|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
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
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
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
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
The state archives of the Arkansas History Commission quite
naturally has the most extensive collection, too large to be
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
In addition, each of these places can usually offer
suggestions on other materials available for a particular
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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