Friday, July 23, 2010

Dr. Stephen Christopher Bates

This photo is said to be Dr. Stephen Christopher Bates.

 Stephen C. Bates was the first child of William Fleming Bates and Mary A. Whisenant (known as Fleming and Polly Bates).  Stephen was their first child and was born December 4, 1825 in South Carolina.   He and his wife, Sarah Eveline (Corley), and children, William Bates, Issabella Bates and James Isaac Bates, along with Stephen's parents and other relatives, moved from Cherokee County, Georgia to Arkansas in 1852.   His first wife, Sarah, is buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery at Big Fork.  Later Stephen married Tenna S. E. Elizabeth Georgeann Josephine Shirley on May 19, 1881 in Montgomery County, Arkansas.   On March 14, 1901, he married Mary A. Ausbern/Ansbern in Montgomery County.   Stephen has fourteen children altogether.   He and Sarah had ten: William, Issabella, James Isaac ("Isaac"), Sarah Jane, Joseph, Ambrose Alexander, Sarah Frances, David, Martha, and Lucretia.   Martha and Lucretia and buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery at Big Fork.     Stephen and his second wife, Josephine ("Tenna") had four children:  Mary Ann, John Calhoun, Thomas Jefferson ("Tom Bill") and Sarah Evelyn ("Sally") Bates.    Stephen died December 13, 1913 and is buried at Oden, Arkansas.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

An Old Farm Near Big Fork

The Fried Family
Moses Benjamin "Mose" Fried with wife, Mary Artemisia "Artie" (Smith) Fried;
children are: 
Elizabeth Lucretia "Bess" Fried
Beulah Fried (baby)
Samuel Washington Fried (on the horse)

   Mose Fried was the son of Daniel Fried, Jr. and Malinda Dilbeck.  Mose Fried's grandfather, Daniel Fried, came to Polk County from Indiana in 1848.   His siblings: John W. Fried (married Kittie Cottman); Benson Daniel Fried (m. Inda M. Standridge); and Martha Salem Fried (m. William E. Burkhart).   His mother, Malinda Dilbeck was the daughter of John Washington Dilbeck and Eliza Selina (Goss) Dilbeck who came to Big Fork in 1851 from Lumpkin Co., Georgia.   They came to Big Fork with Eliza's parents, Benjamin and Martha "Patsy" (Harbin) Goss. 

   Daniel Fried, Jr., according to other family researchers, is the son of Daniel Fried, Sr. and Elizabeth Cutsinger, whose headstones are in the Concord Cemetery at Ink, Polk Co., Arkansas and can been seen online at   One family researcher claims that Daniel Fried Sr. was born in 1806 in Greene Co., Tennessee and married Elizabeth in 1828 in Orange Co., Indiana.   The parents of Daniel Fried, Sr. is thought to be John Freed (or Fried) and Regina Rife from Virginia; who moved to Indiana. 

  Mose and Artie Fried had ten children:  Samuel Washington, Elizabeth Lucretia (Tiller), Beulah (Luttrel), Margaret (Bates), Eula Jane (Hamby), David Daniel, Moses Benjamin, Jr., John, Martha, and Douglas Fried.  

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Abernathy Family

Nathan and Eve (Cline) Abernathy migrated to Cass County, Georgia from North Carolina in 1844.  One source claims they moved there to find jobs in the ironworks.  There were iron mines in Georgia.  They seemed to have lived in the community of Macedonia (also called Abernathyville) which now lies under Lake Allatoona.  Nathan and Eve Abernathy had a son named Phillip who became a blacksmith.  By at least 1848, the Abernathys met the Bates Family.  Phillip Abernathy married Margaret Bates, the daughter of Stephen and Sarah (Cox) Bates.   Phillip had a brother, James Alexander Abernathy, who married Mary Parasina Vandiver, the daughter of Nancy (Bates) and Enoch Vandiver.   These two Abernathy families joined the Bates wagon train and moved to Big Fork in 1852.

Phillip and Margaret (Bates) Abernathy found land on the east side of Big Fork which included the land that is now the Pleasant Grove Cemetery.   Their children were Canzada Abernathy who later married William J. Lewis;  Columbus C. Abernathy; James W. Abernathy; Elizabeth Hortense Abernathy and Minervah Abernathy.  The mother, Margaret, died before 1864 at an early age.  The father, Phillip, then married Mary Lewis and their children were Phillip R. Abernathy, Guilford Abernathy, Thomas Abernathy and either another son or daughter, the name is uncertain.

