100 Years ago
March 26, 1920
The storm that visited this section Wednesday night wrought considerable damage to property and seriously inured at least one person. G.M. Bennett was living alone in a small house east of De Queen. His house was blown to pieces and he was severely cut about the face and scalp. A stove in the house was blown on to him and he was rendered unconscious and lay on the ground until daylight, when he was discovered by neighbors. He was taken to the Spicer home and a physician was called.
The house of Mrs. W.Y. McLaughlin on the Lockesburg road, was badly damaged, a number of windows being blown out.
A house belonging to Frank Dee, near Holden’s garage, was blown from the foundation.
A house occupied by B.F. Dermott, on the S.E.L. Smith farm was demolished and part of it blown one hundred yards. The contents of the house were widely scattered. Mr. Dermott was slightly injured but his family escaped harm.
The Planters Bank of Lockesburg opened for business Saturday. The new institution has a capital and surplus of $38,500. Dr. A.J. Clingan is president; Mr. L.D. McCowan, vice president and Fay Park, cashier.
Miss Montra Heath has the honor of being the first club girl to take off a flock of thoroughbred chicks in these parts. Miss Montra is trying the Rhode Island Reds and we feel sure she will make the other club girls sit up and take notice as her mother is considered the best poultry woman in the Valley.
Rolling stock and other equipment has been purchased by the T.O.&E. Railraod Company that amounts in value to over one hundred thousand dollars. Two railroad locomotives, steel passenger coach and the three steel bridges are stated to be among the improvements. This is the result of Mr. Fred Dierks and Mr. R.V. Thomas, trainmaster to Philadelphia, New York and other places the past two weeks, and the intention of the T.O.&E. to be operating freight and passenger trains into De Queen before 1921.
T.A. Knight has sold his shoe repair shop to Nat Mabry of Horatio. Mr. Mabry will open his shoe shop in the rear of the Elk Hotel.
Later published reports of the banks of Sevier County show total deposits of $1,495,869.26. There were seven banks in the county with a capital and surplus of $405,482.
75 years ago
March 29, 1945
Following the killing of several dogs for suspected rabies during the past few days the city of De Queen has ordered all owners to pen or leash their dogs for a period of 21 days. Chicken owners must also observe the ordinance regarding the keeping of fowls in the city limits, and must keep the birds penned securely at all times.
The Seniors of the Lockesburg high school will present their paly, “He Was a Gay Senorita,” at the high school auditorium, Tuesday afternoon and night on April 3. The case includes Dexter Bell, Tom S. Coulter, Bennie Fatherree, Bobby Good, Billy Ring, Edna F. Webb, Nora Lee Hill, Marie Jones, Elizabeth Kemp, Eunice M. Faulkner,, Lawrence Cannon and Patricia Whitaker.
Mineral News: Mr. E.G. Philips of Magnolia and daughter, Daisy Burns of Gillham were Mineral visitors Monday.
Mr. and Mrs. Milton Wright and Grandpa Wright spent Tuesday with their daughter, Mrs. Winston Higgins and baby.
Mr. and Mrs. John Farley, Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Taylor and Miss Ora Dell Taylor were De Queen visitors Saturday.
Mrs. Sarah Rounds, Mrs. Eunice Whisenhunt, Andy Davis, Jerry Oliver, B.H. Parks and Harold Higgins were De Queen visitors Satuday.
Almont News: Mrs. Mary Chambers of Dierks is visiting her brother, Mr. and Mrs. C.B. Ward and family.
Pfc. Alva Warford of Camp Chaffee is visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Capps.
Mrs. Ted Kitchens and children are visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. C.B. Coffy of Antimony.
Gillham News: Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Knod Deloyd Dunagan and Mildred Brewer drove to Lockesburg and Nashville Sunday afternoon.
Frank Graves of Hatfield spent the weekend with his sister, Mrs. John Hudson.
Wilburn Petty, who has been training in radar somewhere in Florida, arrived Monday for a few days visit with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Petty.
With every school house in Sevier County designated as a receiving station, and boxes placed also at the courthouse, De Queen post office, Commercial Club office and the county library, for receiving bundles, the drive for 75,000 pounds of used clothing for use overseas was getting underway this week. The campaign is headed by a committee from the Rotary Club, which is composed of J.B. Green, Abe Collins and Waverly Wommack.
50 years ago
March 19, 1970
A 49-year-old Horatio man, O’Dell Carter, died at 7 a.m. Wednesday, March 18 in Shreveport’s Veterans Hospital and his death touched off an intensive investigation into possible causes. Carter was discovered in a semi-conscious condition Tuesday afternoon by his sister, Mrs. Elsie Kleeschulte, of New Boston, who comes to Horatio weekly to check on Carter, who is a disabled veteran. He lived alone in a small, two-room house in the northwest part of Horatio. Police said that when Kleeschulte went to the house, she found him in a blood-soaked bed, and blood was over both rooms of the house. He appeared, she said, to have been beaten badly, and had cuts on his writs on the back.
