Historic Arkansas · Travel

In Search of: A Farming Colony in Scott, Arkansas

 

If you heard of Johnny Cash in Arkansas than you know he lived in the Dyess Colony Resettlement Area but did you know there are more resettlement area’s in Arkansas?

Resettlement areas were setup under Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and was administrated by the Works Progress Administration and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.

They were designed to help those whose lives were devastated by the natural and economic disasters of the Great Depression. In Arkansas, the flood of 1927 was followed by a severe drought and many families were left with nearly nothing. Resettlement areas were established to promote a self-sustaining community consisting of independent farms that provided educational, agricultural and commercial support facilities.

My father-in-law, Hubert Skillern, lived in one such colony near Scott, Arkansas in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. He was in his mid-teens at the time and helped his parents farm the land as well as attended school. He loved the time they spent in Scott and loved talking about it.

I’ve been trying to do research into the Jones Colony Resettlement Area in Lonoke County but so far I haven’t found out very much information. Buddy Raines, a longtime friend of Hubert, lived down Jones Colony Road (now Johnson Road) from the Skillern’s and his parents were also farmers in the colony. When I talked to Mr. Raines the other day he referred to the resettlement as the “Toltec Community.” An internet search calls it the Lonoke Colony. No matter what it is called I’m not finding any information at all.

If you have any information, stories or historical photos from the Jones Colony/Toltec Community/Lonoke Colony between Scott and Keo, Arkansas please feel free to email me!

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I believed the Skillern’s lived in this typical-styled “colony” house. When driving down Johnson Road (historic Jones Colony Road) you’ll see many homes that look like this one.
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What may have been the Jones Colony store. It’s near the corner of Hwy 165 and Johnson Road. It used to have a sign in front that read,”Hamiter Hicks Estate Est. 1869,” but the sign has been gone since the front overhang fell.
maps 1942 2017
Maps do not encompass the whole of Jones Colony. Including it as a reference point to the general area.
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Historic Arkansas · Recipes

Lillian’s Orange Pecans

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This week I headed to Scott once again to take pictures of the few historic plantation homes that are remaining and other old buildings in the area but instead of just staying in the car I went in to the Plantation Agriculture Museum State Park to see if they just happened to have a book on Scott history. No luck finding a book but I had a great talk with Linda Goza, the Superintendent of the museum.

One story she told me about was Lillian Walker Scott (yes, THAT Scott family that the town is named for) and her orange pecan candy that she made and sold to help save the Elmhurst Plantation after the severe flooding of 1927. She even sold them as far away as New York. Well of course my foodie heart wondered how yummy those pecans must have been. I mean orange and pecans …. how could it go wrong? The Californian in me still craves fresh oranges and the Arkansan in me LOVES pecans. I’ve never even heard of orange pecans but make the spicy cinnamon ones all the time so I set out to find the recipe. It didn’t take very long, back in December 2016, the Arkansas Times ran a bunch of old recipes and Lillian’s Orange Pecans was one of the recipes featured.

I made them this afternoon and they are wonderful! So much better than the cinnamon ones. Even Mr. Picky (my son Sean) liked them and he rarely eats nuts! I tell you though, if you’re diabetic, watch out!

Lillian’s Orange Pecans

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
3 cups pecans

Bring the sugar and juice up to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium and heat until 238°F (soft ball stage). Stir in nuts and the zest from one orange. Pour onto a cookie sheet covered in wax paper and spread nuts to cool. Once they’re cold off a bit you can break them apart. Or if you want to get real fancy and waste a bunch of time – take them out of the pan and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet one at a time. They will look better but the taste is the same either way!