by Evelyn Flood
In 1998, Eva FOSTER VERDUN wrote a letter to the Editor of
the Newton County Times Newspaper.
"Does anyone remember the bell buzzard that flew over the hills of Newton County?
One day last week a friend of ours stopped by for a chat. We sat on our patio where we have a collection of bells. Jack looked at them and says you have quite a collection of bells and speaking of bells he says, I went to see a friend of mine in Morrilton Arkansas, years ago and when I got ready to leave he says wait a minute.I have something to give you. He gave me a little square bell and told me he had shot a buzzard that landed on a limb in his yard.He shot the bird to get the bell which Jack still has. We are both wondering if it could be from the buzzard that I, as an eight year old, would get so excited about as it flew over my grandparents home on top of TOMMY CHEATHAM Mountain.
Uncle Pullum FOSTER told me who placed the bell on the buzzard but I do not remember the name. I bet Aunt ANNA MAE DAVIS will remember some of it. Jack only remembers his friend as Uncle Tom and his wife, he thinks was Aunt Ella.
We think it would be interesting to see if maybe the bell is from the buzzard that I, as an eight year old, would get so excited when I happened to hear the bell and would call to my grandma FOSTER and she would come and watch me.
Eva Foster Verdun
22605 Reno Avenue
Gerber, California 96035
After reading this letter, I researched Arkansas history and did find a folk story on a belled buzzard. I would like to think that this is the "belled buzzard" of Newton County of Eva Foster Verduns letter. see the KINFOLKS STORY "The Belled Buzzard Story" written after this letter was received.
Received this letter from EVA MAE FOSTER VERDUN on March 19,1998, after my story of the "Belled Buzzard Of Newton County" was published
in the Times Newspaper.
You could never believe how surprised I was to see your letter to Newton Co Times. My sister, who now lives in Springfield, TN, sent me a page from her paper. I thought of calling Katheryn, but I have more to tell you and also want to ask you a question or two.
When I wrote to the Times I only had one letter about the buzzard and
she didn't give me her name...she asked me to respond through the
paper...she told me that two of her brothers brought home a couple
of buzzards, they wanted to keep them...the mother decided it was too
much. She had the boys turn the buzzards loose but before they did they took two of their Dad's sheep bells and put one on each. I had just received her letter, when, a friend of ours came to visit..we had a
huge collection of bells, as I told Jack about the belled buzzard, he
laughed, and told me an old man in Arkansas had given him a bell that
he had taken off of an old buzzard that came and sat in a tree by his
house and he decided to shoot the buzzard and get the bell.
The lady that wrote the letter described the bells but Jack couldn't
remember how his looked....he had it stored away. I asked Jack if he
lived in Newton Co. He didn't. I am writing a letter to him to see
where the man lived, and see if he will give me his name. Of course
he is dead but maybe some of his family would know the story.... I am
sure that would not be the one that flew around Newton Co in 1917 and
I lived with my grandparents on top of the mountain they called the
Tommy Cheatham Mountain. I went there in 1917 and came home (Boone
County) in 1918...I was 7 years old in 1917. I can remember running to grandma to come to see the belled buzzard. We could hear the bell.
My Uncle Pullam told me who put the bell on it, but I do not remember
the name. I suppose I had mentioned Uncle Pullum's name in my letter to the Times, because the lady that wrote to me said she knew Pullum Foster.
I waited too long to decide to ask questions.
The people Kathryn say Delbert Campbell, Columbus Smith and Russel Burdine remember their parents talking of it. I am sure that would be the one I remember. I am anxious to see if Jack will remember enough about the bell he has and where the man lived. I just sort of gave up on the story
Who was my dear old Uncle Wash Flood to you folks? He was my grandmother's Uncle.She was Elizebeth Burdine Peoples. I spent time between my two sets of grandparents the year that I went to stay with my Foster grandparents. My uncle Wash was very special to me. We lived near him when I was a little girl. I got a little lard pail and started
over to his place. A man on a horse came along and asked where I was
going....I told him I was going over to help Uncle Wash milk.
The man asked if Mamma knew where I was and he just put me on his
horse and took me home....I suppose that's the first place I ever
tried to go alone...
Another thing I remember is Grandpa Peoples came for us every year
and when we got to the bottom of the hill before getting to Aunt
Rachel and Uncle Wash's place Grandpa would stop his team and say..
"Hit the road Daught" and I would run as fast as I could and Uncle
would be setting out in the yard waiting for us.
I would stay until the rest of them got there. My Mom would want to visit awhile and us kids would all run as fast as we could, each trying to be the first to give Grandma Peoples a hug.
Talk about good old days......We were a happy lot.
I also lived with Grandma and Grandpa Peoples in 1927 when I was 17.
That was a rainy time...lots of floods.
I tried to find someone who had a picture of my Mom's family that
Grandma had in 1927. Never found arry one. Oliver Smith remembered
it....but didn't know who had one....
Please excuse my rambling letter. At 88 I suppose it may be normal.
If I find out from my friend in Gerber I Will let you know what I hear.
We moved back here in November of 1994. We live three miles from the
Square in Harrison and seven miles from where I grew up.
