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.
Did you Say Organization?
How many of you keep your documentation records in books? Filed in boxes or drawers? Stacked on tables (neatly arranged of course)? All of the above? None of the above? On September 11, Marcia Connors shared with members of WCAGS some ideas on how to control the paper and still be able to locate needed records in a reasonable amount of time. Here are some of her suggestions. While there is no “correct” filing system the key is to find one that works for you and then stick to it, remembering to file items as they are found and not to let them pile up.
Most genealogists file by surname, starting with a family folder in which is placed a pedigree chart for that branch and a family group sheet. Each child in the family would also have an individual personal folder. In the folder place every piece of proof or documentation for that individual family in chronological order. The pedigree charts and worksheets help you to keep the family information straight. If the proof pertains to several individuals a copy should be placed in each folder.
It is also a good idea to label and identify your papers and documents as you are going through them. Write on each one which family it pertains to, what it is, plus when and where you got it. Label photocopies as soon as your make them.
It is also advised that you stick to a single filing system, organizing electronic records the same as you do your paper ones, i.e. each family getting a folder with sub-folders for the members inside. Because of possible incompatibility of various genealogy programs, and the need to update or change programs, it is a good idea to keep actual electronic document copies outside of the data collection program. Not all programs transfer scanned items or notes when updated. Marcia keeps her records in folders and binders and can locate a requested document on any of her thousands of ancestors in a matter of minutes. She converted a closet in her house to an enclosed bookcase in order to house her many binders and books.
Other members shared ideas that they use to keep their files organized. James McConaughy explained the numbering system used in Ahnentafels, which is an ancestor oriented report system. In this type of report, the male ancestors will always have an even number and the females will have odd numbers. The parents’ number will be double that of their listed offspring. As an example, using myself as an example, my father would be numbered as 2, my mother as 3, my paternal grandfather as 4, his wife my paternal grandmother as 5, my maternal grandparents would be numbers 6 and 7. My paternal great-grandparents would be numbers 8, 9,10, and 11, and maternal great-grandparents would be 12, 13, 14, and 15. This type of numbering is used and accepted in all genealogical arenas. The first number listed in a generation is also the number of ancestors in that generation. In the example shown, note that in the 4th generation (great-grandparents) the first number is 8 and a person has 8 great-grandparents.
Thanks to Marcia and all of our members who participated in this program.
How Do You Gather Your Information?
When is the last time you visited a historical society, library, or archive for genealogical gold? The number of family historians using the Internet continues to increase while some “brick and mortar” institutions are reporting a decline in users. Online databases have changed the nature of genealogical searching by making more resources available with a mouse click, but historical societies, archives and libraries aren’t defunct. They still play a very valuable role. These organizations are caretakers, custodians, and guardians of the past. While lots of material is added to the web everyday, it will be a long time (or possibly never) before all the unpublished manuscripts and photographs end up online.
If you haven’t stopped by a facility that owns unpublished original documents relating to your ancestors, you should do so. All of these research repositories share a common purpose; to preserve, provide and protect materials for their users. It’s so easy to sit at the computer and click through links or hits related to one’s family, but it’s also a cinch to find new information at an archive or library. But to be a successful researcher you need to follow some very basic rules.
You must have a sense of purpose and well-organized notes. Be sure to organize your research with neat printouts, lists of questions and clear pedigree charts. These will go a long way to make your research visit productive. When you ask questions of the staff, ask simple direct questions and make it a point to prepare ahead of a visit. Contact the facility in advance of your visit to find out their hours and fees. (It is a big disappointment to find out that the facility is closed for a “Pioneer Days” weekend and you are only going to be there for the weekend!) Ask about the type of material in their collection and the access to it. The staff at archival and repository libraries can help you in the search for data. They know their collections, how to use them, and what’s not in the card or online catalog. They probably even know of other nearby collections because of networking with colleagues. Just keep in mind that most organizations are short-staffed and have a lot of patrons that need their attention.
Online research has a place in genealogy, but so does old-fashioned searching through unpublished and non-digitized collections. There is something about an old document or photograph that seems to make all the names become real people. Use the web resources to their fullest, but don’t by pass the chance to search through dusty boxes looking for ancestral pen scratches.
