Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Adopt Sebastian County Historical Site

Many who are interested in Sebastian County history have enjoyed Lynn Risener's site at It is part of the U.S. and Arkansas GenWeb Project. GenWeb is a volunteer organization that produces free genealogical resources. The site contains a wealth of documents, records and images from the early days of the county. Lynn is stepping down and is looking for someone to manage the site. If you're interested, and we hope you are, contact Lynn at: This attractive and well organized site is a treasure trove of information.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Greenwood...Scenes from the Past

The face of Greenwood has changed over the years. Today's photo shows one of the large homes that graced the city. As the caption says, this was the home of the Benjamin Dawson family. It was believed to be the Methodist parsonage at one time. The Dawsons added the rear portion of the structure. The home was struck by lightning and was razed in 1969.
This photo courtesy of
the Key Magazine (1971 edition), a publication of the South Sebastian County Historical Society. "Keys" can be purchased at the Old Jail Museum during operating hours.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Go, Garrett! Go, Vernon!

Garrett Lewis of Channel 5 interviewed SSCHS's Vernon Stewart this morning at the Old Jail regarding Vernon's tremendous generosity in donating his time and talents to the Society and many other local and area organizations and events. Catch it on the 10 PM news tonight or watch the video after 11 PM in the "Go, Garrett, Go!" spot on the Ch 5 website:

For those who may not be aware, Garrett rides his bright green bike across northwest Arkansas to focus on volunteerism. Quite a feat in these 100 degree plus temperatures. We thank Channel 5 for shining the spotlight on Vernon Stewart. And, thanks, Vernon, for all you do! A special thank you, too, to Vernon's wife, Louise, for her devotion and many, many contributions to help preserve the history of South Sebastian County.

Sabrina Edwards, A. C. Brown and Kim Brown were on hand to lend their support.

Pictured are Vernon Stewart, Mayor Ken Edwards and Garrett Lewis; Vernon Stewart, Curator Donna Goldstein, Garrett Lewis, President Ruth McConnell; President Ruth McConell with News 5 "Go Garrett Go Car."

Rich McKinney Presentation to SSCHS

The highlight of the July 19 meeting of the SSCHS was a presentation by member Rich McKinney on his archaeological digs in the Holy Land. Rich shared wonderful stories, artifacts and photographs and left members hungry for more.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Old Milltown" and "Old Jail"

Among the many photos in the School album in the Document Room at the Old Jail Museum is one labeled "Old Milltown." Can you identify any of the students?

Only one has been identified to date, Amie Gipson (Davis), daughter of Francis Marion Gipson and Luda Wilhite Gipson. She is the fourth student from the right on the front row. Based on her birthdate, we estimate this photo to have been made circa 1916-1918. Can anyone verify if Stella Gipson (Norried) is to her right (fifth student from the right, first row)?

Pleases email names to

We have an answer to the query we posted in the "Greenwood Democrat," "What was the purpose of the four steel projections from the rear of the old jail?" Vernon Stewart tells us that they supported a large wooden cistern that supplied water to the jail. Vernon further tells us that the cell floors were kept covered with dirt for "sanitary purposes."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Keep a Journal, Write a Letter

Much of what we know about our forebears we've learned from their writings- daybooks, log books, diaries, letters. We live in a world of electronic communication. It's doubtful that much of it will survive into the next century.
It's time to think about beginning a written record for your family. A daily journal is a good way to begin. If you have old letters, save them. If you have none, write some. Your words will be treasured one day.

We have two such items displayed at the Old Jail Museum in our Post Office display. One is a postcard from a young Jenny Lind woman to her sweetheart at the turn of the century. The other is a letter written to his parents from a local soldier serving in Germany during WWI. When elementary school children visited the Old Jail in May, many commented that they had never seen a letter.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Reading

There's no time like the summer for a book that reads easy-- a book you can read snippets from now and then when the notion strikes. We have two "easy reads" at the Old Jail Museum: "When the Old Bell Rang" and "Strings and Things."

"When the Old Bell Rang" was written by William David Redwine, former editor and publisher of the Greenwood Democrat, and father of Delma Joyce Woosley. The book chronicles the lives of early teachers. After reading the book, make a visit to the Redwine Pioneer School at the Museum Complex, see the Redwine family artifacts and imagine yourself sitting on one of the benches writing on your slate. And, yes, the school has an old bell.

For a look back at the Greenwood of yesterday, try "Strings and Things." This book, editted by Jane Babin Rogers, is a collection of the newspaper columns of Estella Wright Szegedin. Mrs. Szegedin, who wrote well into her nineties, shared her observations of life in Greenwood with her readers in the pages of area newspapers for many decades. Readers will recognize many familiar events and personalities.

Both books are available for purchase at the Old Jail Museum.

"When the Old Bell Rang".....$15.00
"Strings and Things".........$10.00

Did you know the South Sebastian County Historical Society maintains a Document Room at the Old Jail Museum? Visitors can read historical documents of local interest, view historic pictures, investigate cemetery records and read books about the past of South Sebastian County.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rain Didn't Dampen Spirits

The celebrants of Freedomfest 2010 were not deterred by a little rain. Brave folks with umbrellas ventured out and enjoyed the morning's festivities. By mid afternoon, the sun was shining and the Square was rocking to the sounds of “Mr. Cabbage Head and the Screaming Radishes”, “Common Thread”, “10 Spur” and “Fordamatic."

The Old Jail Museum had a steady stream of visitors. Many youngsters were guided by docents through the displays of artifacts from South Sebastian County's early days. They asked insightful questions. Here's hoping they left with a new interest in history!