Washington County Arkansas Genealogical Society
May –June 2008
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.
Mark your calendars now for these upcoming meetings. All WCAGS meetings are held at Headquarters House, 118 E. Dickson, Fayetteville, AR and start promptly at 2:00PM. Dates of the 2008 WCAGS programs and meetings are listed below:
May 18 (notice this is the 3rd Sunday because of Mother’s Day) Carol Reel will present a program on color-coding your genealogy organization. See more on this at the end of the newsletter.
June 8-Susan Young has rescheduled her program: “No more pencils, No more books” Vanished Schools of Washington County.
July 13-Jeane Greenwood, owner of “Custom Tailors” will present “Grandpa wore what?
August 10-Genealogy fiction (Other dates to be announced later)
1930′s and 1940′s FLOUR SACK
Some of you are way too young to know about the FLOUR SACKS, but some of you will remember. I hope ALL of you will enjoy reading this very well-written poem.
THE FLOUR SACK
BY COLLEEN B. HUBERT
IN THAT LONG AGO TIME WHEN THINGS WERE SAVED,
WHEN ROADS WERE GRAVELED AND BARRELS WERE STAVED,
WHEN WORN-OUT CLOTHING WAS USED AS RAGS,
AND THERE WERE NO PLASTIC WRAP OR BAGS,
AND THE WELL AND THE PUMP WERE WAY OUT BACK,
A VERSITILE ITEM, WAS THE FLOUR SACK.
PILLSBURY’S BEST, MOTHER’S AND GOLD MEDAL, TOO
STAMPED THEIR NAMES PROUDLY IN PURPLE AND BLUE.
THE STRING SEWN ON TOP WAS PULLED AND KEPT;
THE FLOUR EMPTIED AND SPILLS WERE SWEPT.
THE BAG WAS FOLDED AND STORED IN A SACK
THAT DURABLE, PRACTICAL FLOUR SACK
THE SACK COULD BE FILLED WITH FEATHERS AND DOWN,
FOR A PILLOW, OR T’WOULD MAKE A NICE SLEEPING GOWN.
IT COULD CARRY A BOOK AND BE A SCHOOL BAG,
OR BECOME A MAIL SACK SLUNG OVER A NAG.
IT MADE A VERY CONVENIENT PACK,
THAT ADAPTABLE, COTTON FLOUR SACK.
BLEACHED AND SEWN, IT WAS DUTIFULLY WORN
AS BIBS, DIAPERS, OR KERCHIEF ADORNED.
IT WAS MADE INTO SKIRTS, BLOUSES AND SLIPS.
AND MOM BRAIDED RUGS F ROM ON E HUNDRED STRIPS
SHE MADE RUFFLED CURTAINS FOR THE HOUSE OR SHACK,
FROM THAT HUMBLE BUT TREASURED FLOUR SACK!
AS A STRAINER FOR MILK OR APPLE JUICE,
TO WAVE MEN IN, IT WAS A VERY GOOD USE,
AS A SLING FOR A SPRAINED WRIST OR A BREAK,
TO HELP MOTHER ROLL UP A JELLY CAKE,
AS A WINDOW SHADE OR TO STUFF A CRACK,
WE USED A STURDY, COMMON FLOUR SACK!
AS DISH TOWELS, EMBROIDERED OR NOT,
THEY COVERED UP DOUGH, HELPED PASS PANS SO HOT,
TIED UP DISHES FOR NEIGHBORS IN NEED,
AND FOR MEN OUT IN THE FIELD TO SEED.
THEY DRIED DISHES FROM PAN, NOT RACK
THAT ABSORBENT, HANDY FLOUR SACK!
WE POLISHED AND CLEANED STOVE AND TABLE,
SCOURED AND SCRUBBED FROM CELLAR TO GABLE,
WE DUSTED THE BUREAU AND OAK BED POST,
MADE COSTUMES FOR OCTOBER (A SCARY GHOST)
AND A PARACHUTE FOR A CAT NAMED JACK.
FROM THAT LOWLY, USEFUL OLD FLOUR SACK!
