HISTORY OF CROSS COUNTY
HISTORICAL EDITION LISTS OLD FAMLIES
The "Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Eastern Arkansas", published in 1890 by the Goodspeed Company of Chicago, Nashville and St. Louis, includes not only a fine history of Cross County but also biographical sketches of many of the well-known men of the county. The following names appeared:
Dr. William D. Allen of Wynne; S. L. Austell, farmer of Wittsburg; Eli Bailes, farmer and treasurer of Levesque; R. B. Bamson of Bedford Township; T. A. Bedford, druggist of Wynne; Dr. Alonzo A. Berry of Bay Village; Maurice Block (deceased), a leading merchant of the county; Sol Block, merchant of Bay Ridge; I. Block, businessman and planter of Cross County; Raphael Block, Vanndale merchant; Joseph Block; William M. Block, county official and real estate dealer; J. D. Block, county official; Robert Lee Block,county school examiner; W. P. Brown, farmer of Wynne township, John B. Bruner; T. D. Bryant, pastor; Archie S. Casbeer, Wittsburg; William J. Cobb, Vanndale, in charge of old Cobb's Boarding School; William H. Cole; William H. Copland, farmer of Searcy Township; S. Daltroff, Wynne merchant; R. J. Ellis, farmer of Mitchell Township; James E. Erwin, Vanndale merchant; J. T. Fannin, farmer; W. A. Faulkner, farmer; William Fountain, farmer of Cherry Valley; Alexander Futrell, farmer and stock raiser of Vanndale;William Ganley, farmer; Cassius M. Gardner, Vanndale farmer and stockman; John Graham, farmer and merchant of Wynne; G. W. Griffin, Vanndale farmer and stable owner; James O. Halk, farmer of Cherry Valley; John J. Hamilton, farmer; C. M. Hamilton, merchant, Wynne; J. B. Hamilton, sheriff; B. F. Hamilton, merchant, Wynne; Hon. T. E. Hare, lawyer at Vanndale; Edward Harris, farmer of Smith township; Augustus W. Hinton, farmer; Rowland R. Hodges, farmer; O. J. Hodge, farmer; Newton P. Johnson, farmer; William W.Johnson, merchant of Wynne; Dr. C. P. Jones of Cherry Valley; W. A. Jones, Wynne merchant; James A. Jones, farmer; A. Jordan, farmer; I. S. Julian, farmer of Brushy Lake Township; John W. Killough, merchant and stock raiser of Vanndale; Oliver N. Killough, Vanndale lawyer; W. L. Lancaster, Wynne merchant and postmaster; John w. Lewellen, Vanndale farmer; J. T. Lewellen, mill man and cotton ginner of Vanndale; Capt. J. M. Levesque, farmer and county official; W. T. Levesque, farmer of Coldwater Township; PhilipB. Littlefield, farmer; J. W. Logan, farmer; J. L. Lyon, farmer; J. C. McElroy, farmer; Mrs. Cora H. McKie, Vanndale; Dr. James d. McKie, Vanndale; John K. Malone; Thomas L. Martin, farmer; John P. May, Vanndale druggist; Thomas W. May, farmer near Cherry Valley; Dr. William T. Mebane, Wynne; Charles Neely, merchant of Wynne; Charles D. Oliver, Wynne merchant; R. G. Oliver, Wynne merchant; R. W. Orr, Wynne merchant; Anderson Phillips, colored, farmer of Searcy Township; William J. Pierce, farmer; Maj. RiddickPope, farmer; Albert M. Pope, Vanndale merchant; Napoleon B. Raulston, postmaster at Tyronza; M. A. Riley, cotton ginner and grist mill owner; William Henry Roberts, Smith Township farmer; Judge W. F. Robinson, Smith Township; Reuben R. Rogers, farmer; J. T. Rolfe, proprietor of Vanndale Hotel; Eli E. Sigman, farmer, Vanndale; W. J. Slocum, farmer of Brushy Lake Township; R. M. Smith, Wynne merchant; T. B. Smith, farmer; R. M. Spain, farmer of Wynne Township; G. N. Sparks, Wynne merchant; G. W. Stacy, CherryValley farmer; Dr. John Stoner; Joseph Taylor, farmer; William Taylor, farmer; J. H. Taylor, Wynne farmer; John Toole, railroad roadmaster; Samuel Tyer, farmer, Wynne; D. A. Tyer, farmer; John M. Vann, Vanndale merchant and postmaster; Mrs. Ella Warren; John N. White, cotton ginner at Levesque; W. P. Wilkins, Wynne; H. C. Winters, farmer, Bedford Township; and Dr. J. G. Wright.
FIRST COUNTY SEAT ALMOST "ENOLA"
When Cross County was formed and Colonel David C. Cross' offer of land for the county seat accepted, Mrs. Cross suggested the name of "Enola" as the name of the new town. This was tentatively accepted but it was found that there was already a town of that name and so "Cleburne" was selected.
The late Col. Tom Fitzpatrick wrote that he recalled the first building to be erected in the town of Cleburne was a Masonic lodge. A two-story building, a store below and the lodge above. This was built in the Summer of 1865, and the sale of lots took place November 25 of that year. If a full history of the rise and fall of old Cleburne should be written it would resemble romance rather than history.
It is almost uncanny to realize that new town with not a single business establishment of any consequence, located in a country sparsely settled and not yet recovered from the ravages of four years of war, should attract the array of legal talent and medical attainment that it did. The first attorney to open a law office was Earl C. Bronaugh, then came J. C. Frierson, W. L. Cardy and Charles s. Camerson. J. S. Brookfield and Wm. Neely were residents of the county. Dr. W. R. Kiblerand Dr. L. Findley were the first physicians, soon followed by Dr. A. T. Shaw, Dr. N. N. Green and Dr. N. A. Davis.
HISTORIC SPOT ON ST. FRANCIS RIVER
The following information was included in a letter written by Col. Tom Fitzpatrick in 1937 for a meeting at old Mt. Zion.
When Samuel Filigin and the Tyers came to what is now Cross County in 1817, there were no post offices and no mails for nine years. On March 1, 1826, William Strong secured the establishing of a post office at his place, previously known to the Indians and pioneers as the Cherokee Village. This territory was still Phillips County, and the post office was called St. Francis, and this name was never changed so far as the post office was concerned. However, the place itself in the course of a centuryhas borne five different names. The Indians called it the "Village". The post office called it St. Francis. The legislature named it Franklin. The traveling people and newspapers called it Strong's, and now the people call it the Jones' Farm.
Strong built on this site what was for a long while the most pretentious residence in Eastern Arkansas and used it for a tavern and at that time he was the most prominent man in this part of the state. So Strong took precedents and the others were forgotten. Many people never knew that it had any other name. Postmasterships at that time were not very lucrative. St. Francis brought in $1.20 the first year for the government; $2.99 for the second and then jumped to $52.00; by thattime they had commenced to build the Military Road. On June 26, 1832 a post office was established at St. Francis Bay, with George W. Stokes as postmaster. Then on March 25, 1833, it was changed to Fair View with Stokes still postmaster. The presumption is that St. Francis Bay was the Bay Ferry, but where was Fair View? There is some reason to believe that the site was on the hill just south of Vanndale but the proof is not conclusive.
Dotted here and there over St. Francis County's alluvial valleys and along the slopes of Crowley's Ridge are evidences of a culture that reaches so far back down the ages that recorded history can tell us nothing about the people who roamed over those valleys and hunted, made pottery and loved while our ancestors were roaming half wild over the woodland haunts of northern Europe.
Crowley's Ridge begins in the vicinity of Cape Girardeau, Mo., being an extension of the Missouri Ozarks. The ridge extends through Stoddard and parts of Butler and Dunklin counties, Missouri, entering Arkansas in Clay County, in the vicinity of Piggott. Continuing through Arkansas, it passes through Clay, Greene, Craighead, Poinsett, Cross, St. Francis, Lee and Phillips counties, terminating at the historic old city of Helena, which sits at the southern tip of the ridge, spreading now well uponthe crest of the ridge where it abruptly terminates when encountering the Mississippi River. Although the ridge is more than 150 miles in length its width varies from only a few miles to probably an estimated distance of 15 miles. Its widest part is in Greene County and probably the narrowest section is in Lee County.
The formation of Crowley's Ridge has been a matter of much discussion. At first glance, one would conclude that it was created by an upheaval or crack in the surface of the earth that permitted materials to spout out and become permanently located as part of the terrain. Upon closer observation, there do not appear any up-curves of strata which would indicate an upheaval.
The late and best theory is that the land was washed out on both sides and the ridge was left. In fact, that was the remaining strip of land dividing the Mississippi and the Ohio river valleys.
Here is the version as appeared in the "Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River" by Dr. Harold N. Fisk of Louisiana State University and published by the Mississippi River Commission:
About 1,100,000 years ago the Ohio probably flowed to the Gulf near the present site of Mobile, by following a course near the northward-flowing portion of the Tennessee River, and down the Tombigbee route. This was when the first of the glaciers put an ice cap on what are now the northern states. As the glaciers moved southward, melted away in retreat and advanced again, rivers deposited land, forming both Crowley's Ridge and the Memphis bluffs. Melting of the last glacier left the Mississippiwandering through the land on the Little Rock side of the ridge. About 7,000 years ago it was flowing past the present site of DeVall's Bluff, down the route now followed by the White River. At that time the Ohio was flowing almost against Crowley's Ridge and then swinging back to almost reach the North Mississippi hills in a route through the modern Yazoo River Delta.
About 2,000 years ago the meeting of the Mississippi and the Ohio at Cairo occurred.
When Arkansas was opened to settlement after the consummation of the Louisiana Purchase, there was a rush from the older states, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia, Mississippi and other states, of citizens who desired to settle upon the fertile lands they had been told might be in this new El Dorado. There was one grand entrance to Arkansas during the earlier days. That entrance was at the Fourth Chickasaw Bluffs. Memphis loves Arkansas. It should. Its name first became notablein the annals of America because it was the famous "gateway to the new land called Arkansas." Thus, it was Arkansas which first gave Memphis prestige.
These early pioneers moved westward over the Indian trail, which, at a later date, Edmund Pendleton Gaines, made into the first highway of Arkansas. The pioneers went to Wittsburg. Many of them lingered there and were the forebears of the sturdy sons of modern Cross County and the adjoining counties of St. Francis and Pointsett counties. Others, restless, as were the spirits of the pioneers, continued their trek northward, eastward, southward and westward.
Ridge Named for Benjamin Crowley
Among the early pioneers who journeyed westward from the then struggling village of Memphis toward Wittsburg was a man named Benjamin Crowley, who settled in the southern side of Greene County, a few miles north of the Craighead County line. It was a fruitful country where Benjamin Crowley elected to establish a residence. It is still a fruitful country. Many of his friends, eager to journey to Arkansas, elected to join their good old friend, b. Crowley, journeyed past Memphis and to Wittsburg.When they reached this outpost of civilization in Arkansas, the older pioneers who had preceded them, asked the newcomers where they were going. They instantly replied, "To Benjamin Crowley's Ridge." Benjamin Crowley died at Paragould.
St. Francis County, as all Eastern Arkansas, is particularly inviting to the archeologists, as well as the geologist. Races of unknown men in an unknown time lived a primitive life here. Their restless activities drove them to nature's natural storehouses and the fairest climates on the continent. Where life is easiest maintained in its best form do men instinctively congregate. The conditions of climate and soil, rainfall and minerals are the controlling factors in the migration ofman. These conditions given, man follows the great streams, on whose bosom the rudest savages float their canoes and pirogues.
Along the eastern part of Arkansas are the most distinct traces of prehistoric peoples, whose hieroglyphics, in the form of earthworks, are the most legible to the archeologist. Here, earthworks in greatest extent and numbers are found, indicating that this section once swarmed with these barbaric races of men.
The Mound Builders, a rare civilization in its relatively unknown time, left evidences of their existence by building unusual mounds. In them have been found human and animal bones, and there are indications that, while they were built for purposes of worship or war, when the builders passed away more than one race of their successors used them as convenient burial grounds. They were skillful stone workers and potters, and their mason's tools surprisingly useful. Nearly every implement ofthe stone age has been found in and about the mounds. The bones and pottery and tools and arms of the prehistoric people of Arkansas are much more abundant in Eastern Arkansas than are found in any other spot in the United States.
Wittsburg, a town of the past, was once the metropolis of Eastern Arkansas. Situated at the head of navigation of the St. Francis River, a short distance south of Levesque, its streets once hummed with the business of the traders who came from the newly opened wilderness of the great Southwest. It was the county seat of Cross County from 1868 to 1884.
Picturesque steamboats once tied up at Wittsburg, such well known boats as Capt. Bowman's Mollie Hambleton and the more palatial St. Francis No. 3. Only a frame store and a house or two now stands in the vicinity of the once flourishing river town of Wittsburg, birthplace and business start for some of Cross County's leading citizens of only a few years.
The exact date of Wittsburg is not known but it was at an early date. The census of 1830 does not contain the names of any one known to be an early settler of Wittsburg; hence, the conclusion that there was no one there at that date. Isaac Wofford, the grandfather of Samuel Austell, had the town surveyed and laid out in lots in 1849. Wofford came from South Carolina, was a farmer and also operated the first ferry boat across the river. A trail, known locally as the Old Line Road, ledin the direction of Harrisburg. It was used by the pioneers to haul their supplies to these more inaccessible locations. Steamboats operated regularly between Memphis and Wittsburg.
A pretty story was told to the late Col. Tom Fitzpatrick about a steamboat named Era which operated to Wittsburg. A niece of the river Capt. Bowman journeyed to Wittsburg on this boat. Just before her arrival she gave birth to a daughter. The child was christened Witt Era in honor of the port and the boat.
Goodspeed in his "Biographical Memoirs of Eastern Arkansas" gives the interesting information that in its heyday 30,000 bales of cotton were shipped from Wittsburg annually. Some of the town's prosperous merchants, descendants of whom are still living in Wynne, did an annual business of about $300,000. The Wittsburg Gazette, a popular and pithy newspaper, was established there and operated successfully for several years by T. O. Fitzpatrick. Before that there was the Arkansas Travelerlater changed to the Wittsburg Messenger. This was n 1853.
Wittsburg was located on Spanish Grant No. 2379. William Russell, an early land speculator in the vicinity, claimed the lands lying about Wittsburg as early as 1808. The Spanish land grants complicated the situation and it was many years before they were cleared.
Much has been said about the two "forts" at Wittsburg but nothing about the town's water mill. The town never actually had a fort but did have a water mill. Washington Hurd, one of the early settlers of Wittsburg, built his home at the foot of the hill just north of the town where the first branch runs across the road. He damned up the branch and built an undershot wheel fully 30 feet high. The stream was too feeble and the mill was not profitable.
The Federal forces occupied Wittsburg for about two weeks in August 1862 but they did not really build a fort. What they did build was a parapet or redoubt, about 30 feet square and 5 feet high. Just large enough to mount two cannons and then cut down all the timber on about three acres of land in front of it to make an abatis. It was located on top of the hill west of town, nearly a half mile from the river, where the roads forked. One leading north west to Mt. Zion and the othersouth to Madison. In 1878, Charles Carr was condemned to be hanged for rape. The sheriff took the "fort" for the site of the gallows. After that it took the name of the "Gallows" and everybody forgot about the fort.
There is nothing in the shape of evidence to support the conclusion that Wittsburg was the site of the French Fort St. Francis made in 1729. If it was located on this part of the St. Francis River, it most likely was at the Cherokee Village. When the public land surveyors got here in 1815 they found a well-marked trail leading from the Village to Arkansas Post, and made a note of it in their records. This trail had evidently been long in use. It passed off Crowley's Ridge into L'Anguillebottom about three miles north of the present Forrest City.
Dr. W. D. Allen, who lived in Wynne at the time of his death, states in his biography in Goodspeed History that the first steamboat ascended the St. Francis River in 1836 and brought his father and his slaves and livestock from Louisiana. He settled on the river file miles below Wittsburg.
In later times, Wittsburg had its outlaw. In 1882 a man named Martin Mitchell killed a man named Greer at Byhalia, Miss. He made his escape and lived in the swamps of the St. Francis Valley near Wittsburg. In 1885 he was captured in Poinsett County and confined in the jail at Wittsburg. He succeeded in making his escape and returned to his home in the forest. Earlier in his career he had a confederate in crime named Irwin. Strangely enough, Irwin, probably in a spirit ofrevenge, determined to assist in his capture. One day the two men met face to face while hunting squirrels in the woods. They proceeded to fight a duel with rifles. Mitchell was slightly wounded in the encounter but Irwin was killed instantly. The desperado continued to live in the community, working at rafting on the river, fishing, or such other work as he could find to do. No one dared to arrest him. In 1887, he became involved in a quarrel with a man named Charley Conwaynear Madison. Conway crept to the house where Mitchell lived and shot him through a window which wound proved fatal and ended the life of the valley's last outlaw.
The completion of the railroad through the eastern part of the state eventually brought the extinction of the onetime "metropolis of Eastern Arkansas." The businessmen moved away to either Vanndale or Wynn on the new railroad. The era of the railroad had begun and the day of the steamboat was of the past.
JOHN A. MURRELL IN CROSS COUNTY
John A. Murrell, whose bloody career has never been surpassed in modern history, roamed parts of Cross County, particularly around Bay Village, according to old settlers. The evil Murrell had a hangout near Bay Village on the old Bay Road. The late T. A. Stone, early Poinsett County settler and merchant, told the late George W. Graves, who in turn recalled the story for his grandson, Rev. M. A. Graves, retired Methodist minister, now of Wynne.
It seems that Murrell had been stealing horses in the Bay Village area so Charles Shaver, pioneer settler of near Bay Village, and Col. Neeley with some U.S. soldiers, stationed at Chickasaw Bluffs, laid a trap for Murrell.
Murrell appeared one night and a battle started. Several soldiers were killed and others wounded; three of Murrell's men were killed but the slippery Murrell escaped to continue his dastardly deeds throughout the countryside.
The town of Tilton, located in western Cross County on the Cotton Belt Railroad, was settled in the 1880s by a few families who came to the section in covered wagons.
Bill Mitchell was the first merchant and Abe Desha was the first postmaster in the town. The houses were built of logs with stick and dirt chimneys and no floors. The town was first known as Nolton but later was changed to Tilton.
The first church was a Southern Methodist group known as White church and the first pastor was the Rev. Tom hare. Alsey Catlett was the first school teacher and the first school was in a log cabin.
The lumber industry has always been of great importance to Tilton. Cotton, rice, corn, hay, fruits and watermelons are widely grown in the area.
The little town of Hamlin, located a few miles west of Wynne on the Bald Knob branch of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, was founded in 1886.
The first store built in the village was owned by G. M. and J. L. Gailey, brothers. Other stores built in the town included those of R. Jackson & Son, Ellis and Summer, H. Wood and John Mitchell. The Coles also were among the early settlers. The lumber business has always been important to the town.
In pioneer days the only roads through Hamlin were trails and the nearest physician, Dr. Van Patten of Wittsburg, had to come by horseback and boat when needed.
The wild game was plentiful and turkeys, deer and a few bears roamed the woods. Log rolling and house raisings were enjoyed b the entire community and barbecues and fish frys have always been favorite forms of entertainment. Memorial services and dinner on the ground have been outstanding events for 40 or 50 years at Union Grove cemetery.
In the recent years rice has become the most important crop in the community. Interest is also growing in stock raising.
TWO HANGINGS IN CROSS COUNTY
During the history of Cross County there have been two hangings of white men, facts of one passed on by word of mouth and the other reported in The Wynne Progress by the editor at that time who witnessed the actual hanging.
According to a story that has been handed down through the years, a fellow by the name of Charles Carr was tried on a rape charge and convicted. He was sentenced to hang, the sentence being carried out when he was hanged from a tree on Crowley's ridge at Wittsburg in October, 1878. Years later, the woman involved in the case, stated before she died, that Carr was innocent of the charge and that she had made the complaint because he had failed to carry out his part of the bargain with suitablepayment. And later as the case developed she was afraid to change her story.
