Elvis Was Fined

What is the connection between Elvis and this Esso station in Carlisle, Arkansas?

In 1955, Elvis and several band members were heading on Hwy. 70 toward Little Rock.

At this intersection of Hwy. 70 and Hwy. 13 in Carlisle, while driving at a high rate of speed, Elvis broadsided a dump truck and sent his Cadillac into a ditch across the highway from this station. Nobody was injured, the Caddy was still drivable but the gas tank on the dump truck was punctured. Elvis was fined $25 for the damage to the dump truck.

Utley House

Utley House, 3 April 2022

The E. F. Utley house was built between 1914 and 1922 in Cabot, Lonoke, Arkansas and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

Dr. F. E. Utley (Francis Edwin Utley) who was born 10 Feb 1881 in Greenbrier, Faulkner County, Arkansas to Francis David Utley and Amanda Melvina Snow. Dr. Utley married Rosa Lee Ray on 29 Dec 1901 in Hardinville, Faulkner County, Arkansas. He died in the house on 25 Oct 1952 and was buried at Mt Carmel Cemetery in Cabot.

(Note: listed on the 1940 US Federal Census twice. Once at home with the family and the other as a TB patient at the Arkansas State Tuberculous Sanitarium near Booneville in Logan County.)

Rosa Lee Ray was born 27 August 1881 in Arkansas and died 1 Dec 1955 in Pulaski County, Arkansas. She is buried next to her husband.

The Utley’s had three children; Arlis Dee Utley, Geneva Pauline Utley and Francis Edward Utley, Jr.

Franz Otto Kaufmann

On December 4, 1938, the patriarch of a rather large Kaufman family in Little Rock, Arkansas, Franz Otto Kaufmann, died at the age of 82 (84). He was living with son Edward Robert on 12th Street Pike (Kanis Rd) in Little Rock at the time of his death.

Not much is known about his life in Germany. He was born September 17, 1856 (1854) in Linda, u. Ronneburg, Sachsen, Deutschland (Linda, Saxony, Germany) and was baptized September 26, 1856. Baptismal records indicate his father is Johann Gottfried Kaufmann and mother as Christine Pilling. It is said he served five years in the German army before immigrating to the United States. There is a discrepancy with his birthday. All official records in the US his birthday year is 1854 but on German records the year is 1856.

Otto enlisted in the US Army on January 11, 1881 Fort Hamilton (NY). He had just arrived on the SS Main from Bremen, Germany on January 8, 1881 at the Port of New York. He served at Fort Hamilton until he was sent to the Little Rock Barracks, December 9, 1881. He was promoted in rank twice. First to Corporal on December 26, 1882 and then to Sergeant on September 23, 1883. He lived in what is now the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History while serving.

Upon arrival in Little Rock in 1881, he was spotted by a young French girl, Lena Harveil, who saw him getting off the train and she turned to her parents telling them that he was the man she would marry. Her father was not too happy about it though since he did not like the military. On February 21, 1885 Otto and Lena were married by Father Felix Rumpf, of the Arkansas Catholic Dioceses, soon to be the first pastor of St Edward Catholic Church which was across the road from the barracks. Her parents were devout members of St Edward until their deaths in the 1920s.

Now this is where family history and verifiable facts do not agree. Otto Frank Kaufman, Jr told his descendants that his parents married in 1884 and that he was born January 10, 1885 at the Little Rock Barracks. County records show that they actually were married over a month later. Otto, Jr’s Delayed Birth Certificate, signed by mother Lena does have 1885 as his birth year.

On January 10, 1886, Sarge, as he preferred to be called, was discharged and moved his small, but growing, little family to a place on 7th Street before buying a farm in the Sand Hills (Arch Street Pike/Granite Mountain) area of Little Rock.

At least once a week vegetable crops grown on the farm, that the family did not use, were loaded onto a wagon and Lena, with help from a couple of the kids, took the vegetables to be sold to markets and some of the residential residents in the Quapaw Area of Little Rock. Lena would start the long trip to Little Rock before daylight and wouldn’t return to the farm until after dark. Back then it took hours to walk into town instead of the twenty minutes by car it takes today.

The kids that stayed at the farm would have to work the fields while Sarge sat on the porch and supervised. He had a whistle that he’d blow to let them know if he saw them doing something other than working. At the end of the day he would tell each one how many times they stopped working even if it was a just few seconds to rest their backs. The little kids that were too small to work the fields still had chores to do like feed the chickens or gather fire wood. They would also find and tie twigs together for kindling. Otto and Lena had 13 children with 9 reaching adulthood.

