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This section is for miscellaneous information that currently do not have a special section of their own. There are hundreds of names in these documents which may point to information about your ancestors. 

I am happy to link to pages with Franklin Co. information, county history or ancestors who lived here.

Contact Webmaster to add Franklin County information to this page.

Index to this webpage:

Old maps 1819 to 1850, used with permission.

Uncle Jack's Birthday (from the newspaper 75 years ago)

Doctors Fork Overpass

Mr. Morris's Pioneer Letter

Mrs. Moore's diary Mr J. S. Brown's Letters dated 1881 to his family.

Old letters Civil War era. (I just love these)

What disease did your ancestors die from.

Yellow FeverEntries in W. P. Anderson's ledger: Provided by Anne Muffley 

Note: In 2001 my dear friend Anne Muffley passed away while on vacation in Sweden. Anne's ancestors came from Franklin County, AR and she provided hundreds of relevant files to this website.

We hope a relative will see this message and provide an obituary for this site. May Anne rest in peace...........we love and miss you.

Shootout 1884 with Jessie James involved. Jessie James had relatives in Franklin County with whom he occasionally visited.

Old Wire Road text and photos by Larry Hamblen. This early road started in St. Louis and ended at Fort Smith, following the Arkansas River most of the way.

Unsolved Murder

150 year old murder mystery Lasater Family involved

Newspaper assorted clippings

Articles by Mamie Vest


Old Akins Opera House

Oliver, oldest school in Franklin County

Old Branch Hotel

First High School in Branch

About the county courthouse

Biographies of Pioneer Families from old Branch Argus Vol. IV

Knights of Pyathis, around Altus about 1885.

Article from Tennessee.

Civil War History

Content on this page:

Bridge Opening Ceremonies

Doctor's Fork Overpass Is Completed

In June, 1937, the "treacherous" Doctor's Fork, considered to be Western Arkansas' most dangerous highway trap, where at least eight people had been killed, was eliminated by the opening of an overpaass. The overpass, dedicated by Governor Carl E. Bailey, was built by the State Highway Department and US Bureau of Public Roads using WPA (Works Progress Administration) funds costing some $37,000.00.

The governor delivered a dedicatory speech and crowned Miss Billie Bollinger as queen of the celebration. Attending Miss Bollinger were Miss Lucille Hiatt, Miss Lucille Sturdy, Miss Hortense Carroll, Miss Violet Farmer, Miss Doris Schouweller and Miss Alvina Gramlich. Claude G. Mauzy, president of the Charleston Commercial Club, and soon to be mayor of Charleston, was in charge of the dedication program.

Irving T. Bartlett, Arkansas State Policeman, and a former all-state football player at the College of the Ozarks, was the first person to cross the overpass after its official opening. Several notables attended the event, including Chrleston Mayor J. L. Goodbar, Mayor J. K. Jordan of Fort Smith, and Circuit Juge J. O. Kincannnon of Van Buren.

ArctA crowd of 1500 attended the program and 1000 persons were served at a free barbecue lunch given on the lawn of the South Franklin County courthouse.

[Article written and contributed by Mary E. Shelton]

This article provided by Larry J. Henry.

From the Ft. Smith Democrat-1933


Altus Sept. 2, 1933.....(Special)

The past three years of depression have been years of comfort and plenty compared to the days of the Civil War, and the era of reconstruction that followed.

No relief to families in distress was forthcoming then. A head of a family had no chance to work on the road one or two days a week for the government. No Red Cross flour was distributed. The necessities one got he obtained through his own resources. Literally it was everyone for himself and God pity the hindmost.

By the majority of the present generation the stories of the tribulations of the poorer families during the bloody conflict were learned from history texts in school, but to J.J. Morris, genial octogenarian who lives two miles east of Altus, these stories are facts of grim reality.

For a ten year old he endured hardships that would have broken the spirit of many persons twice that age. He assumed the responsibilities of an adult and endured hardships in the manner of a youthful Spartan in his efforts to help feed his family while the father fought on the side of the Confederacy for four long years.

Children of his age were deprived of schools, suitable food and clothing; they were robbed of their youth. Their crops were ransacked by soldiers of both sides. Folks were reduced to a state of absolute penury. They became accustomed to bloodshed, grief and misery.

Flour Vanishes

Several small skirmishes were fought in the neighborhood. Troops from both sides occasionally passed through town. The Morris family were never molested other than to have corn taken from the fields and leather from the tanning. Even their neighbors were guilty of such sins.

The longer the conflict waged the harder times became. The mother assumed the responsibility of both parents and supervised the family circle. Bread was hard to get. There was no soda, baking powder or lard to go into the bread. Salt became a luxury, and cornbread was eaten at every meal. Work animals became scarce, and Mr. Morris recalls that he and his brother planted corn by pulling old stocks from the ground and depositing the grain in the holes thus made.

The family lived in a one-room log house 18 feet square. There were no windows. All cooking was done on the fireplace. Lights were improvised tallow candles or pine knots. Trundle beds for the children were removed from under the larger beds, all homemade affairs, when bedtime came. “I don’t see what kept folks from starving to death,” Mr. Morris said a number of times.

