February 1991 1815-1895 Volume 1, No. 2
County Coroner and Sheriff.
Prominent in the early history of Pike county, Arkansas, Henry Brewer was
born in Chatham county, North Carolina, October 30, 1799, the son of Oliver
Brewer Sr. He moved with his parents to Tennessee and following the death
of his mother, his father married Mary Henderson daughter of Samuel
Henderson and Lucy Ryckman, 1804, in Knox county. In 1808 the Brewers moved
to Missouri and settled in Washington county, and remained there until 1818
(or 1819) when they moved to Arkansas and settled in Hempstead county.
Henry Brewer married Elizabeth Huitt, July 18, 1829. Their children all
born in Pike county, Arkansas were: Cynthia Brewer born June 19, 1830
married James M. Evans February 18, 1847 in Pike county, Arkansas and died
June 15, 1859; Rosanna Brewer born September 15, 1833 married John S.
Owens October 10, 1850 and died in 1877; William R. Brewer born March 18,
1837 married Martha and died April 16, 1872; James P. Brewer born May 2,
1840 and died July 11, 1845; Martha E. Brewer born Nov 1, 1844 and died
August 12, 1846; and Henry Taylor Brewer born March 14, 1850 married Emily
C. Carter March 2, 1871 in Pike county, Arkansas and died August 30, 1925.
Henry Brewer became the county coroner in 1836 and was replaced by William
H. Atkins in 1840 when he was elected the county sheriff and served one
term in that office until 1842. Sam Williams writes of Mr. Brewer saying,
"He was a successful farmer and one of the very best of men. While he was
not endowed with a great amount of school education he possessed
extraordinary good sense and was generally well informed. His motto in life
was to pay his debts promptly and owe no man anything. At the beginning of
the (Civil) war he was one of the richest men in the county, his
possessions consisting largely of slaves ... Henry Brewer was eminently a
good man and a useful citizen. He was honest as the days are long,
charitable, kind-hearted and always ready to aid the needy and distressed.
Several of his descendants (1887) are still living in Pike county." He died
in Pike county, Arkansas on April 30, 1876.
Quote from Sam Williams: Printer's Devil, Mary Medearis, editor, (Etter
Printing Company: Hope Arkansas 71801), 1979, page 290.
The Family Bible of Henry Brewer and
Elizabeth Brewer of Pike county, Arkansas
Henry Brewer and Elizabeth Hewett were married July 18th 1829.
James M. Evans and Cyntha Ann Brewer, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth
Brewer, were married Feb. 18th 1847.
John S. Owens and Rosanah Brewer, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Brewer,
were married Oct. 10th 1850.
Henry Brewer was borne in the year of our Lord 1800.
Elizabeth Hewitt was borne in the year of our Lord April 9, 1805.
Cyntha Ann Brewer was borne in the year of our Lord ... 19th 1830.
Rosanah Brewer was borne in the year of Lord Sept. 15th 1833.
William R. Brewer was borne in the year of our Lord Mch. 18th 1837.
James P. Brewer was borne in the year of our Lord May 2nd 1840
died July 11th 1845.
Martha E. Brewer was borne in the year of our Lord Nov. 1st 1844
died Aug. 12th 1846.
Henry T. Brewer was borne in the year of our Lord Mch. 14, 1850.
Jas. M. Evans was borne in the year of our Lord Sept. 28th 1821.
John H. Evans was borne in the year of our Lord Nov. 26th 1848.
Sarah Jane Evans was borne in the year of our Lord Mch. 15th 1851.
Martha Elizabeth Evans was borne in the year of our Lord May 10th 1853.
James Richard Evans was borne in the year of our Lord Aug. 24th 1854.
John S. Owens was borne Oct. 10, 1830 in the town of Woodville,
Limestone County, in the State of Alabama.
Lillian Brewer was born in the year of our Lord Feb. 17, 1890.
Nell Brewer was born Nov. 4, 1892.
Mack H. Brewer was born Dec. 22, 1885.
Ozero Carl Brewer was born Feb. 17, 1888.
Lillie May Brewer was born ... 1890.
Henry T. Brewer was born Mar. 14, 1850.
Emily C. Brewer was born July 7, 1858.
Charles A. Brewer was born June 18, 1872 died Sept. 7, 1908.
Mittie Brewer born Aug. 3, 1873.
Mattie Brewer born April 22, 1876.
William R. Brewer born Nov. 12, 1877.
Cortez Brewer was born Jan. 3, 1878.
Guy Brewer was born Jan. 12, 1880.
Henry Roscoe Brewer born Feb. 21, 1884.
Mary Lena Brewer born ... 6, 1911.
Henry Taylor Brewer born July 18, 1913.
Cyntha Ann Brewer born June 19th 1830 departed this life
June 15, 1859, Murfreesboro, Ark.
James M. Evans departed this life Dec. 12, 1865, Arkadelphia, Ark.
William R. Brewer departed this life April 16th 1872.
Emily Carolyn Brewer died March 28, 1940.
Mittie Brewer, daughter of Henry and Emily Brewer departed this
life Aug. 21, 1887 age 14 yrs. & 18 days.
Lillie May Brewer, daughter of Henry and Emily Brewer, departed
this life Oct. 18, 1898 age 8 years. & 8 mo.
Chas. A. Brewer, son of Henry T. and Emily Brewer, departed this
life Sept. 7, 1904 age 32 yrs. & 16 days.
W.R. Brewer died May 4, 1925.
Henry T. Brewer died Aug. 30th, 1925.
The bible is owned by Mrs. O.C. Brewer, Helena, Arkansas. She copied the
records for me, Jo Ann Roberson, in August of 1970. Mrs. John B. Roberson,
Genealogical Records Chairman, Mine Creek Chapter, DAR.
Last Will and Testament of Henry Brewer of Pike county, Arkansas
STATE OF ARKANSAS,
COUNTY OF PIKE,
I, Henry Brewer, of the County of Pike and State of Arkansas, being sound
in mind, but admonished by my age, that I am physically infirm, being now
nearly seventy five years of age, do make, publish and declare this my Last
Will and Testament, hereby revoking any and all former wills by me made at
any time heretofore made.