Otto was about 5’9” in height, slender build, fair complexion, with light brown hair and grey eyes. He walked with a cane in later years though it was thought that it really wasn’t needed. He treasured his Army days and would talk about it for hours if you let him. His children and Lena called him Papa but to everyone else he was Sarge. He spoke German and English and Lena spoke French, broken German and broken English. Otto officially became an US citizen on October 20, 1919, 38 years after his arrival in the US.

If you visit the MacArthur Musuem be sure to say hi to Sarge you might just get an answer back. 👻

Feels Like Home

While researching a new photo project I fell in love with this little shotgun house in Little Rock. I had never seen it in person before but I felt strangely connected to the house by looking at pictures of the place online.

Home of Wendel and Magdalena Harveil in the 1920s.

A week later, I’m researching my 3rd great-grandparents and, low and behold, I see that their address looked awfully familiar. Sure enough, the little house I felt connected to is exactly where they lived in the 1920’s.

There are not many of these shotgun style houses, built between 1890 and 1920, left in Little Rock and Preserve Arkansas has listed them as the “Most Endangered Places” in Arkansas.

Fixer Upper

The old place is deteriorating fast these days. Wonder how much longer it will be until it completely falls down?

On Bearskin Lake Road, Scott, AR


The Kaufman’s

Kaufman Otto Lena 2

Franz Otto Kaufman

Franz Otto Kaufmann was born September 17, 1854 in Linda, Saxony, Germany (Linda, Freiberg, Dresden, Sachsen, Germany) and died December 4, 1938 in Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. He is buried at Primrose Methodist Cemtery off Dixon Road in Little Rock. He was 5’9″ with light brown hair, a fair completion and grey eyes.

He immigrated to the United States and arrived aboard the SS Main on Januay 8, 1881 at the Port of New York. The ship had departed from Bremen. He enlisted with the US Army on January 11, 1881 at Fort Hamilton in New York. He was promoted to Corporal 26 December 1882 and then to Sergeant on 23 September 1883.

Magdalena “Lena” Harviel

Magdalena Harviel was born 24 October 1865 in Strasbourg, Germany (Alsace-Lorraine, France) and immigrated to the United States when she was 11, about 1877. She died 13 April 1952 in Little Rock, Arkansas. She is buried next to her husband at Primrose Methodist Cemetery off Dixon Road in Little Rock. She was under 5 foot tall, with light brown hair, a light completion and brown eyes.

She spoke in broken English with a thick German accent. She loved to tell stories about her childhood and the “old country”. Her father had been a farmer in Germany and grew hops to make malt liquor. She would tell how bitter her fingers tasted for a long time after picking hops. The younger children in the family also had chores and would gather wood and tie twigs together in a bundle to be used later as kindling.

The Kaufman’s

Otto Kaufmann (Americanized to Kaufman) served in New York until they transferred him to Little Rock with the Army Artillery that was headquartered out of St. Augustine, Florida on 9 December 1881. As he was stepping off the train at the Little Rock Depot, Lena spotted him and immediately told her parents she was going to marry that man.

According to Pulaski County marriage records they married 21 February 1885 in Little Rock. The couple lived at the Little Rock Arsenal (now MacArthur Museum) until Sgt. Otto Kaufman was discharge. There a bit of a discrepancy with the marriage date as their firstborn, Franz Otto Kaufman, Jr, states he was born on 10 January 1885 and his parents had already been married almost a year.

The Kaufman’s moved in 1885 or 1886 to the Sand Hill area of Little Rock. There they had 14 children, 9 of which survived to adulthood. Lena would load up their wagon two or three times a week with produce they grew on the farm and would head into Little Rock were she sold the produce to individuals in the Quapaw area and some grocery stores on Markham St. Many days she would leave before daylight and return well after dark.

“Papa”, as he was called by the children, would sit on the shady porch barking orders to the kids working in the field. If they stopped to take a short break he would blow a whistle at them to let them know he knew they were not working. At the end of the day, he would tell each one how many times they “rested”. If they complained that their back hurt he would them they were kids and didn’t have a back.

No matter how hard life got Lena never complained and adored the ground that “Papa” walked on, he could do no wrong in her eyes. After his death in 1938, she sold their property to Mrs. Eva Rose for $250 and spent $27.00 for his funeral bill.

