Saturday, January 22, 2011

Big Fork Hotel and Post Office Visited by Professor and Geologist, Samuel Calvin

About 1880, a professor of Natural Science at the University of Iowa and geologist, Samuel Calvin came to Polk County to photograph the rock formations.  His gallery includes photos taken east of Mena which are mostly of geological formations in the woods.  Fortunately for us who are interested in Big Fork,  he took this photo of the early hotel and post office that served the community at that time.   As of yet, I haven't been able to identify the three people on the porch. 

Samuel Calvin was born in 1840 in Scotland and died while teaching at the University of Iowa in 1911.  You can read his biography and see his photos at:
Go to "Calvin's Scrapbook" and look under "Buildings".  Scroll down and Voila!

If you want to see the geological images he took east of Mena, go to "Calvin's Image Database".  Under "Geology of U.S. and Canada-Place of Interest" select "Arkansas" from the drop down menu and click "Go".  There you will see seven photos of rock formations and a waterfall characteristic of Polk County.

The Smith Family from Georgia

Malinda Jane (Turner) Smith

About 1866, the William Riley Smith family arrived in Big Fork.   They were from Lumpkin County, Georgia.  William Riley Smith married Malinda Jane Turner about 1848 in Georgia.  She was a younger sister to Lucretia E. (Turner) Goss, wife of Elijah B. Goss of Big Fork.   After leaving Georgia, Riley and Malinda went to Izzard County, Arkansas to visit Riley's brother.  The 1880 Izzard County Census showed a Jasper Smith and family.  Some in the Smith family think Riley's father's name was Jasper.  In Riley's granddaughter's Bible are the names: Jasper Smith and Sarah, Jasper, William Riley, Green, Mary and Artemissie.

Sometime between 1866 and 1870.  Riley and Jane M. Smith are listed with four children in the 1870 Polk County, Arkansas, Big Fork Township Census.    The four children were:  Washington, Frances M., Berriman J. and Sarah E.    Their close neighbors were the William and Sam Crawford families and the William and John Heath families.  Other neighbors included the Benson Goss family,  Stephen C. and Sarah Bates family, Thompson Shed family,  and the Thomas and Mary Edwards family.

In 1894, Riley Smith died.  Malinda later lived with her son, Washington H.  and his wife, Sarah (Bates) Smith. 
Sarah Jane (Bates) and Washington H. Smith

During the Civil War, in Georgia, Wash burned his arm while fighting fires.  So his parents sent him to school to get a little more education so he could make a living without depending entirely on his physical abilities.    About 1872 he married Sarah Jane Bates, the daughter of George V. and Tenny Bates.    They had ten children:
   1.  Amanda Elizabeth "Mandy" Smith, born 1873; married James B. Liles
   2.  Melinda Lucretia Smith,  born 1875.  She never married; ran the Post Office for awhile.
   3.  Luvina Smith who died at six weeks old.
   4.  Mary Artemissia "Artie" Smith, born 1879; married Moses Benjamin Fried
   5.  Alice Safronia Smith, born 1881; married Robert "Bob" Putman
   6.  Nancy Louella Bathsheba "Nan" Smith, born 1883; married Aaron Boston Michigan   
           "Boss" Dilbeck
   7.  Rhoda Florence Smith, born 1885;  married James Maddox
   8.  Susie Ovie Smith, born 1888, married George Hooper
   9.  Nina Varina Smith, born 1891; married Freeman Edwards
  10. Orland Jefferson Smith, born 1893; married Bessie Lee White

Four generations of the Smith Family

In this photo, left to right, front row, Jim and Mandy Liles with Elfie and Elsie;  Ovie Smith;
grandmother Malinda J. (Turner) Smith; Wash and Sally Smith with Orland Smith and Nina Smith.
Left to right, on the porch, Nan Smith, Artie Smith, Alice Smith, Florence Smith, Lucretia Smith.

Malinda Jane used to tell these grandchildren her "Old Georgia Tales" about the time when she and Riley lived in Georgia during the Civil War.   One of these that was told to me by her great-granddaughter included the account of when Riley was injured in the War and was laid up in South Carolina.   Malinda was determined to go get him and bring him home.   She put hay in the bed of the wagon and took the youngest child with her.   The other children were left for Wash, the oldest, to care for.   She drove to the Savannah River but had to stop because the water was up.   People there told her that she could not cross it.  But she drove her wagon into the river, the horses swam and she made it to the other side.   Riley's leg was injured and he always limped after that.   They experienced some hard times during the war and perhaps that was the reason they wanted to leave for Arkansas after it was over.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Martha Ann Cox Shed Goss Rodgers

Martha Cox was born June 4, 1836 in Georgia.  She is said to be the daughter of George Rufus Cox and Malinda Findley who migrated from Georgia to the head the Caddo River in Montgomery County, Arkansas in 1848.  Martha married John R. Shed in 1857 at the age of 21.  They had a daughter: Alsie Jane Shed, who later married Berryman Jasper Smith, son of Washington H. Smith and Malinda Jane (Turner). Another daughter was Martha R. Shed.

After John Shed died, Martha married Elijah Benson Goss and they had one son, Elijah Bethel Goss.

Later Martha married S. Rodgers who was her junior by eleven years.  They had no children.

Martha died on January 17, 1909 on the head of the Caddo River.  She and her parents are buried in the Cox-
Head Cemetery located near Sulphur Springs in Montgomery County, Arkansas.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

James Abernathy and Mary P. Vandiver

These two photos are of James Alexander Abernathy and his wife, Mary (Vandevier or Vandiver) Abernathy.   Mary  was the daughter of Enoch Vandiver and Nancy Bates.  Mary was born in 1826 in Pickens County, South Carolina.  She married James Alexander
Abernathy, born 1821.  Mary died in 1897 and James died in 1905.  They're both buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery at Big Fork.   They had eleven children:
1. Sarah Ann  born 1847
2. Laura M. born 1850  married William J. Scott
3. Nancy Louisa born 1852  married Asbury Leonard
4. Margaret Lucretia  born 1854  married George Scott
     and second: Mr Darymore; and third "Doc" Long;
     and fourth, Marion F. Roberts; fifth Mr. Whitehead
5. Rufus Jefferson Abernathy  born 1856
6. Phillip Abernathy  born about 1858
7. Darius "Lit" Abernathy born 1860
8. Cyntha  born 1863
9. James Alexander Abernathy, Jr.  born 1865
10. Mary Parasina  born 1867
11. Joshua Abernathy  born 1870