A History Of The Old County Farm On Eva Road, 1913 - 1975, And Its Staff

Nell Morisette
NewsTribune Special Columnist

In 1913 Mr. J. F. (Porter) and wife Laura Davis Hollingsworth owned a farm between Camden and Eva. The county government decided to start looking for a farm to provide for the people who could not provide for themselves. Prior to this, people who were able would take someone into their own homes, and the county would pay them. The county government bought Mr. Hollingsworth's farm and called it the "County Farm." Mr. Hollingsworth was asked to stay on and be superintendent; he did. The county built an L-shaped house with six bedrooms and a large living and dining area separate from Mr. Hollingsworth's house. The meals were prepared in the Hollingsworth home and carried to the other building. I might add that Mr. Ford Hollingsworth was born during the time his parents were managers.

In 1913, when the building was being built, Mr. Leonard Davis was helping work on the new building. He lived on a high hill not far from the J.D. Warrick farm. One day as they were working on the building a dark cloud came up. Mr. David hitched up his mules and started home. He was at Mr. Clark Davis' home when a cyclone hit. Mr. Clark lived where the Shell place is now. When Mr. Davis got home, his house was gone; he found his wife Vadie Hollingsworth Davis okay, but his daughter Minnie was badly hurt and later died. The two-month-old baby Linnie was missing; she was found several yards from where the house stood, blown into a ditch but not hurt.

In 1921 mr. and Mrs. Hollingsworth had moved back, and in 1923 took over the supervision and ran the farm until his death in 1933. His wife Mrs. Laura ran it until 1936.

In 1936 the Hollingsworths' daughter Lora, who was married to Urey Wilson, took over, and they supervised until 1940.

Mr. Charlie and wife Lenora Jordan Arnold took over the supervision in 1940 and ran it until 1944. During this time their daughter Mavis was dating. The County Farm had a sorghum mill on it; the supervisors made sorghum for people and took their pay in sorghum for the home.

One Saturday night Mavis had a date. Mr. Charlie got a call that a load of cane was coming in; this meant Mavis would have to help. Now can you imagine a teenager not getting to go on a Saturday night date? Jake Peeples arrived with the load of cane. Mavis and Jake started dating and later married. Bro. Ed Cooper performed the ceremony; at the time he ran the Baptist Missionary Orphan Home. Mavis says she met Jake at the Poor House and married him at the Orphans Home.

In 1944 Mr. J.P. Melton and wife Ella May moved in and supervised until 1947. Mr. Tom and wife Evie Jackson Hollingsworth took over the supervision from 1947 until 1952.

In October 1952 Delphia Pafford Jackson Wilson and husband Wade Wilson took over the supervision until late 1961. While they were still living in the old house, one of their sons and family from Michigan were in on vacation. The son was William Floyd (Corkey). His wife was pregnant; the baby was born while she was here. They went back home with a little Tennessee Hillbilly.

In 1957 a concrete building was built but never properly finished. The superintendent's quarters consisted of a living room, kitchen where all the meals were prepared, two normal-size bedrooms and a very small bedroom, and finally a bathroom that was big enough for a washer and dryer. The elderly people's quarters connected the superintendent's and consisted of a large sitting and dining area; on one wing there were a bath and five bedrooms, the same on the other wing.

The name County Farm was changed to Benton County Rest Home. Clubs in Benton County provided used furniture, sheets, curtains, bedspreads, etc. During this period the Wilsons had their five-year-old grandson visiting. He drain some drain cleaner; Kenny Jordan had several surgeries, had a tube in his stomach and was fed through it for a long time.

In 1961 Wade and Delphia moved to their home, and two of the women went with them.

Wallace and Pearl Watson Floyd moved there in 1961 and supervised until 1963,

In 1963 Mr. and Mrs. Wade Wilson took it back. Mr. Wilson passed away June 1, 1968. Delphia ran it until late 1969.

Johnny and Dellia Melton Ellis took over in 1969 and ran it only three weeks; the County Farm was moved.

In July 1969 Dr. Robert Horton signed a deed to the Horton Clinic at 152 Forrest Ave. to Benton County. Somewhere during this time the Ellis' and the old people moved there and ran it until 1975.

In November of 1969 Benton County made a deed to the Big 6 for the old rest home on Eva Road which is now the Magic Valley Golf Club.

A nursing home, Life Care which is not the Camden Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, was established and opened its doors in May 1975. The people were moved to Life Care, phasing out the Poor House or Benton County Rest Home.

There is a cemetery on the County Farm on Eva Road where several of the residents were buried. It is located northwest of the old original building.

These individuals are know to be buried there:
1. Tom Hampton
2. Margaret Hampton (husband and wife>
3. Dulcie Gossett, who was deaf and mute
4. Dulcie's father, no one can recall his name
5. Dulcie's mother, no one can recall her name
6. Cora Kurby
7. Clint Reinhart
8. John Reynolds
9. Sila Beaton
10. Elvira Pruett (wife of Israel Pruett, daughter of Pollard d. April 12 1931)
11. Allie Conley
12. Frank Musgraves
13. Bell Berry; Bell married a man while they lived there, her maiden name was Berry
14. No one can remember Bell's husband's name
15. Jim Spence
16. Robert Mosley was an African-American man; he was found by the railroad tracks about frozen to death. When his shoes were pulled off his toes fell off. He was attended by Dr. A.T. Hicks
17. Tom Casey
18, Robert Clark Cole (Jan./Feb. 1850 - May 11, 1927)
19. A.L. Lynch (July 12, 1858 - June 21, 1936)
20. Charlie Tyner
21. James Saratt
22. Buddy Wiseman (July 5, 1876 - July 18, 1931), whose mother was a McDaniel
23. An unidentified man who died Apr. 12, 1931 at Lockhart Motor Co.

One Tuesday morning Bama Fry and I were down at the Country Club at the Old Country Farm Cemetery. As I stood there with all the trees, bushes and leaves with one lone stone, it made me sad. God knows where they are and even though they aren't there anymore, this was their final resting place in this old world.

They were God's people, passing through this world just as I am. They had loved ones and were loved, they left the mark on this earth, and I wish I could clean it off, fence it in and place a marker of some kind with their names so that they and others could acknowledge their existence. I know the names of 21 that were laid to rest there.

This reminds of of October 6, 1983, when Aunt Geraldine Walker Ruth and Nancy Dowdy and I set out to find the graves of my granddad and uncle in Blackton, Arkansas. That cemetery used to be in the same shape; thank goodness someone cared and it was cleaned up.



If you have suggestions and/ or additions for these pages, please feel free to write County Host

Brian Nichols

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