Reeve’s Company, composed of Confederates, was nothing more than a band of bushwhackers. They operated over a large territory, and did as much harm to the Southern sympathizers as to Federals. Other bands of night riders roamed over the countryside.

Did a Man’s Work

In 1863 young Jerry was called upon to drive five women in an ox wagon to Pilot Knob, 80 miles away, to get a bushel of salt for each member of the sojourners. The round trip required two weeks. The distribution of the salt was in charge of the Federals, and members of the party had to take the oath of allegiance before the salt was sold. Farm produce was bartered for the salt.

During the same year he had a chance to earn a bushel of meal for moving a family to Cherokee, 20 miles away. Very little corn had been raised that year around Doniphan, but there was a good yield at Cherokee Bay, and Jerry was to receive his bushel of meal after he arrived at his destination. The head of the family owned a wagon and Jerry borrowed a yoke of oxen to pull the load. The man he was moving rode ahead on a horse and behind came the 10-year-old boy, all alone, atop the wagon load of household goods. The trip required a full day.

Near Cherokee Bay was a 40 foot bridge over a stream. Coming out from the woods, after lumbering over the many miles of stony road, the oxen were on the bridge before young Morris was aware there was chasm to be crossed. Each animal pushed with all his might toward the middle of the trestle. There were no bannisters at the sides of the bridge; not even a one-inch plank had been nailed to the edges to keep animals’ hoofs and the wagon wheels from slipping off at the sides. Clinging for dear life and expecting to be hurled with wagon and oxen off the structure at every instant, the young driver finally drove the frightened animals across. He hadn’t had time to stop the oxen and turn back to reconnoiter and his escort ahead did not even glance around. That was the narrowest escape that he had ever had.

During the night the young fellow hardly slept a wink, wondering how he would make the crossing on the return. The bushel of meal was duly tied across the back of one of the oxen the following morning, and the return journey was started, the boy afoot, leading two oxen 20 miles during a period of open warfare. A bushel of meal had value then too, and numberless people would have unhesitatingly taken the bag from the animal’s back had they chanced to meet him.

Arriving at the bridge, the oxen once again started pushing one another. Little Jerry held to an oxbow as the animals fought their way across, heaving from one side to the other as they tried to maintain footholds. Often he was swung over the edge hanging to the bow, as one ox pressed the other near the side.

As he neared home the bark string broke and the ox threw the meal to the ground. In vain he tried to replace the heavy sack, but each time the tricky old ox hurled it off. Dragging the bag of meal to a fallen tree trunk, the lad piled shrubbery and brush around it to protect it from the hogs that roamed the woods. The next day he returned with a borrowed horse and buggy and brought the precious bag of meal home.

When the war ended William Morris came home and took up his trade of carpenter and cooper. He made boats, wooden churns, firkins and kegs. Hard times continued, but one could protect the produce of his farm. Also the male members of the family soon became old enough to go to the northern part of Missouri to work several days in the hay harvest and thus made a few dollars. In the winter the family had a few pumpkins, hominy and a little meat. Mr. Morris never saw any canned fruit till he was grown.

Helped Build Town.

In 1867 Mr. Morris came to Lawrence County, Arkansas, to work for Col. Miles Ponder, the owner of a country store three miles west of where Walnut Ridge now stands. The colonel ran the post-office, which was called Walnut Ridge, and he owned some land, a cotton gin and a sawmill. Mr. Morris set in to supervise a group of Negroes who were cleaning up a cotton crop that had been abandoned by a tenant. During the fall and winter he worked at the cotton gin and the sawmill.

When the railroad came a new Walnut Ridge was laid out, and Mr. Morris and a man named Richard Goodman cleared five acres of land where the town is now located. This was in 1872. He and George Montgomery sawed the lumber that went into the first houses built at Walnut Ridge. He helped roof the house in which Col. Harry L. Ponder was born.

For several months Mr. Morris helped to make the fill for the Iron Mountain Railroad, both north and south of the town. Wheelbarrows were used. As he recalls it, the fill north of town was three feet and that to the south was five feet two inches high. Mr. Morris regrets that he didn’t have a slip scraper to move the dirt with. A man would have made a small fortune there in a short time.

Miles Ponder was a great business man, Mr. Morris recalls. He had a great power of persuasion, and was gifted in the art of conversation. He was respected and well liked.

In 1873 squirrels destroyed the corn crop in Lawrence County. The next year the county was plagued with a drought. Ponder brought in corn and meal and sold it for $1 per bushel.

Mr. Morris cast his first vote in 1874, the year in which Democrats regained control of the state government and the year of the Brooks-Baxter War.

In 1876 Mr. Morris started to Kansas, but a friend told him it required too much outlay to start farming there. He knew a person or two at Altus, and knew how to raise cotton, he settled about three miles south of Altus near the Arkansas River. He was married in 1877 to Georgia Ann Averyhardt and they reared ll children.

