Ending and New Beginning


    Diamond John Huddleston of the folk tales supposedly died in 1936.  John Wesley Huddleston of Murfreesboro, Pike County, Arkansas, lived until November 12, 1941, when he died at home after a short illness.  At the time he reportedly was still “trying to manage a small farm and conduct a junk yard on the side.” [137]   Family members buried him among other relatives in little Japany Cemetery, between the diamond field and his and Sarah's original farm, with only a plain river stone marking the gravesite.  A few yards away stood the small inscribed headstone he and Sarah had gotten for their second-born, Ellen, after her death in 1895.  The graves of Sarah and Miss Joe, still without identifying markers, no doubt lay close by. [138]  

    The former hero was not entirely forgotten by the time of his passing, certainly not around Murfreesboro, where tales still flourished.  Even Time magazine had mentioned the Discoverer a few months earlier in an article about diamond mining. [139]   Still, outside of Pike County he had almost faded into obscurity after the mid 1920s.


    John Huddleston would have been pleased by the broader recognition and fame that followed his death, even though some of it remained less than complimentary.  By late 1941, federal spending and the war in Europe had begun reviving the economy and stirring new interest in the Pike County field as a possible source of industrial diamonds, a trend Time reflected earlier that year.  Likely, this reawakening helped spur the Arkansas Gazette into publishing the first full-length feature about the “Diamond Discoverer” two months after he died. [140]  Then, further testing at the field generated more national publicity, including substantial coverage in Nation's Business in March 1949.  The writer of that article introduced readers to some of the current tales about “John Wesley Huddleston, who now ranks in local tradition with the legendary Paul Bunyan of lumber camps.” [141]

    Facilitated by Howard A. Millar, a master story teller and public relations man, the legend spread quickly after tourist operations began at the diamond field in 1951.  Millar and his father, both mining engineers, had bought a small part of the diamond field decades earlier, and had remained through the Great Depression.  While still trying to promote commercial mining, Howard Millar became the driving force behind the development of a permanent tourist industry centering upon recreational diamond hunting.  He and his wife, Modean, opened their “Crater of Diamonds” tourist attraction in 1952, and for the next sixteen years he applied his considerable talents as writer and promoter.  Drawing the attention of national magazines, newspapers, and popular new television programs, he generated more publicity for the Arkansas diamond field and its Discoverer than any person ever had. [142]   Through his published accounts, Millar also facilitated the John Huddleston Day celebration now held annually at Crater of Diamonds State Park. [143]


    Eventually, in 1995, a few relatives and other concerned citizens gathered at the grave in Japany Cemetery for a special ceremony.  A craftsman among them had replaced the river stone with a small headstone made of native rocks?a more fitting marker for an old Arkansan who loved the outdoors and prospecting.  It bore a simple identification beside an image of a sparkling gem:  “‘Diamond' John Huddleston, 1860-1936.”  Later, that modest structure was replaced with a more impressive memorial consisting of rockwork and an accompanying granite slab with the same inscription. [144]


    The well-maintained cemetery lies atop a gentle slope beside Japany Methodist Church, on Highway 301 four miles southeast of Murfreesboro.  A relative, Etta Huddleston, deeded the site to trustees when the church organized several years after John Huddleston's death. [145]   Crater of Diamonds State Park is only about two miles back up the road toward town.





    The final memorial.  Relatives and the local history society intend to correct the dates.


[137] H. E. Wheeler, “Diamonds in Arkansas,” Hobbies, The Magazine for Collectors, 51 (May 1946), 118 (quotation), reprinted from “a recent article in the official organ of the Arkansas Mineralogical Society”; obituaries below.  Wheeler said he knew the “unlettered but inquiring native who . . . sold his rocky acres for $36,000, enabling him to pay off his mortgages and insure an easy-going life at least for a few years.”


[138] “Discoverer of Diamonds in Arkansas Dies,” Arkansas Gazette , November 13, 1941, p. 2; “Discoverer of Diamond Field Buried Today,” Arkansas Democrat , November 13, 1941, p. 14; “John W. Huddleston,” Pike County Courier, November 14, 1941, p. 1; “John W. Huddleston,” Nashville News, November 14, 1941, p. 1. 

    Huddleston's survivors included four daughters:  Delia A. Harrison of Murfreesboro, Mary McKinnon and Willie Goodlett of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Eunice Gentry of El Dorado, Arkansas.  Also a brother, Drew Huddleston of Murfreesboro (Highland); a sister, Harriett Wagner; and half-sisters Markia Harris of Murfreesboro and Mollie Hatch of El Dorado. (Obituary.)  Although the writer of the obituary declared Huddleston 84 years of age, the evidence indicates he was born in 1862.  John Huddleston, himself, usually misstated his age; but this is the greatest overstatement in the records.

