Garland County, Arkansas, Goodspeed Biographies
Major William H. Gaines
Major William H. Gaines, one of the prominent pioneers of Hot Springs, Ar., was born near Charleston, Va., June 30, 1797, and is a son of Abner and Elizabeth (Matthews) Gaines, both natives of England. Three Gaines brothers came from England at an early day, and one of them, Abner, settled in Kentucky, taught school, and in connection carried on farming. He died in Boone County of that State, and there his wife also passed her last days. Their family consisted of twelve children, eight sons and four daughters, only three of whom are now living, two sisters and Maj. William H. Gaines. The last-named was reared in Kentucky, and owing to the scarcity of schools received but a limited education. At the age of fifteen years he began learning the blacksmith trade, and served his time, but was obliged to go to school two months in order to be able to keep accounts. He carried on this trade in Boone County for about twelve years, and manufactured wagons, carts, tools of all kinds, shipped them South, and was extensively engaged in the manufacturing trade. In 1830 he settled in Chicot County, Ark., which was six years previous to the date of the State's admission into the Union, and at that time very thinly settled. He then embarked in farming and raising cotton, which he carried on extensively until the slaves were made free, when he lost heavily. He was the owner of 165 slaves, old and young, and after the war he tried to continue his farming operations but was compelled to give it up, thus losing a vast amount of money, besides losing considerable by endorsing his friends' notes. In 1851 he removed to Hot Springs, where he has since made his home. At that time there were but few houses, and all of them open summer houses. Previous to his removal to the springs he had visited the place several times for his health, and at last took up his residence there. The Major was in poor circumstances for awhile after the war, but he was not a man to give up easily, and he soon retrieved his fallen fortune. He was first married in 1819 to Miss Litha Early, by whom he has one child living: Virenda, wife of George W. Sappington. Mrs. Gaines died in 1828, and in the spring of 1849 he married Miss Maria Belding, who bore him seven children, all married but one, a daughter, at home. His second wife was one of the heirs to the Belding property, which was in litigation for many years, but finally the property went to the Government. It was through the Major's influence that the suits were closed. He had an act passed in Congress authorizing Gaines, Rector and Hale to sue the Government; thus it was settled. The Major has done much to improve Hot Springs, is the owner of a great amount of real estate, and one of the wealthiest men of the county, although he spent a great deal of money on the property which the Government won from him. He was postmaster at Gaines' Landing on the Mississippi River, when it was worth about $5 per quarter. He has never been an office seeker, and his life has been spent in speculating and buying real estate. He is now in his ninety-second year, but is quite active and vigorous for his years. He has a wonderful memory, and can get on his horse and ride back and forward to the city. He owns Gaines' Block, a fine brick structure in which the bank is located, and of which one of his sons, A. B. Gaines, is president. His eldest daughter, Fannie G. (wife of C. S. Williamson), Augusta L. (wife of S. H. Stitt), and the youngest daughter, Mary P. Gaines (unmarried), reside in Hot Springs; William H., Jr. (the eldest boy), resides in Palo Pinto, Tex.; one daughter, Louisa C. (wife of E. S. Blasdel), in Los Angeles, Cal., and the youngest son, Abner L., resides in England. He has twenty-two grandchildren living, the eldest being fourteen years of age, and two great-grandchildren, the eldest twelve years old.
Dr. John H. Gaines, Hot Springs, Ar. The subject of this sketch needs no introduction to the people of Garland County, for although a resident of the same only since 1885, in that brief space of time he has acquired a substantial reputation as a representative physician, and one who is exactly suited for his profession. He was born in Adams County, Miss., on March 7, 1831, and is a son of Richard M. Gaines, a native of the Blue Grass State, and a very prominent lawyer. The elder Gaines was appointed by Andrew Jackson as United States district attorney for Mississippi, also represented his county in Arkansas in the legislature, and held many important offices. He died in Chicot County, Ark. The maiden name of the Doctor's mother was Eliza Hutchins. She was born in Mississippi, and there her death occurred. Dr. John H. Gaines was reared in Mississippi, and received the principal part of his education at Danville, Ky., where he graduated in 1849. In 1850 he began the study of medicine and graduated from that famous institution, the University of Louisiana, in 1853, after which he began practicing in Chicot County, Ar., and there remained for a short time. He then went to Missouri, but not liking the State he returned to Chicot County. In 1862 he went out as surgeon in the Confederate army, and served until the surrender. In February, 1885, he came to Hot Springs, where he has since been actively engaged in his profession. He is a member of the State Medical Society and American Medical Association. In 1854 he was united in marriage to Miss Helen Foushee, a native of Virginia, and the fruits of this union are five living children.