Mr. Morris has been invested in several cotton gins and he has made many a cotton crop during his 66 years’ residence in Franklin County. Down through the years he carried a good name.

Until a few years ago, Mr. Morris was an active farmer, but his sight has become poor, necessitating his semi-retirement. Still he can be seen occasionally driving his mules to Altus, cutting wood and repairing fences.

Although the present depression has handed him a severe blow in taking his life savings through defunct banks, he maintains that one could get along easier the last three years than during the Civil War and reconstruction period.


Thanks To Anne Muffley

From abstract #534 of the 7th Arkansas census (1850) of Mulberry twp, Ozark, Franklin Co.

Pop Franklin Co. 1840 = 2,665

Pop Franklin Co. 1850 = 3,872

Pop Ozark = 84 (Cass and Jethro unmentioned)

1,850 people born outside AR = 1,957; born in a foriegn country = 43

196 were from England; 514 people from Ireland; 71 people from Scotland; 11 people from Wales.

617 families living in 617 dwellings

180 puples in schools

Thought these might be interesting to readers. Anne.


W.P Anderson's Store Ledger

W. P. Anderson operated a store in Franklin County and here is part of his bookeeping ledger:

Entries in W. P. Anderson's ledger:

PLYMALE: Mrs. Widow, 1767, George, E.V., Wilburn, E.M. James, Lesna (1903) JEFFERS: J.O., Emaline, L. H., William, Fred, R.S., Rob, Vestus, Ray, Pearl

WOOLSEY: Jeff, Frank (1902) CHILDERS, Hugh, Sam, George, Sile, Jesse WELTON: B.M., Welton mentioned on p. 83, 1903 Home Telephone Co.

KETCHAM: Will ANDERSON: Catherine (1903,p.41), Hulet, M.H., Jess, John (mentioned on p. 74, 1905 is Elkanah Jr's grandson, picking cotton , making rails, sorgham, turnip patch. also mentioned on p. 87, 1905 and on p. 96, 1917 and on p. 97 "amount paid to buy horse -$30 and lists contributors.), W. P.(these two pages of type-written notes are from his ledger, mention in 1918 he made a war donation of $27.80, p. 134 and later war contribution$1 and war stamps $8.34 and Red Cross 10 cents and $3. on p. 182 mentions company timber of Andersons sold to mill. Bonnie, Mittie, Belle (name appears several times and her name is written on the back page of the ledger), Anderson mentioned in Home Telephone Co. p. 73, 1903

BARHAM: Lind, Lucinda, Jess, Ed (1903), Will, Londa JAMES: Mary (died March 1900), Earl, Elbert, Bill, Will, W.R. (1904), Aunt Polly, Jeff, W.A. (1912, 1905) YEAGER: Ed (1902 Woolsey Mill account)

DONALD: James Arthur (p.117, 98, 104, 59, 60, 82, 106, Osker (Oscar) William (p. 118). "One day's work, 1918 $1.25, sorghum expenses, "cash to --". GILESPIE: Will, Clarence

ROGERS: Fate TURNER: Elias, Gilbert, H.H., George, Sam, Ely (1902 Woolsey Mill account), Herbert, E.S.(manager of G.G.-phone rent), Herbert, Turner mentioned in Home Telephone Co. p. 73 in 1903)

MILTON: Back (1902 Woolsey Mill account), Bob, Jesse, John, Bob, Bill, Jane (1903), Jim, Jasper,

KELLY: Odus, Idus (1902), Gard, John, Dr. Bean Kelly, Wilson Gardner Kelly (son of Sarah Jane Anderson)


ARRINGTON: Claude, J., Harlan (1914, p.97, 1907, p. 90) "John Anderson paid him cash).


HAMM DURNING: George (1902 Woolsey Mill account, Dr. George Louis Durning (1903, Woolsey Mill account).

CKEMIE: Bud p. 117, Bull account

WHITWELL, John - Yorkville, Tn. Woolsey Mill account: personal page each man p. 42 Sulphur Springs Literary Society 1909 p.73, 1903 Home Telephone Co. - Welton, Turner, Anderson p. 179 mentions Enon letter, July 1903. prepared by: Anne Donald Muffley, October 1998

PLYMALE: Mrs. Widow, 1767, George, E.V., Wilburn, E.M. James, Lesna (1903)

JEFFERS: J.O., Emaline, L. H., William, Fred, R.S., Rob, Vestus, Ray, Pearl

WOOLSEY: Jeff, Frank (1902)

CHILDERS, Hugh, Sam, George, Sile, Jesse

WELTON: B.M., Welton mentioned on p. 83, 1903 Home Telephone Co.