FIRST: I give and bequeath to my beloved son Henry T. Brewer, the following
lands: The East Half of the Southwest Quarter of Section Six (6); The East
Half of the Northwest Quarter of Section Seven (7); The Fractional part of
the Southwest Quarter of Section Six, and the Northwest Quarter of Section
7, lying North and East of the Little Missouri River, and the West Half of
the Northwest Quarter of Section Seven, all in Township Eight South, in
Range Twenty-five West, and containing Three Hundred and Thirty-two acres
and twenty-two hundredths of an acre. To have and to hold the same to him
and his heirs, with all the rights, privileges, tenaments and
appurtenances thereunto belong forever.
SECOND: I give and bequeath to my beloved daughter, Rosana Owens, widow of
John S. Owens, deceased, the following lands on which she is now living:
The East Half of the Southwest Quarter of Section Seven; and the West
fractional half of the Southwest fractional quarter (less ten acres and
fifty hundredths, now owned by Wesley Hoover) of Section Seven, all in
Township Eight South, of Range Twenty-five West. Containing Three hundred
and seventy acres and fifty-nine hundredths. To have and to hold the same
to her and her heirs, with all the rights, privileges, tenements and
appurtenances thereunto belonging, forever.
THIRD: I give and bequeath to my infant grandson, Henry Brewer, who is the
son and child of my beloved son, William R. Brewer, deceased, the following
lands: That part of the Southwest fractional quarter of Section Twelve,
South and East of the Little Missouri River, and the West Half of the
Southeast Quarter of Section Twelve, all in Township Eight South in Range
Twenty-six West, containing one hundred and sixty acres and eight-five
hundredths of an acre. To have and to hold the same unto the said Henry
Brewer, his heirs and assigns with all the rights, privileges, tenements
and appurtenances thereunto belonging, forever; subject to this limitation,
that his mother, Martha Brewer shall have the right to use, occupy and
enjoy the same so long as she remains the widow of the said William R.
Brewer, or until the said Henry becomes twenty-one years of age.
FOURTH: I give and bequeath to my grandchildren, John H. Evans, Janey
Conway, Lizzie Stafford, William Evans, and James Evans, children of my
deceased daughter, Cynthia Evans, the following lands: The East half of
the Northeast Quarter of Section Seven, and the West half of the Northwest
Quarter of Section Seven, and the West half of the Northwest Quarter of
Section Eight in Township Eight South, in Range Twenty-five West,
containing one hundred and sixty acres. To have and to hold the same, share
and share alike, to them, their heirs and assigns, with all the rights,
privileges, tenements and appurtenances thereunto belonging forever.
FIFTH: It is my wish and I so direct, that the money that I may have at the
time of my death, and all notes, cases in action, evidences of debt and all
other personal property of every name, nature and description, may be
equally divided among my said children and grandchildren, share and share
alike - that is to say - the said Henry T. Brewer, one share, the said
Rosana Owens, one share, the said Henry Brewer, son of William R. Brewer,
deceased, one share, and the children of said Cynthia Evans deceased, one
share, to be equally divided between them the children of the said Cynthia,
deceased. And if the said parties cannot make a satisfactory division of
said personal property among themselves, it is my wish that my executor
shall call three neighbors who shall appraise said property and divide it
unto four equal shares, when the said several parties shall draw lots for
said shares and each shall take and hold the share drawn, to his or her
separate use forever.
SIXTH: I do hereby appoint my daughter-in-law, Martha Brewer, as trustee
and guardian for her infant son, the said Henry Brewer, so long as she
continues the widow of William R. Brewer, to receive his share and
interest of my estate and control and manage the same, but in the event of
her marriage or death, I wish my son Henry T. Brewer to take said trust and
manage the estate of the said Henry until he shall become twenty-one years
of age, without having to give bond or security therefor, either the said
Martha or the said Henry T.
SEVENTH: I nominate and appoint my well beloved son, Henry T. Brewer, as
the executor of this my Last will and testament, and as I own but little
money now, and shall own probably less at my death, I want my estate wound
up and settled without an inventory, appraisement, sale or other formality
of law, and with as little expense as possible, and it is my wish that no
bond or security shall be required of my said executor, but immediately
upon my decease, that he pay any debts that I may be owing without
probation; and that as speedily as possible he cause the division of
personal property herein before provided for to be made; and that the
exchange of receipts between the legatees hereunder shall be all the
formality required in the settlement of said division among themselves; and
I hereby appoint and name my friend, A.B. Williams, of Hempstead County as
the Attorney to aid my said executor in winding up and settling the
business of my estate, and I hereby recommend my said children and
grandchildren to accept his counsel and advice and avoid all
misunderstandings between themselves, as I feel well assured that he will
honestly endeavor to see that justice is done by each one according to my
wish and intentions.
EIGHT: And now having disposed of my estate, real and personal, as I
believe with exact justice among my children, and having lived beyond the
usual period allotted to man, I give my spirit to the Great God who gave
it, and my body to the earth from whence it came.
DONE, SIGNED AND SEALED as my Last Will and Testament this 26th day of May
Witnesses: W.J. White (&) Samuel Kelley
STATE OF ARKANSAS,
We, William J. White and Samuel Kelley, citizens of the County of Pike and
State of Arkansas, have this day signed our names as subscribing witnesses
to the Will of Henry Brewer, which forms part of this paper, at the request
of the said Henry Brewer, in his presence and in the presence of each
other, and the said Henry Brewer signed the same in our presence and at the
same time declared that said paper writing, contained, and was, his Last
Will and Testament, that at the time of signing, the same said Henry Brewer
was of sound mind and disposing memory and more than twenty-one years of
DONE AND SIGNED BY us, this the 26th day of May, A.D. 1875.
