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Monticello Memories – History of Drew County’s EHC Clubs

August 25th, 2012 by

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.

While the various EHC Clubs through the years have also had many noteworthy projects, at times all the clubs have participated together in several other admirable projects in a variety of areas, such as the county fair kitchen, the canning project in the 1930s, workshops and special events for the public and special programs in the schools. However, there has been one grand and unique project that has involved every club to a great degree. I refer to it as the Quintessential EHC Project.

During 1968 – 1970 the Arkansas Extension Homemakers Council promoted a cemetery census project to locate every cemetery within each county, record all known burials there and forward the information to the Arkansas History Commission to be microfilmed and made available to the general public for research. The project began eagerly in Drew County, but participants soon lost their fervor and only 29 cemeteries were turned in,

In 1980 these records were released back to the county organizations. The Drew County EHC Council then made the decision to finish the Drew County project and publish their efforts. A county committee was formed and set to work, aided by all clubs and several volunteers.

The county committee members were JoAnn Handly (Chair), Barbara Schenk, Marjorie Knowles and Clara Belle Moore. With their guidance the EHC clubs managed to locate 118 cemeteries and 12 burial sites with no markers. These records were then accumulated, typed and published in book form in 1982 with the assumption that their work was over.

However, in spite of their best efforts, other local people began to come forth with more information and other sites. The EHC Council then determined their work was worth a second look and decided to check all their information, explore the additional sites and publish a second, more complete book of Drew County cemetery records.

This worthy endeavor was completed and published as a second edition in the 1990s with a special tribute to the late Guy Bellott who had worked so diligently to check and recheck entries and new information in the field.

Through the joint efforts of the Drew County Extension Homemakers Clubs Drew County now has one of the most complete volumes of cemetery records in the state.

The Drew County, Arkansas, Cemetery Records is a book for the ages and it was accomplished by the dedication and hard work of the ladies of the Drew County Extension Clubs programs and their many friends and volunteers. Salute!

(Regrettably, these books are sold out. However, persons seeking information for genealogical research or other purposes may visit the Monticello library or the museum archives and investigate the volumes. They may not be removed from the buildings, but pages may be copied for a nominal fee.)

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