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The Rector Vitascope 1900-1909

Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2012, at 6:46 PM

"The Rector Vitascope"

Owners and publishers, C.M.B. Cox and S.E.C. Cox

October 11, 1902

Doings of the Week In Our Town

Talking about new goods, who can turn down the brand new store of C.T. Gwin?

C.T. Gwin makes a specialty of lamps and queensware, beautiful designs and latest styles.

If you want pants, where is the best place to buy them? Gwin's.

Men's Strong-Wear Shoes for one dollar C.T. Gwin's. Great bargain.

Ten pounds of good coffee for $1, at C.T. Gwin's.

Your writer was unaware that Mr. Charles T. Gwin was part of Rector history. But, a kind and nice person, recently gifted the Rector Museum with a very old "Rector Vitascope" newspaper, dated October 11, 1902. The "snippets" from the front page of that paper, introduced us to this businessman, who opened his general merchandise business in 1902. Mr. Gwin was 44 years old in 1902, and he died in 1907, so he didn't appear on the Rector Census of 1900, nor was he on the 1910 Census. So, with this 1902 newspaper, we learn of Mr. Gwin and his early Rector business! Your writer will share more about this 1902 newspaper in the future, and I would appreciate learning the name of our benefactor.

As I researched Charles T. Gwin, I found him in the 1870 Indiana Census, where he was born in 1857. His widowed mother, Julia A. Gwin, married David A. Armstrong, and Charles T. moved to Pemiscot County, Missouri, with them by 1880. Charles T. married Ella P. Douglas, in 1886, in Dunklin County,Missouri, and this couple were living in Stuttgart, Arkansas, in 1900. By the summer of 1902, Charles T. and Ella, were living in Rector with their 2 daughters, Maude and Ruth Gwin.

Daughter, Maude Gwin, married George A. McNiel, c.1906. George A. was raised by his aunt, Ruth Jane McNiel, and her husband, Capt. William T. Morris. Maude and George A. McNiel had several children who were well-known in the Rector and Piggott area; sons, Gwin, Ralph and George T. McNiel, and daughters, Roseline and Ellagene. Roseline died in 1911 at the age of 4, and Ellagene McNiel Gilman's obituary recently appeared in the paper, having passed away in July, in her early 90's.

George A. and Maude Gwin McNiel moved from Rector to Piggott when George was elected Sheriff of Clay County in 1926.

Maude's sister, Ruth Gwin, never married and was living in Piggott in the 1940's when she worked as librarian at the Piggott Library.

Charles T. Gwin's wife, Ella Douglas Gwin, died in 1930, and was buried beside Charles in Woodland Heights Cemetery. Their daughters, Maude and Ruth, are also buried there, Maude, in 1949, and Ruth, in 1983. George A. McNiel was also buried there, when he died in 1964.

Would appreciate more information on any of these folks.

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Being from the Rector area I am very proud of the area's history. Planning to move back there some day, I wish I could say I am proud of the future the area offers its young people and the wonderful people that live there.

There are so many positives about Clay County and I wish this paper would work harder to bring them to light. The Rector downtown needs to come back to life. I wish I had the answers to revive it, but I know if this paper would try it could rally everyone around its benefit.

Business and their vitality is what make a downtown work. Cafés, pubs, coffee houses, artists' shops, there are so many ideas that would work if businesses can make a profit.

One of its single biggest attribute is it incredibly low cost of living. Why can't the paper promote it for what it is; it a great inexpensive place to live.

-- Posted by JCfromMounds on Fri, Oct 26, 2012, at 9:52 AM

Thanks, J C, for your comments about the Rector area. Rector was a great place to grow up, and I feel that is still the case. One of the reasons that I write the Rector area History Column, is to share the "ups and downs" in our town's past, and to help our readers appreciate what still remains and should be restored (downtown buildings, etc.). Fortunately, there has been a movement on for several years now, to revitalize our town!


-- Posted by Barbara McKeel on Thu, Nov 1, 2012, at 1:27 PM

I just came across 2 old news paper clippings from by O.L.Dalton, Rector, Ark from the early sixtys. Which he writes about my Grandfather Thomas Jefferson Ward in his historical review entitled Uncle Tommy Ward was one of best known of early settlers. I never knew about my great grandfather . The articals spoke of him quite fondly and that he owned 200 acres two and a half miles north of Rector. He was married three times and raised 21 children, and that during this time he has cut five sets of teeth which Im not sure what that means. The articale says that he was the last of his kind and that he was the last person to be buried at the Old Scatterville burying grounds.I hope to make a trip to Rector in the future and hope to visit his grave and learn more about him.

-- Posted by m ward on Sun, Dec 9, 2012, at 8:15 PM

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