Roots go deep in Anderson land
Roots go deep for Rudy Anderson who has lived most of his 87 years on Digalo Road near Caraway. Anderson is one of the few early pioneers who still lives on land he helped clear.
He was young when his parents, Luther and Ailcy Anderson, moved the family from Kentucky to Caraway in 1933. Even though he was young, he still remembers helping pick up stumps as the land was cleared for farming.
"When we arrived most of this area was woods and swamps," he said.
His dad left tobacco farming in Kentucky to try his hand at raising cotton in Northeast Arkansas.
"My dad always said it took 13 months out of the year to raise tobacco," Anderson said. "I don't remember much about tobacco farming but when I was in the service and stationed in Kentucky I liked to visit the fields and the barns."
Anderson said as children they were fasinated with getting water from a pitcher pump when they arrived in Arkansas.
"We were used to having a well and drawing our water," he said. "Here we had a pump and we about wore it out."
He is the only living sibling of seven children.
Their dad purchased 40 acres of land in 1933 and hired a man with a two-ton truck to move them from Kentucky.
"My dad never owned a car," Anderson said. "He always said with five boys he did not need one."
Some of his mother's relatives had moved to the Caraway area first and his older brother came before the family arrived."
Every year the farm got a little bigger as they cleared land for farming. Most everyone raised their own food, canned what they raised, had chickens, a smokehouse for the meat and plenty to eat.
Anderson said when his family moved to the area, he was about four years old and the nearest school was too far for them to attend. A few years later a school was built and he started to public shool when he was eight years old. One summer he said he attended classes in a barn.
He is proud to be living on the land his family cleared. He hopes the original land will always remain in the family.
Anderson has only lived off the family land a few years. He moved during his military service and one year when he sharecropped. Other than those few years, he has been right there. His son now lives in the home place.
Mr. Anderson and his wife, Lavern, live in a mobile home next to the home place.
He remembers Caraway when it was a busy, busy town.
"We would come to town on Saturday nights in a wagon and the streets would be filled with people, especially in the fall," he said. "We would have a lot of people here picking cotton."
Anderson attends Rivervale Baptist Church where he has been a member for over 50 years.
"I miss the good old days but you can't go back," he said.
He has seen a lot of changes in his years, some good and some not as good, but he said he would not change a thing.
He is retired from farming but likes to keep busy in his shop working with wood. He is pleased to be able to live, work and retire on the land that brought his family to this area. It holds a lot of memories for Mr. Anderson.