BRIGHT, BUSY BATES
March 11, 1909
And What We Saw There
From the: THE HEAVENER CLIPPER
Heavener, Indian Territory
Tuesday morning the Ledger man boarded the A.W. and made his first trip to our neighboring town of Bates, Ark. and had the pleasure of meeting most of the business men of the town.
Bates was laid out in a huge brush patch some six years ago and today is a little bright place of 500 people. The town incorporated, the following parties being the "city dads" Mayor, Dr. Cline; recorder, J.W. Blair;
aldermen, J.T. Matthews, Dr. Atkins, E.R. Vaugan, C.M. Maddox and J.M. Blair. The citizens speak well of the administration, and if the reports are true there will be but little change at the coming election, April 6th next. We were informed that Dr. Cline. because of his professional business, would decline to serve a second term, and J.W. Patton is the most talked of man for the mayoralty.
J.T. Matthews is a pleasant affable gentleman and one of the leading merchants of the town. He located Bates about the time the town was laid out and tho he has not made a fortune, he has enjoyed a liberal patronage from the beginning. His stock invoices about $5,000. J.W. Patton, his genial clerk, is a man who makes friends and business. On busy days both Mrs. Matthews and Mrs. Patton are found behind the counters and these ladies have proved as good "salesmen" as the gentlemen.
At Dr. Atkins' drug store we found a neat stock of everything connected with his line. The Doctor a practicing physician- graduate of the St. Louis College of Physicians and Surgeons. He had a large practice, and Mrs. Atkins proves a very able assistant in the store. This lady also has charge of the central telephone office, located in the drug store, and the patrons of the line enjoy the best service at her hands.
J.H. Cheatham has a great big storeroom from which you may select goods to stock your home, feed, clothe and entertain your family. He has been in business there about two years and is well pleased with his patronage.
The Bates Coal and Coke Co. has a neat commodious office in charge of J.H. Vahle, the bookkeeper. Mr. V. is a new-comer in the town, having been there about four months. He is well liked by all- the operators, the citizens and the miners. The mine operated by this company is a slope 900 feet deep. The mine is idle at present, but Mr. Vahle is expecting instructions at any hour from the president, L.W. Winter (now in St. Louis) to set the men at work. They will soon give employment to from 70 to 80 men. The output of the mine when closed down two weeks ago was 130 tons per day, but in two or three days this can be increased to 150 tons.
The largest institution of the town is the Ingrham Lumber Co. In addition to the eight large sawmills and the planning mill, the company has a $10,000 stock of goods embracing everything in the general goods line. At present only four of the saw mills are in operation, and their combined output is 60,000 feet per day. H. Shaffer, the general manager is a very sociable gentlemen but does not permit his sociability to interfere with business. R.M. McKnight is assistant manager and renders good service to his chief and the company. The mercantile business is under the management of J.S. Haywood, and J.W. Blair, head clerk is an adept in everything from selling goods to entertaining the ladies. At present the company has about 100 men employed, not including the log haulers, but in the busy season when all the mills are running at full capacity nearly double the number find lucrative employment with these people.
Their payroll now runs about $200 per day.
K.D. Johnson opened a neat stock of staple and fancy groceries some four years ago and has prospered. In his rooms also the ladies find a nice stock of millinery goods and fancy articles.
H. Blair the Nashby of Bates is also in the grocery business. He is an old resident of the town, honored and respected by all, tho how it is that he is a republican is somewhat of a mystery - he's good enough to be a democrat.
Of course we got hungry, and as Aunt Jenny's Hotel has a reputation extending a hundred miles in every direction we went there for dinner. This lady was a pioneer of the town. She grabbed an ax and helped in clearing it, put up a hotel consisting of four small rooms and went at it. And she has been at it ever since with the result that she now has a sixteen-room building nicely furnished, a good bank roll, and is one of the directors of the Farmers' and Merchants Bank of Heavener where her counsel and advice give strength and standing to the institution. But the dinner; our victuals were not set out in little individual butters holding half a teaspoonful each, but the tempting viand were placed in big dishes just such as mother used to place on the table when we had visitors. Tho Aunt Jenny keeps plenty of efficient help, she claims that she is the best cook in Arkansas, and attends to the culinary department herself. As to the truth of her statement hundreds of people will verify it. She has the knack of making everybody happy hence her great popularity and just now a word of waming: If Aunt Jenny says its so and you doubt it, don't tell your doubts aloud for every man in the community would be hunting for your scalp.
We found a busy place at Claybrook & Harrison's blacksmith shop work piled up for days in advance. They also do wagon making and general repair work, and the fact that they hold this business alone in Bates shows that they give good satisfaction.
We dropped in for a moment and shook hands with Charley Claybrook, the tonsorial artist. He has a fine stand with plate glass mirrors, and everything up to date, and you're always next.
John Terry, proprietor of the pool hall is a big jolly fellow ready to greet you heartily on the streets or in his place of business. He keeps a clean quiet place and when you feel like "rolling one" go and see John.