ANDERSON: Catherine (1903,p.41), Hulet, M.H., Jess, John (mentioned on p. 74, 1905 is Elkanah Jr's grandson, picking cotton , making rails, sorgham, turnip patch. also mentioned on p. 87, 1905 and on p. 96, 1917 and on p. 97 "amount paid to buy horse -$30 and lists contributors.), W. P. (these two pages of type-written notes are from his ledger, mention in 1918 he made a war donation of $27.80, p. 134 and later war contribution$1 and war stamps $8.34 and Red Cross 10 cents and $3. on p. 182 mentions company timber of Andersons sold to mill. Bonnie, Mittie, Belle (name appears several times and her name is written on the back page of the ledger), Anderson mentioned in Home Telephone Co. p. 73, 1903

BARHAM: Lind, Lucinda, Jess, Ed (1903), Will, Londa

JAMES: Mary (died March 1900), Earl, Elbert, Bill, Will, W.R. (1904), Aunt Polly, Jeff, W.A. (1912, 1905)

YEAGER: Ed (1902 Woolsey Mill account)

DONALD: James Arthur (p.117, 98, 104, 59, 60, 82, 106, Osker (Oscar) William (p 118). "One day's work, 1918 $1.25, sorghum expenses, "cash to --".

GILESPIE: Will, Clarence


TURNER: Elias, Gilbert, H.H., George, Sam, Ely (1902 Woolsey Mill account), Herbert, E.S.(manager of G.G.-phone rent), Herbert, Turner mentioned in Home Telephone Co. p. 73 in 1903)

MILTON: Back (1902 Woolsey Mill account), Bob, Jesse, John, Bob, Bill, Jane (1903), Jim, Jasper,

KELLY: Odus, Idus (1902), Gard, John, Dr. Bean Kelly, Wilson Gardner Kelly (son of Sarah Jane Anderson)


ARRINGTON: Claude, J., Harlan (1914, p.97, 1907, p. 90) "John Anderson paid him cash).



DURNING: George (1902 Woolsey Mill account, Dr. George Louis Durning (1903, Woolsey Mill account).

MCKEMIE: Bud p. 117, Bull account

WHITWELL, John - Yorkville, Tn. Woolsey Mill account: personal page each man p. 42 Sulphur Springs Literary Society 1909 p.73, 1903 Home Telephone Co. - Welton, Turner, Anderson p. 179 mentions Enon letter, July 1903 prepared by: Anne Donald Muffley October 1998 

Mail< 7 Wagon Road, Asheville, NC 28805     May Anne rest in peace.


Another Anderson Store Ledger:

Dear Andy, Ed, and Don, I'd like to get your feedback about the beginning pages of William Pleasant Anderson's ledger and their format. I'm preparing this for Franklin Co. website and need to know how the format looks. Sometimes I cut and paste and the data becomes disorganized and like gibberish.  


(he died in 1928)

This is a transposing of data entered into my great-grandfather’s ledger beginning in 1902 and ending in 1924. The entries are in pencil, different years were throughout the book and not on successive pages. Most contain many mispellings. This book is almost 100 years old and, since I do not want to compromise it further, I will not be able to look up any information in it beyond this. The ledger appears to be one run for the lumber company store. This is a comprehensive reporting of what I found and notes from my FTM in brackets:

A. T. West - This and next 3 references only written across back of ledger.

Box 883

Little Rock

( John M.West b 1851 Thomas Arrington and Ann West in Anson Co. NC. They had children including William Arthur and Rufus A. West. C.M. Arrington in 1916 married in Franklin Co. Ben W. West married Martha Arrington).

Thomas S. Watts - Ft. Smith

Maud Morgan

560 So. Stanford Ave.

Mansfield on line nearby: Los Angeles, Calif


Separate page found in ledger: Arthur’s amount (this is James Arthur Donald, my paternal grandfather and seems to reflect his sale of agricultural tools. It may have been a sale before he went to the Oklahoma oilfield area to start a gas station business in the 1930’s. The surnames seem to reflect who bought the goods:

C. Jessup

Jeff W.

Slaughter Miller (Tom Miller married Martha Ellen Milton)

Lewis Thomas (Sarah Catherine Thomas m. James Barham)

Tom Elders

Will Barham

Jeff Woolsey (Woolsey family married into Rosson, Plymale and Barham families)

Em Plymale (Plymales married into Glispie, Walker, Donald, Childers, Anderson, Kelly)

E.V. Plymale

Miggs (or Meggs)

Lu McCormic


Wilburn Plymale

Sam Childers (Childers married into Turner, Plymale, Anderson, Milton, Barham, Rogers

Clarence Gillespie (Gillespie married into Milton and Plymale)

Demus Rgers (Rogers married into Donald, James, Childers, Turner, Durning)

Page 2, William Pleasant Anderson’s Ledger

only names written down a page with no date:

John Anderson - (see Andersons mentioned by other surnames)


P. James (James family married into Anderson, Welton, Yeager, Rogers, Campbell)


Goldsmith and Buchanan - Van Buren phone 87

C. Rossons (Rosson married into Milton, Barham, Turner, Woolsey)

Tobe R. Perkins (Jesse Perkins m. Mary Louvin Milton Kelly)




Some dated Pages:

1906 amounts or just numbers besides the names

Jim McCalister




Welton (Welton married into Milton, Anderson, Barrham, Durning)




Boon Hall

Jeffers (Jeffers married into Anderson and Milton)

Hamm (Hamms married into Anderson and Milton)

Fayett Rogers

Ketcham (William Edward Ketcham married Sarah Sally Tennessee Anderson)

John Anderson

H. Arrington (Arringtons married into West, Cooley, Bounds)

James Plymale

Linda Barham (see name next to other surnames)

Catherine Anderson

Jim Bowman

__________ 1907 "Baskets" - (this appeared to be baskets of fire wood sold)


Back Milton (Miltons married into Donald, Anderson, Gillespie, Turner, Jeffers, Kelly)

George Plymale

Jasper R.

