Washington County Arkansas Genealogical Society
It is the objective of the Washington County Arkansas Genealogical Society to collect and preserve genealogical and historical information with a focus on Washington County, Arkansas. We wish to encourage and provide training to those interested. We champion ethical and accurate research and publication of genealogical and historical information.
Caring for Old Photos
Carolyn Reno of the Shiloh Museum presented the May 15 program at the regular meeting of the Washington County Arkansas Genealogical Society. Ms. Reno is the Collections Manager of the Shiloh Museum and has been there for 20 years. Shiloh Museum has over 500,000 photographs of Northwest Arkansas covering over 150 years and is an oft-overlooked resource for family history to be found in old family photos.
In order to preserve old photos in your possession, storage is of prime importance. Photographs should be stored in your living area, not the attic, garage or basement. Photos are sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. Low humidity can cause cracking of the image, so store those old photos in acid free boxes in a stable, neutral environment where there is circulating air.
If a photo is in an old frame, replace the papers behind the photo with acid free papers and clean the glass and frame from the inside occasionally.
It is very difficult to preserve photos; so use preventative measures, and make copies so that the images will not be lost forever. Preventative measures include getting rid of all sticky page albums and old scrapbooks that do not have acid free paper pages, or the pages will deteriorate and take the photos with them. Place the photos in mylar sleeves using acid free card stock for stability. Use paper sleeves for glass plate negatives and tintypes. Photos should be stored in archival boxes and folders. A word of caution: DO NOT put nitrate negatives in PLASTIC. Nitrate reacts with plastic in an explosive manner and is a fire hazard. Nitrate negatives were in common use up to 1952.
May is for Mothers- June is for Fathers
Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mothers Day, was born in Webster, Taylor County, West Virginia, on May 1, 1864 and was the ninth of eleven children born to Ann Marie and Granville Jarvis. From childhood, Anna Jarvis often heard her mother say that she hoped that someone would one day establish a memorial for all mothers, living and dead. An incident occurred during a class prayer given by Mrs. Jarvis in the presence of her daughter, Anna. When Anna was 12, her mother was teaching a lesson on “Mothers of the Bible.” Mrs. Jarvis closed the lesson with the prayer “I hope that someone, sometime will found a memorial mothers day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.” Anna never forgot that prayer, and at her mother’s graveside service in May 1905, Anna promised her “…by the grace of God, you shall have that Mother’s Day.”
Miss Jarvis employed every means available to her to achieve her goal of establishing the observance of Mother’s Day nationally. She wrote hundreds of letters to legislators, executives and businessmen at both state and national levels. By 1909, forty-five states, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico observed the day with appropriate services and the wearing of white and red carnations.
In May 1914, Representative Heflin of Alabama and Senator Sheppard of Texas introduced a joint resolution, at the request of Miss Jarvis, naming the second Sunday in May as Mothers Day. The resolution was passed in both Houses. President Woodrow Wilson approved it. Miss Jarvis spent many years and much of her fortune promoting the Mother’s Day movement; however, in her later years, she was confronted with a problem that required as much or more time and effort than the establishment of Mother’s Day. This was her attempt to thwart commercialization of the day or otherwise exploiting it for extraneous purposes. She did not succeed in preventing such an outcome.
Anna Jarvis died on November 24, 1948 at the age of 84. She is interred beside her mother in West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.
Sonora Smart Dodd of Washington thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. She wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran whose wife had died while giving birth to their sixth child. Mr. Smart reared the newborn and his other five children as a single parent on a rural farm in eastern Washington State.
William Smart was born in June, so Sonora chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on June 19th, 1910. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge publicly endorsed the idea of a national Father’s Day, but it was not until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day. Finally, in 1972 President Richard Nixon signed the law that made the holiday permanent.
Even though it took one determined lady, several legislative decisions and three presidents 62 years, today Father’s Day is the fifth most popular card-sending holiday with an estimated $95 million in card sales. Not just fathers but husbands, grandfathers, uncles, sons, and sons-in-law are among the honorees.
Norman F. Kendall, Mothers Day, A History of its Founding and its Founder, 1937.
Howard H. Wolfe, Mothers Day and the Mothers Day Church, 1962.
Various Internet sources on the history of Father’s Day.
Now That’s Italian
In June, the members of Washington County Arkansas Genealogical Society welcomed Bev Cortiana and Mary Maestri Vaughn. Bev and Mary are descendents of the original settlers of Tontitown, Arkansas. In the 1890’s, the families immigrated to Arkansas from Valli del Pasubrio a border community of Alta Val Leogra (known as Valle dei Signori until 1926) in Northern Italy. They first settled in the low, swampy areas of Chicot County at Sunnyside. After a year of crop failures and death of 125 of their family members from malaria, some 18 of the families came with Father Pietro Bandini to the Ozarks of Northwestern Arkansas where the terrain was high and dry, their sick could regain their health and they could cultivate crops with which they were more familiar.
