Herbert Howard Bridgman

My Daddy, Herbert Howard Bridgman, was born September 26, 1916, near Timbo, in Stone County, Arkansas. He was the youngest of eight children born to Thomas Jefferson Howard Bridgman and Frances Adeline Catherine Holden.  Herbert was named for his father (my Grandpa Bridgman), something we did not determine until after Daddy's death.  Herbert was called "Herby" by most of the people who knew him.

Grandpa Bridgman moved his family to Conway County, Arkansas, in 1917, when Daddy was about a year old. They settled on rich farm land southwest of Morrilton. Daddy appears with his family on the 1920 Conway County census, living on Scroggins Farm Road, just off current Highway 113.  He was four years old on the census.

     The family lived in a couple of houses during their time in that area.  One of the houses was located just off Highway 113, west of Rigg's Hill.  Daddy began school at the Monastery Ridge School west of Morrilton.  He and his siblings walked about two miles one-way each day so they could attend the school.  They attended school there for either one or two school terms. 

About 1924, the Bridgman family moved to Solgohachia, in Conway County.  That became their permanent home.  Daddy was about eight years old at the time.

Grandpa moved his family into a house on Highway 9, located two or three houses north of the old school house, and on the same side of the road as the school. At that time Highway 9 was still a dirt road. The family lived there one year, before Grandpa moved to a house located at the foot of Watt Goode Mountain (referred to by some today as Dr. Well's Mountain) just up the road a short distance from the school, and on the opposite side of the highway to the school. The house was a large wood frame structure, with a garage and barn behind the house. The barn was set against the base of the mountain. The house has been gone for many years, but the rock retaining wall and the rock steps going up from the road, are still visible in places. The Hewen family home set across the road in front of the house.  (Their daughter, Miss Aubrey Hewen was one of my teachers at Morrilton Jr. High School in the early 1960's.) The Bill Ingram family had lived in the house prior to the Bridgman's living there. The Ingram family was related to the Bridgman family through my Grandma Bridgman.

Daddy and some of his siblings attended school in the old two-story wood frame school building located on Highway 9 at Solgohachia. That building burned in the mid to late 1920's and was replaced by a two-room brick school building. School consolidation in 1954/55, forced the closing of the Solgohachia school. The building has since been torn down and no sign of it exists today. Some of the teachers during the 1920's and early 1930's were Gladys Nation, Lee Ruff, Gladys Yates, Bessie Braudway, Marion Williams, Reba Henley and Will Hutchison.

Grandpa Bridgman was a farmer and he raised his sons to be farmers.  Grandpa and his sons raised cotton on farm land along Point Remove Creek on the Lanty Road near Solgohachia. About 1936, Grandpa moved his family to the Spring Valley area, southeast of Solgohachia, where they lived for a very short time, before moving to the foot of Tucker Mountain, north of Solgohachia. 

Daddy signed up with the Civilian Conservation Corps, commonly called the CCC, in the fall of 1938. He spent six months with them before returning home to make a crop. In the fall of 1939, he spent another six months with the CCC. Both times he was headquartered at Lost Corner, west of Alread, Arkansas, working with the forestry division. He was assigned to the Pelsor, Arkansas, area for a short time. He worked planting trees and building roads.

Daddy married my mother Maggie May Horton on May 4, 1940.  They exchanged wedding vows in the middle of Highway 9, about a mile north of Solgohachia. (Highway 9 was still an unpaved dirt road at that time.)  Rev. J. V. Rhoden, a Baptist minister, lived in a rock house on the south side of the highway, and daddy woke him up that night and asked him to marry them.  Preacher Rhoden performed the ceremony by the headlights of Daddy's old pickup truck, with Mama's sister, Edna Horton, and Daddy's nephew, Lonnie Bridgman, as witnesses.

Maggie May Horton was born May 25, 1915, at Una, in Searcy County, Arkansas. She was the sixth of seven children born to James William Monroe Horton and Effie Ann Harmon.

Mama and Daddy settled at Solgohachia, where Daddy farmed. They started their married life living in the house with Grandma and Grandpa Bridgman and Daddy's brother, Frank, in an old bungalow house owned by Daddy's brother, Bill.  The house stood beside the road going to Tucker Mountain, located along Highway 9 north of Solgohachia.  The family grew cotton and corn, using mules and horse drawn turning plows, double shovels, cultivators and harrows. Every year they raised a big garden and Mama helped can and dry fruit and vegetables for the winter.

In 1941, Daddy and Grandpa rented land from Clarence Evans and the whole family moved up on Tucker Mountain.  The old house they moved into was ell shaped with two large rooms across the front, with a dog trot that had been closed in, and a porch across the front, with the ell being used as a kitchen and dining area.  The house has been gone for many years.  Another house was built on that location and even it is gone now.  Mama, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Frank made one crop there and in 1942 moved west of Solgohachia, into an old house owned by Daddy's brother, Willis.  (The house was located along what is now called Solgohachia Road.)  In the yard just west of the kitchen door, there was a dug well that furnished water for house use and for laundry, which was done on rub boards in big wash tubs in the yard. 

