Volume 31, Number 2, Winter 1992
Down the White River Valley in Baxter County, Ark., a very old relic of pioneer days, a large one-room hewed log cabin, appeared when the Leonard Home at 1125 College Street in Mountain Home was razed in the summer of 1991.
The home was known as the Leonard Home and was constructed around a substantial log cabin. Knowledge of the cabin location has been lost during the last 120 years while the Leonard Home hid, sheltered and preserved the cabin within its walls.
James L. Leonard, who was a lieutenant in the Civil War, left his home in Dalton, Georgia, in 1868. The family settled first at Newport, Ark., but finding it damp there, moved to the hill country near Gasville, Ark., in 1872. He soon bought a ninety-four acre farm from Simeon (or Sim) Talburt. The location of the farm in now within the Mountain Home city limits. Leonard began the construction of the home shortly after the purchase, evidently constructing the first part to enclose the existing cabin and a small addition on the rear. As his family grew, a room was built on the back which completed the building as it appeared for many years prior to its razing.
The pioneer Sim Talburt was brought to the North Fork area (now Norfork, Ark.) in 1814 at the age of 14, by his father Frederick (or "Red"). Simeon acquired the land in the 1830s. It was well known that a cabin was built on the property by him. His heirs sold the land in the 1870s to the Leonards. The Talburts have been prominent in Baxter County history. The Talburt family operated the Talburt Ferry across the White River near Cotter Ark., later to become the Mooney Ferry. Simeons sons operated the mail stage between Mountain Home and West Plains, Mo., as well as operating a flour mill in Mountain Home. Simeon and several of his descendants are buried in the Casey/Talburt Cemetery located in the Indian Creek subdivision in Mountain Home about one mile from the original home site.
As the demolition contractor proceeded to raze the building, the 18 x 20 log cabin began to appear. It was apparent that a very important part of Baxter County history was being uncovered. Contact with the contractor by the Baxter County Historical Society resulted in the demolition being done in a fashion to protect the logs. The logs were marked for reconstruction. The Society, recognizing the historical value of the cabin and the need to preserve it for future generations, voted to attempt to preserve and reconstruct the cabin. The Society has now successfully completed the purchase of the logs. A proposed permanent site has been offered to the Society and is currently being reviewed by the Society.
The Mountain Home Chamber Foundation (an independent branch of the Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce) is cooperating with the Society and will account for the donation of funds for the Talburt! Leonard cabin. In order to reconstruct the cabin it will be necessary to construct roof, porch, etc., as well as security fencing and grounds work. Although the
Society has committed much of their acquisition fund to the cabin project, additional funding is solicited from the general public.
The cabin restoration will be progressing as funds are available. The cabin fund donations qualify as tax deductible donations. Checks for the "Cabin Fund" may be sent to the following: Mountain Home Chamber Foundation, do Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, 1023 Highway 62 E., Mountain Home, AR 72653
In addition to the Talburt/Leonard cabin acquisition, the Baxter County Historical Society has several projects completed or in progress this year. The 1858 Casey House has been repaired and repainted. The Society has acquired 16 rolls of microfilm of the vital records of Baxter County from the Church of The Latter Day Saints. These films will soon be available for all to use at the Baxter County Public Library. Several genealogical workshops are planned as fund raisers to assist in acquiring a new film reader for the library. The business records of the now defunct 90-year-old Cotter Lumber Company (Cotter, Ark.) were acquired. An Everton Genealogy workshop is now firmly scheduled for Saturday May 2, 1992, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The cost is $25 and includes one-year free subscription (a $21 value) of the Genealogical Helper magazine. Early registration is recommended: Write: Margie Garr (Mrs. F. Gene Garr), 1505 Mistletoe, Mountain Home, AR 72653
Several valuable relics have been donated to the Society. Among the donations is a Spanish American War uniform coat, a West Point cadet uniform coat and a West Point great gray coat. A 100-year-old chest of drawers was also donated and is on exhibit at the Casey House.
The Baxter County Historical Society meets on the first Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Baxter County Day Care Center on South Wade Street (adjacent to the Fair Grounds). Visitors are always welcome!
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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