Friday, March 29, 2013

NEW BOOK ACQUISITIONS IN THE LOCAL HISTORY & GENEALOGY DEPARTMENT

Beyond the River -- Stories of Life Near the Arkansas


     The Arkansas River enters the state near Fort Smith and leaves it near Arkansas City as it joins the Mississippi on its journey to the Gulf of Mexico. It brings life-giving water, transportation, recreation, and a kind of focal point for all the communities along its length. A large diversity of people and ideas are marked by life near this third-largest river in the United States.
Ward has brought together photographs and stories of many of the people and places near this stream—some from long ago.
     Ward published his first book, “Conway As it was ... As it is,” a photographic history of the city, in 2008. 

     This new book brings to light a number of interesting people who have helped create the fabric of life in the Natural State, many of them in the Conway area. Ward noted that this new book “could almost be a ‘volume 2’ of the first one.”
     Witness an elephant sanctuary, one of only two in the nation, near Guy; read the full story of Dr. Jim Gray, the 1960s back-roads traveler who trekked through Conway and claimed to be an eye-witness to the Indian wars of the early 19th century; see a heart-warming photograph of the rescue of a 7-year-old girl who spent three weeks adrift on a raft in the South Atlantic during World War II (she now lives in Conway); learn of families and organizations who helped shape the city, including the Hambuchens and Simons; read about an Arkansas soldier who was held for a year in the infamous Stalag 17 German concentration camp during World War II—and kept a diary; learn the real story of how the Ozark Folk Center came to be; see a wall near Conway which is more than 800 feet long (and growing), built without mortar; thrill to the actions of a true war hero from Morrilton, Nathan Gordon; learn new and compelling information about the Arkansas Rockefellers—Winthrop and Winthrop Paul; hear about a preacher in the Ozark Mountains who grew up learning the art of whisky-making before turning in a different direction. These stories and so many more are found in this new book. 

Canada/Kennedy Cemetery

     This cemetery is located in Saline Township, Cleveland County, Arkansas.

     The tombstones in older cemeteries across our country are rapidly eroding and their inscriptions are fading.  This book records the burials and history of one of those cemeteries located where there was once a thriving pioneer community but now is only a forest. 
     The people who once lived, worked, worshiped, and died in Saline Township are now remembered only by sometimes deteriorating tombstones.  Included in this book are photos, obituaries, and in some cases, research material about these families.  A careful study will reveal the kinships among the people buried in Canada/Kennedy Cemetery. 


Cotton Belt Engineer: The Life and Times of C. W. "Red" Standefer 1898-1981

 This is the story of a Texan.  A big story about a man from TEXAS. A story about a man who as a young boy saw what he wanted to do, set out to do it and accomplished his life's ambition. The man's name was Cecil Standefer. The events in this book primarily happened in Texas between 1898 and 1981. He struggled some; had some personal losses and he overcame them. He grew up in a time when the United States of America grew to be recognized as a world power. His part in all that was that of a railroad employee. And not just any employee as Cecil Standefer was in engine service. He was in engine service for the St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company and he was in this service for 50 years. Cecil Standefer wanted to become a locomotive engineer from the very first time he ever saw a train. He achieved his life's ambition by becoming a Cotton Belt Engineer.

 About the Author

C. W. Standefer lived his entire life in TEXAS. He saw his first train when he was eight years old and then and there decided he wanted to become a locomotive engineer. He got his chance ten years later and began working for the St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt) Railway. C. W. Standefer was in engine service from 1917-1967. When he retired he was the #1 seniority engineer on the Cotton Belt's Southern Division. During his long career in engine service he saw everything from the antiquated saturated steam kettles of the 19th century to second generation diesels by the time he retired.

Index to Arkansas' World War I Soldiers from Jefferson County

     This series of indexes to Arkansas' World War I soldiers will help genealogists and historians identify specific soldiers so additional information in primary sources can be located. 
     The material in these books has been taken from a microfilmed care file at the Arkansas History Commission in Little Rock.  The records were filmed on 118 rolls of 35mm microfilm by Stanley V. Bond, and the filming was completed August 20, 1986.  The material is referred to as "Arkansas World War I Discharge Records."
    
http://www.arkansasresearch.com/Statewide/Military/MilitaryWorldWarISet.htm 

A Pictorial History of Marvell and Surrounding Communities 

Compiled by Tri-County Genealogy Society in Marvell, Arkansas




     Oversized pictorial history of the town of Marvell in Phillips County, Arkansas, plus surrounding communities of Botleneck, Connells Point, County Line, Cypert, Hicks, Kingtown, Midway, Postelle, Poplar Grove, Turkey Scratch, Turner, Trenton and Watkins Corners.  Index. 206 pp.

