August 18

The Historical Job Neill Letters


The Job Neill letters were written by Job Stark Neill, the son of Henry and Dorcas Stark Neill about 135 years ago. Neill was born in the Neill homestead at Desha (Alderbrook at that time) in Independence County in 1840. These historical letters were published for the first time in the Independence County Chronicle after which were made available to the public by Mrs. Walker A. Dowell of Walnut Ridge.


The Job Neill letters were kept because of their historical significance. One of the reasons is that these letters document the life of a young daring gentleman who was among the first people from Arkansas to volunteer for the Confederate Army. Job worked as a private in Captain William E. Gibb’s Company.  These letters also show how life was in Arkansas a few days before the Civil War.  The letters also give a glimpse of the life of a twenty one year old intelligent, willing and vainglorious man.

Job knew he was not going to get permission from his parents to volunteer, so, he ran away from home. These letters were his only means of communication to his mother, father and brother apologizing for having left home. Most of the letters he wrote to his mother were not traced but a few to his father and brother were found. Job in his letters used to inform his family of how he was fairing on with his duties and life in general. The letters were found with lots of finger prints but the message was still readable.

There are other letters, though not written by Job Stark Neil, which are included in Job Neill letters collection.  These letters were written by his younger brother, which with no doubt shows that the brothers shared the same views and convictions. Robert, Job’s younger brother also endeavored to write about the life of Job in his letters. Other captains and doctors including Dr. William M Lawrence also wrote to the Neill’s parents after Job died in the war. In his letter, Dr. William says

“……my dear brother fell. I was denied the poor consolation of standing by his side, but I have it for those who saw that he died the death of a soldier…….”

Remains of private Job Stark Neill were initially buried in the Neill’s corn patch lot then later removed and interred in the Neill lot in Oakland cemetery in Batesville. Robert remained with a lock of Job’s hair.

March 5

Olive Oil A Great Alternative Moisturizer For People With Allergies


Olive oil is a great moisturizer for people with dry skin, and can be especially good for people who are allergic to traditional skin creams. Unlike moisturizers that contain chemicals and additives, it is unlikely that you will have an allergic reaction to olive oil. Olive oil and other cooking oils have long been a folk cure for dry skin, and they remain popular because they work.

According to research published in the medical journal Contact Dermatitis, the chances of allergic reactions from using olive oil topically is very rare. It does recommend that patients not use it for treating eczema caused by blood flow issues, because it can rarely be irritating in this circumstance. However, for otherwise healthy patients it rarely causes any issues.

There is also evidence that olive oil and help protect your skin from damage when you get too much sun, according to a peer-reviewed study published in Carcinogenesis in 2000. While the study was conducted on mice, it showed a reduced number of tumors in the mice who were coated with olive oil and then exposed to UVB rays such as those from the sun versus those who received the exposure without olive oil.

If you can avoid your allergy issues, you can even add essential oils or other fragrances to your olive oil. This will keep you from craving pasta all day because you smell like an Italian restaurant! If these also cause you to have an allergic reaction, it is not a problem. In most cases, you will be the only one who smells anything out of the ordinary. If others can smell it, you may want to consider using less oil the next time you apply it.

You can apply it straight to your skin or add a few drops into the bath and then soak in it. You can also add it to the lotion you already use, if there is a hypo allergenic option that works for you. It is important, though, to avoid getting the oil on clothing and other fabrics, because it can leave greasy stains.

If you have dry skin but have developed a reaction to store-bought moisturizing products, topical lotions or creams, you may want to try olive oil. It will add moisture to your skin while also keeping in your skin’s natural moisture in the same way these store-bought products do, but without the breakouts or hives. If you are seeing a dermatologist or allergist, you may want to mention it to someone at their office first, but in most cases olive oil does not cause any reaction when applied topically.

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