Greene County Arkansas

Paragould, AR

Centennial Edition

                                                                              Daily Soliphone - December 24, 1909                                                                                             


of  all  kinds of  semi-tropical  fruits, the climate and  soil  being  just right  for the growth and maturity of the best quality  and quantity. The yield is often astonishing, and there are no off-years in the bearing capacity of an orchard.
Shipping facilities are fast becoming first class and there are many canning factories located in this section of the state.
   There are still many thousands of acres  of  good  orchard  land  on Crowley's Ridge that can be had at a reasonable price, and a few  crops  of the  fruit  grown  upon the land will pay for the same. We desire more of this land in orchards instead of cotton fields  and  in  order  to  bring  about the  change,  it  is  necessary to bring people  who  know  how to  raise  something  besides cotton.
    One  decided  advantage  our  fruit growers  have  over those in northern climates is that we can deliver  berries and fruits in the Chicago market before the same fruits are in bloom in many sections of the country.  Paragould has a large up-to-date  canning  factory  that  affords a ready  market for  the surplus fruits and berries, tomatoes and some grains.
   (The factory did not run last season on account of some financial trouble but is a good investment for some man who under-stands the business.--Ed.)
    A few farmers who have gone into the fruit and berry business have even with  a limited   knowledge  of  the  business made more  money to the acre  on the ground cultivated than the same farmers could on the same lands after a life time of experience in growing the fleecy staple. With a thorough knowledge  of  the  fruit  growing business, together with a familiarity of the markets for the products of the orchard there is no telling the possibilities of a fruit farm in Greene county.

             Truck Growing and Poultry

   Truck growing and gardening are profitable occupations that are only partially represented among the  indus-tries of this section.  The long  open  season and the accessibility  to  good markets assure a large profit to those engaging in either of these pursuits.  Chickens  find a  ready market in Para-gould and eggs are always scarce at a top-of-the market price, these conditions offering a large return to anyone engag-ing  in the poultry or trucking business.
    Of the  vegetables,  sweet  and  Irish potatoes lead, two crops of the latter can be raised on the same land in one season, the yield being about two hundred bush-els per acre.  When only one crop is desired and the  potatoes  are  allowed  to  fully mature, the yield is increased about one hundred bushels more to the acre.
    Melons, onions, parsnips, turnips and cabbage  can be  produced  in  as  fine quality and in as great a quantity as any-where in the United States. All kinds of vegetables  are  ready  to  put  on  the market long before the gardens are made in many northern and eastern states.
   Peanuts and tobacco are small crops with some  of  our  citizens  and  find  a  cash market on the streets of Paragould at any and all seasons of the year. It is believed the tobacco grown here is as fine as that grown in Kentucky or Tennessee, and the yield is about one thousand pounds per acre.



                                              Live Stock

   This country is well adapted to the successful raising of horses, mules, cattle, sheep, hogs and all kinds of live stock. We have no stock law in the country, so all stock can run out on the commons or range all the year around, and require little feed or attention. But they do better if provided with some food and shelter during January and February.
   The southern boundary line of the county serves as the cattle quarantine line, it having been re-established in the year 1908 after the government expert reported favorably on the Texas fever tick troubles and this is of course and advantage to us over the counties lying south of Greene county.
   There  are  large  numbers of  fine  stock in the  county especially of mules, cattle, hogs and the like, and persons who have  brought fine  stock here  from Ohio or Indiana. Illinois or Kentucky have experienced no difficulty so far as the climate and water is concerned. Therefore there is no danger  in  bringing  your  stock with you in  coming to  this section.  Good  farms  suitable for stock raising and convenient to range can be had at marvelously low prices.



   The greater portion of the lands in Greene county have been cut over for the larger white oak timber, but it is hardly fair to say that it has been taken off for only the very largest
trees were cut, and this many years ago, in most instances.
There are yet, several thousand acres of virgin timber lands
in the county, although the lumber has brought many thousands of dollars to the county, and will continue to do so for many years to come. Saw mills and all kinds of lumber manufacturing concerns thrived thru the general panic and new fields of timber lands are constantly being opened.


                                        Game and Fish

   Hunting  and  fishing  are  fine  sports here,  and  the recreations enjoyed by the lovers of sport in Greene county, for when they start hunting or angling for the finny tribe they have every reason to believe their efforts will be crowned
with success.
    There  is  very  little  hunting  or  fishing  for  gain in this
country,  but  both are  engaged in  purely  for  sport  and
recreation. Our people are too busy following more lucrative business,  and  resort to  hunting  and  fishing  solely  for pastime.  Fishing  parties  are  common  among the young
people and an occasional fish-fry by old-timers occurs early in the  spring or  late in the fall.  Perch, cat, pike and black bass  abound in all our  waters.  Wild  game is  abundant,
especially deer, turkey, duck, raccoon, opossum, squirrel
and  quail or  partridges.  We have game  laws to  protect
most  of our  wild animals  and fish during part of the year
from the wanton destruction of fishing parties from other states. During the late fall and winter season hunting parties organize here and they spend a month or six weeks in the timber, camping out, and never fail to return with all the game desired.

