four sons, Ed, Lawrence, Kirk and Will. All of them are dead no\v except Will, who is ill and living c in Texas. Lawrence Speck, Shelby's son, married Kitty Parker from Tennessee. They had nine children. Six of them are still living. She is Frenchman's Bayou death trap Clarence. All three of these sons are in business in Frenchman's Bayou and are also engaged in farming. The estate was divided in 1950. Emmett Speck got the old J. M: Speck store and Leslie got the two gins. Also inherited the love his father had for the gins. They are named Marshall and Mollie. It was in one of these gins that Marshall got his arm cau;,ht and almost torn off. Dr, Dunavant from Osceola was called. He put the patient on his kitchen .table and finished cutting off. the. arm. • - ' [ The story is told that Marshall Speck, wearing old clothes, was out front of his store one day when a salesman came up in a buggy. He got down, handed the reins to Mr. Speck and said, "Hold this horse for me while I go inside and sell a bill of goods and I will give you a dime." So he held the horse, got the dime and never did tell the salesman who he was. He Was a grand old man — hardy, thrifty and loved by all. He built his first gin in 1904. It burned down in 1921 and was .rebuilt. The second was built in moved to Frenchman's Bayou w the children could go to school. Roea enUn-cd nurse training nt Pine Bluff, and wns a registered nurse when Miss Hetty, married Emmett Speck and they hart two children, Mary Speck Henry, who died last yoav, and Melvin Speck, who is married to Edna Earl Quinn, They have three children and live at Osceola. He farms at Frenchman's Bayou and has a p;irt interest in the liquor stpre with C. C. Speck. H. B. Carpenter of Oolden Lake is the store Olnrenee Speck married Lime Wheat lord, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Wheat ford. Slip was born brt- wrrn Kronchrnnn's Bayou and Brad- sttnvn. They lu'ul nine children, .seven of them now living. EcJ Norton came to this country In 1903. He married Mollie Guffin ami they hut! three children. Georgia, Ed und Ray. Ray is married to ForrH .Jenkins, they are farming ami living on the old homestead. Roy Clark moved to Frenchman's in 189C, he also married one of Lawrence Sneck's cr nuclei a UK liters. Delia Guffin. They had three children, OMvor, Blytlie and VeJ- ma, Oliver is now \\\ charge of the store and business that Boy and his sons hive been operating since 1028. Bh-t'-e i.s f-irminR and Velma is murrio'l rnd living in Memphis. TKE nr:i.TA Store is owned by Mr.r.shall, and Ray Speck. They o~- • :\-:-:\ i!:e More until c'\ Nov. 1 of last yty.u* when snkl the slock and rentrd the building to W. A. who i.s now operating the store. IIo and Mrs. James have moved to Frenchman's Bayou from Memphis. The Post Office In Frenchman's Bayou is in the rear ni' the J. M. Spe;:k store building with Mrs. Virginia Bi'ouk.s Russell as postmaster. She h;;s held t'-iis position for the past .six years. It is a small office but does a Dig business. Mrs. Georpe Tinsley oT Joiner is the assist-inland .she sometimes carries the mail j for J. M. Opps. who fs the carrier ! on the .star route, of 28 miles and a remarkable old rs. Mos(; people of his ;e would nut think of working, but . . . J, M. Speck School . . . . . New warehouse living on the old home place with 1937. They are continental gins one of her sons, Jim, nnc\ his with Jive 80-saw stands. Auburn wife, Nina, and children. Higgins is the bookkeeper and has * * * been with the company for about MARSHALL, or J. M. Speck as 135 years. Mrs. Higgins helps out m?.i)v people know him, married | during rush seasons. L- D. Morris Mollie Wright. They had three I has been the ginner for the past boys mimed Leslie, Emmett and j 15 years. . . . Clark's Store . . . WHEN Leslie Speck took over the gins he saw they were in need o£ more cleaners since there were so many mechanical pickers in the country so he added two burr machines, two impact cleaners, two additional dryers, four additional droppers and five lint cleaners. He claims to have more cleaning surfaces than any other gin in the country. He has also replaced the warehouse that burned with a very modern warehouse. Leslie says he can remember when there was only a trail to Gihnore, which was their outlet to the highway. Their shipping points by water were Golden Lake and Pecan Point, Too, he rode on the .second train to run on the cutoff between Evadale and Twvell. He had been away attending school nt Valparaiso, Ind., and was coming home on a vacation, , Leslie Speck is married to Rosa Morris Speck, They are the parents of three children. Leslie, Jr.. Jefferson, and Martha Helen Hawk- Ins. Martha Helen and her two sons make their home part time at Frenchman's Bayou and part time in Memphis. Jeff Speck is married to Kilene Da vies Speck from Little Rock. They have two sons, Ru.sty and Davies. Jeff was in World War II. and was a prisoner of the Japanese for three and one half years. After he returned to America, he was in hospitals for several years. He is now apparently recovered as much as possible from his mistreatment. He Is fanning and has operated a water-softening business in Frenchman's Bayou for the past two and a half years, With Fordie Barnes as manager. The office building itself Is of modern design with three sides of it constructed of glass. MISS ROSA and Miss Betty Mor.