Eva and Jake were not long in New Mexico. By March 1923, the family had returned to Washington County. They settled in a house in West Fork, located east of the original Phillips and Frederick homesteads.
In the 1920s, West Fork, Arkansas, was a small community with a population likely under one thousand. The town’s economy was primarily based upon the county’s agriculture, including crops like corn, and livestock. Timber had long been another significant industry because of the railroad through town.
Living on a World War I veteran’s 100% disability pension would have meant a modest lifestyle for the family, shaped by both the economic limitations of the pension and the broader economic context of 1920’s northwest Arkansas, where the agricultural economy began to suffer long before the great Depression. Nonetheless, the family stayed in West Fork, in a rented house near the corner of White and Main streets, for the next ten years, living on Jake’s pension. Rita, Ray, Roxy, and Billy were all born in West Fork.