By John L. Kiener,
Washington County Sessions Judge
This is Part IV of “Old Jonesboro” in the 1850s. The material has been taken from Reminiscences of an Old Timer, by Captain Ross Smith, a privately printed book dated in 1930 and not copyrighted. In a previous segment, Captain Smith talked about “education” in Jonesboro in the 1850s and mentioned “Martin Academy.” It is from this location that the City Directory continues having started on the south side of old E.T. & VA RR traveling west.
“Martin Academy set just back of the Sevier property on the hill. Mention of the Academy has been made in the Reminiscences.
Lawson Gifford, printer, two-story frame. Only two sons remembered, David and Frank, my schoolmate. Now the home of W.S. Hickey.
Mrs. Susan Watkins, widow, same as at one time lived in the brick on Main Street, and who owned two or three slaves. House now torn away. A new one on the site is owned by G. Snapp.
Ben Armstrong and two sisters occupy the house their father built and taught school during the fifties.
Martin Fleming, carpenter, two-story brick. Two daughters; one son, David. Fleming assisted in building the First Presbyterian Church. Now the property of Mrs. Jesse Baskett.
Tom Hashbarger and two sisters lived in a one-story log when the first troops from the South were going to Virginia. Tom left with them, nothing definite over being heard from him. It was reported he was killed at the Battle of Manassas. Now the property of A.B. Cary.
Dr. John Casson, two-story frame, stood across the street from Hashbargers. Now a vacant lot. A.G. Mason married a daughter of Dr. Casson.”
Aunt Nellie Helms, colored, two-story frame. She was the cake and pastry baker for the town. Now the home of Bettie Pearson, colored. (The use of the word “colored” would be replaced today by “black,” “Afro-American” or a term different than the one used by Captain Ross Smith in 1930. However, the word is used here in the context of the times and is not meant to offend any person – J. Kiener).
“Two-story brick built by John Lyle and occupied while building the Courthouse. Later occupied by a man by the name of Haskew.
A.N. Jackson, son of A.E., two-story brick, now the property of J.W. Hawkins.
Now cross to the north side, and go east:
James Barkley, farmer, two-story frame. At one time a stopping place for wagoners hauling goods from Baltimore; said to have been called Bowling Green. As I remember, one son, James; one daughter, Mrs. Champ Aiken, who now lives in the old house.
W.H. Maxwell, lawyer, two-story frame. Two daughters, one of whom married James Slemons. Site now replaced by the modern home of W.P. Shipley.
Samuel Gugenheimer; one-story frame. One daughter, Nellie, that I remember. Now a new model home of A.L. Shipley.
James Murphy, lawyer, two-story frame. Married Miss Eliza Jackson; one daughter, Eugenia. Now the home of Joseph Sherfy.
A vacant lot on which John Robinson pitched his shows. The writer remembers attending Robinson Circus in 1853. Now a two-story brick stands on this lot, built by james H. Dosser for his son-in-law, Isaac Reeves, lawyer. Now the property of A.J. Trusler.
The Spark family lived in a one-story brick. Two sons, James and William, printer; one daughter, Kate, married Milton Keen, undertaker. Now the home of Fred McPherson.
Rogan family, two-story frame. My memory if rather vague as to this family, but remember two brothers. Talbot and Joseph, lawyers. Property now of W.C. Wayman.
Jacob Adler, merchant, two-story brick. The home of Lilburn and Lillie Febuary.”
Editor’s Note: This series will conclude next week, with the final installment of Reminiscences of An Old Timer.