dee_burris: (Default)
A few weeks ago, my dad surprised me with a one year subscription to The Atkins Chronicle. It's a little weekly newspaper published in Atkins (Pope County), AR.

Atkins has been important to my Burrises for over 170 years.

They may have branched out to work in Russellville, but Atkins was the town closest to where they lived.
The paper has a hometown feel. When two cars belonging to locals collide, readers not only get the facts about the wreck, but a little comment about whose kids these are.

Even if the "kids" in question have been adults themselves for several decades.

There are columns written by the residents of the local townships, in keeping with newspapers of yore.

Those columns are full of "my momma" and "her daddy" and critiques of the organist's performance in church last Sunday.

But my favorite section of the paper is one called Memories.That section contains reprints of snippets of information published by The Atkins Chronicle 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago.

From the files of October 18, 1912:
Born to J D Boen and wife, Oct. 5, a girl.

Born to Wiley Godbey and wife, the 14th, a boy.
(My editorial comment...what a trip. "And wife," like she was just incidental to the birth.)

Atkins has thirteen automobiles - someone get another - break the number. (Do we detect some triskaidekaphobia there?)

From the files of October 25, 1912:
Atkins has 17,681 running feet of concrete walk and about 500 feet of walk to house entrances.
I wonder how they decide which memories to publish?
dee_burris: (Default)
I've been puzzling over this little tidbit in the 24 Feb 1877 edition of the Southern Standard, which has been published continuously in Clark County, AR since at least 1869.


Mr. John J Morrell will soon start a paper at Carlisle, Prairie county, Ark., having secured the press and material on which the "Prairie Flower" was formerly published. Don't do it, John, if you know whot is good for yourself.

That sounds ominous.

I have more than passing interest in John J Morrell.

He was the nephew of Hannah J Morrell, who was my third great grandmother.

The Morrells had been in the newspaper business for many years before coming to Arkansas from Maine (by way of Tennessee) after the 1843 death of Hannah Morrell's husband, Henry Balding.

Hannah's youngest son, James Henry Balding, lived with her brother John Clement Morrell (and his son, John J, the subject of the warning) in Prairie County after Hannah died in 1856.

James Henry Balding helped his uncle get the paper out until he went off to war. John Clement Morrell's paper was the Des Arc Citizen, and John Morrell started publishing it as a weekly in 1854.

When James Henry Balding came back from the war (where he was a musician, of all things), he stayed in the newspaper business for a number of years afterward and was a member of the Arkansas Press Association until at least 1876.

It seems only natural that John J Morrell would follow in his daddy's footsteps and publish a newspaper. It sounds like news ink ran in the veins of the Morrell clan.

Seems like 26 year old John J Morrell was just following family tradition.

So what's up with the warning?

I did a Google search for the Prairie Flower, and ran across this...

...Some of the earlier settlers of Carlisle in addition to the above mentioned were J.W. Cook, Charles W. Turrentine, O.T. Muzzy, A. Emonson, W.J.D. Alexander, Alfred Osborn and Opie Read.

Opie Read published the first newspaper, The Prairie Flower. He also owned one of the first business buildings on Front Street, a two-story structure housing several stores and a doctor's office. Mr. Read boarded at the Turrentine Hotel, built where Jay's Supermarket is now located. Unable to pay his board, Mr. Read moved into an old empty railroad car sitting on the side track. Legend further states that one night a train hooked to the car and pulled it to DeValls Bluff with Mr. Read in it, thus ending The Prairie Flower in Carlisle.
(Source: website of the Carlisle Chamber of Commerce)

The website goes on to say that shortly after the demise of The Prairie Flower, A. Emonson published a newspaper called The New Departure.

Just gets curiouser and curiouser...


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Dee Burris Blakley

August 2017

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