Monette barn has second life

Wednesday, October 22, 2008
New Grist Mill at the Parker Homestead Festival. (Town Crier photos/Nan Snider)

Hand hewn logs from the old Dudley barn, north of Monette, have been transformed into a new grist mill at the Parker Homestead, at Whitehall.

The grist mill was in full operation at the Parker Homestead this weekend, as hundreds of visitors took part in the annual Heritage Days celebration. Golden yellow or blue cornmeal was made available for purchase on site.

Phil and Teressa Parker, owners and operators of the Parker Pioneer Homestead, are well known for their vast collection of old buildings, artifacts and country traditions.

Gary McClain and Joshua McClain, of Memphis, grind yellow and blue corn at the grist mill.

The Parkers traveled to Monette on Aug. 15, 2004, along with their son Cy Parker and his wife MaryAnne, to dismantle the Dudley barn and move the pieces to Whitehall. The barn was located on property belonging to Gathright Farms of Monette. The Parkers used part of the logs to build the grist mill to the right side of the entrance and had logs left over to begin construction of another dwelling to the west side of the homestead.

The Dudley farm was originally owned by William and Willie Dudley, on Highway 139, north of Monette. Their children were Elton Dudley, Cora Dudley, Urell Dudley and Patricia Dudley Cannon.

Urell and his wife Nellie lived on the farm after they married in 1946 and raised their children there also. Throughout all the years, the two small log barns were used by the Dudley family members for storing corn. It seemed appropriate that it went from being used as a corn crib to that of a grist mill.

Cy and MaryAnne Parker show visitors how to make brooms at the festival. (Town Crier photos/Nan Snider)

Cy Parker was in charge of the Dudley barn moving project and oversees new construction at the homestead. Cy and MaryAnne Parker spent Saturday and Sunday making brooms at the broom shop at the homestead.

A new addition to the homestead family this year was little Kyra Burns, 3, granddaughter of Phil and Teressa Parker. She pulled an antique wagon around the homestead all day selling bright red apples for a quarter. She did a lucrative business, as she was dressed in a pioneer outfit, complete with pantaloons, and greeted visitors throughout the day.

Points of interest at the homestead consisted of visits to Clark's Cabin and kitchen, the Loom House, Broom House, General Store, Barn, Blacksmith, Way Station, Sorghum Mill, Grist Mill, Sloan School, Robert's Chapel, Smokehouse, Post Office and Print Shop, Parker's Covered Bridge, and Bacon Hotel. Food vendors of all varieties were on hand along with square dancing and rides in a horse-drawn wagon. Antique farm equipment was on display near the entrance. Visitors had many benches to sit on along the shaded walkway of the homestead, as they sat to visit and eat kettle corn, fried pies, pigskin rinds, candy and a big plate of soup beans.

The Haunted Homestead will be the last event for the year and will be held on Oct.24-25, beginning at 7 p.m.

The Parker Pioneer Homestead is located on Highway 1, between Harrisburg and Wynne. Their website is

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