(Transcribed by Louis Reitzammer from microfilm images. This issue consisted of eight pages, but the center section, pages 3 through 6, is missing from the microfilm. Pages 2 and 7 are transcribed below. Page 1 contains a full-page map of Desha County; page 8, a full-page map of Chicot County.)
Published by Bessellieu and Trice at Arkansas City,
In looking backward over the history of the country it is interesting to note that ever since the landing of Marquette on the site of the Arkansas Post, the mouth of the Arkansas River and its vicinity has been the natural geographical location of a town of importance. First the Post of Arkansas was established and grew to a town of some magnitude, as its location made it the connecting point between the commercial countries east of the Mississippi River and the vast and productive territory along the valley of the Arkansas and its tributaries. When by reason of increased commerce, through the settlement of the country and development of its resources, more direct communication grew in a demand. Arkansas Post moved to the confluence of the two rivers, and through a long series of years the town of Napoleon held its own among river towns of the southern delta as one of the most important shipping and distributing points on the lower Mississippi, and only the effects of the Rebellion could put an end to its prosperity. Up to that time few railroads traversed the interior of the State and the Arkansas River was the only outlet, its only connecting link with commerce. But when prosperity revived and the State became covered with roads, though the river traffic became impaired, the rich alluvial soil and timbered lands remained and transportation by rail instead of river only served to move the interests of Napoleon a few miles down the river, and result in the building of Arkansas City -- a town which but for the ravages of flood and fire would rank today among the first of importance in the State, and which will in time attain that place, for nature so intended. It is the Gate City of the Southwest and phoenix like, will spring to life and flourish though every adverse element oppose it.
Situated in the bend below the first bar that obstructs navigation on the Mississippi River in extreme low water, it is practically the head of low water navigation on the river, and during all seasons offers open transportation and the cheapest possible, to the southern sea ports. Lying six miles east of high lands its railroad connections can never be seriously disturbed by floods, and in the center of a country which, with development, would support the greatest cities in the country, it can but fulfill its destiny.
That the levee system is a success has been demonstrated time and again during the floods of the past by the fact that "reaches" of levee from one to two and three miles long have been held, where the water rose two feet above them, by building up to meet it with sacks of sand. This frail barrier has protected us before, and now with out immense embankments the people who know and who have fought the encroachments of the floods, stand in less fear and dread of the flood than do the Kansans of their cyclones and grasshoppers, or the Texans of their drought and blizzard.
We are a Desha County institution, and are expected to blow Desha County's horn, but we feel that the above are facts, not overdrawn, that demand publishing to the world. We believe that Desha County offers to the poor farmer the best prospect of any country on earth. We feel that protection from overflow is assured, and that the improvement now commencing in Arkansas City will not stop until it culminates in building it into one of the best business towns on the Mississippi River and one of the most prosperous in Arkansas.
THE DORAN CO.
Among the late business ventures of Arkansas City is the Doran Co., an incorporated establishment with capital of $10,000. The officers are Ed Doran, President; David A. Gates, Vice-President; G. N. Adams, Treasurer; George R. Lacy, Secretary, and Wm. M. Ogburn, Business Manager. The fact that the gentlemen at the helm of the Doran co., are citizens of long standing who have shown at all times to possess the best interests of the town at heart, is sufficient guarantee that strangers who may fall into their hands will receive courteous treatment, and in truth they are among the leading authorities on all questions pertaining to this region. Established about the middle of last January, a year ago, the firm has grown rapidly in importance until now it is recognized as one of the principal houses in the trade of Arkansas City. Backed by one of the most reliable and conservative party of business men it were possible to select from any town in the state of the same number of inhabitants, The Doran Company is destined to equal all enterprise of its contemporaries and play an active part in the competition of commerce. Though but one member is a native of Arkansas, all of the manor born, and yet there is another feature which adds to the prosperity of this establishment and that is the fact that two of its members have shown considerable interest in the affairs of politics, and having inspired to office, have met with gratifying success. The first of these is in the person of Vice-President David A. Gates, who, having represented the county in the Lower House of the General Assembly of 1893, is not head of the Internal Revenue Department in this district embracing Kentucky and Tennessee, with headquarters at Louisville, of the former state. The second member is Secretary George R. Lacy, who is the efficient Mayor of the city, and a young man to be admired and esteemed.