                        A Common Error Corrected

   There is a general belief that a greater part of the eastern section of Arkansas is under water, or subject to frequent over-flow. Those who are familiar with conditions as they really exist in the state need not be told this is not the case. While it is an  indisputable  fact  that  the  railways entering Arkansas do show the state to a great  disadvantage  in  this  respect, especially  those  entering  Arkansas at Memphis,  the  ancient  gateway to the state, yet there are sixteen states in the Union having a greater number of square miles of water surface than Arkansas and ninety  percent  of our  water  surface is navigable  rivers.  It  should  also  be remembered that the Mississippi river which is the eastern boundary of the state, traverses the entire length of Arkansas, and  the  Father  of  Waters  and other navigable streams add materially to the water surface as they do the shipping facilities of the people.

     The overflow in 1897 taught our people a valuable lesson and much of the eastern portion of the state is now protected by one of the finest levees in the world. Greene county, however, is not subject to
overflow of the Mississippi river, as it is situated high and dry upon Crowley's Ridge, a highland extending northward across the eastern end of the state.

                  Climatic Conditions

   Zero weather is not entirely unknown in Arkansas, especially in the extreme north-western  or  mountainous  section of the state,  but this  temperature is so rarely registered  even  during  the  severest weather in January and February that it is regarded as an extremely bitter condition.
  The temperature at the center line of the state averages forty-three for the winder and eight for the summer. The state lies between thirty-three and thirty-seven north latitude and eighty-nine and ninety-five west longitude, insuring a mild climate
and an even temperature.
   Sultry  hot  nights  during  the summer months  are few, a  delightful  summer breeze from the Gulf of Mexico prevailing during the greater part of the day.
Sunstroke or prostrations from heat are unknown here although the summers are long and the outdoor season lasts nearly all the year around.
   The average date of the last killing frost in the spring is March 22nd, and the earli-est in the fall is November the 8th.


   Every country has its good and bad soil, and Arkansas is no exception, but we do claim that our county has as little of the bad, and as much of the best as any section of the United States. The ridge land, usually thin and worthless, is in
Greene county rich productive, being particularly adapted to the growing of fruits, berries, grapes and live stock.
   The rough hill lands in sections of the state are of little value, being too thin for agricultural purposes, are rich in valuable clays, marble, coal, lead, zinc and even silver and gold are known to exist in paying quantities in the mountainous
section. Only in recent years has the attention of the world been attracted to our diamond fields, which are said to be of the richest in the world, and the pearls of Black river and other streams of the state are the marvel of mankind.
   The white, or buckshot land of the state has until lately been considered the poor-est land in Arkansas but some surprising results have been obtained by careful cultivation and since it has been demon-strated that rice of the very finest quality can be grown here, this kind of land has come into great demand, as it will produce from fifty to seventy bushels of the cereal to the acre, and has advanced from less than five to more than fifty dollars an acre.
   In the river and creek bottoms is found the sandy loam, and the black sandy soil, the  natural home of King Cotton, but which will grow anything, excepting, of course, tropical fruits.





