Artifact of the Month
J. K. Pool and Son Store Ledger
Donated by Mike and Carol Tillery
In the early 1900s, Thompson's Cut (also known as Thompson's Switch and Thompson) was a thriving community on the St. Paul Branch of the Frisco Railroad southeast of Durham, near the Washington-Madison county line. When the railroad was abandoned in 1937, the community faded. Today, the remains of Thompson's Cut are located on land owned by Mike and Carol Tillery: the original Thompson home, a blacksmith shop, concrete railroad scale pads, and the foundation of the old store. The Tillerys found this 1923-1924 ledger in an old, fallen-down railroad freight house.
Left: J.K. Pool and Son Store, circa 1925. Bob Wise Collection (S-85-277-11). Right: John Knox "J. K." Pool, circa 1900. Hazel Ford Collection (S-96-80-190)
Born in 1842 in Charleston, Arkansas, John Knox "J. K." Pool and his family moved to the present-day Durham area in Washington County before the Civil War. Pool served as a trumpeter in the Union Army during the war. After the war, he became a prosperous farmer, stock dealer, and merchant with general stores in Durham and Delaney as well as Thompson's Cut. His business acumen landed J. K. Pool a seat on the board of directors of Fayetteville's McIlroy Bank (forerunner of today's Arvest Bank). When Pool died in 1932, the bank closed for one hour on the day of his funeral so all employees could attend.