James A. Abernathy,Sr. and his wife, Mary P. (Vandiver) had a son named Joshua Abernathy.  Joshua married Lucretia E. Goss, the granddaughter of one of the early settlers, Elijah B. Goss.

James A. Abernathy, Jr. married Sarah Jane Standridge. Their daughter, Myrtle Abernathy, married Elijah A. Bates, son of John Calvin and Malinda (Goss) Bates.   Myrtle and "Lige" broke up and some people say she died of a broken heart at the age of 34.  She's buried at Pleasant Grove Cemetery near Big Fork and the name on her gravestone is simply "Myrtle Abernathy".
Abernathy Spring near Big  Fork on Hwy. 8 East


According to Rhoda Vandivier, daughter of Enoch and Nancy (Bates) Vandivier, the Bates wagon train from Georgia to Arkansas brought everything the settlers would need in their new wilderness home, including teachers.

One early school at Big Fork was called "the Shed School" because it was located on land owned by a Mr. Shed.  Remember the Sheds (Shedds) were early settlers from Georgia.   Later this same land was bought by Washington Himer Smith.   Wash Smith was an early schoolteacher.  When a young man he burned and permanently injured his arm fighting fires during the Civil War.  He needed another way to make a living besides farming so his parents sent him to Atlanta for more education.  He had a farm and taught school in Big Fork.  He earned about $30.00 a month for teaching.  He was one of the first to teach at "the Shed School" located southeast of "downtown" Big Fork on what is now Highway 8.  The simple, board building sat on a hill and had glass windows.  The benches were made of split logs.  

Free school was held during three months of summer and sometimes a subscription school was held in the winter.  When it was a subscription school, the parents would pay a certain amount per student. 

A Big Fork School Class about 1893.  The boy on the back row on the far right with the intials, A.B., SR written across him, is Aaron Boston Michigan Dilbeck, known as "Boss" Dilbeck.   The girl in the middle row, sixth from the left, is Alice Smith, daughter of Wash and Sally (Bates) Smith.  "Boss" Dilbeck later married Alice's sister, Nancy Smith.   The fourth person from the left, in the middle row, has a white skirt and someone wrote "Edna"on it.  I don't know who she is.

Dilbeck & Putmans were among this group above taken about 1910.

The Cox, Shedd, Royal, Rider, Head and Jeffrey Families

Many people had settled Northern Georgia and good farming land had become more scarce.  So wagon trains of Georgians moved on west.   George Rufus Cox, who was born in 1811 in North Carolina and migrated to Georgia, married Malinda Findley, thought to be living in Lumpkin County, Georgia.   George and Malinda, along with perhaps the Shedds, Royals, Riders and Jefferys, according one researcher, left Georgia in 1848 and moved to Arkansas.  Their descendants married into more than one Big Fork family.

Another family from Lumpkin County, Georgia that settled on the Caddo River east of Big Fork were the Heads. George R. and Malinda Cox's son, Moses C. Cox married Harriet M. Jeffrey.  Their daughter, Martha Etta Cox married Charlie Jackson Head.  A son of Moses and Harriet Cox, James LaFayette "Fatie" Cox, married Nancy Jane Bates, daughter of John Calvin Bates of Big Fork. Cynthia Malinda Cox, daughter of George and Malinda, married Jackson Dilbeck;  Lucy Minerva Cox, also daughter of George and Malinda, married James Beck. 

 Some of the Shedd (or Shed) family later married into families of Big Fork.  Riley and Malinda Smith's son, Berryman Smith married Ellie Malinda Jane Shedd (aka Alsie), daughter of Martha Ann Cox and John R. Shed,  in 1875.   Elijah Benson Goss married Martha Ann Cox Shedd after his first wife died.  She is said to be the daughter of George Rufus Cox who lived on the head of the Caddo River.  A Mr. Shedd  owned land in Big Fork where a school was built and it was called "the Shed School".

About the Rider family from Georgia , a family researcher on Ancestry. com says that Dicey Rider, who married Thomas Jefferson Bates, was a sister to John Rider who lived in Montgomery County.  John Rider, born 1820 in South Carolina, married Mary "Polly" Beck, born 1815 in South Carolina.    I have tried to find a reason why the Bates family picked Big Fork to settle.  Did John and Polly Rider move from Georgia to Arkansas in 1848 too?  Did the Bates family follow them later in 1852?  Inquiring minds would like to know.