J. S. JOHNSON
J. S. Johnson, coal dealer, as an authority on the natural advantages and resources of Arkansas City and the territory of which it is a direct center point, by reason of his long residence here and the fact that he is a moral leader of the community, gives tone to the selection which in this instance is made more important because of the coincidence that he is also County Treasurer. Hence it is a case not only of an authority on the business side of the town and, according to native and business connections to the country and authority upon the score of its inhabitants and its resources, but he is an authority on county finances and that which holds good in the better things of life, or, in other words, from a moral point of view, not only is the gentleman firmly established in the business confidence of his fellows, but he is beloved by them because of his own example of living and his efforts to help others to live up to the best ideas of life -- a common commendation being that he is one of the best men in town. His estimable wife was the daughter of Mr. J. M. Clayton, of Clayton, La.; he is the happy father of nine children, four boys and five girls. Mr. Johnson is not a native Arkansan, though the date of his advent here goes back to fifteen years ago, but was to the manor born in Louisiana.
(continued on page 3)
A Scene of Clover Pictured for the Intelligent Agriculturist
Just on the boundary line of Desha and Drew counties, as shown by reverence to the map, five miles south of Winchester, and six miles north of McGehee Junction or eighteen miles from Arkansas City, attention is called to the prettiest little village in this section. Next in importance to Monticello, the county site of Drew, from a commercial standpoint, Tillar will be found to equal, if not exceed, the business transacted in any other place of its size in the State. The town proper is situated in the northeast corner of Drew County, but a part of the residence section of the town is located on the western border of Desha, the tracks of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway passing through the center of the place, touching a border of both counties. As a location for a town, Tillar was first established in 1880, with the building of the present system of railway, then known as the Little Rock and Mississippi River and Texas Railway Company, but now the Iron Mountain and Southern.
The first business houses were known as Tillar & Co., which by the way has a record of twenty-five years' standing, and Clayton & Prewitt, the latter establishment having long since dissolved, and the senior member of the firm deceased. Mr. Prewitt, the junior member, is still planting and merchandising here, and is one of the leading progressive citizens.
Similar to all railroad towns in this section, whose advent came with the laying of the tracks of the Iron Mountain, Tillar is no exception to the rule, but its more favorable location, and the rapid growth of the surrounding territory in both counties, caused by the superior quality of the further unmolestation from annoyance by floods, as has been the case in more unfavored localities of the country. Tillar has not, perhaps, advanced so much itself, but the lands have been eagerly caught up until with a radius of twelve miles around, of which territory the place is the one main practical feeder, the acreage of cultivated cleared lands is hardly estimable.
In point of fact this vicinity is one of the most densely populated sections of the county. The people are noted for their hospitality. Whether they live on the one side of the county line or the other, they are all of one character, one voice and one populace.
The population of Tillar is about 300. There are two church organizations, the Methodist Episcopal, South, and the Cumberland Presbyterian. The school facilities are excellent. Good buildings, conveniently situated, and a thorough, practical teacher. Situated high and dry, easily, almost naturally drained, the town is never muddy after the hardest rains. The place may boast of six sell regulated commercial establishments, carrying stocks ranging all the way from $500 to $25,000, a large and enterprising wagon and plow factory with grist mill and blacksmith shop combined, and added to this is the shingle and stave industry. Last season between 10,000 and 12,000 bales of cotton were shipped from this point, also something over 100,000 staves. In the season of 1888-89 6,000 bales of cotton, valued at $245,000; 50,000,000 cypress shingles, valued at $125,000; $73,000 worth of cotton seed and 125 carloads of hewn timber were shipped from Tillar, much of the timber finding a market in Europe.
The extent of business done in the town will approximate something over $300,000 per annum. Its trade comes from the immediate surrounding territory, the largest of its business houses, Tillar & Co., doing a general furnishing business amounting close to $100,000. There are no saloons. The Methodists and Presbyterians hold church services and Sunday school services regularly.
The Masons, Knights of Pythias and Knights and Ladies of Honor each have lodges. Health is generally good, the death rate comparing above an average with some localities farther north and west, but there are three resident physicians who practice not only in the town limits, but elsewhere from five to ten miles in the surrounding country.