The Rev. P. H. Garahty is the first pastor of the church of "Our Lady of the Springs," and the only pastor the church has had since its organization or foundation. This church was dedicated on August 15, 1868, but had no pastor until 1870. The Rev. P. H. Garahty was born in County Longford, Ireland, but was reared and educated at Cincinnati, Ohio, graduating from Mount St. Mary's of the West, in 1863. He was the first priest ordained by Archbishop Perché, June 11, 1870. He took three or four courses in the theological school at the same place, and from 1870 to 1885 he attended sixteen counties in Southwest Arkansas, besides building the church at Camden, Hope and Arkadelphia. He also built the church at Rocky Comfort, on the borders of the Indian Territory. He came to America with his mother when five years of age, taking passage at Dublin, and landing at Philadelphia after a three months' ocean voyage. His early life was spent almost entirely in school, and since being ordained as a pastor he has turned his whole attention to the building up of his denomination. He also takes a decided interest in school and educational matters, has founded the convent school and also a school for colored children, built in 1888, and taught by Sisters of Mercy. There is also an infirmary conducted by the Sisters of Mercy. They have a beautiful church and good schools. The Rev. Father is next to the senior priest in the line of ordination. Ad multos annos!
John Gillen, proprietor of the Gillen Springs, three and a half miles from Hot Springs, was born in Essex County, N. Y., in 1841. His father, Hugh Gillen, was a native of Ireland, in which country he was engaged in the mercantile business for a number of years, when he emigrated to America, and located in the State of New York. Mr. Gillen knows but little of the early history of his parents, as they died when he was a small child, and he was then adopted by an uncle. In 1867 he left New York and went to Louisiana, where he remained about a year, going thence to Mobile, and from there to Little Rock, Ark., in 1868, where he resided two years. In 1870 he came to Hot Springs, and was occupied in running a restaurant for several years, after which he purchased 140 acres of land, including the fine springs called "Gillen's Springs," located one mile and a half from "Hell's Half Acre," and a mile and a quarter west of what is known as "One Thousand Dripping Springs." These points are very familiar to tourists. Here Mr. Gillen built a large hotel as a fine summer resort, and, surrounded by magnificent mountain scenery, has gained a wide reputation. His springs are known as "Sweet Springs," "Iron Springs," "White Sulphur Springs," and "Mountain Springs," from the different quality of the waters, all possessing rare medicinal properties, surrounding which is a beautiful park. His hotel is elegant in all of its apportionments, having been finished at a cost of several thousand dollars. The service and table is unexcelled. Mr. Gillen is excavating into the mountain, with the purpose of tapping the hot water vein, and conveying it through pipes into his hotel. This excellent home of comfort, with its picturesque surroundings, noted springs and affable proprietor, ranks among the most noted resorts in Arkansas.