Dr. Hams B

Jess Barham (Barhams married into Anderson, Milton, Woolsey, Rosson, Morgan)

E. M. Ham

George Turner (Turners married into Anderson, Milton, Durning, Childers, Rogers)

Hughlet Anderson


The Old Akins Opera House: from Branch Worth Remembering by Mayme Vest:

Since 1979, Lewis Clem told me of Branch having an Opera House during the early 1900's. It was located upstairs in Dr. Akins buildings. During my research, others remembered it. Norene Pile said, “Oh, yest, the opera companies brought their shows in on the train-and everyone went!”

Voyt Hill said the first year that he went to Charleston High School his class came down and “put on” their play in the Opera House and he played “Romeo”. A program from J. B. Turner, Jr.’s scrap book shows that local people used their talent to entertain others. (Note the Dec., which stands for declamation, a formal speech, passage of poetry, etc.) Another program from J.B.’s scrap book shows that the Opera House was used by the Branch School for its plays.


1. Dec-Silent Voices, Mr. Virgil Dickerson
2. Quartette,--The first fly of Summer Messrs Clyde Gammill, floyd Gipson, Luther and Charley King.
3. Reading--Advice Mr. Clinton Walden
4. Solo--Somehow I can’t forget you, Miss Pearl Branch
5. Oration--Robert E. Lee Mr. Emen Oneal
6. Quartette--Country Courtship Clyde Gammill, Floyd Gipson, Luther and Charley King
7. Dec.--Curfew must not ring tonight. Mr. Herman White
8. Dec.--Fanaticism Mr. Allen Calhoun
9. Solo--Would You are Mr. Millard Gammill
10. Essay--”Girls” Mr. Leon Horn
11. Quartette: Happy little home in Ark. Messrs Clyde and Millard Gammill and Luther and Charley King
12. Oration; Stonewall Jackson Mr. Bradley Turner
13. Gleanings Mr. Thomas Hammonds
14. Reading; Hugh Branch
15. Play: Catching the Thief Messrs. Allen Calhoun, Lester Hickerson and Fay Gammill
16. Quartette: Good-night Ladies, Messrs Clyde and Millard Gammill, and Luther and Charley King, END

The Old Oliver School: from “Branch Worth Remembering” by Mayme Vest:

The oldest school for this area was “Old Oliver School” located just west of the road leading from the Bradbury house. It’s location was on the site now owned by Dorothy Savage. She provided a copy of her abstract to give more information about the Old Oliver School. It shows a deed from David and Mary J. Garrison to District #13, July 6, 1870 for one acre; shown “For the purpose of the educational interests of the Anglo-Saxon race.”

We have no record when the first school term was held but more than likely the building was constructed by 1871. It was only a grammar school. Clyde Robison remembers two of the teachers as Nathan Keller and Viola Bonds. Mrs. Savage’s abstract also shows ad agreement recorded August 19, 1879, between the Directors of 13th School District and Trustees of Masonic Fraternity: Directors, Samuel Wilburn, John C. Cotton, H.I. Rogers do agree to relinquish all our right and title to the upper room of the school house and give right of way for stairs to Trustees of MasonicFraternity. Trustees, W.H. McMath, I.C. Keller and I. W. Lamb do relinquish all our right and title to the lower story of the school house, known and owned by the 13th School District.

A deed dated January 31, 1912, shows tha E.G. Callans, J. W. Sanders, R.L. hunter, S.P. Gammill, T.E. Riley and J. C. Mayfield, directors of the School District # 13 sold the land to W.R. Chastain.

There is also a Trustee’s Deed from Nathan Keller, Robert Turner, J.w. Sanders, Trustees-Keller Lodge F & A M #477 to W. R. Chastain,, January 31, 1912. This was just before the construction of the brick building. Perhaps, they carried on in the frame school building described later.

The First High School in Branch, AR: from Branch Worth Remembering by Mayme Vest:

The first high school was built under the hill somewhere back of Leon Holland’s house around 1907. Other students who attended the school were: Kate Turner, Clyde Robison, Mabel Rogers DeWitt, Jep Pendergrass, Irene Pendergrass, Bradley Turner, Beulah Hunter, Luther Hunter, Bert Hunter, Voyt Hill, Perry King, Roy Watson, Tom King, and Avis Warren. (These are names of different people reported.)

