Friday, December 20, 2013

Moving Into the Future

The Historical Society celebrated the end of the 2013 season with its annual Christmas banquet, lovingly prepared by our Sue Lewis and her crew. The 2014 officers-elect were presented: President-Elect Bob Turner, Vice-President-Elect Donna Goldstein, Curator-Corresponding Secretary Elect Sue Lewis, Recording Secretary-Elect Elysa Turner, Historian Joicie McConnell Gilbreath, and Treasurer Cinda Bell.

Plans for 2014 are beginning to take shape with the member's January bean supper and our first program of the year featuring National Park Ranger Cody Faber. More on that later...We hope you'll consider joining us in 2014. Membership is $15 for an individual and $25 for a family and includes a copy of the Society's annual publication, The Key. Membership requests can be mailed to SSCHS, P. O. Box 523, Greenwood, AR 72936.
Pictured, Cody Faber, Park Ranger, Fort Smith Historic Site.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ice 1, Tea 0

The ice won this go-round. Our winter tea, Christmas in the Cabin, had to be cancelled. It is such a lovely event and sets the stage for many great Christmas card photos. We will cuddle up in our quilts and contemplate last year's celebration.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Like Santa and His Reindeer, We're Up In the Air!

Preparations are underway for a festive Christmas in the Cabin, this coming Sunday, December 8, from 1-4 PM. We are keeping an eye on the weather as the ice accumulates and will make a determination on Saturday about the feasibility of this annual event. Please check our Facebook page for updates. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Learn How To Preserve Family Stories

"Remember-when stories are the stuff that hold families together. Told and retold around the dinner table or campfire–anywhere your family gathers–are the stories. Someone will invariably say, “Why doesn’t someone write these down for the next generation? Our children and grandchildren need to know the kind of people we are." - Marilyn Collins

If you, like most of us, have expressed these same sentiments, you'll enjoy Monday night's speaker, Marilyn Collins. Marilyn will share practical suggestions to get your family history-writing project out of the realm of "someday" and into "today." Marilyn says, " “My passion is to help others save their cherished stories before they are lost in time—personal memoirs, family stories, and local history. I make the organizing, researching, writing, and publishing practical and user-friendly through my Step-by-Step Writing Guides, online newsletter, blogs, and other helpful writing books.”

After her presentation to the Historical Society, she will sign copies of her practical, informative and interesting books.  Purchasers will receive a free copy of her book, "Write History Right."

 The South Sebastian County Historical Society is privileged to have Ms. Collins as a guest speaker. She is a highly sought-after conference speaker and workshop leader, teaching participants to write history and narratives for genealogical research or publication in periodicals. Collins is also an award-winning author who has published numerous books and more than 100 magazine and newspaper features. She is also active in various professional organizations and has held positions with the Washington National Cathedral Association, American Association of University Women, and served as Director of the Beaufort Historical Association in North Carolina. She was owner of Wilson/Collins Marketing Consultants in both the Washington, DC area and in North Carolina. Currently she is owner of CHS Publishing.

Please join us Monday, November 18, 7 PM at Farmer's Bank Community Room in Greenwood for an entertaining and educational evening with Marilyn Collins.  The Society wishes to give special recognition and thanks to the GuestHouse Inn for providing lodging for Ms. Collins during her visit.

This Thanksgiving make a plan to save the stories told round the table.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Marilyn Collins To Share Tips for Writing Your Family History

A celebrated author and storyteller will be the featured speaker at the November 18 meeting of the South Sebastian County Historical Society. Marilyn Collins, owner of CHS Publishing, will share tips for writing and preserving your family or personal history as a legacy for all generations.  She will sign copies of her popular books including:  You Can Write A Book About Your Family, Memoir Writing Guide, and The Art and Business of Writing Local or Regional History. Collins will sign copies of her books at the meeting. Purchasers will receive a bonus book, Write History Right.

Collins is a frequent conference speaker and workshop leader for groups interested in writing history, narrative stories for genealogy research, regional magazines/special interest magazines, marketing, as well as offering general encouraging tips for writers. Collins is an award-winning author of history books, how-to books/ebooks for writers, and over 100 magazine articles and newspaper features.­­­ Read more about Marilyn at

The November 18 meeting of the South Sebastian County Historical Society will convene at 7 PM at the Farmer’s Bank Community Room , 71 West Center Street, Greenwood. For more information, call 479-996-6357. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Historical Interpreters Honor Jenny Lind Citizens

A sunny day brought a crowd estimated at over two hundred to the South Sebastian County Historical Society's Third Annual "Buried Treasure" event at Jenny Lind Cemetery Sunday afternoon. They were not disappointed. Seven costumed historical interpreters portrayed Jenny Lind residents and, in telling their life stories, shed light on daily life in the community over the years.