    The scarcity of regular headstones at the original Huddleston site in Japany Cemetery remains unexplained ? it cannot be attributed to poverty or merely to the time and place of death.  With this study as background, it is interesting to read Georgia Evans' detailed genealogy, “Fielding Huddleston and Descendants,” and then visit the gravesite.  Even Sarah and Joe May Huddleston's burial places are uncertain, although a small flat stone is embedded in the ground beside John Huddleston's grave, and there are other spaces around it.


    Huddleston's old friend and benefactor J. C. Pinnix outlived him by eight and one-half months (“J. C. Pinnix Dies at Murfreesboro,” Arkansas Gazette, July 27, 1942, p. 5).  Pinnix was 79, about the same age as Huddleston when he died.


[139] “Domestic Diamonds,” Time (July 21, 1941), 71.


[140] Shiras, “Arkansas Diamond Discoverer” (details in Bibliographic Note 4, above).


[141] Junius B. Wood, “America's 35 Acres of Diamonds,” Nation's Business, 37 (March 1949), 63-64.


Bibliographic Note 5 .   During his visit to Arkansas, Wood found a new, inventive twist in the tale about Huddleston and John C. Branner.  In 1906, he reported, Branner revisited the Pike County formation he had surveyed almost two decades earlier as State Geologist.  Hiring Huddleston as an aide, he again crawled around probing rocks and soil, examining shiny pebbles and other objects, and finally left empty-handed after three weeks.  Thus inspired, Huddleston, “an inveterate, though frustrated gold mine hunter,” found two “‘dee-mints.'”  But then, Wood said, the prospector faced a problem:  someone else owned the land.  Therefore, “shrewdly keeping his discovery a secret,” John Huddleston got an option on 160 acres around the search area, agreeing to pay a purchase price of $1,000.  Having no cash, he gave a mule as a down payment.

    Wood also learned a new version of an old tale about a leading lumberman of the area, Horace Bemis, who reportedly got involved with Huddleston and Sam Reyburn of Little Rock in September 1906.  In this story, Reyburn was on the way to negotiate the option on Huddleston's land when he ran into Bemis in Prescott, a railroad town southeast of Murfreesboro.  Learning of Reyburn's destination, Bemis provided transportation to Huddleston's place and then went off looking for diamonds while the two discussed business.

    In Wood's version, Huddleston promptly asked Reyburn for a total of $36,000, explaining the property was worth $6,000 apiece for himself, his wife, and four daughters.  When Reyburn reacted to the sum, he was told:  "If you don't want it, Mr. Bemis will buy it."  Intimidated, Reyburn grabbed the deal.  Offered a check, Huddleston refused it. "I want real money,” he said.  “Don't understand that writing on paper."

    The tale concluded with other fresh details.  Huddleston used some of the cash to buy a store and several farms and some of it for modest dowries for his daughters.  “A few years later, broke in New Orleans, he pawned the original diamonds for railroad fare back to his old hunting grounds.  As a civic duty, the Pike County Bank eventually bought the stones to exhibit to visitors.”


[142] Banks, Diamonds , “Transition to Recreational Mining,” provides context.  Aside from dates, Millar's Finders-Keepers is generally reliable for the tourist era.


Bibliographic Note 6 .  Providing further insight into the evolution of folk tales and mythology, another writer talked with “old timers” in Murfreesboro while Howard Millar was absent:  Domer L. Howard, “Diamond Mines of Arkansas,” Lapidary Journal , 5, No. 4 (October 1951), 50.  This substantial article not only reflected current variations in the stories, but also demonstrated how easily themes still got muddled when Millar was not there to focus the writer's attention.  Now, “a few weeks prior to August 8, 1906, an Englishman appeared at the Huddleston farm and requested permission to prospect the property for diamonds."  The man, who said he had long experience in South Africa, searched for "several weeks" before quitting in disgust.  Huddleston, alerted, watched for any glistening objects as he worked around the farm, and "not long thereafter" saw something while plowing.  Hoping it was a diamond, he mounted a horse and started to town . . .” (Cf. Beaumont, below, and Hugh Leiper, “Diamonds for the Finding” Lapidary Journal [April 1957], 6:  “. . . a red-necked Arkansas farmer turned over the first crystal with his plow.”)

