Sevier County Museum

Sevier County  Museum The Sevier County Museum is seeking to preserve our history for future generations.

Sevier County Museum

Sevier County Museum

Interview with: Mrs. A E Pettigrew on August 7, 1979; at her home.
Interviewed by: Louise Thompson

Ethel Millwee Pettigrew, who was born 85 years ago five miles east of De Queen, remembers much of the early times of the county. A talk with her is a real treat as she takes one back through the years. she recalls her first ice cream, getting away from a bear, walking behind the coffin to the little cemetery, and riding three on a horse to De Queen for supplies.

Mrs. Pettigrew's grandmother, Julia Davis, who raised her, came to Arkansas in 1848 from Georgia. She cried three weeks after she got here as the move was so strange, but her daddy, Mr. Davis, who was a farmer, built a house near Fairview and began to farm.

The grandmother (Julia) married Dr. Jim Hadley and when Ethel Pettigrew's mother died, the grandmother took the two little girls, Ethel and Irene, into her home and heart.

"Grandmother never hit us a lick in our lives," said Mrs. Pettigrew." Noble Millwee, the father, died within a few years of his wife's death, but Mrs. Hadley (grandmother)was always afraid some of the Millwees would try to take the little girls.

Dr. Hadley had built a log house but soon built a bigger home as the family was growing. The kitchen was logs and apart from the rest of the house, which was of good lumber. It had two stories and a fine stairway which Mrs. Pettigrew remembers vividly.

The old log house stood for years and was used by people passing through as temporary shelter. Grandmother Hadley had a fine garden and an orchard nearby.

Dr. Jim Hadley raised a pretty good stock of cattle. (Mrs. Pettigrew grew eloquent over the milk they had) and he was good at making furniture. He grew poppies to make his opium for sedation. They smoked their meat, made soap and hominy, picked the berries that grew nearby and walked into De Queen for supplies.

"I don't know how we did it," said Mrs. Pettigrew, "But we just took off through the woods to go anywhere and never got lost!"

After her husband's death, Mrs. Hadley went to Central area near Horatio to care for a sick relative. Ethel was 13 years old then. She attended school at the Weems schoolhouse and carried her lunches in a syrup pail. Dillard Millwee from Lockesburg was the teacher.That is where she met the boy she later married. The recesses were spent playing baseball.

I asked Mrs.Pettigrew if she remembered any frightening experiences. She said, "Not Many. Life was pretty quiet, but I do remember a tornado that came when we lived at Fairview and blew the tents away of some people camping by the old log house. They woke us up hollering."

She also told of seeing a bear as she and Irene were walking home from Wallace Hill school while living in Fairview Community. They were using the log railroad as a path, but they quietly slipped around through the trees and made it safely home!

The worst scare for Ethel as a little girl in the neighborhood was this: "And there was a man nearby we thought was a hunted man (He was afraid of a bounty hunter) who got angry and killed people's stock if he thought they had it in for him, but mostly people were good. Good thing, too, for we didn't have many laws."

After the move to Central, Horatio was the nearest town and from there Ethel took an occasional trip to visit in De Queen. A cousin, Tom Meredith, was editor of the De Queen Bee, she said. Most of her 85 years have been spent in the area of central Sevier County.

She married Alonzo Pettigrew October 8, 1911, and raised 6 children. her oldest daughter, Vida Traywick, has moved back to Horatio and lives near her mother. (1979) Mrs. Pettigrew said Rev. W D Hill of the Missionary Baptist Church at Corinth performed her wedding ceremony at her home, after which they were loudly treated to a shivaree.
(The end)

Next will be an interview with Mr. T M "Mack" Ridley.

Sevier County Museum

Sevier County Museum

Posting for the first time in several weeks. We at the museum have been busy with tours. The biggest one comes this Thursday with 186 De Queen second grade students coming, 40 at a time, to the museum for a scavenger hunt and educational tour. We are really looking forward to them coming. Last week we had approximately 60 11th grade De Queen Arkansas History students come for a scavenger hunt and before that, Ms. Jen Arnold's pre-school (5 boys and 5 girls) came for a tour. We love having the children.