Those honored included:

John Keller, Blacksmith (Portrayed by retired principle Bob Turner)
Mary Jane "Polly" Yadon Condren, Civil War Patriot (Portrayed by principle Tanya Smith)
Forest Gibbs, Miner (Portrayed by author and coal mine expert John Dill)
Henrie Bernie, Undertaker (Portrayed by Greenwood Parks Director Doug Kinslow)
Jessie Gibbs, Postmistress (Portrayed by Jenny Lind newspaper columnist and author Mary Ann Gamble)
Thelma Hendrix, Mother of patriots and community servants Dodson, B. G., Jerry and Pink Cornelius (Portrayed by State Rep. Charlotte Douglas)
Marjorie "Margie" Simon Smith, Columnist and Jenny Lind Historian (Portrayed by granddaughter Heather Kovanovic)

For additional photos, please visit the Historical Society's Facebook page (www.facebook/OldJailMuseum) and a site belonging to the Condren family (
 Charlotte Douglas portrays Thelma Hendrix.
 Heather Kovarovic portrays her grandmother, Marjorie Simon Smith.
 Costumed volunteers assisted visitors to the adjacent Community Building.
Tanya Smith and Bob Turner chat with Mike Condren, descendant of Mary Jane Yadon Condren.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Geocachers to Visit Coal Miner's Memorial

Geocaching is a world wide scavenger hunt. Geocachers Sue and Ken Hayes of Russellville have made Greenwood's Coal Miner's Memorial part of the fun.

They have developed an Earthcache, an educational cache that teaches the visitors about the geology of the area, at the Coal Miner's Memorial. Cachers will look at a website, stop and look at the plaques, coal car, and granite memorial walls while answering some questions, which they email to the owners of the cache, to help them understand the geology of the state and region. The Geocache page teaches the cachers how and when coal was mined in the county, the fact that coal is a organic sedimentary rock while the granite walls are igneous rock, what coal is used for in industry, how coal develops, and more.

Visit the geocaching page at
to learn more.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mary Jane Yadon Condren, A Civil War Patriot

Mary Jane Yadon Condren lies at rest in Jenny Lind Cemetery, but her story is not forgotten. Mary Jane, wife of a Confederate soldier, lived alongside the military road, then known as the Waldron Road, that saw many a soldier and bushwhacker pass by on their way to and from conflicts. Mary Jane, in the absence of her husband, raised and fed her family, ran the farm and lived to share the tales of life along that military road during the War Between the States. She will be portrayed by Tanya Smith, pictured below, at the 2013 Buried Treasure tales of the crypt event. Seven other individuals will be memorialized, including: columnist and historian Margie Smith, patriarch Bert Garrett Hendrix, blacksmith John Keller, miner Forest Gibbs, postmistress Jessie Gibbs and undertaker Henrie Birnie discussing the tragic deaths of Dr. N. H. Stewart and the Miller family. We hope you'll join us. The event is free, though donations are always appreciated.

2013 Buried Treasure 
Jenny Lind Cemetery
Sunday, October 13
2-5 PM
Tours departing every fifteen minutes
Directions: Highway 71, exit Gate Nine Cut-Off in Jenny Lind
Cemetery is on the left beside the Community Building
For more information, call: 479-996-6357

Special note: Jenny Lind historians will be available in the adjacent Community Building to share historic photos with visitors and discuss Jenny Lind's past. Snacks and the 2013 Key Magazine will be available for purchase.