    In town, Howard continued, "a friend hitched his team of horses to a surrey . . . and took Huddleston 12 mi. to Delight, where he caught a train for Little Rock." There, a jeweler sent the stones on to St. Louis for identification . . .

    As almost all postwar accounts, Domer Howard's depicted John Huddleston as a man addicted to gold prospecting.  Even after selling to the Little Rock group, “he procured some divining rods and continued to search for gold in other nearby places.  Local raconteurs assert that he recovered a large quantity of gold from an old Indian mound and that he also located some buried treasure in the town of Arkadelphia.”  (Cf. Millar, Finders-Keepers, 19, which adds a tale about Comanche gold, probably the treasure in Arkadelphia referred to here.)

    Huddleston “became the victim of real estate sharks, get-rich-quick schemes and phoney [sic] oil stock promoters and died a pauper and was buried in an unmarked grave,” Howard reported.  Adding a new bit of information, he revealed that friends referred to Huddleston as both “Uncle John” and “Diamond John.”  They described him as a man whose bare fist could with one blow “shatter” a 1x6” board or “knock the bark off a tree.”  They insisted he sometimes would grab his .45 revolver and shoot wasps found on a window pane in his house ? and show no concern about the shattered glass (cf. Millar's comments on the .45 and a shotgun, Finders-Keepers, 27).

    The article also included a current version of Huddleston's encounter with the mail-train, but staged it in Murfreesboro instead of Arkadelphia.  “Vowing to make the local train stop at his whim, he drove his steam buggy on the railroad tracks, stopped, leaped out and stood defiantly awaiting the arrival of the approaching train.  To his chagrin and financial loss, the train did not stop!”

    On the other hand, Howard apparently chose not to repeat another prominent tale, one offered by most old-timers this writer talked with in Murfreesboro.  Huddleston, the story goes, had never seen a “moving picture” before settling in Arkadelphia (Murfreesboro had no theatre until about 1920).  When he saw his first Western movie, he was carrying his own pistol, as some men did in those days.  Having daughters of his own, he naturally got excited when the fragile young heroine faced danger (from either a desperado or a vicious bull out in a field, depending upon whoever told the story).  What else could John Huddleston do except jump up shouting “I'll save you!” ? and proceed to empty his six-shooter into the screen.

    Of course, that incident would have gotten attention in a court of justice as well as in Arkadelphia's newspaper.  But no evidence of such behavior turned up in any record or publication reviewed for this study, including criminal and civil court proceedings and Arkadelphia's weekly Southern Standard.  Nor did it appear in Pike County records or the Pike County Courier.


    In many respects, these local versions were already out of the new mainstream by the 1950s.  Only weeks before Domer Howard's piece appeared, an article in a leading national magazine demonstrated how Howard Millar had become an overpowering magnet for inquirers:  Booten Herndon, “America's Only Diamond Mine,” Collier's, August 25, 1951, p. 62.  At the time, Millar was involved in the first tourist operation to embrace the entire diamond field, the Diamond Preserve of the United States.  About six months later he opened a reorganized tourist attraction (soon renamed the “Crater of Diamonds”) and began generating phenomenal national publicity for Arkansas' unique asset.

    The article in Collier's was essentially a long interview with Millar in Little Rock, and it underscored that mining engineer's continuing frustration over perceived obstacles to commercial success at the diamond field (see Millar's acknowledgment of the interview, Finders-Keepers, 73).  As a result, the writer's tales about the diamond field focused on its perceived richness.  As for John Huddleston, the former hero was briefly described as a "local redneck" who sold his “160 acres” for $36,000, went on a spree, and "a few years later" was “stone broke” and reduced to beggardom.  “The merchants of the town got up a fund,” said the writer, introducing a fresh theme, “and Huddleston, until the day he died, 10 years ago, stopped by the bank each morning to draw his daily allowance of one dollar.”  The article offered no details about the discovery in 1906, only general comment about the trip to the bank, where Huddleston tried to sell “what he said were two di-mints.”


    A more thorough review of local tales appeared a year later in the Arkansas Democrat:   Gerald Beaumont's feature article, “Are Arkansas Diamonds Real?” Democrat Sunday Magazine , August 3, 1952, pp. 3, 12.  Basically, this dramatized account reflected conversations with Howard Millar during the writer's visit to the reorganized Diamond Preserve tourist attraction, which Millar and his wife managed for a while.

