Thursday, August 30, 2012


     As Arkansas' largest archival institution and official keeper of the State's documentary heritage, the Arkansas History Commission collects, preserves, and makes available archival materials and historical objects important to the overall understanding of Arkansas history and culture.  In an effort to fulfill its mission since being established by the General Assembly in 1905, the History Commission has actively south materials related to the tumultuous years of the Civil War:

     As a result of more than 100 years of acquisition, the State Archives houses the most comprehensive resources pertaining to Arkansas in the Civil War available anywhere.  The State's most important documents from the war years--state constitutions of 1861, 1864, and 1868; Arkansas' secession ordinance; governors' papers; diaries; letters; photographs; newspapers; currency; maps; and three-dimensional objects--are preserved by the History Commission

      Sue Bedwell Goodson is a life-long resident of Howard County, Arkansas.  She descended from one of the state's earliest pioneer families.  Through the influence of itinerant preacher, William Stevenson, Sue's fourth Grandfather, John Henry, and family migrated from southern Missouri to southwest Arkansas in 1817 as part of a group of 30 families whose purpose was to establish a Methodist Society.  They brought with them livestock, some farm implements and fools.  They settled just north of Old Washington at Mound Prairie.

     A church was erected that same year.  However, probably due to a land title dispute, it was necessary to build a second log building in a nearby location.  This church was known as Henry's Chapel.  It served the community for about fifty years.  It no longer stands but in 1961 a monument was placed at its location by the Little Rock Conference Historical Society of the Methodist Church.  Henry's Chapel was the mother church of the Church at Old Washington.  John Henry preached a this new church on numerous occasions.  (This is documented in the booklet given to visitors of the church.)  This church is still in service and is the oldest continually meeting Methodist church in Arkansas.

      In 1841, John Henry and his family moved ten miles north of Nashville to the community of Center Point.  He preached there well into his 80s.  He was affectionately known as Father Henry.  He is buried in the cemetery at Center Point.  Today, Sue lives in Center Point near where her family has lived since those early days.

A special thanks to Mrs. Goodson for her gift of these two books to the library's Arkansas Room collection.