Aside from the lands already in cultivation, there are yet splendid fields awaiting to be opened, and the best timber awaiting the lumberman. The soil is rich and fertile, easily cultivated, and will produce every imaginable agricultural and horticultural plant and seed. For fruit, grape and truck farming the place is happily located. The markets are within easy reach, and, judiciously managed, a farm of the last description could readily be made a paying, profitable investment. The garden and field vegetables are here surrounded by conditions that promote the fullest growth. Every variety of those peculiar to the temperature are seen to thrive quickly and to better advantage in this section of the State than elsewhere. The intelligent agriculturist is "in clover" here. Cotton and corn are the chief crops, but oats, field peas, Irish and sweet potatoes, sorghum and millet, to say nothing of other remunerative crops, are raised here extensively. Generally all over this section diversified farming is growing in popular favor. Stock raising is receiving no little attention, but mostly in connection with farming interests. We are told that in Jefferson and Clayton townships, Desha County, $6,000 worth of hog flesh was sold in one season. Fine Jersey cattle, thoroughbred road horses and high-priced mules are to be observed on almost every farm, and a few grade stallions of the Norman and Clydesdale breeds are here.
It is a grand country, a glorious country. But there is another thought to be considered which may one day add to the importance and growth of Tillar. As has been stated in connection with Winchester, the same may be said in connection with this place, the blank square on the map forming that part of Drew County between the boundary line and Bayou Bartholomew, may be one day annexed to Desha, and in that event Tillar stands in the most central location for the county site, provided Mississippi Township of Desha County should be annexed to Phillips County. Whether this will ever be accomplished is not yet generally known, but there is now a scheme to that effect talked about, and both favorably and unfavorably commented on. If the scheme should favorably terminate in Tillar's favor, the growth of the place would be speedy and marked. However Tillar's natural surroundings and advantages are so far superior that it is independent and will be able to keep pace and cope with its neighbors at any event.
TILLAR & CO.
The best well-established firm in this section of the State, from which doubtless the town of Tillar takes its name, is the subject of this sketch. Tillar & Co. was first organized twenty-five years ago under the corporate name it now wears, with three individual members as partners, Maj. J. T. W. Tillar, A. C. Stanley and N. B. Turner. For a number of years the firm conducted an enormous business netting a handsome income to its owners. Messrs. Stanley and Turner were afterward succeeded by T. F. Tillar, son of Maj. Tillar, and Dr. D. C. Carroll, and on January 1 of this year Dr. Carroll was succeeded by Messrs. J. B. Deshon and R. H. Wolfe, with T. F. Tillar as business manager. The firm is now composed of Maj. J. T. W. Tillar, J. B. Deshon, T. F. Tillar and R. H. Wolfe. It does a flourishing business, amounting close to $100,000 per annum, and owns five-eighths of the real estate in the immediate vicinity of the town. As a local authority no reference could be better.
Messrs. M. H. Davidson, C. L. Deshon and P. A. Gates are connected with the establishment as clerks. They are all young men of marked ability and efficient salesmen.
R. W. HARRELL & SON
The third, not to say the first best, for modesty sometimes alters cases in giving praise to business establishments of the staunchness and character known to be the case in the firm above, is the well-known house of R. W. Harrell & Son. This firm entered business at Tillar last March a year ago. It was originally well-established at Selma, Drew County, and brings with it considerable trade from that section that otherwise would remain. R. W. Harrell is a native of Tennessee, whose well-bred Southern character native to the climate of his birth is remarkably distinguishable. His advent into Arkansas came in 1860, when but a small lad, too young to enter the war following a year later, his father, T. C. Harrell, opening a large farm, now a handsome property, that has descended to his son, who yet resides on the old homestead. Mr. Harrell first entered commercial life in 1872, and having been always successful, he has never known or experienced a business calamity adverse from easy financial sailing. The firm of which he is senior member is composed of R. W. Harrell and his son, W. L. Harrell, the latter of whom is a thorough young business man, progressive and fair in all his dealings, who will doubtless prove the commercial equal of his father, following close in his footsteps. R. W. Harrell & Son carry a full and complete stock of general merchandise, amounting above $8000 in value always on hand, and transact an estimated business of about $50,000 per annum. It is a pleasure to know these gentlemen. As local authorities the "Journal" takes pleasure in recommending them. The bookkeeper for the establishment is Mr. D. C. Wells, and old time resident of this section, a pleasant, courteous gentleman, who is no less the master of his profession.