Mr. Waterfield was also the superintendent of this school. The following information about the brick high school was copied from the well-top on the grounds there: Branch High School, Board of Directors: J. S. Cotner, President, S. P. Gammill, Secretary, J. B. Branch, T. E. Riley, J. W. Sanders, W. R. Chastain Erected in 1913

The first school term was probably 1913-14. Following is the invitation to the 1914 Commencement Excercises which belonged to Thomas Hammond who died in World War I. Peggy Patterson provided these:

The Senior Class of the Branch High School Request the presence at their Commencement Exercises to be held Sat., May 9, 1914 8 o’clock Akin Opera House Branch, Arkansas

Oscar Corbell was one of the teachers in 1914. The Commencement Exercises April 30, 1915 School Auditorium. Class: Dewey Abernathy, Raphy Patterson, Kate Cooper, Wells Barger, Bessie King, Leon Horn, Ora Watson. Class Officers: Wells Barger, Pres. Ora Watson, Sec. & Tres.

Some of the young men who graduated from Branch went on to higher learning. Roscoe Clark went to Ark Tech in 1914 and played in the band there. Bradley Turner went to the University of Arkansas. One of their publications gives and amusing account of his “football” career there-how difficult is was for them to find a uniform to fit the 19 eyar old who was 6'7" and weighed 238 lbs.

In 1916 Reuben Hill was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Second District Aggies (now Arkansas Tech). He sent his daughters, Agnes and Opal, to boarding school there. Agnes finished in 1918 with a “State Certificate” ready to start her teaching career which eventually brought her to

Branch Hotel: Branch worth Remembering by Mayme Vest:

The railroad opened the door for other businesses. People who rode the train in often needed to spend the night if relatives were not there to meet them or if the weather was bad.

A hotel opened to accommodate the travelers. At first it was located out near te sidewalk. It was moved back later. I don’t know who built it, but Voyt Hill told me it was once owned by John Sallis. Ruth Riley ran it for a while as did Dr. Downy’s wife. W.O. Clem bought it around 1928 from Mattie Walden. Myrtle Clem and Hannah Guthrie, Buck Ellis’ mother ran it for a while.

Myrtle has the hotel register, starting in 1924, which has some interesting names of visitors coming to Branch. Some were out-of-state; many, from Ft. Smith and Little Rock; others from small towns near by. Some drummers listed their names and the companies they represented.

When Highway 22 came through, in 1928, the hotel had to be moved back for the right-of-way. Otis Clem said they hooked teams to it and they went “around and around” like they did at a sorghum mill, and eased it back on “skids” beneath. (It’s hard to realize how it was accomplished

Biographies of Pioneer families

From the Branch Argus Vol. IV A Special Edition, Showing the Facts of Branch and Country 1913:

Residence of J. S. Cotner Mrs. J. S. Cotner, son of J. C. Cotner of Chismville, came to Branch in 1899, built a business house on a street afterwards named the Cotner Ave. Also a residence at the exteme west end of Cotner Ave. Now owned by Mr. D. O. Carpenter, who recently purchased it from Dr. S. P. Gammill. He also owned the entire block reaching from Williams Ave., to 2nd Street.

As the town grew so did the wealth of Mr. Cotner grow. He purchased 120 acres of land adjoining the town from the Osburn Hunter heirs. 80 acres were sold to the Orphans home committee, 20 acres on to S. R. Clark, 1 acre to T. E. Riley, 1 acre to W. D. Deshan, now owned by Dr. Hodges. The remainder is now owned by Mr. Cotner.

After selling his residence on Cotner Ave. . He decided to build a residence on the Cotner addition in the southeast part of town, and this he did. The above picture shows that residence. The present location of Mr. Cotner. This is as you can see a beautiful 9 room building located in as fine a location as can be found in Ark. Everything is completed and convenient to make home life what it should be. The beautiful grove, aout the house and the nice lawn adds much beauty to the premises. At the south a rock garage was built for the convenience of Mr. Cotner and the safety of the fine Automobile that Mr. Cotner takes delight in driving.

Mr. Cotner is not a knocker by any means but one of our biggest “Boosters”. He built the handsome and substantial business house now owned by J. M. McConnell & Son, and is now erecting a fine stone building on the corner of Williams Ave., and in the near future , he contemplates building a business house where his present business is located.

Mr. Cotner is one of our best business men, in fact he is a “big Joint in the backbone of our city”. Unlike some that have come to Branch, made lots of money and invested elsewhere or put it so deep in his pocket that he lost it, but invested in land, good buildings, property of all kinds and thereby increased the percent of his money. He is president of the Bank of Branch, president of school board, and a member of the town council. He is called upon for brains and finance to assist almost every undertaking that is started in our city. This shows that we honor and are proud of this man and regret that are not blessed with many more.