    Now, John W. Huddleston emerged as “a local character” who owned “an isolated farm near Murfreesboro.”  He was “as strong as an ox.  His neck was long, his hands unusually large, and so expert was John with a shotgun he shot wasps on the fly for practice.  This isolated farm was acquired when he gave an old mule as down payment in the trade.”  While plowing a site “for turnip greens,” Huddleston turned up a glistening stone that “excited every emotion in the stolid farmer.”  Why?  “Once he had heard a stranger ranting about diamonds . . . bushels of then . . . hidden in the unusual soil of the scraggly field.  But a search of the ground had failed to reveal any kind of treasure.  The stranger with the peculiar accent left one night as mysteriously as he had appeared; and this had deepened John's frustration . . . as well as the curiosity of his neighbors, which had been built up to the exploding point.  The stranger happened to be Dr. John C. Branner, the state's first geologist.”

    As almost all writers, Beaumont repeated the story of the second diamond find and the visit to the bank, where the clerk offered 50¢.  “Them is dimints!” said John, emphatically, . . .  Why, them rocks glitter and shine.  I've turned then around and around in the light and I ain't seen any rocks like these here before.”

    When “the banker” took the stones to Little Rock, “Charles Stifft, the astonished jeweler, dropped his loupe through excitement for he was certain they were valuable gems.”  He sent them to go George F. Kunz, “noted gemalogist [sic] of Tiffany & Company, New York, who identified them as diamonds of fine quality, 1.35 and 2.75 carats.” (1.)

    Beaumont included a reworded version of the story about Horace Bemis and Reyburn visiting Huddleston's place, where the “shrewd and suspicious” farmer demanded $6,000, “all in greenbacks,” for each member of his household ? himself, his wife, and four daughters.  Here, again, Huddleston used Bemis for leverage:  “And Mr. Reyburn, if you don't want to buy it [the farm] you don't need to.  Mr. Bemis here will.”

    The article used several more short paragraphs to revisit other central tales.  Huddleston, now “the Diamond King,” understood “that kings gave their daughters a dowry, and so he proposed to give a thousand dollars as a dowry when each of his girls married, and he gave each her dowry when she married.”  The encounter with mailbags in Arkadelphia also received attention, with Beaumont using virtually the same tale Millar later incorporated into his memoir.  Eager to go to Little Rock, Huddleston learned the next train would not stop in Arkadelphia.  “‘I'm the Dimint King,' he said.  ‘I'll stop it!'”  As he stood on the platform waving, “the train whizzed by and poor John was knocked down by the mail bags.  Several ribs were broken, and he was weeks recuperating.”  After that Huddleston bought a car, which broke down between Arkadelphia and Murfreesboro.  “John walked off and left it and never did go back for the undependable conveyance again.”  Then, after his wife died, “he married a high-toned girl who had followed a carnival.  She wanted one of those new late model closed-in cars, and John bought one for her.  One sad day she got in the new car and drove away.”

    Thus, said Beaumont, John Huddleston's fortune dissipated, leaving him “dead broke.”  During his last year, his eyesight was bad; “but as long as he lived he looked for the blonde girl of the carnival who married him for an automobile.”  When someone was standing nearby, he would ask, “Who is that woman across the street. . . .  Is that my wife?” (12.)


     After 1952, versions of Millar's stories began appearing not only in the interviews given to newspaper and magazine writers, but also in news releases and other promotional literature produced for his tourist attraction, now called the “Crater of Diamonds” (see especially items in “Writings,” V, Crater archive; e.g., V.A.7-8, 11).  The basic tales were well refined by the mid 1950s; yet the entire body of writings and interviews reflected a story in progress.

    By the late 1960s, a basic version of Huddleston's discovery and character emerged under Millar's tutelage.  Its fictional qualities reached full bloom in a few pieces such as Robert S. McCord's article in the Arkansas Democrat in 1956 (“In Murfreesboro, More Frustrations Than Gems So Far,” Democrat Sunday Magazine, August 5, 1956, pp. 7-8).  Occasionally, old-timers around Murfreesboro still added a bit of variety; but basic components of the story were set, including Huddleston's immediate recognition of diamonds in August 1906 and his visit to Pike County Bank.  For an overview of the trend, compare McCord with Martin L. Gross, “The Incredible American Diamond Mine Mystery,” True, The Man's Magazine , September 1959, p. 55, and Ernie Deane, “Memories of Arkansas's Famous Crater of Diamonds,” Arkansas Gazette, July 6, 1969, p. 4E.  Compare Gross with the typed draft of a fictionalized article in Howard Millar's collection, “Writings,” V.A.11, Crater archive (content suggests the piece was written in the mid-to-late 1950s).  The continuing influence of Millar's basic version is evident in various items produced in the 1970s and ‘80s, including other adventure magazines (e.g., Jerry D. Wilcox, “Diamonds in Arkansas,” True West, December 1981, 24-25).


