THE LONG HAIRED SCHOOL TEACHER
By S. C. Turnbo

Among my collection of early settlers and early times in the following which was told me by J. M. (Jim) Ridinger who was born 5 miles east of Bellfonte Boone County Ark. His father George Ridinger lived on the Yellville wagon road 3 miles south of Crooked Creek where Jim Ridinger was born July 12, 1855. In refering to the names of the early settlers of that neighborhood Mr. Ridinger mentions the following names, Alpherd Bowie who was so affected with palsie in his hands that he could not hardly feed himself. His wife was named Dollie. The old man Forgie owned a tan yard 4 miles east of my fathers house. Billy Pitman lived on Huzza Creek. This man had two sons named Bill and Jeff and he lived 4 miles south of us. Jim Wilkerson lived on the Roland Prairie 6 miles south of us. He was from Coffee County Tennessee and his wife was named Liddie. Billy Hale lived near Bellfonte and starved to death in war times. He had a son named Joe Hale who was shot 14 times one day during the war and was left for dead. He fell with his feet toward his enemies and they continued to fire at him until his feet and legs were shot almost to pieces. Thinking that he was dead now they rode off and left him. When the armed force had passed from view a few women went to him and found that he was still alive and carried him into a house where he was cared for until he recovered which was many weeks. This was the most remarkable case to recover from so many gun shot wounds that ever happened in that part of Arkansas and many comments were made by the people about this case long after the war had closed. Amos Eaton lived in our neighborhood also. I remember Tom Snodgrass who was killed at a still house near Forgies tan yard. My father and we children tramped our wheat out on a big flat rock with horses. We got the most of our grinding at Arch Hamiltons mill on Crooked Creek. A man of the name of Jones also owned a little mill on Crooked Creek 3 miles above Hamiltons. The first school I ever attended was taught by Ed Randalls in a small log house which stood 6 miles east of us on the Yellville Road. I and my sisters Celia and Sarah Ridinger went all the way from home afoot to this school. The teacher wore very long hair and kept it rolled up so as to not be in his way. I recollect one day during school hours he let his hair down over his face and bowed his head down while he was seated and pretended like he went to sleep. We scholars thought he had and supposed that it was an oppertune time to do as we pleased and we commenced to cut all sorts of capers in the school room and made all the noise we knew how to make. But about the time we had got a good head way practicing our mischief the teacher raised his head up and says "every one of you come here". Of course silence followed and we all tried to look as innocent as possible. He had a keen hickory switch in his hand and with this he whipped us one at a time until our backs burned with pain and the merry making was changed to repenting and mourning."

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