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.
The online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture was launched as a work-in-progress on May 2, 2006. A project of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System, the encyclopedia is a free authoritative source of information about the rich history, geography and culture of the State of Arkansas and its people.
The idea had its birth in the 1970’s, a statewide encyclopedia about Arkansas, it’s primary goal, being to help teachers improve the teaching of Arkansas History. The project was 10 years in the making; with benefactor help from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the Little Rock Humanities Council. The decision was made to publish the encyclopedia in a digital format first and a print edition at a later date. Other states have published the print edition first and have found that revisions and additions are needed almost immediately. It is more efficient and less costly to make digital/ electronic changes online than to issue revisions and corrections of printed copy. More than 800 people have been involved in bringing the project to reality.
The website, launched on May 2, was designed by Aristotle of Little Rock. The home page features a moving time line, a quote of the day, a photo of the day and a “Today in Arkansas History” feature, but the heart of the project is the entries on individual topics. Currently there are over 1200 with plans to add 7-800 more. In order for a topic to be included, the subject needs to be approved and to have some significance other than just immediate interest. The subject can have local significance such as information on towns and counties. The website has a list of approved subjects but other suggestions will be entertained. Overall the topics are written on an 8th grade reading level. The youngest contributor is 15 and the oldest is 95. The person with the most entries has 35 and she is working on more. All entries are checked, queried, and critiqued. The Encyclopedia is a reference tool and as such must be accurate and complete.
The website www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net can be browsed by subject topic and alphabetically. Check it out for yourself today!
“The Osage and Cherokee were two of the main tribes living in what is now Washington County. In 1813, war broke out between the two tribes because the Cherokee were forced by encroaching white settlers to move farther west into the Osage’s traditional tribal lands. William L. Lovely was assigned as the agent to the Western Cherokee by the U.S. government and sought to settle the dispute between the two warring tribes and the white settlers. In 1816, Lovely made the “Lovely Purchase” through an unauthorized sale of land from the Osage. The actual western border of the Cherokee land, which included portions of Washington County, was vague and remained unsurveyed until 1825… The first white families came to Washington County about a year before the Arkansas territorial legislature opened the area to white settlement, thus making trespassers of the new pioneers. These squatters lived on their homesteads, anticipating quick federal intervention to gain the land from the Cherokees, making it possible for permanent white settlement. The land formally became available to white settlement in 1828. There was a settlement at Cane Hill by 1827, and by the 1830s, villages appeared at Shiloh (now Springdale) and Fayetteville….”
[Photo: Washington County Courthouse in Fayetteville; 1867.Courtesy of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History/Washington County Historical Society]
One of the most exciting things that a family historian can do is to plan and take a research trip. Maybe! The excitement is sometimes short lived upon arrival at your destination by lack of records or cooperation from the local library or county court house. Such was the result of recent trips taken by two of our members. Pam Redfern went to the Illinois counties of Macoupin, Greene and Morgan to try to find additional information on some of her illusive ancestors. “ The next time I go, I’m taking a search warrant with me,” she said. “The people were nice and helpful, but the library had ‘closed stacks’.” Closed stacks do not allow researchers to browse on their own.
Janice Neighbor was dismayed to find that the Arkansas county that she visited did not have the records that should have been there. Researchers are finding that access to records; especially those having to do with births, marriages, and deaths are tightening and in some cases have disappeared all together. Member Susan Smith recently wrote to obtain marriage records of her mother and stepfather and was told copies were available only to the bride or groom. Nice trick since both are deceased and the record was over 50 years old!
Michelle Raine of The Blair Library in Fayetteville explained that closed stacks are a protection of the records, and not attempt to discourage legitimate research. She says that it is easy to understand why when a you find a page from a record book has been torn out or the 1900 University of Arkansas yearbook is missing a few pages because someone wanted a picture of one of the graduates! In some cases there is the only one copy of an item and when it is gone, it is gone forever. Taking everything into consideration, it still doesn’t take the disappointment away, even when you understand the motives. Your research trip is busted.