I. S. PENTECOST
Merchant and jeweler, I. S. Pentecost is a native Arkansas boy, born and reared within five miles of Tillar. His father, Mr. J. M. Pentecost, originally a native Tennesseean, who came to Arkansas in the 40's, was one of the first settlers of Desha County. Mr. Pentecost pitched his tent in the Tillar neighborhood, and lived until a good old age, as late as 1882. I. S. Pentecost first saw life in the month of December, on Christmas Day, 1856. He is a middle-aged man, but unfortunately a cripple, having lost the entire natural use of both legs. He moves about with the aid of the crutch. But, as he says, though his afflictions are great, it is true that his energy has never been paralyzed and though his capital is small, the investment yields a fair income. Mr. Pentecost's connection with Tillar dates back five years. He says: "I came here without a penny, but now my present worth, including a nice farm, will reach over $1,000. This is the best poor man's country in the world. What I have I earned is by hard licks. I am a cripple. This is the example of a man without the use of his legs; if I have done so well, how much more ought a man with fair intellect and two good legs accomplish?" It seems to the "Journal" that the meditations of Mr. Pentecost are about correct. Mr. Pentecost is a watchmaker an jeweler of excellent ability, but what he knows about the trade has been learned from personal experience without a teacher. It is a gift to him. He says: "I fixed the first watch I ever attempted." From that may be judged that he has a natural talent for his line. He has a host of friends, is well posted regarding the community, and a man whose integrity and honor is valued in the neighborhood.
W. R. PASCHAL
"Billy" Paschal is another Arkansas boy, who has made his fortune at Tillar, and is now senior partner of the second largest business establishment in the town. He is a native of Drew County and was educated in the Monticello High Schools. He first entered business for himself at Winchester with Henry Bros., then one of the strongest firms in the county, but now a relic of the past. This firm was composed of H. L. and F. W. Henry, the former of whom is the present sheriff of Desha, and the latter a prominent planter. But to return to Mr. Paschal. In 1889 he moved to Tillar, his present location, and there established a business known as Henry Bros. & Paschal. After several years of a successful business career the Henry boys sold their interest to other parties and at that time the firm changed to its present name, W. H. Paschal & Co. Mr. Paschal transacts a general furnishing business, has a capital of $10,000, and keeps a complete stock, invoiced at $5,000. Though a young man, the fruit of his success goes without saying that his qualifications as a first-class business man will rate far above the average. He was but lately married to Miss Flora Mills, a charming young lady of Tillar, niece of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Hartsfield, their marriage anniversary and Mr. Paschal's birthday falling on January 12 of next year. Mr. Paschal is 35 years of age. He had no capital when entering the commercial arena, and has climbed to the top round of the ladder by his own efforts. Besides the establishment of Paschal & Co., Mr. Paschal is the owner of one of the prettiest little homes in the vicinity.
DANIEL C. CARROLL, M. D.
There is a young man in the little town of Tillar who will yet write his name among the famed physicians of Arkansas, and that man is Dr. D. C. Carroll. Born in Pine Bluff Ark., December 17, 1857, he began the struggle for "meat and bread," as he puts it, at 16 years of age. Dr. Carroll studied medicine in the Medical Department of the Arkansas Industrial University at Fayetteville in 1881, and afterward graduated at the University of Maryland at Baltimore. He located in Desha County, and began the practice of his profession here in 1881, and in 1887 was married to Miss May Tillar, daughter of Maj. J. T. W. Tillar, now of Little Rock, a lady of culture, beauty and refinement. In 1889 Dr. Carroll abandoned the practice to become associated with Maj. J. T. W. Tillar and T. F. Tillar, as successors to the old firm of Tillar & Stanley, with whom he continued until January 1, 1895, when he re-entered the field of medicine and has since established himself as a physician of worth and ability. Dr. Carroll is a son of ex-Chancellor D. W. Carroll, one of the old pioneer settlers of the State.
