Excerpts from: The History of William Henry Payne
and Louella Mae Tate
Recorded by Dorris Jean Payne Williams, assisited by Virginia Helen Payne Duncan,
and Harriet Nadine Payne Seiford, August 1996.
Additions by Robert Franklin Payne, Sr., May 2001

 L to R: Martin Stephen Payne, Flora Mae Payne, Alva Little, Laura Myrtle Payne,
Margorie Anderson Little, Lawrence Little (baby)
Back: Mary Elizabeth Thompson Anderson Payne, William Henry Payne, Bert Little, Eva Little

    Louella Mae Tate was about fourteen, when she moved from Marion, Illinois, to Belknap, Illinois, during World War I. William Henry Payne was serving in the U. S. Army, spending some time in France. The Tate and Payne families were neighbors in the county of Johnson. The Payne's owned a 40 acre farm, and Frank Tate worked on the farm owned by Cal Casper in Johnson County, Illinois. Previously, Frank Tate had worked as a fireman on the railroad between Marion and Carbondale. Because of a train wreck, Frank was laid off and went to work at a local coal mine, but due to ill health, he had to get out of the mine. As a result he moved his family to the Belknap, Johnson County, Illinois area.

    When Will, William Henry Payne, returned home from the war, he was met at the train station in Belknap by a large portion of the townspeople. It was a habit of many people to meet the train just to see who got off that day. That was Louella Mae Tate's first look at the ex-soldier, who served his country in France. At that time, it was thought that Will Payne was engaged to Louella's best friend, Hettie Griffith (Lemke).

    Later Will Payne walked Louella Tate home from a party and a budding romance blossomed. They were married in Cairo, Alexander County, Illinois, at the courthouse, August 20, 1920. They made the trip to Cairo by train and returned to Belknap to make their home with Will's mother, Mary Elizabeth (Lizzie) Payne. Will's father had died while he was in France and he did not know until he returned home that his father, Martin Stephen Payne, had passed away.

    It seemed living with a mother-in-law proved difficult for all concerned. One of Louella's duties was to milk the cow. Each time she did so , the cow would kick. She complained to Lizzie, who always insisted the cow did not kick. One evening Louella grabbed the shinny new milk bucket and went to the barn to proceed to milk the cow. Well, the cow kicked again, flattening the bucket and spilling the milk. Louella returned to the house with flattened bucket in hand and very little if any milk. This was Lizzie's NEW SHINNY BUCKET. Needless to say words flew between them. But also other things happened. At one point Lizzie tried to feed a new grandchild, Harriet, the white part of chicken manure for colic or something similar, but Louella intervened. That DID NOT happen.

    No doubt Will was caught in the middle because sometime after Harrriet was born, Will and Louella went to Wright City, Missouri, west of St. Louis, to work as a hired hand on a cattle farm. Upon arrival at the farmer's home, Herman and Maggie Stoff, they were offered supper or maybe they called it dinner. Will and Louella were hungry and tired and upon sitting down to a beautiful table, they were given a bowl of soup, much to the dismay of Will. He thought that was IT. But, jelly, preserves, butter and apple butter were set on the table. Will ate a huge serving. Then other courses came, bringing meat, vegetables and dessert. Needless to say, they had the most elegant meal they had ever been served.

    The Stoff's were of German descent and a lovely family. The Paynes's corresponded with them for many years after they left Wright City.

    There was also another hired hand. He often came home with Will for lunch. Louella and Harriet would watch out the window at lunchtime, and if they could see two people walking, Louella would put another pan of biscuits in the oven. The man had never eaten hot biscuits, (he was a bachelor), and he really liked them.

    Will was not happy cattle farming, and was given the opportunity to go to Blytheville, Arkansas, to farm with his Uncle George Payne. George Payne, was a one half brother to Will's father, Martin Stephen Payne. Uncle George Payne owned a small farm east of Blytheville. The farm was located close to the current State Route 18 Highway and I-55 exit.

    Will and Louella, along with Harriet, rode a train from St. Louis to Arkansas. . . Louella said she had been very cold on the train as well as on the trip to Uncle George's farm. When they got to the house the doors were open and the dogs were lying all around the stove. To her, that was NOT paradise!! Louella Payne spoke well of Aunt Lula and most of the children, but Uncle George, though he was good to them, had a problem with alcohol. Will did not like that part of him. Will and Louella became very close to George and Lula's son, John Henry Payne, and his wife, Tassye Taylor Payne.

