As a child growing up in Cleburne County, Arkansas, I learned most of my family’s past from my mother. My mother spent her entire life in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. The Ozark Mountains, with their beautiful hardwood trees, rocky and rolling hills, clear running streams, wild game, and the Little Red River were a living paradise to some of the greatest people in the world.
The Ozark Mountain people were often characterized as being raggedy, barefooted hill folks, who talked funny and used bad grammar. Most of them were considered to be illiterate, and if they were lucky, they might have a fourth grade education. They were considered to be different from most folks in Arkansas because of their superstitions, old remedies, and funny ways. Most of the hill folks in Van Buren and Cleburne counties either dipped snuff or chewed tobacco. Several of them made their living making and selling moonshine.