© Copyright 2017 Izard County Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc.
|World War II Army Ring presented to a Boswell family|
Boswell, AR — The World War II Army ring that belonged to Private Chester William Vest has been presented to Don Gillihan, his nephew, of Boswell, Arkansas. Charles “Bud” Banning of Yuma, Arizona, recently sent the ring to Izard County Historical Society.
A picture of Private Vest’s headstone in the Vest Cemetery and his obituary are shown on the Arkansas Gravestones and on the Find A Grave websites. Sandy Smith of Twin Creek, local researcher, historian, and preservationist, placed the Vest Cemetery information on these genealogical websites. She has been a volunteer worker for these sites for several years by photographing pictures of headstones in many Izard County cemeteries and adding information about the deceased person.
Banning read the information posted on the Arkansas Gravestones site and decided to locate a relative of Chester Vest. He wanted to give the ring to a family relative currently living in Izard County. The ring had been in the possession of Mrs. Lillie Vest Banning, Chester’s widow, until her death. The ring was then given to her step-son, Charles “Bud” Banning.
Banning contacted Smith who knew the Vest family background and local descendants. Banning was informed of this nephew living in the Boswell area, and he sent the ring to the Izard County Historical Society. It was presented to Don and Lou Gillihan in their home by society members Sandy Smith, Linda Carol Cooper, and Elizabeth Daigle.
Chester William Vest was born July 11, 1909. He married Miss Lillie May Layton on December 23, 1928, in Izard County. He registered for the Army in 1940 and entered service on April 7, 1944. He received his basic training at Camp Hood, Texas. He was assigned to duty in Europe in January 1945. Vest served only three months in the line of duty as a Private First Class in the 87 Mountain Infantry Regiment of the 10th Division before being killed by artillery fire in Italy on April 24, 1945, at the age of thirty-five.
The following article was published in the November 2, 1945, edition of the Calico Rock Progress: “Silver Star Award Presented Posthumously
The Silver Star for gallantry in action, awarded posthumously to Pfc. Chester W. Vest of Boswell, was presented to his wife, Mrs. Lillie M. Vest, in a ceremony at Camp Robinson, October 25. The presentation was made by Col. G. C. Graham, camp commander. Two brothers, Dale and Harlin Vest and the wife’s sister, Mrs. Rose Jeffery of Harrison were also present.
The award was made with appropriate ceremony, including a parade and review of troops. The 35 year-old infantryman, Pfc. Vest died of wounds while fighting with the 10th Division in Italy. He is a former Missouri Pacific Railway employee.
His War Department Citation reads: “For gallantry in action on 22 April, 1945, near San Benedetto, Italy. During the initial crossing of the Po River, Private First Class Vest was waiting with his company for the order to move into assault boats. The enemy laid down a terrific mortar barrage and an exploding shell seriously wounded him. When his comrades started moving forward to cross the river, he rose to his feet and accompanied them in spite of his painful wounds, until he collapsed. He died later, after having given his last strength to attempt to accompany his fellow soldiers in their assault. By his gallant determination and heroism, Private First Class Vest has earned the undying memory of all who witnessed this starring deed. Such selfless devotion to duty is truly worthy of the finest traditions of the United States Army.”
The following article was published in the December 3, 1948, edition of the Calico Rock Progress: “Funeral of Pfc. Vest Held at Boswell
Funeral services for the late Chester W. Vest, 35, who was killed by artillery fire in Italy on April 24, 1945, were held at Boswell Wednesday at 1:30, with burial in the Vest Cemetery at Boswell.
The Rev. H. W. Wooten of Batesville officiated and the Calico Rock post of Veterans of Foreign Wars was in charge of the military service at the cemetery. Pall bearers were members of the VFW. The Crouch Funeral Service of Batesville directed arrangements.
PFC. Vest was born and reared at Boswell and was employed by the Missouri Pacific Railroad prior to his enlistment in the army. He was a member of the Baptist Church.
