My grandfather, Hudson Wren, had two sisters, Mildred and Norvelle. Norvelle never married and Mildred and her husband, Henry Whitten, never had any children. The two of them lived across the street from each other from the time that Mildred and Henry were married in 1920. No doubt there will be much written about these folks as time goes on. They were pretty special, all of them.
After Mildred died, her furniture and things were put into storage. She had a beautiful, small cedar chest that I thought would look nice in my apartment. Mom said that if it was okay with Norvelle, I could have it, but that she wanted the quilts that were in it.
So, the next time I was in Prescott (Nevada County, Arkansas), Norvelle and I set about cleaning out the cedar chest. There were some beautiful quilts in it that I think I eventually ended up with, anyway. But, we set them aside that day for Mom.
At the bottom of the chest, we found an envelope with a little note that said “Merry Christmas, 1921” from Henry’s mother (Mildred’s mother-in-law), Christine Holston Whitten. In the envelope, we found this 1881 $5 gold piece!
Norvelle looked at me and said “That doesn’t look like a quilt to me. Put it in your pocket.” So, I did. And I still have it!
My grandfather, Henry Hudson Wren (everyone always called him Hudson, or Mr. Wren), found this penny on his family farm when he was young. As devoted to his children and grandchildren as he was, Mom tells me that this was a thing he kept for himself and never offered to give to any of them. After he died, Mom gave it to me.
I am sure that I will spend a lot of time on my grandfather here, but here are the basics. Hudson was born in 1906 and grew up in Prescott, Nevada County, Arkansas. He played football for the Prescott Curly Wolves in high school and lettered for three years at the University of Arkansas in the 1920s. He studied agriculture and went on to be a very successful farmer and leader in northeast Arkansas.
The family farm was on the site of the Battle of Prairie DeAnn, also called the Battle of Moscow Church. Since the family moved there in around a little before 1920, there were still plenty of artifacts of the skirmish to be found. My brother has a cannon shell. My mother has a cannon ball. And I have a sword that was plowed up on the farm.
Papaw found this penny there when he was a teenager. It’s not a valuable coin. It’s beat-up from being in a battle and then in the ground for sixty years. It’s worn smooth from years in a pocket. You can’t even tell what year it was minted. But, it was a special thing to Hudson and he kept it his whole life. Now, I have it in the little box that he kept it in, wrapped in a little piece of one of his handkerchiefs that he used for it. And that’s special.