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Author Archive

Memories From The Museum For 06-15-2016

Monday, June 13th, 2016

DrewCountyMuseumI’ve had some interesting conversations the past couple of weeks about “rolling stores” and all of the favorite treats found therein – many of which survive today.  I thought you might be interested in some lists of “how far back” some of our favorite treats existed.

From The 1900s t0 the 1920s Baby Ruth, BB Bat Suckers, Beeman’s Gum, Bit-O-Honey, Butterfinger, Candy Cigarettes, Candy Corn, Caramel Creams, Charms, Charleston Chews, Cherry Mash, Chiclets, Clark bars, Cracker Jacks, Goo Goo Clusters, Heath bars, Dubble Bubble gum, Goobers, Lifesavers, Milk Duds, Milky Way, Mounds, Moon Pies, Mr. Goodbar, O. Henry, Reese Cups, Tootsie Rolls, PEZ, Zero, Hershey’s chocolate bars and many others.  Whew!  I’d imagine we thought in the ‘20s they only had candy canes and licorice like in the old westerns! (more…)

Memories From The Museum For 06/01/2016

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

DrewCountyMuseumA couple of weeks ago, I wrote an essay about my memories of the rolling store of my youth along the Mississippi River levee in Desha County.  I asked for other remembrances and received a reply from Mary Lasiter about her memories of the rolling store in the Green Hill area of Drew County.  Our memories were so similar I thought you might like to read Mary’s story, so it is reprinted here with Mary’s permission.

Enjoy!! (more…)

Memories From The Museum

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

DrewCountyMuseumA little acclaimed story from Drew County history was brought to mind last week while I was attending a recent meeting of the Public Health Committee of the Arkansas House of Representatives in Little Rock.  A most interesting and kind gentleman whom I had just met asked about the state of the “Bottoms Baptist Orphanage”.

I recall hearing this term when we first moved to Drew County and wondering if it meant that some person from “the bottoms”, a local term referring to the Delta, might have founded the Baptist home.  However, research proved this to be untrue.

Today I want to share briefly the story about the Bottoms Baptist Orphanage, more familiarly known in these times as the Arkansas Baptist Home for Children.  (more…)

Museum Report

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Nearly every city has allegedly experienced a brush with a famous person whether he/she is “good or bad”.  Bonnie and Clyde reportedly once visited Monticello.  Tillar, a small farming community in eastern Drew County, also had a visit from legendary outlaws – the notorious James boys.
(more…)

Memories From The Museum

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

I would be remiss lest I honor Arkansas Boys State this year with a column.  Like its sister organization, Boys State is open to high school students who have completed their junior year in high school.  It takes place in the summer before the senior year and is a week-long adventure in civic education.  Boys State offers a practical, hands-on look at politics and government as students seek election at the state, county, and city levels and then engage in the governing process. Participants learn about the responsibilities of a wide range of offices, as well as the interaction between the various offices and the various levels of government. (more…)

Museum Report – Easter Traditions Around The World

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Since this Sunday, March 27, is the day we celebrate Easter this year, I thought I’d share some more unknown traditions of the holiday around the world. Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection, is one of the two most important holidays in Christianity today. It has been called a move able feast because it doesn’t fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21.

(more…)

In Memory, Tommy Matthews

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

imageMonticello and Drew County lost a dear friend and longtime resident this past Saturday. In fact he was the kind of man who symbolized the spirit of our people. That humble, kind, generous, loving man was Tommy Matthews. Many of you will remember him as the principal of W. C. Whaley Elementary School on North Main for 23 years.

(more…)

Monticello Memories – Museum Tour – Week 3

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

I hope you are enjoying our little tour of the Drew County Museum and will come take a look for yourself soon!! We’ll begin our journey this week in the room that now serves as the museum’s office. Along the north and east walls of that first-floor room four unique oil paintings are hanging. The first is an aesthetic rendition of the old Selma United Methodist Church. The church is one of the most recognized sites in Drew County, is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been lovingly restored in recent years. The soft, yet bright colors in the painting give the scene a pastoral quality. The painting is the work of Jerry Swope, an art teacher at Monticello High School in the 1970’s. Mr. Swope has since moved from Monticello, but left fond memories with his many friends, and this beautiful piece of art in the museum.

(more…)

Monticello Memories – Museum Tour – Pt. 2

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

On our museum tour this week we will again begin at the front door. As noted earlier, the door itself has beveled glass panes highlighted by a magnificent fanlight at the top and gorgeous sidelights. When Mr. Cavaness was building the house, he traveled to the Crescent City where he found the gorgeous door with its fanlight and sidelights, purchased them and brought the entire set to Monticello to serve as the main entry to his home.

(more…)

Monticello Memories – Tour of the Museum -1

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

This March, 2013, offering will begin a series that will give you a room-by-room tour of our own Drew County Historical Museum. I hope you will enjoy these entries and will stop by the museum yourself to peruse its treasures face-to-face.