Peter E. Greene, general prescriptionist and one of the principal dealers in drugs, medicines, etc., in Hot Springs, was born in Brunswick County, Va., in 1828, and is a son of Myal and Nancy (Jackson) Greene, natives of the same State. The parents were married about the year 1806, and shortly afterward moved to Georgia, where they resided for almost thirteen years and then returned to Virginia. About the year 1831 they went to Tennessee, and, in 1839, came to Clark County, Ar., locating near Arkadelphia, the father dying the same year in Tennessee, and the mother in Clark County, Ar., September 21, 1851. Peter E. was the fifth of seven sons and four daughters born to the parents, of whom three are yet living. He was reared on a farm and received his education in the log-cabin schoolhouses of the period. At eighteen years old he began in life for himself by entering a dry goods house at Arkadelphia, and some time afterward embarked in the grocery business on his own account. In March, 1849, he crossed the plains with the first company that ever left Fort Smith for that purpose, and reached the Pacific coast after a journey lasting over seven months and twenty days. In California he operated a ferry for some time, and then settled at a point about twenty-five miles east of Stockton, where he commenced farming. In 1851 he sowed the first wheat that was ever planted in the San Joaquin Valley. Later on he embarked in commercial life, which he carried on with success until March, 1853, when he started for Australia, arriving there in May of the same year and remaining until February, 1854. While there Mr. Greene performed the difficult feat of walking clear across the island, a distance of 800 miles, and rendered dangerous by the numerous bands of outlaws. His object ever since leaving home was the search for gold, and after leaving Australia he embarked on a ship for Peru, South America, where wonderful tales were told of the treasurers to be found in the land of the Incas. On arriving at Callao he joined a company of seven adventurous spirits like himself, and after fitting themselves out with the necessaries for a perilous trip through an unknown country, they crossed the Andes on donkeys and reached the head waters of the mighty Amazon. Mr. Greene remained in this region for some time, meeting with many strange adventures, and afterward returned to Callao, where he took passage on a steamer for Panama. While at the latter place his roving spirit had become somewhat subdued, and thoughts of home began to fill his mind. The gold excitement on the Pacific Coast was unabated, however, and his choice between going home and returning to California was so evenly matched that he finally tossed up a silver dollar to decide on his course. As on this, so it is with other circumstances that change the destinies of men, the slightest turn many shape the course of great events. He threw the coin into the air, and as it fell swiftly to the ground muttered, "Heads for home; tails I go to California." Looking eagerly at the small coin where it fell he found that heads was up, and thus on the turn of an insignificant piece of silver his future was changed. He embarked on the next steamer for New York City, and after reaching that port left immediately for Arkansas, landing once more among home and friends at Arkadelphia in August, 1854. In 1858 Mr. Greene started in the drug business in that city and continued until 1867. He then established a general merchandise store and carried on that business until 1873. In 1872 he bought a spring twelve miles from Hot Springs, Ar., which had quite a reputation locally for the cure of diseases; however, no improvements had as yet been made upon them, but he at once commenced to improve his property, and from the name of Locket he changed it to that of Mountain Valley Springs. Under his management this place became quite a noted pleasure and health resort, but shortly after he moved to Hot Springs, where he kept a hotel for some time. After this venture he turned his attention entire to selling his Mount Valley water, which had attained a national reputation, and in 1882 he disposed of the spring. In 1884 Mr. Greene established himself in the drug business, which he has since carried on with great success. He owns a splendid residence adjoining his business property known as the "Bloomington," and also real estate in Clark and Montgomery Counties, all of it made by his own enterprise and untiring energy. In 1861 he enlisted in the Confederate army and held the rank of lieutenant, but after the siege of Corinth he resigned and came home. In politics he was formerly a Whig, but since the war has been a Reconstructionist, and later a Democrat until 1888, and now a Prohibitionist. Mr. Greene has been a temperance man all his life, and has done much for the cause of sobriety. In religious faith he and wife attend the Methodist Church, to which they belong. he was married June 24, 1866, to Mariah V. daughter of Maj. James D. and Priscilla (Dickinson) Scott, of Virginia and Alabama, respectively. Mr. and Mrs. Scott were married in Alabama, and in 1835 came to Clark County, Ar., where the wife died in 1864. Mr. Scott is still living and resides at Arkadelphia at the age of eighty-six years. He is a very prominent man in that section, and a nephew of Gen. Winfield Scott. After the death of his first wife he was again married, but is now a widower the third time. Mr. and Mrs. Greene have had one child born to their marriage: Jessie. Mr. Greene is a thorough-going and progressive business man, and an interesting conversationalist. He can relate many thrilling incidents of his travels through the wild West, Australia and South America, and tell of experiences that but few men have endured. He is a representative citizen, and a man of honor, and is held in great esteem by the entire community.