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People of Van Buren County | Frasers moved to county in 1868

James Hubbard Fraser served with Alabama in the Civil War.
James Hubbard Fraser served with Alabama in the Civil War.
Joe and Sue Fraser still lived in Clinton. They are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary this month.
Joe and Sue Fraser still lived in Clinton. They are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary this month.

William Fraser came to America from Scotland and settled in Virginia. His son John was born March 16, 1801. Later the family moved to Athens, Alabama.

James Hubbard Fraser was born in Alabama in 1840, the son of John Fraser and Martha Ann Wyche. James was a captain during the Civil War in Co. E 26th Alabama Infantry, which later became the 50th Alabama Regiment. He mustered out on May 27, 1865, and immediately took the position of deputy sheriff of his native county Limestone, Alabama, and served from 1865 to 1867. He was also a qualified teacher and a farmer. In October 1867, he was licensed to practice law, and in April 1868 he came to Van Buren County to practice law with his cousin James Malone who had come to Van Buren County before Fraser. The cultural environment of Athens was so different from the backwoods of Arkansas that it was upsetting to James Fraser, but he stayed and raised his family and served his town and county for many years.

In 1869 he married Carrie Hatchett and their children were John Garner (1874), Annie (1876) and Essie (1879). One daughter, Wyche, died at a young age, which was a terrible time for James and Carrie. In 1879 James became a member of the Arkansas State Convention, and had also acquired some farmland. During a pneumonia outbreak Carrie took care of the sick and became a victim herself in 1881. The children were put into the care of relatives until James married Margaret Jane Givens, a young school teacher who became the loving mother of his children. They had eight children of their own: Martha Elizabeth (1883), James Bradshaw (1885), William Givens (1887), Cornelia Frances (1888), Thomas Hubbard (1891), Edward Bruce (1894), Lillian (1896) and Farish (1898).

In 1890 James Fraser was made county clerk and probate judge. He was interested in the religious, political, educational and social progress of the town, county and state. He also farmed and made several moves between the farmhouse and the first house in town, which was located on Fraser Street in Clinton. They lived in that house until he built another in 1914, which still stands today on Fraser Street. The first house became the Stephens residence when his family moved to the new home. He and Jane had a home that was warm and inviting with many visitors. School attendance was important to them and all the Frasers were avid readers.

The next paragraphs contained shortened versions of the lives of James and Jane’s children. It is too difficult to tell everything about all the children’s families.

John Garner graduated from Hendrix College, taught school in Clinton, was elected Arkansas state representative in 1902, attended law school, and won the race for prosecuting attorney in 1904. He practiced law in Little Rock, Arkansas, then came back to Clinton to practice law with his father. He also was elected circuit judge and helped establish Clinton State Vocational Training School. With his sister Essie, who was a school teacher for a period of time, they lived and cared for their stepmother after the death of their father.

Another sister, Annie, married Sam Lay. They lived away from Clinton for a time, but returned and had a gasoline station and grocery store in Clinton at the junction of Highway 65 and 16 north of Clinton.

Martha Fraser taught school and married Amicus Stephens, and their children were Lillian Mae who lived at home, Helen Louise and James Fraser. Helen taught school for 40 years in Clinton and also lived at home with her parents. James served in the Army, became a soil scientist for the Soil Conservation Service, and married Dorris Jane. They had two children, James and Mary Ann.

James Bradshaw Fraser married Myrtle Davis, lived in Clinton, and had four children: Winston Davis, James H., Ruth Virginia and Sally Jane. He was the cashier at the Van Buren County Bank. Then they moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. Their son, James H., married Mabel Claire Vail in 1937 and his children were Jamie Claire, Margaret Nell, and James H. “Jimmy.” In 1972, James and Mabel Claire moved to Clinton. Jamie Claire’s children Roy and Melissa Kirkpatrick lived with their grandparents for a time. Margaret Nell stayed in Little Rock and Jimmy became a doctor and practiced in Little Rock.

Ruth Fraser married H.L. Trotter and lived in Little Rock for a time before moving to Colorado.

Sally Jane married Craig Moody and lives in Texas.

Cornelia became a teacher, married Rob Maddox and lived in Oklahoma.

Thomas Hubbard was the fourth son of James and Jane. He married Vesta Waddell in 1921. He was a mail carrier and later was employed by the Arkansas State Highway Department. They lived in Clinton and the house is still standing by the Arkansas Telephone Co. Their children were Joe Garner, James Wilson and Leo Dean.

Son Joe served in the Army Air Force in the South Pacific, and he married Emma Sue French of Bee Branch. They made their home in Clinton where Joe was the cashier at Clinton State Bank. He also served on the Clinton School Board. They moved to Colorado in 1956 but returned to Clinton in 1962. At that time he became manager at Eoff’s Furniture Co. He later became a U.S. Postal Clerk in the Clinton Post Office. They have two daughters. Susan Jo married Grady Baker Jr. in 1970. She became a school teacher who taught for 40 years for the Greenbrier School District before retiring. Grady worked for Kroger for 40 years before retiring. They have three sons, Justin, Jeff and Jeremy. The youngest daughter of Joe and Sue is Lisa Jayne who is an RN and married to Bob Lamb, who works for the railroad. They have a daughter, Cassidy, and live in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Joe and Sue Fraser still reside in Clinton.

James Wilson Fraser, called “Hub’s Jim” to distinguish him from all the other James Fraser boys, lived in Wichita, Kansas, and worked at Cessna Aircraft Plant.

Leo worked for the Corps of Engineers and married Malta Keith of Kentucky. They moved back to Clinton and lived in his parents’ house.

Bruce moved to Little Rock and was an Arkansas state auditor. He married Francis McFerran of Harrison and their children were Edward Bruce and Marilyn.

Farish became another Fraser politician. He was the county clerk, sheriff and served on the Clinton School Board. He married Jean Whillock in 1936. They had one daughter, Anne, who married Paul Bradford and they moved to Atlanta, Ga. Their children are Cydney, Paul, Lisa and David.

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