Rev. M.A. Lark is the Methodist minister. He preaches at Bates, Coaldale, Weeks, Cauthron and Center Point and has 197 members at the four places.
Always pleasant and kind, he wins the regards of all.
A. A. Stevens & Bro., grocery men have all kinds of good things to eat in their $800 dollar stock. Dr. R.C. Cline is also in partnership with them and they carry a $600 stock of drugs is the same building. All three gentlemen are very pleasant and accommodating.
J.E. Stamps the leading butcher keeps a bountiful supply of salt and fresh meats. His shop is always kept in good order. He has been in business there four years and made many friends.
Mrs. Matthews and daughter Mrs. John Patton have a line of millinery and ladies' furnishing goods. They have had seven years experience in the business and give satisfaction to their many customers.
The Harper Coal and Coke Co. is working steadily tho not at full capacity.
They are now giving employment to 48 men who are loading only three cars a day. The only person we met connected with the mine was the gentlemany bookkeeper, L.M. Pool. The coal at this shaft like the other, is the finest quality and is practically inexhaustible in supply.
We called at the office of Dr. Cline, a second meat market, the livery stable, and some other places we should liked to have mentioned in the Ledger, but the parties were net in. We were so well pleased with our trip, however, that we shall not make this our last visit to the thriving little burg across the state line.
Letter from Aunt Grace Vaughn Gresham about Bates
I can't, for the life of me, think where that Bates livery stable was, unless it was out at the mines where they kept the mules they used in the mines.
There was a time when we had to buy books of coupons, with which to buy merchandise at the store where Mr. Haywood built the rock store later.
As for store buildings, and beginning with the west end, there was Chathams. Back of it, where Blaylocks lived, was at first a store, then across the street on the north side were two stores and the P.O. in one building. Then there was K.D. Johnson's store (King David Johnson), Dr. Atkin's office and store, and the Hotel, that's 7 store buildings.
Across the street that led up to the Section house was a store building next to the one Grandpa had, then another where Becky Blair and Bob Claybrook's once had a millinery shop (they were all small businesses), at the top of the rise was another with a house built on behind, that's 4 stores in that block.
Across that street (the way the town was laid out) in the next block was Haywood's store, and didn't Lee Gipson have a store before he and Haywood went in together? Anyway there were two buildings there. Then two more store buildings - Mrs. Black lived in one of them in later years, that's four more, 15 in all. That's all I can recall. I think Ed Stamps store and the one west of it were built much later.
Bates was a boom town once upon a time - the mines and planer running full time. The A.W. ran every day. The depot was some place to go on Sunday aftenoon wearing your best clothes, to see who got on, or off, the train.
Planer - that was the big mill in Bates. They split the logs into boards. It ran night and day if there was a rush order - whang, whang, whang. When I was little, I'd wake up from a nap in the summertime, and that constant whang - whang seemed to make the day hotter.
There was a drying kiln at the east side of the planer. Sun and air did the drying. There was a wide, but low, opening not tall enough for a door, on two sides of the building. A large metal smokestack went up from the center of the building. The sun heated the metal pipe and that drew air through the openings and through the lumber. It made a whooshing sound as the air went up through the pipe. I know because I went inside once.
As I grew older, I wondered why that principle couldn't be used to air condition houses. Of course you wouldn't want those metal pipes when there was lightening.
Maybe the rest of you already know this - When Mamma and Papa first came to Bates they lived where the Bums lived when we left there. Then it was two large rooms and the kitchen was in a small building or shed in the back yard. The K.L. Johnsons were their closest neighbors. Bertie and I, of course, were babies. Mamma said we sat on the floor and played together while she and Mrs. J. visited. When Papa became foreman, they moved to the section house.
Papa worked from 7:00 A.M. till 6:00 P.M. 6 days a week. On pretty Sunday mornings he usually got out and walked over the country-side, and Elmer and I were taken along. He carried me and led Elmer. Later, he carried Blanche, led me, and Elmer tagged along.
I think I got off the subject there. But I must mention Papa's game rooster again, he was the prettiest bird. His dark tail feathers had an iridescence, sometimes they were blue metallic-looking-sometimes they were green. He was a regular pet. He wanted to stay around us kids, but we were told never pick him up because of his long needle-sharp spurs. I cried when they pulled him out of the rain barrel.
From the 1911 edition of the KCS Current Events News
Bates, Scott County, Ark.- Population 150; from Kansas City, MO., 351 miles, on Arkansas Western branch of the K.C.S. Ry. A lumber manufacturing and coal mining town. There are in operation here the yellow pine sawmill of the Ingham Lumber Co., capacity 50,000 feet daily; the I.R. Packard Coal Mine and Bates Coal & Coke Company's mine. The town has five mercantile stocks valued at $140,000, a hotel, church, public school and several minor commercial and industrial concerns. Land Values - $5 to $10 per acre. Business Opportunities: There are wanted in Bates a meat market, a bakery, and there are good openings in the coal mining industry. Address for information, Agent K.C.S. Ry. Bates, Ark.