Bev Cortiana and Mary Vaughn are the spokespersons for the Tontitown Historical Museum. The Museum was established in the late 1990’s to preserve the rich and vibrant heritage of the people of Tontitown. Today, the folks in the neighboring towns enjoy the annual Tontitown Grape Festival every August and the authentic Arkansan Italian food of its restaurants, but to the residents of Tontitown, their town is so much more. It is their heritage that the Museum wants to share with their neighbors and the world.
“Lives there a man with soul so dead who never to himself has said, this is my own, my native land?” There are few people in Tontitown who can claim it as the land of birth, but it is the land of their adoption, their hope, their joys, and their sorrows. It is the land of their love and like true Americans they say, “United we stand, divided we fall.” Tontitown people are proud of Tontitown. The Springdale News January 13, 1911.
Original Settlers of Tontitown:
(Heads of Household only)
Luigi Ardemagni; Felix Ardemagni; Pietro Ardemagni; Pietro Bariola; John Bariola; Paolo Bastianelli: Pacifico Bastianelli; Joe Bisetti; Marco Ceola; Santo Ceola; Eustacchio Cortiana; A. Cichelero; Pete V. Fiori; Domenico Fiori; Joe Fiori; John Fiori; Antonio Maestri; Pietro Mascangni; Adriano Morsani; Emidio Morsani; Patricio Papili; Domenico Penzo; Celeste Pianalto; Domenico Pianalto; Lewis Pianalto; James Piazza; James Pozza; John Pozza; Zenobio Rosa; Guiseppe Roso; Antonio Sbanotto; Joe Taldo; John Taldo; Christiano Tessaro; Giacomo Tessaro, Carlo Tomiello; Lois Tomiello; Joseph Verucchi, Domenico Zulpo; Tomaso Zulpo.
To learn more about Tontitown and it’s history, check out the website www.tontitown.com .
130 Years Ago or Thereabouts
The Fayetteville Democrat
January 27, 1872
Another Tragedy-Two Men Killed on White River!
It is our painful duty to chronicle a bloody tragedy enacted this week at Riley Jones’ place on the Middle Fork of White River about eight miles distant from this city.
A young man by the name of Jones and another by the name of Durham were out feeding their stock on Wednesday evening. Young Jones was teasing Durham on some trivial matter, when the latter, becoming angry, stabbed Jones with a pocket-knife producing death almost instantly.
Durham was arrested and on Thursday morning, while the Constable was at breakfast, he attempted to escape when he was shot and killed by a boy by the name of Lewis, who had been left to guard the prisoner.
Young Jones was married about a month ago to a daughter of Geo. W. Lewis. (Spelling and punctuation are not corrected in newspaper articles. Editor)
This article of frontier justice caught the eye of our president, Cheri Coley, as she was doing research at the Blair Library recently. So, in true Coley fashion, she determined to find out a little more on this family and submits the rest of the story for you below.
The Rest of the Story…Sort of:
By Cheri Coley
Young Jones referred to in the article was James Cornelius, the son of Reverend Riley and Nancy Bailey Jones. He was born August 29, 1851 in Tennessee. A check of the Washington County Marriage Records finds that James C. Jones, age 21, married Matilda E. Lewis, age 17, on December 24, 1871. Also from Washington County Marriage Records, Matilda E. Lewis, age 17 married William Newton Jones, who was the first cousin of James on August 26, 1872. William Newton Jones operated a drug store on the Fayetteville Square for several years. From Grave Markers of Washington County Arkansas A-M, J. Cornelius died 1-24-1872 age 21 years, 5 months and 9 days and was killed by Henry Durham with a pitchfork. James Cornelius was buried at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Washington County.
According to a source found on Ancestry.com, Henry Durham was buried in an unmarked grave in the Reese Cemetery.
But there is more! Soon after starting this research, I mentioned it to a friend who shared the following she which had received from her mother. It is an excerpt from the “History of the Middle Fork” by F.M. McConnell. I assume it was in Flashback* but I have no date. It is quoted as written. Read through the whole thing and then say, ”Aaah.”
“She was born about 1854, when it was the common practice for the “owners of negroes to sell them as some would sell a horse, a cow, or other item of personal property. It required the Civil War to determine that Negroes were not personal property. Yet, after the war had settled the question, the former “owner” of Mary Ann (she had no other name) was about to sell her for $1000. She did not want to be sold at any price, and she let that fact become known.
“George W. Lewis, who operated a corn mill between Carter’s Store and Durham, learned of the matter and offered the girl work in his family as she wished to leave the former “owner” (if indeed he was not her father as many thought.) She accepted and went to work for the Lewis family. This caused ill feeling which lasted as long as the two men lived. Mary Ann took sick and died when she was about 20 years of age, about January 24, 1874. The extremely icy weather prevented the Lewis family from buying a suitable burial robe, whereupon Matilda Lewis who had recently been married, donated her wedding trousseau as a burial shroud for Mary Ann, who was buried in a unmarked grave at the east end of the Reese Cemetery”
We could probably go on and on about these families and the ties that bind all the families together in one way or another, but we will stop here for now.