The museum itself was formerly known as the Cavaness house for those of you who never knew, or have forgotten, its beginnings. Newlyweds Garvin W. Cavaness and his wife, Pattie Phenton Wells, began construction of their home in 1906.

(more…)

Monticello Memories – History of Drew County’s EHC Clubs

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

While many younger folks mistakenly think of the Extension Homemakers Clubs as a group of “little old ladies who meet, eat, sew, swap recipes and make crafts”, they are sadly misinformed. EHC has an educational program that coves a gauntlet of topics from child care issues to healthy eating, to financial advice, to exercise programs and a myriad of other notable subjects to meet someone’s needs.

(more…)

Monticello Memories – Drew County EHC Clubs

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

This week’s column is the eighth in a series about the history of the present Extension Homemakers Clubs operating in Drew County. This week we’ll take a quick look at the Plantogo Club in northwestern Drew County.

In the early 1960s there were two separate EHC clubs in the northwestern part of Drew County. They were known as the Plantersville EHC Club and the Montongo EHC Club. During those years the two groups decided to merge and the new and larger club became the Plantogo Club. Their primary purpose was to educate housewives in new ways to do their jobs as wives and mothers.

(more…)

Monticello Memories – History of Drew County’s EHC Clubs – Part 2

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

This week we will continue our little historic look at the Extension Homemakers Clubs in Drew County to recognize the 100th anniversary of this wonderful service organization in Arkansas and Drew County. Chronological order is fuzzy in some cases, but the Southside Club is generally acknowledged as the oldest surviving club.

SOUTHSIDE EXTENSION HOMEMAKERS CLUB

(more…)

Monticello Memories – History of Drew County’s EHC Clubs – Part 1

Monday, June 11th, 2012

The Drew County Extension Homemakers Council is a dedicated service organization that began over 80 years ago in Drew County with local clubs who met in many communities throughout the county. Today there are 9 Extension Homemakers Clubs in the county, but in 1956 there were actually 23 active county clubs educating and serving the citizenry.

(more…)

Special Memorial Day Series – 5 Tributes to Local Patriots

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Drew County has recently lost two more of its members from that generation of soldiers known as the “greatest generation”, because of their sacrifice during the WWII years.

Since today is Memorial Day, we will show respect and pay tribute to five great Americans and Monticellonians, as we reflect on my interviews with them for the Veterans Oral History Project when I asked them to share with me memories of their WWII service.

Memorial Day Tribute – Olen Cockrell

Monday, May 28th, 2012

It takes many support people to operate an Army – or a Navy. This story tells about one man who filled a special need in the service of his country while readying the seamen to fulfill their duties.

David Olen Cockrell was drafted and entered the US Navy on June 3, 1943. He recalled that he may have decided to enter the Navy because he had had a favored cousin, Oscar Miles, who had died on the USS Arizona when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

(more…)

Memorial Day Tribute – Charles Jackson

Monday, May 28th, 2012

This information was shared during interviews as part of the Veterans’ Oral History Project through the Library of Congress. 

Charles Jackson’s military service began when he graduated from Henderson State Teachers College in 1942 and was invited by a group of naval officials visiting the graduates to enlist in a naval officer’s training program. He began this program in the fall at Northwestern University in Chicago and received his commission as a lieutenant in the spring of 1943.

(more…)

Memorial Day Tribute – James T. Jordan

Monday, May 28th, 2012

After James T. Jordan graduated from Drew Central High School at midterm in December of 1942, he and five young friends left to seek jobs in California because work was scarce in Arkansas.

Arriving in the Golden State, Jordan got a “good” job at $1.05 an hour. Because he wasn’t 18, however, state law mandated that he be in school, so he registered and enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley.

Soon California began drafting the young men from out of state to fill their military quotas and Jordan was drafted into the Army as a replacement for a native Californian.

(more…)

Memorial Day Tribute – Dr. Roy Grizzell

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Let’s remember the very secret WWII mission of the late Dr. Roy Grizzell.

Dr. Roy Grizzell had a long and varied career in the military that began before WWII started. In the winter of 1940 he was sent to Fort Bragg, N.C. as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Infantry. He was assigned as Range Officer and Supply Officer on the post, thus beginning his career with the Military Police.

(more…)

Memorial Day Tribute – T. Robie Scott

Monday, May 28th, 2012

I couldn’t possibly have a Memorial Day tribute without mentioning my dear friend, T. Robie Scott. I didn’t have the pleasure of his personal acquaintance for long, but I consider our friendship a highlight and miss his counsel and support. He was an intensely strong-willed patriot, a devoted family man and a fervent supporter of our country. Robie Scott was one of a kind – the kind America needs more of today.

