November 21, 1974
To the Editor:
In 1850, my Grandfather Elijah Tabor moved his family to Shiloh from Winston County, Mississippi.
His home, which is pictured above, took two years to build because, he explained, everything had to be done by hand. The two-story log cabin was put together with pegs and is still in a fair state of presentation. It is located one mile west of Shiloh Church.
The other house was that of my grandfather E. P. Bolton where he lived and finished raising his family after moving to Shiloh from Griffon, Georgia in 1850. His one son, George W. Bolton, later moved to Alexandria and helped to organize the Rapides Bank One of his descendants, Robert Bolton, is now the bank’s president.
During the late 1800’s, Shiloh was a pleasant country village. The Rock Island railroad surveyed a line from Junction City to the western line of Shiloh and asked the businessmen to give them a bonus to come to Shiloh but were refused. Then, a fire destroyed the north side of the town and Shiloh’s best years had ended.
It is interesting to note that the big store at that time hauled the bails of cotton by wagon pulled by four mules down to Shiloh Landing and stored it in a warehouse on the bluff. The building held 400-500 bales. When Cornie and D’Arbonne rose high enough for them to navigate those streams they came up to Shiloh Landing on Cornie and unloaded heavy freight. These same boats also stopped at Farmerville’s Landing and Stein’s Bluff. When these steamboats were rounding the bend at Hog Pen Landing on Cornie they would blow their horns and my two older brothers, Stanley and Starling, would take their horses down and help unload the freight for the merchants. That was their spending money.
A funny conversation was heard by this writer when I was 8 years old standing the back platform of Gerald Fuller’s Store. Some black men were looking in the store window and saw some canvas hams hanging up. One said, “I’m going to buy me one of them hams”. Another spoke up and remarked, “Shut your mouth, boy. Those hams have already went up to nine cents a pound”. Everthing was cheap then. Calico was five cents a yard, good heavy brown domestic, six cents a yard and men’s shoes were a dollar a pair.
The first money I ever made was picking peas for 20 cents per 100 pounds and cotton at 25 cents per hundred. We raised most of our food, swapped eggs at 8 cents a dozen for Arm and Hammer Soda.
The year 1896 was the driest year I remember. We only raised one bale of cotton which sold for 5 cents a pound. We had a branch bottom where we planted food stuff such as peas, sorghum, beans, corn and other food. We milked cows and had plenty of milk and butter. We didn’t have any money but we did have plenty of food.
When the Rock Island missed Shiloh, nearly every man who had been burned out moved away. J. R. Fuller, moved to Bernice and organized a bank. The Heard Brothers moved to Bernice and built nice homes. E. B. Roberson moved to Bernice and built a big store and Sebe Harris moved to Ruston and built a 50-room hotel.
My father, R. J. Tabor, had a Star Mail Route from Shiloh to Summerfield. He had to make round trips three times a week for $175 dollars a year.
This letter can only describe the living conditions in and around Shiloh at that time. Nothing is left now but the church and the cemetery and a few of the descendants of the early settlers.
Elisha Bolton Tabor
In May Molly Liggin Rankin posted a Letter to the Editor that is part of this letter. It seems that there was a mistake and the correct full letter was published the next week.