STATE OF ARKANSAS,
COUNTY OF PIKE,
I, M.W. Hill, Clerk and Ex-Officio Recorder within and for the said County
of Pike and State aforesaid, do hereby certify that the annexed and
foregoing instrument of writing was filed in my office for record on the
6th day of June, A.D. 1876, at 3 o'clock p.m., and the same, together with
the Certificate of Acknowledgement thereto is now duly recorded in Record
Book A. Pages 91, 92, 93 & 94.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said
Court, at my office in Murfreesboro, this 21st day of Sept., A.D. 1876.
MAURICE W. HILL, Clerk and Recorder
CERTIFICATE OF RECORD
STATE OF ARKANSAS,
COUNTY OF PIKE,
I, R.N. Alford, Clerk of the Circuit Court and Ex-Officio Recorder for the
County aforesaid do hereby certify that the annexed and foregoing
instrument of writing was filed for record in my office, on the 24th day of
February, A.D. 1911, at 3 o'clock p.m. and the same is now duly recorded,
with the acknowledgements and certificates thereon, in Record Book Vol. A.
Pages 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96 & 97.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of
said Court, the 28th day of February A.D. 1911.
R.N. ALFORD Clerk
By: D.F. ALFORD Deputy Clark
This will was copied by Mrs. John B. Roberson, Genealogical Records
Chairman, Mine Creek Chapter, DAR, from a certified copy in the Pike
County, Arkansas County Clerk's Office.
A Notable Character
In the southwestern part of Arkansas in the long ago, there were numerous
men of bold and enterprising character, nearly every one of whom developed
some peculiar characteristic that rendered him either famous or notorious.
Not the least conspicuous among these men was Asa Thompson, who in his day
was probably as well and widely known as any individual in that whole
region. At some period in his life, the particulars of which I never
learned, he contracted an acute affliction of the spine which had the
effect to draw him almost in double. I might better describe it by saying
that his frame was drawn to a right angle. When walking, his head was but
little if any higher than his knees. Had he been straight he would have
been quite a tall man. His home was at Murfreesboro, in Pike county, but he
was quite as familiarly known in Hempstead and contiguous counties as in
Pike. He was enterprising and bold in speculation, and would seize hold of
almost anything that promised to turn out profitable. Owing to his
unfortunate deformity he could not ride astride of a horse. He always sat
sideways, but never used any other than a man's saddle. I do not know
whether it was because he could ride upon a man's saddle with more comfort,
or whether it was from a feeling of pride or a sense of shame that he
abstained from the use of a side-saddle.
His great weakness was cards, and it is probable that a more inveterate
gambler never lived in Arkansas. Wherever he stopped, in his peregrinations
through the country, he hunted up a game, which was not very difficult to
do in those days. He was reputed to have been a great faro-dealer, and
devoted a great deal of time to it. When not engaged in cards, he was
absorbed in business, and accumulated considerable property. While living
in Pike county he was elected to the legislature and served one session in
Little Rock, where, it is hardly necessary to inform the reader, he found
abundant opportunity to indulge in his favorite pastime. While the General
Assembly of which he was a member was in session, the general conference of
the Methodist church convened in the State Capital, and filled the town
with preachers. During the sitting of the Conference religious services
were held every night at the Methodist church, all the ministers attending,
of course. One night, after preaching was over, several of the men were
leisurely sauntering along the street together when their attention was
attracted by a pedestrian, just in advance of them, carrying a candle in
one hand and stooped over as though he was looking for something on the
sidewalk. He was moving at a very slow pace, and the men of the cloth very
soon came up with him. They kindly enquired if he had lost anything, to
which he replied that he had lost a hundred dollars. The preachers
immediately expressed sympathy for him in this ill luck, and at once set
about to aid him in searching for his lost roll. Each one bent down and
began to peer attentively along the sidewalk. After proceeding thus some
distance, one of them enquired of the doubled-up Diogenes if he had any
idea where he dropped his missing treasure. "Oh, I dropped it up there at
the faro-bank!" was Thompson's instant reply. It goes without saying that
this was a "new revelation" to the men of the cloth, and that they then
and there ceased searching for the lost money. The individual with the
candle proved to be our eccentric friend, Asa Thompson. The man was
unknown to the preachers, and his peculiar shape in walking led to the very
natural mistake into which they had fallen. Thompson did not know, nor did
he care who they were, inasmuch as he had very little respect for preaching
and preachers, and the candid and truthful answer to the enquiry addressed
to him was dictated by a humorous thought, which may have struck in at the
moment, to give them a sell.
Notwithstanding, as stated above, Thompson sat upon his horse
woman-fashion, he traveled a great deal. Buggy-driving in that day was
almost unknown. These convenient vehicles had not yet been introduced into
Arkansas; besides which, the then condition of the roads rendered such mode
of locomotion impracticable. Asa was as well known in the country as
"Humpy" Thompson as by his true name. He was exceedingly social in
disposition and loved gay and jovial company. He once became the proprietor
of a wandering circus which came through the country, and tried his fortune
with that for some time, and to which he was no doubt an interesting
side-show. In the vocation he no doubt found ample opportunity to pursue
his favorite amusement.
The last seen or heard of "Humpy" Thompson, so far as I can learn, was in
1848, in which year he suddenly turned up in Washington, tarried a week or
two, and then disappeared, probably going to the Omnium-Gatherums of the
odds and ends of the earth: Texas.
Sam Williams: Printer's Devil, Mary Medearis, editor, (Etter Printing
Company: Hope, Arkansas 71801), 1979, page 227-229.
License To Keep Tavern.
On motion of Asa Thompson, by his attorney, it is ordered by the court,
that he be allowed to keep Tavern at his present residence at or near the
Warm Springs upon his paying into the County Treasury, fifteen dollars and
producing & filing in the clerks office of this court, the sheriff's
receipt, therefore and it is ordered that the clerk of this court issue a
license to said Thompson to keep Tavern at aforesaid for the term of one
year, from the first day of May 1829.
Clark County, Arkansas Circuit Court Record, August Term, 1829, page 214.
