INTERVIEW WITH MRS. GARROTT
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Dr. Wolf: "I've already started . . . I've already started. You can say anything you want to. Uh, when was it . . . You remember the year when you were . . ."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, I was six years old. Had my sixth birthday there, so I was five when we went in the fall of, uh . . . in that fall. I was . . . 87, let's see, I'm . . . I was born in '87, so that was '92."
Dr. Wolf: "And your father had a store there. Tell me, where was it?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes. It was on the . . . right on the bank of the river, opposite where the town of Sylamore is now. The town where Sylamore now is was . . . was a farm that belonged to Papa. We used to cross the river there. They didn't have a ferry at that time. And later on, he . . . I don't know whether he sold that to Mr. Bill Williamson or not. They owned . . . They started a ferry and owned that together. And the last I heard--no, that's at Calico Rock. There's no ferry at Sylamore. They owned land . . . Well, the one at Calico Rock is the one that the man told me that Mrs. Hinkle, Mrs. Boone Hinkle, still owned that one. She was Bill Williamson's daughter, you know."
Dr. Wolf: "I've crossed on the Sylamore ferry. We used to go up to Sylamore by train, get off there, and ferry across the river, and go out into Sylamore Creek area by White River and fish."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, yes, it's good fishing."
Dr. Wolf: "So, I remember that . . ."
Mrs. Garrott: "And you know you go to Blanchard Springs that way, too. You can go that way. That is a few miles from Sylamore.
"There was just a long one-room store with a room above it, and Papa had the room above divided into three sections, one for a bedroom/living room, and one for a dining room, and one for a kitchen. And the stairs went up from the inside of the store. And we . . . He had to go back and forth. He owned a good deal of land up in that section, and it was so bad in winter that we went in the fall and stayed until the next summer. They did that one time when my sister was little--she was 20 years older than I was--and when she was young, I don't know how young. And then they didn't again until . . . I know that I had my sixth birthday up there, and we came in the fall before I had my sixth birthday, and we just . . .
"There was an old shackledy house down by the little
. . . toward Mountain View from the store building, and we had . . . we . . . A woman lived in there. I remember she had a little granddaughter. This woman was old. And, oh, this is not going now . . . Aw, shucks. Well, she had one granddaughter, and she had a stack of hay that they used for a bed. And they put, spread quilts over that stack of hay. And Mama would let us go down there and play with the little girl.
"And the child was . . . The old woman didn't have very much patience with the child, and she let her have one needle a year, and if she lost that needle, she punished her, and she couldn't get another needle for the year. And she lost her needle. And we found it in that bed. You say you can't find a needle in a haystack . . . Well, we did. And, by the way, that little girl . . ."
Dr. Wolf: "How old was she?"
Mrs. Garrott: "About my age."
Dr. Wolf: "Uh huh. Well, she was sewing, then, was she?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, she was sewing. And Kate was two years older than I, and Ernestine two years younger, so you see, Ernestine was just about three at that time. Mama kept her pretty close. But Kate was two years older. And Mama was so afraid of the water. She just was always afraid of water, and the river was . . . When it was up, it was deep right there. The road just led . . . went right in front of the store and down to the . . . well . . . There was a ferry there, because it went to the ferry.
"And one time we . . . Julie McGinnis was the little girl's name, and we were playing down there against Mama's will. She didn't know we were down there. And there was a boat anchored there, tied to something, I don't know what, and Julie fell over, fell into the water, and it was pretty deep. And Kate, who was around seven at that time, got the oar and twisted it in her dress, and pulled her out of the water. And nothing, she just . . . We took her up the bank all dripping wet, you know, and Mama was so distressed. She was so afraid that something had happened when she saw us coming, you know."
Dr. Wolf: "Well, how long did you spend up there?"
Mrs. Garrott: "We stayed two years. We went back the next year, then. We stayed from fall, early fall I guess it was. One year, the . . ."
Dr. Wolf: "Until when?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Until in the late spring. Stayed all through the bad weather. And 'twas rather late spring when we came back."
Dr. Wolf: "Well, would your father get somebody to run the store for him?"
Mrs. Garrott: "He had somebody who ran the store all the time. Papa never did much with the store. He tended to the . . . He bought the cotton and the yard--we called it the cotton yard--It was, oh, I guess, I don't know . . . I'm not much of a figurer, but it was just an immense thing, piled with cotton, bales of cotton. And we'd, uh, play on that cotton. And then he bought cedar too, and had it shipped down in rafts."
