Panic of 1908


Transcribed by: Tina Easley


On January 2, 1901 the Alexander - Amberg Company sold a large section of land to the National Box Company , a subsidary of Chicago's largest meat-packing firm , Morris and Company , founded in 1874 by Mr. Nelson Morris .

They established one of the largest lumber mills in the State of Arkansas . In addition to shipping lumber to other areas , they manufactured many small items such as butter tubs , barrels , and various other wooden crates and commercial containers .

Setters flocked to the area in order to obtain work. It is thought that one of the company officials was a Mr. Brighton , although this could not be substantiated by the few remaining records of the Company in Chicago.

On August 29 , 1901 a post office was established with the official name of Brighton . Mr. Bradford B. Thompson was the first postmaster . Land for the town was officially dedicated on November 11, 1901 . Many people can still be found in the County who were at one time employed by the Company .

Mr. Bob Hayes , who received the first paycheck from the Company , estimated that Brighton 's population might have grown to five or six hundred people at one time . By 1908 it contained three stores , three boarding houses , a large hotel with rooms for approximately 200 persons , a one room school taught by a Miss Daniels , one physician Dr. W.E. Ellington , a Baptist Church , a depot , eighteen city blocks , and eight officially named streets .

Prior to the death of Mr. Nelson Morris in 1907 , the business came under the management of his sons , Edward and Ira . The establishment of the National box Company had caused Brighton to become Greene County's first real "boom town" but now with its new management , the Company began to crumble .

They had obtained a large loan from the National Bank of Wall Street in New York , but failed to pay off their mortgage on the specified date. After considerable debate they were advanced one other loan . However , when they again failed to pay the mortgage , they were suddenly forced to cease operations , leaving approximately three or four hundred people without work.

The crisis later became referred to as " The Panic of 1908" Most of the town's population moved away , some going to Bard , Marmaduke , and Paragould , while a great many moved to Trumann where another large factory had been established .