Three Oklahomans , who have already served 21 months for a bank robbery to which another man has confessed, were “home” this week, free on bond awaiting a new trial ordered by the state supreme court. Carson Steel, Jr., Ronald Steel and Mrs. Ronald Steeel, all of Broken Bow, were returned to De Queen Thursday night from Cummins Farm by Deputy Homer Hale and Dee Shillito.
John William Bone, aged 104, Sevier County’s oldest resident, died at 10 p.m., Thursday , March 12 in De Queen Nursing Home. A native of Melbourne, Izard County, he was born Feb. 17, 1866, and had lived in De Queen for many years.
Kansas City Southern inadvertently provided De Queen with a weekend’s entertainment when two units of a three-unit diesel locomotive derailed in the local yards early Saturday morning. From the time the units derailed until they were back on the tracks, the fire department was called twice, big wrecking equipment was called into service, and spectators by the score visited the site. Others watched the activity from the Highway 70 overpass.
Miss Horatio High for the current year is Melinda Ray, a freshman. She was chosen as the school’s annual pageant Friday night, March 13. Second runnerup was Lynette Frady, a senior and first runnerup was Pam Brewer, a junior.
The De Queen composite squadron, Civil Air Patrol, was presented the honor squadron award for the past year during the 1970 conference held at Blytheville Air Force Base March 13-15. The squadron also won the attendance award for having the best cadet attendance at the conference.
25 years ago
March 23, 1995
Steve Smith said Sunday he had resigned as the fire chief of the De Queen Fire Department. Smith said he gave his verbal resignation to Mayor Phillip Cox on Monday, March 13. He said after he uses up approximately four weeks of vacation time, he plans to resign from the fire department as a firefighter, also. The former chief said he plans to go into teaching firefighter classes.
The historic Dee Swift Hotel in Downtown De Queen will soon be open for business again, this time as a residential care facility described as a halfway house between a nursing home and home. The facility will be operated by Joe Alexander and his mother, Avanella Looney of Sparkman, in cooperation with the Southwest Arkansas Counseling and Mental Health. Alexander said the center is set to open in mid-April with room for 15 patients now being housed in a similar facility in Sparkman.
Four witnesses testified Monday afternoon as the capital murder trial of Warren Tom Stephens, 35, began in Sevier County Circuit Court. A seven-woman, five-man jury and two alternates were seated before the noon break. Attorneys presented their opening statements when the trial resumed in the afternoon. Several witnesses were then called to testify. Jurors in the capital murder trial heard a tape recorded confession and the defendant himself describe how he shot Michael Patrick McNeal on April 26, 1994.
Burglars broke into De Queen High School sometime Tuesday night and ransacked several offices and classrooms in search of money, according to De Queen Police Chief Jim Smith. Smith said that school employees discovered the break-in when they arrived for work Wednesday morning and notified police.
Carleton B Sweeny of the De Queen Police Department and Robert W. Gentry of the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, were among 86 officers who participated in Basic Police Training Class 95-A at the Law Enforcement Training Academy in East Camden.
Lady Leopard point guard Rebecca Athey and shooting guard Susan Higgins were selected to the 7AA All-District team and the Class AA All-State team in a vote taken among league coaches. The senior backcourt led the Lay Leopards to district and region titles and a berth in the state tournament.
10 years ago
March 25, 2010
On March 16, the De Queen City Council passed an ordinance that will regulate cellphone towers in the city limits. Although currently no cellphone towers have been placed in De Queen, the ordinance has established the parameters for any future construction. Officials with the city began exploring an ordinance after several cellphone service companies showed interest in placing towers in De Queen.
The Arkansas Board of Parole has scheduled a clemency hearing on March 29 for condemned murderer Stacy Eugene Johnson. Johnson was sentenced in 1993 for the murder of Carol Heath of De Queen. An investigation revealed Johnson had entered Heath’s apartment, beat her and then stabbed her. Heath died from a single knife wound to the throat.
Since sowing the first seeds last year, the garden maintained by the Sevier County Jail has brought a bountiful and varied harvest. Despite hungry deer, curious passerby, and the torrential rainfalls of 2009, the inmate-operated garden is flourished and became, perhaps, the best looking garden in the county. With the growing season quickly approaching, jail officials are again hoping to operate a successful garden this year. They say the garden is saving costs and improving inmate behavior.
With the once-in-a-decade census now in full gear, local and regional census officials are asking everyone to complete their forms now and therefore avoid a visit from a Census worker. April 1 is National Census Day. The Census Bureau is hoping most people will have filled out their census forms by that day, and will use the months of May, June and July to seek out those who have not filled out their form.
A retirement party was held for Deputy Benny Simmons on March 19. Simmons has been in law enforcement field for more than 18 years and has been an inspiration for many other law enforcement personnel in the area. Around a hundred people showed up to commemorate Simmons and his many years of service to Sever County