The name "Royal" is of interest to me because the Bates' grandfather, William Bates, of Virginia and South Carolina,  married a widow named Mary Royal Barton.  She was the daughter of John and Susannah Royall.  John Royall's ancestry goes back to Joseph Royall, Sr. who came to Virginia in 1622 from England.   Joseph married Katherine Banks and they had a son, Joseph Royall, Jr. in 1646.  Joseph and Katherine had a large plantation.  After Joseph Royall, Sr. died near Charles City, Virginia in 1654, Katherine married Henry Isham, Sr. who also owned a large plantation.  Henry and Katherine had two daughters.  One of these daughters was Mary Isham who married William Randolph.  They became the ancestors of so many people that they were referred to as "the Adam and Eve of Virginia".
Joseph Royall,Jr. had a son, William Royall, who became the father of John Royall, the father of Mary Royall.  Mary first married a man named Barton.  Later, widowed, she married William Bates.   Around 1800, they moved from Halifax County, Virginia to Pendleton District, South Carolina.  Their son, Stephen Bates, was the progenitor of the Bates family that eventually migrated to Big Fork.  There is a community named "Royal" on Highway 270 in Garland County, near Hot Springs.  Was it named after the Royal family of Georgia?

Stephen Bates married Sarah Cox.  It has been very difficult to learn anything about Sarah's Cox family.  Were they related to the Cox family that moved from Lumpkin County, Georgia to Montgomery County, Arkansas?  Some say George Rufus Cox was Sarah's brother but others do not think so.   A family researcher on Ancestry. com says Sarah's father was Edward Cox.   There was an Edward Cox in the 1790 Pendleton District, SC Census and he had seven girls and three boys.  Sarah would have been five years old in 1790.  There was more than one Edward Cox listed in the 1790 and 1800 Pickens County, SC Census ; Pickens County was part of the old Pendleton District.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Dilbeck Family

John Dilbeck, born about 1817 in North or South Carolina, married Eliza Selina Goss, daughter of Benjamin and Patsy Goss, on January 2, 1840   John and Selina moved to Big Fork with her Goss family in 1851.   John Dilbeck was the son of David Dilbeck, born in 1788 in south Carolina.  John's mother was Mary Hampton.  It's thought that David Dilbeck's father was John George Dilbeck, Sr.  Dilbecks are found in the census records of North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania.   David Dilbeck migrated to northern Georgia to land that cornered what is now the Amicalola Falls State Park. 

John and Selina had four children when they moved to Big Fork in 1851.  They were:
Marion Asbury Dilbeck (later married Elizabeth Bates, daughter of William Fleming Bates)
Benson Greenberry Dilbeck
Malinda Dilbeck  (later married Daniel Fried, Jr. and had a son, Moses B. Fried of Big Fork)
Jackson Dilbeck  (later married Cynthia M. Cox)

After they settled near Big Fork, John and Selina had the following children:
John Ben Dilbeck ( married Margaret Huddleston and later married Margaret Pate)
James Washington Dilbeck  (married Susanne Savannah Edwards)
Selina Arminda Dilbeck  (married Hugh Fowler)

               The photo is of James Washington Dilbeck and Susanne Savannah Edwards
               They lived in the heart of Big Fork and had a store for years.   Behind their
                   house was a large, beautiful spring that served the community as a place to
                   get a cold drink on a hot day.    Eventually a concrete box was added to help
                   the water flow up and out and provide clean access.  

The Edwards Family

The Edwards family was from Cherokee County, Georgia. After the father, Charles Edwards, died in September 1865, his widow, Nancy Edwards, and some of her children moved to the Big Fork area.   These children included:
Thomas Jefferson Edwards and wife, Mary Ann Emma (Bates), daughter of William Fleming Bates and Mary (Whisenant) Bates that migrated to Big Fork in 1852.
James A. Edwards and wife, Clarissa (Messer) Edwards and children, including Susanne Savannah Edwards, 7 years old.       
Robert Simeon Edwards
Zachariah Gipson Edwards   (later married Rachel Tursa Bates, daughter of William Fleming    Bates in 1866 in Arkansas)
Rhoda Caroline Edwards  (later married Thomas Jefferson Bates, son of George V. Bates)
Nancy Jane Edwards

This branch of the Edwards family claimed that they were the first wagon train to come through Caddo Gap.  Thomas J. Edwards, son of Charles and Nancy Edwards, is said to have lead the wagon train.