SO NOW MY FRIENDS, WHEN THEY ASK YOU
AS CURIOUS YOUNGSTERS OFTEN DO,
"BEFORE PLASTIC WRAP, ELMERS GLUE
AND PAPER TOWELS, WHAT DID YOU DO?" TELL THEM LOUDLY AND WITH PRIDE DON’T LACK,
"GRANDMOTHER HAD THAT WONDERFUL FLOUR SACK!"
(Feed sacks too!!?? Remember???)
Most all these girls’ dresses were made from flour sacks…
The following wonderful article was written by Aimee Crochet, one of our WCAGS members. Aimee lives in West Fork and is a graduate student at the U of A. She “met” Mr. Reagan while taking a Historical Methods Class. She found him to be such an interesting person, she set out to discover more about him. So Aimee is writing her thesis on him. Thank you for sharing this wonderful article with us Aimee!!
Wilburn Denton Reagan
W. D. Reagan was born in Overton County, Tennessee on January 14, 1812. He moved with his parents, John Reagan and Mary (Tate) Reagan to Cane Hill in Washington County, Arkansas sometime in 1828 or 1829. He taught school for a while in Carroll County and studied law under Judge Sebron G. Sneed. He began practicing law in 1835. In 1836 he ran and was elected as a representative from Carroll County to the new Arkansas State Legislature. As a member of the House in Little Rock he witnessed the establishment of the two state banks and the bowie knife killing of a fellow representative critical of the banks by the speaker of house. Just prior to the special session when the killing took place, in August of 1837, he married Cynthia Duncan of Carrollton. W.D. and Cynthia moved to Fayetteville in Washington County sometime before the 1840 census.
This census shows them to be the parents of a daughter under 5 years of age and being the owner of one male slave aged 10-24. In 1850 Reagan will have 7 slaves (one male age 23, 2 females 26 years of age, and 4 young female slaves age 8, 4, 2, and 1). In 1860, on the eve of the Civil War, he (listed as Wilburn Ragan) owned 6 slaves. It appears that he may have the same male, now listed as age 32, but the females are shown as age 16, 13, 11, 9, and 6. He no longer has the older female slaves but may still have the younger ones. Although Reagan will be a large landowner in both Washington and Benton counties, it would appear that these were merely household slaves. Marian Tebbetts in her journal relates that her mother was awakened one night because of the clamoring caused as Mr. Reagan scoured the town looking for his run-away slaves.
Mr. Reagan continued to be active in politics. He ran as a Whig in 1840 and was elected to represent Washington County in the legislature. He ran for the state senate in 1842 but was narrowly defeated. A news story in the Arkansas Gazette dated 12 May 1841 reported that “the powers that be” have made some changes in the Arkansas Land Offices and “at Fayetteville – W.D. Reagan is to be the Receiver of Public Moneys.” During the late 1850’s he joined the “Know-Nothing Party” and campaigned around the state on behalf of its nominees. In July of 1860, W. D. Reagan, David Walker, and William Quesenbury were on a committee to represent the local Bell and Everett, or Constitutional Unionist Party, in the election of that year. The committee was supposed to greet Everett as he traveled to California on the Butterfield Stage Line through Fayetteville, but when the stage stopped Everett was not on board. After the election of Abraham Lincoln, Reagan will align himself with the Democrats of the state in favor of disunion and will remain a Democrat for the rest of his life.
The 1860 census for Washington County enumerated W. D. and Cynthia Reagan and their five daughters, Alvira 17, Ann 15, Francis 11, Cynthia 6, and Fidilia 3 months. His real estate is valued at $7,000 and his personal estate is valued at $33,000. The total, however, of personal estate property for that page is only $12,750 so this may be an error. When the total estate property of the others on the page is subtracted from the total, the remainder was $3,050 which is probably closer to his actual value. On the census, Reagan’s occupation is listed as “lawyer.” The enumeration “next door” to the Reagan’s is for James Pettigrew, 28, lawyer and Sarah Pettigrew, 54, his mother. Pettigrew’s occupation is listed as “lawyer” also. This James Pettigrew studied law under W. D. Reagan and became his law partner. In 1859 Pettigrew started a Fayetteville newspaper called The Arkansian with Elias C. Boudinot. This paper remained in publication until the outbreak of the Civil War. On the eve of this war – April 3, 1861 – Pettigrew married Reagan’s eldest daughter, Alvira. Upon Allie’s death 7 February 1871, he married her sister Annie Reagan. Ties of family and business bound W. D. Reagan and James R. Pettigrew together for most of the rest of the century.