    While inspiring other writers, Howard Millar gradually put together his own memoir, a thin book eventually published as It was Finders-Keepers at America's Only Diamond Mine (New York:  Carlton Press, 1976).  In it he crystallized the story of John Huddleston that would be accepted virtually without challenge for a half century.  He had this section of the book well in hand before selling his tourist operation in 1968 and retiring to Fayetteville, Arkansas (see the comment in Deane, “Memories,” 4E).  After Millar's death, his wife, Modean, managed the final publishing of Finders-Keepers (notice that the back cover refers to the late Howard A. Millar).

    Although Millar had an extensive collection of personal papers and other records to draw from, his introduction in the memoir cautioned readers:  “Much of what I have written here is based on my memory.  So many years have passed since the early days of diamond mining in Arkansas; however, I have done my best to tell what I know and to do so honestly and accurately.  Any errors are mine, but they are unintentional.” (11.)

    Generally, the story in Finders-Keepers modified the basic themes of Wood's article, a copy of which Millar had kept in his files.  Now, Huddleston first got interested in the area where he found the diamonds because he had watched as State Geologist John C. Branner inspected it in the late 1880s, not in 1906. "It is said that John Huddleston accompanied Dr. Branner while he so carefully searched the eroded washes on the crater," Millar wrote. "John was curious by nature and this experience must have certainly stimulated his curiosity.” (21-22.)

    Similarly, the story of the purchase was modified slightly.  Huddleston "made a deal for 160 acres for $1,000," but he did so "early" in 1906, only months before the discovery.  "He didn't have the $100 the owners wanted for a down payment, so he offered a mule and they took it."  Why did he want the property?  Now, Millar suggested Huddleston bought the place "perhaps because he had a wife and four daughters and decided to settle down."  It also was possible, he said, that Huddleston thought the unusual green dirt on the farm indicated copper deposits. (19.)  The comment about settling down alluded to the writer's general characterization of Huddleston as a shiftless, irresponsible hog farmer and outdoorsman.

    Millar told readers he got the basic story of the discovery directly from John Huddleston after meeting him for the first time in 1914.  Some newspaper requested an article on the subject, Millar said, and he prodded Huddleston into telling him precisely how he found the first two diamonds.  Afterward, he took the old prospector out to the diamond field and helped him find the place where the first one turned up (at first Huddleston couldn't remember where he found it).  Millar photographed Huddleston pointing to the spot, as the newspaper had requested. (20.)  Millar said he still had the photograph (a copy in his collection, “Photographs,” unnumbered file, Crater archive, is identical to the photograph taken by Shiras, copy in the Lee Wagner Collection, File 23.80, Crater).  The newspaper article has never surfaced (it is interesting to speculate about a possible connection between this reported episode and Shiras' Baxter Bulletin (comment in Bibliographic Note 4, above).

    The John Huddleston in Finders Keepers was to some extent the same perceptive outdoorsman portrayed in one of the early tales.  He soon understood he had found diamonds; and, as in the older story, he had to convince skeptical townspeople the little gems were real. (22.)  But unlike the experienced prospector of that tale, he was neither creeping along the ground nor recognizing mica flakes when he encountered them.  Now, he was putting out rock salt for his hogs on August 8, 1906, when he noticed "small flakes of a gold-colored mineral ... too small to pick up."  So he took a pan-full of material down to a nearby creek and washed it.   Although the golden flakes (mica) floated, he found two "pretty crystals" in the pan that looked different from the common quartz of the area. (21.)

    Puzzled, Huddleston tested the crystals against his corundum grinding wheel, which quickly suffered damage.  "The clerk had told me it was made from material that was so hard it would cut anything but a diamond," Huddleston reportedly told Millar, "so I was sure these two strange little crystals were diamonds."  The next morning, he rode a mule to the Pike County Bank in Murfreesboro and tried to determine the value of the stones by asking the cashier, Jess Riley, what he would give for them.  Riley's indifferent offer of fifty cents drew a sharp reaction:  "Hell no, Jess, these are deemints and I got a whole field of `em!"  At that point the president of the bank, J. C. Pinnix, intervened and sent the crystals to his friend Charles Stifft in Little Rock. (22-23.)