I do want to continue to share the interviews that were recorded on paper by the late Lois Carruth in March of 1980. The following is with the late Lorene Hendricks:
"My name is Lorene Hendricks. I go by Mrs. Hendricks, not Ms. I am a doctor's widow. My husband was Dr. John S. Hendricks. He practiced his first year at Grannis, Arkansas, before he came to De Queen."

"He started, before he had his medical degree, to practice under his brother, Dr. Ben, at Gillham. As a matter of fact, his first call was out to the old Ladd place to see Grandma Ladd. That was out on the Cossatot, the first patient he ever called on. After he had practiced fifty years from the day he made his call out there, I carried him out there and made his picture at the old house where Grandma Ladd was. I think the old log house is now torn down. At the time that I made his picture, it was in bad repair. I still have the picture. No, I don'[t know if Mr. Sibert knows I have the picture or not. It is just a Kodak picture but he would be welcome to borrow it."

"That day after I made Dr. Hendricks' picture at the Ladd cabin, we came back around to the building which is the west end of wax's store. That was the drug store that he worked in while he was working on his doctor's degree. he would work in the summer at Dr. Ben's Drug Store and..."

"We got home that night and we had just started to eat supper when he had telephone call and Amos Bagley was calling that his wife was in labor and he had been trying to get him for quite a while. So we stopped the meal and went and he delivered twins that night."

" I was his nurse and bookkeeper for 20 years."

"I could tell you something about Gillham. Dr. Smith was practicing in Gillham; Dr. Ferdinand Smith. Then Dr. Ben Hendricks went there and practiced under him. Dr. Ben's first call out, I don't know the date of this, but it was always told this way: Dr. Smith had a call one day but he was out, so Mrs. Smith got another set of pill bags and said, 'Here, Bennie, put 'em on that horse and get going!' So Dr. Ben made his first call that day."

"I think that Mrs. Carl Smith at Gillham would be able to help us on Dr. Smith. She would be able to furnish some information. That was her husband's grandfather, I believe. Dr. Ferdinand Smith; maybe her husband's father. I'll drop her a note and ask her if she will do us something on Dr. Smith."

"Yes, I knew the writer, Laura Coles. Doctor, when he was practicing in Grannis the first year; he and Laura were very good friends because she liked to read. Doctor had a library. it didn't make any difference whether it was from a preacher's library or a doctor's library, she liked to read!"

"I was president of the High School PTA one time and we asked Laura Coles to be our speaker. She had just been to Tulane or Duke or somewhere. She talked on the care of and cultivation of wild plants at this university. She had her place covered with wild plants, so we asked her to speak at De Queen and we asked her what she would like to speak on. She said, "Well....I guess I could speak on the care and cultivation of wild husbands." So, when she got up that night to speak she said. 'Well, we have listed 'The Care and Cultivation of Wild Husbands.' "I'll tell you I'm not prepared to speak, because mine was average mill run. I don't know anything about wild ones." She said, "Mine always worked. We had a saw-mill and I scaled logs for him and he ran the saw-mill. Then when I got home I spent all my time reading that I could possibly spare." She was hard of hearing and she said, "My hearing handicap has been such a blessing. You know, when I sat down to let the baby nurse, I would read. All the noise that the kids made, I didn't hear a bit of it. I could read and concentrate while the baby nursed."

"The Bee Company used to publish her little magazine. I used to take it. It was about wild plants. She said that the thing that upset her most about going to Duke to lecture was that her daughter had her go by her house before she went on to lecture. The daughter said, "Now Mother, first thing, you have to have some clothes that are suitable. I have them for you." And so one of the neighbors came in and they were going to try this outfit on Laura Coles. And she say, "You know, they had a dress they called a formal; a thing that was down to my ankles. I told my daughter, I don't want to be caught in this garb dead."