Mary Jane Yadon Condren

Monday, September 2, 2013

Buried Treasure 2013....Some Real Gems

We are happy to announce that the 2013 Buried Treasure, a tales of the crypt event, will be Sunday, October 13, from 2-5 PM at Jenny Lind Cemetery. Tours will depart from the cemetery gate every 15 minutes. Costumed historical re-enactors will portray seven citizens of Jenny Lind who are laid to rest at the cemetery. This event is free to the public.
Individuals being memorialized include:
- John Keller, blacksmith (portrayed by Bob Turner, a descendant of a blacksmith)
-Margie Smith, columnist and historian (portrayed by granddaughter Heather Gunn 
-Jessie Gibbs, postmistress (portrayed by Mary Ann Gamble who remembers "Miss Jessie" from her childhood))
- Forest Gibbs, coal miner who lost his life in the mines at age 28 (portrayed by coal mining historian and author John Dill)
- Bert Garrett Hendrix (interpreted by State Representative Charlotte Douglas)
-Dr. N. H. Stewart and the Miller Family, victims of a tragedy (interpretted by Doug Kinslow, as undertaker Henrie Birnie)
- Mary Jane Yadon Condren, Civil War patriot (portrayed by Tanya Miller)

Jenny Lind historians will be available in the Community Building at the Cemetery to give tours of the vintage photos housed in the building, to visit with guests and to answer questions about the Jenny Lind Community. Refreshments will be available for sale in the Community Building. Proceeds from the sale of refreshments will benefit the South Sebastian County Historical Society and the Community Building.

Directions: From Highway 71 in Jenny Lind, turn east onto Gate Nine Cutoff Road. The cemetery is on the left, across from the Masonic Lodge and beside the Community Building, between Highway 71 and Old Highway 71. For more information, call the Greenwood Chamber of Commerece at 479-996-6357. 

Sponsored by the South Sebastian County Historical Society.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Dr. Jamie Brandon to Address Historical Society

What do Fort Smith's Sisters of Mercy and General Zachary Taylor have in common? Discover the answer at the August 19 meeting of the South Sebastian County Historical Society when archaeology professor Dr. Jamie Brandon of U of A Fayetteville addresses the group. All are welcome to attend Monday, August 19, 7 pm at the Farmer's Bank Community Room in Greenwood.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dr. Jamie Brandon to Address Historical Society

Do you know what item of archaeological interest rests behind Immaculate Conception Church on Rogers Avenue in Fort Smith? Do you know who once lived in the home that was located there? Do you know what happened to that home in the 1850s? 

Dr. Jamie Brandon, professor of archaeology at the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) and South Arkansas University (Magnolia), will answer these questions as he addresses the August 19 meeting of the South Sebastian County Historical Society. Dr. Brandon will discuss an archaeological project that investigated the early history of Fort Smith’s Sisters of Mercy. The Sisters were founders of St. Anne’s Academy, St. Edward’s Hospital and educators of generations of Catholic youth in Sebastian County. 

The meeting will convene at 7 PM, Monday, August 19 at the Community Room of the Farmer's Bank, 71 West Center Street, Greenwood, AR. All are welcome to attend. For more information, call 479-996-6357.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sharing Memories of the Historic Communities and Families of Fort Chaffee

Monday night's meeting of the South Sebastian County Historical Society was an event that brought together generations of families with roots in the area we know today as Fort Chaffee.
Former resident of Cornish, Jerry McConnell, and former resident of Oak Grove, Betty Mayo, shared their memories of growing up in these close-knit communities. A group of four men (Jeff Turner, Aaron White, Clifton James and Brant Warrick) presented a special performance of "Fort Chaffee: You Can Never Go Home Again," which won the the National History Day competition in Washington, D.C. in 1984 when the men were seventh graders. Fort Chaffee Museum Coordinator Joey Chasteen shared rare photos of area families. Former mayor Ken Edwards acted as emcee. Mansfield's "Just Us" and Hartford's "Shankle Sisters Plus One" rounded out the evening with their musical performances.

The Historical Society hopes to make transcripts of the event available in the annual society publication and may be able to offer videos of the event to the public in early fall. Stay tuned for more information.

Thanks to all who participated and all who attended and made this event a tremendous success. Thanks as well to the Greenwood Democrat and Greenwood Tradition for media coverage and to Greenwood School District for the use of the Performing Arts Center. Kudos to tech Bruce Linam for his superb and skilled assistance.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fort Chaffee: You Can Never Go Home Again

Check out the nice write-up in E Fort Smith (July edition, p. 49)! And plan to join us Monday evening, July 15,  at 7:00 at the Performing Arts Center in Greenwood as we hear first hand accounts by Jerry McConnell and Betty Mayo of the displacement of families and communities by the creation of Fort Chaffee, enjoy a photo retrospective of those historic communities and families courtesy of the Ft. Chaffee Museum,  and enjoy the great sounds of "Just Us" and "The Shankle Sisters."  After the program we hope to take a group photo on the former residents and their descendants. Refreshments will be served in the lobby and Key Magazines containing articles about the evening's topic will be available for purchase for $5. We hope you'll join us for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear this history from the people who lived it.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fort Chaffee: You Can Never Go Home Again

The hurried formation of Fort Chaffee  in the early days of World War II  resulted in the relocation of many Sebastian County families and the dissolution of such communities as Cornish, Oak Grove, Center Valley, Auburn and Biswell Springs.  The South Sebastian County Historical Society will honor the memory of the many families and communities of the area in a special program Monday, July 15, 7 PM at Greenwood’s Performing Arts Center.