Dr. Wolf: "Well, why did he come down here in the summer?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Well, this was home, and he left the . . . he'd go then . . . in good weather he'd go . . . You see, we lived in this house, and he'd go back and forth. One year the . . . Do you remember the Griffiths? The pastor of the church here? Well, the Griffiths lived in our house one year while we were up at Sylamore. We just let them live in the house."
Dr. Wolf: "Well, he had business interests here, too?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, yes. He had business interests here. And then the Hanfords had the cedar yard, you know, down on the river, and he'd have the rafts of cedar, and he'd tend to the men up in . . . around Sylamore, would ship the cedar on rafts and then they'd walk back the next day. It was 40 miles, the way they went.
"And they had, they'd build a fire. They had, they'd put rocks on it, on the rafts, and build a fire and do their cooking as they went down. Of course it took them longer to go down than it did to come up, because the river was slow, the current wasn't very . . . and they had . . . very swift, and they had the rafts. They were immense things, and they'd be so tired when they'd get back the next day. They'd always report to Papa when they started back, and they'd come all in one day, walk back that 40 miles in one day."
Dr. Wolf: "Well, it wasn't . . . It was pretty sparsely populated up there, wasn't it?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, there was just this family that lived . . . that I was telling you about. Miz McGinnis . . . She was
. . . That was not her name . . . The little girl's name was McGinnis. And there was one other family; the woman's name was Annie. I couldn't understand why Mama wouldn't let us call her Annie. Everybody else called her Annie, and Mama made us call her Miz somebody. She said it wasn't nice for little girls to call grown people by their first names.
"And then another thing I remember, some men were trying to shoot a deer, and the deer ran into the river, and the river was high at the time, and swam the river, and they gave out of ammunition. And it would run, and there were other men on the other side of the river. They were chasing it, and the deer would run back and forth.
"And Kate went . . . ran upstairs and got some more ammunition. And I just didn't want . . . I wanted her to fall down those steps and not be able to do it. I was for the deer.
"And then another time, it was just before Thanksgiving, a man came in with a wild turkey. He was a mountaineer, somebody who lived near there. And he handed it to Papa and said, 'Mr. Maxfield, hold this out.' Papa was about, was almost six feet tall, lacked half an inch, I think. And he held the turkey up by its wing, and the other wing touched the floor where he was standing in the house. And we had that for Thanksgiving dinner, that turkey."
Dr. Wolf: "Well, now, did people sing much?"
Mrs. Garrott: "No, I don't remember their singing. They didn't know the name of God except in cursing. They just didn't know anything about God. Papa started a little Sunday school for the children that met at our house every Sunday afternoon, and he'd try to teach them. But, uh . . . and we'd sing, just the Sunday school songs that we knew, you know, and the children would follow us."
Dr. Wolf: "Yeah. Who was it told you that she never heard the name of God?"
Mrs. Garrott: "I've heard Papa say that these people don't know the name of God except in cursing. They used it that way, but I didn't hear any specific person of the people up there."
Dr. Wolf: "Well, did you learn any of your songs up there?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, yes . . ."
Dr. Wolf: "Who taught you?"
Mrs. Garrott: "This Annie, Miz so and so. She sang. I'd forgotten about that. But she sang . . . Now I learned 'Lord Lovel' at home, here in Batesville, but she sang, 'I Took My Gun One Evening A-Hunting for a Swan,' that was one of the songs she taught us, she used to sing. And then, no . . . Mama taught us 'Wilkins and Dinah.' And, uh, that's the only one I remember her singing. But I don't remember the men singing at all.
"Papa used to love to sing. We'd, we'd sing those old-fashioned songs. I wish I had the words to 'Old Ramsey's dead/That good old man/We ne'er shall see him more./He used to wear/A long tail-coat/All buttoned down before. /His heart was open/ As the day,/His feelings all were true. /He wore a double-breasted vest,/His pantaloons were blue.' (Sings) That's all I know of it.
"And there was a number of those old songs that Papa used to sing, but I was just nine when he died, and the words, if I ever knew them, they're faded. Then 'I've Traveled This Wide World Over,' what is that . . . 'Old Rosin the Bow.' Do you have the words of that?"
Dr. Wolf: "You sang it; you sang it."
Mrs. Garrott: "Did I sing what I knew? I had forgotten that. I heard that on the radio a number of years ago, and I happened to have a piece of paper, and I grabbed the paper and tried to write it down, but I didn't get anything like all of the words. There were a number of those old songs that he sang."
Dr. Wolf: "Where did he learn them, I wonder?"
