Greene County Arkansas

Paragould, Arkansas

Centennial Edition Section 4

 Monday, August 29, 1983, Paragould Daily Press                                                                                                                       Section 4, Centennial Edition -11 


A Brief Greene County Bibliography

Although there are many gaping holes in the written history of Paragould and Greene County, there are still enough interesting books and brochures with local angles to compile a decent bibliography.
The Goodspeed Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northeast Arkansas, including Greene, Clay, Fulton, Craig-head, Randolph, Mississippi, Poinsett, Independence, Sharp, Lawrence, Jackson and Izard counties 1889, The Goodspeed Publishing Co.
   Although some historians dislike the Goodspeed series and question its accuracy, it is particularly interesting because of its age.
   Pioneer descendents will be interested in the biographical section if it includes one of their forebearers.
   Ben H. Crowley's "History of Greene County," 1906. Originally published as a series of articles in J. R. Taylor's Soliphone newspaper, this compilation was, as far as we know, never published in  book form.  However, the Crowley family has compiled a typed copy of the articles and they were reprinted in sequ-ence in successive issues of the Greene County Historical Quarterly.
   History of Greene County, Arkansas, Vivian Hansbrough, 1946, Democrat Printing and Lithography Co. Hansbrough's book remains, almost 40 years after its publication, the only published hard-bound book specifically on the history of Greene County. An outgrowth of a high school history pro-ject, it is hampered as a ref-erence work by its lack of an index. But it remains an in-valuable contribution to historical record.
   It should be noted here that Myrl Rhine Mueller, past editor of the Greene County Historical Quarterly and an avid local historian, has been working on a new county history for several years. Her book is said to be close to publication and is eagerly awaited by local history buffs.
   At least two histories of neighboring counties contain interesting tidbits about  Greene County and Greene County folks. They are Walter E. McLeod's History of Law-rence County and Harry Lee Williams' The History of Craighead County, Arkansas. The current editions of both
are indexed.
   For genealogists, George Rowland of Popular Bluff, Mo., has produced a remark-able trilogy of books titled,
Fathers of the Ridge: Gene-alogical Sketches of Greene County, Arkansas. A fourth volume is said to be in the
works. As the title indicates, they contain brief family tree summaries.Vol. 1 was

Ben H. Crowley, grandson of the county's first Ben Crowley and one of the county's first historians

published in 1978 and the next  two volumes in 1980. All were printed by College Bookstore & Press in Paragould. A number of special publications contain useful local information.
 Among these are the Diamond
Jubilee's souvenir program, copies
of which are floating around, and a
souvenir program from theArkansas
Centennial Celebration and Greene
County Homecoming at Crowley's
Ridge State Park in 1936, a copy
of which is owned by Webb Green.
The Paragould Area Chamber of
Commerce files include a fascinating
1918 commercial brochure titled
"Paragould Up-to-date," which includes 20 pages of brief business histories, mostly of businesses that are no longer operating.
   The cover itself conveys the self-
confidence of the city in those days.
An arch proclaims "Opportunity's Gateway," as a rising sun beckons the reader into Paragould, Ark., "A Progressive City."  The brochure was priced as "25 cents the copy."
   The Chamber also owns a 1917 city directory.
   The Historical Report of the Sec-retary of State, Arkansas, published every 10 years, includes a com-plete-as-available roster of all county officials and other informa-tion on each county as well as a wealth of official information about the state, including a list of all per-sons who have served in any state
office from the state House of Representatives to the Governor's Mansion.
    Both of Paragould's railroads have compiled corporate histories.
"The Empire That Missouri Pacific Serves" was a special limited edition prepared by the Mo-Pac public relations office in 1957. It includes several tidbits about Paragould,
including a review of how the town was named.
   Cotton Belt published "80 Years of Transportation Progress: A History of the St. Louis South-western Railway," also in 1957. A copy was donated by the railroad for use on this edition and will be later placed in the Lipscomb Room at the Greene County Library.


Courthouse vault holds keys to unlock the past

The vault at the Greene County Courthouse protects invaluable records, many of which are used by avid genealogists to track down elusive ancestors. Unfortunately, about 43 years of county history is missing, destroyed in a series of 1876 fires that consumed most of the county records which had been accumulated since its creation in 1833.                                                               Daily Press photo: Bruce Moore


          Archives, museums provide many resources for research


    Before the development of the Greene County Library's S.S. Lipscomb Room, determined history buffs had to go else-where for serious research.
   While the local collections have been greatly expanded, there is still a world of material available only outside Paragould.
The state archives of the Arkansas History Commission quite naturally has the most extensive collection, too large to be adequa-
tely listed here.
   Of particular interest, perhaps, are its geographic site location reports of U.S. post offices in Arkansas, 1852-1945. "There are a veritable gold mine of information about origins and locations of vanished towns and villages," explained Dr. John L. Ferguson, state historian.
   In addition, the AHC archives has census reports from 44 states, military records from seven wars (American Revolution, War of 1812, Indian Wars, Mexican War, Civil
War -- both Confederate and Union -- Spanish American War and World War I), official state records such as territorial
papers, sociological resources such as per-sonal diaries and a collection of photographs donated by Paragould residents Lloyd and Della Bridges.
   Arkansas State University's Arkansas Room also has certain materials not avail-able elsewhere such as the official papers of former Congressman E.C. "Took" Gathings.
   The ASU Museum is another nearby research source. Among the items of interest that were donated by Greene County resi-dents are a collection of Civil War letters,
   an1898 ledger, a variety of photos and books and the engine key from the Paragould roundhouse.
   The special collection department at the University of Arkansas library at Fayetteville has a number of holdings of particular inte-rest to Paragould, old telephone directories, the earliest being 1923, and a set of Sanborn maps with dates ranging from 1892 to 1930.
   The Sanborn maps were prepared for insurance purposes and are invaluable his-torical tools because they not only indicate streets and other standard city map information  but also indicate individual buildings, noting the size, shape, position, street number, building material and use of each.
   "Sanborn maps graphically illustrate the growth ad development of the city and are particularly useful in dating buildings," staff member Nan Thompson Ernst explained.
   In addition, each of these places can usually offer suggestions on other materials available for a particular research project.
   Other places to turn for help, depending on the subject being researched, include the Arkansas Department of Natural and Cul-tural Heritage, the Arkansas Historic Preser-vation Program, Arkansas Museum Ser-vices, the Arkansas Historical Association,
the Historic Preservation Alliance of Ark-ansas and the American Association for State and Local History.
Addresses are available at, you got it, the library.



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Transcribed by: PR Massey

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