^e are sisters and trade their anccstory back to Samuel B. Morse, the originator, of the Morse code. The Morsi 1 family was living on island 37, and he hardly ever misses a day. He has eight miles of dirt roads to cover and mafcrs it in his old car. He has been carrier on tins route for the past 16 years. He was born in Jlli- to Arkansas with his fr.r-ior when he was young in 1378, they fanned the land where are now in French-, man's B:iyou. lie remembers pay-, lug $40 for 50 acres of laud tit Menesha. They used to own all of that Uind. HE "\vrni his family moved up into the hills of Arkansas and lived tor 25 yearh, ihun came back here in 1939. He i.s without teeth now as he pulled all of them himself, and he ctuVt make Ihem, ho does without. He has never worn glasses. He has trapped fished, farmed, hunted and clone, many other things in his life, But he loves the mail route and i- lf.:-;v! to Ins \a'') and the people ivho depend on him. Mrs. Capps is only 76 years old. Vy live m Joiner. This i.s the second marriage for both of them. They each had five children by their first marrlagccs, and have one by theis marriage. Mrs. Capps was Ada Pnole. Ed Crutcher of Frenchman's Bayou and Mrs. Victor Smith of Pecan Point are i both her children. There is alr-o a. cemetary at Frenchman's Bayou, loavtol lx.-h.ind the gins. It is a small one and very old. Most of the 1 bt-lovcd in and around Frenchman's Bayou are buried I her? and most of the .space is about taken up. So some of (he old folks of Frenchman's Bayou are buried at Bassett and. Louise Chapel. THE J. M. Sl'ECK school at Fren- afc Frenchman's Bayou is the Negro school for the district . . . About 300 pupils arc enrolled there. The high school students go to Turrell. The J. M. Speck school has eight grades and employ seven teachers. When James Harrison, the principle came there nine years ago, they only had two grades. Now all the teachers with the exception of one have degrees, many of them nre speciali- sed In their field. The principals daughter, Jimmie Mae Harrison, attended Tenn., State University at Nashville, where she received a degree in commercial subjects. She plans to teach that subject and is only helping out at the school this year. Marguerite Moody of Memphis drives to Frenchman's Bayou each week day to teach. She is an accomplished musician and has been playing the piano since she was five and has studied music and voice in college. She has organized a school chorus of 12 girls and 12 boy which •. * Malt Carrier Cappi ... lize in spirituals and sings on ipec- The athletic department is being heard from, too. They have both and girls' junior teams and are whining most of the games. > THIS school would not have been possible had it not been for the man whose name it bears. He gava the land for the campus and most of the money to build the school house. The school now has three busei, sharing one with Turret!. The students are employed drivers. This school is trying desperately to make an A rating. M. H. Benton, Superintendent, of Shawnee Schools and also Superintendent of J. M. Speck school, said it only lackt some Library facilities. Only last week, there were two nt this school, Mrs. M. C. Arrant and C. A. Hicks. They are supervisors of Negro education, and are trying to help the school obtain its rating. MOST EVERYONE knows the old Frenchman's Bayou Bridge. It is a relic and should be abolished, say the residents of Frenchman's Bayou. The antique top is too low to allow tall trucks to pass and is too low and narrow for large machinery. The bridee is too narrow to allow a truck and another vehicle to pass, know that, but tourist don't know it until its too late. Orjf a couple of weeks m:o a woman killed because of the bridge. Her husband and twin daughters were painfully Injured and hospitalized. During the past two months. There has been as many as a dozen serious wrecks because of the bridge.. The residents of Frenchman's Bayou say they have signed a petition at different times. There are always promises of a new bridge in the future but nothing is ever done about it—only promises. They sit and ponder over the matter, and wonder who will be the next victim of the bridge. It Is like a huge monster just wait* ing for its next victim. * ; *^ '?5&S~ fes- "i^Sii . ,i»*^.',-•-"•( .,,«-?••»••"'• v-^iUre-JWtt** I ' ^^*—-4 '^0^-SS, -fi Tf rr i ; i&\ •» ,l f W3"" J "' •V* '&IM..K,. »*•" .„ if. a, ',- *» \ > fjirf >^sjf A . •' ' f '«f^?^ , . Leslie Speck . . . J. M. Speck Store . . . Delta Grocery . . , . . Speck's Liquor Store Ce Sent Tous des Bafouilleurs By LEON DENNEN NEA Staff Correspondent PARIS—(NBA)—My taxi drivel- suddenly exclaimed: "Co sont tous des baiouilleurs." "Clowns." I asked. "Who are the clowns?" "The French politicians," he said. "They should all be dumped into the Seine." In his excitement the driver lost control of the wheel. The taxi made a sharp turn to the right and there was a near-crash. In a moment the circle of the Arc de Triomphe, Paris' main traffic artery, became a jungle of screeching cars and screaming horns. « . • Everyone .stopped. Everyone waited tor the next fellow to clear the way. As usual in such cases in Prance no one moved. Meanwhile, curs kept on piling up and the horns, like howling beasts, increased th?lr crescendo. Finally a cop appeared. He seemed young and very self-assured. He approached us slowly, completely iRiioring the clamour of the