Mrs. Garrott: "I have no idea. He loved music, loved to sing, especially. And, uh, I can see him now. He'd always hold his head back, throw his head back when he'd sing, and he'd sing the hymns, you know, a lot of the old hymns that I especially associate with hearing him . . . 'I Can Read My Title Clear to Mansions in the Sky' -- that was one of them. There's a long list of them that I especially remember his singing."
Dr. Wolf: "Where was his first place of business in town here?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Where Rosenthal Store was."
Dr. Wolf: "You mean when it was way down, or . . ."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, when it was way down. It was across from Cash Lumber. For years and years, I can remember well when W.E. Maxfield was painted on the top of that store. It was a long time before . . . That was a stone building, you know, and it was a long time before . . ."
Dr. Wolf: "When did he come here?"
Mrs. Garrott: "He came when he was four years old. He was born in Ohio, and they moved when he was four years old to Batesville. And then a short time after they came, he built the house where John Spragins lives. You know, Mary is his great--niece, no, his niece, she is. Her mother was his sister. They built that house. I wondered lots of times if Grandfather Case built it.
"You know, he was a builder. He built this house for his sister. And now, this was built in 1842. And Papa was born in 1841, so he must have . . . It must have been built around about 1846, I'd guess. You see, he was four years old when he came here. And I don't know how long they lived in another house before that house was built.
"I don't know . . . At that time they were . . . The Ku Klux Klan was in operation. They were not connected with the organization, but there were no law enforcement officers up there, and one day Mama was making a white something out of sheeting and, childlike, we wanted to know what it was. And she said, well, it was a robe some men were going to use. And I said, what for? And she said, well, there's a woman on the other side of the river that they don't think she's the right kind of woman. They want her to leave here. And so they were scaring her off.
"I liked her; I didn't want her to go. We had been over there when Papa would go to see about the farm. We'd go with him. And she was entertaining to us. But they . . . Mama confided to us and said, 'Now don't say anything to anybody about that,' but she didn't have very much deception about her. She'd tell what was . . . tell facts as they were."
Dr. Wolf: "Well, where was your next place of business here, after Rosenthal's?"
Mrs. Garrott: "That was the . . . When Uncle Theodore and Uncle . . . Well, it was Uncle Theodore and the older boys, Uncle Ed and Uncle Theodore . . . When they got old enough, they wanted to . . . Well, Grandfather had a store, Grandfather Maxfield had a store up the street somewhere. And after the boys . . . I don't remember what Papa had in his . . . what he handled.
"Of course, they didn't have department stores in those days, but they didn't seem to conflict, Grandfather's and Papa's stores. But after Uncle Theodore and Uncle Ed and Uncle Fred, well, not . . . Uncle Fred was younger, but Uncle Theodore and Uncle Ed, after they took over Grandfather Maxfield's business, I don't know . . . Grandfather Maxfield died before I was born. Then Papa moved his stock of goods up to Sylamore, and let them . . . had a man . . . Solon Criswell (?) was the man's name, you know, a bachelor . . . and he took care of the store for Papa, and he tended to the outside interests. But he didn't want to be in competition with his brothers, and he turned the Batesville business over to them. So it was always, that was the only store, the only building that he occupied, the one where . . . I don't know whether he sold it to Rosenthal . . .
"Mr. Rosenthal came here, you know, during the Civil War. Did you know that? He liked it. He was one of the soldiers, the Union soldiers, and he liked Batesville so much he decided when he came back . . . when the war was over that he was going to move here, and that was the way he happened to move here, and I don't know when he . . . His business, of course, was the hardware business, he went into . . ."
Dr. Wolf: "I have a picture with the sign, 'W.E. Maxfield,' on some store . . . Now, do you remember that picture's history?"
Mrs. Garrott: "That must be the one across from the Padgett lumber company. As far as I remember, that's the only store building Papa had. Now, the Maxfield brothers--he was not one of the brothers, because, as I said, Uncle George was the oldest, and then Papa was next, and I think maybe Uncle Ed came next of the boys. Now, I don't know . . . But . . . I don't remember when he had the business down here. As I said, it was up at Sylamore when
. . . He owned all that land where the town of Sylamore now is, and then he had another store up Calico Rock. He kept that . . . Well, Solon Criswell used to go up there."
Dr. Wolf: "Wasn't Dan connected with some of the Maxfields?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Yeah, it was Papa. I think he managed the store up there for a while, didn't he?"
Dr. Wolf: "At Calico?"