                                Susanne Savannah Edwards 
        Born 1859 in Georgia
        Died October 3, 1943 at the home of her son, "Boss" Dilbeck
        Buried at Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Big Fork
        It was told to me that she used to say that she wanted this old world to come
        to an end because after she was gone she didn't want much to happen.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Goss Wagon Train of 1851

The Goss family lived in the northeast corner of Georgia in Lumpkin County until 1851.   Benjamin Goss,  was born in 1777 in Granville, North Carolina.   He married Martha "Patsy" Harbin about 1798.  He had migrated to Georgia from South Carolina with his parents and his own family as early as 1818.

By 1833 Benjamin had twelve children.  One theory is that since he fought in the War of 1812, he was given a land grant in Arkansas as payment.  Part of the land that later belonged to my grandparents originally was granted by the United States to Benjamin Goss as of March 1, 1855.   The Big Fork Creek bordered this piece of land.  I will tell a little more about this land later.

Early records, dated August 16, 1851, show that Benjamin's daughter, Selina, and her husband, John Dilbeck, asked for letters of dismission from their church.  They were preparing to move to Arkansas.   The ones that I know of that joined the wagon train in the fall of 1851 were:
Benjamin Goss, 74 years old, and wife, Patsy (Harbin) Goss
      Their children:
Elijah Benson Goss and his wife, Lucretia Emeline (Turner) Goss
      with six children:  Martha Emeline Goss, 14; Nathaniel Benson Goss, 11, Sarah Salina Goss, 9; Malinda Elvira Goss, 6; Millicent Lucretia Goss, 4; and Mary Jane Goss, 1 year old.
Selina (Goss) Dilbeck, daughter of Benjamin Goss, and husband, John Dilbeck
      with  four children:  Marion Asbury Dilbeck, 11; Benson Dilbeck, 9; Malinda Dilbeck, 6; and Jackson Dilbeck, 2.

Other children of Benjamin and Patsy Goss, that I believe were on the wagon train, were:
Malinda (Goss) O'Barr with at least two sons, Melton Asbury O'Barr and Marion A. O'Barr
      Malinda was a widow at the time.  Her husband was Ashley O'Barr and there is a story that gold was first discovered on his father's land in Hall County, Georgia in 1828.  Malinda and her sons did move to Arkansas because their names were on a deed for land near Big Fork as grantors and grantees.  Their name was on the deed for land that later became my grandparent's land near Big Fork.
Martha Goss, daughter of Benjamin and Patsy Goss.  Her name was on the same land deed.
Melissa (Goss) Garmon, daughter of Benjamin and Patsy Goss, and her husband, Perry Garmon
Elizabeth (Goss) Kinsie, daughter of Benjamin and Patsy Goss, and her husband, Elisha Kinsie
Louisa (Goss) Ayres, daughter of Benjamin and Patsy Goss, and her husband, William Ayres
   The names of Melissa, Elizabeth and Louisa and their husbands also were on the same deed for land near Big Fork.

Sarah Christenberry--A Sad Story

Written on the back is: Willie Christenberry.
A great, great-granddaughter of E. William and Sarah (Vandiver) Christenberry told me this story.  Sarah was the daughter of Nancy Bates and Enoch Vandiver from Cherokee County, Georgia.   She married E. William Christenberry about 1850 in Georgia.   The next year, 1851, they had a little boy, William.   That year E. William decided to travel away from home and go to Arkansas in search of land.  Sarah sewed his money into the lining of his coat.   He left Georgia and traveled alone toward Arkansas.  He never returned and Sarah never saw him again.   She was left alone with little William.   In the fall of 1852, she and little William joined her parents on the wagon train going to Arkansas.   All along the way, where they found people, they would stop and ask about E. William but no one knew anything about him.   They finally gave him up for dead.   Sarah settled near Big Fork.   Little William grew up and married Julia Philpot and had a daughter who married into the Edwards and Bates family who settled around Big Fork.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Bates Wagon Train from Georgia--1852

Who all were on this wagon train that arrived in Big Fork in the winter-early spring of 1852?  No one has a complete list so this is just a few people.  According to Rhoda Vandiver Vanhorn, who was five years old at the time, in an article for the Mena Star, there were over sixty families when the train was at its largest.  The train picked up people along the way and dropped off people according to where they decided to stop and  settle.  Many had stopped to settle before the wagon train reached Mt. Ida.  