DR. J. T. CHEAIRS
Among the leading physicians and surgeons of Tillar we have formed the acquaintance of the gentleman whose distinguished name forms the caption of this sketch. As a local authority he is one of the best posted characters of this section. Dr. Cheairs is a native of Tennessee, but came to Arkansas in 1862, and located within a mile of the pretty little town mentioned in the body of this article. He is a physician of no mean ability, and is conservative and altogether well liked and honored by all who know him. Dr. Cheairs is a man of family, his wife is charming, and the household is agreeably situated in their pretty little home, a stone's throw from the Iron Mountain Depot. Dr. Cheairs is also a merchant, carrying a full stock of general merchandise, together with a complete line of drugs. His son, Johnnie Cheairs, a young man of marked business ability, is the junior partner of the establishment. Jno. T. Cheairs & Son carry about $3,500 stock, and transact a seemingly profitable business.
Z. T. PREWITT
Another of Tillar's merchants, who can be relied on as local authority, is Mr. Z. T. Prewitt. He is a native of Hardeman County, Tennessee, and educated in the public schools of the county. Mr. Prewitt is a self-made, practical businessman, pleasant by nature and genial. During the last year of the war he was a soldier on the Confederate side entering at 17 years of age, with Forrest's Cavalry. After the war he returned to his Tennessee home, but in 1867 came to Arkansas and settled at Selma, near Tillar, in Drew County. His first experience behind the counter was with the old-time firm of Deshon & Tillar at Selma. Three years later he entered into business for himself, and is now a successful planter and merchant. Mr. Prewitt is President of the School Board, and takes special interest in educational matters.
Probably the Future County Seat of Desha County
It will be observed from the map that Winchester is situated outside the Desha boundary line. By securing a complete map of the State it will be noticed that the ground on which the place is located belongs to Drew County. Twenty years ago this section was a dense forest. Since the completion of the Iron Mountain railroad the country has been rapidly developed, the lands cleared, timber felled, and now some of the best and finest farms may be witnessed here in the highest state of cultivation. Notice the map. The location is splendid. Winchester is five miles south of Walnut Lake and five miles north of Tillar, just half way between the two places. As a rival of her sister towns, the place may be said to be successful in holding its own. There are several mercantile establishments here, among whom the Rives Mercantile Company is the strongest and most popular, doubtless. Next in importance to the Rives Mercantile Company is the firm known as Mrs. E. E. Courtney. But as an item to show the importance of the place and the magnitude of its business houses it may be said that all will equal the average country establishments. Winchester boasts of two churches, but not in the town limits. Newton's Chapel Church and Tindall Chapel Church are located some two or three miles from Winchester in Jefferson Township, Desha County. The pulpits of these places of worship are occupied regularly, or at least as regular as the circumstances of other country churches will allow. People for miles around, not strictly confined to Winchester attend the services. There are no saloons here. The public school is a success and has a fair enrollment of students. Two passenger and two local trains pass here daily. The cotton shipments are small, but splendid, ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 bales per annum. The prospects for the future is good, with a promised increase of business and prosperity. The brightest of these is the hope of one day realizing Winchester the site of Desha County. The scheme is to cut in that part of Drew County forming almost a square on the map and attach to Desha County; in other words, change the boundary between the two counties in the end to secure to Desha that part of Drew lying between the boundary line and Bayou Bartholomew. It has also been recommended that in lieu of the territory sliced from Drew County, Mississippi Township in the northeast corner of Desha, be turned over to Phillips County. If ever this is done and there is no drawback to the proposition, either Winchester or Tillar, her rival, will be centered upon as the permanent county site. The bone and sinew of Desha County reside in Jefferson and Clayton Townships. There is plenty of bone and sinew in other townships of the county, but Jefferson and Clayton seem to possess more of it. Combined with any other one township in the county, together with the additional force they would naturally get from that part of Drew attached to Desha, they could vote the county seat of government to any part of the county they might choose. As the matter now stands there are two county seats, one at Arkansas City and the other at Dumas. With the boundary lines of the county re-adjusted, one county seat an one courthouse would answer the purpose. The writer does not care to be put on record as favoring this scheme. It is a matter in which he is not personally interested. He merely called attention to it in order to picture the possibilities of Winchester. Who knows but what these thoughts may be some day put in practice? Winchester as a town is new, and bids fair to become a neat little village. It will never grow old.