(more…)

Monticello Memories – Tour of Monticello’s South Main Street – # 29

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

This week we will begin our look at the last block on west side of South Main Street. We will be traveling on the west side of the street from Bolling Avenue to Wood Creek. Looking down the block we see the stately two-story home that was built in the early 1900s by Ed Spencer. Terrell Spencer Sr. grew up there. Spencer was associated with the Monticello Cotton Mills. The grand plantation style home with its wraparound porches, columns, chimneys, dormers, accents and balcony sits on a slight elevation and adds strength and beauty to the corner lot.

(more…)

Monticello Memories – Tour of Monticello’s Main Street – #28

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

This week we’ll begin at the charming grey house with the white trim and the welcoming porches where we stopped last week. This home was built by Harry Wells (William T. Wells and brother to Mary Phenton and Myrtle Wells) around 1910. Mr. Wells was a businessman who also served in one of the county’s clerk positions for a time. The Wells family members are patriarchs in the history of Monticello and Drew County. Let’s go back and look briefly at this family since the grey house and the next one are tied to them and to the history of Drew County.

(more…)

Monticello Memories – Tour of Monticello’s South Main Street – # 26

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

This week we will look at the east side of South Main Street between East Jackson and East College streets. We will begin at the site of the present First United Methodist Church. I have been unable to determine the exact type of building that formerly occupied the space where the church stands today although I suspect it may have been a family home.

That said, I have learned some interesting facts about the church that I’d like to summarize for readers. Organized in 1852, this early United Methodist congregation built the first church structure in Monticello in 1853 on their land deeded to the church by Wiley Crook. This lot sat north of our present library on the fenced lot where a handsome, two-story red brick apartment building rests today. The organizer and first minister for the church congregation was Reverend H. R. Withers.

(more…)

Monticello Memories – Tour of Monticello’s Main Street – #25

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

This week let’s continue down the west side of South Main Street beginning at its intersection with West College Avenue and continuing to West Bolling Avenue. Of course we all know that the block begins with the former private home that now houses the Drew County Historical Museum. The house was built in 1906 by Garvin Cavaness using bricks molded onsite with a Sears brick-making machine. The house became the permanent home of the Drew County Museum in 1970. For a more detailed description of the home and its history, see the 2006 Drew County Historical Journal.

(more…)

Monticello Memories – Tour of Monticello’s South Main Street – # 24

Monday, February 6th, 2012

This week we’ll pick up our tour and cover the block on west side of South Main Street from West Jackson Avenue to West College Avenue. The first house we see on the north end of this block is the old Joe S. Harris house. Joe Harris was a native Monticellonian and retired brigadier general for whom the local American Legion Post was named. Harris’ military career began in 1903 as an Army private and ran through WWI (1917-1918), the formative years of the Arkansas National Guard and his command of National Guard troops during the disastrous floods of 1927. Harris was also the uncle of the late Eric Hardy, a founding father of the Drew County Museum.

(more…)

Monticello Memories – Tour of Monticello – #23

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Continuing our tour down the east side of South Main Street, the next block now begins with a large, two-story red brick office building that houses the Searcy accounting firm. Before these offices were built, A. H. (Hellums) Owens owned a service station there. The service station was constructed in the 1930s-40s by the late Mr. Owens after he bought part of the side yard of the home of Mr. P. A. Whitaker to locate his business.

(more…)

Prescription Pad Pharmacy

The Prescription Pad Pharmacy

Bradley County Medical Center

Wing Tip Gear Dumas, AR

Wing Tip Gear Dumas

Heaven or Hell

Heaven or Hell Shady Grove Baptist Church

Monticello Realty

Monticello Realty

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Be A Weevil

Lucky’s Of Monticello

War Eagle Boats

Mitchell Lumber & Hardware Warren

Mitchell Lumber & Hardware

Bone’s Auto Parts

Bone's Auto Parts

Citizen’s Bank

Citizen's Bank

Renaissance Healthcare

AM Rental & Sales (2 Week Sale)

AM Rental & Sales

State Farm Mark Gray

Holiday Inn Express

Farmer’s Insurance

Ashley County Medical Center

Ashley County Medical Center

Mitchell Lumber & Hardware Warren

Ashley County Medical Center 3

Ashley County Medical Center

Cass Martin Realty

Cass Martin Realty

Fuller Lawn & Garden

Fuller Lawn & Garden

Malco Theater

ASFCU

ASFCU

The Woods Monticello

The Woods Monticello

Atlas Foundation Repair

Farm Bureau

Union Bank 2

Jerry Cruce Stump Grinding

City Drug

City Drug

Drew Farm / Drew Outdoor & Casual Wear

The Computer Guys

LA Graphics

LA Graphics

Pines Broadcasting Company

Pines Broadcasting Company

Monticello Tire (Goodyear)

Monticello Tire (Goodyear)

Razorback Body Shop

Razorback Body Shop

A.J. Huffman

Ray Ryburn Real Estate

Monticello Animal Clinic

Monticello Animal Clinic

SEEMS

Greenscape Nursery

Delta Greenscape Nursery