Standridge / Renfroe and Related Families Genealogy, Howard Standridge Family

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Henry Blevins--Living and Dying in Enon, Arkansas
Written 1984 by John Hodges, resident of Omaha, Arkansas The Henry Blevins Story

High in the hills of northwest Arkansas lies a small rural community where dancing has been virtually done away with for over 60 years. The heart of this rural community is the little town of Omaha, which consists of a public school and several fundamentalist churches. The old towns of Cricket and Enon, although now dead, are symbols of the historical past of the Omaha area.

The people of Omaha are from lower-middle class backgrounds with strong religious convictions and middle class values. Eighty years ago these simple, God-fearing farmers danced with joy on holidays and special occasions supported by the largest social and cultural centers of the community, the local churchs. In that long ago period dancing was the second most important social activity for young people. Dances were held throughout the community in the homes and barns and some were even sponsored by local pastors and held in their homes to provide a social activity for young people. Everyone from the very young to the very old would dance and take part in this simple celebration of life.

One resident, Ralph Hodges, who is now 90 years old, remembers going with his older sisters to dances that were held in homes of pastors and attended by the most respected members of the community. But in the early 1920's violence, liquor and fear destroyed this facet of the local culture, and dancing in any form disappeared as an important social activity.

World War I and the prohibition of the 1920's brought a destructive element to the community dances that had not existed in earlier years. Young men were coming to the local dances drunk on moonshine, boldly wearing their guns; thus violence broke out at many of these affairs. Respected people quickly started disappearing from the ranks of dancers.

In late summer, 1922, an event took place at a local dance that shocked the Omaha area. It created so much hatred and bitterness that dancing itself became one of the most deadly sins. The setting for this bloody gun battle started when twenty-nine-year-old Ebenezer [Eb] Badley rode to a dance near his home at Enon with his best friend, Henry Blevins, and Henry's fiancee, Ettie (Rosetta) Creekmore. Eb had lived dangerously for several years, some say because of the death of his wife and two children, plus horrors he experienced in the trenches of France during World War I. He had lost his wife, Beulah, after the birth of his second child in 1915. The newborn son died a few days after his birth. As a result of this tragedy he started drinking and carousing. By summer of 1917, Eb was seeing Georgia Huffman, a sixteen-year-old girl whose parents did not approve of the relationship. Disgusted with life, Eb boarded a train and ran off to fight in the trenches of France, even though his family had used their money and prestige to keep him out of the war.

Georgia deeply loved Eb and she continued to receive letters from him. She wrote to Eb shortly before he returned to America from Europe to tell him that his little girl Mamie, only six years old, was dead from pneumonia. Perhaps,the guilt and anger of not being with Mamie ripped away at Eb's soul. When he returned he was met by Georgia at the Cricket train station. Their romance was rekindled, and although her parents still objected, she slipped around to see him. Georgia cared for Eb and would do anything for him, but war and death had turned him into a wild and thoughtless man. He drank too much, chased women and lied to those who loved and cared for him. In the spring of 1920, Georgia became pregnant, and her father threatened to kill Eb, so he stayed away. He did continue to write Georgia and when their son was born Georgia named him Utah Carroll Huffman. Though treated like a leper by her own family, Georgia never gave up on Eb. In 1922, when the baby was a year old, Eb came to see him despite the threats from Mr. Huffman. When Eb approached the house, Georgia ran out and shielded him from her father's shotgun so Eb could come inside to see his son without fear of being shot.

During the fateful summer of 1922, Eb was also seeing a young girl named Julie Scott. She was from a poor family who enjoyed the reputation for being rough and mean. Two months before the night of the Enon dance, Julie told Eb and her family that she was pregnant. Julie now admits that she was never pregnant, but only wanted Eb to marry her.

Eb realized the Scotts would try to kill him if he didn't marry Julie. There was already bad blood between them. He had several run-ins with Julie's oldest brother, Frank, called Boss. The Scotts were looking for a good excuse to get Eb. Two of the Scott brothers, Boss and Sam, were accused of burning the barn of Eb's brother, Frank. In the middle of all this, Eb decided to get Georgia and his son, leave home and marry her. He had made plans with his mother, who felt Georgia would be good for Eb and might settle him down.

On the Saturday afternoon of the Enon dance, Eb and his brother, Fred, went to Omaha, the local trade center to get money from the bank to leave town. Boss Scott was in town and had no trouble finding out what the Badley brothers were up to. Later that afternoon, Eb went by Cricket Canning Factory where Georgia was working. He asked her to run away with him and told her that they would be married. Eb told Georgia to meet him at the Cricket Train Depot the next morning and they would catch the train to Crane, Missouri, while her parents were at church.

