DECEMBER 2009 UPDATE BELOW! Scroll down to view some of the dismantling process.
Dave & Shirley Short Donate The Everett-Short Family Log Home to the Widner-Magers Farm
The United States of America
To all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting: Whereas There has been deposited to the GENERAL LAND OFFICE of the United States a CERTIFICATE OF THE REGISTER to the Act of Congress approved 20th May, 1862, "To secure Homesteads to Actual Settlers on the Public Domain," and the acts supplemental thereto, the claim of FRANSUS M. EVERETT had established and duly consummated in conformity to law, for the North East quarter of Section seventeen in Township twelve North of Range ten West of the Fifth Principal Median in Arkansas, containing one hundred and sixty acres according to the Official Plat of the Survey of the said Land, returned to the General Land Office by the Surveyor General: Now know ye, that there is therefore, granted by the United States unto the said Fransus M. Everett the above described; To have and to hold the said tract of Land, with the appurtenances thereof, unto the said Fransus M. Everett and his heirs and assigns forever.
In testimony whereof, I Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, have caused these letter to be made Patented the seal of the General Land Office to be hereunto affixed. Given under my hand, at the City of Washington, the tenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and seven, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and thirty first.
Signed By the President: Theodore Roosevelt
On Everett Ridge, close to the town of Prim, Arkansas, sits a 125+ year old log home, showing some signs of its age. When Shirley Short's grandfather homesteaded the land in 1907, the log house was one of two located on the property. The story goes that he and his family chose the better one and quickly settled into a farm life. According to Shirley and Dave, one local gentleman who lived to be over 100 years old, stated that the structure was present as long as he could remember. This was at least 20 years ago. The log home is estimated by the Short family to have been built on or before 1875.
Dave was raised in Mississippi County, Ar and attended the Dell School for a time. He met Shirley when he joined his brother in the trucking business, close to Prim. Dave never moved back to Mississippi County, but he and Shirley do visit the area often. When the article concerning the Widner-Magers Farm was published in Rural Arkansas Magazine in July 2009, the Shorts decided to offer the old log home to the historic district north of Dell, Arkansas, so that others might enjoy it.
Many Dell residents do not realize that the first homes in the area were of logs. Vast forests covered the area, so it was only natural that the houses were constructed of materials at hand. When Earl and Alice Magers came to Dell, they moved into an existing dogtrot style log house north of Dell, close to the Mooney Cemetery. Mamie Magers Griffin remembered the house well. One side of the dogtrot was the hub of their family life. It was heated with a large fireplace. The kitchen was " set up" in this room, and most family activities took place there. When it came time for bed, the entire family slept in the second side. A fire in the fireplace of the sleeping room helped keep them warm and cozy at the beginning of their slumber. But, by morning, the fire was gone. As long as she and her sister, Naoma, remained in bed, all was fine. But, once those little feet touched the cold floor, neither of them wasted time running to the kitchen, where their mother was cooking breakfast. During the hot, humid summers, all the windows and doors were left open. Much of the housekeeping work was done on the central open porch between the two rooms. Churning butter, cleaning vegetables, canning and many other tasks were carried on outside of the hot rooms. "If there was any breeze at all, the porch was the coolest place to be."
The Everett-Short log home is also of the two pen dogtrot style. The walls are constucted of hand-hewn logs. The structure was used as the Everett Family home for many years. When Shirley's father took over the farm, he turned the home into a barn for his livestock. Over the years, the barn was abandoned. It sat silently deteriorating as time went by. The Shorts then faced the hard decision of a high cost restoration or a demolition of a part of their family history. The Rural Arkansas Magazine article presented them with a third choice--the one that brought Dave and Shirley to the Widner-Magers Farm one hot August day with the offer of a donation of their historic structure.
While the deterioration is too extensive to move and reconstruct the home as it was built, plenty of the logs will be salvaged for a single pen structure. To be located at the Widner-Magers Farm Historic District, the Everett-Short Family Log Home will serve as a lasting legacy from the descendents of Fransus M. Everett and as a tribute to the pioneer settlers of early Arkansas history.
John Holt and Malcolm Griffin made their way to the Everette-Short Family Log Home. Fighting cold and rain, the two documented the original structure with photos and sketches. Then came the removal of the roof, side sheds, and "lean-to" additions in order to expose the original structure. A numbered white tag was nailed to the end dovetails of each log so that reconstruction would be possible. The whole process took a week. The logs are now ready to be loaded onto Dave's semi for the move to the Widner-Magers Farm.
The entire process was observed by the Short family and other interested persons from the local area. A school group was also scheduled to visit the site.
Lean-to sheds had been added to the barn. These had to be removed.
Above: Rt to Lt: 1-Lean-to and fireplace stones. 2-Covered shed. 3-The dog trot area. Below: Rt to Lt: Another view of the dog trot area. The original log structure without the roof, sheds and lean-to. Note the white numbered tags on the dove tails.
We wish to thank Dave and Shirley Short, and their family, for the very generous donation to the WMFHD. Their kindness and thoughtfulness is unsurpassed.
Watch for future stories and updates on the Everett-Short Family Log Home @ Widner-Magers.org
Want to be a part of this history in the making? Email us: email@example.com