Here are some tips that might help you on your next trip. They are not guaranteed, but they may help you to “expect the unexpected!”
• Call ahead or visit the website to check on hours and restrictions. Do you need an appointment? What can you bring in with you? Some facilities will not allow coats, bags, or cases inside. Prepare to be searched. It’s likely that security personnel will want to search your briefcase or purse.
• Do background research on the facility you will be visiting. What kind of resources do they have available? If they have an online catalog that you can access at home from your computer, do so. Find the resources you will need and write down the complete bibliographic citation. This can save you time searching the catalog at the facility. If you don’t have access to a computer, call and ask about the scope of the collections. Some libraries will send description of their collections upon request.
• Learn the facility’s schedule and location. You’ll need to know the facility’s address and exact location. While locating the facility may not be a problem in smaller areas, facilities in metropolitan areas are easier to find with specific directions. Locating when and where you can park at what cost is another concern in metro areas. Some facilities are overwhelmed with patrons during the week before and after a major genealogical conference; it may be best to visit facilities located on a college campus when school is not in session, assuming they’re open. Find out if there are certain times of the year that should be avoided. You might not want to arrive in a small town whose population quadruples during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival or all county facilities are closed in observance of “Pioneer Days.” Finally, learn the facility’s hours in advance of the trip. The facility may have different summer hours, or only be open certain days of the week
• When you know what is available, make a “wish list.” You might want to put it in a research log format so that you have a record of what resources you have already checked for your next trip.
• As you plan your trip, make up duplicate family group sheets, timelines, pedigree charts, copies of original records, etc. and put them all in a notebook separate from your originals to take with you. This way you don’t have to worry about misplacing valuable original documents.
• Always bring exact change, a roll of quarters and dimes for library copy machines and microfilm printers, a supply of pencils and a pencil sharpener, (some facilities do not allow pens) and paper for taking notes.
• Take several pair of white, cotton gloves to protect old books from additional dirt and oil. A 2X/5X magnifier helps with faded and poor handwriting.
• Wear dark clothes; they don’t show the dirt as quickly or badly as light-colored clothes. When looking through property index deeds, don’t stop at the first record there may another transaction a page or two later.
• Get up from the microfilm reader or table every hour or so to rest your eyes. You’ll stay more alert if you do this and if you eat during the day.
• (OPTIONAL!) Leave your spouse at home; odds are that he/she doesn’t share your passion and will be bored, especially when stuck in a motel in a small town without a car. At least, be sure that he/she has a good book to read, and some crossword puzzles to keep busy.
Even the best laid plans can oft go awry so don’t despair. Have alternate plans, take a good look around town and walk the streets, using caution if you are in a large city, visit the local museums as they may provide perspective on the family you are researching. Fresh air works wonders on the brain. Leave a few minutes before the facility’s closing time so the librarians and clerks don’t have to herd you out. They will be happier with you the next day! Remember, plan ahead, be flexible and above all, just relax and enjoy your trip.
Do you really know what Memorial Day is all about? Is it just a decoration day at local cemeteries? Traditional observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years. Many Americans today have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, not just those fallen in service to our country. It is a day, one day out of 365 that is set aside for the nation to get together to remember, to reflect and to honor those who have died in service to their country. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on May 30, 1868. It was originally a day to honor those who died in the Civil War. On that day, flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. New York was the first state to officially recognize the holiday and by 1890 it had been recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the singular day, and continued to honor their Confederate dead on separate days until after World War I.* After WWI the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war. The traditional Memorial Day is May 30 but in 1971 it was changed to the last Monday in May.
In 1915, Moina Michael, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” decided to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who had died in war. She sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. A woman in France, Madam Guerin, learned of the new custom and made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned French children and widows. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies.
[Editor’s note: Information for this article was taken from http://www.usmemorialday.org/backgrnd.html]
When I was in school the year wasn’t over until the first week in June, but for many years now, it seems graduation day comes around in May. Of course the students return to classes earlier now too. Mid August, right in the lazy days of summer, finds all of them returning to the classroom.