How can you help to repay for the work of the research facility.
• Use research libraries. Boost their statistics by visiting as often as you can.
• If you live near an archive, library or historical society and have few spare hours a month or might be available for special events, ask about volunteer opportunities
• When you make a discovery using the facilities of a privately supported organization, say thank you by making a small donation.
• Donate your family papers to an appropriate institution and ask staff for their assistance with this process
• Thank the staff for their assistance
If you have never researched “in the stacks” it’s not too late. Now get going. You don’t know what you are missing.
Partially excerpted from “Custodians of Our Past” by Maureen Taylor, My Family.com
The Law of the Land
May 25, 1787, freshly spread dirt covered the cobblestone street in front of the Pennsylvania State House, protecting the men inside from the sound of passing carriages and carts. Guards stood at the entrances to ensure that the curious were kept at a distance. Robert Morris of Pennsylvania, the “financier” of the Revolution, opened the proceedings with a nomination, General George Washington for the presidency of the Constitutional Convention. The vote was unanimous. To many of those assembled, especially to the small, boyish-looking, 36-year-old delegate from Virginia, James Madison, the general’s mere presence boded well for the convention, for the illustrious Washington gave to the gathering an air of importance and legitimacy. But his decision to attend the convention had been an agonizing one. The Father of the Country had almost remained at home.
Suffering from rheumatism, despondent over the loss of a brother, absorbed in the management of Mount Vernon, and doubting that the convention would accomplish very much or that many men of stature would attend, Washington delayed accepting the invitation to attend for several months. Torn between the hazards of lending his reputation to a gathering perhaps doomed to failure and the chance that the public would view his reluctance to attend with a critical eye, the general finally agreed to make the trip.
America’s government under the Articles of Confederation had to be replaced. In force since 1781, established as a “league of friendship” and a constitution for the 13 sovereign and independent states after the Revolution, the articles were woefully inadequate. With the states retaining considerable power, the central government had insufficient power to regulate commerce. It could not tax and was generally impotent in setting commercial policy. It could not effectively support a war effort. It had little power to settle quarrels between states. Saddled with this weak government, the states were on the brink of economic disaster. The evidence was overwhelming. Congress was attempting to function with a depleted treasury; paper money was flooding the country, creating extraordinary inflation and the depressed condition of business was taking its toll on many small farmers. Some of them were being thrown in jail for debt, and numerous farms were being confiscated and sold for taxes.
The Constitutional Convention had its specific origins in a proposal offered by Madison and John Tyler in the Virginia assembly that the Continental Congress be given power to regulate commerce throughout the Confederation. Through their efforts in the assembly a plan was devised inviting the several states to attend a convention at Annapolis, MD, in September 1786 to discuss commercial problems. Madison and a young lawyer from New York named Alexander Hamilton issued a report on the meeting in Annapolis, calling upon Congress to summon delegates of all of the states to meet for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation. Although the report was widely viewed as a usurpation of congressional authority, the Congress did issue a formal call to the states for a convention. As the delegations gathered in Philadelphia, its importance was not lost. George Mason, the squire of Gunston Hall, wrote to his son, “The Eyes of the United States are turned upon this Assembly and their Expectations raised to a very anxious Degree. May God Grant that we may be able to gratify them, by establishing a wise and just Government.”
Seventy-four delegates were appointed to the convention, of which 55 actually attended sessions. Rhode Island was the only state that refused to send delegates. Other Americans also had their suspicions. Patrick Henry, of the flowing red Glasgow cloak and the magnetic oratory, refused to attend, declaring he “smelt a rat.” With Henry absent, with such towering figures as Jefferson and Adams abroad on foreign missions, and with John Jay in New York at the Foreign Office, the convention was without some of the country’s major political leaders. It was, nevertheless, an impressive assemblage. In addition to Madison and Washington, there were Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, crippled by gout, the 81-year-old Franklin was a man of many dimensions; James Wilson of Pennsylvania brought a profound mind steeped in constitutional theory and law; Alexander Hamilton of New York, a brilliant, ambitious former aide-de-camp and secretary to Washington during the Revolution; George Mason of Virginia, the author of the Virginia Bill of Rights whom Jefferson later called “the Cato of his country without the avarice of the Roman”; John Dickinson of Delaware, the quiet, reserved author of the “Farmers’ Letters” and chairman of the congressional committee that framed the articles; and Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania, well versed in French literature and language, with a flair and bravado to match his keen intellect. There were others who played major roles, Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut; Edmund Randolph of Virginia; William Paterson of New Jersey; John Rutledge of South Carolina; Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts; Roger Sherman of Connecticut; Luther Martin of Maryland; and the Pinckney’s, Charles and Charles Cotesworth, of South Carolina. Franklin was the oldest member and Jonathan Dayton, the 27-year-old delegate from New Jersey was the youngest. The average age was 42. Most of the delegates had studied law, had served in colonial or state legislatures, or had been in the Congress.
