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 William Thomas “Will” Caviness

William Thomas “Will” Caviness

Gravelly, Yell County, Arkansas, USA
Death 23 Sep 1924 (aged 56)
Carlsbad, Eddy County, New Mexico, USA
Burial Carlsbad, Eddy County, New Mexico, USA
Memorial ID 65628099 · View Source
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The following beautiful tribute to the memory of W. T. Caviness, former prominent citizen of Yell County, who died at his home in Carlsbad, New Mexico, on Tuesday, Sept. 23, appeared in the Carlsbad Current of September 28th:

(It is very fitting that the following article was written by a descendant of James Miller, the first governor of Arkansas, but he seems to be too modest to let that fact be known, and is none other than John W. Wells, who has a very warm place in his heart for those coming from that great state.—Editor Current.)

Carlsbad friends were greatly shocked early this week when the news flashed out that Will Caviness, prominent and popular cotton farmer of Carlsbad was in the throes of an illness that would, without doubt, claim his life. From that moment until he breathed his last at 11 p. m., Tuesday, anxious friends made frequent calls, either in person or by telephone, in the vain hope that he would rally and recover. Being in somewhat of a weakened condition because he had not been strong for some time, the valiant fight for life that he put up was without avail, and although he would rally time and again, coming back from death's very door, the disease finally gained the upper hand, and in that quiet hour of the night, when all is hush and expectancy, the spirit of Will Caviness departed from the body for that shore from whose bourne no traveler returns.

He died as he had lived; honest and without fear, excepting that inherent sense that all God-fearing men hold for the Deity above. The immediate cause of death was diagnosed by his physician, Doctor W. F. Glasier, as Influenza, followed by accute uremia.

Will T. Caviness was born March 3, 1868, in Gravelly, Yell County, Arkansas. He was a descendant of that grand old state's early pioneers both on his mother's and father's side, they having settled in that section of Arkansas as early as 1838. The beautiful scenic highway through Fourche Valley, now traversed by countless automobiles, covers the identical trail that was blazed by Will Caviness's grandfather almost a century ago.

He was a life long Democrat and since early manhood has been actively identified with that party; always as a leader; upholding right. His friends say for him that he could have had almost any public office in his home state, but aside from accepting offices in his home county, he elected to remain at home and assist in directing the political affairs of his party.

He was elected treasurer of Yell county, Arkansas, in 1910, which office he held four years. In 1914, immediately following the successful tenure in that office, he was elected Sheriff of his county and served four years in that capacity. He was known far and wide as a man of unimpeachable integrity; one whose watchword was honesty, fearlessness and justice. To demonstrate the esteem in which he was held in his home state, upon being elected to office the law required a one hundred thousand dollar bond. Voluntarily, and without Mr. Caviness' knowledge, his friends went to the proper authorities and signed a bond for $200,000.00, double the amount required, merely to express their sincere friendship and trust.

Will Caviness was married twice; the first time in early manhood to Lizzie Campbell of his home county. To this union were born nine children, two of whom died in infancy. The remaining seven, Mabel, Geneva, Mack, Oda, Sid, Inez and Lola, are still living.

A few years after the death of his first wife, Mr. Caviness married Flora Flater, also of his home county, who survives him. To this union were born three children, Roy, James and Neill, all living. The children remaining at home are: Lola, Sid, Roy, James and Neill, all of whom are well known in Carlsbad and the lower valley. The remaining children are married and living in Arkansas, with the exception of Mrs Jim McCall, who with her husband resides at Tuscon, Arizona.

Will Caviness was one of the first of the present known "Arkansas Colony" to come to the Pecos valley where he arrived in 1921, and purchased the Bolles farm. He was soon followed, however, by other influential farmers from his home county, including Judge J. P. McCall, and the many other families who are now well known to Carlsbad people. All of these Mr. Caviness was instrumental in bringing to our valley.

Funeral services of the deceased was conducted from the home, near Otis Wednesday afternoon and was attended by more than four hundred people. The floral offerings were beautiful, and banked about the silent casket in such profusion, bespoke more forcible than words, the depth of the feeling of loss that his taking away created in the hearts of his hundreds of friends.

The services at the Caviness home were conducted by Reverend McKee, Presbyterian minister of Carlsbad, music being furnished by Mrs. Glasier at the piano and a mixed choir of men and women. The hymns used were: "Abide With Me" and "Asleep in Jesus"—both favorites of Mr. Caviness.

The long procession of automobiles left the Caviness home about five o'clock for the cemetery, where a second service was held at the grave by Eddy Lodge No. 21, A. F. & A. M. About 75 Masonic brethren of the deceased attended this service.

Will Caviness, with the inborn spirit of his forefathers, was the first to leave his native land for a new home in the West. Of the forty families or more from Arkansas that he has been instrumental in gathering around him in the Pecos valley, he is likewise the first to depart. When his remains were tenderly laid away in their final resting place in the Carlsbad cemetery, a lasting void was created; not alone with the family where he was known only as a kind and doting father, husband and brother, but with the hundreds of friends whom this remarkable character has gathered around him, in close association, in the comparatively short time he has been among us.

Few of us there are, indeed, who cannot make friends, but rare is the man who holds them all. Will Caviness, ever charitable, thoughtful, indulgent and kind, possessed that most unusual faculty of making his friendship felt. He will be missed, keenly for a long, long time, and never will the gap be bridged sufficiently to erase the lasting, loving memory of this man.

The Current, as do the many, many friends of the family, extends sincere sympathy to those who mourn.

(Post-Dispatch Newspaper, Dardanelle, Arkansas, pub. Oct 9, 1924 - Obituary courtesy of Dardanelle Public Library Archives, Arkansas River Valley Regional Library System, Dardanelle, Arkansas)





  • Maintained by: Mary Fowler Leek
  • Originally Created by: Betty
  • Added: 14 Feb 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 65628099
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for William Thomas “Will” Caviness (3 Mar 1868–23 Sep 1924), Find A Grave Memorial no. 65628099, citing Carlsbad Cemetery, Carlsbad, Eddy County, New Mexico, USA ; Maintained by Mary Fowler Leek (contributor 47354030) .