It was 25 years ago, Aug. 17, 1988, when a special section recognized Thomas and Patsy Wilson on being named the 1988 Lonoke County Farm Family. Part of the charm of the family was that the fourth generation still lived on the farm.

Unfortunately, "[Thomas] passed away 18 years ago," Patsy Wilson said in a phone call. And during the economic downturn early in the new century the family got out of farming, she said.

Now in her 80s, Wilson said she still gets around, but "not very much." Son, Mike, is chief of police, and son Johnie Ray also lives in Lonoke.

It was during the late 19th Century when Thomas’ grandfather Johnie F. Wilson, stepped from a covered wagon at age 12 to settle on the ground with his parents.

By 1988, Johnie Ray, with wife, Nita, and Mike Wilson, with wife, Betty, remained on the farm, with their children Alison and Lindsey, and Zachary.

At the time, the two Wilson daughters lived elsewhere, Patti, a student at Conway, and Nancy Gail, residing in California.

The article told of Mike and Johnie Ray producing rice and soybeans on the farm southeast of Lonoke, of Thomas and Patsy telling about their life and farming experiences, and of changing times.

Thomas told of the changes since he was growing up on the farm. "All our vehicles are equipped with radio, including tractors and combines; individuals carry walkie-talkies, and we can communicate at all times with agricultural pilots when they’re flying on our farm," he said.

"There’s no doubt that technology has made farming easier - we don’t have to work so hard. But, the stress and strain are worse. There was a time when we’d take off on a weekend, go over to Bayou Des Arc, and forget all about the farm," but that is no longer possible, Wilson recalled.

Along with telling about the challenges she faced during 36 years of marriage, Patsy shared some of the family favorite recipes she had put together.


This recipe has been a longtime family favorite. It was one of Thomas Ray Wilson’s mother’s recipes. "I changed it a little over the years," says Mrs. Wilson, "but it’s still the same."

1 cup Bisquick

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk

Mix together and put into a 9"x13"x2" pan.

Place one pint frozen peaches or two cups fresh peaches and sugar over the top of the batter. Dot with 1/2 stick margarine

and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until brown on top.

Serve warm or cold.

This is especially good warm with icc cream.



1 cup, plus 1 Tbsp. yellow cornmeal, divided

1 cup milk

2 eggs

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. soda

1/2 cup bacon drippings

1 (17 oz.) can cream-style corn

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cheddar cheese, shredded

4 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped

Combine one cup cornmeal, milk, eggs, salt, soda, bacon drippings, and corn in a bowl; mix and set aside.

Saute ground beef until lightly browned; drain thoroughly, and set aside.

Sprinkle remaining cornmeal in a greased 10 1/2-inch iron skillet; pour half of cornmeal batter into skillet.

Sprinkle evenly with beef; top with onions, then cheese. Add peppers evenly on top. Pour remaining batter over top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.



9 to 10 large ripe tomatoes

1 large onion, quartered

1 small carrot, sliced

1/2 cup finely chopped jalapeno peppers

1/2 cup finely chopped chili peppers

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 1/2 tsp. pickling salt

1 Tbsp. garlic salt

Drop tomatoes in boiling water for 30 second, remove and place in cold water, then peel, core, and quarter tomatoes.

Place small amounts of tomato, onion, and carrot in an electric blender or processor; blend until finely chopped. Repeat until all vegetables are chopped.

Combine vegetables and remaining ingredients in a Dutch oven; cook over medium heat 30 minutes.

Pour into hot sterilized jars, leaving l/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids; process 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Yield: 4 1/2 pints.



1 can chicken broth

1 pint half-and-half

3 Tbsp. flour

4 Tbsp. butter

114 cup celery, chopped

1/4 cup onion, chopped

Broccoli (cooked and chopped)

1/2 lb. Velveeta

Melt butter. Sauté onion and celery. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly.

Add chicken broth and stir until smooth.

Add half-and-half and cheese.

Stir until cheese melts and the soup is heated thoroughly.

Add broccoli and heat, but don’t boil.



1 pound bulk hot sausage

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped green pepper

2 10-3/4 oz. cans chicken broth

1 cup uncooked regular rice

1 1/2, tsp salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Brown sausage in a heavy skillet; add celery, onion, and green pepper and simmer until tender. Add broth, rice, and seasonings; stir to mix. Pour into a two-quart casserole. Cover and bake at 325 degrees for one hour. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.



In a large bowl:

1 1/2 cups oil

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

Beat with a mixer until creamy.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Add a small amount at a time to creamy mixture, beating until smooth.


1 tsp. vanilla

3 cups finely chopped apples (Granny Smith are best)

1 cup chopped nuts

Grease and flour pan, either bundt or sheet cake pan may be used. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.



(Older it gets, better it is)

1/2 cup naked coconut

1/2 cup chopped nuts

2 Tbsp. margarine or butter

8 oz. can crushed pineapple

1 pkg. super-moist yellow cake mix

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 12-inch bundt pan.

Drain pineapple thoroughly, reserving juice.

Mix coconut, nuts and margarine. Sprinkle over bottom of pan.

Beat cake mix, oil, pineapple juice and eggs in large mixing bowl at low speed until moistened, then beat at medium speed for two minutes.

Turn batter into pan. Spoon pineapple evenly over batter.

Bake until cake springs back when touched, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool pan on wire rack before removing cake from pan.

bowl at low speed until moistened, then beat at medium speed for two minutes. Turn batter into pan. Spoon pineapple evenly over batter.

Bake until cake springs back when touched, about 45 to 50 minutes.

Cool pan on wire rack before removing cake from pan.


Lemon Squares

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. salt

2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. sugar

2Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. grated lemon rind

Lemon Glaze recipe

Combine butter, powdered sugar, one cup flour and 1/8 tsp. salt; blend until smooth. Pat dough into a lightly greased, 9" square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients except those for lemon glaze, mix until blended. Pour over crust and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Brush with lemon glaze while warm. Cut into 1 1/2" squares. Yield: 3 doz.


2 Tbsp. lemon juice

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 Tbsp. melted butter or margarine

Combine all ingredients; mix until smooth; about one cup.


The section also featured some recipes to promote the upcoming Lonoke County Fair:


makes 27 1-inch by 3-inch bars

Homemade shortbread rivals even the best store-bought. Mini chocolate chips enhance this county fair winner.

2 cups all-purpose. flour

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 cup butter, softened

5 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup (3 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate mini morsels

In medium bowl, stir together flour and sugar. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until evenly combined. Mix in egg yolks and vanilla until well blended.

Fold in morsels.

Spread mixture evenly in 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

Bake in pre-heated 300F oven until firm and light brown, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Cut into 27 1 x 3-inch bars.



8 servings

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups applesauce

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/4 cup lemon juice, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 9·inch pie shell, unbaked - If you use a frozen pie shell, it must be deep

dish style.

1 large cooking apple

1/4 cup apricot jam

In large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, applesauce, brown sugar, flour, lemon peel, 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, salt and spices until well blended. Pour into pie shell.

Bake in preheated 450F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 300F and continue baking until knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly on wire rack.

Core apple and cut into thin slices. In small bowl, toss apple slices with remaining lemon juice to prevent browning. Arrange apple slices in pinwheel fashion over top of baked pie. In small saucepan over low heat, melt jam. Brush apple slices with melted jam. Broil about 6" from heat until apples are soft and jam is bubbly, about 3 to 4 minutes.