THE DROWNING OF SAM NARD AND MISS HANNA FRIEND IN THE
EARLY DAYS OF MARION COUNTY, ARK.
By S. C. Turnbo
Between the mouths of Little North Fork and Gooleys Spring Creek is a bluff with a high precipice from the top of which an observer has a sweeping view of an interesting scenery. The two creeks mentioned mingle their waters together Just before entering White River. On the opposite side of the river is two old settled farms that was once occupied by Harve and Jake Yocum sons of Mike Yocum. On this land is an old settlers grave yard in which lie the mortal remains of a number of pioneers. Among the earliest settlers who rest here are Jake Yocum and Eemiline his wife and Jimmie Jones the hatter. A small grove of timber marks their grave yard. In viewing the beautiful White River we notice that each shore is fringed with hundreds of sycamore trees. There is a sharp curve or bend in the river here that resembles a horse shoe in shape with the toe on the opposite side just above the mouth of the two creeks. At the mouth of these creeks is the head of the gar shoals with a noted ripple of water a short distance below the ford. At the foot of the shoals is the John Due Ferry. A short distance below the crossing of the ferry is where a man was drowned once. On the right bank of the river is where Jim Dial was shot and killed one night at a dance. The bottom on the left bank of the river just below Gooldys Spring Creek is the old Joe Hogan land which is one of the oldest farms on the upper White River. Looking southward across the gorge-like form of Gooleys Spring Creek rear the little town Oakland is the noted Hogan Flat. Turning to the right and casting our eyes down the tall precipitous bluff we have a nice view of Little North Fork. One quarter of a mile up the creek from the river is the old mill site where Marks and Kelly built the first mill here in 1825 which was afterward owned by Mike Yocum who rebuilt the mill and added a saw mill to it. All of which was run by water power. Years ago during winter time when there was thick ice in the creek and river a young man and a young woman was drowned in Yocums Mill Pond. The names of these unfortunate people were Sam Nara and Hannah Friend. Miss Friend was a daughter of Jake and Polly Friend who lived on the flat of land near where Hollinsworth Mill now is. Mr. Nara and her were intending to get married that day but had to go across the river on business and return back to Mr. Friends before the ceremony could be performed and the young ladies brother went with them. The parties went down on the east side of the creek and passed under the narrows and crossed the creek on the ice at Yocums Mill Pond. On their return back home Yocum was grinding corn on his mill and the water in the mill pond had drained off until it was several inches below the ice and when the three had walked out on the ice in the middle of the pond the ice give away and precipitated Mr. Nara and his fiance into the water. Young Friend escaped. The young man Nard made heroic efforts to save her life by raising her up on the edge of the ice but the ice would give way and she would drop back again into the water. This was repeated by the brave young man some 4 times and though he was an excellent swimmer but the cold water chilled his body and limbs until he was helpless and they both sank to rise no more until their bodies were recovered from the water. It is said that a few bystanders on the bank of the creek were so excited that they made no efforts to rescue them except that they tossed a few chunks of wood and pieces of plank onto the ice thinking that they could get to them. Miss Hannah Friend was a sister of Peter Friend who lived in the bend of White River that bears his name. I am also informed by the old settlers that on another occasion a man by the name of Cooper while under the influence of liquor rode into the creek just below the mill and was drowned. His body was taken out of the creek 50 yards above the mouth.
Springfield-Greene County Library