[Photo courtesy of Shiloh Museum of Ozark History/ Wanda Sue Smith Collection]
Fairview School was located west of Greenland in Washington County. The class of 1906 is shown in the picture. Miss Carrie, teacher, is standing on the far left. The order is unknown, but persons identified are; Jim Smith, Alfred Smith, Tom Carney, Loddle Carney, Mary Alexander, Ella Tate, Pearl Wilson, Mary Wilson, Dolay Carney, Mary Smith, Bessie Smith, Gertie Alexander, Cora Alexander, Alta Cate, Emmett Carney, Bob Cox, Jessie Patterson, Claude Martin, Jessie Smith, Jewel Carney, Louise Cate, Talmage Milsap, Emma Tate, Grace martin, Floyd Cox, Minnie Carney, Nora Patterson, Iva Patterson. The Smith children were the children of George Washington and Laura Amanda Smith. Jim and Alfred are second and third on the back row. Mary and Bessie are behind the woman holding the baby on the right. Jessie is on the second row in front of the bearded elderly man. The boy kneeling in front of Jessie is Floyd Cox, who later became a teacher at Bethel Grove. Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s home was “not too far from the school.”
The oldest college in northwest Arkansas was Arkansas College founded and chartered on December 14, 1852, one day before Cane Hill College was chartered on December 15, 1852. Arkansas College founded by the Reverend Robert Graham was located in Fayetteville on what is now College Avenue just south of Dickson Street, where the First Christian Church stands today. College Avenue took its name from the college. On July 4, 1854, Arkansas College awarded the first diplomas in the state to its seven graduates. The graduates were: John M. Pettigrew, William M. Cravens, Elias Duval, Robert B. Rutherford, Mark Evans, Arkansas Wilson and John Wilson.
John Pettigrew served as a State Senator from Franklin County 1885-1889. William Cravens and Robert Rutherford became lawyers, practicing in Ft. Smith. Elias Duval became a local physician.
Arkansas College was destroyed on March 4, 1862, by fire set by troops as they left Fayetteville to join the Battle of Pea Ridge.
[Editor’s note: Photo courtesy of Catherine Foster.]
After graduation come the reunions. Pictured here is the 1908 reunion of the Old Hawthorne School at Farmington. The students are standing in front of the old wooden school building. The former pupils shown are: seated, l/r – Eli Wilson, Annette Allen, Lizzie Maberry, Isabella Kinnibrugh (Mrs. W. H. Engels), Virginia Kinnibrugh (Shreve), Bill (Friday) Allen, Kansas Wilson, John P. Wilson, Thurman (?); standing l/r – Allen Engels, William H. Engels, John Kinnibrugh, Hugh Pettigrew, George Allen, Sam Shreve, Bill Shreve, Jake McCoy, and Gus Lewis. Based on the 1900 census, William and Isabella Engels were born in 1830 and 1834 respectively, Hugh Pettigrew in 1833. The school would have been open in the mid 1840’s only a few years after statehood.
WCAGS members Karen Sue Inman and Catherine Foster are related to 6 of the folks in the photograph; Eli, Kansas, and John Wilson and Sam, Bill and Virginia Kinnibrugh Shreve.
The next meeting of WCAGS will Sunday June 11, 2006, 2-4:00 pm at the Headquarters House, 118 E. Dickson, Fayetteville. Bring a friend and come to hear Jon Bott, founder of the Dead Fred archive. Jon is of German descent and his great-great-grandfather lived during the reign of Frederick III. By paying homage to Fredrick III, he also honors his own lineage and provides a venue by which to tie the living present with the quiet past. Check out the Dead Fred website at www.deadfred.com .
‘Til then, happy hunting y’all,
Editor, Family Links
* There are still several southern states that have a separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 – Texas; April 26 – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, & Mississippi; May 10 – South Carolina; and June 3- Louisiana and Tennessee.