 Jerry McConnell, retired reporter and editor of the Arkansas Democrat, born in the Oak Grove community, will reminisce about his father, W. M. (Bun) McConnell, and his country store at Cornish, the hub between Oak Grove and Union Grove.  Betty Mayo, local historian and merchant, will relate her experiences growing up in Union Grove during the 1920s and 1930s. She’ll share her memories of friends, housewives’ remedies, entertainment, school days and games she played.  

­­A national award winning tribute to the families and communities, entitled “You Can Never Go Home Again,” will be presented by Dr. Aaron White, Jeff Turn, Brant Warrick and Clifton James (pictured below as seventh graders in 1984 with then-Governor William Clinton.)

Music will be provided by Mansfield’s “Just Us” and Hartford’s Shankle Sisters, who will perform a medley of tunes, including one famous melody written at a kitchen table in the area we now call Fort Chaffee. Ken Edwards will serve as master of ceremonies.

This program offers a unique opportunity to learn history firsthand through the storytelling of two celebrated and respected Sebastian County citizens and to hear the how the displacement has impacted families two generations later. The Historical Society invites all to attend.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Field Trip to Shiloh Museum of Ozark History

Six members of the South Sebastian County Historical Society visited Springdale's Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. We came away with an increased understanding and appreciation of the area's past. The exhibits were well conceived and executed and left us wishing we had more display space in our own museum.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Meeting Cancelled

Tonight's meeting of the South Sebastian County Historical Society cancelled due to predictions of extreme weather conditions.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

2013 Airing of the Quilts

Our heartfelt thanks to our show sponsors, Alpha Delta Chapter ESA,  the many talented quilters, our advertisers, Mic Griffith, the Greenwood Tradition, the Greenwood Democrat, our stalwart volunteers, our members, our show visitors

and our families for a wonderful show. If you weren't able to make the show this year, we hope this sampling of quilts will whet your appetite for next year's event.

Friday, May 10, 2013

"Airing of the Quilts" This Weekend in Greenwood

The fourth annual Airing of the Quilts Quilt Show is coming to the historic Rock Gym, 300 East Gary, in Greenwood, AR this weekend. Hours are Saturday, May 11, 9 AM-5 PM and Sunday, May 12, 12 PM- 4 PM. Admission is $5 at the door. There will be vendors.

Come see us Saturday and Sunday. With almost one hundred quilts, there are beautiful creations to delight every visitor. A trip to the Airing of the Quilts is a great gift for Mom. The quilt show is sponsored by Alpha Delta Chapter, ESA. Proceeds benefit the South Sebastian County Historical Society.

Belle Point Quilt Guild and South Sebastian
County Historical Society member Debbie Gibbs
with two of her quilts.

Historical Society Members Louise Stewart and Glenda Wallace
pose among the vintage quilts at the Vineyard Cabin.

Vintage quilts will be displayed at the Old Jail Museum, in the Vineyard Cabin, the Ole Barn and the Redwine Pioneer Schoolhouse. The museum curator has created a vintage hat display to complement the quilts.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Little Rain Didn't Stop the Fun

Some hearty soles braved the weather and ventured out to celebrate Kentucky Derby Day "Old Jail Style." Mint juleps were served on the porch of the Vineyard Cabin as visitors listened to the sounds of "Just Us," Herschel Parker and the "Dulcimer Darlings." Don McGee and is mules Jed and Jesse provided wagon rides around town, as the ladies delighted all with their hats. Horseshoe games were played on the grounds of the Redwine Pioneer Schoolhouse.

Mrs. Cabe, Vernon Stewart and Debbie Gibbs were awarded prizes from Stylin' Hair Salon, the Ware House and for their hats.

If we reprise this event, we'll hope for better weather, but it was agreed that a good time was had by all despite the rain and cold.