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History of Floyd, Arkansas

25 Jan 2016

Floyd has not always been the well-developed community that we enjoy today. The very first settlers did not even have a church or school. Let us see who some of these early settlers were, and how they have developed the resources of our community. Following is a list of the early settlers:

  • James Barnett and his wife settled here in 1842. They were the parents of Henry Barnett, born in 1858.
  • Caleph Watson from Tennessee settled here in 1850, and died at the age of 98.
  • Terry Hutchinson, father of L.D. Hutchinson, settled here in 1855.
  • Johnny Patten and Elisha Akin settled here in 1856 and Billie and Freddie Quattlebaum in 1859.
  • Odem Hill from North Carolina, father of Jimmie Hill, settled here in 1862.
  • Louis Moore migrated from Mississippi in the year 1874. He was one of the settlers who took part in the Civil War.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Frank Parker, John Sappington and wife, Mrs. Holder, mother of Mrs. Sappington, Tom and Amos Cato were other early settlers.

The mode of transportation into this country was practically by oxen and wagon.

Fertility of soil, plenty of timber, water and game induced the settlers here.

First they began to build homes, which were of logs. Each house contained a fireplace and a few pieces of furniture that was constructed of wood.

The cooking utensils were of iron and tin. These were required in order to cook on the open fireplace.

Their common foods were wild game, honey, sorghum molasses and vegetables. For bread they crushed corn, which they raised on their small fields.

Some cultivated small patches of wheat. They had to carry it to mill to be ground into flour. This was inconvenient, for nearest mills were at Quitman and Searcy.

These hardy workers made their living by "tilling the soil."

Cotton was used to some extent and the old treadmill was used for ginning. The average ginnage per day was three bales. This crude affair was operated by cattle and located near the place of our last gin that burned.

Now let us see something about the manner in which these early settlers dressed.

It is a clear, cold Sabbath morning. Mr. and Mrs. Stamps are on their way to church. Since they live so far away they are riding in a wagon pulled by oxen. The wagon, Mr. Stamps made himself. It is very different from the one we used today. The wheels are round blocks of wood, and instead of a doubletree, there is a large yoke that extends over the necks of the oxen.

Mr. Stamps has on a dark brown wool suit and a coonskin cap. Mrs. Stamps has on a red brown wool skirt and a blue checked cotton blouse, a large shawl around her shoulders and a small one on her head. They both have on leather shoes and knitted mittens.

The process of tanning the leather for these shoes required a year or longer. It was much better than we have today, although it was much coarser. Mr. Stamps tanned this leather and made these shoes. The thread was spun and wove into the cloth for clothing, which Mrs. Stamps made with her fingers. She used knitting needles to knit the hose, mittens and socks. In the summer they will replace these woolen clothes with those made of cotton.

The oak, walnut and sumac furnished most of their dyes. Instead of going to town to "dress out" as we do, they "dress out" at home.

The first church was constructed of logs including benches. It was located west of the present Pentecost church and bore the name of Salem, which named our community.

Parson Harvey was one of the early ministers. He was also a schoolteacher.

The cemetery was east of the church building. The first person laid to rest within the boundary was Elisha Akin. From that time its dimensions have been extended as needed.

The school building was similar to the church. School terms consisted of five months, two in the summer and three in the winter. School began at 8 o’clock each morning and turned out at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. The children were given an hour and a half for recreation.

Fox-in-the-wall, jumping the rope, and town ball were some of the games played. The ropes were made of muscadine vines and the balls were of yarn.

The subjects studied were math, spelling, reading, geography and history.

Teachers were stricter in discipline than now. They usually wrote out a list of "thou shalt not do’s" or rules, stating the punishment for disobeying them.

The social life of the girls and boys was similar to ours. They attended Sunday school, preaching, musical entertainments, dances and play parties.

The first post office was established where L.D. Hutchinson’s old store building now stands. It was given the name of Eva, which then changed the name of the community from Salem. Another community in Arkansas possessed the same name and it was again changed from Eva to its present name.

Floyd has been improved very much since the time of the early settlers.

We can now boast of two fine churches, two stores, a well-kept cemetery, a school building and equipment, better roads and better ways of travel. We have been enabled to come in contact with all the world with the use of the telegraph and radio.

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