I read the Newton County Family History lots. Enjoy it very much.
Eva Foster Verdun
I wrote Eva FOSTER VERDUN on 27 March 1998, asking her questions about
her family and the following letter from Eva answers some of those questions. Keep in mind, that Eva is nearly 90 years old and some of the words are hard to read. I have inserted information she included in her letter in answer to a questionnaire I sent to her.
EVA MAE FOSTER VERDUN wrote me on 15 April 1998
Sorry I am so slow to write. Wish you were here to help me sort this mess. I have notes letters and clippings chucked away. Would endure the embarisment for some help. Do you have the Newton Co. Family History Book?
in it Uncle Harris was to have married Sarah Star but in Star Nichols it says she was a sister to Dave Nicholes and that she married Buddy Harris Foster. She is buried at Hopewell with their little Earl. Uncle Harris is in Oklahoma. Aunt Sarah had a daughter named Allie Vaughn. She died in Sallasaw, Oklahoma after they left Arkansas, then moved in 1916 or there about. Ollie died of a heart attack ,left a wife and I believe six children. Verlie their only daughter lives in Shreveport, LA. She is not in best of health. I will try again to get some information from her. At Christmas time she wrote a short note.
Answers to some of my questions to Eva:
Ollie Merle Foster, born Sept 9, 1907
Died June 11, 1968 in Fort Smith, Arkansas of heart attack.
Father: Harris Foster
Mother: Sarah Nickles. He is buried in Atkins Cemetery in
Sallisaw, Oklahoma...I think the same place for Uncle Harris.
Last week we were busy getting ready to go to my sisters in Springfield.
Now our niece is to bring my sister here.
Betty Jane is in Chicago. Will fly in Thur and home on Sun.
Only have Fri. or Sat. to come.
If you think of anything I can answer I will be very happy to do so.
You seem to have lots of history of interest to me.
Answers to some of my questions to Eva:
Melvin Foster born Sept 1 1887 and died on Oct 30 1965.
Hopewell, North of Harrison
Rebecca Peoples born Dec. 15 1884 to Jan 24 1954. Died in California. Buried at Hopewell in Boone Co.
More answers to my questions:
Eva was daughter of Melvin Foster and Rebecca Peoples Foster.
Melvin Foster had a sister Nettie Evaline who married PLEAS SUTTON Dec 21, 1905. Pleas SUTTON died in Bakersfield, California but is buried in Mt. Judea Cemetery in Newton County, Arkansas. Nettie Evaline died in Newton County, Arkansas.
Uncle Pullum Foster, born Aug 29, 1883 to Oct 2, 1961; Hopewell
Aunt Barbra Jane August 28, 1880 to March 21, 1963; Hopewell Cemetery 9 miles North of Harrison.
Did you ever remember seeing a picture of Grandpa and Grandma Peoples
and all of their children?
My Uncle Jim was holding my Mom,s old cat Taffy that lived a long life.
He must have used all of his nine. They had a low cane bottom chair
for him and before he died, had to be lifted to his place.
I have tried to find some one that knew about it.
Oliver Smith said he remembered that he thought Sarah Ann, his Mom us to have one but no one else even remembered seeing it.
You ask about Uncle Pullum's Alice.(Mary Alice FOSTER, born in 1922).
All I know is she married a CRINER. I do not know when she died or
how many children she had.
Also Keltner FOSTER had children. Don't know who he married.
I will try to call Keltner's son..Ettie says one of them lives
in Western Grove.
Arthur Mitchell FOSTER is also at Hopewell.Born May 27, 1912 to
November 10, 1977. He committed suicide. He was Uncle Pullums eldest
FOSTER, Edna Marie. Feb 3, 1918 to Feb 4, 1941.
Edna was my brother Tom's first wife.
Tom came to live with me in Los Angeles after her death.
FOSTER, Jemima, Mrs., Born Tennessee.
Died 10 Sept 1906, age 84. Her funeral was at Hopewell Baptist Church.
She is buried in Cottonwood Cemetery on Cottonwood Road, Boone Co.
I also got a letter from my friend that has the bell from the belled
buzzard. The buzzard was killed in Carlton. Jack got the bell in 1965.
I wish some one knew the year it was shot. I only know it was sailing
around in 1917 and 1918...if that is the same bird. I laughed when I
thought of me writing about the buzzard. I told Al at least we change
the subject from the Presidents bedroom to the Buzzards Nest..ha..
I find I had your address a long time..I bet I meant to write long ago. Keep writing and remember...I will be happy to help in anyway I can.
4 June 2001
by Evelyn Flood
I was saddened to learn of the death of EVA FOSTER VERDUN on May 10th of this year.She had written me a letter on 29th of January of this year. Kept intending to call Eva, but put it off and now I regret very much not calling her. So hope this article is a tribute to that fine lady, EVA FOSTER VERDUN. Now another date has been added at the end of that dash for another dear friend: Eva FOSTER VERDUN 1910--2001.