"Anyway, they persuaded her to wear this one to Duke, I believe it was. She had it on to speak in but she said she never wore it again."

"But anyhow, she was clever; she was a very smart person. She said that there was a Presbyterian preacher that lived there one time (Grannis) who was the greatest help to her of anybody that she. knew. He had a real good library and she read every book he had, including his encyclopedias." She lived at Grannis. Grannis is in Polk county. She had a scientific mind." (to be continued)

Sevier County Museum

Sevier County Museum

Interview made by Lois Carruth in April 1980 with Mrs. Virgil Evans.

This is Lois Carruth recording information given by Mrs. Virgil Evans of Hot Springs, Arkansas. she was a sister of Mr. Abe Collins. This is quoting from a letter dated 10/23/79. The letter was written to Mrs. Charlie Leighton (Garland) of De Queen. She says:
"I was a resident of De Queen from 1895 to 1917. As per your request I shall provide some information as to forms of entertainment the citizens of De Queen enjoyed at that time."
"The summer Chatauqua was an annual affair which everybody thoroughly enjoyed. A group of entertainers came for a week, bringing with them a tent and other essential props. The citizens guaranteed them a certain amount of money by selling tickets."
"Most churches conducted revivals annually with visiting evangelists. They were scheduled at different times so that everybody in the county could attend each revival."
"Occasionally a trained person would come and put on a play, with the assistance of local talent. This was something that everybody thoroughly enjoyed."
"Occasionally, for those who owned animals, horseback riding was enjoyed, as was surrey riding on Sunday."
"The most popular game for women at the time was croquet. For men a popular game was horseshoes."
"People walked wherever they went locally, sometimes walking as far as two or three miles."
"Most people did not go to grocery stores except for the most basic essentials, growing everything in their gardens. Later on, in the early 1900's, after the telephone was installed in grocery stores and homes, women would call the grocery store and order the groceries they wanted and would have them delivered."
"Women often gathered in a home for a visit and would have a quilting bee. At this time, all the local gossip was exchanged and this was thoroughly enjoyed by everybody."
"Women were not really employed a great deal at this time, except in the teaching profession or as clerks in stores or waitresses in cafes."
"There were two locations where families went for summer vacations. These were Bog Springs and Baker Springs. There were hotel accommodations, recreation areas, and spring water to drink. Some families had family homes in these areas."
"Travel was by train or wagon. Kansas City Southern, from Kansas City to Port Arthur, Texas, was the most popular form of transportation in those days, since very few people had anything other than wagons." (End of letter)
Next: An interview with Mrs. Lorene Hendricks in 1980.