Before leaving Omaha that evening Eb met his good friend, Henry Blevins, and Henry's fiance, Ettie Creekmore. They were on there way to the Enon dance and insisted that Eb go along. Henry offered Eb his horse so Fred could take the wagon home. For whatever reason, Eb did go to the dance and picked up Julie as soon as he arrived. Julie was trying desperately to convince Eb not to leave with Georgia and to allow her to go home with him. She insisted that he give her another chance. Apparently, Eb decided to take her home one last time and he left the dance with her.

Three of Julie's brothers, Jim, Boss and Dave, were all at the dance. Boss stayed outside although those present don't remember him being there. Boss encouraged his two younger brothers to do something about the emotional turmoil Eb was putting Julie through . When Eb wasn't looking, Jim and Dave walked up with their guns raised and Jim said, "You ...... bastard you may leave with her, but you'll never get home with her." Henry, who was in the background, shot out the light and the room went black. The Scott brothers dove through a window followed by several slugs from Eb's pistol.

The dance broke up and everyone went home. Eb took Julie, along with Henry and Edie and headed down the road toward Eb's house which was about a mile away. They were leading their horses rather than riding them so they could open and shut gates. About a quarter of a mile from the dance the Scotts were waiting in ambush.

No one living except Julie knows for sure what happened and she has never told her story until now. She said that Eb was leading his horse with one hand, carrying a shotgun in the other, and opening the gates they had to pass through, followed by the others. Henry was directly behind Eb leading his horse. Edie was sitting on Henry's horse and Julie was walking at Henry's side. All at once a volley of shots rang out from the bushes about 30 feet in front of Eb. He was hit hard in the chest, but didn't go down. Julie said she was paralyzed watching Eb march with superhuman strength against the volley of rifle and pistol bullets ripping through his chest. Though stunned by the first shots, Eb turned loose of his horse, drew his pistol and started firing wildly into the bushes with each step as he marched into the smoke of his assassins' guns.

The bullets ripping through and past Eb were hitting those directly behind him. With the first shots, Henry drew his pistol and fired back, but he was hit after firing only a couple of rounds. Julie was standing so close to Henry that she felt and heard the bullets rip into him. He dropped his gun and ran into the night. Dave Scott immediately ran across the road and grabbed Julie around the waist to pull her out of the way of the shooting. But when they hit the ground on the other side, one of those bullets from his brothers gun caught Dave in the lower chest. At the same instant that Dave was pulling Julie out of the firing line, Ettie's horse reared on its hind legs and Ettie hit the ground with a bullet in her head. No one present even realized that she had been hit and, because of the strange angle of the bullet, she was probably hit by a round that had passed through Eb as her horse reared straight back.

As Eb reached the log from which Boss was firing he dropped his pistol, because it was empty, and attempted to switch his shotgun from his left hand to his right, but he collapsed over the log landing directly on top of Boss. He fired both barrels of his shotgun into the tree limbs over his head as he fell. Boss was so shaken as he climbed out from under Eb that he had trouble mounting his horse. Boss did all of the shooting and killing according to Julie. She says that he was a coward who could have cared less if she was pregnant or not, but he saw it as his excuse to get Eb Badley. She describes Boss as a man who tried to get others to do his dirty work for him, because of his attempts to get Dave and Jim to take on Eb.

However, there are several problems with Julie's version of the shooting. Dave told a friend the week before when he was drunk that he was going to kill a man. Jim later bragged about killing Eb Badley and even Julie is unclear about his whereabouts during the gun fight. According to Julie, he had been lagging behind and came riding up after the shooting had stopped and took her and Dave home. Boss got on his horse and left for California never to return. The other problems with Julie's version seem to be, why did she wait until the fall of 1984, after Jim's death, to tell what happened? Boss had died in 1932 during a bar room shootout in Kansas City. How could Boss empty four guns into Eb, which Julie said he did, in the short period of time the shooting all took place? In either case, Eb Badley died the way he lived, wild and reckless. He died standing on his feet firing his guns in effort to kill his assailants as his chest was decimated by bullets.

