Lost Cane, Whistleville, Roseland, and Little River reunion planned

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Submitted by BOYD ESTES:

Boyd Estes, organizer of the annual Lost Cane, Whistleville, Roseland, and Little River reunion met with several committee members to plan the upcoming event.

This will be the 12th year for the reunion and each year those attending vote unanimously to have the reunion the following year.

Those able to attend the planning meeting were Boyd Estes, Donna Estes, Lee Wigginton, Glenda Curtwright, Harry Parks, Patsy Boren, Wayne Boren, Weltha (Mathes) Bradberry Triplett, Jerry Pate, Shirley Pate, Ben and Pat Davis, Emma (Brady) Jones, Dale Wigginton, Callie Hampton and Donald Hampton.

"We will hold more planning meetings for the upcoming reunion set for Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Manila Airport Center," Boyd Estes said. "We welcome everyone who has ever lived around the community to join in the reunion."

It will begin at 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. A potluck luncheon will be served.

The following is thoughts of Mr. Estes as he remembers his childhood.

I remember yesterday:

As a boy of 14, I sat in a classroom of the Lost Cane Public School and listened as my teacher spoke of fame, fortune, war and peace and I wondered what the future had to offer me. Some 50 years separate the man I am today from the young man I was then and change has been an integral part of each year. But one thing has not changed: my love for Lost Cane School and the wonderful friends who attended with me.

Lost Cane was never a major city or any prosperous trade route of the world, nor does it now occupy even one chapter in the history of time, but it lives in my memory and in the hearts of many others with all the joy, beauty and reality of yesterday's sunrise, and before we bid farewell to this life we want to go back to this very special place and remember together the names, faces, events and places we knew when we were kids. In short, we are planning a Lost Cane Reunion.

Approximately seven miles southeast of Manila, Ark., 32 miles east of Jonesboro and 75 miles northwest of Memphis, Tenn., is the site of this little piece of geography that got its rather uncommon name from an all too common event. In its day, cane breaks grew all around the area. On one occasion, a prized cow became lost in one of the cane fields and to my knowledge she never was found. Her legacy proved to be longer than her natural life since her disappearance gave the community its badge of identity.

According to local historians the first settlers of Lost Cane were Native Americans who once populated that area before President Andrew Jackson relocated them to the plains region of the Midwest. The first industry of any reputation was the Chicago Mills, a timber cutting company that started in the early 1900s.

Just as brightly colored flowers give beauty and meaning to a well kept garden so do good people give recognition to a community, and among the names of those who made Lost Cane the wonderful place it was reads like an honor roll of humanity. Such names as Veach, Parks, Towles, Stutts, Bourland, McCann, Statler, Gulley, Powers, Boren, Morgan, Lewis, Baugher, Fincher, Loren, Estes, Deeds, Owens, Sivage, McCallie, Downing, Craine, Hollis, Brady, Tatum, Paschal, Manning, Lott, Murray, Walters, Roberts, Harris, Pate, Montgomery, McClain, Horner, Croney, Brinkley, Hodge, Underwood, Wigginton, Whitbey, Evans, Hollis, Lutes, Nuckles, Beggs, Densmore, Dobbs, Nimmo, and Westmoreland.

The school I remember consisted of grades one through eight. The building was unusually large for its time, containing at least seven classrooms, with a full size gymnasium, a first-class stage, and all the classrooms were well equipped and maintained. It was built on land donated by Mr. John Loren. From 1943 to 1956 enrollment was about 360 students per year, and the education they received was second to none in overall quality.

Although many people played a very important role in creating and maintaining this school, one person whose contributions were of special significance was the principal, Mr. Lloyd Mathis.

Webster's Dictionary defines principal as being the "chief or head; superintendent or person in charge." But Lloyd Mathis was much more than that. Being in so many ways a man before his time, he had that unique capacity, and the will, to make a little country boy see beyond the limits of dingy cities, drab people and his own little world of uninspiring circumstance and dare to believe in a world of vast opportunities and his ability to achieve. Many of his students went on to become leaders in their chosen field, mainly because he helped them to feel they could become whatever they wanted to be. Mr. Mathis was a read credit to his profession and his title. In every way he was both a prince and a pal, what every teacher should be.

But for the moment, enough about the past. Let's look ahead to the future and the reunion that is planned, not only for students of the school itself but also for all those who ever lived in or around the Lost Cane Community. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, we will meet at the Manila airport Center, Lake Street and airport Road, Manila.

We want as many as possible to come together on this occasion and help us to remember the past because it is the past that gibes meaning to the present and reasons to live for the future. Hope to see you in Manila.

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