horns. He, too, was in no hurry, "Why do you drive like a sava&o?" , hy asked my driver contemptu- ously. "I am not a savage," my little man replied with equal contempt. "I am a civilized Frenchman, probably more French than you." "What makes you think that you are more French than I?" the cop asked. "Because I am from Orleans." "And what's so • special about Orleans?" "That's where St. Joan of Arc was born, the only great patriotic leader France ever had. I wish she were with us today." "So you are from Orleans," the cop said. "Yes." "I am from Orleans, too." "You don't say," exclaimed the taxi driver. • • • Both men smiled. I thought that In a moment they would start kissing each other. They shook hands and the argument ended amicably nnd, for France, in record time. After all, there were no dead. Only traffic In the heart of Paris was tied up for about a quarter of an hour. '."You know, monsieur," .'the tnxt driver, said as I paid him'off, "I nm not really ».' bad frenchman. Only I still think that our politicians are ruining our beautiful country." He, unfortunately, was not alone in this view. The French people are not amused as they look back upon the recent presidential election farce, which took 13 ballots. They are genuinely distressed by the tragic disunity of their leaders— the political confusion gnawing at the vitals of their country. Seven Killed (n California AZUSA, Calif. Wl—Seven persons were killed and three critically Injured yesterday when a car carrying six young people collided .with an oncoming car on U. S. Highway 66 just east of here. Deputies said the car currying four Rlrls and two boys returning from rt high school dance apparently eroded the center line at high speed, overturned and struck an oncoming car, killing 1 thai, driver Instantly, and critically injuring three passengers. . War Veteran, Accused of Abducting Son In Germany, Arrested by Scotland Yard LONDON (fl—Scotland Yard held | a war veteran from Brooklyn and his 6-yenr-old son today after Ihc man's estranged German wife accused him of abducting the child from her home In Stuttgart, Germany. The man. Harry'Hlllers, a 3(i- year-old house painter, and Ihc boy Jimmy were nabbed as liipy were about to board an airliner for New York. Scotland Yard said It had picked them up nt the request of Intcrpol, the International police oi'Ranixa- tlon, but that it had placed no charges. "This Is Just one of those things which Is going to have to straighten itself out during the day," n police spokesman said, adding that meanwhile Hlllers "Is remaining at the station with the little hoy." Hlllers met his wife Hanna, now 21, while stationed In Germany. They were married in Brooklyn In 1947 but separated last Alivll, when she left the United States and took Jimmy ,to Germany. The hiiflunnd.vfq'HcWtd' .iheiil Kind filed suit In StuttKarffor the/child's jcustody, chanting. Ms '-wife "ab- ducted" him. A Slulteart court | last November dcnifMt hi* request I for Immediate custody of Ihc child, ] saying the whole case had to be .settled by another German court. But it gave him pcnmssion to take his son out for three-hour visits, three times a week. Mrs. Hlllers told StuttRart police her husband took Ihc child for a walk Satin-day but did not return. The U. s. Army newspaper Stars and Stripes .sold it had received a letter purportedly from [tillers In which lie wrote he planned to line Mill Ihc chilli Ill-cause lie loll (lie court, case "will not cud for quite ^onie time find I cannot afford to stay hern much loimcr." "I feel," the letter continued "that 1 can no loniicr i;o on ns five months, entlnj; very lltlle, nnd 1 have been doing for the past sleeping In a cold room. "I want my son to grow up In Ihc country when' he belongs, where he was born and where he will hnvc Ihe same nppnrliinlty ns millions of oilier American citizens." Polio Vaccine Supply Grows NEW YORK Ml — The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis says It hopes to have enough trial polio vaccine for at least 500,000 second tirade school children before June 1. Basil O'Connor, the foundation president, adds that sufficient vaccine possibly may be produced by June to inoculate as many as a million children. However, he says that "no polio Vaccine will be available for the, general public In 1054" and that "It will be 1355 before It can be demonstrated whether or not the su'«;lancc Is effective." The vaccine Is that developed by Dr. Jones E. Sulk of the University of Plllsburg. The trials are to start next month In counties t'iroiigliout the nation; the counties have not yet been named. No Lore for Faithful Slim Got Slim Haul PARIS m — A Paris paper printed this anecdote, which it said was true, illusu-aling the French attitude toward I'nmour. A master of ceremonies, trying to enliven a party, posed the question: "What is love?" "I don't know", replied a young pretty woman. "I haven't been unfaithful to my husband yet." NEW HAVEN, Conn. t/P) 3, S'.lm burglar got a slim haul for hli trouble. He squeezed through an opening 11 by 13 inches to get $7 from a pharmacy till, and apparently got out the same way. Canis familiaris Is the scientific name of the common dog. Read Courier News Classified For Fine Foods, Choose PICKARD'S GROCERY & MARKET Nationally Advertised & Fancy Groceries We Deliver 2043 Coll In Come In 1044 Chick.

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