Mrs. Garrott: "At Sylamore, wasn't it? Or maybe it was at Calico. I suspect it was at Calico. And, yes, I know . . . I've heard them say that he . . . And then Mr. Hale worked for Papa, too. I know Mr. Hale said that . . . He told me in his latter days that he'd never forget . . . He had typhoid fever, and he was just a young, unmarried man, and Mama had him brought here. He was working for Papa, and Mama had him brought here and nursed him through the spell of typhoid fever, and he was just a young man at the time. Of course, they were young, too. Mama and Papa were young. Mama was six years younger than Papa."
Dr. Wolf: "Well, wasn't your father in a kind of banking business here, too?"
Mrs. Garrott: "No, that was Uncle Theodore."
Dr. Wolf: "That was Uncle Theodore?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes. It was after Uncle Theodore sold his store to Weaver Divey . . . He started a bank. It was the antecedent, I suppose, of the Citizens' Bank. Oh, it was called the Citizens' Bank then. And then it went out of existence. They went to Oklahoma City, and he moved his business interests there when Allen and Sid were of business age."
Dr. Wolf: "Who was the first Baptist preacher you remember?"
Mrs. Garrott: "I suspect Mr. Peoples was the first one. He used to read his scripture from memory. I remember that about him. He was a mighty tiresome preacher, I remember that as a child, or was to me. Then Mr. Milum was along about that time, too. I think he was after Mr. Peoples. Ernest has a list of them, of all of the pastors, and I came across that in his desk when I went through some things."
??: "Brother Worley (?) was pastor when I came here."
Mrs. Garrott: "Well."
Dr. Wolf: "Who was the one that married Ma and Pa?"
??: "He was the one that went to Brazil as a missionary."
Mrs. Garrott: "Taylor."
Dr. Wolf: "J.J. Taylor."
Mrs. Garrott: "I don't remember him. He was . . . I think Kate . . . And then A.J. Barton was pastor here. I think he said that . . . He told me one time that Kate was about eighteen months old when he was pastor. Of course, I could figure it from the records, but I didn't."
Dr. Wolf: "Do you remember Jive C. Taylor?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Oh, yes, yes. I remember him well."
??: "He went to Conway."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, yes, he moved from Batesville to Conway."
Dr. Wolf: "Well, was he a new type in his day--a new type of preacher--or was he typical of a type that was . . . You see, he was a 'scare 'em' type of preacher."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, yes he was. I don't remember much about that. He was very . . . I have a letter that I wrote to Mr. Garrott while he was holding meeting here. He was pastor, but was holding his own meeting. He had preached a doctrine, or sermon, on some line. I thought it was good."
Dr. Wolf: "But he was so different from Mr. Calloway."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, oh, very different from him."
Dr. Wolf: "I didn't know. I just supposed that the older preachers were more on the type of Brother Calloway, and Brother Taylor was . . . belonged to the generation of the more sensational . . ."
Mrs. Garrott: "Well, it might have been. 'Course, you knew that Brother Calloway was a lawyer. He was a prosecuting attorney, and he decided to preach, and he had the . . . docket full of cases."
Dr. Wolf: "I had forgot about that."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes. I've heard him say, or Mrs. Calloway say, that the docket was full when he stopped being a lawyer and became a preacher. He was a well-educated man. Mr. Taylor was an intelligent man, but I don't whether he had . . . I don't know about . . . He had gone to Ouachita, but I don't know about his academic training."
Dr. Wolf: "Well, he was a kind of 'move 'em up' type?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, yes. He was a . . . that type. He liked to hold meetings."
Dr. Wolf: "Oh, yes."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, he went off . . . He was holding a meeting at Cave City when he was taken sick with the illness from which he died."
Dr. Wolf: "Oh, I see."
Mrs. Garrott: "He was . . . Miz Justice told me that he was staying at her house, and she knew he was very sick, and he had to close the meeting, and he went . . . He was living in Conway then . . . I believe he died before he got to Conway. Yes, he did. I believe he stopped in Little Rock. I know they telephoned Mr. (?) that he was dead, and he had to go and tell Miz Taylor that he died."
??: "He and Allen . . . Autry were the fearless . . ."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, and condemning of the denominations and of the preachers who disagreed with them."
Dr. Wolf: "Well, they were very different, though . . ."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, they were. Doctor . . . or Brother Autry was . . . He was a more scholarly man than Brother Taylor."
Dr. Wolf: "And Taylor was more of an evangelist."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, yes."
Dr. Wolf: "Autry loved to preach doctrine . . ."
