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MUSEUM MUSINGS: Harrison man kept GI Joes in Korea supplied


Crump Garvin (second from right) arrives at the Dothan, Alabama, Municipal Airport to take command of Camp Rucker. Garvin, a native of Harrison, was in charge of supplies during the Korean War.

Written by David Holsted, published in the Harrison Daily Times on July 16, 2020

In the spring of 1951, Communist forces in North Korea began their spring offensive. U.S. Army Major General Crump Garvin, for one, was glad to see it.

“It will get them out in the open,” Garvin said. “You can kill a lot more of them that way.”

The outspoken general from Harrison, Arkansas, was on a roll.

“It would appear to me,” he said, “that they need one more good whipping before they’re ready to do any talking. Of course, China has a puppet government. The Politburo and Uncle Joe Stalin have to decide when the talking will begin.”

Garvin uttered this pronouncement in April, 1951, in Little Rock, where he was visiting his brother, O. W. “Pete” Garvin. Since July 4, 1950, Garvin had been in charge of supply at the South Korean seaport of Pusan.

The difficulty of Garvin’s task as supply officer was immense.

“But the GI Joes of the United Nations forces had to be served, even though the supply lines from Pusan into the interior ran over perilous mountains and rain soaked terrain during the summer months and almost impassable trails and snow and sleet-swept valleys in winter, with mercury almost frozen in thermometers.”

Garvin was born in 1898 in Harrison. His parents were Ford M. and Mintie Crump Garvin. His grandfather was George J. Crump, one of Arkansas’ earliest lawyers.

Garvin attended Hendrix College before entering the U. S. Military Academy at West Point. When he graduated in 1920, the commandant at West Point was Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Garvin later served his first overseas assignment under MacArthur in the Philippines in 1924-26. He also served under MacArthur in World War II and the Korean War.

During his time in the Army, Garvin was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia; Jefferson Barracks, Missouri; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Atlanta; Hawaii; and Yokohama, Japan. He spent 45 months overseas during World War II.

In 1922, Garvin married Ollie Tully of Eufala, Alabama.

While in command at Pusan, Garvin took particular interest in the 936th and 937th Field Artillery groups. The men were from Arkansas, and Garvin watched them as they prepared for battle.

“They are both fine outfits,” Garvin said. “The spirit was high and they wanted to get right into it. They were two of the best outfits I saw, and I saw all of the men going into Korea.”

Commenting on the war effort in Korea, Garvin said the morale of American troops was improving. Supplies were coming through better, and morale was boosted by advances made against the enemy.

“We still think we can give them (the Reds) a good licking,” Garvin said emphatically.

While in Little Rock, the general and his wife saw for the first time their grandson, George Handley III, who was born at Adams Field. The boy’s mother was Kakii Garvin Handley, who was the Cotton Bowl queen in 1947. George Handley Jr. was a captain, stationed at Fort Sill.

The Garvins’ other children were First Lt. Ford Garvin and First Lt. Daniel Garvin, both stationed in the Far East with the Air Force.

After visiting friends and relatives in Arkansas, Garvin went to Camp Rucker in Alabama, where he took over as commanding officer.

On May 4, 1951, the Enterprise (Ala.) Ledger did a feature on the new commanding officer of Camp Rucker.

“Out in Boone County, Arkansas, they’re ‘powerful proud’ of Crump Garvin.

“And in the shade trees that stand like silent sentinels keeping their vigil over a passing world, old timers still watch the sun go ’round the cannon in the square in front of the courthouse and talk about the yesteryears when Crump Garvin’s folks were perusing the local public prints for news of the Spanish-American War.

“The man of whom this quiet Arkansas county seat of more than five thousand friendly folks are proud is none other than Major General Crump Garvin, proud possessor of the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and the Commendation Ribbon.”

Garvin died on September 10, 1990, in Atlanta. He was buried in Marietta (Georgia) National Cemetery.

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MUSEUM MUSINGS: Snakes alive! VanCamp was here

Written by David Holsted, published in the Harrison Daily Times on July 9, 2020

Albert VanCamp had some inside tips for bargain hunters.

Two chickens were worth one wife. A goat was worth two wives, while a dog was worth wives.

VanCamp’s matrimonial measuring stick pertained only to certain African chieftains, and it was part of program he presented to a Lions Club meeting at the Hotel Seville in July of 1937.

And speaking of lions, VanCamp added that when a hunter returned with three lions, he was given a feast by the chieftain that lasted for several days.

New York City native VanCamp was an explorer, big game hunter and lecturer who spent a week in Harrison and the area. An architect by trade, he had visited 42 countries and had spent about seven years hunting big game.

VanCamp was on his way to join an expedition in Mexico City. From there, he would embark on a six-month study of the interior tribes of South America. His main objective, according to a story in the Harrison Daily Times, was to locate some of the “head hunter tribes and gain possession of some of the shrunken heads that have been processed by South American tribes.”

VanCamp’s main objective while in Boone County was to continue his research on reptiles, particularly snakes. His collection consisted of between 800 and 900 snakes. VanCamp said that one of the biggest rattlesnakes he ever caught was at the Hunter community. The snake had 19 rattles, was between 25 and 28 years old and had terrorized the community for 15 years, he added.

According to VanCamp, Arkansas had the largest variety of snakes in the United States.

VanCamp had visited and explored Africa six times. Its wild beasts and strange tribes of people made for fascinating exploration, he said. He had once been bitten on the hand by an African brille snake. It took him three years to recover from the resulting illness, and he lost 70 pounds.

VanCamp came to Boone County at the invitation of Harrison school superintendent G. L. Brewer, who he had met previously.

In addition to the Lions, while in Harrison, VanCamp spoke before the Rotarians and made presentations to students at Woodland Heights and Eagle Heights schools.