That same year, Daddy started working at Col. Roy Chaney's Livestock Auction Sale Barn at Morrilton on sale day each week for some much needed added income.  The auction was held every Monday and sometimes Daddy worked until late into the night, helping the buyers get their stock loaded after the sale was over.  Daddy worked with Grandpa and Uncle Frank in the field the rest of the week.  Daddy raised hogs and sold them through the sale barn.  Mama's parents, my Grandma and Grandpa Horton, were living on the Louie Lasater place at the time, and on Monday while Daddy was working at the sale barn, Mama would ride her old bicycle to their house to do the weekly laundry for them.  (The house stands on County Road 71, near where it intersects with Highway 9, near Solgohachia.  Garland and Euna Faye Jackson live there now.) 

 In 1943, Mama and Daddy moved across the dirt road (now called the Solgohachia Road) into the Ernest Owens house.  Daddy bought a herd of milk cows and he and Mama milked them and sold the milk to the Morrilton Cheese Factory.  Whey from the milk was brought back in the 5 or 10 gallon milk cans and used for hog feed.  Daddy still raised hogs.  Mama and Daddy also had a big flock of white Leghorn laying hens and sold eggs to Montgomery Hatchery at Morrilton.  Mama gathered and sorted the eggs and helped with the morning and evening milking, which was all done by hand at that time.  Mama and Daddy raised a lot of peanuts and pulled them and stacked them in the loft of the barn to feed to the cows.  (I remember when I was a little girl at Solgohachia, Mama and Daddy always raised peanuts. They were so good when Mama parched them for us.)

Daddy's nephew, Houston Honeycutt, lived with Mama and Daddy for several months before he joined the Navy and was sent to the South Pacific.  Houston helped Daddy work in the fields. 

World War II was going on at that time and a lot of things, especially food items, were rationed. People were issued "food stamps" each month for certain food items such as sugar and coffee. When the food stamps were used up, people did without that food item until the next month, or they found a substitute to use in place of that item. Mama often used honey as a substitute for sugar in making deserts.

In 1944, Daddy and his nephew, Sherman Bridgman, farmed land in Portland bottoms, south of Plumerville, in Conway County.  Mama and Daddy moved to Portland bottoms, and Sherman stayed with them through the week and worked with Daddy.  The "big flood" in the spring of 1945 forced them, and everyone else, to move out of Portland bottoms.

Daddy and Mama rented a house at Overcup (where John Gilbow lives), and Daddy drove to the bottoms every day and made and harvested the crop.  Mama helped Daddy milk the dozen or so cows before daylight every morning before Daddy left for the bottoms.  Since it was usually after dark when Daddy got home each night, Mama milked the cows alone every evening.  After the crop was harvested, Mama and Daddy moved into the Ernest Owens house again for a short time.

In 1946, Daddy and Mama rented and farmed the Frank Reid land at Solgohachia. The farm was down a lane on the west side of Highway 9, across from what is now called County Road 71.  They made a crop for Mr. Reid that year.  Mama worked in the field with Daddy and drove the old Farmall tractor and disked the ground after Daddy had broken it up.  Daddy drove a team and planted the crop. They continued to milk a herd of cows and sold cream to Linhart's Creamery at Morrilton and milk to the Morrilton Cheese Factory.  They got electricity that year!

Daddy's nephew, Hubert Honeycutt (Houston's brother), got out of the Army when the War ended and he stayed with Mama and Daddy a few months until he married in December 1946.

Grandpa Bridgman died in July 1947.  I never knew him as he died two years before I was born.  

In August 1947, Mama and Daddy were baptized by Rev. John G. Gieck, a Methodist minister, in Point Remove Creek on the Lanty Road near Solgohachia. They became members of the Solgohachia Methodist Church, which they attended until they left Solgohachia a few years later.  I remember attending services there from my earliest memories.

Mama and Daddy moved into the Paul Gordon house west of Solgohachia on what at that time was called the Possum Trot Road, but today is called the Solgohachia Road.  They made a crop there in 1948.  They lived in a big house that faced south.  The house stood just off the road on the north side.  It had two large rooms and a closed in wide hallway (dog trot), and had an ell with two rooms that were used for the kitchen and dining rooms.  The house has been gone for years, by Mr. Gordon's son, Othello "Peck" Gordon, built a house not far from where the old house stood.  That year Mama's only brother, Orville Horton, and his family lived just across the road and branch, in an old house, and they all farmed land along the south side of Point Remove Creek, down to the big iron bridge (Fryer Bridge).  