Survivors include his wife, Mrs. Lily Vest of Boswell; his parents, Mr and Mrs Ben Vest of Boswell; two brothers, Harlin of Boswell and Dale of Burdette and one sister, Mrs Earl Gillihan, of Boswell.”
On January 4, 1949, Lillie M. Vest completed the application form to have a marble military service headstone placed at Chester’s grave in the Vest Cemetery. He is listed on the United States Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939 — 1945. His name is listed on the monument located on the Izard County Courthouse lawn as being one of the soldiers who lost his life in combat for America in World War II.
Pfc. Vest was the son of William Benjamin “Ben” Vest and Sarah Nona Banning Vest; the grandson of Albert Harvey Vest and Nancy Jane Shirley Vest; and the great grandson of the Reverend J. J. Vest, Jr. and Delaney Kent Vest. The Reverend Vest was the circuit riding pioneer minister for which the Vest Cemetery is named. The Vest Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.
Thanks to the gracious gift from Charles Banning in July 2017, the silver ring with a round ruby stone is now with a Vest family descendant at Boswell seventy-three years after Vest entered the Army in 1944 and after the ring traveled thousands of miles.
And thanks to the Vest family, and thousands of other families across America, for giving their greatest sacrifice to this county — their sons or daughters.
|Izard County Historical Society to Meet|
|Brockwell – The Izard County Historical Society will meet on Sunday, July 9, 2017, at the Izard County Senior Center south of Brockwell on Highway #9 at 2 p.m. The meeting is free, and the public is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served.|
|Izard historians to hear about early electrical service|
Ms. Tori Moss will be the guest speaker for the session. Moss serves as the Marketing and Communications Director for the North Arkansas Electric Cooperative, Inc. located at Salem in Fulton County. Moss will present information about the history of the cooperative, which included the construction of the electrical lines throughout the area and of the installation of the power into the homes and farms of the region. The new power system changed the lives of thousands of people in north central Arkansas.
Moss will conduct a drawing during the meeting to give away two copies of the North Arkansas Electric Cooperative History Book. This book was complied for the 75th Anniversary of the co-op. Copies of the book will be available to purchase during the meeting for $15 each. All of the money from the sale of the books is donated to the co-op’s Operation Round up program, which provides college scholarships, disaster relief, and donations to nonprofit organizations in the communities the co-op serves.
This will be a very informative meeting and of special interest to older people who may remember when electricity came to the area. The meeting is open to the public and refreshments will be served.
|Izard historians heard about early electrical service|
The Izard County Historical Society met on Sunday, July 9, 2017, at the Izard County Senior Center south of Brockwell, Arkansas, on Highway 9 at 2 p.m.
Ms. Tori Moss was the guest speaker for the session and presented information about the history of the North Arkansas Electric Cooperative, Inc. located at Salem in Fulton County. Moss related the history of the cooperative which included the construction of the electrical lines throughout the area and of the installation of the power into the homes and farms of the region that gave thousands of people in north central Arkansas a new lifestyle.
North Arkansas Electric Cooperative was incorporated in 1939 and energized its first line June 6, 1940. NAEC is a not-for-profit electric utility owned by the members it serves and is governed by a nine-member board of directors elected from the membership. It serves approximately 36,000 member accounts in parts of seven northern Arkansas counties. The co-op maintains more than 4,500 miles of power lines and 27 substation sites. The headquarters is in Salem and two full-service offices are in Ash Flat and Mountain Home.
Moss conducted a drawing during the meeting and gave away two copies of the North Arkansas Electric Cooperative History Book. She presented a copy of the book to the historical society to be placed in the Archival Room. Copes of the book were available and purchased by other members. All of the money from the sale of the books was donated to the co-op’s Operation Round up program, which provides college scholarships, disaster relief, and donations to nonprofit organizations in the communities the co-op serves.