Those back at the dance heard a lot of gunfire that lasted only a few seconds. When they reached the scene of the shooting they found Eb lying beside the road dead with his chest ripped to pieces by bullets. Ettie Creekmore was lying in the road. A bullet had been fired into the side of her head making the skull bubble on top. She was still breathing and would continue to do so for six days. Ettie was only 16 years old and had a sister already married to Eb's brother, Fred. When the sun rose, Herb Parton (who had sat up with Eb's body waiting for the Sheriff from Harrison to arrive) saw a body hanging in a grape vine about 100 yards away. It was Henry Blevins. He had run that distance through the woods with the corner of his heart shot away, spraying out his blood with every step and trying to flee the grip of death. Henry was 22 years old and had made plans to marry Ettie that Christmas.

The next morning Julie, Dave and Jim were found in their family home. Dave had a bullet hole down through his guts and lay dying in bed. He took the blame for all the killings and said he accidentally shot himself as he holstered his shoulder pistol. Julie seemed to be in a state of shock and said nothing.

Georgia, when she heard the news of the shooting, forced her father to take her to where Eb lay dead. From his bloody shirt she took a small piece of torn bloodstained cloth for her son's inheritance from his father.

In the days that followed, vengeance was sworn against Jim Scott by the Badleys and Creekmores. Two years later he would go to another dance with Julie at Enon and her leg would be shoot off in an attempt to kill Jim as they rode home on the same horse. Several weeks later Jim would survive a second assassination attempt and live the rest of his life as an outsider.

As the decades rolled by, the newer generations continued to condemn and oppose dancing, but the exact reasons for this opposition were gradually forgotten. By the 1960's many of the young people would openly support the idea of school or community dances. In 1964, the Omaha Senior Class tried to gain PTA support for a school dance. The churches rallied and sent scores of members to fill the ranks of the PTA and soundly killed the issue. Some of the young men who led this attempt to reestablish dancing would in later years oppose the reestablishment to the institution.

The mistrust between the Badleys, Creekmores and Blevins on one side and the Scotts on the other were to be passed on for several generations. Julie Scott, now Julie Leatherman, is 83 years old and still lives at Omaha as well as her sister Dolly. Julie to this day says Eb Badley was nothing but bad news, in life as well as death, and regrets the day they met. Those bloody events of so long ago are locked away in her mind forever and with a sad faraway look she says, "I didn't mean for things to go so far, I didn't mean for things to go so far."

Georgia Huffman, now Georgia Richesin, also lives in Omaha . She is tall, thin and frail with failing eyesight and her bones are riddled by cancer, but her mind is as sharp as ever. She has spent a lifetime playing the events of her early years over and over in her mind, wondering about what could have been. She has few regrets about the choices she made concerning Eb, and she sees him as a wonderful man who was filled with anger because of the tragedies of his life. She quickly admits that he was the one true love in her life and she has shed over 60 years of tears for him. Georgia is convinced that her death will finally unite her with Eb. But throughout all these years there has always remained a lingering doubt in her mind that Eb was only telling her what she wanted to hear, that he never really had any intention of leaving Arkansas and marrying her. Fearful of rejection from Eb's family, she never communicated with them after Eb's death.. Thus, at age 83, Georgia sat down and cried after hearing a record of the Badley family history that told of detailed plans that Eb had made with his mother and brother to marry her and leave the hills of Omaha with her and their son.

Today all that is left of the old Enon community that once provided the stage for tragedy and death is an old isolated cemetery and the foundation of a fine old home which once shook with music and laughter. Most of what was once Enon is now covered by the water of Tablerock Lake, but even now when walking through the old cemetery or around the old foundation during September, in the sound of the breezes blowing through the large oak trees, one can almost hear the laughter of Ettie, Henry, Dave, Eb and all others as they danced and sang, all expecting to live and dance forever.

Note by Betty: This story was contributed by Jerry Blevins. Henry Blevins was born in 1900, the son of William Andrew and Dora Goodall Blevins. He may have been their only child. He is buried at Blevins Cemetery. William Andrew is the son of Isham Martin and Catherine Matlock Blevins. Isham is the son of Squire Black and Rhoda Standridge Blevins. Received this email from Gwen Blevins in March 2005--Betty, I would like you to make a couple of correction in the Henry Blevins Story when you have time. They are mine & John Hodges errors. Edie Creekmore is Rosetta or Ettie. In the 1910 census Ar. Carroll Co. Long Creek twp, she is in her father's Newt household listed as Ettie. In the Boone Co. Ar.1920 Census Omaha twp. She is in her brother's Clarence household listed as Ettie, along with her Mother. Gwen
I changed Edie to Ettie, but left Eb as they are pronounced the same. 3-26-05
Contact Jerry Blevins

Isham Blevins' Death Certificate
Squire Black Blevins@ Rootsweb
Enon Cemetery Tombstone Transcript

Contact Betty