The other hanging was reported in detail in the May 13, 1910, edition of The Wynne Progress by Editor J.F. Grist Sr. as follows:
"Grimly announcing that he was meeting death bravely and boasting that he had never asked Governor Donaghey to spare his life, Hardin, aged slayer of J.T. Patterson, went to his death on the gallows here with a smile on his lips. A crowd of almost 800 people drove where the execution took place.
"After a drive of three miles from Wynne, Hardin mounted the scaffold at 12:20 o'clock. For a minute he talked to witnesses within the stockade. Then, smiling calmly, he stood quietly waiting while a blindfold was placed across his eyes. Fourteen minutes later after the drop, the body was cut down and Drs. W.B. Barner and L.H. Lipsley pronounced life extinct. Hardin's neck was broken by the fall."
According to statements made by Hardin before 2,000 people who had gathered at the courthouse in Wynne before he was taken to the hanging place, he killed Patterson in his law office (which was located upstairs over what was later Wes hall's Pool Hall) "because he grabbed a chair and was going to hit meâ¦"
There are other interesting stories connected with this hanging. According to one story, unconfirmed, the county judge of Cross County at that time owner of an apple orchard on Crowley's Ridge near Wynne and he had the scaffold built in the orchard so "the Negroes would quit stealing my apples". Another story is that Hardin rode to the site in a wagon, sitting on his own coffin. This story, however, is refuted in the newspaper account where it was stated that he rode to thescaffold in a buggy with Sheriff Bracher of Poinsett County and Dept. Sheriff S.S. Kirby.
Bay Village, Cross County, was originally known as the Shaver settlement because the Shavers were the first settlers. Charles Shaver settled on Sugar Creek, which runs through Bay Village, in 1824. This same Charles Shaver was the grandfather of Mrs. Rebecca Cooper, mother of Ed, Claude and Gordon Cooper, well known in the county. In 1825 Ashley Shaver, brother of Charles, settled on the south bank of Sugar Creek and built a house that still stands. This old log house is at thesouth end of the bridge and is probably the oldest house in Cross County.
In 1827 James C. and Wesley Shaver, nephews of Charles and Ashley Shaver, settled near their uncles making a total of four Shaver families. Benjamin Harris settled in the Shaver Settlement in 1827, later moving to the old Harris home near Harrisburg.
Rev. John Harris was appointed to the Helena Circuit of the Arkansas District of the Missouri Conference of the Methodist church in 1829. In the summer of 1830 he traveled north along Crowley's Ridge until he came to the Shaver Settlement. He was probably the first Methodist preacher to preach in the settlement; he made his home with Charles Shaver. The Holston Conference, of the Methodist Church, at the annual session in 1835, sent three young preachers as missionaries to Arkansas.In the Summer of 1836, these young preachers, mounted on horseback, with bibles and Hymn books, and a change of clothing in their saddle bags, and heavy woolen blankets strapped to their saddles, crossed the Mississippi River at Helena. One of these young preachers, Rev. John M. Steele, made his way along Crowley's Ridge and in a few days reached the home of Charles Shaver on Sugar Creek. He made Sugar Creek a regular preaching point and his home with Charles Shaver.
The next summer, 1837, he and Rev. Markley S. Ford, established the Sugar Creek Camp Meeting Ground, in Poinsett County, at what is now Bay Village, and held a great revival meeting. At the close of the meeting, they organized the Sugar Creek Methodist Church, now the Bay Village Methodist Church. The name was changed when the postoffice was established in 1876. Some of the charter members were: Charles and Rebecca Shaver, Ashley and Matilda Shaver, Isom, Mary Ann and Emily Shaver,children of Charles and Rebecca Shaver; Hanan James, W.C. Thrower, Benjamin Harris, James C. Shavica James, Mary Eliza and Martha Thrower, Emiline and Julia White. The present church building was erected in 1888. The leading laymen at that time were: A.C. Shaver, J.G. Dodson, George W. Graves, J.W. Kaisher, W.L. Harlan, Robert Shaver, J.W. Goodwin,, R.M.D. Norris, Thomas J. Graves, Alfred C. Cooper, W.L. Bledsoe, F.F. Tillery, Henry McAden, Dr. A.A. Berry and N.J. Shannon.
Bay Village now has two churches, the Methodist and the Assembly of God. The first school was held in the church building; then, as late as 1874, the children of the Shaver Settlement attended school at Coldwater, which is the site of a big spring about and a half miles south of Bay Village. Capt. T.B. Smith was one of the early teachers. The first school house, a frame building, was erected on the south bank of Sugar Creek in about 1890. Now Bay Village has a brick school building,erected in 1909.
Eli Rooks opened the first store in the settlement in 1874. J.G. Hamilton opened the second store in 1876. Bledsoe Tillery opened a general store in 1884 and built the first cotton gin. W.A. Clements went into business about 1895 and then sold out to M.S. Ellis, the business which is still being operated by his son, Link.
Bay Village, although a small community, was produced some prominent and influential men in political, religious and educational circles.
Vanndale is located about half way between Cherry Valley and Wynne on the Missouri Pacific Railroad and Highway 1. A small community, it developed with the coming of the old Iron Mountain railroad in 1882.
According to Mrs. T.D. (Jewel Sigman) Hare, who lives in what was once the county courthouse and who is the official historian of Cross County, her first recollection of the town is actually a little one-room school house and arbor standing just in front of the school. The building was used for church services, too, and was called Oak Grove School House. The first school teacher was Jim Gilliand. Eli E. Sigman was the first superintendent and class leader, as they were then called,and this old building was the community center before there was a town.
With the completion of the railroad, moving the county seat from old Wittsburg and moving of the postoffice from old Vanndale (with John M. Vann, for whom the town was named, in charge), the little Oak Grove began to merge into a bustling town.
The big brick courthouse, the church, two hotels, two drug stores, seven general merchandise stores, one barber shop, one millinery and dressmaking establishment, two blacksmith shops, one printing press, one livery stable, saw mill, cotton gin, stave factory and grist mill were among the businesses in the town at that time. J.P. May built the first home in 1882 and one of the old homes a half mile south of the town was the Rev. Thomas P. Hare's built in 1851. The county seat was in Vanndalefrom 1884 to 1903.
The only church for a number of years was the Methodist, moved from old Mount Zion in 1885. The first pastor was the Rev. E.M. Baker.
At present there are only a few stores in the town and they are owned by Roy Crawford, Charlie Bright, W.B. Grafton, Stroups and Kaisers. Gins by J.V. Calhoun and Harry K. Gardner, Hardwood mill by J.V. Calhoun. There are two churches, Methodist and Baptist. Two brick schools standing in the community, one for the white students and another for the Negroes. Both are fine buildings, the first being built in 1941 and the latter in 1953.
The Vanndale of today is a far cry from the Vanndale of the late '80s and the early 1900s.
VANNDALE SCHOOL DISTRICT
According to Mrs. T.D. Hare of Vanndale, Cross County historian, her first recollection of a school at Vanndale was a little one-room building with an arbor standing in front. There were wooden windows and home-made seats so high Mrs. Hare said she could hardly see over them when she was a pupil. The building was used for Sunday School and church services and was called "Oak Grove School House." Eli E. Sigman was the first Sunday School Superintendent and Class Leader.
This building was the community center before there was a town. The Dilliards, Warrens, Joneses, hares, Futrells, Sigmans, Reeds, Walkers, Vanns and Joe Lewellen families were located nearby. The first teacher was Jim Gilliand.
The second school house was built about the same time the railroad came through and the community was named "Vanndale" in honor of Postmaster John M. Vann. Then in 1917 the old three-story building was erected. In 1940 the present building was built. Tom Harding Jr. was architect and Mark McAfee, president of the school board.
Among those who have served as Superintendent of the school were: Hayes Sullivan Jr., G.F. Castleberry, Dalton Matthews and Lamar Barber. W.M. Maupin has been serving since 1954. Present board members: Reg McClintock, President; Glenn Davis, Secretary; Glenn Bostick, Vice President; Graves Butler Sr. and Vance Perkins.
School enumeration (1954-55): 625 white and 324 Negro pupils. Enrollment: 695 white and 311 Negro. There are 30 teachers in the schools, which includes a new school for the Negroes, completed in 1953. The district has seven buses and transports an average number of 464 white students and 179 Negro students a day. In addition to the two schools at Vanndale, the district operates a grade school at Bay Village, which has 75 pupils and 3 teachers.
CROSS COUNTY'S FIRST COURTHOUSE
Vanndale was chosen by the people of Cross County as the proper judicial center of the county at an election held in September 1884 and the town was declared the official county seat in April 1886. No courthouse was erected at Cleburne or Wittsburg.
Action for the erection of a courthouse was soon started. County Judge S.S. Hare in 1887 appointed Thomas B. Smith as building commissioner who soon employed B.J. Bartlett as architect. Work was started on the building in September 1887. The building cost $13,700 and was completed on May 24, 1888. It occupied a large open space in the center of the town, its beautiful proportions and symmetrical lines at once attracted the observer. It was a two-story brick structure. Thelower floor was devoted to offices for the various county officials; the large courtroom was located on the top floor.
According to the Goodspeed history of Eastern Arkansas, published in 1890, "a personal examination shows nothing wanting in any essential detail throughout the building. Few counties can boast of a better or more convenient courthouse; none more economically and honestly constructed."
Mrs. T.D. Hare of Vanndale, county historian, who is living in the old courthouse, which is now a bungalow, recalls watching the building being constructed while she was a child.
After the county seat was moved from Vanndale to Wynne the old courthouse was sold to James T. Lewellen and wife. About 1947 Mrs. Hare bought the residence.
The present courthouse in Wynne was built while S.A. Gooch was County Judge. The contract was let June 27, 1905, to E.L. Koonce of Little Rock for a bid of $58,600 in Cross County warrants and $3,000 in cash. Frank W. Gibbs was architect. The courthouse was remodeled in 1930, steam heat installed and the county jail added.
OLD CROSS COUNTY ROADS
Mrs. T.D. (Jewel Sigman) Hare, official historian of Cross County, wrote this special article about the old roads of the county especially for this book. It follows:
At the mouth of the bay on the St. Francis River there was operated a ferry, a boat propelled by two men with big oars. When a child, I would watch the wagon trains come down the bank onto the ferry.
What was I doing there? Fishing with my family. I had a good view of the wagons which were always a source of wonder to me. They were headed west to the new country. Some were pulled by horses and mules, others by oxen, behind which were milk cows, dogs, coops of chickens with black pots swinging under the wagons. Mothers with babies in their arms looked out of the back. The spring seats in front held the driver and others.
The Bay ferry road they traveled led out to the Bay road at the foot of Crowley's Ridge and continued north past the Deadrick, Hare, Copland and Hamilton, on to Walnut Grove Camp ground, Bond farm, Bay Village, out of the county into Harrisburg and on north.
The road went south also to old Wittsburg and on to the old Jones farm where the Military Road crossed the St. Francis River going east and west. Other laterals lead from Bay Road, one from Wittsburg over the hill to Harris Chapel and to Wynne and vicinity.
The Augusta road passed Poinsette Female Academy (later Cobb's Boarding School near), Pineville, also near Cleburne and old Mt. Zion, a stage coach stop at Sanders, Old Vanndale. This old road crossed what is now Highway No. 1, corner of Rolland Sam Vann farms, out near Jones, Halk and Jamerson farms, crossing L'Anguille River, Brushy Lake, Cache and White Rivers.
The Batesville Road led out north and west passing Rev. Thomas P. Hare's home, Oak Grove (now Vanndale), Joe Lewellen, Warren Dilliard, Ned Hare, Applewhite, and McFerren farms, over L'Anguille River. There was a covered bridge at this crossing, a toll bridge I've heard.
These, the main roads, were neighborhood roads which connected and brought neighbors together. The Sharpsburg Road which led to a little community and postoffice. The late Co. Tom Fitzpatrick lived a short distance from there. The Andersons, Fountains, Clark, Ball, Rooks, Jones, Parkers, Massey, Simmons and Manleys lived in that neighborhood. The ridge road from old Vanndale crossed Morgan's Creek out south by another old postoffice, Mill Ridge, at Rensellear Vann Farm. Thefarms of Jas. Lewellen, John M. Maggett, Barnes, Williams, Cogbill and Brookfields near this road, further south the John Graham neighborhood and road, west out by Smith Chapel and McElroy.
According to the late Col. T.O. Fitzpatrick, "some of the oldest land in cultivation from Ebony and this side of Earle and the ridges around Crawfordsville never were overflowed. You can look at railroad tracks and see them on the level." He said one road crossed Tyronza River, old Neeley's Ferry on St. Francis River through bottoms to Walnut Camp ground and on to Bay Village.
Over the highways of yesterday, the pioneers traveled. One of my early Sunday School teachers, Mrs. W.C. Malone, mother of the late Mrs. O.N. Killough, told of her husband, Rev. W.C. Malone, driving through in a wagon with the remains of Rev. J.A. Hare, father of the late Dr. Dabney Hare, to Macron, Tenn., for burial.
Quite different the highways of yesterday. Horseback, wagons, buggies and surreys-but they got us there for church meetings, barbecues, fish frys, log rolling, quilting bees and visiting the sick. Also for hog killing time, community "sings". At Christmas time open house with tables laden with the best of food for our friends to enjoy.
Another well-traveled road was the one the shaver, Hydrick and Stacy families had from Bay Village over toward Cherry Valley, Washington Spring, on over the hill above Cherry Valley, south past the Halk, Brown, F.M. Hare, Mann, Pipkin, Woodward and Lea places. Old Marvin Church was in that neighborhood.
SPOTS OF HISTORICAL INTEREST
Cross County is rich in spots of historical importance.
Old Mount Zion, located east of Vanndale, is one of the spots. The old White River Conference was organized in the church, which was built by slaves in the days before the civil war. An iron fence has been built around the ancient cemetery there.
Near Mount Zion was the home of Col. David C. Cross, who donated the land for the first county seat, and for whom the county was named. South of Wynne, on Highway 1, at the old Perry Wilkins farm in the burying grounds of the Wilkins family is a marker of granite over the grave of Colonel Cross. The marker was placed there by the Vanndale Chapter, U.D.C., under the noble leadership of Mrs. T.D. (Jewel Sigman) Hare, who has done so much in Cross County to preserve important historical datafor future generations. It has been stated that Colonel Cross died in abject poverty and was given refuge in his last days by an old friend and neighbor. This is not true, according to the late Col. T.O. Fitzpatrick. At the time of the death of Colonel Cross, the colonel still owned real estate and until a few days before his death lived under his own roof. He was attacked by his old malady, the asthma, which quickly developed into pneumonia. Then Perry Wilkins, his neighbor, movedhim to his home where he died. At the time of his death he had a son, William Reddick Cross, who was a prosperous merchant of Bartlett, Tenn.
Another historic spot is the site of the once flourishing river town of Wittsburg. It has been the site of two forts. St. Francis, a French fortress, was built in 1729 and in 1864 Fort Russell, a federal fortification, was built on the same site.
An ante-bellum home within a short distance of Levesque on the Birdeye road is another historic spot. The home was built by the slaves of John Maggett for his daughter, the wife of Captain L.N. Deadrick. It still stands and is owned by J.H. Johnston family.
And still another very important historic structure in Cross County is the old courthouse at Vanndale. Built in 1884 as a two-story brick building, it later was converted into a bungalow and is now owned and occupied by Mrs. Jewel Sigman Hare, official historian of Cross County.
SMITH CHAPEL SCHOOL
James D. Sullivan, native of Smith Chapel Community, wrote this following account of the early Smith Chapel School.
"The school I attended was a one-room log building with a box stove in the center of the building, which was built about 1855. The floor was a puntching floor that had been hewed out of logs. The top and gables were made out of clapboard. For windows, we had none compared to those of today. We had shutters made of clapboards. Our three months of schooling was in the summer and the shutters could be opened to give us light.
"We had long, puntching seats with no backs or desks. When the teacher called our class, we went to the front of the building where we all sat on an extra long bench to recite. We had no blackboards. Each child furnished his own slate and pencil.
"The people of the district made me a school director long before I had a child to go to school. I began to try to get longer school terms and better school facilities. Gradually improvements began to be realized. Finally we got our school consolidated with the Wynne School District. My father, J.W. Sullivan, donated the land for the Smith Chapel School."
SMITH CHAPEL CHURCH
The Smith Chapel Methodist Church was organized early in the history of Cross County, the exact date not being known. The church building was built in 1894 and is still standing, having been remodeled. Church for many years was held in the school house.
Cherry Valley is a thriving town situated near the center of Mitchell Township, 15 miles north of Wynne at the intersection of State Highway 1 and 42 and is on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. It is the third largest town in Cross County with a population of 520 people. It was incorporated in October 1947.
Cherry Valley derived its name from a large grove of wild cherry trees on Cooper's Creek. Its first postoffice was in the home of G.W. Stacy near this grove.
When the railroad was completed through this section in 1882 Mr. Stacy, the postmaster, erected the first building, a hotel, in Cherry Valley as it now stands and moved the postoffice there. In 1889 the business interests consisted of two general stores operated by Mitchell and Stacy and by Clampitt Brothers, two sawmills, one stave factory and a cotton gin operated by M.W. Miley. At this time there were two churches in Cherry Valley, the Baptist and Methodist.
Among the earliest settlers were the Clampitts, Taylors, Mitchells, Mays, Hydricks, Dr. C.P. Jones, Dr. Wright, Stacys, Halks, Bowers and Jordans.
As the years have gone by Cherry Valley has grown and prospered. It now has four white churches, Methodist, Baptist, Church of God and Church of Christ, and two Negro churches, Baptist and Methodist. Among the clubs are the Lions, H.D.C., P.T.A., American Legion, Legion Auxiliary, W.S.C.S., W.M.U. and one social club, the Bunco Club.
Among the present businesses in Cherry Valley are the following: general merchandise, Misner, Lewis, L.C. Carwell and Abner Clements; grocery stores, C.E. Balch, Grover Holcomb and East Side; Sam Anderson Feed Store; Dixie Furniture Store; Lewis Drug Co.; Cafes, Louise's (owned by Julius and Louise Pieri) Fountain's (owned by Mrs. Fay Fountain) and Berry's; beauty parlors, Elizabeth's (Mrs. Ezra Stark) and Oma's (Mrs. Oma Breckenridge); Burley Graves' Theater; garages, Earl Dexter's Ford Garage,Ernest Flentje and Carlos Carwell Chevrolet, and Neal Shaver Filling Station; Bank of Cherry Valley; gins, Flentje's and Malcolm Hunter's; two liquor stores; two pool halls; and a tie yard.
Present members of the town council are: Frank Beasley, Mayor; C.E. Balch, Recorder; H.s. Breckenridge, City Marshall; and Sewell Parker, R.O. Cooper, Maurice Thompson, C.E. Lace and Dallas Ball, Aldermen. Cherry Valley has a fine volunteer fire department and an excellent school system. It has a new modernistic elementary school.
CHERRY VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT
The first school in Cherry Valley was located about one mile east of its present site on Cooper's Creek and spring, from which their water supply came. The building was really the church but served the purpose of school also. It was a one-room building with a fireplace and a blackboard that stood on legs. During the summer the blackboard was put in front of the fireplace and for mild punishment to "bad" boys, the teacher would make them stand behind it, which usually broughton a more severe punishment due to their mischievous antics to attract the attention of the other students. In later years this punishment was replaced by standing in the corner wearing a dunce cap.
Some of the early teachers were Mrs. Haten, Mrs. Emma Taylor, Mrs. Jeeks, Mrs. Eva McCall Stacy and others. This school dated back between 1860 and 1870.
