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RISON'S FIRST ELECTRIC GIN - After his other mill burned, Ira E. Moore replaced it with Rison's First electric-powered cotton gin. In this
photo on this and next page, farmers and locals pose with wagon loads of cotton ready to be ginned.

Since its earliest settlement through the World War II era, cotton was an important Cash crop in the area where Rison developed. Although not as fertile as in the Delta, the land around Rison was suitable for production of upland short staple cotton. Most of the farming of the area was of a subsistence nature. Small farmers produced most of what they needed and grew cotton for its Cash value to purchase items they could not produce an their farms. However, many landowners, especially those with large holdings, participated in the cotton market economy by utilizing the sharecropper and rental System. Consequently, Rison became a lively, Small scale marketing Center for cotton. Some of the landowners also operated cotton gros and required their sharecroppers and tenants to use their gros to haue the cotton baled and ready for sale. At one time or another, there were three cotton gros in or around Rison: Rison Gin Company, Farmers Gin and Seed Company, and Moores Gin,

owned by LE. Moore.
During the cotton picking and ginning season, which started in August and lasted through Thanksgiving, it was typical to See long lines of wagons waiting patiently to haue the cotton vacuumed out of the wagons and fed into the ginning machinery. Most of the wagons had high side boards and carried 1,400 to 1,500 pounds of freshly picked cotton. After the ginning was completed, the bales which usually weighed 400 to 500 pounds were loaded an the wagon at the other end of the gin together with the cotton seed which was blown loose into the wagon. The finished bale and the seed were then driven to a warehouse where the bale and seed were unloaded and the cotton grower and the landowner settled their accounts. It was customary for the landowner to "furnish'' the sharecropper or tenant goods necessary for the family to live an until the cotton was harvested and Sold. The "furnish" was actually a credit system usually at a Store owned by the Land holder. When the

accounts were settled what was left was paid to the sharecropper or tenant in cash. Many times the value of the cotton was not enough for the tenant to "pay out" and the cycle began again. In the good years the fall season was one of much hustle and bustle. The family had money for new things, so the entire family looked forward to the trips to the gin. The children were always excited at this time. School was starting and the county fair and a carnival was in town. People who had not Seen each other through the summer months were able to renew old acquaintances and swap Stories about their summer experiences. Undoubtedly many new romances were begun at this time.
By the 1920's with the coming of automobiles, the telephone, the radio and moving pictures much of the Luster of the fall cotton season began to fade. However, many Small communities such as Rison still hold county fairs and offer some entertainment in the fall season.

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