    In Finders-Keepers , Millar revisited the colorful story of Horace Bemis that had appeared earlier in Nation's Business.   Again, Sam Reyburn of Little Rock chanced upon Bemis, the lumber baron, in Prescott and "confessed his mission."  But this time "Bemis told him he was on his way to Murfreesboro also, to buy a diamond from John Huddleston."  The gracious Bemis offered a ride, and then "soon left" after arriving at Huddleston's home.

    In this expanded and more dramatic version, Huddleston still used Bemis to intimidate Reyburn into meeting certain demands.  "Reyburn, noting the lanky farmer's obvious lack of education and his poverty, apparently assumed that the right price would be a low one, so he offered $12,000."  Flatly refusing, Huddleston said he probably could get $100,000, but would take $36,000 cash ?$6,000 for each member of his family.  He asked for payment in $10 bills.  "If Reyburn wouldn't pay it, John commented he was sure Mr. Bemis would."  Millar said Huddleston loved to tell how he had "worked" Reyburn into giving him the $36,000. (25-26.)

    Although John Huddleston might have contributed to this account, Millar's depiction of Reyburn was consistent with his longstanding assault on the Little Rock banker, whom Millar blamed for his own commercial failure. ( Finders-Keepers, 38ff.; cf. details in Banks, Diamonds, passim [in the online edition, search “conspiracy” and “syndicate” especially].)


    Some parts of Millar's story have no evident roots in the tales circulating before Huddleston's death.  While promoting tourism in the 1950s, for instance, Millar had introduced the colorful tobacco-sack story, which asserted that Huddleston accumulated "a 'BULL DURAM' sack full of sparkling rough diamonds" soon after finding the first two. "It is said that John had several large stones among those in that sack that weighted up to 15 or 16 carats each," gems so beautiful that they made the eyes of visiting scientists "'bug out' with surprise.”  In another piece of promotional literature, the sack was only half full and the diamonds averaged only "the size of a big pea, to use Huddleston's words."  (Millar, “The Occurrence of Diamonds in Pike County Arkansas,” p. 1, typed and undated, in Writings, V.A.7, Crater aarchive; “Outline of the Arkansas Mine (Present Wilkerson Property),” typed on Crater of Diamonds letterhead stationery, undated, V.A.8, Crater.)

    By August 1956, Millar had settled on a short version of the tale.   Before selling his property, Huddleston “had picked up a tobacco-sack full of diamonds.  He sold these for $40,000.” (McCord, “Frustrations,” p. 9.)  Finally, the memoir elaborated a bit more:  "Between the time Huddleston found his first diamonds and sold out to the Little Rock buyers, he found at least twenty-one more stones and possibly more.  He told me in later years that he sold a tobacco sack full of diamonds for $40,000.  Whether he was paid for these in ‘twenties,' I don't know." ( Finders-Keepers, 26.)  “Twenties” alluded to another comment in the memoir ? the assertion that when Huddleston sold his property to Reyburn's group, he demanded and received $36,000 in $10 bills (25-26).  In an earlier version about the sale, Millar used $20 bills instead (Deane, “Memories,” 4E).

    “Diamond John” Huddleston no doubt had contributed to the tobacco-sack story at some point.  But it was inspired by diamonds found after he agreed to continue diamond hunting for Sam Reyburn's group when it got an option on the farm in September 1906.  Such diamonds belonged to Reyburn, the group's trustee, to be returned to the Huddlestons only if the group dropped the option; but evidently the newly famous John Huddleston was allowed to keep “demonstration” diamonds while in the field.  A small Bull Durham tobacco sack would have served him well.


    Other stories in Finders-Keepers include the incident at the railway station in Arkadelphia, discussed above at length.  As other writers, Millar ignored the tale about the movie (comment above, with Howard, “Diamond Mines of Arkansas”).


[143] Millar's influence is most noticeable in the literature distributed for John Huddleston Day.  His account of the discovery, taken from Finders-Keepers, has greeted park visitors for many years.  Similarly, permanent displays at the park have been based upon his version of history, including erroneous dates.  The Park Superintendent understands the problem and intends to correct errors.


[144] Tommy Fugitt of Murfreesboro, the son of Harold Fugitt, did the initial rockwork.  The author was in Murfreesboro at the time.


[145] Pike, Deed Record 42, p. 389, Warranty Deed, October 21, 1947.  The property lies in the East ½ of the SW ¼ of Section 27, Township 8 S, Range 25 W.  The cemetery is unfenced and quite accessible.