The sessions of the convention were held in secret, no reporters or visitors were permitted. Although many of the naturally loquacious members were prodded in the pubs and on the streets, most remained surprisingly discreet. To those suspicious of the convention, the curtain of secrecy only served to confirm their anxieties. Luther Martin of Maryland later charged that the conspiracy in Philadelphia needed a quiet breeding ground. Thomas Jefferson wrote John Adams from Paris, “I am sorry they began their deliberations by so abominable a precedent as that of tying up the tongues of their members.”
On Monday August 6, 1787, some 10 weeks after it first met the convention accepted the first draft of the Constitution. Here was the article-by-article model from which the final document would result some 5 weeks later. On August 31 a weary George Mason, who had 3 months earlier written so expectantly to his son about the “great Business now before us,” bitterly exclaimed that he “would sooner chop off his right hand than put it to the Constitution as it now stands.” Mason despaired that the convention was rushing to saddle the country with an ill-advised, potentially ruinous central authority He was concerned that a “bill of rights,” insuring individual liberties, had not been made part of the Constitution. The Constitution was presented to the convention on September 12, and the delegates methodically began to consider each section. Although close votes followed on several articles, it was clear that the grueling work of the convention in the historic summer of 1787 was reaching its end. On September 17 the members met for the last time, and the venerable Franklin had written a speech that was delivered by his colleague James Wilson. Appealing for unity behind the Constitution, Franklin declared, “I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded like those of the builders of Babel; and that our States are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another’s throats.”
By January 9, 1788, five states of the nine necessary for ratification had approved the Constitution; Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut. On February 6, with Federalists agreeing to recommend a list of amendments amounting to a bill of rights, Massachusetts ratified by a vote of 187 to 168. The New Hampshire convention adjourned without voting and Rhode Island on March 24 turned down the Constitution in a popular referendum by an overwhelming vote of 10 to 1! Maryland ratified on April 28. In July the Confederation Congress in New York received word that a reconvened New Hampshire ratifying convention had approved the Constitution. With South Carolina’s acceptance of the Constitution in May, New Hampshire thus became the ninth state to ratify. In the next 2 months, Virginia and New York both ratified while adding their own amendments. Alexander Hamilton figured that the majority of the people in New York actually opposed the Constitution, and it is probable that a majority of people in the entire country opposed it. Only the promise of amendments had insured a victory.
The call for a Bill of Rights had been the greatest opposition to the Constitution and the most powerful weapon to be used against it. Attacking the proposed Constitution for its vagueness and lack of specific protection against tyranny, opponents demanded a more concise, unequivocal Constitution, one that laid out for all to see the right of the people and limitations of the power of government. Opponents claimed that the brevity of the document only revealed its inferior nature.
James Madison was able to shepherd through 17 amendments in the early months of Congress, a list that was later trimmed to 12 in the Senate. On October 2, 1789, President Washington sent to each of the states a copy of the 12 amendments adopted by the Congress in September. By December 15, 1791, three-fourths of the states had ratified the 10 amendments now so familiar to Americans as the “Bill of Rights.”
Based on the Introduction by Roger A. Bruns to A More Perfect Union: The Creation of the United States Constitution. Washington, DC: Published for the National Archives and Records Administration by the National Archives Trust Fund Board, 1986. 33 p.
The USS CONSTITUTION
• 48,000 gallons of fresh water
• 7,400 cannon shot
• 11,000 pounds of black powder and
• 79,400 gallons of rum.