Sevier County Museum

Sevier County Museum

Final notes from interview with Mrs. Tom Coulter (Pearl) April, 1980
(Pearl) In the Secretary of State's book there is a reference that names M. Coulter, my husband's grandfather, as a county judge, but there is no explanation of when he went in or when he went out.
(Interviewer) [The facts are that he served as county judge of Sevier County soon after the end of the Civil War. His main drive was getting bridges and roads back in repair.
"Honorable James M Coulter, October 2, 1865, judge of said court..."
There were no associate justices to assist him, so the sheriff was ordered to call two justices to assist him. James M. Coulter held court in the last quarter of 1865 and into 1866.
In the spring quarter, a number of the justices met with Honorable James M. Coulter to hear Mr. Ballard's request. Mr. Ballard was head of the Freedman's Bureau in Sevier County and he wrote a letter asking the county to receive indigent negroes in the "Poor House." The court determined that they could not and so answered Mr. Ballard.
They had a general election for county judge on August 6, 1866, and another took his place.]
(Pearl) I had understood that he (James M.) was just filling in.
No, I do not know anything about the reference to James M. Coulter's Old Place and James M. Coulter's New Place. I only knew of the one house. It's the one that is there now. (1980) There is no one in it now.
There was a time when the house was heavily in debt. After Tom's father, That's Charles Coulter, died, the older boys got that settled. John, the doctor, kind of took charge. He was in business in Ashdown. After John died, (in the ensuing years he had paid the other brothers and he was the sole owner) his widow, Mrs. Verda Coulter, in turn has sold some of it to Mr. coulter's grandsons. Billie Coulter has part of it and Burton has part. South of the road, Don Coulter has a place and has recently built a new house.
To get to the old house, you take Highway 24 east. You go about three miles and you will see an old peach shed. You turn to your left and you are going north. You go up that lane until you come to the house. It isn't occupied now. There is another house just to the east of the old place that when Ritch Coulter was living, it was his office. There was a bedroom and some of the boys slept out there. John has remodeled that little house and it is just real nice, but nobody is living there at this time.
They used to come up there every summer during the peach season but after they pulled up all the peach trees, they don't come. They have cattle on it now; cattle and chicken houses.
Now, this bridge that you're talking about, over the Saline River. It sits to the north of the bridge that's there now. The one that we use is a concrete bridge. I think the other one has been torn down. Tom Coulter's life, also, was linked to roads and bridges.
If you ask about me, I can say that I am not really a native of Sevier County. My father and mother lived over at Center Point. My mother was born there but my father was born over here at Ft. Towson. Later, my daddy went to Quana, Texas, to work at some kind of a plant. I don't know if gypsum is the right word or not. He came back to Center Point and he and my mother were married and went back out there. (Texas) That was in 1900 or 1901, I guess. In 1902, I was born. Mama couldn't stand the winds and weather in Quana, Texas, so they moved back to Center Point and they stayed there until 1910 when they moved out south of Lockesburg. My brother is still on the place.
My great-grandfather Smith was named Tom. My grandfather was Samuel. They lived at Center Point or out north of Center Point. I don't know if that was before Howard County was formed. The Smiths were never in Sevier County.
My mother taught school on horseback. She rode from Center Point out to some of those other settlements there.
She didn't last long. She just taught one year and then she decided that she wanted something else. Teaching has just been my line of work.
As for my schooling: I started to school in Center Point. At that time my mother and father lived out north of center Point and there were no other children out there. Mama just got afraid for me to go to school. Mama was one of the world's biggest cowards - next to me. She just stopped me and taught me at home.
The next winter they saw that they were going to have to make a change. They were goin to have to educate their children and they couldn't do it from there so they sold that place and moved out south of Center Point so I would be within walking distance. It was a much better road and there were other students on that south end that I could walk with.
I went to Center Point school until in November. Lockesburg had the reputation at that time of being the best school in southwest Arkansas. A Mr. Abbott was the principal there then. He just stayed one year. It was on November 8 that we came to Sevier County in a wagon train. I was eight years old. My grandfather had a wagon and one of our neighbors had a wagon and Papa had his wagon. There was a fourth wagon but I cannot remember who was driving it. We came across the Saline River and up the little hill there. up on top of the hill, coming out of the bottom, was a grove of beautiful oak trees. That's where we stopped and ate a lunch Mama had cooked. Then we came on to a mile and a half south of Lockesburg. Mama brought me up to school on Friday and got me enrolled. Monday morning, I started to school.
I carried a lunch in a pail. My mother would have some kind of meat sandwich and a piece of cake and fruit, when you could get it. She would bake cookies and make fried pies. There would be sausage and ham for our lunch. Yes, we had hard-boiled eggs but they were never a favorite of mine.
The next winter, a boy from over at Center Point who had been a neighbor there, came over and boarded with us and went to school in Lockesburg. There were lots of students who boarded and went to school in Lockesburg, which was called Hesperian.
After I had started to school on Monday, I just didn't miss. Rain, hail, sleet; I'd go. After it was called Lockesburg High School, they had all the grades. By the time I went to high school, we had five years of it. We had seven years of elementary grades and we started high school with eighth grade.
(Coming next, a 1980 interview with Mrs. Virgil Evans of Hot Springs, sister of Mr. Abe Collins, De Queen)


717 Walter J Leeper Dr
De Queen, AR


(870) 642-6642


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