Tori Moss of Oxford joined North Arkansas Electric Cooperative in July 2016 as the marketing and communications director. She graduated from Izard County Consolidated School District in 2003 before studying journalism at the University of Central Arkansas and University of Missouri. She started her career as the news editor of seven weekly newspapers in central Arkansas. Moss first joined electric cooperatives six years ago when she was hired as the communications coordinator at First Electric Cooperative in Jacksonville.
|Izard County Historical Society to Meet|
|Brockwell – The Izard County Historical Society will meet on Sunday, April 9, 2017, at the Izard County Senior Center south of Brockwell on Highway #9 at 2 p.m. The meeting is free, and the public is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served.|
The guest speaker for the meeting will be Edward Harthorn. His presentation will feature the life of Reverend David Orr (1799-1849), one of the earliest preachers in Northeast Arkansas. Orr started nine different churches and founded the Spring River and Rocky Bayou Baptist Associations in the Ozarks east of the White River. Orr was also a schoolteacher and a member of the Arkansas Territorial Legislature.
Edward Harthorn is a graduate assistant in history at Arkansas State University, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in global history. He is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a resident of Walnut Ridge, where he attended Williams Baptist College. Harthorn was the recipient of the 2016 Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives Award given by the Arkansas Historical Association.
Waylan Cooper, President of the society, stated, “The society is open to any person interested in the history of the county or who is doing research on families who lived in the area.”
Edward Harthorn, the guest speaker for the 2017 Spring Quarterly meeting on April 9th, presented a program about Reverend David Orr, one of the earliest preachers in Northeast Arkansas, arriving in 1827.
During Orr’s time in the region, he started nine different churches and founded the Spring River and Rocky Bayou Baptist Associations in the Ozarks east of the White River.
Dr. P. S. G. Watson was said to have known more preachers in antebellum Arkansas than anyone else. He described David Orr as “over six feet high, slim, straight, long-faced, high forehead, long chin and thin lips, long nose, deep sunken, piercing black eyes, and long, black curly hair, sprinkled with gray when I saw him first in January, 1844." Orr spoke at, revived, and founded a number of churches in the territory and then state of Arkansas. Orr spent a large amount of time on the political stump and in the courtroom as well as in the pulpit. Even though Orr is known in the region to this day for his Baptist ministry, he seems to have joined a large number of his countrymen in the common pursuit of a simplified, egalitarian gospel of reform—a pursuit that resulted in Orr embracing sources of truth that his congregations sometimes found less convincing. Thus, while orthodox Baptists would have undoubtedly shuttered at the thought of openly welcoming more peripheral groups such as the Mormons to speak about their version of the gospel, Orr was sympathetic to them. Orr’s intentions are well-documented: they are narrated by witnesses in an 1841 episode wherein he defended the right of a visiting Mormon to speak at a public meetinghouse, and an 1843 letter to Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, by Orr himself. Orr’s evolving theology challenges us to see him as a more nuanced individual than traditional narratives make him out to be, and helps us acknowledge and appreciate the nuances of regional and American religious history as well.
Edward Harthorn is a graduate assistant in history at Arkansas State University, where he is pursuing a master's degree in global history. He is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a long-time resident of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, where he attended Williams Baptist College. Edward enjoys studying familiar places, whether that be Northeast Arkansas or even India, where he spent a semester studying abroad several years ago. Edward was the recipient of the 2016 Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives Award given by the Arkansas Historical Association.
|Memories Around The Table|
|BROCKWELL, AR. – The Izard County Historical and Genealogical Society will meet on Sunday afternoon, January 8, 2017, at the Izard County Senior Center south of Brockwell, Arkansas, on Highway #9 at 2 P.M. The meeting is open to the public.|
A Panel of society members will hold a discussion and remembrance time about past years in Izard County. “Memories Around The Table” will be an informative and education time as recalled by Ann Lawrence, Betty McCollum, Glen Hunt, and Johnnie Guthrie. Call 870-368-7257.