Not Breaking, But Succeeding- Lum’s Apple Orchard

apple orchard poem


Come, Let us Watch and Walk

I’ve talked before about my 2nd great grandpa, George Columbus BATES, but not in much detail.  George went by “Lum”, just like my grandfather Troy Columbus BATES did.

Photo of Lum and Mary Seely Bates with their 3 youngest children Charlie, Herman, and Vesta.

Lum had an apple orchard when he filed his homestead land entry paperwork.  David COOPER and William T. LUCAS- a couple of his neighbors- were witnesses for Lum saying that Lum’s land was “rough timber land”.

Photo of David and Nancy COOPER.  David COOPER was a farmer and ran a mill near Hiwasse, Benton County, Arkansas.  He also had a supply store on the bank of the river there.  He later became Superintendent of Schools for the Hiwasse/Dug Hill area.


The witnesses stated Lum settled on his acreage “in the latter part of September or first of October 1896” (Mr. COOPER) and “on or about October 1st 1896” (Mr. LUCAS).  They testified that Lum had resided continuously on the land since he first got it and that he had not been absent from the property since he first made homestead.  When the men were asked how much of the homestead Lum had cultivated and for how many seasons Lum had raised crops on the land, Mr. COOPER said, “It would average about 8 or 9 acres for 7 years” and Mr. LUCAS said, “He has cultivated 7 acres for 7 seasons”.  Mr. COOPER gave details about the improvements Lum had made to the property saying, “1 box house, 3 rooms. 1 log house, 1 smoke house, 1 cistern, small orchard, perhaps 100 trees- $300”.  Mr. LUCAS gave the following details about improvements Lum made, “1 3-room box dwelling, 1 smoke house, 1 log house, about 13 acres in cultivation, small orchard, 1 cistern, 1 chicken house- $300.”

corn crib

Example of a corn crib from  Homesteader Wannabe blog.

Late 1800s smoke house

Example of a late 1800’s smoke house from Smoking Meat Forums.

log home circa 1900 arkansas

Example of a circa 1900 log house from Discovering Russellville Arkansas blog.  I imagine the “3-room box dwelling” looked very similar to this building.

Example of a large cistern under construction from Wisconsin Historical Society blog.

Example of a circa 1900 chicken house (with modern updates) from Leelanau Conservancy blog.

Mr. Cooper said the land was more valuable for “agriculture” and Mr. Lucas added it was more valuable for “orchard”.  Both men testified that Lum had not mortgaged, sold, or contracted to sell any portion of the homestead land.  Both men testified that they were not personally interested in Lum’s claim and that they believed Lum had acted in good faith in perfecting the homestead land entry requirements.  There were additional witnesses- H. N. WILLIAMS and J. E. FERRELL, both of Hiwasse, Arkansas.  Their testimony was not included in the file I received.


We Had Long Collected, Saved, and Harbored Old Memories

In Lum’s testimony he stated he was 46 years old and lived in Hiwasse, Arkansas.  He stated he was born in the state of Georgia.

Lum’s birth certificate.

He stated he was the same George C. BATES who had made homestead entry #22919 at the Harrison, Arkansas land office on 17 September 1896 and a true description of his land was “NE quarter of the NE quarter of Section 32, Township 21N, Range 31W”.  He stated he built a house on the land and established residence there about 1 October 1896 and had built a 3-room box house with 1 room being 15×16 and 1 room being 14×15 and the third room being 12×14.  He stated he had built a log house sized 16×16, 1 smoke house, 1 crib, and 1 cistern.  He had 13 acres in cultivation, 100 apple trees set, and an estimated value of $250 for his improvements.  I must say, I’d love to have all these improvements for $250!!

Lum listed his family members living on the property as himself, his wife, and 3 children.  His wife was Mary Ann SEELY BATES.

Marriage record for Lum and Mary BATES.

On 28 August 1903, the children that would have been living at home would have been the 3 youngest children- Charles Leroy, Herman Luther, and Vesta Josephine.  The oldest child (my great-grandfather), Albert Lewis, had gotten married and moved out the previous year.


Another Season’s Hundred Days of Toil

Prior to completing the application process, Lum had to run a notice about the homestead claim in the Benton County Democrat weekly newspaper for 6 consecutive weeks.

Newspaper ad photo.


By Not Breaking, But Succeeding

And so, for the sum of $6 (plus a $1 “testimony fee” for his required testimony- gotta love the government, right?!) he completed his homestead application process for 40 acres in Benton County, Arkansas on 28 August 1903.  The homestead was finally approved on 16 June 1904 and patented on 26 August 1904 and just like that Lum was the proud owner of 40 acres in Benton County, Arkansas.

Photo of certificate

On a day when I have more bandwidth or faster internet I will post a photo of where his land was in Benton County, Arkansas.


Silently Growing to Bear Fruit

About the time Lum started his apple orchard, the Arkansas Black apple was being cultivated.  So in mine and my husband’s orchard, we planted an Arkansas Black in memory of Lum.  It’s producing apples this year and we’re excited to be able to taste them.  Maybe I’ll make an apple pie in honor of Lum and Mary and all they did and all they sacrificed to give me the life I have today.

By the way, I’ve been making plans to visit a distant cousin from the BATES family.  I’m meeting with her soon and she says she has a photo of Lum standing in front of a wagon full of apples.  I’m so hoping she can find it and bring it so I can have a copy.  What a treasure!  I think I’ll frame it and hang it in my kitchen.  I sure am looking forward to apple season…

Until then though, take care of yourself and remember- an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

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