A little history of Eva Mae Foster Verdun:
She was born 18 February 1910 in Vendor, the daughter of Melvin FOSTER and Rebecca PEOPLES FOSTER. Eva moved from Arkansas to California in 1928. She resided in Los Angeles where she met her husband, Al VERDUN. They moved to Fairbank, Alaska in 1952, returning to Northern California in 1955 where they resided until moving to Harrison from Gerber,California in 1995. She was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years; her parents; a brother Mitchell FOSTER and a sister, Nettie FOSTER LINDSAY THOMPSON. Survivors included a brother, William Thomas FOSTER of Hickman, California;three sisters: Virga WARNICK of Corning, Caifornia; Bessie GHORMLEY of Springfield, Missouri and Etta MILLER of Springfield, Tennessee;28 nieces and nephews and many great and great-great nieces and nephews.
Burial was in Hopewell Cemetery, Boone County, Arkansas.
Eva sent me a list of Hopewell Cemetery(Boone County) where her loved
ones are buried.
She now joins her loved ones there in her eternal sleep. Goodbye my
dear friend, Eva.Rest in peace.
As you recall, Eva and I had exchanged information on the "Belled
Buzzard"of Newton County, wherein two boys had two pet buzzards
they had captured and their mother thought the birds too much trouble
and told the boys to turn them loose, but before the boys released them they tied one of their Dad's sheep bells on each of the buzzards and
turned them loose.
Eva and her husband had a collection of bells and a friend Jack was visiting their home and told Eva about an old fellow in Arkansas that had taken a bell from the neck of an old buzzard who
came to roost near their home. Eva was trying to find the man's name
and send it to me so we could write more about it in the Times.
Hopefully someone reading this article might recall this story and
have that person's name in Newton County who has that bell.
Let me share the letter she wrote to me on 29 January of this year(1901)
Hello, and how are you? You wouldn't believe that I have your last letter in my address book nor how often I read it. Think of you often and have lots of your writings. I wanted to write but couldn't think of anything interesting to write of.
Yesterday my niece and her husband called from Sacramento.
Sandra is my sister Etta's daughter.Craig is very in to the family history. He asked about you. Said he would love to talk to you. I promised I would send you his address. He would drive to Stockton or some place where you could travel to or meet you and exchange notes. Craig said it is a 45 mile drive and the he is retired and looking for something to keep busy. When Sandra married Craig she made him a very special nephew to us. Al and I had no children but our nieces and nephews were ours, whether his side or mine.
So, Craig, if you read this, please contact me. I am gettin on in years too. Would love to talk genealogy with you.)
I lost Al on April 30,1999 and after 52 years of having him
involved in everything I did or went, it's like a different world.
I do have beautiful memories and lots of time to reminisce.
I often wonder how many ways I am related to your children. My dear
old Uncle Wash (George W FLOOD) was like having another grandpa.
He was my great-great-great uncle. As you already know he was my
sweet grandma's uncle.
Al also loved to read our Newton County History. Alba Flood and I
were very close when Rose and Cleve first got married. I had so often
wondered what happened to her. I saw her son's picture and write up.
Didn't bother to read it. Thought I didn't know anyone by that name.
Al would read and ask if I knew whoever he found. I couldn't believe
how many times we were in the same town at the same time.
Now I read my books better.
Our house is for sale. When it sells I will likely go to Robertsville,
Missouri. My sister Bessie and all four of her girls will be close
and I do need family.Nettie's daughter lives here; is a busy girl. They are all special but with four I will have a better chance of having one handy...selfish?
I will be 91 in February. Can't believe that but can't take 1910 from 2001 and come out for less.
I have rambled on long enough so will close. Wish I could meet you.
And, yes, dear Eva, I did not get to meet you in person. But I will carry on a wish you had. I will contact Craig and help him with the family information as much as I can.
You who are reading this.....don't put off talking and visiting your loved ones. You may not have that chance tomorrow. Tomorrow may be too late for you to find out what you want to know deep down in your heart.
Craig, if you read this, send me an E-mail.
If you don't have a grandma, visit that elderly neighbor or that elderly person in the Newton County Nursing home. They, too, are lonely. They need you to visit. Give your Mom and Grandma a big hug.
Eva Mae Foster Verdun
Birth: Feb. 18, 1910,Vendor,Newton County,Arkansas
Death: May 10, 2001, Harrison,Boone County,Arkansas,Hopewell Cemetery
Father: Melvin FOSTER (September 01, 1887-1965 Hopewell Cemetery)
Mother: Rebecca Jane PEOPLES (December 15, 1884 in Newton County, Arkansas --1954 Hopewell Cemetery)
Alvin Joseph Verdun (1915 - 1999)
Eva Mae Foster Verdun Siblings:
Infant Son Foster (1909 - 1909)
Eva Mae Foster Verdun (1910 - 2001)
Virga Lee Foster Warnick (1911 - 2007)
Mitchell Wyatt Foster (1913 - 1977)
Bessie F. Foster Ghormley (1914 - 2014)
William Thomas Foster (1916 - 2002)
Thelma Nettie Foster Lindsay Thompson (1918 - 1982)
Mary Laura Etta Foster Miller (1920 - 2010)
Information from Find A Grave
Much of this letter was published in my "Kinfolks" column of the
Newton County, Arkansas Times Newspaper.