Their Children

  1. Franz Otto Kaufman, Jr – born 10 January 1885 at the Little Rock Arsenal, Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Died 30 July 1947 in Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Married Nettie Mae Galmish.
  2. Lena Kaufman – born 30 October 1886 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Died before 1900 in Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas.
  3. Emmett Kaufman – born 31 October 1888 at Sand Hill, Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Died before 1900 in Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas.
  4. Edward Robert Kaufman – born 6 September 1890 at Sand Hill, Little Rock, Arkansas. Died 31 August 1981 in Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Married (1) Leona Lucile Jacoby and (2) Rosa Adeline Henslee.
  5. Karl Paul (?) Kaufman – born 28 January 1892 at Sand Hill, Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Died 11 January 1971 in Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Married Clara E. Rauch.
  6. Selma Kaufman – born 25 September 1893 at Sand Hill, Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas.
  7. Paul Kaufman – born 15 August 1895 at Sand Hill, Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Died before 1900 in Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas.
  8. Mary Kaufman, – born 11 August 1897 at Sand Hill, Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Died 25 January 1977 in Des Moines, Polk, Iowa. Married George Henry Bickford.
  9. Francis Kaufman – born 16 November 1899 at Sand Hill, Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Died 25 May 1993.
  10. George Paul Kaufman – born 29 January 1901 at Sand Hill, Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Died 15 February 1964 in Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Married Roselea Bright.
  11. Rosa Kaufman – born 30 December 1903 at Sand Hill, Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Died 15 June 1927 in Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas.
  12. Clara K. Kaufman – born 16 October 1905 at Sand Hill, Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Died 6 August 1987 in Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Married Lewis Marsh Baker
  13. Louisa Magdalena Kaufman – born 5 January 1907 at Sand Hill, Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Died 27 Apr 1989, North Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas. Married Clarence H. Wood.
  14. unknown Kaufman – miscarriage/stillborn

Cotton in the Raw

“Life is like a cotton. Don’t make it heavier by dipping it in the water of sorrow but make it lighter by blowing it in the joy of air.”

There’s a small patch of cotton growing at the Plantation Agriculture Museum State Park in Scott, Arkansas. As many times as I’ve driven past the museum, and have even stopped from time to time this year, yesterday was the first time I’ve noticed it!

Cotton and farming played an important role in the history of Scott, AR. Many prominent businessmen and lawyers from Little Rock owned plantations in the rich, fertile bottom land of Western Pulaski County along the Arkansas River. Very few of the plantations still exist today but the Plantation Agriculture Museum has gathered many of the items from those plantations as displays throughout this state park.

Native American Trail Marker Trees

While searching for monarch butterflies at Camp Robinson Special Use Area near Mayflower, AR on Monday, I happened to run across a Native American Trail Marker Tree. I went back Tuesday afternoon and found at least one more plus two more that may be marker trees.

The tree I found Monday is close to a dry creek bed. Nowadays, it only has water after a significant rain but who knows what it actually looked like before Lake Conway was built. I’m not sure if the second one I found is actually a marker tree. It’s about 50 feet or less from the first one, just across the creek bed, and although it’s bent I’m not really sure if it’s because it was a marker tree or if mother nature bent it during a storm. The third one is just the remains of a bent tree, or limb, and not very big. The only reason I think it could be a trail marker tree is the knobby ends of the bends look man-made but it’s really kind of small to be a marker tree. The fourth and last one I found is near the top of the ridge right up the road from the others.

Native Amercian’s used to bend the tree to mark the trails they used. The way the tree was marked would indicate nearby water and food or convey warnings of danger or rough traveling ahead.

In Search of: A Farming Colony in Scott, Arkansas


If you heard of Johnny Cash in Arkansas than you know he lived in the Dyess Colony Resettlement Area but did you know there are more resettlement area’s in Arkansas?

Resettlement areas were setup under Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and was administrated by the Works Progress Administration and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.

They were designed to help those whose lives were devastated by the natural and economic disasters of the Great Depression. In Arkansas, the flood of 1927 was followed by a severe drought and many families were left with nearly nothing. Resettlement areas were established to promote a self-sustaining community consisting of independent farms that provided educational, agricultural and commercial support facilities.

My father-in-law, Hubert Skillern, lived in one such colony near Scott, Arkansas in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. He was in his mid-teens at the time and helped his parents farm the land as well as attended school. He loved the time they spent in Scott and loved talking about it.

I’ve been trying to do research into the Jones Colony Resettlement Area in Lonoke County but so far I haven’t found out very much information. Buddy Raines, a longtime friend of Hubert, lived down Jones Colony Road (now Johnson Road) from the Skillern’s and his parents were also farmers in the colony. When I talked to Mr. Raines the other day he referred to the resettlement as the “Toltec Community.” An internet search calls it the Lonoke Colony. No matter what it is called I’m not finding any information at all.

If you have any information, stories or historical photos from the Jones Colony/Toltec Community/Lonoke Colony between Scott and Keo, Arkansas please feel free to email me!


I believed the Skillern’s lived in this typical-styled “colony” house. When driving down Johnson Road (historic Jones Colony Road) you’ll see many homes that look like this one.


What may have been the Jones Colony store. It’s near the corner of Hwy 165 and Johnson Road. It used to have a sign in front that read,”Hamiter Hicks Estate Est. 1869,” but the sign has been gone since the front overhang fell.

maps 1942 2017

Maps do not encompass the whole of Jones Colony. Including it as a reference point to the general area.