By Rolonda Teal
Arthur Bush was born July 31, 1918 to Dave Alton and Betty Fogueman Bush. As a child he grew up and played in the area off Sycamore St. Some of his neighbors were the Creightons, Grappes, Wrights, Martins, Sibleys, Mowads, and Lillys. He attended Sabine Parish Training School, which at the time encompassed most of the land north of town. The school site had a barn and equipment for agriculture classes. There was also chickens and hogs for studetns to raise along with peach trees which were planted and cultivated there.
Arthur's father worked at the lumber mill which was located where Many Lumber Co. is today. All that time everything traveled by train so all the land where Fred's and Brookshire's store is located was a part of the mill site. When the trains arrived to pick up lumber they often had to get water that was used to run the engines from a deep well that was located inside the Many Depot. Other items delivered by train included new cars which were unloaded and then driven to Ford Motor Co. The old Ford Company was located were the radio station is today on SAn Antonio Ave. Another service the train provided was carrying the mail. When the letters and parcels were unloaded, Elias Sibley would ride by horseback to the various post offices to deliver the items.
In its heyday there were hundreds of stacks of lumber in the yard on any day so Arthur and his friends played there on Sunday evenings. Other forms of entertainment came during the Fair season. Arthur felt those days were better because the Fair used to feature airplane stunts. Parachute jumpers and sometimes exotic animals were brought in like leopards and lions.
Mr. Bush also remembered a time when Many was quite a bustling community. Over the years there were several businesses there that have moved on or closed for various reasons. Some of the places he recalled were the Nehi Bottling Co. which was on Hwy 171 just past Dr. Bray's Dentist office. There was a large dairy farm which supplied milk for the whole town at one point, and later that land was taken over by J.C. Penny Co. The water take situated on Church St. supplied the town's water. There was also an ice plant in town, a cross tie yard, a cotton gin where Henderson's Body Shop is located, a bakery near S. Capitol and Geogia streets, a stave mill for making barrels, and the Carson Furniture plant. These are a few of the businesses that Arthur could recall, yet they all speak to the diversity of industry and growth of Many.
Finally, Mr. Bush recalled some of his family's life and his own while living in Many. He married Evelyn Newton and they had two sons and one daughter from that union. Bush served in the US Army from 1942-1945, worked for the Valley Electric in Natchitoches, and worked at Fort Polk over the years. His contribution to the black community was in drawing the blueprints for the building of Jerusalem Baptist Church in 1960. He also drew plans for the additional space placed on Bethel Baptist Church. Bush retired from the Sabine Parish School Board in December 1978.
Mr. Bush feels he has lived a happy and fulfilling life in Many, and recalled it all began with his great-grandparents, Lewis and Fannie Sweet, who once owned the land where Guys and Dolls Salon is currently located. He also wished to acknowledge his Uncle Buck Sweet who planted the Oak trees that line Capitol and Main streets. Without their presence in this region, Bush would have never known this place that he is delighted to call home.