They traveled in the wintertime as many wagon trains did.  After crossing the Mississippi, they entered the east part of Arkansas called the Grand Prairie.  It's a flat, swampy area.   Being winter they had to deal with ice and bayous to cross.   Most wagons were pulled by oxen but Fleming Bates' wagon was pulled by horses.  Being a little faster, he went ahead and scouted for good camping spots.  A wagon train could only travel about fifteen or twenty miles a day if there were no problems.   Not everyone could sleep in the wagon at night so the men cut Blackjack or Scrub Oaks and piled them up to put beds on.   When they came to a bayou, the men cut trees on each side and let the tops of the trees come together in the middle of the water.  This provided a bridge for the women and children.   Then the men would gelp the wagon and oxen teams to get across.   Some had to actually get down in the cold water to hold the wagons.   After leaving the flatland and entering more hilly country, they were very thankful.  It sounded good to hear the wheels rolling over the rocky road instead of ice, water and mud.   

When they reached Mt. Ida in Montgomery County, they held an all-night celebration.   From Mt. Ida, they went west to the head of the Caddo River.   Other people, such as the Cox family. were already settled since 1848.   The Cox family came from Northern Georga along with the Riders, Royals, Shedds and others.   Some of the Shedd family settled at Big Fork.   

Putting together family researcher's information and old articles from the Mena Star newspaper, the incomplete list of folks, that I know of, who settled in or near Big Fork were:
Sarah (Cox) Bates, 67 years old, wife of Stephen Bates-deceased
William Fleming Bates, 50 years old, son of Stephen and Sarah Bates
      His wife: Mary "Polly" (Whisenant) Bates
      Their children:
      Stephen Christopher Bates (possibly), 27 years old with wife, Sarah E. (Corley) Bates and their children.
     John Wesley Bates, 24 years old, with wife: Mary Lucinda (Baker) Bates
     Margaret Sarah Ann Bates
     James M. Bates
     Elizabeth Bates
     Nancy Bates
     Rachel Tursa Bates

Thomas Jefferson Bates, son of Sarah and Stephen, 44 years old, with wife: Dicey (Rider) Bates.  
     Their children:
     Nancy Bates
     Sarah Bates
    James Bates
    Mary Ann Bates
    Moses Bates
    Rachel Bates
    William Bates
    Thomas Bates
    Margaret Bates (baby)

Nancy (Bates) Vandiver, daughter of Stephen and Sarah, 47 years old, with husband, Enoch Vandiver and children:
    Mary P. Vandiver Abernathy and her husband, James Alexander Abernathy and children:
          Sarah Abernathy and Laura Abernathy
   Sarah Caroline (Vandiver) Christenberry and her son, William Christenberry
   Martha Vandiver
   Nancy Vandiver
   Elizabeth Vandiver
   Margaret Vandiver
   George Vandiver
   Rhoda Vandiver
   William Stephen Vandiver
   Elena Elizabeth Jane Vandiver

Mary Ann (Bates) King, 38 years old, with son, John King.
Sarah (Bates) Ellison, 34 years old, with husband, Israel Ellison and all their children:
     Mary Ann Ellison
     James Ellison
     William Ellison
     Henry Ellison
George V. Bates, 32 years old, with wife, Hortense "Tennie" Mansina (Walker) Bates and children:
      John Calvin Bates
      Abram Royal Bates
      Thomas Jefferson Bates
      Nancy Elizabeth Bates
      Sarah Jane Bates (baby)

Margaret "Peggy" (Bates) Abernathy, 23 years old, with husband, Phillip Abernathy, and child:
      Canzada Abernathy

Other people on this wagon train included:
Abraham Walker, brother to Hortense Mansina (Walker) Bates, and wife and child
Some family researchers also think some of Israel Ellison's relatives came too.

One Mena Star article mentioned the McBeele family and Anderson family who did not settle in Big Fork; they stopped at Black Springs, east of Big Fork.

The Goss Family--Early Settlers

     This photo is of Elijah Benson Goss (on the far left) with his second wife, Martha Cox Shed Goss, said to be daughter of George Rufus and Malinda (Findley) Cox.  In the middle is Elijah's daughter, Millicent Lucretia Goss; Elijah's son, William John Goss; and Elijah's son, James Thomas Goss.   The mother to these children was Lucretia Emeline Turner.  There's a complete list of Elijah's children below.