Hot Springs: Ante-Bellum Watering Place
Irene Ruth Jones
As early as 1829 the springs were attracting numbers of visitors, and the
"wonderful curative properties of the waters began to be known." The
Arkansas Gazette, March 30, 1830, contained an advertisement by Asa
Thompson who had leased the "celebrated Warm Springs on the Washita," had
added "several new apartments neatly completed," and was prepared "to
accommodate all who may favor him with their calls." Families could be
provided with private apartments, and attention would be paid to all,
"especially to those who are sick and afflicted." The board rates were not
given, but were promised to be as "reasonable as can be afforded."
Bathing facilities in 1830 were little better than in 1828. The sweat
house was still in use, and about fifty feet south of it was a log
bathhouse that had one plank tub. A "considerable number" of visitors from
Louisiana arrived at Little Rock in April, 1830, on the steamboat Waverly,
and several of them planned to spend the summer at Hot Springs.
Hunting, walking, and playing cards were the chief amusements to occupy the
days in the early thirties.
The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Vol. XIV, Spring, 1955, No. 1, page 9.
Asa Thompson Circuit Clerk of Hot Springs County.
Hot Springs County (County Officers) 1830, Oct 22nd, Asa Thompson - Clerk
of the Circuit Court in place of (George W. Rogers) resigned to the court
of Hot Springs Co.
Territorial Papers of the United States, Vol. XIX, Arkansas Territory
1819-1825, page 853.
Certificate of Mark and Brand.
Be it known to all to whom it may concern, that my ear mark and brand for
my stock is as follows, to wit: An upper half crop off each ear and brand
AT. Given under my hand this 23rd of July, 1832.
Territory of Arkansas,
County of Clark,
I, Isaac Ward, clerk and exofficio recorder do hereby certify that the
foregoing certificate of mark and brand is a copy of the original which I
have received and record this 12th day of October, AD 1832.
ISAAC WARD, Clerk & exofficio recorder.
Clark County, Arkansas Circuit Court Record, October Term 1832.
The only improved farms on the Military road from the Terre Noire to where
the same crosses the Antoine ... Humpy Thompson lived and sold goods where
Bill Meeks lives and Jeremiah Lathram lived and improved the farm now known
as the Tom Long farm. This was in 1833.
At the session of the Territorial Legislature in 1833-34, Pike county was
taken from Clark county and made a county by the election of old Humpy
Thompson, alias Asa Thompson, to the lower house. Humpy Thompson was a man
of great notoriety; when on his feet his head and face were lower than his
knees, could not be straightened; when on horseback, rode like a woman,
curvature of the spine; had good natural sense, but I could not vouch for
the balance; was a merchant, and is now dead.
Willis S. Smith, scrapbook transcribed, page 25, 32. Provided by Penny
Breedlove. The original scrapbook is now a part of the collections of the
Arkansas History Commission, Little Rock, Arkansas.
Leona A. Bittick daughter of Francis Bittick and Mary Ann Melson, 1835,
Missouri township, Pike county, Arkansas. Census Record: Hempstead County,
Arkansas 1850, Leona age 15; Francis Bittick 1835 tax list.
Reese A. Brewer son of John Brewer and Elvira Alexander, December
25, 1835, Pike county, Arkansas. John Brewer Bible record.
Martha Ann Kelley daughter of William Kelley and Rebecca McMahan,
September 15, 1834, Wolf Creek, Pike county, Arkansas. William Kelley
Bible notations, Loreda Denton, Murfreesboro, Arkansas, 1975.
Etna Sorrels daughter of Samuel Jefferson Sorrels and Eliza Butler, May 7,
1835, Pike county, Arkansas. Samuel J. Sorrels Bible record.
John Wesley Sorrels son of Paschal C. Sorrels and Rebecca Brewer, 1835,
Murfreesboro, Pike county, Arkansas. Census Record: Pike County, Arkansas
1850, J. Wesley age 15; P.C. Sorrels 1835 tax list.
Micajah Reeder and Isafena Davis, 1835, Murfreesboro, Pike county,
JOHN M. DICKSON
First Coroner of Pike county, Arkansas
Elected the first county coroner in 1834, John M. Dickson came to Pike
county, Arkansas from Tennessee. He married Lucinda Brewer daughter of
Oliver Brewer, Sr. and Mary Henderson and had one daughter Elizabeth *
before his death in 1836. He was murdered by the county surveyor E.K.
Williams (Ezekiel Williams Kerr) on July 2, 1836 in Murfreesboro. Mrs.
Dickson later became the wife of Abijah Davis in 1839.
* Elizabeth Dickson, daughter of John M. Dickson and Lucinda
Brewer, married Sion Bradley Dickson son of John Jackson
Dickson of Pike county, Arkansas ...
BY THE GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS
Whereas, satisfactory information has been communicated to me, that on the
2d. day of July (inst.), a most deliberate and wilful murder was
perpetrated, at Murfreesborough, Pike County, on the body of Mr. John M.
Dickson, by a certain E.K. Williams, and it appearing that the said
Williams has made his escape, and is now going at large;
NOW, therefore, I, William S. Fulton, Governor of Arkansas, do hereby offer
a reward of TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS, to any person or persons who will
apprehend the said fugitive murderer, E.K. Williams, and deliver him into
the custody of the Sheriff of Pike County, and I do, moreover, hereby
require all officers, both civil and military, and exhort all the good
people of Arkansas, to use their best exertions, to apprehend and bring to
justice the said fugitive, that he may be dealt with according to law.
GIVEN under my hand and the seal of Arkansas, at Little Rock, this 25th day
of July, 1836.
WILLIAM S. FULTON
The said Williams is between 35 and 40 years of age, about 5 feet 10 or 11
inches high, blue eyes, light hair, beard rather inclined to be sandy,
large underlip and a sore generally about the middle of it, tolerably
well-made, and generally looks fresh and rather inclined to be red-faced.
He is a very good scholar, and it is believed is either from Kentucky or
$290 REWARD FOR A MURDERER.
Whereas, an unjustifiable and most unprovoked murder was committed, in the
town of Murfreesborough, Pike County, Arkansas, on the 2d. day of July
(inst.), on the body of my husband, John M. Dickson, by a certain E.K.