Residence of Harry McConnell: The above photograph is the residence of Harry McConnell, a son of J. M. McConnell. Mr. McConnell together with his father put in an extensive line of up to date furniture and house furnishing. In the fall of 1912, Harry bought the above residence located on the Hill north of town from Prof. Reedy Bushy. This is a good residence, built on a modern plan. Mr. Harry is a good citizen an excellent business man, and the kind of man we welcome to our town. Note the up-to-date business house of this firm on this page you can readily see this firm is of the progressive type, ---Editor

Below is the transcription of a letter written from Franklin Co...the copy I have is too dim to transmit without a better scanner. These letters are written by John Smith Brown to his brother David Brown and his father Smith Brown.

The "Lute" he refers to is Luther Berkley whose second wife was Harriet Easlon and Elizabeth who died is the daughter of Melville (brother of Luther) and Sarah Brown Berkley. Sarah Brown Berkley is the sister of J.S. Browns father, Smith Brown.

The questions marks are where I could not make out the writing. He used very few punctuations or capitals. If you think this would be useful to someone you are welcome to use it. I also have a picture of the 1904 school children at Webb City is dim. My grandfather is in the picture. Many of my ancestors were in Franklin Co around Cecil.

I have a few other items that might be of interest to someone from the John N. Brown family of the Browns Chappel bunch. The hand written piece when they joined with others to from Browns Chappel church and a receipt for goods bought in Ft. Smith for John N. Browns store. John N. Brown and J.S. Brown of the letters were not related. John N.'s daughter Luticia married George Berkley, son of the above Sarah Brown and Melville Berkley...confusing.

I have a lot of unidentified pictures of people from that area and several who are identified. Would that be of use to you?

Lynn Risener "January the 16th 1881 Franklin Co Ark Dear Brothers & Sisters I take this opportunity to answer your kind letter of January the 1. Was glad to here you was all well. Wee are all well the rest of the babies are all well as fare as I no. I live where I lived did live when you was here expect to rent farm land thes year wher I am. I sased plenty of corn to do me and a l????. My one pasle of cotton enough to pay debts. Cotton is worth from 10 to 11 cts Corn 50 cts ??? 5 cts cash improved land leased to by un improved land from 250 too 5 per acre, flour 3 cts.

Dave such mules as that Bucking one you traded S.J. Wiggind is worth from 75 to 100 Dollars. Dave what could set such a mule be bough up there for the cash horses is better deal trade. Elizabeth Burkey dide on the 29 of last Feberuary and mattie? 4 day of July. Lute maried. six more those name is Easlens that makes 12 in familey. some hast to sleep standing. Lute has gone to bilding and cleaning ???????????????Lutes's wife is as long as a well rope and a little big in the midle at preasant.

Dave write soon and then I will tell you all about ??????told?????as these is to be ????? Dave, write soon and I will write more pages the next time.

J.S. Brown to David Brown (on the same sheet) Dear Father I will write you a few lines to let you no that we are all well at presant hope this will find you all well I would be glad you would write to me if you have not forgot you had a son John. I was sorey to here the lost of your children. So I must close for the time by saying write soon and often give my respect to friends and relatives yours as ever J.S. Brown"

Photo Ledger Below

Thanks to: Anne Muffley, 7 Wagon Road Asheville, NC 28805

May Anne rest in peace forever.


The Knights of Pythias

provided by Patricia Dill


From: "Glenn Teffeteller" <>

To: <>

Sent: Sunday, February 18, 2001 5:45 PM

Subject: 1835 article concerning Ft. Smith, AR


I found this article while looking at our old newspapers in micro-film here in Blount Co. Tennessee. Thought you might like to add it to your Franklin Co. web-site.


Millennial Trumpeter, Saturday, March 7, 1835

An encounter took place at Ft. Smith, Arkansas on the 17th ult. between William S. Cowan and Washington Coffee, in which the former was killed and the latter supposed to be mortally wounded.

SNIPPET:   Nelson LANKFORD edits "The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography," the quarterly journal of the A Historical Society.   A resident of Richmond, he is the co-editor of "Eye of the Storm" and several other historical books.  In his "Richmond Burning:  The Last Days of the Confederate Capital"(2002)  --  From a black sky the rain came down in hissing torrents and churned the road into a river of mud.  The rider, head bent against the storm, wore a slouch hat stained from travel like his uniform.  He was careworn, fatigued, soaked to the skin, but he had almost reached his destination.  Six days after Appomattox, Robert E. LEE was coming back to Richmond...  William HATCHER, a Baptist minister, recognized the rider passing his house in Manchester, the community directly across the James River from the capital.  He was to also watch as Ulysses S. GRANT's soldiers marched past his house, with regimental colors flying and bands playing.  Good Confederate that he was, though, he treasured the memory not of the resplendent northern army but of this earlier, more modest procession that passed his doorway in the driving rain.  His words took on an almost biblical cadence when the clergyman described the scene:  "I saw another sight in connection with Richmond's fall.  What I saw was a horseman.  His steed was bespatted with mud, and his head hung down as if worn by long own, my peerless chieftain, Robert E. LEE."  One Union officer, Capt. George BRUCE, 13th New Hampshire Regiment, recalled that "as I looked into his face the shadow of Appomattox was upon it," the same famous look of weary nobility that Mathew BRADY's camera captured for posterity a week later.  BRUCE made that comment in later years when the passage of time had cast the soft light of forgiveness over his recollection.  Two weeks before the time about which the Yankee captain wrote, however, he held a different opinion.  Then he considered LEE the master of!
 a still-dangerous army that had come close to killing the United States of America in a misbegotten attempt to set up a separate republic built on human chattel slavery.

