I’d like to introduce to readers the latest edition of the 2012 Drew County Historical Journal published in December. This year the Journal has only five articles, but they are “chock full” of lively, interesting facts about the history of our area.
Last year tolled the passing of many of our most beloved Drew Countians and museum supporters and the editors felt compelled to memorialize each with a short biography in the beginning pages of the Journal. Those included were Dr. Donald Holley, retired UAM professor and longtime Journal editor; Niki Griffith Morgan Barnes; Frank “Buddy” Carson; Charles Jackson; Mary Bailey Chase, Patsy Jones Hunter, Bonnie Nichols Jordan, Yvonne May, Pattie Phenton Moffatt, Harry Hankins Wells and others.
The first article in this year’s Journal is a tale of Drew County’s galvanized Yankees by Judy Webb Hubble. The term “galvanized Yankees” refers to the soldiers during the Civil War who decided to “galvanize” themselves, or appear to have “changed sides”, to escape the miseries of life in a prison camp. (Galvanized originally referred to the process of covering a metal with zinc to prevent corrosion.) However, many of these soldiers were still “Rebels” or “Yanks” in their hearts. They had just pretended to change sides to “save” themselves. At least eight of these “galvanized Yankees” came from Drew County and are introduced through short biographies.
Hubbell has written a well researched and documented article that ends with a thoughtful question for readers to decide – were they heroes or villains?
The next article is a biographical piece centered on the experiences of the Rev. Leslie Hopper of Monticello who served as a U.S. Marine in WWII in the Pacific front. It reveals the hardships and horrors faced by young American soldiers in the many battle grounds on the Pacific islands. Hopper’s experiences reveal war as a terribly hard series of events and take all the glamour away from the tragedies of war. Yet he survived and came home, not to rest, but to rebuild his life and America. He is one of those special persons who are known collectively today as the “greatest generation”. His words offer hope and encouragement in our ever-tenuous world. You’ll enjoy his story as written by Jason Higgins.
On a lighter note, the next article offers another look at UAM’s Wandering Weevils, a fledgling football team who traveled to most of their games through 22 states on the campus buses in the late 1930’s-early 1940’s. The late Frank (Buddy) Carson was a teammate and often spoke of the Wandering Weevils, but this reminiscence is provided by three players from Smackover, Arkansas, who managed to log over 40,000 miles and play 33 games, winning only three. Yet, for a brief three years, their shenanigans made football more about fun than about winning!
The two Wandering Weevils interviewed were J. P. Leveritt and Winfred Whelan and the article was written by Don Lambert. It is both amusing and interesting. Carson would have enjoyed reminiscing with these guys.
The next Journal offering is my compilation of the history of the houses along Monticello’s historic North Main Street. I have added new information to the “walking tour” and I hope you enjoy it. The 2013 Journal will have a “tour” around all four sides of Monticello’s enchanting square. 2014 will feature a tour of our charming South Main Street’s structures and their history, but for now enjoy another look at North Main Street’s history.
The Drew County Extension Homemakers Club program celebrated its first 100 years in Drew County in 2012. An overview of the history of the program itself and of each of the county’s ten clubs follows. The Drew County EHC clubs are wonderful service groups who have given so much to our communities. I hope you enjoy my brief examination of one of our premier service organizations in the county.
The 2012 Journal closes with a book review written by UAM archivist Mary Heady extolling the novel, A Haunted Love Story, by UAM’s Dr. Mark Spencer. The book tells the legend of Monticello’s famed Allen House and its alleged apparitions and is highly recommended.
Now you have a brief summary of the contents of the 2012 Drew County Historical Journal. Copies are available at the Drew County Historical Museum, open on Fridays and Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., at the nominal price of $10 each. Come, visit us and get your copy this weekend!
Can you believe that this year is the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination? I’m sure that every adult probably recalls an unforgettable/nearly unbelievably tragic moment that rather “marks” their life and one that they will always remember “where they were” when it happened. Although I can think of three or four such moments, the earliest I can recall was the Kennedy assassination in Dallas that long ago November day.
This fall I would like to author an article, or articles, on your recollections of that ill-fated day. Where were you? How did you feel, etc? If you have any memories to contribute, please jot them down and mail to me at 350 Rabb Road, Monticello, Arkansas.