Williams, alias Ezekial Williams Kerr, I will therefore give the above
reward to any person or persons who may apprehend, and deliver the above
named E.K. Williams, alias Kerr, to the proper authorities of said County
The said Williams, alias Kerr, is between 35 and 40 years of age, 5 feet 10
or 11 inches high, blue eyes, light hair, beard inclined to be sandy, under
lip large and generally a sore about the middle of it, tolerably stout
built, very fond of ardent spirits, and very noisy when drinking. He has a
brother-in-law near Golconda, Illinois, and another near Fort Jesup,
Louisiana. This same villain, it is pretty well ascertained, murdered a
boy, a few years since, in the State of Kentucky, by stabbing him.
Murfreesboro, July 8, 1836.
Editors in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio,
Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas, will confer a favor on a
distressed widow, and perhaps benefit society by contributing to the
apprehension and punishment of a cold-blooded murderer and notorious
villain, by giving the above an insertion in their respective papers.
LETTER OF JOHN SPEER TO THE ARKANSAS GAZETTE
Clark County, November 1, 1836.
Mr. Editor - Pleased to give the following statement an insertion in your
Jacob Brindley, of Pike County, who lives at the ferry on Little Missouri,
has maliciously propagated, rumored, and charged me with harboring a
certain Eli W. Kerr, alias E.K. Williams, (who has been charged with the
murder of John M. Dickson, of Pike County).
Some most infamous individual, taking advantage of the sudden flight and
absconding of Eli W. Kerr, alias E.K. Williams, from this County,
personated him at my house in order the better to accomplish his homicidal
or furtive design. The same individual has exhibited himself at and about
my house, at all times of the night, striking on the fence, whistling in
chargers, and making various other noises and pranks, which caused me,
together with my neighbors, to believe that the above-named murderer of
John M. Dickson was at my house, until contradicted and ascertained by the
This Eli W. Kerr, alias E.K. Williams, was seen and met by John W.
Williams, a highly respectable gentleman who lives on the Military road
seven miles from Washington, Hempstead County, on the road seven miles from
Golconda, Illinois, the 22nd. day of August last (on his way from this
country). The said Eli Kerr, alias E.K. Williams, was seen also by Wiley A.
Berry, of Livingston County, Kentucky, William Berry, and Nathaniel Gray,
of the same County, six hundred miles from this County, about the last of
August; not withstanding, this other base rascal, who was essaying to pass
himself, for some malicious design, for Eli W. Kerr, alias E.K. Williams,
was seen on the 28th. of August by Elijah Kelley near my house, and by
Samuel Hasley, and by Amos Wilson on Wednesday night the latter part of
August; and on Thursday following by Moses Guice; on Friday, by Dr. Long,
(who) told Jacob Brindley, that this supposititious (sic) individual had
been seen by many persons, and that he did not believe it was Eli Kerr, and
that several men were watching and lying in wait for him and that I wished
him either taken or killed.
Since Dr. Long had that conversation with Jacob Brindley, that villainous
individual has not been seen nor heard at my house or about my plantation.
The said Jacob Brindley has used every exertion in his power, by his base
culumnies, to injure my standing and reputation; and by his multifarious
lies, fabrications, and equivocations, has left no dubiousness on the mind
of the public as to that individual who attempted to pass for Eli W. Kerr,
in order to evade justice in the execution of his murderous design,
detraction or villainy.
For evidence you will see the following certificates.
Certificate of John W. Williams
I, John W. Williams, of the County of Hempstead, Arkansas, do hereby
certify, that, on the 22nd. day of August, 1836, whilst on my way home from
the State of Kentucky, I met, in the road, a few miles from Golconda,
Illinois, a certain E.K. Williams, who committed a murder on the body of
John M. Dickson, on the 2d. day of July last, in the County of Pike, and
that he was then on his way from this country.
AFFIDAVIT OF WILLIAM BERRY AND NATHANIEL GRAY
This day, personally appeared before me, Isham Clement, a Justice of the
Peace, in and for the County of Livingston, Kentucky, William Berry and
Nathanial Gray, both citizens of said County, (who, being duly sworn,
depose and say), and, on or about the 1st. day of September, 1836, E.K.
Williams, as he called himself, when in Arkansas, was in the said County of
Livingston, Kentucky, at the said Berry's and Gray's house.
Sworn to, and subscribed before me, this 2d. day of October, 1836.
ISHAM CLEMENT, J.P.
Attest: Nathanial Gray, William Berry.
Commonwealth of Kentucky,
I, James L. Dallam, Clerk of the Court for the County and Commonwealth
aforesaid, do hereby certify, that Isham Clement, whose name is attached to
the foregoing certificate, is, and was, at the time of signing the same, a
duly qualified and commissioned Justice, within and for said County; and as
such, full faith and credit are due and should be given to all his official
Given under my hand, this 3rd. day of October, 1836.
JAMES J. DALLAM, Clerk.
AFFIDAVIT OF WILIE A. BERRY
I, Wilie A. Berry, of Livingston County, Kentucky, do hereby certify, that
I am personally acquainted with a certain Eli W. Kerr, alias E.K. Williams,
the individual who is charged with the murder of John M. Dickson, of the
County of Pike, Arkansas; and that some time in the latter part of August,
in the present year, I saw the said Eli W. Kerr, alias E.K. Williams, in
Livingston County, Kentucky, and was informed by him, that he had come
directly from Arkansas.
WILIE A. BERRY
Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 7th. day of October, 1836.
J.W. WILLIAMS, J.P.
Certificate of Elijah Kelley and Samuel Hasley
We the undersigned, do certify, on the night of the 28th. of August, or
about that time, we were in the company of John Speer, at his dwelling
house, watching for E.K. Williams, murderer of John M. Dickson, and near
about twelve o'clock of said night, we saw a man appear three times, in the
distance of eighty yards, as nigh as we can guess, and from the action of
the person we saw, we think he either wanted to see some one privately, or
to steal, rob, or murder.
October 8th., 1836.