In 1948, Daddy bought a place just west of Solgohachia, at the foot of Watt Goode Mountain.  (Roy Chadwick later built a house next to the old house, which he tore down about 1995.)  There was a year-around spring east of the house, on the north side of the road, from which water was carried for drinking and laundry.  There was a well in the back yard, but the spring water was much softer.  A place was cleared on the hillside behind the house and a garden planted.

Daddy worked farm land in Portland bottoms again in 1949.  Mama and Daddy were still milking cows and selling milk and cream.  They were also raising baby chicks which they sold to Montgomery Hatchery at Morrilton for layers.  In July of that year, after nine years of marriage, their first child, a brown-eyed, auburn haired baby girl, was born.  That baby was me, Katherine.  Daddy was still working long hours in the fields and getting home after dark most nights, so Mama would take me to the barn in the afternoon and put me in a box while she milked the cows.

Daddy sold the place in 1950, and we moved back to the Frank Reid farm, which by that time was owned by Henry and Eulene Thines.  Mr. and Mrs. Thines owned and operated Thines Grocery Store in downtown Morrilton.  Mr. Thines bought Daddy's cows and several more head of cattle, and hired Daddy to care for them and the farm.  Daddy raised sorghum cane and made silage from it.  He dug a large, long pit for storage of the silage, which made good feed for the cattle.  (It sure did smell bad though!)

In the fall of 1950, Grandma Bridgman moved into the house with us.  She lived with us for many years.  

In 1951, Daddy and Mama's second child, a blue-eyed, red headed baby girl, was born.  That was my sister, Carol.

Grandpa Horton died in March 1952, at Overcup, in Conway County.  I was not yet three years old and was far too young to remember anything about him.  I really wish I could have know both of my gandfathers. 

 Daddy farmed at Solgohachia for Henry Thines until 1958, when Mr. Thines' wife Eulene died and he sold the farm.  In July of that year Daddy began working for Col. Roy R. Chaney and his wife Winnie Mae (Thomas) at Morrilton. They owned a Shetland pony and cattle farm on Highway 64, just east of Morrilton. They also co-owned the Morrilton Livestock Auction Barn where Daddy had worked during the early and mid 1940's.  Besides being overseer of the farm, Daddy also went back to work one day a week at the sale barn.  

Grandma Bridgman, who was still living in the house with us, fell and broke her hip around 1961. She had surgery, but was never able to walk again and was bedfast.  Mama and Daddy tried to care for her at house for a short time, but Grandma soon had to be placed in a nursing home. 

Grandma Horton died in October 1963 and Grandma Bridgman died in October 1964.  I still miss both of them and look forward to the day my whole family will be reunited.

Carol and I always thought Daddy had such a great job!  Everyday Daddy had to check the ponies and cattle and make sure they were all there, not sick or hurt and that no fences were down.  In the winter and in the hot, dry summer, Daddy had to feed them hay.   Carol and I always enjoyed going with Daddy when he went to check or feed the livestock.  Daddy had to keep the fence rows cut and  the pastures  bush hogged.  Mama always worried when Daddy was on the tractor bush hogging the pastures.  We burned wood for heat at home at that time and Daddy would cut the wood, then take the tractor and wagon to load it in and bring it back to the house.  Carol and I enjoyed going with him and riding in the empty wagon on the way to the woods, and then riding on top of the wagon load of split wood on the way back to the house.  It was such an adventure for us! 

Col. Chaney died in 1968 and Mrs. Chaney sold most of the Shetland ponies, but kept the cattle.  Besides overseeing the cattle farm, Daddy continued to work at the sale barn. 

In 1986, Daddy quit work at the sale barn because of health problems and in 1989 Daddy was forced to retire from the farm because of declining health.  Daddy was overseer of the Chaney farm for over 31 years.

 After Daddy retired, he and Mama moved to Plumerville in the fall of 1989, settling next door to me and my family.  In December 1991, Carol and her family also settled next door to Mama and Daddy in Plumerville.

Daddy died April 26, 1994, at Plumerville and is buried in Friendship Cemetery near Solgohachia.

 After Daddy died, Mama moved into the house with me and my husband.  She lived with us for over 10 years.  In 2004, Mama signed herself into a nursing home at Morrilton because of declining health.  In 2006, she had her first stroke and continued to have mini strokes from that day until she died.

Mama died September 28, 2008 and is buried beside Daddy in Friendship Cemetery.

Children of Herbert Bridgman and Maggie Horton

1. Katherine Ann Bridgman, b. 1949, Solgohachia, Conway Co, AR; m. Roy Leonard McClure on Apr 30, 1971, Conway Co

2. Carol Susan Bridgman, b. 1951, Solgohachia, Conway Co, AR; m. Albert Leroy Wren on Oct 29, 1971, Conway Co

The music you are hearing is When You And I Were Young Maggie.