     Elijah B. Goss was born in 1816 in Pickens County, South Carolina.  His parents were Benjamin Goss and Martha "Patsy" Harbin.  Benjamin was born in 1777, probably in North Carolina and Patsy was born in 1783 in Maryland.  They married in 1798 in South Carolina and later migrated to Northern Georgia about 1818.  They moved on to Big Fork, Arkansas in 1851.  Benjamin died in 1857 and Patsy died between 1853 and 1856.  They are buried in a small, obscure cemetery in the edge of the woods  at the end of a lane in Big Fork.

     Elijah's daughter, Malinda Elvira Goss, married John Calvin Bates, son of George V. Bates.  The Goss family owned land on the north side of Butcherknife Creek.

                                       Part of many acres once owned by the Goss family. 

     This is the Goss Cemetery located at the end of Magic Pine Lane south of Highway 8 East in Big Fork.  The headstone shown here is for John Calvin Bates, who married Malinda E. Goss.  All the other grave markers are large rocks.  Calvin and Lindy lived on this land.

    When the Goss family first came to Big Fork, they hid their possessions in two large holes dug in the hillside.   When Lindy got married in 1864, she went to one of these holes and took out her faded calico dress, washed and ironed it, for her wedding.   Sometime after they married they moved a few miles west toward Board Camp.  Later they returned to Big Fork and ran a store.   Whenever they needed supplies, the best place to go was to Little Rock.   About 1869 they made a trip to Little Rock with their two children, Tennie and Benson.  The round would have taken about three weeks but they were held up an extra week making it a month long trip.

Children of Elijah Benson Goss and Lucretia Turner:
 1. Martha Emeline Goss who married (1) Kimsey Posey Standridge   (2) Phillip Abernathy, who was first    married to Margaret Bates, daughter of Stephen and Sarah Bates.
 2. Nathaniel Benson Goss who married (1) Mary Ann Ellison, daughter of Israel Ellison and Sarah Bates;
       (2) Nancy Ann Elizabeth Bowen, daughter of Frances M. Bowen and Temperance M. A. Standridge.
             (note that Nancy A. E. Bowen Goss later married Abram Royal Bates, son of George V. Bates)
 3. Sarah Selina Goss 
 4. Malinda Elvira "Lindy" Goss who married John Calvin Bates, son of George V. Bates
  5. Millicent Lucretia Goss who married (1) John Henry Jeffry  (2) Newton Standridge
 6. Mary Jane Goss who married James Isaac Bates, son of Stephen C. Bates and Sarah E. Corley
  7. Benjamin Berriman Goss who married Louzetta A. Hutchinson
 8. Louvisa Canzada Goss who married Joseph Bates, son of Stephen C. Bates and Sarah E. Corley
 9. William John Goss who married (1) Cordelia Mays  (2) Mary Parasina Abernathy, daughter of James
      Alexander Abernathy and Mary P. Vandevier.
10. James Thomas Goss who died at age seventeen

Children of Elijah Benson Goss and Martha Cox:
1. Elijah Bethel Goss, born 1878 and died 1880

Monday, March 29, 2010

George V. Bates Family--Early Settlers of Big Fork

This is the earliest photo of George V. Bates, standing on the far right with a long beard.  Next to him on the far right was his second wife, Alice Celia Roberts.  On the far left, partly in the photo is his son, John Calvin Bates.  Next to Calvin is his wife, Malinda Elvira (Goss) Bates.  She was the daughter of Elijah Benson Goss and Lucretia E. (Turner) who first settled in Big Fork in 1851.  The man on the porch is Calvin and "Lindy's" son, George Benson Bates.  Next to "Uncle Benson" is his wife, Josephine (Burkhart) Bates.  The little girl on the far end of the porch on the right is Calvin and Lindy's youngest child, Nellie Bates.  The other children belong to Benson and Josie.  Their names are Elijah Argie Bates, Roger Jackson Bates, John Bethel Bates, Osie Bates and Viola Tamantha Bates (oldest daughter standing next to Nellie).