TO THE PUBLIC
A certain "Major" John Speer, who keeps a house of entertainment in Clark
County, near the Antoine Bridge, on the road leading from Little Rock to
Red River, in order to get into a newspaper controversy with me, or to give
the public a specimen of his very extraordinary talents for writting, (sic)
has published, in the Arkansas Gazette, a lengthy and windy communication,
over his own signature, dated November 1st., 1836, in which he charged me
with having "maliciously propagated, rumored, and charged" him with
harboring (his brother-in-law) Eli W. Kerr, alias E.K. Williams, who stands
charged with the crime of murder, in Pike County; which communications has
attached to it the certificates of certain persons, certifying that the
fact of Williams, alias Kerr, have been seen, after the perpetration of the
crime above mentioned, in the States of Illinois and Kentucky. The said
communication also charges some person with endeavoring to personate the
said Williams, by "striking on the fence, whistling in chargers, and making
various other noises and pranks, at and about the house of the said John
Not wishing to trouble the public with my grievances about the above named
communication, I would barely remark, that circumstances as strong as holy
writ, establish the fact of John Speer having harbored the said Eli W.
Kerr, alias E.K. Williams, "at and above" his house, after the perpetration
of the murder above named; and the "suppositious individual" mentioned in
said communication, who endeavored to "personate" said Williams, at and
above the house of said John Speer, is generally believed to have been the
servant of this John Speer, or some other person induced to come there for
him, for the purpose of screening him from the charges of harboring said
Williams. Circumstances go strongly to show this fact to every unbiased
mind. I have never "maliciously charged" John Speer with the commission of
an act. I have spoken of the affair in common with those whom I have heard
conversing on the subject, but not with the view of injuring him. He has no
laurels that I wish to take from him. His reputation, whatever it may be,
he is welcome to enjoy.
I would barely remark, in conclusion, that this Major John Speer has
admitted that E.K. Williams, alias Kerr, ate at or near his house, after
the commission of the murder mentioned in his communication. This
admission, therefore, puts him at issue with his communication. Add his
admission, therefore, to the circumstance of a stolen horse being found in
his possession, and it will show whether he is the man he has cracked
himself up to be, in his garbled communication, or not.
Little Missouri, Pike County, Arkansas, 1st. December, 1836.
FOR THE ARKANSAS GAZETTE
Mr. Editor - I notice in your paper of the 13th. of the present month, a
publication over the signature of one Jacob Brindley, of Pike County,
bearing the date the first of the same month, in which he denies any
purpose of doing me injustice, at the same time making as false assertions
against me as ever were made against a man, when he charged me with having
harbored E.K. Williams, and of having the horse, (stolen by Williams), in
my possession, if he had stated that I arrested the horse in his
possession, and informed the proper person of it, who was authorized to
receive him, he would have stated the truth.
The fact of my having taken the horse from the possession of the thief, can
be proven by a gentleman by the name of Swink, living at Judge Barkman's,
and the fact of me having sent word that I had taken possession of a horse,
supposed to be stolen, can be established by Moses Grize (Guice), who lives
with Col. Wilson. This took place on the 15th. or 20th. of July last - and
he was personated at my house in the later part of August last.
The charge of this having been done by my servant, or at my request, that I
might not be suspected, is one of the vilest things I have ever seen or
heard of. If it was done through my influence, (and not through
Brindley's), why did that villain stop on the very same day, that Dr. Long
told Jacob Brindley of, the danger that Williams was in? The evidence and
circumstances all go strong against Brindley himself.
Now, Mr. Jacob Brindley, a word or two with you, and I am done. Your false
assertions against me, make it my duty to call your attention to a few
facts in regard to your being a man of truth.
Did you not, some time previous to the expiration of the preemption law,
swear before Almighty God, that there did not exist a preemption on a
certain tract of land. I allude to the tract of land on which Francis
Bittick has his farm, - and did you not deny in the presence of James Ward,
Senior, that you were sworn at all? - and after denying that you were
sworn, did you not admit to the same person that you were sworn, but did
not take the oath prescribed by law? Now sir, if there was no preemption,
why did you deny swearing at all?
And did you not state a falsehood, between Col. J. Wilson and James Ward,
concerning a load of salt sent by Col. Wilson to Ward. Now, sir, if you are
not guilty of the above charges, Mr. Ward is your neighbor and will acquit
Were you not, sir, called on by Samuel Hasley for having made too free use
of his name? And did you not deny the facts in the most positive terms, and
did not the said Hasley call on John McLaughlin, and prove positively that
you did use the words denied by you - and did you not contradict
McLaughlin? - or was your plea that you were in a state of insanity? Now
sir, if you are not guilty, these are men of truth and will do you justice.
If you fail to clear up these charges, your base statements will not be
Little Rock, December 23, 1836.
A more striking exemplification cannot be found of the folly and weakness
of human passions, than the correspondence which has been carried on in
this paper in the shape of advertisements between John Speer and Jacob
Brindley, Esqs., one of Pike County, and the other of Clark County. They
have been endeavoring to persuade the world, (each other), that they are
the most corrupt mortals alive, when in fact we have no better citizens in
the country than both of them. They ought from shame, to discontinue the
affair where it stands.
Arkansas Gazette, July 26, 1836; August 2, 1836; November 15, 1836;
December 13, 1836; December 27, 1836; January 24, 1837. Early History of
Pike County, Arkansas, compiled and published by Pike County Heritage Club,
1978, reprinted by Pike County Archives and History Society, Murfreesboro,
Arkansas, 71958, pp. 46-51.
PROOF OF PREEMPTION
Francis Bittick of Pike County, Arkansas Territory
BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the third day of March, 1836, Francis Bittick of
Pike County, Arkansas Territory, personally came and appeared before the
undersigned, an acting justice of the peace, within and for the County of
Hempstead, in the Territory of Arkansas, and being first duly sworn,
deposeth and says:
THAT, in the year of our Lord, eighteen hundred and thirty-three, he
cultivated a portion of the public lands of the United States known and
designated as the west half of the southeast quarter of section numbered
seven, and the east half of the southwest quarter of said section, in
township numbered nine, south of the base line range, numbered
twenty-three, west of the fifth principle meridian, in the district of
lands subject to sale at Washington, Arkansas; and, that in said year he
had in cultivation and under fence on said tract, about twenty-five acres,
and that he resided thereon and had possession of the same on the
nineteenth day of Jan., 1834.
