Sunday, October 12, 2008

History of the Levias Community

Crittenden County was blessed with many small home-town communities with businesses, schools, churches and their own post office, now all that is gone but the names of the communities. The names live on carrying on what little history is left of their area. This history is of the little community of Levias, which was located about 6 miles West from Marion. You could get to Levias by turning off Highway 60 East at Midway and also by a side road from S.R. 297. It is still noted on our county maps. The history was written many years ago by James B. Kirk who passed away Aug. 28, 2000 and is buried in the Union Cemetery, which is located next to Levias. Jim loved genealogy and his hometown community of Levias.

LEVIAS - At the close of the Civil War, Loyd Levi Price, a young single man from Tennessee, who had fought for the north, bought two acres of land in the Union Baptist Church neighborhood. This was six miles from Marion, and one-fourth mile off the Marion-Salem Road. A county road then, but now known as U.S. Hwy. 60 West.

Price built a house, married a local girl and built a store building. He stocked it was groceries that he received by boat put off at the Tolu landing, some 10 miles away. He had a splendid trade, as the store was located halfway between Marion and Salem. It was a place the women could take their eggs for sale, or to trade for groceries and small items in the dry good line.

Price saw the need of a post office in their neighborhood and applied to the Post Office Department in Washington for an office to be opened and put in his store. Prior to this the settlement had no name but it must be named to have a post office. He asked for the village to be name Levi and call it the Levi post office. The Post Office Department notified him there was already a Levi Post Office in Kentucky and the closest they could name it would be Levias. From that time on the village went by the name of Levias.

There was a Union Baptist Church dedicated in 1810 and a Union School. With these, and a post office Levias began to grow. It was on the map, a thriving little community of church going and God loving people.

A few houses were soon built around the store. A gristmill was put in operation and later a second store was built by Charles LaRue. It was stocked with groceries, general merchandise, a set of stock scales and a scale house. A house was built for a voting place for the Fourth Precinct, called Union Precinct. A third store was soon built and operated by C. C. Bebout.

Industries of this little community were farming, a sawmill operated by O. G. Threlkeld, a barrel mill run by Uncle Jack McClure of Tennessee, a blacksmith shop operated by Ed Mayhugh and later operated by R. E. Wheeler. Dr. Billy Paris was the first doctor nearby, later Dr. Ernest Fox located in Levias.

As years went by, due to failing health of Mr. Price, the Levias Post Office was moved to Charles LaRue's general store. This was a waiting place for mail arrival delivered by the Marion-Salem Star Route. Next came the rural route out of Marion Post Office, a mail delivery of all was made in a line of travel on the road nearest your house. Soon everyone had their own mail box and proudly displayed their name on their box. It was hard for Levias to lose the post office.

Mr. Loyd Levi Price was taken by death, and his store was then operated by Clarence G. Settles. Levias was still a very active trading center untill the death of Mr. Settles wife. Soon after her death and the death of Mr. Settles, the store in Levias closed. It was sold and a dwelling built nearby.

All industries, except farming and mining fluorspar, moved nearer to U. S. Highway 60. This community was known as Midway, as it is halfway between Marion and Salem. Businesses in Midway were Loftis Grocery, Ramage Grocery, Midway T. W. Sale and Service operated by Neil Marin, Fritt's Lawn Mower Service, Lal Conyer's sawmill, Midway Service station, Russell Davidson's Saw Shop, Teer Grocery and Patmore Seed Store owned by George L. Patmor.

All this is gone now, only the names of the once busy communities, and a few of the orgininal family members live on the remind us of these once loved little hometown communities of Crittenden County.

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