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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...
dee_burris: (Default)
The Baldings in my family came originally from New York, but made a stop to beget several generations in Vigo County, IN before coming to Arkansas.

James Henry Balding was born on 11 Jul 1841 in Sunfish, Pike Co., OH to Henry Balding and Hannah Morrell. I think Hannah was at least partly responsible for that leg of the Balding family coming to Arkansas, because Morrells came too, including her younger brother, John Clement (known as J C) Morrell.

In any event, after Henry Balding's death in 1843 in Vigo Co., IN, I found Hannah in the 1850 census, living with James Henry (her youngest child) and her younger brother, John and his wife and young son, in Memphis, Shelby County, TN.

By September 1854, the whole clan had settled in Des Arc, Prairie Co., AR, and J C Morrell had established and was editor of the Des Arc Citizen, a local newspaper that served the area until at least 1866.

James Henry Balding served in the Civil War, as a musician in the 15th Regiment, Arkansas Infantry (Josey's). On 6 Aug 1862, by order of Brig General Cleburne, he was detailed to Polk's Brigade Band. He mustered out of Granbury's Texas Brigade (Confederate) in accordance with terms set out in a Military Covention between Gen Joseph E Johnston and Maj Gen W T Sherman, entered into on 26 Apr 1865. He was paroled at Greensboro, NC. He came back home to Prairie Co., AR.

On 26 May 1868, James Henry Balding married Ann Elizabeth "Bettie" Booth in Prairie County. They had a daughter, Hannah Amelia Balding, who died in 1870, when she was about a year old. A second daughter, also named Amelia, was born on 26 May 1871 in DeValls Bluff, and Bettie Balding died, possibly during or shortly after Amelia's birth.

James remarried to Laura Isabella Cunningham on 27 Nov 1873 in DeValls Bluff. Their first son, Victor Claude Balding, was born in Prairie County on 9 Mar 1874, followed by Nelly Ione on 5 Jan 1876, James Ernest on 2 Mar 1878, and Ethel Clare on 16 May 1881. Amelia Balding died in 1879 when the family lived in Newport, Jackson Co., AR.

It must have been at his uncle J C Morrell's knee that James Henry Balding learned the newspaper trade. By 10 Jun 1874, the Arkansas Gazette reported that he was a member of the Arkansas Press Association, representing the DeValls Bluff Journal. In 1876, he was a member of the same association, but representing the Beebe Magnet.

By 1880 James and Laura had moved to Little Rock in Pulaski County, AR., and James was employed as a printer. Ethel Clare died in Little Rock on 11 Oct 1890.

By 1900, Laura was living with Victor, Nelly and James (Ernest) in Little Rock, and James Henry was listed as an "inmate" in the Arkansas Confederate Soldier's Home, established by the Arkansas Legislature in 1890 for Confederate veterans. In 1905, the Legislature opened admissions to the home to also include mothers, wives and widows of Confederate veterans. He was also listed on the home's 1910 census.

Laura Isabella Balding died on 16 Jun 1910 in Little Rock. She is buried in Oakland Cemetery there. James Henry Balding died on 21 May 1917 and is buried in the Confederate veterans section of the Little Rock National Cemetery.


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Dee Burris Blakley

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