    Since it was winter and not time to start farming, Will went to work for the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company. The company had houses in Blytheville for their workers. Will and Louella moved into one of them. It was located on the east end of town. Virginia was born there in 1923. . .

    . . . About 1925, Will and Louella, located at Hermondale, Missouri, near Holland, just across the Ark-Mo state line, on a farm owned by Uncle George Payne. Will was farming there when Wayne Kenneth Payne, was born. Also while living in Missouri, the couple made friends with Wallace and Tiny, (probably a nickname), Cox. They owned a grocery store. Tiny would always include Harriet in the candy giving. The families remained friends for many years, visiting frequently and exchanging Christmas cards. . .

    After living in Hermondale for a while, they moved back to Blytheville and lived near the Sudbury School. It was there that Harriet began school. Virginia remembers that Louella walked Harriet to school.

    Also at that time, Leatha Tate, Louella's sister, lived with the family and worked at Blytheville Laundry, located on South First Street. Leatha met and married Bill Payne, son of George and Lula Payne, and Will's half cousin, whom she later divorced. Leatha Tate Payne later married Bucey Owens, and lived in Yarbro, Arkansas, where Bucey farmed in the area. Later they moved south of Roseland and lived there for several years and later moved near Dell, Arkansas, and farmed until Bucey's death.

    Sometime after that the family moved to the Ekron Community, which is now County Road 519, near the Half Moon Community, northeast of Dell, Arkansas. There was a post office, school and (a store) in the community. For many years, Will sharecropped 40 acres with two mules on the John Roney farm. He was given a "furnish" (loan) of $25.00 a month, which was paid back when the crop was harvested. Later Will farmed the entire farm of John Roney until he retired. It was while there, Wilma Jane Payne, was born in 1928. She died February 01, 1929, and one year later on February 01, 1930, Dorris Jean Payne, was born. One fall, Will was not able to repay Mr. Roney, so he moved to another place. After farming a year, he repaid the loan to Mr. Roney. Mr. Roney was impressed and said no farmer had ever done that before.

    Will and Louella moved to Yarbro, Arkansas, north of Blytheville, and lived in a big house with Leatha and Bucey Owen, Louella's sister. Will farmed with Bucey on the Easley place. Later they lived in Flat Lake community, east of Blytheville. It was there that Will fell off a mule that was frightened when going over a bridge and broke his arm.

    Dorris was just big enough to walk. Once while walking by her Dad's side, she hit her head on his arm cast. Thinking she had hurt him she would say "sorry". While there, Will farmed for Mr. Colony. From Flat Lake, the family moved back to the Ekron Community, where Johnny William, Robert Franklin and Russell Lee were born in 1933, 1937 and 1939 respectively. They remained there until 1984, when Will and Louella moved were they lived when they first moved to Blytheville. Will died in 1985 and Louella in 1990.

    The Ekron Community and Town of Dell, Arkansas, has been a vital part of this family lives. All of the children of William Henry and Louella Mae Payne attended school at Dell. Harriet, Virginia, Dorris, Johnny, Robert and Russell Payne, graduated high school at Dell. Dell was a vital part of the lives of all of the siblings.

    William Henry Payne served on the Dell School Board for a short period of time after the Ekron School consolidated with Dell. Robert Franklin Payne, Sr., son of William and Louella Payne lived in Dell, for a number of years, working at the Dell Compress and later, Agrico Chemical Company east of Blytheville. Robert Payne served on the Dell Town Council for a number of years and the Dell School Board from the mid 1970's till Dell School consolidated with Gosnell Schools.

Payne Family Records
Submitted by:
Robert Franklin Payne, Sr.
Grandson of Martin Stephen Payne, Son of William Henry Payne

Martin Stephen Payne (son of Henry Y. Payne and Jane Cave)    b. 1 Dec 1858  N. C.     d. 21 Nov 1918  Ill
   (Martin Stephen Payne moved to southern Illinois in 1872 at the age of 12 years old. He was living with his
   parents in 1880 in New Grand Chain, Pulaski County, Illinois. His father, Henry Y. Payne, moved his family of
   six children, and his second wife, Mary Ann Burris from Surry County, Illinois. The story was told by one of
   Henry Y. Payne's daughters, the family floated by raft down river, starting on the New River in western Virginia,
   just across the State Line from Surry County, North Carolina, across West Virginia to the Ohio River and down
   to Hillerman Landing just west of Metropolis, Massac County, Illinois.)
        married: Mary Elizabeth (Lizzie) Thompson (Anderson)         b. 15 Aug 1865  Ill       d. 25 Nov 1951  Ill