RIVES MERCANTILE CO.
Embodied in the beginning of this sketch this house has already been alluded to, and the reader made acquainted with the firm's staunchness and popularity. But there is another feature that in introducing the stranger we must not pass lightly over and that is the very pleasant relations we feel warranted in stating the buyer would enjoy in trading at Winchester through the channel of this firm in connection with its genial manager, Jr. B. H. Taylor. By way of continuing this introduction, we will say that Mr. Taylor is a brother of J. G. and S. M. Taylor, two of Arkansas' distinguished sons, who as lawyers in the practice of their profession reside at Pine Bluff, but whose legal ability is demanded all over the State. Mr. Taylor is a Drew County boy, his birthplace being only five and a half miles from his present location. He was educated in the schools of Lagrange, Ky., in which State during his infancy he was conducted by his parents prior to the close of the War of Rebellion. In 1876, when Mr. Taylor was but 13 years of age, his parents returned to Arkansas, but he himself either continued at Lagrange or shortly afterwards returned there to complete his education. Mr. Taylor first embarked in life for himself on the farm. He served two years with reasonably fair success, but afterwards accepted a position with the railroad company as agent at Argenta, remaining permanently there for several years. He afterwards severed his connection with the railroad, and has since been steadily engaged in merchandising, formerly at Rives, Ark., but lately at Winchester. His business career at this place dates from January 1st, 1896. The Rives Mercantile Company supports a complete, liberal assortment of general merchandise, valued all the way from $6,000. The house also handles a full assortment of drugs. Aside from the manager, who is also vice-president of the firm, Mr. Hardy Peacock is bookkeeper and salesman.
MRS. E. E. COURTNEY
The lady whose name appears above forms the next mercantile establishment of importance in Winchester. She is the wife of S. M. Courtney, general manager of the establishment. Mr. Courtney is an old resident of Desha County, though the present home is in Drew. He is a native of Georgia, but when he was six years of age his father, Stephen Courtney, came to Arkansas and located near Collins, in Drew County, A. D. 1857. Stephen Courtney was always a farmer. His son, however, fancied the life of a merchant, and in 1879 found himself successful, owning a large mercantile establishment at Collins, as successor of the firm of Courtney & Tool, a firm of considerable prominence, with which Mr. Courtney had begun at the bottom round and ascended to the first round of the ladder. In 1887 he severed his business career at Collins and located at Arkansas City, first as senior member of the old firm of Courtney & Crenshaw, and lastly under the name of Courtney & Ogburn, where he conducted a business amounting close to $100,000 per annum. He is a man of strict integrity and honor, whose business career is of itself a witness to this assertion. As a local authority, Mr. Courtney is well-informed to comply with all inquiries.
Mr. Nougher has selected Winchester to make his first attempt at merchandising. He is a farmer boy, unmarried, born and reared in Drew County. Last November is the date of his entering the commercial arena. His first stock consisted of light capital, now he has increased it to a crowded house of dainty notions and wholesome staples. His economy is one of his main characteristics. But that, if not conducted in the light of a miser, adds to the worth of the man.
J. H. ELLIS
Postmaster Ellis, whose office is in the store of Mrs. E. E. Courtney, is a gentleman whose enthusiasm is ever exerted in speaking a good word for every creature, and more especially for his country. He is a native of Hickman, Ky., where he was reared and educated. In 1891 he cast his lot with Arkansas, settling near Winchester, in Desha County. By occupation he is a farmer, whose success speaks well for the soil he cultivates. Mr. Ellis is unmarried.
Twenty years ago Mr. Mikesell, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, set out to seek a home. He traveled extensively through the North and West, and in 1876 came to this State and assisted in clearing up the ground now known as Winchester. According to his way of putting it, he is the "daddy of the town." Mr. Mikesell is one of the large property owners here and makes a specialty of dealing in real estate. He is married, but has no children.
