Narratives are personal stories that help enrich the reader’s understanding of a time period, person, place, or event. These are first-person views of history taken from personal recollections, memoirs, diaries, and oral histories.

Information included in this section is not fact checked by the Encyclopedia staff. The author of the Narrative is entirely responsible for its content.

I was raised at Dyess Colony. My parents, Hersh Henson and Nancy Kinder, moved to Dyess in 1936. Mother left Dyess in 1961. My wife’s parents left in 1989. I have been gathering material on the beginning of Dyess for years, and I have a private website DYESS COLONY by I have material from the beginning and for as long as it was in government control on my website. I am in contact with people who grew up at Dyess and who visited their grandparents at Dyess. I hope to publish a book about Dyess. I am very proud that my parents were chosen to be a part of Dyess. To come to Dyess, you had to live in Arkansas, be in good health, be a married couple, be of good moral character, be on some kind of government relief program, have a farming background, and be poor.

Everett Henson
Memphis, TN

My grandparents, Cora and Lawrence Gordey, were relocated to Dyess Colony during the hard times of the Depression. With seven children to house, feed, and clothe, their lives were not easy. My mother, Earlyne Gordey, attended school at Dyess, as did her brothers, Malcomb, H. V., Eddyce, and his twin sister, Eddye. My mother died in 1963 in Fort Smith, and only one of the seven children of the Gordey clan is alive today. My uncle Mac, or Malcomb, died on February 27, 2008, in Fort Smith. The surviving uncle, Bill Gordey, lives in Greenwood, Arkansas.
As children growing up, we were fascinated to know some of the antics of these kids in Dyess, but we were more fascinated with the story of Rosie, our grandmother's pet raccoon, who was treated as one of the children. She ate at the table, washing her food in a special little dish, and basically had the run of the house. I guess when you have seven children, what is one more? The tragic ending of the story is that when they were moved out because of the flood, Rosie was left behind, and when they returned to get their household goods, sweet Rosie was found dead. This story would always reduce us to tears.
We also were fascinated that our uncles knew the Cash brothers, and we would beg for stories about Johnny Cash in particular, although it seems they told more stories about some of the others in the Cash family.
Many in our family have visited the colony or the city of Dyess. I would like to make a trip there when time permits.

Donna A. Miller
Fort Smith, AR