When the railroad came through around 1882 the school was moved down to its present site. It was located where W.A. Dye's home now stands in north Cherry Valley. One large room, equipped with homemade desks with one teacher. As time passed and the student body grew, an extension was added, also another teacher. A curtain was hung across the center of the building, serving as a partition. by that time the student body had grown to about 75 or 80, the two teachers takingcare of about 8 or 9 grades, or rather the equivalent. In fact, they didn't put too much stress on the grades. It was more in learning the contents of the book, taking up each year where you had stopped the previous year and staying with it until it was well mastered.
Those were the days when they did not spare the rod and spoil the child. In fact, it is recalled that one pupil got nine whippings in one day and when his parents found out, he got another.
Some of the later teachers were Mrs. Georgie May, Mrs. Ada May Holmes, Mrs. Elsie Halk Gardner, Jim Bledsoe, Oscar Mayor, Mr. McKinney, Ike Faulkner and many others.
At present the Cherry Valley School District has a high school and elementary school in Cherry Valley and a white elementary and colored elementary at Birdeye. The district has approximately 600 white pupils of school age and 125 colored of which 450 white attend school and 48 colored. The district operates give buses.
The school board is composed of Robert Legg, President; Buryl Whilhite, Secretary; Abner Clements, Jimmie Johnston Jr. and Wade Halk. R.L. Stobaugh is Superintendent and Morse Mallett, Principal.
OLD CHURCH LETTER
Mrs. M.D. Carroll, the former Mary Robinson, who lives on old Highway 64 east of Wynne, has in her possession probably the oldest dated church letter in this section of Arkansas. It was written in September 1852 for Rebecca Boon, the great-great grandmother of Mrs. Carroll, by the Baptist Church at Roberts Chapel, North Hampton County, N.C.
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
The Agricultural Extension Service of the University of Arkansas has assisted the farm people of Cross County in developing a sound farm program since 1912. The purpose of this program has always been to help improve the farm and home and make for better rural living.
Farm organizations of the county are Home Demonstration Council, 4-H Club Council and the Cross County Farm Bureau. In 1954 the latter group had 1,211 members enrolled. There are 555 women in 17 community Home Demonstration clubs in the county. There are 1,185 boys and girls enrolled in 25 4-H Clubs in Cross County. The Cross County Livestock Improvement Association has sponsored the Cross County Fair for the past 15 years.
Extension workers who have assisted the farm people of Cross County and the years they served follow:
COUNTY AGENTS-1912, Samuel G. Hannah; 1913-14, vacant; 1915-16, L.L. Walker; 1916-17, J.L. Cherry; 1918, A.E. Cook; 1919, George R. Ely; 1920-23, A.P. Reynolds, 1924-25, C.F. Warren; 1916, vacant; part of 1927, Lewellyn Sibert; 1928-38, E.K. Schultz; 1940-41, John Stevens; and 1941 to early 1955, W.B. Proctor.
HOME DEMONSTRATION AGENTS - 1912-15, vacant; part of 1916, Mary G. Walker; 1916-17, Cora Allen; 1918, Frances H. Dyer; 1918-20, Mary E. Pearce; 1921-25, Mrs. Bird Tatus; 1926, vacant; 1927, Mrs. Tannie W. Beard; part of 1928, Dorothy Kimbly; 1928-1935, Blanche Crain; 1935-43, Mildred Clements; 1943-51, Lurline C. Daspit; 1951, Clara Ruth Grimes; and 1952- , Catherine Thompson, now Mrs. Eliza Van Marion.
HOME DEMONSTRATION CLUBS
Home demonstration clubs in Cross County were first organized in 1919, with Vanndale as the charter club. Cherry Valley, Birdeye, Hickory Ridge, Bay Village, and Pleasant Hill were organized that year. Demonstrations in canning with the pressure cooker were given by Miss Mary Plane, home demonstration agent.
The Cross County Federation of Wynne's clubs was organized on December 16, 1921, with Mrs. J.C. Swain, Vanndale, President. This federation met through 1925. Then followed a time when there were no county agents in the county and the federation was not very active.
With the coming of Miss Blanche Crain, home demonstration agent in 1928,, the federation took new life and the semi-annual meetings were revived.
The Cross County Council of Home Demonstration Clubs was organized in 1932, with Mrs. L.C. Cato, Birdeye, President.
Other past presidents of the county council are: Mrs. Z.N. Halk, Cherry Valley, 1936-38; Mrs. T.D. Hare, Vanndale, 1939-40; Mrs. Roy Harmon (deceased) 1941; Mrs. Roy Chamberlain, Wynne, Route 1, 1943-44; Mrs. A.F. Bon, 1945-47; Mrs. Knox Goodwin, Wynne, 1948-49; Mrs. R.H. Winters, Wynne, Route 2 1950-51; Mrs. Jack Bartlett, Wynne, Route 1, 1952-53; Mrs. Leonard Harmon, Wynne, is the present county council president.
Perhaps the greatest achievement of the home demonstration clubs has been the development and organization of leaders. Demonstrations at meetings are only a part of the work of club members today. Home demonstration clubs assume responsibility for many activities for their entire community, such as school lunch room improvement, church grounds, community buildings, 4-H clubs, etc. Club programs have varied from work in canning to include family life, health, home management, foodsand nutrition, clothing and home industries.
TELEPHONE SYSTEM IN CROSS COUNTY
The Telephone Exchange at Wynne was first established in 1897 with Morgan Jolly as the original owner. The switchboard was an old style 50 line magneto board installed in a small room in a building on Union Street. Construction was under the supervision of Charles Gibbs; Miss Dell Montgomery was the day operator and Fred Cogbill, night operator and lineman.
Mr. Jolly sold the exchange in 1905 to T.A. Bedford. A few years later the exchange was given as a prize in a lottery and was won by Miss Fakes, a blind girl of McCrory, Arkansas. Her brother supervised the operation and employed W.P. McDuffie as Manager.
In 1909 the exchange was sold to L.C. Going of Harrisburg, Arkansas. Mr. Going consolidated the telephone properties of Harrisburg, Wynne and Vanndale and changed the name to the Going Telephone Company. Later he purchased the Crittenden County Telephone Company operating at Earle and Marion.
The central office equipment was moved in 1910 from its original quarters to an upstairs location on Merriman Avenue next door to J.C. Hilliard's Store. At that time the switchboard was replaced with a Western Electric magneto board.
On March 1, 1912, the property was sold to the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. Miss Pearl Campbell was employed by L.C. Going at the time the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company took over the exchange in 1912. W.C. Best was lineman; Mrs. Ida Broadley, Chief Operator and H.J. Kimbro, Manager.
A complete new office and telephone system was established in August of 1938 when the system was moved to the present address at 410 Merriman Avenue and converted from magneto to an up-to-date common battery system with three switchboard positions to serve about 400 telephones.
The telephone system has grown tremendously particularly since the end of World War II. there are now more than 1500 telephones served by the Wynne Exchange, of which about 285 are in rural areas. More than half of the present telephones have been added since V-J Day. to serve these additional telephones eight of the present switchboard positions have been added since the war and enough additional telephone lines have been added in cable and open wire to reach from Wynne to the NorthPole. In the last 10 years local calls have more than tripled, with more than 11,000 local and more than 500 long distance calls being handled daily through the Wynne office. There are 34 employees helping to furnish and maintain good telephone service to the people in Wynne and Cross County - working under the supervision of Mrs. Tolise Stutts, Chief Operator and Paul Cockrell, Wire Chief. Mrs. Bonnie Carwile is Service Representative in charge of the business office.
The first new dial telephone exchange in Cross County was installed at Cherry Valley in 1948 and now serves 175 customers both in the city and rural areas. The second dial exchange was established at Hickory ridge in 1949 and is now serving 180 customers in that section of the County. The Parkin Exchange was changed from magneto to dial service in December 1951 and today is serving 400 telephone customers.
THE MISSOURI PACIFIC IN CROSS COUNTY
Entering Cross County, Arkansas, and its principal city, Wynne, from the four points of the compass, the Missouri Pacific Lines has provided the traveling public and shippers of that area with efficient passenger and freight train service since 1882.
The master planner who built a rail empire in Arkansas in the 1880s was Joy Gould, the famed New York financier and railroad financier and railroad promoter, who was then the owner and President of the Missouri Pacific Railway, and its affiliates, the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway, better known as the "Iron Mountain." The Iron Mountain extended from St. Louis south through Arkansas to Texarkana, where it connected with the Texas and Pacific Railway, another Gould road.On March 1, 1881, Gould informed the Directors of the Iron Mountain that "it is the intention of this company to build a branch road from some point on its line in Arkansas near Peach Orchard, southwardly to Forrest City, being about 95 miles in length." On June 4th of that same year, the route was authorized to the built "beginning at Knobel in Clay County, and running thence by way of Forrest City to the State Line between the States of Arkansas and Louisiana at the southeast cornerof Ashley County, Arkansas, with an extension from Gainesville, in Green County, to a point on the Eastern boundary of the state opposite Kennett, Missouri, and to be known as the Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana Branch of the Iron Mountain."
On August 12, 1881, Gould reported that the Hudson River Contracting Company was fully organized and ready to execute the contract for the building of the Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana Branch Railroad. The contract was awarded to that firm on August 18th, with the stipulation that payment would be made in General Consolidated Mortgage Bonds of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway to an amount equal to $15,000 per mile for every mile of railroad built under the contract. Theright of way was completed from Knobel to Wynne on July 1, 1882, and to Forrest city later that same month. On August 25th, the remaining portion of the contract was cancelled and the construction firm paid $1,800,000 in Iron Mountain bonds for the work completed. Later that same year the Iron Mountain contracted to purchase the Iron Mountain and Helena Railroad, which ran from Forrest City to Helena, Arkansas. Originally known as the Crowley's Ridge Branch, and later as the Helena Branch, theline from Knobel to Helena is now the Paragould Sub-division of the Memphis Division of the MoPac.
For several years the Iron Mountain had a working agreement with the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad, which had been in operation since 1874, whereby the latter handled Iron Mountain cars between Little Rock and Memphis. When the Memphis and Little Rock encountered severe financial difficulties in 1877 it was the Iron Mountain which made loans sufficient to keep the M & LR in operation. In 1880, the M & LR officials wanted to sell out to the Iron Mountain, but negotiations fellthrough; however, the Iron Mountain still wanted to connect Memphis with its main line track somewhere near Little Rock. On May 9, 1882, President Gould authorized his First-Vice-President,, R.P. Hayes, "to make a contract or contracts with the Hudson River Contracting company to build an extension from the main line in an easterly directionâ¦so as to form a new route between Memphis and Little Rock." But no action was taken, except that on January 26, 1884, Mr. Hayes was again instructed'to locate the most feasible route for a line of railway from Little Rock to Memphis and report upon the same with an estimate of its cost." On December 7, 1885, the Director of the Iron Mountain authorized the construction of a branch road "on the most eligible route to be determined by survey extending from or near Bald Knob, or such other point on the main line of its railway in White County, eastwardly through White, Woodruff, Cross and Crittenden counties to Hopefield or West Memphis on theWest Bank of the Mississippi River opposite Memphis, Tennessee, or to such other point in Crittenden County as the Company May selectâ¦the cost of construction of said branch to be paid in the stock of this company and by it, First Bonds secured by a Mortgage on the said Branch." The contract was awarded on January 4, 1886, to the Enterprise Construction Company, they being the low bidder. The cost was estimated at $22,500 per mile of completed road. Actual construction of the Memphis Branchwas started at Bald Knob in December, 1886, and reached Wynne on September 10, 1887. The entire line, from Bald Knob to the Memphis Bridge connection, was completed and placed in operation on November 16, 1887.
The St. Louis, Iron Mountain, and Southern Railway and the Missouri Pacific Railway were consolidated in March, 1917, and reorganized at the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company, which is the present organization. The familiar title "Missouri Pacific Lines" is generally accepted to mean the approximately 10,000 miles of Missouri Pacific railroad, the Gulf Coast Lines and the International-Great Northern Railroad taken together. The latter two railroads were acquired in 1924. Theterritory in which this nearly 10,000 system is located, and which it serves directly, is in eleven states. In recent years came the acquisition of diesel-powered and streamlined passenger trains, and dieselization generally on the system lines. By April, 1955, the Missouri Pacific will be 100% dieselized. Centralized Traffic Control, to expedite the movement of its trains, was extended to include much more trackage after World War II, and with the current installation of radio communicationsequipment on all mainline diesel locomotives and cabooses, the Missouri Pacific assumes a position of leadership among the nation's railroads in the use of modern electronic devices, continuing its claim of being, truly, "A Service Institution."
The Missouri Pacific is also a good citizen in Cross County and is its largest taxpayer. In 1954 the MoPac paid a total of $52,787 in property taxes, which includes school taxes of $39,579, of which $21,365 goes to the Wynne School District, and road taxes amounting to $3,134.
The present MoPac passenger station at Wynne was built in 1911, the office building and booster hall in 1917, and the freight house in 1921. A fire partially destroyed the latter in 1923 and it was rebuilt. The section house building was built in 1887.
Wynne is served daily by four passenger trains, thirteen Red Ball freights and four local freight trains. The present superintendent of the Memphis Division, which includes the Memphis and Paragould sub-divisions, is C.C. Courtway, who has his headquarters at Popular Bluff, Missouri. The MoPac staff at Wynne includes L.L. Lowe, Assistant superintendent; J.D. Goodwin, Trainmaster; E.K. Luck, Division Trainmaster; Dr. T. Wilson, Division Surgeon; and Dr. T.G. Price, Joint Division Surgeon.
PIONEER AUTO TRIP
Back in the early days of the automobile it took real courage to attempt a long trip, as shown by the following account of a goodwill tour by eight Wynne pioneers to St. Louis, in 1915.
Purpose of the trip was to advertise Wynne, to see railroad improvements and to try to obtain a new railroad passenger station for Wynne.
The two cars were owned and driven by Dave Block and J.M. McKie. The others were G.W. Eldridge, O.L. Robinson, J.C. Hilliard, D.H. Hamilton, Maurice Smith and J. Harold Harris.
Details of this motorized excursion were preserved in a diary, written by Harrold Harris and kept these many years by Mr. Block. The following is a copy of the diary:
Party of J.M. McKie, G.W. Eldridge, O.L Robinson, J.C. Hilliard, D. Block, D.H. Hamilton, Maurice Smith and J.H. Harris left Wynne on morning of July 23, 1915, in two Buick cars bound for St. Louis to see Mr. Pierson in regard to railroad improvements and a new railroad passenger station and for general boosting along the route.
Left Wynne 6:25, All O.K. Cloudy. Good road to Vanndale. McKie's car leading. Passed Vanndale 6:50. Roads a little muddy. Arrived Cherry Valley 7:15. M. Smith joined party. Left Cherry Valley 7:30. Passed Hydrick 7:47. Engines hot. Rested 7 minutes. Threatening rain. Roads bad and rough. Light shower for 15 minutes. Roads better going into Harrisburg. Arrived Harrisburg 8:43. Ben Cole and Toots Boone joinedparty in E.M.F. car to go as far as Jonesboro acting as pilot car. Left Harrisburg 9:40. Good roads out of Harrisburg. Going some to make up lost time. Passed Greenfield 9:57. Still going some. Engines hot. Rested 5 minutes. Running slower on account of engines. Roads fair.
Broke front righthand spring on Block's car going over small bridge near Buffalo Lick at 10:30. At 11:00 Block's car had just taken the lead and in avoiding a mudhole took a side road around it and struck a hidden stump in some weeds while going at rate of 12 or 15 miles per hour. Axle badly bent. Broken spring almost torn out. Other spring terribly twisted. Front wheels very much out of line. Engine still running. Harris thrown from front seat throughboth thicknesses of the windshield (the top of windshield being turned down) and face cut. He was carried to Jonesboro in E.M.F. car, arriving at 12:30. Wounds dressed. Steering apparatus damaged on Block's car, 2 hrs. 45 min. being required to run car into Jonesboro, a distance of 5 miles. Afternoon spent working on car. Spent night in Jonesboro.
July 24, 1915
Gasoline. Left Jonesboro 8:40 with Block's car still in bad shape. Roads bad. Block's car leading. Roads bad. Passed Brooklyn 10:09. Roads bad. Slow progress. Puncture McKie's car 10:30. 30 min. for repairs. Roads BAD. Pike road going into Paragould for 1 ½ miles fine. Arrived Paragould 11:10. McKie's car arrived 11:30, being delayed by the puncture. Put car in garage. Repaired good shape. Spent afternoonin Paragould. Left Paragould 6:00. Roads good. Block's car leading. Passed Marmaduke 7:00. Fine farms, German settlements. Fine roads. Arrived Rector 8:00, beating a freight train which left Marmaduke same time we did. Spent night at Rector.
Left Rector 4:50. McKie's car leading. Roads fine. Cold. Lost 15 min. sparkplug trouble. Arrived Piggott 5;50. Breakfast. Left Piggott 7:00. Weather fine. Roads good. Block's car leading. Puncture McKie's car 7:12, repaired 28 min. Puncture McKie's car 8:00, repaired in 17 min. Other car about a mile ahead. Arrived St. Francis 8:05. McKie's car arrived 8:30. Left St. Francis 8:44. Great country. Finestock. Stock very scarey of machines. Passed toll bridge over St. Francis river 8:52. Struck Missouri 9:02. Arrived Campbell 9:15. Caused run-away. No damage. Gasoline. Left Campbell 9:30. E.M.F. car pilot a few miles. Good roads but hilly. Very little cotton, its very poor. Plenty of mules. Puncture block's car 10:35, repaired in 45 min. Roads sandy. Skidding. arrived Dexter 11:30. dinner. Gasoline. Enginesworking fine. Block's car holding up O.K. Left Dexter 2:15. McKie's car leading. Went over 7 ½ mile peak from Dexter to Bloomfield in 14 min. Roads hilly. 1 ½ miles of road nothing but hills. One hill one-fourth mile long. More hills. Went one-fourth mile on wrong road up a hill. Lost in the hills. Trying to find road to Allenville, Advance or a.T. About 8 miles of sand. Slow time. Found Allenville 6:30. PassedDutchtown 7:15. Block's car leading. Pike Road to Girardeau. A little wavy. Arrived Cape Girardeau 7:28, making the 9 miles of pike road in 13 min. Spent night.
Left Cape Girardeau 8:00. Pike Road to Jackson. McKie's car leading. Arrived Jackson 8:42. Passed unknown village 9:06. Roads not so good. Passed Appleton 10:02. Roads level but rough. Passed Uniontown 10:15. Blowout Block's car 11:00, repaired in 1 hr. 15 min. Trouble with tire. McKie's car came back 6 miles to find Block's car. Passed Perryville 12:28. Passed McBride 12:55. Roads good. Arrived West Chester 1:30.Ferry boat broken down. No way to cross Mississippi River. We were told it was 1 ½ days run on Missouri side and 5 hours run on Illinois side to St. Louis. Left West Chester 2:20 in attempt to catch Steamboat "Cape Girardeau", which had passed West Chester at 10:30, so they might ferry us. Roads fair. Going some. McKie's car leading. Passed St. Mary's 2:55. Caught the "Cape" at St. Genevieve 4:00. Same price to ferryus as to run on into St. Louis so we went into St. Louis by boat. Dancing. Lunch in our honor given by the Captain. Left boat next morning 7:00. very much disappointed to find our accident had caused us to be too late to fill engagement with Mr. Pierson, he having left the city after we failed to show up on time. Spent three days in St. Louis. Cars overhauled. Owing to work not being fully completed on cars and duties at home calling some, most of the members of the partycame home over the Iron Mountain Route. Heavy rains along the route back also helped decide.
The trip was a very enjoyable affair, being very novel and always striking new country, new towns and new people. Everyone glad to answer our inquiries for right road. Ideal weather. A dandy party. Crowds at every town would gather around the machines and ask about Wynne and of Arkansas, as we had banner on each car: "WYNNE, ARK. BOOSTERS - TO ST. LOUIS."
