The Time between Places
Stories That Weave In and Out of Egypt and America
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Arkansas Press
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Throughout my childhood, there were three trunks in our house on the farm in the Arkansas/Mississippi Delta. One was a small tin trunk brought by my grandmother, Mary Margaret Brown, when she came as a bride to the home of my grandfather, Joseph H. Jones, in about 1870. In it were legal papers having to do with their generation as well as some concerning his father, Uriah, and scraps of information concerning her own family, the Ira E. Brown family of...
1. The Place They Came To
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In 1841, my great-grandparents, Uriah Jones, his wife Sarah and their small son Joseph, who was to become my grandfather, moved west from central Tennessee to Arkansas County, Arkansas, in the Arkansas/Mississippi Delta. In August 1849, as assignee of a Choctaw Indian named Pha-Nubbee, Uriah presented a patent for 160 acres of land at the General Land Office in Little Rock and received title to the “northeast quarter of section 13, township 9S, ...
2. The Uriah Generation
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One story, told me in passing by my father, had it that Uriah was a mule trader when he came to Arkansas in 1841, and as selling mules on the frontier was lucrative and as he did come to Arkansas from Davidson County,Tennessee, the center of the mule-trading world, it may be true. The 1840 census for Davidson County lists him as owning four slaves, so he probably did not come to the frontier penniless. But whatever his prospects on...
3. The Joseph Generation
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While our attention has been focused on Uriah and his fortunes, Joseph has been preparing to take center stage. His wedding picture, a daguerreotype taken in October 1869, shows a handsome young man with big ears and deep-set, weary, worried eyes. His left hand, resting on a cane as it is in other pictures of him, is missing its third finger, which he himself had finished amputating after a Mini
4. The Boss and Sallie Generation
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At Joseph’s death, the torch passed to his daughter Sallie and to Boss, his youngest son and my father, both single members of Joseph’s household at the time of his death.The passage of the land from Joseph to the next generation naturally included the accompanying financial problems, which were complicated by the tangle he left in his last mortgage, made to W. D. Preston on April 4, 1905, for $500.This open-ended mortgage could...
5. The Grover Generation
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When Grover became sole manager of the farm, he was forty-five years old and had the experience of some thirty years of farming behind him. There was no question that he would take over at our father’s death and run the place, as he had been doing so much of the management for years. In his will, Boss left each of his six children forty acres. Pauline was to have the house and forty acres it sat on, and rightly so. She had sacrificed...
6. The Casey Generation
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Although Grover survived a massive stroke in 1985 with a clear mind, he was left partially paralyzed and was able to speak only with difficulty. It was clearly time for Casey to step in and take over as sole manager of the farm. He had been more or less in charge for several years, starting with the soybean part of the operation after graduation from high school in 1980 and moving into the cotton operation along the way. But the burden did not...
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So this is the way it stands in 2006, 157 years into the Jones family’s ownership of the farm: some of us still own it, but nobody lives in the house. Casey and Pauline own the land, but Pauline has moved to an assisted-living facility, and her daughter, Sue Lloyd Ray, who lives in Pine Bluff, will inherit the house. It is empty now, and it is unlikely that she or her children will ever live in it. Pauline’s son Billy and his son have homes within a stone’s throw of...
APPENDIX: Casey’s Field Notebook for 2004
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Page Count: 220
Publication Year: 2010