Mrs. Garrott: "And long time . . . long sermons. Yes, I remember. You were talking about the time that you were having so much trouble keeping awake in the . . . and Mr. Autry preached an hour. I remember just as well, from nine o'clock 'til ten . . . A lot of people had gone down to the convention, and had to get up in the wee hours of the morning to catch the train down to Little Rock, and people were just . . . I wasn't sleepy, I was so tickled at watching people going to sleep all the way."
??: "Preached an hour."
Mrs. Garrott: "He preached an hour."
Dr. Wolf: "Mr. Autry had some peculiar mannerisms. He always . . . He gave me the impression that he didn't like people."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, he had that. I think he did . . ."
Dr. Wolf: "Oh, I think so, too . . ."
Mrs. Garrott: ". . . but it was just his . . . it was just his way."
Dr. Wolf: ". . . but if you'd come up and talk to him, he wouldn't even look at you, wouldn't warm up to you . . ."
Mrs. Garrott: "Well, I don't remember that."
Dr. Wolf: ". . . wouldn't give you any . . . Oh, no, he'd look way off in the distance, and you'd get the idea that, well, the sooner I finish this fellow off . . ."
Mrs. Garrott, laughing: "You'll both be glad."
Dr. Wolf: ". . .the sooner I can get on to something important."
??: "Is this doctor in Little Rock one of his descendants?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes. Dan Autry, I believe it is."
??: "No . . ."
Mrs. Garrott: "There's another one. There is a Dan Autry, and then there's another doctor. Maybe this is Dan's son. I think Dan was a doctor. I'm not very sure about that, but they . . ."
??: " . . . named Biblical characters, Paul and John the Baptist."
Mrs. Garrott: "And then Daniel."
??: "Daniel. Then there was Mary and Ruth."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes."
Dr. Wolf: "Esther."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes."
??: "Mr. Taylor named . . ."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, he had Mary and Esther . . ."
??: "And Ruth."
Mrs. Garrott: "And Ruth. I talked to Ruth's husband in San Antonio, called him before I left. They live down there, and I tried to arrange to see them, and I left a little bit earlier than I expected to . . . I don't know.
"They're just childish memories that I have, just impressions. One thing I remember . . . There was a bluff across Sylamore Creek from the . . . Sylamore Creek went out on the . . . I'm not very straight on the directions, but it . . . As you faced the river from the store . . . The store was on the opposite side, of course, I said, from where the town is now . . . There was a bluff just as Sylamore Creek entered White River, and it was alive with birds' nests, and they'd just come . . . The cliff would be black with those birds as evening drew on. They'd come back to roost, you know, and we'd stand out there and watch the birds. I don't know what kind they were, but . . . And they'd make a whirring noise, and we enjoyed hearing them."
Dr. Wolf: "Well, I guess the people up there were real frontiersmen, weren't they?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes, they were. Didn't have much . . . Now, Mama had . . . oh, two or three of the native, not of Sylamore, but from Calico Rock and around there, to help her with the work, and one girl, when she'd get herself a dress-she'd make her own clothes-and she'd always get enough over to make her little sister a dress, and she'd get enough material to make a dress for her little toddling sister. But, they didn't . . . And I remember one woman who worked for Mama, didn't know egg whites would beat, and she just . . . Her eyes just . . . Oh, they popped open when Mama was making a cake and beat the eggs, you know, until they were stiff. 'I've known eggs since I was born, but I didn't know they'd do that way.'" (giggles)
Dr. Wolf: "Were the people storytellers? Did they tell stories?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Not so far as I heard. Mama didn't let us be with them very much. She was pretty careful, because they didn't use language that she wanted us to hear, so I didn't . . . If they were storytellers, I didn't hear them."
Dr. Wolf: "Did you ever hear any old ghost stories, or anything like that? Native ghost stories, or whoppers, tall tales, or anything like that?"
Mrs. Garrott: "Well, I don't recall any, Quincy."
Dr. Wolf: "Either around here, or up there, either one."
Mrs. Garrott: "Um, I don't . . ."
Dr. Wolf: "Ghost stories . . . I'm always hearing about the . . ."
Mrs. Garrott: "Yes."
Dr. Wolf: ". . . old-timers telling ghost stories . . ."
Mrs. Garrott: "Ghost stories . . ."
Dr. Wolf: ". . . but I never can find any."
Mrs. Garrott: "Find any. I just don't remember. I remember the old woman, I asked her if she believed in ghosts, and she said, 'No, but I'm scared of them.' (laughs). But I don't recall any . . ."