Bearden, Clarence Granville

Bearden, Clarence Granville

Interviewed by Hazel B. Green, at Hugo, Oklahoma, September 30, 1937

My mother, Cynthia Tucker Bearden, was a sister to Mrs. Enoch Needham, and Mrs. Enoch Needham was the maternal grandmother of Robin (Bob) Burns, of screen and radio fame, of Van Buren, Arkansas. Cynthia Bearden was buried at Hackett, Arkansas. My father, John J. Bearden, is buried at Spring Chapel Cemetery, immediately south of Hugo, about a mile.

My father was a native of middle Tennessee but his family moved to Texas when he was quite a lad and he enlisted in the army in time of the Civil War, from Texas. I don’t know how he came to be up in Arkansas, but anyway he was there, and married a Conditt, the mother of my half brothers, William and Charlie Bearden and my half sister, Mrs. Eva Manning, who lives now about six miles southeast of Hugo. Charlie and William are both dead. Then he married my mother who was Cynthia Tucker, and she was a sister to Mrs. Enoch Needham, nee Mary Jane Tucker, who was the maternal grandmother of Robin (Bob) Burns of screen and radio fame, of Van Buren, Arkansas. After my mother died, we came down through the Winding Stair Mountains from Booneville, through this country where Hugo is now located, o­n our way to visit relatives in Hopkins County, Texas. Towns and villages were far apart.

Nobody expected to stay at hotels when they started out o­n a journey in those days. They either camped out wherever night over took them or depended upon the hospitality of the scattered settlers along the route. I was born in 1876, at Booneville, Arkansas, and we made this trip before a railroad was put through the Choctaw Nation; o­ne was put through here about 1885, I believe, so I was a little fellow when we made it. Well, anyway, along down the road about three miles south of the present town of Hugo, night overtook us, and we spent the night at the home of a widow, Mary Tucker. She was the widow of Frank Tucker, who was a machinist, and she had met him when he was installing machinery for a gin at the Rose Hill Farm of Robert M. Jones, millionaire Choctaw Indian. She was a housekeeper at Rose Hill when they got married. He was killed by a Negro helper, while installing machinery in a gin for old Dr. Miller, and intermarried citizen who was having the gin built o­n his farm down o­n Roebuck Lake, about 8 miles south of Hugo, Oklahoma.

After we made our trip to Texas and returned to Booneville, Arkansas, father came down here and married Mary Tucker and took her to Booneville, but she didn’t like to live up there, and did not live there every long. She owned her home down here, and so we all came down here to live. We traveled the old military road from Fort Smith, Arkansas, down across winding Stair Mountains, as far as about where Antlers is now. Thence south along about the route the railroad came later, from Fort Smith Arkansas, to Paris, Texas. I was raised right down there south of Hugo o­n my step-mother’s farm. I first attended school at Spring Chapel, a two story frame or boxed building. The upper story was used for a lodge for the Masons and below was used for school and all other kind of social affairs and church. My first teacher was J.J. Terry, a white man, who drifted in here from the north, somewhere and hacked railroad cross ties for a living o­ne summer, while waiting for time for his school to open. He was a good teacher and a pretty good citizen, and got to be a United States Marshall. He lived to be about 90 years old. He just died about three years ago. A son-in-law of his was Bailey Spring, o­ne of the leaders of the Choctaw people.