Through the winter and early spring of 1865, while Union armies ranged at will across the South, Richmond still glittered with the hard defiance of a city long at war.  But this last flicker of resolve only made the city's fall all the more devastating.  By the morning of April 2, Gen. Robert E. LEE"s command had been corroded by desertion, and the forces of his opponent were growing daily.  LEE could no longer hold the line of forts and trenches that guarded the Confederate capital  To save his army, he had to retreat.  To avoid capture, the government needed to abandon the city that night.  Faced with the inevitability of GRANT's triumph, Jefferson DAVIS and his cabinet fled, leaving Richmond to its fate -- looting, fire, capture, and the end of hope for a southern nation.  As the last southern soldiers left at dawn on Monday, they fired tobacco warehouses and all the bridges across the river.  A rising wind spread embers of destruction over the rooftops.  When the Union a!
rmy marched in, it found the city ablaze.  For staunch Confederates, for local Unionists who opposed them, and for the liberated slaves, the city's fall turned the world upside down.  In their grief and despair, and their stubborn, sometimes violent resistance to reunification, the vanquished Confederates could not have known that the conquest of Richmond heralded the birth of the modern United Sates of America.  The first half of April brought apocalypse to the Confederate people of Richmond and deliverance to those who favored the other side.  Their mixed experiences of terror and elation, bitterness and joy, punctuated  the end of an era, and it was not just for Richmond.  It was for the whole reconnected but not yet reunited nation.  With a caustic pen, in a letter to her mother and brother on April 4, 1865,  Constance CARY, 22-years old that spring and a hot-blood southern patriot, rhapsodized sarcastically about the "the fruit trees a mass of blossoms -- the grass vividly green, the air nector" on the second day of the hated Union occupation.  The largest auditorium in Richmond was at the African Church on Broad Street.  On the first Thursday after the occupation, a Jubilee meeting filled the building to capacity, as freed slaves celebrated their libertion. 

In the North there was elation.  The cheering had begun at midday on Monday, April 3, the instant word clicked over the telegraph lines that Richmond, at  long last, had fallen.  church bells rang out, and crowds gathered to celebrate in the streets throughout the North.  Abraham LINCOLN was to remark --  "Thank God I have lived to see this!"  On April 9, 1865, LEE surrended to GRANT at Appomattox Court House in VA.  Under authority from the president GRANT extended generous terms to LEE and his army.  A great wave of joy swept the North when the fighting ended.  Their jubilation was to be short-lived.  On the evening of April 14, 1865, LINCOLN attended a performance of "Our American Cousin" at FORD's Theatre in Washington.  A few minutes after 10 o'clock a shot rang through the crowded house.  John Wilkes BOOTH, one of the best-known actors of the day, had shot the President in the head from the rear of the presidential box.  In leaping to the stage,  BOOTH caught his spur !
in a flag draped in front of the box.  He fell and broke his leg, but he limped across the stage brandishing a saber and escaped only to be later shot and killed.   Lincoln had died at 7:22 a.m. the next morning.  Now it was the turn of the whole nation to reel in shock.  Before his death, President, LINCOLN had been bitterly criticized by many.  After his death, even his enemies praised his kindly spirit and selflessness.   In the North they grieved as they would have grieved at the loss of a father. .  The train carrying "Father Abraham"'s  body started west from Washington.  Mourners lined the tracks, thousands wept.  On May 4, Lincoln was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, ILL.   For Richmond, the death of  Lincoln added one more trauma to a dizzying fornight of disaster. 

Poet of the Confederacy -- Born in MD,  Abram RYAN (1838-1886) was ordained a Catholic priest and served as chaplain in the Confederate Army.  After the war Fr. RYAN served as a parish priest in several cities, including Mobile, AL.  He began writing poetry and on May 19, 1866, his first published poem, "The Conquered Banner," appeared in the pages of the "Freeman's Journal."  An immediate sensation, it was reprinted across the South and soon set to music of a popular hymn.  Its spirit and tone are captured in the last stanza:

"Furl that Banner, softly, slowly!
Treat it gently -- it is holy --
For it droops above the dead.
Touch it not -- unfold it never,
Let it droop there, furled forever,
For its people's hopes are dead!"

Within months it was being recited or sung everywhere from parlors to public meetings.  Published 13 months after General Robert E. LEE's surrender at Appomattox, it captured the spirit of sentimentality and martyrdom then emerging in the war-torn South.  The characterization of the South's bid for independence as noble and tragic, was born.  RYAN continued to write poems for the next two decades, including, "C.S.A.," "The Sword of Robert E. Lee," and "The South."  Not surprisingly, among RYAN's collected poems there are several about Ireland's struggle for freedom.