Thursday, January 23, 2020

Helena Residents Join The Field Of Inventors




During the 50-plus years following the Civil War there was such a surge, and a demand, for people to develop ideas that helped make the U.S. an industrial powerhouse.
And there were people in Helena scrambling to invent something that could make them rich and famous.
Below is just a smattering of the hundreds of applications from Helena approved by the U.S. patent office. 



INVENTOR
DATE
INVENTION
CHARLES E. BROMWELL 1887 CAR STARTER
JOHN N. BRASS 1921 THERMOSTATIC CIRCUIT CLOSER
ROBERT H. MILAM 1921 COTTON GIN
W.R. RIGHTOR 1884 BLASTING DEVICE
JAMES S. SMITH 1884 COTTON SCRAPER
CAROLINE S. BROOKS 1876 LUBRICATED PLASTER MOLDS
WILLIAMSON GOODWIN 1876 VEHICLE COUPLING
HENRY TUNER 1899 PICTURE FRAME
WALTER J. KIRKHAM 1922 FLUSH VALVE SEAT
G. E. FRIEDLEY 1925 VEHICLE SIGNAL
JOHN P. DUNCAN & ET ALII 1885 POISON DISTRIBUTOR
WALTER J. KIRKHAM 1925 WATER CLOSET
EDWIN LUKEMEYER AND OTHERS 1912 SAW-TOOTH SHAPER
MILES E. DAVIDSON 1896 SAWMILL
J.P. DUNCAN 1887 FIRE ESCAPE IMPROVEMENTS
CHARLES E. BROMWELL 1889 HAND MOTOR
ARTHUR MEADOWS 1913 POST-HOLE BORING MACHINE
MARVELL M. CARRUTH 1873 IMPROVED COTTON STALK KNOCKERS
CHARLES E. FULLERTON 1900 CURTAIN POLE BRACKET
ALBERT B. SHULL 1911 TWINE HOLDER
V.V. TURNER 1912 RAIL JOINT
EDWARD L. CHAFFIN 1898 ARTIFICIAL DENTURE
EDWARD L. CHAFFIN 1897 METHOD OF TREATING ARTIFICIAL DENTURES
B.L. CHAFFIN 1897 GIN-SAW SHARPENER
ALFRED B. FLOYD 1901 ENGINE
WILLIAM R. RIGHTOR 1874 SHOAL INDICATOR IMPROVEMENTS
WILLIAM R. RIGHTOR 1873 APPARATUS RELEAVING GROUNDED VESSEL
LEWIS P. BAILEY 1876 IMPROVEMENTS CAR COUPLINGS
ALFRED J. LOWRY 1895 PEN-RACK






Monday, January 20, 2020

ACTION NOTICE


NOTICE:  A substantial amount of new documentation has been added about Helena's participation in the War of the Rebellion.  You will find it by clicking on the battle and tidbits pages in the column to the right.


Friday, January 17, 2020

Railroading In Helena

This photograph of Missouri & North Arkansas Railroad locomotive 36, was taken in the summer of 1946 at Helena, Arkansas, near the levee by Cherry Street. The Missouri & North Arkansas operated a line that ran from Joplin, Missouri and ended at Helena. The Helena portion of the line was taken over by the Helena & Northwestern Railroad for a period of time. Today, Helena is served by the Arkansas Midland Railroad.

THE KATE AADAMS VISITS HELENA

Steam Boat Kate Adams: Named for the wife of Memphis resident, Major John D. Adams, there were actually 3 steamboats named the Kate Adams. The boat was a frequent visitor to Helena, and usually plied the Mississippi River between Memphis, Tennessee and Arkansas City, Arkansas. The photo here was taken while in Helena. Legend has it that 2000 silver dollars were melted and added to the mold of the bell on the Kate Adams to give it a clearer ring.

Railroading In Helena

Delta Eaglet: This photo, from the Richard Andrews collection, shows the American Car & Foundry Motorcar that provided passenger rail service from Helena to McGehee, Arkansas until 1960. Often referred to as the "Delta Eaglet," this car could hold 34 passengers and their baggage. Notice in the background a part of the Solomon Building is visible. Unlike in many towns, the depot and both tracks shown here still remain. The motorcar however, is long gone. It was scrapped in 1961. The depot is part of the Delta Cultural Center and is open to the public.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

New Page

Take a look at our newest page -- HELENA CIVIL WAR TIDBITS -- with lots of interesting nuggets about Helena and Phillips County.  The page can be found in the colum to the right.

Friday, January 10, 2020

A YANKEE IN HELENA

JENKIN LLOYD JONES
Jones was a private in the Sixth Wisconsin Battery and in his diary spent much of his time in and around Helena. These are comments from his diary. It is interesting to note he spent the rest of his life in what used to be the town of Helena, Wisconsin.
















Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Compassionate Lincoln & One Helena Family

LINCOLN & MARY TODD LINCOLN


(CNN)  It was days before Christmas 1863, and Abraham Lincoln wanted to offer an example of goodwill to the fractured nation in the midst of the Civil War.