     George V. Bates was born October 6, 1820 in Pickens County, South Carolina.  His parents were Stephen and Sarah (Cox) Bates.  Stephen was born about 1778 in Halifax County, Virginia.  Sarah was born in South Carolina.   Stephen and Sarah had nine children.  George was the youngest son.  In 1835 Stephen and Sarah Bates moved to Cherokee County, Georgia.
     On September 29, 1842, George married Hortense ("Tennie") Mansina Walker, daughter of Allen Walker.  She was born about 1822 in Spartanburg District, South Carolina.  They had ten children.  The first child, a son, died in infancy.  The second child was John Calvin Bates (in the photo above).
Next was Abram Royal Bates; then Thomas Jefferson Bates (in another photo of the mill that George built on the Butcherknife Creek); Nancy Elizabeth Bates; Sarah Jane Bates; Margaret Bates; Stephen Bates; James Allen Bates; and the last one was George W. Bates.
                                                             Tennie (Walker) Bates
George and Tennie Bates traveled from Northern Georgia by way of an ox-drawn wagon train.  Calvin was the oldest child and Sarah Jane ("Sally") was the baby.   Tennie and George had four more children after moving to Big Fork.   Tennie's brother, Abraham Walker, and wife, Mary, and daughter, Harriet, also came on the same wagon train.

 Some of land that George and Tennie Bates bought on Butcherknife Creek, sometime around 1852, from a Mr. Cabler.  Part of the land, where I'm standing to take this photo, was given to build the town of Big Fork.

left to right:  George V. Bates, 86 yrs. old; Malinda E. (Goss) Bates, 61 yrs. old;  John Calvin Bates, 61 yrs. old;  George Benson Bates, 39 yrs. old; Samantha Viola (Bates) Looney, 18 yrs old, holding Floyd Looney, born May 1906; Josephine (Burkhart) Bates, 36 yrs. old;  Hotridge Lithco Looney, 23 yrs. old, son of Samuel L. and Avis F. (Boggs) Looney.

Bates Grist Mill

     The grist mill shown in the background was built by George V. Bates and was located on the Butcherknife Creek not far from downtown Big Fork.   It was built sometime between 1854 and 1867.  George Bates dammed up the Butcherknife Creek farther upstream and then dug a raceway to divert the water.  The raceway ran above the level of the creek along the foot of a hill on the south side of the creek and then curved around to the mill.  The diverted water turned the big wooden wheel that powered the mill.  
     The people are the family of Thomas Jefferson Bates.  Uncle Tom was the son of George V. Bates, builder of the mill.   Here is the names of some of these people:  Tom is on the far right with his arms crossed.  
(from right to left on the back row): Ezra Bates, Mount Bates, Y.D. Bates, James Roberts, "Lum" Liles, Dee Davis, Jim Taylor, Asa Talley with baby, and Sam Looney.  
(middle row from right to left): Minerva (Lewis) Bates, Leona (McMillan) Bates, Nola (Spears) Bates with baby, Victoria (Bates) Roberts, Olive Roberts, Mima (Bates) Liles with baby, Margaret (Bates) Davis with baby, Sarah (Bates) Taylor, Lizzie (Bates) Talley with baby, and Nancy (Bates) Looney.
On the front row some of the children are: Grace Liles, and other Liles children, Crawford children and Davis children.  Standing on the end of the front row on the far left is Will Crawford.

 The mill was located on the far left by the trees.  The buildings on the right are in "downtown" Big Fork.  On the other side of the row of trees on the left is Butcherknife Creek.   When this photo was taken, the field was owned by Jess and Neumata (Edwards) Fountain.

Here lies the mill stone resting in the pasture near where it used to grind up the grain.  We kicked back the grass and dirt to reveal its secret hiding place.
 Looking up Butcherknife Creek from the bridge on Hwy. 8 East in Big Fork. The Bates gristmill was up this creek on the left.   A story says that in the early days surveyors lost a knife in this creek and that's how it got its name.  Bates land lay on the left and Goss land was on the right of the creek.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Group of Big Fork Inhabitants in the Old Days

Photo taken about 1906-1910 in Big Fork near Highway 8 East and Polk County Road 61.

Downtown Big Fork in the Winter

Here Highway 8 passes through Big Fork going west toward Mena.  All the original business buildings were torn down and only residences exist today.   There is one little store, "The Big Fork Mall", built in modern times, that can provide a candy bar and cold pop to passers-by.