R. H. SCOBEY
The efficient young railroad agent of Winchester is Mr. R. H. Scobey, a splendid young gentleman and a thorough qualified young business man. He is a native Arkansan, having been reared and educated at Warren, this State. His advent to this place dates from January 1st of this year.
A carpenter by profession, Mr. Mikesell has assisted in erecting a goodly part of the business establishments and residences of Winchester. He is a brother of Mr. C. Mikesell and like his brother, a gentleman of considerable worth and ability.
The Best Location for a Big Saw Mill
Walnut Lake takes its name from the stream flowing through the town, formed by Well's Bayou, situated somewhat to the north. By tracing the Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad on the map of Desha (printed on the first page of this issue), Walnut Lake will be found located three miles south of Dumas and five miles north of Winchester in the heart of Walnut Lake Township. All trains stop here for a fresh supply of water. The Walnut Lake tank is the only one between Little Rock and Arkansas City. The town has four business establishments of which R. A. Pickens & Co. is the largest, and about 200 inhabitants. It also affords one church and a very comfortable and appropriate school house. The country surrounding Walnut Lake is alluvial and fertile; splendid farms abound on all sides, but there is yet room for more new homes, and plenty of lands, the timber of which awaits the hand of the axeman. The writer knows of no more inviting field to the husbandman. The impression must not go abroad that all of Desha County is subject to overflow. Only a part of the county is submerged--this part adjacent to and bordering along the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers. This section of the county never overflows. Walnut Lake is high and dry. Drinking water is easily reached and is pure, wholesome and clear as crystal. Wells anywhere in this section are never deeper than twenty or thirty feet. Walnut Lake as a town first saw daylight in 1879, after the completion of the Iron Mountain railroad. The first store ever here was the old firm of Kirby and Embree, who owned and operated a general merchandising and planting business. Wm. A. Holmes had a store for several years. Tillar & Co. succeeded these establishments and in 1884 was in turn succeeded by R. A. Pickens & Co., one of the strongest firms in the State. Another good feature about Walnut Lake is its timber interests. A small, well organized saw mill plant could do a land office business here. All kinds of hardwood, oak, ash, gum, cottonwood and so on abounds in the every edge of the town in abundance.
Right on the bank of the lake, convenient to the railroad is the place for the building of a paying saw mill. The lake would afford ample accommodation the year 'round as a waterway--to raft timber to the mill, while the convenience afforded by the Iron Mountain would be par excellence. One of these days somebody who has a sense of enterprise and knows a good thing when he sees it will grasp this opportunity. There is room in this section, the grandest country on the face of God's footstool, for every honest worker and intelligent man of pluck, industry and enterprise who may want to come. Room! There is plenty of it. Room for the farmer, room for the home-seeker, room for the lumberman, room for all, and all are welcome.
R. A. PICKENS & CO.
This firm has already been favorably mentioned in the body of this article, but it is not out of place or amiss to speak further of it in order that the reader may know just who composes the fir, in the end to refer to it as a local authority. This house, insofar as the building is concerned, is one of the prettiest and most conveniently arranged establishments in the county. It was erected some years ago at an outlay of several thousand dollars, and is calculated to display a stock of some $30,000 in value, although the nominal stock on hand at this season will range between $6,000 and $8,000. R. A. Pickens, the president and manager of the business, is perhaps of middle age, and as a man of business his name and fame is co-extensive with Desha County. His youth has been spent in Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas, where, when 23 years of age, he began farming, but afterwards accepted a clerkship with a mercantile establishment at Tillar. Later he began business at Tillar for himself, but afterward moved to Walnut Lake, where he has since been permanently located. Mr. Pickens owns a handsome residence in Walnut Lake besides other splendid property. He is married, his wife being a very estimable lady of old Virginian ancestry. In politics Mr. Pickens supports the principles of the Democratic party, and socially is a member of the Masonic fraternity, the I. O. O. F., the K. of P., and the K. of H., occupying prominent and useful positions in these distinguished orders. He takes an abiding interest in educational matters and has been an active member of the local school board for a number of years. The bookkeeper for the establishment of R. A. Pickens & Co. is Mr. Denny Terry, and the assistant manager is Mr. Wm. Pickens, brother of the president.
