Posted by: abbiewatters | May 19, 2012

Lots of Nostalgia

We started out the day with George McCasland’s graduation from Texas A&M at Texarkana.

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He got his Bachelor of Science degree in History and Political Science. It will let him teach school while he gets his Teacher Certification.
When the graduating was over, Big Al and I headed out to Washington, AR – my ancestral home on my mother’s side. First we stopped in at the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives where I was able to look at some papers of Judge John Rodgers Eakin who was a Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas in the 1870s and 1880s. I had seen most of the information that was available there, but I was able to identify when my great-grandmother, Mary Harris, moved to Arkansas and met and married my great-grandfather. She and her family were consistently in the census records in Versailles County, KY, through the 1880 census, and then she turns up in the Arkansas marriage records in 1884, but I had nothing about her or her family moving to Arkansas. I found out that her parents homesteaded some land in Perryville in northwest Arkansas. It just happened that William Spencer Eakin was living in Perryville at that time, running the newspaper, and they fell in love and married. This also gave me some confidence that I had the correct Harris family in my research.
After we left SARA, we drove around Washington (population 148) and finally found the old Pioneer Cemetery.

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We poked around there some and read some of the gravestones, like the one for the two infant children, a little boy and his sister.

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It’s a nicely kept old cemetery, lying sleepily in the sun.

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After we left the cemetery, we went by the old gin.

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we stopped by the old blacksmith’s forge where Jim Bowie made the original Bowie Knife.

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The smith showed me around.

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He had the fire going and was heating some iron.

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He also showed me some of the examples of his work where he recreated Jim Bowie’s knife.

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On leaving the blacksmith shop we took some pictures of the court house. Since my ancestors were all lawyers, it’s likely they tried cases in this building.

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This was where they kept the defendants while they were being tried.

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Then we went by the old tavern.

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When we finished looking at all the old buildings in Washington we headed to Hope, to take a look at President Clinton’s birthplace (because as a good Democrat I felt like I needed to at least say I had been.)

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We got back to Texarkana by about 5:00 and went over to Betty’s to meet Claire, and to eat some of the great bream Keith caught yesterday.
After supper, Betty took us down to see the downtown community garden, that the five downtown churches have started.

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They are having a really good time working in the garden, and everything is growing great guns. Everything that they grow is available for the picking, and anything that isn’t picked by passersby is donated to one or another of the hunger programs in southwest Arkansas and northeast Texas.

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These peppers fell off the bush when Betty was showing them to us. It’s a really good program, and they are all really enjoying it.
Tomorrow we go to church and then repack for a week in Chicago. Train leaves Texarkana about 8:30 pm.

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