Downtown Big Fork

This view is looking northwest at what used to be part of downtown Big Fork.   The house across the highway in the middle of the photo used to belong to Wash and Susanne Dilbeck.  They also had a store in this location.  Behind the house was a community spring where anyone could get a drink.  At this popular spring, a young man named Washington Himer Smith handed  the dipper to Sarah Jane Bates.   They got married later on and one of their daughters, Nancy Smith, married Aaron "Boss" Dilbeck, son of Wash and Susanne Dilbeck.   Also a little ways farther behind the house is the Big Fork Creek.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Big Fork Creek

We can't recall the town without talking about this important little stream that ran through it.  Big Fork Creek is fed by cold mountain springs and will chill you to the bone even in the summertime.  For those that never had air-conditioning, this creek was a real comfort for the long, hot, humid days with its many beautiful swimming holes.  People have happy memories of swimming in the Bessie Hole, the Blue Hole, the Mill Hole and the Bluff Holes.  On my great-grandparent's farm was a small family hole that accommodated grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and all the kids.  The water was always crystal clear and was teaming with fish.  My Grandmother fondly remembers how the bullfrogs sang their bass songs until they were depleted by too much frog gigging.   

Who Were the First Settlers of Big Fork?

    Who the very first white settler was is unknown to me.   The Wehunt and Chaney families were living on the upper Big Fork before 1852.   Big Fork used to be part of Montgomery County.  Thomas Jefferson Bates, known as "Uncle Tom Bates", said that the line was changed sometime after the Bates family arrived.  A timeline for Montgomery County found at says the line was changed in 1850.  It had previously run halfway between Big Fork and Board Camp but was moved six miles east.  In 1859 the county line between Polk and Montgomery was defined.  In the 1850 census record for Montgomery County, Caddo Township, there are some interesting families such as  the Cablers, Chenys, Huddlestons from Tennessee (Margaret Bates, daughter of George V. Bates, married a Huddleston); Seaborn Shed and family from South Carolina and Georgia; Weehunts from North Carolina.  There is also John and Polly Rider who were born in South Carolina and had no children in 1850.   Samuel and Jemima Rider from Georgia. (Thomas Jefferson Bates, son of Stephen and Sarah Bates, married Dicey Rider and came to Big Fork in 1851.)   John Jeffry, born in Alabama, and his wife, Harriet, born in Georgia, with first child being born in Arkansas in 1844.   The Fleming family from Georgia also listed.

     In 1851, a wagon train from Georgia, brought the Goss, Dilbeck, Kinsie, Garmon, and Ayres families (all being related to each other) and perhaps other families too.
     In 1852, the Bates, Abernathy, Vandiver, Walker and Ellison families came  from Georgia with ox-drawn wagons.   George V. Bates bought 120 acres along the Butcherknife Creek from a Mr. Cabler.  Mr. Cabler is thought to be Thomas H. Cabler who was born around 1829 in Tennessee.   He married Perline C. Fleming in 1851 in Montgomery County.   The Cablers divorced in 1855 and had no children.  The reason Mr. Cabler sold his land was because his wife had left him and he had no more use for it. 

    A very old article called, "Early Days in Big Fork Community", mentions some names.  The author is unknown.  I received this article from a cousin who worked for years on the Bates genealogy.   According to this article,  C.B.R. Smith and a Mr. Goss, both from Georgia, settled on Mill Creek.   And also an "Uncle Billy Crawford" lived on Mill Creek.  Now Mill Creek was over a mountain, west of Big Fork, and later became a community of its own.

    William Riley Smith and his wife, Malinda Jane (Turner), and their children came to Big Fork about 1866.  They were from Lumpkin County, Georgia.  Her sister, Lucretia (Turner), was married to Elijah B. Goss, who had already migrated to Big Fork in 1851.  

    A large Edwards family arrived in the Big Fork area, from Cherokee County, Georgia, sometime around 1866.  This is my estimation based on marriage records.   The Standridges came from Rome, Georgia in 1889.  Other families from Northern Georgia who settled in the Big Fork area were the Bowens and Stovers.  

    Of course there were native Americans who lived around the Big Fork area long before white settlers.  One of the main tribes that roamed this part of the Ouachita Mountains were the Caddos.  The Osage tribe lived mainly north, closer to the Fort Smith area.  And the Quapaw Indians lived east of the Caddos and Osage.  These tribes intermingled at times.  They left many tokens of their existance in the flint arrowheads and stone artifacts that show up in the plowed fields and gardens after a rain.