Harlin Pierson


Harlin Pierson was born in 1912. He was the son of John and Oma Pierson. He had four brothers (Eugine, Herman, Raymond, and Arvin) and four sisters (Pauline, Helen, Alma and Nina). Harlin went to Oakland School when he was growing up. It went up to the tenth grade and had about thirty kids in each class. His school offered baseball and basketball. He participated in basketball. He smiles as he remembers the team's transportation to the away games. Instead of having a bus to ride on, they all rode in the back of a truck with a tarp over it with a lantern for heat. Harlin went to Valley Springs School for his last year.

Until around 1928, most of the schools only went up to the tenth grade, so people had to start working at an early age. Harlin had his first job cleaning out a dairy barn and cutting stave bolts (special bolts used to make barrels). Later he worked on a Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) camp in Dierks, Arkansas. One memorable moment about working at the C.C.C. camp was when Harlin was the kitchen patrol foreman. He told one of the men that was peeling potatoes to hurry up. The man got mad and used the knife he was using to peel potatoes to slit Harlin's throat! Harlin was okay, but it's something he'll never forget. His next job was working on the Bull Shoals Dam. One interesting fact about the building of the dam was that they had belt lines. These lines carried rocks the nine miles from Flippin to Bull Shoals by conveyer belts rather than by trucks. He worked as a rotary driller. After that, he ran livestock for awhile. His last occupation was a park ranger. He was a park ranger for eighteen years. He retired from being the superintendent in 1978.

Though his life may seem ordinary, he had to overcome many battles, especially the Great Depression. Harlin said that when the Great Depression hit, it hit hard. His family didn't have money for clothes or food. They had to grow or raise whatever they ate. They had cows, hogs, and a garden which they depended on for survival. They grew and sold cotton for money.

According to Harlin, Flippin has changed a lot over the years. For example, there used to be wells in the middle of town (close to where Sanders grocery store is now) for public water. A lot of people grew cotton and they had to take it to one of the two cotton gins (one was where Seawright's Hotel is now, the other was close to where Sodies is now). The workers there baled and bought the cotton. Harlin isn't sure why people here don't grow cotton anymore, but he thinks it's because the land isn't very rich. He said all of the land by the river, which is good for growing cotton, is taken up.

Harlin has lived a long and prosperous life. Though he has experienced many hard times, such as the Depression, he has been fortunate enough to live through it. These challenges in life have built his character and have made him a much stronger person in the long run.



Researched and written by Tracey Chandler,1999