Children of Martin Stephen Payne and Mary Elizabeth Thompson Anderson:
01    William Henry Payne                    b. 2 Sept 1893  Ill         d. 24 Jan 1985  Ar
            (William Henry Payne served in the U. S. Army Calvary during World War I. He served in France and
            Germany. He was overseas when his father, Martin Stephen Payne, passed away. William did not know
            until his return home after the War that his father had died. William and Louella moved to NorthEast
            Arkansas, near Blytheville in 1922 and remained in the area the remainder of their lives.)
                married 28 Aug 1920  Ill
                Louella Mae Tate                  b. 4 Dec 1900  Ill.        d. 3 Nov 1990  Ar
                    (Parents: Franklin Tate and Auta Mae Hutchinson)

                Children of William Henry Payne and Louella Mae Tate:
                        01-01    Harriet Nadine Payne             b. 6 Apr 1921  Ar
                            married 18 Dec 1943  Ar
                            George Arthur Seiford                     b. 3 Sept 1922  Ar
                                (Parents: George Seiford and Myrtle Church)

                        01-02    Virginia Helen Payne              b. 30 May 1923  Ar
                            married 26 July 1946  Ar
                            Carl Eugene (Tootsie) Duncan        b. 24 Jan 1924  Ar
                                (Parents: Claude Duncan and Velia Tomlinson)

                        01-03  Wayne Kenneth Payne             b. 7 Apr 1925  Mo        d. 6 Mar 1993 Ms
                            married 10 Jan 1945  Ar
                            Ruth Juanita Trammel                     b. 13 Jul 1928
                                (Parents: Paul and Ida Trammel)

                        01-04  Wilma Jane Payne                    b. 9 Dec 1927  Ar         d. 1 Feb 1929  AR

                        01-05  Dorris Jean Payne                    b. 1 Feb 1930  Ar
                            married 7 Oct 1961  Ar
                            Charles Clark Williams                   b. 21 Jul 1930  Ar
                                (Parents: Chelsa Sigle Williams and Dorothy Clemance Clark)

                        01-06  Johnny William Payne              b. 30 Apr 1933  Ar
                            married 21 May 1953 Ar
                            Betty Sue Lauderdale                      b. 8 Apr 1935  Ms
                               (Parents: Samuel and Emily Lauderdale)

                        01-07  Robert Franklin Payne             b. 3 Jul 1937  Ar
                            married 30 Aug 1956  Ar
                            Loretta Yvonne Sigman                   b. 21 Sept 1938 Ar
                                (Parents: Earl Kimbrough Sigman and Lois Loretta Lollar)

                        01-08  Russell Lee Payne                    b. 14 Aug 1939  Ar
                            married 27 Aug 1960  Ar
                            Patricia Lee Penter                          b. 8 Jul 1941  Ar            d. 16 Feb 1989 Ar
                                (Parents: Arthur Penter and Ora Lee Hawkins)

                            married 28 Jan 1995  Tn
                            Helen Ingram Watkins


02  Donna Bell Payne    b. 18 Sept 1895  Ill    d. 23 Aug 1896  Ill

03  Earnest Guy Payne  b. 18 Sept 1897  Ill    d. 22 Jan 1898  Ill

04  Lura Myrtle Payne  b. 22 Oct 1899  Ill      d. 22 Jan 1999  Ill (99 y o)
        married: Earl Miller  b. 9 Jan 1898          d. 25 Nov 1986  Ky
        married: William Larrsion   b. 1898  Ill    d. 1984 Ill

05  Flora Mae Payne     b. 16 Mar 1901 Ill      d. 2 Nov 1972 Ill
        married: Clyde William Betts   b. 25 Jul 1897 Ill   d. 12 Jul 1981 Ill

06  Lilliam Precilla Payne   b. 27 Mar 1905 Ill    d. 14 Sept 1905 Ill

Photo: William Henry Payne, Margie Anderson Little, Laura Myrtle Payne,
             and Flora Payne