Gladys McCullough Alexander:
Looking Back at the Long Ago


Memories on Parade

Meet the Family

A Town is Born

The Growing McCullough Family

A Church Becomes a Reality

A Closing Word

The Man Called Guelcksie

A is for Arthur

The Coffin House

Poet and Philosopher -- Aged Seven

The Two Room School House

Open the Windows and Open the Doors

Sixteen Girls in White

Four Girls and Five Boys

The Poet in Hot Water

Windows Open for Edith

The Great Decision

Bo Peep



By Gladys McCullough Alexander

At the turn-of-the-century, as the Old South emerged with energy and new hope for life under changed patterns, hundreds of her residence move across the Mississippi to establish homes. Lured by rich farmland, plentiful water supplies and a pleasant climate. The settlements consisted of small houses on a few acres of land, courage, faith in the future, and hard work.

Towns developed as more acres were added, followed by yellow dusty roads, cattle, horses, gardens, barns, the wagons with teams. A small general store encouraged the addition of a sawmill, a blacksmith shop, barns with haylofts, more resident farmers, and the planting of more acres of land. Then came the railroads linking the settlements together with their bright tracks, yellow railway stations and picturesque water tanks.


Alicia, Arkansas, is such a town.

Will McCullough, 1860-1903

Nancy Vianna Smith, 1865-1933

How my parents happened to meet and start life together in Alicia is a fascinating story in itself, but has no place in these brief memoirs. He was twenty-two and she was sixteen when they were married and the world looked rosy. With the strength and health of the youth they started with a small farm and a small house to launch a journey that would have staggered many of their contemporaries. Hard work brought steady rewards. A small farm spread to hundreds of acres, small house led to a house of nine rooms and five porches. Their first baby died in infancy, and was followed by seven children who made happy family.

My father's Scotch Irish ancestry endowed him with a cheerful disposition and sturdy health which gained confidence of the men in his community. When he embarked upon new ventures, they assisted him. His success in each undertaking inspired greater efforts. The town grew.

He built the first general store, the first cotton gin, shared his success with others. He lent money to Alicia girls who wanted to attend schools in Conway and Arkadelphia, and took pride in the addition of the new businesses that sprang up every year; a barber shop, a new store with a Lodge Hall above, the new U.S. PosttOffice, the mail trains that regularly brought news of the outside world.

The trains also brought traveling salesmen, with their sample cases that inspired the small hotel and restaurant in Alicia.

The children of the community needed a school, and by the time I was of school age the two room school was established. The need for a doctor had not been met, but the services of a mid-wife were available and patent medicines and home remedies could be had in the general store.

Fruit trees and gardens added a touch of beauty to the town which bustled with activity on Saturdays. People from the countryside drove in to purchase supplies, visit in the store, and watch the trains that stopped for water at the big black tank near the depot.

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Copyright 2011 Ellen Wilds, all rights reserved. Redistribution and/or reuse terms of license. Disclaimer for this document: "Gladys McCullough Alexander: Looking Back At The Long Ago is published here with the permission of Ellen S. Wilds and transcribed by her, December 1999. The materials published here are presented "as is", without warranty of any kind to the extent permitted by applicable law, and without any promise of validity and/or accuracy."