Upon arriving in Jamaica on 6 October, she took on
• 826 pounds of flour and
• 69,300 gallons of rum.
She then headed for the Azores, where she took on
• 550 tons of beef and
• 64,000 gallons of Portuguese wine.
On 13 November she set sail for England. In the ensuing days, she defeated 5 British men of war and sank 12 British merchant ships, salvaging only their rum.
By 27 January, her powder and shot were exhausted. Nonetheless, she made a raid on the Firth of Clyde. Her landing party captured a whiskey distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of scotch aboard.
She then headed home. CONSTITUTION made port at Boston harbor on the 23rd of February with no cannon shot, no powder, no food, no rum, no whiskey, and no wine – but with 48,000 gallons of stagnant water.
Length of cruise – 181 days.
Booze consumption -2.26 gallons per MAN per day (plus whatever they rescued from the 12 English merchant ships).
Guesstimated re-enlistment rate – 100%. Probable EPA Award of Gold Certificate – for water conservation!
2005 Long Family Reunion
by LaNita Terry McKinney
Sunday, September 18, 2005, I attended the Long Family Reunion for the second time. My recently found 3rd cousin, Dan Terry, my daughter and I were among approximately 70 other kinfolk that met at the Prairie Grove Battlefield Park in Prairie Grove AR for the annual potluck lunch reunion gathering.
Dan and I attended last year when we made the connection to the family through our great-great-grandmother, Tabitha Jane Long Terry. Tabitha married Clark Henderson Terry in November 1856, and our family has been researching the connection to the Long family since Dan discovered an old family picture, amongst his parents’ other pictures, in January 2004. He knew only one person in that old picture, his grandfather John Edward Terry. Dan and I met on the Internet, shortly thereafter in March 2004 and he sent me a copy of the picture. I didn’t know any of the people, either. He eventually wrote to Velda Brotherton of the White River Valley News and asked her to print the picture with an article asking for help from anyone that might be able to identify any of the people in the picture. The picture and article were printed and he connected with Geraldine Coleman, whose mother was a Long, and she identified ALL of the people in the picture. She also told us of the Long Family Reunion that happened in September each year and invited us to attend.
This year was as good as last year. We met new family members plus spending time with those we had met in 2004. I even discovered that I was related to some people I had known for years! Dan had been visiting with some of the Long family members over the course of the year and had found more information on our families. Most of the attendees are descended from John Wesley Long, brother to our Tabitha. After meeting us for the first time last year, some of the people remembered us and commented, “Oh, you’re from the Terry side!” Others said they grew up hearing that the Long’s were related to the Terry’s, but didn’t know exactly how. We were able to provide them with the specific relationships, courtesy of Dan’s work.
Dan has also been collaborating with another cousin, Candace Sheep of Austin TX, who has done research on the Terry side for 10 years. Through Dan and Candace, the connections have come together and we have established a wonderful relationship with our newfound family. Clark & Tabitha Terry’s Bible had a reference to “Mary ‘Polly’ Long, the mother of Tabitha Long Terry”. The reference was on the backside of one of the family information pages, and had been overlooked for several years! That Bible is in the hands of another cousin here in Fayetteville who has generously shared the Bible amongst the family.
Meeting new family has become “the norm” for Dan and I since we met and we hope to continue with that tradition at each event every year. Between the Sunset Decoration in July at the Sunset Community Cemetery and the Long Family Reunion in September, we are reaching out and connecting with new family on a regular basis.
Editors note; the picture provided of the attendees of the Long Reunion would not copy to this newsletter. Check out WCAGS website. http://www.rootsweb.com/~arwcags/
The Day of the Largest Land Run in History
Oklahoma’s lands were opened in five land runs, a land lottery, a land auction and were enlarged by a decision of the Supreme Court. On September 16, 1893, the Cherokee Outlet was opened to settlement. Over 100,000 settlers gathered along the boundaries, some having waited many days for the gunshots at noon that would start them on their quest for land. Almost every acre would be claimed by nightfall. The Cherokee Land Rush was the last land rush in the United States.