The Craig family, cousins to Lincoln's wife Mary Todd, were a slave-holding family in Arkansas who had fled their plantation as Union forces took over much of the state. But the Craigs were nearing the end of their lives and wished to return to their home for Christmas.
Despite the ongoing war -- or perhaps because of it -- Lincoln agreed. After meeting with the family, he wrote and signed a letter that they could use to safely move past Union forces and reoccupy their Arkansas plantation.
"Mr. and Mrs. Craig, of Arkansas, whose plantation, situated upon the Mississippi River a few miles below Helena, has been desolated during the present war, propose returning to reoccupy and cultivate said plantation," Lincoln wrote in the letter.
"(And) it is my wish that they be permitted to do so, and that the United States military forces in that vicinity will not molest them or allow them to be molested, as long as the said Mr. and Mrs. Craig shall demean themselves as peaceful, loyal citizens of the United States."
Lincoln's original letter, long held by descendants of the Todd family, was recently sold to The Raab Collection and then sold to an interested buyer as a unique example of Lincoln's broader attempts to reunify the country.

Thieves Among Helena's Yankee Officers

 
The Spoils of the Victors: Captain Ferdinand Winslow and the 1863 Curtis Court of Inquiry
 ANDERS BO RASMUSSENON

 THE EVENING of October 3, 1861, the 32-year-old quarter-master Ferdinand Winslow of Marion, Iowa, walked across Ben-ton Barracks’s rolling campground on his way to the encampment center. There, on the outskirts of St. Louis in a shining white villa encircled by a snow-white fence, Brigadier General Samuel Ryan Curtis, “a very fine looking elderly Gentleman,” had made his temporary headquarters.1 From his military home Curtis fol-lowed camp activities, but this particular evening the command-ing officer’s duty took a backseat to leisure. Thus, Winslow, ac-companying his commanding officer in the Ninth Iowa Infantry Regiment, William Vandever, spent a pleasant, musical evening at Curtis’s house, subsequently reporting home that he “was in-vited to come and go in the house any time.”

Or an even better title:  How freed blacks in Helena were screwed by Union officers.  Click the link below for the
entire story.

ATTEMPT TO ORGANIZE A BLACK CONFEDERATE REGIMENT

Could this be the first time, only 3 months after the fall of Ft. Sumter, that a recommendation was made to the Confederate government to enlist blacks as soldiers? 


SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series IV - Volume I. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1900.

NOTE: The first letter addressed to the Confederate States' Secretary of War by a citizen of Helena, Arkansas. The second letter is the reply from that office.


HELENA, ARK., July 17, 1861.

Hon. L. P. Walker:
DEAR SIR: I wrote you a few days since for myself and many others in this district to ascertain if we could get negro regiments received for Confederate service, officered, of course, by white men. All we ask is arms, clothing, and provisions, and usual pay for officers and not one cent pay for negroes. Our negroes are too good to fight Lincoln hirelings, but as they pretend to love negroes so much we want to show them how much the true Southern cotton-patch negro loves them in return. The North cannot complain at this. They proclaim negro equality from the Senate Chamber to the pulpit, teach it in their schools, and are doing all they can to turn the slaves upon master, mistress, and children. And now, sir, if you can receive the negroes that can be raised we will soon give the Northern thieves a gorge of the negroes' love for them that will never be forgotten. As you well know, I have had long experience with negro character. I am satisfied, they are easy disciplined and less t rouble than whites in camp, and will fight desperately as long as they have a single white officer living. I know one man that will furnish and arm 100 of his own and his son for their captain. The sooner we bring a strong negro force against the hirelings the sooner we shall have peace, in my humble judgment. Let me hear from you.

Your old friend,
W. S. TURNER


Confederate States of America, War Department
Richmond, August 2, 1861.

W. S. TURNER, Helena, Ark.:
SIR: In reply to your letter of the 17th of July I am directed by the Secretary of War to say that this Department is not prepared to accept the negro regiment tendered by you, and yet it is not doubted that almost every slave would cheerfully aid his master in the work of hurling back the fanatical invader. Moreover, if the necessity were apparent there is high authority for the employment of such forces. Washington himself recommended the enlistment of two negro regiments in Georgia, and the Congress sanctioned the measure. But now there is a superabundance of our own color tendering their services to the Government in its day of peril and ruthless invasion, a superabundance of men when we are bound to admit the inadequate supply of arms at present at the disposal of the Government.

Respectfully,
A. T. BLEDSOE,
Chief of Bureau of War.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Folklife On the Air: A Tribute to Two “Radio Guys”

King Biscuit Time memorabilia on the walls of the Delta Cultural Center. The same sign seen at the top of the photo is also visible on the wall behind the folks in the photo within the photo! Photo by Stephen Winick.

A GREAT HELENA RESOURCE





Growing Up In Phillips County

CARRIE YOUNG

Carrie Young recalls growing up in on a farm, moving to West Helena, Arkansas, with her family, and meeting civil rights organizers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), including Myrtle Glascoe, Bill Hansen, and Howard Himmelbaum. She remembers registering voters, gathering signatures to overturn a poll tax, and protesting at the Arkansas state capitol. She discusses her marriage to Howard Himmelbaum, suing her employer for discrimination, and working with the group Black United Youth in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Postal Telegraph-Cable Company