Hauling cotton bales in downtown Searcy in 1915.
wagon yards were places where most of the country people put up for the night when they came to Searcy. Most wagon yards were fenced, so a loose animal couldn’t escape, and they usually had a large barn-type structure to house the teams and wagons. Adjoining the stables were bed units in a small room with rope or wire frames where farmers spread their quilts and made beds for the night. The most sophisticated farmer usually spent the night in a hotel or rooming house, and enjoyed the home-cooked meals, leaving his team alone or with a hired man at the barn. Women seldom stayed at wagon yards because of the impropriety of being subjected to drunkenness or foul language. The farmer could dine in the wagon yard on cheese, crackers, salmon, sardines, etc., bought at the grocery store, like Word’s Grocery on the northeast corner of Spring and Center, or he could bring his own bacon, eggs and coffee and prepare them over a campfire at the yard. After supper he might visit the saloon or see a silent moving picture show. Next morning, he could finish shopping, load up and drive home before nightfall. Every farmer made at least two trips each year, in the spring for planting supplies, and in the fall to sell his cotton, and to get a winter supply of staples, sugar, flour, coffee and clothing.
I had the privilege of spending one night in a wagon yard on the west side of the 200 block of south Spruce. This old barn was torn down and removed years ago. It must have been about 1915 when I came with Dad and an older brother from our home at Floyd and we spent the night in this old wagon yard. We slept in the stable room near the mules on a rope or wire-type bed. Dad suggested we attend a moving picture show after supper, but because I heard there was diphtheria around, I cried and begged not to go. We went anyway, and I enjoyed my first jerky, moving picture show. I will never forget how the characters jumped about on the screen; one ran and hid behind a barrel of water and the other shot holes in the barrel and the water squired out on him. Very exciting!