The Outlet, commonly, but incorrectly, referred to as the “Strip”, contained 6,000,000 acres and roughly lay between Caldwell, Stillwater, and the Oklahoma Panhandle. Originally set aside for the Indians in 1835, the Outlet went unused and white cattleman grazed Texas longhorn cattle across it on the way to eastern markets. Under heavy pressure from white “squatters”, known as “boomers”, and lacking help from federal authorities to protect their property, the Indians reluctantly began negotiations with Washington in 1889. The Cherokees sold the Outlet to the government in 1891 for $8.5 million.
On that September day in 1893 land hungry persons gathered for the land run into the Cherokee Outlet by horse, train, wagon and even on foot. Each hoped to claim the best farmland or town lot of 40,000-quarter sections. Even so, some hopeful settlers remained landless. Many shunned the rough terrain of the western part of the Outlet, land that went unclaimed for several years. By the end of the day, farms were being established, and the cities of Enid, Perry, Alva, and Woodward had risen out of what had been virgin prairie the day before.
Across the Kansas line, beyond the northern boundary of the Cherokee Outlet was a belt of land 2 ½ miles wide and laying along the 37th parallel, known as the Cherokee Strip. It was the result of an early survey, which later proved to have been incorrect. The Cherokees ceded the land in the Strip to the United States after the Civil War. The strip of land was held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Cherokee Nation. In the public mind the names are usually confused and thought to be the same thing, or two names for the same piece of land. Official documents and government land maps however show the difference very clearly.
To learn more about the Oklahoma land rushes and for a partial list of names of homesteaders who participated in the Cherokee Outlet Run, check out these websites:
Do You Know What Pawpaws Are?
At our last meeting Catherine Foster brought some pawpaws for anyone who cared to take some home. I don’t know about you, but I had never seen a pawpaw, and thought they looked a little like a distorted ripe pear. The pawpaw is a delicious fruit indigenous to this country and was eaten by Native Americans and early settlers. The fruit has a distinctive creamy custard texture and a sweet mango banana like flavor. Explorer Hernando DeSoto may have observed the Indians in the Missouri River Valley using them back in 1504. Meriwether Lewis wrote in his journal over 200 years ago, “We landed one time only to let the men gather Pawpaws or the custard apple of which this country abounds, and the men are very fond of.”
Here are some recipes for pawpaws, courtesy of the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
1 cup of sugar
1-cup pawpaw pulp
1/3 cup of milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ cup chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, soda and salt. Cream butter, gradually adding sugar while creaming. Stir eggs into pawpaw pulp, blending thoroughly. Combine milk, lemon juice and dry ingredients with pawpaw pulp alternately with liquids first and ending with dry ingredients. Stir in nuts. Bake 30 minutes or until done.
11/2 cups mashed pawpaw pulp
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup butter
1 cup chopped black walnuts
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and process ripe pawpaws into a pulp. Sift together flour, soda and salt. Cream butter and sugar; beat in eggs. Add flour mixture, pawpaw pulp and other ingredients. Fold in black walnuts. Drop on greased cookie sheet and bake 15
WCAGS will be doing a Genealogy Workshop for Beginners at the Blair Library, 401 W. Mountain, Saturday, November 6, 10:00 am to 1:00pm. Marcia Connors will be the instructor, assisted by other WCAGS members. Call the library or go by the reference /genealogy desk on the second floor to sign up. There will a one on one session for participants from noon until one.
Help is Needed
A sister society in Wilmington Massachusetts has asked for help in spreading the word of the plight of a historic structure in their area. The William Butters Farmhouse is a saltbox half house built by William Butter II (later known as Butters) in 1682 and has been continuously lived in
since that time, over 320 years! It is in danger of being demolished to make room for a commercial development. Interested parties can contact Robert R. Butters, Jr., 10th generation direct descendant still living in Wilmington, MA at (email) firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Our regular October meeting will be on Sunday, October 9th at Headquarters House, 118 E. Dickson, 2:00-4:00 pm. The program will be “The Origin of Sayings” an explanation on why many old sayings such as “lock, stock and barrel” or “join the bandwagon” came to exist and why some ceased to be used.
See you there. In the meantime,
Happy Hunting Y’all!
Editor Family Links
Washington County Arkansas Genealogical Society
PO Box 41
Fayetteville AR 72701-0041