CROSS COUNTY LIBRARY
The initial idea which resulted in the Cross County Library is lost in obscurity, but it could have been the result of a fortunate mistake in a Wynne Progress new story. When the Cross County Bar Association voted to establish a law library, the Progress reporter left out the word "law" and the story reported the lawyers planned to start a county library. Citizens interested in a free library gathered around the cause, with County School Supervisor M.M. Hinesly and Mrs. Maude Kellogg leading thecampaign for a library. The first book was a Bible, donated by the gideons. County Judge Homer Mitchell had shelves built in the supervisor's office in the courthouse, and gifts of books and cash started pouring in. Mrs. Kellogg and Mr. Hinesly acted as librarians without pay until October, 1954, when the library had grown to 1,600 volumes and the job became too much for them in addition to their other duties. The Library Board, headed by Mr. Hinesly, hired Mrs. A.O. Chastain in October, 1954, as part-time librarian,and the library was moved to the second floor of the Extension Building. Funds for the fixed library expenses were voted by the Wynne City Council and the Cross County Quorum Court, with other donations coming from the various civic organizations of the county.
CONFEDERATE MUSTER ROLL
A photostatic copy of the original muster roll of Company A of the 29th Arkansas Confederate Cavalry, which was organized in 1863 at the old Methodist Church Camp Ground near Vanndale, is a valued possession of Mrs. T.D. Hare, historian of Cross County.
Captain I.N. Deadrick was commander; William Grooms, first lieutenant; John Cross, second lieutenant; W.P. Wilkins, third lieutenant; W.P. Brown, orderly sergeant; John M. Vann, second sergeant; and Sam Ware, commissary sergeant.
Privates were Sam Vann, John Graham, Mose Pitts, John S. Haggard, Nath Halk, William Copeland, Jack Witt, Anthony Hogan, Jim Snodwden, Clay Nelson, Wilbur Cobb, Tom Taylor, Robert Taylor, William Hooper, William Henderson, Will Pulley, G.A. Tyer, Sam Tyer, Dan Boone, Tom Holland, Joe McGuffy, Jim Trotter, William Jones, Robert Dollar, Marsh Dollar, James Wilkins, Robert Wallace, Henry Watkins, Tom Grant, Neal Landers, George W. Chriscoe, Rufus Sullivan, Ase Searcy, William Bryant, Anderson Page, RiddickPope, Neverson Pope, Shep Pope, Ben Cooper, James Prossor, Ben Alis, William Reeves, Will Neal, Billy Wilson, John Elder, John Moore, George Lane, John Douglas, Wiley France, Jim Beard, Robert Reid, Asy Byrum, John Lindley, J.M. Mebane, Bud Hare and Henry Mitchell.
A mound of broken bricks in a wooded pasture on the crest of Crowley's Ridge, about three miles south of Vanndale, Ark., is the only remains of the Cobb's School of Civil War days.
Established as the Poinsette Female Academy, it became generally known as Cobb's Boarding School. The Rev. William A. Cobbs, who had been a Memphis music teacher, operated it at his farm home especially for his own daughters. Most of the students were weekly boarders whose families took them over Sunday but day students were accepted. Exact dates of the school are not known but it was in operation from about 1855 to about 1869. The Rev. Cobb, a Methodist minister, died with hisdaughters' education incomplete and the family moved to Forrest City. The school was held in a two-story building with about 50 girls in the classrooms. The Cobb family had a home nearby.
In May 1950 descendants of the girls held a reunion. Mrs. T.D. Hare of Vanndale, daughter of one of the students, the former Jennie Lewellen was instrumental in reviving interest in the institution, along with Mrs. Ada Brookfield Burns of Jonesboro, a descendant of one of the teachers. After a special program, some of those who attended the unusual reunion went on to Wittsburg, the metropolis of the Cobb School days in Arkansas. Wittsburg,, now a store and a few houses, was then theplace where waggoners and horseback riders from as far as Jonesboro met the outside world as represented by St. Francis River boats from Memphis.
Hickory Ridge, located in the northwest part of Cross County, on the Cotton Belt Railroad and Highway 39, received its name back in 1883 when employees of the old Iron Mountain Railroad were told to unload their tools on the high ridge, which at that time was covered with hickory timber.
The first railroad tracks were of a narrow gauge and then in 1900 wide gauge tracks were laid. The first commercial trade in 1886 involved the selling of white oak split staves and were shipped out on railroad. The first station actually was a pile of railroad ties. The construction crew back in toss days lived in boxcars.
The J.T. Robison family was the first to build a store, hotel and saloon, in addition to buying timber, in Hickory Ridge. A son, Frank Robison, and his family still lives in the town. He operates a machine shop.
The first school house was a railroad tie shack and Henry Mitchell, later a county judge, was the first teacher. Later a better one-room school was built. In 1920 a large three-story building was erected but it burned in 1953. Two modern buildings have replaced the 1920 structure.
Hickory Ridge was without the services of a minister for several years and then a Rev. Mr. Cole held services in a board shanty on the east side of town. Four churches are now well attended. The town has an active Home Demonstration Club, Lions Club and Parent-Teacher Association.
In 1949 the town was incorporated and Roy Mahon elected the first mayor. Present officials of the town, which has a population of about 345, are: Roy Mahon, Mayor; V.N. Townsend, Recorder; and Lloyd Diebold, Benny House, H.L. Baker, Gene Goodart and J.D. Evans, Aldermen. The Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. has installed a new dial phone system, one of the first in the county.
Among the present firms in the town are: S.M. Brechenridge Grocery & Feed Store, Townsend & Son Grocery, Shelton's Grocery and Apartment building, Leland Walls Grocery, Two Cafes (owned by Ike Bratcher and Mr. and Mrs. Jim Phillips), Goodart Bros. supermarket, lumber shed, theater and variety store, White River Distributors of butane and appliances, McFadden's Service Station, Esso Service Station operated by Corkey & Ray Shaw & House Machine Shop operated by Lee Olson, CharlieShultz Welding & Saw Shop, Harriet Kibler's Gift Shop, Ruben Shaw Grocery, Lion Oil Bulk Station operated by Russell Crites, Esso Standard Oil Co. operated by Loyd Baker and Young's Grain Drier. One of the two driers of the Riceland Rice & Grain Drying Corporation is located in Hickory Ridge. It has a capacity of approximately 717,000 bushels of rice and 100,000 bushels of small grain. The drier uses 400 gallons of butane a day. The Taylor Seed Co. drier is located east of town.A large anhydrous ammonia plant is being erected on the Evans lot.
HICKORY RIDGE METHODIST CHURCH
The Hickory Ridge Methodist Church was founded in 1910 by Rev. H.J. Raney. It had nine charter members: Charles W. Carmachael, Mrs. Julia Greenwood, Mrs. Lela Dyer, Mrs. J.E. Clark, D.C. Evans, Joel Robinson, Mrs. Alice Ball and Mrs. J.H. Meadows.
They had no building; therefore, services were held in the school house until 1913. In that year a church was erected on Baptist property by the people of the community, to be used as a Union Church.
In 1926 the building now in use was erected on Methodist property donated by O.A. Teague. Rev. T.J. Matthews was pastor at this time and lead the church in this endeavor. Dr. W.E. Pollett, W.C. Daniels Jr., and O.A. Teague were trustees at this time.
In 1930 the debt was paid on the church building and on June 27, 1930 the building was dedicated. At this time the church had approximately 90 members.
In 1946 the building was remodeled under the leadership of Rev. Porter Weaver. At this time Sunday School rooms were added, and the worship sanctuary beautified.
In 1953 this church was separated from the Weiner circuit. It was placed on a circuit with Fisher and Tilton. Up until this time the pastor had lived at Weiner. This necessitated the securing of a parsonage for the pastor who was going to serve the newly organized circuit which Hickory Ridge was now on. Hickory ridge assumed this responsibility for the whole circuit. Under the leadership of the Fishermen's Club (a Methodist Men's organization) the membership of the churchaccepted the challenge with work and sacrifice. By the end of February a new modern seven room parsonage had been finished and Rev. Norris Steele, pastor at that time had moved. The parsonage is valued at $15,000.
At the present time our membership is 149 with a Sunday School enrollment of 184. Besides Sunday School rooms in the church we are using the pastor's study and den at the parsonage for Sunday School rooms. We plan to build an Educational Building in the near future to relieve this situation.
HICKORY RIDGE SCHOOL DISTRICT
The first school room in Hickory ridge (on the site of the present home of J.M. Phillips) was opened in 1895 with Henry Mitchell as teacher. In 1909 a new building was erected at the north end of town. It was originally a one-room frame building. Charlie Young, who was teaching in Hickory Ridge at that time, opened the first session in the school in the fall of 1909. Later one more room was added, then a third one, and the original big room was divided, making four rooms, andby 1913 four teachers were hired.
There were also two other one-room buildings in which school was held in the district. These were the Urfer School about 7 miles southeast of town and the Dye School about 4 miles south.
In 1918 a two-story brick building was erected on the present school grounds and the three schools mentioned above were consolidated. The school directors at that time were E.L. Cooper, J.E. Dye, D.C. Evans, L.E. Pollett and F.G. Urfer Sr. In the fall of 1918 school opened in the new building. Miss Madie Jones served as principal during the first half year. Other principals and superintendents headed the faculty as follows: to 1920, E.E. Stevenson; 1920-21, Mr. Peacock;1921-25, J.W. Best; 1925-26, J.D. Sinipson; 1926-28, Mr. Hood; 1928-29, Olen Hobgood; 1929-30, Herbert Wallin; 1930-34, J.A. McKenzie; 1934-38, Adrain Diggs; 1938-43, W.M. Ashmore; 1943-44, Ralph digs; 1944-45, Knox Goodwin Sr.; 1945-47, Ralph Diggs; 1947-48, C.E. Glass; 1948-50, M.M. Hinesly; since 1950, Foster Norten.
The first graduating class (11th grade) consisted of Josie Dye, Evie Dye and Kate Lowry and was in 1925. On May 8, 1953, the two-story school building was destroyed by fire. A new grammar school had been built the year before and a new high school building was then built. On Dec. 13, 1954, a butane explosion destroyed the grammar school and at present plans are being made to rebuild it. In 1948 the school districts of Tilton and Hickory Ridge were consolidated.
Present enrollment for the Hickory Ridge District is 357 students with an enumeration of 372. The school system with Foster Norton as Superintendent and Ermal Catterton as Principal is composed of 15 teachers. Three school buses are operated daily transporting 209 students.
The present school board members are Gordon Sullins, President; Harold Marr, Secretary; Lloyd Diebold, Malcolm Smith and Russell Cartillar.
HICKORY RIDGE HOME DEMONSTRATION CLUB
The Hickory Ridge Home Demonstration Club was organized about 1920 with Mrs. Connie Bonsagel as the first agent. Mrs. Ethel shake, now living near Jackson, Miss, was the first President. Charter members: Mrs. Odie Meeks, Mrs. Carrie Kibler, Mrs. Sudie Lawrence, all still living, and Mrs. Dave Evans, Mrs. Sally Rutledge, Mrs. J.T. Robinson, Mrs. Jess Carter and Mrs. Sarah Simmons deceased. The club now has about 45 members with Mrs. Gwynne Mahon as President; Mrs. Gene Pausercht,Vice President; and Mrs. Preston Shaw, Secretary.
CHERRY VALLEY LIONS CLUB
The Cherry Valley Lions Club, organized in 1947, is the outgrowth of the Cherry Valley Business Men's Club, which was responsible for the incorporation of the town in 1946. The first president was James M. Hunter, who served from 1947-49; G.C. Holcomb, 1949-50; Sewell Parker, 1950-51; and V.E. Lewis, 1952-54. Present officers are: Howard Beasley, President; Noel Morris, 1st Vice President; A.H. Lace, 2nd Vice President; Maurice Thompson, 3rd Vice President; Carl Cooper, Secretary-Treasurer;Ezra Stark, Tail Twister; Earl Stacy, Lion Tamer; and Millard Carter, Pat Murphree, Dallas Ball and Carl Cooper, Directors.
The Lions Club meets twice a month on the second and fourth Thursday nights. The club has sponsored a midget baseball team for the past four years. It was instrumental in having safety lights installed at the main railroad crossing, in having safety zone marked at the school and in securing the services of a part-time physician.
HISTORY OF WYNNE
The City of Wynne was originally started as a small railroad town about 1882 when the north-south line of the old St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad was completed.
But according to the late Col. T.O. Fitzpatrick, early settler of Cross County and unofficial historian of Eastern Arkansas, Yankee Smith was the first inhabitant of what is now known as Wynne, Arkansas. The following was taken from a speech he wrote in 1938:
"On the morning of February 7, 1870, I stood near this exact spot (the present location of the Cross County Centennial Marker on the courtyard of the courthouse in Wynne) with my surveyor's compass and chain, ready to run the dividing line between the lands of Jenkins Newsom and Sam Hambrick. The chain carriers were Alfred Taylor and Elisha Price. Alfred Taylor was an old pioneer and knew much of the early history of the locality. As we started to work, he pointed over there towardthe stave mill and said, 'There is where Yankee Smith took up his donation and built his cabin.' It was then covered with second growth timber saplings and briars. Mr. Newsom's field covered what is now Merriman Avenue. So we concluded Yankee Smith was the first inhabitant of the territory later to become the town of Wynne."
The following information was taken from the "Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Eastern Arkansas," published in 1890 by the Goodspeed Company:
"The first house (in Wynne) was built in 1883. In June of the same year B. B. Merryman started the first store, and soon after Mr. Austell received the commission as first postmaster of the place. The town has a beautiful situation on an elevated plateau at the western base of Crowley's Ridge. The surrounding plain receives ample drainage from the L'Anguille River, the land gradually declining to the valley of that stream. On examination, of its situation gives abundant evidence that itis, as reported, one of the healthiest locations in Eastern Arkansas.
"Its citizens are people of activity and enterprise, who have in the short space of six years, cleared the timber (for the site of the town once was a wilderness) from the land and built their town. Its streets are lined with many neat and tasty residences, some of which would be a credit to a much older and larger town.
"The business interests are represented by the following firms: General stores, Smith, Graham & Jones, Johnson & Hamilton, Daltroff, Sparks & Oliver, Goodman & Potlitzer, and Martin & Neeley; groceries, John Cobb, Landers & Mitchell, W. L. Lancaster, William Ivy, W. J. Pardew, H. Davis, B. F. Stanley, and Poe Bros.; drug stores, T. A. Bedford and J. W. Hazelwood & Co.; jeweler, Harry Vaughn; hotels, E. J. Commercial Traveler, J. Badinelli, proprietor, Wynne Hotel, B. F.Stanley, proprietor; livery stables, James Lyon and Martin & Kirby; physicians, William D. Allen, Ch. H. Montgomery, and Paul Gargaro; blacksmiths, Lipscomb & Snowden; lawyer, J. R. Robertson; gents' furnishing goods, R. G. Oliver; saloons, Robert Orr and Brusch & Hamilton; barbers, C. Stewart and Dillard & Johnson; meat markets, John Greene & Co., and J. H. Chappelle."
The city of Wynne was incorporated by an act of the county court May 28, 1888. The following officers were elected on July 10, 1888: Thomas L. Thompson, Mayor; Charles M. Mebane, Recorder; Shields Daltroff, Robert M. Smith, C. M. Harris, W. M. Johnson and S. A. Martin, Aldermen.
At that time the town had a population of 400. A disastrous fire on the night of September 2, 1887, destroyed over two-thirds of the business section of the town, entailing a loss of upward of $200,000. It was immediately rebuilt with a great improvement in the class of buildings.
On May 16, 1889, Levesque Lodge No. 52, K. of P., was established at Wynne, with a membership of about 35; following were elected officers: S. Daltroff, C. C.; C. M. Mebane, V. C.; W. J. Brusch, P.; S. A. Miller, K. of P. & S.; G. N. Sparks, M. of F.; C. D. Oliver, M. of E.; J. K. Hancock, M. of A.; and G. W. Brown, P. C.
Wynne was named for Capt. Jessie M. Wynne of Forrest City, prominent pioneer financier and founder of the Bank of Eastern Arkansas (now the National Bank of Eastern Arkansas) of Forrest City.
W. S. Newsom, widely-known surveyor of Wynne, is believed to have lived longer in Wynne than any other present inhabitant of the town. He was born in Wynne in 1880, son of W. H. Newsom and Sarah (Tyer) Newsom. His parents' home was located where once stood the Cross County Bank (and now Mrs. Edna Ellis' Hair Fashion Center and Kurly Top Beauty Shoppe) on the corner of Front Street and Union Street.
Several years ago W. S. Newsom delivered a talk before a Wynne civic club and it contained much interesting and factual information about early Wynne. Excerpts from his speech follow: "In 1817 Wright Tyer moved with his father-in-law (Samuel Filligan) and settled on Copperas Creek just west of the present location of the Cross County Golf Club. This was my maternal ancestor. One generation later my paternal grandfather, Jenkins Newsom, moved from North Carolina to Tennessee wherehe married Eliza Bond, the daughter of George Henry Bond in Jackson, Tenn. In the early 50s he moved to Cross County and settled on the eastern edge of what is now the City of Wynne. The exact location was the top of the hill at the east end of Hamilton Avenue, now known as the Killough Place. He acquired considerable property including that part of the present City of Wynne extending from the intersection of Cottonwood Street and Union Avenue, near Mrs. Mary Hare's residence, north one halfmile and east along Union Avenue one mile. An area one half mile wide and one mile long being in the present city limits. After my father's marriage he built a house which stood north and east of the present Cross County Bank, about the middle of the block, where I was born. My grandfather, like his descendants, had very little business acumen and lost his entire holdings, which amounted to 700 or 80 (as written) acres of land, in one way or another.
Wynne Starts To Grow
"In the summer of 1885 the construction of the railroad from Bald Knob to Memphis was started (The Helena branch had been built in 1882), and my father, with his family moved back (from Louisiana) and went to work with the contractors, C. O. Richards & Co. Before this time there was nothing at Wynne, but as soon as the road was built from Bald Knob to Wynne an old box car was placed at the southeast corner of the intersection of the two railroads and named Wynne Junction for some member of theWynne family who lived at Forrest City.
"This (Wynne) being the headquarters for all the construction work on the railroad, the town began to grow rapidly. The better class having no place to live bought lots and built houses. Small stores were built along Front Street, first in the first block south of the railroad, then the next block. Among these store were saloons for the benefit or accommodation of the riff raff which always follow construction work. By 1890 Wynne was a typical Western frontier town. The storeswere hastily constructed frame, usually one story, built two to three feet off the ground with a porch in front. Some of the porches were covered and some were not. Why they thought it necessary to build those stores so high off the ground I have never been able to learn. I have guessed, however, that it was done to provide a shelter and sleeping place for hogs and to provide a place for the disposition of all kinds of trash and rubbish.
"At one time there were five saloons between the present Burnett Drug Store and the Wynne Hotel. Gambling and drinking were the only sports or pastimes for the male population and such a thing as a respectable lady (and there were few of any other kind) walking along that street was unheard of. In other words, walking in front of a saloon was not done by a lady, and let me stop here long enough to try to show you some differences. At that time there were ladies and gentlemen. Nowthere are men and women. Not very long ago I heard a middle-aged woman call one of her neighbors a lady. A young man spoke up and said, "You mean a woman. There are no ladies except members of the English nobility." In those days when a gentleman passed a lady whom he knew or met a lady anywhere, he tipped his hat and bowed.
"Of course, you are all familiar with the kind of clothes worn at that time, long sweeping dresses into which ten yards of material went, laced and buttoned shoes twelve or fifteen inches high, and cotton stockings. When a woman was fully dressed, she wore somewhat less than half a bale of cotton.
"The first hotel stood where the Hooper Electrical Shop is now, but faced north. It was called the Strangers Home and was run by a man named Stallings. The first house in which we lived was directly across the street from the Loreco Filling Station. There was one other house just east of this, the last house out on Merryman Avenue. The street, with the exception of a very narrow strip in the middle, was growing up with dog fennel, along as high as I was.
