From time-to-time an interesting obituary—which we choose to
call a memorial—is brought to our attention, which tends to give
us an insight into the lives, as well as the state of mind, of
our ancestors. The obituary for Stephen Dickens Parker, which
was published in the Green Forest Tribune, Carroll County,
Arkansas, on July 15, 1897 , certainly falls into this category.
township on July 5, 1897.
Missouri in 1849.
His parents both died when he was about six years old,
leaving him and five other boys to battle with the
cares of life alone.
They lived together
and kept house until they were
He emigrated to Carroll County where he has lived a quiet
citizen until his death.
married to Laura Dickens
professed a hope in
about twelve years ago, but never
any public expression to it until a few weeks before his death
when he made a bright profession of his hope, leaving assuring
evidence of his future peaceful rest.
a wife and three children, one son and two daughters,
to mourn his absence and to make their way through the world as
Just a few
hours before his death he said to his little daughter that he
knew the Lord would provide for them.
By request we publish the following
letter dictated by Stephen
Dickens just before he died. It is a. letter to his Brothers,
Matt and Louis Dickens, who live in Green County,
reads as follows:
Dear Brothers:---By the assistance
of our brother Robert, and Madison M. Butler, the boy that you
were acquainted with in 1866--That
year you lived on
the George Johnson
farm and he lived at William Ayres; on Dickey Whitlock's place.
The same is my neighbor and is with me today, and is the
writer of this message to you.
Dear Brothers, I desire while yet alive, to say something to
you, knowing my time here on earth is short and the time of my
departure is near at hand. I want to say to you, as kind, loving
brothers, I have no fear of death. My day is bright and clear
and I am willing to go at any time the blessed Lord calls for
me, let it be long or short. I know God's goodness has ever been
great to me, but the brightest hours of
my life is now, and I can say
truly that the life I now live is by the
faith of God.
Dear Brothers, the words of our dear father are still with me,
which said to his children to meet him in heaven. Those words
are precious to me and are written in my mind as with an iron
pen, never to be
forgotten. They have followed me through life and were a great
comfort to me in sad
afflictions and last troubles on earth, which it seems I could
not endure if it were not for them. Also our dear mother, whose
loving end tender words for her children have been precious to
me-too precious for my tongue to express. Even her last song,
that cheered her in death, is of great comfort to me now, as
they were to her then.
I also want
friends, who have given me so
much Comfort in my sufferings
Now, I want to say to all, as it is near my last words, PREPARE
TO MEET DEATH in such
a way that you will meet the smiles of our Heavenly Father. My
dear companion wants to join me in expressing to
gratitude, knowing this is
the last time she will ever be permitted to join with her
husband in passing a gratitude on earth, that the
people have been
kind to us in our troubles,
that we have been
realize the blessings
of God, that even a cup of water in the name
of the Lord is precious, and
they shall not lose their reward,
knowing that the Lord
will never leave or forsake, but in every time of trouble
will lead the way.
Nothing more did he say, only
requested that all his relations and friends to take warning and
prepare to meet death.
is a great-granddaughter of Laura Erwin Dickens. She wrote: “This
who works at the Carroll County Historical and
Genealogical Society, Inc., in Berryville, Arkansas.
called one day I discovered that she was a Blevins.
She later sent me a lot of
information about the Blevins family (Grannie Capps father
was Dr. Stephen
Blevins). Vineta’s mother is Adeline Myers, and I told her that
I had several
generations of information on the Myers family. I know that I
sometimes bore people
unto death with
my family research, but I am so fascinated when I get a look
into the lives of my ancestors that I am eager to share it.“
In the late
1800s and early 1990s three of the four daughters of Thomas
Johnston Erwin, with their husbands and many members of their
extended families, moved west from Carroll County, Arkansas to
an area in the Cherokee Nation that would eventually be
designated Cherokee County in the State of Oklahoma.
The eldest of the
three was Margaret Mary Erwin who was married to William L.
Capps. The next oldest was Laura Alice Erwin, described above,
and the third was Harriett “Hattie Erwin who married John Rains