Sworn to and subcribed before me, this 3rd. day of March, 1836.
G.W. CONWAY, J.P.
Territory of Arkansas,
County of Hempstead,
THIS DAY, John Speer, Samuel Hasley, and Thomas Milson, personally
appeared before me, the undersigned, an acting justice of the peace,
within and for the county, aforesaid, and being duly sworn, depose and say:
THAT they believe the matters and things stated and set forth, in the
foregoing affidavit of Francis Bittick, to be true in substance and fact.
Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 3rd. day of March, 1836.
G.W. CONWAY, J.P.
The Preemption in this case has been approved and this office advised
thereof by letter of the Comr., G. L. Office, of the 15th. Decr., 1837,
and repayment ordered to be made to the original purchaser, which has
been done long since.
SAML. C. WHEAT, Regr.
D.T. WITTER, Recr.
Cash Certificate 1947, Proof of Preemption under the Act of 1834, Francis
Bittick. Washington, Arkansas Land Office, National Archives Record Group
49, Washington National Records Center, Suitland, Maryland.
Pike County, Arkansas Territory.
August 7, 1835
David S. Dickson, Clerk of the Circuit Court; John Hughes,
Sheriff; John M. Dickson, Coroner.
Territorial Papers of the United States, Volume XIX, Arkansas Territory,
PIKE COUNTY MAGISTRATES
October 27, 1835.
Jacob Brindley, David S. Dickson, William T. Hancock, Thomas Hopkins,
William Kelley, Ervin Price, Jesse Simpson, Samuel J. Sorrels, Washington
Sorrels, Isaac White, Jordan White
Territorial Papers of the United States, Volume XIX, Arkansas Territory,
THOMPSON Sam Williams, in his memorabilia published in Sam
Williams: Printer's Devil, page 229, writing of Asa
Thompson, says, The last seen or heard of "Humpy" Thompson, so far as I can
learn, was in 1848, in which year he suddenly turned up in Washington,
tarried a week or two, and then disappeared, probably going to the
Omnium-Gatherums of the odds and ends of the earth - Texas.
The Washington Telegraph, Volume 9, No. 9, February 28, 1849, page 4,
column 4, has this advertisement: Collinsburg, October 29th., 1848. This is
to certify, that ASA THOMPSON, is no agent of our Gin Shop. All papers in
which he may have advertised himself as such, will discontinue him, and
all persons with whom he may have made arrangements, will consider such
arrangements null and void. GILMER & COLLINS.
In the Washington Telegraph, Volume 9, No. 42, October 24, 1849, page 1,
column 4: We see it stated in the Shelbyville (Tenn.) Epositor, that our
old "straight up and down" Asa Thompson was married in that vicinity on the
13th ult., to one Miss E.J. BOTKINS. Now, is it so? - that is the queston.
If it is, we say, with heart and soul, success to the undertaking! May
their harvest times be not as angel's visit - and may all they sow be like
unto a tree planted by the river's side, the leaves whereof shall not
whither and whose fruit shall be cast in regular season! Is it true, old
Asa is "sorter" like the fellows board tree, so straight that he leans a
little over - but what of that? MINDEN IRIS, Oct. 13.
In 1839, Asa Thompson said he was "the head of a family consisting of a
wife and six children."
In the Arkansas Gazette, Volume 23, No. 25, June 1, 1842, page 3, column 4:
MARRIED, At Houston, Texas, on Thursday, the 27th. January, 1842, by Wm. G.
Evans, Esq., W. C. HOWARD, late of Louisiana, Avoyelles Parish, to Miss ANN
M. THOMPSON, daughter of Asa Thompson, formerly Representative in the
Legislature of Arkansas, all of this city. (Houston, Tel.)
Seeking additional information and descendants of Asa Thompson. David L.
Kelley, 12903 Wheatland Way, Brandywine, MD 20613.
BITTICK BUTLER Researching all Bittick (various spellings) names in
ASHABRANNER Arkansas. Seeking great great grandfather, Jonathan
HENTHORN Bittick, who left Clark county, Arkansas about 1830 for
Texas. Related families, Butler and Ashabranner, moved
from Clark county, Arkansas to Texas, the same time. Robert Bittick and
wife, Sarah Henthorn, supposedly lived in the vicinity of Billstown, Pike
county, Arkansas in the 1830's and 1840's. Jesse Bittick, son of Samuel
Bittick, was in Pike county, Arkansas in the 1840, 1850 census. Related
families; WOOD, WILLIAMS, McLAUGHLIN, MELSON, BLEVINS. Dorothy L. Miller,
640 Solano N.E., Albuquerque, NM 87108.
BROWN William Brown, born 1755/1756, Bedford county,
Virginia, moved with his parents to South Carolina, age
6, (1761/1762), then to North Carolina (Washington County) and from there
to E. Tennessee, age 21 or 22, (1776/1777), where he entered the service
during the Revolutionary War, at Jonesboro, Tennessee. After the war he
lived in Washington county, E. Tennessee; Oglethorpe county, Georgia;
Lincoln county, Missouri; and Pike county, Arkansas. William Brown left
Lincoln county, Missouri on May 10, 1832 for Arkansas to reside with a son
and returned to Lincoln county, Missouri in 1834 and lived with another
son, Levi Brown. He later returned to Pike county, Arkansas. William Brown
had a twin brother, Joseph Brown, who lived in Lincoln county, Missouri.
Their father was named John Brown. The 1834 Pike county, Arkansas tax list
has William Brown Jr., Joseph Brown, and Gabriel Brown. Marriage: David
Self and Catherine Brown, March 24, 1833, Clark county, Arkansas by
William Kelley, Justice of the Peace, Missouri Township. Seeking further
information on these early families of Pike county, Arkansas. David Kelley,
P.O. Box 249, Brandywine, MD 20613-8895.