S. C. ROBERSON
The caption of this sketch is a young merchant of Walnut Lake. Mr. Roberson is a native Arkansan, having been raised in Drew County. He received his education in the public schools. In 1883 he was married to Miss Laura Edwards, daughter of Rev. Isaac Edwards, now deceased, but at one time a very distinguished divine of Jefferson Township, this county. He has witnessed the death of his wife also, she having passed away some three years ago. Mr. Roberson is a progressive young business man, well known and respected. In politics he is a Democrat and two years ago was a prominent candidate for Assessor before the Democratic primaries. His business career began at Walnut Lake January 1st, of this year, but for a time prior to that Mr. Roberson was engaged as clerk for D. O. Porter & Co., whom he succeeded.
R. S. VAUGHAN
No more thoroughbred planter resides in Southeast Arkansas than Mr. R. S. Vaughan, who is also a merchant of Walnut Lake. He has been a resident of Desha County since 1876. All the while he has devoted his whole attention to farming, and that he has made a happy success is shown by his comfortable surroundings. Mr. Vaughan is a native of Alabama. His native county is Courtland, where he was educated in the Courtland University. When he was 10 years of age his father, Mr. B. A. Vaughan, passed away, leaving young Richard to look after his own education and future. That he is self-made is shown clearly by the practical manner in which he conducts his affairs of life. At 14 Mr. Vaughan took part in the war of the rebellion, joining the ranks of the Confederate side. When he was 25 years of age he was wed to Miss Emma C. Gilmar, a lady of superior culture and refinement. To them has been born a son, Mr. Gus Vaughan, a young man of perhaps 20 and odd years, who bespeaks a true type of young Southern gentlemen. Mr. Vaughan first made his home in Arkansas near Pendleton, on the Arkansas River, but during the past four years has resided permanently at Walnut Lake.
W. W. HOLMES
The magnificent plantation just across the lake from the town of Walnut Lake, stretching on both sides of the railroad tracks of the Iron Mountain, numbering nearly 1,000 acres, in a high state of cultivation, is owned by the subject of this sketch. He is one of the leading, well-to-do citizens of Desha County. A man of broad intellect and business ability, whom we have selected as among the leading local authorities of this section.
CALDWELL & SMITH
The largest real estate dealers in the South is the firm of Caldwell & Smith, of Eight Madison street, Memphis, Tenn. This firm owns several tracts of fine land in Desha and Chicot Counties, among which is the famous Sherrod plantation in this county, at Pendleton. Reference to the map will give the exact location. This place includes 1,745 acres exact, with 1,200 acres in cultivation. The improvements consist of a splendid dwelling, cotton gin, store building and thirty-five good tenant houses. The firm holds the property at a very low price of $30,000.
In this country the lands will produce a bale of the fleecy crop per acre easy. If it is true the Sherrod place ought to produce 1,000 bales per annum, and have a remainder of 200 acres on which to grow corn and other stuff, and should the markets maintain the price at 8 cents per pound, an equal of $40 per bale, the crop will bring $40,000. From this must be deducted the cost of production and shipping to market, which is about $10 per bale, and for a crop of 1,000 bales $10,000. The remainder will be $30,000, a profit equal to the value of the property. Will any other country in the world do this? Hardly. The intelligent reader can very easily see that this place, a most magnificent property, could be bought and paid for in two or three years, even with cotton prices at 5 cents and 6 cents. With no disaster from overflow there is no such thing as fail here. Every season a good crop is made, and now that this country is practically protected from inundation by the perfecting of the levee system, the Sherrod place will bring a handsome income to the fortunate buyer.
Following the Sherrod place Caldwell & Smith owns two farms in Chicot County, one of which is known as the Sumner place, located on Bayou Macon, two and one-half miles from Lake Village, including a total acreage of 195 with fifty-five acres open. The improvements consist of two tenant houses. It is a bargain at $800. The second place referred to is the Blanton place, two and a half miles from Gaines Landing, on the Mississippi River. This place includes 1,408 acres with thirty acres open and forty acres deadened. The price will be furnished on application.
The lands in Chicot County are the equal of Desha lands and will produce the same results.
Candwell and Smith will answer all inquiries.
Copyright 2000 by Louis Reitzammer