Pickens House Headed For Graveyard Of Lost Landmarks - January 9, 1969, Pea Ridge Graphic By Clarence Harris
What has become of the drive to restore the old Pickens mansion at Pea Ridge about which there was a lot of talk a year or so back?
For awhile, considerable interest in the idea was reported by the newspapers and then all of a sudden we heard no more about it.
In spite of attempts at modernization of certain exterior features of the house, it has stood there nigh onto a century with its military bearing tall and erect like the man that built it. There must have been some seniment felt by the different owners or the old relic would not have been allowed to stand there all these years.
Since so many of the country's historic sites have been destroyed it looks like the Pickens house is headed for the graveyard of lost landmarks.
Of a number of restoration projects overdue in Benton County, we would suggest the Pickens house as being No. 1 on the list.
Apathy - indifference appears to have been the culprit in regard to this particular landmark. Surely it was not a problem of financing with so many clubs scattered over the county striving for recognition. Here would have been a project that would have been a lasting monument to any organization that had a part in it. We are told that the Statue of Liberty that stands in New York Harbor was paid for with money donated by French school children and presented to the United States.
History is like a man's credit: it is public property. The Pickens house recalls events of the Civil War like Pea Ridge, Prairie Grove, Jenkin's Ferry and Helena - - all on Arkansas soil in which Benton County men were involved.
In the first years of this century a log house stood in Cross Hollows that old residenters pointed out as one time housing a saloon where the stagecoaches made brief stops as they traveled up and down the southwest trail, later the wire road. In time, the property was sold and new owner of the land being ignorant of the buildings historic past and perhaps caring less proceeded to demolish the aged log building. He piled the remains in a fence corner, living there for awhile. sold out and left the country.
This is the old tavern the gentleman was referring to in Cross Hollows (Monte Ne)
A few decades back a story was circulating concerning an incident that took place in the city of Okmulgee, Okla. It went something like the following:
A large log building stood in the center of the city square that was the capitol of the Creek Indian Nation in territorial days. Some of the public sprited citizens started a drive to replace the log building with a modern structure to house a post office. a library or some other commercial enterprise. The citizens became divided on the issue and one side sent for Will Rogers who went to Okmulgee and made a speech in favor of keeping the log building. Will told them any town could have a post office or a library but any town could not have an Indian Capitol. The log building stayed and became a very interesting museum free to the public and visited by hundreds that perhaps never took a second glance at the fancy store fronts that surround it.
The Pickens house may be the most often photographed in northwest Benton County. When tourists travel through our county they are not interested in trim residential developments, or crowded commercial centers or well-kept farms with herds of fat cattle, they have all these familiar sights where they came from. They enjoy the scenic landscapes while they collect around objects with a historical flavor like monuments, battlefields, historical buildings, historical roadside markers and museums. They will leave the pavement and drive down a dirt road for miles to view some advertised attraction.
Following the battle of Pea Ridge, a company of infantry was recruited at Bentonville, the county seat of Benton County. When the 34th Arkansas Confederate Infantry Regiment was organized at Mount Comfort in Washington County, the Benton County unit was included as Company F with Cyrus Pickens of Pea Rifge elected captain.
On the Prairie Grove Battlefield Park, there is a marker dedicated to the 34th Arkansas Confederate Regiment, as follows:
"34th Arkansas Regiment CONFEDERATE INFANTRY * * * * Washington County's best known Confederate Regiment, the 34th of Arkansas, received its Baptism of fire in the battle of Prairie Grove. The regiment composed largely of Washington County men later fought in the battles of Jenkins Ferry and Helena.
The officers at Prairie Grove on December 7, 1862 were: Colonel W. H. Brooks Lt. Colonel T. M. Gunter Major F. R. Earle
SURGEONS W. B. Welsh J. M. Lacy Co. A Capt. J. Wythe Walker Co. B Capt. James Mitchell Co. C. Capt. Sam Smithson Co. D. Capt. W. M. Owsley Co. E Capt. James Wright Co. F Capt. Cyrus Pickens Co. G Capt. James Hensley Co. H Capt. Wallace Co. I Capt. A. V. Edmondson Co. J Capt. J. R. Pettigrew" * * * *