A TRIP BACK TO FARMERVILLE

Posted: February 8, 2012 in thomas t fields jr.
Tags: , , , ,

In March of 1967 I was a gangly sophomore at Farmerville High. That month Farmerville held its 125 anniversary. The three day event was full of events that culminated with a dance at the high school gym. Art shows, flower shows, forest exhibits, a temporary museum, parade, banquets, variety show, the Miss Farmerville Pageant, and air show and the Centenary Choir welcomed residents and visitors to this magnificent pageant. People wore vintage clothing and the town was vibrant with all the festivities. The organizers got this celebration right. One of the souvenirs that was available was the 125th Anniversary Souvenir Program. This was produced by the anniversary sponsors and mushc of the history of Farmerville is captured in the document. Lets take a look at a section called “Firsts in Farmerville and Later Progress”. According to the document the first telephone south of the Mason-Dixon line was brought to Farmerville by Col. Daniel Stein. He had seen the invention while visiting New York and brought three of these to Farmerville. first automobile hit Farmerville in 1911 and cost $1,050. Mail service began in 1840. Six years after the first car came to Farmerville, the first traffic laws were passed in 1917. In 1954 parking meters were introduced to the down town section of Farmerville and netted an average of $100.00. I can still see Miss Lilly Silmon pushing a cart around town empting the parking meters in her sheriff’s deputy uniform. The first water system was contracted to be built in 1922. Water was piped from a Whiteman-Decker Mill on the Marion highway to the school and then into town. Later water was provided from a series of deep wells. Street lights were installed in 1914 and the installers were allowed to use 40 watt light bulbs. Gas was brought into Farmerville in 1927 and residents could then have access to gas for heating and cooking. The health unit was formed in 1936. Its first director was Dr. J.G Norris who left in 1938 to enter private practice. Among his many accomplishments he brought my wife into the world in 1955. The first marriage license was issued in 1839. The groom signed his name but the bride had to sign with an “X”. The W.G. Turnage store was an early entry in the Farmerville business community. It sat on the corner of Main and East Franklin. Across the street to the north was the Farmerville Mercantile. This is currently the parking lot across the street from Community Trust Bank. The Farmerville Mercantile was chartered in 1913. Union Parish provided four governors. Two Louisiana governors were from Shiloh and went to school at Farmerville. Homesville and Oakland each provided governors for Arkansas. “It was noted that in 1967 practically all the business houses are brick and new ones have been built in the last ten years, giving the town a neat, progressive appearance.” Farmerville will celebrate its 175th anniversary in five years. Lets hope that the spirit that made the 125th anniversary such a resounding success will be with us then.

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