Haag finds 1937 newspaper stories interesting and informative

Wednesday, August 9, 2006
Lynn Haag, Caraway historian, looks over a story about Abraham Lincoln in Mississippi County from the Arkansas Gazette Magazine Section, Sunday, Feb. 7, 1937. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Lynn Haag of Caraway, local historian and collector, received a Feb. 7, 1937 copy of the Arkansas Gazette, magazine section. Haag, along with other area men interested in preserving the area's history, have been collecting not only information, but antiques of the area. A room in Haag's Western Auto store in Caraway has been designated as a storage area for old pictures, news articles, books containing any information on Caraway and the surrounding area. He also has a room next to his furniture store (the old theater) where antiques and old pictures are displayed.

Haag said after a recent article published in The Town Crier he has received several items to add to the growing collection of historical keepsakes.

"Many times people run across old newspapers, annuals, pictures or other items found and they really don't know what to do with them," Haag said.

He is always glad to get anything related to the area's history or even Arkansas history. For those who want to keep the items, he is glad to get copies.

Haag said the 1937 newspaper article was given to him by Mary (Mrs. Jim) Fletcher of Caraway. She had the papers for years. One of the interesting articles he found was a story entitled Lincoln's Visit to Arkansas by Bernie Babcock, author of "Soul of Ann Rutledge" and "Little Abe Lincoln."

The story was about Abraham Lincoln spending two months in what is now Mississippi County working for a man known as W.D. "Wappanocha" Ferguson.

The story went Ferguson met with Lincoln years later during the Civil War. Ferguson told the story to a companion how his friendship came about with Lincoln. As the story was told, Lincoln was traveling north after a trip by boat to New Orleans. He was making his way back to Illinois when he got a job cutting timber in the river bottoms. Ferguson had a contract furnishing several river boats with wood. According to the story, Lincoln stayed two months and the article is full of interesting details about Lincoln as a young, working man many years before he became the 16th President of the United States. The story also goes into great detail how cargo was transported, the costume of the day, and other details about Lincoln and Ferguson.

According to the story, Ferguson was elected senator to represent Crittenden and Mississippi counties in 1836, he went to Little Rock and was one of the members of the first legislature held in the state capitol known then as "Pope's Folly."

Other stories in the paper included "Mississippi River Boy Hero" about steamboat race.

A quote from the story said steamboat racing on the Mississippi between 1870 and 1890 was popular with the residents of the towns and cities along the river. The story told of a famous steam boat race near Helena.

Several other articles in the news were interesting, including a review of the newly published books.

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