      The history of Marvell shows a town that has evolved due to progressive leaders, stable businesses and community minded citizens.  These people have shown throughout time that they are committed to make Marvell a town which people are proud to call there own. 


Arkansas State Donation and Swamp Lands:  Jefferson County 1855 - 2001


Compiled by Desmond Walls Allen


     Just when you thought you'd looked at all the sources available, here's one you missed: state land sales records. Why did you miss it? Because very few people knew this source existed, and, until now, no one had transcribed the material.  

      Think about this: you work on your genealogy, going great guns for a while, then you begin to hit road blocks in your research because you need more details about your ancestors' lives. You dabble in genealogical education and learn to use land records. When you run out of county-level deed records, you turn (in Arkansas and 29 other public domain land states), to federal-level records.
All the land in Arkansas once belonged to the federal government and it gradually passed from federal ownership into the hands of landowners who began to pay taxes on it at their local county courthouses. Arkansas' federal land patents are available from many sources, most notably this very website. (See the series of 57 volumes we offer on federal land patents.)
      But the source researchers have missed so far is the state-level land records. About one-fourth of the land in Arkansas was given by the federal government directly to the state as swamp and overflowed lands. And before you dismiss swamp lands because your people were hill folks, remember that swamp lands were found in all but three Arkansas counties. Swamp lands were sold by the state government for fifty to seventy-five cents per acre. Many tracts of swamp lands went to land speculators, but many more went to ordinary folks like our ancestors who wanted cheap land.
      Donation lands were tracts of land that were previously in taxpayers' hands, but had been abandoned and were earning no tax revenues for the counties or state. The first donation acts were passed by the Arkansas General Assembly in the 1840s, but we don't have those records. Extant donation land records start in 1871. The War was over, government was just beginning to pass out of federal occupation and back into Arkansas' control. Many tracts of land had been abandoned by families of men who failed to come back from the War. Lots of people had left the state for less-chaotic places. To rebuild Arkansas' economy, abandoned land needed to be returned to the people. A series of donation acts did that.  
      There are records of donation land transactions in large ledgers in the Commissioner of State Lands' office in the capitol building in Little Rock. The swamp land purchase ledgers are there as well. Both sets of records are arranged in chronological order. We've compiled detailed indexes to these records, arranging them in ledger order (see donation and swamp land books in another area on this website) and now, in response to researchers' requests, we've arranged the records in geographic order. We've grouped counties together, pooled donation and swamp lands into regional indexes, and have the books ready for your library shelves.
      The books themselves present a great many details about each transaction and the introduction to the books contain more than you'll ever want to know about donation and swamp land sales. In order to let you look at who's in the books before you order, we've taken just the names from the books and posted them in files with links beside each of our book titles. You can click on the [View the names...] links, wait for the file to load into your Internet browser, then choose "save as" from the file menu of your browser to save the file to your hard drive, and look at it off-line in your word processor.
Don't just search these books for your direct ancestors' names. Often, you'll find more information if you'll search for those collateral relatives (those to whom you're related but not descended from). Your branch of the family may have lit out for Bakersfield, California, but the folks left here in Arkansas created records that will help you find your ancestors who lived and loved in this glorious state.

http://www.arkansasresearch.com/Statewide/Land/DonationSwampCounty.htm

Index to Arkansas' World War I Soldiers from Jefferson County

Compiled by Desmond Walls Allen


This series of indexes to Arkansas' World War I soldiers will help genealogists and historians identify specific soldiers so additional information in primary sources can be located.  


The material in these books has been taken from a microfilmed card file at the Arkansas History Commission in Little Rock.  The records were filmed on 118 rolls of 35mm microfilm by Stanley V. Bond, and the filming was completed August 20, 1986.  The material is referred to as "Arkansas World War I Discharge Records."