40 Years Ago

Thought for today: “Democracy is not a static thing. It is an everlasting march.” – Franklin Roosevelt

Mrs. Edna Russ of McHue was honored April 30 with a surprise birthday party on her 73rd birthday.

The birthday cake, in the design of an ace of hearts, was decorated by her great-niece, Sue Stinnett.

In 1957, the Corps of Engineers rejected a flood control plan that would have protected Harrison from Crooked Creek. Four years later, a flood dealt Harrison its greatest disaster.

On May 7, 1961, a Sunday, a wall of water smashed through downtown at 3:30 a.m., killed four people and forever changed Harrison’s face.

A five-inch rain in a three-hour period caused the creek to overflow. A wall of water estimated from 12 feet to 14 feet high swept over the levee. The downpour came to ground that had been saturated by rain the previous two days and nights. In all, 11 inches of rain fell.

Damage from the flood has been estimated at $10 million, including the destruction of 29 homes and 37 commercial buildings. More than 100 cars were lost. A brick building at the high school disappeared. More than 260 other homes or commercial buildings were damaged. Bridges and roads suffered. Telephone service, electrical service, natural gas service and other services were disrupted.

The water was finally declared safe eight days after the flood. Mass inoculations of city residents began almost immediately after the flood to avoid an outbreak of typhoid fever.

Residents had some warning. Ruth Wilson, who lived at the head of the creek, called authorities about the impending disaster. The fire chief called businessmen to warn them to prepare for flooding.

The city’s storm warning system had been activated because tornado warnings had been issued. Twisters hit in Marion County, killing three other people.

Firemen had evacuated most residents from the flood area. Others were saved through desperate measures they took or which were taken on their behalf. Ladders, ropes and boats were used to save lives. People took refuge on roofs.

The flood control plan rejected by the Corps of Engineers, which included the construction of concrete flood walls and earth-filled levees, would have cost $2,658,000.

Obituaries in the paper today are Earl O. Trotter, Toney McReynolds, Roger A. Moody and Dayton M. Sloan.

Hubert W. Saucier, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ken Saucier of Evening Shade, graduated recently from a course in missile mechanics at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. He is stationed at the Little Rock Air Base near Jacksonville.

Boiler technician 3rd class Lenord C. Hames, son of Mr. and Mrs. Conway Hames of Mount Pleasant, was recently home on leave visiting his parents.

Since entering the Navy in 1978, Hames has completed several training programs. He has received three letters of recognition from the commanding officer of the U.S.S. Paul, on which he is stationed.

Seventh grader Doreen Lilly and ninth grader Mike Jackson were honored Friday during the annual awards ceremony at Batesville Junior High School. Ms. Lilly is the only student at the junior high to maintain a perfect 4.0 grade average for the year. Jackson was the recipient of the Independence County Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution Medal of Good Citizenship. The medal goes to the outstanding student of the ninth grade in recognition of honor, service, courage, leadership and patriotism.

Guard, May 11, 1981

Ricky Busby of Oil Trough has been elected vice president of the Baptist Student Union for the 1981-82 academic year at Ouachita Baptist University.

Obituaries in the paper today are Mary St. Clair and Ellisdene James.

The following leg-pulling letter was received by Sharp County Justice Harlin Parnell of Wirth and shared with the Guard by County Judge Frank Arnold:

“To Quarm quort, Sharp County, Ark., Dear Quort Folks, I represent the Sharp County bootleggers cooperation; and the road North from Hwy. 175 to the main line is purty rought, it is taking all the profits for tires and shocking exzorbers. Could you all get this fixed. If you all could get the road smoothed out I beleave you all would be in good shape come next election. The Mill Creek Road is purty good now. Course we only notice it being rought going to the main-line, when we get back it is smoothed out somewhat. Can’t go Hwy. 63. Fines worse than shocking exzorbers. Cordualley, Chair-man of SCBL Co-operation.”

Melinda Wyatt received the high-point award from assistant Coach Mae Milum for her performance with the Batesville High School track team. Coach Joe Franks said the award was based on Wyatt’s ability to do several different things. The award was presented at the school’s all-sports banquet Monday night.

Guard, May 12, 1981

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