Story after story has been told and written about the meaning and/or source of my hometown…Jenny Lind, a small coal mining town in Sebastian county, Arkansas.
Some seem to think our town could have taken it’s name from a coal mine named Jenny Lind, but the Western Coal & Mining Company was the largest operator in this area with operating mines No. 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19. If there was a mine in this field named Jenny Lind, it would have been a small early working one.
Walter J. Kirby of Little Rock Published and article on Jenny Lind’s earliest post office stating it was named Actus, causing some to think our town was named Actus at one time.
Another story reveals her name as Goldschmidt, who at one time was the richest and most famous singer in the world.
In 1880 coal was discovered in Jenny Lind where the millionaire Jay Gould formed the Western Coal & Mining Company and built a railroad.
Some have credited Jay Gould’s cultured daughter of naming our town Jenny Lind, but the one I like the best is: on October 6, 1820, a daughter was born to Annie Marie and Niklas Lind. They were Swedish peasants. They named her Jenny.
It was discovered she had a remarkable voice and the director of the Stockholm Royal Opera arranged for the Swedish government to pay for Jenny Lind’s musical education, calling her a Swedish Nightingale.
She spent the next twenty years giving concerts in all parts of the continent and England.
Jenny Lind’s last public appearance was in Dusseldorff in 1870. Her name became a household word.
One day, at the height of her fabulous career she left the stage and never returned…choosing to live in privacy.
An English friend found her sitting n the steps of a small beach cottage watching a magnificent sunset over the ocean. On her knee was a Bible. They talked for awhile and eventually the English woman asked the inevitable question: “Madam, how is it that you came to abandon the stage at the eight of your career?” Jenny Lind answered: “When every day is made me think less of this,” she said, laying her hand on the Bible, and nothing at all of that,” while pointing to the sunset, “what else could I do?”
Jenny Lind did more than read the Bible. She responded to it’s call on her own life as well.
Gone are the coal mines and the Missouri Pacific railroad, but Jenny Lind’s simplicity, in a way, still remains and continues to charm those of us; like myself, who lives right around the corner, down the road apiece from where I was born.