Mrs. W. H. Huntsman one of the First Settlers Writes of Early Days in Paragould


 The stranger who visits Paragould today can little suspect that all its wealth and beautiful surroundings, its cultured, well-dressed population, its fine resi-dences, its magnificent store buildings, and establish-ments, its miles of cement walks, etc., have grown from a niche cut out of the woods here for a railroad and timber camp, scarcely more than a quarter of a century ago, and it seems a wonder even to one who has watched the progress and broken the brush from the beginning.
   Twenty-seven years ago last spring, the Iron Moun-tain railraoad completed in a manner its branch from Gainesville to Paragould then and for some time after called the "Crossing."
   The traveler over this road left St. Louis, with its luxurious environment, at night to awaken in the morning amidst the cypress swamps of Missouri and Arkansas. Despite the wild and desolate appearance in general there was something to admire as the sun shone out on the seemingly interminable forests, for the tall trees were many of them covered with vines and the lower ones supported drooping festoons of the lovely purple wistaria, cultivated in the north with great care for its graceful beauty and fragrance.
Railroad enterprise had just entered this new field and a few of the neighboring farmers had temporarily left their clearings, had literally pitched their tents on this new ground at "The Crossing," and were at work with teams hauling logs to the prospective mills, two or three of which were erected and put in operation during the summer.
   Business enterprises came in and developed rapidly
even under difficulties, mills began to cut out the lumber, teamsters began to drive their loaded ox wagons through the mud in all directions, for the roads seemed to be wherever the errands called.
   We knew there a goodly number of people somewhere for they appeared from the woods in one direction, and disappeared behind the woods in the opposite direction.
   The I.M.R.R. built a small depot in those early months, standing just about where the Dickinson lumber yards office now stands, and during the summer of that year the Cotton Belt built a like one on about the same ground now occupied by the Union Station near the crossing.
   Of course a rapidly growing town must have a name,
so what was known as "The Crossing," was discarded
and Paragould adopted as honoring high officials of both roads, but the I. M. declined the honor, for some time, perhaps two years, calling and posting their station as Parmley, while the one a few hundred feet away, know not Parmley and was called Paragould.
   This caused some confusion and there were instances of passengers being misled and presumably the I. M. concluded that it was wise to accept the 
  situation and then also called the name Paragould, and after a time moved the depot building to join the other where the Union Station was kept until destroyed by fire some five or six years ago.
   There was a postoffice with the pretty name of
"Beulah" attached, situated on the main road from
Gainesville southwest, kept by Christopher Ritter,
father of our esteemed young townspeople, Preston
and Mary Ritter. Mr. Ritter had purchased a farm
and moved from Indiana with his wife and young
family, a few months previous, this farm being a mile
or two west from Paragould, in what has long been
known as the Dover neighborhood. Mail was brought
twice a week from Gainesville, if the roads permitted,
by a postman on horseback. The mail for Beulah was
not heavy, as there was ample space to accommodate
all of it, in a dry goods box about three feet square,
with one or two partitions to expedite the placing
of the different class ail matter in its appropriate pig-
eon hole. Mr. Ritter moved from his farm and estab-
lished a meat market in Paragould and the "Beulah"
post office was no more, while the Paragould post-
office after being kept at Mr. Ritter's stand for a short while, was moved from his place to a room near the present site of the steam laundry to Dr. Lisle's drug store.
   It came time that Paragould was to be the new home
of the county and Gainesville packed its trunks and
moved down. A court house was built near where the
Joseph Wolf residence now stands, whether a county
building or rented for the dispensation of justice we are unable to state.
   The first 4th of July celebration was held in 1883, the gathering which was notably large considering the time and inconvenience of travel. It was held at a little clearing about where Dr. Davis' residence stood for many years. Several hundred people were present. There was some speaking, a free and plenteous picnic dinner, a meeting of old acquaintances and the forming of new, emphasizing the social feature in a degree which perhaps is not always found in later and more pretentious companies.
   The old Methodist church, true to the pioneer instinct which enters every open door, put in an early appearance and interesting religious worship, and a flourishing Sunday school served the entire community until other church houses were established. The per-fected and meetings held in a school house which stood about on the site of the Airdome building, the early preachers being Revs. Taylor and Foster and Anderson, the latter as pastor when the congregation occupied their church building. He was followed by Bro. John Ritter of  blessed memory, who lived to see the present handsome church edifice become a home for the largely increased membership.
   The first school teacher was Mrs. Brawner a lady of
  intelligence and energy, and she was followed by Miss Maggie Jones, afterward Mrs. Knox, an approved teacher whose work is well and happily remembered by her pupils who became her firm friends.
   In the meantime the municipal affairs were assuming
city fashion and a town council was formed with J. A.
Dickson elected as the first mayor who filled the office
with credit and ability.
   Of course the saloon was an important factor in this
new growing town as it is, or was in mort others of the
same stage of progress. Many people honestly thought that they needed the "goods" dispensed by the saloon as much as they needed bread but others felt it a sore evil, and made an effort to counteract it by the local option method. Dr. Hammond was an active worker on this line.
   We cannot tell how many saloons or drinking places
were to be counted but they were numerous. A
prominent sign appeared on a small building on what
is now Main street, reading "Tobe's Saloon, Come Home Boys." We think W. E. Baird claimed to put up the first one for the special purpose of a drinking place, and that it was much used may be inferred from the fact that the building was filled with whiskey and beer barrels on one Christmas occasion compelling the customers to walk over the heads of the kegs and barrels to reach the bar to be served, yet by the New Year's day of 1883 these barrels were empty and a new supply was in demand. W. E. Baird erected the first brick building which is now standing at the corner of Main and Pruet streets. When we consider that there were other drinking places with  perhaps liberal patronage, as "Henry's" "The Star" "The Red Lion," and others, we can readily see that there was room for temperance education. Under the local option ruling the saloons were banished for a time and moved
into a cornfield across the creek north of the Iron Mountain water tank and called "whiskey side," but the inconvenience was sore, for both sellers and users, and the whiskey element managed to overcome the betting or gaining courage after some new election, they proceeded to "Come Home Boys," with bag and
baggage, to stay in full force until the county nobly came to the rescue and by a margin of 33 votes said "the saloons must go."
   The change in sentiment is marked, the change in
habit is marked, people find that they can live without
saloon products and be happy. Towns find that they can live soberly and prosper, and as we look backward and forward like the two-faced god Janus, we see in the past difficulties overcome, friendships formed, plans rounded out through the eternal march of pro-gress and we see in the future many happy homes, physical perfection and the millenial glory of the reign of peace and good will to men.



Transcribed by: PR Massey

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