"There is not any man, to my knowledge, living here now who was here then, and only one woman who was here when we returned from Louisiana, and that is Mrs. C. B. Wimmer. She lived with her father, Joe Martin, in their home which stood on the lot now occupied by the Murray Tire and Battery Co., and possibly the house used as a hotel immediately south of this building is a part of the Joe Martin residence. That same year (1885) Gus Spars and his wife started a hotel in the house now owned andoccupied by Sol Meyers. They continued to run this hotel for a good many years. There were hotels and boarding houses all over town. Where the First National Bank and Hamrick's Hardware Store now stand was the Baker boarding house. And just east and across the street from the Sol Meyer's home, Mrs. Kelly, the mother of Mrs. Ray Hays and Mrs. George Eldridge, ran a boarding house for several years. There were so many young men and transients here it was necessary to have a great manyhotels and boarding houses.
"Wittsburg had been the county seat almost since the county was formed but when the Helena branch was built the county seat was moved to Vanndale in 1884. Some of the Wittsburg residents had already moved to Vanndale such as R. Block, John W. Killough and the Gardners, but when Wynne began to boom others left Wittsburg and moved here. Daltroff, Sparks & Oliver, then Smith, Graham & Jones moved their business here, then the Hamiltons came. Brack and Ed Hamilton opened a livery stablewhere David's (now Troy's) and Teague's now stand. Farmers living near Wynne began to move in. Jack Harrell who owned the farm now owned by Harry Kelly moved here and built a house now used as an office building for the Arkansas State Highway Dept. He built a saw mill, grist mill and gin on Front Street, which occupied all of that block north of the creek. Other farmers who moved here about the same time were the Snowdens, the Weedens, the Cogbills, the Hamricks and a little later theFishers. The Brookfields lived until 1902 or 1903 on the hill just east of town. T. A. Bedford opened a drug store in a building where Bell's Restaurant now is. S. L. Austell tore down his residence at Wittsburg and moved it to Wynne before 1890. The first brick building built here was the Daltroff, Sparks and Oliver Store. It was built in the shape of a T. (Many of the brick buildings in Wynne were constructed of native brick, made at plants either in the east or west partof the town). About this time M. Raphaelsky, a rather old Polish Jew, bought the property now used for the Wynne Hotel and constructed a three-story brick hotel, the third story was taken off just a few years ago. He also bought 160 acres of land in the west part of town and divided it into lots. It is known as the Raphaelsky's Southern Division and the Raphaelsky's Northern Division. The later division is north of the railroad and comprises what is known as Negro town. Ike Block was amongthe first to move here from Wittsburg and built a house for himself where Mrs. Wilkin's Beauty Parlor now is and one for his mother and Mrs. Callie King, who later married Dr. O. E. Harris, where the Sol Meyers store now stands. About 1889 or 1890, the Kennedy-Morelock Stave Company built a stave mill on Front Street and south of the creek. They employed a large number of men and did a big business.
"â¦About the beginning of this century or the latter part of the last century, Wynne began to change, from a frontier town to a more modern little city, by the introduction of electric lights and a water system, and a little later a telephone system. There were no women in any kind of business except those who taught school or ran boarding houses, seamstresses and those who worked in or operated millinery stores."
Ripsaw First Paper
Many milestones stand out in the history of Wynne. Among those the founding of the banks and the location of the county seat in the town.
The Cross County Bank was founded in 1891 and the First National Bank in 1915. The Bank of Wynne was founded in 1901 but was liquidated about 15 years later.
The county seat was moved to Wynne from Vanndale in 1903, after approval was voiced by a majority of the voters in a special election. At first the county records were kept in the opera house on South Front Street and later in the present courthouse which was constructed in 1915. There was another opera house where Haven Theater now stands.
The first newspaper in Wynne was the Wynne Ripsaw, published by D. J. Burks. It was established October 1, 1888. It was then official organ of Cross and Poinsett counties.
Wynne built a new water system in 1929, the same year "talkies" came to the town at the old Dixie Theater. The town held a Raspberry Festival in 1931 and selected Dorothy Fountain as the Queen. It was quite an event but the raspberry crop failed to prove profitable on the Ridge.
In March 1921 the City Council passed an ordinance to provide for the working of the streets, alleys, sidewalks and public grounds in Wynne. Every male between the ages of 21 to 45 was liable to do such work. No more than four days a year or he had to pay $2.00 a day for such work.
In 1918 the water & light improvement district No. 1 was established to erect, construct and maintain the water and light plant. In 1920 improvement district No. 2 was formed. Paving District No. 2 was formed in 1928 to pave the major part of the town, costing $188,360. Members of the commission were Dave Block, Marvin Owen and D. M. Hamrick. Neil Killough was Mayor then. No. 3 Paving Improvement District was formed in 1929 to pave Union Street at a cost of $21,493 Commissioners:Wess Hall, Chairman; Lillian Cook, Secretary; and J. R. Brown, Treasurer. W. S. Newson was the Engineer. In 1930 improvements and expansion of Sewer Improvement District No. 1 amounted to $54,923. Later Paving Improvement District No. 4 to pave State Street at a cost of $22,700, was formed. T. E. Lines was Mayor. Commissioners: C. M. Stacy, Chairman; Mrs. F. B. Martin, Secretary, and C. O. Wahlquist, Treasurer.
In 1926 Water & Light Improvement District No. 2 sold the water and light plant to the Arkansas Power & Light Co. and the City Council granted franchise to operate same for 25 years.
Natural Gas in 1954
It might be interesting to note that in 1929 the city Council granted a franchise to the Cherokee Public Service Co. to supply natural gas to Wynne. Natural gas actually came to Wynne in 1954 under a franchise granted to the Mid-South Gas Company.
The first Mayor of Wynne was Thomas L. Thompson. Among those who have served in that capacity since then: C. B. Wimmer, A. L. Teeters, J. H. Hamilton, J. T. Thompson, E. L. Burke, C. M. Crain, James Sheridan, Neil Killough, T. E. Lines, and O. H. Pool. Harold Falls is the present Mayor.
During the political history of Wynne there stands out a period which might have been a blot on the town's record. It was back about 1904 to 1910 when the Jeff Davis followers were many and ardent in the state. Davis became Governor of the state. In Wynne there were two factions, the Jeff Davis group and the Ollie Killough faction. Mr. Killough was elected Lieutenant-governor under Davis who there was a bitter rivalry between the two. The feeling was so strong in Wynne theremen of both factions constantly carried guns and kept them handy for possible attacks by the other group. At one time one of the group held a secret meeting and carefully made plans to be carried out in the event any of them was shot. Fortunately for the town, tempers didn't involve the two factions in actual pitched gunplay although there were numerous incidents traced to the bad blood between the two groups.
Wynne is now one of the leading cities in this section of the state, located ideally on the crossroads of the Missouri Pacific Railroad and Highways 1 and the business route of Highway 64. It is a beautiful, friendly community, with some of the most attractive residences in Arkansas. The climate is temperate, health conditions excellent (Wynne having felt throughout its entire history the ravages of only one epidemic and that of influenza, which did strike down many of the residents in the early1900s), plenty of fine churches and a splendid school system.
The population of Wynne in 1930 was 3,505; 1940, 3633; and in 1950, 4,303.
The assessed valuation in Wynne in 1949 was $1,460,848; in 1954, $1,761,821. The total income of the City Treasury in 1946 was $23,866; in 1953, $40,945.
Civic, fraternal, benevolent, cultural and social clubs have contributed substantially to the growth of Wynne. It can be said of the people of Wynne that they have always sought to make their home town as fine a city as possible, modern, progressive, clean and efficiently governed. Most of the town has paved Streets. Numerous subdivisions have developed in the last few years, practically the division near the new high school in North Wynne.
On the industrial level the business and professional men and women of the town have formed the Wynne Industrial Development Corporation and erected a suitable building to attract the Rainfair, Inc., manufacturing firm to Wynne.
WYNNE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Though the exact date of organization of the first Chamber of Commerce is not known, the present chamber has been in operation since 1946 when a pre-organization meeting was held after a regular Lions Club meeting. Present officers are: Don Joyner, President; Bill Courtney, Vice president; Mrs. Carrie Miller, Secretary; and other members of the Board of Directors, Wallace Eldridge, Sr., John Gardner, A. D. Kernodle, Fred Ritchey, George Lloyd, Izzy Steinberg, Jack Killough, Mrs. Florence Stacy and BillShaver. The chamber was instrumental in securing the location of the present Rainfair, Inc., manufacturing plant in Wynne. From the chamber developed the Wynne Industrial Development Corporation of which Dave Block, Sr., is President. The chamber sponsors other such fine projects as the Citizen of the Year Selection, Farm Family of the Year Selection, Christmas Decoration Contest, Paint-up, Clean-up and Fix-up Program and Appreciation Day.
WYNN FUMBLE CLUB
The Wynne Fumble Club was organized in 1938 after W. A. Pope overheard a comment at the Wynne-Brinkley football game at Brinkley that "Wynne ought to be ashamed to send out a team with such shabby equipment." Determined to remedy the situation, Mr. Pope called a meeting of local fans in the office of Walter Killough and the group formed the Fumble Club. Roland Hughes was the first President. Membership fees were set at $5 and the small group raised $85 that night to purchase equipmentfor the Yellowjackets. Fumble Club funds have also been made available for other school athletics.
The first house was built in Wynne in 1883. In June of that year, B. B. Merryman started the first store, and soon after, Mr. Austell received the commission as first postmaster of the place. It is believed however, that the postoffice actually was established in Wynne on September 27, 1882. One of the early locations of the postoffice was in the building immediately behind what is now Holleman's Drug Store. Later, 1900, it was moved to where the Cross County Bank now stands and then towhere is now located the Ozburn-Abston & Co. on the corner of Wilson and Commercial. In April 1937 it was moved to its present building on Merriman Avenue. Among those who have served as postmaster are Mr. Austell, W. I. Lancaster, W. K. Baker, Henry H. Coghill, George Davis, Mrs. Ella K. Smith and Lee Fitzpatrick. Clarence Coffin, the present postmaster, has served since July 1 1933. The Wynne postoffice now has a second class rating. It might be interesting to note that the large volumeof additional printed matter from The Wynne Progress several years ago was greatly responsible for the new rating. There are 18 employees, including Mrs. Bruce Burke, money-order clerk, who has been with the postoffice for the past 37 years and Mrs. Nora H. Coffin, assistant postmaster, with 36 years of service. There are now three rural routes, covering a total of 184 miles.
Total postal receipts of the Wynne postoffice have shown a steady increase since the founding of the office. In 1920, receipts totaled $10,500; 1930, $11,300; 1939, $15,500; 1944, $29,400; 1949, $37,700, and 1954, $37,700.
WYNNE NATIONAL GUARD
Service Battery, 445th Field Artillery Battalion, Arkansas National Guard, was organized by Capt. Harold H. Callahan on January 29, 1947, consisting of two officers and nine enlisted men. The Battery used as an Armory the Old PW Camp until 1948 when the present location was donated by the 100 Club of Wynne and a Motor Storage Building was erected by the State, which is now being used as a temporary Armory.
This Battery conducts 48 armory drills each year which have been climaxed by Summer Encampment of 15 days duration for the past 7 years. The 48 armory drills are held to enable the battery to attain the necessary skill to support this 155 MM Howitzer Battalion in the field at summer camp. The high degree of skills attained during this training, earned for this unit the Silver Certificate, from the National Guard Bureau, presented for efficiency in training, and on two occasions the Carroll Award Plaque,presented to the outstanding Battery in Division Artillery for the State of Arkansas. Present strength of this Battery is 3 Officers, 1 Warrant Officer and 46 Enlisted men. Capt. Thomas J. Bryant, Commanding Officer; 2nd Lt. James H. Henson, Training Commander; 2nd Lt. Jerry Foust, Motor Officer; and CWO William D. Futrell, Supply Officer.
WOMAN'S PROGRESSIVE CLUB
The Woman's Progressive Club of Wynne is the oldest civic organization in Cross County and one of the most outstanding in Arkansas. The club was organized in 1913 with five charter members. Two of these members, Mrs. Ray Hays and Mrs. W. S. Newsom, are still active in the club. Club membership was originally limited to 50, but the restriction was lifted and that club now has 60 members. In the beginning the club met informally in the homes of various members, but in 1935 work was startedon the Progressive Club Building, which today is the meeting place of not only the Woman's Progressive Club, its founder, but also for most of the city's other civic groups. On November 7, 1935, Mrs. J. E. Harris, now deceased, as one of the charter members of the club, removed the first shovel of dirt to make way for the foundation of the community building, which was completed with WPA labor, at a cost of $8,000 and dedicated on March 12, 1937. The City of Wynne aided the club in the purchase ofmaterials. The building was designed by Walter Duffy, Jr., architect, and is located on Merriman Avenue, across from the postoffice. Funds were raised by the Progressive Club members by popular donation, beauty revues, talent shows, and other activities which paid off the debt within two years after construction. Fifteen civic-minded men signed bank notes to help finance the construction of the building. They were: Albert Horner, Odie Owen, J. H. Harris, Roland Hughes, Walter Killough,Neil Killough, O. H. Pool, Fred Ritchey, A. P. Teague, Standley Greenfield, T. B. Murray, Wiley Lipscomb, E. L. Wallin, Dan Proctor and C. A. Forbes. J. E. Harris signed the note for the club to make it possible for the members to purchase the lot where the old Hancock home once stood. C. B. Bailey was engineer of the project and E. A. Quessenberry, construction foreman. To Mrs. C. A. Forbes, president during the entire period in which the building was built goes the lion's share of the creditfor pushing through the project to successful completion. At times when the project appeared hopeless, Mrs. Forbes stepped in and was instrumental in expediting the work. Mrs. Forbes served as president of the club for several years.
Administration of the building, available to any group on a rental basis, is the most important function of the Progressive Club. The building is modified colonial in design with a seating capacity of approximately 250 persons. It was redecorated and remodeled in 1951 and air conditioned in 1954. The Progressive Club has always been active in promoting cultural and education as well as civic projects. The motto of the club is "So Run That We may Obtain" and its flower isviolet. In 1940, the Woman's Progressive Club organized the Junior Progressive Club for high school girls, a step which has proved to be very successful in Wynne. The junior group now has a membership of 38.
Officers of the 1954-55 term of the Woman's Progressive Club are: Mrs. C. T. Gibbs, President; Mrs. Mack Stacy First Vice President; Mrs. Benton Burnett, Second Vice-President; Mrs. Joe Haaga, Recording Secretary; Mrs. A. P. Murray, Corresponding Secretary; Mrs. Robert A. Hays, Treasurer; Mrs. J. H. Harris, Sr., Parliamentarian; Mrs. K. E. Beaton, Historian; and Mrs. O. H. Poole, Mrs. Albert Horner, Mrs. H. K. Barwick, Mrs. Jimmy Moore and Mrs. Lucy Daniel, Director.
WYNNE ROTARY CLUB
The Wynne Rotary Club, the city's oldest civic organization for men, was chartered October 26, 1925, with 15 charter members who believed in the high ideals of Rotary International to encourage and foster the idea of service as a basis for worthy enterprise and (1) The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service; (2) High ethical standards in business and profession, the recognition of the worthiness of all occupation, and the dignifying by each Rotarian of his occupation as an opportunity to servesociety; (3) The application of the ideal of service by every Rotarian to his personal, business and community life; and (4) The advancement of international understanding, good will and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional men united in the ideal of service. The founding fathers and unselfish charter members were H. K. Barwick, Jr., C. B. Bailey, Dave Block, G. G. Dorris, J. H. Harris, Albert Horner, J. E. Hollan, Tennyson Howell, Neil Killough, C. S. Lemons, Dan Proctor, Rev. E. T.Wayland, Jimmie T. Webb, Dr. Thomas Wilson and R. C. Williams. C. S. Lemons was elected the first President and re-elected for two more terms, the only time this has happened in the 30-year history of the Wynne Rotary Club. Under these men the club grew and prospered, and established its motto of "Service Above Self," and they helped to make their community a better place in which to live. Presidents of the club since Mr. Lemons were: Albert Horner, 1928-29; J. H. Harris, 1929-30; Holt Andrews,1930-31; Orval Pool 1931-32; H. K. Barwick, Jr., 1932-33; Marvin Owen, 1933-34; Rev. Roy Davis, 1934-35; Walter Killough, 1935-36; J. E. Hollan, Sr., 1936-37; Charles Warren, 1937-38; Dave Block, 1938-39; Roland Hughes, 1939-40; Standley Greenfield, 1940-41; John Stephens, 1941-42; 1941, A. P. Murray replaced Stephens; W. C. Daniel, 1942-43; Tom Lines, 1943-44; Harold Falls, 1944-45; Rev. Young Wallace, 1945-46; Jim Gardner, 1946-47; J. E. Dooley, 1947-48; Donald E. Blackmon, 1948-49; John H. Johnston,Jr., 1949-50; James I. Moore, 1950-51; Robert M. Vaughan, 1951-52; Erskine B. Falls, 1952-53; Ben Horne replaced Falls; and Benton Burnett, 1953-54.
Present officers for the 1954-55 term are: J. E. Hollan, Jr., President; John Killough, Vice President; and Tom Murray, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer.
The Rotary Club is a composite of the business and professional life of Wynne, and each Rotarian bears a classification as a representative of his business. The present members of the Rotary Club and their classification are as follows:
H. K. Barwick, Auto Retailing; Al Bassham, Fruit Growing; Dave Block, Cotton Growing; Irvin Boyles, Cleaning- Garments; Benton Burnett, Motor Freight Transportation; Roland Burnett, Pharmacy; Paul Cockrell, Communications; Ralph Cook, Cotton Marketing; Bill Courtney, Publishing (A. A.); R. A Cox, Education-Public Schools; Carl Crain, Dentistry; W. C. Daniel, Jr., Parts Service; Earnest Dooley, Tractor Repairing; David Drexler, Loans; Wallace Eldridge, Life Insurance; Wallace Eldridge, Jr., Swine Raising;Erskine Falls, Tractor Retailing; Harold Falls, Agriculture Implement Retailing; Naill Falls, Senior Active; Clarence Forbes, Railroad Transportation; Jim Gardner, Building Material Retailing; John R. Gardner, Building Material Retailing (A. A.); Cecil Gibbs, Rice Drying; Bernard Gunter, Cotton Warehousing; Marcus Hampton, Garage; Leonard Harmon, Farm Management; Harold Harris, Sr., Senior Active; Robert Hays, Physician; Clifford Hilliard, Clothing Retailing; Ed Hollan, Jr., Cotton Ginning; Benjamin Horne,Soil Conservation; Johnny Johnston, Cattle Raising; Donald E. Joyner, Electric Power and Light; Cecil Kennedy, Butane Gas Retailing; John Killough, Law (A. A.); Walter Killough, Law; Tom Lines, Senior Active; George Lloyd, Feed Retailing; Paul McCarson, Natural Gas Utilities; Sam McGuire, Drugs Retailing; Jimmy Moore, Auto Supply Retailing; Andy Murray, Publishing; Tom Murray, Sr. Truck Retailing; Tom Murray, Jr, Truck Retailing (A. A.); Bill Norman, Tire Distribution; Orval Pool, Accounting Service; Bobby Pool,Accounting Service (A. A.); Bill Proctor, Agriculture Education Extension; Fred Ritchey, Beverage Bottling; R. E. (Gene) Robinson, Investment Finance; J. L. (Bex) Shaver, Civil Law; Whit Shaver, Auto Retailing (A. A. ); Neal Smith, Wholesale Groceries; Mack Stacy, Electrical Engineer; John Surginer, Television Retailing; Dave Tyer, Rice Growing; Grover Tyer, Senior Active; Robert Vaughan, Banking; J. C. White, Retailing Groceries; Thomas Wilson, Past Service; Vernon James, Education (A. A.); Robert Dillport,F. H. A.; Norman B. Martin, Bean Growing; and Gene Cook, Lithography.