W. D. had begun to practice law in Fayetteville first with Judge Sneed, his old mentor, and later with Alfred M. Wilson. Those who will eventually “read law” under W.D. Reagan include — besides James R. Pettigrew — James P. Neal, H. F. Thomason, and Lafayette Gregg. On August 3, 1845 Alfred M. Wilson wrote a letter to his brother in Mississippi telling him that he and W.D. Reagan had formed an equal partnership and that Reagan would move to Van Buren to open a law office with him. The letter goes on to say that they will practice law in both the Van Buren and the Fayetteville circuits for a few years. Advertisements in The Western Frontier Whig show they had an office on Main Street in Van Buren from 1845 until early in 1846. In 1889 Goodspeed’s noted that as a lawyer, Reagan was “excessively aggressive, and was wont to rely for success upon sarcasm and invective, and his ability to browbeat witnesses and overawe juries, rather than upon knowledge of the law and skillful presentation of his case.”
As the politics before the Civil War heated up, W. D. Reagan became known as an outspoken and even as a “rabid” secessionist. In 1861 as delegates were being considered for the Secession Convention, Wilburn D. Reagan spoke under a secession banner in front of the Washington County courthouse. While the convention was meeting in Little Rock, John Buchanan in Boonsboro wrote a letter to D. C. Williams complaining that Alf Wilson and W. D. Reagan were speaking everywhere they could “get a hearing” in favor of secession. William Baxter, pastor of the First Christian Church and president of Arkansas College said that Wilson and Reagan were “among the first and the boldest speakers on the side of disunion.” Complaining of the actions after the war began, he went on to say that “of their wealth, of which they had abundance, they gave little…and of their precious blood they were even more careful.”
W. D. Reagan remained in Fayetteville during the first year of the war. He continually tried to drum up support for the Confederate cause. Baxter relates that while speaking to a group of Fayetteville citizens trying to illustrate that the South did not need the north, Reagan asked, “Whar my friends, do you get your cotton? What do you get your rice? What do you get your sugar?” when one of the listeners piped in to help, “And whar do you get your whisky?” In February of 1862 when the federal army left Fayetteville, he was one of the witnesses who signed the charge of treason against Jonas Tebbetts for his conduct during the federal occupation of the town. As the war grew closer, the Reagan family members in Cane Hill moved to Texas according to the slave narrative of “Gate-eye” Fisher who belonged to David and Pauline Moore, Reagan’s sister. John Reagan had moved with Mary and the younger children to Texas sometime in the 1840’s appearing on the 1850 Rusk County, Texas census. He died sometime before 1860 and most of the family, including Mary, moved back to Cane Hill, but some evidently remained in Texas.
W.D. Reagan would have been close to fifty years of age when the Civil War began; too old to join “the Cause.” Presumably he went to Texas with his mother and siblings. Later in the war as the South was being depleted of it young men, the order was given to enlist older men. On March 23, 1865 the name W.D. Reagan, Col. of Cavalry appeared on the Register of Appointments, Confederate States Army. He was to report to General E. K. Smith for duty with Wharton’s Cavalry Corps of Texas as a member of a military court being held in Washington, Hempstead County. He served on this military court in the Arkansas Confederate capital at Washington until he was called to a new assignment. According to the Official Records, on April 15, 1865 Reagan received an order that he was to take the place of Albert Pike and together with Brigadier General James W. Throckmorton, treat with both the civilized and wild Indian tribes of the Indian Territory. At the conclusion of this meeting at Camp Napoleon in late May, 1865 it can be assumed the Colonel W.D. Reagan surrendered.
