Nathaniel Baxter Musteen: Benton County Arkansas Roads

Nathaniel Baxter Musteen

Nathaniel Baxter Musteen with one of the draft horses used to pull grading equipment for Benton County roads.

Nathaniel, born Aug 7 1876, held a contract with Benton County, AR, to grade roads, and heavy equipment was drawn by teams of large draft animals. Dad once said Grandpa’s barn had room for 65 horses. If any cousins have different details about the number of horses, know more about the equipment, own photos, etc., please email me (rebecca-johnson@sbcglobal.net), or post details in the comments section below.

I know very little about the types of equipment, other than graders for the many dirt roads. And I’ve never seen a photo of a wide, multi-pronged grader…Dad talked about the horses, barn and equipment a few times as I grew up.

Grandpa was still using horses for several years after the last children, Dad and Jack, were born in September of 1929. Nathaniel stood well over six feet, so you can see in the photo above that his horses were sturdy work animals.

Rogers  Brick Streets

Rogers brick streets, photo from Wikipedia, with permission of Douglas Wertman

For years I believed he had paved the brick streets in downtown Rogers, but I later learned that Grandpa’s crews graded the roadbed very finely, and an outside contractor from another town brought his teams to place the bricks.

Debbie Musteen Phillips and Rebecca Musteen Johnson

Debbie and Becky on Grandma’s block

When Grandpa died from a heart attack at age 70 in 1946, he left the frontage of an entire commercial block on 2nd street to my grandmother. Their white stucco home was on the south end, next was a barber shop. Other businesses included a tire shop, a laundry and a grocery at the north end, managed by Jack and Rosemary Garner who attended the Church of Christ with Grandma.

My  cousin, Debbie Musteen Phillips, scanned the only photo I have of Grandma’s block view. The house and the small, white frame barber shop are south of where she’s standing behind me. Debbie reminded me recently that Grandma was always telling us to stand facing into the sunlight as she snapped photos…resulting sometimes in glaring squints instead of relaxed smiles!

If anyone has more photos of this block, please let me know. The buildings have recently been demolished to build a large, national chain gas station.

Share