The Wynne Rotary Club has sponsored two other clubs, Earle Rotary Club in 1925 and Parkin Rotary Club in 1935. The club has had one District Governor, J. Harold Harris, Sr., who served during the 1947-48 term. It has always been active in worthwhile civic projects and its principal achievement is supporting the Crippled Adults Hospital in Memphis. The club also sponsors the Wynne Troop of the Boy Scouts of America.
WYNNE LIONS CLUB
The present Wynne Lions Club was re-organized in 1946 by H. E. Proctor Jr., who became its first President. The original Lions Club was disbanded during World War II. The principal activity of the Lions Club has been in sight conservation. The club also has taken an active part in many different civic projects and is recognized as one of the outstanding civic organizations of Cross County, its contributions to the betterment of the community having been many. Among those who have served as president since Mr.Proctor's term are Joe Manning, Robert Chowning, Darnell Hampton, Howard Dallas, Carl Dail, A. D. Kernodle and Billy Kernodle. Frank Davis is now serving as President. Other officers now are; David Carwile, 1st Vice President; B. B. Bradley, 2nd Vice President; A. O. Chastain, 3rd Vice President; Dr. Richard Jackson, Secretary; Otis McElroy, Treasurer; Fred Ryals, Tail Twister; Robert Winters, Lion Tamer; and Caudell Lane, Joe Manning, Williard Sullivan and Ernest Free, Directors. The club, which meets each Mondaynight at the Progressive Club Building, has approximately 30 members and is currently active in building a field house at the Wynne High School.
WYNNE BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL WOMEN'S CLUB
The Wynne Business & Professional Women's Club was organized in October 1934 and formally received its national charter on November 22, 1934. There were 17 original members of the club, two of which, Mrs. Tolese Stutts and Miss Mollye Weeden, are still loyal and faithful members. Mrs. Claud Starr was the first president of this outstanding woman's organization. The club meets on the second Tuesday in every month for a business session and on the fourth Tuesday for dinner and a special program. It has alwaystaken an active and useful part in worthwhile civic projects, especially promoting the interests of women and girls. In 1953 and 1954, the club worked long and hard to assemble a scrapbook to enter Wynne both years in the Community Accomplishment Contest. For the past five years, the club has honored Wynne senior girls and the senior sponsors at a special dinner. For a number of years now the B&PW Club has cooperated with other civic organizations and church groups in providing Christmas gifts for welfarechildren.
Officers for the 1954-55 term are: Mrs. Margaret Brown, President; Mrs. Florence Stacy, First Vice President; Mrs. Helen Wood Brawner, Second Vice President; Mrs. Kathryne Glenn, Treasurer; and Mrs. Leta Mitchell, Secretary. There are 29 members of the B&PW Club now.
WYNNE CHAPTER, ORDER OF EASTERN STAR
The Wynne Chapter No. 399 of the Order of the Eastern Star was instituted June 14, 1917, with 25 members present and Paragould Chapter No. 297 exemplifying the initiatory work. The meeting was held in the Masonic Hall, situated on the second floor of what is now the Baddour building. Mrs. Mollie Garret was installed as Worthy Matron and D. E. Chatain as Worthy Patron. Due to the untiring efforts of the membership the necessary equipment was supplied for a properly equipped chapter room, which was moved severaltimes until it is now located in the new Masonic Temple. The present officers of the chapter are: Mrs. Nona Stewart, Worthy Matron, succeeding Mrs. Marie Bartlett; H. D. Cleaver, succeeding M. E. White; Mrs. Iva Fields, Associate Matron; Oran Teague, Associate Patron; Mrs. Pauline Herman, Secretary; Mrs. Marion Curtner, Treasurer; Mrs. Patty Cleaver, Conductress; Mrs. Catherine Chastain, Associate Conductress; and Mrs. Mildred Teague, Organist.
TOWN AND COUNTRY GARDEN CLUB
The Town and Country Garden Club of Wynne was organized May 25th, 1953, with Mrs. Donald Goodwin, President, and the following charter members: Mrs. Goodwin, Mrs. Wilson Bateman, Mrs. E. A. Rolfe, Mrs. Tom Baker, Mrs. John N. Killiugh, Mrs. James Quessenberry, Mrs. J. H. Johnston, Jr., Mrs. W. M. Smith, Jr., Mrs. J. H. Smith, Mrs. N. B. Martin, Mrs. James Robertson, Mrs. Jim Shaver, Mrs. Jack Fiscus, Mrs. Everett Proctor, Mrs. Troy Fronabarger and Mrs. Joe Manning. Membership is limited to twenty, and other membersnow include: Mrs. Oscar Murray, Mrs. Harvey Houser, Mrs. Elmer Robinson, Mrs. Jimmy Moore and Mrs. Thompson B. Murray Jr. The regular meeting date is the second Wednesday of each month. The Town and Country Garden Club is active in civic as well as garden club activities. It participated in both the 1953 and 1954 Cross County Fair and joined with the Wynne Garden Club in presenting a Spring Flower Show in April 1954. It is currently sponsoring a "Yard of the Month" award, cooperating with otherlocal clubs in landscaping the Cross County Hospital, and organizing a Junior Garden Club. The Club is a member of the State and National Federation of Garden Clubs.
Present officers are: President, Mrs. Thomas Baker; First Vice President, Mrs. J. H. Johnston, Jr.; Second Vice President, Mrs. Donald Goodwin; Recording Secretary, Mrs. Everett roctor; Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer, Mrs. N. B. Martin; Historian, Mrs. Wilson Bateman; Parlimentarian, Mrs. John N. Killough; and Reporter, Mrs. Jack Fiscus.
WYNNE HOME DEMONSTRATION CLUB
A group of interested women met at the home of Mrs. Wyon Foltz June 18, 1946, to organize the first "Wynne Home Demonstration Club". Under the capable supervision of Mrs. Lurline C. Daspit, then Cross County Home Demonstration Agent, the following officers were elected: President, Mrs. J. Knox Goodwin; Vice President, Mrs. A. O. Chastain; Secretary-Treasurer, Mrs. Murray McElroy; and Reporter, Mrs. Wyon Foltz. There were nine other charter members who offered their full support in such a worthy organization:Mrs. Lucy Daniel, Mrs. Willard McElory, Jr., Mrs. Coburn Howell, Mrs. Roy Wiggins, Mrs. F. Wiggins, Mrs. Ruth M. Clark, Mrs. R. A. Diebold, Mrs. J. H. Taylor and Mrs. Laura Massey. There are now 22 active members. The club's first major project was the improvement of Cogbill Cemetery. The club contributed $25.00 toward the cost of the "Iron Arch" entrance. The club has been ready at all times to help with any community fund drive when called upon. It has grown not only by a larger membership by but"Promoting Better Family Life In Our Community".
Present officers: Mrs. Hazel Howell, President; Mrs. John Coshow, Vice President; Mrs. Odis Thomas, Secretary-Treasurer; and Mrs. Gilbert Thomas, Reporter. Mrs. Gilbert Thomas also is the retiring President.
The Hundred Club of Wynne, Arkansas, is one of the most unique civic organizations in the South. It was founded by Walter Killough in 1945 with approximately 70 other public-spirited citizens joining with Mr. Killough in the organization. The original directors: Mrs. Florence Martin. Mrs. Leta Mitchell, Miss Aileen Murray, Standley Greenfield, C. A. Forbes and Walter Killough. Since then Mrs. Florence Stacy has succeeded Miss Murray, who moved out of the city. The purpose of the club is to construct or assistin the construction of permanent improvements in the City of Wynne. The bylaws provide that the improvements or project have to be completed and has to be, more or less, permanent. There are now approximately 170 members. The dues are $1.00 per month and usually collected by sight draft, which accounts for the success of the club. No salaries are paid and with the exception of some incidental advertising, the entire dues are devoted to improvements. Some of the major improvements have been installed asfollows: traffic light at Hamilton and State Streets street sign posts, armory lot, bulbs planted at railroad underpass, repair of city park, sidewalks at high school, hospital sign, purchase of Rainfair factory stock and Boy and Girl Scout Hut. The improvements represent a total of more than $8,000.00. The officers of the Club since its organization have been as follow: Walter Killough, President; Standley Greenfield and C. A. Forbes, Vice Presidents and Mrs. Leta Mitchell and Miss Molly Weeden, Secretaries.
WYNNE GARDEN CLUB
The Wynne Garden Club was organized January 17, 1955 with 17 charter members. Mrs. O. N. Budde was elected President. The object of the club is to promote the love of house gardening and civic and community pride in the beautification of the city. The club flower is the Red Radiance Rose. The present officers are: President, Mrs. R. S. Elder: First Vice President, Mrs. Joe Haaga; Second Vice President, Mr. Benton Burnett; Third Vice President, Mrs. J. E. Hollan, Sr. Recording Secretary, Mrs. Dan Proctor; CorrespondingSecretary, Mrs. E. K. Lucy; Treasurer, Mrs. Carl Crain; Parliamentarian, Mrs. T. E. Lines; and Historian, Mrs. J. H. Harris, Sr. The club now has a membership of 32 and is affiliated with the Arkansas Federation of Garden Clubs. The club sponsor a Junior Garden Club, holds flower shows annually and has assisted in landscaping the Wynne High School campus and the Cross County Hospital grounds. The club meets the first Tuesday of each month.
WYNNE FIRE DEPARTMENT
Since the pioneer days of the bucket brigade and late those of the hand-drawn fire wagon, the Wynne Volunteer Fire Department has undergone great changes and is now a efficient, well-organized and well-equipped organization. It believed the volunteer fire department was started as early as 1899 with J. C. Harrell as Chief; Ed Hamilton and F. Kellogg, Assistant Chiefs; and Maurice Sharp, Secretary. The served until 1914 when Mebane Koonce became Chief and Allen Pulley, Assistant Chief. At different times, HaroldHarris and Harold Burke served as Secretary. In 1924 C. B. Jarvis became Assistant Chief and then in 1932 succeeded Mr. Pulley as Chief. Bruce Burke, who had joined the department in 1932 became Assistant Chief in 1932 and was promoted to Chief in 1949 after the death of Mr. Jarvis, who served the department faithfully and loyal for 28 years. Under Mr. Burke who is still chief is G.E. Hooper, Assistant Chief; Clyde Burke, Assistant Chief and Wilbur English Secretary-Treasurer. There are 17 active membersof the department, who stand ready day or night to leave their regular jobs or their homes at any hour to race to a fire. Through the years the firemen have rendered a great service to this community not only in the prevention and the fighting of fires but also in various civic club functions. Its latest civic endeavor, and outstanding achievement, was in efficiently feeding more than 500 people who attended the All-American Bud Brooks Day in Wynne.
Members of the present Fire Department and the number of years each has served follows: Bruce Burke, Chief, 33 years; G. E. Hooper, Ass't. Chief, 19; Clyde Burke, Ass't. Chief, 19; Ben Barker, Driver, 13; Wilbur English, Secretary-Treasurer and Driver, 3; Murray McElroy, Company Captain, 13; B. B. Bradley, Company Captain, 10; Horace Proctor, 12; David South, 7; Jack Fiscus, Instructor; 10; Fred Ryals, 3; Robert E. Harrell, 6; Donald Jarvis, 13; D. Camp White, 3; T. J. Bryant, 2; Elliotte Bryant, 11 and ClarenceHarrell, 1. Another member of the force, Billy John Dye, is in military service. During World War II, another member, Bob Robinson, lost his life while fighting with the U. S. Marines overseas. It is interesting to note that since the department's organization in 1899, there has been a member of the Burke family or a close relative active on the force. The department now has a 1948 American-Marsh triple combination fire truck with a 500-GPM pump, capable of sending out five strong and separate streams of water.The department was re-organized in 1954 in accordance with the recommendations of the State Fire College, has two separate companies, holds regular training sessions two hours a week each week and has a 7th Class Rating. The department is particularly proud of having sponsored a "walking" blood bank for the Cross County Hospital with blood being made available to anyone who needs it. The people of Wynne are proud of their efficiently-organized fire department and deeply appreciate the many sacrificesand unselfish service of the volunteers of the department.
WYNNE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The Wynne Presbyterian Church was organized on the last Sunday of October, 1885, by Rev. S. L. Reid, an evangelist of Arkansas Presbytery, 2 years after the first house was built in Wynne. It was the outgrowth of the old Mt. Hope (Wittsburg) Church, organized by the Rev. Cephas Washburn in 1859. These facts are established by the original session book of Mt. Hope Church, which has been in the possession of the Wynne Presbyterian Church since its organization. Upon this evidence the Wynne Presbyterian Church isbelieved to be the first church established in Wynne and the Mt. Hope (Wittsburg) Presbyterian Church, one of the first, if not the first, church established in Cross County. Charter members of the Wynne Church were Mr. George F. Dixon, ruling elder. Mrs. E. R. Dixon, Mrs. L. Koonce, Mrs. Jennie Graham, Miss Mary E. Dixon and Miss Mary C. Graham (Mrs. J. L. Hare). By 1889, there had been added: Dr. W. T. Mebane, Robert H. Mebane, Mrs. Mary M. Smith, C. H. Montgomery and C M. Mebane. Services were held in members'homes in Wynne and on the Graham farm and in the Wynne Public School building until Mrs. Nannie E. Brookfield donated to the Presbyterian Church a beautiful lot in north Wynne on Williams Ave. and Church Street. The deed contained the proviso that a church be built on the lot within 18 months of the date of the deed. The 20 members of the church achieved this goal within the time limit and the first service was held in the new church on September 2, 1894.
The attractive one room, white frame church took a prominent place in the religious life of the community, and after three processes of remodeling continues to be the sanctuary of the present Wynne church. In 1896, the lot adjoining the church on the north was bought by the Trustees of the Church and a 6 room frame manse was built. In December 1910 the manse was destroyed by fire. In 1912 a 2-story 8-room white frame manse was completed which is still in use, with modern conveniences and comforts having beenadded from time to time. In 1926, when Rev. W. D. Denham was pastor, the original church building was first remodeled. The chancil was changed from the west side to the south end of the sanctuary and an assembly room 7 Sunday School rooms, rest room, kitchen and pastor's study were added on the north. In 1939 during the pastorate of Rev Roy L. Davis, the sanctuary was remodeled an redecorated. On January 16 1949 during the pastorate of Rev. Charles Hamilton, the first service was held after a complete remodeling.The sanctuary seating was reversed and chancil built at the north end. A new assembly-dining room was added on the west and the church as a whole was beautiful inside and out, with the grounds professionally landscaped and the church painted architectural gray. In 1953, a nursery unit, with rest room and storage closet, was added to the educational wing and a church library was established. In 1954 air conditioning was installed in the entire church. This was accomplished during the ministry of the present pastor,Rev. R. Davis Thomas.
The Golden Anniversary of the church was celebrated on the last Sunday in October, 1935 and the week following. Rev. Roy L. Davis was host pastor and former pastors attending and speaking at services were Rev. J. E. Green, student minister at the first service in the church building in 1894, Rev M. D. Williams and Rev. W. D. Denham.
The church has been opened for community use as needed. In 1937 it was used as a distributing center for the 2000 flood refugees brought to Wynne. It was used once as a childrens hospital for tonsil and adenoid operations for charity and pay patients before clinic facilities were available in Wynne. The Boy Scouts used it for meetings when the church sponsored the Scout troop. The assembly room is used for wedding and anniversary receptions, an annual flower show by a garden club, by music clubs for special programsbecause of the very good Hammond organ and chimes, and the beauty of the sanctuary. It is also a gathering place for members of the church and their friends for suppers, bible study, stewardship programs and family night gatherings. Recently, the Men of the Church have become as active as the Women of the Church, and the Youth Fellowship and Junior Choir and increased Sunday School attendance give evidence of the interest of its young people.
Outpost work flourished during the lifetime of the beloved elder, T. E. Fondren. In 1953, a new rock-veneer building was completed for Fondren Memorial Church on Highway 64, the outgrowth of Rolfe outpost established by Rev. Roy I. Davis and Mr. Fondren in 1939.
In 1952 H. W. Sanderson resigned as clerk of the Session after 33 years service. He continues to be an active elder and church attendant at 94 years of age.
The Wynne Presbyterian Church was awarded the Arkansas second prize of $100.00 in the 1953 Town and Country Southern Church contest. The money was used for walks and steps to the nursery and kindergarten rooms. The Fondren Memorial Church was awarded the third prize in the same contest.
The present active membership of the church is 158 and nonresident and inactive members number 74.
There have been 18 pastors of the church during the 69 years of its existence but only 7 in the past 40 years. These have been Rev. M. D. Williams, Rev. W. D. Denham, Rev. Roy L. Davis, Dr. Guy Davis, Rev. Young Wallace, Rev. Charles Hamilton and Rev. Davis Thomas. These with their varied interests in religious work and growth have built a church loved and respected in the community.
WYNNE FIRST METHODIST CHURCH
Methodism began in Wynne under the leadership of the late Rev. J. F. Jernigan who conducted the first Methodist meeting under a brush arbor on the site where the residence of the late Dr. and Mrs. J. L. Hare stands. The first church building was erected in 1889 on a lot given the church by Mrs. Nannie Brookfield just north of where the Post Office building now stands. This small frame structure, shown here, served the congregation until 1909 when the present lot was purchased for the sum of $1,200. Membershipat that time, November 9, 1909, when the cornerstone was laid, was 258, and there was a Sunday School enrollment of 225. Cost of this building when first constructed was approximately $7000.00. It is interesting to note that thirteen of those who were members in 1909 are still alive and some still active in church work. They are: Mrs. C. W. Backs, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Brewster, Mrs. C. B. Hall, Mrs. Effie Levesque, Mrs. Alice Lipsey, Mrs. Lena Martin, Mrs. Olivia Rowland, Mrs. R. D. Pittman, Mrs.Viola Snowden, Mrs. W. R. Tyer, Mrs. Paralec Weeden and Mrs. J. A. Autry.
During the pastorate of the Rev. W. F. Evans, from 1922-1923 the church was remodeled. The front entrance was added, hardwood floors installed, and other improvements made at a cost of about $20,000. The present pipe organ, costing $5,000, was installed during this period. Dr. J. L. Hare was chairman of the remodeling committee and G. G. Dorris was vice-chairman.
In the fall of 1924 the Reverend E. T. Wayland became pastor. Shortly after his appointment here, on the afternoon of December 31, fire destroyed the Sunday School portion of the church and badly damaged the sanctuary necessitating a rebuilding program. During Brother Wayland's tenure the Missionary Society traded the parsonage property on Levesque for property on Merriman Avenue, to the rear of the present church. A difference of $3,000 was paid by the Society.
A second fire, in 1946, did considerable damage to the church, but not so much as that experienced previously.
The Rev. Lloyd M. Conyers become pastor in 1949. At that time the parsonage was badly in need of repairs. Instead of repairing it, a new location was secured on East Forrest Avenue for the sum of $1,200 and a beautiful new brick parsonage erected at a cost of approximately $18,000. Members of the building committee were: Dave Block, H. K. Barwick, M. L. Hampton, Cecil H. Coffin, T. B. Murray, Mrs. T. B. Murray, Mrs. G. G. Dorris and C. W. Backs. Also during the pastorate of the Rev. Conyers thought of anew church building was instigated. After a considerable study a very excellent building site comprising almost an entire city black on north State Street, a short block from the new parsonage, was purchased for $10,000.
The present pastor, the Rev. Harold D. Womack, came to Wynne in June of 1952. Plans started prior to his appointment, for some improvements to the present building, have been carried out, including things deemed essential to continued use of the property. Much of the building's heating system has been converted to natural gas, and the sanctuary and some other rooms have been air-conditioned. In the spring of 1953 the new parsonage had been paid for and was dedicated by Bishop Paul E. Martin, District SuperintendentOtto W. Teague, Pastor Harold D. Womack and former Pastor Lloyd M. Conyers. Considerable emphasis has been laid upon the need for a building fund with which to launch a building program and more than five thousand dollars has been accumulated for that purpose. Many individual contributions have been made to the improvement of the church's property, too numerous to mention, but for which the church membership is quite grateful.