Serious Researchers and Message Boards
A fellow researcher on one of my family lines recently went above the call of duty to help a person who had made contact with her from a message board on a popular genealogy site. After spending several hours finding some sources for the person to follow up on, she finally pinned down a descendent from the same line who had what appeared to be the information which was sought. The response received was that they already had that information, and had seen those files. My fellow family researcher did not even receive a thank you for the time she had spent trying to help a stranger. In a note to me she asked, “Where are all of the serious researchers?”
I am beginning to believe that serious researchers are no longer on the Internet message boards. They are in the genealogical and historical societies. They are in the courthouses sneezing from all of the dust. They are in libraries getting headaches trying to get the darn microfilm clear enough to read. They are in lineage societies helping folks find documentation. They are cautioning the newcomers to use the Internet for leads only. They answer only specific questions. When they write for information, they ask specific questions. They share information, not gedcoms. They send marriage and death records not trees with 10,000 names. They don’t pass on undocumented information without a clear understanding that it is unproven. They share facts, not tales or family traditions disguised as facts. When they get a response that they don’t agree with, they say, “Thank you” and move on.
All of us have probably used message boards at one time or another. I am not a particular fan of the message boards, but I do use them. Message boards can and should be a good source of information to help us locate people and information about our families, but they should be viewed and used as message boards, not chat rooms. Neither are these boards meant to be personal websites for individuals to post long dissertations. Even if they are not always posted, there are rules for most genealogy message boards. Abuse of the boards sometimes will cause a message to be removed by a board manager, which doesn’t happen frequently, but it does happen
You may have noticed that some messages never seem to receive any kind of response while others have many (though the later messages sometime have no connection to the original question). If you use the message boards, here are a few tips and common courtesies that can help you get an answer to your inquiries.
The subject line of your posting should cause someone to be interested. A good subject line contains several pieces of pertinent information including the name of the primary person for whom you are seeking information, a year range, and information about the location(s) where the person may have been or to which he may have migrated. For example: George Worley, (from @1832 to 1900), Habersham and Rabun Count, Georgia. This immediately tells a reader that the message regards a specific family, time and place. Compare to the following subject line: Need family help!!!!!!!
Tell the reader in the body of the message exactly what you are seeking. Once someone has opened your message board posting, you need to communicate exactly what you are seeking. It should include any information you already know as well as any resources you may already have exhausted. This will prevent a reader from duplicating the efforts you’ve already expended. Organize your message in such a way that it is logical and easy to understand Include enough specific information to let the reader know what you already have, but don’t go into a long family history.
If you post to message boards, keep your email current at the site. Some folks post a note in reply to their own message postings advising responders to reply to the new address. DO NOT put your email in the message. Responders can click on you name and get your current address!
Post to multiple boards, not just to surname boards. You should also post to location and special interest and topic boards. It is a good idea to post messages on different forums. The two most popular are GenForum at Genealogy.com and the Ancestry/Rootsweb boards at Ancestry.com and Rootsweb.com.
Review your postings periodically. Some forums provide a notification process, but many of them don’t. It is a waste of time to post messages and not check for replies.
Message boards can be a double-edged sword. They can be a source of good legitimate information, and they can be a royal pain in the backside. To post or not to post is up to you
Searching for old Family Bibles
The Washington County Arkansas Genealogical Society, the Marion Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Blair Library, Fayetteville, are sponsoring a free Bible records workshop to which local residents can bring their family Bibles that record births, marriages and deaths. The workshop will be held on Saturday, August 6, 2005, from 10:00AM to 4:00AM at the Blair Library, 401 W. Mountain Street in Fayetteville. The information from the Bibles will be copied on archival paper. A form will be provided to document the Bible’s ownership, age and history. The workshop is not restricted to Washington County families. Anyone with an old family Bible in their possession is encouraged to come to the workshop and preserve the family’s history.
The Bible records will be indexed and later bound into a genealogical records collection to be placed in the Blair Library. Additional copies will be donated to other libraries at a later date. Archival copies of the records will be sent to the DAR Library in Washington DC. The DAR is a patriotic organization that promotes preservation of history, genealogy and community service.
Our next meeting will be on July the 10th at 2:00pm at the Headquarters House, 118 E. Dickson. One of our own, Elizabeth Floyd will present the program on “Identifying Antiques”. You won’t want to miss it! Come join us!
The Annual Executive Board meeting will be at 1:00 pm on July 10th at the same location. The Executive Board consists of all of the present officers, past–president Carol Reel, Circuit Court Judge Mary Ann Gunn, and Tony Wapple, Archivist of the Washington County Archives.
In the mean time, happy hunting y’all.
Editor, Family Links
* Flashback is the quarterly Publication of the Washington County Historical Society