Reagan returned to Arkansas and took up his law practice again with his son-in-law, J. R. Pettigrew, in an office in the courthouse. Pettigrew’s own career began to flourish after the war. James R. Pettigrew was elected in 1866 to the Arkansas legislature from Washington County. He traveled to Washington as part of a commission to have Arkansas readmitted to the union. He returned to Fayetteville after the legislature failed to ratify the 14th Amendment and adjourned. Pettigrew was elected mayor of Fayetteville in 1872. In 1875 he started another newspaper in Fayetteville, The Arkansas Sentinel. During this period, with the support of his son-in-law, Reagan ran for office one more time. He sought the office of state senator in 1876 as a democrat and found himself campaigning against his old friend A. M. Wilson. The results of the election were A.M. Wilson 1,404, W.D. Reagan 1,060 and B.F. Williams 505. On February 18, 1877 the Arkansas Sentinel reported that Reagan was involved in a carriage accident. He had taken his youngest daughters, Misses Cinnie and Fannie, for a ride on Old Missouri Road northeast of Fayetteville when the horses spooked and the carriage was turned over. The girls were bruised but Mr. Reagan and his colored driver, Charley Allen, were only slightly injured.
Sometime in the next few years, W.D. Reagan moved with his wife and two daughters to Waco, Texas. J. R. Pettigrew served as a journal clerk to the U.S. Senate and in 1882 was appointed by Chester Arthur to the Utah Commission charged with eradicating polygamy in the state. He served on this commission until his death in 1886. On August 19, 1886, J.R. delivered an address at the Grand-Reunion of ex-Confederates at Prairie Grove. He had fought in that battle and others during the war until he was wounded in the head at the Battle of Jenkins Ferry. On October 9th of the same year J.R. Pettigrew and Annie went to Waco by train to bring her father, W.D. Reagan, back to Fayetteville to spend the rest of his days. Cynthia had already died on August 3, 1886. In the 1886-1887 Waco Directory Wilburn D. Reagan is listed as being blind; so without Cynthia he would need to live with one of his daughters. On October 18, 1886 while making arrangements to move W. D. Reagan back to Fayetteville, J.R. Pettigrew died at a hotel in Waco, Texas. A coroner’s inquest listed the cause of death as alcohol poisoning although obituaries in local papers reported that he died of a fever. The inquest mentioned the old head wound he had received in the war. His body was shipped back to Fayetteville to be buried in Evergreen Cemetery. W.D. Reagan returned to Fayetteville with Annie on the same train and lived with her until his death March 6, 1893. A short obituary appeared in the Arkansas Gazette:
A Pioneer Gone
Maj. Wilburne D. Reagan of Fayetteville past.
Special to the Gazette:
Fayetteville. March 6. Maj. Wilburne D. Reagan, one of the oldest and most prominent men of the State, died in this city today, aged 81. He was one of the pioneers of the State, coming here when Arkansas was a territory. He was a lawyer of marked ability, and soon took rank among the first of his profession. He was a leader in politics and was called by the voters to many high offices of the State, and his influence was felt upon all public questions. He retired from practice several years ago and his last years have been spent with his children in this State and Texas.
This will be our May 18, 2008 program. It will be given by Carol Reel.
The title will be: Introduction to: “Organizing Your Paper Files in a Computer Day and Age” LDS Class by Mary E.V. Hill, developer of the “Family Roots Organizer.” The focus will be a 4 Color Coded system, which will tie your paper files to your computer program.
In order to fully benefit from this program: each participant should bring:
- Personal Pedigree chart showing 5 generations (For beginners who haven’t gotten that far, don’t worry, just bring a pedigree chart going as far as they can, but print the chart for 5 generations)
Carol will provide handouts:
1. “Organizing Your Paper Files”
2. Color chart for guide to “color charting” your files
Any one who wants to prepare further can:
1.Check the genealogy program you use to see if it will print in a “4 color” format. (Legacy does, so will PAF …as for others, I don’t know, so it would be helpful to everyone if participants would check their own programs for that capability.
- The instructions for this system and forms we will be using can be found at: www.familyrootsorganizer.com
- Click on the tab LESSONS
- Click on “More Helps”
- Click on the link ot the document you want to print. Printing instructions are below the links.
Mark your calendar and make plans now to attend this program!!