Present membership of the church is 742, and enrollment of the Church School is 370.
From 1909 through 1913 the church was blessed with these fine consecrated men as pastors: J. K. Farris, J. D. Sibert, B. L. Hariss, E. N. Pippin, A. M. R. Branson and W. A. Lindsay. J. R. Nelson served 3 years, 1914-16; E. K. Stewell came in 1917 but remained only a part of the year on account of World War I; A. T. Galloway came early in 1918 and continued through conference 1919; J. N. R. Score, 3 years, 1919-21; W. F. Evans 2 years, 1922-23; E. T. Wayland, 4 years, 1924-27; W. L. Oliver 4 years, 1928-31;J. A. Reynolds, 1 year, 1932; J. M. Hughey 4 years, 1933-36; W. J. Spicer, 3 years, 1937-39; J. F. Glover 1 year, 1940; Earle S. Walker, 2 years, 1941-42; J. O. Whitworth, 2 years, 1943-44; R. E. L. Bearden, Jr., 2 years, 1945-46 Oscar J. Evanson 2 years, 1947-48; Lloyd M. Conyers, 3 years 1949-51; H. D. Womack, 1952-.
ST. PETER'S CATHOLIC CHURCH
The early history of the Catholic Church in Cross County dates back to 1878. During the years from 1878 to 1890, the spiritual welfare of the small congregation was taken care of by the Reverends D. A. Quinn, M. McGill and J. E. Weibel.
During the year 1890, the Immaculate Conception Church at Wynne was built by the Rev. J. E. Weibel. The grounds situated in West Wynne, were donated by a Mr. Raphalski. Mass was not celebrated regularly due to the small number of priests in this territory. Jonesboro was the headquarters of Eastern Arkansas in those days and the priest came from there to say Mass at Wynne.
Wynne at this time was a railroad town and due to the number of Catholics, the Diocese saw the need of a church so that the faithful could practice their religious duties. The Baddinellis and Collins were among the first Catholics to reside at Wynne.
In the early part of 1896, a school was completed and occupied by the Olevitan Benedictine Sisters of Jonesboro. The building was paid for by the sisters of the same community. The ground for the school building was donated by Mr. Raphalski for purpose of building and maintaining a school for white children. The school lasted in operation for six years. During that time regular classes were conducted by the following sisters in order from its opening to its closing; Rev. Mother M. Beatrice, O. S. B. Sister M.Walburga, Sister M. Othmara and Sister M. Celestine. Sister M. Celestine closed the school at the end of May 1902, with regular attendance of 30 pupils. The reason why the school was closed was due to the infrequent visitation of a priest in order that the Sisters could fulfill their religious obligations. Finally, the Convent-School property was put under the administration of J. E. Baddinelli of Wynne until it was turned over to the Bishop of the Diocese.
This, the first school in Cross County, was built under the supervision of Father Weibel. The building was torn down to make way for the new rectory, completed in 1939.
Migration of many Catholic families (farmers) from Missouri and Illinois, settled in Cross County in the early part of the 20th century. Among them were: Mr. and Mrs. A. Schneider, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Hess, and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Broeckmann. Their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other Catholic families make up the present Catholic population.
Some of the pioneer priests who administered to spiritual obligations of the early Catholics of Cross County were the following: Reverends D. A. Quinn, M. McGill and J. E. Weibel, A. Kind, J. Horch, J. A. Busher, H. Frommen, A. Hearinger, J, Norton, E. A. Hemmen.
The old Church, Immaculate Conception, was torn down and a new church, titled St. Peter's was built in 1933, under the supervision of Rev. Hemmen, pastor of St. Francis' Church, Forrest City, Arkansas.
From 1933 to 1935, St. Peter's Church had a resident pastor. Rev. Michael Daily, pastor 1934 followed by Rev. Edward McCormick, who was relieved of his duties as pastor, 1935. Thus Wynne, was designated as a Mission and until 1938 Mass was celebrated bi-monthly, the priest coming from Little Rock.
In 1938, Rev. Joseph N. Doyle was appointed assistant to Rev. E. A. Hemmen, with Wynne and McCrory as his missions. During his pastorate or administration, a new rectory was built, thus making it possible for Wynne to have a permanent pastor in the future. The work done by the early missionaries was to be realizes in the near future.
With the increase of children in the parish, it was becoming more evident that Wynne needed a parochial school to take care of its children. A new school and Sisters' Convent was planned and built in the latter part of 1949.
From 1939 to 1949, the following priests administered to the spiritual welfare the Catholic people of Wynne: Rev. Joseph N. Doyle, Francis Kilpatrick, Thomas P. Reynolds and John J. Boyce.
In 1949, July 15th, St. Peter's was cannonically established as a parish, having its own pastor invested with all the jurisdiction and authority of a pastor. At the present time, the members are considering plans for a new edifice to be built in the near future.
The present church wardens are: Albert Hess, Andrew Murray, Edward Hess, Jr., Gene Straub, Joseph Haaga.
The Rev. John J. Boyce, pastor, was ordained on February 14, 1943. Father Boyce received his elementary education at St. Anthony's Parochial School and La Salle High School College, Philadelphia, Pa. He entered St. John's Seminary, September, 1933.
GRACE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Grace Episcopal Church was erected in 1917 in Wynne and consecrated in 1918 by the Rev. James R. Winchester, D. D, then Bishop of Arkansas, and under charge of Rev. C. C. Burke, Rector of St. Andrews Parish, Marianna, Arkansas. At the time of completion there were about 35 communicants and while it is a mission church and the number of communicants never has been large, the church has been and is a blessing to many in it's efforts to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness making its contribution to the worshipof God with all others who call our Father in the City of Wynne.
FIRST ASSEMBLY OF GOD CHURCH
In May of 1910 there came to Wynne an Evangelistic party composed of Rev. Mable Hall, her husband, Sam Hall, their two children, Wesley and a baby girls, together with Rev. Everett Wiley, the song director. They erected a Gospel Tent at 102 West Union on the lots now occupied by Harris Lumber Co. Revival services were conducted each night at the tent for three consecutive months. Night after night the tent was filled with people of all denominations who came to hear Sister Hall as she preached the Word of God.Her Doctrinal Messages were as follows: First: "Salvation". Sister Hall used many of John the Baptist's texts. Matthew 3:1-2, "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand". Mathew 3:11-12, Heb. 9:11-22, I Peter 1:18-19, Acts 4:12, and I Tim. 4:12. Second: "Baptism Of The Holy Ghost" using the following Scriptures: St. John 14-15-18, St. John 15-26-27, 16:7-18, Luke 24-49 and Acts 2:4-5 and 11:15. Sister Hall also preached on Divine Healing as recorded in Isiah 53:5 "By his stripeswe are healed," and James 5:13-17 "Prayer of Faith shall save the sick and the Lord shall raise him up." Last, but not least, she preached on "The Second Coming of Our Lord" with Matthew 24:27-28 and I Thessalonians 4:13-18 as her texts. At the close of the revival in August 1910, a church was set in order as the Apostolic Holiness Church. At this writing, November 20, 1954, there remain only seven of its charter members. They are Mrs. Ed Black, Mrs. Ida Ball, Mrs. Ella Robertson, Mrs.Clara Jarrett, Mrs. Mamie Henderson, Mrs. T. L. Reeves and Mrs. Mollie Casteel. The first pastor was Rev. J. H. Johnson. The Church bought a 1/4 interest in the old Columbion Presbyterian Church building in West Wynne. There the Church grew and was blessed by God. In the year 1917 that building was sold and a Tabernacle was erected on lots at 1100 E. Union Ave. which were given to the Church by Rev. and Mrs. Charles E. Robinson. The first pastor at this location was Rev. W. S. Montgomery and wife. In 1920 theChurch body was transferred in to the Assemblies of God Movement, with Headquarters at Springfield, Missouri. The tabernacle was remodeled into a Church building. The following pastors were Rev. Hubert Laws, Rev. J. T. Smallings, Rec. W. E. Lindsey, Rev. J. A. McPhail, Rev. Blassingane, Rev. W. S. Pearle, Rev. J. S. McMann, Rev. C. F. Parker. Rev. A. N. Baum, Rev. Mrs. Etta Montgomery and Rev. B. I. McMurtry. In 1948 the Church building was partially destroyed by fire and was remodeled for the parsonage.At that time lots on the west side of the parsonage were purchased from Mrs. Walter McKinney and the new brick Church was erected.
The Rev. A. Sharpe, is now pastor. This church welcomes all people to come worship God with us in the Beauty of Holiness.
FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH
The First Christian Church was started in Wynne in 1902 when a few families, F. D. Rolfe and wife, L. E. Osborne and wife, J. D. Spencer and wife, F. E. Leonard and wife, Mrs. Alice Chappeile and the Thomas Thompson family from Paragould, assembled for Bible school and church meetings first in the upstairs of the old opera house, now Wilks Store, then later in the different homes, then in the Old Presbyterian Church in West Wynne.
The Rev. R. O. Rogers held a tent meeting on the lot where Hamrick Bros. Hardware is now located, when new folk were added. Later came Rev. James H. Brooks from Blytheville, who conducted services, and more members were added. Then came the families of Rev. F. M. Lollar, O. C. Beamon and I. C. Ellison, and Oct. 4, 1909, the new Christian Church was organized by James Sharrat of Kansas City, there being 17 charter members: Rev. F. M. Lollar and wife, Mrs. Mary E. Lollar, C. A. Lollar, H. B. Lollar, Mrs. LottieBeamon, L. E. Osborne and wife, Mrs. Minerva Osborne, J. D. Spencer and wife, F. E. Leonard and wife, Mrs. Alice Chappeile, Mrs. Barnes, F.D. Rolfe and wife, Nellie P. Rolfe, Mrs. Frankie McKnight and Miss Audrey Martin (now Mrs. A. F. Clements).
A lot was purchased and paid for and $450 left in the hands of the Ladies Aid Society, which amount was used in the erection of the frame structure, which was completed without debt and dedicated July 3, 1910, by Rev. C. K. Marshall. In 1932 during Rev Guy D. Holt's pastorate, a new brick auditorium was added to the frame building by O.C. Beamon a contractor and with the building fund then on hand. The new building was completed including the new Bible school room made in the frame building with a small deficitoutstanding. On September 18, 1932, the new church was dedicated by the Rev. J. Eric Carlson of Memphis.
In 1950 Miss Bertha Dodd purchased the Caldonia Fergerson property on Levesque Street, just back of the church, for $4,500. This was a gift from Miss Dodd to the church. This property was to be renovated and used as a parsonage. This was done at a cost of $7,500. Following the death of Miss Dodd in 1950, a memorial fund was started, and the first payment on the finished parsonage was made in December 1950 and this parsonage was paid out in full in May 1953.
The Rev. F. M. Lollar was the first pastor of the church. The Rev. Virgil R. Walker is the present pastor.
Officers of the church in January 1955 are: Elder I. C. Ellison, J. W. Farr, J. W. Campbell and Wade Henderson. Deacons: Charles Dodd, Dow Dodd, Edward Ransom, Paul Kennedy, John Durham and Bernard Gunter. Junior Deacon: Buddy Clements. Deaconess: Mrs. Andy Clements, Mrs. Porter Ryan, Mrs. W. E. Foust, Mrs. Margaret Brown and Mrs. Neal Smith. Trustees: J. W. Farr, J. W. Campbell and Fred Rolfe. Sunday School Superintendent: Bernard Gunter. Three charter members: Mrs. Lottie Beamon, Mrs. Andy Clements and FredRolfe are still enrolled in the church. At present time the church has an active youth organization, a Christian Men's Fellowship and a Woman's Fellowship group.
WYNNE CHURCH OF CHRIST
A few years after the turn of this century, a few members of the Church of Christ began meeting for Sunday School and worship in the old Opera House located on South Front Street in Wynne. Later, a small building was purchased and used for several years. About 1915 this building was sold to build a better building which is the present one.
This building, which is presently undergoing extensive remodeling, will be, when completed, a neat and comfortable place of worship. The main auditorium will seat over two hundred; seven class rooms and two rest rooms were added, modern lighting and central heating are special features of the building. This building is located at the corner of Harrell and Popular Streets. For many years this congregation had no full-time preacher. Preaching was done mainly by student preachers and members of the faculty ofHarding College in Searcy. Such men as Dr. Batsell Baxter, now head of the Bible Department of David Lipscomb College, Nashville, Tennessee; L. C. Sears, dean of Harding College; Dr. Clifton Ganus, head of the School of American Studies at Harding College; Dr. W. B. West, Jr., head of the Harding College Bible Department; and Dr. George S. Benson, president of Harding College, have filled appointments here in the past. Arthur C. Peddle was the first full-time minister of this church. He worked with thechurch during 1948 and 1948. A modern six-room home was built for the preacher at 712 Harrell Street during that period. S. L. McCartney was the next minister from 1949 through 1952. Olden Cook, the present preacher, began working with the church in July of 1953.
WYNNE BAPTIST CHURCH
The Wynne Baptist Church was organized in 1890 with 25 charter members. The late Mrs. Nannie E. Brookfield, on the charter members, donate the lot which is the site of the present church building. A frame building erected as the original place of worship. In January 1850 plans were made to build a brick edifice the first bricks being laid in July of that year. It was not finished until December, 1906, at a cost of $6,789.54. The present Sunday School annex was added several years later. Membership of the churchhas increased from less than 50 members who had a part in the erection of the brick church to 823 at this time. Shortly after the turn of the century a two-story building was built for a pastors home. In 1945 this was torn down and replaced by a modern 3-bed room brick residence.
WYNNE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH (Colored)
The following information has been collected from some of the oldest colored citizens of Wynne, Arkansas. This church which is known today as First Baptist Church was the first to be organized in Wynne. The First Baptist Church was organized in the year of 1886, by the late Dr. William Franklin Lovelace, with only ten (10) members. Out of this number four were ordained as Deacons; they were as follows: Bro. Alex Vann, Roddy Jackson D. S. Martin and Dan Lovelace. The first building was a smallframe building with plank seats, which was used for Church Services and School. As the Church increased in membership in 1889, the second building was being built, and was also completed when it was destroyed by a storm. The first church buildings were built on the same spot where the church now stands.
The third building was built on the lot given to the church by Mrs. Brookfield (white), across the street from the present day church. At first the building was a large frame building. As the membership increased the building was remodeled and there stood this magnificent stucco edifice. This building when it was fully repaired, seated from 500 to 600 people. It was during this period that the church stood as a beacon light in the state and throughout the National Convention, it was a radiant light in ReligiousTraining and Evangelical work. The growth of this period was done first of all by the Shepherd who was loyal, faithful, trustworthy in his leadership, then followed by the straight forward works of the Deacons, they were loyal worker faithful, and never tiring. These are the deacons who caused, and kept the light shining: Bros. Vann Jackson, Martin, Lovelace, Dudley Evans, H. A. Person, T. M Jeffery, Peakin Morris, Dr. J. T. Clowers, Preston Dorris, I M. Moore, I. Love, Jorden Young, Levi Martin, Henry Bean andA. S. Gorden. Under the guidance and teaching of Dr.
W. F. Lovelace the church was able to influence the youth's attention to do their part in church loyally, and attentively. By this continuation of effort, the church was able to see the result of the work that had been done by the effects of its guidance and religious teaching. As a result from this work we saw Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, Evangelist, Ministers, Government workers, and Dentist. All of whom had made good their career, and had found a place to fit in the Society to which they belonged. This broughtthe Church under administration of Dr. W. F. Lovelace to the 40 mile stone of the journey. In 1926 he offered his resignation to accept a church in Gary, Indiana. This ending of leadership was felt by all members of the church and through the State. The resignation of Dr. W. F. Lovelace caused the church to be without shep-herd. This was the first time in history that the church had to hold an election for a leader. All members were concerned.
The Church's decision was to elect Rev. T. T. Lovelace, son of the late D. W. F. Lovelace; this was in the year of 1926. Under this young man's administration the church activities moved on. It was during this time that the membership exodus began. This was done by moving and death. Some of the faithful deacons passed during this time. One was added to the deacon board in the person of Bro. Phillip Wright. Also new members were added to the church. The resignation of Rev. T. T. Lovelace, and the destructionof this magnificent structure came in 1928 when the building was destroyed by fire. This did not stop the work of the members, they continued to work even harder to get a roof over their heads. This was done a few months later in the same year, by building as a starting point a basement to worship in.
After the resignation of Rev. T. T. Lovelace, the church elected Rev. W. C. Howell who continued with faith and good hope. He brought the potential qualities of the choir both junior and senior. The singing of the choirs under his directing power raised the spirit of the church to a high pitch. His admiration for the growth of the youth in his church resulted in a number of outstanding organizations for the purpose of working the youth, which was a great asset of the church. Many youths were united to thechurch. Bro. Fred Sanders was ordained deacon at this time. Because of ill health Rev. W. C. Howell offered his resignation.
Succeeding him as Pastor the Rev. O. E. Edwards took the stand. He had been a member of First Baptist since childhood. He was very successful in his pastoral work. He was interested in Christian Education. He labored well with the Officers and members. The church continued forward with the uniting of a large number of members. The length of his administration was short. His resignation was accepted, and the church elected the Rev. G. W. Dudley. His term was short, because of his national duties, and Moderationshipof the District, and as one of the State's President of the Convention and which also in-cluded the Postoral work of Salem Baptist Church of Forrest City, Arkansas.
After the resignation of Rev. Dudley, the Rev. C. B. Nichols was elected. He was known as an advisor of all the organizations of the church, and played well his part as a pastor. He also became a resident of this city. Under his pastoral work the auditorium was built of the present day church and Bro. A. O. Fitzhugh and George Robinson were ordained as deacons.
After his resignation, the church elected Rev. A. Smith of Mississippi because of ill health his resignation was offered and accepted. The church then elected Rev. R D. Collins. He made himself a committee of one as to invite all to attend worship services on his pastoral day. His attitude was very inspiring. There were three deacons added to the deacon board; they were Bro. Fred Walker, John Stafford and A. Love.
After resigning as Pastor, the church elected Rev. C. W. Alexander from West Helena, Arkansas. The following deacons have been added to the deacon board: Bro. T. C. Wimbush, Louis Reed, Robert Futrell and Sam Garrett. This brings us up to our present day services. During these seven years under the administration of Rev. C. W. Alexander the church's progress has been well resulted. The hard work, laboring of all the members have brought the church up to a high standing. The sacrifice made to accomplish whatthe present day church now possesses were felt by all. We are very proud of church. The church now celebrates its 69th birthday. Since the beginning we now have concrete steps, rest rooms, furnished basement, new pews, church forms and the installing of gas. We have gained many members and have lost many. Secretary of the church is Fred Walker; Treasurer, T. C. Wimbush.
This material was collected by Mrs. Pauline Henderson and recorded by Mrs. A. L. Pearson.
CHERRY VALLEY METHODIST CHURCH
The history of Cherry Valley Methodism is older than the town itself. In 1871, the Rev. Thomas Hare conducted services in a Baptist Church about one mile east of where Cherry Valley now stands. The families of W. M. Taylor, W. O. Mitchell, W. W. Caveness, Nathan Halk, George Stacy and A. L. Brown helped in the organization and continuance of the work there.
In 1876, a Methodist Church was built at nearby Marvin. Some of these families joined there. Others went to Cooper's Springs (now a part of Cherry Valley) where Methodists had been meeting since 1875. Rev. Hare and other local preachers carried on the work in both these places.
