THE OLD HATTER SHOP
BY S. C. Turnbo
James W. Jones proprietor of the Jones Ferry crossing of White River at the mouth of Musics Creek in Marion County, Ark. is a son of Hugh Jones and Hester (Hettie Bevins) Jones and was born in Madison County, Ark. in 1847. His father and his grandfather Jimmie Jones came to White River in 1849. Hugh Jones died at Benton Barracks in Missouri during the Civil War. His wife Mrs. Hettie Jones lies buried in the grave yard in the southwest corner of Ozark County, Mo. opposite the Panther Bottom. Soon after settling on White River Hugh Jones and his father Jimmie Jones built a log house of two rooms on the right bank of the river just over the line in Taney County, Mo. from Ozark County and opposite the upper end of the Panther Bottom where they manufactured hats out of fur and sheeps wool. This house was standing there when the writers father bought this land from Cage Hogan in 1853 and my father used it for a black smith shop and it was still standing when we left there on the 13 of February 1859. This building was known far and near as the "hatter shop". We have mentioned elsewhere in another chapter that Jimmie Jones father of Hugh Jones built a mill on Big Creek which stood at the upper end of the John Pelham Place known now as the Joe Glass Haskins Land. Here Mr. Jones ground corn into meal for the settlers and manufactured corn whiskey and made hats also. His son Hugh Jones also went to Big Creek and lived in the creek bottom known now as the Sam Holdt Place which is just below the Joe Glass Haskins Land. Here Hugh Jones built another hatter shop where he manufactured a great number of hats. I have sit and watched Mr. Jones many hours. Prepare the fur of animals and sheeps wool by mixing it together with a small machine made for the purpose. The making of home made hats was interesting to me. There is an amusing incident connected with Jimmie Jones Mill which I will give. In the summer of 1858 when the water in the creek was very low Jones could not grind but one half a bushel of corn or wheat a day. Jones customers had to patronize a "Far off" mill until the creek rose. Mr. Jones got tired sitting around the mill house doing nothing. He could not grind any grain to amount to anything and his tall corn run out and he could not make any more whiskey till the water rose so his, customers could come back and bring him more corn to grind and he rented his mill to a fellow who had peculiar ways and of a boasting disposition. Among other things he said that Joe Womacks Mill on Beaver Creek had ruined the now Keesee Mill, for Womack had built a mill dam sufficient to not let a drop of water leak through the dam and flow down from Womacks Mill to the Keesee Mill which would ruin the latter mill for it was opperated by water also and that Womack was going to procure a patent on his invention, and then if he were a mind to he could construct dams across other streams and prevent the water from getting below it. This foolish man actually believed this. One day during the summer of the year named this same fellow while he had the mill rented was seen with a water bucket dipping up the water from below the dam and pouring it back into the mill pond to get ahead of water and was laughable to see him do this.
Springfield-Greene County Library