Today in 1982, Grandpa and I were watching the news. The KY3 lady was interviewing somebody inside the War Eagle Mill about that year’s fair. Behind the person being interviewed, Granny opens the door and peers inside pensively at the television cameras. She cautiously enters, followed by my mother carrying my sister.
The Cedar Grove Items column of the December 21, 1933 edition of the Berryville Star Progress announced the marriage of Jack McCall and Vella “Betty” Southerland. It’s interesting that when they applied for the marriage license at the courthouse on December 4th, they are recorded as “Jack McCall, 22, of Eureka Springs” and “Vella Southerland, 18, of Rockhouse”. This article, however, is even more geographically precise by indicating the bride is from Cedar Grove and the groom is from the Walker Settlement.
In a legal sense, George R. McCall’s Kings River farm was passed down to a new generation on January 27, 1968. It was on this date that the ownership of the farm transitioned from Clara McCall to her son Jack and his wife Betty.
It has been pointed out to me that I had a factual error in my January 7, 2015 column that appeared in the Eureka Springs Independent newspaper. The following is the corrected version.
My wife Diane grew up where the Pig Trail Kart n Golf (formerly The Fun Spot) is located on Highway 62 East in Eureka Springs. If you go back to the early 1980s, it was still a beautiful family home place, with an abundance of flowers, bushes and large old trees around a house with a big yard. There was some pasture and Duane O’Connor sometimes ran a few cows. Diane and her brother Doug would play in the front yard and periodically a car would pull up and tourists would ask for directions to the Passion Play. After being given directions, the tourists would sometimes ask how many blocks away it was. Diane didn’t know how to answer that.
Thirty years ago, we kept my Cousin Jim Sisco’s mare Lulabell at our place and I spent many a happy hour riding across the countryside. I wanted to go to my grandparents’ farm, but didn’t want to ride down through the curves on the shoulderless highway. (I’d done that before and didn’t want to repeat it.) My Grandpa Jack McCall knew all kinds of shortcuts, so I asked him for directions. He suggested I take the old road over the mountain and through the woods. Turns out his definition of a road and mine were different (mine undoubtedly influenced by living in East Coast suburbia.)
I still remember his directions. I was to turn left at the red oak snag. I found it. I was to stay straight at the giant dead elm. I found it. I was to watch for the dogs at the house where the hippies grew dope. Those dogs found me before I found them. Lulabell and I made it through that section pretty quick. Looking back, I realize that she and I did a lot of trespassing without a second thought.
Speaking of Grandpa and hippies, he told me once that he’d heard that there were hippies in Eureka that didn’t get out of bed until nine in the morning. He was incredulous. I’m glad he didn’t know what time I got up.
While doing some research, I came across this short article that ran in newspapers from St. Louis to Little Rock in the year 1902:
“Eureka Springs, Ark., April 29 – Dave Worley, 85 years old, grandfather and great grandsire to more than a hundred living persons, died at his home on Keels Creek, five miles south of here, Sunday. He had fifteen children by his first wife and nine by his second. In the funeral train was a wagon in which rode one of his granddaughters with ten of her children ranging from one to twelve years. The remainder of them were compelled to find other accommodations. Fifteen years before the war, Uncle Dave was a slayer of bears and trapper of wide renown throughout North Arkansas.”
When I was a teenager, Jack McCall gave me some catnip and told me to give it to the young cat that I’d recently adopted at the Good Shepherd Humane Society. Miss Kitty still ranks as my favorite cat. Grandpa Jack meant for the catnip to be a treat for her, and it certainly was. She swooned and purred and didn’t know what to do with herself. I didn’t get quite that excited after finding this article, but almost.
But as tantalizing as this information is, I don’t know what to do with it because it doesn’t seem to fit anywhere. There is a David Worley buried in the Shady Grove Cemetery, but he was only 63 at death. He married a relation of mine, Jemimah Harp at Cassville, Mo., in 1865. He’d recently returned to the Ozarks after being released as a prisoner of war in Georgia. This David Worley only had eight children of his own that I’ve been able to trace, though he did gain an additional seven step-children when he remarried after Jemimah’s death. I’ve never been able to come up with the name of his parents, so the Uncle Dave Worley of the article could be his father. Or uncle.
Either way, the “slayer of bears” sounds like quite an interesting character.
I like milk and ice cream and all kinds of dairy products, perhaps a little too much. Sometimes I wonder where the milk I’m drinking comes from; I doubt that it’s local. Dairy farms were once common in Carroll County, but sadly, they’re about all gone. The 1950 Federal Census of Agriculture shows that there were 10,298 milk cows in Carroll County. The same census for 2012 shows only 375.
Eureka Springs had three competing commercial dairies in 1943. They all bottled their milk in glass and delivered it door to door. Hoag Dairy was located down Greenwood Hollow Road, Rhiels Dairy was located in Dairy Hollow and Ripley Brothers Dairy was on Pivot Rock Road. I’ve heard it said that milk tasted different back then, and it probably did. Most of our milk now comes from the big black and white Holstein breed, known for producing large quantities of milk. Back then, the local dairies usually used the smaller Jersey and Guernsey cows that produce less milk, but with a much higher cream content. I’m told that Hoag Dairy used Jersey cows and Rhiels Dairy used Guernsey. I’m not sure about Ripley Brothers.
There was also a company in town called Alpine Dairy. It didn’t own any actual cows, but purchased raw milk from local farmers and bottled it for resale or turned it into butter and cheese. The company had a storefront on Spring Street for a time. My mother’s father, Jack McCall, was a local farmer who milked cows. He sold his milk to Kraft to be made into cheese. Grandpa had to set his milk out in big cans at the top of the lane for the truck from Berryville to pick up. It was also common not too long ago for families, even in town, to have a milk cow. My grandparents, McKinley and Lola Weems, kept a family milk cow at 1 Magnetic in Eureka.
The 1950 Census of Agriculture shows that 1,812 farms in Carroll County had milk cows, but only 158 of those farms had milking machines. That left a lot of cows to be milked by hand, another dying art.