Thursday, June 28, 2018

Happy 100th Birthday To Marion Post Office, June 2018

 Marion Post Office (on the right) from 1905 until 1918 when the new one was built and finished. 

In 1912 an article in The Crittenden Press tells the public that the present Marion Post Office on East Carlisle Street that the once capable building had become too small and was cramped for space with the immense volume of business that passes through it each day.   

Recently a petition was presented to Congressman Ollie M. James asking him to present a bill in Congress before he steps up higher, asking the government to build a federal building here. Mr. James will do so and assured his petitioner that he would leave no stone unturned to accomplish the wishes of his home city.

Although it took several years, a notice in 1917 was sent from Senator Ollie M. James to Mr. S. M. Jenkins, that bids for the construction of Marion’s new federal building would be opened on March 15, 1917. 

Thank to Crittenden County's own Senator Ollie M. James, Marion was to have her new Post Office building at last. The location was chosen, when was not too far from the old building, on the corner of Carlisle and College Street across from the Marion Graded School.

 In July of 1917 construction was well underway with the foundation in place. The building was completed in June of 1918 and was ready to open for business. 

Recently Postmaster, Rhonda Hunt gave me a tour of the post office.  In the basement were blueprints from when the building was being constructed in 1917-1918.  They were still in good condition.  She plans to have them organized and placed on a table.
Postmaster Hunt is only the second woman to ever  hold this Marion Postmaster position.  The first was Barbara Centers Gard from Sept. 1980-April 1983.  Through the years there have been several women Officer-In-Charge, but not Postmaster.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A Visit To Old Colon School

 Picture made in the 1970's by Braxton McDonald, as he gathered pictures of as many of the old school houses that were still standing, and also information to preserve the early school days of Crittenden County.  What a wonderful thing for him to do.

The school of Colon was located off the Crittenden Springs Road on the left, just before you get to the intersection of S. R. 135 that goes to Tolu.

In Nov. 1887 a deed from Job Truit and his wife Annie, for ten dollars was made to Trustees of school district of Colon, #18.  Trustees were W. S. Lucas, S. G. Lee, and B. M. George, for one acre of land for a school house.  After the school is no longer in use it goes back to Truitt. (Deed Book W, page 41, Crittenden County Clerk's office.

The school district took in a large area with some children walking across fields for three or four miles.

As with many of the little one room schools scattered across the county, there was a well located close to the school house.   the well usually went dry in the late summer and fall, and the older boys would take turns walking to Colon Spring a half-mile away to get a bucket of water.  Usually by the time they arrived back to school the water was hot and after each child took a drink from the dipper, the bucket would be empty.  

Some of the names of children who attended Colon were, Bateman, Bebout, Belt, Brazell, Croft, Easley, Dalton, Fritts, Kirk, Lucas, Maynard, Phillips, Winders, Weldon, Stallion, Wofford, Lynch, McDaniel, Moore, McKinney and Workman.

The school closed in 1948 and students were sent to Tolu.  The old building has long since been torn down in the 70's, there is nothing left to show the Colon school was ever there but the foundation of the old well that would run dry in the summer months.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Arminta "Mina" Wheeler, Crittenden's First Woman Superintendent

Arminta "Mina" Wheeler, one of Crittenden County's Finest
Miss Wheeler, superintendent of Crittenden County Schools from 1894 to 1901, is pictured when she retired.  The county was sad to see her leave the position, for she was a very popular superintendent and served her county well.

 Crittenden Press of October 1893 tells her story.
Crittenden is one of the few counties in the state that has broken away from the old idea that the offices were created for the men and men only. 

At the last November election Miss Mina Wheeler defeated George W. Perry for School Superintendent by one vote, after one of the most remarkable campaigns in the history of the county.
Miss Wheeler is a native of the county. 

 She educated herself and at the time of her election was one of the best teachers in the county. Her friends who had knowledge to this, solicited her to become a candidate, and she at last consented, and created more real genuine enthusiasm among the people than any other person who ever asked for office in the county. 

She made a number of public addresses of an educational nature and the people, learning that she was thoroughly competent and was deeply interested in the schools of her native county, rallied to her support. 

At first there were those who would not vote for a woman, but when they met Miss Wheeler or heard her addresses their prejudice vanished, and when the election came on and the vote was counted, and she had a majority of two, her opponent contested the election. 

After hearing the contest the board gave her a certificate of election, and declared that she was elected by one majority. She will enter upon the duties of the office next Monday, and Crittenden would not exchange her Superintendent for any other state. 

Miss Wheeler served her 4 year term 1894-1898 and was elected again for another 4 year term, 1898-1901. She won over John B. Paris by 21 votes. She was a very popular Superintendent and served her county well. She retired at the end of her term in January 1901. 

 Miss Armina Jane Wheeler was the daughter of Isaac and Nancy Elvira Crider Wheeler. She was born April 6, 1861. 

After she retired in January of 1901, she went to Indian Territory in Oklahoma where she once again took up her previous occupation as a teacher. 

Here she met her future husband, Charles Gustafuson, who for several years had lived there and been in the employ of one of the leading coal companies of the West. They returned to Kentucky and were married at Cadiz, KY, on Sept. 2, 1905. 

After visiting family and friends in Marion they returned to their home in Oklahoma.
An announcement in The Crittenden Press, October 7, 1905, tells the tragic news – the remains of Mrs. Mina Wheeler Gustafson, who died at Coal Gate, Indian Territory, Oklahoma, last Saturday, arrived in the city Tuesday morning and were taken to the home of her sorrowing relatives.
Her death came as a complete shock to every one, a letter having come to her sister from her after the telegram announcing the news of her death. 

She was a woman of superior character and possessed many womanly traits. She was honored and loved by all who knew her. She was interred in the Wheeler family cemetery. (this cemetery is located on Just-A-Mere-Road).