Greene County Arkansas

Paragould, AR

Centennial Edition



Three of Paragould's Big Stores--Some Facts About the Town



    There  is  no  better  index to the
business  of a town and city than its postoffice and the Paragould post-
office  is  no  exception.  From  the small office kept in a butcher shop 25 or 26 years ago by Chris Ritter the office has steadily grown and occupies now the entire floor of a large   business   room  and  the demand for floor space is steadily growing. The postal receipts have been  sufficient  to  warrant  the federal government in making an appropriation of $50,000 for the construction of a modern postoffice  building.  The  bill  providing for the appropriation of the building was introduced by  Congressman Macon in the fiftieth congress  and  was  passed  by the unanimous vote of congress, after receiving the approval of the committee to which it was referred.
The  lot  for the  site has been pur-chased at an expense of $6,700, the purchase being from Mrs. Dickson and  includes  that  portion  of  the Dickson estate lying on the east end of the sanitarium lot where the old Dickson  homestead  stands.  It  is believed  that  the  building  will be constructed within the next year or two.
    In  another  column  we  print  a picture  of the new  building as it is supposed  to  appear  after  it  is finished.
   An official report from Postmaster
McPherson  shows  the  following
concerning  the  business  of  the office:
   The gross receipts for the fiscal
year ending June 30, 1897, were $3,
785.40. At that time the floor space
occupied was 475 squad feet with 3
persons   employed.   The   gross receipts for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1900, were $12,674.84, and the office now has a floor space of 1,875 square feet and employes 15 people, seven in the office and five rural  carriers  and  three  city car-riers. The office supplies practically the  entire  county  with  mail  and eleven offices in Southeast Missou- ri. The five rural routes direct from this  office,  with  other  sub-routes, give the farmers of Greene county a daily mail service, while the city is supplied with a free delivery service from the office.
   The following is a tabulated state-ment of the gross business of the office since 1897:
Ending June 30, 1897.. .. $ 3,785.40
Ending June 30, 1903.. .. .. 7,229.50
Ending June 30, 1906.. .. .. 8,127.00
Ending June 30, 1907.. ..  11,448.98
Ending June 30, 1908.. ..  12,404.37
Ending June 30, 1909.. ..  12,674.84
   The  money  order  sales  at the office amount to about $75,000 per annum.
   Mr. McPherson is making the city a very efficient postmaster and is one of the leading young men of the city and county, being always to the forefront  in   every    progressive movement having for its object the improvement  of  the  town   and county.  He is  president  of  the
Paragould Commercial Club and the
leading spirit of that organization.


                           Paragould's Population
   Paragould  today is a  city of 6,000.  It may be a few hundred  less or it may be a  few  hundred  more, but people who claim seven and eight thousand are either ignorant of what the population is or else purposely exaggerate.
   The population in January 1887 was 1364 by special census, in 1890 by federal census it was 1,666 while the
federal census of 1900 gave us 3,324. A special census taken in July 1907, for the purpose of giving us powers as a city of the first class, showed the population to be 5,122. The federal census to be taken next year will not likely show the population to be much in excess of
6,000 if any.
   The census of 1887 was taken by T. P. Cole, the well known insurance man. The editor of the Soliphone was then editor of the Paragould Press and offered Mr.Cole $10 to take the census of the town and he accepted. He said he could do it in three days, but it took him over a week and Tom has never forgotten how hard he worked for that $10. A tabular statement was made up giving the  name  of the head  of  every  family  in town. The statement  showed  the  number in  family,  male and
female, from  whence  they  came  to  Paragould, the duration of their residence in the town, occupation, etc. This  was  printed  in a   special  edition of  5,000  for
general distribution and the issue did much to stimulate immigration and  bring  people to  Paragould, some of whom were disappointed and "cussed" the paper, while others were pleased and praised it.


                         Paragould Social Conditions
   There is no town in the world where social conditions are more conducive to happiness than Paragould. We have no millionaires and very few paupers. We have only one Chinaman and very few negroes, there being less than 50 in the town, and we don't hear of any that want to come. Every man stands on his merits as a man and not on what his daddy has done nor on the distinc-tion of his ancestry. If a man is honest, if he pays his debts, if he obeys the laws of his country he is socially as good as any other man regardless of who his ances-tors were, where they came from or how they got here, if they ever came. There is no monied aristocracy, there is no social aristocracy. While we have many people who are well-to-do they have, as a rule,
botten (gotten) their wealth by honest endeavor and there are none above work. Work is the elixir of life in
Paragould. Everybody works and there is work for everybody. Laboring men find remunerative employ-ment and we doubt if there is a town anywhere that
can show as many working men who have acquired good homes, who have saved up something for a rainy day,  whose families are so well cared for and highly respected. There are no sweat shops in Paragould where children are dwarfed in mind and body by hard toil for a morsel to eat and a few rags of clothes. The children of the working men attend the free common schols (schools) in neat attire and occupy seats with the
children of wealthier parents and they often win first honors in their classes. Many working men in Para-gould have good credit at the banks and the stores and some of  them carry good bank accounts and you do not meet them on the streets wearing a haggard, woe-begone  expression as though they were friendless in the world. The working men of Paragould have been a mighty force in developing the town and form a con-
tingent, as a rule, of our best citizenship.

