My great-grandfather, Joel Edward Flippen, was born in north AL in the county of Madison / Decatur / Jackson [the same area had all three names]. He and his wife, Nellie Baird (Young) Flippen, moved to Van Buren, AR to be near an uncle. Traveling from AL to AR required that they cross the Mississippi River. To make the crossing, they had to tie down their household goods, including a hand-turned spool bed that had crossed through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian Mountains during a previous generation. The ropes wore away at the bed and burned marks into it. The marks are still visible today. [My mom has the beautiful walnut bed.]
Joel Edward Flippen's uncle had land on the river with his home situated away from the water and the land being farmed in front of the house along the river bank. The river flooded, the river channel changed course, and this uncle's land disappeared! The river bank was now at the front door of the house, with no land to farm. I do not know when this happened, probably sometime between 1870 and 1900. Van Buren is located on the Arkansas River. I presume this was the offending river.
My grandmother was born in Van Buren, AR on 31 December 1887. Her father, Joel Edward Flippen, died at age 32 on 4 January 1888 when my grandmother was four days old. In her grief, my great grandmother, Nellie Baird (Young) Flippen, named her newborn daughter after her dead husband. My grandmother's given name was Edward Flippen and she was called "Miss Eddie" all of her life.
Van Buren is located on the western edge of AR. The 1895 map shows it to be adjacent to Indian Territory. Miss Eddie Flippen said that as a child in AR, many of her playmates were Indians, and that her mother fed many Indians as they passed through, presumable moving west. One day as she and an Indian child were playing, her uncle called out, "Kids, climb that tree, and fast!" They scampered up the tree just as a thundering herd of buffalo came charging by, escaping by the skin of their teeth! She said that she could have reached down from the tree and touched the buffaloes' backs as they charged through. That was only a hundred years ago.