The completion of the railroad in 1882, brought some of the early settlers nearer this center, and the village of Cherry Valley was started. As the village grew, a need for a church nearer than Marvin arose. In 1885, Rev. J. F. Jernigan organized the Cherry Valley Methodist Church and became the first pastor. The 15 original members were Joseph Taylor, Eliza Taylor, Eva Stacy, Glen Mitchell, Marshall Brooks, William Taylor, Mrs. Emma Taylor, Mrs. Amanda Cagle, Mrs. Rebecca Stacy, John Taylor, and JamesTaylor.
In 1886, Mr. William Taylor gave the land for a church. In 1917, the old church was rebuilt. In 1949, the second frame church was replaced by a tile block sanctuary and four (4) Sunday School rooms. This church was dedicated January 20, 1952, by Bishop Martin.
In 1892, the Cherry Valley Church became a part of the Vanndale-Cherry Valley circuit. A number of splendid min-isters served these churches dividing their time between these two places. Later other churches were added to the circuit, at one time numbering seven.
In 1952, the membership had grown from fifteen (15) to 186. It was decided to ask the conference to make Cherry Valley a charge, and their request was granted.
The church now has a resident pastor, Rev. W. B. Young. With his family he lives in a six-room parsonage built and furnished in 1953. Lots for this home were given by Mrs. W. M. Smith and Mrs. Tom Toombs. There is an active W. S. C. S. which was organized in 1927; A fine M. Y. F. group organized in 1951. The church bell, still in use, is of real historic interest. It was originally one of a famous carillon of bells in Stokes, England. Shortly after the first church was built in Cherry Valley, MilesStacy, whose ancestors were prominent English Methodists presented the bell to the church. Today as the bell calls its members to worship, many descendants of the early founders of the first church respond to its summons. Cherry Valley Methodists have a right, indeed, to be proud of their rich heritage.
CHERRY VALLEY BAPTIST CHURCH
The First Baptist Church of Cherry Valley was organized in 1867. It is the oldest church in the Tri County Association. The church has just finished a building that is a credit to any community at a cost of about $27,000 plus. It is a colonial type building. We plan to start another building program which will be for educational purposes. The church now owns its pastorium. This church has had a continuous growth for the last five years, going from half-time to full-time work. In 1953 the church lost 127 membersthat moved away on account of the drought, but after all of this the people continued their building program. They also plan to have a nice playground ready by next summer.
The officers are: Curtis H. Owens, Pastor; C. A. Gilmer Palmer Foust and H.E. Tanner, Deacons; Robert Mann, Clerk and Training Union Director; Ernest Hudspeth Sunday School Superintendent Mrs. Ab Green, Pianist; and Grover Holcomb, Choirister. This church has the finest faculty of any rural church.
In the past two and a half years there have been over two hundred conversions and one hundred forty-four baptized and now have about 12 awaiting baptism.
Former pastors are: A. M. Center, Presiley Clampett, D. C. Applegate Sr. (years of these are unknown), Fred Suddeth- 1950-1951, Curtis Downs, from 1952 and now pastor at the present time.
CHERRY VALLEY CHURCH OF GOD
On October 14, 1933, the Haze Chapel Church was set in order by Rev. R. E. Willingham. The first church had twelve members with Mrs. R. G. Anderson as clerk. The meetings were carried on in the Last Chance school house. In 1933, the people bought the property from District 27. Some work was done on the church building and a 4-room parsonage was built by C. E. Pace, pastor.
In the year, 1945, one room was added to the parsonage and the porch was screened in. Three Sunday School rooms were added to church with Rev. W. G. Wilkins as pastor. In 1953, the people decided to buy one acre of land from W. M. Smith. They moved the parsonage on the land in September and work began on the church in October. On February 18, 1954, we had our first service in the yellow tile, 40 x 60, building. It has four Sunday School rooms and a concrete floor. All work was donated with pastor Rev. Floyd Holtas carpenter. The building committee was composed of Maurice Nixon, Cecil Lace, Willis Childers, Charles Flentje and Dave Hamrick. Other pastors, Rev. Harvey Parker, R. A. Garner, C. E. Palmer, R. A. Brannan and Leland Daily.
The clerk, Mrs. Francis (Anderson) Campbell, has served the 21 years as clerk. We now have 53 members and our church is working as a soul saving station for the unsaved.
CHERRY VALLEY CHURCH OF CHRIST
The Cherry Valley Church of Christ was built in 1953. The building is of tile and contains four class rooms and baptistry in addition to the auditorium. Special thanks to the Hickory Ridge Church for sponsoring the building program and especially to Bro. Willie Wilson for extra time and money spent. There were only about ten members, including two men, Fred Cruse and Howard Bramlett. The first service was conducted by Bro. Paul Keller of Otwell on Easter Sunday, April 5. Now, one year later, there are 52 or moremembers.
LEVESQUE ASSEMBLY OF GOD CHURCH
In October 1935 Rev. E. A. Sharpe went to Levesque, Ark., and held a revival. God blessed the revival. Many were saved. The Assembly of God Church was started by Rev. Charles F. Parker (Sectional Presbyter) with 62 members. Rev. Sharpe was the first pastor. Others have been Rev. J. O. Gilbert, Rev. Leon Bay, Rev. H. R. Rackley, Rev. Ray Hall, Rev. Mrs. Brooks and Rev. McDunn, Rev. McDermott, Rev. E. E. Hinton and Rev. J. C. Willis. Present officials: Rev. Ray Hull, Pastor; Bro. Sam Murray, Secretary-Treasurer;W. R. Utley, S. S. Supt.; Bro. Utley, Bro. Floyd Catlett, Bro. Raymond Tampkin and Bro. George Chrisco, Deacons. There are now 37 members in the church. A new concrete building is being constructed in the same location.
FONDREN MEMORIAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Not too many years ago the area now served by the Fondren Memorial Presbyterian Church was almost all woodlands and swamps. There were only a few hardy backwoods families with only dirt roads into the area. About 20 years ago the road was black-topped and a bridge built across the L'Anguille River and more settlers began to move in. However, it was not until about the beginning of the second World War, when rice began to be grown rather extensively in the area, that the land began to be cleared at a rapid rate.
Prior to 1936 the people of the Halk and Rolfe Communities in Cross County had been ministered to by a Cumberland Presbyterian and a Church of God Church, but both had been discontinued. In the summer of 1936 Mr. Elmer Fondren and the Rev. Roy Davis, pastor of the Wynne Presbyterian Church, began to survey the community in regard to the possibility of establishing an outpost Sunday School of the Wynne Church. Through the work and prayer of Mr. Fondren, the Rolfe School-house Sunday School was organized and preachingservices were held once a month at night. In 1939 the Sunday School petitioned Arkansas Presbytery to be made a Church, and the petition was granted. On March 19, 1939 the Commission of Arkansas Presbytery Organized the Church with 35 members. The congregation grew rapidly, reporting to Presbytery a membership of 46 and an enrollment of 75 after the first year. The high point in the Church's history came in 1941 when the membership reached 53 and the enrollment was 87. The war took many of the men fromthe community and the church began to decline. In 1947 the schools of the County were consolidated and it became necessary to secure a deed to the building in order to continue services in the Schoolhouse. A deed was granted with the stipulation that services be held at least one time each month. For a while it looked as if it would not be possible, for in the fall of 1949 there were only 3 active members left.
Rev. Charles Hamilton, then the Pastor, agreed to come as long as there were 3 to hear the Word of God. This impressed the people and moved by the Holy Spirit they began to revive the work. By the end of 1949 there were 12 members and by 1950 there were 25. Preaching Services were moved to the morning at 9:30 A. M. and were held twice each month. By April 1952 there were 33 members and an enrollment of 66.
In 1952-53 preaching services began to be held every Sunday instead of twice a month by Rev. Davis Thomas, and he began to be paid a regular salary of $40.00 a month, nearly three times the amount ever paid previously through a free will offering. Prayer meetings began to be held every Thursday. A new building began to be planned and when it was seen that it would be a reality, the name of the Church was changed from the Rolfe Schoolhouse Presbyterian Church to the Fondren Memorial Presbyterian Church inhonor of the late Mr. Elma Fondren, a layman of the Wynne Church, who had meant so much in the founding of the Church. Members of the Church and interested persons began the Church, contributing labor, money, trucks, and prayer. Skilled labor was hired to complete the work and on November 8, 1953 the building was opened for public worship. It was built by the grace of God which overcame many disappointments.
The Lord met our needs through Claude and Rex Branner giving an acre of land and members of the Church and other interested people joined in the erection of the building. Material was hauled as far away as Batesville and Little Rock, Arkansas, in their own trucks at own expense. Each day found a group working hard in the hot sun to make the building a reality. Carpenters and brick masons were hired to do the skilled labor.
When the building was nearly completed a misfortune occurred. Fire broke out on the roof of the educational wing in the middle of night. Fortunately the Lord caused two men to pass by at that time and waken people in the Community and the fire was extinguished. Damage to the building was $500.00.
November 8th the building was in good shape and our Pastor, Rev. Davis Thomas, preached the first sermon in the new building. A revival was held on November 15th for 5 nights with Rev, William McLean of McGehee.
The Women-of-the-Church was first organized March 1, 1954.
The Men-of-the-Church was first organized March 22, 1954.
A Youth Fellowship meets each Sunday afternoon at 5:30 for recreation and devotion.
CENTRAL METHODIST CHURCH
On August 18, 1940, in the Hamlin Community Rev. W. J. Spicer of the Wynne Methodist Church and Rev. J. H. Hoggard of Earle began a two weeks tent Revival. At the close of the Revival a new church was organized and named Farris Memorial in memory of Rev. J. K. Farris, who had previously rendered service for several years to the people of the Hamlin Community as an unorganized Church. The church was placed on the Wynne Chage and services were held in the Hamlin School building. Rev. J. J. Glover was the secondpastor and was followed by Rev. Earl F. Walker. In 1945 Rev. J. O. Whitworth, as the pastor, with the members began work on a new church project. Trustees fro the building fund were Vernon Wood, George Wisemore and J. W. Rea as treasurer. The site of the church was selected 10 miles West of Wynne, on Highway 64 and it was decided to call the new church Central Methodist Church. In the summer of 1947 the building was near enough completion to begin worshiping in the Rev. R.E.L. Bearden held the first Revival inthe new structure.
Rev. O. A. Evanson was the next pastor and was followed by Rev. Lloyd Conyers.
In 1952 the church was placed on the Vanndale Charge and Rev. W. H. Richardson was pastor. He was followed by Rev. A. L. Peterson who is the present pastor.
Present officers of the church are: trustees-Vernon Wood, George Wisemore, J. W. Rea and Mrs. Charles Henderson; Secretary and treasurer-Mrs. Charles Henderson; Elective Stewards-Vernon Wood, J. W. Rea, George Wisemore, Charles Henderson, Mrs. Charles Henderson, C. G. Brock, R. A. Owen, Jack Bartlett, Harlan Holleman and J. E. Wampler; Church Lay Leader-J. W. Rea; Church Pianist-Mrs. R. A. Owen; Choir Director-Mrs. Jack Bartlett; Church School Superintendent-Vernon Wood; Church School Secretary and Treasurer-Mrs.Vernon Wood; Church School Teachers-Adults, Vernon Wood, Intermediates, J. W. Rea, Juniors, Mrs. J. E. Wampler and Beginners, Mrs. R.A. Owen.
The McElroy Church was established in the McElroy Community, west of Wynne, in the 1860's. A log building was erected and it served as a church and as a school. Later a regular school house was built and also used as a church. It later was moved to its present site. The present church building was erected in 1905 or 1906. Among those who have served this rural church were Rev. Malone, Rev. Moore, Rev. A. C. Griffin, Rev. Eli N. Bickly, Rev. Crenshaw, Rev. Kirbey, Rev. Sturdy, Rev. White Hurst and others. Rev.Stegal is the present preacher. Mrs. Margaret Wilson, 89 years old, is the oldest member and W. B. Bamson, 85, the next oldest member.
VANNDALE METHODIST CHURCH
The Vanndale Methodist Church is the outgrowth of the first Methodist Church in Cross County, situated at Mt. Zion several miles from Vanndale. Mt. Zion was a great religious center in its day. The White River Conference with Bishop Keener presiding was organized in this Mt. Zion Church in 1870; this conference later joined the North Arkansas Conference. When Vanndale was starting to build with the coming of the Iron Mountain Railroad, many of the members of old Mt. Zion moved to town and in 1885 built a church,using some of the timbers of the Mt. Zion building. A gavel was presented by Rev. E. K. Sewell while pastor at Vanndale to the White River Conference made from timber of the Mt. Zion Church. The Rev. E. M. Baker was the first Pastor of Vanndale, serving one year. His successor was Rev. R. G. Brittain, who served four years. Since then 33 ministers have served the church: Reverends J. H. Anderson, A. C. Graham, H. B. Cox, J. B. McDonald, F .C. Sterling, N. E. Skinner, T. M. Talkington, James Wilson, E. K. Sewell,Gordon Wimpy, J. D. Kelley, C. F. Wilson, J. H. Barrentine, J. T. Hood, M.A. Graves, J. C. Crenshaw, Olin Findley, F. M. Sweet, J. W. Harger, J. G. Ditterline, I. D. McClure, Ben T. Williams, C. H. Harvison, A. L. Riggs, M. A. Graves, Joel Cooper, Clyde Crozier, Floyd D. Villines and J. H. Richardson. The Rev. Arthur L. Peterson is now Pastor. During the Pastorate of Rev. F. M. Sweet, in 1926 the church was rebuilt at a cost of $3,700 and dedicated by Bishop Boaz. In 1950 an addition for Sunday School purposeswas built on to the church during the Pastorate of Rev. J. H. Richardson. In 1952-53 the parsonage was destroyed by a storm and an attractive three-bedroom brick residence replaced it. Some of the present members are descendants of the founders of Mt. Zion and Vanndale, the Hares, Lessenberrys, Sigmans and others. Loyal through the years, they have kept the Gospel Light burning Brightly.
VANNDALE BAPTIST CHURCH
September, 1907, Brother Murphy, home missionary, held a Baptist revival in Vanndale, in the old Cross County Courthouse. Fifteen were converted and a Missionary Baptist Church was organized. A one-room building was erected in 1910. Church services were held once a month. Sunday School activities were held each Sunday with enthusiasm. The thirteen charter members were: J. Q. Thomas, S. A.Gooch, W. Z. Campbell, Tom Crawford, Sid Crawford, Sam Wilcox, Sr., Mrs. H. Fincher, Dr. J. L. Griffin, (all deceased.) Mrs.W. Z. Campbell, Mrs. Sid Crawford, Mrs. Etta Fincher and Mrs. B. F. Jolly. Pastors serving the church during the beginning were: Reverend Thompson, Robertson, J. H. Pennock, E. P. Minton, J. C. Swaim, J. C. Richey, Dr. L. T. Wallace, P. B. Kinsolving and Ralph Kerley.
In 1949, a trustee board composed of Robert Holland, Cecil Rolland, and Charles Lovrien started donations for a new church building. The construction consist of an auditorium and five study rooms.
The church is full time, free of debt, and it has 120 members. Organizations that are active besides Sunday School are W. M. U., Brotherhood, and Training Union.Deacons of the church are: O. E. Curtiss, Gifford Minton, Carson Futrell, Clarence Kernodle, Charles Lovrien and Amos Hall.
HARRIS CHAPEL BAPTIST CHURCH
Harris Chapel Baptist Church, located on the Summersweet Road six miles southeast of Wynne, was founded in 1906. The Rev. Jones was the first pastor with twelve charter members, of which the following are living: Mrs. Lara Sullivan, Rt. 3, Wynne; Mrs. Nora Milton, Forrest City; and Mrs. Blanch Milton, Parkin. The first church building burned and was rebuilt in 1927. The present building was remodeled in February 1954, modernized with rock veneer and an educational building added. Previous pastors include:Reverends Newt Shadreck (deceased); Rev. W. A. Owens (deceased); Rev. Weaks (deceased); Rev. Byron Cox, now of Louisiana; Rev. Ray Woodell of Judsonia; Rev. E. H. Hammonds of Memphis and Rev. J. T. Midkiff now pastor of Terrell Baptist Church. The Rev. E. G. Waddell of Rt. 3, Wynne, is now pastor.
FITZGERALD CROSSING BAPTIST CHURCH
The Rev. T. R. Hammons established the Fitzgerald Crossing Baptist Church about September 10, 1945. Services were held in the school building until a church was built in January 1946. The new church was dedicated in September 1948. Dedicatory sermon was given by Rev. Ralph Cadwell of Jonesboro, Rev. Earle Hamlin of Wynne was pastor.
Free labor was provided for most of the building of the church. O. G. Killion, superintendent of the church and Sunday School, W. E. South, Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Holland and many others are to be commended for their tireless efforts to make the church a reality. T. C. Hewlett was a major factor, too. Funds were solicited from the community and in Wynne. Deed was recorded December 27, 1946, for the ground.
Rev. Henry Wright was pastor while the services were held in the school building, but resigned before the church building was completed. The church was built of concrete blocks. The lot was improved in 1953. Four Sunday School rooms have been added, an attic fan installed, front porch and gas heat provided. New venetian blinds, paint and varnish have helped the appearance. Plans have been made to build a hardwood floor to replace the concrete floor.
About 40 members came from the school building. There are now 130. Pastors have been Earle Hamlin, Norvin Jones, M. M. Hinesly, E. G. Waddell and Edward R. Black. Present pastor is Rev. Robert Rayford of Memphis.
ELLIS CHAPEL CHURCH
September 3, 1887, William S. Bowers sold an acre of ground located at N. W. quarter of section 33, Twp., 7 north, range 2 east, to school district No. 12. A building was built on this ground. This transaction is recorded in Cross County record book R, page 179, on January 10, 1890. This school building was used as a place for church services. John Speer moved to this community in 1897 and he recalls attending church in the school building. School district No. 12, built two schools known as Jollyand Hamlin schools and a bill of sale was listed July 1910 by which property was to be sold to highest bidder. M. Clingingsmith bought the property September 3, 1910. Then January 26, 1911, the same M. Clingingsmith leased the land and building back to the community for a place of worship. This lease is recorded in book 92, page 535. The lease was made to the following trustees: V. L. Summers, J. L. Speer, and M. E. (Ed) Ellis. In 1933 and 1934 the building was in such a condition, floors broken in, etc.,that the people salvaged what material they could and with other material, mostly donated native lumber and labor, they built another building on the same site. The shingles were hand made from cypress brought from L'Anguille bottoms. The ladies made and sold quilts. Home talent shows and pie suppers were given to raise money for church building. In June 1952, Maude C. Coville, Ethel Hanson, Marcia C. Sherwood, and Bertha Mateer, sole and only heirs of M. Clingingsmith (deceased) granted a quit claim deed onthis property to Carson L. Brown, John M. Thompson, and Berger Ellis, trustees of Ellis Chapel Church (formerly known as Buena Vista). This gave a clear title deed instead of a lease.
August 23, 1954, the building was moved to back part of land and November 15, 1954, ground-breaking ceremony was led by Bro. Arthur L. Peterson, Methodist pastor, and Bro. Boyd Baker, Baptist pastor. John Speer turned first soil for a new church building of brick with large auditorium and six Sunday school rooms.
Some families in the history of this church included Speer family, Elizah Ellis family, Charles Ellis family, Redmon (Buck) Ellis family, Acuff family, Hattery family, Garner family, Thompson family, Summers family, McFarland family, Paul Brown family, Baker family, and Wade family. The church is a community church with Methodist and Baptist holding services, all having Sunday school and services together with present enrollment of approximately 100.
The Methodist organization dates back to before 1900. Some pastors were Brothers Vernon Bruce, Kenneth Cook, J. K. Farris, W. J. Spicer, J. O. Whitworth, Walker, R. E. L. Bearden, Oscar Evanson, Lloyd Conyers, John Richardson, and Arthur L. Peterson.
The Baptist organization dates back to about 1915 to 1920. Some pastors were Emond Jones, Z. T. Rooks, and Boyd Baker.