                                Health in Paragould
   While we have no mortuary statistics to bear out any statement of comparative health in Paragould and this
section of Arkansas with other cities and towns of other states, we  feel safe  in the  assertion  that health is as good in Paragould as in the average town, and better than in many of them.
   There is a prevalent opinion among the people of the older states that Arkansas is a veritable graveyard, that to come here is certain death, that the entire state is a swamp and that malaria germs hibernate in every leaf and  infect  every  breath  of air. To  hear  these people talk one would think that people never die in the region  where  they live,  that  Aesculapius  has  disin-
fected the land and extermined the germs of disease. Such  ignorance is  no  less  appalling  than  it is  mis-leading.
  No state has more noted health resorts than Arkansas or can show a  greater variety  of  health giving  waters
and a more salubrious climate.
   A few years ago the Soliphone began publishing bio-graphical  sketches of  people in  Greene  county who were over75 years of age. The task became so burden-
some that we had to give it up. They loomed up by the hundred in every section of the county and we came to think that a man who was only 75 in Greene county was a mere  youth, so  many were  there who  registered at
80, 85, 90, 95 and even a  hundred.  Many people who come  here  from other  states in bad  health  recover
their health and become sound and well.
   Paragould is comparatively free from malaria. Twenty years ago when there was much decaying timber there was some  malaria, but that is true  everywhere under like conditions. Since the timber has been cut out, the country  opened up  and put in  cultivation, health has greatly improved and there is very little malaria. There will be less  when the  swamps, none of which are very
near Paragould, are drained, and the work of draining them is being rapidly accomplished.
   The government reports show that  in altitude Para-gould is 38 feet higher than Little Rock, 85 feet higher than Pine Bluff, 92 feet higher than Memphis and 101 feet higher than Helena.
The recent completion of a splendid sewerage system for  Paragould will prove c onducive to the  improved
health of the town.











                 Removal of the County Site
   In 1884 the county site of Greene county was moved from Gainesville to Paragould. Gainesville had been the county site almost since the county was
organized and the proposed removal, of course, met with the  opposition  that  usually  develops in such contests, but Paragould won by a vote of the people
and in the fall of 1884 the records were moved to this town.
   The first regular term of the Greene circuit court was held in Paragould in March, 1885. Judge Cate was the judge and Bard Edrington, we believe, was
the district attorney. However Judge Cate held an adjourned term of the court to hear some cases on the chancery docket in November preceding. This adjourned term was held in an old frame building (it was new then) that stood on Main street on the lot
between the  residence of  Joe Wolf  and Clarence Dickinson. This  was  the home  of the county and circuit clerk, R. H. Gardner, who kept the records
at his house until a temporary court house could be provided.  In a short time, however, the temporary court house was  finished, it being a long box house on  Court  Square on the  north half of the lot now occupied by the First Methodist church. This was
used as a  court  house  for more  than  two years. There was no special chancellor then and the circuit judge  tried  common  law, criminal  and  chancery cases,  jumping  from one to the other as the con-venience of the bar demanded. Then we had only one clerk, he being the county clerk, the circuit clerk and the  recorder, still he was  not kept  any busier than our clerks are now kept with the offices divided. Two good men could then do all the work and at times one was all that  was  needed.  Now it takes four people pretty busy to do the clerical work for the county and
some times additional help has to be employed. This is not  because the  clerks are  less  industrious but because the business has increased with the growth and development of the county.
   Tom  Kitchens succeeded  Mr.  Gardner as clerk and  held the  office  for six years.  He  made the reputation of being the most painstaking and careful
clerk the county had had up to that date.
   The new court house, which is still in use, though getting a little old now, was ready and officers moved into it in 1887.  Judge O'Steen  built both the court house  and the c ounty jail  which stand as a lasting monument to the progressiveness of his administra-tion.
   R.  H.  Gardner served the county in many capa-cities.  He was  several  terms clerk and was also county surveyor. He was one of the best men the county ever produced and lived to a ripe old age and left  behind him an  untarnished  name as a heritage for his children. His son, A. D. Gardner, was clerk of
the county for two terms in later years and proved to be a very proficient and satisfactory officer. He is now  engaged in  educational  work,  he  and  his brothers having established a school at Odessa,
    The removal of the county site from Gainesville to Paragould caused an exodus of the citizens there to the new site  and some of the  best citizens of Para-gould today are those who pulled up stakes and left Gainesville to follow the county site.
                Paragould Merchants Progressive
   Paragould merchants are progressive and liberal. They carry fine stocks of  goods, treat their custom-ers right and push both the town and their business.
Paragould has some of the finest stores in the south and is the  trade  area for a  population of  40,000 people. The trade area is expanding and our jobbing houses are sending their representatives into the
contiguous  territory and are  building up a  good wholesale trade. In the commercial expansion of the town Paragould merchants have been the chief factors, for they have gone after the trade, studied
its wants and they buy to please.


                  Private Schools (continued)
and is patronized by hundreds of young men and young women from other  states.   Prof.  Parrish, the principal of this school, is a thorough teacher  in  all  that  pertains to  a business  course  and  his  pupils receive instructions in penmanship, bookkeeping, commercial law and arithmetic, stenography, tele-graphy and all subjects taught in the best business colleges everywhere. This school has graduated hundreds of young  men and  young women who have gone out into the world and are occupying  positions  of  honor and trust  in  many  vocations  of  life. Students  of  this  school  may be found  in Missouri,  Tennessee, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas, and of course in Arkansas, and many of them are testi-monials to the merits of the school as a place where a young man or a young woman may acquire an edu-cation that will lead to almost immediate remuner-ative employment.  This school  has  been  running  for ten years in Paragould and is one of the
most useful institutions in the town.






Transcribed by: PR Massey

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