DAVIS COLLINS Need parents of Myrick Davis, born about 1790, North
Carolina, lived Hempstead, Pike and Polk counties,
Arkansas, 1830-1870, married Sarah Collins, September 8, 1814, Ohio county,
Kentucky. Known children, Jesse, Nancy, Oliver Perry, Gabriel, William,
Elvira. Neta Davis, 913 W. Lansing Ave., Broken Arrow, OK 74012-1640.
BLOCKER STONE John Blocker, Sr. and his wife Sarah, from Missouri, to
DICKSON Pike county, Arkansas 1835-1838, lived along the Little
Missouri river near Samuel A. Dickson and William
Stone. Sarah, wife of John Blocker, Sr., lived with William Stone after the
death of her husband. Also need information relative to John Blocker, Jr.,
1835-1838, Pike county, Arkansas; William L. Blocker, 1836-1837, Pike
county, Arkansas; Timothy Blocker and Davis Blocker, Poinsett county,
Arkansas; in Hopkins county, Texas by 1850. Any help appreciated. Kay
Davis, 316 Chuckwagon Tr., Willow Park, TX 76089.
BREWER DAVIS STELL Researching the following families of Pike county,
Arkansas. Oliver Brewer Sr., wife Mary Henderson;
Abijah Davis and wife, Lucinda Brewer daughter of Oliver Brewer Sr., and
Mary Henderson; Joseph Stell and wife Isabella Armstrong. Floyd R.
Hendricks, 121 North 53, Ft. Smith, AR 72903.
BREWER GRIFFIN Oliver and Mary (Henderson) Brewer; James Erwin Griffin
family, (James Erwin) married Rebecca Brewer, daughter
of Oliver, all of Pike county, Arkansas. Have information relative to
Rebecca and her (4) four marriages. Appreciate any help. Wilma V. Ranger,
9105 Berkshire Loop SE, Olympia, WA 98503.
BREWER ALEXANDER John Brewer, born North Carolina, died April 9, 1845,
Pike county, Arkansas; married Elvira Alexander in
Missouri, eldest son William, born 1818, Arkansas Territory. Any
information relative to the John Brewer and Elvira Alexander family
appreciated. Aileen F. Brewer (Mrs. Ronald D.), 7009 - 190th Street S.W.,
Lynnwood, WA 98036.
BREWER WHITE STONE James Stephenson Brewer, born July 26, 1811, Missouri,
married Zerilda White, daughter of Absolum White; their
son, James Calvert Brewer, born January 30, 1838, Pike county, Arkansas,
married Mary Jane Stone, daughter of Stephen Stone and Nicia (Nicy)
Garrett. Seeking information on these families. Thera L. Bagley, 8322
Huckleberry, Anchorage, Alaska 99502.
HASLEY WINGFIELD Researching the Hasley and Wingfield families of Pike
county, Arkansas. Mrs. Linnie Brooks Mills, #7
Lakeshore Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78413.
The Samuel Hasley family arrived in Arkansas, 1818, from Tennessee. The
William Wingfield family, his brother, Charles Wingfield, unmarried,
arrived in Arkansas, 1817, from Illinois; they previously lived in Warren
county, Kentucky. Charles Wingfield married into the Hasley family,
mentioned above. There have been several who have researched the
Wingfields. There will be information about these families in future
issues of Pike County, Arkansas 1815-1895. The Editor.
Marjorie J. Brewer
14103 - 26th Court S.E.
Mill Creek, Washington 98012
March 9, 1990
David L. Kelley
12903 Wheatland Way
Brandywine, MD 20613-8895
Dear Mr. Kelley,
I have just received a copy of your letter to Mrs. Partain of the Pike
County Archives and History Society regarding the Brewers. Your
confirmation that John was the elder son of Oliver is very helpful. Most of
the documents we have found did not certify any children other than Henry
and Rosanna by Oliver's first marriage. However, I did find a copy of
papers showing that Henry and John were involved in settling Oliver Jr.'s
estate, and an old family Bible gives the birth date of Elizabeth and their
My husband is a descendant of John who was born in North Carolina and
married Elvira Alexander. We have much information about her life after she
was widowed and moved to Oregon. She died there in 1857. Her married sons,
one of whom was my husband's grandfather, moved to Washington state and
there is quite a large group of family members in this area.
We are particularly anxious to know details of John's death and where he
is buried. Do you have any other confirmation of his descending from
Oliver, Sr., beside the affidavit of 1840? And do you have any information
about the Alexanders?
Marjorie J. Brewer
Oliver Brewer, Sr.
One of the early settlers of Pike county, Arkansas was Oliver Brewer, Sr.
He came to Arkansas in 1818 or 1819 from Missouri and first located in
Hempstead county. In 1826, he moved to Clark (now Pike) county, Arkansas
and settled on the Clear Fork of the Little Missouri river, and remained
there until his death, October 13, 1834.
Oliver Brewer, Sr., born Hillsboro District, Chatham county, North
Carolina, married first, (wife unknown), in North Carolina. Their children.
John Brewer, born 1793, North Carolina, married Elvira Alexander,
September 7, 1815, Washington county, Missouri; moved to Arkansas;
died April 9, 1845, Pike county, Arkansas,
Oliver Brewer, Jr., married Elizabeth L., ------- ; died April 29,
1832, Hempstead county, Arkansas.
Henry Brewer, born October 30, 1799, North Carolina, married
Elizabeth Huitt, July 18, 1829; died April 30, 1876, Pike county,
Rosanna Brewer, married Roland Huitt; died prior 1840, leaving
The Brewer Family (Oliver Brewer, Sr.) to be continued in Pike County,
Arkansas 1815-1895, May 1991, Volume 1, No. 3.
Pike County, Arkansas
P.O. Box 249
Brandywine, MD 20613-8895
Printed in Pike County, Arkansas by Alexander Printing, Delight, Arkansas
71940 © Copyright 1991 by David Kelley. Revised 2001. All Rights Reserved.
The above address was valid from November 1990 until October 1991. Current
address 9030 Markville Drive, Box 3617, Dallas, TX 75243.
Update 03.28.01 David Kelley 2001 PCV01N02.HTM