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Randolph County Heritage Museum
NEWS

What We Need: List of the museum's current needs

 

View some photos here from our 2009 Quilt Show
during the Pocahontas Founder's Day, May 2.

 

Carroll Family presents
“1910 Directory of Randolph County”
Available at Randolph County Heritage Museum

The “1910 Directory of Randolph County, Arkansas” book by L. F. Blankenship (1872-1930) is considered one of the most valuable Randolph County resources for genealogists, researchers and historians, and was last available as a publication in 1978 when the Star Herald Printing Company made the second printing.

Mrs. Ann B. Carroll, granddaughter of Mr. Blankenship, has given the Randolph County Heritage Museum the rights to make 500 copies of the publication in PDF format on CDs which are available for sale in the Heritage Museum’s gift shop. The cost is $20 for each copy of the 200+ page “book” and all proceeds will go toward support for the museum.

In addition to the listings of families in all 1910 Randolph County townships, including all names of family members, marriage dates, occupation, land ownership, and church memberships, the book includes many pages of advertisements from businesses around the county in 1910, as well as numerous photographs of historic buildings and homes from the era.

The 1910 Directory is also available for purchase on the gift shop page of the museum’s web site, randolphcomuseum.org.

 
Button Factory Finds A New Home

Pocahontas is still home to one surviving button factory from the era of pearling and button making. Mr. Harold Crosby, son of the original button factory owner, Harold Crosby Sr., gave the button factory to our museum a couple of years ago, however we’ve been unsuccessful in finding a place to put it and were really unsure of how to go about moving the building at all.

In the last couple of weeks a small group of business leaders from downtown Pocahontas came together, and along with the local boy scouts, and even a couple of PHS football players, made a commitment to finally see this project through.

The move was incredible…complete with a two-car police escort. We moved the building behind the museum. The button machines themselves are to be restored by Mr. Mack Hackworth. Our plan is to reconstruct the button factory (a cross-section of the actual building and machines) inside the museum.  We are in the process of saving a chapter of Randolph County’s history…a chapter that in another generation would have been forgotten and lost.

If you are interested in helping to move this great project into the next phase….designing an exhibit inside the museum using the actual building….please come forward. Spread the word to others who might be interested in the project. We’ll be looking for additions to the exhibit, such as photos, stories, etc. from the River Days.

Click photos below to enlarge...

Picking up the building... ...and setting it down. Headed to the museum. The moving crew.
 
 

Local Museums offers Historical Dance Series

The Arkansas Historical Dance Series, a book and video set, is a unique collection of 8 short documentaries (5-11 minutes each) on traditional dance, music, and culture stretch­ing from territorial times to the present. Their titles are: A “Frolic” in Territorial Times, Jigging & Clogging, Old Time Square Dancing, Play Party Games, The Victorian Ball, Riverboat Days, Modern Western Square Dancing, and Black Dancing Traditions. Each segment is supported by a text and rare, historical photographs.
The text (68 pages) includes a program summary, an historical perspective of the period and activity, a glossary of special dance and music terms, as well as dance descriptions, and suggestions for follow-up activities. Student work sheet packets are available for classroom use.
This project started in 1987 when the Arkansas Country Dance Society (ACDS) received a grant from the Arkansas Endowment for the Humanities to produce two audio tapes of string-band dance music together with a text that could be used to support the preservation and teaching of traditional dance in the schools and communities of Arkansas. The tapes were soon completed and are available from ACDS. Over the years the text grew into a full length book which is the basis for the enclosed text and the 8 documentaries which were produced in cooperation with the Arkansas Educational Televi­sion Network (AETN).
The videos were written and directed by Dr. David R. Peterson and Dr. Charlie Sandage. Dr. Peterson wrote the text, the student work sheets, and collected the historical pictures.
Dr. Peterson, who visited Pocahontas during the Heritage Festival and was the “caller” at the Harvest Ball, is a mathematician by aca­demic training but a dance caller, musi­cian, musical instrument builder, stone ma­son, log house builder, etc. by avocation. He helped found the ACDS in 1978 and has been president since. He is well known for his dance leadership and calling. Dr. Peterson has a joint appointment as Profes­sor of Mathematics and Director of the Ozark Heritage Institute at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.
Dr. Sandage is and has been many interesting things: college teacher, academic administra­tor, performer/songwriter, music director at the Ozark Folk Center, music show producer, and television producer. He currently produces educational programming for the AETN.
The series set is also available online at www.randolphcomuseum.org and www.herroncenter.org.

Caption: Mrs. Judy Downs of Pocahontas, President of the Northeast Arkansas Living Historians and Dr. David Peterson of Greenbrier display the “Historical Dance Series” at the Harvest Ball held during the recent Heritage Festival. The Arkansas Historical Dance Series (book and video set) are available at the Randolph County Heritage Museum and Eddie Mae Herron Center for $12 plus tax,
 
 
Local historian Mrs. Anna Lue Cook displayed an antique ironing board and iron, a washboard and antique, hand-crank washing machine, as well as flour sacks designed to become aprons. Additionally, Mrs. Cook demonstrated how to churn butter with an authentic crockery churn which sat on the floor and was worked by a long handle. Also several pieces of Depression Era glass were displayed from the collections of Virginia Stevens.
Anna Lue Cook instructing museum visitors on how to churn

Virginia Stevens, event coordinator.

“Originally, the idea to put together such a show came from Joyce McFall Castleberry, a native of Pocahontas who now lives in New York,” said Five Rivers Historic Preservation, Inc. President Linda Bowlin. The planning committee was led by Virginia Stevens and Anna Lue Cook and included Linda Bowlin, Linda Eveland, Billie Ruth McFatridge, Rita Wadsworth, David Bowlin and Ralph Cook.

Aprons and related artifacts were loaned to the museum from across the county from a multitude of residents, including Anna Cook’s extensive collection of aprons, Mary Freeman, Margaurite Brown (sister of Rosemary Bowlin who contributed an apron belonging to their mother Ellen Rhodes), Rita Jean Pearcy, Charlotte Sullivan, Sharron White, Shirley Chester, Alta Crawford, Ann Carroll, Sharon Thielemier, Cletis Neece, Elaine Ragan, Becky Luffman, Kathryn Dust, Hannah Roberts, Cindy Robinett, Nancy Toney and others.

The show was featured in the Jonesboro Sun and during Saturday’s show, a television documentary journalist from Jonesboro visited the show to interview the participants and video the show.
With approximately one hundred visitors signing the guest book on Saturday, it was quickly decided to extend the show through the end of August.

The museum is open to the public during regular hours of operation Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. There is no admission charge to visit the museum which is located on the historic court square in Pocahontas, just off Hwy. 67. For more information, call (870) 892-4056, visit online www.randolphcomuseum.org, or e-mail
rchm.1@Hotmail.com.

 
Scenes from Harmon Seawel's Early June Book Reading: The Fourche River Valley

 

 

 
Our nomination of Pitman's Ferry to the Arkansas Preservation Alliance was accepted and was announced May 10 as one of the 9 historic sites in the state included on the 2007 Endangered List.

This is a first step in getting recognition for the site so that it might ultimately be preserved. Work may also begin on getting the site designated as an Arkansas Historic Monument.

Catherine Candy of the Arkansas Archeological Survey (engaged in the dig at Old Davidsonville) says Pitman's Ferry is one of two sites in Arkansas that qualify for National Historic Monument status--the other being already so designated Arkansas Post.

Campbell Cemetery, right, in southeast Randolph county was also one of the nine sites named to this year's list.

Read the writeup at the Arkansas Preservation Alliance website HERE.